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RWIndiana

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Is this topic banned? I'm almost surprised there is no discussion on the primary season. Just checking. :) If it's legal to discuss it, I would be interested to know your thoughts.
 

jtr1962

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Not banned but I think at this point nearly everyone here knows everyone else's views on a variety of political topics. No point repeating the same things for the umpteenth time.

My take on this year's presidential race is that it's scary both front runners have been compared to Hitler. I'm not even sure if either one is worth voting for. If I had to pick one, at this point it would be Trump but not on his merits. Rather, it's because of all the excess baggage Hillary is toting round. Also, and this has nothing to do with politics, I'm not a religious person at all but it wouldn't surprise me if her, her husband, or both had 3 sixes on their scalps. They're just evil people who give me really bad vibes. Trump is over the top with his rhetoric but I'm not sure if even he believes half of it.
 

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I had an opportunity to shake hands with Hillary Clinton back in 2008. She had a campaign stop at the USWA Union hall that's across the street from my place, a place where I occasionally work. She seemed like a human being made of plastic, someone devoid of sincerity. I've met other celebrities in meet-and-greet scenarios and I'm sure it's tiring, but hers was uniquely mechanical and I wasn't impressed at all.

I'm completely certain she would be a better President than anyone in the clown car on the other side, but I have zero enthusiasm for casting a ballot on her behalf if it comes to that. She's just the least right-wing mainstream candidate. If, as usual, my vote in Indiana looks to have no impact on the Presidential race, I'll probably vote for the Green Party candidate instead.
 

Striker

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I think they're all terrible options, with Trump being the worst. I know all politicians lie, but he's taking it to the next level and not even trying to tell the truth.
http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/
I believe I'm slightly left of center as far as my political leaning, but at this point I think I'd prefer Kasich, if only because I know what to expect, and I don't think he would do too much damage.
He's also the least full of shit of the candidates.
 

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Fun video, but I think the core message (bad, but not fatal, as always) is a good one.

[video=youtube_share;A0ZyhPfBnNc]https://youtu.be/A0ZyhPfBnNc[/video]
 

Stereodude

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How so? All but one of his charts are cited from reputable sources.
You really think the unemployment rate is ~5%? The gov't is cooking the books with the U3 number. They don't count people who aren't actively looking for a jobs. Look at the labor participation rate, the number of people on food stamps, disability, etc. They've all gone up as the unemployment rate has "fallen".

The last time unemployment was ~5% I could get 5% on a savings account. This time around I can't get .5% on a savings account. This is not an economic recovery or a robust economy. Most of the GDP growth is simply increased gov't spending.

The gov't is cooking the books on the unemployment rate and the stock market is up because of ridiculous policy of quantitative easing and the basically 0% interest rates which nearly forces people to put money into the stock market so they can try to get a return on their money. This has created a bubble in the stock market and other assets. That's not a healthy robust economy. But those are basically the two things people point to pretend things are going great.

At the same time we've got an open doors border policy which brings in unskilled illegal workers by the millions each year. Then people wonder why their wages are depressed. Lower class wages stagnated in the early 60's which is the same time the US changed the immigration policy to import third world poverty to the US via immigration instead of allowing in only immigrants who would be a benefit to the country (like pretty much every other 1st world country in the world does). We've got various free trade agreements shipping jobs outside the US. Look at how well NAFTA worked and they're passing new free trade agreements with more countries.

Instead of talking about actual economic problems and how to fix them, we're arguing about what bathroom 0.001% of the population can use. Distract the masses with some superfluous nonsense while our ruling class elites in Washington D.C. are busy burning the country down the rest of us have to live in.

It's not hard to figure out why Trump is popular...
 
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jtr1962

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There's the real estate bubble also which is driven by a combination of low mortgage rates plus lack of places to invest. Lots of people with money put it into real estate, especially in places like NYC, driving prices through the roof. It'll be disaster when that bubble finally bursts.

It's not hard to figure out why Trump is popular...

Exactly. His ideas resonate with people who haven't had a raise since the first Bush was President. Some of them even resonate with me. I could definitely get behind a ban on Muslim immigration, a wall between the US and Mexico, and penalties for companies which ship jobs overseas.
 

