Scott Rasmussen from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 27 Oct 2016 05:42:04 -0700 Scott Rasmussen from Creators Syndicate 81a040404b4d368efd34b4f6887cbb64 Election 2016 Is My Favorite Presidential Election Ever! for 10/27/2016 Thu, 27 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Amidst all the grumbling of how horrible and unpleasant the 2016 presidential campaign has been, I must confess that it's my favorite presidential campaign of all time. That may seem strange given the ugly tone of the campaign and the fact that both major parties have nominated candidates that most Americans dislike. But my joy has nothing to do with the candidates, the issues, or the election itself.</p> <p>I'm loving this election because this is my first campaign as an ex-pollster.</p> <p>After decades of running polls and writing analysis every night and day, I can now look back and appreciate just how much of a grind it had been. Even more important, I realize more fully how being caught up in the daily grind of the political world makes it harder to recognize what's going on in the real world.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 27, 2016</p> 7b828c15ee8fd87169ae0ffd7c70cf86 If You Want to Change the World, Look Outside of Politics for 10/20/2016 Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>One of the most important lessons anyone can learn about America is forgotten every election season. The lesson is simple: politicians don't lead the nation, they lag behind. Change always comes from outside the political process, often from surprising places.</p> <p>On April 19, 1960, that truth was dramatically demonstrated at city hall in Nashville, Tennessee. A 21-year old African-American female student led the city forward by asking the city's 49-year old white mayor the right question at the right time.</p> <p>In political terms, the mayor had all the power and prestige. He had been an elected politician for more than a decade. The young woman had no political status. In fact, at the time of their encounter, she was not even allowed to drink at the same water fountain as white women.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 20, 2016</p> efdfa86f90f57f7402fa85ac1d9d5b5e America is Better than Sunday's Un-Presidential Debate for 10/13/2016 Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Whatever else it may have been, Sunday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wasn't very presidential. Taunts of how she should be in jail and he's unqualified may thrill the partisan bases, but they do nothing to help the nation move forward.</p> <p>The mutual disgust and enmity was so strong that both candidates struggled when asked to name one positive thing about the other. Clinton couldn't say anything nice about Trump other than being impressed by his children. Trump said he disagrees everything she fights for, but gave Clinton credit for being a fighter.</p> <p>This moment clarified just how far our public discourse has fallen. In the very first response during the very first televised presidential debate, Richard Nixon began by saying he agreed with many of the things his opponent &#8212; John Kennedy &#8212; had said. Even when he disagreed with Kennedy on a policy point, Nixon said he respected the sincerity with which it was made.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 13, 2016</p> 65dab28b8febe7159a489556655437d8 A Journey From Pessimism to Optimism for 10/06/2016 Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>This week, I've had the opportunity to review a couple of important milestones in my life. That's because the Sutherland Institute just released a second edition of my 2009 book, "In Search of Self-Governance." They will also be publishing my new book next year, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not."</p> <p>Those two books highlight key moments in a long personal journey that has reshaped the way I look at the world. Together, they explain how I can be so deeply pessimistic about America's political system, yet so optimistic about America's future.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 06, 2016</p> 4be8cc5af87f177ce47190ce037b4fa0 Politics Have Failed: America Will Not for 09/29/2016 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>After observing, measuring and monitoring our nation's dysfunctional political system for more than two decades, I have come to recognize that it is broken beyond repair.</p> <p>There is obviously something wrong when our two major political parties have each nominated a candidate for president who is viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans. In 2016, the partisans will support their team or vote against the other while the remaining voters don't like either option.</p> <p>It's important to recognize, however, that this problem did not start with the nomination of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It's been growing for at least a generation. Since 1992, we've had three consecutive presidents who took office with their party in control of Congress. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama each lost control of Congress during their time in the White House. This is a fundamental rejection of both political parties.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 29, 2016</p> cd41ff4f5bb6f10c249b6627d0bdb7d9 The People Who Will Select the Next President Loathe Both Options for 09/22/2016 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There are many ways to analyze Election 2016 and project how things might turn out.</p> <p>A conventional analysis on the Electoral College, for example, might note that Donald Trump currently has only a very narrow path to winning the needed 270 Electoral Votes. With little margin for error, he must win all the states won in 2012 by Mitt Romney and then add Florida and Ohio to the total. That would get the GOP nominee to 253 Electoral Votes. From there, he has a handful of more challenging options to pick up the final votes he needs.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 22, 2016</p> d92f502c552dcdaabfe87d61bcdc099e Freedom, Not Democracy, Gives Power to the People for 09/15/2016 Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A recent headline at claimed a new study proved federalism is a total joke.</p> <p>The study, by Professor Steven Rogers of Saint Louis University, showed that voters base their decisions on the popularity of the president. So, over the past several election cycles, when President Obama's approval ratings have been low, Republicans have made tremendous gains and now control most state legislatures around the country.</p> <p>Rogers showed that "State legislators have relatively little control over their own elections." That's not surprising, but Vox reporter Jeff Stein considers it a "rather grim conclusion."<p>Updated: Thu Sep 15, 2016</p> b14888a3976063f2fa349cd3df5bd2ff Poverty, Inequality, and Opportunity for 09/08/2016 Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last week, I wrote about how our standard of living has grown much faster in recent decades than most people realize.</p> <p>Official statistics show that average income has doubled since the 1970s and research by economist William Nordhaus shows that the reality is even more positive. Our living standards today may be four to eight times higher than they were in the 1970s.</p> <p>So what? Why does any of this matter?<p>Updated: Thu Sep 08, 2016</p> 3eb6388a1df91b081da3e211da76cf14 America is Still the Land of Opportunity for 09/01/2016 Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>America has long been known as the land of opportunity. "When one starts poor," Abraham Lincoln observed, a "free society is such that he knows he can better his condition."</p> <p>It's a theme constantly celebrated in popular culture. In the 19th century, countless Horatio Alger tales told of poor boys working hard and reaching middle class respectability. Today, the biggest hit on Broadway tells how an orphaned immigrant with no money and no name rose to become a key leader in the American Revolution and our nation's first Treasury Secretary.</p> <p>In 21st century politics, however, the main storyline is that economic progress has stalled since the 1970s. Many question whether opportunities still exist and some even consider the phrase "land of opportunity" to be politically incorrect.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 01, 2016</p> 2c20d18cc6a7829ea44db64b2581482f Is There Enough Time for Clinton to Lose? for 08/25/2016 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In baseball, a team entering the ninth inning with a two-run lead will bring in their closer to secure the victory. However, if the team has to rely upon a less-skilled reliever, there is always a chance they will blow the lead. A single bad pitch could wipe out the advantage they built over the first eight innings.</p> <p>As we head into the late innings of election 2016, the Democrats have a modest lead. If they had a top-tier campaigner like Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, the race would be over. But, they have a less skilled campaigner at the top of the ticket, which gives the GOP an outside chance for a comeback.</p> <p>To be clear, Hillary Clinton is the favorite to win in November. The Rasmussen Electoral College Projection shows that she is currently leading in states with 347 Electoral College votes. Trump has the advantage in states with only 191 votes. But the lead isn't quite as safe as those numbers imply. Six states and one Congressional District in Maine are just leaning in Clinton's direction. If Trump were to take all of those leaners, he would win the Electoral College by the narrowest of margins, 270-268.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 25, 2016</p> 8ccb7fc738c0cfd27092d8ab364300f6 Battle to Legalize Marijuana Shows Value of State-Based Regulations for 08/18/2016 Thu, 18 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>For people who believe in freedom and self-governance, it's always better to have regulations established by state governments rather than the federal government. That's because states are subject to competition while the federal government is not. If a state passes stupid laws and regulations that harm the quality of life, people have the power to walk away and move somewhere else.