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On the Democratic side, the only real surprise last night was the margin of victory for Bernie Sanders.  It was huge.  Bernie Sanders seems to have hit a nerve with many Democratic voters.  Yet, we must also remember that in New Hampshire, Independents can vote and Bernie got a lot of independent votes.  In other states, you must declare party affiliation in order to vote in the Primaries.

On the Republican side, the results were predicted as well, except for the idea of Kasich coming in second.  Cruz finished third, which is no surprise since New Hampshire doesn’t have the evangelical population like Iowa has.

Of course, Cruz is claiming “victory” because he came in third.  I never understood how you can be the winner when you lost.  But, that is politics for you.  Even if you don’t win, you can claim “victory”.

The one thing that came out of this primary is evidence that politics is not dead in America.  According to what I have read and saw, New Hampshire’s primary resulted in a record number of people casting a ballot.  That is truly good news.  Hopefully, the remaining states will have record turnouts as well, right through November.

There are also some disturbing things that came out of New Hampshire.  Those disturbing things come from the Republican side.  The biggest disturbing thing to me is that during an exit poll, two-thirds of New Hampshire Republican voters believe Muslims should be barred from coming to this country.

When you take that into consideration, it is little wonder some consider the fact that only 40% of those same people believe that Mexicans should be deported.  But then Mexicans aren’t Muslim are they?

There has been a lot of conversation about the “establishment” wings of both parties being upset over the results.  After last night, the Republican Establishment is being told to support Kasich instead of Rubio who finished fifth.  I don’t see Kasich as being compassionate or “moderate” like some other pundits like to call him.  Kasich has proven to be just as “conservative” as Cruz and the other wing-nuts in the party.

Kasich faces the same problem that Sanders faces moving forward.  He got a lot of “independent” voters to back him.  In many of the upcoming primaries, he won’t have that luxury.  The Republicans are even more strict about independents than the Democrats are.  Therefore, it is way too early to say Kasich can hang on and be a viable contender to Trump and Cruz.

That is the real problem.  It appears that Trump and Cruz are going to be the last men standing on the Republican side.  We will have a choice from Republicans that is disturbing at best.  One is a white supremacist, nativist, fascist who likes torture as a means of “interrogation” and wants to keep every foreigner who is not white out of the country.  The other is a bigot who believes that anyone who is not a follower of his religion, which really doesn’t exist, a traitor to America and wants to establish the Jim Crow days again but including not just blacks but non-white people of any kind, gays, and women.

Between the two, they garnered over 40% of the New Hampshire primary votes.  That is even more depressing than their views.  To believe that over 40% of people in New Hampshire think like they do.

The next primary in South Carolina will be interesting to watch.  Cruz’ main support comes from social issue evangelicals.  Trump’s main support comes from white supremacists and nativists.  South Carolina has a very large evangelical population.  But it is also known for their white supremacists and nativists.  It will be interesting to see if the evangelicals or white supremacists win out.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton needs to come up with something viable to run on.  As one pundit put it last night, Bernie Sanders wants to become president because he hates income inequality and is fighting for the poor and middle-class.  Hillary Clinton is running because she would do a good job.  That isn’t a very good campaign slogan.

Bernie Sanders has found something to get his supporters fired up.  Hillary Clinton has not found that, yet.  If she can get her supporters fired up about something, she will probably get the nomination.  If not, we could see Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate.

In either case, we now have two political parties that are polar opposites.  One party, the Democrats, have remained true to the values of the poor, working poor, and the middle class and civil rights.  They look to move the country forward in ways that will benefit everyone.

On the other hand, the Republican Party has become a party of fear and hate.  They want you to be afraid of everyone and everything.  Their motives are to keep the oligarchs in power and are happy to be their mouthpieces.  You, the common person don’t count.

The things these Republican candidates believe in are very scary.  They believe in torture, racism, poor education for the non-elites, closed borders, second-class citizenship for those “others” in our society, and constant wars.  They believe that is how we “make America great”.

