|From The Editor
Part of the job for a journalist is to say things efficiently. And to use words that sing, that zing, that keep the reader's attention.
So just as we must learn to say things that way, we can recognize when someone else has learned it too.
Entertainer (and presidential candidate) Donald Trump has learned that skill, employing it crudely at times. But nonetheless, his zingers zing. They are short and colorful and he pounds them in. Little Marco, Lyin' Ted and now Corrupt Hillary, all using two syllable adjectives.
The problem for the Democrats is that you hear those crude jingles twice, and you remember them.
It is also fascinating to watch Trump's struggle between "sounding presidential" and being a mudslinger. He gravitates by some inner force back to the attack, inexorably, inevitably, indefatigably.
I have a friend in the entertainment industry who based on his citizenship does not vote in U.S. elections. But his opinion, which I believe reflects the views of many in his business, is that entertainer Trump will blow away politician Clinton.
The only thing that can save Hillary Clinton, as I see it, is the minority vote, which in places like California is the majority vote. But it is not all so cut and dried.
I heard a Latino workman say he liked Trump a couple weeks ago. I asked why. He is not corrupt, answered the workman. And I remembered back to when I was a high school student.
I worked during the summer to save money for college, at a repair shop that installed car air conditioners. I helped an older, Mexican mechanic installing the machines.
He was a good and sweet man, and we talked about lots of things. But I was a little shocked at how absolutely and vehemently he hated politicians. He was categorical. They were all thieves, liars, corrupt to the core.
He said it with such strength that I still remember the dark, oil-stained work bench where the otherwise sweet and gentle man expressed his rage.
Another factor that makes Trump so dangerous for the Democrats is that his attacks come from all directions. A commentator on CNN struggled to make the analogy to a boxer who swung with any hand using upper cuts, under cuts, from outside, from inside.
And like Reagan, the other entertainer who came out of TV to be president, Trump has the Teflon coating. His varying positions, his outlandish statements, his lack of a history in office, all allow him to shed old positions like a snake sheds its skin.
Lastly, there is the sheer tenacity of the man.
He has been counted out so many times. And still today, I hear folks like David Axelrod, the chief strategist for President Obama's presidential campaigns, saying that Trump has to succeed on the first ballot because his chances drop sharply after that.
But at the same time, the head of Colorado's Republican delegation is talking about bringing a sheriff along to the convention to protect against the fury of the Trumpites. And Trump's campaign staff has now been overhauled and professionalized.
When I heard about that overhaul, it reminded me of the history of the convention where Lincoln came in as a naïve underdog against the wiley Douglas.
But Lincoln had wisely hired an experienced, ruthless, and apparently enormous, campaign manager who traded promises of cabinet positions for swing delegations. Who better to play that game than the candidate whose solution to almost everything is making good deals.
The existence of two major strains within the Democratic Party can also be turned against it. For so long, it was called the party with a big umbrella, that included an uneasy coalition of interests. That talk is gone, but the divisions are still there.
Within those divisions, it seems that Clinton is more the candidate of civil rights, focused on group-by-group concerns and grievances, as opposed to her primary rival Bernie Sanders who is more the candidate of class fairness, focused on distribution of wealth.
I think Sanders has the better view, but he seems to have run out of luck. Which leaves the class fairness argument to a very rich Republican — and this is one of the best examples of how nothing sticks to him — who focuses on jobs for the working people and attacks the wealthy elites who traded those jobs for profits.
I grew up understanding the notions of civil rights and economic justice and how they can overlap. But I came away thinking that the deeper vein, the more powerful theme, is the economic one.
My dad was deeply committed to civil rights. But I remember when we were in a lot looking for a car for my mom, and we watched a white car salesman practically bowing and scraping to a very large black woman who was leading him all around the lot.
"The dollar," said Pop, "is a great equalizer."
If he comes through the convention, Trump will own that argument.
If Hillary Clinton wants to become president more than she wants to be the star of her own show, she'll run with Bernie Sanders as her vice president.
Bernie is the only Democrat who could capture the votes of millions of Donald Trump's supporters -- and young Democrats.
That would crush the Republicans, no matter who The Donald runs with.
It would swing the election, and possibly the Congress.
Do Democrats really want to win?
And if not, why not?
And speaking of vice presidents, who in his right mind would want to be Trump's vice president?
A man or woman who really wants to be a public servant — and elected officials, even the president, are, pardon me for stating what is no longer obvious, elected to serve the public.
My favorite president at the moment is John Quincy Adams, our only president who ran for a seat in the House of Representatives after he left office. (He won.)
When criticized for this, J.Q. said it was no shame for a president to serve in a lower office, "even as a selectman of his town."
John Quincy was our only president who died on the House floor. More or less.
In 1846, while the House was discussing how to honor military officers who had made war on Mexico, Adams, who'd opposed the war, stood up and shouted, "No!"
He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and collapsed, and died two days later.
Can you imagine any former president today running for a seat in the House?
Or for a selectboard?
Of course not.
Jimmy Carter, maybe. Barack Obama, maybe.
But not Hillary. Not Trump. Because they have to be the star.
Hillary is willing to throw the election to a neo-fascist know-nothing who will destroy the worthy causes for which Hillary has fought for 40 years — rather than share the stage with a man who could hand her on a platter the prize she has sought all her life.
That's stupid. Typical Democrat.
Trump — well, let's see who he picks for veep. But when he does so, I ask, can you imagine Trump running for vice president?
Do you think he really wants to serve us?
Or does he just want us to stroke him?
Read Roman history, my friends. Read about Caligula, and Nero, and Elagabalus.
Contrast and compare.
This will count on the final exam.
Inchoate anger stalks our land.
It's scary — to brown folks, to black folks, to young people, to tens of millions of white folks — to anyone who reads history.
Bernie is the only guy who can channel these millions of people's rage — to Hillary.
He's the only Democrat who can turn out the vote.
And turnout — not anything else — will win or lose this election.
People are right to be angry.
Our government is corrupted by money from top to bottom, and that includes the Supreme Court.
I never liked Clarence Thomas, though I give him credit for this: When I learned that he'd accepted a gift of $800 worth of snow tires, while he sat on the Supreme Court, he taught me how cheaply our government can be bought.
I like Donald Trump more than I like Clarence Thomas.
Let's say I hate him less.
Because Trump steps right out and shows how vile he is, and has fun doing it. While Justice Thomas hides in bitter silence, and seems to hate the system that made him what he is.
Get out there and vote.
|From The Courts
I'd like to say a word on behalf of male prostitutes.
No, I'm not one myself. I might have aspired to the career in my younger days, but I'm pretty sure that path is closed to me now.
Feel free to tell me otherwise.
I feel compelled to speak up because the gigolo community was seriously insulted last week is the increasingly fascinating presidential campaign.
In case you missed it, a man at a Bernie Sanders rally who wants to increase health care for everyone — in other words, by definition an insensitive, uncaring individual — called Democrats who want to take only small steps toward universal health care "corporate Democratic whores."
This caused an outcry.
Oddly, the outcry wasn't from the small-steppers. It was from people who insist that the speaker had dissed women. Or at least women who want gradual change.
Not a word on behalf of male whores who may very well favor universal health care.
Sexism again raises its ugly head.
Some of you may think this is silly. It is remotely possible that the speaker, a doctor and health care activist, did not purposely demean women so that we'd be persuaded to support health care.
He might even like women. It's unlikely, but it's possible.
But that's not what elections are about.
Imagine how boring the campaigns would be if all we talked about was health care, income distribution and foreign policy. Why do that when you can quibble about a word?
There's no need to worry about whether it's worse having Ted Cruz carpet-bomb Middle Eastern countries or Donald Trump throw immigrants out of the country when you can obsess over Gestapo Republicans.
Apparently, Trump supporters are being rounded up and sent to camps.
Not the worst idea — but I'm guessing it's not happening.
Fortunately, there are plenty of trivial issues to keep us interested.
For example, what does "Bernie Bro" really mean?
This is an actual issue. Here's a passage from The Los Angeles Times last week: "Some women who support Sanders ... say the term 'Bernie bro' itself diminishes the legions of feminists working for Sanders, who they argue has the best agenda for women."
Where's the outrage on behalf of guys who have brothers named Bernie? What did they do to deserve this opprobrium?
And does anyone know whether Bernie Sanders has a brother? Why hasn't this come out in a debate?
What about the Zodiac killer's feelings?
Apparently some people actually believe Ted Cruz is the Zodiac killer, a California serial killer in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Imagine how the real Zodiac killer must feel. It's a wonder he hasn't come out of hiding to sue for defamation.
Someone needs to come to the defense of serial killers. They may be bad, but they're not Ted Cruz bad.
And how much fun are parties without alcohol?
John Kasich brought the issue into the presidential campaign by having the gall to say that college women might get into trouble at parties where there's lot of alcohol.
More sexism. No one speaks on behalf of men who get into trouble at parties with alcohol.
According to one news story: "The Democratic National Committee blasted Kasich for 'blaming victims of sexual and domestic violence,' and noted, 'It is no wonder women are turning away from the Republican field in huge numbers.'"
When thinking about this election, women clearly need as much alcohol as men.
Polling. The Ted Cruz/Zodiac Killer thing, by the way, may be the answer to why polls are so unreliable — it's so tempting for some of us to respond to a silly question with the silliest possible answer.
"Is Ted Cruz the Zodiac Killer?"
"Why, of course he is. How could anyone think otherwise?"
"Is Donald Trump Animal, the Muppet drummer?"
"Absolutely. Their platforms are exactly the same."
Hmm. Now that I think about it, I've haven't seen Donald Trump and Animal together...
Let the rumors begin.