That time I helped Trump win the nomination

This is an awkward story. The longer the Trump campaign rolls on the more it bothers me. Time to get this off my chest.

Our tale begins long ago in a simpler age. Phones had wires, MTV played music videos, and quality airlines offered seating in a non-smoking section.

In Southeast Texas, government teachers from several area schools hit on a brilliant idea. Bring students together for the day in a mock political convention. Civics and patriotism would come to life as young people simulated the process of selecting a party’s Presidential nominee.

Seven or eight local schools participated, each sending a delegation of students from that semester’s government classes. Each school would act as a state delegation. There would be speeches, committees and so on. At the end of the day the delegates would select a nominee.

Organizers invited local print and TV journalists who would get a chance to fill space with an easy feel-good story. Principals and school board members made appearances. What a great opportunity to show off the best and brightest building character and preparing to take their place in our democracy.

It isn’t a party until somebody starts breaking stuff.

Problems loomed right from the beginning and they were evident just by looking around the room. Two of the schools, mine included, were almost entirely black. The rest were entirely white. Partly by chance, and partly because they were unusually large schools, those two black schools had brought a large number of students. However, since the simulation was built around the Republican nominating race, these students were generally disinterested, a little annoyed, and entirely unfamiliar with the candidates.

As the process got rolling, earnest political nerds from some of the suburban schools dove in head first, making their case for Bush or Kemp or even Robertson with a bit more passion than the situation called for. For all their fervor, they assiduously avoided the section of the convention floor where my school and another black school had been seated. Apart from a few sparks of interest, that corner of the convention was disengaged, bored and awkwardly ignored, waiting for it all to end so that they could collect their additional class credit and go home.

We were, however, a massive voting bloc. The two schools, if they could collaborate, would account for about 38% of the delegates. Yes, I was counting. The other six schools were divided among the four candidates. In our delegation about four of us were deeply interested in the process. It didn’t take us very long to recognize that we were sitting on a deciding vote.

We began shopping the room for alliances, but we had a problem. It was proving very difficult to unite our delegation around any of the four available candidates. Worse, creating any link with delegations from the other schools was difficult because of…cultural differences. There was tension. Our bloc held a dominating share of the votes, but we were being treated like a junior partner from the administration on down. It was difficult to get someone from the other schools to even come over to speak without discomfort.

We decided to break the deadlock by breaking the process. Screw it. We were going to make up our own candidate, forge our own alliances, and take over the convention.

This was an idea that the delegations from the two black schools could get behind. Being a giant business dork, my first candidate had been Lee Iacocca. No one knew who that was, so I pivoted to…you guessed it.

That worked.

Since Trump was not a candidate and as such had no stated policy positions, we just made some up. But policy didn’t matter much. What won the day was an impressive show on the floor and a willingness to turn the whole exercise on its head.

The organizers had given us campaign signs to simulate the scene on a convention floor, but obviously there weren’t any for Trump. In a scramble for material we discovered that someone had half a pack of Now & Laters (for those who don’t know, it was a roll of candy from olden’ times). It became a vital prop as several of us delivered campaign speeches across the convention floor.

In a perfectly timed gesture, someone would throw me the candy roll. I would finish my speech with the tagline that Trump was the candidate for “Now (catch the roll in midair, logo facing forward) and Later.“ It was a nice trick that actually earned applause.

Earnest participants from the other schools were outraged as we began to build committed support from among their delegations for a candidate that wasn’t even running. A couple of them even made tentative, uncomfortable visits to our little neighborhood in a too-little, too-late gesture. A few of their faculty representatives barred us from coming over. A certain subtext of racial tension began to bubble as our large, otherwise disengaged, black coalition began to see an opportunity to exercise some power.

Before the teachers and administrators could organize a response we managed to force a floor vote. When Trump won there was a cheer. An actual cheer. But the process wasn’t over. More civics lessons were coming.

With reporters and administrators nervously hovering, the organizers scrambled. They were planning to have their faces on the evening news, but not like this. “Area educators lead students in patriotic exercise” had just devolved into “Disgruntled teenagers hijack civic exercise, foreshadowing dark times to come.”

One of the teachers took to the stage to announce, in a patronizing “we’ve received a message from Santa” style, that Donald Trump had called in to decline the nomination. The crowd was not pleased. We had already run over our time. Now we couldn’t go home until we’d finished this stupid exercise. No one goes home until souls have been crushed into a malleable paste.

Our group at first refused to submit a vote, but then we were informed that our class credit was at stake. We agreed to get it over with and nominate whoever the kids from the suburban districts wanted. I don’t even remember who won. I do remember who lost. I don’t think they ever attempted that simulation again.

Needless to say, that memory is a little awkward for me now. My first taste of the political process involved a semi-successful campaign to nominate Donald Trump.

Lessons learned?

****

By the way, this is probably the best movie about politics that’s ever been made: Election

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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72 comments on “That time I helped Trump win the nomination
  1. 1mime says:

    Lifer – I’ve been thinking about your “best move about politics, Elections”, and I’d like to offer two recommendations about my favorite tv series on politics: West Wing and Newsroom – both of which were scripted by Aaron Sorkin. I thought the McAvoy response in a debate setting setting to a question about American Exceptionism was, well, exceptional and rather timely to this discussion. Another episode lays bare the TP and the 2010 election. BTW, McAvoy is a Republican in the series but he skewers both parties equally.

    My favorite movie about politics was All the King’s Men, the 1949 version.

    Break out the popcorn!

    • 1mime says:

      Well, that experiment failed. Just paste the Newsroom link into your browser if you want to view it or go directly to youtube. It’s worth your time.

