March 28, 2016

Sanders - not the Comeback Kid, rather a symptom

Bernie Sanders won three caucuses over the weekend - Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. He's still not going to win, but he's a symptom of the underlying problem for Democrats just like Donald Trump is embodying on the Republican side during this election cycle.  The problem for Democrats is on the horizon but not that far off.  

Sanders made up delegate ground and in a high percentage way.  But in terms of total delegates, and Superdelegates, Sanders merely did that which was incumbent upon him to not have to shut down his campaign.

To say Sanders has an uphill battle is an understatement.  It's more like up-a-mountain.  That is not to say it's an impossible task, but if I had to lay odds on the eventual nominee I'd say it's 99% likely that it's going to be Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats have not yet gone through a full blown anti-establishment house cleaning like the Republicans are currently experiencing. They probably thought Obama was it back in 2008.  By now there's perhaps a comfort level given that they've had the White House for 8 years and they think they are the establishment so the status quo is okay.

Not so.

The Democratic party is seeing some of its own grass roots revolt in the support of Bernie Sanders.  Here's the problem (for them).  If they ignore the situation the way the GOP did, they will allow the vacuum of solutions to the discontent to be filled with the likes of Bernie Sanders and fellow socialists.  They'll become an overtly socialist political party.  

That's potentially good for Republicans who would fill the vacuum everywhere right of far left progressivism.  But it's also very worrisome for the country.  What if they become a successful socialist Democratic party?  That ends American exceptionalism.  Both parties have had the chance to clean up their acts before open revolts have happened.  Democrats need to wake up and realize that their status quo day of reckoning is coming and just like the Republicans, and that not being ready for it will lead to chaos.

March 26, 2016

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Algeria)

And now for a trip to Africa, Algeria to be specific.

March 25, 2016

Wishing you a wonderful Good Friday

Friday Musical Interlude - The Old Landmark

Finishing up March's Friday Musical Interlude theme with another gospel song. This time James Brown sings The Old Landmark from the Blues Brothers movie.

March 22, 2016

Rob Ford, forerunner of Trump dies

Rob Ford has died of cancer today.  Rest in peace.  He was legislatively my candidate but personally - not so much.

Rob Ford wasn't ever supposed to win anything, but he ran for mayor and won.  He was boorish, loudmouthed, opinionated and often disgusting.  Yet he won, and he governed as a fiscal conservative as he promised.  He was in many ways a forerunner of Trump.

And he won.

Trump may have borrowed a page.

Tonight's the night

Not for Rod Stewart, tonight is the night in Utah and Arizona where we see if Ted Cruz has any realistic chance of having enough momentum to possibly win the Republican nomination.  If not, Trump's inevitability is certain.  Cruz needs a big win tonight or the primaries are realistically over.

March 21, 2016

Why Free Trade needs a level playing field.

I believe over the next 100 years or so, wages globally will normalize and companies won't need to offshore jobs for competitive advantage (or competitive necessity).  At that point true free trade will exist.  That will require years of intelligently negotiated trade deals, not half-thought-through deals like the TPP.

Clearly we're not there yet and countries like China continue to game the system.  Not dealing with that only works to the detriment the United States.

Hence the popular support for Donald Trump's position on getting fair trade deals.

March 20, 2016

Sunday Verse

Hear me out on this conspiracy theory

File this one under paranoid conspiracy theories if you must.  BUT...

John Kasich is staying in the race for the Republican nomination for president despite the fact that he he needs to win more than 100% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. Why stay in the race?  The nominal explanation is that he's there to deny Trump the nomination.  I am starting to believe*  it is for an entirely different reason.

Hear me out.
  1.  The GOP establishment dislike Ted Cruz more than they do Donald Trump
  2.  Kasich is an establishment darling (more so now that Rubio is out)
  3.  Trump is a dealmaker.  

March 19, 2016

March 17, 2016

Remember when Romney opposed a brokered convention?

Way way back in 2012, Romney didn't want a brokered convention.So for the sake of consistency , I am sure he will opposed a brokered convention this year.  Ya, that's gonna happen.

Obama nominates SCOTUS appointee

Merrick Garland has been nominated by president Obama to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the passing of  Justice Scalia.

Here's what the GOP in the Senate should do:  NOTHING

Full stop.

