Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why the .05 DUI limit should not be law in Utah...yet.

Utah has made another alcohol law that seems silly.  That is until you do your research.  Even though sound research backs it up, there are good reasons that Utah should not be the first state that should pass this law.

About the science.  We must recognize that every body is different and we all metabolize alcohol differently.  Some people who have had enough to drink to put their BAC at .05 may be perfectly sound and safe to drive.  Other people may not be.  .05 is considered legally intoxicated in Germany, the beer capitol of the world.  If the beer capitol of the world thinks it should be .05, I'm not going to argue.   However, most Germans will not drive their newly purchased Mercedes to the pub and then drive home.  Most will ride home with a non-drinking friend or take a cab both to and from the place where they will get stoned out of their minds.

That is the standard that I would like all Americans to adopt.  If you are going out to drink, don't drive there.  Take a cab to the place where you will drink.  If you take a cab there, you will take a cab home.  If you don't drive there, you won't be tempted to drive home.  Simple enough?

Utah is not a good state to begin the push for .05 in the US.  There are two reasons for this.  First, it deepens the divide between Mormons and non-Mormons in Utah.  Yes, there are judgmental and pretentious Mormons, just like every other Christian sect.  There are some Latter-Day Saints, such as myself, who enjoy and cherish our relationships with our non-LDS friends and wish that the Utah State Legislature would do less with our liquor laws and focus efforts elsewhere, like fighting bankruptcy or air pollution or some real problem in this state.  DUIs are not really a big problem in Utah.  Which brings me to point 2.

Utah already has the lowest DUI rates in the country.  It is not because of our liquor laws.  Therefore, it is not a good test ground for .05 BAC.  States that are in the middle ground for DUI rates, like Georgia and Illinois would be better test grounds for this than Utah.  States where lowering the DUI to .05 would make a difference in the DUI rate.  People who drink in Utah are probably not going to be persuaded to stop because of a lower BAC.  Perhaps it will have the opposite effect.

Governor Herbert plans to call the legislature into special session to fix some problems with the law.  You might say that he should have vetoed the bill.  I think if he had, the veto could have been overridden with little chance to negotiate for something better.  The law will not go into effect until December of 2018.  There is time.  If I were in the legislature, I would want a provision for the law not to go into effect until at least 9 other states have done the same thing.  If it really is a good thing, it will catch on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Myths About Term Limits Debunked...

1.  Term Limits will end career politicians.

Here is a career that fits will within term limit laws:

Politician A.

Spends 12 years as a City Councilwoman, First Elected at age 25
Spends 8 years as City Mayor, First Elected at age 37
Spends 8 years in State Legislature, First Elected at age 45
Spends 12 years in US House of Representatives, First Elected at age 53

Years in Politics: 44 Years, Retires at age 65.
Sounds like a good career to me.

Truth.  Term limits will do nothing more that limit the number of years a person spends in Congress.  Period.  It all depends on the context of the term, "Career Politician."

2.  Term Limits will promote new ideas.

The idea here is that with new people coming into the office every 12 years, that the new person will bring new ideas with them.  That the old ideas will go away when the old politician is forced out of office.

There are 15 states that have term limit laws.  One of them is California.  Their law has been on the books for 27 years.  I have found, in my research, at least three attempts to change the law over the years.  Why?  If California's term limit laws are so effective, why are they trying to change it?

New ideas are needed.  The real problem is that those who are new in office and more likely to bring new ideas to the table, are often shuffled to the back of the room by those who have been in office for a long time.  The most powerful in Congress today are those who serve as committee chairs.  Those who serve as committee chairs are those who have paid their dues, who have been in office for years.

The reason for this is experience.  It mimics what is done in the real world.  How many companies are run by those who are fresh out of college?  Companies that turn a nose to the new ideas brought to the table by recent college graduates tend to pay the price.  But, if a company is not run by the founder, it is run by someone with experience.  There is a reason for this.  Perhaps there is a better way to remind those who are at the top levels of congress to listen to the new representatives, but at the end of the day, experience will rule out.

3.  Term limits will end corruption.

The idea is that the longer people are in power, the more they are corrupted by it.  However, it's not hard to find honest, hard-working people who have been in congress a long time.  One must remember that a US Senator serves for 6-year terms.  With term limits, what would they do with the second 6 years?  Whatever they want.  It may actually weaken the resistance to "cash in" before their time is up.  What would you do in your job if you had no accountability for six whole years?

There is nothing about term limits that will prevent special interest groups from buying influence...if you believe that that goes on.  It is also possible that that money will be used to hand-pick successors where it now goes to helping incumbents.  This might actually increase political corruption instead of ending it.  But there really have been no studies on this and one could effectively argue both sides of this coin.

In some states with term limits, those trying to buy-in simply go to the executive branch instead of the legislative.  At the federal level, if you can't go to the Chief Executive, you go to the bureaucrats.  Legislation may end up getting replaced by uncontrolled regulation or deregulation by those who aren't accountable to the voters, and this is something that the same people who argue for term limits are definitely against.  It goes on now and it will continue to happen with term limits and might even increase with an inexperienced Congress.  This is likely something that neither major political party really wants.  Term limits will do nothing to address bureaucratic corruption, but yet give that extra-constitutional fourth branch of government more power.

Let me offer some alternative solutions

1.  End the practice of gerrymandering.  Require that congressional district boundaries be drawn by non-partisan panels, that they are not only contiguous, and as geographically proportional as possible.  No more congressional districts designed to favor any political party, any race, any gender, any religion.

2.  Allow members of Congress to be impeached and removed from office by their state legislatures.  The only real way to end corruption is to punish it.  As of today, the only people who can punish members of the US Congress are members of the US Congress.  As much as I respect The Founders, I think that they missed something here.  In all areas, members of Congress should ultimately be accountable to the people they represent, especially in wrong-doing.

3.  Support reforms that make it harder for members of Congress to get reelected, instead of easier.  In too many states, and especially in gerrymandered districts, incumbents get a free pass to re-election.  This should not be the case.  Incumbents should be forced to justify keeping their job every single election.  The harder they work to return to officer, the more accountable they will be and the less corrupt they will be.  Term limits will do not a thing to accomplish this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Who could be the first female president

We did not make history by electing the first female president in 2016.  Having experienced strong female leaders in my career, too many to mention, I have no doubt that a woman will one day win the presidency.  It will probably be soon.

Hillary Rodham Clinton just turned 69 years old.  If she were to run and get elected in 2020, she would become the oldest person to be elected president for the first time at age 73, beating Donald Trump by about 3 years and Ronald Reagan by just a few days longer than Trump.  Sooner or later, her age and health will catch up to her.  It is likely that Hillary will not run for political office again.

Here is a list of women who could, perhaps as soon as 2020, win the White House:

The governorship of a state is the most common path the the White House, here are the current female governors.  There are six currently serving, about half and half from each party.

Susana Martinez, Republican, New Mexico, term expires in 2019 and she is not eligible to run again
Mary Fallin, Republican, Oklahoma, term expires in 2019 and she is not eligible to run again
Kate Brown, Democrat, Oregon
Gina Raimondo, Democrat, Rhode Island
Nikki Haley, Republican, South Carolina, term expires in 2019 and she is not eligible to run again
Muriel Brewster, Democrat, DC, which has just voted to accept statehood, however it still needs to be approved by Congress and signed into law by the President.

The US Senate is a path that many have used to become the president.  Here is a list of female US Senators in the 115th Congress.

Lisa Murkowski, Republican, Alaska, just re-elected, term up in 2022
Diane Feinstein, Democrat, California, term up in 2018
Kamala Harris, Democrat, California, just elected, term up in 2022
Mazie Horono, Democrat, Hawaii, term up in 2018
Joni Ernst, Republican, Iowa, term up in 2020
Susan Collins, Republican, Maine, term up in 2020
Elizabeth Warren, Democrat, Massachusetts, term up in 2018
Debbie Stebenow, Democrat, Michigan, term up in 2018
Amy Klobuchar, Democrat, Minnesota, term up in 2018
Clair McCaskill, Democrat, Missouri, term up in 2018
Deb Fisher, Republican, Nebraska, term up in 2018
Maggie Hassan, Democrat, New Hampshire, just elected, term up in 2022
Jeane Shaheen, Democrat, New Hampshire, term up in 2020
Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat, New York, term up in 2018
Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat, North Dakota, term up in 2018
Patty Murray, Democrat, Washington, just re-elected, term up in 2022
Maria Cantwell, Democrat, Washington, term up in 2018
Shelly Moore Capito, Republican, West Virginia
Tammy Baldwin, Democrat, Wisconsin, term up in 2018

Having a term in an off-year, such as after the 2018 mid-term election.  This will give that person two years to focus on the White House, without having another job to do.

