Tag: Republicans

Politically abandoned by both major parties, farmer suicide rates higher than during 1980’s farm crisis

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.


The 1980’s was not a good decade for American midwestern family farmers by anyone’s imagination. In fact, for much of the 1980’s, the Upper Midwest was in the grip of a crippling farm crisis that drove thousands of family farmers off of their land and drove many to take their own lives.

In 2017, the suicide rate among male farmers in the United States is much higher than it was during the 1980’s:

The National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield, Wis., tracked farm suicides during the 1980s in the Upper Midwest, the region most affected by the farm crisis, to try to better understand the relationships between the farm economy and suicide.

They found that 913 male farmers in the region committed suicide during that decade, with rates peaking in 1982 at 58 suicides for every 100,000 male farmers and ranchers.

[…]

Compare that with this year’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report, which found that current national suicide rates for people working in agriculture are 84.5 per 100,000 overall, and 90.5 per 100,000 among males. This means that suicide rates among male farmers are now more than 50 percent higher than they were in 1982, at the peak of the farm crisis.

(Emphasis is mine; I was not able to find a 1982 figure for suicide rates among the overall farmer and rancher population.)

There are major reasons why the suicide rate among farmers and ranchers is so high. First, crop prices are low to the point that farmers are not getting a fair price for their crop and rural communities that are dependent on the agricultural industry are suffering as a result of it. Second, farmers and ranchers have been effectively abandoned by both major political parties: most, but not all, farmers and ranchers in the United States vote for Republican political candidates, but Republican agricultural policies negatively impact family farmers and ranchers, and most Democratic elected officials who remain in office represent heavily-urbanized political constituencies, so the Democratic Party has increasingly ignored the legitimate concerns of rural voters.

Something is seriously wrong in rural America when the suicide rate among those who produce our nation’s food is extremely high.

Obama’s legacy: a failed Democratic Party and President Donald Trump

With the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, leaving office in a little over a month, I’ll take this opportunity to talk about Obama’s legacy, which has become a major talking point among Democrats.

First off, I want to mention an op-ed that Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) wrote about her thoughts about Obama’s legacy for the Madison, Wisconsin-based The Cap Times earlier this month. Usually, I strongly agree with someone like Sargent, who is a staunch progressive who realizes that opposing Republicans and their destructive policies is only half the battle for progressives. In fact, Sargent is one of the few elected officials in the entire country that I have a strongly favorable opinion of, and one has to remember that I live in a different state than Sargent does. However, I have a much more negative view of Obama’s legacy than Representative Sargent does.

President Obama did not get a whole lot of domestic policy legislation enacted in his eight years in office, largely because Republicans controlled at least one house of Congress for six of Obama’s eight years in office. When Obama did have political allies in Congress who were in a position to enact legislation, much of it was legislation that was largely or effectively corporate welfare for private-sector businesses (such as the Affordable Care Act and the automobile industry bailout) that, despite being effectively government handouts to large corporations, did benefit many Americans. In fact, I have personally benefited from the Affordable Care Act. Obama’s attempts to work with Republicans typically failed miserably, because the Republican Party of today is completely unwilling to work with anyone who is a Democrat.

While President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize not long after being elected to the White House, Obama was no champion of peace in the White House. Obama’s only major foreign policy success as president was his ordering of SEAL Team 6 to take out Osama bin Laden (which succeeded). The rest of Obama’s foreign policy record was largely underwhelming and, in many ways, a continuation of the post-9/11 George W. Bush foreign policy in the Middle East.

One of President Obama’s biggest failures was his attempt to cut Social Security benefits, which was rejected, largely because progressives strongly opposed it. Another major Obama failure is the Democratic Party: Since Obama was sworn into office, Democrats have lost hundreds of state legislative seats, dozens of state executive offices, and dozens of seats in both houses of Congress. Yet another Obama failure was the FBI under Obama’s leadership: James Comey, who was appointed FBI director by Obama, used his office to influence people to vote for Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election.

In some cases, left-wing victories under President Obama’s leadership came from unexpected places. Many of the major LGBT rights victories, such as key provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) being struck down and marriage equality becoming law of the land, were because of rulings by a right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court. The LGBT community used the justice system to win justice.

