Archive for Election

Elections Have Consequences

Except in Republican primaries:

Ted Cruz got crushed in Virginia on primary day, but even Donald Trump’s forces believe he’s about to stuff the state’s national convention delegation full of supporters anyway.

Virginia GOP insiders with knowledge of the state’s delegate selection process expect Cruz backers to overrun this Saturday’s state convention and use their numbers to guarantee that the 13 statewide delegates to the national convention lean Cruz.

“The Cruz campaign is mobilized in Virginia and they will likely dominate the convention floor on Friday and Saturday,” said a Virginia Republican central committee member familiar with the state convention process.

This primary season has been educational—not least in demonstrating that primaries are run by and for the political parties themselves. Shame on us for ever believing otherwise.

Trump earned about 35 percent of the vote in the state’s March 1 primary, edging Marco Rubio’s 32 percent and more than doubling Cruz’s 17 percent.

Cruz won one in six votes in the Virginia primary, yet stands to sweep the delegates. I’m not calling that illegal or even unfair—I’m even a Cruz guy—but it’s so cynical as to make a farce out of holding the election in the first place. Again, shame on us for believing in the integrity of the process. (The same may happen here in Mass, too, which Trump took with 49.6% to Cruz’s fourth-place 9.6%—though Trump forces are mobilizing here.)

All Trump does is win. So, what—him worry?

But Trump’s dominant position in the Republican primary after six straight blowout victories – from New York to this week’s sweep of Mid-Atlantic states – appears to have reordered the battle to secure delegates who would be loyal should the front-runner fail to clinch the nomination outright. So while Cruz’s mastery of the delegate selection process has given Trump’s team fits in the past, the response this time is a yawn.

“It takes a lot of the pressure off,” said Stewart, Trump’s Virginia director. “After [Tuesday] night, the campaign is convinced that we’re going to hit 1,237, so this will be a moot issue. There will be no second ballot.”

If Republican Party elders wonder out from under which rock Trump voters crawled, Plymouth Rock might be a good place to look. This sort of behavior might win you the battle, but lose you the war. And the Party. And the election.

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No Republican Ballots In Harlem?

Corruption, much?

Television and radio contributor John Burnett took to Twitter to voice his complaints, saying that in Harlem he was told there were no GOP ballots available.

Go to the link to read about the remarkable problems they seem to be having voting in NY today. And then ask yourself this: Are we better than any other tinpot dictatorship you can think of?

– Aggie

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Rove Cozies Up To Trump

Maybe things will settle down before the convention?

Karl Rove has publicly blasted Donald Trump as “a petty man consumed by resentment and bitterness” with little gravitas and almost no chance of beating Hillary Clinton. But privately, the super PAC conceived by Rove is suggesting to its donors that it can help Trump win the White House and save Republican senators whose reelection bids could be jeopardized by having Trump at the top of the ticket.

The apparent warming of the American Crossroads super PAC and its sister groups to Trump has become evident in its recent communications with donors, including a Tuesday afternoon “investor conference call,” according to multiple sources familiar with the outreach.
The phone call — which featured Rove, Crossroads officials and a pollster — laid out swing state polling and electoral map analysis done by the group showing circumstances in which Trump could beat Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, in a general election, according to three sources briefed on the call.
One source, a high-level operative with the Koch brothers’ conservative advocacy network, characterized the conversation as heralding “a softening of the anti-Trump position” within the big-money GOP establishment. The source added of Crossroads’ stance on Trump, “It’s not that they support him, only that if he’s the guy, we can do something to stop Hillary.”

And in an email to donors a couple weeks ago, American Crossroads’ president, Steven Law, wrote “our initial review of the data indicates that, because of Hillary Clinton’s toxic vulnerabilities, the presidential contest could be intensely competitive regardless of who our nominee is.”

BTL, we should have run on a joint ticket. What were we thinking?

– Aggie

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Did You Watch The Debate Last Night?

I watched about an hour and then had to take a shower. Guys, I am completely grossed out by these people. What in the hell is going on in our country?

– Aggie

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Getting Trump

Not that you necessarily want to get him, but Howard Kertz comes as close as anyone not named Rush Limbaugh:

Donald Trump, whose big Super Tuesday night brings him one step closer to the November ballot, has been running a general election campaign from the beginning.

Trump and his inner circle never advertised this, of course, and are amused by how the media have largely missed the strategy.

