WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.10.2016 20 hours ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Clinton's New Hampshire Defeat Highlights Campaign Issues with Women

Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton in his neighboring state of New Hampshire last night, and the early dominant performance could send shockwaves through Clinton’s operations. Once seen as an afterthought in the Democratic primary, Sanders took the Granite State in an impressive 60-percent victory over the former secretary of state’s 38.3 percent. "Nine months ago, if you told somebody that we would win the New Hampshire primary, they would not have believed you," the Sanders campaign wrote to supporters. With 11 percent of the votes counted, Clinton conceded defeat early in the evening. “I know what it’s like to be knocked down — and I’ve learned from long experience that it’s not whether you get knocked down that matters. It’s about whether you get back up,” Clinton’s campaign said. Shortly before Clinton conceded defeat, Sanders’ supporters gathered for a victory speech. Cheers erupted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” and chants of “We don’t need no Super PAC” were blared when TV cameras went live as the 74-year-old took the stage with his wife. "The people of New Hampshire have sent a profound message to the political establishment, the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment," Sanders said in his victory speech. "What the people here have said is that given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and establishment economics — the people want real change." Sanders’ senior strategist Tad Devine said in an MSNBC interview that they believe this was the biggest margin of victory in a contested Democratic primary in history. Going through the election results, there is virtually nothing for Clinton to claim as a morale victory. Her margin of losing was too great with most voters. New Hampshire exit polls show 85 percent of women under 30 voted for Sanders. He won 53 percent of the women’s vote overall. Clinton fell short with every age group except those 65 and older among both genders. "We are a better organized campaign,” Devine said. We have more people on the ground. And as of today I believe we have more resources, campaign to campaign, to expand. We are demonstrating that resource superiority by going on television all across this country, and it is our ability to organize people — which I think we showed in Iowa, and showed again tonight in New Hampshire.” One of Clinton’s talking points has been her historic candidacy — the prospect of the first female president has been a major selling point. However, the gender-politics element of the fight for the Democratic nomination has gotten ugly over the past few days with the recent comment by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” One Friday’s episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, feminist icon Gloria Steinem suggested that Clinton’s lack of support with young women is because they’re meeting boys at Sanders rallies. “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” Steinem said. These comments were largely seen as dismissive and sexist, suggesting young women are not politically savvy enough to make their own choices. This rhetoric of shaming women — or any American — into voting for a specific candidate is ugly. It is a safe bet that these troubling comments did not come from a campaign script, however, this brand of entitlement is exactly what is hurting Clinton with young voters. We can easily sum up why Bernie Sanders wants to be president — his stump speech is simple: The top one-tenth of the one percent control too much wealth; we have gross injustice in campaign finance, and that it is a moral outrage that Americans might have to go into severe debt for healthcare and education. Why is Clinton running for president? I’m not entirely sure, and I do not think there is that simple elevator pitch she can give to a voter. I do not doubt Clinton’s ability to hold the Oval Office. However, I cannot easily identify what her key issues are and where her passions lie.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.08.2016 71 hours ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton (Democratic)Fun Fact:Then-Senator Hillary Clinton had a vodka-drinking contest against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ.) when the two were touring Estonia in 2004, possibly the most legendary drinking story in modern politics. “We agreed to withdraw, in honorable fashion, having, I think, reached the limits that either of us should have had,” the Democratic frontrunner said in a campaign video. There are unconfirmed reports of Clinton besting Sen. McCain with four shots of vodka, however the former first lady called the game a tie.  What’s up with the campaign? Until her virtual tie in the Iowa caucus, Clinton’s campaign has been virtually in cruise control. While the former secretary of state may have had to move to the left a bit on some issues with the surprise threat of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), her rhetoric has mostly stayed in the center. Aside from New Hampshire, Clinton has stayed on top of the polls, raised more money than any other candidate on either side of the aisle and seemingly has the backing of the entire establishment. Voters might like: ●      Clinton has one of the thickest resumes of any presidential candidate in history. Being a first lady is not usually a political job, but she was the first wife of a president to create an office in the West Wing. She led the way for subsidized health care in the ’90s with the Health Security Act, informally called “Hillarycare.” ●      She went on to serve as senator of New York from 2001-2009. After losing her bid for the presidency to Barack Obama, she was appointed to secretary of state — giving her a huge advantage on foreign policy over Sanders. ●      Some consider Clinton’s centrist policies as a weakness. However, her consistently not falling into liberalism will likely be the key to winning the general election if she earns the Democratic nomination. Clinton is not calling for free college education, a high minimum wage or universal healthcare — considering how far to the right Congress is at this point might lead to her being a successful president in the early years of her first term. ...but what out for ●      Clinton spent more than a decade opposing gay rights. The former secretary of state did not support gay marriage until 2013. “I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman,” Clinton said in 2004. ●      Most Americans are weary of getting into another war, and the Iraq War is largely considered one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history. Clinton was a part of the 58 percent of senate Democrats who voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution, which authorized President George W. Bush’s invasion. ●      On both sides of the aisle, career politicians and the establishment have become toxic. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the country that is more establishment or embodies political privilege more than Clinton. The $600,000 she received in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and millions in corporate donations have raised a lot of eyebrows in this new political climate that is increasingly skeptical of big-money interests. Biggest policy proposal: The United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that does not have guaranteed paid family leave. A lot of career jobs offer paid time off, however it is not guaranteed by law — this mostly affects those in low-income jobs. Clinton says she aims to guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family leave with two-thirds of wages. The campaign claims this will also be accomplished without a mandate on the employer or an increase in payroll tax. War: Clinton does not support conventional ground troops conducting combat operations in Iraq or Syria. However, she is in favor of continuing Obama’s air campaign and using Special Operations forces. The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.02.2016 8 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Iowa Caucus: Razor-Thin Victory for Clinton, Cruz Takes GOP Win

