Monday, February 17, 2020

Get Him Out!


Voters Support Raising The Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour


The minimum wage in the United States is not a livable wage. While a few states have raised the minimum wage, most states still follow the national law which sets that wage at $7.25 an hour. That wage forces a worker to live in poverty -- especially those trying to support a family (or a single parent with children).

This is an abominable tragedy. No one willing to work hard for 40 hours a week should be forced to live in poverty just because their employer refuses to pay a decent wage.

Frankly, I haven't heard nearly enough about this critical issue in the current campaign. I know Republicans are opposed to raising the minimum wage (and some would like to abolish it altogether), but Democrats should be campaigning loudly about this. Raising the minimum wage to a livable level ($15 an hour) would be not only the decent thing to do, but also the economically smart thing to do.

It would be a huge boost to the economy, would help businesses (who would reap the benefits of that new money in the economy), and would put upward pressure on the wages of all workers.

And the registered voters in this country are in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour -- a significant majority of 58% (while only 30% oppose it). The chart above shows how registered voters think.

That chart reflects the results of a new Yahoo! / YouGov Poll -- done on February 12th and 13th of 1,530 register voters nationwide. The margin of error would be about 3 points.

Serving Trump

Political Cartoon is by Patrick Chappatte in The New York Times.

New Poll Says Joe Biden Still Leads In South Carolina


The chart above reflects the results of the ECU Center for Survey Research Poll -- done on February 12th and 13th of 703 likely Democratic primary voters in South Carolina, with a 4.3 point margin of error.

Scratch His Back

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

Over 1100 Former DOJ Officials Ask For Barr's Resignation

(Cartoon image is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.)

Traditionally, the Attorney General is the people's lawyer. He is to see that government officials follow the Constitution, and that justice in the United States is meted out equally and without prejudice.

William "Whitewash Willie" Barr is different. He sees himself as Donald Trump's lawyer (even though Trump already has both White House and personal lawyers). He acts to cover-up Trump's misdeeds and attack his perceived enemies. He is the antithesis of a good Attorney General.

That is why more than 1,100 former prosecutors and other Department of Justice officials (from both political parties) have signed a petition demanding the resignation of Barr, and urging current officials to refuse to carry out his illegal demands.

Here is that petition:

We, the undersigned, are alumni of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) who have collectively served both Republican and Democratic administrations. Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice.
As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices. The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”
All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.
And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.
Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.
We welcome Attorney General Barr’s belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics; that it is wrong for the President to interfere in specific enforcement matters, either to punish his opponents or to help his friends; and that the President’s public comments on DOJ matters have gravely damaged the Department’s credibility. But Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.
For these reasons, we support and commend the four career prosecutors who upheld their oaths and stood up for the Department’s independence by withdrawing from the Stone case and/or resigning from the Department. Our simple message to them is that we — and millions of other Americans — stand with them. And we call on every DOJ employee to follow their heroic example and be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation. We likewise call on the other branches of government to protect from retaliation those employees who uphold their oaths in the face of unlawful directives. The rule of law and the survival of our Republic demand nothing less.

Boxes

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

Beyond The Law?


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Religion Depends On Fear


Voters Trust Paper Over Electronic Technology


Voting is the backbone of a democracy. And if citizens are to believe in their democracy, they must believe the counting of votes is done properly and correctly. Sadly, most Americans don't believe the machines currently being used in most of the country can be counted on to deliver an accurate count.

I understand that people have become used to getting results quickly after the polls close, and they like that. The old way of hand counting each paper ballot sometimes delayed tabulating the results for many hours. That method could be trusted (and is trusted by 57% of voters), but in this fast-paced world it is unlikely to be accepted (and requires a massive amount of manpower).

But the computer voting machines used in many counties are not trusted. People think they can be hacked (and this has been shown to be true by hackers). Additionally, they have no paper trail, so they cannot be a recount if it's suspected a machine produced a faulty result. A faulty machine will just reproduce its initial results no matter how many times it is asked to recount.

So, what is to be done to restore voter faith in the counting of ballots? There are two solutions.

The first is to make the computer voting machine produce a paper ballot (which the voter can check for accuracy and then drop in a ballot box). If there is any questions about the machine's result, those paper ballots can be recounted. About 71% of voters say they would trust such a system.

I think an even better solution is to vote on paper ballots, and then insert those ballots into a scanning counting machine. The machine cannot be hacked, the results will be known within a few minutes after the polls close, and you have the paper ballots if a recount is needed. As a precinct judge, I have used this system in the past and it works very well. About 69% of voters say they would trust such a system.

Electronic machines with no paper trail are unacceptable. Voters don't trust them. All counties need to stop using them. Trust in the counting of votes is just too critical in our democracy.

The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll -- done between February 7th and 9th of a national sample of 1,996 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

The Democratic Race?

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

Poll Shows Sanders Got A Boost Coming Out Of N.H.


The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. It shows the support for the leading Democratic candidates on the national level before and after the New Hampshire primary.

The first survey was done between February 4th and 9th of 1,989 voters, and has a 2 point margin of error.

The second was done on February 12th of 948 voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Although the second poll (taken after the New Hampshire primary) is not as large as the first, it shows Sanders has increased his support by 4 points while Biden's support dropped by 3 points.

Still though, Sanders is far from having majority support among Democratic voters -- with 29% supporting him and 71% supporting others.

Puppet Show

Political Cartoon is by Bruce Plante in Tulsa World.

Public Trusts The CDC's Handling Of Coronavirus


The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll. It is from a survey conducted between February 7th and 9th of a national sample of 1,839 likely voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

Back in 2014, Americans were very frightened of the Ebola virus, and it showed in their trust of how the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was handling that epidemic. Only 39% approved of how the CDC was handling the epidemic, while 53% disapproved.

It is much different for the new Coronavirus. Currently about 80% of the public approves of how the CDC is handling this new virus outbreak, while only 4% disapproves. That's quite a big difference.

Part of it may be because the CDC actually did a very good job in 2014 of keeping Ebola out of the U.S., and the public now recognizes that. That gives them more trust that the CDC can do an equally good job with the Coronavirus.

Alien Avoidance

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz at Pocho.com.

Why We Do Science


Saturday, February 15, 2020

She Already Has A Dog


New Democratic Polls For Texas, Florida, And Georgia


The chart above reflects the results of the University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll -- done between January 31st and February 9th of 575 likely Democratic primary voters, with a 4.09 point margin of error.

Texas will vote on March 3rd.


The chart above reflects the results of the St. Pete Poll -- done on February 12th and 13th of 3,047 likely Democratic primary voters in Florida, with a 1.8 point margin of error.

Florida will vote on March 17th.


The chart above reflects the results of the Channel 2 / Landmark Communications Poll -- released on February 13th of 500 likely Democratic primary voters in Georgia, with a 4.4 point margin of error.

Georgia will vote on March 24th.

Justice Served

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

Trump's Job Production Is Short Of Obama's


Donald Trump continues to brag about producing the "Greatest economy ever". One of the factors he uses to claim that is the economy's job production during his first three years. He would have you believe that he has produced massive job growth -- better than other presidents have done.

That is simply not true. The chart above shows the job growth in the economy during Barack Obama's last three years (after he got the economy back on track) and the job growth during Trump's first three years. Note that none of Trump's years match the job growth during Obama's years.

Here is what Chuck Jones of Forbes Magazine said:

Trump continually says that, “the U.S. is experiencing the best economy ever.” This is obvious gaslighting since the new results show that President Trump’s best year of job growth was 2.314 million in 2018 (the first year of the tax cut) but it falls short of any of Obama’s last three years. His boasts also don’t stand up when you peel the onion on GDP growth and realize that the Federal deficits during his Presidency will exceed any that were not impacted by a recession.

Coattails?

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

Segregation/Poverty Still Hurting Too Many Black Students





Too many Whites, especially those living in predominately white communities, think we have solved the problem of segregation. Unfortunately that is not true. Too many Black students still attend mostly Black schools, and making it even worse, those schools are in poverty-stricken areas. We need to address this problem if we are going to offer truly equal opportunity to all students.

