Hillary Moving Right, Already, Where Do Progressives Go?

imagesNew Orleans   The headlines in today’s papers range from the bizarre to the insulting.

Donald Trump is having trouble getting Republicans that he has spit on to kiss and make up. The Bush family, one and all, have declined to endorse him. He’s attacking former opponents like Senator Lindsey Graham with vigor. House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to join an alternate reality, even though he’s chairing the Republican Convention, and strategists are suggesting that candidates for the House and Senate avoid the Convention like the plague. That’s enough for the bizarre.

For the insulting, one has to turn to the Clinton campaign which seems to be double-clutching to shift gears from its recent appeals to progressives and the liberal base in the contests with Senator Bernie Sanders to re-position her candidacy, and presumably the Democratic Party and its platform, to something of a center-right party in order to be a more comfortable home for disaffected Republicans fleeing from Trump. Progressives, the young, minorities, immigrants, Muslims, women, Clinton is calculating that none of us have any other place to go, so it’s time to her to swerve hard right.

What are we facing here? One far-right fringe party, led by Trump, calling itself Republican, and one center-right party, calling itself Democrat?

Don’t get me wrong. Of course Hillary needs to go bottom-fishing given how much mud Trump has thrown into the pool. Sure, extend an olive branch, a glad hand, a big, fat grin, but why move right and why the rush? Why not conclude that they can either be no-shows or people with no place to go? Why walk back on the mildly progressive positions so recently weakly embraced?

Seems everybody is being pushed in and out of parties, but no one wants to do the work to actually build their own parties. Let Trump have whatever he wants to call it. Chances are if he wins, or comes close, he’ll re-brand whatever elephantine thing he has left with his name anyway. Let Ryan, the Bushes, and whoever, fight over whatever they think the Republicans pretend to stand for. And, if Hillary wants to make the Democrats back into a 21st century version of the center-right party that Bill Clinton tried to assemble in the 1990s and beat the drums for Wall Street and war and whatever this right shift settles into, how many slaps up against the head is it going to take the rest of us to realize we need a home of our own, too?

One’s a headache and the other may be a heartache, but eventually we need to go somewhere that we’re wanted and respected. And, that’s a far better place to be.

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Trump May Be Bad for Republicans but End Up Good for America

872ee2250d2a46388bd09dc64a242d79-be9e180507fc4bb49a3125bb6f926a08-2New Orleans   The Republicans are going after the mogul, Donald Trump, hot and heavy now. They’re hitting him both high and low….in fact very low, though the lower they go, the better he seems to like it and the more some people like him.

Fox News seems to have invited him to a butt-whipping in the Michigan debate, the last one before the next big round of primaries. They seem to be fascinated that he flip-flops, basically proving that big time developers selling castles in the sky, are exactly the same as politicians selling candy cane versions of the past and sugar plum fantasies about the future, just as the rest of us had always known. Did it matter? Not much.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems beaten, bruised, and out of his element. He’s pulled his expenditures and campaigns back from Ohio to make a last stand in Florida where he has already indicated he is forfeiting his Senate seat and Trump is still leading by 7 to 10%. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the Donald himself are running all over Louisiana seeing this as another ruby-red state where they might Duke it out. Yes, that was a pun!

Reportedly, big donors talked to both of these boys before the debate and encouraged them to keep the gloves on with each other, hang tough, and go after Trump in a desperate hope to have an once-in-a-lifetime brokered convention. An even richer brew is being concocted by some pols and donors for a third-party bid. Zombie-Romney came back from the political graveyard to take some solid shots at Trump’s unacceptability. There is starting to be serious discussion and debate about whether a Trump candidate might shift control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats. Who says election years are ever boring?

The bottom line is that Donald Trump, now the current and seemingly on-going frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President is driving the Republicans totally crazy from precinct chairs on up to the Speaker of the House. Many focus on his xenophobic, racist, misogynist comments as if they are somehow aberrant, rather than just a clearer expression of the dog whistles and guttural roars that have built the Republican Party state by state for the last number of decades. His flirtation with the KKK and his dilatory handling of David Duke, the former grand pooh-bah of the white sheet wannabes may have come too far over the line even for the Republican Party.

Is it too much to hope that there might be a direct ratio working in the Trump candidacy that allows us to believe that there might be a direct proportionality between how bad Trump is for Republicans and how good he might be for America. Like it or not, if his crazy campaign and demagoguery either forces the Republicans to move to the mainstream or, even better, splits the party in two, separating the fringe freaks from the middle-righters, all of us as true patriots will owe Trump our deepest thanks for his service to the sanity of our politics in coming years.

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