The Palm Beach County Tea Party co-sponsored this candidate forum for the Gardens Council race. View the video of the event here.
On Tuesday, February 2, the Boca Chapter heard a discussion of election prediction from WJNO’s Brian Mudd.
Brian Mudd is the Weekday Mornings 5am-9am WJNO (1290 AM) Financial Analyst & Co-Host for The Palm Beaches’ Morning Rush. Brian has graciously given his time to us on several occasions as the moderator in campaign debates, but this time he came to speak about how he uses his statistical analysis skills to predict the outcomes in elections. The methodology he uses for applying undecided voters is actually based on a concept that was first introduced more than 20 years ago called the “Incumbent Rule”. The incumbent rule outlined how 80%+ of the time, undecided voters on Election Day would break for non-incumbent candidates. Through additional research Brian has been able to boil it down to the concept of the known vs. the unknown.
Brian analyzes races around the country in which the undecided voters can swing the outcome of an election. He then apply the undecided voters based on the historical trends in that particular state over the last twenty years. It’s a lot more work but has proven to be extremely accurate as Brian has been able to accurately pick the outcome 98% of the time in the last two Presidential Elections since he began using this method. This cycle presents two challenges. First there isn’t an incumbent that’s running in either party and secondly, he doesn’t fully apply the method to primary and Caucus races because the nature of the primaries isn’t applicable from one cycle to another (variance with the number of candidates primarily).
Brian has also predicted based on several factors that there is a 92% chance that a Republican (he won’t say which one) will win the Presidency. Brian received a standing ovation for that one.
The meeting started earlier than normal at 6 PM to accommodate Brian because of his early morning work schedule, he has to wake up at 2:30 in the morning. After Brian spoke, we heard from a representative from the Donald Trump campaign, Sue Snowden and a representative from the Ted Cruz campaign, Marion Frank. Marion then went on to discuss the differences between capitalism and socialism; how so many Americans don’t even know what socialism is. However, all members in attendance at this tea party definitely knew the difference.
Read more: Cheat Sheet for 2/1/16 – Iowa Caucus special
A past President of the PBAU Young Republicans who joined us in Wellington on Wednesday, Cade Marsh remembers when you could count the members on one hand, yet now there are several hundred. Now working on a state level, he is refining his techniques for recruiting the new conservative base.
Cade suggests that this next generation has a different view towards the news, often using social media to listen to those they trust rather than consuming mass media. This is all about “relationships” rather than “dictation”. With 1.1 million college students in Florida, and only 20% (by one estimate) who are registered to vote, there is a big opportunity here.
Asked what drives these newly politically actives, that is, what makes them angry enough to get involved, he pointed to the escalating size of the student loan burden. A solution (other than Bernie Sander’s concept of making the rich pay it off), involves new methods of education. Online learning for example, can deliver at much lower cost than the traditional classroom setting. Disruptive technologies are needed – think Uber.
Look for Cade at the Jupiter chapter in March.
Also at the meeting, we had volunteers from the Trump, Carson and Cruz campaigns boosting their guys, and we heard an update on the county plan to put a sales tax increase on the ballot this year – perhaps driving it up to 7.5%. The County Commission meets on it next Tuesday. For more information, see: Increasing Sales Tax a Bad Idea on the TAB website.
A good size crowd at Abacoa came to hear conservative pundit and former secret service agent Dan Bongino help summarize what Barack Obama has done to America.
Starting with a positive note – “The country will recover from Barack Obama”, he gave his perspective of the President – a smart man with a far-left agenda, surrounded by equal minded ideologues. From the executive orders on immigration, where the President repeatedly said he didn’t have the authority to act – then did just that, to the fanciful claims in the selling of Obamacare – “you can keep your doctor, etc. ..”, Dan described the country after the last seven years as living in a “post-constitutional society”. Our liberty is being taken away by “a man obsessed with power”.
In a clever characterization of the right-left divide, Dan points out that “we are all bound together by stories” (ie. narratives), but the left and right have different stories, which makes agreement or even dialogue very difficult.
Opening up the floor to questions, Dan went on for about a half hour, giving thoughtful, knowledgeable answers to a wide variety of questions, from 2030 and Agenda 21 (it is real – look it up), the control of local law enforcement by the DOJ, and why the Congress hasn’t moved to impeach Barack Obama (it would be unsuccessful, since 2/3 of the Senate would never vote to convict.)
Dan also had early copies of his book “The Fight, A Secret Service Agent’s Inside Account of Security Failings and the Political Machine”, available at Amazon for pre-order.
Candidates who were introduced at the meeting were Brian Mast and Paul Spain (CD18), and Christine Butler Spain, who is running for Supervisor of Elections.
We also had volunteers from three of Presidential campaigns, as Fred Scheibl, Marion Frank and Barry Carson laid out a rationale for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, respectively. A short “straw poll” by Mel yielded about 25 votes for Trump, 10-15 for Cruz, and about 5 for Carson, with a few mentions of the other 9 candidates.
The Sunshine Summit, last weekend’s gathering of the Republican grassroots in Orlando, brought together 14 of the 15 candidates currently competing for presidential primary votes, along with most of the Senate candidates.
Unlike the events of the last two cycles in 2007 and 2011, which featured both televised debates and straw polls, this was mostly a candidate showcase – each was given 20 minutes to make their case. The extreme number of candidates this time, and the fact that Florida does not vote until March 15 – after 26 states will have already assigned their delegates, probably reduced attendance at the event. Still, there were upwards of 1000 in the hall, and the media presence was considerable. CSPAN covered the event live, and lots of recognizable on-air personalities could be seen roaming the halls.
External events played a role in what transpired, as reaction to the Paris attacks on Friday were integrated into the Saturday speeches, or in the case of Chris Christie, dominated their remarks. And the Democrat debate on Saturday night offered a unique opportunity to compare all of our contenders to Hillary Clinton and her two pesky sparring partners.
All the candidates remarks can be seen streaming on CSPAN.
After watching all the debates and attending the Heritage Action Event in South Carolina (with 10 of the candidates), I thought I had a good idea of the dynamics of the race and who was on my short list. That said, I left Orlando with a few new insights.
1. The outsiders have captured the imagination of large portions of the Republican base, even at an event comprised mostly of “insiders”.
As an event sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida, with a large number of blue-badged party officials in attendance, I expected a great deal of support and enthusiasm for the “favorite sons” Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and less for the outsiders Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and (some would say) Ted Cruz. This was clearly not the case.
While Jeb and Marco have strong support, it was the outsiders who were the rock stars.
Ted Cruz laid out the red meat with a flourish and hit all the hot buttons from Obamacare to the border, the Iran deal, a flat tax, and support for Israel, to thunderous applause.
Donald Trump, avoiding any criticism of his rivals this time, took on illegal immigration (need a Dream Act for Americans), winning again, incompetent leaders, and suggested that college students should be taught about the first amendment. The response was widespread and overwhelming.
Ben Carson, after a quiet start discussing his upbringing, lit into an extensive litany of all the things he would do if he wanted to “destroy America” – all of which Obama has put into motion. His was the most complete and devastating attack on the incumbent President of all the candidates and the crowd responded with enthusiasm.
Carly Fiorina, the last speaker of the event, focused on the Paris attacks, the feckless and dangerous foreign policy of Obama/Clinton, and what she would be doing about ISIS. It seemed like Margaret Thatcher channeling Winston Churchill and left no doubt that she would be a serious and effective commander-in-chief. The response was loud and enthusiastic.
2. Almost all of the Republican contenders are displaying the vision, determination, skill and experience that could believably repair the damage that 7 years of Obama have wrought. Clinton is clearly not in the same league with these people, in spite of her over 25 years on the national stage, and tenure as Senator and Secretary of State.
One thing that has become obvious to many people is that there are many kinds of relevant experience besides being an elected official. The office of President is a unique job, unlike any other, and it takes a generalist to oversee a diverse set of tasks, a communicator to inspire the country and lead it in a positive direction, and a visionary to see our potential as a people and set the wheels in motion to carry us forward. Governors, Senators, Business Leaders – all have skills that are relevant to the job, and all of the candidates now in the race have been successful in their lives and bring serious qualifications and abilities to the table.
