Why Trump will not win the presidency

Image result for trump

The talking heads in the media seem to be hyping Trump’s chances against the assumed Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton this month. But is this really to be unexpected? When General Election season pops up, cable news networks that would otherwise struggle to fill their 24 hour slots will finally have something easy for their viewers to chew on…. barring a terrible calamity of some kind. It’s also important the general election race is a controversial and close one otherwise there wouldn’t be much interest. This is why the portayal of a weak candidate against a strong one just wouldn’t be as appealing to viewers as an election that would show two strong opponents.

This all brings me to these 2016 general elections. The buzz around is that Trump is matching Hillary in a number of national polls. Oh shocking, looks like this one is going to be a close one right? I better stay tuned to CNN and Fox news so I don’t miss what could be another historic election… right? Well no not really. The media needs to create a false sense of drama and excitement every single election. They did it with 2012 and look how that turned out? The truth of the matter is, the Don ain’t as fancy as the hype puts him out to be. It’s become apparent that the GOP has handed what should be a fairly easy election for them this time around. Let’s look at the 4 hard facts.

1. Trump is the weakest GOP front runner in modern era.
Yes, we’ve all heard about the fact Trump got more votes than Mitt Romney in 2012. The 2012 elections were pretty much set in Obama’s favor from the start. The key word here is context. The fact of the matter is that as of today, Saturday May 22 2016, Trump has only managed to gather 41% of the total GOP vote (1). That means that even as the assumed nominee, Trump still has not been able to win the majority of votes in his own party. As a percentage of vote, Trump has scored less that all previous GOP nominees since the 1976 GOP primary elections (2). To give you a comparison here, George W Bush got 62% of the vote in the 2000 GOP primaries… or more than 12 million. This was 16 years ago. In what should be a fairly straight forward GOP Primary these elections, Trump has managed to make history for the GOP and not in a good way.

 

2. As if the Electoral College map wasn’t depressing enough for the GOP, Arizona and Georgia appear to be in the toss ups thanks to Trump.

In what should be an election year more so in favour of the GOP, two more States that would typically be red, Arizona and Georgia, now appear in play. It’s still early days as Hillary has not officially won the Democratic nomination however in recent polls show that Hillary is only 2-5% points behind Trump in these States (3). To put it in context, both States have not gone Democratic in 20 years and both are typically assumed to be reliably red states. They should not be in play at all and the fact both these States have large hispanic and white suburban women voters seems to indicate why this may be the case this time around.
In the last 6 elections Democrats have carried over States that together add up 242 electoral points. These reliably blue States include New York, California, Pennsylvania and a collection of others. In contrast, there have only been 13 States that have gone reliably red over the last 6 elections and these add up to a total of 102 electoral points. The Democratic nominee only needs to gain 28 electoral points to reach the magical 270 number in order to win the election. Florida for example with its 29 electoral points will do the job without the need for any other toss up states for the Democratic nominee (4).
Outside of Florida, Democrats have Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia to use whichever combination to get them the needed electoral points. For Trump he will need all these States to get the nomination, including Florida. Given Trumps dismal approval rating with minorities and women, we’re not likely to see him come close to a win in November.

 

3. Thanks to Trump, GOP party unity behind him is at a historic low for any nominee.
As of May despite Trump being the presumptive nominee, he still has yet to gain the endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan (5). Now there is no doubt that at some point Ryan will endorse Trump, this is a given. However the delay for this endorsement seems to indicate there is still a strong division among the GOP surrounding Trumps candidacy.
Two previous GOP presidents still alive, George H Bush and George W Bush have refused to endorse or even give support to the presumptive GOP nominee. Not to mention, Mitt Romney, the previous GOP front runner from 2012, had gone so far for his opposition to Trump as nominee but suggesting an independent conservative run (6). And yes there has been no other GOP nominee in modern times to have such opposition within their own party. To point to another obvious indication of GOP disunited around Trump, we’re approaching June and he has still yet to clinch enough delegates to gain the nomination. There’s no doubt that with Trump sitting at 1,168 delegates as of May 22 (1) Trump will reach the magical 1,237 number. However the delay in which it has taken him to lock down this number shows rather clearly the divisions within his very own party.
John McCain in 2008 locked in enough delegates to get the nomination by March 2008 following Super Tuesday. Romney locked down the sufficient delegates by April 25 2012. Romney’s biggest rival Rick Santorum suspended by April 10th 2012. In the 2000 GOP Primaries, George W Bush’s biggest rival John McCain dropped out of the race by March 10th. By then Bush was the presumptive GOP nominee. Trump seems to be lagging behind in garnering enough support, and considering he’s already got impossible odds facing him in the electoral colleage (thanks to his rhetoric so far), insufficient unity in his party makes it far more apparent he doesn’t stand much of a chance.
4. Trump has worse poll numbers with Women and Minorities than any other GOP nominee before him.
Yes, I’m saying no other GOP nominee has performed so poorly with other groups outside of white men than Donald Trump has. Literally. And example of this is among women where a recent poll showed as of May 5 that Hillary was more favourable compared to Trump by 40 points. Yes, 40 points (7). 70% of women in a recent poll found Trump unfavourable according to Politico (7). Women made up 53% of the vote in the 2012 General Elections. According to a Gallup poll released in March, Trump held a 77% unfavourability rating amongst Hispanics (8). I need not even bother with the African American vote which Trump has probably pretty much tossed to the side.
In conclusion.
All of the above indicates rather clearly that Trump will not win the general elections. Many of his supporters (closeted and open) may argue that it’s still early days and that Trump just needs to work on bringing up support. The problem with that argument is that Trump has to go a long ways to even bring his support up, so much so that he would have to sacrifice (or flip over) much of his rhetoric. This may have worked in the talk radio infested GOP voter base but the general elections are a different ball game. In the end many of his supporters will be unconvinced of this reality (as with many other things) until the election time comes and goes.
After the elections are done and Trump retires back to his luxury lifestyle (having made millions off his presidential run), his supporters will be left in dust having to once again face the reality of the election outcome. The question then will be whether they’ll continue to double down on their ideological extremism after 8 years of absolute dismal results, or whether they’ll look towards changing for the better. Somehow I doubt the latter.

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Working on the grammar and structures of my articles

I’m constantly impressed by how well written many of these other blog articles are. I am constantly looking at improving the writing structures of my own articles and I always look to other articles to guide me to these improvements. Rest assured, I will be fixing up many of my articles in the coming months to make it much easier for readers to understand. Until then, I ask for your patience! I’ll also be working on a few new articles  soon so stay tuned!

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What did the founders think of secession?

Yet another great blog article on the American Civil War. This time, it’s about secession and how the founders viewed it. I highly recommend you check it out!

Freedmen's Patrol

James Madison James Madison

The conventional story goes something like this: The founders donned their powdered wigs, put their knee breeches on, and cheered as George Washington applied the requisite amount of boot leather to the necessary number of British posteriors. Thirteen colonies turned into thirteen free and independent states. They did not constitute, in any meaningful sense, a nation. The founders shared with the people of the several nations an abiding suspicion of central authority. Only the Revolution had united them and with it done they could all go back to those nations and have nothing more to do with one another. They never intended to create a consolidated republic and always imagined association between their states as strictly voluntary and subject to unilateral termination, secession in a word, at any time. To the degree the former colonies associated, they associated like you might associate with someone you met once at…

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Debunking the Civil War Tariff Myth

Another great article debunking the myth of tariffs having caused the civil war. I recommend you check it out.

Imperial & Global Forum

tornintwo

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

The outbreak of the American Civil War is now more than 150 years past. All the while, the question of what caused the conflict continues to spark disagreement, this despite a longstanding consensus among specialists that slavery – a cultural, political, ideological, and economic institution that permeated (and divided) mid-19th-century American society – was the primary cause of the war. One of the most egregious of the so-called Lost Cause narratives instead suggests that it was not slavery, but a protective tariff that sparked the Civil War.

