Category Archives: Democratic vs. Republican Presidents

Trump’s troubling ties to Russia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs Cabinet meeting in Moscow, Feb. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs Cabinet meeting in Moscow, Feb. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Several weeks ago, Donald Trump kicked off a constitutional crisis by firing the Acting U.S. Attorney General, Sally Yates, after Yates opposed Trump’s Muslim Ban. Since then, after rulings by numerous federal courts, Yates’ view has been validated. Now it turns out that another correct decision by Yates, regarding Russia, was ignored by Trump and his White House staff, with dire consequences.

Republicans obsessed with fighting Culture War

Budweiser beer, latest target of Republican Culture War

Budweiser beer, latest target of Republican Culture War

Like a dog with a bone, many Republicans just won’t let go of their battles over culture in America, from LGBT rights to guns to infusing government with their religion — often referred to by the phrase “God, Guns and Gays” — to the media we consume. Led by Donald Trump himself, these conservatives seem to be spending an awful lot of time fretting over Super Bowl commercials and other corporate policies. The results vary from ill-fated boycotts to a further tearing of the fabric of America.

Donald Trump’s Constitutional crisis

Richard Nixon leaving White House grounds by helicopter after resignation.

Richard Nixon leaving White House grounds by helicopter after resignation.

In October 1973, President Richard Nixon committed the “Saturday Night Massacre,” in which he fired the Watergate Special Prosecutor who had been appointed at the behest of Congress, which caused the U.S. Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General to resign. Nixon also abolished the office of the special prosecutor. This Constitutional crisis, which occurred nearly five years into Nixon’s presidency, ultimately led to Nixon’s impeachment and his resignation.

Last night, after just 10 days in the White House, Donald Trump had a Saturday Night Massacre of his own. Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after Yates wrote a letter to top Justice Department lawyers, directing them not to defend Trump’s Muslim immigration ban in federal court. Trump also fired Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Daniel Ragsdale, for reasons thus far unspecified. Several days earlier, Trump fired top career officers in the State Department.

The best way to protest is to vote smart

Anti-Trump protest, January 2017

Anti-Trump protest, January 2017

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

–George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905

Massive protests are planned in Washington, D.C. and around the country against tomorrow’s inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Most of the people who will be protesting are on the political left. How many of these people voted against or publicly attacked Hillary Clinton when she was the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee? How many of them didn’t vote at all? If they did those things, they helped elect Trump. Protesting now is certainly in the American tradition, but voting smarter in the first place would have greatly reduced the number of things against which to protest, or even eliminated the need to protest at all.

President Obama’s high-water mark

President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Nov. 11, 2016.

President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Nov. 11, 2016.

President Barack Obama is leaving office on a high note. Many people might not remember what it was like when Obama took office in January 2009. The Bush Recession was underway, and America was losing 779,000 jobs per month. Stores were closing. Restaurants were empty. And our treasury was also empty (in fact, trillions in debt) from Bush’s disastrous Iraq War. Obama, with no help from the Republicans, turned things around to the point where he will be turning over a country that, by most objective measures, is doing very well. Let’s take a look at some of those numbers, so that we will have a comparison for the future:

Donald Trump’s dangerous endgame

Anti-Trump protesters in Dallas, Texas

Anti-Trump protesters in Dallas, Texas

Not long ago, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had a well-organized, unifying end to their Democratic Party primary battle. Both sides acted like adults, sat down and negotiated over the party platform and the Democratic National Convention. The result was a hugely successful convention and a more unified Democratic Party, after which Clinton took the general election lead from Donald Trump. As new revelations about Trump’s sexually predatory behavior pile up, Clinton’s lead has extended to the point where nearly no one, including Republicans, says that Trump can win. The question now becomes, how will Trump lose, and what will he do afterward? Unfortunately, the signs thus far point to an ugly and dangerous electoral withdrawal from Donald Trump.

The Republican Party, lost in the wilderness

Donald Trump behind Hillary Clinton at 2nd presidential debate.

Donald Trump behind Hillary Clinton at 2nd presidential debate.

Elections are about math, and, with about 27 days to go before the 2016 elections, the math is not looking good for Republicans. Donald Trump is not only losing the presidential election, he may be taking down the GOP with him, including its majority in the U.S. Senate, and even jeopardizing the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Trump is now engaged in a bloody battle with leading Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican in America, as well as GOP stalwarts such as John McCain. Panic is setting in among some Republican office holders and donors alike, and Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are exploiting this GOP Civil War. Where did things go so wrong?

The Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump fantasy love fest

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at their first presidential debate

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at their first presidential debate

The 2016 presidential campaign has been relentlessly negative. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and their campaign teams, surrogates and supporters, have been bashing each other with zeal. That may be electoral politics as usual, but it doesn’t bode well for governing the country, or having Americans united on important issues around the world, once the election is over. Accordingly, here is an admittedly fantasy scenario of how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could come together at their next debate over one simple question, without sacrificing their principles:

Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in the debate and the expectations game

"If you could vote for anyone" Clinton vs. Trump

“If you could vote for anyone” Clinton vs. Trump

In their first presidential debate last night, expectations were set unfairly high for Hillary Clinton and unfairly low for Donald Trump. Surprisingly, however, Clinton exceeded and Trump fell short of such expectations. In terms of substance, style and presidential temperament, the contrast between the two candidates was stark, and Clinton walked away with a decisive win. 

The presidential election now turns on bigotry

"Will Trade Racists For Refugees" jacket, Santa Cruz, CA, July 2016

“Will Trade Racists For Refugees” jacket, Santa Cruz, CA, July 2016

Last Friday, Donald Trump made a stunning announcement, wrapped in a live infomercial for him and his new hotel, that he believes President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. This was a complete flip-flop for Trump, who began his presidential campaign on the “birther” conspiracy, falsely questioning President Obama’s birthplace and his birth certificate. When did Trump change his mind? Did he always believe that Obama is a full-blooded American and just lie all along to attract right wing extremists, including white supremacists? Trump didn’t stick around to answer these and other questions from the press.

Trump’s birther announcement comes at a time when America is being racked by police killings of unarmed black citizens. Yesterday, Tulsa, Oklahoma white police officer Betty Shelby was charged with first degree manslaughter for killing a black man, Terence Crutcher, who was waiting for help after his car had become disabled. In Charlotte, North Carolina, police killed Keith Lamont Scott who was waiting for his son to leave school for the day. Protesters have taken to the streets in Charlotte, as they have done in Ferguson, Missouri and many other locations after previous police killings of black Americans. It doesn’t help that, even though the Charlotte police killing of Keith Lamont Scott was caught on one or more police videos, the police are refusing to release the video.

These events and others are overshadowing the 2016 presidential election, largely turning it into a referendum on bigotry in America.