Stereodude

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The same people pushing a $15 an hour minimum wage argue that business should just raise prices a little to offset the cost of it are the same people who say we can't stop illegal immigration because our produce costs would go up without them working in the fields and the price of fruits and vegetables can't go up. I guess the price of a burger and fries going up is not big deal, but fruits / vegetables is. :scratch:

Of course if it wasn't for all the illegal immigration and other shenanigans going on like H1-B visa abuse we wouldn't even need a minimum wage because no one would be getting paid it.

Gov't creates a problem, the solution is always more gov't...

1) Create counterproductive immigration policy
2) Turn a blind eye to illegal immigration and even encourage it (like ads for US "benefits" that are run in Mexico)
This has the effect of depressing wages of low skilled jobs in the US...
3) Raise minimum wage to increase the wages of low skilled jobs to "solve" the problem created by #1 and #2 / Don't fix #1 or #2
This will result in higher prices which will impact the poor disproportionately as well as driving up unemployment as low skilled jobs are eliminated or replaced by automation
4) Create new safety nets social programs to take care of the people unemployed as a results of #3 / Don't fix #1, #2, or #3...
5) Create additional programs to help the people who slip through cracks of programs created in #4 / Don't fix #1, #2, #3, or #4...
...
 

time

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The definition of unemployment is actually the same in many countries - it's not a conspiracy by any single government. The fact that it doesn't reflect reality is another story.

The Employment Rate is a far more reliable indicator - that's what treasuries and reserve banks will be watching.

The big story is the 'casualization' of the workforce (in Oz as well), where fewer people are on regular full-time wages, but more are either not getting enough hours or are self employed and not getting enough money anyway.

Also, quantitative easing (printing money) reduces both public and private debt in real terms - particularly if your domestic currency happens to be the world's reserve currency.

The US isn't the only country facing insurmountable economic problems (under the current international financial system), but it's by far the biggest. Given that the bulk of US debt is private, I don't know if government can fix it.

Minimum Wage is a massive red herring - a few dollars per hour in catering and cleaning is not going to make major industries competitive with China etc.

Illegal immigration is a massive problem, mainly because people are coming in too fast. AFAIK, most illegals are overstayers. A wall is one of the uniquely stupid ideas that define Donald Trump.
 

Stereodude

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Illegal immigration is a massive problem, mainly because people are coming in too fast. AFAIK, most illegals are overstayers. A wall is one of the uniquely stupid ideas that define Donald Trump.
It's a problem because the people coming we don't need or want. It has nothing to with the rate at which they're coming. We should get rid of the visa overstayers too. They're less than 50% of the illegals from the data I've seen. As far as the "wall", it's already a matter of Federal law. It just hasn't been built (and won't be). The Democrats want the voters and the Washington Elite Republicans want the cheap labor for their rich donors. As such, illegal immigration will continue and only grow...

Just another reason why Trump is so popular. People think he might actually do something about it.
 

time

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As a disenfranchised stakeholder, I see Hillary Clinton as by far the most conservative candidate - she is a creature of the establishment and there will be no surprises. I am not at all surprised by Merc's encounter; politicians who aspire to high office simply aren't nice people - it's just that some are better at pretending to be warm and friendly. She has infinitely more experience in foreign affairs than any of the other candidates, and that's a huge part of leading the world's largest military-industrial complex. I think most (friendly) foreign powers would feel most comfortable with her as president. The baggage she is carrying (mainly the fact that she has been in the public eye so long) is a major impediment - in these days of the 24hr media cycle, you need to be reasonably new and novel to get enough people to turn up to vote for you. And of course, she is a middle aged woman, so few white American males will vote for her.

John Kasich is a little bit more of a rebel, but only a little. He is clearly by far the safe Republican choice, but nominating him will alienate the party's grassroots. How many people will feel compelled to turn out to support him just to stop Clinton? His policies aren't exactly female-friendly either.

Bernie Sanders is of course the most popular candidate. I'm intrigued that this is the case despite him professing to be a socialist - looks like people have become more immune to the anti-socialism campaigns that used to be prevalent in the US. Of course, he's not really a socialist. In fact, there's plenty of question marks over what he would or could actually do as president. At least he would make America feel good about itself for a year or two, something you couldn't say about any of the other candidates.

