Here's Why Veterans Are Set To Crush It In The 2018 Elections

Analysis
Maj. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower (Wikimedia)

As if there weren’t already plenty of great reasons to serve in the military (see the world, spread democracy, eat free at Applebee’s), we can now add “get elected” to the list. A stint in the armed forces is the “single best-testing trait” for congressional candidates, according to recent poll of likely voters by a veteran’s super PAC. And and voters from both parties view those who served in a positive light.


Can you feel the love?

With Honor, a “cross-partisan” PAC helping veterans get elected to Congress (not to be confused with With Honors, starring Joe Pesci as a homeless dude), released its findings Thursday in advance of primaries across the country. The poll is one of the first showing how veteran status cuts through today’s frenzied partisan political environment.

Ellen Zeng, With Honor’s political director, said the poll helps explain how Democrat Connor Lamb, a Marine Corps veteran, won a special election in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district earlier this year. The race between Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone over a district that President Trump won easily by percentage points came down to 755 votes.

That district was very red,” Zeng said. “I think the reason he won was in a large part because he was a veteran. It does show veterans by in large have a great profile. The public gives them a certain amount of trust.”

One particularly striking finding is that significant numbers of voters on both sides of the spectrum (29% of Democrats and 32% of Republicans) are willing to forgo party affiliation to cast a vote for a veteran. And four out of five voters from both parties think veterans have the “attitudes and maturity” needed in Congress. The poll found veterans are viewed as mission-oriented coalition builders who can work across the aisle.

"Veterans started their careers with only one thing in mind: service to the American people,” said Dan Crenshaw, a Navy veteran running for the Republican nomination in Texas’ 2nd District. “Congress could use that kind of service-before-self sprit. This resonates with Americans.”

There are more than 300 veterans running for Congress, according to Zeng. With Honor is endorsing 19 candidates — eight Republicans, including Crenshaw, and eleven Democrats — running for Congress across the country. The candidates come from the four main branches of the military and each signed a pledge to “lead with integrity, civility, and courage, including the courage to meet with someone from another party at least once each month and to sponsor legislation with a member of another party at least once every year.”

But not all veterans view the findings as good news. Democrat candidate Jonathan Ebel, a Navy veteran turned University of Illinois professor, who also won With Honor’s endorsement, said the data promotes the myth that simply electing more service members is the key to solving the nation’s problems.

“Certainly, soldiers can help,” said Ebel, who lost his April primary. What we really need is a bunch of other people from other walks of life — teachers, social workers — to diversify Congress.”

The national poll of 753 likely voters was conducted online between March 30 and April 4, 2018, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

For her, the message is clear.

“Americans want leaders will get things done,” Zeng said. “I think folks get the sense [veteran candidates] are serving again. It’s mission first.”

Any veteran looking to make the leap into elective politics might want to mark his or her calendar. Filing deadlines for the 2020 race will he here before you know it.

Kevin Maurer is the coauthor of No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden and American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent, among other books. 

WATCH NEXT:

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.

Read More Show Less

Several hundred U.S. troops will remain in Syria after allied forces clear ISIS fighters out of their last stronghold in the country, officials said on Friday.

President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.

Read More Show Less
Chris Osman (Photo: _chris_osman_designs/Instagram)

The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.

"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."

Read More Show Less
Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (DoD photo)

A Richland, Washington city councilman thinks native son Jim Mattis would make a terrific governor or even president.

Read More Show Less

It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.

Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.

The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.

Read More Show Less