Weekly Musing 1-24-16
Days until the 2016 election: 289.
Interesting/Educational Straw Poll
I know how hard it often is for us to pick the strongest Republican nominee and have been involved in various efforts to reform nomination rules. One change can be in what we are able to do us as voters, and I believe that preferential voting offers a viable alternative worth exploring. It’s already used in some internal party contests, and preferential voting ballots are being used this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina to better ensure overseas and military voters have a vote that counts in both the first and second round of runoffs.
To give you a sense of how preferential voting works, I’ve created Republican Nomination Straw Poll that I’m asking readers to try out over the next few days so I can report on the results next weekend. There’s only one vote allowed per IP address, so while it’s not any official vote, it should be reflective of what this list thinks right now about the Republican field.
What is interesting to watch is how YOUR candidate performs earning folks second choice vote. That would matter with preferential voting. It simulates an “instant runoff” between the strongest two candidates. In other words, preferential voting will show us who has majority support when you compare the top candidates one-on-one. Recent polls that ask that “one-on-one” question are revealing. For instance, an Iowa caucus poll this month found that Donald Trump led Ted by 29% to 27% in first choices, but Ted defeated him by a 59% to 41% landslide when matched one-on-one; see an analysis of that poll that explains how the poll numbers allow a simulation of a preferential voting contest.
Preferential wouldn’t be about helping any one candidate, of course. It’s about giving voters more power over their vote. When we have more than two candidates, the vote can split. Preferential voting allows us to vote more freely and see just who really is the strongest candidate. So check out the Republican Nomination Straw Poll, vote, and see the results next weekend.
One Big Reason To Be Less Skeptical Of Trump
In a nomination race like the Republican one, you could draw up a list of reasons to be skeptical of any candidate’s chances. Here are some reasons to be skeptical about Ted Cruz’s position in Iowa, for example. Here‘s why Marco Rubio’s strategy looks increasingly precarious. There are also good reasons to be skeptical about Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican nomination:
There’s reason to doubt the strength of his ground game, in Iowa and other states.
Trump’s favorable ratings and second-choice numbers are generally inferior to Cruz’s and Rubio’s, meaning that other candidates might benefit more as the field winnows.1
But the reason I’ve been especially skeptical about Trump for most of the election cycle isn’t listed above. Nor is it because I expected Trump to spontaneously combust in national polls. Instead, I was skeptical because I assumed that influential Republicans would do almost anything they could to prevent him from being nominated.
I’m in the midst of working on a long review of the book “The Party Decides,” so we’ll save some of the detail for that forthcoming article. But the textbook on Trump is that he’d be a failure along virtually every dimension that party elites normally consider when choosing a nominee: electability (Trump is extremely unpopular with general election voters); ideological reliability (like Sarah Palin, Trump’s a “maverick”); having traditional qualifications for the job; and so forth. Even if the GOP is mostly in disarray, my assumption was that it would muster whatever strength it had to try to stop Trump.
But so far, the party isn’t doing much to stop Trump. Instead, it’s making such an effort against Cruz. Consider:
The governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, said he wanted Cruz defeated.
Bob Dole warned of “cataclysmic” losses if Cruz was the nominee, and said Trump would fare better.
Mitch McConnell and other Republicans senators have been decidedly unhelpful to Cruz when discussing his constitutional eligibility to be president.
What Our Angry Voices Teach the Next Generation
I am deeply concerned. The political dialogue on both sides of the aisle has increasingly focused on everything wrong with America. Watch the news, listen to the politicians, and the vast majority of what you will hear decries the end of the American dream, the end of economic competitiveness, and the end of the United States being a world leader for what is right. Less is the talk of a shining city on a hill, and more is the talk of a city that needs to be saved from its eventual demise. The political left denies our exceptionalism, and some on the right flirt with isolationism. The manner in which we discuss our future is a fine line between appeasing to make a few people happy and looking at the broader picture of what is best for the country.
