Wednesday, March 30, 2016

'If You Are Young And Not A Liberal....'

               '...You Don't Have a Heart' goes the old adage.

Liberal Heart
Conservative Brain

But take a look at the second verse of a quote commonly attributed to Winston Churchill but which probably originated with other commentators, philosophers and politicians before him:

'If you are old and not a conservative, you don't have a brain!'

At what point exactly do young people cease being 'so liberal' and start to become 'more conservative', at least on fiscal issues such as government spending and personal taxation?

Apparently, it is when they get jobs that pay them between $40,000 and $60,000, or about the same income level they start to pay significant taxes on their income over what they pay in the only real 'flat tax' we have, the payroll tax, according to a poll from Reason-Rupe.

Wonder why that is?

It is much easier to be idealistic and say we need such-and-such a program when we are younger and in college than to step up to the plate and say:

'You know what? We need to address this problem from a public policy perspective and I am willing to pay 10% more of my income in taxes to pay for it! And so should everyone in my city/state/country!'

When was the last time you ever heard a political candidate say that in public?

The answer is: 'Never'

It is always 'We must make the rich pay their 'fair share'!' (even though they already pay more than their 'fair share' based on income percentiles) or 'We must make Wall Street pay for it!'

There really is no mystery as to 'why' younger people start to become more conservative in fiscal issues as they grow up and start getting paid for their work and raising families and paying the rent and buying homes and paying the mortgage and buying cars and paying for them and such.

It is because we all want to provide the best lives we can for ourselves and our families. That is the reason people came to America in the first place; to be able to lead lives with as little interference as possible, or none in many cases, from government or religious authorities who controlled life in European nations at the time.

It gets very hard to do the more the government takes out of your paycheck each and every week, doesn't it?

No one is really arguing for a 100% repeal of the welfare state from the conservative side of things. What they are arguing for is some consideration about the size and scope and efficacy of the totality of welfare programs that exist in America today.

If welfare programs are working at maximum efficiency and are producing optimal results, as in reducing poverty, increasing health standards and educational success, then they should be continued.

In fact, if welfare programs work 100% as proposed and envisioned, poverty should now be a thing of the past, shouldn't it? The purpose of welfare programs is to eliminate poverty, isn't it? Not perpetuate it.

However, if any welfare program is deemed ineffective or worse, detrimental and causing adverse outcomes, then they should be reviewed and either eliminated, reformed or replaced until we find something that does work to reduce poverty for example.

The 'best' welfare program, of course, is a growing, vibrant economy where millions more people can find work each year and take care of themselves and their own families. We have not therefore had the benefit of the 'best' welfare program over the past 7 years and still counting under the Obama Administration.

One thing for young people to consider is how the federal government is offering to provide such a welfare state with their money. For example, Social Security was passed in 1935 as a government solution to provide temporary financial assistance to millions of senior citizens who were starving and out of work during the Great Depression.

That was 81 years ago. Social Security has remained fundamentally unchanged since then except for the expansions of coverage and increases in the payroll taxes it has taken to finance those expansions.

What is happening with all the money every young person has taken from their weekly, biweekly or monthly paychecks? Is it going into special trust accounts with their name on it where their money is invested so it can earn 6%+ per year for the next 40 years of their work careers and they can retire with a healthy cash nest-egg of say $1 million at age 67 (which will be their minimum legal retirement age at least by 2056?

Nope. Every dollar and cent of their OASDI payroll taxes paid today goes out the next month to current retirees or dependents on Social Security. That is the definition of the ‘welfare state’ if there ever was one.

Young workers pay now with the hope and expectation their children will do the same in 40+ years or so. Except their children's payroll taxes will be much higher then unless we do something now to reform Social Security.

Shouldn’t we be using our conservative 'brains' more now?

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

'Are We At War' Post-Brussels/Paris?

From US State Department Reports
35,272 people worldwide were killed, injured or taken hostage by terrorists. In 2014. Alone.

According to the US Department of State under Secretary John Kerry who is serving in the Administration of President Barack Obama. Not according to some right-wing nationalistic group or any other analysis.

The US State Department.

