Tag Archives: Electoral College

Trump declares a new culture war

Donald John Trump Sr. just cannot stop getting angry with institutions, people and anything or anyone else.

He’s now declaring a new culture war. He’s stirring up conflict where little — if any of it — exists in the moment.

The president went to the Values Voter Conference and declared his intention to get retail employees to say “Merry Christmas” to customers; he doesn’t like the “Happy Holidays” greeting that some retail outlets deliver to their customers.

Good ever-lovin’ grief, dude! Get a bleeping grip!

Trump unloads

As The Hill reports, Trump’s intent to persuade Americans that there exists some elite class that denigrates their values. He believes they care more about diversity and political correctness than anything else.

What utter crap!

He continues to play to the base that stands with him. He continues to divide Americans along more lines than many of us even knew existed. Now he’s seeking to divide Americans based on whether they insist on receiving Christmas greetings.

Ridiculous.

This angry message runs directly counter to the president’s pledge to unify the country. He won an Electoral College victory while garnering nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Rodham Clinton. He became president with zero political capital to spend. Trump needed to build up that capital by working with Democrats and moderate Republicans on a whole host of legislative priorities.

He chose instead to lob bombs at them.

He’s now heaving political ordnance at Americans while firing the initial shots of this culture war that, in my humble view, is a figment of this guy’s imagination.

It all leaves me wondering whether Donald Trump seems somehow angry that he won the election. How in the world can that be?

Majority questions Trump’s fitness for high office

What do you know about that?

Yours truly has joined a majority of Americans who believe that Donald J. Trump is “unfit” to be president of the United States.

I derive little satisfaction from the Quinnipiac poll. Despite the president’s miserable public opinion standing, he’s still in office. He’s still making a mess of just about everything he touches. He’s still able to tweet his brains out and he gets away with saying the most outrageous, disgusting and occasionally vile statements.

The poll, of course, highlights the partisan divide that splits this country. Fifty-seven percent of independents say he’s unfit; 94 percent of Democrats believe it, too. Meanwhile, 84 percent of Republicans think he’s fit for the office.

I also am among a plurality of Americans who supported Hillary Rodham Clinton’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential election. But that doesn’t mean squat, given that Trump was elected by winning the Electoral College votes he needed to claim a majority and, thus, take the presidential oath of office.

I doubt this latest polling data will bother Trump in the least. He ignores the bad stuff, the so-called “fake” news reports, while relishing and crowing about the positive news he gets on occasion.

The Hill also reports that most poll respondents think Trump is dividing country rather than uniting it, as he promised he would do upon being elected.

But … hey. It’s just a poll. Who needs to know what the public thinks of the job he or she doing? I mean, after all, Donald Trump does work for us — and not the other way around.

Is POTUS getting it, finally?

Pity the president of the United States’s “base” of supporters. Well, actually, I don’t.

They’re suffering acute apoplexy because Donald J. Trump is beginning to show the faint signs of understanding something about the high office he occupies. It is that he even though he didn’t win a popular vote plurality in 2016, he won enough Electoral College votes to become elected and, therefore, he has to deal with the wishes and needs of those who voted against him.

Immigration is the issue of the day.

Trump is sounding like someone who wants to strike a deal with congressional Democrats and moderate congressional Republicans that would give so-called “Dreamers” a path to citizenship and/or permanent immigrant status. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order issued by President Barack Obama has been rescinded. Trump, though, says he wants to strike some sort of deal to protect the DACA residents, to keep them in the only country they’ve ever known.

You see, about 800,000 of these U.S. residents came here as children — some of the infants and toddlers — when their parents sneaked into the country illegally. The Trump “base” considers these folks “criminals.” Well, their parents broke U.S. immigration law. But does that mean we punish the children for the sins of their parents? Let’s get real here.

The president still wants to build that wall along our southern border. We’ll have to see how that struggle plays out with the aforementioned Democrats and moderate Republicans in Congress. In my mind, the wall is a non-starter. Mexico won’t pay for it. American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for something the president said would be financed by another government.

What’s more, the wall won’t make this country any safer from terrorists, and assorted criminals who want to come into this country to do grievous harm.

I don’t feel a single bit of sympathy for the Trumpkins who just can’t stand the thought of their guy working to fulfill the interests of the rest of the nation he now governs.

‘No’ on Hillary in ’20, but not a single regret over voting for her

I feel the need to clarify something I wrote about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book and my desire for her to end her public service career.

My strong sense is that the Democratic Party needs someone new, someone not on most of our radar screens, a fresh outlook and approach to public policy problem-solving.

Hillary Clinton needs to step aside.

That said, I want to restate with absolute clarity that I have zero regrets — not one, none — over supporting her candidacy in 2016. I would do so again and again and again — if the opponent were the same person who beat her. Hillary Clinton presented by far the clearest choice I had seen since I cast my first vote for the presidency in 1972.

I wrestled not one instant over whether I should cast my vote for Clinton over Donald John Trump Sr. My pro-Trump friends are entitled to stand my their man and I accept that they believe he’s the best thing to happen to American politics since pockets on shirts. I simply do not agree with them.

Was Hillary Clinton the perfect candidate for president in 2016? No. But compared to the man who stunned her — and many of the rest of us — she looks pretty damn perfect.

Congressional committees tried to pin “Benghazi” on her; they came up empty. The FBI looked for criminality in her handling of the e-mail matter; it, too, came up empty. Gossip mongers kept up the steady drumbeat of malicious rumors that were outright lies.

She worked beside her husband, Bill, while he served as a multi-term Arkansas governor; she served with honor as first lady of the United States; she learned how to legislate as a U.S. senator from New York; she represented U.S. diplomatic interests with competence and skill as secretary of state.

Trump brought zero public service experience to the job as president. I will remain baffled and mortified arguably for the rest of my life over just how this clown ever got elected to this most exalted, highly revered office.

Hillary Clinton’s time, though, has passed. She fired all her weapons in 2016 and missed the target. Trump beat her fairly and squarely where it counted: in the Electoral College. That’s how the U.S. Constitution sets forth how we elect presidents and I accept the 2016 outcome — even through gritted teeth.

Her book “What Happened” lays out her version of what went wrong in her supposedly inevitable march into the Oval Office.

From my way of thinking about it now, eight months after Trump’s inaugural, it all boils down to this basic truth: Hillary Clinton just didn’t wear well with those who wanted a radical change in direction in the White House.

And oh brother … did they get it.

I wish the outcome had been different. It’s time for Democrats to look deeply within themselves for an antidote to the absolute chaos that’s become the hallmark of governance in the world’s greatest nation.

It’s not going to be Hillary.

Trump seeks to spend political capital he doesn’t have

The nation is full of Republicans who identify closely with the Grand Old Party — and who don’t identify with the nation’s top Republican.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has done his level best to strip the bark off the hides of leading GOP politicians. To what end remains one of the major questions of the moment.

Matthew Dowd is a true-blue Republican. He’s a Texan with close ties to former President George W. Bush. He’s also a Never Trump kind of Republican. Dowd is a seasoned political operative who knows his way around the Republican Party pea patch.

He said something quite instructive about how these two Republican presidents — Bush and Trump — sought to get their terms in office off and running.

Dowd, speaking Sunday on “ABC This Week,” talked of how President Bush was elected under shaky circumstances. He lost the popular vote in 2000 to Albert Gore Jr. and earned enough Electoral College votes through a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

What did the president do, knowing he lacked political capital? Dowd recalled how Bush reached across the aisle to work with Democrats on key legislation. He cited President Bush’s partnership with the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy on education reform. He sought out Democrats to craft an immigration reform package as well.

As Dowd noted, that’s how presidents lacking in capital seek to build on their shaky political base.

How has Trump responded? Quite the opposite. He lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots. He won the Electoral College majority by a total of 80,000 votes in three key swing states that voted twice for Barack Obama.

Trump’s strategy has been to thumb his nose at congressional Democrats. He has sought a Republican-only legislative agenda, except that he cannot manage to bring all the members of his own party — given the wide diversity of ideology within the GOP — under the same roof.

Therein lies a critical difference between Bush and Trump.

President Bush was able to work with Democrats who ran the Texas Legislature during the years he served as Texas governor from 1995 to 2000. He knew how to legislate and he took that government experience with him to the White House in January 2001.

Donald Trump has none of that experience. Zeeero! He ran on his record as business mogul and said he would govern the country the way he ran his business empire. No … can … do, Mr. President.

Nor can the president govern a nation with a population that voted for his opponent by appealing exclusively to his core supporters.

Will the president ever learn that lesson? Uhh, probably not.

Mr. VP? Bush won, you lost in 2000

Al Gore has returned to the public arena in a big way.

He’s pitching a documentary film, a sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.” The former vice president also has suggested something quite provocative about the 2000 election, which he lost by the narrowest margin possible to George W. Bush.

“I think I carried Florida,” Gore told Bill Maher on Maher’s TV show the other night.

Yep, Gore thinks he won the state that decided the election.

Bush won, Gore lost.

Actually, Mr. Vice President, you didn’t win it. Bush did. The former Texas governor won Florida by 537 votes, giving him enough Electoral College votes to be elected. The final electoral vote total was Bush 271, Gore 266; Bush needed 270 electoral votes to win. Game over.

Yes, we know the story about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that stopped the recount of ballots in Florida. The five Republican-appointed justices voted to end the count; the four Democratic appointees wanted it to continue.

Moreover, a Knight-Ridder/Miami Herald study suggested later that Bush would have won Florida by an even wider margin had the recount continued.

I’ll stipulate here that I wanted Gore to be elected president in 2000. I was dismayed that the court ruled as it did.

However, the system worked precisely as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. Although I wanted a different outcome, I never have challenged the legitimacy of President Bush’s election.

Neither should the man he defeated.

Still cannot connect two words directly to each other

I am in the midst of a deepening dilemma.

Donald J. Trump has been president of the United States for 150-plus days and I still cannot connect the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively when I refer to this individual.

It troubles me a little bit. A part of me wants to do it. A bigger part of me refuses to allow it.

I’ve written already that I accept that Trump won the 2016 presidential election. He pulled in the requisite number of Electoral College votes to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won just a shade less than 3 million more popular votes than the guy who beat her.

The electoral disparity isn’t what keeps me from total recognition of Trump as president. Heck, if that had been the driver, then I wouldn’t have referred to George W. Bush as “President Bush” during his two terms in the White House. The difference is that President Bush stepped into the role to which he was elected. The 9/11 attacks barely nine months into his presidency defined him and he rose to the challenge.

Trump is different. Trump continues to demonstrate — through all sorts of actions and utterances — that he remains unfit for the office. His Twitter tirades provide more than ample evidence of his unfitness.

I’ve been scolded by critics of this blog for declining to attach the president’s title directly to his name. They’re entitled to their view. I am entitled to mine.

With that, I’ll continue to resist giving the president his full measure of respect until he can demonstrate — to my satisfaction — that he has earned it.

As long as POTUS keeps talking about the election …

I’m going to presume that as long as the president of the United States insists on talking about the 2016 election that it’s OK for the rest of us to bring it up, too.

Donald Trump won. He got the requisite number of Electoral College votes he needed to take the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20. But as a story in the New York Times notes, he keeps feeling the impulsive tug to remind visitors to the White House that — by golly! — he won.

Trump get past the win

The story relates how Trump hands out cards showing the electoral map, which gave the president a reasonably comfortable margin over Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t mention to visitors, though, that Hillary won nearly 3 million more popular votes. But that’s all right; Hillary’s “victory” meant far, far less than Trump’s actual win.

