Thirteen years ago, long before I would even think of creating this newsblog Paroles d’Actu, I decided to attempt to contact candidates to the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election : what was their background, why they were running, their feelings about France at a time of diplomatic tensions between our two countries over the Iraq war. I’ve always tried to find out how the Internet could be used to reach out to people from distant places, to chat, exchange with them about our countries, about politics and life. I was 18 and half at that time, and the U.S. ranked well among those places I hoped to see and « meet » oneday. I truly liked English courses at school ; politics and especially U.S. presidential politics have been of great interest to me for about the last twenty years. This 2003 experience strengthened my will to go on in my way of never giving up to a border/ocean or prejudice limit. I’ve still not seen the U.S. yet, but I have kept precious and faithful contacts from my several articles with voices from America. Some of them are still here, for this 2016 article ; letting people speak their mind, building altogether a patchwork of ideas which can tell the reader something about the state of a country, maybe the state of its union, this is what this article is about. Merci à vous tous, « old » or new contacts, for having, among the many persons I contacted, accepted to share your views about this... strange election, « starring » two massively disliked - yet in few ways comparable - candidates, something we can see pretty well here ! Paroles d’Actu exclusive report. Par Nicolas Roche.

To be read, also in Paroles d’Actu, the texts of the interviews I had in French (Google-translated here) with specialists of the U.S. Nicole Bacharan (january), Thomas Snegaroff (august), André Rakoto and Nicole Vilboux (september), and Lauric Henneton (october).

 

A PAROLES D’ACTU REPORT

AMERICANS VOTE ’16

Tale of a fractured country ?

Trump Clinton bis

Src. : http://www.capitalemonde.com

 

 

« A long, far too long electoral season... »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

I am 52 years old, single, a member of the Green Party of Ohio, self-employed, and a massive football (soccer) fanatic. I enjoy walking as often as I can. I am a sports fan in general, watching ice hockey, Formula One, baseball, horse racing, etc. as often as possible. I still watch the Tour de France, but only to see the spectacular countryside and the gorgeous little villages and old châteaux, not to watch the dopers ride their bicycles anymore. I listen to jazz mostly, but like old rock and classical music, as well as some reggae, Latin (salsa, bachata, etc.) and folk music, not just U.S. but African (Malian especially) and Irish, especially, also. I read the New York Times every day, and prefer Al Jazeera English and PBS (in the U.S.) for my world news. I studied Economic and Social Development (with a focus on Africa) in graduate school.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

6. He tried to improve the country, and got minimal help from Congress, and then (after the Republicans took full control of Congress) no help whatsoever from Congress. He is an intelligent, thoughtful man. I did not vote for him either time. Given the political climate in Washington, I doubt that anyone could do a much better job if he or she was of the minority party in Congress like he is. Having said that, his weakness on the issue of closing Guantanamo Bay prison was a major disappointment, and his expansion of the drone killing of suspected terrorists has been an abomination. For someone who professes to want to eliminate nuclear weapons, he did not expend much energy in opposing the shameful, wasteful renewal of the U.S. military’s nuclear arsenal. Obamacare has certainly helped some people, but it is a needlessly-super-complicated program, whose primary beneficiaries are the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. He over-promised and under-delivered, just like most U.S. presidents have.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ?

Yes and no. There have been some improvements for certain Americans. Many of the already wealthy are now even wealthier. Many people who previously did not have health insurance now have it, but many of them are poorly covered and at great expense. Things have improved considerably for LGBTQ people (they can marry now, and are generally either more accepted (or perhaps tolerated is the better word) than they were 8 years ago, I believe). Our employment situation is better for a narrow band of Americans - far too many remain un- and under-employed. Race relations have worsened, we still have a monumental gun violence problem, and we have become, sadly, a more insular and frightened populace.

Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

No. That is a reflection of a number of systemic problems that we refuse to address. Our politics is extraordinarily dysfunctional, captured by a narrow band of wealthy individuals and numerous multinational corporations. We believe most world problems have a military solution. We have not gotten serious about climate change. We do not embrace collective responses to pressing world problems until we are backed into a corner. We, like many nations, have a vocal, selfish xenophobic minority that longs for days that never were, and ought never to be. We are not good at embracing diversity, and only do so grudgingly or when forced to (by a court order, for instance). I get the impression that many people outside America laugh at our love of guns.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

Embarrassed, depressed, exasperated, demoralized, disappointed. The season is also far, far too long. It should be six weeks at the most, probably more like one month.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Clinton yes, Trump no. But we have had unqualified presidents before, like George W. Bush. Trump could succeed as president, because an awful lot of what goes into being president is the province of one’s cabinet, Congress, the states and municipalities, and of course, foreign actors. Bush was saved from making a total idiot of himself by 11 September 2001. Of course, many of his subsequent decisions were immoral and criminal, but no one was given much leeway to criticize him after that day, and it got to be where every terrible decision he made was accepted as being the work of almighty God himself.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

I believe Clinton will win, but Republicans will maintain control of both houses of Congress. In other words, almost the worst possible outcome, but not quite.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

Climate change, the refugee problem, intractable wars (in places like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine), terrorism (especially by disaffected Americans inspired by “the Islamic State” and Al Qaeda), the unwillingness of the superwealthy to accept less so that our economic inequality problem can improve, race relations, gun violence.

by Tom Rizzo, Sep. 21

 

Then came election day...

« We weren’t together before the election, why

on earth would we come together after it ? » 

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

Depressed. The Republican agenda is not one that represents my political beliefs. Any day misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, dishonesty, and personal attack wins is a sad day. I am an environmentalist. Most Republicans don’t even believe in global warming ! I am a human rights advocate. Trump expressed his fondness for waterboarding. How would you feel ?

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

Come together ? Are you serious ? We weren’t together BEFORE the election, why on earth would we come together after it ? Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (the Senate Majority Leader) set the tone, I feel, when he said in 2010 that « the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president ». And in August 2016, speaking of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court (to fill the vacancy caused by Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016), he said, « One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ’Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.’ » That’s the sort of “come together” I would hope the Republicans would practice. I want the Democrats to not participate in the confirmation of Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. But that isn’t like them. They got opposed at every turn when Obama was the president, I expect them to roll over like they did for George W. Bush now that they’ve lost the White House again.

In the most honest way possible, can you say now, as an American, that in spite of your feelings about him, Donald Trump can and "will" be your President ?

The President of the United States represents the wealthy people in the world and the corporate paymasters who provide the money which makes the political system work. Trump will be no more “my president” than any of the others were. Presidents pretend to represent the little people in America. The proof that they actually do not is rather abundant, and perhaps is the reason why so many American voters expressed “anger” about the state of affairs here. Trump has comported himself like a spoiled, juvenile blowhard ever since I first heard of him. Maybe the presidency will prompt him to finally grow up a little bit, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Nov. 10

 

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Marianne_Dagher

« I’m a Conservative. But Trump does not

represent my party. So, I have no party... »

(...) I am Marianne Dagher, I live in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I am 72 years old and live alone. My religion is Christian and my political leaning is Conservative.

I would rate Obama at a one. He has done nothing but harm to the country. We are at each other’s throats, and we just can’t be a country in this way.

The country is not better off than it was 8 years ago. We have lost respect for each other as a result of Obama’s divisiveness. We are poorer and our economy has not improved. We produce much less. The national debt is trillions of dollars which we can never repay and yet the government is on a spending tear. Welfare is at a peak before it will have to collapse. We cannot support over half the nation. Obama has fueled racist animosity which has spilled into the street. Looting and shooting police are the result. Moslems hold key positions in the government while Christianity is considered a plague. The US sovereignty is being eagerly given to a one-world government.

About global warming, no proof at all. About terrorist attacks, one a day nowadays. But we are to fear global warming and ignore Moslem terrorism if we are to be good little Americans.

I’m not very thrilled with the global stage either. But in many instances, Obama has been ridiculed and mocked. He apologizes for having to govern such a reprobate country everywhere he goes, and people say what ? What the heck ? Who is this guy ? Not good.

I was whole-heartedly behind Ted Cruz. Trump childishly concocted transparent lies about Cruz, which everyone should have recognized as a failure from a failure. Therefore Trump does not represent my party. So I have no party.

Hillary would be the worst president ever. She is not acquainted with truth in any way. She is startingly unwell and corrupt. She will sell this country to the highest bidder. I have no choice in this election.

Trump will win the election and we can rebuild. He is a liberal who will have to please Conservatives. He really only pleases himself.

Nicolas, the challenges this country faces are identity issues. Supreme Court justices. We have to regain sovereignty and defend it to the point of being xenophobic. Diversity is creating a disaster. Political correctness will destroy everything our founding fathers tried to establish. Thanks for letting me vent.

by Marianne Dagher, Sep. 21

Oct. 25 Update : I can now understand the need in our country for Trump in these times. As a Christian, I see hope in his strength. What was holding me back were his adherents on Facebook and people I’d meet who were harsh and strident and oppressive in their support for Trump. But I was able to think beyond that stumbling block and just concentrate on the pure issues. And it all fell into place. So now I will be proud to vote for and support Trump.

 

Then came election day...

« We are opposites, with Hillary, but she has

spoken words that can unite us all if heeded »

I am very happy with the results Nicolas. But very surprised as well, because the polls had Clinton winning and the electoral college out of reach. But I hoped Trump would win. I voted for him but my state did not.

Right now the polarization is leading to riots, which is so foolish and harmful. Trump supporters would never behave this way. There’s nothing to do but accept Trump and try to make America great.

Hillary has been gracious in her congratulations and has spoken words that can unite us all if they will be heeded. Hillary ran a good campaign and many were deeply moved by her candidacy. She has had a long successful career and is very intelligent. As a person I don’t care for her at all. We are opposites and she wants to do everything I can never want done like abortion. Women’s rights and rights of illegals and those of different sexual predilections. The Constitution gives freedom to all. No need to make special conditions.

Nov. 10

 

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Paul Broussard

« Economically, we are in a

very fragile position »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

Certainly. My name is Paul Broussard, and I’m a first year graduate student pursuing a Masters of Public Administration. Politically I’m an independent ; I tend to lean more Libertarian when it comes to the economy, and then a mix of Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic views when it comes to social issues.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

Assigning a numerical rating to a question as complex as that is certainly not easy. Relative to how other presidents in the past few decades or so have performed, I’d say he’s been average, so I’ll go with a 5. There are some things he has done that I absolutely support : pursuing alternative energy and being... reasonably restrained with foreign policy. On the other hand, he’s been shown to be disconcertingly corrupt in some very important dealings : with the exertion of executive privilege over Operation Fast and Furious documents as the prime example.

