Thursday, June 8, 2017

Quick Word on Comey's Testimony

Let me revive my long dormant blog with a short, but maybe informative post about Jim Comey's testimony regarding Trump's efforts to undermine the investigation into Russia's efforts to hack the 2016 election. As a fellow alumnus of William & Mary, and as an attorney, I thought I could give some context about Comey's testimony.

1) There is no fucking way Comey is lying about anything Trump said to him

Like me, Comey is an alumnus of William & Mary, and as a result, he would have been indoctrinated into the William & Mary honor code. At William & Mary, we all took pledges to abide by the honor code, which prohibited lying, cheating, or stealing. Now, that may seem like a nothing burger, but everything about William & Mary is steeped in tradition. It's the nation's oldest university, and if you're going to William & Mary, you not only knew about the traditions, but more than likely, you chose the school because of those traditions. The honor code is a big, big part of those traditions.

So, in my experience, the students at William & Mary took the honor code seriously. If you were caught violating the honor code, you would be brought in front of the Honor council, made up of fellow students, and the punishments were harsh. As in, the Administration had to consistently talk them out of expulsion harsh. Cheating was nonexistent, and professors didn't proctor exams because they didn't need to. 

Now, this isn't a write-up about how great the honor code was, or that I'm instinctively honest, but rather, it's meant to help you get the mindset of Comey. He chose a school with a harsh honor code as his alma mater. He could've gone to a fair number of schools without a 200 year old honor code. He didn't. Instead, he was indoctrinated into the cult of the honor code at 18, and did so willingly.

And remember, Comey started in the Justice Department, where he famously faced down the Bush Administration's efforts to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans. He then headed the FBI. This guy's whole ethos as an adult centers around being forthright and honest. 

So, here Comey is now on the public stage, giving testimony under oath, about the President of the United States of America. Every word will be dissected and fought over. In that context, there is simply no way he would lie on such a public stage about something so important. Doing so would destroy the view he had of himself since he was 18 years old. It. Ain't. Happening.

2) Memos to the File is a Lawyer Move

In case you were wondering about the memos Comey wrote regarding his experiences with Trump, and why he wrote them, it's a classic lawyer move. When I am dealing with an opposing lawyer who I find to be untrustworthy (shocking, I know), I will document every statement I make with them. I do this by sending an email to opposing counsel documenting what was discussed and the various positions. That way, when there is some sort of dispute over what was agreed to, I can pull up the email and show it to the Court. Every lawyer does this.

Comey, then, in writing up the memos, was clearly worried about Trump from the get-go. So, he fell back on his training and started documenting the file. The fact that he wrote the memos, which we will now all see, is a strong indication from the get-go that Comey suspected something was up with Trump. And he wrote up these memos to prove to everyone that he wasn't lying. In other words, as soon as he started writing these memos, Comey knew he would end up testifying in Congress about their contents. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Few Quick Words on Travelling to the Valle de Guadalupe

So, the significant other and I recently traveled to the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California for a short post-Christmas vacation. This is our second short trip to the Valle, and as with before, it was awesome. In fact, so awesome that I figured I should write a short write-up of the trip, so that the readers of this fine, and now somewhat defunct blog, can judge for themselves.

What is the Valle de Guadalupe?

As stated above, the Valle is found in Baja California, and is one of the few regions in Mexico with weather appropriate for growing grapes for wine. The Valle itself is about 20 miles inland from Ensenada, and approximately 60 miles from the US-Mexico Border.

Is it safe?

The first thing that comes to mind when traveling to Mexico these days is safety. And for good reason - the drug wars in Mexico were legitimately terrifying. And it still is. However, since Tijuana was the first stage of the drug wars, most of the violence has moved east and south towards the borders with Arizona and Texas. Also, Tijuana, or TJ, had more or less been the playground for dumbass Americans since the 1920's and when we stopped coming, the locals realized that they were living in a pretty incredible area of the world. So everyone started focusing on what was amazing. When we went, we never felt threatened by the populace at all. Also, most of the tourists in the Valle when we were there were from Mexico. If Mexicans feel it's safe to go there, then it's safe to go.

But what about Zika?

Well, yes the CDC advises that women stay out of Mexico because of the Zika virus. However, for a variety of reasons, Baja California hasn't been hit with Zika at all. There have been no reported cases of Zika in Baja California. There were a few cases of Zika reported in Baja California Sur (the southern tip of the pennisula), but none up north where the Valle is located. 

