Oklahoma Presidential Primary
By: Constitution Staff
Oklahoma's presidential primary will take place on March 1 and is part of "Super Tuesday" which includes eleven states, and may very well help determine which Republican candidate will eventually take on the Democratic Party nominee. Eleven Republicans and seven Democrats will be on the Oklahoma ballot.
Since Super Tuesday includes a large number of states from geographically and socially diverse regions of the country, it represents a presidential candidate's first test of national electability. It will be the first date in the 2016 presidential cycle involving more than two states on the same day. A candidate who does well on Super Tuesday could take a major step in gaining their party's nomination., while a poor showing could end their presidential aspirations. More than a quarter of the Republican Party's 2,472 delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday 2016. And more than a fifth of the Democratic Party's 4,764 delegates are up for grabs on that single day.
The nation's first caucuses takes place in Iowa on February 1, and the nation's first primary is on February 9, in New Hampshire.
In a "caucus" state such as Iowa, only registered members of a party can participate in the choosing that party's nominee, and only those who actually make it to the "caucuses" held in multiple locations throughout the state will have a voice in the selection of delegates. Those delegates will attend their county conventions where they will choose delegates to the district and state conventions. At the district and state conventions, delegates will be chosen to the national convention which nominates the candidate of their party for president. Since Iowa is the first state to hold any sort of delegate selection, a win there by a candidate can give that campaign a huge boost.
Next up is the presidential primary in New Hampshire. With an "open" primary, any registered voter can vote in the primary of their choice, but in a "closed" primary state like Oklahoma, only those registered in the party can vote in the respective party primary. However, Oklahoma Democrats have for the first time decided to allow independents to participate. New Hampshire is a "modified" primary state, which mixes the open and the closed systems.
The next contest is South Carolina on February 20th with an open primary, followed by Nevada.
While the number of states participating in Super Tuesday is down from previous presidential elections, it still has the most states voting on a single day in the 2016 cycle. The states included this year, with type of contest and the respective number of Republican and Democrat delegates allocated for each, is noted in the parentheses: Alabama (open primary, 50 and 60), Alaska (closed caucuses, only GOP, 28), Arkansas (open primary, 40 and 37), Colorado (closed caucuses, 37 and 79), Georgia (open primary, 76 and 116), Massachusetts (mixed primary, 42 and 116), Minnesota (open caucuses, 38 and 93); Tennessee (open primary, 58 and 76); Texas (open primary, 155 and 252); Vermont (open primary, 16 and 26); Virginia (open primary, 49 and 110).
Oklahoma has used a closed primary since 1988, and is entitled to 43 votes at the Republican National Convention, with 40 of those being apportioned by the election. The other three are the so-called "Super Delegates" who can vote for the candidate of their choice By the time Oklahomans vote on March 1, it is expected that the earlier primaries and caucuses will have winnowed the field, so some candidates may still be listed on the ballot even though their campaigns are on hold.
In Oklahoma, a number Republican legislators have jumped on board with one of the campaigns, with Senator Marco Rubio having 17 legislators, endorsing his candidacy. The average Conservative Index rating of Rubio's supporters is 67.5 percent. Senator Ted Cruz has the next highest number of Oklahoma supporters in the Legislature, with 13, but Cruz's legislative supporters easily have the highest Conservative Index average rating at 81.3 percent. (Actually, former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina's one legislative supporter had a 90 percent). Donald Trump had four legislative supporters, averaging 67.8 percent, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had ten supporters, and they scored the lowest on the Conservative Index, at only 62.2 percent.
Bush was the early favorite in the race, with a near-universal name recognition, since his father and his brother had run on national Republican tickets a total combined six times. But, perhaps that is part of the reason that Bush has simply not caught on with the Republican base. The Bush "dynasty" is regarded as having moved the Republican Party to the left, and causing its defeats in congressional races in 1990 and 2006, and in presidential campaigns in 1992 and 2008.
While governor of Florida, Bush had a strong pro-life record, but is considered much more "moderate" on many other issues important to the Republican base. For example, he is strongly pro-foreign aid. He has said, however, that the foreign aid program "should reflect our free market philosophy economically."
Bush expressed support for the 2013 "Gang of Eight" immigration bill, supporting a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. He has praised President Obama's NSA surveillance and metadata collection efforts, dubbing it "the best part" of Obama's tenure, even advocating an increase in its activities. Bush also supports the "Patriot Act," arguing there is "not a shred of evidence that anybody's civil liberties have been violated by it." Another area in which Bush sides with Obama is with his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
Dr. Ben Carson has a mixed record on abortion, having referred women to doctors who perform abortion. On the Federal Reserve System, Carson says, "There are both good and bad things about the Fed." Carson generally opposes foreign aid, except for Israel.
