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Hypocrisy, And Lessons Left Unlearned

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Let me remind you first of all that I did not vote for Donald Trump. In fact, I was one of the earliest adopters of the #NeverTrump label, and declared I could not vote for him as early as August 2015.

I don’t say this as a statement of pride or exaltation, but as a simple fact, because where I go from here is going to anger people who opposed Trump.

I understand you are angry, despondent, outraged, confused. I know the feeling well.

Four years ago, I was you. So were my friends and conservative brethren.

When Romney lost, our entire worldview changed. We thoroughly, completely believed that Barack Obama was a failure, and that his record would matter ultimately. It did not. Nothing mattered. Not his foreign policy disasters. Not is muddled economic plan. Not Obamacare.

Today, liberals are in the same place. They cannot fathom that Hillary Clinton lost to a social media neophyte who had more gaffes than actual policy positions, that had as many scandals as any presidential candidate, ran the most ridiculous campaign in modern history…and proved everyone wrong by actually winning.

Trust me…I feel your pain.

But what got us here? That is the question that should be echoing through our consciousness, over and over and over again. If you are shocked, or angry, about Trump now being the 45th President of the United States, ask yourself: is there any way that you were culpable in this?

I say most of us were, and the reason is pretty simple: gross, absurd hypocrisy.

On every level, whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, White or Minority…the reason that the Trump base came out and voted was because of the continued, constant and absurd hypocrisy of every group in power.

Republicans (traditional Republicans) led the way, by making promises and never keeping them.

Democrats, from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton on downwards were right there with them, promising to be defenders of all, but when the concerns of these groups were considered silly and distasteful, they were labeled racists, clinging to ‘their God and guns’, and deplorable.

And the mainstream press and entertainment industry, which was almost universally opposed to anything Trump said or did, and basically insulted Trump voters from day 1…what reaction did these people expect?

If you disrespect a large portion of the country for long enough, they look for a way to react. This was actually true in 2008 too, as Minorities, fed up with Republicans ignoring them and because of the economic collapse, came out in droves to elect Obama. This is nothing new.

But considering the reaction of the last few days, we’ve learned nothing.

The last few nights, a small cohort of Hillary voters, rightfully angered by the election result…decided that the proper response to their anger and disappointment was…violence and mayhem.

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Now, I am one of the largest defenders of free speech will ever find…I am an extremist and absolutist on the matter. And I defend their right to protest peacefully. But the violence was completely unnecessary and overboard.

As for the messages…the messages were tone-deaf. These people have learned nothing from this election. This was precisely the behavior of disdain and disrespect that helped Trump coalesce a coalition of people, many of whom don’t even like Trump.

Many in the media were on the air, describing Trump supporters as racists and bigots, while the clip shot behind them showed liberal anarchists and thugs burning dumpsters, defiling public streets and smashing windows.

Many in middle America, even if they are not Trump supporters, look at these images and think, “I want no part of that”.

In truth, I fully believe there is violence on both sides. I think emotions are at an all time high, and our leaders need to calm things down. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump so far have done a fairly decent job speaking to these problems, but more needs to be done.

On the other hand, just imagine in an alternate universe, where Hillary Clinton had won, and Trump supporters marched down the streets of major cities burning debris and flags, and smashing windows. Saying that Hillary was not their President, and burning her in effigy and hanging her puppet by a noose (which occurred to Trump at Progressive rallies yesterday). What would the media and Leftists be calling them?

They would be calling them fascist, authoritarian Brownshirts.

But I have yet to hear a single journalist describe these protesters as such. Instead, you have Van Jones on CNN saying that we must ‘understand their anger’. We had Rachel Maddow applauding the protesters. Imagine from the other side, and think of how they view this.

This is the hypocrisy that is central to understanding why Trump won. Yes, Trump was distasteful, and I won’t defend many of his past comments. Yes, there are real racists in the midst of crowds coming out for Trump. But there are also average Americans, not racists or bigots, simple people who want to earn a living, send their kids to school, to have hope for the future, who have been dismissed by all the major forces in American society for years, demanding to be heard, demanding to have equal footing for their concerns and worries.

From the behavior of many in the last few days, I think they are going to make those problems of disunity and disrespect worse, not better.

This is not to pick sides either. I am fully aware there are awful acts being caused by idiots on both sides; I am also aware that these are a small minority of individuals on both sides, and not the core values of either group. Mostly, I am aware that the violence must stop. This is Republic, based on democracy, and the voters have spoken. We have a right to be angry, but responsible people have a responsibility to accept that defeat, and move forward to help the opponents they so despise, because the good of the country must come above all else. But until we can get past the anger and hurt feelings, we will have a cycle of hypocrisy and hate that will guide our future.

 

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Election Mea Culpa, Part Deux

Sad puppy is sad for not doing better.

Sad puppy is sad for not doing better.

I like many others have tried to figure out what evidence we clearly missed as Donald Trump stormed his way through the Rust Belt states to defeat Hillary Clinton. There will be extensive debate and literature on how the mainstream media and intelligentsia misrepresented or disillusioned itself regarding the reality of the electorate. I myself pointed to mistakes I made in evaluating the election, especially the ground game in Ohio.

But for me, this is more than a data argument..it is one of personal reflection.

As I look back, I definitely think I need to apologize to some people for how I reacted and behaved, especially regarding Trump.

I have a long-standing personal position that it isn’t worth getting angry about politics. However, Trump supporters did that to me. They would use trigger words that would get me into a spiral. They somehow angered me in ways liberal trolls never did.

But my fault was biting on the hook.

The irony of it is I knew I would regret that behavior later on, regardless of whether Trump or Hillary won the election. But I let people get under my skin…something I had promised myself I would not do. I will have to do better. And I apology for not having done so.

That said…I am still proud of the positions I took. Even looking back, in retrospect, I would not change how I voted, or what I said regarding policies and conservative principles. To me, without those principles, we simply become a demagogic movement, instead of an intellectual one. I want no part of that. My conscience is clear.

Some Trump supporter are angry that I have not departed from my positions. I will politely tell them they will have to live with it. At the same time, I am going to give Donald Trump all the support I can when he supports and advances conservative causes..because the conservative movement is my primary goal. When those goals are aligned with the Republican Party, I will fight for them; when they are not, they will not have my support. I have no idea if Donald Trump will consider people such as myself as his ally; but I will ally myself with Trump when it benefits the country, without hesitation.

On the other hand, my sympathy goes out to Democrats and Liberals. I feel your pain; four years ago, I was in the exact same position as you were: disillusioned beyond belief that the country was not the way I perceived it, and having no idea where we go from here.

That said: liberals need to take a deep breath, and move forward. It will not happen quickly or smoothly, but it must happen. Donald Trump is your President, for better or worse.

Personally, I will provide Trump the same approach that I would have for Hillary Clinton, or I did for Barack Obama. I believe all Presidents deserve a honeymoon period to acclimate to the most difficult job in the world. I think they deserve to make their arguments for new policies, and we should give them as much latitude as possible.

On the eve of his 2008 inauguration, I said this about the new President:

Mr. Obama is the American President. He is my president. I wish him no ill; in fact, if he does spectacularly, I will seriously consider voting for him in 4 years. But that does not mean that he should not be criticized.In fact, it is patriotic to criticize anyone and everyone who you disagree with politically. The political dialogue improves the country.

So, on this historic day, I wish Barack and Michelle Obama, and their two lovely daughters, all the congratulations and best wishes in the world. They will need our best wishes for what lies before them. And I hope Americans remember that the political fight is what makes us the greatest democracy in the world. I will fully support Mr. Obama when I agree with him, and fight tooth and nail when I don’t. I don’t think President Obama would want to have it any other way. As my hero, and Barrack Obama’s, Abraham Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley on August 22, 1862,

I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views…I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, everywhere, could be free.

I actually  make a very similar pledge about Trump. He is my President, the American President. If he does a good job, I will absolutely consider voting for him in four years. But he should be criticized when deserved, and I believe it is my patriotic duty to do so. But I absolutely wish his family the best, and wish him the best as we move forward.

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The Epic, Shocking Victory of President Elect Donald J. Trump…

Congratulations to the soon to be 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

In the most stunning political upset in my lifetime (and maybe in American history), Trump stormed the barricade of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s so-called firewall in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin.  The Rust Belt states, as well as the vaunted I-4 corridor in Florida, drove the rest of the country, and not only uneducated White voters, but college educated voters who have long been the backbone of the Republican Party, came out in droves for Trump.

At the same time, traditional Democrat constituencies, especially African-Americans, trailed pathetically.  Turnout in some areas such as Detroit and Philadelphia dramatically lagged the same numbers as Obama’s reelection victory of 2012.

In short…this was a mirror image of 2012, where the lack of enthusiasm among the base cost the loser their chance at victory.

Trump’s gracious and humble victory speech was maybe his best moment of the campaign. He was reserved, and politely thanked Hillary Clinton for years of service to the country, and then asked for all Americans to unite as we move forward into a Trump Presidency.

We will have weeks and months to talk about what the future Trump Era looks like, but it looks classy and beautiful.  Trump has a marginal advantage in the Senate, solid control of the House, and will soon be able to make a Supreme Court nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who must be laughing his butt off in heaven about the turn of events.

The most intriguing part of all of this to me is how the elites, experts, and pollsters simply missed what now must be called a wave election. They have come close to missing such waves before, like in 2010 and 2014. The pollsters that did end up getting it right, the IBD/TIPP poll and the LA Times tracking poll (both polls who actually got the 2012 election right was well) were ignored as insane simply because they showed results that people didn’t want to see.

The reality is that what experts thought were waves that were missed because they were off cycle elections actually, in hindsight, were likely missed because pollsters simply were not gauging the voices of millions of voters who had purposefully removed themselves from the system, and no longer were being accurately tallied.

See my comment about college educated voters above.  Hillary was winning this cohort by 5-10 points in polls, which is almost 20 points better than 2012 when Romney won this group by more than 10 points. But the actual result?  Trump won them by 4 points. This was critical last night, as Clinton failed to get the massive voter turnout in Philly, Cleveland and Detroit suburbs that she expected, while Red State voters turned out in droves. That was the story of the election in a nutshell.

Furthermore, these data points were displayed right in front of my face, and I didn’t really comprehend it. Polls in Iowa and Ohio showed Trump with a steady lead; why did pollsters not ask why that lead was so dramatically different from polling showed in adjacent states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and even Minnesota?  Pollsters took it for granted that it was the Ohio/Iowa polls that were out of line, and not vice versa…and that was their fatal mistake.

I’ve been saying for a while that there was no visible enthusiasm in Ohio for either Trump or Hillary..this was also critical, because apparently Trump voters were invisible on purpose. As you saw above in the polling commentary, educated white voters appear to be going out of their way to hide their voting intent. So what we did see was a hidden Trump vote…while no hidden Hillary vote existed anywhere.

On a personal note, I like most others didn’t see this coming…but I should have. I blew this prediction for a simple reason: I accepted the GroupThink, without analyzing what I was seeing with my own eyes.

I have felt for some time that Ohio was going to go for Trump. What I should have been asking is “If you think Ohio is going for Trump, why doesn’t that hold for Michigan or Pennsylvania?” I literally never asked myself this question, and neither did most pollsters or experts.

But Ohio was the bellwether that it has always been…as Ohio goes, so does America. The African American vote here was diminished from 2012.  I saw little enthusiasm for Trump, even in Republican districts, but this actually was part of the story that people like myself missed.

I saw almost every single one of my Republican friends who did NOT vote for Trump in the primaries say they were, reluctantly or not, vote for Trump in the General Election. The base came home for Trump in a way it did not for Hillary Clinton, and I had the data to say that early, but in the fog of war, with bad data coming from all sides, I didn’t put two and two together.

One last data point? My parents had been telling me for months that there was a bubbling enthusiasm for Trump under the surface. They had many friends that in public refused to admit they were for Trump, but in private, in their safe secure moments, admitted they could never vote for someone as corrupt as Hillary Clinton. These were educated, middle and upper middle class voters, many of whom were not white, and…who were the hidden Trump vote.

The lesson: Always listen to your parents; they are probably smarter than you are.

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2016 Election Predictions

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Another election day…another election prediction to make me look extremely stupid on Wednesday morning.

Couple notes about my predictions: a full list of my predictions can be seen here (2016-pool), including select Governors, Senators, and House races.

Final Prediction: Electoral College Hillary 303, Trump 235. Percentage: Hillary 48%, Trump 44%, Johnson 4%, Stein 1%, McMullin <1%.

After 4 years since the last campaign, and about $2 billion in spending in a campaign running almost two years…we see almost no change since the 2012 map. There are some key differences though: Trump, according to my prediction, outperforms Romney and wins Ohio, Iowa, and the single elector from Maine, which raises the Republican Electoral haul from 206 to 235. On the other hand, I predict Hillary Clinton only gets 48% of the vote versus 44% for Trump…meaning both candidates are three points weaker than their predecessors from 2012.

If there are any surprises from this map, I suspect they would occur in ranking of most to least likely as follows: New Hampshire (which is on a razor’s edge), Maine 3rd, Florida (where polls have been narrowing for weeks) and Nevada. Note that Trump would have to win Florida and another state to win.

Of those, the most troublesome is Nevada.  Trump was competitive in that state the entire cycle, and actually leads in the polling average as of today. However, early voting (reported beautifully by Jon Ralston) shows that Trump is getting overwhelmed largely by huge Hispanic turnout. Trump did motivate voters…but the voters he likely motivated more than any were Hispanics, who are not turning out 8:2 against him. He could still win the state, but would have to dramatically outperform past Republicans (even in midterm cycles) to beat Hillary.

Florida, if my prediction holds, is also going to be a teachable moment. Marco Rubio is well on his way to a comfortable win in the state, all the while having to drag Trump across the finish line. There is plenty of evidence now that Trump is causing negative coat tails for Rubio, would without Trump likely wins by double digits. If Trump loses, the Hispanics in both Florida and Nevada will have spoken loudly.

As for the US Senate

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Prediction: GOP 51, Democrats 49.

This is as close as you get, and there are several true tossups. GOP looks like it is headed for a loss in Nevada for Harry Reid’s seat, which is heartbreaking because this was a winnable contest. Rubio and Portman appear safe.

Ayotte’s race in New Hampshire is going to be by a razor-thin margin, as is (surprisingly) Blunt in Missouri and Young vs. Bayh in Indiana.  I think GOP is going to get crushed in Wisconsin, Illinois, and possibly Pennsylvania. Any single shift changes this, but right now I have the GOP holding the Senate…which is something I wouldn’t have thought possible back in June. That said, wouldn’t surprise me much if Ayotte or Young lost by the slimmest of margins.

house-race-ratingsGOP is going to hold the House…comfortably. They are going to take some major losses (again, see my predictions, I am predicting a net pickup of 12 Democrat seats) but I predict it ends up around GOP 233, Democrats 202.  Pretty remarkable that even in this huge Democrat year, Democrats are nowhere close to retaking the House.

