Sunday, July 31, 2016

Clinton drama never ends...

Wikileaks has Hillary Clinton Campaign material

Yes, liberals...  we all know this is part of the vast right wing conspiracy to bring her down. But you have to admit that it's a bit of a game changer when all of the media bias in the world can be pretty much wiped out by someone simply leaking the documented actions of the DNC and Hillary Clinton without any spin or commentary.

Call the "truth" the great equalizer in all of this.

I was speaking with a friend of mine regarding the CNN coverage of the two conventions. How there was actual physical anger from those who disagreed with the Trump messages vs how much these same people tried to paint the Hillary speech as something more than it was (some of them barely masking their disappointment).

There once was a time when CNN tried to portrait themselves as the neutral cable news network between FOX and MSNBC. But as of now, they actually may be more liberally slanted than the MSNBC network. After years of falling behind in the ratings, they realized that there isn't any interest in just releasing the news. You need someone to step up and tell you what is good or bad and why the Republicans are pretty much always to blame.

In previous elections and previous times, the media bias this year (including the major networks actually providing considerably more coverage of the DNC than the RNC) would have alone probably secured a large (maybe even double digit) lead for Hillary Clinton coming into August. But with alternate coverage, social media, and the increasingly popular "Wikileaks" stepping in to ruin these well laid plans... it appears like all those millions of dollars, all the pomp and circumstances, and all that bias... will fall well short of what many on the left probably feel their efforts deserve.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Former Obama Stimulus Guru and Maximum Clinton donor offers Yahoo analysis

The lead author in this study is Mark Zandi who has given the maximum amount to the Clinton campaign and was a well known supporter of the Obama stimulus plan. Gee, wasn't there a time when the main stream media actually "tried" to at least "look" neutral?

Oh, and wasn't there a time when they tried to be correct? Remember how much those supporters thought unemployment would go down under the Obama stimulus plan? You really want to trust these same people to judge Clinton's plan?

Either way, the Clinton economic plan looks an awful lot like the Obama economic plan. So if you like 1.2% GDP growth and are happy with eight years of stagnant growth and stagnant wages, then I can see why people like Zandi would be bullish on more of the same.

Hat Tip / Powerline Blog

Trump over Clinton
DNC over RNC

Trump prevails over Clinton in convention speech ratings race
Who won the convention ratings race, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?
Trump, by a margin of two million viewers, according to Nielsen, the TV ratings firm.
Clinton's Thursday night acceptance speech at the DNC averaged 29.8 million viewers across ten broadcast and cable channels. Trump's speech at the RNC one week earlier averaged 32.2 million viewers across the same channels.
  • Monday night's DNC speeches were seen by 26 million viewers across seven channels, versus 23 million for night one of the RNC. 
  • Tuesday night's DNC coverage averaged 24 million, versus 19 million for night two of the RNC.  
  •  And Wednesday night attracted 24.4 million viewers, versus 23.4 million viewers for the RNC.
So if you look at the Headliners, the results went something like this:

Donald Trump 32.2
Hillary Clinton 29.8
Bernie Sanders 26
Barack Obama 24.4
Bill Clinton 24
Mike Pence 23.4
Melenia Trump 23
Donald Trump Jr 19

Friday, July 29, 2016

Reuters Polling - Don't like the results? Change em!

So here is a classic - Reuters "released" their latest weekly tracking poll. Now you can actually view the daily tracking poll if you know where to look on their website. But they only release it as a story once a week (that's what you see in RCP and HP/Pollster). The tracking poll had shown some significant movement towards Trump and had sort of leveled off right around a tie Race. In fact, the five day rolling numbers had not changed significantly even as it moved into the Democratic convention. I was curious how they would spin the release of a poll showing an actual drop in support from last week?

Imagine my surprise when they released a poll showing Clinton back up by five points today in the two way race (it was four points last week, and 11 the week before). Wow, what a one day jump? So I went back to the daily tracking link, and low and behold, the entire movement over the past week for Trump was gone? Interesting...

Well.. then I read this story "also" released today:

In a nutshell - allowing for the choice of "neither" was causing an issue:
From the beginning of June until the middle of July, the Reuters/Ipsos survey showed consistently lower support for Trump than other polls were capturing.
I guess this didn't really phase them. However:
More recently, the “Neither/Other” option appeared to lead to an underreporting of Clinton’s support in the run-up to the Democratic convention, said Cliff Young, pollster and president of Ipsos Public Affairs, which partners with Reuters on the poll.
Of course it did... certainly the FBI report and the Republican Convention had nothing to do with her being "underreported". Either way, underreporting for Trump. No big deal. Underreporting for Clinton? Well that needs to be addressed and pronto!

Now I won't get into the details, because quite frankly they didn't really make much sense. But they apparently went through three different versions or reestablishing of the numbers (retroactively no less) and were able to find a new formula that effectively put Clinton back up to a five point lead, giving her a one point bump over last weeks polling.

Now this actually doesn't effect my spreadsheet, because when given the option I use the four way results.   In the four way race, it is still showing the race effectively tied when rounded (Clinton had had a four point lead a week ago). Not sure if this is because there is really a five point spread between the two polls, or if they have not gotten around to "tweaking" their four way race, as they did their two way race. Either way, I provided the polling chart from Reuters on the four way race. This is almost identical to what the two way race looked like, as of earlier today (only Trump was up by a point).

Has the four way race not been adjusted yet?

Let's see if this one changes as well?

Bounce, bounce, bounce...

Of course, everyone wants to know whether or not there will be a bounce from the Democratic National Convention.  Contrary to what has been stated about me, I have no inkling at this point as to whether or not there will be a substantial bounce for Clinton, an average bounce for Clinton, or no bounce at all.

As it turned out, early reports by Nate Silver and others was that Trump was going to get very little (if any) bounce from their convention. The next reports were that he was getting  a huge bump after CNN and Ipsos/Reuters showed a double digit gain. At the end of the day, you had polls showing anything from a one point bump to an eleven point bump... and it seemed to settle into an average bump of about four points or so.

So if you put a gun to my head, I would offer that we will see something similar for Clinton. That you will see a couple of pollsters showing big bounces, a couple of pollsters showing a medium bounce, and a couple of pollsters showing little or no bounce.

But I am simply not one to pay much attention to convention bounces. In my humble opinion, there is only a few tangible things that can be accomplished in a convention that make a long term difference. Generally they work more for those who are less known quantities or with candidates who are trying to establish themselves. That is not the case this year, as both candidates are almost cultural icons with hard coded reputations. Of the two, Trump had a little more room to both establish and introduce himself. Although I don't believe that the difference is a "game changer".

The bigger issue at hand, is the overall trend that started before either convention. Trump had been closing a substantial gap in the polling, and his convention seemed to keep that momentum going. According to the two tracking polls, his improved numbers were able to stand up through the first two days of the convention, without any real reversal. I expect that will change at least to some degree after days four and five... especially as these rolling polls go further out from his convention.

At this point, patience is a virtue. Sometime around mid to late August we will see where things stand. I am expecting that we will be looking at a close race, and that everyone's attention will turn to the equally overrated events called "the debates".  


U.S. Economy Grew Less-Than-Forecast 1.2% in Second Quarter
The U.S. economy expanded less than forecast in the second quarter after a weaker start to the year than previously estimated as companies slimmed down inventories and remained wary of investing amid shaky global demand.
Gross domestic product rose at a 1.2 percent annualized rate after a 0.8 percent advance the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2.5 percent second-quarter increase.
The report raises the risk to the outlook at a time Federal Reserve policy makers are looking for sustained improvement. While consumers were resilient last quarter, businesses were cautious -- cutting back on investment and aggressively reducing stockpiles amid weak global markets, heightened uncertainty and the lingering drag from a stronger dollar.

So this is a "little" bit of a problem for Hillary and the Democrats. While I don't know that they spent a bunch of time propping up the economy over the past four days, nothing quite matters like bad economic numbers.

Moreover, this works to cement to many Americans that their fear and trepidation is justified based on the tangible numbers. To some degree, this messes with the attempts from Democrats and the left to try to convince people that their negativity is wrong based on the numbers. Hard to use statistics to overwhelm feelings, when those statistics don't tell the story you want to sell.

DNC recap

Nothing to fear but Trump himself 

So everyone and their brother will want to compare and contrast the two conventions. My guess is that most (if not all) will agree that the Republican convention was more negative about the state of the nation, while the Democratic convention was more positive. This certainly sets up the election moving forward, where it is likely that every little thing that happens from here on out (good or bad) will be amplified like an AC/DC concert. I have a feeling, it's about to become obnoxious.

The major theme for the Democrats was to downplay the negativity of the Republicans as "fear mongering". I believe it's a dubious claim, considering the right track wrong track numbers, not to mention the news. On the same day the Democrats managed to throw up over 60 speakers without a mention of ISIS or terrorism, a priest has his throat slit by Islamic terrorists claimed by ISIS.

The larger issue, however, is that being the Party that has been in the White House for nearly eight years, they really don't have another hand to play. A Party insider like Clinton, who has been around for nearly three decades, representing the Party "in power" - is not likely to compete as a "change" candidate with a political outsider like Donald Trump. So when most people are probably feeling like this is a "change" election, the Democrats and Clinton must convince them that this is about the "need" for stability and experience and tweaking a Government fundamentally going in the right direction. They must turn this into a "stay the course" election.  An election too important to turn over to an unknown commodity. Especially an unknown commodity such as Donald Trump.

To some degree, this is a difficult argument to make, because it's almost two contrasting arguments trying to work in tandem. If the country is really doing well and things are not all that dangerous, then what's the harm in trying a political outsider? If things are so dangerous that we cannot trust a political outsider to fix it, then isn't that an indictment of the leadership of the past two Presidential terms?

