Nevada Caucus, Iowa, Trump, Bernie, Hillary, Cruz, Jeb

Your Much-Needed, All-Encompassing Caucus Preview! Now with a Small Debate Recap

**Updated With a Debate Recap**

 

To be the man, you have to beat the man.

-Pro Wrestling Proverb

 

 

The First GOP debate of 2016 affirmed my analysis of the race, see below. It is still a two-man contest between Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump. Fox Business held the first laissez-faire debate of the season last night where candidates could come and go into conversations as they please, and answer only the questions they wanted. In terms of raw entertainment value, this was the best debate by far; each of the candidates is getting better with practice, some improving faster than others.1)Even Jeb!

Mr. Cruz showed last night that yes, indeed, he can win this thing. What you are about to see is the first candidate in the race actually stand up to Mr. Trump:

 

 

That “Constitution didn’t change since September” line was great. Mr. Cruz’s gab gift is such that Mr. Trump even smiled at a few of his quips! If you can’t stand up to Mr. Trump, how will you face Mr. Putin?

Shockingly, Mr. Cruz then found a way to make Mr. Trump sympathetic. Don’t believe me? Watch:

 

 

Five months ago, I would have never imagined Mr. Trump could do that. Unfortunately for Mr. Cruz, he had to burn many a bridge to get himself to his peculiar status as the “insider/outsider”2)Could someone not from Texas pull this off even??. Mr. Cruz may not have enough allies left in the establishment to muster a sufficient challenge to overcome the momentum of the Trump Train.

It’s clear after last night though; Cruz can win.

 

 

Welcome to our Iowa/Nevada caucus3)Yes, some New Hampshire too preview! In only4)haha, yeah only eleven months from now, all this jockeying will be over and the cable news will have to go back to talking about…What did they talk about before? Oh right! Airplanes lost at sea! Weird how no planes got lost over Bermuda during most of 2015; it is as if they know when to get lost to maximize news coverage, or something.

I know you see eleven months noted above and you’re thinking “Pshh, eleven?? Call me in October and I’ll see what these folks are up to.” Ah, my good friend, you do have a little time to head over to Kingman and burn your hard-earned money on an immoral national lottery that the Nevada Gaming Board would never permit5)because of the horrendous odds, but we will need your attention upon your return!

The Caucuses are coming; the caucuses are coming! Shockingly, our two-party political system has produced candidates from each party that differ to such an extent that these primaries will have a significant effect on the political process and the country as a whole. Not only should you be voting the celebrate the sacrifices of the countless others that died for your right of popular political participation, but because you can have a tangible effect on what it means to be an American for five, ten, maybe even twenty years from now.

So we best get this right, eh? This isn’t like those previous caucus seasons when you could pick any of the handful of politicians from one party and the policy result would not differ. You happen to be privileged enough to live in a country where you can actually participate in its future6)At the risk of being mercilessly mocked on the twitter, it is worth taking a moment and appreciating how lucky we are all to live here. You could have ended up in any of the nearly 200 countries in the world, and we are in the richest/most free. Yes, we have many an issue, but it is important not to lose perspective.

Time to get informed then? Insiders tip: don’t tell your coworkers you just noticed last night that we have a caucus in a months’ time. Play it like, “yeah, I’ve been following this stuff this whole time, I just didn’t want to talk about it too much to make y’all feel bad.” People seem to get defensive if you only recently made your 2016 caucus choice, as if your preference has less value than the bro who has been praying that Mr. Trump run for office since 2003.

Above, you see the most recent Nevada caucus polling. There is not much Nevada polling, and frankly, none of it would matter much anyway. We see the press (and Mr. Trump) playing a lot with national polls, yet there is no national caucus to decide the candidate for each party. No, the caucus or primary takes place in a pre-ordained sequence, meaning, in a Samuel Huntington7)Huntington wrote political theory about developing countries saying the the order in which institutions are established matters significantly to the outcome.-esq way, sequences matter! If New York voted first, followed by Texas then California, we would be looking at a completely different race!8)Shout-out to William Vollmann whose excessive use of exclamation points I am currently [poorly] emulating

My point being that the result of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will affect the caucus here, so taking snap-shots of the current Nevada polling doesn’t mean that much/have much value. In turn, to understand potential outcomes for the Nevada caucus, we need to glance at the state of the race in Iowa and New Hampshire.

After tossing the coin, the Republicans9)not surprisingly advised by Bill Belichick opted to defer to the 2nd half, so we will start with your friends, Hillary and Bernie.

 

The Democrats and Their Caucus

I haven’t written much about our Democratic friends, as there really wasn’t much news to report. Hillary was up by 20 points, nationally and in all the early states, and there was no reason to presume that Bernie would be able to rise above the 30% plateau attributed to his support in November. Then there was Christmas, New Year’s…and all of a sudden:

 

Whoa! #Bernmentum indeed. I always knew America would take to democratic socialism, it just needed the right, pretty spokesman to do the job10)On a related note, Bernie’s hair is combed in nearly half his television appearances now, much marked improvement. Trends/momentum are important for the caucus, and as you can see above, Hillary must be having nightmares of 2008 all over again (she was up by about the same amount in 2007 December over Obama and Edwards).

I have no insider Hillary knowledge11)I should disclose here that they offered my a job in 2008 but I declined, but my guess is that Team Hillary hoped to hire all the Obama operatives (I watched these folks work in 2008, they are very impressive), and then transfer his popular support directly to Hillary. The plan did not go as hoped. Hillary has been unable to form Hope and Change 2.0 and instead is dealing with all the same issues she had in 2008 with the base democrats, just with new topics. In 2008, the base dems saw Hillary as a war hawk, and her rival campaigns used the base’s hatred of Mr. Bush’s Iraq adventure to defeat Hillary.

Instead of foreign policy12)apparently all the politicians in Washington believe in war in perpetuity now that Mr. Obama has embraced the Bush doctrine, now Hillary is getting attacked for being too moderate on the income inequality, which happens to be Bernie’s pet issue/the issue he speaks best on. The difference eight years later is that as opposed to the 5 competing campaigns teaming up to defeat Hillary in Iowa13)She was that much of a sure-thing then, promise, Bernie is doing it all by himself14)well, along with his coalition of the willing. Unfortunately for Hillary, it looks like the old Edwards/Obama/Biden supporters did in fact come together in a big tent, just against her. Again.

Things are even worse in New Hampshire, Bernie’s next door neighbor:

 

https://twitter.com/RichardAngwin/status/685634979179593728

 

I don’t know about KABOOM, but yes, Bernie is doing well. Does it mean he has got this thing locked up? Not even close. Hillary is up big in South Carolina, and as you saw above, polled very well in Nevada in late December.

The state count could be 2-2 come Super Tuesday. Hillary is not going to go down easy, folks. Take a look at this ad they put out yesterday:

 

 

Pretty effective on the liberals and their hatred of all things gun. Hillary is at risk of the sky falling on her campaign if she does not win one of the first two states. The every-moment-of-the-day15)trademark pending media will just go crazy with their hot-takes and “I told you so’s”.

Yet if the worst occurs, and if she can get out of Nevada with the score 2-2, Hillary is still a -200 favorite to win the nomination, given her fundraising.

Like I said before, your Nevada caucus preference16)This is correct term for a caucus, not “vote,” talk like you’ve done this before really matters!

 

The Republicans and Their Caucus

 

“More than 1,000 words and no Trump talk yet?? I thought you said we were going to ‘Make Caucusing Great Again’?”

Ok ok ok, sorry. Yes, your friend Mr. Trump has turned out to be a much better politician than anyone (besides the Donald) gave him credit for. And yes, like I wrote a few weeks ago, he remains the front-runner.

..But there is a bit of overcast for Team Trump. Of course, though, we have to start with a national poll that Trump dominates:

 

Twenty-eight points! The republicans found lots of folks to run for President, yet none of them have any military or state experience. Imagine if Jim Webb didn’t promote organized labor and registered republican; no way Mr. Trump is up by this much. More than a dozen candidates for President, and the candidate with the most military experience was a JAG lawyer and already dropped out17)Come back Lindsey!. You have to think that if Gen, Petraeus didn’t ruin his career with the book lady, he would have been the nominee for the Republicans, and given all the worry over terrorism, he’d probably be polling pretty well.

But here we are, with a combination of first-term senators, governors, and private sector folks with a combined zero days of military experience. Thus, Trump.

 

But sequence matters with the republicans too! Let’s see what’s going on in Iowa:

 

Mr. Cruz is winning! (probably). Guy is working his tail off in Iowa; I have no doubt he will have visited each of Iowa’s 99 counties by caucus day on 1 February. Iowa voters take their responsibilities very seriously, as they say, they got to kick the tires of a candidate two or three times before an individual would even consider caucusing for him or her.

If Mr. Cruz can pull off the upset and defeat Trump, the sequencing effect likely takes hold (people want to vote for a winner after all). An Iowa win for Mr. Cruz could completely change the dynamics of the race (for him and Mr. Trump only, sorry kids). If Mr. Trump blows out his establishment opponents in the first two states, he potentially18)can’t believe I’m typing this could sweep the field. He’s up Yuge in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, and if he sweeps the first four states, I cannot imagine another candidate will be able to raise enough money to compete with him. Mind you, Mr. Trump has spent very little19)around 2 million dollars, compare with the 9-figure expenditures of the Jeb PACs, and will likely have sufficient funds available to get the vote out on Super Tuesday.

But if you think Mr. Trump will just allow Mr. Cruz to take away his nomination, think again. By early February, expect all the country to know that Mr. Cruz was born in Canada20)stay tuned for a more in depth discussion on the qualifications for the office of the President. “Natural born citizen” confuses many. What isn’t clear is how well-organized21)in this context it just means, he employs plenty of staff, has lots of volunteers/veterans of the process Mr. Trump is. Look at these articles, for example:

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/trump-builds-data-juggernaut-217391

 vs.

