Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts

March 13, 2019

NO Food Before Now No Lights~~This Will End Badly in Venezuela~

Venezuela has been in the grip of a crippling blackout for four days — and the humanitarian situation there is growing increasingly dire.
Signs of the crisis are everywhere you look in the Venezuelan capital. "Drive around Caracas, and you see long lines of cars waiting for hours at the few gas stations still operational," NPR's Philip Reeves reported from the city.
"Motorists park on highways, cell phones aloft, searching for a signal. The rich have taken refuge in luxury hotels. The poor stand in lines in the street," Reeves added.

The power outage has affected water pumps in some Caracas neighborhoods, meaning that people are waiting to fill water bottles at public locations such as springs. Schools and public offices remained closed on Monday, according to Reeves.
The precarious humanitarian situation is worsening as the country remains in a political stalemate. The crisis pits embattled President Nicolás Maduro against opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who took the oath of office at a rally in January and is backed by the U.S. and dozens of other countries that recognize him as Venezuela's rightful leader. Much of the country was plunged into darkness Thursday, reportedly after major problems coming from the country's primary hydroelectric power plant, Reeves said. It's not clear whether the issue is with the plant itself or the transmission lines leading from it, according to Reuters. 
Maduro's government has said the outage is the result of sabotage by the U.S., though it hasn't provided evidence to back that claim. "While the promoters of hate, death and violence delight in their destabilization plans, President Nicolás Maduro has ordered a deployment of ministers to ensure the Venezuelan people are attended to," Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez said in a televised address, as Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, the opposition has said the blackout is the result of years of incompetence that has caused the power grid to deteriorate.

"The regime at this hour, days after a blackout without precedent, has no diagnosis," Guaidó told reporters on Sunday, as Reuters reported.
Residents in some areas have seen sporadic restoration of power — while people in other places are growing more desperate and angry. It's a harrowing situation for anyone counting on electricity for health needs.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the independent health watchdog Codevida said that "15 dialysis patients have died as a result of the blackout and some 10,000 more were at risk if they continue without treatment."
Venezuela is struggling with hyperinflation, and many people had trouble obtaining basic necessities even before the latest political crisis. Now there are reports of looted supermarkets in Caracas. Images taken by a photographer for Reuters show a worker using a flashlight to inspect a supermarket that was hit in the capital.
Another photo, from Bloomberg, shows a long row of people lying facedown in the street after they were detained for alleged looting in the Santa Cruz del Este neighborhood of Caracas. Their hands are bound behind them, and their shirts are pulled over their heads to cover their faces as security officials stand over them. "The food we had in our refrigerators has spoiled. Businesses are closed. There's no communication, not even by cell phone," 49-year-old Ana Cerrato told Reuters. "We need help! We are in a humanitarian crisis!"
It's a crisis that, as Cerrato noted, is taking place with very limited communication. As the Journal reported, Internet-usage tracker NetBlocks said just 12 percent of Venezuela's Internet network was connected as of Monday.
Some Venezuelans are bracing for the worst.
"This is going to end ugly. It's going to be ugly at the end," designer Nela Garcia told Reeves over the weekend. "My daughter that is now living here, she has a kid. And she's pregnant. ... She's always worried. Now we don't have light. We don't have water. So it's very hard to live here with all these, you know, situations."

February 26, 2019

With The Help of Trump Venezuela Has a Good Chance of Becoming Libya in The Caribbean

