Alexandra Tselios

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: May 16th 2016

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: People who can’t make up their minds (we’re looking at you, Ted Cruz), Trump art goes viral, Elizabeth Warren, and white people voting.

 

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios

People who can’t make up their minds are annoying; it is my second most despised trait in people after people who are avoidant. Ted Cruz has now officially made my list, after watching his political performance this past month. One minute he brings in Carly Fiorina for extra ammo (I got excited), next minute he quits (I felt underwhelmed), a few days later he acknowledges that while he has no path to victory he will “respond accordingly if that changes” hinting to a possible reentering of the game. What? No, make a decision and stick with it, Ted. Will he reenter the race? Will he continue to shun Trump when making public appearances? Will he make any effort to “pull America back from the abyss?” Who cares.

Never forget, Ted Cruz is the guy who once said that our rights don’t come from government, “they come from God almighty.” That is Ben Carson talk and, in my book, it’s scarier than Trump. Men who think their “gut feelings” on an issue are God-breathed, acting solely on that rather than seeking counsel from experts, scare me. Before you write me that letter about why I am wrong, I suggest you table Cruz’s policies against Trump’s and then tell me how radical Trump is in comparison.

Trump is proving to be quite the Artist’s muse, first there was Ilma Gore’s controversial nude that became plagued with legal problems, now a Lithuanian restaurant saw their mural painting of Trump kissing Putin go viral. I think one of the most valuable things about art hitting mainstream media (and becoming a trending item on Facebook) is the potential that it could open up the conversation surrounding why the painting was done and the meaning behind it. When we saw Kanye kissing Kanye as a painting, one would hopefully have discussed (or at least thought about) the narcissism that many associate with his words. While this Putin/Trump painting should hopefully open discussion around the relationship between two divisive political figures and their stance on many social justice issues and what they likely see as an advantageous alignment of joining forces. I hope these are some of the discussions that paintings like these ignite and not an opportunity to snicker, “Look, two men kissing, let’s mock it.”

This week also saw an interesting op-ed from NY Mag discussing the recent social media impact Elizabeth Warren has been making and why some Clinton aides would love to see Elizabeth end up as Clinton’s Vice President. Personally, Elizabeth Warren is one of my favorite academic figures, irrespective of her political stance, so to see her become more actively involved in what is already a scarily fragmented climate would be welcomed.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters polling, Bernie Sanders could beat Trump by 14% with Independents the largest voting cluster (42% of voting population) as Hillary could lose to Trump by 1%. A lot of this has to do with Hillary’s “unfavorable” rating still sitting at around 46%. Many voters consider her very much “the establishment” meaning her biggest challenge for the rest of this campaign is herself, not Bernie. “Brutally honest” is how many supporters would describe both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (definitely not Clinton, despite her “What is Trump hiding?” ads), so a head-to-head between the two would be a fascinating play.

Finally, let’s quickly talk about white men. Both gender and race have played a huge part in the division between many of the candidates, regardless of what party they belong to. Interesting op-eds have been circulating for each of the remaining candidates discussing their influence over white men. First up, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have seen more white male Democratic voters preferring Sanders (56%) to Hillary (44%) with primaries showing disenfranchised Americans split between Sanders and Trump depending on what resonates with them politically, and white male democrats have been voting against Hillary for over eight years according to The Washington Post. While the most popular political candidate at the moment with white men is still Donald Trump, some argue he cannot match Ronald Reagan’s win of two-thirds of white men back in 1984 and that support is not enough to win the role of POTUS.

Fortunately, this election is highlighting more than ever the power of Americans who do not happen to be born white and male, with race and gender both dominating the election’s commentary. Finally, from questions to offenses, we are witnessing the painfully longstanding issues of identity and deeper social complexities coming into the forefront of the American political arena.

 

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics as seen by Roger Pugh

Heard in a Hollywood Hairdressing Salon
“I think there’s something missing since Cruz dropped out.”
“Well, I’ve stopped having nightmares about him becoming President.”

Heard at Republican Party HQ
“Do you think the Party will unite behind Trump?”
“Only if he stands against Kim Jong-un to become Supreme Leader of North Korea.”

Heard in a Chicago Pub
“It looks like Hillary’s going to be interviewed by the FBI.”
“I still don’t think she’ll get their endorsement.”

Heard in Congress
“Is there still a chance of saving the Republican Party from Trump?”
“If he looks like being elected, I plan to transfer it to Mexico.”

Heard at Democratic Party HQ
“The Bushes are refusing to endorse Trump.”
“They’re probably suffering a loss of confidence after endorsing Jeb.”

Heard at Hillary’s campaign HQ
“Hillary’s and Bernie’s campaigns seem to be going in vastly different directions.”
“Well, the one is leading to the White House and the other to the retirement home.”

 

[squerb_button]

 

Alexandra Tselios

Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, Alexandra oversees the leading opinion site in both Australia and the USA. As a social commentator, she is interviewed most days of the week on radio across the country in Australia as well as working with NFP think-tank, Plus61J, which explores the political and social ties between Australia and Israel.

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