Surprise results in first US primary

I haven’t been following the US Democrat presidential goings on much since they cranked up months ago, but they have got to a serious stage (still 9 months out from the election).

The first primary was held in Iowa earlier this week. The vote count was badly botched and the final results still aren’t known, but with 86% of caucus precincts counted the results are a bit surprising (all delegate numbers are estimates).

  • Pete Buttigieg – 11 delegates (26.5% of the votes)
  • Bernie Sanders – 11 delegates (25.6%)
  • Elizabeth Warren – 5 delegates (18.3%)
  • Joe Biden – 0 delegates (15.9%)
  • Amy Klobuchar – 0 delegates (12.1%)

This must severely dent Joe Biden’s chances. I thought he was too old and uninspiring to make a decent candidate anyway.

Sanders is up there for now but I don’t see him having wide appeal. He seems old enough to have red Das Kapital when it was first published.

I think that the Democrats would benefit if they manage to avoid a battle of geriatrics.

A big surprise to see Buttigieg heading the votes. I know very little about him, but he must have something going for him to get this sort of result.

Teachers planning largest NZ strike ever

Primary and secondary school teachers are planning New Zealand’s largest strike ever the day before the budget. The Government has said they doing have enough money to meet the teacher’s demands.

I guess targeting the budget is symbolic, but it will be far too late to influence this year’s budget, which will have been settled weeks ago,.

RNZ:  NZ primary and secondary teachers vote for largest ever strike

Primary and secondary teachers across New Zealand have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking joint strike action.

The two teachers’ unions – NZEI and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association – announced today a “mega-strike” on 29 May.

Primary teachers and principals have voted in secret ballots at meetings across the country over the last week, while the PPTA held an online ballot of secondary school teachers.

The joint strike will be the largest ever industrial action taken in New Zealand, covering almost 50,000 members across the two unions.

Both groups have refused to settle for three pay rises of 3 percent each and their talks with the Education Ministry have been deadlocked for months.

The government has insisted it will not increase the total value of its offers, which it said were more than $1.2 billion over four years. The government is willing to rearrange how the money might be applied to pay rises and staff claims.

Teacher strikes again this week

Primary school teachers are still unhappy with pay negotiations and plan more strikes this week, starting in Auckland today and rolling out across the country through the week. This will inconvenience many people.

Last Thursday: Revised pay offer for secondary teachers labelled as ‘laughable’

About 1500 teachers turned up for a meeting yesterday to discuss the new offer from the government over pay and conditions, which would increase most teachers’ pay by 9 percent over three years.

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association has suggested teachers reject the offer, which it said was largely unchanged from another offer in September that teachers also rejected.

Teachers are seeking better pay, better staffing, cuts to unnecessary administrative red tape, and upped allowances to create better conditions in the classroom.

I wouldn’t mind 9% of increases over three years, but teachers think they need more of a catch up for that – for the sake of the kids of course.

Friday:  Primary teacher strikes to go ahead as last-ditch offer fails

A last-ditch offer from the Education Ministry has failed to avert next week’s strikes by primary teachers and principals.

New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) president Lynda Stuart said the Ministry made the offer yesterday afternoon after a week of bargaining facilitated by the Employment Relations Authority.

She said it removed the $63,929 upper limit on pay rates for teachers with diplomas and moved it to $82,992 by 2020, the same top rate as teachers with degrees.

The top rate for those with graduate diplomas and masters degrees would rise to $85,481 by 2020.

Ms Stuart said its members would discuss the offer and vote later this month on whether to accept or reject it.

But are going on strike this week.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said he was disappointed the teacher union decided to push ahead with strike action.

Mr Hipkins said teachers were not even given the opportunity to vote on the latest offer before the union dismissed it.

“The latest offer that the government has made is it. There’s not going to be any more money, so they can choose to accept the offer, they can ask for the offer to be reconfigured, but striking in the hope that more money will eventuate is going to lead to disappointment.”

RNZ:  Primary school teachers on strike again today

More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year.

