Tagged: Presidential race

Rebel candidates and bigtime scandals are taking over the French presidential election race!

I am not going to talk about Trump right now. (I read that he fired somebody. What a surprise.) Instead, I’m going to talk about the latest in the French presidential election, which is rapidly descending into chaos. But more on that in a moment.

We now have a clearer idea on who the candidates are. The Socialists finished their nomination process this weekend and have chosen Benoit Hamon, described as a maverick hard-left socialist, as their nominee over Manuel Valls, who was favored. 

This proves to me that voters in France are in a foul, anti-establishment mood, regardless of ideology, because this is surely a slap at the more centrist leadership of the party. Also, I think the Socialists have now officially thrown away this presidential election. This guy they nominated is way too far left for this electorate. Among other things, Hamon wants a universal basic income and wants the work week reduced to 32 hours. How these ideas are even viable, I don’t know. The French Socialists ought to give up.

I guess the other big news from the trail is that the Francois Fillon campaign is imploding as we speak over allegations that he hired his wife Penelope for what are being described as phoney jobs where she drew a big fat salary for doing nothing. 

Fillon is denying wrongdoing and says he will stand down if criminally charged over this, but his ship has been sinking for weeks now. His first-round margin against the centre-left independent Emmanuel Macron (himself a rebel-maverick candidate) is down to almost nothing, according to the polls. The way things are going, Fillon could be out of the race by the end of the week! We could very easily see a final presidential runoff round between, get this, Macron on the left and Front National leader Marine Le Pen on the far right. Le Pen, incidentally, is in the first round lead right now according to the polls.

If Macron-vs.-Le Pen happens, it will mean both main French parties’ nominees will be out of the running for President, and what a shock result that would be. Politics in France is going all bat crazy — just like what’s been happening in the ‘States.

Not even the “faithless electors” could stop Donald Trump today

Well, despite the shameful, pathetic, last-ditch effort of opponents of Donald Trump to try and harass Trump electors into switching sides today, it all ended in colossal failure. Just as Jill Stein’s expensive recount effort was a failure. Just as, heck, their entire election was a failure. 

Trump has secured 304 electoral votes in the official balloting of the Electoral College today. There were a few “faithless elector” votes but, surprisingly, quite a number of them were from electors who were supposedly pledged to Hillary Clinton. Despite not even bothering to campaign for the office of President, Gen. Colin Powell received as many electoral votes — three, from blue-state Washington — as the whole state of North Dakota has in its delegation! (I wonder how the Clinton voters in Washington feel about that.)

Anyway, this whole election is over, at long last. As for the “sore losers”, to heck with them, finally.

The craziest campaign ever ends fittingly: with the craziest result ever

I guess it makes sense that the craziest election campaign anyone ever witnessed would produce a spectacularly crazy result. 

And I still can’t believe it. Honestly, after witnessing Donald Trump’s campaign from the beginning, I have to come back to the question — how on earth could anyone run such an cringeworthy, divisive, unending gong show of a race and still win the White House?!

There is only one answer I can come up with: the Trump campaign wanted it more. That’s it, in a nutshell. 

That, and the fact that voters really were mad as hell at Washington D.C., and they expressed their outrage the only way they could: by voting for the guy who wasn’t from D.C. and had no political experience. They sure as hell weren’t going to change things by voting in Hillary Clinton, that was for sure. They were ready to boot the Establishment, and Trump connected with that mood and caught fire in a major way. It was a sight to behold.

His campaign simply outworked and outhustled Clinton. No doubt about it, Trump’s criss-crossing of the country, staging rallies in so many of these battlegrounds, paid off. He even paid visits this year to places like Montana and North Dakota, and my buddy Brian Zinchuk even went down to North Dakota and hurled questions at Trump at a news conference there — the highlight of his career.

Trump went everywhere, and it paid off. I think it was telling that Trump made a last-minute decision to stage one last rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan the night before the election — after hearing that Hillary was staging a rally there. Trump left nothing to chance. No wonder he won the election, in spite of himself.

During this campaign, Donald Trump was crude, lewd, and oftentimes rude. He insulted opponents, had no end of verbal gaffes and embarrassments, and was embroiled in controversy right from the beginning. Members of his own party disowned him, his own convention was chaotic, and the debates were a circus act. The media absolutely hated him, with editorial boards all over the United States rejecting his bid for President.

And yet Trump won the campaign. For better or worse, everyone was talking about him, all campaign long. 

He won by setting the agenda from day one. His issues — on immigration, trade, terrorism and law and order — were exactly in tune with the hot issues going on in America. The Democrats kept on trashing him for promoting this dark vision of America, but the reality is Trump was in tune with what was happening, and proposing to address the problems. I still think he was offering dead-wrong solutions, building walls and all that, but at least he was proposing something.

As for Hillary Clinton, all the baggage associated with her 33,000 deleted emails and all the other failures and controversies that she and the Democrats had been associated with over the past eight years finally caught up with her. What finished her off was when James Comey reopened the FBI investigation into her emails, and that simply reminded voters about all the reasons why they hated the Clintons. 

But I think what really ticked people off was her campaign’s overall disrespect for the electorate. It really was one of the most arrogant, above-the-fray campaigns I have ever seen anywhere. When Hillary went on stage to label Trump voters as “deplorables,” it really was an insult to the voters. You can’t do that in an election — you can’t slam the supporters of the other candidate. It’s as if you’re ignoring their legitimate concerns. I think that statement made people even more mad, particularly these suffering blue-collar workers who felt their concerns weren’t being taken seriously, and it made them even more determined to get rid of the Democrats.

That was probably the biggest gaffe of the campaign — bigger than all of Trump’s gaffes, and that says a lot.

And Hillary was totally out-hustled on the stump, holding fewer rallies and blowing off entire states like Wisconsin because her campaign assumed that state was in the bag. Meanwhile, Trump had gone to Milwaukee and made his big speech there imploring African-Americans to abandon the do-nothing Democrats. (“What have you got to lose?”) As I said, the Trump campaign was everywhere.

For me, the surprise of the election was what happened in Wisconsin. I simply couldn’t believe Wisconsin had gone for Trump. I was watching the Fox News coverage online on election night and when they called Wisconsin for Trump, I was going “OMG, Trump is going to win.” 

And then they called Pennsylvania for Trump, where Trump was trailing almost all night, and I couldn’t believe that, either. This was the political equivalent of the Cubs winning the World Series. 

The flip of the whole rust belt from blue to red — Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania — was the deciding factor of the election, just as director Michael Moore had predicted when he wrote about it over the summer. The same voters who put President Barack Obama back into office because of his bailout of the auto industry were the same ones who were mad as hell this time about NAFTA and TPP and their jobs being shipped overseas. 

No doubt about it — the voters of the rustbelt are the kingmakers of American politics. They elected Ronald Reagan (the famed “Reagan Democrats”), they put in Bill Clinton and then Obama, and now they’ve put in Trump. And I’m surprised, because Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have notorious reputations for letting down Republican presidential candidates on election night. They couldn’t even carry Wisconsin with Paul Ryan on the Romney ticket in 2012. The last GOP candidate to carry Wisconsin was, in fact, Reagan. The last one to carry Pennsylvania was Bush, in 1988.

Every election since then, the GOP would think they would have a chance to win these states, and every time, they’d lose. Until last Tuesday. Holy cow.

You could tell that all the Clinton supporters at the Javits Center in New York were shellshocked on election night by what transpired. It seemed like they really took it hard, everyone was crying. 

