Friday, December 30, 2016

The Fight For DNC Chair

When they meet in late February, the 400-plus members of the Democratic National Committee will elect a new chair. They will signal whether or not the party will boldly begin to transform itself back into the party of New Deals and Great Societies sought by the new generation of Democrats. Those 400-plus voting members of the DNC must take stock of the need to strike a bold new direction to reverse the party's losses.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.

Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.

Republicans gained 2 more states' governorships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016.

All that after Democrats had a 58-seat majority in the Senate, a 256 seat majority in the House, and held 28 governorships when Barack Obama took office in 2009. And Democrats face a more challenging election map in 2018 than they faced in 2016. Survival of the Democratic Party is literally on the line.

But the race for DNC chair has become a power struggle between Centrist and Progressive factions of the Democratic Party.

Climate Deniers In Control Of U.S. Government

2016 will officially be the hottest year on the books in more than 120 years of record keeping by U.S. agencies. It will be the third straight record-setting year — and of the 17 hottest years, 16 have been this century — a clear sign of the human-caused rise in global temperatures caused by the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases over the past century.

From January to December, 2016 was marked by record-breaking high temperatures worldwide. Countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Botswana, India, Niger and Iraq experienced their hottest temperatures ever recorded. And heat waves, many of them deadly, charred parts of Britain, France, South Africa, the U.S. and regions like Southeast Asia.
The poles were not spared from the heat. In November, for instance, sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic reached record lows. Scientists called it an “almost unprecedented” event at the time.

In the U.S., high temperatures were a feature throughout the year. Every month in 2016 had significantly more record high temperatures than record lows, according to a Climate Central report this week.
“The blistering pace of record-high temperatures across the country is the clearest sign of 2016’s extreme heat. Record-daily highs outpaced record-daily lows by 5.7-to-1 in 2016,” the nonprofit news organization wrote, citing preliminary data from the National Centers for Environmental Information. “That’s the largest ratio in 95 years of record keeping. Put another way, 85 percent of extreme temperature records set in 2016 were of the hot variety.”
The world is already more than halfway down the road to surpassing the Paris climate pact goal to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100

For the year-to-date, 2016 is 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, according to NOAA, and 1.84°F (1.02°C) above the 1951-1980 average according to NASA. Averaging NASA and NOAA’s data, 2016’s temperature through November is 1.23°C (2.21°F) above the average from 1881-1910. (One reason NOAA’s global temperature for November may have been lower than NASA’s is that it doesn’t incorporate Arctic temperatures.)

One major area of warmth during both November and the year as a whole was the Arctic. During November, the Arctic saw an almost unprecedented sea ice retreat, capping off a year that has shocked even seasoned Arctic researchers.

The winter sea ice peak was the lowest on record (beating out 2015) and the summer minimum was the second lowest. Air temperatures in the region have continually been above average by double digits. Another hotspot for November was North America; the contiguous U.S. is poised to have its second-hottest year on record.

These milestones have climate scientists and policymakers concerned as President-elect Trump fills his cabinet with policy makers who reject the established science of climate change. Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it's now in total control of the most important political body in the world, the US federal government.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Working Class Americans Lose When Trump Scraps Obamacare

Republicans spent the last six years trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. Republicans have passed over 50 bills to repeal the ACA, since gaining control of the House in November 2010, but with Obama in the White House, those Republican Bills were nothing more than campaign rhetoric.

Republicans have warned their voters about the evils of Obamacare for years, calling it a job killer, and claiming it pushes health insurance premium costs sky high for everyone, among other evils. They promised to repeal it immediately if only their voters would vote to give them complete control of the federal government.

Republicans and Donald Trump promised voters their life would immediately improve once the healthcare law is repealed. Now they not only control the House and Senate, President-elect Donald Trump is set to take office, and the GOP may finally get its wish to repeal Obamacare.

Sarah Silverman Post-Election Interview With Bernie Sanders

Comedian Sarah Silverman talks with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the state of the union after November’s election results. The nearly hour-long conversation touched on a number of contentious topics as the Vermont senator tried to inspire activism and hope.
“You have the right to demand a lot of the world in which you live in,” Sanders told the audience. “Unless you stand up and make those demands, nobody hears you.” 
Watch the unusual but candid conversation between Sarah Silverman and Bernie Sanders on Trump, Standing Rock,  how powerful people control politics and much more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Texas Democratic Party Refocusing For Party Building

By Michael McPhail, SDEC Committeeman - reposted from FaceBook

I attended the final quarterly meeting of the Texas Democratic Party’s State Democratic Executive Committee Saturday, December 17, 2016. In contrast to our last meeting, which had no committee sessions and no real work done, we had a full and robust committee schedule and an active general session.

Monday, December 19, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk Post-Election '16

Three post-election editions of the BlogTalkUSA "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" talk radio program with cohosts Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols worth a listen. First, we talk with Texas Young Democrats President Celia Morgan and other young Democrats leaders. Second, we talk with long time political activist from Fort Worth and 2014 Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, 12th Congressional District of Texas Mark Greene. Third, we talk with Chairman John Richie who chairs the Association of Texas Democratic Party County Chairs, and he is a Committeeman on the State Democratic Party Executive Committee. John is also the Wichita Falls Democratic Party County Chairman. In the three programs we discuss how the Texas Democratic Party moves forward from 2016 to prepare for the 2018 election cycle.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Running For Elected Office In 2018

The Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 Texas primary election to nominate candidates for the Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 general election is quickly approaching. All Republican and Democratic primary candidates must file an application with their respective party's county or state chairperson to have their name placed on the party's primary ballot.

The 2018 primary election filing period runs from Saturday, November 11, 2017 through the filing deadline date of Monday, December 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM. An application for the office of precinct chair may be filed from the 90th day before the date of the regular filing deadline - Tuesday, September 12, 2017. (Texas election code Sec. 172.023.)

It's My Earned Benefit, Not My "Entitlement"

By Rob Tornoe - You can find more of his work here.
Remember, not only did you contribute to Social Security but your employer did too. It totaled a percentage of your income before taxes. If you averaged only 30K over your 49 year working life, that’s close to $220,500.

If you calculate the future value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer’s contribution) at a simple 5% (less than what the govt. pays on the money that it borrows), after 49 years of working you’d have $892,919.98.

If you took out only 3% per year, you would receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years, and that’s with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you’d have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per month.

Who Will Chair The Democratic National Committee?

Democrats will elect a new Democratic National Committee Chairperson in 2017. The choice is to triple down on strategies of the past 25 years, verses a bold new vision for the future, as advocated by DNC chair candidate Rep. Keith Ellison.

The centrist 3rd way vision of the Democratic National Committee's past leadership, encapsulated by the tenure of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.) as DNC chair, led to Republicans gaining control of 71 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers and 14 governors' offices from the time Pres Obama took office through the 2016 election.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously loosing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Democrats now hold majorities in only 29 state legislative chambers. Republicans gained 2 more states' governorships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922.

Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016. And now Democrats face a more challenging election map in 2018 than they faced in 2016. All that after Democrats had a 58-seat majority in the Senate, 256 seats in the House, and held 28 governorships when Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DMN Endorses Democratic Presidential Nominee, For The First Time Since WWII

In an editorial published today, the DMN Editorial Board said: "We recommend Hillary Clinton for president -- There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton."

The editorial board had endorsed the Republican nominee in every presidential election dating back to World War II, except for the 1964 election when it remained neutral between Democratic President Texan native Lyndon B. Johnson and Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. While acknowledging its past issues with Clinton's handling of "certain issues," the editorial board contrasted her "experience in actual governance" to Trump. "Resume vs. resume, judgment vs. judgment, this election is no contest," the op-ed continued, making note of the host of Republican hands backing Clinton, including Jim Glassman, the founding director of the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas.
DMN: "We don't come to this decision easily. This newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for the nation's highest office since before World War II — if you're counting, that's more than 75 years and nearly 20 elections. The party's over-reliance on government and regulation to remedy the country's ills is at odds with our belief in private-sector ingenuity and innovation. Our values are more about individual liberty, free markets and a strong national defense."
Pronouncing Trump's values as "hostile to conservatism," the newspaper wrote that the Republican nominee "plays on fear — exploiting base instincts of xenophobia, racism and misogyny — to bring out the worst in all of us, rather than the best." In a separate editorial the DMN editorial board pronounced, "Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote."

"Hillary Clinton has spent years in the trenches doing the hard work needed to prepare herself to lead our nation," the editorial board concludes. "In this race, at this time, she deserves your vote."

Monday, June 27, 2016

Next President Will Define U.S. Supreme Court to 2040

Supreme Court justices, federal court of appeals judges, and federal district court judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as required in the U.S. Constitution. The next president we elect could very well appoint four to five Supreme Court Justices and many dozens of federal court judges.

SCOTUS Says No To Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) Laws

In a 5-3 ruling on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court strikes down Texas' House Bill 2 (HB2) abortion regulation law, finding it places an "undue burden" on women's constitution right to make their own reproductive health care decisions.

This case challenged the constitutionality of two provisions of the HB2 law regulating abortion in Texas. One provision requires doctors who perform abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital; the other requires abortion clinics to have facilities that are comparable to outpatient surgical centers. Inside the courtroom, lawyers for the state of Texas' tell the judges HB2 provisions are constitutional because they are intended to protect women’s health. Outside the courtroom, state leaders like Texas Governor Greg Abbott have admitted that the law is intended to limit abortion as much as possible.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: The Next Generation of Texas Voters

On our Tuesday evening program "Eyes Wide Open - Dem Blog Talk," this week, my co-host Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I talked with Celia Morgan, President of the Texas Young Democrats organization and Vice-Chair of the Young Democrats of America Labor Caucus.

We talked with Celia about the Texas Young Democrats caucus at the Texas State Democratic Convention last week, the growing Texas Young Democrats engagement in the political process, and Celia's election to be a delegate for Bernie Sanders at Democratic National Convention.

Click to listen to our podcast:

Listen or download - MP3

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Discriminatory Texas Photo Voter ID Law Remains In Effect

Updated March 9, 2016

The full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to take up the Texas voter ID case Wednesday, further drawing out the law’s years long review by the federal court system on whether it violates the rights of certain voters. Multiple federal courts have already ruled the law has the intent and effect of violating voters' rights, but it remains alive under repeated appeals by the state of Texas.

The 5th Circuit's decision to hear the case, Veasey v. Abbott, en banc comes more than six months after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the full court to review a 5th circuit three-judge panel's ruling that the law has a “discriminatory effect” that violates the Voting Rights Act. Many believe the 5th Circuit, which has the most conservative judges of any US circuit court, will reverse the ruling of its three judge panel. Either way, the en banc decision will be appealed to SCOTUS. It's my opinion the appeals process will continue well beyond the November election this year, which means the ID law will remain in effect for the presidential general election. For the history of the law's journey through the federal court system, follow the link.

Publish Date September 24, 2015

Despite being found discriminatory and unconstitutional three times by three federal courts, Texas' SB14 photo voter ID law remains in effect, pending ongoing appeals by the state of Texas.

On Wednesday August 5, 2015, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans unanimously agreed with U.S. Southern District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos' October 2014 finding that Texas’ SB14 photo voter ID law has a discriminatory effect on black and Latino voters, and therefore violates section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Judge Ramos struck down Texas' voter photo I.D. law with a 147-page finding issued on October 9, 2014, but the ruling was stayed pending state of Texas' appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. A Fifth Circuit three-judge panel heard the appeal on April 28, 2015.

In its decision on August 5th,  the three-judge Fifth Circuit panel remanded the case back to the U.S. Southern District Court ordering Judge Ramos to fashion a specific legal remedy that recognizes legislators declared interest to prevent voter fraud in passing the SB14 law.

In other words, rather than just throw out the entire SB14 law, the Fifth Circuit told Judge Ramos to amend the language of the SB14 law to remedy its discriminatory effect.  Such a remedy, for example, could be to reinstate the acceptance at the polls of certain additional forms of identification, such as the Voter Registration Card, that is issued to every registered voter.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Supreme Court To Hear Texas Abortion Case

Updated Monday, February 29, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

The Supreme Court this week will hear arguments in the Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt case, which challenges the 2013 House Bill 2 Texas law threatening to close 13 of the 20 women's health care clinics that remain open in Texas. In addition to other reproductive health care services, those clinics provide abortions in the state.

