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Tomorrow’s Pennsylvania Primary

Because of a desire to cast a vote for Fred Thompson some years ago, am still registered as a Republican. I never got to vote for Fred, because he didn’t make it all the way to Pennsylvania. They said he didn’t act like he really wanted the job, which for me is a plus. No sane person would want to be President. But because I did not switch back to Independent, I get the sheer joy of casting my vote tomorrow in the primary. I say that with the upmost sarcasm, but I do have a Congressional primary race I want to have a say in.

For the PA-08 Congressional primary, I am voting for Mark Duome. Andrew Warren got a C on his questionnaire from NRA. Unsurprisingly, Brian Fitzpatrick did not even bother to turn in his questionnaire. His brother was not very strong on the issue, and I always believed him to be a weasel. I believe if the chips are down, Fitzpatrick will betray us, and I don’t have much faith in his brother either. He’ll be way to afraid of Bloomberg’s money.

For the State Attorney General, NRA has not issued any endorsement. Last time John Rafferty ran for his PA Senate seat, he was rated A- and endorsed. Joe Peters has an AQ rating for this race, meaning he answered well on his questionnaire, but does not have a record on the issue. Rafferty probably has better name recognition in these parts, and that’s going to be key to getting the AG’s office back in the hands of someone who won’t muck about with reciprocity agreements, and who isn’t claiming power to ban private transfers of long guns, as some Dem candidates are doing. That probably tips me more into the Rafferty camp. We have to win this one.

Then we get to the big race. It looks like Marco Rubio is still on the ballot, so I will vote for him in protest to the remaining candidates, or I just won’t vote at all. I could write a whole overly long post of all the problems with Trump, but I’ll go with my gut instinct that he’s a swindler. Now, to a large degree all politicians are swindlers, but I get the same bad feeling about The Donald I got about Obama. I think they share a good many weaknesses. I’m also still not convinced Trump isn’t a stalking horse for Hillary, joining the race to put the GOP in disarray, but who has beat all expectations.

Despite polls that show Cruz polls better than Trump against Hillary nationally, Cruz doesn’t change anything. He’s still going to be struggling in the same swing states. He will have to win Florida and Ohio to win, and Cruz has lost everything west of the Mississippi except Maine and Wisconsin. He lost The South to a guy from New York City. I don’t think he’s a naturally likable candidate. The only strength he would have in the general election is that neither is Hillary. That leaves Kasich, who I’ve heard enough stupid crap from to just say no. He’s also only won one state, and it was his home state. Obama has successfully driven Republican voters bat shit crazy. He deserves credit for that. Very well played.

Be sure to check your delegates. Remember, it’s likely to be very very close, and these delegates are not bound on the first ballot. They can vote for whoever they want. So be sure who they say they are pledging to in your Congressional District. For those of you in the 8th Congressional Distict:

  • Barry Casper, Trump
  • Deborah Evangelou, Cruz
  • Jim Worthington, Trump
  • Sean Shute, Trump
  • Robert Loughtery, Popular Vote
  • Marguerite Quinn, Popular Vote
  • Gene DiGirolamo, Unknown. He’s the PA rep for the district down from mine.

You only vote for no more than three. I could not find any information on alternates, but you can only vote for three and there are three running. I will vote for Evangelou and DiGirolamo. The ones who are committed to the popular vote are likely to be Trump supporters. This only reflects my preference for Cruz over Trump if things at the convention go down to the wire. This is the only strategic voting I’m doing in this primary.

So that’s my slate. Be sure to head to the state store and stock up tomorrow. You deserve it if decided to pick from this sorry lot!

PA Gun Rights Group Pushing Write-in Campaign Against Toomey

Senator Pat Toomey has no primary challenger in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Pennsylvanians for Self Protection are urging GOP primary voters to write in “2A” in place of voting for Senator Toomey:

Pennsylvanians For Self-Protection (PA4SP) a non-partisan, non-profit gun rights advocate based in the Southeast yesterday recommended it’s members to write-in “2A” for 2nd Amendment when voting in the Republican U.S. Senate Primary. The write-in vote is a protest for Senator Pat Toomey’s strong support for gun control legislation. As Toomey is running unopposed in the Primary Election, the write-in vote is symbolic and a message to Toomey. PA4SP cites Toomey’s campaign ad where he is endorsed by a board member of the anti-gun group CeasefirePA as the final straw. In the past, CeasefirePA has called for laws that would restrict the rights to own and purchase firearms placing them at the mercy of criminal predators.

“Pat Toomey has consistently sided with the gun grabbers. He wants to do something about mass shootings in this country, we all do, but making it harder for law abiding people to protect themselves with legal firearms isn’t the way. We need to send him a message to remind him that the 2nd Amendment is a right.” said Dave Sager, President of PA4SP.

Toomey is the co-sponsor of the infamous Toomey-Manchin Gun Bill introduced after the Newtown Shooting in 2012. Critics slammed the bill as bad legislation, doing nothing to stop mass shootings and creating more problems than solving.

“Pat Toomey can’t point to a single mass shooting that would have been stopped by Toomey-Manchin. It’s bad legislation and we don’t need more laws for the sake of laws. We need to enforce current federal gun laws that provide strict penalties for guns used in crime.” offered Carlo Grilletto PA4SP’s Vice President.

Pat Toomey has betrayed legal gun owners. It is important for legal gun owners to let him know it.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never done a write-in before, and have no idea how you’d go about one with the new electronic fraud voting machines. Instructions on how to do a write-in would probably help boost this effort, since a lot of people aren’t going to want to ask poll workers.

The only thing that makes me wary of something like this is that if you set out to send a message, you really need to be sure you can send it. If you throw down, and don’t end up generating enough momentum for the targeted politician to really take notice, you signal weakness.

It’s a shame there was no primary challenger this cycle, but I suspect the GOP is concerned about holding the seat. Next election Toomey will be running in an off year, which to me is when a primary challenge will have better odds of success. The big question in my mind is whether we’ve only lost Pat Toomey on this one issue, or whether he’s embracing a strategy of trying to survive as an full on anti-gun Republican, like Mark Kirk. Time will tell.

Trump Country

Trump CountryUpstate New York was Predictable Trump Country. I knew he was going to win New York, but he did well beyond what I expected. Upstate New York is in worse shape than Pennsylvania in a lot of ways, but I expect Trump will do well here. He does very well with working class people suffering under the blue state model, and Upstate New York fits that bill for sure. The article explains why Pennsylvania will be less receptive to Trump:

But it’s also true that some of these places might yet be resurrected. In fact, some of them already have been. Two hours southeast of Binghamton, across the state line, is Williamsport, Pa., a town that was shrinking for fifty years but is now the seventh fastest-growing metro region in the country. It’s unemployment rate is below the national average and future job growth there is estimated to be more than 41 percent over the next decade.

The difference between Binghamton and Williamsport is that New York banned fracking and Pennsylvania welcomed it.

Because New York is controlled politically by New York City, whose residents couldn’t care less about the plight of working class stiffs. Pennsylvania can still outvote it’s large cities, though with coal country in the southwest clearing out population wise, I fear for the future. There are a lot of parts of this state that are in just as bad shape as Upstate New York, and I expect Trump will do very well in these places on Tuesday. Those folks don’t want to hear about what you’ll do to reinvigorate small business, or listen to you talk about how much you love Jesus, or listen to politicians opine about who gets to use what bathroom. They want to know how you’re going to make their lives better, and Republicans better have an answer to that if they don’t want to head the way of the Whigs.

Jackson to be Replaced on $20 Bill

I, for one, approve of replacing racist genocidal Democrats with gun toting Republican women! I have to admit that it’s Iowahawk’s Internets. He just allows us to dwell on it:

New Jersey Eases Gun Regulations

I’ve seen some talk around gun blogs that the Christie Administration’s recommendations on reforming New Jersey’s gun regulations is a token gesture. I will agree the permit to carry reforms could have gone farther, and I wish they had. But given what New Jersey folks have had to put up with, I think Governor Christie’s new guidelines, if not resisted by underlings and local powers that be, represent fair progress towards making the state not quite as hostile to gun owners.

They are permitted “reasonably necessary” deviations – but those have not been clearly defined, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The office listed a number of permissible stops, including “collecting and discharging passengers; purchasing fuel, food and beverages, medication, or other needed supplies; using a restroom; contending with an emergency situation; or driving around a traffic jam.”


The “reasonable deviations” clause has always been a favorite in New Jersey to trap unsuspecting gun owners, and it’s good to have clarity. I don’t know to what degree local authorities have to follow what the Attorney General and Governor’s office say, so it remains to be seen whether this will be an improvement in reality, but in theory it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Fundamentally Transformed

Bitter and I were talking this morning about how this doesn’t feel like the same country as it was a decade ago. It’s easy to blame Obama, given his penchant for trolling middle America, but I think the problem goes deeper than that. It’s easy to blame Cable News and Talk Radio, but those all existed for several decades, and it didn’t make people all that much nastier. Some might argue that it’s the result of the self-esteem generation coming of age, but I don’t think things get this bad this quickly with generational turnover.

Early on in the Trump phenomena, I read “It’s like the comment sections of the Internet came alive and decided to run for President.” I think that in a strange way that is actually true, because what I blame for the divisiveness and nastiness in today’s society is Social Media. Mark Zuckerberg is probably just as much to blame as Barack Obama. The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is indisputably true. The polite term for this is the Online Disinhibition Effect. We’ve been dealing with this for longer than Twitter and Facebook have been around too, but what Twitter and Facebook do far better than any other predecessor is making it possible to keep in touch with your circles of friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives without the need for face-to-face interaction.

Face-to-face you will probably be far more inclined to soften your views somewhat, and respond to non-verbal cues of the people on the other side of the conversation. They’ll also have a better read. The reason I think our politics is getting nasty is that we’re interacting with people face-to-face less, and online more. Almost everyone has an extreme view or two, and a many folks aren’t afraid to share it, rough edges in full view, to all their friends on Facebook. I think it’d probably go a long way to fixing political discourse, among other things, if we got off social media and started talking to people in person more often.

Campaign Against GOP Senators on Scalia Replacement Fizzling

Merrick GarlandThe campaign to pressure Republicans to confirm Merrick Garland seems to be fizzling. As Glenn Reynolds noted, “Because everyone knows the Dems would do the same thing if parties were reversed.”

This whole business is depressing. If the Dems win the White House in 2016, we’ll get worse, and that may be the end of a meaningful Second Amendment. I think we have two real votes for a meaningful Second Amendment on the court: Thomas and Alito. Scalia was the third, but he’s gone now. I didn’t think there was anything radical about the Alito and Thomas concurring opinion in the Stun Gun Case, yet it’s interesting that neither Kennedy nor Roberts joined it. My perception, I hope I’m wrong but fear I’m right, is that the reason there’s been no certiorari granted on any of the gun cases is because the Heller majority had two weak links. Heller and McDonald may very well be the best Scalia could extract from his colleagues who formed the five justice majority in those cases.

Our best case scenario is quickly shaping up to be President Trump picking Scalia’s replacement. I don’t know if that scares you, but it scares the hell out of me. Makes you think that maybe McCain & Romney weren’t such bad guys after all.

Why Not Reduce The Court to 7 Justices?

There’s a lot of concern that if Hillary, Bernie, or Joe Biden put in as pinch hitter for an indicted Hillary win in 2016, our goose is cooked as far as the Supreme Court go. But it’s not written in stone that the Supreme Court must have nine justices. Originally, there were six justices. Congress then added additional justices as we added federal circuit courts until it reached ten. Then in 1866, Congress passed the Judicial Circuits Act which said the next three justices to retire would not be replaced. That didn’t last long before in 1869, the number was returned to nine, which is where it remains today.

