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August 11, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Summary[]

As July started, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton met with the FBI to discuss the private e-mail server she used as Secretary of State. A few days later, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference where he announced that charges would not be appropriate against Clinton. He noted, however, that Clinton had acted carelessly in installing a private e-mail server for State business and had risked compromising State secrets. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the lack of charges in the case showed “the system is totally rigged!” Polls from the early part of the month gave Clinton a slight lead in the race. She led the July 4 Real Clear Politics average 44.9% to 40.3%. At this time, media interest in the running-mate selections of Trump and Clinton intensified. The Washington Post speculated that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were the leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate. However, other reports pointed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, who confirmed he would accept the position if asked. Trump commented that ten names were on the shortlist including some not mentioned in the media. In later days, General Michael Flynn was floated as a possibility in reports. Gingrich, Flynn, and Pence were apparently finalists for the position, with Pence believed to be the favorite. For the Democrats, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro received mention as potential running mates for Clinton, but the shortlist reportedly included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Trump speaks at a July Iowa rally with Mike Pence’s name affixed to his logo
Image: Max Goldberg (flickr).

On July 7, Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and met with Republican members from the House of Representatives and Senate. During the meeting, Trump reportedly told the attendees if they did not support his candidacy, they were, in effect, supporting Clinton. Trump agreed to allow his former rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to speak at the convention, but he did not secure an endorsement from Cruz. The next day, both Trump and Clinton canceled campaign events as an African American shooter in Dallas killed five police officers. Trump’s state chairman in Virginia blamed the shooting on Clinton and others “who label police as racists.” In the aftermath, Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate.” Ahead of its convention, the GOP platform committee approved a socially conservative platform that opposed same-sex marriage and identified pornography as a “public health crisis.” The convention’s host, Ohio governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival of Trump, would not endorse Trump and claimed through a spokesman that Trump had asked Kasich join the presidential ticket in May, but Kasich had declined. Trump’s spokesman denied the claim. Another former rival, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said he might vote for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of Trump. On the other side, Hillary Clinton’s principle rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped his campaign and officially endorsed Clinton. Clinton also seemingly received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Trump “a faker” and wondered why he has “gotten away” with not releasing his tax returns. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned whether the country was “well served” with a Supreme Court justice openly discussing her political views. Trump referred to Ginsburg’s comments as “highly inappropriate.” Ginsburg later apologized.

Trump announced he would officially name his running mate on July 15. Though Pence was the favorite to receive the nod, Trump met with Senator Jeff Sessions, and had additional meetings with Christie and Gingrich. According to multiple news reports, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and financier Sheldon Adelson all tried to convince Trump to select Gingrich, while campaign manager Paul Manafort favored Pence, and pollster Tony Fabrizio wanted Flynn. CNN reported Trump had offered the position to Pence, who accepted. According to NBC, the purported leak of the news had left Trump “seething.” Due to the July 14 attack in Nice, France, Trump postponed the planned announcement. Both CNN and NBC reported Trump was looking for ways to get out of the selection of Pence. The campaign denied the report. The New York Times alleged the Pence selection was revisited because Christie had begged the campaign to reconsider its decision and replace Pence with himself. On July 15, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had selected Pence. Through the selection, Trump said he hoped to unify the party. Manafort said the ticket would appeal to former supporters of Sanders. As the GOP convention approached, Manafort declared the #NeverTrump movement “gone,” as the GOP rules committee voted not to unbind delegates. Clinton announced she would reveal her vice presidential selection after the GOP convention. The Washington Post tapped Vilsack as the favorite.

RNC[]

Trump with Pence
Image: VOA.

As the GOP convention began in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trailed Clinton in the July 18 Real Clear Politics average 40.6% to 43.8%. Although Ohio was hosting the convention, the state’s delegates were not placed in the front as is tradition. This was believed to be punishment for Governor Kasich’s refusal to endorse Trump or attend the convention. Manafort called Kasich’s absence a “big mistake” and “embarrassing [to] his state.” With the release of the lineup of speakers showing many members of Trump’s family, former RNC chairman Michael Steele called the convention “a [Trump] family affair.”

On the opening day, on the floor of the convention at Quicken Loans Arena, anti-Trump delegates unsuccessfully attempted to force a roll call vote on the convention rules. Protests outside were relatively minor with only 24 arrests throughout the entire convention. During the convention speeches, delegates frequently chanted “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. Patricia Smith, mother of diplomat Sean Smith who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack, blamed Clinton for her son’s death and exclaimed, “Hillary belongs in prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” In his speech, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented Clinton “would go to jail” if he were allowed to prosecute her. In the prime-time opening-night speech, Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that initially received acclaim. However, this changed once the media pointed out some lines were nearly identical to those from the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Image: Erik Drost.

The Trump campaign spent most of the second day of the convention explaining away the plagiarism flap as speechwriter Meredith McIver took the blame for the passages and offered to quit. Trump requested she remain. Trump officially received the presidential nomination on the second day of the convention and Pence received the vice-presidential nomination. Christie delivered a speech in which he held a mock trial prosecuting Clinton in absentia before the delegates. He was followed with prime-time speeches by Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

View from the floor of the Convention
Image: VOA.

On the third day, The New York Times released a transcript of an interview with Trump in which he criticized NATO and questioned whether the US should honor the treaty if member nations do not contribute their share of funds. Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they disagreed with Trump’s comments. Disagreements seeped into the convention as well when Cruz gave a speech in which he did not endorse Trump. When his refusal became evident, a chorus of boos erupted from the delegates, continuing until he left the stage. The speech overshadowed that of Pence who accepted the vice-presidential nomination later that night. Cruz received almost universal condemnation from prominent Republicans. However, Gingrich, who spoke after Trump’s son Eric, who followed Cruz, commented he did not take the speech to show a lack of support for Trump. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. claimed it had helped Republicans unite behind Trump.

On the last day of the convention, after a formal introduction from Ivanka, Trump accepted the GOP nomination and delivered, CNN noted, the longest nominee acceptance speech in 40 years. In the speech, Trump emphasized “law and order”, and referenced his proposals of building a wall along the southern border and banning immigration from nations with a history of terrorism. Trump described the legacy of his opponent Clinton as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” President Barack Obama criticized the speech, accusing Trump of basing it on fear and inaccurately painting a bleak portrait of the nation. Nevertheless, a CNN/ORC instant poll showed 57% of respondents who watched the speech received it favorably and 56% were more likely to vote for Trump. According to pundit Joe Trippi, the speech and overall convention provided the GOP with about a 5.9% bounce in the polls, one point higher than the average. Most polls at this time showed Trump leading Clinton.

A day after the convention, Clinton announced her vice-presidential selection. The New York Times had reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, wanted Clinton to pick Senator Tim Kaine. Indeed, she named Kaine, a centrist from Virginia, as her running mate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Clinton-Kaine a “failed Democrat status quo” ticket.

DNC[]

Pro-Bernie Sanders protests of the DNC
Image: Becker1999.

Ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wikileaks released nearly 20 thousand hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. The e-mails showed favoritism of Clinton within the DNC and revealed plans to diminish the Sanders campaign. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as a result. Initially, she was to gavel-in the convention, but after a highly negative reception from her home state Florida delegation before the convention, she was replaced with DNC Secretary Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Media reports and the Clinton campaign itself blamed Russia for the hacking and leaking of e-mails. The DNC issued an apology to Sanders. Sanders urged his supporters not to protest on the floor of the convention. He was booed upon reiterating his support for Clinton before a group of delegates. Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein invited Sanders to meet with her, but Sanders declined. Via Twitter, Trump said Sanders had “sold out.”

View of the floor of the DNC
Image: JefParker.

On the first day of the convention, the first speakers received boos upon mentioning Clinton with the crowd erupting into chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Count our votes!” As the convention continued, the protests died down inside Wells Fargo Center, but continued outside. Overall, a total of 103 citations were issued in lieu of arrests, while the Secret Service arrested eleven. As the convention moved along, commentators oddly noted a common theme of “American exceptionalism” in speeches and more religious references than at the RNC. On the first night, Michelle Obama addressed the convention in a well received speech. She did not mention Trump by name, but referenced his slogan in proclaiming, “don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!” She heaped praise upon Clinton, whom she called a leader “guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.” She was followed by the keynote speaker Elizabeth Warren, who opened a blistering attack on Trump, accusing him of defrauding people. Sanders spoke. He expressed disappointment in the outcome of the primaries but heralded the “historical accomplishments” of his movement and urged his followers to get behind Clinton.

Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination
Image: VOA.

In a historic moment on the second day, Clinton officially received the Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party. That night, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, addressed the convention, discussing his relationship with his wife and highlighting her accomplishments. Before the convention convened on the third day, Trump held a press conference. Referencing the DNC hack leak, he remarked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The Clinton campaign attacked Trump for “actively encourag[ing] a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” though Trump claimed he was merely joking. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commented in an interview that he timed the release of the hacked e-mails to hurt Clinton in the election.

On the third day, after a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, addressed the convention. He formally endorsed Clinton and referred to Trump as a “con,” arguing, “[t]he richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy.” Later, Kaine officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination. President Obama followed with a speech to wrap up the third day. He argued that no one, himself included, was “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” He accused Trump of offering “no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.”

On the final day, Chelsea Clinton spoke and introduced her mother, Hillary Clinton, who accepted the Democratic nomination. During her speech, Clinton laid out policy proposals and attacked Trump for making some of his products overseas. In addition, she argued that Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton’s speech was deemed a success. A CNN instant poll revealed 71% of viewers had a favorable opinion of the speech with 60% more likely to vote for her after watching. Although Trump’s speech received higher television ratings, Clinton overtook Trump in post-convention polls.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Image: VOA.

Press coverage of Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by an earlier speech from Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim couple whose son died in Iraq in 2004. The speech set off a back-and-forth between Trump and Khan that lasted several days. With his wife at his side on the convention stage, Khizr Khan delivered a stinging attack on Trump for his earlier proposal to ban Muslim immigration and wondered whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. Trump responded, attacking Khizr for his comments and questioning whether Khizr’s wife remained silent during the speech because she was not allowed to speak. Trump’s comments were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Khizr labeled Trump “void of decency” and accused him of having a “dark heart.” Ghazala responded with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she attributed her silence at the convention to grief.

As July came to a close, Trump had additional setbacks. First, he mistakenly asserted that no Russian troops were currently in Ukraine. Second, he made an unsupported claim that the NFL had complained to him about the presidential debate schedule coinciding with NFL games. Nevertheless, Trump received some positive news with the announcement that Julian Assange had “extremely interesting” information on Clinton that had yet to be released through Wikileaks. In the July 31 Real Clear Politics average, Clinton, who had just received the endorsement of billionaire Mark Cuban, held a 1.1% lead over Trump .

Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees[]

Two candidates who each previously spoke with Wikinews have both announced their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian Darcy Richardson and businessman Rocky De La Fuente each decided to seek the nomination in July. Both have previously run for president as Democrats.

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century
Darcy Richardson on the Reform Party

Richardson, a veteran of third-party politics, sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 and briefly vied for the Reform Party presidential nomination that same year. He is the author of “The Others” anthology, covering third-party candidates, and has written books on such political topics as the 1968 presidential election and the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and recently, Bernie Sanders. He served as campaign manager during McCarthy’s 1988 presidential bid. In addition, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980, and was the Consumer Party’s 1988 nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In 2010, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has a history within the Reform Party beyond his 2012 run. He participated in the party’s 1996 and 2000 mail-in primaries, was part of the 2004 nominating conference calls, donated to candidates nominated by the party, and contributed to the Reform National Committee. Richardson says Reform Party Secretary Nicholas Hensley encouraged him to enter the 2016 race. As the nominee, he plans to spread the party message through television, radio, and speaking engagements.

“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, says Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”

De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate, at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is current attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews’, ballot access expert Richard Winger encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.

Rocky De La Fuente in January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Darcy Richardson in 2010
Image: Darcy Richardson.

According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguishes himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.

Richardson’s preferred running mate, activist Thomas Knapp, founder of the now-defunct Boston Tea Party, draws an even greater contrast between Richardson and De La Fuente.

“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”

“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”

De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.

The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by paleoconservative icon Pat Buchanan, who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. Ted Weill won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.

The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.

“I was approached about entering the contest very recently”, says Richardson. “I plan to support whatever ticket the party nominates.”

Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech[]

Congressman Tancredo
Image: United States Congress.

As Senator Ted Cruz delivered his much-discussed speech before the Republican National Convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, watched with disappointment. In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Tancredo argued that Cruz’s refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the speech, which prompted what was perhaps one of the most negative crowd reactions to a convention speech in recent memory, was a mistake.

“He needs to realize and appreciate the bigger picture”, said Tancredo about Cruz, “[y]ou can still hate Donald Trump for the things he says [but] he has to recognize what will happen to the country if the Supreme Court is under the control of Hillary Clinton.”

Ted Cruz delivering his convention speech
Image: VOA.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, endorsed Cruz in January, writing an op-ed for Breitbart.com in which he touted Cruz as an outsider and “the real deal.” Tancredo himself ran for president in 2008 as an outsider Republican, focusing on securing the U.S.–Mexico border and enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Notably, during his campaign, Tancredo had a September 2007 interview with Wikinews.

Cruz’s speech affected more than just Tancredo’s opinion. Though some praised the speech as principled and politically astute — including Hillary Clinton, who tweeted “vote your conscience”, repeating what Cruz had said — many prominent Republicans offered rebukes. Former Congressman Joe Walsh called for a Texas Republican to “primary” Cruz in 2018, when his Senate seat goes up for re-election, as a consequence for not honoring the GOP endorsement pledge. Chris Christie described Cruz as “selfish” for refusing to endorse. Congressman Peter King called Cruz an “asshole”, a term which RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said was apt. Polls from before and after the speech showed Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans fall from 60% to 33%.

Addressing the backlash, Cruz defended his decision, arguing “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” Moreover, he claimed the GOP endorsement pledge “was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi [his wife], that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father”.

The attacks Cruz refers to are Trump’s re-tweeting in March of a graphic comparing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a glamour shot of Melania Trump, as well as Trump’s mention last May of a National Enquirer report connecting Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Tancredo said he believes the issues facing the nation are “more important than [Cruz’s] personal feelings about his wife or father.” He maintained that Cruz “could have avoided the problem and ‘lived with himself’ by passing on the invitation to speak. Apparently the few minutes still in the spotlight was too alluring”.

A new view on Cruz was not Tancredo’s only takeaway from July’s convention. He appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech as well, calling it the “[b]est I’ve heard from him”.

Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker[]

Before Hillary Clinton’s historic moment on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, as she became the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major US political party, another woman, much younger than Clinton, made history of her own. Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party’s national convention when she spoke before the Democratic National Convention. Wikinews contacted McBride to find out more about her groundbreaking speech.

Sarah McBride
Image: Human Rights Campaign.

McBride, a native of Delaware in her mid-20s, came out as a transgender woman during her term at American University as student body president. Before HRC, an LGBT lobbying group, McBride was employed by the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, and was the first openly transgender woman to intern at the White House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT activist group Equality Delaware, through which she successfully lobbied the legislature of Delaware to expand the state’s anti-discrimination and hate-crimes acts to include gender identity and expression.

During her convention speech, McBride discussed her relationship with a transgender man, Andrew, who continued LGBT activism despite having terminal cancer. McBride married the man just a few days before his death. McBride’s speech received widespread coverage with feature stories from Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Daily Mail, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Rolling Stone, New York, and others.

With Wikinews, McBride discusses the speech, her experience at the convention, and any future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you find out the DNC wanted you to speak at the convention? What were your initial thoughts?

McBride: I found out that I was speaking about a week before the convention started. The Congressional LGBT Caucus was granted six minutes on the main stage of the convention and they decided that they wanted to dedicate half of that time to having a transgender person speak, breaking that barrier of finally having an openly trans speaker at a major party convention. When I found out, I was excited, nervous, and honored. Throughout the week leading up to the convention and during the week of the convention, my main thought was that I wanted to do the trans community proud and do them justice.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you prepare for the speech and what did it feel like to deliver it before millions of people?

McBride: For the last few years, much of my advocacy has been about telling my personal story and weaving it in to the larger effort for LGBTQ equality. In writing my speech for the DNC, I took some of the themes, thoughts, and experiences that I’ve spoken about before and condensed them for the speech. During the week of the convention, I didn’t have much time to really focus on the upcoming speech. Instead, I went from interview to interview, talking with various outlets about this opportunity and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ people.
Standing on the stage and delivering my remarks was one of the most empowering and inspiring experiences of my life. While I was nervous beforehand, once I got on the stage and started speaking, I felt calm and determined to utilize those three minutes to effectively speak to the audience, both in and out of the arena. Throughout the speech and right afterward, I kept on thinking about a young transgender person in North Carolina who may be watching, who is wondering whether this country has a place for them too, and hoping that my speech could give that person, and anyone like them, just a little comfort and hope that things are changing, that they matter, and that their dreams and identity are not mutually exclusive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What did you hope to achieve with the speech and what reaction have you received thus far?

McBride: I really hoped to drive two major points home. The first was that there is a lot of unfinished work for the LGBTQ equality movement and that Hillary Clinton is the champion and fighter we need to deliver the change so many of us still need. The second point was that I wanted to reinforce that behind this national conversation on transgender rights, are real people who hurt when we are mocked, who hurt when we are discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and fairness.
The energy in the arena was palpable as I stood on stage and I hope that the trans community could see and hear the love in that space. [The] response was and has been overwhelming and heartening. I hope that my speech helped open some hearts and change some minds, even if it was just one person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Other than the speech, how was your experience at the convention?

McBride: This was the first convention I had ever attended and needless to say it was an incredible experience. Watching the first woman nominee of a major party stand up and accept the nomination of her party for President of the United States was a sight and experience I will never forget. I feel so lucky to have witnessed so much history in Philadelphia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png After participating in the convention, do you personally have any interest in pursuing political office?

McBride: I’ve always been interested in politics and government and I definitely plan on returning to my home state of Delaware at some point, but I don’t know if running for office is ever in my future. Right now, I’m incredibly focused on contributing whatever I can to push equality forward for LGBTQ people and if there is anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that making long term plans is usually a pretty fruitless exercise.



Related articles[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

July 17, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, June 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, June 2016

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
Seal of the President of the United States.svg
Related articles
Collaborate!
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The following is the second edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the effect of the Brexit vote on the US presidential election is examined; a well known businessman and sports team owner pitches his candidacy for vice president; and Wikinews interviews the winner of the American Independent Party California primary.

Summary[]

As June began, national opinion polls showed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a slight lead over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Despite being mathematically eliminated, Senator Bernie Sanders remained in the Democratic race. He still held close in head-to-head match ups against Clinton in delegate-rich California ahead of that state’s June 7 primary. Clinton, who won the June 4 Virgin Islands caucuses, focused her energies on Trump, delivering a speech criticizing his candidacy. Trump responded, saying the country “is gonna die” were Clinton elected president. Trump secured the holdout endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan and threats of a Republican establishment revolt subsided when National Review writer David A. French, the preferred presidential choice of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, announced he would not run. However, Trump came under intense criticism, largely from fellow Republicans, when he accused the judge hearing a lawsuit over his venture Trump University, Gonzalo Curiel, of bias due to the judge’s Mexican heritage. Ryan called the comments “racist.” Trump’s former rivals John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker all denounced the comments. Lindsey Graham labeled Trump’s remark “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy.” Senator Mark Kirk renounced his endorsement of Trump. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an early Trump supporter and potential running mate, called Trump’s statement “inexcusable” and “one of the worst mistakes Trump has made.” Trump described Gingrich’s criticism as “inappropriate.” Shortly thereafter, Gingrich argued that Trump’s concerns were “valid and reflect a growing pattern of politicized justice.” Trump said the media and others “misconstrued” his words. Clinton speculated that Trump was using the attack to divert attention from the Trump University case.

Clinton speaks at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on June 10.
Image: Lorie Shaull.

On the eve of the California primary, Clinton won Puerto Rico. With the delegates gained from her victory as well as a few additional superdelegates, Clinton surpassed the 2,383 delegate threshold to secure the Democratic nomination. The Associated Press, NBC, and ABC all declared Clinton as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The next day, Clinton won the California primary and also those held in New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Sanders won the Montana primary and North Dakota caucus. Sanders remained in the race but reportedly planned to cut his campaign staff by half. He announced plans to continue his campaign through the June 14 District of Columbia primary. On the Republican side, during what was the final night for GOP primaries, Trump swept all the June 7 contests in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. In the end, Trump received a record total of 13.2 million votes in the GOP primaries. Still, his Super PAC reserved only $1.2 million in television advertisements, compared to the $108 million Clinton’s Super PAC reserved. In addition, Trump stepped back from his previous fundraising goal of $1 billion, insisting he only needed half that amount. In terms of running mates, Gingrich denied having any interest on the GOP side. For Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid backed away from his initial reluctance and endorsed the idea of Senator Elizabeth Warren filling the role. Warren took to the stump, endorsing Clinton and condemning Trump as “a loud, nasty, thin-skinned, fraud” and “wannabe tyrant.” In response, Trump tweeted his desire for “goofy” Warren to receive the vice presidential nomination and accused her of having a “nasty mouth” and “one of the least productive” records in the Senate. Other Democrats also gave their support to Clinton. President Barack Obama endorsed her candidacy as did former presidential rival Martin O’Malley. Sanders stopped short of supporting Clinton, but said he would “do everything in [his] power” to defeat Trump. On the other hand, several Republicans distanced themselves from Trump. GOP booster and Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman hinted she would endorse Clinton, and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he was leaning toward backing Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson. Romney said he could not back Trump because of Trump’s “racism … bigotry … [and] misogyny.” Trump responded that he was “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered” and attacked Romney as “absolutely pathetic,” saying Romney “choked like a dog” during his loss to President Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Polls from June 10 showed Clinton leading Trump nationwide with leads ranging from three to eleven percentage points.

Trump speaks at an Arizona rally on June 18.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

The campaign took a new turn on June 12 when a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead. The shooter expressed allegiance to ISIS. In the aftermath, Trump tweeted appreciation for those congratulating him for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism” but said he did not want the congratulations, preferring “toughness and vigilance” instead. He attacked President Obama as someone who “doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands.” The Washington Post published an article interpreting the comment as suggesting Obama was “complicit” in the shooting. In response, Trump revoked the press credentials of the Post. On the day following the shooting, Trump delivered a speech condemning it as “an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity”. He criticized Clinton’s immigration policies as opening the door for Islamic radicals espousing anti-LGBT views and said he would be a better protector of LGBT rights than Clinton. In addition, he slammed Clinton and Obama for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Clinton, who denounced the shooting as an “act of terror” and “an act of hate,” said she was comfortable using the term “radical Islamism.” This prompted Trump to declare he had “shamed” Clinton into using the term. Furthermore, Clinton touted her support for a ban on assault rifles and gun ownership for those on the no fly list. Trump agreed on the last point and said he would attempt to convince the National Rifle Association, which had endorsed him, to support such a measure. With the shooting dominating news coverage, the final Democratic primary was held on June 14 in Washington, D.C. Clinton handily defeated Sanders. A Bloomberg poll of Sanders supporters showed 22% planned to vote for Trump, 15% for Gary Johnson, and 55% for Clinton. The same poll showed a 12 point advantage for Clinton over Trump, 49% to 37% with 9% for Johnson. A CBS poll showed a tighter race with Clinton leading Trump 39% to 32% with Johnson at 11%. Clinton and Trump shared high unfavorable ratings in an ABC/Washington Post poll with 55% of respondents having a negative opinion of Clinton and 70% having a negative opinion of Trump.