This case challenges the constitutionality of two provisions of the HB2 law regulating abortion in Texas. One provision requires doctors who perform abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital; the other requires abortion clinics to have facilities that are comparable to outpatient surgical centers. Inside the courtroom, lawyers for the state of Texas' tell the judges HB2 provisions are constitutional because they are intended to protect women’s health. Outside the courtroom, state leaders like Texas Governor Greg Abbott have admitted that the law is intended to limit abortion as much as possible.

Last June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a federal district judge's October 2013 ruling that HB2 violates the constitutional rights of women who seek an abortion as one of their reproductive health care options. The Fifth Circuit's ruling would have allowed the state to immediately enforce all provisions of HB2.

Immediately following that Fifth Circuit ruling, the Supreme Court granted plaintiff's petition asking the high court to temporarily blocked that appellate court's ruling, and Texas' enforcement of the HB2 law, pending appeal.  The plaintiffs argue the law offers little to no medical benefits to women and that the real intent of the law is to close clinics and limit women’s access to abortions.

The Fifth Circuit gave a sweeping 56 page endorsement of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law legislation anti-abortion lawmakers in Texas and other states have adopted in recent years to make abortion unavailable.

Original Post Date June 29, 2015

In a 5-4 order, the Supreme Court today temporarily blocked a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that was set to close all but nine abortion clinics in Texas by July 1. All 20 abortion clinics open in Texas today will be able to remain open as a result of this temporary order. The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito opposed the application, according to the Supreme Court's order about the case, Whole Woman's Health, et al. v. Cole, Comm'r, TX DHS, et al.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Collin County 2016 Primary Early Voting Turnout

A total of 74,502 Dem and Rep primary ballots were cast early in Collin Co. through Friday, Feb 26th. Voter traffic on Friday was the heaviest to date with 22,334 ballots cast at early voting centers across the county. The ratio of Early to Election Day turnout will likely be about 50/50, so we will likely see about 75k total votes cast in Collin Co. Texas on Super Tuesday, for a grand total of 150,000 Dem and Rep primary ballots cast. That is well above the official turnout planning estimate of 100,000.

The 2016 cumulative early voting total of 74,502 in-person ballots cast through Friday compares to prior primary year full 11 day early voting totals of:
  • 2014 R+D = 30,263
  • 2012 R+D = 28,288
  • 2008 R+D = 59,033 (Rep: 23,368 - Dem: 35,665)
Of the 74,502 2016 primary in-person votes cast, 16,578 (22.4%) were Democratic Party ballots, and 57,471 (77.6%) were Republican ballots.

% Dem Voted
% Rep
18-19 25,548 15,453 60% 1,133 464 0.62% 669 0.90%
20-24 50,490 37,243 74% 1,831 860 1.16% 971 1.31%
25-29 48,949 33,748 69% 1,646 698 0.94% 948 1.27%
30-34 65,262 37,971 58% 2,592 912 1.23% 1,680 2.26%
35-39 74,045 45,119 61% 3,468 1,073 1.44% 2,395 3.22%
40-44 80,977 54,029 67% 5,202 1,362 1.83% 3,840 5.16%
45-49 72,580 57,287 79% 6,897 1,554 2.09% 5,343 7.18%
50-54 67,865 54,993 81% 8,615 1,733 2.33% 6,882 9.25%
55-59 53,330 47,295 89% 9,050 1,853 2.49% 7,197 9.67%
60-64 40,856 36,857 90% 9,331 1,966 2.64% 7,365 9.90%
65-69 33,312 31,193 94% 9,602 1,844 2.48% 7,758 10.43%
70-74 21,918 21,392 98% 7,454 1,190 1.60% 6,264 8.42%
75-79 13,834 12,976 94% 4,344 602 0.81% 3,742 5.03%
80-84 8,743 7,694 88% 2,089 265 0.36% 1,824 2.45%
85+ 8,341 6,981 84% 1,137 157 0.21% 980 1.32%
All 666,050 500,231 75% 74,391 16,533 22.22% 57,858 77.78%

Out of 500k currently registered voters, 47,907 have voted only in a prior Democratic Party primary, and 79,185 have voted in a prior Republican primary.

This year, 6,859 first time primary voters voted in the Democratic primary and 18,813 first time primary voters voted in the Republican primary.

Of the 47,907 who have voted only in a prior Democratic primary, 7,977 voted early in the 2016 primary. Of the 79,185 who have voted only in a prior Republican primary, 31,795 turned out early in 2016.

Crossover party voting was minimal with 484 prior Republican only voters voting in the Democratic primary, and 2,535 Democrats only voting in the Republican primary.

Of the 11,943 prior swing party primary voters, 4,712 voted Republican and 1,213 voted Democratic Party ballots this year.

Collin County 2016 primary turnout at early voting locations through Friday Feb 26th.

