Tag Archives: Florida

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.

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Jeb Bush Presented Liberty Medal to Hillary Clinton in 2013

In September 2013, Jeb Bush presented the Liberty Medal to Hillary Rodham Clinton as a token for her “international work.” Yesterday, while speaking in Derry, N.H., the Republican presidential wannabe sang a different tune, describing the Democratic presidential frontrunner as having failed as Secretary of State.

While I have to agree with Jeb Bush when he describes Hillary’s foreign policy efforts as a failure, I find it difficult to believe the former Florida governor changed his opinion during the almost three years that passed between his statements about the former first lady. Do you?

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‘The Financial Coach’ Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison

Federal Judge Ronnie L. White sentenced Bryan C. Binkholder to nine years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release during a sentencing hearing Friday at 10:30 a.m. inside a 10th-floor courtroom at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. In addition, the judge ordered Binkholder to make full restitution of more than $3 million the court said he owes his victims .

The Financial Coach Show

If the name rings familiar, it’s because Binkholder hosted “The Financial Coach Show” on Saturday afternoons on FM Newstalk 97.1, St. Louis’ only conservative FM radio station, from 2009 until early 2012. when his face appeared on the station’s airstaff listing for the last time during the first week of February 2012. A source told me Binkholder had also bankrolled many of the costs involved in staging the first St. Louis Tea Party event at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis in 2009, but I could not obtain confirmation of that today.

Binkholder’s sentencing came several weeks after he accepted a plea deal on four counts of committing financial crimes involving real estate investments in St. Louis and Florida, and brings to a close an investigation that began at the state level more than five years ago and later appeared on the radar of federal investigators.

Attorney Albert Watkins tried to convince Judge White to reduce the number of points levied against Binkholder per federal sentencing guidelines and thereby reduce his sentence, but the judge wasn’t to be persuaded.

While being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit after the hearing, Binkholder turned toward the gallery — where approximately 60 people were in attendance, including his wife and one of his three children — and told those who had not yet left they would get all of their money back if the government handled things (i.e., the assets involved) properly.

Binkholder’s attorney told the court his client will need a court-appointed attorney to handle his appeal which must be filed within 14 days.

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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Saint Louis Police Admit to Using Illegal Surveillance Tech

A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department official confirmed today that its officers are using cell phone simulator technology many believe is illegal and violates citizens’ privacy.

This screenshot shows the text of an email I received today from Schron Jackson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

This screenshot shows the text of an email I received today from Schron Jackson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

As a follow-up to a piece I wrote and published Nov. 17 and as a result of reading several articles (see examples here and here) about the technology, I fired off two questions to SLMPD spokesperson Schron Jackson Feb. 23:

1) Has the department purchased, or obtained via any other means, any items under any of the names Kingfish, AmberJack, HailStorm or Stingray? and

2) Has the department purchased, or obtained via any other means, any items from Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Florida, during the past 10 years?

In an email message received today, 31 days later, at 12:52 p.m. Central, Jackson wrote the following:

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department does possess a cell site simulator that is designed to allow our personnel to locate a lawfully targeted cellphone. The cell site simulator is a particularly effective tool and has assisted greatly in keeping the citizens of our community safe.  Unfortunately, there are widely held misconceptions about the usage of cell site simulators, partly as a result of law enforcement’s decision to not disclose specific information about the devices.  In the case of cell site simulators, numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have determined that the public release of technical details, applications, and operational procedures would create a significant detriment to the protection of their communities by providing criminal elements with the ability to circumvent the devices.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-law enforcement. I am, however, against government agencies infringing upon my Constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure.

If you agree with me, contact  SLMPD Chief Sam Dotson via Twitter (@ChiefSLMPD) or through Jackson via her email address (MEDIA@slmpd.org or syjackson@slmpd.org) or phone (314-444-5603 or 314-444-5604). Be forewarned, however, that it might take her a month or longer to respond.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 10 a.m. Central:  According to this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s use of illegal cell phone simulator technology forced prosecutors to drop more than a dozen charges against three defendants.

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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‘The Architect’ of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Speaks

While reporting on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence release Wednesday of its controversial 525-page report about the CIA’s so-called “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”, most news outlets contacted the usual inside-the-Beltway suspects for comments and highlighted polar-opposite views. The folks at Vice News, however, went to the Florida Everglades to interview James Mitchell, the man some refer to as “The Architect” of the CIA’s EIT program.

The 25-minute interview is worth watching, regardless of which side you find yourself when it comes to interrogating terrorists and suspected terrorists. And when you’re done watching it, you might be interested in my contention that torture might be a moot issue if not for the actions taken by a small group of people, including James R. Clapper Jr., the man now serving as our nation’s Director of National Intelligence (i.e., our nation’s top intelligence official).

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