Category Archives: Elections

The Bias Construct

Recent public conversations about the political nature of Supreme Court appointments, has surfaced again. No matter who is proposed, if they’ve lived, worked, met, and offered numerous legal opinions, any nominee is going to have opinions on key issues of their day.

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United States Supreme Court Building

Such confusion and double-talk exists in our public-politic, it’s amazing that anyone can be appointed. In a recent public speaking engagement at University of California, Berkeley, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had this to say.

“I’m saddened to see that many people have lost confidence in judges and believe they are political.”

Sotomayor made the comments while taking questions from law students. The school’s interim law school dean, Melissa Murray, served as Sotomayor’s clerk when the justice was a federal appellate court judge.

Sotomayor said judges try to be fair and impartial and don’t have rigid beliefs they apply to every case. She encouraged people to view judges as “human beings who care deeply about what we’re doing.”

This is an interesting response, considering her words elsewhere.

Sotomayor, spoke at the University of Minnesota on October 19, 2016, commenting that the Supreme Court was designed to have nine justices so it can break ties on difficult cases.

“We try to come to decision-making as best as we can,” she said. “Where we can find a very, very narrow way of deciding a case, we use it.”

Sotomayor compared Scalia’s death to the loss of a family member despite their differences.

“There are things he’s said on the bench where if I had a baseball bat, I might have used it,” she said.

Enter the new nominee Neil Gorsuch. There’s a leading headline in Rueters describing, “ideological balance at stake in confirmation fight” . Of course the usual politicos, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, are leading the opposition to his appointment along ideological lines. The Rueters article describes some of the opposition rational as to why he shouldn’t be appointed.

It’s a good thing Supreme Court judges are fair and impartial and don’t have rigid beliefs.

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Neil Gorsuch – Supreme Court nominee

Transfer of Symbols of Power

Today marks another passing of the torch in the United States. The 45th president, for the 58th time, the inauguration of a President takes place. It’s a great day for fanfare and celebration, but not for some. To many people, they aren’t happy about this new President. They openly hope the man falls flat on his face. A desire that would be the furthest from their mind if only their person of choice was elected.

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President Donald J. Trump Inauguration 2017

The concern each of us as citizens should have is how much we can do to be of benefit to each other, not how badly we can make things, because our person or party didn’t win. The future requires more cooperation, more finding solutions, and less ways to blame the other person or party.

vp_president_outgoingNo matter what your perspective has been on the Obama Presidency, it should be obvious that he left in a better standing than either George Bush or William Clinton. A high approval rating isn’t  a rubber stamp, but it suggests there was enough political influence to negotiate and make things happen. This isn’t where Donald Trump starts. His approval ratings are significantly lower, even though he’s just been installed.

The Republican party is in a strong position to get things done. It holds majorities in the Senate, House of Representatives, and now the Executive branch. None the less, the Democrats have an opportunity to take the high ground and find ways to work with the Republicans.

Here’s the biggest challenge to make the transfer of power meaningful and beneficial, can we as a people find ways to minimize our differences and work together? I look at a large number of prominent individuals, and there’s certainly a mix of feelings. For some of them, it almost reads like rebels looking for a cause to show how much they matter.

What really should matter, is the alarming way we’ve ignored the 800 pound gorilla. That’s the national debt. There’s been a lot of talk about it, but reversing it, will be painful, no one wants to give up some of that public largess in order to fix this monster.

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We may not be bankrupt yet, but this reality is looming larger than ever. If this debt level isn’t reduced, all of the other priorities we think are important will seem pointless.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 124,248,000 people in the United States with full-time jobs in December. The total federal debt of $19,961,467,137,973 equals approximately $160,658 for each one of those workers.

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President Trump takes office 2017

We’re going to see things change, and I expect there will be a lot of people upset if it affects their special interest, project or cause. I’ve read quite a number of things which distort the positions Trump has officially advocated.

Today’s inaugural speech identified his focus was less on institutional authority and more on the needs of the people. Of course promises from a podium mean very little. We will have to see if they become part of the executive push and legislative authorization.

 

We had an Election – What Happened?

The 2016 election in the United States is over. Perhaps what may be more important, are your local election results. If you don’t know what happened locally, I suggest you find out before you read this blog. Property and sales taxes, school and city leadership, judges & sheriffs may have changed. The local elections are going to affect you more than this national election.

OK, that’s not why you’re here. You’re probably finding this Presidential election a little hard to believe. Confused? Angry? Frustrated? Happy? Sad? Joyful? Well you’ve come to the right place. I summarize why this election ended up this way.