The charts above are from the Economic Policy Institute, and the post below (from Emma Garcia at the Economic Policy Institute) outlines the problem. Ms. Garcia writes:

Well over six decades after the Supreme Court declared “separate but equal” schools to be unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education, schools remain heavily segregated by race and ethnicity.
What are the consequences of this lack of progress in integrating schools for black children?
  • It depresses education outcomes for black students; as shown in this report, it lowers their standardized test scores.
  • It widens performance gaps between white and black students.
  • It reflects and bolsters segregation by economic status, with black students being more likely than white students to attend high-poverty schools.
  • It means that the promise of integration and equal opportunities for all black students remains an ideal rather than a reality.
In contrast, when black students have the opportunity  to attend schools with lower concentrations of poverty and larger shares of white students they perform better, on average, on standardized tests.
Findings on school segregation and student performance come from the National Center for Education Statistics’ National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the most comprehensive study of education performance in the country. We use the most recently released data to describe school segregation and its consequences for math performance of eighth-graders. These data show that only about one in eight white students (12.9%) attends a school where a majority of students are black, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian. (We refer to this group collectively as students of color hereafter.) In contrast, nearly seven in 10 black children (69.2%) attend such schools (see Figure A).
As shown in Figure B, black students are also in economically segregated schools. Less than one in three white students (31.3%) attend a high-poverty school, compared with more than seven in 10 black students (72.4%).
The known connection between race/ethnicity and poverty in the United States appears in data on the composition of schools attended by for black children. Figure Cshows that a black child faces a very high probability of ending up in a school where a majority of her peers are both poor and students of color. While less than 1 in 10 white students (8.4%) attend high-poverty schools with a high share of students of color, six in 10 black students (60.0%) do.
In contrast, about a fourth of white students (23.5%) attend schools where most of their peers are white and not poor, while only 3.1 percent of black children attend such schools.
When black children have the opportunity to attend the same schools that white children routinely attend, black children perform markedly better on standardized math tests, which we use here as a measure of education performance.
Figure D shows math scores of black eighth-graders in low-poverty, mostly white schools and in high-poverty schools with a high share of students of color. In high-poverty schools with a high share of students of color, black students scored on average 20 points less on standardized math tests than their counterparts in low-poverty, mostly white schools (255.4 vs. 275.3). In other words, scores are much lower in the type of school that black children are overwhelmingly more likely to attend (high-poverty, mostly students of color) than in the type of school (low-poverty, mostly white) that only 3.1% of black children have a chance of attending.
Though not shown in the figure, the gap between black and white student test scores is larger in high-poverty schools with a high share of students of color than in low-poverty, mostly white schools. By promoting policies that facilitate a shift away from our current pattern of heavily segregated schools, we would thus help close the gap between black and white students overall.
Unaddressed school segregation is a major longstanding policy failure. It consigns most black children to schools that put them behind academically. The persistent performance gaps between white and black children that challenge the education and career prospects of black children from early on demonstrate that school segregation continues to cast a very long shadow—from well before Brown v. Board of Educationto today, and into the future.

The "Follow My Orders" Party

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

You Won't Hear This At A MAGA Rally


Friday, February 14, 2020

Fascism


Two New Polls Show Candidate Support In North Carolina


North Carolina is one of the Super Tuesday states. The citizens of that state will vote in a primary on March 3rd. Two new polls have been released on voter preferences in North Carolina. Both show Joe Biden leading, with Bernie Sanders in second and Michael Bloomberg in third and Elizabeth Warren in fourth. No other candidate is in double-digits.

The blue bars reflect the results of the Public Policy Polling survey -- done on February 4th and 5th of 604 likely Democratic primary voters.

The green bars reflect the results of the High Point University Poll -- done between January 31st and February 6th of 225 likely Democratic primary voters.

No Love

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Koterba in the Omaha World-Herald.

All Of Our Candidates Support Progressive Values


I get exasperated listening to cable news these days. I understand they must fill 24 hours of programming, but I think they sometimes try to make news instead of just reporting it. A good example of this is their reporting of a "war" between factions in the Democratic Party. They would have you believe it's "moderates" vs. "progressives".

If you buy that, then you might be inclined to stay home on election day if your particular faction loses the nomination. That's what happened in 2016, and it resulted in the disastrous election of Donald Trump.

I think Democrats are smarter than that this year. I hear from the supporters of all candidates (including Sanders supporters) that they will vote blue this year -- no matter which Democrat wins the nomination. They know that any of the candidates would make a much better president than Trump, and that the country needs to be saved from Trump.

But I submit it goes further. All of the candidates are really progressives. Some might be more progressive than others, but all of them would be a progressive president that would propose/sign bills to make this a better country for all citizens -- if they are given a Democratic Congress to work with.

Don't buy that? Then consider the following:

* All of the candidates would sign a bill covering all Americans with decent health insurance. They might bicker over how to do it, but they would all cover everyone.

* All of the candidates would sign a bill allowing the government to negotiate the price of drugs with pharmaceutical companies (which is currently illegal).