Both of these pieces can’t be accurate. Did The Times just find dull Trump supporter in Ottuma to make him look bad? Is The Politico just trying to get back in Mr. Trump’s good graces? We will find out in three weeks. As much as the press loves the “yeah well it’s neat that all them folks came out for the rally, but are they really going to vote” angle22)example , given how well Mr. Obama did in 2008, might be time to give the candidate the benefit of the doubt that if you can get that many folks to attended a political rally in freezing weather, a good number of these folks are likely to caucus.23)Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, he was never able to muster the same enthusiasm for the rest of his party

The future of the Party of Lincoln rests in Iowa. Will they go the way of the Whigs/No-nothings? Will the populist-right break off and form their own party if the nomination is taken away from Mr. Trump? Stay tuned!

If you have a little extra time, I suggest this Guardian piece written by Ms. Abdul pictured below (right), on why she brought her extra-large Koran to a Trump event in Reno. I am happy to report the Reno folks kept their disrespect to micro-aggressions. Yay Nevada.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/13/i-went-to-donald-trump-rally-in-my-hijab-supporters-arent-just-racist-caricatures

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Even Jeb!
2. Could someone not from Texas pull this off even??
3. Yes, some New Hampshire too
4. haha, yeah only
5. because of the horrendous odds
6. At the risk of being mercilessly mocked on the twitter, it is worth taking a moment and appreciating how lucky we are all to live here. You could have ended up in any of the nearly 200 countries in the world, and we are in the richest/most free. Yes, we have many an issue, but it is important not to lose perspective
7. Huntington wrote political theory about developing countries saying the the order in which institutions are established matters significantly to the outcome.
8. Shout-out to William Vollmann whose excessive use of exclamation points I am currently [poorly] emulating
9. not surprisingly advised by Bill Belichick
10. On a related note, Bernie’s hair is combed in nearly half his television appearances now, much marked improvement
11. I should disclose here that they offered my a job in 2008 but I declined
12. apparently all the politicians in Washington believe in war in perpetuity now that Mr. Obama has embraced the Bush doctrine
13. She was that much of a sure-thing then, promise
14. well, along with his coalition of the willing
15. trademark pending
16. This is correct term for a caucus, not “vote,” talk like you’ve done this before
17. Come back Lindsey!
18. can’t believe I’m typing this
19. around 2 million dollars, compare with the 9-figure expenditures of the Jeb PACs
20. stay tuned for a more in depth discussion on the qualifications for the office of the President. “Natural born citizen” confuses many
21. in this context it just means, he employs plenty of staff, has lots of volunteers/veterans of the process
22. example 
23. Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, he was never able to muster the same enthusiasm for the rest of his party
Las Vegas GOP Debate, Trump

Your Last of 2015, Las Vegas Republican Debate Recap

Well we made it.

You thought there was not way we could get through 5 of these things, yet, here are are, still intact, awaiting the 7th1)no idea if this is accurate Space Warriors movie. The Iowa Caucus is a little more than a month away, so we are pretty much done with these debate stuff?

..Not exactly. If you round down, there are only like a dozen more debates left, which is less than 20, which is preferable to 30? (Doing the best I can here..).

Given how the race has shaken out to this point, it is difficult for me to add much analysis. It’s a one man show right now, according to polls/media coverage/social media mentions. Between you and me, it is fascinating how a reality TV host with no political experience could dominate the party of Lincoln, but here we are. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump has blown the dust off the ole Dixiecrat playbook from the early 20th century2)Gov. Pataki called him a “Know-nothing” during the JV debate, which is a great/pretentious reference that a few of us enjoyed, and has seriously offended more than half the country.

I watched the Trump Vegas rally from Tuesday night, and it was political theater at its very best. Yet I cannot write the explainer3)Trump: How did this happen? that I want to, because I do not want folks to think that I or anyone here at Clear Counsel endorse any of Mr. Trump’s policy ideas.

Therefore, as any discussion of Mr. Trump is 3rd rail, and there is no serious contender to him for the nomination as of now, I am left to provide a few highlights from the debate, and then a nice selection of links so you get can an idea of how much disagreement there is over who won/lost/flubbed.

…Don’t worry, I have some comedy at the end.

 

Debate Highlights Part I: Trump vs. Bush

Jeb! earned that exclamation point last night. Finally, someone had the gall to question Mr. Trump, yet the fellow establishment Republicans just left him to flounder alone. It went about as well for Jeb! as you would guess:

 

 

About 4 debates too late. But still, it is nice to see that Jeb! has a little fight left in him. Jeb! desperately needed Sen. Graham on stage to back him up4)Who might be the only Republican that can match Sec. Clinton on foreign policy. The rest of these folks have seen the poll numbers showing how nearly 2/3rds of Republican primary voters like Mr. Trump’s policy ideas. Is this about principle or winning?

There’s a reason Jeb! hasn’t taken on Mr. Trump until now.

At one point, the Rand Paul fans in the crowd5)they were a boisterous bunch, much to the chagrin of the political reporters tweeting from inside the debate hall, started booing Mr. Trump for surveillance of potential terror suspects, of all things6)I know, contain yourself. Let’s see how Mr. Trump handled it:

 

Seems to have gone fine. The establishment folks should be worried, Mr. Trump is getting better at this format.

But maybe Jeb! and Mr. Trump are going to make-up and play nice?

Probably not:

 

Rubio vs. Cruz

This is the nightmare scenario for the establishment GOP folks. I have two more clips to show you, then we will discuss:

 

 

 

Thoughts on who won? Unsure, right? Both men speak very well and are aware that there is not enough room in the race for both of them with Mr. Trump taking all of the free-media attention. The attacks on Mr. Cruz’s honesty/integrity hurt him with the voters he has taken/still wants from Mr. Carson. The “amnesty” line of attack on Mr. Rubio hurt him with the much of the anti-immigrant section of the GOP electorate.

In a fight, one senator has to win and the other has to lose, right? The other possibility is that they both lose. Which is what happened last night. In order to beat Mr. Trump, the establishment candidate will need to unite the suit-and-tie element of the party. A divided establishment cannot stand7)up, at least to a billionaire bully.

I aggregated a good selection of links below so you can see the split by the corporate media in regard to winners/losers. Mr. Trump’s easiest path to victory is a divided GOP.

The last 4 links are provided for entertainment purposes only. Thanks for reading.

 

https://twitter.com/DanScavino/status/677117117519425536/photo/1

 

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/nevada-gov.-sandoval-warns-gop-trump-spells-electoral-disaster/article/2578517

http://www.vox.com/2015/12/16/10288202/republican-debate-cnn-trump-cruz

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2015/12/16/iowans-trump-falls-short-gop-debate-rubio-shines/77392200/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/16/politics/marco-rubio-ted-cruz/index.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/dec/15/charles-hurt-cnn-turns-gop-debate-aggravating-irre/

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/15/yuuuge-donald-trumps-best-gop-debate-yet/

Ted Cruz’s Missed Moment?

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-12-16/republicans-debate-foreign-policy-divorced-from-reality

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-prez-republican-debate-trump-analysis-20151216-story.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/16/was-marco-rubio-overrated-all-along.html?via=desktop&source=twitter

Does Cruz Satisfy Trump Backers?

http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-war-in-vegas/article/2000244

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2015/12/gop_candidates_proved_they_know_nothing_about_foreign_policy_in_the_cnn.html

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/power-rankings-december-debate-leaves-trump-cruz-rubio-as-clear-front-running-trio/article/2578484#.VnFo2CUprLo.twitter

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2015-12-16/9-republicans-need-to-go-after-the-debate

https://twitter.com/KateBennett_DC/status/676978704258621440/photo/1

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. no idea if this is accurate
2. Gov. Pataki called him a “Know-nothing” during the JV debate, which is a great/pretentious reference that a few of us enjoyed
3. Trump: How did this happen?
4. Who might be the only Republican that can match Sec. Clinton on foreign policy
5. they were a boisterous bunch, much to the chagrin of the political reporters tweeting from inside the debate hall
6. I know, contain yourself
7. up, at least to a billionaire bully
Republican debate, Trump, rubio, cruz, Abraham Lincoln, cnbc

Your 3rd Republican Debate Recap (Full of Clips!)

I asked a potential Republican caucus-goer this morning if she had watched the debate, her response: “No way, I’m just tired of all that stuff.” When asked to explain what she meant, she stated that all the name-calling and antics have really turned her off to the process.

Apparently, that message has gotten through to our Republican candidates! And not a moment too soon!

This was, by far, their best collective performance. It is as if they watched the first Democrats’ Debate1)Why they keep calling it the “Democratic debate” is beyond me, and realized that a rising tide lifts all boats. Other than Mr. Kasich and Mr. Bush, both of whom we will get to in a moment, everyone came out smelling like roses. Politics is probably my third favorite sport after baseball2)Ya gotta believe! #LGM and football3)It is not clear why the sports media has not caught on to my titling this weekend’s Packers at Broncos affair as “Super Bowl 49.5”. Also, when was the last time Peyton was a dog at home?? Middle School?? I digress.., but the previous Republican debates were difficult to watch with all the bickering. Not so this time. Correction, mostly not so this time.4)stay tuned

The CNBC put clips of the debate up on their youtube channel, and shockingly, none of them are of the candidates ceaselessly mocking the moderators (Btw, our Youtube channel is way better).

Lucky for you, I found them. Get ready for some fun.

 

The Best of the Republican Debate Clips

Mr. Cruz won the debate right here:

I saw the Frank Luntz on with Megyn Kelly after the debate, and he said this was the highest scoring debate line he had ever seen. Pent up frustration, anyone? To the credit of the CNBC folk5)it is not clear me who watches this channel, once they took this verbal thrashing, the moderators stopped with the silliness and got back to policy. I, for one, felt badly for them.

 

Finally Now, the Trump Clips from the Republican Debate

 

Mr. Kasich is clearly out of his league here. It was only a matter of time before his Lehman history came up for discussion. As The Wire teaches us, “If you come at the king, you best not miss.”

A quick thought on Mr. Trump. Yesterday was the first time I thought that he had a real chance at this thing. He showed an immense amount of political dexterity in completely overhauling his approach. He saw that Mr. Carson overtook him in Iowa, and instead of doubling down on the bluster, he backed off a bit. He was significantly more kind than he has been in the previous debates, and in particular, I appreciate his change in tone over immigration. It is one thing to want to discuss out immigration policy, certainly nothing offensive by talking about it in the hypothetical. But there is absolutely no reason to demonize our Latino brothers and sisters, and last night he finally stopped. I just want to thank him for elevating his dialogue.