Now, America is probably a weaker country than it ever has been since the Declaration of Independence was signed, although it’s mostly not President Obama’s fault. However, Obama’s pursuit of free-trade deals and Social Security cuts opened the door for a far-right demagogue by the name of Donald Trump to win the White House. I strongly fear that Trump will, some way or another, undo pretty much all of the positive aspects of Obama’s legacy and destroy this country in so many ways. If the Democrats haven’t gone the way of the Whigs by 2020, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

How an anti-abortion, pro-TPP candidate can win the White House with only six electoral votes

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not an attorney and does not claim to be one.


In normal circumstances, a presidential candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to win the office of President of the United States for a four-year term. However, in an election that is not normal, it is possible, although, based on recent opinion polling, highly unlikely, that one presidential candidate could end up winning the White House with only six electoral votes.

Any scenario of a presidential candidate winning the White House with less than 270 electoral votes would, per the provisions of the United States Constitution that govern the Electoral College process (mainly the 12th Amendment, although provisions in the 20th Amendment and the 23rd Amendment also govern the Electoral College process), involve no presidential candidate receiving 270 or more electoral votes. The 20th Amendment, among other things, sets the inauguration date for the President, and the 23rd Amendment gives the District of Columbia electoral votes, so the 12th Amendment is the most significant for the scenario that I’m about to describe. Here is the full text of the 12th Amendment:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. — The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

NOTE: A portion of the 12th Amendment that was superseded by Section 3 of the 20th Amendment is depicted with strikethrough text.

Should no candidate receive an electoral college majority with at least three candidates receiving at least one electoral vote (either by being a candidate and/or through faithless electors), the U.S. House of Representatives, selecting from the three candidates with the highest number of electoral votes with each state delegation to the House counting as one vote, elects the President. In that scenario, the support of 26 U.S. House state delegations to the upcoming 115th U.S. Congress would be required for a presidential candidate to win the White House.

It would be possible for a presidential candidate to win the White House with only one electoral vote, although the most likely scenario (which I would give a less than 1% chance of actually occurring) of a candidate winning the White House with fewer than 10% of the available electoral votes (538) in this year’s presidential election would involve a presidential candidate winning only six electoral votes.

That candidate is Evan McMullin, a former policy director for the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who is now running an independent campaign for president. McMullin’s name is not on the ballot nationwide; in fact, his name only appears on ballots in eleven states, including Utah, McMullin’s state of birth. McMullin is only four points behind a two-way tie between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump in Utah, per a recent poll by a firm called Y2 Strategies. Although most nationwide projections show that Hillary is likely to get at least 270 electoral votes, and, therefore, win the White House outright, if certain states fall a certain way, it would be possible for the presidential election to be thrown into the House, with McMullin being one of the three candidates that House state delegations can choose from. Here’s one possible, although unlikely, scenario (map created here):


 

Under the scenario above, Trump is denied an electoral college majority due to McMullin (who, for the purposes of the map above, is the “other” candidate) winning Utah and Clinton winning one of Nebraska’s five electoral votes (Nebraska and Maine allocate two votes to the statewide popular vote winner and one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each congressional district within the state in question). This means that the House would have to choose between Clinton, Trump, and McMullin. Given McMullin’s connections with Republicans in the House, allegations that Trump sexually assaulted numerous women over a period of multiple decades, and Republicans, despite their party being in total disarray, being likely to control a majority of U.S. House state delegations after the November 2016 elections, there is a extremely slim chance that McMullin could end up being elected President of the United States despite not running a national campaign for president.

Evan McMullin would be an awful president. For starters, he’s opposed to the idea of women being able to make their own health care decisions, and he supports President Obama’s would-be-disastrous TPP trade deal, which would allow large corporations to have greater influence on American economic policy. Those are just two reasons why McMullin should not be elected to the highest office in this great nation.

Crooked Donald Trump used his foundation to buy off Florida Attorney General

By Donald Trump’s own standard of using a personal or family foundation for corrupt purposes, Trump is even more crooked than the Clintons ever could be.

Amid all of the corporate media hullabaloo about the Clinton Foundation and their corrupt dealings is recent media attention to a 2014 fundraiser for Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, which was hosted by Trump:

…In March 2014, Donald Trump opened his 126-room Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, for a $3,000-per-person fundraiser for Pam Bondi. The Florida attorney general, who was facing a tough re-election campaign, had recently decided not to investigate Trump University.

Trump did not write a check to the attorney general that night. The previous fall, his personal foundation had given $25,000 to a pro-Bondi super PAC. But by hosting her fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago and bringing in some of his own star power, Trump provided Bondi’s campaign with a nice financial boost.

Since he began his run for the White House, Trump has repeatedly claimed that Bondi is merely someone he has supported politically. But his fundraising efforts for her were extensive and varied: In addition to the $25,000 donation from his foundation and the star-studded Mar-a-Lago event, Trump and his daughter Ivanka each gave $500 to Bondi’s campaign in the fall of 2013. The following spring, Ivanka and her father donated another $125,000 to the Republican Party of Florida ― Bondi’s single biggest source of campaign funds.

The reason why Trump’s ties to Bondi have come under public scrutiny in recent days is because of a couple of reasons.

First, that $25,000 check from Trump’s personal foundation to And Justice For All, a pro-Bondi SuperPAC, was a violation of IRS rules for Trump and his foundation. The IRS levied a $2,500 penalty against Trump for the illegal campaign donation from his foundation.

Second, Trump got something that is, to use a Rod Blagojevich saying, (expletive) golden in return for his efforts in helping Bondi get re-elected. Bondi’s office is supposed to be responsible for processing complaints against the fraudulent Trump University and its fraudulent predecessor Trump Institute, both of which masqueraded as online higher education institutions. However, Bondi’s office has done virtually nothing with the complaints, while the Connecticut Attorney General’s office, which is currently held by Democrat George Jepsen, has successfully helped people refunds for people who are victims of Trump’s deceptive practices.

Donald Trump has been caught engaging in some of the most blatant political corruption I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Although I’m probably asking too much of the GOP-controlled Florida state government, the State of Florida should assign a special prosecutor to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed against Trump.

STRAW POLL: 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin Democratic primary

Recently, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for…well, being the kind of presidential candidate who appeals to white male bigots like himself. These are Duffy’s actual words, as quoted by the progressive website ThinkProgress:

There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.

It is inherently clear to me that Duffy is supporting Donald Trump because he is a loud-mouthed bigot who would destroy America and everything that this great country stands for if elected. Duffy’s congressional district, while gerrymandered to make it a lot easier for him to win re-election, is not a total Republican stronghold, and Trump’s style of politics don’t play well at all in the Upper Midwest.

Unlike what I’ve done for races in the 3rd and 6th congressional districts of Wisconsin, where I’ve endorsed progressive-minded Democrats in contested primaries, I’m going to do something different for the contested primary in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I’m going to conduct a straw poll for the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are, in the order in which they will be listed on actual primary ballots and in the straw poll, Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake and Joel Lewis of Wausau. Here’s the straw poll:

The straw poll, which is completely non-binding, will be open for voting until 10 P.M. CDT on July 31, 2016 (the polling program I use does not allow me to geoblock the poll outside of the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin). The actual primary, which is open to voters in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin who choose to vote in the Democratic primary, is August 9th. The winner of the real Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, also held on August 9th, between Duffy and Donald Raihala, in the general election on November 8th.

Minnesota State House candidate Erin Maye Quaye attacked by GOP opponent for being mixed-race and lesbian

The Party of Trump has proven yet again that it is full of bigots who have zero respect for the American people. This time, it’s Minnesota State House candidate Ali Jimenez-Hopper attacking her Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) opponent, Erin Maye Quade, for being who she is:

Referring to Erin Maye Quade, a staffer for Keith Ellison who has a black dad and is married to a woman, Jimenez-Hopper said “she is really far left [in] her values.”

“She brings up that she is half black and she uses that as a strength. She brings up that she is in support of LGBT and that lifestyle and puts out pictures on Twitter of her and her wife,” Jimenez-Hopper continued. “I believe in the traditional marriage in the sense that it’s between a husband and wife and God and that family is important. We need to have these values so we can go forth and think about your community.”

