Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ciruli Calls the Race for 9KUSA

Darryl Glenn
With about 160,000 votes in, Floyd Ciruli, 9KUSA political analyst, calls the race for Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner, to be the Republican Party nominee for U.S. Senate.

AP: Darryl Glenn wins GOP Senate primary race
The Buzz: Republican Senate field now five

Beth McCann Wins Big

Beth McCann
Photo: Denver Post
Beth McCann wins the Denver District Attorney primary 12 years after losing the job to incumbent Mitch Morrissey. McCann was outspent and out-endorsed, but beat presumed frontrunner Michael Carrigan substantially. Denver voters seem to prefer the candidates the establishment doesn’t endorse. Chris Nevitt lost for auditor and Michael Carrigan for DA.

McCann was the candidate with the widest experience in a year when Democrats are supporting a woman with experience for president. She will be running with Hillary Clinton and will likely win big.

Colorado Independent: Dems vying for Denver DA each calling for reforms post-Morrissey era

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Metro Schools Ask for $1.6 Billion in Metro Property Tax – 9KUSA Nelson Garcia

The major Denver metro area school districts believe the 2016 general election is the best choice to pass a record-breaking bond initiative for new facilities.

Five observations about the property tax increase in conversation with Nelson Garcia of 9KUSA:

  1. Ciruli says these ballot questions will not be easy. In 2013, Amendment 66 wanted to generate a $1 billion in funding for schools. That measure failed. "The public is very, very frugal and reluctant to put a lot more money into education," Ciruli said.
  2. However, Ciruli points out Denver voters are not afraid to pass big bond issues. In 2012, voters approved $466 million. JeffCo is a different story. The last major bond issue to pass was in 2004 at a total of $323 million. "The number of residents and voters who actually have children in the school district is a very small percentage, maybe even 20 percent or less," Ciruli said.
  3. In 2015, voters successfully launched a recall effort to remove three conservative-leaning board members from the JeffCo School Board. Ciruli says that might leave bond supporters well equipped for a November push again. "It looks to me they probably have an on-the-ground network of supporters and volunteers that can help," Ciruli said. "Boy, that is extremely important to have in one of these elections."
  4. "In a Presidential election, you get a younger voter," Floyd Ciruli, 9News Political Analyst, said. Ciruli is not surprised these big ballot questions are likely to be put in front of the voters because he says, generally, younger voters means these issues will be approved.
  5. Ciruli cautions however there is one big factor that could skew all the results -- the Donald Trump factor. "He sort of rearranged the table," Ciruli said. "So, honestly, I don't think I could predict." The fiery presidential election between presumptive nominees, Trump and Hillary Clinton, may change the rate of voter turnout, Ciruli says. "We're not even certain if it's going to be a record high turnout or if some groups may say there's nobody I can vote for and just stay home," Ciruli said.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Final British Polls Wrong on Result

One final poll showed the “leave” camp winning close, but it was an exception after a weekend of polls and betting markets that appeared to favor the “stay” camp. But voters said “leave” clearly by four percentage points (52% to 48%).

British polling has suffered another embarrassment after its failure to predict the Conservative Party majority vote in 2015.

The major impacts for the British people and world at large include:
  1. Cameron out. Immediate impact on the British and world economy from the withdrawal. Dow drops 600 points.
    • The British government falls. Cameron is out and a new prime minister in October.
  2. EU crisis. Europe loses its most powerful nation. Nationalist, anti-immigrant parties gather strength.
  3. Not “Great Britain.” Scotland, other parts of Britain may seek seceding votes.
  4. Good for the bear. The Atlantic and NATO alliances weakened. Russia wins from European disunion.
  5. Elites in trouble. British voters highlighted the divide in western developed societies. Immigration, national identity and sovereignty are top issues with British electorate (52% at least). The conflict brought down the government and similar divisions are rolling Western center-right and left politics throughout the Continent and U.S.
  6. Good for Donald, not for Hillary. Good news for Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant, nationalist campaign. He endorsed the “leave” side. Hillary Clinton represents the elite D.C./NY position. She is “stay” all the way.
See blogs:
Brexit: Leave the EU Closed the Gap
Will Britain Leave the EU?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Should Clinton Go Left or Right for a VP?

A lobby effort to make Elizabeth Warren the vice presidential nominee with Hillary Clinton has gained considerable momentum since the June 7 California primary. Numerous arguments are made to advance her interests, but the case chiefly resides on Clinton’s need to calm the left at the convention and attract Bernie Sanders’s constituency, especially his Millennial supporters in November. These were a few million young voters who preferred Sanders 4-and-5-to-one over Clinton and made him a winner, especially in numerous low turnout caucus states like Colorado.

But does Clinton need to placate the left, especially Millennial voters? Is she hurt running with the country’s farthest left, high-profile politician outside of Sanders; i.e., Elizabeth Warren?

An examination of polls since the California primary, which Clinton is winning over Trump, makes clear her biggest challenge is White men, the one group he dominates, not 26 year olds. In a recent swing state Colorado poll by Ciruli Associates in the Denver metro area (56% of the state’s likely voters), Clinton needs help with Anglo men of Baby Boomer age much more than women, minorities or Millennials.

Would Clinton be better served contrasting her personal shift to the left on a number of issues with a more centrist running mate? And would appealing to Anglo men of middle and Baby Boom age be a better target audience for the vice president selection?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Disarray in Trump’s Camp

Donald Trump loves to quote headlines and polls. Both have gone negative the last week:
  • Trump Fires Campaign Manager
  • Trump Vows He Will Go it Alone if Necessary
  • Trump Campaign Makes Urgent Plea for Funds
Donald Trump has no campaign to speak of. This week highlighted the lack of organization, money, continued dissent in the party, and little awareness of the difference between talking to his base and winning a general election with 130,000,000 million voters.

The polls continue to reinforce his slippage. Although the presidential race is one of states and electoral votes, most recently Trump has been campaigning in California, which he can’t win, and Texas, which he can’t lose (we think). Clinton is totally focused in the projected swing states.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Trump: Can He Run a Campaign With Rallies and Interviews?

Donald Trump is running his own campaign. It is mostly made up of rallies, interviews (many from his office in Trump Towers) and tweets. He self-funded the primaries, but he stopped, and his campaign is now scrambling for funding.  At least a billion dollars will be spent by Hillary Clinton and her supporters. She already has started in Colorado with TV ads. Her campaign has built a ground game since late last year and a Super Pac has invested nearly $10 million in anti-Trump ads running through November.

Trump’s strategy worked in the primaries where a smaller, more attentive, and in his case, passionate electorate was involved. Approximately 50 million people took part in the primaries and caucuses. Clinton received 16 million and Trump 13 million. But, the 2016 general election will have more than 130,000,000 voters, nearly three times the primary turnout. Many are occasional and less attentive voters. Communicating and motivating them has historically required frequent and repeated advertising, mostly on television, but increasingly on the internet, and a strong targeted ground game to identify and attract less motivated potential supporters. It is not a national campaign. The entire effort is aimed at a dozen states of which Colorado is one.

Trump is already down about 6 points and the conventions are a month away. His approach is either brilliant or a disaster, unfortunately for the Republican Party, they share the risk and may reap the disaster.

See CPR: Deluge of political ads coming to a TV screen near you; $39M spent so far

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Colorado Voter Rolls Head Up

Colorado active voters are now at three million, with total active and inactive (didn’t vote in last presidential election or in 2014 or not newly registered), at 3.6 million. That reflects an increase of 200,000 active voters since December 2015.

In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and a few third-party candidates (Libertarian, Green, etc.) attracted 2.8 million voters. There were 3.7 million registered voters, with Democrats and Republicans tied at 32 percent and unaffiliated, the largest bloc, at 37 percent.

