Showing posts with label Elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elections. Show all posts

December 28, 2019

The Scenario We Don't Want But It Is There Like The Devil in The Darkness Waiting

         Image result for scenarios for 2020 presidential election

Cameron Joseph writing on Vice had three scenarios for use on the day of elections for President in 2020 in the United States, And to tell you the truth it makes me depressed. 
Thanks to the man the Evangelicals (voting against their religion and their holy book) together with the black population (not voting) put in the office of President the last time around.  This is not that same America that it was when I stepped in to vote, what seems was decades ago. We are not the same in our conduct with our allies, enemies or each other. I,  and many like me look forward to the next election to finally turn the pendulum the other way. But when one if open with our thinking one must agree that there are more than one or two-way scenarios that could play out.
I hope people take their meds, or visit their psychologist early or even have a talk with their god about sinning and what is living a decent life. Life as dictated by both sides of the bible and other holy books that other religions around the world hold dear, decency is not born out of one religion, as a matter of fact, decency has no religion at all. You are decent because the insides dictate you behave well with your fellow man and at the same time hope he/she behaves nicely and fair to you.        Adam Gonzalez
 Welcome to 2020, which could be President Trump’s final full year in office. But those counting down to election day should probably stop now, because there’s a real chance we won’t know who won until well after Nov. 3.
A close election, possible recounts, and unusual voting laws in key states could very easily delay the results of the election and send the fight to the courts. None of these events, taken alone, is super-likely to happen. But in what’s looking like a coin-flip election, any drama in the deciding states could force America to wait days, weeks, and potentially even months before we know who will occupy the White House for the next four years.
This, to put it mildly, would suck — both for campaign obsessives and for the nation as a whole.
Here are three plausible scenarios that could put the 2020 presidential election into overtime.

Raising Arizona

Arizona is looking like a serious swing state for the first time in decades and could prove to be the tipping-point state in the 2020 election. That’s not good news for those hoping for a quick call on election night.
The state relies heavily on mail-in voting, and as a result, is notoriously slow at counting its ballots. It often takes days, and sometimes weeks, to find out who’s won close elections in Arizona.
“Because of the way we count our ballots, no matter what I think it’s going to go past Election Day,” said Garrett Archer, an Arizona elections expert who currently works at ABC’s Phoenix affiliate. “We could go for a week or longer.”
That happened just last election. Republican Martha McSally led Democrat Kyrsten Sinema on election night in a key Senate race. But Sinema pulled ahead two days later as more mail ballots were counted. It took six full days for the Associated Press to declare Sinema the victor. 
 And that race wasn’t even a particularly close: Sinema ended up winning by more than 50,000 votes and by more than a two-point margin. To get a sense of how normal this is in Arizona, this was the third time McSally had to wait past election day to know her fate: Both her 2012 and 2014 House elections went well past election day. 
Arizona has been one of the fastest-changing states both demographically and politically over the last decade. Trump carried it by just 3.5 percentage points last time around, and his net job approval is weaker there than in other battlegrounds like Florida and North Carolina, according to state-level surveys from Morning Consult. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic front-runner, have been statistically tied in every recent Arizona poll.
If the Democratic nominee wins back Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states Trump narrowly carried where polling has looked bad for the GOP in recent months, but Trump wins every other state he carried last time around, Arizona could very well decide the next president.

Maine Squeeze

A confluence of weird election rules could leave America waiting on northern Maine to know who wins the 2020 election.
First, Maine is one of just two states that assign electoral college votes by congressional district, along with Nebraska. Two of those districts are actually competitive and could matter a great deal in a close election: Maine’s GOP-trending second district in the state’s more rural north, and Nebraska’s Democratic-trending Omaha-based second district. Both went for Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016.
If Trump loses Michigan and Pennsylvania, his two weakest states that he won in 2016, but holds onto every other state he won in 2016, he and his opponent will each have 268 electoral votes, two short of the 270 needed for election.
That’s when things could get extra complicated.
Nebraska counts its votes like most places do, and even in a close race shouldn’t take too long to know its results. Trump won the suburban Omaha district by just two points in 2016 after President Obama carried it in 2008, and it could very tip Democratic this year again. 
But Maine has an unusual new law that allows “ranked-choice” voting. Voters pick their favorite candidate but can vote for a second choice, and if their candidate isn’t at the top two their second choice then gets counted. This is arguably good for democracy as it prevents third-party spoiler candidates from tipping an election, but it’s bad for impatient election observers. 
The last election was the first time the law was in place, and it resulted in exactly this scenario. Then-Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) led on election night, but Democrat Jared Golden pulled ahead after ranked-choice votes were tallied. It took a full week to find that out — and almost two months before Poliquin conceded after his lawsuits against the law fell short.
“If it comes down to Maine-two [the second district], assume ranked-choice voting will cause a delay in getting results. And there’s definitely a scenario where the two split states, Maine and Nebraska, could play a role in deciding 2020,” said Ian Russell, a Democratic strategist who consults for Golden and has worked in both districts. 
The Dreaded Recount
It’s happened before. It’ll happen again.
The 2020 election may simply be too close to call in a key state, leading to lawsuits, recounts and court fights that drag the election out for weeks.
That happened in 2000 when it took a Supreme Court decision to hand George W. Bush victory over Al Gore after Florida’s error-riddled election handed him the narrowest of victories.
Florida saw a bizarro replay of the 2000 recount in 2018. Both its gubernatorial and Senate races came down to the wire and triggered recounts, court fights, and ugly claims of voter fraud from Republicans — what the Miami Herald called 11 days of “organized chaos.” When all the smoke cleared, Republicans hung on to win both races.
It’s almost impossible to predict where a scenario like this might occur in 2020, but almost every election cycle has at least a handful of races go to recounts. State elections are notoriously underfunded, and the possibility of foreign meddling in the 2020 elections only increases the chances that a close election could see weeks or months of court fights. 

