For years now, the story of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to conservatives, has been extreme. While it’s clear he’s been a terrible President for a multitude of reasons, many would lead us to believe that Obama is the worst President in United States history. This is an extreme assertion and one that is difficult for anyone knowledgeable about history to support. Even for conservative students of history, this is a point that deserves additional review. Is Barack Obama indeed the worst President of United States history? Let’s explore other candidates for the title. Woodrow Wilson is perhaps the father of modern interventionism. The man who won an election campaigning against involving ourselves in World War 1 would later drag us there. He advanced the predecessor of the United Nations, the League of Nations. Perhaps the worst part of his legacy is the Federal Reserve system, which has been wrecking the American economy for decades. It’s understandable that many overlook Wilson for the title. The economics of the Federal Reserve system…
After a year and a half, the longest long shot in American politics has been inaugurated as President of the United States. Republican businessman Donald Trump has officially inherited the White House and the executive branch from Barack Obama, a two-term President and former United States Senator. The months and years ahead will be a rough ride for America in some ways. Democrats appear unwilling to give the President a chance and Republicans are ready for change. Regardless of political affiliation, most can admit that the Trump Administration will bring a new course to American politics.
For many, the thought of Donald Trump triggers a bitter and intense reaction. Though many of the Never Trump activists claim to be opposed to the vitriolic and violent rhetoric, there seems to be a growing use of the tactic in their own movement. This has been on full display again in Washington D.C., where the inauguration is mere hours away. Reports have noted numerous arrests have occurred as protesters storm the streets. Protesters are starting fires in the street, shouting obscenities, and otherwise projecting an aggressive and negative presence upon the nation’s capital as the transition of power wraps up.
The inauguration is finally near. After a long year of dragged out politics that got nastier than usual, the next President is preparing to inherit the White House. The transition of power is different in some ways, because the incoming top executive lacks the established political background that most politicians have. But as popular narratives said throughout the election from start to finish, Donald Trump was never going to win. But here we are. Commentary from liberal sources and other Never Trump people would lead us to believe that the world is in fact ending. Everyone has their own victim mentality in progress and can explain how they will be oppressed under a Trump Presidency because of the mean things he’s said. His proposals have struck fear with some, leading many to suggest the America we’ve always known and loved is disappearing. Free speech is going to be dead and our freedom to assemble will come under fire as various groups of people are oppressed. The LGBT community stands…
The final days of the Obama Administration are upon us. While partisan tensions continue to rise as President-elect Donald Trump inches closer to the White House, President Obama is faced with some last minute decisions. Among those last minute decisions are presidential pardons. The President has the power to grant a pardon for a crime, which is an enormous power. It can be used to correct a wrong by overturning a bad ruling or it can also be used for more political reasons, like issuing a pardon that salvages a legacy. Among the prominent potential pardon recipients is former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who famously exposed many surveillance programs used against the American people. The Obama Administration has only once spoken recently in relation to Snowden when Press Secretary Josh Earnest drew a distinction between him and former Army Private First Class Chelsea Manning. When asked by a reporter about the possibility of either receiving clemency, Earnest stated that Snowden has not attempted to face justice and…
The bias of the mainstream media has been evident for years. The bias has turned to open hostility with the rise of President-elect Donald Trump. The simple liberal slant has turned into a crusade among political commentators and anchors determined to shut down the conservative right. CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill appeared on CNN Tonight as part of a panel discussion hosted by Don Lemon. Hill described Trump diversity team member Bruce LeVell as being apart of a group of “mediocre Negroes.” The remark was made as part of a rant that described members of the Trump diversity team as not being qualified enough to represent Black interests.
In 2016, politics seemed off by most people’s standards. Generally, election cycles start with crowded primaries, thinning down after the Republican and Democratic primary races. At that point, the most moderate candidate in each party sporting the biggest war chest and nicest speech pulls ahead in the race. In the end, manufactured politicians always reign victorious. For libertarians, this wasn’t going to be the case. Even though former Texas Congressman Ron Paul fell short in his hard-fought battle in 2012, the momentum was destined to steamroll through until 2016. This was the year that the liberty movement stormed the political establishment and turned Washington D.C. upside down.
