Koch Money + Trumpism = Kentucky

Alan Zendell, April 15, 2018

In the last few years, two trends in Republican politics which on one hand seem nearly contradictory, now seem to be coming together in Kentucky. It’s a union made in Hell, and if it’s allowed to succeed, the message for our nation’s future is extremely dire.

The first is the unprecedented infusion of money into local elections, most notably by the billionaires who make up the Koch network. In case it’s not clear what this is about, let me explain. In recent decades, as the middle class grew in number and financial power, racial inequalities began to ease, and immigration, primarily of Hispanics portended the end of white majority rule, warning bells went off in the councils of the wealthy. For the first time in our history, the exclusively white billionaires sensed their grip on power beginning to slip away, and with it the prospect of eventually having to share some of their wealth with everyone else.

That remained under most people’s radar until Koch money fueled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s assault on “entitlement” spending and public employee unions, pensions, and income. He succeeded by catching the opposition completely unaware and acting with uncompromising ruthlessness. It was no secret that the Koch brothers viewed his success as a stepping stone to the White House, where they would have the perfect clone doing their bidding.

Trend number two was the rise of Trumpism, which was not aligned with the conservative billionaires’ goal of preserving their wealth and power, because Trump has no ideology except his own ego and power. And while puppets like Scott Walker say, “How high,” whenever the Koch money men say, “Jump,” Trump can’t be controlled that way. Additionally, while Walker’s meanness and venality are expressed in an urbane, if not terribly articulate manner, Trump’s come out in vitriol, insults, name-calling, and an audacious willingness to invent his own facts.

Regardless of the horror with which the majority of Americans (Trump’s approval rating is down to 39% as of today) react to his immoral lack of integrity, it got him elected, and still cows those in his own party who might otherwise speak out if they didn’t fear his angry base. If you want to lose sleep, try contemplating a future in which a Trump-wannabe strikes a Walker-like deal with the Koch Network. That’s exactly what we may be witnessing in Kentucky.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has the same ambitions, untempered by scruples, that drive Walker. Backed by a legislature that was voted in on the coattails of Trump’s massive victory in Kentucky, he mounted the same kind of campaign Walker did in Wisconsin. The difference is that he’s been incorporating Trump-like campaign tactics and they seem to be winning for him.

He’s more subtle than Trump, but equally dangerous. Consider his response to the Marshall County school shooting last January 23rd. Governor Bevin proclaimed Sunday, January 27th a day of prayer “for God’s comfort upon the victims and their families, God’s healing for those injured and God’s solace…” But on that very Sunday, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that instead of consoling mourners in Benton, Kentucky, Bevin was a featured guest speaker at the exclusive weekend retreat near Palm Springs, California, sponsored by the Koch network. If that wasn’t enough evidence of his disingenuousness, he never even mentioned the shootings in Palm Springs. Instead, he declared to the conservative billionaires, “Let’s protect our culture,” which in their terms meant preserving their wealth and power.

The controversy which has brought Bevin the public attention he craved involves a budget bill recently passed by the legislature. Kentucky, like several other states, is facing a financial crisis due to pension benefits for public employees which have not been adequately funded in the decades since they were enacted into law. Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Bevin has decided that the way to fix the problem in Kentucky is to do it on the backs of teachers and other public employees, and to reduce funding to public education.

While having their pension systems curtailed upset teachers and their unions, the cuts to public school funding were the final straw for educators who had dedicated their lives to their students. Their outrage was so intense that several school districts canceled classes last Friday to enable teachers and school administrators to attend protests at the state capital. And here is where Bevin pulled out the Trump playbook.

Instead of addressing the public schools’ concerns, he tweeted: “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them. I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them [and] some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone.”

At least he stopped short of calling teachers murderers and rapists. Are you still wondering why people like Matt Bevin cause me to lose sleep?

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Paul Ryan

Alan Zendell, April 11, 2018

He said he didn’t want to run for Vice President and he said he didn’t want to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 2012 he’d been in the House for fourteen years, a staunch Conservative much like Jeff Flake, the heir apparent to Barry Goldwater who’d entered the chamber four years after him. Also like Jeff Flake, he was respected by the opposition and viewed as a decent, hard-working honest broker.

