Lyin’ Ted vs Lyin’ Donald

Since the Iowa Caucus Donald Trump has been calling Ted Cruz a liar. Trump’s supporters often point to that night and the actions of the Cruz campaign as indicative of some fatal flaw in the presidential campaign of Ted Cruz. Trump, himself, almost always refers to Cruz as “lyin’ Ted” on twitter. Has Cruz lied since then? Maybe. Has he misconstrued his opponent’s positions on an issue? Likely. But that’s not the focus of the “Lyin’ Ted” moniker. It always goes back to the Iowa Caucus.

I said back then, and will say again, that I think Cruz didn’t handle this situation correctly. But his campaign wasn’t the only people that night to make a mistake.

If you remember, for some idiotic reason, Ben Carson’s campaign sent out a weird message right before the Iowa caucuses began. They said that Carson wouldn’t be going directly to the next battleground, but would return home. I have no idea who green lit this message, at this time. It was not something that had to be sent right then. And the timing set things in motion.

Iowa caucuses are weird. People make speeches and try to convince others to support their candidates before the votes are taken. Right before the speeches began, the Carson news was reported on several outlets. I saw it on twitter. My immediate thought was, “He must be dropping out.” It made no sense for this information to come out then unless he was leaving the race. It was just a weird statement to send to media.

16 minutes before the caucus started CNN broadcast that Carson was not going to New Hampshire or South Carolina, but instead heading home to Florida. One reporter, Dana Bash, said on air, “If you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida,”

Someone in the Cruz campaign had the bright idea to send out a message to the people about to speak in each caucus site, telling them that it looked like Carson was out. Their interpretation was the same as mine when I heard he was going home. I wouldn’t have sent the message without double checking the report. They obviously didn’t check it. A quick decision that turned out to be a mistake.

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That’s a copy of the message sent to the caucus speakers. CNN was reporting that very thing. It made sense. Carson was not expected to do well. The polls had him at 9%. (He actually got a little over 9.3%). Frankly, he should have been dropping out. That’s probably why CNN was talking about him going home on air.

Carson’s campaign quickly put out another statement saying that he was just going home to get a change of clothes. Again, weird. But OK, Carson needed some time. That’s his business, I guess. But it was too late to stop the Cruz campaign speakers.

As soon as it became known that Cruz’s campaign has sent this email Carson and Trump cried foul. Ted Cruz personally apologized for the incident. Carson used it to further his campaign. Remember, Carson actually got more of the vote than was expected, even though this information had been sent. Trump, upset about losing to Cruz, threw a #Trumpertantrum on twitter and has continued to call Cruz a liar because of it.

I feel that the Cruz campaign made a big mistake in sending that message out. I felt like Cruz should have fired someone over it. I can see how it happened, and why it was sent. Someone was over eager to score votes from what they thought was a defunct campaign. This wasn’t something they made up out of thin air. This wasn’t just a blatant lie. Remove the odd statement from Carson, take away the CNN reporting, and this never happens.

But it did happen. And Trump supporters love to remind Cruz supporters of it, and accuse Cruz of being a liar. Lying’ Ted.

OK, for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ted Cruz is a dirty rotten liar, and this horrible liar is disqualified from being president because of this lie. If one lie disqualifies a candidate, how can anyone support Donald Trump?

I was reading a story the other day about how Trump lies so casually and continually that reporters don’t have time to check them all before they have to meet their deadlines. There are just so many times Trump is less than truthful. For instance, Earlier this month Donald Trump cancelled a rally in Chicago because he said the police recommended he should. The CPD spokesman says they never said that.

Or take this from just a couple of days ago. Trump was campaigning in Arizona, a Southern border state. Fox news reported this:
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Forget the Cruz birther junk in the beginning. The last sentence. Trump knows that Cruz was never for amnesty. At most you could make a case that he once was for legalization, but not amnesty. Even Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter, says that Cruz proposed the legalization amendment to the Gang of 8 bill so it would end up not being passed. Trump knows Cruz does not support amnesty. So that was a blatant, calculated lie.

If one so called lie, which had zero impact on the caucus results, disqualifies Cruz, how do so many lies not also disqualify Trump?

Why Elections Matter: #SCOTUS

The current controversy over selecting a Unites States Supreme Court justice to replace Scalia is an prime example of why elections matter.

As soon as the news was out. Before the cause of death had been released,before President Obama had said he intends to nominate a replacement, Republicans were warning that they would hold off until the next President to fill the vacancy on the bench. This was, and will continue to be, criticized in the media and by Democrats. make no mistake, this is a very political issue.

They complain, rightly, that Obama is the President now, and he gets to nominate a replacement. They are correct. It is the President’s duty to select and nominate someone to fill the hole in the Supreme Court. That does not change because it’s an election year.

It is the US Senate’s job to confirm or reject any nomination. That does not change because it’s an election year.

If Justice Scalia had passed 6 years ago, back when the Democrats had a supermajority, republicans would have railed against any pick the President might make, but there would have been little they could have done about it. The people of the USA had elected a Democrat as President and a majority of Democrats in the Congress. Elections matter.

If 4 years ago the people had elected Mitt Romney, and we still had a Republican controlled Senate today, Republicans would be saying the President (who would be in the middle of a reelection campaign) should select a replacement, and the Senate would likely confirm that replacement. Because elections matter.

Today, we have a Democrat on the Oval Office, and the people of the USA have elected a Republican controlled Senate. that was that Obama has every right, and even a duty, to nominate replacements. And the US Senate has every right and duty to hold hearings and to confirm or reject those nominations. Because elections matter.

We, the people of the USA, elect representatives to govern us. Our governing document, the US Constitution, has a series of checks and balances. In this case, one branch of the government (Executive) cannot unilaterally appoint members of another (Judicial). The Legislative branch has the right and requirement to weigh in on the process. This is done through “advice and consent” not just advice.

