Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general

Posts tagged “Donald Trump

The Phone Call


5632f8fa5de9f-image

It’s late one evening. Behind the bar at Andy’s Cafe in Cincinnati, a spray tanned older gentleman laughs quietly with his guests when the phone rings.

“Andy’s, where the beer is cold and the music is hot,” he answers.

“Hey, John! It’s Paul – Paul Ryan, remember me? Well, I’m sure glad I caught you. I need some advice.”

“Well, you know I left that life behind, Paul. Breaking up bar fights is easier on a 67 year old body than those squabbles on Capitol Hill.”

“I know, I know. But look, I’m in a real pickle here. Was kind of hoping to bounce some ideas off you and see what you think.”

“Are you recording this? Is this some sort of practical joke? You know, like when y’all ran that celebrity real estate developer for President. Man, that was a doozy!”

“No, no, this is serious. And yeah, glad you liked that one. But there’s something you may not have heard about, yet.”

“Really? Shoot.”

“That guy is now the President of the United States. And I don’t mean the United States of Benetton. And he’s part of the reason I need your help.”

“You mean, you idiots ran the only man in America who uses more spray tan than me and lies more than Nancy? Wasn’t that script for ‘Trading Places 2’ rejected by Hollywood?”

You can hear the pause before Ryan responds, “Maybe it was. But he and that gawd-awful combover are  in charge now.”

“Oh, you are truly and greatly screwed. Like Big Green Weenie screwed. No, better yet…”

“John, this is serious. Everyone thinks he’s a Russian spy or something, and DC is so busy not tripping over one another over they haven’t noticed the Chinese star-and-sickle tattoo he got the other day.”

“Right, serious. Speakering of which, you haven’t introduced that tooth repair kit I invented yet, have you? Give me a couple a days Head Start.”

“How droll.”

“I know, hahahahahahaha! ”

“So, do you have any advice for me?”

“Retire. Buy a bar in Wisconsin. You can get royally drunk and nobody gives a shit.”

“No, look, this is serious. Do you know what he asked me to do this morning? He asked me to draw up legislation selling Alaska back to the Russians!”

“Well, he is a real estate developer. I imagine he got a good price.”

“Mitch is beside himself over this. Jeb Hensarling wants to know if he can get something similar from Spain for California. This whole thing is going off the rails.”

“You guys are  the ones who nominated him. If I remember right, you had a chance to turn him away at the convention. You gotta deal with him now.” The old bartender belches loudly. “Damn, that was a GOOD one! Did you hear that, Paulie boy? Rattled the doors with that one, I did!”

Ryan sighs, loudly. “That’s history. What do I do now?”

“I told you. Retire. Buy a bar. Get drunk.”

“You can’t be serious!”

“Sure I am. I did and look at me now. I’m hanging out with my friends, only using spray tan once or twice a week and I’ve only cried once in the last year. Best move I ever made was coming back to this bar.”

“Thanks, John. You’ve been a real help.”

“Glad I could be, Paul. And next time you’re in Cincinnati, the beer is on me.”

Advertisements

Liberals STILL Don’t Get It


images

A little over a week ago, I posted my thoughts on why the election turned out the way it did. As I wrote,

When you’ve already been painted as a racist misogynist homophobe, a dolt incapable of anything other than collecting welfare and shooting heroin, you’re not going to worry too much about voting for a guy who actually is a racist misogynist – after all, it’s not like you have anything left to lose.

Since then, I’ve seen some postings on various blogs (like these, here and here) that show a few liberals have figured this out. But far too many have taken the wrong lessons from the election, or no lesson at all. The recent kerfluffle over the the way the cast of Hamilton has reacted is one example. The Democrat party’s seeming determination to shift even further left is another. And finally, there is the unending grief I and other conservatives are receiving from the on-line liberal tribe, as well my liberal friends. None of them seem capable of recognizing, much less understanding, what happened in this election.

So here’s a quick synopsis for you.

  1. Donald Trump did not win this election, so much as Hillary Clinton lost this election. This is an important point to remember.
  2. This was not an election about issues. Equally important to remember. This was not about emails, Benghazi, immigration, or “identity politics”. In the end, none of that mattered. The great swath of undecideds didn’t break for Trump because they agreed with his plans, or because of Hillary’s probable corruption. They didn’t abandon Hillary because she’s a woman, or out of racism.
  3. This was an election about attitudes and respect. This is the point that liberals are getting especially hung up about. If the election was about respect, how could the least respectful candidate since George Wallace win? It’s because they ignore the first half of that statement: attitudes. For a generation, the great swath of middle America has endured an attitude from the genteel class that says their values and lifestyle are worthless. This was the year when they finally told the genteel class to go to hell.

In short, for 30 years the vast middle of America was told by cultured elite that they need to respect everyone, but no one need respect them. They were called “bitter clingers” and “deplorable” and “trailer park trash.” Their values, which also happen to be the ageless values of hard work, loyalty, family, church and patriotism, were derided as passe.

