Monday, February 29, 2016

On the Eve of Super Tuesday

On the night before the first deluge of votes and delegates, the race is pointing to Clinton and Trump to continue their leads.

On the Republican side, Trump leads significantly in delegates:
  • Trump 82  6.6%
  • Cruz 17    1.4%
  • Rubio 16   1.3%
  • Kasich 6   less than 1%
  • Carson 4  less than 1%

On the Democratic side, it's a virtual landslide:
  • Clinton   544 22.9%
  • Sanders    85  3.7%

There are no indicators out there in the polls that this pattern won't continue.  You don't need to be a pollster or statistician to predict Wednesday's headlines!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The President Shall Nominate a Replacement for Justice Scalia

No sooner had Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice  of the Supreme Court un-expectedly died, when the controversy over his replacement started.

The President wants to nominate a replacement.  A number of Republican senators and Presidential candidates say we should wait until the public votes for a new president.

Who is correct?  

Let's start with a quote from the Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 2.  Referring to the President of the United States, the second sentence of the second paragraph states "...and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Justices of the supreme Court..."

At times like these, we should follow the Constitution.  The Constitution is clear, using the auxiliary verb "shall" to indicate an obligation.  Not just a nice idea, not just a suggestion, not just maybe he should, but "shall" means it's a true obligation.

Most importantly, there's nothing in the Constitution saying that if the President only has 1 year left in his term, he should wait for the next President.  It's just not there.

So the President is obligated to submit a nominee to the Senate.  Once nominated, the Senate has its role of providing Advice and Consent.  In that role, the Senate can advise the President that he shouldn't have nominated anyone.  But, giving the obligatory nature of the auxiliary verb "shall," that would be unconstitutional advice.  Sorry, Senators!

The Senate also must provide its Consent to any nominee.  If the Senate does consent to the nominee of the President, they can vote accordingly.  And the President can try again.  And the Senate might not vote to approve the nominee.  This back and forth until the next President is sworn in.  That would at least be constitutional.

But, to follow the Constitution, the President shall nominate a replacement for Justice Scolia.  Not to do so would be unconstitutional.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Election Year in a Polarized America

Here we are in another Presidential election year.  But unlike past primaries, this year's race has a much different feel with the candidates, the issues, the tone of the speeches.  
Rejection of Establishment Politics:  On both sides, we see a rejection of the establishment parties.  It seems all the Republicans are running as outsiders, railing against Washington and the press.  We hear Donald Trump, unencumbered by anything "politically correct," saying what no Presidential candidate has ever said, reflecting the latent racism, misogamy, and fear of foreigners of his loyal followers.  And on the left, Bernie Sanders is a self-defined socialist, railing against Wall Street and capitalism in general.
No Middle Ground:  Listening to supporters on each side, there seems to be no middle, no chance that any good can come from the other side.  The right believes a Democrat in the Oval Office means they are coming for their guns, the borders will be porous allowing in all forms of criminals and terrorists, and the economy is going to hell.   The left believes a Republican will put the country in reverse, reversing a women's right to choose, disenfranchising minorities, and enacting policies that benefit the rich as the expense of the poor and middle class.
This time around, there seems to be a more urgent sense that they can't let the other side win, or it will be a disaster.
Now the primaries inherently play to the base of each party, to the hard core, if you will.  So, the questions is who will be the winners in each party?  And will it be possible for them to play to the middle, or will the general election further polarize the country?