Here's Where The Democrats Went Wrong

Hillary Clinton scared away opposition early.
There should have been more legitimate candidates for voters to choose. In a year when the incumbent was term limited, the field should have been full, maybe not in the twenties but perhaps five or six legitimate choices. But no one thought they could beat the former first lady. The Clintons, after all, collectively have two successful attempts at the presidency in their resume and another that would have been successful had Barack Obama not shown up. Only Bernie Sanders was willing to take her on, and while his following was near cult-like, the nation just was not ready for a socialist president. In the end, voters did not feel that the Democrats gave them much of a choice.

Here's where the Republicans went wrong. (Or was it right?)

There were too many candidates. That made it easier for most to get lost in the crowd and for one, given the right chemistry, to stand out. For all his blasting of news organizations, Donald Trump’s candidacy was made by the media, particularly cable TV. Each night the cable news talk shows are hungry for something sensational to talk about. Trump fed that appetite by saying outrageous things – yet still being a serious candidate with lots of money – a family suitable for a reality series and little shame. From the beginning his rallies became not just news but entertainment events. The cable stations were there to give him free time so that they, like a cheering section for Caligula, could tear him apart, and then demand more. If the Republican bosses had an ideal candidate in mind, they lost the selection process to cable TV.

Here's what I hope happens

Sometimes those who become president with a negative perception rise to the occasion. You might call it “The Harry Truman effect.” The little known Missouri Senator, who rose through the ranks via hometown machine politics, was Franklin Roosevelt's vice president for his fourth term. With little time to learn about the executive office, Truman was thrust into the presidency when Roosevelt died, yet he a was able to guide the nation through the end of World War II and the rebuilding of Europe. (He also had to make some tough calls with the bombing of Japan and the yanking of General Douglas MacArthur, who wanted to go to war with China.) There are others such as Chester Allan Arthur, a New York state politician and political hack, who was given the vice presidency as a deal for political machine support. He became president with the assassination of James Garfield, but, to everyone’s surprise, was a reformer and championed building a civil service system.

What bothers me though is that other celebrity types, including movie star turned politician Ronald Reagan at least brought some political experience to the office – in Reagan’s case having been Governor of California. Trump brings none. He does have a message, which at least half the nation seems to buy. All message and no experience is a starting point that we have never seen before.

Does the man mold the presidency?

Or does the presidency mold the man?

For the sake of the nation, I am hoping for the latter.




BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book web sites.