List of female CEOs.  Now that Donald Trump has opened the door for a corporate CEO to become president, the next person to step through it might be a woman.  I do not know the political affiliation of any of these women.  These women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Mary Barra, General Motors (Possible Democrat)
Heather Bresch, Mylan, Inc (Democrat)
Ursula Burns, Xerox (Democrat)
Debra Cafaro, Ventas (Possible Democrat)
Susan Cameron, Reynolds (Possible Republican)
Safra Catz, Oracle (Possible Democrat)
Lynn Good, Duke Energy (Political Leanings Unknown)
Shira Goodman, Staples (Possible Democrat)
Tricia Griffith, The Progressive (Political Leanings Unknown)
Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin (Possible Republican)
Vicki Hollub, Occidental Petroleum (Political Leanings Unknown)
Gracia Martore, TEGNA (Possible Democrat)
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo (Possible Democrat)
Beth Mooney, Key (Possible Republican)
Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup (Possible Democrat)
Indra Nooyi, Pepsico (Possible Democrat, but has been critical of policies of both parties.)
Phebe Novakovic, General Dynamics (Political Leanings Unknown)
Patricia Poppe, CMS Energy (Political Leanings Unknown)
Debra Reed, Sempra Energy (Possible Republican)
Barbara Rentler, Ross Stores (Political Leanings Unknown)
Virginia Rometty, IBM (Possible Democrat)
Irene Rosenfeld, Mondelez International (Political Leanings Unknown--Criticized by both political parties, likely a Libertarian.)
Meg Whitman, HP (Possible Republican)

Probably, the first female president in on one of the lists above  Many of these women, whether you like what they have accomplished or not, have accomplished as much or even much more that Hillary Rodham Clinton ever did.  They just do not have the name recognition right now.  Name recognition is why one of the above women have not yet run for the presidency.  Perhaps one of these women will get the name recognition they need to run in 2020.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump

As the Election of 2012 was beginning to ramp up, Donald J. Trump, a man who had no political experience was beginning to explore the idea of running for the presidency.  At that time, I wrote that he would divide the Republican party.  That turned out to be true in 2016.  Yes, in spite of that party division, and all other odds, Donald Trump succeeded to become the first person to became elected president who had neither served before in public office nor rose to the rank of Major General in the United States military.  If Trump is successful, he opens the doors for many with a background like his to run for this office in the future.  Perhaps the change the country needs.

I saw data in my office before I finished work for the day.  Exit polling in the evening was showing an interesting trend.  In my house were expecting a Clinton landslide, even though none of us voted for her.  However, leaked evening exit polls that I saw began to show that Trump had a chance in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and even Pennsylvania.  It was beginning to look like Trump had a chance as returns began to come in.  If Trump could get two of those states, he may have a chance to win.  It turns out that about 3:00 ET, 1:00 MT, that Trump was declared the winner in Pennsylvania and the winner of the election after getting all of these states.

Trump did not win the traditional republican values, points of light, etc.  He built a new coalition.  He gathered together people that both parties forgot and left behind.  Those whom the Democrats called deplorable and those whom Republicans simply ignored.  He knew something that others forgot, or didn't understand, and took advantage.

I won't go into all of the reasons why Trump won.  It will take academics years to understand what happened.  I do believe we just witnessed a counter-revolution.  I hope it remains peaceful.  It seems that his election has brought some unity to the Republican party, at least for now.

I will say that there is one thing I have learned.  I have to change my thinking.  It seems that too many of us think that there are only two kinds of people, those who think like I do and those who should think like I do.  That kind of thinking needs to change.  Not all problems are simple and mathematical and can be resolved with logic.  Some problems take a coalition of people who think very differently to solve.

Clinton may still win the popular vote.  However, keep in mind that as of now, instead of having one big election, we have 50 small ones.  This is only the 5th time in history that this will happen.  If Utah and Idaho had gone to McMullin, we would still be fighting this battle.  Instead, we get a quick and peaceful transition.  In a future election, it may be the Republicans that win the popular vote, with the Democrats winning the electoral college.  Remember, our government is a coalition, not a pure democracy.  Our founders wanted it that way.

Good luck with the new coalition, President Trump.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why Evan McMullin is Not a Smart Alternative to Trump

Outside of Utah, very few people have heard of presidential candidate Evan McMullin.  Here is a link to his Wikipedia page.  In Utah he is polling at 22% where Trump and Clinton are tied at 26% where 12% are undecided.  His popularity is surging, especially among Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) who are looking for a Moral alternative to Donald Trump, who is suffering in the polls due to his sex-life revelations.

There is only one argument you need to look away from McMullin as a candidate, it's his experience.  Yes, he's had a job.  He has been a CIA operative.  He's also had experience as an adviser to Congress.  That's it.

