Archive for April, 2016

Democratic Race Enters New Stage: Unification

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

la-et-ct-cnn-ratings-20151014-003The animosity surrounding the Democratic presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders looks less problematic for the party than past contested Democratic primaries. With that being said, Hillary Clinton posted a double-digit victory over Bernie Sanders in New York on Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, Hillary Clinton could win 90% of the amount she needs to secure the Democratic nomination. She is projected to win big in four of the five primaries to be held: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Democrats are suggesting that the time has come to bring the two wings of the party together.

Putting a fractured party back together again is never as easy as it seems but unifying the party is almost always the first step to victory
Clinton has to address the lackluster feel of her campaign and she could use the raw energy and spirit that Mr. Sanders has brought to this campaign. His large rallies teeming with young first-time voters have been impressive. This excitement mirrors the election of President Obama in 2008 and proved to be a critical part of the Democratic coalition.

Unity is a problem for both parties this election. But, whatever bad feelings may exist between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns, they pale in contrast to the Republicans. Donald Trump has warned/threatened violence in the streets should his opponents or other appointed replacements steal the nomination.

In a CBS News poll this month, 24 percent of Mr. Sanders’s supporters said they would not support Mrs. Clinton should she win the nomination. Among Republicans, 32 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters said they would not support Mr. Cruz in a general election; 27 percent of Mr. Cruz’s backers said they would not vote for Mr. Trump in November.

History has shown that when a candidate loses a highly contested race, backers of that candidate then to stay home. This was not the case with the Obama and Clinton 2008 race and many Democrats feel this will be the case again. But, many of Bernie supporters are first time voters with no party loyalty and they may feel a sense of disappointment. It will be vitally important that Clinton and Democrats do whatever is necessary to bridge the divide between the two sides. Hillary seemed to realize this and make a move toward that end in her victory speech after the New York primary.

Many Democrats are urging Clinton to include planks in the Democratic Party platform that incorporate Mr. Sanders’s popular positions.
She moved to the left throughout the primary as she adjusted to Mr. Sanders’s challenges but many feel she will move back to the center in preparation for a general election battle, this will complicate the effort to appeal to Bernie’s voters, who are already leery of Clinton.
In 2008, Mrs. Clinton endorsed Mr. Obama soon after she dropped out and Democrats united.

The horrible thoughts/reality of Trump or Cruz in the White House will do more to unify the Democratic Party than anything Bernie or Hillary could do.

GOP TO TNGOP = NO TRUMP

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Donald Trump’s campaign has accused the Tennessee Republican Party of “doing the bidding” of the national GOP establishment in a calculated attempt to “steal” pro-Trump delegates and stop them from being a part of Tennessee’s GOP delegation.

It’s part of a national effort by GOP party leaders, the Trump campaign has alleged, to stop the Republican frontrunner from becoming the nominee.

Recently his supporters made threats, passionate protests and accusations of theft with Tennessee delegates. Donald Trump backers protested what they said was an attempt to “steal” rightful delegates from the GOP front-runner in Tennessee.

At issue were the state’s remaining 14 at-large delegates. From the results of the primary, which Trump won by 14 points, he was due to receive 7 delegates from the 14 but only received two delegates.

The Trump campaign says 5 of the appointees slated to vote for Trump have loyalties “to vote for the establishment,” and if a contested convention goes to a third ballot – the round of voting in which Tennessee frees its delegates to vote for whomever they please – Trump could lose the backing of his own.

Acts of “intimidation” from the Trump campaign continue. Mean spirited behavior and violence has plagued Trump events as Trump continues to whip his supporters into orgies of violent pandemonium.

The Tennessee GOP hired extra security for the meeting of the TNGOP Executive Committee because of a number of threats sent by Trump supporters on social media. And Haynes said his cell phone was flooded with calls from angry Trump supporters, to the point that he now has to get a new phone.

Trump campaign continues to suffer delegate struggles – as it struggles to understand and operate within the sometimes arcane rules that govern delegate allocation at the state level. Those struggles have set him back in the delegate fight in a list of states as Ted Cruz continues to out maneuver the Trump campaign.

This battle for delegates has become very important for the remaining campaigns as it’s become increasingly likely that the GOP primary will head to a brokered convention, where delegates will engage in multiple rounds of balloting until a candidate can cobble together a majority.

If Trump is unable to win the nomination outright on the first round of voting, many of his and other candidates’ delegates will be released and can vote for whomever they please. Experts claim Trump will not be the nominee if the vote goes to a second ballet. With that in mind, the GOP establishment is in a mad rush to stop Trump. This is resulting in candidates jockeying to get their loyalists elected at the state level as delegates to the national convention.

In Tennessee, delegates are bound on the first two rounds of voting, and then set free. But Bennett said the Trump campaign is also concerned about ensuring Trump supporters get appointed to a handful of key committees that decide the rules governing how a candidate qualifies for the nomination.

Trump continues to rail against the will of the voters not being considered in the battle for delegates.

But, how can anyone reasonably expect anything less from the party that brought us Republican Voter Suppression?

Let the Sunshine in Tennessee

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

For the second straight year, members of the Tennessee House of Representatives remain under criticism for their use of meetings inside lawmaker offices and conference rooms to discuss upcoming legislation.

These so called meetings are packed with lobbyists and representatives of those who own the Representatives. Government experts and Democrats question the reasons for the meeting and argue the meetings undermine transparency.

Republicans claim the meetings are casual greet and meet with lobbyists and officials.

The meetings make the Sunshine law a joke. Republicans tout Sunshine Week, when media organizations get a brief peek of transparency in government.

Democrats say most of the decisions about bills are now being made in these pre-meetings, rather than in committee meetings. Unlike the secret pre-meetings, Committee meetings are held in meeting rooms easily accessible to the public, the press, live-streamed online and archived for on-demand access.

Some Democrats point out that they have never been invited to these meetings and noted… “It’s outside the public eye, and anything you’re doing behind closed doors outside the public eye, for the most part, is usually not good,” (D) Mitchell said.

The use of pre-meetings came to light last year, after a joint effort by The Tennessean, the Knoxville News Sentinel, The Associated Press, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, and The Commercial Appeal discovered that at least 10 of the 15 committees in the House held pre-meetings.

Experts call these meetings “secretive” because the meetings were not publicly announced and, on some occasions, members of the media were initially prevented from attending.

The Senate does not hold similar secret meetings.

When meetings of state government are held in secret and attended by lobbyists… that cannot be good for the public. But, when your party holds a super majority… do they really care?