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Bamboozled No More! Trump Appeal

 

The Secret Service has done a disgraceful job in protecting President Obama and the First Family. It seems like more white guys have jumped the White House gates than any other time in US history. So much so, the news reports read like really bad versions of the Olympics.

In the midst of all the Election madness, I find a sweet irony that Trump is the only candidate who actually deserves the Secret Service’s service.

Scary as it is, we must acknowledge this Trump guy has appeal. Every time he speaks he appears intoxicated by the sound of his own voice. And this creates a chain effect. His supporters/followers are intoxicated by this guy who is intoxicated by his own voice.

They believe him and worse, they want to vote for him. Trump is a player and an illusionist. He is the guy/that guy who knows how to stir people up, and convert their fears, doubts and insecurities into political currency.

Trump reminds me of the kid who spikes the punch at the prom. The result: lots of fighting and name calling followed by confusion, hangovers, irritability, and memory loss. Looks like a case of PDT (Political Delirium tremens) Trump style.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

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A Twist of JP Lime: Super Tuesday, Super Trump

 

Super Trump wins Super Tuesday

With races in eleven states on the line, a large contingent of the primary electorate made their voice heard in yesterday’s Super Tuesday elections. While some results did vary – Virginia and Oklahoma were particularly contentious on the Republican side, while Hillary won my home state Massachusetts by less than 2 points – one theme was undeniable: Super Trump is in full effect, quite likely with no way of slowing him down in his path to the GOP nomination.

Super Trump versus The World

The Donald jumped out to an early lead on the night with wins in all of the first three states to close, Georgia, Virginia, and Vermont. In Vermont he found himself closely followed by John Kasich, whose moderate conservatism found an audience with New England voters in Massachusetts (18%, second place) as well as New Hampshire (15%, second place). But the Ohio governor gained little traction anywhere else and both he and Ben Carson are expected to drop out of the race at some point this week. The real question to be answered for the field of GOP candidates after Tuesday’s races is what chance Cruz and Rubio each stand as the primary process continues. Cruz was able to pull in victories with 43% in his home state of Texas and 34% in neighboring Oklahoma, while Marco Rubio looked like he’d end the night with no first-place finishes but then took Minnesota late with nearly 37%. Rubio was overwhelmingly seen as the biggest loser on the night and perhaps the primary process as a whole as Super Trump has successfully and obviously divided the conservative movement from the inside, a movement that stood proudly behind Rubio as their next shining star a year ago. In his non-celebration press conference Tuesday night, Trump referred to himself as a “unifier”, one who has mobilized and coalesced the party in a way that hasn’t been seen in 20 years. Meanwhile, conservative pundit S. E. Cupp spent the night eloquently decrying the destruction of her party, as she and other panelists continuously analyzed the rift within the modern GOP. Rubio actually fared ok in the night’s opening round, grabbing a lot of ground with Virginia’s college-educated crowd, while Trump seemed to pull the state’s blue-collar, evangelical territory held by Huckabee in the 2008 race. But Rubio saw significant setbacks in Alabama and Texas where he failed to reach the 20% threshold and thus receives no delegates from those states. With his home state’s primary on March 15, though, and high expectations in some of the northern Midwest states, the Florida senator won’t be bowing out anytime soon.

Super Trump versus Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz added a victory in the Alaska caucus late on Tuesday night putting him in first place in three Super Tuesday states, as well as the initial Iowa caucus. But if one leaves out the huge cache of delegates that he won in his home state of Texas (57), Cruz’s numbers from last night don’t look that different from Rubio’s. He was beaten by Trump all across his “southern firewall”. In Arkansas he managed to keep the race close, but in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia he lost by an average of 15 points. The harshest reality for Cruz has to be the loss of the “outsider” identity he built up over the last four years. The outsider issue was a strong theme from Super Tuesday as exit polls consistently displayed that a) a majority in many states want someone from outside the Washington establishment and b) Trump is their guy. Giving his celebration speech from The Redneck Country Club (real name) in Stafford, TX, Cruz called for the other candidates to unite behind him in a joint effort to overcome the Great Comb-Over. Former Jeb Bush aide, Tim Miller, and others have also begun an Anti-Trump Super PAC entitled Our Principles PAC but I imagine both this and the combining of forces are too little too late to slow the momentum of a wildly popular Trump.