It's as if the organization, Better for America, couldn't actually find anyone better for America, and settled for this guy.

Would you hire someone who has never changed a diaper to babysit your children?  That is basically what Evan McMullin represents.  He's the good kid around the corner that all of the neighborhood kids look up to.  That doesn't make him a worthy candidate.

The Presidency of the United State is a tough job.  The lives of 385,000,000 souls hang in the balance.  Experience is important.  It's not the place to learn on the job.

Every small business owner in America has more executive experience than Evan McMullin and is therefore more qualified.

Utahans are falling for this because McMullin represents a value vote.  But, that does not mean its a smart vote.

If you are looking for a value vote, write in Mitt Romney, or Jon Huntsman, or someone who you think represents values, but also has the experience needed to do a good job.  There are probably more than 200 men and women who would make better write-in candidates.

Not just anyone can be president and not just anyone should be.  Evan McMullin is just anyone.  He's a good guy, but he's just anyone.

Its less than one month from Election Day.  Let's take a moment to breath deeply and think before we make the wrong choice.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Trump Comments on Women

Donald Trump...we knew what we were getting when we selected him as our nominee.  Republicans as a whole deserve this.  That being said, let me clue the world in on a few things.

In the locker room, when there are no women around, men speak differently.  I'm certain that women speak differently when there are no men around, although I'm not certain of the language.  You all know what I am talking about.  If you do not, then consider yourself lucky.  However, Donald Trump's remarks go beyond either disgusting locker room talk.  Sure, its the same language, but is it not the same type of talk.  He justifies abuse and adultery.  Most locker room talk never goes to that level.

He is giving advice on one of the advantages to being a celebrity when it comes to taking advantage of the opposite sex.  This is a privilege accorded to so few outside of the world of celebrities.  As bad as they are, I would like to find some male who has not made similar remarks outside of the rich and famous who would get a away with comments like that.  Remember what we all thought of Bill Cosby a few years ago?  We simply don't know how those who are on the public pedestal talk like when they are in the locker room.  I'm not shocked by what I heard, just disgusted.

I do not wish to excuse Donald Trump, nor do I wish to endorse him.  Vote for the person who you feel represents you the best, even if it leads to Hillary Clinton winning by a landslide...which it will as long as Trump remains in the race.  I am calling for the presidential election process to be reformed to prevent someone like Donald Trump, who knows how to manipulate the media to his advantage, from ever again becoming a major party nominee.

First and foremost, we need more faith in conventions.  For the most part, the convention delegates have put in time and effort it takes to produce an acceptable nominee.  Today the delegates are called on to rubber stamp what has been produced in the primaries.

Second, we put way too much stalk in the early primaries.  Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn't be the states that narrow down the field.  Between the two, there are only 10 electoral votes.  I think we can have the primaries take place nationally, or have a calendar reduced to 4-12 weeks.  Try this out for a primary schedule:

Week 1: States with 4 or fewer electoral votes: Alaska, DC, Delaware, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Week 2: States with 5 to 7 electoral votes: Nebraska, New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Week 3: States with 8 to 12 electoral votes: Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, South Carolina, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Washington.

Week 4: States with more than 13 electoral votes: Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Texas and California.

Third, no winner take all primaries.

Fourth, end the "Utah" rule.  The Utah rules states that if the candidate that the state's delegates are pledged to is no longer in the race, the state's delegates will go to the candidate with the most votes.  It should be that if the candidates that the state's delegates are pledged to is no longer in the race, the delegates are free to vote their conscious.

Fifth, suspending the campaign is not dropping out.  If a candidate suspends the campaign, they are still an active candidate at the convention.  The only way their campaign ends is if they drop from the race.

If someone is so totally awesome that they get to the convention as the sole candidate, the convention can be a coronation.  Otherwise, the delegates will have the final say.  Remember that Donald Trump won 60% of the delegates with only 40% of the votes.  With these rules, likely there would have been four or five active candidates going into the convention.  Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and possibly either Jeb Bush or Ben Carson.  In the end, we may have ended up with either Marco Rubio or John Kasich as the final GOP nominee.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

When will it be time for Trump to quit.

If you ask me about the prospects of a Trump presidency, I will answer the way a friend of mine did recently.  Even after sitting on the bottom of the ocean for over a century, the Titanic's pools are still full.  In other words, it is difficult to see the problem when you are not looking at the whole picture.  The country isn't only run by the president, but congress and the courts as well.  I would advise everyone to look at the whole picture before casting votes this summer.

