Thursday, June 6, 2019

Meet the first female President of the United States

Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley will likely be elected the first female President of the United States.  Whether that happens in 2020, 2024, 2028, or 2032 is the question.  At 47, she will be a relatively young 60 year old candidate as far out as 2032.


Haley has six years of experience as a governor.   As Ambassador to the UN she was a standout on the international stage.  She is young.  She has solid experience.  She is a mother.  She has center-right conservative bona fides.  She is a woman of color.  She is attractive.  She is an excellent speaker and unflappable debater.  Her husband is a Major in the Army National Guard who has deployed to Afghanistan.

Last October Haley announced in the Oval Office, seated beside President Donald Trump, that she would leave her post as UN Ambassador. NPR reported at the time of her resignation, “She did not say what she will do next, except that it will be in the private sector.”  Since Haley’s departure she has not taken a position with any private firm, but instead has positioned herself for a presidential run.  Her finances are improving as she commands $200,000 for speaking engagements.

The Washington Examiner  said of Haley, “as a woman who is an ethnic minority, Haley could be an attractive choice for Republicans looking to hold the line in a country whose demographics and cultural norms are changing.” 

Her primary interest is in policy and her effectiveness as both a governor and UN Ambassador has resonated across the political spectrum.  In a 2018 Quinnipiac poll Republicans gave Haley a 75 percent approval rating along with 63 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats. 
  
Haley is feared by Democratic leaders.  She is an attractive candidate who can co-opt many Democratic voters from a party that has made historical social “first” statements a priority of its identity politics focus.  Suburban female voters will find a kindred spirit in Haley’s as a spouse, mother, and professional struggling to achieve balance. 
 
Imagine Haley facing an 82-year-old Joe Biden in a 2024 reelection bid if elected in 2020?  Ironic to think of the Democratic Party defending the very old White Man insider against the vibrant young woman of color, daughter of immigrants, who ordered the Confederate Flag removed from the South Carolina state capitol.

More recent actions indicate Haley is an undeclared presidential candidate.  The remaining question is when? 
 
In February, Haley created a public policy advocacy group “Stand For America” that has developed policy statements across a wide swath of topic areas to serve as her policy foundations in a campaign.  Recent reporting indicates Haley will release a memoir in the fall titled “With All Due Respect.  She is campaigning for Republican Senate candidates across the country.  She raised $500,000 for four female Republican Senate candidates last week.  She was the keynote speaker at the Susan B.Anthony annual gala this week.   

Despite opposing President Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican Primary as a supporter of Senator Marco Rubio she joined his Administration.  Unlike some other senior Trump Administration officials that stood their ground when they disagreed with the president, she left the administration with a full-throated blessing and endorsement from President Trump.  A Trump endorsement could transfer his loyal base to her camp despite some base concerns that she is relying too much on inside the Belt-Way Republicans.

Why include the 2020 election in this post when Haley has already stated she will support the president and has offered to campaign with him?

She does not have to run in the Republican Primary to be the nominee.   She could be chosen as the nominee at the 2020 Republican Convention.   How might that happen?  With the blessing of Donald Trump.

If President Trump decided he was not going to win the election, or he got sick, or he simply just grew tired of the presidency, he could win the primary as incumbent president and then at the convention withdraw his nomination and ask the delegates to nominate Haley in his place.

What of Vice President Mike Pence?   Pence has been a loyal VP, but President Trump has a history of success hiring very strong women to run his companies and manage his major projects.   His gut would tell him Pence, though a nice guy, smart, and loyal doesn’t have what it takes to win.   Nikki Haley does.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Free College and Student Loan Forgiveness


A presidential election approaches and the giveaway bidding keeps rising.   The two big ticket bids are “free college education” and “forgiveness of student loan debt.”   These two issues are symptoms of a problem.  They are not the problem.  Too often in our culture we focus on symptoms and politicians pander with supposed solutions.  That is why many problems are never solved.  The real problem is a higher education system that is far too costly and ineffective in delivering quality outcomes efficiently.

