Major Election Concern – Supreme Court

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On Monday, the US Supreme Court begins its new term without a full bench. The vacancy left by the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia remains unfilled.

President Barrack Obama has put forth a nominee, Merrick Garland. The Senate has refused to consider his appointment, saying the empty seat should not be filled until the next President is elected.

In addition to Scalia’s seat, with the ages of the current Justices, there is a real possibility the next person to fill the big chair in the Oval Office may have the opportunity to appoint up to four other people to the High Court.

At stake is the ideological bent of the Supreme Court, which has been decidedly conservative for decades, to a more liberal persuasion.

Yet on the campaign trail we have heard only a small amount of talk of such an important duty of the presidency.

As the new term begins and the Presidential Election just over a month away, what do voters think of the Court?

In timely fashion, Pew Research has revealed the results of its most recent subject on the highest court in the land and Americans opinions about the Court.

As can be readily seen from this chart, the Justices are viewed much more favorably than the other branches of government. Americans with a 60% sentiment look kindly on the Court.

favorability

But there is a sharp difference in how Republicans and Democrats view the Supremes.

partylinesIndependents and Republicans may have a majority favorable view of the Supreme Court, it is much lower than the opinion of Democrats.

When Americans look at the Court from an ideological perspective, there are diverse ideas.

ideologyAs the chart depicts, Democrats see the Constitution as being a living document and changing with changing times. Republicans tend to interpret the Constitution to say what it means and meaning what it says. Independents tend to be evenly split between the two points of view.

Moderates tend to be evenly split between POVs, while conservatives and liberals are decidedly encamped in opposing perspectives.

How does appointments to the Supreme Court factor into your decision on who should be the next Commander-in-Chief?

Does it have any sway?

Here are five takeaways identified by Pew:

  1. Americans’ opinions of the court hit a 30-year low last year after controversial decisions, but have rebounded after a quieter term.
  2. There is a significant partisan gap in views of the court.
  3. Partisans have starkly different views over how the justices should interpret the Constitution.
  4. Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are particularly likely to see court appointments as very important to their vote.
  5. Most Americans disagree with the Republican-controlled Senate’s decision to not hold hearings on Obama’s court nominee.

Get the details: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/26/5-facts-about-the-supreme-court/

From the Cornfield, as I continue to evaluate the candidates – Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Evan McMullin – who gets to make these vital appointments to a term for life is a  deciding factor.

Debate Take-Aways

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Human nature is such that each of us hears what we want to hear and see what we want to see in most situations. This is definitely true when it comes to the realm of politics and political debates. Often our mindset and preconceived notions determine what we perceive.

Last night’s two Republican debates among the 13 candidates for president who participated is a case in point. For supporters of each of the wannabes, they were not disappointed in their candidates’ performance.

For the undecided, each of us heard and saw different things which stood out the most.

There were one-liners and sound bytes galore to choose from in each of the two debates. But it is not the one-liners which stood out the most for me.

For me, my take-aways from both events were: 

1. Americans are scared

2. The would-be commander-in-chiefs are not sure what to do to calm Americans fears

3. There will be no 3rd party runs

4. Time to cut and run

More than angry, Americans and the candidates are afraid of what shoe will drop next.

Which city, community will be targeted next by radicals?

How do we stop it or can we?

We have suggestions of carpet bombing, negotiations, walls, deportation, banning a religion, troops on the ground with disagreement on how to do any of these things.

Do we disregard the Constitution and personal liberty for the sake of security?

The candidates primarily played to Americans’ fears rather than a call to their more noble natures.

Whether the war on terror, immigration, refugees, the siren call was to strike first rather than being hit at home. Yet our greatest danger appears to be from within more than from without.

It did appear evident to me that the follow candidates need to suspend their candidacies. Now is not their time. Time to leave:

1. George Pataki 

2. Mike Huckabee

3. Rick Santorum

4. Rand Paul

5. John Kasich

6. Carly Fiorina 

Jim Gilmore, who has been absent from the debates, should have already said, “bye-bye“.

If no good placement in Iowa and New Hampshire in February then these should be cut:

1. Jeb Bush

2. Lindsey Graham

3. Ben Carson

4. Chris Christie

Going forward after the two early states would have three contenders:

1. Donald Trump

2. Ted Cruz

3. Marco Rubio

This is crunch time. It is time to assess and re-evaluate.

While Graham is having no traction in the polls, he continues to best the field in debate performances. Trouble is – no one is listening.

Jeb came alive – finally.

Trump showed humility.

The young bulls – Cruz and Rubio – are the most likely to be on the stage for years to come.

Christie is mounting a come-back.

Rand is Rand, but he is not his father.

Carly is banking too much on her gender.

The doctor is not so good with an audience though great with house calls.

Kasich is from yesterday.

Pataki – who?

Huckabee and Santorum are yesterday’s news.

From the Cornfield, that’s the way it looked as I peered through the corn stalks last night.

Next up on Friday night, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have their snooze fest.

The GOP Family Feud

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Tempers flared.

Facial expressions were telling.

A punch here.

A jab there.

It was a family brawl.

At times one wondered when the police would show up to quell the domestic dispute.

It was a full on Family Feud as Republican presidential candidates went at it on a real discussion on differences on policy Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Whether the topic was immigration, foreign policy, minimum wage, taxation, the wannabes showed they truly do not all think alike nor are on the same sheet of music, resulting in a dischord.

Some of the participants were more incensed than others.

One seemed to be like the spouse who did not want to get involved while the other spouse and the children argued, garnering the least amount of speaking time with only nine minutes in the two-hour debate.

That contender, who is running either first or second in national polls, was Dr. Ben Carson. As the night wore on, Carson faded away like the wallflower at a school dance. Yet for supporters, that won’t matter.

For Rand Paul, who has been unable to build on his father’s (Dr. Ron Paul, 2012 presidential candidate) foundation of the Liberty Movement, had nothing to lose and everything to gain as he challenged the others on the stage time and time again.

Even when Marco Rubio threw down the gauntlet with the worst name he could call him – an “isolationist” – Paul took the blow and kept jabbing away. Paul challenged the conservative credentials of the junior Senator from Florida, who is third in the polls, as being “liberal on defense spending”.

Rubio landed blow after blow on the others on every subject presented. His youthfulness and nervousness showed time and again as well. I am sure at times, Rubio was wanting to reach for a bottle of water.

One telling scene, not played in live time, of the nature of the family feud was during a break when Rubio, like a sheepish son confronting his father, walked over to Jeb Bush to talk. Bush simply shook his head “no”. Rubio turned, walked away to talk with Donal Trump instead.

Trump for all his bluster about his success as a business man, showed he was not as adept on the nuances of foreign policy. When given the chance to come out with a strong economic blueprint or tax overhaul, did not take advantage of his full 90 seconds.

Other candidates piled on from John Kasich to Bush to Rubio and a Thor’s hammer slug from Carly Fiorina when Trump said he was happy to let Russian President Vladimir Putin do the heavy lifting in Syria.

Kasich, continuing to whine about his time to speak, when he did speak was indepth and in contrast with where most of the base of the GOP is at on issues such as immigration. Kasich chimed in with Bush to blast Trump for thinking he could simply deport 11 to 12 million illegal aliens. Both noted it was not feasible or realistic.

Kasich did present a succinct history of foreign relations, however, showing his prowess on the subject.

Trump brought up to the chagrin of many Americans, “Operation Wetback”, when President Dwight Eisenhower removed 1.5 million illegal aliens in the 1950s. While many in the base were cheering, those Republicans knowing the Latino vote is a make or break for the party in 2016 were losing their supper.