Now, as I’ve said, I’ve found very few who lean left who seem able to grasp this simple concept. It might be the heavy indoctrination that turns one into a liberal precludes them from recognizing that heaping scorn on half of the country is not going to endear you to the masses. Instead, I see comments like these:

A significant reason Hillary lost this election was because men (mostly white) came out in unprecedented numbers to remind us – violently & vehemently – that a woman is not welcome at the table.

 

If you voted for Trump, you might not be a racist, but you support one

 

The only difference between a Trump voter and a Nasi (sic) is the Nazi has a brain

 

I’m not saying Trump’s people are idiots, but they can’t spell cat if you spot them the C and A.

And those are the mild ones. The left is intent on casting Trump’s voters as racists, woman haters, gay haters, idiots – in other words, as “deplorable.” When I’ve mentioned that no, most of Trump’s voters are telling you eggheads they’re tired of having their values trashed and lives stepped on, I get replies amounting to, “Who cares? They voted for Trump.”

If I were purely partisan, I wouldn’t much care. As long as the left maintains this tone deafness about America, their electoral chances remain concentrated in the cities. They will never regain any strength in the Congress, and they will continue to lose elections at the local and national level. One of the most shocking results of this election is that Democrats only won 57 counties this year. 57 out of nearly 3200. Now THAT’s deplorable!

But I am not a pure partisan. I am an American, and while we on the right understand the left’s POV (we haven’t been given a choice, really – it’s crammed down our throats), if the left doesn’t understand ours, the country will remain hopelessly divided. Regardless of which side of the political divide you find yourself, I think we all agree that would be a horrible, no good, very bad result.

 


2016 Proves the Electoral College Works


Clinton supporters are claiming that since Hllary won the popular vote, it proves the Electoral College is a dysfunctional anachronism that impedes modern democracy. They don’t seem to understand, or care, that statements like those only prove the reasons for the Electoral College in the 1780’s remain with us today.

First and foremost, the Founding Fathers had deep, abiding distrust of unfettered democracy. James Madison wrote in Federalist 10

A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

This understanding that direct democracy is an unwieldy form of government, certain to end in direct violence of neighbor versus neighbor, is what drove the Founders to establish the United States as a representative republic. They strove, at every level of the federal government they were creating, to isolate the democratic forum to the smallest, most localized unit possible. Indeed, one of the striking aspects of American governance is the interplay between the states and the federal government they devised.

A large part of the reason for establishing that interplay between state and federal government was the Founder’s understanding that, even in the earliest days of the nation, there were stark differences between the various states and regions, and competing interests between heavily populated areas and sparsely populated ones. In establishing a federal government that was an equal partner of the states as regards most matters, they allowed local control over local issues, while allowing for an overarching national policy that might be in direct contravention to what a state preferred. Factionalism, which they understood was an unremarkable and inevitable feature of human society, could thus be controlled. No single faction could become so omnipresent as to impose its will on the rest of the nation.

This theory of government extends through to the idea of the Electoral College. Most of us are familiar with the idea of the Electoral College as stated by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68:

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

But very few of us have given much thought to this part of the same essay:

The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Here we see expressed the idea, once again, of deference to state preference, even when contemplating a federal election. Yes, the election of a President would occur in all the states simultaneously, but it was not a singular electoral event. Rather, it was to be the continuation of state elections. To ensure that each state was not pressured by outside influences, each states electors are to meet in that state and vote. They are not to travel to the seat of national government. The method of their meeting and deliberation is left to the states to decide.

So how does the 2016 general election demonstrate that these ideas are still needed today? Consider this: Mrs. Clinton will assuredly wind up with more raw votes, if tabulated nationally, than Mr. Trump. But, that is due to her extreme support on the Pacific Coast. Her share of the popular vote in California, Oregon and Washington is around 65%. Of the roughly 61 million votes she received, nearly 9.5 million of them came from those three states versus only 4.3 million for Mr. Trump. To look at in reverse, in every other region of the nation, Mr. Trump outpolled Mrs Clinton by some 5 million votes and had the far higher share of the total, with nearly 53% of the votes cast.

If we were to do as Mrs. Clinton’s supporters ask, and amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College, we would be saying that only 3 of our states were electing the President. The other 47, despite a preference for the opposing candidate, would be shunned.

But the hidden beauty of the Electoral College is in ensuring that every state and every region receives import upon the selection of the President in proportion to its size and influence in the federal government. So yes, Mrs. Clinton is assured the 74 electoral votes from those states. All she needed was another 196 (or 38% of the remaining) electoral votes to win the Presidency. But Mr. Trump, by virtue of his running a broader campaign that appealed to more voters across a wider swath of the nation, gained more electors in the other states. He outpolled Mrs. Clinton in the deep south, the midwest, the plains states, the mountain west and battled her to a near draw in the northeast.

I understand its a bitter pill for her supporters to admit that Mrs. Clinton’s message did not have the type of broad appeal that resonated across the nation. But one again, the Electoral College is ensuring the candidate with the broadest support will assume the Presidency on January 20.


