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“The Sunday Political Brunch”—June 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Last week we spoke of third-party candidates, and I don’t think we can stop at one. There are more potential spoilers this week. I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago that unforeseen issues could be spoilers in Campaign 2016, and we’ve had some of them, too, this week! Let’s “brunch” on all of this:

“Green is Organic” – Jill Stein, M.D., the Green Party Presidential nominee has been polling anywhere from three to seven percent in the past month (photo above). As mentioned last week, the Libertarian Party has been polling anywhere from four to eleven percent. I make no presumptions about either the Green or Libertarian Party winning the White House, but - collectively - if they poll in double digits, it could cost either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the Presidency. Third-party candidates “pull” votes from others; they don’t “push” the public to an alternative candidate. That’s important to remember.

“High Profile” – Wednesday night, CNN hosted a Libertarian town hall forum, with the ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld. The audience reached almost one million viewers on CNN, much higher than normal programming. One third of the audience was in the key 25-to-54 age demographic, which includes a lot of millennials. By and large, these are the young, disaffected voters who supported Bernie Sanders in droves over Hillary Clinton. Will they vote Trump, Johnson, or Stein? It remains to be seen, but many have no taste for Mrs. Clinton. This could be a huge factor come November.

“’Sincere’ Analysis” – It’s amazing the connections you make in a lifetime of covering and dissecting politics. (My own lifelong fascination with politics began in 1963, when I was four and a half years old, on the heels of President Kennedy's assassination.) One of my most astute classmates at Marquette University High School – Class of 1977 – was Rick Sincere, who later became Chairman of the Virginia Libertarian Party. We’ve chatted a bit in the last week.

“The Libertarian Presidential and Vice-presidential candidates complement each other and stand in stark contrast to their Democratic and Republican opponents. Johnson, a triathlete who has climbed Mount Everest, is warm and unassuming, unlike the abrasive Donald Trump and chilly Hillary Clinton,” wrote Sincere. Interesting insight!

“Looking” – Last week I pointed out a Monmouth University Poll showing Libertarian Gary Johnson at 11 percent on March 24, 2016. Yes, maybe it’s “pie in the sky,” but some newer polls suggest there is something significant going on. The latest Real Clear Politics Composite Poll has it 42 percent Clinton, 37 percent Trump, 7 percent Johnson, and 5 percent Stein. That leaves 9 percent undecided. Third parties are showing strength.

“Immigration Ruling” – This week, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively blocked President Obama’s Executive Order on immigration, essentially defeating his efforts to allow four million illegal immigrants to remain in this country. Hillary Clinton criticized the high-court ruling, while Donald Trump called the Obama immigration plan a “fantasy.” The battle lines are now drawn on one of the “Top Three” campaign issues in this election cycle.

“Sit-In” – Another issue that has cropped up is gun control in the wake of the Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) – a civil rights icon whom I have interviewed many times over the years – staged a sit-in with Democratic colleagues on the House floor. After two days, the protest faded, but the issue will live on. The dimensions are fascinating, as a pro-gun-control faction takes on gun-rights defenders - this, after an apparently Islamic-inspired, anti-gay attack in Orlando. What will a traditionally Democratic constituency have to say in November? And will the Second Amendment have greater appeal to an LGBT community wanting to defend itself?

“GB leaves EU” – The people of Great Britain have voted to exit the European Union. World financial markets – including the Dow Jones in the U.S. – plummeted. Are we on the brink of another world financial turmoil? I ask because a few weeks ago I was talking about how global financial instability could turn Campaign 2016. I’ve just mentioned three issues that were not on anyone’s radar screen on June 1, just over three weeks ago. Political fame and fortune can change in a flash, like a bolt of lightning.

“Why All of This Matters” – The electorate is volatile! This race is anyone’s to win; and potential spoilers abound – whether they be candidates or issues that suddenly crop up. This race has a lot of wild cards, and should be assessed with them in mind!

“Prayers for West Virginia” – Politics seems petty and small after 23 West Virginians lost their lives in massive flooding this week. No matter whom we elect as our leaders, they are tasked with helping us all after natural disasters. Please send prayers; and if you are inclined to make donations to various relief efforts, you can find more at www.TriStateUpdate.com.

As always, your comments on all topics are welcome at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.


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