After First Two Presidental Primaries Voters seem Split


It’s only early in the season and we can already make two big predictions about this year’s US Presidential election primaries. For months, and in some cases years, it seems like the 2016 presidential election has been chugging on in the world of politics. Some candidates have risen and fallen already, while others have stuck to their guns through the agonizing primary season. For the first time ever the Republican presidential primary field started with an all-time high 17 candidates in it, while the Democratic side has its first proclaimed “socialist” political veiw candidate running.

Presidential primaries are always the time when the candidates running for office are separated from those who are really running from those who are not really running. Everyone remembers back in 2008 when President Obama had his upset win over Hillary Clinton in the first in the nation primary state of Iowa. And everyone remembers when George W. Bush won the Iowa caucus over….ehh John McCain back in 2000. Oh wait no I don’t remember that. Anyway, that time of that point in the election cycle is upon us once again. It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to choose their presidential candidates for the 2016 general presidential election.

To repeat, Iowa is the first state to hold its primary, with New Hampshire being the second state. Now I don’t know how much these states are representative of America today. Iowa is a pretty big state on the map, to win you really have to spend some resources there covering the state. New Hampshire, on the other hand, is a small state with a small population, where the ground game may be less important than your name recognition. As the population of Iowa and New Hampshire has kind of leveled off, other larger states populations have been going far higher. It remains to be seen what the future of primaries in America might look like considering these two issues.

Nevertheless, the primaries roll on this year as if nothing has changed. Both Iowa and New Hampshire command huge media followings, candidates spend a lot of resources there. Just because candidates win the early states does not however mean that they will go on to win the party nomination. Evidence of the 2008 Huckabee Iowa win over the eventual Republican candidate John McCain still rings loud. Or Bill Clinton’s 1992 Iowa loss over Tom Harkin. New Hampshire has proven to be even more unpredictable in recent times, largely people it’s a small state that people forget about relatively quickly after its primary takes place.

This year Iowa held its caucus on February 1st 2016 to decide who will start the Presidential primary season with a win. Among the candidates running on the Republican side was Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and a of couple others. On the Demotic side running was Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley. Although the Republicans have a lot of candidates running, the focus has increasingly been on just a few of those candidates actually winning the nomination.

The breakdown of the results from Iowa is right here (AP):

Republican Party (Iowa)
Candidates % of the Vote Delegates
Ted Cruz 27.6% 8
Donald Trump 24.3% 7
Ben Carson 9.3% 3
Marco Rubio 23.1% 7
Jeb Bush 2.8% 1
Rand Paul 4.5% 1
Carly Fiorina 1.9% 1
John Kasich 1.9% 1
Mike Huckabee 1.8% 1
Chris Christie 1.8% 0
Rick Santorum 1.0% 0
Jim   Gilmore 0.0% 0

Going into Iowa there was a wide consensus that perhaps Donald Trump was going to win the state over the other contenders. But it was soon obvious that the night actually was going to Ted Cruz. The Texas senator being elected with the help of the tea party in 2012. He has championed conservative principles in Washington DC, siding against President Obama’s healthcare reforms and supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, meanwhile seeking out federal campaign reform. Although criticized by the other candidates in the race, he has supporters in the establishment Republicans and fringe Republicans alike. We’ll see if that plays a role for him going forward or is he just the one trick candidate?

Other candidates on the Republican field made a lot of noise in Iowa but didn’t end up winning the state. This included Marco Rubio, who still came in an admirable third place, Ben Carson who ended fourth, and Jeb Bush who ended further down the list. Businessman turned entertainer turned politician (even though he’s not really a politician) Donald Trump did not take the top spot in Iowa, although he has vowed a comeback and so far has seemed to make good on that claim. All the candidates that received 1 delegate in the primary definitely seem close in the running to win the nomination.

