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Posts tagged as “Donald Trump”

Wanting to believe

richardson

For the last couple of years, conventional wisdom has held that Trump’s loyal base of supporters is unshakeable, that Trump could – in his words – “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and “not lose any votes.”

That conventional wisdom may be about to change.

When a voter supports a candidate for president, it should come as no surprise that the individual will think the best of the candidate they supported. It can be difficult to accept that the supported individual has fallen short, to realize they have been untruthful. I know this from personal experience.

I strongly supported the candidacy of Bill Clinton. I thought his keen intelligence, progressive vision, and strong work ethic – coupled with rare communication skills – would make him a great president. In many respects he was.

But Clinton did have sexual relations in the Oval Office. He not only lied about it under oath in a deposition in a civil suit, he lied about it directly to the American people. Like many of his supporters, I believed Clinton when he looked straight into the camera, shook his finger, and adamantly proclaimed his innocence.

I wanted to believe him, and so I did. I’m no ingénue, but I was genuinely aghast when I heard him finally admit the truth.

Clinton lying under oath about sexual activities pales in comparison to today’s many scandals swirling around Trump. I reference it, though, because my strong impulse to credit Clinton's denial is, I think, mirrored in the insistence of many who voted for Trump to believe his increasingly incredible assertions that “there was no collusion with Russia” and no attempt to obstruct justice.

Recently, Rachel Maddow noted that George Herbert Walker Bush had been chairman of the Republican National Committee at the height of Watergate and was, in fact, RNC chairman when Nixon resigned in the fall of ’74. The previous summer, Pappy Bush went on a listening tour to assess the views of the “party faithful” outside the Beltway. At the time, Bush himself was convinced that Nixon was not involved with Watergate.

Following his listening tour, Bush summarized his findings in a memo to White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig. He noted that “party people” held an “almost unanimous desire to believe that the president is telling the truth.” Bush concluded: “They want to believe in the president.”

Of course they did. That is human nature. Having supported Nixon, they wanted him to merit their support.

But, in time, even many of the GOP faithful were disabused of Nixon’s innocence. However strongly they may have wanted to believe in the president, they couldn’t explain away the evidence on the White House tapes that exposed the cover-up.

Unlike Trump, Nixon did not have Fox News with its 24-7 drumbeat of propaganda. With the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity running interference, Trump may never dip to Nixonian levels of disapproval (only 24% approved on the day he resigned). But Trump’s support, even among those who desperately want to believe him, may be in the early stages of unraveling.

The most recent Washington Post-ABC survey shows Trumps disapproval rating at an all-time high. 60% of Americans disapprove of his performance in office. Only 36% approve. Clearly, some of those who now disapprove of Trump’s performance once supported him. Something has, at long last, shaken lose their support.

Perhaps it was the Manafort conviction, or the Cohen guilty plea, or maybe it was the churlish manner in which Trump treated American hero John McCain, not only in life but in death. It might have been the news that the National Inquirer’s David Pecker and the Trump Organization CFO had been granted immunity and were cooperating with the Special Counsel. Perhaps it was all of these things and more.

Nixon’s resignation didn’t happen overnight. It took time for the nation – and especially a critical mass of Nixon loyalists – to absorb what he had done. It is not an easy thing to accept that the president has broken the law. I am among those who believe many transgressions, especially those pertaining to obstruction of justice, have taken place in plain sight; however, most of the nation is waiting to see more evidence of wrongdoing. But the rising support for the Special Counsel suggests that a lot of people are rejecting Trump’s characterization of the probe as a “witch hunt.” It would seem that even some Trump supporters are experiencing doubt in the president’s veracity; the eroding of unconditional support has begun.

For many who have long resisted Trump’s venal policies and even the legitimacy of his election, the temptation to belittle those who are only now beginning to question their support of the president must be almost irresistible. But that would be unwise. We will need to work with them in the days to come.

Should the Democrats win a majority in the House, impeachment -- requiring only a majority vote -- will be likely. But “impeachment” is only the process of charging. In order to be removed from office, the president must be tried by the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required to convict. Trump will only be convicted if some Republican senators are willing to vote for conviction.

