Tag Archives: Republicans

An Unusual Election

30 Sep

After three essentially two-party candidate elections we are seeing something somewhat different this time around.  We still have the two dominate parties but this time we have four main candidates.  The obvious two are Clinton and Trump, the other main candidates are Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  This is happening because of the unpopularity of the top two candidates.  I don’t think the third party candidates will make a significant difference on Election Day but it makes things more interesting.

As the race stands right now Hillary Clinton has a slight edge among the top two candidates.  Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is running a distant third while Jill Stein is in fourth.  Gary Johnson is benefiting from Trump and Clinton’s unpopularity by taking away votes from them.  Jill Stein is taking some votes away from Clinton but it won’t be enough to swing the election.  There are some Republicans who will be voting for Gary Johnson because they despise Donald Trump.  It could be enough to give the election to Hillary Clinton.

The 1912 presidential election Teddy Roosevelt, a former Republican ran third party.  The split in the Republican Party helped elect Woodrow Wilson.  In the 1948 election, Strom Thurmond a Dixiecrat took away votes from president Truman in the general election.  President Truman defeated his main opponent Thomas Dewey in an upset even with Thurmond siphoning votes from Truman.  In 1992 Ross Perot helped elect Bill Clinton.  In 2000, Ralph Nader took away enough votes that it cost Al Gore the election.  I’m not saying that a third party candidate guarantees that they will play the spoiler, but it definitely can be a factor.

The other unusual thing we will likely see this year are Republicans voting for Gary Johnson for president and voting for Republican candidates down ballot.  The U.S. Senate races are tight with the Democrats having a slight advantage.  If there ends up being a landslide for Hillary the House of Representatives might be in play for the Democrats.  At this point it is possible but not likely.  The Democrats need to gain four senate seats to win the majority, five if Hillary Clinton doesn’t win.  My next update will give a clearer picture of who will win the election.

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Contested Convention?

30 Apr

The presidential primary season is winding down with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton getting close to clinching the nomination in each party.  The only chance the Republicans have of stopping Trump from winning the nomination is to deny him the amount of delegates he needs heading to the convention.  Hillary Clinton is well on her way to winning the nomination and will likely clinch before the convention.  If Cruz and Kasich prevent Trump from getting the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination we will see something we haven’t seen since 1976, a contested convention.

In the old days the presidential nominations were decided at the conventions.  There are pros and cons with the two systems.  The old system produced better candidates but it was less democratic.  We use to have better presidential matchups like Dewey vs. Truman or Stevenson vs. Eisenhower.  In 2000 and 2004 we had Bush v. Gore and Bush v. Kerry.  In some ways I prefer the old system, but the primary process also gives an outsider a better chance.

We are left with an interesting situation now that the primaries are almost over.  The two candidates leading their party’s nomination have very high unfavorable ratings.  Donald Trumps’ unfavorable ratings are higher than Hillary Clintons’.  The Republican Party establishment sees this and are understandable worried.  Donald Trump is blowing an otherwise winnable election for the Republicans.

The top two candidates in the Republican primary are literally the last two candidates that they wanted as their nominee.  Senator Ted Cruz can probably count the amount of friends he has in the Senate on one hand and Trump has seen very few if any endorsements from anyone in congress.  Both Cruz and Trump would lose the election to either of the Democratic candidates if the election were held today.  It is possible but I don’t see that changing much in the next several months.

Donald Trump is doing the opposite of what he should be doing if he wants to win in November.  In 2012 Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by a large margin.  Trump is on track to do even worse.  Donald Trump’s approval rating among women are among the lowest of any candidate in history.  There will be a likely revolt within the party if he wins the nomination which would lead to many voting third party over Trump.  Only one of the factors I mentioned above could cost him the election.

The Republican Party is faced with a problem heading into the Convention no matter what.  If they try to take away the nomination away from Trump than his voters could stay at home, if Trump wins the nomination he could cost them the Senate.  There has been talk that Trump could cause the Republicans to lose complete control of congress.  The only way that could happen is if the Republicans have another election like 2006 or 2008.  That is a possibility but I am skeptical that could happen at the moment.  The Republicans don’t want to take that chance but they are running out of options fast.

