Trump: A Modern Day Disaster

By any measure, the 2016 election will go down in history as the most complex and challenging contest in my long history. I have served at various levels of government for over 30 years and have always set a high standard for any candidate that I support. Over time, I have switched my voting between Democrats and Republicans based on the person and how I think they will perform in office.

By every measure, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump would be a joke if it were not so serious. There is a long history around the world of television, radio and even sports celebrities seeking to capitalize on their name recognition and seek some type of public office. Both Ronald Reagan and George Murphy were movie actors who started their political careers in public office. Murphy flamed out quickly, but Reagan went on to the White House after his role as governor.

Some of my friends tell me that they admire the success of Donald Trump in the business world. Clearly, none of them has ever had any dealings with Mr. Trump or they might think otherwise. I have met more than a handful of people who have done business with Trump and either been stiffed or asked to take an unfair discount. The bankruptcies of Trump have left many investors holding an empty bag.

Even if you choose to ignore his business history, let’s just put his statements and thinking out in the daylight. If you had an old college roommate or former coworker who made nasty remarks about immigrants, women, minorities, veterans and everybody else, sooner or later you would begin avoiding that person because of the discomfort of the relationship.

If your crazy uncle said it once in a while at Thanksgiving dinner, you might accept it, but you wouldn’t elect him president of the United States.

I understand the Trump appeal to a large segment of the population that dislikes government and feels that nobody cares about their concerns. An unemployed steel worker or a coal miner in a dying industry has every reason to think that Trump is going to change their standard of living, but that isn’t ever going to happen. Donald Trump is the old-time traveling salesman who goes from town to town making promises he will never keep.

On the other side of the coin there is Hillary Clinton. She has her share of detractors, but is far and away more competent to serve in the White House. Some talk about the history of the Clintons in negatives. I recall the presidency of Bill Clinton as a great success and my many Republican friends tell me the same. Hillary Clinton has enjoyed a lifetime of public service. Donald Trump has taken care of Donald Trump.

I don’t view the choice between the two candidates as the lesser of two evils. I view Trump as the evil and Mrs. Clinton as a person who can do the job at this most crucial time.

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Looking Toward the Future, We Should Learn from the Past

Looking Toward the Future, We Should Learn from the Past

Like all national elections, the 2016 campaign has highlighted the fact that there are a large number of Americans who are angry at their government and are desperately seeking an agent of change. Many of them have every right to be unhappy with Washington, because we have been saddled with a broken political system for many years.

No matter which party is in control of Congress, there is always some faction that blocks progress. When the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, they had many opportunities to make major changes in the country, but the liberal faction of the party consistently got in the way. Obamacare may in time prove to be a success, but it was the only meaningful law that came out of a one-party Congress.

Once Congress was controlled by the Republican Party, the right wing decided that President Obama must not have any legacy when he leaves office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to “make this president a one-term president” wasn’t fulfilled, but McConnell, with the help of the Tea Party faction in the House, stalled anything that would have enriched the lives of people in need.

So it’s no surprise that the public gives Congress such low favorable ratings, because it deserves them. The real question is, how do we deal with the groups that have legitimate gripes about their government? I’m not referring to the bigots and the racists who have embraced the candidacy of Donald Trump. Their idea of “making America great again” is turning back the clock to segregation, outright discrimination and marginalizing ethnic groups. We’ve come a long way since the 1960s, and no one should be allowed to bring back those ugly times.

There are many Americans who can’t find jobs, through no fault of their own. Every new technology that you read about results in some group of people losing their jobs. The need for the country to clean up the environment causes coal miners in West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania to lose their jobs, with virtually no possibility of being trained for new ones. Politicians like Trump can promise to bring back coal and steel jobs, but in his heart he knows that those jobs are never returning.

At the risk of being nostalgic, I’d like to bring back some of the old days as a way to jump-start our economy. In 1935, America was hurting. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, millions of people were out of work. While our country today is much healthier, with booming industries, we need to get the poorer areas of the nation working again. A simpler solution would be to copy the old Works Progress Administration.

The WPA was the brainchild of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. According to Wikipedia, in the 1930s it was the most aggressive government agency, hiring mostly unskilled men to carry out public works projects, the construction of buildings and roads. Many of today’s post offices contain murals painted by out-of-work artists. Almost every city or town in America had a park, bridge or school built using federal funds. Workers were paid the prevailing wage, and at least it gave them something that politicians strive for — hope.