The story draws an interesting comparison between Trump’s victory and the previous win by a president who collected fewer popular votes than his opponent. That would be, of course, George W. Bush in 2000.

How did President Bush deal with his skin-of-the-teeth victory? Here’s how the Times analyzed it:

“After President George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 but won the narrowest of Electoral College victories after the Supreme Court stopped a hotly disputed Florida recount, he did not publicly dwell on the way he had gotten into office.

“Instead, Mr. Bush plowed forward with his agenda and put the election behind him, rarely speaking of it again. He also made a point of reaching out to Democrats in the early days of his administration on issues like education and tax cuts to try to heal some of the wounds caused by the election, eventually winning bipartisan votes on major legislation in his first year.

“’He knew he won, but he knew many people didn’t see him as a legitimate president and needed to reach out,’ said Matthew Dowd, a senior strategist for Mr. Bush in 2000 and chief strategist for his 2004 re-election campaign. ‘But he didn’t look back in any kind of insecurity because he knew he could only control what was happening today or in the future.’”

That’s how a grownup deals with close calls. If only we had one in the White House these days.

President still in campaign mode … get over it, you won!

Donald J. Trump jetted off today to the National Rifle Association annual convention and then commenced to boast about something that is patently obvious.

He won the 2016 presidential election!

Yes, the president won. He captured more Electoral College votes than his opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. He won more than the majority he needed to become president. The president won those formerly Democratic-leaning states — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa. We get it, Mr. President. Honest, we do.

Indeed, your audience in Atlanta damn sure knew you won. Most of those in the room voted for you, more than likely.

When is this guy going to cast his gaze exclusively forward? When will he stop reliving, in the words of the Bruce Springsteen song, the “glory days”?

We’re about to welcome the 100th day of the Trump administration. We haven’t yet seen a major legislative triumph logged by the president. He’s signed a mountain of executive orders, which he is entitled to do.

It’s time nevertheless to look ahead, perhaps to the next 100 days and beyond.

But today, he spent a lot of time telling the NRA audience what it already knew.

Perhaps, though, the NRA crowd forgot — if only for a moment — that the president promised to do a lot of things in those first 100 days. He said he would make a lot of things happen: NAFTA repeal, Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement, tax reform, final approval to build that “big, beautiful wall.” How’d he do? Not well.

If the president is going to look back on his election victory, then perhaps he ought to tell us some of the rest of the recent past, which isn’t quite so glorious.

So, enough of restating the obvious, Mr. President. Where do we go from here?

No, not everyone loves the border wall idea

Before I launch into my latest criticism of Donald J. Trump, I want to stipulate something up front.

I recognize that politicians of all stripes play to their “base.” Whether on the left or the right, they know from where they draw their political strength.

There. That said, the president’s belief that the border wall he wants to build between the United States and Mexico is popular with his base and, thus, is worth doing is utter nonsense.

He isn’t just the president of the Republican Party faithful who got him elected — along with a few million formerly loyal Democrats. He represents all 300-plus million Americans. Take it from me, Mr. President, not all of us are the least bit fond of the idea of walling off this country from one of our nation’s most loyal allies.

The wall won’t work. It won’t keep bad guys from coming into the country. It will separate families. It will create untold misery. It also is highly impractical — if not impossible — to build, given all the technical and legal issues involved with property condemnation and how the two countries were to settle the myriad issues relating to its construction.

According to the Washington Post: In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Trump said: “People want the border. My base really wants the border. My base really wants it.”

Really, Mr. President? Do I need to remind this individual that the base comprises a tiny minority of Americans. Indeed, this man finished second in the popular vote count to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sure, he won where it counted — the Electoral College — but the popular vote disparity wasn’t even close.

He’s not the first pol to proclaim his base’s support for controversial policy initiatives. He won’t be the last.

However, he is the man of the moment. Remember, sir, that you are every American’s president, whether you — or millions of your constituents — care to admit it.