The death of Fidel Castro marks the end of an era. It should be obvious that the grand experiment was an utter and complete failure. An enslaved people have struggle in poverty to survive in a totalitarian state. Many have risked their lives to escape. In comparison, we have become the greatest country in the world through our core values of democracy, personal freedom and the free enterprise system.
Nobody is advocating that we end democracy but personal freedom and the free enterprise system are under attack. The First Amendment is virtually banned on many college campuses. Often the Left tries to limit our freedom to achieve their idea of how we should live. Some on the Right want to impose their religious views on issues like abortion or take away our right to vote for whoever we want by imposing term limits.
The free enterprise system works by giving people the incentive to earn more. The marketplace is a much better way to sort things out than central planning. For it to work correctly, effective regulation is needed to ensure a level playing field, protect workers and consumers and ensure our health and safety. Many Democrats are far more anti-business than they used to be. It is obvious that President Obama intensely hates business and Hillary Clinton bragged about crippling the coal industry and putting miners out of work. Republicans are certainly in favor of business but have a hard time separating necessary and unnecessary regulations.
I am very proud to be an American. However, I feel both political parties are doing us a disservice by moving to the extreme, offering simplistic solutions to complex problems and refusing to cooperate.
Flyover country is a derogatory term people on the coast use to describe where many of us live. It is apparently the attitude of many Democrats.
Clinton won the ten Atlantic states from Virginia to Maine and four of the five Pacific states. Amazingly, she won only six of the remaining thirty-five states. Except for Illinois and Minnesota, there is a solid sea of red from Virginia to Colorado.
A look at the 1992 electoral map shows how far the party has strayed from its roots. Bill won all the coastal states she did except Virginia. He picked up Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the East, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia in the South, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri in the Midwest and Montana in the West.
I heard reports that the only person urging Hillary to go after the flyover country blue collar vote was Bill. Apparently her staff laughed at him.
As the Democrats being the recovery process, I suggest they listen to Bill and ignore Hillary and her fellow elitists.
It is still way too soon to determine what the Trump presidency will be like. Fortunately, President-elect Trump isn’t as big a jerk as candidate Trump. One of the positive signs was the announcement that he would not be pursuing charges against Hillary Clinton.
This is good news for several reasons. It is vital that prosecution starts from the bottom up not the top down. No matter which party controls the White House, criminal justice should be conducted on a nonpartisan basis. Unfortunately, the Obama Department of Justice was the most political since Nixon. However, a president ordering a prosecution of a political opponent is something that happens under dictatorships, not here.
The country is already deeply divided. Prosecuting her would be like pouring salt on an open wound. We need to find ways to come together, not be torn further apart.
Finally, there is no real point. I agree her behavior was egregious but there is no purpose served by going after a thoroughly disgraced elderly lady who will never hold a position in the government.
This may disappoint some rabid Trump fans. Some of them talk a lot about the limits placed on government by the Constitution but want to ignore it if their side is in power.
Just eight short years ago, the Democratic Party reached heights not seen since the early Sixties. Barack Obama was elected President and being treated as a messiah. They controlled both houses of Congress and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Now the party has plummeted to levels not seen since the 1920s. They have lost the White House and control of both houses. The picture is even worse when looking at state and local races. Two-thirds of the governors and legislative chambers are held by Republicans. Democrats control the governorship and legislature in only five states.
So what happened? In my opinion, it was a self-inflicted wound. Republicans did their best to help them by adopting polices that appealed to a narrow base and nominating Donald Trump. Here is where they went wrong:
It’s the economy, stupid – That is the phrase Bill Clinton used in 1992 to make sure everyone was focused on the economy. Even though he was elected during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Obama seemed to care little about it. He let Nancy Pelosi spend nearly a trillion dollars on liberal pet projects and turned his attention elsewhere. Millions of families are struggling and Democrats have done little to show they care.
Obamacare – Even though polls showed people were against it by a two to one margin, Democrats crammed it down their throats. It is one of the main reasons they lost Congress.
No coattails – Most presidents work very hard to elect senators and representatives of their party. Obama did very little to help. In fact, many Democrats in Congress had very little contact with him.
No bench – The Clintons and Obama have sucked up all the oxygen for the last quarter century. Try to name a rising young Democrat. About the only name that comes to mind is Elizabeth Warren and she is sixty-seven years old.
Hillary Clinton – This was a change election but the Democrats nominated the ultimate insider who is disliked by most and has a mountain of scandals following her.
Bernie Sanders – His candidacy created a breach in the party that led many to stay home last week and some to vote for Trump.
Targets – Democrats are only targeting two groups; liberals and groups that they try to convince are being oppressed. Their pitch to minorities, women, etc. is that they need Democrats to protect them from evil Republicans. That’s very patronizing. People can vote on many issues. A woman struggling to get along has bigger worries that whether or not she has to pay for birth control.
Non-targets – Since the days of FDR, blue collar workers have been the core of the Democratic Party. Not only have they been ignored, they have often been insulted.
Elitism – The party is controlled by a self-appointed elite. They only listen to each other and have little idea what the rest of us are really like.
I would enjoy writing about where they go from here but that’s like guessing what the Trump administration will be like. My hunch is that they will double down on the same strategies that got them into this mess.
The country was in desperate shape when Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933. Unemployment was 25% and the entire banking system was teetering on collapse. It was vital that he move quickly. Congress passed a huge number of bills in the first 100 days of his term.
Ever since then, there has been a lot of silly talk about rushing bills through in the first 100 days. Some are talking about dismantling Obamacare and developing a new system in that time period. That will be a bigger job than passing it in the first place. Barack Obama signed it on his 435th day in office. Despite taking over a year to pass it, there were still mass confusion, computer glitches along with a number of unintended consequences.
Right now Republicans only have talking points, some of which contradict each other and others that don’t make sense. They should take their time and do the job right.
Obamacare cost Democrats both branches of Congress and played a significant role in Clinton’s defeat. If Republicans do a half-assed job, Trumpcare could yield a similar result.
I remember hearing a story about a woman who didn’t understand how George McGovern lost since everyone she knew voted for him. It is that type of insularity that typified the Clinton election team.
Clinton blamed her loss on FBI Director James Comey announcing he was reopening the investigation. That is ridiculous. There was a mountain of negative information out there on the email scandal, Clinton Foundation, etc. Adding a few more truckloads wasn’t going to make any difference.
Blame for the loss belongs clearly to Clinton and her team for being out of touch. They tried to win by courting the Obama coalition of minorities, the young and women. They should have known that fewer minorities would turn out without Obama on the ballot and the young were not particularly enamored with her. The key to winning was to court the blue collar voter. Instead, they ignored and insulted them.
A look at Wisconsin tells the story. Obama won the state in 2012 by seven percentage points. Even though they have elected conservative Scott Walker as governor, the Clinton campaign assumed it was an easy win and didn’t even bother to schedule her to appear there during the general election campaign. Trump only got 4,000 more votes than Romney but she got nearly 240,000 votes fewer than Obama. Had they run a more effective campaign, Clinton would be our next president.
There is a line from an old comic strip that states “We have met the enemy and he is us”. That certainly applies to the Clinton campaign.
It has been generations since there has been so much uncertainty over how a president-elect would govern. There was little in the campaign to give us much comfort. We saw a stream of outrageous statements, a nasty, bullying demeanor and ridiculous proposals like rounding up 11 million people and excluding Muslims from entering the country. Meanwhile campaign managers came and went with regularity and it often appeared that he was primarily relying on his children.
Recently there have been some hopeful signs. Mike Pence replaced Chris Christie as head of the transition team. The volatile Christie had very limited Washington experience. The much calmer Pence served twelve years in the House, much of it in the leadership.
Far and away the most important pick is chief of staff. Among the many duties are running the White House staff, serving as gatekeeper to the President and dealing with Congress. We hear a lot about the cabinet, but their primary responsibility is to execute decisions made by the White House. He selected Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Keeping the party together this year was a baptism of fire and excellent training for his new position.
I was disappointed that he chose Stephen Bannon to be his chief strategist. Bannon, a former Breitbart executive, is known for his caustic style and association with the far Right fringe. Pence and Priebus will appeal to Trump’s better instincts while Bannon could have the opposite effect.
We still have little idea of what he will be like as president but I think he will be more responsible than he was as a candidate. Of course that is setting the bar pretty low.
Eight years ago Barack Obama was elected President. Obviously the Right was unhappy. There were warnings that if he got into office, there would never be another election. Others said the country would collapse. Meanwhile the Left was in a state of euphoria. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, Obama was going to lead them to the Promised Land. He even got a Nobel Prize just because he was Barack Obama.
To quote the late, great Yogi Berra, it’s déjà vu all over again. The Right is fantasizing about all their dream legislation passing in the first 100 days. The Left talked about him being like a member of KKK or even another Hitler. Now the propagandists believe their propaganda. There are fears he will start rounding up “undesirables”. The one difference is that last time people weren’t rioting in the streets.
I will admit that I have serious misgivings about Trump. Time will tell what happens. In the meantime, let’s all relax a bit. I don’t know what to expect but imagine it will be worse that his supporters hope and better than his detractors fear.
We are free to say anything we like about Barack Obama and Donald Trump. This is just one of the many freedoms given to us by the Constitution. We all know that, even though Trump and Obama are bitter opponents, there will be a peaceful transition of power. In a time of kings and despots, our Founding Fathers gave us a democracy.
Keeping it is another matter. Millions upon millions of people have fought to maintain it. Many never came home.
Today is the 98th anniversary of the end of World War 1. For many years it was celebrated as Armistice Day. Now it is Veterans Day.
I know we are busy and have a lot on our minds. Let’s take just a few minutes to remember those that have done so much for us. It wouldn’t hurt to thank them for their service.
Boy was I wrong! However, I have a lot of company. We were wrong for one simple reason. The only path he had for victory was to take some Democratic states and we thought he couldn’t do it.
A far more interesting question is why Trump’s victory was so unexpected. I’ve heard people say it was because she was a lousy candidate or a drop in black turnout. We knew that going in so it’s no explanation. We need to look at factors we didn’t fully appreciate. I believe there are two.
Most important is the switching of blue collar voters to Trump. It used to be that the workers were Democrats and the owners were Republican. Millions of them are hurting financially. The high-paying union jobs their parents had are gone. Now they have to settle for low-paying jobs, often working multiple jobs. Many have experienced repeated layoffs.
Despite their hardships, they likely would have stayed with the Democrats if they had been treated better. They saw attacks on their religion, environmental regulations costing them jobs (remember Clinton bragging about putting coal miners out of work?), attacks on the police, etc. Many on the Left are contemptuous of them. Obama talked about them clinging to guns and religion. The topper was when Clinton said they were deplorable and irredeemable.
Certainly some are rabid Trump supporters. I believe many disapprove of his actions and temperament. However, they know what they’ve had the last eight years and are willing to take a chance on something different.
The young Bernie Sanders supporters also made a difference. They turned off many with their antics like trying to shut down Trump rallies. They abhor Clinton. Many didn’t vote and 22% voted for Trump. If you are a Democratic and idealistic young liberals turn against you, then you are in trouble.
So there it is. I would like to write some blogs about what to expect from a Trump administration but I don’t have the foggiest idea what’s going to happen.