Tuesday, November 30, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 12 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

 
1. Bears (3-7) at Lions (0-9-1) W 1
2. Raiders (5-5) at Cowboys (7-3) W 2
3. Bills (6-4) at Saints (5-5) W 3


4. Buccaneers (7-3) at Colts (6-5) L 1
5. Jets (2-8) at Texans (2-8) L 2
6. Eagles (5-6) at Giants (3-7)W 4
7. Panthers (5-6) at Dolphins (4-7) W 5
8. Titans (8-3) at Patriots (7-4) L 3
9. Steelers (5-4-1) at Bengals (6-4) W 6
10. Falcons (4-6) at Jaguars (2-8) L 4
11. Chargers (6-4) at Broncos (5-5) W 7
12. Rams (7-3) at Packers (8-3) L 5
13. Vikings (5-5) at 49ers (5-5) W 8
14. Browns (6-5) at Ravens (7-3) L 6

15. Seahawks (3-7) at Washington (4-6) L 7

Week 12 Results: 8-7 (53%)
Overall Results: 92-87 (51%)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 12

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 84-80 (51%)
 
1. Bears (3-7) at Lions (0-9-1)

the focus will be on if the Bears are about to fire their coach on this Thanksgiving Day

2. Raiders (5-5) at Cowboys (7-3)
3. Bills (6-4) at Saints (5-5)


4. Buccaneers (7-3) at Colts (6-5)
5. Jets (2-8) at Texans (2-8)
6. Eagles (5-6) at Giants (3-7)
7. Panthers (5-6) at Dolphins (4-7)
8. Titans (8-3) at Patriots (7-4)
9. Steelers (5-4-1) at Bengals (6-4)
10. Falcons (4-6) at Jaguars (2-8)
11. Chargers (6-4) at Broncos (5-5)
12. Rams (7-3) at Packers (8-3)
13. Vikings (5-5) at 49ers (5-5)
14. Browns (6-5) at Ravens (7-3)

15. Seahawks (3-7) at Washington (4-6)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 11 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Patriots (6-4) at Falcons (4-5) W 1
 

2. Saints (5-4) at Eagles (4-6) W 2
3. Dolphins (3-7) at Jets (2-7) W 3
4. Washington (3-6) at Panthers (5-5) W 4
5. Colts (5-5) at Bills (6-3) L 1
6. Lions (0-8-1) at Browns (5-5) W 5
7. 49ers (4-5) at Jaguars (2-7) L 2
8. Texans (1-8) at Titans (8-2) L 3
9. Packers (8-2) at Vikings (4-5) W 6
10. Ravens (6-3) at Bears (3-6) L 4 (brutal)
11. Bengals (5-4) at Raiders (5-4) W 7
12. Cardinals (8-2) at Seahawks (3-6) L 5
13. Cowboys (7-2) at Chiefs (6-4) W 8
14.  Steelers (5-3-1) at Chargers (5-4) L 6

15. Giants (3-6) at Buccaneers (6-3) L 7

Week 11 Results: 8-7 (53%)
Overall Results: 84-80 (51%)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 11

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 76-73 (51%)

1. Patriots (6-4) at Falcons (4-5)
 


2. Saints (5-4) at Eagles (4-6)
3. Dolphins (3-7) at Jets (2-7)
4. Washington (3-6) at Panthers (5-5)
5. Colts (5-5) at Bills (6-3)
6. Lions (0-8-1) at Browns (5-5)
7. 49ers (4-5) at Jaguars (2-7)
8. Texans (1-8) at Titans (8-2)
9. Packers (8-2) at Vikings (4-5)
10. Ravens (6-3) at Bears (3-6)
11. Bengals (5-4) at Raiders (5-4)
12. Cardinals (8-2) at Seahawks (3-6)
13. Cowboys (7-2) at Chiefs (6-4)
14.  Steelers (5-3-1) at Chargers (5-4)

15. Giants (3-6) at Buccaneers (6-3)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 10 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS



1. Ravens (6-2) at Dolphins (2-7) W 1


2. Bills (5-3) at Jets (2-6) W 2
3. Buccaneers (6-2) at Washington (2-6) W 3
4. Falcons (4-4) at Cowboys (6-2) L 1
5. Saints (5-3) at Titans (7-2) W 4
6. Jaguars (2-6) at Colts (4-5)  L 2
7. Lions (0-8) at Steelers (5-3) TIE
8. Browns (5-4) at Patriots (5-4) L 3
9. Vikings (3-5) at Chargers (5-3) L 4
10. Panthers (4-5) at Cardinals (8-1) W 5
11. Eagles (3-6) at Broncos (5-4) L 5
12. Seahawks (3-5) at Packers (7-2) L 6
13. Chiefs (5-4) at Raiders (5-3) W 6

14. Rams (7-2) at 49ers (3-5) W 7

Week 10 Results: 7-6 (54%)

Overall Results: 76-73 (51%)

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 10

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Total Results: 69-67 (51%)
 


1. Ravens (6-2) at Dolphins (2-7)


2. Bills (5-3) at Jets (2-6)
3. Buccaneers (6-2) at Washington (2-6)
4. Falcons (4-4) at Cowboys (6-2)
5. Saints (5-3) at Titans (7-2)
6. Jaguars (2-6) at Colts (4-5)
7. Lions (0-8) at Steelers (5-3)
8. Browns (5-4) at Patriots (5-4)
9. Vikings (3-5) at Chargers (5-3)
10. Panthers (4-5) at Cardinals (8-1)
11. Eagles (3-6) at Broncos (5-4)
12. Seahawks (3-5) at Packers (7-2)
13. Chiefs (5-4) at Raiders (5-3)

14. Rams (7-2) at 49ers (3-5)

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 9 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Jets (2-5) at Colts (3-5) W 1


2. Falcons (3-4) at Saints (5-2) W 2
3. Broncos (4-4) at Cowboys (6-1) W 3
4. Patriots (4-4) at Panthers (4-4) W 4
5. Vikings (3-4) at Ravens (5-2) W 5
6. Browns (4-4) at Bengals (5-3) L 1
7. Bills (5-2) at Jaguars (1-6) L 2
8. Texans (1-7) at Dolphins (1-7) W 6
9. Raiders (5-2) at Giants (2-6) L 3
10. Chargers (4-3) at Eagles (3-5) W 7
11. Packers (7-1) at Chiefs (4-4) W 8
12. Cardinals (7-1) at 49ers (3-4) L 4
13. Titans (6-2) at Rams (7-1) W 9

14. Bears (3-5) at Steelers (4-3) L 5

Totally have to blame the Refs for this one. While the Bears need to commit far less penalties, there were some horrible calls. Yes, this was a totally Rigged contest and it was Stolen! Sad.

I demand to see what was in the Steeler Dossier.

Week 9 Results: 9-5 (64%)
Total Results: 69-67 (51%)

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 9

NOT PREDICTIONS

Let me just begin by saying that while I of course wish good health for anyone, I think Aaron Rodgers should be suspended for the season, and perhaps life for lying about being vaccinated...That would only be fair...

Congrats to the Atlanta Braves, five years to the day after the Cubs last won it all. A member of that 2016 team even became World Series MVP.

What a bad day yesterday for Democrats...will they learn any lessons? Will Republicans? Plenty for both to learn. The biggest lesson might be that both parties would benefit greatly from moving on from Donald Trump, especially Republicans. I might have a more detailed post in the future.

Back to Football..