A common criticism of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is his open refusal to return home and face justice. His refusal to return home and stand trial has long been a point of criticism among opponents. Is it cowardice? Does Snowden have allegiances to other nations? Reports revealed this past week that President Barack Obama was considering giving Chelsea Manning, an Army Private First Class serving a prison sentence for leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks, clemency. While many celebrated this development and began hopeful for the prisoner, others have wondered why Snowden can’t have the same consideration. The White House responded to such points by drawing a difference. In drawing this difference, the White House actually admitted why Snowden’s refusal to return home over fear of unfair treatment is a legitimate concern. Whereas Snowden took the documents and ran and leaked them while on the run, Manning went through the military justice system.
Once again, the political world has erupted in response to Republican President-elect Donald Trump. Now less than a week out from inauguration, the battle between the White House and Democrats in Congress is heating up. Democrats are already signaling the relationship will be tense with talk of boycotting the inauguration and disrespecting the office currently held for a few more days by their own partisan politician. Now Congressman John Lewis, the Democratic career politician and Civil Rights leader, has stepped up the battle by attacking President-elect Trump as an “illegitimate” President. At that point, the incoming Republican President responded and that was considered by many wrong. Since when is defending yourself from an attack wrong? The problem with the entire Congressman Lewis issue is the way the left shelters him from criticism. Any scrutinizing of the politician is considered a thought-crime because of his past history. Is his leadership towards equal rights a noble legacy? Absolutely and we as a society should further embrace human rights for all human beings.
The final weeks of the President Barack Obama’s administration have been marked by a tumultuous transition as the world inches closer to experiencing a Trump administration. Fears over Russian interference within the United States during the presidential election have evolved into full blown hysteria, involving a plot by Russian intelligence to use President-elect Trump as a puppet. Enter BuzzFeed.
Speculation is arising that Austin Petersen, the one-time candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, may soon leave the party. According to his own posts on the Internet, he is not satisfied with the present course of the party and its decisions over the last year. Vice Presidential nominee Bill Weld especially, who Petersen himself criticized, drew a lot of controversy among libertarian activists. The former Massachusetts Governor became an eager Hillary Clinton apologist during the election, positioning himself more as an Evan McMullin-style Never Trump warrior than an actual principled libertarian.
Wikileaks has been no stranger to controversy over the last year. The whistleblower organization positioned itself at the center of a tumultuous presidential election cycle be leaking information about prominent Democratic officials, allegedly putting itself in favor of President-elect Donald Trump. Through all the Democratic National Committee leaks and the series of Podesta E-mail leaks, it established itself as a transparency force in the new digital era. But it also still faced criticism over its practices. The Democratic National Committee leaks were e-mails among various party officials that exposed a great deal about the party’s inner workings. It had very candid and revealing conversations, but because of its private nature, it also had personal information. This inclusion of personal information even made advocates for transparency concerned, including Edward Snowden.
These are complicated times for Barack Obama. The President of the United States has been popular among liberals and moderates and seeks to maintain that popularity. He wants to remain a voice for liberalism. At the same time, there is a tradition of ex-Presidents stepping back and allowing the next in line to do their job without interference. Despite the partisan differences and the criticisms of his own policies, George W. Bush remained largely silent and ultimately off-the-radar during the Obama Presidency. It could have been different, however. The former President could have criticized Obama on his lack of commitment to the war on terrorism. Although the vaguely defined global conflict against a broadly defined threat has lacked success, something many progressives and liberals are aware of, Bush was a big believer in it. With conflicts such as Afghanistan and Iraq, America under Bush and Cheney was redefined as a greater imperialistic nation.
