The GOP Convention now in its third day has been anything but boring. From the initial attempted uprising on the floor during the passage of the platform and rules to the uproar over Melania’s speech accusing her of plagiarism, it hasn’t gone exactly as the Trump people planned. While we can laugh off the events so far, we can’t laugh off the overpowering theme that has run through the convention hall. The most extreme rhetoric I can remember hearing at any convention is pervasive.
The response to Chris Christie’s speech with the crowd roaring “lock her up” should not be taken lightly. The constant description of the system as “rigged” by Trump feeds the fury. The description of Hillary as “Crooked Hillary” also by Trump, reinforces the accusations of dishonesty. The buzz around the convention has been that Hillary and her husband Bill are guilty of murdering Vince Foster and should stand trial. They are also insisting that Hillary is guilty of treason related to her emails and that she should stand trial for treason. In speech after speech the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate has been vilified and demonized.
Calling for the trial and execution of a presidential candidate of the other party isn’t exactly typical behavior even in the most partisan of political years. This behavior, reinforced by Trump and his cohorts, has stepped well beyond any boundary that has ever existed. Throughout the convention, thus far, the rhetoric has been negative. All of the speakers have either railed against the Obama Administration or screamed untrue accusations about Hillary. There has yet to be a positive policy statement by any speaker. It is clear that Trump views the Party’s National Convention through a very different prism than any other candidate in history. He views it as just another entity to bend to his needs and desires. He is extremely manipulative and using the convention to achieve his goals irregardless of the consequyences to either the Party or our two-party system. His behavioir is extremely dangerous and unprecedented. It typafies the cynacism and arrogance he has dispalyed throughout the primary process.
Trump and his sleazy band of surrogates has begun to create a narrative that is perhaps the most dangerous to ever come out of a convention. His convention strategy has not been to sell the electorate on a positive set of proposals or policies. Rather it has been to demonize Hillary to the point that even if she should win the election, her election will be viewed as illegitimate. By telling us time after time that the system is rigged, he delegitimizes the election and any result that does not lead to his presidency. He is questioning the legitimacy of our democratic system. He is saying that the only way “Crooked Hillary” can win the election is if it is rigged.
Donald Trump is validating every right-wing conspiracy. He is telling all of the extremists out there that they are right. The system is rigged and it is rigged against them He is saying that the other candidate is guilty of rigging the system against them. She is a criminal along with her husband and all of others connected to them. Chris Christie stood before the Convention and said that Hillary was guilty and should be behind bars. Did they realize that they are awakening a very dangerous sleeping giant? The militias in this country have been growing and are waiting for just the right encouragement to attack.
Donald Trump is perhaps the most dangerous presidential candidate to ever seek this high office. His narcissistic opportunism endangers our democracy and places all of us in danger.
Usually watching the Republican National Convention is not high on my list of things to do every four years in July. These events usually move along at a predictably humdrum pace with little excitement and no surprises. Only the keynote speech and the nominating and acceptance speeches of the presidential and vice presidential nominees are worth watching. But again, this isn’t because we have reason to expect rhetorical wizardry, most often quite the opposite. It is only in order to be informed of the campaign issues and positions of the candidates that they are worth watching. Yet, this year promises to be different. For a change there is an air of unpredictability surrounding the Republican Convention. Just as the primary campaign provided surprises, the resulting convention is sure to provide the pundits with much analyze. This year, however, what goes on outside of the convention halls may prove to be as consequential as the convention proceedings. But there is more. There will be much to discuss about those who have pointedly chosen not to attend the convention due to their feeling and concerns about the presumptive nominee. So unlike past Republican conventions, the complete picture will be visible only when we are fully aware of what is going on both inside and outside of the event halls as well as the behavior and utterings of those not in attendance.
