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James Grandone / Opinion

Conventions Reveal Stark

 Difference Between 

Candidates, Parties

Voters Asked To Choose Between Competition Visions

 
By James Grandone 
Commentary
______________ 

   There is a difference between political parties and if you think there is not, you have not been paying attention.

Jim Grandone

    We once had a two-party system in the U.S.A. I know because I studied it at the University of Illinois Springfield where I graduated with a B.A. in political science. Grand theories were expounded about how people chose one party or the other. It was, however, fairly predictable how the result of one or the other party would govern, but both were moderately liberal or conservative. Until Reagan, that is. Reagan said government is the problem and from then on, one party ran against government and its regulations on business and perceived assaults on personal freedom.

   In August, we had two political party conventions, or rather one political party convention and a four-day Trump rally. The Democrats adopted a party platform, while the Republicans adopted an oath of loyalty to Trump. A party platform is designed to tell voters how a party plans to govern for the next four years.

   The Democrats adopted a 92-page comprehensive document that addresses healthcare, climate change, racial injustice and falls short of endorsing the Green New Deal and Medicare for all.

   The Republicans adopted a one-page resolution. The Trump campaign announced a 50-bullet-point document titled “Fighting for You.” As part of the pledges in the document, the campaign included holding China accountable for allowing the novel coronavirus to spread around the world, a manned mission to Mars and “Getting Allies to Pay their Fair Share.”

   The contrast is stark. Democrats are looking to a future of ideas that will improve individual lives while Republicans are recycling their 2016 platform.

   But the most important change is that the Republican Party is now the Trump Party. It stands for whatever the president says it does. This is not a positive development for the republic or the Republican Party. It is the stuff of “Cult of Personality,” not representative democracy.

   Trump has shown himself to be light on intellectual discourse and heavy on impulse. It is an authoritarian style of governance that he has exhibited and the GOP has adopted whole.

   In contrast, the Democratic Party has taken on the difficult issues that affect working men and women. Issues like the minimum wage increase, healthcare access and the environment. Broad initiatives that represent real ideas. As President Kennedy said 60 years ago, Democrats are choosing to do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard …”

   We see in the Democratic Platform a road map for the next four years in terms of domestic policy and international relations. It is a contract between a party and a people, rather than a resolution to support the policies of one man, whatever he chooses them to be at the moment.

   America has suffered in its reputation internationally because we are not perceived as dependable by our allies and our adversaries. This presidency has alienated our allies around the world and our global leadership has been lost because of it. Domestically, we have suffered not only because COVID-19 has ravaged our people but because it could have turned out differently with better leadership. The same is true with racial injustice and the immigrant situation on the southern border.

   So, it is clear that one party wants to forge ahead into the future with a plan that is transparent and clearly understandable, while another party is comfortable with government by impulse with no clear idea of what it stands for.

   This year, we are being asked to decide between those conflicting visions. Choose wisely.

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Jim Grandone is a long-time resident of Edwardsville, Ill. He was the architect of the 'East County...If You Only Knew' marketing campaign promoting the Metro East to businesses in St. Louis in the 1990s. Grandone holds a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Springfield and was a Coro Fellow and serves on a variety of boards. He lives in Leclaire with his wife, Mary.

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(Reprinted with permission. This article originally ran in the Edwardsville Intelligencer)
Posted on RP News, Sept 15, 2020

Be Careful What You Wish For

Some Thoughts on the Upcoming Election

 
By James Grandone
Columnist
________________

   I’ve spent many years being involved in campaign management and have managed, created campaign strategies or been press secretary for 13 campaigns ranging from presidential and congressional to local tax referendums with an 85 percent win rate. So, I think I would share some thoughts on the upcoming election. And while I am proscribed from endorsing any candidates in this newspaper’s column, I can present facts from which you can derive your own opinion.

Jim Grandone

   This year, the presidential campaign seems to focus on likeability, that elusive term that can only be measured by approval ratings.

   As far as likability, neither Trump nor Clinton were exactly loved in 2016. According to the Washington Post in 2016, Trump’s 61 percent unfavorable score was the worst in presidential polling history, while Clinton’s 52 percent unfavorable was the second worst.

