The third party alternative

May 25, 2016 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2016 - President, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The third party alternative 

For decades, millions of Americans have complained that their Presidential choices consist of someone more evil against someone slightly less evil. Since we don’t have compulsory voting, those people have taken the option to skip voting altogether, with Presidential election turnout in 2012 estimated at 57.5%. Put another way, “none of the above” trounced both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama as they each only picked up around 29% of the registered voters.

But the fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans seem to be completely pleased with their presumptive nominees has brought out those who believe the Libertarian Party is best poised to make a little bit of inroads among the voting population. This seems to happen every cycle, but by the time the votes are cast the Libertarians are usually stuck with between 1/2 and 1 percent of the vote, By comparison, independent efforts from Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 garnered a vastly larger percentage of the vote, and those of us who are a certain age recall liberal Republican John Anderson and his 1980 Presidential bid, which got 6.6% of the vote against incumbent Jimmy Carter and eventual winner Ronald Reagan. (Perot received 18.9% in 1992 and 8.4% in 1996, both times denying Bill Clinton a majority of the vote.)

Of course, with the unpopularity of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who both have significant shares of voters on the principled edges of their respective parties declaring their intentions to not vote for the nominee, there is the luster of an independent run by a conservative like Ted Cruz or a socialist like Bernie Sanders. The idea falls apart, though, thanks to early ballot access deadlines in several states and “sore loser” laws preventing defeated Democrats or Republicans from going back on the ballot a second time in a particular cycle for the same office.

So here in Maryland there are only four party lines: Republican, Democrat, Green Party, or Libertarian. Each has a place on the ballot, and since I’m nowhere near caring who runs for the Green Party my focus for this is on the Libertarian ticket, where their nominating convention will be held in Orlando this weekend. Their field of 18 recognized candidates actually exceeds the original GOP field, but for all intents and purposes the balloting is going to come down to three: Gary Johnson, John McAfee, or Austin Petersen.

Johnson has the highest profile, but I suspect the purists of the LP are a little leery of him because he ran and governed as a member of the Republican Party. He originally sought the GOP nomination in 2012, but left early on to pursue and secure the Libertarian nod, getting the LP past the million-vote barrier in a Presidential election for the first time. He’s already selected former Massachusetts Governor William Weld as his running mate, making it a ticket of two former governors.

John McAfee is the guy whose name is synonymous with computer software, and in some respects is the Trump of the Libertarian field. He seems quite brash to me and of the three I would give him the least chance of winning. But it’s a convention and anything can happen.

There are a number of conservatives openly rooting for Petersen to win (Erick Erickson is the latest) for various reasons, not the least of which is a platform which is rather tolerable to those Republicans disgruntled with Trump. (One example: “Encourage a culture of life, and adoption, and educate Americans about the ‘consistent pro-life ethic,’ which also means abolishing the death penalty.”) I could get behind the pro-life portion, although I differ with Petersen on the death penalty believing there are circumstances where one forfeits his right to life by committing heinous deeds. Another more in a mainstream libertarian vein (that I can agree with): “Allow young people to opt out of Social Security.” I give Petersen the outside chance of winning, but I suspect there’s just enough support for Johnson/Weld to give them the nod.

Regardless of who wins, though, the pattern will probably work this way: over the summer the LP will poll in the high single-digits and may crack 10% nationally in some polls. But sometime around October these campaigns reach a point where voters decide they really want to back the winner, not some guy polling 10 percent. They’ll forswear their allegiance to the LP for the chance to say, yes, I backed Trump or Clinton in the election. Or in a lot of cases they’ll just say, “screw it, I’m staying home because my guy has zero chance.” Given that the support for the LP seems to be coming more from the Republican side right now, that attitude could lose the Senate for the GOP.

So on Tuesday we will know just who the LP nominee is, and the #NeverTrump group will have to decide if he (or, the slight possibility of she) is worth losing party privilege over.

The box we could be stuck in

After re-reading last night’s post, I think the time has come to explore a couple “what-if” scenarios. But first let’s consider the scene that is being set over the next couple weeks.

First, the prospect of severe winter weather may dampen turnout at the Iowa caucuses. The conventional wisdom is that this will hurt the Trump campaign the most and help Ted Cruz pad his margin of victory. Yet this assumption is based on the theories that Trump doesn’t have a significant “ground game” in Iowa; moreover, many of his supporters would be first-time caucus goers who could be intimidated by the lengthy process. The most recent samples of likely voters keep Trump in the 30-33% range (with Ted Cruz second at 23-27%) but if Trump turnout is soft Cruz can pull off the win.

However, if the polls stay valid in Iowa then Trump can win the first three contests as he holds 31% of the New Hampshire vote and 36% in South Carolina. It’s a demolition derby among the rest, but presumably half of the field will be gone by the time voters finish with South Carolina. The bottom five in Iowa are Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and John Kasich, but in New Hampshire it’s Santorum, Huckabee, Rand Paul, Fiorina, and Ben Carson. Bottom-feeders in South Carolina are Santorum, Fiorina, Paul, Kasich, and Huckabee. Yet deducting just the three common names in the bottom five (Santorum, Huckabee, and Fiorina) only frees up 5.6% in Iowa, 4.9% in New Hampshire, and 4% in South Carolina, leading us into Super Tuesday (also known as the “SEC primary” since it’s mainly Southern states) on March 1. All these primaries are proportional, but come the middle of March we will begin to see the “winner-take-all” states come into play.

Bottom line: the longer some of these bottom-tier candidates hang on, the better chance we may see a candidate get the entire delegation with only 30 or 40 percent of the vote. It’s a scenario that favors a polarizing candidate like Donald Trump.

And if Trump gets the nomination, the Republicans will have quite the dilemma. Now I realize a number of people reading this are going to say the GOP deserves what they are getting, and to a great extent they are right. A little courage and leadership among more of our elected officials in Washington would have gone a long way in not upsetting the base voters who now support The Donald because they see him as a man of action, particularly on immigration and trade. These were both subjects the GOP chose to punt on, not wanting to risk alienating their most important constituency: the ruling class in Washington, D.C. So Donald Trump is a Frankenstein of the Republicans’ creation, they argue.

However, millions of Republicans may argue that Donald Trump would be the guy whose principles (or lack thereof) do not reflect the party’s brand to such an extent that they may decide to stay home from voting. And even if they begrudgingly hold their nose and select Trump, their dearth of enthusiasm will show up in a lack of willingness to take a yard sign, make phone calls, or otherwise do the little things that help a campaign win. While this situation is not good for the top of the ticket, it could spell the end of the GOP-controlled Senate we worked hard to gain in 2010 and 2014 – the former TEA Party wave is coming up for re-election in a Presidential year where turnout is higher. Despite their failings as a Senate, losing GOP control of it would be an unmitigated disaster for those who support liberty and limited government.

In 1992 I made the mistake of getting so mad at a Republican president for not sticking to his word that I voted for Ross Perot. Surely many of the millions who breathed life into the Reform Party for a time regretted it when Bill Clinton enacted his liberal agenda. (As proof: that coalition came back with a vengeance two years later in 1994 when Republicans took the House for the first time in four decades.)

But I may have a different reason for not voting for the GOP nominee in 2016. I have always deferred to the voters as far as their wisdom goes, and hopefully many thousands come to their senses before April 26 in Maryland. However, if they don’t, I have to admit that Trump is not the automatic selection that Dole, Bush 43, McCain, and Romney were despite the fact I supported none of them when I had a choice in the primary.

This may sound a little like hyperbole but I think a conservative direction beginning with this election is the only shot we have for survival as a nation – otherwise, we just tumble into the abyss Europe seems to be tottering into, just a decade or so behind them. I don’t like being a pessimist, but in doing this read option I see opposing defenders closing in all around me if I can’t make it to the daylight and open field of conservative governance. (A clunky football metaphor, but appropriate.)

Those who can’t stomach the thought of President Trump now hope against hope the game may soon be up; this elaborate ruse to attract attention eventually turns out to be reality TV fodder. But these people have said for the better part of a year that the bloom would soon be off the rose, yet we sit here days away from the Iowa caucuses and this political chameleon Donald J. Trump is leading the field both in the initial primary states and nationwide.

Perhaps the scariest thought to me, though, is that I’m used to Presidential candidates running right in the primary and tacking toward the center for the general election. Since Donald Trump is already left-of-center on a number of issues, do you seriously think he will move rightward after the convention? We will be stuck with the same situation we faced with President Bush: for his more liberal “compassionate conservative” ideas, Republicans had to bite the bullet and support them anyway because who crosses the titular head of the party?

It may come down to where President Trump = President Hillary = President Sanders. The philosophies may be closer than you think.

Stepping away if not selected

December 11, 2015 · Posted in Campaign 2016 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Stepping away if not selected 

I find it interesting that two of the non-politicians in the Presidential race are the ones who would abandon their party if certain conditions apply.

Donald Trump has waffled back and forth on a third-party run, which is a prospect that scares Republicans who can see him doing a Ross Perot and helping to hand the election to a Clinton. Even though Trump’s support seems to hold between 25 and 35 percent in national polls, that represents a significant enough chunk of the national electorate that it would make the difference in a presidential election. It’s likely Trump would take less from Hillary’s base than he would from a Republican.

But today Ben Carson joined Trump in vowing to leave the party if the convention ends up being brokered. This, though, is a possibility given the rules in place and the large number of hopefuls still out there. Winner-take-all rules in various states could give Trump the nomination with the share of the vote he’s currently receiving, but the GOP establishment frets that The Donald’s outspokenness on issues such as immigration and a Carteresque ban on Muslim immigration would repel moderate voters. So the fear is the delegates will be browbeaten into supporting a different candidate that’s more acceptable to the establishment.

There is nothing that says a Republican candidate has to stay loyal to the party if rejected – in fact, in the 2012 cycle former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson began as a Republican candidate but once he found his campaign had little traction he decided to withdraw from the GOP race and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead (which he received.) On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is actually not a Democrat but seeks their nomination nonetheless.

Unlike Trump, Ben Carson did not leave the door open for a third-party run if he leaves the GOP. But the question is whether Carson would be willing to work with the eventual nominee if he or she comes through a divided convention. With the number of candidates out there who would otherwise not be occupied, there are a lot of prospective campaigners out there. Carson would certainly appeal to certain evangelical and minority audiences as a conservative surrogate. Someone has to take the message into certain quarters where they would be embraced in a manner that Donald Trump could not. Truthfully, it would not surprise me if Donald Trump was the 2016 answer to Ross Perot, and I will admit that George H.W. Bush’s forgetting what his lips said about no new taxes drove me to vote for Perot. It was a vote that would have went for Bush.

It’s been noted that Trump supporters tend to be less educated and more rural than typical Republican backers. They remind me of Reagan Democrats, who were the working-class laborers that voted Democrat along with their unions for generations but became fed up with a Democratic party that drifted farther and farther away from its moorings. Many of that generation are gone – remember, the first Reagan election was half a lifetime ago and those who had put in 25 years at the factory back then have passed on. It’s their kids that are looking at Trump as the answer.

In this day and age, people are less and less wedded to party and more and more skeptical of politics as usual. If nothing else, the rise of Carson and Trump have proven that experience doesn’t matter as much anymore. Whether they stay as Republicans may not matter if the GOP doesn’t strengthen their brand.

Blocking access

October 16, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, Ohio politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Blocking access 

This week marks nine years since I moved to Maryland from Ohio. While at the beginning this website delved regularly into Ohio politics as a base of comparison (since that was most of my experience at the time), over the years I have worked away from the goings-on in the Buckeye state. But an article regarding the state’s bid to decimate the third party movement piqued my interest, and shamefully it’s backed by the legislative Republicans – all but one GOP State Senator voted for it.

It’s definitely worth pointing out that, in my estimation and memory, the Ohio Republican Party is more Republican than conservative. John Boehner is a good example of an Ohio Republican in that principles come in a distant second to party. Instead of showing leadership in good government, Ohio Republicans cynically shamed the overall GOP by creating one of the most gerrymandered Congressional districts in the country in order to place two liberal incumbents in the same district. (This used to be my district and part of my family lives there, so I have a vested interest.) I guess it should be expected from a party which bent over backwards to avoid primaries for their chosen, “electable” (read: moderate) candidates.

Of course I understand that third party votes generally tend to be siphoned away from the Republican side as opposed to the Democrats. Libertarians have just enough philosophical differences from the Republicans that they tend to draw support from the GOP pool, whereas the Green Party and Democrats are basically two peas in a pod. It’s noticeable to me that the Green Party in Maryland runs relatively few candidates in our state when compared to the Libertarian Party, despite the fact there’s supposedly far more liberal voters than conservative ones.

Yet the Ohio proposal is very draconian for a group which accumulated less than 2 percent of the vote last year. Yes, much of it probably came out of Mitt Romney’s total and it could have cost him the election. But is that the right thing to do? I don’t think it is.

Aside from the insurgent campaign of Ross Perot and the Reform Party, which proved to be a one-year flash in the pan back in 1992, the last time the two-party structure was challenged was the mid-1800s, when the Republican Party was born. All that movement did, though, was supplant the Whigs, which faded from the scene. In the years since, both parties have found agreement on methods to insulate themselves from the prospect of a challenge from other political parties.

I look at it this way: if the Republicans can stand on their ideas they should not be afraid of any challenge. If they want to prevent the rise of a conservative third party, though, they might want to reaffirm themselves to conservative, limited-government principles.

The Sobhani story

If you are old enough to remember the 1992 election, you may recall that the usual two-player Presidential game had a party-crasher by the name of Ross Perot. Eventually after a few campaign fits and starts Perot got 19% of the national Presidential vote and allowed Bill Clinton to win with just 43 percent (incumbent George H.W. Bush received 38 percent.) Some say that the eventual result would not have changed even without Perot, and perhaps my little piece of anecdotal evidence bears that out – I voted Perot but had he not been there I would have held my nose and voted for Bush. On the other hand, I also talked my spouse at the time out of voting for Clinton and into Perot. (Or so she said.) Still, there’s a part of me which believes Bush may have hung on to beat Clinton if not for Ross Perot and the Reform Party. (Which, by the way, is trying to make a comeback in Maryland.)

So after writing on Friday about the recent Gonzales Maryland Poll (which posted yesterday) I saw a couple items on independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani. This in particular piqued my interest.

 

Perhaps Mr. Sobhani has a unique sense of humor I don’t understand given his Iranian heritage and loyalty to it, or Dan Bongino took him out of context. But then there was another item I spied on my Facebook page and alluded to in my previous link that led me to do a little research on the political donations of one Rob Sobhani. I’ll get to that shortly.

Worthy of note in this context is that Sobhani has run for the Republican nomination for Maryland’s U.S. Senate seat on two previous occasions – 1992, when he finished 5th out of a crowded 15-person field behind eventual GOP nominee Alan Keyes, and 2000, where he was runner-up to Paul Rappaport in an 8-way race.

Yet in his first FEC report on June 30, Sobhani recorded some typical expenditures. The timeline is as follows:

  • On February 5, the campaign paid Sullivan and Associates for legal services. They were paid again in May.
  • The Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies was paid $21,000 on March 10.
  • Presumably the polls were agreeable, since Sobhani paid a total of $142,171 to both Savanna Communications and Arno Political Consultants for petition services from April through June.
  • In addition he began a marketing campaign prominently featured on this website, at a cost of $1,800.
  • Finally, he hired Igoe and Associates as a consultant on June 15.

With the possible exceptions of Sullivan and Associates and hy.ly, the firms Sobhani used are fairly reliable Republican backers. But that doesn’t add up with his pattern of personal political donations.

I went to Opensecrets.com and pulled up a lengthy file of Sobhani’s political giving over the last 22 years. During a 15-year stretch from 1991 to 2006, Sobhani donated a total of $9,400 to a group of candidates which were almost exclusively Republican, with the one exception running as an independent. He also gave a total of $9,340 to the state and national Republican parties. His last donation to a Republican was to Michael Steele in 2006, who ironically ran for the very Senate seat Sobhani is trying for now.

But after a five-year hiatus, Sobhani started giving again – to Democrats. First was Milad Pooran, who was an also-ran for the Sixth District nomination won by John Delaney. Pooran was endorsed by a number of leftists including Howard Dean and Keith Ellison, the lone Islamic member of Congress. Just before the June 30 deadline, Sobhani doubled down and donated $250 to Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, who represents the Memphis area. Most notably, Cohen sponsored a amendment reducing infrastructure funding in Afghanistan.