That made Paul Ryan a logical choice as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. He was scandal free and generally liked by the electorate, even those who disagreed with his political views. Good soldier that he is, he allowed himself to be drafted, but Ryan and Romney were overwhelmed by the Obama wave of populism from the left.

In October of 2015, John Boehner resigned as House Speaker, and Ryan immediately announced that he would not seek the speakership, instead intending to nominate Kevin McCarthy for the position. But McCarthy was too liberal for the right wing of the Republican party, and once again Ryan was seen as the consensus Republican, and he reluctantly allowed himself to be drafted for a position he didn’t really want.

I never feel sympathy for ambitious politicians, any more the than I do for overpaid athletes who make bad investments and wind up broke after they can’t play any more. The one exception to that might be Paul Ryan. Imagine his horror when he saw his party being overrun by Donald Trump. The two-and-a-half years he has served as Speaker can only have been a nightmare for him.

Of course, there’s another point of view. Ryan was one of dozens of influential Republicans who stood by and let it happen. Trump was a master at dividing and conquering, someone who had no scruples when it came to winning. One by one he wiped out his opponents in 2015 and 2016, including promising candidates like Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. In retrospect, it’s obvious that the only way to have stopped the Trump tsunami would have been for those other Republicans to unite behind the one most likely to beat him.

Ryan could have played a significant role in that movement, but like all the others except Kasich, who held out till the end, he was unwilling to join the fray. Paul Ryan isn’t a street fighter. Like his politics or not, he’s a nice guy who doesn’t have the stomach to behave the way Trump does. After Trump was elected, I and others sometimes described him as weak when he could have stood up to Trump and chose not to, but it’s not that simple. Deciding when to fall on your sword is a tough call, and until we have to make that choice ourselves we should be hesitant to criticize.

On the other hand, when you’re fighting sewer rats you have to be willing to get down there with them, and clearly Paul Ryan has no taste for raw sewage. He’s a family man who has never been able to incorporate that into his value system.

He may have had additional reasons for quitting, but when he said he was resigning to get back to his family and he wanted his kids to know him as more than a weekend dad I believed him. When he said he accomplished what he set out to do, I believed that too. The 2017 Republican tax law was, more than anything else, the embodiment of Ryan’s conservative philosophy. It was something he’d fought for since he entered the Congress. It was Ryan’s victory far more than it was Trump’s.

While I wish he had spoken out against the president’s more outrageous behavior, in not doing so Ryan was simply following the pattern set by the rest of his party, notwithstanding that he was supposed to be one of their leaders. But now, he’s joined the ranks of those who’ve announced they won’t seek re-election, an act which has loosened the tongues of several Republicans who wouldn’t otherwise have spoken up.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse have never hesitated to criticize the president, but they’re not up for re-election this year. Others who are, like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, used their decisions to leave the Congress like get-out-of-jail-free cards, once they had nothing to fear from Trump’s base.

I’d love to ask Paul Ryan if he plans to join his freed colleagues now that he’s out of the line of fire, or if he plans to continue to echo Mitch McConnell, his mealy-mouthed counterpart in the Senate. If he really wants his sons to see him as the moral leader he claims to be, what better way than to call out the president’s disgusting behavior? What better way than to call a spade a spade whenever Donald Trump attacks our basic institutions or demonstrates that he’s unfit for his office?

Please do it, Paul. Show all of us who thought you had class and integrity that you really do.

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Women and Trump

Alan Zendell, March 26, 2018

The other day, a woman friend told me she wondered how any evangelical Christian woman could continue to support Donald Trump after all the credible allegations of his mistreatment and lack of respect for women that have come out. In asking that, she echoed what I’ve heard from my wife and sister as well as from all my other female friends. She also echoed what I’ve heard from most of my male friends.

Recent polls show that Trump’s support among women has dropped from the nearly fifty percent who voted for him to under thirty, but if we’ve learned anything in the Trump era it’s to not rely on polls. The recent election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district lends some support to the idea that Trump’s support among women, particularly white suburban women, is dwindling, but that still leaves the perplexing question, why would any woman support him after everything we’ve seen and heard?

