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Super Tuesday Analysis

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I am a little bit late posting today as I wanted to see how the Super Tuesday primaries turned out and I was not surprised.

Last night I watched results from the Super Tuesday primary states with great interest. Mind you I did not turn on my television to do so. The maddening number of politicians, pundits, and propagandists masquerading as spokespeople, consultants, and experts on every cable news outlet wears me out. Instead I simply pulled up a website that simply let me watch the election returns come up in real time.

I didn’t listen to a single “victory speech” by Cruz, Clinton, Sanders, Trump, or Rubio because such speeches are basically propaganda and spin, though I did read some of the excerpts from each candidate’s speech, carefully parsing them for truth in light of the actual data from the primaries, not just the total votes or delegates won, but where each candidate did well, or fell on their ass.

So here is my bottom line and what I think will probably happen next.

One the Democratic side Clinton won seven states and Sanders four states. But the states that Hillary one were big delegate rich states which are more reflective of the Democratic Party as a whole than the four states that Sanders won she now has 1034 of the 2383 that she needs for the nomination while Sanders lags over 600 delegates behind with just 408. The polling data from big delegate laden state primaries coming up show that she will further extend her lead over Bernie and it appears that Hillary will continue her march to become the Democratic nominee. The good thing for the Democrats is that Sanders challenge has forced Hillary to recognize progressives and move her campaign more to embrace policies enunciated by Sanders, this will in effect serve to unify the Democrats in the lead up to November.

The Republican race is more complicated than that of the Democrats. The campaign of Donald Trump has blown away the influence of what had been known as Republican Establishment. His opposition is fragmented and that fragmentation will not end anytime soon. Trump currently has 316 of the 1230 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Cruz has 226 and Rubio 106. But the apparent closeness of those numbers is deceptive. Trump benefits from the completion between Cruz and Rubio and neither is likely to drop out of the race, Cruz because he honestly believes that God has chosen him for the job and Rubio because despite his poor showing in most primaries is the face that the GOP wants to project, and as a result he will retain the support of realists and moderates in the party.

The split between Cruz and Rubio will ensure that Trump continues to rack up primary victories in big states. Complicating the situation for Rubio is fact that John Kasich has gained some traction and in Vermont and Virginia played spoiler, probably keeping Rubio from winning those states. Rubio won in Minnesota but has lost thirteen of fourteen times.

On Super Tuesday Cruz won in three states Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. But even in Texas he needed to do better than he did and he was blasted by Trump in the Deep South, which he has to win to get the nomination. To put Cruz’s Texas win in perspective, it is the lowest percentage that any Republican Presidential candidate has received since 1912. He is under performing even when wins, his polling numbers in many states are abysmal and no amount of spin will change that fact. 

Cruz has a different problem, if Trump is seen to be a bully, Cruz is seen to be a completely dishonest and slimy bully that most people in his party cannot stand to be around. One of those people is Ben Carson, who Cruz went out of the way to cheat in Iowa by having his staff call potential Carson voters to switch their vote to him as Carson had dropped out of the race. It probably gave Cruz his narrow victory over Trump in the Iowa caucus and in the process made Carson his mortal enemy. Carson has no chance at winning and he knows it, but he is not formally dropping out. My guess is he will do this simply to draw voters away from Cruz since they cater to the same base of conservative Evangelical Christian voters. Since he is skipping the next debate this may have less impact than if he participated in it.

My prediction is that Clinton and Trump will clinch their party nominations by the beginning of April unless something really strange happens.

Now a minor editorial note. I am a Democrat and would have to call myself a pragmatic progressive and possibly a Democratic Socialist based on what I believe. That being said I spent thirty-two years of my life as a Republican beginning in 1976 when I worked for the Gerald Ford campaign as a high school student, but I was a “big tent Republican.” I became disillusioned with the party based on my experiences in Iraq, when I realized that the rational for going in was lies, and I was repelled by the stridently militant demands of right-wing Christians who seemed to be attempting to turn the party into their religious party. As a result I left the GOP in 2008.

