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Independents

A New Era of Politics? (What Kind of Candidate Will Succeed in 2016)

August 27th, 2015 // 10:00 am @

 The Questions of Today

Arm wrestlingThe professional political and media class is surprised (“shocked” may be more accurate) by what they are witnessing right now in the U.S. presidential campaign. Most of their predictions are turning out to be wrong, and much of their commentary is consistently off.

What is going on? And why is it happening?

The answer is fascinating. America is currently witnessing a different kind of politics–not because Washington has changed, but rather because the voters are taking a very different approach than they have in the past.

In a nutshell: a huge number of voters are simply demanding that politicians do something very different. This can be summed up in the following words, spoken directly to our politicians:

“Why won’t you just do what you said you’d do?”

Lies from the Left

This is a big deal. Voters are frustrated with the inability (or unwillingness) of politicians to simply deliver on their promises. For example, President Obama promised that under his health care law, we would be able to keep our doctor if we wanted to. We would also be able to keep the same health care providers. And our costs wouldn’t go up very much, if at all.

These all turned out to be false. Many people aren’t allowed to keep their same doctor or health care providers. And in 2015 insurance premiums went up around 30% for many companies and families—in addition to major increases already in 2014. With the additional details that kick in during 2016, premiums will go much higher in the next two years.

The President also promised that his policies would bring more jobs. But the reality is that while the unemployment rate has gone down, the large majority of people with new jobs obtained during the Obama era are making a lot less each month than they did before. The promise of more jobs turned out to be technically true, but it feels totally false, like something only a lawyer or a genie could make up.

Lies from the Right

And Republicans haven’t done any better. Voters were promised that if they elected Republicans in 2012 and 2014, these Congressmen would repeal Obamacare and seriously tackle the national debt. The electorate responded by putting Republicans into Congress in record numbers—in both of these midterm elections.

But once in office, the GOP promises were promptly forgotten. No repeal. No debt reduction. Voters know that Congress can defund programs at will, and can even overcome a veto by shutting down non-essential government functions to get a handle on the debt and/or defund Obamacare. This takes tenacity and guts, but it works.

Instead, voters who put Republicans into the majority in both houses are lectured by Boehner and McConnell about what “can and can’t” be done. But Boehner, McConnell and their allies didn’t do the honorable thing and loudly promote such lectures before the elections. Rather, they boldly promised big changes and then smugly turned their backs on such promises once elected. Ted Cruz was right to call this a “lie.” Voters feel increasingly duped by the political class.

The top leaders in both parties simply didn’t follow through on what they said they would do.

Just Do What You Promised

All of this is front and center in the voters’ minds right now. They don’t want to elect politicians, because they don’t believe what politicians promise. Why should they? Both parties have failed, repeatedly, to fulfill their promises. Most people have reached the conclusion that this is just the way politicians are now. They don’t do what they promise.

In voter logic, the only intelligent response is to elect non-politicians. To reject politicians and find people who will just do what they say they’ll do. To find someone—anyone—who simply tells the truth and then does it.

Thus anyone who looks even remotely like a politician is suspect. For a growing number of voters, everything a politician-looking candidate says during the campaign is probably not going to happen after the election.

So any candidate that seems to fit this bill, doesn’t get much support. This is a real problem for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, etc. It’s also a problem for anti-establishment candidates like constitutionalist Rand Paul and tea partier Marco Rubio—they just seem too much like Washington insiders.

The candidates who are surprising the political pros are those who don’t seem much like politicians at all. Thus very different-sounding candidates like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz have piqued the electorate’s interest.

“Will one of them just do what he/she is promising?” This is the question many American voters are asking right now.

The Media vs. The Electorate

The media focuses on things like policy details, tone, offensive behavior, and stances on the issues—but most voters don’t care much about these things as much as electing someone who will do what they said they’d do. They’re used to candidates who are politically correct, talk a lot about policy positions, but then get elected and fail to deliver what they promised.

With such a track record, why should voters care about policy plans? They’re going to be forgotten anyway.

Instead, voters are now trying to feel out the candidates, hoping that one of them is the kind of person who will actually just do what he/she promised—even after the election.

If voters think they’ve found such a person, they don’t even have to agree with him/her on every policy. They’ll look past differences, if they can just get someone who will deliver.

Media and political professionals who don’t figure this out are in for a lot more shocking surprises, because the last two decades of hearing promises during campaigns, getting excited to vote based on such promises, and then seeing your chosen candidate get elected but fail to do what he promised.… Well, voters are just plain sick of it.

Voters are too smart now. They’ve been fooled too many times in recent elections.

