Thursday, March 31, 2016

GOP Jobs Program

No Party Loyalty Among The GOP Presidential Candidates

(Caricatures of the GOP presidential candidates is by DonkeyHotey.)

If you still harbored any doubts about the growing division in the Republican Party, the recent Republican Town Hall meetings (which involved all three Republican presidential candidates individually) should settle those doubts.

Last September, all the Republican candidates pledged to support the party's eventual nominee (and to not run an independent campaign against that nominee). All of that is out the window now. In the Town Hall interviews, all three Republican candidates refused to say they would support the party's eventual nominee.

This is not a surprise that Trump wouldn't support the nominee (and might even run against that nominee as an independent). When Trump made his pledge, it came with a condition -- that he believe he had been treated fairly by the Republican Party's leaders. Recently, those party leaders have initiated a "Stop Trump" movement, with plans being made to try and snatch the nomination away from him in an open (brokered) convention. It's easy to see why he would feel he's not being treated fairly.

It conceivable that Trump will launch an independent bid for the White House if denied the convention's nomination. That would be disastrous for the GOP, since a recent Rasmussen Poll showed that 24% of Republicans say they would be very likely to vote for Trump if he did. Even if he didn't run as an independent, those voters might vote for a third party (feeling they were cheated), or even worse just stay home on election day -- which would hurt the down-ballot Republican candidates.

It could be just as bad if Trump does get the nomination. There are a lot of Republicans who say they simply could not vote for Trump, and a party with Trump heading the ticket could also hurt down-ballot Republicans. And both Cruz and Kasich refused to say they would support Trump as the nominee of their party. If they can't get on board, why should other Republicans?

I don't think it's an overstatement to say the Republicans have a real electoral mess brewing. The party is seriously divided, and I'm not at all sure that division can be healed by November.

Political Loyalty

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Even If He Wins, Wisconsin Will Not Be Good For Sanders

The chart above shows the two most recent polls from Wisconsin, and the RealClearPolitics average of the two polls. They are:

Emerson College Poll (March 20-22) 439 likely voters (4.6 point moe)

Marquette University Poll (March 24-28) 405 likely voters (6.3 point moe)

The difference in the Marquette poll is within the margin of error, and the difference in the Emerson poll is very close to it. This leaves me to think that the vote in Wisconsin will be very close between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders -- and either candidate could win that state next Tuesday (April 5th).

That is bad news for the Sanders campaign, because it means that it is very likely that Wisconsin will split its delegates between the two candidates. A Sanders win in Wisconsin would be just another moral victory for him, but it would not help him cut into the sizable delegate lead Hillary Clinton has. And that would really make it a defeat, because he is starting to run out of states (especially caucus states) that could help him cut into Clinton's delegate lead -- which must start to happen soon.

After Wisconsin, several large states have their primaries in April -- New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. A those states are very likely to increase the delegate lead significantly for Clinton.

Gutter Politics

Political Cartoon is by Gary Varvel in The Indianapolis Star.

Religious Liberty Or Just Discrimination ?

(Cartoon image is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.)

Governor Nathan Deal recently vetoed a "religious liberty" law in Georgia. Right-wing politicians, playing to their bigoted base, had passed the bill saying it was to protect the rights of the religious. But what it really did was to make discrimination of the LGBT community legal under the guise of protecting religion (particularly the christian religion).

Making, or keeping, discrimination legal is something that should offend all decent Americans. We like to claim we live in a country that guarantees equal rights to all citizens, but legalizing discrimination against any group goes against that very fundamental belief in equal rights. It should be anathema to anyone believing in the Constitution.

Fortunately, many people (even conservatives) see through the religious liberty laws (which are being proposed in many states), and see them for what they are -- an effort to legalize discrimination. Consider this editorial from the Waco Tribune -- a conservative newspaper in a very conservative part of Texas.

This newspaper normally has little interest in what’s happening in Georgia, but Texans should closely eye Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s gutsy veto of an anti-gay bill this week, given that some lawmakers in our state contemplate similarly discriminatory legislation under the guise of “religious liberty.” Georgia’s pro-business sector lobbied hard for the governor to kill this bill, arguing its discriminatory passages would hurt the state’s economy, send industry packing and kill jobs.
One doesn’t have to embrace, let alone condone, the gay lifestyle to recognize the potential for mischief in such legislation. The measure vetoed by Deal might have allowed agencies supported to some degree by taxpayer dollars — homeless shelters and drug-counseling centers, for example — to refuse service to gay individuals and same-sex couples. It also included language that might have allowed hospitals to refuse treatment to such individuals.
Many of us understand guaranteeing religious liberty, including measures such as the Pastor Protection Act passed last year by the Texas Legislature. It allows pastors, priests, rabbis and imams the right to refuse conducting marriage rites of those who do not subscribe to certain tenets of their faiths, however narrow they might seem. However, expanding this idea into a largely secular arena involving taxpayer-supported institutions such as homeless shelters and hospitals opens up the potential for discrimination on a scale no true patriot should tolerate.

