The Not-So-Sweet 16

cornfieldlogoThe field of major contenders for the Republican presidential nomination next summer has rounded out at 16. But this is not your Sweet 16, fans follow so devotedly during March Madness.

This group of contenders are best described as Not-So-Sweet 16.

We can divide the wannabes into four sets of four based on polling data which of late has been rather consistent. The top 10 in the polls will be on stage for the first debate on August 6, hosted by Fox News.

TOP TIER (Real Clear Politics composite):

1. Donald Trump – 18.2%

2. Jeb Bush – 13.7%

3. Scott Walker – 11. 7%

4. Marco Rubio – 6.8%

SECOND TIER:

5/6. Mike Huckabee – 6.0%

5/6. Dr. Ben Carson  – 6.0%

7/8. Ted Cruz – 5.7%

7/8. Rand Paul – 5.7%

THIRD TIER:

9. Chris Christie – 3.0%

10. John Kasich – 2.2%

11. Rick Perry – 2.0%

12. Rick Santorum – 1.5%

BOTTOM TIER:

13/14. Bobby Jindal – 1.3%

13/14. Carly Fiorina – 1.3%

15. Lindsey Graham – 0.2%

16. George Pataki – Does not register

Unless some movement in the polls by a week from Thursday, we will not be seeing another Perry/Santorum show. Having just jumped into the race, the debate host state governor, Kasich, has made it onto the stage in Cleveland, Ohio.

What has everyone questioning is whether the debate will be of any substance or will it be a free-for-all with nine jumping on the man who is number one in the polls – Trump.

Will Trump provide answers to his policies, details and plans or will he be too busy to say anything meaningful countering the attacks from his opponents?

Will the moderator be able to keep the candidates on topic and answering the question posed or be more a referee in an anything goes cage match?

Forget Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment. That has already been thrown out the window. Look for the baby to be thrown out next.

Who will display decorum and statesmanship?

Who will actually enunciate clear plans to fix the economy, reform immigration, deal and defeat terror?

Will we hear lofty platitudes with nothing to prop up the pronouncements?

Or will we be so busy watching an episode of Jerry Springer to realize these 10 want to lead the country?

From the Cornfield, while the nation is buttering the popcorn, stocking up on beer as if sitting ring side at a title match, the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves.

Desert Presidential Preference

cornfieldlogoThought it would be interesting to poll residents of the Tri-State and Laughlin Buzzers to see who they would elect as president if the election were held today.

Individuals who will be at least 18 years of age by the 2016 presidential election and reside in the Tri-State area of Arizona, Nevada and California are eligible to participate.

Members of Facebook groups: Laughlin Buzz, Tri-State Buzz, Laughlin, NV and other such groups are eligible to participate.

Also any of these may participate:

Residents of Mohave County, Arizona: Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, Oatman, Kingman, Golden Valley (and others I may have left out being a Hoosier and new to the area)

Residents of Needles, California and surrounding area

Residents of Laughlin, Nevada and Clark County

The poll will run from now until Sunday, August 2, 2015 and close at 6 p.m. (PT). Results will be tabulated and revealed on Monday, August 3, 2015.

To make your voice heard, please go to:

http://fromthecornfield.com/polls

Trumping Trump

cornfieldlogoIs there any way to halt the juggernaut, Donald Trump, in his quest for the presidency?

Is there a Thing or Incredible Hulk out there who can match The Donald and impede his march on Washington DC?

Can a Man of Steel or a Caped Crusader put a stop to the steamroller rolling across the land?

This time around Mighty Mouse is not on the way. This time Speedy Gonzalez has dashed to the border. This time Yosemite Sam is lost in the redwoods mumbling, “Tarnation!”

The Republican National Committee with backup singers, the rest of the GOP presidential wannabe field, can be heard singing, “Holding out for a hero.”

Is there no one who can trump Trump?

Wait, what’s that I hear?

There is someone who can trump Trump – it is The Donald himself!

What no one else can seem to do, Trump may soon be a victim of his own brashness and blunt talk. Trump is on the verge of implosion.