In a perfect world, the senators would look only to the evidence and the Constitution. The world is imperfect. They will also look to their base.

With Watergate, arch-conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater delivered the bad news to Nixon. His presidency wouldn’t survive a Senate vote, were it to come to that. It seems that many of the Nixon-era GOP senators had stronger spines than are to be found among members of the McConnell led cabal that now holds sway.

Yet, if we are to remove Trump from office, today’s GOP senators will need to find their spines. And that will require further erosion of Trump’s base, which will happen more readily if the rest of us stop buying – and repeating – Trump’s story that his base in unshakeable. Much of it likely is. But some of it is not.

We’re beginning to feel tremors. Some pebbles are starting to roll, and the needle on the political Richter Scale is moving, however slightly. The time has come to re-visit the conventional wisdom.

(photo/Gage Skidmore)
 

Redirecting the anger

rainey

The time has come to stop wasting more frustrations and deep anger hating Trump in my later years. I still do. And I’d like to see his crooked, lying, arrogant ass in jail for the rest of his scheming, adulterous life.

No, that’s over. Time - probably long past time - to redirect the contempt and extreme disappointment elsewhere. To congressional Republicans. Every damned one!

Even without waiting for whatever damning report comes out of the Mueller investigation, there’s more than enough evidence already on the public record for impeachment of Trump on a half dozen charges. Bill Clinton’s hallway peccadillos pale when compared to the lying, cheating, illegal payoffs, double-dealing, money laundering, perversions, repeated sexual philandering on a grand scale and outright contemptible actions already proven regarding Trump. Even without Mueller’s documentation.

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and their cohorts have demonstrated a willing, deliberate, absolute failure to carry out their constitutional duties required by the oaths of office they swore to uphold. Took not once but several times.

Forget the unwarranted GOP murder of the Obama nomination of Merritt Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ignore their current, outrageous plans to shove Kavanaugh through the backdoor of that same court. Forget they’re sitting on their collective butts while ignoring the guaranteed right of immigration and the wreaking of unnecessary pain and suffering on thousands of innocent people. Just ignore all the lying, perversion and continued contempt of Senate and House rules and the denial of even common courtesy to Democrats. Forget it all.

Simply focus on Congressional Republicans and the total disregard for their absolute responsibility to provide checks and balances on the other two branches of our federal government. Aside from a few ignorant “space cadets” who’ve no idea what their duties are, most members of Congress are at least professionally familiar with their job descriptions and most have heard of the U.S. Constitution.

You also know understand the problems caused by their inactions. You know because the ones quitting, or who were knocked off in primaries, are admitting as much in their comments while headed for the exits. They’ve cited inaction. They’ve openly criticized Trump and even their own Party and their “leaders.” If departing members of both houses can make such admissions on the way out, it’s obvious a good number remaining have similar feelings.

But, as a body, they’re failing their required responsibilities. They’ve let the bluster and B.S. of Trump cow them into inaction. Many, in their desire for continued employment, have become willing accomplices in his highly outrageous conduct, his dubious actions and his outright lying. He’s perverting the Presidency, making a mockery of decorum, destabilizing foreign policy and making every attempt to have agencies of his “administration” go after his “enemies.”

The question, then, becomes, what the Hell will it take for Congress to do it’s required job? How much outrage - how much shame - how many lies - how many outright illegal activities - how much prostitution of the Oval Office will be too much? What - if anything - will be “a bridge too far?”

It’s easy - and inaccurate - to say Trump bears full responsibility for his “wrecking ball” presidency. Yes, it’s his “ball.” But, Republicans in Congress have let him swing it and, at times, have given him tacit permission to do so by their inaction.

Whether there’ll be a “blue wave” in November is open to question. That’s for Democrats and their supporters to work out. But, voting Republicans - freedom-loving, constitution-caring, fiscally-responsible Republicans - need to step up when voting. They need to turn out and clean their own house - and Senate, too. Even - shudder - vote for a few Democrats. They need to put the Party on a better, more stable footing - purge it where needed - return it to the Party it used to be. Rebuild the respectability necessary if those who’ve left the GOP are ever to return “home.”