We know that many women voted for Trump in 2016 because of the “Hate Hillary” movement that’s been spreading negative propaganda for decades. Others simply believed, rightly or wrongly, that the Democrats haven’t done enough to assure our security or reduce crime. But with respect to evangelical Christians, specifically, Trump’s support by women in 2016 is downright creepy and inexplicable.

In an era when we thought women had finally found their own voices and stopped letting men tell them how to live, what are we to infer from the way they voted? How many women were still being dictated to by the men in their lives? And even worse, how many had their political opinions shaped from the pulpit? Isn’t that a violation of the spirit of the Constitution?

We won’t really know how much women’s attitudes have changed until November, and many people, myself included, see little point in continuing to try to understand what happened in 2016. Better to look to the future. In that regard, we should be asking a broader question. Writing for the Chicago Tribune last month, Heidi Stevens said, “Maybe it’s time to stop asking why a percentage of women are fine with what Trump’s offering and start asking why anyone is.”

In support of that idea, she said that continuing to ask why so many women supported Trump makes it sound like it was their fault Trump was elected. That’s true to some degree, but there were many reasons Trump won, and blaming the result on women is disingenuous. But more importantly, Ms. Stevens noted that focusing on women’s support of Trump “turns sexual assault, rollbacks on birth control access, gendered insults and domestic violence into women’s problems, rather than humanity’s.” I couldn’t have said it better.

Trump’s behavior with respect to women is an affront to everyone. And while I love seeing women speak out in their own defense, it’s time all of us men spoke up just as loudly. Any man who has a wife, sister, or daughter should be appalled by what comes out of Trump’s mouth. I wonder what those who continue to support him say to their little girls when they see this stuff on television. All of my children and grandchildren are male, but I have the same attitude with respect to them. I’m proud that my sons see it the same way, and as my oldest grandson becomes old enough to understand, I make sure to give him the same message.

Americans have mocked European leaders for decades about their seemingly endless sex scandals. Now they’re mocking us, as the number of women who have publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct or adultery has risen to nearly twenty. But this isn’t just about morality.

It’s also about abuse of power and the possibility of criminal actions by the president. Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying to cover up an affair that occurred years before he took office. Today, the sordid details of Trump’s attempts to cover up affairs with Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels have become the new face of America, not only at home, but everywhere. Is there any reason he should be treated differently?

If you’re not angry and embarrassed by all this, I have to ask, “Why not?”

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Alan Zendell, March 23, 2018

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed on CNN a couple of days ago he said he was sorry – kind of. If you’ve ever had a disagreement with a loved one, you know there’s a huge difference between, “I’m really sorry,” and “I’m really sorry this happened.” One is a sincere apology; the other is a statement of regret. Zuckerberg’s was clearly the latter.

He also offered long explanations of how Facebook has been used by Russian operatives and bots to sow discord and disrupt our election process. He admitted knowing these things were happening as early as 2014 and 2015, long before the campaigns were in full swing, and what shocked me most was his assertion that he had dealt with them by obtaining statements from the principals certifying that they hadn’t violated Facebook’s rules. He even said that when people promise to do the right thing he tends to believe them. Really?

That kind of naivete creates things like the outrageous breach of trust, if not of our personal data itself, that Facebook is guilty of allowing to occur. Zuckerberg is a pretty smart guy, smart enough according to Forbes magazine to start a company from scratch and become the sixth wealthiest man in the world in fifteen years. I’m willing to assume that he’s basically honest, too. He didn’t do anything criminal, and probably no one at Facebook did. The problem is much bigger and harder to fix than simply assigning blame.

A hundred years ago, another pretty bright, honest fellow named Albert Einstein figured out relativity and developed the foundation of quantum theory. A lot of other very bright, honest people (Werner Heisenberg, Enrico Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer, and Edward Teller, to name a few) used Einstein’s work to figure out how to split the atom. Do you suppose any of them realized or even speculated about the planet filled with nuclear weapons they gave birth to? (Actually, Teller did toward the end.)

The Terminator stories warned us of the danger of automation gone wild, of robotic machines with artificial intelligence that developed self-awareness and decided they didn’t need humans any more. While that may or may not be a bit far-fetched, ever since the first commercial computers were perfected, they’ve grown exponentially in processing speed and number, and the result is a cloud of data whose size is nearly unimaginable. All that data poses two serious problems. One is that most of it is personal – everything anyone might wish to know about you and me and everyone else. The other, is that no matter what anyone tells you, it’s basically unmanageable and dangerous.

We see evidence of that danger every day: computer viruses, hackers, ransomware, identity theft, corporate data breaches. We’re involved in a world-wide cyber war, and it’s not clear we can win it. Our power and communications systems are vulnerable, as are our most sensitive weapons and defensive systems. What’s worse, we are so dependent on computer and data systems that a sudden catastrophic failure in them could throw us back to the pre-industrial age. Just ask your favorite techie what a powerful electromagnetic pulse would do to every device that depends on computer chips, including your car, your phones, and your household appliances.

Did you ever imagine that social media would be weaponized against us? The truth is, many of us did. I’ve long considered Facebook an abomination that could easily spell our doom as a society. Facebook is simply data gone wild without regulation or control, and flooding the media with unvetted, unverified, unsourced information could well destroy us.

Mark Zuckerberg assured us that his stable of geniuses could develop tools based on the same artificial intelligence (AI) as the Terminator, that will tell us just how much of what you read on Facebook is Fake News. But don’t believe him. It’s not that he’s deliberately lying, but he lives in a world in which AI can accomplish almost anything. First, it can’t. It’s only as smart as the algorithms it runs on and those only reflect what occurs to the programmers who build them. And second, if it could, we’d really have reason to be terrified.

If the government couldn’t (and still can’t) protect us from having our emails and elections hacked, how can we expect Facebook to safeguard our personal data? And beyond that, consider the cult of personality that has developed around our social media. We all know people who are so immersed in their Facebook personae, the line between fantasy and reality has been all but obliterated.

The revelations about how Facebook has been used against us by people with ulterior motives is a wake-up call that cannot be ignored. I’m not innocent in all this − I use Facebook to disseminate this blog. But I’m thinking we’d all be a lot better off without it. If we all closed our Facebook accounts and tried living without them for a month, imagine what our lives would be like.

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Another White House Leak

Alan Zendell, March 21, 2018

Oh no! Someone in the White House leaked another embarrassing bit of news to the media. Apparently, the president’s national security team “instructed” him not to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election victory, but he did it anyway. Many in Congress reacted immediately, calling Trump’s action wrong and inappropriate. Senator John McCain (R, Arizona) was perhaps the loudest and most pointed, saying: “an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.” Senator Ben Cardin (D, Maryland) added his voice in a live interview this morning.

That’s the story on the surface, but there’s a lot more to it. The disregarded warning to the president was included in his classified daily security briefing. Chief of Staff John Kelly was furious, and an aide said that leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal because of the sensitive nature of these briefings. This becomes more interesting because the usual suspects for this leak are a relatively small list; only a few people in the White House have access to the briefings, and no one outside the White House is supposed to.

The story actually gets worse. White House staff are now saying the president probably never read the briefing, that he frequently calls foreign leaders disregarding the advice of his security team, and it would not be unusual if he hadn’t looked at the briefing before calling Putin. I can’t decide whether it’s more disturbing that the president generally ignores advice from his inner circle or that he doesn’t even bother to read it.

I and many others have commented since Trump took office that running his real estate empire on gut feeling is quite different from governing the country that way. In his businesses he only places his family and employees at risk, and he has a long track record of not caring about the latter. But as president, he must care, and the people he puts at risk are all of us.

If leaking the contents of the security briefing could cost the leaker his job and possibly result in a felony charge, why would anyone take that risk? If the people who regularly leak sensitive or scandalous information from the White House were sworn enemies of the president, it would be understandable. But some of the most damaging leaks come from within the president’s inner circle, which is comprised of people he appointed, and we know that the single most important quality Trump seeks in his appointees is personal loyalty.

