Sunday, October 23, 2016

Votes, Voters and Volatility

It is easy to get caught up in an election with the speeches, debates and polls.

However, all of this is just noise. There is only one objective in an election. Votes. And each vote is cast by one person. At least, that is the way it is supposed to work.

Those people are all different. Men. Women. White. Black, Young. Old.

Come November 8, between 125 and 130 million American citizens (at least, that is the way it is supposed to be) will cast a vote for President of the United States. Let's assume that the 3rd party candidates on the ballot this year draw somewhere close to 10 million of those votes. That means to win the popular vote a candidate has to count on collecting in the range of  62 million votes. to win. Those votes will be cast by 62 million different individuals who all come to their decision with unique life experiences and different perspectives.

This chart shows how many votes have been cast in the last three Presidential elections.

The next chart shows how those votes have been cast between Democrats (Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 and 2012) and Republicans (Bush in 2004, McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012).

You will note that the GOP vote has been remarkably consistent between 60 and 62 million. On the other hand, Obama received more than 10 million more votes than Kerry did. However, he then lost almost 5 million of those votes when he ran for re-election. 1 million of those votes went to Romney but the other 4 million voters presumably did not vote in 2012 as overall turnout decreased.

Turnout is a huge factor in any election but it is particularly important for Democrats as several of their key demographic constituencies are not as reliable in turning out to vote as some of the GOP groups are.

Compare, for example, the number of voters age 18-29 compared to those age 65 and over who voted in the last two Presidential elections which Obama won and the last two mid-term elections that the Republicans dominated. Young voters favored Democrats by an average of 62% support over those four elections. On the other hand, age 65 and over voters supported the GOP with an average of 56%.

A big reason that the Republicans won big in 2010 and 2014 is that older voters voted and younger voters stayed home.

The African-American vote is also critically important for Democrats but this group has not historically gotten to the polls year in year out. They did turnout for Barack Obama. The big question this year is whether they will turnout for Hillary Clinton with the same enthusiasm or will it revert to somewhere closer to the 2004 election with John Kerry on the ballot?

In this year's election there is also the question of how loyal Democrats and Republicans will be to their candidate when many are dissatisfied with their party's choice. In 2012, 93% of Republicans voted for Romney and 93% of Democrats voted for Obama. Those who said they were Independent were split 50%-50% between the two candidates.

This dynamic is a big reason I think pollsters are having a difficult time getting a sense of this race and we are seeing wide variances in polling. For example, the ABC News poll released today has Clinton leading 50%-38% over Trump. On the other hand, the Investor's Business Daily (IBD) daily tracking poll (which was the most accurate poll in 2012) has Trump up 43%-41%.

What is going on? That is a huge variance. I believe it shows how much volatility there is in this race. I continue to believe that this race is extremely hard to predict because of the high level of negatives that both candidates possess with voters.

Let's compare the internal numbers of the ABC News and IBD polls looking at party identification labels and what those polls show about where these votes are going right now.

If you look at the internal numbers of the IBD poll you can see that a big reason that Trump is leading is in the dynamics of how the party id vote splits are coming out in the polling.

For example, 84% of self-identified Republicans say they are going to vote for Trump. That is a long way from the 93% support that Romney received. However, Hillary only has 77% support from Democrats! Only 8% of the remaining Democrats say they will vote for Trump. The rest of the Democrats are either voting 3rd party or are unsure right now. Can Hillary get these voters to come home to her by Election Day?

As for Independents in the IBD poll, Trump has a massive lead of 44%-31% over Hillary. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the two 3rd party candidates, are pulling 20% of this vote and 5% of Independents are undecided right now. If the final vote on election day is anywhere close to these numbers, Hillary has a big problem. Independents generally make up about 28% of the electorate. Obama got 56% of this vote in 2008 and split the vote with Romney in 2012.

Here are the internal numbers on party identification in the ABC poll. It is a stark contrast to the IBD poll. It is almost as if they are polling on a different planet.

It shows Clinton with much stronger support with Democrats than the IBD poll (84% to 77%). It also shows Hillary with a 8 point lead with Independents while the IBD poll shows Trump ahead with this group by 13 points. How is that possible? It does look like a different planet.

Both polls show that a large percentage of Independents are either supporting 3rd party candidates or are unsure at this point (25% in IBD, 18% in ABC) of who to vote for.  Let's put that in context. Independents make up about 28% of the electorate. That is around 35 million voters and anywhere from 20%-25% of them could be in play at this late date. That is 7 to 9 million votes. It is a huge number and it is a bloc of votes that could be especially susceptible to what happens in the last two weeks of this race. People have short attention spans and what is most recent in their minds is going to be the most important to them. This is especially true if they have not made up their minds at this late date.

9% of voters stated in exit polls in 2012 that they made their decision on who to vote for within a couple days of election day. To show you how important late events are to a race, consider that President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy was cited in exit polls by 15% of voters as the most important factor in their vote. And those people voted for Obama 73%-26%! Obama had a four year record. Romney had campaigned for a year and a half. And the most important factor in their vote was one event that occurred a week before the election? It defies logic but who said human beings are logical when making decisions?

I don't know who is going to win this election. I am not sure the pollsters do at this point either.

What I do know is that it will be determined by how many vote (turnout), who those voters are (young, old, black, white) and events that still may play out and play on the minds of voters (volatility) between now and election day.

The candidate who is able to garner 62 million popular votes will likely have enough votes to assure that they can also win the electoral college vote which is the only vote that really counts in the end.

Accumulating 62 million votes will not be easy for Trump to do as that requires him to tally more votes than either McCain or Romney did in the last two elections. It should be easier for Hillary as she can lose 4 million voters who voted for Obama and still hit that number.

What is certain is that one side is going to be shocked at what happens on election day. If it is Trump there will be a virtual meltdown of the media and political establishment, not to mention the Democrat party. A Trump victory is unfathomable to them. It remains to be seen if it is unfathomable to 62 million voters.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Keeps You Awake At Night?

What keeps you awake at night?

What are the issues you worry about most? Are things headed in the right or wrong direction in your country?

This was the focus of a recent global survey "What Worries The World" by Ipsos MORI that surveyed adults in 25 countries around the world. The survey asked them to identify their top three worries.

Let's look at how people in the world view whether their country is headed in the right or wrong direction first.

Overall, only 38% of people think their country is headed in the right direction.

