Weekly Ezine Number 384
New Book: The Audacity to Trump
What’s Next After the Women’s March?
New Book: The Audacity to Trump
I was asked recently to do a Foreword for Grow MEdia and their new book. The book is The Audacity to Trump: How a Political Rookie Hijacked History and Sold His Way into the White House. As I say on the cover notes, this is a book that tells the story of the Trump campaign without being for or against Trump. Right now it’s out as an e-book on Amazon and will be out on paper shortly. Here’s a link. https://www.amazon.com/Audacity-Trump-Political-Hijacked-History-ebook/dp/B01N22PBSL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485028365&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Audacity+to+Trump
The link doesn’t show my Foreword, so here is an excerpt.
“As the Trump Presidency proceeds, there are several possible scenarios that may take place.
“One scenario is that Trump will govern in a way that his opposition will be astounded by his competence and his results. He will thereby convert opponents to supporters.
“Another is that Trump will totally forget his campaign promises and govern as the Democrat he used to be, not the conservative he ran as. He will thereby convert his supporters to enemies.
“Still another scenario is Trump might govern as a corporate plutocrat and not the populist he postured himself to be. He will not “build the wall” or “lock her up”. He will favor Wall Street over Main Street. He will again, therefore, convert supporters to enemies.
“When any of those scenarios occur (and several similar others too numerous to list here), the same question will be asked. How in the hell did Trump ever win the election?
“For those asking the question, this book will be the quick and easy reference you’re looking for. Paul Madsen has done a marvelous job of detailing how Trump did it. Further, Madsen does so factually without either endorsing or disparaging Trump.”
And here is one of those other scenarios as suggested by this review of Trump’s inauguration speech. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/politics/inaugural-speech-dims-gop-hopes-for-a-more-conservative-trump-agenda.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-ab-lede-package-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
You may also be interested in this PBS Frontline program about the rise of Trump. http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/patriots/2017/01/21/ben-volin-the-nfl-becoming-more-predictable-just-look-this-year-playoff-field/e2B1N3uuBUn7vPO4NU4yeI/story.html
What’s Next After the Women’s March?
We’re not quite ready to offer our comments on the Inauguration and Presidency of Mr. Trump and its impact on our proposals for Election Reform. This election has provided a lot to sift through and we like to be thorough before we offer something to our readers.
We do want to comment on the Women’s March this past Saturday, because we can make our points on that topic much more succinctly.
First of all, we want to express our admiration for the organizers in the multiple cities across not just the United States, but internationally. To start from zero and get the kind of numbers the rallies had is nothing short of astounding. We also want to offer that same admiration for the women who showed up in such amazing numbers.
We presume the motivation that drove participation was the participants’ dismay at seeing Donald Trump elected President and the resulting enabling of the kinds of policies he and Republican majorities in Congress will pursue. Close on their heels in terms of dismay for the marchers is the number of states with Republican Governors and Republican dominated legislatures with similar policy agendas.
I sadly have to ask the participants and their supporters a question. Where the Hell have you been? Where were you on November 8 last year and the weeks and months preceding that date to make sure you didn’t feel dismay on Nov 9?
Some of you already understand what I’m writing here. If so, then this should be water off a duck’s back. If you understand, then please forward this on to those you know who don’t understand. And for the rest of you, once you do understand, then please forward this on to those who were like you so they can be enlightened, as well.
The brutal truth is that your activities Jan 21 are a day late and a dollar short. The election is over. Your preferred policy viewpoints were, by and large, defeated. Not by much, but they were. Elections are about putting people in office who will represent your views. The Republicans who are in office now don’t give a damn about you and your viewpoints.
This is an important truth you need to understand. Those Republicans were elected by people who are either (1) very much in favor of the agenda they proposed or (2) too ignorant to look beyond the personality and rhetoric of the candidates to consider the impact of the Republican agenda. Those Republicans were elected without your vote and they figure they can be reelected without your vote. That means that for the next two years they can and will do pretty much whatever they damn well please.
So, (to borrow a phrase) if you don’t like your viewpoint being nullified, then your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to prove those Republicans wrong and defeat them in the 2018 elections. You must defeat enough Republicans in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to have bullet proof majorities. Those majorities can then reverse the damage done so far, block any further damage by Trump and Pence, and legitimately threaten them with Impeachment. In fact, the potential exists that Trump will have already provided grounds for Impeachment by January, 2019. You need to make similar changes to state level government.
Like it or not, this is how the game is played. Somehow, too many don’t seem to understand this.
When we decided to get rid of Kings and Queens, Dukes and Earls and their alliances with certain religions (better known as Feudalism and Theocracy), we had to replace the functions of Royalty in order to govern ourselves. After a false start with the Articles of Confederation, we came up with this Constitutional Republic system we’re using as the replacement system.
