Sunday, October 30, 2016

NIne Dyas to Go - Note to the Bernie Diehards Out There Who Still Are Hesitant

Hey!  I know this is kind of cutting things close but it seems tat now is the time to do this. 

I've been meaning to address the Bernie Sanders diehards for a while now but this election cycle has been exhausting in a lot of ways.  Now, many of those who have supported Sanders have decided to back Hillary Clinton  (or at least grudgingly vote for her to keep Trump out of office), this isn't for you.  Instead I want to address those few who aren't feeling Stronger Together with the Democratic Presidential candidate.

Okay, some of you are angry over how the DNC have treated Bernie Sanders throughout the primary.  You can cite the recently leaked e-mails showing that then DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared to do her damnedest to make sure Clinton won the nomination.  I agree with you with that one. Reports from the primary elections did should some evidence of shenanigans and scheduling two of the three Democratic Primary debates at 9pm on a Saturday night (the latter of the two on the Saturday before Christmas) didn't help - either Sanders or Clinton.  However, as the race reached the final states the votes increasingly went towards Clinton making her victory, rightly or wrongly, inevitable.  As for the revived outrage over the leaked Wikileaks e-mails of the Clinton campaign, if we were honest the worst they did was confirm our suspicions (i mean., c'mon - who came across the coverage of those and didn't think to themselves "This is new and revelatory how?").  I understand the anger but it won't change that the ballot will list Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democrats nominees for the Presidential/Vice Presidential ticket.

So this is where some of you are fuming and thinking to yourselves, "Here's where Boone's going to tell us to suck it up and just vote for Clinton, putting our concerns aside."  Actually it's not that simple.  I know some of you want to protest vote and as someone who's done so in the past (and may do so again in the future) I don't feel I have the right to tell you to blindly get in line and suck up your beliefs.  However, I do feel some nuance is in order.

On the issue of third party votes, things are complicated.  While most people aren't fond of the electoral college in this country, it's still the final arbiter of votes for this office.  Because of this if someone's living in California, a state so midnight blue it's only two shades lighter than the cover of AC/DC's seminal album Back in Black (Metallica's 1991 self-titled album (a/k/a "The black album) and the soundtrack to This Is Spinal Tap can also fit here) one's vote for a third party candidate is more nuanced since it would be  next to impossible for that state to go Red (it hasn't gone for a rpeublican for President since 1988) thus a protest vote can be both pure and relatively safe.  As for New York, this is slightly trickier since Clinton now lives there and Trump is a native.  However, given how most New Yorkers reportedly feel about Trump it'll likely be blue (and while NYC and its surroundings are a small part of the state it is the most highly populated area) so odds are Clinton will likely get the vote (giving Trump something he can actually have in common with Al Gore - who didn't win his home state of Tennessee in 2000).  In deep to somewhat deep blue states a more nuanced argument can be made for third parties than the Democrats or the Republicans want to admit.

However, not every state is deep blue or even light blue.  Can a case be made for third party voting in deep red states on the grounds that if your vote won't really matter anyway one might as well vote their conscience?  In a way that's true.  However, some care might need to be taken on those states - especially since more states may be in play this year.Then there's the swing states.

The swing states are the ones that, for better or worse, matter most in this race.  You know the ones (among them are Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in the north, with Florida and North Carolina in the south).  These are the states where things are expected to be tighter than normal this year as those down on their luck resonate with Trump's message either because of the racism and xenophobia or put that intolerance and bigoted rhetoric aside thinking that attitude won't turn on them.  It is here where the protest vote may not be the best move.  Several of the states are must wins for Clinton (and with a week before the election, all are must wins for Trump).  Here is where conscience can get murky and a case can actually be made that one vote for a third party means the other main guy would win. It is here that I'm torn between whether one should vote their conscience or not.  Add to this Noam Chomsky, who supported Sanders in the primary even advocated voting for the lesser evil in such a circumstance (in this case, for Clinton against Trump) and there's where the gray area become almost storm cloud at early evening murky.

At this point I want to make it clear that I don't endorse candidates on principle (a stance that began in my time in college activism) so I'm not officially saying one thing or another.  However, I do want to address some questions those who supported Bernie but are still extremely hesitant about Clinton and may fit those still "undecided."

First is the question of why Bernie didn't run as an independent or take the Green Party's offer to be their nominee after losing to Clinton.  While a lot of Sander's campaign issues meshed with the Greens it has also been reported that Bernie Sanders is pragmatic, which was why he chose to be a Democrat for this race.  Also, many states have what are referred to as "sore loser" laws which prohibit a candidate from running as an independent is they lost their party's primary race.  Because of this Sanders legally couldn't be on the ballot in numerous states.  He could've also made things worse for the Greens if he took Jill Stein up on her offer to take over.  It is here where what's pragmatic actually benefits a third party rather than just benefit the status quo.  

Then there's the issue of whether to write in Bernie.  While some states would accept that choose a number of states either don't allow write in candidates or only allow those who've been approved (usually via application) to be a write in candidate.  Sanders didn't file to be a write in candidate choosing to endorse Hillary Clinton.  Add in the "sore loser" laws in some states and it becomes clear that Bernie couldn't go down this route. 

In either choice it's understandable why someone would want to choose Bernie over Clinton or Trump.  While he managed to get a good chunk of his issues into the Democratic Party platform, concern over Clinton's tendency to shift moderate still unnerves some people.  Sanders is more solidly progressive and it can be said if the Democrats chose him he'd be a better choice against Trump.

This leads us to the big question - Since Sanders didn't win should one vote against Hillary and choose Donald Trump?  This is rooted in reports that there are people in the primary race that said If Sanders doesn't get the nomination they'll go for Trump.  This can be best summed up by Stephen Colbert who stated on his TV show over Trump's attempts to court Bernie supporters, "You didn't get what you wanted.  Why not try the exact opposite?" 

When it comes to this tactic the best reference comes from the end of the primary race (June 2016) when Shaun King of the NY Daily News answered the question a lot more diplomatically than my response on whether a Sanders supporter should vote for Trump (which is usually centered around, Hell Fuck No!").

I know some people who may vote third party would claim that Trump won't be as bad as Clinton because "at least he's not a war criminal."  However, Donald Trump is only not a war criminal because of lack of opportunity.  Given that he's claimed at rallies that he'd bring back "waterboarding...and a hell of a lot worse" it seems apparent that if he wins a Trump presidency would likely bring back what many consider war crimes in the most obvious sense.

So what should a Bernie supporter who's hesitant about Hillary do?  That's up to you.  However, while one may wish to do a protest vote they should take into account location and whether it may cause more harm than good.  For those in deep blue states it may not be a real issue while for those in swing states one cannot be blamed if they choose the lesser evil, even if they plan on protesting her if she wins.

As for me I'm not totally certain.  A large part of me is considering the possibility of going the lesser of two evils route but since I live in a state where the electoral vote will most likely go to Trump (as well as the popular vote given that too many white Missourians love their racism) a part of me is considering that option as well.  Regardless, I do know that either Clinton or Trump will win the election on November 8th so my thoughts after that will lead to how to deal with those two. 

That about wraps up my post here. I've tried to be nuanced in the ups or downs of protest votes versus the lesser evil vote without going too in depth.  While i hope you see my point I know some will likely view me as some sort of sellout given my hesitation about whether one should protest vote in the swing states.  Regardless,whether you vote for Hillary or Jill Stein or write someone in is your business and between you and what happens in that booth.  What's important is that Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump gets thwarted in his quest to become a bully in chief.  It's up to you to decide how you want to play that out. 

Nine or Ten Days To Go - Non Comey Election Commentary

Okay, so now that we have looked briefly at the Comey scenario (which while typing it here it became apparent that it should have it's own post) let's look at the current election race overall.

First, the race is tightening and may be closer than anyone things.  In what seems to be a denial of anything logical, Donald Trump seems to be almost neck and neck with Hillary Clinton nationally and may be closing in on several state polls.  Some of this may be the typical near election day shoring up, some of it is from Republicans deciding to go back to Trump either out of some misguided sense of forgiveness or not wanting to lose elections (if in office).  This comes after several weeks of the GOP nominee dealing with the fallout from a leaked Access Hollywood tape where Trump appears to boast about committing forms of sexual assault from claiming to just start kissing women (Trump, in his own words, "doesn't even wait" to implying that because he's a star he can grab women "by the pussy").  In that time 12 women have reported being sexually assaulted by Donald Trump (with some claiming he grabbed them just like he boasts in the leaked tape) and others claiming sexual harassment.  Add to it a third debate performance that started off almost adult but ended up with the Donald of the first debate and self inflicted wounds that range from being booed at the Al Smith Charity Dinner and his repeated claim that Hillary Clinton should be in jail and doubt over whether he'll accept the election results if he loses, and you have an idea where things would go in any other cycle.  Still, there's still enough anger out there that leads people to still support Donald Trump in the first place (some of it justified due to suffering the tail end of the recession and people struggling to survive but a lot of it coming from people who were already hateful having anoutlet that now says it's okay to openly fly their racism in the open).  These factors did take a hit for him with a number of Republicans claiming to disavow Trump (while still not revoking their endorsement).  However some of the same Republicans who claimed his comments were a bridge too far have backtracked and are now claiming they'll vote for Trump

It's in this frame that the race seems to be tightening, though a case could be made that this is kind of normal just before an election.  But there is one question the media doesn't seem to want to ask that almost everyone has probably asked - How the hell did this race get anywhere near this close?

This was a comment the Clinton campaign got basically pilloried for when they asked why the former Secretary of State wasn't leading by 50 or more points a couple months back.  However, it's a question many Democrats and Independents have asked when they take a look at Trump and examine his words and what he's proposed.  In a normal election cycle Trump likely wouldn't have made it out of the primaries.  His opponents in the Republican Party race would've focused on his bankruptcies and hammered on them until he was forced out or found a way to get him out. 

However, as I said from the first post on primary race post onwards this is not a normal election cycle.  The fact that a party that often criticized the current President for his relative lack of experience rallied around a man with no experience proves that out.  Also, the GOP candidate has weathered things that would've killed anyone else's chances of being President.  While he whines about a "rigged media" now, he benefited from an overexposure int he media who appeased him and gave him softball questions all the way until he started banning too many prominent media sources from his rallies and started openly attacking the press at rallies this past summer (and you know every time Trump moans about the media being rough on him Bernie Sanders has to be laughing his ass off given what he went through). 

Because of this what seemed to be increasingly unlikely is a little ore likely.  Just a week ago it seemed unlikely for Trump to win the election in November (according to 538, Clinton still has an average 5 point lead when all the polls are taken into account).  Now the race is getting closer and it may be a little more likely that there's a chance.

I do want to say that's not a sure chance.  The election isn't a sure thing for either side right now in part due to dislike for the candidates, but also due to the fact unusual nature of this election cycle.

As we enter the last week (with a couple days extra) it still appears that Hillary Clinton will likely win the Presidential election.  Does that mean people who support Clinton or just choose her to vote against Trump should assume that's a sure thing?  On the contrary, neither side should take things are certain in this race.  Given that Trumps former co-writer of the Art of the Deal Tony Schwartz pointing out that Trump;s comments about Hillary are really about the Presidential nominee himself.

Thus, when the Donald claims the election is rigged, those who oppose him should assume that the GOP has some plan to steal the election whether its via Crosscheck or by simple voter intimidation at polling places.  In addition, voting machine problems may actually occur but while Trump has led followerrs to believe it'll wipe out their vote in favor of the "nasty woman" he calls "Crooked Hillary," the instances in the past has usually changed Democratic votes to Republican so liberals should be on guard for that while voting.  Also, while early voting has favored Democrats according to polls, one can't assume that it's a given that Trump will lose.  Republicans usually tend to make it to the polls on Election Day so if you know people who haven't voted yet (or live in a place where early voting isn't an option) those wanting an option that isn't Drumpf should try to ensure their friends and allies make it to the polls and vote. 

As I said earlier it still appears somewhat unlikely that Donald Trump will win the election on November 8, 2016.  However, given that this election race has been unusual in almost any rubric one should take nothing for granted and those who are eligible to vote should make it out there and cast their vote - in some cases doing so then going back to being a thorn in the side of their choice later that night or the next day just to keep them honest. Being overly confident about a chance for victory and thinking things won't change can lead to people not voting and - in the worse case scenario - Trump's victory. 

If you're a person who sees grave danger in that outcome you know what you have to do.  Now get out there and do your part.

Nine or Ten Days to Go....The Election Commentary (Comey Edition)

So we're in the last week and a couple days until the 2016 election and the end of this stage of our national nightmare (remember it could be extended if certain factors such as Trump not conceding if he loses happens, for example).  With that in mind let's take a look at the race.

First, let's tackle the obvious - the letter to the Congress over returning to the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.  At this point in time it could go either way.  However, with news filtering out that FBI Director James Comey reportedly went against Dept of Justice policy in regards to possibly affecting an election in the last 60 days as well as notifying Congress and releasing a letter to the media when he didn't even have a warrant yet and it;s understandable that some may see it as trying to regain favor with fellow Republicans if not trying to tilt the election to Trump.  That, however, is conjecture at this time. 

What we do know is that this is over an investigation into former Sen. Anthony Weiner and whether or not he sexted an underage girl (which is where these supposed e-mails were found - on his computer that his wife, Clinton campaign official Huma Abdein used on occasion).  We know these e-mails didn't come from Clinton's now infamous private server.  We don't know whether the e-mails have anything that's incriminating - or even have anything to do with Clinton herself.  I even read that this may be over as few as three e-mails. 

The announcement by Comey did invigorate the Donald Trump campaign, giving them an ounce of hope in the final stretch as well as taking the heat off a candidate who has in the past few weeks had 12 women come forward claiming he sexually assaulted them as well as several women claiming he sexually harassed them (not to mention the upcoming civil trial involving allegations of child rape).  It has also put the spotlight on Clinton at a critical time. 

Will this affect a large swath of voters?  By this point a very small amount are still undecided (and I have a feeling a good chunk of those are divided between Clinton or Stein or trump vs Johnson).  Where people think this may have an impact is on those undecided voters.  In the final stretch this is uncertain (especially given that there's still final polls to take into account), but it's hard to tell at this stage.

Did Comey reveal this merely out of concern for transparency or to effect the election is still a looming question.  He could've even done it just to cover his own ass.  Yes, if he waited until he had the warrant it could gained him criticism in hindsight but even with a no win situation, this could come back to bite him career wise.  Time will tell on this one.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Third Debate Tonight

So tonight marks the final debate of the 2016 Presidential election cycle.  While I had briefly touched upon this a couple days ago it seems right to note it here. 

I still have no idea what to expect.  Normally, when a campaign has been spiraling in the way GOP candidate Donald Trump's has then odds would be it's pretty much over and his opponent would win.  However, as we all have noted (hell, it's been burned in our memories at this point) it is not a normal election cycle.  It's still somewhere between likely and very likely that Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will win on November 8th.  Still, wrenches could be thrown into the works to change things. 

For Trump he's literally in a situation where he has nothing left to lose.  It is true that some people have come back from that position and emerged triumphant (it's a trope in many popular movies in this country - almost to the point of cliche), Trump is hampered by behavior that is best described as erratic.  From attacking his own party to suggesting that his rival may be used performance enhancing drugs at the last debate, he has made statements that may excite his base but do little to ensure those few undecided voters or those who support him but are increasingly wary, especially since the leaked Access Hollywood hot mic tape.  Add to this his hyping that the election is rigged by everyone from Clinton to the "crooked media" including Saturday Night Live and you have an idea where Trump is coming from.

Which leads to tonight.  At a time when he needs to win the debate (or at the very least take advantage of the extremely lowered standards for him and not lose) he has decided to publicize that he invited as guest the mother of one of the marines killed in Benghazi and Malik Obama, President Obama's half brother who lives in Kenya yet has dual citizenship here and is supporting Trump for some reason.  I get the reason for the former given that the women he invited has repeated criticized and attacked Clinton for her son's death but there appears to be no rhyme or reason for inviting the President's half brother.

As for Secretary Clinton, she's been busy preparing and is likely going to continue to the extent she can of not going into Donald's gutter.  However, she also has the revelations of the leaked e-mails to deal with.  If they had been leaked in the primary they could've done more damage and possibly put Bernie Sanders likely in the nominee role.  They were leaked one month before the election though and with the leak of Trump's hot mic tape, it seems so much smaller as a scandal for a lot of Americans. 

A friend of mine just sent me a message regarding Trump's request for them to take drug tests before the third debate.  Part of him felt this could be Trump triangulating as a way to get Clinton to say something on drug policy that would disgust millennials.  Both him and I hope my friend is wrong on that.  I'll add to that, if the ghostwriter of Trump's the art of the deal tony Schwartz is to be believed, it appears that Trump is giving a tell about himself more than anyone else.  I could be wrong on this though. 

What Hillary Clinton does have in common with Trump for tonight is one thing - she cannot afford to lose this debate.  While third debates often do little to change people's minds the fact it's not a normal election cycle means that this could change things.  This is really the one thing they have in common but it may be important.

So what will happen tonight?  I have no idea.  However, given that moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News has said basically that it wasn't his role to fact check, it could be a scary ride.  Will it be a game changer?  I doubt it but it could take Trump back to the margin of error that his team needs (and reliving the Clinton scandals of the 90s isn't helping with).  Regardless it will be a scary ride.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Election 2016 Overview - 23 or so days to go.

Okay, so the final Presidential debate is on Wednesday.  As of today we're roughly three weeks and a couple days away from the upcoming election.  There's a bit to digest here but I"ll try ot keep it brief.

First, let's look at Donald Trump, since he seems hellbent on taking up all the damn oxygen in the room.  After a somewhat accusatory performance in the second debate where we later learned his refusal to answer questions was an actual strategy and the most notable thing was his sniffling every minute that has a lot of people debating whether he is ill, dealing with allergies (it's likely someone like the Donald isn't used to our Midwestern allergies) or that he was snorting some shit beforehand he then seemed to go downward. 

