Monday, June 20, 2016

Donald Trump’s Presidency: Are the stakes low enough that a gamble makes sense?

Keywords or Terms: US Presidency; Executive; Judiciary; Legislative Powers; Republican schism; American Democracy; Russian Roulette; Nationalistic or Fascist Government; US press; Elitist Groups; Donald Trump’s Candidacy; Hillary Clinton’s Candidacy; Campaign Manager Cory Lewandoswki; and Washington Post/ABC News polls

With Donald Trump parting ways with his long time campaign manager, one year probably, and barely one month to the republican convention, should America be asking herself a variation of the topic of the day question: Are the odds too long and stakes too great to afford a Donald Trump’s Presidency? A few of us, outsiders to Donald Trump’s campaign effort for US Presidency, find it quite unrealistic to continue to support a candidacy that puts the welfare and unity of the nation in jeopardy; and believe, his Presidency, an exorbitant cost that most Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, cannot afford. Though roughly fourteen million supporters of Donald Trump’s campaign probably believe the stakes are too low to be bothered; that even if Donald Trump screws up as US President once elected, the cost is probably bearable for an enduring democracy as ours, or a nation as huge as ours; as there are existing precautions or checks and balances that will uproot or out stage any of his excesses in managing the affairs of the state. Unless the checks and balances in place in a tri-camera democracy- executive, judiciary and legislative -collude or are mesmerized by the skill-craft of a possible authoritarian or despotic governance, could his government amount to damaging the existing system. From the point of view of seasoned political observers, a solution to Donald Trump’s candidacy has become more urgent, not less, urgent, with the exit of his campaign manager, as it appears there is a schism in Trump’s campaign outfit, close to Republican convention time.

At outset, I want to make it clear that as a liberal democrat and by now, a complete convert to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy; not because she is a perfect fit, but because I believe the stakes of affording Donald Trump’s candidacy for the highest office in the land, is too high; I cannot bring myself to understand how Donald Trump’s supporters can still continue to make a case for his viability. For me, how we treat less fortunate people, how we treat members of our communities and how we treat citizens of our nation, including people different from us, and the world around, are rather important to our type of Democracy. If Donald Trump continues to suggest that he is going to build barrier walls, he is going to shut Muslims out of our country and women will continue to be objectivized as only tools to be used for men’s convenience, there are no way for me as an American to afford his brand of Presidency or advocacy for America. In the absence of an alternative to Donald Trump’s campaign effort, I might have walked away completely from the exercise, not participate in voting or just plain uninterested in whoever ends up occupying the White House oval office come January, 2017. However, since the Democrats have given me an alternative, a very viable candidate, even with her known faults, she appears to be the best choice to consider for the office against Mr. Trump.

In my humble opinion, the problem confronting America in selecting a new President has nothing to do with how abrasive Mr. Trump’s campaign or the Republican selection process for the 2016 flag bearer has been; rather, it can be attributed, among other things, to the pitching of one community against another; our new desires for immediate gratification as a society; and, candor for a more entertaining campaign effort from aspirants, rather than the long standing inclusive platform that has formed the cornerstone of our Democracy for centuries. If a clown-show coming through town has been able to bamboozle over fourteen million likely American voters in general elections; then America has a problem greater than Donald Trump, or any other town-clown that may come after him, seeking the office of the Presidency. In an age of information revolution, where knowledge is close to ubiquitous for anyone with an internet connection, we have a Presidential candidate for the highest office in the land calling our North American neighbors to the south, Rapists; Muslims, Terrorist; our sitting President, coddler of terrorists; and women, good only for mere conveniences; and yet that candidate is able to win the acknowledgement and support of more than fourteen million members of a major American Political Party?

Is the fault not with preponderance of those who chose to support the racist rhetoric of misogynist statements from the candidate? Is the fault not with our inability as citizens to take our civic duties rather seriously, to at least verify authenticity and genuineness of all of our presidential candidates? If we continue to avoid shedding light on the vile and racist comments coming from one of the candidates for the highest political office in the land, do these comments remain our reality or, our acceptable norm? If republican party leaders are wishy-washy about their support for Mr. Trump’s campaign, are they not opening door for a mixed feeling among the rank and file regarding where the establishment stands on what is true and just for the nation as a whole? If US Speaker Paul Ryan advocates that Republican delegates vote their conscience while at the same time, insisting that he has no other option but to support the party’s choice of a flag bearer, does that not really say clearly what type of leader the US House of Representative Speaker is? If republican leaders are not engaging the huge elephant in the room, by choosing not to talk about their presumptive party nominee, today or this week, to the US Press, does that make the problem go away?

My Republican friends and neighbors seem to be more concerned about the type of non-recognition or discountenance they have been receiving from establishment republicans; and for the choice and expediency to teach the “elitist group” a lesson, they are going to succumb to a racist buffoon, an unrepentant misogynist and an extreme nationalist, to occupy their party’s leadership and hopelessly, the President of the United States? If Republicans are not contemplative of the possible repercussion of a Donald Trump’s presidency on our democracy, if they are unable to capture in real time, the possible harm that a distinctive brand of a nationalistic government can usher in at a global level, how can they objectively weigh another effort into a foreign incursion that will cost the nation another two or three trillion dollars? Would our perceived insecurity or indiscretion lead us to the slaughter house of homophobic, masochist and racist slabs just for the sake of making a point to Republican elites?

The might of the office of the US Presidency is very huge and can be exercised with a force or manner that can liberate or conscript us and our freedom. If uncannily used by the occupier of the office, the might can force the whole collective, the nation, to a spot, where we ask ourselves, how did we arrive here? Corollary, the use of a gun, like the force of the power of the US Presidency, can leave an indelible experience or mark on us, just the way we found out a week ago, when a mad man entered a public space and destroyed lives and families. The manner in which the occupier of the office of US Presidency uses the might of the office, determines whether the office is used as a force for good or hate for the overall purpose of our democracy. The reckless use of the power of the office of the presidency, just like the use of a weapon, can effectively deal or leave an indelible mark on the psyche of the people and democracy. Further, the manner in which the power of the presidency is used, or the office of the presidency is managed, determines whether the choice of the voters in a person for that office has been used for the good of the nation, or detriments of its people, both nationally and internationally. In addition, where the voters discountenance the possibility of the occupier of the office doing any serious damage to the office because of the existing checks and balances in the system, there are still the possibility that a ball can be dropped in the complicated puzzle of governance, an opportunity afforded a budding authoritarian, despotic and or fascist leader, who unscrupulously uses the power of the office to the detriment of the people and the democracy; thus, making us accomplices to an unforgivable crime as the holocaust.

I gather one of the reasons Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Carey Lewandowski, is stepping aside today, after setting a historic record for Republicans primary this cycle, has to do with the need to pivot the campaign towards a general election, and not an unrealistic misogynist, bar-nothing, say-what-you-like, racist and homophobic impressionistic campaign effort from Mr. Trump for US Presidency in 2016. If the challenges of having to confront some disaffected voters for his brand of campaign in general election is truly a concern of the campaign and not the candidate’s inability to separate the truth from fiction in campaigning for the oval office, maybe there is an opportunity for his campaign. However, if the goal is to create a facade for a shift in campaign messaging, there is no way the floor will not shift under the feet of an unpredictable campaigner or speaker, without a teleprompter. Till date, just like his tax papers, Mr. Trump has not shown a road plan to accommodate the minorities in America; he has not shown courtesy to women in his use of campaign messaging; neither has he released credible policy statements that address the concerns of the general public; rather, he has been deluged or overwhelmed by effort to win credibility for his candidacy even within his own party. If Mr. Trump’s campaign make any progress in the next three months among the general American Voters, it would have very little to do with the parting of ways with Mr. Carey Lewandoswki, his campaign manager; rather, a conscious and consistent effort from the candidate to remain a credible force to reckon with, in a three sixty degree turn from past hateful and derogatory speeches, including that of: We are going to build a Wall!

As a 2016 US Presidential candidate, Mr. Trump continues to draw an analogy between his experience as a businessman in real estate and casino gaming with an inevitability of winning the general election without the support of his party’s leadership. His recent statement to republican party’s leadership to step aside and let him win the campaign for the oval office by himself, is an eye opener. Winning a general election without your party’s leadership’s support and donations from party’s big Whigs, who often have a huge stake in who represents the party in a general election, and who occupies the office of the Presidency, just do not wash. Mr. Trump’s implication that he could do it by himself, lacks the credibility of a uniting force within the republican party. If he continues his, my way or the high way ideology in his campaign efforts, not only will he successfully achieve some schisms within the republican party, he may engender a much more forceful and credible anti-Trump candidacy within his own party that ends up in his downfall. And even where and when he is able to win the White House, he may end up not having the essential ingredients and power to move legislation in US Congress; a recipe for a failed presidency.

