Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune will announce today whether he'll run for governor. If he decides to run, Portune will face off against Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to decide which Democrat should face off against Republican Gov. John Kasich next November. Until now, it has been widely assumed that FitzGerald would take the gubernatorial nomination without a primary challenge. But if Portune enters the race, it could lead to a primary process that could hinder Democrats' chances in a pivotal state election.
Hamilton County Republican Party officials are looking into hosting the 2016 national GOP convention in Cincinnati, but they acknowledge their bid might come in too late. The 2016 convention would put the national spotlight on Cincinnati during a presidential election year, when presumably two new presidential contenders will have been picked by Democrats and Republicans to replace President Barack Obama. Hamilton County Republican Chairman Alex Triantafilou said Cincinnati would be a great location for the convention, given the region's electoral importance to both parties, but he wants to make sure Cincinnati actually stands a chance before using time and resources to file a formal application.
Entertainment districts allow some businesses in Walnut Hills and nine other Cincinnati neighborhoods to receive their state liquor licenses more quickly and inexpensively, but some — particularly businesses facing new competition — are worried the increasingly popular economic designation will lead to more alcohol-serving establishments than Cincinnati can sustain.
Local startup incubator SoMoLend got state hearings over allegations of fraud pushed to February and March. The once-promising crowdfunding incubator previously partnered with Cincinnati, but the city cut ties with the business once allegations of fraud surfaced.
The Ohio Department of Health warned on Friday that flu activity is increasing across the state and Ohioans should get vaccinated.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol last week launched an enhanced registry of people who have been convicted of drunk driving at least five times.
Starting Jan. 1, regulations meant to crack down on puppy mills will require licenses for dog breeders and clean cages. The legislation enforcing the new rules was approved more than a year ago to curtail Ohio's reputation of being soft on large dog breeding operations.
Ohio gas prices spiked at the end of the year.
With the year drawing to a close, check out CityBeat's top stories of 2013.
The question you probably never asked has now been answered: Can a human fall in love with a computer?
Bernie Sanders (Democratic)
Don’t think your vote counts? The first office Sanders held was mayor of Burlington, Vt., and he won the election by 10 votes in 1981. That small margin of victory led this Jewish politician on a course to the Senate and the race for the presidency.
What’s up with the campaign?
Bernie Sanders is one of two Independent senators serving in Congress. However, he caucuses with Democrats and is largely considered the most liberal member of the Senate. The Vermont senator is running a populist campaign and focuses on domestic economics, often pointing to the growing wealth of America’s elite while the middle-class shrinks as a “moral outrage.”
The self-described Democratic Socialist fills convention centers with crowds and is very popular amongst the college crowd and to those on the left that are frustrated with the Democratic party’s move to the center over the last couple of decades.
Some criticize Sanders’ major proposals such as single-payer health care, free public college, a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure and social security expansion as “radical.” Even the 74-year-old senator admitted that taxes would have to raised on people beyond America’s wealthiest one percent. Critics point to the failed initiative in Vermont to establish a “Medicare for all” plan mostly because the effort would have eaten the state’s entire budget.
While Sanders sometimes beats Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls, he has been behind her for almost the entire campaign. However, he has raised more money than the Republicans. The Sanders campaign also recently announced he has more donations from females than Clinton and more than two million contributions, a fundraising record for American politics.
One of the campaign’s flagship ideals is not taking big donations, or funds from corporations. The maximum legal contribution is $2,700. Sanders hasn’t sought money from wealthy liberals, despite support.
Voter might like:
● With the college crowd being saddled with an average $28,000 of debt and working for Ohio’s $8.10 minimum wage only to live in their parent’s basement, it’s easy to understand why they’ve been taken by Sanders’ rhetoric of a fair economy.
● Sanders has been serving in government since 1980, which arguably gives him the most padded resume of the bunch.
● People like a winner, and this senator has gathered the largest crowds in the primaries. The Washington Post reported 27,500 people came to see him speak in Los Angeles. He has gathered similar sized crowds in Boston, Cleveland and Little Rock, Ark.
...but watch out for:
● The term “socialist” still scares people. Sanders has been pushing hard to communicate his definition of “Democratic Socialism,” often invoking FDR and Eisenhower.
● Strong anti-gun advocates say the Independent from Vermont is weak on guns due to a vote allowing firearms in checked bags on AMTRAK. He also voted against making gun manufacturers legally accountable for crimes committed with their firearms.
● The Sanders campaign has been fighting against Hillary Clinton’s “inevitability.” His proposals are popular on the left, but drive the right crazy. He is often framed as “the cool guy who won’t win anyway.”
Biggest policy proposal: The College for all Act of 2015 was proposed to committee May 19, 2015 and aims to make four-year public universities tuition-free. His plan outlines a 0.5-percent tax increase on stock trades, 0.1 percent on bonds and 0.005 percent on derivatives to pay for it.