However, 90% of those in China like the direction they are going in. Saudi Arabia has the second highest percent that say they are headed in the right direction. Interestingly, those two countries have probably the most authoritarian non-democratic regimes of all the countries polled. Did they think someone was looking over their shoulder when they took the survey?

On the other hand, 88% of those in France think that they are headed on the wrong track.

Just 36% of those in the United States like the current direction.

What are the three biggest worries across the world? Unemployment, Financial/Political Corruption and Poverty & Social Inequality top the list of global worries.

Interestingly, none of these top global worries are on the top of the list of concerns for Americans but they were all in the top half. Unemployment was mentioned by 23% of respondents, Financial/Political Corruption 22% and Poverty/Social Justice 21%.

Here are the three issues that Americans find most worrisome.

1. Terrorism  35%
2. Crime & Violence  33%
3. Healthcare  29%

Other top worries of Americans included Immigration Control 22% and Moral Decline 21%.

You see what a major issue open borders has become in Europe when you see how big a worry Immigration Control has become an issue in many counties in the Eurozone. This is the big worry in Great Britain (42%), Germany (41%), Sweden (33%), Italy (32%), Belgium (27%) and France (26%).

Not surprisingly, terrorism is the biggest worry in Turkey (76%), France (55%) and Israel (45%) but with much higher percentages than in the United States.

I also found it interesting, in light of the fact that healthcare is one of the top 3 worries of Americans, that it is even a bigger worry in Australia (34%), Great Britain (33%) and Canada (33%) which all have some form of socialized health care. This would seem to suggest than anyone promising that further government control of health care in the United States is the answer to fixing the Obamacare disaster should be viewed with some skepticism.

What keeps you awake at night?

Ipsos did not include the election of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump on the survey.

However, if they did, I am sure both individually would end up in the top three worries right now for most Americans.

In three weeks, we will not have to worry about one of them. They will be nothing but a footnote in history.

However, the other will have to confront those three worrisome issues that Americans have... and much, much more.

Of course, wasn't all of this supposed to be solved eight years ago when we were promised "hope and change"?

Do you remember?

What was that all about?

Islamic extremists did not hate us. If we got out of Iraq and Afghanistan and our President apologized to everyone in the Middle East we would not have to worry about terrorism.

Crime & Violence
The first African-American President was going to bring us unprecedented racial harmony and new opportunities to those in poverty in the inner cities that is the root cause of much of the crime and violence in our country.

A new affordable health care system was going to be instituted that would cover everyone, save the average family $2,500 per year and allow you to keep your current plan if you liked your current plan.

It seems we need a lot more change than we were promised.

Do you know anyone who might be able to deliver this time?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Never Say Never With Trump

I have no idea whether Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States.

The only thing I know for sure is that he has confounded political pundits, the political establishment and media elites time and time again.

He also has taken my opinions on him apart at the seams along the way. For example, this is what I wrote about the GOP primary election shortly after Trump got in the race back in July, 2015.

There is a substantial part of the electorate that are fed up with Washington, politics as usual, and political correctness. They are tired of our borders being overrun with illegal immigration while nothing is done by either the Republicans or Democrats. They are tired of the United States being the world's policeman and getting spit in the face. They are tired of seeing every trade agreement resulting in job losses for Americans. They are tired of seeing Islamic extremism being called workplace violence or the acts of lost souls. They are tired of lousy laws and terrible treaties being sold as "good as we can get."
What will be most interesting to me is whether the message survives even if the messenger (Trump) does not.
And there is no question in my mind that the messenger (Trump) in this case will not be delivering an Inaugural Address on January 20, 2017.

I made that prediction based on polling at the time that indicated 62% of voters stated that they would definitely not vote for Trump.

That same poll said that 45% would definitely not vote for Hillary Clinton.

The LA Times poll shows the race today in an absolute dead heat with Trump at 44.8% to Clinton's 43.7%. Notice the trend since the beginning of the race and you will see that Hillary has struggled to ever exceed 45%. On the other hand, Trump has never been close to the 38% ceiling that should have existed based on people's attitudes toward Trump when his campaign began.

Other polls show that Clinton has a lead of from 2 to 12 points today with the average at Clinton +7 points.

Why the big difference? It almost all comes down to assumptions that are made by the pollsters on what the composition of the voters will be who will actually cast votes in this election.  Will young voters and black voters turnout to vote like they did for Obama or stay home like they did in the mid-term elections in 2010 and 2014? How many traditional blue collar Democrats will vote for Trump? How many suburban Republican women will reject Trump and vote for Hillary? These are all critical questions in the assumptions made to weight the poll results.

I truly believe that there is a lot more volatility in this election than there has been traditionally. There are fewer people who are absolutely certain on who they will vote for. They see flaws in both candidates. Who knows what surprises or headlines might still affect the outcome? As a result, the last three weeks could produce more swings in the polls than we have seen in the last few Presidential elections.

I may ultimately be proven right on my prediction regarding Trump back in July, 2015. The way the electoral map is drawn right now, it is difficult to bet against the Democrat candidate when you start out with large states like California and New York in your column before the votes are even counted.

However, I have learned to not bet against Donald Trump. He has defied the odds week after week over the last year and a half. He fights to win. It is too soon to count him out. Too many people have counted him out and have been proven wrong.

For example, look at this history that Jack Posobiec, who is Special Projects Director for Citizens for Trump, put together to remind us of all of the things that the pundits said about Trump that would never happen.

One of the big items on that list was the argument that Trump would not be able to unify the majority of the GOP behind him.

However, if you look at the Rasmussen poll that came out today (Clinton up 43%-41%), Trump has the support of 74% of Republicans just slightly less than Clinton's 78% among Democrats. More interesting is the fact that Rasmussen finds that 16% of Democrats prefer Trump whereas only 10% of Republicans say they will vote for Hillary.

Make no mistake that Trump has an uphill climb. The Democrats know how to play hard ball politics. It is not made any easier for Trump when the entire media and elite political establishment is working against you at the same time.

However, #NeverTrump? That seems to be the riskiest bet of all when I consider everything this man has done up to now.

I have learned to never say never with Trump.

For a little added context see the Gallup poll for the 1980 election that had Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and John Andersen on the ballot running as an Independent. I have written about this race before and some of the similarities with 2016 in that Reagan won the GOP nomination against the Republican establishment and was considered by many to be "unfit" to be President due to his previous life as an actor.

At this time in the 1980 election Reagan trailed Carter by 8 points.

He won by 10 points in a landslide three weeks later.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Coming Soon To A Street Near You?

I love Paris.

I don't know many who have visited Paris who don't share the same opinion.

