Hillary Clinton Archives - Page 7 of 124 - SaintPetersBlog

Mitch Perry Report for 11.20.16 — Bill de Blasio’s big moment?

In New York City today, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to give a “major speech” on the presidential election’s impact on the city. De Blasio wants help from the feds to pay for the additional security costs in dealing with the fact that the president-elect’s home is literally in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

The NYPD has already put about an additional 50 officers on each shift during daytime hours to manage the flow of traffic in the immediate area of Trump Tower, de Blasio said Friday, and he wants Washington to help pay for overtime costs.

Although being mayor of New York already presents a huge national platform, de Blasio’s profile could grow larger as a dominant liberal voice in opposition to the new Donald Trump administration, along with the usual suspects (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, etc.)

“The mayor has an enormous opportunity to stand up on behalf of New Yorkers and our values. Lots of New Yorkers are afraid of Trump and the mayor can be their voice,” political consultant Howard Wolfson, who advised Michael Bloomberg and served on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign team, told the NY Post on Sunday.

It also may help him as he begins his quest to be re-elected in 2017.

If you’ve followed de Blasio’s tenure to date so far, you know it’s been somewhat checkered, to say the least, following 12 years under Bloomberg. Scorned by conservatives, he hasn’t exactly fired up his own liberal base, and his poll numbers have been pretty average throughout his first three years.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week shows the populace split in half as he received a 47/47 percent approval rating. However, that was his BEST rating since January and up from a negative 42/51 percent approval rating in August.

However, that same poll shows that by a  49-39 percent margin, NYC voters say they don’t support his re-election. To date, no major players have surfaced to challenge the mayor, but there’s still nearly a year for a serious opponent to surface.

Another big mayoral election will take place a year from now in St. Petersburg, where Rick Kriseman’s poll numbers have been solid, though he could be vulnerable if a strong challenger emerges.

In other news …

Local reporters/pundits discussed the 2016 presidential election at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club on Friday.

Donald Trump has been busy nominating men for his Cabinet, including Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Bill Nelson says he’s withholding judgement on his Senate colleague.

Eckerd College president Donald Eastman is one of 110 college presidents to pen a letter to president-elect Trump on the need to speak out against violence being committed in his name.

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Donald Trump opponents try to beat him at the Electoral College

Grassroots campaigns have sprung up around the country to try to persuade members of the Electoral College to do something that has never been done in American history — deny the presidency to the clear Election Day winner.

Activists are circulating online petitions and using social media in hopes of influencing Republican electors to cast their ballots for someone other than President-elect Donald Trump and deprive him of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become the next occupant of the White House.

“Yes, I think it’s a longshot, but I also think we’re living in strange times,” said Daniel Brezenoff, who created a petition in favor of Hillary Clinton and is asking signers to lobby electors by email or phone. “If it was ever plausible, it’s this year.”

Trump has won 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, with Michigan undecided, but Clinton is on pace to win the popular vote by at least 1 million ballots. Trump’s opponents are motivated by the outcome of the popular vote and by their contention that the businessman and reality TV star is unfit to serve as commander in chief.

Just one elector so far has wavered publicly on supporting Trump.

Texas Republican Art Sisneros says he has reservations about the president-elect, but not because of the national popular vote. He told The Associated Press he won’t vote for Clinton under any circumstance.

“As a Christian, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Trump is not biblically qualified for that office,” he said.

He said he has heard from ecstatic Clinton supporters and even supportive Republicans, but also from outraged Trump backers writing “threatening and vile things.”

Sisneros signed a state party pledge to support the GOP’s standard-bearer, but that was before Trump was the official nominee. He said one of his options is to resign, allowing the state party to choose another elector.

Electors are chosen by party officials and are typically the party’s most loyal members. Presidential electors are not required to vote for a particular candidate under the Constitution. Even so, the National Archives says more than 99 percent of electors have voted as pledged throughout the nation’s history.

Some state laws call for fines against “faithless electors,” while others open them to possible felony charges, although the National Archives says no elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged. In North Carolina, a faithless elector’s vote is canceled, and he or she must immediately resign and be replaced.

