The candidates for the 2016 Presidential Elections have been chosen. The National Party Conventions are over; the balloons have all been dropped and the candidates are officially named.
The Republicans met in the second week of July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio; the Democrats convened in the third week of that month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly the Republicans chose Donald J. Trump and the Democrats picked Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Donald Trump and the Republicans tended at their Convention to present a dark picture of the United States being taken advantage of by both its allies and its enemies. The Convention lacked major politicians like the two living former presidents, the Bushes, both father and son, or other political figures. Minor TV reality performers and some actors made presentations to the Convention. Trump seemed to be stage-managing on all four nights. The House Speaker, Paul Ryan, and the majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, both gave conditional support to Donald Trump, stating essentially that given the choice, Trump was better than Hillary Clinton, who the Convention strongly verbally attacked from the first day on. In fact one of the main themes at the Convention was denouncing Hillary Clinton and voicing a need to put her into jail or even executing her.
As the last speaker, on the first night, Trump had his wife, Melania, make a presentation. She, in her speech, plagiarized statements that Michelle Obama had made in 2008. It seemed that two professional speech writers had written a speech for Melania but she was uncomfortable with it and decided to write her own with the help of a friend who had helped Trump write one of his books. The woman researched prior speeches for her and Melania produced her own presentation which no one saw beforehand. She gave the speech and the plagiarism was almost immediately discovered and discussed on all the TV networks that covered the Convention. In fact they played Melania saying that part of her speech on half the screen and Michelle Obama initially saying those words on the other half of the screen.
Melania did not reappear until the fourth night at the Convention. The woman, who had helped her offered to resign. Trump told her to forget it. He initially denied that there had been any plagiarism. It also helped to set a grim note to the overall Convention.
Still the four days which were supposed to set Trump up as the greatest individual possible as the next president but instead the Convention set up a grim tone about America as a country that had lost its prominence in the world, currently being taken advantage of by both its friends and enemies and run by a failed president. It was a dark and dismal version, low on facts and rich in generalities. Trump would be the savior of the United States. He and he alone could save the country from where it presently was.
He strongly made the point that if Hillary Clinton were elected she would continue the “failed” policies of Barack Obama.
I found it interesting that the presidency of George W. Bush was never mentioned. It was as though he never existed. Presumably the country went from the time of William Jefferson Clinton to that of Barack Obama and nothing that had happened in those 16 years was positive, had helped the people in the United States in any way.
In 2009, when Barack Obama became President of the United States, he inherited from former President George W. Bush an economic calamity later called the Great Recession. It was the complete collapse of the Housing Industry in the United States, which was at the point of taking down virtually all the major banking houses in the U.S. and Europe. Had it occurred the industrial nations would have faced a depression greater than the 1929 Great Depression. It would have totally destroyed banking in the United States and slowed the flow of money to a trickle. Unemployment would have gone well over 50% of the work force. And the probability is that we would still be there today. In fact Trump’s hotel business would, among many other businesses, have probably gone under.
The Obama Administration saved the banks by lending them billions of dollars. It also saved the American automobile industry by similar lending policies that kept them from going bankrupt. And with the Federal Reserve the Obama Administration largely solved the housing crisis by purchasing and then discarding the millions of mortgage loan pieces which the banks had sold as hedge funds.
During his first two years in office President Obama had a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress and was able to get the necessary legislation passed to do this. In addition they brought Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) into existence. After 2011 the Republicans by gerrymandering gained control of the House of Representatives and Obama was no longer able to get any legislation passed. In fact under Ted Cruz’s leadership the House of Representatives closed down the government by refusing to pass the appropriate funding bills necessary to keep it functioning. All this in attempts to force Obama to sign bills that they wanted, like doing away with Affordable Health Care or defunding Planned Parenthood. They were successful in getting some things through, like Sequestration which attempted to bring across the board spending cuts.
One of the Republican goals was to reduce government spending by shrinking the Federal Government. In a manner of speaking they were “penny wise and dollar stupid.” By reducing the size of government during a period of Great Recession they helped worsen the unemployment situation in the country. In addition to decreasing the number of Federal jobs they also cut the amounts of monies they sent to the states, thus causing the states to also cut their payrolls. Not a clever thing to do during a period of depression.
During the Republican Convention President Barack Obama was charged with not passing the necessary laws to keep the country healthy. The Republicans blamed him for what they themselves had not done.
In 2008, even before Obama took the oath of office, the Republican legislators from both Houses of Congress met in a two House caucus and all took an oath to make Barack Obama a one term president by not supporting any measure or program he put forth; and that is what they did. The Republicans placed their political aims over what was necessary for the people of the United States. They all ignored their oath of office for the next four years and beyond.
The Republicans met in their National Convention between Monday and Thursday, July 18 and 21 at the Quicken loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. While Donald J. Trump was the clear winner of the state primary elections and caucuses there was some doubt among many Republicans whether he should be their candidate for the presidency. The movement, however, failed and Donald Trump became the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States.
