Designing the Most Electable Presidential Candidate

First, a reminder that one of my books, Running for President, will be available for free in its Kindle version April 1 and 2 only. Of course, Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free at any time. You can connect to the book’s page of Amazon by clicking on the cover image in the left sidebar of this blog. If you do read it, I would be grateful if you would leave an honest review on Amazon.

When I wrote the book Running for President, I tried to design a presidential candidate who was an amalgam of the worst features of the real presidential candidates. In today’s political climate, it seems that the more politically incompetent a person is, the more likely that person is to be elected president or at least be nominated for the job. So I’ve decided to design the perfect presidential candidate by combining the worst qualities of the people running for the job.

I have to start with the modesty of Donald Trump. Given his waffling on the issues, perhaps I should also take his consistency. Heck, he’s a larger-than-life figure, so I can probably take more from him than from the other candidates. Therefore, I will also add his knowledge of the issues.

Now to move on to Ted Cruz. His likeability would certainly be an asset to any unworthy presidential candidate. Sticking with the Republicans for now, I would also add John Kasich’s ability to generate publicity. Although he’s no longer in the race, I’ll also pick the forceful personality of Ben Carson. From another pair of drop-outs I would pick the vote-garnering ability of Jeb Bush and the financial acumen of Marco Rubio, especially when it comes to misusing other people’s credit cards.

From the Democrats I would choose the reputation for honesty of Hillary Clinton. Then I would add the humility of Bernie Sanders. Oh, I forgot, there was once a third Democratic aspirant, but I’ve forgotten who what’s-his-name was, and I don’t think he ever got enough press attention for me to understand his policies. If I could remember who he was, maybe I should take his ability to generate publicity instead of taking it from who’s-it….oh darn! I forgot his name again. Oh yes! now I remember! John Kasich.

Have I managed to insult everyone’s political sensibilities? If not, I have not done my job. Maybe I have more to learn from our presidential aspirants.

Free eBook Giveaway

The Kindle version of my book Running for President will be available as a free download on April 1 and 2 only. There’s a longer description of the book on Amazon, but basically the novel is about a psychopath who manages to be elected president of the United States. Given today’s political situation, perhaps that’s not too farfetched.

You can get more details on the Amazon USA website by clicking on the book’s cover image in the left sidebar of this blog. For other Amazon locations, you can search for the book onsite.

Remember the Kindle edition of the book is free on April 1 and 2 only. Naturally, I will be grateful if anyone who takes advantage of the free offer would leave an honest review of the book on Amazon after reading it.

Jason Wilder for President

I’ve started a new fake blog that purports to be Jason Wilder’s blog in his imaginary campaign for president. In the blog, Jason Wilder, with my guidance, will post outrageous comments about the presidential political campaign in the hopes of getting voters to write in his name instead of voting for one of the current presidential candidates. Naturally, the whole thing is a stunt to sell more copies of my book, Running for President, whose protagonist is the imaginary presidential candidate Jason Wilder. The book is currently available as a Kindle eBook and will soon also be available in printed form.

The link to Jason’s blog is www.wilderforpresident.com. There is also a link near the top of the left sidebar of this blog.

I hope not to make too many people angry with this new blog, or if they do get angry, I hope they get mad enough to buy my book. Jason Wilder is not (I hope) my alter ego, so the things he writes may not be the things I believe. In fact, some of what he will write will not be true at all, so if you read his blog, please take his writings with a grain of salt. it’s all done in a spirit of fun, or to be more honest, in the blatant interest of selling more books.

The White Working Class has a Legitimate Gripe

The white working class in the United States has a legitimate gripe. They have been getting the short end of the economic stick. Corporations such as Microsoft and Apple have been amassing enormous amounts of cash that could be paid out to shareholders or in wages, both of which would stimulate the economy and create jobs. Instead, they sit on their wealth while workers’ wages stagnate and entry-level jobs no longer pay enough to live on.

What I don’t understand is why so many of the legitimately disgruntled would turn to a demagogue like Donald Trump as a solution to their problems and thereby shoot themselves in the foot. Trump is part and parcel of the economic elite that is enriching itself beyond all reasonable bounds at the expense of the rest of us. Electing Donald Trump as president would make the situation for ordinary Americans worse, not better.

