Two For Thought

Politics of Change

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin

Donald Trump’s election was a big disappointment for many people from among all party affiliations. Still, Trump opponents must realize by now that he won because millions of Americans were weary of status-quo politics –so weary they elected someone like Trump.

Politics, like every other aspect of human nature, create ebbs and flows of power, trends and movements. Election 2016 was no different. Prior to Trump, Barack Obama (D) was president for eight years. Prior to Obama, George W. Bush (R) was president for eight years. Prior to Bush, Bill Clinton (D) was president for eight years. See-saw, see-saw. Changes like this are historical and inevitable.

Whether Trump “makes America great again” is subject to interpretation and skewed by personal preferences. Trump will certainly offend millions of Americans during the next four years, including those who voted for him. Trump will be subject to extreme sabotage by all opponents. It’s much easier to deconstruct what Trump does rather than construct something better. In 2020, Democrats will promise to do things better than Trump (no surprise). It’s the promise or illusion of change that people vote for.

Whether it’s Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or another Democrat, Trump will have to fight as hard, if not harder, in 2020 to retain his office. Meanwhile, third parties may be gearing up to challenge both, and this time, maybe more effectively.

By Joe Carbonari

Can the Democrats put Humpty Dumpty back together again?  The party appears split between disheartened establishment types and a mostly younger cadre wooed both by an ever-energized, working class oriented Bernie Sanders, and a not-quite-compelling Elizabeth Warren. Identity politics that center on race, gender and sex put people in the streets and grab headlines, but can they win elections?

Barring an unforeseen, cataclysmic event, the economy is likely to tell the story.  Slow growth and a skewed distribution of its benefits lost the Democrats the white working class vote. Automation and the internet have changed things. Traditional manufacturing has not just gone offshore. It has gone away. Robots and cheap labor will win in the end. We are going to have to develop an alternative scenario.

Infrastructure and education are key. The repair, replacement and modernization of our infrastructure is largely local and employs workers whose skills are otherwise underutilized. With infrastructure spending, funds flow to those who need them and produce products and services that are required.  Both standard of living and quality of life are improved.

To pay for this spending we can either tax or borrow.  There is surplus wealth available. If it is not employed on our shores, it, too, will go elsewhere. Social Democrats would see funding primarily through taxation. A third party could form on this basis. Borrowing and bonding would seem less disruptive. Let’s preserve our system. Will the Tea Party cooperate?