War: Sanders voted against the war in Iraq but is very vocal about the Islamic State being a major threat. He wants to maintain President Obama’s aggressive air campaign and Special Operations’ ground missions.
However, Sen. Sanders wants bordering Muslim countries to lead the fight and opposes utilizing conventional U.S. ground troops, saying, “It is worth remembering that Saudi Arabia, for example, is a nation controlled by one of the wealthiest families in the world and has the fourth largest military budget of any nation. This is a war for the soul of Islam and the Muslim nations must become more heavily engaged.”
Sen. Rand Paul (Republican)
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is a practicing ophthalmologist that specializes in corneal transplants, cataract and glaucoma surgeries and LASIK procedures.
The 52-year-old constitutional conservative has spent time during every senate recess performing pro-bono eye surgeries for low income Kentuckians and citizens of poor countries like Haiti. Even if he wins the presidency, Paul claims he will continue his practice and joked about turning the Lincoln room into a surgical suite.
It’s probably safe crown Paul as having one of the greatest political ads in a long time, courtesy of America’s Liberty PAC.
What’s up with the campaign?
Paul is probably the most libertarian candidate of the bunch. He’s all about citing the 10th Amendment, dreams of abolishing the IRS and wants to severely cut the defense budget and end the surveillance state. He’s also one of the only Republicans that seemingly has the backing of millennials.
He has all the ingredients of a solid Republican candidate, a true conservative that literally takes a chainsaw to the tax code and genuinely wants to dismantle the “Washington Machine.” Even liberals can appreciate his non-interventionist foreign policy agenda and acknowledging the threat of climate change.
However, the crowded GOP race hasn’t treated Paul nicely. He has struggled to make it to five percent in national polls, fighting for scraps with Carly Fiorina and Gov. Chris Christie.
Some point to Paul’s troubles being that libertarianism is an extreme minority in America’s political landscape, which would also explain his father’s performance when he ran for president. In a 2014 study, Pew Research found that only 11 percent of Americans identify as Libertarians and know what it is.
Conservatives say they want a smaller government, but that’s not what we see in the astonishing support for Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson who call for expanding surveillance programs and a further expansion of the government’s military footprint.
Paul’s attack on Sen. Marco Rubio for being “liberal on military spending” gets roaring applause from a Republican audience; aggressive military spending, however, creates an even bigger applause line.
It’s worth pointing out that if the White House doesn’t work out, he’s also running for reelection in Kentucky’s 2016 senate race.
Voters might like:
● Rand Paul is probably your best friend if you want marijuana legalization. He invokes the 10th Amendment and classic libertarian values regarding pot, saying the only victim is the individual and that the federal government shouldn’t have a role in controlling consumption. Paul wants less people in jail and shines a light on the victims of marijuana prohibition mostly being poor black males.
● One of last year’s biggest political stories was Paul’s 10-and-a-half-hour filibuster lambasting government surveillance programs. He had the backing of 10 other senators, seven of which were Democrats. This filibuster looked like a man defending the Fourth Amendment and fighting an overreaching government, perfectly encapsulating what this politician is all about.
● The U.S. spends more than the next 13 countries combined on its military. Paul wants to reduce the empire, bringing the troops home from not only the Middle East but Europe and the Pacific. This may be unpopular with hawks on both sides of the aisle, but this is an issue that can bring liberals and fiscal conservatives together.
...but watch out for:
● Paul’s defense spending agenda is also kind of weird. Last spring he called for swelling the Pentagon’s budget $76.5 billion, about a 16-percent increase in fiscal year 2016. It doesn’t help that the alleged isolationist announced his presidential bid in front of an aircraft carrier. This flip-flopping hurt the Kentucky senator with libertarians and those on the left that might have not minded a President Rand Paul. He was gearing up for a presidential run and we all know politicians often go against some of their ideas to liven their base, but going against the one thing that could have jettisoned the right and the left is odd.
● Like a lot of Republicans, Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education. A move that’s likely impossible, and is consistent with his virtual absolutism that the federal government should play no role in your life. Considering millennial conservatives are one of Paul’s top supporters, they should be aware this is the bureaucracy that allots federal student loans and allocates federal resources to universities. The already little government support for schools is a large reason tuition is so high.
● Last summer, Paul proposed a 14.5-percent flat tax in a column for The Wall Street Journal. Most Americans agree the tax code needs simplified. However, there is a lot of skepticism from economists that say his plan would cost the country more than $1 trillion, some estimate as high as $15 trillion over the next decade.
Biggest policy proposal:
Last year, Paul reintroduced the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or the REINS Act. In a nutshell, this would give Congress final say on any federal action that would cost more than $100 million annually.
