Beyond the Cusp

September 26, 2012

So Many Meaningless American Voters

Up front we encourage everybody who has strong, honest, compelling feelings about who they desire to win the Presidency to vote in the November United States Presidential Election. Vote in person or make the necessary arrangements to cast an absentee ballot. If you have strong feelings about a Township, City, County, State, Congressional or Ballot Issue that will be on the ballot, go vote and be heard. If nothing else, everyone who votes is heard even if it is simply as a number in a column in some registry that will be recorded for posterity, in this way your vote holds immeasurable value. But let us be rational and honest here. The vast majority of Americans voting in the Presidential race are casting votes which will have absolutely negligible if any impact on the election. If you live in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, or any number of true through and through Democrat bastions and you are voting for anybody other than the reelection of President Obama, you are wasting your time more than likely as these states are not in doubt. On the other hand, if you live in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming or any of the dyed in the wool Republican Strongholds, your voting for anybody other than challenger Mitt Romney is going to be meaningless.  By meaningless is that it will have absolutely no effect upon the final Electoral College vote. Sure, if Romney breaks 45% in Maryland or Obama breaks 45% in Wyoming, that will make news and there will be talk about how no State is truly out of the running and how candidates cannot take any State for granted, but that will be the limit of such a result. Such anomalies will be useful only to those of us writing editorial columns to use to denigrate the victory as being so very close and how the candidate could have lost or does not have such a mandate, but other than such posturing it will not make one whit of a difference.


None of this is of any surprise to most of us and is kind of liberating to an even smaller group. Among this small group are those who will be pounding their chests about their brave vote for some third party candidate and how they fought bravely against the two party monopoly. Humor them though I have a feeling there will be a greater number of such people this time around. It will not change the end result but it does mean there is some hope of real change coming. Some of us have felt this coming change for a while though not in sufficient strength to actually matter. Hopefully, that may be in the wind and blowing closer every day. There are two groups in our society who may be on the vanguard of such a change. One group are the true believers who may have thought the Occupy Wall Street Movement was the start of a new vision for the future. The other group is the combination of the Tea Party and the 9/12 Movement who are currently attempting to bring about change through the Republican Party and either will take over the leadership of the Republican Party or we may see the birth of a new political force named The Tea Party. But for this election, that day has yet to arrive. Despite the fact that this election will remain as a choice between the Democrat incumbent candidate and the Republican elite chosen candidate, the first election where a sea change may sweep in and surprise the establishment elite has begun as a small wave, a little swell in the middle of the ocean, but that swell, like its counterpart in nature, will possibly become a tsunami as it comes closer to fruition and crashes onto an election day shorefront in the near future. As many know, the two established parties have rigged the system so as to minimize any challenge to their preeminence and made the successful formation and election of a candidate from outside their ranks extremely difficult. There is evidence that there exists a large and growing number of Americans who have simply had all they are going to take from the corrupt two party system where a small elite cabal controls the path to election victory and power. The masses are growing restless and that can forge a new path to office and a new set of rules where for the time being the people’s will is heard and refuses to remain stifled.


In the near future we have the Presidential Election this November and a campaign in full swing. We will hear on the news almost nightly what one candidate or the other said today at some rally or in a press release or in response to questions from the press at a conference or when pressed at an appearance. Of course, depending on which news source you view, the slant will favor one candidate or the other. For most of us everything we hear will simply echo how we feel as most people tend to watch the news reports from people who share their views whenever possible. This trend has grown even more intense with the flood of choices between the internet and cable and satellite news sources providing both a wider range of choices and allowing a personal choice that is very tailored to one’s views. This has had two related affects upon the voting public. The first is new people often are so isolated into their particular viewpoint and do not receive any news or information which is contrary to their own viewpoint that they may actually start to believe that everybody believes as they do as they seldom if ever have cause to interact with news or people who hold differing views. This leads to the other effect which is an inability to understand or accept any results which are contrary to one’s seemingly universally held positions as such results run contrary to everything they have seen, heard or discussed with others. This is much of the reason why the American society has become so polarized and partisan. Most everyone has the ability to live in a closed world where everything with which they interact is a reflection of their beliefs and views. Some claim that this phenomenon is very debilitating as it secludes people from dealing with opposing views and leads to a more isolated existence insulating one from new or different ideas thus causing a kind of political and social tunnel vision. This is often exhibited by people expressing complete bewilderment when confronted with results from elections and such which are diametrically opposite of those which they expected. You will know you are witnessing such when you hear somebody claim, “This makes no sense because I do not know anybody who would have supported this.”


