Wednesday, July 13, 2016

As Predicted

NO, the news cycle about presidential polls this week is not news.

As predicted in the spring, in this blog, going into the Republican Convention there will be a bump putting Trump even with Clinton in national polls.  Those are not electoral college polls, and therefore don't really matter.  I'll add to that bump, however, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but not Florida as "toss ups" coming out of the Republican convention next week.

Coming out of the Democratic convention two weeks later, however, Clinton's bump will put her ahead for the duration.  Please also recall the electoral college math demands that Trump win Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania to win the election.  The odds of him sweeping those three are very low at this point.

Nothing new here.... See you in November.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Electoral College Map Game

270 electoral votes to win:

Here is your link to an Electoral College Interactive Map for those who want to play with the possibilities for the fall election.  The folks at 270towin dot com update the polls daily, and have an interesting "concensus pundit map" that shows various levels of "safety" for the two major candidates.  Remember, in 1824 (John Quincy Adams), 1876 (Rutherford B. Hayes), 1888 (Benjamin Harrison) and 2000 (George W. Bush) the election was won by candidates who did not win more popular votes than their opponents.

According to the pundits, as of July 7, the following states are in play:  Colorado (9), Iowa (4), Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.  All of the other states are significantly leaning, or solidly leaning one way or the other and are unlikely to change.

As of today, here's my best guess:

What does your map look like?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Trump/Clinton electoral college polls and the math against Bernie

Despite my own advice, I continue to watch the polls for the Electoral College.

One of the best scientific sites is Election Graphs dot com which averages the last 5 polls in each state, and then presents various charts and diagrams showing clearly the swing states.

Trump can not win without Florida AND Ohio.  Since the Romney election, I have maintained that the key to a new Republican coalition for national elections is to get 50% of women and a majority of hispanics.  Without women and hispanics, it is hard to see how the Republicans can hope to win national offices.  Of course Trump is polling at record setting lows with both categories, which in Florida is especially devastating. In a time when the incumbent Democrat enraged Cuban Americans in Florida by normalizing relations with Castro's Cuba, only Trump can manage to lose that demographic.

Current Summary
Trump Best264274Trump by 10 EV
Expected338200Clinton by 138 EV
Clinton Best384154Clinton by 230 EV
The tipping point state is Florida where Clinton is ahead by 4.2%.

So, I maintain you can all go back to sleep and wait to the fall.


As of today, Hillary has 1769 at-large delegates.  She needs 2383 to win the nomination on the first ballot.  That means she needs 614 more delegates.  How will she get there?

All of the remaining contests total 933 at-large delegates still available. Hillary is polling ahead in California, New Jersey and most of the other states.  Assume she gets 55% of the 933, for 513 delegates.  She will finish the primary season with 2,282 delegates, 101 shy of the 2383 she needs.  Bernie, in this math, will have won 1,921, or 462 shy of the 2383 he needs.  The super delegates will absolutely decide who the candidate is.  There are 712 super delegates in the Democratic party.  469 of them have already declared in favor of Hillary.  Game, set match.


In fact, with those 469 + her current 1769, Hillary already stands at 2,238 delegates, just 145 away from clinching the nomination.  In order for Bernie to win the nomination, he would need to win all 212 undeclared super delegates, plus 789 of the remaining 933 at-large delegates.  That would require winning every single remaining contest 85% to 15% over Hillary. Given the fact that he is actually behind in the polls, well... he is ONLY staying in the contest because it is his last chance at publicity and influence.


Virgin Islands on June 4,      12 delegates
Puerto Rico on June 5,          67

Over 800 total delegates on June 7:

New Jersey,
New Mexico
North Dakota
South Dakota

Washington DC, June 14      45 delegates.


As noted in the Bernie math, there are 212 "undeclared" super delegates at this point. They will most likely follow the election results in their home districts, or the party nominee.  If they split 106-106, Hillary wins the nomination right away on the first ballot.  According to

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Circling Back on the (Still Predicatable and Boring) Presidential Process


Here are the "Odds" from Vegas (Bovada) as of today:  Clinton is still a clear favorite over Trump for the White House.

Hillary Clinton -340
Donald Trump +280

A CNN news poll today puts Hillary +13% over Trump if the election were to be held today. So...

Looking back at my early February posting, there have been no surprises.

Here we are, as predicted, on May 4, 2016, and both Trump and Clinton have prohibitive leads and clear paths to their nominations.  Cruz and Kasich have now both suspended their campaigns and Trump is unopposed to lead the Republican ticket. Sanders has admitted that he is only trying to get more delegates to force his ideas into the Democratic platform for legislative action in the new congress after the elections.

Keep catching up on your old movies and books, as nothing interesting is likely to happen until the showmanship of the Conventions themselves.  And after that... since both Clinton and Trump are completely known commodities, there is no reason to believe that any significant shift will occur in the electorate in the next 6 months to November.

The Republicans meet in Cleveland on July 18-21.  The Democrats will meet in Philadelphia on July 25-28.  It is possible that the Republican "bump" could see polls close to each other going into the Democratic convention, but Clinton will then likely pull ahead coming out of Philly.  Stay Tuned for electoral map musings in the days ahead.

(Official Disclaimer:  My political comments and views are my own and don't represent any institution or anyone else - except other well informed individuals :) )

Thursday, March 24, 2016

MPAC's toolkit for Muslims against Terrorism

I continue to be astounded by the stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists. While the single most vile terrorist trend in the world today is certainly the terrorism that is found within Islam, one must be more level headed than to declare Islam and Muslims to be terrorists.

I encourage you, for example, to go to this Toolkit against Terrorism for American Muslims by American Muslims.  Published by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, its purpose is to take the Homeland Security Enterprise to the Muslim community through a patriotic Muslim American voice.  This is not propaganda for you and me to read.  It is a sincere effort to build the Muslim case against terrorism and violence, and to teach the values of "See Something, Say Something."

Remember, in Brussles the arrest of Salah Abdeslam (the "mastermind" of the Paris attack and leader of the Brussles terrorist cell) was the result of a tip from within the Muslim community.  It was this arrest that seems to have scared the cell into launching their subway and airport attacks unprepared.  They left behind vital information and materials in their apartment, didn't plan the transportation of luggage effectively, dropped a fully functional laptop in a garbage can where it was discovered, and didn't have a third trigger manufactured for the third bomb in the airport.  While their attack was horrific, it was rushed and sloppy, because a Muslim did the right thing by Islam and tipped off the authorities.

Of course, the argument goes, that the bombers were living in open sight with arrest warrents on their heads.  Why didn't friends or family turn them in?

If you see something, say something.  Islam in America has found roots to flourish as a peaceful and democratic religion.  Materials like the MPAC's guide are not the exception, but they get very little press.  That's okay.  Let's hope that they work.

Keurigs and "Kumkums" on Pesach

I have received a large number of questions regarding various instant coffee devices on pesach and shabbat.  Here is a quick summary of the issues for those who wish:

PESACH (Passover):

The Keurig device has two sharp tubes which puncture the coffee packet.  The upper one serves to inject boiling hot water into the cup, and the lower one serves as the point of egress for the brewed coffee.  Both tubes are inside the boiling coffee at the time of cooking.  Both have metal and plastic components and can not be kashered for Pesach.

However: If you have been careful to use only unflavored coffee throughout the year from the time of purchase of the Keurig, then your Keurig has always been (and continues to be) kosher for passover. In this case, the device does not even need to be cleaned, as it is already fit for Pesach use.  You probably want to clean it anyways in a passover sink, but that's just to make sure it isn't gross. ;)

The countertop water heater ("kumkum") is even easier.  Since it has only had water in it, it is also already kosher for passover.  wipe down the outside and it is ready to go.


Boiling water is a forbidden activity on Shabbat (it is a "toldah" of "dye making" to be specific).  Therefore any benefit derived from newly boiled water on Shabbat is also completely forbidden on Shabbat.  There are 3 common household items that are called into question: the dishwasher, the "instant hot," and the water heater.