Our nation has struggled since its founding to free itself of discriminatory practices. Dressing discrimination up in the solemn guise of “religious liberty” — formerly employed to keep people of different colors from marrying — is an old, hate-filled ruse that doesn’t fool anyone, least of all those adroitly trying to claim their religious values are threatened by others doing them no harm.


Political Cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at

Unions Work

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Clinton Still Leads Nationally Among Democrats

These charts were made from the new Public Policy Polling survey -- done between March 24th and 26th of a random national sample of 422 Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of 4.8 points.

The recent rumblings from the media talking heads is that Bernie Sanders has momentum, and might actually have a path to the Democratic nomination. I don't believe that. He has won some caucus states recently (which are his strength), but some big state primaries are coming up -- and they should settle any doubts anyone might have as to who the nominee will be (Hillary Clinton).

This new poll shows us that Clinton is still the choice of Democrats nationwide -- leading Sanders by 18 points (54% to 36%). And that is true of nearly every gender, race, and age demographic. It is only among the young that Sanders has a lead (35% to 49%).

Even more interesting is when the Democrats are broken down by ideology. One would expect that since Sanders is a socialist, he would be most popular among those who consider themselves "very liberal". But that is not true (see chart below). He actually loses by the biggest margin in that group (about 33 points). He does best, but still loses, among those who say they are conservatives.

The Experts

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at

A 2016 Electoral Projection From Nate Silver

The image above is from a twitter by Nate Silver (one of this country's most respected poll analysts and statisticians). It shows his prediction for the 2016 election -- assuming the candidates are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and the election was held right now. His projection is that Hillary Clinton would beat Trump by a whopping 210 electoral college votes.

I've been hearing a lot lately from Trump and Sanders (and their supporters) about how much more popular they are than Hillary Clinton. That's just nonsense. Clinton will not only win the Democratic nomination, but she will blow-out Trump (or Cruz) in November.

Helping ISIS

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Clinton's Speech On Electoral Importance Of SCOTUS

(Photo of Hillary Clinton is from her web site.)

Hillary Clinton gave an important speech this week on the electoral importance of the Supreme Court, President Obama's nominee to that court, and the Republican obstruction of that nominee. Here is what she said (from

As someone who’s been fighting for progressive causes her whole life.  I think it’s important that we take a broad view about what’s at stake in this election.

I’ve been making the case in this campaign that we’re not a single-issue country.  Our next President has to be able to break down all the barriers that are holding us back, not just some of them.  And there are so many challenges we need to take on that don’t always get the attention they deserve on the campaign trail. 

So today I’m going to talk about one of those challenges – something that matters a great deal to our future, to your future, the future of our country: and that is the Supreme Court. 

Stop and think about it -- and how many law students are here? Do we have some law students are here, so you think about this.  

But if you do stop and think this, the Court shapes virtually every aspect of life in the United States – from whether you can marry the person you love, to whether you can get healthcare, to whether your classmates can carry guns around this campus.  A lot of Americans are concerned about money in politics, and rightly so. It’s a serious problem that we have to address.

But Supreme Court justices are appointed for life.  They’re not making decisions based on campaign contributions; they’re making them based on legal philosophy – and in some cases, ideology.  And for a long time now, the ideological bent of the Court has led our country in the wrong direction, especially when it comes to stacking the deck in favor of the already wealthy and powerful. 

If we’re serious about fighting for progressive causes, we need to focus on the Court:  who sits on it, how we choose them, and how much we let politics -- partisan politics -- dominate that process.

And I can’t think of a better place for this discussion than right here in Madison, because these decisions will affect you.  

Before I was a Senator from New York or a Secretary of State, and even before I was a wife or mother, for that matter – I was a lawyer. 

I was drawn to the law for the same reason a lot of young people are: I put my faith in justice and fairness. And I saw the profound impact that our justice system has on people’s lives, for better or for worse.  And I wanted to help make it for the better. 

So when I was in law school I volunteered for the New Haven legal aid association. After I graduated, I put my legal education to work at the Children’s Defense Fund. I ran the legal aid clinic at the University of Arkansas Law School where I taught, supervising students providing legal assistance to prison inmates and poor families.  

And when President Carter appointed me to the Legal Services Corporation, which is the largest single provider of civil legal aid in America, it was one of the greatest honors of my life.  And we fought hard to convince Congress that using the law to help poor families was a just and necessary cause.  And we won that fight. We hired an army of lawyers to work on behalf of more than a million poor clients across the country – helping families avoid eviction, fight discrimination, receive their earned federal benefits, and so much more.

