Understanding The Trump Phenomenon.

The success of Trump the candidate seems to have confused liberals and conservatives alike. But it’s really not that difficult to understand if you look at the underlying causes.

First, there is great dissatisfaction among many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. Both sides see growing poverty and a struggling middle class while, at the same time, a privileged few are thriving. Both see a dysfunctional Congress that now represents only a fraction of its constituents – those with the money and power to call in political favors.

As a highly accomplished con man, Trump has tapped into the voters’ smoldering anger toward government, fueled by Fox News Channel and virtually the entire radio spectrum of rightwing, hate radio. Using a tactic perfected by unsavory dictators, he has successfully focused the blame for our problems on outsiders and those on the fringes of our society. He has convinced a substantial portion of our population that the nation is struggling as the result of Mexican immigrants, Muslims, China and “political correctness” – an oversensitivity for minorities, Muslims, immigrants, women and the disabled. That has invited angry white men to dig out their Klan sheets and to say whatever racist, sexist things that cross their degenerate minds.

Far from being the successful business leader his supporters believe him to be (he is one of the few to ever lose money as the owner of a casino), Trump is really only accomplished at the arts of persuasion and branding. He refuses to deal in specifics, understanding that emotions matter more than facts or even truth.

Capitalizing on what I would call the Kardashian effect, Trump understood that his celebrity and outrageous statements are good for media. As a result, he has been able to manipulate the media’s greed to the point that CNN and even the so-called liberal cable network, MSNBC, were willing to spend airtime focused on an empty Trump podium waiting for Trump’s latest rant than to cover a policy speech by Hillary or a large rally for Bernie.

Trump has benefited from the chronically short attention spans of the public – a public unwilling, or unable, to research or to comprehend the issues. A public that disdains nuance and complicated answers for complex subject matter. An impatient public that views the world as black or white; good or bad; right or wrong. He has also benefited from a political environment based on tribalism – knowing that even those members of his party who despise him and everything he stands for will eventually fall in line to support him. And he has seemingly embraced the strategy of former GOP strategist, Paul Weyrich, who correctly posited that suppressing the vote – even if it means alienating a majority of potential voters – benefits Republicans.

Finally, he has benefited from a chronically disorganized and divided Democratic Party – a Party that lacks clear, decisive leadership; a Party that, without control of the media, has struggled to articulate its accomplishments and its message; a Party that has made it easy for people like Trump, Cruz, Ryan, McConnell, et al to promise everything, but deliver nothing.

SCOTUS Nomination Is Emblematic Of Obama Presidency.

In 2008, Barack Obama ran for president on a platform of change and hope – hope that he could end division and bring people together. He probably should have known better. After all, the Republican Party had long based their election campaigns on fear and division.

So it was no surprise when it became known that, after the election of President Obama, Senator Mitch McConnell rallied congressional Republicans to oppose every one of Obama’s initiatives with the intent of making Obama a one-term president.

It didn’t matter that, for the first time in decades, Obama nominated members of the opposition party to his cabinet. It didn’t matter that, instead of pursuing charges against those in the Bush administration who had collapsed the economy and led our nation into a misguided war, Obama chose to look forward, instead. It didn’t matter that, in order to make healthcare affordable for millions more Americans, President Obama chose to promote a Republican idea (now known as Obamacare). It didn’t matter that, despite Democratic majorities in the House and in the Senate, President Obama chose moderation over partisanship.

He was rewarded by Republicans who used the filibuster to block any and every one of Obama’s initiatives. They blocked dozens of judicial appointments. They blocked his promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. They tried to block his budgets. They tried to block his healthcare bill. They even tried to block his stimulus bill which was intended to put millions of Americans back to work.

Not content with legislative obstruction, Republicans created the Tea Party, which challenged President Obama’s legitimacy. They portrayed him as the Joker…as the anti-Christ. They called him un-American. They called him a Muslim from Kenya. They rallied behind racist images of the president. They openly carried guns to their protest rallies and threatened to exercise their “Second Amendment rights” against the President.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that, when the most rightwing ideological Supreme Court justice died, McConnell and his Republican caucus in the Senate vowed to block any Obama nomination to the Supreme Court. They claimed that, even though President Obama has nearly a year left in office, that he is a lame-duck president. They would have you believe that his current term is for only 3 years, instead of 4.