The WPA created 8.5 million jobs and gave unskilled workers across the country the chance to feel wanted. Many years later, President Jimmy Carter got money for programs that allowed police departments to hire civilian workers to relieve uniformed employees from desk duties. It wasn’t as big as the WPA, but it helped people get a paycheck and gave them the chance to be productive. I’m not in favor of big handouts, but there are a lot of people out there who are ready to help rebuild our sagging infrastructure.

I’ve heard all of the arguments about government giveaways, but this Congress hasn’t figured out a way to appropriate one extra dollar for rebuilding our country. Taking a look back at the past could result in a brighter future for many Americans.

 

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Is Trump’s Women Problems Ours?

Is Trump’s Women Problems Ours?

While watching the first presidential debate, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a performance of “My Fair Lady.”  

On a number of moments, I thought that Donald Trump, in his demeaning style, was Professor Henry Higgins and he was addressing Hillary Clinton as if she was poor Liza Doolittle.

Trump insisted on interrupting her and made numerous side noises and grunts.  

I wondered whether he would do the same thing if Barack Obama or Bill Clinton was his adversary.  

I don’t claim to be an expert on body language, but his annoyance and demeanor pointed to the fact that not only doesn’t he like her, he has a woman problem.

This debate raises an underlying issue that no pollster is asking about or at least has not been reported.  

The question that will linger as Election Day approaches is whether voters want a woman running the country?  

There is no doubt that there are a lot of men in the heartland who would gladly share a beer with Donald Trump.  

Besides the fact that Trump would never share a beer with them, they wouldn’t think of having a sit down with Hillary at a Sunday football game.

The White House has a history of tough-minded presidential spouses helping run the country.  

Going as far back as Woodrow Wilson, his wife was in charge while Wilson was ailing from a stroke.  

If you think Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan made all their own decisions you are sadly mistaken.  

Roslyn Carter was one tough woman and Nancy Reagan wouldn’t let the president make a decision without consulting the astrological calendar.

Somehow, for some voters, it is acceptable to have a tough lady in the White House, just so long as she doesn’t hold the title of president.  And that is the dilemma for female candidates.  

From time to time, Republicans invoke the name of Margaret Thatcher, the late British Prime Minister, as their vision of a strong leader, but they attach it to Ronald Reagan as if they were a power couple, and not two separate and distinct personalities.  

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean there are 20 women in control of their countries, dealing each day with the same crises that we face on this side of the world.  

The Prime Minister of Myanmar, formerly Burma, won the right to serve, despite the hostility of the military powers.  

She lives in perpetual danger, but wants to serve her people at any cost.

How about the United States Senate?  

That’s the place where everyone of the senators think they should be president.  

We had three sitting senators, Rubio, Paul and Cruz, seeking the White House, yet the Republican Party made no effort to advance a woman for that position to counteract Mrs. Clinton. 

What’s wrong with senators Collins, Feinstein, Murray, Capito, Gillibrand and Mikulski?  Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina is a rising star, but somehow the locker room crowd wouldn’t consider making her the Vice President choice.

In Donald Trump’s world, women are loyal executives who do his bidding, secretaries, beauty contest winners and Hollywood types, so long as he rates them a “10.”  

People like Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz, Mika Brezinski and Elizabeth Warren get tarred with ugly nicknames and derision by the man who wants to be the leader of the free world.

Donald Trump turned out to be a flop as Henry Higgins as he couldn’t convince the viewers that Hillary Clinton was an empty suit.  

At the next debate, he will have another opportunity to take his best shot at his opponent, but she will in turn have a chance to sharpen her arrows for him.  

Mrs. Clinton is not another one of his past targets, who didn’t have a national platform to fight back.  

Maybe her smarts and her resilience will convince some undecided voters that it is permissible to vote for a woman.

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Play Ball

There is a lot that politicians can learn by paying attention to Major League Baseball. Any team that wants to have future stars on their roster has to have a so-called “farm system,” where young players get a chance to sharpen their skills and hope to eventually be called up to play in the big leagues. The New York Yankees learned that lesson the hard way, relying on a bunch of old-timers to win baseball games, even if they were well past their prime.

Finally, late into the season, the Yankees got rid of some very expensive or non-productive players, and replaced them with a roster of young, aggressive and hungry substitutes.
In a few months, when the general election is over, the two political parties will have to look in the mirror and decide what their future will be like.

The Republican Party will have the toughest challenge because it will likely splinter into three groups. The survivors will be the Trump people, the ultra conservatives and the moderate wing. There is nothing that can force them to join together, as their agendas are completely different.

The way any one of those three groups can emerge as the consensus party, will be to introduce fresh faces and fresh ideas into the political dialogue. The Trump party is devoted to only Donald Trump and Trump has not groomed any new talent in his campaign, so there will be no one but Trump to keep his movement alive.

The arch-conservatives will roll out the same tired faces in their next effort to win the White House. Huckabee, Santorum, Carson, Paul or any other of the previous contenders do not excite the Republican base and none is capable of unifying the three factions. There are some very up-and-coming Republican politicians in various states, but the established political figures don’t want any competition as they look to 2020. It’s their party and no one can crash it. The moderates are like the dinosaurs and aren’t capable of producing fresh faces.

The Democratic Party has a similar challenge, but come November when the dust settles, there will be two wings, moderate and very liberal, who very often come together out of necessity. Bernie Sanders will attempt to become the voice of the party but the steam will have come out of his crusade during the next four years.

Deep down in some key states the Democrats have a number of bright and articulate elected officials, but oddly, very few of them will be visible this year. For the next two months, the surrogates will be President Obama, Vice President Biden, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders. However, the future for both parties is having the understudies that make baseball so successful and so far; neither party has followed that example.

 

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Everybody is an Expert in Forecasting

Everybody is an Expert in Forecasting

Almost every political and media person I speak to is an expert on the 2016 presidential election.

Some of them like David Axelrod, David Brooks or a David Gergen, are acknowledged by both sides to be well versed in national politics and I respect their opinions.

But, being I ran successfully for state office 13 times, I have the right to weigh in on a number of the issues.

Each and every day we are bombarded with a new set of polls showing a seesaw between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

If you try to follow those polls you will wind up needing treatment for depression or anxiety. I don’t believe any of those polls tell us much as the election will eventually be decided by one or two points anyway.

In fact, one candidate could win the popular vote and the other one may win the Electoral College.

The best way to follow the polls, if you addicted to them, is to watch what happens in some of the key states.

Check out Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and New Hampshire.

There are a few others, but at least these key states could be a barometer on what will happen next.

To confuse you further, all of the experts agree that Donald Trump could win Ohio and Florida and still lose the election.

The reason polls are so confusing is not just because the numbers are all over the place.

If you listen to Fox News, you will get one slant on  polls that  favor Trump. MSNBC has a tendency to tweak the polls by highlighting the ones that favor Hillary Clinton.

I don’t believe many of the polls because 34 per cent of the country has cell phones as their only phone and the pollsters don’t have easy access to those voters.

Each of the candidates has their own surrogate.

That’s the person who shows up on television representing them.

Without naming names, I can say without fear of contradiction, that some of the surrogates are the dumbest people I have ever heard.

They seem to be reading off a teleprompter with a scripted message, because each one says the same thing, on all of the channels.

Once upon a time if a television station announced that they had “breaking news” I would look up from my dinner or office work and try to pay attention as something monumental was about to happen.

I relate breaking news to the assassination of John F. Kennedy or the downing of the Twin Towers on September 11,2001. The current form is annoying and at times irritating.

The event that may make or break this election is the debate at Hofstra University on Sept. 26.

Because the bar is so low for Donald Trump, if he stick to a teleprompter for two minutes, the media will declare him “presidential.”

Hillary Clinton has to keep her cool, spout facts, provide solid answers and occasionally make Trump look stupid.

Trump is a perfect target for fact checkers and the moderators are more than likely to test him.

Debating a woman seeking the presidency is a tricky task for Trump based on his past comments.

The big question is whether Trump will show up at the next two debates, if the first one doesn’t go well for him?

Trump has succeeded in getting large crowds for his speeches but the question is how many are registered to vote?

Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, has the best ground force in all of the key states, and their main job is to get out the vote.

Let me add to the confusion by predicting that both sides are going to get a lot of votes from people who tell you one thing  and then will do the opposite.

Confused? So am I.

Maybe the next election in 2020 will be easier to handicap.

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