Did you know both Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren were once Republicans? It’s true. Hillary even worked for Nixon. In fact, you’d be surprised at the big names who have in fact changed parties, for better or worse. Many of them are, to varying degrees, still successful members of the political establishment.

But switching political parties is something that rank and file voters never really think about. Most of us have picked a team and we tend to stay with it, no matter what happens. If ever there was a better case study for proof of this hypothesis, one only needs to look at the Republican party of today.

While Democrats are largely united as a party, the Republican party is fractured. Terms like ‘civil war’, ‘RINO’ and ‘purity test’ pop up regularly in major publications and most observers agree that the party is now split between a grass roots that has moved further and further to the political right and the establishment, moderate class.To make matters worse, Donald Trump has hastened and exacerbated this internal split as the leader of the more extreme right wing, leaving many in the middle unable to endorse or even support their own presidential candidate.

Let’s face it. It’s time to think about leaving the Republican party.

Yes, seriously. You may not like it, but if you’re a moderate, you really don’t have a place there anymore. The general shift in attitude on the right is so extreme that whether you like it or not, your moderate views are less and less tolerable and your own party has terms like RINO to disparage you as ‘not a true conservative’. Who needs that crap?

While I understand that you dislike Hillary and don’t agree with abortion rights or tax policies, those are things that party members can influence. In fact, you probably have move influence as a party member then someone outside the party. Some prominent Democrats today are pro-life. Others are NRA members and yet others are fiscal conservatives. The Democrats really don’t care what you think. You’re not going to hear DINO with derision from any of our members. But the extreme right of your own party is getting out of hand, and frankly, I don’t think they really want you around anymore.

So listen, we’re here, and we’re happy to have you, even if you don’t like taxes, abortion or even immigration policy. Join the party and become a voice of decent if you have too. At least you’re welcome. A big tent means respect for many different ideas, cultures, traditions, languages, and many other things that the Republican party has failed to offer. In an era where the Republicans are more and more hostile to different schools of thought, now is the time to rethink you allegiance. You’re welcome here with us.

A day or two ago, Mike Pence was told by a supporter that she was basically ready to take up arms against the US government if voter fraud was responsible for Donald Trump losing the election. How she would make that determination was unclear, but after listening to the emotion in her voice as she asked her question, it seemed that ANY Trump defeat will be seen by people like her as voter fraud. Furthermore, given Trump’s predilection for crying about his treatment by, well, everyone, he can be expected to willfully fan the flames as well.

Making matters worse, Pence encouraged the idea. Instead of reassuring her of the overall health of the US voting system, he chose to discuss the ongoing investigation of voter fraud is his state, seemingly calling the entire election system into question. He then stepped things up a notch by suggesting that everyone needs to sign up to be volunteer poll watchers to prevent such things from happening as if voter fraud was a routine occurrence in our elections.

Those of us who pay attention know that Donald’s push for ‘poll watchers’ is nothing more than a blatant attempt to dress up voter intimidation in a pretty new outfit by creating the illusion that his supporters are there to help. Don’t be fooled. He just wants his own army of brown-shirts to ‘police’ polling places that they have no business policing.

How could 20 antagonistic (in some locations open-carry) Trump supports be anything BUT intimidating when they linger and leer at minorities trying to enter voting locations? Let’s get real, this is terrifying and dangerous stuff and predicting conflict to follow this scenario isn’t a stretch.

Worse than the demagoguery and private army building is the fact that people like this unfortunate woman aren’t clever enough to know they are being manipulated. They listen to to right-wing radio, watch right-wing TV, and read right-wing press. Then they hear voices like Trump who today suggested the US would literally end and ISIS would take over America if Hillary wins the election. Oh. My. God.

Donald isn’t just nuts, he’s downright dangerous and he’s begun treading into some dark places in his quest for power. With every proclamation of imminent doom, his die-hard followers are becoming more excitable and extreme.

