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Republicans are now waking up to the worst hangover imaginable in the aftermath of their rather unconventional “convention” in Cleveland last month.  The brain-fog may be clearing but the terrible pounding headache resulting from the bizarre party “party”, the likes of which could only be attributed to a combination of cheap moonshine bourbon, kitchen-sink amphetamines, and some form of really weird acid, will linger for the rest of this election cycle.

With his poll numbers falling faster than a ball-bearing in the vacuum of his vapid policy proclamations and Putin pandering it is becoming increasingly obvious that Donald Trump has little chance of victory in November.  Real Clear Politics numbers show Clinton having a comfortable and growing lead in every battleground state, and the books in Vegas are now giving Clinton 76 / 24 odds.   Most polls are also pointing to at least a 50/50 split in the Senate (Vermont independent Bernie Sanders and Maine’s Angus King caucus with the Democrats) and the very strong possibility of this becoming a 51 or 52 seat majority.  Only the House seems safe for the party with the Republicans securely gerrymandered into control until at least after the next census in 2020.  The GOP itself is in disarray with some leaders still offering a tepid support of Trump’s candidacy for the sake of whatever semblance of “party unity” remains as they try to seize control of their speeding locomotive rapidly approaching its inevitable head-on collision with reality.  Others have distanced themselves or outright declared that they will not vote for the party’s standard-bearer in November.   Only the true-believer neoconservative lunatic fringe remain as his actual allies, and the question becomes one of what happens to the GOP come January now that the most fractious election in modern times has laid bare the wide gulf between pragmatic party regulars and the various far-right factions.

One beneficiary of the looming Republican train-wreck is Gary Johnson and the Libertarian movement.  With no real chance of victory this November despite his beyond-unlikely strategy to seize sufficient electoral votes to throw the election to the House, Johnson and the Libertarians may be the new face of a viable center-right party in the future.  Some have suggested that Johnson might actually capture the six electoral votes in Mormon dominated Utah this year, a normally solid red-state where The Donald is as popular as a chlamydia outbreak in a monastery, and perhaps a couple more in Nebraska, one of two states which allocate electors by Congressional district.

With its philosophy of individual liberty and small-government friendly politics, the Libertarians are a natural refuge for disaffected GOP voters and center-right independents fed up by the party’s pandering to social conservatives and race-baiting xenophobes spouting anti-immigrant rhetoric.  If many disaffected Democrats are “feelin’ the Bern” in the aftermath of revelations that the DNC rigged its nomination process in favor of the establishment candidate, even more Republicans and center-right independents are fried to a crisp over the meltdown of the GOP and its complete abandonment of principle for the sake of pandering to the worst instincts of its most extreme elements.

Political historians are not in solid agreement as to whether the party alignment we have been working with since the mid 1960s represents a “sixth party system” or a continuation of the “fifth party system” that emerged with FDRs New Deal, but by whatever designation it becomes known it is almost certain that a new party alignment will emerge in the aftermath of what is clearly the most disruptive election since the end of the gilded era and perhaps since reconstruction.

The Democratic Party has some serious soul-searching to do, and its leadership and direction will doubtlessly be shaken up in the wake of the duplicitous behavior confirmed in the recent email leaks. That being said, the Democrats will emerge in an evolved form as they heal the internal infection and work on the long overdue integration of  the more progressive stance represented by  the ongoing Bernie Sanders revolution.

The GOP faces a far more existential challenge, and who ends up owning the Republican brand remains to be seen as does how much that brand continues to look like the elephant we have come to know or how much it begins to resemble the staunchly independent and individual-affirming Libertarian porcupine.

This will be a story for the history books.

Stay tuned.

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Now that the Republican and Democratic conventions are behind us we begin gearing up for the general election.  The tone and tenor of this election has, up to now, been disturbingly substance-free.   Focused on personalities rather than policies and minutiae instead of the crux of the issues at hand, the primaries consisted almost entirely of inter-party and intra-party ad-hominem attacks, dirty tricks, and manipulation.

The Republicans have, on the surface, been fighting a Trump vs. “anybody else” battle where Trump has emerged as an icon for everything wrong with the GOP.  While the Democrats are fighting for the soul of their party, the Republican Party has already lost its soul.  That struggle is over.  The zombie party that remains may be reincarnated as something else – but clearly it now exists in the land of the undead with Trump serving as a placeholder candidate for a party unable to nominate their own from deep inside a mausoleum of their own creation.  Torn apart by the internal power struggle between the party establishment, tea party conservatives, economic libertarians, and the religious right, these factions dug their own graves and in the final abandonment of principle have unleashed a political Jacob Marley to wander the earth dragging their chains behind them.

Donald Trump is not undead, he is very much alive.

Donald Trump is not really a Republican.

Donald Trump is not a conservative.