It’s bad enough to lose an election even when you expect it, but it’s far worse when you think you’re about to make history (first female President) and when almost all the polls had your side winning the election. Instead, you are sitting there in the hall watching the big screen and witnessing shock defeats in absolute locks like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan, three states you thought for sure were going to put you in the White House. No wonder the Clinton supporters were crying or throwing up. 

We should have seen this upset coming, though. Everyone saw the big crowds and excitement Trump was getting in these states, everyone saw the outrage being expressed in the primary results of both parties, no less, and yet right to the end of the campaign no one wanted to believe it.

Well, believe it. The craziness we have come to expect in American politics over the last year, ever since that famous Trump escalator ride to announce his candidacy, gets to continue on for four long years. 

And then we’ll have another election. You know what we’re in for in 2020: the same clown show we got in 2016. Trump II: The Sequel. God help us all.

————————–

So, that is about all I have to say about the US election. Now, it’s time to decompress and look forward to the next big election campaign of significance. 

That’s right, folks: the French presidency! “France 2017.” But honestly, the French will have an impossible task topping what we just witnessed from the USA.

The AP has called it! Donald Trump has won the Presidency of the United States!!

O.M.G.!!

Apparently, the calls came in en masse for Wisconsin from the news organizations to put Donald Trump over the top. 

And now Fox News has called it, and apparently Hillary Clinton has called Trump to concede.

The presidential election finish line cannot come soon enough for “Crooked Hillary” Clinton


I have not been updating the blog with politics news for a while, but with just a couple of days left until the election I feel I have to say something about it. 

It has been a bad last several days for “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, as Donald Trump loves to call her. All this business of these emails showing up on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, followed by FBI director James Comey reopening the investigation of the Clinton emails, has opened the hornets’ nest against Clinton in the past several days. 

It has been nonstop coverage for days of Clinton scandals: deleted emails, the Clinton Foundation, everything to do with Weiner, you name it. Plus, you have all these WikiLeaks happening. It has been dismal.

All the Clinton critics, who say this is all a preview of what a Hillary Clinton administration would be like, are absolutely right! It’s going to be four long years of scandal and investigations of Hillary, assuming she isn’t impeached first. This woman truly is looking like the female Nixon. 

Then you look at the opposition and you go “what a choice!” Still, it seems like some people are beginning to forget how big a P.T. Barnum act the Trump campaign has been up to this point.

He’s been on a roll lately going to rally after rally, attracting big crowds and bashing “Crooked Hillary”, and assuring them “we’ll build the wall,” and urging voters to “drain the swamp!”.  

Clearly, the race is getting tight again. Supposedly, there are states in play that have no business being in play at this point in the election: New Hampshire is too close to call, and Michigan is too close to call, and both campaigns are fighting in Pennsylvania, and the Trump campaign even plans a trip to Minnesota of all places!

Last night, though, was scary down in Reno, Nevada, as Trump was rushed off the stage by security. I’m thinking that incident may have slowed down some of Trump’s most recent momentum, simply because it reminded people of all his other out-of-control rallies he has had.

One thing Trump’s campaign keeps pointing out is that Hillary can’t draw a crowd on her own, and he’s right. She has to rely on the celebrities all the time. The other night she had a rally featuring Beyoncé and rapper Jay-Z, and was it ever expletive laden, with Jay-Z dropping the F bomb and using the N word, and so on. And Trump called them out for it and criticized it. 

Last night, Hillary had a rally in Philadelphia where Katy Perry showed up, and there is going to be another big Hillary rally in Philadelphia on Election Eve in which they roll out Jon Bon Jovi. All in all, Trump isn’t impressed, he’s saying he doesn’t need any big celebrities at his rallies to draw people in. (Of course, Trump himself is a big celebrity but he glosses over that fact.)

Anyway, it seems to me Trump has the momentum right now, but whether it can carry him over the top is another question. It could be simply a case of the Republican base coming home to him, now that they all realize that Hillary has to be stopped at all cost. What’s going on reminds me of the end of Mitt Romney’s campaign four years ago, when he also supposedly had all this momentum and these big rallies with lots of people showing up. And he still lost.

There are now conflicting polls as to who’s actually ahead in this race. Quite honestly, I don’t think I believe any polls anymore after so many of them were wrong about Brexit, the British election, the Israel election, and even the Iceland election just last week. Remember these polls predicting an anti-establishment “Pirate” victory? What nonsense that turned out to be.

As for these latest US polls — while ABC News/Washington Post and most others gives the lead to Clinton, others such as Investors Business Daily and the USC/LA Times tracking poll have Trump in front!

Folks, somebody’s going to be wrong on Election Day. Whichever polling firms are wrong surely deserve to be put out of business.

Update: Now Comey has made his announcement that the review into these new emails is completed and the decision not to prosecute Clinton stands. 

I don’t know what to make of this latest development. I’m sure the Clinton supporters will say “see, she isn’t crooked after all,” but Trump’s supporters will surely say Hillary’s getting away with something. So this latest news could just as easily hurt Hillary instead of help her, if the voters feel the same way.

Scary incident for Trump tonight in Reno

Someone tried to storm the stage at Donald Trump’s rally tonight in Reno, Nevada and Trump was rushed off the stage by the Secret Service. Scary business, but it appears order was restored quickly. Story here.

If you get tired of the US election gong show: French campaign is under way

I notice Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy were going at it in their primary-election presidential debate.

Nice to know we’ll have another fun presidential election to follow after this American one is done with — complete with its own xenophobic/isolationist/protectionist/half-crazed candidate (Marine Le Pen).

Politics news: in general, a down week for “Crooked Hillary” Clinton

Here is another of my updates on the US presidential election, as we are now a week ahead of Labor Day. But the candidates haven’t waited for Labor Day to start campaigning. The campaign has been on for a while.

In general, this past week has been a bad one for “Crooked Hillary” Clinton. All this business about her leaked emails and the revelations about the Clinton Foundation and how it operated — with accusations about it being a pay-for-play scheme while she was running the State Department — have really damaged her as of late. What’s more, there is the spectre that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks might have an “October surprise” dump of emails to be released later this fall to embarrass Hillary, just in time for the election.

So Hillary has been trying to “change the channel”, as they say, this week. She had her big speech in Reno, Nevada, which she launched a blistering attack on the “Alt Right” crowd said to be infiltrating Donald Trump’s campaign, and basically accused Trump of being a racist. That didn’t seem to go over too well. A lot of people seem to think Hillary went off-message with this attack.

While this was going on, Trump was spending all week looking like he wasn’t a racist, for a change. In particular, he has been making a major play for the African-American vote. He’s been busy bashing the Democrats, and particularly Democratic-run city councils all over America, for running their inner cities into the ground. 

Trump was pointing out how bad African-Americans had it in these inner-cities — no jobs,  getting shot, etc. — and was saying the Democrats were taking their vote for granted, so why not vote for him? “What have you got to lose?” Trump is saying.

It wasn’t a perfect week for Trump. He also was in the news for flip-flopping on his formerly hardline stance to deport all the illegal immigrants, but this doesn’t seem to have hurt him with his own supporters. In fact, it may even help him with voters still on the fence, who may now think Trump is finally grabbing some sense on the issue. Still, it’s funny because Trump spent the entire primary season bashing his opponents for being soft on illegal immigration, and now here he is softening-up himself.

