Archive for the ‘Election News’ Category

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Electoral College, huh?

November 1, 2008

These days all the media pundits have been speculating over the Electoral College while the polls are based on the popular vote. Several readers requested that this blog provide an article explaining the Electoral College as they expressed some bewilderment over this topic.

WHAT IS THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE?

The Electoral College is a body of electors who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December of a presidential election year. This body consists of 538 popularly elected representatives; this number reflects the number in our Congress (both the House of Representatives and the Senate) plus three from the District of Columbia. Therefore, in order to win the presidency, a candidate will need to win 270 electoral votes (one more than the exact half).

HOW DOES THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE WORK?

The electors are decided upon on Election Day, the day of the nationwide popular vote. When a candidate carries a state, he/she wins electors from that state. The number of electors in each state is based on congressional districts; i.e., the state of California consists of 53 congressional districts and 2 senate seats; therefore California carries 55 electors. All the states except for two are winner-take-all states; the two exceptions are Maine and Nebraska where a candidate collects electors based on the districts he/she wins on Election Day. These electors themselves cannot hold office in the United States Congress.

Several weeks later, these electors meet at their respective state capitals to cast their votes.

WHY THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE?

To many people, the Electoral College does not make sense and needs to be abolished. In the beginning of our nation’s history, the Electoral College made sense and was considered an innovative tool of the American brand of democracy. The Electoral College was established by our Founding Fathers when they wrote up the United States Constitution. At the Constitution Convention in 1787, the smaller states such as Delaware and Rhode Island sought to protect their states’ power without being overpowered by larger states such as Virginia and New York due to differences in population numbers. Also these states did not want the Congress to have extra power by picking a president and vice-president without any popular vote, so this power was switched to the citizenry.

At that time, some politicians believed a purely popular election was too reckless, while others objected to giving Congress the power to select the president. The compromise was to set up an Electoral College system that allowed voters to vote for electors, who would then cast their votes for candidates. The Founding Fathers believed the Electoral college itself reflected very much the U.S. Constitution itself which was based on a compromise between population-based and state-based governances.

This is how we ended up with the Electoral College. Yes, our presidential elections are really based on a two-vote process – the popular vote and the Electoral College.

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The G.O.P. Ship Is Sinking!!

October 27, 2008

Each day brings more bad news for the Republican Party, better known as the Grand Old Party (GOP). The G.O.P. ship is definitely sinking, and all the mice are now escaping the ship like crazy, escaping in the disguise of Republican leaders and major newspapers proclaiming crossover endorsements of Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for President. To make matters worse, several recent events cast a very long shadow on the Republican Party and the McCain campaign, events that occurred beyond anyone’s control.

The list of prominent Republicans who crossed over party lines to endorse Obama has steadily grown on a daily basis. Such Republicans included columnist Christopher Buckley (son of the late William F. Buckley); former Secretary of State (under the current president) Colin Powell ; Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana; former governor of Minnesota, Arnie Carlson; former press secretary in the current Bush White House, Steve McClelland; Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island; and most recently, former governor of Massachusetts, the ever-popular William Weld.

Major newspapers who endorsed Senator Obama included the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Arizona Republic along with many other major newspapers. At the last count, the tally of newspaper endorsements of Obama and Senator John McCain stands at a lopsided 194-82 in Obama’s favor.

The claim to the most stunning newspaper endorsement of Senator Barack Obama probably belongs to the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska, the home state of Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. Read below how the Anchorage Daily News explained its case yesterday (Sunday, October 26th):

Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

…Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she’s a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

This was the rationale behind the endorsement by the Anchorage Daily News for Barack Obama.

In the past few days, three events took place that did not portent well for our nation. Last Wednesday, a McCain campaign volunteer in Pittsburgh, a white woman, claimed that she was robbed, raped and beaten by a black man who was an Obama supporter. After interrogating this woman and performing a lie detector polygraph test on her, the Pittsburgh police declared that this was a sheer fabrication on the woman’s behalf. To make matters worse, a McCain campaign official disclosed the details of the alleged assault to a local TV station BEFORE the police had a chance to finish its investigation, which raised suspicions of race-baiting within the McCain campaign.