And then there's the fringe candidates. The ones that have tiny amounts of popular support, yet most of the Republican primary support. They're by far the most radical and certainly the most unpredictable. Because of this, Trump is furrowing quite a few brows internationally. Even against Hillary, it's hard to see either of these nut jobs winning.
 

jtr1962

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That's exactly the problem with Hillary-no surprises and therefore a continuation of the status quo which we can all see isn't working out very well. While I don't necessarily agree with SD that government always creates problems, it has in fact created a lot of problems which otherwise wouldn't exist. Besides the ones SD mentioned:

1) The so-called drug wars which haven't reduced drug use but have sapped a huge amount of resources. It also produced drug lords with more resources and weapons than a lot of countries. I still recall back in the 1990s when drug dealers were evicting people from their apartments in housing projects, turning them into drug labs, and public executing any local residents who tried to stop them. The police were powerless to do anything about it. My idea is to just legalize all this, sell it through legitimate channels, tax it, and use some of the taxes to treat drug abusers and have ads against drug use. It may still not stop the problem, but at least you won't be giving two bit thugs a huge income stream.

2) The public education crisis. Thanks to the power of teacher's unions, we reward failure rather than success. Gifted students have their programs chopped while we throw money at failing schools, advocate for smaller class sizes, and so forth. It's mostly an employment mill for public education teachers. We're aiming for equality of achievement but that's a fallacy. Not all students are created equal but it's taboo to say that. It's even taboo to talk about student IQ these days. Let's acknowledge once and for all that in many cases the students themselves are the cause of bad schools. Instead of aiming to have similar results on standardized tests which themselves aren't a good measure of learning, let's just aim to teach students as well as they can be taught. Some people aren't cut out for college or academia. They might be better off being taught a trade.

3) The health care crisis. Obamacare did nothing to get rid of the tons of unnecessary paperwork dealing with a crazy quilt of thousands of insurers. Every other civilized country has a one payer system. We should have gone that way. Health care is one area were the government can do better than private industry. The administrative costs for Medicare are much lower than that of insurance companies, and by definition there is no need for a "profit".

4) The infrastructure crisis. The 60 year policy of incentizing private car use over alternatives has been a disaster of epic proportions. We take longer to get where we're going, spend more doing it, and have more people die in preventable transportation related incidents. We've built more roads than we can afford to maintain and yet we're still expanding our highways. We should have a sane policy which matches the mode to the area. Cars for rural areas, rail transit, bikes, buses, and walking for urban and inner ring suburbs. High-speed rail for intercity and interstate transport instead of planes. Freight rail for long distance cargo instead of 18-wheelers. Denser settlement patterns unless the people living there can really afford the true cost of ultra low density. Outer ring suburbs largely shouldn't exist, indeed wouldn't exist without government bankrolling them. Let them return to nature, or let the rich take them over since they're the only ones who can really afford the true cost of that type of living.

5) The debt crisis. On all levels, we've borrowed from the future to finance the needs of today. We should have either cut programs or had higher taxes. We shouldn't have let college costs balloon out of control, largely thanks to readily available student loans. Eliminate student loans, and wipe out existing student loan debt. This is an area where the government meant well, but it backfired. Too many people going to college have diluted the value of a college degree. Have only people in college who will really benefit from it, and fund their educations 100% like we do up through high school.

6) The income tax. There are better ways to collect revenue than a system which requires armies of accountants who arguably contribute no real value to society. They're necessary only because tax laws make them necessary. Have a consumption tax and fees on commodities instead. These monies could be remitted directly to government as they're collected, with no need for anyone to file tax returns.

Those are just off the top of my head. All were problems created by government. Some can be solved by getting government out of the picture entirely. Others need to have government intervene in a smarter manner.
 
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jtr1962

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It's a problem because the people coming we don't need or want. It has nothing to with the rate at which they're coming.
Yes, exactly.

From the link:

Overall, at the very least, we`ll have to get used to being a country of lower average levels of achievement. For whatever reasons, Mexican culture and human accomplishment don`t go together.
 

Stereodude

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5) The debt crisis. On all levels, we've borrowed from the future to finance the needs of today. We should have either cut programs or had higher taxes. We shouldn't have let college costs balloon out of control, largely thanks to readily available student loans. Eliminate student loans, and wipe out existing student loan debt. This is an area where the government meant well, but it backfired. Too many people going to college have diluted the value of a college degree. Have only people in college who will really benefit from it, and fund their educations 100% like we do up through high school.
This is what happens when you take over the student loan program and effectively let people borrow as much money as possible. The schools jack the prices so they can get as much of that "free" gov't money as possible. I saw something the other day that showed for every dollar of grants and the like that was made available to students college costs increased by $0.55-$0.60. It's the same problem healthcare has. When you don't pay for it yourself you don't care how much it costs.

How come we never hear about Big College? We hear about Big Oil and Big Tobacco, but never Big College. Somehow the solution is "free college" for everyone. So the Associate degree can become the new High School diploma while we take piles more money from the gov't and give it to colleges. Clearly the schools need more money.
 

jtr1962

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You'll be hearing about Big College for sure when the student loan debt bomb explodes, which is likely to happen very soon.
 

Stereodude

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As a disenfranchised stakeholder, I see Hillary Clinton as by far the most conservative candidate - she is a creature of the establishment and there will be no surprises. I am not at all surprised by Merc's encounter; politicians who aspire to high office simply aren't nice people - it's just that some are better at pretending to be warm and friendly. She has infinitely more experience in foreign affairs than any of the other candidates, and that's a huge part of leading the world's largest military-industrial complex. I think most (friendly) foreign powers would feel most comfortable with her as president. The baggage she is carrying (mainly the fact that she has been in the public eye so long) is a major impediment - in these days of the 24hr media cycle, you need to be reasonably new and novel to get enough people to turn up to vote for you. And of course, she is a middle aged woman, so few white American males will vote for her.
Yes, vote for the career criminal / pathological liar. Somehow being the wife of a philandering / womanizing husband qualifies her for the highest office. Her supporters can't point to a single accomplishment she's had. Her foreign policy has been a debacle. Libya anyone? Toppling a stable gov't for what? Gaddafi was scared straight by GWB and wasn't a threat to anyone. Yet she brags Libya as one of her accomplishments. What exactly was accomplished there?

Further, there have been fairly serious accusations of wrongdoing / impropriety surrounding her at every point of her public career all the way back to Watergate. Now I realize to date she's managed to escape prosecution in every one. But how many scandals can someone get caught up in before it's clear they're the common denominator, not a hapless victim who keeps falling prey to others? Even if you believe she's an unwitting victim / participant in all these things, how do you square that with the theory that she's the smartest woman in the world and the most qualified... ?

What qualifies her to be president is the D after her name. Pretty much any person with that same D after their name would poll as well as she does. Somehow the country owes her the presidency as a reward for putting up with Bill / standing by her man.
 

Tea

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open doors border policy which brings in unskilled illegal workers by the millions each year. Then people wonder why their wages are depressed. Lower class wages stagnated in the early 60's which is the same time the US changed the immigration policy to import third world poverty to the US via immigration instead of allowing in only immigrants who would be a benefit to the country (like pretty much every other 1st world country in the world does).
Ahem. Little place called Australia. Perhaps you've heard of it. Australia's open slather immigration policy has resulted in the worst and most unsustainable rate of population increase in the Western World.
 

Tea

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I should add a clarification here. Oz has zero illegal immigrants arriving by boat and only a small number arriving by air and overstaying. It's the vast number of legal ones which is the problem. Most people have been opposed to this mad policy for decades, but our crooked politicians repeatedly ignore that flood and divert attention to the tiny trickle of illegals. Stupid humans that Australians are, they still haven't twigged to this most obvious of lies.
 

jtr1962

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Ouch. I looked at some data. You've doubled your population since 1967. By comparison the US population has increased by a bit over 50% since then. It's even worse when you consider the US has abundant natural resources compared to Oz.

