Living in Society

Into the Hurricane and Presidential Politics

Hurricane Matthew Oct. 6, 2016 Photo Credit - NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Hurricanes Matthew and Nicole Oct. 6, 2016 Photo Credit – NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Millions of people began evacuating Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in advance of hurricane Matthew. Hundreds are reported dead in Haiti.

Downgraded to Category 3, Matthew began hitting Florida Thursday. It’s expected to pick up velocity.

During the most recent communication with our child in Orlando, she was soaking wet. After determining she had a safe place to stay, I reminded her of Florida’s Oct. 11 deadline to change her voter registration. She’s good in more ways than one.

With Hillary Clinton Jan. 24, 2016
With Hillary Clinton Jan. 24, 2016

My support for Hillary Clinton began as she declared for president April 12, 2015. There was never a question she would win in our precinct, except by what margin. The margin was enough to win two delegates and make Martin O’Malley viable. When O’Malley dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucus we picked up his delegate at the county convention making us three of four for Hillary. My support for Hillary Clinton has not wavered.

The Des Moines Register asked Donald Trump on June 28, 2015 what he would do differently if elected president.

“I would probably comb my hair back,” Trump said. “Why? Because this thing is too hard to comb. I wouldn’t have time, because if I were in the White House, I’d be working my ass off.”

This election is more about hurricanes than hairstyles.

What brought us to the odd and irritating presidential election campaign of 2016 is continued, intentional obstruction of Democratic administrations by moneyed interests beginning with the 1992 election of Bill Clinton. A case can be made this started with Franklin Delano Roosevelt after World War II, but the Bill Clinton administration was a time when Republicans held an ongoing witch hunt working to find something wrong. Politics changed under Clinton and not in a good way.

Hillary survived multiple attacks from Republicans since then, each time ending with a finding there was little or nothing there, including the recent investigations of Benghazi and her email management process while Secretary of State.

We hear about dark money in politics, but it really isn’t a question that Charles and David Koch are key organizers among wealthy people trying to influence, if not buy elections. They and others like them are behind the continuous obstruction of anything in government that doesn’t serve their interests. They have plenty of resources to make their case and taking money out of politics isn’t a long-term solution. I don’t believe it is possible. We should accept that there will always be moneyed interests whose political activities require more sunshine.

Unlike Republicans, Hillary Clinton has been doing her job. She is better prepared to be president than any candidate. The constant attacks and obstruction have made her stronger. It is telling of her strength that Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann, with little positive to say about Trump, constantly criticizes Clinton.

“The American people have had enough of failed status quo policies which have left them less hopeful for our country’s future,” Kaufmann said in an Aug. 10 press release. “They have had enough of serially dishonest, corrupt, and self-interested career politicians like the Clintons.”

Former Tiffin mayor Royce Phillips’ comments at yesterday’s debate with North Liberty mayor Amy Nielsen in House District 77 represent the accommodation Iowa Republicans make for Trump.

“Do I agree with everything the man says? Of course not,” Phillips said of Trump. He then drew a false equivalency between Trump and other politicians, cozying up to his nominee with every breath.

I call bullshit on Kaufmann, Phillips and other Republicans like them. Kaufmann is a successful campaigner but represents moneyed interests in the presidential race more than he does Iowans. He is experienced in campaigns and must realize that to win he has to keep attacking Hillary Clinton with his every breath regardless of the truth. For Kaufmann and his ilk the election is only about winning and there’s the rub.

Whatever the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Americans will have reaped what they sowed. My hope is the electorate will send Hillary Clinton to the White House.

In a weird comment during the first presidential debate, seeming to promote his new Washington D.C. hotel, Trump said, “I’m going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue one way or another.” Expect obstruction of Democratic administrations by the richest Americans to continue if Hillary is elected Nov. 8.

For the rest of us, this election will soon be over. We know how to deal with a hurricane by evacuations or by hunkering down in a safe place. We know how to clean up the aftermath and rebuild.

What we don’t know is how the 2016 political campaign will leave us in its wake. Expect the damage to extend well beyond Florida, throughout the country. The rebuilding materials won’t be found at local hardware stores.