Following that speech, Jimenez-Hopper was officially endorsed as the GOP candidate for the House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Tara Mack. Neither Jimenez-Hopper or Maye Quade face primary challengers, meaning they’re set to face off in the general election this November.

Maye Quade of the DFL and Jimenez-Hopper of the GOP are running in the general election in Minnesota State House District 57A. Neither candidate faces any opposition in their respective primaries.

Jimenez-Hopper is using racist and homophobic language to attack Maye Quade for being of mixed race, as well as attacking her for being happily married to a woman that she loves. That kind of conduct from Jimenez-Hopper is disgusting, bigoted, and repulsive. Jimenez-Hopper attacked Maye Quade’s family, which is something that is completely out of bounds in American politics.

If you’re interested in why Erin Maye Quade is running for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, here’s what she is running on:

She said she intends for her campaign to be focused on issues like ameliorating childhood hunger, investing in transportation, enacting statewide paid family leave, and providing people with better mental health resources.

Like many Americans, Erin Maye Quade is someone who is genuinely interested in making her community, state, and country a better place to live. That is what a true patriotic American believes in, regardless of personal background. Maye Quade’s campaign website is here, and her Twitter page is here.

More evidence that Dennis Hastert is a disgusting human being

Earlier today, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was sentenced to fifteen months (one year and three months) in federal prison for violating federal banking laws by attempting to conceal hush money that was being paid to individuals who were sexually abused by Hastert.

However, that wasn’t the biggest story of the Hastert sentencing proceedings today.

During the sentencing proceedings, one of the victims of Hastert’s sexual abuse was identified as Scott Cross, the brother of former Republican Illinois State House Minority Leader Tom Cross. Furthermore, it was revealed that Hastert called Tom Cross for his support of Hastert:

That right there proves that Dennis Hastert is a disgusting human being. The fact that Hastert would call the brother of someone he sexually abused and ask him to support an abuser is the ultimate form of being a total scumbag. Hastert has absolutely zero regard for victims of sexual abuse.

Ben Carson apparently thinks that abolitionists are only worth one-tenth of a person

For the first time in a century and a quarter, a woman will be on the face of U.S. paper currency. For the first time ever, the woman on the face of U.S. paper currency will be a woman of color.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced that Harriet Tubman, a slave, abolitionist, and pro-women’s suffrage activist who is best known for her roles in the Harper’s Ferry raid and the Underground Railroad, will replace Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States whose legacy includes the Trail of Tears forced removal of Native Americans from the South, on the front the $20 bill. $20 bills currently in circulation with Jackson on the front will still be legal tender, however.

While both Democratic presidential candidates have praised the Treasury Department’s decision to place Tubman on the most widely circulated form of U.S. paper currency, failed former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, now a Donald Trump supporter, went on FOX Business Network and said that he thinks that the Treasury Department should have put Tubman on the rarely-circulated $2 bill instead:

…During a Fox Business Network interview Wednesday, the failed presidential candidate turned Trump surrogate lamented to Neil Cavuto that Jackson was “a tremendous president” and “in honor of that we kick him off the money.” Asked whether he is, by extension, anti-Tubman, the retired neurosurgeon replied: “No. I love Harriet Tubman, I love what she did. We can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill?”…

Many Americans don’t realize this, but the $2 bill, which currently features Thomas Jefferson on the front of the bill, is actually legal tender in the United States. However, the $2 bill is rarely circulated (in fact, I’ve not seen a $2 bill in many years).

Now, back to the main point of this blog post…right-wingers have officially gone from believing that people of color are three-fifths of a person to believing that people of color are one-tenth of a person. Personally, while Tubman wasn’t my first choice for the new $20 bill (Sacajawea was my first preference), I don’t think that there’s a better way to honor Tubman, who is one of the greatest Americans to have ever lived, than to put her on the front of the most circulated form of U.S. paper currency. Oh, and I believe that people of color are full people.

My preview of the Wisconsin presidential primaries and the Wisconsin Supreme Court race

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Donald Trump is NOT supporting JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court…and that’s a good thing. An earlier version of this blog post did not make it clear as to whether or not Joe Donald or Donald Trump had endorsed Kloppenburg; Joe Donald has endorsed Kloppenburg; Donald Trump has, to my knowledge, not endorsed a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court.