This potentially takes a lot of power out of the executive branch and puts more accountability on state representatives.
Things change when someone gets into office, but Paul might be the least likely candidate to take the U.S. into another ground war, especially in the Republican field. He is strongly against using boots on the ground, but hasn’t made any clear stances on continuing President Obama’s air campaign. During the CNN debate Paul said, “There will always be another Clinton or Bush if you want to go back into Iraq.”
What are the primaries?
They are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. For instance, if you are a Republican, you will pick from your field of candidates (Trump, Rubio, Carson and so on) to challenge the Democratic candidate.
When are the primaries?
In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. The overall election starts in February with Iowa, and each state votes at a different time. Some states don’t vote until the summer.
I heard about caucuses, what are those?
Ohio doesn’t have a caucus. You only need to worry about that if you live in a state like Iowa. Essentially, a caucus is a gathering of a bunch of citizens in a room, and they physically stand on each side of the room and debate which candidate to pick. All the sides of the room represent support for a single candidate. The physical number of people in on the sides of the room is counted at the end to decide to victor.
Who can vote?
Some states have closed primaries, meaning only official members of a political party can vote. Don’t worry about this, Ohioans — you live in an open primary state, meaning anyone can vote for any candidate.
At the polls, you will be asked which party you want to vote for and given a ballot with those respective options. If you are voting for a different party than you did last election, you’ll fill out a simple form declaring party affiliation. You can of course easily change this next election.
Your right to vote in a primary is not guaranteed in the law. This is why these rules vary and are dictated by parties. This also put some standard voting regulation up in the air. States like Ohio allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary so long as they turn 18 on or before the general election.
What are the parties?
The Democratic and Republican parties have been the meat and potatoes of American politics for centuries. You can look into the Green or Constitution Party, but the U.S. has been a two-party country since day one.
When do I have to be registered?
Ohioans have to be registered 30 days before primaries to participate. Let's set Valentine's Day as your deadline.
The Grown-up Debate
Regardless of where you fall on the partisan spectrum, you have to acknowledge this debate was a stark contrast against the last Republican debate.
The last time we saw the GOP duke it out it was overflowing with silly rhetoric about “bombing the shit” out of ISIS, despite the current air campaign being so aggressive the U.S. military has a munitions shortage.
Instead of having an intellectually honest debate, most of the GOP were beating the drums to another ground war, inflating the surveillance state against Americans and, in Trump’s case, proposing the U.S. murder the families of suspected terrorists.
Only Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was questioning the foreign policy grandstanding and challenging his competition on “liberal military spending.”
Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley all came equipped Saturday with specific policies and answers to issues both foreign and domestic.
Most debates have clear standouts. This third Democratic debate was different. Every candidate was at their best. It’s unlikely anyone jumped ship from one candidate to another here.
Clinton played centrist politics, Sanders maintained his populist momentum with his progressive agenda and O’Malley stayed center-left and laid out his resume from his governor experience.
Those on the fence were able to clearly see who each of these candidates were and the values of the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Civil War Was Brushed Off in Minutes
Clinton’s campaign on Friday accused the Sanders team of inappropriately accessing its voter data, and the Sanders campaign turned the blame on the vendor for a shoddy firewall. The Democratic National Committee banned the Vermont senator’s team from accessing critical voter data and the campaign sued the DNC to restore its access.
The Sanders staffer that wrongfully accessed Clinton’s private voter data was fired and two more staffers have been terminated since the debate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off the debate delivering an apology both to Hillary Clinton and his supporters, saying this breach of integrity isn’t the sort of campaign he runs.
Clinton Battles Trump
As a major Democratic candidate in a room full of allies, Clinton has virtually unlimited ammunition against the GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. She put on her general election hat and targeted the real-estate tycoon’s questionable policy of banning Muslim immigrants.
"Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people and to make them think there are easy answers to very complex questions," she said.
Sanders and O’Malley also came out in strong opposition to Trump’s immigration policy proposal, a position that most Democratic voters will likely agree with.
However, Clinton took this a step further saying Trump’s rhetoric is actively used as an ISIS recruiting tool.
“He is becoming ISIS’
best recruiter,” Clinton said. “They are going to people showing videos of
Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical
Critics of Trump say his anti-Muslim rhetoric could help the terror group in its recruitment, which is very believable. However, it’s unclear whether such a video exists.
Palmieri, communications director of the Clinton campaign, told George
Stephanopoulos that the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the activity of
terror organizations, said that terrorists are using Trump in social media as
propaganda to help recruit supporters.
Palmieri admitted that the former secretary of state “didn’t have a particular
video in mind.”
Politicians lying or exaggerating the truth is obligatory. But it’s lazy for a candidate as experienced as Hillary Clinton to attack a candidate as controversial as Donald Trump with lies.
