Thursday, February 12, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Terrorism in France: Charlie Hebdo against Islam
In this terrorist attack, the gunman were Islamic, Said Kouachi (34) and his brother Cherif (32) who were seeking revenge for Charlie Hebdo's insulting cartoons against prophet Muhammad and the Islam religion. Here is a picture of the aftermath of the attack in the Charlie Hebdo headquarters.
You can read the details of the attack and aftermath here or any of the numerous articles on the internet. The terrorists were muslim and the victims were a left-wing satirical news organization, but terrorism, whether the terrorists or the victims, is not limited by political affiliation or religion. Back in 2013, I wrote about how political terrorism continues to get worse as long as political factions play with fire (terrorism, violence) and gasoline (insults, slander, hatred, taunts).
The latest Charlie Hebdo attack only confirms this fact, and we all know this will continue. In America, there are many right-wing media personalities (Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, ...) and publications (townhall.com, breitbart.com, ...) that make a hefty living making insulting and slanderous statements and publications against millions of people and groups, including Islam. With the path of violence and terrorism inevitably set, it's not a matter of if, but when, the next murders will take place in America just as it has in Paris.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
One reason for the large pendulum swings is because Senators have 6 year terms, so in the next election they will face a turn of fortunes. All those Republican Senators who won in 2014 will face an adverse election in the 2020 Presidential election.
While the Democrats have a small advantage, it won't be enough to get anything done, at least for the next several years. It's Congress who writes and introduces new laws, and even during Presidential elections, the Republicans should hold a House majority or 41 Senate seats to filibuster new laws. Republicans may lose one, but they'll keep at least one obstacle. Then in the next midterm election, the Republicans will regain both obstacles.
What are the issues that is defining the political parties?
This is where the Republicans have their strongest hand. A few years ago, there was a populist movement to eliminate the failed Bush tax cuts for the rich that exploded our deficit and lead us into a recession. Now that most of the tax cuts for the rich were eliminated in 2013, there really is no desire to raise taxes. Republicans will use this as their strong hand for many years to come. If Democrats try to raise taxes, the results will be disastrous for them.
Democrats, avoid tax increases at all costs. If you do increase taxes, this will greatly strengthen the Republicans. The best way to seek tax revenue is to find ways to eliminate tax loopholes and controversial tax deductions employed by the rich, as well as putting the pressure on tax cheats and evaders.
This is a controversial issue and a tossup. Republicans like to bring up this topic to portray them as fighting for American citizens over illegal immigrants, but all too often the GOP comes off as being racist and idiotic, and their real agenda is racism and fear that granting citizenship to illegal immigrants will result in more Democratic voters.
Obama seems to have the right approach to the illegal immigration issue, although the Republicans in Congress won't let any of his ideas pass through. Obama's plan is to allow the illegal immigrants who have worked here for a certain number of years to stay without fear of deportation, and offer a pathway to U.S. citizenship as long as they have no criminal record and pay back taxes. Illegal immigrants who have criminal or terrorist ties are deported. Human traffickers are arrested, sentenced, and deported. Those here by illegal human trafficking tactics, such as the abandoned children from Central America last summer, will be deported.
Democrats have the advantage here. In referendum votes across America in 2014, voters overwhelmingly approved of minimum wage hikes. Polls show Americans strongly approve of minimum wage hikes. However, the Republicans still dominated the 2014 elections, despite their opposition to minimum wage hikes. So what to make of this?
While Americans agree the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage is too low, most Americans believe around $10 an hour is more appropriate. Going as high as $15 an hour is too high that will only pass higher prices to the customers, and a very high increase would shock businesses. Also, taxes were a greater issue to the voters in 2014, because near minimum wage workers are in the minority of the American labor pool.
Womens' Rights and Abortion
This is the Democrats' strong hand, but this hand was a disappointment in the 2014 elections. What happened? First of all, there were no Republicans making ignorant, offensive, or dumbass statements like "legitimate rape". Second, most of the Republican candidates of 2014 didn't take a strong right-wing, anti-woman stance. When Democrats tried to air attack ads against Republicans, the Republicans successfully defended themselves against the misogynist charges. When the misogynist charges became a non-issue, voters focused on taxes, jobs, and the economy, which the Republicans had the lead.
For the Democrats, read the section on taxes. This is what hurt you the most in the 2014 elections, and this is what you need to fix for future elections.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
How Republican Thom Tillis won the North Carolina Senate Race
This Republican victory is one of the more controversial ones, using high risk and controversial tactics. The campaign started off normal, with Hagan criticizing Tillis for cutting education spending. Thom Tillis was able to defend his record on education, so this criticism died off. Then in October, treats from ISIS and Ebola flooded the news, and Tillis was ready to take positions on these hot topics. Another fortune came for Tillis when Hagan admitted on October 8 that she had missed a classified hearing for Armed Services Committee about ISIS to attend a campaign fundraiser in New York City.