Some would say that the terrible state that the country is in – anemic growth, unsustainable debt, corruption at all levels, an abdication of world leadership – is a result of professional politicians and insiders (lobbyists, big donors, etc) having screwed everything up. Hillary Clinton, who is unarguably the stereotype of all those things, would represent more of the same, as could be seen on the debate stage in Des Moines. It was apparent in Orlando that our candidates (to a greater or lesser extent), reject the status quo and will lead the country in a different direction.
3. The weeding out process is going to be long and arduous, as very few of these contenders can be counted out, despite their current standing in the polls.
Until the first delegates are selected in the Iowa caucuses on February 1, the polls will be unreliable, as most likely voters appear to be making tentative selections. Many people, until they have to commit, will lean to the candidate that meets their ideological goals, appears to speak “for them”, says the “right things”, or wins debating points. When the rubber meets the road though, issues of electability, consistency, honesty, ethics, contrast with the Democrat candidate, and other issues will rise in importance. As this year is unusual in the number of candidates and the widespread dissatisfaction with elected officials, predictions are hard.
Some weeding out has already begun, as few would expect Lindsey Graham or Jim Gilmore to become the nominee, and two candidates have already left the race. But all the rest have ardent supporters and judging by the enthusiastic response at the summit to most of the candidates, there are many “acceptable alternatives”. It is truly a deep bench.
Karen Schoen was the speaker for the Palm Beach County Tea Party for the November meetings.
All who attended were enlightened about Agenda 21 (or as it is currently referred to as Agenda 2030), Common Core, and a host of other subjects. Karen gave the history of the origination of Agenda 21 by the United Nations and that President Bush 41 was the first to sign onto the plan. she spoke about the way the schools are teaching history starting from 1885 and dismissing the beginning years.
Karen is a very knowledgeable individual and all who attended the Jupiter, Boca and Wellington meetings came away with a better understanding of why our country is heading in the direction that it is going at this time. We thank Karen for her time and her knowledge and hope to have her back again.
Palm Beach County is a Democrat stronghold. We all know that. With 43% of the registered voters (versus 28% for the Republicans), Democrats hold all of the county-wide offices except Property Appraiser, all of the Congressional seats, and about 70% of the county legislative delegation. In spite of those demographics, the County Commission does not usually behave in an overtly partisan way.
It was curious then, and unseemly, that Democrat County Mayor Shelley Vana, term limited on the commission but running for that lone Republican seat of Property Appraiser, would decide to propel the commissioners into one of the most divisive issues of all – illegal immigration and President Obama’s expansion of DACA and DAPA by (most would say) his illegal executive order.
The proposed resolution in support of the order, also asked Florida Attorney General Bondi to withdraw Florida from the 26 state lawsuit seeking to nullify the Obama overreach.
The 27 members of the public that spoke on the issue were mixed – 13 in favor of the resolution and 14 against. Those in favor seemed to be those who would seek to benefit from additional amnesty, as many had individual stories of coming to this country and having a hard time working, going to school, etc. Those against primarily focused on the rule of law and that we cannot ignore the laws that we do not like.
Many PBCTP members and friends turned out against the proposal, including Janet Campbell, Marion Frank, Pam Wohlschlegel, Lynn Scherer, Victoria Theil and Barry Carson, as well as CD18 candidate Paul Spain. Virginia Savietto, a Democrat candidate for House district 87 (which is 31% Hispanic) spoke in favor.
This highly divisive issue should never have been brought before the Commission, and Vana cited a county Hispanic Democrat group for requesting it. Republican Steven Abrams, highly critical of the county stirring up something for which it has no jurisdiction, moved to table the resolution indefinitely, which was seconded by the other Republican Hal Valeche. Three of the Democrats joined them in opposing the resolution including Priscilla Taylor (although she strongly supports President Obama), and Mary Lou Berger (who does support a path to citizenship for illegals). Mellisa Mckinlay voted against it but praised those from the immigrant community who came forth to speak for the record. Only Paulette Burdick and Mayor Vana voted for it. Mayor Vana did not like the “tone” of the debate. “What I saw here wasn’t very good,” she said.