So, is the wine any good?

Generally speaking, yes. Because the climate is a bit warmer in Baja, the biggest problems seem to be restraining the fruit in the wines (Merlots tend to be HUGE), and some of the white wines from older vineyards tend to be salty due to several years of drought. But, the more recent vintages of whites don't seem to have the problem. All in all, I think the wines from the Valle are slightly better than those from Temecula, and close to those from the Santa Ynez valley. So, pretty dang good. Not yet Napa or Russian River good, but still pretty good.

What's great about the Valle, then?

The food. Holy shit, you guys, the food. And we're not talking about the typical Mexican cuisine here either. The cuisine of Baja is unlike any cuisine anywhere, including in the rest of Mexico. Seriously, they refer to the cuisine as "Baja-Med"  which is meant to be a mix of Mexican and Mediterranean styles, mixed with ridiculous good produce, meats and seafood. It's farm to table cuisine, but instead of the restaurant buying their produce from a local farmer, the restaurant is the farm, and the chef cooking the food has a Michelin star. Literally, every meal I had there was memorable. Also, thanks to the exchange rate, relatively cheap. So instead of paying $200 for a tasting menu for 2, you'll pay $50-$100.

And that's what separates the Valle from every other wine region I've been to. In most wine growing places, the food can be good, but it's generally forgettable. Sure, some winery may have a good Reuben, or has scallion oil to dip bread in, or whatnot, but at Fuego, the first restaurant I ate at, I had the best fish taco I've ever eaten. At Deckman's I had fantastic ceviche and roasted vegetables, at Tahal, which just opened, I had one of the best steaks I've ever eaten. 

So, its all good?

Well, not exactly. The roads are less than optimal. Now, driving down from San Diego was pretty easy, and the roads are pretty good. But once you are in the Valley, you're going to be driving on dirt roads. And if you are there during the winter, like I was, the drive becomes somewhat challenging. Fun, but challenging. So, absent driving a 4x4, don't go during the winter. You want a couple of weeks of baking sun to solidify those dirt roads. Also, remember to get Mexican based insurance. For a variety of reasons, many of them well-founded, Mexican authorities do not take kindly to Americans getting into crashes without insurance.

Conclusions

I've been to a fair number of wine growing places - Temecula, Santa Ynez, Russian River Valley, the Cowichan Valley, the Sierra foothills, the Ramona Valley, etc. - and they all have their charms. The Valle de Guadalupe definitely fits with them. The scenery is beautiful, the people are nice, and the food, as I said, is amazing. So, if you are into wine and food, go. Go and see and eat. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

CalExit?

The election has come and gone, and Donald Trump was elected President of the United States (though he lost the popular vote). This is just. . .brutal, unthinkable, and horrifying, especially if you are not white. Trump is a singularly destructive figure, and like a lot of people, I am truly terrified about the future of the nation. So, its not surprising that there is some grumbling about CalExit - or the secession of California from the United States of America. While I am in no way suggesting that secession is the way to go, I have been thinking about the ramifications and problems of secession. Again, I am not in ANY WAY CONDONING SECESSION. AT ALL. But, it is fun to think about.

If California were to secede (and be joined possibly with Oregon and Washington?), there would be quite a few benefits. First is financial - California pays more in federal taxes than it gets back in federal spending. So, if California seceded, that tax money would stay here. Second, we would get a national government that is, necessarily, more responsive to California. In contrast, we are about to be governed by a President who received 33% of the vote. So. . .yeah.

But there are three major sticking points that would have to be addressed:

1) Water. California has a lot of natural resources, and with the advent of solar power, would probably generate enough energy for its own needs. Further, California is one of the breadbaskets of the United States, so growing our own food shouldn't be a problem IF WE HAVE WATER. And that's a problem, since California depends a lot on water coming from the Colorado River, a largely out-of-state resource. Oh, and we've had a major drought the past few years, so . . .that's a problem. No water, no food.

2) Trade. If California was to leave the Union, there is a good chance that it would not necessarily leave on good terms, and in retaliation, the US could impose trade sanctions against the new country. If that happens, California's economy, which would rely pretty heavily on exports to the United States, would be screwed. Now, that might be offset by exports to other countries, but since the US would still be the global hegemony that it is today, other countries may follow suit to avoid pissing off the US. Of course, they might not, since, presumably, they'd be pissed at Trump too. But trade would have to be addressed.