If the court were reduced back to 7, Scalia would not be replaced, and the next justice to die or retire likewise would not be replaced. You have two Dem appointees on the Court who are getting up there in the years (Breyer and Ginsburg), one Republican (Kennedy), and Thomas isn’t getting any younger either. It would seem to me that would preserve the balance on the court, and lower the stakes somewhat. But I think both sides like the high stakes, and therefore I don’t think this will ever happen.

Follow Up on Trump Poll

First let me apologize for my broken polling plugin. It works OK if you’re logged in, so I didn’t notice it was broken for those who were not logged in. A lot of WordPress plugins are hot garbage, unfortunately. But I wanted to follow up on some themes from Trump supporters. I am not becoming a Trump supporter myself. Both my preferred candidates are out of the race by this point, and I have no intention of voting for Trump (or perhaps anyone) in the primary because I just don’t trust him, and that’s a low bar as applied to politicians. But I do want to learn the lessons of the Trump phenomena, something that the GOP would be wise to do themselves.

I’ve come to believe the success of Trump in the GOP primary rests on three legs of a gold plated, terrific, really the best stool ever. The first is outrage with the left. A lot of working class voters were fooled by Obama, believing he’d improve their lot after the financial crisis. Eight years later, and it’s very good to be upper middle class, but for everyone else, things have only gotten worse. The people supporting this leg are rough-around-the edges-working class types, and they are not ideologues. These are the folks most receptive to anti-immigration anti-free-trade rhetoric. These are the people who didn’t show for Romney.

The second leg is outrage with the GOP beltway insiders. Even before Trump came along, I’ve long thought that the GOP would do itself a huge favor if it would hire a consultant to go down K street with a flamethrower, rather than hiring consultants to help talentless hacks lose elections. For better or worse, Trump is the first guy to come along in some time that actually has genuine raw political talent. Rubio has talent in abundance too, but Rubio also listened to a lot of talking heads and K-street hacks about how to brand himself for this race, and it was all wrong. A monkey could have told you it was all wrong. The GOP has not had anyone in the White House not named Bush since Reagan, and all the losing candidates have tried to follow the Bush model on how to win. I’ve never been of the opinion the Bush family have remarkable political talents and instincts. In fact, they are about as responsible for Trump as Obama.

The third leg is Trump enthusiastic rejection of political correctness. He says what he wants and gets away with it. There are a lot of people out there who have felt afraid to speak their mind because of the stifling conformity and groupthink demanded by the left. The downside to this is Trump has freed people to speak that I really wish wouldn’t (such as genuine racists and xenophobes). But I think supporters believe Trump is the path to ending the current wave of political correctness. They want to win back some legitimacy for their views.

Let me conclude that I don’t believe all the chicken little predictions that Trump will lose in a landslide to Hillary, and that he’ll throw all the down ticket races to the Democrats, and the seas will rise and skies will blacken. If Trump, or really anyone, can manage to win an election without K-street and the GOP think tanks in their corner (i.e. the real GOPe), they’re done, and they know it. There’s a lot of money made in losing elections for talentless hacks, and less but still good money in flushing real talent down the sewer with focus grouped poll tested bullshit (like they did with Rubio). You can bet they will stop at nothing to prevent anyone from strangling their golden egg laying goose. When he first appeared on the scene, I had hoped Rubio could be the guy who gave the finger to these hacks, and tried to go it on instinct, but unfortunately he disappointed.

Again, I am not a Trump supporter. I am interested in understanding his candidacy as someone who has followed politics closely for a long time.

Does Toomey Think He Can Survive As An Anti-Gun Republican?

I’ve about had my fill of this shit show of an election season, and here comes Pat Toomey trying to get votes from people who will never vote for him while actively working to piss off the people who worked hard to put him in the Senate:

Nancy Grogan is a Board member of CeaseFire, PA. I’d bet money she’s not voting for Pat Toomey in the general, regardless of her willingness to “reward” him for his loyalty.

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