But I also learned, when the administration changed, and President Carter went out, and President Reagan went in, that you couldn’t ever rest in the fight for justice and fairness. And we kept fighting. And thankfully we had increased legal services before that time because it’s been pretty much static ever since. Because of these experiences, I come to the issue of the Supreme Court not just as a former Senator who took my constitutional responsibility to “advise and consent” seriously, but also as a lawyer who spent years fighting for people who weren’t getting a fair deal in our system.  

And I carry all these experiences with me -- all those clients and all those cases – every single day. So today, I want to share some of my thoughts on the Supreme Court, and then I would love to hear from you.

We start with that basic premise: that I already stated: the Court matters.

At its best, the Court is a place where the least powerful voices in our society are heard and protected – whether they be African Americans trying to vote or people getting an education in the era of segregated schools and poll taxes, or women trying to make our own health decisions in the face of humiliating laws that would strip that right away.

Now this may be hard for you today in 2016 to really believe, but I was in high school. The Supreme Court decided a case called Griswold v. Connecticut. That case recognized that women have the right to make the personal choice of whether to use birth control.  Before that in some places in our country like Connecticut, it could be a criminal offense. 

So that case left a powerful impression on me. Along with all the civil rights cases from the 1950s forward, I saw the Court as a place where wrongs were righted, and where everyday folks could stand on equal footing with the most powerful people in the land.

In recent years, the Court has made a lot of high-profile decisions – some that uphold this progressive tradition and some that tarnish it.  It effectively declared George W. Bush President.  It cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act, it overturned commonsense laws addressing gun violence, and said that certain employers get to decide whether their female workers can access free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.  

But it also made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, preserved the Affordable Care Act--

--not once but twice, and ensured equal access to education for women.

The death of Justice Scalia marked the end of an era.  Now as you know, there’s a fight over whether President Obama should nominate a replacement, as the Constitution requires.  And that fight is revealing the worst of our politics – the same obstructionism that we’ve seen from Republicans since the beginning of the Obama Administration, the same disregard for the rule of the law that’s given rise to the extremist candidacies of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. 

It’s corroding our democracy, and it has to stop.  For those of you who aren’t following the saga, the story is pretty straightforward. 

President Obama has done his job, and nominated Merrick Garland, one of the most respected judges in the country, to become the ninth justice.  Democrats admire him.  Republicans do, too.  In fact, a few years ago, when another seat was open on the Court, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah – who’s not exactly a liberal – said that if the President named Judge Garland, there was “no question” that he’d be confirmed.  In fact Senator Hatch called the judge a “consensus nominee.”

Now normally, this is when the Senate would do its job -- hold hearings, consider the nomination, call for a vote.  But Republicans say they won’t.  They won’t even hold a hearing.   It doesn’t matter how how qualified the President’s nominee is, or what the Constitution says, or what our country needs.  This is their job!  But they refuse to do it.  

Senator Chuck Grassley, the head of the judiciary committee, could hold a hearing tomorrow if he wanted.  But he says we should wait for a new President because, and I quote, “the American people shouldn’t be denied a voice.”  Well, as one of the more than 65 million Americans who voted to re-elect Barack Obama, I’d say my voice is being ignored right now because of their obstructionism.  

We chose a President.  We chose him twice.  And now Republicans in the Senate are acting like our votes didn’t count, and that President Obama is not still our nation’s leader.  And I’ll tell you, those are not high-minded principles – they are low-minded politics.  And today, 

I’m adding my voice to the chorus asking Senator Grassley to step up and do his job.  

He should hold a hearing – and he should schedule it as soon as the Senate returns from recess.
But let’s keep in mind – this battle is bigger than just one empty seat on the court.  

By Election Day, two justices will be more than 80 years old, past the Court’s average retirement age.  The next President could end up nominating multiple justices.  That means whoever America elects this fall will help determine the future of the Court for decades to come. 

Just look at the court’s docket, the cases that it’s hearing this term alone.

The Court is reviewing how public sector unions collect the fees they use to do their work.  The economic security of millions of teachers, social workers and first responders is at stake.  This is something the people of Wisconsin know all too well.  Because your governor has repeatedly attacked and bullied public sector unions and working families have paid the price.  I think that’s wrong, and it should stop.

The Court is reviewing a Texas law imposing unnecessary, expensive requirements on doctors who perform abortions.  If that law is allowed to stand, there will only be 10 or so health centers left where women can get safe, legal abortions in the whole state of Texas, a state with about 5.4 million women of reproductive age.  So it will effectively end the legal right to choose for millions of women.

