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The Name Game

PS#43

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An advisor to Donald Trump recently explained the candidate’s multiple (and conflicting) positions on most issues with: Words don’t matter. Wow, who knew? Apparently, words merely piss off people whose goodwill doesn’t matter, such as our allies in the UK and EU and, well, all over the planet.

Drive away your current allies, plus the very people you need most to become your allies (for example, the 99.9% of muslims who aren’t terrorists) …yessir, that’s one smart strategy.

Trump pops off stinky words (that allegedly don’t matter) like farts after a big bowl of warm beans. Like George W. Bush, he’s into nicknames: “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Crazy Bernie.” These were effective in Republican primaries, but they don’t match the imagination of W’s “Turd Blossom” for Karl Rove or “Pootie-Poot” for Vladimir Putin.

I’ve been working on a few myself. If you’re into alliteration, I could string together any number of d-words for you, such as dithering dumbshit doo-doo breath. But that game is just too, um, Trumpy. No! I won’t say them, I won’t even write them down for you. I’d rather go more formal with Donald Dick or Tax-cheat Trump and then throw in of the tiny hands and tiny wherever.

What works best for me is Double-talk Donald. It’s not especially offensive, which is a shame, but it does flow off the tongue and pretty much covers his main characteristic. You can watch him perform that character on any day in any video, but for an entertaining sample, watch Trump describe his rivals, before and after they dropped out of the race.

If only, someone with national influence read this column, maybe Double-talk Donald could move into the national lexicon.

Here’s an even nuttier idea: I read somewhere that some of Bernie’s supporters say they would vote for Donald J. Trump over Hillary Clinton. Wha-wha-WHAT? Are you serious?

Well, a far left friend of mine admitted to voting for Romney in 2012 because he figured that if things got bad enough, America would wake up. I gotta wonder what planet he was on during the still-relatively-recent Bush years. Not to mention the Nixon and Reagan years! Or the screaming insanity of right-wing talk radio that began during the Clinton years and has been with us ever since.

Those angry white men have been wide awake for a long time. During Nixon’s time, it was George Wallace and Lester Maddox who spoke for them (and Nixon himself, in code). Now, amazingly, their numbers seem to have grown and Trump speaks for them. But are there enough to elect Trump? This Huffington Post article posits: no. I wish I could believe that.

It’s shocking to read that any Sanders supporter is considering the Trump bandwagon. It’s not so surprising to read about the violence now being perpetrated by Trump protesters, except that the truth is far more nuanced than most of these same news stories. Not so long ago, it was all about Trumpsters beating up protesters. Now these acted-out attitudes are being met with equal force from the other side. You earned that reactive anger, Donnie boy.

And no one need wonder where these protesters learned violence. Trump has degraded the nature of campaigning, in the way that Fox “News” degraded broadcast news. Just watch some YouTube videos of him egging on his people. “I’ll pay your legal fees,” “They used to carry those people out on a stretcher,” and so on.

But effective attacks need not be violent. Look no further than Elizabeth Warren, who is laser-focused on Doomsday Donald using his own favorite weapon, Twitter, and hitting him where it hurts him the most—squarely in his pride. Seems to me (and to many others) that she has become Hillary’s clear choice for Veep. Warren is effective and representative of a group that Mrs. Clinton needs to win the election.

And yet… Some pundits are claiming that Trump’s support is even greater than what is currently evident. Hiding in plain sight. They say: some people who like Trump won’t admit to it when asked during a pollster’s phone call. As a news junkie, I’ve seen quite a lot of film of Trump supporters, and they never look especially shy to me.

Does he really have any kind of majority? IMO the New York Times article that I linked above offers some easily questionable evidence… “Phone-based surveys in December” found “57 to 60 percent of Americans opposed to” Trump’s proposal to ban muslims—while an online survey found 45% support.

Do the math NY Times, that second number is 55% opposed. When you factor in an error margin of just 2%-5%, these two surveys agree completely. As further evidence, the Times cited an increase of support for Trump’s ban just after the Brussels attack. Duh. These people aren’t voting with their guts so much as the adrenalin churning in their guts …from both fear and star-struck excitement.

Don’t forget that Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California in 2003 by a surprising plurality, while running against over 200 other candidates during a recall …not because of any governmental competence. People saw a recognizable star and figured he would dominate in California government. (Spoiler: he didn’t.)

I would call this insanity celebrity blindness, but it has another name: The Winchell Effect, named after America’s original gossip columnist and celebrity whore, Walter Winchell.

It boils down to this: Trump, and the Main Stream Media that continues to give him plentiful free air time, are in the entertainment business, not the facts business. Nor are the targets of this effect interested in facts, as perfectly illustrated by this David Horsey cartoon of an old white man with his fingers in his ears, shouting down said facts with “Make America Great Again!” over and over.