I’m also more than a little concerned with the direction the economy is heading : while employment is admittedly rising, the sheer amount of debt we’ve accumulated and the level which we’ve had to lower interest rates to in order to achieve recovery means we have very little wiggle room should another recession occur soon.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Technically yes to the former, although that’s largely because the economy was tanking eight years ago after the mortgage market collapsed. I would say the amount of respect it has has remained the same, though its authority has diminished somewhat with recent pushes by both Russia and China.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

I honestly feel bad for ever thinking that we couldn’t do worse than Romney and Obama (the 2012 election). If there’s a silver lining, it’s that perhaps the sheer dislike Americans have for these two candidates will finally inspire a decent showing for a third party candidate such as Gary Johnson, which could pave the way for greater third party representation in the years to come.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Absolutely not and absolutely not. Assuming you believe everything she has said, Clinton somehow managed to forget what the symbol for "confidential documents" was while serving as secretary of State and hired the person who admitted to attempting to rig the Democratic primary. Additionally, she has been shown to have lied on numerous occasions, such in regards to the number of mobile devices she kept, the types of emails she kept and sent on a private server, and whether she turned over all emails that were stored on said private server. And that’s not even taking into account the allegations of what her foundation has done. At the very least, she is a grossly incompetent liar with an extremely selective memory.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has quite literally proposed to pay off the entire American debt by printing $20 trillion. I shouldn’t even have to elaborate past that point as long as post-World War I Germany hasn’t been erased from the history books, but I will. He publicly insulted a rival candidate’s wife, he somehow believes he will be able to force the Mexican government to pay for a wall spanning the US-Mexico border, and he’s repeatedly lied about some of the most easily checked things in existence (such as his claim that the NFL once wrote a letter to him regarding the presidential debates). At least Hillary has the intelligence to only lie about things that can’t be disproven within a few days.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

If I had to bet, I’d wager on Clinton winning the presidency, the Democrats retaking the Senate, and the Republicans retaining control of the House. I would not put much money on that, however.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

The next economic recession, provided it occurs in that timeframe. America (and much of Europe) has pushed and kept its interest rates as low as they can go. Should another recession occur, there is nothing that monetary policy can do to alleviate the circumstances. Economically, we are in a very fragile position, and I fear that while the 2008 collapse was bad, the next one will be much, much worse.

If the next recession does not occur in the next 8 years, I would argue our national debt, despite the fact that that will almost assuredly be ignored. Even if you believe that we will never have to pay it off (which certainly seems to be the attitude our politicians are taking across the board), the interest rate on the debt will begin to significantly cut into GDP over the next four years. At the present rate, the annual interest payment on debt will reach nearly $1 trillion in ten years time, and if no significant changes are made to that over the next 4-8 years, economic growth will be substantially hindered.

by Paul Broussard, Sep. 28

 

Then came election day...

« It’s hard to imagine anyone being able

to mend the deep divides of the past few years »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

In regards to Trump winning, I’m pretty neutral, all things considered. Perhaps that’s something of an odd response in the midst of all the enthusiasm and despair that seems to be all over the news now, but having accepted that our next president was going to be utterly unqualified months ago, the fact that we know which unqualified person it is doesn’t affect my feelings much. However, I am disappointed is that third parties missed a golden opportunity to finally get themselves over the 5% threshold and begin receiving federal funding; I had hoped this would be the year where at least the Libertarian party finally started to move into the spotlight.

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

No, I’m not. As is the case with the UK and Germany, there’s a very deep political divide, but what I find most interesting is that there’s a large moral divide too. A number of very sensitive issues, such as abortion and transexual rights factored into this race, and on that level both sides are utterly convinced that the other is simply morally wrong. Compromise is extremely rare around these issues because both sides believe they are fighting against "evil". Some of the biggest Supreme Court cases over the next few years will be dealing with challenges to state-imposed abortion restrictions, and whether transexual students have the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, so these controversial issues certainly going away anytime soon. And these issues breed resentment, making compromise on other issues that much more difficult. For what it’s worth, though, that would be the same under quite possibly any president. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to mend the deep divides of the past few years, so at the very least, that part won’t be Trump’s fault.

In the most honest and balanced way possible, how would you assess Hillary Clinton’s impact and legacy on American politics, and how do you feel about her as a person ?

She’ll certainly be a divisive figure, with depictions changing depending on which side of the aisle you ask. To Republicans, she’ll always be a corrupt liar who should have at least been forced to deal with some impactful consequences for her various mistakes as secretary of state. To most Democrats, she’ll be a symbol to rally around, a martyr of sorts that was viciously attacked by the alt-right movement. Long term, however, I suspect that what she’ll best be known for is the DNC scandal that involved Debbie Wascherman-Schultz rigging the primary to have her elected over Bernie Sanders. While Clinton probably didn’t need the "help" to win the primary, as she had a sizeable lead with pledged superdelegates already, the very fact that the primary was being influenced by the party itself was enough to turn a large number of Sanders supporters away from Clinton and possibly cost her the election.

In the most honest way possible, can you say now, as an American, that in spite of your feelings about him, Donald Trump can and "will" be your President ?

Regardless of my feelings about him, yes, he will be my president. The presidency is not something that depends on whether you approve of the candidate, despite what Twitter might have you believe.

Nov. 10

 

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Katie White 

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Katie White, 36 years ; I’ve been married for 14 years to my husband Scott, firefighter. I’ve been a teacher in the public sector for the last 13 years and all of my schools are « Title One ». I have 3 children : Eric 14, Macy 10, and Cami 4. I’m an avid supporter for health and exercise and encourage those around me to do the same. Religiously, I’m a faithful Roman Catholic. Politically, I consider myself a Constitutional Conservative.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?
1.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

No, we are far worse. And we are absolutely not respected anymore.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

I’m nervous ! Hillary is so corrupt and blatantly lies without remorse that I’m concerned she’s already figured out a way to rig this election.

I’m hopeful for Trump because he’s completely anti-establishment and not politically correct. I think it’s what this country needs. However, I’d like to see him articulate himself better.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Hillary : absolutely NOT. She’s corrupt, lies, lies about lying, risks our national security, makes statements about American finances that are Communist in nature, allowed our men in Benghazi to die, deleted 33,000 emails that were on a fraudulent private server, etc. Her history with George Soros is frightening and alarming and that policy and thinking has no place in America. And the fact that she wants to bring three times as many Syrian refugees here as Obama causes great concern.

Donald Trump lacks tact and political correctness, but that has never bothered me. I like that he calls things as he sees it and without apology. I agree with his sentiment that we need a wall on our Southern border. He’s a successful business man and knows how to create jobs and make money ; both of which we need right now. He’s pro-Constitution and believes in growing out military and supporting our police force. I believe he values hard work and effort and thoroughly supports capitalism and Americanism. All of these things this country needs now.

When I vote, I consider 3 things : national security, national debt, constitutional rights. I do not care about social ideas or promise because without the above three, those things no longer matter.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

Unless Hillary has already rigged the election (which honestly frightens me) I believe Trump will be our President. I believe Congress will continue its Republican hold for 2 more years, maybe longer depending on who becomes President and what strides this country makes.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

Paying down our national debt and bringing together the divide that Obama has bred.

by Katie White, Sep. 30

 

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Vytas Aukstuolis

« The United States is at a point where

we can start discussing better policing »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

Hi, my name is Vytas and I am an American born and raised in Ohio. In 2012, I had my first real political experience when I campaigned for President Obama at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve always had liberal views, but I’ve been a Democrat since 2012.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

I would give President Obama a 9 on the scale. He has pushed for policies that have spurred economic growth in the United States such as the Affordable Care Act, the economic stimulus package of 2008, and has pushed for the Tran-Pacific Partnership which would increase trade with Pacific countries. There have been times when the country needed a leader such as after the shooting of an A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina where President Obama led those in attendance with “Amazing Grace”. There have been times when the country needed people with strong policy backgrounds, such as when the office of Secretary of State John Kerry halted the ability for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. As president he was not perfect, including his policy on using drones. Even if an individual hasn’t been attacked by a drone, one can be traumatized by the stress of wondering if a drone may suddenly demolish their home.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ?

For most Americans, the United States is better off than where it was 8 years ago. The crime has been reduced, more jobs have been created, the unemployment rate has been reduced, the prison population has started to decline, and even the Cleveland Cavaliers finally won an NBA championship - this can’t be credited towards any governmental policies, but I believe the championship has benefited the United States and in particular my home state of Ohio. There are still major issues that need to be solved, but the United States is at a point where we can start discussing better policing, how to reduce the incarcerated population, how to reduce the wage differences among genders, how to reduce sexual harassment and assault, and how to start decreasing costs of higher education.

Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

8 years ago, many people in NATO countries were upset that they were dragged into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I like to think that amends have been made between NATO countries and the United States, especially with the United States contributing to the defense of some NATO allies in Europe. Other Pacific countries have felt that the United States deserved enough respect to enter into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which may have not occurred 8 years ago. I believe that the United States lost few allies in the last 8 years, and gained many stronger relationships with many world countries.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

I am a fan of Secretary Hillary Clinton. I believe in a strong understanding of policy, and believe that she can lead a group of people to push for sound policy, even if it does not have popular support. For example, there is a move by some businesses to defer their property gains tax by using “like-kind exchanges”. It’s a confusing process, but I believe it benefits large businesses who can take advantage of the exchanges and hurts small businesses and average taxpayers. Essentially nobody cares about these exchanges other than the businesses who take advantage of these exchanges. Secretary Clinton took a stand against the exchanges and vowed to end them without having any political support behind her stance. She is just doing the right thing.

On the other hand, I would be shocked to learn that any of the other 3 presidential candidates know anything about these exchanges, and I know they have not made any statements regarding them. Essentially, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson do not understand real policy very well, and would never be able to lead Americans through complicated policy questions.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Secretary Clinton is absolutely fit to be president, having spent many of the last 24 years close to the position. If the goal of government is to push policies that will reduce suffering and increase wealth, then Secretary Clinton will do a great job pushing those policies. Donald Trump is a reality TV start that does not understand policy, and would badly hurt the citizens of the United States and its economy.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress)

I hope Secretary Clinton will win the White House, but I am worried for the House and Senate. Many House seats have been rigged to keep a larger number of Republicans in power than Democrats, and this will not change for at least a decade. The Senate is close and I would like for Democrats to take control of the Senate, but I do not believe this will happen. Democrats need to win the presidential election by a landslide to pick up more seats such as in Ohio with Senator Portman vs Governor Strickland. Senator Portman is the current Senator, and would only lose to Governor Strickland unfortunately if Hillary Clinton won Ohio by a large margin. I do not see this happening across many of the competitive Senatorial races.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

The United States has increased its safety over the last several decades, but needs to do so much more rapidly. In Atlanta, there are populations with similar estimated levels of PTSD as soldiers returning from war. This is due to exposure to violent circumstances without psychological treatment to process the violence for youth, and policies need to be enacted to create a safe and prosperous environment for all, not just wealthier Americans. I think we will also see a stronger focus to prevent cyberattacks and provide affordable health care and education to more Americans.

by Vytas Aukstuolis, Oct. 5

 

Then came election day...

« Will the anti-establishment Trump W.H.

work with an establishment Congress ? »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

I’m not excited about a Trump presidency to say the least. I think the country is still trying to figure out exactly what policies a Trump administration will and will not push, but there are immediate worries for many Americans who may be hurt, regardless of what policies are pushed. For example, individuals that have been disrespectful to women and non-white individuals might now feel justified in their rhetoric and actions by having a president that supports their rhetoric and actions. I remember once hearing a story of a Muslim girl in a car with her mom in Ohio who were both wearing their hijabs. They were on a highway, and a truck was merging on their lane trying to push them off the road once the driver saw their hijabs. Victims of this kind of hate need to be protected, especially now that these individuals have a leader who can justify their hateful actions according to them.

