I wish I hadn’t taken so much time off from writing this blog, because so much has been happening lately in the world of the presidential election.
Donald Trump is ahead in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
He seems to be losing some ground to Ted Cruz, who is basically “Trump Light”, and that doesn’t make the GOP look much better.
There seems to be a split in the GOP over Trump – one part is organizing an effort to make sure he doesn’t win the nomination, and the other part is folding like a house of cards and rushing to back him.
It’s creepy, seeing people who just a few weeks ago characterized Trump (correctly, in my opinion) as a dangerous blowhard, now basically saying, “Yes, Mr. Trump. Whatever you say, Mr. Trump.”
Don’t they realize how duplicitous that looks? Don’t the Republican voters see it?
And still Trump continues his outrageous behavior, inciting his base to assault protesters, refusing to show up at Republican debates (to debate Ted Cruz and John Kasich), and spouting ridiculous rhetoric that still explains nothing about how he is going to implement his crazy ideas.
His latest bout of crazy was today, when Trump released a statement – after losing the Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz – referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted” and stating that the Wisconsin results were due to a conspiracy between Cruz, “the Republican party bosses”, and conservative talk radio to “steal” delegates from Trump (“Republican Cruz Crushes Trump in Wisconsin, Says Party Will Unite”, Steve Holland, Reuters website, 4/6/2016).
Because, of course, Trump’s loss would have nothing to do with him insulting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (who is very popular with the tea party/reactionary crowd), coming off like an unprepared schoolyard bully on a conservative talk show (he was so unprepared he didn’t even know the host was a proponent of the “Never Trump” group), and taking several different positions on abortion in about a 72-hour period of time.
Wisconsin conservatives/right-wing reactionaries, who should be part of Trump’s base, turned on him because of these errors. But, of course, Trump can never take responsibility for anything, not even his own campaign mistakes.
The abortion flip-flops started when Trump stated there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions (“Trump Call to Punish Women for Illegal Abortions Sparks Firestorm”, Harper Neidig, The Hill website, 3/30/2016).
When pressed, of course Trump couldn’t say what form that would take, nor how he would ban all abortions.
What punishment is he wanting? Prison terms, hefty fines, public stoning??
Then he tried to fix this when he stated that “it’s a states rights issue”, after he met with the Republican National chairman Reince Priebus on March 31. He also stated that “it’s the law”, presumably referring to abortion being (barely) legal in most places.
In PA, abortion is technically legal – but not permitted under Medicare/Medicaid except in cases of life endangerment, incest, or rape, unless the woman pays extra. That basically makes it illegal for poor women.
Anyway, Trump then released another statement saying that he meant that it’s the law now, but when he is president, he will change that.
Because, presumably, Trump believes that presidential powers supersede the Supreme Court, and that he can just overturn Roe v Wade because he wants to.
He never explains what his actual plans are to implement his right-wing ideas, ever – and he excuses his silence by stating he doesn’t want everyone to know what he’s going to do.
He just wants people to trust him. Trust him, and he’ll fix everything.
75% of women do not like him, and will not vote for him. That’s the bright spot in all this.
But…when confronted with this fact, Trump stated it wasn’t true.
“No one respects women more than I do,” he crowed. He says this a lot. He Tweets this a lot. He thinks, I guess, if he keeps saying it, people will believe it. Another tactic that bullies use quite often.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past 2 months my mouth has dropped open in astonishment at the things Trump has said.
When asked about who he would consult regarding foreign policy matters, he replied
“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” (“Five Worst Right-Wing Moments This Week: Trump and His Proxies Take Leave of Reality”, Janet Allon, Alternet website, 3/19/2016)
He rambled a bit more and then added
“So I know what I’m doing. I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time, I’ll tell you who they are. My primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct about this stuff.” (Ibid)
Yeah, who needs information and education, when you have yourself and your “instinct”?
I would encourage you to read the whole Alternet article, because it details other interesting tidbits such as David Duke stating Trump makes Hitler look good, and Republicans trying desperately to spin the physical attacks on protesters by stating they are paid (um no, most of us will pay people for rides just to go and protest) and that the protesters are just like Vietnam War protesters (actually, I think a lot of them are better organized and somewhat braver than we were, and good for them!).
How that translates to the justification for punching and otherwise roughing up protesters is beyond me. I guess the Republicans were speaking to the now elderly people who used to shout “America, love it or leave it!” and called us “dirty hippies” in the 1960s and 70s.
In fact, one of the last people to assault a protester was a 78-year-old man named John McGraw. He sucker-punched a protester as that protester was being escorted out by the cops (“Trump Supporter Charged After Sucker-Punching Protester at North Carolina Rally”, Justin Wm. Moyer, Jenny Starrs, and Sarah Larimer, Washington Post online, 3/11/2016).
Ol’ reactionary John talked with the press after punching the guy, stating, “Next time we might have to kill him” (Ibid). He could say that because, you see, the cops jumped on the protester, and not on reactionary John.
The cops have now been suspended – for 3 to 5 days, big deal – for doing what they did (“5 Sheriff’s Deputies Disciplined After Assault at Trump Rally”, Jeremy Diamond, CNN website, 3/16/2016).
To put things in context, Trump has been saying in his speeches that he wants to punch people in the face, makes references to how protesters used to be carried out on stretchers, and offers to pay the legal fees of people who violently attack protesters (“Media Highlight Trump’s Role in Inspiring Violence at his Events”, Julie Alderman, Media Matters website, 3/11/2016).
It’s not clear whether or not Trump has paid reactionary John’s legal fees. I can’t find any information on that but I would guess not, as Trump would be bragging about it if he had.
Unfortunately, if you are brutally honest with yourself, Herr Trump is not a mystery. He is representative of what we have become as a nation.
We used to flatter ourselves with the myth that we stood for fair play, backed the underdog, rooted for the little guy.
Nowadays, nothing could be further from the truth. Face it, as a culture, we love bullies. It painfully obvious every where you look. In sports, for example, no one wants to see a great competition. We want to obliterate the other team, or at the very least humiliate them.
The way people drive now, is based on intimidation. Put on your turn signal to change lanes and that’s like waving a red flag at a bull. It means you want someone to cut you off.
When you are in a parking lot headed back to your car, how many times does someone follow you to take your spot? Although there may be several open spots nearby, they sit there, very impatient and righteously indignant because you’re not moving fast enough. God forbid they should have to walk another five yards.
As an aside, on more than one occasion when that has happened to me, I take my time pulling out my keys and opening the door. And when I do, I toss whatever I’m carrying into the car, close and lock it again, and walk off.
Are these people’s lives so pointless and devoid of any meaning that they have to intimidate someone else to feel good about themselves?
People in this country are not interested in “fairness” or doing the right thing. They want to win… By any means necessary. Nothing is off the table.
When Ted Cruz talks about making the desert “glow”, this from a guy who never put on a uniform for one day, he has no idea how supremely stupid, and incredibly short-sighted that is.
When Herr Trump talked about killing family members of Isis, he essentially declared open season on military families.
Tough talk., hot air. Or as they say in Texas, “Big hat, no cattle.”
But people eat it up. They love tough talk, but can they follow through?
The example is always is of the 300 pound guy that thinks if he shaves his head and grows a goatee, all that fat he’s been carrying for the last 15 years is suddenly magically transformed into rippling muscle, so he can talk tough all day long.
Trump’s and to a degree, Cruz’s campaign have been based on intimidation of the other candidates and a lot of tough talk that is imbecilic at best, insanely dangerous at it’s worst.
And the bullying and intimidation doesn’t stop there. Trumpenstein himself is passively encouraging his followers to “do something” if he isn’t awarded the nomination if he’s “close”. Not only that, but one of his longtime supporters is actually planning a so-called ‘day-of-rage” at the convention if Fearless Leader is not annointed ( wait… Annointed, sorry, that’s Cruz.). If things don’t go their way, he and his lackeys will be giving out the names, hotels, and room numbers of the delegates, and urges his people to “visit” them. Banana Republic bullshit at it’s best.
The rise of Trumpenstein is really not a mystery if you think about it. He’s just a reflection of what we’ve become.
Great comment, as usual!
Isn’t it awful that bullying is something to be admired? And that it’s hard to hear other voices when the bullies are screaming constantly?
“Day of rage” – honestly, these folks hate the left so much, but are not above using their warped interpretation of how/what we protest for their own ends. Republicans are all about “the rules”, yet they can’t stomach the fact that they still need 1,237 delegates to get the nomination! So their response will be to terrorize delegates.
Trump and Cruz are thugs, straight-up. But the good news is they’ve managed to galvanize the left, so there will be loads of push-back for their bullshit.