Who are the two major candidates?

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Donald Trump

  • Chairman and president, The Trump Organization
  • Host, The Apprentice, The Celebrity Apprentice
  • Entrepreneur Initiative – University name dropped per New York Education Department demand
  • Owns hotels, casinos, entertainment resorts
  • Political experience – considered running for president in 1987, 2000, 2008, & 2012 (never ran or held public office)
  • Education: High school: New York Military Academy, class of 1964
  • Fordham University: 1964–1966 dropped out – resumed studies ~
  • University of Pennsylvania: The Wharton School 1968 graduate
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Hillary Clinton

  • Secretary of state, 2009–13
  • Senator from New York 2001-2009
  • First lady of United States
  • Education: BA, Wellesley College, 1969
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1973. Postgraduate study at the Yale Child Study Center

 


Trump
290 Electoral Votes
61,201,031 – 47.0% of the total vote

Clinton
232 Electoral Votes
62,523,126 – 48.0% of the total vote

You’ve heard many explanations as to why Donald Trump won over Hillary Clinton. Most of them are people trying to find explanations for their predisposed choice. Online newspapers, various well known news organizations tried to avoid covering much of the negative publicity about Hillary Clinton.

She lost to Barrack Obama, but after he had his eight year tenure, many Democrats felt it was her time. They also wanted to set another precedent, getting the first female in the Whitehouse. I call it the beginning of the “selfie vote”.

The strategy by many in the media was to help Donald Trump become the winner of the Republican primary paired against Hillary Clinton. He wouldn’t be too harshly criticized or scrutinized unless and until he became the nominee. It was to be a slam dunk for her. In addition to the generally positive spin, the polls reinforced the idea of how far ahead she was of Trump, many of them decided to shame those in the electorate who might consider voting for him.

Here’s a summary of what the media and critics were saying about Trump

  • He’s a racist ~ There are not be enough white men in America to elect Trump.
  • Trump voters are uneducated ~ They aren’t college educated & they don’t believe government should try to control the climate
  • Ignorant Bible thumpers ~ They see him as someone chosen by God
  • He hates women ~ Anyone that votes for Trump is a misogynist
  • They don’t think they have a voice ~ Waging a war against outsiders

So what happened? Maybe, just maybe, the media and many Democrats got it wrong. The problem with the polls became obvious after he won. The overtly critical news media hurt their own cause. The weakness with Hillary Clinton as a candidate was superseded by the choice many wanted to claim was historical.

There have been far too many investigations into both her and her husband. The saying, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Well there’s so much smoke surrounding her, along with the most obvious public lies she’s made, that many voters believed there was a forest fire in her life.

Her candidacy, even though it would be a first for women, was a lot like business as usual. She had courted and was paid by many large corporations. This placed her in the common group of backroom wheeler dealers who have managed to help destroy the credibility of those in office. She already had credibility problems, this magnified it. Whenever under pressure, she would obfuscate or lie, only to be found out and have to backtrack.

Donald Trump had his own problems with his Trump University, his comments on women, and allusions to having a large male organ, in what has to be one of the most adolescent debate points in political theater. Nonetheless, he was seen as an outsider. Someone who would shake things up in Washington. The same tactic of Hope & Change by Barack Obama, once again reimagined by someone who knew how to sell himself to the public.

Trump supporters viewed their man as someone who gets things done, and willing to ‘break a few eggs to make an omelette’. They saw him as a person they could identify with, including personal faults, which many people recognized in themselves.

The Cult of Hillary Clinton, lead by a coalition of social justice activists, celebrities, and well monied financiers, was above criticism, more of an idea, which supports the notion, we must elect someone who mouths the words we want to hear, such as empowerment, fairness, equality, breaking glass ceilings.

I believe  Hillary Clinton fell to the damages of a thousand cuts. The artificial support by many in the media seemed to aide Donald Trump, more than harm him. His messages were always simple, to the point, and he didn’t dodge the criticism levied about his checkered past. She was defended and supported by people yelling, anyone supporting Trump was a racist and or a misogynist, ignoring the voter mix required for Barack Obama to have won in the past two elections

In the end, many voters thought he was less of a risk to the office, even with all of his baggage. Someone who voiced their concerns over jobs, spending, illegal immigration & potential increase of terrorism through the intake of middle east refugees. Clinton continued the idea of business as usual with expanded government programs & the associated spending, which has gotten us into unprecedented levels of national debt.