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

A lot of people have broken their friendships over this election. This election cycle gave a platform to people to debate ideas, and this platform has led people to take personal attacks towards each other. I doubt many of these friendships will be brought together again.

Otherwise, most of politics is done across partisan lines. The overwhelming majority of legislation pushed at the state and federal levels is passed nearly unanimously, or at least with a strong majority of votes. I think that in Congress, we can count on one hand how many votes have been taken either strictly on partisan lines or have been really close in the last several years. Most legislation from Congress will continue to be bipartisan, I just hope that there isn’t a fight between an establishment-Congress and the anti-establishment Trump White House that prohibit anything from getting passed. Phrases like “drain the swamp” from Trump worry me that there could potentially be heavy political stalemates between Congress and the White House.

In the most honest way possible, can you say now, as an American, that in spite of your feelings about him, Donald Trump can and "will" be your President ?

We elected him, so President Trump will absolutely by my president. I will just have to do what I can to limit any damage that might arise out of a Trump presidency.

Nov. 10

 

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Michael Quillen

« We have never seen the disapproval ratings

of two presidential candidates this low »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Michael Quillen. I am 23 years old and I currently reside in Arlington, Virginia – a suburb of the Washington D.C. area. Before my current job, I spent a number of months working for a digital media firm specializing in web optimization and e-marketing. By the time the Republican primaries rolled around, I found myself traveling to Des Moines, Iowa to work for Senator Rand Paul as his National Phone From Home Director. Although the outcome of the primaries was not particularly satisfying, I packed my belongings and headed to the nation’s capital for work.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

On a scale from 1-10, 10 being the most successful, I would classify President Obama’s tenure as a solid 6. Getting the Affordable Health Care passed through the Congress was no small task. And with that reason alone, I would give him the score I did.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ?

(...) As a Conservative - notice I did not use the term “Republican” to classify my political ideology - I think Obama’s economic policies have led to the turmoil we see around the country today. Higher taxes, more government expansion, with the same stagnant wages is a recipe for disaster and that is exactly what we are getting with President Obama. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is without a doubt, the most personable and down-to-earth President the United States has had since FDR.

I would also like to point out that the biggest issue for me in American politics right now is data collection and the government’s campaign for counterterrorism. Let’s begin with President Bush’s signature on the Patriot Act. When Americans were still grieving the losses of loved ones and fallen heroes, the President secretly passed the most vicious cyber warfare initiative in the nation’s history. Continuing with President Obama, who signed Presidential Policy Directive 21, which further clarifies the role of the American government as a state actor in creating, sharing, and ultimately collecting data on virtually every single person in the world. There have been numerous reports that the US had spied on heads of state and foreign diplomats. That doesn’t sound Constitutional to me. For this very reason, I give Obama an F-rating for transparency and overall government effectiveness in fighting terrorism.

Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Stemming from that, I without a doubt believe that the world we live in today is worse off than 8 years ago. You can thank Secretary Clinton and President Obama’s failed foreign policy initiatives in Iraq, Syria and Iran. When will the United States realize that overthrowing foreign governments is not the way to make allies and ultimately not the way to create a stable country in the region. Would you like to know the reason as to why the United States has thrusted itself into virtually every single war in the world ? Because the government contractors stationed around the Capitol have such deep ties to the campaign pockets of the crooked politicians. Additionally, if the US would stick to domestic policy, that would mean CIA, FBI, NSA, and DoD officials would be out of jobs. We wouldn’t want that would we….

How do you feel about the current electoral season ? In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

This part is extremely hard to condense in just one to two paragraphs. In all likelihood, I could write a book on it. But overall, I am truly afraid of the current political situation the US is in. On one hand, we have a person who has lied REPEATEDLY to gain political capital. On the other, we have an egotistical maniac who is driven by bigotry and hatred. Just when you think the 1960s were over and discrimination had ended, we find ourselves choosing between candidates that have bashed minorities and used fear techniques to further their political career. This election is truly sickening. But you know, I don’t blame the people for this. I blame the institution, the government and the corrupt DNC and NRC for allowing this happen. Can we please go back to 2008 and see just how cruel the NRC treated Ron Paul and his supporters during the primaries. This is exactly why we can’t move forward and solve issues ACTUALLY pressing the country.

Come November, I think Hillary Clinton will ultimately win the presidential election. Here’s why : because who else will they vote for ? A walking, talking, more orange version of the KKK member or a rehearsed slime ball like herself. Chances are, people will choice the slime ball since it’s easier to swallow. Just look at the numbers, we have never seen the disapproval ratings of two presidential candidates this low in history. What does that tell you ? The American people are fed up with the way Washington is run. People are sick and tired of over-reaching government programs that harm the middle class turn millionaires into billionaires. People are sick of seeing the status quo. We need change.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

The most crucial challenges facing the US is getting people back to work, closing tax loopholes and helping those in need. As a country, we cannot survive too much longer if we do not begin to help each other. Social programs like feeding the homeless or providing textbooks to underprivileged kids have an impact not seen by most. Just think for a second, what life would be like if people took a step back and realized how fortunate they are to have the things they have. I am currently sitting in an office with air condition typing on a $500 computer. But if you go to countries like Africa, who have been the face of poverty, things like this just do not happen. As a nation, we need to come together and realize we are all in this together. No more wars, no more deaths, no more hatred.

It goes without saying that I am truly scared for what the next 4-8 years brings for the United States and the rest of the world.

by Michael Quillen, Oct. 5

 

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« As a woman, I do not want Clinton to be our

legacy as our first female president »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Kate, I’m a 33-year-old female, of predominantly British heritage (third generation American). I was raised in Michigan. I’m a Christian, am married to my high school sweetheart. I’m a full-time, long-term employee of a growing, independent company, with no kids and two dogs. I’m politically engaged : libertarian, but not Libertarian.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

3. I feel that he has been a puppet for more powerful decision makers (I don’t hold that against him as a person, many politicians do the same). And, full disclosure, I wouldn’t rate any of our recent Presidents above a 5 or 6.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Our country is, at best, the same as eight years ago ; at worst, far more economically/financially challenged, less respected internationally, more vulnerable to attacks from internal and external threats and more racially divided.

People are angry at the government and at each other. We are experiencing far too much violence in action and words ; threatened from outside and within. Our police are under attack as are our citizens ; by each other, by overzealous police/government, by radical Islamist terrorist, by lunatics who simply want to cause crisis. There is immense mistrust. While all of that is true, my daily experience is that of positivity, love and unity. I work with and live among a diverse group of people (race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political views, wealth, etc) and, for the most part, all enjoy a peaceful community with one another. We all know there are these problems yet few of us are directly affected by the worst of it. Everyone has their opinions but that’s part of what makes us American. I feel quite proud of my fellow citizens with whom I regularly interact as the vast majority are amazing individuals.

Internationally, I feel we’ve become a joke and demonstrate our arrogance regularly. We’ve allowed countries like Iran to taunt our military, extort ransom, control our relationship and use our actions as propaganda. Our President felt it appropriate to tell the citizens of other countries how they should vote on important topics (Brexit). We’ve lost the respect and friendship of many countries.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Independent of one another, no. I would prefer better options and neither Gary Johnson (Libertarian) nor Jill Stein (Green Party) are more fit. But we need to elect someone so I intend to vote for Trump, primarily for a change. Clinton is a political institution and things must change. I am also more concerned with her actions than his words. As a woman, I do not want her to be our legacy as our first female president.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

For President : Trump. I suspect far more people support him than are willing to admit in public, or in a poll.

About Congress : very little change in balance. There will be some new faces but essentially the same Democrat versus Republican balance.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

Economy and security.

We need to raise our GDP, create an environment that will encourage businesses to grow and create new jobs (government does not "create" jobs but their policies have a dramatic effect on the private sector). We also need to re-embrace the trades - the thinking that a college degree is the only path to "success" is a fallacy and partly responsible for our astronomically high costs (and debts) associated with higher education. We built this country on manufacturing and we need to bring much of it back to the states (again, would require lots of policy and tax reforms) while continuing to strive in the technical realm.

We need to honestly confront and name the world’s current greatest treat : radical Islamic terrorism (this is in no way a condemnation of the entire faith of Islam, a peaceful religion - just those sick individuals that choose to pervert it and use it as a tool in their terror). We need to know who is in our country and where they are. This includes Americans with sympathies for the terrorism cause. We need to work with our allies internationally to end this threat and work to defend each other. It will be difficult to find the right balance of protecting ourselves while not infringing upon the cherished freedoms Americans have been promised and demand.

by Kate Verbrugge, Oct. 9

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Patrick Sheehan

« I don’t like Hillary that much... but Donald

Trump litteraly makes me feel nauseous »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

I work with Kate at Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Michigan. I am the Packaging Materials Specialist so I am in charge of the procurement of the packaging for the brewery as well as dealing with any quality issues. 

I have lived most of my life in Michigan except for brief stints in Ohio and Chicago. I have a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in Packaging as well as an MBA degree from a smaller university.

I consider myself agnostic. I grew up Catholic (in a pretty liberal family) but left the church in 2004 after the pedophilia scandals. Currently I attend a Universal Universalist Church when I can find the time.

I consider myself quite liberal and have always voted Democratic in the past. I have moved to a more libertarian viewpoint the past few years and am considering to vote for the Gary Johnson/Bill Weld ticket even though I think Weld should be the presidential nominee.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

I would give President Obama an 8 out of 10 for his term as President. While the economy is in no ways soaring right now, I think he has done a very good job bringing us out of what could have been a total collapse. I am also very happy how he projects the US to the rest of the world as well as his cool, calm demeanor.

The two things i would ding him on are use of drones as well as Obamacare. I think we need to gather more intelligence to make sure innocent civilians won’t be collateral damage before a drone strike. With Obamacare, I agree that something had to be done with our broken healthcare system but feel like the Affordable Care Act is a bastardized compromise that was originally implemented by Republicans. I also consider myself a mid-way intelligent person and I don’t understand all the nuances behind.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

I definitely think we are much better off than eight years ago. I was just graduating with my Master of Business Administration and had very few job prospects. My parent’s had lost a lot of money in their 401k as well as home value.

I believe that America is more respected on the world stage now compared to eight years ago. I felt like George W. Bush was a laughing stock and hurt us globally. 

My ex-girlfriend was from Tehran, Iran and confirmed that sediment. They saw GWB as a joke, the American version of their President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She said once Obama was elected, her country had hope again for relations with the US.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

I am very disappointed in this year’s election. While I don’t like Hillary all that much (I think she feels it’s her right and not privilege to be President), I am sickened by even seeing Donald Trump’s face. The idea that a racist, sexist bully can become the leader for this nation literally makes me feel nauseous at times.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the way that Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee, I do think she has the policy experience and temperament to be President.