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Few Last Minute Election Comments

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1. Election has clearly narrowed in the last few weeks. Hillary damaged herself by not leaking her own emails a year ago…which I said was a major mistake as far back as the Spring of 2015. By allowing others to dictate the moment of their release, Hillary likely lost her election mandate.  Trump may very likely get less percentage of the vote than Romney but do better in the electoral vote than 2012.

2. Trump still seems lost on how to broaden the tent, even at this late date. Several last minute ad buys are more about strengthening the base than widening the electorate…that is a bad sign for him. The most worrisome data point is Nevada, where actual vote tallies show large turnout among Democrats…so much so that only a huge turnout on election day would even make the race close for Trump. Nevada is so bad that GOP likely will lose the state not only for Trump, but also for the Senate race as well as two contested House races there.

3. Senate control is as close as you can possibly get. My guess is Ayotte in New Hampshire will be the deciding factor.

4. GOP is going to lose about 10 or so House seats but will easily control the Chamber. The rumors about Paul Ryan stepping down are ludicrous.

5. Neither third party candidate will get 5% of the vote at this point.

6. Specifically about Ohio: Portman is going to take Strickland and Democrats to the woodshed; even Democrat insiders I have spoken to have now admitted this. The Ohio Democrat Party is as much in disarray as the national Republican Party. They are a party in the wilderness.  As for Trump, he is neck-and-neck here with Clinton, and the race is too close to call. My gut tells me Trump pulls it out, but that is only a guess. This is despite the fact Trump’s get out the vote effort has been the most pathetic I have seen since I moved to Ohio; yes, it is far worse than even John McCain’s.

7. I will have my predictions out late Monday night. We will have an open election thread at that point on the Conservative Union.

8. Whatever your feelings….GO OUT AND VOTE.  Consider it a patriotic duty as a true blooded American.

 

 

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Doctor Strange: Movie Review

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Doctor Strange is a significant departure for the Marvel Universe. While the majority of the movies largely center around some new human technology that creates not only a superhero but an associated villain, this story is first and foremost a search for one’s inner being.

Sound ‘strange’? Hippy?  Trippy?  Yeah…it is all of those.

This is, however, also an origin story, and follows the past of most of those stories. Dr. Steven Strange is an elite neurosurgeon, arrogant and self preoccupied, living a lifestyle even out of range of his (likely) exorbitant income.  He is all about elevating his own glamour as an elite physician, even sometimes at the cost of potential patients he could help. (I personally like the quick reference to Iron Patriot/Colonel James Rhodes and his current medical condition…pay attention, or you will miss it).

However, because of his arrogance, Strange suffers a debilitating car accident…not a accident that takes away his ability to walk or talk, but his ability to use his hands…the lifeblood of any great surgeon.

Strange first looks for any Western medical therapy, and when that fails him, he is left with the only other option, no matter how ludicrous it appears: the mystical therapies of Eastern philosophies.

Here we enter the world of Doctor Strange: a world dictated by the inner mind, alternate dimensions, and yes…magic. In a world where the warped reality of the movie ‘Inception’ exists in reality, we see warped versions of New York City and other dimension, in a manner in which we have never seen in the Marvel Universe.

I always thought bringing these worlds to the movie screen would be difficult. There is a baseline mysticism that must be accepted to really dive into this kind of story. For me, as a Hindu, this was fascinating. Many of the philosophies they discuss come directly from Hindu literature, as well as Buddhism, Shintoism, and other Eastern religions and philosophies.

In classic Marvel methodology, however, a great threat faces humanity; in this case, Dormammu. Dormammu is a difficult enemy to comprehend: he is a tyrant from a place called the ‘Dark Dimension’ who simply wants to take over all realms of the universe and assimilate them into his dark reality.

I enjoyed this movie, but a warning: if you have trouble accepting magic effecting reality, of mysticism overcoming science..then this movie isn’t for you.  If you believed the Thor movies were not realistic enough, take a pass on this…because this take the entire mystic/reality clash and puts it into overdrive.

For me, I always loved the character of Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch is utterly perfect in the role (though I was ready for him to revert to his Sherlock Holmesian accent at every turn).  He is arrogant and annoying, and then smart and funny when needed. He brings the role to life, and is going to be a blast to watch as he infiltrates the rest of the Marvel Universe.

So, if you are looking for something other than the normal Marvel Universe movie, this may be for you. If not..maybe you should take a pass.

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Why Rubio Is Wrong On Wikileaks

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Wikileaks, the mysterious online organization started by Julian Assange, has been a relatively major force in the 2016 election…and a thorn in the side of Hillary Clinton.

There is little to no question in my mind that the Russians have aided Wikileaks in targeting specific actors (mostly Democrats) in a bid to alter the course of the election. No one should delude themselves about how damaging such foreign intervention in our democracy could be.  We should call them out, and should prosecute anyone involved in the theft of these materials.

Rubio came forcefully out against any use of the email leaks through Wikileaks:

“I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of Wikileaks,” said Rubio, who sits on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. “As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it.”

This is an honorable position. His argument is basically that any ill-gotten gains should be avoided.

However, I think that Marco Rubio is dead wrong about that position.

