Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Republican Base--or CONSERVATIVE Base?

Pundits and analysts say the 35 or 37 percent Trump approval crowd is a "Republican base" but its history suggests otherwise. While people in said group are conservative, their voting history is more skittish. Ross Perot, Ron Paul, Dixiecrats, and other Independent candidates have won their votes instead of GOP candidates --and still others have won their votes in state level races.

As far as being reliably conservative, they are; as far as being reliably Republican, not so much.

So a 35% vote becomes more like 17% when you look at reliability of  the conservative base vote as GOP fans.

Such phenomena best  explains "moderate Republicans"--and why the GOP is never going  to give this "base" 100% of what it  wants. Even when GOP has been reliably conservative itself, it has found it self left in the lurch sometimes.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

What Grover Cleveland's political history really reveals about Electoral-only victories

I just watched a discussion on "Meet the Press" about the "failed" Clinton campaign of 2016 in which various persons blamed Hillary for the "failure" of the campaign.
With a nearly 3 million Popular vote lead over Trump, it is difficult to call Hillary a "loser" in the campaign.
Yet, corporate talking head shills found a way to rationalize such a fluke as if it were under the control of the politicians involved.
Some of the participants put down Hillary's bringing in anti-woman sentiments as a factor, but, the truth is, even doing that is putting the outcome on a level of discussion it doesn't really deserve.
The political career of President Grover Cleveland is the best illustration of what is really involved when there is a gap between Electoral and  Popular vote.
In 1884, Cleveland was elected President, in both the Popular and the Electoral vote.
In 1888, he was up for re-election, but failed to achieve a lead in the Electoral College, though a modest lead in the Popular vote.
Cleveland came back in 1892 and won election again, in both the Popular and Electoral vote. In each case, historians and journalists found that the whole thing was best explained by FLUKES in the election system--oddball failures of election machines (newfound gadgets) and election clerk errors around the nation, but most especially in one or two states.
The real lesson in 2016, has also been that--as, indeed, errors or manipulations best explained the outcome in the other three Electoral gap elections since our two parties have existed, 1876, 1888 a and 2000.
In 1876, even many Republicans have acknowledged that a fishy "Electoral Commission" which worked in several ways to ensure the election of "Rutherfraud" B. Hayes, by shifting a single Electoral vote to Hayes, a Civil War general opposed to slavery versus Tilden a Democrat who had advocated removal of US troops from the Reconstruction South.
In 1888, flukes and errors explained the Electoral/Popular gap.
In 2000, a complex failure by the news media in "calling" Florida too soon for Gore, caused some w. Florida panhandle voters to leave the poll lines a bit too early, while a computer in s. Florida was videotaped "counting backwards" to favor W. Bush. And the counts got down to as low as 34 votes in later media recounts using each of the four "ballot interpretation" methods in Florida that were forbidden of carrying forward when the Supreme Court, dominated by Republican appointees, shut down any future recounts in Florida and gave the Electoral College--though not the Popular vote--to W. Bush.
Ironically, in 2004, Bush seems by many new and old pieces of evidence to have similarly won a lead in the Popular vote--partly in the wake of 911--but possibly failed to legally win the Electoral College, as Kerry got an apparent lead in Exit polls in Ohio, which, combined with data now about uncounted Provisional ballots and some locked up voting machines in Cuyahoga County there (which resulted in some OH election officials being convicted of violating the Voting Rights Act) strongly suggest Kerry was the first and thus far only Democrat to win the Electoral College but lose the lead in the Popular vote, with Bush playing Gore's role in an even bigger Popular vote lead over Kerry while losing in the Electoral College. (That, in turn, might be a cautionary tale to the GOP as to whether they should support efforts to abolish or amend interpretation of the Electoral versus Popular vote).
Now, in 2016, we see a series of odd looking failures to adequately examine ballots in at least 5 states, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, deprived America of an accurate election outcome.
Was Russia involved? Perhaps, we don't know but it's looking like it. But key here, is understanding that, when one candidate fails to achieve the Popular vote, they have likely failed in the Electoral College and an adequate examination of the outcomes after the fact has repeatedly revealed that.
There is no "failure" by a candidate to explain this, it is a product of flukes and fishiness.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Another Example of An Impossible "Coalition"

Trump faces a serious problem: he was elected by an "impossible" coalition. These are not unheard of in U.S. politics and history.

Now, it's true that there are always factions within the two parties, and that these are sometimes at odds over a range of relatively innocuous issues. There is also the "swing" state issue, which creates the phenomena of the "Blue dog" or conservative Democrat and the Liberal or "Moderate" Republican.

But, on rare occasions, especially when a single or possible two major issues dominate the Presidential campaign, we get what we are witnessing now: an IMPOSSIBLE coalition.

One of the most recent examples of this was in 1968-72, and in that case it was the single issue of the Vietnam war.

Humphrey was attempting to form such a coalition between war hawk Wallace Democrats (former Dixiecrats in some cases) and the far Left and liberal doves, who wanted a de-escalation or  immediate exit from Vietnam.

Wallace's politically impossible position was to somehow win voters in the South who weren't being swayed by Nixon to vote Republican for the first time in a lifetime in support of strong military in Vietnam and a slowing of busing in the South, while simultaneously pulling the black support he still had to have to survive as a viable and sizable third party entity in the South and swing states.

One result was the God-awful 1968 Chicago Democratic convention, which brought to a blood soaked (literally) head the contradictory positions. The result was that divided Democrats couldn't carry Illinois--and in losing it, lost both the Popular vote and the Electoral College that year.

To use analogies from that, then, today the Tea Party represents the core in the more solidly Red states while moderate Repubs are in the Swing and border states--today's "Wallace" or conservative faction from 1968. These were pivotal to a GOP victory in the White House race.

Trump played for Tea Party support in one set of states in order to get that narrow margin of the Far Right he needed to beat out other Republicans for the GOP nomination. That would have SEEMED to have committed him to Far Right economic and political positions, across the board. Yet Trump appealed to such conservatives ONLY IN THOSE SELECT STATES. His rhetoric THERE matched the wishful thinking hopes of the Far Right, which finally thought it was hearing from someone who was 100% where they were on issues.

Yet, equally pivotal, this year, for Trump, ended up being those on the Left who balked at supporting Hillary's more centrist views on foreign policy, corporate America and limited public health care act set up under Obama. When Trump left Alabama (for example), after talking there like the conservative's conservative, he went up to Michigan and spoke exactly the OPPOSITE, saying he was interested in what Bernie Sanders, who was on the Left of Hillary's positions on several public positions including the narrow coverage of the current health care system--and that he would responsibly bring back jobs to the American industrial heartland.

New data now suggests that Russia also circulated "fake news" at key Left websites that helped to exaggerate the Left's break with Hillary. In any case, the coalition for Trump thus created put him over in pivotal Democrat and Swing states--the ones in which we saw the Green Party question and attempt to recount.

Those Left voters are simply not supporting Trump now that the Congressional Budget Office numbers show the "repeal and replace" is not an improvement over what we had already.

Meanwhile, any attempts by Trump to maintain credibility with his Left supporters, watered down his "purist" approach to "repealing" Obamacare. That, in turn, caused that purist group in the Far Right to refuse to back his own health care bill. 

Back to the drawing board means further conflict-fraught discussions, meetings, and formings and re-formings of the GOP. All in all, not a pleasant harbinger for the "Hubert Humphrey" of 2017, Donald Trump.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

And Behold, A New Heaven and a New Earth

As some have foreseen, we have dramatic new proof of life in the universe beyond Earth, as NASA announced the discovery of a new solar system containing up to seven earth-like planets. This adds to a growing list of exoplanets that could be inhabited by life, including intelligent life.
It requires us to continue to grow up in our perceptions about ourselves, our planet and our universe.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Electoral College Tragedies

So now, we begin a new scandal-ridden, incompetent , controversial, probably ultimately tragic, Electoral-only Presidential administration.

How we proceed and progress as a nation a this point may affect many generations to come

As usual, the likes of these administrations demonstrate, once again, the tragedy of our current Electoral College system.

As has been the case almost invariably in such outcomes, an incompetent extremist who could not ultimately win a general election has been given all power-- instead of merely some sharing of power in a "consolation prize"  signifying a winning of a majority of the states.

Such outcomes have not served our nation well. There have been four since 1876 and the beginning of our current two parties.