Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Taming the Tempest

It seems that a tempest has engulfed the globe.

We are now seeing terrorist events almost daily in Europe.

We have not seen anything like the racial unrest and violence that we are experiencing on the streets of America in well over a generation.  The attacks on our police are unprecedented. They go much beyond anything I saw during the Vietnam War protest era.

The rule of law seems not to mean anything anymore. Our immigration laws are blatantly ignored. The Supreme Court makes law rather than interprets. $400 million in cash is shipped to an enemy power in a ransom payment without any involvement of Congress which is supposed to appropriate spending (that is one big petty cash account the President seems to have). A Secretary of State circumvents national security and freedom of information guidelines through use of a private server and is given a pass by the FBI.

Underlying all of this is a struggling world economy and an American economy that has been languishing for almost a decade.

All of the elements should be there for a change agent to be elected the next President of the United States.

Hillary Clinton is surely not that person and her poll numbers tend to bear that out.

Donald Trump has all the characteristics that you want in a change agent.

He is an outsider.

He seems beholden to no one in the Washington establishment.

He speaks candidly and without the political correctness we have come to expect from anyone in the public eye.

He is open and accessible.

Donald Trump is also tempestuous. He is wild, lively, unpredictable and a whole lot more.

There is a lot that people like about those qualities in a person. That is one of the big reasons that Trump is able to get some much media time. and so much attention. However, there is also a downside. How much tempestuousness do we want to deal with the tempest in the world?

Many years ago I learned that most people's weaknesses are actually their strengths used to excess. For example, people like a confident person but they do not like someone who is arrogant. People respect someone who is reserved but disregard someone who is withdrawn. Most people who want to improve their personal qualities ought to first look at their good qualities and see if they may be using them to excess.

Donald Trump is a textbook case in demonstrating this point. He could solve a lot of problems for himself in his race for the Presidency if he understood this.

If I was advising Trump that would be the first thing I would tell him. He has what people are looking for. He just has to be measured in how he uses it at this point. He has already shown he is capable of shaking things up. He has nothing else to prove to the voters on that point.

The current environment is providing Donald Trump something akin to a customer walking up to one of the poker tables in his casinos and drawing an inside straight.

The world is a mess. A vast majority of people in our country say we are heading in the wrong direction. People are tired of the status quo and the Democrats are running the Queen of the Status Quo.

It doesn't get much better than that for Donald Trump.

In fact, I dare say that the only one that can beat Donald Donald Trump.

People are looking for exactly what Donald Trump is selling. They want someone to shake up Washington. However, they don't want him to shake them up personally.

At their core, human beings are risk adverse. We prefer not to try new things or new places unless we have to. If we move it is usually because the pain we feel in our current situation forces our hand. In effect, we ultimately determine that the current pain outweighs the risk and uncertainty of doing something different.

When I was in marketing one of the key metrics that always fascinated me was the fact that research showed that almost half of all potential sales were not lost to a competitor, they were lost to the status quo. In effect, the customer simply did nothing. In the end, they determined it was better to do nothing than to do something with you. T

Trump's campaign strategy needs to be three-fold. He first needs to reminding voters of the painful circumstances they are in. He hit this hard at the GOP convention and he was criticized by the media for the dark picture he painted. However, he needs to do this. He has to point out the pain or people will elect to stay with the status quo. Second, he needs to point to how he will do things differently and can make things better. His economic plan that he released this week is a good example of this. Third, he needs to be seen as someone who is not a risky choice. He clearly is the choice for change. He just has to show that he is not a risky choice. If he can tame his own tempest he can win.

The election this year reminds me very much of the 1980 Presidential race. Our country was in a mess but Ronald Reagan (a former Democrat and actor) was running as a Republican for President. He said a lot of things that media didn't like. He was portrayed as a wild cowboy in his calls for defense build-ups, massive tax cuts and challenging the Soviet Union. A Republican that had run against Reagan in the primaries, John Anderson, ultimately filed as an Independent and made it a three person field in November.

Voters were ready for change but they had to be convinced that the risk of change with Reagan was preferable to the pain they were feeling in their everyday lives. The polls were close right to the end. Voters were torn.

I went home on Election Night expecting a close race based on what the polls were saying. However, Reagan won in a landslide and made the greatest transformation I have witnessed in government in my lifetime.

I get a sense we are in a similar situation today. How else do you explain the polls we are seeing? How can Trump be up 7 points right after the GOP convention and down 7 points a week later? It tells me that voters are deeply troubled. They clearly don't like Hillary and want change from the cronyism and corruption that has defined the Clintons over the years. However, they are not sold on Trump. They liked what they heard in Cleveland. It is what they are feeling. However, they fear making a bad bet on Trump.

When people are in doubt they stay with the status quo.

Trump has one overriding goal from here on out. He has to remove the doubt about staying with the status quo.

To do that he needs to show that he can help tame the tempest we find ourselves in. He has to hit voters hard that we simply cannot stay with the status quo. Most importantly, he has to tame the tempest that swirls around him. He has to show that he is a reasonable man and a reasonable choice for change.

If he can, he will win. It is totally his to win or lose.

Trump say he is a winner. Is he prepared to do what it really takes to win? There are now less than 90 days to Election Day. He is really on the clock now.

Speaking of the clock, BeeLine is going to take a month's hiatus in order to rest and reflect for what promises to be a hectic Fall season of blog posts. See you in September!

Monday, August 8, 2016

200 Years of History?

This is the way the Democrat party begins a description of its history on the DNC website...

"For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights..."

That might be persuasive to a potential voter who has never opened a History textbook but it bears no resemblance to the truth.

Democrats would like for everyone to believe (especially African American voters) that Democrats have been the champion of civil rights and liberties for over two centuries all the while battling vile racist Republicans. In reality, the historical record shows exactly opposite.

The Republican Party was actually founded in 1854 as an oppositional force to the pro-slavery Democrat Party specifically to prevent the further spread of slavery into the western territories. Six years later Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican elected President and he brought him with both houses of Congress. With the Democrats outnumbered in Congress, and Lincoln in The White House, the southern states made the decision to secede from the union as they foresaw that slavery would inevitably be banned at the federal level with Republicans in control.

The votes of Republicans and Democrats on the major legislative votes involving civil rights over the years says it all.

13th Amendment- Abolished slavery in the United States (1865)
Every Republican in the House and Senate supported the amendment.
Only 16 Democrats in the House (most lame ducks) and 2 in the Senate voted for the amendment.

14th Amendment-Provided full citizenships to slaves
Not one Democrat in the House or Senate voted for the amendment.

15th Amendment-Provided voting rights to slaves
There was not a single vote of the 56 Democrats in the House or Senate that voted for the amendment.

A little more U.S. History...

The first Black U.S. Senator was a Republican (Hiram Revels from Mississippi in 1870). The first Democrat did not enter the U.S. Senate until 1993 (Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois).

In the U.S. House of Representatives, there were 21 Black members elected to Congress before there was the first Democrat elected in 1935.

You might look at these votes and Black Republican officeholders and consider this ancient history (even though the Democrats state that their fight for Civil Rights goes back 200 years) and discount this truth.

However, Robert Rohlfing in an article "Some Of The Lost History Of The Civil Rights Movement" in Canada Free Press points out this fact on more recent history,

In the 26 major civil rights votes after 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 percent of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 percent of the votes.

In fact, as Rohling points out, the initial impetus for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act both came from Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in a 1957 Civil Rights Act bill that he introduced.

Who was one of the Democrats who opposed that bill?

A name you might recognize is Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Kennedy later did become an advocate for civil rights legislation when he became President and introduced what later became the first version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Lyndon Johnson pushed through Congress. Do you think JFK opposed the bill because he knew he needed Southern Democrats if he hoped to run for President in 1960? That would be my guess.

Turning to his Kennedy's running mate in 1960, Johnson opposed every civil rights bill for his first 20 years in Congress (1937-1957) before he got firmly behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 soon after becoming President upon Kennedy's assassination. Of course, let it also be remembered that 80% of the no votes for that legislation were Democrats.

It would be nice to believe that Kennedy, Johnson and other Democrats changed their views out of character, conscience or conviction but with politicians you never really know. Politics and popular votes trump principles most of the time.

For example, LBJ is quoted by Ronald Kessler in his book, Inside the White House: The Hidden Lives of the Modern Presidents and the Secrets of the World's Most Powerful Institution, published in 1995 as telling two unnamed governors who were on Air Force One why he was working for passage of the Civil Rights Act, of 1964,

"I'll have them ni**ers voting Democratic for two hundred years."

Some argue that there is not enough proof to support that Johnson ever said this, however, it would seem to be in keeping with some of his other views on race over the years.

Democrats may ultimately get the Black vote for 200 years but it will not be based on the past 200 years of history.

The political reality is that there is no viable Democrat party today without African American votes. That is why you don't see many Democrats criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and our nation's police officers getting so little support from within the Democrat party.

The same mentality drives the Democrats on the immigration issue. Given a choice between supporting an American citizen or an illegal immigrant, or our nation's security and an Islamic refugee, the Democrats are looking for future votes and little more.

It is a dangerous game. I only hope we have a country that survives those votes over the next 200 years.