Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

More marxist professors than Republicans

May 29th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Nicholas Kristof writes in the NYT:

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

O.K., that’s a little harsh. But consider George Yancey, a sociologist who is black and evangelical.

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.”

Sadly true.

Four studies found that the proportion of professors in the humanities who are Republicans ranges between 6 and 11 percent, and in the social sciences between 7 and 9 percent.

Conservatives can be spotted in the sciences and in economics, but they are virtually an endangered species in fields like anthropology, sociology, history and literature. One study found that only 2 percent of English professors are Republicans (although a large share are independents).

In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.

I wonder if the same would be true in NZ? Would there be more Marxist social science professors than say National supporting ones?

Considering around 0.5% of the population are probably Marxists and 47% voted National, wouldn’t it reveal something about our universities if it was also true here.

Can anyone think of any centre-right social science professors in NZ?

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Took the easy way out

May 29th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

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And this one is actually true.

Clinton pinged by State Department Inspector General

May 27th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

One of the two big dominoes in the Hillary Clinton email controversy toppled today:The State Department’s inspector general released its report on the email practices of Clinton and a number of other past secretaries of state. (The other major domino is, of course, the FBI investigation into Clinton’s decision to exclusively use a private email server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.)

The report, which you can read in its entirety here, badly complicates Clinton’s past explanations about the server and whether she complied fully with the laws in place governing electronic communication. And it virtually ensures that Clinton’s email practices will be front and center in Donald Trump’s fusillade of attacks against her credibility and honesty between now and Nov. 8.

The report is quite damning in what it reveals.

Clinton used an inappropriate method of preserving her documents. Her approach would not have been approved if it had been requested by a more junior member of the State Department staff.  The report also suggests that despite a Clinton aide’s insistence that the method of preserving her emails had been submitted to a legal review back in 2010, there is no evidence that such a review took place. And, here’s the kicker: Clinton refused to sit for a formal interview.

Staff who raised the issue of Clinton’s personal server were lied to and said it had been approved by legal review, and more so were told never to raise the issue again!

Trump clinches the nomination

May 27th, 2016 at 7:17 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for US president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and set the stage for a bitter autumn campaign.

Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July.

Among them is Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.

“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” Pollard said. “I have no problem supporting Mr Trump.”

It takes 1237 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump has reached 1238.

Amazing that Trump has defeated 16 candidates faster than Clinton can defeat the most left wing US Senator to get the Democratic nomination.

A reflection on Hiroshima

May 26th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

James Martin writes:

Millions of Americans have a personal or family connection to World War II. One is Salon columnistCamille Paglia who, in answering a letter from a reader in her April 21 column, mentioned her father’s service during the war, explaining how he and his Army unit, which was slated for an invasion of Japan, were “spared from certain decimation by the two atomic bombs and Japan’s surrender.”

Paglia’s father was among many thousands spared because of President Harry Truman’s decision to launch a nuclear strike against Imperial Japan. His order to attack Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was carried out in no small part by my uncle, Maj. Tom Ferebee. He was the bombardier aboard the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, and that in doing so, ushered in the nuclear age.

As President Obama prepares for his visit to Hiroshima May 27, I recall my uncle’s personal reflections. As the bombardier, peering through his Norden bombsight, he was the last man to see Hiroshima in any detail before it was leveled, making his perspectives on the event somewhat unique.

Definitely a unique perspective.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated as many as 134,556 dead and missing Americans. A study for the office of War Secretary Henry Stimson put the figure at 400,000 to 800,000 dead GIs, with Japanese fatalities reckoned between five and 10 million military personnel and civilians. In addition to combat casualties, the more than 27,000 American POWs held by Japan were subject to immediate execution should the United States invade.

The nuclear attack on Hiroshima was terrible. All warfare is. The power unleashed by the splitting of the atom was monumental. But tragic as the bombing of Hiroshima was, it was also necessary. The alternative to Hiroshima would have been one of the bloodiest, if not the bloodiest, slaughter in human history.

An invasion of the home islands would have been terrible for everyone – military on both sides, and Japanese civilians.

No apology is necessary for sparing Japan the unspeakable horror of an invasion to end the war. No contrition is needed for an act that preserved hundreds of thousands of lives. One can thoughtfully reflect on the awful destructive power of the atomic bomb while understanding the indispensable role it played in world history. Maj. Ferebee never lost any sleep over the bombing of Hiroshima, and neither should President Obama.

Hard to disagree.

Gary Johnson at 10%

May 26th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

538 reports:

Gary Johnson might be on the verge of becoming a household name.

At the moment, he’s probably most often confused with that plumber who fixed your running toilet last month or your spouse’s weird friend from work who keeps calling the landline, but he’s neither — he’s the former governor of New Mexico, likely Libertarian candidate for president, and he’s polling at 10 percent in two recently released national polls against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

A Morning Consult survey published Tuesday and found Clinton getting 38 percent of the vote, Trump 35 and Johnson 10, with 17 percent undecided. A Fox News poll conducted from May 14-17 showed Trump leading over Clinton, 42 percent to 39 percent, but Johnson at 10 percent as well. Lest you think this is some fluky May development, a Monmouth Universitysurvey conducted in mid-March — while the political universe was still busy wringing its hands over the Republican nomination — found that in a three-way race, Clinton would get 42 percent, Trump 34 percent and Johnson 11 percent.

Johnson is who I support to be President. He was an excellent Governor of New Mexico and is the rare breed with executive experience but also stood by his principles.

It is unlikely he can win (to say the least) but if he builds up enough support, then he might be able to get into the presidential debates – and the public might like what they see.

How 538 got Trump wrong

May 25th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Nate Silver writes on how he got Donald Trump so wrong (as almost everyone did). He notes:

But it’s not how it worked for those skeptical forecasts about Trump’s chance of becoming the Republican nominee. Despite the lack of a model, we put his chances in percentage terms on a number of occasions. In order of appearance — I may be missing a couple of instances — we put them at 2 percent (in August), 5 percent (in September), 6 percent (in November), around 7 percent (in early December), and 12 percent to 13 percent (in early January).

Silver notes five things:

  1. Our early forecasts of Trump’s nomination chances weren’t based on a statistical model, which may have been most of the problem.
  2. Trump’s nomination is just one event, and that makes it hard to judge the accuracy of a probabilistic forecast.
  3. The historical evidence clearly suggested that Trump was an underdog, but the sample size probably wasn’t large enough to assign him quite so low a probability of winning.
  4. Trump’s nomination is potentially a point in favor of “polls-only” as opposed to “fundamentals” models.
  5. There’s a danger in hindsight bias, and in overcorrecting after an unexpected event such as Trump’s nomination.