Democratic Party (Iowa)
Candidates % of the Vote Delegates
Hillary Clinton 49.9% 23
Bernie Sanders 49.6% 21
Martin O’Malley 0.6% 0

On the Democratic side, former secretary of state and First Lady Hillary Clinton eked out a victory over Bernie Sanders. This was one of those elections that for a long time seemed simply too close to call during the counting of the votes. Hillary Clinton has had an increasingly difficult time trying to overcome the surge by Bernie Sanders, whose socialist driven campaign has been popular with young people and core Democratic supporters. Still, Hillary ended up getting the win in Iowa, where her campaign spent a lot of time and money.

The results in New Hampshire (AP):

Republican Party (New Hampshire)
Candidates % of the Vote Delegates
Donald Trump 35.3% 10
Ted Cruz 11.7% 3
John Kasich 15.8% 4
Jeb Bush 11.0% 3
Marco Rubio 10.6% 3
Chris Christie 7.4% 0
Carly Fiorina 4.1% 0
Rand Paul 0.7% 0
Ben Carson 2.3% 0
Mike Huckabee 0.1% 0
Rick Santorum 0.1% 0
Bobby Jindal 0.0% 0
George Pataki 0.0% 0
Jim Gilmore 0.0% 0
Lindsey Graham 0.0% 0

New Hampshire, being the second primary state, is pretty important to pay attention to. Yet the state of New Hampshire is small bigger picture. Still, the state is small and many seem to forget it after the primary is over.

In New Hampshire the results of the Republican race are much less clear than in Iowa. Donald Trump comes out top, but there are 4 candidates who end up in the 10% range. An even bigger surprise is that Ohio governor John Kasich takes second in the primary. You can remember in Iowa that John Kasich barely made the list. New Hampshire being a more socially conservative state, much like Ohio, could be the reason for this discrepancy. As far as the other candidates go the results give us little to go by. Ted Cruz came in third, while Marco Rubio fell to a more distant fifth place.

Republican Party (New Hampshire)
Candidates % of the vote Delegates
Bernie Sanders 60.40% 15
Hillary Clinton 38% 9
Martin O’Malley 0.30% 0

Now looking at the Democratic results in New Hampshire, although losing in Iowa, Bernie Sanders came back to win it in New Hampshire with more than half of the vote. This was a bruising loss for Hillary, as the media has put it, but she has vowed to continue with the race and come back in upcoming states. Although Bernie definitely won the state, it remains to be seen how many other states he might actually be able to win. Granted he almost won Iowa, a state which Hillary last lost in 2008. But the longer the race goes on the more resources it will take to continue on in the race. It remains to be seen if Bernie will have the resources to finish the race he’s started over the traditional Clinton political campaign machine.

As this race goes on its interesting to see the sure size of candidates still in the race. Although Martin O’Malley on the Democratic side has since dropped out, as has Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, and Rick Santorum, others remain in the race who’s upcoming primaries is far from certain. Will the Republican candidates that have dropped out help Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush or will those votes inevitably go to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? Can Bernie gain enough traction to actually become a real challenge to Hillary Clinton? What role does Mitt Romney have to play in all this who isn’t running at all? These questions we will just have to wait to find out.

The primary season moves onto the states of Nevada, South Carolina, and Washington next. We’ll find out on February 20th who will be advancing in the race for the party nominations.

Sources: Associated Press, Associated Press, The New York Times, The New York Times, Time, The Des Moines Register, Slate

Photo:,  Paul Sancya (AP)

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Merry Christmas Everybody!!!!!


Merry Christmas Political Munchie!!! Wanted to wish you and yours a great Christmas and holiday season as well. It’s a time to kickback, gather with friends and family, eat food, and be merry. The holidays are often a special time in everyone’s calendar year. Although the message behind Christmas doesn’t change every year our commitment to the renewal of Christmas values does as time goes on. Hopefully you have a safe and happy Christmas this year.

I apologize that I have been quite busy this year to get a lot of blogging done. Recently I graduated from college with my Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. After getting my undergraduate degree it was hard to decide what to do next. A masters can look great on your resume but is not always the most obvious choice. Today it seems many are not getting masters degrees in exchange for other types of career activities. Yes, they are a lot of work to complete. If you’re considering a degree in liberal arts be ready to ready to read, write, and do research on pretty much any subject. Be ready to solve problems that only a few have taken on and do them in a hands-on type of way. Masters programs are as much about learning new topics as pushing the boundaries of what you already know.

By no means am I saying you shouldn’t get a master degree. I say this because such programs are more focused than normal degrees and the teachers have more to offer in terms of expertise in the programs. Right now is a good time to go back to school because there are a large amount of offerings and competition isn’t as high as it could be for high level degrees. Of course, you’re always going to have people who dislike school or simply don’t see value of such a degree. If you want to build on your career wherever you are you might find a master of use to you. It could add a whole new component to your experiences. For me I felt like the addition of the masters made sense to furthering my own course of action. Looking at getting one can’t hurt.

What is going on in the news? As we rocket towards a new year you can’t help thinking about some of the issues that defined the year 2015. The conflict in Syria, Russia sanctions by western countries, rock bottom oil prices, and the upcoming US 2016 Presidential Elections would all top this list of discussion items. The political picture is all new from what it was just before. In all, 2015 was a pretty tumultuous year, which was proceeded by a tumultuous 2014. The world seems to be shifting into a new paradigm that no one really knows what the end result will be. Although many reading this may be completely unaffected by many of these events, others might be grappling with a new reality that didn’t seem likely a few years ago. New struggles are arising that many of us have never seen before.

Although the world is changing, Christmas comes again this year like it does every year. At least there is something that everyone can hang on to despite the new circumstances. For through Christmas we ring in a new birth, an end of season, a shopping trip, and a day off. Its these little things that keep us going. What the new year will bring will hopefully fulfill this year’s shortcomings.


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Happy Halloween Political Munchie!

Hello its me again, Neocrtic!

Happy Halloween to you and yours on this 2015 candy filled big-box holiday! Do anything festive tonight? Maybe you went out trick or treating, perhaps you were at a costume party, or maybe you stayed at home eating a bowl of candy. Whatever you did hopefully you had a good time while doing it. And remember, your never too old to get in the spirit of the holiday.

In my neighborhood Halloween night went pretty well, for the most part. However I’ve noticed the trend of fewer and fewer houses giving out candy to tricker treaters. Of course candy giving has been on a downward trend for years now it seems. Maybe its the effects of the recession depressing expectations or the fact that many where I live don’t have young kids anymore as they’ve grown up into adults. Instead of houses shutting down at 8:00 or 8:30 pm like they used to, the houses shut down as early as 7:20 pm. And Halloween house decorations? Those have dried up as well.

Hopefully traditional Halloween is just waiting for the infusion of the next generation and not in some sort of unfortunate decline. Of course going to a big-box store you would never know such issues existed. The Halloween section this year is larger than ever, more rows of candy, costumes, and capes for the Halloween enthusiast. The Halloween lights are only to be outdone be pre-Christmas sale isle.

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween and scare you with a blog update! As I dress up in my Donald Trump wig in honor of the upcoming Presidential primary season.

Sorry for not getting around to more blogging, I’ve been busy lately taking classes at school and an internship. Both of which have been taking up a fair amount of time. Still, Political Munchie I have not forgot! I oh so much wish to return to you with more bigger updates. Hopefully I will do such when I can.


PS: We reached 5,000 views!!! That’s right, 5,000!!! What an awesome time to be a blogger!


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Hillary Clinton’s Email and Server Problems

Back in April of 2015 former First Lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she was running for president of the United States on the Democratic side. This news was met by support from many, including voters, donors, and for some shocking reason former president Bill Clinton. At the moment Hillary is the only major candidate running on the Democratic side for president meaning she is the person to beat. And yet trouble is brewing in the Clinton campaign with just over a year before the election. It’s not Hillary’s record as first lady that people are talking about, rather potential legal problems during her time as Secretary of State. The question now is could these issues bring down her bid for president?