On the flip side, the Republicans running with the anti-establishment candidate have an obvious challenge as well. They need to convince the public that things are doing poorly enough that we need change. But there is a danger that if the public is convinced that the world is about to explode, that they may opt for someone with more grounded experience... even if they blame a Democratic Administration for the problems.

Much of this, like it or not, is going to be on Trump's shoulders.  Depending on how Americans view the stakes, and how much they blame the incumbent Party for the mess, Trump may "only" need to offer himself as a "reasonable" alternative to the status quo of Hillary Clinton. The bar is set so low for him at this point, that anything short of putting Hillary in a headlock during the debates, might come across as him being reasonable. That being said, there is a chance that the relentless pounding of Trump by the MSM may eventually wear people down.

The Democrats, of course, will spend most of their time attempting to convince us of one of two things (or both)... that things are going well enough to stay the course, and that Donald Trump is anything but a reasonable alternative. What they didn't really do much of in this convention, and what they may do very little of in the general election, is give us a real tangible reason for voting "for" Hillary Clinton. Again, they have to play the hand that is dealt them.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Is this a really long speech or is it just my imagination?

Axelrod - "Not a great speech"

The experience candidate

44 dead in ISIS attack in Syria 

In June of 2012, I helped negotiate the cease fire in Syria,
 proving diplomacy can work! If you elect me President,
 I can promise you more results just like that one!

Bernie leaves the Democratic Party

See ya! Wouldn't want to be ya!

Tale of two realities...

Everything is awesome - Don't let Donald screw it up!

So there were really four parts to the President's speech last night. Let's break it down in terms of that:

Obama's legacy - This was the part where the President was attempting to both toot his own horn, while simultaneously trying to explain to the majority of the country why they are wrong to feel like things are going negatively. To give credit where credit is due, the President has great rhetorical skills. But rhetorical skills alone sometimes fall short of changing reality. For instance, claiming that Obamacare made Health Care a right vs a privilege is a strong abstract argument. Likewise, bragging that the Iranian deal was the fruit of diplomacy has a nice ring to it. Problem is that from a tangible standpoint, neither of these "accomplishments" have actually been successful and most of the country instinctively understands that.

Lipstick on a pig -  Unfortunately for Obama, this convention is not about him and his legacy. It's about Hillary Clinton and her candidacy. Once again, the Presidents used strong rhetoric to describe the Secretary of State. She's fought hard for things, she made strong arguments, she was part of decision making process, and she never gives up. These are great qualities to have, if you are a Notre Dame practice squad player names Rudy. But unless I missed the other secret end to the movie, Rudy was not drafted into the NFL to play football professionally. What was missing, was actual tangible achievement.

Trump attack dog - Perhaps the most effective part of the speech was going after the Donald. Nothing seems to get the crowd going like attacks on Trump. Moreover, he can speak from a place of Presidential experience, which in the minds of people likely gives him more authority to speak of Presidential qualifications. My only question was whether or not he really offered anything new or if it simply comes across as piling on.

The future - This was probably the most important part of the speech, and what seems to be growing as the major theme of the convention. Whereas Trump is offering a country (and world) moving in the wrong direction, Obama and the Democrats are attempting to offer a country moving in the right direction. There has been a lot said about glass ceilings, diversity, and inclusion. What the Democrats would really like to do is make this a referendum on whether or not the country want's to continue to break glass ceilings, become more diverse and more inclusive... arguing that such priorities do not exist within the Republican Party.

Conclusion - Now I strongly suspect that if you are a Democrat or a liberal leaning Independent that this is the sort of speech that moved you. The President is a great public speaker and has been a great motivator for the liberal cause.  Last night was another performance in that same vein. While it was intuitive to me that he glossed over pretty much everything that was negative about the past few years, I doubt that mattered much for those already in the fold. Moreover, I think that the arguments about diversity and inclusion will also carry weight for a decent portion of the country.

But at that end of the day, nearly seventy percent of Americans do not see the country the same way the President does. They may want to see it that way. Some of them may even be trying to convince themselves of it. But rhetorical arguments like this simply don't have lasting power. When the emotions wear off, people will stop and ask themselves whether or not any of this makes their own lives better. Should we really election Clinton because we want a woman? Does changing the legal status of illegal immigrants "really" make us more diverse? Does such diversity help someone with stagnant wages pay the bills? How does allowing a transgender male to use a girls locker room make the average Joe's life better?

I suspect that when it comes to seeing the world as it is versus seeing the world as it should be. The American public is going to want the realist over the dreamer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Trump Obsession Syndrome!

Has Trump gotten in the head of Hillary and gang?

