Sunday, November 29, 2015

State of the GOP: Anti-Establishment Wave

Trump on the campaign trail - Cleveland
It has been months since Donald Trump clinched the lead for the Republican nomination and aside from Ben Carson, no one is coming close to taking those poll numbers away from him. While Trump's poll numbers have fallen from his peak of 30.5 percent before the CNN Reagan Library debate, it is still clear that he would either take first or second place in the Iowa caucus if it was held today. New Hampshire is a slam dunk for him. Do none of the other candidates have a chance? Let's look at the polls.

National

Fox News (11/16-11/19): Trump 28%, Carson 18%, Rubio 14%, Cruz 14% - Trump +10
ABC/Washington Post (11/16-11/19): Trump 32%, Carson 22%, Rubio 11%, Cruz 8% - Trump +10
Public Policy Polling (11/16-11/17): Trump 26%, Carson 19%, Cruz 14%, Rubio 13% - Trump +7

The polls are not looking good for Carson, but he is still in second place. The largest beneficiary to Carson's decrease in the polls has been Trump. In the RCP average, he has 28.5 percent against Carson's 19.7 percent. Marco Rubio has 12.7 percent and Ted Cruz has 12 percent. While Carson continues to defend himself from media attacks, the damage may have been done.

Iowa

Quinnipiac University (11/16-11/22): Trump 25%, Cruz 23%, Carson 18%, Rubio 13% - Trump +2
CBS/YouGov (11/15-11/19): Trump 30%, Cruz 21%, Carson 19%, Rubio 11% - Trump +9
CNN/ORC (10/29-11/4): Trump 25%, Carson 23%, Rubio 13%, Cruz 11% - Trump +2

The fall of Carson in Iowa has corresponded with the rise of Cruz. The Texas senator could be Trump's strongest opponent. With exception of the CBS/YouGov poll, the Donald is only holding small leads. The average has Trump at 26.7 percent, Carson at 20 percent, Cruz at 18.3 percent, and Rubio at 12.3 percent.

New Hampshire

Boston Globe/Suffolk (11/17-11/19): Trump 22%, Rubio 11%, Carson 10%, Cruz 9% - Trump +11
CBS/YouGov (11/15-11/19): Trump 32%, Rubio 13%, Cruz 10%, Carson 10% - Trump +19
Fox News (11/15-11/17): Trump 27%, Rubio 13%, Cruz 11%, Carson 9% - Trump +14
WBUR/MassINC (11/14-11/15): Trump 23%, Rubio 13%, Carson 13%, Cruz 8% - Trump +10

Trump's poll numbers are stronger in New Hampshire than in Iowa. This is revealing because it is considered to be a more moderate state. Trump's rhetoric is very conservative, yet he may have managed to build a successful coalition with moderates because of his past positions. In the average, he has 26 percent, Rubio has 12.5 percent, Carson has 10.5 percent, and Cruz has 9.5 percent. Even though they do not show up on the polls, Jeb Bush and John Kasich both have better poll numbers here than anywhere else. Maybe the main base of moderates are split between them.  In 2012, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich did not win New Hampshire because they split the vote of the Tea Party allowing moderate Mitt Romney to win. This time, the Tea Party is united and the moderates are split.

South Carolina

CBS/YouGov (11/15-11/19): Trump 35%, Carson 19%, Rubio 16%, Cruz 13% - Trump +16
Public Policy Polling (11/7-11/8): Trump 25%, Carson 21%, Cruz 15%, Rubio 13% - Trump +4
Monmouth University (11/5-11/8): Carson 28%, Trump 27%, Rubio 11%, Cruz 9% - Carson +1

Trump still has a strong lead here as well. Carson held a small lead in the one poll, but that lead does not continue with more recent polling following his bad media coverage. On the average, Trump has 29 percent, Carson 22.7 percent, Rubio 13.3 percent, and Cruz has 12.3 percent.

Nevada

CNN/ORC (10/3-10/10): Trump 38%, Carson 22%, Fiorina 8%, Rubio 7% - Trump +16
Gravis Marketing (7/12-7/13): Trump 28%, Carson 8%, Bush 7%, Rubio 5% - Trump +13
Gravis Marketing (3/27-3/27): Cruz 18%, Walker 16%, Carson 6%, Paul 5% -  Cruz +2
Gravis Marketing (2/21-2/22): Walker 19%, Christie 8%, Cruz 6%, Huckabee 6% - Walker +8

Yes, that is Scott Walker in the lead from a poll early in the year. These are the only four polls on RCP. From this we can easily conclude that no one is interested in polling for the Nevada caucus yet, which is the fourth state to vote for the Republican nomination. Trump is probably still in the lead.

The most important part of this nomination contest is that Trump, a candidate who I think is a long shot based on political history, has been running an excellent campaign. I've never written Trump off as someone who couldn't win the nomination, but a candidate like him has never rose to prominence in modern American history. As the days tick by and Iowa gets close, Trump looks more and more like the presumptive Republican nominee.

At the same time, he could be the GOP's Howard Dean. In 2004, Dean was the front-runner for most of the Democratic race until just before Iowa when voters dumped him. The same happened to Rudy Giuliani in 2008. History would indicate that Trump will not be the nominee. I'm still not sure he will be, but his probability that he is has increase. Nevertheless, I'm still betting on Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. I wouldn't count out Carson just yet, but I do think there is simply no hope for all the remaining candidates.

The most important analysis of this election is the importance of how angry the GOP base is at the establishment. That's why candidates like Trump and Carson are flourishing in the polls, but they have to keep up this momentum all the way to February. Will Republicans dump the two in favor of Cruz and Rubio? We will just have to find out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Who Governs Wisconsin in 2019?

Walker - Politico
We are really far from the next gubernatorial election in Wisconsin, but I thought it would be neat to float some names for who just might run in 2018. Bear in mind that this list is subject to change as time goes on and news breaks out. For example, Paul Ryan could very well be a contender for governor, but right now he is serving as speaker of the house. It is unlikely that he will run for Wisconsin governor (as of what we know now), but that can always change. Here's who I'm thinking:

Republican Party

Scott Walker - The current governor is in the best position to run for a third term. The question is if Walker really wants it. I actually don't think he does. Most governors do two terms before leaving politics. Maybe he would be truly finished with it, maybe he would want to run for Congress, or maybe he wants to run again for president in a later election. All scenarios are possible, however, Walker can change his mind and go for it. He wouldn't have any opposition on the Republican side since he is the incumbent. I think this is possible if his approval ratings improve.

