What it means to be American

A recent survey highlights some of the differences between Democrats and Republicans on what it means to be an American. The survey shows that, while each takes pride in their country, we disagree on the parts that we believe are important.

First, the good news. We each think that there are core elements about being an American that are important:

Note: all quotes are taken from the CBS News article titled Poll: 7 in 10 people say America is losing its identity

There are some points of resounding agreement among Democrats, Republicans and independents about what makes up the country’s identity. Among them: a fair judicial system and rule of law, the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, and the ability to get good jobs and achieve the American dream.

Those seem to be pretty good ideals. While it is possible to disagree on what constitutes a good job or the details of the rule of law, at least we can agree that they are important.

But here are some things on which we disagree:

About 65 percent of Democrats said a mix of global cultures was extremely or very important to American identity, compared with 35 percent of Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats saw Christianity as that important, compared with 57 percent of Republicans.

Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say that the ability of people to come to escape violence and persecution is very important, 74 percent to 55 percent. Also, 25 percent of Democrats said the culture of the country’s early European immigrants very important, versus 46 percent of Republicans.

Those are some pretty basic disagreements. The article also goes on to say that these disagreements have caused problems to spring up in the past. Given these basic differences in philosophy, it is going to be difficult to steer the country in any direction that doesn’t put is in direct conflict with other Americans.

Mike Pence roadmap for the first 100 days of the Donald Trump administration

The Wall Street Journal has an article about an interview they did with Vice President elect Mike Pence over what the Donald Trump administration hopes to accomplish in the first 100 and 200 days.

The new administration’s first priorities would include curbing illegal immigration, abolishing and then replacing Mr. Obama’s signature health-care system, nominating a justice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and strengthening the military, said Mr. Pence …

This is, indeed, and ambitious — but ultimately impractical — plan. While I don’t want to rule out any possibility, especially considering that Donald Trump actually won against all conventional wisdom, the Donald Trump administration has very little chance of actually getting these things accomplished.

Let’s look at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Repeal should be fundamentally possible through the process of reconciliation. That would allow the effective repeal of Obamacare, but it would not allow for its replacement to be implemented. While I won’t argue that this is a likely strategy for the Republican House, Senate, and White House, there are already some Republicans worried about the consequences of repeal without a replacement.

Nominating a Supreme Court judge doesn’t seem to be too difficult either. And as long as the Supreme Court nominee isn’t too ideologically partisan, it doesn’t seem to be any great stretch that they would get Senate approval. If, on the other hand, they are too extreme, you can count on a Democratic filibuster.

The ideology of the Republicans also has to do with whether they can get anything passed with respect to immigration reform and military spending. Neither of these topics is anathema to the Democrats. As long as the Republicans are willing to work with the Democrats, then compromise — and therefore progress — can be made. If, on the other hand, the Republicans choose to attempt to implement the type of “reform” that Donald Trump was famous for in his campaign, then they can expect the Democrats to filibuster that type of extreme legislation for the sake of the country.

2016 Election – The Loyal Opposition

This was an incredibly close election. While the polls initially showed that Hillary Clinton would win, in the end it was Donald Trump that was victorious. Not only did Donald Trump win the White House, but Republicans also maintained control of the Senate and House of Representatives. Democrats have lost the reins of power in Washington. We are now the loyal opposition.
Continue reading 2016 Election – The Loyal Opposition

Still can’t process this election

Donald Trump has won the election.

One of the things that I have heard is about how Democrats are now in one of the five stages of grief. I don’t know if it is true for everyone, but it is true for me. But there are other emotions raging other than denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance; for me, there is also fear.

The road to the future has never been smooth. Often, the road to the future is bumpy and filled with U-turns. And it is in those U-turns that my fear lies. We as a nation had been making so much progress on various fronts. LGBTQ rights — while far from complete — were advancing, healthcare was becoming a reality for those at the lower end of the economic spectrum, people were beginning to believe that we were damaging our planet through the use of fossil fuel, and a plethora of other small steps toward progress. Now, I fear that all the progress that has been made will be undone.

But the thing that I fear the most is the people that brought this tragedy upon the United States. Donald Trump made no secret of whom he was when he was running for President. His sexism, narcissism, exclusionism, incompetence, and general hatred of others was right out in the open for everyone to see. His lies and falsehoods were so outrageous that even the fact checkers had trouble keeping up with them. And yet this is the person selected by the enough people to become the next President of the United States.

The realization that there are enough people to willing to hurt every non-white, non-straight, non-cis, non-rich, non-male has returned to me the fear that I used to feel around others.

Today I weep for myself, my country, my neighbors, and everyone else that suddenly wonders whether our country will continue to welcome us.

Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

The Presidential debates are over.

We can all sit back and breathe a sigh of relief — especially if you are a Hillary Clinton supporter. Hillary Clinton has come out on top in all three of the presidential debates.

Here is my view on how the electoral college looks as of right now.

Electoral Vote as of Oct. 21, 2016

And here is a link to the above map located at 270towin.com.

There are still two states that are so close that I consider them to be tossups: Arizona and Ohio. It is also clear that Hillary Clinton doesn’t need either of these states to win the election. Without either Arizona or Ohio, I project that Hillary Clinton will win 323 electoral votes. If that is accurate, that would give her 53 more electoral votes than necessary to win.
Continue reading Electoral College as of October 21, 2016

will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, and Liane V music video that you must see

I love a good song. will.i.am featuring Apl.de.ap and Liane V have a video out that not only is fantastic music, but also offers a good message and sound advice. Take a few minutes to watch it. You won’t be disappointed. But please, don’t blame me if you end up humming the song for the rest of the day.

Presidential polling by state prior to the first presidential debate

Clearing up the confusion

There was some initial confusion regarding the “winner” of Monday night’s presidential debate. While the respectable polling firms either hadn’t finished conducting their polls or weren’t doing such quick polls, social media was flooded with messages saying that Donald Trump had won the debate decisively won the debate. We can now put that nonsense behind us.

Here is a quick quote as to what happened directly after the debate from The Daily Dot:

The efforts originated from users of the pro-Trump Reddit community r/The_Donald and 4chan messaged boards, which bombarded around 70 polls, including those launched by Time, Fortune, and CNBC.

There were plenty more news outlets that looked into the exuberant Trump supporters to see if there was any merit to their claims. To save you a lot of reading, there was none.

Now that the lies of the debate winner have been put to bed, here is what I wrote early Tuesday morning after watching the debate.

Polling going into the debate and future expectations

I just finished watching the presidential debate using time delay. To me, it looks like Hillary Clinton did exceptionally well, and she will probably gain slightly from the outcome. Because of this, I wanted to have an updated look at the electoral map to better see how it changes over time.

As of right now, here is what the map looks like to me.

Election map via 270towin.com, and data via Huffington Post pollster

I have currently left four states as tied: Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, and North Carolina. While they aren’t tied technically, they are very close and have a tendency to change from one candidate to the other. Those four states — at least for the moment — are the ones that I am considering battleground states. While other states could change hands in the future, In my opinion, the rest of the states actually look pretty stable.

The stability of the map is actually bad news for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton could lose all the remaining battleground states and still win the election by a significant margin.

I will be looking forward to seeing how the polls develop over the next days and weeks. At present, I expect further advancements for Secretary Clinton.