</p> <p>The truth of this perspective is highlighted in the fight over the legalization of marijuana. The drug is legal at some level in 25 states today and 10 more may be added to the list soon. Most Americans think it should be legalized and regulated like alcohol. Half have actually smoked pot at some point along life's journey.</p> <p>But, for some reason, the federal government can't let go of its war on pot. As recently as last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that federal law will continue to consider the popular recreational drug illegal under all circumstances. The head of the DEA said his decision was based upon a determination by another federal agency that there is "no currently accepted medical use" for marijuana. So what? Is there any currently accepted medical use for beer? Or wine? Or Jack Daniels?<p>Updated: Thu Aug 18, 2016</p> 095dc263e227b84f6283743fbc7c3bdb Could Donald Trump Come in Third? for 08/11/2016 Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In 1992, a colorful billionaire with no political experience ran for president of the United States. Ross Perot played by his own rules, largely funded his own campaign, and, at one point, was leading the race ahead of both President George H. W. Bush and then-Governor Bill Clinton. But his lack of message discipline and other actions discouraged his campaign staff and cost him support. When all the votes were counted, the businessman finished in third place with 19 percent of the vote.</p> <p>In recent weeks, Donald Trump's campaign has stumbled badly. Could the 2016 outsider end up like Ross Perot? The odds are against it, but the odds are also against Trump moving into the White House.</p> <p>To be clear, there are significant differences between the Perot effort and Trump's campaign. Most importantly, Trump has the Republican nomination while Perot ran as an independent. Also, while Trump has had many self-destructive moments in the campaign, Perot got so fed up that he actually quit for a couple of months in the middle of the campaign.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 11, 2016</p> e96b921572dba09fa03d0485b713827f Trump Does Want to Win, But Only on His Terms for 08/04/2016 Thu, 04 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Just about every Republican official and consultant has at some point wrestled with the question of whether or not Donald Trump really wants to be President of the United States. Many think that he wants to win the election, but doesn't want the job that comes with it. Others think he began the campaign as a publicity stunt and was shocked to find himself as the frontrunner and then the nominee.</p> <p>The question of Trump's interest in the White House is being asked more and more frequently &#8212; and by more people&#8212;following Trump's disastrous comments about the parents of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq. Why on earth would any candidate pick such a public fight with a family whose son made the ultimate sacrifice? Adding to the confusion, why on earth would he pick a new fight with Paul Ryan and John McCain when he's supposedly trying to unify the party? Is the Republican nominee sabotaging his own campaign?</p> <p>I believe that this analysis misses the point.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 04, 2016</p> 18e31f4688952b0cd20462360036bcdc The Complicated Reality of American Greatness for 07/28/2016 Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Complicated Reality of American Greatness</p> <p>Donald Trump says he is campaigning to Make America Great again. Democrats like former Attorney General Eric Holder say that we are an "already-great nation." In politics, of course, both sides think it's great when their team is in charge but not so great when the other team holds power.</p> <p>The reality of American greatness is far more complicated. In the summer of 1619, two contradictory strands of our nation's history began in Jamestown, Virginia. One strand was noble, the other was shameful.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 28, 2016</p> 7035a2aa49100165f429e64e6c2dba1e Neither Trump Nor Clinton Will Lead Nation On the First Wednesday in November for 07/21/2016 Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>With political conventions in full swing, news organizations are in overdrive analyzing the implications for the first Tuesday in November. The nation is in uncharted waters since most Americans have an unfavorable opinion of both major party candidates.</p> <p>That would be downright depressing if America's politicians really did lead the nation. But, they don't. On the first Wednesday in November, regardless of who is elected president, the culture will still be leading and the politicians lagging behind.</p> <p>Consider, for example, our broken health care system. Obamacare didn't fix the problem and neither will Republican alternatives. Harvard's Michael Porter says "Health care delivery is simply too complex, too subtle, too individualized, and too rapidly evolving to be manageable by top-down micromanagement."<p>Updated: Thu Jul 21, 2016</p> ce7382a95f998166d8c2f51e53351a84 Clinton v. Trump for 07/14/2016 Thu, 14 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Over the past generation, there has been growing evidence that our dysfunctional political system is badly broken. For the past 30 years, neither party has been able to hold a sustainable governing majority in both Congress and the White House. In fact, control has been divided between the parties for 22 of those 30 years.</p> <p>Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all came into office with their party in control of Congress. All three lost control during their tenure. That's never before happened in American history.</p> <p>The dysfunction has been visible in other ways. Four years ago, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan represented their parties as presidential and vice presidential nominees. Despite their many differences, all four men supported the bank bailouts that saved Wall Street but ignored Main Street. Given the massive public anger over the bailouts, it's hard to comprehend why neither party felt a need to reflect that concern in their leadership ranks.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 14, 2016</p> 96e0bececffda323c59ab5ff3751bf76 What the Death of Alton Sterling Can Teach Us About Making America Great for 07/07/2016 Thu, 07 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America's highest ideals, including our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's an exuberant event filled with optimism about how a free and self-governing nation can create a better world.</p> <p>But this year's celebration was immediately followed by the killing of a black man &#8212; Alton Sterling &#8212; by white police officers in Baton Rouge. The circumstances of that killing serve as a bitter reminder of our nation's most troubling national sin. As I read about that tragic shooting and watched the heartbreaking video of a teenage boy missing his Daddy, I couldn't help but think of a Fourth of July speech delivered long ago by Frederick Douglass.</p> <p>Douglass was born a slave, but escaped to become a leading abolitionist, statesman, and powerful speaker. In 1852, on the nation's 76th birthday, he began his speech with rhetoric that is comfortable and familiar:<p>Updated: Thu Jul 07, 2016</p> 2c71a2a6fb7a825d6154dfc7988bf725 Brexit Shows Us The Future -- And It's Great for 06/30/2016 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Journalists and historians tend to overestimate the impact of political events while underestimating the power of cultural trends.</p> <p>For example, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence as America's founding document. That magnificent document is an eloquent statement of ideals that we have spent more than two centuries trying to achieve. But it did not inspire 13 colonies to seek independence from Great Britain.</p> <p>In fact, it was written 15 months <i> after </i> the War of Independence got started. Before the politicians of that era acted, most of the British Governors had already been driven from the land. The Declaration was not important because it brought about change. It was important because it formally confirmed a change that had already taken place.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 30, 2016</p> 4341adda4279a7c72e3981a98e44ce19 Uber Infuriates Regulators But Increases Public Safety for 06/23/2016 Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In the view of those who believe that bureaucrats know best, the only way to protect consumers from unscrupulous companies is to provide detailed regulations and a swarm of investigators to enforce them. They typically justify their role by claiming to champion the safety of helpless consumers.</p> <p>However, what happens when less regulation leads to improved safety? Will the regulators back off to protect consumers or keep fighting to protect their turf?</p> <p>A real world test of that question has been provided by the innovative ride-sharing service Uber. Rather than hoping to hail a taxi, consumers can simply hail a driver using their smart phone app. The service has delivered over a billion rides in just six years.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 23, 2016</p> 3009b8588b43d9cd629cf46692820142 Tech Industry, Not Politics, Shows Pathway to Bright Future for 06/16/2016 Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The 2016 edition of the Bloomberg Technology Conference was, as expected, a wonderfully inspiring event. It was an opportunity to see the people and hear the ideas that are shaping our global future.</p> <p>It is almost impossible to convey the can-do attitude and sense of optimism that permeated the event and drives the tech industry today.</p> <p>Monday night, the first person I saw had developed a simple and inexpensive paper water filter to dramatically improve the health of the world's poorest citizens. He's created a book out of that paper explaining the importance of filtering and how to do it. The reader can immediately put their newfound knowledge to work by ripping the pages out and using them as a filter. The book has been widely translated and is already saving lives in 40 countries.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 16, 2016</p>