Maybe I am a conspiracy theorist

I’m not too much of a conspiracy theorist. Really, I can only think of one that I buy into. You can ask me about it if you want to.

I just read an article about how the Dallas Morning Star is endorsing Hillary Clinton, not just telling people not to vote for Trump.

Trump’s background is questionable at best when its comes to political leanings. He’s been an independent, a Democrat, and a Republican. For a long time I thought that his candidacy was a joke. That he was just in it for the publicity. Or something like that.

At some point it occurred to me that maybe he was actually in it to help Clinton. The DNC was happy to use its power to help her get the nomination. That’s very clear now. (Yes, I’ve heard the argument that Sanders wasn’t really a Democrat so why should they help him? That’s a whole other post.)

If the DNC was willing to do it, why not Trump too? He’s either a delusional megalomaniac hellbent on world domination or a prop for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. (Okay, there could be other things, but I’m having fun with these two.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to Hillary Clinton being POTUS. She’s brilliant, strategic, and tough. (Notice I didn’t say “she’s a woman.”) She would make an excellent Commander-in-Chief.

And maybe it’s not a bad thing to use whatever tools she has available. We all know how women don’t have the same advantages men do in the United States. Even women with money. Perhaps this is the only way. I don’t like it, but let’s face it, it’s all corrupt. Until we all start working together to bring better candidates to the market, we’re going to be slaves to the bullshit system we have now.

The end of party politics as we know it?

This 2016 election cycle has been interesting, confusing, and a little scary. What’s been most interesting to me is how the behemoths that are the Republican and Democratic parties are coming under fire.

The GOP is imploding. I have had more than a few friends tell me that if Trump is the nominee, that’s the end of their party. That’s just it. It seems that the GOP leadership has recognized that as well. For a while the focus was on Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist views regarding Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court replacement. Now the GOP is trotting out Mitt Romney (seriously?) to try to talk some sense into people. Newt Gingrich has weighed in. Discussions are being had by Republicans everywhere to find ways to ensure Trump is NOT the nominee, including rules that would enable them to take the nomination from Trump at the convention even if he’s won the required delegates.

Despite all this chatter by the party leadership, Republicans across the country are still voting for Trump in primaries and caucuses. The GOP should have known this was coming. They prepped their constituents for this with years of campaigning on fear and hatred. The real problem is that they ignored the majority of their base. People get pissed off after years of swallowing promises and ending up in no better a position than they were four or eight years ago. The results just never materialized. It says something that a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic megalomaniac has been able to capture the vote and race to the nomination.

Not surprisingly, this is also where the Democratic leadership is failing so miserably. The fact that Bernie Sanders is still in this race (regardless of what the media is claiming) demonstrates just how out of touch they are with the majority of the voters. People are desperate for change. They want to see the progress that’s been promised for years. They’re tired of losing out to corporations. They want someone who understands and represents them.

The Democratic Party isn’t imploding in the spectacular fashion that the GOP is. It’s more like the Titanic. Sanders’ popularity is them seeing the iceberg. The crash is inevitable, but they’re still pretending like something can be done, that they won’t go down. They can’t avoid that at this point, but if they act intelligently, they may be able to avoid catastrophic loss of life.

It says something that the vice-chairwoman of the DNC resigned her post to endorse Sanders. It’s been talked about for a while now how the party has been trying to derail Sanders’ campaign. It seems to me that they’re doing this out of fear. From their perspective Sanders is a wildcard. As an independent senator for the majority of his career, they don’t have an extensive amount of control over him. He’s not beholden to the same people the party is. This puts the party at risk. They’re doing what they can to save their own assess. They’ve forgotten what their jobs really are, who they’re supposed to represent. This failure will be what brings them down.

So what will happen next for the parties? Even if Trump somehow isn’t the nominee, how does the GOP recover? If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, how does she make sure that she brings in Sanders’ flock? How do the Dems move forward with candidate selection to make sure that they’re not in position of feeling like they’ve got to protect themselves from the people they’ve been elected to represent?

People are pissed off. We clearly want change. We want people who represent US, not congresspeople or presidents who have their own best interests at heart. If that’s what they’re about, they can find a company to run. We want results. We want sensible policies on healthcare, immigration, education, infrastructure. We want them to do their fucking jobs, even if it means compromising on things. We are rarely so far apart that some middle ground cannot be found.

Regardless of the outcome of the general election, it’s clear that changes need to be made by both parties. If not, the consequences will be dire for the people who have made careers out of ignoring the very people who elected them.

Super Tuesday… was it so super?

I have been watching elections with fascination since 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected. I majored in political science because I find it so interesting. But I have to tell you, I have no idea what Super Tuesday ended up meaning.

As far as the Dems are concerned, it seems like the Clinton people are treating this as a major victory. The reality is that the battle isn’t over yet. Clinton doing well in the South isn’t particularly a surprise. She’s Christian, more conservative than Sanders, and she’s from the South(ish). There are places for Sanders to make up some of the delegates. At this point in 2008, Clinton seemed to have the momentum, but we all know how that turned out. Obviously the question of the Superdelegates looms. I would be surprised if they went against the will of the people in the event that Sanders manages to overtake her in delegates.

On the Republican side… well, I just don’t know. Trump won a lot of states, but none with more than 49% and that 49% was in Massachusetts. Cruz winning Texas was no surprise. That’s his “home” state. Rubio won Minnesota, which also makes sense. Rubio isn’t as far right as either Cruz or Trump and Minnesota isn’t a super conservative state.

As a friend has pointed out, Trump has a lot of opposition. He’s average 60% opposition. So, while he’s winning, he’s not really winning. There is plenty of room for Cruz or Rubio to overtake him. But where? According to The Atlantic, Cruz expected to do a bit better in the Southern states. Cruz is calling for others to leave the race, but I’m not entirely sure why. He hasn’t proven to be a much better candidate than the rest of them.

Between now and March 15 there are 15 more primaries or caucuses. Florida and Ohio, both swing states, have their primaries on March 15. That may provide some additional insight. Many expected to have a clearer picture after yesterday, but so far, we’re staring at one big mess.

I’ve seen some friends who aren’t sure who to vote for in the primary/caucus. My advice is to pick who they want to be president, ignoring what the media has to say about who the likely nominees will be. If nothing else, the nominees will have a lot to think about as they go forward into the general election.

We are all to blame for Donald Trump

Living overseas during an election cycle is interesting. I’m detached from all the horrible ads and phone calls. I am so grateful for that. I’m still amazed that anyone buys the crap in those political ads. People should be doing research on all of the candidates and not relying on biased ads to elect our leaders. But, we’re lazy. We take the sound bites the media gives us, intentionally ignorant of the fact that news agencies aren’t often about the news anymore. Instead they’re playing for advertising, trying to get the money to keep their salaries.

And that laziness, combined with not-so-latent racism, xenophobia, and superiority complexes have gotten us to where we are today: Donald Trump as the leading candidate for the Republican party presidential nominee.

Understand what I’m saying – It is our collective fault that Trump is in the position he’s in. That millions of people are being fueled by his words. I don’t place the blame just at Republican feet. Their party is out of control in ways that were previously unthinkable. The vast majority of Republicans I know are horrified by what’s happening and seem powerless to stop it.

However, all of us are to blame. You, me. Republicans and Democrats alike. Conservatives and liberals of all stripes.

We let the politicians and media whip us into a frenzy with their fear-mongering about Islam and the Middle East. So when Donald Trump says he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States until we can sort out which ones are terrorists, people buy into the message. People weren’t doing the research they should have done about Islam or they would know that with one BILLION Muslims on the planet, if they were really hellbent on destroying America, that would have happened by now.

We’ve been led to believe that America is THE country, the place to live, and that no one does it better than we do it. But how many of us even try to understand how other countries do things? How many of us have traveled overseas to learn? While there are certainly many things to love about the United States, we have a lot of work to do. We tend to speak only English. That’s embarrassing on so many levels. Even though BILLIONS of people speak languages besides English, we don’t make it a priority to learn any of them. Homelessness is still a major problem. All the money we have and we can’t get people into jobs, into treatment if they need it, and into a stable place to live? The fact that we have so many people with inadequate medical care is astounding. You may not like socialism, but there is something to be said for making sure that we’re all living at a basic level of health. Don’t even get me started about the disparities in education between poorer and wealthier communities or the fact that so many CHILDREN and adults in the United States go hungry. None of that is okay. None of that is right.

The fact that there are textbooks and COLORING SHEETS that explicitly state that the slaves were PAID and voluntarily came to the US for a better life should tell us that Donald Trump was an inevitability. Whitewashing history, for whatever reason, has made it possible for millions of Americans to grow up thinking that it’s acceptable to try to RE-WRITE HISTORY to make themselves feel better about the horrible things that happened to millions of people. It makes it so much easier to dismiss entire groups of people based on arbitrary characteristics. For Donald Trump it’s Muslims and Mexicans. Who is it for you?

In our rush to help preserve the idea that we’re better than anyone else, we’ve made it possible for a man who has repeatedly professed hateful ideology to become the face of the United States. We are working so hard not to be the melting pot we frequently call ourselves. You can’t be a melting pot if you’re building walls. So much of our innovation creativity, and brilliance comes from outside the US. But, there are so many people worried about immigrants taking jobs they don’t even want or taking their jobs because they’re willing to work harder that Donald Trump is the result. We’re so focused in the scramble for money that we would rather turn people away than help them try to achieve the dream we’ve been boasting about for years. It’s disturbing and disgusting.

Liberals, we should be ashamed of ourselves for letting it get to this point. Why weren’t we getting more involved? Doing the research others aren’t willing to do and showing people how wrong we’ve been? Why aren’t we in marginalized communities doing more help them? Instead of spending a few hours each week trying to make someone else’s life a little better, we’ve succumbed to the force of American individualism. As the party who claims to care more, we’ve done little to demonstrate that. We’ve been sitting around, watching the madness. And only now, when it could come to be that Trump is our president that we’re outraged.

Watching the election from overseas has been interesting. Non-Americans are horrified at what they see. And they’re laughing at us. Which is what happens when you’ve been pompous, superior asshats. We are finally getting what we deserve. And it’s our own fault.

We have to do better. We have to get informed on our own from the least biased sources possible. We need to travel and meet people from other countries, other cultures. We need make friends with someone we see as “different” so that they stop being “different” and the “other.”

At the end of the day, we’re a lot more similar than we are different. Race is a function of geography and melanin. It’s not a real thing. The major religions all lead to the same thing. Sexual orientation isn’t something we choose and fundamentally, we’re all looking for the same thing – love. Gender is fluid and our biological sex doesn’t define anything about us. We need to start respecting each other as humans and remembering that we are all deserving of dignity and respect. It is our quest for division that led us to where we are today. If we don’t want to see this happen again, we need to erase the lines that divide us and focus on what we have in common.