Sandy Hook: Three Years Later

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Sandy Hook: Three Years Later


[The following is an excerpt from my thesis, which finds poignancy on this day.]

In Newtown, Connecticut, the fourteenth day of December, 2012, dawned like any other: frigid winter air latent with holiday spirit greeted those who awoke with the sun.  Students throughout the town prepared for school, willing the day’s passage so the weekend could be just a step away.  Around seven hundred young students buttoned their coats, zipped up their boots, and donned their hats, ready for another day at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The peaceful Thursday morning in the picturesque New England town did not last long.  Shortly after 9:30 am, when the doors to Sandy Hook Elementary locked, Adam Lanza used an assault rifle to shoot his way into the school.  Gunfire echoed through the hallways; teachers ushered students into bathrooms and closets.  Lanza focused his ire on two classrooms – one contained kindergartners and the other, first-graders.  He shot without discrimination and without regard to the sanctity of life.  Twenty students, aged 6 and 7, and six adults died in the massacre, which quickly become one of the bloodiest mass shootings in American history.  As follows many acts of such cowardice, Lanza took his own life when law enforcement approached him.  In a matter of minutes, a specter had been cast over the peaceful town, one that left deep scars whose pain – though numbed – lasts time indefinite.

Unsurprisingly, the tragedy had a deep impact on the American public.  A Quinnipiac University poll taken a month after the shooting found that 92 percent of Americans supported universal background checks for firearm purchases.  Ninety-one percent of gun owners also favored that policy (Quinnipiac University 2013).  Political scientists often contend that there is no such thing as “public opinion” because viewpoints are fractured or incomplete (owing to weak ideological preferences or a lack of information; Converse 1964).  A 92 percent majority, though, represents a strong public will.  Lawmakers reflective to the wants the national public ought to have passed legislation expanding the gun background check system.

That opportunity arose with the Manchin-Toomey amendment, bipartisan legislation aimed at closing background check loopholes.  With Joe Biden presiding over the Senate and a survivor of the Tucson mass shooting watching from the gallery, 46 Senators voted against invoking cloture.  The amendment failed, 54-46, despite having overwhelming public support.  In the wake of the second largest mass shooting in American history, the United States Senate acted contrary to the will of the public and opted to make no legislative fixes designed to prevent future calamities.

Post-mass shooting America is defined by inaction.  Politicians tweet their thoughts and their prayers; citizens watch, aghast with horror, as the news unfurls.  Fear skyrockets.  Gun sales and stocks surge in the coming days.  No laws ever get passed.  In fact, states tend to loosen gun laws in the years after horrendous mass shootings – a perverse act whose logic defies universal physics.  It’s a dance, steps known by all, choreographed to absolute perfection.  Move in sympathy, rhetorically twirl support and calls to action, leap around the issue, blaming everything from mental health to Islamic radicalization, but always step around the real issues: guns in America.

The politics of fear almost always trumps that of logic.  Political leaders tell us that we need more guns to keep ourselves safe; the NRA runs dark ads warning us our liberty is being threatened.  They say we need good guys with guns to stop the bad guys with guns.  Because what we all need most during a time of complete terror, fear, and panic – to name but a few emotions present during a mass shooting – is more guns and more bullets wielded by (well-meaning but) ill-trained amateurs.  Adding killer force to a darkened movie theatre, as in Aurora, does not fix the problem.  Arming every teacher in America mocks the idea of school safety.  Putting guns in the hands of all in malls, permitting – urging – them to shoot at a suspect when there are hundreds of innocent bystanders around, so easily hit with a stray bullet from an inexperienced marksman.  You don’t solve chaos by introducing more disorder to the system.  You prevent the chaos from happening in the first place.  You do that by restricting access to guns.

It’s now been three years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  In those three years, mass shootings have become a daily occurrence; we’ve become almost immune to the hashtags, the President’s heartfelt messages, the editorial boards desperately calling for legislative action.  And still, we, as a country, continue to do nothing, content to let 300+ million firearms work their way around the country, satisfied with hopes and prayers that one doesn’t fall into the hands of someone committed to violence.  We don’t have a solution – we have a “hold your breath and hope the next mass shooting doesn’t happen for a while” approach.  It’s insanity – actual insanity – to believe the problem will be fixed after continuing to change no variables in the equation.  We’re letting people die because we choose fear over answers.

It’s been three years since 20 young students and 6 Sandy Hook employees saw their lives – brimming with promise, shining with prospects eternal – cut short because of America’s insistence that all have access to deadly force.  Their blood, and that of all who have died since, is on our hands because our hands are too scared to write and pass legislation that addresses the root problem: guns.

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softbank donald trump

The Truth About SoftBank’s Investment

On December 6, Donald Trump announced that SoftBank would be investing $50 billion in America, a proclaimed deal for which Trump immediately — and erroneously — took credit, tweeting the following:

Of course, such self-congratulatory language misses, as it always does, nuance and simply lacks truth.

SoftBank announced in October that, in conjunction with the Saudi Arabian government, it would raise $100 billion to invest in technological startups to become the “biggest investor in the…sector.” The United States, home to the likes of Facebook, Google, Uber, and Apple, would obviously attract substantial investment. Startups are a dime a dozen in Silicon Valley and they’re always looking for more capital. It would be shocking if SoftBank forewent American investment.

The notion that SoftBank decided to invest $50 billion after an hour long meeting is simply ridiculous. This may shock Trump, but successful businesses don’t spontaneously throw billions of dollars at an idea after a short talk with someone who refers to tech as “the cyber.” The bank knew it would invest in America — there really is no better home for technological startup funds than our country — but waited until after the election to make its announcement in hopes of gaining favor with the incumbent, whoever it may have been.

By giving Trump credit for a massive investment though he is owed none, SoftBank hopes to curry favor with the incoming administration so its longstanding goal, merging Sprint and T-Mobile, will be completed. SoftBank bought Sprint in 2013 and, a year later, pursued T-Mobile in hopes of creating a cellular behemoth to challenge Verizon and AT&T for industry dominance. The Obama administration turned down the request because it would have significantly decreased market competition, hurting consumers. This has hurt SoftBank as Sprint lost value and laid off thousands during restructuring.

