The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLI)

img_0140This morning, Wednesday, November 9th, Andy Schmookler and I (Joshua Huffman) returned to WSVA 550 AM to discuss the surprising results of the 2016 presidential election.  Although pollsters had predicted a fairly sizable win for Hillary Clinton (as did Andy and me during our October show), many were shocked by Trump’s upset.

In this episode, we discuss the election, what happened to create such a victory, and what this could mean for the future of the United States.  As always, if you missed the show live, you can listen to it here.

Freedom Gulch #12

fg12Last night, Will Hammer, Michael Pickens, Joshua Huffman, Carl Loser, and Andy Bakker gathered together for Freedom Gulch’s twelfth podcast.  Topics for the evening included: Gary Johnson and his Aleppo misadventure, Hillary Clinton’s health, the upcoming presidential debates, recent newspaper endorsements, and more.

If you missed the broadcast live, you can find it below.  Enjoy!

The Harrisonburg School Board 2016

SBBesides electing three members of city council in November, voters in Harrisonburg will also be picking school board members.  Unlike most years, the school board races seem to be more competitive than city council.  There are three, four-year seats available and one, two-year seat up for grabs.  As the school board is nonpartisan, none of the candidates will have a party affiliation listed on the ballot.

The five candidates for the three, four-year seats are: Nick Swayne (current vice chair of the school board who is seeking reelection), Tom Domonske (who is also hoping to be reelected), Deb Fitzgerald (the chair of the Harrrisonburg Democratic Party), Kaylene Seigle (the leader of the local Young Republicans), and Dany Fleming.  Mr. Fleming, as you may recall from an earlier article, previously served on the school board, but lost his seat for representing a part of the city that he was not legally eligible to represent.  When Kelley Rooney (who was elected in 2014) resigned her seat earlier this year due to relocation, the school board appointed Mr. Fleming to fill-in until a special election could be held.  As mentioned, that seat with two years remaining is also up for election with Lauren Penrod and Bill Wilson vying for the one opening.  Curiously, at one point Dany Fleming was apparently running for both the school board and also seeking a seat on city council.  When I visited the local registrar’s office recently, I asked if it is legal for one candidate to run for these two offices at the same time, because it certainly isn’t permissible to serve on both city council and school board concurrently.  However, Mr. Fleming did not win the Democratic nomination for city council at their meeting on June 13th and thus he ended his bid for that office.

Although school board races are typically low-key races and often uncontested in Harrisonburg, this year could prove considerably more interesting, especially given that we have both a Democratic and a Republican Party leader seeking office.  It should be interesting to see what happens.

Photos from Dukes Debate

IMG_3038Twice a year, the James Madison University SGA plays host to a tri-partisan political debate between the James Madison College Democrats, the College Republicans, and Madison Liberty.  One of these discussions takes place in the spring and the other in the fall.  Tonight was the 2015 autumn debate.

Here are a few photos from the event:

If you are interested in reading the audience commentary of the debate from the live Twitter feed, it can be found here.

Moxley Announces

IMG_2708A few hours ago, in one of the most long-awaited political announcements in recent Shenandoah Valley history, Dan Moxley of Augusta County officially declared his intent to seek the Republican nomination for Virginia Senate in the 2015 elections.  He spoke in front of a crowd of about forty at a local business in Fishersville.  After an introduction from Tina Freitas of Culpeper County, Mr. Moxley talked of his principles, what motivated him to get involved, and a brief history of his political activity.  Promoting the ideals of limited government and liberty were scattered throughout his speech.

After greeting members of the audience, the Moxley campaign packed up their materials and headed off to Madison County where they plan to repeat this announcement on the other side of the district later today.

At this point, three people are wrestling for the GOP nod in the 24th, incumbent Senator Emmett Hanger, Augusta County Supervisor Marshall Pattie, and former Republican Party Chairman Dan Moxley.

Thankful for RISE

With today being Thanksgiving, a number of my Facebook friends have listed who and what they are grateful for.  Well, I suppose that I should start off by saying thanks to Laura for assisting me in getting my current job several month ago, though I regret to say it will be ending shortly and I’m doing what I can to find the next.  I’m thankful for my friends, both political and non-political who helped me endure the campaign for city council and life in general.  I appreciate the members of my family who have been there for me over the years.  But today I’d especially like to thank my faith community at RISE.

This week is special to me for it marks two years since I first attended RISE.  Back then, one of my very important friends told me about the church that she was attending.  In truth, I stopped going to any church several years before this time due to a falling out with the church I grew up in.  Yes, I attended a few random churches on occasion, but nothing with any regularity.  Anyway, as this friend seemed to be in poor spirits the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2012, I decided to make a surprise visit to RISE in the hopes of cheering her up.  I showed up wearing a button-up shirt and a tie, customary for the churches I had attended in the past, but I’d say too formal for RISE.  Ah, just one of many memories.

Anyway, as the slogan of RISE goes, “receive love, give love, repeat”. I hope that we’ve done just that.

