This has been the craziest, most bizarre election cycle in modern history. Hillary Clinton was supposed to have a coronation as the Democratic nominee, but a crazy socialist dragged the process until weeks before the convention. On the Republican side, it took nearly a year to go from 17 candidates to one. And the one was the probably the weakest general election candidate the Republicans could field.
After the crazy ups and downs it all comes down to a few predictable states to try to guess the outcome on November 8th.
Conventional wisdom has Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide. However, this year has been anything but an election following conventional wisdom. While our analysis would put Clinton at a clear advantage of winning, there is a still a narrow path for Trump to get to 270 Electoral College votes.
According to private polling that has not been released to the press, there is a less than one percentage point difference between Trump and Clinton in Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Iowa. Trump leads Clinton by 4% in Ohio.
While the Democrats typically have better turnout operations than Republicans, if there is a sentiment shift with late-deciders, it is plausible that Trump could add Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Iowa to his column. If that happens, and Clinton wins the remainder of the traditional swing states the outcome is 270 Electoral College votes for Trump and 268 for Clinton.
Think about that: 270-268. Guess who would be screaming “rigged election!” at that point.
However, if Trump can’t tip it over in Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Iowa, Clinton ends up with more than 320 Electoral College votes.
There is another crazy possibility. In Utah Trump leads Independent candidate Evan McMullin 32%-30%, with Clinton at 24%. If Trump does win those states as outlined above, but loses Utah to McMullin, that would put the Electoral college count at 268 Clinton, 264 Trump, and 6 McMullin. If no one has the required 270 votes, then the election is determined by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Now THAT would be some post-election drama!
You know that 30 year old living rent-free in his parents’ basement? The one who got straight A’s and has a graduate degree but fails to make it in the real world? Well, in the energy sector, that’s the solar industry.
Proponents of solar insist on government subsidies and regulatory climates favorable to solar at the expense of traditional energy sources. For decades, the argument has been that government investment will help solar to launch. Yet, just like the overly-indulgent parents of the millennial basement dweller are actually impeding his development, so too are solar proponents creating an entire industry that cannot function in the marketplace.
Take for example SolarCity. Last month, SolarCity was “forced to eliminate more than 550 jobs in Nevada” after the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decided to end “net metering.” Net metering is a program that pays retail price for excess power that solar users send back to the electrical grid. SolarCity built their entire business model upon this program, providing solar panels to its customers at no initial, upfront cost and then pocketing the government subsidies.
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out in December, SolarCity was aware that depending upon net metering for the long-term was a risky gamble, telling investors “our ability to sell solar energy systems and the electricity they generate may be adversely impacted by changes in net metering policies including reductions in the amount or value of credit that customers receive through net metering.” According to Nevada’s PUC, solar users in Southern Nevada receive a $623 subsidy per year, while those in the northern part of the state receive $471—paid for by the non-solar ratepayers who are typically lower income.
To believe that this ruse would continue forever and build a business upon it was just foolish. Those who argue for continued subsidies for the solar industry enable the irresponsible decisions that hinder solar’s growth. If a solar company cannot make it in Nevada or Arizona or other Western sunshine states without considerable subsidies, it can never make it as the viable energy option that solar proponents purport it to be. Let’s end these subsidies everywhere and force innovation in the solar industry to become self-sufficient. After all, if you truly love something, shouldn’t you set it free?
On November 1, 1950, the 3d Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, 1st Calvary Division fought back a vicious onslaught of Chinese Communist forces in Unsan Korea. Though repelled, the enemy soon surrounded them. Those Americans still able to do so were ordered to evacuate.
Captain Emil Kapaun, a Catholic chaplain who courageously ministered to the men throughout the battle, “elected to stay behind,” reads his Medal of Honor Citation, “fully aware of his certain capture.” After his capture, “Chaplain Kapaun…bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun’s gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present.” Kapaun and the other POWs were marched 80 miles, in the Tiger Death March, to a prison camp.
In the camp, Kapaun continued his selfless service, ministering to the men, stealing food, and lifting spirits. “People had lost a great deal of their civility,” a fellow POW told the Washington Post, “…and here is this one man—in all of this chaos—who has kept his principles.” Kapaun died in captivity on May 23, 1951.
