Sunday, May 08, 2016

More Trumpery, Glenn Beck Prophecies & Progressive Discontent

"I joined the party of Lincoln and Reagan, but I cannot belong to the party of Trump." 

That's a quote from a guy named Michael from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who was commenting on a recent New York Times article about some of the leading figures in the Republican party (including Jeb Bush and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham) who are openly wrestling with the question of whether they can support Donald Trump for president.

Michael's quote pretty much sums up the current dilemma facing millions of troubled conservative Americans; he also goes on to say that if the race this fall comes down to a choice between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he'll do what he once would've considered unthinkable - cast a vote for Hillary.

After marveling at the appearance of the sun this morning, which I haven't seen in over a week, I began my Sunday by reading a front-page New York Times story about the deep rifts within the Republican party.

Chasms that have only widened with the harsh truth that a misogynist reality television star with a questionable record as a businessman who's never held elected office, or managed a municipal budget, and openly trolls the toxic waters of bigotry and anti-immigrant hysteria, is now the GOP front-runner.

Former Fox host Glenn Beck
Always insightful blogger The Field Negro made an interesting observation about the divisions within the GOP the other week.

FN observed that the almost pathologically conservative former Fox host Glenn Beck announced last week that Trump's ascension to the GOP presidential candidacy is an ideological death knell for the future of the Republican party - and brands it as the party of racism, intolerance and quasi-nationalist xenophobia.

As a frustrated Beck opined:

  "...the GOP is going to be completely racist, whether it's true or not, because of Donald Trump, you will never have another Republican president ever again."

As if determined to prove Beck's prophecy true, Trump wasted no time turning the focus of his lowest-common-denominator campaign style onto Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Trump's infidelities made 90's headlines 
Remarkably, the same man who's repugnant misogynistic statements about women have alienated conservative female voters and all but assured that Hillary would overwhelmingly win among women in this fall's election, has now publicly leveled criticism at Hillary for the way he claims she treated women with whom her husband Bill Clinton was accused of having had extramarital affairs.

Now remember this from a man who's been married three times and whose own infidelities have been well documented New York tabloid fodder for years.

Even though Bill Clinton was a widely popular president who presided over a prosperous period of economic growth, and his personal life has absolutely nothing to do with the major issues facing the American people, or the 2016 presidency.

But in today's Republican party, that kind of sleaze-bag personal politics plays well with Trump's audience.

A snapshot poll taken by YouGov back in 2015 showed that at least 50% or more of his supporters have a high school education or less.

That's not to in anyway denigrate anyone who has a high school education or less.

The primary voters Trump is winning represent only about 28% of the American electorate, and only about 30% of Americans voted in the last national elections.

A college degree is not needed to do the math.

It suggests that the bedrock of his support is not coming from the kind of broader more diverse American voter demographic reflective of the overall U.S population that's essential to winning a general election for the presidency.

A demographic that must include progressives frustrated with the status quo of the current state of the American political system.

Speaking of progressive issues...

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' recent victory in the Indiana primary may not stave off what's looking more and more like a fall slugfest between Clinton and Trump.

But there's little doubt Sanders' much-needed win reinforces the presence of a very large block of progressive voters still angry over issues like international trade deals like NAFTA which helped make it profitable for American corporations to ship millions of American manufacturing jobs from U.S. factories overseas to foreign nations.

Sanders' win in Indiana proves that Hillary is viewed by many voters as being linked to her husband's being an enthusiastic advocate of NAFTA during his two-terms as president - and it shows she could be vulnerable in parts of the country where, however unfairly, she's viewed as something of an easy scapegoat for the loss of manufacturing jobs even though it wasn't her that pushed NAFTA through Congress.

As Dave Johnson reported in an article for the Campaign For America's Future, Sanders' primary victory Indiana was fueled in part by lingering voter anger over the decision by United Technologies to have it's air-conditioning subsidiary Carrier announce in February that it would move it's factory from Indianapolis to Mexico and lay off the plant's American workers.

As Johnson reported, the move will also cripple the factory's local suppliers as well as small businesses in the area that provide an array of services to the employees and factory.

Viva Mexico! UT CEO Gregory Haye
The move of the Carrier factory to Mexico is taking place despite the fact that United Technologies earned $7.6 billion in profits in 2015, had enough cash on hand to spend $12 billion to buy back chunks of it's own stock to artificially manipulate the stock price, and lavished their top executives with generous pay packages; it's CEO made $10 million salary in 2014 and over $20 million in 2013.

But it's Viva Mexico for Carrier where the average manufacturing job pays $2.70 an hour; good for the top 2% and Wall Street investors, bad for average Americans.

Hillary certainly didn't sign NAFTA into law as First Lady, but as Indiana primary voters clearly demonstrated, there are disgruntled American voters who may well use their votes to vent their frustrations on her.

On this Mother's Day there's little doubt Hillary is desperately trying to figure out a strategy to counter the fact that her political opponents will be trying to leave her holding the bag for her husband's personal and professional missteps.

Is it sexist? Maybe, but all's fair in love and politics.

And this is certainly part of the uncharted territory of a former First Lady running for President while carrying the baggage for her husband's presidency and infidelity; though Trump claiming that Hillary "enabled' the latter is a bit much to pin on her.

Regardless, it's fair to say the words "For better or for worse, in sickness and in health" will certainly be put to the test in the Clinton household in the coming weeks and months as she faces even more Trumpery on the campaign trail.

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