Now that I got that out of my system, let’s watch Trump be Trump.

I love the “Right” after each assertion. He’s too much.

Of course, like any good entertainer, he knows how to close:

I’m pretty sure (not completely) that Mr. Trump is correct here. I recall the debate being announced as 3 hours long. Why lie, CNBC?

Did Trump win the online poll? Of course, like always. Hard to discount 300,000 votes.

https://twitter.com/g17_francis/status/659830559087026177/photo/1

 

Mr. Rubio vs. Mr. Bush

I was kind enough yesterday to explain to Mr. Rubio that in order to win the nomination, he needs to follow the Obama model.6)still waiting for my “Thank you.” I have yet to understand why folks are so interested in Mr. Rubio’s Senate attendance. It is one thing for folks that dislike Rubio to use it as further evidence that he should not be President. Mr. Bush, however, did not play this correctly:

To Mr. Rubio’s credit, he was ready. Call him all the names you like, but Mr. Rubio consistently has been prepared in this election season.

Of course, he had some thoughts on the main stream media to share:

 

How attacking the media will help Mr. Rubio in the long run is not clear. They are a sensitive bunch. We have quoted Mark Twain previously about the risk in arguing with folks that buy ink by the barrel. Yet, attacking the media has worked great for Mr. Trump7)Mr. Trump is smart to attack selected members of the press while calling others “Terrific”. This should be distinguished from categorizing all of the main stream media as biased, so we’ll see.

 

The Phenomenon That is Mr. Carson

 

I have never heard this distinction made before.

The moderators had some more gotcha material for Mr. Carson as well, which we don’t have time for8)like we care about his previous endorsements. Today he published his tweet which encapsulates his appeal to his fans:

What that has to do with running the military, I don’t know. But he seems like a very nice man.

 

Mr. Christie May Have Won

His campaign needed a shot in the arm, and Mr. Christie brought his A game9)I am not evaluating his policy proposals, just debate performance. I have yet to see a politician win a national election running on cutting entitlements.

He had a few great moments besides this, yet, the voting public seemed not to notice or care. See the Drudge poll above. Luckily for Mr. Christie, the Gray Lady strummed up some controversy:

 

Would the Vegas-hating10)and rat infested NY Times actually publish such a piece after all the candidates called the media biased last night? Are they that tone-deaf? Yes.

Mr. Christie, your thoughts?

Ms. Fiorina, Mr. Huckabee, and Mr. Paul also did pretty well. Unfortunately, with ten people on stage, our coverage can only get to so much.

Hopefully, by the November debates, we can divide the candidates into groups of three so we can actually get more than 10 minutes of dialogue per candidate. They should have Sen. Graham moderate!

Links:

The Washington Post (The Fix, in particular) annotated the debate, they do great work.

This Gawker clip is amazing. Mr. Rubio11)I, by the way, am younger than Mr. Rubio in this clip and or Mr. Bush should check out William Manchester’s The American Caesar.  Chiang Kai-Shek had quite the influence on the Korean War if they only care about his influence on American politics.

And you can watch the full debate below:

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Why they keep calling it the “Democratic debate” is beyond me
2. Ya gotta believe! #LGM
3. It is not clear why the sports media has not caught on to my titling this weekend’s Packers at Broncos affair as “Super Bowl 49.5”. Also, when was the last time Peyton was a dog at home?? Middle School?? I digress..
4. stay tuned
5. it is not clear me who watches this channel
6. still waiting for my “Thank you.”
7. Mr. Trump is smart to attack selected members of the press while calling others “Terrific”. This should be distinguished from categorizing all of the main stream media as biased
8. like we care about his previous endorsements
9. I am not evaluating his policy proposals, just debate performance. I have yet to see a politician win a national election running on cutting entitlements.
10. and rat infested
11. I, by the way, am younger than Mr. Rubio in this clip
Rubio, GOPdebate, trump, CNBCGOPdebate, carson

On Mr. Rubio and his Election Chances

Wednesday 28 October is the “Economics” debate for the Republican Party1)As opposed to the previous debates? Yes, I know. Contain yourself. Lots of the hot-take pundits see this as Jeb!’s2)Say what you will about Mr. Bush, but he is a gift to all of us who enjoy a little syntax humor.  last stand. And they may not be entirely wrong. The big money folks got had by the Karl Rove crowd in the last election; as to what happened to the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to “defeat” President Obama has yet to be explained. Though none of us will ever forget that amazing clip of Karl Rove freaking out on the Fox News screaming that the election results were wrong, as if his livelihood depended upon it or something. These big money folks didn’t acquire this kind of wealth by repeating expensive mistake-investments over and over again, so therefore, it is fair to presume that Jeb! is on a shorter leash than his establishment cohorts from 2012.

When it comes to Mr. Carson and Mr. Trump, each has made it clear why people should vote for them through their anti-establishment message. Jeb! has yet to create a compelling narrative. He seems like a nice enough man, but cautiously criticizing President Obama has not created a sufficiently compelling narrative to get people to vote for him. He has run a campaign as if he wants to be trustee of the federal government, which I would distinguish from leading nation’s people into the 21st Century. I do not envision3)of course I could be wrong, this comes from the cat that thought Scott Walker had a good shot at this thing. Hey, don’t judge. Nate Silver did too, and he is much better at political prognostication than most a scenario in which Mr. Bush becomes the front runner once again.

 

Which brings us to Mr. Rubio

Mr. Rubio is the establishment’s next best chance to win the nomination. I began to take him seriously after seeing this clip in which he discusses the Black Lives Matter movement in a cogent way:

 

 

I am not convinced any of his rivals can do that, by that I mean speak about the BLM movement without making me cringe4)I am not claiming that his answer was perfect, just that it wasn’t horribly offensive.

 

Now watch this:

 

Personable, right? At risk of irritating nearly every reader, there are easy comparisons to draw between Mr. Rubio and Candidate Obama from 2008. From age to speaking ability to attractive personal story to relatively little national governing experience, there are undeniable similarities5)Obviously, there are different policy proposals.

 

But can Mr. Rubio win?

Now let us recall 2008 for a moment, in particular the Democratic Primary. If only those that caucus experience had voted in the primary process, then Sen. Clinton would have won easily. It was Mr. Obama’s ability to draw first time voters into the process that catapulted him to the White House6)and his subsequent inability to keep those voters engaged that left him with a Republican controlled Congress.

Eight years hence, each party now has a similar dynamic. A poll of Iowa democrats came out over the weekend showing Sec. Clinton with a commanding lead in Iowa:

 

The Bernie folks, rightly or wrongly, take issue with the methodology of the poll because the sample size is made of democrats that have participated in the past two Iowa Caucuses. The Bernie crowd believes that the campaign is mobilizing first-time voters in a similar manner that Mr. Obama did in 2008. There is no method (as far as I know) of polling first-time voters7)even if you could, does it make sense to rely on them?. If Bernie is going to win, first-time voters will be the only way.

..This applies to Mr. Rubio as well, as you will see. Buzzfeed wrote up a great summary of the dissonance between how the media portrays Mr. Rubio (“The Frontrunner” “The Republican Savior”) and his disappointing poll numbers. The media narrative for the Republican nomination operates under the assumption that Mr. Carson and Mr. Trump will no longer be in the race come caucus time8)If you can go on a book tour and improve your poll numbers, why drop out?. To some degree, this is valid. Recall that at this time in 2012 former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain was the big front-runner for the nomination, only to leave hastily once information about his personal indiscretions began to leak out in November. Stuck in the forest of the day-to-day politicking, it is difficult to remember that the election is still more than a year away. Plenty of time for plenty more to happen.

 

Immigration and Mr. Rubio

Regardless, this tea party flavor-infused Republican party has very little tolerance for moderation on key issues, one of which is immigration. Mr. Rubio tried to lead a bipartisan coalition to pass an immigration bill, only for it to blow up in his face politically, and he has been running away from it ever since.  The Republican party may have hit a Catch-22 where the candidate needs to take a hard line on the immigration, but that hard line will prevent the candidate from receiving enough popular support to win a national election.

Is there a way out of this dilemma? Sure, but it will not be easy. Certain candidates are taking the easy road on immigration by playing off of people’s fear of the unknown. Mr. Rubio does not have to do that, but he does need to signal to those scared of a massive immigration influx that he understands/will address their fears. In the modern media age, how does one hold people’s attention long enough to make such a nuanced point? Mr. Obama was forced into making a speech on race after Rev. Wright upset much of the establishment with his pointed remarks, Mr. Rubio should follow the same course. Instead of attempting to avoid the matter, he needs to face the immigration fear-mongers head on. Leaders Lead.

 

How Mr. Rubio takes the crown

Resolving the immigration issue is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for Mr. Rubio to win. To cut to the chase, he needs more votes. Take a look at this poll:

 

To be frank, the needed votes do not look like they are coming from the Republican electorate reflected in the polling we see dominated by Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson. He needs, like ’08 Candidate Obama and ’16 Sen. Sanders, to bring more first-time voters to the polls, possibly a lot of them.

Luckily for Mr. Rubio, there are a lot of potential voters out there just waiting to be inspired. Two-thirds of the electorate did not vote in the 2014 mid-term election. Think about that for a moment; significantly more than half of the electorate was so turned-off to the political process that they could not even bother to vote last year.  Don’t believe me?

The establishment politicians like to blame the voters for their apathy, but that is just a lame cop-out. Voters need, and want, to be inspired. Not since President Bush’s message of “Compassionate Conservatism” has the Republican party tried to inspire the populace9)nor have they won the Presidency. Government spending (seemingly the only issue of the recent, pre-Trump Republican party) speaks to such a small part of the voting public, that it just seems nonsensical that this is the dominate topic of conversation for our Republican friends.

Here’s a neat fact, more than 50% of the American workforce earns less than $30,000/year. Do you think these folks care about the government budget? They, and probably up to 80% of the population want to know how, if we give you our vote, you will improve our lives.