Of course, Trump also got in trouble again for yet another of his crazy tweets, this time over the shooting death of a cousin of Dwyane Wade, but this is nothing new. People are used to this by now. 

Despite this latest hiccup, this was still a better week for Trump than it was for “Crooked Hillary”. The polls are getting closer. Plus, Trump’s crowds are still big, including at that rally with his new buddy Nigel Farage of Brexit fame.

This week was also a good preview of what we can all expect over the next two months until Election Day: a total bloodbath. Nothing less.

Steve Bannon of Breitbart tasked with saving Trump’s sinking ship

The news of the day is that the Donald Trump 2016 presidential run has taken on Steve Bannon to head their campaign

Steve Bannon is the same guy who is executive chairman of Breitbart, the man who turned that organization away from being a mainstream conservative website to being a full-on vehicle for Trump and for the “Alt Right.” For those who don’t know what that means, as best as I have figured it out the Alt Right describes the nationalist, protectionist, isolationist, white-supremacist, anti-everyone crowd. 

Needless to say, mainstream conservatives like Ben Shapiro, who worked for Bannon at Breitbart before quitting over the Michelle Fields fiasco, are appalled. In general, they see the Bannon hire as evidence Trump is going all-in with the Alt Right crowd instead of trying to expand his base – a sure-fire way to lose an election. 

Also hired as campaign manager is Kellyanne Conway, which is fine, but she’s not really a professional campaign organizer as far as I can tell — she’s more an established professional pollster, which is different. I guess my main issue is that Trump really needs people who know how to run and organize on the ground and who can mobilize people to get out the vote, James Carville or Ed Rollins types of people. Bannon and Conway know about media and about messaging, which is great, but elections are ultimately won or lost on the ground.

And that’s the problem — Trump’s ground organization looks like a mess. I’m reading reports that Trump doesn’t even have many field offices set up in states he needs to win. Trump needs organization and he needs to start being presidential, but this Bannon hire is an especially bad sign. Pundits see it as a sign that Trump is determined to run a rock-em, sock-em campaign whether Republicans, or voters, like it or not.

Update: Kellyanne Conway went on PBS NewsHour and categorically told Judy Woodruff ‘no’, Trump is not embracing the Alt Right philosophy. 

It’s time!!! Donald Trump speaks tonight


So here we go, the final night of the GOP convention, and Donald Trump will be giving his acceptance speech tonight on what sounds like a “law and order” theme. Thank God, I was getting tired of listening to all this Hillary-bashing. Right now, the RNC chair Reince Priebus is up there bashing Clinton. It’s basically the same stuff we’ve heard all week.

Hopefully, Trump will be more reserved in the Hillary-bashing and will look “presidential” tonight, for a change. His daughter Ivanka speaks tonight, too. 

As for Ted Cruz, he explained today there was no way he was going to endorse someone who had insulted his wife and insulted his father like Trump had. So you can basically blame last night’s Cruz speech debacle on Trump, too, because he went too far during the campaign in bashing Cruz. What goes around, comes around.

As for my further thoughts on Trump’s nomination, here is my newspaper column which ran this week, in which I try to make sense of his rise to the top of the Republican Party. The key word is “try”. Obviously, I don’t think I’ll ever make any sense of him.

I guess the other big news on this day was of Roger Ailes resigning from Fox News, so if Fox News anchors look a little distracted in today’s coverage, that is why.

That is all the news for now, time to watch the rest of the convention.

Be ready for plenty of political convention coverage right here, starting next week!


Yes, fellow political junkies, the fun part of the summer has arrived as the Americans move into their political conventions starting next week! 

From this point on, and for the next two weeks, The John Cairns Blog will be updating as much as possible with live US political convention coverage, starting with the Republicans in Cleveland with their National Convention, followed by the Democrats in Philadelphia the following week. I’m also planning be active on Twitter, as much as possible. I guess I’m going to be “sort of active” on Facebook, but that will just be the usual re-posts of my blog links for the Facebook audience.

It ought to be interesting, both inside and outside the QuickenLoans Arena. If you believe the media, though, this is sure to be a terrible convention, with lots of party infighting and plenty of big party names not showing up because Donald Trump is the nominee. 

The list of speakers has been announced. Apparently, they were also saying Tim Tebow was going to be one of their big speakers, but that is news to him.

Also, I notice people are already blasting the party platform and saying how right wing it is. Anyway, we’ll see what the convention will be like. Trump’s speech, surely, is not to be missed.

I’m going to try and muster some enthusiasm for covering this convention, but honestly, I think I am burned out on political coverage. Sort of like… Luke Russert. (See previous post.)

Seriously, I’ve had my fill of political coverage in my own job for months. Besides, I am supposed to be on vacation. Now that I finally have my freedom back, I want to be free to enjoy the fun things in life again (summer, travel, watching sports events, etc.), instead of focusing on all this political nonsense as I have been doing. So expect my latest coverage to be a little more haphazard for that reason as well. 

On to the latest news. Today was meant to be the big announcement by Trump that Indiana governor Mike Pence would be his running mate. However the terror situation over in France, with so many people killed in Nice, has cast an obvious pall over all things today. 

So that official live announcement will now go tomorrow at 11 am in New York, but Trump has already spilled the beans on Twitter. This is probably the biggest political news we are going to get out of the Republicans — next week promises to be all about putting on a show.

That is all for the moment.

Weekend political conventions dominate the News from Nowhere

Well, this past weekend was a big one of political conventions here in North America — but before I talk about Canada’s Conservatives or Liberals I want to talk about the USA’s Libertarians.

The Libertarians held their convention in some hotel in Orlando, and unfortunately they looked every bit like a fringe group. I watched some of the proceedings on C-SPAN in between sporting events on TV. It was entertaining, but not in a good way. Quite honestly, it seemed like a lot of the delegates in there were lunatics. These folks were just way, way, way too into politics, there is no other way to describe them. The proceedings went on and on; the convention was full of “point of order” this and “point of information” that. It is amazing they got anything done. It surely was an unimpressive performance, and really bad television.

How these delegates were still able to do the right thing and nominate Gary Johnson for President, and his choice William Weld for Vice-President, is beyond me, but they managed. Even so, it took these foolish delegates two ballots to make their minds up. It should have been all over on the first for both of them. At least there weren’t any fights breaking out in the hall — unlike at Donald Trump’s rallies.

Johnson (pictured), for those who don’t know, was formerly Governor of New Mexico, and Weld was Governor of Massachusetts. After they were nominated, I noticed a lot of whining on social media from these true-Libertarians decrying the “sellout” of their principles and the “sellout” of their party to the Republicans. In reality, though, these two are more of a fit for the Libertarians given their views, which have been out of step with the social conservatives in the GOP for years. And the fact is there is a whack of “liberty” GOP supporters who are upset and in need of a new home, at least for this election cycle.

This ticket is surely going to produce the best election result the Libertarians have ever had — better than what that party deserves, frankly. These two are more experienced and, yes, more stable than what you will find on this year’s GOP ticket led by that wild man Trump. So yes, I’m impressed with their picks, but in general still unimpressed by the party. A lot of those delegates don’t know a good thing when they see it.

Meanwhile there are still a few #NeverTrump social conservatives still trying to decide what to do. I read some blurb about how William Kristol was teasing on Twitter that some well-known conservative was about to enter the race for President as an Independent. And Trump responded his usual way by calling Kristol a “dummy.” We’ll see. If an independent Conservative joins the race for President, I say bring it on. I’ll really enjoy seeing Trump’s reaction to that news, if it happens.