Layne Bangerter and Melinda Smyser, two of Idaho’s four Republican electors, said they have been flooded with emails, telephone calls and Facebook messages from strangers urging them to reconsider their vote.

“It’s just not going to work,” Bangerter said. “I hope it dies down, but I don’t see that happening.”

The volume and tone of the messages caught the attention of Idaho’s secretary of state, who urged the public to remain civil as electors prepare to cast their ballots on Dec. 19 while meeting in their states.

Republican Party officials in Georgia and Michigan said their electors also have been bombarded with messages, and Iowa reported increased public interest in obtaining contact information for electors.

Michael Banerian, 22, one of Michigan’s 16 Republican electors, said he has received death threats from people who do not want him to vote for Trump. But he said he is undeterred.

“It’s mostly just a lot of angry people who don’t completely understand how the process works,” said Banerian, a political science major at Oakland University.

P. Bret Chiafalo, a Democratic elector in Washington state, said he and a small group of other electors from the party are working to contact their Republican counterparts and ask them to vote for any GOP candidate besides Trump, preferably Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

Under the Constitution, the House — currently under Republican control — decides the presidency if no candidate reaches the required electoral vote majority. House members choose from the top three contenders.

This isn’t the first time electors have faced pressure to undo the results of Election Day.

Carole Jean Jordan, a GOP elector from Florida in 2000, recalled the “unbelievably ugly” aftermath of the recount battle between George W. Bush and then-vice president Al Gore, a dispute that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court leaving Bush’s slim margin intact and handing him the presidency.

Jordan said Florida’s electors were inundated with nasty letters from people saying they should not vote for Bush. Police kept watch over her home until the electors convened in Tallahassee to cast their votes. They stayed at the same hotel, guarded by security officers who also escorted them to cast their ballots at the state Capitol.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Local media figures dissect the 2016 presidential election at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club

While some parts of America are ecstatic and others scared in the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking presidential victory earlier this month, most others are simply thankful the whole long, ugly, divisive campaign is history.

Then there is the political class, who in opinion pieces and discussions on cable news, continue to chatter about what led to perhaps the biggest political upset in modern U.S. history.

The Tampa Tiger Bay Club hosted their debriefing of the election on Friday with four local reporters and or/pundits to break it all down.

“This election had nothing to do with James Comey, WikiLeaks, nothing to do with the lack of Latino turnout,” declared Peter Schorsch, the proprietor of SaintPetersblog.com and FloridaPolitics.com (i.e. the owner of this website who pays this reporter’s salary). “Do you want to know why Donald Trump won? Go back and watch ‘The Big Short,’ he said, referring to the 2015 adaptation of the Michael Lewis authored tome from 2010 depicting different players who understood how the financial market was ready to collapse in 2008.

“People lost their 401K’s. They lost their retirement. They lost their houses. They lost trillions of dollars worth of wealth. That’s why Donald Trump won. All the other stuff is basically window dressing.”

Schorsch and Patrick Mantegia, the editor and publisher of Tampa’s La Gaceta trilingual weekly newspaper, were by far the most opinionated of the four media figures asked to weigh in. WFLA Newschannel 8 anchor Keith Cate and Tampa Bay Business Journal reporter Janelle Irwin, on the other hand, tried hard to not stray too far into opinion during the hour long forum held a the Ferguson Law Center in downtown Tampa.

Mantegia, a lifelong Democrat who says his paper’s editorial slant looks at events through “Hispanic-colored lenses,” said the fact that Hillsborough County is becoming more Democratic and more Hispanic means it will probably no longer maintain its status as one of the preeminent bellwether counties when it comes to presidential elections in the future. “I don’t think we will represent the nation in voting as much as we used to,” he surmised. Hillary Clinton won Hillsborough County by seven percentage points on Election Night, while Trump took Florida by 1.2 percent.

Cate talked about having the privilege of being able to cover much of election in person, beginning in Iowa in January, through the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia and deep into the fall. “I got to watch the fascination with Donald Trump, the fascination with Bernie Sanders. They were the stars of this campaign.” Clinton, on the other hand, struggled to draw large crowds. “I don’t want to say she couldn’t draw a crowd,” he said, but in comparison with Trump and Sanders, “you can see she had some work to do.”

Manteiga admitted that while all of his close friends and family members supported Clinton, there was zero excitement for her campaign.

“There are some who think this will be a whiter, ‘Christian-er’ America,” the La Gaecta editor said regarding what the election results mean. “I think that there are people who want simple solutions to our complex problems. And they are complex problems,” he said, referring to solving issues with health care, Social Security and Medicare. “Making America Great Again was a great way of coming up with simple solutions to difficult problems, and I think that people just wanted something to happen.”

“I think it was more of a feeling,” added Cate. “I just think it was a feeling: Let’s do something else. There were feelings that were thrown out more than there were issues thrown out, so I would say it was an issue change election.

The mainstream media has been blasted from all angles in the wake of the election upset, and Trump’s shaking off of the presidential “pool” reporters during the campaign and this past week in New York City has alarmed much of the media, concerned that Trump won’t play by the established rules in working with the Fourth Estate.”

“There are very legitimate questions whether or not he’s going to continue that practice once he’s in the White House,” Irwin continued. “Are White House press correspondents going to have press access  the way that they traditionally have always have ? There is no law saying that they have to. In that sense, there’s something to worry about.”

Irwin also says that the disdain and contempt for reporters that was expressed by Trump and his supporters at nearly every one of his rallies has her concerned.

“We were demonized, and it wasn’t just the people who were covering the campaign, it wasn’t just the press pool, it was a sweeping generalization of all media, and now you have a constituency of people who are following Donald Trump and listening to his words as if they’re some sort of biblical mandate that the media is bad.,” she said, adding she worries what might happen now when people don’t like the content of a reporters’s story. “Is that going to come back and hurt us from the stance of being safe? That’s my concern.”

Cate said he believed that there is bias in the media “that leans left,” but stressed that “it doesn’t mean you can’t hold people accountable from both sides.”

Schorsch said he believed that there would now be a “horrible overreaction” by the media after missing out on the election’s ultimate results. “They’re going to want to interview every angry white guy over and over again for the next 18 months in a quixotic attempt to figure out what went wrong because they didn’t listen to them before.”

Mantiega said that it may not productive to spend too much time trying to understand the ramifications of the election because of the singularity of Trump.

“Maybe John Morgan can be come the next governor in the state of Florida,” he contemplated, referring to the Orlando attorney, major fundraiser and biggest proponent financially in getting medical marijuana legalized in Florida.”An outspoken Democrat who can speak the truth and be for the little guy even though he’s a rich guy driving a limousine. I really don’t know if you can learn from him.”

Both Manteiga and Schorsch said the Florida Democratic Party needs to look hard at themselves and the people they keep hiring to get the same poor results.

“We’re not doing something right,” Manteiga said. “We continue to have these people there, where it seems it’s okay to lose. You still get the same paycheck.”

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In job growth, blue states outpaced red states in past year

States that voted for Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential election reported stronger job growth in the previous year than states that supported Donald Trump, according to data released by the Labor Department Friday.

Large cities in states where voters were more likely to support Trump also lagged in job growth, a separate analysis by Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, a job search website, also found. The figures add credence to the idea that economic concerns contributed to Trump’s unexpected victory.

Eleven U.S. states reported healthy job gains in October, and the unemployment rate fell in seven, the Labor Department said Friday . Thirty-four states reported little change in employment from the previous month.

The healthiest gains in the past year were in so-called “blue” states: Job growth was 3.5 percent in Washington state, the biggest gain nationwide. Oregon reported the next largest gain, at 3.3 percent. Other healthy increases were in Colorado, California and Nevada.

There were exceptions to the trend: Florida, which supported Trump, saw hiring rise 3.1 percent in the 12 months ending in October, the third-highest total.

But the smallest increases were in so-called “red” states that voted for the Republican candidate. Job growth was just 0.7 percent in Pennsylvania, 0.9 percent in Ohio and 1 percent in Wisconsin – three Midwestern states that handed 48 electoral votes to Trump.

And two states lost jobs in the past year: Wyoming and North Dakota, which have been hit by falling oil and coal prices. They both voted for Trump.

Overall, the differences weren’t huge: Job growth in blue states was 1.7 percent in the 12 months ending in October, compared with 1.5 percent in red states, according to Kolko’s calculations.

But there are similarities in the city data. Six of the ten metro areas with the slowest job growth were in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. Allentown and Scranton, both in Pennsylvania, lost the most jobs of any city nationwide.

Nationwide, the economy picked up in the fall even amid the contentious presidential election. Americans ramped up their shopping and applications for unemployment aid fell to a four-decade low, a sign layoffs are scarce.

That’s prompted steady hiring, though it has fallen from last year’s pace. Employers added 161,000 jobs nationwide in October, enough to reduce the unemployment rate over time. The rate slipped to 4.9 percent from 5 percent in September.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Bill Nelson will “reserve judgement” regarding Jeff Sessions nomination as Attorney General

If Bill Nelson is concerned about the fact that his party appears to be in tatters following last week’s election, he wasn’t letting on while addressing reporters in Tampa on Friday afternoon. Nelson will be one of 25 Democratic Senators up for re-election in a map that already looked foreboding for the Democrats before Hillary Clinton lost in the electoral college to Donald Trump in the race for the White House next week.

“I only know one way to run, and that’s to run as hard as I can as if there’s no tomorrow,” he said, adding that whether it was Governor Rick Scott or another Republican challenging his bid for a fourth term in the Senate representing Florida, he’ll continue to run in that mode.

“I always say that I run scared, and that’s the way to win,” when asked about the fact that Scott spent more than $75 million to capture the governor’s mansion in 2010, and this time will have the power of the White House behind him in Trump.

The President-elect made more news on Friday by naming Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and former Defense Intelligence Agency head Michael Flynn to his administration

Some Democrats have reacted in alarm to the naming of Sessions to be the next Attorney General,  who in 1986 became only the second federal judicial nominee in 50 years to be rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee for his comments in part regarding his comments on civil rights. 

Nelson said little about how he might vote on Sessions when he comes up for a confirmation vote next year. “I will certainly reserve judgement if he is the nominee until we go through the hearings and it comes to the full senate for a vote,” he said at a press conference at his downtown Tampa district office. “I can tell you that Jeff Sessions and I have worked on a number of pieces of legislation together in a bipartisan way and I’ve always had a very good working relationship with him.”

Last year the two worked on a bill that would reduce the number of H-1B visas from 85,000 to 70,000 a year. The filing of that bill came following reports Disney and other companies are using the visas to cut costs at the expense of American workers.

Nelson said he was briefed a few years ago by Flynn regarding an issue in the Intelligence Committee, but said he didn’t know him personally and because he wasn’t subject to confirmation in the senate, he had nothing else to say about him.

Regarding concerns from Latinos and Muslims about a Trump presidency after his tough rhetoric in the campaign about those groups, Nelson took a relatively laid-back approach, saying there was no reason why anyone needed to be fearful of a Trump presidency. “Look at the Constitution,” he said. “Its always worked for almost two-and-a-half centuries now. So I want the American people to stop worrying.”

The Florida Senator was not so benign when discussing Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News who was named last Sunday by Trump to serve as his chief strategist. Critics have said he holds racist and anti-semitic views based on some of the provocative reporting that’s gone on the Breitbart News website led by Bannon.

“If all these things are true about him and if he holds those views that have been articulated, if not by him by the organization he heads, then I think that is quite problematic, but again, the Senate has no role in that because the President ought to be able to have who he wants surrounding him, and in that case it is not subject to Senate confirmation,” he said.

The Democratic Party as a whole appears to be just beginning a period of soul searching after the election. That includes an upcoming election to choose a new leader of the Democratic National Committee, as well as a challenge now to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s reign.

