Assessment and Corruption of the U.S. Presidential Election Process
by Victor Sperandeo with the Curmudgeon
Disclaimer: As stated in previous blog posts, the Curmudgeon will not vote for Trump, Cruz, Clinton or Sanders.
All opinions expressed herein are those of Victor Sperandeo. The Curmudgeon has added documentation and references in several sections of this post, especially those related to Super-delegates who could easily corrupt the people's choice of Democratic Presidential nominee.
Let's first examine the fear or hatred of Donald Trump by the Republican establishment and if it's warranted. Next, we discuss why and how the 2016 presidential elections are lessons in under-handed tactics being used by both parties to control the election process. Then we ask if the two major political parties are really different and provide an answer from a prestigious professor. Finally, Victor's conclusion and a closing quote from one of our US founding fathers.
Trump Bashing by the GOP Establishment:
The attacks on Donald Trump by his OWN REPUBLICAN PARTY seem truly amazing. First, there was Mitt Romney's scathing, scorched earth remarks which eviscerated the Republican front-runner as lacking the temperament, business record and substantive policies to occupy the White House.
“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” Romney warned, speaking at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on March 3rd.
Meanwhile, the highly acclaimed "NATIONAL REVIEW" magazine had 22 well known (Neo?) Conservatives on a cover story titled "Against Trump" which concluded with this paragraph:
“Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.”
I'm not a Trump backer, but I'm intrigued with the extreme fear and hatred of this legitimate candidate by the GOP establishment!
Is Trump a Conservative?
One of the biggest rational critiques of Trump is that he is not a conservative. Is that true or just a talking point by the GOP establishment to lower his status with Republican primary voters?
A conservative standard has to be based on a reference point. The primary standard by which I would judge a conservative is adherence to the US Constitution. The dictionary definition of Conservative is as follows:
"Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were.”
"There is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues."
With this definition, and by my standard, there is no one who is conservative in the GOP!
Trump's (Positive) Conservative Positions:
Let's now examine Trump's Conservative positions from his book "Crippled America," as they are consistent with what he's said publicly.
· Immigration: Build a wall on the Mexican border and abide by legal immigration laws, i.e. “take back our country.”
· Foreign Policy: US to be so strong that "nobody will mess with us." Build up the military to do this.
· Education: End "Common Core" - a Federal Government sponsored program that is the opposite of conservative, in my view. [It is an effective $50 million bribe from the Federal Government to each State who accepts it to have their children taught by a government written curriculum that is unchangeable, as it has a copyright.]
· Energy: "Climate change is a lot of hot air," according to Trump. He wants to develop energy of all forms.
· Health Care: "Health Care is making us all sick,” Trump said. He is for competition among insurance companies, but does not want to allow people who don't have health care to suffer without it.
· Aggressive Tax Cuts: Yes, but maintain social programs. That's been the GOP's position since Nixon. Trump wrote in Crippled America:
"Our government needs to employ a strong adherence to the Constitution and maintain social programs that inspire and reward achievement and that are constantly accountable for their spending and outcomes."
This principle is not conservative, in reference to the Constitution, but it's what the GOP has accepted and is 100% what every GOP candidate stands for today.
Curmudgeon Note: From a December 22, 2015 Wall Street Journal article titled: Analysis of Trump’s Tax Plan Shows Big Cuts in Taxes, Federal Revenue (on line subscription required):
“Donald Trump’s tax plan would cut federal revenue by $9.5 trillion over a decade and boost the after-tax incomes of the wealthiest households by an average of more than $1.3 million a year, according to an analysis released Tuesday. The Republican presidential candidate’s proposal would lower income tax rates and exempt millions of low-income households, requiring significant new borrowing or unprecedented spending cuts beyond anything Mr. Trump has detailed in his campaign.”
Other Conservative positions of the Donald:
Note 1. From the second amendment text: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed….”
In essence, Trump is among the most Conservative of all candidates (along with Ted Cruz and drop-out Rand Paul).
Comments on Other Trump Positions:
What's not so conservative is Trump's position that our “crumbling infrastructure needs repair.”
“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people,” Trump said. “If we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems — our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had — we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”
Opinion: This is a federal government program that should be left to the states.
Trump's contributions to liberal or progressive politicians is what 100% of all big business' do to gain access and influence within a political party. This is a ridiculous criticism of Trump as it shows the problem is with the political “pay for influence” system; not one man.
Opinion: Because Trump does not take campaign contributions, funds himself, and thereby is not bought by anyone, he is not CONTROLLED. Therefore, he's way ahead of every other candidate in principle (he can't be bought).
Here are a few of negative qualities I've observed from Trump:
--> I'm sure I've missed some, but those above are the major Trump negatives I've seen to date.
Corruption of the US Presidential Election Process:
A recent example of political corruption is Colorado deciding the Republican nominee by the insiders choosing the delegates2 to the convention, rather than the people at the Colorado Republican caucus.
Note 2. A delegate votes for a political party's presidential nominee at the party conventions. In July, 2,472 of them will rally in Cleveland, OH for the Republican convention, while 4,765 delegates will meet in Philadelphia, PA for the Democrats. Delegates are supposed to vote according to the results of the Presidential primary or caucus held in their state.
Trump has blamed a "corrupt" election system for complicating his path to the Republican nomination as noted in this US News article (there are many more).
Opinion: Trump should know the rules of each state, but it's not the rules per se, as the parties are more like private clubs and do what they wish. It's the hiding and changing of the rules without the public's knowledge that is corrupt.
The people are a part of the election, but not always the nomination process. It is the establishment leaders -the insiders -who control their political party and call the shots. The insiders, in turn, are controlled by the huge money interests. They are the real power and are the “behind the scenes control rods” for their respective political party.
Democrats Corruption via Super-delegates:
A "Super-delegate" is an unelected delegate (in reality, an “appointed insider”) who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party's national convention. It's the structure that's used to effectively determine the presidential nominee of the Democratic power.
These so called “super-delegates” will cast 714 votes of 4,765 votes. Super-delegates comprise approximately 15 percent of total Democratic convention delegates, and 30 percent of delegates needed to win the party’s nomination.
The key point is that they are not committed so can vote for Hillary Clinton no matter what the public votes are in their state's primary election or caucus. A glaring example illustrating this is the Wyoming Democratic caucus. Bernie Sanders won the popular vote by 12%, but Clinton scored four more super-delegates.
During a recent MSNBC's “Morning Joe” talk show, co-host Mika Brzezinski explained that Sanders defeated Clinton 56 percent to 44 percent Wyoming, his eighth win in the last nine nominating contests. Indeed, Bernie Sanders has won eight of the last nine primary contests by double digits, but Clinton still came out on top with more delegates. Can you believe that?
“Why does the Democratic party even have voting booths? This system is so rigged,” Joe Scarborough said.
“We always talk about voter turnout and how it important is to do your duty as a citizen. There’s absolutely no reason any of those people voted,” Brzezinski added.
“These are the rules,” said Mark Halperin of Bloomberg News. “It’s not rigged.”
We beg to differ! The Democratic Party’s “Super-delegate system” has come under harsh condemnation in this election for being thoroughly undemocratic. This unelected party nobility, which overwhelmingly backs Hillary Clinton, entrenches establishment politics and can undermine the candidate democratically chosen by the party’s mass base.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and a close ally of Clinton, has herself openly admitted that the super-delegate system exists to undermine grassroots democracy within the party.
In a Feb. 11 interview, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked DNC chairwoman Wasserman Schultz, “What do you tell voters who are new to the process who say this makes them feel like it’s all rigged?”
“Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists,” she explained, in a moment of shockingly blunt honesty. Watch the video clip here.
Bottom line: Super-delegates can change the candidate they endorse at a later stage in the primary, and do not have to officially decide until the Democratic National Convention in July. Even if Sanders gets more of the popular vote in the Democratic primaries, there is still a very real possibility that the unelected party elites make Clinton the Democratic Party’s nominee instead.
Are the Political Parties Really Different?
Not according to Carroll Quigley who attended Harvard University, where he studied history and earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees. He taught at Princeton University, at Harvard, and then from 1941 to 1976 at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies... is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies."
Prof Quigley's point is that the two political parties are simply identical. The elections are equivalent to a "Wrestle Mania extravaganza" of picking a President.
“The powers of financial capitalism had [a] far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences."
When evaluating the presidential candidates, readers should ask themselves this question:
Who as President has the greatest chance to change the direction of the country back to liberty and away from the money based controlling interests which exist today?
The literal day by day deterioration of the US and the world is because governments are controlled by political elites and the establishment. Their "power" comes from the politics of rigged elections, which put people in control of the system against the interests of the bulk of the citizens.
Let's end by considering that in parties (as in men); those of honesty and integrity make rules before the fact of an election, not after the fact. As Thomas Jefferson so beautifully put it in A Principle of the Traditional American Philosophy -- Fear of Government-over-Man:
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution" - Thomas Jefferson (Kentucky Resolutions)
Good luck and till next time...
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Curmudgeon is a retired investment professional. He has been involved in financial markets since 1968 (yes, he cut his teeth on the 1968-1974 bear market), became an SEC Registered Investment Advisor in 1995, and received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from AIMR (now CFA Institute) in 1996. He managed hedged equity and alternative (non-correlated) investment accounts for clients from 1992-2005.
Victor Sperandeo is a historian, economist and financial innovator who has re-invented himself and the companies he's owned (since 1971) to profit in the ever changing and arcane world of markets, economies and government policies. Victor started his Wall Street career in 1966 and began trading for a living in 1968. As President and CEO of Alpha Financial Technologies LLC, Sperandeo oversees the firm's research and development platform, which is used to create innovative solutions for different futures markets, risk parameters and other factors.
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