Image result for civil war in venezuela
The Telegraph

The risk of war in Venezuela is rising dangerously. For Americans who had come to think of President Trump invading Venezuela as something of a punch line, a rude awakening could be in the works.
On Saturday, Venezuela’s serially appalling regime crossed a number of new red lines in its crusade to keep food and medicine from reaching desperately hungry and sick people, setting fire to trucks carrying humanitarian aid and deploying paramilitary gangs to kill Venezuelans who went to the border to try to force the aid in. The regime allowed those gangs to shoot into the territory of both its big neighbors: Colombia and Brazil. The clashes moved military action to dislodge the Venezuelan regime from fringe speculation to serious policy discussion.
Here’s what Americans need to know about this prospect. Venezuela is, in many ways, a failed state. Much of the territory is lightly governed, if at all. The official Venezuelan state devotes the bulk of its time and energy to stealing the nation’s oil resources and repressing its political opponents, leaving little room to worry about the basics of governance.
As a result, vast swaths of Venezuela are controlled not by President Nicolás Maduro’s government but by a baffling proliferation of armed nonstate actors that include powerful prison gangs, Colombian guerrillas from the ELN or from splinter groups of the disbanded FARC, various ideologically infused “colectivos” — in effect, paramilitary groups subscribing to a vaguely Marxist ideology and allied with the government. These groups make a handsome living from any number of illegal activities: trafficking cocaine, illegal gold mining, extortion, human trafficking, smuggling — you name it.
Travel around Venezuela and you soon realize it’s these groups, and not the official Chavista state, who are effectively in charge of much of the territory. In many places, they live in a sort of uneasy, tacit alliance with the military — they buy weapons from them, passing on kickbacks and handling the dirty work the soldiers would rather not do.
The official armed forces, by contrast, are a mess. Obsessed with the specter of military plots, Maduro spends more time spying on his own troops than leading them. Cuban agents oversee the entire military establishment, running a counterintelligence force that systematically listens in on officers’ communications and will arrest and torture you at any sign of dissent. The actual soldiers, for their part, are mostly an afterthought: There’s often not quite enough to eat in mess halls, and conditions certainly impact readiness and morale. Training has been kept below the bare minimum for years, due to budget problems. It’s not much of a fighting force. And yet, if the United States does go on the offensive, it’s clear it’s the Venezuelan military they’ll target first. Dysfunctional as it is, the armed forces have fixed installations — radar positions, air force bases, barracks — that could be targeted by a cruise-missile-guidance system.
The paramilitary gangs who actually control the territory, for their part, operate from civilian quarters. No U.S. military plan would be able to target them, even if it set out to do that.
The best hope for Venezuela’s future is that its dysfunctional military forces manage to break free from the Cuban counterintelligence machine and rebel against the dictatorship. If they were better led, the armed forces would have some chance to subdue the lawless nonstate actors who’ve ended up in control of Venezuela. But cowed by the intensive spying they’re subjected to, Venezuela’s generals are unlikely to rebel against Maduro unless they calculate U.S. military action is genuinely imminent. 
To break the logjam in Caracas, then, the threat of U.S. military action could be enormously helpful. But here’s the tricky part: Actual U.S. military action to destroy the Venezuelan military would be a catastrophe. It would remove the one actor that might eventually be able to regain control over the country and deliver it instead into the hands of a wild variety of criminal gangs. Libya in the Caribbean.
The best solution now, then, is a strategy designed to convince Venezuela’s generals that, unless they topple Maduro in short order, they’ll be bombed out of existence — a message that should be delivered by people who understand actually bombing them out of existence would be a disaster. What the United States needs to do, in other words, is bluff. Credibly. But with sufficient restraint to prevent the unmitigated disaster an actual war would bring.
It’s a delicate, demanding task. And we need to trust the Trump administration to pull it off without a misstep.
God help us all.

February 24, 2019

Venezuela's Soldiers Leave Their Post At The Border-This is Just One Day Of Many Bad Ones to Come

Soldiers from the Venezuelan national guard have left their posts ahead of an opposition-led effort to bring aid into the country, Colombia's migration agency said. 

 In a separate development, Venezuelan troops have fired tear gas at people looking to cross into Colombia to work. 
Tensions have been rising over a row about the delivery of humanitarian aid.
President Nicolás Maduro said the border with Colombia is partly closed to stop aid being delivered. 

But self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó has vowed that hundreds of thousands of volunteers will help bring in the aid deliveries, which include food and medicine, on Saturday.
What's the latest?

Local media report people jumping the barricades to cross the border at the Venezuela-Colombia border, while opposition MPs have posted defiant messages on social media denouncing the use of force.

The BBC's Orla Guerin, on the Colombia border, said Venezuelans were begging soldiers to be allowed to cross. 

Reporters at the scene have announced Mr Guaidó's arrival at the Tienditas bridge on the Colombian side of the border. He was accompanied by the country's president, Iván Duque.
Mr Guaidó urged the military to allow aid trucks to enter, calling on them to "put themselves on the side of the people".

Venezuela-Colombia border turns violent
Media captionVenezuela-Colombia border turns violent
He confirmed that "various members" of the national guard had left their posts at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge to oversee the humanitarian aid delivery. 

Those who do not allow aid to pass are "deserters" who "betray" the Venezuelan people, he added. 
Three have abandoned post at this bridge, while another did so at the Paula Santander International Bridge in Ureña, in the south west of the country. 

Venezuela crisis - in nine charts
Genuine aid or a Trojan horse?

"We want to work!" people chanted as they faced riot police at the Ureña border bridge. 
Activists there were joined by 300 members of the "Women in White" opposition group who marched in defiance of Mr Maduro's attempts to close the border. 

Meanwhile, a top ally of President Maduro has suggested the government would allow Venezuelans to accept aid "at their own risk", but that no foreign soldiers would "set foot" inside Venezuela. 
Earlier on Saturday, two people were killed by Venezuelan forces near the border with Brazil. 

"Why are you serving a dictator?"
Guillermo Olmo, BBC Mundo, Ureña, Venezuela

It's been a difficult day here on the Venezuelan side.
We found locals getting angry because they found the border was closed - these people normally make a living across the border. Then it turned ugly in Ureña.

We witnessed protesters lunging to break one of the barriers but the National Guard started firing tear gas and pellets.

People were shouting at the National Guard asking them why, in their words, they were serving a dictator and not serving their own people.

We had to run away to avoid being hurt but there is still a lot of tension in the air, with a heavy military presence everywhere.
How did we get to this point? 
Humanitarian aid has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing standoff between Mr Maduro and Mr Guaidó. 

Mr Guaidó, who is the leader of the country's opposition-dominated National Assembly, last month declared himself the country's interim leader.

He has since won the backing of dozens of nations, including the US. He has called the rule of President Nicolás Maduro constitutionally illegitimate, claiming that Mr Maduro's re-election in 2018 was marred by voting irregularities.

Venezuela is in the grip of a political and economic crisis. The country's inflation rate has seen prices soar, leaving many Venezuelans struggling to afford basic items such as food, toiletries and medicine.
Mr Guaidó insists that citizens badly need help, while Mr Maduro says allowing aid to enter is part of a ploy by the US to invade the country.
About 2.7 million people have fled the country since 2015. 

Media captionBattle of the concerts held on either side of the Venezuela-Colombia border.


September 19, 2017

Anti Civil Rights Candidate Gov.Wallace and Trump are Sewn at The Hip by An X and a K

This nation knew they were voting for a racist but the North didn't think he would win and the south didn't care how racist he was.
 He fought civil rights and work with David Duke and the KKK. He had a change of heart in some of his positions in his old age unable to walk because of the assassination attempt.

Former Missouri Republican Senator (1976-1995) John Danforth was, and remains, a highly respected public figure, seen as a man of principle and decency.
He is not a publicity seeker by any means, so when he makes a public utterance, it is not something to be ignored or overlooked.

Recently, Danforth made the statement that Donald Trump does not represent core Republican principles, the kind that drove the public life of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and even George W. Bush, all upholding basic principles of justice and fairness.
Instead, Danforth makes the point that Trump is the most divisive political figure in national life since Alabama Governor George C. Wallace.
Fifty-four years ago and for the following decades, Wallace became a nationally noticed political leader, who sought the Presidency in 1964, 1968 (when he had the second-best third-party performance in all of American history), and 1972, until he became the victim of an assassination attempt, which ended that campaign.
It left Wallace paralyzed for life, facing years of pain, suffering, and surgeries to attempt to make his life bearable for the 26 years he lived on until his death in 1998 at the age of 79.
Wallace drew support from white working-class whites, not only in the South, where he won his 46 electoral votes in 1968 but also from millions in the industrial Midwest and rural areas of the nation, similar to Donald Trump’s victories in such places.
Wallace came from a lower but struggling middle-class white background in Alabama, while Trump, on the other hand, grew up in wealth and privilege in an upscale community in Queens County, New York, with his father being a wealthy real estate magnate. So their family background and heritage were diametrically opposite.

