Posts Tagged ‘presidential election’

TRUMP AS HITLER

October 22, 2020

I was recently introduced to a series of references describing the widespread adoption of populist movements in Eastern Europe (with an emphasis on Poland and Hungary) that paint a dire fascist picture. All of these right-wing governments are depicted as consolidating power at the expense of civil liberty by circumventing their constitutions, judicial court-packing, and governmental control of the media, along with other illegal acts. For the sake of this discussion I will assume the validity of these analyses, which are internally consistent. What’s important to note, each of the references, provided to me by an intelligent, unapologetic professor on the left of the political spectrum, are clearly penned by Leftists.

While a couple of the articles are a vicious anti-Trump diatribes (which doesn’t in itself invalidate all the content but does raise serious questions regarding reliability), the others were less nasty but no less biased. While clearly delineating the transformation of Eastern European governments from liberal to populist right, likely far to extremist right by the description, what’s striking are the tortured attempts to draw parallels to our current situation here in the US. Every piece implicated Trump as participating in or spearheading a similar transformation here on American soil, and espoused on the imminent dangers. (One did, correctly in my opinion, recognize Trump’s election as the culmination of prior change rather than the trigger.) Some authors were terrified (or were attempting to terrify others) that Trump was going to declare the upcoming election invalid and literally seize power. One piece validated the bestial doctrine of critical race theory. All tried to imply we’re on the road to the Handmaid’s Tale unless Trump is unseated. Not a one even hinted that the current unrest was being promulgated here by the far Left, specifically Antifa and BLM, Inc., and there was no mention of the roles of cancel culture, intersectionality, critical race theory, and the domination of the mainstream media utilizing false and suppressed “news” as an arm of the Democrat Party to further a political agenda. There were plenty of examples of corruption and verbal malfeasance attributed to Trump, some deserved, but not a word of the greater corruption and verbal misconduct by Biden and Leftists in positions of power. While one author described the dangers of court-packing and anti-constitutional behavior overseas attributed to the Right (in fairness likely penned prior to the most recent Democrat shenanigans), the threat on US soil to our Constitutional form of government via these dangerous means and others today comes from the Left, not the Right. While I didn’t see a direct reference to Trump as Hitler, there were of course implications, with references to Nazism, echoing similar, carelessly promulgated comparisons to Trump in our mainstream media and elsewhere. One article shamelessly stated all the old tropes against our country’s claims of exceptionalism, leaning heavily on carefully delineated flaws while ignoring all the stellar accomplishments.

Clearly, if I only had access to or chose to read only articles with this degree of bias, I could not come away with any different view of Trump (which he does little to dispel with his rhetoric, despite a highly defensible economic and foreign policy record, and an arguably better pandemic record than his opponents). If I already harbored these beliefs, it is likely I wouldn’t even detect the bias. The combination of the “anti-fascist” Left and the “Trump as the anti-Christ” Left explains the otherwise inexplicable willingness to accept a failing Biden as a front for the far Left over Trump by such a large portion of the electorate. The big question, only a couple of weeks away, is just how large.

COVID: WHAT TRUMP’S TRYING TO DO AND WHY IT’S FAILING

October 12, 2020

If the polls are to be believed, even allowing for the 2016 poll fiasco, Trump has lost ground over the last couple of weeks and is the underdog. Two events seem to have arrested his resurgence: His debate performance (mostly a referendum on his demeanor) and his infection with COVID-19. The debate probably hurt him less than the latter, as Trump is Trump and it’s baked into the cake. So why does he double down on his behavior with respect to the pandemic? With the Left versus Trump, this can be explained by the simple laws of political physics: Every overreaction has an equal and opposite overreaction.