“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” Donald Trump recently told an audience in Ames, Iowa. He was referring to Senator John McCain, but his comments could just as easily have applied to Chaplain Kapaun; or Doug Hegdahl, a young POW during Vietnam who convinced his captors that he was stupid and posed no threat, then proceeded to memorize—to the tune of “Old McDonald”——the names of his over 200 fellow POW’s. Granted an early release, which he was ordered to accept by an American officer being held with him, Hegdahl provided to the American government the names of all the POWs held at the camp along with other invaluable information. Trump could have been talking about Jeremiah Denton, who used a televised Vietnamese propaganda press conference to confirm to the US that he and other American prisoners were being tortured by blinking, in Morse Code, T-O-R-T-U-R-E repeatedly. Trumps comments could be applied to Louis Zamperini, the Olympian-turned-bombardier who refused to allow the brutal treatment by his Japanese captors to break him, demonstrating to all the resolve and strength of the American spirit.
We know all of these men, because they were captured. But it is their heroism, their dignity, and their perpetual dedication to our nation, in the face of terrifying, excruciating conditions that we honor when we call them heroes. Mr. Trump’s failure to understand this disqualifies him to serve as Commander-in-Chief.
In the days following his senseless remarks, Trump’s response to the backlash has revealed much about his character: he is an immature, wannabe bully. He doubled down and tried to claim that his comments have been taken out of context. Saying, “People who fought hard and weren’t captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them; they’re, like, forgotten.” Honoring John McCain does not mean that John Basilone, Audie Murphy, Riley Pitts, Dakota Meyers, Michael Murphy, Ross McGinnis, or countless other heroes do not receive appropriate recognition. There is not a finite amount of honor; celebrating one heroic act does not detract from another.
Trump also said, “I used to like [McCain] a lot. I supported him…but I would love to see him do a much better job taking care of the veterans.” After 5 and a half years of unimaginable pain and torture in service to America and her military, John McCain has paid in full. Anything else that he does is above and beyond. And certainly, someone like Donald Trump who, while John McCain languished in prison was, as the Washington Post pointed out, “living large…He ate in New York City’s finest restaurants, rode in his father’s limousines and began hitting the clubs with beautiful women,” is certainly in no position to demand more of the senator.
Trump’s best excuse for this attack on John McCain is that McCain attacked him—basically, Trump is whining “he started it.” Thin skin and a bad attitude is not going to turn Washington around, after all that’s what we’ve had for the past six years. Republican primary voters owe America—and certainly America’s service members—a better candidate than Donald Trump. It’s time for him to go.
Sometimes you read a story in the newspaper (well, on a news website at least) and just shake your head at the profound stupidity of the reporter.
The New York Times first wrote a breathless story about how Senator Marco Rubio and his wife have had a serious problem with driving infractions – 17 total.
On it’s face, you might think, “that dude’s got a lead foot.” The problem is, of the 17 tickets cited in the story, only four of those tickets were given to Senator Rubio. The other 13 were his wife. That’s four in the last 15 years.
So, that’s a bit of a cheap shot by the New York Times.
Then, a couple days later, you had this story with this headline: Marco Rubio’s Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles.
My first reaction was, this is good for Rubio, a contrast to millionaire Hillary Clinton. And, taken as a whole, the story is about a 44 year-old father of three who has had some ups and downs financially as he has tried to balance a life in politics and raising a family.
One of the more absurd parts of the story was the Times reporting that following him earning an $800,000 advance on his book, “he splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat, state records show. At the time, Mr. Rubio confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The 24-foot boat, he said, fulfilled a dream.”
OK, so I’m a kid from Show Low, AZ and not an expert in watercraft. But, I have had friends who owned boats (bass fishing boats, speed boats, deep sea fishing boats) and I’ve been on a couple “luxury” boats.
When I read “$80,000 luxury speedboat” I just chuckled. A 24-ft boat that costs $80,000 is far from “luxury.” You want a “luxury speedboat?” That’s going to put you out a few hundred thousand to start.
For example, this Tiara is used and is for sale for more than $300,000.
Turns out this is the “luxury speedboat” Marco bought:
It’s a standard deep sea fishing boat. As I commented to someone, “If a luxury speedboat was a Bentley, this is a Hyundai.”
So the New York Times is getting some criticism. Even Politico thinks they’ve crossed the line. Think about that, when even Politico thinks you’ve gone over the line, you can guarantee you have crossed the line a mile back.
Then last night, Jon Stewart jumped into the mix. It’s pretty amazing TV.
The New York Times has lost even more of what little credibility they have remaining. The Gray Lady weeps…
68 years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager, Branch Rickey, started Robinson at first base. It was one of the most important moments in the MLB and led a nation into the civil rights movement. Robinson and Rickey were ahead of their time when you realize that this happened 16 years before Martin Luther King’s seminal “I have a dream” speech.
Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson.
On Monday, Senator Marco Rubio announced his campaign for the Presidency from the iconic Freedom Tower in Miami. It was a rousing and inspirational speech that highlighted his family’s path to attaining the American Dream. Rubio’s message was one of hope in the resurgence of American greatness and a powerful call to action. Rubio is the best communicator in the Republican Party and will be a top tier contender for the GOP nomination.
Speaking of top-tier contenders, Hillary Clinton launched her campaign for the White House on Sunday with a web video. As I tweeted that day, say what you will, but it was well done and had the right tone.
While I think she will struggle with coming across authentic, she is going to be a formidable opponent to whomever gets the GOP nomination.
Oh, and one of the most absurd things I have ever seen, happened in Iowa. Click the link below. Talk about a stampede.
VIDEO: Reporters ran to get to close to Clinton as the Scooby Van approached her Iowa event https://t.co/7vqR31b6NN
— The Cycle (@thecyclemsnbc) April 14, 2015
(picture courtesy of Dr. Fred Vidal)
A rehash of previous years – and it’s ever more relevant:
On this day, 102 years ago, God made Ronald Reagan – ok, so He made him before that, but you get the point. Reagan was a blessing to America, becoming President at the very time that his country needed him. If there was ever a time we needed another Reagan, it is now.
Reagan embodied a concept of America very different than our current President. In his final address to the nation from the Oval office he spoke of the success of America as an example of freedom.
“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”
Happy birthday President Reagan. We miss you, we need you.
29 years ago today, as millions of schoolchildren and other Americans watched live coverage, the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its ascent into space. For those of us who were watching it live, it will be forever seared into our memories.
As we watched, right after the command was given to “throttle up” the TV view went to a tight shot of the shuttle – and then there was an explosion. There were immediate gasps around us as the adults realized what had happened and we kids had yet to understand the tragedy unfolding before our eyes.
The realization of what happened began to sink in and I felt a profound sadness. It was especially profound because there had been significant media coverage and discussion at school about Sharon McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. I didn’t know her, but knowing she was a teacher somehow made it more poignant.
That night was supposed to be the State of the Union address by President Ronald Reagan. Instead, he spoke from the Oval Office comforting a shocked and grieving nation.
The entire speech, written by the unequaled Peggy Noonan, was the perfect balance of sorrow, respect, encouragement, and hope.
Here is the closing paragraph (entire speech below):
The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
It was the perfect imagery to help heal the nation and instill the courage to continue to move forward with the space program.
We still remember the Challenger Seven and the sacrifice they made for our nation.
Address To The Nation On The Explosion Of The Space Shuttle Challenger
January 28, 1986
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.
I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute. We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”
There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.
The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
The Arizona Republic published a piece I wrote about the Arizona Governor’s race. Here it is in it’s entirety:
Doug Ducey is a blueprint for the GOP
Sean Noble, AZ I See It
Sean Noble: Doug Ducey stood FOR something, and voters responded to his agenda.
Plenty of those taking office in January got there simply by not being a Democrat in a Republican year. If the GOP is to prevail in 2016, they’ll need more.
Doug Ducey’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Arizona provides the blueprint for Republicans going forward.
When conservatives pine for “the next Ronald Reagan,” they are really talking about leadership. They want someone who articulates a vision, who can build a broad, diverse coalition, and who fights for conservative principles rather than conservative politics.