The most obvious side effect of this phenomenon is that the candidates for President only end up campaigning in those select States where the outcome is not yet a guaranteed known. President Obama is not going to waste his time attempting to gain a majority of the voters in Oklahoma or Wyoming as they are two of the most conservative States. Likewise, Mitt Romney is not going to spend much time in Massachusetts or Maryland as this would be a waste of his resources. What is possible is each candidate making appearances in States they already know they are going to win for two basic reasons. The first is they are guaranteed a huge turnout of wildly supportive and friendly crowds which will play well on the nightly newscasts. The second is that even though a Candidate is guaranteed to win a particular State, you do not want your supporters to think that you are taking their support for granted; you will want to spend some time, energy and resources as thanks for your support events in these places. To figure out which States are the ones where it is very possible that every single vote will be acutely important, just observe which States where both candidates spend the majority of their time, campaign appearances, advertising dollars, and have every locally known celebrity and politician hitting the stump for them and, of course, appearing with them giving laudatory speeches and introductions. The one advantage for those who do not live in what is called a swing state is that they do not have to suffer through the final ten weeks push with endless campaign commercials on their local television and radio networks. The local politicians usually only have sufficient funding for two or three weeks of such heavy hitting the airwaves while national candidates have not only their funding for commercials, there are Super PACs (Political Action Committees) running advocacy advertisements which are actually candidate ads carefully camouflaged in order to get around campaign laws and restrictions.  So, if you live in one of the swing states, you have our sympathy as you endure the last few weeks of being berated and barraged by campaign glitter, and the rest of you, enjoy the quiet and do check and see who it is that your fellow voters are going to choose so you do not get caught claiming, “Who won? How? I don’t know anybody so idiotic as to vote for them!” The rest of us will appreciate not having to explain and you very likely do not want to know why or how, just accept that they did win, even without the votes of anybody you know.


Beyond the Cusp


July 20, 2012

This Election We Have a Real Choice

Many pundits have aptly described Obama’s campaign for the Presidency last election as a fill in the blank campaign. Candidate Obama never spoke of a definitive or explicit policy or idea he planned to pursue and instead simply expounded on the slogan of “Hope and Change”, which allowed each individual to define those terms as they pleased. This was the perfect campaign for a total unknown as it allowed each person to define Obama as the person best suited to match their desires. After almost a full term, we the people have a better idea what it is that President Obama aims to do and we can now define what exactly “Hope and Change” mean and how President Obama intends to “fundamentally change America” should we vote him a second term. This means that should President Obama win a second term, those who have claimed they were fooled by his “Hope and Change” message and who thought he meant something completely different when he stood for “fundamental change in America” no longer have the luxury of claiming ignorance. This time around, Barack Obama will be running on his record no matter how much he wishes to blame Congress as not cooperating as we have seen first-hand the real Barack Obama.

But that leaves us with the question of who is Mitt Romney and what does he stand for? Obviously, it is not enough to know that Mitt Romney is a wealthy person who saved the Salt Lake City Olympics and was on the board of a venture capital company, Bain Capital. We need to know what Mitt Romney’s political lineage is. We know he was once the Governor of Massachusetts and that he had some very liberal beliefs and actions. His term began in January of 2003 and ended in December of 2006 as he did not gain reelection. There are those who would claim that Mitt Romney failing to be reelected as Governor of Massachusetts is actually a recommendation just like his having actually ever won that office should count against him. Candidate Romney this time around claims that he has matured, aged, and become wise and much more conservative in the years since serving as governor. He has given a turning point for his transformation from “pro-choice” to becoming “pro-life” and has said that much of what he claimed when politicking in Massachusetts was somewhat complex where much was said with consideration of the realities of the liberal leanings of the state of Massachusetts, and not all these positions are his personal beliefs. Anyway, the Mitt Romney we have today is not the same Mitt Romney who ran for Governor of Massachusetts and a President Romney will not be like the Governor Mitt Romney. These excuses and claims have many true conservatives very nervous. Yet, they are also fully cognizant that if not Mitt Romney, they will have a second term of Barack Obama. This likely scares them even more than does the idea of a President Romney. Still, it appears that many hard core conservatives are going to need some real and solid convincing before they will be comfortable with voting for a President Romney.

