Thursday, March 31, 2016

Denver Growth on a Tear

Denver has retaken the lead as the largest county in the state, sweeping past El Paso County by 8,000 residents, according to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates of July 2015.

After a couple of decades of stagnant population growth reflecting suburbanization, Denver grew an extraordinary 82,387 residents since the 2010 census, a nearly 14 percent increase. The city now has 682,545 residents as of last July, up 18,582 in one year (since the July 2014 estimate).

The City and County is the leader in the statewide population surge that has made Colorado the second fastest growing in the country. (Colorado now 5.5 million people, up 101,000 since 2014, mostly from new residents moving to the state.)

Denver’s growth leads the seven-county metro area, with Arapahoe and Adams in second and third positions. Boulder and Jefferson counties lag the field of larger counties. Broomfield, as a small community, only added 9,000 residents in the five years, but its rate of growth of 16.4% was the highest of larger counties. Denver was second with 13.7%.

Metro population at slightly over 3 million is about 56 percent of the state’s population of 5.16 million, a small increase during the last decade. Denver represents 22 percent of the total.

See study here

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Colorado Republicans Help Stop Trump – 9KUSA, Balance of Power

Colorado’s delegation of unpledged delegates may be a part of the block that keeps Donald Trump from 1,237 delegates and creates a contested convention. As of now, Trump needs 53 percent of the remaining 944 delegates.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz
Colorado has 37 delegates of which 24 are unpledged prior to the April 8 congressional and April 9 state conventions.

Colorado could potentially add 25 unpledged delegates to the convention total, making Trump’s task more difficult.

The effort to stop Trump has been ongoing at state-level delegations, with battles to identify and recruit supports and party representatives as delegates to pledge to anyone but Trump or stay unpledged until the first vote.

Republican leaders have also started an effort to discredit Trump’s argument that if he’s close to 1,237 delegates, he must be given the nomination. They point out more Republicans have voted against Trump than for him, his unfavorability rating is sky-high, he loses in every credible poll to Hillary Clinton, and most importantly the rules are the rules.

9News: Balance of Power: The fight for Colorado’s GOP delegates
Politico: Shadow campaign to deny Trump his delegates begins
Politico: Insiders to Trump: No majority, no nomination
Politico: Meet South Carolina’s anti-Trump double agents
The Buzz: 9KUSA: Four reasons Cruz leads in Colorado’s pledged delegates

9KUSA – Four Reasons Cruz Leads in Colorado’s Pledged Delegates

In an interview with 9KUSA’s Brandon Rittiman for the weekend Balance of Power show, I pointed out how ironic it was that Colorado Republicans who got no attention from presidential candidates at the March 1 party caucuses may now see one or more candidates before their April party conventions. Colorado’s unpledged delegates join a handful of other states that did not hold primaries or preference polls at caucuses. Delegates and their preferences (pledged or unpledged, and if pledged, to whom) will be declared during the next two weeks.

Ted Cruz
Photo: AP
Analyses of Republican Party delegates going to the April 8 and 9 congressional district and state convention indicate Ted Cruz has a lead among the approximate third of the delegates that have pledged. He has 22 percent to Donald Trump’s ten percent. John Kasich is not a factor with one percent and others who have dropped out of the race have three percent.

Why does Cruz have an advantage in Colorado?
  • Cruz has been winning small caucus turnout states in the West. He won Utah, Idaho and Wyoming (they had preference polls). The smaller turnout electorate is more conservative.
  • The lack of a Colorado preference poll helped Cruz because it reduced attention that could have attracted Donald Trump’s newer, less frequent party participants.
  • Cruz is now unifying the conservative and establishment wings of the party. These are the two groups in Colorado that have been the most influential. Four years ago, Rick Santorum, the religious conservative, and Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate, were a close one and two in the caucus results.
  • Cruz has been more prepared longer for the battle in each state to identify, recruit and place delegates. Trump has just stepped up his delegate hunt effort.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to stop Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates before the convention and then being ready to win on a second or later ballot when pledged delegates are mostly free to vote their preference. Colorado has 37 delegates, with about 27 unpledged as of today. Having such a larger number of Cruz and unpledged delegates may make Colorado a major factor in creating a contested convention.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sanders Wins Big, But Nothing Changes

Democratic voters in three western states gave Bernie Sanders huge wins the last week, but the headlines and lead paragraphs of the coverage remain: “Sanders wins, Clinton leads.” And, there is no expectation the picture will change.

Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead is so significant, counting super delegates, that Sanders would have to win two-thirds of the remaining delegates to stop her. And unfortunately for him, the race is heading to big states with large minority and unionized Democratic Party constituencies better for Clinton, tougher for Sanders.

Bernie Sanders
Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli
His win in mostly White, mostly small caucus states of Alaska (82%), Hawaii (70%) and Washington (73%), while impressive, are not significant enough to shift the calculation that Clinton is still the presumptive nominee. Sanders, in fact, has hit five in a row, counting Idaho and Utah a week earlier. All five were caucus states with very few voters participating (26,000 people voted in Washington, 33,000 in Hawaii and 530 in Alaska). In fact, Clinton leads with 2 million more voters than Sanders.

Clinton has 1,712 delegates, 72 percent of the goal of 2,383. She only needs 671 more, or 33 percent of the 2,049 delegates still available. Sanders, on the other hand, needs 1,379 delegates, or 67 percent of the remaining delegates – short of complete Clinton collapse in the upcoming expensive state primaries, a very unlikely scenario.

The next contests will be in a primary in Wisconsin April 5, the Wyoming caucus April 7 and the New York primary April 19. Sanders did not win Massachusetts, Ohio or Indiana. He will need extraordinary wins in the final northeast primaries and then super delegates to shift position. Good luck.

Read The Buzz: Clinton extends lead, Trump faces resistance – KOA interview with April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pew Charitable Trusts Conducts Voter Study; Ciruli Associates Provides Opinion Data

In 2014, Colorado conducted its first all mail-back partisan election. Pew Charitable Trusts, as a part of a commitment to support more accessible and convenient election procedures in the country, partnered with Ciruli Associates and researchers from the Rice University and other colleges to study Colorado’s mail-back procedures to gauge voter sense of ballot security and convenience and to study cost efficiency.

The study included a large voter telephone survey conducted by Ciruli Associates during the mail-back voting period and shortly after Election Day. More than 1,500 individuals were contacted. As reported last week by Pew, voters stated satisfaction with mail-back voting, but for a variety of reasons, two-thirds (64%) returned the ballots in person. Personal return was convenient in drop boxes or voter centers, and voters were more secure ensuring their ballot was personally delivered.

See Pew Charitable Trusts study here

9KUSA: Voting changes reap positive results
ColoradoPeakPolitics: Pew: Data in new Pew election costs study stinks

Friday, March 25, 2016

Democratic Primary Voters Have Low Interest in Foreign Policy

Terrorism is a problem for Bernie Sanders. In any question concerning a new terrorist attack, Sanders manages to work in that he voted against the Iraq War (and by the way Hillary Clinton voted for it). In other words, not only is he against boots on the ground, but his policy would be even more passive than President Obama’s, who basically, when forced to discuss his strategy, introduces the subject with “ISIL is not an existential threat” (unlike global warming).

Obama is again taking criticism for his ineffectual Syrian strategy from the left and right foreign policy establishment. But, the one group neither Sanders nor the President needs to worry about is rank and file Democrats.

Democratic primary voters rate the economy as most important priority, with terrorism in second place, but ahead of their candidates’ two favorite topics: health care and climate change.

Hillary Clinton clearly owns the terrorism issue in the Democratic Party. Sanders generally is on the defense. But Clinton must guard against breaking too far right of the Administration or appear to be criticizing it.

Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump outbid themselves with extreme statements about monitoring Muslim Americans, excluding Muslim immigrants and introducing illegal interrogation methods. But, they are reflecting their primary electorate, which rates terrorism and national security the top issue.

Colorado Independent Voters Are Not a Monolith

Colorado has 1.3 million voters who decline to state a party. It is Colorado’s largest and fastest growing political preference. They are not all centrists or moderates in their views. Like all voters, they range from liberal to conservative in proportions that reflect the communities they live in and their personal political choices and histories.

Recent voter surveys conducted by Ciruli Associates in Pueblo and Denver, Colorado, show that, although both communities prefer Democratic officeholders, self-described moderates dominate independents in both cities, but after moderates, Denver’s unaffiliated are much more likely to be liberal (37%) and Pueblo’s conservatives (35%).