I by no means defend the actions of Wikileaks. They are, ultimately, simply thieves; they have stolen materials that they had no right to, and published them. As thieves, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But there is nothing really new in this…this is how many whistleblowers come to light.

A few short years ago, Edward Snowden was praised by many on the political Left for his thievery (and in his case, treasonous actions) in making public loads of materials that were classified.

Here is one take from the New Yorker:

In revealing the colossal scale of the U.S. government’s eavesdropping on Americans and other people around the world, he has performed a great public service that more than outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed. Like Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who released the Pentagon Papers, and Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who revealed the existence of Israel’s weapons program, before him, Snowden has brought to light important information that deserved to be in the public domain, while doing no lasting harm to the national security of his country.

There are many examples similar to this. Think back to the Pentagon Papers, and their effect on the Vietnam War. There is no question that, by releasing those papers to the New York Times and the Washington Post, Daniel Ellsberg clearly was at thief, and a treasonous one at that. But for decades, the Pentagon Papers has been heralded as a landmark for whistleblowers everywhere.  Ellsberg, to this very day, is honored by Progressives for the good deeds he did…as a thief.

Note that a few weeks ago, someone leaked the private tax records of Donald J. Trump…and I heard of almost no Democrats decrying how dishonorable such an action was. In fact, there was celebration.

Only now, when the target of the whistleblowing is a Democrat, do we see the hypocrisy.

I personally don’t like the entire episode. Wikileaks is not a heroic organization, and should be treated like the criminals they are. But to simply ignore the materials they have released is pure idiocy.

Our democracy must be built on full transparency. The fact that it takes thieves to often uncover what our government is doing in our name is a black mark on how the Republic is failing.

Outside of the political reality that Rubio is ignoring (that Democrats have and would use similar materials against a Republican), there is a more simple argument: once material is in the public square, it should be debated, disseminated, and discussed. To fail to do so is a failure of the marketplace of ideas in fully accounting for all the evidence, data, and information we have available to make the most sound decision we can as voters and as Americans.

So like Ellsberg, Snowden and Wikileaks should both be prosecuted, to the full extent of the law. Ellsberg got off on technicalities; that is beside the point. Thieves of any sort should be held to account, regardless of if their thievery benefits the greater good.

But it is silly to ignore evidence that is readily available to make important decisions that face us all. Rubio, in this respect, is simply wrong.

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The Entire American Political Class Has Failed Us

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So, last night’s second Presidential debate was…something.

Accusations of sexual assault. Accusations that a former President is a rapist and assaulter, with several of his female accusers watching from the stands a few feet away. Accusations that the other Presidential candidate is a liar, incompetent, and probably should be tried and put in jail.

This is the best America can do? Apparently..the answer is ‘YES’.

And this can’t all be laid at the feet of Trump or Republicans, but let us start there…

1. The Republican Party and Donald J. Trump

They of course own the lion’s share of this…but not all of it.

The GOP is dead as a party, in my humble opinion. We are not a party so much as a team rooting for victory, not knowing what victory means.  As I wrote in May when I announced I would be leaving the Republican Party:

And that is the core problem here. There is no philosophical core guiding the Republican Party any more. Are we the party of small government? Trump, who said education and health care (after defense) were the most important jobs of the Federal government today, clearly doesn’t believe in small government. Are we the party of individual rights, or more state power?  Trump, the poster boy for private use of eminent domain, isn’t one to talk. And even on military power and foreign policy, Trump’s policies of a weaker NATO and a rollback of our force structure worldwide is in contrast to what conservatives have believed for a generation.

So, is a party that doesn’t even agree on its core beliefs a party in any sense of the word?

I hold by that. This is no longer a cohesive party by any means. Several weeks ago RNC Chairman Reince Preibus declared any Republican not supporting Trump would face future penalties.

Then, after the release of the damaging videos against Trump last week, Reince declared that RNC staffers who had been defecting could act as they wished.

All this came in the background, as numerous Republicans announced publicly they could no longer support Trump (too little, too late, in my opinion). In response, Trump told his campaign staff to openly attack any down ballot Republican that rescinded their support.

This is not a party; it is a dysfunctional family that is about to get a divorce.

That said, Trump may be more a symptom than the cause of the problem…but he has hurt himself, his reputation, his family, and the nation by his behavior and incompetence.

There is a reason that I became permanently against Trump in August of 2015 (before the term Never Trump even surfaced).  I believed this was a man who was always in this for himself, with Trump above country in all cases. He has never shown the ability to elevate himself above a social media clown.

The video release last week actually didn’t change my opinion at all. This is simply Trump being Trump. This is a man who played with sexual innuendo and racial catch phrases for decades…who expected anything less now? Trump supporters are ecstatic when Trump handlers can keep these comments contained for just a few weeks. This is not how we should pick a President.

Trump and Republicans have brought shame upon themselves and the country.  No way around that.

2.  The Media.

I don’t know if I can adequately explain my anger at the media without using curse word after curse word.

They have been wholly incompetent.

This was compounded by the behavior of the journalists moderating our debates. The Debate commission has never learned its lesson. Last night, we had two moderators spending significant time debate the Republican nominee for President.

