Just Like George: Avoiding Suicide by Principle

Those of us who support Donald Trump are diverse. Most of us do not agree with Trump on everything. We also disagree with each other–on so much. In many ways, we are a ragtag bunch. Truth be told, many of us are not particularly thrilled about the prospect of a Trump presidency.

In other words, most of us never wanted to be here. And yet here is where we are.

Trump is not perfect. That having been said, in this election year, we have a much larger dragon to slay. For almost eight years, we have watched our standing in the world plummet, our economy stagnate, our security crack, our freedoms erode, our most basic rights disintegrate, and our identity as a nation crumble under a blanket of political correctness, anti-American rhetoric, and delusional politics.

We need help–fast.

We are pragmatists. We are also afraid.

That makes us just like Donald Trump. And George Washington.


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Just Like George

George Washington was an officer in the British army when he was turned down for a promotion. After coming to America, he found himself in charge of the all-volunteer army of colonists at the start of the Revolutionary War. At the time, there existed no concept of a loose confederation of states with no king or ruler. The idea that states could both self-govern and at the same time revolve around a centralized federal government with no monarch or dictator at the helm was yet to be imagined.

Because of this lack of unity, the struggling colonies often perceived themselves to be in direct competition with each other. Not surprisingly, many in the ragtag band of soldiers fought among themselves, even on the front lines and in the midst of battle. This was counterproductive, self-defeating, and dangerous. Washington knew this.

One of Washington’s earliest challenges was to persuade the soldiers to put aside their individual differences—many of which were significant and would require future compromise. Some are still lurking in the recesses of the American consciousness today.

Even so, Washington persuaded them to focus instead upon the greatest and most imminent threat to them in that moment: the British military forces who were landing on their shores and advancing through their fields and into their community squares with a solitary purpose of killing anyone who got in their way. The enemy could not tell citizens of one colony from those of another. To the enemy, all colonists must subjugate themselves or die. It was an equation both simple and terrifying.

There was no time to work out the details of the colonies’ future relations. There was a red-coated dragon to slay first.

As one of his greatest challenges, Washington had to make his men understand that while they had many differences, some of them serious, there would be time, later, to work those out. He had to make them understand that if they failed to defeat the advancing British, their differences would be of no consequence, because all would be lost.

Thankfully, Washington succeeded in his mission. His troops stood and fought side by side together, eventually forming a disciplined, fearless band of patriots to whom we owe our nation, if not our lives. Their cooperation served as the model upon which the resulting infant nation was envisioned and the foundation upon which it was built.

Suicide by Principle

Trump’s supporters are in many ways as diverse as the ragtag band of revolutionaries that Washington forged into an effective army that won our freedom. We disagree with Trump in places. We disagree with each other as well. Most of us do not like Trump’s rhetoric. Many of us doubt whether he can, or will, do everything that he promises. Trump, to us, is far from perfect.

That is okay. Like Washington’s troops 240 years ago, we have a bigger dragon to slay that threatens us all.

What is not okay is for us to lose sight of the forest for the trees. What is not okay is for us to allow our doubts about Trump to lead us to elect Hillary Clinton, the one person who unabashedly promises more of the same—the very “same” that is killing us.

That would be like Washington’s soldiers allowing the British to advance unimpeded because they were busy squabbling among themselves. It would be like the colonists allowing themselves to be forever enslaved by a faraway tyrannical king just because, as free men all, they disagreed with their neighbors over trade. Or the boundary between free colonies. Or how to exercise the personal and collective freedoms that at that point were virtually without limit.

That would be suicide by principle. And more than an uncertain Trump presidency, that would be a crying shame.

It would also be supremely stupid, and self-defeating.

Those are my thoughts. Please let me know yours.




Cruz Control


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Though predictable overall, the recent Republican and Democratic National Conventions did deliver some notable drama–particularly of the Ted Cruz variety. If it was drama you sought, the first-term Texas Senator and previous GOP presidential hopeful did not disappoint.

Before we get into this, I should admit: I was once a Ted Cruz fan. Not anymore.

Drama at the RNC

You know what I’m talking about: Cruz’s infamous non-endorsement speech at the RNC. Watching Cruz speak that Wednesday evening was like watching a train go off the tracks in slow motion. At first, the ride was fun and the view lovely. Cruz was telling us what we wanted to hear. And then we went through a tunnel. Those present on the floor began—softly at first—to chant for Cruz to do the right thing and endorse Donald Trump, the GOP nominee. Cruz refused to do so. Those of us watching at home became uneasy. We shifted in our seats, suddenly uncomfortable. Surely Cruz, the ultimate politician, would not refuse to endorse Trump; would he? Surely he would not be so obstinate in a prime time speech with much of America watching; would he?

And then he did. The train emerged from the tunnel only to careen down a steep incline and over a cliff that few of us saw coming. In a matter of moments, the audience went from adoring, to respectful, to guarded, to suspicious, to demanding, to angry, to furious. Through it all, Cruz remained unyielding, defiant. He was a man on a mission to . . . what? Stand on principle? Hurt Trump? Destroy his own carefully crafted and constantly nurtured political career?