The Court is also reviewing whether Texas should have to exclude non-voters when drawing its electoral map.  That would leave out, among others, legal residents, people with felony convictions and children.  The fair representation of everyone in our society – including 75 million children – hangs in the balance.

And on top of all that, the Court is reviewing affirmative action and President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which called for halting the deportation of DREAMers and undocumented parents of citizens and legal residents. It’s also put a hold on the President’s clean-power plan.  Either America can limit how much carbon pollution we produce, or we can’t.  And if we can’t, then our ability to work with other nations to meet the threat of climate change under the Paris agreement is greatly diminished. 

In short: in a single term, the Supreme Court could demolish pillars of the progressive movement.  And as someone who has worked on every single one of these issues for decades, I see this as a make-or-break moment.  If you care about the fairness of elections, the future of unions, racial disparities in universities, the rights of women, or the future of our planet, you should care about who wins the Presidency and appoints the next Supreme Court justices.

And consider, if you will, the dangerous turn the Court has taken in recent years toward protecting the rights of corporations over those of people.

Now you may have heard of the case Citizens United.  The Court ruled that corporations have an unfettered right to free speech, just like you and me.  That means no limit on what corporations can spend independently to influence elections.  And – big surprise – a flood of money from rich people, corporations and special interests has poured into our politics.

Citizens United opened the door to the creation of Super-PACs and between the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, spending by outside groups tripled.  In 2014, the top 100 donors to super PACs spent nearly as much as all 4-million-750-thousand small donors in the country combined.

Now the idea, I believe, that money is speech turns our Constitution upside down.  Wealth should not be privileged in the courts – in fact, it should have no privilege.  Yet at a time when inequality between working Americans and those at the top is starker than ever, the Supreme Court has given the wealthiest Americans even greater power to affect what happens in our democracy. 

Justice Ginsburg says if there were one recent decision she’d overrule, it’s this one.  I’m with her.  And I hope she gets the chance to do just that. Now--

Now people forget this, but the Citizens United case actually began with yet another a right-wing attack on me.  It grew out of a Wisconsin case about whether corporations can run issue ads, so-called “issue ads” close to an election.  So we all have a personal stake in this.  If the Court doesn’t overturn Citizens United, I will fight for a Constitutional amendment to limit the influence of money in elections.  It is dangerous to our country and poisonous to our politics. 

But it doesn’t stop with Citizens United.  This Court has voted on the side of corporations – against the interests of workers, unions, consumers and the general public – in case after case.  

It’s made it harder for consumers to band together to sue a corporation, even if they are collectively suffering from corporate behavior.  So 2 million Comcast subscribers in Philadelphia were told they each had to hire a lawyer if they wanted to sue for fairer prices. One-and-a-half million women working at Walmart each had to hire a lawyer if they wanted to sue for sex discrimination.  That’s a burden that the vast majority of people cannot afford.

I know this might sound a little technical.  But it points to an alarming trend.  The Court used to, in the 20th century anyway, protect the little guy against the rich and powerful.  More and more, it’s doing the opposite -- protecting the rich and powerful against the little guy.  One study found that between 2009 and 2012, the one party most likely to convince the Court to hear a case, out of all the top petitioners, from every part of our society and economy, was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  So the Court was more likely to take up cases concerning corporate interests and then to decide in favor of those corporate interests.

If I’m fortunate enough to be President, I will appoint justices who will make sure the scales of justice are not tipped away from individuals toward corporations and special interests, who will protect the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or political viewpoint, who will protect a woman’s right to choose, rather than billionaires’ right to buy elections and who will see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress, not a barrier to it.

So I hope you and everyone across Wisconsin, everyone across America, keeps the Court in mind when you vote.  Now, some of you may already have decided to support me, some of you may have decided differently -- I will keep working to earn your vote.  But even if you are decided or undecided, I will be for you, but I ask you this: Please make sure the court factors into your decision. 

Conservatives know exactly how high the stakes are.  For years, they have used aggressive legal strategies to accomplish through the courts what they’ve failed to accomplish through legislation.  They couldn’t pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, so they tried to get the Courts to do it.  They couldn’t stop the President’s Clean Power Plan, and they couldn’t pass immigration reform, and they didn’t want the President to act, so they got the courts to step in.  Now they are fighting hard to make sure the Supreme Court includes as many right-wing justices as possible.

As scary as it might be, ask yourselves:  what kind of Justice will a President Trump appoint?  Or for that matter, what kind of Attorney General?  What kind of lower court judges?

And as you know, he believes Muslims should be banned from entering this country because of their faith.  What would that mean for a nation founded on religious freedom?

He wants to round up 11 million immigrants and kick them out.  What would that mean for a nation built by immigrants?

He says wages for working people are too high and we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage.  What would that mean for working people, and a Court that’s already tilting in favor of powerful corporations?

Let’s be clear about what’s really going on here.  The current fight over Judge Garland is just the latest in a long line of actions aimed at disrupting our government and undermining our President.  And the result is an America that’s more divided, more dysfunctional, and less secure.

Consider how Republicans, led by Ted Cruz, shutdown the entire federal government in 2013, rather than fund the Affordable Care Act.  Or how they almost shut down the government again last fall over trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

Remember what Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said back in 2010 – that the single most important priority for Republicans was making Barack Obama a one-term president.  Now some people thought that was hyperbole.  But I always remember Maya Angelou’s advice: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Right? And today --

Today, Republican leaders have been showing us who they are, in fact, for a long time.  Blocking Judge Garland is just the latest evidence and we should start believing them.

If you want to know where that kind of obstruction and recklessness leads, just look at the Republican race for the Presidency.

Now every day, another Republican bemoans the rise of Donald Trump. They say a Trump nomination will set their party back decades.  I agree.  It will set the Republican Party back if Donald Trump is their standard-bearer.  

But Donald Trump didn’t come out of nowhere.  What the Republicans have sown with their extremist tactics, they are now reaping with Donald Trump’s candidacy. 

It wasn’t long after Senator McConnell said his number-one goal was to prevent the President’s reelection that Donald Trump started his racist campaign to discredit the President’s citizenship -- remember the birther movement? And Ted Cruz embarked on his strategy of holding the government hostage to get his way. 

These things are connected. 

When you have leaders willing to bring the whole of government to a halt to make headlines, you may just give rise to candidates who promise to do even more radical and dangerous things – because once you make the extreme normal, you open the door to even worse. 

And when you have a party dead-set on demonizing the President, you may just end up with a candidate who says the President never legally was the President at all.

Enough is enough.  It’s time for us to take a stand and you can start right here in Wisconsin.
Your Senator, Ron Johnson, is bragging about blocking the President.  He’s in a tight race against former Senator Russ Feingold, an exceptional public servant. 

During his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Feingold actually helped build a stronger judiciary.  So when you leave here, I urge you to call the office of Senator Johnson, email him, contact him, if he has a Facebook page, go on and express your opinion.  Tell him to stop playing games with the Supreme Court. 

And remember this, remember this in November, when you choose who stands for you in the Senate.  The incumbent will vote for corporations and against working people.  His opponent will vote for a Court that will listen to you.

Then, keep these larger issues in mind when you go to the polls on April 5.

It’s time to get back to what makes America already great – respect for the rule of law, statesmanship over showmanship, and people working together across party lines for the good of the nation. 

That’s what this Court fight is really about.  That’s what this election is about – whether we, as a country, are able to come together to meet the challenges we face and break down all the barriers holding people back – or whether we will be paralyzed by deadlock and divided from each other by bitter partisanship. 

At our best, America has united behind the ideal that everyone deserves a fair shot, no matter who we are or where we started out.  And at its best, the Supreme Court has defended that ideal.

Like in 1954, when the Court abolished segregation in our schools.

Or 1973, when it ruled that women have the right to make intimate health decisions for ourselves.

Or 1977, when the Court paved the way for public sector unions. 

Or 1982, when it ruled that undocumented children had the right to go to school. 

Or just last year, when the Court ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land. 

You know, all Jim Obergefell wanted was to marry his partner of more than 20 years, John Arthur, before John Arthur died of ALS.  They ended up flying to Maryland, because their home state of Ohio didn’t recognize same-sex marriage.  John was so sick, he couldn’t even leave the plane – but they got married right there on the tarmac in Baltimore, then flew straight home.  And when John died three months later, Ohio listed him as single on his death certificate.  For the partner who had loved and cared for him, this was a bitter, painful blow, a rejection of the life they had built together over decades – until the Supreme Court ruled that Jim and John’s marriage was legal everywhere in the United States of America. 

And in that decision, Justice Kennedy wrote, “The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times.  The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all its dimensions. So they entrusted to future generations a charge protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”

That decision is the latest reminder of what the Court can do when it stand for equality, or against it. When it make America a fairer place, or roll back the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
It depends on what the Court decides, and it depends on who’s deciding.

Which, in the end, means it depends on all of us.

So think hard about the Court. For years people have tried to make the Court a voting issues, and it’s not easy to do. People are rightly concerned about their economic well-being, about the education of their children, about their health care, about their social security payment. About all the other issues that keep people up at night around millions of kitchen tables. 

But this election has ripped away the curtain and made it absolutely clear to everyone how essential the Supreme Court is to those decisions as well. I will keep talking about it, and advocating, and calling on the Senate to do its job, and I hope there will be a great chorus of voices across our land that will do the same.

