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March 17, 2016

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Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

USA Today has rare interview with Joel Benenson, Hillary's campaign manager who was data anytics boss in Obama's two campaigns (and likely to be very senior in Hillary's administration). He confirms that if Trump is the rival, they will be campaigning in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina - meaning Hillary camp is laying groundwork for election landslide significantly bigger than Obama's 2008 victory.

Meanwhile we hear continuously the whispers that outside of Trump's own visiblity, his campaign is remarkably bare in any other normal campaign operations on the ground for example, which not just limits his chances in miscellaneous primaries, but also impacts rather heavily against his chances in the Autumn if the campaign isn't preparing now for that race. Benenson talks about the side-benefit of a prolonged fight against Bernie, that they can continue to organize on the ground. Article is here

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/03/30/clinton-strategist-joel-benenson-trump/82417676/

If battle of 2016 is not for Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado on the 'light-blueish hue of purple' states but rather well into pink states usually won by Republicans ie Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina - then its a landslide coming. We'll know much more when the actual campaigning starts and we see where they spend TV ad dollars and the main candidate's time but this is a major sign. North Carolina was also on Obama's two campaign targets (he won in 2008 and lost it in 2012) but not more red states of Arizona or Georgia.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean


@Tomi,

I'm going to break this up into sections. First, you talked about drugs.

I know quite a bit about drugs personally. I live on Morphine, and take amounts that would put you unconscious, but I'm safe to drive. If I don't take the stuff, I'm unsafe to drive because the pain is so intense I can't concentrate.

I've also used marijuana for pain. While it works, it doesn't work as well as morphine. At least not for me.

A while back I was doing some reading, and apparently those drug studies from the Seventies that found IQ loss from drug use were designed to find that. In simple terms they cooked the numbers to order, so that the War on Drugs would have a solid basis.

And as someone who has been using Morphine, Oxycontin, and a couple of other opiates for over a decade, I can assure you that my mind is as sharp as it ever was. In some ways it is sharper, pain really mucks up your though processes.

There are side effects of course, as there are with anything (even coffee). The major one is intestinal, and I have to take Metamucil daily. But I'm willing to put up with that, as long as I'm not at the 'cut the damned leg off with a chainsaw' level of pain. Of course I'm never out of pain, it is just less extreme.

Wayne Borean


Section 2

First, before we consider a split in the Republican Party, everyone should read this Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballot_access

The United States is one of only two countries where the Federal Government does NOT control Federal elections. The individual states control who will be on the ballots, which means a party could be blocked from running candidates in that state. This makes starting a third party extremely difficult, if not impossible. Just think - the XYZ Party starts with a bang, but can't get their House and Senate candidates on the ballot in [Insert State Name Here], never mind their Presidential candidate!

The argument used is that too many parties would split the vote. Curiously, the other countries which still use the 'First Past the Post' system don't have that problem, and have never had that problem. The United Kingdom has four parties in their Parliament. Canada has five parties in Parliament.

Assume that the Ballot Access problem is fixed. In some ways it might make sense for the Clinton to introduce legislation to do so, since the Democratic Party is less likely to split then the Republican Party, which is made up of many competing political demographics. I'm going to list a few of them, and invite everyone else to chip in.

1) Anti-Abortion - believe abortion is murder.

2) Anti-Tax - believe that taxes are killing them.

3) Religious Freedom - believe that the Christian religion is threatened.

4) Anti-Gay - believe that Same-Sex Marriage will call the wrath of God down on the USA.

5) Gun Rights - believe that an expansive view of the Second Amendment is the most important issue.

6) Anti-Foreigner - believe foreigners are taking American jobs.

7) Racist - segregate the races, or send them back to wherever.

8) Bomb Syria (and Iran, and Palestine, and Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Korea, and...)

Now some of these groups have issues in common. Racists and Anti-Foreigners will agree on many issues. Both may agree with the Bomb Everyone crowd. If the groups have enough issues in common they may combine.

But those groups probably don't have enough issues in common with the Anti-Abortion group, and while they agree with the Gun Rights group, the Gun Rights Group has lots of members who the Racists don't like, and a lot of the Gun Rights folks I know do not like Racists.

That's a huge part of the Republican Party's current problems. They have a coalition that isn't natural. They've squashed a bunch of groups with conflicting interests into one huge, unhappy family.

Which is why you get Trump supports who would vote for Bernie. I think I said something several months ago about how Sanders and Trump have a lot of things in common. Both claim to be for the little guy, and spend a lot of time addressing them. Both are running campaigns which are not funded by the usual suspects, which means they aren't beholden to Wall Street, Fossil Fuels, Pharmaceuticals, Automakers, or [Insert Pressure Group Here].

I'm too lazy to look for it right now, but there was something similar that came out about Sanders supporters, that there were a certain percentage that would rather support Trump than Clinton.

At this point I suspect I may be going in circles. I'm watching woman's hockey with one eye, typing with the other!

Point is, the Republican Party can't currently split. It is most likely impossible due to Ballot Access laws. If you have to receive 20% of the popular vote to get on next election's ballot, well, if there are five parties it is possible no one would make it!

If Clinton can get rid of the Ballot Access laws, so the Republican Party could split, the various parts could make up five or six smaller parties, some of which would attract Democrats. There are a lot of Democrats who want to support the less fortunate, but despise abortion. Since a large part of the Anti-Abortion movement is involved for religious reasons, they might be open to an enlarged Welfare State. For that matter there are Gun Rights Democrats, and Anti-Foreigner Democrats too...

I personally can't see Clinton being willing to try opening up the American electoral system. What would be the advantage to her? Oh, it might take a while for the new parties to shake down, and develop solid policy ideas, giving the Democrats a couple of 'Free' elections, but it won't matter to her, because the current Republican Party is already guaranteeing at least eight years of a Democratic Presidency, and probably six years of Democratic control of both houses.

I can see her trying to move control of elections to the Federal level. This is her FIFTH Federal election campaign, counting her two as spouse, her campaign against Obama, her campaign supporting Obama, and this campaign. If anyone has seen how broken the system is, she has.

Don't hold your breath.

Tomi T Ahonen

hi everybody

Just in case you didn't notice, I just posted the next of my articles in the election series. Now that the brokered convention (contested, deadlocked) has become the most likely outcome on the GOP side, I mapped out the scenarios for each candidate. Lets move the current discussions also there.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne

Good comments. On the drugs, I'll take your word on it and won't try it myself haha..

On the split of the GOP, I don't see it as much as Hillary's agenda, more that its like you said, an unnatural alliance and Trump or Cruz might force the split, or the decline of the Tea Party in the next few election cycles might drive it. I do understand that its not easy to do with ballot access and in the very short term (this cycle) its in many states already too late. But there also are many small third parties and a Trump or Cruz (or even mainstream GOP 'escape' group) could go take over such a party and then have their ballot access. Not necessarily easy but could maybe be done.

A split in the GOP is not the main outcome but a possible side-benefit that I personally think it COULD be good for the USA but also, even if it was tried, it could fail and only one of the two split entities might survive in the style of the Bull Moose party or the Whigs.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne

Sorry I forgot, meant to also address the Bernie voters vs Trump voters. Yes. There is soem overlap which seems utterly bizarre to me but it has been documented for example by interviews of audiences at Trump and Bernie rallies.

But.

There is fresh Pew data of all voters of the last 5 candidates on the major issues on the minds of voters this cycle. Bernie and Trump are furthest apart of the 5 - in the minds of voters. Bernie and Hillary are closest of any of the 5, and across the parties, Hillary and Kasich are nearest. So while yes, there would be SOME overlap and a voter now supporting Bernie would go to Trump rather than Hillary (or vice versa) but by FAR the MOST of Bernie's supporters would fall happily in line to vote for Hillary. This is fresh survey data out two or three days ago. It also means Hillary has a VERY clear contrast vs Trump while Kasich would be closest to Hillary and thus offer most the chance to steal some moderate voters. It all is consistent with the conventional wisdom but now there is clear survey data. But yes, some Bernie voters would rather vote for Trump than Hillary. That is a SMALL slice of Bernie voters. FAR more Republicans hating Trump would vote for Hillary instead of Trump than what Bernie voters would go to Trump so its a net loss to Trump. And this is today, before Bernie and Hillary kiss and make up well before the convention while Trump keeps sticking his foot in his mouth and angering his base.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean


I don't fully trust polls. So much depends on who you ask and how...

Oh, and here's an article partly about the differences between Clinton and Sanders as seen by younger voters. I'll post it under the new article as well so everyone sees it.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-young-people-are-right-about-hillary-clinton-20160325?page=3

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne

Good article by RS and I agree with pretty much all of it. But the November election won't be between Bernie and anyone. It will be Hillary and most likely Trump. Yes, Bernie is far more preferred by the youth Democrats than Hillary. Every exit poll said that. But that won't matter just like it doesn't matter that Hillary has somewhat negative favorability - if her opponent is Trump who has the worst favorability of any politician ever measured. Same with youth vote - it was already in 2008 that the youth voted against Hillary and for Obama. She's never held that demographic - BUT TRUMP IS FAR WORSE. Trump has BY FAR the worst YOUTH vote (and worst gender gap and worst Hispanic vote and worst black vote). So when its Hillary vs Trump - the youth will FAR prefer Hillary and MOST DEF will not vote Trump. The only Democrats that Trump will find some converts out of, are WHITE OLDER BLUE COLLAR voters - even those, HILLARY is the strongest Democrat in recent years to appeal to THOSE voters. So even there, Trump has a hard time taking those voters.

But yeah, Rolling Stone. Yes, totally agree, youth have valid gripes and especially in foreign policy Hillary has been a hawk clearly and isn't their fave candidate. But Trump is FAR worse and while yes, Bernie would do BETTER with youth than Hillary, Hillary wlll still have a massive voter advantage if its Trump (or Cruz).

Its EXACTLY the same as the issue of Hillary's negative favorability rating. It would be a problem against most rivals but not Trump (or Cruz).

PS just saw that there are now developments and at least two sources confirm the phone numbers on Anonmous claim of the DC Madam phone list are indeed Cruz's mobile phone number... And while Cruz threatened to sue Twitter, Cruz has been asked about the DC Madam and he refuses to answer the question and won't deny it.. looking really bad for him. Meanwhile the Supreme Court has added the request to release the gag order to its docket, so there should be a ruling within some days. Cruz may be out of the game by the end of this week. Wow...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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