Rebecca Kleefisch - If Walker does not run, then Republicans will probably go for his lieutenant governor. Kleefisch would probably get Walker's endorsement if she does run and she is very popular among conservatives. I don't think she would have any serious opposition on a path to winning the nomination, so that puts her in an excellent position to become Wisconsin's next governor.

Paul Ryan - He is often asked if he would want to run for any higher office, but has said no every time. The position of speakers make him even more unlikely to run, but a lot can change from now to the election and Ryan is one of the state's most popular Republicans.

Sean Duffy - Duffy represents the seventh district in Wisconsin and is very popular there. I don't think he's likely to run, but I think his campaign would have a little potential in a gubernatorial election. With a strong conservative record, I can see him easily being the Republican candidate.

Scott Fitzgerald - Someone from the state legislature would have less name recognition, but still be competitive if he or she can excite the base. Fitzgerald is the senate majority leader in Wisconsin, so he is in a good position to run for governor.

Robin Vos - Same argument as Fitzgerald. I think Vos is less likely to run for governor because he's a state representative. Some recent controversy has brewed over changes to the open records law that Vos was involved in, but that could easily die down over the years.

Democratic Party

Mary Burke - Sometimes a party runs a  candidate again if it's all they have. The problems in 2014 was that she lost from a plagiarism controversy over her economic plan and her disastrous business career. Additionally, I think any next Democratic candidate shouldn't be linked to Jim Doyle. I don't think she wants it, but it's still a possibility.

Chris Abele - Walker was the Milwaukee county executive. The office is a powerful political platform because it is the county with the highest population in Wisconsin. I think one problem Abele has is that he doesn't excite the liberal base. He is currently being seriously challenged in the Democratic primary for a second term. If he is not acceptable for many liberals, then he probably wouldn't win a gubernatorial election.

Joe Parisi - If not the Milwaukee county executive, what about the one who runs Dane County? Parisi has experience in both state and county governments. Parisi has a liberal record with criminal justice and sexual assault. He has also advocated for turning the minimum wage into a "living wage". If you are a Democrat, then you would probably find Parisi ideal.

Ron Kind - Kind, a U.S. representative,, is from the state's third district (La Crosse area) and can offer more voters for Democrats in the west of the state. Kind has a particular interest in agricultural policy, which makes sense because a lot of farmers are his constituents. He has advocated for conservation and rural development. Kind, who chairs the center-left New Democrat Coalition, might attract moderates but at the same time this could be at expense of losing the liberal base. Kind has been floated as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, but if he doesn't run in 2016 then he could run for governor in 2018.

Brett Hulsey - Hulsey, a state representative, ran for governor in 2014, but lost the Democratic nomination to Burke. It is possible that Hulsey would want a second try. I think the biggest liability for him is his name recognition. Hulsey got no attention in 2014. His only hope is to get more for 2018. I think would want to get more attention before jumping into the race.

Chris Taylor -  State Senator Taylor has a liberal record and he appeals to many Democrats. She was the public policy director for Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin. Aside from Parisi, I think she is the candidate that most Democrats would find enthusiastic. Since she is a state senator, she has more name recognition than Hulsey. I think that she could have a good shot at winning the Democratic nomination if she runs.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Best Candidates Unite the Party

Ronald Reagan at the 1980 convention - Wikimedia
In a presidential election, the ideal candidate from a political party is someone who can unite many factions. In the Democratic Party, there are many groups and factions that need to be united behind one candidate for an effective campaign. Usually, it means someone who can broaden support in the primaries with moderates, the establishment, and liberals. An ideal Republican candidate should be able to unite the moderate establishment with the Tea Party conservatives. When the primaries for both parties are over, it will be easy to observe if the candidates have united their parties or divided them.

As someone who loves history, I think it should be used as an indicator for both political parties. In this list, I will go through the Republican primaries of every election year without an incumbent since 1980. The list will help show which candidates united the Republican Party and which candidates did not:
  • 1980: Ronald Reagan - 59.8%
  • 1988: George H.W. Bush - 67.9%
  • 1996: Bob Dole - 58.8%
  • 2000: George W. Bush - 62%
  • 2008: John McCain - 47.3%
  • 2012: Mitt Romney - 52.1%
Only two Republican candidates, both the Bushes, received more than 60 percent of all votes in the primaries. They both won their presidential elections in 1988 and 2000. Ronald Reagan also did well with uniting the Republicans. He almost won 60 percent of all the votes in 1980 and won that election by a landslide. Compare those three victories to the three defeats. Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney all won less than 59 percent on the path to their nominations. It seems that 59 percent is the magic level for victory or defeat. Now let's see the Democrats:
  • 1984: Walter Mondale - 38.3%
  • 1988: Michael Dukakis - 42.4%
  • 1992: Bill Clinton - 52%
  • 2000: Al Gore - 75.4%
  • 2004: John Kerry - 61%
  • 2008: Barack Obama - 47.3%
The Democrats are significantly more disorganized than the Republicans are for a historical trend, but there are some things to take note of. Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis never came close to winning a majority of Democratic voters in the primaries and they both lost decisively in the elections. Bill Clinton narrowly won a majority and did win the 1992 election. Al Gore has been the best at uniting the Democrats, but lost the 2000 election (he won more votes than Bush, but lost in the Electoral College). John Kerry united most Democrats, but lost narrowly in 2004. Barack Obama won less than a majority, but did win in 2008. It's very interesting because Obama won the same percentage that McCain did.  

When the Democrats were united the most, they lost presidential elections, but only narrowly. Clinton won a little more than half of all Democratic voters and did win the election. Obama won a little less than half of the Democrats and won the presidential election. When Democrats ran candidates who failed to unite their party (like Mondale and Dukakis), they suffer big defeats. We can conclude from past Democratic fields that unity does matter, but not as much compared to the Republican fields.

