September, 2016
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.


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.



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.


Tap Into Public’s Unhappiness for the Election Victory

I have always been a big fan of Vice President Joe Biden. He comes from a humble background and truly has his finger on the pulse of the country. Biden, in a recent interview, spoke about the public’s deep unhappiness with our elected officials and what was wrong with our political system. “The public just doesn’t relate to their government, because government doesn’t make them feel that it understands their needs and their pain,” he said.

That is the real challenge for. Bill Clinton has always been one of my heroes and I truly believed him when he said he “felt your pain.” Coming from a dysfunctional family, with an abusive father who had a serious alcohol problem, he spoke to the hearts and minds of many Americans.

When you think about the past four or five presidential elections, it is clear that many of the losing candidates were totally incapable of connecting with the voters. Something was missing and the majority of the electorate figured out who best represented their views. Senator Bob Dole was a career politician with a good record on the issues, but he didn’t spark any enthusiasm.

Senator John McCain was a war hero, despite what Donald Trump says, but somehow he didn’t stir mass loyalty. Poor Mitt Romney got quoted complaining about the “47 percent who rely on the government to take care of them.” Obviously, Romney failed to get those voters on his side and it cost him the election. President Barack Obama, as a candidate, hit a special chord with the voters and he won two terms in the White House.

So the real test for Clinton and Trump is which one can best tap into the public’s unhappiness and translate it into an election victory. Trump was able to win the Republican Party primary with his over-the-top rhetoric and his promises to make the country “great again.” Bernie Sanders won a massive number of supporters just by promising things that they wanted to hear, even if they were politically impossible to solve.

But now we are in an election campaign and the rules are different. Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will not create new businesses and more jobs. Beating up on immigrants will only carry you so far. The voters expect a lot more. This is the opening for Clinton to fill. She is smart on issues and talks about them. She is far more capable than Trump to sit in the White House.

In order to win this election she will have to convince the voters that she understands their grievances and “feels their pain.” Trump is incapable of arousing anything more than hate. So November presents her with the opportunity to win the election on the merits.



Trump and Clinton Prepare to Face Off at Hofstra

Trump and Clinton Prepare to Face Off at Hofstra

The political world will soon focus all of its attention on the first presidential debate, which takes place on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University. The political talking heads are speculating on debate prep and the strategies of the candidates. But the real question is whether this debate will matter to the vast majority of voters, who have already decided who they dislike the least.

The current polls show Hillary Clinton with a lead of anywhere from two to 10 points over Donald Trump. Using my own unsophisticated polling, I haven’t met one person who has told me he or she is undecided. So how is the first debate going to make a major impact on this contest?

Trump has told the whole world what his positions are on immigration and trade deals. He has insulted every group — and important person — I can think of, starting with Pope Francis, the Gold Star Khan family, Hispanics, blacks, Mormons and most other ethnic voters. He has cast a dark cloud over America’s standing in the world, alarming our allies and making our enemies happy at the prospect of his winning this election.

Is he on the verge of changing his positions on any of those subjects? Is he going to apologize to the Khan family? Is he going to tell Sen. John McCain that, yes, he is a war hero? He still favors deporting 11 million undocumented residents, although he’s willing to start with criminals. Is he going to tell Sen. Ted Cruz that he was mistaken about the bizarre allegation that Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

There is no doubt that candidate Trump, on the advice of his new campaign team, will claim that “in the heat of the primaries, I may have insulted some people, and I regret doing that.” I know a non-apology when I hear one, and that type of talk won’t swing any votes. Is it possible for any candidate to redo all of his or her mistakes in one night? No.

The commentators on debate night will be looking to see if there’s a new Trump, but that’s doubtful. If he’s polite to Clinton, he’ll be praised for his performance, but that’s as likely as my winning the lottery. Will he call her “Crooked Hillary” at least once? You can bet the ranch on that one. Will he wow the audience with his vast knowledge of foreign affairs? Don’t count on it. Donald Trump is the Don Rickles of politics, and nothing can change that.

Clinton comes into this debate with a slight chance to sway some voters for a variety of reasons. Many people consider her insincere, so she’ll have a chance to polish her image. I know from personal experience that the in-person Hillary is a lot nicer than the in-person Donald. There’s no doubt that her mastery of facts will help persuade voters that she can do the job of being president. But her real challenge is persuading the public that all those email stories and other mistakes don’t disqualify her as a candidate.

Many past debates have produced memorable moments. Then Vice President Richard Nixon sweating under the bright television lights. George H.W. Bush looking at his watch to see when the clock would run out. Al Gore sighing with exasperation during his debate with George W. Bush. Lloyd Bentsen putting down opponent Dan Quayle by telling him, “I knew Jack Kennedy … senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

One way or another, this debate will solidify the support that each of these candidates currently has. It may move a few moderate Republicans and single mothers in one direction or another. There are more undecided voters in the Trump camp than the Clinton camp, but that doesn’t say much. There may be a bump for Clinton or Trump, but it may be only a minor one.

My only hope is that the debate is civil and informative, and sends a message to our friends all over the world that the much-respected American political system is still alive and well. I don’t think that’s asking too much.