What Ms. Palin dismissed as that “hopey changey stuff” is exactly what you need, Mr. Rubio. This is not a contest over whom can hand out the most entitlements to the voters10)as it has been characterized by previous candidates, but a challenge over whom can inspire. Think Reagan, think Kennedy, think Lincoln, and rise above the cynicism. There is no other way to get those first-time voters to the polls.

I can only prescribe what to do, not how.  There’s a big difference between winning and not losing.

The Republicans have spent too many years now telling us what they aren’t. Now is the time to tell us what you are. Go big or you’ll be heading home, in defeat. Best of luck, Senator.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. As opposed to the previous debates? Yes, I know. Contain yourself.
2. Say what you will about Mr. Bush, but he is a gift to all of us who enjoy a little syntax humor.
3. of course I could be wrong, this comes from the cat that thought Scott Walker had a good shot at this thing. Hey, don’t judge. Nate Silver did too, and he is much better at political prognostication than most
4. I am not claiming that his answer was perfect, just that it wasn’t horribly offensive
5. Obviously, there are different policy proposals
6. and his subsequent inability to keep those voters engaged that left him with a Republican controlled Congress
7. even if you could, does it make sense to rely on them?
8. If you can go on a book tour and improve your poll numbers, why drop out?
9. nor have they won the Presidency
10. as it has been characterized by previous candidates
demdebate, vegas, hillary, bernie, democrats, democratic, wynn, cnndebate

Behind the Scenes Photos from the DemDebate

“Enough with the damn emails” is right. The punditry spend the last 12 hours telling you who won the debate (stop arguing and just agree with them already. They know best cause they are the ones on the TV. Duh.)

Yet again, the online polls contrast greatly with what the talking heads are telling us. Is it possible that the Chris Matthew’s crowd desires different characteristics in their candidates than the voting public? Will the punditry ever notice or care? How does someone win a debate if only the people on the tv thinks she did? Lucky for us, they still have about 30 more of these to figure it out.

CNN was kind enough to allow your humble blogger to join in the fun from the press scrum. I spent much of the time before the debate outside the hotel with the activists hopefully capturing the feel of the first DemDebate.

Not one person rejected my request for picture, so thank you all.

Now, on with the show!

 

Pre Demdebate from Inside the Press Area

No, contrary to popular belief, the press is not permitted in the debate hall itself. This is as close as we got. And by close, I mean to each other. I think I left my complimentary Wynn mug!

 

This here is the spin room, a few hours before the scrum. Keep this picture in mind for later.

Our new friend Sammy, who has already covered more debates in person than I have.

Another shot of the spin room.

Thefacebook had a lounge inside of the spin room. Them employees live in serious fear; I had to ask three people before someone would answer a question. After responding with boilerplate boringness when I asked him why thefacebook is so involved with politics now, I asked if they only planning on partnering with cable news until they have their own cable channel, to which the facebook spokesman responded with a terse “Nice try.” Whatever that means.

You wouldn’t guess from TV that all the stations broadcast from right on top of each other. That’s Andrea Mitchell on the left. Never found Mr. Greenspan though (And oh did I ever want to).

 

Pre DemDebate from Outside the Wynn

Hillary supporters cheering outside of the Wynn 4 hours before the debate. Someone told me they had been there since early in the morning, though I cannot confirm.

Affable Hillary supporters photographed around the LV Strip.

The Nurses Union was not kidding around. Above are pictures taken in front of the Fashion Show Mall, pre demdebate.

“We got a public display of democratic socialism…code red!”

A selection of Bernie fans from the street. Also people who drive 6-figure cars for Bernie!

Sorry I forgot one.

A special thanks to our friends at Metro for keeping the event running smoothly. These two officers were kind enough to pose.

Team Hillary came out in force as well! How the mariachi band played with such good tone on a pedestrian bridge on the Las Vegas Strip is beyond me. They were terrific!

Yes, there were counter-rallies on the surrounding pedestrian bridges! “More debates now?” May we at least have one first?

 

Post DemDebate, from Behind the Curtain

Who can come up with the hottest take the fastest?? Ready, Set…Go.

Reporters were literally running to the Spin Room upon Hillary’s last word. My toe still hurts.

That’s our friend Sammy interviewing Ed Schultz, now a surrogate for Bernie.

 

Oh the mainstream media.

You may remember Van Jones from the few minutes he spent with the Obama administration. He’s getting good at this TV punditry business. Bet it pays better than social activism.

Action shot from inside the spin room.

Note: if you want to be scolded by an the MSNBC producer, take photos like this while Chris Matthews is on air.

That John Depodesta, Chairman of Hillary for President. He did not have much spinning to do.

I heard someone ask Don Lemon how he keeps that figure of his. He responded “brussels sprouts.”

I was thankful for the Funny or Die folks for coming, they were some of the few that understood the appropriate amount of gravity necessary to cover a debate for an election more than a year away. Unfortunately, this is a family friendly blog so I cannot repeat her question for Sen. Gillibrand (of New York. She actually won Hillary’s seat.)

Chairwoman of the DNC.

The spin room stampeded toward Bernie. The cat from “Insider” promised me he would ask Bernie “What are you wearing?”

The good Reverend reminiscing about campaigns past.

You cannot have a Vegas spin room without Wayne and the Goodmans!

That’s friend of the blog (he wouldn’t agree, but then again, he aint writing this) Jon Ralston (if that is his real name) on the MSNBC with Chris Matthews and the person whose name I won’t use because she tweets nasty thoughts about our fair city before going back to her fiefdom.

If I would have caught the spelling error at the time, I would have offered cash for that hat.

Lincoln! No..not that Lincoln.

 

And of course, Trump loomed large over the whole event..

 

UBER,, las vegas, clark county, employment law, employee, independent contractor

Are Uber Drivers Employees of the Company?

There are so many reasons to live in fabulous Las Vegas; we have great weather, low taxes, a healthy job market, and plenty of entertainment for all walks of life. But one downside of life in the desert is that it is rather difficult to get around without a car. The public bus system in Las Vegas is difficult to navigate and entirely inconvenient for many1)Not to say that our bus drivers work extremely hard, and we appreciate it very much. Taxis tend to cater to tourists and do not seem to want to do long drives to and from homes far from the strip2)Multiple people in my office have stories of cabs refusing to drive to the suburbs from downtown. Enter Uber, the immensely popular, ride sharing service.

 

What is Uber?

The concept of Uber is simple: download the app on your phone, and request a ride. The app will instantly show you the drivers in your area and send the closest one to come get you. Often times, the wait is only a matter of minutes. Each driver is assigned a rating by reviews of customers and if a driver has a low rating, a rider can reject that driver and wait for the next closest one. It is convenient, fast, and relatively3)Compared to a cab cheap. It is even safe for the drivers who never have to carry money because all payment is done through a credit card on the app.  Uber takes 20% of the fare and the rest belongs to the driver4)Additionally, the app will estimate the entire fare up front so you will not be surprised upon your arrival.

Many locals/non-locals in Nevada like to go out at night and have a drink or two, so Uber will likely reduce DUIs and related accidents because it is so simple/easy; it is silly not to use it if you need a ride. But, a unique service like Uber does come with quite a few legal and practical issues that relate to classifying drivers and paying taxes.

 

Employees vs. independent contractors

As a general matter, workers either fall into two categories: employees or independent contractors. Employees are the default worker status, when someone:

  1. works closely for an employer,
  2. is under an employer’s control, and
  3. is an integral part of the employer’s operation.

Hiring employees can be expensive for an employer who has to pay minimum wage, pay payroll and other taxes, provide breaks, purchase health insurance, and comply with various regulations regarding work environment and benefits. Hiring an independent contractor is cheaper by far. An independent contractor:

  1. works outside of the control of the employer,
  2. often on a more temporary or piecemeal basis, and
  3. must pay all taxes on their own without employer withholding.

Independent contractors are cheaper because employers do not have to pay payroll taxes, provide insurance, provide a place to work, and they do not have to comply with wage and hour laws because the contractor works on his or her own time. Each employment relationship is unique and must be examined on a case by case basis to determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor.

 

Are Uber drivers  employees or independent contractors?

Uber claims that their drivers are independent contractors, but I am not so sure. Why does it matter, you ask? Well, if Uber drivers were classified as employees, the company would have to spend quite a bit more money paying taxes, benefits, insurances, and possibly providing cars for the drivers to use while working. But, all of these costs would likely be passed onto the consumer and likely hurt Uber’s bottom line. On the other hand, employees would benefit by receiving protections of wage and hours laws, receiving benefits, and being eligible for unemployment benefits if laid off.

Interestingly, despite the benefits, being classified as employees might be the exact opposite of what Uber drivers want. As it stands now, once hired by Uber, each driver must take his or her own personal vehicle to a designated mechanic for inspection. It is this personal vehicle that drivers will use for work. Each driver decides when to work, for how long, and where to drive. They have no one to answer to other than the reviewers who will ensure repeated business and an ongoing job with their positive feedback. A job like this can mean extra money for someone with another job or an income for someone who has limited childcare. There are many benefits to being an independent contractor in this business, and Uber likely appeals to many people who shy away from a 9-5 traditional setting job5)Paging Las Vegas buskers.

Although Uber claims their drivers are independent contractors, recent decisions by California courts have found otherwise for drivers in similar circumstances to those of Uber drivers here in Nevada. It remains to be seen whether Uber is eventually forced to classify their drivers as employees, but there are so many pros and cons to being an employee and an independent contractor, that Uber is really left between a rock and a hard place. Their business model depends on the flexibility and independence of each driver but at the same time, wage, hour laws and benefits regulations are designed to protect the work force.

 

Now what for Uber Drivers?

But what if Uber employees just will not fit into either category? Nevada could recognize a new class of employees to better protect workers and meet the needs and budget of a modern company like Uber.  Other countries, like neighboring Canada, have various categories of workers. Maybe therein lies the answer. If Nevada creates a new class of workers, Uber drivers could maintain independence and still receive important protections and benefits. Many independent contractors could potentially benefit from a new category of worker: freelance writers, web designers, and online marketing specialists, just to name a few.