Donald Trump bends over backwards for those who compliment him. See, for instance, his admiration of tyrant and eliminator-of-dissent Vladimir Putin, upon whom Trump has lavished praise after Putin called Trump a “genius.” You compliment Trump or otherwise give him credit for happenings in which he had no influence and you will receive favors. SoftBank, of course, realizes this and plans to use Trump’s vanity to its advantage.

Trump understands the favor game and is willing to play. That, of course, is a huge risk as it raises the possibility of the administration playing clear favorites with certain businesses (at its worst, this could lead to rent-creation the specifically benefits supporters and targets opponents). SoftBank’s investment isn’t about Trump’s business genius, it’s about the ease of manipulating him. If SoftBank gets what it wants, consumers will suffer and Trump won’t bat an eye.

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free trade

Free Trade is a Benevolent Force Whose Discontents Can Be Managed

Donald Trump’s economic populism and nationalism helped propel him to an unlikely victory on November 8. But like most populist appeals, Trump’s attacks on economic cornerstones such as free trade fall well short of facts and reality and offered few — if any — actual solutions to globalization’s discontents. Democrats have increasingly become the party of free trade; however, as the party begins its trek through the wilderness, resurgent leftist populism risks following Trump down the path of ignorance.

Free trade is, by all accounts, a benevolent force. I write this on a Macbook (not domestically produced), glancing occasionally at my Samsung phone (imported), wearing clothes made abroad, and sitting in a non-American chair. Thanks to trade, I can afford all of these items. Returning production to America would price me out of these consumer goods on which I rely to do my job. Anyone railing against free trade and speaking solely of its evils is a hypocrite if they do so from a machine not made in America.

Utilitarianism also demands that we embrace free trade. If policy seeks the greatest good for the greatest number, then we should strive for free trade when and wherever possible. Yes, there are downsides to free trade and it is their concentration that helped elect a demagogic president, but the dispersed cost-saving benefits far outweigh income losses. There’s irony in watching individuals on the one hand decry the influence of special interests in politics while on the other demanding national policy be changed to hurt the nation and benefit those upset about special interests. They forget that they themselves are a special interest group with outsized electoral sway.

Anger at a changing economy no longer understood by many pushed Rust Belt voters into the hands of Trump, whose grand promises of resurgent manufacturing are but the fantastic tales of an old man reminiscing of how things used to be. Today, the microchip is the primary culprit in a low-labor intensive manufacturing sector. All the tariffs in the world and renunciations of free trade agreements will not rollback machinery. Trump’s plans offer false promises that will likely plunge the country into recession without ever having a realistic chance of returning to our shores factories that moved abroad.

Those disaffected by trade need real help, not fables. Democrats need to give them solutions. A very simple and yet quite effective policy is job retraining. Empowering local nonprofits to assist displaced workers in acquiring the skills sought by new producers results in higher employment and higher wages. Workers are also decreasingly mobile. This creates problems as economic theory dictates that when jobs leave one region, workers will move to areas experiencing economic growth. Part of the setback stems from the high cost of living in booming areas — few low-skilled workers can afford to move to San Francisco. Encouraging housing growth in those areas will drive down rent. Similarly, investments in public transport such as commuter rails will decrease commute time and allow individuals to live far from expensive cities while still being able to work where the economy is hot. A simple trade displacement voucher would allow workers to choose job retraining or mobility.

Trade’s discontents are not a death knell. They’re an opportunity to help transition the economy into the 21st Century. Democrats would do well to embrace the competition and innovation spurred by free trade. Cowering in electoral fear and chasing Trump down the rabbit’s hole of ignorance hurts workers and the country as whole. The party ought to embrace globalization and deliver a strong message of how to deal with its repercussions. To do otherwise would be to follow Trump’s playbook: Lie to Americans with impunity.

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trump kleptocracy

Vengeance from the Oval Office

“When someone intentionally harms you or your reputation, how do you react? I strike back, doing the same thing to them only ten times worse.”

So Donald Trump wrote in Think Big and Kick Ass. This single sentence best describes the biggest threat a Trump presidency poses: Retribution.

And we’ve already seen him begin to do this. After a dozen women accused him of sexual assault, Trump, during a closing-stretch rally, vowed to sue them after the election. His campaign said they would sue the New York Times after its publication of stories alleging sexual assault (no such suit has materialized). Trump has verbally attacked reporters and even increased the risk of someone assassinating Hillary Clinton with his “Second Amendment people” statement, a form of stochastic terrorism.

Undoubtedly, his baseless and childish attacks on perceived insulters discourage forthcoming behavior. What women would want to accuse Trump (or someone in his administration, inner circle, etc) of sexual assault when Trump would threaten legal action and rally millions into hatred?

He did all that as a candidate. Now, Trump can pursue his vengeance with the full force of the United States government. It really isn’t difficult to see a Trump administration upset at a newspaper’s coverage ban that outlet from White House briefings or other presidential events. They could even go a step further and bring frivolous legal action against the source. Though any such lawsuit would surely be tossed, many small outlets, already pressured by falling subscription rates, might be bankrupted by legal action. They would naturally become less inclined to write negative stories about Trump, even when warranted and necessary to inform the public.

Organizations such as Planned Parenthood might be punished by Trump for their opposition. Congressional Republican, acting on behalf of Trump could silence such criticisms by cutting off federal funding. Universities whose professors in any way oppose Trump — be it through research, op-eds, or signing letters warning of Trump’s risk to democratic institutions — could see their federal grants dry up. Any form of criticism or opposition could be muzzled by threatening the livelihood of those who stand up to Trump.

Moreover, as Vox’s Matt Yglesias pointed out, Trump’s administration might be rent-creating. It could reward loyalists throughout the business community while directing puppet administrative appointees to harass dissidents through regulations and investigations. Supporters continue business as normal while opponents tangle with the federal government — de facto rent creation.

It’s incredibly dangerous to have a think-skinned president. He could respond to any slight by foreign leaders with military power or political sanctions while rewarding complimenters (he’s already been smitten by Putin and seems ready to appease his expansionist desires). How easy it could become to manipulate the leader of the free world! Such manipulation will only benefit our enemies.

Trump’s vindictiveness is not a presidential trait. It risks corruption and the end of a small-l liberal society in which opposition and peaceful dissidence ought to be hailed as a democratic strength. It risks rent-creation and foreign policy blunders. It risks creating the very type of systemically oppressive regime against which we rebelled some 240 years ago.