Donald Trump is no way, shape or form, qualified to even hold local office ; much less to be President of the United States.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

I think that Clinton will win by around 6-8 percentage points in the popular vote and 180-200 electoral votes. I believe Democrats would narrowly win the Senate (I even see the possibility of 50/50 split with Vice President Tim Kaine casting tie-breaking votes). I also think Democrats will gain seats in the House of Representatives but control will stay with the Republicans.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

I think the most critical challenges for the next four-eight years will be to continue to keep the economy growing, refine the health care laws, and figure out a multi-nation solution to the crisis in Syria.

I also believe that diminishing the power of ISIS while making Americans feel safer, improving relations with Russia and Iran, and making sure that Kim Jong Un doesn’t fire nuclear weapons at either us or another country is critical.

by Patrick Sheehan, Oct. 9

 

Then came election day...

« As an American Trump will be

my President... but I won’t respect him »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

I feel disgusted by results of the election. I feel like America will be the laughing stock of the world. Already hate crimes are up here because people think that by electing a xenophobic racist, it is alright for them to act out in a similar fashion.

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

I don’t think America can come together after electing Trump. He has driven a wedge between us based on race, religion, sex, and education. I decided to not just complain about but actually do something about it. I am going to get involved with the local chapter of the Libertarian party as well as help out a Syrian family my church is sponsoring.

In the most honest way possible, can you say now, as an American, that in spite of your feelings about him, Donald Trump can and "will" be your President ?

Yes, as an American, he will be my President (until he is impeached or quits) but I will not respect him. He has already shown his true colors and they are not red, white, and blue.

Nov. 17

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Alex Tijerina, I’m 60. I was an only child and went to a private school and a State University. A practicing Catholic, I am married, with two children. A salesman, I live in San Antonio, Texas.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

Two.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ?

No.

A. U.S. Debt has increased from 10 Trillion to 20 Trillion

B. More people on Government assistance than in any time in history.

C. More racial strife than previously.

D. Cost of living has gotten higher.

E. More people off the grid who have stopped looking for jobs and are not counted anymore.

F. More government mandates on business has increased their costs and makes them less competitive.

Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

No.

A. Israel does not trust Obama.

B. Debacle in Libya (Civil War) and outcome of Benghazi.

C. Supports Assad in Syria, and then rebels.

D. Indecision about pulling troops in Iraq and then reversing course.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

Not good. Don’t find either candidate appealing.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

No. I don’t think that either candidate is qualified to be president. Trump has no experience in the political arena and Hillary has too much garbage from previous political positions and those of her husband. We as a country are more divided as ever.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

I would hope Trump would win but see Hillary taking the presidency. The Senate and Congress will stay in GOP hands.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

A. Unifying the big political divide that this country is now facing and the resentment because of it.

B. Stopping the flows of illegal aliens on our Southern borders.

C. Bringing racial harmony where little exists today.

D. Bringing down the deficit.

E. Increasing the family structure, "one man and one woman".

by Alex Tijerina, Oct. 9

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

« Obama has bombed more countries

than Bush... and Clinton’s a hawk »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

(...) I do not wish to have my name out there because of my employer.

I am a graduate student studying International Relations : Security and Peace with a minor in Russian studies. My focus is on understanding Central and Eastern Europe (primarily the Slavic states such as Slovakia, Czechia, and Russia).

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

I would give President Obama a 5. He is an average US politician. There is hardly anything special about him if you ignore identity politics. Now some would say how great he is about his healthcare bill. However, if you look at the logitc of the law it forces people to buy private health insurance. If one doesn’t they are taxed/fined. That is very pro-choice, isn’t it. You could also read Paul Krugman’s piece on the law. Plus, Robert Murphy has done a great job predicting what has happened.

What is quite interesting about Obama, is that he took some of President’s Bush’s laws such as National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), The War Powers Resolution and expanded them. For example, the NDAA has the indefinite dentition clause which allows the government to arrest someone based on a suspicion and hold that person indefinitely. According the White House Press Secretary, their version of the AUMF was recreated to be imprecise. The allows the President to have no geographic limits on the use of military. The War Powers Resolution gave the President a limit on how long the military can wage war without congressional approval. President Obama used this resolution to justify his intervention is Libya. The problem is the President’s intervention was seven months not sixty days. His rationale was that his war, “which decimated Libyan forces, which killed hundreds and hundreds of people, which removed a leader from power, didn’t count as ‘hostilities,’ and therefore the statute just wasn’t implicated.” (source)

In fact, if you look at the number of nation-states the USA bombed, between the previous two leaders, you will find that President Obama has bombed more that Bush. That fact boggles my mind. In the article I quoted they say that President Obama has taken the brakes off of the War Machine. This was supposed to be the anti-war candidate not a hawk.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

That depends on who you talk to. If you look at the stock market and unemployment numbers things would seem fine. Yet we still have 45 million people on food stamps. The Median Real House Household income is 5% lower than it was in 2007. Plus, the US only has 71.3 million full-time breadwinner jobs (above $50,000 per year) which is 1.4 million fewer since 2000.

What is also concerning for Americans is the increasing polarization of politics. I am sure you are aware of the alternative right (alt-right). It has been a new movement that has surprised establishment people around the world. These people are from across the political spectrum.

Plus, we have the police shootings that has dominated the news cycle. If you look at the crimes these people have committed such as selling cigarettes or CDs, it makes it very frustrating. These laws are stupid and should be repealed but all we hear is police reform and nothing about the law.

I would say we are slightly worse off. 

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

The current election cycle is hilarious because someone as bad as Trump still has a chance. Hillary Clinton is such a bad candidate. She has surrounded herself with people who believe the US has some moral mission to help the morally improvised (a professor at top university actually said that). She is actually more hawkish than Trump. She wants to paint Putin as some boogeyman and have a Syria “reset” with removing Assad as a number one priority. She is not even concerned about Arar al Sham and al Nusra. They are just rebel groups we armed to her. In her leaked email she said her policy would “kill a lot of Syrians”. Plus there is this which raises question who knew where our weapons were going. Granted who knows what she is going to do domestically given that she has a private and public position. I like her email about open trade and borders but who knows what she will do.

Trump and Bernie Sanders both represent an anti-establishment wing. Both are against open borders (source and another) because they view immigration as negative. Their positions are the immigrants take jobs away from citizens and immigrants drive wages lower. Both are for protectionists who want to keep jobs in the USA. The only difference between these two people is that Sanders is nicer and Trump is bombastic.

I mentioned the alt-right above but if you look at the demographics of supporters for Sanders and Trump you notice that there is a trend. Most of these people are white. Trump gained the votes of union workers and people of lower skill labor. Sanders gained the vote of younger people. When you look at this alt-right movement around the world you notice that most of the people are white. As someone who is mixed I don’t want to say that white people are racists but I want to say that some whites have become disenfranchised with the system. That either could be the change in demographics in the USA, but that is just speculation.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

No.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

I think Clinton will win. Trump will bring the GOP down with him, which I think will be a good thing. There has been a growing number of classic liberals that are becoming influential. These people might take the opportunity to rebuild the GOP from the ashes.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

The regressive left will be a major challenge. If you have watch Majid Nawaz and Dave Rubin’s definition of these people. They are authoritarians that want to impose their values on other people. They are like social conservatives but on the left. They don’t represent progress. They represent regression. In a California college a university is now segregating blacks and whites again. Martin Luther King Jr. would be ashamed of seeing people segregating so each race can have a safe space.

The economy is another major challenge. As I mentioned before income is still below 2007 levels and breadwinner jobs are fewer. There is also some fear of another recession.

Foreign policy is another challenge. Granted the policy for a while has been horrible. As you can tell I am concerned about Clinton becoming president because I think she might want to start a fight with Russia over Syria or something. Clinton is going to be interventionist which I think is dangerous. The term “blowback” exists for a reason but she probably doesn’t care. With Trump who knows what we will get.

by "Daniel Arevalo", Oct. 9

 

Then came election day...

« People have to listen to those

who are struggling in the Rust Belt now »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

Not surprising. As I said earlier with the pre-election questions there was a movement going. It turns out that my view of this movement was underestimated. I still assumed many people would still vote Clinton. I was wrong. Trump appealed to the union workers and lower income workers in the Rust Belt. Those people are usually assumed to be Democrat voters. Considering that Trump is a New York liberal combined with Alt-Right views, this was a perfect combination. Those people have lost manufacturing jobs either to immigration or globalization. They came out in anger.

What was surprising is how stupid people are not to realize it. The same applies to Europe as well, Alt-Right first appeared in Europe (in Russia as National Bolshevism). This movement has been sweeping across the West in the recent years (first becoming noticeable in Russia and then it went westward). Some people just focus on the identity politics (racism, sexism, etc) but as political science research has shown that it is something else that sparks conflict. It is superficial to blame identity politics, especially when they are just social constructs.

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

That depends if people will be willing to listen to those in the Rust Belt. People need to be willing to listen to the manual labor worker. Those people are struggling. It really depends but I think some people are so stupid they can’t see reality in their face. They will be blinded by their ignorance, their ideology, and their ego. They live in a world with confirmation bias, completely out of touch with reality.

I suggest you watch Dave Rubin’s interview of Scott Adams. It shows how genius The Donald, now president-elect Trump, is with the tactics that he used. Even Hillary changed her strategy and adopted similar tactics.

In the most honest and balanced way possible, how would you assess Hillary Clinton’s impact and legacy on American politics, and how do you feel about her as a person ?

Her brand is dead. She represents that past (doesn’t mean Chelsea’s isn’t however). As my professor said “the world Clinton lives in ceased to exist decades ago, and the stubborn refusal to accept this fact could lead American foreign policy into a dangerous dead end”. Does that mean Trump is any better ? Of course not. With all that we know she is a politician that knew who to work the machine.

She was destined to win the White House and she lost to an orange umpa lumpa. She lost to Donald Trump even with all the controversies surrounding him. But it also shows how out of touch the mainstream politics is with the people. The Left lost their base of the blue collar worker for now. The Right who were purist like Ben Sharpio were baffled to Trump win.

Hillary Clinton will be fine. She has lots of money to live off of for just being a public servant and running a charity. Some people think that she is the most damaged politician since Richard Nixon. This election exposed her. As a person sitting on the sidelines it was wonderful to watch.

In the most honest way possible, can you say now, as an American, that in spite of your feelings about him, Donald Trump can and "will" be your President ?

We aren’t a banana republic. Even if I disagree with President-elect Trump, I must respect that the majority of states and people voted for him. You know, as much as I dislike Trump, I find it so rich to see people do the very thing Trumpkins were doing before the election (Not my president).

Nov. 11

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Paul Samaha

My name is Paul. I am 22. I am a senior (fourth and final year in school) at the University of Southern California. I study public relations with focuses on entertainment and politics.

I would rate President Obama’s tenure as president an 8.

From an economic standpoint, America is much, much better off than it was 8 years ago. We have bounced back to a standard economy after having be worst recession in decades in 2007. From a security standpoint, I think we are better off than we were 8 years ago, but we could improve. From a human rights standpoint, I also think we are better off now. I think we are much more respected on the global stage under President Obama than we were under George W. Bush.

(...) It is a very wild electoral season. I think some of the worst in Americans have come out because of it. I know there will be many informative dissertations and books written after the election that will dissect what the election says about our society.