Today, two major pieces of news came out that the McCain campaign probably wished would never happen. The first one was today’s announcement of a guilty verdict in the Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens’ corruption trial, a verdict that could greatly affect Senator Stevens’ re-election next week. The other news was that the federal agency, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), disrupted a plot by ultra-right wing skinheads in Tennessee and Arkansas to assassinate Senator Barack Obama.

On top of all this, almost all national polls point to a resounding Obama victory next week. And now reports are coming out in trickles describing major discontent within the McCain campaign. The full inside story may not be known until long after the election. However on the Meet the Press show yesterday, Senator John McCain guaranteed a victory in the presidential race:

“We’re going to do well in this campaign, my friend. We’re going to win it and it’s going to be tight, and we’re going to be up late. This is going to be a very close race. I believe I’m going to win it.”

Hello? Hello?? We shall see….

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WHO WON THE DEBATE?

October 16, 2008

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American Politics — Blurring the Lines

October 12, 2008

The presidential race has become more bizarre these days and now taking a dangerous turn. Each day brings in major news at a breakneck speed that it becomes rather difficult to digest news and write up posts for this blog. Also, it seems as if the line between reality and fantasy is becoming blurred in American politics.

Since our last post on this blog, a government report on jobless claims came out for the month of September—159,000 new claims. Then the Congress passed a $700 billion bailout plan with a new name — economic stabilization plan, but this did not prevent the Wall Street from crashing in 8 consecutive sessions, devaluing stocks by 40% in one year and erasing 2 trillion dollars from retirement savings nationwide in 15 months. Also, two debates (both presidential and vice-presidential) took place, revealing even more disturbing aspects of the Republican ticket.

At the second presidential debate, Senator John McCain continued to minimize the Democratic nominee Barack Obama, calling him “that one” and still had not improved his eye contact with Obama. Also during that debate, McCain proposed yet ANOTHER bailout program, this time to buy up “bad mortgage loans” totaling $300 billion. The vice-presidential debate provided more fodder when Governor Sarah Palin created a spectacle of Obama raising the white flag in Iraq. However, she raised multitudes of red flags when she explained the need to expand the role and power of the Vice President of the United States, something ALREADY defined in the United States Constitution.

The tone of the presidential campaign has become more venomous with Senator Barack Obama being blamed by the Republican ticket for everything under the sun. One example was an attempt to connect Obama with terrorists and radicals such as William Ayers, one of the Weathermen from the 1960s when Obama was only 8 years old. Another example was that Obama was really a “foreigner” and a Muslim.

In the meanwhile, Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden have focused on the economy, since roughly 60% of the Americans considered the economy as the number one issue these days. Yet the McCain campaign chose to focus on frivolous claims against Obama rather than discuss the economy, claims so frivolous that Senator Biden accused McCain of taking the lowest road possible to the highest office of the land.

McCain’s behavior these days is resembling more and more that of the crazed prison warden Dwight McClusky in the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers, a role memorably played by Tommy Lee Jones. This character was so out of touch with reality and very stuck in his power trip. When a prison riot broke out, he came up with solutions and options that backfired on him. Now the national media is delivering a verdict on McCain’s leadership in two words — erratic and uncertain.

Governor Sarah Palin is another story. Each week brings more and more revelations from the great state of Alaska. At the same time, the American public flocks to the ever-popular TV show, Saturday Night Live, to get a “reality check” through Tina Fey’s impersonation as Sarah Palin. This show is now enjoying a 48% jump in its ratings, its best showing in 7 years.

News coming out of Alaska included a videotape of Sarah Palin being “ministered” by an African pastor who claimed success in “curing” witch doctors, a tape that was repeated continuously on several TV networks. When asked about this videotape, Sarah Palin kept thanking this pastor for putting her on the right track.

Another piece of news from Alaska disclosed Sarah Palin’s husband Todd being involved with Alaska Independence Party for several years, a party that advocated secession from the United States of America. Members of such groups are usually recruited from fundamentalist Christian churches, and these ultra right-wing members are considered domestic terrorists by our government. While the Palins maintained that Todd Palin was no longer a member of this party, it was recently disclosed that Sarah and Todd Palin continued to attend their annual conventions, the last time being last year when she spoke there, telling them to “keep up the good work.” This brings up the question as to where her loyalties lie, although she has been paying lip service of being a proud American citizen.

Then there is the Troopergate, an investigation into whether Sarah Palin misused her power. Upon becoming a governor, Sarah Palin tried to get her former brother-in-law fired as state trooper. When this failed, the public safety commissioner was fired for not following her orders in this attempted termination. During the investigation, she and her husband refused to comply with the subpoena. Later on her husband changed course and testified. As of yesterday, the legislative report out of Alaska concluded that Palin abused ethics, using her office to apply pressure for personal gain. This whole fiasco really disproves the Republican ticket’s claim of being reformers and mavericks.

In several TV interviews, Sarah Palin fumbled through them, providing a wealth of material for Saturday Night Live spoofs. At the vice-presidential debate, she declared that she would not answer questions from the moderator and would address to the American people instead. She also accused the media of limiting her participation in this debate by imposing timed responses like 90 seconds or two minutes! She was starting to come across as the Queen of Blame. In response to Palin’s comments about “expanding” the vice-president’s role, Joe Biden called Dick Cheney as the most dangerous vice-president in the United States history. Still Sarah Palin wants to out-do and outshine Dick Cheney!

When you look at Sarah Palin’s overall behavior, you have to wonder about her attitude towards rules, laws and especially the United States Constitution. Does she really think she is above all of these? Are we witnessing a new dictatorship ticket being formed by McCain and Palin? Their whole tone is now affecting the presidential race.

This past week, someone in the Georgia senator race debate screamed “Bomb Obama.” At several other Republican rallies, people have screamed Traitor, Terrorist, Killer, etc. whenever Obama’s name was mentioned. On Friday, October 10th, in a Minnesota town hall meeting, a woman expressed to McCain her concern about Obama being an Arab; at that, McCain grabbed the microphone from her and said this had to stop and that no one should be scared if Obama became president. For his defense of Obama, McCain got booed by the audience.

Because of these incidents, some conservative newspapers are accusing the McCain/Palin camp of creating a “lynch mob” mentality across the country, and the Republican party leaders are saying “enough is enough,” bearing in mind our nation’s history and our predisposition toward violence. This is a dangerous turn in American politics today where we need to stand ready to express our displeasure.

What McCain DOES NOT UNDERSTAND is that the American voters are an intelligent lot; that all the twisted slogans, accusations and sound bites are working counterproductively; and that he cannot continue to insult our intelligence. Furthermore he does not understand that in this economic crisis, we are now facing the thin breaking point which can beget several forms of violence. This may explain why Obama is now maintaining an 11% lead in national polls. If this tone promoted by the McCain/Palin ticket keeps up, we just may see a Democratic landslide come November 4th. These times of crisis require calm and steady leadership, which McCain has constantly failed to demonstrate and of which Obama is providing shining examples.

The bottom line is that this presidential race has come down to this choice — the Democratic ticket versus the Dictatorship ticket…

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Is McCain Taking Acid or What?

October 2, 2008

nullThese days, it is becoming more and more fun to watch TV news and other media, just to see the latest escapades of the McCain/Palin team! Apparently we thought our lives would be quiet again after the massive media coverage of the Beijing Olympics. We never anticipated that the presidential politics would create high drama, providing great fodder for nightly entertainment on numerous TV shows, especially the Saturday Night Live show!

First of all, Senator John McCain DID show up at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi to debate with the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama. Right there, McCain shot his own credibility because at the time of the debate at Ole Miss, a bailout package had not been agreed on yet. When he announced the suspension of his campaign, he said he would focus on the bailout issue and would not attend the debate until a bill was passed or something solid was in the works. At the time of the debate, no bailout plan was formulated yet.

The debate itself provided several eye-openers. For one thing, not once did McCain look at Senator Obama, and this body language itself was very telling. In our last posting, we raised the question of possible racism involved, and we also discussed the significance of the debate taking place at Ole Miss of all places. For McCain to completely ignore Obama except to scream at him at Ole Miss certainly brought flashes of racism for some viewers. The days of Old Jim Crowe ain’t over yet, not just yet!!

Another startling thing to come out of the debate was the language John McCain used against Obama — Obama doesn’t understand, he doesn’t seem to understand, he just don’t understand, etc. Obama himself portrayed a steadfastness which polls later showed to have an impact on American viewers as his numbers kept increasing. McCain’s use of these lines gave material to the Saturday Night Life spoof the next night along with Tina Fey’s guest appearance portraying Sarah Palin, a portrayal that provided millions of laughter across the country.

Thirdly, another spectacle of this first presidential debate was John McCain’s body language, other than refusing to look at Senator Obama. His face showed a lot of tension, with jaws clenching at times, eyes blinking constantly, and on several occasions he seemed about to blow his temper, which he smiled inappropraitely instead but then he showed his clenched teeth!! The group I was watching the debate with ended up rooting for Obama to push a button in McCain and let him throw a tantrum; unfortunately this display of his legendary temper did not happen on nationwide TV.

This was how the debate went this past Friday night in Oxford, Mississippi. Over the weekend, John McCain ran into another bloop when on Sunday night and early Monday morning, he ran an ad claiming credit for helping resolve the economic crisis by putting together a bailout package. He ran this ad several hours before the House of Representatives delivered a stunning defeat to the bailout bill!

Then yesterday, McCain finally blew off some steam during a televised interview with Des Moines newspaper editorial board. When asked about the rumors of dropping Sarah Palin from the Republican ticket after a series of embarrassing interviews with the media including Katie Couric, McCain got feisty and said that he did not see any data indicating that Sarah Palin was a liability, including his private polls, party leadership and among his base, and that he thought Palin was doing great! This in spite of the most recent national poll where 51% of those asked thought that Palin was not qualified at all, not even as a vice president!

Really, each day brings on a more bizarre aspect to the whole presidential campaign, an aspect that makes Senator Barack Obama come across as very even-minded and even-handed. Once again, is McCain in touch with reality? Is he high on something like acid or what?

Now the latest from McCain — he believes that his Veep candidate Sarah Palin will do very well in the Veep debate in St. Lous and that he has full confidence in her. We shall seeeeeeeee…..

Go Joe Biden, GO GO GO!!!

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Hi, McCain? Hello? HELLO??

September 26, 2008

Do we all need a huge reality check? Or is it Senator John McCain who is in a SEVERE need of a reality check?? Apparently McCain thinks he can continue to trivialize this election, and he probably gets his tips and tactics from the 1997 movie, “Wag the Dog,” a comedy on the electoral process being manipulated by creating artificial situations.

After months and months of relatively quiet campaigning for the nomination, McCain suddenly occupied all our attention and the media’s attention, whether intentionally or inadvertently, starting around the time of the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

First, Senator John McCain did not know how many houses he owned and that he would have to ask his wife about it. Shortly after, an announcement came that McCain had never touched a computer, much less send an email message. Yet a bizarre announcement followed this one – that McCain invented the Blackberry pager! Hahaha, someone who has never composed an e-mail invented the pager???

Then Senator McCain made a surprise announcement on his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, after talking with her only twice (depending on which media report you read) and claiming that she was adequately vetted for this role. Then we got this Troopergate and the Bridge to Nowhere, and now most recently a home video showing Sarah Palin receiving a “blessing” at an Assembly of God church from an African pastor who claimed to have “cured” witch doctors!

These events/incidents made one wonder about John McCain’s judgment skills and soundness as a leader. However, several more incidents further raised even more questions. A few weeks ago, when asked about our economy, McCain made this now often-repeated quote, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong…” This quote was made right BEFORE our economy came crashing down!

Another area of concern was the handling of his Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. The media were deprived of access to her, as the campaign decided on a “blackout” for Palin and accused the media of “sexism” when attempting to question her and sometimes challenging her positions. The media balked at this blackout and threatened not to show up at any Palin event, to which the McCain campaign gave in. Another example of the campaign’s shallow handling of Palin took place at the United Nations Assembly in New York City. There the McCain campaign created several photo opportunities of Sarah Palin meeting with several world leaders, so to create an impression of her getting foreign policy experience. How does sitting with these leaders and making small talk with them give her any “foreign policy experience” other than a cosmetic makeup??