Overall Results: 60-62 (49%)
 
 
1. Jets (2-5) at Colts (3-5)


2. Falcons (3-4) at Saints (5-2)
3. Broncos (4-4) at Cowboys (6-1)
4. Patriots (4-4) at Panthers (4-4)
5. Vikings (3-4) at Ravens (5-2)
6. Browns (4-4) at Bengals (5-3)
7. Bills (5-2) at Jaguars (1-6)
8. Texans (1-7) at Dolphins (1-7)
9. Raiders (5-2) at Giants (2-6)
10. Chargers (4-3) at Eagles (3-5)
11. Packers (7-1) at Chiefs (4-4)
12. Cardinals (7-1) at 49ers (3-4)
13. Titans (6-2) at Rams (7-1)

14. Bears (3-5) at Steelers (4-3)

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 8 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Packers (6-1) at Cardinals (7-0) W 1

2. Bengals (5-2) at Jets (1-5) L 1
3. Titans (5-2) at Colts (3-4) W 2
4. Rams (6-1) at Texans (1-6) L 2
5. Steelers (3-3) at Browns (4-3) L 3
6. Eagles (2-5) at Lions (0-7) L 4
7. 49ers (2-4) at Bears (3-4) L 5
8. Panthers (3-4) at Falcons (3-3) W 3
9. Dolphins (1-6) at Bills (4-2) W 4
10. Patriots (3-4) at Chargers (4-2) L 6
11. Jaguars (1-5) at Seahawks (2-5) L 7
12. Washington (2-5) at Broncos (3-4) W 5
13. Buccaneers (6-1) at Saints (4-2) W 6
14. Cowboys (5-1) at Vikings (3-3) L 8

15. Giants (2-5) at Chiefs (3-4) W 7

Week 8 Results: 7-8 (47%)
Overall Results: 60-62 (49%)

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Virginia Governor Election

Virginia Governor

Status: Democrat Open
2020 Presidential Result: Blue State (South)

Outlook: Tossup (R)

Every four years, the eyes of the political world turn its gaze to just outside the Beltway and the election for Governor of Virginia. Perhaps never more so than this year. This race gets outsized and perhaps too much attention the year after Presidential election as a measuring stick for "remorse" over the President who was just elected the year before and as a potential harbinger of the nationwide midterm elections of the next year. Sometimes, there is a larger meaning to be gathered, sometimes there is not. This year though, the race seems nationalized to the extent that even if the race itself comes down to local issues and concerns, the messaging for the winning party will definitely be carrying over into 2022.

As is the case with the current streak in New Jersey, Virginia had a history between 1977 and 2009 of electing Governors of the opposite party of the sitting President of the United States. In 2013, Barack Obama had won Virginia for the second time and Terry McAuliffe won the Governorship for Democrats. At this point, Virginia was no longer the red-leaning bastion it had been considered to be at the beginning of the century. 

A native of New York State, McAuliffe had a long history in politics and had become very rich in his business career. He was best known as the "money man" for Bill and Hillary Clinton and had a long established political and personal relationship with them. After the Clinton Administration ended, McAuliffe become the chairman of the DNC during a difficult time for the party. He raised large amounts of money but saw the party suffer setbacks in 2002 and 2004, after his frequent televised promises of victory, that went along with very personal attacks on Republicans made over those airwaves.

After being the chair of Hillary Clinton's ill fated 2008 Presidential campaign, McAuliffe lost a primary of his own when he finished second in the 2009 Democrat contest for Governor. He worked on his image though ahead of his second attempt and captured the nomination without opposition in 2013. Facing a Republican opponent considered very far to the right, McAuliffe managed to overcome negative perceptions about him but only by a 48-45 victory. Polls had shown he had a larger lead.

As Governor, McAuliffe was popular among Democrats, who continued to to increase their numbers in Virginia, but predictably unpopular with Republicans, and he faced the expected questions about his ethics in office. A major factor in Virginia Gubernatorial contests are that incumbents are ineligible to run directly for reelection. Thus, McAuliffe was sidelined from seeking a second term in 2017. Donald Trump was the surprise Presidential winner in 2016, though he did poorly in Virginia, and the trend of the out party winning was reinstated. McAuliffe considered a Presidential bid in 2020 but opted out of the crowded field. The political bug remained though and he is currently attempting to do something that no former Virginia Governor has done in memory, and that is win a second term.

Over the last few years, the number of new arrivals, government workers, and racial minorities has led to the perception that Virginia has become blue and any Democrat would be favored to win, even after Joe Biden won the White House for his party the year before. Indeed, Biden won by 10 points in the Commonwealth last year. The current Governor is Democrat Ralph Northam, who served as Lt. Governor, (elected separately) under McAuliffe and he is of course ineligible to run for a second term this year. The fact that Northam is still Governor at all is fairly remarkable. In 2019, a picture broke of two men, one in blackface, and one wearing a Klan outfit, in which one was said to be the current Governor, back when he was in medical school in the 1980s. Northam initially handled this scandal with mixed messages and a tremendous amount of awkwardness, such as almost doing the Moonwalk at a press conference. The conventional wisdom was that he would have to resign, and most in the party, including McAuliffe called upon him to do so.

Somehow, Northam survived though to be on his way to serving out his full term. The young African-American Lt. Governor, also a Democrat, who would have been primed to take over, was hit with allegations of sexual assault from years earlier, which he denied. The Democrat Attorney General also admitted wearing blackface as a young man. Suddenly, the urge among Democrats to jettison Northam was no longer urgent and he held on. Now, McAuliffe is calling his Republican detractors racist and campaigning as an ally of Northam, putting aside the racial issues that had led him to call for the incumbent's resignation just two years ago. The Lt. Governor fared poorly in this year's primary for Governor, with less than 4 percent of the vote, and the incumbent Attorney General is in a tough battle for reelection this Tuesday.

On June 8, Democrats had a primary for Governor and despite the high name recognition and deep pockets of McAuliffe, several other candidates lined up to try to stop his comeback effort. The former Governor was the easy winner with 62 percent of the vote, but all things considered, that number was not exactly a sign of political dominance. The opposition to him was divided though. Two African-American female state legislators finished behind McAuliffe with 20 and 12 percent of the vote. As mentioned, this was still well ahead of the sitting African-American Lt. Governor.

The Republican nomination process was even more convoluted. The party controversially chose to nominate candidates via convention instead of primary. Many feared this would lead to nominee considered too far to the right to win a general election being selected after various ballots eliminated contenders. A mixture of conservatives who emphasized their support of Donald Trump mixed with more establishment figures at the May convention, with ranked choice ballots cast remotely at different locations. Businessman and first time candidate Glenn Youngkin eventually prevailed on the sixth ballot after also finishing first in all previous ballot rounds. His final vanquished opponent was a businessman considered more of a Trump acolyte who had trailed Youngkin 33-26 in the first round, and then lost 55-45 on the final ballot. It is worth noting that the result would have been the same without ranked choice voting, but politics definitely played a role as former candidates seemingly disliked the candidate Pete Snyder and helped move their supporters to Youngkin. Ironically enough, state Senator Amanda Chase, the most pro-Trump of all the candidates, who went back and forth between running for Governor as an Independent or Republican, finished third at the convention, might have helped swing things for Youngkin, and then still held out the possibility of running in November as an Independent. Ultimately, she did not though.

When all the dust was settled, Republicans throughout the country breathed a bit of a sigh of relief over Youngkin being nominated. He was considered a promising campaigner, who was harder to portray as far right, but still without any sort of elected office record to attack. Also nominated, while running in separate races were an African-American woman for Lt. Governor and a Cuban-American candidate for Attorney General. All three are considered to be in very tight races down the homestretch, though Youngkin is considered the best bet of the three to win.

A big factor in this race is still Trump. Like the case in New Jersey, Youngkin has had to walk a fine line between not embracing Trump outright and not doing anything to earn the ire of the man himself or his supporters. The former President has released several statements since May endorsing Youngkin, and the GOP nominee has embraced though endorsements. For a while, the candidate for Governor chose his words very carefully in regards to whom he believed was the legitimate winner of the 2020 Presidential election. Needless to say. McAuliffe and his allies and surrogates from around the country have been working non-stop in trying to tie Youngkin (or Trumpkin as many say) to the unpopular former President. Youngkin has not invited Trump to visit Virginia on his behalf and has tried to steer clear of any sort of event in which Trump is directly involved.
 
