Russia has too much influence in American politics

Russia has been in the headlines a lot recently, causing a lot of tension and confusion with the American people on what exactly is going on. Today, I hope to remedy some of those concerns or questions about Russia-American relations.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that members of Donald Trump’s campaign during the election had repeated phone calls with members of Russian intelligence officers. The article immediately grabbed national attention. According to the Times, phone records and intercepted calls by four current and former American officials released the information to the publication.

This all coming after U.S. intelligence agencies stated that Russia leaked democratic emails to sway the election in Trump’s favor. Sergei A. Ryabov, deputy Russian foreign minister, is on record stating that there were contacts between the two parties during the election.

These actions from the Trump campaign are in direct violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which I feel will come into question if more information about Russia’s involvement in U.S. politics continues.

Republican South Carolina senator Lindsay Graham, a critic of Trump’s administration, said on Good Morning America “if it’s true, it is very, very disturbing to me. And Russia needs to pay a price when it comes to interfering in our democracy and other democracies, and any Trump person who was working with the Russians in an unacceptable way also needs to pay a price.”

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So, as the American people, where should you have a problem with these interferences in our democracy (if they are true)? The answer lies in the hypocrisy of the administration in power.

On March 18, 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, a region that belonged to the Ukraine. To Trump’s backing, I do agree that President Obama was extremely weak regarding the annexation of the territory. The act was a violation of international law under the Agreement on Establishing the Commonwealth of Independent Nations in 1991, and should have been dealt with in such manner. Sanctions should have been the least form of punishment for the Russian’s actions. Vladimir Putin was a former KGB (Soviet Union committee for state security) officer for 16 years and is on the record for stating he wants to move Russia in a more Soviet-esque state.

The Russian President, quite frankly, is embarrassed. And who could you blame him? His great country was stripped of their world dominance when the Soviet Union collapsed, allowing the United States to take control of global influence. The annexation of Crimea is the first step of what may come in the future. Russia seeks power and dominance, and as an American, that makes me fearful. The ideals of the Soviet Union that are still embedded in the mind of Putin is not what the world needs in terms of political ideology.

President Trump was rightfully a critic of the Obama administrations handling of the Crimea region, but ironically, his campaign is being accused of having close administrative discussion during the election. All of which came after several intelligence agencies stated Russia was responsible for leaked democratic emails during the election.

Senator Graham is rightfully critical. It is disheartening to even try and comprehend that the current President is in talks with Russia after the annexation of Crimea. We are not friends with Russia. Our governments are different in so many ways and historically represent different ideology.

What makes the situation a little stickier is Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor after he had discussion with the Russian ambassador on sanctions before Trump even took office.  Flynn, who resigned Monday, was misleading the Vice-President on his discussion with the ambassador. This becomes problematic as even people within the president’s inner-circle are hiding and misleading information about Russian politicians.

Regardless of your political ideology, Russia is way too involved in our political system, and they are getting away with it. I am all for improving relations with Russia, but the country should respect those boundaries set by the international community. They are making the United States look weak, and for reasons we can’t explain, Trump and his administration are at the forefront of the controversy.

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Trump-Putin phone call in the Oval Office. Flynn (right) before his resignation.

Sanctions should be set in place by this administration after Russia’s actions during the election. Interfering in our politics, regardless of who was at service, needs to be punished. It makes our nation look weak at the hand of Russian influence. China in the South China Sea, and now Russia’s interference will make for great foreign policy discussions in the near future. I am eager to see what new information is released on these matters.

Let me know what you all think! Hope you enjoyed the read.

Best,

Exsar Misael

Cruz Drops Out- analysis and Thought

After the Indiana primary last night, Tuesday May 3, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign for President of the United States. But with Indiana being a must win state for Cruz, is anyone really surprised the Senator dropped? Well, a little. Especially after joining forces with Ohio Governor John Kasich last week to stop Trump.

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Photo Credits: Politico 

Cruz and Kasich

About a week ago, Ted Cruz and John Kasich both released statements issuing an alliance in a last minute effort to keep Republican frontrunner Donald Trump from winning the nomination. In the statements, it was clear that Cruz would focus on Indiana, while Kasich focused on Oregon and New Mexico. If both candidates won the states, they would have been able to deny Trump over 1,000 delegates, hindering the republican frontrunner from getting the nomination.

Delegates

Unfortunately, after Trump’s win in Indiana, it is mathematically impossible for Cruz to win the nomination with the remaining delegates. Even though Cruz has explicitly stated he would stay in the race until the convention, it is clear the Senator doesn’t believe anyone can stop Trump from taking the Republican nomination. Going into Indiana, Trump only needed to win 60 percent of the remaining delegates to get the nomination, while Cruz needed a near impossible 90 percent. Kasich has been mathematically out of the race for quite some time. So why hasn’t the Ohio governor dropped? In reality, the race to the white house for the Republican party is now officially over. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Kasich drop after loses in Oregon and New Mexico.

Here is a good link of a delegate tracker for all those interested in the exact numbers.

Cruz Fiorina wasn’t enough

Before Indiana, Cruz announced Carly Fiorina as his VP running mate. This was an unusual move by the Senator as most candidates don’t officially state their running mate until after the nomination for the party is solidified. This can be seen more as a strategic move, as Fiorina was the 2010 Republican senatorial nominee in California. With California coming up on June 7, Cruz was clearly trying to win over as many republican voters as possible in a desperate move to stop Trump. And overall, this move by Cruz was just that: desperate. The Fiorina move seemed to backfire on Cruz as a video went viral of her slipping on stage during the Indiana campaign trail, foreshadowing the inevitable fall of Cruz’s campaign, and his decision to pick Fiorina as a running mate to pick up last minute votes.

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Photo Credits: Politico 

Concluding Thoughts

At this point in the campaign trail, it is safe to say Donald Trump has solidified the nomination for the Republican party. In my personal opinion, Cruz shouldn’t have dropped out of the race. Even if the Senator and Kasich could scavenge some remaining delegates, it would have been easier to fight Trump for the nominate at the convention. With Kasich now moments away from suspending his campaign, it is clear that American has voted. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

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Photo Credits: Politico 

College Republican Q and A

A few weeks ago I did a Q and A with a college student who is part of the democratic party and I am happy to announce that today I will continue that same trend with an interview with a college republican.

Sarah Haley is a Junior at Texas State who is a member of the college republicans on campus. Sarah is studying Public Relations with a minor in Political Science and shared some of her thoughts with me on the upcoming election. Thanks for your time Sarah! I had a great time with the interview and I’m glad you’re taking part in this upcoming election. Sarah said she supports and will vote for Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Q: Thanks for coming on my blog Sarah, it means a lot! So I’m assuming this will be the first time you will be able to vote in a presidential election. How excited are you about participating in the future of this country?

A: No problem at all! Happy to help out!
This will be my first time, although, I could have voted when Obama went into office, but I was a stupid high school student who didn’t vote and didn’t realize the opportunity I was missing out on. So for the upcoming election I am super excited to participate on who our next future president could be!

Q: I know you’re active with the college republicans, which is always good to hear you’re active politically. If you don’t mind me asking, who are looking to vote for in the upcoming election?

A: Yes I really love being involved with CR. I’ll be voting for Ted Cruz if he makes it! (Fingers crossed) Although if he doesn’t make it I plan on sticking with the Republican Party nominee, but I think the rest of the U.S. agrees that they do not know what they will do if Trump is the Republican nominee.

Q: What is it about Senator Cruz that sticks out to you the most?

A: I love that he is from Texas and he sees first hand the issues we face here, specifically the border. While I do not mind people wanting to come here for a better life, I just wish it would happen legally so they can be apart of everything that citizenship entails. One of the things Cruz has spoken about is how he deals with several people jumping through the hoops to try to get into this country legally, but do not get to come because of the influx of people coming here illegally. He sticks to the constitution, he’s of the Christian faith, he’s for the second amendment, great foreign policy, he wants to rebuild the military again after its resent cuts, and along with several other reasons he connects well to his constituents which makes him appealing as a presidential nominee.

Q: I know immigration is a very hot topic for this election. Trump has said he is for building a wall across the border of Mexico to help combat illegal immigration. Some will say this is a radical approach to the issue. Is a wall spanning across the border a viable solution in your eyes?

A: It’s hard to say what exactly could work. There is already some infrastructure throughout the border and possibly getting more would work but just a wall will not handle the situation like Trump said. I feel like there needs to be a higher number of border patrol and more strict enforcement because you see articles of people easily coming over to the US. I feel like it’s the lack of enforcement.  Of course I do not know the best answer but several different things need to happen to get control of the issue.

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Sarah Haley (left) with College Republican members.

Q: Hilary is leading the democratic party and Bernie Sanders is starting to get a little momentum. If Cruz wins the nomination, are you confident in the Senators ability to win the nation from Hilary or Bernie?

A: I’m not confident but I am really hopeful. I’m especially hoping that people will see how Hillary should not even be in the running because of her whole email scandal, which mirrors a situation of a former public official who did a similar thing and went to jail because of it. Since we will be coming of a democratic president, hopefully that will favor a republican like Cruz.