Regarding the DNC, Nelson told this reporter that “we obviously need somebody really good, and I think that person should be a full time DNC Chairman. Beyond that I have not made any judgements. ”

By saying that however, he’s effectively icing out Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Congressman and favorite of the progressive wing who of course, already has a full-time job serving in the House.

And of the challenge to Pelosi, the 76-year-old San Francisco Representative who’s led the House Democrats for 14 years now and seen dozens of seats go from blue to red in recent election cycles?

“That’s in the bosom in the House,” Nelson declared.”I wouldn’t dare to speak for the House.”

Nelson said if Trump is sincere about seriously investing in the country’s crumbling infrastructure, he’d have a willing partner in himself. “We’ll just have to take it issue by issue.”

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Donald Trump taps conservative Kansas congressman for CIA

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump‘s pick to be director of the CIA, is a hard-line Republican congressman who shares the president-elect’s pugnacious worldview and, like Trump, spent years as a businessman before becoming a politician.

Pompeo has heavily criticized the landmark Iran nuclear deal, blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya and her use of a private email server, and believes Edward Snowden is a traitor who deserves a death sentence. He also supports restoring the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone metadata, a contentious terror-fighting tool Congress eliminated after Snowden’s revelations.

Before taking over the spy agency, the Kansas lawmaker has to be confirmed by the GOP-led Senate. One issue that could dominate the confirmation hearing is Pompeo’s view on using harsh interrogation techniques on detainees. Trump has backed these techniques, saying, “We should go tougher than waterboarding,” which simulates drowning.

During the campaign, Trump suggested that he would push to change laws that prohibit waterboarding and other harsh techniques. He said that banning those methods puts the U.S. at a strategic disadvantage against Islamic State militants.

Pompeo two years ago rejected accusations that U.S. intelligence and military personnel were “torturers” for harshly interrogating terror suspects captured after 9/11. “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots,” Pompeo said in 2014 after the Senate released its report on the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA.

In a statement Friday, Pompeo said he was “honored and humbled” to accept Trump’s nomination. He called the decision to leave Congress difficult but said the “opportunity to lead the world’s finest intelligence warriors” is a call to service that he could not ignore.”

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who will be the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence committee beginning in January, said in a statement that he would vigorously oversee the CIA to ensure it adheres “to America’s principles and international obligations.”

Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, said Friday he was “heartened” by Trump’s decision to pick Pompeo, calling him a “serious man.”

Pompeo, 52, was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010. He served on the House Select Benghazi Committee to probe the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The panel’s final report this summer sharply criticized the Obama administration for a series of mistakes but produced no new evidence pointing to wrongdoing by Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time.

Pompeo and fellow Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, however, issued a separate report slamming Clinton and the administration. Pompeo called the former first lady and senator “morally reprehensible.”

He also has been a fierce critic of the nuclear deal with Iran that President Barack Obama has championed. The accord granted Tehran sanctions relief for rolling back its nuclear weapons program. Pompeo has said Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks if they do not denounce violence carried out in the name of Islam.

“They must cite the Quran as evidence that the murder of innocents is not permitted,” he said in a 2013 House floor speech.

A member of the House intelligence committee, Pompeo denounced Snowden, a former NSA contractor who stole and leaked highly classified documents to journalists, revealing the agency’s program for gathering the phone records of millions of Americans.

During an appearance on C-SPAN in February, Pompeo said Snowden should receive the death penalty for his actions.

“He should be brought back from Russia and given due process and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence,” Pompeo said.

Snowden, who spoke Friday from Moscow via a video link during an event of the Norwegian chapter of PEN in Oslo, Norway, criticized Pompeo’s selection to lead the spy agency. “In my country, the new CIA director believes dissidents should be put to death,” Snowden said.

Pompeo also has fought against Obama’s attempts to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and opposed moving prisoners to the U.S., including Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He has maintained the detainees at Guantánamo are well taken care of and in May 2013 downplayed the extent of a hunger strike by prisoners. Pompeo, appearing on MSNBC, said it looked to him like they had put on weight.