Asking Donald Trump to quit is not really a move that will put a Republican in the White House.  Even though it could work.  It also may help the GOP avoid a certain disaster  That disaster would be the loss of a majority in the houses of Congress as well as a loss in the electoral college.

Question 1: Does this mean that the GOP is conceding the presidency?  Hardly.  If you are in the early innings of a baseball game, and your starting pitcher is giving up home run after home run, you have a choice.  You can leave the poor pitcher on the mound a few more innings, or bring someone else in who can reach the plate, staunch the bleeding and give you a chance to win the game.  If Trump is truly a certain loss, and will bring members of congress down with him, better give someone who has a slightly better chance a shot.

Question 2: Who would replace Donald Trump on the ticket?  Most likely the chosen VP candidate, Mike Pence would be asked to take up the torch in Donald Trump's place.  Governor Pence would then choose a running mate.  If Mike Pence declines, then the National Committee would have to pick a new Presidential candidate and that person would select a running mate.

Question 2a:  What about Ted Cruz or the others who lost to Trump in the primary?  There would be a certain known risk to doing so.  If Ted Cruz or any of the others couldn't beat Trump in a primary election, what are their chances against Clinton?  Even if they polled better against Clinton in some polls than Trump did, the risk of losing is far greater.

Let's compare this to the Super Bowl.  In the AFC Championship game, the Patriots have defeated the Colts 45-3.  But the next day, it is found out that the Patriots have cheated and are declared ineligible for the Super Bowl.  You can put the Colts in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks, but it does not man that the Colts would be more favored to win than the Patriots would have been.

Also remember that politics isn't sports.  The winner of the Super Bowl is really inconsequential to your daily life.  The winner of the elections this fall is.

Question 3: Is there a risk to all of this?  Absolutely.  I will remind you that the majority of those who cared enough to vote in the primary election chose Donald Trump.  If there was any inkling that someone other than Trump brought this on, it will backfire.  Many of those voters could turn on the GOP, vote for Hillary, or a third party candidate or not vote at all.  Having Trump may negatively affect the chances of GOP candidates in other races in November.  Having Trump step aside may make things worse.

Question 4: If Mike Pence doesn't want to pick up the baton and be the GOP presidential candidate, who would be the likely choice.  That is an interesting question.  Some might think the party would then turn to Ted Cruz or someone else who dropped out of the GOP race before Trump secured the nomination.  However, keep in mind that none of these men and women were strong enough to defeat Trump in the primaries.  That fact would be too much of a liability, and the Hillary campaign would do nothing but, for lack of a better term, trump it up.  You really would want to get someone else.  But no one else would have the name recognition to build up a strong enough campaign to defeat Hillary, except for Mitt Romney or John McCain.  You probably already know how well that will go over.  The real choice is for Mike Pence to pick up the baton for Trump if does not wish to continue.

There is probably one person who has the name recognition to do it, but I doubt she will.

Question 5: Has this ever happened before?  No.  In 1972, George McGovern had to replace his original choice for VP, Thomas Eagleton with Ambassador Sergeant Schriver, who most people today would know as Arnold Schwarzenegger's late Father-in-Law, or the late brother-in-law of John and Robert Kennedy.

Question 6: What difference does it make?  Trump may likely lose.  If Trump steps aside, the replacement is likely to lose.  The difference is that Trump will no longer be around to drag down the members of the Republican Party running for seats in Congress.  Thus, the only reason for Trump to step aside from a big picture standpoint is if he is going to take down enough members of Congress with him to cost the GOP their majority.

Remember in all of this, even if it looks like Hillary Clinton will win in a landslide, it does not mean that Trump should quit.  If Donald Trump is going to take Congress down with him, then it is time for The Donald to quit.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Who should really be the nominees.

The GOP problem, Donald Trump.  The real reason why Trump is a liability to the party is not because of his mouth.  If being a smart-a@@ was a presidential dis-qualifier, then Andrew Jackson, US Grant and many others would never have sat behind the big desk in the oval office.  The real reason Trump is a liability is because he doesn't have a presidential resume.

And yes, I can see all of those Trump supporters rolling their eyes for the umpteenth time as they read this.  If you you are rolling your eyes at this suggestion then you do not understand history.  The constitution says that you only have to be 35 years of age and a natural-born citizen. However, no one has ever been elected who has not served in one of the following offices: A military officer with the rank of O-2 or higher, Vice President, Cabinet Secretary, State Governor, US Senator or US House of Representatives.  We have never elected anyone outside of one of these offices.  Many have tried, and they have all failed.  If you are a Trump supporter, you want Hillary and her baggage on the other side of the ballot.

