Saturday, December 21, 2013

A House Divided: The National Conventions

Is Cruz mulling an independent run?
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
3 May 2016, updated1:46 PM EST

(ANN) - Many factions in the Republican Party have been left bitter by Murkowksi's nomination for President. It is almost a surprise that the GOP is not headed to a brokered convention, as Christie and Cruz have not stopped throwing the occasional insult at Murkowksi. Even Cruz has not fully dropped out of the race yet, and a number of people in the conservative wing of his party have pushed him to do something. In a press conference, Cruz stated that if "the ticket does not fully represent the party, then he will be the man to represent those who have been disenfranchised." This puts an enormous amount of pressure on her choice of running-mate, but she has stated that she is not overly concerned. Currently, she is polling above what Romney started out yet, and is gaining an enormous amount of traction with moderates, especially because of the fact that she is the first female nominee of a major party.

If Cruz does decide to make a third party run, then current polling would put a dent into Murkowski at 2.5%, but takes votes from the undecideds, mostly social conservatives that are making the decision to abstain rather than voting for Murkowski. At the moment, Murkowski's polling is only staying afloat because of the extreme amount of publicity they are getting compared to the much more low profile Democrats at this point.

Threat of filibuster falls through, Watford's nomination approved
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
3 May 2016, updated1:46 PM EST

(ANN) - Today, the Senate has approved now Justice Paul Watford's nomination to the Supreme Court. The vote was on total party lines, with 52-48 voting to approve him. Senator John Thune was going to attempt a filibuster, and in fact he began to, but he was not able to prevent a quorum of Senators from being present. Only 10 Republican senators were absent with all Democrats still present by the time that a vote needed to be held, so Thune's efforts ended up being in vain. Many Republican senators were angry that Justice Kennedy retired and allowed President Obama to nominate an unprecedented fourth seat to the court, the other three being Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Nguyen. Justice Watford stated that he is excited to have this opportunity to serve his nation on the Supreme Court. Even more important is that his presence makes the court shift from a conservative to liberal balance. There is a distinct possibility that the next president may not be able to nominate for even a single seat, since there are rumors that Justice Breyer will retire if Murkowski is elected President this fall.


BREAKING: Senator Kelly Ayotte chosen as GOP's vice presidential candidate
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
3 May 2016, updated 1:46 PM EST
(ANN) - Presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Lisa Murkowski has finally made her long awaited decision for who will fill the vice presidential slot with Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire. At a rally in Portland, Maine, Murkowski answered a few questions and a have a speech before introducing Ayotte as her VP choice. There were a select few gasps in the crowd, but, there were mostly excited cheers. In Ayotte's speech, she stated that "a Murkowski administration will still be conservative, but we will have common sense conservatism as opposed to extreme forms that eliminate compromise as an option." This was the only noticeable jab towards the Tea Party faction in her speech, which was overall very well received. Now this GOP ticket will not only make history with a female at the top of the ticket, but a female on both spots. It is also the first time that both major parties' tickets have at least one female. Recent polling puts Murkowski with around 5% more of the women's vote than Romney.

The Republican Party: one big, dysfunctional family with Murkowski as unlikely matriarch
Stanley Coons, Republican Party strategist and ANN political analyst
1 August 2016, updated 3:22 PM EST

(ANN) - It appears that the Republican Party has really pulled off one of the most unlikely stunts last night, and that is to throw themselves back into the realm of electability. The Republican National Convention, which concluded last night in Cincinnati, Ohio was expected to closely resemble a circus, which was something that they did not want. We are not speaking of a political circus like the one kids see on Schoolhouse Rock: this is a circus with people throwing insults at each other that ends up appearing like pure humour to those on the outside. Instead, stirring speeches from Murkowski and Ayotte, as well as some “interesting” words from Senators Cruz and Paul, who are growing to represent two different factions that are growing within the party.

The first night of the convention had speeches from what you could call the up and coming elected officials in the party. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) were some notable speeches of the day, strongly in favor of party unity, but the big zinger was the speech from state senator Greg Randall (R-MD), who is a African-American and a Republican elected in a reliably Democratic district in the Baltimore suburbs. His speech sent the message that the Republican Party needs to move into this century, and that Murkowski will help them do that. He is notable for his very strong liberal record on social rights and strong disdain for the death penalty, but fiscal conservatism that was able to get him supported in the strongly Democratic Maryland.The second night consisted of the first, and only ballot, the delegates casted. As a delegate from the state of Pennsylvania, I was very proud to submit my ballot for Murkowski/Ayotte. There was little anticipation for tonight’s speeches, as they consisted of standard lists of office holders. One interesting speech was from the former Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who talked about his period of governorship in Louisiana and how he believes that a Murkowski administration could handle today’s issues better than President Obama has or a President O’Malley could.

