This is a very scary silly season. It should be the season to be jolly, and I am committed to that notion. But I think most Americans are nervous, worried and maybe downright fearful. Of likely GOP primary voters, some 35-40% seem to think Donald Trump may be the person to calm those nerves, and allay those worries and fears. Indeed, it is a very scary silly season.
I’m pretty good at this stuff. Really. When I think back over the last thirty years, I have made two mistakes when predicting the outcome of Presidential elections. I refused to believe America would vote for Bill Clinton over George H. W. Bush, and I was convinced Romney would defeat Obama. In the 1992 election, I simply misjudged the Perot effect. Let’s not forget that Clinton won that election with 38% of the vote. More ironically, he inherited a raging economy that Bush created when he signed the tax reform bill that would simultaneously become his political death warrant. In 2012, I flat-out could not believe that notwithstanding the polling data, Americans would not rally to the cause of common sense! Alas, they didn’t and we have been saddled now with seven years of arrogant incompetence of epic proportions. The United States is so challenged on so many fronts yet the President continues to fiddle whilst his allegorical Rome burns.
This current political theater (circus) has me completely perplexed. I did not see Mr. Trump occupying center stage as long as he has. I wake up every day in disbelief. I mean, yes, people are mad. Republicans are mad. Independents are mad, and so too are Democrats. And it seems Mr. Trump has tapped into that anger. But even that does not explain the inexplicable. The man is a thin-skinned sixth grade schoolyard bully. When his credentials are questioned he attacks. When his contradictions are mentioned he attacks. When his policies (such as they are) are condemned, he attacks. And even the attacks themselves are shallow. (Click here for a good video clip of just how upside down today’s GOP is.)
Have the stakes ever been higher? Our economy remains stagnant; trapped in regressive regulations and high taxes. Our deficit continues to grow. In the 1960’s, our entitlements represented roughly 30% of our annual budget. Today they are more than 60%. Our spending is unsustainable. We have lost the respect of our friends and our enemies just laugh. Our military has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. We lack any sense whatsoever of a national purpose. Leadership starts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We are leaderless. We are, in short, a mess.
This is a huge election. It is not too late to turn things around. But if we lose the White House for another 8 years, the horses will not only be out of the barn, but they will be running free on the range. Confronted by the seriousness of our predicament, the GOP appears to be leaning toward a reality tv star who inherited a real estate empire, and the Democrats are defaulting to 8 more years of Obama. You can’t make this stuff up.
History tells us the polls leading up to Iowa and New Hampshire are rubbish. Only after the primaries move south (March) do polls begin to matter. History also tell us that someone like Donald Trump should have burnt himself on the stake of incompetence by now. I would be ok if history bats one for two. I know some of you are intrigued by “The Donald” and are tired of the mainstreamers bashing him. I get it. I also get this. If somehow, someway he ends up as the GOP nominee, Hillary will win in a landslide. And the Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves.
We have several qualified public servants running for President. We can only hope that one of them surfaces from the gumbo of this quagmire and goes on to lay out a vision for America that the majority of voters will respect and support. I continue to remain (guardedly) optimistic that a viable candidate will emerge. Time will tell.
In the meantime, here’s wishing you and yours the very Merriest of Christmases and a wonderful new year!
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