Hillary Clinton : Extremely fit and qualified, if not the most qualified candidate in U.S. history.
Donald Trump : Not fit in any way possible.

I believe that Hillary Clinton will win. I think the Democrats will win a good amount of congressional seats. My congressional prediction would be that the Democrats win back control of the Senate, while the Republicans will still have control of the House but by a much smaller margin.

The biggest challenges facing America in the next four or eight years ?

• First and foremost, finally appoint a Supreme Court justice on the first day of the new term.

• Make sure that the continued amount of economic equality in the country stops and allows for more social mobility.

• Unite our country, especially after an incredibly decisive election. Race relations must be restored. This includes reforming the criminal justice system and community policing.

• Instill common sense gun reform like universal background checks.

• Surging intelligence operations to prevent terrorist attacks on any scale against us and our allies.

• Continue diplomacy around the globe.

• Do everything we can to restore peace in Syria.

by Paul Samaha, Oct. 11

 

Then came election day...

« We shouldn’t normalize Trump :

he is not normal »

Hi Nicolas,

As you can imagine I am very disappointed and distraught over the November 8 elections. The unthinkable happened, and it is getting scarier by the day. I am first and foremost heartbroken on Hillary’s second run at the presidency being shattered. She would have been an incredible leader for our nation in a very urgent time, and we needed her more than ever. Donald Trump not only is a temperamentally unfit president-elect, but the staff he is hiring is showing to be even more terrifying. Just yesterday he hired an anti-Semitic, white supremacist – Stephen Bannon – as his top adviser.

I do not have much confidence in our nation coming together. I am from Virginia, a moderate state that voted for Hillary by a small margin, and those who live in urban areas are upset. But I currently live in California, a very democratic state that voted for Hillary by more than 60%. The citizens here are furious. There has been protests with thousands of people every day and night. Rural white America is celebrating, but the rest of us are terrified and angry. We do not feel that we will be represented under a Trump administration. That especially includes minorities that Trump and his team have continuously attacked – women, muslims, Jews, black folks, the LGBTQ community, Mexicans and more.

I realize that Donald Trump is our president-elect through the electoral college process we have in the U.S. However, this process is not democratic. If our elections were truly democratic, Hillary would have won. She won the popular vote. It is estimated that she will win the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. This is incredibly noteworthy when we say that Donald Trump does not represent us – the majority of our country did not vote for him. I have little faith in how Trump and his team will lead America, let alone unify. I cannot imagine him responding to terror attacks, to police brutality, or to mass shootings. I am even more frustrated with Americans and the media for continuing to "normalize" him. This isn’t normal. This presidency, this administration, this platform isn’t normal. Nothing can take that away until he is out of office. The further this presidential transition goes, the more and more I see striking similarities between the U.S. under Trump, and Germany under Hitler. We must not forget history, for it will repeat itself.

Nov. 16

 

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Frank McEnulty

« We have over 300 million people in this

country... and this is the best we can do ? »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Frank McEnulty and during the 2008 Presidential election cycle I ran as an independent candidate for president of the United States. I was the New American Independent Party presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate for the Reform Party. Currently I am a full-time Finance and Management Professor at CSULB and CSULA as well as a Financial and Management Consultant.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

I would rate President Obama fairly low on the scale of Presidents. He came into office making more promises than most and failed to deliver on very few of them. Many blame that on the Republicans, but if he was a true statesman and politician he would have figured out a way to work with the opposition and get things done just as past Presidents have done.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ?

No, I do not think we are better off than we were 8 years ago. Yes, the economy may be in better shape, but as a nation we are far more divided than we were 8 years ago and while that is not all the President’s fault, as our leader, he has done very little to make Americans feel better about the direction the country is perceived to be going.

Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Most Americans have no clue how the world views us and don’t really care, which is a shame as we are all part of the same world and what happens in one part of the world is far more likely to affect where one lives than it ever used to in the past. I believe we are less respected on the world stage than we used to be for two reasons. One, we are seen as having a fairly weak and ineffectual leader and you are judged by the one in charge. Second, the clowns we have as our two main candidates must have most of the world wondering just what the heck is wrong with the U.S. these days.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

See above and, quite honestly, it is a disgrace. Our news media no longer wishes to report the news, but help make it. Both of our main candidates (and quite honestly most of the candidates this year) are a complete and utter joke. We have over 300,000,000 people in this country and this is the best we can do. Obviously something is very, very wrong with the system and the electorate.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Although I would prefer Trump to be President because of the current and upcoming vacancies in the Supreme Court, he also makes one worry that he truly is crazier than a loon. Hillary on the other hand is a criminal and should be prosecuted, but she is the anointed one of the Democratic Party and the news media so no one will touch her. So no, neither on is fit.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

Hillary will become President and little will change in Congress. The Congressional districts are so well Gerrymandered that it is extremely hard for any real change to occur and people really aren’t mad, upset or uncomfortable enough right now to demand real change.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

Having a President who truly represents all Americans and works for what is best for all Americans and not just what is best for their party to get more votes.

by Frank McEnulty, Oct. 15

 

Then came election day...

« The office of President changes people

immediately. Let’s give him a chance ! »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

My first thought was one of surprise. Never thought Donald Trump would win given that most of the media in the country were doing everything possible to get Hillary Clinton elected. What is sad now, however, is that people are acting like babies throwing a tantrum. They didn’t get their way so they are going to scream and shout.

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

Sure, it always does. This is America, people still want to be here and the people of the country are what makes America what it is, not the politicians. There are hateful people on both sides of the aisle, but the vast majority of people just want to get on with their lives and want a government that they feel works for them. Beyond that, who’s in charge is far from the most important thing in their life.

In the most honest and balanced way possible, how would you assess Hillary Clinton’s impact and legacy on American politics, and how do you feel about her as a person ?

Her impact will take time to judge. Granted she lost the most easily won election for President in recent history so they are really going to have to look at trying to get more in touch with the country before the next election. Hillary Clinton is, in my opinion, one of the most damaged candidates ever foisted on the American people by a major party. I say foisted, because the fix was in from the very beginning that she was going to be the candidate. There was no way the Democratic powers that be were going to let anyone run except her. She is also extremely unlikable and went out of her way to talk bad about large parts of the electorate making sure that they would be galvanized into voting against her.

In the most honest way possible, can you say now, as an American, that in spite of your feelings about him, Donald Trump can and "will" be your President ?

The office of President changes people immediately. I think everyone just needs to give him a chance, just like everyone was asked to do when Obama was first elected.

Nov. 10

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

« A big bully, and someone who could

make things right again »

(...) I was very strongly against Obama. Not because he was a black-skinned man, but because of his character and beliefs. I knew he’d be bad for our country and was right. Never will I understand how he got re-elected to another four-year term. I also knew Obamacare would ruin lives for Americans and was too expensive and would never work... and I was right about that as well.

America is now 20 trillion in dept thanks to Obama. One of my close friends, who worked in a computer job for 15 years, lost his job. My husband's job has never been more stressful. Businesses everywhere are going out and people are losing jobs. The low oil prices are also hurting everyone in the oil industry, inducing more jobs losses. (...) Where my husband works, they just laid off several more people... Also, we were talking with a cell phone company, and its office is closing the first of November... she was helping us while knowing she had lost her job.

(...) I feel threatened by the Clinton and Democratic machine. My husband would lose his job if I told you everything. As for Obamacare, our Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance skyrocketed, and you wouldn’t believe how much more it costs each month to the company my husband works for as an accountant. They had to switch insurance companies and we got a very, very crappy one. They were still more in cost, but not as bad as Blue Cross. Thus, they wouldn’t cover anything ! If you needed something done, they would find every reason not to cover it. They said it was why they were affordable. Our out of pocket tripled !

Our daughter was in pain after having had her ACL knee surgery a year earlier, but the crappy insurance company refused to cover an MRI, even though it was recommended. Instead, she was told to go on crutches and pain killers. Eventually, our kind physical therapist did an ultrasound (for free) and could see that nothing seriously was wrong like a pin out of place, etc. from the surgery. She was given a shot many months later and of course, the insurance company wouldn’t cover it. Our local hospital increased the room charge from 50 to 500 dollars because she was administered a shot by a pa from another clinic and it took 15 minutes. The hospital said they have to charge more because they have to find ways to cover their money losses. Anyway, the good news is, that the company switched insurance companies yet again because of how bad the last one was.

Many people don’t have insurance through Obamacare because they "don’t qualify" but are in the most need of coverage. My friend, who is a single mother, makes too much money substitute teaching to qualify. She is too young, and yet is a cancer surviver who needs cat scans once or twice a year. If she didn’t work, then she might qualify for Obamacare. The cost for her alone (her son is taken care of by the state) is 400 per month. Her out of pocket is 8,000. Thus, why would she ever use her insurance ? So, she isn’t getting the cat scans and she is having to pay the penalty for not having insurance...

A girl we know lost her mother to cancer while in high school. Her father was an alcoholic and not part of her life ; he did pass away this winter. Anyway, she has to pay for her health insurance. Obamacare demands that the parents’ insurance covers kids up to the age of 26, but fails those kids who don’t have parents ! It’s insane... it’s falling apart, and the prices are continuously rising... this is the real consequence to idealism... this is the result of having Obama in office.

(...) On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say Obama gets a 1, and is easily one of the worst presidents.

(...) All the crap that comes from Clinton, I can’t even tell you how scared and threatened for our livelihood in America... as a Catholic, as a conservative, as a female, as an American, as a mother worried about her kids and their future... too much to type... too much to say in a few words.

(...) I also do believe the media is corrupt, obviously. I can’t stand watching the lies and the cover ups and smears and hate coming from the leftists, elitists and media.

(...) I find comfort in knowing many democrats locally are voting for Trump. They can’t stand Clinton. I just know the heartland will vote for Trump. I believe the election is already rigged (voters who are dead voting Democrat, or voting several times, etc.), and that only those uninformed, those who want the free stuff promised, or the elitist and politicians and CEOs who want to stay in control of the country for continued power, and money, and to get God out of the way so they can feel even more powerful, will vote for Clinton.

(...) Donald Trump is the most fit to be president. (...) I don’t know the outcome for the election because there are so many factors and the devil is very powerful... evil truly exists.

Have you seen the movie 13 Hours about Benghazi ? Worth watching, this movie, so you realize that Clinton was at fault for what happened there... and the 4 lives lost. And Clinton’s emails were lost, and the coverup... and the corruption by Obama to help, and Clinton lying about the attack being because of a video... lying directly to the mothers who loss their sons, and Obama lied to the nation saying the attack was because of a video... all of it is one reason why one of my friends is voting for Trump. She also is a Christian and feels her faith is under attack. However, she works at a school and the teachers’ unions are of course against anyone who doesn’t conform to the Democratic party, so she could lose her job if she is outspoken as well.

(...) I always wondered how someone like Hitler came to power... wondered how come the people didn’t speak up for what is right and human respect. Unfortunately, I understand it better now. First, "they" discriminate against you through the media and your jobs/livelihood are threatened. Second, they take away God from your life. Remove God and prayers from schools, tell you that all religions are fanatical and no one is real ; then, they also take away your voice and your guns, so you can’t defend yourself. They elect governmental officials who dictate like a king and not a president and they of course go against the constitution of the people so that they can write their own laws as they are "better" than the people.

