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Has Donald “Trumped” the GOP ? Vol 71

September 4, 2015

I like going to the park and watching the children run around because they don’t know I’m using blanks  !                                                                                   – Emo Phillips

The Donald. Where else do you start in discussing this election cycle, whether its in the US, Canada, or the UK ?  As Boomers, our cohort will have a large part to play in the ongoing battle for our future, so we can either decide to play along, or else take the blame if things go wrong.

Hillary and Jeb were the early locks for the nominations in the US. Both have money, name recognition, organizations, and somewhat centrist platforms. The US is a 50/50 country these days, with elections being decided by the slimmest of margins. So, “do no harm” seems like the right path forward. Canadian Prime Minister Harper ( also known as ” The Hair” in some circles )  is following this strategy for his October vote. Cameron, the UK leader, also continues to opt for a middle road, to stay in power. Now, all are looking at unexpected challenges.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the apparent rise of the Socialists. In the UK, Labour is about to elect a purebred Socialist as Leader, completely swerving away from the old New Labour of  Tony Blair. In Canada, New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair, he of the beard, is leading in many polls, a first for the left wing party federally. In the US, Democrat Bernie Sanders, a progressive liberal, is getting rave reviews and large crowds for his anti-establishment rants, forcing Hillary to the left, and giving Vice President Joe Biden an election window no-one expected.

I know its early, but let’s read the tea leaves anyway. After all, us Boomers have a lot at stake. We have investments to protect, an economy that needs to keep growing so our savings, and homes, will continue to increase in value. We have kids and parents to support, as more and more of us are doing. We see danger in the world, and need to feel secure. Lastly, and most importantly, we have and see the potential ruinous amount of debt the world has. Now is not the time for amateurs to be running things, right ?

So, perhaps the rise of progressive liberalism, which I define as socialism with a capitalist backbone, is really the ongoing battle of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, augmented by certain immigrant groups, capped off by the Mitt Romney 47%’ers ? Economic and social inequality is an issue worth protesting about, and Sanders et al seem to be giving voice to a portion of the populace that feels strongly about being victims. Good on them for standing up !

Perhaps it’s the rise of the vision thing ? Its easy to see Hillary, Jeb, and Stephen Harper as holders of the status quo, same old same old, easy as she goes, don’t rock the boat strategy. They worry about playing defence, as they have records to be attacked, and face an electorate that does not want a lot of changes. Let’s remember that we Boomers are almost ungovernable. We want everything  right away, in our colour or flavour, and don’t try to put any gas plants, prisons, transmission lines or homeless shelters anywhere near our communities !  Incrementalism is the only way to get change thru our society, and sitting politicians know this.

Along comes Bernie and the Donald, playing offence, storming the political fences with their oratory about political correctness, hitting homeruns saying things that a portion of the populace is thinking, but not hearing in their leaders. Jeb is at a disadvantage because he can only do things that will hurt his standing, while Trump is starting from ground zero, with nothing to lose.

Take Immigration, for example. The GOP contenders realize that they need a wall, but also realize deporting 11 million souls is impossible. Along comes Trump to ignore the real life facts and simplifies the issue to ” kick them all out, and we want the good ones back” ! What a nightmare socially, legally, morally, economically …  my head spins. Even Scott Walker now wants a wall with Canada ! To sum, while everyone knows the difficulty, Donald is getting mileage because he has a vision, and is plucking the thoughts and feelings out of the heads of the middle class. He is putting on a master class in solution selling.

Bernie, on the democrat side, is talking about taxing Wall Street, also connecting with a populace who wants someone to blame. Being a victim means never to have to accept blame, and Bernie has tapped into a treasure trove of resentment.

Thomas Mulcair, the NDP Opposition Leader in Canada, is a little softer in his rhetoric, as probably befits the Canadian psyche, but he still pushes a progressive agenda on spending – his main push is for cheap daycare for all. In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn, the potential Labour leader, wants to nationalize the banks.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat ?

I get that our leaders will promise us anything, guilt free because someone else will pay for it, but isn’t it time to wake up and start asking the right questions ? Let’s start with why not immigration amnesty, with the proper follow-up identification procedures. Why not tackle our crumbling infrastructure. Why not start on the race relations fix, by calling a truce on the war on drugs ? Why not climate change, or is El Nino becoming the defacto ruler of North America ?

Better said, where are our big visions, our moon shots, our eliminate polio pushes, our  equal rights and equal opportunity goals ?

So, in our big vision vacuum, we seem to be getting hairy bombastic shrill complainers, popular not for their positions, but for their adeptness at channelling middle class angst.

Next on Boomers – WTF ! , let’s talk Vision, or who do we want to be when we finally grow up ?

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From → Boomers, Politics

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