This presents a peculiar picture of the coming election. We have the Democrat candidate being an incumbent President Obama who in many ways has let down the most fanatical of his supporters and base by not producing an agenda as stridently socialist as they expected. Yet, President Obama also has been perceived as possibly too far left which has made many centrist and swing voters nervous about supporting him for a second term as they fear he would swing off scale leftward since he would not be facing another election in 2016. On the Republican side we have the most conservative members and many in the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party not fully satisfied that Romney is the man who will rope in the government and return the government to within their strict Constitutional boundaries. Then there are the pro-life people in the Republican Party who must wonder which Mitt Romney will take the White House, the pro-life Mitt of the present campaign or the “I will do nothing to change Massachusetts law concerning “Roe vs. Wade” Governor Romney. So Mitt Romney also has the extreme wing of his base less than one-hundred-percent convinced he’s their man. This is the crucial stress point of this election.

The winner of this election is not necessarily the one who wins the most “swing” or middle of the road votes; it will be who gets their base excited and to the polls. The swing voters are most likely going to split at most sixty-forty and more likely fifty-fifty leaving the election to be decided by percentage of base support that make it to the polls. This election will not be won by who moves the furthest to the center but by who goes furthest from the center and really excites their radical wing of the base. In the Democrat and Republican Parties there exist approximately thirty percent of their voters sitting at the extreme polar opposite ends of the political spectrum. For the Democrats these are the socialist progressives and for the Republicans these are the constitutionalists, individualists, and Tea Party members. Neither candidate, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama need worry about those single-issue voters as they have those locked up even before the Primary Elections began. The Democrat candidate is guaranteed the pro-choice vote, the gun control vote, the ecologist vote (though some may be reluctant or choose third party), the affirmative action vote, and on and on down a litany of leftist pet causes; while the Republican candidate is guaranteed the pro-life vote (though some may be reluctant or choose third party), the pro Second Amendments vote, the anti-tax vote, pro-business vote, and on and on down a litany of rightist pet causes. What is going to matter is the percentage of these voters they can give sufficient reason to actually go and vote. Right now it would appear that President Obama is winning this part of the campaign for President and Mitt Romney still has a hard hill to climb to secure these voters.

Meanwhile, look to the press to constantly keep asking questions about which candidate is moving to the center and which one has caught the heart of the independent voters. This is a ruse which the Democrats know to ignore and to continue playing to their base by keeping their campaign left oriented. If the Republicans prove true to form, we can expect Mitt Romney’s campaign to move towards the center after the Party Conventions just as was the case with Bob Dole, George W. Bush (though he was castigated as far right by the media which actually may have helped his campaign), and most recently with John McCain. This was especially true of Senator McCain where his move to the center was so complete that he had campaign staff almost literally gagging his Vice Presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, so as to prevent her seriously conservative message from ruining his campaign which was aiming for the center of the political spectrum.

So, what should we be looking for as Election Day nears and the polls will likely all be within the margin of error? The first thing is to ignore ninety-percent of what you hear from the mainstream press. Look for internal polls which show the level of expected voters who say they will definitely be voting when they are asking those who make up the Party’s base. Whoever appears to be getting out their base most efficiently will likely be the winner. We can pretty much ignore the polls of all eligible voters as that is just some nonsense thrown out to try and add another dimension to the coverage though all know full well that these polls are next to meaningless. The most important polls for President Obama and Mitt Romney will be the under thirty voters and the over fifty voters, simply the numbers who plan to vote in both cases, and whichever poll indicates that more total people, that is total people and not merely percentage, will determine the winner of the election. So, our prediction is this, whichever candidate gets the most votes from the combination of voters under thirty and those over fifty will be the winner of the election. We fully expect that the voters between the ages of thirty and fifty to pretty much split right down the middle within a margin of plus or minus four percent which will leave the voters at the age extremes in control of the electoral decision. Of course, there are many events such as a Middle East War, the blockading of the Straits of Hormuz driving gasoline prices through the roof, or a myriad of other surprises which could drastically change everything and you can bet we will get right on any such event, well, within a few days of the event as we tend to react somewhat slowly at times. But rest assured, we will be sure to predict a winner before Christmas.

Beyond the Cusp

July 12, 2012

President Obama not Necessarily as Vulnerable as Polls Claim

The current discussions as to which side is leading in the race for the Presidency between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama can be interpreted in either candidate’s favor. Republicans will quote those polls showing Mitt Romney with a narrow lead while the Democrats quote the polls where Barack Obama with a slight lead. But the poll reports are hiding the one count that really elects a President, the Electoral College votes. The Electoral College count is decisively in favor of Barack Obama by a count, if the polls in individual states are accurate, by 242 to150 in the most lopsided prediction we’ve seen to as close as 217 to 191 in one of the closer polls from among the 538 electoral votes with 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. That leaves Mitt Romney needing to win an additional 79 to 120 votes of the remaining 146 votes which are considered still in play in the twelve swing states while Barack Obama need only 28 to 53 additional votes. The two main swing states are Florida with 29 and Ohio with 18. This means that Mitt Romney would need to win at least one of these two critical states as these alone would very likely place President Obama safely back in the White House for a second term. These little inconvenient facts should have the GOP and Romney supporters scrambling to find some way of placing more states into the undecided column from the Obama column as well as concentrating on every one of the swing states as well as anywhere they have even the slightest possibility of catching and surpassing President Obama by November.

Most polls agree the swing states still in play are Wisconsin with 10, Colorado with 9, Virginia with 13, North Carolina with 15, New Hampshire with 4, Iowa with 6, Ohio with 18, Florida with 29, Nevada with 6, and possibly Pennsylvania with 20. These states have 130 Electoral Votes in total from which President Obama need take about one third of the votes while Mitt Romney will need closer to three fourths. This places Mitt Romney with the steeper hill to climb but should gas prices spike without any Middle East wars or revolutions breaking out or the job numbers continue to lack any improvement, that climb will become a much easier grade to climb but still require a fair effort. What helps Mitt Romney reach the necessary Electoral College majority has been hashed out endlessly over the Republican primaries as well as since whenever new poll numbers are released. Stressing the economy, jobs, sluggish housing market, and general feelings of what we referred to during the Carter Presidency as malaise are the Romney ticket to the White House. Did we mention jobs and the economy? Also, should inflation rear its ugly head, Romney will be able to pound that as well.

So, barring a rapid and decided economic recovery and stark drop in unemployment that is accompanied by a sharp rise in employment numbers, what else could President Obama have happen that would raise his chances of grabbing the necessary additional Electoral College votes? Listening to the news one would likely say that the above items are the only hope the President has for reelection, but that is not entirely accurate. There are other events and possibilities which easily could affect the November elections. Unless something unforeseen drastically changes things in either Iraq or Afghanistan, neither one should figure prominently in the election. In both cases President Obama can point to some success and having brought both conflicts to an end. Since neither Iraq or Afghanistan have been sterling successes, I doubt President Obama will even bother to mention either and as they have not proven yet to be unmitigated disasters, neither will Romney have any use for them as an issue. But there are some events out of the Middle East which could very seriously change the election results.

The first one would be should Iran test a nuclear weapon before the election, that might very well torpedo any hope President Obama has for a second term as he would appear to be totally incompetent for not having taken any precautions to prevent such despite repeatedly claiming that he would never allow Iran to acquire such abilities. An Iranian nuclear weapon would be a glaring and undeniable disaster showing President Obama as incapable in handling foreign and world affairs. If, on the other hand, Iran were to launch an attack on Israel or on our fleets in the Middle East and President Obama reacted swiftly and decisively, this might very well guarantee his reelection. Should he not react decisively, or in the case of an attack on Israel, not react at all, then his reelection hope would likely be sunk. The same would apply to any other county launching an unprovoked attack upon Israel; President Obama’s action or lack thereof would figure prominently in determining the November election results. If Egypt were to fall into complete chaos and have violence similar to the current events in Syria that too would reflect poorly on President Obama and could be used by Mitt Romney in his campaign to great advantage. Should Iran launch an attack on Saudi Arabia or any of the other members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) that too would require determined reactions from President Obama with the results mirroring if the attack had been on Israel. As far as the Arab Spring turning out to be more of an Arab Winter, that will not likely do much damage to President Obama’s reelection hopes. Neither will the continuing violence that currently grips a band across Africa on both sides of the southern edges of the Sahara Desert and in the Horn of Africa as that area has not received much attention in the press and the terror and civil strikes and strife in that region has been slowly simmering but has yet to break into open warfare. This is an area that the next President may find the need to address as the intensity is closing in on a point where it will make news within the next two or three years should things continue to escalate.