Maybe you don’t like the agenda of these three powerhouse candidates, but they do bring specifics to the table. Sen. Sanders talked about his college tuition reform, calling for public universities to be free and paid for with a tax on Wall Street speculation.
Clinton doesn’t believe college should be free, but instead wants to tackle student debt.
The Vermont senator also brought up the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Workers would be eligible to collect benefits equal to 66 percent of their typical monthly wages for 12 weeks, with a capped monthly maximum amount of $1,000 per week.
He also openly talked about and supported Gillibrand's increase of payroll taxes for workers and companies by 0.2 percent, or about $1.38 a week for the median wage earner.
Clinton was very adamant about not increasing taxes with rhetoric inspired by George Bush Sr.’s “read my lips” line.
O’Malley and Sanders both attacked Clinton’s
foreign policy, saying that she is too quick to support regime change and for
her support of the invasion of Iraq.
After a series of attacks against against Bernie Sanders have seemingly backfired, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has begun to backpedal and soften their defensive rhetoric against the 74-year-old Vermont senator.
Like attacking GOP front-runner Donald Trump, attacks against Sanders seemingly makes him stronger. Clinton allies likely were not happy this week after Chelsea Clinton told a crowd in New Hampshire that Sanders would “dismantle Obamacare.”
She also told the crowd of potential primary voters Sanders would “strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance.”
Sanders’ campaign spokesman released a statement crediting Chelsea’s political combat on Bernie’s healthcare agenda as raising $1.4 million for the campaign.
“Thanks, Team Clinton…We’ve gotten 47,000 contributions. We’re projecting 60,000 donations. Even for our people-powered campaign, this is pretty darn impressive.”
At a meeting with potential caucus goers in Iowa yesterday, Clinton softened her fight against the democratic socialist, “Sen. Sanders and I share many of the same goals. I know Sen. Sanders cares about covering more people, as I do.”
Clinton added that Sanders' plans aren’t within the realms of reality as she urges Democrats to choose her practicality over his idealism. Since the last debate, Clinton has seemingly let go of the liberal crowd and has focused on appealing to voters with centrist politics and practicality.
“Sen. Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years — he’s
introduced his healthcare plan nine times,” Clinton said. “But he never got
even a single vote in the House, or a single Senate co-sponsored. Now he has a
new plan. You hear a promise to build a whole new system, but that’s not what
you’ll get. You’ll get gridlock. And endless wait for advancements that will
never come. The people I’ve met can’t wait.”
Politico reported Bill Clinton is getting more concerned over his wife’s
campaign in Ohio and Super Tuesday states. Hillary Clinton reportedly has no
campaign staff on the ground in Ohio and virtually no presence in other states
beyond Iowa and New Hampshire.
Sanders on the other hand has been speaking across the country, gathering thousands of supporters at rally in places most people wouldn’t associate as supportive of a self-described socialist like Alabama and Arkansas. However, the Vermont senator has only made one appearance in Ohio so far.
His grassroots insurgency have been aggressive in Ohio ever since the Vermont senator announced his candidacy. Last summer, a local Sanders organization event drew in so many people the media assumed the senator would be in attendance himself.
More than 600
organizers and supporters gathered at the Woodward Theater; the high attendance
confused The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Rachel Maddow Show, which misreported that the senator would be at the event in person.
The Ohio primary is March 15.
The latest polling averages done by Real Clear Politics continue to show the trend of Sanders gaining on the former Secretary of State with her lead falling in early primary states. A CNN poll released Thursday shows Sanders eight points ahead of Clinton in Iowa. A Quinnipiac poll shows Sanders five points ahead in the Hawkeye state.
Real Clear Politics’ national averaging shows Clinton still leading at 51.2 points and Sanders holding second at 38. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley brings up the rear at 2.2. However, O’Malley did not qualify for the Ohio ballot.
Jeb Bush (Republican)
Jeb Bush isn’t his actual name, his first name is an acronym for his full name, John Ellis Bush. Oh, and as of right now JebBush.com forwards you to Donald Trump’s official campaign site.
What’s up with the campaign?
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush was to be the Republican front-runner. Going into this election, everyone assumed it would come down to “Bush vs. Clinton.” He was a little late to announce his candidacy, but he still entered the race largely before the nation knew who Dr. Ben Carson was and before Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) was considered a heavyweight.
The majority of Republican primary voters seem to have an appetite for an outsider candidate, someone who hasn’t already been poisoned by the wells of the Washington machine. Nothing in the GOP field is more establishment than a candidate from the Bush family, which is one of the most well-connected families in the country. Bush has been suffering in the polls, fighting for scraps at the bottom with Chris Christie.
Voters might like:
● He can govern! Jeb Bush served as the governor of Florida from 1998 to 2007.
