Monday, February 29, 2016
Primaries and Caucuses' Victories in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina: are these indicators of a female or political outsider US Presidency?
Keywords or Terms: Hillary Clinton; Bernie Sanders; Donald Trump; Runaway Victories; American National Politics; Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina; Republican Party Spectrum; US Congressional Power-brokers; Political Acumen; Political pressure Groups; Political vs Non-Political experience; Politico-economic-socio variables; Conventional forces in Europe and Asia; Ready on the first day
The campaign strategy of Hillary Rodham Clinton must have changed several times since the onset of the 2016 primaries and caucuses. But it has also had some consistency when it comes to victories and accumulation of delegates after the close call at the Iowa caucuses, driven by three major factors: reflective and resonating campaign messaging that minority groups can identify with, especially in the States of Nevada and South Carolina; the redirection of campaign messaging that a growing number millennial can consider as speaking to their concerns and welfare, a group suspected as having been cornered by her arch rival, Bernie Sanders; and, the active participation of her surrogate husband (President Bill Clinton) on the campaign trail, for and on her behalf. Prior to the recent victories in the States of Nevada and South Carolina, Hillary’s campaign and potential of a runaway victory against Bernie Sanders were on shaky grounds, considering his outing in Iowa and New Hampshire caucus and primary. By tomorrow, Super Tuesday, there would only be twelve more primaries that can change the direction of the competition between Hillary and Bernie for the Democratic Party flag bearer’s position. More than anyone may conceive right now, the global political leadership may be determined on Super Tuesday. If Hillary wins a huge number of delegates more than Bernie and there is no indictment from any federal security agency, including the CIA and the State Department on the issues of the State Department’s email fiasco, there is every likelihood to believe the next President of the United States would be a female.
Most compelling lately is the revolutionary uprising of an outsider at the Republican Party spectrum of American National Politics, Donald Trump. For those who question the assessment of the possibility of having the first female President occupying the White House oval office, current assessment or postulation is not based on whimsical thoughts or doubts regarding the ability of Donald Trump to win the Presidency of the United States; rather, it has to do with the reality of who is best qualified to hold the global political leadership, which by default, has fallen on the laps of the only standing supper power on earth, since the fall of the USSR. Under Hillary Clinton, a former US Senator and Secretary of State, the nation would be in good hands; however, with Donald Trump, the nation would be experimenting with a business man with little astute capability of understanding the intricacy of political power brokerage, one that is mostly acquiesce with political leadership of experience, coming out of years of hobnobbing with national and international leaders, Congressional and State legislators, and an active participation in grassroots politics, with ear to the ground regarding what is practical and or workable in American Politics and legislative process.
Politics and political hegemony comes not strictly from running a campaign to be elected a party’s primary flag bearer; rather, it comes from knowing how to better work with US Congressional power-brokers and influence peddlers; it comes from what it takes to push legislation through the two chambers of US Congress without losing a sleep, or steam rolling the difficult process or terrain of sponsoring, writing and passing a preferred bill that you can sign into law; it comes from understanding how to dine with adversaries, enemies and naysayers and getting your way; while accepting shellacking failures or humbling short comings of inability to push through legislation that you are committed and truly believes can make a difference in the lives of the people. These types of skill and zeal are not synonymous with what you have in corporate boardrooms or as a private enterprise CEO, no matter how you look at the responsibilities of the Office of the Presidency. At the same time, it is not totally impossible or unfeasible for a Chief Executive Officer to get to speed with the duties and responsibilities of the Office of the Presidency; however, there are some fine items of political wheeling and dealing that are almost, if not automatically essential to make things happen; call them essential tools for bringing about change when you are in that office. They are indispensable political acumen and necessities that make effecting change in the halls of congress, across political parties and among political pressure groups, possible. These skills are different from what it takes to turn a business around or manage bankruptcies with a team of well-paid lawyers and accountants; or build a golf course or tower in the middle of Manhattan or nowhere, Abu Dhabi, Nevada or Canada.
Comparatively, it is clear from Bush and Obama’s Administrations that an occupier of the White House oval office must understand what is best for formulating national security and international relations policies; who best to listen to when incurring into foreign wars; how to recognize the pitfalls for passing a new bill like the Obamacare or taking out an America’s enemy like Osama Bin laden, and how best to avoid pitfalls that may ground great intentions; including, seizing opportunities as they present themselves on several fronts, politico-economic-socio, once in the office of the Presidency. It entails being mindful of mischievous close political advisers and associates within the executive and legislative branches of government. Thus, if you could negotiate a deal to build a huge business enterprise, and perhaps if you are able to bring people together around a table to build up on an idea, you may be able to accomplish some of these tasks; however, you cannot always count or depend on initial commitments from legislators on proposed legislation, even though those legislation were initially advanced by leaders of your own political party. In addition, you cannot completely depend or rest on party-affiliates disposition on advanced public policy ideas, once they interact with their party’s leadership. This is why politics is a different animal from business negotiations. In politics, you never have a permanent enemy but permanent interests; you never have a complete loyalty or commitment of your party members, not to talk of opposition party members; rather, you have to learn the intricacy of buying time, robbing shoulders, back slapping and giving and taking in the dying hours of a deadline, to achieve any success; you constantly have to remain focused, dowsing political fires as new ones are being started, peeling off opposition party loyalties from lawmakers, untying long and outstanding political friendships and relationships, plodding and convincing party faithful and uncommitted antagonists to buy into your leadership and ideas; it is a task that requires high tempo and energy to go through a long stretch of huddles and non-starters; it is a world so treacherous, political philosophers have termed them, a world of incongruousness in a congruent world and dispositions.
On one hand, you want to recognize that it takes more than two, three or four meetings to resolve thorny political issues. You want to recognize there are risks inherent in immediate and imminent resolutions of the ever dynamic and repeated national problems. There is a danger to assume legislative members of your party are always going to be agreeable to your administration’s positions. Furthermore, there may be a reason to invest your personal wealth in seeking an office, or raising a lot of political campaign donations and promising benefactors ambassadorship or foreign attaché positions; however, you cannot assume that because everyone is saying you are embodiment of business success will readily translate to an agree-ability of all legislators or party leadership and membership in US Congress, to build a great, … great wall on the southern US border and making the Mexicans pay for it. An aggressive or narcissistic character may be good for show business; however, political leadership in government would hardly go very far, because of the nature of politics and political terrain when you are head of government or President of the United States. Finally, doubting the heroism of Senator John McCain or devaluing Heidi Klum as no longer ten, or lambasting all Muslims as terrorist and Mexicans as racists are hardly going to make America great again as promised during an election into the office.
A President of the United States or anyone seeking that office, must appreciate the complexities of our union, including the diversities in race, color, religion, national origin, sexuality, veteran’s status, among others. Offering yourself as a candidate for the oval office means you are less interested in self-aggrandizement or unnecessary bigotry that may color your disposition on several national issues. As a candidate and potential winner, you must take into account sensitivity of issues that concerns the welfare of a plurality of our people, including ensuring abstinence from the use of oratory that offends; and abasing any action or statement that dispossess or impinges the civil rights of a greater number of members’ resident in the union. You cannot fail to call to question hate groups or deny understanding the categorization of statements from leaders of White Supremacist, neo-Nazis or nationalists and expect to be afforded a benefit of doubt regarding some issues that impact the lives of minority groups within the union.
An aspirant for the office of US Presidency needs to understand the intricate nature of domestic and national security issues, some of which s/he has no control over. Creating a defensive and proactive strategies are essential duties of the position, demonizing one segment of the population over another is hardly wise or prudent; and, more importantly, having the patience of a vulture, is just as important as making things happen in the long haul, when you may not be able to attest to continued support and loyalty, even from members of your party and households. Along with changes in major alliances, you must expect dissenters within the party and expect regional problems that can derail great intentions. Having victory with an insurgent political campaign is just a tip of the iceberg, channeling populist anger to coalesce votes and offering somewhat condescending comments regarding why running for the US presidency is nasty and tough, are just the beginners, wait until you occupy the office, you’ll really know what multi-polar and regional disgruntlement mean and how they can upturn well laid out political initiatives; and how all these may inadvertently impact the process and challenges of governing a nation of about three hundred and seventy million people. These are part of the qualities America is looking for in our presidents or aspirants; this is why Hillary's credential far outstrip either Trump, Cruz or Rubio.
On the first day in office, you will be formulating strategies to make the country work, the same time you are dealing with briefing and notification of the impact of significant reduction of conventional forces in Europe and Asia. Just as the euphoria of your victory is settling in, you’ll be confronted with multiple issues and scenarios that are out of sphere of your influence, which money cannot buy or resolve, yet asking for your immediate attention because inattention may result in life or death situation. You will be faced with challenges that are somewhat above your political capability or financial security, because of your inexperience in the intricacies of political give and take; or, underestimated ignorance of what it really takes to be president of the greatest democracy on earth and a global leader that all member nations of the UN can look to and respect. Your challenge is to formulate newer strategies or thoughts to deal with dangerous and unpredictable predicament of the moment, without forming new adversaries or probable reduction in the influence of the office with supporters, allies and antagonists.
The most feasible manifestation, is to expect the unacceptable. This is why prior executive political experience, though not always a sin-qua-non, comes in rather handy for the office of the US Presidency. You may not postulate that your executive experience as a former CEO has completely prepared you for the task of the oval office, although it maybe helpful. Corollary, you must now remember that the US presidency is not a position you can allocate budget resources without communicating and taking advice from a number of government agencies and advisers; a challenge, you are not accustomed to as a CEO or now, Presidential neophyte. Unlike Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, you will have more difficulties restructuring State or Defense Department’s budget; thus, there is a ticking time bomb potentially associated with your inexperience in political office and this is why the political outsider label or emblem, is more of a handicap, and may have you on the defensive for a while, until you are able to get up to speed with the task of the office. Welcome to the new reality, being a US President is more than winning the office by drawing energy and support from the dark side or far right nationalists!
Friday, February 12, 2016
Bernie Versus Hillary at the Sixth Democratic Party Debate: When the gloves came-off at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee?
Keywords or Terms: South Carolina and Nevada Primaries; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie; Bernie Sanders; Hillary Clinton; Foreign Policy; Madeleine Albright; US Criminal Justice System; Campaign Contributions
With the race for Democratic Party nomination tied up, Hillary Clinton winning the Iowa caucuses and Bernie Sanders winning the New Hampshire Primary, there were firecrackers on Thursday night at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie. Facing off each other as if both of their lives depended on it, Hillary Clinton would not back down as she reminded viewers of the clear differences between her campaign for the White House and that of Bernie Sanders’. The upcoming South Carolina and Nevada primaries were not to be taken lying down; and, the former US Secretary of State wanted Democrats to know that her landslide loss in New Hampshire was just a bump in the road. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in his usual straight talk and close to being a fact machine, spewed so many information out and congenially reminded America that the welfare of the middle class must not be sacrificed any longer at the altar of Wall Street Corporate welfare.
The hypothesis that Secretary Clinton once demonized Bernie Sanders hardly came through at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie venue; however, her new strategy was to paint Bernie sander further as a candidate singularly focused on economic inequality. As Bernie Sanders barrage her on Social Security, immigration, trade and regime change, Hillary remained calm as if realizing now that there is no third choice candidate, that the odd of her losing all the coming primaries would largely be slim, except women voters fail to show up at the polls. As if reminding everyone that she has championed women issues in the past and would continue to do so on income inequality and abortion rights, Hillary avoided the question of a statement credited to another former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, that: “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.” Coming up with the admonition that women should vote for whomever they want, Hillary failed to take the bait from one of the PBS hostess.
While still saying that Bernie Sanders’ promise on healthcare cannot be kept, Hillary Clinton went on the offensive criticizing his grasps of foreign policy ("I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is"); his disagreement with President Obama ("This is not the first time that he has criticized President Obama"); and the ever so repeated, one-issue label of Bernie Sander ("I do not believe we live in a single-issue country"). Bernie Sander was not totally conciliatory of Hillary Clinton’s criticisms as he pokes fun at Clinton’s foreign regime change initiative, her call for the “rigged economy,” and her close ties and acknowledgement of former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger; with the Vermont Senator declaring he is not a fan or friend of a Secretary who was part of some foreign policy on an East Asian country that led to mass genocide. Reminding Clinton that She is not in the White House yet, Bernie Sanders diminished the brilliance of the foreign policy credential of the former secretary with: helping to overthrow a dictator is not the issue, but what to do, after the despot is gone. Replying to Clinton’s objection to disagreement with US President from Sander, the Vermont Senator said Madam Secretary that is a low blow, an asserted his right to disagree, even with a “President who has done such an extraordinary job.” To further rebut Clinton’s disapproval of the assailant of President Barack Obama from Sanders, the Senator added: “One of us ran against Barack Obama and I was not that Candidate”
As if re-calibrating her former antagonist stance to Sanders, Secretary Clinton was at times, subtle in criticizing some policy proposals from him. Not completely dismissive of the free public college tuition policy proposal, Secretary Clinton intoned, it is unworkable. Precisely saying: “Senator Sanders’s plan really rests on making sure that governors like Scott Walker contribute $23 billion on the first day to make college free,” … “I am a little skeptical about your governor actually caring enough about higher education to make any kind of commitment like that.” This was in response to the slashing of about two hundred and fifty million dollars from the University of Wisconsin system by the conservative college drop-out governor of the state.
Two things we can all agree upon. Former US Secretary of State Clinton articulated her vision very well with the opening statement: “I’m running for president to knock down all the barriers that are holding Americans back, and to rebuild the ladders of opportunity that will give every American a chance to advance, especially those who have been left out and left behind.” On the urgent need for criminal justice reform, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders rightly articulated his proposal with: “They see kids getting arrested for marijuana, getting in prison, getting a criminal record, while the see executives on Wall Street who pay billion dollars in settlements and get no prosecution at all.” The unfortunate nature of the problem with the US criminal justice system, is that it had often disadvantaged minorities, Blacks, Asians and Mexicans. Slow reactions to these urgencies make America look unresponsive to the welfare and needs of minority groups – the need to repair the broken criminal justice system is no longer an aberration, but fundamental to a fair, just and stable democracy. On both count, opening up opportunities and reforming the criminal justice system, it is time for America not only to become more inclusive, but have or create a more just society where minority groups. It is also imperative, that the system is not further disenfranchising a major chunk of the population on their right to something as simple as a personal private choice on abortion. Maybe that is why the question of “moral responsibility’ as articulated by Bernie Sander ring ever so loudly; and Clinton’s castigation on his healthcare proposals going to significantly expand the scope of government, sounds more hollow. Where on earth did Ms. Clinton find her data to show that further health care reform will lead to 40% expansion in size of US government? The proportionate share of expenses for the accommodation of nation on healthcare, criminal justice system and fundamental human rights, are not at par with the national gross domestic product.
That much is agreed. But these does not say that both Hillary and Bernie are still in unison on other liberal issues. When Bernie Sanders was asked if defeating his rival for nomination would amount to thwarting history in a country that had never had a female president, he responded with: “I think a Sanders’ victory would be of some historical accomplishment as well.” When Secretary Clinton was asked how she will bridge the racial divides in the country when the first African-American president had had a tough time doing much, she responded with: “the nation has seen lots of advances under the leadership of President Obama and there had been a boon the health welfare of African-Americans, with the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Rejecting the notion that Wall Street contributors may influence her decision-making, Secretary Clinton reminded the audience that President Obama was also a major recipient of that class of contributors. Shooting back, Senator Sanders blistered, “let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people”. The intended purpose of donations is an expectation of favorable treatment.
Taken literally, the closing remarks of Secretary Clinton appears support taking out money out of US politics; however, she insisted that that notion, as well as, some policy proposals from Senator Sanders, appears to be naïve. Yes, the nation could choose to take first steps in taken big money out of American politics, however, who is going to start first? Except US Congress passes new laws and or amendment to those on the books, it is probably a mirage to expect money to get out of US politics. By adopting the right mix of proposal to change American politics through taxation of undesired behavior, including penalizing Wall Street excesses, illegal campaign contributions and other disenfranchising policies, the nation may chart a new course for herself. By agreeing with Senator Sanders that the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top and going further to promise to protect minorities, African-Americans and Immigrant families facing discrimination, Secretary Clinton is indirectly agreeing that there is truly a problem, or problems. The fact that Senator Sanders is proposing a “political revolution” to resolve these issues, may be an over the board proposal even with some leftists, however, the time is probably ripe for a change; a change that will lead us to that promised land, which the preacher once informed us about.
Without telling what the stringent measures that are necessary to achieve the purported American utopia, current slate of politicians seeking to occupy the White House oval office appear to be failing the litmus test of good political campaigns: what the voters are interested in or about, what would change their past experiences on many levels, why their particular brand of proposal and offerings are the things or policies that will rectify the difficulties or perceived problems. The right strategy in a campaign is not whether the campaign is going to rake up enough supporters at the party level, although that as well is good and should not be discountenanced, but whether the electorate at a general election will subscribe to the brand of proposal and would not hold against them, uncomfortable and very offensive comments that might have slipped out of their mouth during the respective party nomination process. The silent minor premise that many of these candidates are going with, on what should be done and not done in party politics, appear to have been turned upside down, with the reality of the Republican candidate debates. On the side of the Democrats, it has not been rather obvious regarding this challenge. The margin of support that individual candidate is currently receiving, despite all the faults and probably fallacies of their campaigns, is the essence of all the current party debates; and left to me, this is why we need more of these informed debates.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
First National Primary Results: is establishment politics in trouble in America in 2016 race for the White House?
Keywords or Terms: Bernie Sander; Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton; John Kasich; Conventional Establishment Politics; Socials; Reality Show host; New Hampshire Primary; Ideological Infused Vision; Tea party; President Barack Obama; President Ronald Reagan; K-Street Lobby; Wall Street bankers and Financiers; US Congress.
If Hillary Clinton won a complicated process of caucuses with a rather slim margin in Iowa, the victory for Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire gave a sense of a new urgency for establishment politics. Preliminary results on the Democratic side show Bernie Sanders upsetting Hillary Clinton with a sixty to thirty-nine percent margin with ninety-five percentage precincts’ reporting. The question of: ‘who-can-do-the-job-that-needs-to-be-done-in- America-Come-January- 2017’ as touted by the former US Secretary of State, either fell on deaf ears, remains mute, or appears not to be catching much fire. The close to landslide victory for Bernie Sanders, was accentuated with an allegation of possible attempt(s) by establishment democrats to throw everything at Bernie and his campaign, in the coming months.
On the Republican side, despite an unconventional campaign messaging, the ‘beyond-the-waterboarding-thing-is-fine-with-me’ talk, shaky temperament, and possible active future incursion foreign policy, the non-so-establishment Republican, ran away with the victory. The distribution of percentage and delegates vote for the night reads as follows: Donald Trump (35.3% - 10); John Kasich (15.8% - 3); Ted Cruz (11.7% - 2); George Bush (11.0% - 2); and the remaining candidates’ data and performance were all insignificant with 95% precinct reporting as published by Associated Press. With Donald Trump responding to his victory with “Wow, wow, wow” or “We are going to make America great again’, you can suspiciously ask the question, where does establishment politics go from here on. What are the plausible options for many Americans who had fallen into romance with conventional establishment politics? Should America be contemplating a Socialist or Reality show host with indeterminable temperament for a US President?
Two outsiders to the two major political parties in America appear to have sent the message that, there is probably a desire for new faces at looking and resolving America’s political problems. Donald Trump, a reality television show host had appeared to be a long shot at the time of his announcement of a run for 2016 White house; and, Bernie Sanders, a self-styled Democratic Socialist had been considered a reactionary politician by establishment Democrats, and his arch-rival Hillary Clinton, had attempted to gloss him over as, a one-policy reactionary politician, without the type of experience to manage the tasks ahead for America. Incidentally, or unexpectedly, these two new faces to national politics, Trump and Sanders, are not only thriving, they are close to humiliating the establishment candidates in the run for 2016 White house. The large number of voters who had longed for establishment politicians replacing President Barack Obama, were not expecting a possible radical reformer from the Democratic side or an effusive reality show host with a lot of money to spear, to steal the day at New Hampshire primary or Iowa caucuses. It is gradually appearing that the vision of liberal reform on the democratic side have not gone far enough for voters; and for Republicans, the reflective, inward looking and carefully planned policy application of the current White House Administration, are rather unsatisfactory as they remain un-hawkish or aggressive enough. Or else, how do you explain the results from New Hampshire primary?
The failure of Hillary Clinton to translate her experience and establishment political campaign backing into votes at the New Hampshire primary, are much reasons for concern. The former US Secretary's brand of where America must go from here, appears not to be exciting as those professed by Bernie Sander's choice and claim that it was time to make Wall Street accountable for its excesses. Though Hillary Clinton added in her concessional speech in New Hampshire that: “[Americans] have every right to be angry. But they are also hungry. They are hungry for solutions … and I know how to do it”, it appears that, that declaration is not holding water with many democrats; and many are getting apprehensive and wondering if she actually the right person to take the party to the promised land. On the Republican side, policies to engage in foreign interventions and possible attempt to engage in underhanded and internationally unapproved national foreign policies to fight international terrorism and keep America safe, are gradually gaining strength and credence Republican rank and file, most of whom are lining up behind Donald trump's candidacy. The nationalistic favor statement of: we are going to make America great again, is gaining more recognition and appears to be a mantra, supporters of Donald Trump are willing to embrace just a he spews out racist as well as xenophobic and offensive statements at his rallies. The combination of all of these is making establishment Republicans asking themselves the question: Wait a minute, where is our party heading with these type of campaign rhetoric; where is the party of Reagan of the eighties now digressing?
Before entertaining the idea of collapse of establishment politics in 2016 run for the White house, it is safe to assume that it is unlikely that a general election will accommodate vulgarity and or, an extremely radical liberalism that may border an apocalyptic presidency. Neither could one anticipate complex internal and external forces re-shaping the major parties’ ethos of relations with American voters, as both of these sensitivities guarantees a repudiation of xenophobic and racist campaign messaging in general election among American voters; concurrently, few voters will rally round a candidate that is assumed to have falter on the claim of sexism from an opponent within the Democratic party enclave. The overwhelming internal complexities that have relegated establishment politicians to the back of the burner in New Hampshire, may be rooted in other issues that are not currently and readily decipherable by the parties’ power-brokers. Maybe the gradual breaking down of establishment political oligarchy that has progressively metamorphosed into greater power and influence of the Tea Party group in the Republican party, is now migrating somewhat to the Democratic Party, where outside to the party's establishment are weighing enough power to stir-up stuff within the party. With the current rise of support for Democratic Socialism in the Democratic party, via support for Bernie Sander's candidacy, one may not completely rule out, the re-shaping of power politics within the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party traditional ideologically infused vision of elevating the socio-economic and political status of middle class America households is recognizable in both the Clinton and Sander’s campaigns. The best way to address solutions to the issues that are uppermost in the hearts and minds of this gradually disenfranchised economic group. are somewhat of a "duzzy" for both leading candidates in the Democratic Party. The possible decline in support of establishment politics in the Democratic Party may point finger to the need for a more urgent and proactive approach in accelerating the goal of the greatest generation message of FDR. The resultant decline in the quality of life, even collapse of middle income lifestyle because of stagnant wages, unequal national economic successes’ distribution, Wall Street reckless malfeasance and insufficient financial reform effort as contained in Dodd-Frank, are possibly driving the anti-establishment politics in the current 2016 White House race. It is telling, if not compelling to appreciate that the greatest advocate of the primary desire of the middle income earners, is a democratic socialist that would hardly have been tolerated five decades ago, not to say, entertained in any parlance in either the Democratic or Republican Parties.