64.3% of the casualties in this one year alone were perpetrated by ISIS or the Taliban.

22,705 innocent people worldwide were killed, injured or taken hostage by self-avowed terrorists who are claiming they are doing this under the cloak of Islamist terrorism

To put this all in perspective, 6828 American Soldiers died in Iraq/Afghanistan since 2001. 

Over a 15-year period, as terrible as the loss was for the families of these fallen heroes and for the nation, 6 times more people were killed, injured or taken hostage in the single year of 2014 by terrorists worldwide, the majority of whom are self-described Muslims who are intent on wiping out 'The Great Satan', America from the face of the earth. 

Along with Israel. Our most loyal long-term ally in the Middle East.

If you take just a five-year snapshot of casualties caused by terrorists since 2010 worldwide, the number exceeds 125,000 innocent people who have been killed, injured or taken hostage by militant terrorists, mostly claiming 'victory' for Al Qaeda or ISIS.

If you look at any of the casualty totals from major wars in American history, you will get a sense of the carnage and obscene loss of life that has occurred at the hands of these terrorists that for some reason, our government has failed to even label as 'terrorists' for fear of antagonizing them further.

(totals include killed, wounded, hostage, MIAs)
  • 25,000 in American Revolutionary War
  • 20,000 in War of 1812
  • 17,435 in Mexican-American War
  • 600,000-850,000 in American Civil War
  • 320,518 in World War I
  • 1,076,000 casualties in World War II
  • 211,000 Vietnam War
  • 58,000+ Iraq Gulf War I and II and Afghanistan
The number of people who have been killed, wounded or taken hostage by terrorists worldwide over the past 5 years alone has been exceeded by US casualties only in the American Civil War, World War I and World War II in absolute numbers.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said today after the Brussels attack: 'We are at war. We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.'

The question for all of us American citizens as we select a new leader for the White House is whether we think we are 'at war' with radical terrorism worldwide and domestically or not.

Terrorists abroad, especially those who are hiding under the cloak of Islam including ISIS, certainly think they are 'at war' with us and the rest of western civilization. Otherwise, they would not be killing and maiming so many innocent people worldwide each year, would they?

The absence of war does not necessarily mean we are 'at peace' goes an old saw in Washington, D.C.

America is never 'at peace' as long as terrorism and oppression are 'at war' with us and other peace-loving people of this world.

We need to be taking a much more serious approach to eradicating this scourge of terrorism from the face of this planet.

It will not go away on its own willingly if history is any guide or tutor to us.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

'The More Things Change In American Politics.....

...the more they just keep changing'.

We saw this animation showing how voting patterns changed over time in American history starting from the beginning. It is worth taking 2.5 minutes to watch it. (click through title link if you can't see it in this format)

The one thing that jumps out at you if you are any student of American political history is how voting patterns have changed over time and are still continuing to change.

Even as we speak right now.

We are experiencing tectonic shifts in American voting behavior right now during these presidential primaries that adherents of both sides of the political spectrum are either failing to recognize or refusing to recognize such as the case might be.

For example, it was probably 'impossible' for Federalists in 1800 to believe that less than 20 years in the future, their beloved Federalist Party would completely cease to exist. Similarly, it was 'impossible' for the National Republican Party of John Adams and Henry Clay in 1828 to imagine that less than 8 years in the future, their party would be destroyed and essentially replaced by the new Whig Party. Which lasted only 20 years until Lincoln helped reform remnants of the Whigs and National Republican Party under the banner of the new Republican Party which is essentially the structure we see today.

Except 'those' Republicans were very high tariff protectionists whereas modern-day Republicans are fairly considered to be open trade, laissez-faire advocates.

Which is where the rub starts between current conservative Republicans and Donald Trump, their leading vote and delegate-leader in the GOP primaries so far. He favors very high tariffs in retaliation for unfair trade practices and huge surpluses with our trading partners, which, of course, he says he is going to fix anyway through new negotiations so there no longer be huge trade imbalances between the United States and the rest of the world, namely China and Mexico.

Has the Republican Party come full circle back to the days of John Adams and Henry Clay when it comes to tariffs, or just back to the protectionist stance favored by Republicans during the McKinley years?

The point of all this is just to show how dynamic, as opposed to static, American politics has been over the years. 'Classical liberals' (free enterprise, free traders) become conservatives who beget protectionists, somehow. Strong Democratic defense hawks (JFK) beget a party of isolationism and retreat from the world stage. 'Balanced budget advocates' such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt become progenitors of Big Government welfare statism and 'balanced budget Republican conservatives' of the 1980's and '90's become feeders of government spending and expansion in the first decade of the 21st century.

One thing that has been true more often than not in American presidential politics has been that is has been a personality contest from the beginning.

Think there was a lot of love for George Washington after leading the young nation to victory over the dreaded British? Think there was a lot of love for General Ulysses S Grant (the 'S' stood for nothing; his name was 'Hiram Ulysses' and 'H.U. Grant' didn't sound as good as 'U.S.' did at the time) when he ran in 1868 just 3 years after keeping the Union together?
'Mix 1 part policy with 6 parts personality
and you got a presidential candidate!'

Combine 'personality' with a few important issues such as 'immigration' and 'jobs' and you get Donald Trump. It is almost like mixing up Kool-Aid it seems so simple put that way.

What we are most likely seeing right now in both established political parties is a fracturing and perhaps splintering of both into new factions. There is the very left-wing part of the Democratic Party and the more traditional Democratic coalition that started post-Watergate. There is the right-wing social conservative wing of the Republican Party that started to form in the 1980's under the Moral Majority umbrella headed by Reverend Jerry Falwell and the more fiscally-conscious, business friendly, strong national defense coalition that has always been considered to be the core of Republican politics dating back at least a century.

As the extremes on both sides have gained power and the upper-hand in primaries and then win the general election, both parties are now more heavily represented by people who are maybe 3-4 standard deviations from the mean on the political philosophical scale.

Yet the vast majority of Americans, perhaps 80%+, still consider themselves to be around the middle politically, not more than 1 and maybe 2 standard deviations from the mean on any issue. They tend to be self-described 'socially libertarian/fiscally conservative and responsible' voters who don't really get too ginned up about politics on a second-by-second basis.

And they feel completely ignored and un-listened to by leadership in both major parties today. (emphasis added)
Mainly because they have lives to live that are far more interesting and important than listening to Rush Limbaugh and Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly and Rachel Maddow and Glenn Beck and Josh Earnest of the Obama White House all day long.

They just want their elected leaders to go to Washington, do their jobs, solve the big problems, shut up and come home. They don't like or admire the finger-pointing; the blame-game; the political posturing; the 'promise' that 'just help elect a few more of us and we will stop Obamacare!' or any of the childish, puerile and sometimes just flat-out ignorant statements our elected leaders put out on a daily basis.

These are the people who have left both the Democratic and Republican parties in the last decade such to the point that some observers are predicting that Independent/Unaffiliated voter will make up close to 50% of the registered vote across the entire state of North Carolina by 2020.

I had 3 people call me last week to ask how they could re-register as Independents. 2 left the GOP; 1 left the Democratic Party.

Maybe it is these people who are fueling the coming mitosis of both the Democratic and Republican Party.

Or maybe these Independents are just looking for a new leader to help reform and corral them into a new political party much as Henry Clay led the advent of the Whigs in the middle 19th century out of the rib of the National Republican Party.

Either way, things are going to be very different from now on. The older Baby Boomers who love to fight and argue about everything (even if it means getting absolutely nothing done on anything important in a bi-partisan manner) who were part of the old Democratic coalitions of the 70's and 80's and the GOP Reagan coalition of the 80's and 90's are going to be more and more marginalized by younger generations of Gen-Xers and Millennials who look at our generation with mouths agape and wonder why we have never gotten anything done except to pass all these problems on to them to deal with, and in the case of the $20 trillion national debt, to pay for.

Because we are really stupid, I guess is the only answer.

'So why not try 'Feel the Bern' Bernie Sanders or 'The Donald' Donald Trump'? many people seem to be saying nowadays. 'The political pros have gotten nothing done. What do we really have to lose anyway?'