It makes political sense for Democrats to try to tie Youngkin to Trump, but there are limits to the effectiveness of it and the fact that this race is close at all in Virginia is a sign that maybe it has been too much of an emphasis. Local issues, especially related to education have become the focus of the contest and the amazingly fast-falling approval for Joe Biden, even in a state he easily won, also appears to be at play. McAuliffe himself was caught on tape admitting a few weeks back that Biden is unpopular and a drag on this race. This caused an uproar at the time and the Democrats have since brought in Biden and Kamala Harris to campaign alongside their nominee. The dysfunction in Washington D.C. regarding the Democrat controlled Congress also being unable to pass any sort of infrastructure or social spending legislation to this point is also a  factor. Republicans are said to be far more motivated to vote than Democrats on Election Day. Still, there is belief that Democrats have easily outdone Republicans again on early voting. There is also the chance that some Trump die-hards now believe all elections are "rigged" and may not vote at all. The polls speak for themselves though. For months, McAuliffe had a steady but modest lead, but down the homestretch, they have closed up and some now show Youngkin moving ahead. Late last week, a Fox News survey even had the Republican up by eight points, which is perhaps a bit overly optimistic for his chances.

There is no way that I could possibly cover every aspect of the race in terms of developments or possible deciding factors but I must take a moment to say that if Democrats lose by one or two points, blame might be pointed towards an Independent candidate. In several races in recent cycles, the Libertarian candidate might have hurt Republicans, but in this case it could be Liberation candidate Princess Blanding. The African-American LGBT candidate is running on an unabashedly leftist platform including defunding the police. She is not expected to do any better than winning a point or two but in a razor tight race, every vote could matter.

The main reason why the race has seemed to have a major shift in momentum is likely due to McAuliffe's gaffe at a debate. This issue of "Critical Race Theory" in education is a complicated one but it has played a major role in this race and likely will be a major part of the 2022 midterms in both state and federal contests. It is a complex one, and an issue in which the right-wing exaggerates and the left-wing soft-pedals. For someone like me, that is all disconcerting, but the practical politics of it are likely to favor Republicans and could help them gain back lost ground due to Trump, in the suburbs. Education used to be a major advantage for Democrats, but now could sink them in Virginia with the eyes of the political world watching. Without getting too far into the weeds, McAuliffe claimed in a debate that he did not want parents telling schools what to teach. One can go back and forth over whether he meant something else or not and how exactly parents should go in regards to setting curriculum, but it was a boneheaded thing to say politically. Immediately, Youngkin and his allies had this statement featured in ads and McAuliffe has seen his poll numbers drop. 

For months, this was a "Leans D" race that become a Tossup in October. Up until a few days ago, I would have still given a slight edge to McAuliffe, but now I think the momentum is with Youngkin. This could go either way but I have to think the Republican is now a slight favorite. McAuliffe has certainly been acting like a desperate candidate (putting aside the videos of his horrificly goofy dancing and fake jovial personality which seems like an obvious distraction from the fact that he is a long-time politically driven ultra-partisan with a nasty streak.) The Democrats are seeming to bet everything on race in the state that had the ugly display at Charlottesville back when "T-Mac" was Governor and Trump was President. Last week, there was a political stunt, in which the Lincoln Project a group of professed NeverTrump conservatives (similar to myself) claimed responsibility for in which young political workers were dressed up for an early Halloween as tiki torch carrying white supremacists (even as some were not white.) As a NeverTrump conservative, I saw this as a horrible and totally dumb ploy that could do nothing but backfire against the target. There is perhaps much to criticize Youngkin on, but if he wins, it will be worth giving him a shot to see if he can govern as a post-Trump Republican.

If this race-based tactic works, even narrowly, it will be because Virginia is a fairly blue state these days and Youngkin was hurt by being tied to Trump. I think he could have definitely afforded to put more space between Trump and himself. If the polls are to be believed, he is already winning a good chunk of Biden voters anyway and could have gotten more. The Trump voters are unlikely of course to vote for someone like McAuliffe and may have been motivated by cultural and education issues anyway to still vote for Youngkin.

If this strategy does not work, it will show that even in places where Trump lost, Democrats will need to have a more compelling message than "Orange Man- Bad." Trump himself may have not and likely will never get over his 2020 defeat but the voters just might have and are focused on the next election.

Youngkin might just be in the right place at the right time. He campaigns (to the derision of his opponents) in khakis and a fleece vest and does seem to be a "kinder and gentler" version of a Trump like businessman outsider. Whatever happens, this is a highly intriguing election that will be talked about for years.

The results will come in on Tuesday and it remains to be seen if anyone concedes. If Youngkin loses, we can expect Trump and his acolytes to allege fraud, whether there is evidence or not. He will demand Youngkin fight to overturn the election and attack him if he does not do so.
 
 What if McAuliffe loses though? He certainly has a history of claiming elections were "stolen", such as when George W. Bush was elected President or more recently when Stacy Abrams lost a race for Governor of Georgia and refused to concede before Trump followed suit two years later. If McAuliffe loses and starts alleging fraud and threatening lawsuits and recount efforts, it will put his party in a tough spot.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 8

NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 53-54 (50%)
 
 
1. Packers (6-1) at Cardinals (7-0)

Now, I really feel the need to explain. Of course I do not really want the Packers to win. I could never want that. However, I have to be consistent for them and any other NFC Central team who is playing another NFC team with a better record. As long as the Chicago Bears have a chance to finish the season with the best record in the conference, that has to be my objective. With that in mind, the Cardinals need to lose more than the Packers in the overall conference scheme of things and not just the divison.

Yes, I know this is crazy. After all the Bears just had one of their worst games I have ever seen. This season, they will be lucky to scratch out as many wins left as possible, but still, one never knows. Look at what the Atlanta Braves are now doing. I am actually rooting for them.

This would also be akin to how Joe Biden finished in like fourth place in Iowa, and then fifth place in New Hampshire, and by all means should have had his campaign over at that point, but then won a big one in South Carolina and based on luck and those who were opposing him, managed to get elected President, and is showing after all these decades how he is the visionary and effective statesman that he always knew he was.... oh wait.

 
2. Bengals (5-2) at Jets (1-5)
3. Titans (5-2) at Colts (3-4)
4. Rams (6-1) at Texans (1-6)
5. Steelers (3-3) at Browns (4-3)
6. Eagles (2-5) at Lions (0-7)
7. 49ers (2-4) at Bears (3-4)
8. Panthers (3-4) at Falcons (3-3)
9. Dolphins (1-6) at Bills (4-2)
10. Patriots (3-4) at Chargers (4-2)
11. Jaguars (1-5) at Seahawks (2-5)
12. Washington (2-5) at Broncos (3-4)
13. Buccaneers (6-1) at Saints (4-2)
14. Cowboys (5-1) at Vikings (3-3)

15. Giants (2-5) at Chiefs (3-4)

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 7 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Broncos (3-3) at Browns (3-3) W 1
 
 
 
2. Panthers (3-3) at Giants (1-5) W 2
3. Jets (1-4) at Patriots (2-4) L 1
4. Chiefs (3-3) at Titans (4-2) L 2
5. Washington (2-4) at Packers (5-1) L 3
6. Falcons (2-3) at Dolphins (1-5) L 4
7. Bengals (4-2) at Ravens (5-1) W 3
8. Lions (0-6) at Rams (5-1) L 5
9. Eagles (2-4) at Raiders (4-2) W 4
10. Texans (1-5) at Cardinals (6-0) L 6
11. Bears (3-3) at Buccaneers (5-1) L 7
12. Colts (2-4) at 49ers (2-3) W 5

13. Saints (3-2) at Seahawks (2-4) L 8

Week 7 Results: 5-8 (38%)
Overall Results: 53-54 (50%)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

New Jersey Governor Election

New Jersey Governor
 
Status: Democrat Incumbent
2020 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Likely Democrat

The two odd year Gubernatorial elections are rapidly approaching, but one is receiving far more attention this year than the contest for Governor in New Jersey. For one thing, this is a circumstance where an incumbent is seeking an immediate second term and the state itself is more dominated by one political party than the Commonwealth of Virginia. Still though, the latest polling indicates that this race may be somewhat closer than expected and that national political factors could have the Republican challenger in the game more than what would have been expected. Still, I would be very surprised if this race winds up ultra-right. For now, I am classifying this race as "Likely Democrat" but it is perhaps on the cusp of "Leans."

If Democrat Phil Murphy wins reelection, he will have accomplished something that no Garden State Governor has since 1985. The party that has won the Presidential election in each election since 1988 has seen the other party win the Gubernatorial race in New Jersey the next year. That would indicate that Republican challenger Jack Ciattraelli has some history on his side, but such a result would be a major upset. A similar factor had been in play in Virginia, going back even longer, before it was broken in 2013.

