The old saying about politics making for strange bedfellows certainly applies to the new Trump-Christie pairing. There is certainly nothing new about rivals coming together. Both Kennedy and Reagan chose challengers to be their running mates.
However, what these two have said about each other in the past makes this union seem somewhat unusual. Christie has said Trump wasn’t suited to the office by temperament or experience. He said Trump didn’t care about what the law says because he was used to firing people on TV. He said “we are not electing an entertainer-in-chief”. Of course Trump responded with his usual barrage of insults.
Now everything is changed. Christie says Trump is the strongest leader and the one man who can beat Hillary Clinton. Trump says Christie is a great governor. Why the change? A story says it is because Christie thought a voice mail message left by Rubio was patronizing. I think it is strictly a matter of cold political calculation. Christie knew that Cruz wouldn’t offer him anything meaningful and had to feel the same way about Rubio. Christie is subject to term limits and will be out of office in less than two years. He can offer Trump some legitimacy and can expect a nice appointment if Trump wins.
I find it very interesting that this is exactly the type of political calculation Trump supporters dislike yet will excuse if their hero is involved.
There are three phases in the process of nominating a presidential candidate. First is the reality show. Not a single vote is cast, but campaigns still generate tons of news coverage. Next is the side show. High profile caucuses and primaries are held in a few small states. This winnows the field down to a manageable size but accomplishes little else. Next Tuesday begins the Main Event. Given all the chaos, it’s a little frightening to make predictions.
Let’s start with the Democrats. Hillary Clinton eked out a win in Nevada and is expected to win easily in South Carolina. Many of the Super Tuesday races are in the South, which is not Bernie Sanders country. I think he has had his time in the spotlight and his campaign will soon be over. This is a mixed blessing for Clinton since all the media attention will be focused on the Republicans.
Obviously, the Republican picture is murkier. It’s important to remember that the voters are selecting delegates to the Republican National Convention. To be nominated, the candidate must receive a majority of the delegates. Many states elect delegates in proportion to the vote count but some are winner-take-all (more on that later).
Let’s first look at Trump. He won with 35% of the vote in New Hampshire and 32% in South Carolina. He might pick up some votes if Ben Carson drops out, but it looks like his ceiling is 35-40%. His lead won’t look so impressive when Rubio gets the Bush, and possibly Kasich, votes. As a group, the three establishment candidates beat him by 5% in South Carolina.
Rubio is likely coming on strong now that he has the Bush supporters and their money. His big prize comes on March 15 with the Florida primary. It is the largest state with a winner-take-all allocation so that will give him a huge boost.
Like Trump, Cruz has a very loyal following but likely has a 25-30% ceiling. He will do well in Texas but the delegates are awarded on a proportional basis.
Kasich is a distant fourth but he will likely hang on until the 15th since Ohio also is winner-take-all. I’m not sure what Carson will do but it won’t make much difference.
If the three main candidates stay in until the end, I think it is highly unlikely anyone will go to the convention with the nomination locked up. We haven’t needed more than one ballot to nominate a candidate since 1952. This could be the year.
I know that we like short, simple answers but there just aren’t any. Hope I didn’t get too long-winded.
Bernie Sanders talks a lot about the Scandinavian political system. In a nutshell, it provides government sponsored cradle to grave care in return for really high taxes.
I spent three weeks there years ago and came away convinced that it works for them. Each country is small (Denmark has a population similar to Wisconsin). They are very homogenous ethnically, spiritually and economically. There are relatively few poor or rich. This is important since the people paying the taxes are the ones receiving the benefits. It’s like a group insurance plan in which the group is the entire country. The government encourages business since it knows that expanding the country’s wealth allows it to being able to afford the entitlements. I can’t speak for the system today but suspect it is heading for trouble. Scandinavia is seeing an increase in immigration. I suspect people might begin to rebel as they see taxes increase without an increase in benefits.