Dissension within the Democratic Party appeared to crest in mid-June. Sanders finally admitted “it doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee” and said he planned to vote for Clinton in the general election. This came even as reports showed Sanders was not being considered for the vice presidential nomination. According to The Wall Street Journal the individuals being vetted for the position were Senator Warren, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Senators Tim Kaine, Sherrod Brown, and Cory Booker, as well as Congressmen Tim Ryan and Xavier Becerra. Meanwhile, Trump’s June struggles continued as the DNC opposition research file on him was hacked, reportedly by the Russian government, then leaked and published on Gawker. Trump accused the DNC of orchestrating the hack itself to publicize “misleading and/or entirely inaccurate” information. Next, a number of prominent Republicans endorsed Clinton, including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, both members of the George W. Bush administration. Congressman Mike Simpson claimed there were many other Republicans who would privately vote for Clinton over Trump without saying so publicly. Reports of an anti-Trump delegate coup at the Republican National Convention were published in The Washington Post. Trump denied this as a media-crafted hoax. Additionally, Federal Election Commission reports showed the Trump campaign short on cash with only $1,289,507 available. Citing need for a change, Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski replacing him with Paul Manafort. Combating the dissension within the party, national co-chairman Sam Clovis went on CNN, demanding Republicans “to get behind the presumptive nominee …[or] just shut the hell up.” The outlook for the Trump campaign improved with the vote in the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union. Trump publicly backed the exit, which was hailed as a populist reaction similar to the movement behind Trump. Trump, who was in Scotland at the time opening a golf course, explained the vote as the UK taking “back their country. That’s a great thing.” At the end of June, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed Trump trailing Clinton by only one point nationwide, 39% to 38%, with Johnson at 10% and presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein at 6%. By June 30, a Rasmussen Reports poll showed Trump with a four point lead over Clinton, 43% to 39%. In the Real Clear Politics average at the close of June, Clinton led Trump 44.6% to 39.8%.

Brexit’s impact on the US presidential election[]

In June, the United Kingdom voted to exit from the European Union, resulting in the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron. This historic turn of events, termed the Brexit, had ramifications of international import. Particularly, the moment became one of political significance in the United States due to the involvement of both President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Comparisons of the anti-establishment Brexit movement were made with the anti-establishment campaign of Trump. Seeking professional analysis, Wikinews looked to political science to better understand the potential impact of the Brexit vote on the 2016 US presidential election.

Last April, President Obama inserted himself into the politics of Brexit, urging Britain to remain in the European Union. He wrote an editorial for The Telegraph and held a press conference with Prime Minister Cameron in which he warned that if Britain divorced itself from the EU, it would go “to the back of the queue” in terms of a trade agreement with the United States. In contrast, Donald Trump argued in favor of Brexit, connecting it to the larger issue of immigration. Commentators noted the goals of the Brexit movement aligned with Trump’s protectionist views on trade and support for immigration restriction. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of Brexit, was himself compared to Trump.

Anti-Brexit street art of Donald Trump embracing Boris Johnson.
Image: Matt Brown.

The most immediate impact of Brexit on the United States came just after reports of the 52 percent to 48 percent vote, when stocks tanked. Markets rebounded somewhat since, though uncertainty remains. Hillary Clinton attacked Trump for the consequence. Her foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan argued that “Trump actively rooted for this outcome and the economic turmoil in its wake”. Clinton ran an ad in which she accused Trump of benefiting financially from a market downturn. Trump labeled the ad “disgraceful” and claimed she was “trying to wash away her bad judgment call on BREXIT with big dollar ads.”

Trump’s head-to-head polling numbers against Clinton increased somewhat after the June 23 vote. Trump rose in the Rasmussen Reports survey from a five point deficit before to a four point lead after. In Gravis, Trump cut Clinton’s four point lead in half. However, deficits for Trump remained unchanged for the Economist/YouGov and the Reuters/Ipsos polls.

Pollster John Zogby of Zogby Analytics expects Trump’s position to improve as a result of Brexit. He tells Wikinews, the vote “strengthens populism and gives Trump supporters some wind at their back.” As for Clinton, he foresees difficulties due to the closeness of the race and the perception of Clinton as “the rep of the elites at a bad time to be so.”

Political scientist John McCormick, a professor of European Union politics at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, mostly agrees. Though the Brexit impact is difficult to predict, McCormick explains to Wikinews that “some of the forces that led to Brexit are also behind the popularity of Donald Trump, and in that sense Brexit has opened the door a little wider to the possibility of a Trump presidency.”

“A lot of people voted for Brexit because they resented the manner in which they thought establishment politicians had ignored their needs, or were fearful of more emigration, or disliked the effects of globalization, or had bought into populist warnings about the growing domestic threats of Islamist extremist terrorism”, says McCormick, “So people here are going to be voting for Trump for many of the same reasons they voted for Brexit in the UK, and in that sense the vote will have an effect on the November election.”

McCormick also believes further economic disturbance could result from Brexit, which could itself have an effect on the election as US voters head to the polls.

Amid talk of secession in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London, the UK Conservative Party was to select a new Prime Minister to oversee Brexit and attempt to unify the kingdom. The selection was thought likely to be made in October, just a month ahead of the US presidential election.

Cuban makes vice presidential pitch[]

With the National Basketball Association concluding its season in June, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a new sport to follow. As he revealed last August in a chat on his social media app Cyber Dust, “5 weeks till training camp […] [b]ut until then Donald Trump watching is a sport.” Though Cuban, a fellow businessman and billionaire, then praised Trump’s unconventional candidacy as “probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time”, and even offered himself as a possible running mate, he has since grown critical of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, questioning his wealth, temperament, and business acumen. The marked change has led to speculation about Cuban’s own political aspirations. In May, members of the #NeverTrump movement approached him about running for president as an independent, which he rejected. He did, however, open himself to running as the running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, punctuating that possibility with a statement that he is leaning toward voting for her over Trump in November. As the 2016 Democratic National Convention approaches, Cuban has continued to express his interest in the position.

Cuban in 2005.
Image: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Cuban addressed the vice presidency on the May 22 edition of Meet the Press, proclaiming that, if offered, he would join Clinton’s ticket on the condition she “go more to the center” politically. He explained, “I like the fact that Senator Clinton has thought-out proposals.” Nevertheless, he has criticized Clinton for having “no personality”, “no charisma”, and for making “horrible mistakes” as Secretary of State, mentioning the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Nevertheless, Cuban says he is willing to look past all that, believing the main issue is “whether or not I can add value and whether or not I can impact any perspective and hopefully have a positive impact on the country”.

James Pethokoukis, writing for The Week, explains how Cuban can add value to a Democratic ticket. Describing Cuban as charismatic and well spoken, Pethokoukis says Cuban would neutralize Trump’s appeal as an outsider candidate while making the Democratic ticket “more palatable” to disaffected Republicans. Though the nomination of a centrist businessman could upset progressives, Pethokoukis feels Cuban’s middle-class Pennsylvania background could provide a compelling story for the majority of the electorate.

“Basically, Cuban is Trump”, writes Pethokoukis, “without all the bigotry … and without the insane policies … and with probably more dough.”

Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics disagrees with Pethokoukis’s premise. “To me, the first rule of vice presidential selection is ‘first, do no harm'”, he explains to Wikinews, “Cuban would be a risky choice for Clinton that does not provide an obvious benefit[…] One of Clinton’s benefits in this election is that, compared to Trump, she seems qualified for the job and serious enough for the job. Picking Cuban doesn’t really help her make that argument.”

Dan Judy of North Star Opinion Research agrees, commenting to Wikinews that Cuban has “virtually no chance” of becoming Clinton’s running mate because, “he’s a political novice who doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of shoring up Hillary’s left flank, appealing to independents, or being a governing partner. Cuban’s a colorful, outspoken guy, and I think he’s just having fun. I don’t think he has any real political ambitions.”

Clinton insiders also say Cuban has no chance. However, Clinton herself is appreciative of Cuban’s “openness,” announcing on Meet the Press that she is “very interested” in considering “successful businesspeople” who have not held elected office.

Still, Cuban has continued to make media appearances touting himself as a potential vice presidential candidate. He even went on the attack against a front-runner for the position, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, arguing she is too far left and that if she were selected, he would probably vote for Trump. In addition, Cuban recently boasted to TMZ that Clinton “needs me” for the position.

At the end of June, Cuban met with former President Bill Clinton, husband of Hillary, at a casual dinner party where politics were discussed.

Clinton is expected to choose a running mate before the July 25 National Convention commences in Philadelphia. Senators Warren, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro are among the favorites to receive the vice presidential nomination.

California American Independent Party primary winner speaks to Wikinews[]

Though most of the media attention of the June 7 California primary focused on the Democratic and Republican races, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump winning each, respectively, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the American Independent Party (AIP) all held primaries as well, owing to the fact that each has attained the status of political party in the state; a designation reserved for parties that can show they have registered members totaling greater than 0.33% of registered voters in the state, and maintained with either keeping registered voters at that percentage or holding 0.067% of registered voters while winning at least two percent of the vote in a statewide election. The largest of these third parties, the AIP, had seven participants in its primary. Wikinews reached out to the victor, Alan Spears, an attorney from Cedar Glen, California.

██ Alan Spears

██ Arthur Harris

██ Robert Ornelas

██ Wiley Drake

██ J.R. Myers

██ James Hedges

██ Tom Hoefling

The AIP is a paleoconservative group formerly affiliated with the Constitution Party. It opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and supports the construction of a fence along the US–Mexico border. Though the party has an estimated half million registered members, three percent of all registered voters in California, a Los Angeles Times poll shows 73% mistakenly joined the party believing they were registering as Independent. As a result, these voters could only vote in the American Independent Party primary.

According to the latest count, 42,241 voted for the candidates on the ballot in the primary. Ballot Access News speculated Donald Trump won the primary since more than two thirds of voters wrote-in candidates, the majority believed to have been for Trump, but these votes were not counted. Of the candidates on the ballot, Spears won with 8,103 votes (19.2%). Former Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineering technician Arthur Harris came in second with 7,216 (17.1%). 2012 AIP vice presidential nominee and hip hop artist Robert Ornelas finished third with 7,164 (17%). Fourth place Wiley Drake, a pastor and TV host, edged fifth place J.R. Myers, chairman of the Alaska Constitution Party, by one vote, 5,476 to 5,475 (roughly 13% apiece). Prohibition Party presidential nominee James Hedges came in sixth with 4,462 (10.6%). Surprisingly, the AIP’s 2012 presidential nominee Tom Hoefling came in last place with 4,345 votes (10.3%). The results of the primary are nonbinding. The AIP is to nominate its 2016 presidential ticket at its convention August 13–14.

Spears, who uses the slogan “Let’s Restore America’s Greatness,” proclaims on his candidate statement provided to the California Secretary of State, “[w]e [Americans] are at war with Islam!” He focuses his presidential campaign on the issue of Islamic terrorism, advocating the use of “overwhelming force” to combat it. Additionally, he believes the US government “must deal with anarchists hiding behind the First Amendment who seek to destroy our institutions,” and supports an eradication of the “Deep Dark Web.”

With Wikinews, Spears discusses his primary victory, the AIP nomination, ballot access, and what he hopes to accomplish with his campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What is your reaction to winning the California American Independent Party presidential primary in June? Do you believe this victory will help you secure the AIP presidential nomination?

Spears: I was shocked and pleasantly surprised I won the AIP’s California June 7th Primary. It wasn’t by much of a margin, and the totality of the Party’s votes were minuscule, but I feel I did make a VERY conservative statement. I pray that it will [help secure the nomination]!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Are you attempting to appear on the ballot in other states? If so, where? If not, why?

Spears: I haven’t a clue how to get on the primary ballots in other states, and I believe it is too late at this juncture.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What do you hope to accomplish by running for president?

Spears: My ultra-conservative politics are essential to the survival of the Republic. Trump spews rhetoric, but until quite recently his words lack meaning. He has little insight into foreign policy and military matters. God, how I wish I could trade positions with him! I am “on record” The Voter’s Self Defense System with policy positions, have spewed much ultra-conservative drivel at www.Facebook.com/aesracingltd, and try to find time to blog to my website at Home – Alan E. Spears, Esq – Independent Presidential Candidate You may vet me at www.Alan Spears.com.



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July 3, 2016

FBI interviews Hillary Clinton over emails

FBI interviews Hillary Clinton over emails

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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Yesterday, Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was interviewed at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. during a process which took over three and a half hours.

File photo of Hillary Clinton, 2016.
Image: Iorie Shaull.

The interview was part of the ongoing probe by the FBI into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, created and hosted at her home in Chappaqua, New York, which she reportedly used while she was Secretary of State. The FBI is investigating emails sent on this server, particularly any classified emails regarding the 2012 Benghazi attack that occurred on September 11, 2012 — eleven years after 9/11 — and left four US citizens dead.

The interview comes at a problematic time for Clinton as she is the favorite for Democratic Party nomination for US President at the 2016 Democratic National Convention which is set to take place at the end of July. Any indictment could alter the result of the Democratic National Convention’s decision on a nominee, paving the way for other politicians such as Bernie Sanders to receive the nomination.

Both Clinton and the FBI have declined comment on the interview, but her spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton is “pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion.” The Justice Department reportedly hopes to conclude the investigation before the Democratic Convention at the end of July.

GOP lawmakers are suggesting a conflict of interest after United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch reportedly met with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, on Lynch’s plane at a Phoenix airport on Monday. This prompted Lynch to state on Friday she would accept the investigation’s findings. Clinton and Lynch described it as a “short chance meeting” and “exchange of pleasantries”. Lynch expressed her regret for the meeting, stating she “certainly wouldn’t do it again”. GOP lawmakers said the emails should be investigated by a third party, as they questioned the Department’s impartiality.

The FBI is expected to conclude their investigation sometime before the convention on July 25.



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June 13, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

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Monday, June 13, 2016

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The following is the first edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: a former Republican congressman briefly joins the Libertarian Party and runs for vice president; the Democratic Party names its National Convention Platform Drafting Committee amid controversy; and Wikinews interviews a candidate who had a surprisingly strong performance in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

Summary

On the campaign trail in early May, the Republican Party primary race grew more contentious as it reached its final stages. On the same day as the May 3 Indiana primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who held a sizable delegate lead over his two remaining primary challengers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, cited the National Enquirer to accuse Cruz’s father of involvement in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cruz, whom Trump branded as “Lyin’ Ted,” attacked Trump as a “pathological liar” and “serial philanderer.” Trump won Indiana by a large margin, prompting the second place Cruz to end his campaign. Thereafter, both the media and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus christened Trump as the presumptive nominee, even though he had yet to secure the requisite number of National Convention delegates. The next day, Kasich finally suspended his candidacy. As Trump pivoted into general election mode, he faced a vocal Stop Trump movement within the party and a significant polling deficit against the Democrats. A national CNN/ORC poll showed Trump trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton by double digits. Nevertheless, unlike the GOP, the outcome of the Democratic primary race remained undecided. Although Clinton maintained a significant delegate lead, a CNN poll showed her ahead of sole rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, by only eight points. In fact, Sanders won the Indiana Democratic primary, making nine victories out of the latest fourteen contests to that point.

Donald Trump with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo.
Image: Donald J. Trump on Twitter.

Commencing his general election campaign, Trump announced he would participate in fundraising after self-funding his primary campaign. He named former presidential rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head a group to search for a running mate. And, in a show of pro-Hispanic sentiment, he tweeted a photo of himself with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo. Still, the Republican Party remained divided. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he would not commit to endorsing Trump. He called for Trump “to set aside bullying, […] belittlement, and appeal to higher aspirations.” Ryan’s comments drew criticism from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, among others. However, former candidates Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, all said they could not support Trump’s candidacy. 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol both called for an independent presidential candidate to run as an alternative to Trump. Ryan called this “a disaster,” and sought unity by inviting Trump to a Republican congressional leadership meeting and offering to step down as chair of the GOP National Convention if Trump so desired. Despite the internal strife, Trump continued his focus on the general election, branding Clinton as “crooked Hillary,” and attacking her for “want[ing] to abolish the Second Amendment.” He also pivoted on policies, advocating for a rise in the federal minimum wage and taxes on the wealthy. The campaign announced that five or six names were on the vice presidential shortlist including former presidential candidate Chris Christie. Quinnipiac polls showed Trump leading or close behind Clinton in head-to-head match ups in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Clinton won the caucus in Guam and the campaign shifted to West Virginia and Nebraska. On the eve of the May 10 primaries, Cruz, still on the ballot in Nebraska, announced he might restart his campaign if he won the state. Instead, Trump won Nebraska by a wide margin and won West Virginia by an even wider margin. On the Democratic side, Sanders won West Virginia as voters turned on Clinton after she expressed unencouraging views about the coal industry. ABC News exit polling there revealed nearly half of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump if Clinton won the nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden, who had been expected to mount a 2016 campaign until he ruled it out in late 2015, admitted in an interview with ABC that he had planned to run for president in 2016 but the plans derailed upon the death of his son Beau. He revealed Senator Elizabeth Warren as his preferred running mate and endorsed her for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada cautioned Democrats against nominating a sitting Senator like Warren to avoid decreasing the number of Democrats in the Senate. Trump launched an assault on Warren, referring to her as “goofy” and Pocahontas for a previous claim of Amerindian ancestry. On May 12, Trump had his much anticipated meeting with Ryan. Afterwards, the two issued a joint statement calling the meeting “a very positive step toward unification.” Ryan still withheld his endorsement though Trump asked Ryan to remain as chair of the National Convention. Polls from mid-May showed Trump edging closer to Clinton in national head-to-head match ups, as Trump faced a barrage of controversies. Both Clinton and Romney called on Trump to release his tax records. He said he might release them, but maintained it was “none of [the public’s] business.” Media reports also scrutinized Trump for allegedly acting as his own publicist in the early 1990’s. He denied the allegations outright. Next, The New York Times published an exposé about Trump’s treatment of women throughout the years. The validity of the story came into question when the lead interviewee claimed The Times had taken her account out of context. On May 17, Trump easily won the Oregon primary. The next day, for the first time in months, a Fox News poll showed him with a national lead over Clinton. That same day, he released a list of eleven judges whom he would consider nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court. He later received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. In the Democratic race, Sanders won the Oregon primary and narrowly lost to Clinton in Kentucky. He was also able to add five of his supporters to the Democratic National Convention platform drafting committee, ensuring greater influence over the party platform. Clinton rejected a debate with him and announced there would be no further primary debates. Trump offered to debate Sanders, which Sanders accepted, though Trump later backed out. Clinton went on the offensive against Trump for his past business bankruptcies, saying he “could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies.” She won the Washington primary on May 24. However, the next day, an Inspector General report said she did not comply with State Department policy when she sent official e-mails on a private server while Secretary of State.

Following a victory in the Washington Republican primary, Trump traveled to New Mexico, where the sitting Republican governor Susana Martinez snubbed his event. Trump attacked Martinez during the rally, later asking, “If I have a Republican that’s not on my side, why should I be particularly nice to that person?” Shortly thereafter, during a speech in California, he renewed attacks against Romney, Cruz, Kristol, and Jeb Bush. Former rival Marco Rubio announced he would release the delegates he won during the primary to support Trump and said he would be willing to go on the campaign trail for Trump, if asked. Rubio also apologized to Trump for derogatory comments he made earlier in the campaign. Trump mathematically secured the Republican nomination, when an uncommitted slate of delegates in North Dakota committed to supporting him. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party commenced its National Convention and nominated for president, on the second ballot, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Also on the second ballot, for vice president, the party nominated Johnson’s pre-selected running mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, who had just left the Republican Party to become a Libertarian. Trump called Johnson a “fringe candidate.” Johnson was not the last such candidate introduced in late May. Seemingly ending his search for an alternative to Trump, Kristol tweeted that he had found an “impressive” independent candidate. Bloomberg reported the candidate was little-known writer David A. French of the National Review. On the final day of May, Trump held a press conference in which he revealed the veterans charities he donated to after raising $5.6 million during a fundraiser he held in January in lieu of attending a debate. Trump excoriated the national press for its coverage of his campaign and referred to one reporter as “sleaze.” With the June 7 California primary ahead, Clinton received the endorsement of California Governor Jerry Brown. The latest polls showed her with a two point advantage over Sanders in the state. In the Real Clear Politics average, she led Trump in the general election nationally by 1.5%.

Ex GOP congressman joins LP, seeks VP, then leaves

As soon as Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Libertarian Party (LP) membership applications doubled. Longtime Republican consultant Mary Matalin, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, and former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, were among those who left the GOP in May to find a new home in the LP. While Matalin enthusiastically backed Libertarian presidential runner-up Austin Petersen, and Weld won the party’s vice presidential nomination; Bentivolio, who had endorsed Dr. Ben Carson for president before joining the party, had a much different experience.

Congressman Bentivolio
Image: United States Congress.

“It was suggested by a few supporters I run [for vice president] as a libertarian,” says Bentivolio, a teacher and veteran of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, who earned the moniker “the accidental Congressman” after his surprising 2012 election, “I briefly entertained the idea of running and spent time investigating the party.”

Bentivolio, 64, unexpectedly won the Republican nomination to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District in 2012, after the sitting Congressman, Thaddeus McCotter, a 2012 presidential candidate, was unable to run for re-election after his petitions to qualify for the primary ballot were deemed fraudulent. Upon his victory in the general election, Bentivolio went to Washington, joining the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He took an active role in introducing and sponsoring successful legislation, becoming, according to an historian of the House, one of the most effective freshmen Congressmen of recent times. GovTrack listed him as the most transparent Republican freshman in the 113th United States Congress. Nevertheless, during his single term, he frequently bucked the party leadership, voting against a resolution to the 2013 government shutdown, calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama, and agreeing to seek congressional hearings over chemtrails. In 2014, Bentivolio lost his seat to attorney Dave Trott, a primary opponent with a fundraising edge and the backing of the Republican establishment. After leaving Congress, Bentivolio suffered financial difficulties and had to file for bankruptcy in 2015, partly the result of his expensive primary campaign against Trott.

When Bentivolio joined the LP in May, he filed a Form 2 with the Federal Election Commission to run for vice president. Libertarian national chairman Nicholas Sarwark encouraged Bentivolio to run for his old congressional seat in addition to vice president. This was not well received by the local Libertarian Party, which feared such a run would violate Michigan’s sore-loser law; the same law that prevented Gary Johnson from appearing on the ballot in 2012. As a consequence, the local party nominated another candidate to run for the seat.

“The district delegates [five in total] voted for another as the House candidate”, recounts Bentivolio, “[the candidate’s] wife was the deciding vote.”

Afterwards, Bentivolio expressed doubt about the party platform, saying it amounted to “judicial supremacy,” which he rejects, referencing the 1857 Dred Scott case, which affirmed the rights of slaveholders. He added, “I am 100% pro-life and an abolitionist and many in the Libertarian Party are pro-choice and support slavery in their immigration policy.” He cited these as his reasons for ending his vice presidential campaign.

After Gary Johnson and William Weld won the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominations at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, Bentivolio offered his perspective on Johnson and Weld. Though he considered Johnson, “a nice guy and honest,” he felt Johnson “thinks government has all the answers.” In contrast, Bentivolio said he personally believes “government is the problem” and only supports “a government within the strict limitations clearly expressed in the Constitution.” He described Weld, a Council on Foreign Relations member who proposed strict gun control measures as governor, as someone who “supports big government.”

Bentivolio has left the LP and now is an independent. He remains undecided on whether to support Donald Trump for president. To help him decide, he is currently researching claims of a woman named “Katie Johnson” who filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of rape. Trump’s attorneys dismiss the suit as a hoax.

DNC aims for unity with Platform Drafting Committee picks; controversy ensues

Every four years, the Democratic Party holds its National Convention, nominating a presidential ticket and conducting official business. One important item is the drafting of a party platform to express the party’s principles and vision for the future. A special committee is formed to draft the document. In May, fifteen individuals were named to the committee. Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz selected four of the members while the two presidential candidates picked the remaining eleven in proportion to the votes each candidate received in the primaries. Hillary Clinton, the party’s presidential front-runner, selected six. Bernie Sanders chose five, though the DNC rejected one of his original picks, a union leader, leading to charges of anti-union bias in the DNC. Still, upon the release of the names, The Nation magazine argued Sanders’ input provided the committee with a “progressive majority.” Wikinews was able to reach out to one of Sanders’ picks to see what he planned for the platform.

McKibben in 2008.
Image: Hotshot977.

For the committee, Wasserman Schultz tapped Congressman Elijah Cummings, who is to serve as the head; Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only returning member from 2012; former Congressman Howard Berman; and Bonnie Schaefer, former Chief Executive Officer of Claire’s. Clinton selected Ambassador Wendy Sherman; Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress; Ohio Representative Alicia Reece; Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Congressman Luis Gutiérrez; and union leader Paul Booth. Sanders picked Dr. Cornel West; Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress; James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute; Deborah Parker, a Native American activist; and Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist.

Sanders speaks at a May 18 rally in Vallejo, California.
Image: Shelly Prevost.

McKibben, a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College who co-founded the climate change awareness organization 350.org, tells Wikinews that his Vermont roots may explain why Sanders selected him for the committee. However, McKibben has worked with Sanders previously on climate and energy issues, and The Boston Globe has described him as “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist.”

“I’d like to see [the platform] reflect the fact that since the last election the planet’s climate has deteriorated dramatically, with record temperatures, melting ice, and dying coral”, says McKibben, “So that means we need to move more aggressively, both to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and to boost renewable energy.”

McKibben is not the only member who prioritizes environmental issues. Browner, who headed the EPA during the entire presidency of Bill Clinton, has worked under President Obama as the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. While the environment is given a strong emphasis, Sanders has raised the point that labor representation on the committee is lacking.

In 2012, union leaders Donna Harris-Aikens of the National Education Association and Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO were on the committee. This year, the only union leader is Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Sanders attempted to include National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro, but Wasserman Schultz vetoed the pick. Sanders, in a press conference, accused the DNC of “not want[ing] representatives of labor unions on the platform drafting committee.” The DNC rejected the charge.

“We worked carefully with both campaigns to ensure overall balance and representation,” says DNC spokeswoman April Mellody, “[we] have 100% confidence that the views of our allies in the Labor community will be well represented in our Party’s platform as they have always been.”

Amid the division, McKibben expresses hope that though the platform is often “forgotten not long after it’s written,” perhaps the 2016 platform “will play a role in uniting the party.”

The committee is set to convene at the 2016 Democratic National Convention July 25–28 in Philadelphia.

DNC Platform Drafting Committee


Interview with overachieving West Virginia Democratic protest candidate

In the May 10 West Virginia Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton 51.4 percent to 35.8 percent. Of the remaining 13 percent, nearly nine went to little-known protest candidate Paul T. Farrell Jr., a Huntington, West Virginia attorney who entered the race to challenge President Obama’s energy policies. Wikinews reached out to Farrell to ask a few questions about the campaign.

Results by county for Paul T. Farrell Jr.

██  5%

██ 5–10%

██ 10–15%

██ 15–20%

██  20%

Image: MB298.

During the campaign, Farrell did not hold any fundraisers and his only spending was the $2,500 filing fee to appear on the ballot. He believes Obama’s policies, which Clinton supports, have hurt the coal industry, a major sector of West Virginia’s economy. Many West Virginians, even Democrats, share this view. While mining still makes up 17 percent of West Virginia’s gross domestic product (compared to 3 percent nationally), since 2009, coal production has declined around 45 percent in the south part of the state. 332 mines have closed and almost 10,000 jobs or 35 percent of those in the industry, have been lost. West Virginia’s unemployment is the worst in the nation. According to ABC News exit polls from the primary, only 26 percent of West Virginia Democrats want to continue Obama’s policies.

Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 577,000 to 378,000 in West Virginia, Republican presidential candidates have won the state in every election since 2000. ABC exit polls indicate a third of Democrats plan to vote in November for Trump, who has campaigned in favor of the coal industry. Trump is popular in West Virginia, having won 77 percent in the state’s GOP primary. He holds a 27 point lead over Clinton in the latest Public Policy Polling head-to-head match up.

West Virginia Democrats have a history of going against the national party establishment. Notably, prison inmate Keith Russell Judd won 41 percent in the 2012 primary against Obama, who was seeking re-election. Judd was on the ballot again in 2016, but received only 1.8 percent of the vote. Judd’s 2012 performance was one of the reasons Farrell cited for entered the race. In addition, he told the Charleston Gazette–Mail back in January that the candidates running did not share “West Virginia values.” He had hoped to secure some national convention delegates but just fell short. He was able to come in second place in the coal-rich Mingo County, where he outpaced Clinton 23.7 percent to 21.4 percent.

With Wikinews, Farrell discusses, his specific problem with Obama’s energy policy, what he is looking for in a presidential candidate, and his views on Trump.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How were you able to get over 8% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic Primary?

Farrell: The 2016 Democratic nominees for President of the United States support President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan executive order which we disparagingly refer to as the “war on coal.” West Virginia voters take exception to abruptly bankrupting our economy without a comprehensive plan to rebuild our infrastructure. The presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost all 55 counties in West Virginia. Voters did not cast a ballot for me; they cast a ballot for the candidate with “WV” listed after his name in protest to Mrs. Clinton’s energy policy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan on supporting the Democratic presidential nominee come November?

Farrell: No. I will support the candidate that adopts a platform that rebuilds our economy which President Obama dismantled and pledges to pass legislation during his/her first “100 days.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?

Farrell: Mrs. Clinton made the campaign promise to put “coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Mr. Trump says he will fight for West Virginia. Even if Mr. Trump is full of shit, I choose to fight rather than surrender. Most of the southern coal fields of West Virginia stand with me.



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May 4, 2016

Bernie Sanders wins Indiana Democratic primary, Donald Trump, Indiana Republican

Bernie Sanders wins Indiana Democratic primary, Donald Trump, Indiana Republican

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Winners of the Indiana primary: Donald Trump (left) and Bernie Sanders (right)

On Tuesday, Indiana held its Democratic and Republican primaries, where voters could vote for the candidate of their choice and presidential candidates can earn delegates so they can move on to the general election. The results: Donald Trump obtained 51 of the 57 delegates, while on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders obtained 43 of the state’s 83 pledged delegates; super delegates are still undetermined.

Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, now needs only 200 more delegates to secure the nomination. On the Democratic side, despite Sanders’s win, Hillary Clinton still has 92% of the delegates she needs to secure the nomination. Still, Sanders expressed that “the Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over. They’re wrong.”

Ted Cruz‘s poor performance has caused him to suspend his campaign. “Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz said. On Wednesday, John Kasich also suspended his campaign. This makes Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee. Additionally, conservative groups that oppose Donald Trump are considering having a third party candidate run against him in the general election.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is celebrating his Indiana win. “The world has changed. More and more people are independents and I think it makes no sense for the Democrats to say to those people, ‘You can’t help us.’ For Democrats to do well in a national election, they’re going to need a lot of independents and I would not think it’s a good idea to push those people away,” Sanders said, complementing Indiana’s open primaries. However, in order to secure the nomination, Bernie Sanders needs to earn 66% of the Democratic Party’s remaining pledged delegates.



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 31, 2016

Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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De La Fuente at the Lesser-Known Candidates Forum, January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Businessman Rocky De La Fuente took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old De La Fuente resides in San Diego, California, grew up in Tijuana, and owns multiple businesses and properties throughout the world. Since getting his start in the automobile industry, De La Fuente has branched out into the banking and real estate markets. Despite not having held or sought political office previously, he has been involved in politics, serving as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

De La Fuente entered the 2016 presidential race last October largely due to his dissatisfaction with Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He argues he is a more accomplished businessman than Trump, and attacks Trump as “a clown,” “a joke,” “dangerous,” and “in the same category as Hitler.” Nevertheless, De La Fuente’s business background begets comparisons with Trump. The Alaskan Midnight Sun blog described him as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.”

While receiving only minimal media coverage, he has campaigned actively, and according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, loaned almost US$ 4 million of his own money to the campaign. He has qualified for 48 primary and caucus ballots, but has not yet obtained any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Thus far, according to the count at The Green Papers, De La Fuente has received 35,406 votes, or 0.23% of the total votes cast. He leads among the many lesser-known candidates but trails both Senator Bernie Sanders who has received nearly 6.5 million votes and front-runner Hillary Clinton who has just shy of 9 million votes.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn‎, De La Fuente discusses his personal background, his positions on political issues, his current campaign for president, and his political future.

Interview[]

Background[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your achievements in your business career?

Rocky De La Fuente: From my perspective, my greatest achievements in business are tied to the people and families I have helped. I’ve had the good fortune to create dozens of business that created thousands of jobs across the United States as well as in other countries. I always paid a fair wage, provided access to healthcare, and tried to create opportunities for advancement for those who demonstrated the desire to improve their lot in life.

Aerial view of De La Fuente’s hometown San Diego.
Image: U.S. Navy.

If you’re asking for a more traditional answer with respect to what I have personally done, at the age of twenty, I got a job selling automobiles. Less than two years later, I became the General Manager of a dealership. Two years after that, I acquired my first dealership and, over the next 16 years, I added 27 more dealerships to my portfolio. And at the age of 28, I was honored to be elected by my peers in that industry as Chairman of the National Dealer Council for the third largest Automotive Company in the world at the time.
Then, I sold 27 of my dealerships and began a new career investing in real estate. I developed the De La Fuente Business Park and began acquiring […] other properties in San Diego, San Diego County, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Auburn, El Cajon, Hemet, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Stanton, and Yorba Linda, California as well as in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cohoes, New York, Hartford, Connecticut, and West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition, I purchased and own residential complexes in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia and have developed assisted living facilities in Los Angeles (San Pedro) and Lemon Grove, California, to care for seniors who are in need.
In between, in an effort to help Mexico during the financial crisis that arose there in 1982, I opened 11 currency exchanges to facilitate free-flowing trade between Mexico and the United States. The network included seven offices in California and four in Texas. Then, over the next five years, I founded three U.S. banks; one being a National Bank approved by the OCC and two State Charter Banks approved by the California Banking Commission and the FDIC.
Some of my efforts were recently recognized when I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate as an “International Corporate Ambassador” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
If you think about that list for a minute, you’ll have a pretty good perspective of how many people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and how many families I’ve been able to help over the years. And that remains my greatest business accomplishment.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the FDIC banned you from banking for “unsafe and unsound banking practices.” Why did this occur and how do you respond to the allegation?

De La Fuente: Many of the consumer and commercial loan provisions provided by the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 were reversed by the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. Then, the FDIC aggressively brought charges against thousands of small banks and Savings & Loans for practices that had previously been permissible.
The FDIC closed or otherwise resolved (i.e., punished management, etc.) 297 financial institutions. The Resolution Trust Corporation closed or otherwise resolved 747 more.
While I managed to save my bank, I was one of the causalities of the FDIC’s “resolution” of the bank’s issues. Personally accepting the FDIC’s unilateral punishment protected the depositors’ funds and allowed the bank to keep operating. You might have noticed in the article that you cited that the bank sold at a lower multiple because it hadn’t fully leveraged its assets (i.e., it hadn’t aggressively loaned its deposits as compared to other banks). In other words, it had been conservative in its investments.

De La Fuente: “I probably best fit the term ‘Kennedy Democrat’ because I am a strong advocate of social equality and freedom but I believe we must be fiscally responsible as well.”
Image: The White House.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Why are you a Democrat?

De La Fuente: I have always considered myself to be a Democrat, although what that term means has shifted over the years. I probably best fit the term “Kennedy Democrat” because I am a strong advocate of social equality and freedom but I believe we must be fiscally responsible as well. While that may not fit the current narrative of modern liberalism that favors social justice and a mixed economy leaning toward an ever increasing presence of government regulation and assistance, it reflects what I truly believe.
I think, during the modern era, Democrats have been the primary political catalyst for social equality and change. President Kennedy had a unique ability to bring both sides of the aisle together to [make] progress in that regard, but he also recognized that government regulation bore a cost and could pose a threat if it was used in an unbridled fashion. We seem to have forgotten that concept.
Conservatives are relatively adverse to change. I am not. I simply think change needs to [be] achieved in a responsible manner and that federal officials should recognize their [responsibility] to serve as stewards of the taxpayers’ money.
I also think we need to figure out how to provide more opportunities for people rather than just mask the symptoms with assistance. The goal of government assistance should always be to provide it as a temporary bridge rather than a permanent foundation. When we lose sight of this, we create programs that deepen our problems rather than resolve them.
I clearly don’t fit the Republican mindset when it comes to my position on social issues. However, I’m sure I cause discomfort for some Democrats who think that the government is the solution to every problem. My real world experience in business and my exposure to the economies of other countries have given me a different perspective; one that compels me to assess government programs from a rational basis as well as an emotional one.
I think there’s room in the Democratic Party for that type of mindset.

Campaign[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What do you hope to accomplish with this campaign?

De La Fuente: Well, imagine if I were to win. If I win, “We all Win” . . . “America Wins” . . . and the World would be a better place.
What I know I can achieve is to broaden the active Democratic base. The Hispanic community in this country has been relatively inactive from a political perspective. While it represents a sizable element of the Party’s foundation, it is somewhat underrepresented in elected office and does not participate in the electoral process to the degree it should. I can spotlight the importance of registering to vote and participating in the process within the Hispanic community because my candidacy has attracted some attention in that regard. I hope I will encourage other minorities and underrepresented groups to become more engaged as well.
Cquote1.svg I . . . have been subjected to a disappointingly unfair process by which the Party has not even remotely provided an equal chance to other candidates and me. Cquote2.svg
I also have been subjected to a disappointingly unfair process by which the Party has not even remotely provided an equal chance to other candidates and me. This isn’t unique to the Democratic Party. Both Parties dramatically favor their “politically privileged” member[s]; those individuals who have served their respective Parties for a long time and raised serious money on behalf of their Party.
If I detailed all of the “behind the scenes” inequities that I and others candidates like me have endured, you’d be shocked. Perhaps that will be another legacy of this campaign as I am inclined to bring these issues to light and have the courts decide whether the practices should be continued. That might be a greater benefit to the People than even serving as president of the United States.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Are you disappointed by the results of the primaries thus far?

De La Fuente: I am disappointed by the treatment I have received such as being denied the courtesy of automatic ballot access that’s afforded “politically privileged” candidate[s], having votes mysteriously disappear from election results, having State Parties in caucus states withhold location information, list me as “Other” and refuse to provide areas for my preference groups to form, etc. However, I am not disappointed by the results under those circumstances.

De La Fuente examines his notes during the Lesser-Known Candidates Forum.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Despite this type of treatment, I have successfully qualified to participate in the primaries and caucuses in a combination of 48 states and territories. I have also already amassed more votes than former Senator Rick Santorum, current Senator Lindsey Graham, former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia, former New York Governor George Pataki and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal combined. After Arizona, I passed Carly Fiorina’s vote total and I’m rapidly closing in on former Governor Mike Huckabee’s, current Governor Chris Christie‘s and current Senator Rand Paul‘s vote totals.
While those candidates have suspended their campaigns, an independent NPR article recently noted my performance as somewhat of a phenomenon given that my campaign is predominantly self-funded and enjoys absolutely zero Party support or Super PAC money. Conversely, these candidates all received massive support from the Republican Party in terms of the visibility and support they were given. Most also have benefited from the monetary support of conservative Super PACs.
I’m not sharing this information to brag but rather to provide a context for how the Parties have insulated themselves with a set of rules that preclude legitimate candidates such as me from having an equal opportunity to be heard and have an impact. Why not let the People choose?
At least my candidacy is beginning to force some of these practices out in the open. Maybe that’s a better result than the one experienced by bigger name candidates who had all the advantages and still failed.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png In 2012, several primary challengers to President Barack Obama including John Wolfe, Jr., Randall Terry, and Keith Russell Judd all qualified for delegates, though they ultimately were not seated at the convention due to technicalities. Given the money you are willing to spend on a campaign and your ability to adhere to the rules, do you regret not running in 2012?

De La Fuente quotes Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Image: Ferdinand Schmutzer.

De La Fuente: I found that it isn’t a good use of time to second guess a decision you can’t change. Did unconventional candidates win delegates in 2012? Yes. That should tell you that the Party changed the rules to prevent that from happening again. That’s the real story; not whether I wish I’d run in 2012.
In all honesty, I didn’t have any motivation to run in 2012. I only decided to jump into this race late last year because Donald Trump was vilifying entire classes of people and no one seemed willing to confront him. Had there been a Kennedy or even a Reagan in the race, I wouldn’t have taken this step. I ran because I didn’t see anyone in the presidential race who wasn’t also part of the problem.
Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” I would suggest that we cannot solve our nation’s problems with the same people who created them. We need someone who understands our economy, who understands international relationships and cultural differences, who values education, who has lived and competed in the real world rather than a hypothetical one funded by the taxpayers, and who has experienced the challenges that minorities face in this country and knows how to overcome those barriers. I have personal experience in each of these areas and offer a demonstrated record of success.
I’m not a polished politician; I‘m just like you. I don’t make false promises, and I pledge to honor my Oath of Office. I’m a problem solver, and I believe that is exactly what our nation needs. Think about it.

Issues[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on the job Obama has done as president? Specifically, what would you have done differently?

De La Fuente: I think President Obama is an honorable man who has done the best he could. He took over under difficult economic circumstances, but found a way to help stabilize and reverse the recession. He made significant progress in healthcare and education even in the face of Congressional resistance. I also think his recent steps to normalize relations with Cuba are a step in the right direction.
As far as differences, I hate to second guess a sitting President. I do not have access to the facts behind his decisions and can only hope he always made his decisions in good faith.
I do think I would have taken a different regulatory approach to accelerate our recovery from the recession. I also would have tried to expand the recovery, which has not made its way down to the middle class and the poor.
I would like to have seen a stronger and better defined foreign policy. The President seems to vacillate at times, and we need more certainty in this uncertain world.
Cquote1.svg Some of the President’s rhetoric and selective interest in social issues may have actually expanded the racial divide. Cquote2.svg
I also would like to have seen a greater effort to lessen racial tension. Some of the President’s rhetoric and selective interest in social issues may have actually expanded the racial divide.
In addition, I was disappointed that the President’s position on equal rights took so long to “evolve.” The evidence suggests that he didn’t as much “evolve” as he timed his position to coincide with public opinion. I would like to have seen stronger leadership in that regard.
Perhaps the greatest difference would be on my emphasis to create more opportunities for the middle class and the poor. The rich, donor class seems to have benefited to a far greater degree than those who are struggling the most. Welfare has dramatically expanded, homelessness has expanded, and illiteracy remains high. These would all be priorities in my Administration.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing America and how will you deal with these as president?

De La Fuente: I think the five most important issues facing our country are the economy, education, the environment, immigration, national security, and social equality (in alphabetical order).
With respect to the economy: The government cannot create jobs, but it can influence the economic environment. We need to rebalance the relationship between regulation, taxation and economic expansion so that the private sector can create new jobs and attract old ones that have migrated overseas. This will expand the tax base as well as the economy and allow us to begin working down the debt that will otherwise suffocate our country in years to come. It will also provide individuals with the opportunity to pursue upward mobility, which has been “missing in action” for far too many years.
With respect to education: We need to stop masking the inequity of our K–12 system that deprives children in poor areas from enjoying an equal education and having a pathway to a better life. We need to expand trade schools to provide the skills for which jobs exist but well-trained workers do not. We need to refocus our institutions of higher learning on their core mission, which is to provide the best education possible.

De La Fuente speaks with journalist Jorge Ramos, January 2016.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In recent times, our colleges have become enamored with competing for students on a basis of facilities rather than primarily on the basis of a quality education. As a result, costs have skyrocketed and students have become unconscionably burdened with debt. Government has contributed to the problem by providing funds with “strings attached” that further escalate costs on an ongoing basis. Making college “free” is a great concept, but we must recognize that it is only a shift in payment. Rather than tying the financial commitment to an individual for a defined period of time (the length of the loan), it spreads the commitment across the entire tax base and increases the length of the loan to “forever.” We need to develop a smart approach to solving the problem rather than a politically expedient one.
With respect to the environment: We are stewards of our planet, and we bear the responsibility to preserve the environment to the degree that we reasonably can. We cannot ignore science, but we must recognize that it is a two-edged sword. While we cannot deny Man’s contribution to climate change, we also have to acknowledge that our attempts to mitigate the damage we do is driven by technological realities that we cannot legislate away.
Cquote1.svg While we need a far more efficient and effective way of vetting potential immigrants and providing them a path toward citizenship, it is astoundingly naive to think that building a wall would solve the problem. Cquote2.svg
We cannot impose subjective standards if the science does not exist to provide the solution. What we need to do is establish a rational transition plan that moves away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy and encourages an acceleration of that transition. Today, we impose fines and fees if subjective standards are not met. This damages the economy and negatively impacts job growth. We need to reward the achievement rather than punish failure. We need to take the money we use to create and enforce unattainable regulations and use it to reward accelerated achievement of such goals.
With respect [to] immigration: We need comprehensive immigration reform. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution directs us to “provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States,” which can have countervailing impacts. We need secure borders to “provide for the common Defense.” However, we also need to embrace immigrants to “provide for . . . the general Welfare.”
As such, we need to assess immigration from a different perspective. Rather than viewing immigrants (documented or undocumented) as a liability, we need to view them as an asset. While we need a far more efficient and effective way of vetting potential immigrants and providing them a path toward citizenship, it is astoundingly naive to think that building a wall would solve the problem. People enter into the United States from two borders as well as by plane and ship. A wall has little practical value beyond […] political rhetoric. We need real solutions for this real issue, and we have to remember and honor the values upon which this great nation was built.

De La Fuente at the Veterans Museum in Washington D.C., October 2015.
Image: Claire Cousin.

It is not logical to suggest that we can deport 12 million immigrants just as it is illogical to suggest that we cannot deport the extremely small percentage who have committed felonies in our country. It is also ignorant to punish children, who entered the country illegally with their parents, for the decision of their parents. And it is appalling to deport individuals after we permit them to serve in the United States military; a practice of which most Americans are unaware.
We can also secure our borders without abandoning the values upon which our nation was built. We must first admit that our current system of immigration is broken and recognize that a wall is not the solution. Then, we must create a more intelligent, effective and efficient way of welcoming well-vetted immigrants to our borders and providing them with a clear pathway to citizenship.
With respect to national security: Again, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution directs us to “provide for the common Defense . . . of the United States.” However, it does not say that we must do it in a fiscally irresponsible way. It is not the government’s responsibility to support a military–industrial complex simply because it has allowed that structure to become unduly important in the financing of our political parties.
Our focus should be to maintain a technological superiority over every other military on earth in as cost effective way as possible. Our ability to project force in a timely manner, when necessary, should be measured against current capabilities rather than historic principles. We do not need to maintain military bases abroad to the degree that we do. We can project force far more efficiently today than we could decades ago when many of those installations first were built.
We also have to recognize that the enemy has changed as has the weaponry. Cyber-attacks on infrastructure and financial services pose new threats as do terrorist attacks (as opposed to traditional invasion tactics). We need to build an intelligence capability that can identify and anticipate such threats and a counter-cyber capability that can defend against and respond to the delivery of any such attacks.
With respect to social equality: My number one priority as President would be to refocus our country on providing an equal opportunity to all with regard to jobs, education, healthcare, etc. We have established programs that make our leaders feel good but, from a practical perspective, fail to advance the cause of delivering an equal opportunity to all. As a result, we waste a great deal of time and taxpayer money on programs that have not improved our nation or the lives of its citizens. We need to return to the concept that “all men are created equal” and have the unalienable right to pursue happiness as they choose to define it. This does not mean that we all have to choose the same path or achieve parity in income, etc. It means that we should be given the tools and choices that are necessary to be able to pursue our individual definition of happiness.
“Equality” supports the right to be different; however, it demands the opportunity to choose which path to pursue. I would do everything in my power to provide every citizen with an equal opportunity to make that choice. This alone would stimulate our economy, resolve many of our social issues, and underscore the importance of the concept of individual Liberty that separates our country from any other nation on Earth.
We spend an inordinate amount of time and money intervening in the affairs of other nations. What if we were to redirect our efforts and capital toward improving vital issues at home (i.e., our homeless, our displaced veterans, illiteracy and poverty (which continue to hover around 15%), the availability of health care for every American, etc.)? We could lead by example rather than try to convince the rest of the world why it should follow our model, and at the same time, we would be taking care of our citizens and restoring hope and dignity to their lives.

Future[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png If elected, what would constitute a successful presidency for you?

De La Fuente: Simplistically, if I could make meaningful progress toward achieving the goals I just listed, I would have a successful presidency.

De La Fuente: “I don’t need to serve in a political office to be happy, but I would be honored to do so if I thought I could give something back to my country.”
Image: Marc Nozell.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Which individuals would you like to see in a De La Fuente administration?

De La Fuente: I would take a fundamentally different approach to staffing the De La Fuente administration. Currently, over 80 percent of the senior White House staff positions and approximately 50 percent of the ambassadorships have gone to individuals who bundled $500 thousand or more for the current Administration. While these people shouldn’t be banned from serving the Administration if they are qualified, the disproportionate distribution suggests that the positions are more likely to be a repayment of political debt. I will not do that.
I learned in business that I did best when I hired people who were better than me at what they did. I didn’t hire them to be subservient to me nor did I hire them because they were friends. I think that same approach is needed in Washington, D.C. During these difficult times, we need our nation’s best and brightest individuals to tackle our problems. I would select people to serve in my administration on a basis of merit.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan on ever running for political office again?

De La Fuente: I’m a first generation American who is extreme[ly] proud of being a citizen of this great country. To give you some perspective, I once wanted to fly a large American flag over one of my car dealerships, but the city’s governing body emphatically said, “No!” For nine years, I fought back before winning the right to honor our country with what has become a prominent landmark; a 3,000 square foot flag flying from the tallest free standing flag pole in the United States.
I don’t need to serve in a political office to be happy, but I would be honored to do so if I thought I could give something back to my country.



Related news[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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External link[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 13, 2015

Wikinews interviews Steve Burke, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Steve Burke, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

2016 United States presidential election
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Steve Burke
Image: Steve Burke.

Macomb, New York Councilman Steve Burke took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Burke, an insurance adjuster and farmer, was elected councilman in Brookhaven, New York in 1979. He left the town after being accused and found not guilty of bribery in the 1980s. Since 1987 he has served as Macomb councilman off-and-on and currently holds the post. From 1993 to 1996 and 1999 to 2002 he worked as chairman of the Democratic Party of St. Lawrence County, New York. Among his many political campaigns, Burke unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1992 and recently attempted to run for U.S. Congress in 2014 but too many of his ballot petition signatures were found invalid. Burke filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in the 2016 election on September 18, 2015 and has qualified for the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Primary.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn‎, Burke discusses his political background, his 2016 presidential campaign, and his policy proposals.

Interview[]

  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your achievements as councilman in Brookhaven, New York?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSteve BurkeWikinews waves Right.png The only way to answer your question is by semi story okay? I was asked once to take over the fight to save the county infirmary from closure. It housed ill and hopeless cases. I felt it was the county’s obligation to keep it open. Just as I believe we have an obligation to the mentally ill who need a hospital setting instead of the street or jail. So I took on the county and organized the seniors, relatives of the patients and went to work until the county elected officials cried uncle and kept it open. In fact they built a brand new infirmary and I believe it is still open. I last stopped there in the 1990s to visit a man I became friends with at the infirmary. He was bed ridden after he was stabbed with a knife in the back and it severed his spine. The county infirmary is owned by Suffolk County but in the town of Brookhaven. When I was first elected to the Brookhaven council, I felt we could now start to help the people. What a shock I got and lessons no political course in school can teach. There [were] some minor patronage jobs available. One person who was a disabled vet wanted some part time work. I spoke with my board members and they agreed to give him a bingo inspector job. About four evenings a month minor pay. On our very first meeting I looked at the agenda and his name was not there. I asked why and they told me they decided to give it to a bartender where they ate and drank. Because he made good drinks. That did not fly with me. I called them all into a room and spoke with them and the party leader by phone. The result was that day the disabled vet got the position and held it until he passed on. So back stabbing, back biting, always looking to get even [are] the lessons I learned the hard way from my fellow elected officials. But it taught me how to get things done. Former New Hampshire U.S. Senator [Warren] Rudman said when he quit the Senate, he could not get over the hatred and back stabbing in Washington. So I guess when you deal with elected egos it is the same all over. The town had a few hundred vehicles they owned and the employees drove. Remember Brookhaven is the largest town in New York. I was assigned the public safety department. I found the town cars were unaccounted for. No one knew where they were or who had them. Some I found in back yards of employees with parts missing, invoices of repairs not done on town cars but on personal cars and charged to the town. I stopped all of that, put the repairs out to bid. Made a depot to pick up and drop off daily a car. Changed the color and bought smaller vehicles. I also started a repair yard with town mechanics. When the bid expired. I saved the local police/code enforcement department that they wanted to get rid of. They took care of our parks and buildings, etc. I think I put in a resolution to push for the five cent return bottles, cans, etc., or maybe I just brought it up. I am not sure. That was before the state did it. The town dog pound was a problem. I heard they were selling dogs and cats out the back door to labs and for guard dog companies. I got the town board to go in with me one evening and seize the records. We went through them and turned them over to the district attorney. It was not followed up. But there [were] no more rumors of dogs or cats going out the back door. I am sure there was more but that was 30 years ago. You will have to cut it down. One builds up enemies if you do anything as an elected official. Those that last a long time are generally do nothings, no waves.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your achievements as councilman in Macomb, New York?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png I am the only Democrat on the five person board. So the entire board has to take credit of keeping tax increases below 2% a year without going into our fund balance. In fact our fund balance is the best of the other 31 towns and the county of St. Lawrence. We have lowered the cost of health care along with our tax base. Upgraded equipment, put money aside for replacement equipment, made our buildings energy efficient. Then we started at the beginning of each meeting the Pledge of Allegiance and a short prayer to the Almighty. Best of all we have no debt.

St. Lawrence County highlighted in red.
Image: David Benbennick.

  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your achievements as chairman of the Democratic Party of St. Lawrence County?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png This was a strong Republican county when I first became chair. I was able to turn the county around to Democrat, but now it has fallen back to Republican. I started the first resource guide that allowed us to raise funds, obtained a house for the first time ever headquarters. Hillary Clinton won her first Senate seat with just 10 counties out of 62 in New York. We were one of those 10 counties when I was chair. I served as chair and was called back after several years to be chair again. I left the party in both a happy, strong and good financial condition.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png According to WWNY-TV, you previously ran for president in 1992. What was the nature of that run and what did you learn from it?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png I am impressed that you did some investigative work. It is rare today. Good for you. You should go far in this field. The country was just starting to feel the impact of a slowdown. I wanted to speak out as to what I saw and speak to the issues of the day. I learned that it was a closed shop then and has gotten worse both in ability to be recognized and the economic situation. NAFTA and all free trade policies are detrimental to our economical health, jobs, income and general well being of the country. When NAFTA was first proposed I was chair and spoke out against it and was given heat for it. But oh well I swim upstream anyway.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Did you run in any presidential primaries in 1992?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png I ran in six states total and did the best [in] Louisiana.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Why are you [a] Democrat? What do you like about the party and have you ever considered joining a non-establishment party?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png No I will not join any other party. I like the freedom of being a Democrat. This freedom is not found in other parties.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png So far you have filed to run in the New Hampshire primary. Do you plan on filing for any other primaries?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png Yes we are working in other states to be known and have signed up for Louisiana. Money is always a problem in a grassroots campaign.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What do you hope to accomplish with this campaign?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png That a voice be heard that is different than what is there now. The same old, same old get you the same old with no chance of bringing the county back home to where we have full employment, everyone getting along, pulling together regardless of color, race or religion. We are Americans all, living on a small rock just hanging out in space.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on the job Barack Obama has done as president? Specifically, what would you have done differently?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png I will not slam an other Democrat who is doing what he feels is correct. I would do things differently for sure.
A. I believe in making friends not enemies.
B. No sanctions, I consider them an act of war.
C. Trade with every[one] on the planet. It is good for [us] and the products we have to sell — jobs.
D. Healthcare needs to be tweaked; move it in line with the health plan the congress has and a single payer.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing America and how will you deal with these as president?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png Make friends. You see how China is doing it by helping all around the world along with Russia. War and the blood of our young and our treasury is causing us to be bled to third world status. Radical Islam — work with a coalition of nations with the United Nations and root out that nest of vipers once and for all. Rebuild those countries devastated by war as was done after World War II.

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his I Have a Dream speech.
Image: National Archives and Records Administration.

  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png If elected, what would constitute a successful presidency for you?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png Make friends around the world, fair trade, full employment here at home. New plants opening up. I have a plan for that. Where we finally answer Reverend Martin Luther [King, Jr.]‘s I Have a Dream.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What exactly is the plan?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png We have a precedent set with the General Motors bailout. All the closed factory and manufacturing buildings around the country need to be used. Let’s find the people with skills to open them up and get them running. The government will have a startup fund to lend, so we can be self sufficient again. By closing some of our military bases around the world that money can be used in this country and the military brought home to help secure our borders. Remember we are bleeding money and must stop it or we are done. One of the best things I feel for all our young is to have a military draft for a two year period of their lives. It teaches them order and how to get along and live with people of all colors and religions. Add a CCC type of organization to that and give them a choice. Then add a GI type of benefits to that. As a correction officer I saw the hopelessness of prisoners who could not read or write but were smart. If the government uses its money and talent not just on early intervention but in all grades to help these kids who have trouble in school reading and writing etc. Americans right now feel a sense of no one cares and we are going nowhere. Lack of jobs, money, housing. If you are married William then you know money in marriage is the big problem not sex. We have people with ideas in this country. Let’s use them to make our country self sufficient again. Let’s show the country through leadership that we are moving forward together towards a goal. No more making scapegoats out of each other. Those in office have a hunger for more and more money because they have a need???? Well so do those working or having a business. Let’s not tax them to death. We all want to have the good life. Let’s work towards that goal. I see the problems and know there are answers by setting goals, direction and leadership. Sorry if I got off on a rant. But you asked.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Which individuals would you like to see in a Burke administration?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png People who have a love of country, its people and the constitution. They will be movers and shakers in their field to do the right things for our country.
As a side note to you William. I was on 60 Minutes for some legislation I sponsored against Teflon coated bullets that can pass through armored police vests. The Congress then followed with their legislation later on. I believe they used my idea after the NRA and I were on 60 Minutes. I believe it was my efforts that had North Korea free the American prisoners this year. I have also been working to do the same in Iran […]
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What exactly did you do to help free American prisoners in North Korea?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png WWNY-TV first did a story on my writing to the Supreme Leader Kim Jung Un. When that did not work, I followed up with someone I know who was the military attache for the former USSR. I asked him to speak to Putin for me. He traveled to Moscow and within two weeks all the prisoners were released. That’s what I mean by making friends. I have tried that avenue with Iran but was told no.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Last election cycle in December 2011 there was a lesser-known candidates forum at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Have you received any invitation to such an event?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png No invitations have been received. It is different than 1992. Oh one item I forgot to mention to you. When the [National Defense] NDAA of 2012 was before Congress. I wrote a resolution against section 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA Act of 2012. The town board all voted in favor of my resolution. A copy of it was sent to the President, Supreme Court justices and the entire New York delegation to Congress. Only one congressman, Mr. [Brian Higgins] of Buffalo, had the moxie to answer and acknowledge the resolution. That legislation was a bad bill, but they passed it.
  • Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you have a campaign website?
Wikinews waves Left.pngSBWikinews waves Right.png Yes I am finalizing it by next week. I am using Simple Nerds to do it. Great name for a company that a presidential candidate is using? […] By the way my campaign committee has fourteen people. Two African Americans, two Hispanics, several pastors, former immigrants from other countries and me. Thank you William for the questions. I look forward to one day meeting you.



Related news[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External links[]

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 16, 2015

\”Birther King\” announces campaign for U.S. president

“Birther King” announces campaign for U.S. president

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Via press release Friday, Andy Martin, a perennial candidate for political office and self-proclaimed “Birther King” announced that he is seeking the U.S. Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, his fourth bid for the White House. In his announcement and subsequent release, Martin expresses a desire to participate in Republican presidential debates and aligns himself with fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Additionally, he outlines six reasons for running, including degrading the candidacy of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is also seeking the Republican nomination.

“Birther King” Andy Martin.
Image: Andy Martin.

“I have been a loyal Republican,” says Martin in his announcement, “loyal to the principles of our party but not necessarily loyal to some of its failed leaders.”

Martin, best known for spreading multiple conspiracy theories concerning the birth and religion of U.S. President Barack Obama, previously ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1988, and unsuccessfully sought the backing of the Republican Party in 2000 and 2012. In 2012, he received a total of 19 votes in the New Hampshire Primary, the only primary ballot on which he appeared.

For 2016, Martin does not harbor high expectations of electoral success, though he hopes to receive an invitation to the debates. In reference to the seventeen candidates invited to the two August 6 Fox News debates, Martin casts himself as the “eighteenth candidate,” willing to participate in the second tier debate. Moreover, he declares himself as the “second-most exciting” candidate, reserving first place for Trump, whom Martin praises throughout his announcement. Despite having described Trump’s previous foray into politics as a “charade” during a 2011 interview with Wikinews, Martin now sees himself as Trump’s “tag team” partner in attacking the Bush candidacy.

“Trump has the raw media power to weaken Bush,” says Martin, “I have the negative information and hardball media tactics to make Bush a toxic candidate for the Republican base.”

Martin adamantly opposes Bush because of the foreign policy of the candidate’s brother, former President George W. Bush. He also criticizes Bush for his alleged economic benefit from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, labeling Bush as a “front man for a handful of corrupt plutocrats that have raped [the nation’s] economy.” Martin has previously criticized the Bush family during his 2000 campaign, when he ran television ads accusing then-presidential candidate George W. Bush of abusing cocaine and alcohol.

In addition to preventing Bush from gaining the Republican nomination, Martin intends to focus his campaign on protecting the prestige of the New Hampshire Primary and Iowa Caucus, defending the economic legacy of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, combating political correctness, emphasizing U.S. relations with Greece, and fighting political corruption.

Martin filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last month to run for president in 2016 officially. He joins 139 Republican Party presidential candidates who have done likewise.



Related news[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

\”Birther King\” announces 2016 campaign for U.S. president

“Birther King” announces 2016 campaign for U.S. president

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
(Redirected from “Birther King” announces campaign for U.S. president)
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Via press release Friday, Andy Martin, a perennial candidate for political office and self-proclaimed “Birther King” announced that he is seeking the U.S. Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, his fourth bid for the White House. In his announcement and subsequent release, Martin expresses a desire to participate in Republican presidential debates and aligns himself with fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Additionally, he outlines six reasons for running, including degrading the candidacy of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is also seeking the Republican nomination.

“Birther King” Andy Martin.
Image: Andy Martin.

“I have been a loyal Republican,” says Martin in his announcement, “loyal to the principles of our party but not necessarily loyal to some of its failed leaders.”

Martin, best known for spreading multiple conspiracy theories concerning the birth and religion of U.S. President Barack Obama, previously ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1988, and unsuccessfully sought the backing of the Republican Party in 2000 and 2012. In 2012, he received a total of 19 votes in the New Hampshire Primary, the only primary ballot on which he appeared.

For 2016, Martin does not harbor high expectations of electoral success, though he hopes to receive an invitation to the debates. In reference to the seventeen candidates invited to the two August 6 Fox News debates, Martin casts himself as the “eighteenth candidate,” willing to participate in the second tier debate. Moreover, he declares himself as the “second-most exciting” candidate, reserving first place for Trump, whom Martin praises throughout his announcement. Despite having described Trump’s previous foray into politics as a “charade” during a 2011 interview with Wikinews, Martin now sees himself as Trump’s “tag team” partner in attacking the Bush candidacy.

“Trump has the raw media power to weaken Bush,” says Martin, “I have the negative information and hardball media tactics to make Bush a toxic candidate for the Republican base.”

Martin adamantly opposes Bush because of the foreign policy of the candidate’s brother, former President George W. Bush. He also criticizes Bush for his alleged economic benefit from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, labeling Bush as a “front man for a handful of corrupt plutocrats that have raped [the nation’s] economy.” Martin has previously criticized the Bush family during his 2000 campaign, when he ran television ads accusing then-presidential candidate George W. Bush of abusing cocaine and alcohol.

In addition to preventing Bush from gaining the Republican nomination, Martin intends to focus his campaign on protecting the prestige of the New Hampshire Primary and Iowa Caucus, defending the economic legacy of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, combating political correctness, emphasizing U.S. relations with Greece, and fighting political corruption.

Martin filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last month to run for president in 2016 officially. He joins 139 Republican Party presidential candidates who have done likewise.



Related news[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

\’Birther King\’ announces 2016 campaign for U.S. president

‘Birther King’ announces 2016 campaign for U.S. president

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, August 16, 2015

2016 United States Presidential Election
Seal of the President of the United States.svg
2016 U.S. Presidential Election stories

Via press release on Friday, Andy Martin, a perennial candidate for political office and self-proclaimed “Birther King”, announced he is seeking the U.S. Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, his fourth bid for the White House. In his announcement and subsequent release, Martin expresses a desire to participate in Republican presidential debates and aligns himself with fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Additionally, he outlines six reasons for running, including degrading the candidacy of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who is also seeking the Republican nomination.

“Birther King” Andy Martin.
Image: Andy Martin.

“I have been a loyal Republican,” says Martin in his announcement, “loyal to the principles of our party but not necessarily loyal to some of its failed leaders.”

Martin, best known for spreading multiple conspiracy theories concerning the birth and religion of U.S. President Barack Obama, previously ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1988, and unsuccessfully sought the backing of the Republican Party in 2000 and 2012. In 2012, he received a total of 19 votes in the New Hampshire Primary, the only primary ballot on which he appeared.

For 2016, Martin does not harbor high expectations of electoral success, though he hopes to receive an invitation to the debates. In reference to the seventeen candidates invited to the two August 6 Fox News debates, Martin casts himself as the “eighteenth candidate,” willing to participate in the second-tier debate. Moreover, he declares himself as the “second-most exciting” candidate, reserving first place for Trump, whom Martin praises throughout his announcement. Although he described Trump’s previous foray into politics as a “charade” during a 2011 interview with Wikinews, Martin now sees himself as Trump’s “tag team” partner in attacking the Bush candidacy.

“Trump has the raw media power to weaken Bush,” says Martin, “I have the negative information and hardball media tactics to make Bush a toxic candidate for the Republican base.”

Martin adamantly opposes Bush because of the foreign policy of the candidate’s brother, former President George W. Bush. He also criticizes Bush for his alleged economic benefit from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, labeling Bush as a “front man for a handful of corrupt plutocrats that have raped [the nation’s] economy.” Martin has previously criticized the Bush family during his 2000 campaign, when he ran television ads accusing then-presidential candidate George W. Bush of abusing cocaine and alcohol.

In addition to preventing Bush from gaining the Republican nomination, Martin intends to focus his campaign on protecting the prestige of the New Hampshire Primary and Iowa Caucus, defending the economic legacy of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, combating political correctness, emphasizing U.S. relations with Greece, and fighting political corruption.

Martin filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last month to run for president in 2016 officially. He joins 139 other Republican Party presidential candidates who have done likewise.



Related news

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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