  2. Creigh says:

    Very worthwhile read from Ian Welsh on The Donald. The MSM never tells you stuff like this:

    He doesn’t want to cut Social Security. Jeb Bush does.  Obama has talked this up.
    He wants full universal healthcare. Yeah, he badmouths Obamacare, but he’s badmouthing it from a position of “give them the real thing.”
    His idea of returning manufacturing to the US and doing bilateral trade deals is not insane, or crazy, except to neo-liberal apologists and people too stupid to realize they’ve imbibed the economic philosophy of neo-liberalism, whose results have been the stagnation and then absolute decline of ordinary Americans wages.  This is how capitalism worked for about half of capitalism’s history. Disagree if you like, it’s not crazy.
    His idea of simplifying the tax code enough so that ordinary people don’t need professionals to fill out their tax forms is a good one.  Jimmy Carter, by the way, wanted to do the same thing.

    http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-obvious-but-unsaid-about-trump/#comments

  3. You know I’ve been reading your blog for about a week now, and it amazes me that for a self-styled Republican, your ideas match up so very closely with my own, as a libertarian / socialist…

    Of course it shouldn’t surprise me because I have long thought that people from all sides of the political spectrum can, when approaching things with a rational open mind, arrive at similar conclusions

  4. rightonrush says:

    http://morningconsult.com/2015/08/trumps-lead-grows-after-debate-controversy/

    Real estate magnate Donald Trump’s lead over the Republican field grew in the several days after his performance at the first GOP presidential debate, according to a new Morning Consult survey, even after he invited a new round of scorn from fellow candidates over impolitic comments about Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

    Trump leads the Republican field with 32 percent of the vote, up 7 percentage points over last week’s Morning Consult tracking poll. Trump’s nearest GOP rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, clocked in at 11 percent.

    No other Republican contender reaches double digits – retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson sits in third place at 9 percent, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) at 6 percent.

    The poll, conducted among a subsample of 746 self-identified Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, shows Trump running slightly better with male voters than with female voters. His support is disproportionately strong among older voters and those who say national security is their top issue; he is weakest among those who have earned a college degree.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Strong among older voters who say national security is their top issue?

      I’m guessing the ppl who check the “national security” box under the heading “what’s most important to me” have a different defition of “national security” then what it’s supposed to mean.

      These must be people who consider Mexican immigration to be matter of national security, which it is not. It’s an immigration issue, not a NS issue.

      For those who ACTUALLY consider NS a top issue, I can’t imagine Trump with his complete lack of political experience would not be their top choice.

    • 1mime says:

      I didn’t have high expectations for the the Fox debate. In fact, I watched all of 20 minutes before switching off to my Direct TV List option. Here is a surprisingly thoughtful view that helped me understand what I may have missed. Read it and see if you agree.

      Snippet: “The debate showcased all the candidates and made the Republican race seem like much less clownish than it has otherwise been, I think Fox has scored a major victory for its party.

      All in all, the evening resembled one of those holiday dinners where you introduce your fiance to your crazy relatives for the first time. All day long, you short-circuit the discussions that will set Aunt Jenny ranting about the Jews, or evoke one of Uncle Bob’s long pointless stories. You carefully approach your sister only when her husband is around to keep her in line, and you seek out Cousin Billy early, before he starts drinking. Only in the car, after hours of threading a safe path through the labyrinth of family issues, do you finally begin to relax. And that’s when your spouse-to-be says, “I don’t know what you’ve been so worried about. They don’t seem that bad to me.”

      http://weeklysift.com/2015/08/10/the-artful-puppet-master/

  5. Rob Ambrose says:

    New NBC poll shows latest GOP numbers. Cruz appears to be the big winner.

    Doesnt say much for the state of the Republican base when Kasich drops a point for saying he doesn’t hate gays (while still clearly opposing gay marriage) and Trump gains a point for talking about Megan Kellys menstruation because she dared ask him a tough question.

    Oh, and the Santorum .gif is pretty much the best thing ever.

    http://boingboing.net/2015/08/10/rick-santorum-voter-support-dr.html

    • 1mime says:

      Rob, just you wait until Santorum breaks out his sweater vest! Then, watch his poll numbers rise…..This race has hardly begun. It’s only we political junkies who are paying close attention (-;

    • goplifer says:

      If that poll is accurate then fully half of Republican voters favor a candidate with 0% national credibility. Jeb! gets 7%.

      It’s not a poll, it’s a suicide note.

      • 1mime says:

        At least Repubs are consistent in their suicide pact….rail against women, deny global warming, not to mention all the fundamentalist stuff they just can’t stop promoting….Remember, Lifer, all those months ago when you stated that Cruz could be the outlier nominee if the pack splits between Bush and whoever else is on second. I am sooo hoping you’re wrong about that.

      • lomamonster says:

        It’s ok, I remember voting for Nixon back in my hazy days…

  6. goplifer says:

    The more I think about this the more unsettling it becomes. There was a lot going on here.

    Out of our group of about 35 students, there were four of us, all male, who engineered the whole spectacle. Two us were white and the other two identified as black, but had white fathers.

    Apart from two or three black students, no one else from our group circulated around the convention floor. There were a few white students from the other schools who made tentative attempts to approach our group, but they were plainly uncomfortable. They stayed at a strange, awkward distance. It was weird.

    And they were greeted pretty harshly. One black girl in particular, I won’t name names, who was a fairly intimidating presence (and a natural bully) was kind of aggressive in chasing them off.

    That kept our group isolated under the leadership of a handful of people. It was an isolation that they seemed to enforce on their own. That didn’t happen by design. It just took shape, as though it were a built-in response.

    Along with a couple of other people, I found myself as the mouthpiece for this group, but I was not expressing their voice. I was using their voice to amplify my own. Maybe that served their interests. Maybe it didn’t. Their isolation, apathy, and their sense of limited options gave them little room for a choice. In that setting, I was perfectly content to let their enforced unanimity be a springboard for my own little ambitions.

    My interests were aligned with theirs by accident rather than any sort of enlightenment. At that point in my maturity I could best be described as an Atticus Finch racist. I was far more racially tolerant than the average white person my age in that place, but I was still inherently and unthinkingly attached to the natural superiority of whiteness. Nonetheless, the scenario does call to mind a potential alternate history. There really was a point in time when blue collar whites could have capitalized on their common interests with their black cousins and forged alliances. It didn’t happen, but maybe we got closer to that possibility than most of us realize.