Pompeo was born in Orange, California, and lives in Wichita, Kansas. He enrolled as a teenager at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated first in his class in 1986. According to biographical information on his House website, Pompeo served as a “cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was editor of the Harvard Law Review.

After college, he set up Thayer Aerospace and was its chief executive officer for more than 10 years. Later he was president of Sentry International, a company that sold equipment for oil fields and manufacturing.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Martin Dyckman: Our ‘flawed’ Electoral College, mistrusting the people

When the news flashed on Facebook before the election that Queen Elizabeth II had offered to take us back, some people failed to recognize it as one of Andy Borowitz‘s deft satires from the New Yorker.

And some, I’m sure, now wish it were true.

Afterward, a friend in Britain wrote to offer refuge — many thanks, Bob, but not yet — and remarked that “there must be a flaw in a system which produces such an outcome.” He was “rather surprised at how many people failed to vote.”

That flaw is the Electoral College. For the fourth time in our history, and the second in 16 years, it has given the presidency to the candidate who polled fewer votes — significantly fewer in this case — than his principal rival.

That is hard to explain — actually, it’s indefensible — even to our own people. How can a country that calls itself a democracy tolerate it?

The founders didn’t trust the people.

“Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast,” Alexander Hamilton is supposed to have said to his bitter enemy, Thomas Jefferson.

“The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God,” Hamilton told the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second…”

So they created a republic, not a democracy. In particular, they didn’t trust the people to elect a president. They meant for the less populated states to have an outsized influence. That had a lot to do with protecting slavery.

There is still no guaranteed right to vote, though it can no longer be denied on account of race, color, gender, or to persons over 18.

In the Federalist papers, Hamilton remarked that presidential selection was the least controversial aspect of the pending Constitution.

It would be “made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station … A small number of persons, selected by their fellow citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to so complicated an investigation.”

 The electors have long since been reduced to ceremonial functionaries (do you know or even care who yours are?), but the mechanism and the malapportion persist. Wyoming’s three electors each represent 187,922 people. A California elector speaks for 677,354. The Wyoming voter has more than three times the weight of one in California.

Among the 16 smallest states and the District of Columbia, Hillary Clinton actually won more electors — 39 — than Donald Trump, who had 29. But those 29 were eight more than his winning margin. The eight small states that he won have barely one percent of the U.S. population, but they accounted for 10 percent of his electoral votes.

Another feature of that founding flaw is that it discourages turnout in any state where the vote isn’t expected to be close. If that Wyoming voter is a Democrat and the California voter is a Republican, their votes don’t matter at all. With direct election, every vote would weigh the same. The presidential campaign would not be confined to a dozen or so “battleground states,” those that neither side can take for granted.

So, what can we do about this?

For one thing, we could amend the Constitution. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has introduced a bill to do that. But this will likely be the last you hear of it. Amendment requires a three-fifths vote in each house (not two-thirds as I erroneously wrote recently) and approval by three-fourths (38) of the states. Democrats are short of even a majority in those categories and Republicans are quite unlikely to favor reform.

That’s because every candidate who won the popular vote and lost the election was a Democrat:

— Andrew Jackson, 1824. With four candidates splitting the electoral vote, the House had to decide and gave it to John Quincy Adams instead. Jackson spent the next four years railing about a “corrupt bargain” and wiped out Adams in 1828.

— Samuel J. Tilden, 1876. He led by some 250,000 votes, but a Congressional commission awarded the electors from Florida and two other disputed states to Rutherford B. Hayes, who promised to withdraw federal troops from the South and end Reconstruction. That really was a corrupt bargain.

— Al Gore, 2000. Florida’s famously fouled up vote-count was decisive for George W. Bush by the official margin of 537 votes

— Hillary Clinton, 2016. Her national popular vote margin and her electoral vote deficit are both larger than Gore’s.

There’s another remedy, simpler and more feasible than a constitutional amendment. The Constitution leaves it to the legislatures to determine how electors are chosen.