But both developed a mental view that the way to advance oneself was to exploit race and ethnicity as a way to provoke an emotional uprising by insecure, struggling middle-class whites.
Wallace became notorious in 1962 when he ran for the second time for the Alabama governorship, and abandoned his earlier “liberal” view on race in the 1958 gubernatorial campaign when he ended up last.
After that, he made it clear that he would exploit the race card, and when he won the governorship, he became a nationally known figure, when in his inaugural address in Montgomery, the state capital, in January 1963, he made the famous utterance: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!”
Wallace sought the Presidency against the new President, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, entering several Presidential primaries, and bitterly opposing the Civil Rights Act of that year.
He became more controversial during the next four years, more incendiary in his public speeches at rallies, and then ran as the American Independent Party nominee for President in 1968, displaying demagogic techniques as he won five Southern states and 46 electoral votes.
He continued to divide and incite the population again over the next four years and was seen as a danger to Richard Nixon in 1972, until he was shot by assassin Arthur Bremer, who had been stalking Nixon before shooting Wallace in Laurel, Maryland, in May 1972.
After his unfortunate shooting and difficult recovery, well covered in my Assassinations book (Chapter 11), Wallace had a change of heart and was asking for forgiveness from civil rights leaders in the last decades of his life, even while serving once again as the governor of Alabama (his fourth term).
So one could say he reformed himself, apparently affected by the assassination attempt against him. It is unlikely that Donald Trump would ever reform, however, as he is a narcissist to the extreme, who has never admitted errors or faults in anything he has asserted or done in his public life.
Donald Trump had a background as a registered Democrat, always outspoken and controversial over the decades, but often seeming to be liberal in his views, although showing signs of racism in his real estate practices in Queens County, New York, as early as 1973, and his outrageous accusations against the “Central Park Five,” the case of the five African American young men accused of rape and assault in 1989.
They were eventually cleared after years in prison, but Trump was unwilling to admit he had been wrong. He continued to insist in fact that they were guilty as charged.
Once Barack Obama became President, Trump’s move into open racism and nativism became endemic, as he accused Obama of “birtherism” without any proof. And he began his national campaign for President in June 2015 with attacks on Mexicans and calling for a Mexico Wall, and displaying extreme Islamophobia, issues that he utilized in gaining the backing of his followers.
He refused to tone down his extremist and emotional tirades, which went much further than even George Wallace had displayed four to five decades earlier.
Both Wallace and Trump aroused crowds at campaign rallies, and ordered critics be thrown out; both attacked the news media as the enemy of the American people; both exploited the worst instincts of voters by exploiting their resentment, insecurities, and bitterness. Trump has continued this same approach as President.
So Senator John Danforth was accurate in stating that Trump has become the most divisive national political figure since George Wallace, with the caveat, however, that Trump is our President, and Wallace never came close to the Oval Office.
While George Wallace divided the nation in his time, the danger that Donald Trump represents is far more menacing.

August 19, 2017

Many of The Slavery-Civill War Statues Gallop into The Night Forever

Robert E. Lee, A General in the Confederacy who fought against the slaves being freed is Coming down in Baltimore-"Good bye and good ridance" Why was it allowed to stay put for so many years? Americans ignored it except the ones that got hurt by it, the sons and daughters of the slaves. They tried to ignore it too but there were other things that had more immediate importance at the time (food, shelter, education, equality) We can't take back slavery but maybe Americans new and old ones can take reponsibility for it and not permit that things like these are put in Public land that belong to blacks and whites alike.Also that people that want to be part of a nazi system in which we lost so many Americans fighting or the civil war in which there was a clear wnner, those people cannot be equated with responsible americans that know their history and abide by the law as written by the Constitution and its ammendments. (Adam Gonzalez at

Work crews took down a statue of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney overnight in Annapolis, Md., where it had stood since 1872.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made a statement on Tuesday calling for the statue to be removed from the State House grounds, NPR's Bill Chappell reported. Hogan called it "the right thing to do," saying, "The time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history." 

