Monthly Archives: May 2016

Take Nothing for Granted about Trump Losing in November

According to this NPR report, indications are that Hillary Clinton (if she’s the Democratic nominee) will defeat Donald Trump in November. ¬†Some even project a landslide. ¬†But it’s far from definite and absolute.

What I find interesting is that this report doesn’t even mention the question of how the election would be affected if a terrorist attack occurred between now and then. ¬†But don’t forget that: (1) according to this study, being a Trump voter correlates with being an “authoritarian personality,” and (2) according to¬†this study,¬†authoritarian1, in time of perceived imminent, a lot of Americans who aren’t usually authoritarian personalities start acting like them. ¬†That latter article is about favoring civil liberties violations to wage the war on terror, but it certainly seems logical to me that it could also apply to, God help us, voting for¬†Donald Trump.

Anybody who claims to know for sure that we are not going to have Donald Trump for a president has learned absolutely nothing from the events of the past year. ¬†(Believe me,¬†I’ve certainly learned something.)


POST SCRIPT: ¬†When you’re on this page of the OpenLab, be sure to check out the headline links in the news feed at the right. ¬†–>



An Anti-Trump Conservative Ticket: Easier Said Than Done


There are, as we know, conservatives who (1) think Donald Trump is totally unfit to be president no matter whom he’s up against, and (2) have thought right along that the Republican Party, even without Trump, has strayed away from its conservative principles. ¬†So there’s talk of an anti-Trump conservative ticket for November. ¬†But it’s not so easy. ¬†Some say it’s not even possible; others say yes it is. ¬†Here’s a short NPR report on the subject.

Federalism and the Public Bathrooms of North Carolina

It should be remembered that the term federalism applies to all forms of interaction between the national and state levels of government, whether that interaction is one of cooperation or conflict. It should also be remembered that much of the federalism-related conflict has been over matters of civil rights, and that the Fourteenth Amendment empowers that national government to get after states if states appear to be depriving anybody of liberty, due process, or equal protection.

Same-sex marriage is, of course, a topic over which there has been much conflict between state and federal authorities. ¬†But now, still in the LGBT realm, it’s the T part of it–transgender–that is getting some of the spotlight. ¬†North Carolina has just passed a law which, among other things, requires persons to use only bathrooms in state-run buildings that correspond with their gender at birth. ¬†The attorney general’s office (that is, the federal government), has called upon the governor’s office to give an account of this law, as it may violate federal civil rights law. ¬†The governor’s office, in turn, has filed suit, bringing the matter into the federal court system.

NPR story.


Kasich Out: The Republican Contest Is Over

It’s official now: ¬†Donald Trump, the man I was telling students a year ago didn’t stand a chance of getting anywhere, is now the only Republican candidate for president in the primaries that remain. ¬†He is therefore guaranteed to win on the first ballot at the convention in July, unless something completely unforeseeable happens. ¬†This was made official by John Kasich bowing out of the race, the very next day after Ted Cruz called off his own campaign.

What to watch for now:

–This may well make Republicans in the Senate more willing to have confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, as they may consider him more desirable than any Supreme Court justice Donald Trump might nominate. ¬†They are also probably thinking that if the Democrats win both the White House and the Senate this year that seat will get filled by someone a whole lot more liberal than Garland.

–Republicans are in a dilemma. ¬†The chairman of the Republican National Committee has announced his support for Trump, with the hashtag “NeverClinton,” but not all Republicans agree. ¬†Some Republicans would rather have Clinton than Trump. ¬†(On the flip side, some Democrats would rather have Trump than Clinton, so the real nail-biting drama for this year is undoubtedly still to come.)

–I’m positive there will be an anti-Trump conservative ticket. ¬†How much attention it will get is up for grabs, but it will be there, I’m sure.

–Some people expect there to be rampant voter fraud and intimidation in November, given that the Trump movement isn’t even entirely under Trump’s control, and has a lot of angry people thinking they have a right to take their country back so Trump can make it great again.

I don’t know about you, but speaking for myself: ¬†This year in American politics is not fun for me, at all. ¬†Some people, including friends of mine, relish the drama for its entertainment value. ¬†For my part, I’d rather have my drama in works of fiction, not this.

A New Spin on the Emperor’s New Clothes

I assume we all had the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” read to us growing up, where nobody wants to admit to not being able to see the emperor’s clothes because anyone who can’t see the emperor’s clothes is a fool–until one boy cries out, “The emperor has no clothes!”

With Donald Trump, we’re seeing a variant on that: ¬†Scores of people who, months ago, let it be known that they could see the emperor didn’t have any clothes on are now starting to say “Oh…maybe he does.” ¬†As in, maybe it would be all right to have Donald Trump for a president after all. ¬†According to this article in Politico, that’s where the Republican establishment seems to be heading.

With Ted Cruz out of the race, it remains to be seen what will happen with his delegates. Meanwhile, though, there is only one thread of hope left for Donald Trump not to get the 1,237 delegates he needs for the convention, and that is for some revelation to come out that is so shocking that even the people who have been able to overlook or applaud all the other things about Donald Trump that make him so obviously not an acceptable choice for the White House will finally face the fact that the emperor has no clothes, and vote for Kasich. ¬†I wouldn’t put any odds on that. ¬†I think Trump had the right idea the time he declared that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and his supporters would still love him.

But if Trump gets the nomination (and by the way, when July rolls around, don’t forget my prediction that he’ll want Governor Paul LePage of Maine, a man as obnoxious as himself, for a running mate), the NeverTrump spirit among Republicans won’t be completely dead. ¬†Yes, plenty of establishment Republicans will support him, some holding their noses, but you can also expect to see an anti-Trump conservative ticket take shape. ¬†Their goal won’t be winning the election–that will be a lost cause–but rather, starting a new party. ¬†These are the doctrinaire ultra-conservatives who have right along regarded the Republicans in Congress as Republicans In Name Only (RINOs). ¬†I expect to see such a ticket. ¬†How much traction it will get remains to be seen, but I think it will be there.

If this happens, it will be a game changer, because with the Republican vote divided, more states than usual will be battleground states, including the South. ¬†And this is what¬†really makes the African-American vote in such states crucial, and what really makes voting rights issues regarding registration crucial, because the Democrats could win some states that they wouldn’t otherwise.

As you have heard me say, while I do not usually bring my personal opinions into my teaching and my interactions with students where I teach, I draw the line at pretending¬†to be neutral about Donald Trump. ¬†I regard him as having narcissistic personality disorder, I regard his campaign as a fascist movement, and I regard the amount of support that he is getting as bringing very great shame upon the United States of America. ¬†You can say you understand why people are angry, but to me, there is no understanding how they can think that hideous SOB can have anything good to offer this country.¬†¬†That’s how I feel personally, and I have no problem with anybody knowing it. ¬†I may or may not like John Kasich, but by God I hope he stays in the race long enough to give us some hope of not seeing that SOB Donald Trump get nominated in July.