Today’s Word: Manipulation

Manipulation: Exerting shrewd or devious influence
especially for one’s own advantage.


Snippets from Heather Cox Richardson’s latest newsletter.

The Sanders camp wanted to get rid of the superdelegates altogether, believing it would help him win the 2020 nomination.

But now that it looks like he will likely not win outright, he will likely be sunk when the superdelegates are in play on a second ballot. So now he wants the nomination to go to someone with a plurality of delegates—that is, not a clear majority, but more than anyone else—on the first ballot.

Did Buttigieg or Klobuchar cut a deal with Biden before endorsing him? Almost certainly. But that is not a corrupt deal; it’s how politics works.

(Emphasis added.)

Yes, ’tis the story of politics AND government.

We are often reminded that our government operates under the premises of being of, by, and for the people. Perhaps this is true when “the people” are those with titles like President, Senator, Representative, Judge, Governor, and a plethora of other titled officials on down the line.

The common refrain is that these people are OUR representatives. They are (supposedly) speaking and acting for us … for our benefit. Yet again and again, we hear and read about actions these individuals have taken that benefit no one except themselves. In other words, they have exerted shrewd or devious influence to their own advantage.

Since we are currently in an election year and many of us are hopeful there will be a change in the regime, one can’t help but wonder how much manipulation will take place before the election is over.

Is This How You Feel?

From a Politico article:

What I heard from the voters I talked to was mounting angst and indecision. That Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too far to the left. That Biden is too old. That Pete Buttigieg is too young. That Tom Steyer has too much money. I heard them yearn for a candidate who was just right, squarely in the middle, in the middle of the age range, and of the political spectrum, and of the country itself.

Does this express how you feel?

The excerpt is from an article about Amy Klobuchar, who is running a distant 6th in the polls.

Personally, I like Amy (I like Pete, too). She’s vibrant, outspoken, mature (but not old), and has a fiery spirit that would allow her to stand toe-to-toe with the insults and misogyny remarks she’d undoubtedly get in a debate with Trump.

For me, her “politics” are agreeable/compatible so I could see voting for her.

Regrettably, she’ll most likely never get on the ballot. Even if she happened to move up in the polls, there are still far too many people in this country who are unable to accept a woman president (which is why I have strong doubts that Elizabeth will make the cut). And that’s unfortunate when you consider there are women leaders in other countries who have done quite well (certainly far better than the current U.S. leader!).

Sadly, we’re not there yet.

However, as the saying goes … “You never know.” Besides, a LOT can happen between now and November …

Will History Repeat Itself?

In 2016, when it was time to elect a new President of the United States, a man named Donald J. Trump entered the race. While he had no political experience, many of the wannabes of America were enthralled with the fact he was included on the Forbes list of the richest individuals in the world. Surely, they said, this wealthy man has the business acumen and smarts to put plans into place that will help those of us who struggle to pay bills and put food on the table.

So they voted him into the office of POTUS.

What many of the voters either did not know about Trump (or didn’t care) was that he gained his riches through some rather nefarious means. Further, his wealthy status tended to be irregular due to a number of failed endeavors.

As it turned out, none of this mattered. All his supporters could see was a “successful businessman” who was going to put money in their pockets as well. (At least that’s what he promised.)

As we now approach the end of Trump’s third year in office, some of us cannot help but ask … has it happened? Has the income of the poor and struggling increased? Have the promised new jobs appeared? Has America become greater?

I’ll let my readers be the judge.

In any event, the year 2020 is almost upon us and by next year’s end, we will be voting to either elect a new POTUS … or keep the one we have.

While many of us have strong resistance to keeping Trump in office, we are also not that enthralled with the several candidates who have expressed a desire to step into the Oval Office. We have our “favorites,” but admit they each have their failings.

Enter Michael Bloomberg. A Billionaire … AND … a Democrat!

Hmmm. It seems the question now becomes … do Riches and Votes have anything in common?

A little history on how Bloomberg made his billions — after 15 years at Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street firm, he was let go with a $10 million severance package. He then used these funds to found Bloomberg, LP, a media and financial data services company, which has made him (at this writing) the 9th richest man in the world on the Forbes list of billionaires.

It’s important to also mention that Bloomberg is a genuine philanthropist (not a self-proclaimed one). In fact, he is a member of The Giving Pledge, whereby billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their wealth. (To date, Bloomberg has given away $8.2 billion, including a $1.8 billion gift in November 2018 to John Hopkins financial aid program. He’s also made significant contributions towards fighting climate change.)

A rather startling fact is that Mr. Bloomberg has pledged he will fully support his own campaign. That is, he will not accept any sort of political donations — nor will he take any presidential salary if elected. He has further declared he is willing to spend “whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump.”

Please Note: I am not writing this post as an endorsement for Michael Bloomberg. I’m simply curious to know if his wealth is going to influence the voters who believed Trump’s wealth would better their position in life. If so, perhaps we’ll end up with a rich Democrat in the Oval Office.

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P.S. I’m well aware of the distaste that many feel about “the rich” running this country. But this post is not about that. Rather, it’s about what really matters to certain voters. Do they want to keep a “wealthy” man who doesn’t have a clue about running this country to remain in office? Or will they consider a man who not only has riches, but has proven his ability to run a successful company AND hold a political office?

Or must political affiliation always be the ruling factor?

Can We Ignore the Truth?

Donald Trump Is Not Well

If your answer is “No, we can not ignore it,” then the next question becomes … is there anything we can do about it?

Of course there is! And it’s summed up in one word … VOTE in the 2020 elections!

As a nation, it is essential that we accept the reality that our current leader has a disordered personality — and it is our democratic duty to ensure this psychologically and morally unfit person does not continue in the role of POTUS.

As the article writer states, “Trump’s psychological impairments are obvious to all who are not willfully blind. On a daily basis we see the president’s chaotic, unstable mind on display.” (Emphasis added)

And then he asks, “Are we supposed to ignore that?”

I think not.

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Image by teeveesee from Pixabay

Heaven Forbid! Trump is Upsetting the Evangelicals

A Trump-supporting West Virginia state senator who represents many evangelicals got three phone calls from constituents complaining about Trump’s profanity after a recent rally.

Oh my! It seems the residents of this senator’s district are upset that Trump was “using the Lord’s name in vain” when he …

  • Bragged about bombing Islamic State militants: “they’ll be hit so goddamn hard.”
  • Warned a wealthy businessman: “If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so goddamn poor.”

While it’s not uncommon for Trump to use numerous profanities in his speeches, it seems some of his supporters are more fixated on the off-limits and casual use of the word “goddamn.” 😲

As many of us know, Evangelicals played a key role in Trump’s 2016 win, yet it now seems some of them are growing fatigued with the irreverent language that often seeps into his rallies and official events. Some believers have even threatened to stay home during the 2020 elections rather than vote if Trump “doesn’t tone down the rhetoric.”

Interestingly, although Trump has …

  • Been divorced twice
  • Faced constant allegations of extramarital affairs
  • Previously supported abortion rights
  • Stumbled when trying to discuss the specifics of religion (once saying “two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians”)

… he has maintained broad support from evangelicals, including the unwavering backing of prominent conservative Christian leaders. Even Jerry Falwell, Liberty University President, says he wishes Trump would be a little more careful with his language, “but it’s not anything that’s a dealbreaker and it’s not something we’re going to get morally indignant about.”

Wow.

Although Evangelicals tend to agree with Trump’s social policies, praise his appointment of conservative judges, and extol his commitment to Israel — when it comes to “using the Lord’s name in vain” … gasp! … many draw the line.

They’re also not too happy with his use of “bullshit.” Or saying we should keep radical Islamic terrorists the “hell out of our country,” and that we should throw undocumented immigrants “the hell out.”

And yet … and yet … even though many are appalled at Trump’s irreverence, they continue to support him and are “inclined to extend grace to him” when he swears or makes inappropriate comments.

One can’t help but wonder … where do Evangelicals and other God-fearing individuals draw the line? Are they so certain that Trump is going to usher in a Christian Nation* that it’s O.K. to put aside the standards of their beloved religion for a future utopia?

Then again, as many of us know, Christians have been known to ignore/overlook the teachings of their Leader when it’s convenient for them to do so. Why should it be different this time?

 

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(Material and excerpts for this post came from here.)

*A country that recognizes a form of Christianity as its official religion and often has a state church which is a Christian denomination that supports the government and is supported by the government.