On to the Canadian conventions, and I am surprised that the Liberals (in Winnipeg) and Conservatives (in Vancouver) scheduled their gatherings on exactly the same weekend. They sort of cancelled each other out, publicity-wise. 

But on the positive side, both conventions were a heck of a lot more successful than the shambles that the NDP put on earlier this year in Edmonton, where they voted for the LEAP Manifesto and then also stabbed leader Tom Mulcair in the back. That was political suicide at its finest. But enough about the NDP.

I would say the Conservatives convention went very smoothly. Not only was there a classy farewell to Stephen Harper on the first night, but they also voted to change their constitution to get rid of their policy opposing same-sex marriage. 

Interestingly, I noticed most of the Saskatchewan delegation voted to keep the policy! That doesn’t surprise me, though, because the Saskatchewan wing of the party is hopelessly full of social conservatives and family-values people. Anyway, that was interesting.

I also notice a lot of prospective leadership candidates were campaigning and had their hospitality suites going, and that Kevin O’Leary had officially joined the party. Gee, I almost wish I was there.

I wasn’t really tuned in to what the Liberals were doing, their convention seemed boring in comparison. I guess the big news was that Bob Rae made a gagging reflex when a tribute was paid to Stephen Harper by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I actually find that kind of funny.

That is all for the moment.

Now, final thoughts on Trump delivering a final KO to the GOP nomination race

Well, the final KO to this Republican presidential race was delivered Tuesday night in Indiana. Donald Trump won so handily that he has driven both Ted Cruz and John Kasich out of the race. Both are done, while Bernie Sanders, fresh off an Indiana victory, still trudges on in his hopeless Democratic race against Hillary Clinton. So the GOP race has ended, even before the Democratic race has. Those professional prognosticators who’ve bet against Trump and said he would never win look foolish today. This Republican presidential race is in the refrigerator.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss all these Tuesday nights and Saturday nights tuning in to GOP primary and caucus results, and I’m going to miss all these wild Republican debates that have taken place. But there is a silver lining to all of this. We can now all look forward to this wild man Trump going out there on the stump and wreaking havoc on the American political establishment for several more months yet. And maybe for four years after that, too, in the White House.

It’s been fun, but trust me, more fun is ahead. We’re just getting started.

Now, thoughts on the latest Trump scandal

Actually, I don’t have much today, but I think Donald Trump’s abortion remarks this week, saying women should be punished for having an abortion, then recanting his statement –once again show his epic capacity to open his mouth before thinking. He’s done this sort of thing a lot; like, for the entire campaign. 

The Guardian calls this latest gaffe the biggest crisis of his campaign, but people have said that about him over and over again, every time he has opened his mouth like this. Every time, it’s a crisis, they say, yet he keeps on winning. The crazier Trump is, the higher those poll numbers seem to get. 

But this latest foot-in-mouth episode is going to haunt him in the general election, assuming Trump gets that far. Seriously, I’m still convinced all his nonsense will catch up with him. What the GOP establishment desperately hopes is that it catches up with him before he is handed the party nomination in Cleveland

Donald Trump is still out of control; this week he talked about riots at the convention

I have been watching yet another Donald Trump livestream, this time of his big rally in Phoenix today. He was going on and on bashing China and Mexico and bashing his opponents, and calling Mitt Romney a loser again, and so on. 

I’ve come to the conclusion Trump is just out of control. This week, the latest controversy was about whether or not Trump could be blocked from the Republican nomination at the national convention in Cleveland this summer. There is all this talk this week of a brokered convention, and Trump was going around saying that there would be riots at the convention if he was blocked from the nomination. People were up in arms and saying this talk disqualified Trump from the Presidency. This is on top of all the other outrageous things Trump has said or done to disqualify himself from the Presidency. 

I don’t think Trump really wants to encourage people to riot at the convention — but he is giving the impression he couldn’t care less if violence happens or not. That is disturbing, because the one thing you need in the White House is someone who will at least stand up for maintaining order in the country. Heck, even when the polarizing Nixon got in, his theme was “bring us together.” But we aren’t getting any lip service to bridge-building from this Trump campaign, that is for sure. Trump ought to be telling his supporters to take the high road and cool off a little, but I don’t think he cares. That’s my take on it. 

Increasingly, it looks like the voters don’t care, either. We shall see if the usually sane, upright GOP voters in Utah and Arizona, who are voting soon, will decide to reject all this Trump nonsense — or join the rest of the country in supporting it.

Update: I understand there were protesters blocking the highway to Trump’s rally today. 

Takeaway from Super Saturday: Ted Cruz is the only viable alternative to Trump. Period.

  

The “shakeout” to determine the alternative to Donald Trump in the GOP field is now officially over. After yesterday, it is obvious that Ted Cruz is the one viable candidate left on the Republican side who can possibly take down the Donald. 

This, after Cruz won convincingly in Kansas and Maine and finished second in Louisiana and Kentucky. For opponents of Trump, it is clearly fresh hope. Yesterday’s result was certainly not the end of the world for Trump’s campaign by any means, but the results create a lot of problems. Up to now Trump had the advantage of a crowded and divided field of candidates against him, and no clear alternative. That’s ending. 

Republicans in these four states on Saturday gave a big signal going forward to the other GOP voters in other states about who to support in order to stop Trump. Their message was: “If you want to keep Trump from getting the nomination, you have to vote for Ted Cruz.”

The Republican establishment may not like this message, and may not like him, but this is the reality going forward. 

Post-Super Tuesday analysis: Trump in control, rest of GOP still in utter chaos

Here are quick thoughts on the state of the GOP race after yesterday. I agree with the National Review analysis that Donald Trump will either win the nomination outright or there will be a brokered convention to try and stop him, because no one else really is in position to really stop him on their own. Ed Rollins goes even further and says Trump basically has it in the bag.

I’ll say this: if Trump ends up winning the most states by the time of the convention, as he has been doing, any attempt by the GOP to try and sandbag him in Cleveland will be a complete effing debacle. Trump would accuse the party bosses of backstabbing him, and the party will surely split in two and hand the general election to Hillary. In short, even if such a plan succeeds, it is not even close to being a good idea.

The real problem is the main challengers are simply not strong enough. The best hope of what is left of the traditional conservative GOP, Marco Rubio, did next to nothing on Tuesday. The only state he won was Minnesota. He might as well have won Canada. Super Tuesday was his big test to prove he could win, and he flubbed it. And now it looks like he is facing certain defeat soon in his home state of Florida, which will kill any and all of his credibility. The same air of death that took down the Jeb Bush campaign is fast showing up in regards to the Rubio effort. He is sinking fast.

Not sinking quite as fast is Ted Cruz, who won three states — including a late win in Alaska — to establish himself as the best hope of being a rival to Trump. 

But it wasn’t like that was so great a showing, and the GOP establishment still hates him, too. Yet even people like Lindsey Graham are now contemplating the depressing prospect of having to hold their noses to support Cruz, just to stop that intolerant Trump character from taking the entire party off the cliff.

As for the rest, John Kasich still refuses to quit, even though he is no better than a spoiler candidate at the moment. But there is a ray of hope: Ben Carson could finally be getting out. He is not going to be at the next Fox News debate Thursday night in Detroit.

All in all, this GOP party threatens to absolutely tear itself apart if nothing is done soon to smooth things over. I guess Trump tried to look more presidential during his news conference last night down in Florida, although Chris Christie seemed decidedly uncomfortable to be there. Anyway, if Trump really wants to be a viable presidential candidate beyond the GOP convention, he needs to mend fences and start acting presidential, right now. 