While some democrats rejoice in what is happening to the GOP today, but I do not. As a historian I honestly believe that the GOP will implode. Senate Mitch McConnell is trying to limit losses by distancing himself from Trump hoping that if he and others do so they might retain control of the House and Senate.  The coming GOP implosion may benefit the Democrats in November, but such implosions of major political parties are generally not good for the country. One only has to look at the implosion of the Whigs in 1854 and the Democrats between 1858 and 1860 to see how badly such events can turn out for the country.

I will be writing something about that in a day or two.

Have a great day,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Look Back at 2012: The Year that Was and Still Can Be if You Have Access to Time Travel

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“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
~T.S. Eliot~

Well my friends it is my time to look back at 2012, the year that should have been the end of the world had the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. However the Mayans couldn’t see that possibility and life goes on. With that in mind I decided to look back at the more that 300 articles that I have written since the the babe wrapped in Champagne soaked clothes and lying in Times Square gutter belched out his first words… “Is this live?” 

If we lived in the Star Trek World things could be different. We could find an alternate universe, find a time portal at the City on the Edge of Forever or if need be whip the Enterprise around the Sun to throw us back in time.

However we don’t have that ability yet and the year of our discontent began in January. It was a year filled with political carnage, war, man made and natural disasters including the BCS Championship, the athletic drama of human competition, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Much of the year was consumed by the American 2012 General Elections and Presidential primaries and campaigns. It was a year where we thought things might be different but sages like me looking back on the wisdom inscribed in my Bloom County Comic Strip Collection knew was not.

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Back to the Future in Iowa: A Bloom County Redux

It was not just politics as usual it was also media as usual something again that I predicted was the case by looking back at history.

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Doing the Sidestep: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and American Politics and Media

But as the campaign season snaked its eerie course through the hills, dales, bayous and valleys of our fair fruited plains the rest of the world experienced joy and pain, triumph and tragedy.

It began in this country as all things do when the University of Alabama, a fully accredited school of higher learning won the BCS College Football Championship game, something that the University of Phoenix will never do.

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Alabama wins the Boring Pseudo-National Championship Game…aka the BCS BS Championship Game

Not to be outdone the Italian Merchant Marine got into the act when Captain Francesco Schettino while joy riding in hie massive 115,000 ton Cruise Ship, the Costa Concordia  managed to hit a rock and sink the ship.

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Sinking the Costa Concordia: A Lesson in Hubris and Cowardice

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In February we saw the renewal of of love affair with television commercials as the Super Bowl XLVI: Commercials, Madonna and a Football Game as Madonna lip synced between the halves as the New York Football Giants defeated the New England non-Tea Party Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, pronounced “Exlivy” in the original Latin.

Politics continued in March with the indecisive “Super Tuesday” Primaries:

Super Tuesday Agony: Indecisive, Inconclusive and a Portent of Things to Come

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But thankfully for all baseball returned in April bringing some sense of normalcy back to a world gone mad. Opening day brought me back to an even keel and the fact that it coincided with Holy Week made it more special to me. Opening Day and Holy Week and being able to attend a home opener was nice. A Home Opener and thoughts on Rick, Ozzie and George

But even in the midst of this there was perfection, in fact perfection done several times in Major League Baseball one of those being when Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants pitched a perfect game on June 13th.

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The Mark of Cain: Matt Cain Pitches 22nd Perfect Game in MLB Historyand Johann Santana did the same for the otherwise hapless New York Mets 8020 Games and Finally….a Miracle for the Mets: Johan Santana Pitches First No-No in Mets Historyand “King Felix” pitched his first perfect game for the Mariners The Perfect King: Felix Hernandez Pitches Third Perfect Game of 2012while Phil Humber of the Tigers threw a perfect game against the Mariners Perfect! Phillip Humber Joins Legends as He Pitches Perfect Game against Mariners

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Baseball produced other surprises this year but probably none bigger than that of the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles, underdog and underfunded teams that surprised everyone with their playoff runs and playoff appearances. September Surprises: O’s and A’s Shake up the American League

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The Major League Baseball playoffs were filled with amazing comeback stories but none more than that of the San Francisco Giants who played on the brink of elimination in both the NLDS ( Giants Sweep Red’s in the River City: On to NLCS ) and NLCS ( Raining on a Parade: Giants Make Giant Comeback to Win National League Pennant ) before sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. SWEEP! GIANTS WIN SERIES!