What Goes Around…


I’m a person with a slightly bent sense of humor. I realize it, most of my friends have learned to live with it, my wife tolerates it and my kids (fortunately) didn’t inherit it. I find Monty Python hilarious, roar with laughter throughout The Rocky Horror Picture Show, still guffaw at Peter Seller’s portrayal of Inspector Clouseau, and laugh for hours with The Three Stooges. I love watching Wile E. Coyote fall off cliffs, Bugs Bunny put one over on Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam always puts a smile on my face.

I mention this, because despite the arduous training in the sublimely ridiculous that the many hours of such entertainment brought about, I’ve never seen anything as nonsensical as the current state of the American left wing. Setting your cities on fire because your candidate lost is like a lost scene from Dr StrangeloveIndeed, the only person on the left I’ve come across in the last 4 days with any sense of why we have President-elect Trump is this guy here:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJonathanPieReporter%2Fvideos%2F1044777035645189%2F&show_text=0&width=560

But even he only half understands it. Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton was probably the worst possible candidate the Democrats could have stood for President. As awful a candidate as Trump was, Hillary proved to be even more awful. Approximately 6.3 million fewer votes were cast this election versus 2012. The Democrat nominee garnered only 91% of the votes President Obama did just four years ago. So, while Trump was holding on to 98% of the Republican vote won by Mitt Romney, Hillary couldn’t generate anywhere near the enthusiasm from Democrats. And why would they be? Hillary is easily the most corrupt, least trustworthy and most befouled politician of the last quarter-century. And Democrats voted their displeasure, with 5.4 million fewer of them voting for her.

Ok, so Hillary is obnoxious, condescending and reeks of corruption. How is it that her opponent, a man so vile and disgusting that his sanity has been questioned, could hold on to such a large percentage of the vote from 4 years ago? That story begins with TARP and ends with the “basket of deplorables.” In the 8 years in between those events, the non-urban American has been vilified, denigrated, insulted and belittled. We were told  we’re “bitter clingers” for believing in the God of Abraham and Isaac, and owning firearms. We were told we’re homophobes for not wanting our pastors to be forced into performing gay marriages, our bakers forced into baking cakes for gay weddings or our florists and caterers forced into serving those events. We were told we’re misogynists for not wanting nuns to be forced to pay for abortions. We’re denounced as racists for not supporting #BlackLivesMatter, when all we see in that “movement” is a bunch of ill-informed youth intent on hate and destruction. We’ve been told we have to believe in global warming – except when that theory blew up in the face of evidence, we were told that it was just another way of saying “man-made climate change.”

We’ve been told we have no rights, except the ones our benevolent government decides we have, that we’re too stupid to read the words in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. In the meantime, we’re also told those very documents that founded our nation are now irrelevant because they’re old and don’t reflect modern times. At the same time, we’re ordered to buy a government approved product from a government market because somehow, that’s not an abrogation of our rights as a free people? Maybe the left is trying to be funny or something, because usually if something works you don’t try like hell to break it.

We’ve been virtually ordered to send our kids to college, even though the local electrician’s union is hiring apprentices at $25/hour and my kid happens to enjoy working with his hands, so they can be brainwashed into spouting the same nonsense. And how do we know this is vitally important? Well, it must be. After all, we’re also told our sons become rapists and our daughters will be gang raped the moment they step onto campus at Whatsamatta U. If the only hope our kids have of a future is to willingly live and study in that cesspool, then it must be awfully important, right?

(Ah, yes. Whatsamatta U, where if you’re lucky your child will graduate with a degree in French History, $100,000 of debt and no prospects for a job, other than working as a part-time barista at the local coffee bar.)

But nobody dare say anything about how nonsensical all of that is, because then you’re violating some precious snowflake’s safe space. Unless that safe space is the bathroom, where we’re told the plumbing God gave you doesn’t count and so we have to let grown men use the same facilities as our mothers, wives and daughters. It makes sense, really – how else can we ensure the rape culture has a steady supply of victims? Besides, we’ve been told, that’s progress!

Oh, and because of man-made climate change, all you people who made a living mining coal or pumping oil from the ground, or building pipelines or driving trucks to move it around; yeah, well, here’s one final, mighty FUCK YOU, SORRY NOT, your jobs have to go. Grab a mop, sonny boy – the local Chuck E. Cheese needs someone to clean up behind the kiddies.

So after 8 long years of hearing this nonsense, of course people voted for Trump. When you’ve already been painted as a racist misogynist homophobe, a dolt incapable of anything other than collecting welfare and shooting heroin, you’re not going to worry too much about voting for a guy who actually is a racist misogynist – after all, it’s not like you have anything left to lose. Yes, Donald Trump can’t figure out which policies he supports and doesn’t support. In the end, that doesn’t matter. We’ve grown accustomed to politicians making extravagant promises they never intend to keep and position papers that would take an hour to read, and could be summarized as “I have no frigging idea what I’m talking about.” No, what mattered isn’t that Trump is a lout or that he doesn’t even seem to care about policy.

