Monday, February 01, 2016

Political update for February, 2015

Some predictions are called for -

Trump will win Iowa. I know this isn't earth-shaking. He's leading in the polls. But, as is well known, because of the caucus system, who has the best "ground game," that is, who can get the most people to the caucuses, often wins. And, Trump doesn't seem to have any kind of well running machine to do so. But, I think we will see the power of social media here.

Among the Democrats, I think Sanders will pull it off. Although there have been polls putting him in the lead, most still seem to show Clinton with a slim lead. The question here is will his strong youth following matter. I think it will. That's where all of the excitement is. Of course, the number of electors it will get is proportional so long as the candidate gets more than 5%.

Who drops out? Not Martin O'Malley, who I understood had a rally which 1 person attended. He stays in to see if Clinton will be derailed by the email scandal (I still doubt it) and then if the country will prefer him to the "socialist." But if Clinton dropped out early enough, I think Biden might jump in.  How Clinton and possibly others deal with Sanders' "socialism" will be enlightening. Because the word has a derogatory meaning in itself, Clinton, O'Malley and others don't apply it to themselves. But, for the outsider, there is no significant difference between mainstream Democrat views and Bernie Sanders. On some, he is to the right of them. But, if Clinton wins Iowa and, given that Sanders will almost certainly win New Hampshire, the other early states, it won't matter much.

Huckabee and Santorum will probably be gone after Iowa, though they might hang around for New Hampshire before making the "suspension" speech. I don't know if Cruz will drop out if he loses in Iowa. He might, but I'm sure he will be influenced by the number of delegates he gets - that is, the size of his loss. He has said he has to win there. Trump doesn't. This is the problem with Iowa - it exaggerates the importance of the evangelist votes. In any event, I think he will stay in.

I don't think there is a reason for Fiorina to stay in.  Maybe she fantasizes that Trump will say one crazy thing too far, but, it doesn't seem like it.  He has cornered the business person slot and despite her loquaciousness and intelligence, she can't compete with him. I gave her a chance for a while to see if I could prefer her, but, frankly, her personal attacks on Clinton are overblown and even dispiriting. Whether Gilmore will drop out, I won't even guess, because I cannot even understand his angry old man candidacy to begin with. I doubt he would get 2% in his home state. But, the other low scoring candidates who are either governors or senators each have their reason to stay around at least through, because for varying reasons, they hope when others pull out, they will get the votes in their "slot." More wishful thinking. It is mostly wishful thinking, but, understandable. Carson may suspend after New Hampshire. Like Cruz, if he can't win Iowa, he can't win period. I think he knows that.

That's it for now. Could be updates.

UPDATE. It's the following day. Predictions laying on the ground in pieces. Mostly, anyway. That's okay. It's been that way with my football picks this year and even our tv pundits admit all political predictions are pretty meaningless. The glorified blog, which is rightly admired, sub-heads its section on how they make their predictions with "and why we might be wrong."  I thought there was a good chance that Trump, actually leading in the Iowa polls, would beat Cruz's ground game in Iowa. Nope. It does rankle a lot when you think about everything Cruz's campaign pulled, including, maybe, spreading a rumor that Carson was dropping out after Iowa (at least, so they say on Morning Joe - his campaign manager denies it and says they only repeated what Carson said publicly) and the "Violation" mailing. Still, he won and that is that. No one is taking it away.

The power of the ground game in Iowa's caucuses is probably unique in presidential politics. Almost all polls had Trump ahead and many with Cruz declining. Even the glorified, which calculates results based mostly on polls, gave Trump the best odds to win.  Ironically, virtually everyone has been wrong about Trump from the beginning - and now even when he doesn't win.   Trump made a gracious speech and Rubio actually gave a victory speech after coming in third, which I still don't understand. Politicians. Sheesh.

I also thought it made sense for O'Malley to hang tough, although his campaign has been pathetic, because if Clinton has legal troubles, and Biden stays out, he has at least a shot. He has "suspended" his campaign, which will save him a worse beating.

I also called the Democrat race Sanders, and I don't really feel bad about that one, as they are, as of right now, 5 votes apart. Five. That's amazing, and, apparently, some people decided by flipping a coin. Not bad for the "socialist." Probably she will stay ahead ever so slightly. But, he still has a shot.

People are always knocking the polls. Sometimes they are right and sometimes wrong as to a winner, but in general, they are usually very accurate. Take a look at's prognostications, for example. Other than the reverse order of Trump and Cruz, they were extremely accurate.

Anyway, now that it is done, I'm sure Cruz will be trying to say he has the momentum, but just as we know how important the ground game is in Iowa, we know that state will probably will not pick the president. Other than Texas, this is really Cruz's one basket so far. I do not like Trump much. He says awful things (he just told a crowd to knock the crap out of anyone with a tomato and he'd pick up the legal bills. Really, what if they kill him or seriously hurt him? Or her?) But I like Cruz even less, admiring only his steadfastness. At least Trump respects, or says he respects, rule of law. As I've said many times, I like only Kasich in this field (though getting a little fondness for Bush, who is showing humility, something sorely lacking in most of the other candidates), but he has a little better chance than I do, except in New Hampshire, where he might finish second or third.

I still expect that Trump will win the whole shebang. New Hampshire likes to go its own way and they can really surprise. I'm still thinking they will send him on his way and that once it is done, we will have far fewer candidates.

The big story is still one we may never know if lips stay shut tight and journalists who would like to know (many would not) don't do their job. I'm talking about whether there could possibly be an indictment of Clinton. I still don't see it happening. It would be historic and an amazing story. What would she do? Suspend her campaign or push through? I say the latter. I expect that the White House has its thumb on the scale - nothing ever expressly said, but there all the same - and then there is the problem of the super-secret emails which Clinton would try to force them to reveal if she has to defend herself. Other prosecutions have crashed for this reason. Of course, it might make her even more popular.

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .