While I don’t think Iowa is necessarily representative of the nation — it’s quirky — the caucus results, in the first indication of what voters really might do in this process to elect a new president, surprise or no surprise, if Hillary Clinton escaped feeling the full “Bern” from her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, she did get scorched badly — they virtually tied, with Clinton only in the lead technically by a fraction — or actually the CNN report I am looking at now, the morning after, has them tied evenly, so okay, maybe Hillary did FEEL THE full BERN!
While it is useless for me to speculate, I would still at this point put my money (figuratively) on Hillary, as the one most electable — but she has email and likability problems, and voters on the left and right are in a restive mood.
As much as I cannot stand Ted Cruz, the holier-than-thou Canadian from Texas, I was gleeful to see him take down that dangerous clown Donald Trump, relegating the invincible to second place. I still don’t know what the attraction of Marco Rubio is, but as we know, he placed third and is being described as the “establishment” candidate, which this year might not help him, unless enough GOP voters decide they don’t want extremists, to the extent Rubio is not one himself. But Rubio basically declared himself the victor last night, in a speech to supporters.
I’ve updated the lead on this post and will not bother to list numbers of votes or delegates from the caucus, since anyone can readily get that.
I see that Martin O’Malley on the Democratic side has finally seen the light and quit. Why he wanted to waste time and money I have no idea. Ego is a strange thing. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee on the Republican side has suspended his campaign. I never could see him as president of the U.S., too intolerant of non-evangelical Christians and of course non-believers. Sorry Mike, we have both freedom of religion and freedom from it.
And now I leave attached my original tome on what might be causing tumult in the electorate and what led up to it. I wrote it stream-of-consciousness style, like I write most things, but sometimes that is the most accurate and sincere way to do things:
The great recession that occurred during the term of our first MBA president is over, unemployment figures seem more favorable these days, at least on a national scale, and we even have a form of national health care. So what has people so bugged that they might buck the establishment, the security of the known versus uncharted waters?
I’ve been thinking about this:
I have noticed that my individual fortunes (I don’t mean money fortunes) did not necessarily coincide with the state of the economy depicted in the news. When things were great they were not necessarily great for me and when we were supposed to be in recession I did not necessarily feel the pain.
I have always felt that the economy, though, is usually the overriding factor in presidential elections — usually I say. It did seem strange that after a pretty good run with Bill Clinton’s two terms the country turned a little right (although Bill was only left of center) and elected George W. Bush (who turned out to be only a little right of center I think). Oh, yeah, I always forget, Clinton’s VP Al Gore won the popular vote and had it all stolen from him by a questionable Supreme Court ruling.
But elections may not be so much about statistics, unemployment figures, gross national product and so on, they are about feelings.
John Kennedy is said to have won (and it was close of course) because the electorate felt we had stagnated as a nation and that the Russians were pulling ahead of us (not really but that was the thought).
Okay, so now I’ll get down to it:
I watched a Pearl Harbor documentary the other night. I had seen it before, but I got to thinking — it just does not turn out that way anymore.
You know the story. We picked ourselves up and after four years of heavy fighting and sacrifice we vanquished the axis powers and became the leading nation in the world.
In the decades that followed we greatly expanded our middle class and built a standard of living that was the envy of the world.
There were moments of doubt. A recession in the late 1950s is said to have propelled a change from a Republican status quo administration in the White House to the election of Democrat John Kennedy, who called for bold moves into the future, expansion of civil rights, and exploration of space, and promised to “fight any foe” who would stand in the way of our freedom.
But as the years progressed, something changed. We could not win a war any more. Korea (pre-Kennedy) had ended in stalemate, a sort of victory, but had it been done in WWII-style we would not be putting up with the nut-case of a dictator In North Korea, who threatens to lob a nuclear bomb at us while we stand by seemingly impotent.
And I recall the arguments back in the early 1960s when Vietnam came into our consciousness. We did not want to get involved in another land war in Asia, but on the other hand it was taken for granted if we did we could certainly win and relatively quick with our overwhelming military might.
But we ended up quitting Vietnam after ten long bloody years and lost by default.
And then we had what was called our second Pearl Harbor — the 9/11 attack.
But it has not played out like the first one:
Our retaliation, or whatever it was (is) a Vietnam-style quagmire. We don’t do victory anymore. Oh, it looked as if we had one with the first Gulf War (pre-9/11), but we failed to demand total surrender by the belligerent.
The point here is not whether we should have fought any of these wars, it is the fact we have lost our way and have no determination to win. We don’t even know what our goals are.
And there is more:
We are not the same country we were when I was born (1949). That can be good and that can be bad, depending upon who you are.
We were Norman Rockwell white, we were Leave it to Beaver with mom in the kitchen and dad coming home from work and plopping himself into his easy chair, and the kids playing in the yard or down the street. Today kids often stay locked up in their homes for fear of the outside world and parents arrange “play dates” for them to visit friends, for which of course they have to provide transportation.
I’m talking white people of course, because I am one, and I talk of what I know.
Back in the day we all knew that minorities were often at the lower end of the scale and did not completely share in the benefits of society and we did not necessarily feel good about it, but what could we as individuals do about long-entrenched social customs? that is those of us who cared.
Besides, when things are booming, even minorities benefit. As an example, blacks found lucrative employment in the ship yards during World War II.
And in the 50s and 60s the civil rights movement got under way in earnest. That seemed positive to many at first, right up until it went from peaceful to burning neighborhoods down and rioting (instead of demonstrating).
The civil rights rioting and burning and the anti-war demonstrations, primarily by white college students, in the 60s and early 70s, caused social upheaval, that pitted what was called the silent (white) majority of the content, with those non-content.
Ever since World War II and the discovery that women could replace men in the work force, more women were getting out of the home and into the work world. By the late 60s the idea of a stay-at-home mom almost seemed passe.
And this helped propel the women’s rights movement. That and the introduction of the birth control pill changed society forever.
But as the world had recovered from the world war, manufacturing moved overseas where labor was cheaper and safety and pollution regulations all but non-existent.
A combination of economics and political pressure pushed us into a service economy with a minority working at the top in technical fields and the rest working at the bottom in lower-paid endeavors, including fast food.
Also, with all of that the makeup of our society changed. We expanded way beyond the European type as the majority in charge, and minorities gained rights (right they were supposed to have all along).
I still think the economy has a lot to do with it.
Back when we knew where we stood and when the employment picture was relatively good for the many, there was not so much turmoil and the political class just went on its merry way, elect tweedledum or tweedledee.
But now there is great uncertainty. People don’t know where they stand, whether they will get work, or how long it will last. They don’t know whether they will have adequate pay and chance for advancement or whether there is any future for their children. Not everyone can be a computer programmer or stock trader or even entrepreneur.
And it is not at all an exaggeration to say that technology now has gone past making life easier — in fact in some sense it makes it much more complicated, and it threatens to put virtually everyone out of work, whether you work with your hands or brain or a combination of both.
And when it comes to foreign affairs, there seems to be no consensus.
And back to the political class: leadership is lacking. Also lacking is a willingness to compromise and get things accomplished. And compromise is not a dirty word. How could we have a democracy with people allowed to have different ideas and not have a need to compromise to get things done?
So we will see where this election goes and if the electorate really wants change and whether it will get change and whether it will like it if it does.
Sure I left a lot out here. For one, I did not address sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. I’ll leave out the music part, but the change in sexual mores has had a profound effect on society — both good and bad. Drugs, well they have been around in some form forever and probably always will be, but most people who have constructive things to do and are content with life stay fairly clear of them (for the most part).