Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1236,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Clinton (Finally) Opposes the Keystone Pipeline

After remaining silent for months on whether the Keystone Pipeline should be constructed, yesterday Hillary Clinton came out against it. What made her suddenly discover her inner environmentalist? Nothing Hillary Clinton does is ever accidental. She is an extremely careful person and every action she takes has been thought out and has a reason for it. What might the reason be? Well, for one thing, she is behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in New Hampshire and probably in Iowa as well. Vice President Joe Biden is getting closer to jumping into the race, and although he hasn't stated a position on the pipeline, if he wants to snag some of Bernie's folks, he'd better be against it. Then the pope is showing up tomorrow to address Congress and he is known to believe that God has instructed us to be good stewards of the earth. There are many Latinos in Nevada and most of them are Catholic and might be influenced by the pope. Nevada is an important state to win. Her calculations are all like that. The future of the earth isn't in the mix, but the Nevada caucuses are.

In all fairness to her though, a case can be made for a politician trying to figure out what the people (voters) want and being for it, even if it is not the politician's personal preference. When then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was appointed to the Senate to fill the rest of Hillary Clinton's Senate term after she became Secretary of State, Democrats on the left howled to the moon. She was a gun-toting right-wing hick from upstate. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a state and national powerhouse, took her under his wing and pressured then-governor David Paterson of New York to appoint her. Nobody says "no" to Schumer, so Paterson did as instructed. Within a few months, Gillibrand became one of the most liberal people in the Senate. When asked why, she basically said she was now representing the entire state of New York, not just a rural upstate congressional district. Nobody complained or asked: "What do you really believe?" She simply said her job was representing her constituents and her personal beliefs didn't matter. Hillary Clinton is not so explicit about it, but the idea is the same.

Clinton also moved left yesterday in another area: she attacked drug companies and insurance companies for price gouging. She said many of the drug companies spend more money on marketing than on research to find new drugs. Not surprisingly, these are issues Sanders has also raised and are important to his supporters. Again, she feels which way the wind is blowing and goes with the flow.

Super PAC Money is Not the Same as Campaign Money

The demise of Rick Perry's campaign and that of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) demonstrated something that was not really fully appreciated until now. Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate with campaigns. Now that seems pretty innocuous, and who is to know if the chairman of a super PAC just happens to be taking a nice walk in the woods to relax and at the same time and place the campaign chairman is doing the same thing. Hey, coincidences happen.

Nevertheless, there are some specific things super PACs cannot do for the campaign, including paying staff salaries, rent for campaign offices, phone bills, planes, hotels, ballot access fees, and more. Nor are they granted the special (low) preferential advertising rates on TV that campaigns get. So it can happen—and it happened twice already this cycle, with Perry and Walker—that the campaign was broke but the super PAC had lots of money but couldn't jump in and pay the campaign's bills. While super PACs can raise unlimited money from secret donors, campaigns have to raise it from donors $2700 or less per donor. It turns out, raising $1 million for a super PAC requires one generous millionaire but doing it for the campaign requires at least 371 donors, probably many, many more since few people will give $2700.

Bush Is Having Trouble with Sound Bites

As part of his ongoing move rightward, Jeb Bush criticized multiculturalism at an Iowa campaign event on Tuesday, asserting that "it's the wrong approach." This is bad politics, in at least three ways.

First, Bush was not condemning all forms of multiculturalism, but instead was specifically referring to ethnic isolation. The problem is that, in the modern media landscape, detailed answers like the one that Bush gave get boiled down to sound bites. As a result, serious—and sometimes damaging—misunderstandings result. No politician can be perfect in this regard, but Bush is having to explain himself far too often, whether on this issue, or his remarks about anchor babies or his thoughts on women's health care. Someone who aspires to be their party's presidential candidate cannot make such mistakes so frequently. Bush is campaigning as the grown-up in the room, but he hasn't fully realized that the media think (possibly with good reason) that the American people have the knowledge and attention spans of third graders, so they take a detailed and thoughtful statement on multiculturalism and turn it into: "Bush opposes multiculturalism."

Second, any Republican who hopes to become president will need minority votes—substantially more than Mitt Romney got. Slamming multiculturalism, or Muslims, or Mexican immigrants might be juicy red meat for the base, but if 93% of black voters, 73% of Asian voters, and 71% of Latino voters vote Democratic in 2016 (as they did in 2012), the Republican candidate will be toast. These voters will have to be courted at some point, and the last two months of the campaign is not enough time.

Third, and most importantly, Jeb Bush is famously married to a Latina, and speaks fluent Spanish. If he appears to be taking an anti-immigrant stance, or anti-minority stance, even one that is narrowly and/or specifically defined, he runs the risk of appearing to be a calculating opportunist, and of people wondering who Jeb Bush really is. Now, all politicians are calculating opportunists, of course (perhaps to the point of being psychopaths). However, they have to be able to disguise this. Some are better at it (the Clintons, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, JFK) and some are worse (Mitt Romney, John Kerry). At the moment, Bush is looking like he's on the worse end of the spectrum.

Obamacare Seems to be Working

On the health care front, a new publication from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has reported that 17.6 million Americans have gained health insurance since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago. Perhaps more importantly, the percentage of Americans who are uninsured has fallen from 38% to 12.6%. That is the lowest level in the nation's history.

The report is not entirely positive, as it predicts that the remaining 12.6% will be particularly difficult to insure, either because they are young people who don't think they need insurance, or because they are poor and unaware of credits that will help to defray costs. Still, it is clear that Obamacare is doing what it was designed to do. And those 17.6 million people will presumably be very protective of their newly-acquired health insurance, up to the point of going to the polls and voting defensively in order to keep it. As such, we have to wonder how long it will be until Republican politicians decide that declaring "repeal Obamacare!" does more harm than good (probably right around the end of primary season).

Does Business Experience Matter?

As former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina continues to rise in the polls, more and more people are starting to look at the question of whether business experience helps in politics. More generally, one can ask if experience matters at all. We had a detailed analysis of this question in 2008, when people were asking if then-candidate Barack Obama was maybe too wet behind the ears to be President. The conclusion was that there was little correlation between experience and greatness. For example, Abraham Lincoln, rated by historians as the greatest President, had almost no experience before entering the White House whereas James Buchanan, the second worst President, had 30 years experience in a state legislature, the House, the Senate, and the cabinet.

A new article examines whether business experience is valuable in politics. J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, a Democrat, said that while business leadership qualities are useful in politics, they are not enough. A key difference between a CEO and a President is that a President doesn't control the money. Congress does. So the President has to convince Congress to spend it as he wishes. Also, public opinion has little influence on most CEOs but a huge influence on Presidents, so a President needs to know how to work the media. Finally, corporations have no concept of "separation of powers." The CEO has all of it. Politics doesn't work like that.

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster
Sep22 Scott Walker Drops Out Again
Sep22 Did Fiorina Violate U.S. Law When CEO of Hewlett-Packard?
Sep22 The Pope Has Become a Political Football
Sep22 New Poll Shows Clinton Leading with or without Biden
Sep22 Republicans May Set Priorities This Month
Sep22 Congressional Campaign Committees Announce Their August Hauls
Sep21 Fiorina Zooms to #2 in New CNN/ORC Poll
Sep21 Ten Candidates Are One Percenters
Sep21 Report: Jill Biden Won't Stop Joe from Running
Sep21 Republicans Wrestling with Islam
Sep21 The Voting Machines To Be Used in 2016 Are Hopelessly Outdated
Sep20 Republicans Beginning to Worry about Trump
Sep20 National Parties Go after Big Donors
Sep20 Bush Profited from Governorship after His Term Was Over
Sep19 Trump Says He Will Spend $100 Million of his Own Money to Get the Nomination
Sep19 Brazil's Supreme Court Bans Corporate Contributions to Campaigns
Sep19 Fiorina Faces Big Crowds
Sep19 Obama Jumps into the Presidential Campaign
Sep19 Bush Says Obama is an American and A Christian
Sep19 Republicans Are from Mars, Democrats Are from Venus
Sep18 Fiorina Offers a Way to Reach Women
Sep18 Betting Market: Rubio or Bush Will Be the Republican Nominee
Sep18 Walker Reassures Nervous Donors
Sep18 Clinton to Give Keystone Pipeline View Soon
Sep18 Can Anything Be Done about Unlimited Dark Money in Politics?
Sep18 Will Apple Upend Politics?
Sep17 Republicans Yell at Each Other Instead of Debating
Sep16 What to Look for in the Debate Tonight
Sep16 Be Wary of Polls This Early
Sep16 Iowa Electronic Markets Predict Democrats Will Win the White House
Sep16 The Empire Strikes Back
Sep16 Could McCarthy Replace Boehner as Speaker?
Sep16 Is the Country Coming Apart at the Seams?
Sep15 Bush Debating How to Debate Tomorrow
Sep15 Fiorina Not Debating How to Debate
Sep15 Sanders Tries Reaching Out in Virginia
Sep15 Panic on Wall Street: Trump Could Win
Sep15 Could Hillary Pick Bill as Veep?
Sep14 Trump Is Ahead in the First Three States
Sep14 Sanders Leads in Two of the Early States
Sep14 Bernie Sanders' Southern Problem
Sep14 Poll Shows Clinton Beating Trump by Just 3 Points
Sep14 Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Not Mirror Images of Each Other
Sep14 Congressional Democrats Divided over a Biden Run
Sep12 Perry Drops Out
Sep12 Walker Drops to 10th Place in Iowa
Sep12 Number of Democratic Debates Will Not Change
Sep12 Sanders' Challenge in South Carolina
Sep12 Romney's Team Wants to Stop Trump
Sep12 Hillary Clinton's Email Problem Explained