Presidency

It’s time to start including another name in polls and campaign coverage

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Twice in the last week I’ve had to personally update candidate comparison articles or memes that left out perhaps the most important name on the ballot. It’s time the professional media did their job up front instead.

As we’ve discussed, a Trump-Clinton election will likely be a historic low in terms of turnout and enthusiasm. It also opens a unique opportunity for another party candidate to make inroads in the national political landscape. So why are people ignoring that there are other candidates available?

You may have seen this candidate issue flow chart on social media in the last couple weeks.

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I noticed that it was missing something, so I updated it.

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Similarly, Vox’s income tax calculator showing how each candidate’s plans will affect your wallet only has four results.

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LOL @ “mostly on the rich”.

What Happens When Two Historically Unpopular Candidates Face Off?

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The presidential election of 2016 is considered by many to be the most important election in our lifetimes. I consider that sentiment nothing more than a cliche. We literally hear it every 4 years, and sometimes in between. Technically every election is the most important one yet.

But this election is the rare open contest with no incumbent, either directly or by succession (VP running after serving 8 years). The last one was just 8 years ago, but before that you have to go all the way back to 1952 to find an election without a sitting president or vice president running.

In all that time there has not been an election that could come down to two equally unpopular candidates. We won’t know for at least a month or two when primary votes are officially cast who each party’s nominee will be, but both current frontrunners are historically disliked.

Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating right now is bad and getting worse. It started dropping the moment she left office as President Obama’s first Secretary of State, and it’s been underwater nearly a year.

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As pollster Adrian Gray has shown, such poor favorability ratings even this far out from the election are usually correlated with general election losses, at least since 1992.

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#DemDebate, or How They Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Being Democratic Socialists

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Democrats have been complaining for years that Republicans have moved so far right that they’re not compatible with American democracy anymore. Republicans were fine before, they say, but not anymore! Weak-kneed Republicans who lose primary elections then decide to become media stars by switching to Independents (and eventually Democrats) and claiming “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me”.

[cue thunderous lemming applause]

But no one ever asks how far the Democrats have moved left. In their first primary debate of the 2016 contest Tuesday night, we may finally have gotten the answer. They’re all Democratic Socialists now, and proud of it (with the possible exception of Jim Webb).

Kanye for President? At this point, why not?

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At Sunday’s Video Music Awards on MTV, rapper Kanye West accepted the Video Vanguard Award, the attention span-limited network’s version of a lifetime achievement award. Deserved or not, West took the opportunity, as he often does at award shows, to make more news for himself. This time he decided to announce his intention to run for president in 2020. Unclear if the Federal Election Commission will now begin monitoring his finances.

Most took the opportunity to laugh at the clown. Kanye is notoriously divisive when he engages politically. He’s also a gaffe-prone loose cannon unsuited to winning hearts and minds in our carefully choreographed campaign climate. And while a certain amount of narcissism is necessary to think you are capable of presiding over the world’s preeminent superpower, West’s level of self-worship may leave him overqualified.

Then again, I’m judging him on a normal election cycle. Given the Twilight Zone-like events of the 2016 cycle so far, Yeezy, as the kids call him, may well be the perfect presidential candidate for 2020.

Does This Mean Hillary’s Presidency Would Last Eight Seconds?

Via The Hill, here’s presumptive 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, former U.S. Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton riffing on people who oppose the government’s many intrusions into private life, and on The Future of American Society™ (emphasis added):

“When people diss the government — we’re really dissing ourselves and dissing our democracy,” Clinton said. “This is my last rodeo, and I believe that we can leave not just the country in good shape for the future, but we can get a deep bench of young people to decide that they want to go into politics.”

Poll Shows Rand Paul and Marco Rubio Best Positioned Against Hillary

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Yes, it’s 18 months until the 2016 election, so head-to-head matchup polls don’t really matter right now. But over the next 8 months, Republicans have to decide who will face Hillary Clinton. They’re primarily deciding that question on ideological grounds, but electability should be a big factor too, and today we have a new national poll that suggests Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have the best shot.

Thursday’s release from Quinnippiac University shows that not only does Paul get the most support of any Republican in a general election contest with Clinton, but he also holds her own support down to 46%. However, Marco Rubio holds her even lower, 45%, but his own support is also lower than Paul’s in that matchup, 41%. Both are within the 3.8% margin of error for the Republican-only questions.

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A second question reinforces why both Paul and Rubio’s already strong support within striking distance of Hillary is only likely to grow. Hillary has a -2 favorability rating, with only 8% having no opinion or response. That means that 45% of voters like her, 47% don’t, and there’s almost no one else left to make up their mind. She’s been a national figure for more than 30 years. Everyone knows who she is and already has an opinion of her. Her support is capped.

Matt Lewis Is Right: Rand Paul Is Wrong on Term Limits, Here’s Why

(Editor’s note: this post first appeared on George Scoville’s personal blog.)

The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis has a really important piece up this morning critiquing Rand Paul’s rhetoric on congressional term limits from Paul’s announcement of his 2016 presidential campaign yesterday. During his speech, Paul said, “We limit the president to two terms … It is about time we limit the terms of Congress.”

Here are the counterpoints Lewis offers (emphasis added):

Five Things That Are Right with the Congressional Budget Process

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog published a listicle by public affairs consultant John Feehery (once a spokesman for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the moderate, more timid successor to revolutionary Newt Gingrich), opining on the messy federal budget process. My attempts to reach Reid Epstein, the blog’s editor, to offer a counterpoint were fruitless, so here are five reasons we should be thankful for the current federal budgeting process.

Hillary trying to help herself - ‘what difference does it make?’

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Much was made of the Obama “apology tour,” and it could be argued that we’re reaping what was sown now, at least in the Middle East. And as the current administration is scrambling to figure out what to do next when it comes to the unrest in Iraq, Hillary Clinton is hot on the book tour trying to tell the people what she really thought when she was serving as Secretary of State.

Of course, the media is still willing to help her amplify her new messages about foreign policy. The latest spate involves Benghazi and Iraq.

On Benghazi, the new narrative is that Hillary didn’t actually buy into blaming the attack on a video. She was apparently jumping from one theory to the next, presumably in her own mind. Exactly how useful that is to anyone remains to be shown, but at least she got out there and said she wasn’t necessarily on-board with the “blame the video” meme that dominated the airwaves immediately following the attack.

As for Iraq, Hillary is now claiming that she was fighting with Obama in the background about pulling out in 2011. Also, she wasn’t a big fan of Nouri al-Maliki, and apparently considered him a thug.

Obama set to use pen to control worker salaries

When President Obama started talking about getting around Congress with his phone and his pen, we all knew it was not going to end well. Increasing the minimum wage for government contractors hasn’t really had a chance to show any ill effects, so it makes sense that the president is already leaping into fair labor regulations, to start causing havoc in private industry.

The current cause is to force employers to pay overtime to salaried workers. There are already exemptions based on income that would possibly come into play, but they haven’t been adjusted for inflation on the Federal level since 2004. That said, there might be a valid argument to revisit those caps, but to force employers to pay overtime to salaried workers in general is not something any competent leader should consider in a soft job market.

Government increasing liabilities on businesses on a per employee basis is never a good idea when the economy needs private industry to be creating jobs. That is something that keeps getting lost in the shuffle for many reasons, but the two most obvious are the fact that the administration has changed the equations for determining the unemployment rate, and has reduced expectations for reasonable growth. What does that mean? It means that we don’t count people that have dropped out of the unemployment system into the welfare system, and the “new normal” is not really growth — it’s barely treading water.


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