Four years ago, Murphy, a wealthy former Goldman Sachs official, and ex-Ambassador to Germany, won his first political contest fairly easily in increasingly blue New Jersey. The energy that many in his party were placing on opposing the newly elected Donald Trump as President certainly helped the effort, although then incumbent Republican Governor Chris Christie was even less popular in the state than Trump. Christie's Lt. Governor attempted to distance herself from both Trump and Christie but never was able to break through and had a less than unified party behind her.

Now, Murphy and his Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver are seeking another four years in the top state executive spots. Over his first term, Murphy had some contentious relations with legislative leaders in his own party, had successful surgery to remove kidney tumors, and like many other Governors received praise and criticism over his handling of the Covid 19 pandemic. New Jersey saw some of the most serious outbreaks of the virus and the Governor was among the first to impose strict lockdown measures. 

Despite the fact that Murphy had made some enemies among the old school Democrat pols in his state, he did not face a primary challenge this year. Republicans would nominate Jack Ciattarelli, a former Assembly member who came in second place in the 2017 GOP primary, as the more conservative alternative to the eventual nominee. This time, three other candidates ran as the more pro-Trump conservative alternative to Ciattrelli and likely split the vote allowing him to win the June primary with 49 percent of the vote. The chief rivals for the nomination were pastor Phil Rizzo who took 26 percent and businessman Hirsh Singh, who had lost previous primary bids in New Jersey. He took nearly 22 percent. While Ciattarelli was viewed as an immediate underdog, he was seen as easily the most competitive general election candidate out of those who ran. For his runningmate, Ciattarelli picked former State Senator and ex tv news anchor Diane Allen. While Allen is 73 and had not been talked about as a statewide candidate like she was in years past, she did bring geographical balance to the ticket as well as the reputation of being more of a moderate Republican. Clearly, Ciattarelli did not pick Allen as an attempt to garner support from Trump die-hards. However, after being selected, she admitted to having voted for Trump in 2020. This also appears to be the first ever "Jack and Diane" ticket anywhere in America and the New Jersey Republicans have openly embraced the label in the spirit of Johnny Cougar, circa 1982.
 
The incumbent Murphy, who has the capacity to self-finance if he wished, has a hefty financial advantage over his challenger and has also had a persistent lead in the polls. The data shows that Ciattarelli has managed to close the gap a bit. The most recent poll, from Emerson College, showed Murphy ahead by a 50-44 margin. This likely opened some eyes among political observers nationwide a bit more than some earlier Republican polls which showed an even closer race.

While the soon to be analyzed contest in Virginia is making the most news around the country, the dynamics in New Jersey are somewhat similar. Will the race come down to national or local factors? Democrats would clearly like a referendum on Donald Trump, whom was easily defeated in the state by Joe Biden, and has of course continued to make unfounded claims of having the election stolen from him. The GOP ticket is in the somewhat awkward spot of trying to distance themselves from Trump but not going too far in rejecting him for fear of alienating his supporters or attracting the outward ire of Trump himself. This past week, Ciattarelli went perhaps as far as he had when he issued a Tweet criticizing Trump's "petty insults" upon the death of former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell.
 
Murphy and his allies though have been attacking Ciattarelli for having attended a post Election Day 2020 "Stop the Steal" rally in New Jersey. The Republican has somewhat attempted to make the claim that he did not know it was a rally attempting to overcome the election, which he admits Biden won, but that sort of denial seems a bit hard to believe. Clearly, the ambitious Ciattarelli  was focused on the conservative primary vote before worrying too much about the general election. He, like many other in his party, likely did not realize how much Trump would continue to dominate the GOP landscape nearly a year later, and even after the January 6 insurrection attempt.

Is Trump the main issue in New Jersey? If so, Murphy will win by near landslide proportions. Or have voters by and large moved on? The recent polls would indicate that they are more concerned about the next four years in the state than fighting over the fact that Trump has been nothing but a sore loser ever since his defeat to Biden. It is also a fact that Biden has seen his popularity and job approval slip precipitously across the country in recent months. This may not be as politically fatal for Murphy in New Jersey, but it still is a factor that cannot help an incumbent, at times of great anxiety, especially related to the economy and inflation concerns.

There is one anecdote from this race that is worth mentioning. Back in the 1990s, while serving on his town's Borough Council, Ciattarelli had somehow championed a ban on cursing in the community, with fines and jail time possible. The measure was considered controversial back then in the land of "The Sopranos" but I do not think it would have applied to private speech. This year, the state Democrat Party released an ad attacking Ciattarelli for this public policy effort from his past featuring presumably normal Jersey boys and girls off the street reacting by calling him an "asshole" and all sort of other "what the f is wrong is him" rhetoric. The message by the Democrats conveyed that New Jersey folks love their profanity. I am not trying to defend this local measure from the 90's which I do not fully understand, but in the age of Trump and all sorts of anger and disrespect being leveled between citizens, perhaps less swearing is somewhat we should aim for. Democrats should maybe keep that in mind the next time Trump swears publicly or a crowd of his supporters launches into an "F Joe Biden" chant at a public event.

As this race heads into the homestretch, Murphy will continue to try to make it about Trump while Ciattarelli is more interested in making it about the Biden Administration. Either way, the result would tend to give at least somewhat of an edge to Democrats. Murphy has middling numbers but his party is clearly the stronger performing one in recent cycles. Past New Jersey Governors have either been denied a second term (which includes a string of Democrats) or reelected by a larger margin. This year, Murphy is likely to become the rare Democrat to win a second term as Governor, but almost certainly below his 14 point initial victory. Any result though that has the candidates within single digits of each other will be hailed as a moral victory by Republicans, although Virginia will generate the lion's share of headlines.




Wednesday, October 20, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 7

NOT PREDICTIONS

Results thru Week 6: 48-46 (51%)

1. Broncos (3-3) at Browns (3-3)
 
 
 
2. Panthers (3-3) at Giants (1-5)
3. Jets (1-4) at Patriots (2-4)
4. Chiefs (3-3) at Titans (4-2)
5. Washington (2-4) at Packers (5-1)
6. Falcons (2-3) at Dolphins (1-5)
7. Bengals (4-2) at Ravens (5-1)
8. Lions (0-6) at Rams (5-1)
9. Eagles (2-4) at Raiders (4-2)
10. Texans (1-5) at Cardinals (6-0)
11. Bears (3-3) at Buccaneers (5-1)
12. Colts (2-4) at 49ers (2-3)

13. Saints (3-2) at Seahawks (2-4)

This feels like a week that could go 0-13.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 6 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Buccaneers (4-1) at Eagles (2-3) L 1

 
2. Dolphins (1-4) vs. Jaguars (0-5) in London W 1
3. Chiefs (2-3) at Washington (2-3) W 2
4. Rams (4-1) at Giants (1-4) L 2
5. Texans (1-4) at Colts (1-4) W 3
6. Bengals (3-2) at Lions (0-5) W 4
7. Packers (4-1) at Bears (3-2) L 3
8. Chargers (4-1) at Ravens (4-1) W 5
9. Vikings (2-3) at Panthers (3-2) W 6
10. Cardinals (5-0) at Browns (3-2) L 4
11. Raiders (3-2) at Broncos (3-2) L 5
12. Cowboys (4-1) at Patriots (2-3) L 6
13. Seahawks (2-3) at Steelers (2-3) W 7

14. Bills (4-1) at Titans (3-2) L 7

Week 6 Results: 7-7 (50%)
Overall Results: 48-46 (51%)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

U.S. House Special Elections

Currently, there are three vacancies in the U.S. House. Two of them in Ohio will be filled on Election Day in November. Informally, we will also know after that night who will be serving a district in Florida. However, that will be because of a primary result. The official general election will not be until January 11 of next year. However, I feel like I can go ahead and predict the victorious party at least in that district and get it out of the way.

Florida
20.
vacant upon death of Alcee Hastings (D)
won by Biden with 77% of the vote

Safe D (Tossup Hardy)
__________________________________________________________________________
Ohio
11.
vacant upon resignation of Marcia Fudge (D)
won by Biden with 80% of the vote

Safe D

Ohio
15.
vacant upon resignation of Steve Stivers (R)
won by Trump with 56% of the vote
 
Leans R
 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 6

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 41-39 (51%)
 
 
1. Buccaneers (4-1) at Eagles (2-3)

 
2. Dolphins (1-4) vs. Jaguars (0-5) in London
3. Chiefs (2-3) at Washington (2-3)
4. Rams (4-1) at Giants (1-4)
5. Texans (1-4) at Colts (1-4)
6. Bengals (3-2) at Lions (0-5)
7. Packers (4-1) at Bears (3-2)
8. Chargers (4-1) at Ravens (4-1)
9. Vikings (2-3) at Panthers (3-2)
10. Cardinals (5-0) at Browns (3-2)
11. Raiders (3-2) at Broncos (3-2)
12. Cowboys (4-1) at Patriots (2-3)
13. Seahawks (2-3) at Steelers (2-3)

14. Bills (4-1) at Titans (3-2)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 5 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1.  Rams (3-1) at Seahawks (2-2) L 1
 
 
2. Jets (1-3) vs. Falcons (1-3) in London L 2
3. Lions (0-4) at Vikings (1-3) L 3
4. Saints (2-2) at Washington (2-2) W 1
5. Patriots (1-3) at Texans (1-3) L 4
6. Dolphins (1-3) at Buccaneers (3-1) L 5
7. Packers (3-1) at Bengals (3-1) L 6
8. Broncos (3-1) at Steelers (1-3) W 2
9. Eagles (1-3) at Panthers (3-1) W 3
10. Titans (2-2) at Jaguars (0-4) W 4
11. Browns (3-1) at Chargers (3-1) L 7
12. Bears (2-2) at Raiders (3-1) W 5
13. 49ers (2-2) at Cardinals (4-0) L 8
14. Giants (1-3) at Cowboys (3-1) L 9
15. Bills (3-1) at Chiefs (2-2) W 6

16. Colts (1-3) at Ravens (3-1) L 10

Week 5 Results: 6-10 (38%)
Overall Results: 41-39 (51%)

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 5

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 35-29 (55%)
 
1.  Rams (3-1) at Seahawks (2-2)
 
 
2. Jets (1-3) vs. Falcons (1-3) in London
3. Lions (0-4) at Vikings (1-3)
4. Saints (2-2) at Washington (2-2)
5. Patriots (1-3) at Texans (1-3)
6. Dolphins (1-3) at Buccaneers (3-1)
7. Packers (3-1) at Bengals (3-1)
8. Broncos (3-1) at Steelers (1-3)
9. Eagles (1-3) at Panthers (3-1)
10. Titans (2-2) at Jaguars (0-4)
11. Browns (3-1) at Chargers (3-1)
12. Bears (2-2) at Raiders (3-1)
13. 49ers (2-2) at Cardinals (4-0)
14. Giants (1-3) at Cowboys (3-1)
15. Bills (3-1) at Chiefs (2-2)

16. Colts (1-3) at Ravens (3-1)
 

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 4 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Jaguars (0-3) at Bengals (2-1) W 1


2. Titans (2-1) at Jets (0-3) L 1
3. Chiefs (1-2) at Eagles (1-2) W 2
4. Panthers (3-0) at Cowboys (2-1) W 3
5. Giants (0-3) at Saints (2-1) W 4
6. Browns (2-1) at Vikings (1-2) W 5
7. Lions (0-3) at Bears (1-2) W 6
8. Texans (1-2) at Bills (2-1) W 7
9. Colts (0-3) at Dolphins (1-2) W 8
10. Washington (1-2) at Falcons (1-2) L 2
11. Seahawks (1-2) at 49ers (2-1) W 9
12. Cardinals (3-0) at Rams (3-0) W 10
13. Steelers (1-2) at Packers (2-1) L 3
14. Ravens (2-1) at Broncos (3-0) L 4
15. Buccaneers (2-1) at Patriots (1-2) L 5

16. Raiders (3-0) at Chargers (2-1) W 11

Week 4 Results: 11-5 (69%)
Overall Results: 35-29 (55%)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 4

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Overall Results: 24-24 (50%)
 
1. Jaguars (0-3) at Bengals (2-1)


2. Titans (2-1) at Jets (0-3)
3. Chiefs (1-2) at Eagles (1-2)
4. Panthers (3-0) at Cowboys (2-1)
5. Giants (0-3) at Saints (2-1)
6. Browns (2-1) at Vikings (1-2)
7. Lions (0-3) at Bears (1-2)
8. Texans (1-2) at Bills (2-1)
9. Colts (0-3) at Dolphins (1-2)
10. Washington (1-2) at Falcons (1-2)
11. Seahawks (1-2) at 49ers (2-1)
12. Cardinals (3-0) at Rams (3-0)
13. Steelers (1-2) at Packers (2-1)
14. Ravens (2-1) at Broncos (3-0)
15. Buccaneers (2-1) at Patriots (1-2)

16. Raiders (3-0) at Chargers (2-1)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 3 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

1. Panthers (2-0) at Texans (1-1) L 1

2. Colts (0-2) at Titans (1-1) W 1
3. Falcons (0-2) at Giants (0-2) W 2
4. Chargers (1-1) at Chiefs (1-1) L 2
5. Bengals (1-1) at Steelers (1-1) W 3
6. Bears (1-1) at Browns (1-1) L 3
7. Ravens (1-1) at Lions (0-2) W 4
8. Saints (1-1) at Patriots (1-1) L 4
9. Cardinals (2-0) at Jaguars (0-2) L 5
10. Washington (1-1) at Bills (1-1) W 5
11. Jets (0-2) at Broncos (2-0) W 6
12. Dolphins (1-1) at Raiders (2-0) L 6
13. Seahawks (1-1) at Vikings (0-2) W7
14. Buccaneers (2-0) at Rams (2-0) W 8
15. Packers (1-1) at 49ers (2-0) W 9

16. Eagles (1-1) at Cowboys (1-1) W 10

Week 3 Results: 10-6 (63%)
Overall Results: 24-24 (50%)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 3

 NOT PREDICTIONS


Overall Results: 14-18 (44%) 

 

1. Panthers (2-0) at Texans (1-1)

2. Colts (0-2) at Titans (1-1)
3. Falcons (0-2) at Giants (0-2)
4. Chargers (1-1) at Chiefs (1-1)
5. Bengals (1-1) at Steelers (1-1)
6. Bears (1-1) at Browns (1-1)
7. Ravens (1-1) at Lions (0-2)
8. Saints (1-1) at Patriots (1-1)
9. Cardinals (2-0) at Jaguars (0-2)
10. Washington (1-1) at Bills (1-1)
11. Jets (0-2) at Broncos (2-0)
12. Dolphins (1-1) at Raiders (2-0)
13. Seahawks (1-1) at Vikings (0-2)
14. Buccaneers (2-0) at Rams (2-0)
15. Packers (1-1) at 49ers (2-0)

16. Eagles (1-1) at Cowboys (1-1)

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 2 Results

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Week 1 and Overall Results: 7-9 (44%)
 
1. Giants (0-1) at Washington (0-1) W 1

2. Patriots (0-1) at Jets (0-1) L 1
3. Broncos (1-0) at Jaguars (0-1) W 2
4. Bills (0-1) at Dolphins (1-0) W 3
5. 49ers (1-0) at Eagles (1-0) W 4
6. Rams (1-0) at Colts (0-1) L 2
7. Raiders (1-0) at Steelers (1-0) L 3
8. Bengals (1-0) at Bears (0-1) W 5
9. Texans (1-0) at Browns (0-1) W 6
10. Saints (1-0) at Panthers (1-0) L 4
11. Vikings (0-1) at Cardinals (1-0) L 5
12. Falcons (0-1) at Buccaneers (1-0) L 6
13. Titans (0-1) at Seahawks (1-0) W 7
14. Cowboys (0-1) at Chargers (1-0) L 7
15. Chiefs (1-0) at Ravens (0-1) L 8

