Weekly Musing 2-22-15

Weekly Musing 2-22-15

Saul Anuzis

Ronna Romney McDaniel

Congratulations Ronna Romney McDaniel

I was proud to watch our party elect a “new generation” of leadership, as Ronna Romney McDaniel and her Co-Chair Jeff Sakwa garnered nearly 55% of the vote in a three-way contest.   Ronna is a young, energetic woman committed to growing our party!  I’m excited to stand with her and wish her the best of luck!


Thank You Chairman Bobby Schostak

Thanks to Bobby Schostak and his Co-Chair Sharon Wise for their service over the last four years.  I still remember some of my earliest meetings with Bobby trying to convince him he “had to get involved” because he could make a difference.  He jumped in and gave it 110% from presidential politics to the grassroots…he travelled the state tireless for our party.  Thank you for your leadership.

Ronna Romney McDaniel new chairperson of Michigan GOP

National Committeewoman Ronna Romney McDaniel pledged to help elect a Republican president in 2016 as she was elected Saturday the new chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party.

McDaniel, the niece of former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was considered the frontrunner going into Saturday’s gathering at the Lansing Center and won over two other candidates with 55 percent of the vote. Oakland County businessman Jeff Sakwa was elected vice-chair.

The assemblage of more than 2,000 Republicans from across the state chose Romney over two other challengers, businessman Norm Hughes of Metamora, who held posts in the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and Kim Shmina, a nurse practitioner from Fair Haven.

McDaniel, who lives in Northville, announced her candidacy shortly after Bobby Schostak announced he wouldn’t seek a third term as chairman of the state party. She compiled an impressive list of endorsements from party insiders and Republican state lawmakers.

McDaniel was elected to the Republican National Committee in February of 2014 to replace Terri Lynn Land, who resigned to focus on an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate.

“We need to get a Republican in the White House through Michigan in 2016,” she said in her acceptance speech.


Swing-state poll: Voters want change

Voters in three key swing states that went for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 say they want the next president’s policies to be different from those of the current administration, according to new polls by Quinnipiac University.

Asked whether they would like to see the next White House occupant continue with Obama’s policies or go in a different direction, voters polled in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia replied that it’s time for a change in direction.

In both Colorado and Iowa, 58 percent of voters surveyed want the next president to have different policies, with 34 percent saying things should continue as they are. The number of dissatisfied voters is even higher in Virginia, where 61 percent say the next president should cut a different path from the current one.


Ted Cruz Big Flag

GOP 2016: Playbook’s Top 5 most likely to win The debut edition of our leader board of the Republicans most likely to win the presidential nomination, based on what we know now, shows the field may not be as big as most people think.

5) SEN. TED CRUZ (age 44): His right-wing lingo and street cred could propel him to an Iowa win, which would rattle the GOP establishment and ignite a media frenzy. He heads to Florida on Friday, venturing onto Jeb/Marco turf, as Rand did yesterday. Cruz is trying to look more serious and less scary by emphasizing national security – he did fine last Sunday in satellite interviews from the Munich Security Conference with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” and Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Don’t discount how much true-believers like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) like the guy.


The Great Blue Wall, the Republican race to victory

Since 1992, there have been six presidential elections. In that time, there are 18 states plus the District of Columbia that have voted Democratic in every one of those six elections. Those states total 242 electoral votes. The Democrats start 2016 within 28 electoral votes of winning the election.

Also since 1992, there have been only 13 states that voted Republican in every one of the last six elections, and they only total 102 electoral votes.

Someone needs to tell the Republican Party it is in serious trouble. If the party nominates the next guy in line, like it did with John McCain in ’08 and Mitt Romney in 12, it will be in trouble.

If the Republican Party nominates someone like Jeb Bush, the next guy in line, he will run a campaign dictated by consultants. Those are the same guys who blew the 2012 campaign where Mr. Romney could not lose.

All the Warren campaign will have to do is blast hundreds of millions of dollars from the legal and illegal campaign contributions the Democrats receive from liberal billionaires, liberal dark money groups, unions and illegal overseas contributors. The race will come down to Florida. Florida is a battleground state. In 2000 and 2004 it went Republican. In 2008 and 2012 it went Democrat. If the Democrat nominee wins Florida in 2016, it is game over. The Democrat wins.

In order for the generic Republican candidate to win, he must win every state the Republicans won in the last six elections. He must win every state the Republicans have carried in the last five presidential elections. He must also win every state the Republicans have carried in four of the last six presidential elections. In addition, he must carry every state the Republicans have won in only three of the last six elections. Then, the Republicans must win Ohio, which they have carried only twice in the last six elections; or win Nevada and two of the three states they have carried only once in the last six presidential elections; or if Ohio and Nevada are lost, carry all three states that have only gone Republican once in the last six elections.


Obama Changed His Party, Not the Country

As a presidential candidate, President Obama expressed his desire to “change the trajectory of America” along the lines of Ronald Reagan, rebuking the legacy of Bill Clinton’s pragmatic presidency in the process. Now that his own presidency is winding down, Obama is finding that his main legacy is only half-achieved. He has indeed transformed the Democratic party to his liking, but failed to get anyone else to follow suit.

At the same time, there’s no doubt he’s successfully pushed Democrats to adopt his favored policies with minimal dissent—and that will have lasting consequences for many elections to come. Despite uneven personal relations with his own party in Congress, there have been very few instances when his party’s members have split from his governing course, even on issues where the politics would dictate they should.

That’s the consequence of being the most polarizing president in history, according to Gallup’s latest polling analysis. Obama maintains strong support from his core supporters, even as Republicans have entirely abandoned him and independents have followed suit. Gallup found 79 percent of Democrats still backing him, even with a 42.6 percent average approval rating in his sixth year in office. That unusually large disconnect has emboldened the president to push forward on controversial issues that few other Democrats would touch, thanks to unyielding support from his base.


Potential candidates are using social-media accounts to show policy chops, personality

But social-media users mention her frequently. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is the only potential 2016 presidential contender who has garnered more mentions on Twitter than Mrs. Clinton since the November elections, according to data from Twitter. On Facebook, Mrs. Clinton’s name turns up almost twice as often as any likely GOP presidential candidate, according to Facebook.

In her scant Twitter messages, Mrs. Clinton mixes policy with nods to her personal life. A new grandmother, she urged parents to vaccinate their children at a time when Mr. Paul had questioned vaccine safety, with a message on Twitter that said: “The science is clear.” That message—ending with a hashtag, “#GrandmothersKnowBest”—was retweeted nearly 41,000 times, far more than recent tweets by any other White House hopeful.


Mapping Migration in the United States

On Thursday, we published a series of interactive charts showing how Americans have moved between states since 1900. The charts show striking patterns for many states: You can trace the rise of migrant and immigrant populations all along the Southwest, particularly in Texas and Arizona; the influx of New Yorkers and other Northeasterners into Florida starting in the 1970s; and the growth in the Southern share of the Illinois population during the Great Migration.

In 1900, 95 percent of the people living in the Carolinas were born there, with similarly high numbers all through the Southeast. More than a hundred years later, those percentages are nearly cut in half.

Taken individually, each state tells its own story, and each makes for fascinating reading. As a follow-up, here is the big picture: a map showing all of the states at a given time.\

Each shape represents where the people living in a state were born. Within a state, larger shapes mean a group makes up a larger share of the population.


The U.S. Should Arm Ukraine—But Not Because This War Is Winnable

This is perhaps the most salient point missing from the current argument over whether to send Ukraine more arms and gear. The question is not whether Ukraine can “defeat” Russia, any more than we’d ask whether a pot of honey could defeat a bear. Ukraine’s military remains desiccated from years of former President Viktor Yanukovych’s malfeasance and inattention. The Ukrainian military’s current stock of anti-tank/anti-armor weaponry is 20 years old, and 70 percent of it is out of commission anyway, as noted in a recent Brookings report led by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. Cronyism and corruption have gutted the military, leaving the armed forces, like many other Ukrainian state institutions, sapped.