3) Military: California isn't just an economic powerhouse, it is also strategically important as it gives the United States access to the Pacific Ocean. As a result, the US houses a lot of troops in California, and especially in my hometown of San Diego. Would the US be able to keep and maintain those military bases? And, if so, would California want foreign troops stationed on its soil? One way or another, this would have to be addressed.

Of course, this all assumes that the US would let California secede. Now, there have been instances where a separation has been peaceful, but those occur when the region seeking separation has been an economic drag on its mother country. For instance, Czechoslovakia became the Czech Republic and Slovakia, when Slovakia, which was poorer than the Czech portion of Czechoslovakia, announced its intention to secede. The Czechs, shocked at their good luck, immediately agreed, and everyone was happy. In contrast, the Kashmir region of India, which is economically and strategically important, tried to secede, and its been ugly ever since. California's secession from the US would be more like Kashmir, and less like Slovakia. In other words, it would probably get ugly.

So, as fun as it is to think about, CalExit would be have significant roadblocks.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Things that Irrationally Scare Me About the Polling in this Election

After three debates, and a ton of horrible stories coming out about Trump, and his campaign staff starting to leave, it looks like Hillary Clinton has this election wrapped up. In fact, the question in everyone's mind is not whether she'll win, but by how much. And as a Democrat, I'm pretty happy about the state of affairs. But there are three things that sit in the back of my mind that concern me.

1) The Wilder Effect:

If you know polling, or if you know of Virginia politics in the 1990's, you'll know about the Wilder Effect - an effect where voters will purposefully lie to pollsters about a candidate or based on the voter's perception of the pollster's preferences. It is also known as the Bradley effect, but in either case, African American candidates had better polling numbers than election results because voters didn't want the pollsters to think they were racist by choosing to vote for the white guy. Now, in 2008 and 2012, there wasn't any Wilder/Bradley effect present for President Obama. His poll numbers and his election numbers were pretty much spot-on, and guys like Nate Silver were able to predict Obama victories within a hundredth of a percentage point.

Now, with the race between Clinton and Trump, one would assume that there wouldn't be a Wilder/Bradley Effect because a) it didn't exist for Obama; and b) both candidates are white. But, and this is what concerns me, Trump is currently really, really, toxic. He's a racist, a misogynist, and pretty much the stereotype every Democrat has for a Republican. His brand is so toxic, that it would not be at all surprising to learn that some Trump voters are simply ashamed to admit their preference for him, and the polls are, thus, slightly skewed.

Before we all freak out, the one thing that keeps me sane is that no discernible Bradley/Wilder Effect was present. Trump's wins were pretty much spot-on with the polling. The other thing that helps here, and which I just learned about 5 minutes ago, is that polling tends to underestimate the votes women candidates get. So, its entirely possible that both the Bradley/Wilder Effect and the Richards Effect are present in the polling, and that they'll cancel each other out. Its also possible that only one is present, and the vote will end up a lot closer, or more of a landslide, than we originally thought.

2) Third Party Candidates

What's unusual, but not entirely surprising about this election is the number of somewhat relevant third-party candidates present in the race. The Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, who's kind of an idiot (though his VP nominee is not), is polling around 7-9%; Jill Stein with the Green Party (a bigger idiot), is polling between 2-3%, and some random guy named Evan McMullin (not really random, I know) may actually win Utah. McMullin is actually up by 6 points over Trump and Clinton in Utah. And since no one has done any polling in Idaho (which has similar demographics to Utah), he might be up in Idaho too.

So, no doubt about it, the 3rd party candidates are more relevant in 2016 than they have been in any election since 2000, when Ralph Nader took away just enough votes to cost Gore the election. And there, he took less than 5% of the vote. Here, we have 3rd party candidates possibly taking states, and getting 10-15% of the overall vote. Those totals were last seen in 1992. But the people who say they're voting for a 3rd party, are probably amenable to swinging to either Trump or Clinton. So, will they stay out of it, or will they swing one to one of the mainstream party candidates? I don't know, and that concerns me. Slightly, but it does concern me.

3) Turnout

This is the most interesting question of the race - what will the turnout be like? If Clinton voters think this one is in the bag, will they bother to turnout? I'm guessing yes, because they want to see Trump beaten. Will Trump voters turnout to vote? And if they do, will they vote the full ballot? Will the Voter ID laws prevent people who are now classified as likely voters from voting?