As of now, Hillary Clinton has a majority in most polls. That makes her a unity candidate, but because of past elections like 2000 it isn't guaranteed the keys to the White House. Nevertheless, the Democrats can still have a divisive campaign if Bernie Sanders becomes a serious rival. The GOP does need a strong unity candidate. They have won elections when candidates won almost 60 percent or higher. The last two candidates, McCain and Romney, did not adequately unite the party. Dole did better, but did not win the presidential election. We cannot guarantee that Donald Trump or Ben Carson will be unity candidates right now (or that they will even be the nominees). We will only be able to know that when all the votes are counted by the time of the convention.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Facebook French Flag Matters

Wallpapercave
Most people know about the famous movie The Longest Day. It's a classic about the D-Day invasion during World War II. Most people, however, are probably not aware that the movie is based off a book by the Irish journalist Cornelius Ryan. In middle school, I read his book and I would recommend it to everyone. I would say that it should be required reading, but I think every other book I read should be required reading. One of my favorite parts of the book was this:
All along the Normandy coastline the invasion stormed. For the French, caught up in the battle, these were hours of chaos. Around Ste.-Mère-Église, which was now being heavily shelled, 82nd paratroopers saw farmers calmly working in the fields as though nothing were happening. Every now and then one of them would fall, either wounded or killed. In the town itself paratroopers watched the local barber remove the "Friseur" from the front of his shop and put up a new one that said "Barber."
It is entirely obvious that the French barber's decision, to change his sign from French to English, did absolutely nothing to alter the outcome of the Second World War. This situation is similar to the response from many on Facebook regarding the terrorist attacks in Paris. Neither changing the language of a sign or flying the filter of a flag on the internet is going to stop the enemy, but that's not the point. There's little I could do to stop the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's strike on Paris and there was little that a French small businessman could do to defeat Nazi Germany over seventy years ago.

The point of both situations is bigger than actually doing something. The point is that of an idea. When American GIs landed in France to liberate the country, they had little understanding of what they were about to face. Some training for amphibious operations did help, but they had nothing else for pushing inland. Most of those young soldiers were very scared and they were in a land that almost none of them had visited before. The initial invasion force may have been 130,000 Allied troops, but they were all that was standing against a powerful enemy. That's when the French people, like the Ste.-Mère-Église barber, did matter. The simple action of that barber added a sense of security for many troops. It wasn't just him, but many Frenchmen did small things to make the Allies feel welcome. It made those brave soldiers know that there were people who were looking out for them and cared about them when their families and loved ones were hundreds of miles away.

The population of France is naturally bigger than the size of an army, but it still doesn't matter how big the group is. When ISIS decided to attack Paris, many people in the city and the country were confused and scared. In a time when many people in France needed to know that they had support, Facebook decided to create the filter of the French flag for those around the world to use on their profile pictures. By doing this, the French recognized that millions of people were on their side, publicly and proudly displaying their support. You might say that you still supported the French anyway, but how would they know that? American soldiers wouldn't have known that the French truly supported them unless they came out and proudly cheered for their own liberation. At the same time, the filter makes a bold statement against ISIS.

Another common argument that I hear from people who oppose the French filter is that were other terrible events going on such as more terrorist attacks and earthquakes. Natural disasters are different in that they cannot be stopped, but terrorist attacks can. It would be insane to have a filter up for every earthquake that occurred on Earth. Likewise, terrorism and warfare in other countries is quite common. The attack on Paris was different because everyone thought it was a secure nation. Millions of people travel to the "City of Light" every year for a nice vacation and the importance of safety. In struggling countries (like Syria), a filter would be on 24/7 for the sheer amount of carnage that occurs there. When someone travels to France, they expect no trouble at all.

When I was asked on Facebook about adding a filter of the French flag on my profile picture, I eagerly accepted. I knew that it wouldn't make a difference, but it was a sign that I supported the French in their time of need and wanted to display my support before the world. So who's worse? The people who wanted to display support for France or those who disapproved of any sign of solidarity against a barbaric organization?

Bobby Jindal Drops Out

Governor Bobby Jindal - Politico
As with many other GOP presidential candidates in this cycle, if it was another time then Bobby Jindal could have had a real shot at being the nominee, but this wasn't his time. Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, was able to implement very successful conservative policies in his state. Despite this record of achievement, there are many other governors who have been running with their own records that are similar to Jindal's. Since Jindal's campaign was not unique, he couldn't get any traction.

Jindal has a clear understanding of public policy and how to achieve conservative goals. His understanding of what needed to be implemented to help the country was something that many Republicans loved. Jindal enjoyed high favorability ratings in Iowa because he appealed to social conservatives and evangelicals. He probably stayed in the race as long as he did in a hope for things to turn around in Iowa, but his national poll numbers were never high to get a place in the main debates. Only Carly Fiorina has been able to move from a minor low-poll early debate to the major one at prime time. No other candidate with bad poll numbers has been able to do that.

What happened to Jindal was that he was fairly ordinary. He is a typical conservative, rank-and-file Republican. That's not a bad thing, but there are many other conservative Republicans like him in this election. Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and Rick Santorum are all just as socially conservative as Jindal is. In terms of policy wonks, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio offer a lot of details about what they want to do and why the policies advocated by the Republican Party are needed for the nation to be successful.

Even though many Republicans would have found Jindal to be a pleasing candidate, the volume of others who rivaled him was too much. A candidate needs support now to keep receiving funds and energy to continue his campaign. When he doesn't that, what does he have? Jindal's 2016 campaign (much like the campaign of Rick Perry's) will go down in history as one that didn't have enough immediate support and excitement to stand out. That sliver of Republicans who supported Jindal will probably just divide between other candidates now until they drop out. Fortunately for Jindal, he's only forty-four and can run in future elections.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paris Attacks likely to Benefit EU Nationalist Parties

Marine Le Pen - Telegraph
While there has been a fierce debate over national security and the strategy to defeat ISIS, there will also be important political ramifications for the Paris terrorist attacks. I will not be surprised if European nationalist parties, who generally oppose immigration, will see increases in their poll numbers. This comes after a 2014 European Union election, in which nationalist parties who wish to break away from the system gained a large number of seats in the parliament. In fact, France's National Front led by Marine Le Pen became the largest party representing the country in that election. She is likely to run for the French presidency in 2017, where she will be a major candidate with a large number of supporters. As of now, incumbent Francois Hollande's poll numbers are not doing so well. We'll see if his new aggression against ISIS changes that.

