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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 14, 2019

The 2020 primary season started far too early. We’ve never experienced a presidential campaign that lasted two full years, and it’s impossible to predict how it will go, but we can make some intelligent guesses.

The biggest risk to Democrats may be ennui. Given the average American’s short attention span for anything requiring thought, voter indifference may be the hardest thing for Democrats to overcome. Two years is a long time – this political season is certain to be exhausting. That won’t matter to Trump’s rabid supporters and his avid detractors, but what about other voters? Twenty different voices competing for attention combined with the Trump team’s skill at sowing misinformation and confusion will turn off a lot of people. The Democrats can’t let that happen.

The 2016 debacle began when the DNC squelched serious competition against Hillary Clinton by rigging the Super Delegate count…

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America the Beautiful

Patrick Bailey, April 9, 2019

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He stays on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and writes about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

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 Donald Trump rode to the presidency in 2016 in part on the wave of a hard-line solution to the immigration problem on our southern border. A large part of that solution was a southern border wall that he said would greatly reduce the flow of drugs, undocumented workers, and criminals.

Trump also proposed other plans to reduce the demand for and over-prescription of legal but addictive drugs. In his 2018 , Trump expressed his commitment “to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.”

Two years into his presidency, the border wall has…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 6, 2019

I’ve heard that question from children and adults, and it always makes me cringe. It underscores what I and many others have feared since the day Donald Trump announced his candidacy.

There is not now nor ever has been any controversy over Trump’s relationship with the truth, and it’s time people starting looking at that properly. He has spent his entire life twisting facts, exaggerating his successes, distorting reality, and inventing outright lies. The only thing newsworthy about his lack of integrity as president is his brazenness.

The media fact check, act shocked and outraged, and keep daily, weekly, and monthly tallies of the lies Trump spouts. It’s the latest in trendy games intended to entertain audiences, but other than increasing ratings, it accomplishes nothing.

During the 2016 election campaign his supporters said if he won he’d never behave that way as president. Now, his…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 22, 2019

It’s Spring! With the coming of the vernal equinox, my thoughts turn to renewal. One thing I’m renewing is my Amazon page. I’m lowering the price of updated copies of four of my books to $0.00 for the weekend, beginning today. You can find them at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=alan+zendell&ref=nb_sb_noss_1.

But there are more important things that need renewal, specifically our battered ideals and institutions that have been under attack during twenty-six months of Donald Trump’s presidency. His supporters point to “everything he has accomplished,” and even those among them who are nauseated by his behavior hold their noses and say his flaws are worth putting up with. But are they?

Let’s summarize those “accomplishments.” Chief on his supporters’ lists is the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Every president who passes a major tax law takes credit for it, but this one belongs to the Republican-dominated…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 18, 2019

The dilemma is simple to explain, but don’t let that fool you. It’s extremely serious. Probably as serious as anything we’ve ever faced. The problem, of course, is Donald Trump. The dilemma is how to assure that the Democrats don’t blow the 2020 election and assure him a second term.

The highest priority in the next election for three out of every five Americans is defeating Trump. Trump’s favorable and unfavorable ratings invariably show a double-digit net negative. That ought to create a stiff breeze behind any Democrat’s sails, shouldn’t it? As we saw in 2016, that doesn’t automatically translate to victory.

Conventional wisdom tells us the most critical attribute a Democratic candidate must possess is electability, and therein lies the problem. With roughly twenty candidates having announced their intention to run, as of today, not one of them has a positive net favorability. The…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 4, 2019

Donald Trump, who never met a boast he couldn’t embrace, recently declared that it was his feigned irrationality that forced Kim Jong Un to negotiate. That was before the second summit between the two men in Hanoi, last week. When Trump talks about negotiation, he inhabits a surreal space that few people are in a position to utilize – namely, that when your opponent knows you have the ability to completely obliterate him, you can pretend to be crazy and make irrational threats, and that unpredictability will force concessions.

The idea isn’t new to Trump. Richard Nixon, who Trump reveres, reveled in creating uncertainty in his adversaries, domestic politicians and foreign leaders alike. But the idea goes back much further than Nixon. It traces its roots back to Nicolo Machiavelli in the sixteenth century.

Machiavelli famously distinguished between the values and beliefs of individuals and…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 26, 2018

One of the nearly continuous lessons I learned growing up in post-World War Two New York, was that America was the strongest and most virtuous country on Earth. The idea that America was where the Good Guys lived was a given, something I never thought to challenge until I was an undergraduate at Columbia, when anti-ROTC demonstrations and panty raids of the Barnard dorms were the height of radicalism. In the 1960s, the horrors of Nazism and Fascism were all thought of in the past tense, the nightmares they once produced replaced by fears of Communism and the Russian H-bomb.

Evil dictatorships, be they Fascist or Communist, our smug young minds assured us, could never happen here in America. It wasn’t until years later that I became aware of just how strong the Nazi movement in the United States had grown prior to World War…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 16, 2019

The nation is faced with two emergencies this week. Neither of them is the trumped up entirely specious non-emergency at our border with Mexico. The State of Emergency declared by President Trump is nothing more another rallying cry to his base. There is no emergency. Ranchers along portions of the border that have no barrier look out their windows watching for hordes of illegal immigrants Trump says are streaming toward them, but all they see is endless desert in which the only living things that threaten law-abiding Americans are rattlesnakes and scorpions.

The president justifies his national emergency claim with falsified crime statistics and fantasies of caravans filled with thousands of drug smugglers and other assorted criminals flowing toward our border. Every Congressional Representative whose constituency includes the border, and all the border city mayors who have spoken publicly not only say that additional walls…

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And now he’s declared a state of emergency to get his funding. There is no state of emergency at the border. There are, however, cities still struggling to recover from devastating natural disasters.

America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 12, 2019

Throughout his presidency Donald Trump has displayed a disturbing combination of ignorance and narcissism, which was never more apparent than during the January government shutdown and the successive three weeks of bipartisan budget negotiations. Back in elementary school, I had a comic book version of the Constitution that explained how the government was supposed to function in simple terms that any second grader could understand. I wish I still had it – I’d gladly relinquish it and send it to the president.

Between his indomitable ego and his unwillingness and inability to absorb detailed information, he seems unable to include the U. S. Constitution in his world view. He thinks that because he’s the president, everyone in the country works for him and must follow his orders. Anyone who disagrees with him is either an enemy or an incompetent, or both.

With virtually the entire…

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America the Beautiful

February 10, 2019

We’ve just begun a two-year-long election campaign during which we will hear about Medicare-For-All and the Green New Deal ad nauseum. No-one wants to be beaten over the head with the debate for twenty-one months, but there’s really no alternative. 2019 represents a critical fork in the road that will determine the quality of life in America, and possibly the world for at least a generation. We cannot defer those conversations any longer. 

The voices of three New Yorkers will frame this fight. If I were writing a fantasy about a nation in desperate need of a champion to put its house back in order, who rises from obscurity and inspires a revolution that redirects the future of the country in two hours of screen time, my protagonist would be modeled on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman Congresswoman from New York’s 14th District. 

Ocasio-Cortez’ message of…

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