In post 2nsd debate appearances Trump has attacked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, accused the RNC of possibly rigging the election against him, doubled down on his claim that his political opponent Hillary Clinton should be in jail, and implied that the women claiming he sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them in the past were lying because they weren't attractive enough for him to assault.  Add to this claims on a rally last Thursday that "global elites" are trying to rig the election against him; a claim that has your average person wondering what the hell he's going on about but appeals to his base, especially the white supremacists whom Trump for the most part refused to disavow (both Donald Jr. and Eric went on white nationalist radio shows for their dad even after he supposedly disavowed David Duke a few months back). 

What has emerged here in the days since Trump tweeted that "the shackles have been taken off him" is his embrace of possible fascist leanings in his rallies as he riles up his base, some of whom are now hoping for a coup if Trump loses and are getting increasingly hostile towards the media while seeing themselves and their candidate (a supposed billionaire media celebrity who basically  got a shit ton of free publicity in the primary race).  Between his claims to want to lock up political opponents (something that seems more like third world dictatorships than the U.S.) and his denial that he sexually assaulted women even though he has been captured on tape claiming that he may have kissed women against their will and walked into the dressing room of the pageants he used to own while the contestants were near naked, if not totally naked (some of them may have been underage). 

Meanwhile Trump's base has suffered some bleeding but he's still managing to draw people to his rallies.  This includes the conservative Christians (you know, the fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic folks) who have said we should forgive Donald and that while they wouldn't want him teaching Sunday School or going after their daughters, they still support him.  Despite proving again that much of the religious right has less to do with morality (despite sometimes claiming to be morally superior) and just view Trump as a useful idiot to force their interpretation of their faith onto others (just like Trump views them as useful idiots to get him into office), the fact they're sticking by Trump  (though would cry bloody murder about a lack of character if a Democrat did the same thing) shows just how mercenary they are when it comes to seeking perceived access to power and how angry they are over nearly eight years of not getting everything they want.

Is what I just painted scary?  Yes.  However, Trump has to go beyond his base if he wants to win next month.  And while his performances in the two debates have appeased his base, they have done little to convince those on the fence that he's President material.  Also, while the leaked Access Hollywood tape hasn't caused mass defections from his base, it has caused some of the people that weren't all in for Trump to back away from him, especially among women.  While there are some who still support him while saying he "doesn't have the temperament to be President," others who may have been kind of willing to support Trump but were uneasy with the hatefulness of his rhetoric found this to be too much.

As for former Secretary of State Clinton, she's been busy with debate prep, with just a couple of appearances (including one most recently, with Al Gore,who was vice president under her husband's term).  She's been letting surrogates make the case for her for the most part.  Yes, the Wikileaks leaked e-mails have made some dents but when dealing with a media obsessed with sexual scandals, the news has been buried somewhat compared to the over a dozen women who have said Trump either sexually harassed or sexually assault them since the leaked tape broke nine days ago. 

So does that mean, as the opening skit of Saturday Night Live suggested last night, that it's all over for Trump?  I wouldn't say that so quickly,  For starters there's still Wednesday's debate its possible that Trump's lowered expectations now means just not acting batshit fucking crazy could be seen as a victory.  Also, there is a chance for another October surprise out of Wikileaks e-mails that could hurt Clinton at the last minute. 

However, even though there is a chance these things could occur we also have to look at Trump's  actions over the past week.  Given that he's now attacked not just Clinton but his own party in the past week and has doubled down on claims that are raw meat to his supporters but turn off a lot of people who aren't in his camp, I have to say it's possible that Donald Trump could win the election but at this point it's even less likely than it was just a few days ago.

That doesn't mean that people should rest on their laurels and think Clinton will automatically win.  Trump supporters are already saying they plan to "monitor polls" in case of anything "illegal," an action that seems to look more like voter intimidation - especially in urban areas -than any real concern over the election.  Add to that Trump's hint that he might not accept the results of this election and it's apparent that this election and the stress and polarization springing form it, is far from over.

The election is still 23 or so days away as I type this.  While we have an idea who will likely win the election, it still requires people to get out there and vote as well as spread the word and make sure people aren't apathetic over what may seem to be a lack of selection.  Yes, some are predicting that the election's end and the lame duck period for Obama will be a great Holiday present but if there are challenges and Trump decides his damn ego is more important than the country then the scary ass bumpy as hell ride could continue well into the Holiday season. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pre Second Debate Thoughts

Okay, so the second Presidential debate is in roughly two hours.  It's a town hall format so who knows what the moderators role will be like.  While the last couple of posts have unloaded a two week observation period I'll try to keep this brief with a few thoughts on what tonight has in store.

First, as I said in the last post, these next two debates are Hillary Clinton's to lose.  She came in with a strong performance on the first one and is riding a two week cycle of preparation and low profile as opposed to Donald Trump, where reportedly mixed messages over what he should do and his habit for saying or tweeting whatever outrageous things pops in his head created a hole for him even before the infamous leaked tape.  There is some truth in a media claim that tonight Trump has little (if anything) to lose and that Clinton has to maintain a good performance to keep what lead she has.

Many assume Trump will try to use decades old news of Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs against the former Secretary of State.  Trump has given contradictory messages on this, claiming a few days ago he wouldn't but tweeting Juanita Broadrrick's claims that Bill Clinton reportedly raped her nearly 40 years ago.  While a case can be made that Broaddrick's claims are credible there is an irony of this being shared by a man still reeling from a leaked tape that has the GOP candidate apparently boasting of sexually assaulting women.  Also, the fact that Bill Clinton not only isn't running for office (he served his two terms back in the 90s) but survived his impeachment over having an affair with then White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the late 1990s and the fallout from that.  Add to this a history of misogyny from Trump that he tried to claim was for entainment last Thursday but often re-emerged on the campaign trail at rallies and this could backfire big time.  How big?  In an article in Politico, it was reported that right wing radio host Hugh Hewitt told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson that if he engages in "relitigating the ’80s and ’90s, it will be a disaster for the party."

So what will happen at tonight's debates?  It depends on the questions asked by those "undecided voters."  While it is possible for Trump to turn things around, their debate prep appeared to start at the last minute after the tape was leaked. Add to that Clinton's penchant for preparation and the fact she probably knows she'll have to take a slightly different tack than in the first debate means that there remains to be a lot of variables.  In an age when a Wikileaks leak of e-mails regarding Clinton's speeches to banks gets almost totally overshadowed by a leaked videotape with a hot mic then a lot of things can change at a moment's notice.

Some people say it's pretty much over for Trump after the leaked tapes.  However, while the recent polls seem to have Clinton roughly five points ahead tonight can change things (which, if Clinton is half as god a politician as her supporters think she is, she already knows).  The latest polls took place just before the leaked tape and that and this debate will possibly be lumped together in the next round of polls.  However, as I said in the last post and briefly mentioned in the last paragraph while it is within the realm of possibility that Donald Trump could win the election, after the events of the last couple of weeks it was less likely.  After the leak of the tape and the hot mic comments where he appears to boast of sexual assaulting women, it's a lot less likely than it was even on Thursday.

In a normal election cycle it would be all over.  This time around it's anyone's guess.

Thoughts on the Leaked Trump Tape (Or The Last Two Weeks Part Two)

As I mentioned in my last post, the past couple of weeks have definitely seen a turn of events in the Presidential race.  From the first debate expectations where Clinton had to overcome allegations about her health and the people pissed off over her "basket of deplorables" comment while Donald Trump just had to (in the media's eyes) appear calm and measured.  We all know what happened though - Clinton stayed calm but goaded Trump with a series of pin pricks that showed us the Donald we all knew and witnessed for years between the campaign, the birther issue (which Trump falsely claimed he ended despite continuing to spread racist birther BS for years after Obama showed his birth certificate), and the general smugness that's become his public image.

Which leads us to the leaked Trump tape from 2005 where, on a hot mic on the Access Hollywood bus on the way to make a cameo for a soap opera (As the World Turns, I think), Trump boasted about just kissing women without their consent and that, when you're a star you could "grab them by the pussy."  While Trump supporters tried to write this off as mere "locker room talk" anyone aware of issues regarding consent can see these claims as him boasting of sexual assault while then host Billy Bush laughed along.  While this seems to be a past best by date syrup ladled over the latest round of Trump stories ranging from the revelation of losing over 900 million dollars in 1995 and thus might not have had to pay taxes for 18 years to his claims the Central Park Five were still guilty of a horrific 1989 rape even though someone else admitted to it and had their DNA on the victim (none of the Five's DNA was at the scene) which led to their exoneration in 2002 and a $41 million settlement from New York City.  While this could asily been added to the last post certain things required addressing this on its own.

First, there's the obvious.  As comedian Alonzo Bodden claimed during an appearance on the online news show The Young Turks, he's on a bus that had Access Hollywood on the side of it so "he knew there was a mic."  Given the number of career crippling, if not killing, snafus that have gone down on hot mic even by 2005, that it never occurred to Trump that has should make sure the mic is off before saying something like this is telling.  By this time he had enough experience on TV shows that he should've had some idea that the mic was on and that it could eventually leak.  For someone who, at that time, was acknowledged for his business savvy to trip up like this seems strange at best and unlikely in general.

