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Friday, July 10, 2015

Confederate Flag Coming Down, Era of Hate Ends

COLUMBIA, SC - JULY 9: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley receives applause after signing a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state house grounds July 9, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Debate on the flag was reignited three weeks ago after the mass murder at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

The Confederate flag flying on South Carolina’s statehouse grounds is set to come down after the House voted 94-20 to remove it. The bill, passed early Thursday morning, now heads to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk and she is expected to sign it.

After more than 13 hours of debate — which became increasingly contentious as the night wore on — House Republicans and Democrats agreed not to amend the legislation with a proposal that threatened to make final passage more difficult.

The final vote was 93-27, which clearly represents a bi-partisan majority, but also represents the reality of South Carolina in that 27 members of the house, and likely their constituents, feel the Confederate flag should remain in front of the capitol. Earlier in the week, a state senate vote on the same matter was 36-3 in favor of its removal.

While it is easy for many to dismiss this step as merely symbolic and thus somehow unimportant, I beg to disagree. Removing the Confederate flag obviously doesn't end racism—no one step will do so—but when our government makes the insult of African Americans' public and acceptable, it is but one step in the justification of the mistreatment of an entire race. Piece by piece, we must dismantle, remove and make difficult, any symbols or policies or practices rooted in racism.

When Martin Luther King said that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," it was him making a point that injustice matters, no matter when it happens, however small the instance, because it erodes the very cause and principle of justice.   This was a hard fought battle and we should celebrate this victory.

Now, let's move on with the same vigor to the next fight for equal justice in America.

1:31 PM PT:   South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has signed the bill, and the flag is scheduled to come down Friday morning at 10 am.

One of the following three statements is true.     Give it your best guess.

1.  Donald Trump's campaign will be over as soon as those Tea Party people find out that thing on his head has been killing their chickens.

2.  I think the thing I admire most about Donald Trump is that he is a billionaire but doesn't own one suit that fits him properly.

3.  If Donald Trump gets elected there will never be another Bald Eagle 

Donald Trump, thank you for this wonderful, wonderful gift.  It was so thoughtful of you! And we didn't get you anything!   How rude of us.   Most importantly thank you for being a republican, you fit right in.

Thank you for announcing that you are running for President, because now the Internet has so much ammunition.   If mocking was a power source, your campaign announcement could power New York City for 250 years.

It's like Twitter was made just for this moment.   A moment where a celebrity(?) with a terrific haircut and a face the color of a ripe tangerine says that he thinks he's the best person to run the United States of America.   This is the same guy who with 100 percent certainty thought Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.   So yeah, Twitter is loving you right now.

A little relief please.

Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company.

One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, “Father, me dog is dead.  Could ya’ be saying’ a mass for the poor creature?”

Father Patrick replied, “I’m afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church.   But there are some Baptists down the lane, an there’s no tellin’ what they believe.   Maybe they’ll do something for the creature.”

Muldoon said, “I’ll go right away Father. Do ya’ think $5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?”

Father Patrick exclaimed, “Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus!   Why didn’t ya tell me the dog was Catholic?

The Republican Party has a major demographic problem over the long term, according to a Politico magazine story. 

"The party’s core is dying off by the day," concludes writer Dan McGraw. 

Democrats, especially under President Barack Obama, have long been associated with younger voters and millennials. Much less attention has been paid, McGraw argues, to the other side of the equation:  older voters.

Though they are some of the most reliable voters when it comes to turnout, seniors are also more likely to exit the voter pool naturally, through death. 

McGraw's "back-of-the-napkin" numbers paint a particularly stark picture for the GOP:

By combining presidential election exit polls with mortality rates per age group from the U.S. Census Bureau, I calculated that, of the 61 million who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, about 2.75 million will be dead by the 2016 election.   President Barack Obama’s voters, of course, will have died too—about 2.3 million of the 66 million who voted for the president won’t make it to 2016 either.  

 That leaves a big gap in between, a difference of roughly 453,000 in favor of the Democrats.

Here is the methodology, using one age group as an example:  According to exit polls, 5,488,091 voters aged 60 to 64 years old supported Romney in 2012. The mortality rate for that age group is 1,047.3 deaths per 100,000, which means that 57,475 of those voters died by the end of 2013.   Multiply that number by four, and you get 229,900 Romney voters aged 60-to-64 who will be deceased by Election Day 2016. 

However, there are a number of caveats that could lessen the impact of the dilemma for the Republican Party.   For one, McGraw's numbers are mere estimates.   Additionally, Republicans undoubtedly hope to make inroads with younger voters, who don't necessarily vote as often and can be concentrated in states like California and New York that aren't competitive on the national level. 

"Regardless, political demographers are seeing this election as a watershed. Millennials now have higher numbers than Baby Boomers, and the mortality rates will expand that difference in coming elections,"  McGraw added. "With each death, a little political power passes from one generation to the next."

Can Any Republican Win 270 Electoral Votes in 2016 (Or Ever Again)?
The Math is Inconvenient

NO but Hillary Can

During this past week I had a chance to reflect on the 5th annual Red State Gathering which I attended, that was held this year in New Orleans.

The event was extremely well run and attracted close to 400 loyal Red Staters who either write for or read the site.   

We all gathered to hear from numerous conservative leaders, including U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tim Scott (R-SC), currently the only African-
American senator, who was appointed recently after Senator Jim DeMint stepped down to run the Heritage Foundation.

Three “red state” Governors also addressed the crowd:  Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal (who rumor(He's Running) has it is planning to run for president in 2016), South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and finally the biggest, baddest, and longest serving governor in Texas history, Rick Perry.

As a long time Red State supporter, Governor Perry announced his disastrous 2012 presidential bid at the 2011 Red State Gathering and now 
teased the crowd that he would announce his 2016 presidential decision next summer and maybe even at the 2014 Red State gathering.

Whether Perry runs in 2016 or not (Rick decided to RUN), the Texas economy is flourishing and leads the nation in growth.   Perry is a total rock star in my opinion and a shining example of conservative leadership principles in action.

At Saturday’s lunch before Perry spoke, I was sitting next to a man in his mid-thirties when the table conversation turned to the 2016 presidential race.  I asked him who he was supporting and told me Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

Then I proceeded to ask the question I ask every Republican after they tell me who they are supporting in 2016, “Do you think Rand Paul can win 270 electoral votes?”   He immediately replied, “I never thought about that question or Rand Paul from that perspective.”

For the record, I anonymously submitted that same question to Rand Paul himself at a Washington luncheon this past May.  It was selected as the last question by the moderator, and Paul’s lip service answer about needing to attract voter groups who now vote Democrat provided as much clarity as my Red State lunch companion.

Saturday’s “by chance” lunch conversation and subsequent non-answer, along with Senator Paul’s answer to the same question, illustrate 
why the next Republican presidential nominee is going to have such a difficult, if not impossible task winning of 270 electoral votes.

The young man at lunch was not alone in his support for Rand Paul and, from my observations over the entire weekend, it appears that Senator Paul is the leading presidential candidate for 2016 among those attending the Red State Gathering.

For example, while I was enjoying myself at Governor Jindal’s Friday night reception, a woman who saw my name tag realized she had read a piece I had written and posted on Red State warning Republicans about Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the title, “Madame President” in 2016.  Then, in a rather stern tone, she declared, “Rand Paul is my candidate and I am fed up with nominating moderates who only lose. 

So this time we must nominate a true conservative who can win.”

This sentiment was one I heard often at the Red State Gathering and hear even more frequently whenever two or more conservatives are gathered together in HIS name (Ronald Reagan that is).

Let me state emphatically, that the concept of nominating someone more conservative than ever in 2016 is a foregone conclusion among the Republican base.

Thus, I would be totally shocked if New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could ever win the Republican nomination because he is perceived as a moderate in the losing mold of Dole ‘96, McCain ‘08 and Romney ’12.

Furthermore, as a direct result of those past losses, the primary voting base has “been there – done that”, so there will be no compromising in the selection of the 2016 nominee or you could expect a third party to emerge with disastrous electoral consequences.

My question about “how your potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination can win 270 electoral votes” is one to which I am always seeking answers.   Therefore, I have made it my personal mantra to ask this question of every Republican I meet and have raised it numerous times in my writings.

However, with much sadness I predict the following three obstacles will preclude the next Republican presidential nominee from winning 
270 electoral votes.

1. Awareness of the problem

My Red State lunch partner who had not even thought about the 270 question is typical of most conservative activists and primary voters.   They are dreamers divorced from reality.

Therefore, raising the 270 question early and often should be an integral part of the 2016 GOP presidential primary dynamic.  How can a problem find a solution when only a few Republicans are even willing to acknowledge that there is a problem?

2. No compromising on core principles  

Conservative Republicans uphold their conservative principals as a shiny badge of honor never to be tarnished. 

Republican, however I think the same way as Ronald Reagan who, when trying to get legislation passed in 1983, said the following:

 I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want.

