Sunday, August 30, 2015

The August Election

OK, I'll play along.

According to the polls, the guesses, the conventional wisdom, the money and the low-down, scandal-mongering, hyper-partisan, yellow-dog press, we now know who's going to win that all-important August 2015 presidential election. I'm sure you know that this election is a rather unusual one in American politics because it doesn't take place in every state and candidates can say the most outrageous things and still be considered Oval Office material.

We all know that Donald Trump is going to be our next president because he'll defeat Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton and Jeb! Bush all at one time because he can speak the loudest and say the meanest things out of all of them. Then again, Hillary is beating Donald in the latest national polls and the money race, so she'll likely be our next Chief Executive. Except that she's got an e-mail scandal hanging over her and Benghazi! nipping at her heels like a small yippee dog. No worries, though: when you have a FOX contributor on your side, especially one that advised your husband, you're going to be fine.

Jeb! is having trouble keeping up his fundraising pace and three money people have just left his campaign so he might as well fold up the tent and go live with his brother down in Texas.  Chris Christie is teetering on the edge of being excluded from the varsity debate in September, but he's 7th in money-raising which means that there are a few very wealthy people who really have nothing to do with their millions than put it on a guy who has nothing to run on. Perhaps his immigration policy, now known as "When Your Fruit Picker Absolutely, Positively Has to Leave Overnight" might gain him some valuable Tea Party votes.

Scott Walker is going to win this election because apparently he can say that he's going to defeat ISIS and can harangue Democrats all in the same speech. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of college when he could see the light of graduation in front of him or who said that his foreign policy chops were on display when he faced down some protesters on the statehouse steps in Madison.  Makes you think he'll get nominated, then withdraw from the race in October because, well, Wisconsin needs him more.

This, of course, is all silly conjecture because the real winner of the August election is John Kasich, the moderate Governor of Ohio who manages to say pretty much what every other Republican candidate says but he says it with a nice Ohio accent so he doesn't sound too threatening.

But wait! Who's that gaining major ground on the other wealthier candidates? Why, it's Carly Fiorina! The wonder executive who managed to almost destroy one of Silicon Valley's most venerable companies. She's, well, she's polling in some high single digits and clearly has momentum as we enter the all-important August 31 period of the race. In fact, she's hoping to make the adult table debate next month but CNN is playing funny with the numbers so we might have to listen to Chris Christie pick a fight with someone again. Maybe he could yell at Ben Carson just to remind people that Ben's still in the race. Carson is currently in second place in the Iowa polls, so clearly he's running away with the election and will be the nation's second African-American president. I do so like consistency.

Sun glasses on campers because who's just entered the room and will be moving his stuff the shortest distance out of everyone? It's Vice-President Joe Biden--the savior of the Democrats. The anti-Hillary. The politician-superhero whose special power is to actually work with members of both parties to get something done. Too old? Balderdash; only Republicans can be too old to be president. Joe will win and take his oath of office at Rehoboth Beach on Monday afternoon when there's no traffic.

Of course, I'm only kidding about those people winning the presidency. The real victor will be Marco Rubio. The young guy. The guy who supports an actual immigration bill. The one who wants to re-isolate Cuba because recognizing the Castros really upsets his dad. The one who would be really tough on China. Until the Chinese market exploded. They're not so tough after all, right Marco?

Is anybody else running for president? Of course, and they're all going to win, except for Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Martin O'Neill and George Pataki, who still insists that he is a candidate.

I'm so glad I was able to clear everything up for you because this has been a close election and gee I'm pleased that it's all going to be over by the middle of the week.

Isn't it?

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest   


Sunday, August 23, 2015

And On Your Left...

With so much of the interesting political maneuvering happening on the right, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there will be Democratic debates in the fall, and they could be just as interesting as the Republican candidate-a-thons.

While Hillary Clinton still leads in every match-up with one or the other GOP candidate, she's being pressed by Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Bernie's doing his best to electrify the base with his talk about tighter government control of banks and higher wages and corporate child care centers and things that the US should already have but doesn't because the right believes that Americans feel better by earning these things individually and that if you can't afford them then it's your fault. Sucker. And now Joe Biden is thinking about a run. He would most likely be a very good president if he could get beyond the verbal improvisations that have haunted him in campaigns past. Yes, there are other candidates running--Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee--but they are having a difficult time breaking through a national media that can only handle a few at a time.

In a twist, this election could see the Democrats painted as the older party, with Hillary, Bernie and Joe all much older than their Republican counterparts. In addition, there's a bit of a rift going through the left as the Warren-Sanders far left wing battles with the establishment, more centrist views of the Hillary, and perhaps Biden, wing. There's been so much attention over the past few years about the yawning divide on the right, that a leftish split is certainly news and could be a potential problem unless the party unites in time for the convention, and that's pretty much what I would expect to happen.

Hillary's e-mails are making people nervous and the right will shout Benghazi whenever they get the chance, but on the main issues she seems to have most of the country on her side. Her recent confrontation with Black Lives Matter activists shows her to be empathetic and realistic, and her contrasting views with Republicans on marriage equality, gender equality, wages, climate change, education and foreign policy experience show her to be a more forward-looking candidate than any of the Republicans who only seem to be able to run negative campaigns.

Democrats need to be careful about being overconfident based on the Obama electoral map, with Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Colorado possibly presenting some serious challenges. Overall, though, demographics do provide the party with an advantage the Republicans will find difficult to overcome.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest   

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bold Predictions: How This Nomination Thing Will End

Yes, I have better things to do, but I think it's important that I let you all know how this Republican presidential nomination thing ends so we can move on from Donald Trump and into more consequential matters.

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll (scroll down to page 7), Trump is leading the pack 'o candidates with 24% support of the poll's respondents. The usual suspects follow, although we do have a new rising star in Carly Fiorina who went from 1% support in the July poll to 5% in August's.

OK.

What this simply means is that one quarter of respondents support Trump. Add up the others' scores and you have most respondents supporting someone other than Trump. Plus, Trump's negative ratings outpace his positives by about 30 percentage points. What this also means is that the Republican Party is still in the grips of an extremist bunch who say things like "I support Trump because he tells the truth."

No, he does not.

He says things that are provocative and media-friendly, and he says them loudly. He has no plan for the country and says that his strength is that he goes into negotiations with flexibility and tries to get the best deal possible. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but the Republican Party has not operated that way for the past 6 years, so I'll need some clarification as to whether the Tea Party is willing to back Donald knowing that he'll actually try to bargain with the Democrats. Or the so-called moderates in the GOP.

What Donald Trump has done is to alienate the one group that the GOP absolutely needs to win a national election, Hispanics, and has disrespected the other group that the GOP needs more support from, and that's women. And the longer Trump stays in the race and has a megaphone, the more he will do damage to the party. Which is good for Democrats. And the latest issue, that of changing the Fourteenth Amendment to disallow the children of undocumented immigrants to have birthright citizenship, is a losing one for the right. So naturally, half the field supports the change.

What's happening now in the Republican process will have a major effect on the race, and if you want to know what will happen, then please pay attention. The vast majority of the GOP field will make it to the Iowa Caucuses, and each one will get their moment in the media spotlight. Then they'll say or do something Republicany and fall by the wayside. Trump will not win Iowa. After that, the lowest performing five candidates will drop out. After New Hampshire, another five will go, including NJ Governor Chris Christie, because he won't win them and he won't have enough money to conduct a campaign across enough of the remaining states.

By this point, only the most well-funded candidates will still be in the race: Jeb, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, and perhaps, Trump. They will then duke it out over the next month or so, and by the end of April at the latest, the GOP will have its candidate, and my guess is that it will be Kasich. He will then choose Marco Rubio to be his running mate at the convention.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton will win the nomination and choose a Hispanic-American as her running mate.

After that, we'll see, but you read it here first.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest