We see a lot of episodes and anecdotes in the campaign season here. Most of them are not worth an article on their own. It’s frustrating to watch an interesting angle pass, just because not enough people are talking about it. Or maybe there is just not enough “there” there. As we finish the last primary and wait for the national conventions, with your indulgence, I’d like to present a list of mini-issues for your consideration and comment.
THE MEXICAN JUDGE
The first is Donald Trump’s attack on his “Mexican” judge, saying the judge’s heritage makes him incapable of running a fair trial. Trump expanded that to say that a Muslim probably couldn’t be fair, either.
“RACISM!” most Republicans shouted. My guess is that had to do with GOP worries about permanently losing minority votes. Self-interest, you know, not ethics, per se.
But there are two other angles that no one seems to be discussing. First, Trump seems to be saying that we should have the right to pick our judge and jury. Most people think the Constitution guarantees the right to a “jury of one’s peers.” It does not. The Bill of Rights only says “impartial jury” (repeatedly). No “peers.”
More importantly, Trump is running as the leader of the Republican Party, to become the leader of all the people. Why are “We the People” being sucked into this personal, private court case? Trump should have risen above it, and declined comment, since the case is being litigated. He had no problem saying we can’t see his taxes while they are being audited!
“HER DAMNED EMAILS”
I have to admit that I have had a hard time understanding the brouhaha over Hillary Clinton’s email server. My impression is that she is incompetent in digital matters. When she left the White House, she hired someone to set up a server for her. And my guess is that they had to explain why it’s different from her old AOL account.
When she became Secretary of State, she should have used the government system, of course. But again, my impression is that it would be more complicated than she could handle. So she stuck with her Blackberry and old server.
I’ve said that if they had found something incriminating in her emails, that would be different—since, like Nixon’s tapes, she didn’t think they would ever be made public.
HOWEVER, we have the tens of thousands of deleted emails (which she claims were too “personal” to share). That sounds like Nixon’s “18 minute gap” (which many think held incriminating information so it was erased). BUT also, we’re talking about a paranoid person, who thinks a “vast right-wing conspiracy” is under every bed. The issue here is, like Mr. Trump above, the candidate feeling above the law.
FINGER ON THE RED BUTTON
It’s no secret that our presumed presidential candidates are both more unpopular than any candidate in history. But it doesn’t end with “unpopular.” Many of the leaders in their respective parties despise Trump and Hillary. “That’s fine,” Trump would say. But it’s not.
The disgusting one is not Trump. It’s people like Marco Rubio, who say they think Trump might start a nuclear war—yet, Rubio says he’ll vote for Trump, anyway, and even speak at the convention—just because Trump is the leader of his “tribe.” Echoes of “My Country, Right or Wrong.” Weren’t the Nuremberg Trials supposed to put an end to that kind of thinking?
People like Mitt Romney and Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol have been engaging in a silly fantasy of dumping Trump, but at least they stand for something. I’m not saying Trump is wrong or bad. I’m saying hypocrites like Rubio are wrong or bad.
We have had lots of discussions in these pages about Superdelegates on the Dem side. And we have pointed out that the whole Democratic Party system is designed to stomp down their grassroots—their base. For instance, the early primaries are primarily in conservative states, mainly, the “Solid South.” The plan is to knock off a progressive candidate early.
I pointed out that if there were no Superdelegates, and only pledged delegates counted, Hillary would already be way past the number needed for the nomination. HOWEVER, we do have Superdelegates. And I now agree with Bernie fans, that those Superdelegates should not be counted at this time. These people will not cast their ballots until the convention. They are not “pledged,” they are only “promised.” It’s as if we looked at polls of how people say they will vote, and count those ballots as already cast. Sorry, Hillary fans, but she really does NOT have the nomination, and won’t have it till next month.
There are sad things about this whole mess. First, it has made the electorate cynical, because we now see “how the sausage is made.” It’s an ugly, undemocratic system that needs major overhaul. And that brings us to the saddest point: nothing will be done. After all the griping and whining that Trump did during the primaries, once he clinched the nomination, he smiled, smirked, and stopped talking about fairness. He likes the system, now. Let’s hope that one of the things Bernie wants at the convention is to make things better four years from now. Don’t hold your breath.
PROTESTERS ARE IDIOTS
I’m old. I acutely remember the riots of 1968, especially the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In a campaign in which Richard Nixon was saying that the Democrats were anarchists, and that he stood for the “Silent Majority,” he won the election, not despite, but largely because of the protesters.
And we’re seeing it again this year. The news reports are about violence at Trump rallies, but the violence is not started by Trumpians. It’s the people against him who are making all the noise and trouble. It makes Trump look more reasonable. Safer.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a time and a place. We would not have had civil rights laws if individuals had not stood up to demand those rights. And the Vietnam War might still be going on, except for protesters, including many veterans. But those are issues. Protesting is for issues. When you protest a candidate, you help elect him or her.
WHY NOT GARY JOHNSON?
I mean, besides the fact that he’s boring. One of the burning questions I’ve had for many years is, how have the two parties so neatly divided issues? If you ask a person how they stand on war, abortion, religious rights, guns, taxes, election reform, or a long list of issues, you can tell whether the person is a Democrat or Republican. Also, in these pages, we’ve discussed the fact that city folk tend to be Democratic, while suburban and rural folk tend to be Republican. What causes that?
In almost every case a Democrat will line up with other Democrats on the whole list of issues, and the same goes for Republicans. It’s like we are coming down from the Tower of Babel, speaking different languages. My guess is that we tend to associate with people like ourselves, and we absorb their views on all the topics, not just one or two.
But that’s where the Libertarian Party comes in. While Libertarians are for small government and low taxes, they also want to keep the government out of our personal lives. No “Nanny State” telling us who not to love or what not to smoke. If Johnson can bump up from his current 10% in the polls to just 15%, he’ll have to be included in the fall debates. If that happens, hold onto your seats. Ideals will be questioned.
AND FINALLY, TRUMP’S TAXES
Ordinarily, we demand to see a candidate’s tax returns so that we can judge whether they made their money honestly, what causes they support, and if they, well, cheated. That’s not the case with Trump.
Trump’s supporters like that he’s a businessman, and if he’ll shut up about Trump University, it won’t hurt him either. “Buyer beware, dammit!” Anyone foolish enough to fall for that sales pitch deserves to lose. Case closed. Likewise, nobody wants to pay taxes, so if Trump has found creative ways to pay little or no tax, bully for him!
Nope. That’s not why people want to see Trump’s tax returns. His whole sales pitch is that he’s a “winner.” He has boasted about having ten billion dollars. Mark Cuban doubts it. What if he’s not really so successful? And what if the scandal about his veteran fundraiser in January is not an anomaly? He has bragged about donations in the past, and now people are wondering if he closed his checkbook right after the speech.
I’M OUT OF SPACE
There are a lot more “burning questions” about Hillary and The Donald. Let’s hope that our lazy media pick up on some of them. Yeah, right.