This whole Hillary Clinton email kerfuffle making headlines right now first started back in March, when it was made public Hillary Clinton was using a private home server to conduct State Department business on while Secretary of State. There has been much debate over whether it was legal for Hillary to use a private server for State Department emails. Although other past Secretary of States’ apparently also used private email for government business, the rules at the US State Department have apparently changed saying that government business must be conducted on a government email address. The debate here however is over whether these rules changed while Clinton was there as Secretary of State from the years 2009-2013.

For her part Hillary has come out and said “What I did was legally permitted,” and that State Department rules, “at the time…” said there nothing against using private email to conduct government business. As for the official line from the State Department, the best evidence we have comes from court, where lawyers are trying to get email’s released from Hillary’s Clinton’s time as Secretary of State under the Freedom of Information Act. There U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has said “We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy,” and that Clinton’s use of a private email server complicated the government’s release of Hillary’s emails.

How exactly Hillary violated the State Department’s server policy is not really known, but needless to say elements of the Federal government investigation services have gotten involved in the issue. The Inspector General for the 17 federal agencies intelligence units  and even the FBI (who  have in their possession Clinton’s home server that was used) are now focused on sorting through the Clinton server issue and the subsequent government emails that were on the server. So far it seems that at least some of these emails on the servers were labeled as, or are, “classified” in nature, a heightened security level of government document classification that only allows certain government officials to access the information. Generally this kind of information is military or foreign policy related, information the Secretary of State is regularly engaged in knowing.

 If classified emails are proven to be on Clinton’s server she could face legal action for this breach of protocol as well. The most recent information is that 150 new Clinton emails, out of 7,000 about to be released, are said to have classified information in them. While not at the time being labeled as classified directly, the State Department has said they are retroactively upgrading these emails to “classified” status as they find them; meaning the public will not get to see them in the data dump. Yet just how these emails skipped being labeled as “classified” and ended up on Clinton’s private server still remains a mystery.

As we all use email we’re more used to dealing with spam versus non spam, than classified and non-classified information. Yet during this upcoming presidential election season the debate is likely going to be more about what email was and was not a security risk. Will the email scandal contribute to the sinking of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president? Only time will truly tell. You can already be sure though that the 2016 election is going to be rather interesting.

Huffington Post, Politico, CNS News, The Hill, The New York Times


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Iran Completes Nuclear Deal with World Nations, but will it last?

It’s been a little while and the Iran nuclear deal with western nations and other major global countries has finally been complete. Kind of… In mid July Iran and world powers  reached a final deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities for ten years in exchange for lifting Western military and economic sanctions on Iran. This is after the two sides first agreed on the major details of the plan back in May of this year. Although a positive international gesture of good will, this is a deal that has been far from free of scrutiny and interpretation. Although many believe the intentions of the deal are good by the sides involved, politicians in Iran and elsewhere seem unsure if Iran is going to stick to the bargain. And if Iran doesn’t stick to the bargain, can anyone stop them from continuing their pursuit of nuclear technologies?

Iran and world powers have finally capped a deal to put a temporary hold on Iran’s nuclear program. This is a program Iran claims is only being used for nuclear power generation, or peaceful purposes. Western powers, particularly the United States, have not been convinced by this thinking. They have long believed that Iran is working on some sort of nuclear weapons program. This has lead to sanctions on Iran, particularly its lucrative oil business. As Iran’s economy has been brought to its knees the country has expressed a desire to negotiate itself out of the situation. World powers have largely been responsive to this idea. In 2013 Iran and the world power agreed to a tentative deal to curb Iran’s nuclear efforts, which was further refined with another more expansive deal earlier this year. Now the final deal in the series of deals has been struck.

