Monday, February 22, 2016

There is no realistic way for Rubio to get greater than 50% of the delegates

I know people keep saying that we've only had 3 states vote and so there is plenty of time for the race to turn around for Rubio, who has yet to win a single state, especially now that he is getting establishment support.  I really don't think so, the math is just very daunting.  You just have to realize that by the end of March 15th, 59.9% of the delegates will have been allocated.  Is there any scenario here where Rubio does well and gets large amounts of delegates when there will be four major candidates competing, Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich (who says he is in the race at least until after the OH primary on March 15)? 

Let's assume that Rubio runs the table after March 15th, taking every single state, including Trump's home state of NY and other northeastern liberal states where Trump should do well like NJ and CT (note, that in the latest MA poll, Trump is winning by 34 points, with 50% of the vote).  Well, that's still 40% of the delegates, he also needs to get 245 more delegates before the end of March 15th in order to get to the magic 1,237 delegate number.  Even getting to 245 (about 16.5% of the total) will be extremely tough.  Most states are deep red states where Trump and Cruz should finish 1 or 2.  Other states, like Massachusetts are very liberal and would likely go heavily towards Trump.  Heck at this point it's not even clear Rubio is going to carry Florida on the 15th.  While 245 delegates out of 1,480 doesn't sound like a lot, you have to understand that so far he has 10 out of 103, so less than 10% of the total allocated.

Regardless on whether than 245 is doable, we have to understand that there is zero chance of him running the table at the end.  If you just eliminate NY, NJ and CT, which I believe are core Trump states, that takes 174 delegates off the table and makes him now get 419 by the end of March 15th or 28% of the total up to that point.  I really don't see how he could possibly get that much in a 4 way race with lots of Trump and Cruz friendly states in the mix.  Plus, winning with 419 still requires him to win in places like PA and WV (105 delegates total), which are heavily blue-collar and very Trump oriented.  It also requires him to win Cruz friendly states like SD, MT and NE (92 total). 

Note that Nate Silver estimates that Rubio will need to have 632 delegates through March 15th with is 43% of the total while in a 4 way race where states are apportioned proportionally.  Again, I just don't see any realistic way that this could happen.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why I might prefer Trump to Rubio

No, I didn't have a brain tumor for breakfast, it's just last night's loss in South Carolina had me thinking, if Ted Cruz doesn't do well on Super Tuesday, I might have to make a choice.  For if Cruz isn't able to get a heap of delegates and state wins in the SEC primary, what exactly will be his path to victory?  He has focused his campaign on social issues and immigration which I've said time and time again is a mistake.  People care about the economy, people care about jobs and he should have focused on those issues.  Instead, Trump did and many of the people Cruz was targeting went to Trump instead.  Cruz can still turn it around but, in the case that he doesn't, I'm going to have to make a choice between two candidates I really hate, Trump and Rubio.  And despite all the bad things I have said about Trump, I might actually prefer him to Rubio.

Now I know, Rubio's voting record is only a little less conservative than Ted Cruz's so how does it make sense that I choose someone like Trump over someone who is technically more conservative than Jesse Helms?  Because I don't trust Rubio's record.  I think many of his votes he just went along with the conservative crowd because he needed to have a conservative record for the election and he didn't particularly care about the issue.  When you look at the issues he does care about, foreign policy/national security, and immigration, there is a lot I really don't like.

On national security, he has thrown in with John McCain and Lindsey Graham, with no civil liberty that isn't worth stomping on and no dictator that is not worth overthrowing.  He was in favor of overthrowing Qaddafi, when we had zero national interest for doing so, and he is currently for putting boots on the ground in Syria, again, where we have zero national interest.  His foreign policy adventurism will be expensive and is something we can't afford.  Try balancing the budget when you are throwing money at the military AND are sending troops everywhere.

On immigration, he obviously threw in with the Democrats in trying to legalize millions of illegal aliens while only paying lip service to border security.  His list of wrongdoing here is pretty extensive so if you want a complete rundown, check out what the conservative legend Phyllis Schlafly has to say about it (seriously there just is so much, from broken promises to defeating amendments that would have not allowed legal status for gang members).  And obviously, we all know, if Rubio is President the wall will NEVER EVER be built and the invasion along our southern border will continue.

I have this feeling that in many ways a Rubio administration will be a lot like a third term for George W.  We will see a lot of military adventurism, spending controls will go out the window and none of the changes that need to be made, will be made. 

And this is why I think I might prefer Trump.  Now, I'm not kidding myself, in many ways he is a Democrat, but I think he will shake things up for the better in certain key areas.  First, he believes in a wall along our southern border, which is something we desperately need.  Second, he will try to get jobs back into this country by dialing back some of the free trade agreements that have completely gutted our manufacturing base.  We don't make anything anymore.  Instead of having lots of skilled labor, we have lots of burger flippers and customer service reps.  Our country and our economy are dying.  Third, he is a businessman who is used to seeing profits (I know he had four bankrupt companies but he has been more profitable than unprofitable) and so the fact that we keep running up yuge deficits will be a problem for him.  Fourth, as he said in last night's SC victory speech, he will be appointing businesspeople for government posts instead of just "political hacks".  That is something we desperately need as it is the only way we will get real change.  Finally, he is very clearly not a military adventurist.  Now I don't want to get into an argument of if he opposed the Iraq war or not, it's clear he didn't until after but I don't think it would have been his decision to go in if he were President back then.  It's one thing to support something that your President has decided on, it's another to come up with the idea in the first place.

And if you haven't noticed, Trump is the one reassembling the Reagan coalition.  He has conservatives, moderates, independents and democrats backing him.  Even the Teamsters are considering a general election endorsement of him (the last time they did endorse a Republican for President was Reagan).  Rubio doesn't have a chance of doing that as he just doesn't have a connection with the white working class.

2016 is a very important election and may be one of the last chances we have to elect someone who can actually make a difference.  Rubio, he won't be making a difference.  It will be just the same old disappointing Republican administration.  With Trump, he will shake things up and at least in a few areas, it will be for the better.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

ICYMI: Ted Cruz made a great case for himself at yesterday's press conference

Ted Cruz knocked it out of the park last night at the CNN Town Hall

Ted Cruz did a great job last night at the CNN Town Hall.  He came across as knowledgeable, serious, honest, funny and loving (seriously, how can anyone who sings to his wife on the phone be a bad guy?).  This is exactly what he needed and I think he changed quite a few minds.

Part I:

Part II:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trump's huge support among the white working class is because they have been suppressd by the GOPe for almost 30 years.

Trump's disastrous candidacy (disastrous for the GOP and conservatism) is all the fault of the GOP establishment, pure and simple.  The last Republican nominee who actually seemed to give a crap about the white working class was Ronald Reagan (who even got the endorsement of the Teamsters twice!) but once the blue-blooded country club Republican George H.W. became President, the white working class within the GOP was ignored or outright suppressed.

Their core beliefs were constantly denigrated and they were called all sorts of names, bigot or racist being the worst.  They were sick of minorities getting preferential treatment in hiring and college admissions.  They were sick of losing their jobs to off-the-book illegal immigrants who can always work for less as there are no taxes associated with hiring them.  They were sick of their factories shutting down so that employers could make a killing having their products made by people working at slave wages.  They were sick of billions in foreign aid would go to those very same countries (e.g. the $50 billion bailout package given to Mexico just one year after NAFTA went into force).

