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

Trump, Sanders and Our Rorschach Elections

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 17
Publish Date: 
Thu, 01/28/2016



“All the great inspiring leaders and organizations…think, act and communicate the exact same way… opposite to everyone else,” Simon Sinek revealed in his famous TED talk. They “start with why they do what they do.”


Consider how these transformational Whys moved masses to Think Again: “All men are created equal,” declared America’s founders; “I have a dream” – not a five-point plan – proclaimed Martin Luther King; “Think different” and “Just do it” urged Apple and Nike en route to brand domination.


In 2008, Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” mantra quenched a thirst to challenge the status quo, helping him become the political equivalent of an iPad whose novelty rendered Hillary Clinton a vintage desktop. 


As Obama predicted in his autobiography “Audacity of Hope,” he became a human Rorschach test, serving ”as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."


Chanting “yes we can” while staring at Obama’s inkblot, supporters agreed with him that his nomination was “the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless… when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal… when we ended a war, secured our nation and restored our image.”


Obama’s inkblot sent a “thrill up my leg” for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and convinced conservative David Brooks he’d be “a great president.”  Newsweek compared the new president to Abraham Lincoln, and 65 percent of voters believed they’d be better off in four years.


Reflecting on the media’s role in creating the Obama phenomenon, CBS’s Bob Schieffer recently acknowledged, “Maybe we were not skeptical enough.”

The same is true of the soaring candidacies of anti-Washington insurgents Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. In their inkblots, supporters see trustworthy leaders whose Whys resonate. To voters hurt by our cronyist political system, and revolted by self-dealing politicians and their special interests, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and Sanders’ “A Political Revolution Is Coming” are the “Hope and Change” of 2016.


Hard-working Americans play by the rules and resent politicians who don’t. They’ve watched Wall Street and Washington boom while enduring stagnant wages, job insecurity, rising health-care costs and reduced living standards.


Now, with the economy growing at half its 100-year historic average, small businesses failures exceeding starts, U.S. debt approaching Greek proportions, and national security threats looming, many fear we’re bequeathing our children a less secure and prosperous America.

But on what rational basis do Trump and Sanders merit such unbridled loyalty? Even Trump is amazed, joking recently, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn't lose any voters.”


History shows that when politicians are elevated before winning in the marketplace of ideas, they stop answering questions and being held accountable, and then everybody gets trumped.


Case in point: Trump. The reality-TV star now refuses to appear at the last pre-primary debate, drawing plaudits from minions who celebrate his bullying and bombast. Meanwhile, inquiring minds want him to persuade his way to victory.


How would the self-described insider-dealer dismantle the cronyist system that rewards political connections over competitive excellence? If he’s free of special interests, why not end corporate welfare, such as ethanol subsidies favored in Iowa?


How does Trump reconcile his penchant for unilateral action with the constitution’s separation of powers, never mind America’s founding purpose – democratic self-governance of a free people?


How can Trump defend religious liberty while proposing a blanket ban on Muslims entering the US? How does he justify “eminent domain” whereby government can seize an individual’s property, even for private use, such as a casino parking lot?


Sanders is similarly vague. At CNN’s town hall, he described democratic socialism as “an economy that works for all,” a benign vision -- especially for younger voters -- considering its devastating track record. Socialism is a discredited idea because, Time’s Joe Klein wrote, “it dampens incentives, which dampens creativity, which leads to poverty.”


That’s why the Scandinavian social-democracies Sanders touts reformed their economies, reducing taxes and regulations.  Doesn’t Sanders worry that his ideas will disincentive the very entrepreneurialism that transformed America from an agrarian backwater into history’s greatest economic wonder?


Sanders argues “the 1%” will pay for trillions in new government spending, though they rarely do. Instead, they pay lobbyists and lawyers to avoid taxes, and often stop working or move overseas. These are luxuries unavailable to the middle class and debt-saddled future generations who invariably pay when government grows.


America’s founders understood what Sanders doesn’t. Poverty is humanity’s natural state, and free enterprise is the best system for moving people toward productive and prosperous lives. What government-planner can design “an economy that works for all” that's better than the free market, where endless autonomous decisions are made efficiently, creatively and cooperatively?


Think Again – Sanders is right. A few rich people shouldn’t run America.  Hopefully, voters willing to look beyond 2016’s inkblots will insist that a handful of politicians shouldn’t run the country either.




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Melanie, you are such a

Melanie, you are such a clever, provocative writer. Even though I am not politically inclined, your writing skills invite my attention. Thank you.

Good one Melanie. I think

Good one Melanie.

I think America must make an act of contrition:

Oh, my country, I'm heartily sorry for all establishment sins, and I detest with all my heart the progressive Ideas of Obama, HRC & Bernie.

I firmly resolve with the help of Yuval Levin's essay, Beyond the Welfare State, that Marco Rubio will confess the bipartisan sins of our pernicious path of 100 years of progressivism, do penance of 8 years in the White House and amend our economic, political & cultural lives, Amen.

We collectively act out the

We collectively act out the traumas of our early development in choosing our leaders, who reflect our troubled relationships with our parents. Obama's popularity represented our anxieties over separation from our mothers (his name itself conflates the words baby and mama)... and our need for the government to serve as a surrogate mother.

Trump represents a angry reaction against maternal dominance in the form of political correctness. Not coincidentally, his name is associated with our struggles to please our moms while resenting them during the anal phase (TheRUMP).

Trump would be supremely

Trump would be supremely benevolent to all of those who worship and adore him... and who would support his desperate and constant need to make himself feel great again, and again and again.

The hoi polloi, unfortunately, can go eat cake, while those who disagree with him would be sent off in boxcars.

While Montesquieu won over

While Montesquieu won over the thinking of our Founders, Voltaire stubbornly insisted that humankind's only hope was benevolent despotism.

With 30 percent of the population on the government payroll and 40 percent on some form of government assistance, and the remaining 30 percent engaged in crony capitalism, the present "system" will never produce the kind of reform that is needed.

I'm ready for a despot, and Trump looks a lot more benevolent than Sanders. Companies are already fleeing the country; just imagine if Sanders were elected.

For the overwhelming majority

For the overwhelming majority of people, anger and frustration always precede reason and insight. It remains to be seen if the electorate catches up with itself before next November.

The reason the media spends

The reason the media spends so much time on Trump is to divert attention away from the fact that Democrats have gone so far to the extreme left that they are running open Marxists for US president! In my lifetime, Commie thugs with Sanders ideology vowed to bury us and the US Govt trained us to kill them and sent us overseas to do just that.

While Reagan and GHWB were waging a brilliant war to defeat the evil Soviet Union, Sanders took his bride there on their honeymoon! If you thought Howard Dean was crazy - and he is - then Bernie Sanders belongs in a padded cell....along with much of the rest of the Democrat Party! Instead of promising a chicken in every pot....Sanders promise is a fruitcake in every closet! And Hillary Clinton is so corrupt she makes John Edwards look ethical!

Or, in other words, one can only wonder if it isn't a giant diversionary tactic. All these pundits waxing hysterical over the proposition that a free enterprise capitalist like Donald Trump or a conservative black man may become President.

Yes, a frantic diversionary effort to draw attention away from the fact that the Democrats have gone so far to the extreme left that they are running open Marxists for US President. Apparently Howard Dean wasn't crazy enough because Bernie Sanders, who took his wife to the Soviet Union for their honeymoon, makes Dean look positively sane. And Hillary Clinton, whose lies, corruption and crimes could fill volumes, makes John Edwards look totally ethical. Yes, if I were a member of the "protect Democrats at all cost" journo-caucus, I'd be frantic too.

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