What should I be doing instead of this?
 
 
by Steve Beynon 04.08.2016 52 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 04:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Rumble for Democratic Nomination (Mostly) a Clean Fight

Until recently, the most heated the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination got consisted of disagreements with campaign finance and fighting over the word “progressive.” For the past year, Democrats have prided themselves with debating issues and not mangling each other like the Republicans. However, the battle over the April 19 New York primaries have added a new layer of tension to the campaigns. The Empire State is Clinton territory — serving as one of the state’s senators from 2001 - 2009. But the Sanders campaign has launched a full assault, gathering an army of mostly young volunteers and holding massive rallies in Clinton’s backyard — aiming for a major upset. Clinton still leads the insurgent campaign, according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, but nowhere near the 40 points she was leading by in the same poll conducted in June. The Democratic frontrunner’s New York support has been bleeding for months. While a loss in New York would not spell doom for the former secretary of state, it would be a massive moral loss. The delegate gain and upset would likely propel Sanders unlike any of his other victories in this election. The Vermont senator needs 56 percent of the remaining delegates to topple Clinton. However, that does not take superdelegates into account  — which Clinton has a virtual monopoly on. Clinton lashed out against Sanders’ qualifications for the presidency, suggesting he may not be ready for the Oval Office while echoing some of her rhetoric in the past, labeling the Vermont senator as a one-issue candidate. “He’s been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hasn't studied or understood,” Clinton said in an interview on Morning Joe. “What he has been saying about the core issue in his whole campaign doesn’t seem to be rooted in an understanding of either the law or the practical ways you get something done.” While addressing supporters in Philadelphia, Sanders came back swinging in an unprecedented move. “We have won seven out of eight of the recent primaries and caucuses, and she has been saying lately that I may be ‘not qualified’ to be president. Well, let me just say in response to secretary Clinton. I don’t believe she is qualified if she is through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds,” Sanders said. This is the first time either Democratic candidate has suggested their challenger is “unqualified,” a phrase that caught a lot of media attention and folks questioning if Sanders is keeping true to his original promise of not being negative. “I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street with your super PAC. I don’t think you're qualified if you voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don’t think you are qualified if you supported virtually every disastrous free trade agreement that have cost us millions of decent paying jobs.” Sanders added. Clinton expressed her puzzlement over Sanders’ statement, saying, “I don’t know why he’s saying that, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz anytime." Ask virtually any Bernie Sanders supporter and one of the most respectful qualities they see in the Vermont senator is he has never ran a negative ad over the course of three decades in the political arena — despite losing about half-a-dozen elections over the years. On the flipside, there’s undoubtedly a lot of frustration in the Sanders camp that the campaign largely holds back munitions it has against Clinton. For base liberals, Hillary Clinton is standing in the way of what they see as a real future for progressive politics. To a lot of his supporters, Sanders is a once-in-a-generation dream candidate, similar to the energy behind President Barack Obama when he first sought the presidency. This has bubbled into a real desire that Sanders will finally take the gloves off and lash out against the Democratic frontrunner. However, if Sanders would attempt any knockout attack, it would be antithetical of the campaign’s values. It’s a rarity Sanders even names Hillary Clinton. In most speeches he refers to her as “my opponent” or indirectly jabs at her with his populist rhetoric. Clinton’s campaign is likely equally frustrated. Lashing out against Sanders would risk further alienating his liberal followers, and Clinton’s mission this summer has to be uniting the party and courting Sanders supporters to combat the Republican nominee. There’s a movement called “Bernie or Bust,” where Sanders supporters are refusing to turn out to the polls in November if he isn’t the Democratic nominee. With bulk of the electorate under 30 siding with Sanders, some of which very passionately, Clinton has had to be careful not to bruise up the Vermont senator. Also, any attack she lays out leads to the massive donations for the Sanders camp. When Sanders said Clinton was “unqualified” at the Philadelphia rally, the crowd went wild. He finally fed that desire to throw a direct punch. It was the kind of red meat the Republican base has been spoiled with in the form of “Lyin’ Ted” and “Little Marco.” It is not unthinkable that supporters for any candidate on either side of the aisle craves some level of red meat — Democrats rarely get that service in any election. In an election where the frontrunner for the opposing party defends the size of his genitalia on a debate stage, it is hard to imagine any realistic scenario in which either Democratic candidate goes too far. After some blasted Sanders for his heated rhetoric, he ceased fire on the “unqualified” remarks. In a town hall Friday, Sanders said “of course” his Democratic rival is fit for the presidency. “On her worst day she would be an infinitely better president than either of the Republican candidates,” Sanders said.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 03.28.2016 63 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Why Is Kasich Still Running?

