Tag Archives: Colorado

Political Strategy Offered to Defeat ‘The Left’ in 2016

By Paul R. Hollrah

To be elected president or vice president of the United States requires a total of at least 270 votes in the Electoral College. Through the strategic spending of other people’s money, especially among minority populations in our major urban areas, Democrats have fashioned an electoral map that gives them a relatively firm base of 22 blue states with a combined total of 257 of the needed 270 electoral votes. Of the remaining 281 electoral votes, they only have to pick up 13 in order to elect a president and a vice president.

Editorial cartoon courtesy David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

Editorial cartoon courtesy David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.

Republicans, on the other hand, have a firm base of 23 red states with a combined total of 191 electoral votes, leaving a total of six swing states… Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia… with a combined total of 90 electoral votes. In order for a Republican to win in 2016 and beyond, he/she must carry all 23 of the red states, plus at least five of the six swing states. They could afford to lose either Colorado’s nine electoral votes or Iowa’s six electoral votes, but not all 15. To lose both Colorado and Iowa, while carrying Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia, would leave them with a total of just 266 electoral votes, four short of an electoral majority. It appears to be a nearly-insurmountable obstacle for Republicans, but is it?

With a bit of foresight and strategic planning, Republicans could do a great deal between now and November 2016 to mitigate the Democrats’ electoral advantage. In a December 2012 column, Real Electoral College Reform, I analyzed what would happen to the political balance of power in the United States if all 50 states were to adopt the Maine-Nebraska method for allocating electoral votes.

In the Electoral College, each of the 50 states are allotted two at-large electoral votes, one for each of their two U.S. senators, and one vote for each of the state’s congressional districts. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the popular vote in each state takes all of the state’s electoral votes. In Maine and Nebraska, however, the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote is allotted that state’s two at-large electoral votes, while the remainder of the electoral votes are allocated based on the winner of the popular vote within each of the state’s congressional districts.

If the Maine-Nebraska formula had been in effect in all 50 states in 2012, and assuming that the vote for the presidential candidates of each party would roughly approximate the votes for the congressional candidates of the respective parties in each congressional district, Obama would have lost 115 of his 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney in the 26 states, plus D.C., in which he won a majority of the popular vote. On the other hand, in the 24 red states carried by Romney-Ryan, they would have lost only 39 electoral votes to Obama-Biden.

The end result?  In 2012, instead of a 332 to 206 vote victory for Obama-Biden in the Electoral College, the Maine-Nebraska system would have produced a comfortable 282 to 256 vote victory for Romney-Ryan, an outcome that would have been far closer to expressing the will of the people than the present winner-take-all system.

To understand this phenomenon, one need only look at the county-by-county electoral map of the United States with the counties colored either red or blue. It is reflective of: a) the preference for Republican principles among a substantial majority of the people, and b) the overwhelming size of the vote for the Democratic “sugar daddy” in the inner city precincts. The electoral process is disproportionately skewed by the fact that, in the heavily-populated inner-city precincts, the vote is nearly always 95 percent to 110 percent for Democratic candidates, while in the suburbs and the rural areas the vote is nearly always within the 60-40 range, one party over the other.

If it is true that “all politics is local,” as the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill once remarked, then to replace the current winner-take-all system with the Maine-Nebraska electoral system would help to bring political decision-making much closer to the people because of the increased interest generated in local and congressional elections.

The Maine-Nebraska electoral system would deemphasize the key battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia and require candidates to campaign in all fifty states. As matters now stand, presidential candidates spend little time in states such as California, New York, Oklahoma and Texas because the outcome of presidential voting in those states is almost always a foregone conclusion. Had the Maine-Nebraska system been in place for the 2012 General Election, Obama would have found it necessary to defend the 15 votes that Romney could have won in California and the six votes he could have won in New York, while Romney could not have ignored the 12 electoral votes that Obama might have captured in Texas.

Liberals and Democrats are notorious for expressing appreciation for whatever they see as being most “democratic.” But is there a chance that Democrats in the bluest of blue states… such as California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Oregon… would agree to such a reform once they figured out that the Maine-Nebraska system would cause them to lose a significant number of electoral votes to Republicans, and that the Maine-Nebraska system would all but guarantee that no Democrat could be elected president or vice president for many years to come? Among liberals and Democrats, when it come to a choice between what is best for the country and what is best for their party, the country will always come out on the “short end of the stick.”

Image above represents voting for president by county in 2012 presidential election (i.e., Red = Romney, Blue = Obama).

Image above represents voting for president by county in 2012 presidential election (i.e., Red = Romney, Blue = Obama).