Le Pen has demanded an immediate halt on all immigration into France. She says that the country is no longer safe and that there must be an end to risks that are being taken by inviting migrants in. It is easy to see why the National Front has become so popular. This is the sixth time in a year that France has been attacked by radical Islamist terrorists. In an article for Time magazine, Le Pen argues that in the end the French will prevail against "the enemies of liberty." She continues:
Too often, we have confused hospitality with blindness. Not all of those we’ve opened our doors to have come to France with a love of our way of life. Today, under pressure from a European Union that renders us weaker and less free, France faces a cruel reality: It only takes a dozen terrorists—some French in nationality, but not spirit, and others capitalizing on the poorly managed migrant crisis—to take the lives of at [least] 129 of our countrymen. It is up to us to affirm, without hesitation, that France’s freedom was built over centuries intentionally and collectively. That’s what defines a nation.
French nationalists won't be the only ones who benefit from the political whirlwind. The United Kingdom Independence Party led by Nigel Farage has also become a force to be reckoned with. While they didn't do so well in the 2015 British general election, they have rapidly gained supporters over the last four years. Chaos in Europe is going to help them as voters lose faith in older, more established parties. According to a recent Survation poll, 76 percent of people in Britain want a more strict immigration system like the one used in Australia.

Farage has continued to advocate that the United Kingdom must leave the European Union in order to get stronger control of border policy. He also says that the EU itself must restrict the free movement of people after the Paris attacks since continuing to do so just hurts themselves. He has also raised concerns about a possible terrorist attack in the United Kingdom, since 27 percent of British Muslims claimed that they were sympathetic with the Charlie Hebdo attacks that happened in January.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has kept high approval ratings since the 2013 federal election, but that could change now. She has been a supporter of allowing Syrian refugees into Europe. Many nationalists in Germany oppose her decision. Several rallies have been held by German nationalists who oppose migration from Syria and other countries in the Middle East. The most ardent opponents of immigration are in the notorious Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA for short). PEGIDA has become an influential political organization across Europe and could change public policy.

With the current crisis, voters will become increasingly anxious to find politicians who have clear and practical responses to the problem. Nationalist parties across Europe are sweeping with more representation in the European Parliament and in legislatures throughout different nations. If the massive influx of Syrian refugees persists, the nationalist parties will have a great chance at wielding power and ending migration. I can also see a President Le Pen order attacks on a very large scale against ISIS, maybe even urge for the use of ground troops.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Another Look at Trump's Electability

Trump in Iowa - NBC
When I originally observed if Donald Trump was electable, the poll numbers showed him losing by a landslide against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The reason I am doing another examination is to see how damaging the email scandal has been to the Clinton campaign. Has the Donald managed the close the gap in the polls? We return to the latest polls on the RealClearPolitics average:

McClatchy/Marist (10/29-10/4): Clinton 56%, Trump 41% - Clinton +15
Quinnipiac University (10/29-11/2): Clinton 46%, Trump 43% - Clinton +3
NBC News/WSJ (10/25-10/29): Clinton 50%, Trump 42% - Clinton +8
CNN/ORC (10/14-10/17): Clinton 50%, Trump 45% - Clinton +5
Fox News (10/10-10/12): Trump 45%, Clinton 40% - Trump +5
Public Policy Polling (10/1-10/4): Clinton 44%, Trump 44% - tie

The polling average has Clinton with 47.7 percent and Trump with 43.3 percent. If we look at the average itself, it appears that the case for Trump's electability is plausible. Upon closer examination, we can see the Trump's poll numbers in a presidential election match-up have been declining. The Fox News and PPP polls were taken around the time when Clinton was getting very bad media coverage. The immediate reaction among many independents was to reject the idea of her being a good president. The more recent polls show that independents have had second thoughts.

The McClatchy/Marist and NBC/WSJ polls show that Trump's electability is returning to where it was before the media whirlwind over Clinton's emails began. The next polls from PPP and Fox News will be very important to confirm this. I think the email scandal has given Clinton permanent political damage and Trump's numbers are genuinely better than they were before, but he is still a long way off from being considered electable.

Monday, November 16, 2015

We need to Invade ISIS

Steve Benson
The horrifying ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris are going to cause a major reexamination of western military policy in the Middle East. France's President Francois Hollande has already ordered a massive increase in airstrikes against ISIS. I applaud the French president for increasing his own efforts to defeat barbaric terrorists, but this comes only after the capital city was assaulted. Many western leaders are not taking the necessary steps to defeat ISIS, which needs to take place on the battlefront.

Martin O'Malley says that he will not put "boots on the ground" when fighting ISIS. That's a terrible strategy. The reason our country has a military is for situations like this. Unfortunately, rather than think realistically about how to destroy our enemy, we worry about the political ramifications from voters and the media. Our leaders then make outrageous statements that ISIS has been "contained" by the small actions we take. This thinking is what's causing us to lose control of the Middle East. President Obama does not think like a general, but instead more like a lawyer.

When Obama withdrew from Iraq, he created a power vacuum that was filled by ISIS. The new government that was established was too weak to keep control of the country. The brutal truth is that U.S. forces should have remained there longer than they did. The Iraqi people have no memory or understanding of building democracies. That ideal is alien to them. That's why Saddam Hussein was such a successful (albeit disgusting) dictator. His kind of rule was necessary to avoid a loss of national order.

It is highly beneficial for the United States to impose leaders who answer to us rather than to western concepts that few people in that region understand and have little appreciation for. This could mean that we need to have dictators running regimes that will abuse human rights, but this worked in previous U.S. operations during the Cold War. If we did impose our own strongman to run Iraq, we wouldn't even be worried about a terrorist attack in Paris. An alternative option would be to divide the country over more ethnic lines.

Rather than bringing refugees from Syria here, which would divert American resources from citizens, we need to end the instability over there so that the Syrian people do not have to leave their homes. Opening our borders to refugees does nothing to solve the greater problem of national security. That's why I'm glad to see many governors (including my own) declare that there will be no refugees allowed to our country. In a column for The Boston Globe, Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson explained an even bigger problem when inviting fleeing refugees into Europe and the United States:
It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.
Many think tanks have put forward great guidelines as to how a war can be won against ISIS. Military experts Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute have posted an excellent blueprint for winning the war. Their strategy includes the acceptance that collateral damage will happen to take out enemy positions (the deaths of innocent civilians), the deployment of at least 10,000 U.S. troops to fight enemy combatants, and the removal of Bashar al-Assad as dictator of Syria.