In the Cory Gardner and Mark Udall senate race of 2014, a total of 2 million participated. Assuming at least 3 million voters in 2016, it reflects an increase of 50 percent over the off-year senate election and about a quarter million more than the last presidential election.

Naming Rights Starts John Hickenlooper’s Career

The June 12 Atlantic excerpted a section of John Hickenlooper’s book: The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics. In it, Hickenlooper relates the story of how he first came to think about running for the mayor of Denver early in the new century. He won in 2003.

His interest was triggered by a fight he waged to save the name “Mile High Stadium,” which was being sold, as is the fashion, by the stadium authority to a deep-pocket corporation for their marketing purposes.

I conducted a poll for Hickenlooper, which showed that 70 percent of residents in the Denver metro area opposed selling the name. We held a press conference to announce the poll, which made the front page of the Denver Post and the local network stations. Shortly afterward, Mayor Wellington Webb, unfamiliar with Hickenlooper, joined him to oppose the name change. Hickenlooper marveled at the impact his effort had on the issue and his visibility in the community. Shortly, his natural marketing ability, generally good instincts and a lot of luck had him in the mayor’s office, and today, has him in his second term as governor and on a list (long or otherwise) as a vice presidential pick.

President Obama & John Hickenlooper (Photo: The Atlantic)
A very nice run for a beer man.

See The Buzz:
The Book: Hickenlooper as vice president
John Hickenlooper retains his metro Denver clout

Monday, June 20, 2016

Signature Gathering – The Toughest Part of U.S. Senate Campaign

Gathering the signatures to get on the Colorado U.S. Senate ballot has proven to be the toughest part
Jon Keyser
of a candidate’s job. The firms hired to collect the signatures had major challenges, and failed three Republican candidates who had to go to court to get on the June 28 printed ballot.

Jon Keyser is still dealing with the problems due to one of his petitioners forging signatures.

The flaw in the system that led to this year’s imbroglios is the assumption by candidates, campaigns and signature firms that Republican voters will sign petitions for candidates they have never heard of. The requirement that signatures must come from all seven congressional districts means that self-motivated, but unknown, candidates place a difficult burden on signature companies.

Read 9News story: Signature gatherer who faked names felt pressured to meet quota

Hillary Clinton Starts the Air War – KOA Morning Show, April and Steffan

Hillary Clinton’s campaign began its television drive in Colorado and seven other battleground states, confirming Colorado’s status and providing very good news for Colorado television stations.

Hillary for America
Ad Buy
New Hampshire
North Carolina
The ads feature children and Clinton as an advocate for their education and health care. The goal is to boost her softer image, strengthen her link with women, and contrast with Trump’s self-regard and aggressive tone.

Friday, June 17, 2016

WAPOR Paper Comparing Impact of Refugee and Immigration on European and U.S. Policy

Nationalism and nativism are sweeping European and U.S. politics in 2015 and 2016 and the result is likely to be significant. In a World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) panel on refugee politics, my paper compared key elements of the refugee and immigration events in 2015 and 2016 and their impact on the politics of the Continent and U.S.

Center-right and center-left ruling parties and politics are in disrepute on both continents. Immigration was the major factor in political upheaval in late 2015. In Europe, the crisis was caused by the volume of refugees and the sense the EU had no plan to resolve it. In the U.S., the lingering effect of no resolution of 11 million undocumented immigrants due to a gridlocked Congress was the biggest catalyst of voter anger. The circumstances on each continent offered a fertile environment for a highly impassioned debate on immigration, with nativist (policy of favoring native-born or established inhabitants over immigrants) arguments having the advantage.

The politics of 2016 and 2017 in the broadest sense are being altered due to immigration. Donald Trump’s nomination is a product of his immigration position more than any other factor. His anti-Mexican campaign rhetoric at his June announcement and his anti-Muslim position in November led to his dominance of the Republican field.

The E.U.’s open-border policy and Brussels’s general credibility have been undermined due to immigration issues. Nationalist and nativist parties and candidates are now the story. In Austria, a far-right candidate nearly won the presidency. In 2017, a host of center-right and center-left leaders and coalitions are on the defensive. Anti-immigrant politics is a deciding factor in the Brexit vote about to take place in Britain.

First Wave of Polls Post California Victory and Judge Curiel Controversy Show Clinton Up by Six Points

For nearly a year, Donald Trump has defied public opinion gravity. His controversial statements during the Republican primary concerning Mexicans, John McCain, Megyn Kelly, Muslims and most of his opponents never hurt him and, on many occasions, helped. But, the Curiel rant on the judge’s ethnicity caused damage. He bizarrely took up the attack the very week Hillary Clinton was wrapping up the primary season with a multi-state win over Bernie Sanders, including a 13-point victory in California.

Of course, the campaign is just beginning, and as the Orlando mass shooting points out, things change quickly, but at least the first wave of post primary polling shows the expected effect – Clinton up and Trump down.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 7 – The Political Reset Button Hit

June 7 will be one of the pivotal days in the 2016 contest for the White House. Hillary Clinton decisively won the California primary, effectively ending Bernie Sanders’s campaign. And, House Speaker Paul Ryan rebuking Donald Trump’s judge comments as racist played repeatedly during the cable news the entire day.

At 7:00 pm, the early California returns had Clinton winning two-to-one, and by 9:00 pm, it was clearly a huge win, completely crushing Sanders’s two-week effort to win California. “Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone – the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee for President of the United States.” (Hillary Clinton, June 7, 2016)

Meanwhile, Ryan was admonishing the GOP presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, for his comments on the judge in his private civil suit related to Trump University. “Claiming a person can’t do a job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.” (House Speaker Paul Ryan, June 7, 2016)

Trump began his tirade against the judge in the Wall Street Journal on June 2, and then took the charge of bias due to the judge’s Latino heritage national on June 5 on CBS Face the Nation and CNN’s State of the Union.

There is still a lot of election ahead, but June 7 will be an important day. The next round of polls may confirm Clinton is done with Sanders and Trump is finally paying a price for his rants.

I was able to share this day’s historical significance with a presentation to a room full of county commissioners at the CCI Annual Conference in Steamboat Springs on June 7. It was a lively session.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AAPOR Panel Probes Foreign Policy Impact on 2016 Election

Foreign policy is going to be a key topic in the 2016 election was the consensus view of a panel of public opinion experts at the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) national conference in Austin, Texas. The view was that the presumptive nominees, the influence of the foreign policy establishment, and the contrasting positions of their core constituents and their respective campaign strategies made foreign policy a prime topic for the conventions, the fall debates and voters’ November decisions.

My lead-off presentation made the following points:
  • Hillary Clinton believes her experience, temperament and positions will win an exchange on the issues. She is using foreign policy to highlight the contrast (see San Diego speech 6-2-16). Donald Trump, recognizing vulnerability but also seeing some advantage in voter preference, will hope to highlight his leadership style and populist views. 
  • Trump has added a host of foreign policy topics to the debate. Many of the subjects, such as alliance and trade policy, haven’t been debate topics in recent elections. Trade and globalization issues are now a part of the debate, with an unknown outcome, but major changes in January 2017 can be expected. 
  • Trump and Clinton have introduced several unexpected positions and interesting left-right shifts, especially on the level of interventionism and support for globalization. 
  • Trump’s challenge is that he is off-the-grid of Republican foreign policy thinking. It’s also an advantage – his constituents like it. They believe they have been harmed by globalization. It allows him to be politically incorrect and attack the Republican establishment. 
  • Republican grassroots opinion corresponds to many Trump views, especially concerning nationalistic and nativist viewpoints. But in general, public opinion has been reacting to, not leading, the debate. One exception was the spike in concern over terrorism after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks in November and December 2015, respectively. 
  • This election will be difficult to predict due to volatility and highly negative aspects of the campaigns and the candidates’ images. Foreign policy will be part of the mix. The issues and positions fought over may not have the same configuration in January 2017 as June 2016. Events and the campaigns may create new positions and divisions.