No one can deny that COVID is the worst pandemic of our lives, the worst since the Spanish flu of 1918 (although about 1 million have died worldwide to date versus an estimated 50 million in 1918, likely due to our medical advances). The disease is highly transmissable but a mixed bag with respect to mortality, depending on age and risk factors. And, because of the times we live in, it has been politicized. Trump perceives his opponents are supporting lock-downs for purely political reasons, namely to suppress the economic recovery prior to the election. I believe he was being honest when he stated his early, ill-advised overly optimistic views of the virus were for the purpose of preventing “panic.” Later, however, I believe he used his inconsistent masking and social isolation practices and over-the-top optimism to counter the opposing political narrative supporting a second economic lock-down. It is reasonable to assume the Left’s use of alarmist tactics that accentuate the dangers of the pandemic and minimize the evidence refuting the need for a second lock-down is not simply for altruistic reasons. Remarks about maintaining school closures until “after the election” also give credence to this view. While many might criticize this conclusion as horribly cynical, good people (that is, most liberals) can be influenced to accept a more dire prognosis than the facts would otherwise support if it fits their belief system and is repeated often and loudly enough. It is clear from the rhetoric that at least some of the anti-Trump crowd feel that he is a greater risk than the pandemic or economic malaise. With the conflicting messages, you see some people wearing masks outside with no one in sight, while others ignore reasonable masking and social distancing precautions, usually but not exclusively along political lines. The middle ground of minimizing lock-downs to save the economy along with sensible masking and social isolation often gets lost in the kerfuffle. Sadly, Trump’s policies with regard to the pandemic have been mostly laudable but overshadowed by his personal remarks and antics, culminating in his contraction of the disease. It is worth remembering he closed the borders to infection earlier than the progressive contingent would have (and was criticized by Biden for it as xenophobic), and provided assistance and ventilators to the states that needed them and was praised for it by both blue and red state governors. He also supported the medical community in the unprecedented development of vaccines in record time. Still, Leftist politicians like NY Governor Cuomo, who encouraged riding the subways and sent infected old people back to the nursing homes, were given a pass, or even lionized. A reasonable counter-argument could be made that had Trump set a good example more people would have masked and isolated and the curve further flattened. But, especially early on, the evidence for masking was mixed (and, in fact not recommended), and later on half the country would be unlikely to view him as a role model, regardless. Furthermore, the politicians and media on the Left demonstrated a pattern of willingness to ignore or minimize the contribution of large, poorly-isolated gatherings if for the purpose of social protest. So Trump, in typical fashion, overshadows his own poorly reported successes with a politically disastrous campaign by trying to counter the alarmist Left with an unrealistic optimism that doesn’t resonate with the voters.

Despite ample evidence (suppressed in the mainstream media) of a problematic Biden past as least as bad, and probably worse than Trump’s*, it seems the majority of Americans may be willing to allow the Democrats to consolidate power by changing the rules (the failure to admit they wouldn’t pack the Supreme Court or “pack the country” with additional liberal states is telling). Kind of like adding innings to baseball or allowing 4 strikes if you’re not winning as much as you’d like.

Trump’s political malpractice and an electorate infused with ideologically-driven ignorance may be the downfall of an America that has changed the world for the better, and will leave future generations much poorer spiritually and economically.

*Biden has plagiarized, lied about his educational standing, been accused of sexual molestation (not investigated), been implicated in corruption via son Hunter (not investigated), made overtly racist remarks at least as incendiary as Trump’s, supports the untenable Green New Deal while simultaneously denying it, refuses to comment on packing the Supreme Court, and has publicly lauded criminals over law enforcement. Harris likely rose in the ranks on the “casting couch,” prosecuted marijuana users while laughing about it, and also publicly supports criminals over law enforcement. There’s a lot more if you look for it.

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE—YEA OR NAY?

October 5, 2020

An article was forwarded to me by a friend predicting the low likelihood of major violence post election based on his research. Putting aside the evident but low-key political bias of the piece, it makes an attempt to inject some objectivity into something that is inherently speculative. I also think it’s wrong.