The urgency of repairing the image of the Republican Party with mainstream Anglo-Saxon male, possible loss of political power influence of the past centuries, and probably, the fear of losing racial dominance of the Anglo-Saxon over the rest of America, appears to be driving the current debate for the White house. The Anglo-Saxon male is afraid to be subjected to a minority class in the nation, supposedly built “only” by their forebears. The failure of the establishment Republican elite to engage the supposedly gradually disenfranchised Anglo-Saxon male and commitment to more foreign incursions to pad the wallets of the few upper-class rich Republicans, are material to the growth and revolution in the party. A television entertainer, yet to master the use of political language and communication, and one vast in audience manipulation for temporal gratification, have overtaken seasoned Republican politicians and turned upside down, all known political strategies to captivate voters support in presidential campaigns. The consequence of the eight-year failure of the George W. Bush’s Administration has not only disadvantaged or blacklisted his brother Jeb Bush before voters, it has progressively thrown the party into chaos, with some politicians without a track record and some, with blemished executive government experience, aspiring to carry the Republican Party flag for the 2016 general election. After the frustration with George W. Bush Administration, rank and file Republicans gradually considered outsiders to the internal power politics, a better alternative to mainstream Republican Politicians; and some, sort solace in extreme ideologues that populates the Tea Party group. Tea party group within the Republican Party have gradually, if not deeply, discredited establishment politics, and probably put in notice, a possible incursion to the unknown: “Picking anyone but establishment politicians to contest on the party’s behalf.”
There are other institutional factors that are shaping or constraining mainstream politicians, Democrats and Republican, for the White house oval office in 2016. For several years, political strategists, many of whom occupy offices on the K-Street, Washington DC, innocuously referred to as lobbyists, have repeatedly sold America politicians on the idea that they own the knowledge and systemic power to change the course of the nation, with or without the voter’s influence. The cohesiveness and internal party stability that had afforded establishment politicians to rise, run and win national elections, is now probably threatened, shattered, or in tartars. The frustrations from the Tea Party groups are now engulfing the Republican party; the emergence of extremism among influence groups within the party is now serving as a self-serving tool for hitherto outside politicians like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, three inadvertent and probably, unexpected polls grabber in the current primary and caucuses. The insurgency, or Clinton’s labeled reactionary politics from Bernie Sanders is not accidental; it probably emanated from the pessimism among the middle or lower class income groups in the Democratic Party, who feel they have been short changed; that the collapse of their income, quality of life and political influence within the party, were by design of establishment Democrats, an uncomfortable truth that have essentially benefited politicians like former US Secretary of State; a candidate financed and supported by Wall Street, as put forward by Bernie Sanders.
Sadly, the new resurgence of non-traditional establishment politicians in both major political parties may not go too far, and if it does, may not translate to meaningful political influence or public policies that will completely address all the wants of these supposedly disenfranchised groups of Republicans and Democrats. Political circumstances change and politics by nature, is a game of number. If the disenfranchised groups are unable to give a United States Congress that will work to address their disaffection or unhappiness, there is just too little they can achieve, as urgently as they want. I critical example or fore-runner, is what the current White House is going through: “As a President, if you do not have both houses of congress working with you, and seeing things the way you or your supporters during the general election conceive, there is no very much you can do but resort to executive orders; no amount of presidential power that can automatically pass bills that address all the desires of your supporters. The passing of the Affordable Care Act in the first term of President Obama’s Administration sent strong signal to the middle and lower income groups that their healthcare problems were been addressed; however, since the passing of the law, the opposition party have introduced over fifty bills to overturn the law. The lesson to learn from this is this, even when you are able to get your choice into the White House, you still need to give him or her, a US Congress that will make things happen for you!
Monday, February 8, 2016
Four days to New Hampshire Presidential derby: What Republican Candidates promised America on their eighth GOP debate?
Keywords or Terms: ABC NEWS; Eighth 2016 Republican Presidential Debate; White House; Waterboarding; Muslims; Christians; International Treaties; Guantanamo Base, Cuba; Marco Rubio; Ted Cruz; Donald Trumps; America’s Enemies; North Korea; United Nations; Affordable Care Act
If you missed ABC News televised eighth GOP presidential candidates’ debate on Saturday relax, nothing much has changed in their usual rhetoric. Excellent examples of violation of international laws and decorum spiced up many of the presidential candidates’ claims; with good old Donald Trump alleging so much has been done to Christians that he is ready to do more than waterboarding people, to correct for disenfranchisement. For all the allegations against the last Republican Administration in the White House, none was so significant or reminiscent of a need for change in the way America handles her enemies, as the one now being proposed. Left to the Republican front runner, real estate mogul Donald Trump, relations with the rest of the world, especially Muslim countries are waste of time and there hardly a need to respect international treaties, civil liberties and human decency in dealing with foreign policies and or attempting to fight international terrorism for national security's sake. How about the third runner up Republican Candidate, Marco Rubio, the supposedly establishment preference in light of the shakeup in Republican race for the White House? Well here is his vision of Guantanamo base, Cuba, that ill-repute land of concentration for suspected terrorists: “[America] should be putting people into Guantanamo, not emptying it out, and we shouldn’t be releasing these killers who are rejoining the battlefield against the United States.” The more extreme America gets in fighting global terrorism for national security sake, the better for Republicans. Donald Trump appears to have reinforced his continued dictate for addressing religious differences or the constitutional separation of state and religion; and Marco Rubio has hunkered down on the most recent Republican White House’s belligerence in fighting terrorism.