Dirty Campaigning

31 Mar

There have been few if any clean election campaigns. Thomas Jefferson once called John Adams a hermaphrodite (look it up).  Many people remember President Lyndon Johnson’s infamous daisy ad or George W. Bush’s Swiftboat ads against Senator Kerry.  Dirty or negative campaigning has been going on for some time.  Recently though, we have been digging further to the bottom.

This year’s presidential race is now down to 5 candidates. All of the candidates have been attacking each other but one feud has gotten particularly ugly and that is between Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.  It started before the Iowa caucuses when Trump went after Cruz to try to close the gap between them in the caucuses.  Recently it has escalated over each other’s wives.  I think that as long as the candidates significant others don’t make overwhelmingly controversial statements, they should be off-limits.

I understand why Ted Cruz is upset but he is certainly the wrong person giving the message. Senator Cruz hasn’t done much in the Senate besides obstruct and be a demagogue.  He accused former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel of getting money from North Korea without providing the slightest bit of evidence.  Before the Iowa Caucuses’ Senator Cruz spread rumors that Ben Carson had dropped out.  He also sent out a borderline illegal letter to voters in Iowa impersonating the Secretary of State’s office in Iowa.  The Republican primary race has devolved further since then.

Donald Trump’s supporters and rallies are worse than Trump himself has acted. People are being kicked out of rallies for doing nothing other than being different.  Trump’s rallies have become even worse over time.  Some of his recent rallies include people getting kicked out for protesting.  There have been outbreaks of violence by his supporters and even his campaign manager.  That is not how campaign rallies are suppose to happen.

Donald Trump is doing next to nothing to quell the violence in his rallies. He is even encouraging violence at his rallies.  Trump’s opponents have been calling him out on this.  I don’t blame a candidate for all of their supporters but it is the candidates’ job to tone down the rhetoric.  On the Democratic side there have been disagreements on approach and policy, but nothing compared to the rhetoric on the Republican side.

I mentioned in my previous blog post that Donald Trump has been able to get this far partially because of the racism that exists in the Republican Party. In some ways it goes beyond that.  In 2008 we saw the birth of the Tea Party (yes, you read that correctly).  At Sarah Palin’s rallies, she would say, “What do we know about the real Barack Obama?”  People in the crowd shouted, “Terrorist, kill him!”  Sarah Palin stood there and smiled.  Senator McCain quelled some of the anger at their rallies.  It was from those rallies that the Tea Party were born.

Right now there are three candidates running for president on the Republican side. Two out of the three have most of the Tea Party support.  Donald Trump’s rhetoric matches what the Tea Party have said in the past.  In the last presidential election the Tea Party candidates lost.  They are making a comeback in the Republican primaries with a disastrous effect on their party.  The Tea Party cost the Republicans control of congress in 2010 and 2012.  This time it could cost them the presidency and control of the Senate.  Donald Trump is the current front runner for the Republican nomination for president.  As bad as he is for the Republican Party he is worse for the country.  I have no confidence in Donald Trump’s temperament as a candidate, because judging by the way Trump runs his campaign rallies; he’s not fit to run our country.

Super Tuesday

29 Feb

Tomorrow we will have the biggest primary battle of the year.  On the Republican side it may signal whether Trump is well on his way to winning the nomination for his party in November, or we could find out that there will be a prolonged race to the Republican nomination.  The Democratic side will likely continue well past Super Tuesday.  Even if Secretary Clinton gets more delegates, Senator Sanders will likely keep going until the nomination is out of reach.  I also think that after Super Tuesday we will likely see John Kasich and Ben Carson drop out.

Although more of the delegates will be handed out Tuesday than any other day, no nominee will be decided.  Keep in mind that 8 years ago then Senator Obama was behind Hilary Clinton in the delegate count after Super Tuesday.  On the Republican side the race was practically finished with Mike Huckabee hanging on until McCain was close to winning the nomination.  This time around we could end up narrowing the amount of candidates after Super Tuesday, but not actually knowing who the nominees will be.

So how did we get here?  Donald Trump being the front-runner for the Republican nomination is something that I thought was improbable last year.  Most candidates who say offensive things would have been forced to drop out months ago.  The fact that he is able to maintain such support after saying racist, offensive things leads me to the conclusion that there still is a racist element to the Republican Party.  That doesn’t surprise me since Southern Democrats steadily became Republicans in the decades that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Law.