    And finally, this scenario looks an awful lot like Democratic politics in major urban areas. Black voters aggregate their power under the leadership of a few spokesman within a white Democratic structure and hope for the best. They aren’t getting it, but what realistic alternative do they have? Republicans are too skittish and too racist to offer a real opening, and African-Americans who make an effort to cross those lines will run afoul of the sheep-dogs inside the community.

    • texan5142 says:

      There is a little bit of bigotry and or racism in all of us Chris, I think it is human nature. Having the courage to overcome inherent biases and see it for what it is, is the true measure of a civilized society. We are not there yet and until then …….hell, I don’t know, in a perfect world and all that.

      • Glandu says:

        +1. Let me draw a parralel with 100M sprint. Long ago, Lindford Christie, explained the black domination over the 100m discipline by pure cultural reasons : when a black beats a white, it’s normal. But when a white beats a black, everyone thinks it’s wrong, and everyone encourages the black to do better next time, until he beats the white…and until the white is discouraged.

        It’s not random that the only white that ever run under the 10 seconds limit(Christophe Lemaitre) did grow up in one of the very few regions of France where there is virtually no black(Savoie). As there are a lot of blacks in France, the tradition of 100m is still there, and he had access to excellent trainers, but he never had a black guy against him until he was already a rising star. So noone bullied him “you can’t run as fast as a black” before he was good enough(i.e. best in France while still a teenager) to know it’s bullshit.

        Stereotypes are something awful, because, unconsciously, people apply them to themselves. Spend your time telling someone he/she is useless, he/she will feel useless, and, at the end, be useless. Same if you tell people they can run quicker than others, or take care of their own problems, or correctly program a computer, or so on.

        Those blacks you worked “with” were told they were inferiors and could not be full partner in the political game, and enforced this stereotype against themselves. That’s a standard reaction against stereotype. That’s why it’s so tough to get rid of stereotypes(and racism is a big one). That’s the problem, but I unfortunately don’t have a solution.

    • 1mime says:

      Interesting, Lifer. I suppose you could have given the black students more voice if you had (1) knowledge of their needs; or, (2) they had articulated their needs, or (3) your small group had had time to develop a broader plan. You did the best you could at the time and you were just a kid, after all. The fact that this experience is so poignantly sharp in your memory tells me that it was a formative learning experience for you.

      The Democratic Party has tried to address the needs of Black people. They need to get credit for that. Undeniably, there was self interest there, but I also think the ability to identify more closely with the needs of the working class Black person exists among White Democratic leaders. The GOP lacks both an interest and ability to relate to the needs of Black people. As long as Black people are seen by Republicans as “takers, welfare queens, lazy, dumb, criminals”, the door is closed to meaningful engagement. Blacks are important to the GOP only at election time, and then the focus is one of repression rather than encouragement of participation.

      I have never claimed to fully understand the Black experience, but I did try to understand their needs and incorporate them meaningfully in programs and projects in which I was involved. I submit that Black voters have found that working through the White Democratic structure produces far better results than the cold shoulder they have gotten from the Republican structure. And, I haven’t even touched upon bigotry and racism.

      Where we agree is that the Black community needs to have its own voice, and it must be independent of both Democrats and Republicans. Someone like Harold Ford, Jr., but Congressman Ford’s education and personal family history was unique. I hope he will get back into politics one day.

      • BigWilly says:

        Why not Ben Carson? Isn’t he authentically black enough for you? Jeez, I graduated from George Washington High School in Milwaukee, WI. I went there intentionally so that I could experience the big city urban high school.

        I’m just worn out with the southern strategy crapola.

        It should be obvious that the Dems are the party of lip service, just look at the guy you elected. How much more unblack can you be than Barack Obama? The fact of the matter is that the Dems will promise anything and maybe they’ll deliver, but the GOP promises you nothing and honors it.

        Weed and gay sex are not going to solve America’s problems.

      • 1mime says:

        I think Dr. Ben Carson is a fine man, but he if he wants to get into politics, he needs more relevant experience. Once he attains that, he would be a fine Presidential candidate. Same goes for Fiorina. If you don’t know how to operate within the political environment, it doesn’t matter how successful you were in your prior career, you will have a tough time succeeding.

        If you will read over Harold Ford, Jr’s resume (link below), you might agree with me that he is very well qualified and he is a moderate Democrat who votes with Republicans when he feels it is appropriate, much to his colleagues discomfort. He will have other political opportunities if he wants them. Lifer has also pointed out the value that the experience of being a governor is very helpful to those who wish to seek the Presidency. I agree with him. The experience is relevant and it is good management training.

        Let me know what you think of Ford, BW.

        http://history.house.gov/People/Detail?id=13305

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        If Ben Carson is your guy, then you get to wrap your head around the position that the Earth was made in six days, that homosexuality is a choice, that homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexuality is akin to pedophilia and bestiality.

        A surgeon may get to believe in creationism and not believe in evolution (“And to say that that just came about sort of randomly by various mutations over the course of time, when as I just said mutations tend to lead to degeneration rather than improvement, just doesn’t make any sense,” said Dr. Carson. “So, the very things that they claim are evidence for evolution are the very things that damn the theory.”), but someone who does not believe in evolution probably shouldn’t have any influence on education.

        Assuming you really want to wrap your mind around the above, you get to try to contemplate a relatively uninformed, overly simplistic, and inarticulate set of positions on the economy.

        But sure….Carson is certainly “Black enough”.