There has been a move afoot for several weeks now to place the presumptive nominee’s formal nomination in jeopardy. Never in my memory has the Party been so clearly divided by convention time. There have been attempts utilizing both the courts and the Rules Committee to enable delegates to vote their conscience and disregard the candidate that they are bound to. This effort has gained momentum along with significant funding, has employed experienced operatives and has organized within every state delegation. While the chances of success of this movement is a long-shot, the potential could lead to a surprising outcome. Such divisions can certainly lead to some interesting battles on the convention floor.
Due to recent tragic events we have seen demonstrations in cities across America-we can expect more of this right outside the convention hall with no shortage of counter-protestors. Not since the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968 has the potential for major demonstrations been so imminent. Convention planners must be concerned about the potential for violence and its impact on the event’s security. No doubt, it will create an atmosphere that will raise the stress level inside, and who knows what that will lead to.
The list of those who have chosen not to attend the convention is growing. It consists of many considered to be stalwarts of the Republican establishment as well as some who have significant political and ideological differences with the presumptive nominee. This has two effects. First it changes the nature of those in attendance. They, for this most part, will be delegates for Trump. By their very nature they are ideologically extreme and view the party regulars negatively as elites. This can make for a more energized and boisterous event particularly given what we are sure will be taking place outside. Second, it allows for the redefinition of the Republican Party by those who have taken it further to the right than ever before. By not attending the “no shows” are defaulting on their opportunity to define the party. This default might leave the future party unrecognizable and inhospitable to their future involvement.
The upcoming Republican National Convention could be filled with surprises and drama. More importantly it will provide a peek into the minds of the most dangerous group of people to ever seek to lead their party. We must know our enemy in order to defeat them. This year we need to watch and learn for the sake of the future.
This post is not meant to serve as some kind of rationale or excuse for Hillary’s behavior regarding her use of emails during her tenure as Secretary of State. She was incredibly careless and deserves to be called-out and reprimanded for her actions. In his concluding statement FBI Director Comey stated clearly and emphatically that while this behavior was extremely careless it did not cross the threshold of an indictable offense. It is not at all surprising, however, that the Republicans are “shocked” at this conclusion and will do everything possible to exacerbate the issue including calling the FBI Director and Attorney General to testify before a Congressional Committee. No doubt it is an issue that will follow her throughout the campaign. However, the Republicans best move with caution as they navigate the waters of accusation and questionable behavior as the murky waters are about to rise and swallow them up.
It is almost laughable that the Republicans act with such shock and offense at Hillary’s victimless carelessness while they support a candidate that has behaved with complete disregard as to how his actions will impact on the lives of others. While Trump has broken no laws that I am aware of, his business practices are simply an extension of his opportunistic narcissistic personality. His only consideration in a business decision is whether it will be good for him. He has shown callous disregard for how his decisions will impact on the lives or businesses of others. He uses bankruptcy as a business strategy caring not at all that he is leaving his vendors out in the cold. He spent a half million dollars in a campaign to prevent the service workers in his Vegas hotel from unionizing. He has a long list of failed businesses, yet each time he has come out with a profit while those who provided a service or product ended up losing. His Trump University is currently being investigated by the New York State Attorney for fraud. Reality has little to do with Trump’s narrative. To listen to him you would think he was the most successful businessman to ever walk this earth. He sprinkles superlatives like salt on food. And the descriptions are all about what HE has done or what HE will do. He lives in a world of allies and enemies. If you buy into his narrative and support him you are an ally. If you question anything or challenge his narrative you are an enemy. His most trusted advisor is himself. Even when it is clear that he lacks the knowledge or expertise to make the proper decision his extreme narcissism prevents him from seeking advice. The thought of having this kind of narsasistic personality reside in the Oval Office is beyond concerning.
The Republican Party is thrusting a nightmare upon America. They do so knowingly and without regard for the ultimate impact on our nation. They have assumed the same ethics and behavior in politics that Trump has displayed in business. While a few of the Republican leadership have shown concern and in fact have clearly stated that they won’t vote for Trump, almost all others have fallen in line and will support this marginal personality as their candidate. This unconscionable behavior is beyond careless. They are supporting a man who admires the fact that Saddam Husain was able to execute his enemies without a trial. A man who has been ambiguous at best with regard to racism and anti-Semitism. A man who tends to lump people into groups rather than appreciating individuality. Trump, the man they support has shown himself to lack intellectual vigor or desire to learn. If he does as President what he has done in business, America will be disrespected and reviled by the community of nations.
Certainly the Republicans will use the Hillary email issue as long as they can in the hope that it will somehow hide the reality of who and what their candidate is. We must call them on this action and make sure we vote to teach them a lesson they will not soon forget. Presenting a candidate for the highest office in the land isn’t a game, it isn’t a strategy, it is real life and impacts on people the world over.
How many times have we heard that we are about to see Trump 2.0? How many times have we been told that he is going to be more presidential and use the teleprompter? How many times has it been predicted that he is now going to shift his campaign to focus on policy and away from personal attacks and bluster? Well, it’s clear that the predictors and pundits are wrong once again The fact is that what you see is the real Trump. He is a loud mouthed self-aggrandizing narcissist. These are personality traits that may be changeable, but only after many years of therapy. When forced by his advisors he will read a speech off of the teleprompter, but then revert back to type at his next rally.
The thought that a person who is the presumptive nominee for President of the United States from a major political party needs to be advised and coached about how to behave is astounding. We’re not talking about obscure issues of protocol or ceremony here. We are talking about representing the United States in the office of President with dignity, respect and gravitas. These are not characteristics that can be easily taught. We have the right to expect that anyone who is presenting himself or herself to the American electorate for consideration for this high office meets these basic criteria. We can have differences of opinion regarding policy, but not on name calling. We can view the world through different lenses, but no lens that includes racism or religious discrimination. We can differ on the role of our government, but not on the dignity with which we treat governments of other countries. Certainly presidents have advisors with expertise and experience in all areas that typically present themselves in the course of a term of office, but a president has to be predisposed to listen and learn and analyze. He cannot be intellectually lazy and closed-minded.
To believe or even desire that a candidate can somehow magically be transformed to be “presidential” is a pipe dream. The strenuous nomination and election process that a presidential candidate must navigate is designed to enable us to assess that candidates strengths and weaknesses. It is a process through which we become aware of where that candidate stands on specific issues. By the time we enter the voting booth there should be little that we don’t know about the candidate. Certainly we expect that they grow and adjust during this process. They sharpen their rhetorical skills and hone their policy statements. They learn to listen and assess the validity of advice. We can often see a considerable difference between the candidate as he or she entered the primary process and that candidate after nomination. However,. that is not the case with Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is no different today than he was when he announced his candidacy last July. A year on the campaign trail has taught him little and has only served to reinforce all that he is. He is mouthing the same outlandish and inappropriate statements today as he has all year. Republican are still in shock over his position as presumptive nominee. Some are so distressed that they have publicly announced that they will leave the Party and vote for Hillary. They do protest too much. After all they have been busily pushing the party in a rightward direction for over a decade. Nonetheless as I said in an earlier blog post, it’s not that they disagree with what he says so much, it’s that he says these things out loud. This is simply not done in polite company. The fact is, Trump is Trump and try as they will, he will remain the Trump we have seen for quite a long time. The polls are showing that Trump might have a difficult election ahead. That is wonderful. So I ask all of you who have tried in vain for the past several months to change Trump,Please let Trump be Trump!
Now they’ve done it! Despite all of their half-hearted but full-throated attempts to block the Trump nomination, he is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. It is pointless to again point out that they have been preparing the field for his nomination for more than a decade. We all know that. It is also pointless to discuss the fact that there is an obvious gap between the attitudes and values of the Republican base and the Republican Establishment. These two facts have been obvious to anyone observing the evolution of the Republican party and its base as they lurched in a rightward direction. There will be plenty of time after the November election for the pontificators, analyzers and “experts” to explain to us why it all happened the way it did. But we have a major problem to deal with right now! We have to make sure that the”experts” are right for a change.