Likewise, it is no surprise that President Obama nominated a moderate to the Supreme Court vacancy – a judge who is respected by members of both parties. After all, contrary to Republican accusations, such moderation is emblematic of the entire Obama presidency. Indeed, Obama has exemplified moderation in everything he has done. That’s why he will be remembered as one of the nation’s greatest presidents. And it’s why history will remember McConnell and the rest of the Republicans in Congress as the worst ever – a Congress that did nothing but further contribute to political hatred and divisiveness.

Allison Lundgren Grimes’ Campaign A Perfect Example Of Party Incompetence.

I’m not referring to Grimes herself, to other Democratic candidates or to the rank and file Democratic volunteers. It’s the so-called strategists who demonstrate the most incompetence. They collect millions in fees while seldom venturing outside of Washington, DC. They create cookie-cutter ads for their candidates. They ignore the principles of their own party platform. They cower at the first attack from Republicans. And they are so cautious as to harm their own cause.

In the case of Grimes, she had a legitimate chance of being elected until the strategists got a hold of her. It’s obvious that they advised her (and other Democratic candidates) to avoid mentioning the president’s name. They told her to run away from “Obamacare,” even though the program was highly effective – especially in Kentucky. They told her to hedge her answers to any questions about the accomplishments of the Obama administration. They told her to avoid any sound bites that could be used against her by the opposition.

Ironically, she provided McConnell’s campaign exactly what they wanted by following the strategists’ advice and refusing to answer the question of whether or not she voted for Obama. Instead of her own statements, McConnell was gifted the pundits’ reactions to her reticence. Now, as a reward for following their advice, the Democratic strategists have pulled their advertising buys in Kentucky.

Without following the strategists’ advice; by proudly standing behind the Democratic accomplishment of providing tens of millions with access to affordable health care; by standing up for the president who led us out of an economic meltdown worse than the Great Depression; by speaking up for the people she hopes to represent she may easily have won.

Certainly, she should win. In a year when the attitude of the majority of voters toward Congress is to throw the bums out, she is running against the poster boy of Congressional obstruction. McConnell is the do-nothing leader of the most do-nothing Congress in history. If the Democratic leaders can’t come up with a strategy to defeat McConnell, they have no right to call themselves strategists.

Let that be a lesson to future Democratic candidates.

Everything You Need To Know About Today’s GOP In One Button.

In case anyone could confuse Teapublicans for reasonable people, it should be noted that the following button was offered for sale at the California GOP convention: “KFC Hillary Special – 2 Fat Thighs, 2 Small Breasts, Left Wing.

Wow! Just wow!

This is from the party that claims to respect women all the while they try to invade their bodies, restrict their access to contraceptives and take away their access to health care. Imagine if Democrats put out a button that pondered whether or not Mitch McConnell can look past his gut to see his penis. Or a button that pondered the size of John Boehner’s testicles. Or a button that pondered whether Michele Bachmann’s brain is bigger than her mouth. Oh, wait, I think Michele has already answered that question.

But don’t get the idea that the GOP is merely offensive to women. They seem to delight in nasty attacks on all groups. They have created equally offensive materials against minorities, gays and anyone else who opposes their narrow-minded agenda. For example the same GOP convention that displayed the Hillary button offered buttons that read: “I still hate Commies even after they changed their name to Liberals.

This is the sort of stuff that makes political compromise virtually impossible. You can’t seriously negotiate with someone who openly disrespects you. And those in today’s GOP have made it abundantly clear that they have absolutely no respect for anyone who opposes them. They compare gay marriage with bestiality and incest. They call the working poor “freeloaders.” They attack minorities who demand equality for “playing the race card.” They dismiss environmentalists as “tree huggers.” They call President Obama a “socialist Kenyan Muslim” and worse. They call scientific evidence a “hoax.” They even call public education “socialism.”

At the same time, they portray themselves  as the “real patriots.” They wrap themselves in the American flag and wave their pocket copies of the Constitution. And they threaten to “use their 2nd Amendment rights” to enforce their narrow-minded point of view.

Now imagine trying to negotiate important issues with these people. Do you really think Democrats and Progressives can have an adult conversation with them over the future of our nation? It would take a far better person than me.