      • 1mime says:

        I know those things about Carson but where we may see these views as a negative, BW finds them very attractive. It has nothing to do with being Black and everything to do with being qualified for the job one is seeking. I wouldn’t go to Harold Ford, Jr. for brain surgery, and I won’t support Dr. Ben Carson as President. Skill set is wrong.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct and I was wrong about Carson. I haven’t paid much attention to Dr. Carson but the views you have described certainly are not in sinc with my own. I have to wonder if the decision to run for Pres. was his or whether he was recruited. He certainly is an acclaimed neurosurgeon. Why would someone who has achieved so much in his medical specialty have an interest in being President? Regardless, his views are “out there” and disqualify him as a legitimate Presidential candidate, but, then, having said that, there’s the Donald, so, who knows?

      • johngalt says:

        “If Ben Carson is your guy, then you get to wrap your head around the position that the Earth was made in six days, that homosexuality is a choice, that homosexuality is a sin, and that homosexuality is akin to pedophilia and bestiality.”

        And that these opinions are coming from a highly trained medical doctor who is choosing to ignore incontrovertible evidence that his opinions of homosexuality are medically wrong. This does not give me any confidence in his decision-making abilities.

      • fiftyohm says:

        There are many mysteries in the universe, HT. Take for instance the question, “What holds Young Earth Creationist’s ears apart?”

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        BW because nobody in the right mind would ever vote for a candidate because they’re black?

        You seem shocked that we wouldn’t vote for Carson, and surprised that we voted for Obama.

        Your opinion seems to be “why not Carson? Isn’t he black enough?” Or “why obama? He’s not black at all?”

        This seems a common right wing misconception. Righties are obsessed with race in this regard. They’ve convinced themselves that Dems are voting for Obama just because he’s black.

        In reality, that had absolutely nothing to do with it. We voted for Obama because he laid out policies and values that we wanted on the president. Because he represented the exact opposite of warmongering Bush.

        We merely refused to hold Obamas blackness against him, unlike a huge chunk of the right wing.

        If all lefties cared about was voting for the black guy, then you’re right, nit liking Carson wouldn’t make sense.

        The reason we don’t vote for Carson is the exact opposite reason we voted for Obama: becuse he has no policies, no experience in politics, he says asinine things, and he’s an educated man whose able to comoletely ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence for things like the age of the Earth (it’s 4 billion years old) or evolution.

        That suggests a strong ability to ignore the serious case of cognitive dissonance he would have felt all through his medical training.

        That is not someone who should ever be a member if congress, let alone a president.

      • BigWilly says:

        Ben Carson’s a good guy. He’s not a politician, so you shouldn’t expect the smooth, well practiced, bromides that good politicians deliver.

        I remember when Ford was a rising star. The loss to Coker must have been a serious blow. He’s doing commentary now, isn’t he?

        If there weren’t crass, small-minded, mealy-mouthed, anti-Christ bigots in abundance here I suppose we’d have to make them up. To the moon a-holes. To the moon.

      • 1mime says:

        Harold Ford, Jr is still a star. Moreover, he is a deep thinker, and an independent one as well. That’s what we need. Other commentators have pointed out serious flaws in Dr. Carson’s personal views that damage his credibility. He needs to stick with the knife and the brain.

      • 1mime says:

        Ford does do commentary, but in his day job he is a client specialist with Morgan Stanley.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Rob,

        I think I might disagree a bit with your comment here:

        “In reality, that had absolutely nothing to do with it. We voted for Obama because he laid out policies and values that we wanted on the president. Because he represented the exact opposite of warmongering Bush.”

        Undoubtedly, Obama’s skin tone and funny name presented any number of hurdles to him, but I (as a wacky liberal) feel very confident that the junior senator from Illinois with little legislative experience and no managerial/executive experience would not have been the nominee for President in 2008 had he not been Black.

      • 1mime says:

        If Obama being Black was the factor that you feel gave him an edge, that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because it gave him a special shot at the Presidency, bad because one’s race shouldn’t qualify or disqualify them for the position. I know you agree, but another key factor, IMHO, was the “times”. Obama’s soaring rhetorical skills and values offered hope after years of war and the devastating 2008 recession. In a way, he ran at precisely the best time to have the best chance. He has grown as he has governed, and I am glad he is our President, despite his short-comings.

      • fiftyohm says:

        “If there weren’t crass, small-minded, mealy-mouthed, anti-Christ bigots in abundance here I suppose we’d have to make them up.” – Big

        I’m strongly anti-Marduk.

      • 1mime says:

        Gosh, Fifty, did ya have to go back 32 centuries (-: You’re working my brain ot….which is not a “bad” thing….

        If it weren’t for all the bigots and zealots, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about here! Bring em on!

      • Crogged says:

        Did anyone tell Mr. Carson the US Army has historically low levels of muskets to use for our defense?

      • Crogged says:

        I suppose Mr. Carson is a good guy in that he’s genuinely concerned so many souls are doomed to fry in hell. There are other people believing in Bronze Age nostrums and they are sadly underrepresented in all levels of our government, when compared to the airtime they get.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – Thirty centuries, twenty centuries, Bronze Age, Iron Age, all the same to me!

        Crogged – He may well be a ‘nice guy’, but I don’t want a US president running around with half his brain turned off.

      • Crogged says:

        Well, Fitty, that disqualifies yours truly too……..

        Mr Carson was unimpressive in the debate, except when he spoke of his role as a physician. At one point he caught himself before devolving into a ‘secular humanist progressive agenda Woodrow Wilson fishing is hard work’ rant straight outta Orange County…….

      • BigWilly says:

        Tiamat and Marduk? That’s some highly interesting information. You ever read Velikovsky? He was pilloried in the 50’s when his work was first published, but since then I think some of his ideas have become accepted.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Velikovsky??
        He was a loony in the 50’s and everything we have learned since then has simply confirmed that fact!

        Total loonie tunes

      • fiftyohm says:

        I read WiC when I was in university. (A guy who worked for me at the time was a disciple.) Pray tell what of this fantasy has been “accepted”? (Remember – his thesis was that planetary collisions and interactions happened *in the time of man*. )

        Looney tunes, as Duncan said.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Homer – I agree and disagree with that.

