RESTATING THE OBVIOUS
Ben Carson is now gone from the race—one he’d been a non-factor in for months. It’s down to four and still, no one is ready to drop out. The moments of truth will come in the March 15 winner-take-all races, especially in Florida and Ohio. If the polls are right, Trump will win both—but Kasich has a chance to beat him in OH. Only a miraculous rally will let Rubio win Florida. If he fails to do that, his chances are almost over. The math about delegates is too complicated to guess at now, but the ultimate surge will come later yet.
ON DELEGATE COUNT —TRUMP IS WINNING—IN SPITE OF ATTACKS AND HIS “EMPTY PROMISES”
Trump with just under 500, Cruz just under 400, Rubio and Kasich together at about 200 total. The March 15 primaries will likely tell the story…who wins, if any single candidate does.
LATEST POLL RESULTS
GENERAL ELECTION POLLS Dates (small)Sample Trump Cruz Rubio Kasich
|NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl||3/3 - 3/6||397 LV||30||27||20||22||--||Trump +3
Even if Rubio wins FL (He’s still trailing Trump in polls) and Kasich wins OH (He’s also trailing Trump), the outlook for them is still not good. Trump continues to win with pluralities, not majorities, because the splitting of voters four ways causes that. Neither Rubio nor Kasich wants to withdraw, but results in their winner take all home states may change that. A contested convention is still possible, but thus far, Trump is winning enough that he might still get to the 1237 delegates.
I still do not like Cruz (He is an adept liar—which seems to be a political asset—if Hillary Clinton is any indication) and I worry about Trump for many reasons cited below.. But beating Hillary (or whichever Democrat) is the key, because unless a Republican wins, not much else matters. If a Republican wins, then which one does matter. My dislike/mistrust of Cruz is stronger than my concern about Trump. I also think Cruz will lose in a general election. Trump may win in the general election unless enough conservatives simply choose not to vote, conceding the election to Hillary—WHICH WOULD BE REALLY STUPID. Another possible GOP upside is to win by sustaining the massive turnout in primaries for the general election—again, unless some primary voters refuse to vote for the GOP candidate!
Trump can bluster all he wants, but the facts do not support his bluster (about beating Hillary—surprised?). RealClearPolitics summary of latest polls to date show that Trump loses to Clinton in all but one, and it is within the margin of error (MOE). Cruz ekes out a narrow win (less that the MOE). Only Rubio and Kasich have consistently outpolled Hillary. Isn’t that a good reason for them to join forces? I have thought so for a long, long time… Their skills and persona and backgrounds are complementary and together they might be able to “trump Trump,” but will they get a chance to beat Hillary (the Liar/Cheat) in a general election. Kasich will pull moderates, and Rubio will hold onto the conservatives, getting them out to vote (as Cruz also will) and which Trump may not! He still has “high negatives."
FIND A TRUMP SUPPORTER: ASK THEM FOR ONE INSTANCE OF WHERE TRUMP ACTUALLY EXPLAINS HOW HE’D DO ONE OF HIS MIRACLES
Here’s a list of Trump’s “Empty Promises”—where he has stated nothing about HOW TO DO any of them with any detail.
- Building a wall is not an immigration overhaul program. Neither is banning Muslims.
- Removing the lines around the states for insurance buyers is far from an Obamacare solution.
- Strengthening the military by saying it, doesn’t make it happen; Congress makes those appropriations.
- Blustering that Putin will take care of ISIS only guarantees that Putin will get stronger and ISIS may too—elsewhere besides Syria.
- Taking the oil in the Middle East is easier to say than to do. Middle Eastern groups, and terrorists will fight over it.
- Repatriating jobs to US takes more than exchange rate pressure, or levying punitive duties on China which raises the cost of goods to all Americans.
- Leadership is much different from Trump’s example, “I’ll tell them what to do and they’ll do it.” That’s dictatorship, not leadership.
- Cutting the government by eliminating entire departments is only workable—IF private sector jobs exist for thousands of government employees and contractors.
- Stopping inversions or companies leaving the US for lower cost places (with lower taxes) is like holding back the tides in an ocean.
- Making America Great Again happens only if American government chooses to work across party lines, and if the American people buy in and play their parts.
- No amount of Trump’s bluster alone can accomplish all these. BUT THEN…nobody thought Trump could do what he has done up to now
HERE’S A PRO-TRUMP CONTRARIAN PERSPECTIVE: Perhaps Donald Trump is not “clueless,” but rather he may be “clever and calculating” —by not exposing the “how” of his plans in the primaries He may realize he neither has enough solutions worked out (yet) nor is willing to expose to Democratic opponent to tear them down.
Any president will certainly need to assemble a staff that is competent in the various aspects of this most complex job of all. Trump will also. So will any of the other contenders. What Donald Trump might do is “turn Blue states Red.” by winning in NJ, NY, PA, MI, and the pivotal OH, FL, VA,—he might actually beat Hillary.
THINK HARD ABOUT THIS, AND DECIDE WHAT YOU THINK AND BELIEVE AND I HOPE, VOTE ACCORDINGLY
SHIFTING TO THE ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS FRONT
Big banks are still “too big to fail” and Dodd-Frank is now 22,000 pages too big, of more regulations that will be a nightmare to enforce and administer. “Too big to fail” is also another way to say “too complex to stay as they are.” Forcing big banks to break up would reduce the risk of “Too big to fail” hurting the economy again.
CHINA MAY BE SELF-LIMITING.
Air pollution is fatal. It is so bad in many Chinese cities that no one really knows the deaths attributable to it. Of China’s huge land mass, only about 25% of its arable land and of that, about 20% is polluted beyond recovery by chemicals or heavy metals. China could struggle with finding enough food. China’s water is not fit to drink and no matter how hard it tries, progress is very slow, barely perceptible. If you cannot safely breathe the air, drink the water or till the soil to raise crops or livestock, it’s hard to be a global leader.
CHANGE IS SWAMPING SUPPLY CHAINS
Target is the latest company to realize that its entire supply chain is no longer capable to doing what it is trying to do to combat on-line retailers like amazon.com. Walmart learned that a year or two ago and is still trying to figure out the right way to do things. Watch others struggle with this kind of problem. Change is constant and accelerating.
COSTCO RAISES ITS MINIMUM WAGE
Costco has always paid more than most retailers and in doing so, got and kept better people. It is continuing that direction by staying in front as Walmart, Target, McDonalds, Starbucks and others move up. States and cities are raising their minimum wages too. Higher wages means lower employment as companies seek more from workers or to replace them with automation and computers, etc, or simply eliminate their jobs.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
Sports Authority has been struggling as an also-ran while Dicks is growing and nice stores like Galyans, Bass Pro Shops, Field and Stream and others pop up all over. (There are too many of them, too big, too…but it will take 2-3 years for them to consolidate.) Sports Authority was one of the first, but national format sporting goods stores were destined to struggle from the outset because sports are regional, not national Fishing vs. Skiing, teams vs. other teams, cold weather vs. warm weather, coastal vs. inland and on and on. Watch the outdoor stores in 2-3 years as they beat each other out of business. 1-2 chains will survive.
BARNES AND NOBLE OPENING FOUR NEW STORES
After closing stores and cutting back, this may be a sign that it has a better idea how to make traditional bookstores relevant and competitive in the era of amazon.com. Getting rid of Nook entirely would be a big, smart move. It is a loser and a drain on B & N. Statements like “exploring its options” in digital books, and “may or may not have branded devices depending on how that evolves” are corporate advance warning code-speak for “we are getting out of this and figuring out how to spin it so it isn’t an admission of total failure.” The uptick in popularity of traditional books will help…if it holds up. Stay tuned.
RECESSION OR NO RECESSION—count the pluses and minuses
+The latest jobs report was encouraging
- Wages fell, which is not.
+Labor costs rose
-Productivity is down and falling
+Factory orders are up
-Consumer confidence fell
+Gas prices are low
-Oil prices are low
Conclusion = NO firm direction. NO recession. NO robust growth. Just stagger along with 2% growth—thanks to the Obama-minions’ anti-business policies.
NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES?
Paying banks to hold your money. Really? How far down we have come. It’s happening elsewhere. Dropping the $100 bills (and even the $50?) are another symptom of financial distress and confusion. Blame it on drug dealers, but it is at least as much a money management play as anything else, to mare your money harder to get at and carry around.
POLITICIANS ALL LIE—AND SO DO CEOS—IT’S JUST A MATTER OF FREQUENCY AND DEGREE
Sometimes not saying anything is equal to a lie. Politicians’ promises are often lies—either intentional or inadvertent. We know Hillary Clinton lies; she’s been caught multiple times. Ditto Donald Trump. In this era of cell phones with video cameras, evidence of lying is easily obtained.
CEOs often lie in hope of not panicking their workers. In a merger or acquisition CEOs often say, “‘Nothing will change.” Nonsense. A lot will change. Otherwise, why merge or acquire another entity if not to change it or absorb it.
A SOLUTION, FINALLY? MAYBE.
Years ago, during a consulting assignment, I had to help a company figure out what media it was going to use to store owners manuals for equipment that might last 30-40-50 years. After ruling out magnetic tape and disks, and CDs and DVDs we decide to use what ancient Egyptians used: paper. It may be unwieldy and unglamorous, but it lasted for thousands of years. And the “readers “ for it don’t go obsolete every decade or so. (Can you find something to read 5-1/4 in floppy?) Now a new solution is on the tech horizon:small glass disks containing five dimensional nanostructure. Glass is inert (we think), heat resistant and chemically stable. This might be a big breakthrough—until we figure out how to keep the equipment to read them from going obsolete.
THAT’S PLENTY FOR THIS WEEK. ENJOY THE UNSEASONABLE WARM WEATHER.
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