Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Peter Feaver, FP: What happens when senior retired military officers endorse a candidate for president, as 88 retired generals and flag officers did for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, or the 95 retired military generals and admirals endorsing Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton? Are voters persuaded by what such endorsements say about the candidates, or by what they say about the people doing the endorsing? National security experts react with expressions of concern, warning that this is corrosive of healthy civil-military relations. I have joined that chorus before and believe that my side has the better part of the argument. But are voters impressed?

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There is surprisingly little published research on this question. During the 2012 presidential election, I did a study with James Golby and Kyle Dropp and we found that there was only a modest effect on respondents who were cued with information about military support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney or support for President Barack Obama. Obama got a bit of a bounce, perhaps reflecting the man-bites-dog surprise of the military endorsing a Democratic candidate. The effect was more pronounced among independents and low-interest voters, large enough perhaps to entice a campaign trying to work every angle, but hardly a game-changer.

Being told that retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn endorsed Trump or that retired General John Allen endorsed Clinton did not have clear effects on how respondents assessed which candidate they considered to be best on national security. Nor did it have clear effects on which candidate they trusted to handle terrorism. While the campaigns tout retired military endorsements as reasons the voters should trust their candidate more on military-related issues, it does not seem to work that way for the voters themselves in the aggregate. (We are still investigating whether it works that way for certain subsets of voters.)

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We did find, however, that voters who were cued with information about endorsements from retired military leaders did express lower confidence in military leaders overall. As a rule, the public expresses very high levels of confidence in military leaders. But respondents who were cued about military endorsements expressed somewhat lower levels of confidence.

Crucially, respondents who were cued with the full information that some retired military leaders backed Trump while others backed Clinton expressed markedly lower levels of confidence in the military than those who were only told about one set of endorsements, let alone those who were not told about any such endorsements at all.

The same effects are noticeable in another crucial attitude about the military: Survey respondents who were told about the military endorsements were less likely to say they would be proud if a member of their family were to join the military.

In other words, our results suggest that the net effect of the past couple days is likely not a change in how voters viewed the candidates, but perhaps a change -- and a negative one, to boot -- in how voters viewed the military.

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Wow, that was a survey conclusion I was not expecting to read! It appears that in bipartisan fashion, when voters hear about high-level military officials endorsing either candidate, it lowers public confidence in the military as an institution and yet hardly affects the positive/negative standing of either political candidate.

From the research, it appears that voters do not like their military leaders (ret) becoming part of the partisan bickering and pageantry.

#1 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2016-10-13 06:17 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

I'm one of those voters who really does not want retired generals and admirals trying to tell the pubic how it should vote.

#2 | Posted by moder8 at 2016-10-13 06:35 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

From the situations in many parts of the world that the Generals have created I don't think their advice about who to vote for makes much sense.

#3 | Posted by danni at 2016-10-13 06:52 PM | Reply

No.

Next question.

#4 | Posted by truthhurts at 2016-10-13 07:45 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

If they're retired it's fine. Why should their rights be limited. After all they served to uphold the rights for all you idiots to express your views over the years.

#5 | Posted by patron at 2016-10-13 08:18 PM | Reply

And Danni, It's the president that created the mess. The Generals work for him.

#6 | Posted by patron at 2016-10-13 08:20 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The endorsements of retired government employees don't influence who I want to be POTUS, especially if those ex-employees are on their way into cushy jobs at government contractors.

#7 | Posted by bored at 2016-10-13 08:27 PM | Reply

#5 | Posted by patron

It may be 'fine' and within their rights BUT there is good cause to wonder about endorsements of anyone labeled military - active or retired in a political sense. The military should stay out of politics - period. It does not look "good". If your claim to any fame is military dependent that involves you unless you choose to run for office.

#8 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2016-10-13 09:01 PM | Reply

Wow I butchered that...

If your claim to any fame is military dependent that then you should stay out of politics unless you choose to run for office.

#9 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2016-10-13 09:03 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Leaders"? of course not.

#10 | Posted by ichiro at 2016-10-14 01:44 AM | Reply

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The answer, in my mind, depends on WHICH flag officers are doing the endorsing. The military has FAR too many flag officers, an overwhelming percentage of which not only never saw combat, but many of whom never served in an operational role.

#11 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2016-10-14 08:07 AM | Reply

"And Danni, It's the president that created the mess. The Generals work for him."

You can pretend President Obama created this all you want but I can laugh at you at the same time. We all know who created this mess and it was a white guy.

