Playing the Trump Tax Game

Playimg the Trump Tax Game

The decision of Donald Trump not to release his tax records leads to far more publicity and speculation, than if he had just released them. The game is one that Trump himself has initiated in the past in speculating on Barack Obama’s birthplace and called the Birther Movement. If I remember correctly, he had convinced a third of Republicans that Obama was not born in the US. Trump also called for then candidate Mitt Romney to release his tax forms, which Romney eventually did.  He also speculated, along with Fox News, that the FBI review of Clinton’s emails could result in charges.

When Romney recently called on Trump to release his tax forms, I thought he was just playing a payback game. Romney also claimed that there might be a bombshell there, which I wrote off as just part of the NeverTrump movement. It was only just recently that I recalled that Romney’s business was constructing off-shore tax dodges for millionaires. Romney, more than anybody, would know all of the tax exemptions, dodges, and loopholes available to a billionaire in the real estate business. When he warned of a bombshell there, he knew what he was talking about. In my opinion, the revelation to the voting public that Romney’s business was providing off-shore tax dodges hurt him in the election. The other think that hurt was the surreptitious taping of his belittling the 47% he saw as depending on the government and not paying any income tax.  Many of these people work but have low enough wages not to pay income tax.  An increase in the minimum wage would help these people and they would be glad to make enough to pay taxes.  This is not in Trump’s or the Republican’s plans.  These workers also pay payroll taxes for their future Social Security and Medicare.  They also pay state income tax, state and local sales taxes, and property taxes.

What Trump actually does with his billions is of little importance to the vast majority of citizens, since his world of high finance real estate, television stardom, evaluating the value of his name, etc., has nothing to do with our daily finances or tax situation. Of much more importance to the public is his tax plan for the public, whether he is going to run up the national debt or make severe government cutbacks, whether he is going to help trade and jobs or destroy them, whether he is going to precipitate an expensive war, and whether he is going to protect social security and medicare, as well as our health plans.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post points out all of the special tax exemptions available to real estate developers, including depreciation of the real estate value, and the deductibility of interest payments.  Another article pointed out that in order to get a building built in city, the city had to guarantee $400 million in tax exemption over a 40 year period. Another pointed out that if there was a loss in the investment, the investors would suffer, but not the Donald. Trump also fights over the value of a property on which property taxes have to be paid. This can range over a factor of 30. There is also the value of the Trump name, which he uses to boost his worth, but not his taxable wealth. Trump can have his income taxed as capital gains at only 15%, instead of the income tax highest rate of 39%.  Trump himself claims that he uses all available tax exemptions to pay the minimum taxes possible.

The use of tax exemptions is a supposedly, perfectly legitimate, aspect of the tax game. However, one thing that can cause an audit and delay a settlement is that the tax laws and their interpretation require the existence of tax courts and a bevy of lawyers to argue the cases. Another, as shown above, are the disputes over the evaluations of properties.  Further, the tax exemptions do not arise from the basic constitution, but are passed or slipped into bills by friendly congressmen. These congressmen are probably well funded by the parties interested in having them for their own tax situation.

It was also revealed by the Washington Posts’s Drew Harwell that Donald Trump had to release his 1978 and 1979 tax forms to the New Jersey gambling commission to get a gaming license. These showed the surprising result that he actually paid no taxes for those two years. The fact that a gaming commission could elicit his tax returns, but not the public, or the voters in his quest to become our president, is interesting.

I think that the question here is not how Trump’s tax lawyers minimize his taxes, but whether we want billionaires to have all of these tax exemptions. That is what really should be examined.

The general public is not going to be able to understand the hundreds or thousands of pages of Trumps’ tax returns. His effective tax rate and if he pays any taxes for a given year are the only data that would be useful, and these do not require a detailed account of his returns. Most of his tax exemptions are of no use to average tax payers. If he wanted to release these simple data, he could easily do so.

The end of the Trump Tax Game is probably that he uses ALL of the tax exemptions available to him, and, as with most billionaires, pays a very low tax rate.

It is only by not disclosing these two bottom line data, that this will remain an issue for the next six months.

