How I knew Trump would win; no gloating

Up front: I have no idea if Donald Trump will make a good president.

Also, I make no analysis of policy here. I’m not here to gloat about a Trump victory I didn’t stump for. I’m not here to claim it’s about the wall or Hillary’s infamous “basket of deplorables” comment. I have ideas, but of that I am not certain.

All I was certain of was what I saw in a swing state that I have lived in for the last year. I’ve been all over Florida, from the “redneck Riviera” of the panhandle to Miami. I learned what parts of Florida were deep red, deep blue and purple.

I knew before the national polling experts and pundits that Florida, at least for this election, would go for Trump. As such, so likely would the presidency. Here’s how:

You might have heard about the “I-4 corridor” in the national news. Interstate 4 cuts through central Florida like a backslash on a keyboard, from Daytona Beach, westward through Orlando and Tampa/St. Petersburg. It’s a curious 133-mile long swath of the state, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It includes the site of NASCAR’s signature event, Disney World, franchises from the top five team sports in the USA and a gorgeous drive across Tampa Bay.

It’s also noteworthy in that north of the interstate is blood-dripping Republican red — Jacksonville, the Panhandle, etc. South of I-4, by a three-hour drive on the turnpike, Miami is midnight Democrat blue. So I-4, which has both urban areas and rural, is mixed. Win I-4. You likely win the state. You also are in excellent position to win the presidency.

I often work in Sanford, infamous for the Trayvon Martin killing. Both Trump and Hillary Clinton held events in that little town. Trump drew thousands. Hillary drew hundreds.

When I leave Sanford, I take I-4 home. There are three pedestrian bridges before I reach my destination. For weeks, people lined the first bridge holding Trump/Pence signs. They also bought billboards on the side of the freeway and built their own on major roads. Not the campaign, mind you, regular people. Some signs were likely illegally placed on the side of the highway for Trump. I saw nothing for Hillary.

I also drove I-4 in its entirety to Tampa to see two NFL games. Same story, except for pedestrian bridges. I saw people shill for Trump at a tailgate for a Rams-Bucs game.

When the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, I saw people line the streets in front of Altamonte Mall with their “Make America Great Again” signs. I saw four get out the vote demonstrations last weekend before Election Day. These areas allegedly went for President Barack Obama in two elections. (I don’t know for sure. I wasn’t here.)

I saw the power of belief — where it wasn’t enough to simply vote. People had so much faith in the candidate they wanted to spread the word like gospel. Republicans don’t do that stuff. Democrats specialize in that.

I spent three days in the pro-Clinton Miami area and saw nothing like that. No bumper stickers. No flash mobs. Nothing.

This is something millions never saw in the press or in their own security bubble of California. When I tried to be the canary in the coal mine, I was shouted down by people who weren’t here. I was dismissed by people who claimed to know Florida would automatically vote Clinton because what California says goes.

Now many of you are shocked and angry. I tried to warn you.

Instead, you in California want to blame Florida, the same state that voted for Obama. That’s not a particularly fair response.

Here’s what you don’t know about Florida. Here, people say, “I like Hillary because…” or “I don’t like Hillary because…” In California, it’s “If you don’t like Hillary, eff you.” There’s a huge difference. Californians are not interested in political discourse. They are only interested in capitulation.

I never even argued in favor of Trump. Marco Rubio was my guy in the primaries, although I eventually voted for John Kasich because Rubio took the bait of Trump’s taunting. It didn’t sit well.

But on Election Night, I sat in an easy chair and watched my Facebook feed go from premature gloating to impatience and ultimately, rage. 

Permit me one nongloating political forecast: The Democrats and liberalism are not dead. They have four years to figure something out. Maybe they’ll even have an idea or two in time for the midterms. If I see energy for that outside of the Calibubble, I’ll be honest enough to let you know.

