First-time readers, normally this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.
Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters. You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.
Periodically I change formats for this blog, writing commentary rather than dialogue for the regular characters. Since starting the blog, I’ve tried to keep the politics reasonably well-balanced without exagggerated bias left or right. I consider this entry in the same vein, although I’m certain some will disagree.
With less than 50 days until the 2016 US presidential election, I thought this commentary was appropriate…and needed. One thing for certain in this election – voters are frustrated. To some the frustration stems from a dislike of president Obama; to others the frustration stems from a lack of meaningful action by Congress; to others the frustration stems from just ‘government.’
To address these frustrations and help solve the problems, however one perceives the problems, voters have a choice between Trump/Pence or Clinton/Kaine. A small percentage of voters will support a 3rd party – the Libertarian ticket of Johnson/Weld or the Green Party. Voting for a 3rd party is effectively not voting, although one can argue that with enough 3rd-party votes, the president-elect might consider some issues of the 3rd-party platform. Enough 3rd-party votes might also influence the reformulation of the Republican Party, which is likely to occur, whether Trump wins or loses.
For those considering the two major parties, many are selecting their candidate based on a false dilemma or false choice. The false choice — if a voter dislikes Hillary Clinton, for example, then the voter thinks he or she must vote for Trump. If the voter dislikes Trump, then Clinton must be the choice.
Such a false choice is not necessary. However, I’m not naïve enough to think that a large percentage of prospective voters actually studies the issues. Based on my observations, the vast majority of voters, including seemingly well-educated voters, select a candidate based on an array of intangibles. The selection is made without considering the impact of proposed policies and/or without considering meaningful past behavior of the candidate. And, yes, everyone makes mistakes. But one needs to consider the frequency of major mistakes and the context.
Even some who claim to study issues, intangibles override evidence. Over coffee recently, a colleague replied to my presentation of well-documented economic data with the comment, “That’s your version of the facts, I have mine.” No, my friend, you don’t have “your version” of facts; you have voodoo facts. Facts don’t come in versions.
So, what how should a non-policy, non-fact-based voter decide which presidential candidate to vote for? My suggestion is simple. Ask yourself the question, “Am I better off voting for the devil I know or voting for the devil I don’t know?” For a voter wanting to change behavior in Washington, please remember that all legislation is initiated by Congress. Legislation is not initiated by the president but by Congress. While the president can modify some policies by issuing Executive Orders, the effect of many EO’s can be negated by Congress.
Where the president has more influence is in building and maintaining US relations with other countries…and some influence but not outright control over certain aspects of the military. So when you’re ready to cast your ballot, you should think about how well will the candidate of my choice work with other countries, the military and Congress? I understand you might not like either candidate – you’re not alone – but the choice of candidates is not a false choice. You do not have to choose Trump because you dislike Clinton…or you do not have to choose Clinton because you dislike Trump.
The choice for president is real. So even if you dislike Clinton…and I mean dislike intensely…do you really want to vote for a candidate who has encouraged the assassination of the rival candidate? Mr. Trump has twice encouraged supporters to do so. And, no, he was not being facetious when making those comments. Do you really want someone as president who admires a strong-arm dictator? Putin the dictator, who Trump so admires, in fact, assassinates the opposition.
The situations encountered by the president should not be viewed as a zero-sum game. Developing economic and fiscal policy, working with members of Congress, negotiating trade deals, strengthening international relations are not zero-sum games. Building coalitions within the US and strengthening relations with other countries are not the same as negotiating tax abatements for hotels in Manhattan.
The president needs to make certain the primary players feel as if the negotiations were fair and each came out somewhat ahead. Negotiations are not just about one side, as seems to be the mantra of Mr. Trump.
Do you want someone as president who has bragged repeatedly about not paying taxes and who refuses to release tax returns? What is there to hide in the tax returns? And, no the IRS does not care if tax returns are released. If you want that kind of person as president, and you’re not part of the 1.0%, then plan on getting the shaft. If you want that kind of president, then you also need to explain to your children and/or grandchildren why you voted for someone with such obvious irrational behavior. Explain to them why you took the risk of increasing the likelihood of an even more intense and prolonged Revenge Revolution.
Now you ask, “Is this guy smoking something or is such a revolution possible?” I started publishing this blog in 2013. The original idea for a 5th US revolution stemmed from some research I did in 2009. Since originally developing the premise about a 5th revolution, the negative attitude and polarization of the electorate have intensified. Unfortunately, I think the Revenge Revolution is inevitable no matter which candidate wins in 2016. However, based on my observations and analysis, the severity of the Revenge Revolution will be far less if Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump becomes president.
Why will the Revenge Revolution be less intense under Clinton? Because Trump has demonstrated repeatedly erratic, irrational behavior…and encouraged violence. Just listen to his words…carefully listen… if you don’t believe me. To me electing Trump is not worth the risk. While one might not like the options of either Clinton or Trump, voting for the devil you know seems more rational than the risk and consequences of voting for the devil you don’t know…and, don’t kid yourself, you really don’t know Trump.