Campaign 2016

1-2016 Election Quake I: Five Expected Surprises in Cultural Trends and the Media

This essay first appeared in the Huffington Post, November 22, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-j-croce/2016-election-quake-i-fiv_b_13144442.html

Huh?—a year and half of campaigning, two leading candidates with the highest disapproval ratings in American history, a Republican Tsunami—how’d that happen?  Get ready, America, for four years of Donald J. Trump’s reverse smile. 

Few anticipated the results.  Even Republicans and Trump himself seemed surprised on election night.  Although commentators have been wringing their hands for not anticipating the way voters actually voted, observers from major media stars to people at diners and around water coolers were already calling the campaign unprecedented.  And yet, contemporary history and the current state of the media provide clues about how we have arrived at this surprising election.

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Campaign 2016

2-2016 Election Quake II: Five Lessons from Recent History

This essay first appeared in the Huffington Post, November 21, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-j-croce/2016-election-quake-ii-fi_b_13126268.html

The Trump Phenom and Republican sweep have roots that go even deeper than the inaccurate polls.  The recent past tells the story of the rising strength of sentiments that would lead to this election quake. 

An air of shock and awe still hovers around the election results.  Donald J. Trump declared war on the federal government, on big business, on military and foreign policy leaders, on words that work in campaigning, even on his fellow Republicans, and of course on Democrats.  Few expected these results, from respected polling professionals to Republicans themselves—even as that party benefitted in Congress and state houses.  Recent history shows that these surprises have been building for years.

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Campaign 2016

Constant Growth: The Elephant (and the Donkey) in the Living Room

Constant economic growth, constantly supported even when unhealthy, is the unquestioned goal of both major parties.  Few stop to ask about the ill effects of growth or the merits of maintaining good conditions when we get them (did we really get improvement when that store moved to the margins of town leaving a hulking building downtown?).  The unhealthy side effects of constant growth have become the elephant (and the donkey) in the living room–the unasked question for both Republicans and Democrats.

A shorter version of this essay was published as “An Economy That Grows Anger,” in the Huffington Post, September 24, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-j-croce/an-economy-that-grows-ang_b_12173172.html

Scroll down to see a revised version of this essay, expanded with more economic data and historical examples, and published as  “Both Parties Back Economic Growth–But Are They Wrong?” in History News Network, October 2, 2016, http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/163991.

In this election, we’ve got a well-informed Democrat defending a crazy system and a crazy-sounding Republican brashly calling for undisclosed changes.  Consider the sources of the craziness—consider an economy that can’t stay healthy with constant growth.  In medicine, that’s called cancer…. Continue reading….

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Campaign 2012

The Outsiders Within: Obama, Romney, and the Tradition of Defying Tradition

Before You Vote, consider this likely pitch from the next popular politician: Vote for me!—I’m an outsider!

Americans have a tradition of defying tradition.

Dear Once and Future Voter: Who are the insiders you are hoping to overturn? Consider the case of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, two candidates for president in 2012 who are members of groups traditionally considered outside the American mainstream….

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Campaign 2008

Winning–That’s an Obscure Word in the Democratic Party Lexicon

November 2008

Eyes blink, and from the citadel of Democrats’ souls lurks an air of disbelief. “Pinch me,” they seem to say: “Is this real—or just a dream?”

The party faithful have been elated with the victories of Barack Obama and fellow Democrats across the country. But beneath the cheers, there is a hint of surprise. The land of Democrats had heard this odd little word used since Nov. 4. “We are not familiar with it in our land,” I imagine them saying . “This word, so strange, so cheerful—the word ‘w-i-n.’”

Read whole essay here….

 

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Campaign 2004, Uncategorized

Bush achieves goal in spite of criticism

November 2004 

President George W. Bush has received an unprecedented amount of criticism, even from military people, fiscal conservatives and other Republican-leaning constituencies. If the election had been held on the basis of these evaluations, it would not have been even close. Instead, Bush won by a comfortable margin. How’d that happen?

To figure out the answer to that question, click here.

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