So, while we cannot expect to ever see an electoral system in which all 50 states utilize the Maine-Nebraska formula, is there something that can be done now to level the playing field a bit? The answer is yes, and it can easily be accomplished in advance of the 2016 General Election. Here’s what must be done:

At the present time, there are 11 states with a total of 139 electoral votes that were carried by Barack Obama in 2012 which now have Republican governors. Of those 11 states, the states of Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin now enjoy Republican majorities in both houses of their legislatures. What this means is that, if the governors and legislative leaders in those five states understood what could be accomplished, they would take immediate steps to repeal the winner-take-all electoral system and adopt the Maine-Nebraska system. With Republican majorities in both houses of their legislatures, Democrats would be powerless to stop them.

Even if Democrats should win the popular vote in each of those five states in 2016, as they did in 2012, the Maine-Nebraska formula would create a much different scenario than the winner-take-all system:  Instead of winning all 29 of Florida’s electoral votes, Democrats would win 12 and Republicans would win 17; instead of winning all 16 of Michigan’s electoral votes, Democrats would win seven votes and Republicans would win nine; instead of winning all six of Nevada’s electoral votes, Democrats would win three and Republicans would win three; instead of winning all 18 of Ohio’s electoral votes, Democrats would win six and Republicans would win 12; and instead of winning all 10 of Wisconsin’s electoral votes, Democrats would win five and Republicans would win five.

Applying these totals to the expected blue state and red state totals, the Democrats’ expected advantage would increase from 257 electoral votes to 258, while the Republican disadvantage would move from 191 electoral votes to 237. As matters now stand, Democrats have to take only 13 (14 percent) of the 90 swing state votes while Republicans have to take 79 (8 percent) in order to win the presidency. On the other hand, if Republicans in those five states were to adopt the Maine-Nebraska system in the current legislative sessions, Democrats would have to take 12 (28 percent) of the remaining 43 swing state votes to win, while Republicans would have to take 33 (76 percent) of the remaining 43. Taking 76 percent of 43 votes is easier than taking 88 percent of 90 votes.

But what if many of the low-information Obama voters in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin decide to stay home in November 2016, giving Republicans popular vote victories in all five states? After eight years of disastrous Obama-Biden-Clinton-style governance, it is a distinct possibility. Under that scenario, Republicans could put another 10 electoral votes in their column.  Democrats would have 248 electoral votes and Republicans 247 electoral votes before the 43 electoral votes of Colorado (9), Iowa (6), North Carolina (15) and Virginia (13) were won or lost. Democrats would have to win 22 (51 percent) of the remaining 43 swing state votes, while Republicans would have to win 23 (53 percent). The playing field would be substantially leveled.

However, in order to greatly increase their chances of victory, Republicans should not hesitate to target Minnesota, with 10 electoral votes; New Hampshire, with four electoral votes; New Mexico, with five electoral votes; and Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes… all winner-take-all states, and all states that Obama carried with less than 53 percent of the vote in 2012. After eight years of Obama-Biden, at least five percent of the good people in those four states should be anxious for a change.

In the meantime, those readers who live in the states of Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan might wish to place copies of this analysis into the hands of their governors and their legislative leaders. With seven states utilizing the Maine-Nebraska system we may witness the  beginning of a trend as other blue states follow suit. The question is, do Republican leaders in Washington and in the state capitals have the political sense to recognize the advantage they enjoy? Given their past history, we know that they= are not always quick to act when political advantage falls into their laps.  t may be necessary to lean on them a bit.

Paul R. Hollrah is a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Retired Geologist Predicted EPA Failure in Letter to Editor Published Only Days Before Gold King Mine Disaster

While national news media outlets have been slow to take notice of Dale Hamilton’s letter to the editor of the Silverton (Colo.) Standard newspaper about the Gold King Mine disaster in Colorado, Zero Hedge, was not.

Click on image above to read Zero Hedge article.

Click on image above to read Zero Hedge article.

On Wednesday, as part of the Zero Hedge mission “to widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public,” the site’s editors asked a headline-shaping question — Did The EPA Intentionally Poison Animas River To Secure SuperFund Money? — that caught my attention for several reasons.

For starters, I was attracted to the story, because I tend to smell a “rat” anytime the EPA is involved in anything. Here’s the link to the EPA’s official statement regarding the disaster.

On a more personal and emotional note, however, I care about the health of such rivers, because I spent some of the best times of my life as a youngster on summer vacations, fly fishing for brownie and rainbow trout on the Conejos River of southern Colorado.

My interest grew when I learned Environmental Restoration LLC, the EPA contractor said to be involved in the disaster, is from Fenton, Mo., according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

Finally, the fact that my father is, like Hamilton, a retired geologist also played a role in drawing me to this story. After reading Hamilton’s letter to the editor that was printed in the Silverton, Colo., newspaper only days before the disaster took place, I suspect my dad might secretly consider its author a superhero. But only secretly, because dad isn’t much into idolizing folks.

