Democrats off to rocky start; Trump gets bump in polls
More Filipinos in the U.S. are Democrats, though voter polls in recent years indicate a growing number of GOPinoys.
Still, none of the American Filipino Republicans I talked to seemed very enthusiastic about their party nominating a man who had been their personal bottom choice in the primaries.
That makes one poll that gives Donald Trump a three-point lead over Hillary Clinton a bit of a surprise after the Donald was 7 points down in the same poll a week before.
Convention bounces are to be expected.
But usually bounces are bigger. But then I talked to one Filipino Republican.
After the Ted Cruz non-endorsement at the convention, and then the speech of the Donald, the whole thing seemed to fall just short of the lovefest the party really needed.
Ron Falconi, the mayor of Brunswick, Ohio, a small suburban community outside of Cleveland, went into this campaign a supporter of John Kasich. He left the Republican National Convention last week reluctantly united with the Donald.
“Donald Trump did what he needed to do to convey his vision for America,” said Falconi, an American-born Filipino, like me. But he’s far more conservative than yours truly. He’s for small government, low taxes and is virulently anti-Hillary.
It didn’t mean we couldn’t be civil and friendly, and we knew we had something in common. Our “Filipino-ness.”
That’s when Falconi was able to summon up something positive about Trump’s speech.
“He also foreshadowed what would happen if he did not win,” Falconi told me. “We would face an America, run by Hillary, that would continue the failed policies of the past.”
Failed policies? Well depends on your perspective.
The U.S. is on the verge of the fourth longest recovery on record. The stock market is booming. Unemployment is below 5 percent. There are income disparities that make the U.S. seem like the Philippines, but overall, the Republicans should be happy with the way things are going, since they have been enriched.
But that’s what makes listening to Trump’s speech last week pretty frustrating.
Considering the evangelical tilt of the GOP, the only time Donald Trump came close to talking about God in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was when he talked about himself.
“I am your voice,” Trump declared to the American people.
If you ever wanted to speak in tongues, Trump’s offering. And that’s as close to godliness as it got on the last night of the convention, this week’s megaphone for Trump’s megalomania.
Need a definition for that malady? Look at a picture of him delivering that acceptance speech.
After breaking with tradition and appearing every night at the convention of the GOP faithful, Trump’s sales pitch to the rest of the nation began in earnest with that last face-to-face close.
The Donald doesn’t just want your vote.
He wants to gentrify you.
He’s like a developer eyeing a teardown. He doesn’t want to be you. He just wants to be your voice. It’s executive ventriloquism, and you get to be the dummy.
Trump isn’t really interested in governing. Of course, he’s the least qualified to govern. That’s “for the people, by the people,” public sector stuff.
Trump’s no boring government worker, after all. He’s above all that, a private sector guy driven by profits (when he doesn’t use the bankruptcy laws). He’s all about making deals. And here’s his biggest: He wants to come on down, be our voice to help those of us “neglected, ignored, and abandoned,” be part of Trump’s World.
It’s Trump’s message. He’s rich. You’re not. He’s fearless. You’re not. He’s the self-proclaimed God’s gift to brand-name “democracy.” He’s the CEO, a semi-benevolent bully who likes to play by his own rules.
“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people who cannot defend themselves,” he said to a full nine seconds of conventioneer cheering.
“Nobody knows the system better than me,” Trump said, pausing to another nine-second cheer.
“Which is why I alone can fix it!” Another ten-second cheer.
“I alone“? I tweeted that out as soon as I heard it.
I didn’t think automatically of “dictator” or “authoritarian.”
Because the speech was sprinkled with enough passable goodwill. He expressed concern for the youth in our inner-cities and their lousy education; for the blue collar workers, hurt by all the bad trade deals that a businessman like him wants to fix.
And all of it said with a typical lack of Trumpian humility, which is really why he needs his own country. Preferably not ours.
But on Thursday night, in “always be closing” fashion, Mr. Art of the Deal continued to close.
And his best close revolves around fear.
Trump took advantage of the coincidental rash of violence on both international and domestic fronts, and packaged them into a powerful law and order theme.
But then he went a step further and linked the recent police shootings with immigration.
Trump said: “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.”
What do the two have to do with each other? Nothing really.
Trump then bundled it up in a Hillary wrapper and said, “Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration and mass lawlessness.”
Oh, and did you know she’s responsible for ISIS, too?
Reasonable people may be quick to dismiss Trump’s rhetoric. But then who thought Trump would have any credibility left in the tank after all that racist birther nonsense about President Obama?
Trump is refueling, using Hillaryphobia and xenophobia, and telling us his is the only way out of this “rigged system” that has kept you down.
I kept thinking about the ugly rhetoric of the 1930s in the U.S. that led to the exclusion of Filipinos as colonized American nationals from entering the U.S.
That’s the same dark vision of America, only this time coming from Trump.
This week, the Democrats should provide the contrast to give voters an easy choice.
“I believe that Hillary’s vision for our country and her experience will prevail among voters in November,” Filipino American Democrat Irene Bueno told me before the convention. Bueno runs a public affairs agency in Washington and is excited about the historic week ahead when the Democrats will nominate a woman to lead the ticket.
“(Hillary) believes when we work together to address issues facing our country that we can solve problems,” Bueno told me. “She has the experience, knowledge, and ability to work across party lines to get things done as demonstrated from her work as first lady, Senator and Secretary of State… Trump was very negative and tried to scare voters into voting for him.”
Doesn’t mean the Dems won’t be unscathed by yet another e-mail scandal, this time concerning former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was forced to resign over the weekend. E-mails suggested the DNC did little for Bernie Sanders in the stretch drive to wrest away the nomination from Clinton. Is it the rigged system that Trump likes to talk about? Or just a minor distraction.
I just don’t see it as enough to change a thing.
This is a race about negatives. And so far, the dislike for Trump is still greater than the dislike for Hillary.
At least for now. Clinton will also get some love for making history come Thursday. It all makes her a more likely winner when this marathon of Democracy finally ends in November.
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