Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Election Observations

In a stunning upset predicted by almost no one, Donald Trump has become President-Elect of the United States. He won the electoral college vote 290 to 228. The popular vote totals vary slightly from site to site, with CNN reporting 59,755,284 for Hillary Clinton to 59,535,522 for Donald Trump. The difference in the popular vote is about two-tenths of one percent. It is difficult to imagine a closer vote tally out of a total of approximately 120 million votes.

Republicans held the House of Representatives 239 to 193, with 3 undecided. Republicans even held the Senate 51 to 48, with one undecided. Republicans increased their hold on governor mansions, with the new total 33 Republican to 15 Democrat. Whether one considers these results to reflect Trump's coattails, or a preference for Republican policies, the numbers are impressive. If you can, take a look at page 9A of the 11/10/16 USA Today. There is a map of the US showing each county in each state. The counties won by Trump are in red. Those won by Clinton are in blue. The map is overwhelmingly red.

There were very few states, if any, that Trump ignored. The electoral college is again in the spotlight as it appears Hillary may have won the popular vote. Small states are definitely given an advantage with the electoral college system. It also means that states with large populations (which today are generally democratic) will not have the final say. Trump wisely went into states with even a low electoral total, and he spent much time in the rust belt states. He carried Wisconsin - the first Republican to do so since Ronald Reagan did in 1984. And once again Ohioans showed that they are a reliable predictor of the winner.

In the nights since the election we have seen mobs of mostly young people in cities around the country protesting Trump's victory. Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Richmond and Los Angeles, to name some. In Los Angeles, demonstrators were able to shut down a busy freeway. There was vandalism and tagging in places, destruction of property, and I saw at least one sign reading "F... Trump." Some of the Oakland demonstrators revealed what they really think about America and our democratic system. One said "we want a revolution." Another said "some will die on both sides."

It is unclear what these demonstrators were protesting against. Trump is not the President yet. These spoiled millennials were upset that their candidate did not win. You know what? Get over it! That is how our democracy works. You spoiled brats have no right to block traffic and stop people from going where they need to go. That is not speech. Many of us were extremely disappointed and upset when Barack Obama won in 2008, and then again in 2012. But we were not out in the streets. Some organized Tea Parties, and held rallies - after obtaining proper permits - at various locations across the country. This writer was also motivated to do something. My blog started shortly after Obama took office.

On Facebook and Twitter many were beside themselves over the Trump victory, with some threatening to move to other countries. I would tell them what my father used to say: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out." Of course, the Hollywood crowd was unable to cope. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote a letter to his wife and daughters, describing Trump as a "pig." Here's some bad news for Sorkin - most Americans really do not care what you think. Here's the bottom line - leftists do not believe in democracy. If there was a way to keep Trump from the White House and put Clinton in they would do it. They do not care about our Constitutional system, and often see capitalism as part of the problem.

Politics can be a dirty business, and this election campaign was no exception. However, having seen Trump's gracious victory speech, and Hillary's also gracious concession speech, and Obama's hosting of Trump at the White House, I am hopeful that mature Americans will follow their lead. Clearly, major policy differences exist between the two parties. And for those who think Trump needs to compromise on everything with Democrats, let me remind everyone what Obama said in 2010: "We don't mind the Republicans joining us; they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in the back." This was after previously telling Republicans: "I won."

Unfortunately, racists and anti-semites have been expressing their hatred. This gets blamed on Trump. When blacks in various cities across the country engaged in the ill-named "knockout game" was that Obama's fault? After all, he was an extremely divisive President, and helped race relations deteriorate to levels not seen in decades. In Chicago, a white man was just beaten up by a group of young blacks for allegedly voting for Trump. Said one: "You voted Trump. You gonna pay for that sh.." Said another: "Beat his ass." (Information from Alex Jones' Infowars.) When police officers are murdered in the street by angry blacks, do we blame Obama? After all, his racial rhetoric has been extremely divisive.

I am well aware of how dangerous words can be, especially coming from a President or President-elect. I have been extremely impressed by Kellyanne Conway, who seems to have found a way to keep Trump focused, and away from the junior high school rhetoric. I hope she has a place in the Trump Administration. I do not believe he should go after Hillary and seek her prosecution. He needs to stay focused on all the work that needs to be done: rolling back taxes and regulations in order to allow for job creation, controlling our borders, strengthening our weakened military, and coming up with much better strategies for dealing with healthcare than Obamacare.

And, as much as I like Sean Hannity, I take issue with his suggestion that Trump seek a new Speaker of the House in place of Paul Ryan, and a new Senate majority leader in place of Mitch McConnell. Why? First, because Congress is a separate branch of government and Trump should not try to dictate who their leaders are. Second, Ryan, at least, has expressed a willingness to work with Trump in order to accomplish his agenda. So, I would not look for battles that may not be necessary.

So, as we conservatives and Republicans had to do after the election of Obama, a man seeking to "fundamentally change" the best nation on earth, I suggest everyone take a deep breath and realize we will all survive. I am hopeful that Trump will pick solid people for his Cabinet and White House advisers. And, as my brother liked to say, "we still have to get up and go to work each day." (Actually, he's now retired, so...)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hillary's Views of the Supreme Court and the Constitution

In her own words, Hillary Clinton told us her views of the Supreme Court and Constitutional issues. "And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of powerful corporations and the wealthy. For me, that means we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women's rights,on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system."

She continued: " is important that...we stand up and basically say - the Supreme Court should represent all of us." There is so much wrong with everything she has said, it is difficult to know where to begin. Let's start with the last comment. It is not the job of the Supreme Court to represent anyone or anything but the rule of law and the upholding of the Constitution. Representatives and Senators represent the people, judges do not.

Clinton says that the Court should not stand on the side of powerful corporations and the wealthy. She certainly seems to be saying that the Court should never decide in favor of corporations or the wealthy - even if the law and Constitution should favor their side in any case. What her comment really tells us is that she has moved towards the growing socialist-left side of her party; the Bernie Sanders side always complaining about corporations - the job creators.

Whether it is women's rights or LGBT rights, a case only reaches the Supreme Court when there are competing interests, often arguing for competing rights. Should the Court always hold in favor of any party who is female or part of the LGBT community? Regardless of what the competing interest may be? Regardless of the law and the Constitution? Apparently.

Clinton has made it clear she wants to see Citizens United overturned, or an actual Amendment to the Constitution reversing that decision. Recall that the Citizens United decision overturned part of the Campaign Reform Act banning political ads/expenditures by corporations and unions within 60 days of a general election and within 30 days of a primary election. It is difficult to imagine that in this country, with our First Amendment, that there would ever be a ban on the type of speech that is the most protected - political speech. Following the decision, unions and corporations are able to spend unlimited sums of money on political advertising, as long as there is no coordination with a candidate or candidate's campaign.

I have been rethinking why the Democrats object to this decision. And the answer, while disturbing, is not surprising. At the very beginning of Obama's first term, there was a concerted effort by him, and all the top people in his Administration, to delegitimize the Fox News Network. The Democrats have on their side virtually all of the media - CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and most major newspapers in the country. The Democrats have most of Hollywood, and therefore most TV shows and movies, many of which contain anti-Republican or anti-conservative messages. The Democrats also have an overwhelming number of professors in the academy.

But under Citizens United, conservative groups have been able to use TV and radio in order to widely disseminate a different message through paid advertisements. And this disturbs Democrats. This anti-speech agenda is profoundly anti-American. But the support by Democrats for overturning Citizens United is proof of another point I have often made. When Democrats were classical liberals they had no problem tolerating opposing viewpoints. But as today's Democrats are mostly socialists and leftists, they do not have the same appreciation for our fundamental values, such as free speech. Rather, it's all about their left-wing agenda. Let me be clear - Democrats do not want the American people exposed to a differing opinion. This attitude, my friends, is no different than that of Soviet Russia.

Hillary also said she disagreed with the Supreme Court decision in Heller vs. District of Columbia. The Court declared certain provisions in the DC law to be unconstitutional - in violation of the Second Amendment. The DC law required that all firearms in the home be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock." The law also restricted handgun ownership to those handguns registered prior to 1975, when the law was enacted. In other words, the purchase of handguns after 1975 was barred. Given that Clinton disagreed with the Court's decision, do not think for one minute that she is being truthful when she says she does not want to ban gun ownership.

So, forgetting the corruption issues, we have in Hillary Clinton a candidate who, reflecting her party, has no belief in the freedoms given by the First and Second Amendments. Not speech. Not gun ownership, which has been an individual right that has existed since the founding of this country. And she seems to believe that who you are (female, gay, transgender, etc.) should determine your success at the Supreme Court.