Things in politics do not stay the same as time goes on which disproves the French aphorism 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

In American politics, the more they change, the more they just keep changing.

We'll have to see where this iteration takes us all. But it won't be back to where we were before 2016, that is for sure.
***Here's an extremely brief summary of the 'great issues' that were at stake in each election in American history: (winner in parentheses) 

Most elections came down to 3 things: 1) the personality of the candidates vis-a-vis the other candidate(s) in the race for the White House at the time; 2) a referendum on the most recent previous Administration and 3) 1-2 solid issues of some great or grave magnitude (slavery, war, recessions, etc)
  • 1789- (Washington) Will George Washington run or not?
  • 1792- (Washington) Will George Washington run again or not?
  • 1796- (Adams) Democracy vs. centralized government in Washington; Jay Treaty with Great Britain; decentralized agrarian republic vs one built on commerce and industry.
  • 1800- (Jefferson) Federalists attacked Jefferson as an un-Christian deist. Adams administration’s foreign, defense, and internal security policies; naval buildup; creation of a standing army; freedom of speech; deficit spending by the federal government.
  • 1804- (Jefferson) 1803 Louisiana Purchase; reduction of federal spending; repeal of excise tax on whiskey; Federalists broke apart, no real opposition
  • 1808- (Madison) Embargo Act of 1807; economic recession
  • 1812- (Madison) War of 1812. Virginia’s control of White House; defense of  New York frontier vs British in Canada
  • 1816- (Monroe) Succession of Virginia presidents; Hartford Convention of 1814; Bank of United States; Federalists fielded no real opposition
  • 1820- (Monroe) James Monroe faced no organized opposition for reelection in 1820; Federalist Party ceased to exist.
  • 1824- (John Quincy Adams) Republican party broke apart in the 1824 election. 'Corrupt Bargain' broke out.
  • 1828- (Jackson) Jackson’s Democratic-Republicans had first national network of party organizations. National-Republicans, party of John Adams/Henry Clay platform: high tariffs, federal funding of roads, canals, and other internal improvements, aid to domestic manufactures, and development of cultural institutions.
  • 1832 (Jackson) Political patronage,tariffs, federal funding of internal improvements; Jackson’s veto of the rechartering of the Bank of the United States; abuse of executive power.
  • 1836 (Van Buren) Referendum on Andrew Jackson
  • 1840 (William Henry Harrison) Second National Bank and internal improvements
  • 1844 (Polk) Expansion of territory, slavery, abolition
  • 1848 (Taylor) Slavery and territorial expansion
  • 1852 (Pierce) Slavery and territorial expansion
  • 1856 (Buchanan) Slavery
  • 1860 (Lincoln) Ban on slavery in the territories, internal improvements, a homestead act, a Pacific railroad, and a tariff.
  • 1864 (Lincoln) Prosecution of Civil War
  • 1868 (Grant) Management of Reconstruction and black suffrage
  • 1872 (Grant) Civil service reform, laissez-faire liberalism, end to Reconstruction, protection of black rights.
  • 1876 (Hayes) End to Reconstruction, scandals under Grant Administration
