The Weiner Component #149 Part 2: The 2016 Presidential Election: The Republican Candidates

Official photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Official photo of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All one has to do to become a candidate for any particular political office in the United States is to announce his/her intention of running for that particular office and then go through a process of becoming a registered candidate.  In the case of an office, like the presidency of the U.S., the individual needs an organization operating in all fifty states and territories of the nation.  This is generally what the political parties do; but one needs to be well organized to get the process started.  A person is elected to the presidency in each of the fifty states and territories.  There are that many separate elections that will be combined into one gigantic one on November 8, 2016.  The new President will take office in the middle of January 2017.

 

Originally there were a host of Republican hopefuls for the 2016 Presidential Election.  Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was the first candidate to announce his run on March 25th 2015.  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul came next on April 7th 2015.  He had a problem in that he wanted to also run for the Senate at the same time in case he wasn’t elected President and Kentucky law does not allow that.  His problem seems to be solved now that he is no longer funning for the presidency.  He had originally wanted the state law changed. 

 

Then came Marco Rubio, officially announcing his run on April 13. Senator Rubio had been campaigning for a much longer period of time.  He has apparently missed more sessions of the Senate that any other member. In fact the Republican leadership in Florida has offered to support Ben Carson for Rubio’s senatorial seat in November.

 

Both neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businesswoman Carley Fiorina made their announcement on May 4, 2015.  Then came Mike Huckabee former preacher, former governor of Arkansas, 2008 presidential candidate, and former Fox news anchor on May 5th.  The list goes on to include former Senator Rick Santorum, ex New York Governor George Pataki, Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, former Governor Rick Perry from Texas,

 

Next came Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and younger brother of former President George W. Bush, and son of former President George H. W. Bush, who apparently saw himself as the heir to the presidency.  I imagine he felt it was his turn.  Before formally announcing his run for the presidency on June 15th Jeb Bush raised over $100 million dollars that went to his pact for his campaign.  He apparently spent over $70 million on his failed campaign before withdrawing in February of 2016.

 

On June 16, real estate and casino developer and reality TV host Donald J. Trump dramatically announced that he was running for the presidency.  Trump began his campaign with an anti-Hispanic statement against Mexicans and has continued an essentially negative campaign successfully feeding on the prejudices and fears of most of his blue collar supporters.  He glories in being incorrect in what he says.  He has the support of White Power groups like the K.K.K. and a Southern pastor who preaches that Adolph Hitler was sent by God to punish the Jews for not converting to Christianity, among others.

 

Next on June 24th came Bobby Jindal, the outgoing governor of Louisiana.  He was followed by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie on June 30th.  Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, announced his candidacy on July 13th.  Ohio governor John Kasich joined the race on July 21st.  And former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore came in in on July 30th.

 

That makes seventeen candidates who were all vying to become the Republican candidate in the Presidential Election of 2016.  By the end of February 2016 the number had dropped to five, twelve had withdrawn.  As of March first, when Supper Tuesday occurred, there were only five Republican candidates still running.   After Friday, March 4th Ben Carson, who gained no delegates on March 1st officially dropped out.

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March First was Super Tuesday.  Twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado caucuses, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Alaska and Wyoming, caucuses)  In addition American Samoa will hold a Democratic caucus.  All these states will hold primary elections or caucuses.  The difference between a caucus and a primary election is that instead of a person casting a ballot for a member of his/her party the people from each party meet in various places and support their candidates in groups which are then individually counted.  Also a primary election is paid for by the states holding it, while a caucus is paid for by the political party holding the caudus.

 

For the Republicans 1,237 Representative elected delegates are needed to become the Party’s candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election.  About ½ of that was available on Super Tuesday.  The people elected are bound to cast their initial vote at the Nominating Convention in November. About 600 delegates would be elected on March 1st.  The Democrats would be electing 880 delegates, about 1/3d needed to win their nomination

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Of the Republican candidates, Donald Trump is the most successful, representing mostly the silent majority of Republicans who have gotten the least from their party.  This majority seems to be the blue collars high school graduates and those with even less education.  Their rugged individualism and generally love of weapons never allowed them to vote Democratic but, outside of protection for gun ownership, they have never gotten anything from their Republican politicians.  To them Trump represents their political incorrectness and is a voice expressing their prejudices and dissatisfaction with their political party and the overall society.

 

Donald Trump was born in 1946.  He is 69 years old and has five children by three wives.  He has stated numerous times that his campaign is self-funded so he cannot be bought or influenced like the other candidates who are mainly funded by large donners.

 

Trump claims to be really rich; he says he has over ten billion dollars.  He does have a tendency to exaggerate in many areas.  This figure is disputed by various financial experts who have presumably figured out his finances; they place him in a much lower billionaire class.  He’s been involved in at least three bankruptcies.  It is assumed that true information will come out when he releases one or more years’ worth of income tax information.  The probability is that he has paid little or no taxes and that he doesn’t want this information released.

 

It is an interesting note of irony that a billionaire most represents the poorer Republicans, that they trust him with their futures.  When Donald Trump entered this political race on June 16th most Republicans and others took it as a joke.  It was something he would do for attention.  As he came out initially well ahead of all the other competing Republicans he was generally treated as a phenomena that would eventually wear out and pass from public attention.  Toward the end of February his support by the Republicans continued to increase and it became fashionable for many people to jump on the “band wagon.”   Today it looks like Donald Trump might well become the Republican Candidate for the November 8th Presidential Election.  Presumably the Republican turnout on Supper Tuesday and some earlier primaries has increased perceptibly while the Democratic turnout has decreased.  Trump claims that it is so because he is running and has brought out the vote. 

 

Trump could be correct in his belief that he is bring out more or new voters.  More Republicans have come out to vote for him or many Democrats and Independents have reregistered Republican for the primary Elections and Caucuses in order to vote for him.  After all he does reflect the feelings and prejudices of many in the lower classes.  And he is politically incorrect and can be expected to say almost anything.

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Trump’s Political Party affiliations have been Democrat, Independent, declined to state, and Republican.  He has changed his position on wealth, abortion rights, and healthcare over the years.  Recently he has changed his mind on using torture on prisoners; he found it was illegal.  His anti-immigration remarks have cost him ruminative relations with NBC, Macy and others, including the areas of the world he has ranted against.  His political positions are prolife; he is against late term abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the health of the mother is concerned. 

 

He supports the 2nd Amendment.  In fact he holds a New York concealed weapon gun permit.  But he supports background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the medically unstable.

 

He opposes recreational marijuana but supports its medical use.  He believes in traditional marriage (apparently to the point of being married three times).  He wants to replace Obamacare with a Free Market System and competition to lower costs.  He has in the past also supported a single payer system for universal medical care.

 

Donald Trump believes veteran medical facilities need to be upgraded and there should be increased aid for female veterans.  He wants local control for primary and secondary schools.  He is against common core.  (Basically this is state standards for English and Math which 40 states have adopted.  It is not a Federal program and if he were to become President he would have no say in the matter.)

 

He believes in free trade between nations but he will tax American companies that have moved overseas when they bring their goods back to the United States to be sold.  Apparently, in this fashion, he will force them to bring their manufacturing back to the United States.

 

He wants to reduce corporate taxes to 15% and not raise the minimum wage. (The Federal Minimum Wage was last set in 2009, seven years ago, at $7.25 per hour.  (It’s a good trick if a person or family can live on that.)  Living costs have gone up considerably since 2009.  The minimum wage has purchased less every year since it was established.

 

On immigration he wants to increase border security, build a thousand mile wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and send all illegal aliens in the U.S. back to Mexico; to him they all seem to be Hispanics.  And he also wants to temporarily close our borders to all Muslims, apparently until the terrorist situation is solved and he wants all Muslims in the U.S. all the millions of them, put under surveillance.

 

Environmentally he believes the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) hampers economic growth and jobs.  He supports fracking (which I understand helps bring about earthquakes), and has criticized wind power as being inconsistent, it’s not always windy.  He considers global warming a hoax.

 

He wants to replace Obamacare with a Free Market System.  He believes competition will lower costs.  However On Wednesday, March 2nd he released some details about his health plans.  Obamacare will be fully repealed; this includes the mandate for universal coverage.  People will be able to buy their own health insurance which is to be sold across state lines.  Presumably this competition will lower costs.  People will be able to make tax-free contributions to a Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  HSAs are paired with a high deductible health insurance plan and are intended to make people more conscious of how they spend health dollars and reduce costs.  The problem here is that many people do not have the health care dollars; they will lose the coverage they currently have with Obamacare.

 

Trump proposes to turn the Medicaid program into block grants to the states.  This creates a situation where the money may be delegated for medical use but it could be used for other purposes. This situation has occurred before with block grants.  In addition for prescriptions Trump’s plan calls for allowing drugs to be imported from overseas to increase competition and drive down prices.

 

Two notes of irony or irony here: one, is that people would be buying the same drugs that many drug companies have sold overseas at lower prices than they sell them for in the United States and two, Hillary Clinton has the same plan.  He has also called for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

 

Trump has also pointed out the need for mental health reform.  He says that his overall principles are to “broaden healthcare access, make health care more affordable and improve the quality of care available to all Americans.”  No one living on a minimum wage or close to it will be able to afford health care no matter how inexpensive it is.

 

 It seems to me that we had a Free Market system before Affordable Health Care came into existence in 2010 and some of the problems with it were that price rises were out of control, insurance companies would not insure anyone with a prior medical condition, and children were dropped from family policies at 18 years of age, generally when they were still in high school.  That was the so-called Free Market. 

 

In addition one of the problems that was never solved was the cost of medications, they continually rose and are still rising.  In fact medicines are less expensive outside the U.S. because in this country Congress has fixed prices so the government cannot negotiate with Drug companies.  It seems that the pharmaceutical corporations are some of the main contributors to political parties and laws have been passed protecting their pricing. 

 

It should also be noted that Trump has in the past supported a single payer system of medical coverage for everyone such as exists in Europe, Israel, parts of Asia, and elsewhere.  Here the Central Government insures everyone and it is paid for in taxes. 

 

In foreign policy he has both favored and opposed sending U.S. troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS and has promised that he’ll get rid of terrorists quickly when he becomes President.  He has stated that they should be scared if he becomes President.

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Trump verbally attacks journalists, politicians, competing candidates, just about anyone who he feels bothers him.  He has thought about running for President since 1988.  He even thought about running for Governor of New York in 2006 and 2014.

 

The debate on Thursday, February 23 was an overall verbal attack, with two people constantly speaking at the same time.  It was Cruz and Rubio continually going after Trump and Trump responding while they were still speaking.  At one point John Kasich stated in exasperation that if they kept on in this fashion the Democrats would win.  Ben Carson, at one point, asked the others to attack him so he could respond.  A liberal news commentator, Chris Matthews, dubbed the debate as a meeting of the three stodges.  

 

Donald Trump has a long history of dealing in real estate starting with entering his father’s business and taking over the company with his father’s demise.  He began as a real estate entrepreneur, has been a TV personality with his own reality show, “The Apprentice,” has done bits in several films.  He has built hotels and casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.  He has also licensed out his name for numerous products and he had set up an unlicensed school originally called Trump University, which extorted millions of dollars from its unsuspecting students.

 

He is currently Chairman and President of the Trump Organization.  He employs some of his children as executives and has stated that if elected they will run the company.

 

His anti-immigration remarks have cost him remunerative relations with NBC.  His reality show “the apprentice,” which had been running for a number of years, paid him over a million dollars an episode.  Macy and other stores have stopped selling products with his name on them.  Great Britain’s Parliament held a debate about giving Trump a visa to enter the country.  Others have also denounced him for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim remarks.  He has been denounced by leading Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan.

 

In 2011 Trump questioned President Obama’s U.S. citizenship and presumably sent an investigator to Hawaii.  He made some exaggerated claims but never presented any evidence.  He did claim that he got President Obama to release the long form of his birth certificate at that time.

 

Donald Trump is either amoral or immoral.  From his comments about his bankruptcies and the people who were never paid money owed to them he has given the impression that legal bankruptcy is a method of getting out of debt without paying your bills. 

 

What should be noted about Trump is that he seems to know what he will do as President but he has given no information as to how he will do any of this.  It is also worth noting that most of what he says he will do requires laws being passed by Congress.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, has criticized some of what he has said.  The Senate would be no friendlier than the House in attempting to pass laws he would require.

 

 His argument about building a thousand mile wall between Mexico and the U.S. is complete nonsense.  Trump claims that there is a trade imbalance in goods and services between Mexico and the U.S.; we buy more goods and services than we sell them.  He would just deduct the money from what we owe Mexico.  The Mexican President has strongly stated that Mexico will pay nothing for a wall.

 

If there is an imbalance of trade between the countries it is between individuals and companies who are buying or selling to one another.  It is not between two governments.  Is Trump going to have a law passed to tax companies and individuals buying and selling between the two countries?  If he can somehow manage that then what happens to his principle of free trade between sovereign nations?

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Perhaps the worst case scenario of what he has done has been and is still his involvement with the now defunct unlicensed Trump University which has nothing to do with teaching but was a way to obtain money from essentially desperate people.  Trump invested about two million dollars in setting up this project.  That was the extent of his involvement.  Students paid about $35,000 for a group of three elite seminars to learn Trump’s real estate secrets.  They were told that they would make their money back in 60 days.  From the numerous people that are suing him it would seem that they didn’t earn their money back.

 

Trump University was founded in 2004 and was based in the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.  It was an unlicensed school that met in assorted places, usually rented hotel rooms, across the United States and gave seminars.

 

The seminars were given by motivational speakers.  They started with a free 90 minute presentation.  People barrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University.  About 7,000 people bought the sales pitch across the country.  Trump had little to do with the school.  Each seminar had a life-sized cardboard cutout of Trump that could be used for student pictures.  The students were initially offered three seminars for $1,495; then they were offered three elite seminars for up to $35,000.  They were verbally guaranteed they could earn the money back in two months. 

 

By 2005 the New York Department of Education warned Trump University that it was operating an unlicensed institution in violation of state law.  In 2010 the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneur.  The marketing plan remained the same: the free pitch, the three day $1,495 seminar, and the Elite Membership & Apprenticeship for up to $35,000.  The teachers were paid according to how many students they pulled in.  People are still paying off this debt, the money they borrowed to go to Trump University.

 

There are numerous lawsuits going on now.  New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman accused Trump University of running a “bait and switch” operation.  Their ad published 170 times stated that students would “learn from Mr. Trump’s handpicked instructors and would have access to Trump’s real estate secrets. 

 

Trump had little to do with picking instructors or developing curriculum for the seminars.  This was done by people with motivational speaking backgrounds.  Compensation was based upon how many people were motivated to sign up for additional seminars.

 

On March 2nd, Super Tuesday, the New York Court ruled that “Trump and his sham For-Profit College defrauded more than 5,000 consumers out of millions of dollars.”  The Trump Organization’s general council said the ruling was would be appealed and called the case “politically motivated,” Trump has obliquely stated that it will take three years for the appeal process.

 

In California there is a class action suit against the now defunct Trump University.  In addition there are numerous other suits throughout the nation.  Trump apparently employs a small army of attorneys and they all seem to be experts at delay.  Trump’s comment, true or otherwise, has been that he’s won most of the cases that have come up for trial and that he could easily pay all these people off but not paying them is a matter of principle. 

 

It strikes me that this is the type of case that would be featured on the TV series, American Greed.  It would seem that this scam would end up with the perpetrator being sent to jail for criminal activity.  Could this happen in Trump’s case or is he too rich and powerful.  Instead he is running for the presidency of the United States.

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It should also be noted that among many Republicans Ted Cruz is considered a liar and a dirty trickster.  During one primary his employees issued false information that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race and that his voters should vote for Cruz.  After another primary he fired one of his employees for a similar type action.  Even if he were innocent he created the milieu that allows this type of behavior.

 

Marko Rubio is the Tea Party candidate from Florida.  He is also a former protégé of Jed Bush.  Rubio is known for his very low attendance at the Senate and for his constant campaigning for the presidency.  We have a case here of someone who if he were appointed or hired for the job would have been fired for extended absenteeism.  It seems his constituents in Florida are thinking of running Ben Carson for the Senate in his place in 2016.

 

John Kasich may have won one of the Republican races on Supper Tuesday.  He is the only Republican who has appeared as a legitimate Presidential Candidate.  But Kasich has won very few delegates.

 

For Super Tuesday Ben Carson gained no delegates.  For general purposed he wasn’t even effectively in the race.

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Super Tuesday. As we’ve seen, refers to one or more Tuesdays early in a U.S. presidential primary season when a number of states hold primaries or caucuses on the same day.  More delegates can be won on that day than on any other during the primary season which can precede an election by a year or more.  In 2016 it was held on March 1st

 

The participating states were Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.  Colorado, Minnesota, Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming held caucuses.  The territory of American Samoa held a Democratic caucus.

 

The Republican candidates could win about half of the 1,237 delegates needed to become the candidate.  What happened is that Donald Trump received the most delegates, then came Cruz, followed by Rubio and Kasich.  The two Democrats were after 880 delegates, about 1/3d needed to win.  Texas has more delegates than any other state, 155 for Republicans and 252 for Democrats; Cruz and Clinton got those.

 

For the Republicans Donald Trump won seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia with 243 delegates.  Ted Cruz won Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas, with a total of 220 delegates.  Marco Rubio won one state, Minnesota.  John Kasich did not win any states but did win 21 delegates and Ben Carson did not win any states or delegates.  The results from North Dakota and Wyoming are yet to be determined.

 

Among the Democrats Hillary Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, seven states.  She received 486 delegates.  Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Vermont, four states.  He received 321 delegates.

 

The Republican candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination while the Democrats need 2,383.  Among the Republicans Donald Trump has 325 delegates from the first 15 primaries in which he has participated.  Ted Cruz has 257 and Marco Rubio has 117.  John Kasich has only 21.

 

For the Democrats Hillary Clinton so far has 1065 delegates; from the eleven states she had carried through Super Tuesday, March 1st.  She needs 2383 to win the nomination.  Bernie Sanders has 434 delegates from the first five states he has won.

 

The race with the primaries and caucuses will continue until the actual Party Nominating Conventions.  After Tuesday, March 15th half the states will have held their primaries.  The Democrats have chosen Philadelphia for their Convention during the week of July 25th, immediately after the Republican event.

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component #135 – The Republicans & the First Primary Debate

English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States Español: Escudo del Presidente de los Estados Unidos Македонски: Печат на Претседателот на Соединетите Американски Држави. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently the first Primary Republican Debate of the ten leading Republican potential candidates in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election ended.

 

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

It was supposed to consist of the ten most popular Republican candidates out of the 17 attempting to run for the presidency.  The top ten were chosen based upon the last five national poles.  But the fifth pole tied the percentage of the 10th and 11th candidates, making the number chosen eleven.  Consequently Fox News, who ran the debate, skipped the 5th pole and used a 6th pole that did not have a tie in the last place and ended up with ten potential candidates.

 

Fox News, the official new arm of the Republican Party, devised the format of the debate that was not really a debate.  It consisted of questions addressed to specifically candidates.  And these questions were not always friendly, particularly many of those aimed at Donald Trump who was the most popular of all the candidates.

 

Probably because of intense outside pressure, Fox held a separate session for the losing or less popular seven candidates earlier in the day.  They treated them obliquely with contempt, using a large empty stadium and calling them by their first names as the Fox commentators asked them questions.  It was going along with popular pressure in a put-down fashion.

 

It should also be noted that Fox News sold the candidates a lot of advertising space for the candidates to make themselves popular among national Republicans.  Because Republicans watch Fox News nationally this was the only way the candidates could sell themselves to the general Republican public.  Fox devised the method and certainly profited from it.  Interestingly the one exception here was Donald Trump.  He apparently was known to everybody and needed no additional publicity.

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The main event in the evening, which was probably watched by more people than any other broadcast in the history of television was hardly a debate.  It featured three of Fox’s leading commentators asking specific questions and quickly moving on to another participant with another question.  All the speakers seemed well prepared and their answers, even though generally dealing with the topic of the question, did not really answer it.  There was only one  instance of a follow-up question and the answer given still did not reply to that specific question.

 

The leading Republican candidate for the presidency in terms of being the most popular among Republicans was Donald Trump.  I suspect the overall assumption among the millions of TV watchers was that he would blow his cool at some point and verbally erupt at someone or something.    The closest he came to that was with one of the Fox commentators, Megan Kelly, when she asked him about some of the negative statements he has made about woman.

 

The candidates attempted to define themselves and denounce President Obama and the Democratic Party.  President Obama was denounced as a week and failed president who essentially did everything wrong and bowed to the Iranians in giving them everything they wanted in order to become the leader of terrorism around the world, giving Iran the money to finance this process and allowing them to develop in order to become an atomic bomb nation.  And all these positive statements were made, I got the impression, without even bothering to read a draft of the 100 plus page agreement.  Most of these candidates practically or directly guaranteed we would go to war with Iran if one of them was elected.

 

It seemed as though the forthcoming election was all about them, the individual Republican candidates, and not about the disaster they could bring about if elected.  Most practically stated that they would straighten out all the world’s problems.  Their implied method was that they would do this by the use of military force if necessary.  They seemed to also not know that the United States is one of six nations that negotiated the treaty with Iran over a two year period, that if the U.S. rejects the agreement it will likely be the only one of the six nations on the United Nations Security Council to do so.

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Basically what was heard in the debate was demagoguery.  They, the Republicans, have taken no responsibility for any of their past actions and blame everything on President Obama and the Democrats.  My response to all this is: Get real!

 

Mostly by implication and sometimes directly, the ten hopeful Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential Race blamed President Obama for virtually everything wrong in the society today..  It was as though the Republicans have done nothing to bring about the problems or conditions that exist today.  They would do away with Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) and the Dodd-Frank banking reforms that came about after the 2008 economic crash, or anything else.  I suspect if the weather was inclement it would have been Obama’s fault.

 

The Dodd-Frank Banking Reform Law was a washed down version (Washed down because of intense bank lobbying.) of what a finance committee, headed by Paul Volker, a former Federal Reserve Chairman, had proposed in order to do away with the causes that had brought about the economic disaster of 2008 which could have sent the nation into a depression far deeper than the Great Depression of 1929.  Today many banking executives feel economically inhibited by some of the few things they can no longer legally do and would like a totally free hand again.

 

While most of the participants in the so-called debate stated that they would do away with the Affordable Health Car Law, which incidentally has greatly reduced the rate of medical costs by slowing down the rate of medical cost increases, only one of them, Donald Trump, seemed to have a plan for its replacement.  He would, he said, make the insurance companies for its plan members function on a national instead of state level and for those who could not afford to buy insurance he implied obliquely that he would have the government provide a single payer plan for them.  Would he be able to do this if elected?  An interesting question.  Especially if Congress retained its Republican majorities in both Houses.

 

Of the faults of Obama as a failed president, one by implication was the National Debt.  After all aren’t the Republicans the party that espouses a balanced budget?

 

Since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency, the Republicans controlled the presidency for 20 years and the Democrats for 15.  The country had Reagan for 8 years, Daddy Bush for 4 years, and Bush Jr. for 8 years.  The two Democratic presidents were Clinton and Obama, each for 8 years.

 

Reagan started with a National Debt of $1 trillion and raised it to $2.8 trillion, almost tripling it.  Ever since President John F. Kennedy had lowered taxes during his administration and the government had then collected far more in revenue than it had before the decrease in taxes other presidents had unsuccessfully attempted to do the same thing.  Reagan cut taxes, especially for the well-to-do and upped government spending, particularly military spending.  He believed, wrongly, that the Soviet Union was far ahead of us militarily and that we had to catch up and get ahead.  He introduced the concept of “star wars” and other science fiction type concepts which our scientists were supposed to develop.

 

What President Reagan inadvertently did was to force the U.S.S.R. to militarily keep up with the United States and that brought them to the edge of bankruptcy and to the fall of the Soviet Union.

 

But what Reagan did for the United States was to almost triple the National Debt to $2.8 trillion.   George H.W. Bush with his inept diplomacy actually encouraged Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait and then he organized operation Desert Storm to liberate them.  This and his other actions cost the U.S. Government an additional $1.55 trillion.  Bush Jr. by engaging in two military operations (wars), one totally unnecessary, added another $6.1 trillion to the National Debt bringing it to $11.8 trillion.  And at the same time President George W. Bush also lowered taxes, particularly for the rich.  In fact today anyone earning over $400,000 a year pays no taxes on any amount over $400,000.  Welfare for the very well-to-do.

 

What has happened is that taxes for the upper 1% has been gradually cut in half or more and the ever increasing deficit has been used to force cuts in services for the middle class and the poor while the middle class with gradual inflation has found its income tax bill increasing.  Currently the Sequester, a law that automatically makes cuts across the board yearly unless Congress passes a bill stopping a part of it like certain cuts to the military for that year is enacted, is slowly decreasing funding for most programs including the military that is now at the lowest point of readiness than it has been for many years.  So far these cuts, which the Republicans insist on having, have been largely invisible.  At some time, probably around the end of this current year or at the most next year, many of them will become blatantly visible and the blame game will begin between the two political parties, with the Republicans, who have brought it about, screaming the loudest.

 

Under President Bill Clinton the deficit actually decreased slightly.  President Barak Obama inherited a heavy recession from Bush Jr. and had to spend quite a bit to avert a greater economic decline than the Great Depression. Among other things he bailed out the banks, who by their irresponsible behavior had brought this negative economic condition about, and the auto industry.  And, with phenomenal negative interference from 2011 on by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, President Obama has brought the economy back from the Republican induced total disaster.  In this process he has increased the deficit but he may end his last year in office with a surplus paying down a small percentage of the Republican induced debt.

 

Taken together the three Republican presidents over their 20 year tenure raised the National Debt 13.5 trillion dollars and left the nation on the edge of a greater depression than that of 1929 which persisted for over ten years.  Electing a Republican president will probably mean another war in the Middle East with Iran.  That will make three separate wars being fought there and the national deficit will shoot up even more.

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In the various questions and answers discussed during the debate, with one exception, the economy was not mentioned.  Jed Bush stated that he can achieve 4% economic growth over his 8 year tenure as President and create 19 million new jobs.  He would do this by simplifying the tax code, repealing the 2010 Health Care Law, reducing regulations on the oil and gas industries and putting people in the country illegally on the legal jobs tax rolls.  While Climate change was not mentioned Jed Bush’s proposal would worsen the conditions that bring it about.  Student loan debt and affordable college were also not mentioned.  Gun violence in the United States was also ignored.

 

In terms of the War on Women, Scott Walker was against all abortions: rape, incest, and even where birth could terminate the life of the mother.  He felt that the medical profession, in every case, could save her life.  Mike Huckabee wants a Constitutional Amendment giving the fetus full protection before the law from conception on.  Apparently the question of choice for women is nonexistent.  Marco Rubio wants no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest.  These men know absolutely what is right for all women; but they will not have the government share in the responsibility for raising or providing for any of these women or children.

 

The solution to illegal immigration was Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between Mexico and the United States and have Mexico pay for it.  Apparently he doesn’t understand that a goodly percent of illegals come from all over the world including Canada.  Technically he would need fences on all areas where the United States borders on another country as well as a careful check upon all visitors to the country and how long they are legally allowed to stay in the U.S.

 

Among the ten candidates none stood out as a dynamic leader.  If anything some of their comments tended to insult a large part of their audience.  Donald Trump kept rationalizing about the disadvantages of being “politically correct,” as if it were some sort of disease.  He justified his verbal abuse of women by naming one.

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As I’ve stated, what was most significant was what was not mentioned, global warming was one example.  Bush, if he were to become president, could do away with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).  That could create jobs because adding the additional pollution to the United States and the world would probably create a multitude of new jobs.

 

What came to my mind as I watched the performance was the phrase “Myth & Reality?”  These people were prefabricating and defining conditions that did not exist.  They were creating a situation where verbally everyone would live “live happily ever after” if one of them were elected to the presidency.  Well some people just like them had been elected to the presidency in the past and many people, both Americans and those we were fighting, died or were maimed for life and the National Debt rose like a hot-air balloon.  What we must remember is that they are pandering to the extreme right of the Republican Party in order to be chosen as the Republican candidate in the primary elections.  Whoever gets chosen will still have to defeat the Democratic candidate in the general election.  Are they purposely lying or stating nonsense?  Or do they actually believe the myths they are espousing?  That’s an interesting question.

 

In any case what is needed is reality.  If that so-called debate is the best they can do then it becomes everyone’s duty to vote against all or any of those self-important candidates, particularly if they want to see their version of changes within our society.