What mattered was that at the end of the day, after being insulted for 8 years, there was finally a candidate willing to insult the Powers That Be back. To give as well as he got, to take it from the gutter to the sewer if need be. Every “Little Marco” and “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary” was music to the ears of the disenfranchised. Every 3am tweet calling someone a lying SOB, every pronouncement at a campaign rally against his enemies only showed he was willing to fight. So what if he’s a New York billionaire? The other billionaires never liked him – and they never liked him because he never stopped being the brash kid from Queens.

So, go ahead and burn down your cities. Enjoy the bonfires in Portland, the smashed windows in LA, the blocked roads in New York. Throw your hissy fits and keep complaining about “whitelash” or whatever idiotic, progressive bullshit name you want to give it. It’s nothing more than the vast middle of America saying, “Enough, already!”.

And if you’re willing to leave your safe space and actually engage in something other than name calling, I’m the guy over here sipping a cold one and laughing at your idiocy. Hell, I might even slip on a Make America Great Again cap so I’m easier to find.


Support the Orange President


donald-trump-trademarked-a-ronald-reagan-slogan-and-would-like-to-stop-other-republicans-from-using-itAs I’m writing this, Hillary Clinton needs a miracle of biblical proportions to prevent Donald from winning the Presidency. Odds are, I’ll win the Powerball lottery before she does.

I’ve made no secret that I do not think Mr. Trump will prove to be a good President. I’ve been #NeverTrump since he announced his candidacy because I’ve felt a  government led by him will be a disaster. As person dedicated to small government, Trump’s big government tendencies are an affront to my sensibilities. So are his attitudes on race, gender and immigration. And his love of authoritarianism and total ignorance of our Constitution remain deeply troubling, and dangerous, flaws. All of this led me to vote today for Evan McMullin.

Regardless, the man has won the Presidency. It was a herculean effort that required defeating the best political machine ever created. Now, it is my duty to support this man as President.

Support does not mean blind obedience. Support does mean pointing out those occasions when his conduct is unbecoming of his office. Support also means going to loggerheads when I believe he is advocating policies that will harm our nation. In short, support does not require anyone vacillate on their principles. Rather, it means defending those principles to the fullest while allowing Mr. Trump to govern in his way.

Indeed, it is by being supportive that we can mitigate any damage President Trump causes best. Given his history, this is likely to happen often. We must be prepared.

And it is our duty, as United States citizens to so. But for now, I’m off to bed.


Political Baseballs Endorses…


mcmullin-for-prez

It’s possible the United States has had worse candidates for President in our history. We’ve certainly had our share of horrible campaigns, and we’ve had our share of horrible Presidents.

But you’ll be hard pressed to come up with a worse combination of candidates and campaigns than 2016 has brought.

The incumbent party nominated a woman with a 40 year history of corruption and scandal. How can anyone be surprised that, true to form, she may well become the first President-elect under indictment in our history? If elected and she manages to avoid prosecution for what certainly looks like egregious violations of the law, Hillary Clinton’s presidency would be kneecapped before she ever takes the oath of office. Nobody trusts her. Nobody can even pretend to believe anything she does or says any longer. As her own campaign staff has said, she has demonstrated terrible instincts and decision making. To call the next four years under her “leadership” a disaster in the making is to be generous – to disasters.

Ordinarily, a candidate that bad and that flawed wouldn’t have a chance in hell of being elected. But the Republicans, in a remarkable display of self-immolation, nominated someone as equally awful. Every character deficiency exhibited by Mrs. Clinton is personified in spades by Donald Trump. Self-dealing? Corrupt? Narcissistic? Check off all those boxes. And just as Hillary “bleachbit” her copy, I’m not even sure Donald has even read the Constitution. But he loves his petty dictators, from Vlad Putin to Deng Xiaoping. As for the rest of us, he’s already he told us what he thinks: “For the most part, you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.”

I had held out hope for the Libertarian candidacy of Gary Johnson. That was before he started talking and proved that (a) he’s either insane or killed his brain in a fog of hash smoke and (b) he’s actually not a Libertarian. He is, however, obviously just as opportunistic as both of the major party candidates.

So, the top three pretenders for President of the United States are unqualified and unfit for the office they aspire to, and probably belong in prison. What is a patriotic citizen to do this November 8th?

There is an answer. There is one candidate who, despite probably not able to carry more than a couple of states, embodies the strength of character, dedication to Constitutional principles and belief in the greatness of America we’ve found so lacking in the other candidates.

That is why, for 2016, Political Baseballs is proud to endorse Evan McMullin of Utah for President of the United States.

Since he’s only listed in 11 states, odds are you will have to write his name in on your ballot. I encourage you to find out the vagaries regarding write-in candidates in your state and take the effort to write him in. As mentioned, he likely will not win. But casting your vote for Mr. McMullin will not be wasting it, for two reasons.