Unfortunately, out of all of the candidates who stepped up to run on the GOP side, none had good credentials.  They were qualified, but their negatives where all too high.  Therefore, I would suggest none-of-the above for the GOP and put forward a new compromise candidate.

Here is your GOP Presidential Candidate for 2016.  South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.  Is she perfect?  No.  Opportunity doesn't come in a neatly-wrapped Christmas gift.  She can get the job done, just like she has in North Carolina.

For her running mate, I would choose someone from the rust belt to balance the ticket.  Someone from a state that the GOP must win in order to win the elction.  Someone who may not be a Tea Party conservative, but is not in their cross-hairs either.  I would choose Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent

The Hailey-Dent ticket for 2016.  A winning combination?

The Dems have more motivation to replace Hillary.  If they have a nominee without any baggage, they are bound to trump Trump in a way that Clinton no longer can.  But they have to nominate someone who will be perceived as a Obama ally.  I have just the nominee for them.

That is Maggie Hassan.  She is the only female two-term democratic party governor is the US.  She is from the very important state of New Hampshire.  She is a lawyer, went to Brown and has experience in the medical industry...not as a doctor, but as an attorney.

The VP pick, to balance the Democratic ticket.  


Those of us from the West will recognize Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.  Probably the most progressive governor in the West since Brigham Young.

Hassan-Hickenlooper doesn't exactly roll off your tongue.  But it could be the ticket the Democrats need in 2016.

Even with the negatives that Trump and Clinton have this election, the chances of either one of them getting replaced are nil.  But I have to put this post out there.  Nothing will happen if people don't begin to think about good alternatives.  We all know Trump has an ego big enough to fill the Grand Canyon.  Hillary has a huge entitlement issue, meaning that she thinks that she is entitled to be the first female president.  Neither one of them has the humility to step aside and neither party has the balls to stand up to presumptive candidates (and their supporters) and force them to step aside.

These women and men here do not have the negative baggage.  They have proven that they can get the job done, because they have been getting the job done for their states.  They are good candidates, even if you do not agree with their policies.  And if we have good candidates in 2016, and a positive campaign, we will have a good turnout.  A good turnout will mean quality at the lower end of the ticket as well.  We might replace some of the screw-ups we now have in Congress with people who will do their job.  And that is what we really want, isn't it?

Now think about this for a moment.  Do you really want to rein in Washington?  Do you really want a responsive government?  If you do, it starts at the top.  Donald Trump will not go anywhere unless people step up to the mat and get involved.  You may not like these people, that's fine.  But you can press the stop button on this campaign.  You can put a stop to people buying their way into the White House if you contact the party leaders from your state and demand action, and demand it now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In November, Once Hillary is Declared the Winner...

Now that I have your attention...Brain Dump after Trump wins Indiana and becomes the presumptive GOP nominee...Mostly speculation...

I don't think this election is over and I don't think that a Hillary election is a certainty.  However, Donald Trump has said things in the primary election that he can not un-say, and it will be very costly to him in the long run.  If he can overcome this, more power to him.

The first thing to understand is that a Hillary victory in November will not be the end of the world nor the end of the Republican Party.  In fact, it may be better for the GOP in the long run if Trump loses.  The party is more likely to learn lessons that they need to learn in order to win.  Most importantly, it will be best at this point to look forward and not backward. Therefore, let's look forward to what will happen after the 2016 election, and perhaps use it as a new way to drive the debate of this election.  After all, we need to discuss something other than Trump's wall and where women are bleeding from.

First of all, after 2016, the GOP will look forward to the mid-term elections of 2018.  There will be a chance for the GOP to take back the Senate, if they lose it in 2016, with key races in Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana and West Virginia.  Every member of the House of Representatives will be up for a vote.  They will be running against what has happened in the prior two years.  If you remove yourself from the rhetoric, it will be easy to see what is on the horizon.  I speculate that these issues will be on the voters mind at that time.

By 2018, the economy will likely be in recession again.  The signs are currently pointing downward.  Target bathrooms will no longer be a debate point as Target will be one of many retailers struggling for life.  However, some will blame the bathroom controversy as a tipping point.  By 2018, K-Mart/Sears may be closing the last of their stores.  JCPenny may also be almost gone.  Even the mighty Wal-Mart may be closing stores.  Malls across the country may be empty.  Many other retailers that we used to shop at will be gone and hardly a memory.  And there will be no one to take their place.  And because the Democrats have been in the White House for 10 years by 2018, they will no longer be able to blame George W. Bush for the state of the economy, although many pundits still will try to and certainly President Hillary will try to as well.  By 2018, popular opinion will have turned even more against both parties and incumbents, but more so against the party in power.  They always do when things go bad.

Most in the GOP will blame the recession on the minimum wage increases approved early in the Hillary administration and on Obamacare.  Some will blame Congress and Hillary for repealing the Bush tax-cuts.  Some will blame base closings (keep reading).  However, most of this has been in the works for a long time, but the other shoe has yet to drop.

Social issues will evolve in 2 years.  Same-sex marriage will not longer be a major debate.  Many conservatives will accept the reality that it is legal even if they still do not approve of the practice.  And some LGBTQ advocates, not all, but some, will allow them that privilege.  However, there will still be some debate over wills and adoption.  And certain debates will never completely go away.  The debate will evolve more toward the gender identity issue.  And it will be far beyond Target's bathrooms.  Gender identity will be a battle fought in every school board in America and this will be extremely contentious.  Many of these battles will make it all the way to the Supreme Court.

The major economic debate in the next two years will be whether or not to tax Internet sales.  Wal-Mart and Target CEOs will likely seek the opportunity to testify in Congress that not taxing internet retailers is a major advantage for the online retail industry and costs jobs.  Expect that there will be many sad stories of former retail employees who are out of work to be on the evening news regularly.  Internet retailers will be blamed.  Many communities in America, of every size, in both Red and Blue states will testify that the loss of sales tax revenue is the reason most of them are dealing with budget deficits and the reason why pot holes are no longer filled or why police aren't available when you call to report a crime.  But this battle will mostly be fought in the states, and not at the federal level.  Republican will fight against taxing on-line retailers.  While Democrats will lead the fight to allow it.  However, in most states, referendums to allow sales taxes to on-lines sales will be introduced.  And in 2018, they will be voting on such taxes.  Some will pass, while others will not.  Therefore, this debate could be at the forefront of the 2018 election.

Immigration will become less of an issue, as the economy in the US keeps many immigrants at home.  However, there will be another push for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.  This debate will never, ever go away and immigration will never be solved.

The other struggle that the US will have in the next few years will be regaining respect overseas.  There will be another round of base closings, and this will include withdrawing troops from Germany and England as the perceived threats are elsewhere in the world and there are military bases that are closer.  People will fight against this as Putin's Russia is still a perceived threat.  There will still be US troops in Europe, but far fewer.  The North Korean threat will lead to a build up of the Japanese military, and there will be much saber rattling in the far east.  I doubt any of this will come to war.  Many US troops will be moved to bases in South Korea and the Philippines.  Because the economy in the US is struggling, it will elsewhere in the world as well, and the United States and her economic policies will be blamed.

Not all industries will struggle.  The IT Security industry will boom, especially as there are more high profile hacker attacks.  However, traditional hardware-based vendors will loose ground to more affordable and salable cloud-based solutions enter the market.  Most software will be cloud- and subscription-based.  Software companies will move out of Silicon Valley and Seattle and into cheaper costs centers like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake and Denver.  While the rest of the country is suffering, these cities will thrive.

The final nail in the economic coffin will be an new BRAC, and the closure of many military bases in the US.   It could be the most massive BRAC yet, with as many as 33 domestic bases closed and many civil service jobs lost.  My hunch is that this will also include Hill AFB in Utah, with the logistics component being sent to Travis AFB in California.  Most of those closed bases will be in the interior of the country, as the military decides to be closer to where the real threats are and gravitates to the coasts.  If there is a state line between you and the coast, your base is at risk, and the more state lines you have to cross to get to the ocean, the higher the risk.  There will be exceptions, but the exceptions will need to be Offutt AFB.  Utah, however, will survive without Hill.  There will be other communities begging Congress for a reprieve as their bases are all that support their communities.  Even though many on both sides of the isle will put up a fight, military commanders will argue that keeping bases open is wasteful, and congress will reluctantly agree.

All of this happens no matter who wins in November.  The next two years will be difficult.  This will all add up to trouble for the President in 2018 and the party of the eventual winner in this election.  Therefore, I am going to say something that I think Republicans all over the country need to hear.  Cheer up.  Things are not so bad.

The economy will not be so bad that there will calls for Trump to run again, there will be some, but not many as the loss will be so one-sided that Trump will be blamed.  There will be those who want Mitt Romney to run again.  However, Mitt understands why Trump won, even if he doesn't like him.  The GOP needs to learn lessons.  Those lessons are: come up with fresh faces and new ideas.  They are out there.  That is what Trump represents, even if those new ideas are less than savory, and really old ideas made new.

If I am a debate moderator for this election, here are the ten questions that I would ask:

1.  Do you think that there should be another round of base closing and why?  If so what criteria do you think the BRAC should consider in deciding what bases to close?

2.  Are you in favor of repealing the Bush tax cuts?

3.  Many retailers in the country are closing their doors, creating job losses throughout the country.  How do you plan to help the retail industry?

4.  What are the details of the immigration plan you will submit to Congress?

5.  Do you think the Senate should move forward with confirmation hearing on Merrick Garland?  What do you think should be the criteria for nominating new Supreme Court Justices?

6.  What are your plans to improve the overall economy of the United States?

7.  Do you plan to take any steps to support start-ups and other small businesses?

8.  Do you support a minimum wage increase?  How high should it go?

9.  How do you think schools in America should handle the sensitive issue of Gender Identity?  If you propose changes over current policy, how should those changes be funded?

10.  How can we make higher education more affordable?

Finally, my advice for Republicans and all Americans in 2016.  No matter what you think of Trump, do not stay home on election day.  There are other candidates for other offices that need your support.  They are the ones who will be turning the screws over the next two years, and certainly they are the ones that can improve things.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What Could Happen if the Electoral College is Done Away With

Every action has unintended consequences, but not all of them are bad.  And not everything about the US Electoral College is bad.  But before I spout off on that, let me explain why the college of electors was created in the first place.

When our Founding Fathers were putting together the Constitution, the found that in order to finish the task compromises had to be made.  One of those compromises was the electoral college.  Some convention delegates wanted a direct election of the President.  Some wanted the states to elect the president.  Others wanted a parliamentary system.  That is a system that many Americans are not familiar with.  In the parliamentary system, the leader of the majority party in the parliament becomes the Head of State.  It would not be the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but the House Majority Leader, currently California's Kevin McCarthy.  Also, in a parliamentary system, all of the "ministers" as they are called in England, or Cabinet Secretaries, as we know them, would come from the lower house as well.  The Secretary of State would likely be Ed Royce, who is currently the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee.  In a parliamentary system, there is no third branch of government, as the executive branch would be part of the legislative branch.

But the Founding Fathers decided to have an executive branch.  Some delegates wanted one vote per state, some wanted Congress to choose the President and some wanted the people to choose.  Therefore, the electoral college was invented as a compromise.

In our history, there have been three elections where the majority of the people disagreed with the Electoral College.  As it turns out, in order to become the President, you simply have to win the right states, and not necessarily the majority of them.  Eliminate the Electoral College and that changes.

In today's America, we can already see how that will change.  The Democratic Party controls, with almost no exception, the large cities in the United States.  While the Republican Party, with almost no exception, controls rural America.  Without the Electoral College, the battle for the White House every 4 years will almost certainly be fought in the Suburbs.  That is similar to the way campaigns are played out now, except for one difference.  Instead of concentrating on only the swing states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida and ignoring states that are predictable, like California except when they need to raise money.  The candidates will see that suburbia, even in New York and California are in play and will work harder for the votes there.

That is not to say that Republicans will completely ignore the big cities and Democrats will ignore fly-over country, as the race will need all the votes it can get, but they will spend less time in areas that are reliable.

That does, however, disprove the myth that if the electoral college were eliminated that the candidates would be more focused on the people because every vote would count differently.  But that is not true.  Take Los Angeles for example.  Why would the Democratic candidate need to focus on the city when the vote is already firmly in his corner?  Why would the Republican candidate waste time in neighborhoods where he or she would not be welcome?  Both candidate would focus on areas where they can swing the voters in one direction or another, like the San Fernando Valley and the Gabriel Valley, where there are more undecided voters and where voters tend to go into different directions depending on who the candidate is.  These are areas which mostly get ignored in presidential elections today because California has been solidly democratic since the 1990s.

The same story goes for many states all over the country.  Utah, for example, is solidly Republican, except for the communities on the north half of Salt Lake County, some of which have money to burn.  Utah, the state, is ignored in presidential elections today, but would be difficult to ignore without the electoral college.

However, there is not system that would get the candidates to focus on the problems of the country as a whole.  And that is why we have Congress.  Members of Congress, especially the House of Representatives, are tasked with solving the problems that they see in their individual districts.  If you really want to reform elections, there is a better solution that eliminating the Electoral College completely.  That would be to eliminate the winner take the entire state, but do what Nebraska and Maine already do.  The winner of each Congressional District gets the elector from that district.  That will bring the focus of each election where many problems exist, and possibly bring power from the White House to the House where it was meant to be in the first place.