That tells me the reports of chaos in the White House are accurate. It says that even people whose job is to protect the president politically have such serious concerns about his actions and decisions, they’d risk career-ending consequences to assure that people know. Very few on Capitol Hill doubt that fired Secretary of State Tillerson actually called Trump a moron. And even if we discount half of what Michael Wolff wrote in Fire and Fury, the fact that so many people on Trump’s staff were willing to speak to freely about the horror show they work in ought to concern every American.

This latest mini-scandal is no laughing matter, and everything else aside, Trump’s reactions to Putin’s victory against the backdrop of his inexplicable admiration for the murderous dictator, say more than the words themselves. Equally inexplicable is that virtually in the same breath, Trump continued to attack and attempt to discredit the Mueller investigation into Russian interference and possible collusion with Trump’s people.

Things look bleak enough when Trump acts outrageously with clear motive and intent. But this thing he has for Putin is even more distressing simply because it appears to make no sense. No doubt Mr. Mueller has the same reaction, which is why he keeps expanding his probe and is now looking into Trump’s business dealings. When every other rational explanation for Trump’s behavior falls apart we are left with only one inescapable conclusion.

Fantastic as it seems, Putin and his friends among the Russian oligarchs may have something very damaging on Trump, and the president’s fury over Mueller’s actions admit to only two reasonable explanations. One is that his ego and natural tendency to react violently to personal affronts dominate his actions. The other is that he’s really guilty.

Which would be worse?

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Under Siege

Alan Zendell, March 20, 2018

“Under siege” is one of those phrases that’s so overused it’s almost a cliché. This week it’s being used by every news outlet to describe the Trump White House. To me, it evokes memories of Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett at the Alamo. (No, I’m not old enough to actually remember it.) Isolated and badly outnumbered, the Texan defenders fought to the end, with Mexican General Santa Anna ordering no quarter in the final battle.

The defenders, who had actually taken the Alamo from the Mexicans months earlier, could have abandoned the fight when it became clear they would lose. Though we lionize the Legend of the Alamo today, it’s really a lesson in what happens when we pursue lost causes in defiance of reason. Is that what’s going on at the White House these days?

Trump seems to be under siege from every direction. One could argue that everyone’s piling on now that they sense he’s vulnerable. But it can also be argued that Trump’s problems are mostly of his own making. Consider: there’s the Mueller investigation, the indiscretions of Trump’s son which fanned the flames when they might have been squelched months ago, the Access Hollywood tape which lends more than a little credibility to the stories of all the women who claim either consensual affairs or sexual assault by Mr. Trump, and finally, the president’s strange affinity for the man who should be his arch enemy, Vladimir Putin.

If he seems isolated, that too is a product of his own actions. His disregard of the norms of governing and his lack of respect for the truth have alienated him from much of his party. Relentless attacks and insults against Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell, and insults aimed at fellow Republicans John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and Lindsay Graham as well as key members of his Cabinet have resulted in the wall of silence that stands in place of what would normally be vocal support for the president.

Trump’s well known approach to accusations hurled against him is deny, deny, deny. That worked during the presidential campaign, so why not continue the same way now? Actually there may be good reason to change tactics, as more and more becomes known about what really happened. The recent disclosures by Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, who was filmed by British Channel 4 bragging that he met frequently during the 2016 campaign with Trump and helped elect him were the latest revelation.

Now Trump is being sued by three women, a porn star, a former Playboy Playmate of the Month, and a former contestant on The Apprentice, all claiming they had affairs with Trump and were paid hush money to cover them up. One of them, porn star Stormy Daniels has now publicly passed a polygraph test with greater than 99% certainty that she’s telling the truth. Is this piling on or is it more a case where, as the smoke keeps getting thicker it’s more likely something’s on fire?

As Special Counsel Mueller begins to close in on Trump’s financial dealings amid widespread speculation that Trump’s businesses may be in debt by as much as a billion dollars to Russians with close ties to Putin, how does the president react? He rails against his Cabinet and intensifies his attacks on both the Justice Department and the FBI. And while proclaiming his innocence and renewing claims that the probe of his finances is just another witch hunt, he expands his legal team to include television personalities, an impeachment specialist, and experts on nondisclosure agreements.

Again, it might be argued that an innocent man might well do all those things, except for the appalling silence from all the people who should be standing up in his defense. Instead we hear references to the need to uphold the rule of law and allow the Mueller investigation to reach its conclusion without further interference. That sounds more like a warning than a defense of the president. It also sounds like posturing from experienced politicians who see an impending train wreck that could take them down with him.

Just as the 1830s Texan appropriated the Alamo from under General Santa Anna’s nose, Trump stole the Republican Party out from under the Ryans and McConnells, and those people have long memories. As the noose tightens and the wolves close in on their prey, don’t be surprised if they are just as merciless as General Santa Anna was.

On the other hand, as Trump feels more and more cornered, what might this paranoid narcissist do to defend himself? Is anything off the table?

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Faded Magic

Alan Zendell

Every year, toy manufacturers come up with a new set of flashy playthings. They’re brightly colored and they promise hours of fun. Our kids see them in TV commercials and on store shelves, and leading up to birthdays and holidays we’re treated to a months long litany of “Daddy, can I have that?” and “Mommy, please buy that for me.”

The promises abound — so easy to assemble a five-year-old could do it; the most challenging and exciting item on the market; so durable your children will play with it for years; and everyone’s favorite – batteries included.

We’ve all experienced the reality, however. The box contains 150 parts, but a few of the critical pieces are missing. The assembly instructions were originally written in Mandarin and translated into English by an Albanian technician whose native language is Turkish, and you wind up throwing them away. When the thing is finally assembled, the kids play with it for a week, when it either breaks or bores them to death. We’ve been had, and we resolve that we won’t let it happen again.

The thing is, that’s not really what happened. We weren’t fooled. Some of us knew all that would happen when we let ourselves be distracted by the flash and flare, like it usually does when we don’t do our homework. But we hadn’t yet learned to not be tempted by the serpent, so we did it anyway.

A collaboration between Abraham Lincoln and W. C. Fields might read: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull, and you’ll sometimes fool everyone.” That’s a pretty good description of the American political scene for the last thirty-two months. Yes, that’s how long we’ve been listening to Donald Trump’s rants and cringing to his tweets. It was flashy and dazzling at first, and in the absence of a candidate that captured the hearts of the majority, the flash and bang won out over the bland and sometimes incompetent.

Many of those who bought all that stuff now realize what a pile of crap they wound up with. They’re the ones Lincoln meant when he (may have) said, “you cannot fool all the people all the time.” The glitter disappears, the brightness dims, and what seemed magical a few months ago is revealed as illusion. When the magic fades we’re left with the tragi-comical little man behind the curtain. And he’s steering the ship.

The fake wizard is still a great showman. When he dons his cape and turns on the cameras he can still throw a mean rally. Like an aging drug-addled rock star, he still fills the arena with screaming fans. They are as loud and raucous as ever, but that obscures a cautionary fact. There’s a noticeable difference in the audience. Every seat is occupied by a true believer and there are fewer in line waiting to get in. The curiosity seekers are gone. So are the disenchanted lost souls who’d been seeking something to believe in because they felt betrayed by the other side. They now know this isn’t what they were looking for. The magic has faded and we are left with what’s real, and for most of the country, it’s a darker reality than they faced a year ago.

With the magic gone, when we look inside the White House we find the same spoiled brat bully whose father had to send him away to military school. But the hoped-for discipline didn’t change him for the better. It didn’t make him any more moral or sensitive to other people. It simply hardened him against the cruel world in which everyone was against him. It made him unable either to trust or be trusted, and it heightened his narcissism and need for adulation.

Let’s hope that next time the parties choose substance over glitz. Conor Lamb showed us that there are a lot of good people out there with both strength and integrity who have no need to raise their voices or intimidate anyone. This isn’t about politics or parties. It’s about being honest with ourselves about how we got we are, and it is definitely not all Donald Trump’s fault. The Democrats rigged their primary and wound up with a hobbled candidate who couldn’t overcome her own missteps.

There are a lot of competent people out there whose principles are strong enough to survive without some radical ideology, who care about public service and understand what making America great again really means. If we can find a few of those who can generate a different sort of magic, we’ll get through this unscathed.

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