In addressing the parting of ways with his campaign manager, Mr. Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, says the campaign is grateful to Cory Lewandoswki for his hard work and dedication and wished him the best in the future; she probably forgot to relay that the republican convention in Cleveland, July 18-21, is about a month away; and, the challenge for the campaign, may really have to do with the tone of Mr. Trump’s campaign and his failure to pivot his campaign to a general election on time, after knowing he was going to be the presumptive nominee about a month ago. With the exit of his campaign manager, Mr. Trump is now dealing with replacing a campaign manager and campaigning against a more formidable candidate, Hillary Clinton, who is much beloved by her party’s establishment, who embodies a candidacy of a long awaited dream of parents with a female child, for the highest political office, the US Presidency. This later group will not only shy away from the brand of Donald Trump’s campaign, they would repudiate it, vote against it, and broadcast how hateful, discriminatory and unacceptable such campaign is in current day America.

For the records, Mr. Trump’s campaign has shown all the pretense of entertainment while he exuded the art of inevitability; neither has the campaign changed after attaining the required number of delegates for party nomination; rather, it has been a very hostile anti-minorities bullet train; and cautious efforts by Republican stalwarts in and out of US Congress to encourage Mr. Trump to tone down his rhetoric, have not worked or met a blow back resistance. Incautiously or cautiously, the campaign has failed to understand that thumbing nose or destabilizing party’s establishment, fanning hatred or entrenched discrimination, vocal stubbornness and exaggeration of support of party fellowship do not readily translate to national fellowship or victories in general elections. Amusing and sometimes delightful derogative comments made for audience’s enjoyment are not necessarily acceptable or supported by apprehensive, cautious, sensitive and reflective general voters, who are more moderate than those who had formed the base of Mr. Trump’s support in the party’s nomination process. The general election is the super bowl of political campaigns, and many political strategists and election watchers are wondering if Mr. Trump is still considering his victory at the party level as a referendum of the efficacy of his candidacy for the general election. In the opinion of some of the campaign strategists, if Mr. Trump still feel that his campaign is much stronger than it was about a month ago when he appeared as the presumptive republican party nominee, he is about to meet a rude awakening come November 8, 2016.

Comparing Donald Trump’s candidacy against Hillary Clinton’ among racial and ethnic groups, one can only imagine the impossibility of him ending up being the next US President. While Hillary Clinton’s popularity among White males has declined precipitously, however, not at the pace of Trump’s dislikes among Hispanics and Blacks. While a combined Washington Post/ABC News polls between May 16-19 and June 8-12, 2016 have shown, over a 70% American voters as against 55% for Hillary Clinton, find either candidates unfavorable for the Office of the Presidency, there are the possibility that Ms. Clinton can make the difference up with committed feminist groups who are expected to vote in throngs this time around. The twist in this survey is that, up to 10% of the un-favorability percentage points for Mr. Trump are adduced to his responses and reactions to events needing leadership qualities, in the past month; an aberration of a higher and stronger negativity for a candidate at this time of the campaign, in the two and half decades of Washington Post-ABC News polling. In contrasting this polls, republican party establishment must now incline to look elsewhere for expected victory for their party’s choice of flag bearer, as it appears that if the elections are held today, the former US Secretary of State and de facto Democratic Party nominee will trounce Mr. Trump.

Finally, it appears that in the past month, Mr. Trump’s suggestion that President Obama sympathizes with Islamic terrorists, a further call to ban Muslim immigrants entering America, and caricature of a federal judge with Mexican heritage, as incapable of administering fair justice in the case of Trump’s University fraudulent practices in offering real estate training, are hardly gaining traction with the American voters. Further, it appears Americans are not ready to play Russian roulette with American Democracy, with the numerous non-conservative and insulting propositions from the darling of the republican rank and file. In fact, Mr. Trump’s recent suggestions on the campaign trail, or campaign wreck, appear to have muddled up the water for his already controversial campaign for the White House; and, his inability to coalesce all republicans behind his campaign, especially establishment Republicans, is more likely to unravel his dream for the highest office in the land.

                                                        Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-0789 (17). © Art Wood
                                                       Art Wood. First Woman Astronaut, 1974.

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