● Republicans need Latino support in this election and that demographic’s importance only grows with time. Jeb speaks fluent Spanish and has used it on the campaign trail. He’s also for immigration reform.
● Jeb is a conservative in the sense that he values a limited government, but he is a far cry from the unorthodox rhetoric from the far-right. He acknowledges climate change, isn’t disruptive and doesn’t build a platform out of heated rhetoric. Jeb is calm, cool and collected.
...but watch out for:
● His background governing could also be his biggest weakness. Republicans are aggressively anti-government in this election. Anyone who has so much as ran for dog-catcher is suspect.
● Jeb is pro common core. In Boston he lashed out against common-core opponents saying, "criticisms and conspiracy theories are easy attention grabbers." Conservatives often view common core as destructive and as government overreach. Other candidates like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey that originally supported the controversial education standards have retreated to the opposition.
● Jeb is also really, really boring. Jeb’s performance has been subpar at best in the debates. It might be more of a commentary on the media and America’s shallowness, but this election has exclusively rewarded showmanship. Look no further than Donald Trump.
Biggest policy proposal:
One of the only concrete proposals by Jeb Bush is entitlement reform. His campaign rolled out plans on raising the retirement age beyond 67 by increasing the age by one month every year starting in 2028. He also wants to eliminate the 6.2 percent payroll tax to seniors who work beyond their retirement age.
Bush wants to intensify the war against the Islamic State by using conventional ground troops, saying in a speech at The Citadel, a military college, “We need to intensify our efforts in the air — and on the ground."
Hillary Clinton, facing the unexpected challenge from her left flank in the form of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Sunday, fought furiously to hold her ground as the Democratic frontrunner. With the two candidates virtually tied in Iowa and Sanders leading Clinton in New Hampshire, the former Secretary of State might be having flashbacks to 2008 when a young Sen. Barack Obama from Illinois came out of nowhere and knocked down the inevitable Clinton.
Clinton has been virtually grooming herself to be president since the ’90s, and 2016 appeared to be her year. Who would really give the candidate that seemingly has the backing of the entire Democratic machine a run for her money?
No one expected a 74-year-old Jewish socialist from Vermont to lead a formidable fight against Wall Street and the Democratic empire. Sanders has encapsulated the populist and liberal fires in this country and, with the backing of America’s youth, has lead a surgical campaign against the Washington machine.
This was the most electrifying debate of the election so far. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was there, but this was a battle between Clinton and Sanders, two black belts of American politics.
These two powerhouse candidates entered the ring, throwing their best punches. Sanders needed an outstanding victory Sunday night. However, Clinton expertly attacked Sanders’ weak points.
This was the Bernie Sanders debate. He brought the most policies to the table, he outlined tax plans and most questions were seemingly directed toward him. Sanders started this campaign with the image of a candidate who wouldn’t be in for the long haul.
With the election starting in two weeks, the debate was focused on America getting to know the Democratic socialist from Vermont. However, Clinton did not allow Sanders to hog the attention, and she expertly defended herself.
The former First Lady did not spend much time appealing to America’s liberals — Sanders won that war. She dug in on centrist policies, appealing to voters who want realism, not idealism. This was a fight over the identity of the Democratic Party.
Gloves Off: Sanders Goes After Clinton’s Relationships with Big Banks
Clinton’s nomination is not inevitable, and any doubters of the power of Sanders’ insurgency simply had to tune in and see the former secretary of state backed into a corner and having to play defense for the bulk of the debate.
Sanders prides himself on not attacking his opposition, and he has mostly stayed away from attacking Clinton directly — let's not forget about the famous “sick and tired of your damn emails” moment.
However, this was the end of Mr. Nice Socialist Guy on Sunday. Sanders launched a full-frontal assault on Clinton’s “cozy” relationship with big banks, specifically Goldman Sachs.
"The first difference is I don't take money from big banks. I don't get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs," Sanders unloaded.
Clinton’s relationship with the banking industry has been one of her biggest criticisms from liberals. Sanders’ burn was met with slight applause and a faint boo or two from the audience. The tone of the room was tense.
You could hear a pin drop; the nation’s attention was focused on this exchange. My Twitter feed erupted in disbelief that Sanders made such a targeted attack. Even the moderators stepped back and let the two candidates go at it.
The battle escalated when Sanders suggested Clinton has a corrupt relationship with Goldman Sachs.
“You've received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the laws, not one of their executives is prosecuted while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence."
Clinton fired back, owning her relationship with Wall Street and invoking President Obama. “Where we disagree is the comments that Senator Sanders has made that don't just affect me, I can take that, but he's criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street, and President Obama has led our country out of the great recession,” Clinton said.