Ted Cruz showed why he was so successful so often when he representative the State of Texas before the Supreme Court. His delivery and arguments were forceful and pointed. He showed a command of the subject matter, whatever the question posed.

For Fiorina, her best moments came when she interjected herself into the conversation – whether her turn or not. She may have been the only woman on the stage, but she was the one with the biggest cojones in confronting Trump and Paul on America’s military might and use in places like Syria and the Mideast.

But what did we learn that we did not already know about the wannabes positions?

Really not much that we did not have at our finger tips.

We did see one size does not fit all when trying to lump all eight of those on stage together. There are similarities and there are real, not just minor, but major differences in positions.

On minimum wage, none are for raising it – at least not to the $15 hour demanded by Democratic candidates and fast food workers.

On immigration, all want to secure the border. Some want to find a way to provide legal status to those who are otherwise law-abiding in the country already. Some want to pack all 11 million and ship them too far away to come back.

On taxation, all the candidates want reform the tax code. Doing it, is another matter.

On foreign policy, there is a swing from no involvement unless attacked directly to being the leader in the hot spots.

So who won?

For me, both Rubio and Cruz were the clear winners of the night. It is a bit of a toss-up with the two.

Bush will live to see another day.

Carson made no gains, but will get no losses.

Trump is like a rolling stone.

Fiorina may only get her dream debate in her dreams at night. She still will be around come caucus day in Iowa.

Kasich is too “adult” and too “moderate” for the base, no matter his general election electability. Oh, and John, stop whining about not being able to speak when you get to speak – use it to say something that means something.

Rand Paul, though passionate, is not his father. He will not be going anywhere, but he is looking more like Don Quixote with every outing.

From the Cornfield, rest up. There is five weeks until the next time these wannabes are on one stage – at least those still around. That debate will be December 15, hosted once more by CNN.

The Chris and Bobby Show

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Ah, yes, it was Republican debate night in America last night. For the fourth time Americans got to see presidential wannabes face each other to talk about the issues in not one, but two debates.

The first debate was among the four candidates the hosts deemed were the bottom tier. Three candidates failed to get on stage – Lindsey Graham, who has been the winner in the bottom tier during the other debates; George Pataki and Jim Gilmore, who has been shut out in all, but one debate.

Competing in the 7 o’clock hour were: Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. For Christie and Huckabee, they had been sent down from the majors and back to the minors after being top tier in the previous three sparrings.

It quickly became evident that what we witnessed in this first debate should aptly be called, The Chris and Bobby Show.

Christie, who once was considered a main contender until a bridge washed out a clear path, clearly won the fight as Jindal came out swinging as only a no-chance to win the title fighter can. The two men dominated the show.

Both Huckabee and Santorum stayed true to their goal of being the social conservatives choice, but were more sideshows to the real tournament event which was the back and forth between the two sitting governors.

While Jindal kept touting his record in Louisiana’s outgoing chief executive and thrashing at his GOP rivals, Christie kept deflecting the punches and jabbing back at presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Jindal did get in a few good jabs at both Christie’s and Huckabee’s expense, it was Christie who kept getting most of the applause from the crowd.

Santorum each time he spoke  turned every question into a defense of the family unit, which he said was the cog that kept the American engine running. Huckabee sounded knowledgeable and on point when he received the tag to step into the ring.

But each time the two made a point it was quickly forgotten as the camera was forced to turn back to the real match between Christie and Jindal. When the dust settled, though he remained standing, Jindal was TKO’d by the quicker jabbing Christie.

The win for the night went to Christie. The fighter that first attracted attention was back in form Tuesday night. Question though was it enough?

Coming in next in points would be Huckabee. Huckabee, an Iowa winner in 2008, proved he had not, as so many other politicians, evolved from where he stood seven years ago.

Santorum did not win nor lose, but stood his ground.Sticking to his family argument, Santorum surely was the featured vocalist the members in the Iowa pews were waiting to hear.