Sadly, I agree with former Senator and 1996 GOP Presidential Nominee Bob Dole, who appeared this past May on Fox News Sunday to discuss the growing conservative tilt among Republican primary and base voters when he stated that,  “Reagan wouldn’t have made it” in today’s Republican Party.

And that might actually be true, for at the Red State Gathering as I listened to speeches from a parade of Congress men, Senators and Governors, only one mentioned the C word, “compromise.”

That honor belonged to Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) in the context of mentioning his membership in No Labels, a growing, bipartisan group that is trying to forge compromise in order to pass legislation on economic issues and is not looked upon kindly by Red Staters.

But instead of the word “compromise,” all I kept hearing was “we must fight hard to uphold the principles of conservatism.”

Now, I too believe in fighting for the following conservative principals: less government; less regulation; balanced budgets; lower taxes; more personal responsibility; traditional family values; 
 a strong national defense; and a favorable business climate that encourages entrepreneurs and investment.

However, because conservatives are an ever shrinking minority within the electorate, it is imperative that they nominate a presidential candidate (and other leaders) who can attract moderate voters by stating that he or she, like Reagan, are willing to accept a “half loaf instead of a whole” in order to solve the difficult issues facing our nation.

Otherwise, we will remain where we are now, locked out of the White House and stuck in neutral with a gridlocked government. There is danger ahead when our core conservative principles  become roadblocks to any progress.

3.  GOP’s biggest problem is Democrats start with 246 electoral votes

As Republicans gear up to “take back the White House” we all need to be aware that in 2012 if Romney had won the three swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia, he still would have lost the election to President Obama.

If you want to explore this new reality, check out   Here you can play around with each state’s electoral votes and plot your favorite candidate’s path to 270 in 2016.

For instance, let’s look at Wisconsin with its 10 electoral votes.   Every four years the Republican mind-set says Wisconsin will be a swing state.  Then, within a few months into the campaign the state loses it’s coveted  “battleground” status as polls begin to show “blue” reality.   And the truth is that not since 1984, when Reagan won in a landslide against Walter Mondale, has Wisconsin seen red.

Or take Pennsylvania with 20 electoral votes and New York with 29 — both have been blue since Bill Clinton won them in 1992 and blue they will remain.

Then we have the mega-rich electoral state of California with its 55 votes that turned red for the last time in 1988 when George H.W. Bush won that “California guy,” Reagan’s “third term.”

After totaling the electoral votes in all the solid blue states, it becomes apparent that even a below average Democrat presidential candidate could begin the race with a whopping 246 advantage.

Let me repeat, if only for the shock value – 246 votes out of 270 is 91 percent.  That means the Democrat candidate needs to win only 24 more votes out of the remaining 292.  (There are a total of 538 electoral votes.)

No wonder President Obama was so confident of victory in 2012 for he knew the game was practically over before it began.

In case you need reminding, the final Electoral College score was a lopsided 332 – 206.

Here are the 20 solid blue states and their 246 electoral votes for a clearer understanding of just how skewed the Electoral College is against Republicans.

CA (55), NY (29), PA (20), IL (20), MI (16), NJ (14), WA (12), MA (11), MN (10), WI (10), MD (10), CT (7), OR (7), HI (4), ME (4), NH (4), RT (4), VT (3), DE (3), DC (3).

The Republican Party leadership, well aware of this depressing math, is now making an attempt to change the rules of the game by supporting an effort whereby states would proportionally award their electoral votes to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.

It is obvious that discarding the current “winner take all” system would vastly improve the prospects of electing a Republican president. 

But first, this initiative must pass state legislatures before reaching a governor’s desk where it may or may not be signed into law.

There is some precedent here, for the states of Nebraska and Maine are already using this method.  However, it is unlikely that more states will follow Nebraska and Maine because this drastic change is politically “too hot to handle” for most governors, even Republican ones.

My suggestion would be to dump the entire Electoral College system and elect the president through direct “popular” vote.  That, by the way, is the method favored by 63 percent of Americans.

This method would have produced a President Al Gore and the embarrisment of GW Bush would have never happened.

To change from the Electoral College to direct voting would require a constitutional amendment.  But it is highly doubtful that such an  amendment would gain any traction in Congress since Democrat leaders love the Electoral College and have no incentive to make such a change.   (Yes, they remember Al Gore in 2000, but that was ancient electoral math.)

Therefore, no changes in the Electoral College means that I will continue asking my question, “Name a Republican who can win 270 electoral votes in 2016?”  And please be ready with a candidate you can defend using “real” electoral math because, “I have not given that question any thought” is not an acceptable answer and could result in a potential landslide for the Democrats in 2016.


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