SITE Total Dem  % Dem Rep  % Rep
Allen Municipal Complex EV501 7,571 1,587 21% 5,984 79%
Carpenter Park Recreation Ctr EV601 4,789 1,330 28% 3,459 72%
Maribelle M. Davis Library EV200 3,931 1,157 29% 2,774 71%
John & Judy Gay Library EV212 6,081 1,141 19% 4,940 81%
Renner-Frankford Library EV074 4,136 1,118 27% 3,018 73%
Haggard Library EV164 3,367 946 28% 2,421 72%
CC Preston Ridge Campus EV117 4,129 942 23% 3,187 77%
CC Spring Creek Campus EV050 2,282 931 41% 1,351 59%
Harrington Library EV602 3,145 903 29% 2,242 71%
PISD Admin Blvd. EV603 3,599 758 21% 2,841 79%
Rita & Truett Smith Library EV222 3,637 705 19% 2,932 81%
Collin County Elections EV504 3,771 670 18% 3,101 82%
Christ UMC EV211 3,143 655 21% 2,488 79%
Murphy Community Ctr. EV252 2,595 634 24% 1,961 76%
Parr Library EV109 3,221 615 19% 2,606 81%
CC McKinney Campus EV043 1,647 381 23% 1,266 77%
Fire Station #7 EV172 1,920 351 18% 1,569 82%
Methodist Richardson Med. EV251 1,212 335 28% 877 72%
Frisco Senior Center EV194 1,424 306 21% 1,118 79%
Collin Center Higher Edu. EV202 1,142 219 19% 923 81%
Lovejoy ISD-Spurgin Admin EV174 1,483 167 11% 1,316 89%
Texas Star Bank EV165 1,076 161 15% 915 85%
Prosper Municipal Chambers EV215 1,289 119 9% 1,170 91%
Princeton City Hall EV214 831 98 12% 733 88%
Parker City Hall EV176 670 92 14% 578 86%
Lavon City Hall EV213 621 83 13% 538 87%
Old Settlers Rec. Center EV516 341 81 24% 260 76%
Celina ISD Admin Building EV721 772 67 9% 705 91%
Lucas Community Ctr. EV041 656 56 9% 600 91%
Farmersville City Hall EV011 224 26 12% 198 88%
Total 74,049 16,578 22% 57,471 78%

Early primary turnout on Friday 2/26 for the top few EV voting centers:

SITE Total Dem Dem % Rep Rep %
Allen Municipal Complex EV501 2,037 413 20% 1,624 80%
Carpenter Park Recreation Ctr EV601 1,413 363 26% 1,050 74%
Renner-Frankford Library EV074 1,089 299 27% 790 73%
John & Judy Gay Library EV212 1,697 276 16% 1,421 84%
Maribelle M. Davis Library EV200 1,132 272 24% 860 76%
CC Spring Creek Campus EV050 691 266 38% 425 62%
Murphy Community Ctr. EV252 922 259 28% 663 72%
PISD Admin Blvd. EV603 1,152 251 22% 901 78%
Harrington Library EV602 837 251 30% 586 70%
Haggard Library EV164 835 227 27% 608 73%
CC Preston Ridge Campus EV117 1,117 221 20% 896 80%
Rita & Truett Smith Library EV222 1,093 202 18% 891 82%
Parr Library EV109 1,069 187 17% 882 83%
Christ UMC EV211 1,091 172 16% 919 84%
Collin County Elections EV504 889 151 17% 738 83%
Fire Station #7 EV172 661 135 20% 526 80%
Frisco Senior Center EV194 559 121 22% 438 78%
Methodist Richardson Med. EV251 397 113 28% 284 72%
CC McKinney Campus EV043 522 96 18% 426 82%
Collin Center Higher Edu. EV202 378 65 17% 313 83%
Texas Star Bank EV165 366 60 16% 306 84%
Lovejoy ISD-Spurgin Admin EV174 499 56 11% 443 89%
Prosper Municipal Chambers EV215 472 38 8% 434 92%
Princeton City Hall EV214 286 31 11% 255 89%
Parker City Hall EV176 235 31 13% 204 87%
Old Settlers Rec. Center EV516 121 28 23% 93 77%
Lucas Community Ctr. EV041 323 24 7% 299 93%
Lavon City Hall EV213 206 23 11% 183 89%
Celina ISD Admin Building EV721 255 13 5% 242 95%
Total 22,021 4,620 21% 17,401 79%

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Texas Early Voting Tuesday 2/16 - Friday 2/26

Registered County voters may vote early at ANY early voting location in Your County. Click here for Collin County early voting information and locations. Early Voting days and hours:
  • Tuesday-Friday, February 16-19: 8am-5pm
  • Saturday, February 20: 7am-7pm
  • Sunday, February 21: 1-6pm
  • Monday-Friday, February 22-26: 7am-7pm
Election Day is Tuesday, March 1, 7am-7pm

When voters head to the polls, they will need to bring a valid form of ID with them in order to be able to cast their vote. By Texas law, you must present one of the following:  (full details)
  • Driver’s license
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate(free document available through DPS)
  • Personal identification card
  • License to carry a handgun
  • Military ID (must have a photograph)
  • United States citizenship certificate (must have a photograph)
  • United States passport
Except for the citizenship certificate, all of these forms of ID must be current or have expired in the last 60 days.
Early voting lasts from February 16th – 26th. All Texas voters can go to any location in their county during early voting to cast their ballot, not just their neighborhood polling location. You can find more information about early voting in your county, including hours of operation for different polling locations, through the Secretary of State’s website here. On Election Day, March 1st, in most Texas counties you must vote in your precinct -- In Some Counties Including Collin County Registered voters may vote early at ANY voting location in the County on Election day.

On our BlogTalkUSA network program "Eyes Wide Open: DemBlogTalk," my cohost Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I celebrated the first day of Texas early voting on Tuesday talking with some of the finest candidates in the state! Our distinguished guests were:
Listen to our Eyes Wide Open: DemBlogTalk program podcast:

Also on some Collin County ballots are John Bryant for Texas State Representative District 70, and Gnanse Nelson for Texas State Representative District 66.

Not sure if you’re registered to vote in the primary? Find out here.

Voter information:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Democratic Primary Nominating Delegate Allocations

In order to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a candidate must accumulate 2,382 out of 4,761 available delegate votes to win the nominating vote at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

There are two basic types of Democratic convention delegates: pledged and unpledged (super) delegates. A candidate is eligible to win a share of the pledged delegates at stake in a state if he or she receives at least 15 percent of votes cast in a primary or the preferences expressed in a caucus, either in a congressional district or statewide. Individuals who are pledged delegates are "pledged" to vote for the candidate to whom they are allocated at the Democratic National Convention. There are expected to be approximately 4,051 pledged delegates at the convention. There are three categories of pledged delegates: congressional district delegates, at-large delegates and pledged party leader and elected officials, or PLEO delegates.

Congressional district delegates are allocated proportionally based on the results of the primary or caucus in a congressional district. The number of district delegates that are apportioned to each congressional district is determined by the Democratic vote in each district in recent elections. At-large delegates are allocated proportionally based on the statewide results in the primary or caucus. Pledged party leaders and elected officials (PLEO delegates) are delegates by virtue of their office; PLEO delegates can include statewide elected officials, state legislators, local elected officials or party leaders. PLEO delegates are allocated proportionally based on the statewide results of the primary or caucus.