Independents’ left-to-right ideological preferences undermine the theory that allowing them to vote in party primaries will help moderate the views of polarized partisans. In fact, in the most recent presidential primaries, independent voters have flooded into the elections to support far left, anti-establishment Bernie Sanders and bombastic populist Donald Trump – hardly what most would describe as a moderating influence. Of course, there may be other reasons to incorporate the independents (or unaffiliated voters in Colorado) into the partisan primary system. Voters may have a chance to weigh in on it this November.

Nate Silver's 538 Gives Ciruli Associates an "A"

Nate Silver
Photo: The Guardian
Nate Silver’s national polling website and blog gave pollster Floyd Ciruli an “A” rating. Futurist Wayne Radinsky did a brief description of Silver’s rating process, which was first reported by FiveThirtyEight in September 2014.

Eight organizations receive an “A” rating:

Wayne Radinsky
538 pollster ratings. 538 gives every pollster an A-F grade. Gallup got a C+. Pew Research got a B. Rasmussen Reports got a C. Who got As? Selzer & Company, Field Research Corporation, Ciruli Associates, SurveyUSA, Grove Insight, Blum & Weprin Associates, Elway Research, and National Journal.

The scores were determined by comparing the poll results with the final election results. The average poll was off by 5.3 percentage points from the final election outcome.

The very best pollsters are about 1 percentage point more accurate than the average pollster over the long run. The very worst pollsters are off by 2 to 3 points of error compared to the average. The worst polls are more worse (further below average) than the best polls are good (above average). That's because, while there are intrinsic limits to how accurate any poll can be (because of sampling error and other factors), there are no shortage of ways to screw up.

See 538 full list of ratings here

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Democratic Primary Demographics are Platform for Clinton Victory

Hillary Clinton’s steady lead in her nomination contest with Bernie Sanders is reflected in the political demographics of primary voters that favor her. Although trends appear to show a Bernie Sanders-type of candidate may be the future of the party.

Ideology and Independents
Only 25 percent of Republican Party primary voters labels themselves “moderate” (the so-called “lane” Bush, Kasich, Christie and many others were competing in). Clinton draws from 39 percent of Democrats who are moderates. (But the liberal wing is growing and moderates contracting 52% in 2008 to 39% today.)

Sanders does better with independents, but that represents only a quarters of Democratic primary voters, whereas 32 percent of Republicans are independent and many of them have favored Donald Trump.

Gender, Age and Race
More than half of the Democratic voters (57%) are women, the group Clinton dominates against Sanders. Less than half of Republican voters (49%) are women.

The demographic Sanders is helped with are voters under the age of 30 years old. Seventeen percent of Democratic primary voters have been young, many specifically drawn to Sanders. Only 11 percent of Republican voters are less than thirty.

Clinton’s near monopoly of non-White voters has been a major asset, and they represent 39 percent of the Democratic primary electorate vs. only 10 percent among Republican primary voters. Both younger and non-White voters are a growing demographic of the Democratic Party’s primary electorate.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Denver Voters in Good Mood; Pueblo Not So Much. Colorado Opinion Architecture Varies Like its Topography.

More than half of Denver voters (58%) believe their city/county is “going in the right direction,” but only 29 percent of Pueblo voters think their community is doing the same.

The recent voter surveys conducted by Ciruli Associates, a follow-up question concerning the most important problem showed that about half of Denver residents said affordable housing, homelessness and too much growth (55%) was the top problem. Crime and police issues was second at 31 percent.

In Pueblo, crime, gangs and drugs was the overwhelming concern, with 61 percent of voters citing it. Pueblo’s perennial problems of jobs and the economy came in a distant second (21%).

Americans Say Crime Up; Pueblo Sees Crime Wave

Gallup reported in October 2015 that 70 percent of Americans believe crime is up from 2014, a seven-point increase in one year. Half of Denver residents believe crime has increased in the last year, but 73 percent of Pueblo residents see crime wave in the last year.

In an open-ended question on the county’s main problem, 61 percent of Pueblo residents said crime, gangs and drug abuse was the most serious problem. In Denver, affordable housing, growth and congestion was the top problems (55%), crime came in second (31%).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Regret Election

The 2016 presidential election appears to be heading to a depressing contest. As of today, voters will be selecting between two candidates with higher unfavorability ratings than favorable.

Hillary Clinton’s average favorability rating, as maintained by the Huffington Post, is 54 percent negative and 42 percent positive. Donald Trump has a huge negative favorability, with a modern record for a near nominee of 62 percent unfavorable.