The interesting thing is that if you just looked at the polls, then you should have concluded Trump would win. He basically led in every poll for six months. But everyone found reasons to argue why the polls would change. 538 for example places great store on endorsements. And endorsements have been a good predictor in previous elections, but as Silver notes the sample size of previous elections is not great.

So one lesson from this is not to ignore the polls. They’re not always right, but polls vs assumptions, polls tend to win out.

Another source of info I look to is the prediction markets. At the moment they have Clinton at 66% likely to win and Trump 32%.

Obama celebrates charter schools

May 25th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The White House announced:

Our Nation has always been guided by the belief that all young people should be free to dream as big and boldly as they want, and that with hard work and determination, they can turn their dreams into realities. Schools help us uphold this ideal by offering a place for children to grow, learn, and thrive. During National Charter Schools Week, we celebrate the role of high-quality public charter schools in helping to ensure students are prepared and able to seize their piece of the American dream, and we honor the dedicated professionals across America who make this calling their life’s work by serving in charter schools. 

Charter schools play an important role in our country’s education system. Supporting some of our Nation’s underserved communities, they can ignite imagination and nourish the minds of America’s young people while finding new ways of educating them and equipping them with the knowledge they need to succeed. With the flexibility to develop new methods for educating our youth, and to develop remedies that could help underperforming schools, these innovative and autonomous public schools often offer lessons that can be applied in other institutions of learning across our country, including in traditional public schools.

This is from a Democratic President.

Better to be poor today than 30 years ago

May 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

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QC report:

Income inequality in the US has increased in the last few decades, but inequality and well being are different. If everyone is living better than before, the fact that some people are much better off isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The recent inequality has been a problem because, at least in income terms, a few have prospered while most stagnated. But income does not tell us much about living standards. Anecdotally it seems like living standards increased for everyone since the 1970s. Once, hardly anyone had air-conditioning, now everyone has mobile phones. Others argue the poor are struggling like never before.

An article in the latest version of the American Economic Review finds that Americans’ consumption has become more unequal too: The amount high-earning Americans spend grew much more than that of low income earners in the last 30 years. But that does not mean low earners are worse off. The figure below shows the share of low and high earners who own goods that used to be considered luxury items. Despite more inequality, low income Americans have better access to dishwashers, laundry, and entertainment goods.

I’d argue access to goods is more important to low income households than relative inequality between deciles.

Tolerance

May 24th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

islamphobia

Sent in by a reader.

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The king of crony capitalism

May 24th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Eric Peters writes:

If Elon Musk’s various projects are so fabulous, why do they all need government “help”?

Musk will tell you all about the virtues of his Tesla cars. They are sleek and speedy. This is true. But they are also very expensive (the least expensive model, the pending Model X, will reportedly start around $35K, about the same price as a luxury sedan like the Lexus ES350).

The real problem with Tesla cars is that no one actually buys them. Well, not directly.

Their manufacture is heavily subsidized — and their sale is heavily subsidized. Either way, the taxpayer is the one who gets the bill.

On the manufacturing end, Tesla got $1.3 billion in special “incentives” from the state of Nevada to build its battery factory there. This includes an exemption from having to pay any property taxes for the next 20 years. Another inducement was $195 million in transferable tax credits, which Tesla could sell for cash. California provides similar incentives, including $15 million to “create jobs” in the state.

Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either. It makes money by selling “carbon credits” to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits — but which are not “zero emissions” vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be.

Laws in nine states require each car company selling cars in the state to sell a certain number of “zero emissions” vehicles, else be fined. Since only electric cars qualify under the law as “zero emissions” vehicles — and the majority of cars made by the real car companies are not electric cars — they end up having to “purchase” these “carbon credits” from Tesla, subsidizing Tesla’s operations.

The amount Tesla has “earned” this way is in the neighborhood of $517 million.

It is estimated that Musk’s various ventures — including his new SolarCity solar panel operation and SpaceX — have cost taxpayers at least $4.9 billion, with Tesla accounting for about half of that dole.

It is outrageous that basically one person has received $4.9 billion in corporate welfare. This is an issue left wing parties should be campaigning against – but they are the biggest cheerleaders for it.

Another poll shows Trump leading

May 23rd, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

There’s been another poll out showing Trump ahead. It is of course early days, but it does show that Trump is consolidating his support.

This poll is the ABC/Washington Post poll – normally one that is highly reported.

Some interesting aspects:

  • Trump net favourability -17%
  • Clinton net favourability -16%
  • 51% say they want a third choice
  • Independents – Trump +13%
  • Moderates – Clinton +10%
  • Whites – Trump +24%
  • Non-Whites – Clinton +48%
  • Men – Trump +23%
  • Women – Clinton +14%
  • Under 40s – Clinton +8%
  • 40 to 64s – Trump +8%
  • Over 65s – Trump +3%
  • North East – Clinton +6%
  • Mid West – Clinton +4%
  • South: Trump +10%
  • West: Tie
  • Urban: Clinton +21%
  • Suburban: Trump +10%
  • Rural: Trump +35%

The three targets for Clinton to secure the nomination

May 21st, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

How Clinton gets Sanders to concede is becoming quite an issue. There are now three seperate targets being bandied about for what she needs to achieve to win. They are:

A majority of all delegates, including super delegates

This is the normal target. There are 4,763 delegates. You need 2,383 to win. Clinton has 2,293 so she needs just 90 more out of the 939 remaining. She will obviously do this. This will however not occur until June 7 as only 79 delegates come up before then.

A majority of pledged delegates

Some in the Sanders camp say that it isn’t over until someone has a majority of pledged delegates. There are 4,051 pledged delegates. A majority is 2,026. Clinton has 1,768 so she needs 258 more out of 781 remaining. That’s just 33% of remaining delegates which is easy to achieve. This will also happen on June 7 as after that only DC remains on June 14,

A majority of all delegates, but counting pledged delegates also

Again some in Sanders camps says that as super delegates may change their mind, then unless Clinton can get a majority of all delegates, just with pledged delegates, then it is a contested convention. They say until the first vote you don’t know what they’ll do.