Here’s what that means to us. Let’s say you belong to a group that has a vision of what they want government to do. To make that group’s vision a reality, then this is what must happen. The group must elect a President of the United States who agrees with that vision. But electing the President alone is not enough. Legislative majorities are needed, too.
The group must (given current law) have at least 218 members of the House of Representatives who agrees with their vision. The group must have (given Senate rules for debate) 60 members of the Senate who agrees with its vision.
Further, if the group does not have a President of the United States who agrees with its vision (and the group who marched Saturday does not have that), then the numbers go up. To be able to override vetoes, the group needs 290 of 435 in the House and 67 of 100 in the Senate.
When you have these things, then you are able to pass the legislation and approve the budgets to make your vision happen. You’re also able to appoint judges who agree with your view. To offer a political truism, you either have a seat at the table or you are on the menu. Right now, a lot of you marching have just realized (which is why you marched) that you are on the menu.
People who identify as Conservatives understand this system very well. And so, unlike many liberals/progressives and so-called Independent voters, Conservatives show up for every election. They vote for their values. They don’t think they have it in the bag and stay home. They don’t think the President they want is in office and it’s only the mid-term, so they don’t have to vote. They show up. They vote. Every. Single. Time.
And to win, Conservatives are very good at confusing voters about what their true values are. And so the uneducated voter wakes up one day and discovers the people elected to office are doing things those voters disagree with, are not in those voters’ self-interest, and do not represent their values.
Conservatives also work incredibly hard at keeping people who are unlikely to vote like them from voting. And there’s some thought that doing so is one of the things that made their victory possible in 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-clarke/stop-perpetuating-myth-of_b_13273788.html And, by the way, the majority of things that are done to restrict voting are done in the states. That is why the states are important. And because you don’t have control in the states (yet) to change things, you’re going to have to win against their restrictive rules.
The reason these kinds of election results are possible is because our elections do not require majority winners. Conservatives understand very well that they don’t have to get a majority of those voting to vote for them to win. They only have to get a bigger plurality than anyone else. That’s how Trump got his nomination. That’s how Trump won.
What is particularly appalling about this is not only that elections are not being won by majorities, but that the values espoused by Conservatives do not reflect the majority view. For example, the majority of Americans agree with the legality of abortion created by Roe v. Wade. The linked poll below says the support in 2017 is higher than it’s ever been (57%). If we consider how the Popular Vote turned out, then the 54% represented by Democrats, Libertarians and the Green Party and their candidates all endorsed the position of Roe v. Wade. http://www.pewforum.org/2017/01/11/public-opinion-on-abortion-2/
Yet, because of the fluke of how this election turned out, the 46% are positioned to attack and eliminate the precepts of Roe v. Wade through their Supreme Court nominee(s) and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. This is a priority action of a significant portion of the 46%.
This is one of several examples of how the values of Conservatives are not the values of the majority. Then why, you ask, do Conservatives win elections? Here are a few answers.
First, too many voters fail to realize the two major parties are not the same. Too many voters fail to realize (as we just described with abortion) what the Republican Party will do if given legislative majorities coupled with a friendly President or Governor. Let’s cite a few other examples. If you voted for Trump and down ballot Republicans, did you realize you were also voting for the following:
Voucherization and privatization of Medicare?
Pollution of air and water?
Funding religious schools with tax dollars?
Paying more for slower Internet because of the rejection of Net Neutrality?
Gag orders on public institutions such as the EPA?
The ripple effect suppression of your pay by emasculating unions?
The re-imposition of lifetime caps and pre-existing conditions in health care?
The selling of public lands for private gain?
Making the top 1% of earners even wealthier at the expense of the other 99%?
You say you voted for Republicans, but you didn’t vote for the things listed above? Wake up, boys and girls. If you voted for Republicans, you voted for those things. It’s called being gullible. And just know there are even more things you don’t like that Republicans intend to do.
I used to vote for Republicans. Republicans used to be the intelligent adults in the room. They were the people who would look for the unintended consequences in a piece of legislation and preclude them happening. They were pragmatists. They were willing to change their mind if the data showed they should. But then the Party got taken over by the Feudalists, the Theocrats, the Neo-Cons, and now the Alt-Right. So I rarely vote for Republicans anymore. But yet they win.
Oh, and please don’t tell me Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility. Pardon me while I laugh. You want to blame Obama for the increase in the debt and the shrinking of the military? May I remind you that spending bills originate in the House, which was controlled 6 out of Obama’s 8 years by Republicans? That the House refused to close tax loopholes that allowed many companies to make millions in profit and pay zero tax? A House that played a game of chicken that resulted in sequestration and, in turn, led to shrinkage of our military?
What I postulated in my book was that Americans wanted policies that were fiscally responsible and socially tolerant. Republicans are a party of fiscal irresponsibility and social intolerance.