Under an active proposal called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, states would instruct their electors to vote for whoever wins the popular vote. Ten state legislatures and the District of Columbia have already agreed to this, but it’s effective only when states representing 270 electoral votes, the majority, have joined. The 11 account for 165, more than halfway there.

But it’s hard to see where the remaining 105 electoral votes could be found. All 11 present members of the compact voted for Clinton. The other states she carried would add only 47 more votes, and most of them have Republican legislatures, as do most of Trump’s states.

What would it take to persuade the Republicans?

A reverse of 2000 and 2016 could do it: A Democrat loses the popular vote but wins 270 or more electors. That’s a long shot, but it’s not inconceivable. A moderate Republican in the mold of George H.W. Bush could hold the Democrats to narrow victories in the swing and safely blue seats while winning by large margins in the others.

Trouble is, it’s hard to imagine a moderate being nominated by the GOP in its present mode. If the popular vote is to prevail in the near future, the Democrats may just have to nominate stronger candidates, show a more compelling sense of purpose, and run better campaigns than they did this year and 16 years ago.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

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Blaise Ingoglia announces he’s running for re-election as Florida GOP chair

Announcing earlier than he intended to do, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said Thursday he will run for re-election to his post next January.

“I was hoping to announce this after Thanksgiving so everyone could spend time with their families and give everyone a much-needed break from politics, but the events of today will not allow me, or us, that luxury,” Ingoglia wrote on his Facebook page. “I want everyone to know that I will indeed be running for a second term as the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.”

The “events of today” Ingoglia was referring to was the announcement earlier Thursday that Sarasota state committeeman Christian Ziegler will challenge Ingoglia for party chair.

In his statement, Ingoglia said when he declared his candidacy for chairman two years ago, he promised “much needed reforms” and delivering the state’s 29 electoral votes to a Republican presidential nominee.

“We not only delivered on our promises, we delivered historic wins for Sen. Marco Rubio, our Congressional delegation, our Florida Legislature, and delivered by winning the State of Florida for the first time since 2004 for now President-elect Donald Trump. I humbly ask for your continued support as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.”

In addition to serving as party chair, Ingoglia was just re-elected to his House District 35 seat in Hernando County, and makes his living as a home builder.  A New York City native, Ingoglia developed a side career as a skilled poker player, and years ago began producing a series of videos and seminars called “Government Gone Wild,” where he decried the rising federal debt.

In January of 2015, he upset incumbent Leslie Dougher in the race for party chair. Dougher was Gov. Rick Scott’s handpicked candidate, and afterwards he took the hundreds of thousands he had raised out of the party’s account and put into his own political committee, “Let’s Get to Work.” Later, Senate President Andy Gardiner followed suit, removing more money and putting it into the Senate Republicans’ fundraising committee.

Nevertheless, speculation that schism would hurt the party in last week’s election proved not to be the case, with Trump defeating Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percent, a seismic achievement in a state both candidates desperately fought to win.

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Tim Kaine says he’s not going to run for president in 2020

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says he’ll seek re-election in 2018 but is ruling out a presidential bid in 2020.

The former Democratic vice presidential nominee said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that his place is in the Senate and his decision not to run in 2020 is final.

“Period. Full stop,” Kaine said.

With a heightened national profile after campaigning across the country for more than three months as Hillary Clinton‘s running mate, Kaine could have chosen to pursue his own White House ambitions or tried and play a leading role charting a reeling Democratic Party’s direction in the Donald Trump era.

But the first-term senator and former governor said he belongs in the upper chamber, where he will be part of a Democratic minority whose ability to filibuster will be “the only emergency brake there is” on Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.

Kaine has already been a vocal critic of Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as a senior advisor. Kaine said Bannon’s ties to white nationalism and anti-Semitism disqualify him from a senior role in the White House.

Kaine said he would continue to guard against the “normalization” by Trump of what Kaine said were un-American values, but he added that he’s keeping an open mind about the billionaire businessman’s presidency.

“I have a lot of concerns, but I don’t think it’s fair to the administration to just assume everything that was said during the campaign will be done,” Kaine said, noting that Trump had already shown some post-Election Day flexibility on issues like gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act.

