Saturday, February 27, 2016

If it is Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton in the General Election, Latinos will play a decisive role and Trump will lose

Before I get into the crux of this article, I want to provide some background that I think will make a lot of things clear about why Trump has done some of the things he has done.  After his comments back in the 2004-2005 time-frame that the Iraq war was a disaster, I thought he might run for President as a Democrat. Back then, Trump was a moderate who, in my opinion, could have chosen to run for either party.

The first mistake Trump made in trying to run for President was to decide to run as a Republican. I can imagine some of the reasons why and discussions had by his team as that decision was made, but that's mostly supposition on my part and immaterial. The result of deciding to run as a Republican meant that he had to try to appeal to Republican grassroots.

That would have posed a serious problem for any political team trying to solve the obstacles in his way to getting the nomination. As Trump's GOP primary opponents have said, he had expressed support for many Liberal positions in the past. If he reversed positions on those things he would immediately be seen as non-genuine and a hypocrite. Those perceptions are the exact opposite of those that team Trump was trying to create. His teams goals were to develop positions that Trump could adopt that would both signal to Conservative grass roots that he was one of them and deserved their support and would also not conflict with anything he had said previously.

It was clear to me with the birther position Trump took back during the run-up to the 2012 primary that this was a first attempt to reintroduce himself to Conservative grassroots as someone they should consider supporting. See my article on that here: TRUMP'S BIRTHER STRATEGY MAKES SENSE IF YOU UNDERSTAND ITS PURPOSE

The second position that Trump's team had him adopt was that of being radically against undocumented immigrants having a path to citizenship, and the creation of the wall on the border with Mexico.

Both the birther and anti-immigration positions fulfilled the requirements of endearing him to the Republican base and not putting him in danger of appearing to be a flip-flopper or someone willing to say anything to be elected. In fact regarding the latter, it did the exact opposite. It helped foster the impression that Trump says what he means and doesn't care about being politically correct. This impression has stuck with Trump throughout the Republican primary process and has him on the verge of becoming the presumptive Republican nominee.

The problem with some of the things that Trump said regarding immigration was that they were extremely offensive to Latinos. Trump claims that the media unfairly characterized his statements but I am not sure you can say that. Huffington Post did a good job back in August of capturing, to that point, the Nine Most Outrageous things Donald Trump has said about Latinos and that includes such gems as:

and lest you think Trump's negative statements and opinion was just about Mexicans and not other Latinos:

As a Latino myself, those things Trump said are upsetting to me, but I also don't happen to think that Trump really believes those things anymore than he believed that Obama was born in Kenya. I think this was all part of the salesmanship job Trump has been doing to win over the Conservative base. I also don't think he really understood how offensive those things were that he was saying. That doesn't excuse it. Whether someone really is a really a racist and believes racist things or is just saying race-baiting things for political objectives doesn't change how it makes me feel about that person. I am very unhappy with Donald Trump for having made those statements and I am not alone. Latinos are seething over these statements both here in the US and abroad. This is very important and I am going to come back to that.

Right now if you look to the general election polls describing the results of a potential Trump vs Hillary race, most have it close and some even have Trump winning. I wouldn't pay too much attention to general election polls at this time. As Nate Silver said, A year out ignore general election polls . Polls at this point had Clinton losing badly in 1992 and had Carter beating Reagan in 1980. General election polls don't start meaning something until the summer and even then don't start to completely shake out until early to mid September.

What does give you a hint right now about how the election might turn out is to look at individual demographic groups and use the political parties and past campaigns demographic targets to tell you where someone might have an edge and where someone might have problems.

Past Republican Presidential campaigns have said that their target is to get at or close to 40% of the Latino vote to win the general election. After Mitt Romney's loss in 2012, some of which was believed to be because of his poor showing with Latinos (Romney lost the Latino vote to President Obama by 71%-27%), Republican politicians and pundits for several months afterwards were saying how they needed a new approach toward Latinos and immigration and were willing to change on both counts. One of my favorite statements along these lines was Sean Hannity's:

This was said by Sean one or two days after Mitt Romney's election loss in 2012.

Many Republican strategists came to the same conclusion as Hannity and realized that continuing to anger the Latino community created an impossible situation for them when it came to winning national elections. That is one of the reasons for why the Republican establishment has been and is still searching for a way to stop Trump from winning the nomination. That 40% number is in their head and they are concerned about it and it turns out they have good reason.

A recent Washington Post-Univision poll of Latino voters shows that in a general election match-up, Latinos would vote 72% for Hillary and 16% for Trump. See 

Even more telling in that poll is that 81% of Latinos have a very unfavorable or somewhat unfavorable opinion of Trump and only 17% have a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Trump. Conversely, 67% of Latinos have a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton while only 31% have a very unfavorable or somewhat unfavorable opinion of her.