Students and their parents sense that something is out of joint.   Increasingly they are questioning the value proposition of the four-year college.  (Actually, only 39% of students graduate in 4 years and only about 60% by year six.)  The cost is too high.  The rigor of the experience is questionable as everything outside of academics seems a priority on campus with socialization atop the list.   The enhanced economic promise associated with the degree are diminishing.  And the debt burden incurred can be stifling.

Higher education costs have skyrocketed.  The quality of education has not improved in any way proportionate to the rise in cost.   Government programs to make higher education affordable have in fact had the opposite effect – fueling rising costs.   Much of the burden of that cost is placed on the shoulders of those ill prepared to complete college and ill prepared to pay back the debt burden.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Hometown Nostalgia


The recent creation of a Facebook Group for people from my hometown "This was Randolph" quickly drew nearly 5,000 members.  Thousands of posts, comments and reactions indicated life in Randolph, Massachusetts in the 1960s into the 1980s was overwhelmingly positive for children and teenagers.  No doubt young people in many small towns across the country in the same period shared that positive experience.

The purpose of the Facebook Group was to reminisce about experiences growing up in the town.  The creator insisted that members must have lived in Randolph, Massachusetts at some time.  Group members could submit a post on pretty much any topic except politics.  Postings quickly poured in and thousands of reactions and comments followed.  Additional conversations were sparked and in many cases friendships that had faded with time were renewed.  Reading through the posts and comments an abundance of fond recollections and appreciation for the environment, institutions, and people of my hometown flowed readily.
 
In a 1993 Washington Post Sunday Magazine feature  about Rod Langway, an NHL Hall of Fame hockey player from Randolph, the author described Randolph as a “tough blue-collar community south of Boston.”  I was living in Washington, D.C. at that time. Reading the article I was taken aback by that description of my hometown. 

When thousands began migrating from Boston to the fast-growing town in the 1950s it was considered a country backwater.  It quickly became a blue-collar working-class town in the 1950s and 60s, but it never seemed “tough” in a pejorative way.   It was a place of large families and bursting schools where children played outdoors with little or no supervision.   It wasn’t perfect, and there were some that suffered in isolation and abuse, but the reflections on the Facebook Group surely show it was in general a wonderful place to grow up.

Reading the posts within the group, one could not help but think how much has changed - not just in my hometown, but in many small towns across the country.

Who are these 5000 people in the Facebook Group?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Census Controversy and Gerrymandering before the Supreme Court - Part 2: Gerrymandering


There are two interesting and very important questions before the Supreme Court this term relating to congressional representation.   One case is about apportionment – the way in which the federal government allocates the 435 Congressional Districts to the states.  The other is about redistricting – the way in which districts are drawn within and by states.  As they are both complex issues this will be a two series blog, Part 1: Apportionment and Part 2: Gerrymandering.   Apportionment is the process of allocating congressional districts after the decennial census.  Gerrymandering is the manipulation of congressional districts within state boundaries for political advantage.

These are complex issues for the Supreme Court that float in a gray area between politics and clear-cut law.  The issues may seem arcane to many, but they are of major consequence for the republic relating to representation, power, and resource allocation.  Both issues are worthy of considerable citizen attention.

GERRYMANDERING

In Part 1: Apportionment, the Constitutional requirement was described to conduct a census every ten years from which the 435 Congressional Districts are reapportioned to the states.  A further mandate that each of those districts have roughly the same numbers represented was also established.   Beyond those broad goal posts the responsibility for creating the districts within states is left almost entirely to the states themselves.

Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution says, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature.”  It further provides a regulating authority stating, “the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.”

Placing the state legislatures in charge of creating districts within their borders makes the process a political one.  As in all political activities advantage is sought by competing interested parties.  An environment ripe for abuse is created. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Trump exonerated - stop the resistance! It's futile


To win the 2020 presidential election and retain control of the House of Representatives the Democratic Party must stop the endless acrimony over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election loss and move on to offering solutions to real problems.  If not, it will lose the 2020 presidential election and the House of Representatives. The nation is worn thin by the post 2016 rancor.  Further continuation of a strategy of “resistance” is harmful to the nation and likely counter to future Democratic electoral success.