Trump’s just a symptom of the illness. The law will, take him down eventually. What’s really ailing the GOP body politic is decay, cowardice and a sickness in the current majorities in Congress. Time for Republican voters to call the doctor.
 

More to come

rainey

Last week’s “SECOND THOUGHTS” about Trump’s all-out effort to “kill the messenger,” contained these words. “If he (Trump) continues to deliberately make our national press out to be “the enemy of the people,” some sociopath will reach for a weapon.”

The day that column appeared, so did stories of a masked gunman going into a radio station in Wisconsin, firing five shots at three employees, wounding one. He got away.

It wasn’t that I was so prescient. It was just plain damned predictable. The national atmosphere has been full of “kill the messenger” and hate for the media for months. That someone would actually reach for a gun and act out the rhetoric of hatred has left some of us to wonder what took so long. Related to Trump’s dangerous words?

As I said last week, reporters and others in the media have received threats for many years. Large markets or small, if you’ve been a reporter - especially in broadcasting - you’ve probably got your own stories to tell.

But, never has the President of the United States been the constant cheer leader for taking out HIS anger on the media. It was only a matter of time before some twisted bastard took his “call to arms’ seriously. Just a few months ago, one of ‘em killed five employees of a Maryland newspaper. And, it’s an undeniable fact, threats against reporters have increased dramatically in recent weeks. Some media have even broadcast recordings of a few.

No one with any “smarts” at all can deny Trump has fostered the atmosphere where such tragedies can occur. He’s used his celebrity - if not the actual power of his office - to plant what some demented minds could construe as “orders” to defend him from purveyors of “fake news.” To undertake a “righteous mission” to prove they’re “real Americans” acting to protect their “pres-i-dent.”

Some folk have wondered why reporters cover his unending campaign rallies where such hatred is espoused. The plain fact is he’s the President of the United States. Where he goes, what he does and what he says are the public’s business and are deemed necessary to cover. For historic purposes, if nothing else. The media can’t ignore his words and actions any more than they could when Barack Obama or George Bush or other Presidents were traveling and speaking.

There are also the broadcast ratings. When reports of Trump’s outrageous behavior and words hit a new low, ratings generally go up. Which pleases advertisers, which makes money to pay for the coverage. Broadcast bosses, especially, are not going to walk away from that. Works with newspapers as well.

But, there may be a middle ground. Cover his blasphemous circuses the way you do repeated campaign appearances. A small broadcast crew could be assigned in case some honest news comes out of the event. If not, no coverage, except maybe to report the rally happened. Period. If news occurs, the networks are “covered.” We don’t have to be inundated with repeated broadcasts of the same crap, over and over.

We know what Trump is and we know how he acts and speaks. He’s dangerous. He’s reckless. He’s a chronic liar. His speech and his constant lies are reprehensible to many.

But, they also have an appeal to others - many of whom have their own “problems.” They’re more worrisome than Trump. They’re the ones liable to act on what he says and how he says it. The Wisconsin shooting could be just such an act.

Trump is trying to silence honest journalism. Truth is an anathema to him. Like an animal in a trap, he’s slowly being “brought to ground.” He knows it. Leaks from the White House staff tell of his rages. A narcissist and a compulsive liar under such pressures is a very dangerous person.

But, more dangerous still are those who follow and, in some cases, literally worship him. In the crowd hysteria - and for some long time after - Trump’s words can plant seeds and cause tragic actions.

The shooting is not over. Stay tuned.

Mob boss in the White House

richardson

Every American who has ever pledged "allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands,” should have a shudder running down their spine. At the helm of that republic sits a would-be tyrant who denigrates the rule of law and thinks himself above the law.

In an interview with the New York Times, Donald J. Trump declared: “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” Claiming to have the power to open, or end, an investigation, Trump referenced the Mueller inquiry saying, “[F]or purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”

His not so cryptic message is both stark and horrible: “If Mueller does not exonerate me, I can – and I will – shut him down.”

Were Trump to attempt to do this, it would be a manifest obstruction of justice, an offense for which he should be impeached and convicted; but we cannot count on the Republicans in Congress to rise to the occasion.

Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and so many of their GOP colleagues have become Trump’s defenders. They have no objectivity, no sense of shame. As former George W. Bush speech writer David Frum has wisely observed, "This isn’t remotely like Watergate. During Watergate, Congress cared whether laws had been broken."

In the same interview, Trump continued his criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation – a recusal absolutely required by Justice Department protocol. Trump then claimed that former Attorney General Eric Holder protected President Obama and deemed such “protection” praiseworthy.

Trump has no facts to support his conclusion that Holder “protected” Obama and offers no evidence in support of that assertion. What is profoundly troubling, though, is the unmistakable implication that a good attorney general will protect the president who appointed him. The attorney general serves the country and the constitution, not the president. Trump’s view of the ideal attorney general is a “yes man,” a sycophant, a political hack who will reward his patron with “protection.”

We do not have a president, as our founders envisioned a president; we have a mob boss running a criminal syndicate from the Oval Office. In 2018, we must elect a Congress that understands the difference.
 

Trump 6: Undermining national security

trump

Of many ways a Donald Trump presidency could damage the United States, few are more immediately catastrophic than the risk to our national security.

This is not simplistic material. "Bomb the hell out of them" is the kind of line that might offer emotional gratification to some (thoughtless) audiences, but the kind of thought process lying behind it would be disastrous in practice. His bizarre choice of foreign role models would be hardly better. His ignorance of the importance of national security basics accepted by presidents of both parties for generations could put not only the United States but the whole world at risk.

Former Sweden Prime Minister Carl Bildt (not to the sort of person usually to comment much on an American election) twitted, "I never thought a serious candidate for US President could be a serious threat against the security of the West. But that's where we are."

Two statements from groups of foreign policy experts should be allowed to weigh in here.

One, from July, is an open letter signed by more than 150 foreign policy leaders saying, "On balance, Mr. Trump’s foreign policy would weaken America’s alliances and erode its power . . . Mr. Trump’s foreign policy vision has inspired alarm across the political spectrum in the United States as well as in allied capitals throughout the world. Many critics of his candidacy appear to have believed that they could blunt his momentum by lampooning his disposition and mocking his proposals. With less than four months before the United States elects its next president, however, it is evident that neither of those tactics has succeeded; it behooves Americans—policymakers, analysts, and citizens alike—to take Mr. Trump seriously and interrogate his vision of foreign policy."

That one is not to be confused with a statement signed a month earlier by more than 120 conservative foreign policy experts. They said:

We the undersigned, members of the Republican national security community, represent a broad spectrum of opinion on America’s role in the world and what is necessary to keep us safe and prosperous. We have disagreed with one another on many issues, including the Iraq war and intervention in Syria. But we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency. Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly:
His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle. He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.
His advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars is a recipe for economic disaster in a globally connected world.
His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.
His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combating Islamic radicalism by alienating partners in the Islamic world making significant contributions to the effort. Furthermore, it endangers the safety and Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of American Muslims.
Controlling our border and preventing illegal immigration is a serious issue, but his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor.
Similarly, his insistence that close allies such as Japan must pay vast sums for protection is the sentiment of a racketeer, not the leader of the alliances that have served us so well since World War II.
His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy.
He is fundamentally dishonest. Evidence of this includes his attempts to deny positions he has unquestionably taken in the past, including on the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan conflict. We accept that views evolve over time, but this is simply misrepresentation.

One of the most recent television ads released by the Hillary Clinton campaign is a reprise of the famous "Daisy" ad offered in 1964 to devastating effect against Barry Goldwater. You can make a case, with the passage of time, that it unfairly maligned Goldwater. But its implications cannot malign Trump at all: As a prospective president, he is an imminent danger to this country and the world. - rs

Trump 69: Immigration day

trump

On August 31, Donald Trump's immigration day, he managed to undertake a mesh of events that, hour by hour, demonstrated bad practice for anyone aspiring to the White House.

You can start with the visit to Mexico City to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Actual public officials know that visits of that type, between heads of state of countries important to one another, are not done of the spur of the moment, but are carefully planned, with specific results intended and sought. Trump dreamed it up and carried it out on the spur of the moment. This isn't the way leaders in either the United States or Mexico traditionally operate.

There was this much to be said for Trump's visit: His stated goals, stated repeatedly in the course of campaigning for president, do affect Mexico directly, from his plan to build a wall between the two countries - a wall Mexico would pay for - to the deportation of millions of people from the United States back home. The president of Mexico took issue with a number of Trump's statements, and - taking advantage of the translator situated between - called him a liar and before early in September.

Things got no better when he took off for Arizona and delivered his talk on immigration, which focused on doubling down on the harsher provisions from early in his campaign. It was both unrealistic and likely to aggravate most Americans. It also included remarkably few details.

His idea of specificity was to describe opponent Hillary Clinton's immigration proposal as "open borders, let everybody come and destroy our country, by the way." That bore no more relation to reality than did his description of immigration as a crisis; the reality of more people exiting the United States to head south of the border than are entering illegally, over the last eight years, would not fit his narrative very well.

From Josh Marshall at Talkingpoints memo: "As Trump has fudged on whether he'll deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, he's tried to anchor himself on the Wall. In other words, well, maybe we'll deport everyone or only 'the bad ones' or something. But the real thing is the Wall. And Mexico will pay for it. If that gets jettisoned, he doesn't have a lot of his campaign positions left to fall back on."

Immigration Day, pitched as one of the most important days in Trump's campaig for the presidency, was a day of frantically sown chaos and fear. - rs

Trump 95: Funded by foreign nationals

trump

High up on the lines of Donald Trump appeal for many of his supporters, last year at least, was this: He's rich, he's paying for his campaign himself, so no one else can buy him.

It was never true; Trump accepted campaign money during the primary season as well as during the general. The deception - many Trump backers probably still think he's self-funding - is more significant than the contributions, which all the other candidates for president, of all parties, have been accepting and using this cycle like the many before it. No blame from here on Trump for accepting contributions ...

... except ...

He's seeking a kind of contribution other candidates of all parties, who mostly at least have been trying to conform to federal law on the subject, have not been seeking:

Money from foreign nationals.

On June 29 the watchdog groups Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission said that fundraising emails from Trump this year have been going not just to Americans but to politicians in Britain, Australia, Scotland and Iceland.

FEC guidance sheets say federal campaigns cannot accept donations from foreign nationals, and "It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them."

An email from Trump's son drew this from a British member of Parliament: "Quite why you think it appropriate to write emails to UK parliamentarians with a begging bowl for your father’s repugnant campaign is completely beyond me. ... Given his rhetoric on migrants, refugees and immigration, it seems quite extraordinary that he would be asking for money; especially people who view his dangerous divisiveness with horror."

Others called it "pathetic."

The Associated Press, in a show of wit, said, "Call it ‘Trexit.’ Members of the British Parliament and other foreign politicians want off Donald Trump’s email list, and are seeking to block the presidential candidate from asking them for campaign donations."

There are some gray areas in the law, and Trump's legal counsel may be able to keep him out of the penalty box here. But really: You're running for president of the United States and you want people from foreign countries to underwrite that? What sort of message is this? (Oh wait. We're talking about Donald Trump here.)

First take/The supers

"Super Tuesday" was a little less superlatively definitive than it might have been. It didn't really upset, in any big ways, most existing trend lines, but - remarkably - it didn't knock anyone out of the field, either. In both parties, things continue on more or less as they had been.

More or less.