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oppose donald trump

November 9: The Way Forward

Tuesday delivered unto our democracy a stunning blow. A divided nation somehow elected the very type of man our Founders feared would undermine and potentially destroy our cherished institutions. Donald J. Trump, a man of near infinite ignorance, somehow will be president despite his utter cluelessness about policies, his constant flip-flopping on every imaginable issue, his mocking the disabled, his attacks on veterans and Gold Star veterans, his sexual assault allegations, and his unconstitutional proposals.

I know many of you feel disheartened and devastated. I certainly do. But we must channel what now feels like despair into productive activity to ensure that Trump’s bigotry is defeated and that the next demagogue who runs a tribal campaign is retired to the dustbin of history.

Progressives for Prosperity is committed to restoring American values across the country. We will fight day and night for unity and love and for policies that will better the country for one and for all. In two years, we will have a crucial midterm election; in four years, the chance to right the executive branch. Organizing for those events starts now.

Our grand goal is to move online the traditional campaign elements of voter outreach and engagement. We seek to create a digital machine that offers sound, research-backed policy arguments and then mobilizes voters in support of candidates who subscribe to those beliefs. To accomplish this, we need to build a strong social network across a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Reddit. The voter today lives online and if we become a part of his or her life, we can advance our arguments and encourage political participation.

This can only be accomplished with help from all of our followers. Now is a time of activism. Your likes, shares, and retweets spread our message to thousands of people. Your generous contributions allow us to target advertisements across the nation and acquire the data necessary to forming and mobilizing winning coalitions. We need each of you to continue sharing, interacting, and giving so we continue building our organization.

Here are some of our immediate goals:
1. Build a robust email list to share new articles and thoughts
2. Expand our Facebook reach
3. Expand our Twitter base
4. Raise $1,000 to purchase voter data from select swing states
5. Prioritize web development to advance arguments

Down the road, here are some nice-to-haves:
1. Create a podcast
2. Routinely post videos on YouTube
3. Develop a thriving Reddit community
4. Host phone and text banking events to spread issue awareness
5. Establish local meetups across the country

We are also looking for help in these fields:
• Writing
• Web development
• Online organizing
• Fundraising
• Miscellaneous coding projects

If any of those areas pique your interest, please send an email to or shoot us a message on Twitter. Should you wish to participate in another way or if you have ideas about how can expand, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Yesterday, we experienced a significant setback in the search for equality and justice. Tomorrow, we can reverse that. Let’s channel our disappointment and anxiety into productive activities. Please join us in recapturing the soul of America and ensuring that its dream continues for generations to come.

Thank you.

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donald trump first amendment

Trump and Free Speech

Trump and freedom do not go hand in hand.  His rhetoric is repugnant to the Constitution and to American values.  Throughout his campaign, Trump has routinely attacked the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, all of which are integral to the American rule of law and provide us with the freedoms and liberties inherent in the American condition.

But Trump is rarely, if ever, called out on his calls for disobeying and flagrantly ignoring the Constitution.  His supporters – a number of whom claim to love liberty and our government’s founding document – make excuses or promote a vision of American freedom that draws from the early 1800s before America became the beautiful melting pot it is today, before the white majority became but a large segment of a plural society that embraces the equal, fundamental rights of everyone – women, men, and ethnic and religious minorities.  Their view of freedom is perverted and it’s being legitimized by Donald Trump.  Defeating Trump is imperative to sustaining our freedom and our Constitution.

How, exactly, does the Donald seek to trample our freedoms?  We’re compiling a handy list about Trump’s attempts to strip our freedom.  This first edition covers his attempts to stifle speech and press.

Please feel free to share with those who oppose and support America’s worst nightmare.  (And, if you like our piece, please consider donating so we can reach a wider audience!)

Free Speech: Trump’s response to protesters is truly frightening.  At various times, he’s called for:

But that’s not all.  He’s also said he would:

  • Pay the legal fees for those who hurt protesters
  • “Like to punch [a protester] in the face”

Trump clearly detests protesters and has no problem with his supporters and rally-goers beating them up or in other ways causing them physical harm.  No protesters should ever fear for their safety when presenting political arguments.  But that’s exactly Trump’s goal: by creating and fostering an environment in which protesters are subject to violence and must fear for their well-being, Trump successfully squashes dissent.  People won’t show up to protest his rallies because doing so imperils them; the only speech heard, then, is Trump’s divisive rhetoric.  There’s no opposition and no challenge to Trump’s arguments.

If Trump’s actions towards protesters indicate how he would act while in office, we all have reason to fear.  Trump extending his candidacy’s stance towards speech into the Oval Office would lead to a crackdown on opposition and dissension.  Perhaps Trump supporters would continue to attack those appalled by Trump’s beliefs, perhaps Trump would take Nixonian or true authoritarian  measures in order to prevent arguments from being made and to discourage anyone from speaking out against Trump.  That could easily be done against protesters – any mass protest at a university or in a city could end with Trump using the National Guard to “restore order” – likely at the physical expense of the protesters.

But ending demonstrations and cracking down on those who oppose the administration (would President Trump move to withhold federal funds from universities whose professors challenge him?  Try to cut any funds from public radio organizations who aren’t kind to him?) present just one facet of how Trump attacks and would attack free speech.  Trump also despises the free press and his animosity seems to know no bounds.

And no, these protesters are not inciting violence.  That is, unless you think this man wearing an American flag shirt deserved to be sucker punched, thrown to the ground, and kicked.  Trump supporters are egged on by the candidate inflammatory rhetoric and calls for physical altercations, not by supposed and alleged violence on behalf of the protesters.  But the latter provides a nice opt-out for Trump, who enjoys blaming others for problems he causes.

Free Press: Trump has no respect for the free press and its crucial role in democracy.

It’s become a fixture in Trump rallies for him to viciously attack reporters, calling them “scum,” saying ”they are really dishonest,” and that “they are disgusting.”  Supporters take cues from Trump.  This tweet from NBC’s Katy Tur shows a common occurrence at Trump rallies:

donald trump first amendment

Another journalist described the vitriol and hatred emanating from Trump rallygoers prompted another journalist to remark “I’m surprised there hasn’t been an incident of someone throwing a blunt object and hitting a reporter in the head. I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened.”