March 16, 2016

Quick prognostication self-review

Since I bothered to make some predictions for last night, it's only fair I critique my skill.

Ohio - I predicted Clinton (narrowly) and John Kasich. While I thought Sanders would run closer to Clinton but he did outperform the polling.  So I'm giving myself 2 for 2 on Ohio.

Florida - I expected both Clinton and Trump would win handily and they did.  2 for 2 again.

North Carolina - I expected Clinton and Trump and again went 2 for 2.  Why? The polling was just to slanted to think anything otherwise.

So for the easy ones I went 6 for 6.  Now we reach the part where I start to fall apart.

Illinois - I predicted Bernie momentum would carry him in Illinois.  Wrong.He made it close and got 67 delegates to Clinton's 88. Hillary won by a roughly 1.5% margin. I was close, but wrong. I also predicted Ted ruz would pick up the state.  He broke 30% support but Trump hit 38%.  Wrong again.  I can take comfort in the directional notion that there was a bit of a Cruz surge, but I'm 0 for 2 on Illinois.

Missouri - I picked Sanders and Cruz.  Both lost to Clinton and Trump respectively by 0.2% in right races.  I think I deserve 1 out of 2 because both were super tight and recounts are possible.  But I'll take the zero again.

So I went 6 for 10.  Not terrible. 

I also expected 420 delegates for Clinton and a ceiling of 200 for Trump. Clinton has 442 on the night according to Politico. Trump garnered 204.  I think I'm 2/2 on that.  I also predicted 66 for Kasich (correctly) from Ohio but he also picked up 5 in Missouri. I picked a ceiling of 150 for Cruz (optimistically for sure). Cruz got 41. Ouch.  I'll give myself 1/2 on Cruz and Kasich.

Overall 9/14 or 64%.  Not bad - I'll take it.

March 15, 2016

Rubio is out

Rubio is reportedly dropping out of the race.  Not a big surprise given his showing in Florida.

Ides of March primary predictions

For what it's worth I'll continue to predict primary outcomes despite my tepid results so far.  It seems my strength is not my predictive abilities (to be honest, that's my day job but I ave better tools and more data directly at my disposal) but rather interpreting events and issues through my own conservative lens.

Nevertheless here's my predictions of primary victories.

On the Democratic side with Hillary Clinton leading in most every poll, seemingly a lock in each state, I'm going to pick a couple of upsets:

Ohio - Clinton will earn a narrow win but will take 88 or more of Ohio's 160 delegates
Florida -  Clinton will win handily and take a minimum of 124 of the state's 214 delegates 
Illinois - Sanders will earn a narrow win but take only 70 of the state's total 156 delegates
North Carolina - Clinton will win handily and take 81 or more of the 121 state delegates
Missouri - Sanders will earn a narrow win but both he and Hillary will wind up with 41 delegates

Hillary Clinton will able to claim victory on the night, swallowing up a lot of ground in the delegate count (420+ of 733 by my estimation) and equally importantly eating up the clock giving Sanders still less time to mount a comeback and further to travel to get there.

On the Republican side I'm going to go out on a limb as well.  Why not?

Florida - Trump will romp and take all 99 of the winner take all delegate count.  Rubio staying in as the anti-Trump option for Florida will be regarded by future historians as an all-time classic politcal blunder, both for Rubio and for the forces aligned against Trump. (I'm using aligned tongue-in-cheek here).
Ohio - John Kasich is going to pull this one out and take all 66 delegates.  The biggest loser in this scenario has to be Ted Cruz because Kasich will carry on and ensure Trump wins the delegate race come convention time. Kasich unwittingly will be enabling Trump and crippling the Republican party by splitting the anti-Trump votes and ensuring a brokered convention that will not end will for the GOP.
Illinois - Ted Cruz will upset Trump in Illinois and win up to the state's 69 delegates. The state is winner-take-all but with a twist, so Cruz may not end up with all of the delegates.
North Carolina - Trump wins this 72 delegate state, taking perhaps 2/3 of the proportional delegates with the majority of the remainder going to Cruz.
Missouri - this is going to be a too-close-to-call between Trump and Cruz. The state is a winner-take-most delegates and if my other predictions hold true, this state with 52 delegates could matter significantly.

By my math, Trump could end up with close to 200 delegates. Kasich will win his 66. Cruz' ceiling looks to be about 150 delegates. With 358 delegates up for grabs, it'll be an interesting night for the GOP.

Election poker hands

It's interesting to see how various parties are playing their hands this primary season. It's as if this were a long poker game.

Hillary Clinton is trying to bluff her way through emailgate even as another technician has pleaded the 5th amendment right to not self incriminate in her server scandal. With one already given immunity and another seemingly on the same course, it's starting to look like it's not Hillary's word against a single technician with a grudge, but rather at a minimum, two voices and some potential eventual email evidence. Should she bluff her way through the primaries, then get indicted, does she have to fold her hand?  On the other hand if the FBI cannot compile enough evidence, she can fall back to her stale argument of a "vast right wing conspiracy" to indict her and her bluff might actually succeed.

March 14, 2016

John Kasich's attempt to self-disqualify

John Kasich it seems, does not want to win the Republican nomination.  I'm sure he's gone a long way to win the establishment vote, with his recent comments on immigration but that's not gonna help him win anything. Self-disqualify though?  Ya.

Via Breitbat:
On the GOP debate stage in February, Kasich told millions of American voters that enforcing the nation’s immigration laws is not “the kind of values that we believe in.”

“I couldn’t even imagine how we would even begin to think about taking a mom or a dad out of a house when they have not committed a crime since they’ve been here, leaving their children in the house,” Kasich said. “That is not, in my opinion, the kind of values that we believe in.”
So let's just skip over that oath of office where you swear to protect and defend the Constitution, John.  Let's just be selective about which laws we choose to enforce.  Does that approach sound familiar to conservatives? Ya. And we don't like it.

Way to hand an Ohio surge to Trump.  But he's not done, as the article points out.
“A lot of these people who are here are some of the hardest-working, God-fearing, family-oriented people you can ever meet,” Kasich said referring to illegal immigrants. “These are people who are contributing significantly.”

Kasich made no mention of the fact that 87 percent of illegal immigrant households with children in 2012 were on welfare, according to a 2015 report based on Census Bureau data.
And what about the hard working families who were here already? What about the families that struggled and waited to come to America legally? Do they just count for squat? Do their job prospects not matter? Apparently.

March 12, 2016

Damn Straight

There's some coarse language in this, but is it ever correct.  As an aside, I learned what SJW means, as I saw it three times today, including in this video, and I had to look it up.

Quote of the day

Quote of the day goes to John Sexton at Hot Air for part of his ninth observation about liberal goons stopping a Trump rally;
...But if the issue is lack of civility then that should include the people on the left who seem to think they get to decide when and where anyone they disagree with gets to speak, i.e. Chicago is liberal turf and so the 1st Amendment is regulated by mob action there.
 Yes.  Let's not just gloss over that fact.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh, and third order enclaves. No kidding.

March 11, 2016

Florida Republican debate observations

Marco Rubio had the best performance at the debate last night, not because the hometown crowd applause for many of his points, but rather because he made some truly substantive points and sounded more presidential than Ted Cruz (my personal preference).

John Kasich in focus groups appeared to do well but I didn't see it.  He seemed very centrist which I found unappealing but the real problem for him as a candidate was his demeanor.  He seemed tired.  It reminded me of the George W. Bush debate where he was leaning on the podium and looked like he wanted to be somewhere else.  Kasich didn't display it to the same level, it was more subtle.  But it seemed to me that he was just waiting for Ohio be over so he can drop out.  Maybe I'm wrong but that was the impression I got.

Ted Cruz did well but in order for him to move the dial on future results he's got to expand his message to a broader audience.  There's only one way to do that.  Ted - we know you'd govern as a Constitutional conservative, move past it.  The single issue that would move the dial for Cruz would be for him to focus on the economy and jobs and job security.  He's hit on it a few times but he needs to do it more.

Donald Trump looked more presidential (and as I write, his press conference with Ben Carson's endorsement he's seeming it even more).  What I found fascinating was his closing argument about Supreme Court justice appointments over the next four years. v If he meant what he said, that's a powerful argument for those doubting his conservative credentials.  Let's see if he hits on that more going forward.

Overall, I don't think the debate will change any expected results in the next few states.  It may add a few points for Trump and for Rubio, but there is not going to be a paradigm shift out of it.

Friday Musical Interlude - Amazing Grace

Soweto Gospel Choir's rendition of Amazing Grace.

Trump's disingenuous Middle East talking point

A quick thought on Donald Trump's statement during the debate last night about the Middle East.  Specifically, Trump mentioned, and has also done so numerous times in the past, that all the current problems in the Middle East are a result of the invasion of Iraq.


Israel has been the despised focal point of Arabic countries since even before it's existence in 1948.  Israeli athletes were killed during the Munich Olympics in 1972. The Iranians took American hostages in 1979. The World Trade Center was attacked in 1995.

Those are but a few examples.  It's a complex issue that goes back centuries.

Trump is either uninformed or deliberately disingenuous.

March 10, 2016

Debate fatigue

Watching the Florida Republican debate tonight, I'm impressed that the tone is more civil, and that's predominantly because of Trump.  The other candidates have, with a few obvious exceptions, been more civil and it's not surprising to see them return to form.  Actually Trump's increased civility is not surprising either. He's leading and he's likely entered into the "don't make a mistake" phase of his campaign.  Civility supports that notion, and in fact may help him appear more presidential and garner him a few more marginal votes.

But what's becoming abundantly clear to me, as a political junkie no less, is that I'm starting to suffer from debate fatigue. It's not because of the tone of the debates.  It's not because of the Democratic party debates.  They're as awful as they always have been. What's driving it is after having seen dozens of debates, I've started feeling like I'm watching reruns.  The content from each candidate is truly repetitive.  Some of that is to be expected since the candidates want to ensure their specific messages are driven home with voters, especially casual-interest voters.  But for those of us watching each one, it's seeming more and more like an entrenchment of positions, and nothing is going to change in the polls if the debates don't contain some game changers.

Where are the details on new proposals?  Where are the new ideas or messages every week?

The reason I'm watching now, is not to learn anything new - debate fatigue has sunk in - but rather to witness the horse race and see who is making up or losing ground.  That's not the purpose of a debate, but it has become that way for me and I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.


March 9, 2016

Everybody is wrong

Donald Trump is wrong.  His bluster and uncouth campaign for the Republican nomination is looking more and more like a winning formula - but not so in the general election against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.  In order to win there, he's going to have to start, immediately, looking presidential, sounding knowledgeable on a myriad of issues by actually having some details at the ready.

Polls indicate that Trump will get decimated in the general election.  Except the polls are wrong.  Before yesterday polls had Hillary Clinton trouncing Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary in Michigan. By not a little, but by A LOT  Except she didn't. She lost.

People in the 'anybody but Trump' camp are wrong too.  Not that he should be the nominee.  I personally trust him about as far as I could throw the GOP elephant.  He's not my first choice.  He could fundamentally screw up the Supreme Court for decades. He really could.  But people wanting Trump to go away, are using the vs. Hillary polling as their latest reason that Trump should not be the nominee.  Their timing could not be worse as the latest evidence shows that polls on Hillary aren't as rock solid as liberals believe Hillary's chances are.  Angry Trump voters are not blind.  Trump very well could be the most beatable general election Republican in the field but six months ago people thought he was the most beatable Republican in the primaries. Current evidence supports their mistrust for polls not the the reverse - polls are not going to repudiate Trump supporters' faith.

Wanting Trump to falter in his quest for the nomination is not a bad thing, but the latest set of tactics are as wrong as the previous ones.

Then again, I could be wrong.

March 8, 2016

The best path for Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is definitely not going to be the GOP nominee for 2016. Should he stay in and hope for a miracle?  Should he stick it out through Florida? Neither.  Here's why.

Marco Rubio does have a path to the presidency.  It just doesn't cross the finish line in 2016.  He's got some image repair to do.  Bowing out now would prove he's not an establishment lapdog.  It would prove he's not blind to reality.  It would prove he's gracious.  And it would prove he's willing to put the needs of many on the party (the anti-Trump factions) ahead of himself.

It would give him 4 to 8 years to re-define himself among conservatives.  He needs it.  The best path for Rubio is to bow out, because it's the best path for his political career and more importantly for the party.