* All of the candidates would sign a bill raising the minimum wage to $15 and hour.

* All of the candidates would sign a bill to fix the funding problems of Social Security -- without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.

* All of the candidates would sign a bill raising taxes on the rich and corporations.

* All of the candidates would sign a bill strengthening labor unions and making it easier for them to organize workers.

* All of the candidates would sign a bill to remove the corporate tax breaks for sending good American jobs to other countries.

* All of the candidates would sign a bill to protect the voting rights of all citizens.

Those are all progressive values. And regardless of who we nominate to beat Trump, our next president will be one of the most progressive presidents in many years.

Vote for your favorite in the primaries. But in November, we must all stand together and elect a (progressive) Democrat as our president.

After New Hampshire

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

Who Are The Supporters For Each Democratic Candidate?

The political pundits love to argue about who is supporting each of the Democratic candidates. For instance, they will tell you that young people support Bernie Sanders -- even though many young people supported other candidates in the New Hampshire primary.

The respected Pew Research Center tried to find out the answer to that, and they did it a little more scientifically. They questioned 7,013 Democrats and Democratically-leaning Independents between January6th and 19th. Their findings have a margin of error of 1.8 points.

Here is what they found about the supporters of five leading Democratic candidates:

Joe Biden supporters

  • The former vice president draws comparatively high support from black adults and older Democratic voters. Nearly three-in-ten Biden supporters are black (28%), compared with smaller shares among those who back Michael Bloomberg (18%), Bernie Sanders (13%), Elizabeth Warren (12%) and Pete Buttigieg (1%). Biden’s supporters also include a larger share of voters ages 65 and older, compared with the backers of most of the other candidates.
  • Most Biden supporters prioritize finding common ground with Republicans, even if it means giving up some things that Democrats want. Around seven-in-ten of his backers (72%) favor this approach over pushing hard for policies that Democrats want. Those who back Warren (53%) and Sanders (45%) are far less likely to take this view, though Bloomberg and Buttigieg supporters more closely resemble Biden’s in this respect.
  • Biden supporters are more likely than backers of most other candidates to say illegal immigration is a very or moderately big problem in the country. Around six-in-ten Biden supporters (59%) take this view, compared with smaller shares of those who support Buttigieg (41%), Sanders (36%) and Warren (36%). Bloomberg supporters are about as likely as Biden backers to hold this view (61%).

    Bernie Sanders supporters

    • Around a third of Sanders supporters (32%) are under the age of 30, a higher share than among supporters of Warren (18%), Buttigieg (8%), Bloomberg (7%) and Biden (6%).
    • About half of Sanders supporters (54%) prioritize pushing hard for policies that Democrats want over finding common ground with Republicans. Among all Democratic voters, just 35% favor this approach.
    • A slim majority (55%) of Sanders supporters say billionaires are a bad thing for the country, a view also held by 49% of Warren supporters. Buttigieg, Biden and Bloomberg supporters are much less likely to take this position.

      Elizabeth Warren supporters

      • Warren supporters are by and large well educated and politically liberal. When it comes to ideology, liberals make up a larger share of Warren’s supporters (74%) than any other Democratic candidate’s supporters, including those who back Sanders (61%).
      • Among Warren supporters, 53% prefer that a candidate find common ground with the GOP, while 46% prefer someone who will push hard for Democratic policies. The share who want a candidate to push hard for Democratic priorities is slightly lower than the share of Sanders supporters who say this (54%), but is significantly higher than the shares of Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg supporters who take this view.
      • Eight-in-ten Warren backers (80%) see economic inequality as a very big problem in the country today, similar to the share of Sanders supporters who say this (77%), and higher than the share of Biden (66%) and Buttigieg (65%) supporters with this view.

      Pete Buttigieg supporters

      • The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, counts a high share of college graduates among his supporters. Around six-in-ten Buttigieg backers (61%) have a four-year college degree or more education – equal to the share among Warren supporters (61%), but higher than the share among supporters of Bloomberg (45%), Biden (37%) and Sanders (36%).
      • Even more than Biden supporters, backers of Buttigieg prioritize finding common ground with Republicans even if it means giving up some things that Democrats want. Around eight-in-ten Buttigieg backers (82%) favor this approach over pushing hard for policies that Democrats want, even if it makes it much harder to get some things done. (Among Biden supporters, 72% say this.)
      • While around three-quarters of Warren (76%) and Sanders (74%) supporters say the government should provide more assistance to people in need, Buttigieg supporters are divided on this question: 48% say the government should provide more assistance, while 45% say it is providing about the right amount of assistance.