This will be a “regret” election, with voters choosing between not who they like the most, but who they have the least regret voting for.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Immigration Polarizing Two Continents: U.S. and Germany Face Crises of Confidence

Angela Merkel
New polls reported out of Germany and America show how polarized views on immigration have
become and it’s breaking down the centers of the ruling political parties.

In America, Republican and Democratic positions have become increasingly polarized on immigration, and the presidential campaign has accelerated it.

Both parties have shifted dramatically since the 2012 election, with Republicans first wanting to reach out and offer modest support for immigration reform, but now are being represented by a presidential frontrunner advocating mass deportation.

Democrats, on the other hand, have been supportive but cautious with immigration reform and deportation in recent years, but now advocate near total conditional amnesty and advocate stopping nearly all deportations.

Syrian, other Middle Eastern and North African migration is rapidly shifting European politics toward nationalism and nativism. It has cost Angela Merkel 20 points of popularity from a sky-high 74 percent in early 2015 to 54 percent today. And her party, the Christian Democratic Union, lost voter support in recent state elections.

Fifty-nine percent of the public is dissatisfied with Merkel’s refugee policy, including more than 40 percent of her own party.

Although the conventional view is that she is not in danger of being ousted, she may be in her last term as chancellor.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Angela Merkel’s "Farewell Tour": Immigration Brings Down the German Chancellor

Angela Merkel’s approval rating has dropped twenty points the last year. She has gone from the Time “Person of the Year” to the cause of her party losing votes to the right and the left in recent German state elections. On the campaign trail, Merkel saw protesters and disenchanted crowds, some with signs, such as “Merkel’s Farewell Tour 2016/2017.”

On her far right is Alternative for Germany (AfD), an anti-immigration party on its way to becoming the country’s third most popular. The Social Democrats on the left are beginning to see opportunity, breaking from Merkel’s center-right configuration. Merkel’s center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union, watched their position weaken across the board. Her own party candidates are distancing themselves from her immigration policies. In her coalition sister party in the stronghold of Bavaria, an anti-immigration right is growing in its criticism of her immigration welcoming policies.

Merkel represents a German political establishment now in retreat, and although her chancellorship may be safe for now, her future is in doubt. Immigration is as serious a political problem in Europe as America, or to paraphrase John McClane in Die Hard, “Welcome to the Party, Hans.”

"Welcome to the Party, pal"
Photo: YouTube

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Single-Payer System Lacks Support

Colorado voters in November will decide on an initiative creating a statewide single-payer health care system. Its advocates endorse Obamacare and Bernie Sanders’ universal coverage. They believe Obamacare has left gaps that a single-payer system can best fill.

Much of the state’s Democratic establishment, led by Governor Hickenlooper, a Clinton Super Delegate, believes Obamacare should be improved, not overturned with a hugely expensive single-payer system ($25 billion annually is listed in the initiative title).

Frank Newport of Gallup wrote a recent analysis of the level of support for a government-run system vs. a private system, and government lost with 40 percent to 55 percent for a private system.

Other data points reinforce the challenge the concept faces in November:
  • Barely a majority of the public accepts that government has responsibility for Americans’ health care coverage (51% yes to 47% no).
  • The public in general is positive about their coverage, but the public is very polarized in its support and opposition to Obamacare (a plurality driven by most Republicans who oppose it).
The public views on single-payer system are not well-formed. They tend to like the idea of “Medicare for all,” which is how Sanders bills it, but, in general, they don’t like the government expansion into health care and the cost.

See The Buzz: Single-Payer Divides Democratic Party – Colorado Public Radio, John Daley

Clinton Extends Lead, Trump Faces Resistance – KOA Interview With April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs

Super Tuesday Part Two extended Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead and ended Bernie Sanders’ hoped for breakout in the industrial heartland. With five major states voting, Clinton swept the South, winning Florida and North Carolina. But her substantial win in Ohio and her birth state of Illinois showed she could win the states essential to the fall battle with Republicans. She now has 66 percent of the needed delegates. She leads Sanders by nearly two-to-one.

Sanders claims he will not end his campaign nor lessen his criticism of Clinton, including her Wall Street ties and free trade history.

Unfortunately for Clinton, most of the big contests aren’t until April, leaving several weeks of small state contests where Sanders can showcase his criticism of the frontrunner. At this point, his cause-oriented campaign can’t win the nomination, but it does damage Clinton.

