Thursday, November 24, 2016

What difference does party label make when describing political candidate?

The other day, I was in a place with several government-minded people, most of whom still haven’t gotten over the election of Donald Trump as president.
TRUMP: Does the "D" or "R" really matter?

Although one of them (an elected official herself) tried ending the conversation by remembering that Trump was once registered to vote as a Democrat and, in fact, has offered financial help to Dem candidates in the past.

“LET’S HOPE HE reverts back to his Democratic ideals,” she said.

I must confess, I had to restrain a laugh at the very thought. I have always believed there is a reality about the way in which people identify with political parties that makes their use as political shorthand to describe one’s beliefs a potentially-distorting factor.

People who get involved with government usually identify with the political party that is predominant in their community.

I have no doubt there are many Chicago residents who could easily consider themselves Republicans IF NOT for the fact that the Chicago Republican Party is such a weak, non-existent entity that there’s no practical point to identifying with them.

ONE WOULD GAIN nothing in the way of having allied government officials on their side to get things done. Perhaps it is true that the government task people most care about is something as simple as being issued a new trash can when the old one wears out.

All the rest is politically partisan nonsense.

Keep in mind that I’m not saying there’s anything unique about Chicago. I suspect many of those people who live across the rest of Illinois could easily side with the Democrats IF ONLY there was anything resembling a credible Democratic Party organization in their communities.
PFANNKUCHE: A 'real' Republican?

We vote for candidates we think can do something for us in our daily lives. Only the hard-core ideologues amongst us get into the notion of voting for someone – just think of how irrelevant Jill  Stein of the Green Party turned out to be in the recently-completed presidential election cycle.

IN FACT, IN some cases people wind up getting forced into taking the dominant political party all seriously, largely because the primary elections wind up becoming the ones that determine who actually wind up winning.

The primary winners ultimately wind up running unopposed come general election time, or against fringe candidates who are nothing more than ballot-filler (think of Cook County state’s attorney-elect Kim Foxx’ victory over Republican challenger Christopher E.K. Pfannkuche).

In the case of Donald Trump, it’s no surprise that he wound up having to identify with Democratic government officials regardless of his actual ideological beliefs. He was a Noo Yawker, and one with business interests that required him to make his peace with government officials he may have found personally to be repulsive human beings.

If anything, I always felt his shift to the Republican Party for purposes of this election cycle was a matter of accepting who he really was.

HE RAN A campaign based on attracting the vote of people who were run out of the Democratic Party generations ago. If he had tried to run as a Democrat on the grounds he was going to restore them to the place they once had, they would have laughed themselves silly before winding up voting for someone goofy like Ted Cruz.

So the idea that Donald Trump ever had “Democratic ideals” he could now turn back to? I don’t think so.

If anything, I suspect the real Donald Trump is that wealthy businessman whose financial interests were being restrained by government officials of all persuasions. A part of me wonders if his real interests for ever getting into the election process is that he wanted those officials off his back.

Although I’m sure he’d probably try to phrase it more gently by talking about the need for business-friendly people serving in government (which really means those more than willing to mess with organized labor and working people to bolster some corporate entity’s financial bottom line).

AS FOR WHETHER Trump is really the scary ideologue he portrayed during his campaign, he may not be. Although the fact is that he so eagerly sought out those types of people for political support that he’s now going to have to wear that political label.
Will Trump miss his personalized jet?

Particularly since if he tries to deviate too far from the political trash talk he spewed during the campaign, he’ll find out just how quickly the “far right” will turn on him and make his four-year presidential term an agonizing experience – and not just because he’ll have to live in Washington and fly around on Air Force One rather than a private jet with his own name painted on its fuselage.

One last thought – Trump strikes me as the kind of guy who doesn’t want to be president, but wants to be the guy with money who gets to tell the president what he ought to be doing. The “D” or the “R” after his name doesn’t mean a thing!


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