LOSING: IT’S THE FLIP SIDE OF WINNING

It’s not just that Trump won. It’s that we lost.

Despite what I’m reading on social media, we didn’t lose only because of faux news, the FBI, unfair press, or badly handled emails, though all of that contributed. We also lost because of what we did, and should have done — but didn’t. This election was ours to lose and we lost it, good and proper.

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The bitter battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton planted seeds of deep suspicion that she was corrupt. It went on a long time and left a bad taste in a lot of mouths, many of those mouths belonging to people who normally would have voted blue. Even worse, after finally bandaging that wound, Hillary Clinton didn’t listen to the people. Up in the usually Democratic rust belt, people wanted to talk about the economy and jobs. She wanted to discredit Trump.

If you want to win, you need to listen. To address the concerns of the voters — or they won’t vote for you. She knew that and so did her people. So she won the popular vote, but lost the majority of states. In each of those lost states, she lost the popular vote in too — unless the recount in Wisconsin shows something else. Regardless, I doubt even a recount will change the result. I would be astounded if it did.

You may not like or fully understand the system, but it is our system. It has always been our system and the candidates fully understand how it works. Hillary Clinton has been in the political arena her entire adult life. She has no excuse.

And. Bernie Sanders needs to ask himself: Was it worth it? He blew up his own party. Is he going to stick around and help put it back together? Or was destruction his goal from the beginning? As liberals, Democrats, and voters, we need to think about where we go from here.

There’s more than enough blame to go around. If we are going to indulge in finger-pointing, we may need extra fingers. Presumably we learned (relearned) at least one lesson: corrosive in-fighting is not a winning strategy.

It’s time to start walking a more productive path. To make positive changes. Put together a winning strategy for 2020. Unless, of course, we want Trump for eight years rather than four.


 THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS HERE TO STAY


The electoral college was created by the founders of this country as part of the constitution. It’s not a recent law we can change or rescind. To remove it would require an amendment to the Constitution. Which is not happening. The assigned electors per state can be (and are) adjusted to make the college more representative and reflective of the U.S. population. But eliminated? I doubt it.

The electoral college was created to balance the power and interests of populous, industrial states and make sure agricultural, rural states with lower populations don’t get trampled in national elections. 

That is exactly what it did. Although Hillary Clinton (my preferred candidate) won more popular votes, she won all her votes in the big, urban, industrial states. Trump got fewer votes, but won far more states. You and I may not like it, but the electoral college was designed to make sure that popularity and population are not the only things that factor into electing a president.

constitution_1_of_4_630

Is it fair? I think it’s rather like the referee’s call in a football game. It depends on whether the call favors you or the other team.


THE U.S. IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. 


The United States is a constitutional republic and popularity is not the only factor that counts in a presidential election.

The electoral college is an integral part of the structure of our government and its presence is exactly what makes us a republic rather than a democracy. Before you start howling about abolishing it, recognize that it was put in place for a reason, even if you don’t like the reason. If you lived in Wyoming, you would feel it was protecting your interests … and you’d be right.

If you live in a big, blue state, do you really believe you are entitled to enforce your will on the entire country? Does it mean you always get to pick the winner?  I don’t like Trump, but our system works the way it is supposed to. It isn’t a cheat or a scam or something that’s been overlooked and needs fixing. It was designed and included intentionally so you don’t get disenfranchised because you live in the country or on a farm.

I’m surprised how many people apparently don’t understand how the Constitution or our government works. Didn’t we all learn this in school?


If you are interested in learning more, you can start here at History.com ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Or, just Google “electoral college” and poke around. There’s plenty of information easily available.

CAMPAIGNING VERSUS GOVERNING by ELLIN CURLEY

Like many other Americans, I have been in shock and very, very depressed since the election of Donald Trump as President. I have been thinking about how this unthinkable thing could have happened. I have a small theory that maybe explains a tiny piece of the cluster fuck that is our government for the next four years. It’s not entirely new or original, but I feel it deserves consideration and attention.

campaign-poster-2016In our system, the qualities it takes to win a presidential election are different from the qualities it takes to govern as President. I could argue that what you need for one job is virtually antithetical to what you need for the other. For example, to be a successful candidate you have to be good at making stirring speeches in front of large audiences. To inspire those large crowds and excite the media, you need an outgoing personality, an out-sized ego, plus a charismatic speaking style. You must be larger than life.

But, to govern and be an effective executive, none of these traits or skills — while occasionally handy — are critical or even necessary. Instead, you need to be good at dealing with individuals and small groups. You need to convince, cajole and compromise to get things done. Keeping your ego in check is a prerequisite for working well with others. Flamboyance is a minus, not a plus.

dwight-david-eisenhower-quote-i-do-not-believe-that-any-politicalAs a candidate, you have to strip complex, nuanced ideas and situations down to a few catchy slogans or sentences. You need to be prolific in distilling ‘sound bytes’ from complicated issues. Those ‘sound bytes’ are what will represent you to the general public via the media. The big picture is what matters. Details and subtleties be damned.

