ELDER MUSIC: Seasons - Winter
Weeping with Joy at Clinton's Nomination

Presidential Politics for Elders

This Monday begins the Democrats' turn to present, over the next four days, their vision for the future of the United States.

Last week, the Republicans – well, never mind. The party hardly matters anymore. It is Trump unleashed now, untethered from the political organization to which he nominally belongs.

Have there ever been any more frightening words from a presidential candidate than these: “I am your voice. I alone can fix this.”

Take a moment to let the meaning of that statement sink it.

Now imagine how a president who believes that (Trump wasn't joking when he said it) would put it into practice.

When you can breathe again, let's look at just one of the bigger issues of interest to elders (and more than a few children), Social Security.

If anyone on the stage in Cleveland last week mentioned the program, even in passing, no one noticed. But it has a heavy presence in the Republican Party platform [pdf] that the delegates adopted by acclamation at their convention. From the platform:

"As Republicans, we oppose tax increases and believe in the power of markets to create wealth and to help secure the future of our Social Security system."

If you are missing the point, let me translate: privatize Social Security.

Let's take a look at what the two presidential candidates themselves have said so far about Social Security.

AARP recently asked both the Clinton and Trump campaigns to submit 600-word statements about what they would do to make Social Security sound for future generations.

According to the responses, in general, Secretary Clinton supports expanding Social Security and offers some intriguing details on how she would do so. Mr. Trump's proposal is little more than “to have an economy that is robust and growing.”

You can read their entire answers here.

But in the recent past, Trump has shown no inclination to change Social Security at all, unlike running mate, Governor Mike Pence, who is long on the record endorsing destruction of the program.

Back in 2005, then-Congressman Pence supported then-President George Bush's bid to privatize Social Security and as the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) reported a few days ago,

”Mike Pence was one of Congress’ biggest proponents of privatization. He supports cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age, reducing the COLA, means-testing and turning Medicare into 'CouponCare.'”

In case you think what Pence wants to do with Social Security is not important if a man as narcisstic and full of himself as Trump is president, let me remind you of a remarkable anecdote making the rounds during the Republican convention.

According to The New York Times Magazine which was the first to report it:

”One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was 'really not prepared to be president of the United States...'

“But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

“When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

“Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“'Making America great again,' was the casual reply.”

Wow. So what if Governor Pence was made the same offer – that he, as vice president, would be in charge of everything a president is Constitutionally responsible for?

Do keep in mind that preserving Social Security is not just for you and me. It is for at least three million children who have a parent who is disabled, retired or who died on the job. It is for your children when they are old enough and for your grandchildren and beyond.

If you believe Secretary Clinton is too much an old-school pol or that her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, is too boring (even he says he's boring), please reread all the above. For the sake of our country.

You might also take a look at 50 Shockingly Extreme Right-Wing Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform that Alternet has compiled in an easy-to-read format – particularly important if Pence is in charge.

And if that isn't enough for you, go read Michael Moore's five reasons he believes Donald Trump will win.


An excellent post.

Italy has had its Berlusconi and, more recently, UK its Brexit, so we know that unlikely things can happen. I hope that USA does not end up with President Trump responsible for 'making America great again', with VP Pence in charge of domestic and foreign policy. Pence's home state, with good reason, seems awfully glad to see the back of him. The reporting regarding this matter is credible - Mr Trump wants just the glory, not the hard work.

Whatever the outcome of the election, its going to be an interesting time.

There are policies and programs that belong to the government, and Social Security is one of them. It cannot be dependent upon Wall Street or other private entities that might fluctuate and that would no doubt have their own interests and rights written into any contract they have with the government. It's why they're anxious to get involved - to make money.

For some time, I've had one eye open for the push to privatize our national parks, which would be disastrous. And then there's the public education conundrum too.

Thanks for keeping us alerted, mentally-armed and ready, Ronni.