16. Lions (0-1) at Packers (0-1) L 9
 
Week 2 Results: 7-9 (44%)
Overall Results: 14-18 (44%)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 2

 NOT PREDICTIONS

Week 1 and Overall Results: 7-9 (44%)
 
1. Giants (0-1) at Washington (0-1)

2. Patriots (0-1) at Jets (0-1)
3. Broncos (1-0) at Jaguars (0-1)
4. Bills (0-1) at Dolphins (1-0)
5. 49ers (1-0) at Eagles (1-0)
6. Rams (1-0) at Colts (0-1)
7. Raiders (1-0) at Steelers (1-0)
8. Bengals (1-0) at Bears (0-1)
9. Texans (1-0) at Browns (0-1)
10. Saints (1-0) at Panthers (1-0)
11. Vikings (0-1) at Cardinals (1-0)
12. Falcons (0-1) at Buccaneers (1-0)
13. Titans (0-1) at Seahawks (1-0)
14. Cowboys (0-1) at Chargers (1-0)
15. Chiefs (1-0) at Ravens (0-1)

16. Lions (0-1) at Packers (0-1)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 1 Results

Week 1
(0-0) 
 
1.  Cowboys (0-0) at Buccaneers (0-0) L 1
 
2.  Jaguars (0-0) at Texans (0-0) L 2
3.  Chargers (0-0) at Washington (0-0) W 1
4.  Seahawks (0-0) at Colts (0-0) L 3
5.  Jets (0-0) at Panthers (0-0) L 4
6.  Vikings (0-0) at Bengals (0-0) W 2
7.  Cardinals (0-0) at Titans (0-0) L 5
8.  49ers (0-0) at Lions (0-0) W 3
9.  Steelers (0-0) at Bills (0-0) L 6
10. Eagles (0-0) at Falcons (0-0) L 7
11. Browns (0-0) at Chiefs (0-0) W 4
12. Packers (0-0) vs Saints (0-0) in Jacksonville W 5
13. Broncos (0-0) at Giants (0-0) W 6
14. Dolphins (0-0) at Patriots (0-0) W 7
15. Bears (0-0) at Rams (0-0) L 8

16. Ravens (0-0) at Raiders (0-0) L 9

Week 1 and Overall Results: 7-9 (44%)
 
The Bears are tied for First Place

Monday, September 13, 2021

California Governor Recall Election

California Governor

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2020 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Likely Democrat

When all is said and done, this feels like a bit of a waste to have to right about. For sure political entertainment purposes, this show looked like it had the potential for extreme drama and a potential political cluster-something of all time about a month and a half ago. The circumstances have calmed however, and by late tomorrow night, it should be clear that Democrat Gavin Newsom will not have to vacate his office.

Recalls are a weird political animal. In American history, two Governors have been recalled, one way 100 years ago in North Dakota and famously, 18 years ago in California, which saw an unpopular Democrat recalled and celebrity Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger emerge among a large and colorful figure, in which his main opposition was the sitting Democrat Lt. Governor. Nine years ago, Democrats in Wisconsin had high hopes of ousting GOP Governor Scott Walker early, but he became the first state chief executive in history to survive. All the money and energy helped him win another term two years later (but ultimately did little for his Presidential ambitions.) When Walker sought yet another term in 2018, he was turned aside by the voters.

Relatively few states allow for Gubernatorial recalls. In principle, I think they are a bad idea. For the most part, voters should live with the consequences of their choices. There is always another election on the horizon, as will be the case next year in California. In extreme circumstances, public pressure for resignation or the impeachment process should be used, as it was in my state of Illinois several years back, or most recently against the disgraced Andrew Cuomo of New York who eventually resigned.

Governor Newsom easily won his office in 2018. While the state has a somewhat unique electoral system that could easily produce two members of the same party facing off in a general election, he was lucky enough to face a weak Republican in an overwhelmingly and increasingly blue state. Newsom looks like a tv show version of a politician and came into office with an ambitious liberal agenda. There has been much dissatisfaction with him though, at least in some parts of the state, regarding water and fire issues and the feeling that Newsom was overly arrogant. This problem increased after the Coronavirus pandemic emerged as the biggest issue facing government. The Governor enacted tough shut down and distancing measures, but was caught on film flaunting all of them, maskless, and with a large crowd of wealthy elites at a very expensive restaurant. Newsom would apologize for this lack of judgment but the damage had been done and he looked very much like a hypocrite.

The ability to get a recall measure on the ballot in California appears to be pretty easy, and perhaps overly so. A judge extended the deadline to gather signatures because of the pandemic and Newsom's Republican critics were able to get the measure on the ballot. To some, this felt like an exercise in futility, as most at first though there was no way that Newsom would actually be recalled. Like what happened in Wisconsin, his survival might make it more difficult to target him in the regular 2022 election. However, the unique circumstances of the recall statute pretty much gave Republicans their best hope for a fluke victory.

Elections are all about turnout and motivation. The energy to recall Newsom on the right was clearly higher at first than the desire to save him, where even many Democrats were disappointed with the Governor or took his beating back the recall for granted. Polls showed that with a low turnout, it might very well be the case that a majority of Golden State voters in this election could do to Newsom what had been done in 2003 to Gray Davis.

Here is where things get even more interesting. If the question on recalling Newsom were to pass, the person among 46 qualified candidates who received the most votes, no matter how low a percentage, would become Governor. Unlike 2003, Democrats chose not to have an insurance policy of a credible candidate in case the measure passed. Instead, they would basically take the chance that the office would go to a Republican or some sort of gadfly Democrat that the party would really want no part of. Not too long ago, this looked like a huge potential problem for Democrats, but now, it seems like the lack of any sort of viable Democrat option is a major contributor to why Newsom is likely to survive on the first question.

Scores of candidates lined up to run, from both major political parties, and Independents .There would be no primary process to weed out the contenders. Headlines were made when former Olympic champion and reality show transgender trailblazer Caitlyn Jenner announced her plans to run as a Republican. While Jenner had been critical of Donald Trump, mostly on LGBT issues, she amassed a campaign team of former Trump staffers and seemed to take positions inline with the Trump base. She also left the campaign trail for some time to do a tv reality show in Australia. Ultimately, Jenner was never able to make any sort of case for running other than the need for personal attention and is polling at a very low number.

More serious Republicans entered the race, which I suppose would probably have to include  John Cox, the only time perennial candidate from Chicagoland, who lost in the general election to Newsom three years ago. His gimmick was to campaign with a large bear, that managed to not maul him on the trail. Doug Ose, a relatively moderate former Congressman was in the field, but dropped out not long ago after suffering a heart attack. Other GOP candidates include a conservative State Assemblyman (whose campaign website seems to contain a virus warning) and a more moderate and wonkish Board of Equalization member.

When this race first came into focus, many though the strongest possible Republican candidate would be Kevin Faulconer, a moderate who had served recently as Mayor of San Diego. After all, he was one of the few big city GOP Mayors left anywhere in America. If this were a true one on one race against Newsom, he might actually have a chance, but that is assuming the political world is sane. Faulconer is way back in the polls because he is considered boring and has garnered little in the way of media attention.

A late entrant to the field who has easily gained the most attention and is heavily favored to finish first among the 46 candidate field is Republican Larry Elder. I do not really understand it but that is the political reality that we like in. Conservative activist types in California like the combative and conservative long time Los Angeles talk radio host who has had somewhat of a national profile over the past 25 years or so. 

Much like Trump, Elder is someone who loves to say controversial things and never apologizes for doing so. He has stood by Trump's claims that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from him and even before the first vote is counted in California tomorrow, seems ready to claim that the contest is being stolen from him as well. Elder, also like Trump, has questions about past personal behavior. His former fiancee/radio producer claims he used drugs, harassed, and abused her during their relationship.

Elder is most identified though because of his identity as a black conservative. He has pointed to his success in life from very humble beginning as proof of the American Dream and has consistently taken on the left in regards to "systemic racism" or the need for large government programs. As talk radio hosts are known to do, he has often said very provocative things such as musing that slave holders would have been more worthy of reparations than the descendants of slaves. Last week, a left-wing activist (assuming it was not a self-staged event) put on a gorilla mask and threw eggs at Elder. There is no excuse for that anywhere in the political sphere. Only also has to realize that had this exact thing happened to an African-American Democrat, it would have received massive news coverage. When it happened to Elder, it was barely, if at all mentioned, outside of Fox News or right-wing media. This definitely speaks as an example as to why left-wing media bias is real.

