Hillary Deserved Her Turn

In his article on Hillary Clinton’s book, “What Happened” [10/15/17 TPP], Art Cullen says, “If Clinton had won Iowa and Wisconsin, she also would have won Michigan and Pennsylvania, and she would be sitting in the White House right now,” as well as “Rural Iowa thinks it got left behind while the rest of the nation makes hay,” and that she could have won Iowa by showing up and saying, “I feel your pain.”

There is much wrong with that viewpoint.

First of all, the 2016 campaign went on forever, starting in, at least, 2015. Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye since her husband become president. She was a US senator from New York and secretary of state as well as a presidential candidate earlier. If Iowans — or anyone else in the United States — didn’t know Hillary Clinton by November 2016, I don’t know how she could be blamed for not being known in any state.

The Republicans started their persecution of her in 2015 over “Benghazi” and “emails,” without let-up. They made her the Wicked Witch of the West and slandered her constantly. Their charges never stopped, and if she did try to contradict they blamed her for “being defensive” — as if they had nothing to do with her defensiveness!

She went on to win the popular vote for president by over two million votes despite all that, something many in the media seem to keep overlooking.

If it’s true that no one can win the presidency without winning Ohio and the other three states mentioned, why don’t we have just them to be campaigned in, and the rest of us can set it out and relax. It will certainly cost a lot less, be quicker and be less stressful on the poor candidates who, if they win, must then go on to actually work for those who elected them to probably the hardest job in the world, for at least four years, and if they manage to be pleasing to those same people for another term.

It would be more accurate to say that she lost the election because of the Electoral System. And to explain that would take a book, or maybe even several.

Hillary Clinton has every right to write a book explaining her side of the campaign. It’s the least thing she should have, after all she went through for trying to do her best by us.

Because she didn’t win, we got Trump. Enough said.

Cheryl Lovely, Presque Island, Maine

Superficialities Rule Campaign Coverage

Heather Digby Parton’s article, “Hillary and the Media: Dreadful Coverage of 2016 Had Echoes of the Past” [10/15/17 TPP] fails to explain why the media’s obsession with superficialities is so effective in skewing election campaigns. Are we really that shallow? Rather, it seems to succeed with those candidates whose policy objectives differ only marginally (Tweedledum, Tweedledee) and can thereby be undermined by insignificant, even fraudulent, allegations. It’s been said that the American political spectrum runs the gamut from A to B.

Exceptionally, however, Trump, the showman extraordinaire with no legitimate platform to speak of, used this gossip-chasing aspect of journalism to his advantage. He deliberately amplified his perceived outsider, rogue persona to the roar of the crowds (“off with her head”). It increased his media coverage and, thereby, his poll numbers enormously.

The most universally reviled candidate in both liberal and conservative circles, however, before Bernie Sanders succeeded stupendously against all conventional wisdom and attempts to smear him. Attacks against his character and attributes fell flat (a socialist, a Jew, old, grumpy, rumpled clothes, disheveled hair, from N.Y.C., etc.), especially among younger voters.

Why? Because he had a message that resonated with the public and that couldn’t be smothered by an insular, out-of-touch media. He exposed the falsehood of the media’s relentless mantra “to move to the center” (even though the center is now in the right wing’s end zone) and that large donors and their opinions are indispensable.

Had he not been undermined by his own party, he might be president today.

Robert McAllister, Lantana, Fla.

Incivility In Trumplandia

Wayne O’Leary does a fine job dissecting the ill-informed, crude, and truculent “leadership” style of Donald Trump and its negative effects on collective efforts toward a sane foreign policy and reversing climate change (“Trumplandia,” 10/1/17 TPP). But I can’t agree with him that he is solely responsible for an epidemic of “bad manners, bad language, and disregard for common courtesies.” The Trump Effect. He certainly hasn’t helped but if a very intelligent, cultured, and civilized woman or man is our next president the incivility and vulgarity will not go away. It predates President Trump and has deeper roots. One root is the violent, tasteless, shallow and ignorant fare of the mass media and its branch, our mass culture. An even deeper root is the ethic of capitalism itself wherein human beings and nature are mere objects to be exploited, often ruthlessly and violently, for the endless, ever expanding accumulation of wealth by a tiny minority. How can courtesy and mutual respect survive when this ethic permeates our society, infecting even those outside the elite circle? We have a society structured to preserve and support a grossly distorted, inhumane economy, not an economy structured to preserve and support a society that values community, fully developed human beings and the Earth.

Ed Beller, The Bronx, New York City, N.Y.

Not Yet Time for Single Payer

The 10/15/17 issue was my first issue of The Progressive Populist, and I would like to comment on your editorial on Single-Payer healthcare as well as Mr. Hightower’s article on “A health care plan for the people.” I am strongly in favor of a universal healthcare system for the US, but I urge you and readers not to jump the gun until we stabilize the current system.

In order to be successful politically, we must keep our eyes on the immediate goal, which is to make necessary changes to stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. It is premature to discuss options until this immediate goal is attained. Indeed, Sen. Lindsey Graham used Sen. Bernie Sanders’s proposal as a reason to support his bill: “federalism vs. socialism,” Graham cried.

Insurers lost over $10 billion on the ACA, and administrative expenses are nowhere near 25-30%. They did not fail the ACA; the ACA failed them (and the public) by not having a strong enough mandate to attract healthy risks, changing rules at the last minute, ending reinsurance too soon, and not implementing the anticipated high profit/large loss protection.

Single payer is not necessarily the best way to provide universal coverage; indeed, only Canada and Taiwan have a true single-payer system. Sen. Sanders’s bill left all details up to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, which I find incredulous. Imagine having a Tom Price type-secretary setting the rules! Furthermore, traditional Medicare has many coverage shortfalls requiring people to buy expensive supplements. Administrative costs are low because there’s no control over utilization, no help for patients with complex conditions, no one making sure folks are getting preventive care. It is not the system to emulate.

Roy Goldman, Ph.D., FSA, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
(The writer is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and is a retired healthcare executive.)

Violence Doesn’t Cause Social and Economic Change

Re: Ted Rall’s philippic against pacifism [“Want Real Political Change? Hit the Streets — And Don’t Promise to be Non-Violent, 10/15/17 TPP]. I graduated from Purdue in ’92. The clean-cut rich kids rioted, overturned cars, lit bonfires and broke windows because Notre Dame won the game. Social and economic change from that = zero. I don’t want to see blue-state America self-destruct. Is Ted Rall on the payroll of Tucker Carlson?

R. Amptmeyer, Elkmont, Ala.

Trump Only the Latest Divider

Robert Borosage is right [“Donald Trump is Just the Latest Republican to Stoke Racial Division,” 10/15/17 TPP]. Donald Trump has only brought to a crescendo the past Republicans’ sowing of racial discord that was so masterfully orchestrated by Ronald Reagan.

Remember when Reagan traveled to Mississippi to attract the Southern vote with “states rights?” And when he invented the racially-camouflaged “welfare queen?”

He also attempted, in a most simplistic way, to court the Latino population. All of us with Spanish surnames here in California received a letter from him addressing us as “Dear amigo.” Yes, in his effort to curry favor with us, the “great communicator” called us “friend” in the language of our forefathers.

I’m sure he thought his gracious salutation was a stroke of genius to make us not his “amigos,” but his “idiotas.”

David Quintero, Monrovia, Calif.

Vote By Mail Works in Oregon

In his commentary, “The Right to Vote Needs Constitutional Protection” (10/15/17 TPP), Jesse Jackson mentioned that Oregon was the first state to adopt automatic voter registration. Oregon also uses vote-by-mail for all its elections. This eliminates many of the problems people in other states face when trying to vote. Each registered voter in Oregon receives a paper ballot in the mail automatically (no need to ask for one) and then has several days to fill it out at home (or wherever) and return it, either by mail or by placing it in one of the secure drop boxes that are located throughout each county. So, there’s no need to take time off work, travel to a polling location, and stand in a long line waiting to vote. The machines used to tabulate the ballots are not connected to the Internet, so they are virtually impossible to hack. And because paper ballots are used, a manual recount is always possible. Other states would be well advised to emulate Oregon’s voting system.

Dale R. Rollins, Tigard, Ore.

Amish Stay Apart

I would like to further enlighten my dear friend Hal Crowther [“Horse and Buggy Politics, 10/1/17 TPP] about the Amish. They do accept the protection of our military and dodge the payment of property taxes on their homes, at least in Virginia, by having church services in them once a month or so. Also, they do not take the responsibility of voting, while eagerly participating in the underground, untaxed cash economy. They are a gentle and peaceful people and I like having them in my county. Just wish they were better citizens! Please  write as often as you can, my friend Hal!

Bill Bunch, Tazewell Va.

Call a Spade a Spade

Whenever Trump says something, the press dutifully states that “the President believes.”

Come on—this is total deceit!

The Washington Post has reported that in his first six months Trump has lied 836 times, roughly five times per day. On that basis, anything Trump says should never be reported as what he believes, but should be reported “Trump alleges.”

Reporting that he “believes” is merely enabling a liar.

Lee Knohl, Evanston, Ill.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2017


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