Sunday, August 09, 2015

Playing the Trump Card

If you didn't see the debates, I'm sure you've heard all about them by now. For days before, all I heard was how Donald Trump was going to be the comic relief; not to be taken too seriously while the corporate media barely was able to hide both its puzzlement as to how Trump could be leading the pack of these prepackaged "empty suits" so handedly (he was leading with 27% pre-debate; close to 3 times that of his closest opponent) and their contempt for "The Donald".

While I don't think the gloves were on in the first place (given the not-so-subtle negative buildup and steady innuendos), they were definitely off by the time of the debate; while the other candidates were asked mostly policy type questions, the three Fox moderators went after Trump's personal life and past statements; some from years ago. Now, I will agree that in some instances personal questions are important since they go to character of the individual, however in the Donald's case, it was almost all personal. It seemed clear that the intent of the moderators was to make Trump look like an amateur up against the professionals, which in some ways I guess he was.

Trump defended past remarks---some made in jest or off the cuff---with all the "in your face" finesse we've come to expect from New York developer. Trump made it crystal clear that he doesn't suffer fools gladly. Meanwhile, the other candidates were asked a few character defining questions, but for the most part, seemed to get off light in that respect. Most tried to pretend they weren't professional politicians or were mere humble servants of the working class. All, without exception, touted their political accomplishments, which is certainly fair enough (a few carefully omitted the part about undertaking their newly found "Man of the People" exploits while planning their presidential run. But you know what? That's just politics. All politicians prestaged their races with calculated acts to make it look like they're not a part of the political class. They talk about sponsoring bills to do this or prevent that without mentioning they never made it out of committee or were never voted on by the House and so forth. Others like to talk about "taking the lead" for some cause or another, when all they did was lend their name (if that) or happened to mention it in a talk or speech. Of course, all of them love to take credit for popular projects they either had little to do with or just happened to fall in their lap.

I remember back around 2001, after spending months working to preserve a badly needed bus route which was used by seniors and low income individuals, an opponent of mine stepped in and took credit for the effort right after the election to the amazement of the other nine or so individuals on the board; some of whom never even had heard of him (TARC, the quasi-government transportation company shot it down anyway, citing insufficient usage). He went on to try and take credit on a neighborhood drainage issue I had had spent a year or so working on. I think the only ones who bought into it was his core cronies! But, as I said, that's just politics and that's what most of these characters were doing. At least Trump was honest. No spin. No "PC". When he liked someone else's answer, he acknowledged it. How wonderfully unscripted!

The big take away from the debate was that except for a few of the candidates, most of these individuals looked plastic. A few did stand out. Notably Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee with some outstanding comments (though Dr. Carson's nervousness showed through), while a few others, including Chris Christie, Rick Sanatorium and Kentucky's Rand Paul didn't do themselves any favors. Christie and Paul came across combative (some critics were calling Paul "Napoleonic" presumably because of his size and almost angry tone. He would be better served by relaxing more and showing more of his personality). Christie too was competitive, which, while people like his straightforwardness, seemed more spiteful than explanatory (which conjured up images of the big traffic foul-up undertaken by his staff, and allegedly with at least his tacit knowledge if not approval, over an unintentional slight by another politician. Vindictiveness never looks good in the light). As for Rick Sanatorium, he just seemed unprepared and ill at ease, which is not what you want in a potential candidate. Florida Governor Jeb Bush, he had a few good remarks as well. However, his lack of charisma shined through as did his Establishment demeanor (there's been some persistent rumors that somehow Jeb Bush or someone on his staff were given an advanced copy of at least a few of the questions. I suspect that will remain unproven. Nevertheless, it's seems that Bush is the Establishment's "boy". The rest, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and company reminded me of the old Second City comic team, "The Not Really for Prime Time Players".

Yet with all of this, the pressure was on to make Trump look unstable, volatile, and not a team player (by that, I mean the "go along to get along" sort as former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn used to say when talking about backroom politics). When Trump fired back, the Fox mediators tried to make it look like he was too unpredictable to be president. When the candidates were asked if they'd support the party nominee, everyone raised their hand except Trump. Moderator Brett Baier jumped on that and kept repeating the question as if Trump had admitted to committing some major crime (I guess in the eyes of the oligarchs who run the media and this country, his response could be viewed as crime). Trump made it clear that if he significantly disagreed with whoever the nominee was, he'd at least consider a third party run. Even after the debate, Trump wasn't invited to a follow-up event and now, apparently, one of his campaign managers has decided to leave. There's is no doubt that this kind of pressure isn't for everyone, and you can bet that the media and power elites are going to try to find Trump's "Achilles heel' anywhere and anyhow they can.