Today’s strike is the first of five expected across the country this week.

The strike is in Dunedin on Thursday, which will impact on me.

The Educational Institute said its members would discuss the ministry’s latest offer and vote later this month on whether to accept or reject it.

The Employment Relations Authority has slammed the teachers union’s pay demands as “totally unrealistic” and is urging teachers to take the Government’s offer.

Teachers get some parent sympathy when pushing for better wages and conditions, but run the risk of losing that support if they strike too much. Strikes impact on many people. The kids like getting an extra day off school, but it inconveniences parents, grandparents and other caregivers.


Claim that Sanders won California by a landslide

Ugly truth has posted a link to a claim that Bernie Sanders won California in a landslide but that two thirds of the vote were uncounted.

Lawsuit Filed As Bernie Sanders Wins California By Landslide

A historic lawsuit has been filed in California after a widespread cover-up of Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory at the primary election earlier in the week.

The lawsuit will require the counting of all the provisional ballots, which Sanders says gives him a landslide win in the state. reports:

The theft of California hasn’t deterred Sanders from his course. He has promised to fight on while noting it is a steep uphill climb. Given all the states where vote fraud in favor of Hillary Clinton has been allowed to swing primaries from Sanders to Clinton, it is in fact a steep uphill climb to restore democracy and force the now undemocratic Democratic Party to nominate the man the vast majority of American voters have voted for or tried to vote for.

It has been learned from poll workers that 50% to 90% of voters who were supposed to have been eligible to vote in the Democratic primary were told they would have to vote provisional ballots.

Oddly, virtually all of those not allowed to vote and forced to vote provisional ballots were Bernie Sanders supporters.

Oddly they are claiming to know who those who couldn’t vote or whose votes weren’t counted voted for.

Poll workers in Los Angeles and Orange County report that Bernie won the electronic votes in their precincts by well over a 2 to 1 margin, the opposite of the result of the vote count.

The Justice Gazette has conducted considerable polling and the official results reflect the opposite of how people said they were going to vote.

However Politifact California resaerched and countered the claims with Pants On Fire for viral rumor Bernie Sanders won California

Our ruling

After early California primary results showed a big Clinton lead over Sanders, the Justice Gazette posted the headline on June 7: “Bernie Sanders Wins California But ⅔ of his Votes Aren’t Counted.”

Three days later, Clinton continues to lead Sanders by about 450,000. There are more than two million uncounted votes. But based on polling shortly before the race, showing Sanders even or slightly ahead with voters who had yet to cast ballots, professional pollsters and news outlets say Clinton’s lead could shrink somewhat but is not in danger. Sanders would have to win the remaining votes by a huge margin, something no polls showed in advance of Election Day.

There is evidence that California’s complicated voting rules led to problems. That may have prevented some Sanders supporters from voting for him and, for that matter, some Clinton supporters from voting for her. But there’s no proof to back up the outlandish claim that Sanders won California or that two-thirds of his votes were not counted.

We rate the Gazette’s claim Pants On Fire.

PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

Perhaps ‘Bernie really won but was robbed’ is set to join other great conspiracy theories like 911, the faked moon landings and John Key is a plant as part of an international plot to make paupers of the 99% so the 1% can get rich off them.

Trump and Clinton look unstoppable

Clean sweeps in five north eastern states to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make their primary campaigns just about assured of victory.

Results from RealClear Politics:


(Thanks for the link Clemgeopin).

Trump is closing in to the 1237 Republican delegates needed to win, currently on 950 against Cruz (560)+Rubio (171)+Kasich (153)=884.

Needing 2,382 Clinton has 2141 with Sanders 1321 looking like an honourable lost cause.


US primaries

Results will emerge through the afternoon and evening from the important primaries in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri today.

If Marco Rubio fails in his home state of Florida that is surely the end of his bid.

BBC: US election 2016: Ohio and Florida hold key primaries

Polls have opened in Ohio and Florida – both deemed key states – as well as in North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is hoping to fend off her resurgent challenger, Bernie Sanders.

Meanwhile Donald Trump will aim to edge out his rivals in the Republican race.

The New York real estate mogul is the favourite to win his party’s nomination but has run into fierce opposition from within the Republican establishment, as well as facing condemnation from the Democrats.

Today probably won’t cement Trump into the Republican candidacy, but it will be another big step on a rocky path.

It should be a good indicator where the Democrat battle is headed.

Mixed results in Super Saturday

The results are just about complete in the presidential ‘Super Saturday’ in the US with mixed results for the leading contenders for both Republicans and Democrats.

Clinton is comfortably ahead overall but Cruz is closing on Trump who was hammered in two of for states.

Clinton and Sanders were fairly even with Clinton only winning one state to Sanders’ two but she picked up a few more delegates and is well ahead on that count.

  • Kansas: Clinton 32%, Sanders 68%
  • Louisana: Clinton 71%, Sanders 23%
  • Nebraska: Clinton 43%, Sanders 57%

Delegates (2,383 to win):

  • Clinton 55, total 1,121
  • Sanders 47, total 479

For the Republican primary it looks like Rubio is effectively out of the race. He may have taken one for the GOP team in attacking and diverting Trump. Cruz and Trump took two states each with Cruz having a slight edge in delegates.

  • Kansas: Trump 23%, Cruz 48%, Rubio 17%, Kasich 11%
  • Kentucky: Trump 36%, Cruz 32%, Rubio 16%, Kasich 14%
  • Louisiana: Trump 41%, Cruz 38%, Rubio 11%, Kasich 6%
  • Maine: Trump 33%, Cruz 46%, Rubio 8%, Kasich 12%

Delegates (1,237 to win):

  • Trump 49, total 378
  • Cruz 64, total 295
  • Rubio 13, total 123
  • Kasich 9, total 34

Total delegates for Cruz, Rubio and Kasich is 418 so Trump is running at a bit under half.

Will Rubio and Kasich stay in to try and keep as many delegates off Trump? Or withdraw and let Cruz go head to head with Trump?

GOP heading for crisis?

The Republican primary took a major lurch yesterday, with the party looking in disarray due to to increasing support of Donald Trump.

First the Republican presidential candidate from 2012, Mitt Romney, launched a blistering attack on Trump, and Trump attacked back.

Then Fox news ran a two hour candidate debate that did little but highlight dysfunction in the party.

Washington Post had a few critical articles on it.

Ferocious sparring as Trump goes on the defensive
Hours after Mitt Romney delivered a point-by-point indictment of Donald Trump, the billionaire’s three rivals took up similar attacks at a debate in which the ferocious sparring and name-calling revolved almost entirely around the front-runner.

Fox News moderator schools Trump on Trump U., and his contradictions
Megyn Kelly leaves the GOP front-runner sputtering to defend himself at debate.

For the Republicans, a not so grand old party
The 11th debate of the Republican campaign tested the patience of viewers. It was tedious and repetitious. No new information was imparted, no truly new arguments advanced. Even the insults were tiresome.

One clear loser in Thursday’s debate: the Grand Old Party
It’s highly questionable whether anyone emerged as the winner in Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Detroit, though the candidates’ spinmeisters would all quibble with that. There was one clear loser: the Grand Old Party.

And Chris Cillizza picks Winners and losers from the 11th Republican presidential debate


* Ted Cruz: The Texas senator picked a nice moment to have his best debate of the primary season…Cruz also benefited from the fact that Trump and Marco Rubio went after each other hammer and tongs for the first hour of the debate, a brawl that allowed him to look like he was above the fray and magnanimous.

* John Kasich: The narrowing of the presidential field quite clearly helped the Ohio governor on Thursday night. Sure, it often felt as if he was participating in an entirely different debate than the other three candidates. But, when he got a chance to talk, Kasich’s uplifting and positive message made for a welcome relief from the name-calling, interrupting and general rudeness that dominated most of the conversation on stage in Detroit.  Did he do enough to boost him into the top tier? No. But that simply isn’t possible for Kasich, given the delegate math. Still, he deserves credit for putting his best foot forward.

