Entries in MassPoliticsProfs by Jerold Duquette
Donald Trump’s first speech to Congress last night was full of “good optics.” Trump’s effort to make Americans forget that he had, only hours earlier, blamed the military commanders for the death of Navy Seal William “Ryan” Owens was hailed by Liberal commentator Van Jones as the moment when Trump “became President of the United States.” WOW! I say, the moment Van Jones declared Trump has become the P.O.T.U.S. is the moment when optics finally and totally eclipsed substance in American politics.
Donald Trump’s candidacy is (ironically enough) “A DISASTER” for religious conservatives because it exposes their “ends justify the means” morality, though to say that it reveals their hypocrisy is, frankly, both too easy and not particularly useful. What it exposes is their policy rationality. What it exposes is the reason why it has been quite rational of them to use manufactured “character” and personal “values” issues to muddy the public opinion waters in order to advance anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science public policy proposals. Hardline social/cultural conservatives support policies that have become political poison in American national politics.
Whether you are a benign revolutionary whose heart is in the right place (Sanders), or an ignorant blowhard on a vanity joy ride (Trump), there is no route to success in the Democratic nomination process for those without command of the details because the party faithful know what they want from government and how to get it.
Weighing in on the debate about Hillary Clinton’s “controversial” characterization of Trump supporters, the New York Times editorial board argues that presidential candidates have become too intellectually cozy with their biggest financial supporters; that they have spent too much time with them and been unduly influenced by their worldviews. This is hardly a controversial thesis, however, the Times’ spin here really should be.