Trump is creating a hostile environment for reporters at his rallies.  But that’s not all – he actively punishes reporters who dare write things he finds “mean.”  Ben Schreckinger of POLITICO found his press credentials rescinded by the campaign after he published a story critical of Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski.  He was turned away from Mar-a-Lago during a – you guessed it – press conference.

Other reporters often face Trump’s harsh rhetoric on Twitter whenever they publish negative pieces about Trump or challenge him in debates.  The aforementioned Katy Tur has faced Trump’s Twitter wrath, being called a “third-rate journalist.”  Megyn Kelly of Fox News has been repeatedly subject to Trump’s vile rhetoric because she challenged Trump on his statements about women.

And let’s not forget Lewandowski’s battery charge for violently grabbing and throwing back Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.   Trump supporters love to claim the incidence never happened or that Fields lied.  However, the facts and videos show otherwise (and how else did Fields get these bruises?).donald trump political beliefs

Lewandowski originally claimed that the event never happened and that Fields was “delusional.”  Well, that claim was undermined with video evidence, eye witness account, and Lewandowski’s arrest for battery.  Rather than disavow the actions of his campaign manager, Trump stood by him, opting to use Twitter – his favorite platform – to accuse Fields of being a threat.  He pointed to an object in her hand, alluding to the possibility that it could be a bomb (has Trump never seen a reporter holding a pen?).  However, if Fields were such a threat, why did the Secret Service Agent standing by Lewandowski and Trump do nothing?  Why did the campaign manager feel a threat, not the individual whose job is to protect the candidate?

In other words, no threat existed.  Trump used Twitter to bully Fields and to blame the victim of a grossly violent act carried out by Trump’s thug of a campaign manager.

Beyond physical intimidation, Trump has also stated that as president he would loosen libel laws, making it easier to sue newspapers.  That’s a direct attack on the free press – small outlets would not be able to publish critical pieces for fear of frivolous libel suit that would bleed them dry.  Even a suit the outlet would win could cost millions of dollars in defense; a Trump administration would likely extend the proceedings as long as possible, regardless of veracity, to put financial pressure on the newspaper or source, using fiscal pressure to beat them into submission.  That’s not freedom – that’s intimidation, bullying, and an attack on liberty.

The press plays an integral role in American democracy.  Reporters and journalists hold politicians accountable for statements and for policy proposals; they offer unbiased, factual accounts of campaign happenings.  They vet ideas and provide the information voters need to make informed decision at the polls.  Without a strong Fourth Estate, voters would be ill-informed and democracy would suffer.

Trump’s attempts and successes in undermining trust in the press leads directly to voter misinformation and ignorance.  His supporters refuse to believe any “mainstream” media outlet because Trump has denounced them.  They instead believe every word Trump speaks or they turn to the right-wing fever swamps for distorted information and conspiracy-laced policy arguments.  The press serves as the neutral arbiter in politics; Trump is ensuring that millions of people are deaf to objectivity and fact, only capable of hearing information through the biased (and very often wrong) mouth of Trump.  He creates a situation in which all dissenters and doubters are not to be trusted.  Opposing speech – whether subjective or objective – does not enter Trumpian and Trump supporter discourse because it has been injudiciously and illiberally chastised.

In short, Trump promotes ignorance and misinformation, which, in turn, perhaps furthers his candidacy.

A Trump presidency and free speech cannot coexist.  His candidacy relies on misinformation and stifling dissent through intimidation or point-of-origin attacks.  Free speech, perhaps the most important liberal element of a democracy, is weakened by Trump.  We must ensure that he does not win the GOP nomination and certainly not the presidency or else our fundamental freedom will be suppressed.


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strategic voting winner take all

The March 15 Strategic Voting Guide

Super Tuesday has concluded, but the hopes of stopping Donald Trump have not.  In fact, Ted Cruz’s victories in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska, as well as Marco Rubio’s win in Minnesota, prove that Trump can be defeated.  He’s far from inevitable – the #NeverTrump movement has succeeded in stemming his momentum and presenting to the voters the true ramifications of a Trump nomination.

We need Republicans and Democrats to cast their ballot in a manner that stems Trump’s momentum and erodes his delegate advantage.  This might entail voting for a candidate who isn’t your number 1 choice; however, as long as you fear a Trump nomination – both for its ripping the Republican Party and its tyrannical/authoritarian/proto-fascist potential – then you need to act in a strategic manner.

Moreover, we’ve seen that strategic voting works.  Analysts predicted that Trump would win around 280 delegates in the Super Tuesday contests.  Instead, he only won 254.  Cruz and Rubio’s outperforming polls and delegate expectations point both to Trump’s inherent weakness and to beneficial effects of people casting their vote in a way that maximizes the chance Trump falls short of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

March 15 marks the beginning of winner-take-all (WTA) states.  Huge amounts of delegates rest on the table, ready for the taking.  We cannot let Donald Trump win those delegates.  These contests mark the best opportunity to eat into his lead and prevent Trump from reaching the magic number of 1,237.

Florida (primary): 99 delegates given to the candidate receiving the highest number of statewide votes.

Florida is a huge state with enough delegates to alter the primary landscape.  Is is easily the most important state on March 15.  Donald Trump cannot win Florida.

Vote Marco Rubio.  He’s trailing in polls but is the only candidate who could catch Trump.  It’s his home state and that will provide a natural boost to his vote count. Rubio is up in early voting – and his lead is large enough to preclude a Cruz victory in the state.  Adding Cruz and Kasich voters to Rubio’s polling numbers puts him neck-and-neck with Trump and in a place where a strong organization and late boost would and him a victory.  This isn’t about handing the nomination to Rubio; it’s about stopping Trump from winning the nomination.  99 delegates is a huge amount.  Trump cannot win these or else he would be well on his way to the Republican nomination; voters must rally to Rubio’s cause in Florida.

Illinois (primary): 69 delegates, 54 directly elected at the congressional district levels, and 15 statewide, WTA.

At the district level, voters directly choose delegates (who are listed with their presidential preference).  Statewide delegates are awarded to the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the state.