First, the entire concept of “voting for the lesser evil” is what has left our nation in it’s current state. Far too often, we accept the idea of a binary choice between two poor options. This leaves voters voting not as much for a candidate, as against the opposing candidate. It’s a terrible situation that our current political parties have delivered to the American people, one who’s likely outcome this time will be the worst four years for our republic since the Civil War. By voting for Mr. McMullin, you can actually vote for someone who isn’t corrupt, isn’t beholden to either political party, isn’t bankrolled by all of the usual power players and isn’t responsible to anyone other than his own conscience and the voters. Rather than needing to rinse the stink off from voting for Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, you can be proud of your vote.

Second, by now even the most partisan among us have to realize something has gone terribly wrong with our political parties if the best candidates they can come up with are the parasites they’ve nominated. If you truly want to send a message that we, the People, have had enough of their nonsense, there is no better way than to vote for a candidate who is inviolate in his beliefs. Even if you do not agree with Mr. McMullin’s conservative viewpoint, you cannot deny his uncompromising defense of his principles. I’ve heard many of you over the last two years, both conservative and liberal, say you want to “blow up the system.” Voting for Mr. McMullin is a shot right into the heart of the unscrupulous parties that have placed power and wealth above the country.

So, when you vote, don’t worry about pulling a lever or punching a hole. Write in the only candidate worthy of your vote: Evan McMullin.

 


Reality Check


donald-trump-hair-7

This was the BEST the GOP could do?

Good Morning! In just 16 short days, our long national nightmare, almost two years in the making, will be over.

And when we wake up on November 9, Hillary Clinton will be the President-Elect of the United States of America.

I don’t say this with any glee, but more a sense of resignation. While many will blame Donald Trump or the GOP establishment for an outcome that seemed impossible 24 months ago, they worked hand in glove to bring it about. The political bosses, in a series of unnerving and politically driven moves, made three crucial decisions that paved the way for Trump to sap the energy out of the conservative wing.

First, they insisted on open primaries – a system that allowed anyone, regardless of primary affiliation, to decide the Republican nominee. It’s akin to the membership of the American Legion allowing Code Pink to select their chairman. It’s Ford letting GM pick their board. It’s insanity, is what it turned out to be. Yes, almost 32 million people voted in this year’s Republican primaries – but less than 69% of them were registered as Republicans prior to this year. Nearly 1/3 of the “Republican” electorate wasn’t Republican.

Second, they let anyone and everyone run for the GOP nomination. As a result, what should have been the strongest field of conservative candidates in a generation became diluted to the point of irrelevancy. Centrist champions? There was Bush, and Kasich, and Fiorina, and… you get the point. The same for conservatives, for the religious right, for the libertarian wing, for the neocons, and on and on and on. When the starting gun sounded, there were 22 people announced as running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. The RNC, for reasons known only to Reince Priebus, treated them all as if they were equal of stature, of seriousness and ability to win. Overconfident? Drunk? Who knows? But when you insist that Rick Santorum be given as much gravitas as Jeb Bush, what you get is Donald Trump. Because it became nothing more than a popularity contest, and not a contest of ideas, this primary season naturally wound up favoring the reality TV star who’s spent 40 years crafting a popular image.

Third are the convoluted rules about delegate apportionment. The front-loading of “winner take all” state primaries meant that despite no candidate gaining 50% of the vote in any of the first 15 primaries, Trump had an overwhelming delegate lead. He eventually won the nomination with support of only 38% of the vote. If you really want to get into the weeds on this point, Donald J. Trump won the Republican nomination with only around 8.5 million Republican votes – the rest of his margin came from those non-Republicans the RNC allowed to vote in their primaries. When you wrap your head around that fact, you realize that he’s actually done a pretty good job of parlaying today’s polarized partisans into his roughly 2/3 support among Republican voters in the general electorate.

And so here we are, 16 days from President-Elect Clinton and the Republican Party has nobody to blame but themselves. It isn’t that Hillary Clinton became a better candidate as this election season wore on. If anything, the questions regarding her use of a private email setup for official business, the general shadiness of the Clinton Foundation and still unanswered questions about her role in the Benghazi disaster should have sunk her campaign. But the RNC threw in with the only politician in America more disliked and distrusted than Mrs. Clinton. Those of us who have been #NeverTrump since the beginning warned the rest of the party that Trump would be easy pickings for the Clinton political machine. That we’ve been proven correct doesn’t do us any good, unless the party recognizes the mistakes it’s made and works to rectify them.

At this point, that Donald J. Trump is going to lose, and lose badly, is not in question. (Well, not in question, except among his most vitriolic supporters, the ones who have forgone reason in the quixotic quest to “blow it up”). The only question is how badly the worst GOP nominee in  over 100 years is going to harm the Republican brand. The Presidency is gone. The Senate is most likely gone, as well. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin are dead people walking. That means the Democrats only need to pick off two more seats to gain control, and they’re likely to grab at least three others (Indiana, Illinois and Colorado), as well as hang on to the retiring Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada. Should Trump continue his freefall, his coattails could well spell doom for the GOP held seats in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida, too.

