Bernie Sanders should get out of the race! Really???

So since Hilary Clinton won the NY Primary convincingly there has been chorus after chorus after chorus of Clinton campaigners, surrogates and supporters  calling for Bernie to drop out as it’s “mathematically impossible to win” which is both incorrect and hypocritical.

As you know from August of last year I have said that I thought Hilary Clinton would be the next President of the United States. but the rhetoric coming from the Clinton campaign is ridiculous.

So two charges aimed at Clinton supporters.

The first is that it’s mathematically impossible to win. No one is saying it’s now not improbable or unlikely for Sanders to win but impossible is a measurable statement that is pretty easy to dispute. If you don’t count super delegates, and you shouldn’t as none of them have voted yet, Bernie Sanders is currently 246 delegates behind Clinton and there are still 1668 delegates to be allocated to either Sanders of Clinton. For Sander to draw level on delegates before the convention he would need to win 957 of them to Clinton’s 711. That’s just over 57% of the remaining delegates. Improbable…but not impossible. That would then leave both candidates just over 200 delegates short of the majority needed which would then go to the super delegates. Unlikely, yes, but not impossible.

The second charge is the hypocrisy coming out of the Clinton camp. In 2008 when Hilary Clinton was running against Barack Obama, with Obama in the lead she refuse to suspend her campaign until June 7th and only when Obama had gathered enough delegates (including super delegates) to pass that majority number. Even with the delegates who have indicated they would go with Clinton (yet I say again haven’t officially cast their vote yet) she is still about 400 short of the mark. Sanders is also performing much stronger that Clinton was at the same time in 2008 when she refused to drop out.

So, whilst it seems the chips are certainly stacked against Bernie Sanders, he is very much still in the race and calling for him to get out is undemocratic, unconstitutional and hypocritical for anyone involved with the Clinton campaign.

 

Family First Distorts Facts Surrounding Venue Allowing Same-Sex Marriages

I read with interest an article on stuff.co.nz last week about Living Springs, a Christian venue in Christchurch, that has changed its position on allowing LGBTI couples to get married there. From the tenor of the article it seemed that the venue had come to this policy change in a sensible, rationale and logical way. The director, Denis Aldridge, was quoted saying, “we’ve been on a journey with this one, and we’ve got there… It took a while.”

Part of the journey involves a recent Human Rights Commission complaint against Living Springs after a lesbian couple were refused their request to hire the venue for their wedding. According to the article, Living Springs did not feel coerced by the Human Rights Commission to change their policy. In fact Elizabeth Wiltshire, one half of the couple who made the Human Rights Commission complaint, rang to speak to Aldridge after the change in policy. Wiltshire indicated that Aldridge seemed to be perfectly happy with the outcome.

“It was good, actually. I felt it was genuine. It wasn’t ‘Oh, we’ve had this unlawful policy and now you’re making us change it,’ [he was] very thankful,” she said, “It gave them a mandate to push for change.”

Fast forward one week and lobby group Family First distributes a press release headed “Function Centre Pressured to Allow Same-Sex Weddings.” The Press Release uses Living Springs as a reason to push the narrative that “Faith-based function centres” are being held hostage and forced into holding LGBTI marriages when they don’t feel they should have to. Family First also continues to make allegations that some in government said this would never happen which is factually incorrect as the opposite was clearly signalled at the time.

“If a church currently hires out their hall for money, they can’t discriminate against any group who chooses to hire out that hall.” Louisa Wall, Q&A.March 2013

I saw Family First’s Press Release on Facebook and it didn’t ring accurate to me after having read the stuff article. The change in Living Springs’ policy seemed more pragmatic than pressured. The conversation on the Facebook post ebbed and flowed between Living Springs and general negative comments about marriage equality. However anytime a contributor suggested the headline of the Press Release may be incorrect Family First director Bob McCoskrie pushed back with the idea that Living Springs “were certainly placed under pressure.”

This really didn’t add up to me, so I phoned Living Springs Director Denis Aldridge myself and requested a formal interview to use for elephantTV. It turns out Aldridge’s story is fascinating.