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is planning to give a big speech tomorrow on the state of this race, and it should be interesting to say the least. Who knows what he will say. 

Another state; another win for Trump

It’s basically a three-man GOP race as S.C. puts Jeb Bush out of his misery

I don’t have a lot more to say about the South Carolina results that others have not already said. After last night, the only three viable candidates left in the Republican race for President are Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and of course the now-undisputed frontrunner Donald Trump

Also left are two other not-so-viable stragglers who both ought to quit. Ben Carson says he will stay on no matter what, but he is running out of money and electorally is a non-factor. John Kasich will likely stay in the race long enough to fight and win the Ohio primary (his home state) and deny Trump some much-needed delegates, but he hasn’t got much money either and is barely in the running in a lot of states. 

Only Rubio and Cruz are in any sort of position to stop Trump anywhere, and even their ability to do that is questionable given the poll numbers in a lot of these upcoming states. I’ll tell you right now, these two ought to forget Nevada and focus their energies elsewhere. I think Trump should win Nevada easily, the state is tailor-made for him with all those blue-collar folks and casino workers voting for him. The real race will be in the South March 1.

The main news from South Carolina, however, is that it did its job in finally driving Jeb Bush out of the presidential race. 

This frees up a sizeable chunk of the more moderate “establishment” vote and that should help Rubio, but the problem is Jeb may have stayed in this race one state too long. The stop-Trump effort really had to happen, or at least start happening, before South Carolina voted. Now, Trump has so much momentum that it may be too late. 

Anyway, the bottom line is Jeb is done. Let me say: there was no campaign in more dire need of being put out of its misery than this effort. We were seeing Jeb having to call in family members to his rallies simply to get people motivated enough to show up at them. And then there was that rally in New Hampshire where Jeb had to implore the audience to “please clap!” It really was sad to watch this former presumptive GOP frontrunner go down in flames as badly as he did before the Trump juggernaut, but that is politics and political life can be cruel. 

Yahoo Politics has this piece about awkward Jeb moments from this campaign, and Vox came up with this list of 17 saddest moments from his campaign. Anyhow, that’s it for South Carolina. On to Nevada for the GOP. 

Now, thoughts on that crazy South Carolina GOP debate from the weekend

Read this piece from Howard Kurtz about that vicious, out of control CBS Republican debate from South Carolina on Saturday night. 

As he pointed out, the general consensus from the media was that Donald Trump had a poor performance — he got piled on by Jeb Bush, he was booed by the audience, he attacked and insulted fellow Republicans, and his act was not received well. But then Kurtz referred to a headline from a Rich Lowry piece in National Review that said “Trump Was Half-Crazed — but Does Anyone Care?”

And that is the $64,000 question, folks, do people at home in South Carolina really care? Trump was really aiming his debate remarks not at the people in the hall who were booing him, but the masses watching on TV who probably agree with him! By that standard, Trump seemed to hold his own, because he hit really hard — especially when he was trashing Ted Cruz and calling him a liar and so on. 

As for the audience booing him — well, so what? It looks like there is a big controversy brewing about whether or not the hall was stacked in favour of Trump’s establishment opponents. 

In general, though, Trump was out of control. But it really does seem as if the crazier Trump is, the better his poll numbers seem to get. 

Anyway, we shall see in the final South Carolina results on Feb. 20 what the impact is from this most recent, vicious, all-out war of a debate, one which I described on Twitter as “utter mayhem”. This CBS debate was more vicious than the last one for ABC News just prior to New Hampshire. The reason for the tense atmosphere: several candidates could be on their last legs. If you recall, the New Hampshire debate also had people really going after each other. Chris Christie really hammered Marco Rubio in that debate and the reason was obvious — Christie was fighting for his life (and, in fact, his campaign did go belly-up with the New Hampshire results). On Saturday, Rubio had a much better night, and you finally saw Jeb Bush putting up a fight, and it is all because Bush is fighting for his own survival against the other individuals who are trying to emerge as the alternative to Trump. 

That, in a nutshell, was why this CBS debate was the most vicious yet. The stakes were high, because if something doesn’t happen very soon to stop Trump, all these rival campaigns could be doomed. And they know it.

Yet another edition of the Hillary and Bernie show, tonight in Wisconsin on PBS

It is debate night again for the Democrats, but I don’t think any effort tonight by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders can match the dramatics we have seen from the Republicans lately. Still, the debate from Wisconsin is about to start on PBS, and the live stream can be found here.

The Bern, and the Donald, take New Hampshire

Just got back home to find out the big New Hampshire primary resultsBernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, while Donald Trump clobbered everyone on the Republican side. 

Moreover, the rest of the GOP field is in utter chaos. It sounds like it was an awful night for Marco Rubio, and it looks like Chris Christie’s done, he is going home to New Jersey. And the biggest winner on the GOP side other than Trump: John Kasich. Second place means he lives on to South Carolina. 

And now it’s on to the next one. 

First polls have closed in New Hampshire. Results still to come.

  

The polls have been closed in parts of New Hampshire for about twenty minutes as I write this, and in another 40 minutes all polls will be closed. Even though I was hoping there would be some definitive news by now of who is winning, there has been very little as of yet. 

I guess I am out of luck as far as providing results is concerned, at least for now. I’ll be back here later tonight, and by then I am sure there will be news of some sort. See you later. I’m heading off now to cover a Chamber dinner. 

One more day until we know how NH has voted

  
Just one more day left until we know who the winners are in the New Hampshire primary. 

This is almost a foregone conclusion. It looks like Bernie Sanders from neighbouring Vermont is going to crush Hillary Clinton, but the real story will be if Hillary somehow doesn’t get crushed tomorrow. Then she can go on stage and declare herself the “comeback kid”, the same way her full-of-himself husband Bill Clinton did in 1992 after he lost to Paul Tsongas. Remember that? And Bill went on to win the nomination and the election. Anyway, look for that tomorrow.

As for the Republicans, Donald Trump continues to hold a lead in the final polls. The main reason he leads is because the anti-Trump “alternative” has still yet to emerge, even though Trump has plenty of enemies within the party and was, tellingly, booed at the ABC debate on Saturday. He hasn’t got this nomination in the bag yet, despite what the mainstream media will have you believe.

It does appear Saturday’s ABC News debate has most definitely muddied the waters considerably when it comes to sorting out the field, though. Going into the debate it seemed like Marco Rubio was on a definite roll and on his way to being the clear rival to Trump. But it all stopped in its tracks with his lousy, robotic performance on the stage, where Chris Christie publicly called out Rubio for his usual talking-point answers he gives. The worst moment came when Rubio responded to Christie’s attack with yet another of his canned answers. “There it is! There it is! The memorized 25-second speech!”

That was a bad moment for Rubio, and the press just killed him over it. Any and all momentum he had coming out of Iowa just stopped right in its tracks. 

Until Saturday night I was willing to entertain the possibility that Rubio could ride his wave of momentum and maybe catch Trump in New Hampshire. Not anymore. I’m now thinking Trump will win convincingly, and we’ll all have a very short evening tomorrow watching the results — which is good because I have to leave early, anyway. 

As for the eventual emergence of who is “the alternative to Trump”, that will depend on the final results and who, in particular, drops out next. My guess is two of the three governors — Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich — will be done after tomorrow. Who knows, maybe even all three of them. Honestly, their campaigns are all in bad shape. I’d say Christie is in the biggest hole of the three, which explains why he went after Rubio so hard Saturday. Maybe the New Jersey governor gets to live to fight another day after that effort.

We shall see what is in store tomorrow on Primary Night. But if you really can’t wait for tomorrow — Dixville Notch and Millsfield both vote tonight at midnight.

GOP race: Rand Paul throws in the towel

Add one more name to the list of casualties from the Iowa caucuses. Rand Paul finished fifth there, but that was obviously not the kind of finish that was going to do much for him in the future, even though it was better than a few other people.

So, Paul has suspended his campaign and will focus now on his Senate re-election campaign in Kentucky.

I predict by this time next week, after New Hampshire weighs in, the presidential field will be even more drastically reduced than it is today. 

Update: And yet another name has dropped out. Rick Santorum has also quit, and he went on Greta Van Susteren‘s show tonight to endorse Marco Rubio

Meanwhile, all kinds of controversy is swirling about the Iowa results with both Donald Trump and Ben Carson complaining about possible voter fraud by the Ted Cruz campaign! Trump is making all sorts of accusations about how Cruz stole Iowa and was calling for a do-over of the Iowa vote; Cruz is dismissing this as a “Trumpertantrum”. Carson was blaming the Cruz campaign for spreading a false rumor on Monday night that Carson was dropping out of the race: the Cruz campaign has since apologized

Personally, I don’t think there will be a do-over of Iowa, but this controversy really does have the potential to turn into a big floor fight at the GOP convention. We could see a rival delegation for Trump seeking to be seated instead of Cruz’s people, assuming the race even gets that far. We shall see. 

Now, some cautious political analysis as we move from Iowa to NH

  
It is on to New Hampshire for most of the remaining Democratic and Republican field and I thought I would throw a few thoughts out there. In the end, really, I hesitate to join the chorus of people who are already overstating the significance of the results from Iowa. It is only one state, and too often its winners end up going down the tubes later. And everyone who covers politics knows this, yet you are seeing opinions from the “instant pundits” who think the Iowa results signify far more than they do. 

All Iowa did for me was confirm things about the Donald Trump campaign that I have suspected all along — namely, that its lack of an overall organization would cost them dearly at some point. And in Iowa, it did. All the shortcomings of the Trump campaign were laid bare for everyone to see in the final results — he was out-organized on the ground by Ted Cruz, pure and simple. As for Trump’s idiot decision to pick fights with Megyn Kelly and skip the final Fox News debate, all that did was set the stage for a strong debate performance for Marco Rubio which helped him surge to within striking distance of Trump on caucus night. Anyway, let all of what happened in Iowa be a lesson for Trump. His campaign got schooled by the political pros in Iowa, badly. That is all I have to say on that. 

Two things I want to say going into New Hampshire. First, I know that both Trump and Bernie Sanders have massive leads there at the moment, according to the polls. As you now know from Iowa, polls are for dogs. But also it should be pointed out that, traditionally, opinion is known to shift in NH after Iowa is over. 

For proof of that, look no further than the surge to Gary Hart in 1984, when he went to NH and toppled Walter Mondale, who was supposed to have a massive lead. And part of the reason Hart did so well was because word had gotten out about how well Hart had done in Iowa. So again, that probably helps a guy like Rubio who really exceeded expectations in Iowa. For the people who don’t want either Trump or Cruz, Rubio is starting to look really good. 

But also, it could be that Iowa ends up meaning nothing. Remember what happened in 1980 in Iowa, when George Bush upset Ronald Reagan? And it was eerily similar circumstances, too, to the 2016 race, with frontrunner Reagan infamously skipping a major debate right before the caucuses. 

But look what happened after Iowa: Reagan basically ran the table. He slaughtered Bush in New Hampshire. And in the general election, Reagan slaughtered Jimmy Carter and was elected President. 

Like I said before — Iowa is only one state. Don’t think for one moment the results mean Trump is finished. We could be far from finished with him and his big mouth. 

Ted Cruz wins Iowa, Trump humbled; and the first Iowa casualties: O’Malley and Huckabee

  

In a nutshell: a big, big win for Ted Cruz, a good night for Marco Rubio, a humbling night for Donald Trump that should shut him up for a while. On the Democratic side, it is razor-thin between Hillary and Bernie

And for Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee, this is the end. They confirmed tonight they are suspending their campaigns. And so the shakeout begins. 

Iowa caucus results come in tonight!

  
 
Well, it should be a fun night for the political junkies. There will be Iowa coverage tonight on Fox News (if you’re an elephant) or CNN (if you’re a donkey), as well as on C-SPAN and Politico. And of course, local coverage on WHO TV from Des Moines. I also plan regular updates on my Twitter feed.

So enjoy yourselves and be sure to fire up some popcorn to eat while you watch the results come in. It could be a long night (and in 2012, it was).

The Fox debate show will go on, with or without Trump

  
Tomorrow night is the big Fox News Republican presidential debate. We have good news and bad news. The good news is Rand Paul has made the cut and will actually be on the main stage this time. 

The bad news is Donald Trump won’t be. This will surely disappoint Fox executives who were hoping for the usual ratings bump that his presence would bring to any debate, but unfortunately the petulant Trump has an issue with Megyn Kelly being the moderator. Anyway, here is the statement from Fox News on the situation.

I do not know what Trump or his people are thinking here. Avoiding debates is bound to make you look bad. Heck, I’ve covered election debates before where I’ve made a point of publishing pictures of the empty chairs of candidates who skipped out. But usually the people who don’t show up are the people who aren’t serious about winning anyway. It makes a candidate look like a rank amateur, skipping out on a debate.

Here, Trump looks like a guy who cannot take the heat. Not that it is likely to hurt him (more on that later), but still, it’s ridiculous. It’s like a guy who is the head chef at a restaurant who doesn’t want to show up to cook the food because a particularly demanding and obnoxious customer (Megyn Kelly) has made a reservation. 

If you can’t take the heat, you really have no business being in the kitchen and that goes for anyone wanting to be a chef or a President of the United States.

As for the other candidates, I am absolutely sure at least one of them will get a big reaction by saying “I’m really happy to be here tonight” when posed their first question. And I’m sure another will roast Trump by saying anyone who cannot deal with Megyn Kelly is unfit to deal with the Russians or with ISIS. Maybe one of them will make a joke that maybe Trump has decided to drop out of the race. 

Rand Paul has already quipped this will be the best debate they ever had, and that “the IQ level of the debate went up” with news Trump won’t be there. Expect similar piling-on by the rest of the field tomorrow.

My point is tomorrow’s debate should still be fun, just to see how the other candidates bash Trump without him being there to defend himself. 

As a side note — I notice my former journalism school classmate Lisa Oake, who lives in Singapore these days, wrote a piece for Forbes trying to make sense of Trump’s domination of the media and lessons to learn from it. 

It’s nice to see someone try to do that — make sense of Trump — because I gave up on that attempt a long time ago. 

I can see why he’s popular. His speeches and rallies are entertaining and he’s a larger than life personality, and he clearly has a sense of humor, and he takes no prisoners. Trump is fully prepared to take his enemies down a notch, and people like that. 

Trump has also always been good at identifying the real problems in America — such as political correctness, for example. He nails those issues dead-on. His trouble has always been with his quasi-Fascistic, Mussolini-esque proposals to fix the problems in America, which always come across as if he thought it up on the fly five minutes before he went on stage to speak. 

Yet Trump seems to get away with it. It is almost as if the guy is the Teflon candidate — none of the conventional rules apply to him. 

For example, he made that outlandish comment the other day about how he could “shoot somebody” and not lose any voters. That’s the kind of unhinged statement that would normally sink a candidate in our uptight times we live in. Not Donald Trump. In fact, I’m convinced his support goes up with every outlandish statement he makes, because that is exactly what the American people are looking for. They’re looking for the Un-candidate. 

Which is maybe why Trump probably thinks he can get away with a usually foolish move like skipping out on a Fox News television debate. 

We’ll see. Iowa caucuses are next Monday.

Trump’s right, America is going to hell! Plus, more News from Nowhere.

  

Welcome to News from Nowhere for this Tuesday, and as usual I am once again watching the live continuing coverage of the US presidential campaign on my iPad. This is my life, folks, this is what passes for entertainment in my household at the moment. 

As I write this, I am watching a live feed of Donald Trump campaigning in Ames, Iowa. I guess the big news is he is getting a big endorsement from none other than Sarah Palin herself tonight. So the ultimate “rogue” candidate for Vice-President is endorsing this year’s “rogue.” Makes sense to me. 

I will say this about Trump: I may not agree with his policies and his rhetoric, he really is the “intolerance” candidate as I said before, but I agree with some of what he is saying — like whenever he says “America is going to hell.” 

And you know what? He’s right! Just look at what is going on down there with their politics! It’s all this hate-mongering. Of course, you also have people shooting at each other, there, too. America is really a mess. So yeah, Trump’s right, but it is his proposed “solutions” that leave me shaking my head in disbelief. 

Anyway, here is the News from Nowhere.

First, there is the news about President Obama and Iran. I guess Republicans consider this bad news and proof the world is going to hell.

It is not just America going to hell. Tennis is going to hell. The sport is embroiled in a match-fixing scandal. This is bad, bad news.

The Academy Awards are going to hell. Their nominations came out and the acting nominations are lily-white, as usual. No wonder African American folks are upset and boycotting — they are underrepresented both in the nominations and in the movie business in general. They have every right to be mad. 

The Canadian economy is going to hell. The dollar is sinking and the oil industry is a mess, and people are out of work everywhere. Opposition leader Rona Ambrose is begging and pleading for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do something about the situation. Also, the Conservative leadership vote is officially set for next May and Kevin O’Leary is thinking of running.

And terrorism in Burkina Faso has claimed the lives of Canadians — six of them

Canadian journalism is going to hell. But this is nothing new. Just today, Postmedia cut 90 newspaper jobs by merging newsrooms in four cities. Good luck trying to gain more readers with a decision like that. The “race towards mediocrity” continues for the media business in Canada, thanks to all these layoffs. And all of us notice that the quality of the finished product is really suffering. 

This is the type of news which makes people still in journalism in Canada want to quit the business, or better yet, leave the country. Maybe it’s time to move to China and cover the economic problems there. Come to think of it, maybe not. 

In other journalism news, Al Jazeera America is shutting down. Honestly, though, few Americans were watching.

It is a bad time for music. Glenn Frey of the Eagles is dead. This follows on the heels of news that another big legend, David Bowie, is dead. And Celine Dion lost both her husband Rene Angelil and her brother Daniel within days. Wow. Tragedy. 

I guess I haven’t been on the media bandwagon about El Chapo getting recaptured or about the interview Sean Penn did with him for Rolling Stone which helped landed him back in captivity in the first place. Anyway, this has been a huge story.

Also, I haven’t seen Making a Murderer on Netflix so I can’t comment on the recent controversy about whether the filmmakers left stuff out in their account of accused killer Steven Avery. For the record, Nancy Grace is convinced this guy is guilty, but a lot of viewers of this show seem to disagree.

Finally, I should point out this past weekend was a cold and miserable one here on Canada’s prairies with wind chills below minus 40! It’s been terrible! 

Is there any good news out there? Just this — Canadian Mike Watson won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event.

Happy dead of winter, folks. That is all.

This Fox Business GOP debate is good stuff. Major league politics.

I will talk more about the Fox Business GOP debate and the whole GOP race later on this weekend. 

Right now I am too busy watching this debate — it’s far more entertaining than what passes for politics in Canada. Sort of like the difference between the NFL and the CFL, when you think of it.

Wow, is Trump’s first TV ad ever bad. Still can’t believe he’s ahead.

Well, finally, at long last, Donald Trump’s arena-filling US Presidential campaign has released its first political commercial on Monday. 

About time, too. I was wondering whether his ads were ever going to show up on Boston TV stations, which have been littered for weeks with commercials from the PAC backing the sinking Jeb Bush campaign, and from the Marco Rubio folks, and the Chris Christie folks, and others, all aimed at New Hampshire. But nothing from Trump, until now.

Just as I expected, though, his new TV commercial is like his whole campaign has been so far: amateur hour-ish, and loaded with Trump’s usual Mexico-and-Muslim-bashing we have all come to expect.

Most controversial was the wall footage supposedly showing Mexican migrants “at our southern border” — except this footage was actually from Morocco. 

You can see for yourself the Trump ad effort below. Seriously, folks, I can’t believe this campaign is actually winning.

It’s all about Donald Trump again as the GOP candidates debate tonight in Las Vegas

  
Tonight the GOP presidential contenders again go at it on the debate stage, this time in Las Vegas in swing-state Nevada on CNN. The debate is at the Venetian, owned by famous Republican donor and renowned anti-online-poker-activist Sheldon Adelson

And once again, the focus is on another famous real estate tycoon and casino-owner: Donald Trump, whose domination of the Republican race continues to baffle the heck out of me and everyone else, given all his idiot statements and comments as of late.

Even while I was in Cuba and more or less cut off from the Western world in general, I found out about Trump’s latest outrage: a call for a ban on all Muslims travelling to the USA

That’s right. All Muslims — the entire religion. 

The media, and other Republicans, freaked out over this statement. They all denounced his comments as un-American and reacted as if Trump was some sort of dangerous individual.

I have a somewhat different take on it. I don’t think Trump is dangerous — only his big mouth is. This is simply another example of Trump opening his mouth and saying something nonsensical before actually thinking it through. We have seen this sort of thing from him way too often in this campaign, starting with his anti-Mexico ranting and raving early on. He has since moved on from trashing Mexicans to trashing Muslims. I am now wondering who’s next? Canadians? 

It would not surprise me. This guy Trump really is looking like the “intolerance” candidate of this election. 

I keep wondering when the heck the Trump bandwagon is finally going to hit the ditch. I keep waiting for the anti-Trump coalition to emerge and coalesce around somebody. On the one hand, you have some polls now suggesting that Ted Cruz has moved into the lead in Iowa now with the backing of the social conservatives in that state. On the other hand, national polls are giving Trump over 40 percent of the GOP vote — an enormous lead. 

What I don’t understand is Trump is supposed to be winning, yet I don’t see ads from him on the Boston TV stations, which all beam into New Hampshire to voters there. Instead, I’ve mainly seen commercials for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and even John Kasich! 

It makes me wonder about Trump’s whole political organization, and whether that will catch up to him eventually. Then again, the way things are going, maybe he doesn’t need one.

Thoughts on the Democrats debate: Bernie Sanders isn’t going to win, that’s obvious

  
Last night was the CBS News Democratic presidential debate from Iowa. Good debate, and a decent job by CBS News based on the portion I saw of it. Moderator John Dickerson seemed to keep it in control, but it is hard not to when the Democratic field is down to only three people. 

As for the content of it, from my Canadian vantagepoint I thought these folks should have added the word “New” in front of “Democratic,” because that’s what it was policy-wise. 

In particular, Bernie Sanders was especially strident, going on and on and on with his continual attacking of Wall Street and his plans to break the banks up. “The business model of Wall Street is fraud,” Sanders was saying up there. 

My God, man. Tone it down a bit, eh?

As for all this talk about how foreign policy and the Paris attacks were going to be the focus of the night, I guess I tuned into the wrong portion of the debate for that, because there wasn’t a lot of discussion from what I saw. I only caught the second half in which Sanders was doing his usual class warfare routine. 

I wasn’t too impressed, and neither were a lot of Democrats, apparently. Politico ran this piece about the debate and all these political operatives were giving Sanders low points for focusing on the economy instead of the Paris terrorism situation. 

But keep in mind, these are operatives saying this, and these political people could be Hillary Clinton supporters for all I know. Democratic voters could still throw a wrench into things. 

Still, I have a lot of trouble taking Sanders seriously as a presidential candidate. This remains a one-woman show on the Democratic side as far as I am concerned.

17-person GOP pres. field is down to 16; Rick Perry quits the race

  

The race for the Republican nomination for President has dropped from 17 candidates down to 16. Former Texas governor Rick Perry has quit the race. 

This is no surprise, rumors had been flying for weeks about his campaign’s money troubles and how they had to lay off staff, and how badly the fundraising was going for them and so on. The polling had been awful, and to add insult to injury he wasn’t even getting invited to the top-tier debates.

The reality is that Perry was bringing nothing to the race. I guess he tried to be the true “conservative” option, except that’s hard to do when at least a dozen or more of your competitors are as conservative as you say you are. The real problem for Perry is most of this field was saying pretty much the same thing he was saying. 

If you are going to survive as a GOP contender you really need to distinguish yourself in some fashion, for better or worse. Donald Trump is the “populist outsider”, Ben Carson is the “Christian outsider”, Mike Huckabee is simply “the Christian”, Jeb Bush is “the Establishment”, Rand Paul is the “liberty” candidate, Ted Cruz is the “Tea Party”, Carly Fiorina is the “feisty businesswoman”, and so on. 

They’ve all got varying degrees of traction right now because they all bring something to the table policy-wise that is unique. The ones that don’t are the ones in the biggest difficulty. For Perry, he couldn’t claim to be the “conservative” in a race full of them; he couldn’t be the “Christian” candidate with so many candidates supporting “family values” and seeking approval from the religious right; and he couldn’t even claim to be the “Texas candidate” with Cruz also in the race. What’s worse, Cruz seems to be doing pretty well at the moment.

In short, the message just didn’t stand out. Plus, Perry has all kinds of legal problems at home, and is a famously lousy debater. 

So that’s that. One down, and 15 left to dispose of before we finally get a GOP nominee.

Now the question is who is next to go? I have seen rumors that Lindsey Graham could quit the race soon, his campaign has almost nothing going for it. In fact, Graham actually visited Saskatchewan this year to see that carbon-capture facility in Estevan, and the province’s press was playing up how our great and important province was being visited by this great American presidential contender. I was going “contender? That’s a stretch.” 

At least one non-contender is not going down without a fight: Bobby Jindal

This week the Louisiana governor just unloaded on Trump, calling him a “narcissist” and a “non-serious carnival act.” So now Trump is feuding with Jindal now, which is exactly what Jindal needs to lift up his sinking ship of a campaign. The story about Jindal’s remarks here — it’s pretty funny stuff.

Politics week: everyone, and I mean everyone is running for President

  

Before we switch to live continuous coverage of the Greek referendum tomorrow, I thought I would do another brief update of the USA presidential race on this July 4 Independence Day evening.

The campaign launches just keep on coming, eh? This week New Jersey governor Chris Christie joined the campaign officially and he is the 14th – count ’em – 14th declared candidate on the GOP side for President. And he won’t be the last, as John Kasich from Ohio is due to announce later this month and perceived front runner Scott Walker hasn’t declared yet. So that’s 16 serious candidates running for President!

That’s not counting the Democratic candidates! While it often seems like Hillary is the only candidate at times, in fact there are five serious candidates in the running on that side (excluding the fringe element).

I don’t recall a year in which there have been so many “serious” declared candidates for President. I know that back in 1976 there were a ton of candidates, but not as many as this. There are so many that I don’t know if I can keep track of all of them or remember them all. Let me just see if I can name all of them from memory, just for fun. 

On the Democrat side there’s Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb. Wow, that was tougher than I thought. 

Now on to the Republicans: there’s Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, the aforementioned Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Dr. Ben Carson, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and coming soon, Kasich and Scott Walker.

So that’s a grand total of 20 people. That leaves one more. Who am I missing?  

Oh, yeah, I remember now. Mr. Trump. Whether you can call him a “serious” candidate, though, is another question.

You know, going into this race I thought the Donald’s campaign was sure to be the most entertaining, because this guy is just too politically incorrect to be President of the United States. He is just too blunt for his own good, and too willing to shoot his mouth off. 

I’m not the first person to mention this but I’m with the people who say that Trump is Rob Ford — without the drugs. 

I didn’t expect how swiftly his campaign would descend into controversy, though. His xenophobic “rapist” and “drug dealer” comments towards Mexican immigrants have everyone in the GOP running for cover. You had people like Pataki on the attack against Trump this week. Trump responded by trashing Pataki and calling him a terrible governor of New York. So Pataki got 15 minutes of campaign fame this week, thanks to Donald Trump. 

Trump has problems way beyond politics, like with these countries continuing to protest and pull out of the Miss Universe Pageant. Colombia has withdrawn its bid to host the pageant, and Costa Rica has pulled its representative from the pageant, and just today Panama pulled out, too. Moreover, people are starting to boycott Trump’s properties. NASCAR just pulled out of the Trump National Doral Resort over this controversy.

Trump claims to be surprised by the backlash. Yet these polls have Trump seemingly doing well in spite of his controversy. I don’t take much stock in these polls, they are simply reflecting name recognition. Let’s see what happens once people really start campaigning and start putting ads on TV in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Latest to run for President: Rand Paul. Big launch announcement today

Today, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced he was running for President. He appears poised to be the “liberty” candidate in the race, the guy with the most libertarian and non-interventionist ideas to appeal to the “get government off our backs” people — though he is also often referred to as a “Tea Partier”, too. At least, that is what he was described as when he ran for the Senate. 

But as I have said before, I get the impression the word “Tea Party” is often used to describe just about anyone who isn’t an establishment Republican. And while Rand Paul is definitely not the Establishment with his “Defeat the Washington Machine” slogan, he’s very different in policy from, say, Ted Cruz who is running on a very conservative platform and is very much a hard liner. 

Maybe Paul has a chance in the primaries to maybe unite the “Liberty” and the “Tea Party” factions behind his presidential bid, and if he does, look out. He could give the “Establishment” a run, if he can come up with a mainstream platform. I suppose his big policy news from today is that Paul announced he supports term limits for congress. Interesting. 

Another thing interesting is that he was introduced today by former Rep. J.C. Watts from Oklahoma, which is interesting to me because Watts used to be a well-known Canadian Football League quarterback years ago with the Ottawa Rough Riders. 

(Okay, now I’m really showing my age here.)