Clinton Amps Up Gun Debate
No intellectually honest person would argue that any of the three Democratic candidates want an unlimited freedom on firearms as most Republicans seemingly do. However, this was a fight on who was the most against unlimited gun freedoms.
Sanders has a solid liberal agenda and has the backing of America’s Democratic base. However, with some of his voting, such as allowing firearms in checked bags on Amtrak, Clinton zeroed in on the one thing she can attack from his left flank.
Clinton doubled-down on her attack on Sanders’ voting record with gun regulations from the last debate. She attacked the Vermont senator for voting against making gun manufacturers legally liable for crimes committed with their weapons.
“He voted for what we call the Charleston Loophole,” Clinton said. “He voted for immunity for gunmakers and sellers, which the NRA said was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years ... He voted to let guns go onto Amtrak, go into national parks. He voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives.”
Sanders defended himself, saying he has a D- rating from the National Rifle Association. “I have supported from day one and instant background check to make certain that people who should have guns do not have guns,” he said. “And that includes people of criminal backgrounds, people who are mentally unstable. I support what President Obama is doing in terms of trying to close the gun show loopholes.”
Sanders Releases “Medicare for All” Plan Two Hours Before Debate
From day one of his candidacy, Sanders has been clear on his rhetoric with healthcare being a right, not a privilege. Sanders failed in bringing a universal Medicare system to his home state but is determined to make it work for the nation.
Right before the debate, Sanders released what he described as a not-very-detailed plan on how he intends to pay for what his campaign estimates as a $1.38 trillion effort.
You can read the full plan here.
The plan introduces some new taxes such as a 2.2-percent income-based premium paid by households and a 6.2-percent income-based premium paid by employers.
There is also progressive taxation:
37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million.
52 percent on income above $10 million
Clinton lashed out on Sanders’ plan, saying the battle for Obamacare was too rough to start over again. “We have accomplished so much already,” she said. “I do not to want see the Republicans repeal it, and I don't to want see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.”
“I certainly respect Senator Sanders' intentions, but when
you're talking about health care, the details really matter. And therefore, we
have been raising questions about the nine bills that he introduced over 20
years, as to how they would work and what would be the impact on people's
health care,” Clinton added.
“He didn't like that; his campaign didn't like it either. And tonight, he's come out with a new health care plan. And again, we need to get into the details. But here's what I believe, the Democratic Party and the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed.”
Sanders defended himself, saying he doesn’t intend to tear up Obamacare, adding that he helped write it. However, he added that 29 million Americans are still without healthcare and that Obamacare has left a lot of people with huge copayments and high deductibles.
“Tell me why we are spending almost three times more than the British, who guarantee health care to all of their people? Fifty percent more than the French, more than the Canadians. The vision from FDR and Harry Truman was health care for all people as a right in a cost-effective way,” Sanders said.
Clinton also threw a jab at the tax increases: “I'm the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class.”
O’Malley Is Cool, But Overshadowed by the Boxing Match
It’s virtually impossible to stand out when you’ve got Clinton, who represents establishment politics and the backing of virtually the entire Democratic Party, on one side and Sanders, who has captured the imagination of a populist movement, on the other.
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley put up as much of a fight as he could and served as a good middle point between Clinton’s centrist approach and Sanders’ liberalism.
Other Democratic contenders already got out of the way of the fight for the identity for the party. Remember Lincoln Chafee? Most people seem to want O’Malley to stick around in politics. Perhaps even running for president again come next election. But 2016 simply isn’t his time.
Foreign Policy Will Not Divide the Party
All three candidates agreed on one thing: They do not want a ground war in Iraq or Syria. The presidential hopefuls generally appear to want to continue Obama’s aggressive air campaign and utilize special operations in training missions and raids.
It is safe to assume none of these candidates have plans to deploy conventional troops to fight the Islamic State on the ground.
Outside of healthcare, the candidates agreed on a lot of things. For example O’Malley and Sanders agreeing that minimum wage needs to be $15 per hour.
This isn’t Trump’s first time running for president. The real-estate tycoon has been gunning for the presidency for 16 years. In 2000, he was seeking the nomination for the Reform Party and qualified for the Michigan and California ballot. Trump won both states. He also used to identify as a Democrat, even going as far as contributing more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign
What’s up with the campaign?
You don’t need to be a political junkie to have heard about Donald Trump. Trump has been at the top of the Republican polls for virtually the entire election. He has been unstoppable.
If this election has shown anything, it’s that Americans are tired of the establishment, politically correct culture and the pre-packaged and focus-grouped candidate that says all the right things. The 69-year-old GOP behemoth hasn’t been a darling of the party. Republicans have been very open about their desperation to get rid of Trump and a brokered convention might even be possible.
This frontrunner has done an incredible job encapsulating and appealing to the anger of Americans and their frustration of the political machine.