Forget the number of interruptions. Forget the questions. Why in God’s name is it ok for moderators to debate the candidate?

The entire concept of ‘moderation’ goes out the window when you have incompetents like Raddatz and Cooper fact checking one of the candidates on questions they feel needs to be answered. If Trump says something foolish (which is regular and common)…allow Hillary Clinton to respond. Having a three on one debate is not useful, or fair. But that is how modern journalism works, I guess.

The best example this is the video that emerged last week. I had heard rumors from people who had worked with Trump that these videos existed…LAST YEAR.

And I am no journalist. If a nobody like myself had heard these rumors…real journalists surely knew the possibility of these tapes existed. The fact that the tapes ended up being found at NBC makes this even more ludicrous. Is the NBC journalism wing so completely incompetent as they didn’t bother to scour their own archives for opposition data?

I don’t believe it. Not for a second. They knew a year ago they had this material, and happily kept it hidden until they could maximize the damage caused.

This is fine strategy for a political campaign. It is malpractice and negligence for a journalistic entity.

Some journalists have circled the wagons around NBC, saying there is no proof that they hid this. The problem with that? Most Americans no longer trust the media enough to give them the benefit of the doubt. I could list the litany of times we have now clearly and openly demonstrated such bias and coordination between Democrats and the Mainstream media; if you don’t believe me, you need not go any farther than emails showing the coordination between many journalists and the Hillary Clinton Campaign.

To take anything journalists say at this point on face value is a fool’s errand.

3. The Democrat Party

In all honesty, of any listed here, they deserve the least blame. Political Parties are always a cohort of people only out to increase power to further self interests…so being surprised they are doing that is silly.

That said…is Hillary really the best the Democrats could do? I know many Democrats still frustrated that she is their pick. Sure, they are going to vote for her. Sure, they will likely never vote Republican after the Trump debacle. But this is not a party gloating about the greatness of their political candidate.

The fact that an extreme left-wing socialist who is not even a member of the party, without any support or money to begin with, was able to take 43% of the Democrat vote away from Hillary, the most well-known candidate to run for President in modern history, with millions in her back account and virtually every major party leader (including the DNC Chairman) in her pocket…speaks volumes.

4. President Barack Obama

Obama supporters (a far larger cohort of people than Hillary supporters) will be furious to read this…but without Obama, there would never have been a Trump.

Obama is very much responsible for the environment that allowed a social media nobody like Trump to rise to take the nomination of the Republican Party. He isn’t as responsible as Republicans themselves, but to absolve him of any blame would be to ignore years of excuse making for Obama that allowed Republicans to use similar tactics when it came to Trump’s own bad behavior.

Furthermore, Obama’s main strategy to win elections was to divide the country into enough small pieces that he could pick which pieces he thought was necessary to win, and throw away the rest. Does this not sound familiar to Trump’s own rampage campaign?

I could take a deep dive here explaining why Obama is very much partially culpable for the failure of America’s elite, but I am fully appreciative of the fact that no amount of evidence will ever convince liberals that this is the case; and I need no evidence to make conservatives to accept this assertion. So lets leave it at that.

5. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary’s culpability here is not at large as Trump’s, in my opinion…but her culpability is likely to cause the most damage to the country in the long run.

Hillary is most likely to be the 45th President of the United States.

This statement will bring joy to a fair amount of Democrats and liberals.

It will bring apathy to a large share of Progressives.

It will result in abject horror in the remainder of Americans.

Hillary supports hate this analysis, by I think this is pretty much accurate. She is likely to win election by a healthy margin, all the time not being beloved at all by her base, and having the highest dishonesty numbers of any President in modern history.

And before Hillary defenders say “It is all because a quarter century of the right-wing conspiracy!”…let me stipulate that Republicans have viciously attacked her for years…but much of this is Hillary’s own fault.

Most Americans believe Hillary broke the law on her email server scandal. This is a fact. Most Americans believe Hillary did this only because of self-interest and her own political future. This is also a fact. And most Americans believe that after being discovered, Hillary spent a year lying about it time and again. This is, again, a fact.

Then, to compound the matter, Barack Obama did what he does best: play hyperpartisan politics with the entire matter, and made things worse.  By having an opaque process to investigate potential crimes, he undermined the credibility of the entire process.

Then, these political geniuses compounded the matter.

First, Attorney General meets with Bill Clinton, secretly, for a half hour on a private plane, just days before the announcement of criminal charges. Then the FBI Director gives a presentation outlining his decision, where he basically admits Hillary did something wrong, but will suffer no penalty for it.

The American people are not as stupid as Obama, Hillary, or Democrats would like to believe.

92% of Americans…you read that right, ninety two percent, believe Hillary broke the law.  And a whopping 56% disagree with the FBI on their decision not to prosecute.

These are not partisan numbers. The mainstream of the American public believes Hillary broke the law, and should have been prosecuted. The mainstream of the Democrat Party elite…disagree.  The disconnect is mind boggling.

Let us note for a moment that Hillary could have (and should have) been completely transparent on this. Sure, some emails were damaging, but none were worth this coverup. Again, the Clintons cover up a scandal, and cause more damage in their wake by their actions after the fact than the initial scandal would have cost.

Apparently, the Clintons never learn their lesson, and they have a pathetic learning curve.

That said, where does that leave a President Hillary Clinton?

It leaves her largely as illegitimate.

I hate using that word, because of all its immense connotations…but I can’t disabuse myself of the feeling that this is correct.

The majority (yes, even some of her own voters) believe she broke the law, and then got away with it because of political connections. What kind of credibility does such a person have, when enforcing laws on others?

From day one, Hillary will be the most distrusted President maybe in history, but definitely in my lifetime.

Not all of this is her fault. Trump and Republicans, as I said above, own the lion’s share of this. Imagine if they had picked a competent Republican…Hillary’s crimes would be an after thought, because she very likely loses this election. But because of the GOP, we are likely left with a damaged, untrusted women as Commander-in-Chief.

The reality is this post likely will annoy Trump supporters, Republicans, journalists, Democrats, and everyone in between. I guarantee I will get a fair share of hate mail and comments for it.  And I don’t care; the reality is we have all failed miserably.

I honestly don’t know how we fix this. Hard core Democrats will defend Hillary even if she were to commit more crimes. The media will defend her, because they are grossly incompetent. The GOP is a broken shell of its former self, and even if they somehow magically hold on to the House and Senate, their internal civil war will prevent them from having a cohesive message to oppose the President.

The political class, in all its representations, has failed the American people. The American People, having allowed this to happen, has failed the nation. And we have all likely made our future a poorer place for it.

 

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Hillary Is Potentially In Real Trouble

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So…are the polls really showing a Trump surge? Are we ready to see the Truman/Dewey moment of the 21st century?

Here is what all the hubbub is about:

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Yes. The story is real.

There is no question the polls have been narrowing ever since the end of the Democrat Party convention.  Trump received no bump from his convention; Hillary got a significant one from hers. But clearly, that was not sustainable, as the polls have slowly drifted toward a closer equilibrium point.

What we are now seeing is the inherent weakness of Hillary Clinton as a Presidential candidate. This polling trend is less about Trump than about how the public feels about Hillary.

Hillary Clinton has always been an awful political candidate. In 2008, Hillary supporter former Sen. Dale Bumpers was asked how she was losing to a nobody name Obama:“I’ve known Hillary for many years, ever since she came to Arkansas; She’ll find a way to screw it up. She always does.”

That defines who Ms. Clinton is more than anything else you will ever hear.

Furthermore, Hillary has a quarter century of history that defines her…and the public has defined her, all right.  In a Quinnipiac poll from 9/15/16, the pollsters asked if they thought Hillary Clinton was honest. She was underwater by 33 points, 32% Yes/65% No. That was even worse numbers than Donald Trump has (and he virtually lies about everything).

These issues have caused a huge enthusiasm gap…which another reason why Trump, for all of his negatives, remains still in this race.  A CNN/ORC poll indicated that more than 1 in 5 five would-be Clinton voters were “not at all enthusiastic” about backing her. The poll found 58 percent of Trump supporters saying they felt either “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about their choice, while only 46 percent in the Clinton camp feeling the same.

Even worse, that enthusiasm gap is largest where it hurts her the most: among minorities. There was always going to be a drop off of enthusiasm among the African American community from Obama to Hillary…but it appears to be far greater than they ever expected. A CBS News poll showed 31 percent of North Carolina’s black voters are supporting Clinton because they don’t like Trump. And the same percentage said they were “satisfied but not enthusiastic” about their choice, compared to 53 percent who were enthusiastic. That is approximately 40 points lower in enthusiasm than Barack Obama had in 2008, when he won the state of North Carolina.

This enthusiasm gap extends to Hispanics as well. The Clinton campaign early on presumed that Trump’s anti-Hispanic rhetoric would magically turn out the Hispanic vote for Clinton. That does not appear the case. Their campaign is now trying to woo Hispanic voters with TV and radio ads by Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine…who is white, but fluent in Spanish.

Democrats have criticized their entire strategy. The Obama campaign in 2012 put in early, sustained efforts to drive out the Hispanic vote…and largely succeeded. One veteran strategist of Obama’s 2012 campaign questioned the wisdom of waiting to engage in Spanish until the end in a recent Washington Post article: “The question I would ask is what message does that send to the Spanish-dominant Hispanic voters?” Amandi asked. “That they’re not as important as the English-language Hispanic voters by waiting this late in the cycle to engage with them?”

These are not clear winning strategies for any candidate.

When people like Nate Silver are sending up the warning flares, you better start listening:

When a candidate has a rough stretch like this in the polls, you’ll sometimes see his or her supporters pass through the various stages of grief before accepting the results, beginning with a heavy dose of “unskewing” or cherry-picking of various polls. In this case, however, the shift in the race is apparent in a large number of high-quality surveys, and doesn’t depend much on the methodology one chooses. FiveThirtyEight, Real Clear Politicsand Huffington Post Pollster all show similar results in their national polling averages, for example, with Clinton leading by only 1 to 3 percentage points over Trump.

All of this is tricky, though, because we still don’t have a great sense for where the long-term equilibrium of the race is, or even whether there’s an equilibrium at all — and we probably never will because of the unusual nature of Trump’s candidacy. Perhaps Trump isn’t that different from a “generic Republican” after all. Or perhaps (more plausibly in my view) he is a very poor candidate who costs the Republicans substantially, but thatClinton is nearly as bad a candidate and mostly offsets this effect. Still, I’d advise waiting a week or so to see whether Clinton’s current dip in the polls sticks as the news moves on from her “bad weekend” to other subjects.

The problem for Ms. Clinton is that these stories keep coming up. And they are largely unforced errors created by her or her campaign, instead of Trump successfully laying a blow on her.  The sequence of events on 9/11 when she stumbled and almost collapsed is mind boggling: instead of admitting she had an episode; they tried to sneak out so the media didn’t see, then they tried to hide it as long as possible; then tried to spin it; and finally took almost 8 hours to admit what really happened, clearly after discussing how they would confront this with a long internal discussion among their political hacks. At that point, they already had sowed distrust through out the public on whatever they eventually said.

This doesn’t mean by any means that Hillary Clinton is losing (or Trump is winning). Despite all this ‘fear mongering’ from people like myself, Hillary likely still leads Trump by a point or two.

The problem is history shows you how tenuous such leads are. In late October 2000, George W. Bush led Gore by 1-2 points in the polls. Then, the weekend before the election, the news story broke about Bush having a drunk driving arrest as a young man. Even though the story was largely irrelevant, there are several surveys and studies in retrospect that show that story may have cost Bush the popular vote, by suppressing his base in some sectors from turning out. Whether this is true or not can never absolutely be proven, but again…Bush led for the vast majority of that campaign, and that 1-2 point lead didn’t hold up in the end.

The second hurdle for Trump is the electoral college:

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Yeah. The structural advantages in the electoral college are tremendous for Trump. He has to not only sweep the toss-up states (50 EV), but also steal at least one of the Democrat-leaning states like New Hampshire or Virginia.

Furthermore, the problem for Donald Trump is he is utterly incapable of taking advantage of all these Hillary deficiencies, unlike Gore or other past examples.  Hillary has a credibility problem, and the public thinks she is a liar; is Trump going to take the mantle of being the honest truth teller America needs?  Good luck with that. Hillary has shown multiple episodes of gross incompetence; who here believes Trump is knowledgeable enough to show greater competence?  Not many unaligned voters at this point. Trump is singularly incapable of taking advantage where other Republicans would be trouncing Clinton.

Clinton is largely undermining her own campaign because of who she is: she is a dishonest woman who repeatedly avoids transparency at all costs, even in the face of media attention and obvious self benefit; she is a woman with little or no natural political acumen, who engenders almost no enthusiasm from a bulk of her own party, and has a campaign staff that is either too cowardly or too incompetent to speak to her honestly about her own mistakes.

That is always a recipe for disaster in a political campaign.  Hillary Clinton is currently toying with losing the most winnable race in the last half century…an amazing accomplishment, when you think about it.

In short, Hillary was a very weak candidate to begin with, with little credibility or trust among the general population. Compound that with her inability to be transparent, outright lying to the public, and her team’s own gross incompetence…and we are where we are: a race where she is likely to win, should win…but Trump still lives.

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Why Trump’s Convention Bounce Matters

RealClearPolitics   Election 2016   General Election  Trump vs. Clinton

 

Even after the often messy, consistently off message Republican National Convention last week, Donald Trump has obtained a significant bounce in the polls.

The size of the bounce likely won’t really be understood until well after the fact. There are too many confounding factors, especially the ongoing Democrat National Convention, to really understand what the full impact was.

But as surprising as it may be, Trump did improve his standing with the American people. Even the polls that showed no statistical evidence of a bounce demonstrated this.

The reason why this is so important is history. No candidate in the modern era has failed to get a bounce, and more over, failed to take the lead after their convention, and then gone on to win the Presidency.  The worst examples of this are John Kerry in 2004 and Mitt Romney in 2012, both of whom actually achieved ‘dead cat bounces’ after their conventions, and received no boost whatsoever.

Trump, by achieving both a post-convention bounce and a (albeit likely short-lived) national lead in the polls, at least is still in the game.  This is quite nicely illustrated in Nate Silver’s election forecast, which for the time being gives Trump the upper hand:

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Ultimately, no matter the size and long-term impact of the conventions, this tells us a few things about the electorate.

First, Trump is a unique candidate in the hallowed history of American politics. Predictions rarely are accurate in the short-term where he is concerned. He moves the electorate in a way we are not accustomed to.

Second, Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate who is unliked by the American people.  She may be slightly more liked than Trump himself, but this is not something to necessarily be proud of, all things considered. She has utterly failed in changing the national perception that she is a classic politician who will lie about anything for personal benefit.

That said, is the election as close as it currently appears? For data, ask me again in one month.  The Democrats will likely be successful in achieving their own bounce post-convention, which more than likely will wipe away any benefits Trump has achieved. Both parties will then unify as much as they are likely to for the rest of this cycle. Then we will know if Donald Trump is really in this game…or it is all an illusion.

 

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