Donald Trump is something different.  Donald Trump is the first candidate of the “Trumpist” Party.  What will be left of the Republican Party in the aftermath of this is anybody’s guess – but it will look nothing like the GOP of the past.  Regan’s big tent is down and the elephants are being retired from show biz, no longer useful in the one-ring circus that is the party of Trump.

It’s certainly not lost on anybody who doesn’t have their head firmly up Donald’s derriere that Trump doesn’t have anything resembling a developed philosophy of governance, a handle on policy, a fundamental grasp of economics, or the basic understanding of international affairs we would expect of an eighth-grade schoolchild.  He does not understand the Constitution nor the separation of powers that lie at the very core of our system of government.  He lacks any respect for an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, due process, or the rule of law itself.  He also has no regard for facts and doesn’t care if anything he says is true.  Just Google “factcheck trump” for confirmation of this.  None of these assertions are idle conjecture on my part, they are clearly evidenced in statements he has made and continues to make on an almost daily basis.   His recent call for the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email which has brought his deep ties to the Russian oligarchy into focus is just the latest example.  There will undoubtedly be more.

One of the first orders of business at party conventions is the passing of the party platform.  The platform of a political party states its undergirding philosophy, aspirational goals, and sets forth its intended policy initiatives.   While it is not uncommon for a party’s nominee to pay little more than lip-service to some of the platform, typically the standard-bearer will at least sign on to its core initiatives.  If you have read the platform passed at the RNC which calls for turning back the clock on just about every social initiative and advancement in economic justice you might consider this a good thing.  Rebranding “trickle-down” as “economic freedom”, calls to once again deregulate Wall Street (“freeing financial markets”) and selling LGBT+ discrimination as “religious liberty” among other outrageous positions, one might consider Donald’s overall lack of interest in this platform to be a good thing although that may be more due to the fact that his now infamously short attention span would likely prevent him from getting past the second paragraph of this ponderous 58 page prescription for returning America to the stone age.

Donald Trump has his own platform.  It’s not written down anywhere because much if not all of it comes from his head as he thinks about it, but Trump’s platform is not the Republican Party’s platform.  It’s the Trumpist platform.

Welcome to the age of the Trumpist Party.  Formed by the genetic engineering of the Tea Party with a desire to return to a bygone age of simplicity and lack of structure, the Trumpist party is in the process of procreating in a political Jurassic Park of fearsome creatures long thought to be extinct.

The Trumpist party doesn’t have a written platform because writing things down makes your positions less fungible. The ability to change ones stance for the audience you are trying to please is far more difficult if you have to answer to a written statement making it much harder to claim that you were just joking.  The Trumpist Party doesn’t have a written platform because writing things down holds one accountable.  A quick review of Mr. Trump’s history shows just how much he believes in accountability – at least for himself.

The Trumpist party doesn’t have a written platform because writing a platform requires that you have a plausible philosophy that will withstand logical scrutiny and is somehow based on facts.

Most of all, the Trumpist party doesn’t have a written platform because Trumpism appeals to people who only care that someone is telling them what they want to hear.  That what you are saying has absolutely no basis in truth doesn’t matter, and the bigger the lie and the more frequently repeated the more likely the masses are to believe you because, in the words of one of the most notorious demagogues in history . . .

“All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”     – Adolph Hitler . . . Mein Kampf (Vol I, Chapter X)

We have clearly seen that the Trumpist Party has fully adopted this philosophy and used it to its advantage, and like the party created by the despot who defined “the big lie” the Trumpist party appeals to the masses by validating their fears, providing an object for those fears, and offering itself up as the only salvation from being assimilated.  It extols the virtues of nationalism and national exceptionalism while promising to make a once proud nation “great again”.

Where will the Trumpist Party take us?  With any luck we will never find out, but with a compliant congress and the ability to nominate multiple justices to the Supreme Court we might find liberties we take for granted impotent to save us from the intentions of a leader whose only aim is power and control.

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Over the past several months I have tried to put into words the reasons why Donald Trump should not be the Republican nominee, and the level of existential danger his candidacy poses to this nation and to the world. I have explained this to friends and acquaintances who were or are on the fence either about Trump himself or whether or not they should/could/would vote for the only individual who, based on the reality of electoral college mathematics, stands between us and this unbelievable peril.

This editorial by the Washington Post lays it out far better than I can.  As they put it:

” . . .  In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.”

Cutting through the smokescreen of falsehoods and fallacies the Post editorial board has written an indictment of this man who must be prevented from coming anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Regardless of your party affiliation please read this, and if you share anything of a political nature please share this on Facebook or on your Twitter feed.

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Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy
The Washington Post


https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/donald-trump-is-a-unique-threat-to-american-democracy/2016/07/22/a6d823cc-4f4f-11e6-aa14-e0c1087f7583_story.html#