Jindal, though passionate, found himself a victim of a Jersey snow plow. Try as he did, he really did not prove his case that he is the only real conservative in the race.

From the Cornfield, we now have a 5-week respite until Republicans once more step into the ring on December 15, when CNN once more hosts the event or events. Do not expect to see any of these four to drop out.

As Santorum pointed out on CNN today when talking with Ashleigh Banfield, he was down with only 2% in the polls in Iowa when he won the state in 2012.

2-Party System Mutating

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

For the past several years there has been outcry about the captivity that our 2-party system has on our elected government from the local and state level all the way to the nation’s capitol.

This year as the country is once more embroiled in another presidential election season, it appears, from where I sit in the Desert this last Saturday in September, the system is mutating right before our eyes.

This is even more certain following the announcement on Friday by US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner that he is not only moving down from his position as the man in charge of the august body and second in line for the presidency, but he is giving up his seat representing the people in and around Cincinnati, Ohio.

Boehner noted that his decision was sealed following a meeting with Pope Francis during his visit to a joint session of Congress. The Pope pulled Boehner aside and asked him to pray for him.

Going on, Boehner pointed out that he did not want to put the members of the Republican caucus, which he leads, through another vote to try and oust him from his position. A move, which Boehner believes would be detrimental to the institution of the House and the Speaker’s chair.

This speaks volumes when also considering the tumultuous race for the presidency, especially among the GOP candidates. Not that there is much to hope and be proud about on the Democratic side either.

Looking across the country and through the corn stalks being harvested back in the Cornfield, it is evident to me that what we are seeing play out on the national stage is a mutation which will split the governance of the nation into two factions.

The one faction will control and govern from Washington DC on matters of national import. The other faction will control and govern in local areas and in the states and territories.

While currently both chambers of Congress have a majority of Republican lawmakers and may for some time yet, that may transform within the next six years or so to a predominance of Democrats in both chambers.

As to the White House, there is a good chance we will see history made when the Democrats capture the White House for a third consecutive term.

The only other time in our national history this has happened was when George H.W. Bush followed Ronald Reagan’s two terms in the White House. This was short-lived as Bush was upended for a second term.

I say the likelihood of a Democratic rout of the presidential race is from observing how Republican candidates and the very vocal, though small-in-number primary voters are reacting to the outlandishness of the current crop of wannabes.

As to the governorships and state legislatures, those are poised to remain firmly in control of the GOP while Democratic losses may continue.

Around 2/3 of the states are governed by Republicans. Not quite 1/3 have a Democrat in the state mansion. The legislative bodies follow the same general percentages.

The nation’s electorate are splitting into these two factions where Republicans will be the party of the locals and states while Democrats will be the national party legislating and administering from Washington.

As hardcore conservatives and hardcore liberals become more obstinate and more averse to finding common ground, the ability to govern becomes increasingly difficult.

Now that compromise is considered a capitulation rather than the trait of a statesman, this mutation is moving more rapidly to the harm of the nation.

Most recent research and surveys reveal that around 23% of Americans consider themselves diehard liberals. Of stalwart conservatives the numbers has dropped to around 27%.

It is these two ideologies in the extreme which are determining who will be elected and what will be for the majority of the nation. Being polar opposites, the result is seldom in consideration of what is for the “general good and welfare”.

What is being considered is the selfish positions of the two opposite camps.

From the conservative side we are hearing a cry to “shut it down” as the Congress contends with a budget crisis with the new fiscal year starting October 1.

Does this promote in any way the “general good and welfare” of the nation?

From liberals we are hearing a cry of “shut it down” to show the American people how evil Republicans are.

Again, does this promote the “general good and welfare” of the nation?

If the current trend continues, the evolution will be more a mutant strain that will be even more devastating to the country as a whole rather than a transformation into a system set out and envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield, we asked for a change.

But is this the change we want?