Also of note is this - how did the Trump campaign not know about this?  At a time when almost every political candidate (including first timers) are vetted out the wazoo and things are dredged up about every mistake or every unfortunate incident about them, their friends, and their family members a tape like this should've been known about long ago.  Yes, it's true that Donald Trump didn't have much of a typical campaign structure compared to most candidates.  However, it's surprising that nobody seemed to be there for damage control in cases like this. 

Admittedly, this recording is shocking.  However, the Trump campaign for President has been a veritable smorgasbord of shocking, controversial, and nauseating statements from the candidate, both those unearthed from before his run and those he said while running for office.  There are so many things he said that would've killed the career of any other candidate but seemed to bounce off the Donald.  On first revelation it could be said that this would be like those.

But it wasn't.  In the 24 or so hours since the tape was leaked a number of Republican politicians and officials immediately disavowed Trump and his statement in light of the tape.  These range from current Congresspeople and Senators to former Presidential candidates.  While some have claimed they're still voting for him, a number of them have said they can no longer support Trump with some even calling on him to step aside and let Mike Pence lead the ticket.  In a campaign race that saw the GOP nominee imply that Mexicans were criminals and rapists, repeatedly re-tweet white supremacist memes, and state he could shoot someone in the face and not lose a single vote (and that's only a very very few examples) this says something.

So does this mean that we should stick the metaphorical form in Donald J. Trump's ass and flip him over because, in political terms, he's done?  Some have suggested so but I'm not so certain.  In a Presidential race as uncertain as this one it's possible that Trump could win the election in 30 days.  I'm not saying it's likely he will (in fact, odds are it's looking a lot less likely now than it was a week ago) but that it's not the end of the road yet.  There's still two debates (including the town hall tonight) where Clinton could possibly freeze up and do something to shift likely voters to the other side.  However, while the next two debates appear to be Hillary Clitnon's election to lose, the fact she actually prepares almost excessively will be in her favor when contrasted with a braggard who excessively panders and smears people who decided to cram at the last minute once the tape was leaked.

As for those wanting Trump gone, that may be more difficult to do.  Early voting is underway in 12 states and the procedure to remove someone from the ticket applies to death, being incapacitated or something extreme.  While the leaked tape may be extreme it also may be hard to use it to justify dumping the Donald if he doesn't want to go (and he said he won't quit); especially if the main change between him and running mate Pence if the appearance of calm rather than any specific policy differences between them.

Then there's the RNC halting operations of a victory program designed to help Trump win at the end.  While a case can be made that this sort of suspension happens when it becomes clear a candidate can't win (which would be true for other candidates), in this case it could be the political equivalent of a parent taking away a kid's allowance until something changes (whether it's some chores getting done or improved grades, etc).  I could be wrong on this but in this case either direction is a possibility.

What's truly warped about this is the reaction of those defending Trump.  The claim that this is merely "locker room banter" that "all men do" is ironic given that it comes from the same people who way too often piss and moan about feminism falsely portraying all men in the worst possible light (something pointed out by Jessica Valenti in her recent column on the subject).  Others tend to cite "religious leaders" to claim that God has forgiven Donald and we should too (overlooking the fact that one's forgiveness of this asshat doesn't absolve him or mean he's suitable for office).   In addition, Trump supporters booing politicians who have backed away from Trump reveals the end product of appealing to the most extreme of the Christian right wing as well as catering to the white supermacists demographic, a group most candidates on all sides tried their hardest to avoid - for god reason).

So, after taking all this in, is it all over for Trump?  Probably not.  However, he's at a point where he cannot afford to fuck up one moment, especially any debate. While many Trump supporters are sticking by him (including conservative Christians for reasons that both baffle and anger anyone with sense), these statements have scared off voters who were on the fence, especially female voters who may have leaned for him but were struggling with it.  As more previous statements leak out, including Trump referring to his pregnant wife as a blimp on the Howard Stern show a couple months after the time the Access Hollywood taping occurred, it's going to be more difficult to paint Trump as a "changed man,: especially when one looks at his recent statements and realizes he might not have changed very much - if he did at all.  Time will tell but voters only have 29 more days to figure it out.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Between Presidential Debate Brief Commentary or Whoa! The Past Two Weeks (Pre Tape Leak)

Is anyone else here trying to wrap their heads around how the past two weeks have gone down since the first Presidential Debate?

We're one day away from the second of the 3 Presidential debates (being held in St. Louis at Washington University in a Town Hall format) and a lot has changed.  In the run up to the first debate the big issue was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's health and whether she could "handle" the Presidency as the polls went to a dead heat between her and Republican nominee Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump (due in part to Clinton claiming half of trump's followers fit in a "basket of deplorables).  As we all know, the debate showed Clinton remaining calm and measured for the most part.  Even seeming to play a debate equivalent of rope a dope, waiting until the right moment to give her opponent a political pin prick.  Trump reacted almost exactly as expected - easily goaded, constantly interrupting both Clinton and debate moderator Lester Holt (who, to his credit, actually asked a couple of good questions and fact checked Drumpf on his flip flop on the Iraq war), and claiming he didn't say things that can be easily proven that he said or tweeted.  By the time Clinton mentioned Trump's treatment of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, the Donald Trump we all knew form the primary race had fully emerged and any chance to pivot was lost.

Now, in the couple days after the debate, polls get analyzed and the candidates do a combination of campaigning and debate prep.   Normally this means the candidates will try to keep a slightly lower profile and try not to say anything stupid that could bite them in the ass in the time between them and the election.  However, this is not a normal election cycle and nobody predicted what Trump would do next.  From his continuing rants on Machado during a next day phone interview to Fox and Friends (when he wasn't asked about her, by the way) to claiming the election will be rigged against him and he might not accept the results of it if he loses (despite claiming otherwise in the debate a few nights earlier), Trump seemed to be digging himself in a hole and under the illusion that he was winning.  Sure he could claim he won most of the online polls (which were both unscientific and don't require participants to be even likely voters) but as the week wore on the man his handlers swore would pivot and remain Presidential couldn't help himself.  He unleashed a stream of tweets on Machado at 3 in the morning that definitely caused some people to be concerned.

As for Clinton, she kept a low profile these last couple of weeks.  Speaking with the press briefly the day after the debate and making a couple of appearances, she seems to be mainly preparing for tomorrow.  While a lot of people in the media claimed she won the first debate this makes sense for obvious reasons (i.e.: there are still two more debates that Trump could theoretically win) and with a media expecting her to lose to Trump's lowered standards, she knows what she's up against.

As for week two, it seems the ruckus around Drumpf, I mean Trump, would mellow a bit.  The vice Presidential debate found his running mate Mike Pence as a calm contrast (even though he lied much of the night and had to defend DT) with some in the mainstream media claiming Pence "looked Presidential" and that this could be a platform for him in 2020.  In a normal campaign this would be a good sign and a step forward.  But, as we all know, this isn't a normal race as the media started getting reports from campaign insiders reported that Trump wasn't happy with Pence's performance and "doesn't like to be upstaged."  Add to it rumors of refusing to do conventional debate prep while continuing to try and blame the former Secretary of State for her husband's infidelity and it appears that the strategy of giving Donald John Trump a shovel and seeing how far he digs leads the Presidential race to a far different place than it was two weeks ago.

And that was before yesterday, where the media coverage of Trump began with him claiming he still believed the Central Park Five were guilty despite being exonerated by DNA evidence and a confession from the actual rapist.  While this once again underscored some of the racist tendencies that seem to be part of the campaign (something not helped by the support of white nationalists for Trump and his sons appearing on white nationalist radio programs as campaign surrogates).  However, while this seemed to be a constant factor in the race little did anyone know that a leaked tape was about to change a lot of things.

That tape, and what has gone down since, deserves it's own post.  We'll get to that tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pre Debate Thoughts As We Enter the Final Stretch

Well, we're here.  Tomorrow marks the first debate of the Presidential election between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  While some people will watch to allegedly determine who to vote for (though I wonder if anyone is really undecided at this rate) others will look for other things to do and wait for the news coverage in order to save their sanity.  Since this hasn't been a normal Presidential campaign it's a little more difficult to determine how the race will turn out.  However, I have been meaning to comment on the race and now seems to be as good of a time as any.

First, how the hell did this get to be a virtual dead heat?  By any conventional wisdom Clinton should've crushed Trump like a bug by now (hell, his primary opponents should've done it early in the primary race just by pointing out his bankruptcies alone).  Yet., for some reason Trump has been given such a benefit of the doubt that most candidates would never get. 

It didn't help that Sec. of State Clinton kept the press at arms length, giving no press conferences between early 2016 and September of this year.  While part of this may have been rooted in letting Trump have enough rope to hang himself, it also left more questions to be raised than was necessary.  Add to this Clinton's post convention move to pick up disillusioned Republicans rather than strengthen any connection with her party's actual base(i.e: progressives and leftists that she actually needs the support of to win in November) and in some ways it seems the wounds are self inflicted. 

This doesn't even take into account the health debacle that seems to have Clinton stumble in the face of the right wing media making it a talking point.  This, despite the fact that if she didn't go to the 9-11 Memorial then the Republicans would've had a field day and crucified her for that - making it a no win situation regardless. 