It was a photo finish this morning for the Democratic candidates with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton squeaking by with an apparent victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a 0.3-percent lead in the Iowa caucus. Some in the media such at the Associated Press aren’t ready to declare a victor. The final results for the Democrats were Clinton with 49.9 percent, Sanders with 49.6 percent. The Clinton campaign claimed a humble win 3:35 a.m., hours after the Republicans found Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as their victor. However, some precincts are still unaccounted for and the Sanders campaign is calling for a raw vote count. Clinton was awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, versus 695.49 for Sanders. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley suspended his bid for the presidency only about an hour into the night. Matt Paul, Hillary for America’s Iowa State Director, released a statement following Clinton’s caucus victory: "Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus. After thorough reporting – and analysis – of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates." Sanders' spokeswoman Rania Batrice noted that one precinct remained outstanding, and said there were questions about the results in several other counties. "We definitely don't feel comfortable yet," she said early Tuesday. NBC dubbed last night as the closest Iowa caucus for Democrats in history. The nail-biting battle for Iowa was literally decided by coin tosses to settle ties between the Vermont senator and former first lady. Some coin tosses went in Sanders' favor but some reports suggest Clinton made out with the most coin toss victories. Neither candidate made a formal victory speech, however they both spoke to their supporters. “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” was chanted as the Democratic underdog took the stage to thank supporters. “Iowa, thank you,” he said. “Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state. We had no political organization. We had no money. We had no name recognition and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America.” Sanders went on to declare a “virtual tie.” The smile on Sanders’ face was not the smile of a man that just lost a state — it was the smile of a man that knows he proved he can take on establishment politics. Clinton gave a nod to Sanders’ strong showing in the Hawkeye state, saying, “I am excited about really getting into the debate with Sen. Sanders about the best way forward.” “We have to be united against Republicans who will divide us,” she continued. “I intend to stand against it.” Clinton started the race with a huge lead over Sanders, and while she can technically claim victory, her razor-thin win signals that her inevitability has drastically evaporated. Some Clinton supporters might be worried the former secretary of state’s underestimation of Sanders’ populist campaign could lead to a repeat of 2008 when Barack Obama seemingly swooped out of nowhere and stole the election. Polls showed Clinton as the presumptive nominee, with 60 percent when the fight for the Democratic nomination kicked off in May (Sanders had just 10 percent support). Few people in America knew who the Independent Vermont senator was. The field of only two Democratic candidates goes into Tuesday’s New Hampshire with Sanders in the lead by 19 points, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Without a clear loss in Iowa, the momentum can give Sanders the needed financial and popularity boost to battle Clinton well into spring. "We're going to fight really hard in New Hampshire and then we're going to Nevada, to South Carolina, we're doing well around the country," Sanders said getting off a plane in New Hampshire this morning. For young liberals around the country, the summer blockbuster was not the potential for the first woman president — it was a 74-year-old white Jewish career politician. Sanders is a frequent guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, which could be how some on the left initially knew about the Democratic socialist. His rhetoric of lifting the weight of student debt and increasing the minimum wage plays well to the college crowd, who on average graduate with $29,000 of debt, according to the Department of Education. Entrance polling of caucus-goers in Iowa showed that Sanders controlled the young vote with 90 percent of voters under 30 “feeling the Bern” along with voters making $50,000 or less. Clinton owned the female demographic with 57 percent, and moderate voters.The Republican war for Iowa was not as much as an edge-of-your-seat ride. Sen. Ted Cruz claimed an early victory with 28 percent of the vote. Donald Trump claimed a close second-place finish with 24.3 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio took an expected third-place with 23.1 percent. Ben Carson ended the night with 9.3 percent of the vote, Sen. Rand Paul got 4.5 percent, and Jeb Bush came in with a disappointing 2.8 percent despite pouring $16 million into Iowa advertisement.Despite losing Iowa, Trump gathered the second-largest amount of votes in Iowa caucus history — Cruz of course received a historic level of support with the most support in the state’s history. Trump delivered a humble and short defeat speech. “We finished second and I just want to tell you something — I’m just honored,” Trump said to supporters.  “I want to congratulate Ted and the I wanna congratulate all the incredible candidate including Mike Huckabee who has become a really good friend of mine. We will easily go on to defeat Hillary or Bernie who whoever the hell they throw up there” Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee suspended his campaign last night. @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: black; }p.normal, li.normal, div.normal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: black; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: black; }.MsoPapDefault { line-height: 115%; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSectionCruz didn’t mention Trump by name in his victory speech, but continued his firebrand politics that secured his Iowa victory. “Tonight is a victory for every American who understands that after we survive eight long years of the Obama presidency, no one personality can right the wrongs done by Washington,” the freshman senator said. Rubio delivered what sounded like a speech that was written in case the Florida senator secured Iowa. "So this is the moment they told us would never happen,” he said. “They told me my hair wasn't grey enough. They told me my boots were too high. They told me to wait my turn." The polls missed foreseeing Cruz’s victory, but virtually all predictions going into Iowa showed Rubio taking third place. The Ohio primary is March 15.