On Tuesday, April 5, Wisconsinites will go to the polls to vote for major-party (Democratic and Republican) presidential nominees and a state supreme court justice. Additionally, there are numerous local offices on the ballot in Wisconsin, including a couple of high-profile local races in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Mayor and Milwaukee County Executive), although this preview will focus on the three statewide races in Wisconsin on April 5.

Democratic presidential primary

Democrats Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard “Bernie” Sanders are seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and 52 pledged delegates allocated by congressional district, 5 alternate delegates allocated by congressional district, 19 pledged delegates allocated on a statewide basis, and 10 pledged party leader and elected official delegates allocated on a statewide basis are up for grabs (delegate plan here). Wisconsin also has 10 superdelegates, who can vote for any presidential candidate they wish. Currently, 4 Wisconsin superdelegates are supporting Hillary, while 6 Wisconsin superdelegates have not endorsed a presidential candidate; however, superdelegates can change their preferences at any time up until the vote for the Democratic presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention.

All recent polling in Wisconsin has shown Bernie with a slight lead either within the margin of polling error or just outside of the margin of polling error, with Bernie’s lead averaging around four percentage points. Due to proportional allocation of pledged delegates, either Bernie or Hillary would need to win by a large margin to get the vast majority of Wisconsin’s delegates. Bernie has about a 65% chance of receiving more votes statewide than Hillary.

Bernie is expected to run up a big margin in Madison, whereas Hillary is expected to run up a big margin in Milwaukee. The race is going to be decided in the Milwaukee suburbs (which, despite being one of the most Republican areas of the entire country in general elections, delivers a surprisingly high number of Democratic primary votes), as well as the rural northern and western parts of Wisconsin. To get a rough idea of the geographical dynamic at play in the Wisconsin Democratic primary, one could draw a line from Manitowoc to the middle of Lake Winnebago to Fond du Lac to Fort Atkinson to Janesville to Beloit, and anything south and east of that line should go to Hillary by a wide margin outside of some pro-Bernie pockets of support, and anything north and west of that line should go to Bernie by a wide margin outside of some pro-Hillary pockets of support. If Bernie is winning both the Milwaukee suburbs and the rural areas in the north and west of the state, then Bernie is likely winning statewide. If Hillary is winning both the Milwaukee suburbs and the rural areas in the north and west of the state, then Hillary is likely winning statewide. It’s worth noting that the expected swing areas in the Democratic primary are areas that tend to vote for Republican candidates in the general election.

Democratic congressional district delegates are allocated as follows:

  • 1st CD (Janesville/Racine/Kenosha/Lake Geneva) – 6
  • 2nd CD (Madison/Beloit/Middleton) – 10
  • 3rd CD (La Crosse/Eau Claire/Stevens Point) – 6
  • 4th CD (Milwaukee/Shorewood/St. Francis) – 9
  • 5th CD (Waukesha/West Bend/West Allis/Port Washington) – 5
  • 6th CD (Oshkosh/Fond du Lac/Manitowoc/Sheboygan) – 5
  • 7th CD (Wausau/Superior/Hudson) – 6
  • 8th CD (Green Bay/Appleton/Sturgeon Bay) – 5

Regarding the Democratic alternate delegates, the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th congressional districts are allocated one alternate delegate each, whereas no alternate delegates are allocated for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th congressional districts.

Based on the delegate allocations for each congressional district, here’s my predictions for the pledged congressional district delegates:

  • 1st CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Hillary Favored 1, Up For Grabs 1
  • 2nd CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 6, Up for Grabs 2
  • 3rd CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1
  • 4th CD – Hillary 5, Bernie 1, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 2
  • 5th CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Up for Grabs 1
  • 6th CD – Hillary 2, Bernie 2, Bernie Favored 1
  • 7th CD – Hillary 1, Bernie 3, Hillary Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1
  • 8th CD – Hillary 1, Bernie 1, Hillary Favored 1, Bernie Favored 1, Up for Grabs 1

That’s a total of 17 Hillary, 19 Bernie, 5 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, and 9 Up for Grabs in the congressional district delegate pools, representing anywhere from a 35 Bernie-17 Hillary to a 33 Hillary-19 Bernie delegate spread in regards to the pledged congressional district delegates. Anything outside of that range would surprise me. I have no clue as to how the alternate delegates would be allocated to the candidates.

Here’s my predictions for the two statewide pledged delegate pools:

  • Statewide pledged – 6 Hillary, 7 Bernie, 2 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, 2 Up for Grabs
  • Party leader and elected official pledged – 3 Hillary, 4 Bernie, 1 Hillary Favored, 2 Up for Grabs

That’s a total of 9 Hillary, 11 Bernie, 3 Hillary Favored, 2 Bernie Favored, and 4 Up for Grabs in regards to the two statewide delegate pools, representing anywhere from a 20 Bernie-9 Hillary to a 18 Hillary-11 Bernie delegate spread in regards to the two pools of pledged statewide delegates. Anything outside of that range would surprise me.

Based on my pledged delegate predictions and not counting alternate delegates, anywhere from a 55 Bernie-26 Hillary to a 51 Hillary-30 Bernie delegate spread in regards to pledged delegates is possible. Anything outside of that range would surprise me, and, if I were to guess, the actual result is likely to be closer to the middle of that range than either end of the range.

Republican presidential primary

Republicans Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, Donald John Trump, and John Richatd Kasich are seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and 24 pledged delegates allocated by congressional district, 15 pledged delegates awarded on a statewide basis, and 3 Republican National Committee (RNC) delegates bound to the statewide primary winner are up for grabs.

Recent polling in Wisconsin has shown Cruz with an average lead of four percentage points, with even larger leads in some of the more recent polls, so Cruz is favored to win the Wisconsin primary and win most of Wisconsin’s Republican delegates, although Trump and Kasich may also get Republican delegates from the Wisconsin primary. Additionally, polls have shown Trump in second place statewide, with Kasich in third place statewide. Cruz has about a 90% chance of winning at least a plurality of the vote statewide and about a 3% chance of winning every Republican delegate at stake in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the Republican presidential candidate who receives a plurality of the statewide Republican vote receives all 15 of the statewide pledged delegates and all 3 of the RNC member delegates, and the Republican presidential candidate who receives a plurality of the popular vote within a particular congressional district receives all 3 of said congressional district’s delegates.

For Cruz to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up a large margin in the 5th, 1st, and 6th congressional districts, win or narrowly lose in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th congressional districts, and the 7th and 8th congressional districts wouldn’t play a factor for Cruz in regards to the statewide delegates. If Cruz were to receive at least a plurality of the vote in all 8 congressional districts, he would win either all 42 delegates.

For Trump to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up very large margins in the 3rd, 7th, and 8th congressional districts (he would probably need to win the 7th by 40+ percentage points over the second-place candidate in that district), win by more than a handful of votes in the 2nd and 6th congressional districts, and not lose badly in the 1st, 4th, and 5th congressional districts. Trump doesn’t appear to have any chance of winning all 42 from Wisconsin; Trump’s best-case scenario would have him winning 30 delegates (statewide + 4 CDs).

For Kasich to win a statewide plurality, he would need to run up an extremely large margin in the 2nd congressional district (probably by 40+ percentage points over the second-place candidate in that district), win the 3rd congressional district by a very large margin, win the 6th and 7th congressional districts by more than a handful of votes, win or come in a close second place in the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th congressional districts (Kasich would probably lose at least three of these in his best-case scenario). Kasich doesn’t appear to have any chance of winning all 42 delegates from Wisconsin; his best-case scenario would have him winning anywhere from 30 to 33 delegates (statewide + 4 or 5 CDs).

Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court – Seat 6

Although seats of the seven-member Wisconsin Supreme Court bench are not officially numbered, I’ve chosen to number them based on the last digit of the year in which they are up for election. Since there is one Wisconsin Supreme Court seat up for election in 2016, seat 6 is up for election this year. The seat was held by moderate justice N. Patrick Crooks (I’ve never been able to find Crooks’s full first name) until his death in September of 2015. Republican Governor Scott Walker appointed Rebecca Lynn Grassl Bradley, a ultra-conservative who Walker has appointed to judgeships at every opportunity, to fill the vacancy on the state supreme court. Seat 6 would have been up for election this year regardless of whether or not the seat became vacant.

A non-partisan top-two primary, in which the candidates with the most and second-most votes advance to the non-partisan general election, regardless of whether or not one candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, was held in February of this year (primary results here). Bradley received a 44.61% plurality of the primary vote, with progressive candidate JoAnne F. Kloppenburg (I do not know what Kloppenburg’s full middle name is) receiving 43.16% of the primary vote. Joe Donald (not sure of full name) received 12.12% of the primary vote and failed to advance to the general election, with “scattering”, which is how Wisconsin classifies invalid write-in votes, receiving 0.11% of the primary vote. Bradley and Kloppenburg are running in the state supreme court general election, which is being held in conjunction with the Wisconsin presidential primaries. While the race is officially non-partisan, Bradley is the de facto Republican and Kloppenburg is the de facto Democrat.

I’ve created a spreadsheet here as a guide showing detailed primary results (including a Kloppenburg + Donald total from the primary, with red shading <45%, yellow shading 45%-55%, and green shading >55%), shading indicating Bradley plurality (light red), Kloppenburg plurality (light blue), Bradley majority (red), and Kloppenburg majority (blue) from the primary, the partisan lean of each Wisconsin county based on the Bradley and Kloppenburg + Donald results from the primary, and county-by-county baselines for a tied race between Bradley and Kloppenburg based on the Bradley and Kloppenburg + Donald results from the primary.

Here are several important points about the Wisconsin Supreme Court race:

  • Although Wisconsin voters can opt not to vote for a presidential candidate, but vote for a state supreme court candidate, very few Wisconsin voters will do that.
  • Bradley is going to get the vast majority of the Republican primary voters, and Kloppenburg is going to get nearly all of the Democratic primary voters.
  • Joe Donald has endorsed Kloppenburg, Hillary Clinton has publicly criticized Bradley, and Bernie Sanders has stated that he hopes that large voter turnout will help Kloppenburg win.
  • If an equal number of Democratic and Republican primary voters show up, Kloppenburg would need to get approximately 56% of Donald’s voters to vote for her in order to win.
  • If more Republicans show up to vote than Democrats, Kloppenburg would need an even higher percentage of Joe Donald’s voters, as well as Kasich/Kloppenburg and possibly Trump/Kloppenburg voters to win.
  • Bradley and her campaign have tried to tie Kloppenburg to Hillary and have attacked Kloppenburg for opposing big-money politics and supporting equal rights.
  • Bradley was found to have authored a series of hateful columns for the Marquette University student newspaper and student magazine during the early 1990’s.
  • Bradley has falsely compared contraception to murder.

I’m not going to attempt to make a prediction in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. The most recent poll (a Marquette University poll) had Bradley ahead of Kloppenburg by five percentage points, although there were a lot of undecided voters according to that poll.

Did Scott Walker open the door to a GOP convention challenge?

Scott Walker, the Republican Wisconsin Governor whose own presidential campaign came to an end before even a single vote was cast thanks to huge campaign debt and many other factors, claimed that, if no Republican candidate were to win 1,237 Republican National Convention (RNC) delegates, someone who is not currently a presidential candidate would likely win the GOP nomination:

If the race for the GOP presidential nomination ends with a contested convention in July, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) believes the nominee will be someone who isn’t already in the race.

“I think if it’s an open convention, it’s very likely it would be someone who’s not currently running,” Walker told The Capital Times of Wisconsin Thursday.

If Scott Walker thinks that he can be elected president despite receiving exactly one vote in the entire race for the Republican presidential nomination (as a write-in in the New Hampshire primary, finishing behind, among others, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Vermin Supreme, Joe Biden, Ron Paul, Mike Bloomberg, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Darryl Perry, and Tom Brady), I’d love to know what he’s smoking. Walker wrecked Wisconsin’s economy by busting unions, appointed virulent bigot and adulteress Rebecca Bradley to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and suggested building a U.S.-Canada border fence. Now, he’s hinting at seeking a Republican convention challenge for their presidential nomination. Bernie Sanders would handily defeat Walker if it’s a Bernie vs. Walker matchup.