Predicting the future is a hazardous enterprise for anyone at any time (just look at the 2016 presidential election). That being said, it’s important to dig down below the superficial political animus to the values of the citizens if you want to get close to the mark. Analogies have been made to the unrest of the 1960s and the 1860s in attempting to extrapolate. Admittedly I’m influenced by the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fouth Turning and I view the 1960s as a period of Awakening and the 1860s as a more serious period similar to the present, a Crisis. Neither resulted in the dissolution of the Union. Neither accurately represents the present state of affairs, however.

It’s important to note that dynasties (the empires of Alexander, Ottoman, Rome, to name a few), even very stable ones, do not last forever, although those living within them at the time all share the illusion of permanence. What generally ends them is mismanagement born of a change in, or non-adherence to, the values that led them to succeed, causing them to disintegrate from within. In our case, the Founders, with unprecedented historical astuteness, developed a Constitution, designed to anticipate and ameliorate the forces constantly in play aiming to destroy the values upon which the country was based. As outlined in the Declaration of Independence, they are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The country was founded on the principle of rights granted by God, not government; they incorporated proscriptions to limit federal power over the states (it was also essential to getting it passed). Hence, they constructed a democratic republic and not a democracy. They recognized that tyranny of the majority was no better than tyranny of a monarchy.

Over the past few decades, the Left, via masterful commandeering of the educational system and the heretofore monolithic media have pushed the worn siren call of socialism effectively. A sizable portion of the country (we’re about to learn if it’s more than half) has accepted the notion of equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, and the concept of institutionalized racism as the founding principle and white privilege as its result. They’ve also moved from E Pluribus Unum (from many, one) to the concepts of diversity and intersectionality. These are divisive, not unifying principles; no country can survive widescale acceptance of these destructive doctrines.

Given the above, I predict the following with a Trump win: The protests and violence will continue and likely intensify, becoming more multicentric, requiring more police, military and National Guard intervention. Barring a shift in values, over the next decade or two we will start hearing state calls for secession. If Biden wins, a doubling down on the Leftist policies whose effects over time can be gauged by looking at the present state of the big cities will move the government more toward a socialist paradigm, the Constitution will be progressively weakened, the economy slowed by increased regulations, and the growth of the federal government accelerated. Democracy will be increased at the expense of republicanism in the political sense, with attacks on representative mechanisms such as the electoral college intensifying. Federal agencies and corporations with assail liberties such as free speech with cancellation, “diversity” training, and racial quotas with more alacrity, heightening the influence of the “mob.” An over-extended, indebted economy weakened by the pandemic will accelerate the malaise. A delayed result will be armed backlash by right-wing groups, at first those that are more extreme (including some execrable white supremacist groups) and, if pushed far enough, ordinary conservative Americans (possibly abetted by effective annulment of the 2nd Amendment by oppressive regulations). Alternatively, conservatives, who are less prone to demonstrate or initiate violence (remember the maligned Tea Party), will withdraw from Left-dominated tools and form their own schools, businesses, sports teams, and social media and we’ll be a divided country, ripe for secessions or outside attack. Disunity took decades to seed and grow; reunification. if it occurs, will likely take as long, barring assault from an external, mutual threat.

There is no Dumbledore or Hogwarts, and no magic wand that can be waved to unify us, no matter who inhabits the White House.