The Democratic Race

With only two candidates still in the race (sorry Martin O’Malley) and a far less dominant front-runner, the Democratic Super Tuesday races painted a different picture. Clinton pretty much swept the South, winning by 40-50 points in Alabama and Georgia and 30 points in Tennessee, Texas, and Arkansas. But Sanders managed wins in 4 states last night to Clinton’s 7, getting a 10-pt win in Oklahoma, 20-point wins in Minnesota and Colorado, and a near landslide in Vermont. And in my beloved Massachusetts it was a nearly even split, with Clinton winning 50.2% – 48.6%, amounting to two more delegates than Sanders.Can Bernie beat Super Trump?

The biggest question for Sanders going forward is not whether or not to continue his campaign but rather what his strategy will be. In a savvy move, Sanders addressed a fervent Vermont crowd at 7:30 PM EST, before the polls in the first set of states had even closed but at the high-point of the night for his campaign as he dominated in his home state. And though his speech seemed to have slight notes of defeat as he spoke about the importance of his campaign not being a win in November but a political revolution, the message was anything but concessional. With record-setting fundraising numbers ($42M in February) and a diehard contingent Sanders has vowed to run his campaign right through to the July convention. So how will he fare in the industrial Midwest and on the West Coast later in the primary process? He will need significant gains if he hopes to win the nomination but the grassroots enthusiasm that has defined his campaign begs a difficult question if he doesn’t: Will Bernie Sanders run as a third-party Independent in November? The move would certainly divide the Democratic electorate in the general election, practically ensuring a Trump victory. If he were to join up as Hillary’s Vice President the party conversely would be united between the Clinton liberal base and the Sanders grassroots element but doing so would fly in the face of so much that Sanders stands against – Super PAC’s, Washington insider corruption, etc. – that such a union is likely impossible. Also important to note this morning, especially for Sanders supporters, is Clinton’s performance in 2008. In the primary race for Obama’s inaugural election, Clinton also claimed victory after that year’s “Tsunami Tuesday” with an added presumptive stash of Super-delegates. By June she was conceding to the party’s new rising star, Barack Obama, so for Sanders and the thousands that #FeeltheBern this fight is far from over.

Super Trump and the American electorate

S E Cupp makes point about Super Trump
CNN anchor, S. E. Cupp

Whatever else we may have learned last night, Super Tuesday was certainly a confirmation of Trump’s continuous and growing popularity among the American electorate. It acknowledged the breadth of that support, winning solidly in the deep South, pulling victories in the Northeast, and winning with a variety of lower class population groups. Trump is the first Republican candidate to win primaries in both New Hampshire and Georgia since George H. W. Bush in 1988. He seems untainted by the weekend’s controversy with the endorsement of David Duke and the KKK, and his “telling it like it is” gains him new supporters every day while his crassness and general ignorance reviles his detractors. For me as a Progressive it is the most daunting of possibilities, that the Trump nightmare will somehow crazily come to fruition and he will actually find himself leading our nation for the next four years. For conservatives the disillusionment is just as real, with the rift in their party between the conservative base and the grassroots movement driving Trump now openly exposed to the harsh light of day. While this ideological shift didn’t bother Megyn Kelly, Brett Baier, and the “Campaign Cowboys” over on Fox News last night, CNN conservative pundit, S. E. Cupp, seemed to be losing feeling in her face as the evening wore on. But late in the night she made an insightful point, perhaps the most stunning and revealing lesson to me of this primary process:

“Can we just acknowledge for a moment – yes, I may be weeping for the future of the conservative movement, that’s true – but can we just acknowledge that this is democracy at work. Right? I mean, unless you think that Donald Trump has rigged this somehow. This is an amazing, inexplicable- believe, I’m not thrilled with a Trump nominee, but have you ever seen a clearer example of how unexpected democracy can deliver results?”

It’s the hardest piece to wrap my brain around, that this crass, uninformed, unqualified, hip-shooting bucket of vitriol is overwhelmingly the choice of a majority of the national electorate (so far). The American public, even we intellectual liberals, vote with their hearts, not their heads and much like Obama did for me and others in 2008, Trump has captured the hearts of millions of Americans, speaking to a series of issues and characteristics that have lain apparently dormant over the last decade. Republicans will need to decide in the longview what this means for the future of their party as Trump’s success lends credence to a fundamental divide within American conservatism.

“This has been our problem:” said Cupp, “we have been waiting for the candidate to come around who would harness the enthusiasm of the Republican electorate, since Reagan. We got him, he’s just going to destroy the party in the process.”

 

For more takes on music, culture, politics and more, visit JP Lime Productions.

 

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Bamboozled No More: The Political Pied Piper

 

These are amazing times. Finally the Republican Party is getting its collective butt kicked, but who knew the guy kicking butt would be one of their own. Donald Trump!