All of these problems add up to fewer people voting, and election results skewered towards Republicans, who designed the laws. According to Weiser, in 2010, 200,000 voters cast ballots during the early voting days, which were cut by Tillis’s law. In 2012, 700,000 voted during those days; this number accounted for more than a quarter of all of the votes cast African-Americans that year. Weiser writes, “In 2012, 100,000 North Carolinians, almost one-third of whom were, African-American, voted using same day registration, which was not available this year.”
Thom Tillis won by less than 50,000 votes, and allowing those early voters to vote wold have easily reversed Tillis' fortune in the final election.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
How Republican Barbara Comstock won the northern Virginia House race
The current House Representative for Virginia's 10th district is Republican Frank Wolf. This is Frank Wolf's 17th and last term as House Representative. When he retires in 2015, he will have served 34 years. This district was a very conservative district, but in the past several years, it has turned into a moderately conservative district. Frank Wolf has dominated the elections for over 30 years, often winning with over 70 percent of the vote. In recent years, northern Virginia has been diversifying and Frank Wolf's winning percentage in elections has often dropped to under 60%, and as low as 57%.
This open seat gave a fresh start for both parties. Republican candidate Barbara Comstock was facing Democrat candidate John Foust. Polls showed early in the campaign that the race was a toss-up or competitive. At best Comstock was only looking to win by a few points. Even if Comstock won the election, if the Democrats can limit her votes to under 54% in this mid-term election favoring Republicans, that would be a good opportunity for the Democrats to take back the seat in the 2016 Presidential elections favoring Democrats.
John Foust started off well by picturing Barbara Comstock as a radical right-wing extremist. He aired ads showing how Comstock wants to severely restrict abortion rights. However, women voters, especially unmarried women, did not come out in great numbers this election, and these anti-woman charges against Comstock gained no merit. Then in August, John Foust made a mistaken statement by saying Comstock never had a "real job". Barbara Comstock successfully turned that statement into critical ads against Foust. Comstock successfully tied that statement as an attack on working women of all types. Foust's ratings dropped in the polls, especially among women, and in the final election, Comstock soundly defeated Foust, 56.5% to 40.4%.
It was the women voters, or the failure for the Democrats to win the women voters, that led to this defeat. It was also a very expensive race, with Comstock raising $3 million and Foust raising $2.1 million. Barbara Comstock had to take out $550,000 in personal loans for this expensive race, and with a House salary of $174,000, it's going to take a while to recover those loans. But it's a victory, and donors and supporters will be more eager to help out, and gives her a tremendous head start in the 2016 elections.
For Democrats, this House seat is still in play for 2016. Comstock didn't win as dominantly as Frank Wolf used to, and if Foust didn't make blunders, the race would be much closer. The district continues to diversify and the voters of 2016 should be more Democratic friendly. But your candidate has to be careful what they say and how they act.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
How Republican Larry Hogan won the Maryland governor race
Larry Hogan was facing a very steep uphill from the beginning. Registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republican voters in Maryland by over 2 to 1, and Hogan was well outspent by Brown. In the end, it came down to these two issues that helped Hogan win, fighting higher taxes and winning women voters.
Current Maryland governor Martin O'Malley is a Democrat for two terms (8 years). He did create much controversy by raising taxes quite a lot and quite a bit. He signed increases for personal income taxes paid by high earners, the corporate income tax, sales tax, gas tax, tobacco tax and alcohol tax. Maryland voters stated in polls that their number one concern was the high taxes in Maryland. Larry Hogan paid attention well and campaigned on pledging no new taxes, and repealing governor O'Malley's tax hikes.
On the other hand, Anthony Brown did not make his position known on taxes. As Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, he worked very closely with Martin O'Malley. Because his stance on taxes were unknown, voters assumed Anthony Brown would keep all of O'Malley's tax hikes and even hike more taxes higher. When polls showed Brown was losing later in the campaign, Brown finally made a "no new taxes" pledge, but it was too late.
The second reason Larry Hogan won was by copying the Democrat's successful formula of winning women voters. Hogan didn't win the majority of the women vote, but he did win enough women votes to significantly close the gender gap, which is a tremendous victory for a Republican in a liberal state.