Here is another surprise in the waiting: to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, all Presidents have put their businesses and investments in blind trusts. In Trump’s case, that would be a trust run by his family, which he obviously sees or communicates with every day. Since the release of his tax returns is only a voluntary contribution of openness and exposure of where he may have conflicts of interest, and Trump has refused to do this, he may be the first President who also refuses the voluntary act of putting his business in a blind trust, or disclosing areas where he may have a conflict of interest.

May we live in interesting times!


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Science, Facts, and the Trump Supreme Court Nominees

Science, Facts, and the Trump Supreme Court Nominees

Donald Trump has released his list of those he would nominate to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. My point of view here is that several of these justices have been Republican Party officials. That means that they have endorsed the Republican platform, which is in conflict with many facts, and in particular for this blog, the scientific facts of climate change.

The Republican platform asserts that climate change is not real, and most of the recent candidates supported that, with very unscientific arguments. Donald Trump had his own take on this, that it was a Chinese plot, to ruin our economy, that China actually depends on for the outsourcing it accomplishes, and for us to buy its products.

My only experience with the law was to serve on a jury, where we were told that to convict, the evidence had to have the weight of scientific fact. It is hard to imagine how these candidates could independently and scientifically judge this important issue. In fact, it is the Supreme Court’s upholding the clean air act as applied to CO2 and fossil fuel emissions that has allowed any progress on cutting back on these, since the Republican congress opposes any regulations.

Previously, I had not been concerned about which Supreme Court justices that nominees had clerked for, thinking it was just clerking. What I learned from a UCI law school discussion, is that clerks actually draft the rulings that the Justices edit and then give. Three of the eleven candidates clerked for Rehnquist, Kennedy, and Scalia, and three for Clarence Thomas, all rather conservative.

The Supreme Court has failed to recognize facts in several important issues. One of these is allowing the states to institute voter ID laws that discriminate against poor and Democratic voters. The number of actual voter fraud cases where someone is willing to risk a fine or a crime on their record just to cast one of millions of votes is in fact, minuscule. It costs the states money to enforce these and slows up voting, especially in Democratic districts where the states provide few voting places and machines, in order to hold back voters. These laws and the other disenfranchising voter practices would not have been allowed by the Voting Rights Act, that the Supreme Court gutted.

Another fact ignoring case was the Citizens United ruling, where the court removed limits on corporate campaign contributions, arguing that they would be balanced out, but that corporations were actually individuals, and their rights would be abridged. We have seen corporate donations that will total in the billions for this election. Oddly enough, the Republican candidates wasted a sizable amount in opposition to each other in the primaries, all to no avail.

Supreme Court justices in the past have been screened by the Senate for judicial capabilities, but not picking candidates based on their stances on single or conservative or liberal issues. That idealistic statement was overruled in that UCI Law talk where both debaters agreed that law school students are taught that the Supreme Court is all about politics. As such, it does not encode the Separation of Powers role that the court is supposed to fulfill under the constitution. The political dominance is reinforced by the Senate Republican majority leaders’ refusal to consider the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court Justice, hoping for a new Republican president, and an extremely conservative nominee.

The next Supreme Court nominee, if under a new President Trump, can continue and extend the current lack of scientific and factual basics for many important rulings.

Posted in 2016 Primaries, Climate Change, Coal, Economies, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Politics, Supreme Court, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

Clinton Squeezes Out a Win in Kentucky, Sanders Wins Oregon

Clinton Squeezes Out a Win in Kentucky, Sanders Wins Oregon

Clinton needed to break Sanders’ winning streak, so she concentrated on Kentucky. Clinton also needed to show that she can win in a coal producing state after her gleeful mistake of saying she was glad coal was going. Broadcasters who focus only on wins will forget how close the Kentucky win was.

In Kentucky, Clinton won with 46.76%, while Sanders lost with 46.33%. They only differed by 1,924 votes out of about 455,000 votes, or by 0.4%, or 1 part in 236. I am always amazed when votes come in this close, more often than you would expect statistically. Can the use of big data on voters lead to such a balance? Kentucky has 55 pledged delegates and 5 unpledged Superdelegates, for a total of 60. The 55 pledged come from 37 district delegates, 12 at large, and 6 PLEOs. Since it was really a tie, and all Democratic primaries are proportional, the 12 at large were split 6-6, the 6 PLEOs were split 3-3, and the 6 districts ended up with 19 Clinton and 18 Sanders. The total pledged were 28 Clinton and 27 Sanders. Calling Clinton a winner with one delegate in excess is just the way the districts split.

