As is becoming the new normal, a ton of things happened in Washington this week. Donald Trump kicked the week off by tweeting out a conspiracy theory, then he rolled out "Muslim Ban 2.0," and by week's end a gigantic fracas within the Republican Party was building to fever pitch. Oh, and that fever will not be covered by the new GOP Obamacare replacement plan, sorry.
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Recently, Salon (not a right wing outlet, let's say) published a series of charts that show how much better the economy does under Democratic versus Republican administrations. This is a popular meme that appears regularly in the news feeds of the left-inclined, such as myself.
Even Donald Trump chimed in on this (although I think he has probably changed his tune since). In an interview with Wolf Blitzer in 2004 he commented that: "I've been around for a long time and it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans."
Today is when America celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday, so I thought it would be an appropriate day to discuss a cultural change in America over the polite terminology used to identify what might be called characteristics of (take your pick) race, ethnicity, or cultural identity. I'll warn you from the start, however, that this is not the usual discussion most people would associate with today's holiday, but rather something which has left me scratching my head trying to figure out the reasoning behind. I will begin with one of the usual discussions people have today, and then branch off from there, in an attempt to relate it all in a loose fashion to Dr. King's holiday.
I've been taking a look back at the Obama presidency this week, so I thought it'd only be fair to look forward today and lay out the possible outcomes of the presidency of Donald Trump. Now, before I even start, I realize this is largely a fool's errand, for any number of reasons. But that's never stopped me before, and today I intend not to make predictions of what will happen, but rather run the whole gamut of what could conceivably happen. If rampant speculation without a shred of conclusion isn't your cup of tea, then I'd advise just skipping today's column altogether.
Donald Trump's impending presidency is cause for a lot of concern among many, including both his political opponents and members of his own party. This can all be boiled down to the basic question of what, exactly, Trump is going to do as president. At this point, it's almost impossible to know whether he'll try to follow through on even the strongest of his campaign promises, or whether he'll decide to chart a completely different course once in office. That's what is worrying so many -- people both against Trump and for Trump alike.
Well, the first presidential debate is a done deal, and as always I like to quickly type out my own personal reactions before reading everyone else's, to give you an opinion uninfluenced by the herd mentality of the rest of the media.
Donald Trump finally stopped talking, so I can now start writing. His speech went on for almost an hour and a half, which was a bit much for me -- especially after an exhausting week of listening to Republicans talk. But that's the end of the evening, so let's go back to the beginning and see how we got here.
Heading into tonight's speechifying, I was convinced that Ted Cruz would emerge afterwards as the heir apparent to the Republican nomination in 2020, should Donald Trump fail to win in November. Now, I'm not so sure.
But before we get to the big story of the night, let's start at the beginning. Today, the realization finally dawned in the Trump camp that they had to do something to stop the bleeding over the plagiarism storyline. A staffer was summarily dragged out who offered to fall on her own sword, and magnanimous Donald pardoned her, saying "everyone makes mistakes." So they likely successfully prevented the story from continuing for another day. But it would have been overshadowed anyway (obviously) by the end of the night.
Tonight, Barack Obama gave his final State Of The Union speech, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley gave the Republican response. Both speeches were unusual -- not in a negative way, but in a more literal "not the usual thing" sense. Obama's speech was not a laundry list of legislative agenda items, but rather a definitional moment for Obama and for the Democratic Party platform. Haley's speech was not a vitriol-filled rejection of all things Democratic while glossing over her own party's faults. The speeches, or at least the general tone of them, were actually more similar than different (again, not on policy but rather on tone).
Once again, welcome to a post-debate column. As always, these are my own snap reactions, uninfluenced by what others are thinking or saying. Also as always, any of the quotes below were hastily jotted down, and may not be word-for-word accurate. That's enough of an introduction, at this point, so let's just dive right in.