I do not expect Uber to reclassify their employees since it cuts into their bottom line. But, it is a fairly close call as to whether the drivers are employees or independent contractors. Uber controls prices and monitors employee performance like a traditional employer, but Uber does not tell drivers when to work or how to drive, allowing them to make the decisions like an independent contractor would do. Yet, if Uber is sued for wage and hour violations, it is fairly likely that a judge would find a driver to be an employee under the control of Uber, which is what happened in California. So, if lawsuits like that cut into Uber’s bottom line, I suppose there would be a point where it would just be cheaper to have drivers be employees. I would guess though, that it would take a substantial number of lawsuits to make it financially beneficial for Uber to amend its policies. Perhaps if it looks like Uber may be in trouble for misclassifying employees down the road, then they might spend the money to lobby for new classifications. We shall see.

But, that is a long time away since Uber’s just getting started. It appears right now that the state of Nevada has given Uber to “go ahead” but Clark County has not and is trying to stop Uber from operating. But that’s a story for another day…..

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Not to say that our bus drivers work extremely hard, and we appreciate it very much
2. Multiple people in my office have stories of cabs refusing to drive to the suburbs from downtown
3. Compared to a cab
4. Additionally, the app will estimate the entire fare up front so you will not be surprised upon your arrival
5. Paging Las Vegas buskers
republican debate, GOP, trump, rubio, carly fiorina, jeb bush, reagan

The Reagan Republican Debate: Winners, Losers, and the Trump Card

This is (somewhat) accurate. I just double checked. How? Stay tuned.

CNN, the number one source for gotcha journalism on the tv, did a great job of making the 3 hours1)Yes, seriously, it was that long about as entertaining as it could be. Overall, I was impressed with all of the candidates, in particular Mr. Rubio, Mr. Cruz, and Ms. Fiorina. The energy level, preparedness, and general Trumpyness was much better than round 1 (there are more than 20 debates schedule for our Republican friends, if the intensity continues to increase at this rate we will need a UFC-esq cage by January).

I pulled all the clips you need to see2)and probably one or two you don’t, but by the time we are done here, you will have a sufficient number of talking points to convince anyone you sat through this marathon.

 

Part I: The Trumpening of the Republican Debate

It is well documented by the Sensitive Sally Media how Mr. Trump is nothing more than an 8th grade bully, and they have been itching for someone with enough strength to take him on3)We all know the best way to defeat a bully is with a bigger bully. Ms. Fiorina may be the only Republican who is not afraid of Mr. Trump. Jake Tapper, after waiting more than an hour, finally allowed Ms. Fiorina to address Mr. Trump’s comments about her face:

 

GROAN! It is doubtful that she is concerned that his comments about her appearance were not kind, but that he is evaluating her appearance at all!4)#duh Saying she is “beautiful,” when you obviously do not mean it, is not answer! He has a better business record than she does, why not stay on the issues5)What’s that? Administering a business is different, bordering on irrelevant to being the leader of the free world? Sshhh, you are going to ruin all our fun. Do you want to be stuck watching Jeb! debate Mr. Walker’s 3 boring talking points for the next 6 months? Good. Either do I.. The media LOOOVED Ms. Fiorina’s answer. But will the voters? After the strangeness with Megyn Kelly6)I saw some of her recap of the debate, Ms. Kelly has handled Mr. Trump with class to her credit. Her post-game analysis was far superior to Mr. Hannity, who after sucking up to Mr. Walker with such hard hitting questions like “Isn’t it hard to be on the stage with so many candidates; please feel free to recite your stump speech on my national tv show,” brought on candidates that did not parrot his views on the Iran deal and badgered them, I will refrain from any false predictions.

Also, yes, I did catch Ms. Fiorina’s “This is Water” reference! Now if only she would have given the HP treatment to that awful film they tried to put out.

 

Jeb!,7)The Jeb “!” exclamation point leads to about as much fun as one can have with political syntax, by the way was not paying close enough attention to Ms. Fiorina’s interaction with the class bully, and apparently is not much of a fan of The Wire either:

 

 

“If you come at the king, you best not miss” is how I learned it. What did he think Trump was going to do there? Mr. Frum summed up the interaction well last night:

 

Jeb! showed some life later on though:

Even Mr. Trump seemed bemused. There was about an half hour there that we all referred to the former Florida Governor as Jeb!!, but then, as you will see below, we had to take back one of the exclamation points.

Now, Mr. Christie has just been itching to get some of this good bullying action. Finally, he got his opportunity, and talk about turning petulance into lemonade!

 

Won’t somebody please think of the 55 year old construction worker?? Ms. Fiorina was winning the debate before this interaction. Mr. Christie through her off her game, and she had a difficult time recovering/Jake barely called on her the rest of the way.

Mr. Christie went from nearly being sent to the kids table with Mr. Pataki to being declared a “winner” by most of the lamestream media, an impressive feat. Now if only he could get a couple of voters to find him likable.

Yes. And then things got silly…

 

I can hear you. “Stop Brian; just stop. I was a good sport and watched about half of this ridiculousness. No way a Republican, dare I say a Republican, would advocate a Brit to be on the $10 bill.”

Really?

What?? Come on y’all. Nearly half of you couldn’t even answer the question! This is why you cannot miss even one entry on the Clear Counsel Legal Blog; the women of our firm provide three great answers to this inquiry a couple of months ago.

A few thoughts:

  1. Your wife? Jake should have followed up with “What if there are more Supreme Court vacancies than you have siblings, what then?”
  2. Interesting fact: Rosa Parks served on the board of planned parenthood.
  3. How did no one offer up “Hillary Clinton” as an answer?
  4. The LA Times said Jeb! only” insult[ed] every American woman who ever lived.” No big.
  5. Of course, because Jeb! is always sorry, has already begun walking back his Thatcher claim.

The above exchange took place about 2.5 hours into the debate, when perhaps everyone, including your live-tweeting author, was getting a bit delirious. Of course, Jake had to raise the stakes and ask each candidate “what Secret Service code name would you assign” to yourself?

Huuuge Error Jake! This could have been television gold. Should have asked: “What secret service code should be assigned to President Trump?” Just imagine the look on Jeb!’s/Rand’s/Carly’s/Walker’s face!

Of course, none of the answers were very interesting. However, thanks to the Washington Post, you at home can create your own secret service code name! Feel free to refer to me as “Bisharp” going forward.

 

Conclusions from the Republican Debate

Well, I guess we are done here.

Or are we?

For those unaware, Mr. Silver’s statistical models of the previous 2 elections have been quite accurate. He went 50 for 50 in predicting results by state for Obama v. Romney.

To Mr. Silver, granted I am an amateur statistician at best, I would contend that none of the polls so far would meet his critera of “scientific.” Most of the polls are of 500 or less folks, usually only done by landline phone (does anyone under 30 even have a landline anymore?), with a margin of error of more than 5% per poll. The fact that CNN/FOX used the polls to keep some candidates out of the prime-time debate, and leave the others with Gov. Pataki does not seem that reasonable. They could just be honest; America finds you four boring, and dagnabbit, this is a television show primarily8)What? It affects the foundations of our republic? Yeah but did you see that ratings?!. Mr. Graham was smart to quip it up in the happy hour affair, ensuring that he will be included in the next prime time get-together9)CNN changed the rules so Ms. Fiorina would be included, smartly for this Republican debate.

If Mr. Trump were winning only a couple of polls, I would be inclined to go with Mr. Silver, given his track record. But it is every poll, in every state. The establishment media, understandably, cannot fathom how this Trump thing is happening. If I may be of some assistance…

It is not that Mr. Trump is not offensive, does not gaffe at an even higher rate than the King of all Gaffes10)trademark pending, Uncle Joe. It is that the people that support Trump are tired of the empty platitudes. Your voters are smarter than you think they are!

Ms. Fiorina made a real astute11)a bit too astute for the establishment types, by my guess observation when discussing how the Democrats use the immigration issue. To paraphrase, she claimed that Democrats will never reform immigration because it is too good of an issue to win elections on. If resolved, why would working class folks care at all about what they have to say?

This is just as bad of an issue for my Republican friends! And, in my somewhat humble12)Ok fine, not very humble opinion, this is the crux as to why Trump is winning13)Yes, exactly like Charlie Sheen. Scroll up and check out that Drudge poll again. Add up the totals of “outsider”14)the lamestream media just means candidates that haven’t been covering for more than 2 election cycles previous. More than 85% of that total are non-establishment candidates! Unfortunately for Mr. Trump’s ego, his support is more likely a product of the distaste Republican primary voters have for their Washington representatives. Check these stats out:

I thought Republicans were conservative? That 60/36 split says the opposite.

Mr. Trump is easily the most liberal of the Republican bunch. I swear I heard him make the case for a progressive income tax last night16)I cannot confirm this, that whole debate may have taken place in my mind for all I know. AND THE VOTERS DON’T CARE. Perhaps our Republican friends cried wolf one too many times, but the polling makes it seem that your voters do not trust y’all anymore. Perhaps all those shutdown threats come at a price. And they have a chance to run the same shutdown sham again this fall! Will the national leadership learn? Will Jeb! beg them to stop? Does he even have any sway over the Congressional Republicans given his dismal numbers?

More importantly, the national Republicans need to be concerned with this:

I bet those 32% are much happier with the party than they were a year or two ago, but you won’t win any national elections with 32% of the electorate. Assuming Trump does not win, the candidate will have a devil of time trying to ameliorate the harm caused to the moderate electorate opinion of the party 17)not to mention folks of color/women. One might contend that Trump is the logical conclusion of the decades-long national political strategy of “government is the problem,” but that precipitous drop occurred in the past year, correlated with the rise of that old-school Dixiecrat fear-mongering.  Which is the opposite of Mr. Reagan’s “big tent” philosophy by the way.

And you think our zeitgeist has moved into the hyper-real eh? You should see what’s going on in China with the zombies.

 

You need even more debate coverage? I’m impressed with your fortitude!

Jeb Lund wrote a good piece for The Guardian.

David Frum provided some sober analysis for The Atlantic.

