Post-Election Musings

I was told recently by someone that if they see “Continue Reading” at the end of one of my Facebook posts that they ignore it and scroll on…so this week I’ve started posting paragraph sized snippets in order to retain readers on FB…so what you see below are those chunks in order. 

I unfollowed the majority of Trump supporters a long time ago, so I’ve been blissfully sheltered from what I imagine to be all the gloating right now. But you’re all entitled to be happy today, because you earned it. I don’t believe you’re stupid, or racist, or sexist for supporting him, the way most liberals are lamenting right now. I’ve always accepted the majority of Trump supporters’ sincerity in their beliefs about this campaign. I do want to say, however, that there is no “making America great again”, because America has ALWAYS been great.

And I never unfollowed Trump supporters out of spite or simply because I disagreed with them; it was just that so many have been obnoxious and would post the same old shit and stupid memes over and over that it got predictable and old. I’m tempted to name drop some of the Trump supporters who I have kept on my feed, because I always felt they were thoughtful and sincere, and have tended to have a more insightful commentary that made me think.

I made no secret of my opposition to Donald Trump. I think he has enabled and emboldened a new generation of racists and white nationalists in a way that’s very disturbing to me, and I maintain they permeate the Right in a larger proportion than those sincere Trump supporters I mentioned previously should be comfortable with. And don’t pull Black Lives Matter on me as your trump card (no pun intended); I’m not talking about the Left here; I’m talking about the Right.

And before you go crazy at my last post, I am NOT calling all Trump supporters racists; I’m saying that white nationalists make up a larger portion of his support than you should be cool with.

Having said all that, I was heartened by the graciousness of Trump’s victory speech last night. It’s true that’s considered the norm at the end of a presidential campaign, but he could easily have gloated and played to his base, but instead chose the high road. I think perhaps now he’s beginning to realize what he’s gotten himself into.

And remember, the President is not a king (despite the Right’s accusations of Obama allegedly abusing his power with all of his Executive Orders), and Trump by himself cannot turn back the clock on minority, LGBT, and women’s rights; not and expect to be re-elected in four years. It’s true with a Republican House and Senate for at least the first two years he’ll be able to affect things like Obamacare and the Supreme Court, but Justices have been known to buck expectations. This Republic was designed with checks and balances that still hold, even today.

I didn’t realize that the vote totals still aren’t completed, and that there is a solid chance that Hillary may actually still win the national popular vote; she leads by over 200,000 votes right now with 92% of the total vote tallied; the bulk of her votes are probably coming from California. Liberals, don’t turn this into a rallying cry for Trump’s supposed illegitimacy; our Electoral system is designed with the States being the ultimate electors of the President; our country’s very name demonstrates that, the United STATES of America.

And conservatives, temper your elation with the knowledge that your guy might not win the popular vote and understand how that shows just how divided this country is, and that while you will have full control of the government for the next two years, if you overreach you could easily lose it starting with the 2018 mid-term elections.

My main hope going forward, is that Trump ends up governing closer to the middle than he’s let on during the campaign; he was admittedly a Democrat for much of his life before this. I fully accept him as my next President, and I hope my previous worries that he’d be a disaster get proved wrong.

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Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Runoff