  • Trump tells the world that Hillary doesn't want change because she is a puppet of those who have rigged the system, and don't want that system changed. Her husband's speech was about her being a "change maker". 
  • Trump jokes with the press that whoever hacked the DNC, should see if they can produce the 30,000 missing Emails from Hillary's server. Team Clinton sends out a statement saying Trump is encouraging "espionage". Which of course would only be a valid accusation if those deleted emails contained classified information. Pretty sure they claimed those 30,000 emails were about weddings and yoga.
  • Trump made fun of her logo - I'm with her - they now created a new logo - She's with us. Basically doing little more than copying Trumps line from his speech. 
  • He's got most everyone in the Democratic Party trying to argue that things are already "great" and don't need to be made "great again". Is this a good argument to make when 70% of the country think we are on the wrong track?  
Seems to me that The Donald is in control of the narrative here folks... and he's got Hillary and the DNC reacting. Once again, they are leading from behind.

Change of Subject...

Freddie Gray case: Charges against three remaining officers dropped

Well all that rioting, looting, and arson for nothing, huh? Next step will be if the Police officers are ruled to have any standing in their lawsuit against Mosby for defamation? While I understand that plight of the officers, and there can be no real question that these prosecutions were entirely politically motivated, I believe it would be a slippery slope for acquitted criminals to be able to sue the prosecutor in question.

...and then I met another, and another.. oh and I almost forgot about that one!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shocking and rude?

“I think the beginning of the speech was a controversial way to start, honestly, talking about the girl, a girl, leading with this long story about him being attracted to an unnamed girl and thinking about whether he was starting something he couldn’t finish, building her whole political story, for the whole first half of the speech around her marriage to him. I think, unless there were worries that this is going to be too feminist a convention, that was not a feminist way to start. But the end of the speech was really good. I’ve got to say, the top of the speech I found shocking and rude.”

I watched parts of the speech (I toggled back and forth between the speech and reruns of American Ninja Warrior). It struck me as a bit forced. I am not sure I want to say "insincere" but at times it felt a little like he was describing the dentist he recommends you go see. Perhaps it was the "pace" that pulled me down. Either way, I didn't get the same feeling I got when I watched the Trump kids talk about their dad.

But hey... that's just me. What do I know?

Why is it?

When Bernie Sanders yells a speech, telling about everything that is wrong with the country (oppressive law enforcement, evil rich people, global warming dooming the planet)... he is just a positive advocate for change and revolution, calling for unity.

But when Donald Trump does the exact same thing (ISIS, crime, attacks on our police), he is considered dark, dangerous, and calling for division.

The only difference I can see is who each of them identifies as the enemy. Apparently it's okay to call the "Koch brothers" evil and demand that Citizen's United and racists cops are the real threat to this country. But referring to the enemy as Islamic terrorists who want to kill Westerners and destroy our way of life is considered racially insensitive, politically incorrect, and designed to divide the country?

Let's be clear. Calling cops racists, and demanding everyone else is to blame for the plight of the poor, is not a call for unity. It's guaranteed every single time to further divide the country? But you would "think" that we could all get behind stopping ISIS and radical Islamic terror?  Or perhaps get behind reducing violent crime in major cities?

France - Priest Killed in name of ISIS

A deadly hostage-taking at a Catholic church in Normandy, in which a priest was killed and another person seriously wounded, was a terror attack committed in the name of ISIS, French President Francois Hollande has said.

That's enough! Nothing to see here! Move on!
 Garner your attention back to the DNC Convention!

Day One DNC recap!

We believe in uniting the country! Btw, Trump
 and all his followers are racists sexist pigs!
Lot's of free stuff if you vote for Democrats!
Not one mention of ISIS in over 60 speeches!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Democratic Convention Opens to Rainbows and Unicorns!!

Hell No!!! DNC!!! We won't vote for Hillary!!!


Did the Donald's Dark Convention Draw a Bounce?

There hasn't been much talk about a Donald Trump "bounce" from the GOP convention other than an article from Nate Silver suggesting that nobody is talking much about the "bounce" from the GOP convention. For good reason, there simply has been very limited polling to measure. That being said, there are a couple of tracking polls that can be monitored, a couple of polls came out this morning, and I would expect that a few more will be released today or tomorrow.

So from what is out at this point, here is what we have seen:
  • Reuter/Ipsos tracking poll - from an eleven point Clinton lead through the 16th, to a one point lead through the 22nd. (+10)
  • LA Times tracking poll - from an even race through the the 16th, to a four point lead for Trump as of yesterday. (+4)
  • CNN poll - from a five point Hillary lead in a four way race, to a five point Trump lead through yesterday. (+10)
  • CBS/NYTimes - from an even race to a one point Trump lead through yesterday. (+1)
  • Gravis - from a two point Hillary lead prior to convention, to a two point Trump lead through the 22nd. (+4)
  • Morning Consult - from a two point Hillary lead prior, to a four point Trump lead through the yesterday. (+6)
  • YouGov - from a three point Hillary lead in a four way race, to a two point Hillary lead. (+1)
  • Rasmussen, ARG, and Dem Corps released polls that took place "during" the GOP convention, but I would not see these as relevant to a post convention bounce. 
A quick bit of remedial mathematics and we come up with an average bump (so far) of 4.5% increase for Donald Trump. This is within the expected range of conventional convention bumps. In fact, at this point, it may actually be on the high side. Considering all of the negative press surrounding the convention, with the entire MSM (sans FOX News) declaring the convention something out of a Hellraiser movie, the bump is likely higher than one might have expected.

