“Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often and for the same reason”
– Robin Williams in the movie, Man of the Year.
We are a country that is consistently marked by challenges, whether or not we brought them on ourselves.
We are a country, like any other, that has fundamental flaws. We have one exception to many of those countries. It’s not that we are exceptional. Particularly not just because we say we are.
No, we are exceptional because a naturalized US citizen can legally speak out against cracks in the foundation of his or her freedom, without fear of persecution.
We used to be exceptional because anyone who had the drive to get here could come to find opportunity, and change their life for the better, as Mr. Trump’s grandfather did.
We used to be exceptional because we had compassion for our fellow citizens. We used to welcome those who yearned for a better future. We used to at least pay plausibly deniable lip service to a moral high ground.
Mr. Trump and Sanders are far apart on the political spectrum. But despite that, they do agree that the current establishment deserves a big middle finger. Their phenomenal popularity stems from our government’s failure.
In a properly functioning democracy, extreme movements don’t gather momentum unless the center is broken and the political center in this country has vanished.
On the one hand, Mr. Trump’s xenophobia has shown the type of red meat the far right craves. On the other hand, Thom Hartmann argues, Mr. Sanders is showing the type of economic policies that would equal or even dwarf any social spending programs FDR created.
Assuming either one of them make it on the ballot on November 8, 2016, neither will be receiving my vote. These two men are exact opposites on the political spectrum, and I don’t agree with either of their main policies.
A $15.00 national minimum wage will do as much damage to this country’s economy as Ronald Reagan’s “Trickle Down” economics did in the 1980’s, the full effects of which we are only now feeling.
Ronald Reagan outspent the Soviet Union to win the Cold War. Bernie Sanders wants to outspend the next 50 years of economic policy to even the playing field between rich and poor in this country. It will fail. Donald Trump wants to change the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and deport US citizens. That sounds more like McCarthyism’s witch-hunt of Soviet sympathizers than the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Yet, what’s awesome is they have simultaneously rocked the Democratic and Republican political establishments.
In years past, there have been fringe candidates that irritated the front-runner. Think Ross Perot to George H.W. Bush’s reelection bid against Bill Clinton in 1992. Or, Ralph Nader to Al Gore’s unsuccessful bid in 2000 versus George W. Bush. The presumed Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton is looking so vulnerable that the Democratic establishment is looking at Vice President Joe Biden to save them. This is a man who has had a distinguished life in public service. Yet he has barely made it out of the early voting states for the DNC nomination multiple times.
Unfortunately, the GOP with 17 candidates might be running out of hats to throw in the ring, but even if a moderate like Jon Huntsman were to run, he would not garner much support. Him and John Kasich are too middle ground for where the Republican Party has gone. Simply looking at Kasich’s polling numbers shows he’s averaging 4.5%, while Donald Trump is averaging 23.5%.
In a post a few months ago I wrote that the GOP needs a hero and I believe they need one even more desperately now than they did in May. However, looking at the +20 candidates from both sides, I’m saddened that this country has lost its sense of compassion. In 2000, George W. Bush focused on the theory of “Compassionate Conservatives,” and in 2008, Barack Obama campaigned on “Hope & Change.” I’m left with dwindling hope and can’t find any compassion amongst our leaders, or the citizenry that supports them. Why? Because almost 30% of a leading political party in this country agrees to a certain extent that deporting US citizens is a good idea. Why? Because a sitting President and Congress don’t have the guts, or maybe the political will to fiercely stand up against the NRA and prevent mass murders.
I am, however, very excited about some things when it comes to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
First, and this is something the World of Jobu will be working on after Labor Day weekend, they have raised the issue of campaign finance reform. In different ways, they have both taken the influence out of the hands of the billionaires – except for the minor fact that Trump is a billionaire – and given it back to the people. Second, I’m waiting for Donald Trump to stand center stage after receiving the nomination and say “you people are so stupid, you just nominated me for President of the United States. Are you kidding me? I don’t want that job; it sucks! You’re fired!” And that’s why I love Sanders and Trump in this election.