Trump Day

Donald Trump has won Michigan and Mississippi this evening. Hillary Clinton has so far apparently earned a split of those two states with Sanders.

Kasich and Rubio combined in Mississippi garnered less than 15% of the vote, less than 36%.  They need to get out of the race.  The only purpose they can serve now is to win their own states and forestall Trump and possibly force a brokered convention.  If they can actually win their home states.  It's becoming highly questionable that they can.  And if they are successful, they might actually bring down the Republican party with a brokered convention.  Ted Cruz, despite having a bad day, is the only real other alternative at this point.

Hillary Clinton meanwhile is struggling with Bernie Sanders. She's appearing more and more to be a weak candidate for the general election, just like Trump.

This is bizarro world.

March 7, 2016

Ted Cruz birtherism is not flying

Donald Trump may be a lot of things, but one thing he most certainly is, is a birther.  After the Obama birth certificate died down, well over a year later, Trump jumped on the bandwagon and claimed he was the one who finally put the issue to rest, that should have been put to rest long before.  It kinda had - nobody was talking about it at that point except Trump.

I guess he could try to claim the same for illegal immigration, although that never really went away.

But more recently he decided to try the same tactic on Ted Cruz. Except it's fizzling fast;
Washington (CNN) A New York judge has dismissed a petition that claimed Ted Cruz was not eligible to run for President of the United States because he is not a "natural born citizen."

Judge David A. Weinstein's ruling was procedural, stating that the petitioners, Barry Korman and William Gallo, failed to submit timely objections, which stripped the court of jurisdiction over the petition. His ruling did not consider the actual merits of whether Cruz, who was born in Canada, qualified as a natural-born citizen in this year's presidential election.
Ultimately this is a sideshow and will go nowhere.  As the article points out, the horse is out of the barn. And in reality, the case is baseless. Trump knows it's pointless, just as he did with Obama but it's a tactic and he's using them all.

March 6, 2016

Republican Primaries - Looking Ahead Scientifically

I've been looking at the results of the previous primaries and caucuses for Republicans from a electoral math perspective and a few things have jumped out at me that indicate Trump will not win the nomination prior to the convention.

A few things are abundantly clear- Trump has dominated the open contest states - that is, in states where the primaries are open, or open to Republicans and Independents only.  His leads in those states have been quite dramatic and tie in significantly to the increased, often record participation in the GOP primaries this cycle.  His strength is coming from the Big Tent view of Republican success.  Setting aside the possibility of a liberal scheme to thwart the Republican nomination process and induce an ersatz candidate to go against Hillary Clinton, that is one of the main sources of Trump's strength.

Another interesting point is that while Ted Cruz has been considered the most successful and organized caucus victor, Marco Rubio has won the one Open caucus state to date (Minnesota).  That aside, Cruz has done the best so far in other caucus states.  More interestingly, Cruz has a slim lead on Trump in closed primaries.  Republicans it seems, prefer Cruz's brand of promised reform to Trump's.

With those factors in mind I've looked at the upcoming contests across type (caucus/primary), openness (Open/Closed/Partially Open) and delegate allocation (proportional/winner-take-all). As a caveat, I have not yet looked in detail at polling in remaining states which could change what I've seen so far.  

I believe Florida could be a wild card that will change subsequent voting patterns.  Another factor I have not layered in is when and if Kasich and Rubio drop out. of the race.

Aside from that. there are 1237 delegates needed to win the nomination. I cannot see a path for Trump to get above 1165 delegates prior to the convention. That's his ceiling and it's more likely he ends up in the neighborhood of 1036 delegates to Ted Cruz' 850-900 delegates.  Rubio could get as high as 409 delegates but as few as he has now ~128, if he loses Florida and drops out. Kasich is a non-factor.  I don't see him breaking 100 delegates and he seems to be sticking around to deliver Ohio to the eventual nominee and/or play spoiler to Donald Trump.

More to come.

Nancy Reagan R.I.P.

Former first lady, and definitely the classiest of the last century, Nancy Reagan has passed away. Rest in Peace Mrs. Reagan.

Sunday Verse

How Democrats killed Detroit

Bill Whittle tells it like it is.

March 5, 2016

If Cruz does well today...