Voters might like:
● America has grown tired of political correctness on campuses and in the political arena. Constituents want their politicians to acknowledge that terrorism and human rights abuses are prevalent in Islam and there is a cultural issue within that world. Many folks also want their politicians to use specific language and not beat around the bush with talking points. Donald Trump is brash, and that is a dose of fresh air for a lot of people. We shouldn’t underestimate how attractive unguarded rhetoric is to conservatives who feel increasingly shut out of important conversations.
● Trump is taking a page out of the Bernie Sanders book by not taking big donations, or at least from people expecting something in return. Perhaps that’s not as impressive as the Sanders campaign, considering the huge checking account, but it is still valuable to have a candidate that isn’t a slave to special interests. He also wants to go after hedge fund managers and tax the wealthy. “The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. They’re making a tremendous amount of money — they have to pay tax,” Trump said in an interview with CNN. If campaign finance is your issue, Trump might be one of the better Republican options.
Harvard Law School professor and (sorta) ex-Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig says a President Trump could be the best thing to happen in the fight against campaign finance. Lessig even said he would consider running on Trump’s ticket as a third party.
● Trump is a winner. It has been easy to paint him as a joke candidate, but we wouldn’t be questioning the inevitability of Jeb Bush if he had a huge lead in the national polls in the lead-up to Iowa and New Hampshire.
...But watch out for:
● The New York billionaire has a long history of courting Democrats — even financially supporting Hillary Clinton, who still might be the Democratic nominee. Trump also donated $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2006 cycle as opposed to only $1,000 going to the Republican Campaign Committee in the same cycle.
● Not only has he contributed a lot of money to the left over the years, he is arguably the most liberal of the Republican candidates. He supports progressive taxation. He thinks it’s OK for Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding so long as it doesn’t go toward abortions (how it’s currently set up). And he also opposed the invasion of Iraq. Donald Trump was also originally for an assault weapons ban, but flipped-flopped on that for the campaign. It also isn’t clear on whether or not he wants universal background checks for firearms purchases.
● Trump too often values rhetoric over reality. The whole “I’m going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it” policy point is insanity. Some of the talking points are surgical applause lines and the crazy stuff is what got him to the top of the polls. He seems too addicted to crowd support and appearing strong. Voters would be wise to be weary of how Trump might handle a catastrophe such as a major attack against the United States, a plague or economic collapse. However, it is impossible to know who the real Trump is and who the entertainer is.
Biggest policy proposal:
The GOP frontrunner called for a ban on all Muslim immigration into the U.S. There’s been a lot of debate on whether or not this is constitutional or if the president even has the power to close American borders to a specific group.
Many legal scholars have cited the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which gives the president authority to suspend the entry of any and all aliens deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests.
Others argue that the ban would violate the First Amendment with freedom of religion and the Fifth Amendment with the right to due process. However, the rebuttal is that if immigrants never get here in the first place, they aren’t entitled to those rights.
The thousands of refugees coming into in Europe and the United States is a complex issue. It’s a humanitarian issue and whether the reason they’re refugees in the first place is American foreign policy is debatable.
However, there’s a reality that these people are coming from
a very volatile area and the background checks are virtually useless. There
have been refugees arrested in the U.S. and Europe already on charges of terror.
The battle for Iowa and New Hampshire kicked into high gear at Thursday’s Republican debate, featuring a smaller cast of candidates. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush took the stage and engaged in one of the debate’s bloodiest battles as the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus looms.
Yes, this election starts in two weeks.
Bromance Between Trump and Cruz Is Over
Some of the debate’s most electrifying moments are when these two went head-to-head exchanging blows to win over the Iowa’s Republican base. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas came out on top in this battle, towering over a seemingly desperate Donald Trump. However, polls indicate Trump might still win the war for the early primary states.
The Texas senator’s citizenship has been in question lately, however this is more of an attempt to resurrect the birther movement than any real questioning of the Constitution. Let's not forget Trump was a major player in the birther movement against President Obama.
Section 1 of Article Two of the U.S. Constitution states:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
Cruz was a Canadian citizen born to an American mother and most interpretations would consider him “natural born.” However, there are some arguments against Cruz’s eligibility. The Constitution does not clearly define what natural born is.
Trump started using this against the Texas senator once he started gaining in early states, positioning himself as a heavyweight. However, to clear the air, the Fox Business moderators started the citizenship topic. This virtually cleared the stage; the only thing that mattered was Trump and Cruz.
“You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there,” Cruz said referring to his Canadian birth. "There was nothing to this birther issue … Now, since September, the Constitution hasn't changed.”
