Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Horrible Case of Media Bias

Katie Couric is a renowned journalist who has worked for multiple media corporations. Currently, she is the host of Yahoo News and is a 2004 inductee in the Television Hall of Fame. As a member of the media, she has a job to report stories accurately regardless of her own political views. Unfortunately for her, recent reports on a documentary focusing on gun policy have proven that she has failed that task shamelessly.

Couric served as an executive producer and narrator to the upcoming documentary Under the Gun. It was created by gun control activist Stephanie Soechting. It's one thing to create a film that advocates political views. It's another to deceive viewers of your opponents. That's exactly what happened, according to a report published by Stephen Gutowski of The Washington Free Beacon. In the documentary, Couric asks the question to gun owners and members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?" The gun activists respond silently with no response. Here's the footage:

The problem with this documentary is that it was edited to hide the true response of the gun owners. They did give a response, which you can find in the audio of the interview:

David French, an attorney and staff writer at National Review, recommends that Couric be fired for her actions. I agree with his views. Media organizations should want credible individuals to be the faces of their programs. Couric is not a credible journalist, so Yahoo News must get rid of her as a host if it wants to maintain itself as a serious organization. Their actions should be watched closely. If they choose to do nothing, then they risk viewers who are proponents of gun owners. This could damage a company that has been financially weakened, so they better make the smart choice.

Could Clinton Lose by Herself?

No one can deny that Hillary Clinton has serious problem with honesty. Polls consistently show her with high net unfavorable ratings. Only Donald Trump has a worse rating, but that could change depending on the media coverage of her infamous email server. Everyone knows the scandal: Clinton used a private email server rather than one from the State Department. She claims it was for the purpose of simplicity, but most believe she has something to hide in relation to her actions during the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya and donations within the Clinton Global Foundation.

A report from the State Department has been published that will give the former secretary of state more trouble during the election. The report, created by the State Department's inspector general, reveals that Clinton and her associates did not respond to requests for an interview. If she has nothing to hide, then why didn't she participate? John Kerry, the current secretary of state, agreed to the interview. Former Secretaries Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice also agreed to be interviewed. The report, as expected, found that she violated State Department policies and went further than her predecessors with the use of a private server.

Trump is now calling the likely Democratic nominee "Crooked Hillary" because of her actions. I think this nickname will stick with his supporters, but more importantly some independents who are undecided. The challenge for Clinton's campaign is how to defend against the mounting attacks. She originally said that she violated no rules, but that argument is unraveling. The new defense of saying that her predecessors did it before does not justify wrong actions.

This leads to the question of criminal charges, which are up in the air. A motive is needed and the FBI does not believe there is evidence for that at the moment. They need proof that her actions to hide information was intentional and that she knew the emails on her private server were classified. Yet conviction might not be necessary to sap the Democratic Party from victory in November. There are two questions that matter:

1. Do voters care enough about her dishonesty?
2. Will Trump's high negatives remain trouble for him?

Trump briefly led Clinton in the RCP poll average following his unity efforts, but now she holds a narrow lead over him. The next few weeks will be very important because the Clinton campaign has to decide how they will frame her conduct while in the Obama administration. A bad misstep can swipe victory away from her.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Brexit Campaign Remains Divisive

The polls show that the campaign over Britain's membership in the European Union is tightening and there's still many people who remain undecided. A YouGov poll shows the Remain campaign with 44 percent and the Vote Leave campaign with 40 percent. According to those who worked the poll, the referendum might come down to demographics. If more older voters show up, then it is more likely that the vote to leave the EU wins. If more younger voters take part, then the results are likely to favor those who want to remain.

Within London, most voters overwhelmingly support EU membership. This makes sense. London isn't only the United Kingdom's capital, but also a global financial center. Most businesspeople believe that the money markets will react negatively to departing the European Union. Throughout the rest of England and Wales, there is a narrow lead among those who favor Brexit. Scotland, however, favors EU membership.

Last month, President Barack Obama intervened in British politics and said that it would be a mistake for the British to leave the European Union in relation to issues like trade. His remarks have had no effect. Instead, the leaders of both campaigns are throwing Hitler and ISIS at each other. President Donald Tusk of the European Union said former London Mayor Boris Johnson's (the Conservative leader of the Brexit campaign) promises are similar to those made by the infamous German dictator. Prime Minister David Cameron said that Vladimir Putin and ISIS would be happy if the UK left the European Union. With the polls tightening, expect British politicians to continue slinging the mud.

Everything isn't negative. If rigorous statements on GDP and foreign affairs don't work, Cameron has other ways to connect with voters. He has recently claimed that travel prices for Britons would skyrocket if the country left the EU because of a falling Pound Sterling. Johnson and the Vote Leave campaign are fighting back with rhetoric on immigration and regulation from the EU. Cameron is also facing the difficulty of keeping Conservatives united as the Brexit debate continues to create a divergence in his party. Most MPs in the Conservative Party remain favorable towards the European Union, but there is a strong group that opposes it as well. While the Conservatives are contracting, historians are uniting. Over 300 British historians signed an open letter warning that Britain's role in the world will diminish if it leaves the European Union.

With the race maintaining close margins, anything is possible in the final month (the referendum is on June 23). There will be debates held and the campaigns will spend millions on messaging and voting efforts. To give you an idea of how close the election may be, the Austrians just voted in their presidential election. Alexander van der Bellen, a politician who supports allowing Syrian refugees into his country, won with only 50.35 percent of the vote. His opponent, Norbert Hofer, gathered 49.65 percent of all votes counted and opposed opening the borders to more refugees. It is possible that Europe will be seeing elections and refrendums with similar results over the next several years. The Syrian crisis, combined with a poor economy, could shatter the post-World War II consensus depending on if anti-establishment parties make real gains in government.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Future be Damned, Bet on History!

For those who aren't interested in gaming (or have, but have been living under a rock for the last several weeks), there's quite a contrast out there between upcoming games for the Call of Duty franchise and the Battlefield franchise. I'll just leave the trailers for both games right here:

The makers of the game, Infinity Ward and Treyarch, are continuing to go with the future and science fiction even though they try to spin it differently. I'll be honest, the last Call of Duty game I purchased was Advanced Warfare (though I have played Black Ops III). Both were games that took place in the future, but not necessarily too far in the future. The latest installment, titled Infinite Warfare, is clearly way ahead in time with the addition of space battles and fighting on other planets (the clear highlights of the game). It would be foolish of me to ignore the obvious reaction:

Infinity Ward and Treyarch should be a little worried. There is a clear disapproval from the gaming community. Compare that to EA DICE's and Visceral Game's Battlefield: One trailer:

Rather than go hundreds of years into the future, we're being taken 100 years back to 1916 during the First World War. There are no spaceships and planets, but instead zeppelins and trenches. I'll be honest, I've never played a Battlefield game, but I'm aware of the Hardline series with the focus on law enforcement and Battlefield 4 taking place in a modern era. The new game with its very clever title goes back before World War II, which put both franchises on the map. That's one of the most important parts of the game to me. They aren't going back to the basics of where they got started, but a whole new direction. The response has been terrific:

So what's with all this dislike towards Infinite Warfare? I think it's mainly the setting. People love history and find it more fascinating than the future. Few games have come out about World War I, which in many ways was more significant than World War II. It's a clash of the old and the new. Armies at the time had access to modern industrial technology, but were trained with old tactics and wore outdated uniforms at the start. Monarchs and aristocrats led young men into the battlefields while fervors of nationalism and socialism boiled at home. It marked the end of the peaceful Edwardian era and started a gruesome conflict that would last for four long years, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I think many people today are curious about different periods in history. They don't just want to see film and read books about wars, they want to understand the true experience. Gaming has offered a simulation. It's as close as you're going to get unless a time machine is built.

People don't hate futuristic games or science fiction. Look at EA's Star Wars: Battlefront, Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation, and Bethesda's Fallout 4. These games are widely popular, but I think there's an easy explanation for that. They come from franchises that are all about science fiction. Who doesn't know Star Wars? The Fallout series has been out for decades and gamers know that it features post-apocalyptic role play. Also, Fallout games don't come out on a yearly basis like Call of Duty does. I think there is one main argument you can make for the opposition to Infinite Warfare. In my view, gamers see too much science fiction, which I think is oversaturated with Call of Duty. Games about wars in the past take Battlefield back to its roots. History is the ultimate alternative to the future and there aren't many big franchise first person shooters on World War I.

In all fairness, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare might be a great game. It's not like no one is interested in it, although you can never be sure about sales with the anger in the gaming community. Erik Kain of Forbes posted a good article on the matter that I agree with. I don't think the reaction to the trailer was about how the gameplay will be. Rather, I think the dislike en masse was on what it is about. I think gamers have been longing for more historic shooters for a while. EA DICE and Visceral Games have answered that call. Activision and Infinity Ward have not.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Venezuelan Nightmare

On May 13, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela declared a state of emergency in his struggling socialist South American country. If you think Brazil's problems are terrible, then you haven't been reading on Venezuela lately. Inflation is skyrocketing, the economy is plunging, food is running out, and blackouts are becoming a scary norm. Pressure is building to push Maduro out of office in response to rising breadlines and poor support from the government's command economy. The news coming out of the country has many worried about the Venezuelan people. It's another example of the failures of socialism. So, how did the country get to where it is today?

On March 5, 2013, President Hugo Chávez passed away at the age of fifty-eight after ruling Venezuela since 1999. The only interruption to his tenure as president was a failed coup d'état in 2002 led by anti-government demonstrators and some in the military. The United States was allegedly involved. The rebel government was only in power for one day before Chávez struck back with his large loyalist force and support from Fidel Castro in Cuba. His talents as an orator kept him popular with most of his people (or at least enough to remain president). A day after his death, the leftist website Salon celebrated the Venezuelan "economic miracle" with an article published by business writer David Sirota:
When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on. 
For a flamboyant ideologue like Chavez, that meant him being seen by the transnational elite as much more than an insignificant rogue leader of a relatively small country. He came to be seen as a serious threat to the global system of corporate capitalism.
Sirota cites growth in the gross domestic product, decreases in infant morality, and rises in college enrollment as an example of success. But one of the key indicators of success is if such prosperity continues in the long run. For Chávez's model of democratic socialism, time has run out. This article would be almost comical if it weren't for the suffering of Venezuelan people. For those unfortunate souls, Venezuela is a nightmare rather than a miracle.

As is the case with other socialist models, Chávez and Maduro made large state investments while cementing power with a new authoritarian regime that profited off the backs of the people. Faulty economic policy involved price and currency controls to guarantee the poor afford everything from medicine to toilet paper. This became a problem for businesses, who had to sell goods under market levels. The high cost of production led companies to draw back on the number goods created. These conditions put Venezuela on a downward spiral. The government has been forced to go on a printing spree with the supply of money, yet the budget remains in disarray. Manufacturers are being jailed for buying needed goods off the black market and sick people can't purchase prescription drugs in pharmacies. Maduro has ordered that schools be closed on Fridays to save money. Some parents don't bother to send their kids to school anymore. Instead, they're sent off to find food for their families.

There is rapid crime and looting on the streets. Markets are quickly running out of food. Few people can afford whatever is left on the shelves. Riots are breaking out to fight for the remaining food. The only other option for many people is to turn to hunting in the streets and eating pets. This is quite difficult without lights to see. At best, Venezuela's cities look like Paris under the rule of King Louis XVI. At worst, they look like New York City in Tom Clancy's The Division.

The healthcare system is in dire shape. An article by Nicholas Casey of The New York Times describes what Venezuelans go through on a day-to-day basis. That infant morality rate touted by Sirota several years ago is starting to climb back up. From 2012 to 2015, the rate rose from 0.02 percent to 2 percent. People awaiting surgery are constantly delayed due to the lack of equipment. Those who are too weak die before they receive any treatment. Basic necessities like soap, gloves, and water are disappearing from many hospitals. The only incubators and scanners left are broken. Hallways are overflowing with patients who have no beds. The people occupying these halls are desperate.

These are the victims of a system that has taken too many from the world. It's hard to imagine any worst example of economic development than a county that can't even provide food. I pray for the future of Venezuela. Hopefully, they find a brighter path in the future in good time before the window closes and anarchy spreads.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sanders has Greek Complaceny

Bernie Sanders may have won West Virginia, but it is still clear to everyone that he's bound to lose the Democratic nomination. I think one of the reasons the 2016 election is lost for Sanders is because of his lousy economic proposals. I don't support Clinton because I think she will bring more of the same, but Sanders would put the United States in a colossal collapse.

Last year, businessman Peter G. Peterson (who heads a fiscally conservative research foundation that bears his name) published an article about the problems with Greece's financial situation and how it relates to the United States. He notes the advantages my country has over Greece. The U.S. is economically stronger than a small nation in the Balkans, which buys time. Peterson cites the Congressional Budget Office's projections for the national debt. As of now, our fiscal path cannot continue because our national debt will match our gross domestic product by 2040. No one is asking to balance the budget next year, but politicians and voters need to step up and ensure that solutions are initiated now rather than later when public spending cuts will be more painful.