What Sanders is talking about is considerably different. We are much bigger and more diverse. Rather than proposing that people pay more to get more, he is saying that we can get something for nothing and a few wealthy people will pick up the tab. Margaret Thatcher once said “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of rich people”. At the same time he wants to everything he can to hurt their ability to create wealth. He talks of jailing Wall Street executives and saddling businesses with more and more regulation. If his proposals were put into effect, rising expenditure and falling wealth would turn us into Greece.
This may make me sound like a right-winger. Never fear, I will be skewering them really soon.
Note: This is a huge departure from my usual content. It is the first, and undoubtedly the last, post in which I will discuss relationships. I feel that my experience and the insight gained from it might be useful to others.
Very few of us are lucky enough to marry our childhood sweetheart and live happily ever after. It takes the rest of us a lot longer to find our partner. As divorce statistics show, it may take more than one marriage to find your soulmate. Moving on after a breakup can be quite difficult. Moving on after the death of a partner is even harder.
Everyone involved in the new relationship faces special challenges. The survivor often deals with guilt. There are many adjustments from the old way of living. The new partner may feel jealous or unsure of their partner’s true feelings. Children are resentful of the new person in their lives. This just scratches the surface.
I believe that a misperception of the nature of the prior relationship causes many of the problems. When there is a breakup, we seek a replacement. After a death, the process is much different. The deceased person is still loved and cherished as is the new person. It’s as if a separate section of the heart opens up to accept new love.
Back in 2013 I met an incredible woman, the love of my life. She had been widowed twice before. It took me awhile to figure out the process described above. There was no doubt that she loved me and no need to be jealous of anyone. Her marriages to them have nothing to do with me. I am far happier knowing they were there to love her than if she had spent all those years in loneliness.
Now I am seeing this issue from a different perspective. Six months ago today I lost this wonderful woman. I am definitely not ready to date and am not sure what the future holds. One thing I do know for sure is that I will love her until the day I die.
Whether or not you agreed with Antonin Scalia’s philosophy, you have to admire his towering intellect, forceful defense of his views, sense of humor and joy of living. He died several days ago in his sleep following a day of quail hunting.
We do not need to mourn his loss. He lived a long and happy life. We should mourn how our political system has changed for the worse since he was appointed. Today both parties are petty, hypocritical and mean-spirited.
I don’t think a Scalia could be confirmed today. We much prefer candidates without a long paper trail. He counted Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan as close friends. Forming friendships with political opposites was once quite common. Ted Kennedy had a number of Republican friends. Now the other side is the enemy, not the opposition.
Both sides showed their hypocrisy and lack of class after Scalia’s death. They staked out their position within hours of the announcement. Democrats proudly speak of fulfilling constitutional responsibilities while Republicans talk of letting the people decide. We all know if the current president was a Republican, each side would take the opposite position.
It is understandable why so many people share my disgust with both parties. However, voting for an egomaniacal billionaire or cranky socialist is not the solution.
When I was a kid, February 12 was celebrated as Lincoln’s birthday. While 1968 is one of the most tumultuous years in our history, Congress was focused on giving government employees a three day weekend. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act created Presidents Day. Now there is virtually no mention of him on his birthday. It is a real pity.
His story is one of the greatest in our history. He overcame seemingly insurmountable failure and tragedy to become one of our truly great presidents. He grew up in a pioneer family where backbreaking work was necessary to survive. He lost both his mother and sister, his only sibling.
He failed as a storekeeper and saw a woman he loved die of typhoid. He next tried politics and law. He was unsuccessful in his first run at the state legislature but did win four terms. He ran for Speaker but lost. He ran for Congress but wasn’t nominated. Later he was successful but only served one term. He did get married but the union was not a happy one. Two of his sons died. He twice ran for Senate but was unsuccessful. We all know the rest of the story. He became President in 1860 and preserved the country.
We all should take a moment to be thankful that this “failure” came along when he did.
Recently I wrote about a college’s attempts to bring back segregation. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has brought about a return to sexism.
