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David Brooks’ Must Read Column On Donald Trump

April 29, 2016

This is why I love newspapers so much.

David Brooks wrote the following in The New York Times.

The leaders of the Republican Party are … going down meekly and hoping for a quiet convention. They seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter.

The better course for all of us – Republican, Democrat and independent – is to step back and take the long view, and to begin building for that. This election – not only the Trump phenomenon but the rise of Bernie Sanders, also – has reminded us how much pain there is in this country. According to a Pew Research poll, 75 percent of Trump voters say that life has gotten worse for people like them over the last half century.

This declinism intertwines with other horrible social statistics. The suicide rate has surged to a 30-year high – a sure sign of rampant social isolation. A record number of Americans believe the American dream is out of reach. And for millennials, social trust is at historic lows. Trump’s success grew out of that pain, but he is not the right response to it. …

We’ll probably need a new national story. Up until now, America’s story has been some version of the rags-to-riches story … I don’t know what the new national story will be, but maybe it will be less individualistic and more redemptive. … We’ll probably need a new definition of masculinity, too. … The traditional masculine ideal isn’t working anymore. It leads to high dropout rates, high incarceration rates, low labor force participation rates. This is an economy that rewards emotional connection and verbal expressiveness. …

We’ll also need to rebuild the sense that we’re all in this together. … Maybe the task is to build a ladder of hope. … Trump will have his gruesome moment. The time is best spent elsewhere, meeting the neighbors who have become strangers, and listening to what they have to say.

Donald Trump Continues To Harm Republican Party With Racist Anti-Immigrant Rants

April 29, 2016

There is hardly a more harmful paragraph for the Republican Party in today’s press than the one appearing in The Los Angles Times.

After weeks of toying with efforts to tone down his rhetoric, Trump’s kickoff rally for California’s June 7 primary was more in line with the initial declaration of his candidacy last June, when he accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug dealers into the United States.

While the short-term thinkers are now in control of the Republican Party it is the ones with a real sense of politics and a long-term interest in their party who are left shaking their heads.   The damage being done to the GOP from the uneducated boobs is almost incalculable.

The nation’s changing demographics that are resulting in the rise of a new voter class of Hispanics and Latinos while the shrinkage of the white male voter base continues points to the total absurdity of Trump’s words.   In addition the simplicity of Trump supporters who have no ability to ponder the larger implications of such racist rhetoric makes for the true GOP party members to wonder what will happen to their party.

Just this week it was announced registration among Hispanic voters is skyrocketing.  The projection is that 13.1 million Hispanics will vote nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.7 million in 2008.

Donald Trump is a fool–but so are the uneducated who urge him on.

Is it any wonder that a new Pew Research survey finds 62% of Americans have an unfavorable impression of the Republican party compared to 33% who view the party favorably.

Graphics: Republican Convention’s Delegate Math Explained

April 28, 2016

The New York Times has some grand graphics which makes the Republican delegate process for the presidential nomination much easier to grasp.   Before getting into the round-by-round rules of the convention, let’s look at who those delegates are supporting. Mr. Trump currently has around a 400 delegate lead on Sen. Ted Cruz with about 500 delegates remaining.  Please note the website link provides a much better view for bound and unbound delegates.  I wanted to post this series of graphics as they are well done and make the point of how hard the road ahead may be for the GOP at their convention.

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When the 2,472 delegates to the Republican National Convention gather in Cleveland July 18, almost all of them will be bound to one of the presidential candidates.

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For a second ballot, delegates from 36 states, territories and Washington, D.C., become fully unbound. Here’s where the jockeying at a convention would truly start.

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Round three in balloting at the GOP convention.

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Heavy-Hitter GOP Member Says Ted Cruz Is “Lucifer In The Flesh”

April 28, 2016

One does have to respect those who speak from experience.

“Lucifer in the flesh”, former Speaker of the House John Boehner said of Ted Cruz in one of his most sane moments of clarity.

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” 

Ted Cruz Smells Of Desperation

April 27, 2016

I watched the drama slowly–almost painfully so–unfold today in Indiana when Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced his vice-presidential running mate.

For the first half-hour I sincerely wondered if Carly Fiorina was actually going to show up on the stage.  In one of the worst staged political events this year Cruz talked for over 30 minutes and rambled on in his overly theatrical way to the point that I suspect most watching turned the channel.

But since I love a great train wreck I continued to watch.  And when Fiorina finally arrived on stage it took her only a few minutes to break into a song.

I kid you not.

Some older folks might think it cute, and it was clearly different.  But it should be recalled that even Sarah Palin skipped the talent portion when introduced as a vice-presidential pick.

I get the need for Cruz to find a way to change the topic following a devastating primary election night when he failed to win even one county in any of the five states in contention.  But to make such a presumptuous move as naming a running mate with an even more troubled candidacy than his own makes for a spiraling-down narrative than had he done nothing.

Shaking up the news cycle with something other than a laugh line is a laudable goal.   The Cruz campaign did need to do something that would make news and at the same time have credibility.   But what they attempted today was not only poorly staged and executed but will result in scorn and late-night talk show laughs.

Meanwhile Donald Trump remains unscathed from this goofy attempt by Cruz to change the message.

About the mid-portion of 2015 I am reminded that Time magazine tried to spin the notion the many GOP presidential candidates made for a most impressive list for the nation to ponder.  Surely there had to presidential timber among the group.

Today I recall that article and place it right along with the column by George Will who wrote the morning before the Berlin Wall fell that such a thing was not in the cards.   How wrong we often get the world staring us in the face.

But I can state tonight with total clarity and assurance that the smell of desperation that drove Cruz to the podium today will not serve him well.

A damaging reaction will follow May 3rd.    Voters are wiser than to fall for such smarmy attempts to get votes.

The New Yorker Cover Honors Prince

April 27, 2016

Simply the best tribute I have seen over the past week.

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Republicans Sowed Anti-Intellectualism, Now Reaping Results With Donald Trump

April 27, 2016

We have heard the cry for decades from conservative Republicans.  Every college professor is a liberal who only wishes to indoctrinate students.  Education is not to be valued, and when it comes to matters such as Common Core there is no depths to partisanship that will not be taken for a political end.  Science is not to be seen as  facts but instead as only notions that can be swatted away if they are found to be uncomfortable.

Global warming, for instance is one of the most critical issues facing our nation.  There is almost unanimous agreement among scientists that it is man-made and the problems associated with it are rising alarmingly.  Every year we read about the record heatwaves, or cold spells along with catastrophic storms.  Yet due to funding from multi-billionaires like the Koch Brothers the true movers and shakers within the camp of Republican candidates continue to say they believe global warming is not man-made.

What we have witnessed over the years is how an ever-larger growing number of Republicans have become the party of anti-intellectuals.  In line with this the one slice of polling data that continues to stun and concern me is how many conservatives think  governing experience is not necessary to be elected president.

To put this crazy notion into a historical context it needs to be stated that if Donald Trump wins the White House, it will be the first time in American history that voters choose a candidate with no political or military experience.

According to the Pew Center, 44 percent of Republican voters say they are less likely to support a candidate for president who has significant Washington experience, more than double the percentage of Republicans who said the same in 2007.   While there can be an argument made for why voters are disturbed with the way Congress and  Washington have worked over the past decade it is not logical to conclude that the only way forward is with the election of someone with no sense of governing or with any background in domestic or international policy making.

Yet, if we are to believe the polls, and primary state after primary state are showing the same trends as Republican voters embracing more fully the anti-intellectual side.

Since 2000 I have argued conservative Republicans are taking  advantage of lower educated portions of this nation in an attempt to dumb down the electorate.  Recall in 2012 when not one single Republican presidential candidate in the debates could stand with science and evolution.   While I know full well the corporate boardroom type Republican shrinks in horror at such nonsense as they know the value to the nation of an educated populace being required to meet the competition from the world, it is also true that too many bumpkins in the heartland and southern states are easy prey to anti-intellectual thought.

At a time when more and more Republicans work to undermine education funding be it for K-12 or colleges the fact remains more broad-minded thinking needs to take place in our classrooms.   I realize the push to dumb-down is everywhere with social media and television leading the way.  Literacy, math, science, and history takes a beating everyday.  In place of what should be a contest of ideas in the nation there is instead the blathering’s of Donald Trump.

As a lover of history it is not lost on me that a real core of our past comes from the notion that the “common man”  mentality can lead the nation.  The 19th century is showered with this concept.  The whole argument was that hard work and perseverance would allow any person to rise to the highest office of the nation.  I often use Abraham Lincoln as the personification of this idea.   But what must not be forgotten is that the men and women of that century also held to the idea that education mattered.   Majorities emerged that revered the understanding about the need for education.

Sadly over the past 20 years Republicans have often been the source for undermining education.  We have allowed to slip away the idea of how important education is to make for better informed citizens.  When we read of polls that show majorities of Republicans in state after state fail to see a need for an informed, educated, and experienced leader to reside in the White House we can only make one conclusion.

Republicans who sowed disdain for education are reaping the results with Donald Trump.

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