August 03, 2016

What's In The Future For Donald Trump?

While everyone's crucifying Trump for his many gaffes and missteps, I thought I'd take this opportunity to predict the future by speculating what Donald Trump will be going through after the election in November.  Here're my predictions to put out there and reference back down the road, to see how close I was.

First of all let's get one thing out of the way up front - Donald Trump will not win this presidential election.  I know there are some people who are nervous with all the shenanigans going on with voting suppression and stuff, but I have every confidence he will go down in flames losing by a landslide.

When Trump loses, he will be chastised as a loser which will tarnish the Trump brand.  The word "trump" will be used as a verb, synonymous with losing and failure.  "Don't be a Trump!"  Think back at his business ventures...  His casinos.  Trump Steaks.  Trump Vodka.  Trump University.  Aside from planting his name on buildings, and few golf courses, what has he actually succeeded in?  And not only will he be branded a loser, but he'll take all of the blame for losing this election, especially since Conservatives believe that Hillary Clinton is so beatable.

So, let's think about the people who despise him...  Democrats, liberals & progressives.  Latinos, Afro-Americans, Muslims, & women.  Republican establishment, level-headed moderates, the media & intelligent pundits.  Veterans, Gold-Star families & babies.  Who DOES like him?  Just his racist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic base.  And after he loses this winnable election and takes all the blame, he'll lose even that sector.

Donald Trump is not as wealthy as he says he is.  Without releasing his tax returns, we won't have an accurate accounting, but there are some who have seen them and they say he isn't even a Billionaire.  But how will he do business, and make great deals, when his reputation is so toxic?  It's all out there now - everyone knows he's a sleazebag who's stiffed his creditors, vendors, and employees.  What bank is going to loan him money to finance his ventures?  Who in their right mind will do business with him?  Work for him? I read today that even Macy's is dumping his clothing line.  Everyone will be distancing themselves from him because they won't want to be associated with him and his bigotry.

Donald Trump has a myriad of law suits against him, not the least of which is a class-action suit (i.e. many plaintiffs) over his Trump University scam where he's already offended the judge.  Some of these suits are bound to come to fruition and he'll have to pay.  He'll be burning up cash like it's going out of style and his lawyers will demand payment up front.  With no revenue coming in, he'll be forced to start selling his assets.  After a while, he'll be flying commercial.  And of course he gave up his reality TV career, so his only legitimate source of income is gone.

He's going to be in a world of hurt, along with his family who will also be tarnished with the toxic Trump name & brand.  In the end, his whole reason for running for president - to boost his brand - will be his biggest failure of all.

April 15, 2016

It's Not About Qualifications, It's About Judgement

This dust-up about Sanders and Clinton barking back at each other over the issue of who's qualified is a media-derived controversy.  I know how it started and I don't really care about it or who said what. They're both eminently qualified to run for president and hold the office.  But the real question is - who's judgement do you trust?  And of course, I trust Bernie Sanders' judgement much, much more than Hillary Clinton's.  But let's take a deeper dive into that, because it's not good enough to just make the broad assertion.  It should be backed up with facts, cases, evidence, incidents, and whatever it takes to make such an assertion.  I am prepared to do that - "..it's what I live for..."...

Hawkish Foreign Policy

I've heard the Hillary apologists say they're so sick of hearing about her vote on the war in Iraq back in 2003.  Yeah, so am I.  But ya know - it was a big, big decision, and it not only caused a "Yuuuuge" problem, but it set the stage for making the Middle East even more conflict-ridden than it already was.  Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders were both in Congress at the time (Bernie was in the House of Representatives while Hillary was in the Senate), and they both heard the same evidence as presented by the Cheney Administration.  While Hillary followed the 'Establishment' line and voted in favor of the use of force, Bernie voted against giving George Bush a green light to forge more conflict.

To her credit, Hillary has admitted that vote was wrong and apologized for the error in judgement.  But, that's exactly what it was - an error in judgement as she towed the establishment line.  The real question is - did she learn from that event?  Some would argue that the answer to that question is 'No', as her proclivity for hawkish foreign policy has persisted for years thereafter, manifesting in her posturing for regime change in Libya, Sirya, and Honduras.

Yes, Hillary has gotten around the globe quite a bit, both as First Lady and Secretary of State.  She has probably met every head of state and knows them all by first name.  But when it comes to choosing whose judgement I trust in the Oval, it's not even close.

Trade Policy

Bernie Sanders has been out in front as opposition to all of the so-called "Free Trade" agreements which have largely been to blame for the loss of jobs in our country.  Hillary referred to the TPP as ".. the gold standard..."  of trade deals, until she finally came out against it having battled with Sanders in the Primaries.  Translation - Hillary towed the 'Establishment' line until she was up against Bernie's Progressive position, and then she took Bernie's position.

Economic Policy

This topic is broad, but I'll focus on just one element - Minimum Wage.  While Bernie has been fighting for a $15 minimum wage, Hillary has been fighting for just a $12 minimum wage.  However, when both New York and California came out with their $15 minimum wage laws, Hillary stood right there an owned it.

Social Issues

Again, a multitude of issues which can be addressed, but for the sake of brevity, just one - Gay Marriage.  Until 2013, Hillary Clinton was against Gay Marriage and supported both DOMA and Don't Ask / Don't Tell.  She's on record sounding just like a Republican saying that she believed marriage was between ONE Man and ONE Woman.  But just like Barack Obama, and to her credit, she evolved.  Why did she change her position?  You got it - she was towing the 'establishment' line by being against gay marriage, until the country (and the 'establishment') evolved.

Bernie Sanders has ALWAYS fought for gay rights.  Period.

Environment

Issue - Keystone XL Pipeline.  It was only recently that Hillary Clinton came out against this.  Why?  Could it be she was towing the 'Establishment' line until she was forced to adopt Bernie's Progressive position?

Issue - Fracking.  Hillary: For, Bernie: Against.

Health Care

Hillary tried and failed to reform Health Care back in the 90's under her husband's presidency.  Now that Barack Obama has shepherded in reform (The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare"), she is only on board with enhancing it incrementally rather than reforming the reform with a Single-Payer ("Medicare-For-All") Health Care plan.  She criticized his plan as unrealistic, but the truth is - Hillary's Health Care reforms are just as unrealistic as long as Republicans have ANY power in Washington.  In the process, she (and her surrogates - read "Chelsea") have been playing the fear card by saying that Sanders' plan will take away people's existing health coverage.

Campaign Finance

I saved the best for last because this is the biggest reason I trust Bernie Sanders' judgement so much more than Hillary Clinton's.  I'm sure by now you've heard eons about Hillary's 6-figure speeches to Goldman Sachs, and her Super PACs which have taken in tens of millions of dollars.  And I'm sure you've heard about Bernie's ump-teen millions of contributors, the average donation being $27.  Being the political junkie that I am, even I'm tired of hearing it from both candidates.  But, just because I'm tired of hearing it, doesn't make it any less important.

In all my years of following politics, the phrase I've found as the most consequential is this - "Follow the money".  It will tell you all you need to know.  It will explain with clarity and distinction exactly why politicians vote, say, and do what they do.  With only a few, rare exceptions, and especially given the corrosiveness of our Democracy from "Citizens United" and its predecessors, just about every politician in Washington is corrupted by what is essentially legalized bribery.  Hillary Clinton is not one of those exceptions.  Neither is Barack Obama.  Bernie Sanders is.

Hillary can claim .. ".. I went to Wall Street and told them to cut it out...", but I'm not buying that.

**

I've only scratched the surface here as there are hundreds of issues that separate these two candidates for the Democratic nomination.  In conclusion I want to paraphrase Jimmy Dore from "The Young Turks" as he was wrapping up analysis following the last Democratic Debate.  I apologize I can't quote his words exactly because it was in video and I'm recalling it from memory, but his point was great.  Some years ago, the elections came down to a Republican who was in the pocket of big business and hawkish on foreign policy as a tool of the Military-Industrial-Complex, versus a Democrat who was a supporter of worker's rights, dove-ish on foreign policy, and a check on business' overreach.  However, in this primary, those same attributes define a Democrat versus an Independent.




March 29, 2016

My Case For Donald Trump

You're probably wondering why I'm now jumping on the Trump bandwagon.  Those who know me as a die-hard Sanders supporter might be a little confused, so let me explain.

Yesterday I was watching an episode of The Ring of Fire featuring Farron Cousins and he made a really good point that I can't disagree with...  If the Republican party successfully squeezes Donald out of the nomination, it might not be a good thing for the Democratic party, and here's why - let's play out the scenario...

At the Republican Convention in Cleveland the RNC manages to tweak the rules and somehow take the nomination away from Donald Trump, who they universally despise and fear.  Then what?  Forget about the fact that their next in line is Ted Cruz.  Seriously - is he a better alternative?  But that's not my point.

If Donald steamrolls into Cleveland with the largest number of delegates and DOESN'T come out with the nomination, he will probably run as an Independent, which he has all along threatened to do if the Republican party doesn't treat him right.  And frankly, I wouldn't blame him.  However, what happens if Donald runs as an Independent?  Sure, the Democrat automatically wins since the Republican vote is split, but the Democrat is going to win anyhow.  The problem is that in this scenario, there will be a larger turnout of Conservative voters, and that will have a "yuuuuuge" impact down-ballot.

It's not good enough to just keep the White House in Democratic hands.  Democrats also have to make inroads into both the House and Senate.  No one is seriously postulating that Democrats could take back the heavily-gerrymandered House of Representatives, but I think it's entirely possible that Democrats can take back the Senate.  There are many more currently-Republican seats up for re-election this year, and some of them even in states which Obama won in 2012.  Couple that with the Scalia Supreme Court fiasco, and there is even some glimmer of hope of gaining a Super majority in the Senate if the Progressive turnout (with all its excitement) is high and the Conservative turnout is low.

For those reasons, I believe our best scenario in the General Election is Trump vs. Sanders.  Donald is a candidate whose favorables are very low and his un-favorables are very high.  The bulk of the Conservative community cannot get behind him because they see through his racist, misogynist, narcissistic excuse for a candidacy.  Will he coalesce the Republican party behind him?  Will he garner the Independents?  Of course not.  He has his White Supremacist base, and those isolationists who are ignorant enough to believe anything he says (as if Mexico will fund a border wall).  But with him at the top of the Republican ticket, I have to believe specifically-Republican turnout will be very low.

Conversely, with Sanders at the top of the ticket, with all of the excitement he has generated over the course of his campaign, with the Progressive community on the uprise, I firmly believe that Democratic turnout will be very high.  I do not believe that of Hillary Clinton.  In fact, with Clinton as the nominee, I think Progressive turnout will be extraordinarily low (unless she does something really smart like putting Bernie or Elizabeth Warren on her ticket as VP).  Her favorability ratings actually coincide with Donald's, albeit not as extreme.

In conclusion, I'm rooting for Trump for the Republican nomination, but Sanders for the Democratic nomination.  And maybe, just maybe, our country will start moving in the right direction, away from the plutocracy we have now.