Kaine said there were some issues Democrats could work with Trump on, including increased infrastructure spending and raising the tax rate on carried interest, which is often used by managers for private equity firms and hedge funds to reduce tax payments.

Kaine said he plans to use his higher national profile to continue to advocate for issues he’s long cared about, notably on increasing Congress’ role in war-making powers.

“I’ve been willing to stand up and do that with a president of my own party and I tell you, I’m sure going to be willing to stand up to President Trump,” Kaine said.

Kaine has twice come close to being vice president. He was on President Barack Obama‘s shortlist in 2008 and many expected Clinton to win this year.

On the campaign trail this year, the deeply spiritual Kaine often told supporters that the election would work out the way things are supposed to.

Kaine said Clinton’s loss was “hard” to take, but didn’t shake his faith that the outcome was for the best.

“Maybe the whole reason I’m in the Senate was less being in the Senate when there was President Obama, who was a friend of mine. Maybe the reason I’m in the Senate is for the next four years,” Kaine said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

 

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Jonny Torres to challenge Deb Tamargo for chair of Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee

Jonny Torres, currently vice chair of the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee, has announced he will challenge incumbent chair Deborah Tamargo when the party holds elections next month.

Although the GOP had a big night nationally and in Florida last week, Torres said the results out of Hillsborough were disappointing, and he believes it’s time for a change in leadership.

“Today, we bear little resemblance to the organization we once were,” Torres wrote to party members on Wednesday. “Those of you who don’t miss a meeting know that we’ve been struggling month-to-month to make quorum. We are losing more members than we are adding every month. And we have lost the influence and relevance in the community and among our elected officials that we once had. While we can certainly celebrate our national and statewide victories, locally we did not gain a seat we didn’t already hold, and we have lost an incredibly important seat in State Attorney Mark Ober. As an organization, what do we have to show for the last two years? We have no gains in membership or elected offices, and Hillsborough County was delivered to Hillary Clinton by 31,000 votes.”

“Jonny’s opinions are just — opinions,” Tamargo responded. “They aren’t based in fact. Analytically, we gained votes in the presidential race even though we still lost Hillsborough to Hillary.”

Hillsborough did go big for Clinton last week, but unlike most recent presidential elections, it was not a bellwether for the state, as Donald Trump edged out Clinton by 1.2 percentage points in Florida. Trump received 266,281 votes in Hillsborough County, 18,259 more votes than Mitt Romney received  in the county in  2012.

And while upstart Andrew Warren did defeat Ober in the biggest surprise of the night as Torres noted, the Democrats failed in two big House races they thought they had a legitimate shot at winning in the county — with Shawn Harrison defeating Lisa Montelione in House District 63 by 2 percentage points, and Dover’s Ross Spano easily vanquishing Rena Frazier in the House District 59 race.

In the biggest state Senate race in Hillsborough, Republican Dana Young defeated Democrat Bob Buesing by nearly 7 percentage points in the SD 18 seat.

In the only open County Commission seat, Democrat Pat Kemp beat Republican Tim Schock. Schock had easily defeated former longtime commissioner Jim Norman in the August primary. GOP District 1 Incumbent Sandy Murman won another four years by beating Democrat Jeff Zampitella.

Tamargo has led the Hillsborough Republicans since December 2014, when she defeated former chair Deborah Cox-Roush. She said she welcomes all challengers.

“Two years ago, when I decided  to run, I and the other board candidates were denied meeting time to declare our intention to  run, and denied time to speak about our platforms,” she said. “We were only allotted five minutes at the December election meeting to speak, which included a nomination and second. That was one thing I wanted to change, and did change, to offer new candidates time for their background and platform to be known and understood by the membership.”

Torres works in marketing and advertising. He served as digital director of the Republican National Convention in 2012, was the the regional field director for the Republican Party of Florida, and worked on Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s successful campaign victory over Alvin Brown in 2015.

He said he intends to soon unveil his plan to recruit and develop candidates with a nine-course candidate training, “featuring local, state, and national experts.”

The election will take place Dec. 20.

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