Now with our economy spiraling downward speedily, John McCain decided that he absolutely had to suspend his campaign and skip the first presidential debate held at the University of Mississippi. His reasoning?? He had to go to Washington, DC to help resolve the financial crisis and stay there until it was resolved one way or another, including a $700 billion bailout.

Where is McCain’s grip on reality? Did he really believe that if he left Washington, DC for several hours to attend the debate at the University of Mississippi, the whole American economy would COLLAPSE just because of his absence from the capital?? We already have 435 fantastic congress people and 100 esteemed senators (minus 2 who are supposed to be in Oxford, Mississippi tomorrow), plus countless Administration people who together are presently and fervently working together to develop solutions.

McCain claimed that this financial crisis was too serious for him to focus on the debate. Well, we all would expect our President of the United States (POTUS), regardless of which party affiliation, to possess this popular skill nowadays – MULTI-TASKING!! During any time of crisis, the American people would expect our POTUS to maintain contact with us, whether through a presidential address, press conference or a presidential candidate debate.

McCain’s skipping the debate tomorrow (Friday, September 26th) at the hallowed University of Mississippi, well known as Ole Miss, will create huge repercussions. Ole Miss claims huge fame as the site of the 1960’s racial confrontation over desegregation, with the National Guardsmen escorting a new incoming black student James Meredith, a confrontation forever etched in our memory. McCain’s refusal to show up will certainly reek of racism on some levels, not willing to debate with the first-ever black presidential candidate in American history, especially at Ole Miss of all places! This kind of setting with these players will make an eloquent statement on how far our race relations in this country have come, and the symbolism behind McCain’s refusal to debate at Ole Miss will not be lost on us all!!

During the GOP convention, several media pundits and news broadcasters commented on the lack of any real Republican platform being presented and that the John McCain story/personality was being sold to the American public instead. This may explain McCain’s tactics and turns/twists and blatant attempts at controlling this presidential election. Apparently he thinks we are a mass of morons who can be manipulated easily. His rash decision-making skills beg the question of his fitness as a leader whose style is becoming more and more obvious — wagging the dog at us all!

Seriously, John McCain, hello? HELLO??

(At the time of this posting, the national media has announced that Senator John McCain would attend the debate at Ole Miss after all. Still the same, his credibility has been shot to smithereens because all week long, he repeatedly claimed that he would not attend the debate until the bailout agreement was reached or close to agreement. By all accounts at this time now, no agreement has been reached or even near to being reached, and that the so-called agreement as of yesterday collapsed at the White House meeting last night thanks to a “Republican revolt.” Furthermore, there have been charges of “political theater” created by McCain who by the way did NOT speak very much at the emergency White House meeting last night.)

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The Race Is OONNNN!!

September 10, 2008

Yes, dear, the 2008 Presidential race has officially begun!! Both the Democratic and Republican conventions have settled on their candidates — Barack Obama / Joe Biden for the Democrats and John McCain / Sarah Palin for the Republicans. Already words are flying out of the coop. Words and charges such as change change change, “no way, no how, no McCain,” “pitbull with lipstick”, racism/sexism, Troopergate, the “bridge to nowhere,” swift-boating, and now “lipstick on a pig but still a pig.”

The amazing thing is that with a woman in the presidential election equation now, everyone is becoming obsessed with lipstick. Is this McCain’s way of diverting our attention from all the real issues of the day? The American public has every right to be appalled at the McCain campaign’s attempts to trivialize this election. This proves true those allegations of the Republicans’ view of the American people as a mass of morons. Since the McCain campaign has begun the trivialization of this election, he and his running mate Sarah Palin have become “fair game.”

Hey, John McCain, guess what? Sarah Palin DOES NOT own a monopoly on lipstick!! Billions of women all over the world enjoy lipstick, too!!

Let the discussion begin…

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