In giving background, I am going to tell you how I’ve voted in presidential elections since I became an eligible voter 24 years ago. Clinton (twice), Gore, Bush, Obama (twice). If you look at that and consider me a Democrat, you’d be wrong. My political leanings have generally been towards the center at times, to the right at others, even on the left depending upon the issue.
My greatest point of political frustration was in the 2000 election. I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Straw Poll which was held in August of 1999. I walked through the tents and even had the opportunity to hear speeches from several GOP candidates. I remember being awestruck at the large amount ($) of support for George W. Bush. Until this time I had never even heard of him. I remember walking away being enthusiastic about John McCain. I couldn’t tell you the platform he was running on, but I had a sense he would make a good president.
When Bush won the GOP nomination, I remember thinking to myself, “What happened?!!!” If John McCain had secured the nomination I am sure I would’ve voted for him for president. I could tell by the size of Bush’s tent at the Straw Poll the year before that there was a great deal of money behind him. It was probably the first time my eyes were opened to the influence of money on our electoral system. I’m not saying Bush wouldn’t have won the nod without the money, but it was clear there was a ve$ted interest in him securing the nomination and going on to become president. With hindsight being 20/20 I now know the power Texas yields on our nation. Ask anyone from Texas they’d be proud to tell ya.
As I mentioned before, I went on to vote for Gore in the presidential election. And then the recount. I posted on my Facebook page about a month ago that I felt during the recall something seemed ‘unpresidential’ about Al Gore that I just couldn’t quite put into words. In some ways I regretted voting for him. It’s not that I would’ve supported Bush, but…
In the time since Donald Trump has announced his candidacy for the President of the United States, I have gone from laughing to wincing to gasping to thinking, “This isn’t really happening is it?” To a large degree I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. At some point he is going to say something so outrageous that that will end it and he won’t be able to continue. Psych! It seems the more outrageous, smug, pompous, arrogant, ridiculous the statements are that he makes, the more traction he gains. It all makes me wonder.
There’s a phrase Mark Jackson ESPN NBA color commentator utters from time to time that is fitting here. “You’re better than that.” This time I’m aiming this directly at the voting public. From saying he’ll defend supporters in court who attack protesters at his rallies, to disavowing even knowing who David Duke is, to supporting those who questioned President Obama’s legitimacy as president because… I can’t The interesting thing about Trump as a candidate is that he has emboldened a part of the core of the GOP support base that although previous candidates might kowtow to to a point, they would never publicly acknowledge. As Jamelle Bouie so eloquently stated here, “Trump is the result of decades of divisive politics—the inevitable outcome of a Republican political strategy that stoked white racial resentment to win elections.” Think Willie Horton and Michael Dukakis. All of that to say, he seems exceedingly, abundantly UNpresidential.
Some comic relief…
And some sad reality.