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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Will Hurricane Matthew change the direction of the election?

If the destruction in Florida and along the east coast are as bad as predicted from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew today and this weekend, the lead-in to Sunday night’s debate (at Washington University in St. Louis, moderated by liberals Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper) could very well be dominated by news media images of shattered buildings and lives in jeopardy – or lost.

Such events have a way of reminding Americans that petty matters take a backseat when tragedy occurs. There’s a renewed focus on humanity and the real life suffering that’s taking place and it doesn’t matter Hurricane Matthewwhether it’s just down the road from us or all the way across the country.

Despite this humbling atmosphere, I would imagine the soulless and unscrupulous Hillary Clinton will try to take full advantage of the situation by suggesting the massiveness of the storm was fostered by “climate change” and the country somehow needs a sizeable uptick in disaster spending from the federal government to ensure everyone’s safety in the future.

Hillary will do anything to deflect attention off of her record during the discussion on Sunday night, even if it involves capitalizing on peoples’ misery. The fact that the debate will be in a town hall-type format virtually guarantees the candidates will be taking questions from the audience about the federal response to nature’s fury as well as how government can be used to help people solve their everyday problems.

There isn’t a lot of room for the limited government philosophy in this setting.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner thinks the town hall setup could actually work to Trump’s advantage since he’s not hesitant about saying government should act as a potential savior in these situations. Antle writes, “Trump is gaffe-prone, but he is also a professional entertainer who has shown that same ability to connect with audiences at various points during his presidential campaign. Trump's rallies attract huge crowds for a reason…

“This time, the Republican nominee isn't really running on taking government benefits away from anyone. The only arguable exception is Obamacare, a law that Clintons have conceded is flawed and that Mr. I Feel Your Pain (Bill Clinton) recently described as ‘crazy.’

“What Trump probably won't do is talk about how he isn't going to give voters ‘free stuff.’”

In other words, the debate could devolve into which candidate can convince the most people that he or she is willing to kick big government into gear with the most gusto to distribute goodies.

Hillary will come prepared with a laundry list of crises she’s overseen in her decades of public service and will imply that because Donald Trump may not have paid income taxes for a number of years that such benevolent governmental action wouldn’t be possible if he’s elected president.

At any rate, before we get too far off track, Donald Trump is receiving a lot of suggestions from a lot of different quarters in terms of how he should approach Sunday’s 90 minute forum.

Political commentator Monica Crowley thinks Trump should be aggressive in attacking Clinton’s faulty background. Crowley writes in the Washington Times, “Going into the (first) debate — his debut on the world’s biggest stage — everyone, including his closest aides, was telling him that he must achieve plausibility: That is, he needed to reassure voters by looking reasonable, confident and self-possessed. If he were able to demonstrate an even temperament and basic command of the issues, voters could picture him behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office — and Mrs. Clinton’s negative ads about his unfitness would melt away…

“Many are now demanding that he truly go on the attack. Since it’s in the political bloodstream that he did not hit her proactively the last time, he now has a free hand to up the ante without being stigmatized as an unsuitable hothead.”

I think Crowley’s is good advice as long as Trump keeps his criticisms measured against Clinton’s public record as opposed to personal attacks that will just turn people off. There’s plenty in Crooked Hillary’s background to assail without opening the door to a cage match that he will certainly lose when the media gets involved with it.

Especially in the wake of a national tragedy like a damaging hurricane, Trump needs to be sober in mood – but definitely not somber. He needs to emphasize his lifelong leadership qualities and his accomplishments without sounding like a braggart. This is a situation that’s tailor made for someone who knows how to solve logistical problems and get things done quickly.

There’s also a potential advantage to having the debate take place after a catastrophic event.

Remembering back to Super Storm Sandy, which struck the New York area just days before the 2012 election, Obama was able to attract late deciding voters by heading up to the region, “hugging” Chris Christie and appearing presidential at the scene of a disaster.

