Thursday, December 26, 2013

A House Divided: War of Words, or the General Election Season

Heritage Foundation: the GOP has given up traditional values
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
23 August 2016, updated 8:46 AM EST

Today, the Heritage Foundation under the leadership of former Senator Jim DeMint stated that they find it "unacceptable that the Republicans have sacrificed traditional values just for an opportunity to sway voters." In his addressed, he emphasized the idea that although the rest of the Republican Party has moved on under the banner of unity, they refuse to. According to the overall Heritage Foundation statement, a Murkowski administration would "allow the continued murder of the unborn and pave the way for destruction of support for the traditional family in the party which has supported these ideas for so long." Many social conservatives have opted to sit the presidential election out, but others claim that it is important that they support the lesser of two evils. In response to this statement, Murkowski replied that "it is time that we give focus to the issues that really matter, like fixing our economy and the government's role in it, that affect every American." The GOP ticket has certainly shown that its overall polling has not been affected, as the social conservatives who are opting out are being replaced by moderates who are committing to the Republican ticket.
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Syria holds first free elections since conclusion of civil war
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
28 August 2016, updated 7:44 AM EST

As the elections in the US are quickly approaching, it is notable to look at an election in the country of Syria, which has had their bloody civil war concluded last February through a decisive Turkish invasion that only lasted a week, but managed to put out the light on Assad’s candle once and for all. Turkey was beginning to have to deal with a new influx of refugees, specifically Kurdish ones, that began agitating local  Kurdish populations, and Turkey felt that they had to act to prevent any more destabilization. NATO provided minimal resources, but no other member got heavily involved in Syria. The country was put under a UN guided transitional government as the painstaking process of returning refugees and rebuilding began.

Today marks the end of the transitional government and the beginning of the Republic of Syria. Any citizen over the age of  21 was allowed to vote between five parties, all of whom promise peace and pushing towards a better future for Syria. President Obama has called this “a miraculous transition, but not without its costs.” Secretary of State John Kerry was an observer at the elections, and stated that “the results were very pleasing, and we can all look forward to a better future for Syria and the Middle East.”
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O’Malley: Murkowski cannot be allowed to undo the progress made by Obama
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
2 September 2016, updated 3:48 PM EST

The general election season has really gotten into full swing, with O'Malley and the Demcorats taking their first swings at the Murkowski/Ayotte ticket. In a rally in Pittsburgh today, O'Malley stated that a Murkowski administration will "undo many of the accomplishments of the Obama administration," referencing the Affordable Care Act and the economic recovery that occured under his second term. O'Malley, as a major part of his campaign has stated that he wants to put America on a path towards single payer healthcare, and that Murkowksi will "put us on a regressive track back to where buisiness interests dominate something as critical as healthcare." The Affordable Care Act has been the bane of many in the Republican Party, but a number of Americans are on the system and it has started to become an integral part of the system after it has been refined since the botched rollout in 2013. O'Malley has certainly benefited from the fact that President Obama's approval has improved since hitting a low in early 2014.
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Murkowski makes a big victory in first debate 
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
5 September 2016, updated 3:48 PM EST

The first presidential debate was held tonight at Arizona State University, and based on post debate viewer polls Murkowski has won by a fairly significant margin. The debate covered topics of domestic policy. The first questions had to do with taxes, and the elephant in the room, the ACA/Obamacare. O'Malley reinforced the Obama administration's policy of raising taxes on the rich, but cared more to emphasize a tax cut on those making less than $100,000 yearly. Murkowski stated that she would lower all tax rates, but that the upper class taxes would not be cut to the level of the Bush tax cuts. Both candidates also made it clear that the ACA was not an end, and that it was not exactly a desirable middle ground. O'Malley maintained it as a step in the right direction, but it complicates as opposed to simplifies, and he wants to simplify the system by transitioning America to a single-payer healthcare system. Murkowski's rebuttal started with the idea that government's place is not in the economy, and that a healthy competition in the free market is the only thing with which to sustain the economy.