While this may have led to a situation where a comfortable lead for Hillary Clinton dwindled down to a virtual dead heat it isn't completely hopeless for her.  Anything can happen in the debates which makes them both a game changer that didn't have to be as well as a media spectacle that has the pundits patting themselves on the back rather than do their jobs.

This leads us to the other side - and Donald Trump.  As much as many of us don't want to admit there's a chance he could win in November.  The same man who dilly-dallied when asked if he'd disavow the support of David Duke has somehow been made by the media into someone mainstream America views as a reasonable candidate.  Never mind Trump's history of racially charged rhetoric or his tendency to incite violence at his rallies, for some reason the media has decided to treat him with a lower standard, even saying he sounds Presidential if he avoids saying comething blatantly racist rather than hold him to the same standard as his opposition (or, god forbid, if the media treated Trump the way they treated Bernie Sanders during his run in the primary).  By continuing to allow Donald Trump to coast on this curve they have (hopefully inadvertently) created a candidate that has allowed variations of white supremacy to become normalized and not followed up on questions when he has said he'd basically bring back discrimination (oops, I mean restore "religious liberty", which would allow the conservative christians in his base to discriminate so it's basically the same thing). 

Add to this reports that the debate moderators are not going to face check Trump and it appears that it will be a festival of softballs, with the most dangerous of the two being treated as if he's in a preschool activities day and gets a ribbon for participating. 

So what will happen at the debates?  That is difficult to say since we're not in the thick of it yet.  However, what we do know is that Hillary Clinton has to be prepared to face whatever face Trump chooses to show.  Meanwhile, while many reports have claimed that Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump has avoided typical debate prep other people fear that the Donald will be given softball questions and catered to as if he's special, avoiding the numerous bankruptcies and other skeletons in his many closets that need to be aired out.  Hopefully this doesn't happen but in a situation where a media quest for ratings has allowed a candidate off the hook regardless of his campaigns numerous re-tweets of white supremacist memes (even after he supposedly disavowed it.  Most recently within a day of crying victim of Hillary Clinton calling half of Trump's followers a "basket of deplorables") or any of his other hateful statements. 

As I said earlier, we';re less than 24 hours from seeing how the first debate plays out.  While there may be a chance that some actual journalism occurs, it's also safe to assume that the media will prefer kissing ass to doing their jobs out of fear of not getting invited to the cocktail parties of whoever wins.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

State Level Primary Blah Blah Blah

Today is the state primary election here in Missouri. Like most places who have either had their state primaries or face one shortly, we've had our share of negative ads and robocalls that make people want to turn off their landline and just stream movies until the general election.  While I've been busy house sitting this past week I've had one thougth cross my mind.

Am I the one person out there sick of hearing a candidate blather on about their faith and "religious liberty?"

It seems every candidate on one party is trying to play like their the best and most faithful person out there.  Ads show them praying with their families either just before or just after talking about being pro forced childbirth (or as they call it - "pro life") and brag about their NRA rating.  It almost seems as if they forgot about the First Amendment and the concept of separation of church and state.  Add to it a concept of "religious liberty" which seems to allow business owners of one type of Christianity (which is on the far right end of the religion) to deny services to employees (i.e.: contraception coverage) or allow them to legally discriminate against LGBTQ people and it seems that the sincere faith of a lot of people is being twisted and weaponized into something between a gimmick for votes and a subtle projection of battle against those on the other side. 

It's especially bothersome during an election since this shouldn't be an issue at all.  However, it has become one and how it's being played makes me wonder if t=candidates who do this realize their dog whistles can come back to haunt them.  Especially when we all know damn well that an agnostic or atheist candidate for any office could never state in an ad that he or she didn't care about religion and wanted to focus on the job without facing a shitload of blowback from the same people who use "religious liberty" as a weapon against others. 

After today some of the ads will subside and others will pop up against the other side.  Either way, many people will be sick of this shit by the time the general election rolls around. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have shit to do.

Election Update - DRUMPF, I mean TRUMP vs CLINTON or Now We Know (And Probably Wish We Didn't)....

Hey!  Sorry for the time away for posting here.  A lot has been on my mind and I had to both deal with that and take a step away from this to catch my breath and take everything in.  Now back to the blog post.

Yep.  Election 2016 is in the final stretch.  The conventions have been held and we know who's running for President for real in November.  And the results are...Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats.  Admittedly it's not the most inspiring selection.  Both candidates have had record unfavorable ratings in polls and have had campaigns mired in controversy.   While a lot of people have made their minds up normal opinion says the rest of the run is for the undecideds to ponder and make up their minds. 

However, this hasn't been a normal election cycle and what would be unthinkable previously appears to be on the way to becoming the new normal. Because of this it can be safe to assume that most things are up for grabs.  That doesn't mean that the pundits will always be wrong but it does mean to take them with a grain of salt. 

Because of this let's briefly look at the Presidential candidates and what their uphill battles are.  Let's start with Hillary Clinton, a candidate many people think they know form her time as first lady back in the 90s to former President Bill Clinton.The Wikileaks release of documents and e-mails suggesting the DNC's favoritism towards her and implying attacks on her main rival (up to the Convention) Sen. Bernie Sanders wasn't exactly news (many Sanders supporters merely had their suspicions confirmed.  I'll do a separate post on the angry Bernie supporters). However, it did cast a shadow at the beginning of the Democratic convention that made things harder to get on track.  Also, her pick of former VA Gov. Tim Kaine (a man Daily Show host Trevor Noah called a :real life version of every black person's impersonation of a white guy") drew some eyebrows due to his moderate stance on some issues (and his personal stance on abortion versus his voting record - the latter of which was hella better in the Senate than when he was Governor).  Add to this the post convention polls for the Republicans (who held theirs the week before) and there was some concern raised amongs more progressive factions of the Party and the media.  However, Clinton and company did manage to get some of their shit together even amidst the angry Sanders supporters and the protests,  that says a lot more for her than it does for her rival.

With that in mind, let's look at Donald Trump and the fear fest his party called a convention a couple weeks back.  It's clear that Drumpf, I mean Trump's campaign comes with a lot of baggage.  It says a lot when the two living former Republican presidents (George W. Bush (a/k/a Dubya, Bush 43) and his father George H.W. Bush (Bush 41) decide to skip the convention - as did a lot of Republican politicians.  Ladle over the top the sense of terror and fear in the Donald's speech that actually left some in the press afraid for the country and the right wing seems to have made a shit sundae of sorts that may appeal to the Trump devotees but leaves many cold and worried. 

Then there's polling that suggests that a slight majority of each candidates likely voters are doing it to vote against the other person.  How that plays in the next few months is anybody's guess though certain actions that I'll post in another post could cause some to switch sides.   While the pundits may try to normalize the Donald, his own rhetoric and actions may bite him in the ass.

So what's ahead.  That';s hard to say.  Recent events (and a Democratic Convention that ended up looking relatively sane in comparison to the other side) could make things better on that side as November nears.  However, as I said earlier, this isn't a normal election cycle and as the last 14 or so months points out - anything can be up for grabs.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sorry for the delay...Back to the Front

Hey!  Sorry for being a little incommunicado when it comes to the blog.  Between searching for a second job, trying to get the latest issue done and just trying to keep my wits about me my head was elsewhere.  Now it's time to get back to the grind.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Local Music Related News Flash....

We at TTWN just fond out that Como Girls Rock co-founder Luci Cook is undergoing her third heart transplant today (it might be going on as I type this).  Keeping her in our thoughts as she undergoes this procedure.  Here's hoping that everything goes well and for a quick recovery.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Little Debate That Wasn't

In the midst of the American primary race it can appear that people have forgotten that we have to get along after the conventions and elections.  However, while things can get heated sometimes it can be helpful to enjoy the little delights that happen to us. Or, in this case the little delight that didn't happen.

I'm talking about the press ballyhoo over whether Donald Trump would debate Bernie Sanders. a week or so back  Started from an off the cuff comment on the Jimmy Kimmel show where ztrump said he'd "love to debate Bernie," it' quickly grew steam when Bernie went ahead and took him up on it.

Almost instantly Clinton supporters and the mainstream media acted as if the sky was falling.  Many claimed this would only hurt Hillary Clinton and help Drumpf.  Some sources suggested that the Donlad was only joking.  Almost immediately Trump backed out, then claimed he'd do it if Sanders raised $10 million dollars for a "woman's health charity."  Then, when online news network The Young Turks offered $1 million and a couple of tech firms offered up $20 million in total, Donald Trump backed out claiming it wasn't right to debate the "second place finisher."

Does anyone else think Hillary Clinton should view this as the best primary election gift ever short of Trump being endorsed by Martin Shkreli(which happened shortly after this broke)?

Think about it - for a man like the Donlad who claims to never back down and tells it like it is this opens the door for a shitload of campaign ads and debate comments.  Some in the media think Trump would gain ammunition if he debated Bernie.  The mainstream media and many average people differ wildly on this.  A lot of people I know pretty much agree that if Donald trump chickened out of facing Bernie Sanders, how the hell will he be able to face Putin.  If former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton is as politically astute as her supporters claim she is she should already have this ready to use for ammo - and ready to pounce fifty ways to Sunday with it whenever and whereever necessary.