This is nonsense as 550 senior Democrats aren’t suddenly going to renege on their written statements and suddenly vote for Sanders. But Sanders can argue it is mathematically possible so hence he won’t concede. This will put pressure on Clinton to adopt more of his policies.

So by this argument Clinton needs 2,383 to clinch it pre-convention and you can only count the 1,768 to date she has pledged. So she needs to win 615 of the remaining 781 pledged delegates. That clearly won’t happen, so if that is Sanders line, he won’t concede.

In reality it will all be over on 7th of June. It effectively is over now.

 

Native Americans not offended by Redskins

May 20th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, according to a new Washington Post poll that shows how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team’s moniker.

This shows how a small number of politically correct activists are so out of touch with the vast majority of the people they claim to speak for.

Among the Native Americans reached over a five-month period ending in April, more than 7 in 10 said they did not feel the word “Redskin” was disrespectful to Indians. An even higher number — 8 in 10 — said they would not be offended if a non-native called them that name.

And:

Since the nearly half-century-old debate regained national attention in 2013, opponents of the name have won a string of high-profile victories, garnering support from President Obama, 50 Democratic U.S. senators, dozens of sports broadcasters and columnists, several newspaper editorial boards (including The Post’s), a civil rights organization that works closely with the National Football League and tribal leaders throughout Indian Country.

So the political and media elites all decided what is offensive to Native Americans, without actually consulting them.

Across every demographic group, the vast majority of Native Americans say the team’s name does not offend them, including 80 percent who identify as politically liberal, 85 percent of college graduates, 90 percent of those enrolled in a tribe, 90 percent of non-football fans and 91 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 39.

That is an overwhelming result.

Meet some Sanders supporters

May 20th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

As the Nevada Democratic convention voted to award a majority of delegates to Hillary Clinton — an accurate reflection of her victory in the state’s February caucuses — Sanders backers charged the stage, threw chairs and shouted vulgar epithets at speakers. Security agents had to protect the dais and ultimately clear the room.

Sanders supporters publicized the cellphone number of the party chairwoman, Roberta Lange, resulting in thousands of abusive text messages and threats:

“Praying to God someone shoots you in the FACE and blows your democracy-stealing head off!”

“Hey bitch. . . We know where you live. Where you work. Where you eat. Where your kids go to school/grandkids. . . Prepare for hell.”

Veteran Nevada reporter Jon Ralston transcribed some of the choice voicemail messages for the chairwoman, some with vulgar labels for women and their anatomy:

“I think people like you should be hung in a public execution. . . . You are a sick, twisted piece of s— and I hope you burn for this!”

“You f—ing stupid bitch! What the hell are you doing? You’re a f—ing corrupt bitch!”

Such charming people. And these were not e-mails or Facebook rants but voice messages and text messages.

Socialism vs capitalism

May 19th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Glenn Reynolds writes:

It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

So true.

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich.

Also very true.

The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions and billions of dollars. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally — like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. In the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as Hedrick Smith reported in his The Russians, the Communist Party bigshots had lavish country houses and apartments in town stocked with hand-polished fresh fruit, even as the common people stood in line for hours at state-run stores in the hopes of getting staples.

Socialism means everyone but the socialist rulers are poor!

George Orwell explained the phenomenon in his Animal Farm, many decades ago. But people keep falling for it: Like Ponzi schemes, socialism is an evergreen form of fraud, egged on by suckers eager to believe the lies hucksters tell them.

Which brings me to Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post recently ran a pieceoriginally entitled “Bernie Sanders’s plans have surprisingly small benefits for America’s poorest people.” Among other things it noted that “In general, though, Sanders’s health-care plan would benefit affluent households more than it would poorer ones.”

Likewise, a paper from the left-leaning Brookings Institution notes that the biggest beneficiaries of Bernie’s free-college proposal would be rich kids:  “Under the Sanders free college proposal, families from the top half of the income distribution would receive 24% more in dollar value from eliminating tuition than students from the lower half of the income distribution.”

Labour in NZ is pushing for the same – a massive wealth transfer from taxpayers to the wealthiest people in NZ – college graduates.

If the 2016 presidential candidates were ‘Game of Thrones’ characters

May 18th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post assigns characters:

  • Donald Trump: Robert Baratheon
  • Hillary Clinton: Cersei Lannister
  • Bernie Sanders: Ellaria Sand
  • Ted Cruz: Tyrion Lannister
  • Jeb Bush: Stannis Baratheon
  • Marco Rubio: Renly Baratheon
  • John Kasich: Rickon Stark
  • Martin O’Malley: Ned Stark
  • Carly Fiorina: Margaery Tyrell
  • Ben Carson: Gregor Clegane
  • Mike Huckabee: The High Sparrow
  • Chris Christie: Jorah Mormont
  • Rand Paul: Khal Drogo
  • Rick Perry: Robb Stark
  • Lindsey Graham: Davos Seaworth
  • Scott Walker: Jon Arryn

Some of them surprise but their reasoning is pretty sound.

Who wants to be either VP?

May 17th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Politico reports:

Why would anybody want that job under Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? If either of them becomes president, we will probably see the most marginalized vice president in a generation.

VPs used to have almost no power. But Gore, Cheney and Biden have all been very influential in their respective administrations.

Trump’s contempt for rivals, critics and even allies makes LBJ’s bullying look like something out of Mr. Rogers. The video of him curtly ordering endorser Chris Christie to “get on the plane and go home” ought to be fair warning that a vice president under Trump should not expect anything better. Moreover, the idea of loyally supporting a Trump agenda poses a special challenge: That agenda is likely to be amended or abandoned on a moment’s notice. A prospective running mate, asked to declare himself or herself on Trump’s abortion, tax, health care or foreign policy positions, might be tempted to answer: “Which ones?” As for as being “the last voice” offering guidance, Trump has already told us what voice that will be.

“I’m speaking to myself,” he told Mika Brzezinski of “Morning Joe” in March, “because I have a very good brain.” His vice president, Trump suggested last week, would be a messenger boy, serving as his “legislative liaison.”

Messenger boy is about right!

The challenge is different for a prospective Clinton running mate—and one that no past veep has ever faced. Yes, past vice presidents have found themselves in a battle for the ear of POTUS with key White House aides and Cabinet members. But they’ve never had the challenge of competing with a presidential spouse who also happens to be a former two-term president. Indeed, in many ways, Bill Clinton would be a near-perfect choice to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. His political skills are unmatched; he knows the dangers that confront any White House as no one else possibly can; he’s even got a track record of working with an opposition Congress—something that neither of his successors can match.