Donald Trump has shown refusal to explain or distance himself from White Supremacists.  (Most recently David Duke)  Donald Trump can still be stopped from winning the nomination, but that pathway has been rapidly narrowing.  If he wins big tomorrow there will be little the Republicans can do to stop him from winning the nomination.  That isn’t to say that his rise hasn’t been met with resistance within his own party.  Some Republicans have said that they will refuse to support Trump if he is the nominee.  Mainstream Republicans have wanted to stop him since he announced but have either been incompetent or unable to do so.

On the Democratic side there has been a rehash of the 2008 primary with some caveats.  Hilary Clinton is representing the establishment while Bernie Sanders has become the populist candidate.  The main difference between now and 08’ is that Secretary Clinton isn’t making the same mistakes that she made 8 years ago.  She has wrapped up support from many Democratic elected officials and she is taking Senator Sanders more seriously then she took Obama in 08’.  This doesn’t mean she will definitely win the nomination, but she is certainly in better shape for winning the nomination.

A lot will happen tomorrow.  We will find out if Trump is truly insurmountable and we will have a better idea who will win the Democratic nomination.  Keep in mind that a year is an eternity in politics, so a matter of months could shake things up.  If your state hasn’t had a primary I encourage you to register to vote if it isn’t too late, and vote if your state hasn’t had a primary already.

2016 Preview

31 Jan

Tomorrow will begin what will be an incredibly busy election year.  The Iowa Caucuses will be followed next week by the primary in New Hampshire.  We certainly won’t know who the nominee of either party will be in the following weeks, but we will see the candidates list start to narrow.  It is likely that this year both nomination fights will go on longer than usual.

Senator Ted Cruz seemed like he was going to win Iowa until Donald Trump went on the attack.  Most of the Republican candidates are placing their bets on other primaries and caucuses.  Ohio governor John Kasich and former Florida governor Jeb Bush need to place in the top 3 or even 4 in the New Hampshire primary or one of them may drop out.  Donald Trump will probably win Iowa and has a good chance of winning New Hampshire.

The Democratic primaries will most likely be a two person race towards the end of the primary process like it was in 2008.  I think that Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will split Iowa and New Hampshire.  (Bernie will probably win New Hampshire, while Hilary could squeak out a win in Iowa)  There are some similarities between the 2008 democratic presidential primaries and there are some differences.  Hilary Clinton is better prepared this time around.  She has locked up many endorsements heading into this year.  In 2008 she underestimated Barack Obama and the support he got in his party.

This year Bernie Sanders is running with fewer endorsements than Obama had in 2008.  That doesn’t mean Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a chance at winning the nomination.  Bernie Sanders has energy in his campaign that Hilary Clinton does not.  Senator Sanders also faces a tougher road then Clinton after Iowa and New Hampshire.  Martin O’Malley is at this point a long shot for the Democratic nomination for president.  He isn’t raising the money that his opponents are and he isn’t catching on with voters like his opponents.

Something that is sometimes overlooked this year are the U.S. Senate elections.  The Democrats are in good shape to take back the Senate this year, especially if Donald Trump were to win the Republican nomination for president.  Republican Senators in IL, WI, OH, and NH are vulnerable not to mention potentially close races in FL, KY and PA.  As I have said before, politics are constantly changing so we won’t know for sure what will happen until Election Day.  It’s going to be in interesting election year.

Buzz Words

31 Oct

Politics has known to be filled with distractions.  This has been especially true in recent years.  One of the things the Republican Party have excelled at are using buzz words to distract people.  The most common buzz words they have used are cutting spending, job creators, among others.  The damage that is caused by using these buzz words are that few people are calling them out on their BS.

Cutting Spending or Wasteful Spending

The first one I will analyze is cutting spending.  While I think that it is important to cut wasteful spending, there are many essential things that are labeled, “wasteful spending.”  Rick Scott, the governor of Florida was praised by conservatives for issuing an executive order cutting funding from people with disabilities.  Obviously that is not an example of wasteful spending.  IL governor Bruce Rauner has blamed his state’s budget stalemate on the legislature refusing to cut wasteful spending.  I don’t think cutting spending is a feasible option unless it is done in a reasonable way.

Job Creators

I haven’t heard it used recently but I think that job creators is a phrase that has been used in a misleading way.  Most attempts to raise taxes on the wealthy or add regulations have been met with people saying, “Don’t attack the Job-Creators!”  People who own companies do create jobs, but it is dishonest to suggest that raising their taxes will hurt the economy.  In the 1950’s we had a strong economy with taxes well higher than they are today.  In the 1990’s taxes were raised and we had a booming economy.