On May 17, 2017 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller in an “Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters.”  Thirty-four indictments of individuals and three companies resulted.  Thirteen Russians and two companies were indicted for social media trolling and twelve Russian military officers were indicted for hacking the Democratic National Committee Email servers.  The remaining indictments and convictions were for peripheral violations of the law such as lying to the FBI or Congress or long-past crimes unrelated to the election. 

On March 24, 2019 Attorney General William Barr provided the major findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report titled:  “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.”  Barr writes, “the Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US. presidential election.”  Further, the Attorney General found that, “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

In 2017 a special counsel was demanded.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself as demanded. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein provided the Special Counsel with an extremely broad authority and scope.   Mr. Mueller was unhindered by the White House or the Department of Justice in his investigation.   Everything possible was done to accommodate those that demanded a full, fair and thorough investigation. 

Immediately following the release of the Attorney General’s top-level summary Representative Maxine Waters said, “this is not the end of anything!”   The Democratic Party follows her lead at its peril.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Census Controversy and Gerrymandering before the Supreme Court - Part 1: Apportionment


There are two interesting and very important questions before the Supreme Court this term relating to congressional representation.   One case is about apportionment – the way in which the federal government allocates the 435 Congressional Districts to the states.  The other is about redistricting – the way in which districts are drawn within and by states.  As they are both complex issues this will be a two series blog, Part 1: Apportionment and Part 2: Gerrymandering.   Apportionment is the process of allocating congressional districts after the decennial census.  Gerrymandering is the manipulation of congressional districts within state boundaries for political advantage.

These are complex issues for the Supreme Court that float in a gray area between politics and clear-cut law.  The issues may seem arcane to many, but they are of major consequence for the republic relating to representation, power, and resource allocation.  Both issues are worthy of considerable citizen attention.

APPORTIONMENT

Every ten years the United States Census Bureau conducts the census in accordance with Article 1 Section 2 of the United States Constitution.  The Constitution originally provided for the maximum amount of people in a district (30 thousand) at the start of the republic. However, as the number of states increased, and the population grew, it became impractical to keep expanding the number of districts or to restrict the number in each district to thirty thousand.

The Apportionment Act of 1911 established that there shall be 435 congressional districts in the House of Representatives to represent the interests of the citizens.   The Senate represents states. Each state is allotted two senators by Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution (50 states x 2 senators = 100 senators).  

The 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives together make up the bicameral legislature that together are called the United States Congress.   Additionally, the District of Columbia is allocated three Electors through the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution.  Total electors therefore are 538 resulting in the requirement that a presidential candidate obtain over half, or 270 electors, to win a presidential election.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Who will win in 2020? - syllables and follicles may tell


Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will not be president – bet on it.  Only one person with a four syllable last name was ever elected president (and he was a five star general national hero) and the trend is toward fewer syllables.  Former Maryland Representative John Delaney will not be president – bet on it.  Delaney is bald.   We very rarely elect bald presidents.

Prognosticating about the 2020 election is well underway.  Much of it is based on anecdotal evidence.  As the readers of the Liberty Takes Effort blog know - facts and analysis dominate here.  The above predictions are based on statistical analysis of historic patterns.  Syllables and follicles do not appear to have been analyzed as a predictor of presidential contest outcomes in the past.

Reading last week of Hickenlooper’s presidential candidacy one might think, “no one with that name will ever be elected president.”   That conclusion is supported by analysis of past president names.   Cultural and ethnic biases toward this modified German-origin name are not at issue.  Rather, it is the number of syllables of this lengthy last name. 

Constructing a table with the names of all past presidents one discovers that only one president has ever had a last name of more than three syllables (Dwight Eisenhower).   In fact, the majority were two syllable last names.   This insight deserved further analysis.

Two syllable first names also dominate throughout presidential history.   Looking at both the last and first names of presidents one discovers that over 70% of presidents had three or four syllable first and last name combinations, but most prominent are two syllable first and last name combinations.