Yeah being VP to Hillary would not be fun either – Bill will be her principal advisor and you’d be third tier at best.

Not a statistical tie

May 17th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Politico reports:

A new poll of Georgia voters finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton nearly tied in a general election matchup.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows Trump with a 4-point lead over Clinton, 45 percent to 41 percent, which is within the poll’s 4.26 percentage point margin of error.

The sentiments expressed by independents further contribute to the statistical tie between the two presumptive nominees.

It isn’t a statistical tie. I do wish media wouldn’t use that term. It is good media point out a lead may be within a margin of error, but not good when they suggest that it is effectively a tie.

For a poll of 822 voters, the chance that Trump is actually leading is 89.2% and the chance Clinton is leading is 10.8%. This is less than the normal 95% confidence interval so Trump is not necessarily leading – but 89% probability is not a tie.

50% is a tie and 95% is statistically significant. I’m not sure what the term is for probabilities between 50% and 95% but it is not a tie – ie a 50.1% chance you are leading is not the same as a 94.95 chance you are leading.

What are Trump’s chances of winning the Presidency?

May 15th, 2016 at 4:10 pm by kiwi in america

Before I attempt to answer this question, I need to disclose my personal views. I was a Rubio supporter but voted for Cruz in the Arizona primary as Rubio has dropped out of the race by then. I was, and am now, not a fan of Trump…however I will hold my nose and vote for him in the General Election over Hillary Clinton.

The 2016 Presidential election will likely be remembered as one of the most exciting, chaotic, unpredictable and nasty campaigns in history. The presumptive nomination of Donald Trump to be the Republican Party’s standard bearer is the first time a major party has nominated a candidate with no prior elected office experience since businessman Wendell Willkie was the Republican nominee for the 1940 election. Yes, it is true that the GOP nominated Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 but he had served in the US Army for all his professional life with some years in major high profile leadership roles such that most would argue he had served his country in a highly public and successful capacity as Allied Supreme Commander in Europe during World War 2.

Democratic race

Before I look at the pluses and minuses that Trump brings to the campaign, it is instructive to look at the state of the Democrat nomination race. On paper, Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. The only mathematical chance that Bernie Sanders has of overhauling Clinton’s almost 300 pledged delegate lead is to overwhelmingly win the remainder of the Democrat primaries AND to then persuade over 250 of the super delegates pledged to Hillary to switch camps. All of the Democrat delegates from primaries and caucuses are awarded proportionately unlike some key winner-take-all Republican primaries (such as Indiana where Trump easily beat Cruz to knock him out of the race). For instance, whilst it is true that Sanders has won the majority of more recent races, Clinton has managed to amass still more delegates in each lost race and, having won the large states that count, Sanders can only chip away at her delegate lead with low single digit delegate margins between him and her. With that said, Clinton is proving to be a remarkably weak front runner. Normally at this stage in a race with a front running presumptive nominee, momentum builds and the victories over the remaining candidate get wider and more decisive. Clinton did fight a rearguard action against Obama in 2008 but really only had a handful of victories during that resurgence and then fell away. It seems that despite the inevitability of the delegate count, Sanders is remaining defiant and is ramping up his attacks and remains capable of beating Clinton if only in smaller state contests. This is significant because whilst Trump is now unchallenged and can concentrate his fire on Clinton, she must still fight Sanders off to her left flank. He has dragged her to the left by virtue of both his socialist roots and his solidly progressive grassroots, populist campaign and so the usual pivot to the centre that a candidate undertakes in a general election campaign (no longer needing to appeal to the more ideological extremes of the party’s base) has been delayed for Clinton. Clinton has faced withering fire from Sanders over her vote for the Iraq war, her support for her husband’s popular tough anti-crime laws and welfare reforms in the 90’s and seems to be adopting knee jerk harder left positions such as the lifting the Federal minimum wage, anti-fracking/anti-oil sentiments and sounding tougher on Wall Street than Hillary would normally be considering her strong ties there.

The big question mark over Clinton still remains that of her fate arising from the FBI investigation into her non authorized email server and the dissemination of classified emails through this unsecure channel thus breaching strict intelligence secrecy laws. All recent reporting suggests the following:

  • The man hired by Clinton to set up the homebrew server (Bryan Pagliano) has been granted immunity from prosecution and has spoken freely and frankly to the FBI;
  • Clinton’s entire inner circle has now been interviewed by the FBI and Clinton has been advised that she will be next and last. This is the standard pattern of federal agents targeting a key person;
  • FBI Director James Comey has gone on the record effectively dismissing the Clinton spin reaffirming that this is an investigation not a “security review” and that he and his agents will not be deterred by her rank and status;
  • Various former Federal prosecutors have weighed to remind us that Clinton’s intent (innocent or otherwise) will be irrelevant – if top secret material is proven to be transmitted over non secure and non authorised channels, she (and her aides) will have committed the various felonies outlined in various relevant statutes.

Clinton’s fate lies in the hands of the Department of Justice and its top official, Obama appointee Attorney General Loretta Lynch. If the FBI find a prima facie case of breach and recommend indictment, it will be her and her deputy Attorneys General who will make the decision to file formal charges. The likelihood of stalling to after the election by the DOJ and White House or even a non-indictment decision is, in my opinion, high. However, Clinton (and the Democrat party) runs the risk of not only high level leaks from the career professional investigators (Comey has over 150 agents on the case including several top counter espionage and cyber security experts) but also the prospect of Comey’s own resignation over a non-indictment if the evidence is particularly compelling.

If there is no indictment, Clinton will tough it out and rely on a sympathetic pro Democrat media to shield her somewhat from the FBI leaks. If she is indicted, she’s toast as a candidate. Sanders is hanging around hoping for an indictment and will argue at the Convention in Philadelphia that he’s the next highest delegate winner and so the ‘next in line’. Despite polls showing Sanders getting a wider winning margin over Trump than Clinton, look for the Democrats to parachute Vice President Joe Biden in as the nominee as a Hail Mary to save the election.  This analysis is then premised on Clinton facing Trump in the autumn general election campaign.

