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“The Sunday Political Brunch” - January 10, 2016


(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) – The Brunch is on the road again this weekend, this time stopping in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania and the capital of Harrisburg. As with many “rust belt” states, the demographics and dynamics of Pennsylvania are changing; and that could have an impact on the 2016 Presidential campaign. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“The Big Five” – While its population has declined (and, so too, its number of Electoral College votes), Pennsylvania remains a key player in the Presidential sweepstakes. Pennsylvania - with 20 Electoral Votes – is tied for fifth place with Illinois. (California leads with 55; Texas has 38; and New York and Florida are tied with 29 apiece).

“A Sign of the Times” – While 20 Electoral College votes still seem like a lot, that number pales compared to the 38 votes Pennsylvania had after the 1910 U.S. Census. In 100 years, the Keystone State has lost half its clout in the nation’s capital, though it still has a lot. Where did the clout go? Well, in that same 1910 U.S. Census, Florida had just six Electoral College votes; today it has 29.

“Recent Elections” – Here are the past ten Presidential results in Pennsylvania: 2012 - Obama 52 to Romney 47 percent; 2008 – Obama 55 to McCain 44 percent; 2004 – Kerry 51 to Bush 48 percent; 2000 – Gore 51 to Bush 47 percent; 1996 – Clinton 49 to Dole 40 to Perot 10 percent; 1992 – Clinton 45 to Bush 36 to Perot 18 percent. Prior to the past six elections, Republicans won Pennsylvania in 1980, 1984 and, 1988; Democrats won in 1976. Bottom line: It’s still a “blue” state, but the margins are getting tighter; and Republicans believe they can win here in what’s now a “battleground" state.

“Congress” – Pennsylvania has one Republican and one Democrat in the U.S. Senate. In the U.S. House, Pennsylvania is represented by thirteen Republicans and five Democrats.

“In the State House” – Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor, but Republicans control both chambers of the General Assembly.

“Why All of This Matters?” – Republicans had all but given up on the Keystone State in Presidential races after five straight losses. But in 2012, Mitt Romney saw a chance to recapture the state; so he put a lot of money and manpower there, and lost by less than five percentage points to President Obama. Growth in the GOP in the state’s legislative delegations has also been promising, so put Pennsylvania in the “toss-up” column for 2016.

“White House Trivia” – Like Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York, Pennsylvania had a crucial role in founding this nation. Those other three states combined, have produced eighteen U.S. Presidents. Surprisingly, Pennsylvania has produced only one: President James Buchanan, a Democrat, who preceded Abraham Lincoln in the White House. You learn something new every day!

Hershey Park is my favorite spot in Pennsylvania. What is yours? Just click the comment button at

© 2015 Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

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“The Sunday Political Brunch” -- New Year’s Resolutions 2016


(Charleston, West Virginia) – We had fun last week giving the candidates Christmas presents, so let’s do something similar this week by making some New Year’s resolutions for many of the Presidential hopefuls. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Quit Playing ‘Pair-a-Mour’” – Okay it’s a play on the word "paramour," and if you want the definition, ask Bill Clinton or Donald Trump. The weird debate between Trump and the Clintons about whether Donald or Bill is more sexist than the other, is nothing short of bizarre (I’m sure some will turn my pun into “pair-of-morons,” so go for it). These guys could both take home a gold medal at the Paramour Olympics, if there were such a thing. It’s only January, but could the debate get any sillier? Here’s a New Year’s resolution for both: Stick to issues like ISIS and the economy? (And, for Bill, don’t overshadow you spouse, if she’s actually the candidate).

“Help Wanted” – Dr. Ben Carson had a rough week. After being near the top of the polls for months, he plummeted as if he fell into the Grand Canyon. His campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, and communications director all resigned. Ouch! Word is that Carson confidant and conservative talk host Armstrong Williams is behind the exodus. Having a management meltdown a month before the Iowa Caucuses is a disaster. New Year’s resolution: Hire some good people and right the ship, Doc!

“Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted” – To George Pataki, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsey Graham: Take a well-deserved vacation, perhaps to Wisconsin to visit another ex-candidate, Governor Scott Walker. Even for the lowest-rated in the campaign, politics is a tough grind, so we wish you much rest. New Year’s resolution: Hand out some endorsements!

“One Vote at a Time!” – God bless former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD), for trudging through the snow in Iowa to get to a campaign event when everyone else was cancelling their events. The problem was, that voters were staying home, too! When O’Malley got to his event, there was only one voter to speak with; but he sat down and talked politics over coffee with the lone Iowan. It made national news and caused a lot of Internet chatter. Had 25 people shown up it would not have made the news; but since only one man came, it was a big deal. Resolution: Buy a new pair of boots for O’Malley.

“Show Me the Money” – Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has seen a sharp spike in his poll numbers, and, in fact, is now leading Trump in Iowa. Not surprisingly, there has also been a commensurate spike in campaign donations to Cruz – with 20 million dollars in the fourth quarter. Right now FEC records indicate Cruz has the most cash-on-hand of any candidate. His New Year’s resolution should be: Hire a new accountant to keep track of all that campaign cash!

“Babyface Blues” – Here’s an odd piece of trivia: In the Real Clear Politics composite poll, only one Republican beats Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head match-up; and only one Republican beats Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). That Republican is Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). He’s is in the middle of the pack in the GOP race and shows strength, but one has to wonder if his boyish looks tell some people, “He’s too young to be President.” We think Rubio’s resolution should be to grow a beard, like the distinguished facial hair now adorned by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).

“Anger Management” – Governor Chris Christie’s (R-NJ) best asset is his feistiness. People like when he gets mad, takes on the press, or pokes fun at those who serve in Congress. Christie’s numbers have inched up and he received a prestigious newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire. New Year’s resolution: Get mad more often!

“Ms. Manners, Not!” – Governor John Kasich (R-OH) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, could use of dose of Christie’s anger and indignation. Sorry, but Kasich and Fiorina are too polite. New Year’s resolution for both: Sharpen your elbows and show some emotion (yes, anger, too).

“Bush Bash” – I have my doubts he can make a comeback, but former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) has to give it a try. He, too, has been much too nice; but the other day he threw a sharp jab, blaming President Obama (and the public anger towards his policies), as the reason for Donald Trump’s enormous popularity. It may not catch on, but Bush needed to throw a punch, and he did. New Year’s resolution: Buy some boxing gloves!

What are your resolutions for the candidates? Just post your comments at:

© 2016, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

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