Why the Republican establishment secretly wishes for a Trump defeat

Donald J. Trump is poised for a George McGovern-like, Walter Mondale-styled  ass whupping. Yep, it will be that bad. And no, it’s not only because Hillary Clinton is a far better candidate than the Donald. Although that much is truly evident. Any one who says other wise is purely a delusional, partisan nutcase, and please spare me the corruption nonsense and a reciting of the Wikileaks revelations. If any other politician faced a similar email-undressing, then he or she would also be forced to do the invasive two-step that Hillary has employed during the general election season. Hillary Clinton is a politician. A gifted one. Gifted politicians will always be assailed by the opposition for any number of supposed and made up crimes. It’s the only way to defeat the gifted ones. But that’s a story for another day. Today, we’re talking about how the Tea Party and Donald Trump destroyed any chance of a Donald Trump presidency.

To get George McGovern and Walter Mondale-like ass whuppings, a presidential candidate has to garner a sizable portion of the opposition’s electorate. In today’s deeply partisan divide, that would be extremely difficult. Nearly everyone on the right hates Obama. Hates same-sex marriage. Hates Obamacare. Traditionally hates abortion, affirmative action, immigrants, et. al. So how can the Right ever like anyone representing the Left. Well, believe it or not, the answer, is pretty easy, the Tea Party. Yes, the once upon a time fan-favorite Tea Party is the reason many people on the Right will vote AGAINST Donald J. Trump. Don’t believe me, well allow me to explain.

The Tea Party ushered in after the election of Barack Obama. Various arguments could be made as to the reason(s) behind the formation. Some say Obamacare, some say it was the auto bailouts, while others claim it was due to Obama’s race. Whatever the reason, a solid third of the American electorate was angry and they unleashed that anger during the 2010 midterm season. The Tea-partyers went to Washington with a mandate and an unwillingness to compromise on anything. It was to be their way or no way. The Republican establishment was too slow to realize that the Tea Partyers didn’t plan to cotton to anyone, and that included the Republican establishment. Top leaders were neutered ineffective in Washington, or simply voted out back at home. A Tea Party led Washington it turned out was dysfunctional and nearly destructive. Six years later, all that’s left is the anger as nothing substantial ever got done.

Welcome Donald J Trump. Although not an official Tea Partyer per se. It’s no secret that a solid core of Trump’s supporters are Tea Party loyalists. The Donald walks to his own beat just like the Tea Partyers. He’s a Republican, but if one looks closely, as I’m sure smart Republican establishment members have, Trump is a new-style RINO (Republican in Name Only). But he’s not the detested moderate RINO of years past. No, Trump is his own brand, his own man The Republican party simply provided him a platform from which to launch. And just like the Tea Party before him, hell be wherever he lands. Republicans will not be able to control Trump and they know it. The carrot-in-front promise of  conservative Supreme Court appointees will not be enough of a caveat to induce many of these members to give up power for the foreseeable future. If Trump wins, and wins his way, he AIN’T listening to anyone, as if he ever has. The Republican establishment knows full well that they’re likely to have more power and influence, and accomplish more in the short term with a Hillary White House, especially a White House with a second term election in its sights. But with a Trump-I-don’t-give-a-damn White House, the establishment will have to obediently go wherever the Donald leads them, just as they had to do in the election season when they were forced to back whatever nonsense the Donald put forth. No self-respecting Republican or conservative will willingly sign up for that. That is why on November 8, many Republicans will slip behind the curtains and quietly check the box that Donald J. Trump gets nowhere near the White House.

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Trump Throws Red Meat at his base

In last night’s second presidential debate of the 2016 general election season, an angry, defiant Donald Trump channeled the anger felt by so many of his base. It’s no secret that possibly a third of the American people are extremely angry right now. They’re angry at the system they feel is betraying them. They’re angry at minorities and immigrants who they feel are changing the very fabric of the American life as they know it. They’re angry at the media and well just about any and every thing including political correctness. And no one represents the focus of that anger right now more than Hillary Clinton, especially since Barack H. Obama is term limited from running for president again. Donald Trump speaks to those angry Americans. At last night’s debate he was his base’s wet dream. The Donald was on stage, hoofing mad and pointing fingers at Hillary, the media, and political correctness, while throwing up a middle finger at the so called elite. He was rude. He was defiant. He was politically UNcorrect. In other words, he was the embodiment of the typical member of his base.

The question is will Trump and his base succeed in making everyone else angry. That’s the fundamental question. And it comes down to even simpler questions: Is their anger justified? And if it is, is Trump and his base’s way, the best way forward for America?  Also, is he advocating a system that will benefit all Americans? Is he even capable of giving his base the America they long for where every group, white, black, Hispanic, women, men et al, will know their place? Do the vast majority of Americans really want to blow up the entire American system and start from scratch? Is there nothing right about America? Is there nothing worth saving?

Now full disclosure, I’m an African American whose ancestors were slaves and considered property in this country. However, I’m not a slave, nor am I subject to a Jim Crow segregated South. My people were able to get basic rights without blowing up an entire system. The LGBT community was able to get basic rights without blowing up an entire system. Women were able to get basic rights without blowing up an entire system. So I guess the even simpler question is, Why do so many of Trump’s supporters who are angry, whether justified or not, feel the need to blow up the entire American system. And make no mistake, electing an unpolished, unknowing, reckless, self-serving billionaire is purposefully throwing a grenade into the system. Soldiers throw grenades to destroy, not to fix. When past groups were marginalized in America, they all worked within the system to make it work better for them. They didn’t rail about a rigged system or exclaim how America wasn’t great. They rolled up their sleeves and went about the very challenging job of making things better for themselves and others.

I’m not angry, nor is anyone that I associate with. We all want better lives for ourselves and our families, but we’re not angry. Trump and his crew are ANGRY. At everything. According to them, nothing about America is right and hasn’t been for a long time. Their solution is to blow up the whole thing, which includes building walls, limiting religious freedom for those who aren’t Christians, leaving the world stage and not helping our world neighbors in need, e.g. like Syrian refugees. Our angry brethren propose changing everything that we as a nation have stood for throughout our history. Blow it all up! Everything. If more people feel this anger and like the idea of blowing the thing up, then Donald Trump will be our next president. However, if more Americans, even if they are somewhat angry or anxious about the future, trust in the concept of America and believe in the idea of America as our founders envisioned, if they trust in the system that has had to correct itself along the way, if they trust in the American way, and learn from our country’s illustrious history of making life fairer for more of us, then Hillary and the America we’ve come to know, love, and respect–warts and all, will win. On November 8, we should get answers to some of these very simple questions.

POLITICS & THE WRATH OF GOD

There are few things I remember from my elementary school days in the 1970s. One was that one of my classmates, Laura, had the longest ponytails, and I would often get in trouble because I couldn’t resist yanking one or both of them from time to time. I also remember reciting the pledge of allegiance at the start of each school day. And praying. We prayed at the start of the school day. We prayed before we ate. We prayed at the whim of our teacher. As a child you didn’t think anything was wrong or right about praying in school. It was simply what we did. I also remember learning about how this great nation of ours was started. It had something to do with religious freedom. It seems as I recall, that America’s earliest settlers wanted the freedom to practice their religion. It just so happened that their religion was Christianity.

Now many years later, the question remains: Did the settlers come to America so that Christianity could be freely practiced, or religion itself. Many Christian leaders today believe that America was founded as a Christian nation only, not as a nation for the free practice of any religion. Also there appears to be some confusion about the first amendment to the constitution and Third Article of the Bill of Rights, which reads in full: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In drafting a constitution, the framers had an opportunity to name Christianity directly. But they chose not to. Why? Had they intended that all religions have an opportunity to be practiced freely? Or were early leaders like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington who although raised as Christians, a little wary of organized religion, and had purposely ensured that no particular religion be named explicitly for the very reason that ALL religions be given equal footing? Also, why would the framers insist on, by including it in the constitution, that no federal office holder or employee be required to adhere to any religious standard, or that there be a clear separation between church and state? Man, is that some fat to chew on.

There are some Christian leaders today who insist that there is a war on religion. But I don’t believe that’s really what they fear. I don’t believe these leaders care about a war on Buddhism, or Wicca, or Islam, or any religion other than Christianity. Just as I don’t believe these leaders have a clear understanding about the constitution’s mandate on the separation of church and state. Or else why would they require every candidate who runs for office to make a show of bowing down to a Christian preacher at some point in time, lest he be deemed unworthy to hold office? Some Democrats have found that even that is not enough as the party’s platform (which includes support for pro-choice, same-sex, gender-neutral policies to name a few) automatically have some Evangelical Christians questioning their Christian bonafides. What’s troubling in this respect, at least to me, (full disclosure: I’m a God-fearing believer in Yahweh) is the apparent cherry-picking of sins to hate. Case in point: Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the revered Billy Graham, has said, “America is increasingly hostile and intolerant of its Christian and Biblical foundation, and with President Barack Obama leading the fight to promote ungodly sexual behavior over the last eight years, there is now an all out war on religious liberty in the United States. Former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann added, “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who lives in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in to the country, this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it.” Bachmann, who supports Donald Trump, the rich, thrice-married businessman, and Graham who also supports Trump, paint a picture of an America that God will destroy because our political leaders are allowing its people the free agency to conduct their lives as they see fit.

In my viewpoint, God hates sin, all sin. No sin is greater than another in God’s eyes. In that vein, we all fall short. So if one considers homosexuality a sin per the Bible, then one would also have to consider adultery a sin as well, and divorce. From what we’ve been able to see, Barack Obama is neither an adulterer, or divorcee. Neither is he gay, or performed an abortion. He has stated he’s a Christian. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has admitted to adultery, and is two-times divorced. He rarely attends church. He’s bombastic, loud, and loves money (the Bible states that the love of money is the root of all evil), yet for some reason to some religious leaders Donald Trump is not seen as a threat to the moral fiber of the country. Bachmann went so far as to say God chose Trump as the Republican nominee. Using that logic, wouldn’t it also stand to reason that since Obama actually won the presidency–twice, that God also chose him?

I agree with Ted Cruz that when it comes to this election and any election for that matter, one should vote their conscience. I  believe in free agency. I don’t believe any country or church should put any rules in place in an effort to make a man, or woman do what the country, or church feels is morally right. The church should not try to be the government. The government should allow the church to operate freely. The church should never compromise its morals. If the church believes homosexuality and abortion are wrong, then the church has every obligation to say that and fight against both. But the church has no right to forcibly impose its will on anyone. People should have free agency to do as they please as long as it doesn’t impinge on the rights and privileges of others. And yes I am aware of the unborn fetus. To that I say, the church should continue to fight for the unborn and pray for the pregnant mother who’s faced with such a difficult decision. But we Americans are no closer to the moral destruction of our country then we were when we enslaved, raped, beat, and demoralized a whole race of people. The sins of our forebears, be they, homosexuality, abortion, adultery, idolatry, have long preceded us, and we’re still standing. To the churches I say, preach God’s word and pray for your fellowman, but for the love of God, please stay out of politics.

 

 

Hedge Fund, the Common Man, & Trump

In one of his recent attacks against Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump accused the former Secretary of State as using the State Department like her own personal hedge fund. Even when he first said it, the use of the term ‘hedge fund’ struck me as odd. Most of us, by us I mean laypeople, the common man as it were, would have simply said, she used the State Department like her own personal piggy bank. It’s simple. It’s understandable. It’s relate able. How many of us laypeople are familiar with a hedge fund. I venture not many. Mainly because many of us have no idea what a hedge fund is. I mean I’ve heard the term before. I just didn’t know what exactly a hedge fund was. So I googled it.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes a hedge fund: a hedge fund is an investment fund that pools capital from a limited number of accredited individual or institutional investors and invests in a variety of assets, often with complex portfolio construction and risk management techniques. Yeah, I know right. But that’s okay. I mean I don’t profess to know a lot about the workings of Wall Street and investments. No big woo, right? But this next thing Wikipedia said about hedge funds I found interesting especially in relation to the suddenly man of the people, Donald J. Trump. Wikipedia says that hedge funds are made available only to certain accredited investors and cannot be offered or sold to the general public. So you see, that’s why most of us, us as in the general public, have no idea what hedge funds are. Sure, we’ve heard the term. But since we don’t have access to them, or have them in our every day life, we’re kind of fuzzy on what they actually are. Which was why I was surprised that our man of the people, Donald J. Trump would use the term in trying to paint Hillary as an elitist.