As a Pastor he was at the forefront of protests in Balclutha in 1986 opposing the Homosexual Law Reform Act. Since then he has been on what he describes as a “journey of thirty years”, where various people came into his life at different stages and challenged his perspective on what it means to be gay. Today Aldridge is an supporter for marriage equality. To have shifted from being someone who led the march against homosexual law reform to someone who is now ‘pro’ marriage equality is simply remarkable.

I wanted to clear up the most important claim by Family First that Living Springs was ‘pressured’ into changing their policy. Aldridge’s response was simple.

“It’s totally wrong and that didn’t come from us, that was the narrative that the guy that rung me wanted and I refuted it” he said. “The reality was [Living Springs] didn’t feel strongly that way, we’d actually come as an organisation [to the place where] we were seeing it, we believe, on a higher level and the higher level was ‘what would Jesus do?’”

Aldridge also made it clear that if they were to take what many Christians believe to be a “biblical interpretation” on marriage and reject marriage equality, then “we have to take a biblical line on re-marriage and divorced people” as well, given that the bible specifically denounces those forms of marriage.

Family First contacted Aldridge looking for comment on their change in policy prior to writing the press release and Aldridge wanted to make clear that he told Bob McCoskrie that they did not “feel coerced [into making the decision to change policy].”

“It’s actually that we have decided it’s the right thing to do” Aldridge said.

Aldridge feels as if Family First has purposely ignored their position.

”They obviously have an agenda, there’s a certain narrative that they wanted to hear and they’ve printed that narrative,” he stated.

Aldridge said they “weren’t pressured into [holding Same Sex marriages]” and they “don’t see it as capitulation.” The issue of Same Sex couples using the venue was already being spoken about at Living Springs, “we’d already had this conversation and that was the words I felt Bob [McCoskrie] was trying to put into my mouth that we were bullied into it, we answered that [we were not] but he’s gone ahead with that story anyways.”

Aldridge finished the interview with a challenge to us all, “I felt really proud of [Living Springs] in the end that we had, I suppose, the humility to say ‘well we haven’t always been right in this thing.’”

To clear up one issue with this whole thing. The law is clear, and it hasn’t changed since Same-Sex marriages were legalised. There is no ambiguity. If you hire a venue to the general public then you must abide by the Human Rights Act of 1993. This doesn’t allow discrimination in twelve main areas, one of which is ‘sexual orientation’. If you hire your venue to the general public for marriages, now that LGBTI couples can marry, then you cannot withhold the venue from them because of their sexual orientation. Prior to marriage equality, if your venue made itself available to the general public and that same LGBTI couple wanted to use it for a birthday party, or a baby dedication, or any kind of celebration that you’d hire it to any heterosexual person for, you also couldn’t refuse them because of their sexual orientation. There is no difference in the law.

I gave Family First the opportunity to retract or correct their statement about Living Springs informing them of the interview I had conducted and the information that came from that interview. They have refused to do so. It is now unequivocally clear that Living Springs were not ‘pressured’ or ‘bullied’ or ‘forced’ into making this policy change. They chose to, and were happy to change.

The full unedited interview with Denis Aldridge is below.

 

Update: 15/04/2016, 3.30pm

I’ve just been contacted by one of the people who I asked to speak to Bob McCoskrie from Family First claiming there is an inaccuracy in the post which I obviously want to correct. Bob maintains that the phrase “he declined to meet with them.” is inaccurate. Bob’s supposition is that the emails between them may be seen as a meeting and, as it was obvious that my representatives were going to support my position of challenging Family First, he felt there was no need to speak about the issue any further.

So, just to be perfectly clear, Bob did exchange emails with the people I asked to meet with him, in which he defended his position and said that there was no reason to meet.

There was no challenge to the accuracy of any of the other information I have provided in the post by either Bob McCoskrie or Family First.

What Bernie Sanders needs to do to win

Bernie Sanders has the momentum. He has won 6 primaries in a row and 7 of the last 8. Yesterday he received 80% of the millennial vote in the  Wisconsin Primary and there is a ground swell coming the likes of which American politics has never seen. With all this, it is still an uphill battle that most commemorators don’t think he will be able to climb to get that nomination for the Democratic Party to take on the Republicans in November.