To reiterate, back in July and August, the polls on the recall question looked to be very close and inching away from Newsom. It was clear that those who wanted him gone were more motivated than those who wanted him to stay. Then, it appears, enough Democrats got scared into taking this thing seriously. In early August, a SurveyUSA poll came out showing that there was a majority now in favor of the recall and that the replacement would come down to Elder and a virtually unknown YouTube figure, running as a Democrat, in favor of the recall, and whose campaign platform sounded more like a Trump Republican. I was very surprised to see this poll. The possibility of this out of nowhere Democrat potentially becoming Governor just because he was running with a D next to his name seemed even crazier than Larry Elder becoming Governor. It also appeared somewhat suspect because that Democrat, Kevin Paffrath, was the only one included in the poll. That would make the situation even more promising for Elder, and for a time, Republicans across the country felt like Elder was headed to victory. During this time, I wondered if there would be an opening for the moribound Faulconer campaign to warn voters that the recall was going to pass and that Democrats should join his Republican backers in supporting him on the second question as the only mainstream hope to be Governor.

As Lee Corso might say though in regards to a college football game, not so fast. SurveyUSA's next poll had very different results and they basically said their previous poll was crap. They had not previously had a good polling reputation in the state. While Elder is going to win the most votes tomorrow, and while it is true that there might be a surprising number of Latino voters especially who have turned on Newsom, the polls now show that "No" is likely to beat "Yes" by a very solid margin. There is still enough unpredictability though in regards to the makeup of the electorate that I cannot call this "Safe."

National Democrats, including Joe Biden, have rallied to the cause of saving Newsom. It would be a tremendous embarrassment if they lose and that is unlikely to happen, especially in a place like California. Enough of the state's Democrat base have been convinced to vote apparently and thus, that will be the end of this chapter. The race is nationalized to the extent that actions by Republicans in Texas have enough Democrats in California scared enough to save their Governor (as if there would be any chance that abortion restrictions could pass in California.) There might also be a more realistic concern that even a temporary Republican Governor could make many appointments and even potentially replace a Democrat U.S. Senator should a vacancy occur. By the same token, actions by Newsom and California Democrats are probably going to help Republicans in Texas and other red states next year in these very polarized times.

Soon enough, it will be time to look towards the regular Gubernatorial election in California. It is very clear that for all his political problems, Newsom will be running for a second term. Many of the figures from this recall contest are likely to try also. The top two candidates, regardless, of party, will advance, and advance alone to the general election. The big question will be if a big-name Democrat steps up to challenge Newsom, and if they can manage to get him into an all Democrat final contest. Of course, any Democrat running would most like to emerge against a Republican in November like John Cox or Larry Elder.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Generation Removed

I have been going back and forth, right up to this point, as to if I wanted to make a post today. If I did make one I was not sure what to title it or what the tone of it would be. I guess I will be figuring that out as we go along. I will not be proofreading so this may wind up somewhat disjointed and rambling, but putting ones thoughts on "paper" can be a helpful thing.

Today is a somber day. I find it very hard to believe that it has now been twenty years since September 11, 2001. The events of that day have been seared in my memory. I can only imagine how much more so that is for those who were close to the attacks or suffered loss directly. After the initial shock and horror of that day, there was a very comforting feeling of national unity. Congress joined together, Democrats and Republicans alike, to sing "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps that day, and our then President, whose election had been controversial, rose to the occasion as a leader in the aftermath in a way that even his harshest critics gave him credit.

To paraphrase a famous television sitcom theme song, "we could use a man like George W. Bush again."

Today, America feels as divided as ever. The people most vocal about politics are firmly divided into tribes. We still face the damage of a global pandemic. Just a few short months ago, there was the belief that it was all but over, but people are continuing to die every day in numbers comparable to the lives lost on 9/11.

Innocent victims met their fate that day and while we should certainly mourn the loss of any American, those that are dying of Covid are almost all unvaccinated. It is hard to understand why so many people continue to be so stubborn and so foolish. Politics plays a part for some, but not all. Many on the left seem to embrace the narrative of thinking that all the vaccine resisters are Trump supporters. Yes, many are, but certainly not all. This feels more like a political football for them then genuine concern over their fellow man and that is sad as well.

Last year, late in the game, I made the decision to vote for Joe Biden in the Presidential general election. I knew that I disagreed with him on a ton and that I would almost certainly oppose many aspects of his Presidency. However, he was running against Donald Trump. Needless to say, I do not have one milligram of regret for not voting for Trump. He was and remains a cancer on our nation and civilization. There are literally not enough words to convey how terrible he was for America and how dangerous his influence remains both for the country and for the political party I was once proud to belong to.

Nonetheless, I now feel I was wrong to personally vote for Biden. It will not be a mistake I make again. I gave him a chance in his first few months in office and did not have too much to complain about. His actions this past summer though have profoundly disappointed me. I thought he understood that he became President, simply because he was not Donald Trump. His charge was to try to unite the country as much as possible and above all to defeat the virus. He was very lucky to be President, after nearly 50 years of seeking the office to some extent. It is clear that Biden, even at his advanced age, thinks of himself as another FDR.

He has overreached on domestic matters and social issues which did not come as too much of a surprise. I suppose I should be glad he has not attempted to pack the court or support eliminating the filibuster.. at least not yet. That is pretty much par for the course though. He got way out ahead in declaring victory over the virus and leading us intelligent vaccinated people in tossing away the masks that we wore without complaint before vaccines are available but now feel suckered into having to wear again. The failure to lead a successful campaign to get more people vaccinated is not all his fault, but the messages and tone of his Administration contributed to this loss. In particular, the push for masks again I believe hurt the efforts to convince holdouts to get vaccinated. 

I completely relate to and understand the frustration that so many Americans are feeling about the dangers the unvaccinated are putting people in, especially children too young to have been approved for the vaccine. The speech given a few days ago by Biden was nothing short of chilling though as he announced plans for sweeping mandates on people and private businesses.

Again, let me be clear. Anybody eligible who is not vaccinated is a huge part of the problem but this is still a free country. Authoritarianism was wrong under Trump and it is wrong under Biden, even as the tribalists cheered it for both men. Private business should have every right to impose vaccine requirements on their employees and anything else they feel is necessary to properly conduct their affairs during a pandemic. The federal government should not have the power to force private businesses to do that though. It seems a simple concept that anybody with a basic understanding of the Constitution should understand. Politicians on both parties are playing a dangerous game regarding masks and vaccines. These decisions, if they have to be made by government at all, should be done at the local level, in cities, towns, local school boards, etc. Preening Governors and flailing Presidents should stand back.

The overall tone of Biden's speech this past week was terrible and divisive. It is going many people to dig in and fight even harder about getting themselves or their loved ones vaccinated. Some may now get the shot under pressure or fear of losing their job, but there will be court challenges, and these mandates are quite unlikely to be held up. People on the winning side will declare victory and people on the losing side will complain. Those that applaud Biden for pushing efforts that they believe are for the public good but deep down realize are likely Unconstitutional are wrong, just like the people who supported Trump were.  I remember how loud some people were in opposing the Patriot Act and other measures after 9/11. Somewhere, consistency and principle have been lost.

I could go on at great length about Afghanistan and how our recent failures there lead to this anniversary of 9/11 being all the more somber. I believe it was wrong to leave Afghanistan and allow the Taliban to take over and exert their brutality over innocent men, women, and children. I can understand though that there are those who disagree and that sort of debate is what we honor as Americans. Trump was gung-ho in getting us out of Afghanistan and wanted to bring the Taliban to Camp David last year on September 11 for a photo-op. Those who now vocally complain about Biden and Afghanistan who supported Trump on this really have no room to talk, unless they are willing to admit they were wrong. There are only a handful of consistent people in politics these days who have spoken out against Biden's recent actions, since as Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, and Adam Kinzinger who have the legitimate right to claim their principles have not wavered on this issue just because of partisan politics.