I am as aware as you that the national polls are currently showing Hillary with a 7 to 12 point lead over Trump. I am also aware that Trump’s path to victory is quite difficult according to the “experts”. But the “experts”also said this guy couldn’t possibly win the nomination. The fact is that he has continued to confound the “experts” every step of the way. Every time he made an extreme comment during the primary season the prognosticators solemnly predicted the end of his candidacy. As it became clear that he was headed toward victory in the primary process these same prognosticators predicted that he would begin to tow the line and be more rhetorically cautious and behave in a more presidential manner. Yet, each day since becoming the presumptive nominee, he has effectively shown the “experts” to be wrong once again. Not only has he not shed his hyperbolic bluster, he has doubled down on many of his most extreme comments. Recently he also made it clear that he really didn’t need the Republican Party to team with him in order to become victorious. He said that he was sure that he would do very well without them. He has shown himself to not only be dangerously and frighteningly narcissistic, but somewhat delusional as well. He and his rally crowds have a symbiotic relationship. They truly believe what each other is saying and feed off of it. This creates a very insular reality that engenders delusions of grandeur and invulnerability. It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to see that this guy is not emotionally healthy.
Hillary has rightly said in recent comments that Trump is not temperamentally fit to serve as President. It is also clear that he is not prepared by virtue of his experience or education. His nomination is an aberration that may turn into an unimaginably disastrous Presidency. When his supporters are questioned about why they support him they say that they like his no-nonsense approach. He presents himself to be a tough guy who will in some mysterious way make everyone do what he says. However, in reality he is the loudmouthed bully from down the street. Trump has forced anyone who disagreed with him out of the picture. He has had protesters physically thrown out of his rallies. He has revoked press credentials from reporters with whom he disagreed. He has verbally abused all contenders who dared to oppose him. He is simply lacking the finesse and political awareness to assume the leadership of our country.
Our job is very simple. We must do everything in our power to make the “experts” right for a change. We cannot allow Donald Trump to become President of the United States. The Republicans have failed to present a viable and reasonable candidate. Let’s make them pay for their mistake up and down every ballot in every state.
There seems to be a little buyer’s remorse spreading around the Republican Party these days. The very same people who only recently pledged their support to the #nevertrump movement and ultimately came around to voice their support for Trump are now once again wavering on that support. In poll after poll the Republican base supports Trump without equivocation-it is clear that they consider him their man. So what is it that is causing the Party leadership and elected officials such heartburn? Why are they on such a different wavelength than their constituents? What about Trump is such a problem for them?
The fact is that these people have a problem not with the substance coming out of Trump’s mouth, but rather the style. Trump is like the uncle who you see at your table every Thanksgiving that you can depend on to say the wrong thing. Often it’s not so much the substance of what he says that is a problem, it is rather the fact that he says it out loud and with passion. As we have all learned, there are things that should not be said in “polite company”. While we may agree with them, it is just bad manners to say it out loud. Trump is no more or less a racist than his Republican brothers and sisters. The difference is that there is no subtlety in his comments. He hasn’t yet learned how to use the dog whistle. He doesn’t know the code words that allow for bigotry in polite company. In his world words are more important than actions, in their world actions speak for the words. They object to his blustery bombast. They want him to be more Presidential and speak with subtlety and ambiguity.
One might ask why should his style concern them if the Republican base approves and supports him? They have been building to this moment for decades. As the Republican Party moved further and further to the right it attracted supporters that moved right along with them. This is more apparent on the local and state level than on the national level, but it is an undeniable fact. Their attempts at voter suppression laws, and attitudes on abortion, immigration and climate change as well as their approach to public education shows just how far to the right the Republicans have shifted. Of course the rational for these laws are cleverly stated to avoid claims of bigotry. For example, Republicans would have us believe that voter suppression laws passed around the country are to protect us from voter fraud. The closing of women’s health clinics around the country is to protect the health of women. Finally let us not forget that the additional tax cuts provided the most wealthy are to enable them to create jobs. To describe these actions in any other way if you are a Republican is just not acceptable. It is not done in polite company. Trump simply has not learned how to be a good Republican.