A number of prominent Republicans announced that they would not be attending the Convention. Among these were the former Republican presidents and many prominent Republican Congressmen, including John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and Marco Rubio, who had run against him as presumptive Presidential Candidates. Six major companies withdrew their financial support of the Convention.
The Platform Committee tended to move to the far right. They came down on LGBT, taking a strict traditional view of social issues and ignoring Supreme Court decisions. The Committee supported marriage between a man and a woman only, proposing a Constitutional amendment to bring this about. They opposed abortion in every case. They called for the appointment of only conservative judges who respected family values. They wanted federal lands turned over to states so they could be privatized. In foreign policy they were national security hawks, wanting increased military spending, a more isolationist approach, and called for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
On Monday, July 18th the Convention began with a voice vote to accept the platform with a loud protest from the anti-Trump opponents who wanted a roll call vote. Donald J. Trump was nominated and won the presidential nomination on the first ballot with 69.8% of the delegates. The Vice Presidential ballot was held immediately afterwards, choosing Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Pence won by acclamation.
Trump had earlier vowed to bring showbiz pizazz to the 2016 Convention. He stated that the 2012 one was boring. Many of his speakers were minor or has-been figures: Don King, former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin and Tom Brady, a New England Patriots quarterback and other equally unknown or dimly remembered individuals. Many prominent Republicans refused to attend the Convention. Ted Cruz addressed the Convention but did not endorse Trump. Marco Rubio finally released his 173 delegates to Trump and spoke via a short recorded video.
Some of Trump’s adult children spoke on different days telling how wonderful their father was. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke on Tuesday giving Trump a limited almost negative endorsement; saying he was better than Clinton. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader of the Senate, did the same thing. Both would later object to Trump’s criticism of the Gold Star Muslim Khan family. Gold Star families are those who have lost a parent or child in the current wars in which the U.S. is currently involved.
On Wednesday the main speaker was Mike Pence accepting the Vice Presidential candidacy. But Ted Cruz stole the spotlight by giving a rousing Republican speech which ended with him asking the Republicans to vote their consciences. He did not endorse Trump.
Also on that night Chris Christy, the governor of New Jersey, gave a speech that was a mock trial of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in which the entire Convention served as the jury and he was judge and prosecutor. Naturally they voted her guilty on every count.
I found this approach interesting because Christie may well have brought about the Bridgegate Case in his own state where traffic on the George Washington Bridge was purposely slowed to a crawl and Christie was either directly or indirectly involved. That case is still slowly winding its way through the New Jersey courts and Chris Christie could conceivably be criminally charged before it’s over.
The highpoint of the Convention was Donald Trump’s final speech where he formally accepted the Republican position of candidate for the presidency of the United States. Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka, introduced her father. Trump spoke for 75 minutes; one of the longest acceptance speeches ever given at a nominating convention. He emphasized the crisis the country was facing by attacks on the police and terrorist assaults in our cities, stating that he was the “law and order” candidate. He promised to limit U.S. participation in global crises and to renegotiate international trade deals. He continually attacked President Obama and Hillary Clinton, stating that the world had become less safe during their time in office.
Going back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “forgotten man,” a term that Trump used, he offered, in addition, to support both Bernie Sanders’ supporters and those who were “down and out” by being their voice in Washington, D.C.
The speech had tones of the technique Hitler used in Germany in the 1930s. It assumed powers for the leader that are not present in the Constitution. Donald Trump presented an image of current gloom, saying that he was the agent of positive change while Clinton would continue, what he called, Obama’s failed presidency.
With the dropping of the red, white, and blue balloons the Republican Convention ended and Trump went on to campaign for the presidency.
As a sort of addendum or footnote on Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, it should be noted that in her introduction of her father while she spoke of him bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and other commendable things he will achieve as president she was wearing (or modeling) a dress which her company produced overseas in an Asian country like Vietnam where labor costs are very low compared to the United States. I suppose one could argue that those jobs wouldn’t have to be brought back to America because they never existed there. Therefore they could stay overseas. Her company sells many millions of dollars’ worth of clothing every year.
It would seem that Donald Trump believes in projecting all his personal negative features onto his opponents. He has had well over 2,500 lawsuits and out of court settlements so far in his lifetime, going from not paying taxes to New Jersey for his Taj Mahal Casino, where the state settled for seventeen cents on the dollar, after Chris Christie became governor, to not paying overtime to his employees, to not paying his bills or fully paying off his construction contracts, to innumerable other negative treatment of people, both employees and nonemployees. The probability is that if he wasn’t rich and had a large number of lawyers working for him he could well be in jail instead of running for the presidency. While he call Clinton “Crooked Hillary” she could easily call him “Disreputable Donald” or, since he seems to be a pathological liar, she could easily dub him as “Lying Donald.”