Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 25: "1,237" (May 29, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all.

Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at

Days until June 7 (Final Primaries): 9
Days until General Election: 163


Trump OFFICIALLY Captures Nomination
It’s been a fun ride, but this past week Trump finally hit the 1,237 delegates he needed to win the nomination. We’ve come from 17 candidates down to just one, and who figured Trump would be that one? This newsletter is dedicated to Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz, who just officially lost. Give them a hand!

Trump Thinks He Can Win CA, NY
The Trump campaign released a map today showing they were targeting California and Trump’s home state of New York. Let that sink in for a moment. California last voted Republican in the 1988 Bush-Dukakis landslide, and New York went Republican in the 1984 Reaganslide. And yet in this era of extreme polarization, Trump thinks he can win those states. Now, I have about as much of a chance of taking those states as he does, but that’s not what this is about.

What this is about is Trump letting people know he’s going to be “tough”. Not even he, the man of ultimate belief in himself, thinks he could carry California or New York. What’s important is sending a signal to his supporters that he’s so great, he can keep California and New York in play because he’s the best and that’s how he’s going to run. Now, if he pours money into these states, it will be a total waste and we should seriously question his judgment. But this is likely a signal, and it’s a powerful sentiment.

Add Another to the VP Shortlist: Corker Gains Attention
Another Republican has joined the ranks of those looking at serious VP speculation. That man is establishment Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker. Corker may be uninspiring, from a safe Republican state, and 63, but that didn’t stop Dick Cheney, did it? Many still think someone like Brown or Gingrich will still get the call, with Corker being pushed to Secretary of State, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the Tennessean.

Trump Wins Washington, Cracking 75%
The Washington Republican primary gave Trump his highest mark so far, at 75.8%. With Trump now being the official nominee (see earlier), it’s all trivial at this point, but it’s interesting to see that Trump was able to hit the typical landslide margins presumptive nominees get in the second/third week of their time as nominee. With Trump, that was never a sure thing, but it seems to be now. No more Republican primaries are left until June 7, and Trump may even hit 90% in some of those.


America: Not “Sick and Tired of Hearing About [Clinton]’s Damn Emails”?
A report was released this week condemned Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, which I’m sure we’re all bored of. In case you aren’t, here’s some information. One important thing to note was that the report didn’t just find fault with Clinton’s use of a private email server: it also implicated former Secretary of State Colin Powell in mishandling of emails.

NBCNews: “The audit found that the non-compliance over personal email went beyond Clinton, and that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, also failed to preserve government-related emails when he was secretary of state.

The State Department asked Powell to try to receive relevant emails from his internet provider, but ‘as of May 2016 the Department has not received a response’ from Powell, the audit said.”

Bernie Sanders has made reference to this audit, which does say that Clinton failed to comply with federal ruling. It does annoy me that the Republicans are getting behind their divisive nominee, but Sanders insists on making this a real fight, and it’ll surely damage Clinton in November.


Libertarians Count, Too....
This past weekend was the Libertarian Convention. There was a debate on Saturday and voting Sunday.

The debate:
Five candidates made the debate. Gary Johnson, John McAfee, Austin Peterson, Darryl Perry, and Marc Allan Feldman. Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, pushed his standard libertarian-conservative rhetoric and seemed almost sane. Software developer and possible murderer McAfee wasn’t very impressive. Peterson seemed the most presidential, but also seemed like a 16-year-old doing a Marco Rubio impersonation. Darryl Perry, the “grassroots” choice, looked and sounded insane. His notable moment was when he ripped up a dollar bill onstage and then looked proud and smug. Feldman threw out a bunch of one-liners and looked too proud of himself, but nobody cared.

The voting:
Johnson got 49% on the first ballot, and was subsequently elected. His preferred VP choice, Fmr. Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts, also got 49% and was also elected on the second ballot, with a tough challenge from Larry Sharpe.

That leaves the Libertarian ticket as Johnson/Weld, which would have more experience than Trump/Corker by a longshot, which is amazing to behold.

This Week In World Elections

Nothing happened this week proper, but here’s a preview of next week’s elections.