BTW, provided you're selective about who you let in, and your country can sustain it, immigration can be a good thing. The problem is in the name of political correctness we're often letting in people who have little to contribute (except crime), and have zero desire to assimilate. While we in the US rightly complain about illegals from Mexico, the situation with Muslim immigrants in Europe is far worse. They're procreating faster than the native populations, most have no desire to assimilate, and they're bringing crime plus terrorism. I'd like to see the US lead the way dealing with immigration problems so hopefully Europe and Australia will follow suit.
 

Tea

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The country can't sustain it, JTR. Relentless population growth has smashed quality of life, produced vast, unlivable cities where gridlock is a way of life, reduced our average standard of living, and wehat it's done to our once-wonderful environment would make you cry. Don't even ask about crime rates, overcrowded hospitals, or the terrible state of education.
 

Mercutio

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I am mildly surprised that his campaign is still technically viable at this point in the season, but I'll get to vote for Bernie in Indiana's primary tomorrow. It's very rare for a primary vote to matter in my state, but I'll be happy to cast my ballot in this case.
 

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The same people pushing a $15 an hour minimum wage argue that business should just raise prices a little to offset the cost of it are the same people who say we can't stop illegal immigration because our produce costs would go up without them working in the fields and the price of fruits and vegetables can't go up. I guess the price of a burger and fries going up is not big deal, but fruits / vegetables is. :scratch:

Of course if it wasn't for all the illegal immigration and other shenanigans going on like H1-B visa abuse we wouldn't even need a minimum wage because no one would be getting paid it.

Gov't creates a problem, the solution is always more gov't...

1) Create counterproductive immigration policy
2) Turn a blind eye to illegal immigration and even encourage it (like ads for US "benefits" that are run in Mexico)
This has the effect of depressing wages of low skilled jobs in the US...
3) Raise minimum wage to increase the wages of low skilled jobs to "solve" the problem created by #1 and #2 / Don't fix #1 or #2
This will result in higher prices which will impact the poor disproportionately as well as driving up unemployment as low skilled jobs are eliminated or replaced by automation
4) Create new safety nets social programs to take care of the people unemployed as a results of #3 / Don't fix #1, #2, or #3...
5) Create additional programs to help the people who slip through cracks of programs created in #4 / Don't fix #1, #2, #3, or #4...
...

I found this website interesting for seeing the H1-B visa salary data based on the company you search for.
 

Howell

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4) Create new safety nets social programs to take care of the people unemployed as a results of #3 / Don't fix #1, #2, or #3...

5) Create additional programs to help the people who slip through cracks of programs created in #4 / Don't fix #1, #2, #3, or #4...
...
4a) Pay for 4 with the increased tax income from sales and income taxes from 3.
 

Stereodude

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4a) Pay for 4 with the increased tax income from sales and income taxes from 3.
That's more like:

4a) Claim you'll pay for 4 with the increased tax income from sales and income taxes from 3.
4b) Get much less tax revenue to pay for 4, or have the cost of 4 far exceed estimates leaving the program upside down.
 

Howell

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Yeah, I originally had that in there but couldn't get the wording succinct in the time allotted. :)
 

jtr1962

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I am mildly surprised that his campaign is still technically viable at this point in the season, but I'll get to vote for Bernie in Indiana's primary tomorrow. It's very rare for a primary vote to matter in my state, but I'll be happy to cast my ballot in this case.
It looks like you and others did make a difference. Bernie is still a longshot but if he keeps racking up wins the superdelegates may switch sides.
 

Mercutio

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Hillary went from a 98% chance of winning to a 97% chance. At least there's a message to her campaign that she might be too far to the right of her presumptive supporters.
 

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Looks like the Trump-cult has prevailed. :(
I see it as more of a lack of structure and leadership within the GOP. Trump was not the best horse in their glue factory, and his nomination has significantly hurt not only their run for president but many congressional seats as well. Politicians running for lower positions can usually raise additional funds and/or attention by aligning their campaign with their presidential nominee; that would be counterproductive for many in this case.
 

Howell

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Lack of structure I can see, it is not as top-down a structure as the Democrats. But leadership? What would you suggest they have done differently? They could have pushed Trump out and risked a fight with an independent over the same conservative voters. Or keep him close and hope for influence if not control. Both party's leadership misjudged the highest priorities of the voters as evidenced by Trump and Sanders' popularity.
 

Mercutio

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I find Howell's comments very interesting because the Democratic party has always been built on a coalition of interests (labor/urban/progressive/minority/non-Christian) that works together about as well as herding cats, while Republicans for the last ~25 years have largely worked in lock-step despite the disparity that exists between its blocs (poor, rural whites/defense hawks/Christia right/ wealthy pro-business concerns). This is highly apparent in right-wing dominated media, where the party does such an amazing job of communicating its talking points that its figureheads, politicians and media figures both, can frequently be found raising the same concerns with precisely identical phrasing on the same day and at the same time using their available media or political outlet.

What we're seeing right now, particularly with the GOP, is a fracture of the coalition. It's very possible that there will have to be some sort of renegotiation among the constituent parts, or maybe some of them will withdraw. I don't think (much as I might like) that the Republican party is going to go away, but I suspect that it's going to have to make a lot of changes very shortly. Being the party of old white guys isn't going to work in the long term. Especially not when its new presumptive leader is on the record generalizing Mexicans (and by implication a lot of other non-white people) as rapists.

On the other hand, a lot of Sanders voters aren't mainstream true-blue Democrats. Sanders isn't himself a Democrat. And I think the Sanders campaign might be something of a mirror of the Santorum/Romney primary in 2012, where Santorum knew he wasn't going to win a damned thing, but he stayed in the race for as long as he did to push the campaigns toward one faction's agenda. Mainstream Dems feel like they can sideline the Sanders campaign since his supporters aren't REALLY Democrats (as the leadership would probably define it) anyway; they're left-of-center people who regularly hold their noses and vote for the candidate who isn't a Republican.

With any luck, both parties will splinter into lots of little parties and we'll have some kind of end to the gridlock currently dominating our politics. We'd probably be a lot saner as a country if we adopted a Parliamentary Government and found some new ways to derive the basis for our representation. But really, nothing is going to change except that the middle ground is going to become smaller and harder to find. I don't think we have the will to truly do anything about it.

Unrelated to the US Election Cycle, I've heard Canadian political debates because my local public radio station gets a certain amount of content from the CBC. I am routinely struck by how genuine the Canadian process seems. Candidates don't repeat their talking points. They actually engage and debate with each other and while it's pretty clear that they have distinct viewpoints, they're also respectful and deferential in a way I don't ever recall hearing even in primary debates in the USA. This might be the result of lack of media sophistication or it might just be part of the Canadian character, but having listened to many of the three bajillion primary debates this cycle, I have a tremendous amount of respect for how sane their process seems in comparision.
 

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I see it as more of a lack of structure and leadership within the GOP. Trump was not the best horse in their glue factory, and his nomination has significantly hurt not only their run for president but many congressional seats as well. Politicians running for lower positions can usually raise additional funds and/or attention by aligning their campaign with their presidential nominee; that would be counterproductive for many in this case.
I guess they should have just rigged the game with superdelegates like the Democrats did. You know, where Bernie keeps winning primaries yet keeps falling further and further behind. The reality is that Bernie is just a placeholder to make Hillary look more moderate and to make it look like she's a tough fighter. He's not in it to win it. He made that clear in the first debate when he gave her a pass over her illegal e-mail shenanigans. Then we could have had another Bush vs. Clinton election.

It was also nice to see that Kasich was just in it to spoil things for Cruz. I'd say there's a high likelihood he ends up as Trump's VP courtesy of some back room deal he had with Trump
 
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jtr1962

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The odd thing is the superdelegates should really consider switching sides at this point. Most general election polls show Bernie doing better than Hillary against Trump. At this point either will beat him, but 6 months is an eternity in an election year. And if some new scandal with Hillary surfaces in the next 6 months, they'll find they backed the wrong horse.

A Trump-Kasich ticket wouldn't be a horrible thing. I consider Kasich the most palatable one on the Republican side. He might help moderate Trump's extremism a bit. On the other side, Hillary wouldn't do badly picking Bernie as her running mate although I suspect she already made a deal to pick someone else.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
We'd probably be a lot saner as a country if we adopted a Parliamentary Government and found some new ways to derive the basis for our representation.
You wish! The cure you're proposing is worse than the disease!

Looks like your vote helped Bernie. Good for you!
 
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