Category Archives: Politics

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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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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.

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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

Temperament

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 result:screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-29-45screenshot-twitter.com 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.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-11-30screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-12-14

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-17-28screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 22-03-03screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-35-16screenshot-www.nytimes.com 2016-02-26 12-25-43screenshot-www.nytimes.com 2016-02-26 12-25-36screenshot-www.nytimes.com 2016-02-26 12-24-01screenshot-www.nytimes.com 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.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-14-51screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-17-40screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-20-51screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-22-18screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-21 20-25-16   screenshot-www.nytimes.com 2016-02-26 12-24-29screenshot-www.nytimes.com 2016-02-26 12-24-12 

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

Oh, and then there’s this:

https://vine.co/v/ivAnOugYYwz

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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donald trump eminent domain

Tough

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no “private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” (emphasis added).  This simple phrase protects property owners from government overreach.  It ensures that should the fundamental right to property ever be infringed, it would be for the public good, as in to build roads and highways.  Yet not everyone uses eminent domain in such an appreciable and benign manner.  Not everyone has the same definition of public use.

To Donald Trump, “public use” means a place to park his limousines.

In the 1990s, Donald Trump tried to use eminent domain to eject and elderly widow from her long-time Atlantic City home because Trump wanted a new parking lot for his casino.  The woman, Vera Coking, moved into the Atlantic City home in 1961 with her husband.  It housed dreams and it housed family.  But that didn’t stop Trump.  His limousines needed a place to park and he wouldn’t let a widow stand in between him and his grandiose, elite parking lot goals.

So he tried to schmooze and bribe her.  He offered her Neil Diamond tickets to soften her resolve and get her to leave her humble, 30-year abode.

That didn’t work, so he turned to his favorite tactic: bullying.

Trump Plaza soared 22-stories into the air and from its height, it rained mischief down onto Ms. Coking.  Trump’s demolition crews burned her house’s roof, smashed its windows, and destroyed much of its top floors all because Ms. Coking refused to abandon her dream house and succumb to Trump’s egomania.

The widow proved too stubborn, so Trump – in his glory, vanity, and selfishness – turned to eminent domain.  He sued Ms. Coking, trying to abuse eminent domain powers to advance the public good by building demolishing a home so limousines could sit next to the casino.  His compensatory offer stood at just 25 percent that of another offer submitted years before – not just compensation but a brutal ruthlessness and rage whose ire found its way to a woman trying to protect the home in which she raised a family.

So Trump took the widow to court.  He launched his army of lawyers on her, doing all he could to rob her of her home.

Unfortunately for Trump, justice won in the end: the court sided with Ms. Coking and allowed her to keep her home and 30 years of memories.  Trump’s casino went on to flounder, his bullying to no avail.

It takes true toughness and true courage – true character – to try to steal a widow’s home.

 ——————————————–

For all his boisterousness and posturing and insults and fake braggadocio throughout the campaign, one personality trait cuts through the rest and shines immediately clear, both now and throughout time.

Trump is a bully.

And bullies are never, ever the tough individual they pretend to be.


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Hillary Clinton and Wall Street Speeches

Hillary and Bill gave many speeches to Wall Street firms, earning them millions of dollars.  Good for them!  That’s not a problem – that’s one using skills and talents to make money in the free market.  We shouldn’t hold that against her or foolishly think it impacts her dedication to passing Wall Street reform bills.  In fact, her Wall Street plan shows her at “her wonkish best,” seeking to address problems that actually contributed to the 2008 crisis and could prevent another (unlike Bernie’s, whose plan is designed to fundraise well).  The plan itself also should dispel all fears that Hillary is too pro-Wall Street to seek change.

She is in no way dependent on Wall Street.  Assume she becomes president and then wants to make money afterwards.  Do you think there will be any shortage of individuals, firms, or universities willing to pay her for a speech?  Any shortage of people wanting to buy her memoirs?  Of course not.  She would, in no way, rely on Wall Street to earn a post-presidency income.  In other words, she can – and will – push Wall Street reform because she depends not on them.

But if that’s not enough for you and you somehow think that giving speech greatly impact her ability to reign in Wall Street excesses…

  • Hillary said in a speech that Dodd-Frank, though unpopular on Wall Street needed to be enacted
  • She argued for working with Wall Street to strengthen the economy, because maybe – just maybe – a president shouldn’t seek to pin all economic blame on a single sector
  • President Obama, who signed and pushed for the Dodd-Frank bill, received millions in campaign contributions from Wall Street (by the way, if you believe in research and political science, you would know that no corporation expects to buy a politician)
  • At a speech in front of a Wall Street audience, Hillary outlined the need to end financial fraud and expand Dodd-Frank
  • It’s natural that Hillary would have connections to Wall Street – she represented New York in the Senate and Wall Street is a major employer and economic driver in the state
  • That she’s already given speeches to many other organizations (also for money, the free market is great!) dispels the notion that Wall Street owns her
  • “Americans who are doing business in every aspect of the economy want to know more about the world. I actually think it’s a good conversation to be having” – Hillary on her speeches.  This seems more than reasonable; it’s responsible as she wants to engage all economic forces, unlike Bernie who seeks to alienate and vilify Wall Street and all those who succeed in the economic system
  • Wall Street considers Hillary a pragmatic problem solver.  Is that really so bad?  That’s exactly what I want in a president – a bright, wonkish politicians able to navigate many interests and get things done in a responsible manner.  She knows how things work.  I’ll take that 100 times out of 100.  Do we want a president that alienates all industries and will espousing extreme rhetoric that’s not based in reality?  No, we don’t.

We want a president who gets things done and knows how to get things done.  That’s Hillary, not Bernie.  Bernie wants to play victim and pin all responsibility for all economic woes on two singular forces: Wall Street and “the billionaire class.”  It’s absurd rhetoric that plays well to populists but doesn’t address root causes.  He’s tied to extremism, not to solutions.  Hillary, the Democrats’ number 1 wonk, knows how to work with all parties to enact meaningful reform.  Her Wall Street plan promises vast changes to make the economy fairer.  But she also knows how to work with all interested parties to reach feasible reforms that check Wall Street without damaging the industry’s ability to create wealth and contribute to economic growth.  Hillary knows how to work with others to advance a goal.  Hillary knows how to pass reform and will do just that.


  • 0

Before you tell me…

Before you tell me  that the perverted actions of ISIS represent the 1.6 billion Muslims throughout the world…

Tell me that:

The KKK represents all of Christianity.

Tell me that…

The Westboro Baptist Church is indicative of all Christians

Tell me that…

That Dylann Roof, who killed 9 black churchgoers, has values typical of all Christians.

Tell me that…

All Christians hold the same principles as Timothy McVeigh, responsible for the Oklahoma City bombings that killed 168 and injured over 680.

Tell me that…

That the deranged actions of James Holmes, who killed 12 and injured over 70 in a stunning massacre, reflects the viewpoints of all Christians.

Tell me that…

That the Planned Parenthood shooter, responsible for 3 deaths an 9 injuries, is indicative of Christian values

Tell me that…

That the man who killed 32 and injured 17 at Virginia Tech and claimed that “I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and defenseless people,” is representative of all Christians across the globe.

Tell me that…

Adolf Hitler, who killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, the greatest mass murder in history, represents all Christians.

Can you do that?

No?

Then stop saying that ISIS and the sick actions of Jihadis reflect all 1.6 billion Muslims and Islamic principles.  It’s wrong.


  • 0
donald trump wealth

Pathetic

The other day, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) decided to ask Donald Trump a few questions about his policy beliefs, as any good Senator and caring citizen would do.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 21-12-25screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 21-12-32donald trump iowa caucus

Perfectly polite and complimentary.  He soon turned to policy.  It’s worth noting that Senator Sasse is a deep conservative who ardently believes in small-government principles.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-46-23

A fair question considering it’s an election in which ideas and adherence to them should be discussed.

donald trump iowa caucus

This is a Republican primary, after all, and Trump had previously stated opposition to the concept of the Second Amendment and guns.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-45-03

This question pertains to a huge (yuuge) one time tax Donald Trump proposed.  In an election of issues and policy discourse, this is a question that must be addressed.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-44-45

If Trump is going to attack Bill Clinton for his affair, it means that his many publicized ones (he brags about them in “The Art of the Deal”) are also fair game.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-39-58

A salient, basic policy question in a Republican primary.

Apparently, Donald Trump didn’t take too kindly to a Senator and citizen asking him about policy and hypocritical statements.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-31-11

No, Senator Sasse wants to understand your policy viewpoints, Mr. Trump, seeing as they change every couple of years.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-29-45

A classic move.  When one cannot respond to a question or argument, he or she will stoop to invective and ad hominem attacks.

screenshot-twitter.com 2016-01-29 20-29-12

“Who is easy.”  This is a constant Donald Trump theme: Attack anyone who questions him.  That’s not a how a president should behave and that’s certainly not how someone should treat a concerned citizen.  You can’t insult your way to the presidency, Mr. Trump.  If you’re going to run in a democracy, you have to answer questions about your beliefs and you have to address past statements made pertaining to public policy.  Running away from those responsibilities and simple duties immediately disqualifies him from being president.

 

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[Read more: How to defeat Trump through strategic voting, his deep insecurity, and his dangerous temperament.]


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