  • 1880 (Garfield) Equivocation on the currency issue; civil service reform, generous pensions for veterans, exclusion of Chinese immigrants. The Republicans called for protective tariffs; the Democrats favored tariffs 'for revenue only'.
  • 1884 (Cleveland) Civil service reform; totally nasty campaign 'Ma, Ma, Where's My Pa?'
  • 1888 (Benjamin Harrison) Republicans became party of high tariffs; Northern veterans, angered by Cleveland’s veto of pension legislation and decision to return Confederate battle flags.
  • 1892 (Cleveland) Republicans supported ever-increasing tariff rates; Democrats demanded import taxes for revenue only. Third party Populists wanted government ownership of railroads and monetary reform
  • 1896 (McKinley) Sound money; gold standard; high tariffs; silver coinage; 'Cross of Gold' 
  • 1900 (McKinley) Free coinage of silver; imperialism overseas
  • 1904 (Teddy Roosevelt) Trust-busting; gold vs silver coinage; advent of progressivism
  • 1908 (Taft) Roosevelt's legacy' anti-trust issues.
  • 1912 (Wilson) 2 brands of progressivism; Wilson’s New Freedom anti-monopoly policies; return to small-scale business. 'Bull Moose Party' Roosevelt’s New Nationalism interventionist state with strong regulatory powers
  • 1916 (Wilson) Staying out of WWI; progressivism
  • 1920 (Harding) Conservatism vs progressivism; law-and-order; 'return to normalcy'
  • 1924 (Coolidge) Fiscal conservatism versus social progressivism; higher taxes on the wealthy, conservation, direct election of the president, and the ending of child labor.  
  • 1928 (Hoover) Anti-Catholicism; Prohibition, old-fashioned rural values. 'A chicken for every pot and a car in every garage'
  • 1932 (FDR) Repeal of Prohibition; reduction in federal spending (Democrat platform); referendum on Hoover regarding management of Great Depression; balanced budget and gold standard
  • 1936 (FDR) Big government; burgeoning welfare state; progress of New Deal
  • 1940 (FDR) Interventionalism into WWII vs. isolationalism
  • 1944 (FDR) WWII; FDR health; stand on communism; shape of postwar world. Issue of president serving four terms. 
  • 1948 (Truman) Civil rights, progressivism
  • 1952 (Eisenhower) Isolationism vs. internationalism; Korean War, communism, inflation
  • 1956 (Eisenhower) Foreign policy; prosperity; nuclear testing, Suez Canal crisis
  • 1960 (JFK) 'Missile Gap'; foreign policy; Catholicism of Kennedy
  • 1964 (LBJ) Vietnam, bombing of North Vietnam, dismantling of Social Security; social reform, New Frontier
  • 1968 (Nixon)  Vietnam War, civil rights; protests; Chicago Democratic Convention; law and order; 'secret plan to end Vietnam War'.
  • 1972 (Nixon) End to Vietnam War; inflation; unemployment; Watergate happened
  • 1976 (Carter) Ford pardon of Nixon; 'outsider' of Washington versus 'insider'
  • 1980 (Reagan) Inflation, unemployment, Iranian hostage crisis
  • 1984 (Reagan) 'Morning in America'; peace and prosperity
  • 1988 (Bush 41) Peace, economic stability; continuation of Reagan policies; Willie Horton ads
  • 1992 (Clinton) Economic recession; Iraq War I
  • 1996 (Clinton) Economic expansion, peace, 'war dividend'
  • 2000 (Bush 43) 'Compassionate conservatism', aftermath of Clinton impeachment
  • 2004 (Bush 43) Bush tax cuts; 'Swift Boating' of John Kerry
  • 2008 (Obama) First African-American president; economic collapse; 'Hope and Change'
  • 2012 (Obama) Referendum on Obama years
  • 2016 (?)
* for a more full reading go to

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Who Would Be A 'Perfect' Constitutional President Anyway?

The North Carolina Presidential Primary is Tuesday, March 15.

There's been a lot of talk over the past year about who would or would not 'support and follow The US Constitution!'.

What does that mean'? Exactly?

Who has been the 'most constitutional' President we have had in the United States? Has there ever been a 'perfect' US President who did everything by the book and followed the US Constitution to a 'T'?

Was it Abraham Lincoln? He kept the Union together but many people fault him for suspending habeas corpus at the beginning of the Civil War as being too 'dictatorial' for any American president to do.

Was it FDR? He led America out of the Great Depression and to victory in WWII but many of his executive orders and legislation were overturned by the Supreme Court as being 'unconstitutional' for one reason or another.

Was it Andrew Jackson? Whig Senate Majority Leader Henry Clay of Kentucky absolutely hated General-turned-President Jackson.

Clay thought Jackson was the worst possible Chief Executive because of his proclivities towards making military and executive decisions without consulting Congress.

Henry Clay compared President Andy Jackson to King George III of England which was more than fighting words less than a living generation or two removed from the War of Independence.

What do we Americans really want in a President anyway?

Americans generally want their President to do two things:
  1. Inspire and lead them to a future of hope and prosperity.
  2. Be the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces to keep us safe from all attack.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a President who understood what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind when they carved up the duties of the legislative versus the executive branch in 1787?

1) 'The President proposes and the Congress disposes'

The President can propose any and all sorts of legislation and urge Congress to pass them and give speeches all across the country. It would help if he/she understands that Congress has to pass these initiatives first and not resort to end-runs through executive orders out of the White House all the time.

2) 'The ONLY legislative function the president has is his/her ability to compromise and negotiate'.
The President can veto legislation that has been passed by Congress, not write it and force it down their throat. That is the extent of the legislative function any chief executive has under our Constitution.

The next President needs to understand that the will of the people is expressed in legislation as passed by both the House and Senate first, not the White House.

Since the President has the veto pen, he/she can, and should, be engaged in the legislative process offering input as to what he/she would find objectionable as legislation wends its way through Capitol Hill on its way to the White House.

This used to be called 'compromise' and 'presidential leadership'. President Reagan had it; President George H.W. Bush had it. We saw both of them send their legislative liaison teams to Capitol Hill from 1985-1992 with the goals of balancing the budget, cutting spending and making America's defenses the strongest it possibly could be...and achieving certain degrees of success every year.

Both Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 understood that the essence of presidential leadership and therefore, success is this:

Set a legislative target and goal; negotiate with congressional and Senate leaders; get as much as you can during any particular session of Congress; cut a deal; declare victory in Vietnam...and go home.

Presidents Bush 43 and Obama utterly failed to understand the concepts of presidential leadership and compromise on a bi-partisan basis for the past 16 years. We have a $19 trillion national debt Washington monument to testify to their ignorance of such basic constitutional roles of the President that the younger generations will pay for for decades and decades.

Failure to compromise with Congress and the opposing party will mean complete failure for the next President and the country given the problems we face.

3) 'The President is The Commander-In-Chief...But Congress Has To Concur With Its Authorization/Appropriation Authority'

Presidents and Congress have learned to 'game the system' when it comes to overseas military engagements.

The US hasn't issued an official congressional 'declaration of war' since World War II. Every other overseas military engagement has been technically a 'police action'. Dodging the responsibility of declaring war has perhaps allowed too much flexibility when it has come to allowing US Presidents to send troops into harm's way while allowing Congress to use such parliamentary maneuvers as supplemental appropriations bills to fund those actions.

It would be helpful to have a President who asks Congress to declare war before sending troops overseas and abide by a more strict interpretation of constitutional powers on both the executive and legislative branches of government
These are not inconsequential decisions.

Choose wisely on Tuesday, March 15. Your future depends on it.

(first published at North State Journal 3/11/16)

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

'Is It 'Evening' In America'? Or 'Morning?'

'It's morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980, nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the past four years. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be married, and with inflation at less than half of what it was just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It's morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?'
So goes the text of one of the most successful political ads in American history, 'Morning in America', which was the theme of the 1984 presidential campaign of incumbent President Ronald Reagan asking the American people for a second term.

Presidential terms in the White House are usually evaluated by voters on a continuum. If things get better under a President's leadership during their first term, they usually get a second term to continue their progress.

If things don't get better during their first term, they usually do not get a second chance to try, try again.

In fact, ever since the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was adopted to prevent another 4-term president such as FDR from occurring again in America, modern presidential history suggests that a two-term president pretty much runs his course of favorability with the American voting population and they are ready to 'try something, ANYTHING!' different for the next 4 years.

Democrat Harry Truman filled out the unexpired 4th term of FDR only to surprise everyone probably including himself and his wife Bess when he defeated Thomas Dewey of New York in 1948.

America elected Republican World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and in 1956. His Republican VP, Richard Nixon was expected to be the first sitting VP since Martin Van Buren in 1830 to be elevated to essentially fill a third term of a sitting President but ran into the charm of Democrat JFK and lost in a squeaker of an election in 1960.

JFK was assassinated in 1963 and his VP, Democrat LBJ assumed office and blasted GOP candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 only to not run again in 1968 after he got us even deeper into the Vietnam quagmire than JFK did.