Trump now leads in post convention RCP average

On the flip side, one may argue that Trump has the most room to "bump". Hillary is not only a known quantity politically, but also personally. We know more about the Clintons than most of would ever care to know. Whereas, Trump may be an iconic business figure, what we knew about the Trumps as a family came mainly from a reality television show. But watching them during the convention, it was hard "not" to like the Trump kids, especially Donald Jr and Ivanka. It was also hard not to see how much they love and respect their father. Every last one of them referred to him as both their mentor and best friend. Psychologically, we make an automatic correlation between how children turned out and what type of person raised them. If the convention did nothing else, it humanized Trump and his family... and that was a very good thing.

Nate Silvers Now-cast Updated 7/25

Sunday, July 24, 2016

What to do, Bernie Sanders?

So now that it has been publicly proven that the DNC was not only in the bag for Hillary Clinton, but would stoop so low as to question Bernie Sander's Jewish faith, as a matter of public smear... one has to wonder what comes next?

You are not paranoid if it turns out
 that they really were out to get you!

The Party did decide to "uninvite" Committee Chair Debbie Wassermann Schultz from speaking at the convention. But remarkably, she still has her job, even after Sanders made very specific calls for her to resign.

It's amazing to me that the Party seems oblivious to the image of all of this, especially in the wake of the heavy public criticism of the Department of Justice and FBI Director James Comey.  Right after it looked like Clinton received preferential treatment regarding the decision to "not" charge her, in spite of the FBI director admitting that evidence of criminal activity did in fact exist... it turns out that the fix was also in for her in terms of the Party being willing to clear a path for her nomination.

I don't believe that this is going to fly with Bernie Sander's followers  or any of the other Democratic holdouts. They have believed this all along, but now they have solid evidence that such a coup did exist. Sanders never stood a chance, likely because he (like Barack Obama eight years ago) may have won a fair fight and kept Clinton from her coveted coronation.

So what does Bernie Sanders do now? The very Party who openly was willing to screw him over in any manner shape or form, to prevent him from winning, is now expecting his obedient support to Party and their nominee. Seems like a lot to ask of the Socialist Senator. Bernie certainly has a lot to lose with his dedicated supporters if he picks Party over pride.

Note: I watched two different focus groups over the RNC convention, and both had at least one Bernie Sanders supporter. One of those supporters from each focus group made a decision to switch from being a Bernie Supporter to a Trump supporter, both citing Trumps non-conventional political manner and his willingness to buck his Party and ultimately their belief he would buck the tired old political system. While I generally figure these people sway back and forth, I don't see them swaying back to the Democratic Party after this. This is exactly the "Dirty Politics as usual" that they are sick and tired of, and ultimately they will believe it cost their guy the nomination.   

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Zero Sum Game

Governing is a zero sum game.  Like it or not, we have a finite amount of government resources to solve an infinite amount of problems.

  • Presidents have a finite amount of political capital to push the issues that are important to them. With a country that is typically divided nearly 50/50 a President who uses their capital to push the country in their direction will soon face determined resistance, and find their capital running into the laws of diminishing returns, or running out. They also have to be careful not to use up too much on one issue, or that one issue defines them (Bush-Iraq Obama-Obamacare) and can ultimately handcuff them. 
  • Congress has a finite amount of time to take action on legislation. There is simply no ability to propose, debate, and pass all of the laws that all 535 member of the House and Senate would like to address. So you have to be careful to make sure the laws that are most important to you, are being given attention.  
  • Contrary to what Paul Krugman and others suggest, the government really does have limited financial resources. When you decide to spend more money on one government policy, you have to pull back somewhere else, increase the deficit, or ask the American public to pony up more taxes. So you have to carefully choose which programs and policies should be given financial preference. 

Another, more typical way of viewing this is, would be to argue that Governing is about choices. Not just binary choices for each type of policy, but a more complicated set of choices regarding priorities and resources. We can certainly learn some things by finding out how a leader stands on individual issues. But to really understand who that leader is as a person, requires us to figure out how a leader prioritizes the issues that are important to them.

This is where I have come to a conclusion that alarms me as an American. Many of our politicians are making a choice to prioritize the specific desires of people who are not Americans over the specific rights and needs of those who "are" American. Given all the problems we currently have to solve in this country, why should we spend our limited resources on providing rights to illegal aliens, or making sure we take in millions of refugees from other countries? 

As single issues, we can certainly agree to disagree on the merits of such programs. But if we are looking at this as a matter or priority, why should our leaders be spending time, effort, government resources, and tax-payer money providing aid to illegals and refugees... when we don't have the resources to take care of Americans. Why do some politicians believe that the country needs to use a chunk of our finite resources and devote them to people who they are "not" elected to serve?  