This is going to be a long post, but it concludes with my Official Endorsement for 2016, so before you move on once you see the “Continue Reading” button (I’m looking at you, Pat) please take the time to at least click the link below to read up about Ranked Choice Voting and find out how it can potentially change the way our elections are ran.
I was thinking about writing one last epistle tonight about why I’m opposing Donald Trump. But while I’m not sure I’ve made my actual reasons completely clear already, it won’t change anybody’s minds and would only serve to alienate people and risk starting a flame war (namely with my brother, heh). Instead what I want to write about this Election Eve is something I’ve already mentioned the past couple of days. Something that I’ve become convinced can be a force for positive change in our political discourse. It’s this voting method called Ranked Choice Voting/Instant Run-off.
The gist of it is as follows: Instead of voting for just one person, you would rank the candidates in order of preference, or omit somebody you really don’t like completely. Say you were agonizing under the current system about voting your conscience and voting third party, but you don’t want to “waste” your vote and you really don’t want Trump to win so you feel compelled to vote for Clinton (or vice versa). Under RCV, you could go ahead and vote third party as your first choice, then the so-called “lesser of two evils” as your second, and if there was yet another third party candidate maybe them, and if there’s that one guy you absolutely DO NOT WANT to see win, just leave them out.
So what happens next is that everybody’s First Place votes get tallied up, and if nobody gets at least 50% for a definitive majority, then the vote goes into an Instant Runoff; the candidate with the fewest First Place votes is eliminated, and that person’s SECOND PLACE votes get divvied up among their designated recipients; i.e., say the ousted candidate’s Second Place votes went 60/40 for the top two, for example; those votes then get added to the remaining candidate’s current totals. If there were more than three candidates and the second round still didn’t produce a 50% winner, then the next candidate with the fewest votes is out and THEIR Second Place votes get divvied up. Eventually you’ll see a candidate reach the 50% threshold and win.
How does this benefit the process? Think about it: you’re not only campaigning for voters’ FIRST PLACE VOTES…you’re campaigning for the SECOND PLACE VOTES of those you know are likely to give their First Place vote to someone else. You’re not going to be as obnoxious or negative in your campaigning. You’re going to make an effort to reach out to as many people as you can, and you’re going to have to tailor your policies to be as broad as possible; being the proud moderate that I am, in my admittedly idealized vision of this scenario, our political discourse would no longer be about two extremes that turn off the majority of voters who are traditionally moderates, and it would serve to moderate and alleviate the polarizing nature of our current poisonous political culture.
This is a system already in place in parts of the country, usually localized city elections like the Mayor of Minneapolis; there’s a really good video clip on the website linked below where the current mayor discusses exactly what I wrote about in the paragraph above. It’s a real thing with support from prominent personalities including President Obama from back when he was a Senator, as well as John McCain, and Bernie Sanders among others. I’m sure there are drawbacks to this method, but it certainly can’t be any worse than what we have now.
While I realize that as a whole, both Democrats and Republicans on the national level would be opposed to this in a Presidential election as it would potentially empower third parties and give them greater prominence, I believe this is a worthy cause to get behind for the sake of improving our contentious electoral process. So if you want to know my Official Endorsement for 2016…it is for Ranked Choice Voting.

Hillary’s corruption vs. Trump’s corruption

It is all about the narrative: Hillary is “corrupt” while Trump is “tells it like it is”. Sure, he’s a little “rough around the edges” and “uses bad words”, but at least HE’S not CORRUPT. Yeah, I’ve seen you on FB making this argument, that Trump’s seemingly only vice is that he “uses bad words” and “says mean things”. Well. I can only imagine the fever pitch with which his supporters would be slathering and gloating and showcasing his own examples of corruption—Trump University, anyone?—if it were Hillary involved in these schemes and not him:
“…you’d have to work incredibly hard to find a politician who has the kind of history of corruption, double-dealing, and fraud that Donald Trump has. The number of stories which could potentially deserve hundreds and hundreds of articles is absolutely staggering. Here’s a partial list:
•Trump’s casino bankruptcies, which left investors holding the bag while he skedaddled with their money
•Trump’s habit of refusing to pay contractors who had done work for him, many of whom are struggling small businesses
•Trump University, which includes not only the people who got scammed and the Florida investigation, but also a similar story from Texas where the investigation into Trump U was quashed.
•The Trump Institute, another get-rich-quick scheme in which Trump allowed a couple of grifters to use his name to bilk people out of their money
•The Trump Network, a multi-level marketing venture (a.k.a. pyramid scheme) that involved customers mailing in a urine sample which would be analyzed to produce for them a specially formulated package of multivitamins
•Trump Model Management, which reportedly had foreign models lie to customs officials and work in the U.S. illegally, and kept them in squalid conditions while they earned almost nothing for the work they did
•Trump’s employment of foreign guest workers at his resorts, which involves a claim that he can’t find Americans to do the work
•Trump’s use of hundreds of undocumented workers from Poland in the 1980s, who were paid a pittance for their illegal work
•Trump’s history of being charged with housing discrimination
•Trump’s connections to mafia figures involved in New York construction
•The time Trump paid the Federal Trade Commission $750,000 over charges that he violated anti-trust laws when trying to take over a rival casino company
•The fact that Trump is now being advised by Roger Ailes, who was forced out as Fox News chief when dozens of women came forward to charge him with sexual harassment. According to the allegations, Ailes’s behavior was positively monstrous; as just one indicator, his abusive and predatory actions toward women were so well-known and so loathsome that in 1968 the morally upstanding folks in the Nixon administration refused to allow him to work there despite his key role in getting Nixon elected.”
Now, if you’re going to comment and dispute any of the above, I CHALLENGE you NOT to invoke Clinton as your equalizer. I want to see if you can actually defend Trump on his own merits. I’m sure some of you will whine and pout about me “oppressing” your First Amendment rights, but any invoking of Clinton in any response will simply be deleted; we all know all about Clinton and her baggage…but the NARRATIVE that she is the corrupt one while Trump simply “uses bad words, get over it” has sheltered him from more thorough examination of his own (non-sexual harassment related) past.
And yes, this article is TWO WHOLE MONTHS OLD, let it go Brian, sheesh…well, dumbass, it’s still relevant. And before you try the “At least Trump hasn’t made decisions that killed people!” line, he simply hasn’t been in a position to have to make those decisions; that’s part of what holding public office entails.
EDIT: I will accept a response that effectively acknowledges the above while still maintaining Clinton is worse. I just don’t want to see a litany of her shit as a counterweight in my comment thread. I know all about her shit. But you can’t say Trump doesn’t have his own corrupt shit going on.

Unfollowed, cont.

So I just unfollowed several people from my FB feed, some of whom I’m actually friends with in “real life” and who I think well of, or at the very least I am personal acquaintances with. I mean, I get that you feel the way you do about current events and politics, and you have every right to post what you do…but I really don’t need it clogging up my newsfeed, especially since the posting has ratcheted up feverishly as we enter the final weeks of the election, but it’s the same old predictable shit over and over and OVER—yes, we get it, you hate so-and-so with the fire of a thousand suns and you have no shortage of memes and links to share to prove it…but more importantly, I just don’t want to be tempted into posting some kind of rebuttal and end up down the rabbit hole of a fruitless debate.

My question is this: How many of you take the view that it’s better to just unfollow and still stay FB friends, or do you think unfollowing defeats the point and should you just unfriend that person and be done with it? How many of you would feel insulted to find out I unfollowed you because of your political posts? Remember, I got unfriended by that very reasoning before. To me, unfollowing is just a prudent way of avoiding unnecessary conflict with a person, while unfriending is kind of like burning bridges and saying “fuck you, asshole”. If I run into that person who unfriended me out on the street—who once upon a time was a close personal friend—I’m not sure how I would act toward them…”Uh, hi?”

So, what do you think?

Trump “hot mic” Access Hollywood video

Wow…just wow.
 
Look, I get that a lot of my friends out there in Facebookland hate, hate, HATE Hillary Clinton; you don’t like her, you don’t trust her, you think she’ll be bad for the country. I get it, if that’s your view. And I also get it if that’s your basis for supporting Trump…
 
But MAN…shit like this video being par for the course with Trump has just GOT to be driving you up the wall. THIS is the person you’ve anchored yourself to? At the very least, watch the video in this link of his “locker room” talk about women before forming a response to this post. I don’t expect this to change your mind about Trump; if you still consider this “better” than Hillary, that’s your prerogative. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of, “But, but, but, BILL CLINTON!!” responses as a “defense”. But just stop for a second and think about how sad that is that you’re reduced to debating whose sexual indiscretions are worse.
 

A Message to Bernie Bros…

I have something to say to the Bernie people who are still gnashing their teeth in lamentation over Hillary’s nomination. This is something I commented on a friend’s thread and have been meaning to post on my page, so I figured I’d paste it here with some additions:
 
RE: Anger at the Democratic Party for screwing over Bernie Sanders.
The fact of the matter is that the parties can select their candidates in whatever way they so choose; they’re not accounted for at all in the Constitution. Binding popular selection by the public via the primaries is actually a relatively recent development dating to the sixties. Before that it was basically the kind of backroom dealing among party bosses that I see a lot of people (mostly Bernie people) lamenting about today regarding Hillary’s nomination (see: Super Delegates).
 
My overall point is that Bernie chose to run as a Democrat…which actually probably enabled a higher profile for himself than he would have gotten if he had ran as the independent he’s always been throughout his career. But in running as a Democrat, he simultaneously ran into the “rigged” party system that was almost explicitly designed to keep someone like him out. Is it fair? No. Is it democracy? No. But we’re not even a true democracy as it is; we don’t even elect the president by direct popular vote. Undemocratic? Maybe, but in any case that’s how the Founders DESIGNED the system.
 
I guess the ultimate question Bernie followers need ask themselves now is, is the progressive movement (i.e., the policies Sanders’ espoused) in a better position overall now than if he hadn’t ran as a Democrat. Hillary was forced to pivot left in order to accommodate him. That’s something right there. You can say she’s lying to get votes, but Sanders’ profile is exponentially higher now and he could be in a position to influence things via the Senate if Hillary wins. Just a thought.
 
Oh, and who would you rather have choose the make up and character of the Supreme Court for the next generation? Chances are the next president will get to nominate as many as three or four new justices since so many current ones are in or are about to enter their 80s (to say nothing of the current empty seat that one particular party refuses to hold a hearing for). Roe V Wade, gay rights, voter laws, environmental laws, health care laws, gun rights…those worth giving over to Donald Trump just because you don’t feel like you were treated nicely enough by the DNC?

Unfollowed

Over the past few years I’ve unfollowed (but not unfriended) many FB friends whose posts have become tiredly predictable, if not occasionally outright offensive. And yes, they are typically Tea Party/Trump supporters. I’m not even sure most of them are aware I’ve unfollowed them, or whether they’d even care if they knew. The thing is that I know most of them personally, and I genuinely like them and respect them; they are smart, bright, and they are in fact good people. These are not loonies or racists. They are sincere in their beliefs. Hopefully they realize that I am sincere in mine.

But, man, some of the things they post, share, or like are just downright disheartening when they’re not outright ridiculous. I don’t say this to be condescending or holier than thou; it’s just how I feel. But I’ve come to realize that it’s better to avoid being tempted to engage them in the first place, because that will only lead to bitterness, so that’s why I’ve unfollowed them. (And not, as I’m sure some of them would claim, because I “can’t handle the truth”…as they see it.)

I’ve stumbled upon several posts and memes that they’ve shared since Orlando, and I’ve read the comments of their likeminded companions…and I genuinely despair over how wide the gulf has become between the two sides in this country, and it’s only growing wider. It’s like this whole other country that I’m having trouble even relating to anymore. Some of the things that are espoused and accepted as fact in that community…man, I can’t even begin. I’ve almost come to the conclusion there’s no point in even trying to bridge that gulf anymore; just leave everybody to their own beliefs and hope that the side that my political leanings favor has enough numbers to outvote them.

I can’t vote for Trump. Even well into the primaries I was actually leaving the door open just a crack, both in the interest of open-mindedness and in case he started to turn toward the middle once he secured the nomination, as is common with presidential candidates; I joked that he would start saying things that even I would agree with…but to say he’s doubled down on his incendiary remarks that are completely calculated to fan the flames of bigotry is an understatement. I think he’s a charlatan, an insecure bully, and a xenophobe, among countless other things that have been well documented. And I’m convinced he’d be a disaster for this country. Not that my vote will matter in the Electoral College, since Trump as a Republican will carry Kansas easily. But the popular vote has its own moral value, and I want to be counted in that.

#NeverTrump

The Republican Presidential Race 2016

Political Post: This is just an observation, and not a pro or against anybody I mention. (This is my now standard political disclaimer attempting to head off predictable comments hijacking this thread, heh. Wish me luck with that.)

Everybody has been obsessed with Trump and people are convinced he’s going to win the nomination. I’ve tended to disagree. I’ve maintained for a while that as soon as enough “mainstream” candidates drop off, their votes are going to coalesce around the remaining mainstream guy and eventually overtake Trump. Christie is out, Bush dropped out last night, and Kasich needs to drop out now, too. You add up the latter two’s votes from last night to Rubio’s, and that number beats Trump.

It’s obviously a three man race between Trump, Cruz, and Rubio; enough voters have spoken that the others need to stop wasting their time and energy (as well as ours).

RE: The Democrats. I still think Hillary is going to pull it out against Sanders, but it’s a lot more competitive so far than I expected.