A lot has been made of the issue of fake news this election cycle. Social media has helped feed the spread of false stories passed off as legitimate, which have only served to further increase polarized partisan tensions and worsen the political atmosphere. Fake news has even been blamed for a shooting at a pizza restaurant that has been the center of an online conspiracy theory known as “Pizzagate”, which puts John Podesta and the Clinton camp at the center of a pedophile ring centered out of that location. From worsening atmospheres to guns being drawn, the issue of conspiracy theories and fake news has grown. But is all of the blame on the rightwing of the political spectrum? The problem with this theory is the role in the left in legitimizing conspiracy theories. We’ve been hearing for months that the Russians are at the center of the victory of Republican President-Elect Donald Trump. The Democratic Party’s rhetoric has essentially portrayed the controversial businessman as a puppet of Vladimir…
It is often said that political parties are ruining the dignity of American discourse. Instead of discussing policy points, many identify with one of two partisan identities and allow their loyalties to fall in line. Here, policy support shapes around their team and they turn against whatever the other side opposes. It’s shallow. And it is growing worse. The problem with the political arena is that as the investment grows more significantly, so does the need for self-preservation. Political careers mean that principles can take a backseat to the race discussion because nobody is going to make either a name for himself or money by losing with dignity. This is a phenomenon also not restricted to the Democrats and Republicans. The Libertarian party has the same problem. The Libertarian Party has developed a tendency to attack non-enrolled libertarians, including prominent figures like Senator Rand Paul and his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
The Second Amendment is among the most controversial topics in society, especially in recent years. With a number of shootings occur, the media and politicking partisans seize on every tragic opportunity to push a failed policy proposal. The idea is that with increased regulation and more difficulty in acquiring firearms, gun violence will decrease. It operates under the assumption that mass murderers and terrorists acquire their weapons through legal channels. In society, concealed carry and even carrying guns at all is under heavy assault from the gun control lobby. The argument here is that Gun Free Zones work and that by having a sign up that says “No Guns Allowed”, violence is deterred. This assumes that people who commit murder, which is against the law, will otherwise obey sign laws. We’re showed continuously that the disarming of society fails. Chicago, Illinois has consistently ranked among the highest in gun violence and crime, but while also having staunch gun control laws. The San Berardino, California terrorist attack occurred with guns…
Once upon a time, in a time that feels long ago, the American left was staunchly opposed to war. Former President George W. Bush was an evil man because he sent the United States military into Iraq as part of an invasion based upon lies. The weapons of mass destruction justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein turned out to be false, as long suspected. It was all a lie and people died. Wikileaks, a whistleblower website that was dedicated to transparency, in an age when governments won’t have any part of it, became a hero of the left for helping expose the Iraq War. When the “Collateral Murder” video leaked, exposing potential war crimes in Iraq, the left was outraged.
The political landscape has become more emotionally charged than any other point in recent history. The battle between President-elect Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left many people even experiencing personal conflict over their political choices. President-elect Trump’s unconventional approach to politics left many concerned and even outraged by his words and actions. How will a Trump Administration turn out? One of the common criticisms of President-elect Trump during the presidential election was his use of violent rhetoric and supposed endorsement of aggressive tactics. This signaled a nasty future ahead with a man like him involved in politics. Liberals have reacted in horror, claiming that he is a threat to liberty, to minorities, and all Americans everywhere. But does the problem lie with the right wing and supporters of President-elect Trump?
The mainstream media has faced increasing scrutiny over the last year for its conduct, from both sides of the fence. Liberals allege that too much air time was given to President-elect Donald Trump, implying they legitimized a candidate who never should have taken off, let alone won the presidential election. Conservatives and libertarians suggest the media is still, as they long have been, biased against the right. Despite the difference in allegations, both sides of the spectrum seem to agree there is a credibility issue with the mainstream media. For all the allegations of pushing biased stories or overtly fake news, they have now topped themselves in a recent segment of “New Day.” Commentator and Former Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism Phil Mudd stated Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange is “pedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”
Since the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon was struck fifteen years ago, the United States has lived in fear of the global terrorist threat. As a result of the rise of militant extremism, former President George W. Bush launched the War on Terrorism to combat this threat. Despite this, terrorism, if anything, has grown worse. Across Europe, and even a few times in the United States, terrorists have struck. As the threat of terrorism remains prominent, how do we tackle this issue? The answer sometimes is hard to find, because the mainstream political discussion gets diverted by focus on the implements of terror and then hijacked by the gun control lobby. After the shooting in San Bernardino, California, many liberal partisans and members of the gun control lobby called for strengthening of gun laws. The problem there was that gun control was already strong in California, thanks to it being a strong Democratic state.
