Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: The Libertarian Party National Convention

The Libertarian Party is the first out of all the political parties to hold their National Convention to officially select their nominee for president for the general election on November 8, 2016. The Libertarian National Convention started on May 27th and will run until May 30th at the Rosen Centre Hotel and Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who was the 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee, is the 2016 Libertarian Party presidential nominee. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is the 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee.

The next challenge for Johnson is to be included in the general election debates. The debates require that a candidate needs to have 15 percent support in five national polls to be included. Johnson is entering the general election in a good place. Prior to him receiving the nomination he was included in two national polls, the Monmouth University poll where he received 11 percent support and the FOX News poll where he received ten percent support.

Unlike the Republicans and Democrats who rely on a series of primaries and caucuses to award delegates to the candidates prior to the National Convention, the Libertarian party essentially has what the Republicans and Democrats would call a contested convention where the delegates vote at the convention for their candidate and a series of rounds determine the eventual winner. Only six states held Libertarian primaries or caucuses, all of which were non-binding.

The two big days of the convention are the 28th and 29th, as over those two days the presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee are selected. The field of candidates vying for the presidential nominee was almost as big as the Republican field was when the race first started with 17 candidates. Prior to the convention three candidates suspended their campaign bringing their field down to 14 at the beginning of the convention.

Saturday the 28th, the first round of presidential nominee voting was held and a candidate must have 30 votes from delegates to continue into the next round. Six of the candidates received enough votes to continue. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson came in first with 30.5 percent of the votes. Founder and owner of The Libertarian Republic Austin Petersen came in second with 14.3 percent of the votes. Owner and Managing Editor of Free Press Publications Darryl Perry came in third with 14.2 percent of the votes. Founder of McAfee, Inc. John McAfee came in fourth with 13.1 percent of the votes. Anesthesiologist Marc Allen Feldman came in fifth with 12 percent of the votes and technology industry employee Kevin McCormick came in sixth with 6.1 percent of the votes.

The top five finishers competed in a debate at the convention Saturday night that was also broadcast on C-SPAN. Sunday morning in the second round of voting no candidate received the required majority vote and Kevin McCormick was eliminated leaving five candidates left for the third round. In the third round, the second round of Sunday, Gary Johnson won the 2016 Libertarian party nomination for president.

The Libertarian vice presidential contest was the most hotly contested competition at the convention. Three of the nine vice presidential candidates are attached to presidential candidates, which doesn't mean that if their presidential candidate gets the nomination that they will too. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is running with Governor Gary Johnson. Blogger and self described hustler Judd Weiss is running with John McAfee. The Call to Freedom radio host William Coley is running with Darryl Perry. The candidates running for vice president with no attachment are Alicia Dearn, Daniel Hogan, Kerry Douglas McKennon, Jeff Mortenson, Larry Sharpe, Derrick Grayson, and Mark Stewart.

Saturday night, the vice presidential candidates that received at least ten percent support participated in a debate. William Weld received 25.5 percent support, executive business consultant Larry Sharpe received 25.3 percent support, trial lawyer Alicia Dearn received 18 percent support and William Coley received 10.3 percent support. To qualify for the vice presidential elections on Sunday, candidates must get a minimum of 30 delegates to vote for them prior to Sundays voting. On Sunday, William Weld, Larry Sharpe, Alicia Dearn, William Coley, Judd Weiss, and Derrick Grayson all qualified. The first round of voting on Sunday resulted with no winner. On the second round, Weld won with 50.5 percent of the vote.

The Republican party will be the next to hold their National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, from July 18th through the 21st. Billionaire Donald Trump has secured the required delegates for the nomination from the Republican party. The Democratic party will follow the Republicans holding their National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25th through the 28th. As of the time of writing, former New York Senator Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee. The Green Party will be having their National Convention at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, from August 4th through the 7th. As of the time of writing Jill Stein is the presumptive Green Party nominee.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

An open letter to the Libertarian Delegates at the National Convention

I am not the kind of Libertarian that you generally like. I am a Republican-Libertarian and my politics fall into both the Republican and Libertarian spheres so I am not a pure Libertarian. In past general elections I have voted for George W. Bush and John McCain. I have also in past general elections voted for Gary Johnson and Harry Browne. While I may not be the kind of Libertarian that you generally like, I am the kind of Libertarian you should consider while casting your votes tomorrow. You will need to appeal to other voters like me, who fall across platforms and are not pure Libertarians to win the general election.

This election year, voters are screaming for a real candidate. A candidate that they can feel good about voting for. A candidate that won't ruin America. Donald Trump, the now nominee for the Republican party, is the most hated Republican candidate. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party, is the most hated Democratic candidate.

This means that 2016 is the year for a Libertarian president. This also means that how you vote your delegates is extremely important and requires consideration. Former New Mexico Governor and the 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee is a strong candidate. In 2012, he collected the most votes for president, including mine, of any Libertarian presidential candidate. He is a strong candidate to carry the party to The White House. He is the only presidential candidate left that would bring gubernatorial experience to the race – this even includes the Republican and Democratic candidate and presumptive candidate – and has a platform that both discouraged Republicans and Democrats can get behind. Both Trump and Clinton alienate subsets of American citizens with their platforms while Johnson has a platform that can unite all Americans. Johnson has also received 11 percent and 10 percent support in two national polls, putting him close to being in the general debates, something that the Libertarian candidate will have to be a part of if they want to win this year. We have all seen Trump debate. We have all seen Clinton debate. We have all seen Johnson debate. Out of the three there is one clear winner, who doesn't look like a raving lunatic screaming on the stage. The clear winner is Johnson. Give him the chance to win over America.

John McAfee has some great ideas, but would be hard to get elected due to his background. Austin Petersen also has some great ideas but has the same issue that Barack Obama had when he took office, too little experience. This isn't meant as an insult to either McAfee or Petersen. In my mind, either one would be far better than Trump or Clinton. However, Johnson is the one that can bring in the most votes to the party.

For vice president, William Weld has let down the Libertarian party before. I know this. However, he is also the former Governor of Massachusetts. A ticket with two former Governors on it would make the Libertarian ticket the most qualified ticket out of the three parties. Weld may not be as pure a Libertarian as you would like, but he is the kind of Libertarian that will help bring in Republican and Democratic voters, which are necessary to win The White House. Only a ticket that can bring in voters from all three platforms will win The White House. Allow Johnson to have the vice presidential candidate that he needs to bring in the big win.

In short, when casting your votes tomorrow, consider all the candidates for president and vice president and vote for the candidates that can make 2016 the year of the first Libertarian president.

Thank you for your time,
Ken Johnson

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: The presumptive nominees start their general campaigns

Tuesday in Oregon presumptive Republican presidential nominee billionaire Donald Trump faced himself in the Republican primary and, although Oregon is still counting the ballots, is the presumed winner with 66.6 percent of the vote. The Beaver State had 28 delegates up for grabs, and awards their delegates proportionally, and while final disbursement isn't fully known yet Trump collected 17 delegates so far. Ohio Governor John Kasich, who previously suspended his presidential campaign, is continuing his streak of doing better not campaigning than when he was by collecting three delegates so far from Oregon. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has also previously suspended his presidential campaign, has also collected three delegates so far.

The Sunday prior to Tuesday's primary, former Republican nominee hopeful Doctor Ben Carson, who is on Trump's vice presidential search committee, released Trump's vice presidential shortlist of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Cruz, Kasich, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Since his release of this list, Carson has now recanted the list.

Trump will next face himself in the Washington state Republican primary on May 24th.

The Democrats faced off in Oregon on Tuesday as well. The Beaver State is still tabulating the Democratic votes. As of now Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is presumed to have won the Beaver State taking 56 percent of the vote; former New York Senator Hillary Clinton collected 44 percent of the vote. Oregon is awarding 61 delegates and the final disbursement is still being tabulated, however, Sanders has collected 34 delegates so far and Clinton has collected 25 delegates.

The Bluegrass State also held a primary on Tuesday and Clinton and Sanders essentially tied in the state; Clinton technically won collecting 46.8 percent of the vote and Sanders came in second with 46.3 percent of the vote. Kentucky had 55 delegates up for grabs which Clinton and Sanders will be splitting down the middle collecting 27 delegates each.

After Tuesday's primaries Sanders still trails Clinton by 274 delegates, not counting superdelegates. Sanders has to take California, by a massive margin, or he has no chance of overtaking Clinton.

The Democratic PAC Priorities USA Action has already started launching advertisements attacking the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Trump.

Clinton and Sanders will next face off in the Virgin Islands caucuses on June 4th and the Puerto Rico primaries on June 5th before the do or die day for Sanders on June 7th when California, along with Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota, will all hold Democratic primaries and caucuses.

First up with their national convention, the Libertarian Party will select their presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee in Orlando, Florida, from May 27th through May 30th.

The next The Campaign Trail 2016 edition for the Republican party will be after the results from Washington state on May 24th, the next edition for the Democratic party will be on June 5th after the Puerto Rico results covering the 4th and 5th, and the Libertarian party special edition will come out the weekend of the 21st prior to their convention.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Trump vs. Trump and Clinton vs. Sanders

After the tumultuous events in Indiana, Ohio Governor John Kasich, the only remaining opponent to billionaire Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, suspended his campaign leaving Trump alone in the Republican race. Tuesday night in the Nebraska Republican primaries Trump expectedly won the state but with only 61.4 percent of the vote. The Cornhusker State is a winner take all state so Trump walked away with all 36 delegates. On the same night in West Virginia Trump won the primary with 77 percent of the vote. The Mountain State is a proportional state with 34 total delegates to award. The full breakdown isn't available yet but so far Trump has collected 30 of the delegates and Kasich has collected one, meaning that Kasich is probably doing better not being a candidate than when he was a candidate. Tuesday night leaves Trump 103 delegates away from claiming the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump will go on to challenge himself in the Oregon primaries on May 17th.

Despite gaining endorsements from some notable Republicans, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the list of Republicans stating that they won't vote for Trump, under any circumstances, is growing to include such notable Republicans such as President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York Governor George Pataki, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan has started meeting with Trump to figure out ways to unite the fracturing Republican party, however it is clear that there are Republicans that will not be united behind Trump in 2016. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a Republican turned Libertarian who is the likely Libertarian presidential nominee, needs to get his name out more along with his platform to bring the Republicans that will not vote for Trump over to the Libertarian party for 2016 before Former New York Senator Hillary Clinton woos them into being a Democrat for 2016.

The Democrats also had a primary in West Virginia where 29 delegates were at state. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the Mountain State with 51.4 percent of the vote. Clinton only received 35.8 percent of the vote. Sanders collected 18 delegates and Clinton collected 11 delegates. This brings Sanders' delegate total up to 1433, and he has 40 superdelegates pledged, and Clinton's total up to 1716, and she has 524 superdelegates pledged. Sanders needs to collect roughly 90 percent of all remaining delegates to win the Democratic nomination (roughly 86 percent if you count superdelegates) and Clinton needs to collect roughly 63 percent of all remaining delegates to win the Democratic nomination (roughly 14 percent if you count superdelegates).

Sanders and Clinton will face off next in Oregon and Kentucky on May 17th.

Return after the results on May 17th for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Democratic Infighting

A group of concerned United States citizens, fighting for transparency in elections, fairness, and opposed to superdelegates, have started #DropOutHillary, a new movement against former Senator Hillary Clinton in an attempt to get her to drop out of the Democratic presidential primaries so that the elections are fair and the second place candidate can take the number one spot. Regardless of the fact that when superdelegates aren't considered the Senator from Vermont is still in a distant second place, #DropOutHillary is attempting to convince Clinton that she has lost the race and get their candidate into first place, regardless of what the voters have said.

Surprisingly, the former Secretary of State has not yet announced that she has suspended her campaign.

Meanwhile, across the deep blue Pacific Ocean, far from the United States mainland but not that far from Indonesia, a small island noted for their tropical beaches and sunken warships held their Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday. The tropical island, dominated by the Chamorros, heavily went in favor of Clinton giving her 60 percent of the vote. Senator Bernie Sanders only received 40 percent of the vote. Guam had seven delegates that were bound through the caucuses and they awarded Clinton four of the delegates and Sanders the other three. While overall this contest was essentially a draw, Sanders was hurt the most as Clinton continues to edge closer and closer to the required delegate count to win the Democratic nomination as he continues to trail by a large amount.

Back on the mainland, reliable reports indicate that Clinton continues her campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

In the northwest where the American rain forests are located, finalized reports have come in from the Evergreen State's Democratic caucuses that were held on March 26. Sanders won Washington State with 72.7 percent of the vote but was only awarded 25 delegates out of the 101 total delegates that Washington had on that date. Clinton had only been awarded 9 delegates. Sixty seven of Washington's 101 delegates are awarded based on performance in the congressional districts. Washington has finally completed all the calculations and has given Sanders an additional 49 delegates so Sanders ended up receiving a total of 74 delegates from Washington state and they awarded Clinton an additional 18 delegates so she ended up with a total of 27 delegates.

The press corps still report that Clinton is continuing her campaign.