These white working class Americans found a champion in Patrick Buchanan, who could speak their language as he cared about what they cared about and, importantly, understood them thanks to his own blue collar roots. Unfortunately, instead of making substantive responses to Buchanan and the Buchanan Brigades,  the establishment carpet bombed them with ad hominem attacks.  They essentially tried to shame this large part of the electorate to death.  It worked for a while, even as there were fewer and fewer manufacturing jobs and these white working class Americans stood a better chance of finding a job at a Chick-fil-a rather than actually building something.  W didn't speak for them as he was just a born-again blue blood.  McCain was focused almost exclusively on foreign policy and campaign finance reform and Mitt had laid off scores of workers while at Bain.

The GOP establishment liked focusing on "small business owners", but there are comparatively few of them and many of the working class knew the GOP only mentioned them in arguments that attempted to lower tax rates on the rich, people they really don't give a crap about.  Notice how every election year every GOP candidate has to come out with a tax plan even though taxes are low on the list of what the white working class cares about.  No, they don't want to pay 50% of their pay in taxes but they generally aren't with effective tax rates that are often under 10% for people in their income range.  They care about jobs and what the GOP will do about it.  And they don't want to hear how changes in regulations etc. will eventually bring jobs back.  These people are living paycheck to paycheck and need relief NOW!  If the establishment hadn't been ignoring and suppressing these people for the last 30 years, maybe they would have more cushion so they could be more patient.  But the cushion is gone and the patience is gone.

They are with Trump because he is a man of action and believe that if he comes to power he might actually force factories to come back to their area so they can have real jobs again.  He will shut off the tidal wave of off-the-book labor that is constantly streaming over the border, costing them jobs.  He is not a conservative ideologue like Buchanan but at this point they are too desperate to care.

So now the GOP faces complete and utter disaster.  I have no doubt that  Trump can win the general, that's not why I think it will be a disaster.  He'll be a disaster because the vast majority of his beliefs are non-conservative and will lead many Republicans to question what's the point of voting Republican if this is what we get?  What the point if the best we can do is nominate a national socialist to face off with an international socialist?

Actions have consequences and the GOP establishment calling their own voters bigots, racists and isolationists is having some very negative repercussions both for the party and the nation as a whole.

Let's all pray that Ted Cruz can pull it off on Saturday, he might be our last hope.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ted Cruz on ABC's This Week

Ted Cruz does a great job on Meet the Press

Thoughts on the South Carolina Debate

I just finished watching the debate (I was only able to watch part of it last night) and I have to say that probably nobody actually won it.  In a normal election Trump would have blown himself up by blaming 9/11 on a Republican President who had just entered office, by defending Planned Parenthood and eminent domain abuse, but this isn't a normal election and most of his supporters are too stupid, ignorant and enamored by his celebrity to support someone else.  Anyway, here is how I think each candidate did.

Cruz:  I think he had a good debate, he had Rubio and Trump calling him a liar but much of that was due to minor campaign issues like the Carson thing and push-polling.  In my experience, whining over campaign actions doesn't usually accomplish much.  Cruz's answers tended to be thoughtful and he came across as someone who knew what he was talking about and believed in conservative values.

Rubio:  The media, especially Fox, is talking about how he had "his best debate yet".  I don't know about that.  I've seen a lot of debates and I'd say this one was par for the course for him.  Some nice rehearsed speeches but nothing to make you think he is ready for the office of President of the United States.

JEB:  I hate to say this (because I don't want another Bush) but he keeps getting better.  He comes across as very reasonable, thoughtful and dare I say, Presidential.  I think I might actually prefer to have him as President over Marco Rubio.  This election might be getting to me but I am warming to him.

Kasich:  You can just see him allying with Democrats in Congress along with RINO Republicans to get things passed.  Enough said.

Trump:  Did he even say one conservative thing the entire debate?  He certainly said many liberal things like the blaming of W and the defending of Planned Parenthood

Carson:  He just needs to quit already.  He has no path to victory unless someone kills all the other candidates.  He isn't ready and his answers in debates are just such meaningless crap.  I'm waiting for him to say "can't we all just get along?"

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Marco Rubio Betrayal

A scathing indictment of Marco Rubio from Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum.  Read the whole thing but here is the key conclusion:

There is no single major distinguishing policy difference between Marco Rubio, John McCain or Lindsey Graham. They have the same trade policy, immigration policy and foreign policy. But on immigration most especially — the issue in which all four have invested the most — there is no daylight separating them.

The difference, then, is one of persona, not policy. And in the arena of immigration, this translates into a vital difference. The biggest change from McCain-Kennedy, which could not get out of the Senate, and the Gang of Eight — which was nursed along by conservative pundits despite being to the left of Kennedy’s bill — was the presence of Rubio. Rubio created the conditions necessary to produce a considerably more open borders bill: conservatives who were invested in the Rubio Brand provided no early pushback but accepted Kennedy’s old talking points, and Rubio gave red state Democrats the political space necessary to support it. This is how it got 68 votes in the Senate.

The stakes of course are raised considerably if Rubio is President or Vice President. Rubio would have a much, much better chance than Obama of getting an open borders bill through Congress...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Trump's comments on Cruz's Iowa victory are precious

Cruz: Trump is having a Trumpertantrum, is losing it and might nuke Denmark while in a fit as President

This is a friggin awesome video:

Who Benefits from Rand Paul and Rick Santorum Dropping Out?

I check last month's PPP poll in New Hampshire which has a handy dandy crosstab with that data.  Rand Paul supporters seem to either go mainly to Cruz or to undecided (I guess they might stay home or vote for the Libertarian candidate).  Rick Santorum supporters (which has to be a small handful) will go to a few places but Rubio will get 44% of them and Cruz will get 20% (as would JEB and Fiorina).  It's kind of funny how Santorum is thought of as so far right but really he has mainly establishment-minded supporters.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Watch Ted Cruz campaign today in NH

Ordinary people support Cruz while Country Club Republicans back Rubio

The recent FEC filings are really interesting.  While the absolute number raised is clearly interesting, I think the composition of the donations is too.  Are most of the donations coming from regular folks who usually can't give over $200 to a candidate or are they coming from the rich that give $2000 and up?  Doing this analysis you can see who is supported by the grassroots and who is supported by the establishment and country club Republicans.  Take a look:

As you can see, Ted Cruz gets 60% of his huge haul from donations under $200.  Rubio, on the other hand, only gets 27%, with the majority of his money coming from donations over $2,000.  While his numbers are not as lopsided as those for Bush, Kasich or Christie, they still confirm that there just isn't that much grassroots for him.  Think about it, Cruz has raised 4 times the amount of money that Rubio has from small donors.

Watch the Ted Cruz victory speech in Iowa

The immense challenges Ted Cruz had to overcome to win Iowa

The anti-Cruz folks seem to be acting like "of course Ted Cruz won Iowa, it was tailor made for him".  Well, no, it wasn't tailor made for him and he had to overcome a large number of challenges to win the state.  Here's a list:

1.  The media which seemed to give Trump 24/7 free coverage
2.  The ethanol lobby that pretty much owns Iowa and hates Cruz for opposing ethanol subsidies and mandates.
3.  A popular Governor actively politicking against him and for other candidates.  It was also clear that the two sitting Senators were against him
4.  A large number of candidates that were all vying for the voters most likely to go to Cruz.  Carson, Huckabee, Santorum and Paul weren't an awesome bunch but they did garner over 16% of the vote in Iowa.  Luckily Huckabee is already out and in a week, Santorum and Paul should follow soon after.  Hopefully Carson calls it quits too since he simply has zero chance.
5.  Establishment candidates not named Rubio not doing well.  Although there are a large number of establishment candidates, they only totaled 8.4% of the vote.  They didn't steal that much from Rubio.

When you look at all that, Cruz clearly wasn't a shoe-in and overcame quite a bit.  Heck, New Hampshire doesn't seem so insurmountable after that now does it.