Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Distrust Test for Voters in November

One of the most important questions a voter should ask is whether a candidate can be trusted.

But as this frightening presidential primary season unfolds, in the Fall we likely will not have the opportunity to ask the question.

Instead, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the ballot, the question will be, tragically,  “which candidate do I distrust the least.”

That’s a sad state of affairs for the body politic, but polling supports just that level of  distrust.

Still the answer is clear. Trump himself has said that what he is saying today will be different once he is actually nominated. In essence, he is telling us that he is a liar, and, worse, his saying it doesn’t matter. Lying is a "justifiable" means to his ends.

Indeed, the most frightening thing about Trump, beyond the question of his sanity, is that he is utterly unpredictable…even  to himself.

Clinton, for her part, seems spineless in her pursuit of victory. If Bernie Sanders is driving her ever so reluctantly to the Left, just think of what Trump will do. In desperation, will she cave on immigration? Will she waffle on climate change? Will she play to the nativism of the Trumpites. Will she, like Rubio, play the bodily fluid card?

She has already adopted the Trump’s meme about “America’s Greatness.” He says he’ll restore it; she says it was never in question.

Really? Talk to Native Americans, talk to farm workers, talk to college graduates saddled with debt, talk to the homeless, talk to kids trapped in impoverished, overcrowded schools, talk to victims of police brutality, talk to veterans contemplating suicide because of PTSD.

No, this country is about promise, as yet unfulfilled. I don’t trust any politician unwilling to say so. And that’s why I’ve been sending checks in dribs and drabs to Bernie Sanders, who is nothing if not trustworthy.

But for reasons that seemingly have nothing to do with trust, “The People” seem set on offering you and me Clinton and Trump this Fall. Which one do I distrust the least?

Clinton by shameful default. He greatest strength steps over the lowest of bars: she is NOT Donald Trump.

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The Panama Papers: Waiting for the other shoe to drop

And now, in the middle of this wild political season, we are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I speak of the “Panama Papers” revelations. We are told there are more to come.

And could the “more” shake up the already shaky presidential primary races?

Could Donald Trump, who has yet to release any of his tax returns, be mixed up in the off-shore tax-evasion? What are the odds? Would you be surprised if Trump paid no taxes at all?

Trump has already confessed his proud affinity to greed. Hiding assets would be just another manifestation of it. Oh, and the evasions, as they say, are “perfectly legal.”

That true enough. But are they ethical. They means that the rest of us who are “stupid,” in Trump’s eyes, are making up for the lost tax revenue through the checks we responsibly write to the IRS.

That’s right, you and I could be paying Donald Trump’s tax liability, which is passed on to us.

The lost tax revenue also means that our schools are underfunded, veterans are forced to live on the streets and the nation’s infrastructure continues to crumble. The list goes on and on…

And then there’s Hillary Clinton.

Of course we don’t know (yet?) if the Clintons have been hiding assets off-shore, out of sight of the IRS, but we do know that they are cozy with the Saudi Royal family. The Saudis are big donors to the Clinton Foundation. It should come as no surprise that Saudi King Salman is in the massive data base of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which administers these tax dodges.

And what about the big-dollar donors to the Clinton campaign? Could their contributions be ill-gotten gains stemming from off-shore tax dodges? If so, will Hillary give the money back or perhaps turn it over to the government?

If (or when) the other shoe drops, in the words of Bernie Sanders, it could feed the much-needed “revolution.”

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