A change where the nation is more polarized than ever before?

A change where one party controls Washington and the other party controls the Heartland?

Cruisin’ with Cruz

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

While Donald Trump is known to be bombastic and throwing jabs at anyone and everyone, the real bruiser in the race to be the Republican presidential nomination is the junior Senator from Texas, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz.

Cruz has had a reputation as a fighter ever since he was elected to the US Senate. He is credited with the single handled shut down of the government since his tenure began.

Whether Democrat or Republican, Cruz has no problem going for the jugular. He even called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar from the floor of the most prestigious club in the world.

The only area where Cruz seems to be hesitant about calling out or taking a punch is with Trump. This has led to speculation that Cruz is perhaps waiting in the wings to be a running mate to the New York Mouth. Some talking-heads point out that Cruz may be hoping to pickup Trump’s more right-leaning supporters if the front runner stumbles or drops out.

While Cruz is of Cuban-American descent, his position on immigration is in stark contrast to the other Cuban-American in the race, Marco Rubio of Florida. Taking a hard line, Cruz is adamant about the deportation of illegal immigrants and has sided with Trump on the issue.

The Texas firebrand is a stalwart of the Tea Party. He is a staunch fiscal and social conservative. He espouses a belief that compromise is a betrayal of one’s principals – thus he is often seen as obstructionist in moving legislation through the Senate – even when sponsored by Republicans.

There has been controversy surrounding the eligibility of Cruz to run for president since he was born in Canada. As a result he renounced his dual citizenship. Most, however, believe that Cruz is eligible since he was born to an American mother and a naturalized father while in Canada.

Currently Cruz is running in 4th place in the national composite with 7%. That is nearly 20 points behind front runner Trump. In the key state of Iowa, Cruz stands at 3rd place with 7%  still far beyond The Donald.

On Cruz’s website (tedcruz.org), you won’t find a link called, “issues” or “policies” or “goals”. What he does share is his “proven record”. 

What we know is what positions he has taken since his election to Washington and speeches he has given. This produces the following:

We know that Cruz is against all tax hikes and wants taxes cut.

We know Cruz is for complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

We know Cruz is against ever raising the national debt limit.

We know Cruz is not accepting of the Supreme Court ruling on equality for all long-term couples.

We know Cruz is a tank in defense of the Second Amendment.

We know Cruz wants a wall, a fence, troops on the border, anything to stop illegals from crossing.

We know Cruz is against allowing the 11 million in the country illegally to stay.

We know Cruz is pro-life and anti-abortion for any and all reasons.

We know Cruz accepts only one position on any issue – his own.

What we do not know is exactly what Cruz will do on anything should he become president other than undoing everything he opposes.

From the Desert with my feet firmly planted in the Cornfield, while Cruz cruises along waiting for the misstep that will push Trump out of contention, we are left with little of substance to judge whether he should be the pick of GOP voters.

The Doctor Will See You Now

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Donald Trump is not the only person that is upsetting the conventional wisdom as the 2016 presidential race continues to rev up toward the caucuses and primaries beginning in February.

Another who is making short shrift of what is expected of and thought about those who seek the highest job in the land is a retired neurosurgeon – Dr. Ben Carson.

Carson, like Trump, is an unconventional type who is climbing in the crowded Republican field of presidential wannabes. He has never held public office. He says what he thinks sometimes to the chagrin of his campaign staff and supporters. He does not always get it right and has to clarify or backtrack.

But Carson is making steady inroads and has moved into the #2 spot in the Iowa polls. He has pulled within 5 points of Trump with 18% to 23%. Nationwide Carson has a 10.5% composite compared to Trump’s 23.5%, good enough for the second pole position.

Who exactly is this world-renowned surgeon?

His quip at the first debate earlier this month garnered the most laughs. Carson noted that he is a brain surgeon, but that politicians in Washington seemed to have not waited on him before having a lobotomy.