COVID AND TRUMP—THE MEDICAL AND THE POLITICAL

October 3, 2020

So now he’s got it. The public reaction is as expected, and a bit unexpected. Many anti-Trumpers have unsurprisingly wished him ill, if not death, and have made snarky remarks about hsi getting what he deserves, and “karma.” What is surprising is that some far Leftists (Rachel Maddow comes to mind as an example) have appropriately wished him and Melania well despite their disagreements with him and oft-professed outright hatred. And, in fairness, Trump did set himself up for criticism with his off-and-on support for masking and do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do tepid support for social distancing. The argument on the Left, however, that the pandemic is on its face a Trumpian failure of management, like most Leftists arguments, loses validity when we actually inject facts. Despite Trump’s intermittent, and sometimes over-the-top proclamations of optimism with respect to the virus (motivated, per Trump, by a wish to prevent panic), he did restrict travel from China and then Europe (and was criticized for it) at a time both sides were uncertain of the virus’ eventual impact here. It is conveniently ignored by the Left-dominated media that Pelosi was sightseeing in Chinatown in a virtue-signaling show of her lack of Chinese xenophobia for the cameras, Biden was actively labeling Trump xenophobic, Cuomo was sending infected old folks back to the nursing homes, and Cuomo or de Blasio (or both) were telling people to ride the subways and have a good time. Trump gets zero credit from these same media sources for providing the support requested by the state governors of both political stripes (for which he was publicly thanked by them) and ramping up ventilator production, a resource that ended up never being overwhelmed. So his handling of the pandemic is a mixed bag with, as usual, his deeds outshining his words and personal example.

Medically, the president falls in a “high risk” category for complications by dint of age and (over-) weight and has a roughly 1-5% chance of this depending on whom you ask. So, God-willing, he’ll have a mild infection and rapid recovery. I’ve found Ben Shapiro’s analyses to be sober and factually grounded, and I agree with him that Trump’s medical course, considering human nature, is likely to affect policy with respect to economic lock-downs going forward, even though it should not be dictated by anecdotal evidence but by the data.

Politically, there’s mostly downside. Most obviously, as mentioned, his lip service to masking and social isolation while serving as a less than stellar example has given fuel to those that have criticized him. It is true that the evidence for the value of masking came late and remains mixed, but it is reasonable to do both in situations where people are likely to be in close contact, especially indoors. The criticism of the Left rings hollow with hypocrisy, though, as we’d be hard pressed to find a single outcry from their ranks during the frequent mass protests. Additionally, Trump will be denied the opportunity for live rallies for at least 2 weeks and could miss out on the next debate opportunity. Overall, I don’t see the president’s illness as affecting those that have already made up their minds whom they are voting for. For the likely vanishingly small segment of the population that remains undecided (and that could determine the result in a close election), it seems unlikely to help him in the face of the constant Leftist anti-Trump drumbeat. That being said, a small portion may give a sympathy vote.

Barring a serious change in the president’s health, the election may have already been decided, and it’s just a matter of waiting for the results to roll in.

AN OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP

July 12, 2020

Dear Mr. President:

As a citizen and a constituent it pains me to say you’re a terrible politician, and hence a failure. I know you were elected as an outcry against the status quo, and your training and background are as a businessman and an entertainer. Like many, I thought not being a politician was a plus. I was wrong.

The decline of our nation has been so insidious, so well crafted, that at least half the country now believes that the system is evil and must be excised, or are oblivious to what the notion of “fundamental change” means. The Left has convinced too many that “hate speech” must be exorcised, and they define what it is. They have convinced too many that dissidents to their ideology of diversity, intersectionality, and “anti-racism,” nothing more than Orwellian terms for separation, socialism, and racism, should be “canceled,” demonetized, muffled, and unemployed. They are taking the nation down the path of the Soviet Union, China, and Venezuela. And too many can’t see it despite its unfolding right before their eyes. The increase in racial tension, the violence, the suppression of dissenting voices—and you are, in large part, to blame.

I will give you credit for your energy and perseverance. Few people, at any age, could have swum against the political currents as you have, righting an anemic economy, passing criminal reform legislation, confronting Chinese deviousness, and increasing the security at our border. You have been consistently demonized beyond your flaws, and they are many, and lied about. It’s not surprising you’ve had judgment lapses in the setting of a 2-year hoax promulgated by the Left of Russian collusion with the full-throated support of the mainstream media, followed on its heels by an outrageous politically-motivated impeachment. And without recognition of any accomplishments. To the contrary, everything has been blamed on you, including COVID-19. You have become, to many, the devil-incarnate. It has been the second most impressive marketing campaign ever undertaken, only eclipsed by resurrecting the image of the United States, probably the fairest, most tolerant nation in the world in 2020, as the most systemically racist and economically elite. But I still blame you.

To quote a prominent conservative thinker and commentator, you constantly commit political malpractice. There are still many of us out there that believe in the fundamental principles that undergird the country. Many of us can still distinguish between the value of equality of opportunity and the evil of enforced equality of outcome. Many of us still understand the reason our Constitution defends all speech, because tomorrow someone who disagrees will decide your speech is “hate speech.” Many of us still understand that anti-white hatred and discrimination is also racism. We see that the cities suffering the most, tragically presided over and populated by the same citizens of color that blame you, have been run for decades by the very people calling you out. We are not fooled by references to past sins to paper over the present in service of a malignant movement, and can understand statistics and hard facts that undermine the Leftist talking points being used to fundamentally change the country. And you’ve failed us with your tweets. You take a step forward with grand speeches, and instead of pressing forward, presidentially, and underscoring the inevitable outcome of the ascendant Leftist agenda of more violence, race hatred, and restricted speech, your ego takes over and you take two steps back, devolving into self-absorbed tweets about trivia, such as Bubba Wallace and the noose incident. You’ve reinforced the media’s false narrative so many times that even those who don’t like the lurch to the far Left that has consumed the Democrat Party won’t vote for you.

I know you think your tweets helped you win the last election. I used to think so too. Now I realize you won in spite of them. I now believe you would have won not only the electoral college vote, but the popular vote as well if they had been less off-putting. I believe the current polls, indicating double-digit losses to probably the weakest presidential candidate ever (yes, that includes Hillary) reflect your own political sabotage. There are few votes out there for Biden; he’s a place-holder—they’re anti-Trump. The current climate of violence and racial tension fomented by the Left should be your political ally. Even the COVID-depleted economy, in the setting of your prior demonstrated success, should be a friend. But instead, your political malpractice and malfeasance has let us down. Under your continued leadership, our recovery would by no means be assured, but it will assuredly be devastated by your opponent and his as yet unnamed but likely far-Left running mate. And your intransigence may also shift the balance of power in the Senate.

If you can’t overrule your temperament and ego and place wisdom between your twitter finger and the screen, and quickly, you will fail the country. Too many of us are counting on you.

Sincerely,

A Worried Constitutionalist

PERCEPTION AND TRUMP’S CHANCES IN A POST-COVID WORLD

April 30, 2020

A left-leaning friend (yes, some still talk to me) sent me an article citing the evidence that Trump is sun-downing politically. It references the polls that almost universally favor Biden over Trump in the upcoming election, and the real possibility of a spill-over of fortunes to the Senate. While polls (like climate and COVID models) can be completely misleading (witness the 2016 election), the ubiquity of the results raises real questions as to whether the president, and the Republican party, can remain in power.

As is always the case, perception, rather than reality, will rule the day. There’s no question that Trump himself, with the help of derangement-fueled media bias, has sorely, and potentially fatally damaged his chances. It appears that the more he’s in front of the camera, the more opportunity for a faux pas. But let’s look at both sides of the issue.

In the pre-COVID world Trump was able to offset his missteps, while frequent, with large, well-attended rallies populated by enthusiastic fans (the 30% alluded to in my prior rant) which also aided in generating campaign funds, and, according to some political pundits, served to convert a silent cadre of independents. This, of course, no longer exists. Trump’s attempt to get the daily pressers to do double duty, as informer/leader-in-chief and campaigner, seems to have backfired. The main selling point of his campaign, the ballooning economy, has deflated with a prick of the corona virus. So right now it’s Trump versus Trump, and Trump is losing. The question is, will the American public be able to see past this to the other side? The opponent, Biden, is older, has demonstrated on multiple occasions signs of early cognitive failure, likely dementia, and has tracked so far left he’s not close to the man he was. There are allegations of sexual impropriety that will likely never be proved, and will be suppressed by the “mainstream” media but highlighted by the Trump campaign. Ditto for improprieties related to Ukraine and his son Hunter. He is supported by a party that not only engages in policies that favor big government, more regulations, and more debt and are demonstrably antithetical to the business community, while extolling these policies as solutions. The Republican party engages in these same policies, to a lesser extent, while decrying them, and succeeded in at least reducing regulations under the Trump administration.

I’ve never been of the mind that our fiscal trajectory is sustainable, even pre-COVID and post-Trump. I felt his interventions were necessary but insufficient to right the ship, and the robust surge in our economic fortunes would peter, kind of like the course of the virus itself. You don’t assure long-term economic prosperity by buying it with ever-increasing debt and promises of unmet entitlements left to future generations to sort out, if possible. To me, it appeared that the economy was a sick patient given the appearance of robust health with the use of adrenaline and steroids. The idea of fiscal austerity as being essential to continued liberty, a cornerstone of our Founding Fathers’ principles, had fallen by the wayside. Now, on top of all this we have the stress of an acute infection, real and metaphorical as it relates to the economy, piling unprecedented acute debt on the chronic. In the past, we dealt with this by manipulating interest rates, printing money, borrowing, and taxes. Now, interest rates are already low, money is being printed during a contracting rather than an expanding economy, we’ve already borrowed more than we should, much from our enemy, China, and the engine for generating taxes, fueled by rampant and now anemic consumerism, is sputtering now and for an indefinite future. Meanwhile, untold numbers of people who supported the boom with their buying are without sufficient cash reserves for an emergency, or their retirement nest egg, much less wholesale consumerism.

I don’t know that leaders of either party are up to the task of dealing with this crisis, but the choice is clear: Does the country want to change leadership on the basis of an act of God that is decimating the economy, from a man and a party that has demonstrated the ability to rejuvenate the economy at least in the short term, to a man and a party that, based on their expressed policy preferences, can only accelerate economic decline? It will depend on external events but also on how Biden is perceived, if and when the wraps are taken off him. I can’t imagine he’ll do well in a face-to-face debate; expect the Democrats to try and limit his exposure. It also depends on how many more missteps Trump makes, and the course of the virus and economy, both not presently working in his favor. And it depends on how effectively the media can paint Trump as evil, stupid, and racist, with many of these aspersions already “baked in the cake,” as it were.

Perception is everything.

POST ELECTION BLAH-BLAH

November 14, 2016

I breathed a sigh of relief the morning after with confirmation that Trump had, indeed, achieved the seemingly impossible and threaded the needle to greater than 270 electoral votes. Like the majority of conservative voters, I was not a Trump supporter; but I was not a “never-Trumper,” either.

I believed, and still do, that people who truly liked either candidate are uninformed, immoral, or amoral. Of course, I disagreed with the progressive left on who posed the greater danger to our country. They allowed themselves to believe the propaganda that Donald Trump was worse than a coarse, sometimes juvenile candidate and mischaracterized him as bigoted and unstable. They falsely proclaimed reprehensible actions (Hillory’s) as less consequential than inexcusable words (Donald’s). The demonstrations/riots that followed the election serve to illustrate that belief, although it remains unclear what proportion of his detractors share this level of angst (there are talking heads that proclaim these demonstrations are not spontaneous, but bought and paid for, like those at the pre-election Trump rallies).

In the past, winning an election has been declared a “mandate,” and this election is no exception. Now, I support the concept of the electoral college and the rationale for our founders crafting a republic rather than a democracy (yes, we are the former, not the latter). But the success of our country moving forward hinges on our net values. It is not lost on me that small majority of the popular vote went to Hillary. This is the result of decades of government growth, expansion of the welfare state (handouts), and liberal education that fails to educate our children on the reasons an electoral college and a Senate exist (I recently laughed as a liberal senator was quoted as decrying the existence of the electoral college, the same concept that was responsible for giving her a job). Because both candidates were so flawed, it is difficult to determine to what extent this muddies the waters in terms of the electorate’s core beliefs.

At this point, is it in the realm of possibility that changing course, if this occurs, will reverse the steady decline (I recognize the left does not see a steady decline)? I don’t know. Already the cries for “unity” and “compromise” that have derailed previous attempts to move to the right ring out. You cannot unify mutually exclusive, disparate beliefs, only compromise on how quickly and to what extent you get there. While I strongly believe a constitutionally conservative Supreme Court will benefit the country in the years ahead over a liberal progressive one, unless we get a handle on our spending and debt and calm the turbulent international waters, a peaceful, evolutionary healing will be impossible. Historical cycles indicate we’re approaching a Crisis, and there may be no way to stop it, only overcome it.

And it will extract a great cost.

ELECTORAL PSYCHOSIS: OR THE HILLARUMP-TRILLARY SYNDROME

May 25, 2016

I came across an op-ed piece in our local newspaper recently by Eliot Cohen. His commentary boiled down to a call for a third-party candidate. He termed Hillary Clinton “easily the lesser evil” and posited that a third-party candidate would send her a message to “govern from the center.”

A bit later in the week I had a brief political sidebar with a patient (this seems to arise more often these days), and he expressed disgust with the current polarization and voiced a similar wish for more cooperation and a move to the center.

Now, I’ve been persistently perplexed by the rise to the top of two deeply flawed candidates who share at least one thing in common: They have the highest unfavorable ratings of the pack. So what would possess the American public to ostensibly rally around their least favored candidates? The call for a move to the center gelled a theory I’d been harboring.

But first, getting back to the patient, I inquired if he were $100,000 in debt, would he reduce his spending to neutral, “governing from the center,” as it were, or would he tighten his belt in an effort to climb the uphill road to fiscal recovery?

For decades now progressive Democrats and Republicans have doubled down on unprecedented “grow and spend” policies that have become so entrenched that much of the electorate cannot imagine a viable alternative. Many have adopted a similar personal fiscal policy, planning little for the future while enjoying the moment. The lines for $5 and $6 dollar Starbucks’ beverages grow even while we hear of increasing joblessness and a shrinking economy. The illusion of the status quo is buttressed by a growing welfare state supported by unprecedented borrowing, printing, and their associated campaign promises.

But the odd bird of an election we’re witnessing reflects an unease that’s starting to ripple across a growing segment of the country: a realization that things are not working. For many, the solution has taken the shape of a call for an outsider; someone who will do something—anything—differently. For some this “savior” takes the form of a blustering, fist-shaking, non-politician who talks a lot about “winning,” with populist catch-phrases in search of elusive policies and substance. For others, it’s the siren call of wealth redistribution, the indomitable phoenix of socialism and its comrade “social justice,” once again rising from the ashes even as the world watches its demise again…and again. And yet others crave a return to the only normal they can fathom after decades of intransigence, just a few more years of comforting printing and spending, and things will eventually work themselves out. This, even if the promises come from someone they don’t really trust…and who might be indicted. Finally, a growing but stunted group made an aborted attempt to place a voice that spoke to the only solution that makes sense: Shrinking government, reducing spending, stopping crony capitalism, and growing the private sector economy. But this messenger was tainted ideologically. Those on the left are conditioned to see this this viewpoint as espoused by narrow-minded bigots who love only corporate fat cats, and many in the center were put off by exhortations weighed down by right-to-life and other perceived religious undertones.

When faced with the knowledge that something must be done and the one obvious solution you’ve been told is evil, cognitive dissonance occurs, and the paradox creates…the Hillarump-Trillary Syndrome. Side effects include mini-riots at campaign stops and spending an inordinate amount of media time distracting oneself with the pros and cons of a minute fraction of the public’s right to choose which bathrooms they may enter.

A third party candidate? Americans have always been an exceptionally innovative people. Given time, I’m certain we can come up with a someone we like even less.

BOSS TRUMP

December 14, 2015

We have a new Teflon Don. The resilience of John Gotti may be responsible for the coining of the nickname, but the old mob boss is now a whisper in history to the shout that’s known as Donald Trump. And arguably, Trump is the more deadly.

