In one of the most dispiriting contests for leadership of a great nation since Otho displaced Galba, the 2016 election continues along its unmerry way. In a not so epic battle between an implacable prevaricator and a self amused charlatan, the nation sheds its weary tears. 2016 could be the epochal election where whoever wins, the nation is the biggest loser.
The prevaricator Clinton, firmly in the lead, recognizes the safe thing to do is to say nothing. That is to say, nothing true. Caught in a blizzard of lies regarding her impossibly stupid and criminal use of a private e-mail server for the highest level of government secrets, she continues to do what she does best – lie as only liars can lie. Confronted with never telling the truth, she states she has always been truthful about lying. When the media attention, so minuscule compared to any similar event in a candidate’s life not wearing a democratic party mantle, becomes the least bit focused, she manages to lie stating that former Secretary Colin Powell suggested she maintain her own server. See? Everybody did it, so how bad could it be? Not so fast! declares the fastidious Powell. The turd-nado that would normally accompany such a cascade of untruths is nowhere to be found – just the gentle drizzle of sure she’s a liar, but how could you possibly vote for the dangerous crazy orange guy?
The self amused charlatan, Trump, otherwise known by the media as the dangerous crazy orange guy, has firmly re-enforced the notion that he might be dangerous crazy. Propped up by an alternative right crowd that is even more dangerous crazy then he is, Trump has continued the drumbeat against his election foes with aplomb- Ted Cruz and his father, the Gold Star Khan parents, the New York Times, and those who ousted Saddam Hussein. This laser focus on the immaterial has had its inevitable response in the mid-August polls. 0 for 23. Generally not a good predictor of victory. The captain of the ship responsible for the course directly into an iceberg, did what wayward captains in such circumstances do – he fired his iceberg averse crew and hired new crew who aren’t afraid of hitting icebergs.
And then, out of nowhere, a deliberative Trump produces two consecutive speeches that carry the perfect balance between the nation’s problems and thinking that gets to the core of those problems. First the foreign policy speech that lays out in clear, concise fashion that difference between the inherited middle east of Obama – Clinton and the tattered calamity that has been left in the wake of their policies:
Libya was stable.
Syria was under control.
Egypt was ruled by a secular President and an ally of the United States.
Iraq was experiencing a reduction in violence.
The group that would become what we now call ISIS was close to being extinguished.
Iran was being choked off by economic sanctions.
Fast-forward to today. What have the decisions of Obama-Clinton produced?
Libya is in ruins, our ambassador and three other brave Americans are dead, and ISIS has gained a new base of operations.
Syria is in the midst of a disastrous civil war. ISIS controls large portions of territory. A refugee crisis now threatens Europe and the United States.
In Egypt, terrorists have gained a foothold in the Sinai desert, near the Suez Canal, one of the most essential waterways in the world.
Iraq is in chaos, and ISIS is on the loose.
The media so engrossed in the meme of the age of “smart” foreign policy brought as a gift to America by the twin geniuses Obama and Clinton, was put aback by the Trump’s precision artillery, and his brazen willingness to expose the Potemkin village of supposed successes of the “intellectuals” running the country. And then like a championship prize fighter, not the drunken brawler he had been, Trump came immediately back the next night with an even more provocative spot on speech, a take down of the myths associated with race baiting, and the democratic stranglehold on urban centers in the United States fomenting the devastating outcomes that have resulted in perpetual poverty for its poorest citizens:
There is no compassion in allowing drug dealers, gang members, and felons to prey on innocent people. It is the first duty of government to keep the innocent safe, and when I am President I will fight for the safety of every American – and especially those Americans who have not known safety for a very, very long time. I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different future.
It is time for our society to address some honest and very difficult truths. The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community. Democratic crime policies, education policies, and economic policies have produced only more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty.
Let us look at the situation right here in Milwaukee, a city run by Democrats for decade after decade. Last year, killings in this city increased by 69 percent, plus another 634 victims of non-fatal shootings. 18-29-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the homicide victims. The poverty rate here is nearly double the national average. Almost 4 in 10 African-American men in Milwaukee between the ages of 25-54 do not have a job. Nearly four in 10 single mother households are living in poverty. 55 public schools in this city have been rated as failing to meet expectations, despite ten thousand dollars in funding per-pupil. There is only a 60% graduation rate, and it’s one of the worst public school systems in the country.
1 in 5 manufacturing jobs has disappeared in Milwaukee since we fully opened our markets to China, and many African-American neighborhoods have borne the brunt of this hit.