Ohio Governor John Kasich was crushed in the last round of primary contests, even losing to the ghost of Sen. Marco Rubio in Utah from early ballots casted before the Florida senator terminated his campaign. Between the recent contests in Utah and Arizona, Kasich failed to pick up any delegates. This battle for the Republican nomination has not been kind to governors. Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee have all been casualties in a rambunctious political climate that seeks mischief and is giving the finger to the establishment by hopping on the Trump train or embracing the rebellious Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Right now, Kasich sits with a mere 143 delegates. Trump is far in the lead with 739, followed by Cruz’s 465. It is a long shot for the Texas senator to halt Trump’s warpath to the nomination — it is mathematically impossible for Kasich. It takes 1,237 delegates to secure the GOP nomination. Even if the Ohio governor won every contest moving forward, there are not enough delegates for him to be the nominee. Kasich’s only victory was Ohio — a contest he won by 11 points. However, Trump defeated the governor in virtually all of Ohio’s southern counties and every county that borders Pennsylvania and West Virginia. While Kasich’s victory in his home state was a moral victory, it highlighted that even with a home field advantage, he still could not get a sweeping victory like we saw with Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders in their states. Other than that, he probably holds the record for most fourth-place victories. Outside of the Buckeye State, Kasich has struggled with name recognition or gathering any meaningful traction — a weakness that is entirely understandable when you have to make noise while in the same room as a man that flies around on a private jet with his name on it. Kasich’s strategy is digging in northeastern states like Pennsylvania, where Cruz is not expected to perform well. His campaign is not about defeating his opponents with delegates — it is about denying Trump every vote possible. This points to both Kasich as a weak candidate and the power of Trump’s message. Kasich has never had a real message in his bid for the presidency — other than not being a jerk on stage. Instead of building his vision for the Oval Office, he hides in the corner biding his time for Trump’s self-destruction. However, that destruction never happened and is unlikely to ever occur. Everyone is either tapping out, accepting Trump will be the nominee — and possibly our next president — or they’re holding their noses and siding with Cruz, a candidate that in any other presidential run would be seen as the fringe candidate that needs to be stopped at all costs. It is hard to tell if Kasich actually thinks he can show up to the GOP convention with a few hundred delegates and deny Trump the nomination, or if this is a last-ditch effort to put the Ohio governor out there to take humiliating defeats while trying to soak up handfuls of delegates in hopes of putting some dents in Trump’s almost inevitable nomination. To deny Trump’s nomination would be the GOP spitting in the faces of their voters. The democratic process picked Donald Trump, and it is hard to not take Trump seriously when he suggests there will be riots if the party robbed him of his fair victory. Imagine if Bernie Sanders won the delegate game only to be toppled by Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates. There would certainly be some liberal-on-liberal violence in the aisles of Whole Foods. If this is Kasich’s strategy, it should raise concerns of how much respect for the democratic process he has. If he is just crossing his fingers that Trump’s plane crashes, he should admit it instead of suggesting he is going to upset Republican voters of their candidate to lead the free world.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 03.10.2016 81 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: John Kasich

John Kasich (Republican) Fun Fact: Donald Trump is not the only person in the race with a background in TV. Ohio Gov. John Kasich used to host Fox News show Heartland with John Kasich. It was a similar format to The O’Reilly Factor, a show Kasich often served as a substitute host. Heartland with Kasich aired from 2001-2007.   What’s up with the campaign? Kasich has failed to secure any states or a lead in the polls. The Ohio governor treated his second-place finish in New Hampshire as a moral victory. He also placed second in Massachusetts and Vermont. Trump has successfully pulled Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio into the mud with him — all three slinging insults at each other. “A guy with the worst spray tan in America is attacking me for putting on makeup. Donald Trump likes to sue people — he should sue whoever did that to his face,” Sen. Rubio said at a Georgia rally. In the first 10 minutes of the eleventh Republican debate, Trump defended the size of his genitalia, saying, “there’s no problem.” The real estate tycoon went on to refer to Sen. Rubio as “Little Marco” for most of the debate. Kasich has successfully kept his head above water, making it to all the primetime debates. With the GOP Civil War erupting and the Trump train being virtually unstoppable, Kasich appears to be playing the long game, biding his time for the New England states and Ohio. His best-case scenario is to emerge from the rubble, after months hiding in the corner, at a brokered GOP convention after Cruz and Rubio are bloodied up from their year-long war against Trump. Voters might like:  ●      Never wrestle with a pig, because you get dirty and the pig likes it. That has been Kasich’s strategy from day one. He has stayed away from personal attacks and has not directly engaged any candidate. Kasich has secured his position as “the adult” on the stage. ●      In February, Kasich signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill doesn’t explicitly mention Planned Parenthood, instead redirects $1.3 million of government money away from organizations that performs or promotes elective abortions and into other health organizations. This affects Ohio’s 28 Planned Parenthood locations — three clinics provide abortions. ●      Kasich has governed a swing state, meaning he can talk to both sides of the aisle. He expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, expanding health coverage for 275,000 Ohioans. ...but watch out for ●      Gov. Kasich might suffer from name recognition as the primaries move forward. Without a clear victory and by not engaging in the GOP slugfest, Kasich risks not getting his message out. Google analytics support this concern, saying Kasich is the least searched presidential candidate. ●      Kasich’s acceptance of a Medicaid expansion is a double-edge sword. His support of subsidized health care and support of immigration reform could make him look like a liberal to rightwing voters. ●      By staying in the race so long with little hope of actually capturing the nomination, Kasich has gotten on the bad side of some of the Republican establishment due to hogging some delegates over more likely winners like Ted Cruz. Biggest policy proposal: Kasich’s tax plan would cut the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 28 percent. The tax cuts aren’t as deep as GOP front runner Donald Trump, nor are they a flat tax like Sen. Ted Cruz’s — and they still maintain a level of progressive tax. The Kasich tax plan calls for reducing the tax brackets from seven to three — but does not specify tax rates for the lower two. War: At a stop in Michigan in August, Kasich made it clear he is not supportive of nation building. “I don't think it ought to be a priority of the United States to get everybody on the globe to operate exactly the way we do. I mean there are people that we look at and they may do things that we don't like, but we have similar goals. We don't need to spend our resources trying to get them to become like us,” Kasich said. However, in a February interview with CNN, Kasich said boots on the ground will be required to defeat the Islamic State. "Mark my words ... at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem," Kasich told CNN’s Gloria Borger. Kasich has never been clear on whether or not he intends to deploy conventional troops to combat ISIS in his presidency — nor has he specified which country boots on the ground would be required in. 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.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.29.2016 91 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Primary Cheat Sheet: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz (Republican) Fun Fact: Whether you agree with Ted Cruz’s policy or not, this Texas senator is highly educated — graduating from two Ivy league schools. Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Public Policy, we went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor degree. Before setting foot in the political arena, Cruz was an adjunct law professor at the University of Texas from 2004 to 2009, teaching U.S. Supreme Court litigation. What’s up with the campaign? Cruz has held his head above water, consistently placed as a top-tier candidate in the GOP field. The Texas senator won his first election in 2012, being in Washington just long enough to have some knowledge in policy, but not long enough to be considered an “establishment” candidate by any reasonable margins. However, in a political field that’s hungry for someone that isn’t politics as usual, Cruz has struggled to make himself stand out compared to Trump — who is about as outside the beltway as you get. In a Trump-less election, Cruz would have likely been seen as the fringe candidate doing a hostile takeover of the GOP. His ultra-conservative ideology and political resume put him somewhere between Rubio and Trump. With more than $19 million on-hand and a super PAC, Cruz is running a powerful campaign — but it has been hard for him to stand out or propose any attractive proposals other than he isn’t Trump. Cruz may have won Iowa, but he looks weak moving forward. The path to the White House is narrow for the Texas senator. Voters might like: ●      Cruz is the most conservative candidate. Period. He has earned a 100 percent score from the Heritage Action Scorecard and the American Conservative Union. Glenn Beck also said Cruz is “more conservative than Reagan.” ●      There’s no fear from Cruz in fighting the establishment and standing up for his principles. He consistently advocates abolishing the IRS and the Department of Education. We also cannot forget his 21-hour filibuster against Obamacare. During that same filibuster he gave a phenomenal reading of Green Eggs and Ham. ●       He speaks to the evangelical crowd — which is a huge voter base in the GOP primary. Cruz has captured the heart of a lot of religious Americans, speaking as a man that lives Christian values. ...but watch out for ●      Many view Cruz as more “dangerous” than Trump. This anti-Washington crusader has made a career out of dismantling the government, thus hasn’t made a lot of friends in Congress. He led the government into a shutdown in 2013. Trump has proven he can get independents and Democrats to vote for him, Cruz seemingly only has support from the far-right. ●      Cruz is a loud and proud climate change denier, once saying it’s “not science, it’s a religion.”  It is difficult to measure whether that is pandering or the Texas senator is being a honest skeptic of science. But when virtually all scientists and governments take climate change seriously and the pentagon considers it a “security threat,” it’s difficult to take skepticism seriously when some of Cruz’s largest donations come from oil companies. ●      Cruz really hates government — of course that is a staple for conservatism these days, but he takes the Ronald Reagan rhetoric of “government is the problem” to the max. Cruz is not talking about the Islamic State when he says, “we are facing what I consider to be the epic battle of our generation” — he is talking about Obamacare. Cruz has a true hatred of the federal government, which makes it hard to understand why he wants the highest position in the federal government. Biggest policy proposal: Like a lot of conservatives running for the Oval Office, Cruz has proposed a flat tax — yet his is probably the most dramatic of all. Cruz would replace the income tax with a 10-percent flat tax, abolish corporate tax and all payroll, estate and gift taxes. Some analytics such as the Tax Policy Center find that plan would cost the U.S. about $1 trillion per year for the next decade and lower the GDP 3.6 percent. War Cruz hasn’t been entirely clear on whether or not he would use conventional ground troops in Iraq or Syria to fight the Islamic State. However, it sounds like boots on ground is an option. "The mission should be defeating ISIS before they succeed in carrying out more horrific acts of terror, before they succeed in murdering Americans. If need be, we should go that step," Cruz said in an interview on This Week with anchor George Stephanopoulos Cruz has made it clear that the priority should be arming those already fighting ISIS on the ground such as the Kurdish fighters in 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, 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 02.10.2016 110 days 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 112 days 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 118 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 123 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 133 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 132 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.
 
 

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