 

Few people, myself included, anticipated the staying power of the new Teflon Don. I’d assumed that his refreshing bluntness (read: bah, humbug to political correctness), his financial independence immunizing him to the demands of special interests, and his outsider status burnished by an astute business knowledge often lacking in career politicians, would fuel an ascent that would, however, fizzle in weeks to months–just as Republican candidate after candidate rose and fell in succession during the prior presidential election. A barrage of self-launched anti-Trump missiles would inevitably bring the campaign crashing back to Earth. Well, like so many others, I was wrong.

 

His most recent missile, supporting a moratorium on all Muslims entering the U.S. has, if anything, increased his poll numbers. My assumption that 75% of the conservative and right-of-center independents were just biding their time, waiting for another candidate to gain enough traction, may still be correct, but may now be only 70%–and falling.

 

I hate political correctness. I hate arrogant Washington insiders with about as much understanding of economics as Stalin. I hate the ineffective prosecuting of the terrorist threat and ineffectual protection of our borders. But I never thought anger would so cloud the sensorium of the electorate as to believe that a man with bull-in-a-china-shop diplomacy skills should serve as the international face of the U.S. And I don’t care if he gets Mexico to pay for the wall (although that would be a nice perk). But the true danger is making him the face of the Republican Party.

 

Now, I consider myself a conservative but only grudgingly associate with the GOP, which more often than not is as embarrassing as the Democrat Party. However, we remain a two-party system and the only alternative is Hillary. Trump’s antics give fuel to the specious arguments that conservatives are all racist, bigoted shills for the wealthy. While Trump will have no impact on the entrenched beliefs of the far left, my fear is that he’ll dramatically influence the undecided independents and the low-information crowd that arguably decide the election to move to Hillary’s camp, and cause many conservatives to stay home on election day. And this would spell disaster for our country and possibly set back conservatism for decades. No wonder the liberal media can’t get enough of him (they gave him more coverage this past week than the San Bernadino terrorist attack).

 

I still think it likely that Trump will implode, but I’m becoming less certain of that outcome with each passing week.

 

After all, he is the Teflon Don.

 

POLISHING THE SILVER ON THE TITANIC

October 29, 2012

In nine days we will be participating in arguably the most important election in our lives. A referendum of our net ideology. And I must admit, while the intellectual part of me understands the human frailties of sloth, greed and denial, the emotional part still cannot fathom how we’ve allowed ourselves to reach this point. The country’s future balances on a razor’s edge.

So I ask those who don’t share my views (assuming there’s a one out there who bothers to read this)—would you replace the baseboards in your home after a pipe bursts before fixing the leak? It’s a silly question, isn’t it? Like prioritizing polishing the silver while the Titanic is sinking. Yet, on a national scale, we do this daily.

We talk of raising taxes to quench a voracious deficit so large it will drown future generations, without once seriously considering drastic cuts to the wanton spending that is scuttling the ship. Kind of like using silver teaspoons as bailers. We talk of immigration reform ad nauseum without closing the border as the necessary first step (destroying the economy is an equally effective ploy but has bothersome side effects, as we’re finding out).

The liberals complain that Romney is vague on specifics with his five-point plan (as if his counterpart’s agenda is crystal clear beyond “giving everyone a fair shot” and “helping out the middle class”). The truth is, Romney can’t be specific. If he told us he’s going to try a shot at national Chapter 11 reorganization to avoid going Chapter 7, he’d never get elected. We don’t want to hear how we need to experience a decade or so of pain to offset the decades of living off the dime of our kids.

It won’t be easy, and there isn’t anyone who has a sacred cow that won’t be led to the slaughter. But the idea that we can keep kicking this can down the road until the economy miraculously recovers is just wrong-headed. Rome collapsed and Greece went down for the count twice, first as an empire and then as a nice vacation destination.

Despite what you may have heard, nothing’s “too big to fail.”