What the hell happened? Perhaps Karma. They got what they deserved. Feels like a bad remake of the Frankenstein movie. I can hear the screams, “Its alive, it’s alive!”

Trump was able to bump his Republican competition into the category of “other.” Why and how did it happen? Why did the “others” wait so long to confront Trump on his failed business ventures–the Trump university, Trump casinos, Trump board game, Trump whatevers. Perhaps it was all that Trump Vodka!

But success is in the eye of the beholder. We “outsiders” measure success in terms of the individual’s return on his or her investment. The “insiders” measure success in terms of their size of their return when “investing”(aka using other people’s money). Wasn’t that the Wall Street mantra during the Bush Administration?

I was fascinated by Trump’s speech in Vegas in which he claimed “We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.” Well actually I was more fascinated by the response of his fans and non -Trump supporters.

I wondered why no one shouted “if you love the poorly educated so much, why don’t you help them become highly educated or at least better educated?” He could have offered free admission to Trump University.

But then again, what’s a degree from Trump University worth on the open market? Answer: A lot of hot air which we don’t need! After all, Earth isn’t supposed to be as hot as Hell!

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

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A Twist of JP Lime: Presidential Primaries OR Who Ordered This Appetizer

 

Are you voting in the Presidential primaries?Though it seems as if the 2016 Presidential election campaign has been going on for about a year already, we are now officially into the season of the Presidential primaries, the election preseason if you will. Many of us are aware that the Primaries are the process by which the nominees for the two major political parties are finally chosen from among the pigpen of candidates and then officially nominated at each party’s convention in July – it’s ok if you didn’t know that, there’s no judgment here. But nearly just as many of us don’t know how the process works or why we do it. Is it just a popularity contest? Are the primary results actually binding or are they simply recommendations to whomever picks the nominee at the convention? And who are those whomevers that choose the party nominee? To some this may seem like a series of extra, unnecessary steps to the election process – why do we do all this? Well, dear readers, put on your political party hats (haha, that’s punny) as we delve into our Nation’s primary process.

Presidential Primaries: From Whence Did They Come?

Let’s start with this fact: we didn’t always have a primary process. The Constitution, in fact, says nothing about political parties and it wasn’t until the Progressive Era (1890’s-early 1900’s) that the process took hold. In 1831 the Anti-Masonic Party held the first national convention to select a candidate, in 1899 Minnesota held the first statewide primary, in 1910 Oregon became the first to make a binding (or “preferential”) primary the official process for nomination, and by 1916 26 states were using some sort of primary process for their selections. The biggest reason for adopting a primary system was and is to combat the influence of party bigwigs on the election process, opening up the nomination process to allow the general electorate a role in choosing the candidates. Critics of the primary process make the case that a generally un(der)informed American electorate may not be best group for proposing candidates and that it is a task better suited to the parties themselves. Is there such thing as “too much democracy”? Critics would argue so and some states still employ caucuses, which are closed to the public and are run by the political parties themselves, as opposed to primaries which are managed by state and local governments. The following 13 states are using caucuses for 2016: Iowa, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Idaho, Utah, Kansas, Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, and North Dakota. Kentucky is using a caucus for the Republican Party and a primary for the Democrats.

For both primaries and caucuses the process has evolved to the results now having a binding effect on the nomination. On the Democratic side, proportionality is required by all states while the Republicans still have some capacity for winner-take-all contests, governed by the “proportionality window” and other percentage thresholds. The exception to this is what are called “super-delegates”, mostly current and past elected officials in each state whom the party allows to vote however they choose at the national convention.

Presidential Primaries, 1968 DNCPresidential Primaries: The 1968 Democratic National Convention

Though changes to the process had been ongoing through the first half of the 20th century, the tumultuous 1968 DNC changed it forever. That year the Democratic Party, itself the champion of the people’s voice, nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had not entered a single primary, over the anti-Vietnam War candidate Eugene McCarthy. This divide in the party led to the formation of the McGovern-Fraser Commission, ushering in changes to the process at the state level, specifically with regard to mandatory binding and proportionality, which then affected both parties when voted into law.

Amidst the context of the modern rules, this historic example is especially interesting as the GOP faces the difficult possibility of a having to nominate a wildly popular Donald Trump, despite not wanting him as the face of their party. Bound by the results of the primaries, there is little the party can do to alter the nomination’s course, leading us back to the larger socio-political question of whether the party or the public is better suited to be deciding their nominee.

Open and Closed Primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire, and the 2016 results so far… READ ON…