What, exactly, did Hamilton write in his letter? In short, he warned that the EPA’s “grand experiment” would fail and, in the long run, result in the federal government’s environmental watchdogs having to declare the Animas River area where the disaster took place only days later an EPA Superfund Site, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Stay tuned for more about this disaster, because I suspect it’s gonna blow up in somebody’s face.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Book Excerpt: Nation’s First Latino President Takes Office

Coming only days after the passage of a controversial trade agreement, recent Supreme Court Decisions on gay marriage and healthcare have many Americans upset with the folks in Washington, D.C., who claim to represent their interests. If you count yourself among them, I think you’ll enjoy the timely excerpt below from Chapter 11 of my recently-released crime-fiction novel, The National Bet:

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

With the line of succession to the presidency obliterated, surviving members of the U.S. House and Senate met for five days straight to discuss a one-time, extra-Constitutional means for resolving this never-before-experienced crisis. They were joined by a select number of individuals from outside the legislative branch who had been instrumental in securing the top-level resignations. Together, they worked to select a successor to serve out the remainder of President Obama’s second term.

Minus any smoke signals, several rounds of papal election-style voting took place during an exhausting three-day period until one man, a proven leader without the baggage of a Beltway insider, emerged from the pack.

Governor Franklin G. Rivera was a second-term governor from Wyoming who some people—but not the man himself—liked to refer to as “FGR.” Far more conservative than the three-term president who, decades earlier, had been associated with a similar three-letter acronym, Governor Rivera’s public approval ratings were higher than any other statewide office holder in the country.

With much trepidation, the governor accepted the job just a few minutes before noon Saturday, July 4, 2015.

After taking the oath of office behind closed doors and without fanfare, the nation’s first Latino president addressed the nation at 3 p.m., delivering the first of many difficult messages he would be called upon to share as Commander- in-Chief:

My fellow Americans, many of you have suffered tremendous losses during the past several months. To you, I offer a sincere apology on behalf of every elected official in Washington.

Members of Congress have, with the cooperation of too many American presidents, gotten away with robbery for far too long. They’ve allowed taxing and spending to get out of control. And they’ve allowed government regulation to trample common sense and decency. As a result, we’ve all paid a price higher than most of us care to calculate.

During the next twelve months, I pledge to work tirelessly to establish legal safeguards in our system via which we will do more than simply prevent members of Congress from increasing the national debt. The safeguards I propose will involve imposing stiff financial penalties on individual members of Congress who choose to waste taxpayers’ dollars on any projects or programs that increase the national debt and the burden on our children and grandchildren.

Even more important than that, however, is my top priority—ensuring that all of your assets, taken from you illegally by the previous administration, are returned to you as quickly as possible.

I’ve set July 4, 2016, as the date by which your money, the money that is rightfully yours, will be returned, with interest, to your bank accounts, to your 401K accounts and to your other retirement savings vehicles. It will be a Financial Independence Day when government no longer has its hands on your money.

President Rivera’s speech resonated with the justifiably jaded American people.

After learning more about the energetic sixty-year-old president’s background via biopic news and feature reports that surfaced following his appointment, most Americans seemed genuinely appreciative of the fact his legal-immigrant parents had set a good example for their oldest son and his five younger siblings, all of whom had been born in the United States.

Not surprisingly, they liked knowing Rivera’s parents had realized success as farmers, growing mostly wheat and soybeans on the flatlands of eastern Colorado. And they liked the fact that the new president’s four adult children seemed to be decent, well-educated people not seeking to ride their father’s political coattails.

In addition, they liked the fact he had become successful through hard work, determination and a steadfast refusal to run with the pack when the pack was heading in the wrong direction. And they liked how he seemed to take time to think before opening his mouth to speak and refused to compromise his Christian faith.

Most importantly, they liked how President Rivera’s early actions spoke even louder than his personal history.

In addition to signing an executive order on Day One that banned the use of taxpayer dollars on inaugural activities, he signed another that prohibited all federal employees from participating in inaugural activities, public or private.

The new president also completed the process of appointing cabinet members within two days and warned members of Congress not to waste any time in approving his nominees, saying, “We have important business to take care of!”

During his first year in office, President Rivera worked too hard and slept too little while waging a gallant effort to restore stability. Not a single round of golf was played, and vacations were off limits for White House staffers and all who remained employed on Capitol Hill.

I hope you enjoyed this tidbit from The National Bet. Beyond that, I hope you’ll share it and order a copy to see what happens before and after this presidential moment.

Click here to read other excerpts from The National Bet and my two nonfiction books, The Clapper Memo and Three Days In August.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.