So this begs the question: where does the line between free political speech end and dangerous political speech begin? Does the unthinkable need to actually happen before we recognize our peril?

Demagoguery is dangerous for a reason and if this woman’s worldview isn’t a perfect example of why, then you’re not paying attention. Race bating, fear mongering, and false cries of persecution are the demagogue’s tools. They should not be tolerated to any degree because they lead to conflict. Today it’s just threats, but things will only get worse if this continues.

This is possibly the most important reason we need to defeat Donald Trump. We need to win decisively. The Donald Trumps of the world can’t be allowed to overcome the strength of our republic.

Even before I became a business owner the concept of trickle down economics never made sense to me. The fact that Republicans have so successfully been able to push this concept decade after decade, well let’s just say I find it astonishing.

On its face, trickle down economics makes no sense. Lowering income taxes on the wealthy won’t create jobs. First, employers don’t hire simply because they have money. They hire when they have a need – that is when they have demand for their product or service and they need people in order to accommodate that demand. Why for example would someone who only needed five dishwashers hire more if he had no need for more people? Having the money to hire is beside the point. Either you need people or you don’t.

There’s usually a point where you have spent as much as you can on your business and now it’s time, as a business owner, to take the rest for yourself. Well, if the rest happens to be $50 million, then that is money that is being taken out of circulation for the benefit of the person who made it. So lowering taxes on people who already make hoard-worthy piles of cash is just a give-away in the end, since that’s just extra profits for the business owner to keep.

Also, tax breaks on wealthy income earners means they pay less personal taxes, not corporate taxes. This is money that’s paid to them as a salary. If they were planning on hiring people with that money, they wouldn’t be paying themselves money to begin with. They would leave the money in the business. All an income tax reduction does is let wealthy people keep more money from their paychecks.

Also, while rich people do generate jobs by spending their millions, those paltry numbers pale in comparison to the job growth that would come if that same tax break were given to far less advantaged people who need that money to pay bills. Those people would spend the money, and in so doing, stimulate the economy. A tax break to a wealthy man is worth less economic stimulation than that same tax break being given to lower income earners who actually need the money to pay bills and buy things.

This is the most confusing thing to me about the trickle-down crew. If a millionaire makes more millions, he’s basically going to put it in the bank or buy toys. If a poor or middle class person makes more money via a tax break, he’s probably going to spend it. So it becomes fairly obvious who’s going to stimulate the economy more – the small guy who immediately puts the money back into circulation, not the rich guy with the impressive bank account.

If I got a tax break, all I would end up doing is pocketing the money. If I were rich, it would just make me richer.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, Hillary won. She had a total command of the issues. The email scandal was addressed firmly and immediately – and quite effectively I might add. Her admission of a mistake and her taking full responsibility shut down the entire conversation. There was literally nowhere left to go after that, and the entire topic was dropped. Donald left it alone, basically defeated in his attempt to make it a debate issue. One of many missed opportunities for him, handled by a well-prepared Secretary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Clinton was mostly effective at digging into Trump on a range of issues. It wasn’t enough that she speculated about his not paying taxes. She was able to tie not paying taxes to his not having contributed to such things as wounded soldiers, schools and other government funded items that almost everyone can agree on. It was very effective.

When it came to his birther movement leadership, she told a personal story about how it upset the president, at once humanizing him while portraying Trump as a heartless, lying antagonist. Personally I think should could have made more of a point that the movement is inherently racist (see my previous post on the topic). She basically mentioned it was racist and moved on. Meanwhile, Trump’s answer was typical self-promotion – that he did a good job simply because he accomplished his arbitrary goal of getting a birth certificate (even though that wasn’t his goal), never mind whether it was racist or not. I’m not even sure he understood her criticism, as his response didn’t address the racist charge.

I have to admit, while I don’t agree with Donald Trump’s portraying the country as a place of doom and gloom, he was effective during the first few minutes of the debate in his attempt to do so. This was his opportunity to define his reason for running, and he was effective, by and large. It was also Hillary’s missed opportunity to rebut his assessment. The economy is better than it was 7 years ago, less people are out of work, the stock market is doing well, the military is stronger than ever, and on and on. Trump’s vision of America went largely unanswered, and I hope Clinton does a better job in the next debates of answering his rhetoric.

This last point would really be my only critique of her performance, which was, overall extremely refined and well-prepared. She was poised, articulate and knowledgeable. Who can argue with that assessment? She had answers for Trump’s criticisms and didn’t seem phased by his on-stage bullying and his repeated interruptions. She had an answer for everything, well thought-out and defensible.

Meanwhile, his zingers fell flat. His joke about getting onto Pennsylvania Avenue (one way or another) was a dud, and not delivered well. He sounded like an old coot trying to talk about cyber warfare and there were numerous other instances where he seemed to ramble as a result of not understanding the issues at hand.

Overall, it’s fair to say Secretary Clinton’s preparedness paid off. And frankly it’s difficult to imagine that the next debates will be any different. In fact, my prediction is that she’ll do better. She’ll be confident walking in, while Trump, knowing he’s faced criticism for his performance in the first round will be more aggressive and, you’ll see, will be likely to make mistakes as he undoubtedly will step up attacks on Clinton to try and earn points with his base. In the end, I expect him to sink himself, perhaps by attacking Clinton over the Lewinsky scandal, ill advised as it would seem – something he (somehow) managed to avoid in the first round.

 

People accuse Trump of being racist, and I don’t know if that’s true or not. But what I do know is that he manipulates people using racial issues and he does this for personal gain. So whether or not he himself is actually racist is the lesser of evils. When Trump accuses President Obama of not being born in the United States he is willfully manipulating the racist element in society who would believe such a lie. In fact, he’s speaking directly to this group.

This tactic is insidious, one might say evil, even. To the fringe element, it is a call to violence. So, Trump openly, nakedly aspires to use the fear and hatred of others for his own personal gain. If that is not evil, then I do not know what evil is.

People accuse President Obama playing the race card. We have all heard it at one time or another. That President Obama would address racial issues as a black president seems like it would be a foregone conclusion. Some may call that ‘playing the race card’ but we know better. I would defy the detractors to find an example where President Obama has used race in such a blatant way as Trump, who for nearly 5 years perpetuated a known, outrageous and race-based lie.

Trump has used race as a cornerstone of his political rise. He built his foundation on racism and exploiting the racist fears of the under educated who form a large segment of his base. His recent ‘admission’ (if you can call it that) that President Obama was born in the US rings hollow. His followers don’t believe him, and neither do the rest of us. Instead, we all the see the truth of his statement on the subject for exactly what it is, regardless of our political affiliation: It’s just another cynical attempt to win the election. The difference is that the racist elements of his base doesn’t care.

Listen, the idea that somehow Donald Trump would become a palatable candidate over Hillary Clinton simply because she’s not as healthy as a 40 year old is laughable. First of all, isn’t that the purpose of having  a running mate?

Frankly, Hillary Clinton could have 2 broken legs, gout, tuberculosis, lockjaw, be wheelchair-bound, oxygen dependent and aggressive brain cancer and I’d still cast my vote in her direction to keep Donald Trump from winning the election. Is that clear enough? She could be half digested by fungus, gutted and have her head placed on a stick in front of the castle and I’d still vote for her over Trump.

I wonder if I’m making my point clear enough?

Who cares if she coughs? It’s completely irrelevant. We have processes, stand-ins and everything else we need to keep the government running smoothly should something terrible happen. None of it is a reason to consider voting for the conman in chief wanna-be Trump. Somehow this has become an election issue. I say confront it head on: Oh, she’s not feeling good? I could give a rat’s ass. My ballot was cast months ago.