So right off the bat, let me just disclose the following: I am a proud Ron Paul supporter. I’ve been aware of Dr. Paul since the turn of the century. I’ve been reading “Texas Straight Talk,” his weekly correspondence, for going on a decade, and have been known, from time to time, to actually call the number that has his weekly, pre-recorded message in order to actually hear the man, in his own words, speak those wonderful words of truth and freedom.
I was involved with the grassroots effort of his 2008 run and donated to that campaign and his congressional campaign as well. Now, four years later, I am currently serving as my county’s coordinator for the Georgia for Ron Paul grassroots group and have made multiple donations to the RP2012 campaign.
Simply put—I’m a fan.
For many out there, the Ron Paul Revolution is all but dead. A minor historical footnote. How wrong these people are. For you see, this thing is still growing. It really is. Despite a virtual, media blackout and more dirty tricks by the GOP establishment than you can shake a stick at, this beautiful, organic phenomenon is still growing.
Let’s start with delegates. FOX News and many other outlets are grossly under-reporting Dr. Paul’s delegate count at around 50; however, CNN, as it has been during this entire cycle, has a more accurate count of 71. But they’re all wrong. We won’t know for sure until all of the district and state conventions wrap up, but Dr. Paul could very well be looking at a count in the several hundreds. It is most likely that the Paul campaign will have a strong majority of delegates in the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and several others. Hell, if it goes to a contested convention with multiple ballots, there will be Ron Paul delegates waiting in the wings in the Georgia Delegation. And there are several contests left where Paul could pick up more delegates.
Since 2003 a number of states have passed laws requiring some sort of ID to be shown when a person goes to vote. Proponents of the laws present them as a way to stamp out voter fraud; opponents decry the laws as a way to prevent minorities or the poor from voting, as they are most likely to not have acceptable ID. The battles have waged not only in legislatures but in courthouses as well. Wisconsin’s law was just struck down by a judge and Texas’ law is being challenged by the DOJ.
For a libertarian, it seems like both sides of the argument have been a little disingenuous. Voter fraud has yet to be shown to be anywhere near as widespread as Republicans would like us to think, though this could be because it has heretofore gone undetected. And showing a form of basic ID, often provided at no cost to the voter, is a very low bar and one that is gladly accepted when doing numerous other activities - even buying alcohol or getting into a bar.
So we are left to sit outside and try to figure out which side to take. On one hand, for those libertarians who believe in voting, the integrity of elections is very important. We need to ensure that elections accurately represent the will of voters. On the other hand, though, it is important that no one is prevented from voting for illegitimate reasons. If the laws are an underhanded attempt to disenfranchise certain groups, as opponents say, they are problematic.
What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.
During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.
Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.
Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
As we approach the South Carolina Primary, one thing has become painfully clear: Mitt Romney is running away with this nomination. Even if he somehow loses South Carolina, it appears he has Florida in the bag, and his debate answer on Monday about Social Security should have closed that door. With this reality upon us, I feel it appropriate to analyze who and what happened to get to this point.
Quick Take: She changed the way people look at white dresses forever.
Post-Mortem: I’ve stated before that Bachmann held a purpose in Congress, that purpose was to call out big spending. Granted, she has not been known for putting bills through that actually make a difference. More to the point, she was consistently getting airtime pointing out needless spending. Her campaign had this consistent message and was especially focused on Obamacare. It was a series of over dramatized answers and a Gardasil gaffe that ultimately sunk her campaign. The combination simply did not appear presidential.
Quick Take: Huh, turns out leading with “legalize pot” in the GOP doesn’t work after all.
Post-Mortem: A candidate that I have felt brought the most common sense approach to the issues facing the nation along with a record as Governor of New Mexico that proves his commitment to his stances. Shortly before the Iowa primary, Johnson went LP, a better fit for him in my opinion.
Ultimately, his delivery was ineffective in convincing the GOP base that his ideas were the direction the GOP needed to go. His ideas are already supported within the Libertarian Party which should allow him to concentrate more on the issues and less with convincing social conservatives that liberty is essential.
Tonight is a big night for Mitt Romney; and even if he “wins” New Hampshire, he may very well “lose.” There is little doubt that he is coming off a victory by winning in Iowa, though by a very small margin, even though he didn’t spend a lot of money. He lost the state four years ago, despite spending millions.
As you can guess, Romney has an advantage in the Granite State since he served for four years as Governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Needless to say, he is expected to perform well there. However, Romney has a threshold he needs to cross, even though he’ll win, for it not to be considered a disappointment.
Polls have showed that Romney has fallen off some in recent days. Last week, for example, Suffolk University’s daily tracking poll showed Romney hitting 44%. But by the weekend, he’d dripped to 33%. Though he maintains a double-digit lead over his closest rivals in the state, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. Today’s Suffolk poll shows Romney at 37%.
Romney needs to receive 40% or more of the vote in order him to walk away from New Hampshire with confidence. If he falls below that mark, expect to hear his rivals and conservative talking about how his nomination isn’t inevitably. And they’re right to a certain extent, this election cycle has taught us that nothing is a certainty.