In Oregon, Sanders was a clear winner and leader getting 55% of the vote to Clinton’s 43%. The pledged delegates were 61 with 13 Superdelegates, totaling 74. Sanders got 35 pledged, and Clinton 26, so Sanders gained 9 delegates on Clinton in Oregon.

For the day, Sanders gained 8 on Clinton.

In pledged delegates, Clinton of course still leads by 1,767 to 1,488, a difference of 280. Out of the 3,255 pledged total so far, 280 is 8.6%.

Clinton has 524 Superdelegates giving her a total of 2,291 delegates. 2,383 delegates are needed to win. So Clinton is only 92 delegates from clinching the nomination.

Sanders has 1,488 plus 40 Superdelegates for a total of 1,528. He needs 855 to win the nomination.

There are 781 pledged delegates to be determined, with 694 available on June 7. California has 475 then, and New Jersey 126. So Sanders cannot win the nomination solely on pledged delegates, even if he got all of the new ones.

There are 714 total Superdelegates. With 524 committed to Clinton and 40 to Sanders, their total of 564 leaves 150 left to commit. Clearly, they can change their commitments at any time.

It is still mathematically possible for Sanders to take all future 781 pledged delegates and 150 Superdelegates left to total 931 and overcome his 855 shortfall. In such a universe, many of us will be struck by lightning.

Sanders has stated that he is running until the last vote is cast, which will be in the D.C. Primary on June 14, which is still a whole month away. Since D.C. Only has 26 pledged delegates, he might as well give up on June 7. Or, did Sanders mean he would only quit after the last vote of delegates at the Democratic convention during July 25-28, which is 10 weeks away?

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Save Us from the Ubiquitus Trump Reality Show

Save Us from the Ubiquitous Trump Reality Show

One would have thought that once Donald Trump became the presumptuous and presumptive Republican nominee, you wouldn’t have to hear more about him until the presidential debates. Instead, Trump has turned into the ubiquitous and daily reality show, covering full time the three cable news networks: CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. They see this as of great public interest, and may be making a fortune from this.

But it is not only the cable networks, it is also the political newspapers: The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Huffington Post, among others, and national magazines.

The Kardashians used to be the dominant reality show, but there were a dozen of them and their spouses to carry on the newness. Trump does have important associates that come into play, like his campaign managers, his nomination opponents, Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee, Paul Ryan, and other important Republicans. Now the news has recordings of a Trump imitator called John Miller, who read his mind about his girlfriends. We need to find John Miller again to find out what Trump is really thinking about issues today.

I am writing this because as an audience we have to break the addiction to every tidbit about Trump that actually has no content about real policies. Even his policy statements are immediately walked back and then later turned into mere suggestions. This means breaking our habit of watching a news summary from our favorite network: Fox for conservatives, MSNBC for liberals, and CNN for those who can’t make up their minds, just as CNN can’t. We also have to break from our favorite newspapers, and try to concentrate on our hobbies or our local news only. Instead of a Stop Trump movement, we need to form a movement to Stop the Ubiquitus Trump Trivia Show.

Obviously the news media would be crossing itself to interview psychologists who could help viewers break the Trump habit. Plus, it is unpredictable how serious the Trump news withdrawal symptoms could be. Also sitting in your favorite comfy chair and watching Trump news helps you catch up with your sleep, and can be healthy. Some viewers’ involvement with the Kardashians has lasted for years. We’ll have to see whether viewers eventually tire from Trump Trivia and find other entertainment.

If Trump is defeated in November, six long months from now, will that end the show? Certainly John McCain and Mitch Romney disappeared after their non-elections, not becoming party leaders. At worst, Trump’s value, in his name, will greatly increase. He will undoubtedly get more TV shows, possibly on all cable news channels as well as broadcast TV. His continual criticism of Clinton and other politicians will be in demand.

If Trump becomes president, we will have daily changes and surprises for four or eight years. While Trump will go along with some sort of party unity and big tent approach now, when he assumes the presidency, he will become his own leader. He seems to pick unconventional advisors in the fields in which he has done so. He considers himself the leading expert in foreign affairs and other fields. The response of foreign leaders to his off the cuff suggestions also engenders TV and press coverage. Continued tussles with Congress and the Republican split itself will generate continuous news. None of the networks risk displeasing Trump, since he may cut them off from interviews, and even turn against their newscasters, as has already happened. Even after he leaves office, the effect of his radical policies will live on.

A major effect of his policies would be the result of losing four or eight years of progress studying, mitigating, and adapting to climate change. There also will be the cost of increased damage from natural causes. This has already begun today with his drafting Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, an oil and gas producing state, to draft his energy policy. Rep. Cramer is not only a climate science denier, but has claimed that the world is cooling. This usually results from taking the extreme upward temperature fluctuation of 1998, an El Niño year, as a starting point. Ted Cruz (if you remember him), had the same view, but was never questioned on it in all of the debating. Too nerdy an analysis, I imagine. Trump needn’t concern himself with the climate analysis, since it is all a Chinese plot. Actually, I don’t remember the Chinese contributing much to climate research, compared to the US and European countries.

Trump told coal miners in West Virginia that he would boost coal production. But if his policy is drafted by a natural gas fracker, it will make more natural gas available, drive down its price, and put more coal miners out of work. See what I mean by being addicted to Trump news.

Posted in 2016 Primaries, Climate Change, Coal, Natural Gas, Politics | Leave a comment

Sanders Wins West Virginia. California and New Jersey will now Decide the Nominee.

Sanders Wins Coal State West Virginia. California, New Jersey now will Decide Nominee.

Sen. Bernie Sanders won West Virginia with a large gap, by 51% to 36% over Secretary Hillary Clinton. But, this has only caught him up by 7 delegates to Clinton’s overwhelming lead, because Democrats hold proportional primaries.

The number of coal miners has sharply declined due to fracking producing plentiful and cheaper natural gas.  EPA’s very new regulations did not force this.  Clinton and Sanders are basically the same in fighting global warming and desiring to provide relief and reeducation to miners.  Sanders has just handled this better, and is seen as the outsider.

West Virginia has 37 Democratic delegates, of which 20 are from three congressional districts, 6 are at large, 3 are PLEOs, and 8 are Superdelegates. The three congressional districts have 7, 7, and 6 delegates. The two districts with 7 delegates split 4—3. With the large 15 percent lead statewide, in the district with 6 delegates, they lead must have been greater than 16.6%, since it overcame the 3—3 split to be a 4—2 split. So of the district delegates, Sanders got 12 and Clinton got 8. So Sanders got 60% and Clinton got 40%. The third candidate got none. So both Sanders and Clinton gained delegates over their vote percentages.

Of the 6 at-large delegates, they split 4 to Sanders and 2 to Clinton. Similarly, the 3 PLEOs split 2 to Sanders and 1 to Clinton.

So the 29 pledged delegates added 18 to Sanders, and 11 to Clinton, a gain of 7 delegates in the overall count. Among the 8 unpledged Superdelegates, 6 have now decided on Clinton, 1 on Sanders, and 1 still available. This mostly cancels Sanders’ gain, but the delegates go in different overall columns.

In the overall race to the nomination, there are 4,765 delegates, so winning takes 2,385 delegates. 714 of these are in theory unpledged Superdelegates, and 4,051 are pledged. According to CNN, Clinton has 1,719 pledged and 516 Superdelegates to total 2,235. Clinton is now only 150 delegates short. Sanders has 1,425 pledged and 41 Superdelegates to total 1,466.

In figuring if the nomination is not settled by June 7 when California and New Jersey come into play, there are 183 pledged delegates available in Kentucky, Oregon, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico before then. Clinton, needing 150, would have to get 82% of them, which is highly unlikely. There may be more Superdelegates joining Clinton, but it looks like June 7 states will finally decide the nomination. California has 475 pledged delegates, and New Jersey 120 on that date.