What happens if we do nothing? Harleen Gambhir of the Institute for the Study of War has provided a simulation on what will happen if the current strategy is continued. They found that ISIS will likely continue to expand since so few nations are sending ground forces to oppose them. If we continue to avoid a confrontation with ISIS, then our strategic options will become more narrow in the future. Policymakers might begin to tolerate increasingly violent conflicts if continuous war in the Middle East becomes the norm. That's why we must launch ground operations now with a coalition of western forces. When we finally defeat them, it is important to establish regimes that are fundamentally pro-western and won't back down against Islamist insurgencies.

Finally, I want to address the constant speeches made by many leaders and celebrities after the attacks in Paris. While I applaud Hollande for the execution of more airstrikes against ISIS, his speech to the French people was full of the usual cliches you would hear from a politician. Obama's speech wasn't any better. Even worse was the Irish pop star Bono, who said that the terrorist attacks were an assault on music. It's times like these that one British politician put it best when addressing the House of Commons on June 4, 1940:

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...." - Winston Churchill

A man like Churchill is exactly what we need now.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Who Won the Democratic Debate on November 14?

Slate
In this debate, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley were in situations where they needed to drastically increase support if they wanted to take down Clinton. I don't think either of them did it, but they made some progress. I will not be surprised if Sanders' and O'Malley's poll numbers get a small boost after this debate, but otherwise the debate was uneventful.

Hillary Clinton didn't have a good performance, but it wasn't a bad performance either. However, Clinton made several mistakes during the debate when she was put under pressure by moderator John Dickerson or her two opponents. Her worst moment was invoking 9/11 to explain her many donations from Wall Street corporations. Her decision to not use the term "radical Islam" to describe ISIS was also a bad moment.

Bernie Sanders always excels among Democrats when discussing economy policy. He did it again this time by targeting income inequality and Wall Street. His past positions on firearm policy weren't as damaging this time as they were last time. Once again, Sanders decided to not attack Clinton for the email scandal. I don't think he did so well on foreign policy issues. Everyone knew the first topic of the night was going to be about the ISIS attack on Paris. Sanders simply gave his condolences to the French people before bashing the rich. It was an opportunity for him to show knowledge on foreign policy and he failed. Sanders didn't stride away from his usual self during the debate.

Martin O'Malley has been in the most problematic situation of the candidates due to low poll numbers. His performance during this debate was supposed to get voters to show that he is a true Democrat. I think a lot of Democrats will be looking into him after tonight (although it might not be to necessarily support him). He proudly gave his record as governor of Maryland and was competent with foreign policy questions. I think O'Malley's biggest problem is that he's going to need a debate performance like this every time there is a debate. This was a good start, but he won't be the next front-runner.

As a whole, I don't think this debate will lead to an erratic shift in the polls because every candidate seemed to fairly ordinary throughout the debate. There were many typical lines that are supposed to throw to excite the liberal base, but this debate wasn't really decisive.

Friday, November 13, 2015

CBS Democratic Debate Tomorrow

Des Moines Register
A Democratic debate will be on tomorrow hosted by CBS at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It is the second Democratic debate out of the six that have been organized. This comes after Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out of the race. There are now only three candidates running for the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley. The polls show Clinton with a strong lead nationally and in Iowa. Sanders is holding on to a narrow lead in New Hampshire.

The last debate was a big victory for Clinton. Her poll numbers had been falling rapidly before the first debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. After that performance, her poll numbers went up and she has amassed a large lead against Sanders. Clinton should focus on a positive message while attacking Republicans. If more questions come up about her past positions, she has to be prepared to give a quality response. She doesn't really have to win this debate, but just make sure he supporters stay content.

Many people thought that Sanders was really going to overtake Clinton before the last debate. Instead, his performance showed exactly why Clinton is so likely to win the nomination. He was weakened by attacks on his record over gun control and decided not to attack Clinton over the email scandal. It is important to remember that many Democrats believe that Clinton did nothing wrong, so Sanders decided to defend her. He won roaring applause, but that means he handed the former secretary of state a gift. Lately, he has been changing his tune. Sanders can raise awareness over the scandal, but he has to walk a very thin line. I heard he might attack Clinton over flip-flopping on past positions. That could work. At the same time, he needs to continue to win more liberals with his rhetoric and defend his gun record if it arises again.

Martin O'Malley needs to do everything he can to get more attention to his campaign. He should just go all out on throwing red meat to the Democratic base. Just give a positive vision that voters like and they will come to him. He can attack if he needs to, but he needs to be careful. If his performance is lame, then he is easily the next candidate to drop out.

As I type this post, a terrorist attack has struck Paris, France. I will be very interested in what the Democrats say about ISIS and their plans to fight it during the debate. This is an important time for the media to pick out what they want to do for national defense.

Who won the Republican Debate on September 10?

CNN
Obviously the most substantial debate was going to be in the great state of Wisconsin! That's why my state is so awesome. The moderators from Fox Business and The Wall Street Journal were terrific. In fact, there were more disagreements between the candidates when actually focusing on the issues compared to the last debate with CNBC's strategy to ask "gotcha" questions. I was able to get a lot more information out of this debate and I was able to see where the candidates clearly disagree since they focused on policy proposals.

Donald Trump's performance was very interesting. There were times when he did seem to get specific, mostly on immigration, but there were just as many times that he revealed his lack of depth on key issues. The TPP is the most infamous example. Trump didn't even know that China was not part of the trade deal. He also got booed by the audience for criticizing Carly Fiorina when she was making a point about defense policy against Rand Paul. For most of the night, Trump kept his same style. I wonder if voters are getting tired of it, but I see his performance as bad. On the Fox News Election HQ app, I got a +4 with him.

Ben Carson comes off unscathed from this debate. I knew the question about his background was going to come up because of the current media whirlwind and he responded to it perfectly. I also saw more energy from him even with his style. My only problem was that I thought Carson was still too vague along the same lines that Trump was. Not too good, but not too bad. I got a +4 with him.