This perpetual focus on what is wrong with the country is creating something far worse: our children are hearing that America is no longer what it used to be. This rhetoric is teaching them that ‘the land of opportunity’ is no more. Of course, this is ludicrous, but sometimes prophecies can be self-fulfilling. More and more, Americans are beginning to think of the world as “us vs. them” instead of “we can help them.” The callousness is dangerous and easily passes on to the innocent minds of the future generation.
I have seen the benefits first hand of American compassion. This past April, I went on a trip to Kenya, where I visited a small village to see U.S. efforts to help teach poverty stricken families how to get the most out of their resources. This information gives hope and new opportunity. During this tour, the families of the villagers surrounded our group with true admiration. In that moment, I felt immense pride for my nation. In a similar situation, on a trip to Iraq in 2014, I walked through a refugee camp in Erbil, shortly after ISIS had brutalized the population. I remember the throngs of people closing in on me desperate to tell their stories because they saw me as someone who could help, simply because I was an American. It was in that moment that I felt most conflicted. I was proud to be a representative of what symbolized hope to these people, but desperately wished I could do more.
America is a great country — no, America is the greatest country! Together we have faced challenges that some thought would be the end of this great experiment of democracy. Not only did we overcome each of these great tests, we came out stronger. Each time we went down for the ten count, we stood up and landed a knockout punch to become world heavyweight champions. What do heavyweight champions do? They embody success. They spend countless hours doing the hard work necessary to win. They pass down the tradition of that hard work and share the stories of fights won.
The Establishment’s Irrational Fear of Ted Cruz
As I see it, there are two major differences between Republican supporters and opponents of Cruz. One is that his supporters are more consistently conservative on every category of issues. The fight, in other words, is not just about strategy, as the establishment insists, but also involves policy.
The second is that Cruz’s supporters believe he is a man of integrity. Many of his detractors contend he is a phony, but I think their real fear is that he is not. He will not change his positions for expedience — though many are working overtime to convince us otherwise.
The establishment, then, either believes or wants to fool us into believing that it opposes Cruz because he is a poseur, a saboteur of good government — a man who impedes the cause of conservatism by his unwavering commitment to it. Only by compromise and pragmatism, they argue, can we really advance conservative principles.
The truth, however, is that they are not as committed to conservative principles as they say they are and don’t regard the current problems confronting our nation with the same degree of urgency as mainstream conservatives. They also place a high value on process — on bipartisanship and collegiality for their own sake — even over advancing a conservative agenda. Not long ago I read that one establishment icon said he didn’t think a Hillary presidency would be that bad. Seriously?
Trump on New York Values – In His Own Words
To All Those New York City Journalists Horrified By Cruz’s Jab: Get Over Yourselves
First of all– and most importantly– note that Cruz points out that Trump himself said once he had different “values” than Iowans simply because he was from New York City. That alone ought to make the attack against Trump a legitimate one; the notion that all New Yorkers think the same is a vast oversimplification, but that is how Trump framed the issue sixteen years ago.
As I read it, the “New York values” line wasn’t intended as an attack on New York City, or even New Yorkers themselves. Instead, he was saying that Republicans (and South Carolinians and Iowans) espouse certain values, and New Yorkers tend not to. He certainly implied “New York values” were a bad thing… but only within the context of the nomination for a right-wing party. I expect Democrats are equally wary of “Birmingham values.”
The notion that it’s somehow outrageous to say New York has different values than the rest of the country is, to put it bluntly, stupid. No less than the public editor of The New York Times recognized this fact a decade ago, when Daniel Okrent said in a column that “of course” the paper had a liberal bias. He argued that the bias didn’t derive from any vast left wing conspiracy or intentional malice. Instead, he noted that the paper’s editors, reporters, and columnists were all New Yorkers, and they simply have a different “value system” than the rest of the country.