 

Ok fine, a few Trump faces for the road…

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Yes, seriously, it was that long
2. and probably one or two you don’t
3. We all know the best way to defeat a bully is with a bigger bully
4. #duh
5. What’s that? Administering a business is different, bordering on irrelevant to being the leader of the free world? Sshhh, you are going to ruin all our fun. Do you want to be stuck watching Jeb! debate Mr. Walker’s 3 boring talking points for the next 6 months? Good. Either do I.
6. I saw some of her recap of the debate, Ms. Kelly has handled Mr. Trump with class to her credit. Her post-game analysis was far superior to Mr. Hannity, who after sucking up to Mr. Walker with such hard hitting questions like “Isn’t it hard to be on the stage with so many candidates; please feel free to recite your stump speech on my national tv show,” brought on candidates that did not parrot his views on the Iran deal and badgered them
7. The Jeb “!” exclamation point leads to about as much fun as one can have with political syntax, by the way
8. What? It affects the foundations of our republic? Yeah but did you see that ratings?!
9. CNN changed the rules so Ms. Fiorina would be included, smartly for this Republican debate
10. trademark pending
11. a bit too astute for the establishment types, by my guess
12. Ok fine, not very humble
13. Yes, exactly like Charlie Sheen
14. the lamestream media just means candidates that haven’t been covering for more than 2 election cycles previous
15. (Harry Enten
16. I cannot confirm this, that whole debate may have taken place in my mind for all I know
17. not to mention folks of color/women
Trump bankruptcy, Donald trump, bankruptcy

The Trump Bankruptcy and You: What We Can Learn

With the upcoming CNN Republican Primary Debate on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, it seems an ideal time to revisit one of the more interesting exchanges during the last Republican primary debate1)Brian was kind enough write up a debate recap in case you missed it hosted by Fox News. While the broader consensus among political commentators was to offer praise to the Fox News moderators for the debate for asking tough questions, an exchange between Fox News’ Chris Wallace and Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump seemed amiss, and if it fell short of a targeted attack on Trump, it was at best, a misguided attempt to ask the “tough questions” and provided a skewed view of what bankruptcy actually is.

The exchange began with a fair and legitimate line of questioning when Wallace2)or as close as he could get, referencing Trump’s claims to be the best candidate running to grow the economy, asked why “we should trust [him] to run the nation’s business,” when his companies have filed for bankruptcy 4 times in the last quarter century.

You can watch the entire exchange between Donald Trump and Chris Wallace below regarding the Trump bankruptcy:

 

This is a legitimate question. It is no secret that Trump has been involved in bankruptcies in the past, and, to be sure, it is a legitimate question that remains unaddressed in the minds of many voters who are not entirely familiar with the particulars or history of this issue or the mechanics of bankruptcy law. A presidential primary debate is an appropriate forum to address the topic and allow the candidate an opportunity to explain the issue and provide clarity to potential supporters.

Trump’s response3)I will paraphrase though you will have to imagine my arms, parallel to the floor, moving toward/away from my body as I make my points was essentially that what he did was not illegal, but rather a legitimate business decision that was made by his companies to take full advantage of the laws available to them at the time, to allow them to move forward in the best way possible, and that it is something that has been done by other successful individuals and businesses many times. Furthermore, Trump has never personally filed for bankruptcy. All true.

 

What Mr. Trump can teach us about bankruptcy

Now is a good time to discuss the different kinds of bankruptcy that exist and who can file for bankruptcy. First, the law treats corporations and other business entities like trusts, LLCs, etc. as a distinct and separate legal entity than the person or persons that own the business. In other words, as far as the law is concerned, a corporation is its own fictional “person” with many of the rights, powers, and liabilities that a regular human being4)no word if the state control the reproductive rights of corporations, stay tuned has. Creating a separate legal entity allows an individual, or many individuals, to have an ownership interest in a business venture that exists separately from their personal lives. The business may own property and bank accounts for example, or it may enter into contractual agreements like obtaining loans where the business is the sole liable entity. Obviously, there are some differences between individuals and business entities, however, the key point here is that a corporation has the ability to file for bankruptcy for debts that belong to the business.

Further, there are three primary types of bankruptcy which are distinguished by referring to the different “chapters” of the law that allow for the bankruptcy processes to occur: Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11. The first two typically involve bankruptcies for individuals, while the third, Chapter 11, typically is used by business entities wishing to reorganize their debt and continue moving forward with business operations.

Just because an individual or a business has filed for bankruptcy, does not mean that the finances are doomed for the person or business that is filing for bankruptcy. Nor should it mean that society necessarily attaches a negative stigma to the bankruptcy filer. Several of America’s most celebrated entrepreneurs and leaders have filed for bankruptcy including Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson5)SourceAll of these individuals went on to achieve great things after going through the bankruptcy process.

In most recent time, the Los Angeles Dodgers6)#Doyer famously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in just 20117)Source. Today, the Dodgers are doing so well financially that they have the top payroll in baseball8)Source, and it is not even close. The next highest payroll team in Major League Baseball is the New York Yankees who pay their players approximately $53.5 Million less than the Dodgers pay their players per year. Suffice it to say, the Dodgers are doing just fine financially, not just in spite of their bankruptcy, but probably partly because of their bankruptcy.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has never filed for personal bankruptcy. This means that his personal bank accounts, investments, home, cars, and other assets were not part of the bankruptcy analysis in the bankruptcy cases that were filed by companies in which he had an ownership interest. The four times in which companies that he had an ownership interest in filed for bankruptcy, the filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcies, similar in many ways to the bankruptcy filed by the now financially affluent Los Angeles Dodgers. Trump has seen his companies grow and benefit from the bankruptcies and he estimates his own personal net worth to be in excess of ten billion dollars9)according to him. Bankruptcies or no bankruptcies, such a staggering accumulation of wealth is an impressive accomplishment to say the least.

 

Was Chris Wallace out of line to question Mr. Trump about his bankruptcy filings?

Let us return to Chris Wallace’s original inquiry and Donald Trump’s response. After Trump’s answer that it was his businesses that filed bankruptcy pursuant to applicable law, Wallace, would not let the issue rest, and bizarrely went on the attack, pushing the issue and highlighting the money lost by lenders to the business. What seemed to be pushing Wallace was an underlying sense that the bankruptcy filings were immoral and that it was a process that was unfair to various lenders that had loaned money to the company. What was missing, however, was an understanding that these lenders made a calculated business risk when loaning money to the company. Yes, the lenders to Trump’s businesses lost money…and so did the company and Trump himself on a certain level. However, any entrepreneur can tell you that anytime a business undertaking with such high stakes is taken, high risks are closely tied to the potential for high rewards. Even the stock market itself is the essence of investment in businesses for the potential of high returns, but it comes at the cost of a risk of loss. What the bankruptcy process involved was a way to allow the business to restructure some of its debt in order to maximize its profitability going forward and to allow all creditors of the business to obtain a fair and equitable solution to the dire financial circumstances that were facing the company. Creditors are intimately involved in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, even to the point of allowing them to vote in favor of a plan on how the bankruptcy case is going to be carried out.

There might be many reasons why a person would choose not to vote for Donald Trump. However, the fact that he has owned companies that have filed for bankruptcy, usually as a result of a shrewd business strategy, should not be one of those reasons. If anything, it highlights an awareness of the benefits of the various laws available to business owners and an ability to overcome tough financial circumstances.

 

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Brian was kind enough write up a debate recap in case you missed it
2. or as close as he could get
3. I will paraphrase though you will have to imagine my arms, parallel to the floor, moving toward/away from my body as I make my points
4. no word if the state control the reproductive rights of corporations, stay tuned
5. Source
6. #Doyer
7. Source
8. Source
9. according to him
clean energy, President Obama, Dean Heller, Harry Reid, Green energy, sustainable energy

Nevada Loves Clean Energy!

“And now the time of tide has come; the ship casts off her cables; and from the deserted wharf the uncheered ship for Tarshish, all careening, glides to sea. That ship, my friends, was the first of recorded smugglers! the contraband was Jonah. But the sea rebels; he will not bare the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes on, the ship is like to break. But now when the boatswain calls all hands to lighten her; when boxes, bales, and jars are clattering overboard; when the wind is shrieking, and the men are yelling, and every plank thunders with trampling feet right over Jonah’s head; in all this raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep. He sees no black sky and raging sea, feels not the reeling timbers, and little hears he or heeds he the far rush of the mighty whale, which even now with open mouth is cleaving the seas after him. Aye, shipmates, Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship- a berth in the cabin as I have taken it, and was fast asleep. But the frightened master comes to him, and shrieks in his dead ear, ‘What meanest thou, O, sleeper! arise!'”

-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

 

 

Perhaps it would be nice to open with a song; take it away Mr. Flowers!

 

 

Come on! If that does not make you smile, then you don’t know how to say “Nevada.”1)about 5 min in to the President’s speech, he passes the “Nevada” test. Also, no, that is not me playing guitar there on the right, though I do like the cut of his jib.

 

President Obama touts clean energy

If you happened to, you know, be driving at some point on 24 August in the Las Vegas Valley, you may have noticed that traffic was not moving in any direction. That can only mean one thing; President Obama came to see us2)I want to congratulate us residents of the Las Vegas Valley for not throwing a collective temper tantrum over the traffic jams unlike some other, more touchy cities *cough* New York *cough*!

At the risk of offending most everyone3)We have become so polarized that saying something kind about our President is controversial, I must compliment the President on his commitment in his 2nd term to conservation. With little political upside, the President has made reducing the nation’s carbon footprint a priority4)compared to the 2nd term priorities of the previous two Presidents, it should impress you even more. Although there is much valid debate on either side of the argument over how we should institute a conservation initiative, you will have a difficult time persuading me, given that we have only one earth, that we should not do our best to protect it. There are many different opinions of the best way conserve, and we should carefully deliberate before setting a course of action5)the opposite of how we handled the education savings accounts in Nevada. President Obama’s speech is best seen as a contribution to our national conservation conversation. I will provide a few excerpts of the speech in case you missed it.

