Saturday, February 20, 2016

Last Call For The Shot Heard Round The GOP

Trump wins, Jeb loses in the Palmetto State.

Jeb Bush is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination, he announced Saturday night.

Bush struggled for months to make inroads against Donald Trump, who constantly mocked the former Florida governor's "low energy" and for spending tens of millions of dollars on his campaign.

But it was Bush's disappointing finish in South Carolina, where his brother, former President George W. Bush, and mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, campaigned for him, that was the final straw.

"The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign," Bush said, before being overtaken by emotion.

I figured Jeb would stay in until at least Florida, he couldn't even manage that.  It's all Trump, Cruz, and Rubio now.

Big takeaway from the exit polls: 73% of SC GOP primary voters are 45 or older, and 96% were white.  Trump won older voters by 11 points, where Cruz actually won people under 45 by 3 points.

Among the 46% of SC GOP primary voters who don't have a college degree, Trump won overwhelmingly, by 14 points over Cruz for High School or less, and by 12 points for those with some college.  But Trump also won college graduates, edging out Rubio by 3.

Trump won Republicans by 5 points over Cruz, but won the 22% of independent voters by 12 points over Rubio.

Finally, Trump beat Cruz by 4 points among evangelicals.  If you don't believe "prosperity gospel" is Trump's secret weapon, SC proves it beyond a doubt.

Last thing, and you'll hear this a lot: No Republican has ever won both NH and SC and has not been the nominee.  At this point, Trump should be considered the presumptive GOP candidate in November.

And the Republican party deserves every minute of it.

Shuffle Up And Pick A Card In Nevada

Hillary Clinton takes the Nevada caucuses 52-48%, a relatively close race, heading into South Carolina next weekend.

The win provides a jolt of momentum to the former secretary of state as she heads into the February 27 South Carolina Democratic primary and Super Tuesday on March 1.

Clinton faced a surprisingly spirited challenge here from Democratic rival Bernie Sanders. The two were in a virtual dead heat in recent days. A win by Sanders, who trounced Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, would have dealt Clinton a dramatic setback.

Clinton relied on strong turnout from Latino voters to hold Sanders at bay. Her surrogates fanned out across the Silver State this week, attempting to portray her as the more trustworthy candidate for Latinos.

"Thank you, Nevada," Clinton said in a victory speech. "Some may have doubted us, but we never doubted each other."

In a statement, Sanders said he called Clinton to congratulate her.

"I am very proud of the campaign we ran," he said. "Five weeks ago we were 25 points behind and we ended up in a very close election. And we probably will leave Nevada with a solid share of the delegates."

This was by far the best upset opportunity for the Sanders camp. 50% of caucus-goers wanted to continue President Obama's policies, and Hillary won that group 75-22%. She won women by 16 points, 57-41%, and they made up 56% of caucus-goers.  Clinton also won Hispanic voters

Where Sanders got close was the fact that independent voters could caucus, and 20% of the caucus-goers in Nevada were registered independents. Sanders won those folks by almost 50 points, but Clinton won Democrats by 20 points.  Voters under 30, Sanders won in a 82-14% blowout, 30-45 he won 62%-35%, but in total those folks made up only 31% of the caucus-goers.

Sanders also edged Clinton among men and white voters (9 points and 2 points respectively) and he won Hispanic folks by 8, but Clinton won black folks by a whopping 52 points.

Sanders came very close, but if he's losing the black vote by 50 plus points, he can't win heading into SC next Saturday and the SEC primaries March 1.

The GOP Food Police

It's weird, when Democrats make suggestions about what people should eat because of the nation's obesity epidemic, they are called "fascists" and worse.  When Republicans order people on food stamps to do it by law, they are hailed as heroic protectors of tax dollars.

Low-income New Yorkers could soon find Big Brother riffling through their grocery carts, if state Sens. Patty Ritchie (R) and Michael Nozzolio (R) have their way.

The two lawmakers have introduced a bill to ban food stamps cards from being used to buy a laundry list of foods, arguing both that poor people are too fat and that they’re currently allowed to enjoy foods that are too tasty.

“At a time when our state and nation are struggling with an obesity epidemic, it is critically important that taxpayer funded programs help low income consumers make wise and healthy food choices,” reads a legislative memo accompanying the bill. “The purpose of SNAP is to promote good nutrition, but current rules allow the purchase of junk food and luxury items like high-end steaks and lobster.”

If the law were to pass and receive federal approval, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would cease being a valid form of payment for a variety of purchases.

Sandwiches prepared at bodegas and delis, for instance, could no longer be bought with SNAP anywhere in New York. And bottled water, seltzer, ice, honey-roasted nuts, and vegetable seeds or seedlings intended to be planted at home would all be cut off, according to a review of state sales tax rules.

That’s only the first stage of the ban. The bill also instructs a state agency to go through the list of tax-exempt foods, too, and decide which of them should count as “luxuries” that should no longer be covered under SNAP. This is the provision hoping to target “high-end steaks and lobster” — but there’s no reason to believe the hunt for “luxuries” would stop there. The list of groceries that are exempt from state sales taxes, and that could potentially be targeted by this second stage of the Ritchie and Nozzolio bill, includes staples like baking products, bouillon, cereal, instant breakfast mix, dried fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, all seafood, poultry, and meat products, and all sauces and gravies, the state rules indicate.

Ritchie and Nozzolio aren’t the first conservatives to focus on cracking down on SNAP benefits. Such “junk food bans” have been attempted repeatedly by state lawmakers since 2003, when then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) first tried out the idea in Minnesota. Since then, the idea’s been debated in Maine, Texas, Iowa, California, Florida, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina, and Delaware.

How can you be fat if you're poor?  Must mean you're lazy, so let's punish you. You don't like it? Stop being poor. Freedom to eat what you want is for Real Americans, not you poor lazy people.

Republicans really are great, right?  When do we get to the "gruel rule" to replace SNAP?

Eight Justices And A Funeral, Con't

So it turns out President Obama had a very good reason not to be at Justice Scalia's funeral today.  He was asked by the family not to attend.

The White House is defending its handling of Justice Antonin Scalia's funeral, saying the decision for President Obama to pay his respects at the Supreme Court while Vice President Biden attends the funeral was an "appropriate and respectful arrangement." 
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also lamented criticism of the president for not attending the funeral Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. "There's so much rancor and politics and partisanship that we allow ourselves to get drawn into different corners, to the extent that some people actually want to use the funeral of the Supreme Court justice as some sort of political cudgel," Earnest said. 
He said a variety of factors — including security arrangements and personal relationships — played a role in Obama's decision to not to attend the funeral Mass. 
"Vice President Biden, who had his own personal relationship with Justice Scalia and his family, will be representing the administration at the funeral. Obviously, when the vice president travels to some place his security footprint is at least a little bit lighter," Earnest said.

It was never President Obama disrespecting Justice Scalia's family.

It was Justice Scalia's family disrespecting the President.

Do we understand now just how much hatred the right, and in particular Scalia, had for this guy? When you tell the President of the United States not to attend your funeral, and that it would be a better idea to pay your respects along with the rest of the country outside the main funeral?

Even in death, Scalia was an asshole.
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