Archive for April, 2011

How Obama Gets Re-Elected in 2012

How_Obama_Gets_Re-Elected_2012 <== PDF version

The Presidential election season is upon us, coinciding roughly with the day income taxes are due.  Many people are busy discussing the various candidates and their views, estimating who has the best chance to gain the Republican nomination, judging the quality of the various polls and the results, thereof, etc. etc.  So this is only the beginning; every day until the election in Nov 2012 we will be subjected to an ever-increasing patter from the professional influence peddlers and the media.  Certainly Mr. Obama will have no trouble being re-nominated by the Democrats.  The question is: who can the Republicans find that can beat Mr. Obama?  In my opinion, one cannot beat Mickey Mouse by running Donald Duck against him.  The Republicans are going to have look hard and come up with an actual non-cartoon candidate.  That would at least make it interesting.  But I offer up the following analysis, to show that no matter which person the Republicans nominate, Mr. Obama is nearly certain to be re-elected.

Presidents are elected by the Electoral College.  Each candidate or party has, in each state, a slate of electors bound to vote for his election as President if he wins the popular vote in that state.  In 48 of the 50 states and D.C., a candidate obtains all the electoral votes for that state, even if he wins the popular vote by only a small margin.  The exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, where the Electoral College votes may be split along Congressional district.  There are 538 total electoral votes, one for each House member, each Senate member, and three for the City of Washington D.C.  Since the Presidency is awarded to whoever gets a majority of electoral votes, 270 are required to be elected President.  Let’s have a look at how the election breaks down along when viewed along Electoral College lines.

There are some states in which the majority has voted for the Democratic candidate in the last five straight Presidential elections.  The demographic makeup of these states has remained fairly constant, and it reasonable to assume they will again vote for the Democratic candidate.  Those states are (with the electoral votes in parentheses): California (55); Connecticut (7); Delaware (3); District of Columbia (3); Hawaii (4); Illinois (21); Maine (4); Maryland (10); Massachusetts (12); Michigan (17); Minnesota (10); New Jersey (15); New York (31); Oregon (7); Rhode Island (4); Vermont (3); Washington (11); and Wisconsin (10); for a total of 227.

There are a some states that have likewise always voted for the Republican candidate in the last five elections: Alaska (3); Idaho (4); Mississippi (6); North Dakota (3); South Carolina (8); South Dakota (3); Utah (5); and Wyoming (3); for a total of 35.

The other states are “contested” in the sense that they are not guaranteed to tilt one way or the other.  Mr. Obama is virtually guaranteed 227 electoral votes no matter what his policies are or how they play out; he can win re-election if he obtains popular majorities in states having a total electoral count of 43.  That is a much different criteria, enabling a much simpler strategy, than the Republicans, who must obtain 235 votes in the “contested” states.  My guess is that the Democrats will choose to focus their efforts on the following states, based on trends from the past five elections: Colorado (9); Florida (27); Nevada (5); New Hampshire (4); New Mexico (5); Ohio (20); Pennsylvania (21); and West Virginia (5).  The main focus is likely to be on Florida: if the Democrats win there, Mr. Obama wins the election under any of the following combinations: a) Ohio alone; b) Pennsylvania alone; or c) Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.  This is quite convenient: he can choose either a western or an eastern strategy once Florida is secured.

On the other hand, if it goes poorly in Florida, he still can win with the three western states (Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico) plus: a) either Ohio or Pennsylvania; and b) either West Virginia or New Hampshire.

The remaining states, i.e., the ones that the Democrats can afford to regard as completely irrelevant in this election, are: Alabama (9); Arizona (10); Arkansas (6); Georgia (15); Indiana (11); Iowa (7); Kansas (6); Kentucky (8); Louisiana (9); Missouri (11); Montana (3); Nebraska (5); North Carolina (15); Oklahoma (7); Tennessee (11); Texas (34); and Virginia (13).

What strategy could Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party adopt to ensure that they win the states needed to obtain the remaining 43 electoral votes?  It will likely break down something like this:

a.  Florida: Scare the elderly by claiming that the Republicans are owned and operated by a wealthy cabal who would like to throw Granny out into the street so their developer friends can build condos for the rich; that they will eliminate Medicare and Social Security; and will take away all the other benefits that retired persons find useful.

b.  Nevada and Ohio: Rile up the unions and their mafia associates to intimidate or embarrass people into voting Democratic, claiming that the Republicans despise working people, and have policies that would drive every working family into poverty by giving everything to the wealthy.  It will not hurt to review all the things that the unions helped institute over the decades: paid vacations, safe working conditions, etc., and claim that all these will be terminated if the Republicans implement their policies.

c.   New Mexico: Bring out a large number of poor, disabled, or unemployed Latinos and attempt to demonstrate that the Republican policy on illegal immigration amounts to a violation of their human rights.

d.  Colorado and West Virginia: Co-opt the environmental faction in an attempt to portray the Republican as owned and operated by oil and coal industries, whose only goal is to destroy the earth for the money they can earn today.

e.  Pennsylvania:  Ridicule and ignore the people of the western part of the state, while showering the eastern part with large amounts of taxpayer money; possibly including the implementation of some method of increasing payments to welfare recipients in Philadelphia directly or indirectly — for, as goes the welfare faction in Philadelphia, so goes Pennsylvania.

He will not even need to play the “race card”, although it may occasionally prove useful as a defensive measure.  To summarize, it is difficult to see how Mr. Obama can lose in 2012, unless there is some truly disastrous event or trend that can be directly attributed to his policies.  As always, the mainstream media will never let that happen to a Democratic candidate. 

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The Penalty For Failing To Produce A Federal Budget  <== PDF version

On 1 Apr 2011, the U. S. House of Representatives passed a bill specifying penalties for the failure of Congress and the President to pass, and sign into law, a budget for the U. S. government.  The penalty is that the President and all members of Congress shall be deprived of their paychecks should a federal budget not be passed and agreed-to before the commencement of the fiscal year.

On the floor of the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) ridiculed the bill as an April Fool’s joke, claiming, in so many words, that this was just another rhetorical trick led by the Republicans.

I must agree with Rep. Hoyer on this one.

First of all, this bill will never pass in the Senate.  Even if it did, the President would never sign it.  The Congress would never override the President’s veto.  Secondly, it is unconstitutional.  Article 2, Section1 of the U. S. Constitution states: “The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”   Therefore, the pay of the President cannot be altered, and the schedule of his compensation probably cannot be altered either.  If the President is going to be paid, you can be sure that the members of Congress will ensure that they also get paid, even if late.  It is exactly like the so-called “government shutdown” in the late 1990’s.  Every federal worker eventually got all their back pay.  In the end, the federal workforce got a paid 5-week vacation at taxpayer expense.

But the whole thing really is a joke.  What rational person believes that either the President or any member of Congress would be inconvenienced by a temporary (or even a real) loss of their paycheck?  The vast majority of members of Congress are independently wealthy.  So, this bill, even if enacted, would accomplish nothing.

If the members of Congress really were interested in imposing a penalty upon themselves and the President for their dereliction of duty, perhaps they could impose a penalty that matters.  Here are a few ideas for them to consider.

Resolved, If Congress and the President fail to agree to a budget in a timely fashion:

a)  All Political Action Committees for which any member of Congress or the President is associated shall be abolished, and all contributions unspent are to be returned to the donors.

b)  All Congressional and Presidential re-election campaign funds shall be liquidated, and contributions unspent shall be returned to the donors.

c)  Every member of the Budget Committee in both Houses shall be fired from those positions, and replaced by members chosen by the leadership of their respective parties.

There is, of course, no chance that any of these could ever be voted on, since these penalties would strike at their power.  So, you may be sure, my friends, that there will never be any true penalty for failure by the President or Congress.

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