Perhaps it’s a way to burnish his independent credentials, but this seems quite curious for a guy who used to be a Republican to have gone so far to the left, at least in his political giving.

But rather than speculate on what his motives were, I wrote an e-mail to Rob and asked him a few questions point-blank:

  • Since you have run for the Senate before in 1992 and 2000, what made you decide to run as an independent? Was it a case of not having confidence in the MDGOP banner or did the party move in a direction you were uncomfortable with?
  • I noticed your last two political donations were to Democrats after a decade and a half of almost solid GOP giving? What was your rationale in doing so, given you have a message which is somewhat conservative?

I received Rob’s reply yesterday, which I am presenting in its entirety:

Thanks for your interest in my campaign. I am pleased by the support I have received so far and attribute it to the fact that my message resonates with many people in our state who are tired of politics as usual.

With regard to my decision to become an independent, I have lost my faith in both parties to fairly represent people’s needs today. Our economy is in trouble, and I see few solutions offered either by Republicans or Democrats. That is why I am trying something different. I think a lot of people share my thinking on this, let’s see as the campaign continues.

I have personally supported Republicans and Democrats in the past in cases where I believed the individual offered something important in the respective races. We should all be able to declare our independence in this state. Only by creating more jobs and getting our economy going again will we restore the quality of life we’d be proud to pass onto our children. At the end of the day, that is our duty, and it is more important than any party ideology.

I’m sorry Rob feels that way about the Republican Party, as I see it as the most viable vehicle to represent what the people truly want and need to have to prosper – freedom and liberty. And while he’s correct in assessing the fact our economy is in the dumper, the question of whether what he is proposing as a cure will work still needs to be explained a little more to me. Brian Griffiths at Red Maryland makes an interesting case that Sobhani should run for a different office in a post which could otherwise do well as a hit piece:

…to me, the role that Sobhani is suggesting he fill as a U.S. Senator is generally filled by a Governor. Because it is the Governor who is more directly responsible for creating economic development within the state. Furthermore, I sure as heck don’t want a U.S. Senator who thinks that his role is to go to Washington and send the bacon home to Maryland, no matter where the money is coming from.

But the statement  Sobhani makes about adding to races is more telling, and perhaps explains well why he’s gone from staunch support of Republicans to backing Democrats. I’m not sure what Steve Cohen adds to his race since he’s in a D+23 district anyway, but Pooran shares Sobhani’s Iranian heritage.

Yet in order to have a chance to do as Rob says and “restore the quality of life we’d be proud to pass onto our children” it seems to me there should be a set of guiding principles involved. Rob oversimplifies this by saying on his campaign site that:

The parties are both locked into narrow ideological agendas that prevent them from talking to one another or working together for meaningful solutions. As an Independent, I’m not beholden to either political party. I hope to bring people of goodwill from both parties together.

One man’s “ideological agenda” is another’s principles, and among Republicans we should hold these truths to be self-evident and we should sell out our core beliefs to no one. NO ONE. There really is no middle ground between freedom and tyranny.

And don’t we have a President who promised to be “post-partisan?” That lasted about as long as it took for a Republican to show some backbone and be greeted by the President saying “I won.” Compromise, rather than fealty to the principles which made our nation strong, has placed us where we are now.

There is one other observation for me to make, and if Rob chooses to hold his cards close to the vest on this point I suppose I can understand. But it’s another question which should be asked.

Over the last few years in the Senate, there have been two independents: Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. While the are ostensibly unaffiliated, in reality both have caucused with the Democrats as Sanders is an avowed Socialist while Lieberman was once a Democratic vice-presidential nominee and won his seat in 2006 despite losing in the Democratic primary and re-entering the race as an independent.

So let’s say Sobhani defies the odds and pulls the upset. Will he caucus with the Republicans because that’s his traditional political home and the side from which he seems to be pulling more support, or will he caucus with the Democrats based on the fact his Senior Senator is in that caucus? Or will he wait and see other results so he can gravitate to the winning side? Imagine the scenario of Mitt Romney winning the White House but the Democrats controlling the Senate by a 50-49 margin – will he sell his position to the highest bidder like just another business deal?

At some point he’s going to have to choose.

It’s a shame, though, that it appears Dan Bongino doesn’t want to include Rob Sobhani in the debates (at least that’s how the AP story depicts it.) Let Rob’s voice be heard, and let him answer some tough questions. I’m sure I would have some more.

Ben Cardin’s been in office for 46 years, and Dan Bongino has been on the campaign trail for 16 months. If money can buy a Senate seat, I suppose we will find out from a guy who’s barely been at it for six months and only officially announced four weeks ago.

Update: Mark Newgent at Red Maryland has unearthed the pitch sheet Sobhani used to gather signatures. I didn’t know that Rob was “pro-choice and supports gay rights,” did you? I’ll concede that, indeed, these issues are less important than fixing the economy (although Sobhani’s plan is dubious in itself – after all, wasn’t Solyndra a sort of public-private partnership?) but America is also better-served by those who believe in upholding traditional morals.

Haven’t we tried this before?

The other day I received a note from one Charles Faddis, who shared this announcement:

An affiliate of the Reform Party of the United States has been formally established in the State of Maryland. The Maryland Reform Party is now engaged in party building activities and focused on obtaining full ballot access. The Party also plans to begin to field candidates in local, state and federal elections.

The Reform Party of the United States is opposed to the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC, which is preventing us from finding real solutions to the critical problems facing our nation. It stands for limited government, reduced spending, high ethical standards, term limits, an end to ruinous nation building exercises abroad and the revision or nullification of one-sided “free trade” agreements, which have sent our jobs overseas and gutted our manufacturing base.

For those of you who are Millennials or have simply forgotten, the Reform Party entered the spotlight with the meteoric candidacy of billionaire H. Ross Perot in 1992. At one point in that campaign, Perot was polling ahead of both Bill Clinton and then-President George H.W. Bush. While an aborted withdrawal ended his realistic chance of winning, Perot still picked up 19 percent of the vote, including mine. I couldn’t vote for Clinton and didn’t like the direction Bush 41 took us; I read his lips.

Without Perot, who also ran for President in 1996 but failed to crack double-digits in the overall vote, the Reform Party struggled on for a time, in Maryland as they did nationally. While they have never had an official candidate for governor here in Maryland, the Reform Party had Pat Buchanan on the 2000 Presidential ballot (he finished fourth, behind Gore, Bush, and Libertarian Harry Browne) and had party registrants as late as 2003.

And when you look at the party platform, there is a libertarian streak to it. The only noticeable differences (and ones which might make it more appealing to disenchanted Republicans) are the term limits, seemingly isolationist foreign policy, and trade.

But given the hurdle that the Green Party and Libertarians only just cleared – the 10,000 valid signatures needed to be granted ballot space as a minor party in Maryland – the chances of them being on the ballot for 2014 are somewhat slim. They could certainly run candidates as unaffiliated with the Reform Party’s backing, but they would have no party listed and would have to petition their way onto the ballot, which can be done. (Rob Sobhani is a candidate for U.S. Senate who qualified via petition for this year’s election.)

We’ll see how the efforts to re-form the Reform Party go, but it will be a group competing with Libertarians and Republicans for the interests of the TEA Party voter set.

A heart-to-heart talk with the electorate

January 12, 2012 · Posted in Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012 - President, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on A heart-to-heart talk with the electorate 

Back when we began this process a year or so ago, here’s how I would have preferred to see the political landscape after the 2012 election, in order of best-case scenario to worst-case:

  1. A strong conservative President (in my case, the initial choice was Herman Cain) is elected and has enough coattails to increase the GOP advantage in the House and win 13 additional seats in the Senate (a 60-seat majority.)
  2. Same as #1, but with a simple GOP Senate majority.
  3. The Republicans take the House and Senate, but with a more moderate GOP standardbearer like Mitt Romney.
  4. A moderate Republican like Romney wins the presidency, but doesn’t pull enough Senate seats to place it in Republican control.
  5. The status quo from 2010-12 remains: House is Republican, Democrats keep the Senate, and Barack Obama is re-elected.
  6. Somehow the Democrats regain the House, keep the Senate, and Barack Obama is re-elected – a repeat of the situation from 2008-10.

Well, unless we have a candidate who comes from a brokered convention or someone like Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum pleasantly surprises me – or Ron Paul allows someone sane like John Bolton to enact our foreign policy – it looks like I’m down to my third-choice scenario at best.

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