      Michael Bloomberg supporters

      • Bloomberg supporters are decidedly less liberal than the backers of most other Democratic candidates. Just 29% of Bloomberg supporters describe themselves as liberal; a majority identify as moderate or conservative.
      • Like Buttigieg and Biden supporters, a clear majority of Bloomberg backers (79%) want a candidate who will prioritize finding common ground with Republicans, even if it means giving up some things Democrats want.
      • Most Bloomberg supporters (69%) say the fact that some people in the U.S. have personal fortunes of a billion dollars or more is neither a good nor a bad thing for the country; just 16% call it a bad thing. Sanders and Warren supporters are far more likely to say billionaires are a bad thing for the country (55% and 49%, respectively, say this).

No Justice

Political Cartoon is by Steve Greenberg at steve@greenberg-art.com.

Trump Has Made The D.C. "Swamp" Bigger And Nastier

(Cartoon image is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.)

Donald Trump, while campaigning for office, promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. And even today, he brags about doing that. But he hasn't. In fact, he's made it far worse.

Robert Reich (pictured) gives us 5 ways in which Trump has not only failed to drain the swamp, but made it worse. He writes:

1.He has packed his administration with former lobbyists and corporate executives. He has installed a former Boeing executive to run the Defense Department; a former pharmaceutical lobbyist to run the Department of Health and Human Services; a former coal lobbyist to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and a former oil lobbyist to run the Department of the Interior. In total, more than 300 lobbyists now work in the Trump administration – many in key positions overseeing the industries they used to lobby for. 
2. He and his family are personally profiting from the presidency. Despite Trump’s promise he’d sever all ties with his existing businesses and place all assets in a “blind” trust to eliminate any conflicts of interest, documents show Trump remains the sole beneficiary of his trust and still retains the legal power to revoke the trust at any time. Meanwhile, foreign dignitaries have flooded Trump’s hotels, lining his pockets in clear violation of the Constitution. He even attempted to host the G-7 at his own luxury golf course until he was forced to back down.

3. He is catering to billionaires and corporations at the expense of the American people. In the fall of 2017, mega-donors shelled out more than $31 million in political contributions to Trump and Republicans. And in return, they got a massive $2 trillion tax cut. Not a bad return on investment. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago just days after the tax bill became law, “You all just got a lot richer.”

4. He is using taxpayer dollars to subsidize his luxurious lifestyle. Since taking office, Trump’s golf trips alone have cost taxpayers more than $110 million dollars. His children have also charged taxpayers for costs associated with business trips around the world that they’ve taken, including India and Uruguay. Taxpayers even footed the bill for Donald Trump Junior’s hunting trip to Canada.

5. The Trump administration has been riddled with scandals and ethics violations. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held on to investments and never divested despite pledging to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has tried to arrange meetings with Chinese officials for her family business. Ethics officials have found Kellyanne Conway broke laws that prohibit government workers from engaging in political activities. The list goes on, and on. This has been the most corrupt administration in American history.

Trump is exploiting everything that’s vulnerable in our political system. But in order to truly stop the corruption of our democracy, we have to fix what’s broken. We must get big money out of politics, end the flow of lobbyists in and out of government, and strengthen ethics laws.

Trump has enlarged and deepened the swamp, but the swamp was there before he got to Washington. One of the first tasks of the next president must be to drain the swamp once and for all.

Trouble From Both Ends

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.

Winning?


Thursday, February 13, 2020

He's Not Strong!


Two New National Polls On The Democratic Race


The chart above reflects the results of two new national polls on the Democratic presidential race.

The gray bars show the results of the Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between February 9th and 11th of 552 likely Democratic primary voters.

The black bars show the results of the Monmouth University Poll -- done between February 6th and 9th of 357 likely Democratic primary voters.

Onward We Go

Political Cartoon is by Daryl Cagle at Cagle.com.

Michael Bloomberg Wins His First State Poll


Can Michael Bloomberg emerge as the moderate alternative to Bernie Sanders? After the poor showing of Joe Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, that has become a valid question. Especially since Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have, so far, not polled well in the coming states (like the 14 Super Tuesday states).

If this poll is correct, then Bloomberg might actually become a major player after Super Tuesday. It marks the first time that Bloomberg has finished first in any state poll.