Dishwashers.  Dishwashers that require a handle to close and lock them in order to function can only be loaded, not run, on Shabbat.  Modern dishwashers with timers can be set prior to Shabbat, and loaded on Shabbat as long as the timer buttons are not manipulated on Shabbat.  If it goes on later, great.  If not, too bad.  You may take out the dishes in the morning and use them for shabbat, but should not take out dishes that you don't need yet.  Those get put away after havdalah.

Instant Hot.  This device is installed at the sink, and boils the water as it passes through the spicket to your mug.  There is no way to use this on Shabbat.  Some have a hot water reservoir which automatically refills and reboils if you drain water out to use.  This is p'sik reisha, a direct and inevitable forbidden action, so is prohibited.

Hot water heaters.  This is the large tank or tanks in your home that provide water for sinks and showers.  They routinely heat and turn off in cycles to keep a constant temperature.  The water as a whole does not boil.  Water at the metal surface of the heating implement within the tank may boil from time to time.  As you drain water in your sink or bathrooms, new water comes into the tank and mixes with the much larger amount of existing water.  The addition of new water does NOT force the tank to boil, as in the instant hot.  Therefore it is not p'sik reisha, is indirect and unintended, and is therefore permitted.  You may take hot showers on Shabbat, and you may even choose to use the hot water in your sink to mix tepid instant coffee (yuck).

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Vegas says it's Hillary over Donald in the Fall

The smartest and most accurate predictors of anything in America are consistently the Vegas odds makers.  What are they saying about the election?

Democrats:  As of today, with Super Tuesday 6 days away, Hillary Clinton is predicted by Vegas to be to overwhelming and unstoppable favorite to win the Democratic Party's nomination. But aren't Hillary and Bernie tied at this point with 52 and 51 delegates respectively at this point in the primaries? Not really.  This is because the party officials and leaders, who make up over 500 "super delegates" at the convention, have  committed to Clinton 503-70 at this point. Sanders would need to win 430 more delegates than Clinton in the primaries just to level the playing field.  That's simply not going to happen.  Here are the odds. ( -1000 means you have to bet $1000 to win only $100).

Odds as of February 24 at Bovada
  • Hillary Clinton -1000
  • Bernie Sanders +400
  • Joe Biden +2500

Republicans:  As of today, with Super Tuesday 6 days away, Donald Trump is predicted by Vegas to have a safe path to the nomination of the Republican Party.  This is closer, but not that close. Trump is predicted to win, largely because he has 82 primary delegates already won, verses Cruz at 17 and Rubio at 16. Trump's lead going into Super Tuesday is significant.  If he extends that lead on Tuesday, which the state polling seems to indicate he will do, expect his odds to become more "
hillary-esque."  Something like -500 is easily thinkable.  Interestingly, Cruz - who is currently winning more than Rubio in delegates and polls and is likely to do well on Super Tuesday - is seen as the distant 3rd place bet at this time.  Here are the odds.

Odds as of February 24 at Bovada
  • Donald Trump -300
  • Marco Rubio +200
  • Ted Cruz +4000
  • John Kasich +4000

Who will be President?

Each candidate's odds of winning here is a factor of both their likelihood to win the nomination of their party, and then their ability to win against likely opponents.  Hillary has been a favorite in this book since it was opened last year, and that has not changed.  Trump was originally behind both Cruz and Rubio in this book, even when winning in the polls.    Here are the odds.

Odds as of February 24 at Bovada
  • Hillary Clinton -150
  • Donald Trump +200
  • Marco Rubio +500
  • Bernie Sanders +1000
  • Michael Bloomberg +2500
  • Ted Cruz +10000
  • John Kasich +10000

Vegas doesn't get much wrong, so - barring some basic and startling new information on one of the candidates - the coming Clinton-Trump general election will result in President-elect Hillary Clinton on the morning of November 9, 2016.

Of course, T.V. needs you to stay tuned in, so the spin and the talk will continue ad naseum.  In the meantime, catch up on some old Netflix and make sure you are registered to vote in the NJ primary on June 7.  Registering now will be much more exciting than actually voting on June 7, because the delegate counts will likely be irrelevant at that point in the process.