Posted in 2016 Primaries, California Democratic Primary, Politics | Leave a comment

The Coming Trade Debate

The Coming Trade Debate

Since mega-businessman Donald Trump has been strongly pushing tariffs and against reciprocal trade proposals, to save American jobs, and penalizing movements of companies and jobs overseas, these will become major debate issues, at least among economists and the economic press. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, the Bushes, and the Republican congress have strongly pushed free trade agreements. The argument for free trade agreements is abstract and involves detailed studies and math, and doesn’t appeal to Trump rallies to the gut level simplicity of jobs being lost and going overseas. Any trade agreement involves job shifts, and usually lower prices, as new economic opportunities are opened up. So consumers have been gifted by free trade agreements, but jobs have been lost by many. Also, with pollution restrictions, industries have gone overseas where they haven’t had such restrictions.

The other problem with tariffs is that they open up trade wars. The weapons in trade wars are damaging tariffs in other industries, and result in a drop of trade that hurts everyone.

The ability to impose penalties on industries that go overseas is clearly out of the powers of the presidency. He would need the cooperation of the congress. Since interests of certain states may be involved in this, it becomes even more involved.

Lots of the jobs that went overseas were repetitive, robotic like jobs. Some of them involved risks and poor working conditions, as in mining. Hearing about the overworking and crowded dormitory conditions of iPad makers in China shows why US workers would not do such jobs for the same low wages. Even if Trump could force US consumers to pay more for recalling manufacturing to the US, foreign countries would not pay more for such products with already lower priced competitive products. This could ruin many of our most impressive industries.

This whole program not only upsets the cart for legislators and businessmen, but also investors and the markets. Much of US wealth is in retirement plans, which would be disrupted and suffer losses with Trumps plans. How he would get the economic community to go along just to save US workers jobs seems difficult. It is as difficult as getting businessmen to raise the minimum wage, which Trump himself opposes.

Donald Trump is going out to raise a billion dollars for his or the other Republican candidates, he was confused when he first spoke about this. Imagine his appeal to the typical Republican businessman whose business is based on cheaper labor outside of the country. Imagine also appealing to those who have on paper moved their business to a foreign country for tax purposes, or are sheltering their fortunes off-shore.

Although Trump rails against China and our imbalance of payments to it, our chief trading partners are actually Canada and Mexico. Imagine fighting tariff wars with them.

Finally, there is the real wall he plans to build at the Mexican border. No Republican has yet pointed out that since the recession, and probably NAFTA as well, there is no net immigration with Mexico. Also, only half of the undocumented immigrants are from Mexico. The others have overstayed their visas.

If there really is a wall built, it would be much easier and cheaper to build it on the Mexican side, since Mexican labor is cheaper. A businessman like Trump would think that way. It also avoids costly and lengthy public domain suits in the US, which are unpopular with the Republican grass roots. But since we cannot directly pay Mexican laborers, it would have to be run by the Mexican government, so we would pay their government first. Then Mexico would really be paying for the wall. I think this is really Trump’s secret plan to have Mexico build the wall.

I am obviously not an economist, but all readers on this issue will be exposed to the standard economic arguments and economists who back free trade agreements. Few economists would argue against the decades-long accepted standard policies.

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Sanders Wins Indiana, but Only Creeps Slightly Closer

Sanders Wins Indiana, but Only Creeps Slightly Closer

Sen. Sanders has won Indiana, by a close margin of 52.5% to 47.5%. Indiana has 92 delegates, with 56 from 9 congressional districts, 18 at large, 9 pledged PLEO (party leaders and elected officials), and 9 Superdelegates. has awarded 44 delegates to Sanders and 39 to Clinton. 7 Superdelegates have pledged to Clinton, and 2 are available.

Since Superdelegates were already counted in Clinton’s total, Sanders has so far crept up 5 pledged delegates on Clinton.

I’ll use CNN’s numbers for Clinton’s total of 2,217 delegates. 1,704 are pledged, and 513 are Superdelegates.

Sanders has 1,443 delegates. 1,402 are pledged, and 41 are Superdelegates.

The difference in pledged delegates are 302. The difference in total delegates is 774. The number needed to nominate is 2,383. So Clinton is very close, only short by 166.