For all the talk about how Hillary Clinton needs to be stopped, if for no other reason than to prevent her ramming through thoroughly liberal Supreme Court justices, the RNC has shot itself in the foot. It hitched a ride with Trump and is likely to lose the only vehicle available for forcing at least a compromise on that front. And yes, it is a serious threat to the very nature of the Constitution. In the last debate, Mrs. Clinton avowed her preference for justices who will do many, many unconstitutional things from the bench. Side with the people? What? The entire reason the court exists in the form the founders created was so that they could deliver unpopular opinions without fear of recrimination. This is not to say it is a perfect system or that the court hasn’t a history of overstepping its bounds (Dred Scott, anyone?). But I cannot recall a President, at any time, essentially telling the American public that the court should ignore the Constitution when ruling on the Constitutionality of a statute. Also, Mrs. Clinton’s propensity for feint-and-maneuver was on display during her Heller answer. I had to go back and re-read the case just to be certain, but the case never referenced murderous toddlers. It was wholly about whether a jurisdiction (in this case, the District of Columbia) could ban an entire class of firearm (handguns).

Again, a real conservative would have pounced all over that particular gaffe. But the RNC’s Golden Man-Child, who until last year was a proud contributor to Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun crusade, couldn’t even muster one of his trademark “WRONG” outbursts.

This is the reality that Priebus and his ilk have foisted upon the nation. We will have at least four years of a Hillary Clinton presidency. At least the first two of them will include her party controlling the Senate. There is a very real possibility that the Trumpster doesn’t go quietly in the night, continues to rail against the Republican party and conservative movement, giving Hillary the latter half of her term with full control of Congress and the Supreme Court.

There’s also another reality that Mrs. Clinton’s party and the national media are already attempting to ignore. In no way, despite the severe drubbing Republicans are facing, should anyone assume this indicates any sort of mandate for leftist policies. Yes, Trump is likely to lose by well over 150 electoral votes. Yes, for the first time in generations, Texas, Georgia, Utah and Arizona are toss-ups. But that is not an acceptance of the socialist dreams co-opted by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. Rather, it is a repudiation of all things Trump and Trumpism. The Clinton machine would do well to remember Hillary will begin her tenure with the lowest approval ratings of any President in history. If her goal truly  is to unify the nation, she’ll need to find areas of agreement between the GOP House and Democrat Senate. I have my doubts, as Clintonism is about partisanship first, country second. I fully expect her to attempt to ram through her personal goals of HillaryCare, tax increases and gun control measures in her first 100 days – and a nation more antagonized and polarized than even now.

That’s reality, folks. And you can thank the spineless idiots in the RNC and their equally hopeless candidate for making it so.


The Debate from Hell: Whiners & Losers


 

fight-2016

Fight!

If you’re a masochist, or just needed a good excuse to drink heavily, you sat through all 90 minutes of last night’s “Presidential Debate.” If you managed that and still retained your sanity, congratulations! You’re better off than either of the two candidates.

Ok, so who won? Who lost? Did anyone have an aneurysm on stage and put us out of our misery?

Winners:

  • Donald Trump – look, somebody had to win this shit storm. I suppose the winner is the guy who threw the most shit. Unfortunately for Donald, he came on stage last needing to do two things. First, he had to stop the hemorrhaging his campaign endured over the weekend. Second, he needed to convince people he’s something more than an angry old man. He may have succeeded on the first – the next couple of days will tell us. But he definitely failed on the second.
  • Breitbart TV – Stephen Bannon & Roger Ailes dream of an alt-right TV network survives! Expect a launch date of January 20, 2017.
  • Liquor distributors – The real slogan of this campaign should be, “Make America Drunk Again”.

Losers:

  • The truth – Look, we know all politicians lie. We’re surprised when one doesn’t fib. But last night might have set a record for lies per second.
  • The audience – Imagine you’re invited to ask the candidates a question. You sit, waiting, and you never get a chance to actually ask it. Or even worse, you do get a chance to ask it – but both candidates and both moderators just ignore it. Yeah, it was like that. It was EXACTLY like that.
  • Mike Pence – after doing his all to save his running mate’s hide and killing any future in politics he had, Trump threw the Indiana governor under the bus. Not only that, he backed up and ran him over again. The poor guy is going to be a punch line in jokes for years to come.
  • Duels – It seems that in the same year the play Hamilton is playing to rave reviews (btw, deservedly so), we could revive the same method the title character and his main political rival used to settle their differences. Could you imagine the TV ratings? Maybe it’ll be the first live event broadcast by Breitbart TV.
  • Children – if you have kids, this entire election is a good reason to ban them from watching television. Last night encapsulated it.
  • Bill Clinton – if you haven’t seen this, it’s all you need to know about Bill’s night…
    bill

Is Trump a Fascist?


Too often, in our poorly educated minds, the words “fascist” and “Adolph Hitler” are transposed. While Uncle Adolph is certainly history’s  most infamous fascist, he was hardly alone. Fascism as a political system has existed for nearly two centuries and been used far too often and by far too many dictators to pretend Hitler was it’s only proponent. He was, in fact, only one of several fascists who rose to power in the early- to mid-twentieth century. Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo and Chiang Kai-Shek preceded Hitler to power; Francisco Franco, Antonio Salazar, Juan Peron, Engelbert Dollfuss, Getulio Vargas, Jorge Marees, Ionas Metaxas, and Robey Leibbrandt were all peers. More modern adherents include such luminaries as Manuel Noriega, Ferdinand Marcos and Tudor Ionescu.

It is obviously a false equivalency to say they are all acolytes of Adolph Hitler, especially as several of them rose to power as much as a decade before the Reichstag burned. Indeed, Mussolini considered Hitler to be his student. Nor is it correct to say all fascists are natural allies. The Axis powers of World War II were all led by fascist governments, but distrust rather than cooperation was their hallmark. And let’s not forget that despite the aid from Germany and Italy that helped Franco secure power, Franco snubbed all overtures to join them. Franco was busy in an on-again, off-again shooting war with his protege Salazar (one that lasted into the late 1960’s). What this illustrates is the variances within fascism: nazism, clerical fascism, falangism, and so forth.

So, if HItler wasn’t the proto-fascist, who was? Who founded the ideology that dozens of tin-pot dictators have adopted as their own in the past century?

That would be Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), a British philosopher, writer and mathematician. Indeed, if modern students hear of Carlyle at all, it is usually because of his work in mathematics: he is credited with developing the quadratic equation (you know, the joyless algebra equation written as ax2 + bx + c = 0). And while high school freshmen the world over hate him for making their homework harder than they want, their real derision should be directed at his influence on sociology.

Carlyle was a reactionary in his approach to what he viewed as the shortcomings with classical liberalism. Whether the free market economics of Adam Smith, or the idea of natural rights borne out in our Declaration of Independence, Carlyle viewed the advancements made in the 18th Century to be the direct cause of the chaos overtaking Europe in the early 19th. This culminated in his 1840 opus, “On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History”. It is a rather long tome in which he lashes out at the idea of democratic rule and free markets as the antithesis of history’s natural order. He passionately argues that in accepting these ideas, society abandoned the natural roles of the hero as leader, of war as the principle means to glory, of industry being directed towards producing the means of war, and of societal hierarchies (today we would call them “classes” or “castes”).

Carlyle advocated that Great Men are the natural leaders of both government and society and should be elevated as such; if society refused to accept them, then it became their duty to wrest power away from the masses. He had tremendous scorn for free markets and coined the term many use today to describe modern economics, “the dismal science.” It isn’t that Carlyle didn’t believe that business owners shouldn’t be able to keep their profit (after paying the government their “equitable duty”); but rather that anyone in business not producing goods and services that directly benefitted the state should not be in business. A natural hierarchy was emplaced of men, but natural rights were not. The amount of rights a common man could be expected to receive were commensurate with his place in society; those at the top naturally had more rights than those at the bottom. And as for those at the bottom, they were generally an impediment to the advancement of the society. Enslavement or even execution was their only natural right. (Carlyle expounded further on this in “Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question” in 1849).

Further, Carlyle was a proponent of the state as the only viable method by which the Great Man, or Hero, could extend his rule and direct his will. The principle role of the common man within the state was to prepare for war. Treason in thought or deed were the only crimes that truly promoted social disorder; treasonous activities included anything that could subvert the rule of the Great Man and should be eliminated at all costs. And since the state was the engine that made society possible, it was incumbent upon all citizens to ensure that undesirables be kept out, by all means necessary.

In short, Carlyle’s view of national socialism (he coined the term to separate his philosophy from that of his contemporary, Karl Marx) relied on these key points, in order of importance:

  1. A Great Man or Hero; the natural societal leader
  2. A strong, insular state
  3. A hierarchical society, down to and including slavery
  4. Policing of society to ensure adherence to societal norms
  5. Militarism
  6. Directed markets
  7. Denial of Natural Rights

Of course, today we call this fascism, not national socialism. That term we reserve for nazism, which differs from straight fascism in its adoption of some Marxist principles, particularly as relates to property rights and the veneer of popular rule.

So the question is, does Donald Trump embody those 7 principles in his vision? Anyone who’s paid attention to what he’s said – and just as importantly, not said -in not only the past 15 months of campaigning but also the past 40 years of public life, will have already recognized Trump’s themes in Carlyle’s worldview. But for those who need further convincing, let us see how Trump and Carlyle agree.