Return for continuing coverage of The Campaign Trail 2016 after the Democratic results in West Virginia on May 10th are released and after the Republican results in Nebraska and West Virginia on May 10th are released.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: And Then There Were Four (A.K.A. Four Little Politicians)

Since Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland held their primaries on April 26th there has been a bustle of political activity.

In under a week, the alliance between Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich has already dissolved. The details on what broke up their happy marriage aren't fully known, but smart money says the irreconcilable differences came up when Kasich found out that when he was eliminated from mathematically getting the Republican nomination he was supposed to announce his vice president and at that time, Cruz failed to notify him of that fact. Since Kasich has still not announced his vice presidential pick yet, it is becoming clear that no one other than Carly Fiorina was willing to sign on to a campaign that can't become a Republican nominee.

The Hoosier State was a winner take all state for the Republicans and last night billionaire Donald Trump ran the table. Trump collected 53.3 percent of the vote, with Cruz taking second with 36.7 percent of the vote, and Kasich coming in last with 7.5 percent of the vote. Indiana is giving out 57 delegates which moves Trump up to 1,047 of the required 1,237 delegates for the Republican presidential nomination. The Republicans only have nine more primaries before the 2016 Republican presidential nominee campaign is over. The next Republican primary is in Nebraska on the 10th. After the primaries on April 26th, Trump was the only Republican candidate that could still win enough delegates to win the nomination outside of a brokered convention.

“I'm sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed,” said Cruz in Indianapolis, Indiana, as he ended his campaign to become the Republican nominee for president last night. “Together we left it all on the field in Indiana, the voters chose another path. And so, with a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism, for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign. But hear me now, I am not suspending our fight for liberty.”

And with those words, there were two Republican candidates left in the race; Trump who can see the finish line, and Kasich, who fell off the track ages ago and hasn't yet recognized it.

Last night, Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, tweeted, “.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton”

With Priebus' tweet last night it is obvious that the Republican party is going to accept Trump as their nominee and do not expect to have a brokered convention. As to why Kasich has still not dropped out is a mystery that only he knows.

So far there has been no news on whether Kasich is currently courting Fiorina to be his vice presidential nominee.

For the Libertarian party, last night's events can only be seen as good. After the news spread that Cruz had suspended his campaign and Trump had become the presumptive Republican nominee, Google searches for the Libertarian party surged.

Graph from Google Trends 5/3/16

Whether the searches were done by Cruz followers looking for another choice or Republicans looking for another choice is unknown. What is obvious from the data is that voters do want another choice and are looking at the Libertarian party for that choice. The Libertarian National Convention occurs in Orlando, Florida, later this month from the 27th through the 30th. This event can't come soon enough for the Libertarian Party. Trump has already started attacking Clinton, who he presumes will be the Democrat Presidential Nominee, and Clinton has already started attacking Trump. The Libertarians need to start working on aggressively going after disenfranchised Republicans as well as going after disenfranchised Democrats, of which there will be many when Senator Bernie Sanders inevitably suspends his campaign. If the Libertarians want a chance at winning this election they must bring in voters from both of the other national parties as well as getting their name in the public light.

On the Democrat side, Sanders won The Hoosier State last night with 52.7 percent of the vote. Clinton came in second with 47.3 percent of the vote. Despite Sanders winning Indiana, the night was a loss for the Senator from Vermont. Indiana is awarding a total of 83 delegates and so far Sanders has collected 43 of the delegates and Clinton has collected 37. This only narrows the wide gap between Clinton and Sanders by six delegates leaving a gap of 321 delegates between the two candidates (This is before superdelegates are considered.). Without superdelegates considered Sanders needs to collect 87.9 percent of all unawarded delegates, with superdelegates he needs to collect 84.5 percent of all unawarded delegates. Clinton on the other hand needs to collect 60.3 percent of all unawarded delegates without superdelegates and 15.6 percent with superdelegates. Based off of his past performance in the 2016 campaign, Sanders has no possible chance of getting the necessary delegates. With superdelegates Clinton will easily grab the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democrats only have 13 primaries and caucuses left with the next one on the 7th in the territory of Guam.

For the next Campaign Trail 2016 Republican update, return after Nebraska's primary on the 10th. For the next Campaign Trail 2016 Democratic update, return after Guam's primary on the 7th. As always, news on the Libertarian party will be as it occurs and a Special Edition Libertarian pre-National Convention update will come out the weekend of the 21st.