Is Colorado a Competitive State?

The latest Wall Street Journal map of battleground states shows Colorado as “near” competitive in the presidential race, but leaning Democratic. Only three states were listed completely competitive: New Hampshire, Ohio and North Carolina. But a Politico article from last week put Colorado in its list of eleven competitive states.

If the national race is close, it will be close in Colorado. President Obama, a talented campaigner, hit the right notes in Colorado to win its Democratic and Democratic-leaning unaffiliated voters, but his win here tracked his national numbers (9 points in 2008, 7 points nationally; 5 points in 2012 and 4 points nationally).

Candidates and their campaigns matter. The little polling data that exists from 2015 indicates Hillary Clinton is not a natural campaigner and has high unfavorability and low trust levels. But, Donald Trump may be worse, especially the new post Judge Curiel version. As of now, Colorado should rank competitive.

Also see Politico: Battleground boss: Clinton leads Trump across swing-state map

Monday, June 13, 2016

Brexit: Leave the EU Closed the Gap

In ten days, Britain may vote to leave the EU. A number of the latest polls show the “leave” side with a lead. The forecast polls, which average multiple polls, are following, albeit more slowly.
Immigration and return of sovereignty appear to be the main reasons voters give to quit the EU.

Financial Times: How accurate are the Brexit polls?
Ah! Les sondages blog: To Brexit or not to Brexit…

Friday, June 10, 2016

Late Polls Miss California's Primary Results

The wide disparity among California polls the final two weeks of the June 7 primary election highlight the multiple difficulties polls are dealing with in general and specifically in the 2016 presidential primary season. In the last two weeks of polling of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the range of points spread was 18 to 2 percentage points in favor of Clinton.

The final RealClearPolitics average had Hillary Clinton up 47.7 percent to 45.7 percent to Bernie Sanders, or a 2.0 percentage point spread. The final results were 56 percent for Clinton and 43 percent for Sanders, or a 13 point spread. A major miss that captures some of this season’s polling challenges.

California’s challenges include:
  • Several repeat polls using same methodology showed Sanders surging toward the end. In the Field poll, Sanders went from 35 percent in January to 41 percent in early April and 43 percent in the end of May poll. Sanders gained 3 points in the LA Times poll. The last three polls published showed a 2 point difference.
  • Several reputable polls claimed the race was 10 points or more apart the last two weeks in favor of Clinton. The LA Times/USC reported 10 points, KABC/SurveyUSA 18 points and Hoover/Golden State poll 13 points (3 weeks).
  • Several high-profile final events were likely adding to volatility. On Thursday (June 2), six days before the primary, Clinton gave a well-received and intensely reported speech on Donald Trump’s foreign policy. On the final Monday before the primary, the AP called the delegate race for Clinton.
  • Not only was public opinion changing under the onslaught of the final Sanders campaign and the Clinton news, but attempting to model turnout was near impossible. New registrants for the Democratic Party exceeded 500,000 and were mostly younger voters likely to trend toward Sanders, but with no voting history. There were 2 million new registrants total since January and 500,000 were Latino.
  • The level of interest in the California Democratic primary was unprecedented. It was 48 years ago in 1968 that Robert Kennedy beat Gene McCarthy in a major slugfest, and there have been a few battles of interest since then, such as Clinton winning in 2008 to lose the nomination. But there is simply no model to use to predict turnout, especially of registered independent voters who can participate in the Democratic Party.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump – Economy vs. Foreign Affairs

Gallup, in two new poll questions released prior to the California primary, captures the assets and weaknesses of the two presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton loses to Donald Trump on handling the economy and terrorism, but wins on education, health care and foreign affairs. Unfavorable for her, the economy and terrorism are rated more important by voters.