If they don’t think any of the candidates will follow through on promises, voters will turn off and stay home on election day. As a result, the typical establishment candidates will win. But if voters really believe that a candidate will deliver—he or she is going to ignite a powerful following.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Culture &Current Events &Featured &Generations &Government &Independents &Leadership &Politics

What Do Republicans Want? (Why Donald Trump Is Popular, Part II)

August 19th, 2015 // 2:10 pm @

The Three Republican Parties

election-2016_canstockphoto20144380There are now three Republican parties. One is the Republican Establishment, a group that basically stands for maintaining the status quo (with one change: a Republican White House). This is the party of Nixon, Ford, Bush I, Dole, Bush II, Romney, Chris Christie, and Bush III.

This group can best be described as fiscally conservative, internationally aggressive, moderate about immigration, supportive of Common Core and other centralized plans for education, and socially moderate. It is also a group that will increase spending and the size of the federal government.

A second group in the GOP is made up of Deep Conservatives: fiscally frugal on the surface, focused on limited government, aggressive on conservative social issues, strongly supportive of Israel, against Washington-run education plans, and hawkish on national security and immigration. This is the party of Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal.

It is the Eisenhower/Reagan wing of the party. If the historical pattern holds, this group will unwittingly increase the cost and size of government, though it will likely shift spending a bit from liberal programs to more conservative priorities. It tends to talk a lot about fiscal responsibility, but when in office it just can’t seem to reverse federal spending—it always increases the debt. People in this group are often referred to as “the Republican base.”

The third segment of Republicans could be called the “Coalition of Change”. Members of this group are deeply frustrated with the status quo, with Washington’s refusal to do what the voters want, and with the fact that government grows and grows under both parties—Republicans just as much as Democrats. They dislike Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and the Department of Education, and are split on immigration and international interventionism.

This group includes the Tea Parties, a lot of other people who feel that Republicans have repeatedly promised to repeal Obamacare and reduce the national debt but never actually do it, and also a lot of non-Republicans who don’t like the GOP brand very much and prefer to be independents (but typically vote for the Republican presidential nominee rather than the Democratic candidate).

Numerically, the third group has the most voters—and the most passionate voters of the bunch. This advantage is based largely on the enthusiasm of Tea Partiers and also the large number of independents who vote Republican during presidential elections.

But this third segment of the GOP isn’t big enough to determine the election all on its own. All three groups will be needed for any candidate to win the White House.

The bigger story is that an interesting trend is now part of the Republican landscape: over the past two decades, this third group is growing. Between 1952 and 2004, GOP primaries were a battle between groups 1 and 2 (the Republican establishment versus social conservatives); but in 2008 the third group had significant influence. Its power grew in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and it is now largely driving the Republican primaries in 2015.

What this third group will accomplish in 2016 remains to be seen. But few people are clear about what, exactly, these “different kind of Republicans” actually want. What do they really stand for? Most Americans, even most Republicans, aren’t sure.

What Group 3 Really Wants

There are two things to consider here. First, in what ways are this third group of voters like the other two major segments of the Republican Party, and second, how are they different?

All three groups agree on the following: fiscal conservatism and strong national defense. Only group 1 is generally happy with the status quo, as long as Obama can be replaced by a Republican. Only group 2 cares deeply about social issues as a central part of the presidential race, and only group 3 fully intends to cut entitlements and drastically reduce government spending. These are the major policy differences.

But the real divide between group 3 and the others is found on matters of tone and scale. This third, largest, group that votes Republican wants the following:

  • To actually, significantly, reduce the national debt and see the debt clock going backwards. Not just more fiscal responsibility, but a literal and lasting reversal of the debt.
  • For the number of federal departments, programs, and employees to decrease. A lot. But even a little change would be a good start.
  • For states to stop giving more and more power to Washington, and for the federal government, in fact, to send a number of powers back to the states. Not in a merely symbolic way, but in tangible, practical, realities.
  • To reduce the amount of job-killing, business dis-incentivizing regulations from Washington and state governments, in order to attract more investment into the U.S. economy, spur the entrepreneurial sector and catalyze a new era of American small business innovation, and boost sustained economic growth and better jobs for American workers. This includes actually repealing and replacing Obamacare. Nothing less than real results will do.
  • To change the regulatory mess that has put U.S. businesses on unfair footing with their international competitors. And to put America back in its superpower role by drastically improving our economy—as a direct competitive victory against China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, ISIS, and the European Union.
  • Real change, something genuinely different in Washington–not just more growth of government and debt that has occurred for nearly thirty years under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

This can all be summed up in the phrase: “Make America Great Again.” (This phrase isn’t original to Donald Trump, but he saw its popularity and adopted it. Many in group 3, and a lot in group 2, appreciate this and agree with him.)

Members of group 3 want these things for real—not just as campaign promises that are forgotten after election day. They are tired of empty promises. They want action, and they want results.

Moreover, they are increasingly convinced that the typical brand of Republican candidates will never get us there. They want something different, led by someone different than the historical mass of normal politicians, and they want it now.

The Two Wings of Group 3: Thinkers vs. Fighters

At an even deeper level, Republican group 3 voters—and quite a few in group 2—are divided into two main camps: those who want an anti-big-government Fighter to lead the change, and those who believe a truly conservative Thinker will be more likely to actually bring genuine change.

The “Thinker” wing of group 3 tends to support the following candidates:

Ben Carson. If Trump weren’t in the race, it is likely that Carson would perform much higher in the polls. Or, possibly, he is benefiting from the growing sense that an outsider might actually have a chance. Many Trump supporters cite Carson as their second choice. His non-political background and soft-spoken, articulate defense of freedom and common sense principles are alluring to many group 3 voters. He also has significant group 2 support. He is definitely not a status-quo candidate. Carson would certainly be a different kind of president, a plus for those in group 3.

John Kasich. The Ohio governor is painted as a group 1 Establishment Republican by the media (based on his resume in Washington and Columbus), but he touts himself as a strong “Federalist” whose main focus is reducing the power of Washington and sending health care, education, law enforcement, tax funds, and other issues back to the states—getting the federal government out of our lives. Whether this can catch on in an electorate conditioned to think about everything in national terms remains to be seen, but if any Americans can get behind this “Federalist” change it is group 3 voters. Kasich is also seen as a fighter as well as a thinker, and an optimistic fighter to boot. He could be a formidable general election candidate, and could appeal to some voters in all 3 groups. He is also a proven budget balancer at both state and federal levels. But many in group 3 worry that he is too much like other group 1 candidates, too much the normal politician, and they worry that his conservative talk will turn to Bush-like establishment governance once in office. For this reason, he probably won’t get a lot of group 3 votes.

Rand Paul. In the tradition of his father, Ron Paul, the medical doctor and more recently Kentucky Senator cites the Constitution on numerous issues and appeals to those who care deeply about the future of freedom. On the “Thinking” basis, he is in the top tier of freedom supporters, right along with Ben Carson. On the other hand, Paul’s emphasis on national defense over global interventions weakens him with groups 1 and 2, and many in group 3. His words are often more popular to group 3 voters than his persona—many wish he were more effective as a fighter. Others think his Constitutional approach is exactly right. Paul has also worked hard to appeal to a number of voters outside the traditional Republican tent in a general election.

As for the “Fighter” wing of group 3, the most popular candidates are:

Donald Trump. His talking points and stump speech are a point-for-point summary of what many in group 3 want. And he’s been saying the same kind of things for thirty years. In addition, his intensity, unscripted candor and clear passion for American exceptionalism and America’s future are exciting to many group 3 voters—and some in group 2. The big challenges for Trump are that (1) many voters are put off by his brash approach (though this is exactly what many of his supporters like), and (2) he’ll probably get very few, if any, group 1 votes during the primaries. His success or failure in the Republican primaries will likely depend on how many group 2 and group 3 voters he can sway to his side. Major threats in international affairs could also increase his popularity among such voters.

Carly Fiorina. She has struggled to get her message across and gain wide name recognition, but like Carson and Trump she is a non-politician who focuses on real change in Washington. Fiorina is also popular among conservative policy wonks and some policy-oriented major donors. She is gaining a reputation for being succinct, articulate, and master of the issues.

Ted Cruz. The Texas Senator was the pre-Trump “extreme” candidate, but with the intensity of Trump’s run Cruz is now considered more mainstream by the media and many in group 2. Trump’s involvement could be a real benefit to him. If Trump drops out (doubtful), Cruz could become a favorite of many group 3 voters—and he’ll be more appealing to some in group 2 than Trump. (Neither is likely to appeal to group 1.) He is outspoken, reveres the Constitution, and in many ways is both a “Fighter” and a “Thinker.” Like Trump, he sometimes comes on very strong and makes enemies at the same rate that he attracts support. Whatever happens in this election, Cruz is likely to be a rising star in group 3.

Can a Candidate Gain Support From All 3 Groups?

There may also be some crossover candidates, those who appeal to group 3 and also to one of the other main segments of the GOP. But first, let’s make it clear that Jeb Bush will never appeal to group 3, simply because he’s not seen as a “Fighter” or a “Thinker.” He’s establishment all the way. Many voters in group 3 would vote for him if it came down to Bush vs. a Democrat, but many others would vote Democrat or even “write in” someone else.

If given a serious third party option versus Bush, many in group 3 would vote for, say, an independent Trump bid for office, even though they know that the “Ross Perot effect” would sweep a Democrat to victory. Still, in their mind, “This might teach Republicans a lesson, and Bush isn’t much better than the Democratic nominee anyway. In fact, he may be worse than a Democrat because with a Bush-style Republican in office we’ll have little support for real change in the midterm Congressional elections.” Few in group 3 believe that Bush would seriously repeal Obamacare or reverse the national debt.

Chris Christie scores strong on “Fight,” but group 3 sees him as just another establishment candidate. He’ll get very little support from group 3.

Group 1 or 2 candidates who could get some crossover support from group 3 voters include Mike Huckabee and, perhaps, Scott Walker, who are seen as “Fighters.” Another candidate who might be able to garner some group 3 support as a “Thinker” is Marco Rubio. Rubio has two other things going for him from a group 3 viewpoint: 1) the fact that he’ll likely appeal to a lot of young voters (who have supported Democrats in recent elections) and 2) his strength with Latino voters (who will likely determine who wins the general election in the tightly-contested swing states).

Group 3 would discount these things if Rubio were more of an Establishment Republican, but his Tea Party roots give him some street cred and he would likely receive strong group 3 support in a general election. Indeed, the Clinton and other Democratic campaigns have expressed a real concern about running against Rubio as the Republican nominee. But in the primaries, Rubio sometimes comes across too “establishment” to many in group 3.

How the 3 Groups See Each Other

To summarize:

Group 1: Establishment Republicans want to win the White House, rebuild and maintain America’s military and spread U.S. power and presence in the world, promote centralized controls over education, and increase the fiscal responsibility of the federal government. They are moderately concerned about the border.

Group 2: Deep Conservatives want to re-strengthen the military, and tackle budgets and debt. They also promote significant conservative social changes in the nation (desiring to alter regulations concerning abortion, gay marriage, anti-religious policies, etc.). They are against Common Core, and want to effectively secure the border with Mexico. Most of them are more interested in national defense and support of our allies (especially Israel and Britain) than in aggressive international military outreach.

Group 3: Republicans who want major change, Tea Parties, and Right-leaning independents who desire real change in America. They want to actually cut government departments, spending, and programs in significant ways, stop Common Core and secure the Southern border, reverse the national debt clock, and catalyze a major boost to the economy by changing anti-growth regulations and encouraging more entrepreneurship and investment. They want to make America great again.

Group 1 tends to see group 2 as too idealistic and too distracted by social issues, and group 3 as too extreme in both policy and tone.

Group 2 tends to see group 1 as too focused on winning (victory above principles), and group 3 as too revolutionary (not realistic about what can get done). Group 2 also considers both other groups too lukewarm on important social issues.

Group 3 tends to see the other two groups as “politicians,” “the status quo,” “more business as usual,” “more talk than action,” and “never going to actually change things.” Group 3 voters are tired of Republican campaign promises that don’t bring any real change after the election. Many of them consider group 1 voters to be closer to Democrats than to themselves.

In short, group 3 voters (and an increasing number of voters in group 2) are only going to support a candidate who is actually different from the norm. (Thus the strong support for Fiorina, Carson, Trump, etc.) The media, on the other hand, tends to think that only candidates with traditional government resumes should be considered for the presidency. This view is shared by most professional politicos, and by many centrist voters in both parties.

The Coming Future

It is these two views that are on a history-making collision course with each other:

(1) “A Republican in the White House”

   versus

(2) “Make America Great Again”

For group 3 voters, this means Typical Politicians vs. Anti-Politician candidates. Group 3 wants a true, authentic change in what kind of person leads this nation. They don’t care all that much about what policies the candidates say they support, because they’ve heard good policies from candidates before—and then watched the same candidates change their views once elected. Instead, they want a different kind of person in office. This includes the non-politicians and also, depending on who you talk to in group 3, anti-Washington candidates like Cruz, Rubio, Huckabee, and possibly Walker or Kasich.

This is very difficult for the media or mainstream to grasp, but it is real. And support for this change is growing.

Whether this gets worked out in 2016 will depend on how much traction Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, or structural reformers like Rand Paul, John Kasich, or Ted Cruz can get—and maintain. Together these candidates are receiving well over half of Republican support in the polls, and Trump himself gets the highest numbers. In contrast, Bush and Christie combine for less than 10% in many polls.

Here’s the main point, and anyone who is interested in America’s future would do well to consider it carefully: If we don’t elect someone very different, a non-politician or at least a very different kind of politician, the growing sense of frustration with our government will only deepen and spread.