All you need to do is look at the leading candidates for each party, and you will see I am right.  On the Republican side, last night proved the “shirts” keep marching along!

 

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All through this election cycle, we have heard Republican Candidates, Fox News, and other conservative media rail against “Political Correctness”.  The fact of the matter is they really don’t hate political correctness, as long as they get to define what that is.

The anti-pro choice, anti-gay, anti-woman agendas they are trying to get America to buy into are all versions of “political correctness” as defined by conservatives.  If you do not believe in their versions of these issues, you are “politically incorrect” according to their talking points.

However, nothing exemplifies this more than the conservative “outrage” over the Super Bowl Halftime show with Beyoncé.

It began immediately after the new day’s news cycle started yesterday.  Steve Doocy thought Coldplay was just OK and Bruno Mars was “fantastic,” he telegraphed his point by noting that Beyoncé “was in there too.”

“I couldn’t really make out what Beyoncé was saying,” host Brian Kilmeade added after the show aired some footage of her performance. “But at the end, we find out Beyoncé dressed up in a tribute to the Black Panthers, went to a Malcolm X formation. And the song, the lyrics, which I couldn’t make out a syllable, were basically telling cops to stop shooting blacks!”

“I think it was outrageous,” Giuliani said. “The halftime show I thought was ridiculous anyway. I don’t know what the heck it was. A bunch of people bouncing around and all strange things. It was terrible.”

“This is football, not Hollywood,” he continued, “and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive. And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers.”

So, I guess you can say the main theme in all of this is that a black woman was showing disrespect towards police officers.  If you are a black person and don’t like the police, there is something very “politically incorrect” about that stance.  If you believe that “Black Lives Matter” there is something “politically incorrect” about you.

Yet, on the other side of the country, there are still four domestic terrorists holding a wildlife refuge sanctuary hostage, with guns.  Those four holdouts put out their own video over the weekend.  Fox News doesn’t seem to have any problem with their attacks against “police officers”, maybe because they are targeting the nation’s “police officers” the FBI.

These domestic terrorists are all white.  They are claiming they are only “exercising” their right to free speech.  Yet, they need guns to exercise their free speech.

Many of the original group are under arrest.  These four want to be allowed to leave without any charges brought against them for their terrorist activities.  They have even built barricades and “defensive” positions in preparation for a shootout with the FBI.

“We just got done talking with the FBI,” said 27-year-old Blanchester, Ohio resident. “They consider fortifying a crime.”  Fry said he, Jeff Banta of Nevada, and husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Idaho have “every right” to defend themselves from the “oncoming onslaught of people with fully automatic rifles (and) armored vehicles.

In another video posted Sunday, Sean and Sandy Anderson are sitting together and the husband says they feel like hostages because they can’t leave without being arrested.

“What are they to do with us?” Sean Anderson says. “They either let us go, drop all charges because we’re good people, or they come in and kill us. How’s that going to set with America?”

Even some politicians are getting in on the act.  A Nevada state Assembly member who is sympathetic to Bundy’s cause, Michelle Fiore, said Monday she and lawmakers from several other states plan to meet in Portland this week to protest the jailing of Bundy and his followers. She said the lawmakers are members of a group called the Coalition of Western States, which opposes federal management of Western lands.

“My folks are prisoners for exercising political free speech. That is not OK,” the Republican lawmaker told the AP.

So, you can see the differences between these two “incidents” and why it is outrageous that Republicans keep talking about “political correctness.”  If you are a white person with a gun, and you commit a domestic terrorist act like seizing a wildlife refuge center, and if you are barricading yourself in order to “survive” a planned shootout with police you are “exercising political free speech.”

On the other hand, if you are a black musician, and you do a video or Halftime Show at the Super Bowl showing support for a non-violent group called Black Lives Matter, you are poisoning the minds of the people.

The term “political correctness” has many meanings.  One is designed to prevent hurt feelings.  One is designed to show compassion.  And, from what we have seen from Fox News and other conservative media, one means you can threaten and/or kill federal officers as long as you are a conservative white person.

And the “shirts” keep marching along!

 

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As I sat and watched another Republican Debate debacle Saturday night, I often wandered off into thinking just who is supporting each of the candidates.  With the campaign finance laws the way they are, especially since Citizen’s United, we really don’t know who the money people are behind each candidate.

This election has outpaced passed elections for lies, dirty tricks, and misleading information since Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972.  But, who is really behind all of these lies and dirty tricks?

So, I wondered what it would be like if they had to advertise just who their “sponsors” were.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know just who is backing the robot called Marco Rubio?  His constant repeating of talking points is ridiculous.

Or, what about who is backing Chris Christie?  The one who actually brought up the robot issue on stage.  It might help us make up our mind as to which candidate we really want to support.

There is a group of Californians called “California Is Not For Sale” who want to change the law there so candidates, and for that matter, all elected officials will have to show their sponsors.  They would be forced to wear the company logos on their suits.

You know, just like athletes from race car drivers to golf players and others wear their logos on their clothes.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see just who these politicians are being paid by?

This is a ballot initiative that says that politicians, elected ones included, must wear logos on their clothes anytime they appear for a speech, vote, or to testify.  The logos must be large enough so people in the audience can read them. They would be required to wear their ten biggest contributors.

You may think this is stupid.  But is it really?  Imagine watching CSPAN and seeing s congressman standing on the floor making a speech against a “green energy” bill.  This congressman is talking about how he is morally and ethically opposed to the bill, all the while wearing an Exxon/Mobile logo on his lapel.

That might make you wonder if he is really “morally or ethically” against the bill, or if he is doing his sponsor’s bidding.  What about people like Ted Cruz who constantly talks about “gun rights” having to wear a logo from gun manufacturers on his lapel.  Maybe he isn’t so much for “gun rights” as much as for the makers of guns making more money.

John Cox, the chairman for California Is Not For Sale says “yeah, this is funny, but this is the system.”  The U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on Citizens United said that “corporations are people too, and have a right to spend money on elections as they see fit.”

That is the current law.  But, there is nothing in the decision that would make it illegal to make our elected politicians or candidates advertise from whom they are getting their money.

If nothing else, it would let the general public make better decisions on who to back based on more information about the candidates.  I seriously doubt that this law would force any politician to change their behavior.  But, it would give us more information as to why they are behaving as they are.

The best way to fight corruption is to force elected office holders to “advertise” their sponsors.  We probably wouldn’t even have to repeal Citizens United.  The fact these logos would be on display for all to see might just be enough to stop the corruption that Citizens United unleashed on our political process.

I think this is a great idea.  We just need to make it part of our complete election process.  This would take away the veil of secrecy as to who may be buying our politicians.  That would be a nice start to regaining our democracy.

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Last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was the best debate so far, from either party.  It was fiery, it was full of specifics, and it was informative.   It wasn’t perfect in the sense of I wanted more specifics on policies.

Yet, I got a whole lot more specifics on policies than the Republicans have given us in total from their debates.  As a matter of fact, they haven’t given us any specifics on anything.

Maybe this debate was so good because there were only two debaters.  Maybe it was because the two moderators were actually intelligent, asked intelligent questions, and then let the two debate.

There were some dull moments.  I wasn’t too impressed with the “progressive” label fight.  I consider both progressive and each offer more to move the country ahead than any of the other sides’ ideas.

The other day I said I wasn’t sure which of the two I was willing to support.  I still haven’t made up my mind on that, but in honesty, Hillary did more to earn my support than Bernie.

Bernie Sanders sounded too much like a one or two issue candidate.  With all of the problems facing our country, I expected more from him than a repeat of those simple issues.

Yes, I agree Wall Street has too much power.  I agree that we need Campaign Finance Reform, but there are a lot more problems facing us, and quite frankly I thought Bernie had a problem talking about anything else.

Sanders seemed to really struggle when it came to Foreign Policy.  He did point out one thing about veterans that I have said many times here.  The quality of treatment veterans get from the VA is top rated.  The satisfaction rating from veterans about treatment is the highest in the Health Industry.

The problem with the VA is that they don’t have enough resources to treat all of the veterans that need it.  On the reverse side, Republicans are not interested in improving the quantity of health services to veterans by the VA, they simply want to eliminate the agency and give us vouchers that won’t cover the total cost of treatment that the VA does.

A lot of Democrats seemed to be worried about the so-called email scandal hanging over Hillary Clinton.  I am not that worried about it.  Especially when you consider that Colin Powell also used personal email for business.  That came out the other day.

Nor am I all that interested in the “speaking fees” Hillary Clinton received from any group including Goldman Sachs.  She may have been planning to run for office, but she wasn’t in office at the time.  Speaking fees are part of the game.  If a company or organization wants you to speak at a function, they pay you for your time.  Those fees are usually more exorbitant the higher your profile.

Speaking fees are different from campaign contributions.  So, that “issue” isn’t of any interest to me.  That interest may change if Goldman Sachs would throw huge amounts of money at Clinton to win the election.  I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

There are a lot of things that were at least mentioned that you won’t hear tomorrow night.  Things like clean energy.  The Flint Water Crisis.  An actual plan on how to fight ISIS.

You may agree or disagree with what was said, but at least they were said.  There wasn’t any fear mongering going on, and there wasn’t any hate spread.  That was refreshing by itself.

This race is really about what each candidate is going to do.  What policies they are going to follow and what their “agenda” is going to be.  To me, Sanders needs to expound more on other topics about his policies and agenda.  Sanders has an advantage in that he is loved by young voters.  I hope that love continues throughout the full campaign right up through November.

Overall, this was an informative debate.  It allowed us to see how each candidate would try to implement their policies.  It allowed us to see the real differences between the two.  It didn’t give us all of the answers, but hopefully they will come out in the upcoming debates.

What is really important is that the Democrats were finally “forced” to allow more debates and that is to our advantage.  If you plan to watch tomorrow night’s debate from the other side, I am willing to bet you won’t hear as much detail as you did last night.

The Democrat primary race is going to be tough.  I am sure that accusations and attack ads will increase from both sides.  These additional debates will help us determine which candidate should be the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party.  In that vein, we all win.

Finally, kudos to Rachael Maddow and Chuck Todd.  They showed Fox News just how a debate should be conducted.  Not that anyone at Fox News paid any attention.

 

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During every election, we keep hearing the same term tossed around like it is a “hot potato”.  Republicans are especially in love with the term.  Democrats love it as well, but don’t think everyone gets a chance to live it.

That term is “The American Dream”.  In order to fully understand what is meant by that term, we need to explore just what it means to you.  If you don’t have that understanding you cannot actually live it.

James Truslow Adams, in his book The Epic of America, which was written in 1931, stated that the American dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

In reality, it is not a dream about owning big houses or fancy cars.  But, rather a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

In other words, it shouldn’t matter if you are white, black, Native American, Asian, or anything else, you should be able to reach that goal of a better and richer life.

Unfortunately, over the years, this “dream” has fallen on hard times.  We no longer look at the “American Dream” in this context.  We rather look at it as having fancy houses or cars.  We work our lives away in order to make more money so we can “enjoy” those benefits.

Yet because our focus has reached such a materialized outlook, we work so many hours that we cannot truly “enjoy” those benefits.  As a result, we have become slaves to our own materialism.

Furthermore, more and more people in the “working poor” class believe that the “American Dream” is unattainable to them.  They are forced to work two jobs just to support their families at the “survival” level.  There is no “dream” in that circumstance.

More and more people retire in this country without sufficient savings and have to rely on Social Security just to survive.  It isn’t necessarily their fault.  Wages have plummeted for the Middle-Class and expendable income has dropped.  As a result, they have no additional money to “save”.  Fewer and fewer corporations offer “retirement pensions” to workers.

During the twentieth century we saw the rise of unions.  Those unions created the 40 hour work-week.  They created higher wages for employees.  They ensured that employees shared in the profits of the corporations they worked for.  Later in the century, we saw the “Right to Work” laws begin passing in several states.  The average American today works 49 hours per week.  The 40 hour week has become an myth to most Americans.

Unions were placed in the cross-hairs of corporations and Republican candidates, and their power weaned.  Today, far fewer people belong to unions.  Yet in states where unions are still strong, pay is higher than in the states where unions have lost power.

Rather than being recognized for ability and achievement, laborers are measured against the “bottom” line.  As a result, pay has stagnated or lowered in favor of higher profits.  The labor that employees put forth is unrecognized and unrewarded.

In the over 200 years of our country’s existence, we came to realize that government is needed to fund public schooling.  We realized that our children needed education to be competitive in the real world.  States and the Federal governments put millions of dollars into public schools. Today, we are seeing those school budgets slashed and the quality of education declining.  We have gone from first in the world in education to sixteenth.

Today, candidates talk about the “ladder to success” as part of the “American Dream”.  Yet they have placed the lowest rung of that ladder so high the majority of Americans cannot reach it.  So, how can they climb the ladder?

Today, perhaps more than since the civil rights era, your place of birth, your race, your religion, your family’s economic status have more to do with reaching that lower rung on the ladder than anything else.  The lower your economic status, the less likely you will be at achieving that mythical “American Dream”.

Instead, you are to blame for all of the ills that our country faces.  You are the reason that the rich aren’t getting rich fast enough.  You are the reason that our country is in “trouble” as Republican candidates like to say.

The “American Dream” really isn’t the “American Dream”.  It is every individual’s dream.  Making sure our families are properly supported and given the things they need.  Receiving a good education.  Having a chance to move up the economic ladder.  Being treated with dignity and respect regardless of our economic status.

Those are primary elements of every person’s dream.  They are the things that get us up in the morning to work for a living.  They are the things that keep us going.  Trying to make our children’s future brighter than our’s was.

Unfortunately, the rich and powerful have hijacked the “American Dream”.  They have declared that only they and their off-spring have a right to live that dream.  They have made it a materialistic dream of riches, fancy houses, cars, boats, and private planes.

They, along with their political abettors have turned the “American Dream” into the “American Nightmare” for most Americans.  We are supposed to slave at their companies for low wages.  We are supposed to “work more” as Jeb Bush once said in order to grow their riches.

George Carlin once said “it is called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it”.  To me, what Republicans are calling the “American Dream” is a myth.  It is simple rhetoric used to make you believe you are worth something.  All the while they are blaming you for your lowly plight and making sure you do not rise up the ladder with their policies.

When you hear candidates of either party talk about the “American Dream” you will hopefully realize they are not talking about your version of the “American Dream”.

Thomas Wolfe said, “…to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity ….the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him.”

That is probably the best definition of the mythical “American Dream” I have seen.  If that is your definition too, then the Republican Party is not your Party.  They would prefer you be the fodder for the mills.  You don’t count, and your dreams are just that, dreams that will never reach reality.

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To those of us who remember Watergate, there is something disturbing coming out of the Republican caucus in Iowa.  It surrounds that wonderful Canadian Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz has been running around the country espousing the wonderfulness of Ronald Reagan.  As a matter of fact, he wants us to believe that he is the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan.

Unfortunately, in Iowa, he appeared more like Richard Nixon than Ronald Reagan.  There were two incidents that he pulled off that hurt his opponents at the polls.