I ask this question, not to be flippant, but as a matter of fundamental curiosity. I can accept that there are general arguments to be made in favor of these programs. Although, I must confess, that most of them seem more symbolic and emotional than actually anything of tangible importance. 

So I want to take this to the next logical step and have someone explain to me why illegal aliens and Middle Eastern refugees matter "more" than the problems that American citizens face? I want someone to give me a reasonable explanation as to why legal status for illegals and more refugees should be seen as more important to me than say fixing the budget deficit, fighting terrorism, reducing crime, or dealing with stagnant wages and a rising cost of living.  I want to know why we should use our limited resources to help people who are not Americans, which by nature takes away resources that actually could help the Americans our Government has taken an oath to serve.  

A simple question, that I doubt anyone reading this can address with anything more than lofty rhetoric that misses the point. 

On second thought?

At first I sort of thought the selection of Tim Kaine was very similar to the selection of Mike Pence. He's a noncontroversial solid political insider who would likely not make much splash. In those regards, he is. But the more I thought about it...

Am I the Anti-Pence ?
Mike Pence was a pick that sort of appeased the conservative base of the Republican Party. It was said to be designed to promote some Party unity. There were some on the far right of the Party who were said to have been seen "dancing" at the selection of Mike Pence.

Well there was no such dancing being seen from the liberal coalition of the Democratic Party. They were hoping for someone like Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown. There will also be no dancing from minority coalition of the Democratic Party. They were hoping for someone like Cory Booker or Julian Castro.

No, this was the first move in the traditional general election pivot to the center.
(You didn't really believe Hillary Clinton suddenly became that liberal... did you?)

Hillary is, if nothing else, a traditional candidate will make traditional moves. Right now the Presidential playbook says it's time to pivot. So she picked someone who they must believe would appeal to the typical swing voter. They picked some who:
  • Has backed abortion restrictions (he is Catholic).
  • He's a gun owner, but has spoken in favor of gun control.
  • He oversaw eleven executions of convicts while Governor of Virginia.
  • Bucked the Party on trade agreements. 
  • Supports new spending reductions. 
  • Supported the deregulation of Wall Street banks.
Obviously these are not positions that will be popular with the liberal wing of the Party. Clinton must assume (or at least hope) that she has made her case well enough to those on the far left  (including Bernie Sanders supporters) that they have already been hooked and reeled in. Since she has them securely on the stringer, and now it's time to go fishing for more voters.

This is part of that dusty hard cover textbook called General Election Politics 101. The question is if General Election Politics 101 is either contemporary or comprehensive enough to cover how to run against Donald Trump in the political atmosphere of 2016. Because something tells me that Hillary Clinton is simply not sophisticated enough to think outside that box. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

What if?

It's Kaine - The Hillary campaign confirmed the choice via twitter just a few moments ago - 7:13 CST

The Mike Pence of the Democratic Party

What if the 69 year old Clinton decides she needs a "Kaine" to help with her campaign, and 70 year old Donald Trump had chosen a "Walker" to help him?

CNN Flash poll - 75% Positive reaction

The majority of viewers who watched Donald Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday night said it made them more likely to vote for him in November, according to a CNN/ORC instant poll.
The poll found that 56% of speech viewers were more likely to vote for the New York businessman after seeing him formally accept the Republican nomination.
32% of viewers said his speech had little effect on them, and 10% said it made them less likely to cast their vote for Trump in November.
Overall, 57% of viewers said they had a “very positive” reaction to Trump’s speech. Meanwhile, 18% said they were “somewhat positive” and 24% said it had a “negative effect.”
I have to say that this poll surprised me, considering every media outlet I watched (with the exception of Fox News) was talking down the speech. On CNN, out of the eight or so "panelist"  only one seemed to be defending the speech. In a country this divided, where these two candidates are within a couple of percentage points of each other, how does a network (which claims to be neutral) not find at least three or four panelists who are not predisposed to not like anything Trump does. Moreover, two of the people were so anti-Trump that they were literally cursing and raising their voice in objection, one who dishonestly claimed he was coming in "open minded".

keep in mind that this was almost violent objection to a speech that 75% of the  public actually found positive.  That tells me that they are actually upset, because they believe it may have been effective.

Now, there is no question in my mind that the  people who missed the speech, and only listened to the media reaction will think it was a different speech than what was given. Of course, that really is the point, right?

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Let's be clear - the media elites that he rails against, as well as the liberals who believe that people shooting police, terror attacks in Paris are the new normal (the 30% of the country who believe we are on the right track)... will see this speech as negative and dark. 

For those people who strive for something more and do not reflexively believe that anything that went wrong was beyond Obama's control, and if Obama didn't fix it it's because it could not be fixed (the 70% of the country who believe we are on the wrong track)... it hit the nail on the head.

