Beyond the Cusp

October 29, 2017

America at the Tipping Point

 

The citizens of the United States are separated by a division approaching that of the period before the Civil War. There are still a good number of people who have not raced to the far extremes of the political battle but they are being shut from the conversation. Those at the fringe edges have gained in numbers during the campaigns with Bernie Sanders at one end and Donald Trump pictured as the other extreme and Hillary Clinton actually less extreme though with other difficulties she was unable to overcome. The election of Donald Trump as President simply sent more people heading for the exits from rational, polite discourse into frenzied and often irrational vindictive and vicious name-calling with nobody permitted to be in the center. The political climate became take no prisoners, you are with us or you are the enemy of all that is sacred. Discourse became poisonous with assaults thrown from both sides and reason tossed in the trash. Even the news became polarized with many of the stories making nearly unbelievable accusations and claims proved to be exactly that, unbelievable accusations and claims which were proven with time to be false, the fake news with both sides being guilty of such falsehoods and unproven claims. All of this simply served to further push the sides apart until almost none permitted to remain neutral. The only path for remaining neutral, or at least not at the fringes of reason, was to stay silent and wait for the storm to pass. And the reasonable people remained silent and waited and are waiting and the heated rhetoric simply has become more vindictive, extreme and unreasonable. The storm is not passing.

 

There is some good news hidden within this heated storm. Both political parties are falling victim to their most extreme elements pulling them further and further from the center. Many Republicans have taken up the position that President Trump is being unfairly accused of being a monster without feelings and a novice who will soon force World War III or at least a nuclear war with North Korea or anybody else he can insult and thus will defend even his most indefensible actions. On the other side, there are those who would believe anything reported or rumored act of the most insane acts with the flimsiest of evidence. If there were a report on Facebook that President Trump had murdered a Gold Star Mom for talking back to him, they would repeat it till the cows come home and refuse to believe reporting that such never occurred as a cover-up. When everything settles from such exchanges, it is only because the adversaries fell asleep at their keyboards. But that would be fine as others around the globe would pick-up the argument and keep it nice and warm for when they awaken and start right where they left off. These arguments continue day and night and even when one claim for either side is finally beaten to death and disproved, that is fine as there will be another one coming along any moment. At any given time there must be at least ten, fifty, hundred, thousand, who can count the number of news stories being touted at any given moment as the new cycles, fake and real, just continues to feed the flame wars online.

 

The radicalizing of the conversation, and thus the political populace, is drawing the parties to the extremes. There has been discussion of a litmus test for Democrats that they support Senator Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for all single-payer health care. On the other side, the Republicans are divided between Trump supporters and those who are trying to be identified as the core of the traditional party with Senator McCain as their leading spokesperson. The moderates in both parties are being left out of the political discourse and this could be the opportunity for a centrist party representing those who have been left behind, the political center. Come the next Presidential elections in 2020, the Republicans will in all probability be running President Trump for re-election. Whom the Democrats run may define the party for the ensuing four to eight years. Their choice will be between the Senator Sanders wing of the party, the Clinton wing of the party, the Obama wing of the party or the some other group unheard from at this time. In the meantime there will be the 2018 elections which could decide the Senate and, as usual, the House of Representatives. With the extremes of the current discourse, it should be a wild and wooly ride. Imagine an election on top of the current atmosphere with campaigns exaggerating the already diverging differences and you can see how everything is going to get really absurd.

 

Trump vs the World

Trump vs the World

 

Taking measure of the political playing field, the noise from the opposing end zones is grabbing all the attention such that the quiet and calm suggestions emanating from the middle of the field is completely inaudible. Things are almost comical which might make a circus a far more applicable comparison. As a three-ring circus, the spotlights would be on the far two rings while the center ring would be completely dark and not part of the show. We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of Election Day and that should prove to be interesting to say the least. There have been rumors of nation-wide protests to be launched across the United States with some calling for ever increasing protests in an effort to force President Trump from office. The people calling for these protests are from “The Resistance” and other groups even more radical who are making this sound like President Trump vs. the World. They play their hand as if they really were the true force of the world and their position was the one which was pure, holy and true. They act just as if they were on a mission from the Almighty and their charmed belief was sufficient to carry the day. To say their grip on reality might be a tad less firm than they believe would be an understatement. The problem is the Trump all the way come heck or high water group is any more centered would be just as insane. The difference is those supporting President Trump will not be demonstrating come the anniversary of Election Day, they will be home cheering on the police and, if things escalate, the National Guard troops. Does anybody honestly believe that between now and a week from now that the discourse will have subsided? Where that would be desirable, it is highly unlikely and, if the past is any indicator, things will start peaking and heating up even further this week and next. If there are national protests on November 8, we can hope against hope that they will be non-violent. Unfortunately, some of the more radical groups are not calling for peaceful protests, they want rioting and as much disruption as possible as that is how they expect to bring about change. Such change usually proves to be far less desirable than what is envisioned, as that which brings about change, their change is often for the worse, and it demands that the authorities must resort to tactics which are never desirable. We can only hope that these coming days pass with as few incidents as possible and that they bring a normalcy back to the political debate. We can only hope.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 22, 2017

Did the Republicans Out Maneuver the Republicans?

 

President Trump made a miscalculation at the beginning of his term which he is unlikely to make again. He believed that as he had won the Presidency that he was now the leader of the Republican Party. He assumed that the Republican Party was very similar to the Democrat Party which he knew rather well having seen them operate for many of his years. He believed that the Republicans would be assisting him with his agenda. He now knows that his assumption was not quite valid. There were Republicans who believed that they had the right to control the Republican Party and that they were going to force President Trump to allow them to control the agenda no matter what it took. Their first stand was over repeal and replace of Obamacare where they prevented all three proposals from passing and brought President Trump to his realization that there was a sufficiently sizeable group of Republicans who did not care about the good for the American people, they cared solely about their power and control. They would sacrifice the Republican Party from holding the White House if it meant they could impose that they were the real powerful members of the Republican Party. They had everything figured out, they would hold the promises made by candidate Trump hostage until President Trump submitted to their control. Then they would dictate policy as they were meant to do. One felt particularly cheated because he should have been the Republican in the White House the past eight years but he was robbed by President Obama. Then they threatened to foil President Trump’s tax reform plans unless he allowed them to take charge and do what was the right thing to do. These rebelling Republicans were a motely group of very liberal Republicans plus a few very angry Republicans who despised that this upstart who has never held any elected office or paid his dues to the Republican Party was now the President and leader of their party, that is their party. They were not going to bow before this upstart and he was going to bow to them and they would finally dictate and make things right, make them how they had always believed they should be, finally achieve those things they knew were necessary.

 

President Trump is a different kind of politician, a business politician who believes in making deals as necessary. When he realized that because of this small band of aggravated Republicans who were bent on refusing him any victory, President Trump did the only thing which makes any business sense, he went to work with the Democrats. He offered the Democrats hope for a deal but first they had to prove they could produce the votes by giving him something he badly needed, raising the debt limit. The Democrats gave President Trump his debt ceiling increase and the will to achieve more things which they hold in common. There are Republicans who have accused and thought that President Trump would be right at home amongst the Democrats. Now there will be howls from the Republicans about President Trump joining with the Democrats and deserting the Republican Party. The discussion will be interesting between the Republicans and President Trump as each one accuses the other of betrayal. Which one honestly betrayed the other will depend upon one’s own views and probably which side your political bread is buttered. It might even just come down to which of the two main characters in this grand opera you believe is the better person, President Trump or Senator McCain. What comes next will prove to be telling and it will depend heavily on whether President Trump actually cares about working with the Republicans or now feels he has new friends he can depend upon.

 

Senator McCain versus President Trump

Senator McCain versus President Trump

 

The one thing, which we can tell President Trump, is that the Democrats suffer from an ideological block that only permits them to serve their own purposes. Then President Trump also needs to know that those renegade Republicans who appeared to hate his becoming President with so much passion that they refused to do things even that they had promised for the last seven years to their own constituents are just as untrustworthy. But it is very likely that the President already has this game figured and will work with whomever wishes to play ball with him and assist him in getting certain ideas pushed through to fruition. This may mean working with the Democrats on Tuesdays and Thursdays and working with the Republican on Mondays and Fridays and working with a combination made up from both parties who are simply interested in advancing what is best for the people of the United States on Wednesdays. In such a scenario, we predict that Wednesdays would be outstandingly productive. But the real question is what is the immediate path the President might try as neither party has a proven record or appears completely committed to his ideas and programs.

 

President Trump is going to need to prove that he really can perform the art of the deal. The question will be with whom he will be dealing. President Trump will most likely move to have the Republicans take a shot at passing his tax reform plan, something they will probably demand not be as deep a cut or that so many of the loopholes and deductions be removed. The Democrats would be even more averse to working with President Trump on any form of tax reduction unless he would agree to raising other taxes or enacting Single Payer Healthcare, otherwise known as Medicare for All. The Democrats have always been the deal makers where their half of the deal always has to be enacted first and too often their agreement to enact more later often does not come to fruition. At least that has been the record in their past, especially when it comes to amnesty for illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants) and closure of the border to prevent additional illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants). Fortunately, the President’s next major fight will be tax reduction and reform. This would be an area better suited to working with the Republican Party. That would be a good starting point for President Trump if that is his next venture, but he should also enlist any willing Democrat assistance available just in case the Republican rebellion is still in vogue, then the tax program could still have a good opportunity for passage. Wherever President Trump’s agenda plans may be, he might be required to enlist the willing on each program from both parties in order to bring his campaign promises to fruition. The immediate problems facing President Trump is finding a coalition of the willing from both parties and proceed with the work at hand. To do anything less would be disrespectful of those who elected him to accomplish those items he promised during the campaign. The voters did not care who President Trump works with, they just wanted him to work on those items he promised. They do not even care if he believes in that which he promised, they just demand that he deliver or he will have only one term. Then again, after the way President Trump has been treated, he may not desire another term which makes him even more of a problem as then he has nothing to lose by doing whatever he feels is necessary. At least things will be interesting, and that is very good for those who write about politics.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 9, 2017

So They Killed the Trump Agenda, So Now What?

 

The Trump agenda ran into a little bump in the road called the rank and file Grand Old Party Republican mainstream. There were a few special mentions without whom this all would likely never have been the problem. First and foremost, in the hit parade and getting special mention has to be an old Republican bad boy, Senator John McCain. Impressively, Senator McCain was able to set such a seemingly great example that junior Senator Jeff Flake marched right into the target zone right beside his mentor. And then there was the assistance in the House of Representatives which came from high places with many claiming that Speaker Paul Ryan has also joined the “Never Trump” Republican mainstream. We will make this one gratuitous mention of the conspiracy theory that these Republicans have been persuaded, bribed, enlisted or bought by the Clinton Foundation to serve some plan which results with Hillary Clinton in the White House and at least prevents any hope for any chance of a Trump reelection in 2020, presumably with Hillary Clinton winning against Trump in 2020 as third time’s the charm. Whatever the actual reason, a number of Republicans have chosen to work against the Trump agenda, particularly building a wall at the southern border using actual walls, fences and other higher technology detection devices in order to prevent illegals including drug runners and other criminal activities from crossing the border. They have also assisted the failure to repeal Obamacare and are currently working on the failure of tax reform and some have even indicated they will assist in a government shutdown over raising the debt ceiling as well as the Border Wall. The question for the Trump supporters is what can be done to set a fire under the recalcitrant Republicans and get the Trump agenda moving?

 

Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton, Senator Flake and Speaker Ryan

Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton,
Senator Flake and Speaker Ryan

 

The first thing that President Trump must do is not give any of the problem Republicans any additional media coverage as this is part of the reason for their actions. The advantage for President Trump is that as long as he prevents these Republicans from being able to ride their differences to any greater media acclaim, then whatever the President does can only work in his favor. One method which the President might consider would be to call all Congressionals into meetings in the White House in groups of perhaps a dozen, usually nine Representatives and three Senators for a private meeting to settle the schedule and priorities for the Fall agenda. Then as part of the meeting, the President can mention the importance of unity and the Republicans presenting a solid and full facing front in getting the agenda passed into laws and policies. Then President Donald Trump can get serious and inform them all that any amongst them who find they are unable to follow the party line and decide to work against the President that Donald Trump will take it personally. Then Donald Trump can quietly and in a serious tone inform them that this might lead him to back vocally an opposition candidate against them in the primary election and that failing running another against them in the election itself because even having a Democrat oppose your agenda is preferable to having one of your own, another Republican, oppose your and the party’s agenda. After having met with all the Republicans in Congress, then President Trump should immediately return to the straight repeal of Obamacare and the building of the Border Wall using these as test cases. The White House should insist that should either house not pass these two pieces of the President’s agenda, then the White House should have a trusted member demand that all following votes are rollcall votes so that each person’s vote will be recorded such that the White House will know who the offending Republicans preventing the passage are by name. Once the names are known, then the White House can decide what they are going to initiate as a response to these votes.

 

Plans of action at the White House should be measured and responsible and there should be no Tweets by the President or anybody in the Administration until the plans of action have been put in place and plans which will be required are already well in motion or completed. The White House should initially zero in on those Republicans who have already been causing problems and doing so vocally and should they foolishly continue challenging the President, then they should have campaigns to unseat them in the primary elections announced and the initial burst of campaign media coverage made with great fanfare and President Trump showing his full backing for the opposition candidate. The choosing of this candidate should be performed with care and an in depth background check making doubly sure that they are squeaky clean and straight as an arrow. After the initial breakout, the candidate should be periodically brought to the fore with him speaking in opposition to his coming opponent every time he makes a vote against the President and his agenda. This will serve numerous purposes. It will keep the candidate and his name in the news; it will permit the broadcast of the President and his agenda in the local and potentially national media, and it will apply additional heat to the Congress member working against the President. At this point even allowing the President to make Tweets about the recalcitrant Republicans the White House is working to unseat would not be such a bad idea and could actually be used favorably. Still, the challenge would be controlling the actions of the President, specifically having subject limitations about the Never Trump Republicans restricted from his Tweets.

 

In a perfect world, the Republicans would have the same discipline as do the Democrats. Had the Republican Party found some means of enforcing unity in votes on the most vital legislation there would not be this problem in the first case. If the Democrats had the same lack of control thus allowing a percentage of their members of Congress to support some Trump initiatives, there would not be these problems. But the situation is that the Democrat Party has complete and total discipline and nobody dares to oppose the dictates of the leadership while the Republicans have an inner core whose main desire is to frustrate President Trump, upset his agenda and support the status quo until new leadership is in the White House and the coordinated destruction of the United States can continue. These core Never Trump Republicans are mostly what have often be referred to as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) though some have only been uncovered recently as they had played their hands well voting straight party line for the entirety of the Obama White House knowing that the President would use his veto to make their votes the perfect foil and not damaging the leftward march of the country. Now there is a new President who would like to at least make some attempt at ending that drift or at least slowing it severely. This is unacceptable to these Republicans because they are just as big a group of leftists as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Now is the time for the Republican Party to begin to work to remove these members of their party in Congress who refuse to hold the party line on the most vital and important votes which are before the Congress. If the Republican Party cannot clean up their act and straighten out the disturbances in their house, then the Republican Party will soon find itself irrelevant, as some other party will fill the void they apparently are unable to fill. It is time for the adults to take charge of their party and throw the petulant children and temper tantrums out to play on a pasture somewhere on the back forty where all retired Congresscritters go. That is the challenge they face in 2018 if they wish to remain a viable alternative supported by true conservatives. If the republicans are incapable of repairing their problems, then conservatives should find an alternative which can address their beliefs as the Republicans will have proven no longer up to the challenge. Of course, working with selected Democrats is always an alternative as long as not too much is demanded to be sacrificed.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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