As well as we’re doing in wind, we’re making even more progress on solar.  (Applause.)  I notice you got a lot of sun around here.  (Laughter.)  America generates 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008 — 20 times.  Last year was solar’s biggest year ever.  Prices fell by 10 percent; installations climbed by 30 percent.  Every three minutes, another home or business in America goes solar.  Every three weeks, we install as much solar capacity as we did in all of 2008.  And the world’s largest solar installation came online last year, with 9 million solar panels generating enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes with clean, renewable energy — not in Germany, not in China, not in Saudi Arabia — right here in the United States of America…And one of the reasons we’ve done this is not just because it’s good for the environment and good for the overall economy — it takes workers to install all this new capacity.  And that’s why, last year, the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.  Solar has helped a lot of construction workers find work while Congress was dragging its feet on funding infrastructure projects.  In fact, the solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as mining coal.  (Applause.)  We’re helping more veterans find work with our Solar Ready Vets Program, with a goal of training 75,000 solar workers who have been veterans by 2020.  That is a goal we can achieve. (emphasis added)

 

It seems that we are right on the brink of serious technological breakthrough here. Like where we were with the internet in 1995. A little more from President Obama:

Now, what’s interesting is that their actions have conjured up some pretty strange bedfellows.  In some states, we got Green Party and Tea Party teaming up to protect our freedom to choose clean energy.  It is rare that the Tea Party leaders and I are on the same side of an issue.  (Laughter.)  I agree with them here. (Applause.)  And just because I agree with them, I don’t want them to change their minds now.  (Laughter.)  I promise there are all kinds of other things you can whoop me.  (Laughter.)  

But this is important, and they are absolutely right on this fight.  This is not, and should not be, a Republican-versus-Democratic issue.  (Applause.)  This should be an issue that can bring everybody together.  (Applause.)  If you’re a progressive, you should care about this.  If you’re a libertarian, you should care about this.  If you just want to save some money, you should care about it.  And if you care about the future of our children and grandchildren, you should care about it.  (Applause.)

So here, and across the country, this is about whether big polluters control the system, or whether consumers have freedom to choose cleaner, cheaper, more efficient energy; whether we protect old ways of doing business even when they’re not efficient, or we dream up new business models that bring new technologies into our homes and businesses, and new jobs into our communities.  This is about the past versus the future.  And America believes in the future.    

And to make that future a reality, we got to have everybody — utilities, entrepreneurs, workers, businesses, consumers, energy regulators, tree huggers, Tea Partiers — everybody has got to seize the opportunities before us.  

 

Mr. President, let us not forget your favorite constituency: the tea partying, tree-huggers. By the way, I did not go back and check the speech transcript against the actual laughs/applause; is it fair to assume the “official scorer” of the speech probably interprets6)like one of those official scorers in baseball that adjudicate the 50/50, hit/error plays in favor of the home team the terms “speech” and “laughter” more broadly than usual? How could s/he not? Would you want to argue with the President as to if he got a sufficient number of chuckles to justify the transcript saying “(Laugher.)”?

More seriously7)ok, fine, for a couple sentences I will make a semi-serious point but then return back to the usual sophomoric antics, anytime I hear a politician say something in the vain of “this issue is of such importance that it rises above the usual partisan politics” my politi-speak antennae begin to a flutter. I compare this language to when a good friend of yours begins a sentence “with all do respect..”. A qualifier is usually a good indication that the opposite is about to occur in the subsequent language.

All do respect to the President8)I kid, there are very few, if any, political issues that are non-partisan. If you do not agree with the President that conservation should be a national priority, then this point is obvious. For the rest of us, even if cannot fathom why we should not love and protect the earth, we at least can concede that opinion is not uniform on the issue. Pretending otherwise is not constructive, and frankly, greatly upsets those whom do not share your views.

Here are a few pictures from the event:

 

 

 

“But Brian, don’t you have a way to consume the speech through a medium that I will not have to read at all and can just fiddle around on the facebook while its playing so that it is more like I am facebooking to the docile tones of President Obama than consuming political thought?”

As as matter of fact, yes, I do. Enjoy:

 

 

The crowd just eats of of his hand, right? With a little practice and hard work, President Obama could match verbal eloquence of Mr. Trump. I just wish the President would bring his “anger translator” with him to more speaking engagements.

 

Las Vegas was not the only city talking clean energy

Up north9)contrary to popular belief in the Valley, the state boundary does not end at the Clark County line, state leaders of Nevada and California demonstrated how teamwork and good faith can lead to positive change. Senators Heller and Feinstein10)of California hosted the Lake Tahoe Summit.

In particular, the speakers of the summit focused on the depressed levels of Lake Tahoe, how to reduce greenhouse gases in the Tahoe, and how to reduce the risk of wildfire in the Tahoe basin. Although all three areas of concern are important, I will focus on the last.

Wildfires are a significant issue for us Westerners. From Southern California to Washington and the greater Northwest, fires are causing irreparable harm. The fire in Washington is so bad that they have brought in dozens of firefighters from Australia and New Zealand because they do not have enough qualified professionals to assist in containing the blaze. Some estimates have the Washington fire burning until November. Hopefully the rainy season comes early this year.

Our beautiful landscape of Northern Nevada is reportedly dry and at serious risk of wildfire as well. You can tell the risk is serious given how well California and Nevada politicians are working together to address the issue11)reading a couple of the summaries of the Tahoe Summit [see below] will make you smile. Even if the media only covers Donald Trump’s abrasiveness from a day-to-day basis does not mean that there are not politicians out here doing right by their constituents, both in terms of actions and carriage. Perhaps what I see is not all there is . Unfortunately12)from my limited perspective, the wildfires are in the class of natural disasters that we just are not technologically advanced enough to prevent13)With the sudden influx of ‘smart’ technology, this concept is not as apparent as it once was. If I can turn off the lights in my home with my ithing, is there anything we cannot do?.

At the beginning of the century, the federal government provided funding to help protect the Tahoe habitat. Now that funding has dried up, so Sens. Heller and Feinstein teamed up in co-sponsoring a bill to increase funding to protect Northern Nevada/Eastern California:

The event occurred as two bills are being considered to provide the federal government’s share of funds for future restoration projects. One, introduced by Nevada’s and California’s senators, would authorize up to $415 million over 10 years to fund a broad array of projects. The other, introduced in the House by McClintock and Republican Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada, would authorize up to $60 million over a decade, with the money focused on wildfire danger and invading plants and animals that threaten the lake.14)Source

 

I, for one, am surprised that Rep. Amodei is willing to sponsor a bill for any funding. There is only a difference of $350 million between the senate/house bills; (assuming they pass) should be a fun time in conference committee15)[not-so]Small civics footnote: when the house and senate pass bills that are not exactly alike, members of each chamber meet to find a compromise between the two bills in what is called the “conference committee.” After the committee members agree to common terms, each chamber must vote again on the bill. If it passes, then it is sent to the President’s desk for a signature or veto (or the dreaded pocket veto). If you want to learn more about how powerful the conference committee is, see Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men. If an Obama Administration official asks, you did not hear about that book from me.

A couple pictures from the event:

#besties

 

Governor Sandoval skipped the Tahoe Summit to discuss…the greater sage grouse?

We will start with Governor Sandoval’s statement regarding his meeting with President Obama:16)I look around the country at some of the silliness of other governors, and it makes me appreciate Mr. Sandoval even more

 

 

You can put your hands down, I already know your questions: “Isn’t the greater sage grouse a kind of chicken? Moreover, why would the Governor and President need to discuss fowl?”

To your first inquiry, yes, the greater sage grouse is a large, wild, chicken-esq bird17)Cute too. As to why the greater sage grouse is subject of a testy political issue, well, that is a much, much more complicated question than you would ever think. For brevity’s sake, I will not provide you will a full history of the issue18)leave a comment for us on the facebook if you demand a more in-depth discussion of the greater sage grouse, and we will bring it to you. Anything for our readers..

Governor Sandoval’s press office exhibited politi-speak quite well there; I do not care how many times you read that statement, you will not find the crux of the issue. This may shock you, but the controversy comes down to the all mighty dollar. I will provide an outline of events so far this year. In early Spring, the federal government announced that, although the population of the greater sage grouse has decreased from the millions to a few hundred-thousand, that working with the state governments, it had a plan to protect the habitat of our bird friends without adding the greater sage grouse to the endangered species list. However, a few environmental lobbyists sued the federal government saying that in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, the government has no choice but to declare the greater sage grouse endangered under the act. Now the feds are saying that they are evaluating the concerns and will issue a ruling before the 30 September date set in the judgment of the lawsuit.

Why would folks care if the federal government declares the greater sage grouse endangered? Because under federal law, exploration and extraction of natural resources19)oil, gas, coal, etc. is severely limited in the habitats of endangered animals. That’s right folks, always comes back to money. And in this case, a significant amount. Do the resource extractors20)#great moments in euphemisms need to worry? Perhaps:

According to CBD, the Obama administration has listed an average of 41 species per year. While that’s more than five times the rate of the previous administration, it falls short of the administrations of Presidents Clinton (65) and George H.W. Bush (58), according to CBD. The Carter administration listed 38 species per year, and the Reagan administration listed 32 per year. The Obama administration is also slated to remove more species from the threatened and endangered lists than every other administration combined (Greenwire, May 29).21)Source

 

Is there some sort of middle ground where the fowl can form their habitat on a pretty oil derrick? No? I am curious how President Obama will form a grand compromise for this problem.

 

A little, tangentially, clean energy fun

Mr. Greenspun, publisher of The Las Vegas Sun, hosted a fundraiser for former attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto as she prepares to run for Harry Reid’s senate seat22)By the way she is Sen. Reid’s anointed successor. President Obama and Senator Reid spoke at the fundraiser23)Anyone else notice the conspicuous timing of Sen. Reid endorsing the Iran deal the day before President Obama arrived to speak at Sen. Reid’s clean energy summit?, which you may have heard about in the news because the President referred to some of his political opponents as “crazies.” As to whom are the “crazies”, media accounts are inconsistent. When you carry yourself with the grace of President Obama, even one word out of the ordinary gives the politi-media a conniption24)I can hear Gov. Romney saying, “haven’t you learned how risky it is to speak frankly at fundraisers??”.

Ever wonder what folks eat at a fancy-pants fundraiser like this? Sen. Ford was nice enough to post the menu on the facebook:

 

 

I am not completely sure what free-range Jidori chicken breast is, but I trust Sen. Ford’s review.

 

Before we go, did Senator Reid leak his retirement plans on twitter? Super group anyone?

 

More reading, in particular I liked the op-ed penned by Senators Heller and Feinstein:

News Times

Yahoo

Let’s talk Nevada

Free Beacon

Las Vegas Sun

The White House

More Free Beacon

Kolo TV on the Tahoe Summit

Carson Now

Senator Heller’s op-ed

The National Journal on the Greater Sage Grouse

The Denver Post

The Elko Daily

The Military Times

 

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. about 5 min in to the President’s speech, he passes the “Nevada” test. Also, no, that is not me playing guitar there on the right, though I do like the cut of his jib.
2. I want to congratulate us residents of the Las Vegas Valley for not throwing a collective temper tantrum over the traffic jams unlike some other, more touchy cities *cough* New York *cough*
3. We have become so polarized that saying something kind about our President is controversial
4. compared to the 2nd term priorities of the previous two Presidents, it should impress you even more
5. the opposite of how we handled the education savings accounts in Nevada
6. like one of those official scorers in baseball that adjudicate the 50/50, hit/error plays in favor of the home team
7. ok, fine, for a couple sentences I will make a semi-serious point but then return back to the usual sophomoric antics
8. I kid
9. contrary to popular belief in the Valley, the state boundary does not end at the Clark County line
10. of California
11. reading a couple of the summaries of the Tahoe Summit [see below] will make you smile. Even if the media only covers Donald Trump’s abrasiveness from a day-to-day basis does not mean that there are not politicians out here doing right by their constituents, both in terms of actions and carriage. Perhaps what I see is not all there is 
12. from my limited perspective
13. With the sudden influx of ‘smart’ technology, this concept is not as apparent as it once was. If I can turn off the lights in my home with my ithing, is there anything we cannot do?
14. Source
15. [not-so]Small civics footnote: when the house and senate pass bills that are not exactly alike, members of each chamber meet to find a compromise between the two bills in what is called the “conference committee.” After the committee members agree to common terms, each chamber must vote again on the bill. If it passes, then it is sent to the President’s desk for a signature or veto (or the dreaded pocket veto). If you want to learn more about how powerful the conference committee is, see Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men. If an Obama Administration official asks, you did not hear about that book from me.
16. I look around the country at some of the silliness of other governors, and it makes me appreciate Mr. Sandoval even more
17. Cute too
18. leave a comment for us on the facebook if you demand a more in-depth discussion of the greater sage grouse, and we will bring it to you. Anything for our readers.
19. oil, gas, coal, etc.
20. #great moments in euphemisms
21. Source
22. By the way she is Sen. Reid’s anointed successor
23. Anyone else notice the conspicuous timing of Sen. Reid endorsing the Iran deal the day before President Obama arrived to speak at Sen. Reid’s clean energy summit?
24. I can hear Gov. Romney saying, “haven’t you learned how risky it is to speak frankly at fundraisers??”
politics, hillary, trump, bernie, o'malley, las vegas, nevada, rubio

Your Weekend Politics Round-up! And You Thought This Nonsense Couldn’t Get Any Funnier…

There is not anything of substance to learn about the candidates with the election more than 400 days away, but there is plenty to laugh at! Enjoy.

 

We obviously have to start with a Trump heading

Oh, where to begin with Mr. Trump this week. What if I told you the front runner for the Republican nomination believes that the 14th Amendment is unconstitutional? (Wait for it) Still confused? Good. Seven minutes of Bill O’ and the Donald should clear up any ambiguities1)Please do not feel obligated to watch all of this, save your sanity

 

 

Well, I am sure that after Mr. Trump is elected, and appoints “America’s lawyer,” Michael “you can’t rape your wife” Cohen as Attorney General, then finally, the question of which amendments to the constitutional are actually constitutional will finally be resolved.

Next, Tonyaa Weathersbee of The Root wrote the piece I have been waiting for, with regards to your friend Mr. Trump: “Is Donald Trump vying to become the next George Wallace?” As far as I know2)these campaigns were a bit before my time Perot and Forbes did not traffic mostly in racial fear/animosity to try to gain popular support. Mr. Wallace, on the other hand, did just that. Ms. Weathersbee has more:

And like Wallace—who, after losing his first race for governor in 1958 to an opponent who had the backing of the Ku Klux Klan, vowed, “No other son of a bitch will ever out-n–ger me again”—Trump is apparently taking no chances on being “out-illegaled” by his Republican opponents in the presidential campaign.

 

Stoking prejudice for political gain is nothing new in American politics, unfortunately. The target of the attacks just seem to change over time. Who knows, 50 years from now, if you project our demographic changes, a candidate may be running for office talking about how white people are the cause of everything that is wrong with America.

When some racism gets you to the top of the polls, why not try out a little more? Diminishing marginal returns do not seem to apply to Mr. Trump’s racial antagonism. Buzzfeed transcribed how Mr. Trump plans on dealing with gang violence3)a very serious issue in our cities, certainly a topic worthy of discussion by the Presidential candidates as explained during a radio interview Thursday:

“You know, a lot of the gangs that you see — this doesn’t hopefully pertain to you guys so much — when you look at Baltimore, when you look at Chicago, and Ferguson a lot of these areas,” Trump said on FM Talk 1065AM on Thursday. “You know, a lot of these gang members are illegal immigrants. They’re gonna be gone. We’re gonna get them out so fast, out of this country. So fast.”

 

“So fast.” Heh.

Lastly, this interview with Mr. Trump in the Hollywood Reporter is a true entertainment. I have never read a print interview where I had no idea how the interviewee would respond to the inquiries. I will give you a little taste in case you do not believe me:

You’re getting a ton of criticism. Does any of it actually ring true?

People say, “He won’t apologize for anything” — well, I was right on illegal immigration. [John] McCain blew it because he’s done a poor job of taking care of the veterans. And then the third element so far, you had Megyn Kelly, and I think you’ve seen what happened with that. I feel quite confident in my position. At the same time, I believe in apologizing. But to apologize for me is very difficult. I definitely would apologize if I were wrong on something.

What was the last thing you apologized for?

It was too many years ago to remember. I have one of the great memories of all time, but it was too long ago.

 

Mr. Trump’s media doppelganger is blaming us, the people(???) for the Trump phenomenon.

No one is making you discuss Mr. Trump. Feel free to stop at anytime4)both talking Trump and going on air, thanks.

In case you were wondering, Mr. Trump is holding a “pep rally” in Alabama this weekend. No word if any kin of Mr. Wallace will be there.

 

I suppose we have some time for our Democratic friends as well

Secretary Clinton previously met backstage with Black Lives Matter activists in New Hampshire. This week, the video leaked. It left me with that wide-eyed ‘deer in the headlights’ type look. Mr. Wilmore, whose Nightly Show looks like it will be a big hit, broke down the leaked footage with the help of a couple of corespondents:

If you watch the entire episode, Mr. Wilmore speaks with two of the activists in the videos that confront Hillary Clinton. I felt like I had a better5)not complete understanding of the BLM movement after watching.

Next, “The greatest political reporter in the history of Nevada,”6)definitely not my quote, though he is competent, sure Jon Ralston was on The Rachel Maddow show to discuss Gov. Martin O’Malley’s press conference held in front of the Trump Hotel here in Las Vegas on 19 August.

I attended7)unlike Mr. Ralston the strange press event, held on a traffic median8)have to say it was the first press conference I have ever been to on a traffic median between the Trump Hotel and the Fashion Show Mall. The only knowledge I had of Gov. O’Malley is from what I learned from the scathing critique of his politics as portrayed by David Simon in The Wire. I have to say, honestly, I was impressed by him. He spoke very well (unfortunately uncommon these days with our political figures), and he went after Hillary in a way no other Democrat has. For example, when asked about her position on the detention of undocumented children, Gov. O’Malley commented “she has changed her position 4 or 5 times; at least it shows she has been thinking about the issue.”

Gov. O’Malley has been highly critical of the Democratic National Committee for scheduling only six debates (in 2008 there were more than 25); Sen. Sanders has as well, but not nearly at the volume of Mr. O’Malley. It is not surprising given that Gov. O’Malley is between 2-4% in the polls, and Mr. Carson and Ms. Fiorina received a significant bump after strong performances on the Fox News debate. The public does not seem to desire more debates (now if they had a celebrity debater, maybe the score would change…perhaps Gov. O’Malley should attempt to push Kanye West into the race), which led the Governor to quip in San Francisco:

Hitting cleanup for the dems, fake candidate Larry Lessig9)who? Exactly., who thinks that by teaching at Harvard should entitle him to the office of the Presidency, posted an online poll to determine his VP:

I think a Lessig/Trump ticket would be unstoppable. Until they had to be in the same room with one another.

 

In case all this politics wasn’t fun enough

We have reached the closing, comedy section our our politics grab-bag of sorts. First10)a hat tip to friend of the blog, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, from the Washington Free Beacon, a look into the future of what America will look like under the Trump administration.

 

Next, as promised, Mr. Rubio playing catch with an Iowa kid’s face:

One wonders how Mr. Trump would have responded to11)by that I mean, what names he would call the poor kid that incident. I think we all know that President Obama would have, somehow, caught the ball himself.

Lastly, if you do not keep up with North Carolina politics12)come on!, you may not know who is polling in 3rd place currently. Because this blog is family-friendly, I cannot even link to the story. Just know that a 15 year old Iowa teenager is playing the practical joke of a lifetime. Seriously, google this nonsense.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Please do not feel obligated to watch all of this, save your sanity
2. these campaigns were a bit before my time
3. a very serious issue in our cities, certainly a topic worthy of discussion by the Presidential candidates
4. both talking Trump and going on air, thanks
5. not complete
6. definitely not my quote, though he is competent, sure
7. unlike Mr. Ralston
8. have to say it was the first press conference I have ever been to on a traffic median
9. who? Exactly.
10. a hat tip to friend of the blog, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian
11. by that I mean, what names he would call the poor kid
12. come on!
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