Why the GOP Primary Could Be Even Crazier Than You Think
Welcome to a 2016 Republican presidential primary unlike any other. A crowded field, angry electorate and uncharacteristically divided establishment, not to mention the wild-card role of super PACs, have already made this nominating contest more frenzied and unpredictable than its recent predecessors. It’s become conventional wisdom that, whatever the chaos of the early campaign, a winner is most likely to emerge by mid-March. This cycle, we can’t be so sure. In fact, the better you understand how the 2016 calendar works, the more likely it seems we can face a messy slog that runs into late spring and possibly even into the July convention—an unlikely fate at this point but one that’s no longer impossible.
For starters, the 2016 calendar quite deliberately avoids having a mid-March nominee.
Beware A GOP Calendar Front-Loaded With States Friendly To Trump And Cruz
In a few weeks’ time, it’s possible that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will steamroll their way through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and dominate the so-called “SEC Primary” — the collection of 13 mostly Southern states that will vote on March 1 — horrifying many GOP elected officials and depriving any other candidate of a night to celebrate.
Yet even if that happens, it’s still possible that Marco Rubio (or another more establishment-friendly candidate) could end up with the nomination, thanks to quirks of the GOP’s complex delegate math.
The GOP’s primary calendar is surprisingly front-loaded with states friendly to insurgents like Trump and Cruz. But because of Republican National Committee rules, all but one of these states will award their delegates on a proportional basis, intentionally making it difficult for any one candidate to build a durable or commanding lead.
Jeff Sessions Releases Book Of Charts Putting Immigration And Green Card Issuances Into Shocking Perspective
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions × released a book of graphs and charts on Wednesday that helps put the U.S.’s relaxed immigration policies in shocking perspective.
“Record-breaking visa issuances propelling U.S. to immigration highs never before seen,” is the sub-title to the Republican immigration hawk’s “chart book.”
Sessions, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, asserts that the federal government will legally add 10 million or more “new permanent immigrants over the next 10 years.”
He also cites polls showing that a “stark” majority of Americans want lawmakers to reduce immigration rates, not increase them. Polls from Gallup and Fox show that Americans support an immigration reduction to an increase by a 2-to-1 margin.
Why America Needs To Get Ready For A ‘100-Year War’ With Radical Islam
The war against radical Islamic terrorism could go on much longer than anyone is expecting, and the enemy may not give the U.S. any choice but to fight it.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was quite sober in his address Wednesday on the subject of the politics of dealing with radical Islam. Speaking to a room of people packed to the brim on Capitol Hill, Gingrich outlined in a clear and concise manner his belief that combating the terrorist forces within radical Islam will take as many as 100 years. He noted that the choice to go to war had already been made by the enemy, and the U.S. will eventually have no choice but to respond in a massive way.
Though he certainly had ample criticism for President Barack Obama’s current strategies for countering terrorism, calling the President “delusional,” he was willing to point blame for the current situation in multiple directions. “You have to look seriously at why did we fail in Iraq … in Afghanistan.” Gingrich believes that the commission set up to investigate the attacks on September 11, 2001, failed. So too did both Bush and Clinton, and especially Paul Bremer, Bush’s envoy to Iraq after the initial 2003 invasion.
The Secrets of Charles Koch’s Political Ascent
In a recent round of interviews, Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and political patron, has been stressing that he only recently became involved in politics. As he put it in an interview with Megyn Kelly on October 15, “I’ve never been that fond of politics and only got dragged into it recently kicking and screaming.” But according to what appear to be two never-before-seen documents—a paper Charles wrote in 1976 and an unpublished history of Charles’ political evolution—Charles began planning his ambitious remaking of American politics 40 years ago, transitioning from libertarian ideologue to conservative power broker. For his new movement, which aimed to empower ultraconservatives like himself and radically change the way the U.S. government worked, he analyzed and then copied what he saw as the strengths of the John Birch Society, the extreme, right-wing anti-communist group to which he, his brother David and their father, Fred Koch, had belonged. Charles Koch might claim that his entry into politics is new, but from its secrecy to its methods of courting donors and recruiting students, the blueprint for the vast and powerful Koch donor network that we see today was drafted four decades ago.