We, the people, influence these decisions by electing people who reflect our will. If we had not elected a majority of Republicans to the Senate, then the President would likely nominate and see his nomination confirmed. But we didn’t. Elections matter.

IowaCaucusGate: What Cruz Should Do

Is that a thing? Are we calling this controversy that yet? Caucus-gate?

I wrote before about Trump’s twitter melt down over someone in Cruz’s campaign telling potential voters Carson had dropped out before the Iowa Caucus. This boils down to 1 delegate. Just one. Cruz won 7, Trump won 6 in Iowa.

If I was Cruz I would agree that if it can be shown to mutual satisfaction that just one precinct would have voted for Trump over Cruz if this information had not been shared by the Cruz campaign, I would give that delegate to Trump. I don’t know if that is actually possible, but if it is, then so be it. He can have it.

Or, in a bolder move, just give him the delegate outright, right now.

This election will not come down to 1 delegate at the Republican convention. If Cruz could do this, it would deflate the bluster from Trump. It would show that Cruz is above the petty junk of the campaign, and is taking the high road. In the end, Trump loses.

Trump Melts Down Over Iowa Caucus, But He Should Move On

During the Iowa Caucus the other night twitter was full of reports that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. For some reason they felt it was necessary to announce that Carson was taking a few days off. Getting clean clothes, or something, is how they put it. immediately everyone was speculating that he was about to drop out of the race. There was so much speculation that the Carson campaign had to send a memo out telling everyone that they were still in the race.

This all happened about the time that the Iowa Caucus was getting going. Evidence has come to light that someone from ted Cruz’s campaign seized on the speculation that Carson was dropping out, and sent out emails to the “reps” at the caucus sites, encouraging them to announce this information and try to get Carson voters to switch over.

Maybe you didn’t know that was how the Iowa Caucus worked. People show up, and before they vote, someone speaks for each candidate. Every candidate had the chance for someone to speak for them.

Today, after an unexpectedly civil initial reaction from Trump losing to Cruz, he used twitter to sort of melt down about “fraud” and lies and deceit. See the tweets below (latest to earliest):
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So, a couple of things about this line of thought.

  1. We’re talking about the difference between Trump (or someone else) getting 7 delegates or the 6 he has now. Iowa doesn’t award all of their delegates to the overall winner, but splits them up based on what precincts they win. If this race comes down to one delegate at the primary, this might be something to bring up then. But it won’t.
  2. The Carson campaign had the exact same opportunity to speak to the voters that Cruz did. Easy to set the record straight. “No, sorry, Carson is just taking a couple of days off. He is still in the race.” Why did this not happen? Or did it?
  3. In essence, Trump is saying that Carson voters would move to Cruz rather than any of the other candidates, including himself. Assuming anyone actually switched their votes, do we know they didn’t choose another candidate? Was Rubio’s larger than expected numbers influenced by this Carson rumor? It’s all speculation.
  4. The only reason this is even a discussion is because someone in the Cruz campaign said the same thing that non campaign people were saying, and they said it in an official communication. They didn’t make it up, they repeated a rumor, and if it hadn’t gone through their official network, it wouldn’t be an issue. Cruz should figure out who made that choice (and who ever came up with the mailer that was so dumb) and take the necessary disciplinary steps. Cruz has already apologized to Carson.
  5. I’m about 99% positive that no Carson voter would ever vote for Trump. carson is the anti-Trump, in just about every way a conservative can be. If at some point Carson drops out, none of his voters will ever go to the Trump camp. So long term, this does not affect Trump at all. it’s 1 delegate in the first primary.

No one really knows what might have happened. Carson’s campaign released an ill timed announcement. (Ill conceived? Did anyone need to know this?) Someone in Cruz’s campaign made a poor choice, assumed the rumors were true, and acted without all the facts. In the end, would it really make a difference? One delegate.

What Trump should do (I can’t believe I’m giving advice to Trump…) is leave things as he did after his speech on Monday night and focus on winning NH and SC.

Donald Trump’s Style May Hurt Him in the End

It’s about 14 months before the 2016 election and Donald Trump is leading the Republican primary race. He’s well ahead of just about everyone. He’s tracking at 30+%. The next closest candidate is Ben Carson. Everyone else is single digits. We are about to hit the 2nd Primary debate.

Let me say up front, I’m not a Trump supporter. If the election comes down to Trump vs Clinton, then I may consider moving out of the country. But regardless of my feelings about Trump, I don’t remember another candidate like him.

Trump’s candidacy has been characterized by seemingly apolitical behavior. On the positive, he doesn’t play political games. He says what he thinks. And people respond to his passion and candor.

On the negative, he’s an obnoxious jerk. I heard someone describe another politician as unfiltered. I think that same description could apply to Trump. He doesn’t pull punches, and he often says things that get him in trouble. More than one controversy has has caught fire over a comment he made during his campaign.

His competitive edge has served him well in business, but it may not in politics. It’s true that he has dominated the early political field for this election. But as he keeps insulting his rivals, he widens the divide between himself and the rest of the Republican party. I’ve heard others talking about this as well.

It’s true that Trump’s style and persona appeal to many people. That’s why he is ahead in the polls. But many of the things that his supporters like about him drive other’s away. As Trump continues to be adversarial and other Republican candidates fall out of the race, what reason do they have to throw their support to him?

30% seems like a lot when there are 10 people in the race. But if trump can’t pick up supporters as people fall out, well, right now almost 70% of Republicans don’t support him.

The more insulting and obnoxious he is, the less likely Republicans who don’t already support him will shift over if their preferred candidate drops out of the race. Trump could find himself with only 30% support next year. And that’s not enough for the nomination.