Macedonia: The parliamentary election will happen, with Nikola Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE (yeah, that’s an acronym) seeking to retain their plurality over Zoran Zaev’s SDSM and Ali Ahmeti’s BDI. There have been numerous protests against Gruevski over the past few years, and this election was a peace offering to them. This election could get very heated...

Peru: Former president (and tyrannical dictator) Alberto Fujimori may have been exiled, but his daughter, Keiko, ran for president this year, and secured a heavy plurality in the first round. However, a second round was required, so Fujimori is going against Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who got 20% less than Fujimori in the first round of balloting.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 24: "Renegades" (May 22, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurtling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all.

Days until June 7 (Final Primaries): 16
Days until General Election: 170


Symbolic Victory: Trump Wins Oregon
The Oregon Republican primary occurred this past Tuesday, and presumptive nominee Trump won. However, both Cruz and Kasich were given 3 delegates, and Trump got just 2/3 of the vote. Kasich hit 25% Portland and 20% in surrounding areas (with people noticing his strength map looks strikingly similar to counties Democrats won in 2012), Trump has registered some of the worst results by a nominee with no major opposition already. It has yet to be seen if this will remain or if the party will coalesce by June 7. Regardless, he’ll win the nomination, so it doesn’t matter.

Trump Surges in General Election Polls - But Don’t Fear
Since clinching the nomination in early May. Trump has received a 5-10 percent boost in General Election polling. This has caused concern, with polls showing close races in Ohio, Florida, and even New Jersey.

To Democrats: This is a temporary boost. Once Hillary wins the nomination, all will be restored. And as to New Jersey, it has a history of undecideds breaking heavily Democratic at the last minute. Never fear, McCain was up much more than this much closer to election day.

To Republicans: Enjoy it while it lasts, it’s a temporary surge (although it’ll return after the RNC). You’ve got bigger fish to fry right now, if it’s true that...

Bill Kristol Announces “Renegade Party”
Weekly Standard editor and conservative columnist William Kristol has announced the forming of the Renegade Party, thanks to a Breitbart comment about him. Kristol may have challenges finding a candidate (although according to his stupid/cryptic tweets, anyone from Tom Coburn to Mitt Romney could do it) and even more trouble scraping up votes. There’s also the possibility this is a joke, or a stunt, or a desperate plea of revenge. It’s really unclear, and Kristol has been being odd since this whole Trump-as-nominee thing has been happening. Don’t pay attention to his whining until he actually has a candidate, or even a plan.


Candidates Split Oregon, Kentucky
This past Tuesday, two states voted. Oregon chose Sanders (no surprise there), and Kentucky was razor-thin, eventually being called for Clinton. Sanders came out 9 delegates ahead, but it really doesn’t matter at this point. Sanders is trying to amass delegates to influence the (useless) party platform at this point, and Clinton is trying not to embarrass herself. And so far, they’re both making progress. The only difference? Clinton will be the nominee.

Meet Your Potential Vice Presidential Candidates
*Sorted by Likelihood
1. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
At this point, Kaine is the safest choice. An inoffensive moderate from key swing state Virginia with no dooming background, there’s no glooming negatives. He may be fairly boring and not a great pick to win over disaffected Sanders voters, but he could be a good Bentsen-type pick to balance the ticket without drawing too much attention away from Clinton.

2. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Warren would be great to win over Sanders voters, being a very progressive Senator who was briefly sought to run for the presidency. However, Warren is 66 and from the same region of the country as Clinton, as well as being from safe state Massachusetts. She also would make the ticket basically toxic for disaffected conservatives.

3. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
As a young, black, experienced Senator, Booker appears to be a good pick. However, he won’t help much in safe New Jersey, and his closeness to Wall Street isn’t going to help with Sanders voters. However, he could boost turnout among minorities, which could help put states like Mississippi and Georgia in play.

4. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Klobuchar is ideologically similar to Clinton, meaning she could appeal to both Bernie voters and conservatives. She is young, and from semi-swing state Minnesota. However, like Kaine, she seems boring and, as well, picking 2 women would only grow the gender gap currently existing between her and Trump (up to 25 points or more!)

5. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Salazar could boost Hispanic votes and assure the Clinton campaign a win in Colorado. However, he is notoriously extremely moderate and has very low name recognition. While he has been both a senator and a cabinet member under Obama, Salazar won’t be able to win Sanders voters or be very inspirational.

6. Thomas Perez (D-MD)
Sec. of Labor Perez is a liberal Hispanic who could win both minorities and Sanders voters. However, he has ridiculously low name recognition, little government experience, and no home state. He has high positives, but that would require getting past even bigger negatives.

7. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Brown is from Ohio, and could lock up that state. He’s also not very old and won’t anger Bernie voters. However (see note below) he’ll surely cost Democrats a senate seat, and he may not really want the job.

8. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Basically Kaine with less experience, more excitement, and lower name recognition.

9. Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Patrick would be a good pick, appealing to liberals and minorities like Perez. However, he currently works at Bain Capital and is pretty close to Wall Street, so Sanders voters might not like him. He also won’t win over any new states.

10. Julian Castro (D-TX)
If you’re paying attention to this at all, you’ll see Castro’s name floated a lot. However, he’s ridiculously young, not very popular in Texas, and doesn’t even speak Spanish (which Tim Kaine does, for whatever it’s worth). Castro has also said fairly controversial things about affirmative action and doesn’t have a very important cabinet position.

HM. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)
Who better to win Sanders voters than Bernie himself? However, he’s 74, ├╝ber-liberal, from the safest state, and probably doesn’t get along with Clinton so well. It’s hard to see this becoming a reality.

Final thought: If the Democrats are closely fighting for Senate control, some of these sitting Senators would be likely replaced by Republicans. Hence, this is an argument against Booker, Warren, Brown, and even Sanders.


May 24
Trump 71%
Kasich 13%
Cruz 11%

This Week In World Elections

Austria: Far-right Norbert Hofer is going against Alexander van der Bellen for president of Austria. Results so far seem to favor Hofer, and he’ll likely be elected, albeit by a very slim margin, as mail-in ballots are yet to be counted. Said ballots should favor van der Bellen. This is the second round of the election. In the first round, Hofer won 35-21, requiring a runoff.

Cyprus: Election for the House of Representatives were today. 56 of the 80 seats were up for election. Averof Neophytou’s Democratic Rally Party held on to a plurality of seats, However, the opposition now holds double the seats of the DISY (Democratic Rally Party), so that will be a big challenge.

Vietnam: 500 members of the assembly were elected. However, Vietnam is a one-party state, so the Communist Party easily won with no opposition, so this is of minor consequence.

The next significant election is the second round of the Peruvian presidential election, in which the daughter of former leader and notorious tyrant Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori, attempts to solidify her large plurality secured in the first round. That will be on June 5th.

Thanks for reading! As usual, comments are welcome!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 23: "'Definitely Not Me'" (May 15, 2016)

Dear Readers,

The great chaos that is the 2016 election season keeps hurdling at us, and I’ll help you make sense of it all.

Remember, all newsletters (and more) are available at

Days until June 7 (Final Primaries): 23
Days until General Election: 177


Trump Beats Dropped-Out Candidates in Two States
The two states that voted last Tuesday were Nebraska and West Virginia. Of course, Trump won them both, (even after telling his West Virginia supporters to not bother voting), but he was held to ~60% in Nebraska, and Kasich came out with a delegate because of West Virginia’s complicated allocation rules. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) also came in 4th in one county, for whatever it’s worth.

Trump Meets with Spkr. Ryan - Still No Endorsement
Trump had a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is still not willing to endorse him. Ryan wants to unify the party, but wants to make sure they aren’t “faking unifying”. Ryan came under fire for this from apparent Trump spokesman Sarah Palin (R-AK), who endorsed Ryan’s primary challenger, Paul Nehlen. Ryan is still likely to get back his seat, and not “get Cantored” as Palin put it (After former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who lost to a right-wing primary challenger.)

In Typical Bizarre Fashion, It is Revealed Trump... Just read the story
Trump also came under fire this week for an odd business tactic he used in the 80s. Trump would pose as “John Miller” or “John Barron” and call reporters to brag about himself. It’s doubtful he was fooling anyone, but it’s another strange Trump story that questions his integrity and... sanity? To add to the complexity, he had admitted it was him, but just this last week, claimed he had no idea what the story was, and that it was “Definitely not me.”

Meet Your Potential Vice Presidential Candidates
*Sorted by Likelihood
  1. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) - The former speaker of the house who ran for president in 2012, Gingrich could be a signal to conservative elites that Trump is a true conservative. However, he’s a slightly loony old white man; not exactly the most inspiring of all candidates. TRUMP/GINGRICH 2016: “We’ll build a moon base and make Mexico pay for it”
  2. Chris Christie (R-NJ) - An early endorser of Trump, the New Jersey governor (and 2016 presidential candidate) stays with Trump’s “tough guy” appeal, and is a moderate. However, he too is a white man from a non-swing state, so his appeal would be limited. Also, Bridgegate.
  3. Susana Martinez (R-NM) - A Hispanic woman from a Lean D state, Martinez is a textbook VP candidate. However, it’s not clear that she wants the job, and she hasn’t been the most avid Trump supporter. She also has a lower name recognition than the previous two.
  4. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) - The extremely moderate Utah Governor would be a good pick to win independents and disaffected Bernie voters. He could also help lock up the Mormon vote, key in Nevada and Arizona. However, he had a pretty awful presidential run in 2012 and was in the Obama administration and might turn off conservatives.
  5. Joni Ernst (R-IA) - As a conservative woman from a swing state, Ernst is also promising, but, like Martinez, she might not want the job. She also could be too conservative to win moderates.
  6. Marco Rubio (R-FL) - He may be a Hispanic from a swing state, but since his presidential run, he’s seemed to hate politics. He also won’t be attending the convention, a sure sign he doesn’t want the job. Rubio famously (OK, not really) tried to hold onto his Alaska delegates to stop Trump, so he may not be too thrilled to get the job. Also, weeks of being called “Li’l Marco” don’t show that he’s on the best terms with Trump.
  7. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) - An enthusiastic Trump supporter who wants the job, he is also an uninspiring old white man from a safe Republican state. He’s also very conservative, both a pro and a con.
  8. John Kasich (R-OH) - Kasich has been thought to be running for VP this entire time, and being from crucial state Ohio, he might be a good pick. However, he was a noted Trump hater, and doesn’t send the best signal to conservatives.
  9. Scott Brown (R-MA/NH) - The famed “guy with a truck” who was Senator from Massachusetts is a moderate, who is seen as inoffensive. However, Brown lost Senate re-election to Elizabeth Warren in 2010, then lost after moving to New Hampshire in 2014, showing he’s not good at winning.
  10. Ben Carson (R-MD) - The presidential candidate was a fellow outsider to Trump and had a fleeting moment atop the polls. However, he doesn’t have discernible policies, and has been the butt of many jokes. He also has no government experience and is probably asleep at all times.


Sanders Wins West Virginia
As expected, Bernie Sanders won West Virginia, and “other” got 13% of the vote. Meanwhile, Clinton was left with an embarrassing 35.8% of the vote. Local lawyer Paul Farrell nearly got the 15% needed to win a delegate in one Congressional District. Sanders swept every county and netted 7 delegates, but still fell under his target to win the nomination, now needing almost exactly 2/3 of the remaining delegates. The uphill battle for Bernie just keeps getting steeper, and there’s no way for him to win without a miracle.


May 17
Sanders 62%
Clinton 37%

Clinton 56%
Sanders 42%

May 17
Trump 63%

This Week In World Elections
The Philippines: Controversial candidate Rodrigo Duterte easily won the presidential election. Leni Robredo, from an opposing party, became Vice President. Duterte came under fire for making controversial statements, and was insulted by John Oliver. The Liberal party held on to the Senate and won the most district elections again, albeit with less large majorities than previous election.

Dominican Republic: The presidential election was today, and incumbent Danilo Medina is expected to easily win. Results have been slow to come in, so we don’t know who won yet. Despite large amounts of poverty, Medina remains very popular.

I’m planning on making this a regular segment, feel free to comment. Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for coverage of Clinton’s 10 most likely VP picks.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 22: "Trump Secures the Nomination" (May 8, 2016)

Dear Readers,

There has been a great torrent of news, and the avalanche of Trump has progressed one more step. I’m going to guide you through it all.

Days until June 7 (Final Primaries): 30
Days until General Election: 184


Trump Wins Indiana
Trump needed a big win in Indiana, and by that me (and most pundits) meant a margin of 15 points. Instead, Trump won by 17%, getting 53% of the vote, and causing his two opponents to drop out of the race. Kasich may have basically abandoned the state, but his 7% was brutally embarrassing, and Cruz basically needed a win to remain viable. Instead, Trump swept all 57 delegates, securing the nomination.

Cruz and Kasich Drop Out
Following those pathetic results, John Kasich and Ted Cruz both suspended their campaigns. Cruz dropped out on primary night, accidentally elbowing his wife in the head on his way off the stage. Kasich dropped out the next day, but for a single day he was 4th place in delegates in a 2-man race. This also makes Carly Fiorina the shortest-lived VP candidate since Thomas Eagleton. Fiorina also set a personal speed record for destroying an organization, topping her previous 6 years with just 6 days!

Party Fails to Line Up Behind Trump
Various party officials have declined to endorse Trump. The presidents Bush have said they won’t vote in this election and will not even talk about it. The third Bush, Jeb (remember him?) has also declined to support Trump, with him and Lindsey Graham becoming the first of the Republican candidates to do so. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has refused to support Trump, calling for a third party, although he says he himself won’t do it. Bill Kristol, conservative columnist, and Karl Rove changed their party registrations. The highest-ranking Republican official in the nation, Paul Ryan, also joined this crowd, causing Sarah Palin (Why do we have to keep talking about her?) to begin supporting his primary opponent. Another few who won’t endorse Trump:

Joe Scarborough, Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney (probably), Fmr. House Maj. Ldr. Tom DeLay, Sen. Slade Gorton, Rob McKenna, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, VT gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott, Gov. Charlie Baker, Rep. Bob Dold, Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner, Lachlan Markey of the Washington Free Beacon, Rep. Justin Amash, Sen. Norm Coleman, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Fmr. RNC Chairman Mel Martinez, Ron Paul, George Pataki, Reid Ribble, Scott Rigell, Rep. Mark Sanford, Charlie Sykes, Christine Todd Whitman, Sen. Dean Heller, Larry Hogan, Brian Sandoval (maybe), Alan Keyes, Gov. Tom Ridge, Rep. Richard Hanna, Rep. Bob Inglis, Mark Levin, and many more.

Now, anyone who cares what the “party elites” have to say is probably not voting for Trump anyway, but Ron Paul and Justin Amash from the libertarian wing, Alan Keyes and Rove from the extreme wing and the standard Whitman, Romney, Ryan party establishment show that there is diversity among the dissenters.


Sanders Earns Surprise Indiana Win
Despite an early lead by Hillary, and Hillary easily being favored, Sen. Sanders won Indiana by over 5 points. He rode a surprise win in Indianapolis to victory, although his shortcomings in southern Indiana raise some doubt for Kentucky on May 17. “Momentum” has literally no effect at this stage, but it’s interesting to see Cruz and Kasich surrender as the Democratic race is alive and heavily fighting.

Even with his Indiana win, Sanders needs to win 67% of remaining delegates to earn a majority of delegates. However, superdelegates would likely still deny him the nomination, as, even in that scenario, he would still have less raw votes than Hillary Clinton. Clinton has basically won the nomination, barring a major scandal or indictment.


May 10
West Virginia
Bernie Sanders 42%, Hillary Clinton 30%, Keith R. Judd 17%

Nebraska (meaningless, no delegates)
Bernie Sanders 54%, Hillary Clinton 44%

May 10
Trump 77%

West Virginia
Trump 100.8%


Thank you for reading!