Posts Tagged ‘2016’

15th December
2016
written by Sean Noble

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Usually, when political hacks talk about the “undervote” we are talking about how many fewer votes a particular race had than votes for President or Governor in a district or state. However, the 2016 election exposed a new phenomenon: the presidential undervote.

In Arizona, there were 2,554,240 votes cast for President. However, there were a total of 2,661,497 ballots cast. That means that 107,257 people voted in the election but did not cast a vote for President. That is an astounding number when you compare it with the undervote in previous presidential elections. In 2012 it was 34,777, in 2008 it was 28,771, and in 2004 it was 28,734.

And the presidential undervote this year was not unique to Arizona. A Washington Post analysis shows that in the 33 state where they were able to collect the data, 1.7 million people cast a ballot but did not vote for President. Arizona ranked 2nd highest as a percentage of people who did not vote for President (behind Montana).

Obviously, the record number of people abstaining in the Presidential election is a reflection on the candidates. Donald Trump had some seriously unfavorable ratings heading into Election Day, as did Hillary Clinton. And Clinton didn’t inspire the Democratic base the way Obama did in 2008 and 2012.

Clinton was also a terrible candidate, and while the media fawned over the “amazing” operation coming out of Brooklyn, we now know that they were too smart for their own good. They made some assumptions about the election, created a model, and then never tested the model with inputs throughout the campaign.

On the morning of Election Day, internal Clinton campaign numbers had her winning Michigan by 5 points. By 1 p.m., an aide on the ground called headquarters; the voter turnout tracking system they’d built themselves in defiance of orders — Brooklyn had told operatives in the state they didn’t care about those numbers, and specifically told them not to use any resources to get them — showed urban precincts down 25 percent. Maybe they should get worried, the Michigan operatives said.

Nope, they were told. She was going to win by 5. All Brooklyn’s data said so.

President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign on the other hand was hopeful, but not confident, that he would pull off the win. They also had a data operation, but the difference was they were continuing to get inputs and making changes to strategy up to the weekend before the election. It was not just on a whim that Trump went to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the last days of the campaign.

The question is how will future Presidential elections look? Is the 2016 presidential undervote an anomaly, or is this the new normal? We won’t know for four more years.

21st July
2015
written by Sean Noble

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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.

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(Emil Kapuan)

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.

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(Louis Zamperini)

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.

 

27th January
2015
written by Sean Noble

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If you follow Arizona politics, you probably know that Senator John McCain made an appearance at the State Meeting of the Arizona Republican Party last Saturday. It was newsworthy because this is the same state party that censured McCain last year.

It was not without its drama – there were a few folks who booed very loudly and a handful who really showed “who is boss” by keeping their backs turned to McCain throughout his speech. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t be seen from the stage because they were way, way in the back corner.

McCain gave a passionate speech about the dangers we face in the world (Russia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) and why the current Obama policy is failing to keep us safe.

At one point, someone yelled, “You’re a war mongrel!” Now, I’m guessing he meant “warmonger,” but, alas, either the adrenaline got to him, or he actually didn’t know what he was yelling.

Think about it: in a Republican meeting of State Committeemen (the very definition of “base Republicans”) someone is so out of touch with Republican principles and policy that they accuse a U.S. Senator, who was tortured for five years as a prisoner of war, of being a warmonger. For a second, I thought I was at an Occupy Wall Street rally.

Thankfully, the vast majority of attendees were cheering and applauding Sen. McCain and his speech – thus demonstrating that the critics of McCain were a distinct minority.

To his credit, State Party Chairman, Robert Graham, got up after McCain’s speech and admonished those who had shown complete disrespect. It was a moment of leadership that has defined the kind of Chairman Graham has been: fair-minded, following the rules, and urging unity. It’s no wonder Graham won a landslide re-election as Chairman, garnering nearly 80% of the vote.

Graham’s landslide victory is also a testament to an Arizona Republican Party that is excelling. Graham raised significant money for the 2014 cycle and made the party relevant again. No one can say that Republicans didn’t elect a strong conservative slate of statewide officers and a conservative legislature.

But let’s get back to McCain.

Despite some national groups calling him their number one target, I don’t believe Senator McCain will face a serious challenge – either in the primary or the general election in 2016. Here’s why:

  • Obama’s foreign policy will continue to be a complete failure. There will be more terrorist attacks (like what happened in France) and some American lives might even be lost. From his post as the Senate Armed Services Chairman, Senator McCain will have ample opportunity to try to hold the Obama administration accountable for their failed foreign policy.
  • Anyone who is thinking about mounting a challenge to McCain remembers what happened to JD Hayworth. It wasn’t pretty.
  • 2016 is likely to be framed in the context of a national security election. If there is one thing that unifies the base of the Republican Party it is that we believe the first (and almost only) function of government is to “provide for the common defense.” If McCain is leading that charge, it will be hard for someone to get traction against him.

There are probably other reasons, but for now, a real challenge doesn’t seem to be shaping up.