September 11, 2019

The Russian Elections Shows Putin Tub is Beginning To Crack


{By James Rodgers, head of International Journalism Studies at City, University of London}

Since Vladimir Putin first became president of Russia almost 20 years ago, the unwritten rules governing the relationship between political power and the people have been clear: Citizens accept less political freedom in return for receiving greater prosperity. But five years of falling incomes mean that the Kremlin is no longer keeping its side of the deal.
Russia's leadership is increasingly worried that more people will demand change. The results of Sunday’s elections in Moscow for local government positions suggest they are right to be afraid. 
Russia's strict laws governing political protests — not encouraged, and requiring permission which is only sometimes granted (often merely to give the impression that freedom of assembly exists) — were not enough to stop demonstrators taking to the streets by the tens of thousands in the months leading up to Sunday's vote.
The rallies — which resulted in police beating demonstrators and more than 2,000 protesters being detained— were sparked by the government's refusal to allow opposition candidates to register for the elections. Though the majority of the protesters were released shortly afterward, the heavy-handed approach seemed to only steel the protesters' determination. 
Denied the chance to vote for candidates opposed to Putin, the rebels endorsed the practice of tactical voting, supporting candidates from parties other than United Russia, the party that exists mainly to support whichever policies the Kremlin is pursuing.
In an early sign of the power of the opposition, the fact that candidates did not even clearly identify as part of United Russia — choosing, for the most part, to present themselves as independents — suggests that their brand is, to say the least, losing its appeal with voters. Altogether, United Russia lost a third of its seats on the Moscow City Council. Elsewhere, the picture was more positive for pro-Kremlin candidates.

Image: Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin waits for his ballot as he arrives to vote at a polling station during a city council election in Moscow, Russia on Sept. 8, 2019.Alexei Nikolsky / Sputnik/Kremlin Pool via AP

Naturally, the way you choose to interpret this outcome depends on your view of the situation. It may have been “victory” to the most prominent opposition activist, Alexei Navalny. To Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the results were proof that predictions of “protest voting” had not turned out to be true.
Look beyond the competing claims, though, it is clear something has shifted. When I was a correspondent in Moscow a decade ago, opposition demonstrations were pitifully small. In a city with a population of 10 million or more, the so-called “marches of the dissenters” often attracted no more than a couple thousand.
Russia then was growing richer on the back of soaring oil prices. For most Muscovites, and those who flocked to the capital to grab a share of the good times, there really wasn't much to complain about. Rising incomes secured Putin's popularity, with annual growth reaching 7 percent in the 2,000s, even as Western observers expressed concern about restrictions on political freedom. 
Those concerns did not trouble the majority of ordinary Russians. Traveling around Russia as a reporter in the 1990s, I heard stories of unpaid salaries and visited factories working at a fraction of their capacity. Wearied by the chaos that had followed the collapse of communism, many voters were content to accept the stability and steadier pay that came with a former KGB officer as president.
Things are different now, as that stability has eroded. With living standards falling, there are Russians taking to the streets to improve their financial prospects. Some of the most significant before this summer's demonstrations over the elections have been against pension reforms proposed raising the retirement age
While many of those protesters were close to retirement age, there is also a new generation of frustrated citizens who have only known Russia with Putin in charge. They want something else.
For the moment, these young activists pushing for change at the top remain in the minority. Putin's popularity may not be what it was — and a dispute over polling methodology earlier this year showed that it had become a touchy subject — but it is still higher than that enjoyed by many Western leaders.
But if the opposition activists campaigning for their candidates' right to run could harness the popular anger over the economy, too, then the Kremlin would have real cause for concern.
Ironically, it's the same thirst for economic prosperity coursing under this popular dissent that might save Putin from mass upheaval and the economic dislocation they equate it with from the past turmoil they've experienced.
Russia underwent radical change twice in the last century. The first time, in 1917, revolution followed centuries of violent injustice visited upon the people by the political elite. The second, in the 1990s, was a case of Communism collapsing as a result of an attempt to reform rather than destroy it. The instability that followed gave democracy itself a bad name in many parts of Russian society. (And that doesn't count the trauma of mass political murder and Nazi invasion in the time of Joseph Stalin.)
The wave of protest that rose in Russia this summer may now break without making much of an impact. But the change of some sort will have to come soon. 
Putin was re-elected in 2018 for a six-year term. By the time that ends in 2024, he will, for the second time, have served the two consecutive terms permitted by the Russian constitution. 
Last time he transitioned into the role of prime minister but continued to call the shots for his hand-picked replacement, Dmitry Medvedev. Even if he's able to pull off the same maneuver in 2024, though, he will be more than 70 years old and, if trends continue, further weakened by the mounting popular frustration. And failing that maneuver, either the constitution must change to permit him to continue in office, or the president must change. 
No one should underestimate Putin's desire, or ability, to survive. His opponents are unbowed by the beatings the riot police have handed out and jubilant at their success — an achievement to be sure, but still a modest one. But if Putin's administration is unable to offer the prospect of better times ahead, the protesters may find their ranks begin to swell further.

