Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

Are Democrats poised to steal the midterms?

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Something weird is in the air this election season, and I don’t like what I smell. I think it’s a rat.

Most factors point to a big Republican win in the midterms, with the GOP expanding its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and, more significantly, wining control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans appear poised to take the six net (8 takeaways minus 2 givebacks) Democrat-held seats necessary for a 51-seat “Biden proof” majority, and a Republican wave raising all GOP boats as little as 2 more points would give them 10 net new seats (rescue the two vulnerable seats, plus 2 more where incumbent Democrats are currently slightly ahead) and insulate their senate control against the loss of a few vulnerable seats in 2016.

Yet, something’s in the air. President Barack Obama exudes confidence in the midterm results. He even went out of his way to brand reluctant vulnerable Democrat senators with his mark, stating publicly that his policies are on the ballot because all those Democrats voted for them. Why would as politically savvy a politician as Obama do such a thing? He must be positioning himself to take credit for their wins. What does he know that we don’t?

My fear is that the fix is in.

What could dishonest Democrats possibly do to overturn a massive nationwide Republican wave? Old-fashioned ballot box stuffing, for starters. One way involves hoards of lower-level (i.e., not important enough to be recognized) political operatives voting in the names of others in several hand-picked polling places staffed by party-loyal clerks who won’t challenge their signatures. (In many inner city areas, thee aren’t enough legitimate Republicans to staff polling places, so Democrats fill those slots with their own people, and the bi-partisan checks and balances are out the window.) The operatives vote in the name of a registered voter who the party is confident won’t show up to vote themselves. Voters over age 90 (or known to be incapacitated, or even dead) who haven’t voted in several consecutive elections are a prime source for names. (For examples, see here and here and here.) This is what voter-ID laws are designed to prevent, and it’s why Democrat lawyers fight so hard to get judges to overturn or delay implementation of those laws.

Ballot stuffing, part deux, takes place after the polls close and corrupt Democrat pols get a feel for whether more needs to be done. If more votes need to be manufactured, the election judges take care of it. (As I noted above, many inner city polling places are staffed exclusively by Democrats.) They don’t have to guess who isn’t going to vote, because they have the official list of who really did vote and, more important, who didn’t. Filling out paperwork for those who didn’t vote turns those nonvoters into straight Democrat ballots that count. This can be time consuming, especially if a lot of votes need to be manufactured. But they’ll take whatever time is necessary. Ever notice how the most Democratic precincts are always the last ones to turn in their ballots for tabulation?

Close contests in areas that have significant concentrated pockets of super Democrat support are most vulnerable. Rogue precincts in liberal college towns and inner-city parts of Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Greensboro can keep North Carolina’s seat in Democrat hands. Little Rock and precincts along the Mississippi River could save Arkansas for the Democrats.

Colorado’s all-mail ballot is tailor-made for fraud. Corrupt politicians are busy voting phony ballots right now. And if they fall short, count on them “finding” new uncounted ballots a few days after the election. It worked six years ago for Al Franken.

Georgia and Louisiana could be a two-part affair because of runoff laws. Democrats may try to steal these elections on election day by creating enough phony ballots to give the Democratic candidate the majority necessary to avoid a runoff. Or the fun could be repeated at (or deferred until) the runoff, when fewer legitimate voters will participate. By then, results from other states will have determined whether these contests will be decisive for senate control. If they are, there will be tons of money, lots of lawyers and plenty of experienced locals to make sure the senate stays under Harry Reid’s thumb. Atlanta provides a treasure trove of inner city votes to manipulate, and plantation country in southwest Georgia can provide backup if needed. In Louisiana, Republicans will need to overcome creative voting in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

But some old-fashioned fraud may not be necessary for Democrats if high-tech voter fraud can provide an election day surprise or two, especially under the radar in totally unexpected places. This worries me because of what happened on June 10, 2014, in the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th congressional district. Underfunded Tea Party challenger David Brat upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an election that pre-election polls had universally showed Cantor winning by 13 to 34 points. Brat succeeded where virtually all other (and better funded) Tea Party challengers across the country had failed, and no one seems to know why. With no disrespect to Brat, whom I believe will be a fantastic, principled congressman, I believe Brat was the innocent beneficiary of manipulated vote tabulation on the part of Virginia Democrats. I suspect that VA-7 was a successful test run for a much bigger national prize on November 4. Fast forward to last week’s early voting in the Chicago area, when an observant Republican candidate “caught” his touch-screen voting machine changing his vote from Republican to Democrat. That candidate got that machine pulled out of service (just a “calibration error,” nothing to see here, move along), but what about all the other rogue machines that ordinary people don’t notice? (Say Goodnight, Bruce Rauner. You’re toast.)

