Democratic Nevada Caucus

So, it’s now predicted that Hillary Clinton will win the Nevada caucuses by around 4%. However, it needs to be pointed out that according to all the polls prior to 2 weeks ago, she was supposed to win by 20%. Yet, since she managed to win Nevada by that narrow 4% margin, the pundits are claiming she is a shoe in for the Democratic nomination, which is odd, since they claimed the same thing in 2008 when she managed to beat Obama and win Nevada by 10% (which is 6% more than the 4%). We all know how well that went for President Hillary… Oh, right.

Now, once again, I want to make it clear that I haven’t made up my mind on who I’d vote for in November. And even if I had a candidate I liked more than any of the others, since I’m not affiliated with any party (not even Independent) I won’t caucus or vote in a primary. So nothing matters to me until everything shakes out and we have actual nominees to research and decide upon. However, with all that said, it’s not Hillary who I’m confused about today. I think she ran a good campaign in Nevada and her victory speech was far more open and inclusive of the American people. It was a whole lot less about HER and how she would do things for people, and more about how everyone working together can make a change.

What has me scratching my head are the pundits and commentators reporting Hillary’s win.

They’re all acting as if Hillary has no history of losing steam to a rising star with a groundswell of support from young and disenfranchised voters. It’s happened before and, when you look at the numbers, it appears to be happening again. Sanders was supposed to lose big in Nevada, this was supposed to be Hillary’s “Firewall”. But winning by only 4% when she was supposed to win by over 20% may be enough of a “win” for Sanders to keep his momentum going into Super Tuesday.

Whatever the case, I can’t imagine the Democratic race ending anytime soon.

GeekMan’s South Carolina Republican Primary Thoughts

Tonight is yet another Presidential primary debate, this time the South Carolina Republican debate. And once again, I’ll be live blogging my thoughts and reactions the entire time. What makes this debate so interesting is two important newsworthy events. First; the group of candidates has narrowed considerably with only six (SIX!) candidates left standing after the New Hampshire caucuses. Businessman Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Of these six, both Kasich and Carson will need to do well in the South Carolina primary, or their campaign’s will probably implode.

The second newsworthy event just happened a few hours ago when it was announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. He was a very conservative judge, and I think everyone on that stage will have an opinion on who should be the one to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice, whether that should be the current President, or whoever the next President will be.

So, let’s get this party started!

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I guess they learned their lesson from the last debate. They called everyone to the stage first and THEN announced their names. Well, at least this way Carson won’t miss his walk-on cue.

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I wonder if Trump would have gotten the applause he just received for his call to, “Delay, delay, delay.” any Supreme Court Justice Obama might nominate if the Republican audience in attendance were willing to believe that Clinton or Sanders was going to win the Presidency in November.

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Rubio is coming out strong tonight. No 30 second, prepared talking points for him this time.

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Wow, Trump and Bush are really starting to get on each other”s nerves. Their back and forth on foreign policy, specifically dealing with ISIS and Putin, is so nasty it’s almost embarrassing to the entire Republican party.

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Trump keeps getting boo’ed for nearly everything he says. And now there are actual insults flying between Bush and Trump over family members and 9/11, of all things. And then Trump insults G.W. Bush during a GOP debate which allows everyone else on stage to declare how much they love G.W. for keeping them safe after 9/11. Which, of course, leads to a Trump diatribe on how G.W. lied to America. OMG, Trump is almost literally chewing the scenery as he turns a brighter shade of orange while shouting at the world about how horrible G.W. was. And every other candidate is having a hard time containing their laughter.

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I just want to take a moment to give a shout out to the moderators, they’re not letting the candidates get away with avoiding the questions.

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Cruz just proposed a flat tax and Rubio is proposing that families should be able to get the same tax write offs as corporations. Both are interesting, and not traditionally Republican, ideas.

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Now Bush is attacking Kasich for no reason I can discern. I’m beginning to believe both Bush AND Trump are a little angry and slightly unhinged this evening, although at least Bush has enough self control to avoid chewing the scenery as he attacks.

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Rubio is really nailing his debate performance tonight. Of course, after his last performance I’m sure he practiced like heck so he wouldn’t repeat that debacle.

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And now, just to keep things interesting, Cruz and Rubio are going after each other over immigration. OMG, Rubio just questioned Cruz’s ability to speak Spanish and Cruz just answered in Spanish.

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On a side note, the crowd is too distracting during this debate. CBS is not doing a good job of crowd control and it’s making this debate difficult to follow.

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As of right now, Kasich is certainly coming across as the most moderate, and sanest, of the candidates. He’s the only adult on a stage of crazy children.

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Another commercial break and I have a few thoughts. One; Trump is not doing well at all. He appears to be on the verge of a complete meltdown on the stage and I think Jeb is doing his best to push Trump over the edge. Two; Right now I feel that Rubio, Cruz and Bush are doing exceptionally well, Kasich is acting the most “adult”, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to help him gain voters. Trump is having a meltdown, and Carson… why is he still on the stage?

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Here we go! Trump attacks Cruz, calling him the biggest liar on the stage and a nasty guy. When Cruz tries to speak, Trump shouts over him. The moderators can’t get a handle on this train wreck and Trump is about to cross over from Presidential candidate to comic book villain. If he whips out a mask and cape, I’m going to name him The Trumpeteer.

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Trumps face has so orange that it’s begun to blend in with the backdrop behind the stage, like an angry, sunburned chameleon.

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Even though this debate is basically the Trump/Bush show, I think Rubio, Cruz and Bush are doing the best. Rubio isn’t getting much airtime, but he’s really doing well with what he is getting. Cruz is also having a great night whenever he has a chance to speak. And Bush is deflecting every Trump attack and hitting back with pointed remarks. Of course, I’m sure Trump will find a way to spin his horrendous performance into gold, but right now he seems to be completely unhinged.

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Closing remarks (as I hear them):

Kasich – I’m an adult! Listen to me as I adult. Guys, what’s with all the hate? Can’t we all just get along?

Carson – Why am I on this stage? Maybe I should quote Stalin… yeah. That’s a good idea.

Bush – I’ll be the best President because I know what to do when nature strikes. We had rain in Florida when I was Governor, so… yeah. Vote Jeb!

Rubio – Today in America wrong is right, right is wrong and if you don’t vote for me then there could very well be human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! See? I’m not a robot!

Cruz – I’ll be the best President because I don’t have anything else to do since I don’t have any friends and my family doesn’t like me. Wait, did I say that out loud?

Trump – Trump winner! These guys losers. Make great! Trump SMASH!

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Okay, overall this was the most INSANE Presidential debate I’ve ever seen. It was a verbal wrestling match with nearly every candidate jumping into the ring almost without provocation. Trump was totally bonkers, attacking his fellow candidates left and right, failing to answer questions and, when asked for more detail on his policies, completely dodging the questions by attacking someone else. Now, Trump’s base has been loyal throughout his campaign so I’m not sure his performance tonight will actually hurt him, but I’m pretty confident it won’t help him gain any new votes. Cruz had a strong night, deflecting every attack aimed at him while sticking to his policy talking points. His performance may have helped gain a few more voters. Rubio, who needed a great performance in order to wash off the stink of his last horrendous Marcobot debate debacle, was at his best. He not only answered questions in specific detail, he even managed to get in a few good zingers. Bush was perhaps the most improved of the debate. He stood up to Trump and actually managed to get under Trump’s skin so deeply this evening that I think he was the main reason Trump went off the rails. More impressively, he also managed to answer questions in detail and call the other candidates policies into question at the same time. A very polished and improved performance from Bush. Kasich is still the most moderate of the Republican candidates during an election season where everyone seems to be leaning further and further to the right. I think he did a good job of answering questions, but his constant pleas for civility during the debate might not help him gain votes when the constituency seems to want a bloodbath. Lastly, there’s Carson. His performance was, once again, forgettable. I’m fairly certain he’ll be the next to drop out of the race, most likely after the South Carolina primary when he comes in dead last.

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And that ends my live blog of the South Carolina Republican Primary debate. If you enjoyed reading it, please leave me a comment below!

GeekMan’s Milwaukee Democratic Primary Thoughts

Tonight I’ll be reviving this dusty blog the only way I know how; by live-blogging the Milwaukee Democratic Presidential Primary Debate. I’ve been actively live-posting my thoughts on Facebook of each of the previous Presidential debates, both Democratic and Republican, and I think my FB posts have gotten large enough to warrant their own place on the web, instead of being buried and forgotten on FB.