Surprisingly, their answers on social issues did not differ significantly. Both candidates declared that they were in support of same-sex marriage, but O'Malley made a much stronger push, calling for it to be legalized by 2020, while Murkowski stated that it should be legal within a decade's time. They also both stated that they were supportive of a woman's right to have an abortion, even though Murkowski thought that more restrictions on when an abortion can be performed was required. Many people thought that Murkowski's responses were very precise and refreshing, as she forgoes the use political rhetoric that usually surrounds social issues.
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Second debate on foreign policy largely a draw
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
28 September 2016, updated 7:27 AM EST

Tonight, the second presidential debate, which was focused largely on foreign policy, was held at Michigan State University. Post viewer polling has been fluctuating significantly, and upon analysis, we cannot determine a certian winner. There were a wide range of questions that involved Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia. Since the War on Terror and Syrian Civil War officially ended around two years ago, the main issues relating to the Middle East are the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict, sectarian violence in Iraq and the regime in Iran. O'Malley responded to the questions about Israel by stating that there needs to be a compromise and that the US needs to broker a fair two state solution, while Murkowski stated that she was not entirely sure if a two state solution would be possible, and was concerned about Palestine being a beacon for anti-American interests. O'Malley countered by stating that if America helps the Palestinians, then there will not be issues with animosity. Most viewers found O'Malley's response to the question to be better.

An interesting question that appeared towards the end of the debate surrounded the issues with genetically modified crops and the EU banning their trade. Murkowski stated that she would support pushing the EU to accept these crops, but that we must be careful with how aid is distributed to African countries as to not damage their economies. O'Malley stated that investing in Africa is critical, but that the EU's right to decide for themselves should not be violated. Many thought that Murkowski's response was better, which was very likely because O'Malley had to tiptoe around the anti-GMO crowd that makes up a significant part of the liberal base. This debate has brought up more questions than it has answered unfortunately, and that is emphasized by the deadlocked result.
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Vice Presidential debate points to a Klobuchar victory
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
7 October 2016, updated 3:16 PM EST

The only vice presidential debate of this election season was held tonight on the campus of Boston University. By a fairly slim margin, Senator Klobuchar was seen as tonight's victor against Senator Kelly Ayotte. This debate had two questions from each category: foreign policy, domestic policy, and two random. The first question that got both candidates very passionate was one about what policy they would encourage the Senate to follow in regards to gun control. Klobuchar stressed that she understands the Second Amendment, but that in the modern age, stricter background checks and limits are going to have to be a reality. Ayotte countered with what she stated was an inherent right to defend oneself. Where this got heated was when Klobuchar asked Ayotte, as a mother, if she could stand her children being in danger due to guns. Ayotte immediately retreated to the defensive and formulated a number of largely subpar comebacks. One interesting question that came later in the debate, regarding what to do with North Korea, elicited a very similar response from both candidates. They both made a statement that favored diplomatic pressure for the regime to open up, and thought provoking was a bad idea, but Klobuchar emphasized that economic sanctions "damage the regime as well as the North Korean people, who are already starving."
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Simmering controversy over NBC's reaction to comments by Bachman
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
15 October 2016, updated 8:38 AM EST

The conservative portions of the Republican Party have made themselves heard once again yesterday, with comments from former Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (R-MN) where she stated that "the Republican Party needs to be reawakened, and obviously eight years of damaging liberal policy has not done that yet." Her interview was a part of the programming for Meet the Press, and she was the first guest on the show yesterday. Her interview was mostly focused on the place of the Tea Party in the Murkowski campaign. Bachman stated that she was dissapointed with the party's choice and that she feels that a Murowski administration will do the same sort of things that the Obama administration has, and that her changes will not be nearly enough. When asked if she would still encourage Republicans to vote for Murkowski, she hesitated before saying "Well, not exactly..." which was immediately followed by a cutoff to commercial. 10 minutes later, it was uncovered that somebody in the control room who was a self described moderate Republican deliberately cut off her comments.

This has resulted in a wave of controversy over NBC choosing to retain the controller's position and a discussion about the role free speech. There has also been a campaign called "Boycott for American Values," which has around 30,000 likes on Facebook and is positioned on other social media. Around one quarter of voters who were polled undecided, 2% of all polled, stated that they were social conservatives who are abstaining, and this number has risen over that past few days. Murkowski has reiterated that she intends to pursue conservative fiscal policy as the top priority, but there is no denying that the qualms of the staunch conservatives in the GOP have caused a lot of stress for the Murkowski campaign. It is yet to be seen if she can fill this hole left and more with moderate independents who choose change in leadership.
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Third town hall styled debate shows a passionate and victorious Murkowksi
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
21 October 2016, updated 11:07 AM EST

After an indecisive second presidential debate, Murkowski came back very strong in the third and final presidential debate. This debate was a town hall styled debate where members in the audience could lose questions to the candidates, and a select few questions were chosen from tweets directed towards ANN using hashtag #ANNTownHall2016. Two of the questions were directed towards policy relating to climate change. O'Malley took a very strong environmentalist position and talked about forming policy that would put America on a path to transition to clean energy by 2030, while Murkowski wanted to eliminate foreign oil and focus on a balance of domestic oil, in the form of offshore drilling and the Keystone pipeline, and renewables. She also stated that O'Malley's actions would drive America down into another recession at a time when the economy is booming. A question directed from Twitter addressed what each candidate thinks about affirmative action. Murkowksi stated that she does not like the policy, and thinks that the school needs to focus on merit credentials. She also stated that by making a real jobs program for inner city families, rather than providing welfare, will help them the most. O'Malley stood in firm support of it, stating that he understands inner city minorities are put at a disadvantage from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore and need help to make higher education fair and avaliable.

Many analysts have stated that she seemed very solid and very no nonsense in her stances and her comebacks were quick and still well thought out. It has been stated by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio that "she will bring a change in attitude that will advocate compromise and push Congress to get things done," which was a kind of attitude that she presented tonight. It is pretty damaging to O'Malley's campaign that Murkowksi can pull such a big victory on the last debate and even through the heckling of the staunch conservatives.
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Tomorrow is Election Night: who will shape America for the rest of the decade?
Chris Bradford, ANN Contributor
7 November 2016, updated 5:00 PM EST

It has been a very long and contentious election season, and it is all over tomorrow night. The election started in earnest last August when the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she would not seek the Democratic nomination. The primary season kicked off with Cruz and Klobuchar victories in Iowa, and then it got more contentious from there. O'Malley made a fairly solid victory after Super Tuesday, where the GOP became an excruciating three way race, with all three trying to represent different wings of the party. Murkowski, much to the chagrin of conservatives, clinched the nomination and the GOP barely missed a brokered convention. The Democrats seemed like the perfect family while the GOP was massively dysfunctional. However, you can't deny how much media coverage the "GOP circus" recieved compared to the Democrats.

Polling points to a distinct possibility that this will be the closest election since 2000, but a repeat of 2000 is the worst case scenario for anybody. There is a distinct possibility that the election could come down to Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, or Florida. Both candidates have noticeable areas of unease. O'Malley has to deal with the fact that, although it has improved in the last year, Obama's approval has been fairly low throughout the middle years of his second term, and he also is slightly more liberal than Obama. Murkowski has enormous issues with keeping social conservatives on board with her campaign. Both candidates have tried very hard to woo moderates, but Murkwowksi could have to woo conservatives for her to win. African-Americans are still polling monotonously for O'Malley, but Murkowski is polling higher with Hispanics and women than Romney at his highest point. Below are some final numbers in regards to projected electoral map: Nevada has fallen to poll largely for O'Malley, putting them dead even at 210 each. Please join us tomorrow night, starting at 6:00 PM, for coverage of Election Night in America.


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