Fortunately, Sanders has been rejected by the Democrats. In one blog post, I cited several economists from a wide range of political ideologies who oppose him. Now another study has come out that analyzes his tax and spending proposals. If you go to his website, you might find a page that tries to explain how Sanders would pay for vast expansions of government spending on entitlements, infrastructure, green energy, education, and healthcare. Basically, there is a plan to raise taxes or close different deductions for each item of spending.

The problem for Sanders, as the study from the Tax Policy Center finds, is that those new taxes fall very short of maintaining fiscal responsibility. According to economists Leonard E. Burman, Frank Sammartino, and Gordon B. Mermin, the Sanders plan would add $18 trillion to federal budget deficits over the next ten years. A plan that fiscally irresponsible could cause interest rates to spike, which would worsen America's economic growth.

We don't have to worry about Bernie Sanders as our president anymore, but now the step is to find someone who will find a way to balance the budget. The means reforming entitlements and limiting the growth of government. Hillary Clinton looks unlikely to do it while Donald Trump emphasizes "waste, fraud, and abuse" within government programs. Yet Trump is going to need more than that to set us on the right path. His tax cuts are so large that more spending cuts will be needed to achieve a balanced budget. He wants to raise revenue with tariffs, but that threatens the economy another recession. The next four years look grim, so Americans might have to wait until 2020 to get a true fiscal conservative. Thank God we don't have to worry about this:

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Showdown in Wisconsin's 1st District

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at Georgetown University
Paul Ryan was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 representing Wisconsin's first district. A native of Janestown in Rock County, he has become a star in the Republican Party. He chaired the House Budget Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee because of his hard work and interest in fiscal issues. Mitt Romney picked him to be his candidate for vice president in the 2012 presidential election. He reluctantly became the speaker of the House following John Boehner's decision to retire. It's a difficult job that has opened him up to harsh criticism from many other conservatives. He's now in a fierce political fight against challenger Paul Nehlen in the primary for his House seat.

Many other Republican incumbents have received challenges in primaries, but Ryan is a target of many Donald Trump supporters. He recently said that he's "not ready" to support Trump for the presidency. Ryan, like several conservatives, is reasonably concerned about the past political positions of the presumptive GOP nominee. The response was outrage from the Donald's voters who immediately chided him as an establishment sellout. Nehlen, the vice president of operations at Neptune-Benson (a water installation company with a headquarters in Beaver Dam), has said that Ryan "betrayed" conservatives by targeting a secure border (which Ryan can't pass due to a Democratic president) and supporting free trade (which I have debunked last month as weak arguments made by protectionist shills).

It is too early to say who will win the primary, but I put my money on Ryan right now. Contrary to the views of Trump supporters, Ryan has made efforts to change Washington and prevent a fiscal disaster. Unfortunately, his plan to deal with the entitlement crisis was attacked by Democrats as policies that would throw grandma off the cliff. He has also proposed new innovative policies to tackle poverty and reduce the weight carried by the federal government to the states. I expect strong campaigning on both sides. For those who don't know, the first district extends from Kenosha County to the eastern parts of Rock County. It encompasses all of Walworth County and includes southern communities in Waukesha County and Milwaukee County like Muskego, Greenfield, and Oak Creek.

The race could be decisive for Ryan or closer than we expect. Just go to the results from the primary. Trump won Kenosha County and Rock County, which actually makes it seem easy because it looks like Ryan carries the rest. The problem is how to identify supporters of Ted Cruz. I expect supporters of John Kasich to rally behind Ryan, but Cruz's voters in Wisconsin were a wide range of Republicans who hated Trump. It isn't clear how many of them are against Ryan (Cruz has had his battles with GOP leadership) or how many are for him. Ryan's also having more pressure put on him from Tea Party activist and former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who has endorsed Nehlen. Palin plans to campaign throughout the district before the primary is held and is already declaring Ryan's political career "over."

The campaign between Ryan and Nehlen is another example of civil war within the Republican Party. It achieved great electoral victories in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, but Trump's decision to not unify the party undermines a victory in 2016. Trump makes it look like the only people who opposed him were party leaders, but tell that to over 14 million Republican voters who went for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and others. The divide in the GOP will rage throughout the primaries and (hopefully) end with the 2016 election.