What we do know is that Trump's advantage on likely voters is really, really small for a Republican - like around 1%. We also know that Trump has no ground game, and the guy who is supposed to run the ground campaign resigned today. That bodes ill for turnout being in Trump's favor. On the other hand, Trump has been encouraging his supporters to start poll watching* (i.e. discourage minority voters from voting). Of course, with early voting, that may not have any effect whatsoever. Plus, Clinton does have a ground game, and that may also overcome various obstacles. Honestly, I have no idea how this all goes (though it doesn't look good for Trump).

*The Republican National Committee is legally prohibited from poll watching due to efforts to prevent minority voting in the 1980's.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Deja Vu All Over Again - Donald Trump and Sexual Assault Allegations

So, its been awhile since my last blog, and this website is pretty much defunct, but in light of the storm of allegations against Donald Trump Tuesday (with as many as 12 women coming forward with allegations that he either leered at them, or sexually assaulted them), I thought I would add a few words to the overall stream of discussion.

First, let me say that what happened Tuesday is both incredibly strange and completely familiar, as it is to all San Diegans because, well, we went through this a few years ago with the election of Bob Filner. For those of you who don't know, Bob Filner was a long-time Congressman in San Diego, and noted liberal, who ran for Mayor, and won. Now throughout his career, it was well-known that Filner was an asshole - but since his opponent was also an well-known asshole (sorry DeMaio, its true), and we were kind of sick of how things were being run, we let it go. And, I have to say, that Filner's first few months in office were not bad. Actually, there were a lot of high points. But just then, a storm of allegations, starting with a few anonymous allegations, blew into town and it appeared that Bob Filner had sexually harassed pretty much every woman he met for more than 30 seconds. It. Was. Bad. As a result, Filner resigned (because we were about to recall him from office), and that was that.

Now, there are a few things to learn about this episode. First, campaign opposition research NEVER finds this stuff. There were literally dozens of women who were sexually harassed by Bob Filner over the years, and despite being in a blood match with Carl DeMaio in the Mayoral campaign, DeMaio never found one woman. What's more, Filner had previously been involved in one of the few absolute blood feuds here locally with Juan Vargas. The two men H-A-T-E-D each other, and ran against each other 3 or 4 times. Yet, in all those campaigns, when a literal storm of allegations of sexual harassment would be useful, Vargas never found anything.

That sound, by the way, is the sound of Vargas and DeMaio screaming at their opposition research team. Kind of surprised that nobody got shot over this, actually.

Nobody found any of this information because victims of sexual assault don't come forward unless there is some kind of catalyst. For all but a few women allegedly raped by Bill Cosby, they chose to come forward when Hannibal Burress mentioned the rape allegations made a couple of women in his act. That lead to a few more women coming forward, and then it snowballed to the fifty-plus women who have made the exact same allegations. Now, not having ever been sexually assaulted, this makes no sense to me - why would there need to be a catalyst, and why wouldn't the catalyst be earlier allegations? I honestly have no idea why, but I do know that's how these things go. Even in cases where the accusers are men, a la Jerry Sandusky, it takes a catalyst.

Second, the fact that victims wait to come forward has actually nothing to do with their veracity. Being a sexual assault victim is all sorts of bad. I once represented a woman who was the victim of stalking and sexual assault, and trying to get her to testify was awful because, in part, she was reliving the abuse as she was testifying about it. So, really, the catalyst is the point where a victim decides, "fuck it, I'm doing this." Since that point is different for everyone, its hard to predict.

That said, if I have one rule for these sorts of allegations, I have what I call the rule of three. In any case of sexual misconduct, if there are more than three adult victims making the same, or similar, allegations, then typically, those allegations will eventually be determined to be true. By the way, this applies only to victims who are testifying as adults, not children. The McMartin case, the Dale Akiki case, and the other "satanic" child abuse cases from the 1980's all demonstrate that in spades. In each instance, there were lots of kids who testified about abuse, but it was completely made up bullshit created by parents, or "therapists," or "concerned prosecutors."  Adults, though, aren't necessarily going to be easily swayed to lie about sexual abuse. Yes, one or two might, but more than three probably aren't. Hence my rule of three.

Getting back to Trump, yeah he faced 16 opponents in the GOP primary, and has been a public figure for a long time, but he was also known as a highly litigious billionaire who would be more than happy to sue anyone for defamation. So, this isn't exactly the cross anyone really wanted to bear. But, the tape released on Friday where Trump stated that he used his celebrity status to sexually assault women, That, coupled with his Bro/stalker act at the debate, apparently set a few of the women who he allegedly victimized, off. They contacted the media on Sunday evening or Monday morning, and after some vetting, the various outlets published their stories.

