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.

 

The GOP is not going to win the 2016 election and they know it. 

I admit it, I’m a political tragic. I watch, I read, I talk politics 24/7 often to the frustration of my friends and family. I love (that’s L-O-V-E) the American political system and its tendency to maneuver effortlessly between political animal, theatrical event and circus performance. I don’t admire the American political system…but it’s like a drug that I can’t get enough of.

I picked Barrack Obama to win in 2008 over a year out, and again in 2012 in fact I’ve been pretty good at predicting US results, and terrible with our own, maybe this is testament to how much I love watching the insanity that Jon Stewart calls ‘Democalypse 2012/2016″ etc…

I am in the middle of watching the two GOP debates on FoxNews and I wanted to state publicly that all the posturing that the candidates are doing is not going to make one jot of difference. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States and the Republicans know it.

Since 2007 the Republican Party has lost the votes of women, minorities and the youth. There has been nothing done to redress this issue, in fact since the 2008 election they have lost even more support from that segment of society. If all things were equal, and a political party was actively trying to attracted a demographic and doing a great job at it, it would take longer that one election cycle to achieve this. The current GOP front runners are not only not doing a good job at attracting back those votes, in many cases they are harming their chances of getting them even more putting at risk the ability to win in 2020 and 2024 as well.

The Republican Party know this as in evident in their attacks on Hilary Clinton already, 16 months out from the election they are already painting here as evil incarnate and blaming her for every negative position they are also throwing at President Obama linking the two as one.

Here is an example from the official GOP twitter account from yesterday.

ScaredofhilaryI think we all accept that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, but as she isn’t officially selected yet, it’s fascinating that the Republicans are attacking her and are scaring their base into action for 2016. Just watch how many of those kinds of tweets become talking points for ‘Joe the plumber‘ types in news interviews next year.

As ironic as it sounds, and maybe you’ll think me a little naive, but I believe that the only way that the GOP has any chance of taking down the Democrats and getting into the Whitehouse is if the nominee ends up being Donald Trump. The rationale behind this is a little unusual, as a wee bit disrespectful to Mr. Trump, but here goes.

The absolute ridiculous nature or having Donald Trump as POTUS will be so enticing to a sector of the American voting public that he might get the bump he needs. Think the ‘Bill and Ben Party‘ or ‘McGillicuddy Serious Party there is a protest vote that goes with that parody of a party that attracts disenfranchised and young voters. The problem is, Mr. Trump is not a parody, he is very much a real and active part of the American political landscape. I still don’t think that will be enough to get the GOP over the line…but my goodness that would be the best television political tragics like me, would have ever seen.

If the political gods are listening right now please, oh please, oh please let Donald Trump get the Republican nomination

 

Marriage Equality is the New Civil Rights Movement

It’s probably been fairly obvious for a while that I am a supporter of marriage equality.  I have always viewed same-sex marriage as a cut and dry case of civil rights. I believe that marriage is a governmental institution, not one that belongs to the church. Marriage, in its many forms, pre-dates the church. And as discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal in New Zealand, it is obvious to me that to deny same-sex couples the right to marry is discriminatory.

I myself got married fourteen years ago, on a bright winter’s day in June. I hardly thought about marriage as a right back then. All I knew was that I was in love with a beautiful girl and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It was a case of opposites attract, and we had no idea how much work our love was going to take, but here we are all those years later, and the cliché is true. We are more in love than ever before.

For us, marriage was a right of passage, the beginning of a journey that forced us to grow up like nothing else could. Statistically speaking, marriage improves every success marker for the couple and the children that may come from that marriage. Marriage done well makes everything better – and I can vouch for this. Marriage is also the ultimate gift. There is no other commitment quite like it. Marriage is the fullest demonstration of love that can be given from one person to another. It’s an amazing, life-giving transaction and it can only build stronger families and therefore stronger communities. Why would we want to withhold this incredible gift from anyone?

After watching Selma recently I finally came to the conclusion that the current battle for marriage equality is akin to the fight for Civil Rights in the 1960’s. Marriage equality is a civil rights issue. It has similarities with the world-changing battle that Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis and many others fought (and sometimes died) for. Marriage, for the spiritual, emotional, physical and legal benefits it offers, is a civil right.

In New Zealand we have been fortunate enough to have had both civil union and same-sex marriage legalised. But until same-sex marriage was legalised couples who were joined by civil union could not avail themselves of the Matrimonial Property Act, or adopt children. In other countries where same-sex marriage has not been legalised, gay couples are significantly disadvantaged. They are withheld rights to hospital visitations, medical decision making, adoption, parenting rights and automatic inheritance, among other rights.

John Lewia on Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965
John Lewis on Pettus Bridge in 1965

You may not recognise the name John Lewis, but he was with Martin Luther King on the bridge at Selma, and is considered one of the ‘Big Six’ civil rights leaders. He is the only member now still alive. He is a Christian and has been an American Congressman for more than 25 years. If there is anyone who has the right to compare the fight for marriage equality with the civil rights movement it is him. He was there in the thick of it then, and judging by his political and religious positions he is still in the thick of it today. There is literally no one else on the face of the planet who can look at these two issues, compare them, and speak to them with as much authority as John Lewis.

As a response to President Obama’s public support of Same-Sex Marriage Congressman John Lewis said:

Once people begin to see the similarities between themselves and others, instead of focusing on differences, they come to recognize that equality is essentially a matter of human rights and human dignity.

Even as early as nine years prior to President Obama’s public statement, John Lewis was beating the drum for marriage equality. In 2003, the man who was at the front of the march with Martin Luther King wrote an article for the Boston Globe that stated:

“I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions and they stink of the same fear, hatred and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.”

Sometimes it takes courts to remind us of these basic principles. In 1948, when I was 8 years old, 30 states had bans on interracial marriage, courts had upheld the bans many times, and 90 percent of the public disapproved of those marriages, saying they were against the definition of marriage, against God’s law. But that year, the California Supreme Court became the first court in America to strike down such a ban. Thank goodness some court finally had the courage to say that equal means equal, and others rightly followed, including the US Supreme Court 19 years later.

Some say they are uncomfortable with the thought of gays and lesbians marrying. But our rights as [human beings] do not depend on the approval of others. Our rights depend on us being [human beings].

John Lewis today
John Lewis today

He couldn’t be clearer; the fear and intolerance that leads people to seek to withhold the right for same-sex couples to marry is the same as the “fear, hatred and intolerance” that Lewis and the civil rights movement faced in the 1960’s.

As a follower of Jesus I want to be in the camp that stands up and speaks out for the disenfranchised. I want to speak up for those whose voice is not always welcome, not always heard. You can throw all the bible verses you like at me, and I’ll say simply that Jesus’ commandment to love one another trumps them all.

Some people may be unaware that the work I do for elephantTV is done jointly with my wife Idoya Munn. Although I am the presenter of the episodes, behind the scenes the project is carried 50/50 between us. This is the first post in a series, and we’ve written the next one together.

As I said in my earlier post, genuine comments and healthy, constructive conversation are welcome.

Eric Hartsburg to get tattoo of Romney/Ryan logo removed

You’ve probably seen this story, the man in Michigan who received $15,000 to get a Romney/Ryan logo tattooed on his face. He had said in numerous interviews that he would be keeping it for life but it appears he has gotten cold feet and wants the monstrosity removed.

Why you would ever do this is beyond me, but this morning I had the chance to catch up with Eric to get his reasons, his story and his political insights