Days of Change

One Month-ish To Go

September 30, 2016
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I think most of us are gutting out the next 6 (5 and a half) weeks until election day. At the same time, I’m not happy about the reality of either nominee becoming president. Conservatism is probably dead with either choice.

I’m hoping for gridlock. It’s what makes this country work the best.

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Party Over Personality

September 29, 2016

Gary Johnson is a terrible candidate. The good news is that I’m not obsessed with Gary Johnson the person. However, it is pretty clear that Johnson won the Libertarian nomination without a professional campaign structure to prepare him for debates and interviews with the mainstream media, which are basically debates for non-Democrats.

Back in 1992, Ross Perot was peppered with questions until the media realized he was taking votes away from George H. W. Bush. A lot of Perot’s answers amounted to “I don’t care” because he was a one issue candidate. Now, Johnson couldn’t say he didn’t care about Aleppo or world leaders, but Libertarianism wouldn’t accept the premise of those questions anyway.

I’ve already written about Johnson’s Aleppo questions. As far as the latest “who’s your favorite world leader?” I don’t understand why a candidate would rank foreign leaders before an election anyway. Libertarians wouldn’t be obsessed with foreign leaders anyway, since their interaction with them should be limited if you aren’t starting wars all over the world.

The real problem is that Johnson sees his largest voting block as Millennials either in the military (he has a huge chunk of that group) or Bernie Sanders supporters, or both. He has made concessions to Black Lives Matters, Global Warming and other lefty issues to  get them. Trump and his minions should be thanking Johnson rather than crapping on him worse than the Clinton campaign.

So, why would a Republican vote for Johnson? I’d say a conservative is more likely instead. Trump picked up steam by going further to the right, to the point of fascism, on issues like border security, trade and even torture. All of his answers involved Trump’s personal intervention and dictatorship. Now that he has the nomination, Trump has modified his campaign into a more Republican-friendly, Pat Buchanan social conservatism and cultural populism. It’s a continuation of a strong president and a weak Congress, except there’s a good chance those two bodies will end up at war.

Now, I’m willing to give the Libertarian Party a try, even with Johnson at the helm. With both parties against him, he’ll fulfill the dream of limited government that doesn’t pass a law to deal with the problem of people who want the government to do everything. That alone will increase freedom and spur growth. Even if it doesn’t, the other two parties smell like they passed their expiration date.

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Personality Over Party

September 28, 2016
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Pop Quiz: What Party did Ross Perot run under? Also, which party’s presidential primary did Donald Trump fail to win? Hint: the answer to both questions is the same.

The Reform Party was essentially created for Ross Perot to run for president in 1992. Perot ran again in 1996, to much less fanfare. By 1999, just about anyone was running for Reform Party president, including Trump, who dropped out early, and Pat Buchanan, who won and was blamed for being too close to Al Gore in Florida ballots in 2000.

In 1980, Reagan’s iconoclastic campaign bothered some of the Rockefeller wing of the GOP and John Anderson ran as a result. In some ways, it’s been a long time since a candidate came out of nowhere. Donald Trump already tried the third party route and failed, so he planned a hostile takeover of an existing party.

I’ve already written about how Trump has captured the imagination of the fringes of the Republican Party.Over the last few elections, the party leadership has worked against overly conservative, fiscally responsible Republicans. The reason it worked is that those candidates were selling the wrong thing. A large part of the people voting in Republican primaries wanted a return to the Reagan era where you could be in a union and still vote for a Republican and stupid things like gender identity and police hatred were decidedly at bay.

The last Republican to win the presidency was George W. Bush. He was the son of a president, from a prominent political family and was the governor of Texas. In 2000, establishment candidates like John Kasich and Dan Quayle didn’t even make tit o the primaries. It became a contest between John McCain and Bush. Bush played dirty, but mostly behind the scenes. He also ran as a sort of average guy you’d like to have a beer with. He admitted he wasn’t perfect and that faith (and his marriage) turned his life around.

Bush had the pedigree to satisfy the establishment, the life story to satisfy the evangelicals and a message that made him palatable to independents. He promoted “compassionate conservatism” which ultimately meant more government money. He let Republicans down, but they were comparing him to the legend of Ronald Reagan.

The problem with Donald Trump is that he is unique, and unique does not a party make. When this election is over, about 90% of Congress will stay the same. Only a fraction of the Republicans need to join with Democrats to stop Donald Trump’s undefined agenda. Executive Orders can be overridden. I expect he will align closely to the GOP agenda and people will start to miss George W. Bush again.

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Trump Stunk Up the Joint

September 27, 2016
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The last debate in the primaries Trump participated in involved 4 people. Monday was his first one-on-one debate and it did not go well for him.

In a broad sense, this is somewhat meaningless. I am painfully aware of results a month after he first debate of 2012. In true indifference fashion, Trump could still win despite the debate performance. However, he will need to do better. Doing better probably isn’t calling Hillary a murderer who can’t keep a man, but a lot of his supporters are making the case for that anyway.

Supposedly, Obama was pulled aside by his team and told he sucked at the first debate because Obama actually thought he won. Since I’m sure Trump thought he won as well, I’m wondering if his two puppeteers Jared Kushner and Kellyanne Conway can get him to act like a serious candidate for the next debate. Given the town hall format, I’m dubious.

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Clean Defeat

September 26, 2016
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About a month ago, I decided to lay off on the Trump bashing to focus on the Clinton bashing. I didn’t exactly endorse Trump, but I did use the “binary choice” thing that Ted Cruz used his week. Ultimately, it is a binary choice. There’s about a 99.99% chance that either Trump or Clinton will be the next president. Early anti-Trumpers kept talking about some candidate like Mitt Romney to draw enough votes to beat Donald Trump. The fact is that the opponents of Trump needed a better battle plan back in the primaries.

The fact is that of the conspiracy theories around a potential Trump loss, the most realistic was that Republicans would stay home in sufficient numbers that Hillary would win. In fact, Sean Hannity made a point of shaming any conservative who thought Trump was a lousy candidate.

Accidental or not, this ends up being an effective Trump strategy. Force the people who identify as Republicans to give up and vote for him, even though his supporters are the first ones to stay home and let Clinton and Obama win. Projection is a big part of Alinsky and Donald Trump tactics. I think Cruz decided that by endorsing Trump weakly a the last minute, he would not get the blame for what looks like a Trump defeat.

Unlike Trump supporters, conservatives believe in the free market. He made it right to dead even with Clinton. Any change his his loss, not the blocking of his gains. When he loses, it will be a clean loss and we can get back to reality.

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Hero of the Stupid

September 25, 2016
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One thing I found over the last year is that a surprising number of Hillary Clinton supporters from 2008 who became PUMA, voted for McCain and opposed Obama were some of the most ardent supporters of Donald Trump. This is actually not surprising. Trump’s greatest support comes from the self-immolation wing of the Republican Party. They are “sick and tired” of “business as usual” and want to burn the whole thing down because it is all corrupt. I can see why recent Democrats, the Tea Party, outsourced workers and white supremacists don’t have any connection to the GOP.

Chris Matthews of Hardball no-fame often said that Republicans fall in line and Democrats fall in love. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, many Democrats are not in love with her anymore. In the case of Republicans, the establishment needed someone for the alt-Republicans to love, and it wasn’t going to be Jeb Bush.

An employee of the Howard Stern program, “Stuttering John” Melendez, was dubbed hero of the stupid by the show because he was representative of the stupid. In reality, Stern is the hero of the stupid, because he’s the one stupid people tune in for. Donald Trump is the hero of the disgruntled voter, mostly because his talking points are right out of the comment sections of the internet where his supporters have spent the last decade.

So far, much of the Republican Party regulars have fallen in line. Trump worshipers can believe that the elites are so scared of Trump they’d rather have Hillary, but the people at the top already know that Trump can work for them. It took Kellyanne Conway mere weeks to Svengali Trump’s ass. Imagine how effective she will be whispering in his ear every day at the White House while his kids are back at their no-show jobs.

Getting the fringes of the Republican Party (including the racists, who can’t be courted but whose votes still count) to come together is like herding cats and Trump is wearing a tuna and catnip suit. The real work in the next few weeks for the GOP establishment is to get actual Republicans to hold their noses and vote for their puppet.

In my case, winner stink is worse than loser stink.

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It’s Already Over

September 24, 2016
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Indifference 2016 is about a lot of things, but for me, it has to do with the fact that dire warnings about a Clinton presidency ring false to me. One blogger ghoulishly brings up Flight 93 as a life (Trump) or death (Clinton) decision about America falling into a chasm of ruin.

Dude, we’re already there. The apocalypse happened in 2012, when the Republicans had a highly qualified candidate up against a moron who caused the Tea Party to come into existence just to slow him down. While somewhat effective in Congressional elections, that group failed to get Romney elected. Romney was proven right again and again after the fact, about Benghazi, about Russia and even about Obamacare.