One can be claimed to be nothing more than a political stunt, the other can only be defined as lying.  The first incident involved a mailing.  His campaign sent out thousand of “Voter Violations” notices to people in Iowa giving the impression that the state was keeping tabs on who caucused and who didn’t.

The intent was to shame people into caucusing for Cruz.  It said they could clear up their “voter violation” by caucusing and recommended they caucus for Cruz.

It appears to have worked.  Cruz wanted at least 170,000 Republicans to caucus.  He figured he needed that many in order to get enough to win.  The turnout was 180,000 so kudos to Republicans for participating.

Cruz’ team said it was nothing “unusual” for such mailers to be sent out.  His opponents claim it was fraud.  The State does not track if you caucus or not and never sends out notices like this one.  Even the Secretary of State in Iowa called it fraudulent.

The second incident took place during the actual caucus.  This amounts to clear lying to people in order to get votes.  It seems that Ben Carson told CNN that after the caucus, he was planning to return to Florida “to get a fresh change of clothes” and that he planned to attend the National Prayer Breakfast.  CNN reported that news on-air.

The Cruz campaign immediately jumped on the announcement.  But, they didn’t actually say what the announcement said.  They had their floor managers go to Ben Carson supporters and state that Carson was “leaving the campaign” so they should vote for Cruz instead of Carson.

This was all happening during the actual caucus.  When Carson called out the Cruz campaign the next morning, Rick Tyler, the Cruz campaign communications director, said on Morning Joe:

On the Ben Carson issue, it’s just false.  We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson said in his own words.  That is not a dirty trick.

Only they didn’t simply repeat what Carson said.  They lied and said Carson was “leaving the race” and that is not the same.  Cruz did issue an apology of a kind.  He said:

This was a mistake from our end, and for that I apologize to Dr. Carson.

But, of course, he had more to say:

Last night when our political team saw the CNN post that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated our grassroots leaders just as we would for any breaking news story.

That’s fair game. What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.

The thing is they changed the content of what Carson actually said in order to get more votes.  Yesterday, Carson was on O’Reilly and said:

Here’s the issue, a culture exists within the Cruz camp that would allow people to take advantage of a situation like this in a very dishonest way.

Let’s see what in fact the Cruz campaign will do about those individuals who inappropriately disseminated this information knowing that the caucuses were not over.  They were absolutely anxious to get it out there, weren’t they?

Carson is correct.  Here is someone trying to run for President on the basis that he is an outsider.  Yet, he has resorted to the same type of dirty tricks we came to see from Richard Nixon.  Even the denials from Cruz and his staff sound all too familiar.

Carson said on Fox News that he will fight what he sees as dishonesty in politics.

There are so many people who have said, that’s just the way it is, that’s the way politics is, and you just accept it.

If we expose these kinds of things and we condemn them and if people are the ones who have to say this is unacceptable, we will not do this, this is not the right thing to do, it is not the Christian thing to do, don’t accept it.

But, Cruz claims to be the evangelical’s political messiah!  How can he be involved in un-Christian political practices?  Because he isn’t a Christian at all.  He is simply Richard Nixon reincarnated.

And, the “shirts” keep marching along!

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The way the media swarms around the Iowa Caucuses, you would think it will determine who wins the nomination for their party.  New Hampshire can just close down their primary next week.  The winners have been announced, so don’t waste any money on a primary that doesn’t mean anything.

I don’t actually try to predict results, but on the Republican side I was not surprised to see Cruz win in Iowa.  Nor, was I all that shocked that Rubio came in third, even closely behind Trump.

Iowa after all is an evangelical state and they don’t really care about your politics, they care about your religion.  Remember, Rick Santorum won in Iowa just four short years ago.  He didn’t fare well after that.  Or, remember Michelle Bachmann won the “straw poll” just four years ago.  Those two facts should stifle any Cruz winning the nomination assertions going around.

