A political analyst looks at the issues facing the Republicans and Democrats as they look to next year’s congressional races and the 2016 presidential contest.
Much like the secret meetings at the Vatican to determine the new pope, the major political parties are holding their own “conclaves” right now to figure out how to approach the next couple of election cycles, says Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report. Walter spoke during a luncheon at NAR’s Association Executive Institute event in San Diego, Calif., which ends this week.
Both parties face obstacles over the next several years, Walter says. Unsurprisingly, the biggest issue the GOP has to deal with is appealing more to minorities, a topic discussed at length in the months following the 2012 presidential election.
The Romney campaign believed that the 2012 election would play out much like the one in 1980, in which voter dissatisfaction with the economy and with the general direction of the economy led to Ronald Reagan beating Jimmy Carter, Walter says. However, minorities totaled just 11 percent of the electorate in 1980, she said. In 2012, they made up 26 percent. That trend will continue as 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month in the United States.
“If your base is older, white voters, the trend line isn’t exactly going in the right direction,” Walter says.
This will make it more difficult for the GOP to win future presidential elections, she adds. Right now, if you look at the national picture, Democrats have a virtual lock on 17 states and the District of Columbia, which equates to 242 electoral votes. The GOP, by contrast, only has about 13 states that are practically guaranteed, which amount to 102 electoral votes.
This gap is at the heart of the effort by GOP Chair Reince Priebus to reach out to minorities over the next few years, Walter says. Additionally, Republicans are touting young rising stars like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who are of Indian and Latino descent, respectively.
Despite their success in winning the presidency again last year, the Democrats have significant challenges of their own, Walter says. At the state level, the average GOP congressional district has gotten whiter. That’s due to a combination of redistricting and the fact that Democratic voters tend to cluster in urban areas with a much smaller geographic footprint.
Additionally, the 2014 midterm elections could shift the momentum back to the GOP, she says. Most of the close battles for Senate seats are going to be in states that tend to vote Republican. And minority and young voters typically don’t turn out as much for midterms. That means it will be very difficult for the Democrats to win back a majority in the House and maintain a commanding majority in the Senate for the foreseeable future. “It’s going to be a lot of defense for the Democrats [next] year,” Walter explains.
Also, there’s still some uncertainty as to who the Democratic candidate for president in 2016 will be. Hillary Clinton would seem to be an obvious choice, but it’s not entirely clear whether she’s going to run. And other than Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats don’t have that many appealing candidates to choose from, Walter says. In contrast, GOP has a surprisingly deep and diverse group of potential candidates right now, including Jindal, Rubio, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Kentucky Rep. Rand Paul.
“If [Hillary Clinton] doesn’t run, it’s going to be a thin bench for the Democrats,” Walter says.
Every day is different. Each one brings new challenges and opportunities, new sources of joy and frustration. But no matter what’s going on, you should be able to maintain a certain level state that’s independent of events, says Jared James, an entrepreneur, real estate speaker, and YPN Lounge blogger.
James, who gave a presentation yesterday afternoon at NAR’s Association Executives Institute in San Diego, Calif., says too many people just react to things that happen to them, thus getting blown around like a dead leaf in the wind. But, he adds, there’s a very simple way to get into a positive, productive mindset every day, regardless of circumstances.
As a serial entrepreneur who currently runs a few companies in addition to traveling all around the country to speak, James uses the following method to get emotionally grounded: No matter where he is or what he’s doing, he spends a half-hour early in the morning each day reading, praying, and reflecting to reach his ideal state.
Additionally, he mentally reviews what he wants to accomplish that day. He says it’s important to get very specific about those tasks. “When you have a desired outcome, your brain gives your body marching orders,” he says. “Every single day, you’re going to have an outcome, whether you set one or not. Wouldn’t you rather have some control over it?”
James suggests implementing a similar routine to reach a consistent emotional state every day and help you achieve goals that will improve your business. You may not think you have the time, but as James says, “People say they don’t have a half-hour in the morning to do this. Well, do you want a spend a half-hour doing this, or eight hours or more not accomplishing anything?”
Though he was speaking to an audience of association executives, entrepreneur and speaker Josh Linkner’s presentation this morning at NAR’s AE Institute in San Diego, Calif., was applicable to anyone who works in real estate. Linkner, who has started and invested in a number of technology companies over the past two decades, says a problem plaguing not only this industry but the entire business world is a lack of creative thinking.
According to Linkner, virtually everyone has some capacity for creativity. However, from an early age, this instinct is suppressed by external forces — particularly school and work. “Our creativity is declining,” he says. “We don’t grow into creativity, we’re growing out of it. The lesson society teaches us is to not be creative, just do what your told and don’t take risks.”
This is a huge issue, though, because creativity and innovation have become more critical than ever before. In a recent survey of 1,500 CEOs around the world, creativity was cited as the most important attribute of leadership today, Linkner says. Moreover, the tendency to do things the way they’ve always been done and avoid taking chances is a recipe for disaster in a rapidly changing business environment.
“Playing it safe has become the riskiest move of all,” he explains. “If you run that game plan in the real world, it’s a surefire path to mediocrity.”
In his presentation, Linkner offered the following five tips for people who want to accelerate their business through creativity: Continue reading »
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