Tag Archives: GOP base

Hating the political climate

Mom always taught me that hating anyone was a step too far. One shouldn’t hate, she said.

OK, Mom, but you won’t mind if I declare my unabashed, unapologetic hatred for the political climate that has infected the atmosphere. I’m glad Mom and Dad aren’t around to see what has happened to our nation . . . not that either of them were particularly political.

Who’s to blame for this? I’m going to lay most of it at the feet of the man elected to “unify” the country. The president of the United States promised to be a unifier once he took office. Donald Trump touts his “promises made, promises kept.” Mr. President, you have failed miserably at keeping this promise.

Trump doesn’t own this poisonous atmosphere exclusively. I’ll concede readily that his political foes continue to whip up the frenzy against him. I also will concede that many of them — I include myself — were stunned speechless Election Night 2016 when the TV networks and other news outlets declared Trump the winner over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At one level, it’s hard to fathom that event happening. Thus, it well might be that we haven’t gotten over it.

So, Trump knows that. Has he done anything to reach out? Has he sought to mollify the concerns of those who opposed him at the ballot box, those who comprise a solid plurality of Americans who voted for the candidate who lost the Electoral College?

No. He hasn’t. Indeed, he has fanned the embers, whipping them into a firestorm. He speaks only to his “base,” the roughly 38 percent of Americans who stand by their guy. He fires ’em up! He speaks of waves of criminals pouring into the country to commit mayhem; he talks about building that damn wall across our southern border; he threatens to shut the government down if Congress doesn’t pay for it (he has given up trying to get Mexico to pay for it).

The president had the utter gall to say that there were “good people on both sides” of a riot in Charlottesville, Va., in which one of the sides comprised Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists. How in the world does that unify anyone?

The debate atmosphere has become toxic to the max. There appears to be no end to it. Democrats and Republicans detest each other. The president detests Democrats, accusing them of wanting a nation full of lawbreakers, of wanting to take people’s guns away from them.

Donald J. Trump is largely responsible for fomenting an atmosphere of poisonous rhetoric.

It is worth every ounce of hate I can muster.

Where’s the outrage over this allegation?

Imagine for a moment this farfetched scenario.

Barack Obama is caught engaging in a relationship with a porn queen. What might be the reaction among the evangelical community if the president is said to have cheated on his wife?

Let me guess. It would produce a firestorm, an earthquake, a cyclone of criticism. From the right. There might even be some lefties who would be outraged.

I pose that hideous hypothetical circumstance to pose the question: Where is the outrage as it relates to Donald Trump’s alleged extramarital affair with a porn film performer? A woman who goes by the name of Stormy Daniels has alleged that she had a yearlong affair with Trump shortly after he married his wife, Melania.

What’s more, she says Trump paid her $130,000 in hush money to keep it quiet.

The affair has been reported by the Wall Street Journal, which isn’t a “scandal sheet” by any possible stretch of the imagination.

Trump denies the affair. Oh, I forgot. This guy also bragged about fooling around on his first wife prior to marrying his second wife … all of which occurred before he married his third wife, Melania.

However, no outrage is coming from his base within the Republican Party right wing. For that matter, even the left has been relatively quiet.

I guess there’s next to nothing about this president that surprises us. As USA Today reports: “Trump’s exploits seem to be baked into his poll numbers. The Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump bragged — or, by his account, joked — about sexually assaulting women failed to derail his candidacy in 2016.”


So much for compassion: Trump dumps DACA

Donald J. Trump is likely to demonstrate yet again that his presidency is the product of a diehard Republican “base” and that he owes the base every favor he can bestow.

He has decided, according to Politico, to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But, get this: He’s going to wait six months before he pulls the plug. The president’s announcement is set for Tuesday.

What does this do? It allows the president to say he’s kept this campaign promise that the base loves; it also gives Congress a window to legislate a solution to allowing U.S. residents who as children were brought here illegally by their parents.

I had maintained a sliver of hope that Trump would agree to let Barack Obama’s executive order stand. DACA residents comprise those individuals who came here as children — some of whom were infants and/or toddlers. Their parents entered the country illegally, but those children have grown up living as Americans.

The United States is the only country they know. Yet they remain “criminals” in the minds of those who want ’em all tossed out.

Many of Trump’s Republican Party “allies” in Congress have broken ranks with the president on this issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t want to rescind DACA; neither does U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Senate’s senior Republican; other key Republicans across the country have weighed in against efforts to repeal DACA. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a leading conservative GOP executive, wants DACA to remain.

Not the president. At least not six months from now.

As Politico reports: Some Republican lawmakers, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have said that Congress needs to pass a law to protect the so-called Dreamers.

“My hope is that as part of this process we can work on a way to deal with this issue and solve it through legislation, which is the right way to do it and the constitutional way to do it,” Rubio told CNN in June.

Here’s the Politico story.

How would that legislation work? What would it look like? Would the president sign it or veto it? I guess the answer to the last question would be whether Congress could approve a DACA law with a veto-proof majority.

Given the tensions that have roiled the nation in recent weeks and the growing belief that the Trump administration cares damn little about sticky issues such as comprehensive immigration reform, such a majority might be in the cards.

This decision isn’t as stark as it could have been. It’s still pretty damn heartless of the president to toss aside millions of residents who have known no other life than what they’ve established in the United States of America.

My advice to Congress? Get busy. Right now.

DACA decision now looms even larger for Trump

Americans very well could learn quite soon whether Donald Trump’s display of compassion and good will along the Texas Gulf Coast was a mere show or whether it reveals a side of him few of his believe existed.

That revelation could occur when the president decides whether to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival provision.

DACA has become a kind of shorthand for immigration reform.

My hope is that the president — having visited Houston, Corpus Christi and Rockport — understands this point: Many of those families affected by Hurricane Harvey’s devastation involve DACA residents, individuals who were brought to this country illegally while they were children.

I should add, too, that DACA residents helped build those devastated neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast and are going to help repair them.

These Americans had no say in what their parents did. They have grown up in this country, which is the only country they have known. Rescinding DACA status for these individuals would send them back to the country of their birth — and would deprive them of the only life they have experienced.

Against that backdrop, we know that many DACA families are suffering in cities such as Houston, which has a huge population of residents comprising those who came here as youngsters.

This isn’t entirely about the Texas Gulf Coast suffering. It’s also about whether the president is going to continue to appeal to his Republican Party “base,” which detests DACA provisions; the “base” wants DACA residents booted out, no matter the circumstance.

Donald Trump has a serious choice to make: keep pleasing the “base” or finally — finally! — reach out to millions of Americans who do not favor repealing DACA status for American residents.

It’s not an “amnesty,” as candidate Trump called it during the 2016 campaign. DACA provides a path toward citizenship or permanent legal residence.

Which side of the president will present itself when he announces his DACA decision? Time will tell. I’m hoping the “better angels” have seized Donald Trump’s attention.

Stay true to plans to put Tubman on the $20 bill

Hold on a second, Steve Mnuchin. Many of us thought the switch from Andrew Jackson to Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill was a done deal.

The U.S. secretary of the Treasury now says he’s thinking about it.


Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew got it done before he left office. He moved to take former President Jackson off the bill and replace it with Harriet Tubman, the heroic abolitionist who fought to end slavery in this country. It was hailed at the time of the announcement as historic for a couple of key reasons.

First, Tubman would be the first woman whose face would adorn U.S. currency. Second, and this arguably is the big one, she is the first African-American.

President Barack Obama signed off on the change. Many Americans cheered the change. Now it appears to be open for discussion.

“The No. 1 issue why we change the currency is to stop counterfeiting. So the issues of what we change will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes. I’ve received classified briefings on that. And that’s what I’m focused on for the most part,” Mnuchin said.

Is it just me or does that sound like he’s possibly tip-toeing around some secret issue?

I do hope Mnuchin isn’t backing away merely because this was an Obama administration initiative, or that the current president is seeking to curry favor with his “base,” which seems to detest anything associated with the name “Barack Obama.”

Tubman’s heroic efforts to end slavery should be honored. Meanwhile, Old Hickory owned slaves. Hmmm. One sought to end enslavement; the other was, well … you know.

Donald Trump offered his usual platitude during the 2016 campaign about Tubman. According to CNBC:

 I think Harrriet Tubman is fantastic.” He added: “I would love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination. Maybe we do the $2 bill or we do another bill.”

While Trump complimented Tubman, he said at the time that he didn’t agree with replacing Jackson on the denomination. “I don’t like seeing it. Yes, I think it’s pure political correctness. Been on the bill [Jackson] for many, many years. And, you know, really represented somebody that really was very important to this country.

If you can figure out what candidate Trump was saying, then you’re far smarter than I am — which likely isn’t saying much.

Back to my original point: Don’t derail this change in the currency, Mr. Secretary. You can figure out the counterfeiting/security angle while staying true to your predecessor’s pledge to  honor a true American hero.

Trump seeks to keep defying laws of political gravity

Color me baffled. Or mortified. Or, oh, maybe even bamboozled.

Donald John Trump’s latest outrage — where he equated Nazis and Klansmen with those who oppose them — would seem to the final “last straw” that sends his cadre of supporters scurrying elsewhere.

Hah! Hardly, according to a fascinating New York Times article profiling the Republican Party “base” that continues to hang with the president of the United States.

Here is the article.

Trump’s response to the Charlottesville mayhem has fallen along largely partisan lines, according to the Times. Most Republicans support the GOP president; only 10 percent of Democrats do.

Yes, there are signs that Trump’s GOP base is showing stress fractures, that it might be beginning to slip away. There remains, though, this hard-core base of supporters who stand with him. Why? He continues to stick it in the establishment’s eye. He talks plainly and with politically correct pretense, they say.

According to the Times: “It’s an indication of what now seems an almost immutable law of the Trump presidency. There are signs that Mr. Trump’s support among Republican leaders and some Republican voters is weakening. But in an increasingly tribal America, with people on the left and the right getting information from different sources and seeing the same facts in different ways, it reflects the way Mr. Trump has become in many ways both symbol and chief agitator of a divided nation.”

I’ll concede yet again that I’m a member of the “tribe” that has opposed Trump from the very beginning. He presents not a single redeeming quality to public life. He’s immoral and amoral at the same time. He has no ideology. His life is crammed full of examples of how his No. 1 objective has been geared toward personal enrichment.

Thus, when he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s military service, disparaged a Gold Star family, mocked a reporter’s physical disability and boasted about grabbing women by their private parts, this individual only reinforced every single negative impression I had of him. Accordingly, it has amazed me in the extreme that his political base has held together as firmly as it has … to date.

Again, from the Times: “Larry Laughlin, a retired businessman from a Minneapolis suburb, compares Mr. Trump to a high school senior who could ‘walk up to the table with the jocks and the cheerleaders and put them in their place.’ That is something that the ‘nerds and the losers, whose dads are unemployed and moms are working in the cafeteria,’ could never do. Mr. Trump may be rich, he said, but actually belonged at the nerd table.

“’The guys who wouldn’t like me wouldn’t like Trump,’ he said. ‘The guys who were condescending to him were condescending to me.'”

The president is counting on those folks to see him through this latest “last straw.” I’ll concede this point: When Trump said during the campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and retain his political core of support, he proved to be more correct than most of us ever imagined.

That’s not how you ‘unify’ the nation, Mr. President

A roomful of journalists and other luminaries gathered in Washington last night while the president of the United States — who usually attends this event — was up the coast a bit in Harrisburg, Pa.

The White House Correspondent Dinner was spiced with lots of criticism of the president. For his part, Donald Trump decided to unload on the media, his political foes and virtually every American who voted for someone else during the 2016 presidential election.

Who bears the greater responsibility to set aside the bitterness? I believe it ought to be the president. He’s the one who represents the entire country.

The president’s Harrisburg speech could have been lifted directly from one of his campaign speeches. He is talking directly to his base. He is speaking to those who continue to support him despite all the questions, controversy and potential scandal that threaten to swallow the presidency.

Trump vowed to unify the country. The speech last night suggested he is doing precisely the opposite. He wants to keep fomenting the anger that propelled him to power.

Divisiveness is alive and well

We all understand that the 2016 campaign will go down as among the most rancorous in U.S. political history. Do the wounds need to continue festering? I don’t think so.

When the president calls the media “the enemy of the American people” and when he continues to hold campaign-style rallies — while exhorting security personnel to “get them out!” when protesters show up — that does nothing to bring Americans together.

The divisions run deep. The wounds still hurt. The president of the United States holds the key to bridge the divide and heal the wounds. When will he step up?

‘Playing to his base’? What about the rest of us?


Light a match to Old Glory and go to jail and lose your citizenship.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Never mind the constitutional guarantee that doing something so reprehensible is protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause.