        I think, you are correct in the main thesis that a white candidate probably wouldn’t be anymore then just another senator.

        So in that sense you’re right. But i dont think he was elected BECAUSE he’s black. I think his blackness provided him with a bigger stage then a white guy would have and that was a huge advantage. But getting the stage is one thing. He stull had to take it and run a good campaign on that stage.

        Remember his speech that catapulted him overnight at the DNC into the public eye? The “there is not black american and white america” one? A white guy just couldn’t have given that speech to nearly the same acclaim. Once he was in the public eye, THEN ppl started to listen to what he was saying, and they liked what they heard, and thus, he became president.

        So yes, he likely would not have even been noticed in the first place had he been white. But that’s not the same thing as saying “people voted for him because he’s black”.

        He had an advantage unique to his specific circumstances and took advantage.

        Was George W elected BECAUSE his father was oresudent

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Crap, pressed ‘post’ by mistake.

        I was saying: was George W elected BECAUSE his father was president? Likely not. But would he have ever been elected as president (or even guv of Texas for that matter) if he was just George W. Smith, some guy from Texas with the exact same personality and intellect? Probably not.

        W did the same as Obama: he was given a huge advantage in the form of a large stage due to his specific circumstances, and then he took advantage of it.

        I would say most presidents – indeed, probably most politicians in general – have a similar story, of getting a stage that others do not because of some unique factor that only applies to them. But most of them don’t get elected FOR that property. That property merely gives them a stage by which more ppl are listening. They still have to say things that people want to hear.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Interesting story, Chris.

      Sounds to me like you needed a community organizer.

  7. Glandu says:

    A moving story. Though the question is : what is the lesson learned?

    I’d say here, the important thing, in an election, is who counts the votes, and who proclaims the result. In many places in the world, people vote, but the result is stolen from them. Same happened to you. The process was rigged from start, as the powers in being did decide the result before even there would be a vote.

    That’s why I’m hostile to voting machines. It’s far too easy to make them look nice, until the real day arrives, with some creative programming. Ballot counting should always be in the hands of the citizens.

    • johngalt says:

      Plenty of evidence demonstrates that paper ballots are no guarantor of clean elections.

      • Glandu says:

        Of course, cheating always happens. What is interesting is to lower the impact of cheating. Wiping it out is an illusion, but if cheating impact is below the margin between both candidates, then you can claim to have a clean election. When Putin cheats for 10% & wins 70% of total votes, he’s still got a clean election in my book(it’s also ridiculous, useless, and costly in terms of image, but Russians want him, they have him).

        In France, where there are paper ballots, noone can prevent any adult from entering the counting room, and checking what’s happening. It takes sometimes hours to count one hundred of ballot, because everyone chekcs & asks to recount again. When citizens are implied in the counting, cheating only happens at the margin.

        Of course, if noone cares, the few people counting are able to do whatever pleases them. And if you let “state agents under serment” do the job in a hidden room, the result will be questionable. But as soon as you let a machine count the ballots, you delegate to the technical team the job of counting. That’s the same kind of risk. I did see only once a paper ballot counting here, and I cannot see how it’s possible, about 300 ballots, to have more than 1 or 2 “mistakes”. Each socialist vote, the conservative guy was stressed and checked 6 times. The socialist only 4 or 5 times for conservatives vote(He knew he was about to lose anyways). 3 other people – including me – were counting in parralel to be sure the “official” count was matching our observations. Took hours. Was fascinating. Needs motivated citizens to work, though.

        It’s impossible with a voting machine. Especially an electronic one. I worked for years in the banking area, and the only guarantee you have tha your bank does not cheat on you is the audit trail. Every movement of money is written upon an audit file. So, if you go to the cash dispenser of SoCalledVille and withdraw 20 dollars, it will be written. And it can be checked in case of doubt. And audit trails are periodically checked in any country with a proper banking regulation.

        The only way to be sure that your vote for the Banana party has been properly taken in account by the system is to have an audit trail, that says “at 10h16m42s, the citizen John Galt voted for the Banana party”. and not for the Pineapple party. That’s how they do in Estonia, by the way. But it means, somewhere in a file, it’s written for who you voted. Your vote is not free, because the stat will know(or already knows, in the case of Estonia), what your vote was.

        It’s a Republican blog, here, I hope “the state knows for who you voted” rings a few alarm bells. And if not, then If I belong to the firm writing the code of the machine, I can write in 20 minutes a cheating code that won’t work outside the day of the vote – and therefore cannot be detected by testing.

        Paper ballots have their shortcomings, but unless you want an Estonian-like solution, they are the safest solution. As long as citizens are (1) motivated, and (2) allowed to check the counting.

  8. Griffin says:

    Don’t feel too bad Lifer I’m sure you’re not entirely responsible for Trump’s popularity. Probably. Now I have to wonder if you’re having actual nightmares in which Trump wins the GOP nomination and personally thanks you, Chris Ladd, for not being a “loser” and single handedly using your influence from that class event to help him.

    In other election related news a radical anarchist organization by the name of Outside Agitators 206 posed as members of Black Lives Matter and protested and basically shut down one of Sanders rallies in Seattle. I think that as we’re seeing the political spectrum steadily move back to the center as the right-wing inclined Boomers literally die out we’re not just seeing a return to old fashioned liberalism (as seen in Sanders) but also a kind of revival of the Counterculture Left that famously hated liberals even more than anyone else, kind of like how Tea Party types hate moderate Republicans. At least they don’t show any inclination to actually join the Democratic Party and are still laughably small in number.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/08/bernie-sanders-leaves-seattle-stage-after-event-disrupted-by-black-lives-matter-protesters/

  9. Rob Ambrose says:

    Good guy, this Trump character. Very presidential.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/08/you-have-to-treat-em-like-shit-before-megyn-kelly-trump-dumped-wine-on-a-female-reporter.html

    His own mother asks “how did I raise a son like this?” And his 12 y /o son (at the time, he’s older now) cries that “you don’t love me. You don’t even live yourself! All you love is money!”

    But hey, at least he understands that ‘Political Correctness’ is destroying America. He’s got my vote.

  10. […] That time I helped Trump win the nomination [Via GOPLifer] […]

  11. the starthrower says:

    I am a lifelong liberal democrat/independent. Can you refer me to one of your articles or other responsible resources that will explain the reason for the privatization of all things from a Republican perspective, or any perspective for that matter?

    Thanks for your help.

    I am a life-long Presbyterian minister as well.

    Rene

    • goplifer says:

      For starters, I think that the craze for privatization peaked a while ago. The ugly failures of privatized prisons may have capped the public’s appetite for the tactic.

      That said, there’s a cynical reason for privatization and a practical one. The cynical one was basically to cripple government. Make government ineffective and people will stop pursuing public sector solutions to public problems.

      There are also some sound reasons to look for private tools to solve public problems. Those reasons center around rising complexity and the difficulty of keeping pace with it through traditional bureaucracies.

      Privatization in the traditional sense is usually not a good way to achieve those goals in my opinion. I generally favor markets in those cases rather than pure privatization. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

      http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2012/04/complexity-demands-smaller-government/

      http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/07/how-to-end-the-politics-of-crazy/

      I hope that helps.

      • “I think that the craze for privatization peaked a while ago”

        I would love to think you are right – BUT I don’t think so!
        The people who want to privatise things still want to privatise absolutely everything because the KNOW that private organisations are more efficient and work better
        They know this the way any religious fanatic knows things and no amount of actual results or data will change their minds
        And these people are still in charge

      • Bobo Amergo says:

        Yesterday i heard about privatized parole services. Somehow I missed discussion of this monstrosity in the past few years.

        http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/probationers_prison_privatized_supervision_becomes_a_spiral_of_added_fees_j

        Who’s for it?

        alec
        heartland foundation

        These are not organizations that have anything but their own interests at heart.

        A country that privatizes prisons and parole systems has no honor.

      • 1mime says:

        Totally agree, Bobo. The rate of imprisonment in the U.S. is shocking:

        ” the incarceration rate of the United States of America is the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population” (both in raw numbers and percentage of population) (wiki);

        The fact that America has made incarceration a for profit enterprise makes me ill. There are some functions that simply should not have a profit motive. Incarceration is one of them. This is one statistic of magnitude that the U.S. should be ashamed of. What do these numbers say to others about Democracy? Our human rights? Our values? Our equality of opportunity?

        Privatization can be important but not in this area.

        BTW, Lifer. You mentioned that you preferred free markets over privatization (loosely paraphrased) – please explain the difference.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Bobo – that is shocking.

        Certain things should have absolutely no business in the hands of for profit business in a democracy, and prisons/parole systems are probably #1 and #1a on that list.

        How disgusting to have people who have a vested financial interest in incarcerating as many ppl as possible. And how ripe for abuse to also entrust these ppl with thw decisions on when to allow these ppl out.

        Who in their right GD mind would think this is a good idea? I don’t like to use the word ‘tyranny’ much since it’s been coopted and perverted by the TP types (along with ‘patriot’). But that is the very definition of tyranny

    • Creigh says:

      Starthrower, I think privatization was an ideology for a while, largely based on the idea (still powerful) that “government can’t do anything right.” Maybe Chris is right that this was a cynical attempt to cripple government, but I’m sure there was a big profit motive there too.

      I’m not satisfied by Chris’ appeal to complexity, at least not entirely. The case for privatization or publicization has to be a pragmatic one — does it work? I think in the case of mail and package delivery, privatization has worked pretty well. Ironically, since Chris uses this as an example of complexity working against government, publicization of health care seems to be an improvement.

      For prisons and the justice system in general, and for basic education, privatization seems like a bad idea. The private sector has a tendency to pick and choose based on ability to pay, whereas some things should not be based just on ability to pay.

      • 1mime says:

        I have paid close attention to the U.S. Postal Service situation. The Congressional demands placed upon the USPS have made it extremely difficult for the organization to remain financially solvent in a world with many alternatives – private mail delivery, internet, technology.

        http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/five-things/the-u-s-postal-service/11433/)

        Private carriers are very happy with the profitable market areas they have cut from the USPS. They also readily acknowledge that their profitability depends upon not “having” to perform the individualized delivery functions performed by the USPS – especially in rural areas. The PBS link has an interesting comparison of European and U.S. mail delivery operation. This is another example of America being able to learn from our neighbors across the pond. We do many things right, but we’re still the youngest member of the world’s family and can benefit from their experience.

      • EJ says:

        I used to work for Royal Mail, so I know a little about the mail industry.

        Even when it was state-owned, Royal Mail was run like any money-making business, and had a management structure which was not appreciably different from that of any other large business that I’ve worked for.

        Royal Mail made 80% of their money off 20% of the business – corporate mailings and parcels, mostly. In these areas it was every bit as good as private delivery companies. The remaining 80% of the volume barely paid for itself, and in rural areas it definitely did not pay for itself. When Royal Mail privatised, they tried to renegotiate the requirement on them to carry mail in rural and sparsely populated areas, but weren’t allowed to. The profitable parts of the business got an emphasis placed on them, but there was very little real improvement that could be made on it – it was already at a high standard. As a result, the company wasn’t able to suddenly and miraculously make an improvement in its bottom line simply through the magic of no longer being taxpayer owned.

        This experience has strongly coloured my opinion of privatised services: the way they make money isn’t by delivering a service which is better or more efficient, but by refusing to carry out those portions of their purview which are unprofitable.

        In that light, I would be deeply skeptical of a privatised road system or police force. However, I’m a European whose utopia is, according to Mr Ladd, entirely dependent upon American bayonets for its continued existence, so what do I know?