Charlottesville Rally Aimed To Defend A Confederate Statue. It May Have Doomed Others
Three of the four members of the State House Trust, which oversees the historic building and its grounds, voted by email on Wednesday to remove the statue. Democrat Thomas "Mike" Miller, the Senate president, did not vote.

"This was certainly a matter of such consequence that the transparency of a public meeting and public conversation should have occurred," Miller wrote in a letter to Hogan, as the Associated Press reports.

Annapolis joins a growing list of cities that have moved quickly to take down monuments linked to the Confederacy in the wake of last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va., which left one woman dead after car plowed into a crowd.

Workers use a crane to lift the monument dedicated 
to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney 
in Annapolis, Md., early Friday. The State House Trust 
voted Wednesday to remove the statue from its grounds.
Poll: Majority Believes Trump's Response To Charlottesville Hasn't Been Strong Enough
President Trump tweeted yesterday, "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments."  A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that a majority of Americans think Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville was "not strong enough."

Taney authored the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery. Scott was a slave in Missouri who was taken to Illinois, a free state. He sued for his freedom after he was taken back to Missouri. Taney wrote the majority opinion in the 7-2 decision, which declared that black Americans were not citizens.

Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree has called the Dred Scott case "the most regretted and despised decision ever by the Supreme Court when it comes to issues of race injustice."

The state installed the statue of Taney, a Maryland native who became country's fifth chief justice, 145 years ago. In the years since, the state has added plaques explaining the historical context and controversy over the Scott decision. The monument will be moved to a Maryland State Archives storage facility, The Baltimore Sun reports.

Dred Scott was a slave. Under Articles III and IV, argued Taney, no one but a citizen of the United States could be a citizen of a state, and that only Congress could confer national citizenship. Taney reached the conclusion that no person descended from an American slave had ever been a citizen for Article III purposes. The Court then held the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, hoping to end the slavery question once and for all.

In 1996, on the opposite side of the State House, the state unveiled a statue of Baltimore native Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice. Last year, the trust said it would also erect statues honoring abolitionist leaders Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.

Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues One Day After Voting On Issue
"It was a beautiful thing to wake up and see something so beautiful happened when I was asleep," Gwen Norman of Baltimore told the Sun.

Earlier this week, Baltimore took down four monuments linked to the Confederacy, including statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson — as well as one of Taney.

The U.S. Capitol's Supreme Court Chamber has a bust of Taney that was copied from the sculpture in Annapolis.

July 16, 2017

The Police Helicopter Pilot in Venezuela

Oscar Perez speaks at an anti-government protest in Caracas on Thursday. Perez, a fugitive pilot who allegedly attacked the country's Supreme Court building with hand grenades thrown from a helicopter, appeared unexpectedly at an opposition rally before fleeing on a motorcycle.
Inaki Zugasti/AFP/Getty Images
With just days to go before a symbolic referendum called by Venezuelan opposition, protesters on Thursday embraced another spectacle thick with symbolism: Oscar Perez, the fugitive pilot who dropped grenades from a helicopter on the Venezuelan Supreme Court last month, reappeared at an opposition rally and delivered a statement to demonstrators.
"Today is the moment that you are paying tribute to the fallen ones," Perez told the crowd, which had assembled in Caracas to commemorate those who had died during the unrest that has racked Venezuela for months. "The tribute to the fallen ones is not just to be here in this moment. The real tribute is for this dictatorship to fall."
Then Perez, who was flanked by people in masks, said a few words to the media and left the rally on a motorcycle.
It was the first in-person public appearance for the 36-year-old police officer and film actor, who has been the subject of a manhunt since stealing a helicopter and firing on two public buildings. No one was injured in the attack, which the Venezuelan government called a "terrorist act." 
It was also a surreal mile marker in what has become a long and desperate struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and opposition activists, which has seethed on city streets for more than 100 days.
Since April 1, when the country's Supreme Court reversed its attempt to dissolve the opposition-heavy National Assembly, tens of thousands of protesters have loudly called for new elections and even Maduro's removal from power. Amid the unrest, the Attorney General's office estimates that at least 92 people have died and more than 1,500 have been injured.
Maduro, who asserts the protests against his regime are driven by foreign powers, has offered his own version of a solution to the discord: He has called for the July 30 election of delegates to a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the country's 18-year-old constitution.

