Trump ‘The Equalizer’

     Growing up in Pasadena, part of the daily routine was the sound of my dad’s big wingtips coming up the two front steps to our house in the late afternoon, and then the heavy sweeping sound our solid front door made as it was pushed open. He wore a suit and tie every day to teach.
     He would open a can of generic beer from Safeway and listen to a liberal radio commentator who I believe was Edward P. Morgan. The show came on every week night at 6 and lasted for a half-hour. My mom called us to the table shortly after 6:30 with a French expression we still use for family gatherings, “À table!”
     In a similar vein, I now enjoy reading liberal newspaper columnists from the N.Y. Times. But it struck me recently how they all approved of Hillary Clinton and dismissed Bernie Sanders as someone who did not have much knowledge on policy, flapped his arms a lot, and made such a serious blunder in saying Clinton was unqualified.
     The inability to see why Sanders gets so many votes made me realize how removed much of the chattering class is from the rest of the nation. Sanders has tapped into a deep and wide vein of anger with the way things are. A great swath of people believe the system is rigged. It is the same sentiment that Trump appeals to.
     Sure it’s true that Sanders’ attack on banks and moneyed interests is spotty on specifics, but his broad theme is right on the money. The government long ago was stalled, infiltrated and checkmated by corporations and wealthy donors, and Sanders’ point is correct about the new wealth all flowing to the very top tier.
     Clinton, on the other hand, has some big weaknesses that are blissfully overlooked by the columnists.
     We have mostly young people working at Courthouse News, or in any case well younger than me, left-leaning or agnostic. One woman here told me today, “I don’t want to vote for her.”
     One of our female reporters, well over on the left and from my generation, emailed me, “The Clintons are thugs.”
     Clinton is also a hawk if not a warmonger, leading the charge into Libya, defending every possible violence from Israel and advocating air force intervention in Syria in the form of a no-fly zone, even as the Russians are flying there regularly.
     Now, let’s trundle over to the other side. I went to get my hair cut yesterday in a Pasadena salon where youth, tattoos and piercings are the rule. My hairdresser has a ring in her nose.
     I asked her who she liked. She was tentative, saying she leaned towards Sanders. But she said she has to be very careful about what she says on social media, because of her in-laws. So who do the in-laws support, I asked.
     “Trump,” she hissed in a low voice. Her expression said, “Who else?”
     And then my nephew’s wife spoke out at a family dinner recently saying she was thinking of voting for Trump, which would be anathema in our Democratic family. She is the mother of three beautiful girls, however, and there was no reaction.
     For the length of this political season, it has been the liberal gospel that Trump cannot make it, a gospel shared by Republican moneymen and liberal columnists alike, and by me. But I am not at all so sure anymore.
     Because the guy just keeps coming. And Clinton has a set of world-cruise steamer trunks as political baggage.
     And wouldn’t it be just like the Republicans to suddenly switch and come at the Democrats from the populist direction, after adopting the social-values, anti-tax, Laffer-curve notions for so long. And upend the plodding Democrats who are pushing a political professional who likes to work with big capital and who seems eager to send troops and arms into the chaos of the Middle East.
     There will be wailing and a great gnashing of teeth from those who sat at their keyboards believing that Trump had offended too many, was too crazy, and too untutored to possibly blow away a slow-moving, baggage-laden Clinton, if he brings it on home to the White House.
     It is probably too late for a wake-up call. And the tired formulation that the nation is not ready for Sanders may just be right. But the writers on the left who see Clinton as the obvious choice on competence, the clearly superior candidate, and someone who is looking at a cakewalk if Trump is her opponent, may well have another thing coming.

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