British Conservatives Content with Local Elections

Cameron and his wife voted in the 2016 local elections
The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom has marched on to another victory ahead of Brexit and after their historic upset in the general election last year. Elections for local councils were held on May 5. Little changed in England, where both the Conservatives and the Labour Party lost council seats to the Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party. The story of night, however, is in Scotland. While the Scottish National Party remained ahead (though lost the majority), the Conservatives came out ahead of the Labour Party in a traditionally center-left region. Labour also missed out on winning a majority in the Welsh Assembly election.

These results are excellent news for Prime Minister David Cameron. He has been under fire lately for the Panama papers scandal, which had the potential to ruin his credibility and cause a horrible Conservative defeat in the elections. Cameron handled the problem very well and it showed in the elections. The elections also sent a message of support for the current budget. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, a possible successor of Cameron, created a budget that would reduce more spending and lower some taxes on rates like personal income and capital gains. Overall, it is on track to help the Conservative government reach their balanced budget goal in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Cameron's party didn't perform spectacularly, but he can look at the results with a positive outlook. He did just that when he gave a quick speech to Conservative voters:

It's bad news for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. Corbyn, a socialist, has pivoted his party to the left following their defeat last year. His first efforts to regain what has been lost have failed for now. Scotland is critical to win because without it the Labour Party cannot win a general election. Yet policy proposals like a 50 percent top income tax rate were not appealing to the voters. The results are not encouraging for him:

Scottish Parliament - 65 seats for a majority

Scottish National Party - 63 (-6)
Conservative Party - 31 (+16)
Labour Party - 24 (-13)
Green Party - 6 (+4)
Liberal Democrats - 5 (+/-)

Corbyn's party does not lead the opposition in Scotland anymore. The Conservatives will fill that new role. There are mixed views from Labour politicians. Some have said the results were good because they showed improvement within the party. A few have said that Labour is better than it was because it didn't lose as badly as it was expected to. Others are disappointed and have argued that small losses are not good enough. They want Labour to be making gains. Ian Murry, a Labour shadow minister, even said that the party is "not credible" under Corbyn's leadership. I expect the new Labour leader to continue his role, but he cannot have more slip-ups that diminish electoral confidence if he wants to be prime minister.

Nicola Sturgeon, the popular leader of the Scottish National Party, continues to remain on top after celebrating the "historic" victory. It's the SNP's third victory in a row. The only problem is that her party lost the majority they had from the 2011 election. Sturgeon will have to form a coalition in order to continue governing or just lead her party in the minority (no one sees the Conservatives, Labour Party, Greens, and Liberal Democrats teaming up for a coalition). Nevertheless, she is right to call the win historic. It shows that nationalism in western politics is continuing to brew. I don't think an independence referendum is likely in the near future, but the tone of debates in the Scottish Parliament is going to change. In debates between Labour and the SNP, it was simply about who would initiate the best leftist policies for the people. Now there will be debates with the center-right Conservatives. It really is a change for the Scots in the next several years.

In Northern Ireland, the center-right Democratic Unionist Party will continue to be the largest political party in the region. They were followed by the left-wing nationalist Sinn Fein in second and the Ulster Unionist Party, another ideologically center-right organization. As of now, the unionists on the right will remain ahead of the nationalists on the left:

Northern Ireland Assembly - 55 seats for a majority

Democratic Unionist Party - 38 (+/-)
Sinn Fein - 28 (-1)
Ulster Unionist Party - 16 (+/-)
Social Democratic and Labour Party - 12 (-2)
Alliance - 8 (+/-)
Green Party - 2 (+1)
People Before Profit - 2 (+2)
Traditional Unionist Voice - 1 (+/-)
Independents -1 (-1)

Another important election was held for the mayor of London. The Labour Party's Sadiq Khan has become the first Muslim mayor of the UK's capital. In a time when Europe is getting torn apart over refugee migration from the Middle East, Khan can help cool the temperature. He is a non-Islamist secular Muslim who has voted in favor of gay marriage, but he does have some skeletons in his past when it comes to links to Muslim extremists. Khan doesn't seem to be an extremist, but I think it is entirely fair to ask questions about his conduct when dealing with Islamist groups and attending Islamist events. British leftists often just branded these questions as "racist," but I do it is entirely fair to ask about a politician's past when he or she is running for public office. I think Khan's actions will be watched across Europe and in the United States. Everyone is wondering if he will bring harmony or tension to the international debate.