Donald Trump also had a good night. He drove the establishment’s last best candidate from the field and crossed the halfway point to 1,237 delegates (621 or 50.2%). Marco Rubio, after his nearly 19-point loss in Florida, is unlikely to endorse Trump; hence, adding to the only suspense left in the Republican nomination – can Trump be stopped short of 1,237 delegates? The problem with the contested convention scenario is that it will be as devastating to a general election campaign as polls indicate a Trump victory will be.

Ted Cruz, with the most delegates after Trump, had a weak evening, scoring third in Florida and Ohio and second in North Carolina, Illinois and still contested Missouri.

The continued contests hurt the frontrunners. Sanders is pushing Clinton to the left and reinforcing people’s distrust of her. She will be a weaker general election candidate for it.

Trump is even more harmed by the still formable resistance to his nomination. The incredibly high negative they each carry into the general election will produce the regret election – the candidate who the public feels the least regret over choosing will win.

Listen to KOA interview here

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ciruli’s Pre-Election Scenarios – 9KUSA, Candidates Don’t Quit

"It's not clear that it's going to decide the election, the nominees. But it could. If Mr. Trump and the Republican Party sweeps it, he will, I think, be impossible to deny. His momentum will be overwhelming. On the other hand, should he lose Ohio or lose Missouri, or both, I think it would suggest that there's going to be a long, long fight here," Ciruli said.
If Rubio doesn't win in Florida, and Gov. Kasich doesn't win in Ohio, neither candidates would have a chance, according to Ciruli.
It's a similar situation on the democratic side, where both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are hoping for some victories Tuesday night.
"If Hillary Clinton could win a sweep here, I think the race would pretty much be over," Ciruli said. "But Bernie Sanders would stay in it. He would argue that there are other states he might win. But it would be very, very clear that her march is inevitable to get the nomination."
Florida and Ohio are valuable because the delegates up for grabs in both of those states are winner take all. Ciruli predicts that the race for the nomination on both sides of the aisle isn't going to be over any time soon.
"My sense is that this isn't going to be one of those years in which people just quit ... In normal years, by this point, certainly after tonight [Tuesday], if many of these candidates lost, they would quit," Ciruli said. "Both limitations of money and simply the party would say, 'you had your shot, you didn't win.' This is not one of those years. Everybody seems to want to keep going.”

Clinton Represents Half the Party, But Trump Still Below 40 Percent

On the eve of the next big primaries, Hillary Clinton receives a consistent 50 percent of the party’s support in polls and she has accumulated 52 percent of the delegates (772 pledged and 472 super delegates). If the polls are correct, today’s results could seriously challenge the Bernie Sanders theory of winning. In Clinton’s delegates, Super Delegates make up 20 percent of her total. She appears to be ahead in all the upcoming races, but with the closest races in the northern tier of Illinois, Ohio and Missouri.

Should Sanders win one or more of the northern states, a sliver of hope would continue for his anti-trade, anti-Wall Street rhetoric.

Donald Trump has not broken 50 percent of his party’s support in national polling, although his consistent 35 percent or more is enough to secure a series of winner-takes-all or winner takes most delegate contests in today’s races. Except for Ohio he appears to have a 10 point or more lead in each contest on March 15.

If John Kasich and Ted Cruz could secure a victory in Ohio, Illinois or Missouri, the anti-Trump forces would receive a boost and soldier on. Marco Rubio has all but disappeared due to weak polls in Florida.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ohio and Labor: Your World With Neil Cavuto

Friday’s interview with Neil Cavuto asked if organized labor should be worried about losing members to Donald Trump. Ohio will likely be a swing state in the general election and it has become a battleground state in the Republican nomination race.

Labor leaders are part of the Democratic Party establishment, and their members, like many voters, are angry at the establishment. As blue collar workers, with many are under 40 years old, they are in the demographic Trump has been attracting. They make up a significant part of his core constituency. Many are infrequent voters, showing up for someone they like. And, they are often weak partisans or independents.

Trump won Michigan with 36 percent, so he has a base in the upper Midwest. Can he grow it in Ohio? Polls show the race is a dead heat on Monday before the election.