It’s our Constitution, it’s our Court, and it’s our future.

A Win For Equality

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at

Wackos And Assault Rifles

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Taxed Too Much ?

The Clinton/Sanders "Enthusiasm Gap" Now Favors Clinton

The consensus about the cable news talking heads has been that while Clinton has more voter support, Sanders supporters are more enthusiastic in their support. They judge that on the size of the crowds. But crowd size is not necessarily the be-all-and-end-all for judging enthusiasm. There are a lot of people who are enthusiastic about supporting a particular candidate, but have no interest in being part of any crowd. Their enthusiasm shows up in the voting booth.

The Gallup Poll decided to test this enthusiasm. Between March 21st and 23rd they questioned 1,358 registered voters about their enthusiasm for their chosen candidate (with the margin of error being 5 points for both Democrats and Republicans).

And what they found busts the myth that Sanders supporters are more enthusiastic than Clinton supporters. In fact, it is just the opposite -- with 77% of Clinton supporters say they are enthusiastic in their support of her, while 71% said they were enthusiastic about supporting Sanders.

Among Republicans, Trump has the most enthusiastic supporters -- with 88% of them saying they are enthusiastic in their support of him. Cruz trail far behind with only 64%, and Kasich is dead last with only 48%.

Still The Party Of No

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at

Public Wants A Vote On Supreme Court Nominee This Year

The Republicans are still adamant about refusing to give President Obama's Supreme Court nominee (Merrick Garland) a vote this year. They are playing to their base (who hopes a Republican will be elected president, and will nominate a far-right person).

But they are playing with fire. They are playing into the perception by the general public that they are the party of obstruction ("The party of NO") -- a perception that has resulted in a very low opinion of Congress (and especially congressional Republicans).

Poll after poll has shown the public wants the Senate to seriously consider and vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland. And now we have four new polls that all verify that. They are:

Quinnipiac University Poll (March 16-21) 1,451 registered voters (2.6 point moe)

CBS News / New York Times Poll (March 17-20) 1,252 adults (3.0 point moe)

CNN / ORC Poll (March 17-20) 1,001 adults (3.0 point moe)

NBC News / MonkeySurvey Poll (March 17-18) 1,838 adults (3.5 point moe)

Quite Well

Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at

Hillary Clinton's Stand On Helping Disabled Americans

(This photo of Hillary Clinton, from her web site, is by Kat Kane.)


Hillary will: 
  • Realize the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
  • Improve access to meaningful and gainful employment for people with disabilities. 
  • Provide tax relief to help the millions of families caring for aging relatives or family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
“We should acknowledge how the disabilities community has played such an important role in changing things for the better in our country.”
HILLARY, JULY 26, 2015
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a tremendous step forward. It opened educational opportunities to all Americans, expanded transportation, made sure everyone can enter buildings, and ensured that no one would be turned down for a job because of a disability. Hillary is committed to realizing the promise of the ADA and continuing to expand opportunity for all Americans.
Hillary has spent her life fighting for the rights of Americans with disabilities.

  • Hillary’s first job out of law school was with the Children’s Defense Fund, and one of her first tasks was going door to door to figure out why so many children were missing school. She discovered that many parents were not sending their children to school because schools did not accommodate disabilities.
  • The evidence she helped gather was presented to Congress, and built the case for passage of the law that ensures all children with disabilities have access to school.
  • As secretary of state, Hillary worked to build strong support for the United States to join the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But despite a broad, bipartisan coalition, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked its passage.
  • Now, 25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Hillary recognizes that there is still much work to do, including improving access to meaningful and gainful employment for people with disabilities. Too many Americans with disabilities continue to be left out of the workforce, and for those who are employed, too many are in under-stimulating jobs that don't fully allow them to use their talents.

The Inequality Of Tragedy

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Not Hard To Figure Out

Monday, March 28, 2016

Vote Blue

There Was No "Conspiracy" Against Sanders In Arizona

(This photo of Arizona voters waiting in a long line is from

For the last few days on social media, Bernie Sanders supporters have been very vocal about how "unfair" the primary voting was in Arizona. Many of them seem convinced there was some sort of conspiracy against Sanders, and without that conspiracy, their candidate would have won. That's just silly.

The voting in Arizona was a mess, but it had nothing to do with any conspiracy against Sanders. It was caused by Republicans drastically cutting the number of polling stations ("to save money"). That cut in the number of voting sites forced many voters to wait in very long lines -- some of them for four hours or more. It turns out that many voting sites, especially in Maricopa County, had to handle a voter list of as many as 21,000 voters (which is ridiculous).