On 2 March 1861, the Morrill Tariff was signed into law by outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan to protect northern infant industries. A pernicious lie quickly formed around the tariff’s passage, a lie suggesting that somehow this tariff had caused the US Civil War. By ignoring slavery’s central role in precipitating secession and Civil War, this tariff myth has survived in…

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Reminding Confederate Revisionists about the facts of the civil war part 2

Fact 2# Tariffs had little to do with Confederate secession

This is a common misconception about the civil war. This is not to say that tariffs and taxes were not cited as a grievance at all, infact taxes were mentioned on occasion as one of reasons by secessionists. It was mentioned once in the South Carolina declaration of immediate causes, but there is very little evidence to demonstrate that it caused the civil war. The argument is, secession at core was motivated by the tariff issue, and these is very little evidence to support this. It is understandable why some would like to make the tariff issue the main cause for secession. One obvious reason is that it is viewed as a noble reason to secede given it’s about taxes. It appeals to a conservative audience, the main political position of political revisionists. Another obvious reason is that it takes away the (often awkward) requirement of civil war revisionists to defend the institution of slavery in the south. Regardless. there is very little evidence to point to the tariff matter as being the straw that broke the camels back.

Linking the 1828 Nullification Crises to the civil war

Where do we start? Well we can start with the Tariff of 1828 which involved a protective tariff passed by the United States congress. This protective tariff, while it benefitted many Northern states, cost many of the Southern states whom had relied heavily on the importation and international trade of their industries. The Tariff of 1828 lead to a number of objections by southern delegates and the eventual nullification crises that lead to one of those States, South Carolina, threatening to seceed. The thing is that the nullification crises actually ended in 1833 after negotiations were made to modify the tariff law to the satisfaction of South Carolinian representitives.

The nullification crises did not happen during the civil war, the events of the nullification crises occured close to 30 years prior to the events of the civil war and were resolved well before those events.

Fort Sumter was not a tariff collections port

(Courtesy of a post from the Civil war forums)

There is a historical myth circulating on the internet that Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was a “tax collection fort” and thus the first shots of the Civil War fired in April 1861 were somehow connected to the newly enacted Morrill Tariff.

First of all, Fort Sumter had nothing to do with “tax collection.” The fort had been constructed for coastal defense following the War of 1812, a conflict which saw the city of Washington burned and Baltimore shelled by a British fleet.

And the conflict over Fort Sumter which culminated in April 1861 actually began the previous December, months before the Morrill Tariff became law.

The commander of the federal garrison in Charleston, feeling threatened by the secessionist fever overtaking the city, moved his troops to Fort Sumter on the day after Christmas 1860. Up to that point the fort was essentially deserted. It was certainly not a “tax collection fort.”

The Morrill Tariff

Civil war revisionists often point to the Morrill Tariff as evidence that the tariff issue was the core cause for secession. What was the Morrill Tariff? The Morrill Tariff was a law adopted on March 2nd 1961 which increased the tariff in the United States. The issue with pointing to the Morrill Tariff as the cause for Confederate secession is obvious. The Morrill Act was passed on March 2nd 1861, nearly 4 months following secession of the first states. Ironically the only reason it managed to pass was because of the absence of Southern Democratic representitives in congress at the time due to, wait for it, secession.

You will find that revisionist will often point to the Morrill Tariff having passed congress in 1859 as evidence that the tariff issue sparked secession in the following year, 1860. The problem with this is that the bill that passed congress in 1859, which was eventually vetoed by the then Democratic president James Buchanan, had nothing to do with the tariff. The Morrill Act was a bill related to the funding of colleges:

Morrill decided to introduce a bill on his and Turner’s idea. The bill passed Congress, but President Buchanan vetoed the bill on February 26, 1859. Buchanan said that the colleges would be unsuccessful and that agriculture and mechanics were not college degree fields. Although disappointed, Morrill did not stop. He changed the bill only slightly and presented it to Congress for a second time. Finally, on July 2, 1862, President Lincoln, who had been influenced by Turner while still in Springfield, signed the legislation. It declared that states would receive special land paid for by the federal government to construct a state college. This college was mainly to teach agriculture and mechanics. As the years went by many colleges went on to develop many other fields, which in the long run have helped our country grow and prosper (4).

So you see, the Morril Tariff on 1862 had nothing to do with the Morrill act of 1859 which was vetoed anyway by president Buchanan.

So no, there is very little evidence which supports the argument the Morril Tariff caused secession.

Tariffs were at their lowest levels prior to Confederate secession

The final nail to this myth and that’s the Tariff rate leading up to the civil war. Tariffs were at their lowest rates in decades leading up to the civil and this was thanks to the Tariff Act of 1857:

The Tariff of 1857 was a major tax reduction in the United States. It created a mid-century low point for tariffs. It amended the Walker Tariff of 1846 by lowering tax rates around 17 percent (5).

Fact 3# Anthony Johnson, a black man, was not responsible for bringing about the institution of slavery to America.

This is a relatively new argument brought up by revisionists in regards to slavery. The argument goes that the first person to legally own slaves was a black man by the name of Anthony Johnson in the 17th century. There are a number of reasons why revisionists will argue this in a debate surrounding the civil war. Part of the motivation is to show that slavery wasn’t necessarily rooted in racism as ‘the blacks’ did it too. Another motivation for bringing this up is to put blame on ‘the blacks’ ath the time for causing slavery itself. It’s obviously meant to derail any argument that slavery itself was the main motivation for the secession of the Confederacy. As with many arguments from revisionists, it holds little water.

Who was Anthony Johnson? Anthony Johnson was an african, an Angolan to be exact, held as an indentured servant in the colony of Virginia in 1621. He achieved freedom after 7 years of fulfilling his contract and was legally recognized as a ‘free negro where he went on to run a successful farm. Anthony Johnson himself purchased another black indentured servant from another owner but there was a dispute in regards to whether he legally owned that person and this lead to the Casor suit:

Johnson ultimately won the case, and not only did he get his servant back, but Casor became Johnson’s slave for life as Johnson had said he was. This officially made Johnson the first legal slave owner in the colonies that would eventually become the United States. (There were other slaves before this, just not ones that were legal in the British colonies under common law) (6).

This lawsuit happened in 1654 and while it was a significant point in history for the institution of slavery in America, it didn’t bring about legalization of the institution. Slavery was already legally recognized in the colonies prior to this lawsuit:

In 1641, Massachusetts became the first colony to legally recognize slavery. Other states, such as Virginia, followed. In 1662, Virginia decided all children born in the colony to a slave mother would be enslaved. Slavery was not only a life-long condition; now it could be passed, like skin color, from generation to generation(7).

There is uncertainty as to when the first slaves exactly arrived on American soil. However there is plenty of evidence pointing to legal slave ownership well before the Casor suit in Virginia:

Massachusetts was the first slave-holding colony in New England, though the exact beginning of black slavery in what became Massachusetts cannot be dated exactly. Slavery there is said to have predated the settlement of Massachusetts Bay colony in 1629, and circumstantial evidence gives a date of 1624-1629 for the first slaves. “Samuel Maverick, apparently New England’s first slaveholder, arrived in Massachusetts in 1624[/quote] (8).

So no, Anthony Johnson did not bring about legalized slavery in the United States. It’s also highly questionable to argue he was the first legal slave holder in the United States as well considering there were other accounts of legal slave ownership that predates the Casor case. Namely Samuel Maverick, a colonist, whom purchased black slaves in 1638 in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize it 3 years after.

References

(1) http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/amgov/davis2.html
(2) http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/jdmess.html
(3) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june11/civilwar_04-12.html
(4) http://www.lib.niu.edu/2001/ihy010240.html
(5) http://www.monacorarecoins.com/rare-coin-articles/panic-of-1857-tariff-act-of-1857/
(6) http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/08/the-first-legal-slave-owner-in-what-would-become-the-united-states-was-a-black-man/
(7) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1narr3.html
(8) http://slavenorth.com/massachusetts.htm

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Making sense of the gun debate: The numbers


Another day and another gun massacre in the United states. On May 23rd 2014 we saw a gun massacre occur in Santa Barbara California, another one added to the long lists of massacres. We saw another sympathetic speech from the president over the issue, another gun debate on the mainstream media, another hysterical warning that the government was going to take guns away from rightwing conspiracy theorists. It all seems like a never ending cycle of gun violence in the U.S and a never ending debate to boot and it seems like every man and his dog is coming out with ‘the answer’ to the matter. I’ve followed the gun debate since the Columbine shooting back in 1999 and over the years I have tried to make sense of the matter. It is difficult however to get around to understanding the gun issue as a whole as it is a complex issue that stems back to the founding days of the United States. It is an issue that spans a number of other issues, it spans ideologies and national culture. It is difficult for me to fit the entire gun debate into one article so in this one I will start off with mostly the statistics of it all.

 

The stats: Guns in the United States
First off let’s look at the statistics of guns and gun violence in the United States against the rest of world. As of April 2013 there were approximately 88.8 firearms to every 100 persons in the United States (1) compared to Switzerland and Finland which come up at just over 45 firearms to every 100 persons (1). The United States is well ahead of the rest of the world for firearm related deaths where there are 10.2 incidences per 100,000 in the United States in comparison to 3.84 incidences in Switzerland which comes in second. More americans have died at the hands of guns on U.S soil than all the wars since 1968 (2). In 2011, the latest piece of data I could find on this, 8,583 americans were murdered by use of guns, this takes 67.7% of weapons used in murders (3) in the United States. In comparison, death by cutting or stabbing (involving knives) amounted to 1,694 or 13.3% of all murders in the United States as of 2011 (3). So it is a matter of fact that guns are the main instrument of murder used in the United States, it by far outweighs the use of other tools to commit murder. It’s also evident that the United States seems to have more of a problem with gun related crimes in comparison to the rest of the world, the stats clearly indicate so.

 

Gun access
Let’s start with one sobering reality, gun numbers. In 2012 the congressional Research service found that there were 310 million non-military firearms in the United States (4). That’s about a gun to every single person in the United States from new borns to elderly. Add to that the fact that it is fairly easy to legally get access to a gun in many states in the United States. We can compare this to India which has the second largest number of non-military owned firearms, 46 million (7) and what’s more, they have 1.2 billion people sp per capita, it is about a fraction that of the United States. In Alaska for example a permit is not required to purchase a gun (5) and Arizona takes this a step further by not requiring a permit to carry one in public provided you’re 21 or over (5). In many of the States that do require permits to carry weapons, getting them are relatively easy and what’s more in Utah for example, by getting a gun permit there you can use your permit in 32 other states (6).
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the pair responsible for the heinous act committed at Columbine Highschool in 1999 were both underaged (under 18) to acquire the arms used in the shootings. However they were able to get a friend (former prom date of Dylan Klebold) who was 18 years old at the time was able to purchase the weapons for them instead (8). Seung-Hui Cho, responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre, was able to acquire his weapons from a pawnbroker and a gun dealer despite his history of mental illness (9). Cho apparently had to go through backround checks to acquire these weapons (10) however these backround checks did not include the fact a Virginia Court ordered him to undergo treatment at a mental facility. Cho however was obligated to mention this in the backround questionnaire but did not do so.

 

Gun fluidity

Gun proponents have argued the futility of tough gun laws and have pointed to this as evidence that tighter gun control is not the answer. They further argue that because gun laws have done little to change the mass shootings that have occured over the years and that this is indicative of their argument that the issue has little to nothing to do with gun accessibility. Firstly the gun proponents are correct in the argument that gun laws have done little to prevent the occurence of mass shootings over the years. Connecticut is one such example where the Sunnyhook shootings took place. It has been rated as having one of the toughest gun laws in the United States by the pro-gun control Brady campaign (11). California has been rated as number one for tough gun control laws in the United States (12) yet we had the more recent Santa Barbara shooting occur. While I give gun proponents a fact check approval on that argument, it’s important to understand the context behind why these laws have not been effective.
In a country like the United States with some 300 million guns within it’s borders alone, it is very hard for any state to prevent the flow of weapons coming in and out. The same could be said for cities and counties. Chicago is a city well known for its restrictive gun laws yet more gun were seized for unpermitted use there than New York and Los Angeles (13). Gun violence in Chicago is higher than most other cities. So given this fact, why has Chicago struggled more so with gun violence than many other cities despite it’s restrictive gun laws? Well as a concerned Chicago christian minister, Reverend Ira Icree, put it to the New York times:

“Chicago is like a house with two parents that may try to have good rules and do what they can, but it’s like you’ve got this single house sitting on a whole block where there’s anarchy,” (13)

In 2013 Chicago police recovered some 50,000 guns from various crime scenes and criminals and of that number 15,000 were traced outside of Illinois state lines (14). In 2012 in New York about 9,000 guns were recovered and seized by New York police. Only a fraction of that number, 1,595 guns, were traced within New York State lines (15). That’s about 80% of guns having originated from outside New York state borders used in crime. In 2011 that figure was higher in New York where approximately 90% of guns used in crimes were traced out of State (16). Putting aside the reality that gun flow is relatively free and unopposed in the United States regardless of State, even the most restrictive State laws do little to hinder gun access in my analysis of ‘gun access’. Despite California’s tough gun law Elliot Rodgers, the shooter in the recent Isla Vista massacre, was still able to purchase a number of handguns in California. Despite his mental history Elliot was still able to pass through California background checks, the fact he didn’t have a criminal history was not a factor at all (17).

“Even a diagnosis of serious mental illness, in itself, would not have prevented Rodger from buying a gun under California law, said Lindsay Nichols, staff attorney with the advocacy group Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.” (17)

So even the so called toughest of gun laws have not been tough enough in preventing the mass shootings that have occured.
To be continued.
References:

(1) http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/19/u-s-has-more-guns-and-gun-deaths-than-any-other-country-study-finds/
(2) http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/18/mark-shields/pbs-commentator-mark-shields-says-more-killed-guns/
(3) http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004888.html
(4) Congressional Research Service, Krouse, W (November 14, 2012), Gun Control Legislation. pp 8 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32842.pdf
(5) http://weapons.about.com/od/gunlaws/tp/top-gun-friendly-states.htm
(6) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/57214669-90/utah-permits-permit-gun.html.csp
(7) http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/jul/22/gun-homicides-ownership-world-list
(8) http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93525
(9) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/17/AR2007041701885.html
(10) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gunmans-background-check-came-back-clean/
(11) http://www.eveningsun.com/politics-national/2012/12/connecticut-gun-laws-among-the-toughest-in-the-u-s/
(12) http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-california-has-toughest-gun-laws-in-country-study-finds-20131209-story.html
(13) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/us/strict-chicago-gun-laws-cant-stem-fatal-shots.html?pagewanted=all
(14) http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/29/us/where-50000-guns-in-chicago-came-from.html
(15) http://www.thenewyorkworld.com/2012/08/01/virginia-remains-top-gun-source/
(16) http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/out-of-state-guns-ny-gun-crimes-article-1.1414139
(17) http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-isla-vista-suspect-bought-guns-despite-mental-health-problems-20140526-story.html

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I’m back

So I’ve been busy for the past year or so… a lot of changes in my life. Regardless, I’ve found time and interest once again to resume my posts. I plan on posting a few new articles so stay tuned!

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