People familiar with his approach say some strategic elements evolved as the campaign unfolded. There was no 100-page memo plotting it out in advance. But this mindset explains why Trump has done certain things that are wildly unorthodox in a Republican primary race, much to the anger and consternation of leading conservative politicos and pundits.

One linchpin of this strategy came in Trump’s announcement speech, when he stirred controversy by saying that illegal Mexican immigrants included criminals and rapists. That, and his vow to build a wall across the border, gave him credibility with the conservative base. Whenever Trump would take a more moderate stance that might alienate that base, he could just pivot back to his tough immigration stance.

Trump declared early on that there should be no cuts to Social Security and Medicare. That, as his campaign knows full well, is not the standard Republican line. Conservatives believe deeply in shrinking the size of government and that entitlement programs must be reined in because they eat up a major chunk of the budget.

But Democrats have been accusing Republicans of wanting to gut the programs for a generation. Trump’s position—that people paid into the program and deserve to reap the benefits—plays well in a general election, especially since he hopes to peel off some working-class Democrats and independents.

In his press conference last night, Trump again sung the praises of Planned Parenthood, saying he would only defund the group’s abortion services—despite what the “so-called conservatives” think. This may be anathema to conservative Republicans who despise the group and are ardently pro-life. But his stance could appeal to suburban women who might otherwise view a Republican nominee as hostile.

Rush picked up on this in the debate before the South Carolina primary. What was with Trump’s defense of Planned Parenthood or his tin-foil hat attack on George Bush, Iraq, and WMD? South Carolina is an open primary: blow that Democrat dog whistle and the curs and mutts will cross party lines to vote for you.

Trump certainly sounded like a general-election candidate last night, taking a more subdued tone and talking about sitting in the Oval Office and making deals with Democrats and Republicans. The press conference setting yielded a more subdued tone—he even said nice things about the press!—and got him 40 minutes of precious cable airtime.

The general-election strategy was also evident in Trump’s travel schedule. While some pundits questions why he wasn’t spending more time in Iowa or New Hampshire, he would jet off for rallies in Alabama and Mississippi or Massachusetts and Vermont. This was in part because he would need those states later in the primaries, but also to lay the groundwork for November.

Trump is betting that every conservative voter he alienates will be made up for by two non-doctinaire voters he attracts. He’s certainly alienating and attracting like mad. There are few opponents who could lose to such a bizarre and reckless strategy, but he has the good fortune (or calculated opportunity) to have the ideal one lined up for November.

And we know how she responds to dog whistles:

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Cruz Leads Trump In National Polls

But only by 2%

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has fallen behind Ted Cruz in the national GOP horserace, according to a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

In the poll, Cruz is the first choice of 28 percent of Republican primary voters, while Trump gets 26 percent. They’re followed by Marco Rubio at 17 percent, John Kasich at 11 percent, Ben Carson at 10 percent and Jeb Bush at 4 percent.

So here’s my question: Is Cruz electable? He doesn’t feel electable to me, but what do I know?

– Aggie

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After New Hampshire

BTL and I have both been so busy lately that posting has been light. But I am wondering what your thoughts are around the NH primaries?

To state the obvious, the lunatics are running the asylum. I just hope that Donald Trump is actually performing a bit here, and that if he makes it to the White House he will tone down the rhetoric. And while I’m hopin’ and changin’, I hope that Bernie Sanders somehow contains the Trotsky stuff just a little bit. Every time I think things can’t get nuttier, they do.

My progressive friends tell me that this election matters because of the Supreme Court. They’re right. And I just hope that whatever happens with the Republicans, that the base will turn out. My concern is that is Trump takes the nomination, the base will stay home, and if he doesn’t take the nomination, his voters will stay home.

Oh well.

– Aggie

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Net Worth Of The Candidates

Forbes calculated

To save you the trouble:

O’Malley – $0
Rubio $100,000
Sanders $700,000
Paul 2 mil.
Christie 3 mil
Cruz 3.5
Kasich 10 mil
Bush 22 mil
Carson 26 mil
Clinton 45 mil
Fiorina 58
Trump 3.4 billion

So, Carson and Fiorina are very impressive because they are self-made. Hillary’s numbers are separated from her husband and from the Clinton foundation – she’s worth much more. O’Malley and Rubio surprised me.

– Aggie

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More Democrat Angst

One economist thinks Republicans may take 47 states

Supply-side economist Arthur Laffer is predicting Republicans will win the White House in a landslide this year, regardless of the nominee.

“I would be surprised if the Republicans don’t take 45, 46, 47 states out of the 50,” Laffer told host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM-970 on Sunday.

“I mean, I think we’re going to landslide this election.”

Laffer, who served in various positions in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, said he is bullish on the entire Republican primary field.

“When I look at these candidates, I don’t see one of them who wouldn’t do a great job as president,” he said.

“I think Donald Trump is phenomenal, I think Rand Paul has done a great job, I even like Jeb Bush — I think Jeb Bush is great, he did a wonderful job in Florida,” he added. “Chris Christie – phenomenal.”

He said Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton’s “day is over.”

“She would be defeated handily. I don’t think Hillary’s going to win this election no matter whom she runs against,” he said. “I mean, Hillary’s day is over.

“I think she’s a very impressive person, she’s very articulate, very well educated, got a great resume and all of that, but her policies are not good. And it’s about issues, not about people, and her day has gone,” he added.

Your lips to God’s ears. (But I would like some of what he’s smoking, to be honest).

– Aggie

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Happy News On The Employment Front!

This will help democrats win the 2016 election

Somehow, magically, the crappy summer numbers disappeared. And don’t even bother trying to explain about those poor sods who are no longer counted, because they’ve give up looking. What difference, at this point, does it make?

U.S. hiring roared back in October after two weak months, with employers adding a robust 271,000 jobs, the most since December. The unemployment rate dipped to a fresh seven-year low of 5 percent.

The burst of hiring across a range of industries came as companies shrugged off slower overseas growth and a weak U.S manufacturing sector. Big job gains occurred in construction, health care and retail.

The U.S. economy is rebounding strongly after a worrisome summer. Hiring flagged amid financial turmoil in China and faltering economies in Europe and many emerging markets. Yet American consumers have kept spending at a healthy pace, supporting strong job growth even as factory payrolls were flat last month and oil and gas drillers cut jobs.

Notice those big construction gains? A lot of that is government work, and the government controls the rate at which the work happens. Construction will be terrific until after November 2016, when it will unexpectedly contract.

We will fall for it again, folks.

PS: Don’t even bother

October’s jobs report was full of good news, with non-farm payrolls dramatically beating expectations and average hourly earnings growing at a faster rate than at any time since the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate remains at its 38-year low, with just 62.4% of American civilians over the age of 16 either working or looking for work:

Graph at link. Let’s see, 38 years ago, when was that? 2015-38=1977! And what did the world look like in 1977? No internet, of course, higher cost of living as a percentage of income, which was largely just one paycheck. I wonder what percentage of women stayed home to raise kids in 1977 compared to today? But, give it up. There is no way that the average progressive can deign to understand this.

– Aggie

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We Win, You Lose

Allahpundit at Hot Air has a roundup of punditry’s reaction to the elections. Aggie’s observation that conservatism had a great night is true, but the rush of opinion to fill the void of meaning is mixed, to say the least.

Conservative cheerleaders declare this yet another rejection of Obama’s policies, as in 2010 and 2014, taken out on hapless Democrats around the country. Certainly, Obama, anti-coal and pro-socialized medicine, was poison in Kentucky. When you add up the national losses for the Democrats under Obama, the numbers are staggering:

Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats. That’s some legacy.

Go ahead, conservatives, spike the football. We’ve earned it. But then look up at the scoreboard: Obama’s still winning. And by extension, so are the Democrats. On her personal failings alone, Hillary Clinton deserves obscurity, not the presidency. If Obama is as unpopular across the country as we’d like to believe, his legacy certainly won’t help her. Yet I believe Aggie still sees her as the prohibitive favorite to win. I don’t have a strong counter-argument.

Here are some thoughts. One, more voters turn out for presidential elections than for off-year elections, and more voters tends to mean more low-information, i.e. liberal, voters. The bulk of Republican gains across the country came in non-presidential elections. They are still gains, but they are hard to sustain in presidential cycles, much less do they lead to the brass ring of the top job itself.

But ask yourselves, conservatives: do you feel like you’re winning? I don’t, and I wonder why that is. One obvious reason is that the media will never, ever—ever—let you believe conservatism is winning. If you believe the narrative—big mistake—Republicans may have won individual battles, but have already lost the war. To go along with that, the national Republican leadership (using Republican and conservative synonymously, also a big mistake) are as whipped a crew as you can imagine. We gave Republicans the House, and then we gave them the Senate; they have two-thirds of the governorships and two-thirds of the state legislatures. Yet how have they stopped Obama’s relentless push of his radical agenda? About the only conservatives I can think of who can consistently out-talk the liberal media are Ted Cruz and the late Tony Snow; occasionally Fiorina, occasionally Rubio. Trump shouts over the media, which is a different thing.