I know in the big picture this is only a small part.  However, it should put a smile on the face of anyone who wanted proof that the man his followers claim will always fight will back away when facing a smarter opponent. 

That's it for now.  Back to the daily grind.

2016 Primary Race - The Final Stretch is Here

Okay, so it's summer and we're at the first Monday in June.  Normally that would be that but it's June of an election year which means we're in the final stretch of primary season.  Since Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump has gained the delegates for the Republican presidential nomination and only has the convention to deal with let's focus on the Democrats this time around.

Over the weekend Hillary Clinton won the primaries in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  If you weren't aware of those primaries you probably aren't alone as the media has done very little coverage of them in comparison to what's ahead.   While both primaries are in colonies rather than states they still provide some delegates.

The big deal is on Tuesday June 7, 2016 (or today).  Six states will be holding their primary elections (North Dakota, New Jersey, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and California).  While all have some importance this time around, the media eye is on California and, to a lesser extent, New Jersey.  So far it appears that Hillary Clinton is leading in NJ and is neck and neck with Sanders in California. 

What will happen today?  The AP has already called Clinton the presumptive nominee using both pledged and superdelegate support.  However,  given that superdelegates can change who they support up until the Convention next month, it isn't that simple.  Some Sanders supporters consider this to be a ploy to keep them from voting today in California (especially important given it's large delegate count).  While I'm not totally convinced of that I can see where the corporate owned media would throw its allegedly neutral hand in the ring to frame it as such.

As anyone who read my posts on the primary race can attest I have been hesitant to say who will win.  While it does appear likely that Hillary Clinton may get the nomination for the Democrats (especially since we're nearing the point where the superdelegates actually have a role in the process) many predictions so far seem to be from a perspective of normal times.  And as the success of Donald Drumpf has shown us, this election year is not normal times.  Maybe Bernie Sanders will pull off an upset in Cali...though such a feat will require a massive voter turnout in his favor.  As of now I really don't know what to expect.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Primaries - One More Stop Then the Final Stretch.

Hey!  Sorry for the delay but I've had other things to deal with.  First, let's get last week underway.]

A week ago today Bernie Sanders won in West Virginia. While it's not a big number in terms of delegates it did show momentum and that counting him out now may be a little bit premature.  Today however are the primaries in Kentucky and Oregon.  The former state appears to be rough for both Hillary Clinton and Sanders though there have been some prediction of a narrow Clinton win. 

As for Oregon, it appears that momentum and the polls favor Sanders.  Add automatic voter registration into the mix and there's a possible move that could benefit Sanders.  However, many of those automatically registered are unaffiliated or didn't register as Democrats in time, which means they can't vote in the Oregon primary election.  This makes things more difficult but it doesn't count him out yet.

What is telling is these are the last primary elections until June 7th when six states (including California) are up for grabs, followed by Washington, DC a week later.  Now we're getting to the point where superdelegates are going to have their role as the convention nears. 

What does that have to do with today?  In terms of pledged delegates Sanders still has 1,433 compared to Clinton's 1716.  The chances of Sanders blowing out Clinton is increasingly slim, meaning that every state has to count.  Once June rolls around, superdelegates will be an issue to be factored in so the path is getting more nad more narrow.  That doesn't mean it's all over but it is becoming an uphill climb. 

As for the state convention in Nevada where tensions between Clinton delegates and Sanders delegates got ugly., the overall stretch was only a couple of delegates but video of some of the voice votes shows a ton of tension between sides that is going to have to be dealt with before the convention.  While Clinton won in Nevada the support of those backing Bernie still has to be earned and shouldn't be assumed to be a given.  That goes with any politician and I would say the same if Sanders had won and there was tension towards them from Clinton supporters. 

While I have an idea what might happen I feel that a clearer picture won't happen until June.  Because of that I'm still holding to the line that anything can happen and this election cycle has showed us not to assume anything is a given.

As for those asking about the GOP side.  Donald Drumpf, I mean trump, should just admit that he was John Miller in that tape pretending to be a PR person for the Donald.  He already apologized for it back in 1991 so denying it's him is even more ridiculous than usual so admit it and move on. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

From Indiana to West Virginia

Hey!  Sorry for the delay.  I was getting a print issue done and I had some housesitting over the weekend.  Also, like many of you I was trying to absorb what happened. 

A week ago today Indiana held primary elections for the Presidential race.  On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders beat former Sen. (and former Sec. of State) Hillary Clinton 53%-47% (actually 52.7 to 47.3, but general rounding applies).  While this proved that Bernie Sanders still has some momentum and shouldn't be counted out yet, the real shake up was in the GOP race. 

Yes, I'm talking about presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Drumpf, I mean trump.

Trump was expected to win last week but few were expecting the aftermath.  For Ted Cruz, who called Indiana his "firewall" it was the writing on the wall.  Just after the election Cruz suspended his campaign, followed the next morning by John Kasich.  This was shocking given that I thought for sure Kasich would've left the race before the Cubadian.  In less than 24 hours a three person race dropped to just the Donald alone.  Since then the mainstream media has been trying to claim that Drumpf is acting more presidential but his habit of flip flopping and saying what he thinks the crowd wants to hear is still problematic as he heads towards the general election.

This leads us to today's primary in West Virginia.  While polls show Sanders ahead of Clinton, WV is one of those states whose Democratic party has received funds from the Clinton campaign.  While a few voices in the wilderness are concerned about fraud, it could go either way.  With only 29 delegates at stake a victory here is a slow burn more than an obvious attack so it might be more of a victory for morale as the Democrats head towards the convention in July. 

Still, some of the media is asking Sanders to drop out and let Clinton focus on Drumpf, I mean trump. However, I remember one of the blurbs at an early debate was Hillary Clinton telling Bernie Sanders that the President has to focus on more than one thing at a time.  Thus, she should be able to handle both Bernie Sanders and Drumpf. 

In any case, the shake up has brought more clarity and still shows that things are not carved in stone yet.  We're still have a while until the general.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Indiana Wants (insert candidate name here). Or At Least It Will Tomorrow

Hey!  My apologies for slacking off a bot on the primary commentaries lately.  Between personal issues and the wi fi connection being slower than usual it hasn't been so easy to post these as I'd like.  The Indiana primary is tomorrow and we'll get to that but let's first discuss last week.

Last Tuesday primary elections were held in Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.  For the Republicans Donald Drumpf, excuse me Trump, won all five states - making his quest for the GOP nomination way closer to reality than anybody thought last year.  As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton kept up a 300-350 pledged delegate lead over Bernie Sanders by winning four of the five states (Sanders won Rhode Island).  While it appears more likely that Clinton will snare the Democratic Party nomination, a still narrow path exists for Sanders to make sure it's not a slam dunk. 

Along with the primary results last week were the usual cries in the media that Sanders should drop out and let Clinton focus on Trump.  Overlooking the fact that a President has to focus on more than one thing, such calls seem to ignore the fact that in 2008 Clinton stayed in the race until June and reportedly dropped out several days after the last primary.  With a couple of larger states up ahead (most notably California), this might still be a competitive race of sorts. 

Which leads us to Indiana tomorrow.  It is a tight race for Clinton and Sanders, according to the polls.  However, polls also have Drumpf away ahead of Ted Cruz.  So, at a the when one party may further solidify its grip with one candidate, the other side is still in anything can happen.

I wish I had more to say about this.  But time will tell on this one. 

What is the case if the primary race is getting increasingly closer to the point where superdelegates will begin to have some clout.  While much of the mainstream media has counted them since the start, I have avoided doing so given that they can change their pledge anytime between now and the Democratic Convention later this summer.  Because of this, it was disingenous to count them when they usually weren't counted in the past. However, as the race winds down it's getting to the point when their pledges will be of more relevance.  Odds are they'll go with the popular vote at the Convention but who knows at this time.

Get ready for the last few primaries.  It's going to still be a long ride until November.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Primary Blather- Post NY Stateof MInd and What Next.

Hey!  Sorry it took so long to get back to this but I've been busy with other things in my life.

First, the New York primary was Tuesday and the media expectation of who would win was fulfilled with Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump, winning the Republican primary and Hillary Clinton breaking Bernie Sanders' momentum of winning eight of the last nine races for the Democrats.  Admittedly, a closed primary is be more beneficial to Clinton, especially one where people have to register with a party six months in advance of the actual primary election.  We;ll get to that later but first let's look at this Tuesday.

There are five primaries coming up this Tuesday (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Delaware).  All are closed primaries, which means that if Clinton sweeps all five of them, she can further set back Bernie Sanders and make the path to the nomination even harder to overcome.  Clinton and Trump are leading in Pennsylvania but, as we've learned in this race up to this point, it's foolish to assume anything is certain. 

Which leads to reports of closed polling places and people showing up to find themselves either registered as another party or not listed last Tuesday.  While such reports of making things harder for people who wish to vote is always annoying, it's especially annoying when a state has six months to make sure things run smoothly.  190 days to know who is with what party shouldn't have those mistakes.  Add to this the 120,000 plus people purged from the polls suddenly and it's easy to see something is fucked up. 