Also, Huntsman’s future in the race may be determined this evening. If he finishes third or furthers down, he may well exit by the morning. A second place finish would likely keep him in the race until at least Florida.
After absorbing the news from every outlet on earth yesterday, even our own editor’s take, on the “surprise” retirement of Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh, I have to say that analysts are not considering all the “good” that can come from his retirement from the U.S. Senate. It seems that everyone predicts a Republican to pick up his seat in November. Lately, I have been among the few to see some things that ebb against the accepted flow in analyzing races and situations. This is another such ebb.
I think the reason that Bayh waited until Presidents’ Day to announce his retirement was to prevent someone relatively unknown, like Tamyra d’Ippolito, from garnering the nomination without a primary election AND without their seal of approval by collecting the requisite signatures necessary to get on the primary ballot. The Democrats have an opportunity to select a candidate, since it seems that d’Ippolito did not achieve the 4500 signatures necessary to get on the ballot. If she had, that is the WORST CASE SCENARIO for Democrats. By waiting, Bayh almost assured that the state Democrat Party could spend time vetting, choosing and fundraising for someone “moderate” enough to win the state, but “progressive” enough to fully support the agenda of the party for the next six years. While d’Ippolito likely fills out the latter, there is no chance she can accommodate the former.
Monday was the last day to file to run on the primary ballot in Texas for the 2014 elections, and in typical dramatic Texas fashion, a last minute marquee matchup has emerged.
Rep. Steve Stockman, a long-time Republican in Texas politics elected to Congress for the second time in 2012, has filed to appear on the US Senate ballot and face two-term incumbent Senator John Cornyn. The narrative of Tea Party insurgent vs establishment moderate is already being squeezed through the media sausage factory. However, the reality of the race could be more complicated than that.
John Cornyn has been a US Senator from Texas since 2002, replacing the retiring Phil Gramm. He is “moderate” by no real world definition of the word. He has a 93% life rating from the American Conservative Union (ACU), 79% from FreedomWorks, 86% from Heritage Action (far more than the 67% Senate GOP average), 87% from Club for Growth, and 83% from National Journal.
Two conservative groups fired shots at U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) on Thursday by endorsing his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville).
“Senator Chris McDaniel represents the next generation of conservative leadership that Mississippi Republicans are waiting for,” said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, an organization that advocates for free market economic policies and frequently backs fiscal conservatives in primary races.
“In the State Senate, Chris McDaniel led Mississippi’s fight against ObamaCare, opposed harmful tax increases, and stood strong against the big spenders in Jackson,” he continued. “It’s no wonder his colleagues named him the leader of Mississippi’s conservatives in the Mississippi State Senate and we have no doubt he’ll be a leader in the fight for economic freedom in the United States Senate.”
“Mississippi needs a strong fiscal conservative in the Senate who will fight President Obama and his agenda of higher taxes and bigger government. Senator Chris McDaniel is ready to take the fight straight to the liberals in Washington who have led us to $17 trillion in debt. Club members look forward to strongly supporting his candidacy in the primary and general elections next year,” added Chocola.
McDaniel formally announced his campaign on Thursday. He also picked up an endorsement from the Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).
Glenn Jacobs, perhaps better known as the wrestler “Kane” from WWE, may be considering a primary challenge to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
Jacobs, who identifies philosophically as a libertarian and supported both of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, has made waves recently by challenging Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican, to a debate over the online sales tax. On Thursday, however, Brian Doherty noted at Reason that Jacobs is weighng a primary bid against Alexander next year:
Still pure rumor mill for now, but sources close to the one-time World Heavyweight Champion World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar (among many other wrestling honors) who goes by the name “Kane” tell me that Glenn Jacobs (Kane’s legal name) is “open to the possibility of considering a primary campaign against Sen. Lamar Alexander” for the Tennessee Senate seat Lamar! has held since 2003.
That’s a whole lot of caveats and no announcement from the man himself, but it would be one of the more delightful GOP primary battles for the libertarian-minded to watch.
Jacobs, a resident of Knoxvill, Tennessee, has contributed commentary to LewRockwell.com, a website that frequently promotes paleo-conservative and libertarian economic theories. This free market point-of-view could be appealing to many Republican primary voters.
Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Mark Sanford was headed to defeat in South Carolina’s First Congressional District. He had made a notable misstep, which caused the National Republican Campaign Committee to pull resources from the race. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and FreedomWorks, a grassroots-driven organization, stepped into fill the void, with the former providing vocal support and the latter activists to educate voters in the district.
Sanford wound up defeating his Democratic opponent by a healthy margin, providing Paul, who is thought to be candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016, and FreedomWorks with notch on their belt against the Republican political establishment.
Fresh off this victory, FreedomWorks has now set its sights on another South Carolina race that could shake-up the Republican Party.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has long been a thorn in the side of fiscal conservatives. He was once thought to be untouchable, but recent polls have showed his numbers falling among Republicans.