June 29, 2019

The Perfect Ticket To Beat Trump As per this Blog But More Importantly The NY Times

All along I have been feeling it but on the debate I saw these two candidates up in the stage and I imagine Tump with either on of them. He will be toast!🔥Adam

The big question going into Thursday night’s debate was whether Joe Biden, the clear front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, would stumble.

That turned out to be the wrong one. The right question was whether he had sufficient vigor in his stride.

And the answer came in watching Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg — two of the event’s standout performers — run articulate and impassioned circles around him.

Biden was O.K. Not bad, not good: O.K. He didn’t crumble under some tough interrogation from moderators — about his vote for the invasion of Iraq, for example — and occasional attacks from his rivals onstage.  

But in his determination to prove how coolheaded he could be, he frequently turned his temperature down too low. In his insistence on not getting tangled in grand promises or lost in the weeds, he too often kept to the side of the field.

At one point, when candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed that crossing the border without documentation should be a civil rather than criminal offense, his gesture was so tentative and ambiguous that one of the moderators, José Díaz-Balart, had to follow up: Was he indicating his assent or seeking permission to make a comment?

That was a metaphor for his whole night.

Other candidates demanded that America march forward. Biden kept looking backward. He repeatedly alluded to his decades of experience and even more pointedly reminded voters of his eight-year partnership with President Barack Obama, a towering and popular figure in the Democratic Party. While Bernie Sanders pledged a revolution, Biden promised a restoration. 

But the debate brought into vivid relief the shortcomings of his candidacy and the risks of graduating him to the general election.

When you’ve been in politics and in Washington as long as he has — 36 years in the Senate, plus eight as vice president — there are votes from eras much different from the current one, controversial positions galore and mistakes aplenty. All of these were ammunition used against him on Thursday night, most electrically when Harris pressed him to defend his opposition to busing to integrate schools.

Harris made it personal, telling him that she got the education she did because of busing. Biden said that he hadn’t been opposed to busing so much as in favor of local decision-making, and he thus left himself open to her righteous response: Did he not think that the federal government should swoop in to remedy obvious racial injustice?

“That’s why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act,” she said. “Because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.”

One of these two candidates was in much better sync with Democratic voters right now, and that candidate was Harris, a black woman who, at 54, is more than two decades younger than Biden, who is 76. The only candidate on the stage older than he: Bernie Sanders, 77.

And the sense of a generational divide was acute, partly because Buttigieg, 37, and Eric Swalwell, 38, made sure to highlight it. At the very start of the night, Swalwell noted mischievously that Biden had long ago stressed the importance of passing the torch, and Swalwell exhorted Democrats to do precisely that, saying “pass the torch” so many times that Díaz-Balart asked Biden, “Would you like to sing a torch song?” Biden then rattled off a few canned remarks about the importance of education.

Biden and Sanders stood at the lecterns in the center of the stage, their prize for having significantly higher poll numbers than the others. They were supposed to be the pace setters. 

But they receded more than they popped. Maybe that was a function of familiarity. I couldn’t detect any difference between Sanders now and Sanders four years ago: The mad gleam, bad mood and hoarse-from-yelling voice were all the same. A screenwriter friend of mine emailed me midway through the event to say that Sanders resembled “a very angry chess player in Washington Square Park in an undershirt and madras shorts in the summer heat.” He did indeed look steamed.

Buttigieg didn’t. He has this way — it’s quite remarkable — of expressing outrage without being remotely disheveled by the emotion, of taking aim without seeming armed, of flagging grave danger without scaring the pants off you. He’s from some perfect-candidate laboratory, no?

And nobody onstage spoke with more precision and shrewdness, though Michael Bennet came close a few times. Buttigieg said that the God-garbed Republican Party, in its treatment of migrants, “has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.” It wasn’t just a dig; it was a deft reminder of his public fight with Mike Pence over Pence’s vilification of L.G.B.T. people like Buttigieg.

On the subject of health insurance, Buttigieg said that sick people “can’t be relying on the tender mercies of the corporate system.” He spoke of China “using technology for the perfection of dictatorship.” Phrases like these came like candies from a Pez dispenser — colorful, sweet and one after the other.

And when Buttigieg was confronted with questions about the recent police shooting of a black man in South Bend, Ind., where he is mayor, and asked why the police force wasn’t better integrated, he admitted, bluntly: “Because I couldn’t get it done.” He didn’t make excuses, instead recognizing that between African-Americans and white police officers, “There’s a wall of mistrust, put up one racist act at a time.”

Harris had a fire that Buttigieg lacked, and it was mesmerizing. She challenged Biden not just on busing but on sloppy recent comments of his that seemed affectionate toward segregationists. She picked apart Trump’s boasts of a spectacularly booming economy, telling the right number of right anecdotes at the right time.

And she mixed strength with warmth and even humor. As candidates shouted over one another in a lunge for microphone time, she found a cranny of oratorical space in which to land a good line. “Hey, guys, you know what?” she said. “America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.” It neatly pegged men as compulsive interrupters — a leitmotif of the previous night’s debate — while flying a feminist flag less strenuously than Kirsten Gillibrand, at the lectern beside hers, did. 

Imagine a Harris-Buttigieg ticket, and not only what a wealth of poise but what a double scoop of precedents that would be. Plenty of people on Twitter on Thursday night were doing precisely that.

Plenty more will do so in the coming days, and they should leaven that fantasy with a reality check about how far to the left Harris in particular has moved. She was one of just two candidates on Thursday night who said that she wanted to do away with private health insurance. Sanders was the other. And that could be a general-election problem for her, as it could for Elizabeth Warren, who took that same position the night before.

But I write now in praise of a commanding performance that easily overshadowed Biden’s, with his herky-jerky delivery and his reflexive glances in the rearview mirror. Elections, according to all the political sages, are about the future. Biden didn’t seem to be pointed in that direction, and he didn’t demonstrate any sense of hurry to get there.

June 6, 2019

CNN Says There Are Two Democrats with The Highest 2020 Upside! Not Biden nor Sanders


Image result for kamala harris and pete buttigieg
 Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg

Chris Cillizza, Editor at Large

Washington (CNN)It's easy to look at a poll of the 2020 Democratic primary race and conclude that Joe Biden is the front-runner, with Bernie Sanders as the alternative if the former vice president falters.

It's easy because it's, broadly speaking, true! In the new CNN-SSRS national survey, Biden is at 32% in the hypothetical Democratic 2020 primary, while Sanders is in second with 18%. None of the other 20+ candidates receives double-digit support.

That's where the race is TODAY. And it may be where the race winds up. But if you dig just a little bit into the numbers, there are two candidates not named "Biden" or "Sanders" who jump out as potentially strong bets to make noise in the contest: Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg.  

Here's why: The California senator and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, have two specific things going for them:

1) They are performing solidly in national polling
2) Lots and lots of Democrats still know nothing about them

Let's start with No. 1. In the CNN poll, Harris takes 8%, good for third place behind Biden and Sanders. Buttigieg receives 5%, putting him in a tie for fifth with former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Now, those aren't amazing numbers -- especially when you consider that Biden is in the 30s in terms of support.

BUT, that brings me to No. 2. Asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates, 40% said they had "never heard of" Mayor Pete, while 29% said they had never heard of Harris. Just 5% hadn't heard of Biden (Sidebar: Who are you people????) while 3% had never heard of Sanders.

Why does that matter, you ask? Because numbers like those suggest that both Buttigieg and Harris still have lots of room to grow, or in the parlance of the NBA Draft -- coming June 20! -- they have major upside. Or high ceilings. 
All of which simply means that they are doing pretty well in securing support among those who know them, but the real key is that lots and lots of people don't really know them yet. Biden and Sanders are known commodities to the electorate. People know them and have opinions about them -- opinions that are unlikely to change in any drastic way. Buttigieg and Harris still have the chance to introduce themselves -- in any way they want -- to tons of Democratic voters between now and next February.

And both candidates will have the money to do that. Harris raised more than $12 million in the first three months of 2019 and Buttigieg brought in $7 million. That cash haul will pay for direct mail pieces and TV ads that will ensure that every Iowa and New Hampshire voter will know who these candidates are (and what they believe) before the time comes to vote.

May 15, 2019

Impeachment Can’t Work If Acquittal Would Follow But Dems Can Still Bring Trump To Justice

Image result for impeacchment is election 2020
2020 Impeachment
Make Russia Great Again2020

Should Democrats impeach President Donald Trump? They have the votes in the House to do so, and Trump, with his defiance of subpoenas, is baiting them to try it. Some Democrats argue that even if impeachment hurts them politically and ends with acquittal in the Senate, they have a duty to confront a scofflaw president. But impeachment isn’t the only way to hold Trump accountable. There are smarter ways to go about it, and Democrats can take some important tips from the dozen or so national polls that have been conducted since the April 18 release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Here are some lessons from those polls.
1. Don’t be cowed by the “exoneration” spin. Republicans say Mueller exonerated Trump and the case is closed, but the pubic isn’t buying it. Fewer than 40 percent of Americans say the investigation “cleared” the president. In most polls, a majority says the investigation didn’t clear Trump. Even a significant fraction of Republicans—16 percent to 25 percent, depending on the question—says the investigation didn’t clear the president. And 60 percent of the public says he has lied about the matters under investigation. They don’t trust him.
2. Don’t start an impeachment. Since Mueller’s report came out, seven national pollsters have asked whether Congress should launch impeachment proceedings against Trump. In every sample, a strong plurality—and in most cases, a majority—has said no. The percentage of respondents who say yes has never reached 40. And when respondents are asked about a hypothetical congressional candidate who supports impeachment, more say they’d vote against than for such a candidate. Something about the word impeachment—maybe the impression that it reflects an agenda rather than an open-minded assessment of facts—turns people off. 
3. Continue the investigation. Some polls offer three options: End the investigation, continue it, or begin impeachment. Only 1 in 6 people chooses impeachment, but 2 in 6 choose the middle option: Keep investigating. Together, the pro-impeachment and pro-investigation factions form a roughly 50 percent plurality for hearings that could lead to impeachment. They agree, depending on the question, that Congress should “continue the investigation into potential wrongdoing,” “hold hearings to further investigate” what Mueller found, or “continue investigating to see if there is enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future.”
4. Summon Mueller. This is a no-brainer. By a ratio of more than 2 to 1, Americans think the special counsel should testify before Congress. Among Democrats and independents, the margins are overwhelming. Even Republicans, who stand behind Trump on other questions, are split on this one.
5. Focus on obstruction, not collusion. Several polls have asked whether Trump “conspired with Russia,” “worked with Russia to influence” the 2016 election, or “attempted to coordinate with Russia in order to benefit his presidential campaign.” In not one of these surveys has a plurality said yes. But pluralities do think Trump “committed obstruction of justice,” “attempted to obstruct the investigation,” “tried to impede or obstruct” it, “attempted to derail or obstruct” it, and “tried to interfere with the Russia investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice.” By margins of 10 to 20 percentage points, they agree that Congress should “hold hearings” to “investigate whether Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice.” 
6. Broaden the scrutiny. Most Americans view Trump as corrupt. A 2-to-1 majority thinks he committed crimes before he was president. Half think he has committed crimes as president, and a narrow majority thinks it’s very or somewhat likely that “Russia has compromising information” on him. A Politico/Morning Consult poll asked voters a series of questions as to whether Congress should investigate various topics: Trump’s tax returns, his “business interests and arrangements,” “the process for how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump obtained security clearances,” and “Cabinet secretary spending, including on travel and office furnishings.” On every question, the percentage of respondents who said investigation of such matters should be a top or important priority significantly exceeded the percentage who said investigation was unimportant or should not be pursued.
7. Highlight Trump’s defiance. Democrats will face headwinds as they push forward. Most voters think investigations of Trump are “distracting Congress from other national issues,” and in a CNN survey, 44 percent of Americans said Democrats were “doing too much … to investigate Donald Trump.” But on a different question in the same CNN poll, 54 percent said Trump was doing “too little … to cooperate with congressional Democrats investigating him.” The key is to focus attention on Trump’s behavior toward Congress, rather than on Congress’ behavior toward Trump. Two-thirds of Americans agree, for example, that the president should “release his tax returns for public review.” Democrats should constantly ask why he doesn’t.
8. The election is the impeachment. A formal impeachment would take months. Republicans would acquit Trump in the Senate, and he would use the fight to rally his base, accusing liberals in Congress of trying to overturn the election. Why play into his hands, when instead you could investigate him through the normal oversight process, present your hearings and findings to voters, and invite them to pass judgment on him a year from now?
Mueller’s inquiry has already hurt Trump. In a Politico/Morning Consult survey, 30 percent of voters said the investigation made them view the president more favorably, but 47 percent said the opposite. Fifteen percent said they were more likely to vote for Trump as a result of the inquiry, but 23 percent said they were less likely. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 14 percent said Mueller’s findings made them more likely to support Trump for re-election, but 36 percent said the findings made them more likely to oppose him. In both surveys, Democrats stood firm against the president, while 10 percent of Republicans signaled some disenchantment with him.
To remove Trump through impeachment, Democrats would have to win 67 percent of the vote in a Senate that’s 53 percent Republican. To remove him the normal way, they’d only have to win a majority of electoral votes in a country that’s 25 percent to 30 percent Republican. Through their control of the House, Democrats have the power to investigate Trump and present their findings to the ultimate jury: the people of the United States. That’s a better court to fight in, and an easier case to win. 

April 19, 2019

Pete Is Already Facing Anti Gay Bigots in The Campaign Trail~~What Took So Long?

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage in 2015, conservative Christians predicted ruin. The Obama administration would round up pastors who refused to perform same-sex weddings. Churches would be forced to host the ceremonies. Faithful Christians would become social outcasts. None of that happened, of course, but urban legends are notoriously resilient beasts.
So perhaps protests targeting the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, were inevitable. Buttigieg isn’t the first openly gay candidate for president — that distinction belongs to Fred Karger, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2012. But Buttigieg is arguably the most prominent gay candidate, and he is the first to run while married to another man. His candidacy will likely reveal either the strengths or the limitations of the nation’s professed tolerance for LGBT people.
More Americans support marriage equality than ever before: 75 percent believe gay and lesbian relationships should be legal, Gallup reported in 2019. But 23 percent disagreed, and while they’re a minority, they still constitute a relatively significant base of opposition to a basic civil right for LGBT people. To them, Buttigieg’s candidacy is another harbinger of doom. Buttigieg’s “relationship is not marriage,” the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown claimed earlier this month.
On Wednesday, these attacks on Buttigieg escalated when a trio of activists, dressed as Satan, Jesus, and the mayor himself, showed up to protest the candidate’s Iowa campaign stops. CNN’s Dan Merica identified one of the men as Randall Terry.
Terry’s appearance at the Buttigieg rally invokes a specific, violent history. Once a used-car salesman, Terry is a radical anti-abortion activist. He founded Operation Rescue, an extremist organization with long-standing ties to the most violent factions of the anti-abortion movement. Under Terry’s guidance, the organization adopted dramatic tactics. Members blockaded clinics to physically prevent patients from entering the buildings; in 1989, Rolling Stone reported that police made 30,000 arrests connected to clinic “rescues” in two years. The organization’s senior vice-president, Cheryl Sullenger, served two years in federal prison for attempting to bomban abortion clinic. In 2009, after Scott Roeder murdered George Tiller, an abortion provider, the Wichita Eagle reported that authorities discovered Sullenger’s name and phone number in a note in Roeder’s car. Sullenger said Roeder had only contacted her organization to receive details about Kansas’s ongoing prosecution of Tiller, whom the state had accused of violating regulations on late-term abortions. (State attorneys later dropped the charges.) Terry himself organized protests alongside James Kopp before Kopp murdered Barnett Slepian, an abortion provider, in 1998. There’s no evidence that Terry materially assisted Kopp, but Terry’s aggressive tactics arguably placed clinics and doctors firmly into the shooter’s crosshairs. After Slepian’s death, Operation Rescue — then led by Flip Benham, an associate of Terry’s — released a statement that, in the words of the New York Times, “neither condoned nor condemned the killing.” 
Terry’s star has faded with time. He no longer works with Operation Rescue, and at one point survived mostly off donations from the few supporters he could still claim. But his Buttigieg protest coincides with a recent campaign for renewed relevance. He recently appeared in Buffalo to announce a statewide “tour” to condemn Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing the Reproductive Health Act into law. Terry may hope to use Buttigieg’s campaign as a springboard to get back into the good graces of conservative Christians. 
Randall Terry’s presence at Buttigieg’s events is a reminder that the Supreme Court’s verdict in Obergefell v. Hodges did not end the threat of violence toward LGBT people. But Terry doesn’t own Christianity, and Buttigieg, like any LGBT person, is certainly accustomed to defending both his faith and his person from antagonists like Terry. The candidate, for his part, told CNN that he would “prefer to have those kinds of debates in a respectful format, versus through interruption, but a president is going to have to deal with tougher things than being interrupted in a speech.”

February 19, 2019

Ireland With a Successful Brown Skinned Gay MP Elected When Irish Trump-like Taught Them Their Error

Leo Varadkar 2016.jpg
The openly gay son of a Hindu immigrant father from India and younges elected PM of Ireland

 The Irish Times

When Canadian MP Dr. Hedy Fry first came to Dublin in the 1960s, there was “one Chinese restaurant, one Indian restaurant. It was very insular.”

Fifty years after her graduation from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, the longest-serving woman in the history of Canada’s House of Commons says the country has “changed enormously”.
“When women won the right to choose, when that referendum [on the Eighth Amendment] passed, when gay marriage passed, I kept saying to people, ‘this is not the Ireland I knew’.”

Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1941, Fry turned down a place at Oxford University, England to study medicine in RCSI, graduating in 1968 before emigrating to Canada in 1970.

Speaking to The Irish Times during a visit to Dublin for the annual RCSI charter day recently, Fry said the fact that Ireland has a “brown-skinned, gay prime minister” shows how much the country has changed since then.

Like Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fry practiced medicine before entering what she calls the “scuzzy business” of politics, working as a doctor at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for two decades.
There, she earned a reputation as a tough negotiator on medical matters at local, provincial and national levels, serving as president of the British Colombia Medical Association in 1990-1991.
“I was one of these people who poked my nose into doors, opened them, walked into the room, looked at everybody and went ‘Yo! I’m here!’”

Fry says her “big mouth” gained the attention of the then Liberal Party leader Jean Chrétien, who encouraged her to stand in the 1993 federal elections in the constituency of Vancouver Centre.

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The Tel A Friend Gay Switchboard was an LGBT lifeline in Ireland in the 1980's
The Tel A Friend Gay Switchboard was an LGBT lifeline in Ireland in the 1980's

Healthcare and rights

To her surprise she won, unseating the prime minister of the day, Kim Campbell, in the process.
“I thought I was sure to lose. I thought I’d write about it one day when I got back to being an ‘author’ and I thought I’d write about what it was like to run against a sitting prime minister. But I won and I was shocked when I beat her.”

At 77, Fry is also Canada’s oldest MP, winning elections on eight consecutive occasions focusing on healthcare, human rights, and LGBTQ2+ issues.

In the cabinet, she has held the post of secretary of state for multiculturalism and status of women and has been the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s special representative on gender issues since 2010.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau faces his first electoral test since his Liberal Party swept to victory in 2015 when Canadians vote in federal elections later this year.

Asked whether populism could have an impact at the polls, Fry says Canada is a liberal nation that embraces multiculturalism and she believes that voters learned the value of that history after the Conservative party’s victory in the 2006 elections.

“I think the country woke up like the United States did with [President Donald] Trump and went, ‘OMG, what did we do?’ and yet they thought, ‘They can’t be so bad. This is Canada’.”
Global politics

The conservatives under prime minister Stephen Harper held on to power for nine years, during which time the party veered further to the right and, like Trump, Harper began to move away from participation in global politics.

Fry says this opened the door for the Liberal party and Trudeau.
“People were feeling uneasy with the government of the day, thinking this is not Canada, and suddenly ‘Captain Canada’ decides to run and people just felt like they could trust him.”

The Liberals are expected to retain their majority in October’s elections, but Trudeau’s popularity rating is at its lowest ever, amid ethics inquiries and criticism over his handling of the economy.
As the son of the late former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, “people always thought of him as a kid”, says Fry. She believes he is still popular with voters, but “now he can be judged on his own record”.
Fry herself will run in October’s elections, aiming for a ninth straight victory in the Vancouver Centre constituency.

What advice does she have for those coming up behind her?
“You’ve got to leave a mark behind to say because I passed through this place the world is just one millimeter better. Because I did something, the world is a better place. I think that gives us a purpose.”

A thought from Adam: I can only hope the US goes the same way as Ireland. After having a PM from the strict right they went he opposite. Thinfs were not going well and Ireland was being left bejind in the past. The tumbled the other way around electing someone who whose ethnicity  and sexual orientation have received the worse reviews from the whites in Ireland and people that think they are spcial because they were lucky to be borned in a country that wears shoes and have plenty of food to eat but like to put down others different than they. I love the irish and I've learn that no mater how stubburn they might seem to be they are smart and they do look at the consequences of elections. This is part of people tthat listen to the facts and can see how they can be applied to their own lives. No matter how much you like how good it sounds to be part of a certain party or say you are conservative that alone will not get you a job, education or put foood on the table. 
Im hopping we go the same way even though I don't trust voters anymore. To have a President like Obama, not perfect but someone who was smart and paid attention to govern and do the best job he could do. He was not a lazy ass who doesn't read instead likes to atch tv and get his next act either from a cowboy movie or some crazy dudes that get pay to say the most outrageous things (they would not be employed if they other than what they are). From Obama to go the opposite to Trump a tv personlity and that a great one at that. I'm afraid this nation will pay for that sin for years to come because the damaged being done is serious and is internal and outside the borders.

For most of the 20th century, LGBT Irish citizens were forced to live in a kind of exile in their own country, with the laws, the church and public opinion all working in concert to make their lives invisible or intolerable.


December 19, 2018

Bernie, Biden and Beto Could Spell The Past (Elections)

                                     Image result for bernie, beto,biden

Promise me something: Over the coming weeks, whenever you hear a pundit or read a poll on the subject of who the 2020 Democratic nominee might be, you’ll flash back four years. You’ll remember predictions about the Republican nominee at this same point before the 2016 election.

Republicans then were in a situation similar to the one that Democrats are in now. More than a dozen candidates were poised to run. And in December 2014, CNN/ORC published the results of a survey that sought to determine which of them had the most support and the best chance.

The answer was not Donald Trump.

“Jeb Bush is the clear Republican presidential front-runner, surging to the front of the potential G.O.P. pack,” read the story on CNN’s website.

Surging. Jeb!

He had the support of 23 percent of respondents. That put him fully 10 points ahead of his nearest competitor, who was … Chris Christie. Next came Ben Carson, followed by Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. 

Need I remind anyone how that fearsome five fared?

We political junkies got far ahead of ourselves then, and we’re getting ahead of ourselves now. Almost 23 months before the 2020 election, we’re handicapping contenders, edging toward prophecies and setting ourselves up to look every bit as foolish as we deserve to. We don’t learn. That would get in the way of a guessing game that we relish too much.

Polls are being done at an accelerating pace. CNN released one late last week. It surveyed Democratic voters nationwide, among whom Joe Biden ranked first; Bernie Sanders, second; and Beto O’Rourke, third. So they’re the Bush, Christie and Carson analogues. If 2014 is any guide, they should spare themselves a lot of travel and a world of heartache and pack it in now.

Of course, 2014 isn’t a guide, but it’s a caveat. A reality check. Assessments of candidates at this early stage have limited bearing on how well they’ll be doing more than a year down the road, when the Iowa caucuses kick off the primary season. Too little has happened so far. Too much will happen in fairly short order.

At this juncture back then, Trump’s candidacy wasn’t even anticipated. Pollsters didn’t present his name to Republican voters as an option. That remained true in February 2015, when someone new did challenge Bush for front-runner status and then briefly wrest it from him: Scott Walker. If you forgot about his supposedly big promise, no wonder. His campaign wouldn’t last until the end of that year.

Trump finally came onto the radar and earned inclusion in polls around May 2015 — five months further into the process than where we are now. But he didn’t take the lead even then. In a Quinnipiac poll of Republican voters released on May 28, 2015, he placed eighth, just behind Ted Cruz. Cruz would be the only one, in the end, to give him any competition for the nomination.
While the 2016 presidential race was messy, it wasn’t a complete anomaly. The 2008 race, for example, looked very different this far ahead of Election Day than it did in the homestretch. A CNN/ORC poll in December 2006 showed that among Democrats, Hillary Clinton had more than double the support that Barack Obama did.

She remained 14 points ahead of him three months later, in a USA Today/Gallup poll that established an even more commanding front-runner on the Republican side: Rudy Giuliani. Republicans preferred him to John McCain by a margin of 44 percent to 20 percent. McCain, obviously, went on to become the nominee. Giuliani exited the contest in January 2008.

The volatility partly reflects how little attention most voters pay to the nomination contests until much later on. But it’s also a function of how much about the candidates remains unknown or has yet to emerge.

Sure, most of them have been vetted somewhat during prior runs for office. But whatever scrutiny they received, and whatever pressure they felt, pale next to the withering spotlight of a presidential bid. Previously overlooked discrepancies between their images and their reality will emerge; so will secrets. They’ll teeter, some of them. Others will implode. Just ask such short-lived hopefuls as Giuliani, Howard Dean and John Edwards.

Already I’m hearing debates about O’Rourke’s true politics that weren’t a big factor in his recently concluded Senate race; if he runs for president, he’ll have to explain a tension between his relatively moderate reputation in Congress and a more progressive tilt on the campaign trail.

Already Elizabeth Warren is suffering from an intensity of second-guessing that wasn’t there before she released her DNA test about two months ago. Maybe it’s a blip. Maybe not.

We think we know a lot about these candidates, and we do: their basic biographies, their professional accomplishments, their fluency so far at the microphone and in interviews.
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But we don’t have the most consequential information of all, at least in terms of their presidential ambitions. With the exception perhaps of Warren, who has given recent speeches on foreign policy and racial justice, we haven’t heard the specific, boiled-down cases for themselves — and their prescriptions for the country’s future — that they’ll present to American voters. We don’t know how persuasively they’ll communicate that. And we haven’t been able to judge how well it complements what voters are hungriest for now.

Trump is instructive. The phenomenon of his candidacy had everything to do with what he said when he came down that escalator in Trump Tower on June 16, 2015. He delivered a racially charged, anti-immigrant message with surprising resonance, and he did so — not just then but in the months afterward — with an unapologetic bluntness that many listeners interpreted as strength. That wasn’t easily foreseeable and, for the most part, it wasn’t foreseen.

Biden’s, Sanders’s and O’Rourke’s strong showing in current polls isn’t wholly irrelevant. It will help them with fund-raising. It will direct more media attention their way. It demonstrates that they’ve crossed the all-important threshold of widespread name recognition.

I was joking when I suggested that it spelled doom. But they shouldn’t be too encouraged by it. And the rest of us shouldn’t use it to write off other candidates.

I invite you to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter. You can follow me on Twitter (@FrankBruni).
Frank Bruni has been with The Times since 1995 and held a variety of jobs — including White House reporter, Rome bureau chief and chief restaurant critic — before becoming a columnist in 2011. He is the author of three best-selling books.  @FrankBruni • Facebook

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