If Ted Cruz does well today in closed contest state primaries then this is a new race.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (China)

A geographical review of China.

Why Trump remains bulletproof (so far)

I'm spit-balling with this post, basically thinking out loud. If it doesn't make sense, I apologize.  I'm just trying to figure out the calculus behind the anti-Trump movement within the GOP.

Charles Krauthammer has a piece on why Trump is not a 'defender of the faith' and the fact that his polling strength with Evangelicals is built on trickery and deception. He's wrong.  Evangelicals like everyone else, sense the country is faltering badly and that's the source of Trump's strength.  Krauthammer proceeds to attempt to tear down Trump but again, he does so in an incorrect way that will not work.  Trump so far has been bulletproof in the polls. There's a reason for that.

So far any attacks on Trump have been diffused because unlike regular politicians people believe he intends to do what he says. He's going to fix the economy.  He's going to have free trade but on a level playing field.  He's going to rebuild the military.  He's going to build a wall.  Whether he succeeds in all of that is practically a moot point.  His strength comes from the fact he completely intends to do it.  That's different from Business As Usual establishment Republicans and Democrats.

While the focus of the media has shifted to the debate mudslinging, the focus of the attacks on Trump have shifted in a different way.  That's the real story.


Initially the GOP establishment had a raft of candidates, including the invincible Jeb Bush. They figured that they could ignore Trump and his bluster would take himself out.  It didn't happen.  Too many establishment types in the race vying for the same voters virtually ensured Trump a head start.  It was foolish to think beyond that Iowa there should still be a  Bush, a Kasich, a Rubio and a Christie still trying to win.  Ego most certainly played a part in that.


Realizing that Trump had some momentum the first approach other candidates took was to attack Trump's conservative bona fides. He's a liberal.  He's going to appoint liberal Supreme Court jutices. Hr's not really going to build a wall.  But Trump kept winning.

His conservative bona fides don't matter for reasons similar to those that Krauthammer enumerates with Evangelicals. Voters are making a trade-off - giving up perfection in exchange for a big shake-up of the status quo that is clearly not working.  Rightly or wrongly, that's what they are thinking. That line of attack, while actually meaningful, isn't going to work.  3 liberal Supreme Court justice appointments would sink the country.  But people aren't seeing that long term, they're seeing a country stuck on stupid in D.C. and in need of a shock.


Rubio briefly pivoted to Trump having no specifics (remember the circles around the states exchange in the second to last debate?) but did not stick with that approach for long.  The problem with that one is that Trump has an out for the specifics attack - he says he'll get the smartest people. That won't hold up against Clinton.  The last debate the panel tried to take him on with specifics about cutting waste.  He danced well enough but that won't be effective forever. That's the biggest problem facing Trump - he can't skirt specifics forever. "Believe me", "Kudlow", "You're polling at 15%" will wear thin before November.

But there wasn't enough time and effort given to this tactic.  Ultimately, tricky and specific questions could be his undoing.  Maybe not.  President Obama once talked about visiting 57 states. It didn't hurt him.


The establishment getting desperate decided to chop away at his strength of really honestly wanting to help the country - he's not honest, so don't trust him.  He's a "con man", "a liar".  The ad hominem attacks have started.  While it smacks of desperation, it's still the next logical step.  They've tried not conservative, they've tried not qualified and those attacks haven't worked.  Now the liar/con man attacks have to stick or else they are left with some truly desperate measures. 


A consolidation of anti-Trump candidates into Rubio alone is the second to last option for the establishment. Rubio is the establishments last chance in a head to head contest.  It's a weak plan for a couple of reasons. Firstly Rubio would have to be the guy.  Kasich is delusional if he thinks he can win anywhere but Ohio. And it with absolute certainty it cannot be Cruz.  The establishment would prefer Trump to Cruz because Trump has shrewdly hinted he's flexible and they can therefore work with him, whereas Cruz wants the reforms Trump claims to be ready to do, e.g. abolish the IRS.  

Trump seems to see this and is shrewdly being nicer to Cruz and attacking Rubio instead.  He wants Cruz to be the last man standing against him because the establishment will end up backing him and not Cruz. 

Also the Rubio solution requires both Kasich and Cruz bow out.  Neither seems likely. In addition Rubio seems far less comfortable in the debates and in general than a few weeks ago.  He seems less like the guy.


That leaves a brokered convention where the nomination gets pulled out from under Trump (assuming he's leading at that point) and given to Rubio or perhaps even Romney. That's a nuclear option because it means maintaining the status quo at the cost of the general election.  Not only will Trump voters turn on the party, some of those who had previously supported the establishment, believing they have the country's best interest at heart and a better deportment to boot, will also balk.  A brokered convention will indeed blow up the GOP.

Will Trump be stopped?  I can't say.  Is he stoppable?  I think he is but I think it will take a surge for Cruz and a two man race.  I don't think that's going to happen.

How will he do against Hillary Clinton?  I think he's the most beatable candidate remaining versus Hillary, but he's already exceeded expectations.  Maybe that will continue.

March 4, 2016

Opinions - some recommended reading

Laura Ingraham on Trump's path (and Cruz' path) to defeating an entrenched establishment. Spot on and an excellent but quick read.

Peggy Noonan believes the Republican part is in it's death throws.  I disagree.  It's being swept clean of an entrenched establishment which is absolutely necessary in both parties.  Whether it gets replaced with something better or worse is actually moot - if Trump wins and is a disaster he'll be quickly swept aside in four years.  That said, these points are especially incisive;
Party leaders and thinkers should take note: It’s easier for a base to hire or develop a flashy new establishment than it is for an establishment to find itself a new base...

The establishment was slow to see what was happening, slow to see Mr. Trump coming, in full denial as he continued to win. Their denial is self-indicting. They couldn’t see his appeal because they had no idea how their own people were experiencing America.
Bobby Jindal, unlike Noonan, believes it's not the GOP Establishment that created the Trump political animal.  He blames Obama. He argues among other things;
You can draw a straight line between a president who dismisses domestic terrorist attacks as incidents of workplace violence and a candidate who wants to ban Muslims from entering the country.
Jonathan V. Last thinks Ted Cruz crushed the Detroit debate

Meanwhile Bruce Walker explains just how weak of a candidate Hillary will be in November.  And an Investors Business Daily editorial thinks she's right to fear Trump.

Mark Cunningham claims there's no GP establishment cabal, just entrenched interests, but they have brought Trump's hostile takeover upon themselves.

Friday Musical Interlude - Bye and Bye

This month another new theme for Friday Musical Interludes.  Today, Bye and Bye sung by the Georgia Mass Choir.

March 3, 2016

Mitt Romney's secret agenda.

Hey Mitt, no one cares.

The man who many conservatives felt they had to hold their nose to vote for because he wasn't really a conservative, Mitt Romney, doesn't want people to consider doing the same for Donald Trump.  This is the same man who touted a Trump endorsement in 2012, and then subsequently lost a winnable election against Barack Obama.

Let me be clear - I do not believe Trump is the best nominee in the Republican field. By far.  Although I do believe he'd be a far better president than Clinton or Sanders even though that's a low bar to clear.

But let me also be clear - Mitt's words would carry more weight if he had actually won something at the federal level.  Maybe Mitt was just figuring he could influence the voters in the state he ran as governor - Massachusetts - in this year's primary.  Oops  - Donald Trump already won the primary there earlier this week.

What Mitt said today does the same thing that Mexican statements about the wall do for Trump - it validates that he's onto something.  In the case of Mitt Romney its about an establishment Republican attacking an outsider yet again.  It helps cement the idea that Trump is really an outsider running against all of Washington.

Secret agenda?

Then again, maybe the GOP secretly have calculated they can pin that outsider label on Trump by 'opposing' him.  Disaffected voters might flock to a candidate in the general election if they believe establishment leaders in neither party can stomach him.  If the GOP were so clever as to use the tactic of distancing themselves from Trump in order to get him elected, I'd actually be impressed. They'd be using the antipathy and apathy towards Mitt Romney (and others) as a lever to improve the odds for Trump winning the nomination and the general election. 

It makes sense in the context of who is staying in the race besides Trump: 2 establishment candidates and two outsiders to split the votes of non-Trump voters.  With both Kasich and Rubio sticking around no other establishment candidate can win enough.  With Cruz and Carson in the race, the outsider vote is split three ways (mostly towards Trump), but it keeps the possibility of no anti-Trump candidate to coalesce votes. Maybe Trump is the establishment's guy.

If that's the case, and the establishment is secretly behind Trump by being against him, I'm impressed.  Not that I'd like the idea, but it would be a smart move.

Does Mexico secretly want a wall?

Mexico seems like it wants to ensure a Trump presidency.  First there was Vincente Fox saying he's not paying for the wall.  No Mexico's finance minister is saying the same thing;
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - There is no way Mexico would fund Donald Trump's "terrible" plan to build a wall along its border with the United States if the Republican front-runner wins the U.S. presidential election, the Mexican finance minister said.

Trump, the New York billionaire developer and former reality television star, sparked outrage in Mexico when he vowed to force Latin America's second largest economy to pay for a wall along the southern U.S. border to stem the flow of illegal immigration and drugs.

In a televised interview late on Wednesday, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray categorically rejected the proposal.

"Under no circumstance will Mexico pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing," he said. "Building a wall between Mexico and the United States is a terrible idea. It is an idea based on ignorance and has no foundation in the reality of North American integration."
Saying there's no problem ignores the reality on the ground in America.  There is a problem, and it requires a solution. Mexican officials pretending no problem exists helps Trump.  Saying you won't pay for it, in the face of an angry and frustrated electorate worried about crime, drugs, and jobs inflames that frustration and also helps Trump.  It's not clear how Trump expects to get Mexico to pay for the wall - his answers have been ambiguous, evasive and frankly grade school.  Nor is it clear that people buy that Mexico would actually agree to pay for it, no matter what trade leverage Trump alludes to having.  People might not even care about that part.  Then again, they might want to see him try.  But they want a broken immigration fixed almost as much as they want jobs.

Clearly Mexico either doesn't get it or wants to deal with Trump.  If they really don't want him to win, they'd tackle the problem head on (in other ways) rather than antagonizing Trump supporters or even undecided voters.  If Mexico is so against it, maybe there is something to Trump's steadfast insistence on it. So might go the thinking of a lot of Americans.

If Mexico really does not want a wall, do they even care that people are fleeing to America?  What sort of message that send to Mexico's poor?  Go away. That's what it's telling them. But why then, antagonize Trump when he's winning primaries?  That almost ensures that if he wins the presidency it's going to happen.  His ego won't allow otherwise.  That makes Mexican reactions so perplexing.

March 2, 2016

Tone it Down!

Sometimes I imagine that Democrats banded together in secret and decided to disseminate the idea to broader liberal groups to have Democrats register as Republicans and vote for Trump in an effort to disrupt the Republican primaries and get Donald Trump to end up the nominee.  After all the numbers of Republican primary voters have been surprisingly high this cycle.  Yes, there are a lot of disgruntled Americans who want to fix the country.  Yes there was a big field of candidates.  But in some states the turnout was double that of 2008. Double.  A liberal plot just like Rush  Limbaugh's Operation Chaos in 2008 to thwart Hillary Clinton's nomination is not beyond the realm of possibility.

But while that's worth mentioning, it's not what is on my mind right now.  The level of panic and vitriol over Donald Trump, and from Donald Trump, needs to ratchet down about 40 notches.  

I'm speaking mainly to the anti-Trump crowd right now: Tone it Down.   There's a number of reasons that there's no need to panic yet.

(1)  Trump only has 25% of the delegates needed to win the nomination.  There's plenty of race left.
(2)  If Trump turns out to be the nominee, Hillary Clinton is still beatable (less so, but still beatable).
(3)  The heated rhetoric will not help your case with Trump voters. It may turn off non-Trump voters. This is especially true if Trump is now starting to tone it down himself.
(4)  In due course other candidates will drop out and non-Trump votes will coalesce around the other candidate.A brokered convention is a distinct possibility.
(5)  If fewer candidates cannot lead to an alternate delegate leader, guess what - you are no longer the majority within the Republican party.  You need to re-evaluate.

Just consider different ways to beat Trump.  Either he's unbeatable or he's beatable.  Panic and heated rhetoric won't turn the tide.

March 1, 2016

We need to make America whole again?

Hey Hillary, how about we just climb out of the hole your party has put America in?

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