The chart above reflects the results of the Talk Business & Politics / Hendrix College Poll -- done on February 6th and 7th of 496 likely Democratic primary voters in Arkansas, with a 4.3 point margin of error.

NOTE -- Arkansas is a Super Tuesday state, and will vote on March 3rd.

Service Dog

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Can Sanders Win A Majority Of Democratic Delegates?

After the results from Iowa and New Hampshire, the pundits are all over the place with their predictions. Some look at the latest polls showing Sanders with a slim lead and are ready to give him the nomination. Others don't think he can win a majority of delegates, and will not get the nomination.

The chart on the right is from Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com -- one of the most respected of the political prognosticators. He sees Sanders as having a 1 in 3 chance of winning the nomination. But he also sees the chance of a brokered convention as also being about 1 in 3.

Sanders has actually underperformed what he did in 2016 when it comes to winning delegates in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has less delegates after those two states than he did in 2016. He's going to have to do a lot better in the coming states if he's to get a majority of pledged delegates.

I'm not at all sure he can win a majority. And I think it very unlikely that he could win a brokered convention. Here's some of what Jennifer Rubin thinks in her op-ed for The Washington Post:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the New Hampshire primary in such an underwhelming fashion — the second less-than-impressive outing in what should have been two of his easiest states — that it bears consideration as to whether he is actually best positioned to win the race.

Turnout in New Hampshire did not significantly increase from 2016 to 2008, even though there was no competitive Republican primary to draw independent voters. Sanders has twice now failed to produce a promised wave of voters. Without such an influx of voters, his electability argument crumbles. He must either appeal to a greater share of Democrats and independents than other candidates (which currently is not remotely the case), or he must bring in a flood of new voters (which also is not happening). In short, his ceiling is still stuck around 25 percent, just as it has been from the onset of the race. . . .

Given that the progressive wing (Sanders plus Warren) managed to get about 35 percent of the vote on Tuesday while the moderates totaled more than 52 percent, it is clear that the majority of the party is not eager to enter a political suicide pact with a self-described socialist promising a revolution.

As the front-runner, Sanders should also expect to take fire for breaking his promise to release all of his medical records. He is 78 and had a heart attack in October. The party has every right to know precisely the state of his health. If he wins the nomination without full disclosure, be prepared for the Trump campaign (which portrayed Hillary Clinton at death’s door when she came down with the flu) to portray Sanders with one foot in the grave. This is certainly a valid electability issue.

Democrats should not take Sanders lightly, but neither should he be portrayed as the favorite, let alone the shoe-in. The prognosticators have based their predictions on a slew of inaccurate suppositions (e.g. his vote totals would be higher, Buttigieg wouldn’t win Iowa). Perhaps it is time to watch the game as it plays out, understanding that this remains the most uncertain Democratic primary in recent memory.

Learned His Lesson?

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at Cagle.com.

The Most Warlike Nation


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Trump Demands What He Doesn't Give


Sanders/Buttigieg/Klobuchar Take New Hampshire Delegates

The New Hampshire results are as follows:

VOTE PERCENTAGE
Sanders..........26%
Buttigieg..........24%
Klobuchar..........20%
Warren..........9%
Biden..........8%
Steyer..........4%
Gabbard..........3%
Yang..........3%

DELEGATES WON
Sanders..........9
Buttigieg..........9
Klobuchar..........6

Bernie Sanders will claim victory in New Hampshire, and he deserves it. He got more votes than any of his Democratic opponents. But his celebration should be tempered by the fact that he fell far short of his finish in 2016.

In 2016, Sanders got about 60% of the New Hampshire vote, and finished with 15 of their 24 delegates. Last night, Sanders got less than half the vote he got in 2016, and will fall short of the number of delegates he won in 2016.

Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar can also be proud of their finish in New Hampshire. Both got over 20% of the vote, and both come out of the state with several delegates. They will now claim they are the candidate that can beat Sanders and Trump. The problem is that neither has much presence in Nevada, South Carolina, or the 14 Super Tuesday states. It remains to be seen whether their good showing in New Hampshire will translate to votes in those other states.

The big losers of the night were Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. Neither came close to the top three, and neither will take any of the delegates available in New Hampshire. That's disappointing for Warren (who is from a neighboring state) and Biden (who has been considered the race leader).

REMINDER -- This race is far from over. There are 48 states and several territories that have yet to vote, and none of the top candidates can be counted out yet.