Benghazi

Benghazi has become a buzz word.  It should represent the attack on our embassy in 2012, but instead it has been turned into a political football.  I am willing to bet that many Republicans that are outraged over the Benghazi attack couldn’t even say what country it is located in.  House majority leader Kevin McCarthy admitted last month that the committee to investigate the Benghazi attack is being used to attack Hilary Clinton.  If the Republicans really cared about the families of those who lost loved ones in the Benghazi attack they wouldn’t continue to use the attack to satisfy their political needs.

Class Warfare

Buzz words are used to shut down conversations and are often free of facts.  Many attempts to raise taxes on the wealthy have been met with shouts of, “class warfare.”  It is not class warfare to suggest that the wealthy pay higher taxes than working-class people.  If we want to get the deficit under control, we should raise taxes.  What I want to see in the next election are honest debates instead of throwing out meaningless words to end reasonable debate.

2008 Presidential Election

31 Jul

The 2008 election was what some thought the 2004 election would be.  A push for higher voter turnout resulted in what was one of the highest U.S. election turnouts in recent history.  The country was ready for a change in direction.  The 2006 election showed voter dismay over the Iraq War as well as how the Republicans were running the country.  The 2008 election became an exclamation point on the 2006 election.

I didn’t know what to expect for the 2008 election.  In 2007 I discussed with some people what the 2008 race could bring.  We talked about how the Democrats had a realistic shot winning back the White House for the first time in 8 years.  I had some skepticism, as I have with almost every election.  The other part of the conversation was who could take on Hilary Clinton in the primary.  The Democratic primary the following year would end up being just that, Hilary Clinton vs. who?

By the fall of 2007 most people assumed that Hilary Clinton would easily win the Democratic nomination for President of The United States.  Then Senator Barack Obama was trailing her by double digits.  I told people that although she was poised to win the Democratic nomination she was by no means certain to win.  I didn’t know what was going to happen in the 2008 primary fight but I knew that almost anything was possible.  She was formidable, but I didn’t think it would be a blow out like some presidential primaries.

The Republican primaries were somewhat murky.  Rudy Giuliani was the early front-runner, but history showed that John McCain would win the nomination.  The Republicans usually go with the logical successor, i.e. Dole in 1996.  Giuliani ended up going nowhere and Super Tuesday ended with McCain leading his rivals with Romney and Huckabee still in the race.  Mitt Romney dropped out of the race leaving McCain and Huckabee as the last contenders in the Republican primary, with Ron Paul well behind in the delegates.  Mike Huckabee dropped out after Senator John McCain sealed enough delegates to win the nomination.

The Democratic primaries were clearer from beginning to end.  Before the primaries began it was a Clinton/Obama race and it ended that way.  The Democratic primaries were a three-horse race between Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards.  After Edwards dropped out the momentum went towards Obama until he secured enough delegates towards the end of the primary season.  The contentious primary between Clinton and Obama brought questions as to whether the party could recover by November.  I was concerned, but Hilary didn’t put up a fight at the convention and campaigned for Obama.

The tough primary helped prepare Obama for the general election against Senator John McCain.  Although McCain had won the primary, his party had doubts of his conservative credentials.  His advisers wanted him to pick a running mate who could energize the base, so he picked the then unknown Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska.  His pick initially gave his campaign a much needed boost.  After the convention McCain briefly led in the polls.  That faded when Sarah Palin had several disastrous TV interviews.

John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin cost him a shot at winning the election.  I still don’t think he would have won if he had picked someone else.  After the financial crisis hit the country Obama was poised to win big.  McCain was further hampered by the damage that President Bush did to the Republican brand.  McCain’s campaign went negative which did nothing to help his struggling campaign.  On Election Night Obama won in a landslide both electorally and by popular vote.

I was in Whitewater on Election Day trying to get out the vote for President Obama.  By the end of the day I was exhausted and ready for the election to end.  I watched the returns in the University Center with some of my friends.  I was watching with the UW-Whitewater BSU (Black Student Union) when then-Senator Obama was announced to be the projected winner.  Tears were streaming down faces in the room.  History was made that night.  A country which once had slaves and segregation elected the first African-American president.  I doubt I will ever see an election as amazing as the 2008 election ever again.