It’s OK not to vote

When I was in journalism, the editors would copy and paste the same editorial on the opinion page leading up to Election Day every two years. This Xeroxed prose would state that this particular election was vital to the future of the republic and you have a responsibility to go to your local booth, stand in line, make sure your chad doesn’t hang, and get your oval sticker.

Hogwash.

Let not your conscience be bullied by hyperpartisan hyperventilation. If you look at this choice and think it’s a decision between a bucket of excrement and a pail of vomit, you have every reason to stay home, turn on your PlayStation and avoid this pathetic drama disguised as political discourse.

Full disclosure for the uninitiated: I’m a conservative. I’m not a #NeverTrumper. If he wins, so be it. To be honest, the former stand-up comic in me thinks it would be hilarious. His candidacy will run about 500 days, which is about one-eighth of the amount of time Hillary’s been campaigning for the gig, I might add. When you consider how your social media feeds have been blanketed with a nonstop anti-Trump fury for 500 days, and he could still win? Yeah, it’s kind of funny.

That is not to be confused with Trump support. I can’t look you in the eye — whoever you are — and give you compelling reasons to vote for the guy. What am I supposed to call him, Reaganesque? He’s not even Gingrichesque. I’ve seen him lie on TV, and that should give you pause if you want that wall built, taxes cut, deficits reduced, ISIS defeated swiftly, etc.

Your skin should crawl with what was said about a Latino judge being unfit to serve based on race.

If you’re offended over the “Access Hollywood” recording, am I supposed to tell you to shut up and deal with it? Hell no.

Having said that, if you’re on the fence about Hillary Clinton, you should consider staying home, too. Trump lies, but much of what he said in the second debate about Hillary? It was absolutely true, despite hundreds of newspapers willingly looking the other way. Consider that her supporters are breaking out the party hats today over the fact that the FBI won’t indict her over an email scandal. … A qualified candidate is not supposed to be considered for an indictment in the first place.

She does tell you one thing and act in an entirely opposite way. She does publicly decry big banks to you while asking them for their donations. She does publicly support victims of sexual abuse, unless doing so stands in her way. Put it this way: defending a man accused of child rape is a needed tool in our justice system. Spiking the football by laughing about winning the case? That’s disgusting.

Bernie Sanders did get screwed, too. And how in the hell does someone go from being flat broke to having $250 million in about a decade when all she and her husband do is give speeches? At least when Tony Robbins gives a speech, he’ll walk on hot coals and potentially burn himself.

While she is technically running for a third Obama term, she’s not him. Millions of fair people have legitimate concerns about wages, employment, terrorism and health care.

Voting for her? If you’re passionate about it, go for it. If not, and you want to watch “The Flash,” enjoy yourself.

I’ve been on this planet for longer than I care to admit. No election has made me this sad, and that is telling. I’m not sad over “my guy” losing. That’s not my guy. I don’t look at elections that way, anymore. If I’m unhappy, I can only imagine what many of you feel. Nauseated? Exhausted? Irritable? Wanting to give strangers the finger? 

Run the country? Hell, I wouldn’t even invite Trump or Clinton over for a slice of Dominos Pizza.

The upshot is this: partisans care. Many of you don’t. If they care, let them have their say. If you don’t care, your vote might blot out the impact of their ballot.

If you hate the options, you have a moral responsibility not to vote if doing so negates the choice of someone who cast their ballot after careful consideration. You are not under an obligation to support a friend who gave you a “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker, neither if you are told it’s about time a woman runs things.

You don’t need a sticker on your shirt to show to everybody that you used your brain on Election Day.

If you want to stay home, do it.

This year, it doesn’t make you less of a patriot.

I’m voting for myself

Unlike millions of people, I’ve been at peace regarding the upcoming presidential elections for quite a while. I preferred Marco Rubio, although I eventually voted for John Kasich in the Florida primary.

Donald Trump won the nomination. OK. So be it. I basically sat back and went about my business.

