Finneran: One Nation—Many Cultures/ One Nation—Many Tongues - Part 1
Friday, November 11, 2016
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offered pleasant conciliatory remarks to the American people and to each other. It’s a good start.
For the most part the American people seem to be yearning for common sense and united action on the problems afflicting the nation. Toward that end, I think that Mr. Trump’s initial focus on improving veterans’ lives and investing in the nation’s infrastructure are worthy goals. They are also politically astute as those issues will draw broad bipartisan support from the Congress. Who knows, 2017 might prove to be a very productive year in Washington D.C.
The election was fought out over two competing slogans. Mrs. Clinton embraced an everything-is-wonderful theme of keeping America great. Mr. Trump embraced an everything-is-falling apart theme of making America great again.
I had the benefit of some inside knowledge, gleaned at a college football game last weekend. That inside knowledge told me that each slogan was accurate, at least with regard to America’s greatness.
For you see, I was at West Point last Saturday to watch Army take on Air Force on a gorgeous autumn day.
No rational American citizen could ever doubt that the young cadets of the service academies reflect the best of American society. Nor could any rational American citizen ever doubt that those young cadets augur well for America’s continued greatness. Excellence in academics, sports, teamwork, and unit cohesion are impressive to behold in 17, 18, and 19 year old kids.
These young men and women (in surprising number) are well-spoken. They are courteous and respectful. They are self-disciplined. They bear a quiet pride in themselves and in their dress.
Their pride is matched in the faces and voices of their parents and grandparents. Sitting among those parents and grandparents in the stands was informative. Some wore Clinton campaign buttons, some wore Trump buttons. Yet obvious political differences could not mask every parent’s sure confidence that America’s present and future greatness lay within the minds, hearts, and souls of the young cadets.
I was with three of my grandsons for the game and we talked to many of the cadets. They hailed from Wyoming, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Georgia and many other states. They looked so young yet seemed so poised. They were brown, black, white, and mixed. Deep South culture blended with Carribean Island culture. Western prairie culture blended with Northeast and Northwest culture. As the saying goes, only in America......................the cookouts and tailgates must be a blast.
It is surely a strength of America that its diversity reflects its appeal. I am not a bean-counter. I do not like quotas. I like merit and talent and achievement. I admire effort, desire, and determination. And those white, black, brown, and mixed Americans who came here from far away---some willingly and some unwillingly, some recently and some long ago—from Germany, from China, from Poland and Russia, from Japan and South America, from Ireland and Scotland, from Africa and the Middle East, from Italy, India, and France saw something from afar. They saw a land where skin color or religion or class origin mattered less than was the case in their native lands. They saw a land that rewarded effort and skill. They saw freedom and they tasted opportunity. They loved America. And America loved them back.
One of the young cadets I spoke with looked about fifteen years old. He was from Puerto Rico. He is a “plebe”, a freshman who just started at the Academy. I asked him about “beast week”, the brutal Army indoctrination into reveille, drill, dress, classes, discipline, and physical training. He smiled a little sheepishly at my question and said---
“It was pretty tough Sir. But the worst is behind me Sir and I’ll be proud to become an American soldier.”
Wow. We are one nation of many cultures. And the Republic will survive.
Related Slideshow: 10 Ways Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Actually Similar
Universal Health Care
Despite sitting on opposite sides of the aisle, Trump and Sanders essentially share the same healthcare plan. But you don’t have to take our word for it—Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival, said himself that Trump and Sanders “have basically the same healthcare plan," in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
"Donald Trump enthusiastically supported the TARP bailout of big banks. I opposed it. He enthusiastically supported Barack Obama's stimulus plan. He thought it should have been bigger. I think it was a disaster and a waste of money. Actually, Donald not only supported both of those, but he argued that Obamacare should be expanded to make it socialized medicine for everyone,” Cruz told Hannity
Reforming Wall Street
Both candidates have made serious noise talking about reforming Wall Street. Bernie Sanders has just about made his whole career on taking on financial kingpins, and has attracted many young fans in the process.
While the uber-capitalist Trump may seem like the candidate to take on his fellow one-percenters, his words say something different. Trump blasted hedge fund managers on CBS, saying they are “getting away with murder,” on CBS’ “Face the Nation" in 2015.
"The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky,” Trump said.
They Don't Take Money from Wall Street
It’s not just that the candidates criticize Wall Street and big banks—plenty do that. But Trump and Sanders back up their tough talk by not attracting campaign donations from those same financial institutions.
Sure, Hillary Clinton has taken aim at the major financial mavericks during her time on the campaign trail—what self-respecting Democrat hasn’t? But a closer look at her campaign financials shows that she isn’t putting her money where her mouth is.
Their Campaigns are Populist Movements
Neither Trump nor Sanders are what you would call a “party darling.” Both have taken aim at the lions and leaders of their own parties have been unafraid to make controversial statements regarding the political establishments.
Instead, their campaigns have been buoyed by passionate, typically politically apathetic people. People who have finally found someone they can relate to in the political landscape and someone they feel they can trust. Despite repeated predictions of failure, regular people continue to respond to their campaigns, as both Sanders and Trump remain near or at the polls as the primaries begin.
The Most Unusual Candidates (Ever?)
Trump and Sanders are certainly the most unusual candidates this year, as both the Republican and Democratic fields contain typical governors, senators and congressman vying for the ultimate government job. It goes one step further, however—they may be the most unusual candidates a Presidential campaign has ever seen.
Sure, Trump isn’t the first rich eccentric to take a run at the Oval Office (just google Ross Perot if you don’t believe us.) But he’s certainly the first candidate to speak about immigrants and other races as he has.
Political candidates of any variety like going where they are wanted. They make sure that there are plenty of warm well-wishers to make campaign events see exciting and full.
Trump and Sanders, however, seem to be able to attract raucous crowds that are more akin to rock concert or playoff game than a political rally. People come in costume, dressed as their favorite candidate. Teenagers, even though they cannot cast a vote, turn out in full face paint to support their candidate.
It’s happened all over the country. Record-setting crowds packed the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon and thousands filled the DCU Center to see Trump in Worcester, Massachusetts. Everywhere these candidates go, people rush to see them.
Lots of Small-Money Donations
Typically, leading Presidential campaigns are powered by big money donations, but that’s not the case for Trump and Sanders.
As Graphiq shows us below, Sanders and Trump are one and two, respectively in the amount of campaign donations under $200—a sure sign of grassroots support.
How often do you watch and listen to a political speaking, and find yourself drifting off to sleep or reaching for your iPhone?
That rarely seems to be the case when Trump or Sanders are on the mic. You never quite know when Trump will insult an entire religion or ethnic group in one thirty-second soundbite.
Not to be outdone, Sanders folksy and frantic style of speech has attracted attention—and plenty of jokes and memes—from all across the internet.
Slated for Failure
Since the first day that each candidate announced their campaign, the political intellectual and elite have told everyone that they just don’t stand a chance. Trump and Sanders are too controversial, their too radical and they are too inexperienced. How many times did political analysts or other talking heads say they would be out of the race before the first votes are ever cast?
Yet here we are, just a few days away from the first caucuses and primaries. Neither Trump nor Sanders are out of the race. Neither is on their dying breaths. They are thriving. And, as you’ll see in our next slide, they are winning
Leading in Iowa (and New Hampshire!)
If the latest polls are to believed these massively unusual candidates—one socialist, one real estate magnate/reality tv star, both with tons of small donations, both told they never had any chance—will be making victory speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire soon.
According to CNN, Trump has an 11 point lead among Republicans and Sanders an eight point lead among Democrats in Iowa just a few days before the caucus.
And in New Hampshire, as you’ll see below, Trump and Sanders have double digit leads as we approach the first true primary.
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