Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday February 7, 2020
Is Donald Trump America’s new normal?
The political fates are fickle. This was supposed to be Donald Trump’s worst week as America’s president, but it’s turned into his best.
This was supposed to be the week his impeachment trial exposed him as unfit to hold the highest office in the land, the week his abysmal record in the Oval office came back to haunt him and the week his Democratic opponents proved they’re ready to take him on in November’s presidential election.
None of it happened. The Democrats, who invested so much political capital into impeaching Trump, need to come up with Plan B. Their Plan A was a flop and the Democrats are stumbling just when they should be hitting their stride.
If you think Trump’s presidency has been an unmitigated disaster for the planet — and we know the vast majority of Canadians do — you should be worried by all this. Very worried.
Instead of signalling the death of his erratic presidency, Trump’s impeachment trial breathed new life into it. There was clear proof he pressured a foreign country — Ukraine — to discredit one of his potential political rivals — Joe Biden. We know he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last July. We know Trump was withholding $391 million (U.S.) in military aid to Ukraine, too.
Despite the damning evidence against him, it was always going to be an uphill struggle to convince two-thirds of the Senate, which is dominated by Trump’s own Republicans, to convict him. Trump’s acquittal was predicted. But because the Republicans blocked the testimony of key witnesses, the trial was a sham that discredited a once noble house of Congress.
As for the great American public, it largely tuned out from the televised tedium. No wonder Trump gloated. The latest Gallup poll gives him a 49 per cent approval rating from Americans, his highest score since being elected. And on Tuesday, the day before his Senate acquittal, Trump had the opportunity to sing his own praises in his annual State of the Union address, claiming undeserved responsibility for what he calls the “Great American comeback.”
Clearly the prevailing winds are at Trump’s back. What’s more troubling is they’re blowing in the faces of the Democrats. They were thoroughly embarrassed by the technical glitches that delayed the results from their Iowa caucuses Monday.
Far more seriously, the party is badly split, uncertain whether its path to victory runs through the moderate centre or the progressive left of the U.S. political spectrum. Nor would we recommend betting your house on an election win for any of the Democrats’ current crop of candidates, including the self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders or the leaden, former vice-president Biden.
As we look at an America and cherished American institutions that increasingly seem unrecognizable, we wonder if three years of Trump have succeeded in deadening the nation’s senses to the divisions and disruptions he has sewn at home and around the world. If you live with a clown long enough, maybe you’re comfortable in a circus.
Of course, we’re commenting partly on the events of one week. The election remains nine months away and Trump’s presidency could still end in a train-wreck. But Trump became president in 2016 with less than half of the popular vote and could do so again.
It will be up to American voters to rid their country and the world of this president. It will be up to the Democrats to choose a candidate who can convince the country to do this. Today, sadly, neither of these things is at all certain. (Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday November 16, 2016
Conservative contender Kellie Leitch: ‘I am not a racist’
Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says her enthusiasm for Donald Trump does not make her a racist.
During an exchange on CTV’s Question Period, rival candidate Michael Chong suggested Leitch was importing the divisive style practised by the U.S. president-elect.
Leitch proposes screening newcomers for Canadian values, and says she shares some ideas with Trump on immigration.
“I am not a racist,” Leitch said during the CTV segment aired Sunday. “I am not a person who’s out groping other individuals. I do not do those things and I don’t think that the Canadians who support the ideas I’m talking about do those types of things.”
The exchange comes as candidates for party chief prepare to debate today at a conference centre just south of Ottawa.
They sparred earlier this week in Saskatoon over immigration, carbon pricing and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Twelve people are running to be the next Conservative leader, who will be chosen in May.
Leitch has attracted headlines — and some barbs from other leadership contenders — for her immigration screening proposal, which she has yet to flesh out. She denies endorsing the controversial Trump. (Source: Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 12, 2016
The GOP civil war is finally here. And Trump is winning
With the release of the 2005 “Access of Hollywood” tape and Donald Trump’s subsequent drop in the polls, many already reluctant Republicans are now running for cover from him and his campaign.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain are the most prominent among them, and Trump has responded by calling them out individually on his Twitter feed. The GOP civil war so close to erupting so many times during the course of the Trump campaign is finally here. All because of a new drop in the polls that may or may not last very long.
There may be no winners in the end of this intramural battle, but the only one who can win is Trump. And that’s why Trump should not just continue to play up this growing rift with the establishment, he should play it up as much as possible.
Think about it: If Trump loses the election, Republican leaders hoping to avoid the worst effects of being associated with his controversial persona won’t be spared much. The Trump supporters will never forgive them and the news media and the Left will never given them any credit for “doing the right thing” anyway. It’s a form of Stockholm syndrome to not only start to like your captors, but look for reasons to blame the captivity on your fellow hostages. This is a no-win scenario if there ever was one for the GOP establishment powers.
Democracy can be ugly. And what Republicans like McCain and Ryan have had so much trouble accepting is that the voters in the primaries flocked to Trump. It doesn’t matter if Trump deserved it or not. It doesn’t matter if he had the best chances to win the general election. If a political party works to undermine what its voters want, it is dead. Trump’s campaign is thus still alive while we watch the GOP commit a form of suicide as it fears national polls and the news media more than its own voters. This is what losers do — when the going gets tough and chips are down, they turn on each other. (Continued: CNBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday July 22, 2016
Is the Trump family America’s next political dynasty?
The glaring absence of prominent Republicans from the party’s convention in Cleveland raised questions about who would be filling the speaking slots in support of Donald Trump.
But, confident as ever, the New York billionaire had it covered. Waiting in the wings were a host of family members willing to get on stage.
Mr Trump’s third wife Melania dominated the headlines after sections of her speech mimicked an address given by Michelle Obama – something Trump’s campaign denied for more than a day before a Trump staffer took responsibility for “including some of the phrasing” used by Ms Obama.
Now with successful appearances from the likes of Donald Trump Jr, his eldest son, and anticipation ahead of Ivanka Trump’s speech on Thursday, many commentators have been asking whether Mr Trump’s children could also follow him into politics.
Presentations by Donald Jr along with Tiffany, Eric and Ivanka Trump certainly help to “humanise” the candidate, political scientist Larry Sabato told the BBC.
But it should come as no surprise that the children are willing to speak out to support their father, he added.
The children of political candidates have long spoken at conventions, and many even go on to take an active role in politics.
But the Trumps are “remarkable” because the sheer number of family members giving evening speeches – more than any past political family, including the Kennedys, the Clintons, and the Romneys, Mr Sabato said.
The high-profile appearances also highlight a historical pattern in American politics. “We may be a democracy but we seem to like oligarchy,” he added. (Source: BBC)