I remember the nauseated feeling I felt on Election Night as the exit polls revealed that of those who decided on who to vote for in the seven days prior to the election, an overwhelming majority of these people indicated that Obama’s reaction to the storm had been a factor in their decision.

There’s nothing like a lot of hot air and a little breeze to help a Democrat win an election. It happens all the time, actually.

At any rate, if I were in the Trump campaign hierarchy I would be doing all I possibly could to get the candidate down to tour the devastated areas, take some photos and maybe even receive a gratuitous hug from Governor Rick Scott (or South Carolina’s Nikki Haley). It would be an invaluable “presidential” moment for a candidate that can use one right about now.

Trump could even deploy resources from his companies to aid the victims. How about a million dollars’ worth of Trump water?

Such a gesture would also show Trump as a robust model of a president as opposed to the hobbled and decrepit and probably sick Hillary Clinton who can’t take ten steps these days without grasping the arm of some Secret Service agent.

Just like he did in Louisiana after the devastating floods in August, Trump could go to the scene and offer some genuine private sector help for the situation. Now that’s leadership.

Let the Democrats complain all they want about how it would be a political stunt. Images don’t lie…at least the ones without Hillary Clinton in them.

Pence offers some debate advice of his own for running mate Trump

It’s safe to say there’s still a lot of buzz emanating from Mike Pence’s game-changing performance in the vice presidential debate the other night, but the Republican VP nominee himself has some rather simple advice for the man who put him in the position to do so well in front of the huge national audience.

Louis Nelson of Politico reports, “Fresh off his strong performance in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he is not pushing Donald Trump to follow his lead but instead wants the Manhattan billionaire to ‘be himself.’

“’I’d encourage Donald Trump to do what he did in his first debate and that is be himself. Speak from his mind and speak from his heart and I know he's going to do that,’ Pence said Thursday morning on Fox News’s ‘Fox and Friends.’ ‘He will be ready for this coming Sunday night.’”

Pence went on to say that Trump does well in town hall-type forums because he connects with the audience in that setting.

I think it all goes back to what people have described as the difference between the “public” and “private” Trumps. Granted I’ve never met the man in person, but I recall reading many, many testimonials about how gracious and deferential Trump is away from the TV cameras and microphones.

I’m not saying the “public” Trump is phony or contrived, but I think being under the glare of the lights and cheering fans brings out a different side of Trump than is otherwise visible in smaller, more intimate settings.

I think it’s telling that the Democrats had to go back 20 years to an unstable, disgruntled former beauty queen to find someone who claimed Trump was rude to her in person. That’s saying something right there.

As far as Pence’s advice to Trump to “just be himself,” I’m guessing the VP nominee is advancing the suggestion with the implied knowledge that his running mate simply must stick to his own message in order to prevent the media spin from getting away from him again next time.

Pence said to “share that vision for how we're going to make America great again.” That’s a great tip because Trump has gotten this far by giving hope to the forgotten Americans that someone is on their side and will help re-establish the United States as the leader of the world.

It’s something Trump won’t be able to do if he gets sidetracked again with defending his tax returns and business interests from decades ago.

We’ll see on Sunday night if Trump can “be himself” and stay on message at the same time.

Is there any such thing as a right NOT to vote?

There’s only one month to go until Election Day and while most of us are busy either trying to get our respective candidate elected or working to weaken the chances of the other one, there are still folks out there who are insisting that you should cast NO vote for president this year.

#NeverTrumper Kimberly Ross writes in RedState, “I haven't yet decided what I'm going to do once election day comes. I may do a write-in as my own protest vote, or I may abstain from choosing someone entirely. One thing is for certain: I won't be choosing Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Since one of the two of them will actually win, this means I won't actually be choosing our next president. I have both the right to choose neither and the right to complain about the final results.

“Voting is an excellent way for citizens to participate in determining the course of our country's future. As a female citizen, I'm proud to have such an exercise at my disposal. However, consciously choosing to not vote for the president is just as important. You're exercising your freedom, and declaring that yes, we can do much, much better.”