On the bright side, although Donald Trump appears highly likely to win the Republican nomination, I think his chances of wining the presidency in the general election are next to zero. The Republican Party seems hellbent on continuing its recent tradition of nominating candidates whom the general electorate has the good sense to reject. I still have enough faith in the American electorate to believe that they will not elect a president who will make the situation of most Americans worse than it is now.

On a personal note, I am still recovering from a case of food poisoning that I gave myself on Saturday. I make almost all of my meals at home and seldom eat out, so if I get food poisoning, I have no one to blame but myself. In this case, I think the culprit was a can of beans that I heated in the microwave but did not allow to come to a boil and kill and possible harmful bacteria.

Trump, Cruz, the KKK, and White Terrorism

What do Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the Klu Klux Klan all have in common? All three are stirring up racist hatred. The Klu Klux Klan had been almost dormant for years until Trump and Cruz incorporated racism into their political campaigns beginning last year. Now the Klan is experiencing a revival, and its modern revival is due at least in part to the racist comments made by the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

9/11 was the worst terrorist act committed in modern USA, and it was committed by Islamists. Since then, however, most mass murders have been committed by non-Muslim Americans, most of them by white males who at least nominally considered themselves to be Christians.

The press treats mass murders differently when they are committed by Muslims and non-Muslims. Mass murders committed by Muslims are classified as acts of terror. Mass murders committed by Christians or other non-Muslims are not. The press explains these acts by saying the were committed by deranged persons. To see a list of mass murders committed from 1984 through 2015, click here. You will note that most of them were committed by middle-class, white males.

 The Klu Klux Klan was founded in 1865 supposedly as an organization to help widows and orphans, but it soon turned to violence. Since then it has been suppressed and resurrected several times to support white, heterosexual Christian values. By Christian, the KKK means fundamentalist Protestants, of course. Catholics need not apply. Jews, Muslims, Catholics, gays, etc. are all considered to be enemies.

Today, the KKK is not a single organization. It consists of small, local organizations operating under the KKK logo, much as isolated radical Islamists in the USA identify themselves as members of Al-Qaeda or ISIS. In fairness, I must point out that almost all of these KKK groups limit themselves to stirring up hatred and are not involved in violence. However, many view them as breeding grounds for violence.

Of course, the same can be said of the Trump, and to a lesser degree, the Cruz campaigns. They both incite to violence by preaching hatred. Trump is the more egregious of the two. Here are some of his remarks:

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. … When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

I like Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people, but you have people coming through the border that are from all over. And they’re bad. They’re really bad.

Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. [That did not happen, of course.]

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

And, here are two outrageous Trump quotes that are not racist but definitely anti-American and pro-violence.

(Putin) is a strong leader…. He’s making mincemeat out of our president.

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters.

Not to let Ted Cruz off the hook, here is his praise of Jesse Helms, probably the most racist senator in modern history:

We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.

Of course, with a bit of Googleing, you could come up with many more examples, but I don’t want to bore you with more here.

Incidentally, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz served as models for my fictional character Jason Wilder who uses Trump-like tactics to become elected president of the United States. Here is a remark I received in an email this morning about the book: “I’m enjoying the book – it’s pretty good, actually.”

OK, “pretty good” is faint praise. If you want to read a sample, click on the book cover Running for President in the left sidebar of this blog and make up your own mind.

Arizona’s Election Scandal

Arizona’s primary election scandal on Tuesday of this week has been reported internationally. I assume that anyone who follows the news knows about it. In the City of Phoenix, press reports indicate that people waited in line as long as five hours to vote. The polls officially closed at 7 pm, but voting rules require that anyone in line at closing time be allowed to vote. It was close to midnight before everyone had an opportunity to vote. However, some polling places ran out of ballots, adding to the frustration of those who wanted to cast votes, and others simply gave up after waiting hours to no avail. Is it a coincidence that voters in Democratic-leaning Phoenix had trouble voting in a Republican-dominated state?

The problem only occurred in Maricopa County and more specifically in Phoenix, its capital. Phoenix has an ethnically diverse population with a large Latino population. The surrounding suburbs, taken together, are overwhelmingly populated by people of European descent.

The population of Phoenix is a bit over 1.5 million and tends to vote Democratic. Maricopa County as a whole has a population of just over four million, and because the suburbanites tend to vote Republican, Republican politicians dominate countywide offices and therefore are able to impose their will on ethnically-diverse Phoenix.

Arizona has a history of racist election politics, which caused its voting practices to be put under federal  oversight until the Republican-dominated Supreme Court emasculated the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Before that date, the Arizona and Maricopa Country had to obtain the approval of federal courts to make any changes that would affect voting rights. Now they don’t.

So what did the Republican County Recorder Helen Purcell do with her new freedom to impose voting restrictions? She cut the number of polling places in Maricopa County from 200 in 2012 to only 60 in 2013. That gave Maricopa Country one polling place for every 20,833 voters compared to an average of one for every 2,500 in the rest of Arizona. Most affected was the City of Phoenix, were some neighborhoods with a large minority population had no nearby polling place at all.

Helen Purcell laid the blame for the long lines and the difficulty of voting in Phoenix on the number of unaffiliated voters who stood in line to vote in the primary. In Arizona only Democrats may vote in the Democratic primary and only Republicans can vote in their primary.

Ah, come on, Helen! There is no evidence of that was a large number of independent voters standing in line in Phoenix minority neighborhoods. That is a cop-out to try to shift the blame from yourself to us supposedly ignorant Phoenix residents.

Was Ms. Purcell’s decision to cut polling places done intentionally to reduce minority voting, or was it a result of her incompetence? I don’t know the answer. Often conspiracy theories are used to explain screw-ups committed by dummkopfs who should never have been elected to office. It could be that Ms. Purcell is merely incompetent and did not purposely suppress minority voting.  Whichever is the case, she is unqualified to hold her office and should do the decent thing by resigning.

It seems strange that since the Supreme Court watered down the voting rights act, Republican-dominated states such as Arizona with a history of discriminatory voting practices have been making changes to their voting practices that mainly affect minority populations that tend to vote Democratic. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the bad old days of racist voting practices are back again.

As long as the populous Phoenix suburbs are able to dominate Arizona politics, the right-wing Republicans will be able suppress the voting rights of the Democratic-leaning cities of Phoenix and Tucson.

Cruz and Trump Try to Radicalize Religious Fundamentalists

Perhaps you’ve heard Ted Cruz’s views that law enforcement should “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Perhaps it is different in other cities, but here in Phoenix there are no Muslim neighborhoods. Muslims live side by side with the rest of us. It sounds as if Ted Cruz has no idea what he’s talking about. When Ted Cruz was asked by reporters to name a single Muslim neighborhood anywhere in the USA, he was unable to name one. As Steve Chapman’s editorial in the conservative Chicago Tribune writes: “Ted Cruz wages jihad on the truth.”

As far as radicalizing is concerned, it is Ted Cruz who is trying to radicalize religious fundamentalists. A New York Police Department spokesperson tweeted. “Hey, @tedcruz are our nearly 1k Muslim officers a ‘threat’ too? It’s hard to imagine a more incendiary, foolish statement.”

Why is Ted Cruz trying to radicalize religious fundamentalist and incite his own version of Jihad? All I can say is he is not alone in this idiocy. Donald Trump has also made his fair share of racist comments against Muslims, but Donald Trump is an equal-opportunity racist. He has also belittled Mexicans and the physically impaired. About Paris terrorist Salah Abdesiam, who was finally captured earlier this week in Brussels Trump said, “Everybody knew he was there, and no one turned him in.” No, Donald, everybody did not know where he was. A small number of people who are or were members of his terrorist cell knew where he was.

However, if you are trying to radicalize people, the truth is your enemy. As ISIS, Trump, and Cruz have learned, radicalization depends on making people believe things that aren’t true, such as people who do not look like you or think like you are your enemies. Donald Trump wants us to hate Muslims, hate Mexicans, hate women, hate, hate, hate. Wouldn’t it be much simpler to hate Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? It’s hard to believe that these two Bozos are running for the presidency of the world’s most powerful nation.