Here’s a little advice Donald, old boy, when trying to cast your opponent as an elitist, don’t use elitist like words and phrases which could serve to remind people of your own elitism, as well as confuse the hell out of us common folk. Next time, just say that Hillary was treating the State Department like her own personal piggy bank. It’s simple. It’s snappy. It’s makes a hell of a lot more sense to most us, especially since many of us have piggy banks and according to Wikipedia, none of us have hedge funds.

Free Trade Good, Bashing it Bad

In the movie, Horrible Bosses, Kevin Spacey’s character, one of the horrible bosses, said, “You can’t win a marathon without putting a few band-aids on your nipples.” Now bear with me, I know the line was likely written for comedic affect. I mean, band-aids on your nipples. Come on, like huh? Freaking hilarious, right? But still for me, the line had a more purposeful meaning. Which was: worthwhile goals sometimes take time and often painful effort in order to reach them. But like the saying goes, anything worth having is worth working hard for.

Globalization is worth working hard for. Free trade is a means to that end. I know it’s popular now to trash globalization and free trade. But before you do, consider, it was because of globalization and free trade that America even exists in the first place. After all, Christopher Columbus was trying to reach India by a shorter route when he accidentally discovered America. Why do you think he was trying to reach India in the first place. Don’t strain yourself. It was to trade. Spain wanted to put its footprint in the spice trade that had been all the rage in Europe. You see countries have always wanted to trade with each other. Trade brought and continues to bring opportunity. New products. Better ways of doing things.

Yes, I understand that factories have closed down in many communities, especially smaller ones which in turn essentially shut those communities down as well. I’m from a small eastern North Carolina community where once upon a time, a person could graduate high school, land a good paying factory job, raise a family off the salary from said good job, and then retire with a pension from said good job. It was the American dream. But since NAFTA, i.e. the North America Free Trade Agreement–our country’s trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, many such jobs are no longer with us as the factories which provided them have either shut down or moved the jobs out of the country. Of course, some of those factories were wobbly before NAFTA, but that’s beside the point here as most anyone knows that no factories, equaled no jobs which in turn equaled, stagnant, dying, or dead communities. When you can’t feed your family or put a roof over their heads, bashing free trade seems not only smart, but prudent. A reasonable person’s common line of thinking holds that if companies didn’t send jobs overseas, we’d have money to buy things here in this country, thus keeping our local economy going. That was and is a logical argument. One I used to make myself. Thing is, it’s a simple thing to say and any politician can feed the anger by saying it. Problem is, there’s nothing simple about preventing free trade. Business is competition. And really there are three scenarios in business. You either make a better mousetrap, or find a more cost efficient way to make mousetraps, or you create some contraption that has nothing to do with catching mice, but is either needed, or craved by people with money and willing to spend it. And if your business doesn’t do one of those three things, some other business will, and you will soon be out of business. In other words, even if America didn’t and doesn’t compete in the global economy, companies in other countries will, and whether it would’ve been yesterday, today, or tomorrow, American jobs were destined to suffer, and eventually disappear anyway.

Still, what does any of this mean to the American worker? What’s in NAFTA or the other trade agreement in the news recently, TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) for the average American? In short, it’s opportunity. When we freely trade, we open up other areas of opportunity for our products. Yes, other countries can manufacture many of our products cheaper than we can. Not exactly a remarkable feat when you consider that few governments offer the work-related benefits our forebears fought hard to get us over here– 40 hour workweeks, overtime pay, holiday/vacation pay, etc. We take these things  for granted, but really would you give them up just to have a job. Probably not, especially when you consider how life was before our forebears won us those rights. But yes in the short run, America is losing jobs to other countries because of it. In order to compete on a global scale, American companies have to go where labor is more cost effective. Of course, it would help optics if CEOs of American companies who take jobs overseas weren’t so obviously greedy in pocketing much of the excess revenue from the adjustment in labor expenses, and would instead invest in worker retraining and product research. Imagine if companies would spend a certain amount of their resources researching and identifying different products in which our workers would be the most cost effective producers! That would be the ideal scenario.