Trump’s chances

Anyone who thinks they know what is going to happen on November 8 is likely to be wrong. Trump has upended almost every establishment political prognostication on both sides of the political aisle. He has defied conventional wisdom every step of the way. He has made a stream of gaffes that would’ve ended normal politicians’ runs, he has ignored media narratives and robustly combatted media opposition and yet still earned twice the media coverage of all of his GOP AND Democrat rivals COMBINED, he has eschewed a delegate winning ground game and what little money he has spent so far has largely been his own money. No one has ever managed to do this and succeed in the modern political era. He has relied more on his natural instincts concerning issues that are driving voters rather than carefully measured, polled and focus group tested sound bites like Clinton and his GOP opponents. Trump says things no one else has dared say especially about Bill and Hillary Clinton. Predictions of Trump’s fate, even from more centrist establishment Republicans, are that he is staring down the barrel of a landslide defeat. And yet others look at his remarkable string of victories against all prognostications, the record turnout of GOP primary voters and his ability to defy all the rules of normal politics as evidence that he will ride a wave of voter anti-establishment disgust all the way to a massive win over Clinton. The trouble with these predictions, as you will see as I detail the pros and cons of Trump’s candidacy, is that both sides of this argument seem to have compelling reasons to back up their assertions.

Trump’s negatives that militate against him winning

 1. Dis-unified party.

Most primary races leave wounds and scars amongst the defeated candidates and their followers but generally voters, supporters and surrogates for the defeated candidates get over it and unify behind the nominee. This process has not happened as much or as quickly with Trump. There has been a discernable and visible division amongst centre-right commentators, media, blogs and talk show hosts between those that support Trump and those that opposed him. This has been characterised by the so-called Never Trump movement. Whilst there has been somewhat more of a coalescing around Trump in recent days, the high profile reluctance of House Speaker Paul Ryan to endorse Trump is somewhat unprecedented. Likewise, is the hostile reception of party leaders like Mitt Romney who is alleged to have sounded out high profile Trump opponents like Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska and even Governor Kasich. This divide is clearly evident with invective and criticism of each other from right wing media with angry outbursts from Trump supporters like Fox News hosts and commentators Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter clashing with anti-Trump commentators like talk show host Mark Levin, Blaze TV front man Glenn Beck and a host of National Review editors and writers. Some like popular talk show hosts Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt have tried to remain largely neutral but the warfare inside the conservative movement over Trump, his candidacy, policies and personality is unprecedented and will make it harder for Trump to unify the party. Trump of course doesn’t help matters with his uncompromising rhetoric and his clashes with right media personalities such as Megyn Kelly.

2. Poor ground game

Unlike Ted Cruz who was known for his excellent on-the-ground GOTV efforts, data driven voter turnout models and canny delegate wooing tactics, Trump has been slow to embrace this crucial part of winning elections partly because he has relied so much on earned media. Trump seems to be far less interested in this aspect of electioneering than is wise. Clinton has managed to snare some of the same team that drove Obama’s highly successful voter targeting and GOTV operation and she has been investing heavily in a good ground game in key battleground states. It is a fact that the Republican National Committee has spent the last 2 election cycles playing electronic and data mining catchup with the Democrats and it is said that the RNC’s current GOTV operation is the best it’s ever been and at least equal with the Democrats. Trump’s slowness in this regard may be compensated for by the party’s own machinery that will swing in behind Trump. Obama proved that it was possible to get out his unique coalition twice in a row and Clinton will be banking on managing a three-peat.

3. Very high negative polling

Any analysis of polling data comparing past campaigns and candidates reveals that we face a quite unique situation with the two main candidates in 2016 in that both feature unusually high unfavourable polling figures. This is the ratio between those who favourably view a candidate and those who are unfavourable. The latest Gallup Favourable/Unfavourable ratio for Trump is a staggering 33/61 and Clinton is better but still poor at 41/54. To have two such unpopular candidates opposing each other is unprecedented and it remains to be seen as to what will happen to these figures as the campaign moves to a general election footing as each candidate showers media with a wall of negative ads designed to define their opponent.

4. Media portrayal of misogyny sticking

The main stream media have been quick to portray Trump as a misogynist women hater and certainly his comments about Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina gives some backbone to these claims. Will Trump’s very high negatives with women improve and if not, will Clinton’s negatives with men be enough to outweigh them? Right now Clinton is on the winning side of that statistical battle.

5. Competing against the first woman President candidacy theme of Clinton

Clinton has, and will continue to aggressively play, the woman card. Just as Obama was campaigning to end centuries of oppression of blacks by being the first black President, so Clinton wants to break a remaining glass ceiling and be the first woman President. To women voters in particular it is a powerful and simple campaign theme. Whether Clinton can overcome her considerable baggage to realise that goal remains to be seen but it is a real headwind that Trump is running against.

6. Poor head to head polling v Clinton

Up until very recently, the head to head polls, both at the national and swing state level, were devastating for Trump and his GOP opponents hammered him relentlessly on that. This more than anything else has fueled much of the negative prediction commentary about Trump from his right wing opponents and this has been seized upon with glee by Democrats, the MSM and left leaning commentators. Polls would be trumpeted showing Clinton barely behind in heavily Republican states like Georgia, winning Arizona (which has voted Democrat only twice since WW2 – 1948 and 1996) and Clinton leading in national polls by double digits. Electability in the fall in the past has been a powerful electioneering tool for primary candidates but in this cycle, once again a seeming cardinal rule has again been broken. Head to head polls showed in this order: Kasich, Rubio, Cruz then Trump from doing the best to the worse against Clinton (or Sanders) and yet the success of each major GOP candidate has been in inverse proportion to their supposed electability. Part of the reason for this is the truism that head to head polls this far out are meaningless and Trump’s surrogates have pointed this out for months and in recent weeks, these polls have tightened considerably with reputable polls putting Trump essentially level pegging in key states like Florida and Ohio and close to the margin error behind Clinton in national polls.

7. Leftist policy provisions and his bombastic personality causing the conservative base to stay at home

The knee jerk reaction of a number of more solidly conservative friends of mine is to refuse to vote for Trump. Some talk up a conservative third party candidate, others say they’ll vote Libertarian whereas most say they cannot bring themselves to vote for Trump seeing him as an unauthentic conservative, a closet Democrat and a crass populist and a few flirt with voting for Hillary. These assessments are not far off the mark but increasingly, many are coming to see Hillary and the extent to which Sanders has dragged her so far to the left, as a far greater existential threat to the Republic that many more are doing what I am doing and holding their noses and voting for Trump. The extent to which the conservative base stays home in protest or disgust at Trump’s excesses and policy quirkiness may have a large bearing on his success or otherwise in November. A third party candidate is highly unlikely. No one remotely electable has stepped up and in any event, the deadline has passed in most states to even get on the ballot – a task that is complex, time consuming and costly.

8. Trump’s caustic management style may see key staff burnt off

Stories abound of Trump’s abrasive and take no prisoners style. Will this extend to his campaign to such an extent that key staff abandon him? It’s hard to say. Trump has outwitted and outlasted armies of the GOP consultant establishment and utterly defied their collective wisdom by turning it on its head and proving them all wrong. That said, some mechanics of a campaign must be adhered to. Could Trump be so arrogant as to ignore even the practical and good election campaign advice rationalising his behaviour because he so dominated the primary race that the consultants have nothing to teach him? The truth is likely somewhere in the middle – some of their advice is relevant but most of their instincts have been to line their own pockets with fees. If Trump is wise he will attract the best players and listen to the good tactics they have to offer and yet stay true to his instincts that have seen him win so convincingly.

Trump’s assets that might see him win

1. Massive earned media

This graph tells the story far better than words. http://clashdaily.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/qmeme_1458400097167_447.jpg This, more than anything else, explains Trump’s success. He sucked the media oxygen from the air of almost all his rivals’ campaigns. Media obsession about all things Trump meant Jeb Bush could spend $150 million and have almost nothing to show for it. Despite the media realising that Trump has been their creation, he remains a ratings dream for networks and cable shows and excellent click bait for on line political news outfits like Politico, the Hill, the Washington Examiner and blogs. This is not going to change in the foreseeable future. Trump will still say outrageous things that will leave media and commentators buzzing and obsessing and now it will be Hillary Clinton who will be overshadowed. Obama got excellent earned media coverage because of his unique persona. Clinton is not unique – she is extremely well known and a rather dour campaigner. Faced with Trump’s endless stream of consciousness, provocative tweets and interviews, clashes with media and opponents and his sheer utter unpredictability, he will remain ratings gold as the campaign progresses ensuring his message reaches all corners of the electorate.

2. Record GOP turnout in the primaries translates into larger than usual general election turnout

The increase in Republican primary turnout in this cycle compared to 2012 has been a staggering 60%. As at the end of the New York primary on April 19th, this amounted to an additional 9 million voters! Note that Obama only beat Romney by 5 million votes in the 2012 election. Whilst it is true that in some primaries allowed independents and registered Democrats to vote in GOP primaries meaning some of the higher turnout could be put down to cross over voting, turnout has been massively up even in states with closed primaries (limited only to registered Republicans). The best analysis of this is found at http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/04/25/exclusive-data-analysis-gop-primary-turnout-8-7-million-votes-60-percent-2016-versus-2012/. This trend bodes well for Trump.

3. Lower Democrat turnout

The flip side of point 2 is the significantly lower turnout for Democrat primaries and caucuses and this is in spite of the resurgent and seemingly popular grassroots campaign of Bernie Sanders. Democrats, aside from Sanders’ supporters, appear to relatively less enthusiastic about their presumptive nominee. This was the reverse in 2008 when Democrat primary turnout was hugely up on the back of Obama’s popular campaign. This difference does not bode well for Clinton.

4. Any negative news event in the immigration or terrorism sphere plays into Trumps hands

Any high profile murder by an illegal immigrant (especially one previously deported) will play into Trump’s anti-illegal immigration message. Even the ongoing wave of refugees into Europe plays subtly into Trumps hands as it shows the negative cultural impact of uncontrolled immigration. Even more potent would be the indirect electoral benefit to Trump of another global terrorist event. Another Paris or Brussels attack by Muslim extremists makes Trump’s policy of pausing on Muslim immigration to the US look reasonable and practical. A terrorist incident like the San Bernardino massacre, especially if close to the election, will guarantee Trump a strong bounce over Clinton as Trump will unsubtly make the Benghazi contrast. Anything more serious than San Bernardino would be game over for Clinton as Trump would ride a wave of almost 911 style voter fear.

5. The party is gradually, albeit slowly, coalescing around Trump

Paul Ryan, after his much publicized ‘summit’ with Trump, has moved from Never Trump to Probably Trump (but not yet). More Senators (even those who opposed him) are coming on board. Cruz and Rubio will likely hold their noses and eventually endorse. The Bush clan will stay silent and Romney will continue to oppose but likely will temper his attacks. It won’t be across the board or full throated but it could be enough to send a sufficient signal to other wavering GOP voters to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

6. Hillary is a lousy campaigner

She is wooden, inauthentic, focus group driven, uninspiring and somewhat prone to gaffes. Her handling of controversies such as the email scandal has been woeful. She is afraid to be interviewed by anyone except a handful of pro-Democrat flunkies who don’t really press her hard. Whilst she has handled Sanders reasonably well in their debates, she has not faced the wall of hostile questioning the GOP candidates faced in most of their debates and nor has she had to face Bernie Sanders more recent harder edged criticism as his attacks have ramped up since their debates. Trump, on the other hand, went through a large number of debates where he was the primary target of attacks and he acquitted himself adequately. He is not the purist debater in the Cruz mold nor the compelling story teller like Rubio but he can and will attack and vigourously defend himself. He will not conform to normal debate structures and approaches and will be unpredictable and feisty against Clinton and will not hesitate to bring up a host of negative issues like her email server, her poor record at State, Benghazi and the murky funding of the Clinton Foundation. Clinton has not faced any hard edged opposition in a public forum on any of these matters. I’m picking that she may refuse to debate Trump such will be the political risks that he will wipe the floor with her.

7. Clinton is burdened by a sluggish economy and Obama’s weak foreign policy – fighting off the Obama’s 3rd term meme.

Whilst Obama’s popularity has staged a minor recovery, the economy (on Main Street versus the more buoyant Wall Street) has seen very anemic growth. The Obama recovery is the weakest of the all the post-Depression recoveries. The extremely low labour participation rate is a major unseen economic drag. It is down to only 63% from a high of 68% in 2000 and explains why the unemployment rate is seemingly so low at 5%. It is because approximately 11 million Americans have dropped out of the workforce altogether and are no longer seeking work and so are not counted in the unemployment stats. If they (and those forced to work part time) are added in, the true unemployment rate is 9.6% http://www.macrotrends.net/1377/u6-unemployment-rate . This is the first administration since the Depression to preside over a slight decline in net real wages AND net wealth of the vital middle class. Many voters feel they are not any better off despite the stock market recovery.  Add to this a string of foreign policy failures or stagnations, Clinton will be seen as an 3rd Obama term and a third term in office for the same party has only happened once since the 22nd Amendment restricted Presidents to two terms (Bush 41 wining in 1988 after the two Reagan terms).

8. Trump benefits from the strong anti-insider establishment sentiment and appeals to Reagan Democrats

This is the greatest unknown and possibly the one thing above all else that could win Trump the Presidency. Frustration at the establishment of both parties is running at record levels. It is palpable and crops up constantly in political discussion across communities. GOP control of the House (2010) and the Senate (2014) has actually made the sentiment worse because the GOP won two large wave elections giving them unprecedented majorities in both houses of Congress to block Obama as voters intended and yet time after time, the Republican leadership caved on key conservative issues to the disgust of the Republican base. This more than anything else explains Trump’s success in the primaries. This disgust, anxiety and frustration is bi-partisan. Many many voters of all persuasions see inaction on the border and blame stagnant wage growth and un/under employment on illegal immigration. Trump unashamedly taps a huge vein of fear and discontent especially amongst blue collar workers who were once a key demographic cohort for the Democrats. Lately this group have stayed home from the polls demoralised by the inaction by the party elites of both parties. Trump’s promises to make America great and to build a wall may bring record numbers of recent nonvoters to the polls to vote for a successful, confident outsider beholden to no one promising to get things done. The same is true for foreign policy and the rise of Islamic extremism. Middle America is tired of political correctness and waning American power and the seeming impotence of Obama’s so-called ‘smart power’ diplomacy. Trump’s promise to make America great again has to the power to plough through all his many negatives and bring dormant general election voters of both parties, long disgusted by business as usual in Washington, to the polls in droves to install the anti-politician who has built a successful business empire.

9. The Teflon factor

Trump has defied political gravity continuously. Normal rules don’t apply. Revelations of sordid earlier affairs, drug fueled parties in the 80’s, eminent domain abuses, fraudulent claims of Trump University, threats to investigate his political enemies if he wins – all negatives that the media will gleefully report from Clinton’s oppo research files, will slide off Trump. Almost all of this is baked into the cake. Voters know Trump is flawed, quixotic, not really a policy expert and often all over the page on some issues. They don’t care – they believe on the big issues (immigration, Islamic extremism, American jobs and US strength and power abroad) that Trump will face down his critics, ignore the media and Washington commentatiat and just hunker down and finally do the things that Americans have been begging to have done for decades. When faced with a choice between more of the same from Clinton (with the added spice of a rerun of Clinton scandals like the 90s) and the fresh but flawed broom that Trump promises to sweep, it may end up being a no brainer for enough voters in places like Florida, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania to get him to 270 electoral votes.

As I said, both sides’ arguments are compelling, All I know is that US voters are in going to be in for the wildest campaign ride possibly in over a hundred years!

Trump now saying raise taxes and minimum wage

May 13th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

People wonder why I prefer Hillary Clinton to Trump. Trump is far more anti free trade than her, and how he is saying lets increase taxes and the minimum wage:

United States Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday said he was open to raising taxes on the rich, backing off his prior proposal to reduce taxes on all Americans and breaking with one of his party’s core policies dating back to the 1990s.

“I am willing to pay more, and you know what, the wealthy are willing to pay more,” Trump told ABC’s This Week. After effectively sealing the Republican nomination for the November 8 presidential election last week, Trump has used speeches and interviews to offer more details on his policy positions.

The billionaire real estate tycoon has said he would like to see an increase in the minimum wage, although he told NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday he would prefer to see states take the lead on that front instead of the federal Government.

“I don’t know how people make it on US$7.25 ($10.63) an hour,” Trump said of the current federal minimum wage.

“I would like to see an increase of some magnitude.

Trump is not a conservative, a classical liberal, a fiscal conservative or anything but a nationalist and populist. His fiscal policies would see a huge increase in debt.

Guest Post: Can Trump Beat Clinton? 20 Reasons

May 12th, 2016 at 10:00 am by Kokila Patel

By John Stringer – https://conzervative.wordpress.com

11GOT

None of us – including seasoned American political pundits – predicted Donald J Trump could win the Republican primary. He was “a joke;” I called him “early primary entertainment.”

But he has been a force of nature; a genuine grass-roots phenomenon that has utterly surprised everyone!  Trump beat one of the strongest Republican primary fields EVER. 17 candidates made of: Senators, Governors, a Bush, establishment figures, a brain surgeon etc.

He beat them; he thrashed them; and he did it early and BEFORE he even reached the 1237! amidst MASSIVE speculation of a contested convention and wonks pouring over the maths of 1237 delegates. It was a clean sweep of a talented field (compare the Democrat field).

Trump cleaned up:  He’s a winner! You’re all FIRED!  Boy if ever anyone lived up to his reality TV persona and the ‘back atcha’ demands of The Apprentice (even Celebrity Apprentice). D J Trump has delivered in gold-plated casino spades!

Even if he loses he will always be a Winner. BIG TIME! The Trumps are now American royalty and listening to Donald Jr well there is a dynasty ala Kennedys, Bushs, Clintons.

I can’t really believe it (although I expected him to win): Trump is Presidential Nominee for the GOP! ??

But Can He Now Beat Clinton?

I think he can and probably will

Trump has shackled his wagon to the tide of anti-Establishment and anti-Federal on both the GOP and Democrat sides and in wider America.  His candidacy is a direct reaction to the eight years of Obama and his appeal will draw from untapped sources. He is essentially anti-political correctness and this has growing support amongst the great silent majority who are voting (and why polls are getting predictions so wrong).

Republican registration is way up. Democrat support is down – this will be telling; Clinton assumes the massive 2008 Black vote that came out in support of Obama. She misunderstands that was an Obama vote not necessarily a Democrat vote.

12GOT

The Democrats are divided; the Bern is humiliating Clinton’s assumed support base AMONGST HER OWN PARTY;  beating her unexpectedly in several stares. She sits there presumptive purely on the basis of the gerrymandered Super Pack system! Sanders is going to challenge this; and if he loses; then will he do a Ross Perot?  A third party candidate on the Left?  Hello President Trump!

Clinton has baggage: she voted for the Iraq war; Benghazi; she old school; her husband’s issues with women that reflect on her; Trump has no political baggage.

