US politics, again, for our friends abroad and overseas who have been so kind as to encourage me to post all these updates.
So on the Republican side, it is really all over bar the shouting. Bing, the predictive AI written by Microsoft that has been eerily accurate in a lot of places, has Trump winning 30 delegates more than he needs to win on the first ballot. The purported Cruz/Kasich alliance looks to be cracking and falling apart even before it starts, which is good because it was a disaster anyways.
Whether you love or you hate Trump, you have to hand it to the man: he has singlehandedly destroyed the Republican party as we know it. The list of destroyed careers is just piling higher and higher. People are warning the Republican party to get out of the way of the Trump train because interfering with "the will of the people" would be disastrous. Rush Limbaugh warned of a "Rodney King riots" level of anger and looting if the GOP decides to play shenanigans. And now the actual party insiders are turning on each other. Boehner, the speaker of the house, says that Ted Cruz is the most miserable human being he's ever had to work with, and compared him to Lucifer. They're now infighting and backstabbing each other. (A great political cartoon has Satan suing John Boehner for defamation.) The party is in a complete shambles, and Trump is riding its carcass right into the election.
On the Democrat side, the Bernie Sanders people have finally realized that it would take more than a miracle to get him into the nomination. Though it's mathematically possible, the window is looking narrower and narrower by the day. Sanders has vowed to fight to get every single delegate: because the more delegates he has going into the convention - even if Clinton handily wins it on the first ballot, which she will - Sanders and his folks have the numbers required to influence the policy decisions and the platform going forward. The coalition that backed Sanders is now giving serious weight to looking past the election to the one two years from now, to get a Democratic congress in play. Giving the Democratic Party a majority in Congress as well as the Presidency would allow them to achieve more than they were able to under Barack Obama - who was hamstrung by an obstructionist Congress. So whereas Trump's outsider presence is smashing the party as it is and letting it organically rebuild, the Sanders people are trying to work within the system, and may very well achieve that long term goal.
Let's assume that it turns out to be Trump vs Clinton. That rhetoric has already started.
Clinton has started the salvo against Trump, with the narrative that he hates Latinos and Muslims, would target the families and children of ISIS, and would seek to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. His supporters have already started the narrative that Trump is literally the Antichrist multiplied by Hitler and must be stopped at all costs. One poster on Hillary's Facebook page actually suggested a vote for Trump was a literal vote for a nuclear holocaust.
Even the grand-patriarch of dank memes, George Takei, has led his eminence grise to the affair by saying that yes, yes - he did support Sanders. But "Vote Blue, No Matter Who."
But Hillary is losing the online war, and a real messaging problem.
It used to be that whoever controlled the newspapers controlled public opinion and controlled the flow of information. That's why evil folks like Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch created newspaper and television behemoths to shovel opinion and to control the flow, tenor and framing of information. In the day of the Internet however, it's a free for all. And that's caught Hillary Clinton flat footed. She can say all she likes, for example, that she has always been for LGBT rights, but a quick Google search will show clips, interviews and statements where she has said otherwise: that marriage is between one man and one woman - for which she was roundly booed at the time. Bill Cosby, too - was an old school, old world man who thought that he could quietly "scuttle" accusations of rape by making deals with newspapermen and negotiating things in secret with the district attorney. Now all it takes is a comedian to make an offhand remark about Bill's predilections on YouTube, and now the Internet and the world at large knows.
To accompany a news spot on Bernie Sanders making overtures to the Clinton people, a news station here called an interview with a young woman - a Sanders supporter who said she would never vote for Hillary Clinton. So they did a cute piece where they brought in a campaign manager for Clinton to try to convince her otherwise in the two minutes the segment allowed. To her credit, the Sanders supporter was polite and to the point. Hillary Clinton says whatever Hillary Clinton wants whenever Hillary Clinton finds it convenient: she flip flops on issues when there's a vote for a campaign contribution out of it. Described her as a bloody-handed war hawk in liberal clothing.
You could practically hear the campaign strategist's eyes rolling. "Well, Sanders has been for campaign election reform, sure, and has raised (laundry list of issues) but that's been part of Clinton's campaign from day one..." and went on to imply that somehow Clinton hadn't "made it simple enough" for voters like her to understand. (The campaign strategist was a middle aged white woman, the Sanders supporter was a young black woman.) She then proceeded to handwave very real issues of her credibility and her neo-Republican globalist stance as "attacks by the media" without acknowledging or denying the very real truth of these accusations.
There's an article going around right now on Facebook talking about a very real problem with liberal politics - that people who subscribe to them tend to be incredibly smug and talk down to their opponents, believing that human beings make their decisions based on facts. They absolutely do not. They make them on first impressions, and then seek evidence to justify that position one way or another.
And that's why Trump has been Teflon this entire time. He never allows any criticism to interfere with his swagger. And Americans LOVE swagger. It used to be that Americans looked up to celebrities to live vicariously through them in terms of their glamor, and in terms of their wealth. Now it seems that they're living through Trump what they don't get to live in life.
For a large number of Americans, they don't see this "privilege" that the SJW crowd keep crowing about. They're seeing more suicides, they're seeing more poverty, they're seeing them losing their jobs over a slightly off color joke that made someone "special" "offended". I'm not saying that white privilege doesn't exist, I'm talking about perception here. There's starting to be a growing backlash over political correctness, safe space, hug boxes in general and so forth. Very white, very rural America Indiana saw levels of AIDS that actually eclipse sub-Saharan Africa. The county in question has an absolute epidemic of HIV, because of sharing needles, because of heroin. There used to be good jobs. Now kids are asking doctors for disability waivers in their senior year, not realizing what that actually means, just knowing that there's no job and the only way they can get money to live on is by having one.
And there's a certain level of fatigue in terms of accusations of racism, homophobia, and so forth. There's a stereotype of a blue-haired fat girl with problematic glasses screaming these accusations at everyone else in sight. This is what they're trying to level at Trump now, and few are buying it.
Which is not to say that Trump hasn't said some problematic and truly horrible things. But whereas Hillary's camp are all about what you can't do, no, we HAD to lower Haiti's garment workers' minimum wage to thirty cents an hour so as to get through these other things we wanted in a political compromise. We can't have health care. We can't have free college like Europe that's a total pipe dream. Grow up... Trump makes comments about not only building a wall, but getting Mexico to pay for it. He thumbs his nose at Saudi princes, whereas Obama kissed their hands. "So sorry daddy's money won't buy you this election". And that is resonating a LOT harder with a lot of the populace than the "but he's a racist" trope - which doesn't actually have any proof.
These accusations stem from him wanting a ban on importing "Syrian refugees" until we figure out how not to have them the same problem for the US as they have been in parts of Europe - burning cars, raping women, and causing massive spikes in crime leading to police "no-go" areas. Or not allowing illegal immigration - in other words, enforcing the law as it's written. When Kasich and Cruz decided to collude, Trump had a field day. "I'm a businessman. If I collude with other businessmen, I go to jail. But of course, for Washington insiders, it's a totally different set of rules, right?" The fact that Hillary Clinton rolls her eyes still when that problematic email server gets mentioned is going to be a big problem for her. It could be argued that she genuinely believes she's above the law.
And Trump's message is: "To these people laws only matter when they hurt you. Illegals don't have to follow them, criminals from other countries are coddled. Only you get to lose your job."
On paper, Clinton is the clear choice. She has the experience, she has the connections, she has the smarts for the job. She's been Secretary of State for goodness' sake. She's lived in the White House and seen firsthand what being President is about.
But she and her campaign have one hell of a messaging problem. And talking down to people isn't going to work in America. It didn't endear them to former Sanders voters when they described the "Bernie or Bust" people as tantrum throwing petulant children. Telling a young woman on the air that maybe Hillary didn't dumb things down enough for her isn't exactly what endears you to the public either.
There's a very facile reading of this that says that Americans are fat, cheeseburger chewing cretins who love imbeciles like George W. Bush. The truth of the matter is far more nuanced than that.