Editor’s Note: Every election is supposed to be the most important one of our lifetime. Of course, they can’t all be all-shattering. What do you think about the 2016 presidential race ... life and death ... or just one more election year? The reference to “Tomorrowland,” involves a rather earnest Disney flick that I don’t think very many people have seen (I happen to see pretty much every major adult sci-fi movie that comes out). As is famously the case with Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” its best lines were put into the mouth of the movie’s villain, who was, oddly enough, its smartest and most rational character.
election has been the most fun of any during the past half-century. Like a
sitcom directed by a psychotic, each time the plot seems headed one way, it
veers off somewhere else. At the same time, the only way to cast two candidates
of the past 50 years who might be less appetizing would be if Richard Nixon were
running against himself.
2016 nominees are staggeringly unpopular. Traditional conservatives despise
Trump, and see him as just the lesser of two evils, and, even within Hillary’s
base, Democrats lack enthusiasm and question her character. Meanwhile, Trump’s
core supporters are fanatically devoted and utterly shameless. They don’t care
that he’s a bigot, a bully and a liar, or that he can do two 180-degree
flip-flops before breakfast.
a cattle call of presidential hopefuls, we’ve settled on two whose combined
unfavorability rating is record-setting. With Hillary’s baggage, most of the
16 former GOP contenders — from Rubio to Kasich — would be enjoying a
comfortable lead by now. And, faced with The Donald’s vile, fact-free
campaign, Biden or Bernie would be looking at a landslide of mythic proportions.
In a general election, about the only candidates Trump or Hillary could beat are
We’re now enjoying Louisiana-style politics writ large. In the 1991 gubernatorial race, Edwin Edwards (D), accused of bribery and later convicted of 17 counts of extortion and racketeering, edged out former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (R), currently a fervent Trump supporter. New Orleans editorials called them “the Crook and the Klansman.” The choice today seems to be “Crooked Hillary” or “The White Supremacist.”
The Donald would be a depressing, embarrassing and frightening leader for the free world. The metaphor for a future Trump administration is the video footage in which he mocks a handicapped New York Times reporter. His convulsive spasms are the physical manifestation of the voices that seem to inhabit his head; however, even if that worst-case scenario should happen, we’ve survived bad presidents before.
has repeatedly said of this election, “The stakes are so high.” However,
despite being the most fun election ever, and contrary to what the candidates
tell us every four years, this is NOT the most important
election in American
history, largely because it’s ignoring the two most serious issues America
faces: climate change and the deficit.
Despite its dire implications, climate change may be a hopeless cause. The Donald, who is reported to have never read a book, is committed to climate change denial, and the GOP Congress, which is devoutly anti-science and owned by the oil companies, doesn’t care how much data is amassed or how overwhelming the consensus is in the scientific community. Besides, we may have already passed the tipping point on this crisis anyway.
|However, the deficit should be an issue that both
parties care about. During the primaries, only Chris Christie had the
courage to bring it up, but he polled so poorly, he’s now Trump’s
valet. And the Tea Baggers, who consider deficits important only when they
can blame them on Obama, don’t seem to care that Trump cares nothing
about this issue.
Addressing the deficit would require sacrifice, for which the American public has no stomach. Ever since St. Ronald Reagan’s specious promise (accurately labeled “Voodoo Economics” by George H. W. Bush) to “spend more, tax less and balance the budget,” no politician will risk inconveniencing the electorate.
As the national debt and the costs of servicing it grow, the interest is cannibalizing an increasing percentage of the Federal budget and gutting America’s future. (Google the Peter G. Peterson Foundation website for such frightening details as: “In three years, interest on the debt will be our third-largest Federal program.”)
Craven politicians toadying up to selfish voters will ensure that we continue fiscal practices that are leading us ever deeper into bankruptcy. And we’re resigned to this future, because, as the villain in the Disney movie “Tomorrowland” said of our embrace of impending ecological disasters, “That future doesn’t ask anything of us today.”
Hillary has proposed enhancing revenue by taxing the wealthy; however, she couples this with new spending that exceeds the additional revenue, ensuring the deficit will grow — to 4.5% of GDP by 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Trump has adopted the same, tried-and-true, GOP trickledown economics that got us where we are today.
A faux populist, whose main concern is his fellow billionaires, The Donald proposes an end to the estate tax (so his children can inherit all of their father’s money, just as he once did) and massive tax cuts for wealthy oligarchs that will explode the deficit. According to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Trump’s plan would add more than $9 trillion to the current $20 trillion national debt during the next decade.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson claims to support a “balanced budget in Year One.” Unfortunately, he has as much chance of being elected as Trump does of evolving into a decent human being. President Clinton will grow the deficit moderately; President Trump’s deficit spending will be huge. So, for those concerned with fiscal responsibility, the choice, as it so often does, comes down to the lesser of two evils.
Thanks to climate change, each year is hotter than the one before. If our election years follow a similar trend, each will be crazier, more fun and more irrelevant to the important issues than the last. I’m thinking Ted Nugent vs. Kanye West in 2020.
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