To every voter in Milwaukee, to every voter living in every inner city, or every forgotten stretch of our society, I am running to offer you a better future.
For the first time, this Donald Trump did not simply cut to the chase as to what the real world was like compared to the liberal narrative. This time he started to identify and suggest solutions that could appeal to people directly caught in the violence and poverty vortex:
The Democratic Party has run nearly every inner city in this country for 50 years, and run them into financial ruin. They’ve ruined the schools. They’ve driven out the jobs. They’ve tolerated a level of crime no American should consider acceptable. Violent crime has risen 17% in America’s 50 largest cities last year. Killings of police officers this year is up nearly 50 percent. Homicides are up more than 60% in Baltimore. They are up more than 50% in Washington, D.C.
This is the future offered by Hillary Clinton. More poverty, more crime, and more of the same. The future she offers is the most pessimistic thing I can possibly imagine.
It is time for a different future. Here is what I am proposing.
First, on immigration. No community in this country has been hurt worse by Hillary Clinton’s immigration policies than the African-American community. Now she is proposing to print instant work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, taking jobs directly from low-income Americans. I will secure our border, protect our workers, and improve jobs and wages in your community. We will only invite people to join our country who share our tolerant values, who support our Constitution, and who love all of our people.
On trade, I am going to renegotiate NAFTA, stand up to China, withdraw from the TPP, and protect every last American job.
On taxes, I am going to give a massive tax cut to every worker and small business in this country, bring thousands of new companies and millions of new jobs onto our shores – and make it very difficult for our businesses to leave.
I am going to reform our regulations so jobs stay in America, and new businesses come to America to hire workers right here in Milwaukee. Every policy my opponent has sends jobs overseas. I am going to bring trillions in new wealth back to the United States.
On education, it is time to have school choice, merit pay for teachers, and to end the tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers. We are going to put students and parents first.
Hillary Clinton would rather deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy.
I am going to allow charter schools to thrive, and help young kids get on the American ladder of success: a good education, and a good-paying job.
On crime, I am going to support more police in our communities, appoint the best prosecutors and judges in the country, pursue strong enforcement of federal laws, and I am going to break up the gangs, the cartels and criminal syndicates terrorizing our neighborhoods. To every lawbreaker hurting innocent people in this country, I say: your free reign will soon come crashing to an end.
On healthcare, we are going to get rid of Obamacare – which has caused soaring double-digit premium increases – and give choice to patients and consumers. Aetna, just today, announced they are dropping out – as are many of the major insurance companies.
On government corruption, I am going to restore honor to our government. We’ve seen the corruption of Hillary Clinton, the mass email deletions, the pay-for-play at the State Department, the profiteering, the favors given to foreign corporations and governments at your expense. We’ve seen a former Secretary of State lie to Congress about her illegal email scheme, risk innocent American lives, and bring dishonor onto our government.
In my Administration, I am going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information. No one will be above the law.
I am going to forbid senior officials from trading favors for cash by preventing them from collecting lavish speaking fees through their spouses when they serve.
I am going to ask my senior officials to sign an agreement not to accept speaking fees from corporations with a registered lobbyist for five years after leaving office, or from any entity tied to a foreign government. This is all just the beginning.
We are going to make this a government of the people once again. This is our chance to take back power from all the people who’ve taken it from you. The reason you see the establishment media lining up behind my opponent is because they are scared that you, with your vote, can take away their power and return it to your family and community.
As the week closed, the self amused charlatan suddenly looked like the guy with the ideas and the other candidate the poster child of more of the tired, failed lies we tell ourselves.
The pundits of the media class pontificated that this was clearly the “pivot to presidential” that for months they had breathlessly claimed would appear as soon as Trump had escaped the partisanship of the primaries. From my standpoint 48 hours of laying out some clarifying rationales that define the difference between two opposing political views does not a pivot make. Does any candidate that has determined to lead a great nation require a pivot if the reason for running in the first place was a long pondered and vetted set of principles and beliefs that define them? Trump’s epiphany may be that he finally realized that neither candidate had any principles, and that a principles vacuum existed. A principled Trump could provide some separation. Can Trump stand in front of a mirror long enough to stop admiring himself, and consistently begin to look within himself? The data to this point in time would suggest we will be back to a large dose of demagoguery lickety split.
If instead the miraculous has happened and someone has gotten to Trump, to remind him he is our reflection and not his own – maybe, just maybe we could have ourselves a real election.