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But around the world and away from the rich green baseball diamonds there were other events. In April Kim Jong Un #1 the new dictator for life in North Korea shot a rocket in the air, and where it landed he knew not where Missile Impotence: Kim Jong Un’s Rocket Launch goes Splat even as an American preacher turned fake historian became the star of the Religious Right Faux Fact Factory: The Twisted World of Fake “Historian” and “Hero of the Faith” David Barton  Not to be outdone a Roman Catholic Bishop made his own bad history comparisons Bishop Jenky’s Obama and Hitler, Stalin, Bismarck and Clemenceau Comparison: Bad History, Bad Theology and Bad Politics

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Meanwhile in the background Europe and the European Union faced their own problems. Economic and political crisis engulfed the continent. Europe on the Edge: France and Greece Point to Dangerous Times Ahead

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The Middle East was not to be left behind in the the political tumult. Syria continued its post-Arab Spring plunge into the abyss of full out civil war. Fear and Loathing in Damascus eventually bringing the deployment of NATO Patriot Missiles in Turkey. NATO Patriots to Turkey as Syria Teeters on the AbyssIn the broader Middle East War threatened on almost every front The Gathering Storm: Shades of 1914 as War Threatens in the Middle East and the Arab Spring heated up again Arab Spring Fever: The Revolution Begins Anew in Egypt as Syria Begins to Melt Down

In June the United States saw something akin to what our European cousins were going through when my home town, Stockton California declared Bankruptcy. When City Dreams Become Nightmares: Stockton California to Declare Bankruptcy

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But Britain was able to celebrate as Queen Elizabeth marked her 75th year on the throne in June  The Diamond Jubilee: All Glory is Fleeting and hosting the XXX Olympic Summer Games in London in July and August

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British Humor: Bond, Bean, Poppins and The Queen Kick Off XXX Games , Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” Goodbye London: XXX Olympics End on Musical Note

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After a bitterly contested primary campaign Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost the General Election to President Obama. Obama Wins….Now the Real Work of Healing the Wounds Must Begin However that healing didn’t begin and as of today the nation stands at the brink of political and economic crisis that could harm everyone in this country and sink the world economy. Fiscal Cliff Notes: There are Always Results

Then there was the senseless violence of massed murders, some obviously motivated by some kind of insanity while others simply due to hatred of people different.

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The Hatred of “the Other”: White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, Politics and the Oak Creek Massacre

Man of Murderous Mystery: James Egan Holmes and the Aurora Dark Knight Massacre

The worst of these was just a couple of weeks ago in Newtown Connecticut A Cry in Newtown: Anguish after a Massacre

The War in Afghanistan dragged on while no politicians really addressed the subject even though the toll in American lives passed the 2000 mark and casualties at the hands of our Afghan allies rose to unthinkable levels. Likewise the crisis in the rise of suicides among active duty and reserve troops as well as Veterans continued unabated.

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The Afghanistan Quagmire and the Escalation of “Green on Blue” Attacks

Why Aren’t Any Politicians Talking About the War and Why don’t Voters Care?

Padre Steve Remembers 9-11 and the Forgotten War

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Natural disasters were not absent from the news this year, the biggest as far as the news went was Hurricane Sandy which struck the week before the US Presidential Election and devastated large parts of New Jersey, New York, the Mid-Atlantic and New England. A Massive and Deadly “Freak” Storm: Sandy Hits the USA while in the forgotten country of Bangladesh a fire at a clothing factory claimed over 100 lives A Juxtaposition of Contradictions: Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the Bangladesh Clothing Factory Fire

There were deaths of noted people this year:

Disgraced former Penn State College Football Coach and legend Joe Paterno died in January barely 2 months after his final game.