One thing to note; unlike most live blogs, this one will not run bottom up. I’m keeping all my thoughts contained within a single post so everything will flow from oldest post (this one) at the top, to the last post on the bottom. This way you, the reader, can read everything in order without having to scroll up to read my thoughts in order. So, if you’re reading along while the debate is progressing and you’ve reached the end of the page, hit the refresh button on your browser because I’ve most likely made another post.

And now, without further ado, I give you GeekMan’s Primary Thoughts.

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And we’re off. Opening statements seem to be their standard talking points. Bernie is hitting all of his standard checklist items of wanting a revolution where everyone comes together to make a change from the bottom up. And even though he isn’t chewing the scenery during his delivery this time, you can feel how hard it is for him to keep it under control. Hillary is still talking about how she’s going to do things for people and how she’s going to make progress, but she never seems to include all the voters in her plans.

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Shallow observation time.

Someone managed to comb Bernie’s hair, but he hasn’t been able to get control of his flailing hands.
Clinton looks very poised, but I’m wondering how the choice was made to wear the gold, mandarin-collard jacket.

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First question leads directly to health care, one of the pretty clear differences between the two candidates. They both want the same thing, but Bernie wants to start a war with drug companies and politicians to get universal health care while Hillary wants to continue making incremental changes to ObamaCare until we reach 100% coverage.

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So far, three questions in, and Hillary is beginning to get a little specific with her plans, talking about the costs and how she’s hoping to find the money. Bernie is still sticking to broad strokes and little to no details on how he’ll get the money to accomplish his goals.

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Racism seems to be a topic where both candidates want the same goals with little real difference in how they want to reach those goals.

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Immigration question, specifically deportation. Bernie stands tall and promises no more deportations under a Sanders Presidency and that, should Congress disagree, he’d use Executive Orders to force immigration reform. Clinton doesn’t go as far as saying she’d use Executive Orders, but she does promise to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 to 12 million undocumented people living in America.

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A little heated exchange on Social Security. Not on the ultimate goal, where they both seem to agree. But with the method of making that happen and the plans they’ve put forth… well, let’s just say Bernie doesn’t believe Hillary has a plan at all.

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Campaign Finance question gets both candidates fired up as they hit their standard talking points on how evil Wall Street is and how tough they’d be on big banks. Once again, Bernie brought up the idea that having a superpac and getting large donations from major corporations might leave a candidate beholden to their donors once elected. Hillary shot back with her tried and true fact about how Obama was the recipient of the largest superpac in Democratic history when he ran for President, and how it didn’t stop him from doing what needed to be done when facing the great recession.

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And we’re at the halfway mark. Time for a commercial break!

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Foreign Policy:
Hillary’s strongest category, thanks to her four years as Secretary of State. Bernie is weak here, but getting better and is actually making a few good points this time, which I chalk up to good coaching. But no matter how you slice it, Hillary is much stronger than Bernie in this category and it shows.

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The night’s biggest tussle comes right before closing arguments when Hillary implies that Bernie is too critical of Obama to be the Democratic nominee and Bernie fires back that disagreement isn’t the same as criticism.

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Closing arguments:
Back to standard rhetoric and talking points for both candidates. Boring.

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And we’re done. Something I noticed during this debate is that Hillary is really tying herself to Obama in every way she can. For good or ill, she wants to be seen as the heir apparent to the Obama presidency. And Bernie used most of his debate time to try to appeal to minority voters, talking about incarceration rates, education reform, etc.

So, when all’s said and done, I’m not sure any minds will be changed by this debate. Overall, the tone of the candidates answers leads me to believe that they’re beginning to broaden their rhetoric to appeal to more than their base supporters. In my opinion, Hillary did a little better than Bernie tonight, thanks to her obvious knowledge of local issues, like name dropping the Wisconsin Governor, mentioning Unions, recalling Flint, etc.. Bernie relied a lot more on his standard talking points and rarely added any new data to his well-established talking points, which could be problematic as people get a little weary of hearing the same thing at every debate.

Good Night!