   In this year’s election, according to Gallup’s July survey, Trump’s approval rating is 41 percent. In the most recent Gallup poll in May, Biden’s approval rating stood at 53 percent.

   In terms of qualifications, you have Trump who has been President for more than three years and Biden who served in Congress and as Vice President for many more years. One could conclude Biden has the advantage and he may well win the popular vote in a landslide. But that may not be enough to become the 46th President of the United States.

   In fact, a handful of states this year including, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania, hold the fate of both candidates, according to Dan Balz with the Washington Post. The Electoral College, a relic from the 18th Century, will decide who will be president and the race is close. Some would call that a Tyranny of the Minority.

   Should we do away with the Electoral College? Several national organizations are fighting to do just that this year. What if Biden wins the popular vote in a landslide and loses in the Electoral College?

   Democracy is good, but we are reminded that the Tyranny of the Majority is also quite real. In fact, to win a majority for president, it would only require a handful of big states, such as California, Florida, New York, Illinois and Texas, to elect the president without the electoral college and they are heavily Democratic. What about the rest of the states? Would winning only require campaigns in the top five states? How would that affect national policy? Would politicians pander to those states at the expense of the other 45? Nothing is simple in politics.

   There’s an old saying in politics and life, “Be careful what you wish for.”

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Jim Grandone is a long-time resident of Edwardsville, Ill. He was the architect of the 'East County...If You Only Knew' marketing campaign promoting the Metro East to businesses in St. Louis in the 1990s. Grandone holds a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Springfield and was a Coro Fellow and serves on a variety of boards. He lives in Leclaire with his wife, Mary.

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(Reprinted with permission. This article originally ran in the Edwardsville Intelligencer)
Posted on RP News, Aug 17, 2020


We Have To Talk

About Racism With Each Other

By Jim Grandone
Columnist
   ------------------------------  

Am I a racist?

White. Male. Pushing 65. Your typical Trump voter demographic.

Except, I am not a Trump supporter. I support Black Lives Matter. After all, I am considered a liberal on the political spectrum. Doesn’t matter. That doesn’t absolve me from being a racist.

You see racism is insidious. It is both visible and invisible. You can watch the news and see the obvious racist action in the streets of our cities. Confederate and Nazi flags counter protesting BLM events. 

Jim Grandone

You can see it in the eyes of the self-appointed militia parading around with the AR 15s. The invisible part hides in the halls of power and the human resources departments at corporations.    

Try as I might, I want to understand other cultures beyond the movies and the music and entertainers. But I don’t. I probably never will. My closest experience was a graduate fellowship with 11 others at the Coro Leadership Center in St. Louis where my trainer was African American from Compton, Calif., and I was a minority. But that’s another story.

The reasons I am probably racist are legion. I was raised in a white neighborhood. Went to an all-white private school until high school. My friends are all white. So, my orientation is white. It isn’t by design. Or is it?

Most people think of white people who hate black people when they think of racists. The KKK. White Supremacists. But that is where the insidious part comes into play. You see, you don’t have to hate black people or Asians or Latinos to be racist. It’s in everyday privilege that racism occurs and is virtually undetectable. It happens in the hiring process where previous experience is required. How does a member of a minority get that experience? It’s that degree and the first hire that determines access to careers. Are those doors really open?

You may wonder why a white, privileged American male, pushing 65 is talking about racism to a predominantly white audience? It is because we have to talk about racism with each other. That is where it begins. It does no good telling minorities that you are their ally if you aren’t willing to call out racism among the white people with which you associate. It does not change anything in the structure of society if we don’t confront racism when we see it.

So, what that comes down to is systemic racism. And it has got to stop.

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Jim Grandone is a long-time resident of Edwardsville, Ill. He was the architect of the 'East County...If You Only Knew' marketing campaign promoting the Metro East to businesses in St. Louis in the 1990s. Grandone holds a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Springfield and was a Coro Fellow and serves on a variety of boards. He lives in Leclaire with his wife, Mary.

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(Reprinted with permission. This article originally ran in the Edwardsville Intelligencer)
Posted on RP News, Aug 4, 2020