As is already known, I don’t associate as either democrat nor republican. I’m not much into exclusive clubs, Especially not ones that box you into very specific agendas of their choosing. And especially not ones whose very specific agendas contradict each other and don’t even make sense half the time but still force you to pretend you agree with them in order to be a member. It’s just not my scene. Even though, yes, it tends to be the scene I run with most of the time due to what I do for a living. But with that said, in general I lean a lot more Democrat socially and in spirit than I do republican. Just as I lean a lot more republican fiscally, financially and economically. This makes me a confusing and frustrating anomaly for most who know me personally. I refuse to not call out the corruption and contradictions I often see in the democratic party, the unfair duopoly both parties hold over the American government. And I also tend to be accused of being a “republican apologist” due to my belief in “state sovereignty”, states rights, and the freedom of the individual to create the community of their choosing without federal government intrusion. It’s a respect thing for me. This frustrates the hell out of most of the people I know, who God love them, just want me to choose a side and be done with it. (Some people call this Libertarian. I call it Ed Hale.)
The truth is that two years ago I found the republican debates horrifying on a personal level. It was as if someone had collected and marched out the absolutely most ignorant, ill-informed, close-minded and heartless people in America onto those stages in order to illustrate what the underbelly of America still looked and sounded like. The result was terrifying if you were an intelligent, compassionate liberal free thinker. Watching those debates was traumatizing. The fact that the unwashed republican masses went gaga over the most ignorant, loudest, ill-informed and rudest of them all was even more so.
(But to be fair, I had been warning for years that under the Obama administration America had become too liberal and too politically correct too quickly and was losing touch with a large majority of its citizenry who were no longer feeling the least bit represented by their government and the result was going to be a severe revolutionary backlash against this establishment. And that’s exactly what we got. In the form of Donald J. Trump. People in blue states and on the coast tend to forget that the majority of America is still largely composed of traditional conservative Christian people who view the Reagan years as much more preferable than those of Obama. Like it or not. (We had our chance to let them loose and be left with our own much smaller more intelligent and compassionate country 150 years ago, but (some could argue that) for economic reasons Lincoln wouldn’t allow it. So for better or worse we’re all stuck with each other. A living breathing highly split and polarized organism that shares very little in common and has very little that unites us. In reality, we are two very different groups of people. We’re more like two different countries who just happen to share the same continent; more like the European Union.)
Flash forward two years and the last two nights on the other hand, and the effect was entirely different. From the get go the first thing that you were taken with was how intelligent and compassionate those democratic candidates were and are. Wow. What a difference. Two years ago the democratic party was so completely sold out to the Clintons and their DC power machine that they didn’t even consider allowing anyone else to run for president, let alone debate. In reality, Bernie was their revolutionary hero, the one who could beat or at least challenge Trump. But they were too caught up in all the money and power they had collected from the Clintons — and all the promises made to collect that money — to even notice it. So they blew it. Big time.
This time is different. The democratic party, like the republicans two years ago, have shed their old skin and just want to win. So they’ve opened the flood gates and are allowing anyone and everyone into the tent to get their two cents in, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem. In Yang, we’ve got your classic Herman Cain character. More there for show and inclusionary reasons. Marianne Williamson, someone I know personally and happen to adore, was an interesting set piece for sure, but can probably step down whenever she wants to without causing too many notice. Biden, God love him, is their Jeb Bush. White, traditional and as “aw shucks folks” American as they come. And to be fair, he may be the democrats best chance of pulling in all those purple state voters who Hilary lost two years ago. But the point is, that tent is OPEN for business to anyone who wants to enter and tend their wares.
A lot of you have messaged me in the last 48 hours to ask me what I thought and who I liked from the debates we witnessed. I’ll do my best to answer that question concisely and as thoroughly as I can in the brief few minutes I have this morning.
At least half of the candidates presented in the last two nights can politely step down now. Or be removed. There’s just no need for them. The democrats don’t need to put on the show that the republicans did two years ago. Remember, the republican establishment did not want Donald Trump to be their nominee. Not even a little bit. They fought hard against him. The problem was that the republican party members, the American people who call themselves republican, did. So the party itself continued to march out every last person they could find and throw them up on those stages in hopes they could find someone the republican voters might find more appealing. But it was obvious from the start who the voters preferred. They were sick and tired of eight years of progressiveness under Obama and they wanted nothing less than revolution. Ironically the revolution they were looking for was a return to the old fashioned Americana of Ronald Reagan. And in that loud mouthed, rule breaking, non-traditional traditionalist Donald Trump they saw their man, party politics be damned. The democrats could have learned that lesson along the way… It was obvious to the rest of us from a mile away.