There is an easy explanation for what seems the popularity of Trump with the core of the GOP base. There is an easy explanation for why independents and others are flocking to The Donald’s events.

Savvy businessman and television entertainer he is, Trump is tapping into the frustration and anger the people out in the heathers are feeling toward politicians and the elected officials in Washington. Trump knows full well the more lambastic he is and more often he shoots from the hip, the people eat it up.

But therein lies the problem.

Trump knows the buzz words. Trump knows how to read the crowd. Trump knows how to get attention.

Where Trump will trump himself and implode will be on policy specifics.

When he has to actually start answering the questions he now avoids or which he deflects to sound byte mode, then is when, as the saying goes, the rubber will meet the road.

Trump has to lay out a plan – a plan to fix what he is complaining about.

Trump is going to have to lay out specifics on how he will deal with the 11 to 12 million people who are in the US of A illegally, whom most have been here for 10 years or more.

Trump is going to have to spell out what he will do with Iran, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda – and just saying, “Bombs away!” – is not a strategy nor an answer.

Trump is going to have to, in graphic format, explain how he will get the national deficit under control and a budget which will ensure the viability of safety nets, the highways, other infrastructure and the defense of the nation.

Words, accusations without foundation, throwing jabs – first right then left – may draw crowds and keep Trump’s name in the press, but when it comes down to the voting booth, there must be policies and plans which Americans may read and understand – and hear enunciated from the candidate’s mouth.

From the Cornfield, who can trump Trump?

Trump.

The implosion may very well be seen on television nationwide come August 6 – IF the other GOP candidates pin Trump on issues and demand him answer.

Then again, The Donald will survive and look stronger, IF the wannabes do nothing, but attack him, rather than debating the issues.

Presidential Preference Poll Results

cornfieldlogoThis past week I conducted an unscientific survey of readers preference for president in 2016 if the election were held today. I also asked readers which party’s nominee they would cast a ballot for next year.

The results are in!

The participants were overwhelmingly Republican supporters. There were votes cast for both the Democratic and Libertarian Parties in addition to the GOP. There were no votes for the Constitution, Green or Reform Parties.

Party Preference:

Democratic Party 7.14%

Other 21.43%

Republican Party 71.43%

Democratic Party Preference:

Hillary Clinton 50%

Other 50%

When adding in those who did not answer, both Clinton and Other received 7.14% which extrapolated is 50% each.

None of the other candidates received a vote.

Libertarian Party Preference:

Marc Feldman 33.33%

Other 66.67%

When adding in those who did not answer, Feldman received 7.14% and Other 14.29%, which extrapolated is 33.33% for Feldman and 66.67% for other.

None of the other candidates received a vote.

Republican Party Preference:

Donald Trump 21.43%

Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, John Kasich, Other and No Answer all had 14.29%

Scott Walker 7.14%

None of the other candidates received a vote.

From the Cornfield, so there you have the first Cornfield to Desert Poll for the 2016 presidential race.

partyresults  demresultslibresultsgopresults

Let Your Voice Be Heard

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Though not scientific, I thought it would be interesting to poll readers to see who they would select if the presidential election were held today.

Also, I thought it would be interesting to see which way people are leaning toward the parties expected to place a nominee up for election in 2016.

The poll runs through Sunday, July 26, at 6 p.m. (PT). Results will be tabulated and released on Monday, July 27.

To vote go to: Cornfield to Desert Polls (http://fromthecornfield.com/polls)

From the Cornfield, while the results have no bearing on what will occur in November, 2016, this is just a fun exercise and will be intriguing to learn how people are thinking at this early stage.

The State of Our Union

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As President Gerald Ford told Congress and the American people in 1975, “The State of our Union is not good.”

The same can be said as I sit here in the Desert and look out across our land from sea to shining sea in July of 2015, 40 years, a generation, later.

The country is at its most divisive since the mid 1960s. The country is nearly as torn as it was in the mid 1860s. But so far, insurrection, taking up arms, has not occurred.

For the past few years there have been calls by some quarters to secede once more from the Union. There was a movement, including an online campaign with thousands of signatures, for Texas, which once was a republic in its own right, to pull out of the national association of states and return to the time of Sam Houston.