There is a silver lining, however: Those events lead me to conclude that presidential primary seasons, while challenging, tiresome, and expensive, do work, after all. Their purpose is to vet, hone the skills of, test the mettle of, and rally increasing support behind the deserving while weeding out the unacceptable, the undeserving, the incapable, and those of impure purpose.

True Colors

Cruz’s RNC speech was a stunning moment that is destined to take its place in the archives of presidential politics as one of the most dramatic convention moments in modern history.

Drama, it turns out, is rapidly becoming the hallmark of Ted Cruz. And that is a problem.

In that stunning moment that we will discuss for years to come, Ted Cruz failed to reach the mark. He also showed his true colors.

Ted Cruz is in it for Ted Cruz. Like a petulant child who did not get his way, Cruz stood defiantly before the American people, figurative arms crossed tightly across his chest and lower lip protruding, and unapologetically refused to do what he pledged he would do: support the party’s nominee. Despite having just delivered a rousing speech that would make any constitutional scholar proud, for that very public transgression, Cruz was literally booed off the stage. At that very moment, Trump appeared in the wings, with his thumb jutted firmly into the air, in a signature gesture. Trump’s message was clear: “It’s all good. I’m bigger than this. I’m better than this. We’re better than this.” The no doubt contrived optics worked for Trump, as Cruz silently slunk from the stage. It was a very presidential moment—for Trump. Yet again, the career politician had been outmaneuvered by the political newcomer.

It was not Cruz at his most splendid. It did not make him look remotely presidential. To the contrary, it made him look small, petty, mean, jealous, and self-serving. It made him look entitled. Moments later, Cruz’s wife Heidi was hurriedly escorted out of the convention hall by security as angry delegates yelled the intended insult, “Goldman Sachs!” at her.

The Wall

Cruz’s evening went downhill from there. As he walked past, shocked, disappointed and furious Republicans averted their eyes. It was too soon. One gentleman had to be restrained. Cruz proceeded to the suite of Las Vegas casino magnate and GOP mega donor Sheldon Adelson, having previously been invited to do so. That invitation, however, was rescinded the moment Cruz refused to endorse Trump. Cruz was stopped at the door to the lavish suite, where he was denied entrance. Later, a senior aide to Adelson tweeted out a picture of Adelson and his wife posing with Trump, “their choice for President!”

Trump and his supporters were building their first wall—to keep Cruz out of the upcoming general election process.


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This is personal.

Even so, mere hours after being booed from the convention stage, an astoundingly tone-deaf Cruz on Thursday morning told an angry group of Texas constituents that he refuses to be a “servile puppy dog” to the party’s nominee. Did I miss something? Trump gave the man a prime time speaking slot—and an opportunity to address the nation—despite the fact that he refused to endorse Trump. What about that indicates the servility of anyone, much less Cruz?

Cruz also admitted that despite his lofty speech the night before, steeped as it was in soaring constitutional rhetoric and concluding with a call for those listening to “vote their conscience,” his beef with Trump was, it turns out, quite personal. When some members of the Texas delegation voiced their displeasure with his actions, Cruz defiantly stated that his refusal to endorse Trump was “not about politics” but was, rather, “personal.”

It seems that Cruz was mad because of TTed Cruz Pointing Finger - ted-cruz-acuse-pointing-ap-640x480rump’s perceived attacks against Cruz’s wife Heidi and his father Rafael. With regard to Heidi, the Cruz campaign created an ad portraying Donald Trump’s wife, former supermodel Melania Trump, scantily clad and in a distinctly immodest pose—which it then plastered across the notoriously conservative and religious state of Utah just prior to the Utah primaries. The Trump campaign hit back with an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz. With regard to Cruz’s father Rafael, the National Enquirer published a photo of what appeared to be the elder Cruz with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963. The implication was that the elder Cruz was linked to the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Though he was not responsible for its publication, Trump publicly referenced the National Enquirer photo.

That is it. Even so, facing his constituents Thursday morning, Cruz angrily pointed his finger and doubled down, declaring that “right and wrong matter.” Needless to say, Cruz’s morning-after righteous indignation fell as flat as his speech the night before.

After all, this was pretty surprising stuff coming from the guy who just publicly broke a formal pledge because, well, he got mad. And how could he have known, in taking the pledge so many months before, that he would become mad at Trump . . . because Trump hit back . . . when Cruz hit him first. Oh, that’s right: Cruz could have saved himself this dilemma by simply never taking the pledge. After all, that would have been the honest, upstanding thing to have done. And as we all now know, Ted Cruz is all about standing up for what it right. As it was, he did—take the pledge, that is. And he should have kept it.

Punch and Counterpunch

The back-and-forth between the Cruz and Trump camps is the classic political punch and counterpunch. It is the dirty underbelly of politics. It is the stuff of tough primary contests, where politics don’t differ all that much and distinctions must be drawn among individuals candidates as individuals. It is the part that makes good, decent Americans everywhere wince in discomfort and embarrassment that our politics should sink so low—on both sides of the aisle.

