Previous posts in this discussion:
PostTrump Victorious--and a Hillary "Might Have Been" (David Duggan, USA, 11/10/16 3:49 am)
The sun rose in the west again yesterday morning, as Donald Trump became the president-elect of the United States. The first winning candidate with neither prior experience in elective politics nor service as a wartime general of the US Army, Trump also becomes the oldest president-elect (he will be 70.6 years on 1/20/17; Reagan was 69.96 on 1/20/81). The media types and pundits who had gotten it wrong all along have said this is the most stunning result in our nation's 240 years.
As it didn't matter whether I voted for him or not (Hillary took Illinois by a 60-40 margin), I won't divulge my innermost secrets. Suffice it that either because of or despite the Hillary-Barack connection to the Land of Lincoln, Illinois did not join the rust-belt back flip that handed Trump the victory. Nor is it plain that "race trumps gender" as one talking-head said last night, trying to explain away Hillary's devastatingly poor performance in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. I'm not so sure. I knew that Hillary was in trouble when she lost Florida and North Carolina by 8 pm Central Standard Time (2 hours after the polls closed), and could see a Trump path to victory when Ohio went 53-42 for Trump an hour later. Michigan and Ohio are peas in a pod demographically (14.2% black for MI, 12.7% for Ohio; 4.9% Hispanic for MI, 3.6% for the Buckeyes). But Ohio has bounced back more from the recession than Michigan (Cleveland Clinic is Ohio's largest employer, while in the Wolverine state, the 2nd leading economic engine is "seasonal living," i.e., rich types who flock to their second houses on the beach). It's tough being dependent on the kindnesses of others. With Pennsylvania completing the destruction of the "blue wall" (states that the Democrats could rely on as if the voters were automatons), if anything, this race proves that coal trumps solar.
Hillary's mid-morning concession speech was gracious enough, but you have to worry about the rebound effect of "dissing" the gender gap between Republican and Democratic candidates. I'm old enough to remember Texas Treasurer Ann Richards' 1988 "silver foot in his mouth" jibe at George Herbert Walker Bush. For better or worse, that launched W's trip to the White House, as he beat Richards in her 1994 bid for re-election as governor. Still, I don't see Chelsea taking up her mother's mantle and shattering that "glass ceiling" of which Hillary has been complaining for 24 years. I think that Tuesday's results will thankfully put an end to the Clinton political dynasty.
Several years ago, I made on WAIS an oblique reference to my one-degree of separation from Mrs. Clinton. My life-saving instructor in mid-1960s North Shore of Chicago dated Hillary Rodham when he was at Yale and she at Wellesley. Although I don't know who broke it off, I am aware that Geoff Shields married years before Hillary and Bill tied the knot. Geoff Shields later became the 1) managing partner of a white-shoe Chicago law firm; 2) chairman of the board of Lake Forest College; and 3) the Dean of the Vermont Law School before succumbing to a long illness in 2014 (he was the subject of a PBS special on death and dying, featuring celebrity physician Atul Gawande). But back in the early 1990s, Hillary and he reconnected and thought of rekindling what might have been. She told him that she was going to give Bill one run for the White House and if that didn't work out she was going to "ditch the loser." I wonder if she now thinks she made the wrong decision.
JE comments: Among the many, many surprises of 2016, we should cite the end of both the Bush and Clinton dynasties. Twenty months ago, Richard Hancock kicked off our "US Elections 2016" discussion with a post titled "Clinton vs Bush in '16?" I agreed with Richard on the likelihood of a dynastic rematch of the '92 contest. We were both very wrong.
Richard got one thing right in that post (I did not): "The 2016 Presidential Election is going to be interesting indeed."
Trump's Victory: Rebuke, Repudiation, Rejection
(David Duggan, USA
11/11/16 8:00 AM)
As a coda to my post of November 10th, has there ever been a more stinging rebuke of a two-term president than Trump's trouncing of Obama's legacy-destroyer Hillary Rodham Clinton? Have the lead-from-behind policies of a timorous president been more convincingly rejected? Have the conceited tropes of climate-change, diversity-as-a-cherished-value, and we-know-what-is-best-for-you insurance policies been more resoundingly repudiated?
Some have likened Trump's victory to the "Reagan revolution" which swept across the country in 1980. But Carter was a feckless one-termer who gave us neither peace nor prosperity (remember Iran, stagflation and 20% interest rates?). I think you have to go back to Kennedy over Eisenhower/Nixon to find even a remotely parallel historical event. Though Eisenhower's presidency was marked by no singular legislative "achievement," he gave us eight years of peace and relative prosperity, kept us out of war (Hungary, Suez, Lebanon, Vietnam), resolved on acceptable terms conflicts started before him (Korea), and began this country's long march toward civil rights for all (Little Rock and the Hon. Frank Johnson). Obama gave us eight years of relative peace, kept us out of new wars, while not ending acceptably the ones earlier started; his record of "prosperity" is mixed (I've done OK, but others of my age, ethnicity and geographic location haven't) but his steely activism is in stark contrast to Eisenhower's avuncular style. That style led to Kennedy's we've-got-to-get-this-country-moving-again campaign slogan, and his trumped up non-issues of "missile gaps" and America's not being tough enough against the commies. But you see Eisenhower was a real leader and Obama is simply a speech-giver who can sing "Amazing Grace" a capella.
I think you have to go back to the 1860 election to see such a rebuke, repudiation and rejection. Yes, Buchanan was a one-termer, but so was his predecessor Pierce in that era of one-term presidents. In a sense, Buchanan's southern appeasement policy was a continuation of Pierce's. There are few if any comparisons between Trump and Lincoln, but like Kennedy, he has an inordinate fondness for women's nether regions, manufactured issues (global economic cabals, rigged elections) that fed into the public's perceptions, profited from the company of unsavory sorts, and has a much younger trophy wife. Some of the pundits have suggested that while the Liberal Media Elite took Trump literally but not seriously, the Joe-and-Jody-Sixpacks took Trump seriously but not literally (Jody knowing that Joe always refers to her nether regions that way). That may be as good a soundbite as you can get 48 hours after the election, but I think it more interesting that Kennedy was somehow able to co-opt not only the LME, but also the Joe Sixpacks, perhaps the only president who has done so in my 65-year lifetime. The more severe conceit is that the LME dismiss Trump voters as shotgun-toting, pickup driving, Wild Turkey-swilling neanderthals whose most pressing concerns are whether opioids are taking over their communities, the local coal-mine/textile-factory/manufacturing-plant is being shut down, and the fed'ral guvmint is allowing some raggedy-ass fairy to use my daughter's bathroom (I'm only paraphrasing). What are these compared to global warming, equal-rights-for-all-regardless-of-perversion, and assuring affordable health care to those who willfully violate every known principle of public health?
Equally telling is the cry-baby reaction to Trump's victory by the never-worked-a-day-in-their-life protestors congregating at Trump Tower, and the Ecole Nationale Polytechnique grandees abroad. Two months ago I was traversing Europe and given my friendly nature, I often engaged the locals whom I met on a train or subway. Invariably I was asked about Trump and invariably I declined to answer lest I be perceived as one of those shotgun-toters (I prefer pistols). I dare say that had Hillary won, you would see no Jack Daniels cap-wearing, six-teeth-in-their-head, sunburned trailer dwellers camping out in Harlem around the Clinton Foundation. They actually have lives to live.
Some WAISers may know that a longtime companion thought of renouncing her American citizenship and emigrating to Switzerland after Bush II's 2004 victory. One of the proudest moments of her life as an American citizen was the November 2008 rally in Chicago's Grant Park where Obama announced that change was coming to America. I wonder what she's going to do now, but since she broke it off, I guess I'll never find out.
JE comments: David Duggan's flair with words shines again! The "literally/seriously" tidily sums up what happened on Tuesday.
I'm puzzled, however, by David's foray into deep history to find a rebuke of a two-term president. Isn't 2008 far enough? Look at the Bush-era recession and wars that made people clamor for Obama's promised "change."
[WAISworld was on the fritz all morning, hence the late start. Russian hackers? My technical explanation: WAIS was busted, but now, thanks to Roman Zhovtulya's capable intervention, it's fixed.]
The I-75 Political Axis
(David Duggan, USA
11/13/16 5:12 PM)
Just a further clarification on my Rebuke, Repudiation and Rejection post of November 11th. My point was that unlike Bush II, Obama had given us (relative) peace and prosperity. Hence Trump's rebuke of Obama was much more significant than Obama's rebuke of Bush II. Pundits will do cartwheels over whether the I-95 corridor (the major North-South highway along the Eastern Seaboard) has lost its electoral dominance while the I-80 and I-94 corridors (the East-West interstates of the Rust Belt) have asserted theirs. For my money, the more important axis of electoral dominance is I-75 going down the spine of "middle America" from Michigan at the Canadian Border to Naples, FL. Assuming Trump prevails in Michigan (he leads by 12,000 votes, pending whatever recount), that is an unbroken sea of red states, unlike either of the other two corridors (Illinois breaks the I-80, I-94 corridor; the Carolinas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Florida break the I-95 corridor).
And to those women to whom Hillary addressed her tear-stained remarks about shattering the glass ceiling, I have three words of advice: 1) don't be a lesbian (the lavender stained-glass ceiling won't be broken in my lifetime); 2) don't be a liar; and 3) don't disrespect the American people.
JE comments: I was on I-75 just yesterday, and have driven most of its length. Yes, it's an unbroken sea of red (states).
It's all moot now, but might Kaine on the ticket be the only reason Clinton carried Virginia?
- "Conceited Tropes" of Climate Change (Istvan Simon, USA 11/17/16 2:42 PM)
"Conceited tropes of climate change"? (See David Duggan, 11 November.)
I confess I must be one of these conceited folks. How dare I listen more to science than to the all knowing president-elect and his supporters? I promise to David Duggan that from now on, I will try to see the error of my ways, and strive to be less conceited, and will practice genuflecting whenever I hear anything from our wise president-elect. Come to think of it, I might as well live in North Korea.
In his non-conceited great wisdom, the president-elect, who knows more about ISIS than the generals, and more about climate change than the climate scientists, named Myron Ebell of the business-backed Competitive Enterprise Institute to head his E.P.A. transition team. Mr. Ebell has asserted that whatever warming caused by greenhouse gas pollution is modest and could be beneficial.
Yes, I must see the error of my ways and instead of worrying celebrate with David. When devastating floods happen next, the president-elect will just take a truckload of playdough to the victims, which will make it all better.
Still, WAISers might want to read, or at least look at the pictures of this report in the New York Times:
Seeing these photos I must wonder: following the ideas of Mr. Ebell, or of Congressman Ken Buck , who forbade the Defense Department from studying the impact of climate change on the US military, when my 9 year-old son is my age, will he need scuba diving equipment to visit the City Market in Charleston, South Carolina?
JE comments: I did not read David Duggan's post as a denial of climate change, but rather a wry remark that the "we know what's best for you, climate-change and diversity" viewpoint (i.e., the Democratic one) was resoundingly defeated on November 8th. Or maybe I have misunderstood. I invite David to send his own clarification.
One of the dangers of an Internet forum is how to convey tone. Just this morning Clyde McMorrow recalled his Irish grandmother's stories of British "kindness" during the colonial times. She meant exactly the opposite. I tried to stress the irony by inserting quotation marks, but sometimes even that can be misinterpreted when you have nothing but a computer screen to convey meaning.
Climate Change, "Conceited Tropes," and Plain Old Conceit
(David Duggan, USA
11/19/16 4:56 AM)
Some comments in response to Istvan Simon (17 November). Eight-and-a-half years ago, when Barack Obama knocked Hillary Clinton off her pedestal as the Democratic Party's heir-apparent, he announced: "we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."
Mrs. Clinton ran to preserve Obama's legacy. She lost to a man who vowed to replace that legacy by not standing with her (as her slogan read), but by standing with the American people who still need good jobs, affordable health care with no premium surprises, and an end to the incessant blather about how climate change is threatening the world. Of course, I'm writing this from the relative comfort of Middle America, nearly 1,000 miles away from the rising oceans, enjoying a late November fall day in the mid 60s F, during which season we have yet to have a frost and expecting my heating bills to be much lower than the last several years when we've had "polar vortexes" causing near-record cold temperatures. This year may mean fewer fossil fuels consumed, less fracking, and more money in my pocket which I could donate to climate change advocacy organizations. In the meantime, it has been snowing in Moscow and St. Petersburg, a month earlier than usual, and the Antarctic ice pack is increasing in area and volume.
I'm not a scientist, so I cannot resolve the debate as to whether "global warming" is real or not. I'm not a historian, so I cannot determine whether the tree rings have widened or narrowed, or whether Leif Ericson's 11th-century ventures to Greenland and ultimately Newfoundland were occasioned by much warmer temperatures in the North Atlantic breaking up the icebergs that clog that waterway. And I'm not a political scientist or sociologist, so I cannot ascertain whether the Trump voters whom the pollsters and pundits failed to account for were motivated by his global warming stance, their rising insurance premiums, or their lack of jobs.
What I do know is that Mrs. Clinton's conceit, her having "an excessively favorable opinion of her abilities" as defined in my dictionary, caused her loss. And I wish I could say that it couldn't happen to a nicer person, but that would be a conceited trope.
JE comments: It was 72 F (22 C) in Adrian yesterday, which must be some sort of record for the second half of November. The NYT reported recently that 2016 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, beating the previous "winner," 2015. For people like David Duggan and me in the Upper Midwest, global warming may be very real, but it has its tangible benefits. Few in this region, I would venture, would allow warming concerns to sway their vote. The events of November 8th proved this.
Climate Change, Healthcare, and Trade under Trump
(Istvan Simon, USA
11/20/16 7:54 AM)
David Duggan (DD, 19 November) is a very gifted writer, and he can write eloquently, as one would expect from a brilliant and highly educated attorney. I will not be able to match David's eloquence, but perhaps can counter it with plain logic.
DD: "Hillary Clinton ran to preserve Obama's legacy. She lost to a man who vowed to replace that legacy by not standing with her (as her slogan read), but by standing with the American people who still need good jobs, affordable health care with no premium surprises, and an end to the incessant blather about how climate change is threatening the world."
I can find no fault with the American people still needing good jobs and affordable health care with no premium surprises. This is always true. But what is Trump's credibility that he can deliver any of these?
Did the American people have affordable health care with no premium surprises before Obamacare? I think not. Premiums had increased on average 10% yearly for the past 30 years prior to Obamacare. People who did not have the good fortune (like I did) to be insured by their employer in large groups were in the unenviable position that their premiums could be affordable one year, but when they got sick their policy could be unceremoniously canceled or their premium increased sky high, because they would become
a bad risk for their insurance company and a source of major losses.
I addressed healthcare rather extensively in my November 10 post. I believe that I addressed it honestly, in a straightforward and logical manner. I asked what Trump had to offer to replace Obamacare with something better. I heard no answers.
What about jobs? Trump vowed that he would bring back coal jobs. I claim that he cannot deliver, even if he trashes the EPA. Coal jobs are not coming back because coal is not competitive with natural gas, which is not only a cleaner fuel, but is also cheaper.
Trump vowed that he will bring back manufacturing jobs. Can he deliver? US manufacturing has come back to this country under president Obama. It is president Obama who saved the auto manufacturing companies in Michigan, not Trump. But the number of jobs in manufacturing has been decreasing because the only way American manufacturing can remain competitive and pay the relatively high wages prevalent in the US is to increase automation. Robots are cheaper than human beings, they do not need health insurance, and can work 24/7 and can do their work more reliably and error-free than people. Trump can do absolutely nothing about this. Ford is not going to bring back the plant that moved to Mexico, because they moved it to remain competitive. If Trump imposes a 35% duty as he threatened, he will succeed in increasing car prices in the US, but will not bring back the factories. The US market is large, but the world market is much larger.
The people who used to work in manufacturing need good jobs, but we will have to find them other jobs and the new jobs might need more education than the old ones required. A return to mercantilism and decreased trade is not going to do it nor bring a better life to them. It is a lie that illegal immigration is responsible for taking away their jobs. Illegal immigrants do not work in manufacturing--they do back-breaking work in the fields for pay that Americans will not accept, work in dead-end meat packing jobs, busing tables in restaurants, cleaning rooms in Trump's hotels, and in construction. Trump is 70 years old and a billionaire, but he has done absolutely nothing to help the white working class during his entire life. He has employed illegal immigrants. He has cheated in his taxes. He manufactures his Trump ties, shirts, etc., not in the US, but in poorer countries abroad. One can be sympathetic to the plight of the American white working class living in the rust-belt who elected Trump, but that does not make Trump a believable champion for their cause all of a sudden. I am afraid that they have been had, and will be disappointed, much like the poor suckers he defrauded in his Trump University--whose lawsuit he just settled for 25 million dollars.
DD: "I'm not a scientist, so I cannot resolve the debate as to whether 'global warming' is real or not. "
This is a lame excuse, which unfortunately has become also standard fare for Republicans in Congress. David does not need to be a scientist--he just needs to believe his own eyes. That is why I included the report with pictures all along the United States coast that show the effects of rising seas which have been predicted by climate scientists for decades.
I believe that the United States is doomed if we allow science to be distorted and obscured by political rhetoric. It is not just about global warming. Trump takes advice from Jenny McCarthy rather than medical science on the cause of autism. There are few scientists in Congress, but that does not excuse ignorance nor stupidity in deciding our vital national questions. Congress can ask for assistance from, say, the National Academy of Sciences for the questions that need impartial scientific input. We need honesty in Congress in discussing these matters, but honesty is sadly completely missing from our political discourse.
JE comments: The general contours of Trumponomics look like old-school mercantilism. This is the opposite of Republican economic dogma since, well, Hoover? One thing is for sure: the Republican-controlled Congress would never go for protectionist measures if they were the initiative of a Democratic president. And under Trump, it's far from a certainty how much the Congress will play along.
Remember Smoot and Hawley?
- Climate Change, Healthcare, and Trade under Trump (Istvan Simon, USA 11/20/16 7:54 AM)
- "Conceited Tropes" of Climate Change (Istvan Simon, USA 11/17/16 2:42 PM)
- The I-75 Political Axis (David Duggan, USA 11/13/16 5:12 PM)