2016

20 April 2016: Time to be players in the political drama

Scientists have discovered that another consequence of climate change is that the earth’s poles are migrating. The North Pole is slowly making its way toward London. I am imagining the Queen hosting Santa for tea.

Scientists say the evidence unequivocally demonstrates human behavior and climate change are the culprits. It has to do with water loss in certain regions due to warmer temperatures resulting in oceanic evaporation and to humans draining aquifers.

History will likely look back at 2016 as the year of polar shifts, not only naturally and but also politically. The shift, local to national, promises to be tectonic.

Nationally, 2016 is the year of the ideologue, Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left. Their messages are cut-and-dry, no equivocation. Neither is proposing realistic achievable goals, but that’s neither here nor there to their devoted disciples. Their messages are red meat. The question to be answered, perhaps by the summer party conventions but certainly by the fall election, is whether ideology triumphs pragmatism, a rare event in American history.

The gender divide is becoming more pronounced, which doesn’t bode well for Trump and Sanders given women are more likely to vote than men. As the primary season wears on, it’s becoming clearer that Hillary Clinton is garnering far more of the female vote over Sanders. Conversely, she’s losing men to Sanders more than she did in 2008 against Barack Obama in an interesting confluence of race and gender.

My theory is that gender provides a greater barrier for some men to vote for a candidate they’re not entirely comfortable with than does race, ethnicity, or culture. The reason is that traditional males, even bigoted ones, understand the differences between them and their minority brothers is ultimately superficial. That explains why they could live grudgingly with an African American president, despite their inner hostility towards him.

Gender, though, is an entirely different matter. Differences not only are more than skin deep, hetero men of all ethnic and cultural persuasions also share the commonalities of being husbands and fathers. Men, even generally progressive sorts, who operate from the perspective that they are the deciders and rulers in their families, feel threatened by feminine power. In Hillary Clinton, they see their wives and if elected president, the feminine will become more than symbolic; Lady Liberty will be ensconced in human form. There is no underestimating the profundity of that.

Another piece to watch is the roiling happening within the parties. While the Democratic Party is shifting leftward in rebellion against its centrist strain of the last couple decades, the Republicans continue their pell-mell rightward lurch. We could see another remake of the Republican Party, something that has happened a number of times since its inception.

Beyond that though what remains to be seen is whether the dysfunction that has taken hold becomes more pronounced. Maybe not. One common trait of the far left and right is their utter disdain, contempt, and hatred of anything corporate. Image a Trump-Sanders ticket.

Statewide, a number of impacting initiatives will make the ballot. First and foremost, is the ColoradoCareYes, or Amendment 69, that would establish a health care cooperative among Colorado citizens. While not a government run program, it would certainly end laissez-faire capitalism that has ruled the health care industry for a half a century. Approval would be a powerful statement as would outright rejection. But a close defeat would certainly show Coloradans are listening.

Also, look for the nail in the coffin for the caucus system. After experience with it, I have come to conclude that while quaint and homey, it’s a most undemocratic system. First, one has to be not only a registered member of a party to participate, he or she needs to be available at a very specific time on a very specific day. That is very contrary to what the Democratic Party is espousing with more open methods of voting, exclusionary rather than inclusionary.

Finally, the commissioner races promise to be windows to our future in Clear Creek. By the time the next two commissioners finish their terms, Henderson might truly be a historical preservation site and I-70 a pulsing, widened super highway. Regardless, the current Clear Creek is due for a remake. And the fun part is that we all can be players in the drama. If you stay tuned and vested.

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