I could probably devote a week’s worth of time to refuting each one of Ms. Ross’s arguments, but for brevity’s sake only a few comments will have to do today.

First off, it doesn’t really matter whether we can “do much better” this year since in most elections there’s probably a candidate each one of us believes can “do better” than those offered as potential officeholders. I can think of any number of former pastors of my church who I feel would be better for the job of president than the current nominees, but they’re not on the ballot.

So, those of us living in the real world acknowledge that there is only Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to choose from in 2016 (no, third party candidates aren’t choices either).

Next, Ross doesn’t preserve her “right to complain about the final results” by not voting because if you’re not going to participate in the game you have no standing to gripe about the competitors. Politics isn’t a spectator sport where you purchase a ticket and it entitles you to all the shouting you can muster.

Voting for a president includes choosing his or her policies and personnel and if you’re not going to support or oppose one set of those groups you have no right to grumble about what happens when those policies affect you. For example, if you’re a gun owner and Hillary’s Supreme Court upholds her future executive order to ban them, then you own it…I mean, you own the decision and you won’t own the gun anymore.

Lastly, there is no such thing as “exercising freedom” by not voting. That might be the case in countries that require voting by law (I can’t name them off the top of my head but I know there are many), but here in America voting is a privilege that should be accepted by everyone who’s earned the right to vote through citizenship.

I can’t say it any plainer…if you don’t vote, you’re stupid.

It’s the only means we have to control who “serves” us. Once in office we have the right to assemble, petition, speak, etc… against that person. But again, if Hillary Clinton is elected, do you honestly believe she’s not going to try and place her own like-minded anti-Constitution cronies on the Federal Communications Commission?

What if they re-impose the “Fairness Doctrine” on internet sites or talk radio programs? Think it can’t happen?

If you are so positive that you can’t stomach voting for or against the new president than maybe you should think twice about other “freedoms” that you now enjoy that someday very soon you might be living without.

Open letter blasting Trump represents the last gasp of the dying Republican establishment

Finally this week, after having just called folks who choose not to vote for president this year “stupid,” I’ve found another group of people who easily qualify for the label – that being former Republican officeholders who signed an anti-Trump letter on Thursday saying that the party nominee lacks the qualities to be president.

Jonathan Easley of The Hill reports, “A group of 30 former GOP lawmakers signed a blistering open letter to Republicans on Thursday, warning that Donald Trump lacks the ‘intelligence’ and temperament to be president and urging the party to reject the Republican presidential nominee at the polls on Nov. 8…

“The group includes former committee chairmen, lawmakers from swing states with decades of experience on Capitol Hill, one of the first openly gay members of Congress, and one member who led investigations on Capitol Hill into scandals involving the Clintons.”

Trump lacks the “intelligence” to be president? Talk about saying something stupid.

The letter signer list reads like a who’s who of the bitter and dying mushy moderate John Boehner wing of the Republican establishment. No wonder their letter sounds like it was written by someone at Clinton campaign headquarters. It says Trump “insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges.”

Wait, isn’t that a verbatim quote from Tim Kaine the other night?

Naturally there isn’t one word concerning the character, temperament and truth-telling abilities of the other candidate. These people are mentally challenged.

Sean Hannity’s right – if Trump loses the election because fools like this couldn’t accept the will of the GOP primary voters and get behind their party nominee, they will own everything Crooked Hillary does come November 9.

Can you imagine Democrats publishing a letter like this? Is there anything a Democrat nominee could possibly do that would cause any Democrat to disavow him or her?

The political divide in this country is truly astonishing. For better or worse, Donald Trump represents the “forgotten Americans” in this election. If this “stupid” group of Republican establishmentarians can’t get their arms around that, there is no party at all where they’re concerned.

We can only hope Donald Trump wins and they’ll be on the outside looking in when conservatives take over the next administration. That would be a happy day, indeed.

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