I promise, really, I do… that at some point, I’ll write about something other than politics. But, for now, here’s some more on the US Presidential Election and a bit on the struggle to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.
More from the Primaries
Well, since my last piece, things have not gotten better for Donald Trump… ahh, I feel so bad… or something like that. Of the five Republican contests held this weekend, he won only two of them. Worse yet, because most of the available delegates were allotted either proportionally or with the winner getting the majority, Sen. Ted Cruz actually gained more delegates than Trump did. In fact, Trumps lead over Cruz is now less than 100 delegates.
Is this to say that the age of Trump is over, that he’s going nowhere? Unfortunately, no… I only wish it could be that way. In many of the upcoming primaries, the delegates will be allowed to the winner only and Trump is polling well in many of those states. In fact, the March 15 Florida Primary has 99 delegates, is a winner take all contest and Trump is currently in the lead by about 8% points (over Marco Rubio, who incidentally represents Florida in the US Senate).
On the Democrat’s side, Sen. Sanders had a great weekend. There were four contests held, he won three of them – Nebraska, Kansas, and Maine. While Sec. Clinton, on the other hand, only managed to win Louisiana.
Still, and I hate to throw cold water on Sanders’ supporters and their celebrations, but these victories only underscore the difficulties Sanders faces. See, for all of what he won, Sanders gained 64 delegates, Clinton gained 62. That means that Sanders only narrowed Clinton’s lead by a net two delegates! So, while this could give him some momentum and fundraising opportunities, it didn’t get him closer to the needed amount of delegates.
There are two Democratic primaries tonight, Mississippi and Michigan. Five Thirty Eight is predicting that Clinton will win both, and with that, the majority of of the 166 available delegates (Mississippi has 36, and Michigan has 130). Though at the time I uploading this, Sanders is ahead by like 3,000 votes, with 10% of precincts reporting. If he wins that… it’s a big deal!
[Sneaky update: Sanders in the projected winner in Michigan, 50% to 48% with 92.48% of precincts reporting.]
The thing that worries me, is that much of the lefty aligned new media types… The Young Turks, Secular Talk and others are very much in support of Sanders and equally as much against Clinton. When you watch their programs you get a steady stream of how great Sanders is doing. I worry that Sanders supporters don’t realize how far he is behind Clinton and how hard it will be for him to gain the nomination. I don’t want them to become the 2016 Democratic version of 2012 Republican voters and pull the same ignorant flip out when Sanders loses as Romney supporters did back then. Because right now, they are committing many of the same errors and not looking at the actual numbers behind the candidates.
Actually both The Young Turks and Secular Talk are starting to really annoy me with their love for Sanders. Yes, I know that neither have ever stated that they are unbiased nor hid their biases and I also know that there really isn’t anything all that progressive about Clinton. But, neither is looking at the situation in a realistic manner.
For example, The Young Turks did a piece Saturday night in which they talked about how the mainstream media wasn’t giving Sanders the credit he was due for his, at that point, two victories over Clinton’s one. They highlighted several very real biased reports that ignored or really downplayed Sanders’ wins, but in the middle of that Jimmy Dore spent a couple of minutes having a freakout over article that correctly noted that, again at that point, Clinton had picked up more delegates than Sanders. Dore called this “100% pure spin”!
Really! Really? I didn’t know that factual reporting was now spin. I’m sorry Jimmy Dore didn’t like that fact, but that doesn’t make it any less correct.
I’m going to get off this topic before it pisses me off any further.
On a SCOTUS nomination.
Apparently denying President Obama his Constitutional authority to name Scalia’s replacement isn’t enough, some Republicans feel that they can prevent any(!) Democrat from filling that vacancy. At CPAC this weekend, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said: “The Republican majority in the Senate will not allow the Supreme Court to flip. You can take that to the bank.” In other words, as long as the Republicans hold the Senate and the nominee will be selected by a Democrat (this one or a future one), Scalia’s seat will remain unfilled. Well, what a way for discharge one’s Constitutional duties… by not doing them. It also nicely flies in the face of what my Senator, Steve Daines (R-MT), said in excusing his own refusal to do his job: “The best way to ensure this process remains nonpartisan would be waiting until after the election, before a nomination is made”. These guys have really got to coordinate their excuses better.
Johnson was backed up by Federalist Society Vice President, Dean Reuter saying:
But I’m happy to report that the law and the Constitution are on the Senate’s side here. The President surely does have a duty to nominate someone, but the Senate has a co-equal duty as a co-equal branch of government, to in this case operate as a check. It doesn’t have any responsibility or any duty to host one on one meetings with the nominee, or hold a hearing, or hold a committee vote, or a floor vote. There’s no timetable. It’s not as if the president sends somebody over and says, we need this back next month, or next Wednesday, or whatever.
What a crock of horseshit. The Constitution is clear, the president nominates members of the court and the Senate is to “give advice and consent” on that nominees. Since the Constitution
was ratified came into force in 1789, that has meant that the Senate holds hearings and a vote on the president’s nominees. Moreover, and this isn’t really a good thing, the Senate has often been a rubber stamp for nominees for most of that history. And yes, precedent does give a timetable, that being 125 days. That is the longest period of time that any nominee has waited to be confirmed (or withdrawn or rejected) by the Senate. By the way, that nominee was Louis Brandeis, if you wanted to know. Among the shortest I could find was Samuel Freeman Miller, who was confirmed only a half an hour after the Senate received his nomination from President Abraham Lincoln.
I shouldn’t be too surprised by Reuter’s statements, especially considering that he gave them during a talk chaired by himself and John Yoo. If that name isn’t familiar, let me remind you. He was a Deputy US Attorney General in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush Administration. During that time he authored papers and policies that so narrowly defined torture and governmental requirements for habeas corpus as to preclude most limits on torture or confinement of prisoners. His argument meant that actions banned under international law and treaties did not apply during the war on terror. He also argued that certain interrogation techniques that are banned on US soil could still be used by US interrogators overseas. Further, he argued that presidential authority allowed President Bush to use the NSA to spy on the communication of American citizens on American soil, indefinitely, without a warrant or approval from the FISA Courts, this was in almost direct defiance of the FISA legislation. Lastly, Yoo argued that since the Constitution grants war powers solely to the president, that outside of the declaration of war and the budgeting process, the Congress did not have the authority to check the president on military actions and neither did the courts!
Ok, I had more to say, but I’m going to stop here. I’ll have more at the end of the week, including some on tonight’s primaries, a review of Chapter 11 of Star Wars: the Old Republic’s new expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, and some thoughts on the dumb that Caitlyn Jenner let fall out of her mouth this week.
Edited, cause I’m dumb.