Were these among America’s proudest moments? No. Were they too personal for comfort? You bet. Were they surprisingly juvenile and mean-spirited for a presidential contest? Of course. Were they completely unexpected given the rough-and-tumble world of presidential politics? Of course not.

Most importantly, were the majority of the so-called “personal attacks” started by Ted Cruz? Yes, they were. Whatever you may think of Donald Trump, he was hitting back. That is very different from dealing the first blow.

Every playground bully knows this: Think twice about throwing the first punch if you can’t knock the other guy out. Whatever you do, don’t throw the first punch if you can’t take the counterpunch.

Cruzing to Obscurity

In the days since, things have not improved for Cruz. His favorability ratings have dropped precipitously. A recent CNN/ORC poll indicates that Cruz’s likability, at least among Republicans, dropped by 50 percent as a result of his actions at the RNC. Before the convention, two-thirds of Republicans viewed Cruz positively. After his RNC performance, that number dropped to one-third. That represents a precipitous decline, and is not what a 2020 presidential hopeful wants to see.

The ever astute Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer put it best in observing that “what Cruz delivered was the longest suicide note in American political history.”

Cruz’s gamble—taking a solitary stand against Trump as the GOP nominee—appears, for the time being, to have backfired. While that is bad for Ted Cruz, it is probably a good thing for the rest of us.

As it turns out, taking dramatic stands based on principle rather than practicality for the purpose of serving his own needs is somewhat of a Cruz characteristic.

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Cruz’s RNC performance was reminiscent of his much publicized 2013 quasi-filibuster in the United States Senate in protest of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. For 21 hours, we watched Cruz talk. We watched him read bedtime stories to his young daughters, including Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. Cruz even provided two versions of his family’s recipe for the literature-inspired dish. All the while, Cruz kept talking, and talking, and talking. It was dramatic, yes. Perhaps even slightly touching—in an odd, uncomfortable, too-public way. It was silly, and pointless.Ted Cruz - Senate Filibuster - Late Shot - abc_pol_cruz_130925_ducks_wb

Ultimately, it was Ted Cruz grandstanding. Cruz was making a name for himself while strategically positioning himself as a “Washington outsider” ostensibly opposing “the Washington establishment”—the same Washington establishment of which he was unquestionably a part. Cruz was positioning himself to run for the presidency in an election cycle characterized by unprecedented voter mistrust of and anger at career politicians—career politicians like Cruz. As far as the Obamacare question, Cruz’s mission was doomed from the start. It would have no effect or consequence. It was, we now know, mere political theater. It was also typical Ted Cruz.

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Fall From Grace

The RNC marked what I predict will be the beginning of Ted Cruz’s stunning fall from political—and certainly the GOP’s—grace. Though it is still early, that fall promises to assume Shakespearean proportions—or at least I hope it does. Because at the RNC, Ted Cruz showed that he is not fit to lead—now or ever. Despots and Manchurian candidates from the right are every bit as frightening—and destructive—as those hailing from the left. So are those who feel personally entitled to hold political office. Regardless of party affiliation, a leader who is in it for himself is no leader; he’s a tyrant. So is a leader who is convinced of his own entitlement to lead. He, above all, is dangerous to the nation he feels entitled to dominate.

It may just be that we dodged a bullet in Ted Cruz. Time will tell.

Out-Politicking the Politician

It is ironic that in the contest between a businessman with no political experience and a career politician, it turns out that the career politician is the one who can’t take the heat in the boiling kitchen of a messy and overcrowded primary contest. Go figure. One would almost think that Trump—as the founder, owner, and main force behind one of the largest real estate development companies in the country, if not the world—has himself battled a storm or two. Go figure. But I digress.

Someone should send Ted Cruz a memo. This is not about Heidi or Rafael Cruz. It is not about Melania Trump. It is not about Ted Cruz or even Donald Trump. This is no longer even about politics. This is about the future of our country. This is about stopping the bleeding of the last eight years. This is about stopping a train headed full-bore toward our self-destruction. This is about saving us from the suicide that we are in the process of committing. This is about saving us from the dire predictions of none other than Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Toqueville. This is about saving our own lives.

Just as we conservatives will reject the Clinton/Obama 3.0 ticket this fall, so also should Texas voters reject Ted Cruz when he comes up for re-election in 2018.

Cruz needs to go. Let’s face it: He’s just no good at the politics of politics.

Please let me know your thoughts.


Donald Trump: America’s First Responder


I support Donald Trump, and I’m going to vote for him in November.

There, I said it. Now, let me explain why.

For a while now, I have made it known that I am fully on board the “Trump Train.” And I am far from alone. Even so, on social media and elsewhere, a number of folks have told me that they are currently sitting on the fence, unsure whether to join me. Others have stated in no uncertain terms that they plan to remain at the station.

It is to them that I write.

As an initial matter, it bears noting that we Trump supporters are a diverse group. We don’t drink “Trump Kool-Aid” or any such nonsense. Many of us are not particularly thrilled about the prospect of a Trump presidency. Most of us are realistic about what Trump offers—and what he does not.

That having been said, we are, like the nominee himself, pragmatists. We are also afraid.

First Responder

For those who are considering joining us, I would offer the following simple, straightforward analogy that explains why, after much soul-searching, I climbed on board a train with a destination unknown:

Simply put, Donald Trump is a political first responder. Please allow me to explain.

If you woke up in thePolice Car Lights 01 - untitled darkness of night to the sounds of someone breaking into your home, you would likely call 911. When the police arrive, would you turn them away because you don’t like the individual responders—how they look, who they are, or their race, age, sex, or any other characteristic? Of course not. You would allow them to help you in your time of need. There will be time to evaluate, even criticize, them later.

Similarly, if you found yourself in a horrible car accident, pinned in your car and bleeding, would you turn away an offer of assistance—whether from a good Samaritan or an emergency first responder—because you prefer someone else? Of course not. Again, you would allow the person who is there with you to help you in your time of need.

Stopgap Measures

Both of the above situations represent stopgap measures. Stopgap measures are often needed to preserve life. As an emergency physician, I see this principle in practice every day.

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If you come to me suffering from a heart attack, I am not the cardiologist or surgeon who can either place a cardiac stent or perform bypass surgery. Would you reject my help because of that? Of course not. While I am not a cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon, I am the link in the physician chain specially trained to do three things: (1) keep you alive while the cardiologist or surgeon is summoned; (2) minimize the damage to your heart, brain, and other organs while we await your definitive treatment; and (3) ease your pain while we wait for your cure.

I am not your cure; I am your life saver so that your cure can happen. I stop the damage while your cure is being arranged. Would you reject my offer of assistance just because I cannot, on my own, fix your struggling heart? Would you reject my offer of assistance because we do not know if, in fact, I will succeed in keeping you alive? Would you reject my offer of assistance because I may cause you some pain or injury in the process of attempting to keep you alive?

Of course not. You are too practical for that. Because in that moment, I am all that you have. And I am enough. Am I the greatest physician in the world? No. But I am here, I am ready and able to help, you need me, and I am enough.

Similarly, if you come to me with a broken hip, as an emergency physician, I am powerless to repair your broken joint. That will require the assistance of my friend and colleague the orthopedic surgeon. In the meantime, I make sure that despite your broken bone, your surrounding nerves continue to function. I ensure that you still have blood flow around the break. These endeavors ensure that with appropriate surgery, recuperation, and physical therapy, you will walk again. As we wait, I also give you medicine to ease your pain. I make sure that you are the best candidate for a surgical cure, and I take away your pain. Would you reject my offer of help just because I cannot, myself, fix your broken bone? Would you reject my offer of help because we do not know if, in fact, I will succeed in easing your pain and ensuring neurologic function and blood flow? Would you reject my offer of help because I may cause you some pain or injury in the process?

Of course not. You are too practical for that. Because in that moment, I am all that you have. And I am enough. Am I the greatest physician in the world? No. But I am here, I am ready and able to help, you need me, and I am enough.

In both cases, are you going to waste time in my Emergency Department obsessing over the likely size of your surgical scar or how long you will be out of work? Would you reject my offer of assistance on the basis of either concern?

Of course not. You are too practical for that. You understand that we must first correct the immediate problem that is threatening your wellbeing, even your life—by any means necessary. We can then settle into the process of dealing with the long-term consequences of your injury or illness. There will be time later for you to evaluate the quality of my care. In the future, you may even choose another physician when an emergency is not looming. That is okay.

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My point is this: Like the patients whom I am privileged to treat, our nation is gravely ill and seriously injured. We are gasping for air. We are dying. Absent emergency intervention, we will not make it another four—and certainly not another eight—years. Just look at what is happening on the streets of France. And Germany. And Libya. And around the globe. We are next. That much is certain.

Above all else, in America in 2016, we must be practical. Trump is all that we have. He is ready, willing, and able to help. And he is enough.

Donald Trump is our first responder. He is our emergency physician. He is our stopgap measure to control the disease and limit the injury. He is our tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Trump doesn’t have to fix the entire injury—just stop its progression to death. Like a tourniquet (or seatbelt), once called into action, he may even do some damage. So be it. At least we will still be alive and able to correct whatever situations he creates.

Time for Perfection Later

Trump doesn’t have to be perfect, or even close. He just has to stop the bleeding. He just has to stop the pain. He just has to give us time to figure this out.

That is something that Trump can do. At the very least, Trump can break this deadly cycle. We can look for more perfect constitutionalists, or more committed conservatives, later. Right now, we must save ourselves, and our nation, so that we can have those future debates.

Several years ago while in D.C., I met and spoke at length with then-Congressman, now Indiana Governor and Trump’s vice presidential running mate Mike Pence. In person, Governor Pence is an exceptionally nice, notably striking, extremely impressive gentleman. So perhaps one future solution lies with him. We shall see. Certainly, his speech at the recent RepublDonald Trump at RNC - Flags 01 - untitledican National Convention was a good start.

I hope that those still sitting on the Trump fence can see that the country is bleeding out. We are suffering from multiple wounds, each of which has the potential to kill us. Now, in this election year, we must stop the bleeding, stop the pain, and stop the disease progression by whatever means necessary. We must buy time to right this ship.

If we don’t succeed, we most certainly will die. In that event, having stuck to our conservative values—even to the Constitution itself—will be of little comfort, for our lives—both as individuals and as a nation—will be over.

We need Trump. Our very survival depends upon him. Regardless of how you feel about the man, he is the only one holding the fire extinguisher. Please don’t reject the only man poised to buy us the time we need to fix this mess.

That is why I will vote for Trump in November. Is he the best candidate possible? I’m not sure. Is he the most polished politician? Most certainly not. Can he do everything that he promises? I don’t know. Is he the only person poised to stop the bleeding, stop the pain, and stop the progression of the deadly disease that threatens the greatest nation in the world? You betcha. And in the end, that is why he has my vote. I sincerely hope that he has yours as well.

Please let me know your thoughts.






The Unity of Disunity: Coming Together to Disagree

Sometimes, you have to come together to realize how far apart you are.

For political junkies like me, the past two weeks were anything but dull. Fireworks and sparks were the order of the day, and none of them was of the celebratory variety. Now that the convention dust has settled, it seems that a quick review is in order.


Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg


Republican Party Disunity

First up: The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Tempers flared almost immediately, thanks to the “Never Trump” movement and an equally committed faction of die-hard Ted Cruz supporters.

First, there was the stunning display of party disunity on the convention floor as a small but persistent group led by Mike Lee and Ken Cuccinelli made a bold move to rewrite the convention rules–presumably, to make the ground more favorable for a Ted Cruz 2020 presidential do-over. Of course, that is looking less likely given Cruz’s performance the following Wednesday evening. More on that in a moment.

Next there was the so-called “Melania-gate” when an out-of-work journalist discovered that a couple of phrases from Mrs. Trump’s speech were similar to sentiments previously expressed by none other than Michelle Obama. Tellingly, one of Melania’s most vocal critics was not a liberal Democrat or even an Independent. He is not a Clinton or Sanders supporter. Rather, Melania’s most vocal critic was none other than Erick Erickson, self-proclaimed überconservative and founder of Red State. Equally tellingly, it turns out that the long-time Trump speechwriter responsible for the gaffe is herself a registered Democrat.

The following evening, Donald Trump, Jr. received the same treatment. He had barely finished speaking when Erickson was again lobbing into the Webosphere accusations of plagiarism. Soon, it became obvious that the younger Donald had plagiarized nothing. As it turns out, the same man who helped write his speech was the original creator of the phrases in question. The speechwriter thus had borrowed the phrases from himself–hardly plagiarism. Did Erickson apologize? Did he back off? Of course not. He doubled down while keeping the Trump criticism going. Clearly, Erickson was on a roll and determined to prove himself right. To Erickson, everyone with the last name Trump was a plagiarist–because, presumably, Erickson had nothing else.

Then there were the stunning events of Wednesday evening. Ted Cruz started out well. He delivered a polCruz Speaking at RNC 01 - images3UHRGR6Iished and well-received speech about constitutional conservatism and the imperative that we follow our consciences. Then the train went off the tracks when he refused to honor his pledge to support the party’s nominee. Cruz remained unmoved even as he was loudly booed off the stage. Suddenly, all eyes were on Donald Trump, who appeared in the wings, thumb jutting confidently into the air in his signature gesture. The message was clear: Trump was the bigger man. Trump was presidential. Cruz was neither. Yet again, the lifetime politician had been outmaneuvered by the political newcomer. Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer characterized Cruz’s performance as “the longest suicide note in American political history.” Time will tell.

On Thursday night, Ivanka Trump introduced her father. In the process, she stated, “With my father, all things are possible.” The crowd applauded as she smiled broadly. The following day, an increasingly delusional Glenn Beck accused Ivanka of plagiarizing the Bible. And Jesus. I kid you not. Beck even made it sound spooky.

Clearly, things were getting out of hand. Thankfully, the convention ended and everyone went home. Glenn Beck and Erick Erickson kept talking, but most folks at home had moved on. A big week lay ahead as the DNC got underway. All eyes turned to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia and the DNC would not disappoint.


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Democratic Party Disunity

Needless to say, the Republicans did not corner the market on party disunity. Not by a long shot.

Before the Democratic National Convention even got underway, an initial, devastating email dump was dropped in the party’s lap courtesy of WikiLeaks. As many had long suspected, and as Bernie Sanders had claimed for months, it turns out that the Democratic National Committee had colluded with Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to assure Hillary Clinton the party’s nomination–by tanking Sanders’ campaign. To make matters worse, Wasserman Schultz had no sooner stepped down as DNC Chair than she was hired by the Clinton campaign. Obviously, there was nothing to see there.Protesters at DNC 01 - AP_16206736946105-450x253

Tempers flared, as the demonstrations–both outside and inside the convention hall–grew. Sensing an opportunity to escalate a civil unrest that was not theirs but convenient, Black Lives Matter protestors crashed the party. So did a few shadowy figures dressed in black and referred to–at least by the media–as “anarchists.” Eventually, they were joined by representatives of Code Pink and various individuals toting signs expressing positions like “No TPP,” “No More War,” and “Walk the Walk.” While the protestors were both committed and colorful, position statements were hard to come by. So were plans about what to do about their leaderless dilemma.

Thankfully, the protests remained for the most part peaceful. But anger persisted. Those still “feeling the Bern” felt misled and abused, and rightly so. Their idealistic, grandfatherly leader had not only abandoned the movement he started; he was now telling them to vote for Hillary Clinton. Many angrily refused even to consider such a thing. They looked for a new candidate, and found that in physician and potential Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Even so, on the eve of the official delegate vote count, Sanders and his closest supporters awkwardly invited the delegates to cast their votes for him, despite the fact that he had already publicly endorsed Clinton. Things were getting interesting as the convention took on the appearance of a free-for-all. It was a political brawl playing out on television screens across the country.

Of course, Sanders lost handily to Clinton. After all, as we already knew, he had, months before, been sandbagged by his own party. No last-minute protests could stop the so-called “Clinton Coronation.” Whenever the cameras panned over to Sanders, he looked both ill at ease and angry. His expression did not change for the remainder of the convention. In fact, he wore the same stoically angry expression as Clinton, in her Thursday evening acceptance speech, praised him for bringing ostensibly serious social and economic concerns to light as only an avowed Socialist can do. His discomfort was palpable. He had been sandbagged. More importantly, he had sold out. It was an awkward moment with more than enough shame to go around, with no one accepting the blame. It reminded us at home why we dislike politics and politicians of every stripe.

And that was before we knew that prior to the Thursday evening finale and Clinton’s speech, the DNC powers that be blocked off entire sections of seats where Sanders supporters were expected to sit, installed white noise machines overhead to neutralize any protests, and delayed allowing Sanders supporters to enter the convention hall until there was nowhere to sit. Clearly, they had been silenced. While we may disagree with their politics, at that moment, Trump supporters everywhere were cheering for the disenfranchised Sanders supporters. In that moment, the two groups on either end of the political spectrum had more than a little in common. Of course, that tells you all you need to know about the political middle.

DNC headliner speeches were for the most part well done but, in my opinion, dishonest. And while we’re on the topic of plagiarism (weren’t we?), the DNC had its share. One such incident occurred when Hillary Clinton dramatically declared that we Americans “are great because we are good”–apparently unaware that Alexis de Toqueville beat her to the punch–or the punchline, as it were–by some 180 years. At least she didn’t plagiarize the Bible. Or Jesus. Or not that I noticed. I’m sure that Glenn Beck was relieved.

As the week progressed, more WikiLeaks revelations came to light. This time, the forces-that-shall-not-be-named released new information further demonstrating the tone deafness, bigotry, disingenuousness, and hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and its nominee. Out of respect for Clinton’s big night on Thursday, discussion of that new information was for the most part restrained. No doubt, there is much more to come. I, for one, cannot wait.

For his part, Trump grabbed the media spotlight from the DNC when he made a statement, at a press conference, to the effect that if Vladimir Putin had Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails, he might consider releasing them. This sent the liberal media into a frenzy of anti-Trump vitriol. They accused Trump of inviting a foreign government to commit espionage and to interfere with a United States election. They accused Trump of compromising United States security. Apparently, they forgot that Clinton–not Trump–had already done that.

Most importantly for Trump, he managed to dominate the news cycle even at the peak of the DNC. It was typical Trump.


John Taggart/Bloomberg


All’s well that ends well . . . or something like that.

And so this fortnight of political theater ended much as it began: with Trump brashly speaking out of turn and dominating the news cycle, Wasserman Schultz colluding with Hillary Clinton and the DNC, and Sanders’ tearful followers, in their Peter Pan felt hats and Birkenstocks, taking to the streets, where they were joined by the ultimate agitators, members of the Black Lives Matter movement. Anarchists and the generally disenfranchised quickly joined the parade. The news media sensationalized what they wished, even as they ignored what did not fit their agenda. Everyone bashed Trump, even as he continually stole the spotlight. In the end, tens of millions of dollars were spent, but nothing was accomplished or decided. Everyone, as far as I could tell, stuck to their political guns and rarely strayed from their carefully crafted talking points.

All was not for nothing, however. The American public was treated to one helluva show.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It promises to be a long fall. November 8 cannot get here soon enough.

Please let me know your thoughts.



An Open Letter to My “Never Trump” Friends

In this, my first post for Red Nation Rising, I offer the following open letter to my “Never Trump” friends:

Dear Friend:

Like it or not, if you are a Republican and/or conservative, or even a Libertarian, Donald Trump is your nominee. That leaves many of you “Never Trumpers” disappointed, angry, and frightened. I get that. This is why I disagree.


RNC Convention Floor - Balloons and Confetti - 85


Two Big Weeks, One Important Lesson

Last week was a big week for Republicans and conservatives. (Unfortunately, in today’s America, the two are not necessarily the same.) This week was a big week for Democrats and liberals, who are even more divided than are we.

Having watched both national Obama and Clinton Hug at DNC 01 - untitledconventions, I am more convinced than ever that we conservatives must unite against our common adversary. Whatever faction of conservatism you identify with, one thing is certain: While you may not like Trump, Trump is not your enemy. Bernie Sanders and his “Never Hillary” followers are not your enemies.

Hillary Clinton is your enemy. We must come together to defeat Hillary Clinton. If we do not, we place ourselves in grave danger—not as Republicans and Democrats or conservatives and liberals, but rather as human beings. This is no longer about politics. This is about saving our lives so that we can live to fight our inevitable future political battles.

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is the only person standing between us and four, if not eight, more years of the disastrous duo I call Clinton/Obama 3.0. It really is that simple. And that dire.

Think about it.

To all of my friends who persist in defiantly waving the “Never Trump” flag, please know this: We get you. We share your anger. Until the recent conclusion of the primary process, most of us were one of you.

That having been said, the time for primary squabbles has passed. We are now heading into what promises to be the roughest of general elections. And we must conduct ourselves accordingly.

As part of that process, please ask yourself this simple question: Are you a “conservative” or are you an “establishment conservative?” As opposed to other times in our nation’s history, in today’s America, the two are very different, making the distinction critical.

Please know this:Hillary Clinton Laughing and Pointing 01 - untitled

1.)  Voting for any third-party candidate is voting for Hillary Clinton.

2.)  Not voting is voting—for Hillary Clinton.

3.)  Not going to the polls is going to the polls—for Hillary Clinton.

4.)  Voting only for down-ticket Republicans is voting up-ticket for Democrats—namely, Hillary Clinton.

5.)  Continuing to campaign against Donald Trump is continuing to campaign—for Hillary Clinton.

6.)  Not endorsing Donald Trump is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

I would respectfully ask you: Would you rather have Hillary Clinton in the White House than Donald Trump?

Because that really is our only choice.

Because what you are doiHillary Clinton Bored at Hearing 01 - untitledng right now is furthering Clinton’s cause, not impeding Trump’s. What you are doing now is making it easier for her to win the presidency.

Is that what you want?

If your answer is yes, or silence, or hesitation, then I have news for you: You are that dreaded creature, an “establishment conservative.” If Hillary Clinton wins in November, please do us all a favor and refrain from criticizing what she does or publicly pining for someone more conservative, more constitutional, more presidential, more likable, or whatever it is that you seek.

Why? Because you know both what she is and what she has promised. Because you know what she has done as well as what she has failed to do in forty years of so-called “public service.” (I use the term loosely.) Because you will be the reason she got elected. Again, it is that simple.

So Trump is an unknown–a loose cannon, even. I get that. But wouldn’t you rather take a chance on an unknown than elect a known elitist, hypocrite, liar, and crook who has allowed brave Americans to both be in harm’s way and die as a consequence, who has severely jeopardized American security, and who quite possibly has committed grave criminal offenses on her way to the top? Trump may be an unknown; but Clinton is a known evil. Isn’t the choice between the two obvious?

If you even have to consider your answer, then as it turns out, you and I have precious little in common. I do not believe that to be the case.


Trump, Pence on Jumbotron - RNC Final Night 01 - 85


All aboard!

The Trump Train is boarding. Its destination is uncertain, but its direction is clear. Sometimes, moving in the right direction is all that we have. Thankfully, more often than not, that is enough.

Perhaps Trump signaled his understanding of this fact in choosing his final song for the balloon-drop conclusion to the RNC. That iconic song goes: “No, you can’t always get what you want . . . . / But if you try sometimes / you find / You get what you need.”

In this election, in this moment, Donald Trump is what–and who–we need.

I sincerely hope that you join us on the Trump Train. We will save you a seat, and we will welcome you aboard.

We can agree to disagree. Hopefully, we can disagree without being disagreeable. We will save our personal battles for another time.

Most importantly, we will live to see another day. And on that day, we can, with great spirit, debate the many issues upon which we respectfully disagree.

That, after all, is the purpose of a Trump presidency. It is what he both can and will deliver: a change in course. And that is enough, for now.

And that is why I support him.

Please let me know your thoughts.



Myra Adams: How Does Trump Win 270 Electoral Votes? The answer is 64 percent of the white vote

With Republican National Convention delegates about to officially nominate Donald J. Trump as their presidential nominee, how does Trump cobble together the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House?

Seeking a historic reference, I turned to the 2004 electoral map — the last time a Republican presidential candidate reached that milestone.

The map below illustrates the states won by President George W. Bush totaling 286 votes compared to 251 for then Senator John Kerry. Ah, the Republican Party’s “good old days” when red states ruled the south, mid-west, west, and southwest.

   2004 Electoral Map

2004 actual erase 2

Marveling at that contiguous sea of red, what states did the Bush 2004 reelection campaign consider battlegrounds? For an answer, I turned to Mark McKinnon who served as the Bush campaign’s chief media strategist. Surprisingly, McKinnon told me, “The whole ball game was Ohio and Florida.” I responded, “If this election were only that simple,” because twelve years later Trump starts with the grim 2012 Electoral College map shown below.

 2012 Electoral Map

2012 electoral sized erase 2

Turned noticeably blue since 2004, are several once reliable red states that could possibly remain blue going forward.

Unfortunately for Trump, based on Real Clear Politics (RCP) polling averages two of those states, Virginia with 13 electoral votes and Colorado with 9, are polling outside the margin of error and now tilting “Clinton blue.” Can Trump swing them back? In politics anything is possible — but demographics and entrenched negative attitudes toward the Republican brand make that improbable for reasons we will discuss later in this piece.

Besides the obvious electoral rich, traditional battleground states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Trump must also focus on formerly ruby-red North Carolina with its 15 electoral votes. Ever since Obama turned North Carolina blue in 2008, it has become a critical swing state for the GOP. Currently, the RCP poll average has Clinton ahead by only two points. But if her lead persists, a Clinton victory in North Carolina could be a national harbinger for a Trump defeat

The fact that North Carolina has joined the growing ranks of battleground states raises an important question: How did that 2004 solid Republican red map morph into growing numbers of “purple” and blue-trending states?  Even once bright red Arizona has been cast by RCP as a new battleground.

Here are three simple answers:

First, since 2004, much of the nation has tilted markedly left of center on social issues while the Republican Party has moved further right.

Second, what was once a majority white Christian nation based on love of God, country, and traditional family values is swiftly evolving into one that is demographically multi-cultural and religiously non-affiliated. As proof, a new Pew Research Survey reveals that for the first time, non-religious voters comprise the nation’s largest bloc at 21 percent of registered voters. Catholic and white evangelical voters are a close second with 20 percent each.

Third, Americans are increasing relying on and demanding more government services and benefits. This development is anathema to the traditional Republican Party platform and its governing philosophy of smaller government and lower taxes.

With these three brief explanations in mind, the good news for Donald Trump is his candidacy resembles that of a third-party candidate temporarily hijacking the GOP.

Then, as if to compensate for the ill-mannered hijacking, Trump’s VP choice of Indiana governor Mike Pence is a desperate attempt to achieve party unity. It is also an admission that he needs Pence to help deliver the conservative base to the voting booth. But adding Pence to the ticket does little to help Trump gain traction with millions of independent voters in battleground states who Trump needs to lift him well above Romney’s 206 electoral vote total. That task will be left to Trump alone.

In order for Trump to mirror Bush’s 270 map from 2004, turn-out models estimate that he must come within two points of achieving what no GOP candidate has done since Reagan in 1984 — win 66 percent of the white vote. In 2016 that is a herculean challenge considering that in 1984 the white vote comprised 86 percent of the electorate!

By comparison, in 2012, whites as a percent of the electorate, had dropped to 72 percent. Romney won them by a decisive margin of 59 to 39 percent but Romney still lost to Obama in an Electoral College landslide.

Now in 2016 it has been estimated that the white vote will shrink to 71 percent, down a point from 2012. But the white vote could dip even lower if minority voters, especially Hispanics, surge at the polls.

For the record, the last elected GOP candidate, President George W. Bush, won the white vote by 58 percent to Kerry’s 41 — when whites comprised 77 percent of the 2004 electorate.

Thus, and if turn-out models are accurate, in order for Trump to win 270 electoral votes given that polls show he is repelling non-white voters at levels similar to Romney, Trump must win at least 64 percent of 71 percent of the entire electorate. That would be miraculous! It is also a total fantasy given that white voters under the age of 40 and white women in general, tend to lean Democrat. But ANYTHING could happen this November with voter angst at record levels.

The Growing Role of Racial Voting in Presidential Elections

Finally, it is disheartening to recognize the role that skin color is playing in electing a president. One can expect this trend to continue as long as non-white voters continue block voting for the Democratic candidate.

Sean Trent, the respected research guru of Real Clear Politics offered some insight into racial voting and Trump’s chances of winning when he recently wrote:

If we do see Donald Trump push the white vote up into 63-64%, it suggests that as whites move towards minority status that they become more aware of their whiteness, and it plays into politics. It is a disheartening and dangerous trend, but it might be something we don’t have any control over.

With all the recent racial turmoil, police shootings and terror attacks becoming the new normal, disgruntled white voters — feeling that their country is slipping into chaos faster than they could ever have imagined — might rise up and support Trump at record-breaking levels not seen since 1984. That is how Trump wins 270 electoral votes.

He has no other path to victory.

Re-posted from RedState

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the creative team of the 2004 Bush campaign and on the ad council of the 2008 McCain campaign. E-mail her at MyraAdams01@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams