June, 2016
How About We Just Fast-Forward to November?

How About We Just Fast-Forward to November?

Is it over yet? No, sorry. We must endure five more months of the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton battle. The clash between the two is especially upsetting, because there are so many issues that should be debated, but they never see the light of day because of the madness of Trump.

To her credit, Clinton has unveiled program after program on such challenges as high college tuition, health care costs, infrastructure needs and dozens of others. But Trump continues to muddy the political waters with his rants, none of which look or smell like real policy plans. Because we live in an era of sound bites, all that emerges from the back-and-forth between the candidates is a flurry of insults.

The planks of the Trump campaign are easy to remember. He wants to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S., deport 11 million people and prevent Muslims from entering the country. Judges of Mexican descent must not be allowed to sit on any case involving Trump University. He told coal miners in West Virginia, whose industry is dying, that they should hang on, because coal is coming back “very soon.” That formula won’t create one meaningful job.

Some people think that Bernie Sanders’s campaign had a lot more substance. His platform, too, was easy to remember. He wanted free tuition at public colleges and medical care for everyone at a modest cost, and he promised to close the gap between the 1 percent and the other 99 percent.

There’s no question that he stirred up a revolution among college students and senior citizens, but the chance that these programs would pass without a major income tax increase is extremely remote.

Some of the popular appeal of the Sanders campaign will work its way into the Democratic Party platform at the convention next month. And there’s no doubt that Clinton will be a strong advocate for some of the ideas Sanders advanced. But then, how do we get any real debate going about the issues of the day? Technology has cost America millions of jobs. Cheap labor in countries with which we do business is another problem. Those capacity crowds that attended rallies for Sanders and Trump will be riled up if they don’t hear some solid solutions.

Will there be a real debate on critical issues between now and November? It stands to reason that Clinton will continue to talk about solutions to the nation’s problems. She has come up with a carload of ideas on how to make the country move forward. The problem is that she has no one to debate them with. For all his successes in business, Trump offers voters nothing but smears and insults.

Let’s say he builds his wall. How many jobs will that create? If anything, a wall between Mexico and the U.S. would probably be built by Mexicans.

What will the summer of 2016 bring? There will be two campaigns going on at two different levels. Clinton will be traveling around the country talking about problems that have to be solved, and Trump will be looking for new ethnic groups that he didn’t already insult. Shakespeare gave us the winter of our discontent, from the lips of Richard III. The election has brought us the summer version.

I’ve seen this movie before. It happened in the early years of my political life as a local official. I watched Barry Goldwater destroy the Republican Party and take down hundreds of the party’s public officials in 1964. Because the Republican establishment has pledged to support its presidential candidate this year, many will probably go down with the ship. I’m a strong believer in the two-party system, but this election will no doubt be the undoing of the Grand Old Party.

The biggest problem with all this ugly stuff is that we’ll have to live through it.



Two Parties, The Same Dilemma

Two Parties, The Same Dilemma

It is no secret that the national Republican Party is in deep trouble.

Saddled with a presidential candidate who they never wanted, they must now go forward and try to compete in November, in order to avoid a major meltdown. 

With the control of the Senate and the House at stake, the Republican Party is at its lowest point in many years.

Despite the headache of the Republicans, the Democrats have some serious issues to resolve that could affect their fate for many years to come. 

Hillary Clinton must find a suitable candidate for vice president and despite the fact that many names are being floated; she will have a tough time finding the right person. 

Her selection process is made much more difficult because she may not be able to get any viable candidate from the U.S. Senate.

The problem with adding any sitting senator is that most of the good choices represent states that have Republican governors. If she were to pick a senator from a red state, more than likely the governor of that state would pick a Republican to replace him or her. 

With a very tight Senate race expected in November, every Democratic senator is needed for a hoped for majority. 

The dilemma that the Democrats face is the fact that there are not many hot prospects available to fill the No.2 spot. 

Yes, there are some attractive Hispanic public officials and one or two African-American prospects, but almost all of them have never been in any highly visible contest and there is some doubt that they have the charisma to help get votes for the ticket. 

And, remember, they also have to be good enough to take over the country, if the president steps down.

It looks like the Republicans are in just as bad shape when it comes to Mr. Trump picking his vice president. 

Having a choice between Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, isn’t much of a choice. 

Christie can’t deliver New Jersey, as he currently has the worst approval ratings of any governor in his state’s history. 

Newt Gingrich isn’t loved by many of the long-time politicians and hasn’t the kind of charm that nasty Mr. Trump needs. 

Luckily, there are dozens of retired generals available who would love to be a Trump running mate.

Beyond the question of who will be in the second spot, is the bigger problem of who represents the future of either national party. 

The Democrats and the Republicans have a host of officials who are long-time members of AARP. 

Paul Ryan may be the future golden boy, but his lukewarm endorsement of Trump followed by a more tepid response to Trump’s attack on a federal judge, may hurt him in the long run. 

Just think if Bernie Sanders was 50 years old his age could have helped him.

The two political parties have another problem. 

With or without Donald Trump, the Republicans have been a fractured party, with faction upon faction. 

Conservatives, die-hard conservatives, Tea Party devotees, evangelicals and a lot of angry white men, don’t exactly add up to a unified anything. 

There is nothing than can happen between now and November that can put the GOP Humpty Dumpty together again. 

After Election Day, who can you point to in the second tier of Democrats, who will be helping build the next decade of leadership?  

Corey Booker and Chuck Schumer will be dominating the national stage, but there needs to be a much deeper bench of prospects to keep the party alive. 

The November election may produce a new crop of attractive prospects, but they will need a few years to learn the ropes.

It’s very clear that both parties, faced with aging pains, and crushing national issues, are in for a very big challenge. 

All those people who turned out at the polls for the first time this year are expecting a lot of new leadership and if they don’t get it, there will be two very dysfunctional parties in a lot of trouble.