Like I often say, someone raised their children right. Heh. Now if someone will give me a ride to Ohio….
Hi Victoria, your blog was fabulous, true and correct. Thank You!!!
Was Trump telling it “like it is” when he was constructing racist fantasies about the president’s citizenship? Is he telling it “like it is” when he pretends to love the Bible and Ronald Reagan, checking all the boxes to qualify as a generic conservative? Is he telling it “like it is” when he calls immigrants “rapists” and criminals, despite evidence suggesting the exact opposite ?
No, he’s telling it how conservatives would “like it to be” — and he gets away with it the way they would like to.
He’s promising an America defined by white identity that forces all others to bow down. For a movement that has been fed subtle promises of such a world for decades, these outlandish declarations feel like truth, when they are nothing but a dangerous fantasy.
2. They’re opposing peace with the same dishonesty that led us into war.
The American politicians and pundits opposing the nuclear deal reached with Iran by the United States—along with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China—nearly all have two things in common: They supported the Iraq war, and they opposed negotiating with Iran in the first place.
All of the arguments that the right is making against the agreement — from the inflated 24 day inspection canard and the fiction that Iran will inspect itself to the nonsensical promise of a better deal — are easily debunked. And those arguments all lack the suggestion of any secret classified information of the kind that supposedly justified the Iraq invasion.
“The opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are doing fairly well in the media-pundit-sphere,” “But they’ve had an extremely difficult time making substantive arguments against the deal because according to almost all technical experts, it is about as tight and comprehensive and total a surveillance regime as we’ve ever seen. Ever.”
So the casual promise made by several Republican candidates to trash a deal achieved with our closest allies on day one should instantly disqualify them from occupying the White House.
3. They’re paralyzed by irrational promises.
Senator Ted Cruz demanded a government shutdown before Obamacare’s exchanges opened because, he said, if millions of Americans gained coverage, the law would never be repealed. Cruz failed, and while 15 million Americans now have insurance thanks to the law, he’s still demanding repeal.
Cruz’s primary opponents Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio recognize that running on the promise of stripping something valuable from a block of voters larger than that which will likely decide the election isn’t so smart. So they’ve released their own plans with the exact flaws that they revile in Obamacare.
“Is a party that brutalized Obamacare for taking insurance away from people who were happy with what they had really going to become the party that takes insurance away from millions of people who are happy with what they have?” . “Is a party that attacked Obamacare for raising premiums on people really going to raise premiums for millions?”
Klein says no. But how does the next Republican president, after nearly a decade of pandering to the hope of full repeal, sanctify Obamacare without dividing the party?
4. They’ve abandoned all pretense of serving anyone but the rich.
Nearly every Republican candidate for president is vowing to raise the retirement age.
“For the record, these proposals would be really bad public policy — a harsh blow to Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution, who depend on Social Security, often have jobs that involve manual labor, and have not, in fact, seen a big rise in life expectancy,”
Cuts to the public retirement guarantee are especially harmful to women — who live longer, are more likely to leave the workforce to care for family members, and inevitably are more dependent on Social Security.
The program continually polls as one of the most popular, if not the most popular thing that government does. So why would Republicans embrace drastic cuts in benefits for the poor rather than slight tax increases for the rich? The reasons are obvious.
“By a very wide margin, ordinary Americans want to see Social Security expanded. But by an even wider margin, Americans in the top 1 percent want to see it cut,” Krugman wrote. “And guess whose preferences are prevailing among Republican candidates?”
After a decade of the complete failure of conservative policies and unprecedented wealth inequality, the right cannot escape its urge to make the rich richer, no matter the costs.
5. They refuse to learn from failure.
In six years, we’ve seen unprecedented advances in fairness for the sick, the LGBTQ community, and those who’ve come to our country or been brought here to pursue a better life. The deficit is now manageable and health care cost predictions have shrunk, despite (or more likely due to) the historic expansion of coverage. We’ve made leaps in green energy, the regulation of Wall Street, and favoring diplomacy over war in resolving conflict. And in every arena in which we’ve made progress, Republicans promise a complete reversal of that progress.
Conservatives see in Donald Trump the realization of their worst fears: Someone who can capitalize on a base to which they’ve fed delusions for decades, and expose their promises and policies for the divisive frauds that they truly are.
Whether he succeeds or fails, he’s already helped to reveal that conservatism has become less a movement — and more a cry for help.
Thanks for reading my blog, Dan, and for commenting. I appreciate your input, as usual!