Low population states with low-visibility, seemingly uncompetitive Republican-favored senate contests are prime targets for scattered “calibration errors,” because these states have even fewer voters to overcome than VA-7. Possible targets include Alaska (where the senate race is close), as well as seemingly safe states like Montana and South Dakota. Are they as “safely out of reach” as Eric Cantor seemed to be on June 9? And while Oklahoma and South Carolina are larger and would require more fraud to overturn, they are also tempting targets because they are “twofers;” both have two senate seats on this year’s ballot. Democrats would especially love to eliminate South Carolina’s black Republican Sen. Tim Scott, because his presence contradicts their racial narrative.

While blatant voter fraud such as this seems like it would be too risky to try, don’t bet on it. When you don’t know ahead of time what’s going on or where to look, vote fraud is hard to detect and even harder to prove. The only witnesses are people who were involved. Even among innocents, the communities where voter fraud takes place have a long “don’t snitch” tradition that intimidates witnesses, especially vulnerable elderly people. Deadlines for challenges are too short to put together evidence, and confidentiality laws prevent much evidence from being discovered. Furthermore, the Obama Administration has a history, from its onset, of refusing to prosecute the few who are caught. Remember the New Black Panthers case in Philadelphia? And if all else fails, Obama himself, with his pen and his phone, is around for two more years to issue pardons.

For the sake of the country, I hope I’m dead wrong. I want people holding up this article and laughing at me on Election Night. But Obama’s cocky, seemingly misplaced confidence worries me. What does he know about the midterms that we don’t?

Don’t fall for the impeachment trap

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

President Obama is goading Republicans in Congress to impeach him. Every time he abuses executive actions to rule by fiat, flaunts immigration and other laws or frees dangerous terrorists, he seems to be begging for impeachment.

That’s the point. It seems like he wants to be impeached because he does.

Huh? Why? Isn’t impeachment that last thing that a self-centered narcissist like Obama would want?

While Obama is a terrible administrator and a horrible president, he is nevertheless a shrewd, skilled, accomplished political strategist. He wants to head off the likely change of control of the U. S. Senate this fall (or at least minimize senate losses so that the majority could be taken back in 2016). He justifiably fears that a Republican president and Congress succeeding him in 2016 could destroy his legacy by repealing everything he accomplished.

Obama is painfully aware of the failure of his signature health insurance legislation and of his tanking poll numbers. He also knows America’s political history, that the political party of every American president since the Civil War, except one, has suffered big congressional losses in the off-year election of his second term. That even happened to popular legendary presidents, like FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan. This year that would put Democrat control of the U.S.Senate in peril. And Obama also knows that the one exception to that trend – Bill Clinton – avoided that loss in 1998, following his impeachment by Newt Gingrich’s Republican House of Representatives. As deserving as Clinton was for impeachment and removal from office after his blatant perjury in a televised deposition, enough of the wishy-washy middle-of-the-road voters who regrettably decide our elections were sufficiently put off by the impeachment that they bucked tradition and voted for Democrat candidates for house and senate (where Clinton’s fate would be decided). The anti-Republican fervor continued two years later, propelling Vice-President Al Gore to a popular-vote win for president. Republicans took the White House only because of George W. Bush’s excellent – and decisive – strategy aimed at winning the Electoral College. (While the Florida recount gripped America’s attention for weeks, it was actually surprise Bush wins in theretofore reliably Democratic West Virginia and the home states of both Clinton (Arkansas) and Gore himself (Tennessee) that paved the way for Bush’s win.)

That’s why, after having seized control of Congress in 2006, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snuffed out calls by some Democrat members to impeach unpopular President George W. Bush. She didn’t want to risk backlash that might have cost Democrats the White House in 2008.

And Obama also knows about something else that could save his senate this year. Minority voters, especially African Americans, remain fiercely loyal to their struggling president. Historically these voters don’t bother to vote in off-year elections. As recently as 2010, they stayed away in droves, allowing the tea party revolt among engaged white voters to win back the House of Representatives. Obama is betting, probably correctly, that the threat of Obama’s removal from office would gin up minority turnout to near-presidential levels and save Democrat senate seats in North Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan and Virginia, and maybe even put Democrat challengers over the top in Georgia and Kentucky. Even if Democrats lose other vulnerable senate seats, wins in those states would preserve Democrat control of the upper chamber. That would maintain Democrat control over judicial confirmations, block Republican legislation passed by the House, and could also set the stage for Democrat wins in 2016.

National Enquirer impeachmentDemocrat surrogates are already planting seeds for impeachment, without leaving Democrat fingerprints that could foil the plan. The top story in current (June 23, 2014) issue of the National Enquirer blasts Obama over releasing the Taliban Five in exchange for an “Army ‘deserter'”, while a button on the front page proclaims “IMPEACH HIM NOW!” Few realize that executives of American Media, Inc., the owner of the Enquirer, including CEO David J. Pecker, make political contributions exclusively to Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chicago Mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emmanuel, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker and former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, co-sponsor of articles of impeachment against George W. Bush). The high-profile Enquirer article doesn’t represent a groundswell of public support for impeachment; it’s Democrat dialectic, an old communist strategy.