Over these last two years, I have certainly received considerable support from the folks at RISE and hope that I have, in turn, been of value to those who need it.  We’ve done many things together: went on a mission trip to Guatemala, ran a 5k, gleaned a local garden, enjoyed some delicious mac & cheese, helped feed 31,000, and much, much, more.

I don’t really know what has happened to my now former friend, the one who told me about RISE.  I’ve not seen her on any Sunday in 2014 and only shared a handful of words these last months.  I cannot say if she has found a new church home or, like I was before finding RISE, is alone in the spiritual wilderness.  Either way, from time to time I do pray for her.

Whether it is during this winter or at some point down the road, I’m looking forward to the opportunity of sharing the story of my spiritual journey with my faith community. Should that day come, I hope you’ll sit in to share the experience.

If you are looking for a new church home in the Harrisonburg area or are spiritually searching, I hope you’ll think about joining me some Sunday at 10 AM at the Court Square Theater.

Anyway, getting back to the main point, today is a day to give thanks to everyone who has been there in the most difficult of times.

So, thank you!

The Roanoke Poll

Several days ago, I wrote a piece highlighting the fact that after weeks of silence a new poll came out in the Virginia U.S. Senate race.

Some Republicans spoke against the poll.  For example, one doubted the result given that it was conducted over the course of an entire week.  I think that is a reasonable concern.

However, now Roanoke College has released a poll on the election conducted from October 20th to 25th.  Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, these results show an even bigger gap between the Democratic and Republican candidates.  When including those leaning toward a candidate, Democrat Mark Warner clocks in at 47%, Republican Ed Gillespie at 35%, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis at 4%.  However, the poll also shows that a staggering 15% of the electorate are undecided or are for someone else.  The margin of error is listed at 3.6%.

Compared to the CBS poll from a few days ago, Warner sheds 2%, Gillespie loses 4%, Sarvis picks up 2%, and the number of undecideds jumps 4%.

As with every poll, the race is not predicted to be particularly close.  The narrowest margin between the Republican and Democratic candidate was 9% in the Quinnipac poll of mid September.  Since then, the two have fluctuated between 10 to 12%.  Unless something earth-shattering happens in the next day or two, Virginia will be a safe Democratic hold.

To me, the most curious aspect is still the large number of undecided voters.  What accounts for this situation?  Have the candidates failed to bring their message to the people of Virginia?  Is voter apathy high?  Is there a large segment of the population who aren’t happy with any of their choices?  After all, the Roanoke poll says “Likely voters are not enamored of either political party. Many of them hold unfavorable views of both the Democrats (47% unfavorable, 33% favorable) and the Republicans (46% unfavorable, 28% favorable).”

Cuccinelli & Republican Coffee

CuccinelliThis evening, Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia and 2013 Republican nominee for governor, wrote a rather interesting piece on Newsmax.  In it, he makes the claim that the Republican Party spends a lot of time and effort promoting candidates who don’t stand for what are supposedly Republican principles.  Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran are two Republican politicians that he names specifically.

As Cuccinelli puts it, “the Republican Party is spending enormous sums of money to support these people, who are about not believing anything.  And that is the core of our problem.”  Mr. Cuccinelli goes on to add, “You can’t stand for anything, you can’t win that way.  In fact, you can’t win without it.  If there isn’t a reason to fight, the people won’t fight and they won’t show up.”

I believe that Ken Cuccinelli is quite right in what he is saying; the GOP sometimes nominates candidates who either don’t know Republican principles, are openly hostile to these values, or simply pretend and play the game so long as they are trying to get elected.

I must say that I’d be quite surprised to hear a current Republican office holder make a statement such as what Cuccinelli did in this piece.  Unfortunately, as long as a person is part of the system, they usually sit silently, saying nothing as their party nominates unprincipled candidates.  Ken Cuccinelli is right to say that Mitt Romney and John McCain are not conservatives, but why wasn’t this fact hammered home both before and after they received the party’s nod for president?

I’m reminded of a scene from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. (Warning a tad bit of language for those sensitive to it).

In the world of party politics, it doesn’t matter the fidelity of a candidate to principle.  Instead, it only matters that the party brand is sold to the voter, no matter how poor the product actually is.  And if you have the audacity to point out that a party’s candidate is, in fact, crappy, rather than improve their politicians, they remove the head of the messenger.

Ding!  The coffee is ready!

Going Viral?

Earlier this week, I stopped by the campus of James Madison University, as I often do.  While heading back to my car, I happened across a fellow who was offering his theology to the students.  Given that he had attracted such a crowd and seemed to be riling folks up with his rhetoric, I pulled out my iphone and recorded a portion of his multi-hour presentation.

A few hours later, I discovered that my video had been picked up by The Blaze.  Although certainly not as promoted as the video embedded in the article, you can find a link to my recording as well as my name listed in the credits of a screen shot.  As a result, in the last 24 hours, this video has been seen almost 5,000 times on YouTube.

I’m not sure what constitutes “going viral”.  After all, the first video mentioned on the article on The Blaze has over 180,000 views in about the same time frame.  I’m glad that folks have found this video to be of interest, though I wish that our society valued political discussion as much as inflammatory speech.