The presidential race seems to be heating up with drama on both sides of the political divide, finally meriting my sincere interest. The carnival on the Republican side of the ticket would be hilarious if it weren’t so depressing, racist and testosterone-driven (bombing the desert till it glows, really). There’s much that can be said about the candidacy of Donald Trump and I think much of it has been said. To me he is vile but his political skills are brilliant and consistent with Republican political strategy since at least the 1960’s maybe earlier. Most importantly Trump speaks to a real disenfranchised white electorate. Disenfranchised in the sense that these poor often uneducated yet hardworking mostly male whites have not seen a real rise in their lifestyles in a generation; and Trump’s populism and scapegoating of hispanics, muslims, blacks, women, the differently abled, jounalists, the Clintons his Republican rivals and seemingly everybody he doesn’t like offers them (this mostly white electorate) an easy answer for what ailes them. Much of his right-wing ideology is also sadly mainline in the current conservative field of Republican candidates and so I don’t see a sane option in the party right now. I guess since we know what life under a Bush is like Jeb would be the devil’s choice for me on the Republicans side but he’s been pushed to the right just as much as Clinton has been pushed to the left by Bernie Sanders -more on that guy in a moment. All in all I’m saddened that all the oxygen in the presidential race had been taken by all these fear-mongering conservative candidates. I wish they had something more inspiring to sell than fear; something more substantive on issues like the environment, race relations and financial policy.
The Democratic side of the ledger isn’t much better with the drama this week with the Sanders campaign playing the victim after they illegally accessed sensitive campaign data for Hilliary Clinton from the DNC. My Facebook feed is going crazy with all my Sanders supporting friends claiming that there’s some kind of conspiracy in the DNC for Clinton over the issue. And taking it, this supposed Clinton conspiracy in the DNC – further by changing the subject. That subject being the illegal downloading by several Sanders campaign staffers. They do this by bringing up the abismal debate schedule for the Democrats this cycle, a schedule all the Democratic candidates agreed with and that the Sanders folks are only loudly complaining about now because their back are against the wall. Clinton did what campaigns that are ahead do which is to limit their exposure to inside party rivals. Kerry did the same thing in 04. In fact I think there are more primary debates this cycle then there were then. Anyway it comes across as whinny for the Sanders folks to complain. Even if their conspiracy theory’s were true tone is important at this point and if I were the Sanders camp I would have handled this latest matter with more grace than they had. Having the campaign manager go mad-dog on MSNBC over their campaign’s fuck-up and then unleashing the rabid Bernie hordes onto the Internet makes the whole party seem as craven as the Republicans. See below: (Bernie campaign manager Jeff Weaver on MSNBC). http://youtu.be/osr60zPEJDM
Frankly I find all the Clinton hate out their in the country mysterious and dangerous. That woman is the most vetted presidential candidate in the history of the republic. Her shrewdness and deft, ability to pivot (call it flip-flopping, lying, lack of substance, what have you) would all be assets and lauded were she a man or any other person than a Clinton. I personally believe in the politics of the possible and being battle-hardened and in gradualism with a heathy nudge to the left every now and then ( I love the black-lives-movement for example), and I support candidates that understand that. I can’t help but to think that Clinton would have avoided many of the freshman mistakes of Obama were she in the White House instead of him. It’s precisely because she’s the evolutionary product of our political system, a Tyranatian-Rex, that I think she will ultimately prevail over her competition on both sides.
As I said earlier the Sanders people seem a little whinny and make to much out of their underdog status. Their campaign has millions and his running competitively in all the early primary states, so they can drop the whole insergent routine. They’re as well positioned as Obama was in ’08, maybe better because they don’t have the handicap of race interfering in their campaign. They might do better yet if they capitalize on what are Clintons precieved strengths (with minorities and women) by embracing civil rights issues for Muslims, women and blacks rather that doggedly sticking to economic equality issues.
Anyway the point of this post was originally supposed to be a check in of where all the major candidates stand on arts and cultural policy, which is the issue I most care about as it directly affect me. In order to not write a novel in a single blog post I will save that issue for another post. I’ll close with a thought about how I’d like to see the campaigns progress. What I’d like is civility. I so crave level-headedness in a politician or commentator it’s just about my top issue. I half-agreed with David Frum telling a less than incredulous journalist on NPR that the tea-party movement was some kind of expression of pure populism rather than an engineered power grab by energy sector billionaires, simple because he do so with a calm delivery. Substance of course matters but in the last two to three weeks when we’ve had a terrorist attack in France and two in California – if you believe killing people at an family planning clinic is domestic terrorism as I do – I am relieved that we have a president that calmly explained the issues. Our president expressed appropriate grief, outrage, and resolution. He also to me extolled confidence and intention without wild justiculations and emotion. Which presidential candidate can out do Obama’s calm and cool and collected delivery, I think that guy or girl has my vote. Until next time….