In a previous post (Clinton vs. Trump – A Close Race), Clinton’s experience and ability to work with other party are her top assets, and she won them with far larger margins than Trump won on leadership and standing up to special interests.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump – A Close Race

A new Gallup poll released prior to the California primary and Donald Trump’s Hispanic judge outburst highlights that the respective presidential nominees have strengths and weaknesses that indicate the race could be closely contested.

Hillary Clinton wins on experience and ability to work with the opposition party. Trump is seen as a strong leader and can stand up to special interests. Clinton wins her strengths with much larger margins than Trump. That is one reason why by most polls she is a narrow frontrunner.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hiroshima. Would We Drop the Bomb Today?

President Obama made a historic visit to the Peace Tower in Hiroshima, Japan, and spoke of the dangers of nuclear war in our era.
“Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.” (President Obama, 5-27-16)
Is there still a moral taboo against using nuclear weapons? Current signs are not good. Memories are fading and tensions are rising. Aggressive nationalism in Russia led President Putin to say he was willing to use nuclear weapons in his seizure of the Crimea. His military commanders discuss and prepare for their use on the European battlefield. North Korea is building as many weapons and delivery systems as it can afford, while China increases its supply and the U.S. upgrades its.

U.S. public opinion has also evolved from the view that opposed use of a nuclear bomb to their use now as an option acceptable to a large number of Americans under certain conditions.

In 1945, 53 percent of Americans believed President Truman made the right choice. By 2015, only 28 percent believed dropping the bomb was the right choice. But when public views of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing are framed by more recent war scenarios, Americans show themselves much more willing to consider use of nuclear weapons. One scenario proffered was that Iran kills thousands of American servicemen by sinking a carrier, and defeating Iran would cost an additional 20,000 American troops. In that scenario, 59 percent of Americans would be willing to drop a nuclear weapon on a city of 100,000 civilians to achieve surrender. (81% Republicans, 47% Democrats).

Reduction of nuclear stockpiles and non-proliferation were among Obama’s top goals. Outside of his agreement with Iran, it has been one of his biggest disappointments.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Austrian Election Highlights Nationalism Driving European Politics

Like the U.S. presidential election, European politics is being driven by a strong trend of national sovereignty and anti-immigrant sentiment. The May Austrian presidential election made clear the weakness of the center parties noticeable throughout Europe and the rise of anti-immigrant, anti-EU/Brussels political parties. The Austrian left, with a Green presidential candidate, beat the far-right candidate by less than one percent of the vote.

The election was characterized by many of the elements of the U.S. presidential election:
  • The tone was less civil
  • Many comments and positions would have been highly incorrect just a few years ago
A quick scan of the 2016-2017 election cycle in Europe makes clear momentum, if not majorities, is running with the right. The EU and open borders are on the defensive.
  • In France, President Hollande has barely 30 percent approval and the National Front appears competitive in the 2017 national elections. 
  • Germany’s Chancellor Merkel still holds her right, and the left parties, as of yet, do not appear to have a strategy to win a national election – but she and her party are clearly on the defensive. Merkel’s future is in question.
  • Nationalistic forces in a host of countries (Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Great Britain) are threatening center- right and left governments. In Poland and Hungary, they now control the government. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Steyer Spends Big in Bid to Control Colorado

Tom Steyer
Simon Lomax of The Complete Colorado, the state’s conservative media aggregator, has been tracking the expenditures of California billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer’s expenditure for so-called research in Colorado approaches a million dollars. Colorado has been vulnerable for many years as an inexpensive state to promote causes, mount ballot issue campaigns and simply take over the state. Democratic money and interest groups took over it in the early 2000s with their Blueprint. Now, it looks like Steyer has joined their forces and amped up the money to make the state a platform for anti-fracking, anti-hydro carbon politics and policy.

Ciruli’s analysis:
“It’s an extraordinary amount of money for research and polling, which is typically a modest percentage of your overall campaign spending,” pollster and political analyst Floyd Ciruli said in an interview. “He’s getting into the granular kind of research that could be used in different races up and down the ballot, including the state legislature and congressional seats.”
“If you’ve heard of the Blueprint, this could be the Greenprint,” Ciruli said.
According to Ciruli, Steyer’s spending on Colorado research and polling – almost $800,000 so far this election cycle – will more likely be used to support candidates than a series of proposed anti-fracking initiatives for the statewide ballot this year.
“With that amount of money, he’s looking for vertical control of the ballot, taking over the state for his environmental agenda,” Ciruli said. “And it’s a pretty extreme agenda. It is anti-hydrocarbon, it is anti-growth in general.”
The Buzz: Environmental Initiatives Struggle – It’s Not 2014
Inside Energy: CO Oil and Gas Industry Raises $6 Million to Fight Ballot Measures

Will Britain Leave the EU?

On June 23, British voters will decide to leave or stay in the EU. Polling forecasts have the stay forces slightly ahead, but it is expected to be close and final campaigning is intense.

Prime Minister David Cameron had to schedule a referendum as his parliamentary majority is narrow and his own party is strongly divided by the issue. If Britain votes to separate from the EU, not only will the decision begin a costly and undefined process, but the implications are significant well beyond the immediate effect.
  • The vote will confirm and reinforce the nationalist and nativist trends sweeping the developed world today from Poland to France, Great Britain and the U.S. 
  • If the UK votes to leave the EU, Scotland, which prefers the continental relationship, may schedule another vote to leave the UK. Scottish nationalists now control the region’s politics and governance and many are simply waiting for an excuse for another vote of separation. 
  • The 70-year European and U.S. strategy of alliance will be weakened and NATO further endangered. It is already suffering from the neglect and forces supporting disunion. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Libertarians Want to Attract Disenchanted Members of Both Parties – Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson in the May 26 Washington Times reports that in the lead up to their May 31 Libertarian convention in Orlando, Florida, optimism reigns. Libertarians are convinced or self-deluded that 2016 is their year to break out of the range of one million votes, less than 10 percent in the polls, and not bring on the stage for the presidential debates.

The base of both Democratic and Republican parties have dissatisfied members who may be interested in the Libertarian philosophy of limited foreign involvement, a free market economy and privacy in people’s personal lives.

Comment in the Washington Times:
“If you’re looking to walk away from Donald Trump, it [the Libertarian Party] looks like the place to go,” said political analyst Floyd Ciruli. “But there are Libertarian aspects within the Sanders forces also, whether it’s personal liberty and smoking marijuana to the desire for radical change, which is probably as much as anything what Sanders stands for.”
He added that “both parties have factions that are likely to be unsatisfied with the nominees and are looking for some place else to park. So this could be one of those extraordinary years.”

Republican Senate Field Now Five

After a chaotic petition campaign, it now appears a field of two candidates a few weeks ago is, after a series of court decisions, a field of five going into the June 28 primary.

Alexis Levinson in the National Review (May 26, 2016) points out Colorado is one of only two states where Republicans can pick up a senate seat (the other is the open Nevada seat of Harry Reid). But as she reports, the field of five little-known Republican candidates makes it unclear someone will emerge who can be competitive against well-funded Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet.

The 400,000 or so Republican primary voters will be substantially more than the 60,000 who turned out to select delegates in the presidential caucus. But, they will be sorting out a field of candidates with no statewide visibility or election experience beyond city council and county commissioner races.

Although Robert Blaha and Jack Graham are spending the most for TV advertising, there is still a lack of direction in the races as of June 1st.

Could Senator Bennet be beaten? Yes, but will the Republicans nominate a credible challenger? Unknown.

Comment in National Review:
Big-name Republicans and outside groups have thus far declined to play powerbroker to boost any one candidate. Without a Gardner-like figure to rally around, “the Republican party doesn’t have a real sort of sense of direction at the moment,” says Ciruli. Gardner, for his part, says he’ll wait to get involved until after the primary.