He needs more

That ‘more’ comes in the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren who many believe will eventually come out to support Sanders but is currently keeping her powder very, very dry.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren need to come together and announce that she would be his running mate should he be elected as the nominee. She answers many of the questions that are being asked about with Bernie Sanders including the most recent “is he a Democrat anyways?” by Hilary Clinton. Any women still sticking with Hillary Clinton because she is a woman would then also have the opportunity to take the gender difference out of the equation as both sides would be breaking the glass ceiling for women on some level.

The usual process of nominating a running mate happens in either July or August so this would be an unconventional step for the Sanders campaign to take but one needs to ask what about this Sanders campaign has been conventional to date. It could also be a risky step for Warren to take as if Sanders does not get the nomination she may well be in the wilderness in a Clinton presidency.

Sanders has the momentum, Clinton currently has the numbers but watch this space.

 

Why there is no path forward for Ted Cruz

Of the three remaining contestants in the GOP run for President, Ted Cruz is the only one with no path forward.

I used to do a radio slot where I talked to a Conservative American contributor one week, then a Progressive American contributor in the same slot the following week. I’ve stayed connected to the Conservative contributor even though it’s evident by the stone wall of silence I get from him that he now wants nothing to do with me, however I enjoy going to his page and seeing what his followers and ‘friends’ are talking about. Steve Deace is a ‘major surrogate of Ted Cruz‘, as Carly Fiorina described respondeding to a tweet he sent out claiming she “goes full vagina” during a debate introduction, and he actively tells his listeners and followers that if they support Trump they need to unfriend him Trump Deace Cruzand not listen to his radio show. I wanted to explain a bit of background to this because my comments about Cruz having no path forward is in no way support for Kasich or Trump as I have been accused of on  Deace’s Facebook page so to my American friends and readers please take this post as a perspective from outside America from someone who follows your election process religiously and can see the pros and cons from many aspects..

Ted Cruz has no path forward for three reasons. He will not get to the magical 1237 delegates before the GOP conference, he will not be the front runner when it comes to the GOP conference and he is not the candidate that the conference establishment will get behind so he is stuck in no-mans-lands.

For Ted Cruz to win the nomination before the conference he need to win about 772 of the remaining 848 delegates (or 91%) to make it to 1237 which is the number of delegates needed to become the GOP Presidential nomination so we can eliminate that as a possibility immediately.

For Cruz to become the front runner, and by that I mean leader in number of delegates, before the convention he will need to win between 60% and 70% of the remaining delegates. Even if he was awarded all the winner take all states he would still need to win about 55%-60% of all the remaining proportional delegates. These numbers are highly, highly improbable even if we just give a big win to Trump in New York, which will happen, the equation falls over for Cruz.

Finally if no one receives the 1237 delegates outright we go to a contested convention and, as we have seen in the past, these conventions are usually controlled by the party insiders whom today are referred to with disdain as the ‘party elite‘ or the ‘establishment‘. The ‘establishmenthates Ted Cruz to the core leaving John Kasich as the only candidate left for the elite to support.

So Ted Cruz won’t get 1237 delegates, he won’t be the front runner, he is not going to be the establishment choice…so what next?

The obvious answer is that there is no path forward for him, he ticks no boxes that lead to him being the nomination…apart from one. The ‘anyone but Trump’ box.

The only way that Ted Cruz could possibly become the GOP nominee for President is either John Kasich drops out making Cruz the lesser of two evils with two non-establishment candidates, or is the establishment move away from their candidate in Kasich because they think that Cruz has a better chance of beating Clinton or Sanders in November. Unfortunately for Cruz in most if not all of the head to head Presidential polls over the past few months Kasich has out performed both Trump and Cruz leaving the establishment at the convention to justifiably put forward Kasich as the most likely candidate to beat either Democratic nominee which leaves Cruz’s only chance being Kasich dropping out which looks unlikely.

Whilst you never say never in politics, it seems to me that speaking logically it is highly unlikely any of the above possibilities for Cruz above will be the scenario for him to get the nomination which leads me to believe that there is no path forward for Ted Cruz to be the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election.