While the outcome of Saturday’s debate has set in motion another hot topic debate over entering or entertaining foreign wars by America, it appears that the claim of who advised against the Iraq war in the first place or later instances, became a football for nearly all the seven candidates on the rostrum. Interestingly, Donald Trump in his usual narcissistic approach at representing his “own” facts: “I’m the only one up here, when the War in Iraq, I was the one who said, don’t go, don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. So I’m not the one with the trigger.” If the question was, was it actually true that the reality show host made his opposition to America entering into foreign war in Iraq by August 2004 or earlier, no one can actually say; however, few people can hardly or truly appreciate that he considers some offshoot of America’s effort to fight global terrorism, including entering into two foreign wars, essentially characterized by some abuse of human decency and civil liberties as contained in America’s signed UN international treaties, as permissible or dismal. Rather than reflect on the past and conceive of a more humane posture in addressing issues of hostilities from the outside world, Mr. Trump promises more hostile, if not more completely inhuman policies and behaviors to seek information from America’s enemy or punish their actions.
This is not satire, to be sure, the first time I heard Republican aspirants at the eighth GOP debate on ABC News discuss federal responsibility regarding immigration and naturalization issues, a hot button issue considering that many republican aspirants promised a more anti-immigration stance in current campaign cycle, and the front runner, Donald Trump, further articulates building a huge and long wall to separate the Americas, North from South, in the bid to control “invasion” of undocumented Mexicans, the estimation of how recent past Democratic and Republican White Houses in last two decades had ramped up effort at deportation, were relatively subject to inquisition; or for lack of better words, further clarification. Indeed, Ted Cruz, the winner of the Iowa Caucuses, declared: “In eight years, Bill Clinton deported 12 million people. In eight years, George W. Bush deported 10 million people.” If Administrators of US Department of Homeland Security have listened to data flung around regarding voluntary and involuntary deportation of undocumented immigrants by the Republican candidates in the debate, they probably would have been dismayed.
Whether Republican candidates understood what constituted formal deportation or not is very much debatable; however, from policymakers who know better, there has actually been a growing number of formal deportation occurring during the current White House Administration, more than at any comparative time with the George Bush and Bill Clinton’s White Houses, just as patterns in immigration and deportation policies have shown a relative decline in the number of undocumented immigrants that were deported and has no other opportunity of re-entry, excepts committing a felony. Then, as in now, there has been active effort to maintain an increasing level of removal of undocumented immigrants from the United States. The parallel comparisons of effort to remove undocumented immigrants from US, served as a fodder for unsubstantiated claims by Republicans discussing the issues or resorting to deportation to address the issue of large numbers of undocumented immigrants living among us.
There were two fascinating claims from Republican Ted Cruz that needs more elucidation because of the coldness of the misinformation on China’s hegemony in Asia minor. For the Canadian-born Texas Senator, “[China] has total, absolute control, practically, of North Korea.” The reality of Chino-Korean relationship is totally different from the Senator’s conception. Because North Korean has remained defiant in its test of nuclear weapons and it appears that China considers North Koreans as its client state hardly bestows on the Chinese the complete right to undermine that nation’s choice of self-determination, no matter how we as Americans abhors many of the rogue state’s actions. Neither, can anyone truly know or understand the extent of Chinese relationship with the North Koreans. Past White House administrations’ attempts to bring North Korea to the fold of responsible nuclear states, through negotiations and a hash out of what is considered President William Clinton’s Agreed Framework, hardly served as a failure to act or a deliberate effort not to exploit Chinese hegemony over North Korea. The fact is, the Korean Peninsula has remained an unstable region due to insistent incursions from Northern Korea to South Korea; and, other indeterminable variables that have made reigning North Korea in, rather difficult. All proactive policies on North Korea from both past Democratic and Republican White Houses have not failed completely in their sense of purpose: making North Korean leaders responsible for their actions and holding them accountable for actions that we consider as detrimental to the stability of Asia minor and specifically, the Korean Peninsula. Offering a caviar to help tore the ice between the North and South Korea and calling upon China to exercise her prerogative relational influence on North Koreans are not weak endeavors or total failure of foreign policy in that region of the world. The fact that America is dealing with a reclusive or completely closed up society to the rest of the world has complicated matters further; and made foreign policy administration difficult in the context of a nuclear North Korea.
If Ted Cruz perceives North Korean détente as Chinese failure to enforce some degree of influence on that rogue nation to abide by international laws and rules of good behavior as broadly defined by the United Nations, and by default United States, maybe he could learn a thing or two about international diplomacy: you cannot achieve a leverage over other nations that you do not completely agree with their foreign policies or preferred national religious affiliation by carpet bombing them to oblivion. International politics and foreign affairs are different from running a resinous détente and deluded presidential campaign, tainted by bigotry and evangelic religiosity. Crucial part of decades of international entanglements in the Korean Peninsula is more than laying claim against China or defeating North Korea by throwing around unsubstantiated statements or falsehood. That North Korea took millions from a deal to assuage her behavior from a prior Democratic Administration is an issue subject to critical debates. United States has been forced to make concessions in some deals to achieve leverage over thorny issues of international conflict that appears as a shift in balance of power to the left, that could have readily put the interest of its allies and self in jeopardy, if otherwise; however, never a failure of common purpose. If a naïve Senator does not understand this intricate nature of foreign policy, maybe he has no business running for the White House oval office; especially when the question of his constitutional qualification for the office is still on the table.
Clinton’s email controversy once again, appears to be a piñata for the Republicans all over again. Even after known facts about the uncertainty of allegations why her private server had been used in transaction America’s foreign policies and other verified fact that other Secretaries of State, General Powell and Dr. Condoleezza Rice, had transmitted classified information over private email accounts. We are within the power to change some of the perceived short comings of how the State Department handles sensitive information; however, there is no room for crusification of one individual for political gains of a politician. If Republican aspirant Marco Rubio believes he knows better than the investigative bodies looking into the shortcomings of how US State Department communicates, maybe he should get a job with the body and not be running for the presidency. However, if he understands the difficulties of laying claims of wrong doing of public officials, maybe he should exercise restraint on the way he categorized Ms. Clinton’s probable error; generally saying that the former US Secretary of State purposely put classified emails unto a private server for any gains or a deliberate effort to skirt known US State Department practices, is probably going too far. For the records, other US Intelligence agencies have warned that some of the emails Republicans like Marco Rubio are asking to be released to the public are just too sensitive for public releases, must be acceded. It is not just in our national interest.