Arizona has found such a leader in former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey, an energetic, optimistic businessman who was fond of saying, “I built a business, now I want to shrink a government and grow an economy.” Ducey is a man of action; he’ll do what he says he’ll do.
And what is that? He’ll make changes to education funding so that more dollars make it to the classroom, rather than bloated administrations.
He’ll reduce the waiting lists for high-performing schools so that low-income kids can have access to the best education possible.
He’ll end the practice of government picking winners and losers and lower individual and corporate income taxes so that Arizona attracts new business.
And he’ll provide leadership that all Arizonans — and conservatives — can be proud of.
Doug Ducey stood for something; voters cast their ballots in support of his agenda rather than against the Democratic agenda. Ducey ran an effective campaign by building a broad coalition, staying on message and clearly articulating a platform of opportunity, which resonated with Arizonans.
American Encore commissioned Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company, Inc. and Women Trend to conduct a post-election poll. Conway’s findings show Ducey won big on substance.
Education was a clear priority for voters (35 percent), with the economy next (32 percent) followed by border security (13 percent) and health care/”Obamacare” (12 percent).
When it came to education, 65 percent of women and 62 percent of men said it was important to their vote that Ducey supported scholarship programs to give low-income children access to high-performing schools.
By making it clear that education mattered to him and delivering a strong message of support for school choice, Ducey neutralized Fred DuVal’s negative messaging that Ducey didn’t care about education. This among other factors led to a remarkable result: Ducey beat DuVal among women.
The Democratic “war on women” playbook just fell flat with voters. When asked about the most important issues in casting their vote for governor, 1 percent cited women’s issues and another 1 percent cited abortion.
In fact, Fred DuVal is the first Democratic candidate to fumble the abortion issue. He took the extreme position that parents should not have to consent in order for their 14 year-old daughter to get an abortion. Fifty-nine percent of voters cited that position as important to their vote.
Other typical liberal rhetoric like class warfare and climate change failed to move Arizona voters. Only 1 percent of voters cited income inequality as important, and less than 1 percent cited climate change.
Oh, and for all the media squawking about “dark money”? Exactly one respondent out of 500 thought it important.
Doug Ducey attracted a broad range of support. In addition to winning among women, he won 24 percent of the Hispanic vote and only slightly trailed DuVal among young voters, while enjoying a 25-point advantage with 45- to 54-year-olds and leading big among those 55 and older.
Of course, the national environment had some impact on the race: Only 37 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of President Barack Obama, and 57 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
But the environment doesn’t explain the 12-point margin of victory for Ducey. On Election Day, Ducey enjoyed a 50 vs. 31 percent favorable/unfavorable rating, compared with DuVal at 38 vs. 35 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. That had a huge impact on late deciding voters — of which there were more than usual. A whopping 23 percent made up their mind in the last two weeks of the election.
The late Steve Shadegg, one of the premiere election experts in modern history, said that, ultimately, elections come down to whom you can trust. If you explain your positions eloquently and honestly, as Doug Ducey did, people will trust you — even if they don’t agree with you on every issue. Ducey provided Republicans with the perfect campaign blueprint; next, he’ll show them how to govern.
Sean Noble is the president of American Encore.
Yes, my headline is poking fun at the stupid trend on the Internet of “blah blah blah, what happened next was (insert over-the-top adjective here).”
However, this video of young girls using the f word is not interesting, not amazing, not educational, not informative, and certainly not thought provoking. It is shameless marketing to sell t-shirts.
Caitlin Dewey from the Washington Post writes:
Most people would agree the gender wage-gap is bad. But is it more or less bad than profit-motivated adults instructing little girls to curse for a viral video?
That is, in a nutshell, the false equivalence at the heart of a new and wildly controversial video by the T-shirt brand FCKH8, which since Tuesday has racked up more than 100,000 views on YouTube alone. The video consists of girls, ages six to 13, dropping frequent F-bombs in a discussion of pay inequality, stereotypical gender roles and sexual violence — a concept far more dangerous to the six-year-old mind, some might argue, than any casual curse words could be.