Carson has a certain folksy way about him that is attracting fans from the most conservative to moderates. His appeal extends beyond Republican voters to independents and some Democrats.

As I noted earlier, Carson has opened his mouth to insert his foot a few times. One such incident was when he claimed that prison makes one gay.

Many see Carson as this campaign season’s GOP response to President Barack Obama. Carson, I am sure, will not hold voters’ color against them.

He believes that it is passed time for the nation to move beyond race. A belief that has rankled some within the African-American community.

The doctor is decidedly pro-life. He is for a balanced budget amendment. On education, Carson is firm on “local control” of elementary and secondary schooling. He is resolute on protecting the Second Amendment and right to bear arms.

The doctor sees Israel as the bulwark ally in our fight with terrorism. He is for a 15-minute tax form, thus paring the current, over-the-top tax code. Carson believes that the Guantanamo Bay prison to contain terrorists should remain open.

Faith is essential to our society, Carson believes, and must be guarded. The doctor advocates health care savings account over the Affordable Care Act and a return to greater patient/physician interaction. 

Lastly, the good doctor, as Mitt Romney before him, sees Russia as a danger we must be prepared to withstand. He sees the aggression in the Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a warning of how, if we let our guard down, Russia will keep marching and seizing territory.

On his website (http://bencarson.com), the candidate does not flesh out the policy positions beyond a paragraph or two. There is a link to sign-up and proclaim, “I Stand with Ben”, on every page. There is also a suggestion to get the doctor’s books to understand his positions.

The fundamental question voters must ask of candidates such as Carson and Trump, who have never held office, is whether the lack of experience will hurt, hinder or be a disqualifier. Many Republicans over the last seven years have pointed out that lack of experience with President Obama. The experience question has been a rallying cry and a good fundraising appeal.

Will the GOP voters give Carson a pass on experience because of the irritation and anger with the typical politician?

From the Desert with my feet firmly planted in the Cornfield, he may not be getting the media attention, but Dr. Ben Carson is striking a chord in the heartland with GOP and independent voters tired of the way things have always been.

Carson will be interesting to view, learn about and listen to as the race continues.

While his time was very limited in the first debate, when the doctor had the mic, he made the best use of it and time with repartee which rang true with voters.

Come September 16, when CNN hosts the next debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, will the doctor get more time?

Will Carson be able to spark interest and still the sound bytes once again?

The Doctor will see you now – are you ready for your examination?

One All-Star in Top 10

cornfieldlogoTonight the American voters got their first chance to see and hear the top 10 polling candidates for the Republican nomination to be president.

Many viewers may have been left underwhelmed. Many viewers may say that a couple of the bottom seven should have replaced one or two of those 10.

Earlier in the day, two on the bottom rung did much better and looked more suited to be on the top rung. Those two were Carly Fiorina, the only GOP female in the race, and Jim Gilmore, who just joined the race this week.

For me there was only one among the 10 who could be labeled an all-star – Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich, who joined the competition last week and whose state hosted the debate, acquitted himself quite well.

His best response came to a question from Megyn Kelly about if one of his children came to him and said he/she were gay and wanted to marry his/her partner what he would do.

But that is not why I believe he was the only all-star. It was his over all demeanor and responses to the questions.

What Kasich said on the issue of same-gender marriage was that he would love his daughters no matter what they did. Love is what matters in Kasich opinion.

The big kahuna, Donald Trump, did not help himself when he refused right out of the starting gate to refuse to pledge not to run as an independent and would not pledge to support the nominee if it was not himself.

Throughout the debate, Trump came across as condescending and did not answer questions directly. Almost immediately Rand Paul jumped on Trump – but he was the only one to go after The Donald.

Paul accused Trump of buying politicians, hedging his bets with the Clintons (Hillary and Bill).

The rest of the candidates stood there looking sheepish.

Bush seemed to stay above the fray, but boring. He answered questions succinctly, but did not strike a spark.

Paul also went after Chris Christie, who did not back down, over the issue of bulk collection of data. Christie inferred Paul lived in a fantasy land while Paul said Christie, a former US Attorney, did not understand the 4th Amendment.

Dr. Ben Carson gave his best line toward the end of the debate when he said that it was time to move on from defining people by race. Carson came across as knowledgeable, but there was no fire in his bones, for me.

Marco Rubio did seem smart and up on his answers. He did not have a water moment. He came across as more vice presidential to me.

Scott Walker was a disappointment. I had expected him to be more of a firebrand. Instead what I saw was more of another politician talking to the people and answering the questions. He did not stumble, but he did not inspire.

Then we have Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. Both came across as rebels who seemed out of touch with the majority of America.

The least likeable to me was Trump. He seemed to purse his lips and look smug through most of the debate. He bragged about giving money to politicians, including Hillary Clinton.

This is not a man, I believe, we want in the White House, answering the 3 a.m. call or talking to world leaders such as Vladimir Putin.

From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield, it is going to be a long slog until the first caucus and primary.

We didn’t get a lot substance.

We didn’t get a lot of assurance.

We didn’t get a lot to rebut the Clinton locomotive or even the Sanders train.

What we did get was to see that at least two of the bottom tier need to move to the top tier.

In my opinion, Trump needs to leave. Huckabee, Paul and Cruz need to rethink if this is the best competition for them this time around.

And before I close, who got the most talk time?

Here is the breakdown according to NPR:

FINAL Talk Times:
1 Trump 10:30
2 Bush 8:33
3 Huckabee 6:32
4 Carson/Cruz 6:28
6 Kasch 6:25
7 Rubio 6:22
8 Christie 6:03
9 Walker 5:43
10 Paul 4:51

Take Back The Vote

cornfieldlogoIn 15 short months from now, those of us who vote will hold our noses and enter a booth to cast our chose between the people offered to us to become the next President of the United States of America.

Leading up to that day, following the party conventions, you will hear, wherever you go, people bemoaning the nominees.

You will hear people asking if this is the best the parties could offer to the American people.

You will hear people asking why the most qualified person never seeks office.

You will hear the lame excuse that the good ones do not want to have the media spotlight shown on their lives. They do not want their families subjected to the public sticking their noses into their private business.

That is a cop out excuse and has little to no weight nor value.

The truth is: The reason we do not have better candidates running for office, and better choices when we cast our ballot on Election Day, is because the vast majority of us have abdicated our responsibility to selecting a nominee to the fringes – the extremes on both right and left.

In every political opinion or news story about the candidates and the upcoming primaries and caucuses you can read or hear of how the candidates must play to the base. And it is the base – which is really not the base – who are either conservative zealots or liberal fanatics.

The vast majority of the American voting public resides not to the far left nor in the far right. The vast majority of American voters are more centrist or moderate.

But, the vast majority of Americans do not vote in the primaries and the caucuses.

While the vast majority of Americans – not just voters – sometimes move to the right on some issues and sometimes move left on other issues, where they live is in the eye of the political hurricane.

Americans do not take the time to learn about the candidates, their positions, their policies, about what the issues and concerns are.

It is so much easier to stay in the serene eye as the storm rages around them than to muster the will  and energy to vet the people who would govern us.

Why don’t we have better nominees to choose from?

Because we, the people, are letting the extremes determine who the nominees will be.

It is time to put up or shut up.

From the Desert with my roots firmly planted in the Cornfield, I believe it is time to #TakeBackTheVote.

It is time for those of us who live to right of center or left of center or dead center to get out and vote in the primaries and caucuses and make our voices heard.

It is time to #TakeBackTheVote.

It is time to say, “Enough is enough. This is my America. It is not conservative. It is not liberal. It is not moderate. It is America.”

Who will join me this election season and #TakeBackTheVote?

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.