20 Reasons Trump can beat Clinton:

  1. Trump has defied everyone including the polls and will again
  2. He is not that ‘negative’ against women
  3. Clinton has the support of African-Americans but 20% don’t back Clinton and if Trump even wins some of them he’s close to the Presidency
  4. Hispanics want jobs and Trump is talking jobs
  5. Trumps exit poll demographics are widely spread; his appeal goes across the divides of class and gender and socio-economic and even party affiliation
  6. The campaign has not even begun and he will kill Clinton or she will over play negatives against Trump
  7. Clinton’s negatives are entrenched but Trumps are not; he has room to address and remove them or at least neutralise them; her’s are set
  8. Clinton’s negatives are on honesty and integrity – political killer blows
  9. She has a genuine FBI investigation over her (which is why The Bern stays)
  10. Bernie Sanders is still campaigning hard and will hobble her path to victory
  11. Clinton will campaign traditionally; Trump is unorthodox; fresh and doesn’t follow the establishment rule-book – this will disorient Clinton’s campaign
  12. The Left will now come out with HATE HATE HATE against Trump and will over reach and damage their cause against him
  13. Any Islamic terror will play to Trump’s narrative
  14. Any Mexican drug cartels or immigrant crime issues will play to Trump
  15. Trump cleaned up in a three-horse race with over 60% of the vote in some states that suggests he has MASSIVE popular appeal that the Left and pundits have under-estimated.
  16. The intolerant violent Leftist protest movement against Trump and his supporters at his rallies will swing Middle uncommitted America over to Trump
  17. Trump will hire-in a strong shadow Cabinet that will unify the GOP and its nay-saying Establishment.
  18. His pick for VP will be inspired and swing GOP and Independent voters in behind him.
  19. The more his kids and family speak out the more votes he wins (they just look and sound so wholesome and successful and gorgeous and youthful – everything America loves); the Clinton family doesn’t cut such a smily Hollywood persona (especially with Billy Boys history).  Would Lewinsky endorse Trump?  Ouch!
  20. Trump seems strong against Putin; Mexico; the Chinese; ISIS; Europe; and Clinton is “Obama Term III” and regardless of personal politics this is right up there with American voters who will support Trump on that facet alone even if they hate him in others respects. “Make American Great Again” is an inspired campaign slogan with mass appeal.

Happier Days

13GOT

How I would vote in the US Presidential Election

May 6th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

So what should voters in the US do if they want to vote for a presidential candidate who believes in free trade, lower taxes etc? Donald Trump is arguably even more protectionist than Bernie Sanders.

Well there are actually four parties that will be on the ballot in enough states that they could in theory win a majority of the electoral college. They are:

  • Democrats – Hillary Clinton (probable)
  • Greens – Jill Stein (probable)
  • Libertarian – Gary Johnson (likely, 2012 candidate)
  • Republicans – Donald Trump (presumptive)

Now sometimes the libertarian candidate is a fringe candidate. But Gary Johnson is in fact a popular former two term Republican Governor of New Mexico. Of course he won’t win the presidential election, but he is the candidate that true conservatives, libertarians and Republicans should support and vote for.

His record as Governor of New Mexico is superb. In summary:

  • Vetoed more spending bills (750 in total) than the other 49 Governors combined
  • School vouchers advocate
  • Cut the 10% annual growth in the state budget
  • Applied a cost-benefit analysis to all spending bills
  • Supported marijuana decriminalisation
  • Left the state with a large budget surplus

Only two of his vetoes were over-ridden, and he got reelected.

He is also incredibly fit – has completed several iron man triathlons and climbed the highest peaks in all seven continents (including Everest). Before politics he set up his own business and grew it to eventually employ 1,000 staff.

Who should be your second choice after Johnson, if you have to choose between Trump and Clinton?

Well Trump is far more virulent against free trade and advocates massive 45% tariffs. He is advocating as much spending as Clinton, and his budget proposals would see the US with a much higher and crippling deficit (around $15 trillion increase in debt). He also campaigned on breaching several rights in the Bill of Rights, advocates killing innocent family members and torture, and most of his policies are barely coherent. He also is an anti-vaxxer, opposes any reduction in social security and medicare entitlements and wants a higher ethanol mandate.

If it was a choice between Trump and Clinton, one can only choose Clinton. It’s not even close.

Now who would you rank 3rd and 4th comparing Trump to Jill Stein of the Green Party?

Stein advocates creating fake green jobs for every American out of work., cutting military spending by 30%, increasing taxes and nationalising the Federal Reserve and most utilities.

It’s tough, but she has even worse policies than Donald Trump.

So my order of preference would be:

  1. Gary Johnson
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Donald Trump
  4. Jill Stein

Trump wins – Cruz drops out

May 4th, 2016 at 12:40 pm by David Farrar

Politico reports:

Ted Cruz is quitting the presidential race, according to campaign manager Jeff Roe, ending one of the best-organized campaigns of 2016 after a series of stinging defeats left Donald Trump as the only candidate capable of clinching the nomination outright.

Cruz had appeared likely to go all the way to the Republican convention, but a string of massive losses in the Northeast, and his subsequent defeat in Indiana, appear to have convinced him there’s no way forward.

Trump has done it. He has won the nomination despite Kasich still being in the race.

Almost every pundit got it wrong. We all wrote Trump off as a joke, yet he has just become the de facto Republican nominee.

Can he beat Clinton. She is at $1.33 to win and he is $3.50. I doubt it, but he has proven people wrong before.

What will be interesting is if there is a third party candidate campaiging as a true conservative?

Trump may have a point on NATO

May 2nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Trump said that as president he would call a Nato summit to pressure allies who had failed to hit spending targets and move the focus of the bloc away from Russia and on to terrorism and migration. Calling both the mission and structure of Nato “outdated”, the property mogul noted that just four of 28 countries were spending the required 2 per cent of GDP on defence – “our allies are not paying their fair share”.

Most of what he says on foreign policy is nonsense (such as having Japan and South Korea develop nuclear weapons) but he may have a point on NATO countries.

The country with the biggest spend on defence is Saudi Arabia at 12.9% of GDP. Russia spends 4.1% and the US 3.3%.

The UK is 2.0%, France 1.9% but Germany just 1.1%. Italy 1.5%, Spain 1.2%, Austria 0.8% etc. They all pledged in 2014 to increase their commitment to 2% but most are well off.