Vote Ted Cruz.  Cruzis the only candidate with an opportunity who could catch and beat Donald Trump.  Though not as delegate rich as Florida, Cruz would stand a good chance to rack up votes in Chicago and her suburbs, increasing his district delegate count and bolstering his statewide count.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to hand Trump a needed loss and for Cruz to net delegates at Trump’s expense.

Missouri (primary): 52 delegates, 5 at each of the 8 congressional districts and 12 at-large with a statewide WTA trigger.

In each congressional district, the candidate receiving a plurality of the votes receives all 5 delegates and the candidate with the most statewide votes wins all 12 at-large delegates.  However, if a candidate wins a majority of the vote statewide, he wins all of Missouri’s 52 delegates.

Vote Ted Cruz.  With little polling, it’s hard to exactly pinpoint the state of the Missouri race.  However, the most recent poll shows a Cruz lead and the momentum from his victories in Texas and Oklahoma could translate into Missouri votes.  With the potential to win so many delegates – either at the district level or statewide – it becomes imperative that voters rally around Cruz so he, and not Trump, can win Missouri’s many delegates.  Missouri is another wonderful opportunity to eat into Trump’s delegate advantage.

North Carolina (primary): 72 delegates awarded proportionally based on statewide returns.

Vote Ted Cruz.  North Carolina is fairly proportional, so it doesn’t provide a great opportunity to net delegates over Trump.  However, a victory here would slow Trump’s momentum and that’s incredibly important.  Cruz stands a good chance of winning here; a strategic vote for him would hurt Trump’s chance of winning the nomination.

Ohio (primary): 66 WTA delegates.

Vote John Kasich.  This is really important.  Ohio, of course, is Kasich’s home state and he’s almost tied with Trump in the polls.  66 delegates is a lot.  Cruz and Rubio supporters strategically casting ballots for Kasich would ensure his victory and would prevent Trump winning 66 delegates, enough to move him substantially closer to the nomination.


All of these states are potential pickups for non-Trump candidates.  March 15 states offer many delegates, a number of which on a WTA basis.  Through strategic voting, Republicans can stop Trump’s amassing of delegates and eat into his lead.  Doing so naturally lowers his chances of winning the nomination and ensures that political discourse is not hijacked by a lying fraud whose ideas are repugnant to the Constitution and who is a cancer on conservatism.


Sources for delegate allocation come from FHQ and The Green Papers.

[Like what you see?  Consider donating here so we can reach an ever-large audience.  Thank you!]


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strategic voting winner take all

Strategic Voting Guide, March 5-8 Contests

Super Tuesday has concluded, but the hopes of stopping Donald Trump have not.  In fact, Ted Cruz’s victories in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska, as well as Marco Rubio’s win in Minnesota, prove that Trump can be defeated.  He’s far from inevitable – the #NeverTrump movement has succeeded in stemming his momentum and presenting to the voters the true ramifications of a Trump nomination.

Moreover, we’ve seen that strategic voting works.  Analysts predicted that Trump would win around 280 delegates in the Super Tuesday contests.  Instead, he only won 254.  Cruz and Rubio’s outperforming polls and delegate expectations point both to Trump’s inherent weakness and to beneficial effects of people casting their vote in a way that maximizes the chance Trump falls short of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Based on popularity and result, we’ve decided to publish a strategic voting guide to the March 5-8 contests.  Without further ado:

Kansas (caucus): 40 delegates, 25 at-large, 12 for congressional districts, 3 unbound.  Proportional allocation with a 10% threshold at both the statewide and congressional level.

Vote Marco Rubio.  Though polls are scarce in the state and the scant data available show a Rubio and Cruz draw, Rubio has the backing of Kansan Governor Sam Brownback (which will likely boost Rubio in the polls if Brownback stumps for him).  As it currently stands, neither Rubio nor Cruz hit the 15% threshold, though many undecided voters remain.  Given Rubio’s endorsement advantage and proven ability to win late-deciders, Kansas is a state ripe for Rubio pick up at the expense of Trump.  Republicans and Democrats alike would be wise to strategically caucus for Rubio to boost his delegate count and decrease Trump’s.

Kentucky (caucus): 46 delegates, 25 at-large, 18 for congressional districts, 3 unbound.  Proportional allocation with a 5% threshold.

Vote Marco Rubio.  The most recent poll has Rubio trailing Trump by 13 but leading Cruz by 7.  Given the low threshold, even with the majority of Cruz supporters rallying around Rubio, Cruz will still receive delegates.  Adding half or more of Cruz’s support to Rubio significantly cuts into Trump’s lead.  Add in Kasich supporters and some undecided voters and Trump will be defeated.  Caucuses are Trump’s weak spot.  He fails to get people to caucus locations.  Rubio will have better luck doing that (as evidenced by Minnesota) and, with the backing of other candidate supporters, will defeat Trump.  All Trump losses slow his increase in delegates and make it harder for him to win the nomination.  A vote for Rubio here is a must.

Louisiana (primary): 46 delegates, 25 at-large, 18 for congressional districts, and 3 unbound.  Proportional allocation with a 20% statewide threshold (but none in the congressional districts).

Vote Ted Cruz.  Again, polling data is scant.  That said, Cruz tends to perform well in Southern states and Louisiana will likely be no exception.  With Louisiana’s high statewide threshold, it’s imperative that Rubio voters flock to Cruz so that their vote is not divided and Cruz is viable for the at-large delegates.  Trump would win all 25 through a backdoor winner-take-all (WTA) if Cruz and Rubio fail to reach 20%.  At the district level, adding to Cruz’s vote total takes delegates away from Trump.  In a race dominated by delegate math, every little bit helps.  A strategic vote for Cruz in Louisiana will advance the goal of preventing a Trump nomination.

Maine (caucus): 23 delegates, 20 at-large and 3 unbound.  Proportional allocation with a 10% threshold.

Vote Marco Rubio.  No polls guide this decision, but rather the intuition that Rubio runs better in New England than does Ted Cruz (as polls are taken, we will update this section).  Maine’s low threshold means that even in half of Cruz’s support goes to Rubio, Cruz will likely receive delegates.  Kasich, though strong in New England, would likely stand below the 10% threshold (based on national trends – again, this will be updated with polling data if some comes available); his supporters should caucus for Rubio.  Again, caucuses favor Trump’s challengers.  Maine is another opportunity for the non-Trump coalition to pick up a victory and delegates and to show America that Trump is not a viable candidate.