      • johngalt says:

        What should happen (and won’t) with the USPS is for Congress to establish some basic ground rules: they must continue to maintain regular delivery service to every address and maintain some form of physical presence within X miles of 99% (or whatever) of Americans. It must fund its pension plans using actuarily sound principles. Then get out of the way. I do not need mail delivery six days a week. Three days a week would be fine. Companies with time sensitive incoming mail could pay a subscription for increased service. Dedicate more resources to the profitable activities of parcel delivery (I’ve started to get Amazon deliveries through USPS fulfillment on Sundays). I live less than three miles from five different post offices; that’s ridiculous, particularly since the only time I’ve been in one of them in the last three years was to renew one of my kid’s passport.

      • 1mime says:

        Congress wants to have it both ways with the postal service. Darrell Issa started this runaway train to upend the postal service operation and now there is a real mess. As private companies (UPS, FEDEX, etc) emerged, they did exactly what EJ described: carved out the most profitable areas of delivery but left the postal service with the still necessary, less profitable and most vulnerable functions (lst class mail, rural and weekend delivery) to the USPS. The advent of email, fax, scanning, etc. simply exacerbated the financial losses of the postal service. Fewer stamps (their main funding product) are sold and most package delivery is done by private companies. With the Congressional mandate that the USPS pre-fund of all benefits in advance in addition to these other factors, the USPS has struggled mightily. Issa was eventually removed as committee chair but not before he did real damage to the postal service operation. Positive change improves efficiency; vindictive change destroys. Private business isn’t stepping in to fill the void in those areas that are not profitable, leaving the least profitable areas to the postal service, leaving Congress with a quagmire of its own making.

        Still, the valid question remains – is the U.S. postal service needed, and, if so, what changes are necessary for its survival and relevance. The current director of the postal service has made several suggestions to streamline operations to make the USPS profitable and Congress has punted. (link above) Like many other agencies/entities mentioned in Lifer’s book, the USPS has to evolve to meet a changing society. As long as it provides a service that private companies don’t find profitable, the USPS will be around. Privatization for the sake of privatization is not always good, as Glandu suggested, as there are some services – especially those in the public domain, which do not easily lend themselves to the private model.

      • EJ says:

        The question could be posed in four ways:

        A) Are urbanites such as myself prepared to pay a higher price for mail in order to subsidise the mail operations of far-flung rural people?

        B) Are more technologically-advanced people such as myself prepared to pay a higher price in order to subsidise the obsolete communications technology that luddites continue to use?

        C) Since both technology and urbanisation correlate with wealth, is this simply a case of wealthy people subsidising the less wealthy?

        D) Since both technology and urbanisation correlate with age, is this simply a case of younger people subsidising the elderly (with the implication that when we are elderly we will in turn be subsidised)?

        I have no interest in subsidising rural people or technophobes, but see it as my duty as a citizen to subsidise those less wealthy than myself. On the age thing I’m split: in principle I see it as a good idea that we continue to fund those services which the elderly have become accustomed to so as to help their quality of life, but in practise making the whole world backwards compatible is remarkably expensive.

        Whichever way you see the issue, trying to insist that a subsidy not be extended and that the expensive part be left to fend for itself is ridiculous. Like most vulgar-libertarianism it is, in the long run, Quixotic; but the long run seems not to be a thing that vulgar libertarians consider a great deal.

      • 1mime says:

        As one of the “older” generation (I’m 71 and holding!) – I enjoy technology and utilize it to the best of my ability. It doesn’t come as easily to me as it does to the younger generation, but I keep working at it. ( I might note that patience is kinda hard for the younguns (-: ) and that might benefit from a little practice as well.) There are many trade-offs as we age and if one embraces them, life will be more interesting.

        But, to our mail service system….In our community of about 120K homes, mail delivery is via kiosk servicing a dozen homes in one box. This is more efficient for the postal service, and, as a nice by-product, it gets people out of the house and gives them an opportunity to see their neighbors. I would be absolutely fine with 3 day/week delivery. A book of stamps lasts me forever as I do as much business online as possible and enjoy email communication in lieu of writing letters – except for special situations, for which hand-written notes are more appropriate….that pesky old first class mail approach.

        It’s interesting that you see traditional mail delivery as a subsidy for the older generation and those in rural areas. I guess it would be fair to posit that public schools (as one example) are a subsidy for younger generations…..That’s the way Democracy has worked in our country – one generation paves/pays the way for the next. There is push-back on this concept under the hubris of fiscal concern….yet, who benefits is the real issue. Critically, few Americans trust the messengers (Congress) to devise a fair system that doesn’t leave out a significant number of people….poor track record, inability to relate, callousness, etc. Older people are understandably skeptical about the changes to cherished programs and the motives of those empowered to enact these changes. (I was amused to read a synopsis of the Rubio/Lee budget plan and noted their proposal to remove all deductions except for a new child credit concept and retention of mortgage interest – ( a rather generational focus, wouldn’t you say as most old people are past child-bearing years and, if fortunate, have no mortgage) I do support tax reform if it is fair and balanced, as they “say” on Fox. “The devil will be in the details”. I look forward to reading more deeply into the R/L plan and that of the other candidates.

        Bottom line, once a system is either: no longer needed, no longer cost-effective, no longer the most efficient way to deliver the service, it will either evolve or cease to exist, replaced by the next iteration, and that’s how it should be. I understand and support that – generally. But, let’s not engage in change for the sake of change. Let’s keep the things that are working and/or special, even if they may be less cutting edge. If you really want to test that theory, try emailing your special girl a picture of a dozen roses instead of presenting the bouquet to her in person. I can promise you, your special girl will be much more impressed with the ones that smell good, look pretty, and that she knew you went the extra mile to purchase for her benefit. It works every time. Guaranteed!

      • Creigh says:

        EJ, the original intent of universal mail service was to bring the far-flung parts of the country into contact with the rest of civilization, or something like that. I think that’s still a good goal, not only because rural America is the real America, as we know, but because urban America can’t exist without rural resources. But that’s no reason we can’t take advantage of technical advances. Personally, I support efforts by the Government to bring Internet services to rural areas, which seems likely to serve the original intent better than traditional mail services.