(...) We do not have respect globally, just look at the way the other countries, and especially terrorists, are behaving. Look at the true mass scales of human suffering, killings, truly horrific and inhumane... yet our Obama says things are just fine and even better... Clinton says the same... she is so fake, so phony, so weak, and is paid for every dishonest trade deal and does not care about human life. Anyone who can kill a baby as the head is coming out and call it a justified abortion has no conscience. She does not attend church. She is selfish and dishonest. She is evil and the people working for her are as well.

(...) Also... I don’t believe in man-made global warming ! The current electoral season is corrupt by the media, elitists, celebrities, and lazy fools.

(...) I have gay/lesbien friends... I respect Muslims (worked with one last year as she did an internship at the school) and I find most people very good... yet, I’m so scared Nic... I would never have thought people could be led astray as much as they have all around the world... but this is what it’s come to. A big bully, and someone who could make things right again...

by "J.", Oct. 16

 

Then came election day...

« Let’s stop with the lies about Trump now »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

I am very glad and relieved that Trump won the election for the president of the U.S. The Republicans also now control both houses as well.

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

The only way our country will come together is if the "press" or news media change their coverage of Donald Trump. The lies about his bad behavior need to come out. For example, he is not a racist. He has had friends that are black for many, many years. It was only when he ran for president did he get labeled a racist. Ben Carson, Herman Cain, David Clarke and many others have been his biggest supporters. Lie number 2, he was not mocking a disabled journalist. The few seconds they show Trump waving his arms was when he was talking about being flustered. The journalist who claimed to have been mocked is actually unable to raise his arms so there’s no way that Trump was mocking him, yet the media keeps saying he makes fun of disabled people. Lie number 3, he does not have bad temperament. He is simply not a politician and is not fake. He speaks like most of us do when we are passionate about making things better and he calls people out for being crooked or wrong. Thus, the truth is hard to face about the press, so they have made up so many smears and lies and unfortunately, people believe them.

A reporter would ask the question about Hillary Clinton and somehow, the lists of lies about Trump being a bigot, sexual predator, etc. came out in a list. It would have nothing to do with the answer about Clinton, in fact, there never was an answer many times. All the left would and could do was smear Trump and make up stuff. Another example is that 12 women made up stories about Trump sexually assaulting him, but none of them have been proven true. In fact, many of their stories have been disproved, but the press and the leftists continued to bring the women up. One woman claimed Trump bothered her on a plane that didn’t even take flight that day. There were many, many women who celebrated and supported Trump but were never mentioned. Did you know that Trump helped save the life of a former beauty contestant ? I watched her video about how amazing Trump was to her, but never did I see the coverage by the press, except one brief time on Fox News. Even Fox News would have guests (to keep it balanced) that would list off the litany of lies every chance they could get.

Thus, Trump is not a sexist, not a rapist, not a bigot or hater of women, not a deplorable person. Yet, we have college professors spewing the lies as well as the press so these people rioting in the streets have no idea on the truth. They are told to never watch Fox News and to believe the left and celebrities and movie stars and elitists and etc. Black Lives Matter is an example of true hate and racism. Most of the members of the riots will do anything for a chance to be in a riot and to yell and scream and claim to be victimized and are selfish and don’t even have a clue what they are doing. They have drank the Koolaide and probably paid to protest... their peers judge them if they don’t feel the same... their professors will be against them if they don’t conform and so the hate goes on and on... so very sad.

Thus, until these people get the truth and are no longer misinformed, then they will be causing problems and instead of being part of the solution.

In the most honest and balanced way possible, how would you assess Hillary Clinton’s impact and legacy on American politics, and how do you feel about her as a person ?

I’ve already described my feeling about Hillary Clinton. She is evil in my eyes. I hope she is brought to justice for the wrongs she has done, but ultimately, she will have to face God someday. I hope Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton don’t ruin any one else’s lives and the Clinton Foundation be closed with the remaining money actually used for true charity only.

(...) Hope you can watch 13 Hours and then write me back on your thoughts about what happened at Benghazi while Clinton was the Secretary of State and Obama was the president. Then, realize that they lied about a video that caused it, Obama campaigned in Las Vegas, Clinton was sleeping and then more concerned about the rescuers upsetting the people in Benghazi by wearing American uniforms and also told them to stand down while the four Americans (including our Embassador) were brutally killed. Watch the soldiers heroic rescue mission they did by themselves in the movie and then know how they were discredited and silenced until Obama was reelected. Even now, very few know the truth about Benghazi which ultimately is why Clinton’s emails went missing.

Nov. 10

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Sarah Collins

« This electoral season has been frightening...

and I fear the next ones could get even worse »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Sarah Collins. I am 21 years old and live in Los Angeles, California. I am a fourth year student at the University of Southern California studying broadcast journalism and political science. I attended the Democratic and Republican National Conventions this summer for a journalism course.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

8.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

America is significantly better off now than it was eight years ago. Obama took office right before economic collapse, which was in large part due to the Bush administration and a lack of governmental oversight of the American banking and real estate industries. Given the circumstances, he did a considerable job of helping to improve the economy, even when he made decisions that were not always the most popular. He revitalized the auto industry and cracked down on Wall Street with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Concerning Obamacare, yes it has some major glitches, but its effort is commendable. The next administration should continue to improve it so that all Americans can benefit from single-payer healthcare.

The Obama administration has also done much to combat discrimination. It struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and "Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell", signed the Fair Pay Act, and passed the Fair Sentencing Act. However, I think it could have done considerably more to address police brutality.

It has also made great efforts to make our nation more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, created a National Ocean Policy, amended the Clean Water Act, rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, raised fuel efficiency standards, and invested in green energy.

He has also done much to make the role more relatable. Obama lives in this kind of perfect balance in which he is both respectable and relatable simultaneously.

Discounting this entire election season, I think America is much more respected now than it was eight years ago. Bush led the nation into two highly unpopular wars when we had no right to enter them in the first place. Obama has been far more cautious and judicious in his international relations policies, resulting in more strategic and less harmful methods of foreign policy.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

This electoral season has been frightening. It is an example of how a Presidential Democracy can be usurped by a populist movement. Obviously, I would have been ok if that populist movement moving toward power were that of Bernie Sanders’ camp, but we are facing a possibly authoritarian type leadership that imposes the dangerous "us vs. them" mentality, them being women, people of color, non-Christians, and Democrats. I hope that this will serve as a wake up call for Americans, but, more realistically, this will be the first in a series of dangerous demagogues attempting to rise to power, and I imagine Donald Trump will look relatively mild in comparison.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Hillary Clinton obviously. She is the most qualified candidate in history to be President. The black marks on her record are obviously not good, but they are unfortunately the norm for run of the mill politicians. I personally voted for Bernie Sanders in the California primary, but I am still more than happy to vote for her in November. I have confidence that she will do a superior job of running the country.

To put it nicely, Donald Trump is a sexist, racist, elitist, horrific pig, and a moron. He does not do conservatives justice and is not at all representative of mainstream G.O.P. values. Unfortunately, his candidacy has pulled many Americans further to the right. The G.O.P. has a serious identity crisis to fix come post-November.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

I think Hillary will be elected President, and I think the House of Representatives will turn blue. I think the Senate will remain in the hands of the Republicans.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

America needs to find a way to re-invigorate the middle class, create more governmental transparency, improve public education, take significant steps to help the environment and move toward renewable energy sources, get big money out of politics, crack down on corporations, figure out ways to productively use the Internet of Things, strengthen domestic and international security, improve race relations, narrow the gap in gender inequality, de-polarize politics, and create sensible gun control laws.

(...) I hope that the Obamas, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren continue to play an important role in domestic and international affairs.

by Sarah Collins, Oct. 17

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Tiana Lowe

« The DNC actively colluded with the media

to push Trump forward as the GOP candidate »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

I’m studying economics and mathematics at the University of Southern California. I’m also the editor of The Tab at USC and the USC Economics Review, as well as a freelance journalist.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

I would consider Obama’s presidency an overwhelming failure on three main counts. First and most importantly, his evacuation of the Middle East following by support for certain Arab Spring dissidents crafted the power vacuum and sociopolitical destabilization which led to the rise of ISIS. Second, Obamacare has been an undeniable failure practically by design, as mandating the purchase of goods from an industry already headed towards collusion and oligopoly is structurally bound to enforce skyrocketing premium prices and thus the dominance and control of the insurance cartel over the American populace. Finally, Obama’s use of executive orders and politicization of the DOJ and FBI, as well as his unwillingness to compromise with Republicans, directly led to the most divisive and socially destructive election in American history.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

America currently has the lowest labor force participation rate in 38 years. He blew out the deficit in his first year in office. GDP growth is close to stagnant. More than a million Americans are about to lose their Obamacare because insurance companies are pulling out of the market. Obama has done nothing to halt or even slow the the countdown to the Social Security time bomb, in which only two Americans will have to pay for a single Social Security recipient. In addition, our foreign policy weakness and blunders have allowed Putin to reestablish the Russian Federation as a global superpower, and ISIS (which Obama once referred to as the “JV” or junior varsity team) has committed massive human rights violations including murder, torture and rape against millions, mainly Muslims in the Middle East. I think that America is not better off, and according to Real Clear Politics, approximately seven out of ten Americans agree with me.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

In both George Washington’s Farewell Address and Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Paper No. 9, the Founding Fathers warned us of the dangers of factionalism over principle. This election cycle has demonstrated a complete institutional disregard for honesty, principles and the rights of the people. The DNC and Podesta WikiLeaks have demonstrated that not only did the DNC effectively rig the election to edge out Bernie Sanders, but it also actively colluded with the media to push Donald Trump forward as a “Pied Piper candidate”, because they knew they could beat him. Instead of accepting the far more publicly popular Sen. Marco Rubio, the natural frontrunner and principled politician of the race, the DNC likely used their demonstrable power over the media to supply Donald Trump with the equivalent of $1 billion in free media coverage during the primaries.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

I believe that both Hillary Clinton, on the grounds of breaching federal protocol and compromising our national security, and Donald Trump, on the grounds of multiple counts of sexual assault, both belong in prison, not the White House.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

Hillary Clinton will be the 45th president of the United States. Republicans will lose the Senate, but likely keep the House.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ? Would you like to be a part of it ? Please tell me.

The U.S. Supreme Court and the States must protect the dissolution of our Constitution as the Clinton administration follows Obama’s trend of expanding the powers of the Executive Branch. Congress must replace Obamacare with a free market alternative which incentivizes health care providers on a local level to enter concierge care collaboratives to promote preventative and holistic care and encourages more insurance providers (as opposed to Obamacare, which drives providers out of the market) to enter the market and provide disaster coverage with low premiums and high deductibles. Both the federal and state governments must repeal damaging regulations which greatly inhibit long-term job creation. The Middle East must be stabilized, and the federal government must phase out our current Social Security bubble as to not bankrupt future generations. In addition, other states would be wise to observe Washington state’s bipartisan carbon tax initiative and appropriate it if it’s found to be successful to help halt global climate change.

by Tiana Lowe, Oct. 18

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

« Hillary Clinton should not even be

a free woman »

I am a 54-year-old, white-collar working woman. I have a family I adore and a grandson, who is a huge blessing to me and my family. I have worked at my job for 23 years and counting. I am a homeowner, divorced (15 years), with two grown children. I am currently, in a relationship with an amazing man with many similar interests. I am a Catholic, and proud of my faith. I am a very opinionated woman who can be brutally honest. I believe life is a journey, with many bumps and curves along the way. It is only through faith and tenacity that we survive it at all. My ultimate goal is to one day meet my lord and savior and see my dad again !

I am currently registered as a Democrat. I honestly went that route in the 80’s and have never changed affiliations. (...) I was a senior in High School (12th grade) and as part of our Government class, we registered to vote. I chatted with my dad - honestly I HATED Government class... lol. And at the time, he was a Democrat too. My dad was a strong, faithful man that I looked up too for his knowledge about life and country and his beliefs in God. I was born in ’61 and there’s one event in our history I still carry with me. When President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 I was not quite 2 years old and I remember my dad crying about it. I’ve asked myself WHY I remember that so vividly when I can’t remember yesterday... It obviously touched my core to see tears in my dads eyes. He has passed on and I guess it was still a part of me for some reason... Quite a while before he died too he had registered as a Republican... I just never did. Sometime soon I will re-register and become an independent. I think the Rep/Dem parties are ridiculous and I just follow my heart when I vote anyway. I’m NOT one to vote STRICTLY with party affiliation. I’m more conservative than the Democratic Party, for sure.

My country, who is now led by President Barack Obama, has an election coming up soon ! I thought that 8 years ago, we would see a bright future, with President Obama ; I was sadly mistaken. Washington has thrived on its corruption and has divided this country regarding race, religion and the liberty of its people. We have a failed national health care plan that cost this country billions to introduce. Premiums are beyond affordable for most if not all Americans. A typical monthly premium is approx. $1500.00, with exorbitant deductibles ! I would say on a scale of 1-10, this man has failed big time, and sadly I’d say he’s about a 2 on the scale of success in his presidency. He has divided this country’s people according to race, gender and employment. His acceptance of illegal immigrants who get a higher education for free over our citizens is appalling ! Our country teaches them to fly planes to destroy people’s lives. I could go on and on, but I will spare you the gory details.

I personally lost a relative in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. This man and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made this nation a laughing stock to the rest of the world. We deny support for our troops both in battle (Benghazi) and on our home turf. With the elections coming up this November, we have seen the remanents of corruption at its finest within our Washington elitists. Any American, who would have done the very same thing, as President Obama and Hillary Clinton did during their tenure would have been sitting in prison !

So I guess you can understand, that I believe Hillary can’t and should not even be a free woman, and certainly not be allowed to run for the highest office of my country. Donald Trump is an arrogant ass, but he owes no favors. He has no agenda except to make this nation great again. He truly, in my opinion, wants to make our economy strong, our borders secure, and our businesses brought back to the states and create job growth ! I truly pray Mr Trump wins this election. However, corruptness will stand in his way, re: voter fraud.

Our nation faces a very crucial time. Our freedoms of religion, speech, and our right to bear arms are all being attacked. The human sanctity of life is on the fence, re: abortion at 36 weeks (?!?). I was a preemie myself, born at 28 weeks gestation. But we are talking, if a mother wants to abort her child at delivery, it could be allowed. God help this nation ! 

by "Madisyn Justice", Oct. 19

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

« To see even one face of a woman amongst

the presidential portraits would have

a ripple effect on little girls »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

I’m 31, a single mother working as an Account Director for a digital marketing agency in the U.S.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

I would probably rate him as an 8. He has accomplished quite a lot in the context of difficult circumstances. I would say his greatest achievement is the improvement in our diplomatic relations. He stepped into the Oval Office after it was vacated by a president who often didn’t seem 100% sure of what he was doing. Obama is level-headed, rational, and intelligent, and I feel he has improved America’s reputation overseas.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Yes. Absolutely. But I feel there is still a need for improvement. The world is not going to forget about America’s missteps just because we had a good 8-year run.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

I feel awful, haha. I keep thinking that it is a nightmare from which I will awake at any moment. I cannot believe that Trump is the basket into which the Republicans decided to put all of their eggs. He is sexist, racist, and xenophobic. He is an unchecked capitalist, pompous and easily angered. I believe that the strength of our country lies in our diversity, and Trump seems to wish everyone was like him.

I’m sure there must be a worse candidate for president than Donald Trump, but I can’t think of one offhand.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

As The Atlantic has already said, rather eloquently, Hillary is one of the most prepared candidates ever. Due to some of the scandals she’s been associated with, she is not my first choice for president. However, she is extremely experienced, thoughtful, composed, and deliberate. I believe she will continue to improve our diplomatic relations, and that she will surround herself with expert advisors that will help her steer our country for the next four years.

Additionally, while I would never vote for someone based soley on his or her gender, if Hillary is elected, this will be a win for girls everywhere. Think about the stark contrast in experiences between a little girl and a little boy when they are looking at portraits of all our presidents. To see even one face of a woman amongst those portraits will have a ripple effect.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

Hillary will be president. It has to be Hillary. This is the first time I have ever truly worried about what would happen if the opponent opposing my own pick were to win. In the past I thought, "I hope my candidate wins, but if the other candidate wins, things will be more or less okay."

I do not foresee America even being "okay" if Trump were elected - let alone "great."

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

The gap between the "haves" and "have nots", the rich and the poor, is extremely concerning. We have to do more to level the playing field in America for women, minorities, and low-income and no-income citizens. If you systematically oppress a group of people for years upon years, revolution is inevitable. We need immediate and tangible actions from our government and society as a whole. Otherwise, the violence in this country will continue to grow.

The American dream may still be alive, but it is coughing and choking and stumbling around on the days it can even manage to get out of bed.

by "H", Oct. 21

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Beth Gearhart

Beth Gearhart with her husband Roger.

« People excuse Trump’s behavior

because they hope he will do what he

abruptly says and change things »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

I am almost 73. We have been evangelical missionaries for years. First with American Indians, then a year in language school in Annecy, France, then 4 years in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa. Back in the States, we continued in ministry and began a food ministry we ran for 15 years, feeding 10,000 a week. We retired 9 years ago and moved 50 miles south of Colorado Springs, CO. I now mentor young women and counsel at church. My husband is now disabled.

We have lived a full and active life.

We have always been very involved in politics and very informed. Our kids have also been informed and active.

I speak enough French to get along, but write terrible. I also read fairly well. It has been 25 years since we were actively speaking French, so have sadly lost a lot.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

1 - if that high !

I believe he became President because he is black. I would vote for a Black, but would not vote Black just for color. I vote principal and character ! Sadly, most American Blacks voted 'Black'.

Obama never even worked ! A community organizer and politician !

He has done nothing but divide our country. We had come a long way with race relations and he has thrown us back to before civil rights. From the beginning he pitted group against group. Rich against poor, Black against White, Christian against Non-Christian. There were obvious prejudices.

There were Black thugs intimidating Blacks and Whites at the polls and his Justice Department threw out the charges. We have had lots of riots and burnings of Black businesses and looting, by Blacks. Each time a policeman shoots a Black, the Blacks riot. Even if it is a Black policeman and even when their actions are justified. Yet the Black on Black crime is totally out of control. It is like that doesn't matter. Look up Chicago, Illinois statistics on Black on Black crime.

Obama is for gun control ! Chicago has just about the strictest gun control in the country and yet the murder rate is one of the highest in the country ! Because they are mostly black, no white dare touch it. Only Blacks can talk about Black on Black crime. If I talked like this to our media, I would be called a racist ! (Yet we were missionaries in Africa, we are not prejudiced !)

I find this politically correct speech a way to control free speech ; sadly, it works !

Obamacare is a huge mess. Government is now saying it will implode in 2017. Clinton says she will fix it ! So, government creates it, now will fix it ? Prices and deductions have increased a lot ! It really is a way to redistribute money ! The workers provide for those who do not work. Either by choice or not !

We need to give hands up, not hands out! Help those who need help, not those who choose to not work.

Obama has spent more money than ALL our past Presidents combined. How long can we sustain this debt ! If China calls in our loans, we will bankrupt. I believe something will happen to make us like Greece. We are being warned constantly. Something will cause us to go over a cliff. The whole world will then suffer.

The illegal immigration problem is another whole set of issues. Rampant crime, our border guards are made to release illegals, all the time handing out our resources. Not vetting Muslims, you should know about that ! The religion of peace ? If only 10% are terrorists, that is millions !

Obama has no respect for our laws. He either works around them or issues executive orders or just ignores the law and goes to court ! It takes years to settle, meantime people suffer under his orders. Take bathrooms in public schools and military and any public building. No separation of the sexes in bathrooms or showers. If you 'feel' you are a woman, even though you have male genitalia, you can shower and use women/girls bathrooms. The military is now with NO divisions.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ? Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Absolutely not on both questions. More people out of work than in the Great Depression in the 1930’s. More people on food stamps and entitlements ever. Morality is almost non existent. Everything goes now days with absolutely no concept of right or wrong. We live in hypocrisy. Can’t give an aspirin to a sick kid without all kinds of legalities, but you can take a young girl for an abortion. A sexual abuser goes to prison, but CAN use the same bathroom as young girls. It is crazy !

America is laughed at globally. Our word is no longer valid and Obama is weak and has no respect. Our military has been degraded and demoralized to where I wonder if we could even defend ourselves.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

Ashamed and embarrassed. America is a divided country between Liberals/progressives and Conservatives. Most of us are sick of an entire year of lies, distortions and monopolizing of all media.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

Neither. Clinton especially. She has a record of lying, the whole Benghazi episode was disgraceful. Records indicate she knew the facts and still lied. The Clinton Foundation is a bribe scheme. Financial reports indicate around 9 percent goes to actually help people. The Clintons have enriched themselves with bribes for contracts. There are literally over 50 deaths associated with Clintons, mostly suicides (supposedly). She is pro-abortion even up to the day of birth. She is also anti-guns (except for HER protection). She constantly lies and Wikileaks is now proving that almost daily. There is more, but I won’t bore you further. I will never vote for a murderer of babies.

Trump says he is anti-abortion and will straighten out the economy and also vet illegals more and stop Muslims. Because he has never been a politician, how do we know ? He is an arrogant buffoon. I am really concerned about his NOT being able to accept criticism in any way. He appears vengeful and unforgiving. To me he is another dictator like Obama, only white and on the Right. I may like some of what he will do, but he scares me.

Both are scary !

I will hold my nose and vote for Trump. He will offer the most freedoms to Christians. (...) My most important reason for voting Trump ? The Supreme Court ! He has already submitted constitutional judges names ! Clinton will appoint Liberal judges who do not interpret the constitution, but legislate from the bench ! These choices will change the direction of our country for decades !