Paris is no longer the same as Zero Hedge reports in this article, "Scenes From The Apocalypse-Mass Immigration Ruins The Streets Of France".

The Paris you know or remember from adverts or brochures no longer exists. While no part of Paris looks like the romantic Cliches in Hollywood movies, some districts now resemble post-apocalyptic scenes of a dystopian thriller. This footage, taken with a hidden camera by an anonymous Frenchman in the Avenue de Flandres, 19th Arrondissement, near the Stalingrad Metro Station in Paris as well as areas in close proximity, shows the devastating effects of uncontrolled illegal mass immigration of young African males into Europe.
If it weren't for the somewhat working infrastructure, the scene might as well have been the setting of movie shooting - or a slum in Mogadishu. The streets are littered in garbage, the sidewalks are blocked with trash, junk and mattresses, thousands of African men claim the streets as their own - they sleep and live in tents like homeless people.

Based on reports, I knew it was bad. It is 100 times worse than I could have imagined.

Watch this 2 minute video of what the streets of Paris look like today. You will not believe it. It is sad...and it is sobering.

If the video does not work in your browser, go to this link.

Do you want this coming to a street near you?

This is an especially important question for Millennial and younger voters.

I have lived a good portion of my life. Open borders are going to have a minimal effect on my life at this point. It is a far different story if you are young.

Is this the way you want to live your life? Is this the environment you want your children and grandchildren to live in?

This is your life you are voting on. What life do you want to live?

I talk to a number of people and they don't think it matters who is in office. "We are fine. It has always been fine. It will always be fine."

It is until it isn't. It does matter. Ask the people of Paris right now...or Frankfurt...or Stockholm. Did they think they were voting for what they have now?

In our case, we have been forewarned. We can see what has happened in Europe. We also have the candidates telling us specifically what their views are. There could not be a greater distinction between the two.

Hillary Clinton wants to increase Syrian refugee immigration alone by 550%. Who knows what else she has planned?

For example, she said in her closed door speeches to big bankers that her dream is for a "hemispheric open market, with open trade and open borders."

Let me put that in context.

The Western Hemisphere has a population of almost 1 billion. The United States is about 1/3 of that total. That means that Hillary Clinton's dream is to have an open border that would allow up to 600 million people a free pass into our country. Think for a minute what that would do to our streets, schools and jobs. And that does not take into account the impacts on our welfare system, our health care system and potential security concerns.

Hillary's Dream: The Future United States of America

Coming soon to a street near you?

That will likely be determined by a vote within the next month.

The choice is yours.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gore-y Details

Hillary Clinton, in a presumed bid to appeal to Millennials, has trotted Al Gore out on the campaign trail.

It is a curious choice.

I might call it sub-optimal.

Why would I call it that?

That is the term that Nina Tanden, one of Hillary's campaign staff used to describe her instincts in the WikiLeaks emails.

Why is her judgment sub-optimal with regard to Al Gore?

A few Gore-y details.

First, Al Gore ran for President in 2000.  Most Millennials were not even out of junior high school then. A good portion had not even been born yet.

Second, why would you put Al Gore on a stage at the same time that you are claiming that Donald Trump does not respect women?

Does anyone remember this story about Al Gore from 2010 in Business Insider?

Former Vice President Al Gore has been hit by new allegations of sexual assault. This time, it's two more massage therapists bringing the charges.
The former VP is already in hot water, fighting abuse claims in Portland, where another masseuse said Gore groped her in '06 and asked her to perform a "chakra release" (massage-speak for "hand job".) He denies everything.
The new allegations are said to have taken place at two hotels - one in Beverly Hills in 2007, when Gore was in Hollywood for the Oscars, the other in Tokyo in 2008.
A source from the luxury hotel in Beverly Hills told The Enquirer: "The therapist claimed that when they were alone, Gore shrugged off a towel and stood naked in front of her." He then propositioned her for a sexual act, according to The Enquirer.
The Portland, Oregon female masseuse described Gore as a "crazed sex poodle."

Of course, have you heard any of this from the mainstream press as Al Gore has gone on stage for Hillary Clinton? Of course not. In fact, the New York Times barely mentioned the Portland case back in 2010 even though, unlike Donald Trump, it was the subject of a police investigation.

Third, if there is anyone who is a bigger hypocrite in the world than Hillary Clinton, it is Al Gore.

This is a guy who has spent the last two decades warning about fossil fuels and global warming.

However, he lived in a 20-room house with 10 bedrooms that consumed 221,000 kilowatts of electricity in 2006 according to ABC News. That is 20 times the total energy consumed by an average house. His bill for that much energy?  $30,000 in annual utility costs.

He flew the world in private jets that consume hundreds of gallons of fuel per hour.

He sold a cable tv network that he started (Current TV) and sold it to Al Jazeera in 2010 for $500 million. Of course, Al Jazeera is owned by the govenment of Qatar which would not have any money but for oil. He did not seem to have any problem with profiting from fossil fuels when it came to himself.

He became wealthy pushing the sale of dubious "carbon credits" that are supposed to save our planet.

Of course, he is also famous for his 2006 "documentary",  An Inconvenient Truth" where he claimed the whole world was going to melt before our very eyes. If fact, in 2007 Al Gore said this as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize ( I am still trying to figure out what Al Gore did for peace. It is even more confusing than trying to understand what Barack Obama did for peace).

The ice cap is falling off a cliff. It could be completely gone in summer in as little as 7 years from now.
                                               -Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Speech, December, 2007

This is a satellite image of the arctic ice cap in July, 2015, a little more than 7 years after Al Gore made that statement. Does it look ice-free?

Those are the Gore-y details.

Come to think about it, sub-optimal could describe both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.

Millennials, take note.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nine Points and Nine Lives

A day can be a lifetime in politics.

I wrote that in my post "A Day Later and 28 Lifetimes Away"  right after the second debate.

We are only a few days later and we are already seeing how true that is.

In the aftermath of the release of the Hollywood Access "hot mic" tape the media had already buried Donald Trump. The political pundits opined that he was done. A number of GOP elites piled on and withdrew their support of Trump.

Then came the second debate where it is widely acknowledged that Trump rescued and revived his Presidential bid.

We now see some of those GOP officeholders who pulled the plug on Trump getting nervous.

Of course, as predicted, the media is still dumping on Trump at the same time that WikiLeaks releases damaging emails from the Clinton campaign. Of course, the media elites would rather not report on those emails, especially the revelations that so many of them have been actively colluding with the Clinton campaign behind the scenes.