Either the country is doing fine, and we can go on with another four years of Obama policy (without the charm and with more lies)... or the country is not doing fine, and we need change.  

It's really that simple folks. 

Note: Have to say this. Ivanka Trump could run for any office in my state, and I would vote for her. She nailed it tonight. As much as I don't care for Donald Trump, I actually got a little choked up at the end of her introduction speech. I thought she was wonderful. 

My Grade: B  I think it was a good speech all things considered. I felt it was a little disjointed and I thought it was a little long. I feel it would have been more powerful, had he not tried to say "something" about "everything" and kept it closer to 45-50 minutes. The best parts of the speech is when he talked about his children, his friends, and he spoke about his values. Ivanka's line about how her father was the most famous person who nobody actually knows rings true. Bottom line: I would have liked to have learned more about Donald Trump. Honestly, the more I hear his kids talk about him and the more I hear him talk about his life, the more I warm to him. He missed the opportunity to pull me in even more.

What he didn't do (which many were looking for or hoping for) is become obnoxious and over the top... and basically f it up. He stayed on script. That's a win for Trump.

Two focus groups: Both the CNN and the FOX focus groups moved about half of their "undecided" voters over to Trump. The problem was the attitudes of some of the people who saw it negative, were clearly predisposed to not like Trump to begin with. On the flip side, neither focus group came out with anyone saying they were so disappointed that they would vote for Clinton. This plays to the fact that he did not (as many expected) shoot himself in the foot. 

Remember: all of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want, are the same people telling you that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight. No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place.
Instead, we must choose to Believe In America. 

History is watching us now.It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong.

My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: “I’m With Her”. I choose to recite a different pledge.

My pledge reads: “I’M WITH YOU – THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.”

I am your voice.

So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m With You, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you.

To all Americans tonight, in all our cities and towns, I make this promise: 

We Will Make America Strong Again.
We Will Make America Proud Again.
We Will Make America Safe Again.
And We Will Make America Great Again.

Was Ted Cruz set up?

So many people are now starting to wonder if, indeed, Donald Trump allowed Ted Cruz to give the speech he did, because he thought it would help him over the long haul? Let's look at the facts.

  • Ted Cruz submitted the speech (as it was) to the Trump team. They understood that not only was there not an endorsement, but that it was likely that he might actually discourage people from voting for Donald Trump. But they let him do it anyways. During prime time, no less.
  • Donald Trump timed his entrance into the convention hall, only a few moments prior to the timing of Ted Cruz's speech going a bit south. He made himself available to the crowd at exactly the moment Ted Cruz was starting to disrespect the nominee.
  • Newt Gingrich spoke from a teleprompter, yet, had information in the text regarding Cruz's speech. Now that could have been Newt thinking on his feet, but it could also be a fact that he knew what was going to be said.

Why would they do this? Why would they provide this forum? Because it created the sort of drama and talk, that will almost guarantee that Donald Trump will have one of the (if not the) largest audience tonight for his acceptance speech. It could also be argued, that Ted Cruz became a lightning rod, pulling negativity towards him. More to the point, it may have been a tipping point for people to actually unify against Cruz and for Trump. Even people who otherwise would have been happier with Cruz as the nominee have been critical of his speech. Furthermore, it brings about a more serious debate within the Party about the cost of not supporting the nominee.

This is not a typical campaign. Trump and his team are not making typical or traditional moves. Yet, here he stands, accepting the nomination for President, giving one of the most anticipated speeches in recent history, and running neck and neck with someone who has (till this point) outspent him about ten to one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day Three - Pence was very good!

Mike Pence - stepped up to the plate
Adoring fans cheered Cruuuuuuuuzzzzz!
Newt - improvised and turned Cruz speech into endorsement

Marco - mailed it in
Eric - cleaned up
Laura - opening act

Did Trump offer VP job to Kasich?

I'll give you the V.P. spot for a sip of your water!

Two Three polls move large...

Democracy Corps 
Hillary was up 11
Now up 3

Hillary was up 10
Now up 5

Hillary was up 9
Now up 3

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trump is official - Good Night for the GOP

"We didn't learn from MBA's - we learned from people who had doctorates in common sense.... My father knew that those were the guys and gals who would teach us the dignity of hard work." - Donald Trump Jr

 "Hillary Clinton will bring all the failures of the Obama years with less charm and more lies." - Chris Christie 

Even Tiffany Trump gave a good speech.
Although sources say she used several of the same words as Jenna Bush
A bit nervous at first. But a smart, personable guy. Nailed it.
Star of the night! Chris Christie lets Hillary have it!

On the cusp of a landslide? Maybe not!