The one candidate who came out of Tuesday with a basis for feeling a little better than previously was Texas Senator Ted Cruz. While the bulk of the Republican nomination events went to businessman Donald Trump, Cruz was teetering on the edge. If he had won no states on Tuesday - and the possibility of his losing his home state of Texas was quite real - he would have been done. A win in Texas was essential to his continuing. Two additional wins, in Oklahoma and Alaska, had to put a little extra spring in his campaign's step this morning. While Senator Marco Rubio did score one win, in Minnesota, it was his first (and Cruz was highly competitive there). Tuesday gave Cruz a reasonable argument for contending he, not Rubio, is Trump's major opposition. Rubio's campaign is going to have to do much harder spinning, though not as hard as if he'd no wins at all. "Minnesota" will probably be Rubio's word of blessing for some time; without that win, he would have been on the verge of folding. As it is, he can go forward, albeit a little weakened.

That said, Trump entered Tuesday as the contender to beat, and he exited the same way. He is now way ahead on state wins and delegates. He's not un-catchable yet, but if he maintains the pace for two more weeks he will be.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton solidified her front-running position. But Bernie Sanders did well enough to justify keeping on keeping on. That would have been a marginal case had he won only his home of Vermont, as many predictors had estimated. But instead, he won Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota as well - a respectable haul. The race realistically can go on.

One other comment - a quote.

The biggest winner on Super Tuesday may have been Donald Trump, and his electoral strength is beginning to show in the number of party elected and other officials endorsing him - still a small number, but growing.

Republican consultant Rich Wilson had some pungent words for prospective endorsers in a piece out today. All of it bears reading, but this part needs particular attention:

As a Republican governor, a senator, or member of Congress, or as a Republican candidate, let me remind you: You’re known by the company you keep. By associating yourself with or endorsing Trump, you own Trump’s toxic radioactivity with voters outside his base. You own his economic ignorance, his poisonous stupidity on every consequential matter of policy, and his lack of political and personal discretion. And you own it forever. The Internet—and ad-makers like me—never forget.
There’s a reason Trump’s favorability rating is 2:1 negative, why almost no scenario leads him to victory in November. There’s a reason why women and Hispanics loathe Trump. There’s a reason why conservatives know Trump isn’t one of them. And there’s a reason why smart down-ballot candidates and elected officials who can see beyond the current frenzy are heading for the exits from the Trump circus; beyond the core of his supporters, Donald Trump is a hideous cancer on American political life. He’s an objectively terrible person, and that eventually matters in politics.
If you want to endorse that, you’re on your own. You’ll own it even after the Trump bubble bursts, Hillary Clinton is sworn in, and the Chinese-made red hat he shoved on your head at the endorsement rally is nothing but an uncomfortable reminder of your terrible political judgment.

(photo/Gage Skidmore) - rs

Political destruction

raineylogo1

I was sitting in a barbershop the other day as the barber worked on a guy - both facing away from me while they watched the flatulent Donald on Faux Neus.

During one of his repeated oft-repeated lies, I said something like “The guy just can’t stick with the truth about anything.”

The fella in the chair, still facing the other way, asked “What’s the matter? You don’t like Trump?’‘

“I believe he’s the most serious threat our modern political system has had to deal with, “ I replied. “A very dangerous person.”

The guy got up quickly, turned to face me and half-yelled, “Donald Trump is one of the great heroes of our time. He’s the only one out there who gives a damn about us veterans!”

“Trump is a veteran,” I asked?

“Damned right,” the guy said as he walked the 20 feet between us to get right in my face.

“When and where,” I asked?

The guy stopped, fumed, said nothing, then got back in the chair. Later, as he was leaving he said to all, “Trump’s a vet. And I’m a vet. And I’m going to knock on every door in this county to get him elected.”

I asked Barber Don to change the channel. He did.

Trump is no veteran. He was kicked out of three high schools so his father sent him to a military academy. That - and multiple deferments during the Viet Nam war - are as close as he ever came to vet-dom.

I use this slice of small town, seaside life, to help illustrate what’s coming which is this: I believe Donald Trump has done irreparable damage to our system of presidential elections. We will never look at the process in the same way again. And we may never elect a president the same way again. Trump - outright lies, false claims, obscenities and all - has infected millions of people like the guy in the barbershop. He’s making a mockery of a centuries old system of selecting a president - a commander-in-chief - and convinced millions of people his lies are truth and truth is anything his “followers” believe it to be. Or, they don’t care.

