Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Steyer, Buttigieg and Klobuchar are out pre-super tuesday

Below are some charts I've created to demonstrate the current primary process. I've included the republican primary results also for comparison It's worth noting that since some states hold a no contest, I've included that information as no data in the proportional charts.

What we can deduce from these charts are a few things. We can see how candidates would be doing if delegates were given out based on populate vote for each state rather than having to meet a certain threshold or win certain counties. I will also touch on how this system helps and hurts certain candidates. We can also try to use this information to speculate how a state my vote in the general election.

So if we look at the chart below, we can see the real values and proportional values of delegates before super Tuesday. What's most interesting is that in the proportional chart, the race is much closer and Sanders does not have as strong of a following as the delegate count makes it out to seem. Additionally, Candidates like Klobuchar, Warren, and Steyer have much more support than the delegate count reflects. That makes it unfortunate that candidates like Steyer, Klobuchar, Buttigieg, and even Yang dropped out before super tuesday. Only about 6% of the total delegates needed are awarded so far, so ending a campaign so early on seems like giving up too soon.

I understand that many of them believed they did not stand a chance at winning, and this is true. If they would have stayed in, there would be less chance for anyone to get the total delegates needed to win. This would have slowed the process and made it come across that the party was divided. But I would argue that forcing candidates to unite together an pull their delegates at the convention may be more diplomatic and unifying than candidates dropping out early and endorsing another candidate. It's very off-putting to voters to invest time, energy, and money on a candidate, just to see them essentially give up without a fight and endorse another candidate with differing opinions on the off-chance they my be considered for a position within h new administration if they'd win the general election.

Personally, I'd much rather see the candidates duke it out and unite as one at the convention after everyone has had their primary. This primary has shown how if you aren't one of the early states, there's no point in following the candidates since most will be gone by the time you'd get to vote anyways.

The other reason many dropped out was to compile votes so that Sanders wouldn't have as much of a led since many believe that having so many moderate candidates was breaking up the moderate vote and that by reducing them to a single candidate that that would help that candidates chances to defeat Sanders. Biden was that pick. I do think that is a valid concern, but I also think it's disheartening that the only viable option is that. Sanders is popular so something about his message and personality must resonate with voters. Maybe instead of trying to reduce the candidate pool to beat him, candidates should emulate some of his ideals to embrace his supporters rather than push them further way. 

Going about it in this way, it's going to make it very difficult to unite the party as one come election time. This polarization already exists within government at a federal level, and we've seen the impact it has. Allowing it to occur at the party level will not yield different results. But the Biden camp is not at any more fault than the Sanders camp. They should both be working to entice the other's supporters. This polarization may cause them to lose the general election. It's well known that many Bernie supporters support the idea of "Bernie or bust". This means that if Bernie would not be the nominee, they will not vote. It's unclear if Biden supporters would be of that mindset if Sanders would win. Regardless, we need political figureheads that will work to unify a divided country. Not divide it further. It will be interesting to see if candidates like Tulsi Gabbard or Elizabeth Warren may garner any additional support from having the other candidates drop out. It will also be interesting to see if Mike Bloomberg's mass spending will help in in these super Tuesday states. Only time will tell.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Democratic and Republican Primaries for 2020, The Nomination Process, and the Electoral College

So I've been following the 2020 primary relatively closely and have figured out some information that you likely will not hear about in the media. After South Carolina votes on Tuesday, the democratic party will have awarded 5.87% of the total delegates needed to clench the nomination and the republican party will have awarded 8.31% of their delegates.

On super Tuesday, March 3rd, the democrats will award 67.2% of the delegates needed to clench the nomination and the republications will award 65.35% of their delegates. That means that after Super Tuesday about 75% of the total delegates needed will already be determined by 18 of 50 states that have voted. Generally this is the make or break point for a lot of candidates when they take a long hard look at their campaigns and see if it's worth staying in the race. 

This also means that if you are one of the 32 states that votes after Super Tuesday, your state generally has far less options for nominee and the impact of your decision has far less impact on the grand scheme of things. Generally the states voting orders do not fluctuate too much so is it really fair to have states like Maryland, Connecticut, Indiana, New Mexico have little determination of the nominee since they vote so late in the cycle.

I also wanted to show that the nomination process is not always reflective of the proportional vote. Below, you can see the real results vs the proportional results of the democratic and republican nominations. If you look at the charts, the order of how everyone is doing remains the same in both charts, but the front-runners win by far less then they do in the real vote. Bernie Sanders claims that the person who wins the popular vote should be the nomination. Based on the proportional chart and the real chart, that would be him, at least as of right now. But it would be by a much slimmer margin that what the real results show.

How the nomination processes are decided and even the electoral college voting have both been heavily contested issues in recent years. I personally think that they could both be reformed but I also understand why the parties do it this way. In the nominations, it's a method to weed out the lower performing candidates earlier in the process so that a winner can be more decisively determined when the time comes.

In the election, the electoral college gives states with lower populations a say. If the electoral college was to be done away with, farmers and other rural citizens would not have much say and thus candidates would only feel the need to visit populated areas where they could garner the largest number of votes. These states would likely see a decline in people moving to them as a result and their economies would likely decline. I understand the purpose of the electoral college, but I also think it needed revision. 

For the nomination processes, I'd recommend removing super delegates for democrats; for republicans, allow all states to vote in the primaries regardless of if the sitting president is republican. And then for both parties, switch out which states get to vote first every so often and also allow voters to vote for their top 3 candidates. That way, it would give a more realistic idea of who really resonates with the country and would also encourage voters to familiarize themselves with more than one candidate so that when the time comes to unite under a single candidate, the party is more satisfied with the result. How that result would be calculated I can not say but if I had to make a call, I'd say first place would get 5 votes per person, second would get 3 votes, and third place would get 1 vote.

For the election process, since candidates are no longer being weeded out, I think the popular vote has more pull here. But I still do not think it should be decided that way, because of the reasons above. I think the electoral college is not a bad thing but the way it decides elections is. The founders didn't intend for political parties to be a thing and the electoral college gives them too much power in determining the winner. I think instead, the electoral college should be forced to vote reflective of how their constitutes voted, rather than a winner takes all. If this was to happen in 2016, neither delegate would have had enough votes to clench the nomination and  would have had join a coalition with one of the smaller parties like the libertarian and potentially the green party in order to win. This coalition would give smaller political parties a say (which is what the electoral college currently tries to do with the states), and lead to more collaboration within government, which would lead to less polarization, more legislation being agreed upon and passing, and more unity between the country.  

Just some food for thought.

For clarification of how the proportional delegate count was determined...
I looked at the total votes cast for each state and the total delegates awarded for that state. I then proportionally determined how many delegates each should get. In general, I rounded to the nearest whole number, but if by doing so, it would change the total number of delegates, then I would not and would just give whichever candidate had the higher percentage the additional delegate. I then took the total number of delegates for each candidate and added them together. If you look at the republican proportional chart, you will see a section called no data. This is for states like Nevada or South Carolina which do not vote if the sitting president is republican and instead just award their total delegates toward the sitting president.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

October 2020 Debate Winners and Losers

In my opinion, the democratic debate is hardly a debate.A debate has structure, principal, gives everyone a chance to speak for a roughly equal time, and allows for all to have their voices heard. If you look at how it's structured, clearly favoritism is shown and it's not even subtle. Higher qualifying candidates are closer to the center. They are the ones that get 3/4 of the questions. The lesser candidates are often seen as an afterthought and are typically asked for their thoughts on another major candidate's policy as a means to circle it back to that candidate. This is not how a debate should be. When candidates like Warren get to speak for 22.58 mins and candidates like Steyer only get 7:12 minutes, it's very clear that this is not fair. That being said, based on what limited time the candidates did have to speak, I tried to determine who made the best use of their time and who did not. and without further adieu, hear are my rankings for the 2019 October democratic debate

1. Biden
2. Warren
3. Buttigieg
4. Sanders
5. Klobuchar
6. Yang
7. Steyer
8. Harris
9. Booker
10. O'Rourke
11. Gabbard
12. Castro

1. Biden
While I do think Bidden was the overall winner of the night, I don't think it was from anything additionally he brought to the table. While He and Warren are very much neck and neck in the race, the other candidates seemed to find warren to be the larger threat and spent the time targeting her rather than Biden. He did manage to bring up some valid concerns in other candidates plans like the medicare for all plan that Warren and Bernie are pushing. But he also floundered when asked about his son's remarks to the news. He had to know that question would come up, but had no good response for it. It was also clear that he stumbled across his words quite often and would get flustered, but due to him being able to maintain his current support by flying under the radar, I feel he was the top winner of the night.

2. Warren 
Speaking the most of any candidate of the night,6.5 minutes, more than the next closest candidate, she was primarily on defense mode. All the candidates identified her as the top dog to beat and she was forced to bat off attacks for the night. While she handled most of the attacks rather well, she was reluctant and unable to provide in depth context for if her tax plan would raise taxes for the middle class. Biden was trying to yank it out of her and eventually managed to get an answer of who would have taxes raised. While I don't think she lost too much support from the debate, I do think that she suffered worse than Biden did.

3. Buttigieg
No matter what the topic, Buttigieg seemed to find a way to get involved and attack the other candidates on the issues. While he has been one of the higher polling mid ranng candidates, I think this debate likely elevated him to be a stronger contender in the race. He called out other candidates, poking holes in their ideas, calling for a more moderate approach to the liberal democratic ideas, but often did not provide solutions of his own. I think he certainly will have the largest surge in popularity of any candidate after this debate, but he will need to formulate more substantive ideas if he plans to continue for the long haul.

4. Sanders
Sanders has energy and passion, and made it perfectly clear that his medical issues are not affecting it in any way. While he did possibly hold back a little bit more than he might typically have, I think his spirit and devotion to country still came across strong.There were times when he could have chimed in to defend Warren on policy they both supported, but I think he may have been trying to distance himself from her a little bit. Being the two most liberal democrats running, and being the lower polling of the two, it's growing more important for him to highlight his differences so he can continue to be seen on his own, rather than an extension of Warren's campaign.

5. Klobuchar
This debate was a make or break moment for Klobuchar. She knew it and so did everyone else. It was clear she brought her A game to the table. Personally, I think it may have been a little too late, but she certainly brought up some strong arguments, called out her rivals stating that their are alternative solutions to tackling the democratic issues facing us, and providing a more moderate voice within the democratic party.

6. Yang
Yang was one of the candidate whom spoke least at the debate, no longer able to riding the high from his eccentric idea of $1,000 a month for everyone.Though it still came up during the debate, his primary stand out moment was his attack on system automation and Microsoft's Bing. I place him here because despite the fact that he didn't speak near as much as some of the other candidates, when he did, it was well planned and he chose his words carefully to create maximum impact.

7. Steyer
Like Yang, Steyer didn't speak much during the debate; the least in fact speaking only for a total of 7:12 minutes. Like Yang, Steyer spoke with purpose, choosing his words carefully. Since it was his first debate, unlike the other candidates, he was forced not only to find a way to stand out, but demonstrate his qualifications also. He heavily highlighted his financial successes, making sure to demonstrate how he has been far more successful in business dealings than Trump. But he had no major stand out moments to garner additional media attention.

8. Harris
Harris had a largely underwhelming performance in the debate. Many of her comments came off flat any she seemed to have more difficulty resonating with the audience than many of the other candidates. I don't specifically think her debate performance will negatively affect her campaign, I don't see a surge in her support based on the performance.

9. Booker
Much like Harris, Booker's performance was underwhelming. I was half tempted to rank him above her for the debate, because I think he stood out more than she did. But because of his strong presence in previous debates, he had built himself up to be a powerful candidate. But when the most common response in the debate is, "Hey guys, let's not fight. We can't be taking each other down if we want to have any home of defeating Trump". And while that may be true, it's a debate, not a slumber party. The point is to beat your competition. Seeing him act in such a passive way, I did not feel he performed better than Harris.

10. O'Rourke
O'Rourke actually spoke more during the debate than Sanders or Buttigieg, but if you saw the debate, you likely wouldn't believe it. He didn't really stand out. He did piggyback off some democratic talking points, but in general, was very underwhelming and failed to standout from the crowd.

11. Gabbard
Gabbard had a chance to shine here. She had destroyed Harris in an earlier debate, but had failed to qualify for the September debate. This was likely the last debate she'd qualify for. She failed to bring the flame. She spoke regarding global conflict, but Buttigieg had brought the fire and quickly shut her down. She had a second moment when asked about being the youngest on the stage, and while she could have used the opportunity to highlight an issue or rebuttal against another candidate for additional talking time, she wasted the opportunity.

12. Castro
I initially forgot Castro was on the debate stage. He seemed to bring very little to the table. After his attacks against Biden at the last debate, I expected Castro to be in attack mode once more, perhaps against Warren but any remarks he did make failed to provide a sufficient impact.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Why we should change the Electoral College

So, many of you have heard the term "Electoral College" and may or may not be aware of what it is and what it does. On a very basic level, they are the ones who determine the next president.

They are an elected body of voters. There are 538 of them. A  candidate needs 270 votes to win. Each one represents a group of voters from a certain area. Some states have more representatives depending on their populations, but every state (and DC) at a minimum gets at least 3. When you go to vote, you are actually only voting for how you want your representing delegate to vote, and it is up to that delegate to accurately convey their constitutes views.

Well, in general, this elected body does a good job voting in line with how their voters think, but this is not always the case. Some states force delegates to vote according to their constitutes views, but some do not. And most states have a "winner takes all policy" meaning if a state has 8 votes for a democrat, 7 for a republican, and 2 for a third party candidate, then all 17 votes would be applied towards the democratic candidate only.

That is one of the main reasons why people argue the electoral college is bad. It does not always reflect an accurate vote of the country as a whole. Some people argue for eliminating the electoral college all together and instead just allowing the popular vote to decide. The reason the electoral college even exists is because the founding fathers believed that the common person was not informed enough to vote for the best candidate. And back then, that was probably true. Most people could not, or did not see or know a candidate or their political views. However, with the emergence of technology, this changed the political landscape.

With the invention of the automobile, radio, television, the internet, and now social media, most Americans today have seen, hear, or read about multiple candidates, which would have been unfathomable back then. That makes americans far more informed than they used to be, which leads to the question of why should we vote for a body of representatives to vote on our behalf rather than just vote ourselves?

The least populated state is currently Wyoming with a population of around 577,700. The most populated state is California with a population of around 39,560,000.  That's roughly 68 times the population of Wyoming. But California only has 55 delegates and Wyoming as 3. That means each California delegate represents around 719,273 people while each Wyoming delegate represents 192,567. This means that an individual in Wyoming has greater impact to influence the outcome than a California individual, so even though California may have a lot more people, a smaller state like Wyoming can still have the potential to impact an election.

That is a large reason of why Donald Trump was able to so easily defeat Hillary Clinton. While she received more popular votes, he was able to win in the smaller populated Midwestern states which was enough to counter the larger states she had won. He also won some larger states too, but the smaller states were able to impact why he won. Had the electoral college been eliminated, she would have won.

One thought that's very interesting to note though is that if the electoral college was still in place, but instead, we removed of the "winner takes all" policy and instead switched to a representational vote, what would the result have been. It would have made for a much closer race.

With this policy in place, none of the candidates would have enough votes to win and would need to unite with a another political party to reach the 270 number. This could have made for some very interesting politics as political parties would be forced to compromise and work together.This idea may also remove some of the political polarization from politics since parties would be forced to work with each other. To me, this idea seems to be a good once since it allows for a more fair version of the electoral college, while still allowing smaller states to have an impact, though potentially not quite as much as they otherwise would, but big states would have less impact also.

I think the biggest issue people seem to have with this idea is that it gives third parties a substantial impact in influencing the outcome of elections. Where they otherwise would have no chance of being willingly brought to the table, this new system could cause them to become an integral part in the election process and potentially increase their name recognition, membership, and standing within the political community.

Right now, the party system is very much like a monopoly. This idea would in a way, divide the monopolies to effectively to unite the people.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Shutdown

For those of you whom do not know. Since my last block post, I went from photographing trade-show displays and creating email blasts…  to photographing homes and creating real estate listings… to now working in DC as a federal Contractor. Now for someone with a political science and graphic design background, working in DC as a Graphic design contractor for the government is an ideal job.

The only issue is situations like what is happening currently, where the government being partially shutdown. Federal employees affected by this will either be furloughed and will be unable to work, will be required to work without pay, or will still be working but with less people around to assist them. In all past shutdowns, these individuals will receive backpay for time missed. The president and congress need to agree to pass a bill that will reimburse backpay for federal employees. It can never be assumed that it will happen for this shutdown too, but that has been the precedent of the past.

Contractors are a different story. There has never been a bill reimbursing federal contractors for back pay missed because of a shutdown. It’s not to say it won’t happen, but let’s be real here, if there is an issue with getting funding for a border wall, is there really gonna be additional money for back pay for contractors. Probably not. Now, not all federal contractors will be affected by the shutdown either, but chances are that if you are an affected contractor, you’re gonna be a little more concerned than a federal worker, because chances are you will not receive back pay.

There is the option to file for unemployment during this time, which from what I have read, both contractors and government employees can do, though I was told by another source that contractors can’t, though I do not know it to be true as of yet. I will find that out if this shutdown continues and I am forced to take that next step.

I will say that in the department I work in, which has a very even blend of political ideology, there is no one whom has openly agreed with Trump’s idea to shutdown the government until he gets funding for his border wall. About 1/3 say that the border needs to be better secured, but none have said a wall is how to do it. And a few have said that they wouldn’t mind the wall that as promised, but that they also wanted Mexico to pay for it, as promised. Not some roundabout trade deal that is supposed to eventually pay for it. (Personally, I don’t think we do enough “legal” business with Mexico to pay for the wall. Even in 100 years, I don’t think it would pay for itself).  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

An End All

What would happen if Wile E. Coyote caught the Road Runner? Or if Anakin could save his wife? Or if Littlefinger was able to win the affection of Catelyn Stark? All of these are impossible tasks, that, if they happen, would be an end all for the plot. Would Tom just continue living his life without Jerry, or would he feel an empty void and seek to find a replacement to continue his cat and mouse games?

Let's apply this to a none television plot. Take, for example, an explorer who spends their life trying to discover the secrets of the Mayan empire. Or a scientist that spends their life trying to find a cure for cancer. Or a guy who's trying to get out of the friend-zone with a girl? Or a person trying to get their dream job? Or even, a Donald Trump getting elected to the presidency? All of these are possible, but if and when they happen, it's like, "Where do we go from there?" Will an explorer be satisfied and never seek to explore again or will they feel that drive and desire to move on and explore the next mystery? And where would be the next step? Just some food for thought.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Organ Attack! Kickstarter game!

I just recently played a game called OrganAttack! IT was super fun and I highly recommend it.
It was a Kickstarter that was successfully funded and is now available for play. The game is simple. Each person is given a series of organs. Each person lays them in front for all to see. Each person draws 5 attack cards.  The attack cards contain diseases, vaccines, immunizations, and others cards. Your objective is to kill all organs of the opposing players. Whoever is the last one standing wins. Pretty simple right? There are a few more rules than that, like wild organs research, etc... but you'll have to buy the game to find that out.