The last two nights were different though. What a difference two years makes. The path of destruction that Donald Trump has left in his wake in his short time in office has effectively almost completely demolished the America of old. Many are traumatized beyond repair, many more are in a constant state of fear or madness, frustration, anger, sadness, depression, shock, awed, stupefied. It is difficult to recognize the beloved republic. Not just to us, but to the rest of the world as well. People from all over the world keep thinking “surely they’ll do something…, yes?” But we don’t. We endure. Because, again, many of us forget that there is still a large majority of American people who like their president and what he stands for. The jingoistic isolationism, the no-holds-barred post-fact world of ignorant tweets. The constant barrage of blatant lies disguised as rugged truth telling. The John Wayne-like gunslinger braggadocio that reminds them of the Old West of yore.
Luckily this has set a fire beneath the feet of the democratic party. And just in time. If we as a republic can survive the next two years, and that’s a big if the way we’re headed, we stand a chance of reclaiming this once great country back and at least some of the values we and the rest of the free world once held dear.
In the first debate, the only two candidates I saw who should even bother staying in the race were Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker. Warren of course doesn’t stand a chance against Donald Trump in the General Election. He’s too wild janky and free. He will frazzle, unravel and destroy her. It won’t be pretty. And truth be told she’s just too anti-capitalist to appeal to enough people to win the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans. People forget that America was founded on free market, do it yourself capitalism. On the idea that ANYONE can start a Microsoft or a Google or a Facebook or an Apple in their garage or college dorm room and become a billionaire. We like this idea in America. We thrive on it. It inspires us. Our laws protect and encourage it. The rest of the world envies it. We may not have the protections offered by socialism or communism, but there’s reason for that. The absence of big government in our personal business every minute is what enables us to dream up and create the next Netflix or Slack or WeWork. God bless American capitalism. Elizabeth Warren, for all her good intentions — and there is no doubt that she is full of honest and sincere good intentions, needs to learn this or she will never make it to the end of this race.
Corey Booker I have always had a soft spot for. He’s honest, sincere, well informed and smart. I could easily see him as POTUS one day. Always have. I just don’t know if this is his time yet. Not after what I saw last night. But I sure do love Booker and look forward to calling him president one day.
Last night I saw the revolution, the democratic party’s Donald Trump. And his name is Bernie Sanders. Maybe it’s his New York bred confidence and loudness. Maybe it’s the fact that he is unabashedly unafraid and unaffected by politics as usual. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s on fire with a mission that a hell of a lot of other people agree with, saying out loud what a lot of us have been thinking for decades. Who knows. But he should have been the candidate two years ago. Forget that his admitted socialist agenda stands firmly against half of what we stand for as a country…. Sanders is out to remake America. The same way Donald Trump was. If it worked for Trump, it could work for Sanders. If Trump is that cranked up half-cocked crazy cowboy who rides into town shooting first and asking questions later just for the hell of it, Sanders is that jacked-up courageous Sheriff who stands firm with his hand on his gun shouting “Don’t you DARE fella!”
And don’t worry. No president can remake America on their own. It takes a congress and a senate and a supreme court to do that, and they’ll help balance the bulldog out a bit so we don’t go full on EU overnight.
I also saw another shining light on that stage. And her name was Kamala Harris. Wow. I didn’t know much about this candidate before last night, I admit. But what I saw I really liked. There is just something about her that stands out. Call it that X factor that cannot be described with words, despite innumerable attempts. She reminds one of Barack Obama. Maybe she comes out ahead of Sanders by the end of this race. But I doubt it. The best chance the democrats have of retaking America from Trump and all his craziness — unless he ousts himself through just being himself (which there’s a damn good chance of, let’s face it…), would be a Sanders/Harris ticket. That would be something that even I could get behind. I’d be willing to jump on that whacked out revolutionary socialist bandwagon for the exact same reason so many mild mannered republicans were willing to jump on that sketched-out tweaky Trump bandwagon. Politics as usual has made me sick. And I’d do just about anything to be rid of it once and for all. I truly believe Bernie wants the same thing.
More later. We need to review the actual policies proposed over the last two nights. Because there’re a lot of problems there. And we’ll do that in the next installment here. Stay tuned.