Q: Cruz is slowly sneaking up behind Trump in the delegate race. Moving into the west coast, how pivotal is it for you candidate to secure the closing delegates?

A: It’s very important that Cruz wins the west coast states because like you said they are close in delegates and whether he wins will contribute to whether he will be the nominee over Trump.

Q: Lets talk about your experience in the college republicans. I know even though we’re in Texas, it may seem that republicans are outnumbered on a college campus like ours. How has the diversity here at Texas State helped form your political ideology?

A: It can be very intimidating at times being on a democratic dominated campus because you don’t want to cause controversy or offend someone. It has definitely helped me because it has opened myself up to a wide variety of ideas and it has allowed me to see how others view different issues.

Q: Tomorrow is the march on campus for free education at Old Main. Will you be participating this event that protests college tuition?

A: I will not be participating in the event however, I am glad that students are coming together on an issue they feel is important. Free college is not possible. Money has to come from somewhere to fund the faculty, facilities, and everything else. While I understand their frustration with the burden of insanely high tuition rates, college is not free and it never can be. Unfortunately that is not realistic.

Q: In the near future, candidates will be debating on a stage, party vs. party. What are you looking for in these debates from Cruz? How will he stay composed under pressure against the likes of Trump and the democrats?

A: I’m looking for him to be level headed, passionate, confident and strong. He doesn’t need to attack Trump because that doesn’t look good. He needs to stick to his issues and try to stick to how he can help the US. Stooping down to Trumps arrogant, self-absorbed ways will not help him in the election process it will only bring him down to his level and hurt him in the long run. I’m not sure how he can stay composed against Trump because that’s a hard thing to do, but I’m hoping he will put his mind over matter and realize that his composure is key in matters like this. Whether he keeps his composure through this race will show if he can handle being the president.

Q: Lastly, what would you tell any undecided republican voters that Cruz is the way to go?

A: I would tell them that he has history in politics unlike Trump and while that is appealing to some people, you don’t want a doctor without any medical history or a CEO without any business experience. I would point out that he’s a fellow Texas, he sticks to the constitution, and a lot of the reasons I listed in the 3rd question!

Q and A with Paul Diaz, Sanders supporter

First and foremost, I have to thank Paul for his willingness to do this interview with me. Although we go to different universities, we still keep in touch with each other. Thanks for all the good memories in high school, and truly being a great and down to Earth friend.

Paul Diaz is a sophomore at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, fulfilling a Philosophy degree with a minor in English. Diaz is a supporter of the Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and will vote for him in the upcoming election. This blog post is intended to show the perspective of a college student voting for a democrat. I will be doing an interview with a college republican in the near future. Thank you, and enjoy!

Q: Thanks for coming out and helping me with my blog Paul. Lets get started. How important do you think it is for college students to vote, especially in this election?

A: I think it’s extremely important both in this election and in general. We can’t afford to be apathetic towards politics.

Q: For you and I, this will be the first time we’ll be able to make our mark in history. Tell me about the emotion behind voting. Are you excited? How do you feel?

A: I’m about as excited as anyone else who takes politics seriously.It’s arguably our most effective way of influencing politics.

Q: You support Bernie Sanders. What is it about his message that appeals to you?

A: I was personally sold by his idea of campaign finance reform and taking back our government from wealthy special interests.

Q: Sanders is also a big proponent of raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare, and free education. How do these particular issues sit with you?

A: Well, I support the minimum wage not only because I believe it should be a living wage, but also because it would be beneficial to the economy, as a number of economists and economic articles have stated. As for healthcare, I’m not crazy about a profit-motivated system being involved when you’re dealing with someone’s health. People these days, particularly close to or at the poverty line, are likely to find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between their health or their financial stability. I think that should not be happening in a country as wealthy as ours. I support free education because I believe that the only way to make a representative electoral system like ours work the way it should be is to have an educated population. The more accessible an education is for others, the better it will be for our democracy.

Q: Bernie Sanders has recently pushed a bit of momentum. Moving into the West Coast, how pivotal are the next few weeks for the Vermont Senator? Do you think he can still win the nomination?

A: The next few weeks will almost certainly make or break his campaign. He has to overcome his deficit in delegates (pledged delegates in particular) or he simply won’t be the nominee. I firmly believe he can still pull it off at this point. Whether or not he will remains to be seen.

Q: Tomorrow night is the big debate which will include both democrat and republican candidates. What are you looking forward most about tomorrow night?
What will you be looking for Sanders to do in order to feed that momentum?

A: I’m looking forward to seeing how Hillary and Bernie will repel the criticisms that they have levied at each other in the past several days. The race for the nomination is definitely getting more heated as time goes by. As for the republican candidates, there’s honestly not much for me to look forward to at this point. You can probably understand why. I think Bernie’s best way to feed his momentum is to continue doing what he’s been doing to create it in the first place: hammer his message, defend himself effectively when he trades blows with Hillary, and land a few good ones on Hillary herself while remaining the statesman politician he’s been throughout his campaign.

Q: There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about Hilary Clinton and her relationship with “fossil fuel money,” according to Bernie Sanders.
How do feel about the battle between both campaigns, demanding apologies to one another?

A: I think everything about this “battle” is pretty trivial, with the major exception of the questions raised about Hillary’s campaign contributions and consequently her integrity. I don’t see apologies being exchanged between them anytime soon, but who knows?

Q: Clinton’s campaign contributions have been an issue in the past and one of her main criticisms. Do you think this will help define her interest? Will it help Bernie?

A: Yes, I absolutely do think her contributions affect her interest, as they do everyone. Here’s a problem with giving Hillary the benefit of the doubt over her campaign contributions: unless you’re willing to have a double standard, you have to grant that same benefit to other politicians. Do you think the large sums of money given to the Republican candidates don’t influence their votes? If you ignore this criticism with one candidate, how can you justify using this attack against the others? The simple fact is that politicians are influenced to some extent by their biggest donors. Bernie does not have a Super PAC affiliated with his campaign nor does he accept large campaign contributions from corporate interests. His campaign has been fueled with millions of mostly small donations (I believe the average donation was $27). If anyone in this election can make a strong case for not being beholden to “dark money”, it’s Bernie, and that ability can only help him in this election.

Q: Lastly, do you feel undecided republican and non-Trump supporters will vote for Bernie if the two battle it out for the election?

A: I personally believe Bernie will get the lion’s share of those voters, but I can’t speak for everyone. It all comes down to where their interests lie, how informed they are about each candidate, and whether they’re willing to put aside any biases they have for or against them.

 

Once again, big thanks to Paul for the help. I will be interviewing a college republican hopefully in the next seven days. But until then, don’t miss my coverage of the debate tomorrow night!

 

Super Tuesday 2: Thoughts

I wont go through every single state, but I do want to go over the ones that are extremely pivotal for this election. Super Tuesday was once again not a disappointment! Enjoy.

REPUBLICAN

Florida:
The main story in Florida tonight is Rubio vs. Trump. Florida Senator Marco Rubio suspends his presidential campaign after a hard loss in his home state to the unstoppable Donald Trump. Going into Super Tuesday, it was evident Rubio absolutely needed to take the win in his home state in order to keep his head above the water in this race. Florida being a winner-take-all state means Trump swooped all 99 delegates for the night. Rubio wasted no time with the future of his campaign as he announced his suspension less than an hour after the loss in Florida.

“And so, while it is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016, or maybe ever, and while today the campaign is suspended, the fact that I’ve ever come this far is evidence of how great America is,” Rubio said after his loss.

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Ohio:
Realistically, Ohio Governor John Kasich doesn’t have a snowballs chance in this election, but the win in his home state of Ohio shows that Donald Trump has a weak spot. Governor Kasich stated early this month that if he didn’t run away with his home state, he would drop out of the race. The Governor takes 66 delegates from Ohio, pushing him along.

During his interview on CNN, Kasich speaks with optimism about the future of his campaign.
“I’m very happy and we’ve run a positive campaign,” Kasich said. “I’m so appreciative for the state of Ohio. We’re lining up great political support. It’s a real election for someone who knows how to fix the country and the economy. I’ve had more attention in the last 3 weeks then I’ve had in the last 3 months.”

With optimism, the governor will look to the future of the race, but realistically, Ohio showed that Trump doesn’t have immense support everywhere and will not help Kasich progress in this race. The Governor just doesn’t stand a realistic chance against Trump or Cruz.

DEMOCRAT

Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio:
Hilary Clinton sweeps Senator Bernie Sanders in these three states surely putting pressure on the Vermont Senator to drop out of the race. Going into today’s election, Sanders desperately needed to win these states to ensure that he can keep up with Clinton. With a projected dominating win for Clinton, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sanders drops out soon. At this point in time, Clinton should be focusing on the fight against who the republican nominee will be.

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“Our campaign has more votes than any other candidate, democrat or republican,” Clinton said at her victory speech. “You voted for our tomorrow to be better than our yesterday.