Complicit in this political destruction, I believe, is the National Republican Party. By standing idly by as 24 mostly unqualified and untalented people put themselves before the country to run for president, the GOP failed to advance and fully support someone - or several someones - who had the necessary skills to become president. Preibus and the other GOP moolah’s stayed out of the fray, vastly underestimated Trump and abrogated any responsibility for assuring the party had viable and qualified candidates.

Democrats have little to crow about, either. The closest Bernie Sanders - with his avowed but universally misunderstood Socialist label - is likely to get to the White House is to join someone’s protest picket line on Constitution Avenue in 2017. Secretary Clinton - qualified without doubt - comes to her candidacy carrying so much baggage she needs a dozen personal porters. Baggage Trump - or any other eventual GOP nominee - will use to beat her bloody and undercut her candidacy daily.

There’s even more blame for an intransigent Congress led by people who long ago lost sight of their own small roles in our Republic or how to conduct themselves and the affairs of this nation to benefit the people who put them there. They, too, helped create a Trump.

The far right has no corner on uninformed - dare we say ignorant - voters by the millions. The liberal contingent to left of the Democrat center has been producing it’s own falsity and peddling some ill-founded claims.

The plain truth is a huge block of Americans - maybe more than half - knows little more about the candidates of either party than they see on TV or hear in conversation with equally uninformed friends. Evidence of lack of basic knowledge of our government is everywhere - from high school campuses to retirement homes. Breeding ground for “Trumps.”

Try it yourself. Ask people around you: when (to the nearest 10 yeas) was “In God We Trust” added to our money - when (to the nearest 10 years) were the words “under God” added to our Pledge of Allegiance - how many justices on the U.S. Supreme Court - what’s the capitol city of Alabama, New Hampshire, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Tennessee - what did the slogan “54-40 or fight” mean - find Afghanistan on a world map - how many voting members are there in the U.S. Congress?

I don’t know if P.T. Barnum really said “never underestimate the ignorance of the public” as the story goes. But he made a damned big impact doing just that! So is Trump.

Voters - especially this year - are awash in political lies, deliberate misinformation, half-truths and false claims. Both national political parties have contributed greatly by not producing fully vetted - and qualified - candidates. So have several generations of public and higher education by not making extensive knowledge of citizenship required learning from first grade through grad schools. Across the board, citizens of this country know a lot less of their government than those of other nations. Proof of that is not hard to find.

But it’s Trump who creates the most fear for our national future at the moment. Like a 9-point earthquake under a glass factory, he’s shaking and breaking the foundation of rules, traditions, protocols and requirements for an orderly political process to select the head of government for this nation and begin transition to a new administration.
His complicit handmaiden is the national media. The pursuit of ratings points - read advertising dollars - has made whores of CNN, MSNBC and the always unreliable Fox News. Trump’s candidacy is being treated like the “second coming” as networks follow his travels with cameras at the ready and breathless anchors worshiping his over-the-top pronouncements whether they contain a grain of truth or are pure B.S..

National print media has been only slightly less worshipful. Some efforts have been made to separate Trump’s wheat from Trump’s chaff but not nearly enough. Hate radio has daily relayed lie after false claim after mindless personal attack - convincing loyal followers that Trump - and Cruz to a lesser degree - will “make American great again.”

At the moment, though he’s totally unfit and completely unqualified, it’s hard to see how Trump can be denied the Republican nomination. It’s about a lock. Counting delegate noses, it’s nearly impossible to see anyone but Clinton coming out of the Democrat convention. If that’s the ticket in September, bookies in Vegas will likely put their money on Trump. In some spots, they already are.

Donald Trump is a danger to our national security that the founding fathers never saw coming. A former national security chief is already openly describing how the U.S. military might have to disobey and oppose a future President Trump.

He’s heavily damaged a political process. It’s equally possible he could damage an entire nation before it’s over.