CHRISTIE – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will formally announce his candidacy today becoming the fourteen Republican to officially throw his hat into the ring. Christie enters the race with a gubernatorial resume’ that is certain to raise eyebrows among the Party faithful. New Jersey ranks near the bottom among all 50 states in every economic metric. The economic downturn is such that according to Forbes New Jersey has ranked #1 among states Americans are fleeing three of the past four years. Its $40 billion in unfunded pension liabilities has resulted in Moody’s issuing nine credit downgrades during Christie’s time in office. His approval rating ranks last among all sitting governors.
To his credit Christie has put himself out there; holding hundreds of town hall meetings throughout the state. He is the only Republican candidate to give serious policy speeches on substantive issues like funding Social Security and the effects of Medicare and Medicaid on long term debt. He has gone head to head with the teachers unions…and won. But his blunt ‘telling it like it is” personality, once thought to be entertaining and refreshingly honest, is now viewed as abrasive and rude. At this point he faces an uphill battle to just get on the debate stage.
YOU’RE FIRED – A lot has happened since “The Donald” launched his presidential candidacy two weeks ago. NBC fired him and UNIVISION announced that it would no longer be airing Trump’s Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. It seems that both networks were a bit put off by the offensive comments Trump made towards Mexicans during his announcement speech. Trump said that if he is elected he will build a wall along our southern border “and make Mexico pay for it.” The reason that he wants to build a wall is become” the people that Mexico is sending over the border are “not their best…they’re bringing in drugs…they’re rapists.”
Trump says that NBC cancelled its business relationship with him “Because I am strong on immigration and NBC is weak, very weak on immigration. They are mad because I told them that I could no longer do “The Apprentice” because I’m running for president.”
I imagine NBC is far more concerned about its relationship with the 55 million Mexican viewers that live in this country than it is with anything The Donald may bring to the table. After all Mexicans now make up 17% of the US population. Tough to win the White House without the Latino vote. Then again Trump insults 55 million Latinos and rockets up to second place among GOP candidates in the latest NBCNEWS poll. I guess that's what it means to speak to the GOP base.
GERRYMANDERING – As you may know, every ten years the party in power gets to redraw the voting districts. Typically these decisions are made in a partisan fashion with the goal of helping the party in power to maintain its majority in the future. Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that will put a crimp this unfair and arbitrary practice.
Fifteen years ago the State of Arizona decided to eliminate the contentious gerrymandering practices that plagued their state. Proposition 106 amended that state’s Constitution and removed redistricting power from the partisan state legislature and placed it in the hands of and independent bi-partisan redistricting commission. Republican state legislators, infuriated by the decision, sued; and appealed their losses all the way to the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, in a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled in favor of the bi-partisan panel. The ruling could have nationwide repercussions as several states have adopted similar bi-partisan solutions as they try to break up the partisan gridlock that results from drawing districts that are ideologically entrenched.
This ruling could go along way toward repairing a political system that places more importance on elections than it does on governing.
The Court took a big step forward today. Not big enough to make up for its disastrous ruling on "Citizens United" but a step forward nonetheless.
Now if we could only find a way to get term limits on the Court's docket.