There are two reasons why a Donald Trump win is a loss. First, Hillary is a horrible candidate. She’s unpleasant enough to begin with. She lost against Obama in 2008, she meets with people who donate to a foundation run by her family and she’s been fighting a battle about e-mail that has nothing to do with e-mail. IN a CNN debate in 2012, the moderator “corrected” Mitt Romney about the reasons behind the Benghazi attack when the White House story was bullshit and the e-mails only serve to prove that Clinton and Obama knew it was bullshit that night. That alone could have cost Romney the election.

In the case of Donald Trump, he won because the GOP decided to hoard political capital by not fighting Obama on health care, the debt or immigration in what could only be an attempt to rile up the base to vote for Republicans. Apparently, voters had it and voted for the most flamboyant outsider, sort of like what happened in 2012 except there were too many flamboyant figures. If he pulls off a win against Clinton somehow, it will be in spite of himself.

The GOP built a runoff pond and kept trying to shore it up as they crapped on their own base for decades. It finally exploded and the result is a river of raw sewage this election season. Unlike so many prognosticators who follow a failed prediction of the end with a new prediction, I stand by the fact that it’s been the end for years.

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Tipping the Scales

September 23, 2016
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I didn’t start out as a Ted Cruz supporter. Cruz is a Senator and that makes him less of a fit as a president. Scott Walker had the resume, but he didn’t have a forceful personality. Donald Trump is all personality, something I don’t like. Cruz was better than that.

Cruz gave his endorsement of Donald Trump today, citing the legal obligation argued by the supporters of Trump, a man involved in 3400 lawsuits. Cruz also made the Hitler vs. Satan argument that Hillary is worse and then picked the less insane Trump proposals as strong conservative plans.

So, Trump Twitter (which is quickly becoming the closed site Gab) is cheering the news from a guy who they wanted to destroy two months ago. I guess Trump opponents are supposed to lament with the gnashing of teeth and all that. I think Cruz was in a similar situation to Sarah Palin. He wasn’t going anywhere politically and supporting Trump is the right decision.

It’s also pragmatic. If Trump can win, it will still be close. Cruz’s endorsement as the final push begins means that he sees Trump as malleable and trainable enough to be president, given the right advisers. Plus, whatever he can add to the vote (especially in Utah and other lagging red states) will add to his status in the party. He said to vote your conscience, and I believe his is clear.

However, I think Trump is a complete disaster and will kill what I want in the Republican Party. If he loses, Hillary will most likely win, but I can vote for Gary Johnson with a clear conscience. Obama and Trump both want to use big government to fix everything instead of letting nature or the free market take its course.

Over the last month, Trump was able to get close to victory. He is already falling behind Hillary Clinton again. I, like the majority of Republicans who did not vote for Trump in the primaries, will not lose him the election. I chose to be even-handed in my comments over the last month. In that time, Trump became a viable candidate. If he loses, nothing I do would change that. So now, I will heed the words of Ted Cruz at the convention. I will vote up and down the ballot for Republicans, but just not at the top.

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Debate Clown Count Down

September 22, 2016
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In less than a week, either Donald Trump gets beclowned or Hillary Clinton looks like a clown. Oddly enough, the bar is lowered for both. Trump only has to stick to a script, but it will have to be in his head as help is not allowed in a debate. Whatever else Clinton has to do, most of it involves her engaging in normal conversation and staying vertical for two hours. Can she drink enough water while not having to leave for an emergency?


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Trump’s Foundations

September 21, 2016
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In the realm of binary choices, Clinton vs. Trump is kind of a doozy. Assuming you don’t like Donald Trump as a candidate and don’t want to vote for him, Trump supporters want you to vote against Hillary because she is worse. The majority of Republicans will likely do that. Given the numbers, half of Trump supporters would have chosen someone else for the nominee and are actually voting against Hillary.

While some people (let’s call them deplorables) either spin bad news about Trump or just don’t care, other potential Trump voters have to brace themselves or each bit of bad news. Lately, it’s been about the Trump foundation.

In this case, the Foundation is a non-profit that Donald Trump seeded with some money, but has mostly operated without any donations from him for many years. At the same time, when Trump or his companies have been required to make a donation in lieu of a court settlement, it was made with Trump Foundation money. In the cases where it was illegal, fines have been paid. Of course, this is why the government eventually fines punitively. People try to get away with shit so often and succeed that only a painful lesson will change behavior.

Now, the deplorable response is that either 1)the media made it up /left stuff out or 2)Trump is a smart businessman and found a way to make charity work for him. The deplorables are the lucky ones. Other potential Trump voters have to remind themselves that Hillary is the Devil and Trump is the alternative. So, when someone who’s voting for Trump complains about him, the deplorables should really leave them alone. Otherwise, they may go crazy and vote for Hillary.

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