The total number of delegates is 4,765. The count above, with 1 for O,Malley, is 3,661. Subtracting that from 4,765 gives 1,104 remaining. The 166 delegates needed by Clinton is only 15% of the remaining delegates. So Clinton is now effectively the Democratic nominee.

If Sanders keeps splitting the vote, Clinton may have to wait for the enormous June 7 delegate bonanza to clinch the nomination mathematically.  California has 475 pledged delegates on that date.  The delegates available between now and June 7 is 263.  If Clinton only gets half of these, she would only have 132, not the 166 she needs.  Some already opted Superdelegates have probably already be counted, out of the 263.

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Cruz Misses the Hoosier Hoop, Trump Slam Dunks It

Cruz Misses the Hoosier Hoop, Trump Slam Dunks It

(It took more time to phrase the title, than it will to do the math.)

Then Cruz suspended his campaign. All week, the media said that he is out of monetary supporters. It’s better for his reputation in the future to not accumulate more embarrassing defeats.

The media is talking as if Ted Cruz’s career is over. Ted Cruz is only 45, while Trump is 69, and Sanders is 74. That means he can run in seven more presidential elections. A lot of presidential candidates have lost and come back, like Clinton lost to Obama, Ronald Reagan lost to Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy. Cruz is still a Senator and on the Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary committee, and the Science committee. He can go after Trump or Clinton’s presidential actions on foreign involvements, on military strength, on the Supreme Court and other judicial appointments, and on climate change. If he can just remember all five agencies that he will be paid to abolish, and what a basketball ring is called, and how voters reject deals between candidates, he can do better.

So far, Trump has 53%, Cruz 37%, and Kasich 8%. Even adding the Cruz-Kasich alliance, they only have 45%, which is 8% behind Trump. The Indiana delegates are 27 from 9 congressional districts, plus 30 others, for a total of 57, in a winner-take-all state statewide and by district. With two districts undecided, Trump has 51 delegates now. He says it looks like he will win all 57, so we will use that.

Trump’s total is now 1057. With 1,237 needed to win the Republican nomination, Trump now only needs 180 more delegates.

There are still 279 winner-take-all delegates in four states to be won on June 7. These are California with 172, Montana with 27, New Jersey with 51, and South Dakota with 29. Even if Trump only winner-took-all California with 172, he would almost be there. Besides the 279 winner-take-all delegates, there are 166 delegates in other states. So the total remaining is 445.

The remaining other type primaries with 166 total delegates are on:

May 10: Nebraska with 36, and West Virginia with 34;

May 17: Oregon with 28;

May 24: Washington with 44 as winner-take-most; and

June 7; New Mexico with 24.

With Trump having 1057, Cruz has 570, Rubio has 173, and Kasich has 157.
Since Trump is assured of being the Republican nominee, he is now trying to champion unity, and focus on Hillary Clinton.

Update:  Ohio Gov. John Kasich is going to announce the suspension of his campaign at 5 pm Eastern on May 4.

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Republican Party Primary Types and the Question of Fixing

Republican Party Primary Types and the Question of Fixing

Here we contrast the Republican Complexity vs. the Democratic Simplicity in primary types. We also point out that the complaining Donald Trump has been helped out vastly more by the winner-take-something primaries than by the “rigged” ones.

We take the data from that wonderful trove of data, .

The two dominant type of Republican primaries are the winner-take-all (WTA) primaries, at 30% of delegates in 13 states, and the winner-take-most (WTM) primaries, where the candidate needs 50% to take all, at 29% of delegates in 13 states. Together they add up to 59.4% of delegates. Trump has won many WTA and some WTM primaries. If you get the top vote in WTA, or over 50% in WTM, you get all the at-large or a district votes, or all the votes, thus giving the losing candidates and their voters no representation at all at the convention. Sounds pretty “rigged” in Trump’s favor. This rigging was set up by the RNC to speed the winner’s choice and get a head start on campaigning against the Democrat’s candidate. I guess, that despite the Tea Party revolt, and the vastly unpopular Congress, they did not anticipate an anti-establishment candidate, or, in fact, two leading ones. The number of delegates in these two categories is 1,468, far greater than the 1,237 needed to win the nomination.

The next largest type of primary is the proportional primary, similar to what the Democrats run. This is somewhat limited by the allowance of only three delegates per district, so it can yield 3-0 or 2-1, but 1-1-1 seems ruled out. Only 12.3% of their primary delegates are of the same type as Democrats have, in 8 states, but covering 303 delegates.

Next in primaries is the wonderful Pennsylvania type primary of WTA Statewide, and unpledged delegates for districts, which was subverted to be mostly pledged and proportional. This has 140 delegates in only 2 states for 5.7% of the total delegates.

Finally in primaries is the WTM district, and statewide proportional. There are 2 of these with 84 delegates or 3.4% of delegates.

We have now covered 80.8% of delegates which seem mainly advantageous to Trump and above board. We now turn to the less democratic ones, called caucuses, where party loyalists or enthusiasts, who can take time out for the hours invested in them, showing up in person, and losing the right of a secret ballot. In some caucuses, this is only an eighth of the voters who voted in the last presidential election. These are also followed by smaller conventions, where the few, carefully maneuvered final delegates, get selected. The largest category of these is the Proportional Caucus/Convention in 6 states with 193 delegates or 7.8% of all delegates. We won’t bore the reader or ourselves typing the other detailed types, but the caucuses or one delegate selection primary make up the other 19.2% with 17 states.

It seems that Trump has or had the potential advantage in 80.8% of the state’s delegates, sometimes clearing more than two-to-one on earned delegates, over the 19% available in caucus states, that required detailed advance workers and a get-out-the-caucus vote campaign. Since caucuses are by their nature the least democratic choice, or caucuses without an indicative state vote (ruled out by the RNC), the caucus winners don’t have a great claim to a really representative victory either.


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The Arizona Putsch by the Cruz-Kasich Clones

The Arizona Putsch by the Cruz-Kasich Clones

The Cruz-Kasich conspiracy won most of Arizona’s delegates at the state convention, by running candidate clones who were the same for Cruz and Kasich. After their spats over Indiana, they clearly got together to pull this off. Not only should Trump be angry, but the Arizona voters as well.

Let’s review the numbers. Arizona had a winner-take-all primary on March 22, where real estate mogul Donald Trump won with 46.0% of the vote (almost half). Sen. Ted Cruz was second with 27.6%, Sen. Marco Rubio was third with 11.6%, and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio was fourth with 10.6% of the vote. If you add Cruz and Kasich together (who would have imagined that was important) they get 38.2%, a good 6% less than Trump.

At the Arizona state convention of April 30, Cruz’s and Kasich’s slate of delegates was largely identical, and they managed to thus win almost all of the 28 at-large delegates, and split the 27 delegates elected by congressional district. Apparently these delegates will back Cruz if there is a second ballot vote. They are still committed to vote for Trump on the first ballot.

Since this blog coverage is partly about the math of the election, they seem to have stayed within the rules. Once again, human ingenuity has surpassed the rules, but instead of instituting democracy as in Pennsylvania, here it led to a coup for the candidate that I will now call Tricky Ted. We expect more from him.

The other subject of these blog articles about the election is about disenfranchisement. Where do we start with Arizona? Starting here, Trump and Arizona voters should feel disenfranchised since Cruz, who only got a bit over a quarter of the votes in the primary, now has about ¾ of the convention delegates. Former Governor Jan Brewer was apparently backing Trump, and is very upset. From the view of the 54% of the voters who did not vote for Trump, the winner-take-all primary disenfranchised them from any proportional representation. Even Kasich voters with 10.6% could feel sold out on.

But wait, there’s more. Maricopa County, containing Phoenix, supposedly for budgetary reasons, had reduced the number of polling places from 200 to only 60. This caused lines of three or four hours long, causing many to pass on voting. There is now a complaint filed with the justice department that this had the result of disenfranchising minorities and poorer voters, some of which didn’t even have polling places, in addition to the long lines. Arizona had previously been under the Voting Rights Act, where such changes could not have been made without Justice department consent.

So even the Republican voters who won all the state’s 58 delegates for Trump, find that a system basically based on disenfranchisement can come back to bite them. Why not try a proportional system, which all of the Democrats’ primaries are (except of course for the 15% Superdelegates)?

Posted in 2016 Primaries, Politics, Voting Rights | Leave a comment