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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 17,141

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For the paranoid amongst us

We are in a far safer place today vis a vis the potential for election fraud than we were three days ago. The public narrative has finally shifted. It is no longer dominated by talk of Trump having the momentum heading into election day. Encouraging polling for Clinton is finally breaking through the "Trump is on a roll" mantra that had dominated media coverage ever since the FBI inserted itself into the race. Now with the "all clear" signal from the FBI dominating the final news cycle before we shift to traditional "America heads to the polls" coverage tomorrow, it is impossible to convincingly still sell a "Trump is closing strongly" message.

Any attempt to steal any election in the face of polls that show that candidate losing depends on a favorite staple of political commentary; a "late surge of voters" changing the election dynamics at the eleventh hour. But any attempt to sell a theory of a "late surge of voters to Trump" this year has been derailed by increasingly blatant reality - it's not happening. And late breaking news is breaking against Trump. Even Russia can't change that.

This all blows up any claims the FBI was protecting Hillary by not seeing criminal intent earlier

Sure conspiracy theories will go on as usual in the minds of those who cling to them, but for the clear majority of the public what happened over the last two weeks settled any lingering doubts. The earlier FBI bombshell announcement about a newly refocused investigation into Clinton, just 11 days out from Election Day, clearly was highly damaging to Clinton's bid just when Trump was on the ropes. An agency that was widely attacked for inserting itself in a partisan manner benefiting Trump, during the climatic phase of a presidential election clearly never was in her pocket - which gives the FBI's green light even more credibility.

Facing the Ugly American as the Face of America

Once it was just an unflattering cliché; the boorish self obsessed tourist or arrogant businessman, boasting of being American and at all times demanding the utmost respect, while disdaining all those around him. The Ugly America was our false face to the world, a distorted representation of what it means to be an American. Sure he actually existed, every cliché has a basis in fact, but Ugly Americans, at most, were self anointed representatives of our culture to the world. They never really spoke for our country, they never really defined the soul of our nation or the real character of our people. Within one week that all may change.

I have profound differences with Donald Trump on specific policies, on a number of important issues. That is nothing new for me. Every four years I find myself opposing central aspects of the agenda embraced by at least one of our major party candidates for president, and in some cases both. Often I feel passionately about those differences, and the final call I make isn't always a whole hearted endorsement. Whether America elects one or the other, the Democrat or the Republican (or at some point possibly a third option) presidential elections for me are a starting point for debate and political organizing, not the culmination of it for a four year cycle.

Some of the sentiments Donald Trump espouses hold some appeal for me, I'll freely admit that. When he says that the economy is rigged against ordinary Americans, I agree with him. When he says that our political system is designed to perpetuate the status quo, I agree with him. When he says that America's foreign policy has been too militaristic in the past, I agree with him there as well. The point I make is a simple one. While debating ideas, in the abstract, no one side ever has a monopoly on wisdom and truth. In that regard politics is never black and white, frequently all sides are essentially arguing for virtually identical goals. Probably that is why our Republic has endured as well as it has for as long as it has.

People of good will can disagree. When it comes to politics responsible national leaders, even those compromised in some ways by the influence of special interests, keep at least one eye focused on the fundamental common good. As long as that is true America can usually find a way forward, through any presidential term, that minimally minimizes irreparable harm while promoting at least some common ideals. At 67 years of age, I have seen the political compass gyrate wildly in my lifetime; from LBJ to Nixon, from Carter to Reagan, from Clinton to Bush. I have heard apocalyptic rhetoric used from alternating sides to describe those transitions and their likely impact on America. Hell, I've used it myself. This time, though, feels different.

It is extremely rare for a political figure of national prominence to truly be evil and this year is no exception. Everyone has their reasons, often highly self serving, for advocating what they do, as unpopular as it may be to some. That is normal to America politics. Extreme narcissism however isn't, not in a nation dedicated to government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Donald Trump is the Ugly American personified. All his life he pledged allegiance to himself, not to the United States of America. It's always been about Trump for Donald. That it is why he plasters his name bigger than life onto everything he touches. And it's why he thinks it was “smart” to avoid paying any income taxes to the nation that protects his property while he lives in luxury penthouses with servants who can't avoid paying theirs.

What type of man is even capable of joking:“And just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it for? “ Or; "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" It's the same type of man who is capable of boasting “Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, Grab 'em by the pussy."

Trump's psyche is a toxic stew of unbounded ego and an unlimited sense of entitlement. It allows him to make and actually believe statements like "I know more about ISIS than the generals do", or the even more ominous “I am the only one who can make America truly great again!” Donald Trump fundamentally fails to grasp the essence of America's greatness, the power and the dignity that rests with all of our citizens, even as he stands at the threshold of becoming the 45th President of the United States. Trump is, temperamentally, a man who gladly would be King if political circumstances would allow for that.

The first American president literally refused to be made King, though his peers all acknowledged that nothing could have prevented George Washington from ascending to that status had he sought it. Washington's inherently humble understanding of leadership established our nation on the democratic course that our Republic has followed ever since. After two terms in office he stepped aside, initiating the longstanding American tradition of a peaceful transfer of power, so unlike the norm throughout most of the world.

Already Donald Trump is threatening to undermine a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, and to seek the imprisonment of his opponent should he win it. He is man who elevated vanity into his own life calling, and who spent his time on earth thus far exploiting those less powerful than he. Crass, vulgar, arrogant, pompous, and self entitled; this is the Ugly American, and should our nation chose Trump as President, that is how we shall be represented, both at home and to the world.

Watching all the reports come in about early voting...

Seeing that surge in early ballots being cast in Democratic districts in varied states across the land, taking in the reports of women and minorities in particular turning out, looking at all those long lines of folks waiting to vote in places where Democrats tend to congregate...

It's giving me a much warmer feeling about the presence of an "enthusiasm gap".

Our Economy is Buttressed by the Stability of our Political System

The Dollar is the default international currency because of it, and the world buys our bonds and finances our debts because the U.S. is seen as the ultimate safe harbor for investments. Our 240 year tradition of a peaceful transfer of political power from one Administration to another without mobs assembling to protest electoral losses - or worse - makes the United States virtually unique in that regard. If that is ever seriously called into question our key status in the world will be shaken as a result, and an international financial scramble to move vast assets outside of our borders will ensue, as wealthy individuals, corporations, and other nation states themselves move to hedge their bets on America.

Trumps threat, and a threat is exactly what it was, to not respect the results of our upcoming national elections has already been broadcast around the world, and it is being duly noted. It is hard to get a solid grasp on the number and manner of ways in which Donald Trump threatens our national interests and those of average citizens, who will ultimately bear the cost for Trump's outsized and hollow bravado.

We all know that Donald Trump projects. He knows that he should be locked up

When Trump says that it looked like Hillary Clinton was on some kind of drug during the last debate, he is describing himself. When Trump says Bill Clinton is a sexual predator, he is describing himself. When Trump claims that Hillary Clinton sexually assaults women, or course he is describing himself. And when Donald Trump says that Hillary Clinton believes that she is entitled to special legal treatment, again he is describing himself. Trump says Hillary should be locked up now because he knows there is ample cause for himself to now be imprisoned now; either for sex crimes or for tax fraud.

I think a lot of the impetus behind Trump constantly screaming that the system is rigged against him now is a threat, that he will bring it down violently if anyone moves against him legally. When Trump claims that Hillary should be locked up already, he is laying the groundwork for civil unrest if "the system" ever tries to lay a legal hand on him after Hillary allegedly "got away" with criminal behavior for years. It would become proof that the system is out to get him ad him alone

Trump is the one seeking legal amnesty, another of his pet "projection" issues. His goal is to make it too dangerous for any prosecutors to accuse him of any crimes. When Trump says that the current Administration called off the Justice Department from prosecuting Hillary Clinton for "political reasons", he is telling the next Administration to call off the IRS from prosecuting him for a chilling political reason - Trump will incite rioting and violence if he is legally held to account for his actions. He wants a free pass and he is willing to rig the mind set of his core followers to "spontaneously" rebel if anyone threatens to lay a hand on him.

Trump chose to define this election campaign as an examination of sexually related misdeads

He was too dumb to realize that you can't be too clever by a half and actually get away with it. Trump trotted out his sex scandal attack line against Bill Clinton and his allegedly enabling wife Hillary on dozens of occasions since he announced his candidacy for President. Then, while openly attempting to slime both of them over it, he kept repeating that he was still "holding back". Trump saying that he could have "gone there" during the first Presidential debate, but that he didn't because he was trying to protect Chelsea - was "going there" - while trying to earn bonus points for being such a gentleman.

Well Donald, you finally got the campaign you were asking for. Hope you are satisfied with it. People who live in glass towers shouldn't throw stones.

No it is Not "Better for America" if Trumps Drops Out. It's an Inverted Bait and Switch

Major Party Presidential candidates need to be fully vetted in front of the American people before we are asked to vote for one. What better poof of that is there than Donald Trump himself? If the Republican Party was too lazy to exercise due diligence in selecting their nominee for President, or more likely too craven to care about his obvious lack of qualifications, then they don't suddenly get to choose a fresh new horse when their candidate self destructs less than a month out from the election. The full nominating process is a critical aspect of our democratic system. Candidates need to first go out and actively earn the support of a large segment of the electorate in order to win a major party endorsement. And in the process they are usually subject to years spent in a keen public spotlight - not mere days.

Running for president opens a person up to an extended period of intense personal scrutiny - as well it should given the awesome responsibilities of that job and the trust that must be placed in our Commander in Chief by the American people. Those seeking the presidency must participate in numerous primary debates before they stand before a podium in a presidential one. Investigative reporters, and opposition researchers working for other candidates, are given months to comb through the background of those who would be president, not weeks. It takes time for the public to get to know a potential candidate well enough to know if they are comfortable inviting them into their living room for the next four years. Picking a president isn't a form of speed dating.

A last second candidate is an unvetted candidate - period. They might just as well be packaged with a bright red "NEW!" sticker - take one home before the novelty wears off. It doesn't matter if it is a two term governor like Mike Pence. Based for the most part on a single VP debate, he looks pretty good to a lot of folks right about now - compared to Donald Trump. But if you ask the citizens in his red home state of Indiana, where his novelty has worn off, his job approval rating is underwater. And what brought Pence to national prominence now? The approval of one man only; who just happens to be Donald Trump. History is littered with the political corpses of supposedly formidable Governors who quickly wilted on the national stage. Rick Perry anyone? Scott Walker? But even with those two men it took more than 30 days for their deficiencies to become fully apparent.

If America was an official one party state then it might be best for Trump to drop out now- if the only alternative was him becoming president. But Donald Trump will not win the election in November as the Republican candidate, America has other better choices. The Republican Party made their bed with Donald Trump, and now it's bed time for them. It is better for democracy that Trump gets soundly rejected in four weeks, than it would be to set a dangerous precedent by slipping in a last second ringer for Trump after it became obvious he was destined for defeat.

Hey Kelly, about your write in vote...

Have you forgotten that Mike Pence didn't win anything, not a single Republican primary, not a single Republican primary vote it seems.

The only thing Pence won was Donald Trump's latest beauty pageant. Pence is the guy who promised to love honor and obey Trump until an election does them part. Pence is the guy who defended Trump throughout his one and only national starring TV role during that VP debate. Pence is the guy who signed on to put lipstick on that pig.

And for that you are making him your next choice for president?

When the Republican Party backed a Democrat to stop their leading candidate

Republicans today can learn a lesson from the 1990 Louisiana race for U.S. Senator. This is from Wikipedia (but the bolding is mine)

"This election was viewed at the onset as potentially competitive, as Senator Johnston was viewed as vulnerable in light of Louisiana's economic troubles at the time and Senator Johnston's voting record viewed by Republicans as too liberal. The Republican Party leadership endorsed the (primary) candidacy of State Senator Ben Bagert...

...(David) Duke attracted national attention to the race with his involvement with white supremacist groups and his appeals to white resentment over affirmative-action programs. With Bagert failing to gain traction, the National Republican Senatorial Committee tried to recruit former Governor David Treen to jump into the race. When Treen passed, the effort turned from supporting Bagert to stopping Duke.

As the election drew near, polls showed Johnston firmly in first place, with Duke in second place and Bagert trailing far behind at third. National Republicans grew fearful that Bagert's candidacy would only serve to force a runoff and that a potential runoff election with Duke being the de facto Republican nominee would hurt the national brand. On October 4, eight Republican Senators endorsed Senator Johnston, with Senator John Danforth saying at the press conference that "all of us would be embarrassed and mortified to have to serve in the United States Senate with David Duke masquerading as a Republican." Bagert dropped out of the race the next day, announcing that "it became more and more apparent, that instead of forcing a runoff between myself and Bennett Johnston, I might very well be forcing a runoff between somebody else and Bennett Johnston." He (Bagert) announced he would "reluctantly" vote for Johnston. Bagert's name remained on the ballot, but under state law his votes could not be counted as part of the official tally. After Bagert dropped out, HUD Secretary Jack Kemp endorsed Johnston, saying "there's no place in the Republican Party for someone who has practiced and practices racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism."

Today's national Republican Party faces a similar moment of truth. Will they stand behind a candidate who boasts about assaulting women, or back the only plausible candidate - Hillary Clinton, who stands between Trump and the Presidency? I'm expecting an epic fail from them on this.
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