Not-So-Super Saturday Predictions

This Saturday several states are having primaries and caucuses, close on the heels of this past Tuesday’s “Super Tuesday” – leading many media outlets to dub today “Super Saturday”, because, hey, why not?

The name is stupid, but there are 5 states participating in some sort of contest today. There aren’t nearly as many delegates up for grabs as there was on March 1.

For the Democrats, there is a primary in Louisiana, and caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska. And on Sunday, there’s a caucus for Maine’s 25 delegates.

Louisiana – 51 delegates- Hillary Clinton CRUSHED Bernie Sanders across the South on Super Tuesday, and in those “winner take most” states where delegates are awarded proportionality, she reaped the benefits of her massive margin of victory over Sen. Sanders. Demographically, Clinton is getting more minority voters than Sanders, and that helps her in states with large populations of minority voters. Louisiana will follow this pattern, giving Clinton another 60%+ win, and a majority of the delegates.

Kansas -33 delegates – This will be closer. Although it seems like forever ago, Iowa was almost a tie between the two contenders. While Sanders didn’t perform up to expectations in Nevada, but his 10 point victory in Oklahoma, his win in Colorado, his victory in Minnesota, as well as his home state of Vermont and a near tie in neighboring Massachusetts have all proven one thing – Sanders does well in states that are, shall we say, monochromatic. Kansas’ population is almost 87% white. So does that mean I think Sanders will win? I don’t know. But I know it’ll be close, and that’s all Bernie needs to grab some delegates.

Nebraska – 25 delegates- See Kansas.

Maine – 25 delegates – On Sunday, for some reason, but still, see Kansas.

All told on the Democratic side, I think it’s going to be a decent weekend for Sanders, but these weekend contests are going to be overshadowed by the upcoming Michigan primary on Tuesday, and the Ohio and Florida primaries on March 15. And yeah, I know there are a few other states here and there on those dates, but really – who cares? So long as Clinton keeps winning where it counts, her delegate counts will go up. She learned a lesson in 2008 when she lost to Barack Obama’s delegate campaign, and she’s not making the same mistake twice.

For the Republicans, there will be primaries in Louisiana as well, and in Puerto Rico. Kentucky, Kansas, and Maine hold caucuses. With Ben Carson officially ending his campaign, and John Kasich’s strong performance in Thursday night’s dick measuring contest debate, it’s now a sort of a four man race.

There is so much insanity going on right now with the GOP, that I’m just going to run through this real quick:

Louisiana – 46 delegates – Trump is going to win here, again with a plurality of the vote. So long as he keeps splitting these winner take most states, he’s fine. He’s focusing on winning Florida away from Rubio on March 15 anyway. Cruz will be second, and Rubio and Kasich might end up with the same number of delegates.

Kentucky – 46 delegates – Trump. Then Rubio. Cruz will take third and be happy he can get any Carson voters without having to lie to them. And then Kasich.

Kansas– 40 delegates – Trump again, with Cruz close behind. Rubio and Kasich do end up with the same number of delegates.

Maine – 23 delegates – Trump, followed by Trump, and then Trump.

Puerto Rico – 23 delegates – Rubio. I’m not sold on Trump’s “Hispanics love me” assertion, plus with the island’s debt crisis, I don’t think voters are feeling adventurous. Cruz and Kasich will be also rans.

Mike’s a busy guy, but he texted me what he thought would happen –

“For the Republicans, there is no question for first place.  The only question I have is if Kasich will get a bump from a strong performance in the last debate that was watched by 17 million people. I think Rubio is damaged but will get second in Maine (and Michigan.)  Otherwise Cruz in the strong evangelical states like Kansas. Rubio has a chance in Puerto Rico.”

Then he went off on a rant about Hillary and San Quentin, David Petraeus and silver spoons. I’m not sure, but after he calmed down, he said that Clinton will take all but Maine.

We record Episode 5 tomorrow! Remember to enjoy your return watching responsibly.


Pre-Debate Thoughts

Trump is the front runner. That means there’s a big old target on him tonight as the Republican candidates face off at the university of Houston for tonight’s debate.

It’s Ted Cruz’s home state. While he leads in the polls in Texas, he needs to punch up on Trump just so that he won’t get overshadowed by Rubio, as he has placed twice behind the Florida senator twice now.

If Rubio looks even halfway presidential tonight, it will go a long way toward him actually winning a state – which, as I’ve said on the podcast, he hasn’t done yet. Rubio can’t beat Trump in the Northeast, and most of the SEC states will also fall probably for the Donald. But so long as he doesn’t go total MarcoBot 9000 tonight, he may actually get a win – late deciding voters may favor Rubio in the suburbs of Minnesota, and Alaska’s caucus might go his way despite the Donald’s alliance with former Governor Sarah Palin.

Then there’s Kasich and Carson. Carson’s campaign is on financial fumes, and Super Tuesday will likely be the last we hear of the good doctor for a while. It’s puzzling, since if you take super-PAC money out of the mix, Carson raised more money than any other GOP contender. He also burned through it by trying to raise more money, using direct mailing, an expensive and outdated form of fundraising in today’s age of digital moneybombs. Carson has spent almost 54 million dollars and has 4 delegates to show for it.

Then there’s John Kasich. He’s been taking the high road – so long as that high road isn’t a toll road. He’s got maybe a shade over a million dollars left. That’s not enough to make a real show on Super Tuesday, but the Ohio governor is hoping – praying – that he can hold out until March 15. He can’t. Any way you slice the math, Kasich’s and Carson’s campaigns are dead on their feet – the message just hasn’t hit the central nervous system yet.

And then there’s Trump. There are 661 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday. Right now Trump has 81, and needs 1,237 total to win the nomination. The math favors him. Most of the contests on March 1 are proportional. Even if Trump only pulls 30% across the board on Tuesday (a super conservative estimate) that’s 198 or so more delegates into Trump’s coffers. Still a long way to go for victory, but with each passing contest it makes it more and more difficult for someone like Cruz to win, or Rubio. Rubio has the better shot in the long run, of course, but while Cruz will win his home Lone Star State on Tuesday, the same assumption cannot be made about Rubio in Florida on March 15. Donald Trump is a name well known to Florida, especially in South Florida where Marco calls home. In fact, a lot of Sunshine Staters recognize the name Trump a lot more than they recognize the name Rubio.

So – let’s watch the debate.

Three Questions – Ken’s Take

Ken and Mike came up with three questions to answer in lieu of a midweek short episode. Here’s Ken’s take. Once Mike remembers his wifi password, he’ll post his. Mike remembered it.

Question 1 -Article 2, section 2 clause 2 directly says the president shall appoint with the advice and consent of the Senate. Do you think it’s a wise idea for Republicans to delay a hearing on an Obama appointee?

First, obviously the death of Justice Antonin Scalia is a loss to the country. Despite the fact that I probably disagreed with him on almost every issue, it’s important to recognize that he was a brilliant legal scholar who dedicated his life to serving his country, upholding the Constitution as he believed it to be implemented. Again, while his vision of what the Founders intended and mine is quite different, there was common ground. His views on the First Amendment were often in line with mine.

That said, there’s no way to NOT politicize the vacancy created by Scalia’s death in the last year of President Obama’s second term, in the midst of a hotly contested presidential election.

The Constitution, from a strict originalist point of view, is quite clear on the matter. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 states that the president:

“shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law…”

It’s important to recall that when the Constitution was ratified there were no other Federal courts except for the Supreme Court. The Founders knew how important it was for a full court to be impaneled. That’s why Section 2 continues on to Clause 3, giving the president the authority to appoint justices without Senate consent if Congress is in recess.

If Obama really wanted to tweak the GOP’s nose, he could have appointed anyone and they would have been fine until the Congress reconvenes. Instead, he’s doing what Ronald Reagan did in 1987, what Franklin Roosevelt did in 1940, what Herbert Hoover did in 1932, what Woodrow Wilson did in 1916, and what William Taft did in 1912; his Constitutional duty.

Instead, the president has said he will nominate a justice, with the expectation that “the Senate [will] fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

The president, clearly, is an optimist.

“This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“If I were president now, I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice and I’m sure that, frankly, I’m absolutely sure that President Obama will try and do it. I hope that our Senate is going to be able to…do something about it. […] I think it’s up to Mitch McConnell and everybody else to stop it. It’s called, delay, delay delay.” – Donald Trump.

“I really wish the president would think about not nominating somebody.” – Gov. John Kasich.

“I do not think the president should appoint someone.” – Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would reverse the Heller decision, one of Justice Scalia’s seminal decisions, that upheld the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms…the stakes of this election, for this year, the Senate needs to stand strong.” – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

“The simple fact is the next president needs to appoint someone with a proven conservative record similar to Justice Scalia.” – Gov. Jeb Bush.

“I fully agree that we should not allow a justice to be appointed during his time.” – Dr. Ben Carson.

So, back to the question – is it wise for the Republicans to delay a hearing for an Obama nominee? It depends on who you’re rooting for in the November election. If you’re like me, and I know I am, you want the Democrats to retain the White House, so yeah, it’s a great idea for McConnell to tadpole up and prove to the American people that the Republicans are more concerned about frustrating the sitting president rather than carrying out the business of government. The American people, left and right, are absolutely furious at the stagnant swamp that is Washington, DC these days. The popularity of Donald Trump’s demagoguery and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ revolution is proof of that.

However, if you, for some reason, subscribe to my colleague and friend Mike’s wrongheaded reasoning and believe in the message of the Grand Old Party, braying to the media that any nominee Obama forwards won’t get a hearing is a damn stupid move. It gives the president every advantage, and will gain the Republicans nothing except more people who are angry that the government isn’t doing, well, anything, who probably weren’t going to the polls anyway, but will now just to throw the bums out. The president, who despite what the meat puppets at Fox News would have you believe, is not a political neophyte. Obama is an intelligent, astute political player. He’s going to submit a name, and if he’s smart – which he is – it’s going to be a name that’s already been through the Senate’s advice and consent rodeo, and emerged with an unanimous vote. There aren’t any shortage of those names – Leonard Strand, Rebecca Ebinger, Jill Pryor, Kara Stoll – and those are just some of the most recent. None of those names are circulating amongst the wonks and Supreme fans as likely on the short list right now, but who cares? This is the doomed political pantomime that is a lame duck president with a hostile legislature. All that matters is Obama puts forward a name that makes the Republicans look like hypocrites when they stonewall. Hell, he could even throw them a real curve ball and name one of their own – Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s name has been floating amongst the blogosphere lately.

Any way that you slice it, the Republicans adamant stance that no nominee will get a hearing is nothing short of a pathetic last stand, an amateur move on a professional stage, the last gasps of a political party about to rip itself apart. Pass the popcorn.

Question 2 – After the fireworks of Saturday night in South Carolina, what do you think will happen in Saturday’s GOP primary?

Wow. That was something, wasn’t it?

While I expected some fire from Rubio, who needed to make up for his fumble in New Hampshire, and certainly something from Jeb Bush, who needs to, well, do anything, Saturday night’s debate resembled nothing so much as a political Reservoir Dogs final scene.

There was one notable exception to the thrust and parry of verbal sparring that we all watched – Gov. John Kasich. The surprising New Hampshire runner-up decided to, I’m sure, take the high road. However, to a crowd that was actively booing facts and cheering every chunk of bloody red meat that Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and Bush threw to them. Dr. Ben Carson seemed to enjoy what is likely his last appearance on a national stage in 2016.

Trump will win South Carolina, a state who hasn’t liked being part of the rest of the country since about 1806. Ted Cruz is counting on every evangelical between Spartanburg and Charleston to turn out for him, and Jeb Bush is desperately trying to give the establishment a reason to believe in him. Meanwhile, Kasich is wondering where all of the donors who were supposedly going to be flocking to him after New Hampshire’s strong showing are? Rubio has the most to lose and the most to gain, since anything but a second place finish is going to have the pundits and the wags openly contemplating if the junior Florida senator is a tad too green.

Here’s my break down of what happens Saturday:

Candidate Percentage
Trump 35%
Cruz 18%
Rubio 17%
Bush 13%
Kasich 7%
Carson 6%

Question 3 – What’s going to happen with the Democrats in Nevada?

Clinton 50%, Sanders 48%.

Hillary’s once vise like grip on Nevada has eroded. Don’t believe the hype when it comes to Hillary’s pronouncements that Bernie’s victory in New Hampshire was a consequence of proximity twixt the Granite State and the Green Mountain one. Bernie’s message of political revolution, democratic socialism in all of its lowercase letter splendor, and extensive pre-media blitz push toward young voters of color, who feel as though the system abandoned them, has resonated. The Latino vote that Clinton is counting on is going to split along age lines. Those that can rent a car are going Hillary, and those that can’t are going to go for Sanders.