Friday, May 6, 2016

If the Election was Today

My current prediction - 270toWin
The map above is my current prediction for the 2016 presidential election. This is based off the current RealClearPolitics average, which shows that Hillary Clinton currently has 47.3 percent and Donald Trump has 40.8 percent. That's a margin of 6.5 percent. It's worse than Mitt Romney's margin of defeat in 2012, but better than John McCain's margin in 2008. Overall, it would be a very bad night for the Republicans in an election where they had a good chance to win. Not only is the presidency in jeopardy, but Trump also puts the Republican Senate majority at risk. GOP incumbents face elections in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. Marco Rubio's decision to not run for Senate puts the Republican hold in Florida in danger. If this happens, then Congress will be divided again.

Other Republican candidates did have a better chance at winning against Hillary Clinton, but the nominee will be the least electable of all of them. One of his biggest problems is that he has failed to unite the Republican Party behind him and his divisiveness threatens any opportunity of unity. I've posted before that at a united party has a better chance at winning the White House because everyone is enthusiastic for the nominee. Trump's dubious vulgar attacks on his opponents have made him very unpopular. As of now, less than a majority of Republicans have voted for him in the nomination process. That puts him on track with McCain. A lot of people in the conservative movement resent him and intend to never vote for him.

Trump has not helped with the matter and he's looking and more like a Democrat. He just said recently that he's "looking at" raising the minimum wage. That's a reversal of statements he made against the policy months ago. He has now hired a finance chairman with links to liberal billionaire George Soros and Goldman Sachs. The chairman's past donations of $125,000 since 1988 have mostly went to Democrats like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. In the eyes of many people on the right, actions like these prove that Trump is no different than Hillary Clinton (they are friends after all).

During the rest of the campaign season, I will be focusing on how Trump can improve himself from now until November in order to become president. This means providing a VP choice that won't raise doubts and won't add baggage. It also means providing some examples of conservative justices he would appoint to the Supreme Court and policy proposals that conservatives favor. He has to gain the support of all Republicans, conservatives and moderates, who voted against him. Republican political strategist Karl Rove, no fan of the Donald, provided some advise in The Wall Street Journal as to how he can create an effective campaign:
For the general election, the Trump campaign is behind in everything: digital operations, the ground game, advertising, you name it. The campaign must add new people and talents but would be wise to leave the ground game to the Republican National Committee. Sign the “joint fundraising agreements” that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the GOP Senate and House campaign committees must have to collect the resources necessary for a massive voter turnout effort that is beyond the Trump campaign’s abilities. 
Mr. Trump should also avoid attacking Mrs. Clinton in ways that hurt him and strengthen her. He is already in terrible trouble with women: In the April 14 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 69% of women rate him negatively, 58% very negatively. So stop saying things like: “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote.” He was lucky her response to that jibe was so lame. Next time it won’t be. 
Mr. Trump must also retool his stump speech. Voters will tire of The Donald if he doesn’t have a second rhetorical act with far fewer insults and more substance. Reading more speeches from a teleprompter, particularly on the economy, will help. The Trumpistas argue that voters don’t need details, but those up for grabs in November do. These speeches will put meat on the bones of his policy views and yield new material for the stump.
Facts matter and independents will not be swayed as easily. Rove points out that he needs real policy wonks who do their homework if Trump wants to be credible. Independents don't like Trump at the moment and he needs to provide a positive vision for the future of the country that is backed up with logic. The convention will provide a golden opportunity. These imperative reforms in Trump's campaign have to begin now because while his defeat isn't inevitable, it is highly likely.

On a side note, I believe that turnout would have been lower if this election was today since so many conservatives plan to not vote for him or vote for other candidates. The same can be said for Clinton's candidacy because 1-in-4 supporters of Bernie Sanders don't plan to vote for her in the fall. I actually expect this to change as we get closer to November. The election will become tense and motivate people to go out an vote. This won't be for their party's candidate, but against the other party's candidate. As of now, I haven't made the decision to vote for Trump or a third party. I'll have to see how the polls change over the next coming months and how be conducts himself.

Finally, my prediction is solely based off of national polls. I will examine state polls when more come out because they will provide a sign of who has the advantage where. Trump claims that he will get Democratic blue collar workers and people in labor unions to get behind him. That means he will have to concentrate in Midwest states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Clinton's campaign recognizes that the presumptive GOP nominee has high negatives with Hispanics and African-Americans. That offers her the opportunity to win in states like Arizona and Georgia, which both lean Republican in presidential elections. It also means that New Mexico and Nevada, battleground states won twice by Obama and for George W. Bush in 2004, are off the table for Republicans. Even worse, Florida might be impossible to win now. Trump begins his campaign as a nominee who instigated a civil war and is hated by almost the entire country. Clinton, who isn't liked by many voters as well, has the advantage in that she holds and early lead that can be built on. The strategizing for both nominees to win in 2016 begins now.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Trump Becomes the Presumptive GOP Nominee

Trump gave a victory speech after his win in Indiana - International Business Times
The Indiana primary effectively ended the 2016 Republican nomination race. Donald J. Trump won an easy victory last night and received a majority of the Republican votes. I didn't want to post about his wins in the northeastern primaries or Ted Cruz's decision to pick Carly Fiorina as his VP candidate. The reason being that Indiana was what really mattered. Cruz's campaign was hoping for a Wisconsin repeat, but Trump's momentum could not be stopped. With Cruz and John Kasich dropping out, Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. Here's his victory speech:

Ted Cruz ran an exceptional campaign with powerful grassroots efforts that got people out to vote. He won the first state of the 2016 race and swept through the west, but it wasn't enough. A win in Wisconsin gave him heavy media coverage, but Trump's win in his home state received just as much. It led the blunt New Yorker to easily win the rest of the northeast. Political organization isn't everything and more voters went to Trump in places where the Texas senator should have won. He decided to stay out of early fighting between Trump and other candidates. While it allowed him to keep a base of conservative supporters, this strategy was a gamble on the sole basis that he hoped Trump would implode. That didn't happen. As the race drew on and they became opponents, Trump branded Cruz as someone who was no better than anyone else in Washington. It worked.

With his Indiana poll numbers falling, Cruz tried to save his campaign by making a deal with John Kasich to stay out of the primary. He picked Carly Fiorina to be his running mate in order to get women voters. Mike Pence, the Hoosier state's Republican governor, gave a (very lackadaisical) endorsement of him. None of it worked. With his defeat went the opportunity of a brokered convention.

The last week of campaigning was certainly the most intense and emotional. Trump bogusly went after his rival's father by trying to promote an article in the National Enquirer linking him to the John F. Kennedy assassination. As a student of history, I was outraged at this slap in the face. It has now been debunked. Cruz's confrontation of Trump supporters pretty much sums up the GOP primary season. While he tried to make rational arguments backed by evidence, the Trump supporters used typical rhetoric you'd hear from their candidate like "lyin' Ted." It really shows just how far the decency of the 2016 race has plunged.

Kasich has received massive criticism from conservatives for pointlessly staying in the race. I like the man and I believe he has been a good governor, but I think he should have dropped out much earlier. His decision to stay in for Super Tuesday sapped Marco Rubio of more momentum because they were going for the same kinds of voters. Both men focused on winning Republicans with higher educations and white collar backgrounds. It is believed that he cost Rubio over 90 delegates by the time Super Tuesday had ended and cost the telegenic senator victories in several states. Even when Rubio dropped out, the Republicans who opposed Trump were divided into two and not every state was going to be like Wisconsin. Had he dropped out when he should have, it is likely that the Donald wouldn't have been in the position he's in now. Kasich has ended a presidential campaign that overstayed its welcome.

Trump's nomination victory is important because it signals a significant realignment in the Republican Party. Rather than ideological conservatism characterized by men like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, Trump and his supporters promote populist messages and economic protectionism. Research from the Rand Corporation has shown that his voters tend to be more liberal when it comes to economic issues like tax increases on the rich and the power of labor unions. These views are not Republican principles. It will be interesting to see how this effects the platform of the GOP at the convention in Cleveland and the further implications in the general election. Additionally, his nomination will be the supreme test of candidates who hold no political office against career politicians. We will also to get to see if it has any staying power. If Trump does lose in 2016, will his base be back to infiltrate the Republican Party again? Only time will tell.

Oh, and as for the Democrats, you're just as delusional as Kasich if you think Bernie Sanders can pull off a nomination win even with his Indiana victory. At this point, Hillary Clinton can lose every remaining state and still win. I'm not longer interested in covering race that has been decided.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Economists who have Destroyed Sanders

Despite a win in Indiana tonight, it is expected by many that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee (and likely the president thanks to the likely Republican nominee). If there is one thing I loved during this primary season, it was the defeat of Bernie Sanders and socialism. Sanders and his supporters are some of the most economically illiterate people on the planet. A tsunami of economists and experts in economic affairs (both conservatives and liberals) fired back at them by providing actual logic on how his policy proposals would devastate the American economy.

I thank these men and women who dedicated their lives to an important field of study for the country. To honor them, I decided to assemble this list of economists and link articles in which they went after Sanders. Some of their attacks on him are whole articles while others only disapprove of him briefly when writing about larger topics. I might not disagree with every single one of them, but they all stood united when our country was threatened. Here's a list of these heroes:

Joseph Antos - the Wilson H. Taylor scholar of healthcare and retirement policy at the American Enterprise Institute who has attacked Sanders' healthcare spending plan.
Leonard E. Burman
 - director of the Tax Policy Center and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research who published a study with three other economists showing that the Sanders tax plan would be unable to keep up with his spending proposals, meaning a higher national debt.
Mark A. Calabria - director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute and former staffer of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs who does not support Sanders' plans for more financial regulations on credit rating agencies.
Alan Cole - economist at the Tax Foundation who has published a study on how badly the Sanders tax plan would damage the economy.
Austan Goolsbee - professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School and former adviser to President Barack Obama has signed an open letter with four other liberal economists blasting Sanders.
Kevin James - research fellow with the Center on Higher Education at the American Enterprise Institute who has attacked Sanders' plan for free tuition.
Alan Krueger - professor of economics at Princeton University and former Obama adviser who was one of the four that signed the open letter to Sanders.
Larry Kudlow - senior contributor at CNBC and associate director of economics and planning in the Reagan administration who believes Sanders will bankrupt the country.
Paul Krugman - Nobel prize winner for economics in 2008, professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an opinion writer for The New York Times who has criticized Sanders' policy proposals as unrealistic.
Jon Hartley - founder of Real Time Macroeconomics LLC and a Forbes economic contributor who addressed the spending proposals in the Sanders economic program.
Steven Horwitz - the Charles A. Dana professor of economics at St. Lawrence University and a member of the Foundation for Economic Education's faculty net work who has attacked Sanders for showing ignorance on economic issues.
Glenn Hubbard - Dean of the Columbia Business School and economic adviser to President George W. Bush who attacked Sanders' views on free trade.
Arthur B. Laffer - president of Laffer Associates and economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan who has criticized Sanders for a tax plan that will not boost growth.
Lawrence B. Lindsey - president of the Lindsey Group, economic adviser to George W. Bush, and a former Federal Reserve governor argues that Sanders' plan won't solve income inequality.
Lawrence H. Summers - the Charles W. Eliot professor of economics at Harvard University and former Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration who opposes Sanders' reforms for the Federal Reserve.
Stephen Moore - visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Fox News contributor, and former economic writer at The Wall Street Journal who ripped into Sanders' socialism and European examples of his ideology.
James R. Nunns - senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former director of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department who worked with Burman on the Tax Policy Center's study.
Mark J. Perry - professor of economics at the University of Michigan and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has debunked claims made by Sanders about CEO pay.
James Pethokoukis - an economics columnist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute who has attacked Sanders for his views on capitalism.
Christina D. Romer - professor of economics at the University of California-Berkeley and former Obama adviser who was among the four who signed an open letter to Sanders.
David H. Romer - professor of political economy at the University of California-Berkeley and the husband of Christina Romer who wrote an open letter criticizing Sanders' economic program.
Frank Sammartino - senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former assistant director of tax analysis at the Congressional Budget Office who worked with Burman on the Tax Policy Center's study of Sanders' tax plan.
Thomas Sowell - senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford University who has written about how the Sanders economic program will damage academic institutions and society.
Scott Sumner - director of the program on monetary policy at the Mercatus Center and an economics professor and Bentley University who poked holes in Sanders' economic ideology.
Michael D. Tanner - a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and economic columnist who has criticized Sanders' healthcare proposals.
Laura D'Andrea Tyson - professor of economics at the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business and former adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Tim Worstall - senior fellow at the Adam Smith Institute and a Forbes contributor who has attacked the Sanders economic plan for ignoring guaranteed negative effects.