Opposition activists take part in a demonstration marking 100 days of protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Sunday.
Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images
But, as John Otis noted on Morning Edition earlier this week, Venezuelan law dictates that the government hold a referendum first on whether to conduct that rewrite — a vote that Maduro has refused to schedule.
Opposition leaders have decided to hold a vote anyway this Sunday.
John explains:
"The opposition is boycotting the election and promoting an alternative round of balloting. On Sunday, a symbolic nationwide plebiscite will be held in which Venezuelans will be asked whether or not they want a new constitution. The opposition is hoping to embarrass Maduro with a massive turnout and millions of Venezuelans voting no."
Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on Maduro's government to "respect the wishes of those who want to participate in this consultation and to guarantee people's rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly."
"We appeal to all sides in Venezuela to renounce violence and the harassment of opponents," she said in comments to the media Friday. "We express our hope that Sunday's consultation will proceed peacefully and in the full respect of the human rights of all."
In his brief speech Thursday, Perez called for a nationwide strike next week — and he vowed to be "in the streets defending the public" during Sunday's referendum.
Voters "will use this means to tell the world what we already know," Perez said. "We do not want this narcogovernment, this corruption. And we will win and
 NPR (by  )

March 1, 2014

The GOP is on a Civil War Find Out Who is Winning

If Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich and perhaps Bobby Jindal—orthodox Republican conservatives all—hope to run for president in 2016, they’ll may have to perform a tricky maneuver: winning the backing of the GOP’s mainstream, big-money donors, including the US Chamber of Commerce, while rallying the electoral support of ultraconservatives who support the floundering Tea Party movement. But it might turn out that the Tea Party isn’t so influential after all.
The Tea Party—the institutional Tea Party, not necessarily the bloc of the GOP electorate that identified with it—continues to have its difficulties, especially in the wake of the 2013 government shutdown. Yesterday, at a conference in Washington, DC, the Tea Party Patriots organization celebrated its fifth anniversary as a force in American politics, but it was decidedly a lackluster event, and even The Washington Times headlined that it is “struggling.” Among other things, its preferred candidates in Republican primaries around the country seem at a loss, as Michael Gerson, a conservative pundit at The Washington Post, noted:
Tea party challenges have fizzled in Kentucky and Texas. They are fading in Kansas, Tennessee and South Carolina. And even in Mississippi—where Sen. Thad Cochran is a vulnerable incumbent—the tea party insurgent struggles to explain his recent skeptical reaction when asked about Katrina relief funding.
Two influential writers who’ve penned articles for The National Interest, both credentialed conservatives, have analyzed the GOP’s ongoing civil war, or civil strife—or as Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a Tea Party favorite, called it yesterday at the Tea Party Patriots meeting, “civil debate”—and, in the articles and in follow-up interviews with Christie Watch, they outlined their takes on where the GOP might be headed.
In the first piece, “The GOP’s Identity Crisis,” Paul Saunders, the executive director of the Center for the National Interest, a conservative-realist think tank in Washington, says that the Tea Party has the support of about 38 percent of GOP voters, but that the Republican party’s mainstream establishment, which historically has had the upper hand, is still the dominant factor. In an interview with Christie Watch, Saunders said:
People have been excited about the Tea Party and the insurgent forces. But the fact that they were able to play such a big role on the debt ceiling doesn’t mean that they have taken over the Republican party or defeated the establishment. Normally, the establishment wins. Looking ahead to 2016, they should be able to incorporate—or perhaps co-opt is a better word—the Tea Party and move on.
Last year, he said, Christie “was in the strongest position to unify the establishment.” And, though damaged, Christie is still “attractive to many people interested in the ‘bigger tent’ approach.”