My second reason for why Republicans win is that Democrats are ineffective campaigners. Democrats are ineffective because they don’t know how to expose the true values of Republicans and promote their own values in a way that appeals to voters’ emotions. Given the professions they often come from, they fail to realize that a voting decision is a buying decision and buying decisions are emotional decisions justified by logic. Remember that. I’m going to repeat it next week in a slightly different way to teach a whole other lesson.
And if you’re one of those people who denies that emotion is involved, then I’m telling you as a sales professional that you are absolutely and totally wrong. Ask anyone who’s successfully in sales for a living. They’ll tell you the same thing.
What Democrats need to do is take advantage of the lessons being offered by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Welling in their book, The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic. https://www.amazon.com/Little-Blue-Book-Essential-Democratic/dp/147670001X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485405594&sr=1-1&keywords=George+Lakoff+the+little+blue+book Lakoff and Welling show Democrats how to quit playing the game the way the Conservatives want them to play it. (And remember Conservatives have been working for a long time to get voters to play the game their way. To note another book we’ve mentioned before, look at Who Stole the American Dream? https://www.amazon.com/Stole-American-Dream-Hedrick-Smith/dp/0812982053/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485406911&sr=1-1&keywords=who+stole+the+american+dream . Learn about “The Powell Memo” there or just google it.) Lakoff and Welling will show you how to stop losing. What’s even more amazing is that this book was written in 2012. Failing to use it for the last 4 years is another Democratic failure.
In fact, all those indignant conversations you’re having on Facebook are probably being done in a way that walks you right into the Conservatives’ rhetorical kill zones. Wise up, folks. Quit walking into kill zones. Learn to emphasize your own values in a way people agree with.
Quickly, there are two other reasons Republicans win.
One is the stupid winner take all ballot we use. This is the ballot that limits our choices as voters and the variety of competition the candidates must face. This is a ballot that is not concerned with ensuring representative representation of all groups of people. This is a ballot concerned with the domination of what are considered to be wrongly thinking “other” groups of people.
There are voters out there who are totally opposed to Democrats, but dissatisfied with Republicans. There are also voters out there who are totally opposed to Republicans, but dissatisfied with Democrats. Both sets of voters would like to vote for a third party that is reflective of what they really want from a party. Unfortunately, our use of that ballot enforces the spoiler scenario and enforces loyalty to the two major parties. Maine took the first step in freeing themselves from the spoiler scenario by voting to institute ranked choice voting last November. It’s time for the other 49 states to do the same thing.
The other (final) reason I will give you that Republicans win is this. Gerrymandering. The creation of safe districts where only one Party can win. Democrats do this, too, but Republicans are better at it. They saw their opportunity in 2010 to take control of state legislatures and thereby control the redistricting process. And, as I describe above, they are ruthless and disciplined in their execution. Whoever wishes to defeat Republicans must also be ruthless and disciplined.
There are at least two ways to defeat gerrymandering. The first is to recognize is that gerrymandering is made possible by computers using voter registration and mapping data. Districts are drawn based on where the controlling party’s voters live. What could completely blow up gerrymandering is if unaffiliated voters start registering and voting against the dominant party. The true majority of voters in this last election were the voters who didn’t vote. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/01/almost-no-one.html If a significant number of those voters can be persuaded to turn out, then a district can be transformed from “safe” to “competitive”. Competitive districts are more responsive to all voters, not just party voters.
The second way to defeat gerrymandering (that I will talk about today, at least) is to institute proportional representation. It does us voters no good to go from the dysfunction of Republican gerrymandering to the dysfunction of Democratic gerrymandering (or Libertarian or Green or any other gerrymandering, for that matter.) Proportional representation means just what it says. The people elected to legislative bodies will proportionally reflect the views of the population within the geographic limits that body is empowered to represent. Proportional Representation will not allow a minority to dominate a majority, but one party may well become dominate because its approach to governing is superior to that of other parties and reflects the will of the majority.
There are several organizations besides mine trying to get a movement started to get the ranked choice ballot and proportional representation instituted. One is FairVote.org. Another is a new one brought to my attention by one of last weekend’s marchers. It is called Government by the People. It seeks to institute the changes by ballot initiative, like Maine did. https://governmentbythepeople.org/ One thing’s for sure. The plurality who won their elections by being able to divide the majority has no interest in seeing these initiatives succeed.
If the majority doesn’t want to be on the menu anymore, then they must do more than a one day march. They must have the discipline to participate in party politics, to demand changes to our voting processes and fight for a seat at the table. Persuade others that your values are their values. Never again think you have it in the bag and stay home. Never again think the President you want is in office and it’s only the mid-term, so you don’t have to vote. Show up. Vote. Every. Single. Time.
See you next time.