Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Here's why Trump will win

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Prepare yourself for a Trump presidency.  I see three factors driving a yuge Republican win:
  • Yesterday, an exceptionally intelligent & usually smart older friend informed me that he is "going to hold my nose & vote for Trump."  When asked why, he said, "Because I loathe Hillary."  He is okay with voting for someone who the GOP leadership can't bring themselves to call qualified, who rambles in a style unchanged over the past twelve months, whose own supporters defend against criticism for his poor grasp of crucial issues because he hadn't paid any attention to government policy until a year ago, who...  The list goes on & on & on.  And my normally savvy dear older friend will be one of a legion of the elderly who put this man in the Oval Office because they can't stand Hillary.  Count me in also detests the eminently unlikable HRC, a DINO if ever there was one & without an ethical core (true too with Trump).  That said, she's at least experienced, was half of our nation's first "two for one" presidency, was elected to the US Senate, served as Secretary of State.  Much as I can't stand her, she IS qualified to be president, which he most clearly is not.
  • The more establishment elites leave the GOP, the more Trump is legitimately able to point out that he's succeeded in ridding the party of the dead wood that's been holding it back from truly representing "we the people."
  • The old rules don't apply, with disruptors the new political vogue.  HRC is what they're disrupting against - old-school, establishment elite, empty suit.  Her only hope to balance that out is teaming up Elizabeth Warren as her running mate, a possibility that would be amazing from the me me me HRC (another trait shared with Trump).

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One more - it doesn't matter how much Donald Trump does or doesn't raise. Money is moot this election cycle, at least for The Donald, who will always rake in get billions in free press coverage.  

Back, when the Clintons were in the White House, in my moderate Republican days (back where there were moderate Republicans), I'd often say that Bill & Hillary came from another planet, because what applied for any other politician, what would have sunk any other official, didn't affect them.  If they were were another planet, Donald Trump is from another universe.  And he better start working on his Inauguration Ramble, because I don't see - if older folks like my good friend are already prepared to hold their noses & vote against Hillary - how he's going to lose.  

Imagine Donald Trump in the presidency, the GOP in super majority control of the House & Senate.  Is it any wonder I had a tough time sleeping last night?

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Can I pull it off? BIGGEST challenge of my current life.

To limit my writing to non-political posts, writing only on my older2elder blog for an entire week, starting NOW.

1:21 PM

Friday, June 17, 2016 (EDT)
Time in Bryn Athyn, PA

Can't get Megyn out of my mind

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Every day leaves me more & more convinced that something fundamental in our country snapped in our country over the past 7+ years.  Whatever it was, it led to Donald Trump defeating what the GOP had boasted as an unusually deep bench of qualified candidates for its presidential nod.  

Yesterday, I found something in a comment from Megyn Kelly that captures what's changed in our country, why the reality that the primaries yielded Donald Trump as Top Dog is a symptom of the current state of our disunion rather than its cause.

Megyn was distressed with President Obama because across our nation, people are angry after the Orlando shootings.  And he is failing as president because he isn't tapping into that.  Because he isn't tapping into anger.  

This comment wasn't from some 2-bit political pundit or whacked out Alex Jones-type.  it was from the mega-intelligent, uber poised, normally lucid bright shining star of Fox News, the woman considered the most balanced commentator at the Fair & Balanced network.

Now that I think of it, can't get a comment from Brit Hume out of my mind, either - and it harks to a larger problem than just the 2016 presidential election.  Brit described the president's criticism of Trump as having a "contemptuous tone... aimed at Republicans & more specifically at Donald Trump is not something that we have heard him express with regard to ISIS...  These comments were dripping with contempt."

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Brit's comments came back to me yesterday afternoon, during a Current Events discussion at a local senior care residence.  One of the participants, an older man in his 70s, made a sarcastic build - "Trump is EVIL.  The Republican party is EVIL.  Republicans are EVIL."  As he said it, thought to myself, "Bet he heard Brit!"

Sure enough, the man was a Republican, using sarcasm & vile words to paint a picture of Democrats liberals progressives that only existed in HIS mind.  

This is a Republican quirk that I've been aware of for eight years.  Ever since Barack Obama became his party's presidential candidate.  It's something I heard from a super close amigo who ditched me as a friend because I would not feed her hate.  

In 2008, I supported Barack Obama;  she supported John McCain.  Over & over,  she'd do the same thing as the man at yesterday's discussion, the same thing as Brit, taking a criticism of a candidate & spinning it into a condemnation of the candidate, the party, all party members.  

Here's the thing about what Brit did, what the man did, what my friend did - it ends conversation.  It inflates any point beyond discussion.  According to Brit, President Obama's frustration was directed at all Republicans, albeit specifically referencing Donald Trump.  No, Brit - he's just super pissed at Trump.  But by making it far more than it actually was, any reasoned response is impossible.