So, what's next? Well, I have to think that this story will snowball. Given that Trump is the kind of guy to check out 10 year old girls to get an inside scope on their datability in 10 years, who brags about grabbing women by the genitals, and who walks into the dressing room of teenage beauty queens (by his OWN ADMISSION), I'm guessing that there are a lot of women out there, all of whom are dreading the prospect of Trump being elected President, and until yesterday, feeling very much alone. Now? Not. So. Much.

But what about Bill Clinton, you say? Well, for one thing, he's not running for President. His wife is. And while I certainly can be wrong here, the 1990's was an era of unprecedented scrutiny on Bill Clinton. The independent prosecutors (and there were more than just Ken Starr) investigating Bill Clinton during the 1990's had incredible power, and they used it to investigate every possible claim. That's how we found out about Monica Lewinsky. At the same time, Bill Clinton's political enemies were desperately looking for someone, anyone, to tarnish Bill Clinton's name. That's how they found Paula Jones and Kathleen Wiley. So, a lot of the allegations have already been, to a large degree, litigated. The only person who that doesn't apply to, Juanita Broaddrick, has sort of faded into memory. Keep in mind that the media looked into these allegations during Bill's presidency, so to the mainstream media, this is kind of old hat.

Additionally, if there were new allegations forth coming, Hillary Clinton could head that all off at the pass by divorcing Bill. Trump can't divorce himself, so. . .yeah.

In the meantime, Trump is almost certainly screwed. At this point in the campaign, the focus is on getting out the vote. If the campaign has been done right, the campaign already knows who their supporters are, and is getting Vote by Mail ballots to them right now. The idea is to get as many supporters to vote now, and then look to pick up undecided voters in the next couple of weeks. What is Trump doing? Picking fights with the GOP leadership and defending himself against these allegations. What is his staff doing? Defending against the allegations and looking to see if there's anything more coming down the pipe. Oh, and pointing out the allegations against Bill Clinton, which makes them look like hypocrites. 

That, by the way, is the essence of the October surprise, its designed to throw the campaign off its message. And Hillary Clinton's campaign hasn't used its October surprise yet - they weren't involved in any of these recent allegations.

With that said, and because this next few weeks are looking uglier and uglier, allow me to put forward the following cocktail to help you through election day. I call it, the William & Mary cocktail:

1/2 ounce Amontillado sherry
1 once rye whiskey
1 and 1/2 ounces spiced apple cider (I use the Trader Joe's Spiced Apple Cider)

Add all the ingredients, shake, and pour over ice. If you want to get fancy (and with election, that is not necessarily advised), you can garnish with an orange peel, a cinnamon stick, or apple slice. Serve over ice.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thoughts on the 2016 GOP Nomination Race

In my last post, I wrote about the Democratic Primary for President, and now I will focus on the Republicans. Where there was once 17 candidates for President, there are now four - Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. Weirdly enough, from my perspective, the leaders of the primary are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. John Kasich, who is both extremely conservative, but presents himself moderately (and thus, terrifying to Democrats) is way, way behind.

For the past twenty years or so, Democrats have largely thrown around pejoratives towards Republican candidates like fascist, racist, xenophobe, ill-tempered, warmonger, etc. But with that said, it is actually strange to see a candidate actually be all of those things explicitly. Donald Trump is all of those things and more. He advocates committing warcrimes, building a wall around the Southern border (a bigger one than the one currently in place, I guess), requiring all Muslims to be registered by the federal government and/or expelling them, passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy, and eliminating Obamacare. In response, both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz argue that Trump doesn't actually mean what he says, that they are the ones who will actually commit the warcrimes, etc., and that Trump has small hands. Or something.

This last part is key - they don't attack Trump for any of his proposals, because they agree with them - but rather, they argue that Trump is lying about supporting such an agenda. Given that Trump decided to enter the stage because he's a birther, and that minority voters are violently expelled from Trump's rallies, I would say that a good portion of what he says, he believes. Still, it is weird to have a candidate for President explicitly talk about his penis on a debate stage. It's also weird that both Cruz and Rubio can call Trump a con artist, but will back him if he's the nominee.