By the 1970s, Charles had broken from an early political influence—the John Birch Society (of which his father had been a founding member)—over his opposition to the Vietnam War. Charles had also been skeptical of the group’s more far-fetched conspiracy theories, which included a belief that many prominent Americans, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower, were communist agents.
For Some, Mishandling Classified Information Has Lasting Consequences
Members of the military and other government employees have been prosecuted and disciplined for infractions far less serious than storing hundreds of emails containing classified information on an unsecured, private server. And the fact that Clinton was Secretary of State makes her infractions worse. She was a prime target for espionage, and her violations of the law gave foreign powers an opening to penetrate deliberations at the highest levels of government.
Millennials Make Up Almost Half of Latino Eligible Voters in 2016
Hispanic millennials will account for nearly half (44%) of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters projected for 2016—a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
The large footprint of Latino millennial eligible voters reflects the oversized importance of youth in the U.S.-born Latino population and as a source of Latino eligible voter growth. The median age among the nation’s 35 million U.S.-born Latinos is only 19 (Stepler and Brown, 2015), and Latino youth will be the main driver of growth among Latino eligible voters over the next two decades. Between 2012 and 2016, about 3.2 million young U.S.-citizen Latinos will have advanced to adulthood and become eligible to vote, according to Pew Research Center projections. Nearly all of them are U.S. born—on an annual basis, some 803,000 U.S.-born Latinos reached adulthood in recent years.
This is by far the largest source of growth for the Hispanic electorate, but it is not the only one. The second-largest source is adult Hispanic immigrants who are in the U.S. legally and decide to become U.S. citizens (i.e., naturalize). Between 2012 and 2016 some 1.2 million will have done so, according to Pew Research Center projections. Another source is the outmigration from Puerto Rico. Since 2012, some 130,000 more Puerto Ricans have left the island than moved there. Florida has been the biggest recipient of these Puerto Rican adult migrants—all of whom are U.S. citizens and eligible to vote in U.S. elections (Krogstad, 2015c).
How Lithuania Helped Take Down The Soviet Union
This year, 2016, will mark the twentieth-fifth anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union from the political map of the world. A quarter of a century ago, the menace of Soviet-led communism, which had haunted the globe since the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, disintegrated from within and passed into the dustbin of history.
The Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe that Stalin had imposed in the aftermath of Second World War began to crumble in 1989 and 1990, as the communist regimes in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania were replaced with democratic-oriented governments.
The collapse of the Iron Curtain that had divided the European continent since 1945 was symbolized most dramatically with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989. (See my article, “The Berlin Wall and the Spirit of Freedom.”)
The, then, head of the Soviet Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev, was hailed in the West as an enlightened communist reformer who wished to create a new Soviet “socialism-with-a-human-face.”
He was also praised as a man of peace who was allowing the Eastern European “captive nations” to go free, when the threat or use of Soviet military force – like had been used in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 – could have, once again, crushed the dreams of the people in these lands finally to be free.
NEW Mobile App for Parties & Candidates
We launched it…finally a new mobile app to help parties and candidates keep in touch with their members.
Our apps are native meaning they use the full power of smart mobile devices to provide rich features such as video, navigation, customized alerts linked to specific content, events calendaring, conventions, ballot registration and voting, breaking news, donations, blogs, instant polls and surveys and more.
And they are fully customizable. So check out one or all of the first four live apps up this week. Just go to your app store on either an Apple, Android or Windows phone and search for:
New York GOP (New York State Republican Party)
TN GOP (Tennessee Republican Party)
Michigan Republican Party
WSRP (Washington State Republican Party)
Republican Party of Louisiana
Republican Liberty Caucus
Tea Party Nation
NYS Conservative Party
USVI GOP (Virgin Islands Republican Party)
Lisa Posthumus Lyons (State Representative-MI)
Triston Cole (State Representative-MI)
Gowan for Arizona (Gowan for Congress)
Follow the progress of Right Mobile and the various new parties and candidates that launch their own apps on Facebook at; https://www.facebook.com/rightmobileUS//
If any party or candidate is interested in getting an app of their own, please contact me at: email@example.com
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