The Democrats May Have a Voter Problem

Lost in the talk about Trump crushing Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida is any discussion surrounding the number of people who actually turned out to vote in the Republican Primary.  This may come as a shock to some given the general excitement around candidates like Bernie Sanders on college campuses, but Donald Trump received 1,077,221 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 1,097,400.

So what, he would have lost, right?

Not so fast.  Total votes for the Democrats came out to be 1,702,878 broken down as follows:

Clinton: 1,097,400
Sanders: 566, 603
O’Malley: 38,875

Whereas the Republicans had approximately 2,355,183 votes cast for GOP candidates, broken out as:

Trump: 1,077,221
Rubio: 636,653
Cruz: 403,640
Kasich: 159,412
Bush: 43,452
Carson: 21,163
Others: ~12,000

There is an old saying in politics that is going to be very important for this election:

Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line

This saying points to the Democrat’s issue, what will Bernie Sanders voters do?  The majority of his voters right now are young and idealistic.  They view the establishment in much the same way that Trump supporters view – with extreme frustration – so there exists a very real scenario where a significant number of his supports either write Sanders in or don’t vote at all.

That could absolutely sink the Democrats in critical states like Florida (Remember, President Obama only defeated Mitt Romney in Florida by about 0.9% of the vote).  Trump being able to match Hillary when competing against far more opponents is incredibly important.  If the above saying holds true, a lot of these voters will “fall in line” and vote for Trump in the general election regardless of who their current choice is.

Combine that with half the country’s feelings toward Hillary Clinton and there is a very real possibility that Donald Trump takes the White House.

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Ahead of Tonight’s GOP Debate – A New Budget Deal

The breaking news Tuesday out of Washington was that Congressional Leaders reached a Federal budget deal that would prevent a shutdown of the Government for the next two years.  The budget allows for minor increases in public spending for both 2016 and 2017 (approximately 1.5% each year) and removes the cap on the debt ceiling through 2017.

Members of the GOP Freedom Caucus – predictably – were upset at the deal, calling it a “backroom deal.”  While the Freedom Caucus is quick to lament any spending whatsoever by the Federal Government, the individual members appear to not understand that starving the Federal government and forcing it into shutdown is not going to benefit the US in any way.  Yes, there absolutely needs to be control around the budget process, but the US cannot continue to tempt fate every six months.

The implications of this budget deal are an interesting turn of events within Congress.  Speaker John Boehner, who just a few months ago appeared to be very publically defeated by the extremists in his own party, used his resignation to fuel the deal.  Agree or disagree with the deal, it is still truly amazing what politicians can get done when they are no longer campaigning for reelection.  Speaker Boehner’s deal also makes life significantly easier for Rep. Paul Ryan who will likely be the next Speaker of the House.  Though Rep. Ryan will be unable to support the deal, taking the issue off the table gives him a lot more time.

The budget deal will be a topic of great interest in tonight’s third GOP debate.  Sen. Ted Cruz has already been very vocal about “hating” the deal, so expect him as well as the others, to continue that rhetoric.  The GOP hopefuls are currently 100% focused on pandering to ultra-Conservative voters from a select number of states so the assumption is that they will continue to serve these groups huge helpings of red meat (even though this may now cause cancer).

Who will win this debate is anyone’s guess.  Trump will continue to have outrageous soundbites, Carson will continue to speak in his ‘not entirely sure what I am saying as I say it’ manner, Jeb will continue to avoid his last name.  Undoubtedly, this debate will continue the GOP circus that we have seen for the past few months.

What can we hope for?  Well, several GOP candidates should go the way of the dodo after this debate.  If the Democrats were able to eliminate Sen. Jim Webb and Gov. Lincoln Chaffee after just one debate, the GOP should see more than just Gov. Perry and Gov. Walker out of the field.

For the sake of the GOP the following candidates should suspend their campaigns tonight:

  • Jim Gilmore (0%)
  • George Pataki (0.4%)
  • Rick Santorum (0.7%)
  • Bobby Jindal (0.7%)
  • Lindsey Graham (1.2%)
  • Chris Christie (2.4%)

None of these individuals have a shot at being President of the United States.  All they are doing is further embarrassing the GOP and distracting voters.  There is no reason to continue running.

