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.