Ultimately though, the tragedy was not so much about leaving itself but by the botched and disgraceful way we left. There are valid debates to be had about the macro policy but there should not be any argument that what happened in Afghanistan in recent weeks should not have happened the way it did. Biden and his backers have continuously tried to change the subject towards the broader issue of "forever wars." It boils down to the fact that Biden ignored sound military advice, ignored our allies, and stubbornly embarked on a course of action he felt was right, going back to his private disagreements with Barack Obama, while Biden was Vice President. When conditions on the ground in terms of American allies and citizens changed in regards to the immediate need to get them out of Afghanistan, Biden pushed ahead with a failed strategy, instead of admitting wrong and changing course. It reminds me so much of Trump failing on Covid just to save his political narrative. In many ways, Biden has proven himself to be way too much like Trump.

Of course, Biden claims he had no choice but to leave Afghanistan in this way because of Trump's "deal." Of course he did. He beat Trump and became Commander in Chief. He is undoing (for better or worse) many other things that Trump Administration put into effect. Trump loyalists and the disgraced former President himself hypocritically try to use this debacle for America to their advantage. Things might have gone better in terms of getting our people out under Trump but they might have gone even worse too. Wrong is wrong and bad is bad either way. Biden is President now, not Trump, and he should be taking responsibility for this national embarrassment. Even more surprising to me is the way the famously empathetic political figure seems to have so little regard as to what will become of the Afghan people or how this all feels to our veterans who served there going back 20 years. He is stubbornly focused on his narrative of everything have gone as well as could be expected.. just like Trump acted.

America will endure though and there will be future elections. I do not know how much the American people truly care about foreign policy matters and the War on Terror after the years of Obama, Trump, and now Biden. Many people expect the GOP to have a very strong 2022 midterm election. That remains to be seen. Trumpism is still a very politically dangerous thing for Republicans to embrace in many parts of the country, and for good reason. I wish there was a better alternative but that is not the case in today's Democrat Party either. Many people like me held our nose and voted for Biden, simply to be rid of Trump. We got what we wanted in that one regard but are also getting far from what we expected. All I can do now is hope that Republicans like Cheney and Kinzinger find a way to stay in office and help lead the GOP back to sanity. I can also hope that Democrats like Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema are not totally ostracized from their party.

Through it all I will choose to be optimistic on 9/11/21 that we have not had a "lost generation" and that America is still great, even when it feels like it is coming apart at the seams. I only caught a few minutes today of the speech given by President George W. Bush at Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I know that so many tribalists on both the left and the right have no use for him these days or attempts to bring about unity or civility. His message stands in stark contrast to their agenda, mostly seen in angry online Tweets, comments, and posts where the only objective is "owning" the political opposition.

GWB made note of this division today in his remarks. He said he had no explanation or solution. I admire the candor and cannot help but find it truthful. He looked back on what happened in America on that fateful day a generation ago, when we as a people did come together, for at least a short time, amid the greatest single tragedy we had ever faced. The man who was President on that day spoke in honor of the heroes of Flight 93 who at the cost of their lives, won the first battle in the War on Terror. Twenty years later the pride is still immense in hearing their story and how their resolve and courage surprised and scared their killers and prevented far more destruction from occurring.

President Bush spoke of this "random group of Americans" on Flight 93 and how our enemies never expected them to band together in such a way. Today, the enemies of America, still feel that way, and after our disgraceful exit from Afghanistan, orchestrated not by our brave and noble military, but by misguided political figures from both parties. 

We need to hope and pray that those enemies are wrong though and that when faced with a similar set of circumstances, any random group of Americans would act with the same determination and unity. Long after Trump and Biden and all of us are gone from the scene, America needs to survive and endure, like we did after a September day a generation back.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

NFL 2021 Week 1

As is the case every year, this is just a spot for me to list the games each week and which team I *want* to win. These are NOT predictions. 
 
Diversions, such as sports, from all the serious and emotion evoking things going on around the world, historic anniversaries, or the state of politics today, in addition to day to day personal or health-related matters and challenges are always a good thing. Delving into political matters online seems increasingly pointless, but I am sure I will get back to it eventually in this spot, likely when discussing future elections, and especially the next Presidential contest. That is if I still want to do so. For now, I am looking forward to the NFL season kicking off tomorrow night, now for the first time with a 17 game regular season, which was probably unnecessary. 

While it may not be apparent this season, there is reason to believe that the Chicago Bears are on the right track. The countdown is already on as to when rookie Justin Fields will take the reigns at Quarterback. 

Week 1
(0-0) 
 
1.  Cowboys (0-0) at Buccaneers (0-0)
 
2.  Jaguars (0-0) at Texans (0-0)
3.  Chargers (0-0) at Washington (0-0)
4.  Seahawks (0-0) at Colts (0-0)
5.  Jets (0-0) at Panthers (0-0)
6.  Vikings (0-0) at Bengals (0-0)
7.  Cardinals (0-0) at Titans (0-0)
8.  49ers (0-0) at Lions (0-0)
9.  Steelers (0-0) at Bills (0-0)
10. Eagles (0-0) at Falcons (0-0)
11. Browns (0-0) at Chiefs (0-0)
12. Packers (0-0) vs Saints (0-0) in Jacksonville
13. Broncos (0-0) at Giants (0-0)
14. Dolphins (0-0) at Patriots (0-0)
15. Bears (0-0) at Rams (0-0)

16. Ravens (0-0) at Raiders (0-0)

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Texas 6th District

 Long time no post. Looking ahead to the near future, I will have full analysis and predictions ahead of September's California Gubernatorial Recall show as well as regularly scheduled elections for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia.

I always like to own up to any incorrect electoral predictions though. Technically, I do not have an incorrect one in the 6th District of Texas as I predicted that a Special Election would be "Safe Republican." However, it was an all Republican runoff, and my May 31 prediction of "Likely Susan Wright" would turn out to be wrong. The widow of a Republican Congressman who had succumbed to Covid related complications was defeated by Jake Ellzey, who is now the newest House Member from the Lone Star State.

Late in the game, I knew that the race was closer than originally anticipated, but I decided not to change my prediction to favor Ellzey or was otherwise too lazy to make an altered post. This result has to be considered at least somewhat meaningful. Of course, by no means is Ellzey any sort of "NeverTrump" Republican. He ran as a vocal Trump ally. However, the endorsement of the perma-angry former President had gone to Wright and he exerted much effort to try to help her via robocalls, etc. It did not work. Ellzey had other GOP endorsements, raised far more money and conducted a more active campaign. Trump alone could not deliver the victory for the candidate he had endorsed. Since this result on Tuesday night, he has not made a peep about the outcome, not even to claim the election was rigged or stolen.

It is worth mentioning that a Democrat had hoped to advance to the runoff in this suburban district that Trump had won only narrowly, but failed to do so. Most in the party said that both Republican advancees were too far to the right and it was not even worth voting. However, it looks like some Democrats did vote anyway and went for Ellzey. Their anger towards Trump has not abated and potentially, it could have made a difference in the outcome.

In his victory speech, from what I have read, Ellzey made no mention of Trump, but spoke of being a "Reagan Republican" and also said voters had chosen to vote for a "positive message." Could that have been subtle shade at Trump? I do not think he would have dared said that before the runoff. Instead, he was issuing emails that kept showing up in my spam folder. When I looked at one, Ellzey warned that his runoff defeat would signify "complete surrender to the socialist agenda of Nancy Pelosi and the end of the American Dream" or words to that effect. So much for a positive message! Of course, what was unsaid in this email to Republicans across the country (which I was once proud to be) was that he was running against a fellow Republican who had been endorsed by Trump. Inside the district though, Ellzey's people quietly let word go out to Democrats that his opponent was Trump's choice, and he was not.

I can only hope that this might be a small sign of the GOP turning back to Reaganism and away from Trumpism. To at least some degree, this runoff showed political weakness for Trump and should be a message to all in the party not to let him dominate the entire thing as we move ahead towards the 2022 midterms and the next race for President in 2024. Since 2016, Trump and those associated with him have suffered many defeats at the ballot box and Republicans should keep in mind that his "complete and total endorsement" comes with a lot of risks.