Tag Archives: Virginia

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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Rolling Stone Reporter Boasts ‘Finely Tuned Bullshit Detector’

As an investigative reporter and author, I’ve talked with hundreds of people over the years. Many were politicians with agendas. One had a felony record. Others were experts at determining when people were being deceptive. And then there is journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely who revealed she has a super power!

Charles Johnson at GotNews.com reported today that the Rolling Stone writer, who now faces allegations she fabricated a story about a gang rape at a fraternity house on the University of Virginia campus, told an audience at the University of Pennsylvania she has “a finely tuned bullshit detector and when it goes off I pay close attention because it doesn’t tend to go off without a reason.”

Of course, she added a caveat: “I’m not a person who assumes that everything is bullshit. If something strikes me as being off I tend to question more deeply about that thing.”

Makes me wonder if she has a future as an Army prosecutor like the one involved in the kangaroo court-martial chronicled in my book, Three Days In August, or, better yet, a polygraph examiner like the many spotlighted in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

If you like this article and my other efforts, please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Father Seeks Support for Wrongly-Convicted Soldier, Son

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below, and with only minor modifications, I share a story published recently at SaveThisSoldier.com, the website run by CMSgt. John Stewart (USAF Ret.). Chief Stewart, by the way, is the father of former Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, a Green Beret combat veteran whose life story is chronicled in my first book, Three Days in August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice (October 201):

Click image above to visit SaveThisSoldier.com.

Click image above to visit SaveThisSoldier.com.

Current Status and Help Needed

After release from prison March 31, 2011, SFC Stewart was forced to move to Virginia where he lived in an old 20 foot camper in a very, very rural area near the Shenandoah Mountain range.  His wife divorced him, taking away his two children.  Over the next 3 years he did not have funds to purchase propane gas on a regular basis and suffered through cold winter nights without heat.  A water hose running from a well froze, and there was no water and he frequently went to use a nearby river as the bathroom facility.  Having little funds for payment during the heat of summer, he had to significantly reduce use of electric and was without air conditioning.

This past year, with assistance of his parents, he was able to rent and move into an unfinished garage of an old home, one without heat or any comfort items.  He purchased a used wood stove, ran a stovepipe, to have heat in the garage.  Wood was hung on the wall for shelves for food items, etc.  An old, worn out couch and chair were purchased from a thrift shop for about $25.  A used bed and work table were found, the table serving as somewhere to sit and eat.  Found some cheap throw rugs from a thrift shop for the unfurnished floor.  A used refrigerator with a bad door and no icemaker were found, as was a makeshift kitchen stove to cook on.  He was unable to purchase a microwave oven.  Lighting is rudimentary at best.  In a joint room through a large opening is a portion used by the owner for repair to motorcycles and other items.  Obviously odors and fumes permeate throughout the living area.

Click image above to order book.

Click image above to order book.

SFC Stewart has an entry level job now at a local business (who’s owner) stepped forward, (understanding) his situation and the outlandish conviction.  Unfortunately, he makes a very, very small salary but it is the best that can be done for now.  From that small amount of take-home pay he must pay a large child support payment, necessary utilities, food, insurance and gas to get to work while using an old car purchased by his parents, medical bills must be paid (he has extensive health issues from military service and his without VA health benefits), clothing, etc., etc., etc.  Additionally, the United States Army has billed him for over $27,000 in back pay issues while on active duty and shortly will begin garnisheeing his pay for a monthly amount that appears to exceed his entire monthly income. 

His parents are attempting to find an affordable and livable home in the near area allowing him to commute to work and have the amenities of comfortable living.  They will make the payments until SFC Stewart gets back on his feet with sufficient income to pay the mortgage.  It is difficult to find a home because of the rural situation, which is the lowest populated County in the State.  Few homes are for sale within an affordable bracket not only from the aspect of parents being able to afford it, but in SFC Stewart being able to assume those payments should the death of his elderly parents occur.  Both mobile homes and fixed homes have been looked at by SFC Stewart and his parents during a recent visit.  Almost every home that has been reviewed (and there have been many) that are affordable have been in absolutely atrocious conditions and would be a complete waste of money due to improvement needs.  Nearly every home visited under $75k has been in terrible condition, but his parents nor SFC Kelly can purchase a home without assistance.

You can help.

Money is needed for purchase of a house that is livable and affordable.  100% of your donation will be used in the purchase of a home for this Soldier.  How much is need?  A lot.  Consider that 20% of the price will be needed for down payment, possible closing costs, purchase of appliances and furniture will be necessary, deposits for utilities, etc., etc. 

Will you help this Soldier who served his country with honor, only to be erroneously and unjustly convicted by a corrupt military justice system?  If so, click on this secure link and use your existing PayPal Account, create one, or use a credit card to make a donation.  Thank you for caring.

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After reading the piece above, I hope you’ll find a way to help Chief Stewart help his son by making a contribution to the cause.  If you want to learn more about Kelly Stewart, please order a copy of Three Days in August, the book New York Times best selling author Richard Miniter described as “Well-written and thoroughly researched, Three Days In August paints a convincing portrait of a military justice process that appears to have lacked one essential element – justice.”  Thanks in advance for anything you can do!

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:18 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.