Sunday, December 4, 2016

Will the Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up!

Crude abhorrent talk and behavior is nothing new to politicians and political leaders. Anyone with even a smattering of political history will remembering the racist comments of Woodrow Wilson and John Kennedy's adversarial relationship with Nikita Khrushchev, who was given to drunkenness and pounding his shoe on the table during nuclear weapons negotiations.

In the 2016 elections the Democrats forgot all of this. Basking in the delusional superiority of political correctness they attacked Trump's style and demeanor and showed that they were out-of-touch with the lives and struggles of white working class voters. The lives of truck drivers and family farmers are far different from the precious liberally educated.

In fact, Trump's "loading dock, barroom" delivery resonated with these former Democrats. And, unlike the Democrats, the Trump team understood the new medium, and how to reach these people, tweak and twitter their frustrations and communicate with them. It is not far fetched to believe that some women were titillated by Trump's groping comments or that the Bush family endorsement of Hilary Clinton actually helped Trump.

This notion is further substantiated by the fact that virtually all the polls and all the media predicted a Clinton win. MogAI, which predicted winners in the primaries and the last 3 presidential elections, based on a algorithm using social media data, predicted a win by Trump. Even Nate Silver predicted a Clinton victory.

One thing is for sure. As president, Trump will enrich himself and those immediately around him. We can only hope that many of the altruistic notions he has espoused in the course of the campaign and his life are ideals that he truly holds and believes. He has stated repeatedly that all Americans should get a fair shot. And that we can't just let people die in the street. He admits that he has profited from the corruption in the system, that he knows how it works, and he has stated that he wants to turn things around and "drain the swamp." We can only hope that he conveys and instills in those around him, these values and perceptions. And that these values and perceptions translate into policy.

And we must pray that his administration does not evolve into a Bush/Cheney administration on steroids. And that his administration is not characterized by even more obscene tax cuts and greater deficit spending- partially to temporarily placate his supporters- than the Bush administration which he so openly criticized. For this will lead to the annihilation of the middle class.

Trump has taken business bankruptcies four times. We must pray that The Donald has seen the error of his ways and does not try to run the government like one of his businesses. After all, unlike his failed casino ventures, there is no institution to bail out America.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Toto, I've a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore.

There is an old colloquialism that is often attributed to Sam Clemens that goes, "Figures don't lie, but liars do figure."

I think that the 2016 Presidential primary races of both the Democrat and Republican parties illustrate that a large segment of the American people, on some level, are beginning to see that the understandings and beliefs that served as the foundation for previous generations are not applicable to the current realities of life in America. That is, they just don't add up.

This is highlighted by the surprisingly strong support that non-establishment candidates are getting. We just may be on the cusp of a revolution of understanding.

On the GOP side, Ted Cruz, the Tea Party darling, is beginning to be seen for what he truly is: the consummate sociopathic grafter, the carny preacher who plants "miracles" in his tent while taking money from Wall Street to finance the show.

And because of this new feeling by Americans that something is not quite right, this man who ultimately is only concerned with his own self-aggrandizement, is loosing the support of a significant portion of his Evangelical base.

Marco Rubio, with the aid of a combination of cronyism and nepotism, is mouthing policy and platitudes that served the establishment of previous generations but are no longer viable in today's world.

Pull yourself up on the coattails of the rich and powerful is his American Dream.

Trump is much more complicated and his motivation is much less transparent. Certainly with individual and national debt reaching mind boggling levels, and with the rise of globalization impacting the standard of living for most Americans, and the ability of Americans to save, Trump's brand of nationalism does have mass appeal.

Though he does denounce inversion, corporate welfare, and global monetary and business practices that harm the American worker and America as a whole, it is unclear if his brand of nationalism allies with Teddy Roosevelt's vision.

President Roosevelt called for the end of special protections for businesses by the Washington Establishment. He believed that anyone who worked hard should be able to provide for themselves and their families. No person or group should have access to "special privileges" that are not available to everyone else. (This notion is an anathema to both Cruz and Rubio and Trump has openly acknowledged that he has made many "donations" over time to further his business ventures.)

Teddy, the Trust-Buster as he was nicknamed, advocated equality in the rules of the game ensuring that the rules and laws made opportunity available to everyone. Lofty!

Bernie Sanders is without a doubt the most authentic candidate running for the Presidency in 2016. His candidacy has great value in that it focuses on and highlights the corruption and inequities present in our society, conditions that Roosevelt sought to remedy.

Bernie Sanders points out the special protections for the wealthy afforded by our government. He makes us aware of the inability of many hard working families to provide for themselves and their families currently. He elucidates the special privileges, inequities and corruption by the Establishment in our society, issues that were central to the policy of President Teddy Roosevelt over a century ago.

Unfortunately, these maladies are as old as mankind and the actions have been entwined with and divorced from our democracy, in varying degrees, over time. And they can only be changed through the process of our democracy over time.

In American government, Trump is right about one thing. Progress comes about from making deals. And democracy is compromise.

However, as Sanders points out, democratic progress cannot come about if a majority of the shareholders are excluded from the negotiating table by economic or procedural means, by lies and misinformation, or a rigged system.

Chris Matthews on MSNBC recently stated that an ultra right-wing Congressman recently told him that he spends all of his time in Washington convincing his colleagues that he is not crazy and then returns home to his constituents and has to convince them that he is.

The very surprising support of Sanders and Trump may illustrate that many Americans are starting to come to the realization that things are not quite right.