The Democrats did initially portray Larry Hogan as a misogynist who wants to ban birth control and abortion. It worked early in the campaign, but Hogan's campaign team fought back. Hogan appeared in numerous commercials and videos denying those false misogynist charges, and had his daughter and other women vouching for Hogan as a supporter of women's rights. It worked and Hogan, while he did not win the majority, won just a few points shy of the majority of the women's vote. This is remarkable for a Republican.
Another reason Hogan did well with women voters was the tax issue. Women and men voters in Maryland listed relief from high taxes as their number one priority, and Larry Hogan campaigned on that priority.
For Democrats, watch your stance on taxes. There's only two major political parties out there, so if you raise taxes, the Republicans will be the party of lower taxes. Taxing the rich may made sense several years ago when Bush's failed tax cut policies for the rich destroyed the economy and drove up debts. But now that most of Bush's tax cuts for the rich are gone for good, debts are declining, and the economy is improving, tax hikes are going to be a very negative impact for the candidate and the party your candidate represents.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
2014 Election Results
Republicans won 8 seats in the Senate. New Senate count is:
Republicans won 13 seats in the House. New House count is:
Republicans gained 2 seats, Independents gained 1 seat. New count is:
Stay tuned for more analysis of the 2014 elections. There is a lot of data to analyze and it will take several days.
Thursday, November 06, 2014
2014 Election Analysis - Race, Sex, Age
In this election, the Democrats actively campaigned to the Black voters and it worked. In 2010, Black voters made up 10% and voted 90% Democrat. In 2014, Black voters increased to 12% and voted 89% Democrat.
Latino voters voted slightly less Democrat, but Democrats lost out on the Asian voters. In 2010, Asians only made up 1% of voters and voted 56% Democrat. In 2014, Asian voters increased significantly to 3% but voted more evenly, voting 49/50 Democrat/Republican.
In reaching out to minority voters, Democrats did well overall because they successfully reached out to the largest and most loyal minority population, African Americans. However, they are losing out to the two fastest growing minority populations of America, Latinos and Asians.
It's always been a gender war in American politics, with Republicans capturing men voters and Democrats capturing women voters. In 2014, the Republicans successfully captured the men voters, but the Democrats failed to capture the women voters, which is the primary reason the Democrats were soundly defeated this election.
In almost every election, Presidential, midterm, odd year, special election, the female/male voter ratio is usually 53% to 47%. With this ratio, there are an average of 1.128 women voters for every 1 male voter. So to break even in the gender gap, the Republican must win 1.128 men voters for every one female vote the Democrat wins.
Whether it's because women voters were not enthusiastic about Democrats, or the Democrats didn't reach out to women, or new men voters suddenly came out in large crowds to vote Republican, the Democrats lost women voters considerably and thus lost the 2014 elections considerably.
We're aware that the young voters under age 30 are the most likely to vote democrat, but young voter turnout declines during non-Presidential elections. The Democrats are aware of this and actively reached out to young voters during the 2014 campaign. How did the Democrats do?
In 2014 the Democrats made significant improvements reaching out to young voters. In the midterm election of 2010 young voters made up 11% of voters and voted 57% Democrat. In 2014 young voters increased to 13% and voted 54% Democrat. In the Presidential election of 2012, young voters made up 19% of voters and voted 60% Democrat.
Young voter turnout is trending upward in midterm elections, but there is significantly more room to grow to reach Presidential election numbers. Not only do the Democrats need to get the young voters out to vote, but they must convince them to vote Democrat. In 2014, young voters voting Democrat declined to 54%, although they are still the most likely to vote Democrat.
The next group Democrats need to reach out to are the young voters. They made progress compared to 2010, but they still need to continue reaching out to young voters to vote every year, not just Presidential elections. Not only do they need to get the young voters to vote every year, but they must convince the young voters to vote Democrat.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
2014 Election Preliminary Results
I'll be posting over the next few days a comprehensive analysis of the 2014 election results, starting with my famous "Race, Sex, Age" voter analysis tonight. Stay tuned.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Michael Centanni, COO of Base Connect, arrested on child porn charges
Michael Centanni (48), Chief Operating Officer of Base Connect in Washington D.C., was recently arrested for receiving and possessing child pornography. He was arrested Thursday after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security. He had "child porn sharing" files traced to his home computer, and when he was arrested and his house was searched, officers also found a hidden camera inside his D.C. home with a clear view of the shower.
Michael Centanni was the COO of Base Connect, a major fundraising company that raises millions of dollars for conservative, right-wing, Republican organizations and political candidates at a national level. They have also co-sponsored CPAC.
Base Connect has stated that Michael was immediately suspended from the company. The story is developing, but we know the situation will get much worse for him and his constituents, very soon and very fast. Just look at what happened to his conservative allies who followed the same path.