When Trump was asked by a moderator why he was bringing up the citizenship issue now, Trump fired back with the kind of honesty we seldom get: “Because now he's going a little bit better [in polls]. No, I didn't care. Hey look, he never had a chance. Now, he's doing better. He's got probably a four- or five-percent chance.”
The Texas senator continued his fire against the real-estate giant, saying he “embodies New York values,” suggesting Iowa and New Hampshire voters should think twice about the billionaire’s roots.
“Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan,” Sen. Cruz said. He has also suggested Donald Trump is a New York liberal pretending to have conservative values.
Trump defended his hometown, reaching for a very cringe-worthy use of 9/11.
"We took a big hit with the World Trade Center — worst thing ever, worst attack ever in the United States, worse than Pearl Harbor because they attacked civilians," Trump said. "They attacked people having breakfast. And, frankly, if you would've been there, and if you would've lived through that like I did with New York people — the way they handled that attack was one of the most incredible things that anybody has ever seen."
While the bromance might be over going into Iowa, both candidates suggested they might pick the other one to be their vice president if they take the White House. Perhaps a Cruz/Trump is on the table for the future.
Sen. Rand Paul Goes Down Honorably
The Kentucky senator didn’t qualify for the main stage debate. However, he was invited to the undercard debate along with Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Rand Paul refused to be seen as a second-tier candidate and didn’t show up to the lesser debate only to share a stage with reject candidates.
Sen. Paul hasn’t dropped out, but you might have had a better chance of winning the Powerball than getting a President Rand Paul.
This didn’t stop Paul’s fangirls from showing up in the debate’s audience, chanting “WE WANT RAND!” in the middle of the main debate.
Instead, The Daily Show was kind enough to offer the senator his very own “Singles Night” debate. Host Trevor Noah and Sen. Paul drank bourbon for 20 minutes and talked policy.
You can read CityBeat’s profile of Sen. Rand Paul here.
Dr. Ben Carson Is Over
When asked his first question on Thursday night, Carson responded, "I was going to ask you to wake me up," which might have been funny if he wasn’t the candidate known for looking like he is sleeping all the time.
The famous neurosurgeon has been an oddity this entire race. I covered Carson’s visit to Cincinnati last year and even had the privilege of meeting him. However, something felt off about him.
I’m less referring to the man’s politics and more about his mode of thinking. His arguments are typically muddled, and myself and most others covering this election are commonly left scratching our heads wondering what exactly Carson is talking about.
His supporters at the rally weren’t attracted to any specific policies of Carson’s, but literally everyone I interviewed said the same thing: They liked that he wasn’t a politician.
Wanting someone who isn’t a politician is attractive, but sometimes you need a politician to do politician things: like make a good case for why they should be president. Donald Trump isn’t a politician, but he is an excellent communicator and doesn’t fall asleep during debate.
Carson’s campaign has been a disaster. He was a GOP star for part of the summer, but his own staff says he’s difficult to work with and the brain surgeon has had issues with senior-level staff leaving.
During the debate, Carson described an ominous string of threats and fantasized a doomsday scenario of terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb, eliminating our power grid, setting off dirty bombs and unleashing ground attacks in the streets.
While that sounds like a plot to a Michael Bay movie, that scenario is technically possible but sounds a little off-the-rails. Perhaps doomsday scenarios should be debated in the Pentagon, not a mainstream debate.
“The fact of the matter is, [Obama] doesn't realize that we now live in the 21st century, and that war is very different than it used to be before,” Carson said. “Not armies, massively marching on each other and air forces, but now we have dirty bombs and we have cyber attacks and we have people who will be attacking our electrical grid.”
Carson might have had his 15 minutes of fame, and his polling has been in free-fall since the Paris attacks. This candidate isn’t just weak on foreign affairs — he is quickly losing relevance and will fade into political obscurity.
Where is Sen. Marco Rubio?
Marco Rubio has virtually forgotten he is a senator of Florida and debate viewers may have forgotten he was a contender.
Rubio wasn’t talking policy and was largely overshadowed by the boxing match between Cruz and Trump. However, the junior senator tried to bring attention his way with attacking Obama.
“I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV. But I think we have to get back to what this election has to be about. OK? Listen, this is the greatest country in the history of mankind. But in 2008, we elected a president that didn’t want to fix America. He wants to change America. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the Constitution. He undermines it. We elected a president that is weakening America on the global stage. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the free enterprise system.”
As the debate came to its conclusion, Rubio engaged his competition on tax plans. As both Cruz and Rubio got lost in the weeds, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reminded the senators the topic was about entitlements.
Sen. Rubio said he would be happy to talk about entitlements.
“You already had your chance Marco,” Christie responded. “You blew it.”
The Florida senator had a quick rise in the fall, but has lost all of the polling support he gained. He is almost back where he was at the end of the summer coming in at a distant third with 12 percent average among national polling.