Unpledged delegates, often referred to as "super delegates," are automatic delegates to the convention and are not required to pledge their support to a presidential candidate. Unpledged delegates are members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, or distinguished party leaders - such as former presidents or vice presidents.  (List of Super Delegates)

There are expected to be approximately 710 unpledged Democratic convention super delegates in 2016, which makes up 15 percent of the total convention delegate number. If an unpledged delegate is unable to attend the convention, an alternate delegate is not substituted as a replacement.

An Associated Press survey conducted in November found 357 super delegates "planned" to support Hillary Clinton, 14 planned to support Bernie Sanders, and 339 remain publicly uncommitted and available to either candidate.

While super delegates are free to back whomever they choose at the convention, to count 357 super delegates as sure votes for Clinton at this stage is putting the cart before the horse. It’s highly unlikely they will come into play in the first place. If Sanders were to arrive at the convention with a majority of bound delegates, but fewer than the 2,382 needed to secure the nomination, it’s hard to imagine the super delegates would dare to buck the will of Democratic primary voters by swinging the count to Clinton’s favor.

For more perspective on super delegates, click this link: WaPo: Will superdelegates pick the Democratic nominee? Here’s everything you need to know.

Democratic Primary Nominating Delegate Allocation Table - Updated 2/11/15 @ 9:25 am cst

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Limited Ballots For Texas Early Primary Voting

Texas Election Law requires voters to vote in the county in which they currently reside. During the early voting period, and only during early voting, voters who find they are not registered in the county in which they currently reside when the go to vote, but find they remain registered to vote in a former Texas county of residence, may vote a "limited ballot" in the county in which they currently reside.  It is a violation of Texas Election Law for voters who have moved to a new county to return to their former county to voter, even though they remain registered in their former county of residence.

I have repeated that first paragraph of words many dozens of times during early voting of each election like the primary election starting on Tuesday, February 16th, for most of this century.

One of most common voter problem I and other Texas Election Judges encounter during every election is the failure of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) offices to register some people to vote when they obtained, updated or renewed their driver's license. Over a third of all new Texas voter registrations original with Texas DPS.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 - the "Motor Voter Act" as it's commonly known - was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton on May 20, 1993, taking effect on January 1, 1995.

The Motor Voter law expanded voting rights by requiring state governments to offer everyone eligible to vote the opportunity to complete a voter registration application when they obtain, update or renew their driver's license, or other form of identification card issued by the DPS. The federal law indicates the voter registration shall be made or updated, but Texas DPS implemented the law in a way that effectively requires voters to affirmatively request the voter registration action.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Americans Trust Democrats More Than Republicans

A new Pew Research Center survey finds the American people trust Democrats more than Republicans 41 percent 31 percent.

The Pew Research Center’s annual survey of policy and priorities found that Democrats led Republicans on a wide range of character issues. Democrats had a 25 point lead (52%-27%) on being more willing to work with the other party. Democrats held a 20 point (52%-32%) advantage on the question of who is concerned with the needs of people like me. By a margin of 54%-35%, Republicans were found to be the more extreme party in their positions. Respondents also thought the Republican Party was more influenced by lobbyists than the Democratic Party (47%-30%), but the most telling question was who do people trust to govern ethically and honestly.

By a margin of 41%-31% those surveyed believed that Democrats govern in a more ethical and honest way than Republicans. This question goes to the heart of why Democrats continue to win elections. A majority of voters don’t trust the Republican Party. They don’t think Republicans will be honest with them. Some of these feelings are no doubt left over from the dishonest Bush administration, but much of the distrust comes from the way Republicans have chosen to govern.

Republicans have been fundamentally dishonest with the American people. After they took control of the House in 2010, John Boehner said the Republican agenda was all about jobs. He and his caucus then spent years on dozens of attempts to repeal the ACA. Boehner’s Republican House majority hasn’t proposed or passed a single jobs bill. However, they have voted to cut food stamps, energy assistance, aid for veterans, food for senior citizens, unemployment benefits, and almost every other aid program for the poor and middle class that you can think of.

While cutting programs for the poor and middle class, Republicans have aggressively pushed an agenda of tax cuts and benefits for corporations and the wealthy. This survey reveals that the American people are paying attention to what Republicans have been up to. Republicans can’t disguise their plans to cut taxes for the wealthy as a jobs bill, and expect no one to notice what they are really up to.

Republicans have shown repeatedly during the Obama presidency that they don’t care about the problems of average Americans. Democrats have taken up the mantle of fighting for everyone that the Republican agenda is harming, and people appear to be appreciating it.

The Republican Party is in shambles because they are accurately viewed by most Americans as the uncaring party of the rich. Republicans can pay lip service to the middle class and claim they care about poverty, but they aren’t fooling anyone.

The GOP in the 2016 election cycle is increasingly revealing itself as the party of the wealthy few focused on winning elections on message of fear and hate.

Understanding Donald Trump and The GOP

Friday, January 29, 2016

Students: Texas Photo ID Not Requied For Mail Ballots

I hope young Texans old enough to vote, in their late teens and twenties, have registered to vote and will vote in the 2016 primary election. The voter registration deadline is Monday, February 1, 2016.

But even holding their Voter Registration Certificate, many young Texans may not be able to vote, because they don't have a driver's license, concealed handgun license or passport. They may not be able to vote because Texas' SB14 voter ID law remains in effect, as of the date of this article, pending further action by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Many college dorm resident students attending college in a city or state away from their home don't have a car or a driver's license - or their birth certificate.

But students attending college in a city or state away from home can request a vote-by-mail ballot from their parent's home county elections office, if the student is registered to vote in their home county -- and did not re-register in the county where they attend college. No ID is required to request and vote a mail ballot from your home county.  Application for a Ballot by Mail - click here.

Any registered Texas voter who is 65 years or older or disabled, or who will be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting may request and vote a mail mail ballot. If you are eligible to vote by mail - request your mail ballot today! The last day to submit mail ballot application is Friday, February 19, 2016 - received at the county elections office, not just postmarked. 

