Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party’

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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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Where is the October Surprise?

October 25, 2008

With all the fast-breaking political news on a daily basis these days, one question keeps looming — where is the October surprise? This term usually keeps everyone – including the candidates, their campaign staff, reporters and whoever else – on their toes.

A classic American political term, “October surprise” refers to a news event that can impact the outcome of an election, particularly one for the presidency. This term derives from the fact that elections are held in November, and any event occurring during October has a great potential to swing votes. These October events, as history has shown, can be either manufactured or as occurring beyond anyone’s control.

The October surprise first emerged in October 1968 during the presidential race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. The incumbent Democratic President Lyndon Johnson announced a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam, at a time when polls showed the Republican candidate Nixon in a comfortable lead. Johnson explained that progress had been made in the peace negotiations and he believed that the war would be over before the election in November. Well, the war did not end, but this announcement almost erased Nixon’s lead, down to only 500,000 popular votes over Humphrey on Election Day.

Four years later, when President Richard Nixon raced against Senator George McGovern, his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a startling announcement that “peace was at hand” with North Vietnam, due to a major breakthrough in the Paris peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese. With the help of this announcement, President Nixon defeated McGovern by a 20-point popular vote margin in one of the largest landslides in American history. The irony of this announcement was that the war continued until 1975, three years later, only after Nixon resigned from office due to the Watergate scandal.

Eight years later (1980), Democratic President Jimmy Carter attempted to create an October surprise by organizing a commando mission into Iran to rescue the American embassy hostages held there, a mission that collapsed when several helicopters crashed into each other, killing some commandoes. Then the Iranian government came out with its own October surprise, that the hostages would not be released until after the American election, a surprise that favored the Republican nominee Ronald Reagan. The hostages were eventually released, on the day of Reagan’s inauguration. This fueled suspicions that Reagan himself might have made a deal with the Iranians prior to the election, suspicions that have never been proven or disproved to this day.

The 1992 presidential election was overshadowed by an October surprise when Caspar Weinberger, former President Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, was implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal, for participating in the transfer of missiles to Iran and then lying to the investigators about his role in this transfer. This announcement jeopardized President George H.W. Bush’s re-election chances, losing to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas. The Republicans angrily accused the Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh over the timing of the indictment for political purposes. On Christmas Eve, before leaving the White House, President Bush pardoned Weinberger several days before his trial was scheduled to begin.

A few days before the November 2000 election, a Fox News reporter discovered an old report that Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving in Maine in 1976. Bush held a press conference immediately to confirm this incident, resulting in his poll standings being affected greatly. However, this only led up to a very hotly-contested presidential race that ended up in the Supreme Court deciding in his favor against Vice President Al Gore.

In the 2004 presidential election, two October surprises came on the scene. On October 29, the Arabic news agency Al Jazeera aired a video of the terrorist Osama bin Laden who claimed, “Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda… Your security is in your own hands.” This is believed to have helped President Bush’s campaign as it thrust the war on terrorism back into the public eye.

The second 2004 October surprise took place on a 60 Minutes broadcast with this remark: “Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told us that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election to ensure the US economy is strong on Election Day.” In other words, this promise from the Saudi prince helped deliver a Bush victory.

The most recent October surprise occurred in the last national election two years ago, again through two different events — North Korea’s underground test of a nuclear weapon and the other event being the Mark Foley scandal, in which the Republican congressman resigned over sexual computer messages with underage congressional pages. The Foley scandal broke on September 28, 2006 and dominated the news in early October.

ELECTION YEAR 2008

This year has been rather unprecedented in terms of record-breaking fundraising efforts and voluminous news events, so much events that media pundits are still filtering to see if an October surprise, one or several, has already taken place. On the surface, one can say that it is the economy on the brink of collapse, or the government bailout, which effectively nationalized our financial institutions in the socialist fashion. What about Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe makeover? Joe the Plumber? A McCain campaign worker lying about being beaten up by an Obama supporter? Or is there a real October surprise still waiting to happen?? But then again, we may not see one in during the month of this October.

Looking back to the last election cycle, news came out that the Saddam Hussein trial verdict would be rendered on November 5, 2006, just two days before the U.S. midterm elections, leading Tom Engelhardt of liberal magazine The Nation to dub it the “November Surprise.” Maybe we ought to wait for a “November surprise” instead of an “October surprise”??

Will it be October? Or November?? Still holding my breath…

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WHO WON THE DEBATE?

October 16, 2008

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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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A New Poll from Deaf Democrats — West Virginia Primary!!

May 11, 2008

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Where is the Deaf Voice in Politics?

March 24, 2008

ANOTHER VLOG BY MELVIN PATTERSON…

Hello again…
I still believe that Deaf and Hard of hearing people will sit down and listen two presidential candidates (1 Democrat and 1 Republican)…. You have a question for that topic, other question for other question and you want.? [fade to black] This video will not playing at this time. Because I spoke with a Political insider through Video Relay service. During the discussion with him, I expressed my concerns, my vision, and my passion by seeing new improvement in relationship between the Politics and the Deaf (apply to all deaf/hard of hearing individuals). I asked him if he is the right person to discuss these concerns. His replied: “YES!”

After I discussed all my ideas, he heard all of them and understood. He asked if he can bluntly say two things open.

An Insider said, “First of all, Do we have any powerful Deaf group that can be identified by our politicians? None.
Secondly, None of Deaf groups that donated a lot of money toward presidential campaign.
My concern is that how do our politicians perceive of Deaf people? They would just say, they, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, are just People with Disabilities. Politicians often would think which laws that are associated/applied to People with Disabilities. Politicians probably would say in a calmly attitude, “Oh, its ADA (American with Disabilities), Education Act, and few others for these People with Disabilities.””

I puzzled but gave an emphasize statement that we are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and we face common problems daily unlikely what other People with Disabilities went through.

An Insider said, “Yes but the point is that do we have a powerful deaf group that focuses on politics for the Deaf and tell Politician like this “We support you if you support us?”

[Silent… thinking…] I said, “We have several organizations…” “Specifically, which one?” Insider said.

[Silent… thinking…] I asked, “Don’t mind to give me an example of what group that can be identified by our politicians?” “Sure” He said. “NRA – National Rifle Association is known for a largest membership and support any president who supports NRA.”

A group of NRA cares of what they do with their guns at home. if something happens at home,
they are protected – you know. Or during leisure time, they can go out for hunting games. That group cares the Gun Right. If any President candidate who says, “I support NRA”, NRA leader would tell NRA members that this candidate is good cause he supports us and please vote him. NRA members will support and vote this candidate.

An Insider said, “Understand that once Politicans hear the name of NRA, they know NRA is one of powerful organization. They can identify that organization. So does the GLAAD – Gay/Lesiban Alliance Against Defamation.”

Any gay goes to work or apply for health insurance, they are protected by law. So if one needs an health insurance but denied because he or she is a gay/lesiban or discriminated at work. The group of attorneys wrote a law to stop that kind of discrimination. That specific law is designed to protect gay/lesiban and they are now seen as equal at any workplace.

So does the organization for Women. If men got handsomely paid and women got small paid, women protested it. Therefore, they got paid equally.

So does the NAACP – National Association for Advancement of Colored People. Anyone discriminated against them because of their color skin. No. No. They are all equal regardless what color skin is.

An Insider said, “Politicians can identify each powerful group and they know what they are but Deaf? Deaf is part of People with Disabilities and is protected by umm ADA, right?”

I said, “Oh… but the group…” An Insider interrupted and said, “Money? If this Deaf group has money to donate to one of our presidential candidates, all press members will be notified. Press members will ask the Deaf group to tell them what this Deaf group is all about, why should President candidate listen this group, etc. So does the Deaf has a large membership? Does it has money for donation ready? Tell me.”

I said, “Oh I see.” I back off a little bit and said, “I really want to have relationship with Politicians but I need to talk with the group of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people about it.” [Silent]

Do we have this group that support either Democratic or Republican and donate to one of them by say, “We promise to endorse you if you support us.” Something like that so President Candidate can announce to the public and say, “I support this Deaf group. I identify this group, I protect this group, I understand their passion, I know their goal and purpose, etc” Group of press member will spread the news about this Deaf group. Press member could say “This Deaf/Hard of Hearing donated a million dollars to one candidate.” Do we have this group? No.

Can we start a new group and name it?

My vision for every deaf/hard of hearing individuals to donate 20 dollars each because 20 dollars times 50 thousand contributors is 1 million dollars. I believe it can happen but… I need your help. Can someone take a lead by form a new group which we can earn money from the public? So if we have this kind of money, a leader of this group will ask candidates with a question “which one of you support us?”

Either party must say, “I support this group with a reason”. After we hear their reasons, we will choose one who we think is represents us. Once we chose one, we endorse one. A lot of reporters/anchors will let America know about us. We have a VOICE. We want new change. New change will give all politicians a new perspective of us – Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

So… what change? Department of Homeland Security is important. If there is crisis, an emergency crew may ask us to sit down and wait but we are completely lost. Or there?s miscommunicate with Police. Its in cycle of problem. Repeat problem. Call attorney for help and accuse Police of wrongdoing but attorney couldn?t help us because police is powerful.. has a lot of political blackmail and case closed.

Education? Give a large fund to public schools but small fund for deaf programs.

So go on over one reason that is, a point of Communication issue. That communication issue, we face every single day. I want to see this to stop completely. Change it and start improving.

Do you know anyone who is eagerly to take a lead or other organization that is willing to add a separate fund that is designed only for presidential campaign. Announce to our Deaf Community that one is working on the relationship between Politics and the Deaf. Money shows we are serious and want one of presidential candidates to be seriously consider to represent us.

Please help us. Let me know and I will let everyone know. I will join you and help to fund it.

Please.

Thank you.

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