Now, if you're a Clinton supporter reading this, it's easy to dismiss it as sour grapes from Bernie Sanders supporters and his campaign.  However, just because these flaws and errors benefit your candidate this time, what's to keep these same tricks form being used against you when you vote in the general. 

In New York there are claims that an investigation will take place.If so, it must be done as soon as possible ad transparently so that we can get to the bottom of this before November, not after the votes have been counted.

As for the states ahead.  Sanders is down but not out.  Thanks to the delegate conventions in several states, he only trails Clinton by 240 or so delegates  (1202 to 1446 according to the NY Times, not including superdelegates).  While closed primaries will be a fly in his ointment, they don't guarantee Hillary Clinton the nomination yet. With 1,668 pledged delegates still up for grabs, a lot can happen.

As for the Republicans, Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump, continues his path the the nomination.  However, he also finds himself dealing with state GOP primaries trying to make sure there are enough delegates for Cruz or Kasich to make a brokered convention.   While the push to be more extreme continues to be overlooked by the mainstream media it does show the general public a scary path as the election nears this fall.

While we have a vague idea of what could happen on tuesday via polls et al, one thing will remain.  The path to November continues and we're probably going to be sick of it all by the time the general election happens. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CORRECTION on the Last Post

In the original version of the previous post I incorrectly noted that the New York primary was being held today.  It actually will be next week on Tuesday April 19.

While the error has been corrected I want to apologize for that rookie mistake.  I also want to say that its easy to assume such given all the mainstream media hoopla that almost completely overlooked Wyoming in its wake.  Obviously New York is going to get a lot of media coverage due to its population size.  However, I do wonder if some of the media hype is based on the fact that NYC is one of the media and news centers of the country, thus making it extremely easy to examine. 

Hope this clears everything up,  Sorry about that.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

That Was The Primary Week That Was - Next up New York!!!

Sorry for the delay.  I've been a little distracted so let's get to it.

First, on the Democratic side Bernie Sanders won the primaries in Wisconsin last Tuesday and Wyoming yesterday by a relatively good margin.  While they may not radically change the delegate count (they were divided even between him and Hillary Clinton in WY), it does keep the momentum moving for the road ahead.

Meanwhile, Wyoming seemed to be all but overlooked as New York's primary approaches on Tuesday April19.  It is here that the campaign is really starting to look like an election campaign.  With the media hyping up some stumbles Bernie Sanders gave in an interview to the New York Daily News editorial board that the mainstream press has hyped as a failure, some reports have suggested that it may not be as much of a disaster as the corporate owned media making it out to be with even one eyewitness account giving a more nuanced picture of what actually occurred.

Add to this the implication over Sanders' qualifications to be President from the Clinton campaign and Sanders' own response (which brought up her Super PAC receiving money from Wall Street as well as her vote for the Iraq war in 2003 as examples) and the race is looking like a political fight.  And there's a reason for this,

The New York primary offers 291 delegates for the Democrats.  Sanders needs to, if not win outright, get a significant chunk to keep momentum going.  Clinton has to win big to try and knock the wind out of the momentum Sanders has from his last seven victories.  There's currently a 250 delegate count between them (because superdelegates can change their pledge between now and the Convention, I have left them out of the count) and NY can push Sanders back a bit. 

However, delegates are still awarded proportionately here so it's not winner take all.  This means that, while Clinton can knock Sanders' stride back, it doesn't guarantee her the nomination.  Add to this Sanders having the money to keep going until damn close to the Convention and the race continues.

But what's it like for the Republicans?

According to polls Donald Drumpf, I mean Donald trump, has a double digit lead over ted Cruz and John Kasich.  Being a native New Yorker will be an advantage (just as Cruz' use of the term "new York values" as a smear will likely work against him). However, only 91 delegates are at stake here and Trump's recent comments over nuclear weapons have drawn some controversy.  Add to this an CNN/ORC poll stating that 73% of women have a negative view of Trump as well as similar negative views in other polls and things are looking slippery for him, especially if he gets the nomination. 

Ironically, this doesn't mean that Cruz or Kasich are any better.  Kasich's moderate spin hides a very conservative streak and Cruz is even worse than Drumpf on a number of issues.  However, with trump leading in polls among NY Republican primary voters he isn't out yet. 

Also worth noting for both parties is that New York has a closed primary system in which only registered members of either party can vote in said primary.  This will likely benefit both Clinton and trump though leave a lot of voters in the cold.

Still, while there are hints of what could happen it will be hard to see clearly until the numbers are counted.  Either way there's still seven months to go before the general and between SuperPACs, negative ads, and voter suppression attempts, chances are many of us will be begging for it to be over by the time the first Tuesday in November starts.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Springtime Primary Breather - Updates and Whatnot

Hey!  I know it's a few days late but I've been busy dealing with other things just like everybody else.  Since there was a breather of sorts in terms of the primary race it can be viewed as kind of like Spring Break - a chance to step back and unplug.  But since there were three caucuses last Saturday,it's back to the grind.

First, last Saturday clearly belonged to Sen.; Bernie Sanders with his wins in Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington.  While a lot of these wins for either Sanders of Hillary Clinton may be by a couple of points, these stand out because they were big wins.  How big?  In Washington State, Sanders won every county.  While Clinton still has more delegates, Sanders currently stands at wither 980 (according to AP) or 1,038 (according to Five Thirty Eight).  This is in part due to how delegates are chosen in Washington state (where some are chosen after the vote according to some sources).  Regardless, this should've made the corporate owned media take notice. 

However, it was Easter weekend and since the GOP didn't have a caucus or election of some sort (thus allowing the pundits to further give Donald Drumpf [a/k/a: Trump] unnecessary press)  they pretty much gave it little notice.  Sadly this isn't surprising but shows the mainstream less interested i telling what actually happened and more into entertainment. 

Where does this leave the race.  The Wisconsin primary is next Tuesday (April 5).  Being an open primary, that can be good news for Sanders.  It's also a primary for both the Democrats and the Republicans with the big news on the GOP being WI Gov. Scott Walker endorsing Ted Cruz. 

Since I haven't seen a ton of news regarding Wisconsin, it could be anyone's guess what happens, though I have a feeling voter suppression will rear it's ugly twisted head in this go round for some reason. 

Meanwhile, Clinton and Sanders are beginning to focus on New York (the NY primary is April 19 with 247 delegates up for grabs).  Sanders has challenged Clinton to a debate, but Hillary Clinton has refused., calling it a stunt.  Personally, I think a debate would be a good thing to see who the better candidate will be (ironically, in 2008 Sen. Clinton said a candidate should be willing "to debate anywhere, anytime").  However, as Clinton campaign officials have complained about Bernie's tone, accusing Sanders of running negative campaign ads they seem adamant about not doing it. 

As springtime fully takes hold, one thing is certain.  It's going to be a long seven months intil the election.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Between Super Tuesday Part III and the Day Before Easter Caucuses

Hey!  Sorry for the delay in getting posts out but I've been busy doing some work for relatives and had my mind elsewhere.  With caucuses in Washington State,m Alaska, and Hawaii tomorrow it seems like we had some primaries a few days ago.  Oh yeah, the primary elections in Utah, Arizona, and Idaho were last Tuesday.  So, let's discuss those briefly, shall we?

On the Republican side there was a slight shake up with Ted Cruz winning Utah while Donald Drumpf- I mean Trump won Arizona.  While it slowed Drumpf's momentum a little it was pretty much as expected.  The only real shock here was the Donald's son claiming to be amazed that Mormons didn't like his old man very much..  They also only had two states to deal with. 

As for the Democrats Hillary Clinton appeared to win Arizona easily (it was announced with 1% of the vote and while many voters were still in line.  What was expected to be a high turnout primary election was made worse in Maricopa County (a county with a population of over six million people) when the umber of polling places was cut from 200 to 60.  In the process some people spent all day in line waiting to vote with many waiting for hours after the polls closed.  Add to this a closed primary and some reports of recently registered Democrats not being listed as such (and given provisional ballots) and it's inevitable that some may cry foul if not fraud.

Was Clinton and company behind this?  Some have insinuated as much but I'm not certain.  The scaling back of polling places (as well as incidents of voter suppression in Latino areas) seems more in line with Republican dirty tricks (especially since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act) than any one candidate.  Is it possible that someone in the DNC may be complicit to a degree in this?  I think that's a maybe but I don't see any proof at the moment.  Nor do I see former Sec. of State Clinton cackling in glee over sabotaging her rival. 

This makes more sense when one factors, as Sen. Sanders did, that "We don’t know if they wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, whoever. We don’t know that.”  Because of that, it's less likely to be sabotage from one candidate than it is systemic problems and a refusal to take into account that a county with millions of residents may need more than 60 polling places. 

Sanders eventually ended up with 30 delegates to Clinton's 44 and there's some murmurs about investigations.  For now though this is how things stand.

Things were more decisive in Idaho and Utah with both states giving Sanders a clean victory over Clinton (17 to 5 in Idaho. 26 to 6 in Utah).  While this keeps Sanders competitive there is still a 303 delegate lead for Hillary Clinton at the moment (not including superdelegates) that shows the race is far from over.

As for tomorrow's caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state, the big delegate grab is for Washington State.  However, there are no polls to look at for either candidate and while the superdelegates seem to be going for Clinton, Sanders appears to be a better fit when you factor in how the state leans in a lot of ways.  There are reports that Sanders is expected to win all three states but sure things are hard to predict in normal election times, much less a time like now when it's not business as usual. 

What I do know is what I've always said since I started briefly commenting on the primary races.  Mainly, for the time being things are far from over. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Primary Summary - Between the informally named Super Tuesday II and the weekend after St. Patrick's Day version

So we've crossed the Ides of March and St. Patrick's Day.  As Spring officially begins in a couple of days the primary race continues.  However, before we talk on that let's bring up the one that went down on March 15th (sometimes referred to as "The Ides of March").

Let's start with the Democrats.  Yes, it's true that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did win all five states that had primary elections on that day.  However, the wins weren't as big in a couple of states as the mainstream media wants you to believe.  She did win big in North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio (which was the big shock of the evening).  However, in Illinois she only won by slightly less than 2% (50.5 to 48.7) and Missouri could feasibly be called a virtual tie (49.6 to 49.4).. In addition, since the Democratic primary and caucus races seem to be proportional, the margins did basically keep her from a large amount of delegates.  In Illinois she received 68 delegates with Sen. Bernie Sanders receiving 67. As for Missouri, they each received 32 delegates as of this entry (there have been occasional reports of requests for a recount but I'll leave that for conjecture until any actual news emerges of such).

With this victory, the media amped up their Clinton is inevitable news script while her supporters continued to say Sanders should drop out of the race.  However, while Sanders does appear to be in trouble a case can be made that he can still compete.  For example, when super delegates are taken out of the picture Clinton only has 1,139 to Sanders' 825.  While that seems like a lot it's only 314 delegates.  Also, many of the upcoming states are in the west and states some feel will lean more towards Bernie than Hillary.  With Arizona, Utah, and the Idaho Caucus coming this Tuesday, that will be put to the test.  However, Sanders has picked up the endorsement of Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation at a rally in Flagstaff, AZ yesterday, which counters some of the Sanders supporters are all white liberals narrative.  Add to this the March 26th caucuses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington State and a case can be made that he's still competitive.

This doesn't automatically win Sanders will catch up.  He still has to work to get those delegates and with a possible media blackout reinforced after Tuesday this could be an uphill struggle.  However, at this point (and possibly until the New York primary on April 19) Bernie Sanders still has a fighting chance. 

There are a couple of things I wish to address but they can wait until we discuss the Republican elections for the 15th. 

The Republican Party primary elections last Tuesday were in Missouri, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and the Northern Mariana Islands.  One  big surprise from this was Marco Rubio suspending his campaign -I honestly thought alleged moderate (who's only slightly less extreme than Cruz or Trump) John Kasich would dropped before Rubio,  However, as expected the race is not Ted Cruz and Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump.  Where it becomes bizarre is the GOP Establishment choosing to focus.  Mitt Romney's saying he's voting for Ted Cruz is one case in point with Cruz being just as extreme as (and, according to some people, worse than) the Donald.  With their painting of Kasich as a moderate, the fact that there's a campaign to choose Cruz (which is pretty much universally hated) over Drumpf is a telling sign indeed.  It also makes trumps' recent statement that his supporters may riot if he doesn't win the noimination a very scary proposition indeed.

Since a trump-Cruz race may be the big thing here, it's inevitable that the media will have their somewhat surreal crush on Drumpf and hype him up until the GOP Convention.  However, this crush has led to one disgraceful thing on the part of the corporate owned media.

Bernie Sanders had a speech on Tuesday after the primary elections that the media chose not to cover at all.  Instead, the cable news networks showed an empty Trump podium and discussed the Donald in hopes they could hear his speech.  Trevor Noah of the Daily Show was right when he suggested they could've at least put the atrump podium in a box in the corner and aired Bernie's speech until the Donald chose to grace them with his presence.  "It's even shaped like a box" Noah replied. 

Instead the mainstream media chose to continue their Trump worship, giving him more free publicity while not fully countering his bullshit.  Other than proving why the Fairness Doctrine should be brought back, it reveals much about whether the establishment media actually has that liberal bias the right likes to whine about. 

While ti appears likely that Donald trump will be the GOP nominee (though the race is close), it's still a sonewhat competitive race for the Democrats - andone that will have to be watched to see what happens.

P.S.:  In a kinda related note there were reports of Bill Clinton appearing at or near a polling place in Illinois last Tuesday.  Why the hell are they letting him be near those places?  Even if it turns out to be innocent and not trying to influence votes (thus violating the law), the Clintons should know by now they're going to face more scrutiny from not just eh Sanders campaign but the American right wing (who hate them just as much, if not more than, Obama).  Because of this shouldn't it be prudent that keep either one of them away from a primary polling place unless they're casting a vote themselves?   Had to mention this.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Politics, Schmolitics - The Almost Mid March rundown

Hey! I know it's the weekend but it's time for a rundown of what happened in primaryland over the past week.  Since I believe we began with the GOP last week, let's start with the Democratic party this go around.

As you know primaries were held in Mississippi and Michigan a few days back (last Tuesday).  As expected, Hillary Clinton won Mississippi pretty easily.  However, Michigan would turn out to be a surprise as Bernie Sanders won the state 50-48 against Clinton.  While a case can be made that it's a virtual tie, this would be newsworthy for another reason.

Clinton was expected in the last round of polls before the primary to beat Sanders by 18 points.  Because he ended up winning by two reportedly makes this the biggest upset in primary election history here in the States.  It also caused a lot of people to re-examine the polls and the methods they used.  While Sanders is still down 214 in the actual delegate count, his win proves that the primary race is still competitive as well as showing that calls (or maybe wishful thinking in the Clinton camp) that Sanders would be toast by now and drop out of the race before a lot of states have a chance to vote in their caucuses/primaries may be a little premature.

As for the GOP, Trump won three of the four states holding primaries last Tuesday (Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi) while Ted Cruz won Idaho.  The only big news here was that John Kasich actually won 17 delegates in Michigan.  As for Marco Rubio, he got 1 delegate in Hawaii.  Tonight, there are primaries in Wyoming and Washington, DC.  While recent events involving Donald Drumpf may hurt him down the road n the general, he probably will win these. Whether he should or whether him getting the nomination would be good for the Republican Party is another issue altogether.

As for Clinton and Sanders, Tuesday is a big day with primaries in five states (Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and Missouri).  While Clinton is projected to win in several of these states, Sanders' win in Michigan has given the race a push that may benefit him in a couple days with some voters, including some who may not have known much about him but checked him out after Michigan.  Granted this is conjecture and it's easy to armchair quarterback (for lack of a better term) but if turnout is higher than expected (and, sadly, that my be an if due to voter suppression laws in some of these areas as well as reports that the primaries in some places are the same time as Spring Break) there may be a shakeup in delegate count (as usual we're leaving superdelegates out of this since they can change their pledge at any time between now and the Convention).

I know this is very brief and skims over a lot but this is where things stand now.  Time will tell what goes down in a couple of days.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Post Super tuesday and Super Saturday Primary Spiel

Hey!  Sorry for being a little bit out of touch for the past week. Between work related issues, trying to get the new issue done, and taking a step back to enjoy some of the True/False Film Festival live shows (due to financial issues I couldn't afford a pass) I'd been distracted.  So let's get to the past week.

We'll begin with the Republicans.  As expected Donald Drumpf (or Donald Trump) is still in the lead  (winning seven states) though Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have taken a bit of wind out of the "trumpmentum", so to speak.  Cruz winning Texas and Oklahoma did prove he wasn't gone yet.  Rubio got Minnesota but Kasich is still sticking in the race. 

A few days later another casualty in the race occurred when Ben Crson suspended hs campaign, leaving only four in the race for the Saturday primaries and a debate on Thursday that seemed more like a playground fight than anything political.  The Donald won Louisiana and Kentucky, even after a week where the question of support of the candidates from white supremacists became an issue that it should've been a long time ago.  Cruz got Maine and Kansas while Rubio and Kasich didn't win either.

While the race has shaken up slightly it appears that Donald Trump is still going strong , for better or worse.

As for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton swept most of the southern states (Alabama, Arkansas,Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia)  though it wasn't a complete blowout.  Sen. Bernie Sanders did win four of the five states he was focusing on (Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota).  While it did give Clinton some actual delegate count momentum (as opposed to superdelegates), the fact that she barely won in Massachusetts  and lost Oklahoma proves that it's still too early to call.

On Saturday, Louisiana, Kansas and Nebraska were up for grabs.  With LA, Clinton does get further ahead in delegate count.  However, Sanders winning Kansas and Nebraska does show the race might still have some competition left. 

Maine is today.  Sanders might win.  Clinton might win.  I really don't know until its over. 

Tuesday is Michigan and Mississippi.  While polls show Clinton ahead how the debate tonight happens could close the gap somewhat.  Mississippi will likely be for Clinton in light of how the South voted on Super Tuesday.  However, since the primaries and caucuses are proportional, to say it's a winner take all is difficult to determine at this point.