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We the People, in Cleveland

Both major parties will have their conventions this month and formally name their party’s nominees. For the Democrats, this will most likely be Hillary Clinton. And for the Republicans, the presumptive nominee is Donald Trump.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s only rival, Bernie Sanders has not yet endorsed her. And his followers are young, strong, and dislike Clinton. Bernie could drop the “D” and run as an independent candidate. Voting for or even endorsing Hillary Clinton will only prove that Bernie’s “revolution” was a lie to sway voters.

With the Republican side, there is the faction that wants to destroy itself and the party by denying Donald Trump his well earned nomination. These #neverTrump’ers as they call themselves want the GOP to fail. All so they can save face and say “I told you so.” They are really out for themselves and not the party, the people of the United States, or the voters.

Keep in mind that we have a republic. It’s not just our Congressmen and Senators that are to represent our interests as “we the people.” No, our delegates are also are duly elected representatives at the party level. They too are to represent the people who elected them. And the people of the Republican Party of the United States have clearly stated that they want Donald Trump to be the GOP nominee for President.

This notion of “freeing” the delegates is just as unethical as your congressman going to Washington and voting against everything you believe in. This would be a terrible mistake to allow the delegates to become unbound at the convention. Just ask King George III about how “we the people” felt about not being properly represented.

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Next Stop … the Conventions

The primaries nation-wide are now over. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee. And on the Republican side, Donald Trump is still the presumptive nominee.

Hillary Clinton’s win over Bernie Sanders is mainly through the Democratic superdelegates. A measure enacted to insure that the DNC’s favorite wins the nomination. Bernie Sanders will continue to take the fight all the way to the convention. And may yet do a 3rd party run if he doesn’t get the nomination in July.

Donald Trump’s win comes as no surprise. He has been the favorite candidate of the people since he announced his presidential bid. And he is also the only Republican candidate still running.

Both of the presumptive nominees must face their party’s conventions in July. There their fates will be decided upon. Both presumptive nominees should have pledged delegates based on the results from the caucus and primaries. And both will have to face those delegates that are not pledged as well.

With the Republican Convention. We have the lost campaigns calling for the delegates to vote however they want. Without regards to the pledged rules. Or in some cases, those planning to change those rules at the convention. They falsely believe that if Donald Trump gets the nomination it will be the end of the Republican Party. They are wrong. If he doesn’t get it, the GOP will die.

At the Democratic Convention. The pledged delegates are very close. It will be the superdelegates who decide the fate of their party. Clinton or Sanders. Neither one will be able to defeat Donald Trump in November. But the fate of the Democratic party also hinges on its nominee named in July.

Sanders will go 3rd party if he doesn’t get the nomination. This actually is a good thing for the GOP as it will split the Democratic vote in November. Making an even easier win for Donald Trump.

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The “D” Question

It has been asked of those who support Donald Trump for President if one would support him if he had a “D” after his name instead of an “R“. Nothing else changes, he still talks the same, he still expresses his views the same. Only the party affiliation changes.

My answer to that question begins with a simple “No. I would not support Donald Trump if he had a ‘D’ after his name.” But the question isn’t really a simple question so here is why I would not support a Democrat Party Donald Trump.

No Democrat would ever act or speak like Donald Trump does. It would not happen. It cannot happen at all. The question is just a silly fantasy purposed by anti-Trump fanatics grasping at straws to defend their failed campaigns and false messiahs.

A barbarian cannot act like a civilized man any more than a Democrat can speak against liberal progressive policies. It’s just not done. A Donald Trump (D) wouldn’t be speaking against the tax system, government programs, or speaking about a stronger military, or securing the border and restricting immigration that favors national security. They wouldn’t do that even in jest. A Democrat can’t speak or act that way even as a con-job or to lie to voters. Even Obama, who did con voters, stated he would “fundamentally rebuild America.” He couldn’t hide his liberal progressive message it was right there.

These simple facts prove that Donald Trump (R) is the real deal. He is not a liberal progressive trying to con us. And he has moved to the right in the political spectrum in his thoughts and deeds and should be supported fully by every freedom loving American.

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Tweedledee and Tweedledum

I see people and groups on various social media sites with the dual hashtags of #neverHillary #neverTrump. In a two-party political system like we have in the United States this is just plainly ignorant.

The two hashtags are mutually exclusive. In the United States we have only two parties with any chance of winning a presidential election. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party, all other 3rd parties will never see the Oval Office.

If someone is #neverTrump, then they are against the (presumptive) Republican nominee Donald Trump for President. Which means they are either voting for the Democrat nominee, throwing away their vote on a 3rd party protest candidate, or simply not voting at all.

In any of the above voting actions, not supporting the Republican nominee leads to a Democrat victory in the presidential general election. It’s just plain factual history. The Republican’s would have won in 2012 if the Evangelical faction didn’t stay away from the polls. But that faction didn’t want to vote for a Mormon nominee for President.

Likewise, if someone is #neverHillary, then they are against the (presumptive) Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton. Again this means they are either voting for the Republican nominee, throwing away their vote on a 3rd party protest candidate, or simply not voting at all.

Just as the last example, the only option that helps the Republicans win the White House is if the #neverHillary voter does vote for the Republican nominee. All other possibilities do not help that cause. And rarely has a registered Democrat ever gone against the party nominee. It just doesn’t happen. So most of those voters supporting the #neverHillary tag are either Republican’s or Independent voters.

If you are both #neverHillary and #neverTrump then you are ignorant of our political system and history. You need to get off the fence and choose one or the other to support. We have a binary system here, there isn’t a 3rd option that is viable.

Against Hillary is to be Pro Trump. Against Trump is to be Pro Hillary. All other perceived options are false. They are illusions and shadows. They are not real. But they will lead to a real victory of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton in the White House come November if believed.

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Crossroads

Right now, there is a candidate for President few party members like, but is the presumptive candidate for said party. This candidate has been accused of being out of touch with the grassroots, too extremist, and utterly unlikable. Of course, this candidate’s supporters say if we don’t vote for the candidate, the candidate from the other major party is going to win and do far worse things, so voters should hold their noses and vote for the candidate.

Of course, opponents to this candidate are holding out for someone they feel is better, someone closer to their ideals of what a President should be. They are being told to stop holding out for their candidate and line up behind the presumptive candidate to preserve party unity.

The aforementioned candidates are…Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, respectively. Although, these same sentiments are being used by Donald Trump supporters to get Republicans and conservatives to climb aboard the Trump Train.

If Clinton and Trump are using the same rhetoric to force unity within their respective parties, how different can they actually be?

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The Colorado Situation

There is a lot of talk about the GOP delegates from Colorado. And I’ve been asked by a few folks to shed some light on it. So here goes.

Colorado is a caucus state. Like most states that have a caucus there is usually a presidential preference vote taken at some point during the event. Just as we did here in Iowa.

Colorado held it’s GOP caucus back on March 1st. We didn’t see any media coverage of the event because no presidential vote was taken or recorded.

When the RNC ruled that that the national delegates were bound by the results of a caucus presidential preference vote, the Colorado GOP executive committee had another ideas. They changed the rules of the caucus, long before it happened, so no presidential vote would take place. Thus allowing the delegates to be either unbound or bound by a different set of criteria.

What this did however is removed the choice from the people and gave it to the elite and power hungry within the Colorado GOP. Without a vote there is no way of knowing how much support any particular candidate might have had back in March other than polls.

So when Colorado held its GOP state convention on the 9th of April. It was determined that all their delegates would go as bound to Ted Cruz.

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The Political Prestige

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held a press conference today announcing he would not be running for the Republican nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention. This left me with two questions. One, Paul Ryan is still Speaker of the House? And two, why did he feel it was necessary to hold a press conference? If he wasn’t running and didn’t want delegates to vote for him, he could have done it with a Tweet, a press statement, or an email. If he would have used Hillary’s email server, everyone would have known about it in a few seconds.

There are any number of possible explanations. He might have wanted to get on TV for something other than betraying his own party. Maybe he wanted a sick relative see him on TV once. Or, he could be jockeying for a Vice Presidential spot with one of the remaining Presidential hopefuls or even for a potential floor candidate like Mitt Romney. I’m sure they might be able to turn Romney/Ryan 2012 merch into Romney/Ryan 2016 merch without too much trouble,

But there could be another option, one that fits perfectly with the current state of American politics. Paul Ryan is angling to be the 2016 Republican nominee.

In the book and the film The Prestige, a magic trick is explained in three parts. The first part is “The Pledge,” where the magician shows the audience an ordinary object that may or may not be ordinary.  This is designed to create a grounded reality so you suspend any disbelief prior to the execution of the trick. The second part is “The Turn” where the object is made to do something unbelievable. Because you’ve already accepted the reality created in The Pledge, you are more inclined to believe the unbelievable. The third and final part is “The Prestige” where the object is returned to the audience’s attention. If done well enough, The Prestige will not only reconcile the believable and unbelievable elements of the trick, but also cut off any and all further inquiries about the trick.

So, what does this have to do with Ryan’s press conference? Plenty. Ryan’s press conference may have been designed to create a grounded political reality where he shows he has no interest in being nominated at the Republican National Convention. If we take him at his word (a requirement for The Pledge to work properly), it should be case closed.

At least until we hit The Turn. With the current Republican nomination process being more like mud wrestling than politics (which is saying a lot, but none of it good), we could easily see a brokered convention where none of the candidates actually running for the position get the required number of delegates to be the nominee. Should that happen, I believe we will see The Turn in the form of a change of heart from Ryan. After all, if the party is still fractured by the convention, shouldn’t there be a candidate that has the backing of the delegates and would be a stark contrast to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? And if that candidate just happens to be Paul Ryan…well, you get the idea.

That leaves The Prestige. If Ryan accepts the nomination and vows to heal the self-inflicted wounds from the Republican campaign, the Establishment GOP will not only breathe a sigh of relief, but anyone grousing about it afterwards would be hard-pressed to be taken seriously. The party would be unified under a (presumably) better-liked candidate and two thorns in the GOP’s side would be sidelined. It’s a win-win for those who want a united front as long as it’s not behind Trump or Cruz, but it would wind up in a Republican loss to a weak Democrat challenger.

For now, I’m willing to take Paul Ryan at his word, but I’m still going to be carefully watching for the second and third parts of his possible political prestige to play out.

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The Long Game

The 2016 elections are already shaping up to be one of the most divisive in modern history. It’s getting to the point the Crips and the Bloods might need to hold an intervention for the Republicans and Democrats, and considering both major parties wear the colors of said gangs, it might be pretty easy to figure out which one is going to side with which.

Either way, the Republican nomination process is under fire by…the current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. As the states start picking delegates, Trump’s campaign is starting to see there’s more to winning a state than winning the popular vote. It’s also important to make sure your people are in place at the state level so they can represent you at the national convention. And what we’ve seen in Iowa, Louisiana, Colorado, North Carolina, and possibly other states, the Trump campaign has been left flatflooted as the Ted Cruz campaign has racked up additional delegates simply by…following the rules.

I know! That bastard! How dare Ted Cruz play by the rules!

Seriously, though, the Cruz campaign is being accused of using “Gestapo tactics” because they’re playing the long game. In politics, like in war, you cannot just win a battle and claim victory for the entire war. As conditions change, strategy must adapt to ensure more victories can lead to winning the war. Like it or not, Cruz’s approach focusing on winning delegates is strategically wise because it shows knowledge of the current process. Is it a perfect process? Heck no! But it is the process all the candidates agreed upon as they decided to run.

At the risk of getting flamed worse than the Hindenburg, the Trump campaign is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game. Instead of learning from the mistakes made in the aforementioned states and adjusting to reduce the likelihood of mistakes in future contests, the Trump campaign is…salting the ground by trying to delegitimize the process. Although this may work in the short term, it can only end badly in the long term.

Let’s say Trump does better than expected and wins 1237 or more delegates at the Republican National Convention. Will he accept the nomination, or will he reject it? If he does the former, it makes it look like he’s buying into the very process he’s attacking right now. If he rejects it, it makes him look like a quitter and not a serious candidate.

That leads to another question: what will happen with the Trump voters? In the former scenario, it doesn’t hurt Trump very much, but it does hurt in the credibility department, and you know Hillary Clinton will not hesitate to use something like that should she overcome Bernie Sanders and gets her party’s coronation…I mean nomination. In the latter scenario, Trump and the GOP gets crushed as Trump voters may not be motivated to vote in the general election. It would rip the heart and soul out of a lot of people, people who could cause candidates further down the ballot to lose.

This is why the long game is important. Ted Cruz may not be your cup of Earl Grey, but he’s not to blame for the Trump delegate situation. Cruz is playing the long game, and playing it well. Trump’s team needs to take a look at itself closely and readjust their strategy in dealing with the delegate issue in a constructive rather than destructive way.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

To say the 2016 election has been contentious wouldn’t be an understatement; it would be the Mother of All Understatements. Republicans going against Republicans, Democrats going after Democrats, Independents going out for pizza. This whole political season is insane!

But once both major parties decide on their candidates, everyone will be holding hands and singing campfire songs, right? Oooooooh, sor-ray. That’s going to be easier said than done for both the Elephant and the Donkey because they’ve decided the primary process is more of a bloodsport than a debate of ideas. And this is just the prelims, kids. Once Democrats and Republicans choose their respective candidates, it’s going to make the Hatfields and McCoys look like the Bradys and the Cleavers.

As someone on the outside looking in, I don’t see how the two major parties can reconcile completely. Both are struggling with a simple binary issue: winning vs. staying true to their core ideologies. The leadership (if you can call it that) from both sides is trying to make people believe it’s either-or when it’s not. You can win and stay true to the party’s core, but you need to have a candidate that is willing to do both instead of siding for one at the expense of the other.

We’ve been told it’s better to have someone who agrees with us 75% of the time win than to have someone who agrees with us 0% of the time win. In theory, it’s not a bad argument. In practice, however, sometimes the 75% with us candidates prove to be with us far less frequently. Remember when Republicans jumped for joy at John Boehner becoming Speaker of the House, wresting the gavel from Nancy “Botox Is Bad, Mkay?” Pelosi? Yeah, how’d that turn out again…oh yeah, Boehner rolled over like a submissive dog in a centrifuge. In fact, even the most seemingly conservative politicians occasionally get a case of Washingtonitis, a malady that makes principled people turn into jellyfish, but with less backbone.

Fortunately for the Republicans, Democrats have their own Washingtonitis epidemic to worry about. The very fact Bernie Sanders can garner more than 3 votes total shows me the Left is fragmenting even worse than projected. Say what you will about Sanders, but one thing you cannot say about him is he’s afraid to speak his mind. (Granted, his mind is filled with ideas that have gone the way of David Duke’s potential rap career, but at least he’s sticking up for them!) Yet, thanks to the power of the Super Delegates, Hillary Clinton is beating Sanders in the delegate count. Put simply, a Super Delegate is someone the Democrats pick to have additional voting power over the average person. And when you consider an absolute slug like Alan Grayson is a Super Delegate, you know it’s a stupid system.

At this rate, we may be seeing the end of the two-party stranglehold on the Presidency and moving towards a political system that is more confusing and segmented than the gender pronouns on Tumblr. If that happens, you will find me on a beach somewhere reenacting the final scenes from the original “Planet of the Apes” when Charlton Heston finds out he landed back on Earth.

And while we’re here, if there are any damn dirty apes reading this, keep your stinking paws off of me!

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The President We Deserve

If current events are any indication of future outcomes, we are looking at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the Presidential nominees for the Republican and Democrat Parties respectively. People on both sides of the aisle are salivating at this possibility of these two titans locking horns in November.

On the one hand, we have a man who isn’t known for his tact being the head of the diplomatic corps of the most powerful country in the world. On the other hand, we have a woman who isn’t known for her integrity having the ability to sic the power of the federal government on anyone who dares oppose her. And when these two forces clash, we could be seeing a bloody political war that will make Thunderdome look like a church picnic.

There was a time when Trump and Clinton wouldn’t even be elected assistant to the assistant to the dog catcher, let alone to the most powerful position in the country. But here we are on the verge of electing either one of them.

Is anyone else really scared right now? As we prepare for the first post-Obama Presidency, we have to be careful not to give in to our worst instincts and elect someone unprepared for the gravity of the position. With both Trump and Clinton, I’m not sure either one is ready to be President. After nearly 8 years of an unprepared and unwilling student as President, we can’t make a mistake this time.

Trump could turn out to be a Republican Obama, and Hillary could be Obama’s third term. Neither one appeals to me all that much. But unless something major happens to one or both campaigns, we’re looking at the possibility one or the other happening.

And then we’ll get the President we deserve.

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