There’s also Obama’s personal popularity. People who don’t like ObamaCare (me!) and don’t like his lawlessness toward illegal immigration (me! me!) are still loath to loathe him personally (not me!). That may give Republicans pause today, but the magic expires at the end of his presidency. Hillary gets no benefit from it, nor does she deserve to. Democrats picked Obama over Hillary eight years ago for a reason. Indeed, much as we like Obama (not we as in you and me, but they, them), we are probably happy to see the back of him after eight years. That sentiment does not help the next man or woman in line. Ask Al Gore.

I’d love to see a true conservative (Cruz) win the nomination to offer a stark contrast between the parties. But I would accept almost any of the serious contenders, minus Bush (who’s not a serious contender for much longer, if he ever was). My heart (or is it my brain?) tells me we could win that election, but my brain (or is it my heart?) says keep dreaming.

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Conservatives Did Well Last Night [Update]

A roundup of the election results:

A Republican won the Kentucky governor’s race

Republican Matt Bevin easily won Kentucky’s governorship on Tuesday as the GOP made major inroads in a state that had stubbornly resisted the party at the state level even as it voted reliably Republican in federal contests in recent years.
Bevin, a self-funding investment manager, rode a late surge of outside support from national Republicans to defeat Democrat Jack Conway, 53 percent to 44 percent, according to The Associated Press. Bevin will become just the second Republican to inhabit the governor’s mansion in Frankfort in more than four decades.

That’s impressive, right?

Bevin’s victory capped a successful night for Republicans, who picked up four of the six independently elected statewide positions despite going into Tuesday with just one GOP officeholder. Their victories included ousting state Auditor Adam Edelen, who was thought to be Democrats’ top pick to challenge GOP Sen. Rand Paul next year.

Great. I am pleased that the ObamaCare enrollment coincides with election day. I wonder how long it will take a Pelosi or Reid or Obama of the future to change the dates? Kentucky was initially touted as a big success, but their big, government-created insurer just collapsed, I do believe. Folks are upset.

Folks in Ohio rejected legalized pot

Ohioans pushed a monopoly marijuana-legalization proposal out the door Tuesday by a nearly 2-to-1 vote.

But the question is, will pot make a comeback?

Although Issue 3 was handily defeated, the debate and conversations about the issue have convinced House Speaker Cliff Rosenberg, R-Clarksville, and other state lawmakers who were staunchly opposed to legalization to now say it may be time to move ahead with medical marijuana.

John Kasich was staunchly opposed because he worries about what drugs do to young minds. (I agree with him, but it isn’t a big issue for me. I think parents should help young people avoid drugs.)

Folks in Houston don’t want to share bathrooms with folks who are biologically opposite

Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance failed by a wide margin Tuesday, with voters opting to repeal the law that offered broad non-discrimination protections, according to incomplete and unofficial returns.

The hotly contested election has spurred national attention, drawing comment from the White House and the state’s top officials. Largely conservative opponents of the law allege that it would allow men dressed as women, including sexual predators, to enter women’s restrooms. Supporters of the law, including Mayor Annise Parker, argue that it extends an important local recourse for a range of protected classes to respond to discrimination.

The ordinance bans discrimination based not just on gender identity and sexual orientation, but also 13 classes already protected under federal law: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.

I’m sure that the law did many wonderful things, but folks voted against creepy public bathroom experiences.

I almost forgot 2 things:

1. Virginia kept a Republican senate and 2. San Francisco voted out the Sanctuary City Sheriff

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, known as a staunch supporter of the city’s sanctuary status, was voted out of office Tuesday night. More than 83,000 ballot were cast and Mirkarimi was crushed by his opponent former Chief Deputy Vicki Hennessy Vicki Hennesy, who picked up over 52,000 votes.

Mirkarimi made national news over the summer following the July murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle. Steinle was gunned down on San Francisco’s Pier 14 by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who was deported five times prior, but was released from jail even though federal officials requested to be notified previously.

San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy shielded Lopez from federal authorities, and Mirkarimi vociferously defended the city law. Hennessy ran on promising voters she would ease the sanctuary city “gag order” on local authorities, reports The Washington Times, permitting restricted communication or cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

None of this is really a harbinger for the 2016 election, sadly. Wait until Hillary Clinton explains to Millenials that she will cancel their college loans! Those folks will love it!

– Aggie

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