What other foreign events might sneak their way into the mix before November? There is Europe which is teetering on the brink of insolvency. Should the European Union collapse or the Euro completely go bust and become near worthless against other world currencies, these might have some affect. Such events would heavily depend on two things, how much importance and coverage these events would receive by the mainstream media and exactly what the President and Congress chose to do about such actions. Should the European monetary problems be contained and the bailouts work as hoped or solely with the dismissal of Greece from membership in the European Union and from the Euro exchange, then Europe will likely be seen as a nonevent. Should France, Spain and Italy all go over the edge and have severe problems or if Germany decided to go it alone and refuse to assist her European neighbors, then President Obama would face a difficult situation. If, by some miracle, he could take effective steps and relieve the economic distress, though how I have no idea, then he would be lauded as a savior and easily win reelection. Anything short of this and the President would be open for serious criticism. Such a crisis in Europe would have no easy solution and be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. In such a case of economic collapse in Europe, whatever President Obama chose, either intervention or avoidance, either could be used by Mitt Romney with a host of arguments on how the opposite would have been wiser and safer for the United States. Europe has the potential to be very destructive to President Obama’s reelection and the best he can hope for is that Europe continues to hold on financially until after the elections.

The last item which has but a remote chance of taking a toll and having meaning this fall would be the Occupy Movement. Should these protests return at some point this summer or even if they explode only at one or both party conventions, how such protests are handled could affect the election results. This would be especially true if the Occupy Movement were to continue to plague the campaigns of either or both candidates this fall. The likelihood that such protests could work in the favor of President Obama is unlikely unless they were to provide him with a stage to appear Presidential and if such demonstration also were kept from turning violent. If the Occupy Movement were to reassert itself and have violent demonstration throughout the major cities and disrupt daily life for the residents and shut down parts of major cities, then President Obama would face question from the Republicans and conservative groups as to why he had not reacted and put an end to the disruptions. If, on the other hand, the President did act against the Occupy Movement demonstrators, then he would run the risk of alienating a portion of his base which would pose a problem as getting the base out will likely be the determining factor this November.

Will any of these items or combination thereof actually make deciding who we should elect to run the free world before the election? Who knows? I do oft make predictions but on this one my bet is that both candidates will make statements despite their handlers best efforts which will be used by their opponents in the presumably unbiased media will ride for all it is worth and then some. It may come down to who makes the most gaffes in the final few weeks, day, hours or even election morning. Maybe one will be caught in such a tremendous misstatement that recovery will be near to impossible. And then again events might simply take control of the way the dominoes of fate are going to fall and make the choice seem like child’s play. Or, we may come upon election day and the candidates will still be close enough in the few critical last states that have yet to swing one way or the other that we will all need to make coffee and wait for the final results from west of the Mississippi River or even west of the Rocky Mountains before it is decided. I can predict that if by the time we hear the results from east of the Sierra Nevada and Olympic Mountains that if Romney has not received sufficient electoral votes for a victory, then President Obama will win reelection. I’m not really taking any chance when the only states I am predicting are Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii. We all can pretty much guarantee that Alaska will vote Romney and the rest will be for President Obama, so by then we can add the big three Electoral votes from Alaska to Mitt Romney’s column and the remaining seventy-eight Electoral votes from the rest to President Obama’s column. But then we just might have one or even as many as five or six states where the vote count is so close that we will have to wait through who knows how many recounts before it’s all said and done. We may all have gnawed our fingernails to the bone before this election is over or it may become a rout giving one of the two men a landslide victory, though that is not likely. There is one prediction I can make tonight, and that is that if “None of the Above” was one of the choices it might very well be the winning selection. What do you think?

Beyond the Cusp

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