Photo: Fox News

Can Trump Win a General Election With Ohio? – Your World With Neil Cavuto

In Your World With Neil Cavuto interview on March 11, we discussed Donald Trump’s chances in the general election in the swing State of Ohio against Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump
Some points in the discussion:
  • The polls show Clinton winning with Obama’s 2012 general election constituencies. But, she has low favorability, a lack of trust and is in a primary that shows a serious divide in the Democratic Party by age and ideological interests, with older, more moderate voters in her camp compared to younger and more liberal and independent voters in Bernie Sanders’.
  • Mitt Romney won Ohio in his primary in 2012 with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, but lost the state by three points to Obama.
  • Does Trump’s blue collar, downscale voters help make up for any loss he suffers from the Republican establishment and upscale voters? Does Clinton lose some of the young and minority Obama constituencies due to less passion and enthusiasm for her?
  • Ohio is still a state suffering from a deindustrializing economy. Free trade is a major issue that Trump wins and Clinton is on the defense.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Trump Represents Only a Fraction of Public Opinion on Israel and Free Trade

Donald Trump has expressed his hostility to free trade policies from NAFTA to the most recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has also stated he will be neutral in his approach to Israel and the Palestinians. These views partially reflect his belief that he is a great negotiator and that trade agreements have been poorly negotiated. He would use those same skills to settle the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.

His views have adherents in both parties, but Americans remain pro-trade and pro-Israel. Gallup reports “Americans Remain Upbeat About Foreign Trade” and “Americans’ Views Toward Israel Remain Firmly Positive.”  More than 60 percent of Americans are more supportive of Israel than Palestinians. And nearly 60 percent of Americans believe foreign trade is an opportunity, not a threat to America.

It is the Democrats that are less favorable toward Israel (53%) not Republicans, but even a majority offer more sympathy to Israel than Palestine. Also, 50 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats support foreign trade as an opportunity.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Brokered or Broken Convention? – KOA With Susan Witkin and Mike Rice

A brokered convention is the topic de jure among the punditocracy, given that beating Donald Trump by a competitor, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, appears unlikely. Now the strategy for the stop Trump forces is to have the current field win sufficient delegates in their respective strongest states to deny Trump the 1,263 delegates he needs, forcing a brokered convention.

If Trump is stymied, the real negotiating will likely begin before Republicans meet in the heat and humidity of July in Cleveland. Can the anti-Trump forces form a coalition behind a potential nominee, most likely someone in the field, or can Trump cajole a rival to join him to end the stalemate before a noisy convention fight? If no one says uncle in the pre-convention period, then a multi-ballot contested convention may be necessary.

As discussed with Susan and Mike on KOA, contested conventions are difficult to imagine in the modern era of primaries, with millions of Republican voters and endless debates, social media and polls establishing identity and legitimizing candidates. If the fight continues, the Republican Party will likely lose the 2016 presidential election and possibly the Senate. Will it lead to a permanent schism and possibly a new third party or a synthesis of Trump populism, Cruz conservatism and Rubio-Kasich establishment elements of the old party?

Monday, March 7, 2016

“We’ve Had Enough Bushes” – Four Reasons the Bush Dynasty Failed

From frontrunner on announcement day in Miami, to withdrawal in Columbia, South Carolina, on primary night, Jeb Bush brought an end to the Bush dynasty after his eight painful months on the presidential campaign trail. Many factors contributed to one of the most expensive and least
Jeb Bush
successful campaigns in history, but four stand out.

Year of the Outsider
Bush’s resume and campaign strategy could not have been more misaligned with the Republican electorate. In this year of the outsider, fueled by an angry electorate, Jeb Bush, the ultimate legacy candidate, had planned to run a “joyful” campaign touting his government experience.

End of the Dynasty
His Mom was right: “We’ve had enough Bushes.” His name highlighted his establishment credentials. And, from his first interview, he never was able to separate himself from the legacy of brother George W. and the Iraq War. The Republican Party wanted a new outsider leader, and the Party has moved so far right so quickly that both H.W. and G.W. were seen as the modern equivalent of “Rockefeller Republicans.”

The Plan and Trump
The Bush campaign plan and team appeared clueless as to the driving forces of this campaign year and their most serious threats. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for research missed both the anger toward the establishment and the power of Donald Trump’s celebrity status. They felt Mitt Romney was the most dangerous rival. And, although Romney pulled back, the money failed to deter other rivals. Bush launched a campaign as an immigration moderate the day before Trump announced that Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug dealers.

Even after the first few debates, the over-financed and poorly advised Bush failed to realize the damage Trump was doing to him. As the most visible member of the establishment on the stage, Trump used Bush as his favorite foil. The “low energy” line became the Bush image.

Debates and Polls
The invisible primary was dominated by debates and polls, not the usual money, paid advertising and endorsements. Bush failed in both. The high expectations hurt him as he quickly fell into a second tier in the polling and his debate performances throughout 2015 were average in a year that required superior.

Although Jeb is bright and competitive, whether he would have been a good nominee or an effective president remains unclear. The same factors that derailed his campaign would have handicapped him as a general election candidate. And, the polarization and serious problems the country faces will require far more than an experienced manager if the country is to meet its many challenges – foreign and domestic.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Chaotic Caucus Jump Starts Primary Initiatives – 9KUSA, Ryan Haarer

Republican Party leaders ignoring a very popular presidential contest and crowds of Democrats overwhelming many of Tuesday’s caucuses has led for calls to drop the system and shift back to a presidential primary.

In addition, some business groups want to add unaffiliated voters to the state primaries and any new national presidential primary.

9KUSA’s Ryan Haarer covered the twin efforts that are likely to find some early support and some pushback.

Parties prefer to control their nomination process. Colorado caucuses and primaries are mostly closed to non-party members. In addition, the caucus system leads to less participation than a primary and is much less expensive since any cost is borne by the parties and not the state.

But 2016 may be the year to put Colorado on the presidential primary map and open the system up to unaffiliated voters, which are the state’s largest bloc of voters, especially new voters.

Check out the story on 9News here

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Single-Payer Divides Democratic Party – Colorado Public Radio, John Daley

A bipartisan campaign group with powerful business allies is opposing the single-payer health care initiative already placed on Colorado’s November ballot.

Similar to the fracking initiatives of 2014 sponsored by environmentalists and wealthy activists, most of the Colorado Democratic establishment and the business community are fighting single-payer. Democrats up for election in 2014, such as Mark Udall and John Hickenlooper, feared it would divide the party and cause a high-profile argument in the media among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters during the fall campaigns.

The single-payer initiative has the same potential with the added detriment of highlighting Obamacare, which is still disliked by a majority of the public and passionately by the Republican base.

The Democratic presidential candidates are also divided on the issue, with Hillary Clinton favoring improvements to the Affordable Care Act and Bernie Sanders wanting to scrap it (he claims amend it) for a single-payer system.
Longtime independent Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli calls it a “family feud.” He says the establishment in both parties is being challenged by outsiders with energized followers who are frustrated with the status quo.
“Between the Clinton and establishment wing of the party versus the Sanders, liberal, youth wing of the party, there are some real tensions and difference and it plays out in single-payer,” he said.
He says the question is how deep and lasting the rift could be. Especially since in the general election, Colorado is a key swing state.
Read more on the story at CPR here

Bernie Wins in Caucus Chaos – Colorado Public Radio, Ben Markus

Super Tuesday, March 1, Boulder, CO
Photo: AP/Brennan Linsley
The 122,000 Democrats, a record, turned out for Colorado’s Super Tuesday caucus. Bernie Sanders had to win Colorado to maintain a minimum level of credibility that there was a path to the nomination, and he did it with a 19-point win over Hillary Clinton.

In general, it wasn’t a good night for Sanders, losing seven states, mostly by big margins, but he’s still in the race.

A major question for November is if Clinton is the nominee, her ability to motivate turnout among Democrats who caucused for Sanders or would have supported her but stayed home.

An interview with CPR’s Ben Markus:
Floyd Ciruli, a longtime Colorado political pollster, says Sanders' support from young adults washed out any edge Clinton may have had with Latinos. 
"He was able to motivate them to turn out, to do something even more difficult, and that’s go to a caucus and spend some time there," Ciruli said. "Will they be motivated should she be the nominee?"

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Colorado Dems Defy National Trend – 9KUSA

Nationally, Hillary Clinton tightened her grip on the Democratic nomination amidst low Super Tuesday turnout. In Colorado, Bernie Sanders won a 19-point victory in the same record turnout Barack Obama won by in 2008 – 120,000 caucus attendees.

Clinton had the endorsements and long experience in the state. Sanders had the Millennials and enthusiasm. He won in many places, but notched big wins in Larimer (last rally CSU), Boulder (rally at CU), Colorado Springs (rally CC), Denver (rally DU) and 20,000 supporters at the Convention Center.