The strategy isn’t as risky for Obama as it sounds. Like Clinton, Obama would be almost certain to be acquitted by the Senate. Senate Democrats would vote for acquittal even if Obama planted a nuclear warhead inside a baby seal and detonated it at a camp for handicapped children on live television. Even if Republicans would succeed in taking over the senate this year and the impeachment trial were to take place after the change in control, the steadfastly pro-Obama lame stream media would shame enough blue-state Republicans to vote for acquittal to carry the day. Just like 1998. Obama would then play both the race card and the victim card and receive the same post-presidency approval that Clinton enjoys today.

Of course, those who propose impeachment are absolutely right on policy grounds. The simple fact is, our country is in danger every day that Obama is allowed to remain in charge, and he has clearly committed impeachable acts. But unless enough congressional Democrats make impeachment a bipartisan effort to save the country, Republicans should avoid taking the bait. While good policy usually makes for good politics, the impeachment of Barack Obama is an exception.

Why GOP must win big in 2014 senate contests

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

For conservatives in 2014, 6 is a serious number. That’s how many net U.S. Senate seats currently held by Democrats need to be taken over by Republicans this year in order to take control of the chamber away from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democrats.

Serious. But not serious enough. In order to insure Senate control beyond two years and into the next president’s administration, Republicans realistically need to convert at least 10 current Democrat senate seats, and more would be better.

Republicans need to play this chess game at least one move ahead because of what confronts them in 2016. That is when the seats won in the Tea Party wave of 2010 must be defended in a presidential year in what may well be a less favorable political environment. Vulnerable Republican Senators that year include freshmen holding seats in deep-blue Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Retirements or contentious primaries could also put Republican seats in purple Arizona and Iowa in jeopardy. Here in Missouri, Democrats (and their allies in the press) are already polishing the images of term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon and term-limited State Treasurer Clint Zweifel for possible challenges to freshman Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Chances for offsetting 2016 GOP pickups of Democrat seats are probably limited to long shots in Colorado and Nevada. Even without coattails from a Democratic presidential win, a net four-seat Republican loss in 2016 is a realistic possibility.

Ten new Republican senate seats are needed in order to make up both the current 6-seat deficit and to allow for a net loss of four in two years. A Republican presidential win in 2016 would shave that number by one by giving the Republican vice-presidential candidate the tie-breaking vote now held by Joe Biden, but the GOP can’t rely on that happening.

Capturing ten or more net seats is a tall task,  but this is the year when it could be done. The seats that are up for election this year are those elected in 2008, when Democrats won by riding a partisan wave generated by the unpopularity of outgoing Republican President George W. Bush and the intriguing “hope and change” campaign of Barack Obama. This year they must fight a counter partisan wave generated by the unpopularity of President Obama and his legislation that every one of them supported. With 2016 lurking on the horizon, Republicans need to maximize their 2014 advantage.

Six current Democrat seats up this year are in red states that both John McCain and Mitt Romney won in their unsuccessful presidential runs. A seventh is in a state that McCain lost but Romney won. Democrats have virtually conceded three of those seats, where incumbent Sens. Max Baucus (MT), Tim Johnson (SD) and Jay Rockefeller (WV) aren’t even seeking re-election, while Republican challengers to Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Kay Hagan (NC) are either already leading in the polls or within striking distance.

Additional seats in purple or blue states are also in serious play. Open seats in Michigan and Iowa are currently tossups, with flawed Democratic candidates. A wave like 2010 could also give Republican challengers a serious chance to oust first-term incumbents in Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia. Republicans have recruited quality challengers in all of those states.

Partially tempering the possible magnitude of the 2014 wave is the possibility that Democrats could seize Republican seats in deep-red Kentucky (where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is unpopular and just survived a contentious primary) and Georgia (where Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement provoked another contentious Republican primary). At present, the personal popularity of blue-state Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) appears to keep her seat safe, but circumstances can change (as they did in 2012, when Maine’s other popular Republican senator, Olympia Snowe, retired unexpectedly).

That means Republicans must pretty much run the table of nearly all 17 (15 Democratic and 2 Republican) senate seats reasonably in play in 2014. That means neither the establishment nor the Tea Party can afford the luxury of sitting out an election whose primary their side lost. As I have written before, the worst RINO is still better than the best DINO, because each votes the party line when organizing control of the senate. As Dick Morris recently noted, senate control means, at minimum, control over judicial confirmations and treaty ratification (including the ability to reject unratified treaties that are nevertheless in effect under the Vienna Convention), as well as the ability to join the Republican House in passing good legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support but is currently being blocked by the Democratic leadership.

Six may be a serious number for St. Louis Cardinals fans seeking cheap drinks at a gas station, but serious Senate math realistically requires Republicans to score not just a minimum six, but a big double-digit conquest this year. Even the historic 1994 Republican takeover of Congress only included 9 new senate seats, and the 2010 Tea Party revolt netted only 7. The Republicans’ most recent double-digit gain was the 12-seat take in 1980, thanks to coattails from Ronald Reagan’s ouster of President Jimmy Carter. We need another Gipper moment this year.