But this Republican display of incompetence was not aimed at any specific candidate -- although it may have been aimed at Democrats in general (since the fewest voting sites were in Hispanic areas (who are reliable Democratic, and Clinton, voters). If anything, the long lines may have hurt Clinton more because of that. Remember, both Clinton and Sanders voters had to wait in the same long lines to vote.

Sanders supporters are also complaining about Independents not being able to vote. They say huge numbers of people had registered as Democrats, but were listed as Independents. I doubt this. While a few mistakes could have been made, it is far more likely that these Independent voters had never changed their registration at all, and that they simply didn't understand how a closed primary works (expecting that any person who showed up would be allowed to vote).

The closed primary was not new, or a last-minute change. There was plenty of time for anyone who wanted to register as a Democrat to do so. I'm sure the Arizona Democratic Party welcomed anyone wanting to register as a member of their party. The Independents who couldn't vote have only themselves to blame. They knew, or should have known, the rules if they really wanted to vote -- and if they wished to remain Independents, then they had no right to vote in the Democratic Primary.

A primary is not the same as an election. It is for members of a particular party to choose their candidates for the general election. Those who are not members of that party (especially in a closed primary) cannot participate. They will get to make their choices in the general election in November, after the members of all parties put their candidate choices on the ballot.

There was NO conspiracy against Bernie Sanders in Arizona. The Democrats in Arizona simply preferred Hillary Clinton -- by a large margin.

NOTE -- There is even a movement by Sanders supporters to petition the White House to have a re-vote in Arizona (on June 7th). This is just stupid. The White House couldn't order a re-vote in Arizona, even if it wanted to do that (which I'm sure it doesn't). Arizona's public officials are solely responsible for the primary voting in that state. While these officials showed their incompetence by not providing enough voting sites, it did not invalidate the primary -- and it was not unfair to any particular candidate.

Repeated Self-Harm

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Jewish Voters Not Impressed By GOP Prez Candidates

We already knew that the Republican candidate for president (whether Trump or Cruz) was going to have a very tough time trying to win over Blacks, Hispanics, women, and younger voters. Now it looks like we can add another group to that foursome -- Jewish voters.

It turns out that more than seven out of ten (72%) Jewish voters have an unfavorable opinion of both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. That's 52 points more unfavorable than favorable for Cruz, and 48 points more unfavorable than favorable for Trump. Those are rather daunting numbers, and will be hard, if not impossible, to overcome by the November election.

So, who do Jewish voters like? About six out of ten have a favorable opinion of both Democratic candidates -- 61% for Bernie Sanders and 60% for Hillary Clinton.

These numbers were compiled by the Gallup Poll between January 2nd and March 21st.

The GOP Dilemma

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Hillary Clinton's Plan To Make Child Care Affordable

(This photo of Hillary Clinton is from her campaign web site.)


Quality child care during early childhood is one of the most important investments a parent can make in their child’s future, but the cost of child care in America has been rising for decades.

Too many parents are forced to make an impossible choice between paying for child care or paying for other vital family expenses.

In 27 states and the District of Columbia, the annual cost of infant child care is higher than a year’s in-state college tuition and fees at a public university.

Rapidly rising child care costs and stagnant wages mean that those costs are straining family budgets. According to the Center for American Progress, the average American family with children under five spends roughly 9 percent of their monthly income on child care. But many working families are paying much more. This issue affects millions of families.

Hillary will fight to make child care affordable for families—not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s a smart thing to do. She will:
* Increase federal funding to bring down the cost of child care for low-income families.
* Provide tax relief to help lower costs for working families.
* Double funding for the Early Head Start–Child Care partnership program.

The Elvis Factor

Political Cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at

Change Can't Be Undone

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Deserving Of Love

Alaska, Hawaii, And Washington Hold Presidential Caucuses

Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington held their Democratic caucuses on Saturday and, as expected, Bernie Sanders did very well. Sanders has done well in caucuses in this campaign. He dominated the caucuses in all three states last night. Here are the results:







Sanders picked up more delegates than Clinton did tonight, which means he did cut into her delegate lead -- but not enough. Here are the current delegate totals:


That means Clinton has to get 671 more delegates to win the nomination. Sanders needs 1379 more delegates. Since there are 2,049 unallocated delegates, Clinton needs 32.7% of those unallocated delegates, while Sanders needs 67.3% of those delegates. Sanders has a Herculean task ahead of him -- especially considering Clinton is expected to do well in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland (which are coming up soon).


Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Has Media Been Fair In Presidential Campaign Coverage ?

There have been a lot of people complaining about the media's coverage of this presidential campaign, and this chart shows that only 37% of the public thinks the media has done a good job (while 33% say they have done a poor job).

Some of this feeling could be due to sour grapes. The supporters of losing candidates generally always believe their candidate was not treated fairly (did not receive enough coverage). But while that is true, I believe those saying the media has not done a good job do have a point.