As President, you have to master a myriad of detail on every issue. You need to weigh the pros and cons of competing interests and groups, then come up with viable policies. Next, you have to ‘sell’ these policies to friends and foes, up close and personal. Complexity and contradictions are your meat and potatoes.

The person best suited to win the presidency in America may be the least suited to governing well. Trump was an effective candidate but there’s no indication he can govern. At all. Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate but I believe would have been a great President. Is there a resolution for this dichotomy?

I’d argue that the English parliamentary system can teach us something. The English have the Royal Family as their “national celebrities” and tabloid fodder. Their Members of Parliament are supposed to be boring, nerdy, policy wonks. No one expects their MPs or even the Prime Minister to be a dazzling public speaker or TV personality. (Justin Trudeau of Canada is a rare exception – he has it all!)

I’m not advocating a monarchy for America. But maybe we could have the President and Vice Presidential candidates run as a real team. The Vice Presidential candidate could be the crowd pleasing media star for the election cycles. The President could just be the back office guy who crunches the numbers and gets things done when its time to govern.

I’m not sure whether or not this system would work in practice, but it sure as Hell couldn’t be worse than what we have now!

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS HERE TO STAY

The electoral college was created by the founders of this country as part of the constitution. It’s not a recent law we can change or rescind. To remove it would require an amendment to the Constitution. Which is not happening. The assigned electors per state can be (and are) adjusted to make the college more representative and reflective of the U.S. population. But eliminated? I doubt it.

The electoral college was created to balance the power and interests of populous, industrial states and make sure agricultural, rural states with lower populations don’t get trampled in national elections. 

That is exactly what it did. Although Hillary Clinton (my preferred candidate) won more popular votes, she won all her votes in the big, urban, industrial states. Trump got fewer votes, but won far more states. You and I may not like it, but the electoral college was designed to make sure that popularity and population are not the only things that factor into electing a president.

constitution_1_of_4_630

Is it fair? I think it’s rather like the referee’s call in a football game. It depends on whether the call favors you or the other team.


THE U.S. IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. 


The United States is a constitutional republic and popularity is not the only factor that counts in a presidential election.

The electoral college is an integral part of the structure of our government and its presence is exactly what makes us a republic rather than a democracy. Before you start howling about abolishing it, recognize that it was put in place for a reason, even if you don’t like the reason. If you lived in Wyoming, you would feel it was protecting your interests … and you’d be right.

If you live in a big, blue state, do you really believe you are entitled to enforce your will on the entire country? Does it mean you always get to pick the winner?  I don’t like Trump, but our system works the way it is supposed to. It isn’t a cheat or a scam or something that’s been overlooked and needs fixing. It was designed and included intentionally so you don’t get disenfranchised because you live in the country or on a farm.

I’m surprised how many people apparently don’t understand how the Constitution or our government works. Didn’t we all learn this in school?


If you are interesting in learning more, you can start here at History.com ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Or, just Google “electoral college” and poke around. There’s plenty of information easily available.

CHANGE. BIGLY.

Some of us really were looking and listening. Although all the liberal publications were saying Hillary Clinton would win big, I was hearing other voices. Michael Moore, to name one with whom you might be familiar, was saying the opposite. So were other important analysts — all issuing warnings that it was not going to be so easy. There were many things that could go wrong. Not only had the fat lady not sung, the concert hadn’t even begun and the orchestra was just tuning their instruments. Too early to pop the corks.

Even when we say “What could possibly go wrong?” which means we really do know that things always go wrong, regardless of whatever plans you made, it’s rare that absolutely everything goes wrong at the same time.

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That is what happened for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Who’s fault was it? Hers, certainly. The FBI? Absolutely. The Democratic and Republican establishments’ unwillingness hear the angry voices in coal country and the rust belt. The people who neither Democrats or Republicans have been able to help for the past 30 years have felt abandoned. They have a point, but there’s a huge question whether or not there’s much to be done. No one can turn back the clock to the glory days of American manufacturing because that was substantially based on a postwar Europe in smoking ruins who, of necessity, bought their “stuff” from us.

You aren’t going to bring back the coal industry. Oh, maybe a little will be revived, but those miners need to learn new skills, like the fishermen of New England who have lost their livelihood as fisheries closed due to persistent, relentless, over-fishing.

We have voted badly before and clearly, we can do it again. We have yet to plumb the true depths to which w can sink.

We have voted badly before and can do it again. We have yet to plumb the true depths to which we can sink.

Change happens and sometimes, no one is to blame. The world keep turning. Crying and shaking ones fists at the sky while howling “Stop the world! I want to get off!” is futile and pathetic.

A very big change happened yesterday. How much we will we personally, as individuals, be affected? It depends on too many different variables to make an educated guess much less a prediction. In any case, big changes to law and legislation don’t happen overnight.

The remnant of Bernat Mills. A reminder of how things can change.

The remnant of Bernat Mills. A reminder of how things can change.

Many voters who got Trump into office are going to have a bad case of buyer’s remorse when, in the not-too-distant future they realize there won’t be a wall. The mines aren’t coming back. America’s manufacturing base is not coming back any more than the empty mills in the Blackstone Valley will ever again transform cotton and wool into cloth. Sometimes, when it’s over, it’s over.

Moreover, they will discover that as much as the man supposedly makes the office, the office of the president will remake Trump.

This isn’t a toy job. By the time President Trump realizes what he’s gotten into, he won’t be the same guy. Reality has harder edges than TV reality shows.

The presidency changes those who take office. Always. Which way it will go this time, we can’t know. I’m pretty sure the candidate doesn’t know either. It’s going to take time to sort it out. Determine who the power players will be. Who will populate the Trump cabinet. And who will be on the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, back in the deep blue Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we didn’t vote for Trump. We did legalize marijuana and vote to protect farm animals from cruel treatment. Yay us.

FIRE & ICE, DYSTOPIA, AND A BABEL FISH

Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less.

Right this moment? “This can’t be happening.

75-FireAndIcePoem

Where do you like to vacation?

I’m not picky. And I enjoy many different places, though I always appreciate photogenic scenery, good restaurants, historical sites … and nice, yet strangely inexpensive accommodations.

Candy factories (sweets or treats including chocolate) of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … crystallized ginger. Really. Honest.

I think we need to move on from candy to something else. Maybe seafood? Shellfish? Sushi? Chinese food? Babel fish?

Babel-fish

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is… 

Probably funny. All sorts of things make me laugh including things that no one else finds funny. I find ideas funny, words funny. My dogs make me laugh. Honestly, there’s almost nothing that I can’t, under the right circumstances, find funny, although right now, I don’t have it in me to laugh. Maybe next week.

Dystopia_by_shadow9020

Dystopia_by_shadow9020

CEE’S SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 45

share your world cee banner

STUMPING THROUGH AMERICA

A stump speech is a standard campaign speech used by someone running for public office. The term derives from the early American custom in which candidates campaigned from town to town and stood upon a sawed off tree stump to deliver their speech.

Stump Speech – Political Dictionary
politicaldictionary.com/words/stump-speech/


Two candidates. One like no candidate we’ve seen before and I pray we’ll never see again. Stumping through America. Fascinating in a terrible way. Like a demonic dance of death played out before television cameras. Orange Head will not make the world a better place. It will NOT be great. If he got to run the place, we’d be lucky to come out of it no worse than we went in.

Election - 2016_election_banner_1Hillary would try to fix it. Can she? Would the opposition allow her to fix anything? I don’t know, but there’s at least a small chance that something might be made better. I think she knows what better is. More than I can say for the other one.

What a clown show American politics has become.

Turn on your TV. Watch them stump for election. Watch your hopes and dreams get stomped in the process.

STUMP | THE DAILY POST

THE ART OF AVOIDING POLITICS by ELLIN CURLEY

I love reading the papers and talking about what’s going on in the world. You used to be able to do that without getting caught up in ‘partisan politics’. By that I mean that there were ‘facts’ about what was happening on a given topic that everyone could agree about. People may have disagreed about how to deal with the problem of, say, increasing crime and declining GDP. But there was at least a consensus that the former was in fact increasing and the latter was in fact declining.

Not so today. Facts have become the meat and potatoes of partisan politics. If you’re a liberal and/or a Democrat you believe that unemployment is down. If you are a conservative and/or Republican you believe that unemployment is up. How can anyone have a rational discussion about a problem if the nature or even the existence of the problem is itself the issue? When people argue whether a ‘fact’ is, in fact, a ‘fact’?

Talk shows and news interviews often devolve into shouting matches about what used to be called empirically proven facts. I don’t want this to happen in my personal life. Therefore, unless I am sure we are in the same ideological camp, I am careful not to talk about anything that could remotely have one liberal and another conservative interpretation. That rules out a wide swath of conversation topics and makes talking to strangers even more difficult for me. I’m not good at small talk under the best of circumstances.

logo-politics1It also presents the problem of how to feel out someone’s political views without bringing up a potentially controversial topic? I had a whole conversation with someone at a party about how much we love following the news. At no point did we reveal which version of the news we espoused. When she said that her husband only watched one channel all day, I surmised it was Fox News and that they were conservative/Republicans. I later had my ‘guess’ confirmed by a mutual friend. I am so relieved that we had not marred our pleasant conversation with the revelation that we were ideological adversaries. We would not have agreed on the statistical reality about almost anything.

This is why even well-meaning, open-minded people like me have become polarized. I am happy to listen to your views and may even be swayed by a good argument. But I will not be open to the idea that the earth is really flat, that evolution isn’t a scientifically proven process or that man-made climate change is not a real ‘thing’. In today’s world, I guess that makes me a closed-minded ideologue. So be it. My political bent nowadays is towards any view that is based on facts that can actually be proven to be true. And I want to see the evidence and decide for myself if your ‘evidence’ actually proves your ‘facts.’