Finally, if Donald Trump is alleging that insurance companies are getting rich under OBAMACARE, maybe he should once again familiarize himself with insurance companies quarterly report. As reported by Moody’s and poor and some other financial reporting outlets, health insurance companies have been losing a heal of money since the institution of the Affordable Care Act. The truth of the matter is this: Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to cut down was designed to cut down on health care costs, including excessive premiums, bloating health insurance administrative costs and routine over-billing of American consumers. In the ear of the American consumers, ACA, is a life saver, even when and where Republicans are bent on overturning the law. Coming to a presidential debate to announce erroneously that insurance companies are making away under the Affordable Care Act, is a sign of dis- ingenuousness and the current state of disillusion over OBAMACARE by the Republicans, especially, their current polls' front runner.
Friday, February 5, 2016
One weekend before the New Hampshire Primary: what the Iowa Caucuses Result Can Teach us about political campaigns and messaging?
Keywords or terms: Iowa caucus; New Hampshire primary; Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders; Ted Cruz; Donald Trump; Marco Rubio’ Republican Party; Democratic Party; Quinnipiac University; Box of Chocolate; Forest Gump; and 2016 White House Race
If you were listening to Public Radio and Cable News Network announcements of the result of the first 2016 Iowa Caucuses, it is more than likely that you felt a sense of dismay regarding what polls’ predictions had been and what the actual results of candidates’ performance and nomination process were revealing. Since the beginning of 2016 White House campaign, Americans had been exposed to a lot of polls' predictions that were either over-zealously over-inflated or under-inflated depending on your choice of preference among slate of political party candidates, Republican or Democrats, seeking to occupy the White house oval office come January, 2017.
Some polls’ predictions had distorted the level of support for particular aspirants, while others had placed the cart before the horse, speculating that a particular candidate was going to have a run-away performance than their rivals in either major party. Republicans argued the time has come for them to shake-off the baggage of the last Republican Administration and choose a new leader, where their first preference is probably an outsider to mainstream American politics; Democrats on the other hand, have largely deferred either to a candidate that wanted to maintain the progressive ideology of the current White House or a revolutionary, some say reactionary, independent Senator who had introduced some level of excitement for his candidacy among the young folks, and objected to the business as usual approach to addressing many national issues. Incidentally, Monday’s caucuses’ results for the Republican party were somewhat eye-popping; surprising or euphoric for many pundits that had speculated a huge runaway victory for an outsider, until Republican Ted Cruz overturned the conservative populism of Republican Donald Trump in Iowa; and laid to rest doubts about his candidacy, and hopefully, his qualification to become US President. On the Democratic side, the results were mixed, essentially turning up to become, or close to a head to head performance; however, the edge was given to Democrat Hillary Clinton, with Bernie Sanders winning rather closely than the front-runner could have imagined; and leaving behind Governor O’Malley, to throw in the towel in the fight for the White oval office.
Raw poll’s data showed that Democrat Bernie Sanders did very well among Iowan youths under the age of thirty and Hillary Clinton far outstrip Sanders’s performance with voters in the over fifty age group. Overall, Bernie Sanders has been able to narrow Clinton’s lead throughout the nomination process; and, closed whatever institutional gap Clinton had had at the start of the whole exercise. Day by day, it appears Sanders’s pragmatic populism campaign messaging, contrary to Clinton’s campaign assessment, has been resonating with Iowan Democratic voters. More than anything else, this is what past objective predictions had expected with the rise of clear straight talking Sander’s style of campaign messaging. Over the weekend leading to the Iowan caucus, independent polls’ takers close to Iowa grassroots politics, had predicted there was going to be a tough fight for the hearts and souls of Iowan democratic voters, as the youths’ excitements and candidate of preference, Bernie Sanders, was laying more inroad to the democratic Iowan hearts and the reciprocal love from the youths of that state, getting fever pitch than had earlier been imagined around the Iowan prairie.
Establishing a dominance of one campaign over another had been difficult in the 2016 Democratic Party, as the two leading candidates in polls, Clinton and Sanders, perceived each other as less of a progressive. Clinton had lambasted Sanders as a ‘one-message or topic’ candidate, while Sanders had returned the favor with, the “Unstainable-Traditional-Wall-Streets-Big-Money-Funded” candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Each, arguing that their brand of progressiveness is more attuned with what the voters wanted; and, maintaining that the progress that is required today in America is one that addresses the issues of: 1) unwieldly and unshared economic growth among households; 2) disparate wealth inequality since the nineteen twenties; 3) unshared economic prosperity even within same income groups; 4) the excessive and growing income gains gaps between the top one percent of American households and the rest of the nation; 5) behemoth student loans to wealth ratio; 6) having more than one in five American child living in abject poverty; and, 7) having Average American holding less wealth than their counterparts in other advanced economies, among others.
Without equivocation, Bernie Sanders had campaigned, it is going to take an ethical revolution to overturn the disparities in wages and income, wealth and quality of life, and other associated setbacks facing the average American. While Hillary Clinton acknowledges some of elucidated issues and problems highlighted by Bernie Sanders, she continues to averrer that the better way to address these issues and problems, is to continue in the path of the current White House’s progressive policy initiative, contrary to what the Vermont Senator was articulating. In the opinion of Bernie Sanders, if democrats are to move America forward, it is time to abandon compromise policies that hardly differentiate the party from Republicans; accent new progressive policies that are reflective and substantial; and, work against calamitous economic and political arrangements that continue to marginalize millions of Americans.
What we learned from the Iowa Democratic Party caucuses is that the gap in support between Clinton and Sanders are eroding and it was more of a head to head competition between both campaigns last Monday. If the Sanders’s campaign has not already overtaken the Clinton’s campaign by a two to one margin in next week’s slated primary in New Hampshire, it is possible that that primary’s result is likely, a watershed in the Democratic nomination process; with growing support and favor-ability going to Sanders as he appears to be positioned to win, contrary to the results from the Iowa caucuses. For now, depending on what statistics and results you identify with, it is permissible to give the Iowan caucus competition to Hillary Clinton. Contrarily, the New Hampshire’s results and performance are going to be more different and glaring; with many polling groups already reporting greater advantage to the Vermont Senator.
With Quinnipiac University pollster reporting this morning, February 5, 2016, that the flow of support is probably going to be significant for Bernie Sander’s campaign in New Hampshire; and, the results are probably going to propel his campaign to a stronger position than what he had in Iowa. A more optimistic polling from Quinnipiac says that Bernie Sanders has virtually closed the 30-point gap between himself and the former US Secretary of State, at the national level. Reporting further, Quinnipiac University pollster are showing a momentum for the Vermont Senator over the nomination exercise and showing a hypothetical match-up that arguable gives the toss up to Sanders at the National level in the coming months. With this type of predicted national level support, Bernie Sanders may just be able to accomplish the rather impossible or unfathomable, overcoming the traditional mainstream democratic party members’ support and monetary advantage of Hillary Clinton prior to the beginning of the national primaries and caucuses.
Bernie Sanders once insisted that he is among friends who really wanted a revolution to overturn the current status-quo of corporate-bought elections that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is bestrewn and one that dynamic progressives find abhorrent and distasteful. Maybe the results from Iowa caucuses prepared Bernie Sanders to fight harder for recognition of his ideas and ideals; maybe his continued hammering of the business as usual type of campaign strategy from Secretary Clinton is paying off as it continues to endear him to a broader audience and supporters; however, what is probably known across mainstream politics is that it will be an uphill battle for a Democratic Socialist to win a general election. However, you heard here before: “Miracles do happen!” The once young Jewish boy from Brooklyn borough, New York, may yet get his shot at the golden prize in American Politics. A day may come in American Politics where those messaging that have since endeared youth to Bernie’s campaign may turn national, universal and potentially propel him to the White House’s oval office.
What Republican Ted Cruz achieved in Iowa caucus was an outstanding grassroots effort to get his brand of conservatism messaging to voters. Some political strategists maintain Cruz’s campaign and get out the vote strategy to overcome his opponents were sound, no matter what Republican Donald Trump says about them. In most Iowan neighborhoods and counties, Ted Cruz proved he had the boots on the ground and words out, that ultimately endeared him to amass Republican supporters and voters that allowed him to triumph over his new arch enemy, Donald Trump. Candidate Marco Rubio’s third place performance was notable and may end up becoming, an exemplary strategy of working your way up the political champagne ladder when all seems to have written you off; in other words, the fight for the eventual party nominee on the Republican party side, may end up being a toss-up between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, just in case reality-show host Donald Trump, falters.
Maybe that was why the second day allegation against Ted Cruz that he was a fraud in the way he won the Iowan caucuses may be making sense to the ardent supporters of the reality show host, Donald Trump; however, many onlookers just wimp at that suggestion. The question of the missing prescient result that was claimed to have tainted the Democratic party exercise, where Clinton had eked out a slim victory of 699.57 (Clinton) over 697.77 (Sanders) count, appears not to be present with the Republicans. The Associated Press reported result vote spread are as follows: with 100% precinct reporting, Ted Cruz (27.6%); Donald Trump (24.3%); Marco Rubio (23.1%); Ben Carson (9.3%); Rand Paul (4.5%); Jeb Bush (2.8%); Carli Fiorina (1.9%); John Kasich (1.9%); Mike Huckabee (1.8%); Chris Christi (1.8%); and, Rick Santorum (1.0%). The conventional wisdom that the ground game is important in running a political campaign was not only telling and affirmed in the Iowan caucuses results, it challenging assumptions of many pollsters that, what a candidate has to bother about is opinion polling in determining their chances of winning an election.
In part, the assumption that heavy turnout in elections means more votes for every candidate, while true in many and most instances, there are occasions in which some favorable candidates by prior polling and strategists’ expectations fail to meet up to their initial pronouncements. Late surging is known to occur even for long chance candidates, as long as those candidates continue to make inroads and emphasize the ground game in reaching voters who end up supporting their causes. Ted Cruz outlasted Donald Trump, even though the projection was that the reality show host was going to outdo every other contestant. Although first-time caucuses goers increased in number because of animation with Donald Trump’s candidacy, the beneficiary of the first time participants ended up benefiting Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, with some polling results indicating a 23% first time cause goers supporting Ted Cruz and 22% of them supporting Marco Rubio. Many late deciders threw their support behind Marco Rubio and the huge evangelical groups in Iowa, favored Ted Cruz, whose father, a pastor, did some leg walk among the evangelical groups in the State.
Results from Iowa caucuses show that there are still a lot to learn in political campaigns and messaging. For example, despite Iowan Republican governor’s opposition and repudiation of Ted Cruz for his anti-Renewable Fuel Subsidy (RFS) program, Ted Cruz still overcame this opposition and topped other Republican candidates in the state. Further, despite the fact that Marco Rubio only concentrated his campaign efforts to Des Moines urban center and immediate counties, relatively avoiding other counties of the State, he was still able to garner enough votes to remain competitive in the race. In addition, neither the two front runners and winners, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, paid much attention to the heavily populated Republican Northwest Iowan counties in their grassroots campaign efforts. To a greater extent, the competition for all the candidates was evident from the urban centers to the rural areas; and, only the more proactive better organized grassroots campaign efforts paid off.
In part, the results of the Republican efforts in Iowa, point the finger at the difficulty of assuming that earlier polling data may skew election to a particular candidate. If Marco Rubio was pleased that he was able to interest most late deciding Republican voters, so can Ted Cruz claim that his early outreach to the evangelical groups in Iowa was a great strategy. Specifics and organizational strength of most campaigns are somewhat driven by early opinion polling(s); however, any candidate that rely solely on these types of polling(s) may fall short of expectations when it comes to the final or general election. Political campaigns are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get, my apologies to Forest Gump.