Editor Column: How do you ‘make America great again?’
Unlike previous elections, I have not followed this presidential race with the fervor of previous ones, largely because in this constant media cycle it can quickly lead to the dangerous act of constant consumption, and I just don’t have the time.
Still, sitting on the bleachers at the new Jack Smith Gymnasium Tuesday, while waiting for the end of the girls junior varsity game, I found myself scrolling through Twitter as the voting in New Hampshire was ending. It didn’t take long for the Associated Press to accurately call the winners: Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The great thing about Twitter is that it both serves as a constant stream of news and commentary, depending on who and what you follow. Shortly after the AP called the race I came across this tweet from Eli Stokols, a national political reporter for Politico and a former reporter for Denver’s KDVR-TV.
Here’s the tweet:
So, your two #NHprimary winners are a socialist and a guy who said the word “p**sy” on stage the night before the election. Makes sense.
The socialist, of course, is Sanders and the guy who used the derogatory term, of course, is Trump. More specifically, the incident referenced occurred the night before the nation’s first primary at a Trump rally where a woman shouted out the insult. Numerous media organizations published stories on the incident, including CNN, which reported, “After first calling on a woman close to the stage to ‘shout it out’ again, Trump repeated the woman’s one-word insult aimed at Cruz: ‘She said he’s a p**sy.’”
I point this out not because it’s surprising — if anything, such colorful comments are to be expected from Trump, who has used incidents involving his offensive language as rallying cries against political correctness.
Rather, the tweet was a comical take on Tuesday’s outcome; a sort of “only in America” way of looking at things that on face value seem absurd.
What struck me about Tuesday’s primary also was unsurprising, but it was troubling enough that I decided to break my pledge to stick to more local and personal subjects, and write about national politics of all things. It was Trump’s victory speech and the entire lack of anything substantive. It was maddening.
I can make sense of the populous rage that has helped fuel Trump’s and Sanders’ respective rises. Months ago, when I was among the many people saying Trump would never last, I repeatedly said I would like some of the incessant media attention to be diverted from Trump’s every move to the people enthused by his candidacy. A profile of the average Trump-supporting American seemed like a more interesting and insightful use of a media organization’s resources.
Some iterations of that idea have materialized over the months and the question of “who” has been somewhat addressed, as has the question of “why.” Still, I come back to Tuesday’s victory speech in New Hampshire. Here is a sample of what irked me:
“We’re going to make America great again — we’re going to do it the old fashioned way. We’re going to beat China, Japan, beat Mexico at trade.”
“We’re going to make great deals. We’re going to rebuild our military. Nobody — nobody is going to mess with us. Believe me, nobody. We are going to take care of our vets! … We’re going to take care of our vets. Our vets are treated horribly. They’re our greatest people. Our vets are going to be taken care of … “
Also in his remarks was a pledge to close the borders to illegal immigrants, a vow to “knock the hell out of” ISIS, a promise to prevent the “chipping away” of the Second Amendment, and more.
I point this out not because of partisan or ideological differences that I may or may not have, but because they are all devoid of any actual policy, and instead reliant on Trump’s message that he is great and can get these things done, which is incredibly egotistical and asinine.
How do you actually “beat” other countries at trade? What are you going to do to take care of our vets? What are you going to replace ObamaCare with? What does rebuilding our military entail?
It’s worth noting that policies and campaign rhetoric from any candidate, on any side of the aisle can be scrutinized and picked apart. Some on Tuesday commented fairly on Sanders’ emphasis on a singular issue.
Also in fairness to Trump, his remarks came during a speech, which is not exactly the ideal setting for deep policy dives and explanations. Sure enough, more details are available on the campaign website http://www.donaldjtrump.com.
I’ll spare further thoughts on those details, partially due to the fact that as previously mentioned, you can pick all of these apart for all the candidates and that was not my intention in writing this — and neither do I have the time nor space to do that for the other 37 candidates (joking, obviously) still in the race.
I’ll leave it to you if you want to try and get the answers. You might be satisfied or you might be left with more questions. My only hope is that whether it’s rage, such as in my case, enthusiasm or any other emotion, we all take time to dig beyond the sound-bites and learn how these people actually intend to take/make/restore, our country/America, back/great again.
Ryan Hoffman is now fully consumed by the presidential election and heading to Las Vegas to bet on the South Carolina primary. You can contact him at 970-685-2103 or at email@example.com.
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