At times over this last year, where many of us had thought the racial divide was giving into the melting pot, we have learned that there is a segment out there where we have a white America and a black America. There is an abyss between suburban, small town and rural areas of the country and the inner cities and areas of urban concentration.

Even between suburbia and rural, small town communities there is a divide.  The more liberal occupy urban America and much of suburbia, while conservatives claim rural and small town America.

Each day we turn on the television and go online with trepidation wondering if we will be dismayed, our hearts torn, by yet another mass killing or disaster. Each day we wonder if a rogue country will launch the bomb.

Radicalism is growing and not just with those pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Some threats are homegrown. Some threats are white supremacists, black power enthusiasts, free nationalist anarchists and so on.

Crime may be down over all, but police are backing off from serving and protecting. In many parts of the country – urban areas predominantly – police are under fire, afraid doing their job will lead to being arrested.

Politicians are playing to our baser nature, garnering large crowds. Politicians are playing on our fears to keep us in an uproar. Politicians have forgotten their duty to do best for the nation and not for their personal careers.

Then there are the millions going about life, ignoring it all. If it does not knock on their door, these millions stay in blissful ignorance, dashing toward the cliff and destruction.

These millions will wake up, but will it be too late?

While the annual budget deficit may continue to track downward, not a word about the national debt of $18 trillion plus and growing. Not a word about the generations to come already buried in red ink. We run merrily along from bubble to bubble, from crash to crash.

Yes, my friends, the State of our Union is not good.

From the Cornfield, should the national anthem be changed to “God Bless America, Again”?

Or have we traveled to far down the road of perdition where even the Almighty cannot intervene?

Polls – Should We Care?

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Dateline The Desert: Quiz time –

2008: Who was way out in front of the pack for the Republican presidential field?

2008: Who held a commanding lead to be the Democratic presidential nominee?

2012: Who was the name on everyone’s lips and in the polls for Republican wannabe presidents?

Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor, was the hands on favorite in the polls by a wide margin back in 2008. Rudy never made it passed Iowa or New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton, just like this year, was the Queen-in-Waiting on the Democratic slate. We all know how that played out when the freshman Senator from Illlinois stole the throne by June 2008.

Herman Cain, former CEO, had the whole country chanting, “9-9-9” for a short while as the “Non-Romney du jour”. That is until the debates and by the time Iowa and New Hampshire rolled around, Cain was steeped in scandal.

Currently many in the media are hyping how Clinton is falling in the polls and Bernie Sanders is lapping at her heels. Donald Trump has pushed Jeb Bush out of the way as well as all other candidates.

Scott Walker coming into the race has kept Marco Rubio at bay. Rubio is in his mentor’s shadow while Walker is taking a breather after being cleared to take-off from the runway by the Wisconsin Tower of Power (Supreme Court).

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are crying for attention. Mike Huckabee is trying to get the choir singing as members are checking out other churches. Rick Santorum has gone to the cupboard, but the cupboard is bare. George Pataki has people asking, “He was governor of where?”

Dr. Ben Carson keeps looking into the waiting room to find no patients waiting for his surgical skills. Chris Christie is asking, “Is there a bridge I can close to keep Trump out?”

Carly Fiorina has learned that being a woman is not enough. For Lindsey Graham he has yet to find a television opportunity he won’t turn down, but people still don’t recognize him.

Border Schmorder, Rick Perry is holed up in the Alamo. Bobby Jindal has found out that he really is “Down in the Boondocks”.

Standing in the shadows and ready to toss his hat is John Kasich of Ohio. But with such a crowded field, does he stand a chance?

Do we go by the polls?

Or is it all just whoever can shout the loudest or hit enough high notes?

When the debates begin, will we see another Perry Minute?

Who will make it onto the stage in August?

Who will be left standing?

And what about the Democrats?

No date yet set for the first Democratic debate only that it will be this fall. Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will each conduct one.

Hillary is by far the candidate to beat. Bernie is nipping at her heels in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But is Bernie this election round’s Ron Paul?

Martin O’Malley can’t get his name mentioned. But even if he does, there are those annoying questions about his tenure as mayor of Baltimore.

There’s that Lincoln no one is interested in driving…oh yeah, Chaffee. He was a Republican, then an independent, and now trying as a Democrat. Looking for someone to take a test drive, but no takers so far.

Jim Webb, probably the most competent candidate of any on either side, seems trapped and can’t break out like a fly caught in a spider’s web.

Do polls matter before that first appearance on a debate stage?

Do polls matter months from the first caucus, the first primary?

From the Cornfield, as I look through the recently planted seed corn with sprouts peeking through the ground and try not to get stuck by the cacti in the Desert, I would submit that it does not benefit anyone to make a decision yet nor to put too much stock in any poll.

Come August we will begin to see who among the GOP hopefuls has that “it” quality to be president. We will have to wait a bit though on the left side of the aisle.

 

Citizen Journalism Dying on CNN?

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More than half a decade ago, with much fanfare, CNN, the international news network, introduced an experiment in citizen journalism called iReport. The forum was a way for people to submit breaking news, commentary, opinion, pictures, videos, recipes, almost anything you might find in a newspapers lifestyle section or letters to the editor page.

During the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, iReport was hopping and a veritable cauldron of activity of a political nature. The conversations could become quite heated at times. With the anonymity of a username, hiding behind firewalls and not easily discovered IP addresses, some of the users, members of the news community network, became not only very vociferous and verbose, but could be cutting, ferocious and outright personally bullying at times.

Many of those who jab and cut with personal insults, slurs and innuendo were banned. But many also returned with new usernames and new avatars.

The iReport community grew from a predominantly US forum into a global forum. Photos and videos continue to be a major stock for the network. But the loudest and most unruly slice of the iReport community remains those speaking out on politics and policy centered on the US political scene.

Where once iReport was prominently linked on CNN’s main page, today you have to search to find the link. Where once you would see the familiar iReport logo on broadcast TV on various current events and headlines, now it is rare to never for inclusion from iReport.

Is it the lack of civility by some who participate with iReport which has the community becoming the proverbial “redheaded step-child”?

Are the personal slaps, the intense bullying, by some members of the community, becoming too much for CNN to continue its experiment in citizen journalism?

Has iReport become a financial liability rather than income generating?

Will iReport resurge as the 2016 presidential race heats up?

Are iReporters, who work to bring items of interest, stories to intrigue, input from another angle, photos and videos to delight, becoming disillusioned as some iReporters tend to interject discord and go off-topic with each post?

From the Cornfield, how soon will iReport end up in exile in the Desert with me?

Mythic Middle Class?

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Is the idea of a powerful and well-populated middle class easily obtainable with hard work a myth or is it provable fact?

That was the focus of a recent study by Pew Research looking at the middle class on a global level. The truth revealed showed more hope than reality.

While here in the US, most people consider themselves middle class, a 56% majority would be considered high income around the world. Yet, inside our borders, low income outdistances middle class and high income by a large margin. The same is shown globally.

Per the US government, poverty level in the nation for a family of four was $23,0021. The study covers the period from 2001 to 2011. The median income in the US was down to $51,939 in 2013 compared to a mean of $55,562 in 2001 before the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Comparing US income to the rest of the world only 7% of Americans are middle class with only 3% being in poverty. What a difference when we see our lives in America and then look at the lives of those around the globe.

This is not to say there are not issues with poverty and income equality in America the Beautiful. Yet, when put into perspective, America and its citizens are blessed or lucky or any phrase you want to use.

Low income families dominate in the US and not the middle class. There are more of us near the poverty level for our nation than there are of us who think we are middle class. And it is not getting any better or easier to rise into the ranks of the middle class.

While there have been thousands of jobs created over the past few years, the majority of the jobs being created are either low paying or part-time positions. Income, wages, have remained static making mobility nearly non-existent. The disparity between the ones at the top of the economic ladder and those trying to get on the first rung continues to grow.

Check out the full study from Pew: A Global Middle Class Is More Promise Thank Reality.

From the Cornfield, it is not enough to work hard. There must also be the opportunity to move up with a company or business. There must be jobs created which provide a more desirable income base.

Crowing about the number of jobs created is hollow unless those jobs are full-time and pay more than what one can receive on unemployment or temporary aid. When the under-employed and those who have dropped out of the labor market can’t see daylight or reason to hold on, hope itself becomes a myth.

The middle class in America will remain mythic until those wanting a good-paying position can find openings for sustainable opportunities.

With the presidential election campaigns launched, a main concern Americans will be looking at is the position of the candidates on the economy, how to rid the country of the financial sluggishness and a program to create the type of jobs with the income Americans need.

 

Trump Effect Or How to Throw an Election

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One thing is certain. Donald Trump knows how to fill the airwaves, social media and print.

The cagey businessman, who has filed bankruptcy more times than I can recall, is banking on his ability for brash and questionable talk to keep the spotlight clearly on him to the groans and moans of the Republican presidential field and glee of those would-be Democratic presidents.

Was the tragic shooting and killing of a young woman walking with her father in San Francisco by a Mexican national with a long criminal history and who has been deported five times a publicity stunt gone awry?

Considering the timing of this horrible murder, it is a question which has crossed many a mind and dangled on social media as The Donald has railed against Mexicans crossing illegally into the US of A. Trump has called them murderers, rapists and the worst of the Mexican people.

Trump has tapped into the frustration and anger of people in rural communities and the border states who are frightened with what they perceive as an invasion of the nation.  The validity of The Donald’s claims is not  questioned by far too many. Even when given evidence that Trump is incorrect in much of his assessment.

The man with the hair had to change venues on Saturday to accommodate the thousands who showed to hear him speak in Phoenix, Arizona along side “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio. Trump did not back down.

His fellow contenders for the GOP nod are demanding, begging The Donald to shut-up and sit down. Trump is ignoring them as if the others in the field are nothing more than the sound of distant thunder, barely audible.

While there is an anger and resentment around the country with the current Administration and the refusal of members of both chambers of Congress to actually address and fix an immigration system broken and in need of an overhaul, Trump’s mouth, for which he is best known for after his ill-conceived hairdo, is causing more harm than good for the Grand Ole Party.

The most recent polls have Trump pushing frontrunner Jeb Bush toward the back of the bus. Other candidates such as Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have run into a buzz saw keeping them in the back sections of the newspaper, far from the front page.

Mike Huckabee, still pouncing on same-gender equality, can’t find an inroad. Carly Fiorina, the major woman in the GOP field, can’t even rate a footnote. Ben Carson and Rick Santorum are not even ranking distant memory status.

The bombastic, in-your-face Chris Christie is looking for anything – maybe a scandal – to get his name back on the ticker running along the bottom of the screen of 24/7 news networks. While Scott Walker plans an official announcement on Monday, an “accidental” tweet on Saturday failed to trend on Twitter.

An “autopsy” by the Republican Party following its trouncing in 2012 revealed that the GOP must become more diverse and welcoming if it has any hopes of winning back the White House within the rest of this century. Trump has now reopened a wound that the party has tried to suture.

While closer-to-home GOP politicians may fare well in local and state elections, The Donald is throwing up speed bumps and road blocks along the road to Pennsylvania Avenue.

What is the Republican establishment to do?

Trump has more than enough money to see him through to the convention. Trump has more than enough stashed away without soliciting help to run an independent campaign which would only benefit the Democratic Party.

Yes, Trump knows how to manipulate the media and to reach out and touch the people in the pews. But it is the people standing on the outside which are the problem.

From the Cornfield, as I look through the stalks and the Desert cacti pricking me when I get too close, the Trump Effect on the 2016 presidential race will very likely be a lesson for the GOP of how to lose an election.

For The Donald it is an easy way to throw an election.

Trump, a friend of President Bill and Hillary Clinton, sitting on the front row of Chelsea’s wedding, giving to Hillary’s campaigns, for years backing Democrats, is now crowing about being a Republican.

Looking out across the Desert, it is no mirage. Trump is neither Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or even Independent. Trump is Trump.

What The Donald says, does, how he acts, are all for the benefit of only The Donald – America’s interest takes second place to Donald’s self standing.