#12 | Posted by danni at 2016-10-14 08:31 AM | Reply

#12 | Posted by danni at 2016-10-14 08:31 AM
I don't know if Patron was making a statement about Bush vs. Obama or not, but either way, he's right in the sense that generals don't create the messes, presidents do. A general didn't decide to invade Iraq, or muck up Libya. The Presidents at the time did. There's a reason they're called the Commander in Chief.

#13 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2016-10-14 09:01 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Danni the laugh is on you. I don't care what color the president is. The president controls the military.

#14 | Posted by patron at 2016-10-14 09:27 AM | Reply

I'm one of those voters who really does not want retired generals and admirals trying to tell the pubic how it should vote.

#2 | Posted by moder8 at 2016-10-13 06:35 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why not? Celebrities do it. Newspapers and magazines do it. Television networks do it. All these people who have a completely useless knowledge base do it.

I don't mind hearing the opinion of people who actually know something about foreign policy.

And you don't have to take their advice. American voters are still technically allowed to think for themselves.

#15 | Posted by Sully at 2016-10-14 11:24 AM | Reply

As long as they are retired they should be able to endorse whomever they like. While on active duty they all work for "The President" chosen by the voters. When they retire they are ordinary citizens.

#16 | Posted by autonomous at 2016-10-14 12:23 PM | Reply

Do you know what you call a retired officer? A civilian.

A retired FOGO's influence comes as a result of their celebrity status resulting from their previous role. Not A list, probably not B list...but somewhere much further down the alphabet.

I don't think any progressive is going to claim that Jessica Alba or Leo DiCaprio shouldn't be out endorsing candidates, even though they probably have a greater sway with society writ large. If there is a difference, it's that retired officers will tend to have more credibility, and will tend to align with more conservative politicians. Not always, but there aren't many progressives in the military.

#17 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-10-14 01:09 PM | Reply

If you base your political decision is based on what Jessica Alba says you are an idiot, or have no brain.

Do people honestly think others think for me or you?

i'm sorry you are in lala land

#18 | Posted by infamouskiller at 2016-10-14 02:23 PM | Reply

I think the left just wants to dictate to everyone whats right or wrong.

Believe it or not NC has there right to not allow gay marriage and religious freedom as much as the gays want to be married we have both get over it's called freedom

Stop trying to destroy my country to get you're way. Or try to tell others how to think and feel I give 0 --- about your fi fi's

#19 | Posted by infamouskiller at 2016-10-14 02:25 PM | Reply

Hope you females like the Draft cause Hillary is adding you to it whether you like it or not go Hilldog 2016.

Go look on her website female draft is already in the works

HA so so funny justice and equality can be a real bitch!

Don't vote trump he wants peace with Russia Hillary wants ww3 go women.

What world do I live in?

Putin know Trump is done and USA is about to head to ww3 go look up history on why we never invaded Russia during the cold war.

It was because of the middle east we could not handle both There aint much left of the middle east now that we are starting to attack Yemen Allied Iran/Russia.

The Middle East is gone and fled to the EU.

So kiddies what do you think is the next move for the usa can you guess???????????????????????????????

#20 | Posted by infamouskiller at 2016-10-14 02:30 PM | Reply

NC has there right to not allow gay marriage

Technically this might be correct, if they were to not allow any marriages, gay or straight, they might be able to do that.

But they can't pick and choose. That America died when Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment.

#21 | Posted by snoofy at 2016-10-14 02:57 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Per DOD Directive NUMBER 1344.10
February 19, 2008

4.1.2. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not:

4.1.2.1. Participate in partisan political fundraising activities (except as permitted in
subparagraph 4.1.1.7.), rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof),
management of campaigns, or debates, either on one's own behalf or on that of another, without
respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.
Participation includes more than mere attendance as a spectator. (See subparagraph 4.1.1.9.)

4.1.2.2. Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election, affect the
course or outcome of an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, or require or
solicit political contributions from others.
4.1.2.3. Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles, letters, or
endorsements signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan
political party, candidate, or cause. This is distinguished from a letter to the editor as permitted
under the conditions noted in subparagraph 4.1.1.6.
4.1.2.4. Serve in any official capacity with or be listed as a sponsor of a partisan
political club.
4.1.2.5. Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that
promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
4.1.2.6. Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as
an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
4.1.2.7. Conduct a political opinion survey under the auspices of a partisan political
club or group or distribute partisan political literature.
4.1.2.8. Perform clerical or other duties for a partisan political committee or
candidate during a campaign, on an election day, or after an election day during the process of
closing out a campaign.
4.1.2.9. Solicit or otherwise engage in fundraising activities in Federal offices or
facilities, including military reservations, for any political cause or candidate.
4.1.2.10. March or ride in a partisan political parade.
4.1.2.11. Display a large political sign, banner, or poster (as distinguished from a
bumper sticker) on a private vehicle.
4.1.2.12. Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to
the public at one's residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a
privatized housing development.
4.1.2.13. Participate in any organized effort to provide voters with transportation to
the polls if the effort is organized by or associated with a partisan political party, cause, or
candidate.

#22 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2016-10-14 03:35 PM | Reply

Believe it or not NC has there right to [discriminate].

I don't believe it. So said Congress in 1868.

Stop trying to destroy my country ...

Newsflash, it ain't "yours." It belongs to "We the People." A big chunk of those people think self-righteous bigots such as yourself are idiots.

#23 | Posted by et_al at 2016-10-14 04:32 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Believe it or not NC has there right to not allow gay marriage ...

The Supreme Court says otherwise.

#24 | Posted by rcade at 2016-10-14 05:28 PM | Reply

Believe it or not NC has there right to not allow gay marriage ...

The Supreme Court says otherwise.

#24 | Posted by rcade

If only we would make America Hate Again it would.

#25 | Posted by donnerboy at 2016-10-14 06:12 PM | Reply

Only when race is involved.

#26 | Posted by fresno500 at 2016-10-14 08:58 PM | Reply

Active military, cops in uniform, Jeebus' representatives ... none of these people ought to be endorsing candidates.

#27 | Posted by john47 at 2016-10-15 09:57 AM | Reply

"If you base your political decision is based on what Jessica Alba says you are an idiot, or have no brain."

I promise you that an endorsement from Jessica Alba would do more for a political candidate than an endorsement from James Kowalski.

#28 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-10-15 11:54 AM | Reply

"Active military, cops in uniform, Jeebus' representatives ... none of these people ought to be endorsing candidates."

Not sure what a "Jeebus" representative" is, but the latter are prohibited by law from endorsing candidates.

#29 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-10-15 11:56 AM | Reply

"Not sure what a "Jeebus" representative" is, but the latter are prohibited by law from endorsing candidates."

But they do it all the time anyway and everyone knows that except, apparently, you.

#30 | Posted by danni at 2016-10-15 12:01 PM | Reply

"Believe it or not NC has there right to not allow gay marriage ..."

Never mind that gay couples get married in that state and that the state government recognized those marriages. You live in an imaginary world.

#31 | Posted by danni at 2016-10-15 12:03 PM | Reply

You live in an imaginary world.

#31 | Posted by danni

Most of Trump's supporters do. The real problem with their world view is that it eliminates the possibility to find common ground to govern the country. You commonly hear that "63% of voters believe we are on the wrong track". What they don't say, is what that 63% think is the right track. That 63% is not a monolithic population of "conservatives". More than likely, at least half of them want to move in a more progressive direction. That is why Obama got elected with a clear majority of the vote both times. We are at a fork in the road and almost half of us want to turn right and almost half of us want to turn left. The problem for the right is that time and demographics are not on their side.

#32 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2016-10-15 12:37 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"But they do it all the time anyway and everyone knows that except, apparently, you."

Name one who has. Betcha can't do it.

#33 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-10-15 02:38 PM | Reply

#33
www.theocracywatch.org

#34 | Posted by snoofy at 2016-10-15 02:42 PM | Reply

"More than likely, at least half of them want to move in a more progressive direction."

It depends on how you coin "progressive." One of the interesting trends I'm liking is a shift amongst supporters of the Democrat party to more libertarian-inspired positions. According to polls, Gary Johnson is projected to pull more traditional democrats than Republicans. that's amazing to me. In a good way.

I'm with you in that I don't think the average republican cares a wit about the evangelical platform that Repubs cling to, but nor do they want candidates who favor a centrally planned society. I suspect that many Dems feel the same way, but can't stomach the repbs relationship with the evangelicals.

#35 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-10-15 02:42 PM | Reply

nor do they want candidates who favor a centrally planned society.

They absolutely do want that.
Their planning document is The Bible.
They want to use force of government to impose religious beliefs.
Not much different than any of the various religious Muslim groups, among whom ISIS is just the most egregious example, but even a modern legitimate nation like Iran uses a holy book to shape society.

#36 | Posted by snoofy at 2016-10-15 02:46 PM | Reply

"Not much different than any of the various religious Muslim groups, among whom ISIS is just the most egregious example, but even a modern legitimate nation like Iran uses a holy book to shape society."

I don't think you'll find many Evangelicals out there suggesting that Catholics be burned at the stake or adulterers be stoned to death. I dislike them because I think they're stupid. But I don't think they're particularly dangerous. To the best of my knowledge, they've never planned on mass attacks on innocent civilians in the name of their religion..

#37 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-10-15 06:04 PM | Reply

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