This demographic poll is more telling than a normal general election poll this far out because it not only gave the results of who folks would vote for it provided favorable-unfavorable ratings.  Unfavorable ratings are very hard to change and Trumps unfavorable ratings among Latinos are in the stratosphere. As I said earlier, Latinos are angry at Trump and it's hard to imagine that he can change that significantly.

It's hard to imagine Trump winning or even being mildly competitive in a general election with Hillary Clinton with those kinds of numbers. It's also very difficult to see how he would change those numbers between now and November. It would take years to repair the kind of damage Trump has done to his relationship with Latinos.

In a general election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump will lose and Latinos will play a decisive role in that loss.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders – Snake Oil Salesman Extraordinaire Threatens to Take his Act Nationwide.

Yakov's Elixir, the best that can be had, Yakov's Elixir, it's good for what is bad.
Try this elixir, it's sure to quench your thirst, Buy this elixir, it's best for what is worst!-         Song of the Snake Oil Salesman Yakov sung by Danny Kaye in “The Inspector General”

What to do when a significant portion of your fellow party members have bought into the siren song of a Snake Oil Salesman?

That’s what confronts those of us Democrats who do not buy into Sanders-mania.

A snake oil salesman is someone who sells something knowing that the product cannot do what the salesman says it will do. Before the advent of modern medicine, snake oil salesmen were common, selling everything from furniture polish to lemon-water, claiming the potions would cure all sorts of ailments.

Sanders presents the same picture as a candidate. Sanders is making wild claims about being able to enact single payer healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and a host of other claims. 

The problem, for those of us not under his hypnotic trance, is that we know that due to redistricting, the House of Representatives will remain Republican until January of 2023 at the earliest and that is if everything goes as well as possible for Democrats in the next four state and congressional elections. It’s more likely that the House will remain Republican until January 2025 and if things go badly, for much longer.

We’ve watched how Republicans in the House operate. They do not pass bills submitted by Democratic Presidents and they are ensconced in very Republican districts safe from the ire of a public who wants congress to do something. In fact, Republican congressmen get punished if they are seen as helping Democratic Presidents. Several dozen have received strong primary challenges and even lost their seats to primary challenges from fellow Republicans for the sin of seeming to be too open to working with President Obama. That lesson has by now been received loud and clear by the rest of the Republican House Caucus.

All of this is a long winded explanation proving how Sanders cannot deliver on anything he is promising, and what irks many of us Democrats who oppose him is, he has to know this and knowing this he continues to snow his supporters into believing he will achieve something revolutionary if elected.

Even that is getting ahead of ourselves. To get to that point, Sanders of course first needs to defeat Hillary, and then he would face an avalanche of negative ads seeking to define him from the Republicans. The worst part of this is, the Republicans won’t have to lie or exaggerate to do it.

In past elections, I’ve worked hard to defend the Democratic nominee from lies and exaggerations from Republican candidates and PACs. Sanders would present a unique problem for those trying to defend him from such attacks because they will all (or a large majority of them will) be true.

He expressed support for the Sandinistas when they were considered an enemy of the United States. He is a Socialist who was a member of several college Socialist organizations, honeymooned in the former Soviet Union and was so far left he refused to join and expressed disdain for the Democratic Party until he had no other choice if he wanted to contend for the Presidency. He proposes a total government takeover of healthcare and has proposed a middle class tax increase in order to pay for it. The list goes on. The Atlantic’s Paul Starr summed it up thusly:

In 1980, he served as an elector for the Socialist Workers’ Party, founded by Leon Trotsky and committed to nationalizing major industries. In 1989 he said the Democrats and Republicans were “in reality, one party—the party of the ruling class.” That year he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times describing the two parties as “tweedle-dee” and “tweedle-dum” since both subscribed to what he called an “ideology of greed and vulgarity.”

Someone with the above record is a Republican strategist’s dream opponent. To make matters worse, every time he has been asked about his Socialism, Sanders has refused to answer the question directly and instead pointed to countries in Europe or talked about individual policies he proposes that he thinks people will like. That isn’t defining what he believes as a Socialist and it leaves him wide open to others defining his Socialism for him, which Republicans will do quite happily.

I’ve written these things about Sanders since the beginning of his candidacy. My opinion has not changed with Hillary’s win in Iowa or Sanders’ win in New Hampshire. Sanders candidacy presents a heavy lift to get the nomination, can only win the general election if the Republican nominee implodes, and if elected cannot enact any of the proposed agenda with which he is snowing his followers.

Level headed Democrats, i.e. those who have not bought into Sanders’ nonsense, may soon be confronted with a question. What is worse, a Republican who gets elected President now, or a Republican who would get elected in four years after a failed Democratic President who failed to enact anything of an agenda that carried huge expectations with all the baggage that would carry for the party. The perception of the Carter Presidency as a failed Presidency, as unfair as I think that is, cast a shadow over Democratic Presidential politics for the better part of twenty years and enabled three consecutive Republican White House victories. Republicans used the Carter Presidency, again, unfairly if you ask me, to great effect in claiming that Democrats were not up to being able to run the White House.

I will leave the main part of this article with one final thought regarding Sanders’ Snake Oil agenda. Is there anything about the last seven years since President Obama was elected that gives anyone the impression that the country wants to not just move further left, but farther left than any current elected official in the Democratic Party? With the Tea Party, Democratic losses in the mid terms in 2010 and 2014, I don’t understand how anyone could answer yes to that question.

p.s., for the Bernie bros who attack anyone who criticizes Sanders, let me save you the work, I’m bad, I’m terrible, I wrote some contradictory stuff a few years back, etc., etc. There, saved you the trouble.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

And POP goes the Hillary Email Balloon - Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice had classified items in their personal emails too

My, my my. Once again I have been proven to be right, this time about the faux Hillary email scandal.

According to CNN:

Colin Powell and top staffers for Condoleezza Rice received classified information through personal email accounts, according to a new report from State Department investigators.
Hillary Clinton has received severe criticism -- particularly from Republicans and computer security experts -- for using her personal email account while serving as the nation's top diplomat under President Barack Obama. Thursday's revelation about the two secretaries of state under former President George W. Bush gave her supporters an opportunity to claim the Democratic presidential candidate was being singled out over the practice.
The emails were discovered during a State Department review of the email practices of the past five secretaries of state. It found that Powell received two emails that were classified and that the "immediate staff" working for Rice received 10 emails that were classified.
The information was deemed either "secret" or "confidential," according to the report, which was viewed by CNN.
In all the cases, however -- as well as Clinton's -- the information was not marked "classified" at the time the emails were sent, according to State Department investigators.
more at  
Well, I'd say that as far as the nonsense about Hillary being prosecuted for this goes, as idiots like Republican Congressman Darrell Issa and others have been insinuating, the chances of that just went to zero percent. Which is as it should be. 
What I tried to tell people is that this entire nonsense was predicated on Hillary being able to tell the future in two respects, knowing that someone was about to send her an email and knowing that at some point in the future, the contents of that email was going to be considered classified. Content that is later classified is pretty regularly sent to non-secure emails throughout all agencies and branches of the government. It's one of the challenges for those trying to protect sensitive information and its a tough challenge to resolve because you can't tell the future. It's as simple as that. 
I also tried to tell people that this has nothing to do with Hillary using a personal email account. I am sure there will be folks who read that last sentence and don't quite understand what to make of it. I will explain. You see, just like Hillary's personal email account, the email account that she would have otherwise used is not rated secure to receive classified email/information. The same rule violation in terms of safeguarding classified information would apply if the emails had gone to her email. And as I indicated in the previous paragraph, she would similarly have no way to have prevented it or known beforehand that the contents would later be declared to be classified.
So the whole brouhahah that Republicans manufactured over her use of a personal email account makes no sense at all. I had a debate with a conservative former CIA agent on Sirius radio and when I said that part about the personal email vs he had to acknowledge I was correct.
For classified communications, you are supposed to use the systems called SIPRnet (For classified up to Secret) and JWICS for Top Secret. SIPRnet was in the news during the Chelsea Manning affair as Manning willy-nilly released classified information from SIPRnet to make some sort of point about something completely unrelated to 99.99999% those emails, but I digress.
Like the IRS scandal and various other "scandals" Republicans found something that had been going on for a long time, or a system that had flawed elements, and then they blamed the current Democratic President and Agency head for it and blew it up into a scandal.
What's clear from the latest revelations from former Secretaries of State Powell and Rice is that this particular attempt at a scandal to hurt Hillary Clinton is over.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hawkeyes must Moonlight as Firefighters Because Tonight they Extinguished “The Bern”

In a state whose demographics favored Bernie Sanders in every way imaginable, certainly more than most other states, a state that was, along with New Hampshire, a must win state for Sanders, Hillary Clinton has pulled out the victory.

Sanders and his campaign will no doubt try to claim they exceeded expectations and were the underdog and all of that, but there is no reasonable argument they can make that they can pull out a win over Clinton or in the general election if they could not win in a state tailor made for him.

I listened to some pundits try and claim that because the result was close the race will go on. They're wrong. With Clinton beating Sanders in a state he should have won and needed to win, the race is over. 

Sanders will probably win New Hampshire, and will likely win Vermont when that state comes around, but Hillary will run the table beyond that.