Once again, the voices of the people made a measurable difference. Thanks to all who spoke at the meeting, called the commissioners, or sent email.
For Wayne Washington’s recap in the Palm beach Post, see: Immigration proposal begets raucous commission meeting
The Florida primary election for all but the Presidential race is on August 30 – about 11 months from now. Even so, there are already 12 candidates (9 Republicans and 3 Democrats) that are competing for the CD18 seat currently held by Patrick Murphy. Six of them came together at Abacoa this week for a PBC Tea Party candidate forum hosted by channel 5’s Michael Williams.
With the good sized, occasionally boisterous crowd, and a series of policy oriented questions from the moderator which challenged their conservative bona fides, it was good practice for these candidates as they launch their campaigns, and practice is important. Two of the candidates – Carl Domino and Paul Spain, ran for Congress in the last cycle, and Carl has 8 years of experience as a state legislator. These came across as polished and extremely prepared for whatever was thrown at them. The relative inexperience of the others was clearly in evidence as they stumbled over straightforward questions, but they all have a rationale for their candidacy and are quick enough to learn from their mistakes. At this point in the cycle, any of the six could emerge as the likely nominee.
The questions covered a lot of topics, including if they would shut down the government over Planned Parenthood or the debt limit, their tax plans, what in the budget they would cut, the 2nd amendment, the conflict in Syria, and social issues such as the definition of marriage. Many of the answers were within expected parameters for a Republican primary, but there were some unique positions that stood out.
Brian Mast, the highly decorated Army veteran who is campaigning with energy and spirit and does not let his combat injuries hold him back, cast many answers from a military perspective, and listed fixing the VA as a top priority. He favors a “fair tax” (on consumption) of around 10% of GDP, would avoid shutting down the government over the budget or debt ceiling, and would favor means testing for Social Security and Medicare.
Carl Domino, the veteran Tallahassee lawmaker, would fight harder on the budget, casting a government shutdown as a political decision by the President in response to the Congress’ authority to set spending priorities. He favors a Congressional limit on regulations based on the level of financial burden imposed, a modified flat tax, school choice as a way of attracting Hispanic and minority voters, limiting benefits to Congressmen and introducing term limits.
Marc Freeman, a Boca Raton doctor, would avoid a government shutdown as irresponsible. He would work to “simplify” Washington – pointing to Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank as complicated rules that should be eliminated, and believes that “no able bodied person should be on the dole.”
Paul Spain, who ran against Lois Frankel in CD22 last cycle, would never again raise the debt limit, believing the government doesn’t ever “really” shut down and there is plenty of revenue to pay the interest on the debt. Individual agencies should be frozen. His tax plan is similar to Donald Trump’s, with 3 rates and an exclusion below $30K. He was the only one to suggest (rightly) that Democrats favor open borders to increase their voting base.
Rebecca Negron, Martin County school board member, would deal with the budget by not replacing government workers as they leave, and hopes to avoid “government by crisis” when spending bills are always up against a deadline. Her top priority is to kill the department of Education which brought us Common Core. Prior to sending troops to the middle east, she would want to see a plan (something current administration lacks).
Rick Kozell, a Jupiter attorney with experience working for lawmakers in Washington, including Senators George LeMieux and Tom Coburn, opposes raising the debt limit and rejected the premise that raising the limit or shutting down the government were the only choices. He would work to roll back the regulatory state that is crushing small business and favors a flat tax. He opposes sending ground troops to the middle east “at this time”, and favors an immigration plan with guest workers but no citizenship path.
The moderator, Michael Williams, hosts the Sunday show on channel 5, “To the Point”. In my view, on his show he is pretty fair and balanced in the way candidates and issues from both sides of the political spectrum are treated. He was heckled by the audience at times during this event though, as some thought he was favoring some candidates over others in time allotment, and others rejected some of the premises of the questions. He did frame several questions with “the tea party believes…” – such as that we are all dependent on Medicare and Social Security and thus are hypocrites for calling for spending cuts. Of course that is something which comes natural to our liberal friends in the media and it did not really detract from the event. Most would admit that the “tea party” is not monolithic in thought, and generally driven by concern for the country as opposed to narrow self-interest.