To check your registration status in a Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered, you can find the Voter's Registration application by clicking here. For specific information about voting in Texas, click here.

Many other citizens, including women and the elderly, also find they face just extraordinary complications in obtaining their Texas driver license, or other ID card. To get a government-issued ID, the state requires a certified copy of your birth certificate, from your state of birth. Many find they don't have an official state certified birth certificate, This group includes many African-Americans in their mid-fifties and older who were delivered by midwife in an era when many hospitals did not admit nonwhite mothers. It also includes unofficial adoptions of children given to relatives or other families to raise. Others may have had their birth and marriage records destroyed by tornado, hurricane, fire or flood.

The Texas Department of Public Safety women often challenge women on their "true identity" because 90% change their names on marriage to their husband's surname, which is different from their birth certificate surname.

Many Americans don't understand why some voters don't have a driver's license or other photo ID. A Rasmussen Reports poll in mid-2015 found support for photo ID laws at 76 percent.  Democrats often accuse Republicans of attempting to keep minorities from the polls with the photo requirement, but even the Democratic Party faithful see approve of voter I.D. requirement.

Rasmussen found 58 percent of Democrats believe a government-issued ID must be shown to be able to vote. The poll also found 92 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party support photo ID laws. Most do believe non-eligible (non-citizens) voting is a significant problem; Only 37 percent of all voters think it is more common for eligible voters to be prevented from voting because they lack a photo ID, than it is for non-eligible voters to vote.
Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:
  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.
Read more at: Texas Voter Registration and I.D. Requirements For 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open / DemBlogTalk - 01/26/2016

On our Tuesday evening program this week, my co-host Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I first talked with Kenneth Sanders, who is the African America Outreach Director for Senator Bernie Sanders' Texas campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Kenneth gave us his perspective on why so many volunteers across Texas are flocking to work for the Sanders campaign.

In the next program segment, Rheana and I talk with Celia Morgan, President of Texas Young Democrats and Vice-Chair of the Young Democrats of America Labor Caucus.

Our other guests Tuesday evening for a round table discussion on how Young Democrats across Texas and American are engaging in the political process were Collin County Texas Young Democrats President, Kevin Numerick, and CCYD's founder and past President Michael Messer, who is running for Collin County Justice of Peace.

These three young Democrats - actually, four, counting Rheana - engaged in a smart and insightful discussion on politics in Texas and America today. (starting at the 31 min mark on the podcast.) You don't want to miss listening to this week's podcast.

Click to listen to our podcast:

Listen or download - MP3

Who Is Senate Berie Sanders

Watch count down of the Top 10 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders May Actually Become President.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CNN Iowa Democratic Town Hall - Jan 25, 2016

With only one week to go before the Iowa caucuses, the three remaining Democratic candidates for President took the stage at Drake University in Des Moines on CNN Monday night for a Town Hall discussion moderated by CNN New Day program anchor Chris Cuomo. Cuomo asked former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to answer a series of questions.

In the closing two comments of Martin O’Malley’s appearance on the latest Democratic Town Hall event, Martin O’Malley, not so inconspicuously, urged his Iowa contingent to back Bernie Sanders if they do not reach the 15% needed under caucus rules to cast a vote for O’Malley. Specifically he said,
“America’s looking for a new leader… We can not be this fed up with our gridlocked dysfunctional national politics and think that a resort to old ideologies or old names (ie. Clinton) is going to lead us forward… America needs new leadership and I need the O’Malley supporters out there on caucus night to hold strong and move forward like Iowa does.” Forward is not referring the status quo and old ideologies attached to the Clinton name.

He continues during his next and final question with his implied support of Sanders by saying, “Time and time again in the history of the state of Iowa, Iowa has found a way to sort the the noise and sort through the national polls and lift up a new leader for our country… That is what you did eight years ago when you lifted up Barrack Obama (over Clinton) to lead our country forward and we need to build upon his good work and continue to move forward. … I’m not here to praise you Iowa, I’m here to challenge you. Lift up a new leader. Because you can change the course of this presidential race. (From Clinton to Sanders) You can shift this dynamic on caucus night. … There is nothing so divided about our national politics that it can not be healed with a renewed faith in each other and new leadership… But I think it important, in order to move our country forward, that once again Iowa lift up a new leader. …”

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Texas Voter Registration and I.D. Requirements For 2016

by Michael Handley

Pursuant to Texas state election law, new Voter Registration Certificates are mailed to all "Active Status" registered voters in December of odd numbered years. “Suspense Status” voters do not receive a new certificate.

New blue color certificates were printed by the election registrar office of each Texas county and mailed between November 15th and December 5th. Voters whose renewal certificates are returned to the registrar as undelivered will be placed in "suspense" by January 2, 2016, following the mailing.

The certificates are valid for two years beginning January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.

Certificates must list jurisdictional numbers for seven designated territorial units: Congressional & State Legislative Districts, County Commissioners’, Justice of the Peace precincts and the City and School District precincts, if defined. In addition to the aforementioned, counties may include 3 additional districts for a total of ten jurisdiction.

You MUST be registered to vote in the county in which you currently reside, and have a currently dated government issued photo I.D., to vote in any Texas election. You must be registered, or have mailed your registration application to be postmarked, no later than midnight of the thirtieth day before the election date. And, as of the date of this article, you are still required to present photo I.D. at the polling place to vote in person. The last day to register to vote in any election is the 30th day before Election Day..
NOTE: On August 10, 2016, US District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued an order prescribing what Texas voters need to bring to the polls when they vote in person. The new procedures remain in effect until further Court notice.