Incidentally, all of the free copies of my book Running for President have been given away. Amazon is selling it as an eBook very cheaply, however: $3.99. The printed version should be out in a few weeks but will not be that cheap. Click on the book cover in the left sidebar to read the first part of the book online about my fictional Trump-like character who manages to get elected president of the USA.

Unite Us or Divide Us?

First, I want to point out that today is the last day to download my Kindle novel Running for President for free. Starting at midnight tonight, it will cost money.

There are two ways to win a political campaign: The candidate tries to unite voters to a common cause, or the candidate can appeal to the tribal instincts of a segment of the voters by convincing his followers that others in the electorate are their enemies. In other words, the candidate attempts to divide the electorate into opposing camps and hopes that the voters on the candidate’s side of the divide are enough to win the election. In my politcal novel, that is how Jason Wilder becomes president.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both subscribe to the divide and conquer strategy. As far as the nomination process is concerned, it seems to be working for Donald Trump but not for Ted Cruz. John Kaisich is trying the unite strategy by attempting to appeal to everyone. That doesn’t seem to be a workable strategy to win the Republican nomination. There are too many angry Republicans who require enemies to rail against.

Donald Trump has sided with white, lesser-educated voters who feel that they are getting a raw deal in life. To strengthen his ties to this group, he has insulted Hispanics, Muslims, the disabled, and even women. In short, he has insulted the majority of Americans. This strategy has worked to enable him to garner a plurality of votes in the Republican primaries, and because in many states the Republican candidate who garners a plurality of votes gets all of the state’s delegates, it looks like Trump’s divisive tactics will win him the Republican nomination.

However, even among Republican voters, Trump does not win a majority. In yesterday’s Republican primary in Arizona, whose Republican voters are among the most rabid in the nation, he received 47 percent of the vote, which means that 53 percent of Republicans who cast ballots voted against him. Nevertheless, he was awarded all of Arizona’s Republican delegates. It seems doubtful that he can win in the general election by appealing to a minority of Republicans while alienating not only Democrats and independents but most Republicans. I don’t even think he can carry Arizona, a state that almost always votes for the Republican candidate.

On the Democratic side, one could argue that Bernie Sanders is also using the divide strategy, but he is attempting to gather a very large group on his side of the divide. He is attempting to appeal to the 99 percent of Americans by distancing himself from the upper one percent in the income group. That strategy doesn’t seem to be working for him either, perhaps because it is his only major campaign theme. He almost never talks about foreign policy, terrorism, etc.

Hillary Clinton is trying to appeal to everyone, although there is a minority, particularly among right-wingers, who hate her for doing so. This minority is suspicious of a candidate who tries to be everyone’s friend.

If I were forced to bet money today on whose strategy will work, I would bet that Hillary Clinton will be our next president. Her strategy of trying to appeal to everyone seems to be the right one to appeal to Democratic voters, who are not nearly at angry at the world as many Republicans, and it also seems to be the right strategy to appeal to the majority in the general election.

Hispanic Voters in Arizona

First let me quickly point out that my eBook, Running for President, can be downloaded free from Amazon today and tomorrow (March 22 and 23). Click on the book’s cover in the left sidebar for more information. The books’ protagonist is a typical, slimy Arizona politician, which leads me to the subject of today’s blog entry.

Arizona has one of the most anti-Hispanic state governments in the United States. The center of the state’s anti-Hispanic feeling is here in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, where Phoenix, the state capitol, is located.

It’s difficult to understand how anti-Hispanic politicians get elected to the governorship, state legislature, and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office over and over, given that our state has a large Hispanic population. I suppose it’s no secret that our sheriff, Joe Arpaio, has been found by federal courts to have conducted racial profiling against Hispanics and is facing contempt of court charges for continuing to profile after the courts ordered him to stop. Nevertheless, Joe Arpaio has been elected over and over.

Arizona’s legislature also passed the infamous Senate Bill (SB) 1070 law, which effectively gave law enforcement the power to stop people who were driving while brown and question their immigration status. The law has had a high economic cost in Arizona and has given the state a redneck reputation. Fortunately, the courts have overturned most of SB1070, but only after much of the damage to the State had been done.

According to Pew Research, Arizona had just short of two million Hispanic residents in 2012, just over 30 percent of the population. The number has likely increased since then.

Such a large group should easily have the political clout to vote its declared enemies out of office, but for some reason, that doesn’t happen. Just over 45 percent of Arizona’s Hispanics are eligible to vote. Why don’t they vote in large enough numbers to toss these rascals out of office?

I can only make some educated guesses at the answer. Hispanic immigrants tend to become citizens at a lower rate than immigrants in general, and those who do become citizens are less likely to register to vote. Hispanics who are registered tend to vote in smaller numbers than registered voters in general.

Another reason may be the youth of Arizona’s Hispanic population. Thirty-five percent of Arizona’s Hispanic population is under 30 years of age, compared to 17 percent of non-Hispanic white residents. Among the retired population, Hispanics have low representation. Only 10 percent of Arizona’s Hispanics are 65 and older compared to 26 percent of the white non-Hispanic population. Younger people are less likely to vote that their elders.

A message to those Arizona’ residents who are opposed to the anti-Hispanic attitude of many of our politicians: Only you can change the situation, and the way to change it is not by marching through the streets. The way to change it is by going to the polls and voting.

Are the Days of Economic Growth Over + Free eBook

Are the days of economic growth in the USA over? In real terms, the income of the average American worker has not risen in the past 40 years. It takes longer today to fly coast to coast than it did in the late 1950s, and the American educational system has fallen below mediocre. Fewer workers receive employment benefits such as good health insurance and a guaranteed retirement plan than was the case in the 1950s, By most measures, the economic well being of the average American worker is worse now that it was 40 or 50 years ago.

The American economy has expanded quite a bit during the past half century. Why doesn’t the average American worker get the benefits of the expansion? Part of the blame goes to globalization with the resulting drop in American import duties. American workers are now competing with low-paid labor in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam. Wealthy investors reap the benefits of lower overseas wages, but the average American does not.

It was about 20 years ago that I realized that even so-called professional jobs were being outsourced abroad. One small businessman told me then that his administrative assistant lived in India. Thanks to the internet and cheap international telephone calls, she was able to answer his phone, take care of correspondence, keep track of his calendar, etc. He had never met her in person, but she took care of her duties almost as well as a much higher-paid assistant sitting in the outer office would have been able to do. About the only thing she couldn’t do was to greet visitors.

Do you need to hire a programmer? You don’t need physical contact with the person you hire. A programmer in India can do the job just as well as someone based in the USA or Europe and will work much cheaper.

For decades, large semiconductor companies have not only been doing much of their manufacturing overseas, they have also moved much of their design work offshore. Thanks to the internet, engineers around the world can collaborate on the same design project.

Is it any wonder that so many Americans are disaffected and show that disaffection by voting for candidates who promise simple solutions without considering that those simple solutions may make the situation much worse? Can anyone argue that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are not on the side of the wealthy and would be a disaster for the American worker and a boon to the super rich?

The one presidential candidate who gets things right on wealth distribution is Bernie Sanders. He is completely correct when he says that something needs to be done to stop the government-assisted wealth transfer from the average American worker to the super rich. Unfortunately, that is the only subject on which he is knowledgeable. As David Brooks said on TV on Friday, as best as I can quote him, “Hillary Clinton knows many things. Bernie Sanders knows one thing.”

Yes, Senator Sanders understands very well the economic hardship that so many Americans are suffering, but being president requires being knowledgeable on more than one subject. Senator Sanders seldom talks about foreign policy, crime rates, terrorism, dealing with a dysfunctional Congress, etc., because they are outside of his expertise.

No matter whom we elect as the next president, our economic and educational problems will not be solved. Voters need to also think about the obstructionist members of Congress and make sure that they are not reelected.

 In a drastic change of subject, I’m giving away my new novel, Running for President, as a free Kindle download from Monday March 21 through Wednesday March 23. Click on the image of the book’s cover in the left sidebar for more information or click here.