Along with free college tuition, his position on decriminalization of marijuana is very popular with younger voters.

Colorado became one of Bernie’s four Super Tuesday states, along with his home of Vermont, the other caucus state of Minnesota and surprisingly Oklahoma. Sanders was disappointed, but at least close in Massachusetts.

9KUSA covered caucus night and had website coverage by Victoria Sanchez and Brandon Rittiman.
"It's work. You just don't walk in and vote for two minutes," said 9NEWS Political Analyst Floyd Ciruli.
Ciruli expects around 100,000 voters to show up to the contest that's big for Democrats but not for Republicans, who won't chose a statewide winner.
"The problem with that is that there's no excitement right now," he said.
See 9News story: Campaign volunteers gearing up for Super Tuesday

State Flooded Again with Ballot Initiatives

It has been clear since the ‘90s that the Colorado initiative process is a disaster. The original idea was that citizens could counter the big rail and mining industry’s stranglehold on the Colorado State Legislature. Now, however, eccentrics, extremists, out-of-state special interests and a host of well-meaning dilettantes are taking their pet projects into the petition process. There are already more than 100 petitions for initiatives filed. And, some observers believe it could exceed the record 145 in 2014.

It is, of course, still useful to have a citizen process to take on a gridlocked state legislature or a state government being held hostage by some special interest, but the volume and the bizarre and extreme nature of some recent initiatives, often deceptively described in ballot language, needs to be constrained.

There are already several initiatives filed to tighten the initiative process. It’s not easy changing the status quo, given the simple lack of trust in government that dominates so much of our public decision-making. Fortunately, good luck and skeptical voters have stopped many of the worst ideas. It should be pointed out that out of the 145 initiatives filed in 2014, only four made the ballot and voters only approved one. But Colorado’s luck will run out one of these election cycles.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Do Endorsements Help? – 9KUSA, Maya Rodriguez

In the invisible primary, money and endorsements have historically been the currency of the realm. In 2016, they have been much less valuable. Among Republicans, endorsements from the disliked establishment are a handicap.

But among Democrats, there has been a race to accumulate them, with Hillary Clinton the runaway winner. Clinton used them first to highlight a gun control theme and later just went for volume. Bernie Sanders caught a few high-profile names to emphasize the diversity of his support. Probably more valuable to Sanders is the thousands of younger voters who show up at his rallies and can be directed to a caucus.

A few of Bernie Sanders’ endorsements:

State Representative Joe Salazar (D-Thornton)
State Senator Michael Merrifield (D-Colorado Springs)
State Representative Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont)
Former Colorado Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll
Sondra Young, civil rights leader
John Ford, Jefferson County teacher education leader
Eric Montoya, Thornton City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem
Jacob Smith, former Mayor of Golden
Linda Powers, former Colorado State Senator
Reverend Patrick Demmer, civil rights leader

A few of the Colorado Democrats endorsing Hillary Clinton:

Governor John Hickenlooper
Senator Michael Bennet
Representative Diana DeGette
Representative Ed Perlmutter
Representative Jared Polis
Former Colorado U.S. Senator Ken Salazar
Lt. Governor Joe Garcia
Denver Mayor Michel Hancock
State Senator Pat Steadman
State House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst

See 9News Story: Is there value to endorsements in the race for president?

Bernie Sanders Must Win Colorado

Super Tuesday will not be a great night for Bernie Sanders given most of the events are in states 
Hillary Clinton has a demographic advantage in, especially from the percentage of Democrats of color. But Colorado has some advantages for him and is a must win.

Dan Frosch pointed out in The Wall Street Journal Monday that Sanders has attracted high crowds of young and liberal voters who he’s trying to organize into the March 1 caucuses. Barack Obama did it in 2008 and won the state two-to-one.
“This is definitely not only a winnable state, but I assume a necessary state if he is going to have any possibility of survival,” said Floyd Ciruli, a longtime independent pollster in Colorado.
Still, Mr. Ciruli said that Mr. Sander’s lagging momentum after losses in South Carolina and Nevada could hurt turnout for him here. And he noted that there did not seem to be the same enthusiasm among Colorado Democrats around Mr. Sanders that Barack Obama had engendered in 2008. That year, Mr. Obama trounced Mrs. Clinton by a roughly two to one margin in the state’s caucuses.