We have to face the real possibility that Donald Trump could be elected the next president of the United States of America

Posted on July 26th, 2016 in Politics by Robert Miller
The Donald

The Donald

Donald J. Trump could be the next president of the United States. Recent polling data shows Trump up by 6 points over Hilary Clinton, we can no longer assume that this will be anything other than a close election, and the majority women of America may have to come together to make sure our country doesn’t make a serious turn to the right, from which it will never recover. A recent article in truthdig by Alan Minsky makes this point very emphatically. Alan attended the Republican Convention and did not like what he saw. He did not see a bunch of “red necks” hanging around water coolers; what he did see was a section of mid-America who are now committed to the election of a fascist in the form of Donald J. Trump.

(From Alan Minsky’s article)

  • This is all happening because of rampant disgust with the members of the American political establishment. While their clients (aka donors) grow richer, the middle class is sinking. Simply put, the contemporary “neoliberal” American economy does not allow for the majority of the population to lead comfortable lives. In fact, the opposite is true: More people are falling out of the middle class and into seemingly inescapable debt traps. Trump acknowledges this reality more than the establishment Republicans and promises a different economic path, albeit without providing details. America will remain in a political crisis until this reality changes.
  • No one should have any illusions: The election of Donald Trump would generate a real sense of empowerment for the most reactionary white supremacist forces in our society. Stating this fact does not amount to an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who has much to answer for herself as a neoliberal at the center of power for decades; but Trump’s ascendancy has revealed how vibrant these terrifying forces remain in American society. No decent people should have any illusions about the real danger a Trump presidency would represent.
  • Donald Trump would be an unmitigated disaster for “Brand America.” This is not a concern of mine politically, but it is certainly important to an American political and economic establishment that operates in, and to a great extent oversees, a globalized world. Trump is the personification of the “ugly American,” and that’s not helpful for the maintenance of the United States’ military empire, or for U.S.-based global corporations. If for no other reason, the political establishment would be expected to rally to Trump’s opponent over these concerns. But in 2016, support from the political establishment can be a kiss of death.
  • On this point, let’s return to this week’s vertiginous convention. We’ve all been told that Mr. Trump is the candidate of the anti-establishment, and yet if you came to Cleveland expecting to find the Quicken Loans Center overrun with the Duck Dynasty/NASCAR set, you’d be disappointed. In contrast, the delegates on the floor look almost like the same crowd who nominated Mitt Romney in 2012: a preponderance of blue blazers, Laura Ashley summer dresses and a notable lack of Army fatigues. In fact, the most conspicuous alt-culture present was the 10-gallon-hat-wearing, pro-Ted Cruz Texas tribe.

The last, underlined point cannot be overemphasized. The Trump crowd at the Republican Convention looked like good, normal people, caught up in a dilemma not of their choosing, but if Donald Trump gets elected, we will open the political flood gates, to people, the likes of which we have never seen in the modern political theater. What we can say about Donald Trump and his followers is that electing Trump would be a disaster from which we would not recover. On the other side of the ledger, Hilary Clinton represents the same forces of neoliberalism that the Trump crowd is sworn to defeat. Hilary may have too much baggage to safely avoid an election defeat in November. We have all noticed that the recent liberalization of Hilary Clinton has a lot to do with the candidacy of Bernie  Sanders, who my yet be Hilary’s savior. The fact that Wikileaks revealed a conspiracy to deny Bernie from getting the nomination, but spreading rumors that Bernie was an atheist, does not help Bernie supporters who may now be seriously contemplate voting for Trump, even though significant voting from this young crowd of Bernie supporters could represent the death knell for her election. Right now the Republicans seem unaware of the damage their policies have wrought, but there is no question that the party will never be the same party it was before the 2016 primaries.

I hope I am wrong about this, but the fact that Trump got a significant bump out of the Republican Convention, a convention in which he did not state a single significant policy that anyone could identify, and that fact alone should have us all deeply concerned about the election this fall: if Trump is elected, it will be entirely due to his populism and for no other rational reason. He is devoid of any policy making notions and he and the rest of his neoliberal-minded cohorts should go down to an ignominious defeat in the coming fall elections. If Bernie Sanders had won the nomination his victory over Donald Trump would be a certainty, but Hilary promises us a nail-biter.

A note about Alan Minsky:

Alan Minsky is the Program Director at KPFK Radio Los Angeles; and the executive producer of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, and producer of the Nation Magazine podcast Start Making Sense.  He has hosted/produced numerous radio shows and specials including The People’s Game (on soccer), Building a Powerful Left, and Alternative Solutions to the Global Economic Crisis.  A prolific author, Alan has written plays and film scripts, and is the author of four books on sports history.  A co-founder of the Los Angeles Independent Media Center, Alan’s writings can be found on numerous Indymedia platforms, Commondreams, and Truthdig.

RFM

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Donald Trump and the Republican Convention

Posted on July 21st, 2016 in Politics by Robert Miller
Melania Trump

Melania Trump

Donald J. Trump, in his bid to become the president of the United States is off to a glaringly deficient start. His wife’s introduction to the nation went sour when it was discovered that part of her speech had been lifted from a previous speech given by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Apparently no one will be fired—-no heads will role as a result of the partially plagiarized speech. Presumably  Trump did not think any long-term damage would be done, and so nothing will be done to protect Malania—-she will be thrown under the bus like so many of Donald Trump’s former friends. Donald Trump has a long list of former friends, one of them, his former co-author, Tony Schwartz, who was the principal, and only author of his famous book, The Art of the Deal, published in 1987. Tony Schwartz appeared on the Bill Maher show last night and swore that he would do everything possible to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the next president of the United States. You can read about Tony Schwartz’s remarks on Donald Trump here. Among other things Schwartz believes he is totally unfit to be the president, and he has good reasons for his beliefs, including the fact that Donald Trump has the attention span of a tweet, which is probably why he favors tweeting as his main form of communication. Although I recommend reading the article there are several other issues you might be aware of: Schwartz claims that Donald Trump has never read a single book in his entire adult life. To compensate for Trump’s short attention span, Trump agreed that he could listen in to all of his phone calls that came through his office. So for many months phone calls into Trump’s office were listened to by two people—-Donald Trump and Tony Schwartz.

Another article by David Frum in the Atlantic summarizes how Donald Trump’s campaign is nearly over before it gets started. Trump seems to think so much of his impact on the voters that he can surmount any obstacle that appears in front of him. If this is the year where voter’s frustrations lead to the election of an alternative candidate, we could not have made a worse choice than Donald J. Trump. The fact that no heads rolled after Melania’s failed speech (couldn’t she have found a more suitable source to plagiarize from than a black Democrat?), reinforces the idea that he thinks only of himself and shows no sensitivity to other members of his family. One way or the other, this election will go down in history for the strangest election in modern memory.

RFM

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The lawsuits against Donald Trump

Posted on June 14th, 2016 in Politics by Robert Miller
The Donald

The Donald

As it turns out, though I have seen nothing about this in the mainstream press, there are two suits pending against Trump related to the now defunct Trump University. In his public remarks Trump has made no distinction between the two but there are significant differences between them. One lawsuit is referred to as  Low while the other goes by the name Cohen: in the Low lawsuit is against Trump University and Trump himself he being sued by a group of former students of Trump University for violations of various consumer-protection laws in California, Florida and New York. It is a standard class-action lawsuit.

Cohen on the other hand is anything but standard. In Cohen Trump will be tried under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) designed to bring down mob bosses. Judge Curiel, the judge that Trump tried to dismiss from the case, will preside over both Low and Cohen.

Judge Curiel has already denied Trumps summary motion in Low because there is a dispute about how much time he (Trump) committed to the University. Brochures describe Mr. Trump as committing a major effort as an instructor. The fact that there is a dispute about Trump’s time commitment means that a trial by jury is very likely. Only time will tell if Trump can wiggle out of this one.

In summary Low accuses Trump University as committing fraudulent practices, while Cohen  accuses Trump University itself as a criminal enterprise. A hearing for Cohen will take place on July 18th, the opening day of the Republican national convention. So, on July 18th we will learn if Trump University will be tried as a criminal enterprise under the RICO laws passed by Congress in 1970. That law was passed to catch criminals who ordered criminal activity, but until RICO was passed, they were immune from prosecution.

If Trump loses Cohen he will be forced to repay his entire profits from Trump University. We probably won’t know how much money is involved for a good part of the next decade.

RFM

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