The point of increasing arms to Ukraine is not, as Bloomberg’s editorial board claimed, to simply “escalat[e] a fight that it’s almost certain to lose.” Nor is the aim to deter any form of immediate Russian retreat. The point, rather, is to inflict more casualties than the Russian government is willing to stomach. As noted in the Brookings report, “Only if the Kremlin knows that the risks and costs of further military action are high will it seek to find an acceptable political solution.” The Kremlin has already gone to inordinate lengths to keep this fight away from domestic scrutiny. Thus far, the Kremlin has proven capable of muddying its participation with the warlords of eastern Ukraine. But as bodies pile up, the Kremlin’s ruse will collapse.

While some analysts argue that the Kremlin will respond to increased arms deliveries by ramping up its own forces, the Kremlin has already crafted a wealth of fabricated reasons to swell its ranks in Ukraine. The Kremlin-controlled media have sold mass graves, American forces in eastern Ukraine, and toddler crucifixions to the Russian public. Moscow has beaten the drum of American and NATO support in Ukraine for months on end. That this new shipment could be played as some game-changer to a Russian public already saturated by images of putative fascist-lovers in Washington and Brussels remains unlikely. Plus, Washington has already sent Ukraine tens of millions of dollars in military assistance—with a further $350 million authorized through the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. This isn’t some volte face the Kremlin can point to.

Bringing Ukraine’s anti-armor weaponry into the 21st century won’t create a watershed the Kremlin couldn’t already create on its own. Providing Ukraine with drones and counter-battery radars will not convince the Russian public to accept more war dead. As a statement from the American embassy in Kiev noted, the United States has already pledged nearly $240 million in military support in 2014-15, with further military training programs due next month. The United States has been backing Ukraine’s forces for months. This talking point already exists. This claim is already firmly entrenched in the Kremlin’s playbook.

Updating Ukraine’s fighting capabilities—allowing it to defend its territory in earnest, rather than with the rust-bucket military it currently maintains—may yet see the Kremlin opt for a concomitant escalation. Yet that tack would end in the one result Moscow has gone furthest to avoid publicizing: its involvement in Ukraine, and a casualty rate almost certain to rise. The Kremlin’s strategy will lead to Russian economic calamity. In the nearer term, the polls reveal the Kremlin’s strategic weakness within eastern Ukraine, which Western analysts continually miss. Russians on the domestic front are willing to slog through inflation at the grocery store, or to forego social benefits. But as the casualties continue to rise, the Kremlin’s secrecy can last only so long.


College Football

N.C.A.A. Fan Map: How the Country Roots for College Football

Twice so far at the Upshot, we’ve published maps showing where fan support for one team begins and another ends — once for baseball and once for basketball. Now we’re pleased to offer another one: the United States according to college football fans.

Unlike professional sports, the college game is much more provincial, with scrappy regional programs dominating their corners of the country. Texas and Oregon are two of the most popular teams, but together they account for only 25 percent of territory in the lower 48 states. There is no team with a level of national support that approaches that of, say, the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox or the Los Angeles Lakers.

If you squint while looking at the college football map, you might even think you’re looking at a state map. In the Southeast, strong programs like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana State and Oklahoma dominate their states — and stop right at the border.

But there are enough exceptions to make this quite different from the state maps we all grew up learning. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have been so mediocre for so long — failing to finish in the top 15 nationwide since the Kennedy administration — that fans have moved their support to the Wisconsin Badgers. And Nebraska! They do love their Cornhuskers across much of the Great Plains.

But programs can divide a state, too. Seven colleges, led by the Longhorns, lay claim to at least some part of Texas. Elsewhere, some teams have managed to carve out bits of territory, extending only a bit beyond their campus: Vanderbilt around Nashville; U.C.L.A. on the west side of Los Angeles; and Oregon State, around Corvallis, south of Portland. Then there’s the Northeast, with its relative lack of interest in college football. Once you’re east of the Hudson, no team dominates, and many teams claim a small percentage of fans.

All told, 84 programs can reasonably claim to be the most popular college football team somewhere in the United States.


NEW Facebook Page…

I’m heading over to a new Facebook page…PLEASE join me there… I started a new Facebook page to get around my “friend” limit…and play more politics-:) I’m going to slowly move off the “personal” page and only engage on this new page.  Join me & “like” here: https://www.facebook.com/SaulAnuzis

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