Not much can be said about Trump that every news outlet and himself haven't already said. He's found a winning recipe that taps into 3 near limitless resources: public disdain for politicians, American xenophobia, and his own wealth. Come for his brute attacks on fellow politicians, stay for farcical stance on immigration.

There's a lot of speculation as to how his campaign charts it's disastrous course through the GOP primaries, and most expect the bubble to burst in his popularity, but we're well past our faddish short flings with GOP candidates in the last go. It seemed Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorium all struggled and eked their ways to the spotlight for short runs, but Trump's been solidly leading polls for almost 3 months. News outlets have fawned over him in both horror and awe of the things he says, and with bewilderment over his ability to avoid a complete collapse.

And with his popularity, he has a stranglehold on the Republican party. He freely admits he's not bound to any party, and if they go with someone else he'll gladly divide up their vote running as an Independent. If they do embrace him – either through a primary victory or loss – he could take the party conversation to a place that'll effectively ruin any chance of a Latino vote for years to come. It's like a story book romance where the Billy (ala voters) is clearly meant to talk to and cozy up with Suzy (ala Jeb Bush), but is fixated instead on a wild-haired rich girl with Turrets Syndrome (ala Trump). Artful analogy, I know.

One thing is for certain, he's entertaining. I'll take 10 press conferences with him at the podium any day over 1 with Scott Walker. Or hell, maybe even Rand Paul, a guy I think I like (generally). It's because he knows what this whole thing is – it's a show. People don't give a crap about your platform in general, so for a while he didn't even bother with one. His platform is his mouth, and whatever gut check, unsanitized, wildly skewed thought that passes through it and out into the world. His website is the most bare on actual Presidential campaign substance – for a while it had nothing. Now at least it has a "Positions" page, which as of today, there is 1: Immigration Reform. (Worth noting: for a New Yorker, _really? _This is your 1 position? America's most famous port of immigration for the 20th century and one of its most diverse cities?)

The man is a walking show, in an arena of polished automatons in suits with an unhealthy middle-class fetish. Maybe at some point people will start thinking differently and weigh him with more serious, rational thought. But for now, it's still kinda fun to watch and wait for what he'll do next.

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In 2015, when you say Scott Walker, most folks think (favorably or with disdain) about the heated 2011 recall election he faced as Governor of Wisconsin after facing down public unions.

He proposed and signed the 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, which was a big blow to public employee collective bargaining, pensions and healthcare. The result was the third ever U.S. Governor recall election, in which Walker drew crazy amounts of outside support, and after raising 7 times more money than his opponent, he won the election.

From the outside in, non-Wisconsonians saw his fight with public unions as a bold, neo-conservative throat-punch to established institutions. Apparently, so did political interest groups. Truth is, Walker was a conservative poster boy from the very beginning. With his father a Baptist preacher, Scott learned how to move a crowd from an early age. He caught the political bug early on, became an Eagle Scout, and immediately after enrolling in college started flexing his muscles on the student government. His bid for student President drew record votes, largely because of his furious campaigning and divisive platform. For Chrissakes, he ran on a Pro-Life platform… in a Student Government election.

After unpleasantness, likely Walker's disdain with his College and hunger for a career, he took a gig with the Red Cross before running for a seat on the Wisconsin State Assembly. We walked all over his district to drum up support, but fell short making the push for a conservative candidate in a very blue area. Ultimately, he had to move and retry in a different district with better results. From there, he'd move to a position as a Milwaukee County Executive, and then after two tries, finally the governor's office. He was 43 when he took the oath for the governor of Wisconsin.

Kill the Unions

He's known, and praised, for striking down public unions, and the huge backlash it stirred up. I even entered this little summary biopic with this fundamental understanding of Walker. He's an ideologue who is after absolute, free-market capitalism. But, maybe it's not so sinister.

On the one hand, Wikipedia says he walked into a $3.6 Billion budget deficit back in 2011, which apparently he touted later on. In truth, his turn around from that figure is less impressive, but nonetheless worth nothing. It's well known that state pensions and healthcare promises years ago continue to be a huge drain on states across the nation today, and as much as I dislike the idea, curtailing these costs can save state budgets. Of course, to counter this, Walker ushered in hefty tax cuts as is popular in every partially budget-conscious conservative's handbook.

But down the line, Walker runs on just about every conservative platform you can think of.

  • Voter ID laws
  • Abolish Abortions
  • Kill the Unions
  • "Right to Work"
  • Increase criminal sentencing
  • Privatize public institutions
  • Shrink government

He learned early on the beautiful magic corporate money and politicians when he worked with ALEC, the Match.com for coporations and politicians, to help private prisons increase profits by keepining inmates locked up for longer terms. And he's got all the folksy Christian talk to make him as "down home" as need be for the reddest of state fairs. One could almost argue he was raised form a ThinkTank gelatinous vat to become a 2016 Presidential hopeful.

I don't like Scott Walker, but I get him

There's no false pretenses with Walker. He's through and through a full-on, hard-core Christian Conservative. You can say he's swayed by corporate masters, but with a platform as pure as his, who wouldn't draw crazy special interest funding. This guy makes no qualms about anything. He's nothing if he's not consistently a hard-core Neo-Con.

The larger question that he'd face in 2016 is "Can he govern the greater U.S.?", and so far with a fairly cloistered upbringing and an entire political career in a state that's nearly 90% white, I doubt it.

 

 

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Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz, known amongst friends as "Raph" and for his trademark Sai daggers, was born in 1970 to employees in the oil industry of Alberta, Canada. They were both U.S. citizens, so don;t even try that "long form birth certificate" crap on him; Ted is 110% legit.

His educational upbringing is practically socialist, it's so good. He left a lasting legacy for the Harvard debate team, and would later have to murder 6 hippies to shed his perceived liberal street cred. Seriously, the guy was like an Ivy League unicorn.

After several failed barber-shop quartets, Cruz gained employment with a law firm heavily involved in DC politics and carny rights. He actually helped with drafts for the Clinton impeachment, and eventually landed on the Dubya legal team, where he helped with the Supreme Court case that got his employer into the White House. Years later, that same Supreme Court would green light gay marriage, and he promptly proposed impeaching the Justices responsible.

After several years serving as Texas' Solicitor General, he won a seat in the US Senate, where he earned the nickname "Lazlo" for his terrible attendance record. In 2013, he maneuvered a standoff over the federal budget in an attempt to defund Obamacare, but really it was more of a publicity stunt without an endgame and ultimately cheesed off a bunch of fellow Republicans. That trend of pissing off folks in the GOP has pretty much continued since then.

In short,

  • He loves freedom.
  • He despises Obamacare.
  • He really wants that Keystone Pipeline thing.
  • His hot dog eating record in 2 minutes is 35.
  • He sees all the crazy smog and climate change, but doesn't think its because of the tons of toxic chemicals we spew into the air every waking moment.
  • He talks almost as much smack with his own party as he does against the other party. The donkey one.
  • "President Cruz" sounds neat, but will likely only exist in Fan Fiction.
  • If you've never served in the US Senate, he's only voted on bills like 6 more time than you. Check out his voting record – it barely needs pagination (see here for contrast).

 

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