Okay, its not all that weird. For the past 8 years, the Republican Party has played up the insanity factor. From Louie Gohmert to Michelle Bachmann to Steve King, to Mike Lee, there have been a fair number of Republican officeholders who have espoused crazed conspiracy theories. In fact, the sole reason Mitt Romney wanted Trump's endorsement in 2012 was due to Trump's support of birtherism - the belief that Obama wasn't born in the U.S.  And this is a GOP that mostly believes Obama is a secret Muslim, that he was born outside of the U.S., that he is trying to tear the country apart on racial grounds (not sure how), that Obamacare is unconstitutional and evil (ironic, since its the Heritage Foundation's plan), etc.  The Snopes.com page for Obama is filled with all sorts of craziness by the Right. Is it any wonder that the guy who espouses all the craziness is the frontrunner? Or that the guy in 2nd hits the frontrunner as someone who doesn't believe the craziness he espouses?

The result is pretty terrifying, since Trump has shown a willingness to exhort his crowds to violence, and he has shown a disregard for various institutions of government. If he doesn't get enough votes for the nomination, and the GOP screws him at the Convention (which is looking more and more possible), things may get uglier, fast. Let there be no mistake, 2016 is an ugly year for American politics. 

Further Thoughts on the 2016 Elections (Democratic Side)

For the past several weeks, I have been unemployed for the first time in nine years, and its been strange. Luckily, I have a new job lined up, and that means that I probably won't be blogging much in the future (not like I've been blogging all that much now. . .), but it also means that I've spent the last few weeks watching cable news, and following the election a bit closer than normal. And, I have a few thoughts:

On the Democratic side, the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is mostly over. Sanders will be able to fund his campaign until the Democratic National Convention, but he won't have the delegates to win. And, by and large, that isn't a terribly surprising result. One thing we've learned since 2004 is that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has money, and will fund candidates they like. In 2004, that was Howard Dean. In 2008, that was Barack Obama and John Edwards (before it was revealed he was a slimeball). So, its no surprise that Bernie Sanders is pulling in gobs and gobs of money. 

But, and this is the key point, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is not as big as it thinks it is. Because of the perceived/real racism of the Republican Party, most minority voters - African Americans, Latino/Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans - vote Democrat. Now, as anyone who's been around these voters can tell you, not all of them are liberal. In fact, many African Americans and Latinos are fairly conservative. George W. Bush and Karl Rove recognized this, and tried to woo them over to the GOP, only to be undermined by the large number of racists in the Party. That leaves a fair number of minority voters in a pickle - vote for the candidate who's views are more liberal than their own, or vote for the candidate who seems a bit too comfortable with racists. Add to that the fact that Republicans are actively seeking to prevent minority voters from voting, and the fact that a fair number of minority-majority districts aren't all that competitive, and you get crappy voter turnout. What made Obama so initially successful was his ability to mobilize the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and also mobilize minority voters.

But outside of Obama, minority voters represent the Democratic Party's "Peoria Test." If you think back to the old days of Hollywood, studio execs would ask, "but will it play in Peoria" as a way to determine if a movie would be successful or not. Since minority voters aren't necessarily liberal (though many are), being able to play to those voters is key.

The one thing that we've seen over the past several primaries and caucuses is that Bernie Sanders isn't playing well in Peoria. He has a strong pull with the Party's liberal wing, but outside of that, he just isn't getting the kind of traction with minority voters to beat Clinton. Keep in mind that when Obama ran in 2008, he generated record turnout. Sanders just isn't cutting it.

And from my perspective, that's not terribly surprising since Sanders has never been a star on the national stage. He's been in Congress for over 25 years, and outside of him being a Socialist, and being from Vermont, there hasn't been much to say about him. 

But with that said, Sanders has managed to do one thing very well - he's pulled Hillary Clinton to the left. For the past thirty years, the Clintons have been moderates and have pulled the Party to the right. By and large, they've done that because that's where the votes are (more on that below). In fact, when the Clintons tried to go with a big government plan, they were annihilated - Hillary especially. And much of their other conservative legislation - DOMA, Don't Ask/Don't Tell, the Crime Bill - was largely created to head off a much worse conservative bill. And this legislation existed in an era of swing voters. Those days are over, and now both Parties know that to turnout is key to winning elections. Moving to the left helps Clinton, and Sanders is pushing her leftward every day. 

Lastly, for those of you who are upset that the Democratic Party can't put forward any better candidates, I have a quick word for you - if you don't vote, candidates who share your preferences don't get elected. Liberals and moderates got killed in the elections of 2010 and 2014 because people didn't turn out to vote. So, we're stuck with a Congress that refuses to do anything. That's on us.