OVERALL:
Trump’s dominating wins tonight goes to show that his support continues to grow despite the controversies that revolve around his campaign. At this rate, no other republican candidate has a real chance of taking the nomination. Trump is winning big in virtually every state and at this point in time, he should be focusing on the fight against Clinton.

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Photo Credits to CNN.com

Clinton has basically solidified the nomination for the democratic party, showing her absolute dominance over Senator Sanders tonight. The Vermont Senator had a fighting chance going into tonight, but with Clinton’s marginal lead in votes and delegates, I would not be surprised if Sanders drops out of the race within the next few weeks.

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Photo Credits to CNN.com

Super Tuesday was exciting once again. Rubio had a fighting chance, but failed to take his home state. Kasich’s win in Ohio just showed Trump is mortal in this election, however, the Ohio Governor doesn’t stand a fighting chance in the future of this election. Clinton has basically solidified her reign over both democrats and republicans, showing that she even has a marginal lead over Trump in votes and delegates. I know I said this in the last Super Tuesday post, but I am still heavily predicting a Clinton, Trump election.

These are just some of my observations on tonight. After today, the election is moving to a new direction. It’ll be exciting to see who still stands by the turn of next month. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Super Tuesday. God Bless.

-Exsar Misael

Super Tuesday Analysis

Super Tuesday was an interesting night for politics and we certainly learned a lot about the future of this Presidential race. Today I will be highlighting some of the key aspects from last nights’ nail-biter primary, and hopefully clearing some questions anyone may have about the future of the candidates.

I must first applaud the media for covering the event every second of the way, updating us constantly on which candidate won what state, and by what percent.

Here are some of my takeaways from last night:

DEMOCRACTS:

-Hilary Clinton did not win the nomination like she would have wanted to, but the gap is stretching farther between her and Senator Sanders. Clinton won Alabama (78 percent), Arkansas (66 percent), Georgia (71 percent), Massachusetts (50 percent), Tennessee (66 percent), Texas (65 percent), and Virginia (64 percent). From the analysis we can point out a few very important factors. Hilary won the southern states, which is a clear indication senator Sanders lost with the African American/Black vote. Massachusetts was also a very important state Clinton won that could have easily gone either way. The former Secretary of State won by only 17,000 votes, which will sure be a pain in Bernie Sanders’ side as he looks forward.

-Bernie Sanders was able to come away with a few states, but last night certainly showed the Vermont Senator has a lot of work to do if he wants to win this election. He was able to salvage Colorado (59 percent), Minnesota (62 percent), Oklahoma (52 percent), and his home state of Vermont (86 percent). If the Senator would have been able to grab Massachusetts from Clinton, the state count for Super Tuesday would have been a respectable six to five in Clinton’s favor. If that was the case, Sanders could have some peace of mind going into next few weeks, but because he is behind 191 delegates from last nights’ election, he will need to really push for the nomination.

Overall: The race is still close for the democratic party, but Hilary Clinton has a confident lead. If Bernie Sanders can clinch Michigan on March 8, he has a chance to come back. The Clinton campaign would have loved to solidify the nomination last night, but unfortunately work still needs to be done before the Vermont socialist is off of their shoulder.

REPUBLICANS:

I’m going to predict that sometime this week, we will see John Kasich and Ben Carson end their campaigns. Neither of the candidates where able to come off with a single state, pulling them miles behind Rubio, Cruz and Trump. Donald Trump had an impressive night as he walked away with seven states and over 300 delegates. Texas Senator Ted Cruz was able to salvage three states, including his home. The importance of Texas for the election last night was extremely pivotal. Texas provides 155 delegates, and Cruz’s win in his home state has kept the Senator alive. The delegate count for Trump and Cruz is 316 to 226 respectably. Marco Rubio had a night to forget as he only pulled the state of Minnesota with a low majority vote of 37 percent. His performance last night just wasn’t good enough and at this point in time, we are looking at a Trump/Cruz fight for the nomination.

Overall: Donald Trump is pulling away with major support from the South and I don’t see this trend dying down in the next few weeks. Cruz was able to pull away three states, but compared to Trump’s seven, the gap between the republican rivals is pulling away farther and farther. Unfortunately for the young and energetic Marco Rubio, this just isn’t his election. The only way Rubio survives, is with wins in the next few moderate republican states which include Michigan and Florida. If that doesn’t happen, Rubio will drop out of the race soon after.

Last night was extremely fun to follow, and I sure learned a lot about the direction this race is heading. Michigan will be a very important state leading into Ohio and Florida for both parties. There is still hope for Sanders, Cruz and Rubio, but the next few weeks will certainly determine how far they can go in this race.