This election cycle has certainly been polarizing. With partisan polarization comes extreme rhetoric, outlandish comparisons, and otherwise strongly negative attacks. Celebrities and prominent politicians were endlessly triggered for month by a presidential campaign many were not prepared for. The rise of Republican businessman Donald Trump was something many were not expecting, and now that he’s been elected, the President-Elect’s countdown to inheriting the White House has caused full blown meltdowns across the country. Among those is CNN’s Anthony Bourdain, who hosts “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”
Fear of the Russians has become apart of American politics and culture again. Just like throughout the Cold War, politicians and the media are now feeding fears that the Russian menace is trying to undermine the American way of life. This year, the allegation is that the Russians interfered with the presidential election. This interference occurred with repeated hacks of Democratic Party officials and entities and subsequent release of the information. This arguably swayed the election cycle, both in the primary and general. Even if it were true the Russians were interfering with our own election, do we have a right to be outraged? Former Congressman Ron Paul, who twice ran for the Republican presidential nomination, said the United States is not in any position to condemn election meddling. In an interview on Fox Business Network, Paul discussed the allegations against the Russians and our own foreign policy.
This election has seen America devolve into a worse state of bitter partisanship. Harsh stereotypes about both sides became more prominent than ever before. Republican businessman Donald Trump is a bitter misogynistic racist, despite being friendly with women and people of varying races. Stephen Bannon, the former executive chair of Breitbart News, who will now serve as President-Elect Trump’s Chief Strategist to the President, was deemed a ‘white supremacist’, despite there being little evidence of just that. The ramping up of the negative rhetoric grew worse as the left continued an onslaught of propaganda and negative attacks. The Never Trump crowd fed a burning hatred, ironically, against a group of people accused of being full of hatred.
If there’s one thing that Hillary Clinton allies and supporters established last year, it’s that she was the victim of the year. Nobody in the world has been more targeted and more oppressed than her. Conservative opponents are relentlessly trying to stop a former Secretary of State who before that was a United States Senator and First Lady. To these individuals, her record speaks for itself. She’s established her record. Clinton is above us all. It is for this reason the rules do not apply to her. Chelsea Manning is sitting in prison after releasing classified information to whistleblower website Wikileaks. Before her trial, she was subject to harsh treatment that some have described as torture. The former Army Private First Class did not do this out of reckless negligence or severe incompetence. She did not do it out of spite towards the military or government, nor did she do it to harm the nation.
Every election has its defining moments where the flow takes swift turns and everything changes. This year had a number of those moments and they were especially important, given how critical of a cycle we had this year. The successor to President Barack Obama is critical, because it comes down to upholding his legacy or undoing it. Hillary Clinton, a one-time election opponent of the President, would represent a continuation of the liberal agenda. Donald Trump, a political newcomer and lifelong businessman, would represent a departure from many of the President’s key policy points. For this reason, many argued that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should have stayed out of the election.
The day finally arrived. The Electoral College drama brought the election to its finale. This was the final stand of the Never Trump crowd, the last stand of the Hillary Clinton camp, and perhaps the final attempt of the Gary Johnson campaign to legitimize itself. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson ran in 2012 and boosted the Libertarian Party. After the Republican National Committee ran over the campaign of former Congressman Ron Paul with questionable conduct and sketchy procedures, libertarians and conservatives were left looking elsewhere. Come 2016, would Johnson repeat his popularity and even boost it beyond his previous numbers? The dynamic was notably different. Many libertarians were opposed to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney because of his many liberal positions and even many positions on any given issue. He was regarded by several as an untrustworthy politician, on both sides of any one policy. In 2016, there was much more debate among libertarians about Republican businessman Donald Trump.
Partisan tension seems to be growing worse in America. For many conservatives and libertarians, the disdain for establishment moderate Hillary Clinton and the associated left is significant. Similarly, the thorough hatred by the left of anything resembling the right is strong. Democrats and Republicans have typically opposed each other purely because of party label, but ideological divides are growing deeper. A major contributor of this is the political parties who feed off of the partisan fights and bitter feuds. Keeping people divided keeps them in power. Keeping the system rigged for two and keeping additional third parties shut out makes them the only solutions. But perhaps the biggest contributor is the mainstream media. Once upon a time when honest journalism wasn’t a dying art, the media investigated government and politicians. Long ago when legitimate journalists were still numerous, the media remained impartial in a quest for truth. Now more than ever, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the mainstream media is a legion of propaganda artists.