There was a time when the "Fairness Doctrine" was in effect (initiated in 1949) for broadcast news -- and the media had to provide equal time for all presidential candidates -- at least those in the major parties. But that doctrine was discontinued by the FCC in 1987. Now it doesn't matter how much time they give to each candidate.

And in its modern incarnation, broadcast news doesn't exist to be fair -- but to make money for its corporate owners. That means they cover only the news they think people want to watch. And that has meant some candidates (like Donald Trump) get enormous amounts of coverage, while others struggle to get any coverage at all.

Has the media done a good job? No, I don't think they have. But it isn't because they favor one candidate over the other. It's because they put corporate profits above all other concerns.

The chart above was made from a Rasmussen Poll -- done on March 20th and 21st of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Gender Gap Between Religious (& Non-Religious) People

This weekend marks a religious holiday in the U.S. (and many other countries), so I thought it would be a good time to show you these interesting charts. These Pew Research Center charts show the gender gap in various religious affiliations.

The gender gaps in religions show that women are more religious than men (by about 2 points for all religions combined). In christianity that gap is 6 points more women than men, in judaism the gap is 4 points, in buddhism the gap is 8 points.

The opposite is true of hinduism and folk religions, where the gap is 2 points more men. Only one religion has a 50-50 split between men and women -- islam.

There is also a gender gap among atheists, and it is a whopping 18 points favoring men (36 points in the United States). Obviously, atheists need to do a better job of reaching out to women.

Surrendering To ISIS

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Hillary Clinton's Plan To Treat And Possibly Cure Alzheimers

(This photo is by Logan Anderson and is from the web site of Hillary Clinton.)


“If we’re the kind of nation that cares for its citizens and supports families, respects our elders, and takes care of our neighbors, then we’ve got work to do. And we need to do better when it comes to diseases like Alzheimer’s.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the only cause of death in the top 10 that we cannot currently prevent, cure, or even slow. With the American population aging, the overall number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s is expected to grow almost threefold to nearly 15 million Americans—and could cost more than $1 trillion per year—by 2050. 
Hillary Clinton is proposing a groundbreaking commitment to preventing, effectively treating, and making a cure possible for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. Her plan will: 
  • Invest $2 billion per year in research for Alzheimer’s and related disorders. This past year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested $586 million in Alzheimer’s research, less than 1 percent of the annual cost of this disease. As part of a new investment in NIH, Hillary would rapidly ramp up our investment to $2 billion—the amount leading researchers have determined is necessary to prevent and treat the disease and make a cure possible by 2025. 
  • Ensure a reliable stream of funding between now and 2025. Just as important as increasing our investment, Hillary will fight to make funding predictable and reliable between now and 2025 so that researchers can work consistently toward effective treatments and pursue long-term research that will pay off down the road.
  • Establish a plan of action with leading researchers and health experts. Hillary will appoint a top-flight team to oversee this initiative and will consult regularly with leading researchers to ensure progress toward ending Alzheimer's. At each stage, her plan will embrace a range of approaches to discovering and advancing effective treatments.
Hillary understands the enormous weight that Alzheimer’s disease imposes on a growing number of Americans and their families. To help alleviate the burden, Hillary’s plan will: 
  • Cover comprehensive Alzheimer’s care-planning services and help coordinate care among physicians. Beyond the difficulty of planning for Alzheimer’s care, the disease complicates the management of other conditions. The simple act of sitting down together—primary physician, patient, and caregiver—to map out a treatment plan can have a positive impact on a patient’s health. Under Hillary’s plan, Medicare will cover comprehensive Alzheimer’s care-planning sessions, as well as the cost of properly documenting every diagnosis and care plan.
  • Help protect loved ones who wanderAt least six in 10 Alzheimer’s sufferers will wander from home at some point in a state of profound disorientation—leaving them vulnerable and potentially unsafe. Hillary will work with Congress to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program, a cost-effective federal program with a reported 98 percent success rate in finding individuals reported missing.
  • Ensure our seniors are aware and can take advantage of their Medicare benefits. Although Alzheimer’s cannot yet be cured, proper diagnosis and treatment can make a vital difference in quality of life—and allow patients to play an active role in planning for their future. Hillary will direct the Social Security Administration to raise awareness about the wellness visits, cognitive screenings, and other preventive benefits covered by Medicare. 

Hillary’s plan builds on her a long record of working across the aisle on behalf of patients and families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. In the U.S. Senate, she consistently pushed for greater funding for Alzheimer’s research, including federally funded stem cell research. She also co-chaired the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and introduced legislation to restore funding for the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Contact Center and for Alzheimer’s disease demonstration grants.