But, hey -  go ahead & call out President Obama for being contemptuous of the opposition, that his comments dripped with contempt.  See, there's a word for that sort of thought & language - it's called projection.  

My friend became so incensed that I would not feed her anger, she dropped me as a friend.  All I said was, "I don't rip into your candidate & I would appreciate it if you would not rip into mine."  She could have handled my anger at her candidate, but could not tolerate my expectation of at least silence.  If she couldn't hear an echo back of her own vitriol, she couldn't bear to hear anything at all.

Which brings me back to Megyn & her disappointment that President Obama wasn't measuring up to her image of an Angry American-in-Chief.  He is to be slammed because Americans are angry & he isn't tapping into it.  "But the American people are feeling angry. And you know, you would expect the commander-in-Chief, who’s also the comforter-in-chief, to tap into that."  No, I don't.  And neither should she.  Neither should you.

That is what won't go away, whether Donald Trump is the Republican candidate or not, whether he wins the presidency or not.

A year ago, a study - one that conservatives dismissed & ridiculed - found that Fox News was "flooding viewers with misinformation" that consistently painted liberals as vile & conservatives as pure true believers.  Patriotic became an antonym for Democrat liberal progressive.  It wasn't enough to disagree with a different political ideology - it had to be demonized.  Literally.  It's reported that 20% of Republicans believe that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.  Sheez!

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The report found that the very things that made Fox News consistently the #1, most powerful news network could also work to the detriment of the Republican party:
Republican voters get so much of their news from Fox, which cheerleads whatever their candidates are doing or saying, that they suffer from wishful thinking and fail to see that they may not be doing as well as they imagine, or that their ideas are not connecting outside the narrow party base.

And THAT is what will still be with us, long after the present election campaign is a memory.  A party base that suffers from wishful, magical thinking, that believes in their candidates & distains all others, that can't see what's actually happening, who are clueless that their ironclad beliefs go only as deep as the narrow party base.  Who think they will win because right is on their side, envision Christ as a Republican, see themselves as virtuous & everyone else as something I've never been able to figure out.

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From its slogan to its content, Fox News has convinced its devoted viewership that it not only is Fair & Balanced, but that it & its go-to sources are the ONLY honest sources of news.  

Megyn & Brit, Bill & Sean and all the rest of the folks at Fox News feed their viewers a brew of biased news designed more to reinforce existing views than to inform & enlarge perspectives, a pool of "non-reality based voters supporting delusional candidates. The impact is felt on a broken legislative process where for one party there is no middle and opposing the President at all costs has become a path to political victory. The conclusion is unmistakable. Fox News has not only broken journalism. The conservative news network is also destroying the Republican Party." (James Easly, May 2015)

Let that sink in for a moment.  The end of that paragraph was written over a year ago.  Before Donald Trump entered the race, before he vanquished the Republican's deep bench of highly touted talent.  Before the world had a clue just how deluded a presumed presidential candidate could be.  

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Listening to Megyn & Brit yesterday morning, hearing the man at the Current Events discussion, remembering Leslie, the horror all became too clear.  Donald Trump may exit the picture, but the world that Fox News created & continues to expand will still be with us.  God help us all.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

A year later, Trump remains true to his brand

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A year ago today, Donald Trump descended from above via an escalator, announced his run for the presidency, then ran a campaign uniquely his own that won enough delegates to presumably secure the Republican party's nod at this summer's unconventional GOP convention.  

For some reason, party leaders still talk about reining in Donald Trump.  Why would he?  And if he wanted to, COULD he?  Do an online search, read just a teensy fraction of the countless articles about him.  Trump hasn't created brand recognition that now rivals Coca Cola by showing a disciplined style, by staying on a consistent message or consistently following bulleted points.

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Instead of Trump becoming a disciplined politician who understands the party's core messages & can stay on point, long time party leaders are following in his steps.  Consider John McCain, who laid blame for Sunday's massive tragedy directly at President Obama's feet.  

When pressed by disbelieving reporters, Sen. McCain doubled down on his claim (later, in true WSP* style, he distanced himself in a statement that claimed he'd "misspoke").  Why shouldn't he?  It's the sort of uncontrolled, undisciplined & unprincipled statement the party faithful eat up.  Key party leaders stay silent about his post-Orlando comments, while others mimic Trump's excesses, while the only voters he cares about - the ones who love him - are lovin' it.    

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And who can fault him?  Trump has gotten to where he is by being himself.  The base knows the emperor has no clothes & don't care.  If anything, they love the fact he's sticking to The Man.  And are sure he'll make mincemeat of HRC. 

Whatever it means, whatever happens - and no one knows what that might be - the one inescapable fact is that the will of the GOP establishment has been totally trumped.

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*Wimpy Spineless Pantywaist