Election Update: Clinton’s Lead Is As Safe As Kerry’s Was In 2004
by Nate Silver
There has been a lot of polling over the past few days in advance of the Republican National Convention, which got underway Monday in Cleveland. But it mostly confirmed the conclusion our election forecast models had arrived at late last week: Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 3 or 4 percentage points. That’s down from a lead of 6 or 7 percentage points a few weeks ago.
As a result, Trump’s odds have improved. He has a 36 percent chance of winning the election, according to our polls-only forecast, and a 38 percent chance according to polls-plus.
I’ve nevertheless detected a lot of consternation among Clinton voters: Why isn’t her position safer? There’s really about a 35 or 40 percent chance that Trump will become president? Based on the polls, we think the model is setting those odds about right.

So, the man who the left refers to whenever they need a statistical mind to justify their overconfidence is stating that Trump's chances are now within a few percentage points of being pretty much a coin flip. This, cannot sit well with those who are not only convince that Clinton has an assured victory, but that her coattails will be long enough to carry both the Senate and the House to victory.

Silver: Trump drawing four
cards to a flush after the flop
As Silver pointed out, Obama's pre-convention polling lead is not much different than what George W Bush had in 2000 (he lost the popular vote) or what John Kerry had in 2004 (he lost both the popular vote and the election). So in two of the past four elections, the person behind coming into the conventions ended up with the most votes on election day.

Personally I have not cared much for convention bounce polling. Quite honestly, it comes too far out from the election to be taken seriously. In my experience, much of the polling done this far out is simply not done for accuracy. Many of your media outlets are commissioning polls to provide back ups to stories they have already written. Their idea is to use polling to push public opinion, not to actual gauge public opinion. They inherently understand that nobody "really" remembers specifics about polling in June or July.

Once the election draws closer and their reputation as pollsters becomes the immediate issue at hand, you will see pollsters consolidate into more homogeneous results. e.g. Ipsos/Reuters will not likely provide polling where 53% of the registered voter sample is Democrat (in order to show Clinton up 12) in late October. At least not if they want any credibility for the next election.

Bottom Line: As I have been stating all along, the concept that the GOP nominating Trump turned this into a throw away election for Republicans simply lacks statistical validity. It may "feel" that way for people who have strong anti-Trump feelings. But those are just feelings. An election does not gauge the accumulation of feelings, it simply counts votes. A thousand people who hate Donald Trump with the white hot passion of a thousand burning suns will still lose an election to a thousand and one people who reluctantly pull the lever for him.

More to the point, those who hate Donald Trump have a tendency to discount the same unfavorable opinions of the person he is running against. There is more than enough incentive for conservatives not comfortable with Trump, to decide he is better than the alternative.

Seriously - Are we delegates at a convention, or third graders?

Unity: Pro-Cruz delegates reportedly threatening mass walk-out before Trump’s speech Thursday
From their end, the Cruz forces have the power to somewhat disrupt the convention over the first two days – albeit with little power to affect the ultimate outcome of Trump receiving the nomination. One threat the Cruz forces are said to be holding over the heads of the RNC and the Trump campaign is the specter of a large group of delegates – in the hundreds – simply leaving town after Cruz speaks on Wednesday night, exposing the nominee to the prospect of televised images of empty seats in the Quicken Loans Arena. It’s an open question whether there are enough alternate delegates who can be rallied to fill such a number of seats…
Look folks. Your guy lost. Fair and square. The winner isn't someone you wanted, and he isn't someone I wanted either. But holding your breath until you turn blue only because you didn't get what you wanted, reflects on "you".  It doesn't do anything to reflect on Trump.

And Glenn Beck. I hate to tell you this, but if Ted Cruz is the last guy in Washington you can trust, then it's become "you" who has become out of touch. Ted Cruz may have been a better Presidential Candidate, but he's not exactly mainstream, well liked, and I don't believe he has much of a shot moving forward.

Bottom line: If Trump wins, then Cruz becomes irrelevant till 2024. If Trump loses, then the Party (and most of the voters) will do everything in their power to make sure a mainstream establishment candidate wins in 2020. Most GOP voters will not buy the idea that they need to try "another" outsider, under the guise that we picked the wrong one in 2016. The infinitely better counter argument will be that the outsiders got their chance and it didn't work.

VP Choice now settled!

Watchdog: HUD's Castro violated federal law by touting Clinton in interview
Housing Secretary and potential Democratic vice-presidential prospect Julian Castro violated federal law when he touted Hillary Clinton's candidacy in a media interview earlier this year, according to a federal watchdog report released Monday.
The seven-page report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded Castro violated the Hatch Act, which bars most Executive Branch officials from expressing their political views while on official business. According to the report, he crossed the line during an April 4 interview that mostly was about HUD’s plans to increase Internet access to children and other agency-related issues.
Castro - a man qualified to step in and do the job to
 the same degree of criminal disregard as Hillary

Talk about someone going all out trying to impress a potential future boss! Julian Castro apparently is willing to break the law, just to show how well he can fit into a Hillary Clinton Administration. You got to give him an "A" for effort.  Let's just see if this act of "sucking up" pushes his candidacy over the top!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Melania Trump !!!

Unexpectedly good speech!
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
Second best speech of the night!