Best doesn’t seem to equal results in this contest.


* Donald Trump: Trump totally dominated the debate in terms of speaking time and the broader conversation. There were times where it felt more like an interview with Trump than a debate with three candidates not named Trump on stage. As is usually the case with Trump in a debate setting, the more he talks, the less positive the outcome is for him.

From a more substantive perspective, Trump took real body blows — especially from Cruz — regarding Trump University and the comments he made in an off-the-record session with the New York Times. Trump, as he has in nearly every debate, showed a wafer-thin understanding of policy and, when pressed about that lack of knowledge, reverted to name-calling.

His behaviour, and lack of solid policies (and a few frightening policy ideas), hasn’t hurt him yet but it may make it hard to get over the primary line let alone into the presidency.

* Marco Rubio: The Florida senator seemed to have resigned himself to a kamikaze mission against Trump during this debate. He jabbed at and with Trump over and over again in the debate’s first 60 minutes, turning every question — and answer — into an attack on Trump. It hurt Trump but hurt Rubio, too, as he struggled to get back to his more positive “new American century” message.

It’s hard to see how this debate changes the dynamic set in place on Tuesday night: Trump as the favorite, Cruz with the next best chance of being the nominee, Rubio as Trump spoiler.

Has Rubio deliberately set himself as the Trump killer knowing it rules him out of contention, taking one for the GOP team?

* The Republican Party: The first hour of the debate was an absolute disaster for Republicans hoping to rebrand their party heading into the 2016 general election. It looked more like a high school cafeteria food fight than an even semi-serious conversation about issues.

There’s another loser that Cillizza didn’t mention – US democracy.

The beacon of hope on the fool is looking more and more like the fools on the hill.


The mayoral ‘primary’ strategy

There are indications that John Palino is trying to run his mayoral campaign as a ‘primary’ along the lines of the US presidential process.

And this is not just in trying to mimic Donald Trump tactics in trying to tap the angry voter (Auckland and the US may be quite different) and what appeared to be a planned ‘attack the media’ strategy at yesterday’s launch.

But Palino’s acting skills aren’t anywhere near up to the task. Yesterday’s launch looked too faked and farcical.

But there are more signs of a primary approach. From Palino’s pre-launch Fairfax interview:

After Palino announces, there’s one more fly buzzing in the ointment. If he garners support, the vote could split between him and the other rightwing hopefuls, handing Labour-backed Phil Goff easy victory. Victoria Crone, especially, is positioning herself to be the right’s great white hope.

Sure, says Palino, Crone has “grabbed people already so there’s not a lot left for me in Auckland”, but he still has the backers and funders he needs. As for splitting the vote, it’s early days. No one is really running till July, when you actually sign the candidacy papers. “Till then it’s like a primary.”

How will they knock out the other right wing contenders? ‘Spanish Bride’ suggests at Whale Oil:

There is a limited pool of right wing donors for a campaign. Soon they will decide who they will invest their money in and the other right contenders will drop out. Without donors they have no campaign.

So will there be a battle for donations, US style? Will there be attempts to deter donations for other candidates? Will the Auckland mayoralty become a dollar dominated democracy? Much of the anger in the US is about how corrupted by money their politics has become.

In a New Zealand local body context a preliminary head on battle between Palino and Crone may be too damaging to the ‘victor’ if the most trashed candidate drops out – and that’s a big if.

Would any candidate drop out?

With or without Palino’s input his camp didn’t even drop out after the last election, they tried to have the elected mayor dumped to effectively overturn the election result.

The ‘primary’ strategy may be simply a ruse with the aim of trashing and demoralising and starving the right wing candidates of funds and sort of committing them to drop out if things don’t go well for them.

Would Palino drop out if he is overshadowed by say Crone? I wouldn’t bet on it.