The third day contained all of the juicy excitement that we had been waiting for. First big speech, and the first one nationally broadcasted was from Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), who was largely the third wheel in a brutal fight for the nomination. In his speech, he stated that he has moved on, and will support Murkowski’s campaign. In concluding his speech, he stated that “I want the Murkowski administration to foster compromise and not be afraid to make the tough decisions that some of the panzees on both sides of the aisle can not.” In a day, the panzee democrat meme has blown up to the proportion of Rubio’s big gulp in 2013 or Romney’s “binder full of women” in 2012, and I do not hesitate to say that the above is the reason my party did not choose him. Next was the long awaited speech by conservative firebrand Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who stated “we may not be the best of friends, but fighting will get us nowhere, so we must march together. I just hope that she does not run astray of this party’s roots in moral values and values that make up the core of America.” Cruz expressed a degree of grudging acceptance and unconfidence in the Murkowski/Ayotte ticket to truly represent the party and lead like the Tea Party would want a Republican President to.

The keynote speaker, former Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV), was able to bring the party back together through his keynote address. Again, the theme was progress, but just by undoing some of President Obama’s work. He made a passionate call for Republicans to unite in pushing for true healthcare reform by repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a more free market based system where government encourages competition to keep prices low. However, Ayotte and Murkowski were both very well received in their acceptance speeches. Murkowski stated that she wanted an America that “stayed true to its roots in liberty while also moving forward into a new era of prosperity.” She tried to make a speech that made conservatives, libertarians, and moderates happy. I think that she achieved that, and coupled with the fact that we have a double women ticket that has galvanized moderates and electrified the party (in positive and negative charges), the Democrats are going to have a hard time competing with this pell-mell and yet united force aimed towards victory.

O’Malley and Klobuchar renew a push for real progressivism at the DNC
Stacey Jones, Democratic Party strategist and ANN political analyst
15 August 2016, updated 4:17 PM EST
(ANN) - Last night, the Democratic National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona concluded, and it was a truly stirring reminder of what the Democratic Party is all about and that action is needed now if America is going to prosper into the future. Sure, this convention was not quite the buzz affair the RNC was, but America needs some straight talking and solid ideas to continue to push this country on the path of progress.

The first speakers worth mentioning emphasized a populist idea that has long since been lost from the heart of this party. Former Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), although far from identical ideologues, both spoke of the sanctity of the idea of popular sovereignty and the duty to help fellow Americans. Warren spoke of the Republican Party as “that of the rich business interests,” and that only the Democratic Party can truly represent the common man and bring his or her interests to government. Schweitzer stated that “O’Malley has the ideas and leadership and Klobuchar has the straight talking Midwestern attitude that will make sure Congress gets real work done.” He advocated for a simplification of Obamacare and a facilitation of a eventual transition to a full single payer system.

We were also reminded of how important progress has been to America by last night’s keynote speaker, Senator Alison Grimes (D-KY), who defeated former Senator Mitch McConnell in spectacular fashion in 2014.  She spoke about how the South has greatly improved, and were it not for Democrats that pushed for progress in civil rights, such as Kennedy and LBJ, that the South would be a terribly bigoted place. She pushed that progress is important, and that she wants to see a ratification of the ERA and nationwide gay marriage come about within a decade. Many people, including I, see her as a rising star in the party, and she will likely be the one to lead it come some years from now.

And of course, our nominees: O’Malley and Klobuchar made calls to push for action. O’Malley outlined plans to begin a massive transition to renewable energy, to push equality in the eyes of the law, and to deal diplomatically to solve pressing issues with countries who “defy the will of mankind.” Our convention may not have all been glitter and lights, but it had the real substance that will renew a forward push for America that the government has lost.

- AUGUST 18, 2016 -

Here is a look at a new round of polling on the presidential race between O’Malley and Murkowski, just as we get into the swing of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Murkowski has pulled out a very slight lead of two electoral votes with North Carolina now polling for Murkowski, while the popular vote has become deadlocked. Murkowski has looked a lot more popular in Maine and Nevada than any Republican has for years, and Murkowski and Sandoval’s senate race are having mutually helpful coattails in the state. However, O’Malley still retains a slight lead, albeit within the margin of error, in both states. Whatever the case, this election is likely to be very close, as both parties have certain things going for them this election cycle and certain things against. Here is a listing of some of the important Senate races going on for this election cycle. The chances for the Republican Party to retake the Senate are looking fairly dismal at this point, but things could change.

Georgia: Jack Kingston (R) | Jason Carter (D) - Republican Lean
Illinois: Lisa Madigan (D) | Aaron Schock (R) - Toss Up
Iowa: Chuck Grassley (R) | Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D) - Toss Up
Nevada: Harry Reid (D) | Brian Sandoval (R) - Toss Up
New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte (R) | Carol Shea-Porter (D) - Toss Up
North Carolina: Richard Burr (R) | Mike McIntyre (D) - Republican Lean
Ohio: Rob Portman (R) | Tim Ryan (D) - Toss Up
Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey (R) | Kathleen Kane (D) - Toss Up
Illinois: Ron Kind (D) | Ron Johnson (R) - Democratic Lean

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