Of all of the rhetoric I've heard over the past few months, nothing upset me so much as Michael Moore's prediction that Trump could win (will win? Really?) I admire and respect Moore, and had anyone else said that, it wouldn't have made a dent in my usual optimistic outlook. But this really got to me!

Over the weekend, someone posted a full shot of the stage as it appeared while Trump was giving his acceptance speech. I had not seen it from that vantage point until that post, but someone commented that it looked like a set from Metropolis, and I had to agree. I don't know what Donald J. Trump is trying to create, but whatever it is, it's sounding more frightening each day.

I just read the NYT article from earlier in July about Woody Guthrie's comments and song lyrics about Trump's father, from whom he rented for some period of time. Something I never knew and of which I would not have been aware of had I not stumbled across that article in googling something else. That article also discussed federal charges against Fred Trump for discriminatory housing practices. Apparently Fred Trump also had some connection with the KKK, having attended at least one rally, where he was arrested, and the questions now coming out linking David Duke with Donald Trump are rather disturbing. Of course what ever Fred Trump did or did not do proves nothing about Donald, but I'm wondering just how far from the tree this nut has fallen.

Perhaps I should have explained that the words Guthrie had about Fred Trump were not complimentary. Anyone very familiar with Guthrie might have assumed this, but just needed to be clear.

Donald Trump is a terrorist in a suit. The idea of him in the White House scares me more than I can say. When I think of how much a trump presidency can damage this country for generations to come and contribute to the growing instability of the world it terrifies me...

I'm going to share this post with everyone I know and ask them to do the same - great informational resources Ronni, thanks!

Gee, just when I thought "terrified" was the best word to describe my feelings about a Trump presidency. Of course I'd assumed he had no intention of running the country himself. He just wants to sit in the Oval Office, take all the credit (if there is any), and pose for pictures. Pence will do all the work (aka damage) and take all the blame.

And I was afraid the country wouldn't survive George Bush ...

Amen, Ronni!

I believe the Trump candidacy is nothing less than a national emergency, given that some believe he could win. Nate Silver, whose polls I trust--he absolutely nailed it in 2012 when pundits were calling the Obama/Romney contest close--has Trump gaining on Hilary. I don't get it. I don't! After that awful convention.

This comment probably won't gain me any friends, but this is a time when I am glad I have dual citizenship.

I wish everyone could think that they have a choice beyond making their vote count.

I read the 50 shocking Republican platform article and I was ready to scream by the time I got to the end. I had read the Michael Moore article which, disturbingly, has a lot of valid points. The VP statement made by Trump's adviser does make Pence much more of a threat. Thank you for your informative post!

I'm pretty sure a lot of us at this blog are wondering how we can leave the country if Trump is elected. I've asked Canadian friends if they have an extra bedroom - and that was only half a joke. I've also watched the video about that tiny Irish island that wouldn't mind taking a few Americans "refugees."

It's not something I'll do, but it sure has crossed my mind.

Sometimes I find myself thinking that this is just a nightmare; it can't be happening. People can't be that gullible to actually vote for this charlatan.

Then when I realize that people are that gullible and - dare I say it - just plain ignorant, I want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head.

If Trump actually becomes our President, then the "great experiment" is over and we will have seen its death in our lifetime.

When Dubya was elected I looked south across the border, grimaced, and said to myself, "Well... Um. They survived Ronald Reagan. More or less. Maybe it'll be okay."

I was wrong -- wrong about Reagan (in hindsight, he was a disaster), and very wrong about GWB. I'm not going to make that mistake again. If a presidential candidate is incompetent or disinclined to do the job you DO need to look very hard at the people around him. "President" Cheney actually welcomed the shock of 9/11, seeing it as a golden opportunity to launch the aggressive war he wanted against Iraq. He got it, too, and the initial angry or reluctant backing of most Americans, with the complicity of nearly all American media from the talk radio cesspool to the New York Times, despite the fact that anyone who was paying the least bit of attention knew exactly what he was doing. What ugliness would a President-in-all-but-name Pence push for? I shudder.

Trump probably isn't anywhere near as easily manipulated as Dubya. Nor is he as stupid. Foolish, yes, unable to think through consequences, but not stupid enough not to notice when someone tries to pull his strings. Unfortunately, that only means that very bad policies would be punctuated by random impulsive bursts of actions that make no sense.

All in all, none of these are people you want anywhere near the nuclear launch codes.

What you all said.

I wonder, if Trump is elected, he plans on moving his gold throne from New York to the Oval Office. Wouldn't surprise me.

What does worry me is how 2 of my 4 children, who were raised by a liberal mom aren't voting this year. My eldest daughter didn't like any of the candidates and my youngest son has become a libertarian. I fear many former liberals feel at a loss about Clinton. She's been in the very public eye for decades - instead of that making her qualified, so many people feel the waters are tainted because of errors in judgement she's made.

In any case, it's almost a frightening election season.
elle in oregon

I certainly would NOT live happily in Trump's "USA, USA", as chanted by his collection of disgruntled white folks who want to see him take the country back to the 1950s! Unfortunately, many of the other countries where my husband and I might consider relocating do not necessarily welcome old people who can no longer work. They're looking for energetic, educated, tech-savvy young people who can contribute to their society. Then, there's the thought of actually uprooting from everything I've ever known and MOVING (which I really hate). It's just not a practical alternative for most elders as much as we may be terrified of what a potential Trump-Pence administration means for our nation.

And then there's the Republican platform which contains just about everything--yes, everything!--that I've opposed and abhorred all my life. I wish that the simple summary provided in the TGB link could be widely distributed and promoted by the mainstream media. I think a lot of undecided voters may not realize how exclusionary, regressive and favorable to the 1% it really is.

I also truly hope that all the Millennials who supported Bernie--as did I--will actually VOTE; historically, many 20 and 30-somethings do not. I certainly acknowledge that Hillary comes with some baggage (who doesn't at 69 Y/O?). However, if they stay home or cast a protest vote for Bernie or a 3rd party candidate, we may well be inaugurating "President Trump" in January. He is simply a terrible person and would make a terrible, and very frightening, President.

This is just such a scary election! I can't remember ever worrying that the country itself could implode if a candidate I didn't like got elected. He will do so much damage here and abroad with his lack of self-control, insulting mouth and inability to tell truth from fiction.

Reading all the comments tonite..it seems all we elders feel about the same..at least the ones who posted.
We CAN do something.
We CAN volunteer for Hillary's campaign, no matter if she wasn't our first choice, she is the candidate who will support our Medicare and Social Security..the things so many of us rely on for health care and for which many of us paid into all our working lives.
We need to remember that what the conservatives call "Entitlement" is what WE HAVE PAID INTO for years..for myself, I began working full time at 17 and worked until I was 67. Damn the entitlement. I paid for my monthly stipend for 50 years.
I supported Bernie and worked phone banks (from home) and, though I might not fully support Clinton I do not want Trump as my next president. Please join me and support the Democrat party by phoning or what ever is in your state. Bernie Sanders might have been my favorite..and I admit that I voted for Ralph Nader, when I voted my heart and not my mind, and we got Bush. If we Naderites had voted for Gore, he would have had an overwhelming win. Don't make my mistake by either not voting or by voting Libertarian or Green, even if your heart said to do that. It's what will elect Trump.

Be Well, Ronni-ites...and maybe, together, we Elders can overcome the conservative folk who, you can believe, are going to go and vote!!

Elle In Oregon.

Yes, Elle, good reminder. And if possible, look into helping to counter any funny business at the voting places, offer to give rides (or pay Uber to pick people up), provide chairs or shelter for long lines.

Hopefully groups are forming through the DNC and other community organizations to get out the vote and provide oversight at the polls and later. Once again little was done to clean up the shenanigans that provide theft of the right to vote.

You go girl! The Hispanic women who clean my house are terrified of trump.

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