"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

2016's 'Gonna Be A Nightmare, Believe Me

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 6
Publish Date: 
Thu, 03/24/2016


“Our long national nightmare is over,” President Gerald Ford declared at his swearing-in, marking the end of the most dangerous constitutional crisis since the Civil War – Watergate.


After becoming the only U.S. president to ever resign, Richard Nixon revealed in an interview his mistaken belief that “When the president does it, that means it isn’t illegal.”


Thankfully, our constitutional system and watchdog media proved Nixon wrong, having investigated, judged and expelled the rogue president for abuses of power and obstruction of justice. Even Nixon’s fellow Republicans didn’t Think Again before putting country and the rule of law before party.


“Our Constitution works,” Ford reassured. “Our great Republic is a government of laws and not men. Here, the people rule.”  Unfortunately, absent this consensus, 2016’s menacing clouds forecast another nightmare.


Today’s revolt against Washington signals voters’ belief that the people no longer rule. Worse, many citizens feel betrayed and villianized by a “ruling class” (elected and bureaucratic officials and their corporate and media cronies) that’s presided over the greatest scandal – an explosion of government, an avalanche of debt and the imperiling of our children’s future.


As government has grown, so have its anti-competitive powers, forcing those who “work hard and play by the rules” to subsidize elites who don’t. Incentivized to invest in political influence, not innovation, Big Business reaps trillions in spending, tax and regulatory favors, resulting in a heavily indebted citizenry and a warped and stagnant economy.


Consider these corporate welfare policies, sold to the public as economic saviors: bailouts, farm and energy subsidies, cash-for-clunkers, Export-Import Bank loan guarantees, Dodd-Frank’s “Wall Street reform,” and Obamacare.


Not surprisingly, five of the nation’s seven wealthiest counties surround Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, with the economy growing at half its 100-year historic average and small business failures exceeding starts, working Americans suffer stagnant wages, job uncertainty, rising health-care costs and reduced living standards.


Yet neither party’s front-runner is proposing to dismantle the cronyist system that’s the source of this despair. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have harvested fortunes from it – she from selling influence, and he from investing in lucrative political favors.


Most worrying, majorities of Americans hold “stubbornly low opinions of the leading figures in the Democratic and Republican Parties,” reported Michael Barbaro in the New York Times.


The first words voters associate with Clinton are “dishonest” and “liar,” while a large plurality of Republicans would consider a third party if Trump is the nominee. Hence, campaign aids predict, “a Clinton-Trump contest would be an ugly and unrelenting slugfest,” Barbaro wrote.


If that isn’t nightmarish, consider the fallout if FBI Chief James Comey recommends Clinton be prosecuted for Espionage Act violations related to her private email server, which he’s reportedly close to doing.


Of Clinton’s Nixon-like lapses, Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward said recently, “It shows that she…feels immune, that she lives in a bubble and no one’s ever going to find this out.”  


Is Ford still right, that we’re a nation of laws, not men? If not, is another constitutional crisis looming?


That the presidential frontrunners are famously flawed confirms the advantage of brand ID, and the adage, “any publicity is good publicity.” Do supporters of campaign finance limitations realize they’re helping transform our political system into a reality show in which self-funding honchos and celebrities are the survivors?


Though Trump has “one of the smallest campaign budgets,” the New York Times reported he’s “earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history.” Wall-to-wall Trump coverage “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” confessed CEO Les Moonves.


Despite Trump’s free media bonanza and “believe me” appeals, he’s yet to persuade Republican majorities who share his supporters’ political, cultural and economic anxieties, but not their confidence in Trump.


“Not-Trump” voters – the one’s he’ll ultimately need to win the nomination and unite the party – find Trump incoherent and inconsistent, worry that his “cures” will intensify the disease, and reject his campaign-by-insult tactics.


Yet just as the field winnowed to finally allow substantive discussion between candidates, Trump refuses to debate, suggesting he’s entitled to the nomination, even if he doesn’t attain the delegate majority threshold met by all Republican nominees since 1856.


Consider that, except for this nomination rule, there’d be no President Abraham Lincoln. He won the Republican nomination on the third ballot, despite entering the 1860 convention behind front-runner William Seward.


Foreshadowing a nightmare from a similarly contested convention that enforces the rules, Trump warned, “’cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”


Think Again – to avoid political nightmares and riots, shouldn’t we insist on remaining a nation of laws not men by upholding the principles that brought Nixon to justice and Lincoln to the presidency?

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I thought your column was

I thought your column was especially tasteful. Reverent without
being maudlin, instructive without being preachy.

I especially appreciated your admonition against trying to speak
from the grave, and your comment about “emotional I.Q.” Very
good advice. We wonder who has emotional I.Q. in our families,
and we wonder whether our wishes, however clear, will actually
be carried out.

A critical time is here. I

A critical time is here. I cannot understand people supporting Clinton, who did nothing as Senator and possibly had emails hacked which endangered us. But now Trumps crew are beginning to remind me of brown shirts in Germany.
If they are the nominees I must still vote and it will be for Trump. If I do not, my non-vote will be essentially a vote for Clinton

We have to get BACK to a

We have to get BACK to a nation of laws. That is the big challenge.

I think that has been part of the angst. The rules must be followed at the Convention with no interference to influence through new rules. The insults between #NeverTrump and #AlwaysTrump people are amazing. The insults have moved way past reasonable. They are unhinged on both sides and have become personal.

Maybe this "nightmare" we may be facing is, in fact, a long needed look at what brought us to this point and how to move forward to something better. Maybe instead of a nightmare, there will be a ray of hope.


Excellent column; coherent in

Excellent column; coherent in every way. You summarized what has been going on perfectly.

I do believe that many still feel Trump is a 'winner' (he tells us often enough), but they are finding out daily that he isn't someone that they are proud to have represent us. Hopefully he'll keep up his ridiculous behavior; the contrast with Cruz is encouraging voters to support his campaign.

Even those who say they will vote for Trump if he is the nominee can't help but feel reluctant to actually do it; may the remainder of the voters feel that negative pull toward the better man.

If Clinton and Trump are both

If Clinton and Trump are both unacceptable, albeit for different reasons, what then is her choice? Bernie the Socialist, Cruz the Constitutionlist or something else. If politics is the art of the possible, Donald remains the top choice.

Pretty fair analysis of

Pretty fair analysis of what´s taking place, but it is not going to change the direction so many of the people she spoke about (disenfranchised Americans) are taking. It´s pretty much a "Tear it completely down and see if we can rebuild it better" attitude. And to understand the reason for this frame of mind even existing in America, look to the establishment.

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