Hawaii (caucus): 19 delegates, 10 at-large, 6 in the two congressional districts, and 3 unbound.  Proportional allocation with no threshold.

Vote Marco Rubio.  We’re operating in the dark here.  No polls have been taken in the Aloha State.  However, Hawaii tends to be an establishment-friendly state that has voted for moderate candidate in past primary seasons.  Marco Rubio, then, would stand the best chance of defeating Trump.  (If polls are taken and released, we’ll update this portion).

Idaho (primary): 32 delegates, 29 at-large, and 3 unbound.  Proportional allocation with a 20% threshold.

Voted Ted Cruz.  The most recent poll shows Trump in the lead but Cruz within striking distance.  Idaho tends to be a deeply conservative state, which favors Cruz.  The poll has him just below threshold – if Carson and Rubio voters rally to Cruz, he will easily surpass 20% (Rubio is not close) and will likely challenge Trump for delegates here.  Cruz is the only non-Trump candidate who could be viable for delegates and who could hand Trump a needed loss.

Michigan (primary): 59 delegates allocated proportionally with a 15% threshold and a WTA trigger.

All candidates above the 15% threshold are eligible to receive delegates unless one candidate earns a majority of the statewide votes, in which case he wins all 59 delegates.

Vote Marco Rubio.  It’s close, but he leads Cruz in the polls and, barring new data that dramatically changes our calculations, stands the best chance of beating Trump in this crucial state.  Rubio is above the 15% threshold, though not by much.  He needs new support to keep well above 15% – otherwise, Trump sweeps 59 delegates.  Trump leads in Michigan, but aligning around Rubio should double his poll numbers (this includes Kasich and Cruz supporters.  Kasich will not be viable.  His supporters must rally around Rubio).  Strategically voting for Rubio makes him competitive with Trump, will keep the delegate count close, and may even hand Trump a stunning loss.

Mississippi (primary): 40 delegates, 28 at-large and 12 at the congressional district level.  Proportional with a 15% threshold statewide and at the congressional level; WTA district trigger.

Candidates above 15% statewide are viable for delegates; those above 15% in congressional districts earn at least one delegate unless a candidate gets a majority of the votes in that district, in which case he wins all 3.

Vote Ted Cruz.  Little polling data is available, but Cruz, who runs well in the South and in religious statements, is best positioned in this state (as part of his “southern firewall”).  Trump also does well in the deep South – see his Georgian and Alabamian victories – and could use Mississippi to net many delegates.  Considering he has the potential to win congressional districts and net 12 delegates there, it is imperative that voters flock to Cruz to keep him above the 15% threshold and to keep Trump from earning a majority of the votes anywhere in the state.  It’s an opportunity for Cruz to prevent Trump from expanding his delegate lead and perhaps even eroding his current advantage.


March 15 marks the beginning of WTA states.  To a large extent, momentum from these March 5 and 8 contests will shape the trajectory of primaries held in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina.  These caucuses offer a prime opportunity to hand Trump losses, eat into his delegate lead, and reshape the narrative of the race.  Please, use this guide to cast strategic ballots and ensure that Donald J. Trump and his fascist tendencies do not represent the Republican Party come November.


Sources for delegate allocation come from FHQ and The Green Papers.

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trump nuclear triad


The President of the United States of America is the one person in the country with the nuclear launch codes.  As Commander-in-Chief, the president is uniquely able to commence mass destruction, violence, and death.  We all know the dangers of nuclear weapons.  We all know the repercussions of a nuclear strike.  With great power comes great responsibility – we cannot entrust the unique power to kill millions into the hands of a loon or someone whose temperament imperils American and global safety.

We cannot allow Donald Trump to be in control of our nuclear stockpile (and nuclear triad, which he can’t even name, let alone understand).

A quick stroll through Trump’s Twitter feed reveals a man so riddled with insecurity that the slightest perceived wrong warrants excessive, baseless, and unnecessarily personal attacks.  No one is spared when they say something “mean” about Trump – he despises the freedom of expression and the ability of others to exercise free speech (because they might say something not nice to him).

Here are just a few of his responses to those that seek answers about policy:

Ben Sasse asked Trump to clarify liberal statements he made in the past.  The 2016-01-29 2016-01-29 20-31-11

Trump’s favorite target is journalists, whose role in informing the electorate is absolutely imperative to a functioning democracy.  Trump, however, likes to bully and intimidate journalists, preventing them from playing the vital role of the Fourth Estate. 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 20-12-14 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 2016-02-26 2016-02-26 2016-02-26 2016-02-26 12-24-43

Not to mention his mocking a reporter’s disability:

And, of course, the many others who dared challenge The Donald on policy.  From lowly political observer to master operative, no one escapes Trump’s fury when he’s been attacked.  His deep insecurity leads to an obsessive fixation on any perceived insults and spawns reactions that fit the profile of a high schooler, not a serious presidential candidate. 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 2016-01-21 20-25-16 2016-02-26 2016-02-26 12-24-12 

But wait, there’s more!  See his full list of insults here!

Oh, and then there’s this:

Oh, and likening dating women with STDs to fighting in Vietnam:

“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider,” Trump said.

(This man wants to be Commander-in-Chief?  He clearly demonstrates no understanding of war…but how could he, he skipped the draft).

Is this really a man whose finger should rest on the nuclear launch button?

I think not.  His tendency to viciously attack everyone regardless of their position, role, or circumstance exposes a man dangerously unstable and unable to control rage that stems from deep-rooted insecurity.  He can’t take criticism.

Well, Donald, I hate to tell you this, but foreign diplomacy isn’t easy.  It requires work and knowledge.  It requires patience.  You can’t take to Twitter to attack global leaders.  They don’t take kindly to schoolyard bullying.

Let’s not make matters worse.

Let’s not replace the “Send Tweet” button with the “Launch Nukes” button.


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[Read more: Donald Trump’s pathetic response to policy inquiries, his deep insecurity, and how to defeat him through strategic voting.]

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strategic voting winner take all

The Super Tuesday Strategic Voting Guide

Trump has now won three contests in a row and has racked up a sizable delegate lead – 81 to Cruz and Rubio’s 17.  He’s well on his way to the 1237 he needs to win the nomination.  On Super Tuesday, March 1, another 595 delegates are up for grabs.  Afterwards come the winner-take-all (WTA) states.  Should Trump win a majority of Super Tuesday delegates and carry momentum into the (WTA) March 15 states, he could forge an insurmountable delegate lead and become the presumptive nominee before the April contests.  We cannot let that happen.  There’s one way to stop him: strategic voting.

We need Republicans and Democrats to cast their ballot in a manner that stems Trump’s momentum and erodes his delegate advantage.  This might entail voting for a candidate who isn’t your number 1 choice; however, as long as you fear a Trump nomination – both for its ripping the Republican Party and its tyrannical/authoritarian/proto-fascist potential – then you need to act in a strategic manner.  I’ll explain the ramifications after our guide to stopping Trump on March 1.

Here are the Super Tuesday states and here’s how to vote to prevent a Trump nomination:

Alabama: 50 delegates at stake – 26 at-large, 21 by congressional district, 3 unbound, 20% threshold.

Each of the 7 congressional districts has 3 delegates distributed proportionally (to candidates receiving at least 20% of the vote).  If a candidate receives 50% +1 of the vote in the district, he takes all 3 delegates.

The 26 at-large delegates are awarded on a proportional basis to candidates receiving at least 20% of the vote.  Should a candidate receive 50% +1, he wins all 26.

Here, voters must boost the non-Trump candidate polling best and most inclined to win >20% – and ideally 50% – of the vote.

Republicans: Vote Ted Cruz.  Trump leads the field – by a lot – with Cruz in second.  Given the white, evangelical composition of the Arkansas electorate – Cruz’s target demographic – the state favors him.  He has a strong southern ground game and message that reverberates in those states.  Rubio voters should shift to Cruz in this state so he can rack up votes in congressional districts and statewide, thereby depriving Trump of delegates.  It’s crucial here to rally behind Cruz as splitting the vote between him and Rubio would open the door to Trump winning by large margins in congressional districts and across the state, furthering his delegate lead.

Democrats: Vote Ted Cruz.  Hilary Clinton leads this state by more than 25 points.  Barring a major disaster in the next week, she will win (easily).  Therefore, it’s best for Alabama Democrats to vote in the Republican primary (which is open) for Ted Cruz.  The reasons are the same as above – Cruz has the best chance of stumping Trump in Arkansas.

Alaska: Caucus, 28 delegates distributed proportionally, 22 at-large, 3 for its congressional district, 3 automatic, 13% threshold.

All candidates receiving >13% of the vote (a hard 13%, no rounding up) qualify to receive delegates in a proportional manner.

Coalescing to defeat Trump here would yield a net advantage of only a couple delegates, but every little bit helps.

Republicans: Vote Marco Rubio.  No poll has been conducted recently in Alaska, so it’s hard to gauge the state of the race.  However, Alaska is one of the least religious states, a fact which hurts Cruz’s appeal.  Demographics, then, seem to favor Rubio and as such, a strategic ballot should have his name checked.

Democrats: There caucus is closed to Republicans, so unless you switch party affiliation, there’s nothing that can be done.

Arkansas: 40 delegates distributed proportionally, 25 at-large, 12 by congressional district, 3 unbound, and a 15% threshold with a winner-take-all and most (WTA/M) provision.

All candidates receiving at least 15% percent of the statewide vote receive at least 1 delegate.  A candidate who wins a majority gets the remaining delegates (25 less the number of candidates above 15%).

Candidates who win 15% of the vote at the congressional district receive a delegate unless one candidate earns 50% of the vote, in which case he wins all delegates.

Republicans: Vote Ted Cruz.  He leads, narrowly, in the polls and is best suited in terms of ground game and message to win this socially conservative state.  Shifting votes from Rubio to Cruz would likely ensure that Rubio receives some delegates – he’s polling above the 15% threshold – but would expand Cruz’s lead over Trump, therein eroding Trump’s delegate lead.  If enough Rubio supporters switch to Cruz to hand him a congressional district (or multiple), all the better.  This is a state Trump could very well lose and it’s absolutely necessary to increase Cruz’s victory share to enlarge his delegate count.

Democrats: Vote Ted Cruz.  Clinton has a large lead here and should win without trouble.  The primary is open, so it’s possible to fill out the Republican ballot.  An influx of Democrats for Ted Cruz would expand his polling lead and add multiple percentage points to his potential victory  That’s crucial to stopping Trump.

Georgia: 76 proportional delegates, 31 at-large, 42 across congressional districts, 3 unbound, and a 20% threshold with a WTM provision.

All candidates receiving 20%+ of the statewide vote are eligible to proportionally receive some of the 31 at-large delegates.  If a candidate wins 50%+ of the statewide vote, he takes all at-large delegates.

At the district level, the winner receives 2 delegates and the runner up gets 1 unless a candidate wins a majority of the district vote, in which case he gets all 3 delegates.

RepublicansVote Marco Rubio.  Late February polls show Rubio up between 2 and 4 points on Cruz for second place.  Given that Rubio has some momentum and is starting to rallying party leaders, that led might expand in the coming days.  Republicans need to further that stream by strategically voting for Rubio.  Given that third place does not receive delegates at the district level, it is imperative that Cruz supporters back Rubio so he has decisive second place finishes across the state and can win delegates.  Splitting the 2/3 delegates across the many congressional districts with Trump winning would create a situation in which Trump dominates Georgian delegates.  That cannot happen – to defeat Trump, Republicans must prevent him from accruing delegates in states like Georgia.  They can only do that by rallying around second place.  Rubio is that candidate here.

Democrats: Vote Marco Rubio.  Hillary leads by nearly 40 points here.  She will win.  Cast your vote in a strategic manner by voting Rubio and halting Trump’s momentum.

Massachusetts: 42 proportional delegates, 10 at-large, 27 for congressional districts, 5 unbound, with a 5% threshold.

3 delegates per congressional district and 10 across the state.

Republicans: Vote Marco Rubio.  Trump has a massive lead.  No other candidate cracks 20% and are all clustered in the low double digits.  Republicans should unify around Rubio and boost his vote tally in this traditionally moderate and business-friendly state.

Democrats: Vote Sanders or Clinton.  Trump will win MA.  The Democratic primary, though, is contentious and it would be a mistake to skip this competition.