The president-elect, though, ignored that fundamental truth when he blasted out a tweet that said those who do such a thing need to spend time in the slammer and forsake their citizenship as Americans.

The Washington Post and other media, though, say that Donald J. Trump is “playing to his base,” the voters who’ve stood with him through all the insults, innuendo and idiocy that have poured from his mouth.


They helped elect him president and I guess that’s his way of saying “thanks, guys.” As the Post reported: “Trump won rural America, where support of the flag is a big issue,” said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist who served as Bob Dole’s campaign manager in 1996. “A lot of those homes that had Trump signs out front were also flying American flags. This is clearly part of his base politics.”

But what about the rest of the country, Mr. President-elect, that didn’t vote for you? What about those of us who are appalled by your seeming ignorance of constitutional protections and your belief — if that’s what you truly believe — that the Supreme Court got it wrong when it ruled on two occasions that burning the Stars and Stripes is protected political speech?

My wife and I fly a flag in our front yard, too, by the way.

I won’t buy into the notion that Trump isn’t my president. I didn’t vote for him, but he’ll take office in January and will assume the role of head of government and head of state. I ain’t moving anywhere. I’m staying right here in the U.S. of A. and will continue to register my gripes — more than likely quite often — over policy pronouncements that come from the president.

Trump won’t be president just for those who stood with him. He’ll be my president, too.

Thus, I hereby demand that he stop making idiotic declarations. How about taking back that crap about flag burning?

How will the loser concede this election?


Allow me to play out what looks like an increasing probable political outcome.

It is that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected the 45th president of the United States of America.

The trend is moving rapidly in her favor in the wake of (a) two debate performances against Donald J. Trump and (b) the continuing fallout from Trump’s hideous statements about women.

So, what might we expect when the loser of this miserable election decides to issue a concession statement?

It’s been said that the winner’s victory declaration will set the tone for the next four years. What’s being said with increasing frequency is that the loser’s concession will be equally important.

Trump has waged a campaign of anger, fear, suspicion, innuendo, invective and bigotry. Listen to his supporters yell “Lock her up!” at those rallies. Listen, too, to them complain about alleged conspiracies involving the “liberal mainstream media” and “politically correct special interests” who are teaming up to “rig” an election that produces a desired result.

They are echoing the statements of their guy, Trump.

The candidate has bitched about a “rigged election.”

Tradition holds that the loser concedes once the election is decided and then declares his intention to work with the winner to heal the wounds opened up by months of bitter campaigning. Recall, though, when Al Gore conceded defeat in 2000, only to take it back when the Florida ballot-counting threw the proverbial wrench into the entire election process.

It’s fair to wonder what kind of concession statement Donald Trump would deliver when the time comes for him to call it quits.

Will he lead his ardent Republican “base” voters into lingering bitterness? Will he make an accusation of election-rigging? If that happens, and no one should be surprised if does, then we’re headed for a very difficult transition as the new president prepares to assume the most cherished role in the nation — if not the world.

My hope is that if he loses — and one is compelled to offer that qualifier until one candidate gets the Electoral College majority required to win — that he does so with a modicum of grace, decorum and good will.

However, my fear is that Trump would hold true to the form that enabled him to secure a major-party presidential nomination. It was a butt-ugly process and my concern is that he very well could make it an equally unattractive concession.

Trump ‘doubles down’ on deporting illegal immigrants, or does he?

immigrant trump

Donald J. Trump’s immigration policy appears to be getting suddenly quite muddled.

Reports came out over the weekend that the Republican presidential nominee was backing off his plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Then he said he intends to deport ’em as fast as he can round ’em up.

He’s going to “build that wall and we’re going to make Mexico pay for it,” he said to cheering rally crowds.

So, which is it? Is he softening his view? Is he doubling down and getting even harsher?


There’s  a thing or two for Trump to consider.

If he backs off his deportation initiative, he risks losing the GOP base of voters that propelled him to the party’s presidential nomination.

Moreover, his alleged softening looks for all the world like an admission that his top-priority issue has angered a vast array of Americans who are offended by his characterization of illegal immigrants as “rapists, murderers, drug dealers,” while adding he’s sure “there are some good ones, too.”

However, if Trump holds firm to his initial hardline view, well, he’s got the base but he’s surrendering the rest of the American voting public.

This man doesn’t know what he’s talking about.