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.28.2016 14 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican) Fun Fact: It took a book deal and 16 years for the Florida senator to pay off his student loans. In a 2012 speech, Rubio revealed he just paid back his school loans: “When I graduated from law school, I had close to $150,000 in student debt.” Rubio graduated from the University of Florida in 1993, and earned his J.D. from the University of Miami in 1996. The year prior was his first year in the Senate and he served in the Florida House from 2000-2008. What’s up with the campaign? With Scott Walker out of the race and Jeb Bush unable to gain any momentum, Rubio appears to be the most electable establishment candidate. Despite much of Rubio’s agenda, he has the appearance of a rational candidate by sharing the top of the polls with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. In a world where no other career politician in the Republican field can make any noise, the Florida senator is virtually the right-wing’s only option for a seasoned politician to capture the White House. Rubio has been slowly crawling up in the polls with debate performances ranking from middling to great. Right now, he’s a distant third behind Trump and Cruz and is only a few points above bottom-tier candidates like Chris Christie. Voters might like: ●      He’s easily the best speaker amongst the Republican candidates. Rubio isn’t going into government with obstructionism like Cruz, and he isn’t bombastic like Trump. Maybe some other establishment candidates would be better presidents, but Rubio is the establishment’s best shot at winning and not letting the Executive Branch fall to the hands of more controversial Republicans, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. ●      Rubio is a conservative’s conservative. He says he’ll cut gas taxes, increase military spending and opposes an increase to the minimum wage. There’s also the obligatory lines of regulations killing business. Rubio does not bring a lot new to the table, but this by-the-book Republican is easy for voters to wrap their head around. ●      Remember Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” attitude? Rubio brings positive energy to the Republican platform. Cruz is more of a firebrand and even on the left with Sanders, a lot of rhetoric is doom and gloom. Rubio’s youthful appearance and positive attitude could set a tone for conservative values that can potentially attract new member to the party. He also speaks Spanish and fills in a demographic gap for the GOP. ...but watch out for: ●      Rubio is seen by the far-right as a “traitor” on immigration policy. One of his immigration policy proposals is amnesty to illegal immigrants who do not have criminal records. Liberals might see this as a positive, but considering Rubio’s right-wing approach to virtually every other issue, it’s hard to imagine anyone from the left supporting him just for this issue. Latinos do lean more socially conservative, however immigration isn’t their top priority. ●      Since running for president, Rubio has missed about one-third of his senate votes. His attendance record on the senate floor is the worst among Republicans and worse than Clinton’s and Obama’s attendance when they each ran for president. He even missed the vote on the $1.8 trillion spending bill last year. Rubio has been very outspoken about being annoyed with Washington, which begs the question: Why is he running for president? ●      The Florida senator plans on increasing military spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Rand Paul and fiscal conservatives ask the legitimate question of how he can be conservative and want to increase federal spending so dramatically. The military already soaks up 53 percent of all federal spending, and Rubio hasn’t addressed how he plans to pay for the dramatic increase. Biggest policy proposal: One of Rubio’s priorities is cutting taxes for families. You can read his full plan here. However, the major cuts especially for the wealthy raises concerns on raising the debt. Marginal Tax Rate Individuals Joint Filers 15% 0 – $75,000 0 – $150,000 25% $75,001 – $150,000 $150,001 – $300,000 35% $150,001+ $300,001+ War: Marco Rubio supports a major conventional ground war against the Islamic State in Iraq. It isn’t clear on whether he wants an invasion of Syria or not. The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.18.2016 23 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Five Takeaways from the Fourth Democratic Debate

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.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.19.2016 22 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Republican) Fun Fact: 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 primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.15.2016 26 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election, Republicans at 03:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Four Takeaways From the Sixth Republican Debate

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.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.05.2016 36 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (Republican) Fun fact: 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. War: 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.” The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 12.31.2015 41 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders (Democratic) Fun fact: 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.” The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 12.23.2015 49 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 02:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush (Republican) Fun fact: 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. War: 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."The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 

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