In a parallel article in The National Interest, “The Four Faces of the Republican Party,” Henry Olsen, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative, “Judeo-Christian” think tank in Washington, breaks down the divisions within the GOP. In it, he wrote, the biggest bloc, representing 35–40 percent of the Republican vote, are the “somewhat conservative” voters who “have a significant distinction: they always back the winner”—successively, Bob Dole (1996), George W. Bush (2000), John McCain (2008), and Mitt Romney (2012). The second largest bloc is the GOP’s “moderate to liberal” one, representing about 25–30 percent of all GOP voters. (In others words, liberals, moderate and somewhat conservative voters represent something like 60–70 percent of the party.) Olsen says that Christie, Kasich, Walker and Paul Ryan are competing for these voters most of all.
On the other hand, he writes, very conservative voters make up the rest, a minority. The “very conservative evangelicals” are about 20 percent, and the “very conservative, secular” bloc is perhaps 5–10 percent of the GOP vote.
In primaries, of course, the true believers, including the most conservative, militant Republicans, tend to turn out more heavily, skewing their influence.
And Olsen makes a crucial point about the future inability of the Tea Party to determine who wins the Republican nomination in 2016. So far, he points out, Tea Party primary victories in statewide contests have come almost entirely in small, inconsequential states, not the delegate-rich ones. He says:
Nor do the Tea Party Senate primary victories appear to presage a sea change in GOP attitudes. They generally have two characteristics unlikely to pertain in the 2016 presidential race. First, they occurred primarily in smaller states in the South and West. While these states hold the balance in the Senate, they do not elect most of the delegates needed to win a presidential nomination. Larger states, especially California and those in the Midwest and Northeast, still have substantial power to influence the nomination contest. As importantly, these victories tended to occur in one-on-one races or races with only two serious candidates. Tea Party candidates fared much worse in multicandidate races. In presidential contests, multicandidate races are the norm until well into March, suggesting a Tea Party candidate will find it difficult to win in the early stages.
In an interview with Christie Watch, Olsen notes that according to polls Christie is “most favored by the moderate-liberals in the party and least favored amongst the very conservative. As a result, he said, he’s most likely to do well in primary states, such as New Hampshire, and less likely to do well in caucus states, such as Iowa—no surprises there. But, Olsen told Christie Watch, center-right, establishment Republicans, which he described as led by “businessmen, managers, entrepreneurs”—i.e., Chamber of Commerce types—are, unlike very, very conservative voters and the Christie right, “spread out and influential in every state.” So that means that Christie, along with Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Scott Walker will be pushing hard to appeal to these voters. 

The setbacks that Christie has suffered, says Olsen, mean that—unlike George W. Bush in 2000, who created an aura of invincibility early on—Christie won’t be able to create an early bandwagon for the nomination. “That’s been put on hold by Bridgegate,” he says.
Interested readers can get the latest complete polling data from a New York Times/CBS poll about 2016. What it shows, remarkably enough, is that as many as 59 percent of Republican and independent voters say that they “don’t know enough” about the various possible Republican challengers. Best known, by far, are Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, whose “don’t know enough” numbers ranged from 26 to 35 percent. Of those who did know enough to voice an opinion, 41 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents said that they didn’t want Christie to run, reflecting no doubt a mix of Tea Party types who despise and him and others simply turned off by the post-Bridgegate scandals. (Thirty-one percent of Republicans say they want Christie to run.) For Bush, who says he’ll announce whether or not he’s running later this year, 27 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of independents say that they don’t want him to run.

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