There has been a lot of discussion this year about fake news. The concern among many in society and across numerous political circles is how it will negatively affect our country. Polarization is growing worse and social media is feeding the intense dissension. The Internet is also breathing new life into fake news and giving it legs. Many were alarmed after the alleged Pizzagate story led to a gunman storming a pizza restaurant. Pizzagate involves an alleged child sex trafficking ring that operates out of Comet Ping Pong and Washington D.C. According to the popular Internet theory, it involves top political operatives close to the Clinton Administration including John Podesta, who was also the target of repeated hacks and leaks this election cycle. There has never been a conclusive investigation or any official determination proving that the Pizzagate theory is real, but it has had real life consequences. It casts a dark cloud over various figures and the restaurant, and led to a gunman storming a restaurant.
The Drudge Report is a popular conservative news website and has been among the right’s most popular Internet sites for decades. Founded by Matt Drudge, it has in the past rattled the Democrats by breaking stories such as Newsweek covering up a story about then-President Bill Clinton having an affair with an intern. Since this time, it has only further cemented itself as one of the biggest conservative news sites on the Internet. Now it has experienced the biggest DDoS attack in its history, according to site founder Matt Drudge. A Denial-of-Service attack occurs when the website servers are overwhelmed with requests that it temporarily overloads the website and even brings it down. This is often done in retaliation or to make a website unavailable to its target audience.
The world reacted with shock after Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov was gunned down recently. The assassination shook the diplomatic world as it represents an escalation of violence and perhaps a departure from diplomacy itself. Are ambassadors no longer safe from the violence? It’s no secret here in the United States that the Russians are becoming less popular. As the mainstream media and partisan Democrats continue to advance conspiracy theories about sinister interference with our electoral process, simple dislike becomes burning hatred. But does hatred of another country’s policies justify acts of violence against their diplomats? The New York Daily News votes “yes.”
For Seinfeld fans everywhere, December 23rd is a special holiday known as Festivus. Festivus is a holiday that was created by George Costanza’s father Frank as a holiday alternate to Christmas. It features a number of traditions that essentially parody Christmas and has lived on in popular culture far beyond the show’s conclusion. Senator Rand Paul has made an annual tradition of the Airing of Grievances on Twitter. In the show, the Airing of Grievances involves Frank Costanza literally listing his problems with his family and lashing out with his year’s worth of issues. Senator Paul has turned this into a humor-filled political soapbox that pokes funs at various political figures and events. This year was especially fun.
As the transition of power from President Barack Obama to President-Elect Donald Trump continues, two storylines remain prominent. First, is the issue of the incoming Trump Administration and its apparent ties to the Russian government. There has been a narrative advanced in the political mainstream that claims the Russians influenced the presidential election and undermined the Democratic Party to help President-elect Trump get elected. The other storyline is the legacy of President Barack Obama.
Since the stunning loss to Republican Donald Trump in November, Democrats have been left in a state of shock and turmoil. The blame game has resulted in bitter infighting and launching of stones at outside factors. External blame is typically aimed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Director James Comey individually, as well as the supposed Russian involvement in leaking their own questionable conduct. Internally, many establishment Democrats and bitter Hillary Clinton supporters are laying blame at the rise of the progressive left as led by Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders himself did throw his support behind her, but the bulk of his base refused to accept her as a candidate.
After a tumultuous and heated election cycle, many longed for November simply to bring an end to the hate and vitriol that haunted the contest. Unfortunately, the election came and went with little decrease in the conflict. If anything, the conflict between the two major political parties and dueling mainstream ideologies has grown worse. During the election, a major point of contention was the source of various leaks exposing Democratic organizations and politicians. Primarily through Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0, these hacked files showed us the inner workings of the Democratic Party. Democrats, in response, accused the Russians of being the hacks. Most Republicans, primarily Donald Trump supporters, remained skeptical. But the debate raged on and has grown worse after the election, especially as we draw closer to the Electoral College vote. Was it really the Russian government who was behind these hacks? Multiple media outlets are now indicating this is the case and in each instance referring to anonymous and unnamed sources within the intelligence community. Central Intelligence Agency officials…
It’s no surprise that American people have lost faith in the mainstream media. For years, they’ve sung praises for their own partisan allies and refused to be impartial reporters of the news. In this election cycle alone, they’ve told us repeatedly about how President-elect Donald Trump was going to lose and this was Hillary Clinton’s election to win. Among these people is Kurt Eichenwald, a senior writer with Newsweek and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, who has made a name for himself attacking Trump relentlessly this past election cycle. Recently, Tucker Carlson had Eichenwald on Fox News for an on-air interview. Generally in interviews, even among partisan opponents and disagreeable people have a certain standard of respect. This interview within moments went the other direction.
The election of Republican businessman Donald Trump as President has ignited a great deal of controversy. Not many outside of the Trump support base expected it, but all the pundits and politicians were proven wrong. The outrage over Hillary Clinton’s defeat and the panic over the future of the United States of America has led people to look to the Electoral College. While the Electoral College tally was compiled after the popular vote occurred, the entity itself has not actually voted yet. As a result, many concerned Never Trump conservatives and bitter liberals are turning to them to reverse course. Can the Electoral College really stop Donald Trump? Democratic electors have predictably stood up to voice their opposition. Partisan politics generally leads Democrats to stand up to Republicans and Republicans to Democrats. It was only predictable. While many Republicans were on the Never Trump bandwagon, there was initially a question of whether any Republican Electors would stand up against the controversial President-Elect.
The relationship the American court system has with the Constitution is hit or miss. Sometimes they do get things right, but often times, things go wrong. Unfortunately, the court often gets things wrong when America needs them the most. Consider the case of Korematsu v. United States, when an American citizen of Japanese descent was told he had no constitutional protections. Due to wartime hysteria, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had ordered all Americans of Japanese descent to be rounded up and placed in internment camps.
President-elect Donald Trump has been a lot of things this election cycle. The longshot candidate-turned-incoming President has turned American politics upside down. Among the number of things he’s done to upset the political establishment is his ability to relentlessly troll the status quo. While not everything he suggests, advocates, or does is right, his ability to drive the norm insane is undeniable. Perhaps the most incredible upset is against the Republican establishment. He wasn’t ever going to be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. He was never supposed to win. From early on, this was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s coronation parade and the House of Bush was supposed to reign again. Then for pundits and politicians, everything went wrong.
This election cycle has been bizarre, to say the least. A year and a half ago, it was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s nomination to lose. Hillary Clinton was always the constant, but nobody predicted that Senator Bernie Sanders would mount such a strong challenge against the former Secretary of State. When all was said and done, Bush was left behind early in the primaries and Donald Trump is going to be President. How did this happen? The Democratic Party suggests that it was the Russians. During the 2016 election cycle, the party has reinvented itself as the party of paranoid red-baiting alarmists. Wikileaks, once an ally of the Left, now has become the bane of their existence. All because of transparency. Let’s suppose that the Russians did rig the election. Through some dark plot, the conspiracy theories of the Left are all true. The election was indeed compromised. Do the Democrats have a leg to stand on with their criticism of it? Ironically, through the hacked e-mails and…
Before the presidential election finally happened, there were a lot of allegations of Russian interference with our internal politics. With each drop of leaks coming from Julian Assange and Wikileaks, the claims grew louder. Did Russia actually meddle with the presidential elections here in the United States? Any country, let alone Russia, would stand to gain a great deal from having a favorable politician in the White House. Foreign policy here in the United States has long been in opposition to Russia and even after the Cold War, many within the government refuse to let go of past grievances. Someone open to diplomacy with Russia would turn the tables and that would benefit them. In terms of any country meddling with the elections of another, that is also not out of the realm of possibility. The United States should know all about it, as they’ve been a party to regime change numerous time and even played the role of chief instigator.
Time Magazine announced their 2016 Person of the Year this morning. Of all the politicians and figures considered this year, the editorial board gave Republican President-Elect Donald Trump the title. Time Editor Nancy Gibbs noted the unprecedented candidacy of Trump, referring to his unconventional campaign and impact on world events. This is certainly true, given that Trump from the beginning was never supposed to amount to anything. In a race that started out as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s to lose, it cycled through the contenders ranging from neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson to Senator Ted Cruz as America lived in denial that Trump could actually do it. Regardless of whether individuals like the controversial businessman or not, this is a significant development and likely the right decision. His ability to be a newsmaker and conquer the headlines has been enormous. In just over a month, the Republican businessman and now Time Person of the Year will be taking over the Presidency for Barack Obama.
The presidential election was a battle between populist emotion and a moderate establishment. While the pundits, journalists, and political elite all declared Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had the election in the bag, this turned out not to be the case. And it wasn’t even close. Sort of. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the bombastic businessman with a talent for upset, walked away with the electoral vote. He kicked down the doors at Democratic strongholds and knocked prediction models off their axis. Clinton supporters wept, Democrats were left speechless, and the pollsters defeated. How did this happen? At President Barack Obama’s urging, Clinton conceded defeat. The game was over.
All indications at this point seem to suggest that President Donald Trump is going to pull the rug out from beneath the norm. Regardless of what politicians he appoints to positions, his own actions will be what shakes the foundations of conventional thought. While many suspected this, the political elite has much to be concerned about at this point. The party just might be over. Recently, President-elect Donald Trump had a phone conversation with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. It was an innocent conversation of congratulations, a cordial exchange of pleasantries. Given our country’s supposed preference for democracy and diplomacy, this should be a welcome development. Pundits, politicians, and other members of the elite all responded with outrage. The problem with having a conversation with another country’s leader? Offending China.
Though not as forward as his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Senator Rand Paul has carved out a reputation all his own. He surged into the United States Senate several years ago riding the Tea Party wave with a boost from his father’s libertarian base. In the years since, he has sought to accommodate the Republican establishment and ease his way into the party mainstream. It has been with mixed results. But one end result is in establishing his own commanding presence that Republicans across ideological divides listen to. The trend among partisan politics in America politics shows parties cowering when their own party abuses power while sounding the alarm when the other side does it. The recently re-elected Kentucky Senator has signaled he will not be backing down, even with a Republican in control of the White House.
Over the last several years, the debate over whistleblowers in society has intensified. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden currently lives in exile, unable to return home because of what he leaked. While in all technicality he did break the law, sometimes morality is greater than legality. The programs he exposed confirmed the suspicions of many and painted a more vivid picture of the nightmares we long imagined. We are being watched like criminals without a criminal conviction, our data is being intercepted as if we’re terrorists without committing a terrorist act, and all of this information is being stored without any legal authorization.
A large part of Donald Trump’s stunning upset against Hillary Clinton was the rise of the working class American who has long been left behind by the political elite. Overbearing regulations and high taxation drive good jobs out of the country, where businesses can get the job done for cheaper. Now that the controversial Republican businessman has gone from longshot to President-elect, expect more discussion regarding stopping the outsourcing of jobs and bringing work back home. “Buy America” legislation is again front and center in Congress. Although Republicans often adopt the America First rhetoric, it is the Democrats who are pushing the legislation to force businesses to prefer American products versus foreign-made products. Is this a moment of hypocrisy for the Republican Party as it rides in on an America First wave?
In 1949, English author George Orwell published what would go on to be one of his most well-known works, Nineteen Eighty-Four. The story would help shape the term “Orwellian”, which refers to a massive surveillance state as depicted in the novel. “Big Brother” would become a symbol for a watchful and invasive government. At the time, it was a fiction novel. Overtime, it has gradually become more factual. Today, one could say it is – in a way – nonfiction or realistic fiction.
There has been a great deal of attention during the recently-concluded election cycle about the supposed racism of President-elect Donald Trump. The talk of a southern border wall and making Mexico pay for it, rapists and murderers trickling in from Mexico, and a Muslim ban have been huge contributing stories this cycle. It was for these reasons that many not only expected the Republican President-elect to fail, but to fail miserably. Donald Trump is now the President-elect, however.
Anyone who has watched the news regularly in the last few decades and knows about the history of American journalism knows the name Dan Rather. For twenty-four years, the anchor was the face of CBS Evening News. From 1981 to 2005, he brought the news into homes of Americans everywhere, covering major events ranging from the early days of the Reagan Administration through the Iraq War. Rather has widely been considered an influential news anchor for decades. That is, until his fall in 2005 after a controversy involving a false story and forged documents. The Killian Documents controversy unfolded in 2004. Within the final two months before the 2004 presidential election between then-President George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry, CBS News dropped a bombshell about Bush’s military service. The documents were personal files supposedly from Bush’s commander in the Texas Army National Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. These documents were highly critical of Bush’s military service.
Donald Trump has done it countless times with social media this election cycle. With one firing of a 140 character tweet, a controversy is ignited and the country erupts. This time, it was with the issue of flag burning. The timing is interesting, given it hasn’t been an enormous problem this year and it hasn’t come up this cycle. Yet he suggested it should be a crime punishable by jail or loss of citizenship. With such a radical proposal, the debate regarding flag burning is again ignited.