As everyone knows, a woman is running for president. This is not the first time we have seen a woman wielding power. She ran in 2008. We have seen women as secretary state and speaker of the house. Women have twice been on a presidential ticket. This is 2016 and gender should not be a factor for or against a candidate.
A pair of Clinton supporters have added to the controversy. Madeline Albright said “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”. Women (and men) should vote for whomever they think will be the best president. Gloria Steinem insulted young women by saying they support Sanders because “that’s where the boys are”. Imagine the outrage if a man said that.
We have seen even uglier sexism from some Sanders supporters, the so-called Bernie Bros. Many have attacked Clinton and her supporters using disgusting anti-female language. Sanders has rightly denounced these tactics.
The world has changed dramatically over the last 40-50 years. Assuming that women should make choices solely based on genitalia or that it’s OK to behave like Mad Men has no place in the modern world.
Like everyone who isn’t a dedicated Carolina Panther’s fan, I dearly hoped Peyton Manning could get another Super Bowl ring. It was more of a hope than an expectation. Carolina had blown out their opponents in the playoffs. Most of all, I was hoping that the Broncos would avoid a debacle like the game against Seattle. My desire for victory were dependent on their dominating defense and the possibility the Panthers would be overconfident.
My wish came true. Cam Newton spent almost as much time on his back as Tom Brady. The defense scored one touchdown and set up the other. Manning and the offense were stopped for most of the game. As expected, he was humble, in the post-game interview.
In my opinion, he is the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen. He is certainly one of the great physical QBs but his mental game puts him in a class by himself. Others may have more Super Bowl rings, but they played for outstanding teams. The Colts without him are a .500 team at best.
We will have to wait and see whether he decides to retire. He has nothing left to prove so I hope he hangs up the cleats. My fondest wish is that we see, in the words of the late, great Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again. I hope he follows the lead of his boss, John Elway, and uses his amazing football mind to build a Super Bowl champion. I know this is asking for a lot, but I would be thrilled if he did it for the Colts.
Recently we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. We honored a man who led a movement to end Jim Crow and bring us closer to the promise of "all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence. He lost his life in that cause as did many others.
Now a respected college wants to bring back segregation. The University of Connecticut is starting a program in which black male students will live together. This is in response to their low graduation rate. It seems to me that the university should focus on helping ALL struggling students. Apparently they don't care if whites or women drop out.
The justification is that sharing their common experience would help them. One official said it was like putting together students interested in entrepreneurship. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. One might be from an inner city, another from the rural South, another from Africa or from great wealth. They would have nothing in common other than pigmentation. In effect, they are saying the students don't matter as individuals, just as memembers of an ethnic group. That strikes me as highly racist.
Reaction among black students was mixed. Some women want their own place. My favorite comment accused those opposing segregation of being racist.
This is the exact opposite of what King had in mind. Over 50 years ago he talked about a day when children "will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character".
Many ideological heirs of those that marched now try to create divisions. They are doing a great disservice to those who died in the fight for freedom.
There were a few surprises last night. I didn't expect Rubio to come so close to Trump or for Sanders to do as well as he did. A big turnout was supposed to help Trump but it didn't.
So what's next? We need to look at the caucus/primary calendar. New Hampshire is up next week. The only other contests are in Nevada and South Carolina. On March 1 "Super Tuesday" twelve states are up for grabs. Candidates won't be able to blanket those states like they did in Iowa.
Although she squeaked by, this poor showing is a blow for Hillary Clinton. I would expect Sanders to win New Hampshire. The superiority of her organization should allow her to do well on Super Tuesday but, if she loses both Nevada and South Carolina, it could be a real horse race.
The immediate result of the Rubio surge is to doom the candidacies of Bush, Christie and Kasich. The establishment will go all out for Rubio. Trump certainly isn't out of the race but is badly damaged. It reminds me of
the story "The Emperor's New Clothes".
People are starting to see him as he really is. Cruz put an extraordinary amount of effort into Iowa but can't replicate it elsewhere. Rubio stands the
best chance of getting the nomination but the race is far from over.