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The Death of a Tarnished Legend: Joe Paterno dead at 85

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Singing great Whitney Houston died of what appeared to be an accidental overdose One Moment in Time: Rest in Peace Whitney Houston 1963-2012 

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Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon passed away in August One Giant Loss for Mankind: Neil Armstrong Dead at 82

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1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, war hero and Senator George McGovern died in October A Loss for the Country and the World: A War Hero and Prophet of Peace George McGovern Dead at 90

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Iconic General H Norman Schwarzkopf, victor of the First Gulf War died just this week The Loss of an Icon: General Norman Schwarzkopf dies at 79 

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Of course much more happened over the course of 2012 including the end of the world that didn’t happen The Failed Mayan End of the World Prediction and the Chicago Cubs 

There are other things that I might have or should have written about but looking back over the past year if I was a full time writer. However I don’t think that I did too bad for being just one person who has a day job and who is maintaining two residences in different states. Besides as much as I want I still don’t have access to Warp Drive, transporter beams or time travel.

So I write today hoping for a good end to 2012, a better 2013 and peace on earth.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Super Tuesday Agony: Indecisive, Inconclusive and a Portent of Things to Come

The Super Tuesday primaries are supposed to provide the boost to ensure that each party has a nominee locked in a ready to go into the November general election refreshed and with party united behind them.  Even in hotly contested campaigns Super Tuesday is supposed to give a frontrunner an edge going into the last months of the primary season. It is designed to bring unity to a party, at least in what the party believes even if it differs on its candidate.

That is not the case this year. Though results are still filtering in at the moment Mitt Romney has won as expected in Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont and Idaho. Newt Gingrich has won Georgia and Rick Santorum has won Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota.

Several states are still in the balance with the big prize being Ohio which Santorum and Romney are running in a dead heat. Ohio is so close and has such a history of big counties taking a long time to count it may not be known who has won the state until tomorrow. If the margin is under .25% an automatic recount will be triggered.  Ohio was supposed to be a Romney win and when Rick Santorum began to surge Romney and his PACs dumped massive amounts of money, somewhere close to 12 million dollars in advertising to beat Santorum down. This is not good for Romney even if he gets a narrow win. Yes a win is a win but sometimes a win doesn’t amount to much  especially if a recount is triggered.

The states that Romney has won so far are states that he had no possibility of losing. Massachusetts and Vermont, Romney is the home team. In Virginia his two strongest competitors were not on the ballot making it a race between him and Ron Paul. Idaho which has a strong LDS population was also an easy win for Romney.  However Romney was trounced in Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota.  The three southern states do matter, any Republican nominee has to win the south.  Romney is not liked in the south, he has a number of things that cause him to be less than popular in the Republican Bible Belt. His religion is part of it, many conservative Christians, both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics believe that the Mormon Church is a cult.  Romney also has to deal with the fact that he doesn’t come across as genuine. He comes across as a entitled flip flopping New England moderate who cannot connect with real people, note his comments about NASCAR.  The fact is that in many Republicans in other parts of the country believe the same thing.

Next week the campaign turns to the south where Alabama and Mississippi await Romney. I have not seen recent polling data for either state but would expect that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will poll very well and that Romney may even run third in both primaries. Kansas has its caucuses on Saturday and with that state’s history in the abortion wars that Rick Santorum should do very well with the GOP base.  Other states that Romney could struggle in include Louisiana and the only state that really looks positive in the coming month for Romney is Illinois.

As I said there are still states hanging tonight but it is very apparent that Romney’s money and organization is the only thing keeping him in the game.  Romney is still in the best position to take the nomination but he if he gets it will be the nominee of a fractured party whose base does not like him.  That is not a winning formula to beat an incumbent President no matter how bad that President’s numbers look.