Minnesota: 38 proportional delegates, 11 at-large, 24 by congressional districts, 3 unbound with a 10% threshold and 85% WTA trigger.

Republicans: Vote Marco Rubio.  He leads in the most recent poll and has been targeting this caucus state.  Minnesota provides a true opportunity to soundly defeat Trump (and the larger the margin of victory the better).  Shifting from Cruz to Rubio will solidify the latter’s victory and add to his margin, costing Trump delegates and making him seem fallible.

Democrats: Vote Marco Rubio.  Clinton leads by 30 points in the last poll and though caucuses can seem unpredictable, the data bodes well for her (especially considering she has momentum after winning Nevada and a likely victory in South Carolina).  The Republican caucus is open – it’s best to switch over and vote Rubio to stump Trump.

Oklahoma: 43 delegates, 25 at-large, 15 by congressional district, 3 unbound with a 15% threshold and a 50% WTA trigger statewide and in congressional district.

Candidates receiving 15% of the statewide vote are eligible for part of the 25 at-large delegates.  A candidate receiving a majority of the statewide votes receives all 25 delegates.

The same applies at the congressional level – candidates above 15% are viable for delegates and a candidate with a majority gets all 3 delegates from that district

Republicans: Vote Ted Cruz.  The last poll, which is old, had Cruz in second place, 5 points behind Trump.  Oklahoma is a deep-red, socially conservative state, a boon to Cruz.  His appeal to those voters and Trump’s weakness on social issues makes Cruz the best poised ideologically and electorally to defeat Trump here.  Rubio supporters would be advised to switch to Cruz because there is true potential for Trump to lose.  An alternate candidate needs to start winning and Oklahoma is the perfect state to end Trump’s winning.

Democrats: Vote Sanders or Clinton.  The polls show this is a close contest and Sanders is targeting the state.  This should come down to the wire and voters would be remiss to skip this primary.

Tennessee: 58 proportional delegates, 28 at-large, 27 for congressional districts, 3 automatic with a 20% threshold and a 67% WTA trigger.

Candidates receiving over 20% of the vote statewide and in each congressional district are eligible for delegates.  Any candidate receiving more than 67% of the vote statewide or in a district wins all of those delegates up for grabs.

Republicans: Vote Ted Cruz.  Trump purportedly has a big lead here with Cruz running second.  As another deeply religious state, it would seem privy to Cruz’s message and appeal.  With many delegates available here, it becomes necessary to rally around Cruz, even if it’s for second place, to prevent a large Trump victory that expands his delegate lead at the expense of the alternates.

Democrats: Vote Ted Cruz.  Clinton leads by around 20 points which points to an easy victory.  Tennessee is an open primary and every ballot cast for Cruz decreases Trump’s chance of winning the state and the nomination.  It’s best to strategically vote Republican here.

Texas: 155 proportional delegates, 44 at-large, 108 in congressional districts, and 3 automatic with a 20% threshold and a 50% WTA trigger.

Candidates above 20% proportionally receive some of the 44 at-large delegates.  If a candidate wins a majority of the vote, he receives all 44 delegates.

Similarly, candidates above 20% in congressional districts are eligible for delegates and a candidate earning 50% +1 wins all delegates for that district.

RepublicansVote Ted Cruz.  This is Cruz’s home state and he’s leading in the polls.  He’s not far from an outright majority – adding half of Rubio’s support to Cruz pushes him over that threshold.  There are so many delegates at stake here and a strong Cruz showing could halt Trump’s momentum and bridge the delegate gap.  The path to stopping Trump goes through Texas.  It’s absolutely imperative that Republicans rally around Cruz in the Lone Star State.  He can win districts and statewide.

Democrats: Vote Ted Cruz.  Clinton has a lead, though it’s not huge.  However, given the importance of the state to Cruz and the prospects of stopping Trump, everyone must strategically rally to the Cruz camp.  A large Cruz victory in popular vote and in delegates may block Trump from the nomination.  That has to be the number one goal.

Vermont: 16 delegates, 10 at-large, 3 in congressional districts, and 3 automatic with a 20% threshold and 50% WTA trigger.

Much the same as other states – earning 20% of the vote makes one viable for delegates across the state and its one congressional district.  A candidate with a majority of the vote wins all the delegates.

Republicans: Vote Marco Rubio.  Trump has a large lead in the Green Mountain State with Rubio running a distant second.  However, he seems best positioned to gain ground and to prevent Trump from wining an outright majority.  Secondly, he’s closest to 20%, the threshold to even receive delegates.  Republicans must rally around him so he’s viable and Trump doesn’t take the backdoor route to taking all of Vermont’s delegates.

Democrats: Vote Marco Rubio.  Sanders leads Clinton by more than 70 points and will indubitably win by a lot.  It’s best to switch to the more competitive primary and help Rubio earn a few delegates to prevent Trump from expanding his lead.

Virginia: 49 proportional delegates, 13 at-large, 33 at the congressional districts, and 3 automatic with no threshold and no WTA trigger.

A purely proportional contest, delegates are distributed based on vote percent.

Republicans: Vote Marco Rubio.  The most recent poll has Rubio down 6 to Trump, so within striking distance.  Since vote margin matters more than winning, it’s important that Kasich and Carson voters shift to Rubio (but less important that Cruz voters shift their preference).  Given it’s proportional nature, no sizable delegate advantage will be gained, but a candidate can boast about winning.  Since winning brings momentum, Trump must not win and so Republicans should rally to Rubio.

Democrats: Vote Sanders or Clinton.  Clinton is up in Virginia, but by a surmountable margin.  Moreover, since the Republican primary won’t have a huge impact on delegate totals, it doesn’t make too much sense to switch over.


Strategic voting and strategic voting only can stop Trump on March 1.  Momentum plays a huge factor in the race and the best way to stop Trump’s momentum is to make sure he loses.  Furthermore, delegate count matters – it’s “yuge.”  Coalescing around one candidate in these states stops Trump from accumulating delegates and forging ahead on his quixotic and dangerous attempt to win the nomination.


Information about the Super Tuesday states stemmed in large part from Bloomberg and Frontloading HQ.  Polls came from RCP.


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[Read more: Donald Trump’s pathetic response to policy inquiries, his deep insecurity, and his dangerous temperament.]

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