As an example, the Media Research Center notes that the big three networks have devoted 15 times more coverage to Trump's decade-old comments than to Hillary's WikiLeaks revelations!

Despite acknowledging Trump's strong debate performance, the political pundits almost unanimously continue to write off Trump's chances of a general election win. There are three factors that are usually mentioned in supporting this opinion beyond the challenge of the Democrat advantage in the electoral college math to begin with.

  • Trump's inability to attract female voters
  • Trump's inability to consolidate GOP voters around his candidacy
  • The fact that there is less than four weeks to the election, he is way behind and most people have made up their minds.

Having been a political consultant I understand where the pundits are coming from. It is easy to recite what people believe is the conventional wisdom that keeps getting repeated by everyone else. However, I am always looking at data and information that might disprove the conventional wisdom.

And if there was ever a year you should be looking for indicators that disprove conventional wisdom, this is the year.

With all that said, let me point you to the Rasmussen poll that was just released this morning (Thursday, October 13, 2016).

This poll was taken completely after the last debate on Sunday night. This same poll had Clinton leading Trump by 7 points right after the release of the "hot mic" tape .

That poll today has Trump leading 43%-41%---a margin of 2 points. That means that there has been a swing of 9 points in this poll in the space of 3 days (lifetimes)! That is pretty remarkable and clearly shows how volatile this race is.

What I find most interesting in the data are these two items that seem to run counter to the conventional wisdom that the pundits are reciting but actually may not be true. 

First, I keep hearing from the pundits that Clinton has a big advantage because she has consolidated Democrat support whereas Trump has not done the same with Republicans.

This poll says otherwise. There is no difference in the two. 

Trump is getting the support of 75% of Republicans. Clinton is only at 76% of Democrats. This is a big change from 2012 where Obama got 92% support of Democrats and Romney had 93% of Republicans supporting his candidacy. I think this factor adds to the volatility of this race and being able to predict its outcome.

Second, I think it is clear that a lot more of the votes are in play than is generally believed. In fact, the Rasmussen poll proves it. A 9 point swing in 3 days? I sense this in my conversations wherever I go as well. I have never seen so many people shaking their heads on who to vote for.

The Rasmussen poll indicates that only 84% of voters say they are certain on how they will vote right now. That is an enormous amount of votes. In 2012, there were 126 million votes cast for President. 9% of those voters said in exit polls that they did not make up their minds on who to vote for until the last day or two before the election. That represented 11 million votes and they broke resoundingly for Obama primarily because of his handling of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. In fact, 15% of Obama voters said that was the most important reason they voted for him!

What does this say? People have short attention spans and what is most recent is going to be the most important. It also says it is way to early to write off anybody in this election. There is too much time and too much that can still happen. And the closer it comes to Election Day the bigger the impact it will have.

The other good news for Trump is that Hillary's support seems to be the most uncertain. For example, Clinton leads Trump among those who say they could change their mind (40%-37%). In addition, almost 1 in 5 voters who are uncertain are supporting Gary Johnson. They clearly are questioning whether voting on "principle" is a good decision.

This is what Rasmussen also says about those who are uncertain right now.

Those under 40 still prefer the Democrat but also remain the most undecided. Older voters favor Trump. The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to be certain of their vote.

Why is this important? Older voters will vote. Younger voters may vote.  And they will be less likely to vote if they are uncertain of who to vote for. In the end, turnout will be the biggest factor of who wins this race. I know the Democrats have a respected ground game. They did turnout votes for Obama in 2008 and 2012. However, what happened in 2010 and 2014 with that same ground game?

And Trump continue to pack arenas while Hillary is challenged to fill an atrium?

A day truly is a lifetime in politics. And no one running for President has ever had 9 lives while doing it like Donald J. Trump. Politicians, pundits and media elites beware!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy Indigenous People's Day

October 12. On this day in 1492 Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering America.

Christopher Columbus

The first landing in the New World by Columbus is generally considered to be on the Bahamian island of San Salvador. Columbus ultimately set sail for the New World three more times over the remainder of his life. However, he never understood that he had discovered the Western Hemisphere. Until his death in 1506 he always believed that he was navigating among the East Indies close to the Asian continent.

Ironically, despite the fact that Columbus is credited with discovering America in most school textbooks, he never set foot on any of what is now the United States of America.

This map shows the paths of the four voyages of Christopher Columbus.

The voyages of Christopher Columbus
Credit: Wikipedia

Amerigo Vespucci is generally credited as the first person to correctly speculate that the places he and Columbus had sailed to were actually part of a new continent previously unknown to Eurasians. His reward was to have his name placed on the two major continents. I guess we are all fortunate that the name was based on his first, rather than last name.

The Columbus name got very little mention and credit for his discoveries for over two hundred years until the American colonists were looking for a hero to celebrate other than someone associated with Great Britain. Wikipedia provides some background.

Historically, the British had downplayed Columbus and emphasized the role of the Venetian John Cabot as a pioneer explorer, but for the emerging United States, Cabot made for a poor national hero. Veneration of Columbus in America dates back to colonial times. The name Columbia for "America" first appeared in a 1738 weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament.[104] The use of Columbus as a founding figure of New World nations and the use of the word "Columbia", or simply the name "Columbus", spread rapidly after the American Revolution. Columbus's name was given to the federal capital of the United States (District of Columbia), the capital cities of two U.S. states (Ohio and South Carolina), and the Columbia River

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. However, the latest trend rejects Columbus Day and replaces it with what is referred to as Indigenous People's Day. This is based on the argument that Columbus did not discover the Americas because people were already living here. Further, they point to the fact that other Europeans (the Scandanavians) had also previously landed on the Western Hemisphere.

The city of Berkeley, California (is this a surprise?) was the first to recognize an Indigenous People's Day in 1992 "to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation." I could not find any information on the full composition of the Berkeley City Council in 1992. However, the mayor's name was Loni Hancock. That does not sound like a indigenous person's surname. In fact, it is an English surname. It makes you wonder how and why Loni Hancock was in Berkeley, California and not back in England in the first place considering her views.

The Indigenous People's Day movement has picked up considerable momentum in the last couple of years. The state of Vermont and Alaska both joined the movement this year. These are cities or universities who now also celebrate that day, many in place of Columbus Day. Note that many of the cities that have joined the movement are college towns.

- Denver and Boulder, Colorado

- Evanston, Illinois

- Cambridge, Amherst and Northhampton, Massachusetts

- Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan

- St. Paula and Cook County, Minnesota

- Lincoln, Nebraska

- Albuquerque and Sante Fe, New Mexico

- Asheville, North Carolina

- Eugene, Oregon

- Spokane, Washington

- Seattle, Washington

- Brown University

- Cornell University Student Assembly

The city of Cincinnati, Ohio failed to approve the replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day by one vote. That vote was 4 votes for...and 5 abstentions!  The political courage of most politicians is really something to behold isn't it? And people wonder why Donald Trump was able to gain the GOP nomination?

We have so many pressing problems today at all levels of government and yet our politicians have time to spend on things like this? I guess if you can't make education better, fix the roads, fund underfunded pension plans or fight crime, you work on major issues like this.

Enjoy Columbus Day. It might not be here much longer.

Of course, do most people even care?

I never had a job where I got Columbus Day as a paid holiday. It is much different for government workers, educators, students and bankers among others.

Do they care about who they are honoring? I dare say they do not. What they care about is the day off with pay.

I think our politicians ought to really get serious about this if they really care. Here is a suggestion to really put some substance behind the day.

Let's eliminate Columbus Day as a paid holiday and replace it with Indigenous People's Day. However, everyone will work that day to show their solidarity and gratitude to indigenous people and all earnings on that day will be taxed and donated as reparations to their heirs.

How many votes would that get in Berkeley, California?

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Day Later and 28 Lifetimes Away

We are a day removed from the 2nd Presidential Debate. This is how I described what was at stake in that debate for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump's political future is on the line tonight. Speaking more broadly, his entire business brand may also be on the line. There probably has never been an event that has been potentially more consequential for a Presidential candidate than what will transpire tonight for Trump.

Given what he had to do I wrote that it would not be an easy task for Trump to silence the fallout from the "hot mic" incident, pivoting to be on the offensive with Hillary while also not looking like a jerk for doing so.

It will not be easy. Trump needs to thread the needle to do it. However, it can be done. Ronald Reagan could have done it. I am sure Abraham Lincoln could have. Tonight we will see if Donald Trump can do it. If he can, he lives to fight another day. If he cannot, you will hear more calls for him to step down.

Trump was not perfect (that much ought to be clear to everyone by now).  However, I thought he did extraordinarily well given the circumstances and the pressure he was under. He was vastly improved in every aspect of his debate performance compared to the first debate (remember that he never had to do a one-on-one debate during the GOP primaries). He proved to be a fast learner.

Trump achieved his principal goal of living another day. If not for the "hot mic" tape, I think he was good enough that he would probably have edged into the lead in most polls. As it is, he has dug himself a pretty good hole to dig out of and he has just 4 weeks to close the deal.

I think it is a certainty that the Clinton campaign and/or the media establishment has more waiting in the wings to dump on Trump. It remains more than coincidental that the "hot mic" tape of 11 years ago mysteriously was dropped by the media on the very day that WikiLeaks starting publishing emails from the Clinton campaign.

This is what Ted Cruz had to say about that on Twitter.

That is a good question. Of course, we know the answer. There is no one at NBC, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, CNN or The New York Times that is a friend of Ted Cruz...or any other Republican for that matter.

The game is rigged.

And it is fixed against the American people. The media and establishment elite have determined who they want to be President of the United States. Needless to say, Donald Trump is their worst nightmare so they are going to do everything in their power to convince you of the same.

Consider the fact that Donald Trump starred in a highly-rated television program for NBC from 2004-2015. The "hot mic"incident was recorded as part of the syndicated tv show Access Hollywood that has been produced and distributed by an NBC-owned company since 2004.

How could NBC have the conscience to continue to employ Donald Trump as the star of one of its highly-rated shows if his behavior was so outrageous and horrific towards women?

One other point that is interesting in all of this is the double standard at work.

The best perspective of this is in looking at the case of Bill Clinton. However, in my lifetime you could point to John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson as well.

Let's consider Bill Clinton in the White House with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Bill Clinton actually does it and he lies about it in a sworn deposition to the American people. It is brushed off as "It's just sex" by most of the media and his fellow Democrats.

Donald Trump just talks about it and he admits it. He is immediately considered "unfit".

There is a double standard in the press but the bigger double standard is how the respective political parties react in these situations.

Democrats almost universally stood strong behind Bill Clinton. They did not flinch or waver. Only five Democrats in the House voted to impeach Clinton. All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted Clinton "Not Guilty".

Democrats play to win at all costs. Values seem to matter very little.

Compare that to what we see some Republican officeholder doing right now.

Like it or not, Donald Trump is the nominee.

And it is a simple choice. You are either for Trump or you are for Hillary. One or the other is going to be President as things stand today.

A Republican who does not support or vote for Trump is effectively voting for Hillary even if they stay home.

I made clear early and often that I believed that there were better GOP candidates than Donald Trump. However, many others disagreed with me and made him the nominee. Yes, I could cry and complain about it and sit home and see another four years (or worse) like the last eight years. I could sit home and see the Supreme Court fundamentally changed for the next 40 years. I could sit home and see our borders overrun and the rule of law further undermined so that we don't even have a nation in 50 years. I won't do that.

I know one of the arguments that some #NeverTrumpers make is that Trump is too much of an authoritarian. Therefore, he makes them nervous. If that is your concern let me put your mind at ease.

The genius of our Founding Fathers involved putting together a document that addresses that very concern with three co-equal branches of government and well-designed checks and balances between all three. I have a lot of confidence our Constitution would work well if Trump was President, don't you? It is not as if Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are in a love fest with Donald Trump. The GOP also has proven that they do not protect "their own" at all costs like the Democrats have done.

I have no such confidence in the system working as designed with Hillary and the Democrats in power. And Hillary has a pretty strong streak of authoritarianism in her as well. For example, last night at the debate when asked who she would appoint to the Supreme Court she made no mention of appointing a jurist who would defend and protect the Constitution. Instead, she said that she thought that "the current court has gone in the wrong direction." What direction is that? I think she clearly looking for justices to stray even further from the Constitution.

It has been said that a day can be a lifetime in politics. Donald Trump lived through several lifetimes over the last few days.

And we have 28 days to go. A lot can and could happen. 

More media dumps on Trump? More Hillary emails?

An outside event like a terrorist act or natural disaster? Remember Sandy in 2012? Exit polls indicate that might have moved 3-4% from Romney to Obama. A switched vote is actually a double move. A 52%-48% lead for one candidate reverses. It becomes an 8% swing in the overall spread.

And don't forget about Hillary's health. She remains one slip, twitch, hitch, itch or hiccup from bringing that issue back to the forefront. That is why I think she will try to stay out of the public eye as much as she can over the next month.

Only 4 weeks...or 28 lifetimes to go.

If you never believed that you could truly make silk out of a cow's ear, look at video below and enjoy.

The very best thing I saw come out of last night.

Very appropriate musical duet of Trump and Hillary singing the song "Time of My Life" made famous in the movie (very appropriately in this case) Dirty Dancing.

Click here if video above does not work on your browser.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Let's Get Real

-----Special Pre-Debate Blog Post-----

In the Netflix tv political drama "House of Cards", featuring the ruthless political animals Francis and Claire Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), the Underwoods firmly believe that there is a solution to every political problem. That solution is usually to be playing offense rather than defense to solve that problem.

Donald Trump's political future is on the line tonight. Speaking more broadly, his entire business brand may also be on the line. There probably has never been an event that has been potentially more consequential for a Presidential candidate than what will transpire tonight for Trump.

He would I advise Trump on what to say tonight if he asked me?

First, he needs to be on the offensive without being offensive. That is not an easy task for anyone and most particularly for Trump. The best way to do it is to smile as much as he can and keep his voice in a conversational tone as much as he can. He cannot afford to look stern or threatening in him manner.

Second, he needs to accept responsibility for his actions and move on. He cannot afford to be defensive and try to explain himself. If he should have learned anything from the last debate is that he was too defensive and too prone to try to explain things away.

Third, he needs an overarching theme to the night. Something like when Reagan said to Jimmy Carter over and over in 1980, "There he goes again." My suggestion to Trump would be to use the line "Let's get real." Why? Because Hillary's biggest negative is her honesty and trustworthiness and Trump's greatest strength with voters is his willingness to "tell it like it is" without worrying about political correctness.

How might this play out?

I would advise Trump to take on the limo tape issue right at the top of the debate irrespective of the first question with something like this.

I imagine almost everyone in the world has by now heard my stupid and insensitive remarks about women that I made a decade ago. I can't tell you how humbling that it is to me to hear those words played back to me. It is inexcusable but who among us has not said something they should not have said sometime in their life? Or for that matter, more than a few times. (laughs and points at himself). 
However, let's get real here tonight. This election is not about talk, it's about results. I am not a politician. I have not spent my entire lifetime taking great care with every word I have spoken so as to not to offend anyone. I have not spent my entire lifetime saying one thing in private and another in public. That is what politicians do. I have spent my lifetime on achieving results. I have not spent my lifetime thinking about whether every utterance might keep me from being President of the United States.
Politicians seem to like to be judged on their words. Their great speeches. Their great campaign slogans. For example, does anyone remember something called "Hope and Change?" How has that worked out? The world I come from is one that you are judged by results. Creating something real. Building great buildings. Creating tens of thousands of jobs. 
Let's get real. I didn't decide I wanted to run for President in the 8th grade like most people who end up standing on this stage do. I wanted to develop and build a business. I created one of the greatest businesses and brands in the world today.  I don’t need this office to live in a palatial house and have access to aircraft dedicated for my use 24/7.  I already have all of that. I am not running to provide something for myself.
I am running because I sincerely love this country and its people. I am tired of America losing. Losing jobs. Losing in trade deals. And losing respect around the world. I am running because, my fellow Americans, it is time to get real. It's time to quit focusing on words. We simply can’t afford letting the same people who have been given the opportunity to fix the same problems for the last 30 years be given yet another chance. It is time to start looking to results. Who can deliver and who can't.
Over my lifetime, I have shown that I get results. Isn’t it time you had someone getting results for you? Isn’t it time you had someone that was willing to fight for you?  

I would then have Trump be ready to use that "Let's get real" as a rejoinder every time he wanted to pivot to go on the offensive with Hillary.

A few examples of how that might be used.


"Hillary, let's get real. You don't even want to call it Radical Islamic Terror. In fact, you even said that Muslims have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

"Hillary, let's get real. Your economic plan is essentially identical to the same plan we have been following for the last eight years. Higher taxes. More regulation. Killing traditional energy. Killing manufacturing. Open trade and open borders that kill American jobs.


"Hillary, let's get real. You called the TPP the 'gold standard' of trade deals when you were Secretary of State. Your husband was responsible for NAFTA. Leaked emails that came out on Friday (laughs--if anyone noticed while they were hearing about me) indicate that you said to some of those that paid you $250,000 or more for an hour of your time was that your dream was a hemispheric common market with open borders and trade. "
It will not be easy. Trump needs to thread the needle to do it. However, it can be done. Ronald Reagan could have done it. I am sure Abraham Lincoln could have. Tonight we will see if Donald Trump can do it. If he can, he lives to fight another day. If he cannot, you will hear more calls for him to step down.

Some have asked me if the last few days who could the GOP replace Trump with if he somehow became convinced that he needed to step aside? (there is no way that the GOP can legally force him from the ticket). I doubt that Trump would ever come to that conclusion unless he believed that by continuing he was risking the Trump business brand that is his legacy to his children. Therefore, it would probably only be his children that would have enough influence to make him quit.

I think Mike Pence is the only viable option for the GOP.  He is already on the ticket. He was selected by Trump. He has acquitted himself well on the campaign trail so far. If the GOP tried to insert anyone else (Ryan, Cruz, etc) it would be met with deep distrust by Trump supporters.

The VP pick to replace Pence would be an example where the GOP would have to be capable of threading the needle. They would need to find someone acceptable to the Trump supporters but also credible with those at the RNC (who would actually make the choice). The chosen candidate also should be fairly well known to the public since the time is so short until the election. Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie come to mind as those that might fit that bill.

Finally, a lot has been made of the fact that it is too late to remove Trump from the election ballots across the country. In fact, early voting has already started in a number of states. However, remember that in our system when a vote is cast for Trump/Pence at the ballot box it is really a vote for Presidential electors who will be those who actually determine the vote for President.

In my state of Ohio, there are 18 Presidential electors that have already been chosen by the Trump campaign (with approval of the state GOP committee). Even if Trump steps aside and is replaced, those electors will vote in the electoral college if the GOP ticket wins on election day. Keep that in mind as we together see what promises to be real political theatre that might be a real "House of Cards".

Friday, October 7, 2016

Mr. Reality

All of media is aflutter tonight about Donald Trump's hot mic locker room limo talk with Billy Bush about women from 11 years ago.

I am still trying to figure out who is really surprised about this. After all, with Donald Trump what you see is really what you get. Other presidential candidates have talked about transparency. It generally is just talk. In most respects, Trump is probably the most transparent candidate who has run for President in my lifetime. He pulls very few punches and he certainly is not Mr. Politically Correct. In fact, these are big reasons for his popularity with his supporters.

The reality is that Trump is Mr. Reality in what has become a reality show world.

The incessant attacks on Trump should also be no surprise. Consider just the last ten days---the plus size Miss Venezuela, the release of the tax returns and now the Billy Bush banter tape.

In fact, here is what I predicted back in February for what awaited Trump in the general election campaign.

...the Democrats are going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Trump. Romney was a veritable choir boy and look what they did to him. You can only imagine what material the Dems will have to work on with Trump. 

This is one of the principal reasons I adamantly opposed Trump in the GOP primaries even though I acknowledged his personal appeal. It was simply too risky given his personality and his nearly 50 year record in the public eye. 2016 had all the earmarks of a year in which the Republicans should recapture The White House. Putting Trump at the top of the ticket offered potential rewards in attracting disaffected middle class voters but it also carried with it the risks we see playing out right now.

It remains to be seen what effects the latest attack will have on Trump. However, he has survived far worse so far. I think the manner in which he handles this and conducts himself in Sunday night's debate will go a long way in determining whether this has a lasting impact.

My expectation is that for his core support, which probably totals around 40% of likely voters, I don't think this will have much effect. For example, GOP primary voters went with a war hero and a Boy Scout in two successive elections and what did it get them? Nothing.

I have said from the beginning that a big part of the appeal of Trump is that everyone knows he is a bit of jerk. However, most GOP voters decided this year that going with nice guys didn't get them very far in the past. It was time for someone who was a bit of a bull in the china shop. To shake things up in Washington, to say what was not being said but which everyone could see with their own eyes was going on, and to stand toe to toe with our adversaries.

What is more disconcerting is the fact that as the media breathlessly meltdowns on Trump's stupid comments from over a decade ago, WikiLeaks has released information (the Podesta emails) on what Hillary actually said to those who paid her tens of millions of dollars for those closed door talks.

These disclosures barely are registering a whisper in the media even though the comments are much more important to our futures and our evaluation of the candidate.

Isn't it curious that the Trump tape just happened to surface at the same time that the WikiLeaks disclosures were being made? As someone I greatly respect once told me , "There is such a thing as coincidence in this world, but it is extremely, extremely rare." You be the judge.

What was Hillary talking about to those groups that could afford to pay her $250,000 or more for a one hour speech.?

These are the  "Dreams of My Hillary" (in homage to Barack Obama's "Dreams of My Father") based on what has already been uncovered in the disclosures. More surely to come.

"Open borders".

"Open trade".

"Cuts to Social Security."

"Universal health care"

Other than open borders, how much have you heard Hillary talking about any of these issues in this way?

Perhaps that is explained by this other comment she made in her closed door meetings.

"You need both a public and private position" on the issues.

Like it or not, Trump is Mr. Reality. It is nothing but an act for Hillary. If only we could see what she said and did behind the curtain.

Trump's fate on November 8 will not be determined whether he is Mr. Nice Guy.

It will be determined by whether the majority of voters want to face and embrace reality or they are content to sit through the third act of a very bad play by a very bad actor.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pointing to Change

The last time we had a successful businessman running for President of the United States he liked to use charts and graphs to make his points.

That man was Ross Perot who ran for President in 1992 as the Reform Party candidate. He used the charts and graphs in half hour and hour "infomercials" that he paid for himself as the cornerstone of his campaign.

Ross Perot in 1992

Perot ended up garnering 19% of the popular vote. There are those who  believe that Bill Clinton would never have defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992 but for Perot entering the race.

It got me to thinking what charts and graphs Donald Trump could use if he employed a similar strategy today. As I have written previously, Trump has to do two things to win. First, he has to keep pounding the message that we simply cannot continue with the status quo. Second, he needs to convince people he can change things and that he is a reasonable change agent. A lot of the latter comes down to how he conducts himself in the next 30 days. He needs to be more like Mike Pence and a lot less like Tim Kaine

In fact, if Trump cannot improve his debate performance against Hillary on Sunday night, perhaps he should forget about talking during the remainder of the campaign and get the pointer out to make his points on the charts below.

All the charts and graphs are from the FRED economic database of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. If these graphs don't make the case that we need a change of direction, I don't know what will.

Most of these problems were there before President Obama took office. However, if you look closely at the charts you will see that most of these issues got much worse during the last 8 years.Of course, Obama and the Democrats promised exactly the opposite when they were asking for your vote at that time.

Why would anyone think that things will change under Hillary?

Federal Debt 

Student Loan Debt Held by the Federal Government

People on Food Stamps

Money Printing

Health Care Inflation

Imports of Good and Services

Labor Force Participation 

Labor Force Participation-Black or African American

Workers' Share of Economy 

Home Ownership 

These all point to a change in direction.

Are there enough willing and able to recognize it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Deer in the Headlights

Reading the title of this blog post you might think I am going to be writing about some politician being stopped in their tracks by a question they are dumbfounded on how to answer.

Think of Gary Johnson being asked about Aleppo. Or the foreign leader he most respects.

Or Hillary Clinton going into a frozen stare two months ago during a campaign speech when a couple of protestors shouted out to her.

This blog post is about nothing like that.

It is really about deer in the headlights on the roads across the United States of America.

I got interested in this topic more than 25 years ago when I was going to give a presentation to a group in Ohio and I heard on the radio while I was driving there that  37,000 accidents involving deer and motor vehicles had occurred in the last year in the state.

37,000 accidents involving deer in one year! That seemed to me like an incredible amount of financial havoc caused by Bambi and her friends. It was especially true as I remember rarely seeing deer out and about when I grew up in the 1960's. And I lived some of those years in a very rural area. I used that statistic in my speech that day and I have never forgotten it. 

The statistic became personal several years later when both my daughter and wife collided with deer on the roads of Western Pennsylvania when we lived in suburban Pittsburgh. It became even more personal when someone I knew hit a deer with his car and the deer ended up crashing through the windshield and crushing his passenger to death. It also was no longer rare to see deer, even in fairly well populated suburban areas.

I came across the graphic below that State Farm Insurance produced that was in a recent article in The Washington Post  entitled "Here's How Likely You Are To Crash Into A Deer Based On Where You Live."

Considering that there are more than 1 million accidents in the USA each year in which deer are involved, which also results in more than 200 deaths, it bears knowing something about the subject.

Driving in West Virginia brings the greatest likelihood that you will collide with a deer. 1 in 41. Pennsylvania is second with chances of 1 in 67. However, Pennsylvania has the greatest absolute number of total deer-vehicle collisions---over 115,000 per year.

On the other side of the equation, your odds are only 1 in 18,955 of seeing a deer in the headlights in Hawaii.

The total economic cost of the repairs to the vehicles involved in these collisions with deer?

State Farm puts that number at more than $4 billion per year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are just over 10 million vehicles involved in police-reported traffic accidents each year. This means that collisions with deer make up about 10% of all vehicle accidents.

We hear a lot about driving under the influence but how much do we hear about the dangers of driving into a deer?

Let's put that in context. As stated above, there are over 115,000 deer collisions in Pennsylvania each year. However, the total number of accidents caused by driving and drinking in that state is less than 10% of that number---10,550 in 2014.

That's right, the numbers seem to suggest that you are ten times as likely to be involved in an accident with a sober deer than with a drunk driver.

One of the reasons there are so many deer collisions on our roads is that the deer population has exploded since the turn of the century (after being decimated in the 19th century). There are actually more deer in the U.S. today than there were at the founding of the nation in 1776. 


Of course, this increase in the deer population pales in comparison to the increase in motor vehicles on the road in the U.S. over the last century or so.

In 1900, there were only 8,000 motor vehicles registered in the United States. In 2016 there are 262 million cars and light truck vehicles alone.

The results are predictable.

Tens of millions of deer bounding around while hundreds of millions of motor vehicles barrel down the highway means that there are millions of chances for a collision. And over a million times a deer and car will meet in circumstances that will not be pleasant for either party.

What can you do to keep from running into that deer in the headlights?

The Washington Post article makes these suggestions as we head into deer mating season which make the risks of collision even higher this time of year.

Buckle up, keep your eyes on the road and not your phone, pay attention to deer-crossing signs. High beams can help (but, please, don’t blind oncoming drivers). And if a deer darts in front of you, don’t swerve — that can cause you to run into a tree or another car.
Drive safely.

Beware drunk drivers. However, be especially careful about those dreaded deer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Who Wants A Used BlackBerry?

BlackBerry announced today that it would stop making its own handsets and would exit the tech devices business. Going forward it will only focus on selling software and services.

The first BlackBerry was introduced in 1999 when Bill Clinton was President when it was the first mobile device to integrate email into a mobile device.

1999: The first BlackBerry

At its zenith in 2008, BlackBerry accounted for one in every five smartphones sold, after its handsets became a staple for business executives. Designed to be as easy for writing emails as making phone calls, they eventually captured the consumer market too.
As sales soared, the company’s market value hit $80bn, compared with roughly $4bn today. 

BlackBerry's problems began with the introduction of Apple's iPhone and got worse as Samsung also introduced innovative smartphone devices. BlackBerry never competed successfully thereafter seeing their market share drop from 20% to not much more than the rounding error it holds today---0.1 per cent.

BlackBerry simply did not change and adapt to the new world it found itself in.

In many respects, the story of BlackBerry is symbolic when compared to one of its most ardent devotees---Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In fact, if Hillary is to be believed, the sole reason she set up her private email server is because she she could not get both her State Department emails and personal emails on a BlackBerry. The reason---National Security Agency officials told her there were security vulnerabilities in using BlackBerry devices for secure communications or in secure areas. She was told that State would provide her with a secure device for her work emails.

However, this was not acceptable to Hillary. She did not want to be "inconvenienced" in having two devices so she circumvented national security and freedom of information laws so she could get her work emails on her beloved BlackBerry.

Of course, a far superior product, the iPhone had been introduced on June 29, 2007, almost 18 months before Hillary even took office as Secretary of State. However, Hillary was still clinging to the past...and her BlackBerry.

If you don't believe me on how totally and completely Hillary was wedded to the past consider this incredible story that was in the recently released FBI files on their investigation of her private email server.

It seems that Hillary often had trouble with her Blackberry (for example, she once spilled coffee on it) and she often broke them or they stopped working. It seems she also had trouble in using new Blackberry models when her old model had to be replaced. She apparently did not adapt well to change. This is one of the reasons the FBI indicated she eventually used 13 different devices during her four year tenure as Secretary of State.

Therefore, according to the FBI investigative files, her "confidential assistant" (a young woman named Monica Hanley) was tasked with trying to find the old BlackBerry model that Hillary knew how to use.

In the released documents, Hanley emerged as the go-to staffer often tasked with finding replacements to satisfy Clinton’s chosen use of non-secure BlackBerries. Hanley stated she tried to find BlackBerries for sale on eBay and admitted that she made a trip to a mall in Virginia to try to find devices for sale. (emphasis added).

Yes, you read that right. Hillary was so inept and so concerned about her own convenience that she had a staffer shopping on eBay to find a used Blackberry to continue receiving confidential, classifed and other emails on her personal device!

Her campaign for President seems to be no different. Everything there also seems to be dated, tired and used.

Can anyone find anything new in what she is saying or promising? I can only think of one thing, her proposed "free college tuition" plan, and that is not really her plan to begin with. That was only added to her campaign plank to gain the endorsement of Bernie Sanders and attempt to attract disaffected Sanders supporters. Of course, we still don't know how all of that free stuff will be paid for.

On almost everything else it is like we are back in the 1990's with Hillary trying to survive by invoking nostalgic memories of the Clinton White House of two decades ago. Of course, she would rather we forget about Whitewater, Vince Foster, Travelgate, FBI Filegate, Monica Lewinsky, Chinagate, Pardongate and the looting of $200,000 in furnishings when she left The White House.

In many ways this election is like the choice between buying a used BlackBerry and a new iPhone 7.

Hillary is the BlackBerry. There is nothing that is new or exciting about it. It is the past. It is over.

Trump is the iPhone. It is new, different and promises a new way. It is the future. It is a new beginning.

If you need to explain this election simply to a Millennial or someone else who is uncertain on how to vote, why don't you ask them this simple question?

Who wants a used BlackBerry these days?

I guess you might take one if it was free and someone also offered to pay your monthly bills to boot.

However, if it is your money, there should be little doubt.

And the fact that Hillary Clinton apparently received confidential and classified emails on a used BlackBerry she got on eBay should be reason enough to remove all remaining doubt.