Closing our eyes, burying our head in the sand, and pretending that if we just close our borders and force American companies to produce here that everything would go back to how it was in yesteryear will not change what is. Other countries will simply and more efficiently build the better mousetrap, beating American countries fair and square in the global economy, and thus crushing American jobs anyway.

It’s incredibly easy for any politician to speak to the anger of people by simply and only voicing the anger. It’s too simple to only diagnose the problem, or to proclaim there’s a magic button to push that will bring jobs back and give us yesteryear America. Man, would I love that fantasy to be true. My hometown would be so much better off if it was. But the reality of it is, that ship has sailed. A lot of the old manufacturing jobs are not coming back. EVER! In order to make it in the new labor force, workers will have to retrain themselves to do different jobs. Politicians will have to encourage entrepreneurs (by way of tax incentives and relaxed regulations) to seek new and better ways of doing things that will most benefit and utilize America’s current labor force. We must encourage and embrace free trade. Now is not the time to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Isolation has never been an American trait, nor should it be now. America was founded because of free trade. America has thrived on free trade, as well as on immigration. We shouldn’t let fear or ignorance of the value of free trade rule us. America has been great since its inception. It has never stopped being great. Don’t let anyone tell you different. But, we can always be better. Our place is as a world leader. But you can’t lead the world if you isolate yourself from it. Building walls and ending free trade is akin to isolation. I know times are challenging for a lot of Americans right now. But better days are on the horizon. It’s like Kevin Spacey said in Horrible Bosses, you can’t win a marathon withouy putting a few band-aids on your nipples. That’s freaking funny. But oh, so true.

Our Country Tis of Thee

I’ve been watching presidential elections since I was eight years old. Crazy, right? I know. But there was always something fascinating about presidential elections to me. My first one was Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter. I was raised in a Democratic household so my preference was for Jimmy Carter. And ole Jimmy won. Four years later, he lost to Ronald Reagan. I was twelve years old when Reagan won his first election and I was bummed out too.Mainly because in the black community, there was talk that since Ronald Wilson Reagan had six letters in each of his names that meant that Reagan was the Antichrist. Of course that turned out to be untrue and in 1984, my step-father even voted for Reagan’s re-election. Yes, politics makes for strange bedfellows. But today’s politics is really frustrating. The extreme left, but more specifically the extreme right has made the country so volatile. The hatred out there is so so vile and disgusting that I don’t even like talking politics in mixed company. By mixed I mean an assortment of Democrats and Republicans. People just aren’t civil anymore. America is a great country. It has never stopped being great. We’ve been through a lot as a nation. And we’ll go through more as time wears on. But America’s people, our collective heart and strength is what’s keeps us moving forward. We shouldn’t let the extreme part of any party convince us that we’re heading for doom and gloom. If we survived being a part of England, being a slave-owning nation, States vs. States, Prohibition, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the Cold War, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, Desegregation, Disco, Howard the Duck, and 9/11, we can and will survive anything. Believe that!!

Morning in America

It’s morning in America, people! I’m tired of seeing all the polls of people claiming to be upset with the direction of America and all the people who claim that the country is in dire straits. First some facts, unemployment is down. The stock market is up. Home values are rising again. Interest rates are still low. Gas prices are stable. The world is our oyster Americans. The only thing that needs adjusting is your attitude. Don’t let a few politicians with agendas of their own convince you that you should be sad when you should actually be optimistic and anxious, prepared, and ready to get your piece of the pie. You don’t like the current commander in chief? Fine, Get off your can and work for the candidate of your choice. But don’t try to convince yourself and others that things are worse than they really are. You’re lying to yourself and others and missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the coming boom times. You owe yourself and your country better than that!