It’s tough to admit, but that Tax-Cheat Trump moniker I offered earlier would probably be ineffective: there are very few Americans out there who would hate cheating the IRS out of at least some of their tax bill. It follows that they would also admire someone who does that with impunity.

So show us your tax returns, Don the Con. It might win you more votes than it costs.

There are still a number of rich Republican donors who cannot countenance Trump in the Oval Office. Said hedge fund manager William Oberndorf in a New York Times article: “If it is Trump vs. Clinton, I will be voting for Hillary.”

Michael K. Vlock, a $5 million Republican donor just since since 2014, was even more demonstrative: “[Trump]’s an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard.”

Vlock described Hillary Clinton as “the devil we know,” adding that “I really believe our republic will survive Hillary,” he said. That’s mighty white of him, but I’ll take it. My fave comes from Investor and businessman Foster Friess: he and his wealthy friends view Trump with “the same enthusiasm as a root canal.”

My own opinion echoes a line in the 1992 John Sayles movie Passion Fish, where an actress recited varying nuances of her only line in an alien abduction flick: “I didn’t ask for the anal probe.” IMO, that’s exactly what Trump supporters are requesting—but for all of us.

Still, there plenty of Republicans, voters and officeholders, who are coming around to support their party’s certain nominee. (He’s got enough first-ballot votes now.) Supporters now include bitter Trump enemies “Little Marco” Rubio and would-be General Patton Lindsey Graham, who CNN reports surrendered at a private fundraiser.

Rick “man on dog” Santorum? He’s in. And for once he makes sense, if not the correct decision: He’ll vote for Trump because of the two or three Supreme Court appointments coming up in the next president’s term.

And do I hear wisdom coming from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a onetime Republican star who flailed wildly at Trump during his own short-lived presidential campaign? Not really, but an honest admission: he was among the first to say, after Trump became the official presumptive nominee, that he would probably vote for him in November.

Then Jindal felt obligated to add: “I’m not happy about it. I don’t think he’s the best-qualified candidate. I don’t think he’s the one most likely to be successful, but I would vote for him over Hillary Clinton.”

I cannot rationalize this partisanship. What about the country? Or the Middle Class that everyone laments is disappearing? As California resident, I remember clearly watching Ronald Reagan’s recession move westward across the country during his two terms. He didn’t cause prosperity, he wounded the economy and nearly tripled the deficit. George H. W. Bush, serving Reagan’s third term, did nothing to remedy any of that.

That’s why the 1992 election was about the economy, stupid.

Then, under Bill Clinton, we had the longest uninterrupted economic boom in U.S. history. President George W. Bush gave that away, beginning with a cash distribution of the surplus that Clinton had amassed. Then he started wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were “off the budget” but still depleted the U.S. Treasury. Under Obama, the economy has recovered in many ways—although not so much for the middle class.

Nearly 40 years of recent history has made it abundantly clear that lowering taxes does NOT boost the economy. Does. Not. And. Never. Did, Stupid. And yet, “never raise taxes” has been the consistent Republican campaign theme since the first President Bush. Thus, the other abundantly clear thing is that partisan Republicans do not give a rat shit about the economy. They are interested only in holding power.

Which is exactly what they accuse Hillary—and every Democrat—of desiring. My wife and I trade this bromide back and forth all the time: Whenever you hear the Republicans accusing the Democrats of doing something bad, look closely—because the Republicans are doing it too.

Should I apologize for ignoring Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton? Yes. It’s a conflict that so many of us were certain would die long ago—just like we figured that Trump was a passing fad.

Bernie is absolutely correct that the election system is rigged and corrupt and badly in need to reform. But in 2000, Ralph Nader thought so too, and I recall how his candidacy helped Al Gore lose Florida, and thus the election—and likely changed the course of history.

Several other aspects were in play as well, so I’m not blaming Nader or his supporters. But without Nader’s candidacy, or any one of those other factors (Gore losing his home state Tennessee, the Florida butterfly ballot, the aborted recount), we would have had President Gore and not Bush, and maybe no 9/11 at all. We would certainly not have had the disastrous invasion of Iraq that followed 9/11. Look where that shit storm has led the world.

Is Sanders damaging Clinton’s chances in November? I don’t know. Could he actually win against Trump, as current polls suggest? I don’t believe so, for reasons I’ve stated earlier (his proposals of significantly higher taxes would kill him, IMO). But if Hillary can’t dispatch Bernie in the primaries, how in hell will she beat Trump in the general? Some national polls now have Trump winning in November.

Yikes, where’s that anal probe again?

Political Survivor #43

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Written by

Steve Schlich is retired after 35 years of writing fiction about software: “easy to use,” “does what you want,” and the like. Hobbies include webmaster for www.RodSerling.com, writing songs and short stories. In 2004, he created www.NakedWashington.com, a website chronicling the naughty public art in Washington, D.C. He lives happily with his wife and cats, north of San Francisco.

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