Presumably, if you do find the girls’ language offensive, you’re not a very good feminist…
FCKH8 is, after all, a for-profit company, owned entirely by Synergy Media — a corporate branding studio that specializes in (whaddya know!) marketing. Each T-shirt FCKH8 sells retails for between $15 and $37, five dollars of which the company promises to donate to charity. After FCKH8’s last campaign — in which the company had children from Ferguson, Mo. read statistics on racism to “white people” — that cut went to the Mike Brown Memorial Fund and the NAACP. Critics, of whom there are many, were not impressed.
Another view is even more succinct. This one from Darlena Cunha:
So when a 7-year-old says, “I’m not some pretty [f-word] helpless princess in distress” in a mocking tone, my heart screams, “Oh, yes, honey, you are. Oh my God, you are. Not because you’re a girl, but because you are a child.”
Children can be helpless; sometimes they do need help, and it is of utmost importance that they know it. Because growing up in a world where people will take advantage of them in any way possible, they will need an arsenal of people they can trust to help them. We constantly tell our children to talk to a trusted adult if something questionable happens to them, be it bullying, abuse or any kind of sexual advance. By having them internalize the message that they are strong and unstoppable, we may inadvertently be pushing them along the path of blaming themselves should they somehow be unable to stop a rapist, mugger, or even the patriarchy in general.
Not to mention FCKH8 is setting up a false dichotomy by pretending that people would or should be equally offended at little girls dropping the f-bomb as they are the inequity women face on a daily basis. If there ever was a case of apples and oranges, this is it. Just because both feminism and little girls swearing about feminism contain both girls and feminism does not make them comparable on any deep level.
The best analysis comes from The Belle Jar:
First of all, let’s get one thing straight: this video is not some kind of PSA, it’s an advertisement. FCKH8 is a for-profit t-shirt company – emphasis on the profit – that has put together an exploitative and manipulative two minute and thirty five second commercial for t-shirts. And while FCKH8 asserts that all of this is “for a good cause” (they’ve promised to donate $5 from each t-shirt sale to as-yet-undisclosed organizations) the only cause that’s being promoted by this video is their bank account.
There is nothing feminist about using little girls as props in order to sell t-shirts – in fact, I would argue that this is the opposite of feminism. There is nothing feminist about exploiting a bunch of little girls by having them swear and talk about rape statistics just so that FCKH8 can make a quick buck. There is nothing feminist about creating an association between potty-mouthed little kids and social justice – and that’s not a slight against potty-mouths, because I fucking love swearing, but rather a statement on the fact that this video plays into a lot of the negative stereotypes that people already have about feminism.
I’m not against people making a profit. My problem is that FCKH8 is pretending that they are creating a useful dialogue about societal issues – when really all they are doing is selling t-shirts.
The kidnapping of more than 200 young girls by the terrorist group Boko Harem in Nigeria is horrific.
We can debate how we got to the point that this terrorist group was able to pull this off. We can, in part, blame Hillary Clinton, who, while she was Secretary of State, worked against listing Boko Harem as a terrorist group, despite strong evidence of their close ties to Al Qaeda.
We can also blame this administration’s general position on terrorism – or probably better said, lack of strong position against terrorism.
Case in point:
Seriously? The reaction by the greatest nation on earth to the horrific kidnapping of more than 200 young girls is a twitter hashtag? What, exactly did they expect to accomplish with a Twitter hashtag and a profile picture?
Even what the President said about it is incredibly disappointing:
“I have this remarkable title right now, the president of the United States,” Obama said, “And yet every day when I wake up, and I think about young girls in Nigeria or children caught up in the conflict in Syria — when there are times in which I want to reach out and save those kids.”
What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that he has more than a “remarkable title” – he has remarkable responsibility that he is supposed to employ.
But, when you think about it, the vast majority of President Obama’s tenure has been more style than substance. It isn’t about doing something, it’s about projecting – expressing opinion rather than doing the hard work of affecting actual change.
In a word, our president is a slacktivist. Like so many other high-minded liberals, he thinks that tweeting something out, or creating a hashtag about an issue is actual activism. Well, it’s not.
It’s past time for this administration to understand that we can’t conduct foreign policy with a hashtag. #Seriously