It is on the Democratic side that I see the most drama.  Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a virtual tie.  It appears that Clinton may edge out Sanders in Iowa but Sanders leads Clinton big in New Hampshire.  That is real cause for concern for Clinton.

There is the fact that Obama beat Clinton in Iowa in 2008, a surprise win for the President.  Another loss in Iowa could spell doom for Clinton in he quest to be the nominee.

I am frankly still torn between the two.  Sanders talks a very good game, but he isn’t too keen on real specifics for many of his plans.  He says, for example, that he will ensure veterans will receive the help they need and deserve.  But, I haven’t heard just how that will happen.

On the other hand, Clinton still has a lot of baggage following her around.  I don’t think she did anything illegal while Secretary of State using her private email accounts, but that is still to be determined fully.

So, I will wait and see if I can get more details about the two before I endorse either of them.  There are still too many questions for me to make up my mind.

The one thing I noticed on the Republican side is that a full 75% of Republicans caucused for liars.  I know that is a harsh criticism, but it is true.  None of the top three delegate getters are known to tell the truth.

It is also very interesting that a person who now claims to be a “Christian” but was divorced three times came in second in a very religious state.  To me, that is something that is being missed by the so-called pundits about Iowa.  I was not surprised that Trump came in second, but I must admit I was somewhat surprised that he came as close as he did.

It is true that Rubio will be glowing after last night.  He will claim that he “won” even though he came in third.  His placement wasn’t that much of a surprise, but the numbers he garnered were.  Yet, he was the one “establishment” Republican that the party seems to be willing to back.

As a result, he got a big boost from the establishment wing leading up to the caucus.  It will be interesting just how much that wing of the party will be willing to go to stop both Cruz and Trump by throwing their unconditional support behind Rubio.

To me, the polices that are coming out from the three top runners on the Republican side are the most dangerous in my lifetime.  And that includes Richard Nixon.  I dread to believe that they are the “best” the party has to offer.

In any case, the nomination process has officially opened.  Iowa was no surprise to me, except maybe on the Democratic side.  New Hampshire may be interesting on the Republican side, but I believe Sanders will win on the Democratic side.  But, you never know.

It would be nice, as we proceed down the road, if the media would actually put the candidates feet to the fire and ask some meaningful questions.  Like what are your specific plans and policies if you should win the election.  The problem is that the media has lost focus on what their job is.  They lost focus that their primary duty is to “inform” the population.  They are more interested in “dirt” and “scandals” than the actual news.

There is going to be a lot of talk about winners and losers last night.  But, it is Iowa.  A state with a very small niche population.  All last night has shown me is that the Republicans will nominate some kind of wacko to be their standard-bearer.

The Democrats seem to have a real race on their hands.  Something they had not expected when this all started.  From what I have seen so far, their two choices are far better for America than the whole field of Republicans put together.  At least they have illustrated a capacity to think.

There are a lot of issues that still need to be talked about.  Climate Change is real.  Public Education is in trouble.  Hate is running rampant in too many areas of the country.  The Affordable Care Act is constantly under attack.  Energy needs to be addressed.  We need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels for a cleaner environment and a better, less expensive energy source for our businesses to compete globally.

These are all things that the top three Republicans want to avoid talking about.  They seem to believe that it is not our responsibility to address them or even try to fix them.

They don’t care if you have lead in your drinking water.  They don’t care if you care about the environment.  They want to protect their biggest investors, fossil fuel companies, and shut down clean energy projects.  They don’t care if you have health insurance or if your children can read and write.  They are perfectly fine with your hating people, but only if they are Muslim, minority, women, or gay.

That is what I took from the Republican side last night.  These are the very things that 75% of Iowa voters voted for!

The determining factor in this whole process, including the general election, will be if Americans actually participate.  If they do, the people may actually be the winners.  If not, we will all lose.  It is up to you, so please vote!

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