New Procedures for Voting in Person All citizens wishing to vote must still be on the official list of registered voters. For the November 8th election, the deadline to register is October 11th.
Voters may still use one of seven (7) forms of photo ID, listed below. IDs may be expired up to four years. (Previously IDs could be expired no more than 60 days.)
  • Driver license
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate (EIC)
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • US military identification card containing the person's photograph
  • US citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph
  • US passport
ADDITIONALLY, new procedures ordered by Judge Ramos allow registered voters who have not been able to obtain one of the photo ID's listed above to complete and sign a form and present one of the following documents to vote a regular ballot:
  • Valid voter registration certificate (card)
  • Certified birth certificate
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Any other government document with the individual's name and address
  • *The one-page form is called the "Voter's Declaration of Reasonable Impediment or Difficulty"
The Judge also ordered:
  • Election officials cannot question a voter about the use of an ID type
  • Poll watchers may never question a voter about Voter ID issues
  • The ID address does not have to match the voter registration address. It was also made clear that the ID address does not have to match the voter registration address.
Judge Ramos' order followed a July 2016 decision by the full US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling the existing Texas Voter ID requirements had a discriminatory effect and directed Judge Ramos to arrive at an interim solution. She will continue to consider the subject of discriminatory intent.
Every registered Texas voter should have received their new 2016-17 blue Voter Registration Card (VRC) by the first part of January 2016, or within thirty days after you submitted your registration application. If you asked to register to vote while updating your driver's license with the Texas DPS, and you never received a VRC, your registration application may not have been processed.

If you have not received a new VRC, you may NOT be properly registered to vote. You should immediately check your registration status and take action to properly register, if you find you are not registered to vote in the county where you reside.

To check your Collin Co. registration status - click here. To check your registration status in another Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered to vote, you can find the Voter's Registration application for Collin Co. by clicking here or any county by clicking here. For specific information about voting in Texas, click here to find the Secretary of State’s pamphlet on Texas Voting.

Friday, January 22, 2016

43rd Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade

On the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Roe v. Wade decision—which affirmed a woman’s right to abortion — the Center for American Progress released a column and an infographic examining how decades of state abortion restrictions have prevented many women from fully accessing the right to abortion granted to them in Roe.

Forty-three years after Roe, the absence of women’s access to the full range of legal reproductive health care services can still literally be a matter of life and death.

In March 2015, the Supreme Court will hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a case challenging Texas’ H.B. 2 — a law that placed dramatic restrictions on state abortion clinics and currently threatens to reduce the number of abortion clinics in the state from 50 to 10 or fewer. Since H.B. 2 was passed in 2013, more than 130,000 and up to 240,000 women report having attempted to self-terminate a pregnancy without consulting a medical professional. These staggering figures prompted some Texas lawmakers to protest the bill on the floor of the state Legislature by holding coat hangers—a chilling symbol of pre-Roe at-home abortions that often left women maimed, infertile, or dead.

Primaries: Texas Starts Third After Iowa, New Hampshire

Texas primary early voting starts third on Feb 16th, after the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 1st and New Hampshire Primary on Feb. 9th. Heavy media coverage of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire Primary leading into the start of Texas early voting will drive election interest among Texas voters of both parties. That media attention will prime the turnout pump for the first week of Texas early voting.

Media coverage of Nevada's caucuses on Saturday Feb 20th, half way through the Texas early voting period, will keep Texas early voting interest high. During the last week of Texas early voting, media coverage leading into South Carolina's Saturday, Feb 27th primary will also keep interest high.

And heavy media coverage of South Carolina's Saturday primary results during the Sunday and Monday before Super Tuesday will drive election day turnout interest among Texas voters and voters in the other Super Tuesday state.


Iowa precinct caucuses will allocate 46 pledged delegates on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.  The byzantine rules of Iowa Democratic Party caucuses give outsider presidential candidates a chance at legitimacy — or sudden irrelevance. Unlike Republican caucus rules, where all votes are counted equally, Democratic Party caucus-goers gather in groups for each candidate during a 30-minute alignment period. If a candidate's group count does not reach 15 percent of the total attendance count, its members must realign with a different candidate to be counted for delegate apportioning.

The complicated Democratic caucus rules are tilted toward normalizing the strength of candidates, especially in two and three person races. Only the number of delegates awarded in each of Iowa's 1,681 precincts will be published on caucus night. (video right documents a 2008 caucus.

No official record of the each candidate’s share of total caucus vote counts, which usually mirrors polling data, will be published. Candidates can easily tie in the precinct delegate count allocation, even if one candidate has far more support inside the caucus room. Whether the Sanders campaign or Clinton campaign is more successful at getting out caucus voters, they're relative delegate count reported by the precincts — individually and collectively — may in fact look more like a draw than a win.

No Texas Two-Step For 2016 Super Tuesday Primary

Seven years after Barack Obama earned the majority of Texas' presidential delegates, despite losing the primary vote count to Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, the Democratic National Committee put an end to the Texas "two-step" of primary vote and then "caucus" to allocate presidential delegates the Democratic National Convention. The DNC said the Texas two-step "had the potential to confuse voters" for the 2016 primary. Under DNC rules the process must be either all caucus or all polling place votes.

The 2016 "Super Tuesday" Texas primary will allocate the largest slate of delegates up for grabs on that election date for Democratic presidential contenders vying for the party’s nomination. With Bernie Sanders increasingly looking like a primary contender against Hillary Clinton, the DNC did not want repeat of the 2008 delegate allocation controversies caused by the two-step process.

Pledged Texas delegates will be allocated to each 2016 Presidential candidate based solely on the number of ballots cast for each candidate in March 1, 2016 Democratic Primary election. Presidential candidates must receive at least 15% of the vote in a Texas Senatorial District to receive a district delegate and must receive at least 15% statewide to receive at-large delegates. Texas is the big post Iowa and New Hampshire prize on Super Tuesday with Texas Democrats selecting 252 delegates, including 30 pledged super delegates, for largest single delegate count of any state up to and including the other super Tuesday states.

The Democratic National Committee long ago adopted a rule specifying presidential delegates must be allocated based solely on the count of primary ballots cast for each candidate. The Texas two-step has been grandfathered by DNC waiver for every presidential election cycle since the DNC adopted that presidential delegate allocation rule.

At its June 26th meeting in Washington, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee unanimously rejected the Texas Democratic Party's 2016 primary two-step waiver request. Texas was long the lone remaining state to have continually been granted a waiver to allocate delegates through a two-step primary and precinct convention "caucus" process. Texas Democratic Primary voters WILL NOT return to precinct "caucus" conventions after the polls close on Primary Election Day.  Election Day precinct "caucus" conventions are a thing of the past.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Privatization Ruining Our Education System

Profit-seeking in the banking and health care industries has victimized Americans. Now it’s beginning to happen in education, with our children as the products.

There are good reasons – powerful reasons – to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.

Charter Schools Have Not Improved Education

The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford revealed that while charters have made progress since 2009, their performance is about the same as that of public schools. The differences are, in the words of the National Education Policy Center, “so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial.” Furthermore, the four-year improvement demonstrated by charters may have been due to the closing of schools that underperformed in the earlier study, and also by a variety of means to discourage the attendance of lower-performing students.

Texas charters had a much lower graduation rate in 2012 than traditional schools.

Read the full story at Salon: 4 ways privatization is ruining our education system

The Democrats' Tunnel Vision

By now even a narcoleptic could recite the GOP's parody of Democrats. The party of "big government." Champions of "class warfare" programmed to "tax and spend" other people's money. An amalgam of interest groups divorced from the national interest. Practitioners of "identity politics" bent only on getting to 51 percent. Enemies of the "job creators." Enablers of listless bureaucrats and their shiftless dependents. Spineless hand-wringers with no respect for our past or faith in our future.

A lot of this is political bilge, a shameless inversion of the GOP's divisive politics and intellectual vacuity. In debate all three Democratic candidates are specific, informed and grounded in a reality largely absent from the Republican contest. But all too often, and particularly on the stump, Democrats themselves can verge on self-parody, purveyors of programs bereft of a larger vision.

According to public opinion expert Peter Hart, the great majority of Americans want a new course after the Obama years, and by two to one believe that America is headed in the wrong direction.  Bilious as it is, Donald Trump's pledge to "make America great again" touches something deeper than just resentment or nostalgia -- a desire for national renewal which, at its best, could inspire a more transcendent politics, transforming widespread angst about our future into a shared and positive mission.

All too often Democrats who speak of pragmatism rather than with vision fail to transcend.

Read the full article published at HuffingtonPost 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The 4th Democratic Debate - January 17 2016

Sunday's Democratic debate, hosted by NBC, was the party's second-most watched this election cycle, with about 10.2 million viewers tuning into the channel, according to the network.

While NBC's ratings beat out the last two Democratic debates it isn't even close to the first Democratic debate hosted by CNN, which brought in 15.3 million viewers. ABC had about 7.8 million viewers and CBS had about 8.5 million viewers opposite the debate on NBC.

The uptick in audience share last night, over the last two DNC debates, could be the result of the last two debates were also held on Saturdays, which typically see lower ratings than Sundays. The third debate on the Saturday before Christmas day on ABC attracted only 6.71 million viewers. The second debate attracted 8.5 million viewers on a mid-November Saturday when two Iowa university football teams matched off. And interest may have increased with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) closing the polling gap with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in early voting states Iowa and New Hampshire, which has resulted in Clinton going on the attack against Sanders by pointing out their differences on health care and gun control. 

The Republican debates have all lacked what the Democratic debates have. This was another substantive debate among the Democrats, devoid of the histrionics, name-calling, and fact-free pronouncements that are pro forma in the Republican presidential debate shows. The Democratic candidates disagree on how to achieve certain policy goals, but they all agree on those big goals. Democrats have a real vision for the country. There isn’t a battle for the direction of the party happening on the Democratic side.

Any of three Democratic candidates would make a better president than any of the dozen Republicans running for the White House. Democrats demonstrated their competence and ability to govern during the NBC debate. Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley have the policies that are missing on the Republican side. While Republicans fight the culture wars and rage against the nation’s changing demographics, Democrats are speaking to the real problems of ordinary Americans.

Case in point -- When Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were asked if they saw any scenario where ground forces could be used to combat ISIS. Former Sec. Clinton said, “absolutely not.” Sanders blasted Republicans for not learning the lessons of Iraq, and he said that using ground forces to combat ISIS would lead to perpetual war and be a complete disaster. Sanders said that ISIS won’t be destroyed with American troops in perpetual warfare. Martin O’Malley said that he believed that President Obama was doing the right thing. O’Malley said that he appreciates that Democrats don’t use the term boot on the ground.
But that's not to say the fourth Democratic debate was all kumbaya. Clinton and Sanders presented different visions on their approach to governing – big ideas verses pragmatism. While Sanders urged his audience to “think big,” Clinton repeatedly cautioned thinking big is not pragmatic.
  • Associated Press: “Their heated rhetoric highlighted the central question fueling the increasingly competitive primary race: Will the Sanders passion beat out the Clinton practicality?”
  • ABC’s Rick Klein: The debate re-framed the race as “a battle pitting the party’s head against its heart.
Watch the full debate video:

Fact checkers of the last Democratic Debate found that nearly all of the major claims made by the candidates were actually true.

Iran's Crude Oil Flowing To World Markets And U.S. Debt Bubble

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, Saturday issued a report confirming Iran's compliance with the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S. and five world powers. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano released the following statement via the IAEA:
Today, I released a report confirming that Iran has completed the necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The report was submitted to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the United Nations Security Council. ... full statement ...
After the IAEA issued the report confirming Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry signed a waiver lifting Congressional enacted sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program. At the same time, President Barack Obama issued a new executive order to lift sanctions that were enacted under his authority, and the U.N. and EU moved to provide sanctions relief to Iran.

With sanctions lifted, the Iranian oil minister has said his country will immediately begin selling as much of its crude oil onto the world energy market as it can produce to generate cash the country badly needs to help its economy recover from years of sanctions. Unfortunately, Iran rejoins the world energy market just as the world energy market slumps into a deep price depression. 

Sanctions background

Thursday, January 14, 2016

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open / DemBlogTalk - 01/12/2016

On our Tuesday evening program this week, my co-host Rheana Nevitt Piegols and I talked about President Obama's last State of the Union address. (Program was pre-recorded before the SOTU Address.)

We also talk about the state of mind of those who criticize President Obama's, his assessments, his proposals, and his vision for the future, despite the facts and realities he referenced and has spoken about in prior SOTU addresses.

To wrap up the program, we discuss new polling data on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as it relates the Democratic Party caucus and primary schedule in February.

Click to listen to our podcast:

Listen or download - MP3