 

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The Dems Debate – What did we learn?

October 13th, 2015, the Democrats have finally started their race for the White House.  After seemingly hundreds of Republican debates, speeches, and interviews, it was nice to hear from the “other side of the aisle” for a change.  In contrast to what, at times, has felt like a GOP circus, the debate between Democrat candidates felt more relaxed and balanced.

That, however, does not mean that the night was without issue.  CNN’s debate format was confusing and poorly enforced.  Anderson Cooper did not have any control over the forum and was consistently run over by the candidates.  In many responses, the Democrat hopefuls were able to get to full Speech on the Washington Lawn mode while Cooper meagerly uttered “thank you” in the background.  It was not a good look for CNN, but it was also not the organization’s worst look.

Being clever is an artform.  Throwing reporters on stage that identify with a particular racial group (African American, Hispanic) to ask the hard questions related to their races came off as tone deaf.  It smelled of an organization that was attempting to pander to certain groups rather than actually challenge the candidates.  It was both poorly conceived and poorly executed.

The Rapid Reaction

Clinton and Sanders both landed exactly where they were predicted to land.  There are many, many outlets praising these two candidates as the obvious victors so there is no need to parrot those statements.  Sanders brought his fiery conviction and dedication to his cause; his supporters would be proud of his performance.  Clinton showed that despite being involved in almost every scandal that could be brought to the table, she is still a polished debater and a talented politician.

Martin O’Malley wins the award for Best Performance by an Unknown Politician.  As the Governor of Maryland, O’Malley was able to lean on his implementation of a number of the planks that the Democrat Party has set as a national agenda.  He was excited and had clear talking points (specifically on green energy and infrastructure).  O’Malley isn’t going to replace Sanders or Clinton any time soon, but may have put himself firmly in the race for the Vice President position – likely of Clinton – with his performance.

A VP with Executive experience and a clear pet project would be a very good running mate for Clinton.  O’Malley’s VP chances will ultimately be hindered by being from a state (Maryland) that is somewhat inconsequential with regard to the Electoral College and, additionally, the fact that Maryland is also on the east coast.

The Time to Stop

As with the GOP debates, there were candidates that were overmatched and clearly not prepared for prime-time (see Perry, Rick).  Senator Webb and Governor Chafee were unnecessary additions to the debate and when each reviews his performance, should be embarrassed enough to hang up the gloves.

Senator Webb spent a significant amount of his limited time complaining about not getting enough time to speak.  When he did speak, his points landed somewhere between forgettable and baffling.  Specifically when asked “What enemy is he most proud of?”  Senator Webb replied “the soldier in Vietnam that threw a grenade at him, but he isn’t around anymore to say it.”

Viewers can, rightly, take this from that response:  Senator Webb is most proud of killing a stranger, who was likely a farmer or some other peasant, in a foreign country, fighting for reasons that he did not fully understand.  This was a disgusting response by the Senator.

Governor Chafee was equally as bad in his performance.  While he spent the majority of the time doing a terrible Senator Palpatine before he reveals that he is a Sith Lord impression, it was his final statement that was sure to cause an issue with the residents of one particular state.  Noting that he “turned around Rhode Island” was one of the most laughable statements that any politician has made, Republican or Democrat.

Rhode Island continues to recover in spite of the terrible leadership it has received over the past 10 years.  Governor Chafee’s four years in office left no significant policies or accomplishments in his wake.  In fact, his approval ratings were so low at the end of his first term, he didn’t consider running for office again.  It is disingenuous to state that Rhode Island has been turned around when it is still very much trying to recover.

Biggest Winner

The real winner tonight was the Democratic Party itself.  CNN moderation and murderous Senator Webb aside, the party came across as very much sane.  As the Republican Party continues to waffle around petty social issues that have already been resolved, the Democrats laid out clear paths to move the country forward.  Sure, Senator Sanders’ plan would require significant tax increases, but at a minimum he gave voters something tangible to think about.

Republicans at this stage are still indicating that they need to “tap into America’s greatness and break the Washington machine.”  What the GOP fails to realize is that the Washington machine has already been broken and that, in itself, is the issue.

Image: CNN

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