This is real, and it is a major cultural phenomenon. In fact, it is as powerful on the Left as on the Right (e.g. Bernie Sanders, the Occupy Movement, the passion for words like “Hope and Change,” etc.). At some point, if not in 2016 then in the years ahead, this drive for a real change in Washington is going to gain enough momentum to fundamentally alter our government. It has already won major victories in 2006 and 2008 (by Democrats), and in 2010 and 2014 (by Republicans). If current growth continues, it will eventually dominate one of the parties, or create a bigger third party that ends the reign of either Democrats or the GOP.

If this passion ever builds enough support to take the White House along with Congress, it will mark a new era in America. The key words of this movement are quintessentially American: innovative, pioneering, entrepreneurial, fighter, free-enterprising, tough, exceptional, great, strong, chutzpah,…and free.

 

(Click here to see Part I of this report)

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Constitution &Culture &Current Events &Economics &Generations &Government &Independents &Leadership &Liberty &Politics

Why is Donald Trump Popular?

August 5th, 2015 // 3:52 pm @

by Oliver DeMille

The Factor

election-2016_canstockphoto20144380First of all, dig into the polls and it’s clear that a lot of the media reports about Trump are inaccurate. Specifically, he has significant support across the socio-economic spectrum, not just among white, low-income males. Second, the reports that a number of those polled say they’ll never vote for him aren’t as strong as first supposed, because this number is falling over time. And the people who initially called him a clown aren’t laughing anymore.

Still, most people in the media and the nation don’t believe he’ll be the next president. To be fair, this number is decreasing as well.

But whatever you think about Donald Trump, however much you like or dislike him as our potential president, it’s worth thinking about why he is striking a chord among a number of Republicans and Right-leaning independents.

The media says he is popular because many voters are angry at Washington, that they like his straight talk, that they are tired of politicians, that he attacks the political class that so many people now dislike. All of these observations are true, but they don’t quite get to the heart of the matter. They are all symptoms, not the root cause.

Yes, Trump is popular because he doesn’t sound like Washington politicians, because he criticizes Washington, because he talks about American greatness, because he warns of foreign enemies, and because he talks loudly about issues Washington hasn’t fixed. But there’s more to it.

Cause and Effect

There’s a prior reality that has Republicans and many independents upset, and the only way to understand the support for Trump is to clearly understand this prior concern. Perhaps it is summed up best by two former enemies of the United States:

“The United States brags about its political system,
but the President says one thing during the election, something
else when he takes office, something else at midterm
and something else when he leaves.”
Deng Xiaoping

“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war
or before an election.”
—Bismarck

Many on the Right now support Trump precisely because they are angry at two groups of people:

  1. Recent Republican presidential candidates who promised to change things but failed to make it stick, particularly John McCain and Mitt Romney—and any who talk like or even seem to be following the same path, such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, etc.
  2. Republican members of Congress who promised to change things but failed to do so.

Many such voters are fond of Trump because they are very upset with Republicans who they believed “lied” to get into office in 2010, 2012, and 2014 by promising to repeal Obamacare, reverse the trajectory of the national debt, and secure the Southern border, and then didn’t do any of these things. These members of Congress could have used their power of the purse to defund Obamacare, but the Republican leadership in the House and Senate blocked it.

Many on the Right believe that such defunding, even it required government shutdowns, would have worked if Republicans had just stuck to their guns.

They could have used their power of the purse to defund massive government spending on a number of projects (which is precisely what they promised to do in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections), but the Republican leadership in the House and Senate blocked this as well. When things got hard, the Republicans didn’t stand strong.

Political Necessities

In the estimation of many voters, the Republicans lied. They promised to do specific things if elected, they were elected on the weight of these promises, they had the power to fulfill their promises by taking hard action, and then they didn’t do what they’d promised.

As a result, for a number of Republican and Right-leaning independent voters, the brand of “Republican Politicians” is drastically weakened. Moreover, it is the specific lack of committed and intense fight among Republicans in Congress and Republican presidential nominees that infuriates many voters.

Their take on it goes something like this: “McCain, Romney, Boehner, McConnell, and other leading Republicans tried to be popular with their peers in Washington, tried to sound moderate and reasonable to the national press, tried to look presidential instead of just focusing on results, and refused to take off their gloves and really fight for us—and as a result, they got trounced at every turn by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. By extension, we all got it handed to us by Russia, China, Libya, ISIS and now Iran. That’s not what America is supposed to do.

“So, clearly, we need a different kind of leader, a non-politician, someone who is brash, intense, and a real fighter. The more he’s a true brawler who can push hard and win, and who won’t give up no matter what his opponents and the media say, the better. We don’t care about all the normal things we ask of our politicians. We’re in a battle, a big one, and we want to win. Let’s find someone who is a great fighter and give him the reins.

“We also need someone who will actually follow through once elected and do what he or she said during the campaign. Who will back it up with action. Someone who will actually repeal Obamacare, who will actually stand by Israel, who will actually secure the Southern border, who will end our glut of business-killing regulations and get our economy booming again, and who will truly, literally reverse the national debt and get the debt clock counting down. Nothing else will do.”

This is why Trump is popular. Say whatever else you want about him, but he clearly meets the first criterion: he is brash, intense, loud, outspoken, non-politically correct, and a bold fighter. Trump also seems poised to meet the second criterion as well: many voters think he’s a lot more likely to actually repeal Obamacare, secure the border, reverse the national debt, and reboot the economy than any of the career politicians in the race.

The Coming Decade

One thing is certain: Trump brings out people’s passion about politics. People seem to either love him or hate him; few are ambivalent. What this intense passion will bring about between now and election night in 2016 remains to be seen. It may expand, or it may dwindle.

But the widespread and growing frustration with electing officials who promise to repeal Obamacare and reverse our national debt–and then don’t effectively fight against every obstacle and get these things done, once and for all–isn’t going away anytime soon. If Bush, Walker, Christie or any other establishment Republican wins in 2016, or if the race goes to Clinton, Biden, or Warren, for example, this anti-status-quo fervor on the Right will only intensify in the years ahead.

Whether or not you like Donald Trump, the real news is that a rising number of voters are passionately demanding elected leaders who actually get the right things done. The niceties of “acceptable” public discourse and many of the traditions of politics (such as trying to “look presidential” or keep the “tone” presidential) are giving way to a stark drive for tangible results. It started with the Tea Parties, and now it is spreading to many other voters.

Make no mistake: this passion on the Right for real results is mounting, and it may very well become the defining trait of politics for decades to come.

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Two Possible Surprises: A Potential Twist in the 2016 Election

June 18th, 2015 // 11:48 am @

News after News

Elizabeth_WarrenIf Elizabeth Warren runs for president in 2016, it will change the whole dynamic of the election. So far she has said she’s not running, but we’ve heard that before from politicians who later changed their minds.

Since she first told everyone she isn’t going to run, a lot has happened. For example, the Right has visited an onslaught of negative press on Hillary Clinton. It’s been one criticism after another. Whether the stories are justified or not, this approach by the Right is news. As soon as one story dies down in the press, the Right pushes another one.

It’s a kind of shock and awe approach to negative politics. Break one story, let it run its course, fuel it as much as possible, and be ready to put out the next story when the current one starts to lose steam. If it’s not Benghazi, it’s Server-Gate. Then foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. Followed by ducking reporters. Or FIFA.

The list is long and growing. No doubt Mrs. Clinton’s critics have an even longer list of additional news stories planned and ready to come out (especially now that her old emails will be released a few at a time for many months ahead).

As this continues, Clinton’s support may eventually take a more significant hit than it has so far. And she’s already down a bit in the polls.

But Democrats aren’t very worried. Mrs. Clinton is still very popular, and if something big comes up that derails her candidacy, there’s always Elizabeth Warren.

The Deal

In many ways Senator Warren is a stronger candidate than former-First Lady/Senator/Secretary Clinton. She has fewer enemies, and her name doesn’t open the bank accounts of Right-Wing donors like Hillary’s does. Warren isn’t weighed down by a huge, national negative legacy from the past like Hillary—no Bill, no Benghazi, no Clinton Foundation, no sense of “the Clintons have their own set of rules”.

And Warren isn’t closely associated with President Obama like Hillary. In fact, Warren is known by many Americans mainly for standing against Obama and getting him to argue with her publicly. This makes many independents sit up and take notice. In fact, in recent polling over 60% of independents say they don’t trust Mrs. Clinton.

Beyond these things, Warren commands nearly all the positives for a candidate that Hillary enjoys: strong support among women, minorities, youth, and the Democratic base. She is well liked in swing states, she is known as more politically liberal than Hillary, and she is portrayed in the media as tough, independent, and dedicated.

Warren is an excellent public speaker, a mix of fiery and thoughtful, and, if anything, she’s more believable than Clinton.

In a sense, Warren is the anti-Obama of the Democratic Party. She could easily become the anti-Hillary in the presidential primaries, or the post-Hillary rescuer of the Party if Hillary hits a major scandal or roadblock.

In short, Warren is the real deal. She’s “legit,” as today’s youth like to say. I personally disagree with her on many political issues, but I’m impressed with how she’s running her campaign for president in 2016.

Playing ‘What If’

True: officially there is no such campaign. But if there were, she’s doing exactly the savvy thing right now:

  • keep getting President Obama to mention you and sometimes argue with you
  • say you’re not going to run and let the Right spend its money, time and energy tearing down Hillary
  • keep using your position in the Senate to weigh in on important American issues and look increasingly like a leader
  • stay out of the political fray and stick to governing for as long as possible—letting the host of Democratic and Republican candidates wear each other down

If she runs, she’ll almost certainly cause the Republican candidates more problems in the 2016 election than Hillary Clinton would.

With all that said, John Kasich may be the Elizabeth Warren of the Republican field. His role as Governor of Ohio gives him support in a vital swing state, and his rough-and-tumble record and disarming approach could be popular among many other swing voters as well.

Both Warren and Kasich have the “Credible” factor and the “Cool” thing going for them—they don’t come across so much like politicians as the other current presidential candidates. Many voters’ experience with Warren and Kasich is that they’re the “grown-ups” in current politics.

Whether you agree or disagree, and however you feel about their politics, Elizabeth Warren and John Kasich are worth watching in the next twelve months. Either one, or both, could be a surprise major player in 2016.

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Category : Blog &Citizenship &Community &Culture &Current Events &Featured &Government &Independents &Leadership &Politics

The Hillary Clinton Emails (A Different View) by Oliver DeMille

March 16th, 2015 // 12:30 pm @

The Curve

hillary ClintonIf you follow my articles on a regular basis, you’ve probably noticed that I seldom write about topics that are in the current news cycle. I usually address such issues a week or more after they stop dominating the nightly news. There is an important reason for this.

The way the television news presents many political topics can be very emotional. This often leaves watchers strongly influenced and emotionally geared up—one way or another.

Instead of jumping into that emotional boiling pot, I prefer to take a more reasoned approach. And waiting a few days or weeks can allow people to absorb the news, think about things, and then take a fresh look at the topic once emotions have calmed a bit. This usually leads to deeper thinking and more wisdom.

The topic of the Hillary Clinton emails is just such an issue. Here’s my take on it, and though I think you’ll find it quite different than the various news reports on the subject, I believe this view is well worth considering. So, here goes…

Reality Politics

Our current “gotcha” method of politics is a stain on our society. Watch the national news on almost any given evening, and a politician or potential candidate is being attacked for his or her latest weakness, mistake, or controversial choices. And in presidential politics, the din is even more constant.

The latest series of commentaries and diatribes against Hillary Clinton’s emails is yet another example of this problem. News programs clamor to break the latest development, talking heads line up to add their two cents of criticism, and potential 2016 Republican candidates jockey to call for the strongest censure.

Is it any wonder that most Americans don’t like politics very much? Or that many of those who do enjoy it too often treat it all like a reality show—a la Bachelor, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, the tabloids, or even the latest Kardashian saga? No surprise that independents shake their heads in disgust. Whichever party is the target of the latest news, the critics from the other side seem to pop up in droves.

Just once I’d love to hear a serious presidential contender step forward and take the high road. “I don’t really care about these allegations,” he or she would say. “I’ll leave that to the press and to people who are interested in these things. For me, they’re just a distraction.

A Better America

“The real question is a lot more important: Is Mrs. Clinton the best person for the job of President? Are her values, goals, and vision for this country what we want to lead us into the years ahead? Will her policies get us where we truly want to go? Because I believe in something I think is better for America, and I’d like to focus on that.

“I believe in an American future where…

“I see the United States making the hard choice to…

“If America is going to get back on track, and really live up to our great potential, every citizen needs to…

“Free enterprise is the hope for our future because…

“What really matters most to America’s next decade is the genuine, heartfelt decision to…

“…and that’s the kind of nation I want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The policies I’ve outlined will get us there. So I’m not going to get sidetracked by these attacks on my opponent. There is too much at stake. No leader is perfect. Everyone in public office can be attacked by those who have nothing better to do.

“But that’s not really what this election or this nation is about. Not at all. There’s something much more important going on. If Mrs. Clinton is the best leader to take America into the future, then you should vote for her. The rest is mere distraction. If you share her vision and goals, then support her. If not, if you share the vision and direction I’ve outlined today, vote for me.

“These other things may be important, or not, but they aren’t as important as the real challenge—not by a long shot. The true question we should be addressing today is what kind of America do we want, how are we going to get there, and who is the best leader to make it happen? That’s the real issue. And ultimately it’s the only issue that really matters.”

Of course, both parties like to point fingers, make accusations, and jump on the bandwagon when they spot a potential weakness. But that’s not what America is about. Or, if it is, then we’re going to continue into decline. Period.

Taking a Stand

I’m convinced most Americans don’t like the negativity. Yes, it seems to influence elections. And that’s sad. Because it shows a certain lack of independent thought, a missing element of leadership on the part of some voters. A nation dedicated to an ongoing game of gleeful whack-a-mole against the latest candidate’s foibles simply isn’t all that serious about its own future.

I’m not suggesting that the media shouldn’t report the news. Journalists have a job to do, and the nation is more informed when they do it accurately. But voters, candidates and party leaders shouldn’t give in to every temptation to jump into the muck, get happily worked up over every personal flaw in their opponents, or go negative whenever a glimmer of opportunity to criticize someone presents itself.

I know, that’s just politics. But that’s the problem. Politics should be better. “It’s not,” the experts say. But let’s not listen to them. Candidates can choose the high road. If that brings about their loss, they should be proud to lose. To paraphrase Thoreau, if being petty, vindictive, and/or negative is what it takes to get elected, anyone who wins an election should be deeply ashamed.

Besides, we’re tired of candidates who really want to win. We want a candidate who really wants to stand for a great America, and to do so regardless of how many votes such a stand garners or repels. Yes, that might seem naïve to those inside the Beltway, but it’s still true. We want a leader. Really.

Finally.

Moreover, voters can stop boosting the ratings of those who feed on the negative. If this is idealistic, it’s only because the ideal is worth supporting.

I, for one, am going to just pass on muckraking politics. I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton’s suggested policies, and I won’t be voting for her, but the candidates who jump on the bandwagon to attack her over every new potential negative—I just don’t respect them. Get a platform, take a stand, make us support you because of what you represent, stop grasping at straws and throwing rocks at Hillary. Or at anyone. Stop going on every television program you can and talking about your opponent’s flaws. It makes you look small. It is small, in fact.

I’ll vote for the candidate who takes a stand—not only for the issues I support, but also for the dignity to be professional, classy, positive, and optimistic. And yes, even idealistic and noble in the way he or she treats opponents and those who disagree.

Past, Present and Future

Leaders like George Washington, Winston Churchill, and Ronald Reagan didn’t win by tearing down the other guy, relying on distasteful personal invective, or playing “gotcha” games. These tactics were too petty for them. They laid out a bold vision for their nation, made a case it for it, and let the voters decide whether or not to support it.

And they stayed on message. (For example, Washington spread his influence and vision mainly through letters, not by campaigning. Churchill was notoriously congenial with opponents, and Reagan was famously optimistic even in addressing controversial topics.) They didn’t let the media, polls, or ratings set their talking points.

I want to vote for a candidate with a powerful vision for America’s future and a new era of greater freedom and prosperity, a realistic and principle-based plan to achieve these things, and a firm stand against wasting time attacking others. And I want to live in a nation of voters who turn off the TV or stop watching programs full of angry jabs about little issues.

It’s time for us to get real. Let’s finally get to the big things: Like what we truly want to be as a nation, what policies will take us there, and which leaders can effectively help it happen. Anything less is a vote for more of the status quo—a nation of bickering, blaming, backbiting, and decline—and that’s a bad decision for all of us.

We can do better.

Call for Greatness

So when candidates or their campaigns join the petty negative attack bandwagon, like a group of mean girls bullying on Facebook, instead of just leading us in a Reagan-esque focus on what we need to truly make America great again, I’m going to scratch them off my list. I don’t want a finger-pointing president, or one whose main goal is to win the White House. We’ve had those—from both parties—and they made things worse, not better.

We need a great president. Just look at our economy, the rising national debt, Russia, China, the Middle East, race disputes in our cities, etc. We face real problems, and many of them are incredibly dangerous. No mediocre president will do.

Whoever you are, we need you to be great. And the surest way to be a great president is to be great, to do great, to simply act great. Starting by focusing on your great plan for America rather than trying to win by exposing the flaws in your opponents. We’re tired of small-minded, petty candidates and “leaders.”

I hope a lot of voters will join me in this watch for a real candidate, one whose bold vision, effective plan, refusal to go negative, and deep understanding of freedom and prosperity will make us all proud to be Americans again. If there’s no such candidate out there, then I really don’t care who wins. Anything less just guarantees further decline.

We need a great president, or bust…

Literally.

And “great” includes positive, optimistic, and unswervingly focused on the big things that really matter.

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Category : Aristocracy &Blog &Citizenship &Community &Constitution &Culture &Current Events &Generations &Government &History &Independents &Leadership &Liberty &Politics &Statesmanship

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