I thought Marco Rubio won this debate. He continued to sound competent on topics regarding public policy and won a big exchange against Paul. During every question, he offered excellent knowledge about his policy proposals. He should get a medal for depth he provides when addressing attacks about things like tax credits and Hillary Clinton's past experience. I got a +6 with Rubio.

I scored the highest with Ted Cruz through this debate (a +7). Cruz was also very specific when handling questions regarding his tax program and the deficits it might cause. While I liked Rubio the most, Cruz comes in at a close second. A viewer can easily tell that he's compassionate about his views. I expect him and Rubio to get a bump in the polls.

Carly Fiorina had a decent night overall. I didn't find her points delivered as greatly as Rubio and Cruz, but she has succeeded at specifics where Carson and Trump have not. Trump's attack on Fiorina helped her. The audience seemed to really like her views about foreign policy and taxes. I got a +5 with her.

I can't remember much from Jeb Bush, who I scored a +4 with. He was certainly at the debate and performed a tad better than he did at the CNBC debate. At every debate, Bush hasn't seemed that comfortable when engaging other candidates. There were big opportunities when he could have jumped into the conversations about foreign policy and taxes, but he failed to do that. I still think his poll numbers will go down and the donors will become more concerned.

The two biggest losers of the night were John Kasich (+4) and Rand Paul (+1). Kasich was far more active at this debate than any previous debate that he was part of, but I don't think the Ohio governor resonates well with many Republicans in the audience. He seems almost too moderate. He got booed when discussing about bailing out the big banks in a back-and-forth with Cruz. Rand Paul was also more active, but it seemed to work against him. I don't think the only libertarian is going to win this year. The facts are that the larger conservative and moderate bases disagree with Paul's views on foreign policy.

As a whole, it was a great debate. I'm not 100 percent on what the polls will do, but I can't see Trump moving up after a few gaffes. Carson's will likely stay where they are. The problem is that many other candidates who are low in the polls also did well. I believe Rubio and Cruz will see their poll numbers rise, but it is possible that Fiorina's could. Bush, Kasich, and Paul will probably see their poll numbers fall or have no change in them.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fox Business Republican Debate Tomorrow

Fox 6
The Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal are hosting the next debate at the Milwaukee Theater. Like the last debate on CNBC, this debate is expected to be about economic policy. I am hoping, unlike CNBC's debate, that the moderators won't attempt to attack candidates with questions that are supposed to create gaffes. I do have more hope with who's hosting this debate. This debate is somewhat of a turning point for me. We are only a few months away from the Iowa caucus and what happens here and in the next debate could determine who the main candidates will be.

Donald J. Trump had his peak in the polls, but he still leads in most. As of now, he is just barely ahead of Ben Carson. If Trump comes out of this debate with a strong performance, then his chances of winning the Republican nomination do go up. Since the Donald's presidential announcement, I always believed that he was unlikely to win, but I never said that he could never win. Trump has been able to keep a nice lead in the polls, but it seems that his last performance did not help him. It is likely that voters will be paying attention closely to the next two debates. Trump will need to continue to make a powerful case for his policies, but also think that he needs to be more specific and answer more directly.

This is a critical moment for Ben Carson. The current controversy in the media is about his past and regards moments in his life that he wrote about in past books that didn't seem to actually happen. I want to wait for further examination before making my own judgement. I do expect the moderators to address it at this debate. I think Carson will be prepared if the question comes up. Aside from that, his style is still very successful like Trump's is. What Carson has to do is appear competent when discussing policy and provide a little excitement to tip the polls in his absolute favor.

Many people believe that Marco Rubio won the last debate and he has increased in the polls, but he needs to continue to have moments like the last debate. His polls numbers are not good enough to give him a win. Rubio's arguments always seemed specific, powerful, and charismatic. I think many Republicans love him, but love Trump and Carson more. Rubio really needs to shine during this debate if he wants to join the two front-runners. A boring performance has the potential to kill his campaign.

Ted Cruz is right behind Rubio in the polls. Like the Florida senator, Cruz had a great performance at the last debate, but he needs to keep doing what he's doing. I don't think that's a problem for him since he always is articulate. Cruz needs to outshine Trump, Carson, and Rubio if he wants to become a front-runner. Like with Rubio, I think a lot of Republicans like Cruz (although moderates might seem him as too ideological), but he has to do do something that will make the Tea Party embrace him.

Carly Fiorina has been on the decline and the CNBC debate didn't help her. If she wants to get back on top, I think she needs to continue to focus attacks on Hillary Clinton and press on issues that affect women. She also needs to make a conservative case for her candidacy. I'm convinced that the reason she has fallen in the polls is because many in the conservative online media have dug into her past and found that she isn't as conservative as she might seem. It might help to hit the chord that Trump has.

The polls are not looking so good for the two establishment favorites. Jeb Bush has continued to decline and John Kasich never received widespread support. Jeb Bush needs to work on everything with his style and tone. He seems very boring and that's not what voters want. He need to be compassionate and provide Republicans with an exciting campaign. Kasich also needs to work on those problems. His aggressiveness at the last debate didn't make his candidacy convincing. Anger is okay, but only to if you do it right.

Finally, I do not see much hope for Rand Paul. He can't continue with the same libertarian rhetoric that his father used in 2012 and 2008. It simply doesn't work. In many ways his position is more precarious than that of Bush's and Kasich's. Paul should be confrontational. I think he needs to go more positive and get the audience's attention. It's not just making good points, but how you make the those points. Paul needs to work on charisma if he wants any sign of life.

Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie will not be in the next debate because they did not meet the 2.5 percent polling requirement. This was based on an average of several recent polls. They will join Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal for an early debate. The other Republican candidates did not make the cut to enter the minor debate.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Is Ben Carson Electable?

Carson at the CNBC debate -  Breitbart
The Republican Party clearly has a second front-runner to oppose Donald Trump. That man is Dr. Ben Carson and he is now leading in the Iowa RealClearPolitics average. For the first time in his campaign, he now leads in the national average as well. With his poll numbers so high, I think it's time to see if Carson is an electable candidate against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. I looked into Trump's electability months ago, but I plan to look at his poll numbers again since Clinton's email scandal.

Here's the latest polls that put Carson against Clinton:

Quinnipiac University (10/29-11/2): Carson 50%, Clinton 40% - Carson +10
NBC/WSJ (10/25-10/29): Carson 47%, Clinton 47% - Tie
CNN/ORC (10/14-10/17): Carson 48%, Clinton 47% - Carson +1
Fox News (10/10-10/12): Carson 50%, Clinton 39% - Carson +11
Public Policy Polling (10/1-10/4): Carson 48%, Clinton 44% - Carson +4

These polls can be found on the RCP national average for a general election match-up between the doctor and the former secretary of state. In the average, Carson has 48.6 percent and Clinton has 43.8 percent. From these polls, we can easily tell that he is an electable candidate. He reaches half the country in two of the polls, which shows that Republicans and independents are both supporting him. Carson's electability case is sound and he doesn't have to worry about strategic voters rejecting him.

What Carson needs to prove is that he can understand detailed public policy on everything from taxes to national defense. His style (to be calm and cool) is very popular right now with many Republicans. Like Trump, he needs to focus on specific policy proposals. He has outlined several at the moment, but they must be explained clearly and competently. If he does, then he can shoot for the stars. He is probably planning to do that for the next debate in Milwaukee. I want everyone to remember that recent news reports have come out concerning past events that Carson wrote about in some of his books. Since this controversy has just bubbled, no new polls have been published.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lessons from the 2015 Canadian Election

Justin Trudeau - Time
While the polls were way off in the United Kingdom, they were deadly accurate in Canada. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party won a big election victory last month. The victory is so big that they have won enough seats to form a majority on their own. Here are the results:
  • Liberal Party (Justin Trudeau) - 184 (+148)
  • Conservative Party (Stephen Harper) - 99 (-60)
  • New Democratic Party (Tom Mulcair) - 44 (-51)
  • Bloc Québécois (Gilles Duceppe) - 10 (+8)
  • Green Party (Elizabeth May) - 1 (-1)
In the last three general elections, the Conservatives won because the votes on the left were split between the Liberals and the New Democrats. He was able to convince more voters on the left to vote for him by offering important promises that can rally the base. For example, they promised to run deficit spending to bring more economic prosperity and they wanted to reform the election system. The campaign for the New Democrats collapsed from issues regarding the niqab. It was ruled in Canadian courts that the niqab could be worn during citizenship ceremonies by Muslims. Tom Mulcair decided to support the judicial decision, but that hurt his support in the Quebec suburbs where the party was strongest. This led most New Democrat voters to flock to the Liberals.

The move of voters on the left from supporting the New Democrats to supporting the Liberals was clear in the polls. The Liberals won 39.47 percent of the votes, followed by the Conservatives with 31.89 percent, and the New Democrats with 19.71 percent. With the election over, many people are wondering what American political parties can learn from their northern counterparts. I think there are many things to analyze.

One of the reasons the Liberal campaign was so successful was because it focused on a positive vision for Canada. The campaigns made by the Conservatives and the New Democrats were more divisive. No one says negative attack ads can't be powerful, but they should not be the main subject of a campaign. A great campaign tells voters what the candidate and the party wants to do in order to move forward. While Harper had a limited path to victory that depended on a split between voters on the left, Trudeau prepared and worked hard on his message of moderate liberalism. When the niqab issue arose, the Conservatives hoped to take voters from the New Democrats. The problem was that it turned off moderates.

Some people are arguing that the Liberal victory in Canada should worry conservatives and Republicans in the United States. Sean Kennedy, a CNN contributor, argues that conservatives in America should be more cautious over certain issues. Stephen Harper was a successful prime minister. He enacted tax reductions and achieved a balanced budget. The problem was that he engaged in issues that can be divisive. For political campaigns on both sides, dividing voters should not be a way to win. It's also important to remember that our election will not be identical to Canada's, but we use our neighbors as an example of what works to win elections.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Blog's 1 Year Anniversary

On November 1, 2014, I started this blog because I enjoyed discussions over politics and history. It's cool to see how much my blog has grown since I first created it. Here's some cool stats for all of you to see:

Total Views: 7,163 as of typing this post

Best Month: August 2015 (1,361 views)

Worst Month: February 2015 (214 views)

Most Viewed Posts

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  • Linux - 2% (184 views)

Why Everyone should love "Trickle-Down Economics"

Ronald Reagan - The Telegraph
Hillary Clinton loves to bash "trickle-down economics" as a way to keep getting left-wing support, but I'm curious how many people have actually studied President Ronald Reagan's economic program adequately. In this post, I'm going to explain why the 1980s were an awesome time to be part of the American economy and refute the constant attacks Clinton and other Democrats make on Reagan's policies.

One of the biggest reasons Reagan's supply-side policies were so popular was because they had previously been attempted successfully in the 1960s by Democrats and in the 1920s by Republicans. Reagan, who went from being a Democrat to a Republican, was using history to revive the American economy again. In those two previous decades of massive economic growth, marginal tax rates were significantly reduced. It made sense to do it again. During the 1970s, the consensus among economists was typical Keynesian demand-side strategy, but that was failing them. The decade was plagued by stagflation (rising unemployment and inflation), which was thought to be impossible.

In 1981, President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA). The tax bill would reduce the top income tax rate from 70 percent to 50 percent and the bottom income tax rate from 14 percent to 11 percent. The capital gains tax rate was cut from 28 percent to 20 percent and all working taxpayers were allowed to establish individual retirement accounts (IRAs). From the wealthiest to the poorest, all taxpayers saw a reduction in the percentage that they paid to the federal government. Additionally, taxes would be indexed to inflation starting in 1985 to end the "bracket creep" hell on the middle class that had become so devastating.

You don't know what bracket creep is? No problem, here's a simple example. Let's say you are making $50,000 and your tax rate is 15 percent. Over a decade, inflation would double your income to $100,000 and now you are paying an income tax rate of 25 percent. You didn't become richer in any real terms, but the government now has more money from you. This is exactly what happened during the decade of stagflation. In January 1971, inflation was at 5.3 percent, but in January 1975 it was at 11.8 percent, and in January 1980 it was at 13.9 percent. Unemployment wasn't as bad as it was during the Great Depression, but even the hardest of workers found it difficult to feed their families. Today, we don't have to worry about that problem thanks to the Gipper!

Ending bracket creep alone should make people love trickle-down economics, but if that isn't enough then I will go into the details about the tax cuts. ERTA, a 25 percent across-the-board tax cut, was going to be phased-in over three years. Economist Arthur B. Laffer, one of Reagan's chief economic advisers, has described how it worked. The first 5 percent of the tax cut would be enacted in 1981, the second 10 percent cut would be implemented in 1982, and the final 10 percent cut would happen in 1983. Since inflation would not be indexed until 1985, you could argue that the tax cut was technically 23.05 percent and not 25 percent as it was on paper. Nevertheless, it is still a sizable reduction and it worked. Just look at the employment-to-population ratio:

Laffer Center
There is no reason to believe that supply-side economics (or "trickle-down" economics if you prefer to use Clinton's terminology) is the primary reason for income inequality when it lead to massive growth in job creation. Reducing taxes leads to a large increase in available capital for the private economy. There is now a higher incentive to work and invest more, which many people did during the 1980s. Businesses could expand and hire more employees. Wealthy taxpayers that who hid their money in tax shelters returned it to the economy since the tax rates were much lower. The economy roared under Reagan's presidency once the tax cut was fully implemented. The situation was even better when he signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which simplified the code and brought the top income tax rate way down to 28 percent. Just look at the growth figures for the gross domestic product:

Laffer Center

According to a Cato Institute policy analysis by economists William A. Niskanen and Stephen Moore, the economic expansion caused by ERTA lasted for 92 months. It is one of the longest expansions in our country's economic history. Everyone felt the power of this economy. Median household incomes increased by $4,000 during the Reagan years, a clear reversal from little growth made during the previous eight years. In terms of real family income, the poorest fifth of the population saw an increase of 6 percent from 1981 to 1989. Compare that to a decrease of 5 percent in the eight years before his presidency. As for inflation, the Federal Reserve under Paul Volcker decided to reduce the money supply and raise interest rates. By January 1983, inflation was at a tiny 3.7 percent and the Fed returned to a money expansion after their triumph. Doesn't sound like the poor were getting killed to me. 

If anything, the rich were the ones getting showered with taxes during the 1980s. According a report by the Joint Economic Committee, the income tax burden on the richest 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers had their burden decrease from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988. The reason for this goes back to the argument I made earlier about incentives. A lot of capital owned by the wealthy in the 1980s was moved from tax shelters to the economy. This means they have to report more taxable income. The poor don't have the means to hide what little wealth they have, but the rich do. If you want the rich to pay more, then encourage them to stop hiding income they already have with armies of lawyers and accountants.

Obviously there is more to supply-side economics than just tax cuts. Less red tape on businesses and monetary stability are also factors, but I'm focusing on taxes in this post because it is what Democrats like Clinton focus on when they say "trickle-down" economics failed. Yet as they continue to make that statement, they are ignoring overwhelming evidence that the 1980s was a great time for everyone and has transformed the debate about taxes. I don't even think Bernie Sanders is going to propose tax rates at 70 percent or higher. When Clinton's husband was president, his income tax increase in 1993 was not a return to the tax rates before Reagan. Bill Clinton actually signed his own tax reductions as well, particularly on capital gains taxes.

It is tax reductions, not tax increases, that decrease income inequality because it gives the poor and middle class more income for them to use as they like. A paper from the Brookings Institute has examined an how much income inequality would be reduced if the top income tax rate was raised to 50 percent and all new revenue from the hike would be transferred to the bottom fifth of the American population. They conclude that such a large tax increase wouldn't even make a dent to the Gini coefficient, a primary metric used the measure income inequality. Rather than simply dumping money on people who've become dependent on government assistance, I propose we give them the means to become independent and self-reliant in our country. Let's have them use their own money to become successful, not money from others. That's why every Republican candidate agrees that taxes need to be lowered.

Stop Export-Import Bank

Freedomworks
I'm happy to see that there has been a recent bipartisan effort to stop the reauthorization one of the biggest forms of corporate welfare in the country. That corporate welfare is called Export-Import Bank, which gives loans to foreign companies to buy American goods and services. It is another example of government waste and sends tax dollars out of our own country. It is not currently in operation, but some Democrats and Republicans are trying to revive it while others are moving to stop it.

Ex-Im Bank was originally established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression in order to boost trade with the Soviet Union (nothing like making money off a regime that killed millions of people). Even though the Soviets are gone, the policy isn't. By law, it has to be reauthorized every four to five years. It is not currently in operation because the last vote only continued it until June 30, 2015. Let's hope it stays that way.

In an article from USA Today, former Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio explained why Ex-Im Bank should stay dead:
While it began as a New Deal-era program with good intentions, the Ex-Im Bank has become a slush fund for a handful of well-connected megacorporations. Efforts to reform the bank, including one by Kucinich in 2002, have ended in disappointment.
The bank has also failed to comply with reforms that are on the books. Additionally, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigations have uncovered that the bank is rampant with potential fraud and abuse. The bank's inspector general is investigating 31 cases, with one indictment and more possible.
Today, Ex-Im funds support only 2% of U.S. exports. The vast majority of exporters find their funding elsewhere.
Genevieve Wood, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has published a commentary about how unfair the law is. She uses the airline industry as an example. While Delta Airlines has to buy planes at full price from Boeing, Air China gets a loan at a nice discount rate to purchase planes for the same price. Problems like these have cost the United States 7,500 jobs in the domestic airlines industry. Other research by economists Robert L. Beekman and Brian T. Kench of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University concludes that Export-Import Bank is a loss for the U.S. economy because it mostly supports a few large corporations that amounted to only 0.198 percent of total exports ($4.48 billion out of $2.26 trillion) and creates inefficiency in the market. In both small economy and large economy models, there is a distortion from Ex-Im Bank.

Even the government itself seems to be against the law. A report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) refuted a claim by those who work at the Export-Import Bank who say it will save the federal government $14 billion over ten years. The CBO finds that it would actually cost the federal government $2 billion over that same period using the alternate form of fair value accounting and has criticized Ex-Im Bank for using accounting practices that do not reflect risk.

The research is clearly shows that this form of corporate welfare must stay dead. The upcoming battles over the program could lead to a new age of reducing welfare for corporations that don't need any and should be forced to play fairly with competitors. The stand must start now.