Hillary Makes History

July 26, 2016

There I was, in my living room, TV tray and all, watching Hillary make history. My bachelor’s feast of hot dogs–all beef, of course–and chips was well-suited for the occasion. My party–the Democratic Party of the United States–had just nominated Hillary Clinton to face Donald Drumpf in November. And although it’s true that Hill and Bill are actually one-percenters, they well understand that we cannot move forward with corporations and their buddies in the upper brackets always getting the lion’s share of everything.

There’s so much to like about Hillary and about the Democratic platform in this election. One of the planks of the platform that I am 100% behind is the move to do something about the Citizens United SCOTUS decision. That’s got to happen. Getting the money–dark money, in particular–out of American politics should be priority one. So there I was, parked in front of the tube with my working man’s dinner, watching my fellow Dems officially nominate Hillary to run.

It was a watershed moment; it’s not about the first woman President as much as it is about ordinary Americans having a leader who will have their back. Yes, I know Mrs. Clinton has had a cozy relationship with Wall Street. But what was true about Barack Obama is true of her as well; they’re not leaving for work each day with their brown bag lunch, but they “get” working people and will fight to make sure they’re not left behind.

Of course, getting anything accomplished that actually benefits working people will not be easy. It’s that Mission Impossible kind of stuff, particularly when you consider how hard Republican pols work to thwart any move that would benefit the 99%. It’s not hard to see how thoroughly-committed they are to tilting the proverbial playing field. Their steadfast opposition to raising the Federal minimum wage is a case in point. That certainly could be the subject of another post. But not tonight…

Continuing on this path of funneling all the good stuff to those who need it least is not a good strategy. That trickle-down bullshit has been discredited again and again. Didn’t work in the eighties when David Stockman and King Ronnie first foisted it on the American people, didn’t work when George W. Bush was President and will not work now. But I’m certain that Hillary is going to give it her best shot. It’s quite possible that, if elected, she will face the same level of obstruction that has plagued President Obama from day one; I’m not hopeful about ultimate success, but I’m sure she’s ready for that fight.

There is so much one could say as we reflect upon this historic moment; journos and pundits are laboring mightily at that task now as the Convention winds down and we hurtle headlong into the really gritty part of this election. For my part, I just want to remember that as I watch events unfold in this, my twelfth Presidential election, we could be taking in a singular event in our shared history. I fervently hope that Hillary will be our first woman President; I think we’re going to make it happen. It may well be that others will follow in her footsteps. But whether that’s how it unfolds or not, I’m certain that the election of 2016 will have moments–many moments–the like of which we’ll never see again.

No more convention-watching and blogging for me tonight. For a more in-depth look at the story of Hillary’s ground-breaking nomination, follow this link.

As we head into the thick of the 2016 elections, this could happen

As we head into the thick of the 2016 elections, this could happen

The Bulldog Barks

I’ve been paying close attention to elections since Nixon vs McGovern in ’72 and although I’ll admit to not voting in that one, I haven’t missed one since. I was a freshman in college out of my home state and waited too late to get an absentee ballot and mail it in. But that was the first and only time I didn’t make it to the polls.

There have been some important and memorable contests in the 43 years and ten elections which have come and gone since then. I was in Navy AOCS in Pensacola back in ’76 when Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford squared off. Voted for Mr. Ford in that one. Both had solid careers in the Navy, but I’m thinking that few in my class went with Mr. Carter.

Being the flaming, tree-hugging liberal that I am today, I hate to admit this, but I did volunteer work in both Reagan campaigns and voted for him. Twice. Loved pretty much everyone on King Ronnie’s team back then, Col. Oliver North especially. Suffice to say that I saw the world very, very differently back then.

The 1980 contest was not noteworthy only because Reagan won; it saw John B. Anderson run the first third-party candidacy the American people has seen since George Wallace that had to be taken seriously. Well, semi-seriously. Okay, I noticed it, because he appeared in Tulsa, where I was living at the time, and I happened to catch it. Didn’t change my vote, but he made an impression.

By the time Reagan’s second term was winding down, my views on politics had changed considerably. I did not vote for “George Bush the Elder” in 1988, though I generally respected him. Of course, Dan Quayle was pretty hard to take. Yes, before Sarah Palin was let loose on the world, there was V.P. Dan Quayle! Boy, that was quite a spectacle back then, wasn’t it? Some of the drama we’ve seen in recent elections is not so different. But I digress.

If you’ve gotten this far into this piece, I will not bore you with my recollections of all the other elections that have taken place in the last quarter-century. But I will say that 2000 was a big one, of course, and that I still carry in my heart a white-hot hatred for both Ralph Nader and Antonin Scalia for the roles they played in making George W. Bush our 43rd President. Pundits and politically-savvy people went on and on about how Nader’s candidacy would suck votes away from Gore and it did. Some maintain to this day that Gore’s shortcomings are the real reason he lost, but I look at the 97,488 votes Nader got in the Sunshine State and cry “bullshit!”  And, as we all remember, Bush carried Florida by 537 votes. For a good treatment of that debacle click here.

As for the role played by Mr. Scalia and the four other justices who joined in his twisted, partisan logic in Bush v. Gore, that would be fodder for another post. On another day. Wait, let me get an Advil. Or three.

True to my word, I am not going to go into the four intervening contests in this post, so let’s bring back the focus to 2016. A whole lot of people who pay attention to Presidential elections are beginning to say that this year’s contest is starting to look a bit like 2000. I am one of those people. Even though we’re still not “there” yet as far as having two official nominees, it’s going to be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I’d bet that somewhere around 92% of the political prognosticators would say so. And I’ll be damned if the candidacy of Bernie Sanders isn’t starting to loom Nader-esque on the American landscape. I think there’s a damn good chance that Bernie could do to Hillary what Ralph did to Al. I hope to God I’m wrong about that. But it’s a  possibility that can’t be easily dismissed. May the soul of Yogi Berra rest peacefully; I damn sure hope it ain’t “deja vu” all over again!

 

Barking from my semi-palatial doghouse in Orlando, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2016 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile