Monthly Archives: February 2016

US Presidential Candidates Should Study Recent NL Politics Before Dropping Out of Race

This Presidential primaries currently underway in the United States have been the most shocking and unpredictable in recent, and even distant, memory. Who would have thought that a reality TV star like Donald Trump, who advocates banning Muslims from the country, supports universal health care, and bashes the entire Bush family every chance he gets, would be the frontrunner to win the Republican nomination for President? On the Democratic side, how many people thought that Hilary Clinton would be facing a serious challenge from a 74 year old socialist from Vermont?

On the Republican side, many people worried about a Trump victory are suggesting that John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, should exit the race so that Marco Rubio could then unite the so-called moderate vote and stop Donald Trump before it’s too late. After coming second in New Hampshire, Mr. Kasich has not done so well in the next two states to cast ballots and many people now believe that he has no chance at winning the nomination. If Bernie Sanders is unable to score another big win like he did in New Hampshire there will be increasing pressure for him to bow out of the race and let Hilary Clinton focus on the general election. But before any of the candidates drop out, they might want to take a look at some of the recent political history in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Two years ago, after Kathy Dunderdale was forced out as leader of the Progressive Conservative party, there was race between two prominent businesspeople, Bill Barrie and Frank Coleman (a third candidate was later ruled ineligible). Mr. Coleman was perceived to be backed by popular former premier Danny Williams and the party establishment, while Mr. Barrie ran an outsider campaign that put him at odds with many in the Party’s establishment. When Mr. Barrie came to feel that the cards were being stacked against him by party insiders, he withdrew from the contest in protest, leaving Frank Coleman unopposed.

Shockingly, before he had the chance to be acclaimed as leader, Mr. Coleman suddenly withdrew from the race, citing family reasons after some critical press coverage about his business dealings with the province and his views on abortion, thus leaving the Progressive Conservative leadership race completely devoid of candidates. Had Bill Barrie fought on even pretty much everyone, including himself, believed he had no chance at winning, we would have become the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Before any candidates drop out of US presidential race, they should remember that, like the Barrie/Colman contest that wasn’t, anything truly can happen in politics. There is no such thing as an inevitable candidate. Donald Trump is a perpetual scandal generator whose campaign could blow up at any moment. Hilary Clinton is still being dogged by investigations into her use of personal e-mail servers for government business. Heck, we are talking about two people pushing seventy, so it would not be that far-fetched for one of their candidacies to be derailed by an illness or some health related issue.

The 2016 presidential primaries are unlike anything we have ever seen. If there was ever a race where there would be some kind of shocking turn of events it would be this one. If I were John Kasich or Bernie Sanders, and I really believed myself to be the best candidate for President, I would keep my name on the ballot right to the bitter end.

It’s Time to Move the Super Bowl to Saturday

The NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, has taken a lot of heat in recent years for the way the league has handled domestic abuse on the part of its players, what it has and has not done to protect its players, as well as a number of controversial investigations such as last year’s ball deflation fiasco with the New England Patriots. Critics often accuse the NFL and its commissioner of being arrogant, but they don’t get nearly enough criticism for the most arrogant thing the NFL does; scheduling the Super Bowl on a Sunday night.

The Super Bowl is the most watched sporting event in North America as it attracts casual and even non-fans of the NFL. Many people will tune in just to watch the commercials and the half time show. The game has become a social event as much as a sporting event, and the league is not only aware of this but along with sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, actively encourages it, but yet it insists on holding the game on Sunday night when everyone has to get up and go to work the next day. They know that every single football fan on earth would rather have it on a Saturday when everyone could spend the next day sleeping off their hangovers, but they keep it on Sunday anyway.

Living in Newfoundland, the most easterly part of North America with a time zone an hour and a half later than Eastern Standard, I suffer more than most people from the late start, but it is far worse for all the European fan base the league is trying to grow. I doubt that many German bosses will be very sympathetic to employees who are unable to come to work on Monday because they were up until 4:30am watching American football. If the league was serious about growing their global fan base they would move the game to Saturday.

Everyone would benefit from a Saturday Super Bowl. Fans would be happier, bar and restaurant owners would be happier, and now that McDonalds has all day breakfasts, the Sunday after the Super Bowl would shatter all previous records for Egg McMuffin sales. It is time for fans and media alike to start exerting pressure on the NFL to give the football fans the Super Bowl Saturday they deserve.