My prediction, all four candidates remain in the race and Romney continues to take a beating from the conservative base.  This will remain a long, drawn out and bloody campaign. Romney will have to spent far more money than he ever had planned to secure the nomination and may lose the support of Republican party elders if he cannot seal the deal soon.  Gingrich will remain in at least for a while but Santorum allies may try to pressure Gingrich through the Tea Party to leave the race in order to make Santorum the sole conservative standard bearer against Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

It certainly makes for an interesting election season.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Romney Stops the Bleeding but Race far from Over

The Republican nomination process was supposed to be a done deal by now. Mitt Romney was by now to have for all practical purposes secured the nomination. It hasn’t been that way. After an advertised win that was not really a win in Iowa Romney went on to win on his home turf in New Hampshire. Then things came apart. A series of gaffes led to a strong win by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. Then Romney clobbered Gingrich with negative ads in Florida and Gingrich added to the meltdown by two lack luster debate performances. Romney’s win in Florida made it look like he had seized control of the race.  Romney quickly picked up the endorsement of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) and a narrow and disputed win in the Maine Caucuses over Ron Paul and a win in Nevada. However that did not last as Rick Santorum stormed to victory in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.  Those defeats sent the Romney campaign which had just seemed to have recovered some momentum int a near panic.

The Romney camp spent an anxious two weeks before the upcoming Arizona and Michigan primaries. Santorum continued to surge during these two weeks and for a couple of days began to poll ahead of Romney in that state. The two campaigns bombard each other aided by the attacks of Newt Gingrich and Ton Paul on the front runners. Santorum then departed from his emphasis on the economy and understanding of blue collar family concerns which contrasted sharply with Romney’s inability to connect on these subjects. Santorum turned the conversation to conservative social and moral issues and made some comments which probably took his numbers down in Michigan. I think that the key mistake for Santorum was his comment that President John F. Kennedy’s religious freedom speech had made him “want to vomit” accusing the late President of promoting an absolute separation of church and state that denies religious people and churches access to the public square and debate. It was a terrible misrepresentation of Kennedy’s speech and plays to a certain paranoia in the conservative Evangelical Christian and Catholic base.

Romney easily won Arizona with the conservative vote being divided by Santorum and Newt Gingrich who improved his showing in that state.  However Romney won Michigan and won the Roman Catholic vote showing a weakness in Santorum’s strategy to go after moral issues that may lay Catholics even have problems with. At the same time even though Romney won the popular vote by about 3% he split the delegates 15-15 giving Santorum a claim to have at least tied Romney in Michigan.

Romney stopped the bleeding and won what were described as “must win” states. However the post primary speeches revealed just how tenuous Romney’s wins were. Santorum closed the night with a passionate speech in which he attacked Romney and President Obama and looked like he was trying to cover some to the damage he had done over the past few days by focusing almost exclusively on moral and social issues where he already has the support of the conservative GOP base.

Romney made a speech that showed little passion and looked to me to be like a businessman trying to close the deal rather than a passionate believer in his cause.  Saturday is the Washington Caucuses and next week is Super Tuesday. I expect that Romney, Santorum and Gingrich will all have wins, just who wins what states and how big those wins are could define the next stage of the campaign.  But even more importantly it is how badly the candidates continue to damage each other will drive the narrative going into the later primary season. This could also effect their fundraising support and possibly increase the calls for another candidate at a brokered convention.

I expect that all four candidates will remain in the race and do whatever they can to gather delegates and seize the momentum. Into this mix the national GOP including major leaders are beginning to wonder what the primary campaign is doing to their chances of winning in November.  When people like Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin and others question the viability of their field in a general election it is time for the GOP to wake up.

The race continues and my prediction is that the GOP fratricide will continue and that if it does the chances of the party winning in November will go down with them. I think that  at this point barring reconciliation and a true united front in the GOP before the convention that any nominee that they field will be damaged goods and despite the obvious weakness of President Obama and the economy stand a diminished chance of winning in November. Democrats should not rejoice and count they’re chickens before they are hatched because they can still lose the election especially if the economy gets worse. However, if the inter-GOP civil war continues they stand an excellent chance of losing an election that even a few months ago I assumed as did many others was theirs for the taking.

It shall be interesting.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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