While Carson rocketed to national attention with his criticism of Obama's health care program (to his face, at a prayer breakfast), the world famous neurosurgeon wrote an essay in 1996 proposing government-run catastrophic healthcare funded by taking money from insurance companies. Carson has now backed away from his earlier views, however, and now supports the creation of Health Savings Accounts (HSA), which he believes will "empower families to make their own decisions about their medical treatment," and "will also drive down health care costs while protecting patient choice and freedom."
Concerning immigration, Carson favors building a fence, expanding the number of Border Patrol agents, and amnesty for those who have been in the U.S. illegally for several years. Carson opposes the TPP trade agreement.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has a strong conservative track record, scoring 100 percent on the ratings from the American Conservative Union, and 89 percent from the Freedom Index of the New American. When Cruz served as the solicitor general of Texas, he successfully led 18 states in defending New Hampshire's parental notification law. He also defeated an effort by President George W. Bush to force Texas to follow the mandate of the World Court, which ordered that Texas not execute a murderer.
Cruz cosponsored Senator Rand Paul's Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013, and its successor in 2015. "Enough is enough," said Cruz. "The Federal Reserve needs to fully open its books so Congress and the American people can see what has been going on. This is a crucial first step to getting back to a more stable dollar and a healthy economy for the long term."
"There should be no pathway to citizenship for those who are here illegally. I don't support amnesty," Cruz said on the issue of immigration. On the question of what to do about ISIS, he does not support sending American troops to the Middle East, but prefers that the U.S. rely on Kurdish fighters instead to take care of them.
Cruz opposed reinstatement of the USA PATRIOT ACT, principally because of his opposition to the bulk collection of data on U.S. citizens. He has favored using Article III of the Constitution to limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts and to make exception to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, so as to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts over state marriage laws. Finally, Cruz has said that he will not favor any trade deals which compromise the national sovereignty of the United States or its Constitution.
While Donald Trump has said he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or "if the mother is close to death," and he opposes federal funding of abortion, he does not want to completely cut the funding for Planned Parenthood.
At one time, Trump called himself a "liberal" on the issue of government health care, endorsing the idea of a Canadian-style, single-payer, universal health care system. He told Morning Joe as recently as July of 2015, "I want health-care for everyone and that's where I may be a little bit different" than some of the other Republicans running."
On immigration, Trump has called for a "wall across the southern border," paid for by Mexico. Concerning ISIS, he said he would "bomb the hell" out of their oil fields. He also supports legislation which allows the NSA to hold bulk metadata, explaining that security "has to be pre-eminent." An issue which has caused concern to many conservatives is that Trump has long favored the use of eminent domain not just for public use projects, but also so private developers can obtain property for private development.
While he disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage and he hated to see Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis jailed over her refusal to issue licenses to same-sex couples, Trump said the Supreme Court made its decision and "You have to go with it . . . The decision's been made and that's the law of the land."
Trump opposes the trade deals being negotiated with the Obama Administration, calling them a "disaster" for America.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is a strong pro-lifer. "I personally, and honestly, and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection." Rubio supports "traditional marriage," but believes the states must now allow same-sex marriage, because "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."
Rubio voted for Senator Rand Paul's Federal Reserve Transparency Acts of both 2013 and 2015, and supports "sound monetary policy." He is a huge supporter of foreign aid, believing its broad use helps advance America's foreign policy goals. "ObamaCare cannot be fixed and must be fully repealed and replaced," with his plan, which provides an "advanceable, refundable tax credit that all Americans can use to purchase health insurance."
Perhaps the biggest single problem Rubio faces in winning conservative support is concern over his membership in the original Gang of Eight group of bipartisan senators who proposed an immigration reform bill in 2103. The bill called for securing the border and an eventual pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. But, Rubio now opposes that plan, because "we can't pass it."
Another area of concern for conservatives who hold to the traditional, non-interventionist view on foreign policy is Rubio's rather bellicose positions, in which he has called for "increased U.S. involvement in the fight" against ISIS. "The failure to renew the expiring components of the PATRIOT Act was a mistake," Rubio has said. He favors a full restoration of the PATRIOT Act.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky describes himself as a constitutional conservative. He is the son of former Congressman Ron Paul. Paul sports a 98 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, and a 94 score on the "Freedom Index" of the NEW AMERICAN.
Paul is pro-life. He introduced the "Life at Conception Act," with the intention of implementing "equal protection under the 14th Amendment for the right to life of each born and unborn human." Paul has not cosponsored Senator Cruz's Protect Marriage from the Courts Act, but opposes the government trying to "invade the church to enforce its own opinion on marriage."
Like his father, Paul is known as a huge opponent of the Federal Reserve System, America's central bank. He has introduced bills to audit the fed, arguing Americans "have a right to know what the federal reserve is doing with our nation's money supply." He eventually wants to see an end to all foreign aid.