GOP Richard Nixon returned to the national spotlight in 1968 and overwhelmed Democrat Senator George McGovern 520-17 in the Electoral College in 1972 despite having succumbed to his own paranoid-ish insecurities which led to Watergate which led to his resignation in 1974. Then-GOP VP Gerald Ford elevated to the Oval Office only to lose to Democrat Outsider Jimmy Carter in the bicentennial year of 1976.

In 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan blasted Jimmy Carter 489-49 in the worst electoral blowout of any incumbent president in American history. Reagan then utterly destroyed former Democrat VP Walter Mondale in 1984 in one of the worst electoral college pastings in American history, 525-13, not far behind George Washington's 2 consecutive victories by acclamation.

Perhaps because of the economic boom of the 1980's fostered by Reagan's pro-growth, pro-business policies, his VP George H.W. Bush 41 became the first sitting VP to succeed a president of his own party since Martin Van Buren in 1830. Only to be undone by the economic recession of 1991 and the entrance of third-party gadfly Independent candidate, Ross ('I'm all ears!') Perot in the 1992 race which effectively helped Democrat Bill Clinton win with 43% of the popular vote.

Bill Clinton served two terms in the prosperous and peaceful last 8 years of the last century. His Democratic VP, Al Gore lost another squeaker to Republican Governor George W. Bush 43 of Texas in one of the more famous or infamous presidential elections since Jefferson/Adams/Burr/Pinckney in 1800.

Bush 43 served 2 terms and presided over the worst economic crash since the Great Depression in 2008. Democratic US Senator Barack Obama capitalized on that economic unrest and dissatisfaction with the War in Iraq plus the fact that he could become the first African-American President in US history to score a landslide victory over Republican John McCain of Arizona who came to find out being a maverick in your own party and sticking your finger in the eyes of fellow Republicans is not the best way to win friends and influence people to vote for you.

Which brings us to today. 2016. Election Year with a capital 'E' and 'Y'.

It comes down to the same question Americans have faced at the end of every Presidential term in office:
'Are YOU better off than you were 4 years ago?'

If the majority of voters in the states that comprise the majority of the electoral college and can get to 270 for any candidate say 'yes', the person who follows the incumbent of their own party wins.

(Except that has only happened once since 1830 when it happened with Bush 41 in 1988)

Most of the time, Americans grow tired of their Presidents if for no other reason than Americans seem to value 'change' which translates to them in their heads as 'progress' most times. Jefferson and Madison left office after 8 years with approval (or unfavorability ratings) approaching 25% according to many historians who can figure out that sort of thing.

We think much of the 'anger' you see in the primaries that is manifesting itself in record crowds for both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is a reflection of a mass dissatisfaction with the last 8 years under President Barack Obama.

Like every President before him, he came into office with the chance to be a 'transformative' President, one with the ability to 'unite, not divide' us as a people; lead us down the path towards economic prosperity and peace and safety for us in this world of chaos.

As the first African-American president, perhaps expectations of such a messianic-type deliverance were pushed sky-high beyond the capacity of any human mortal being to achieve them.

However, the fact of the matter is that, unlike President Reagan's 'Morning in America' campaign which was based on solid economic facts as well as perception, the twilight of President Obama's term in office seems to feel more like 'Evening in America', doesn't it?

'It's evening in America. 

Today more Americans will not go to work than ever before in our country's history. 

Even though interest rates are at about zero effectively, housing starts are less than half what they were before President Obama took office in 2009.

Less than 26% of all Millennials are choosing to marry and even with inflation at near zero levels, they are not looking forward with confidence to the future. 

It's (sadly) NOT morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Obama our country is not prouder and stronger and better.

Why would we ever want to return to where we were for the last 8 years?'

You can just see the ads starting to write themselves.

Americans historically vote their pocketbook first and everything else later.

If you think it is 'Morning in America' today, vote for Hillary to continue the Obama agenda for 4-8 more years.

If you think it is 'Evening in America', vote for someone else on the Republican side.

Make the best choice for your future in the coming weeks.

Your future. It is the only future you are gonna have.

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