Our founders were well educated, forward-thinking, reasonable people, men and women who understood that civil debate and compromise are the lifeblood of a thriving republic. Sadly, those values seem to be lost in today’s media feeding frenzy and “gotcha” politics. Never before has our government been so ineffective, as public persona and personal greed now supersede practical purpose and service to the people politicians have been elected to represent. Nasty sound bites, lies, and partisan bickering have replaced informed, civil debate designed for the betterment of America and its people, leaving us not just stuck in the mud, but actually moving backwards.
My colleague and I would like to share our opinions on the topics and people shaping our nation. We may have very different ideas about how we should move forward to get America back on track, but we hope you will see that there is more that connects us as Americans than divides us.
Our first article the Donald Trump phenomenon.
The Don … Who and Why?
by Jim Jenkin
What can be said about this man that hasn’t been said a million times over? A man who is thought of as a successful businessman despite declaring bankruptcy at least 5 times. A man who borrowed nearly a billion dollars, stuffed 300 million of it into his pocket, and then defaulted on the loan, bilking the New Jersey taxpayers who were forced into bailing him out of just that ONE bankruptcy in 1990. A man who blames Hillary for Bill’s dalliances, who has called John McCain a loser for being shot down while in serving in Vietnam (a war Trump used his father’s connections to avoid serving in by having a very minor medical condition upgraded). A man who has spewed hatred for minorities and women and is still left, not just standing, but leading in the GOP polls.
So, who is this man and why don’t the rules of politics apply to him?
A bully, a con man, a brilliant self-promoter, a narcissist: he’s been labeled just about everything under the sun, most of which he’s rightly earned. Yet that doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference to those who rabidly support him. He even boasts about how these same people would vote for him if he shot somebody dead in the street. Sadly, I think he’s right about that.
So, again I ask, what makes him different, and can Trump be able to parlay this difference into the Big Chair in the Oval Office? I don’t think it will, but in this most unusual election cycle, anything is possible.
The easiest reason to point to Trump’s inability to get elected is the Hispanic population, who outnumber the rest of the minority voters in America, combined. Trump has referred them in general (Mexicans in particular) as lazy, drug mules, gang bangers, and whores. Stay classy, Don! He wants to spend 2-3 trillion dollars building our own version of the Great Wall to keep these people out. Okay, let’s say he gets that done; are you ready to pay $4 for a potato or $5 dollars for a peach? When the reality of that hits people, even if they hate Hillary, they’re still going want their “taters and pie,” and will either vote for Clinton or stay home, which also helps Clinton. I have no doubt that the DNC will be able to drive this point home in the election cycle. Cheap food comes from cheap labor. With no cheap labor, prices will skyrocket. Retail politics usually wins in the end.
To be honest, I don’t think the nation’s establishment, political or the media, really gets this guy. And I, myself, have certainly underestimated him. I have said things like, “He’s not going anywhere; he can’t last; people will wake up,” only to be proven wrong. But who is this guy so many people have told pollsters they want to be the next president? What’s he done to get where he is, other than inherit hundreds of millions from a father who got rich off the same government jobs programs Trump now wants to shut to down?
Poll after poll shows the heart of Trump’s appeal lies with the American voter who didn’t go to college, who doesn’t have the money, who didn’t get the breaks. He is the one rallying to the billionaire from New York who rages against illegal immigration, against bad trade deals that cost us jobs (while all his merchandise is made in China), and against wars he says we shouldn’t be fighting. Trump seems to tapping into an injured sense of nationalism, especially by those most threatened and, ironically, least likely to benefit from, his presidency.
For a number of reasons—good, bad, indifferent, and many would say ugly—Donald Trump has connected. Label him, attack him, condemn him, but the immense failure of this country’s political establishment, right, left, and center, to deal with deep national problems has left the door open, and this brash businessman from the big city has come barreling through. God help us!
I’ll let my colleague Mike have the last word.
Make America Great Again with Donald Trump?
by Michael Godby
That’s a tough question that can only be answered by acknowledging what corrupts our political system.
For 28 years I have voted only for Republicans in the presidential election, as I thought they have represented my views and interests better than Democrats. As a conservative, I have to admit that I’ve been sold down the river by most of the leaders of the Republican Party for too many years, and even when I had hopes that the elected Democrats could make some things better, they also chose to kick the can down the road to eventually run our country’s debt into obscene levels to $18.9 trillion, an astounding 78% growth just under this current administration and 564% since I first voted for Bush, Sr.
Whether you like Donald Trump or not, he is leading in the polls because he has tapped into the average American’s anger and disgust at our political establishment. Unlike the career politicians who are in the race, he actually has created real jobs and has far more at stake in turning our country around because his businesses touch multiple facets of the economy.
So what does the establishment fear so much about him? It’s as if he could kill the golden goose of a political system that offers too many goodies to our elected politicians. Could it be campaign finance reform, term limits, or simply the removal of the insider trading exemptions? Or is it simply that he knows from experience how easily you can buy their vote?
Regardless of what it is, the primary reasons we should take Trump seriously is that he can finance his own campaign. They say the root of all evil is money. If so, then one could say the root of all evil politicians is PAC money. By taking PAC money, our politicians are forever beholden to the PAC’s interests. We can’t be surprised when nothing gets done in Washington. It’s expensive to run a campaign, and according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the last presidential election cost $2.1 billion. So far, Trump has found a way to control conversation of the election with far less money while at the same time leading the polls.
Americans love the underdog, but, more importantly, they no longer care to support politicians that tell you everything you want to hear, but never deliver. The more the political establishment has spoken up against Trump, the more he has risen in the polls. The political establishment on both sides doesn’t like that he’s changing the face of American politics. His brazen, frank, politically incorrect manner has all the pundits’ looking like this is their first election coverage. He’s not a politician that is following everyone’s playbook. He has chosen to play this game his way or the highway, and, like it or not, he has the political establishment on the edge. He’s unpredictable in his war on politics, and in his mind he’s going to win regardless of what most of the experts predict.
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