Paul promises that among his first actions as president would e to "repeal the abomination that is ObamaCare." Paul wants to return to a free-market in health care and is a cosponsor of Senator Ted Cruz's ObamaCare Repeal Act.
Rand Paul told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that he favors a path to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States. "I think the conversation needs to start by acknowledging that we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants."
The interventionism of neoconservatives is to blame for the creation of ISIS, according to Paul. "These [neoconservatives] also wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS's job even easier," Paul explained. He opposes sending U.S. ground troops to the region, but he does favor arming the Kurds and using the U.S. Air Force in bombing raids against ISIS. He is an ardent opponent of the surveillance state. He has pushed legislation to prohibit the government from obtaining information on individuals held by third-party records systems without a warrant. Paul conducted a marathon filibuster against reauthorization of the PATRIOT ACT.
An early supporter of the trade deals negotiated by the Obama Administration, Paul has since reversed course and voted against granting the president "fast track" trading authority. He has denounced the secrecy of the proposed TPP agreement.
Carly Fiorina has never held public office, but she did lose a U.S. Senate race in California, losing to Democrat Barbara Boxer in 2010. A former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina has staked out positions on issues usually pleasing to conservatives.
She is pro-life, believes the Federal Reserve's easy money policy has "contributed to a frothy stock market," and is a strong supporter of foreign aid. Fiorina would arm the Kurds and provide bombs to Jordan for the war against ISIS. Amazingly, she advocates assisting Turkey in toppling Bashar al-Assad of Syria, even though the removal of Assad is one of the major goals of ISIS. While she has denounced ObamaCare, she agrees with the individual mandate provision of the law. An area that has become contentious in the presidential campaign is immigration, and Fiorina's position is to grant full citizenship to illegal immigrants who enter the U.S. as children.
While CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina provided HP servers to the NSA for the formation of the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. In regard to the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, she accepts it as the law of the land.
Finally, Fiorina favors free trade, but she is "uncomfortable" with the trade deals being negotiated by Obama. "I think the devil's in the details."
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, and a former Fox News program host, has garnered a large amount of support from evangelical Christians. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, he served as a church pastor in Arkansas for many years, before he jumped into politics in 1993. Huckabee is strongly pro-life, opposing abortion in all cases, without exception, saying "every life matters."
He is critical of the policies of the Federal Reserve, comparing the quantitative easing policies of the FED to "giving your grandkids a big, big boost of sugar." Huckabee opposes ObamaCare, and pledges to work for its repeal as president.
Many conservatives are cautious about his immigration stance. While he promises to secure the border, when he was governor of Arkansas he supported in-state tuition rates and scholarships for illegal immigrants attending college. He favored a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants back in 2006, when President Bush was pushing "comprehensive immigration reform," and has indicated he is in favor of the so-called Gang of Eight bill, which would have provided amnesty to illegal aliens.
"Whatever it takes," Huckabee said in response to a question as to whether he would put American combat troops back into the Middle East to contain ISIS. "Obama's warrantless NSA spying program is more than just illegal, it's an unconstitutional, criminal assault on our freedoms as Americans. As president, I will repeal this program," Huckabee told a reporter, "and protect the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans." He has called for the rejection of the Obama trade treaties, and would limit foreign aid to "purely humanitarian efforts."
Huckabee made national news when he traveled to Kentucky to show public support for the Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. "Religious liberty is the foundation of all our liberties."
John Kasich, a former congressman and now the governor of the important swing-state of Ohio, is a strong advocate of a calling a national convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many conservatives fear such a convention could be a "run away" convention and propose alterations to our form of government.
"Life is a gift from God," Kasich said in signing a bill banning abortion in Ohio, after 20 weeks of gestation, except in cases where the mother's life is at risk. Kasich has taken no public position on the Federal Reserve System, but he consistently voted for foreign aid while a member of Congress back in the 1990s.
While Kasich favors the repeal of ObamaCare, he was one of the governors who accepted the expansion of Medicaid which was a key part of the ObamaCare.
"I think so" was Kasich's response to a question on CBS This Morning about the Obama trade deal, TPP. Intervention in Middle Eastern conflicts with American troops is favored by Kasich. "(W)e should be there, including boots on the ground," Kasich told Meet the Press. Kasich takes a "middle ground" between Senator Paul and former Governor Bush on the issue of government collection of data on American citizens.
Answering a question on the issue of same-sex marriage during a Republican presidential debate, Kasich declared that the Supreme Court had "ruled" on the issue, and said he would "accept that." He also added that he had attended a wedding of a "gay" friend. Specifically in regards to the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, Kasich said "she has to comply" with court orders on the issue. "I think she should follow the law."
Chris Christie is a Republican governor in the deep blue state of New Jersey, having been reelected in 2013. While governor, he has vetoed funding Planned Parenthood. "I am pro-life, I believe in exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. That's my position, take it or leave it," Christie said, in his typical blunt style.
Like many other Republican candidates for president, Christie believes the "printing of money" by the Federal Reserve and its cutting of interest rates is bad policy, which will lead to "real problems as we move forward." He favors auditing the FED.
He has opposed ObamaCare from its inception, and refused to create a healthcare exchange in New Jersey. "This path to citizenship stuff is garbage," Christie said in response to a question about immigration. Christie favors putting American soldiers "into the fight" in the Middle East, "if need be," but prefers the ground fighting to be done by the military forces of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.Christie favors foreign aid to Israel, but not for "enemy nations."
Governor Christie, a former federal prosecutor, strongly favors continuation of the PATRIOT ACT, and advocates expanding the powers of the NSA. He personally disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, but "You have to follow the law, and the law is these licenses have to be issued." Christie does not trust Obama to negotiate trade agreements that benefit American, preferring to wait until a Republican is in the White House.
Rick Santorum won the Oklahoma primary four years ago, and he has filed to compete in the primary again this year. With the presence of other candidates perceived as very conservative on the social issues favored by Santorum, he has had trouble getting traction this time. Santorum is strongly pro-life, and no one in the race is more adamant in opposition to same-sex marriage. However, Santorum favors raising the minimum wage, which is an indication that his dedication to the idea of free enterprise is suspect.
Santorum was defeated for reelection as a U.S. Senator in Pennsylvania in 2006, by almost 20 points. His support for President Bush's increased federal control of education (No Child Left Behind) while a senator angered many constitutional conservatives. Santorum now says he regrets the vote.
If anyone thinks none of the Republican candidates are "conservative enough" to merit their support, a cursory examination of the three major Democratic hopefuls will certainly not to be their liking.
Hillary Clinton is expected to be the Democratic nominee, unless she is indicted. She sports a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. She has even said that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious belief and structural biases have to be changed," in order for women to enjoy full access to abortion.
As Secretary of State, Clinton favored an increase in foreign aid, and is a long-time advocate of universal healthcare. Her campaign website makes her position very clear: "Hillary will continue to defend the Affordable Care Act" [Obama Care]. She promises to "expand" the program, if elected.
Clinton favors complete amnesty for illegal aliens. She promises to defeat both Syrian dictator Assad and his ISIS opposition. In an interesting twist, she favors supporting Kurdish women who are fighting in combat against extremists. While in the Senate, she voted twice for the PATRIOT ACT. In response to the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, Clinton said she was "celebrating," along with "millions of Americans."
Although she was involved in negotiations for the same trade agreements Obama is now pushing, Clinton now has voiced some reservations.
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, is another "progressive" Democrat. He has a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, favors a stronger Federal Reserve under the control of the president, and supports an increase in foreign aid. O'Malley supports government-run health care, a system which would "control and budget hospital costs, cap what hospitals may charge, and reward hospitals that provide quality rather than quantity of care."
He favors to go even further than Obama on the issue of immigration, promising to close down most immigration detention centers. O'Malley sees a connection between terrorism and climate change, arguing that a good way to fight ISIS is to stabilize "effects of climate change." He opposes the efforts of Senator Paul to restrict government collection of data as "obstructionism."
He led the way in Maryland in legalizing same-sex marriage, two years before the Supreme Court's 2015 decision.
O'Malley says that the United States "should do everything in our power to assert a progressive trade agenda," which he defines as creating opportunities for American workers. He said that he would judge Obama's TPP agreement by that "benchmark."
An honest "democratic socialist," Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a strong supporter of legalized abortion, with a 100 percent score from NARAL Pro-Choice America, a long-time advocate of foreign aid, and a champion of outright socialized medicine to replace ObamaCare.
Sanders favors a "path to citizenship" for the millions of illegal aliens residing in the country. He opposes soldiers on the ground in the Middle East to combat ISIS, but agrees with the use of air-strikes against them. He opposed the USA PATRIOT ACT, and its replacement, out of concern over "privacy rights."
Sanders supported the city's first Gay Pride Parade, while he was mayor of Burlington, but did not publicly endorse same-sex marriage until 2009. He has promised, as president, he would "Veto any legislation" which protects religious liberty "at the expense of others' rights."
He is an opponent of the TPP agreement because it would force American workers to compete against workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is only 56 cents an hour.
Also on the Democrat ballot are: Roque Rocky De La Fuente, Keith Judd, Michael A. Steinberg, and Star Locke.
The Super Tuesday contest will likely be a significant step on the route to the White House.
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