  12. Stephen says:

    I remember a similar exercise years ago in Middle School in Orange County Florida . We held a mock vote on the presidential election. George Wallace won by a large margin. My how Central Florida has changed.

    With the right candidate minorities could if they voted in the GOP primary swing the party sane. And that might happen in Florida. Right now signatures are being gather for a state constitutional amendment to go to California’s primary system where you can vote for any candidate in the primary and the two highest vote getters if no one gains over 50% run against each other in the general election. I think it will pass as recently we passed fair districts amendment to stop gerrymandering by a margin of about 63%. The GOP state legislature gerrymandered anyway in the last redistricting. They have been ordered by the courts to redo it and this time follow the law. Maybe open primaries will finally take the wind out of the sails of radicals.

    Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities are usually fiscally conservative and socially moderate to conservative. The Republican Party can reach them if economic opportunity is for real offered to them and the right balance on social issues can be reached. Their growing numbers and clout does not scare me at all. Living for decades in a minority majority county has taught me we all are just good old boys.

  13. BigWilly says:

    I always enjoyed those mock nomination exercises because I viewed them in the abstract. The population has been tv’d to the point that they cannot distinguish between actors and the act. That’s what’s so bloody damn exciting about Trump. He’s both the actor and the act, whereas the other candidates are, more or less, second rate actors.

    That’s also why the guys like Reagan so much, yet seem to ignore the more troubling aspects of his politics.

    I’m not sure exactly why, but lately I’ve been feeling the vibe coming from the right. I’ve spent the last 8 years in the wilderness, and now I’m done with it. I’ll not be suckered in by “altruism” and “empathy” when I know it’s just someone trying to push some buttons they have no business pushing.

    I’m the other. I’ve been there and done that and it ain’t what you say it is. 75 years of near monolithic support for liberal policies have not improved the condition, materially, of the black race in America. You can point to a few individuals that you have assiduously promoted, but by and large blacks in America are thoroughly impoverished. All the GOP has to do is support the laws in place and fortify their enforcement. The rest will be incumbent upon the people.

    Totally OT I found this article on my FB stream.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25894-meet-the-electric-life-forms-that-live-on-pure-energy

    I posit that there are life forms out there that feed on us, and I don’t mean mosquitos and bed bugs.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Big Willy, I try real hard to decode your comments. To be honest, lately I think you have changed frequency or something. The latest I think is right on, except for this part.

      *75 years of near monolithic support for liberal policies have not improved the condition, materially, of the black race in America*

      You are incorrect in several ways, and I’m not sure if you are trolling or not. First, I’m not sure “liberal policies” were/are capable of making changes your are expecting. But even these changes were resisted and definitely did not have monolithic support. Not sure if you remember when “welfare” required there not be a male provider in the house? Or when you were told that you would have to repay everything when your situation changed?

      Set asides and quotas do not have monolithic support. Judicial programs to challenge hiring practices do not have monolithic support. Even in blue states.

      Yet somewhere something has changed. The Black policewoman I dealt with recently would have been a rare sight 75 years ago and even 30 years ago.

      We have not paid for our sins yet. But we are making progress. And Liberal policies are part of that, IMHO.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      BW, the progress we HAVE made for black Americans was solely BECAUSE of 75 years of liberal policies, and we were lucky to get what we have in the face of 75 years of far right wing obstruction.

      One group of ppl cannot fight tooth and nail against progress, and then when progress is slow, blame the group making the progress.

      I am sure as a 75 year old, you are very able to comoletely insulate you self from the world at large by only watching Fox news or only surrounding yourself with like minded ppl and not having to interact with the world at large (if you choose not too).

      To that end, I’m not sure you’re even living in the same world as the rest of us. And that’s ok, you’re entitled to live however you want. But i get the feeling you are very, very out of touch with the world of 2015.

  14. 1mime says:

    Great personal story, Chris. Good life lesson, as well. Your group was “swift-boated”….Lesson #1 in dirty politics – your group is minority based, therefore, your candidate/views cannot be allowed to stand. The teacher group et al who devised the “Trump regretfully declines nomination” are probably on the GOP steering committee right now in Beaumont, TX. These people never expand their world view. When one begins life with a lie, it isn’t a stretch to say that life continues along the same continuum. As you grew into manhood and became more deeply engaged in politics, I’ll bet this experience repeated itself many times. You’ve already shared your frustration within the Harris County GOP, so it’s a lesson that keeps on giving, doesn’t it? Politics is tough and it can be mean and ugly.

    Doubtless, your personal experiences – especially the disappointing ones – have helped you develop balance and greater understanding in your political and personal views. Many have commented on how they wished the GOP was more like you (including me), without understanding how you arrived at the place you are and why you stay affiliated with the Republican Party. From my perspective, you exemplify what a quality conservative alternative could be. One day, the values and beliefs you hold will regain footing with the Republican Party. Minority hopefuls have a tougher road ahead. If you, as a young, white politically smart and hopeful high school student started with this unfortunate experience, imagine how your minority peers in your school felt. And, they are still disenfranchised and the GOP continues to do all it can to keep them from having an equal chance to participate in the process. For them, in 2008, that teacher was still announcing their candidate declines the nomination, but, he didn’t. President Barack Obama won that political caucus decisively. His Presidency has certainly been a mixed bag – many missed opportunities, some great achievements, but for Black and other minority people, their “Now and Later” moment had come.

    Thanks for sharing Chris.

  15. vikinghou says:

    An excellent story, vividly written. The panic of the administrators when things didn’t go according to their plan and the pathetic tactics to nullify your vote were easy to visualize.

  16. H. Clyde says:

    An excellent remembrance which helps explain your altruism and empathy. Of course, you weren’t really supporting Trump, but “the other.” The reactions of the white students and teachers indicates their reactions to the other. Thanks for your thoughtful posts.

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