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

I think Clinton will win. Many things Trump says are true. The media is 96% Liberal and endorse her. I also know of the cheating in elections, we even had it in our small town of 40,000. What people like about Trump is that he says it like it is ! No finesse and blunt. People are sick of lying politicians and government corruption. They excuse his terrible behavior because they hope he will do what he abruptly says and will change things.

Congress may continue to be Republican, but they seem afraid to do their job ! They rarely stopped Obama. He operated like a dictator who ruled by executive fiat and they bowed down.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

Depends on who wins. More and more corruption with her. More and more illegal immigrants, more terrorism in the US and more and more entitlements, which are traded for Democrat votes ! I look for the economy to crash, more and more debt and less and less people working.

Trump might give us a small reprieve but I believe we are headed down. I believe he would help our country the most, but would not bet on it !

Pretty sad ! I have zero faith in our present government. But truthfully, I don’t think our answers are more or less government. My faith is only in God.

You certainly don’t have to wonder what I think ! I defiantly have strong opinions, but no power except for my voice and vote !

"Je voulais vous remercier pour votre gentillesse."

by Beth Gearhart, Oct. 24

 

Then came election day...

« I’m most excited about what will happen

with the Supreme Court... »

How do you feel about the results of this November 8 elections ?

Ecstatic, excited, hopeful ! Like most others, I was surprised when Trump won the election and yet why was I ? Because our media (newspapers, television and internet) all were convinced that Clinton would win. They espoused these beliefs for the last year, even though Trump drew bigger crowds consistently with thousands who stood outside. The ONLY ones I heard that repeatedly said to : "Not believe these reports" were conservative radio personalities. They explained how the outlook was rigged and reporting and polling were dishonest (and why). Guess they were right !

I am most excited about the Supreme Court possibilities ; judges who actually follow the constitution instead of legislating from the bench. With the number of judges that Trump will have to replace, this should protect our country for the next 40-50 years.

I am excited that many of Obama’s executive orders will be thrown out. Such things as opposite sexes sharing bathrooms, putting our most vulnerable at risk.

I am excited to see new jobs produced, the pipe line completed, fracking restored, infrastructure actually repaired, taxes reduced, the EPA reined in, illegal criminals and gang members exported, a border wall constructed, and our armed services built back up. To name a few !

Trump says he will take few vacations and NO salary ! This shows that he is truly wanting to represent ’We the People’ and "Make America Great Again !"

Are you confident the nation will be able to come together without major hardships after this polarized election, and under a Trump presidency ?

Confident, No. We are seeing demonstrations that are sometimes turning into riots, fires and destruction. As a nation we have coddled some of our young people and many are living by emotion rather than by their brains ! When many are interviewed they express fear of ’tomorrow’. They don’t seem to realize that 50% (or more) of the United States went through the same emotions when Obama was elected twice and yet Republicans did not demonstrate or become destructive. We just put on our big boy pants and got on with life. We certainly did not like many, many things that Obama did - but we survived. They too will survive. When we hear of therapists, therapy dogs and arts and crafts being provided to ’soothe’ them, most of us laugh. Ridiculous ! I can’t imagine how some of these young people can survive and wonder how they have been raised to believe they can always have what they want and throw temper tantrums when they don’t get it.

As a nation, we need to give Trump a chance ! Most young people remember nothing except Obama and have been raised and coddled in our liberal schools and colleges and they may find out they will like a lot of what Trump does !

Time and history always show us which way is the right way. We will all wait and see.

In the most honest and balanced way possible, how would you assess Hillary Clinton’s impact and legacy on American politics, and how do you feel about her as a person ?

I can be honest about my perspective, but I doubt very balanced. I am sorry to say I do not have one good thing I can think of to say about her or her legacy and believe history will show my perspective to be true. Investigations are not complete and I imagine much more will come out regarding her behavior and dishonesty. WikiLeaks have almost daily produced the truth via e-mails hacked, which prove what we’ve always suspected to be true. I find it ’normal’ that the Democratic party make the issue ’who hacked’ rather than the truth of ’what they hacked’.

Obviously, I regard Hillary Clinton from a Republican perspective. I am so glad she is GONE. I remember nothing but bad things, the lies and manipulations. The lie about the helicopter she was on and she claimed she had to dodge bullets (proved to not be true) the lies about Benghazi she told grieving parents, the lies about her server and e-mails and the manipulation of a foundation/charity that the Clintons used to enrich themselves by accepting huge donations and speaking fees from foreign countries.

She is what I would call an elitist who believes she is better than anyone else and ’we the people’ are just here to serve her. She claims she is for children and women, but she would allow a child to be murdered in the womb the day before it is delivered. She had no problem taking money from Middle Eastern countries who give women NO rights and we never heard her talking out against the horror some Middle Eastern women experience. She claims she is for the LBGT community and yet I never hear her speak out against the treatment they experience in the Middle East.

I hope this woman is gone from the political scene forever.

Nov. 16

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Eileen Bastianelli

« America never stopped being great »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Eileen Horowitz Bastianelli. I’m American and have been living in Paris for soon to be 29 years.

I grew up in Los Angeles and came to Paris right after I graduated from Berkeley. I am an advisor to C-suite executives in Entertainment, Advertising and Tech. And I produce content from time to time. In 2008, I was asked to produce a PSA to get Americans outside the US to vote. There are 8.7M of us.

In 2012, I set up and ran the Social Media initiative for Democrats Abroad worldwide. Democrats Abroad is the official arm of the Democratic Party outside the US. I stepped down in 2014 but remain very involved in rallying those of us overseas to make our voices heard. Those of us living outside the US have a very different perspective on what goes on back at home. What happens in the US affects us all. And I believe that in this election cycle it is more the case than ever before.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

9 - but I was always told never to give a 10 out of 10.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago? Is America more respected now on the global stage than itwas 8 years ago ?

In my opinion, America is clearly better off now than 8 years ago. When Obama took office, the US was in a terrible state.

He inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Since that time, there have been 75+ months of economic growth. The stock market has reached record highs. The Federal budget deficit has shrunk by nearly 2/3. Unemployment has been cut in more than half. Income taxes are as low for the vast majority of Americans as they have been in more than 50 years. America is no longer dependant on foreign oil. And while many complain about terrorism, which has become a major issue on a global scale these past years, there has not been one successful attack by Al Qaeda on US soil since Obama was elected. And there are fewer American troops on the ground outside the US than in decades. The US car industry was about to become defunct in 2008 and today it is flourishing. And shall we talk healthcare ? While the Affordable Health Care Act has a long way to go until it is running efficiently and smoothly, millions of Americans are now insured and healthcare costs have stopped spiralling out of control.

And as an American living overseas, I became proud again to say be an American. That is, until Trump came onto the scene.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ?

I am embarrassed. I am sad. I am frightened. I am horrified to see Americans looking at one another with distrust. And I am angry that this has turned into a reality show with the whole world watching.

In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President : Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

I think that Hillary will make an incredible President. She is qualified. She is tough. She has withstood 30 years of vicious, sexist attacks from all ends. And not only is she still standing, she is going to make one incredible President. And her policies are sound. She has incorporated essential elements from Bernie’s platform while retaining a realistic and solid economic vision.

As for Trump, I think is he an utter disgrace. Incompetent. And has brought out hate in a way I had never imagined we would ever see again in America. I would add that this is what makes the 2016 electoral cycle drastically different than any other before. Usually, there are two candidates with two more or less different political viewpoints. Differences on policy. And with my Republican peers, we could simply “agree to disagree” on X or Y issue. That is not the case in this election.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

No presidential race is ever over until the day after the elections. But as the mother of two daughters (who are both voting for the first time in this election !) I am hopeful we will be able to, for the first time in US history, speak about Madam President.

As for the Senate, Trump’s shenanigans will likely have major impact all the way down the ticket and I am confident that we will take back the Senate.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

The first challenge, in my view, will be to heal from this insane campaign. Learn to love and trust each other again. Also to hope that the voice of the people with regards to the “status quo” will be heard. Trump based his campaign on “making America great again.” America never stopped being great but we will have to heal again as a nation to be able to deal with the challenges that face us as a country including terrorism, education, healthcare, equal pay, and healing our reputation outside the US from the events of this electoral campaign.

by Eileen Horowitz Bastianelli, Oct. 27

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

« The media have become Democratic

Party operatives with bylines. »

Could you please introduce yourself ?

I am a lawyer, age 55, with three kids. I live in Atlanta, Georgia.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate President Obama’s tenure as President ?

1. He would get a zero except that he was the first person to break the race barrier as President, and he killed Osama bin Laden. Beyond that, he has been a total failure. He hates America in his heart, which means that he always takes sides against America. He hates freedom, the rule of law, free enterprise, individual responsibility. By design, he has manipulated and engineered every situation to make people believe that only Democratic Party-led government is a solution. He has no respect for political principles, and turns everything into partisan warfare. Isolating people with whom he disagrees, like a Saul Alinsky militant. He has encouraged racial tensions. He is a deliberate divider, to turn American against American, and make everyone hungry for handouts from the State. He is not a uniter. He is a crusading egotist, who cannot let one public moment pass without referring to himself in the first-person as the great change agent. He stands for nothing except total Democratic power and control over every aspects of life.

In your opinion : Is America better off now than it was 8 years ago ?

Worse. See above. Our economy spent another 8 years in recession. We have withdrawn from the world stage. Our military is degraded. We do not stand for freedom and opportunity. We do not take necessary steps to defeat ISIS. We dislike and distrust each other. The media have become Democratic Party operatives with bylines.

Is America more respected now on the global stage than it was 8 years ago ?

Less.

How do you feel about the current electoral season ? In the most honest way possible, do you believe the two following persons would be fit to be President: Hillary Clinton ; Donald Trump ?

It is horrible. Clinton and Trump are both disqualified from being President. Hillary is corrupt. She released state secrets through her e-mails, and laughed at the need to keep intelligence secret. She and her husband enriched themselves, selling government access and influence to the highest bidder. Hillary stands for nothing except Democractic Party power. Trump is a moron. He does not understand the first thing about politics, statesmanship, grace, or dignity. He is a comic book figure. It is a choice between two evils. In this battle, I will be voting for Trump, for three basic reasons : He seems to believe in American power and righteousness, to deal a death blow to ISIS (the number one danger). Second, he will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. Third, and most important, he will be passionately investigated, reported on, and opposed by the American media. For the first time in a long time, we might have a press which actually does journalism and leads to a national discussion on the proper powers of the Presidency.

What do you think will be the outcome of this November’s Elections (for President and Congress) ?

Hillary will win the Presidency. The Senate and the House of Representatives will remain Republican.

What do you feel will be the most crucial challenges facing America during the next four or eight years ?

1. Fight against Islamic terrorism.

2. Ceding influence to China and Russia all over the world, leading to global chaos.

3. Orwellian government led by corrupt mandarins chosen from among the Democratic-crony capitalist-media elites.

4. “Open borders” immigration leading to an influx of people who have no identification with American principles of limited government, free markets, individual responsibility, and the rule of law.

5. A stagnant or declining economy caused by high taxes, low interest rates, government control, anti-business ideology.

by "M.A.", Oct. 28

 

What about YOU ?

If you wanna write your own story, the comments are open ! ;-)

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