While his crowds love his no frills direct bombast, it offends the sensibilities of the Party leadership. But is it really their sensibilities that are offended? Not really. What it really offends is their hope of holding on to their majority in the Senate, their huge majority in the House, holding a conservative advantage on the Supreme Court or winning the White House. They rightly recognize that in order for Trump to win he must make up for his inability to attract the minority and women’s vote by pulling a majority of independents and some Hillary haters from the Democrats. If he continues on his current path the chances of achieving this are somewhere between nil and none. When they talk about him being more Presidential they are referring to style not substance. They are simply afraid that if Trump continues to speak in such stark terms that the curtain will be pulled and we will all see the Republican Party for what it really is, elitist, anti-immigration, anti-worker, anti-women, anti-science, anti-government, anti-equality and pro-gun. KEEP GOING DONALD, PULL THAT CURTAIN WIDE OPEN SO THAT ALL CAN SEE THE TRUTH!
The level of stress that accompanies the job of President of the United States is unfathomable to most of us. We have witnessed the intense physical impact by just observing the gradual graying of each President’s hair as his term of office progressed. Yet we know that this is only one of the many physical and emotional manifestations of the stress inherent to this position. It is therefore our expectation that the individual entering this job begins with the emotional and physical health necessary to carry out the tasks and responsibilities with balance, stability and energy. In making our decision every four years, this fundamental bit of information must be factored in. It is obvious that the Republicans have either forgotten or chosen to ignore this issue.
Watching Trump’s press conference Tuesday was a jarring experience. He used it both as an opportunity to tell us how wonderful and charitable he is, while at the same time telling us how wrong and evil anyone who disagreed with him is. In other words he is great and anyone who doesn’t agree with him is simply stupid or evil. He takes every occasion to make this point as he tells us that he and he alone will make America great again. Those who choose to share in this noble undertaking must join with him. Those who don’t are obviously wrongheaded or stupid. He is the only one with the answers. He is the only one who knows the path to greatness. His statements and actions are clearly opportunistic and often contradictory. He excuses past actions or misdeeds with the flimsy explanation that ‘he is a businessman”. Is that how Trump will explain away his excesses or inconsistencies as President?
Trump presents a world with little nuance. It is a universe with only blacks and whites. While he is certainly not an unintelligent man, he presents a level of understanding that appears to be simplistic. This is reflected in his proposed solutions to extraordinarily complex issues. Building walls, barring Muslims, dropping out of NATO, calling Climate Change a hoax, claiming that all gun control laws are a threat the 2nd Amendment are just a few of the positions that illustrate this point. These are all obviously extreme positions that speak directly to the fears and attitudes of a segment of our population. It is no accident that Trump said that “he loves the uneducated”. He certainly doesn’t want to discuss these issues with those who have a broader understanding or awareness. He depends on those who will accept what he says as the gospel and, as he, will denigrate any who so dare as to question his positions.
Trump has proven himself to be of a mind that the ends justify the means. This has again become clear as the records of Trump University have just been unsealed. He is, and always has been an opportunist. His business dealings seem to reflect an amoral attitude and his success is a result of that. To Quote Richard Nixon from a statement made on April 6, 1977, “if the President does it, that means in it’s not illegal”. This attitude carries over to Trumps behavior who operates on the premise that if it is good for him, it must be good for everyone unless they are wrongheaded, stupid or evil. This kind of thinking gave rise to the infamous “enemies list” and ultimately impeachment. Do we want to live through that kind of nightmare again? With Trump, whose behavior is that of an opportunistic narcissist, it is quite likely.
As I noted earlier, the position of President of the United States comes with enormous stress. A healthy ego and body are certainly necessary to withstand all that will be confronted in a term of office. However, beginning such responsibilities with such a warped ego endangers us all. This Presidential campaign has been tailor-made to meet the needs of a opportunisitic narcissist. It satiates every pore and fulfills every need. Donald Trump, an opportunistic narcissist will serve himself before his nation. He will be a danger to both our country and the world.