The details of this compromise being that Iran is allowed to keep its nuclear reactors, yet they must only now be used for research purposes and Iran must cut down the number of centrifuges by two thirds to 5,060 (from roughly 19,000 centrifuges today). The amount of low enriched uranium Iran is allowed to keep (which theoretically could be used to build a nuclear bomb), must be dropped from 10,000 kilograms to 300 kilograms. This means it would now take Iran at least 15 years to get enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb, creating low enriched uranium at its current pace.

In return, the US, EU, UN, Japan, and South Korea have agreed to reduce their estimated $7 billion per year in sanctions on Iran. Among these sanctions are ones on Iran buying nuclear technology, bans on Iranian weapons exports, bans on transactions with Iranian financial institutions, and, of course, bans on Iran’s crude oil exports and natural gas industries. Combined, US and EU sanctions have caused a drop in Iran’s oil exports from 2.2 million barrels per day in 2011 to just 700,000 barrels exported today. This drop underlines the heavily toll the sanctions have had on Iran’s economy.

With the deal stuck between the China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Iran, many of the major sanctions on Iran’s economy could now be lifted by the end of the year, a process that was instead first purposed by Western nations as a phased withdrawal of the sanctions . This coming sudden loss of sanctions on Iran has caused some apprehension in political circles for proponents of the deal that perhaps the sanctions are being reduced too quickly without seeing concrete steps taken on the Iranian side. This includes some Senate Republicans and current GOP 2016 presidential election frontrunner Donald Trump, who while being interviewed with NBC News said that he opposes the deal and Iran will get $150 billion in sanctions relief, regardless of whether the Iran deal is actually approved by all parties involved or not. This is despite the final  deal now having a “snap-back” function that would reintroduce sanctions if Iran failed to keep up its part of the deal.

Meanwhile, US President Obama has praised the compromise saying “This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction,” and that “We should seize [the deal].” With only a year and a half left in his presidency, it’s thought that Obama has made this one of the final landmark foreign policy deals of his time in office. He likely wants the deal to not only succeed but show results down the line. For the United States making a deal Iran has long been an issues of discussion.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said of the deal “This is a reciprocal deal. If they stick to it, we will. The Iranian nation has always observed its promises and treaties.” That’s right everyone, Iran always sticks to its deals. You can expect smooth sailing with this one. But generally the Iranian President doesn’t have the final say on all decisions made in Iran. Rather its Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who although originally made statements in support of Iranian negotiators, is said to oppose the deal overall.With somewhat conflicting views by two of Iran’s top leaders, who knows which way this deal could end.

Perhaps we’ll know more at the end of the year when the deal is expected to go into, if approved by governments around the world.

Sources: BBC, New York Times, Newsmax, Reuters

Picture: IBtimes

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Chinese Hackers Steal Data from 21.1 Million US Government Employees

Over the past couple of months you might have noticed a national cyber security crisis making the headlines. Sony’s Pictures getting massive amounts of computer data stolen by North Korean hackers? No, that’s not the one. The White House getting hacked by Russian linked hackers accessing Obama’s unclassified emails? Not that either, but you’re getting closer to the one I’m thinking of. Unsurprisingly hacking is becoming increasingly more common as computer expertise spreads throughout the world, and defense software built to protect against hacking seems to have trouble keeping up with the sophistication of the breaches.

On June 2nd the US federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that the data of 4 million federal employees, workers past and present, was stolen from government computers by hackers based in China. This breach originally happened back in December of 2014, yet the cyber breach took months for government cyber defenses to identify. Not until April of this year did they know the true extent of the damage done. Meanwhile names, government positions, security clearances, and even social security data flew out into Chinese web space. None of that government data being encrypted for some odd reason. This being a crisis that could only be described as doing catastrophic levels of damage to US government computer databases.

The Office of Personnel Management is in charge of maintaining employment data and providing security clearances for the US federal government’s almost 2.8 million employees. The role they play is highly significant spanning across multiple government agencies. In response to the hack OPM director Katherine Archuleta came out saying “Protecting our federal employee data from malicious cyber incidents is of the highest priority at OPM,” She has since abruptly resigned from her position as OPM director after coming under heavy criticism from Congress and government employee unions.

Indeed, the situation was worse than first realized as more information about the hack has become available. Earlier this month in July came word that a second breach by Chinese hackers stole government employee investigation data, employee’s family data, and information on US government contractors. This hack was estimated to hit a total of 22.1 million (MILLION!) Americans. Quite literally the data of none of the US federal government employees were spared in the attacks. Although not an attack in the physical sense, this computer hacks could be seen as akin to cyber 9/11 for the United States. The damage to the security of the US government and its computer systems is strong for reasons that go to the center of what of national security is all about.

For its part China has denied any involvement in the hacking. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington DC said that China was “not responsible…” and that US accusations were “counterproductive…” The Chinese group accused of hacking the US government computers, otherwise known as “Deep Panda” sounds more like a Chinese finger trap than a professional hacking group. Regardless China is under suspicion of being involved in the attacks, taking the data, and doing knows what with it.

Who is to blame for this attack on the US side you ask? It could be the Office of Personnel Management for simply not being ready for such a cyber attack. It could also be Congress for not providing adequate funding for cyber security measures. And perhaps even yet still the White House for not having a coherent cyber security strategy across federal agencies. Indeed, President Obama has been relatively quiet on these recent security breaches, refusing to directly confront China about them, at least not publically at this time.

Yet the damage done by these breaches is strong in that Americans financial data and personal data is being horded by a foreign country.  You would think that should bring forth some type of response.

Sources: The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Independent

Photo: Computer

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Happy July 4th America!!!!

Hello! For the American readers out there, welcome to July 4th, 2015, Independence Day! That’s right, the 239th birthday of the United States of America. We celebrate our independence today going from being just another colony of the world to a country of our very own. Wow what an incredible ride it’s been during these many long years. From independence, to elections, to peace, to war, to the past, to the future, to George Washington to Barrack Obama, there have been many things that have made America great.

So too the United States remains very much a work in progress. In some ways you could even call it an experiment, if you will. As acclaimed early 20th Century psychologist Sigmond Freud once said “America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen…”Yes many times this seems like a difficult point to argue against. The list of groundbreaking places America as a country has been is long, and continues to increase as time goes on. This in itself makes the US noteworthy, a subject to be talked about.

As we’ve seen in this last year ‘The Union’ still very much continues to grow with new challenges, opportunities, and laws being implemented. Not all of those changes have been for the positive of course. Although the US often sees itself as trying new things, it also must defend its sovereignty not to be taken over by special interests. Whether that is through interest groups, money, or power, the freedom Americans have come to expect is being exploited in new ways today that border on the questionable. If you were wondering, what the other half of that Freud quote is “…but, I am afraid, [America] is not going to be a success.”

In order to make America a success in these trying times there must be renewal in what makes America the land of promise and opportunity. This idea naturally carries into the upcoming 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections and years to come. Such a goal will not be easy to accomplish in a time when freedom seems to increasingly mean “Do anything you want!” Yes freedom is important, but it’s also important to remember that values go along with freedom. Freedom can’t stand without something successful to build off of to make it fair for all. In certain areas America today needs to try harder to be a steward of positive influence in the world and not merely an influence. Staying true to the vision of what America is really supposed to be should be remembered.

So Happy 4th of July!!! Hopefully you have a safe and happy holiday! I apologize for not getting more blog posts up sooner, I’ve been swamped with books to read, projects to write, internship planning, and more. There will be more time coming up to write more positive stories. Honestly, I miss bringing you the latest and greatest in politics. Let’s hope not that much longer!



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