  • A Great Man should be our natural leader: An entire forest’s worth of paper has been produced detailing Trump’s narcissism and self-aggrandizement, so no need to expound further on that. Suffice it to say anyone willing to proclaim the virtues of every dictator from Benito Mussolini to Deng Xiaoping to his current infatuation with Vladimir Putin sees himself as a man of similar abilities – and traits.
  • The strong, insular state: His motto, “Make America Great Again,” is a paen to this idea. In case you still weren’t sure, remember one of the hallmarks of the strong state is keeping undesirables out. From his proposed Mexican wall to the Muslim ban, a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign is keeping the undesirables out – by all means.
  • Hierarchical society, including slavery: Trump certainly views American society as existing within a strict hierarchy. He launched his campaign by demonizing those of Mexican heritage as “rapists and murderers.” He has been sued by the federal government for housing discrimination, but various state governments for employment discrimination and once by a trade union for refusing to pay immigrant workers. It isn’t overt racism, so much as revelation in his belief that if you aren’t in the correct class, you have fewer rights and if you reside at the bottom, you’re unworthy of much more than crumbs.
  • Police State: At various times, Trump has advocated for expanded police power to ensure the classes remain in their correct position. Undesirables should be rounded up. Agitators should be put down, with force. Indeed, Trump’s idea of “Law and Order” is less about law and a great deal more about order, enforced at the point of a gun.
  • Militarism: “I’d bomb the hell out of them.”  “Keep the oil.”  “The military would not refuse my orders, even if they found them illegal.”  “There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”  “I’m more militaristic than even George Bush.” Tie all of that in with his expressed desire to spend trillions on rebuilding the military machine to Cold War levels, along with his willingness to economically attack the rest of the world and yeah. Donald Trump is definitely a militarist.
  • Directed Markets: The other prominent cornerstone of Trump’s candidacy is a complete refutation of free trade. It’s also, in addition to a lifelong commitment to the hierarchal society, the one thing you can go back decades (his very first Wall Street Journal interview, in 1980, in fact) and find a consistent view. In fact, Trump hates free markets every bit as much as Carlyle did in his day. After all, as Trump has said, any business that puts profits ahead of Making America Great Again is engaged in treason and should pay a heavy price.
  • Denial of Natural Rights: There are two documents that historians point to as delineating natural rights. One is the French The Rights of Man. The other, fortunately, is enshrined as law in our Constitution; our Bill of Rights. At various points throughout this campaign, Trump has shown contempt for the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th Amendments. He loves the 7th (I can’t think of another politician who’s filed more lawsuits). He likes the 2nd, but only for certain people (here we go back to the hierarchical society again). That Trump thinks natural rights are a figment of some 18th century scholar’s imagination is pretty obvious.

So, is Trump a fascist? Undoubtedly, and as such, he is the antithesis of every idea this country was founded upon and supposedly stands for today. While frightening, it isn’t that he is, or that he has come within a hair’s breadth of the Presidency that worries me. No, what’s truly frightening is that so many of our fellow citizens remain blind to his nature – or worse, not blind but fully supportive of his goals.


The Conventions Are Over. Let the Race Begin.


democrat-republican

Both major parties have now concluded their national conventions. Traditionally, this is when most Americans actually begin paying attention to politics. This marks the point when what may have been a cursory delving into the upcoming election gels into a closer examination of the candidates, their positions and their histories among the general population. Everything up to this point has been debated, argued and bandied about by only the most politically active people in the country.

As a data point, consider this. In the primary elections, approximately 57.6 million people voted. That was less than 29% of eligible voters. If turnout rates simply match those of 2012, when 58% of eligible voters cast a ballot, that would mean another 57.6 million people voting. If turnout is closer to the 63% from 2008, it would mean an additional 67.5 million voters. And if turnout is the same as the last time primary participation reached as high as this year, in 1960? In 1960, 31% of eligible voters cast a primary ballot* and 67% one in the general election. An equivalent turnout this year would mean an additional 75.4 million votes cast in November.

What all of those numbers mean is this: at best, only half of the people who are going to vote this November have actually paid enough attention to this point to have participated in the electoral process. Each candidate has been able to play their base, solidify their standing  and not worry too much about attracting the votes of the rest of the country. But with the close of the conventions, that changes.

What we do have is a clearer idea of what each party intends as it’s core message for the fall campaign. For the Republicans, the message is the country is hopelessly fouled up, and only Donald Trump can save us from ourselves. The Democrats message is that things aren’t really that bad and we need the experienced hand of Hillary Clinton at the nation’s tiller.

But this year also features an electoral monkey wrench unheard of in prior contests. Both nominees are almost universally disliked, distrusted and flat-out repulsive to most of the electorate. How that plays out, in terms of messaging and voter turnout this fall, remains to be seen. It also presents third party candidates an opening unseen since Teddy Roosevelt ran as a Bull Moose over a century ago. Indeed, it is completely possible that a third party candidate could garner Electoral College votes for the first time since 1912.

The only thing certain about this year’s election is that these factors will create a race unique to our time. Prior models will almost certainly prove worthless to pundits and political scientists alike. The only relatively sure thing about this year is, it will be fascinating to watch and take part in the process.

 

*Note: The primary system was much different in 1960, as there were only 14 Democratic and 13 Republican primary contests held.