Think about this for a minute. Here's someone who has more politicians who owe him favors than he owes them. He's also one of the very few individuals who could largely, if not totally, underwrite his entire campaign. He is also someone who is not willing to play
the usual political game of making promises he knows he cannot and never intends to keep. He's not "politically correct". He's saying what the American People have been saying all along. He's not letting those who control both political parties (as well as the media) dictate his responses the way they do just about everyone else. Trump isn't beholden to the powerbrokers. And despite how desperate the media tries to manufacture a negative image of Trump, he continues to not just lead in the polls, but is gaining momentum. That has to send icy cold shivers down the spines of the 1% the way another rich blue blood did to his fellow aristocrats nearly 75 years ago. I am, of course, talking about Franklin Roosevelt (one could even make a good argument for JFK who turned his back on the political establishment) who was labeled a "traitor to his class" by the Wallstreet elite of his time and more than a few newspaper editors.

So, what's the bottom line here? I think it's quite simple really. The American People know that our political and economic system is utterly broken despite all this "rainbows and sunshine" these candidates and the media are trying to blow up our collective rear ends. Bush talked about "raising up" Americans while Huckabee talked about "restoring" American values. You can't climb a ladder with missing rungs or rotten legs. You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you can't afford shoestrings---or even boots. Mega corporations like the kind which own Washington get rewarded for moving jobs overseas and slapped on the back for finding creative ways to steal from taxpayers or avoid paying their fair share of taxes while mom and pop shops are either regulated out of business or undercut by cookie cutter stores.

The Average American is struggling to make ends meet, and many aren't succeeding even by working two or three jobs. When adjusted for inflation, Americans are make less---far less---than they did in the 1970's. Young adults are burden with school debts that some may
never be able to pay off while the academic performance of American high school students continues to nosedive. Welcome to the Machine children. We hope you adjust to your serfdom quickly. We have a tax system which is out of whack and grossly unfair. Seniors are struggling and Obamacare isn't working. Crime is rampant. America is and has been invaded by individuals coming here illegally, not to become citizens or avoid persecution, and most definitely with no interest in integrating into the American Melting Pot or even learning our language (expecting Americans, instead, to learn theirs). Despite a decade or more of public outrage over illegal immigration by the majority of Americans, politicians of either party even bother to give us lip service anymore.

That's another point made by "The Donald". If it wasn't for him, the GOP wouldn't even have acknowledged illegal immigration. At least now they will have to pretend to care and offer up a make believe "solution". We are engaged in two wars that we shouldn't be involved in; particularly Iraq, which was conceived of and carried out as a bold face lie for the sake of "punishing" Saddam Hussein and to acquire control over Iraqi oilfields; such is the ignorance, arrogance and callousness of the ruling elite. Meanwhile, we find ourselves wanting to extend "political correctness" to our enemies while at the same time inviting them with open arms into this country and cater to their every demand lest they don't like us anymore (you would think hate filled chants of "Death to America. Death to all Americans" would be a clue as to their feelings), and all the while, we've been transformed from the democratic republic of our Founding Fathers to an oligarchy with a neo-police state to enforce it. Thus far only a small handful of countries have escaped this new version of WTO, IMF and Federal Reserve inspired corporatism (another term for fascism as defined by its founder, Benito Mussolini). The most noteworthy of which are China and Russia (wouldn't it be ironic if our Cold War bogeyman, Russia, proves to be the very nation most capable of saving America from our new fascist overlords?).

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air. He's giving voice to what America believes. He's not politically correct. He's not prepackaged. Yes, he's part of the Establishment, at least in some ways, while he firmly stands outside the fantasy world of Washington's Beltway. Trump, at the very least, energizes the country. Will he win the nomination? In a word, no. The power elite who control the election process and the levers of power will never let a potential reformer anywhere near the Oval Office. Some of his less "extreme" ideas may be incorporated, at least into the rhetoric but rest assured, the powerbrokers will make sure their chosen one will be selected just as they will on the Democratic side. "The Donald" can attempt a third party run, but remember the two parties previously came together when third party candidate Ross Perot ran so successfully to make it impossible for no future independent or third party candidate to ever again challenge their cozy rigged system. So if nothing else, Donald Trump has reminded the American People of just how far removed the political system is from the ideals of our Founding Fathers and what it's going to take to restore our America.

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