I’m not a #NeverTrumper as much as I am a #We’reGettingAHorriblePresidentRegardless guy.

Soo… I’m writing in myself on Election Day.

This is not some hacky joke request for you to vote for me, like that brutally unfunny Bud Light Party ad campaign. It’s simply a private protest vote.

I can’t argue for any of you to vote for Trump, and that was before Friday’s little bus bomb. I’ve caught the guy lying, too. Trump is an alpha male with an incredibly strong mindset. He is the guy who can look you in the eye five seconds after saying something messed up, then deny he ever said it in the same breath. It’s an incredible nontalent.

Um, but Hillary Clinton has that same disease. Oh, she most certainly does. She confessed to it in yesterday’s WikiLeaks dump. Boots on the ground in Syria? Wall Street can be trusted to solve Wall Street? I have a public position and a private position?

Both sides have supporters — millions of them — who will back them no matter what. Trump was absolutely right when he said he could shoot somebody in broad daylight and still get millions of votes. 

The most telling poll question I’ve seen during this cycle was a secondary question asked by Fox News two weeks ago, where Clinton led by four points. The secondary question was “Why are you voting for this person?” The No.1 response wasn’t the economy, immigration, terrorism, etc. it was “to keep the other candidate from winning.”

So it doesn’t matter what Trump says. Hard-core Trump supporters want to keep the Clintons out. And to the hard-core Clinton backers, the top priority is to keep Trump out. It’s not patriotism. It’s cheerleading.

Many of you have this bottomless well of anger for the other candidate. It kind of scares me a little.

Your arguments, they’re not good enough for me.

Oh, I’ll vote. I want Rubio in the Senate, for example. I like him… Until further notice.

But for all the bluster about Bill Clinton’s actions and Hillary’s smear campaign is worse than what The Donald said. For the gale force of “nobody gives a damn about what WikiLeaks uncovered,” I have a cold splash of water for the lot of you.

People know both candidates are miserable, contemptible, loathsome, dirty, bottom-feeders. Both of ’em. All of your venom, your bluster, your memes from “RightWingNews.com” and Occupy Democrats, your GIFs, your “if you vote for this person, I won’t be your friend anymore” Facebook posts.

All the newspaper endorsements for Clinton? How do these editors feel knowing that Clinton has already been embroiled in scandal and we haven’t even voted yet?

None of all of this fury disguised as political discourse changes the fact that they are both ugly people.

Women do care about misogyny. He needs women to vote for him.

Bernie Sanders’ voters do care that Clinton has been bought by Wall Street, and they fear going to war in the Middle East. She definitely needs the millennial vote.

Trump began his candidacy about 500 days ago. That’s 500 days of your unrelenting wrath. But how does it feel to spend all of that energy knowing that both of them have a profound sickness at the core of their being?

And you want me to argue in favor of Trump? Or hold back vomit and vote Clinton?

Who wins this election? No idea. But I do know the essence of my conservatism is based on self-reliance. Many falsely believe in her, or him. I believe in myself.

And when some poor chump at the Florida Department of Hanging Chads has to tally the ballots, he’ll look at one and ask “Who the hell is James Curran?”

That’s good enough for me.

Unless the Irish turn it into a kegger, skip the DNC wake

I took a quick peek back at my blog posts over the last week and felt a little beam of pride. I wrote not one post on the Republican convention. I didn’t review any addresses, scold anyone from the dais or make any predictions. I let everyone else do it. Why add to the noise?

But I did watch it. A lot of it was eye-popping must-see political TV.

I have no desire to blog about the liberal shindig over in Philadelphia this week, either. Moreover, I don’t want to watch.

You may be quite passionate about Hillary Clinton. And to be honest, I have no desire to argue your choice because I don’t think someone is an idiot for how they vote. I love Democrats. I have them in my family.

However, I was looking over the list of prime-time speakers and most of them have made a larger, more profound impact than the headliner. It’s the equivalent of throwing a giant music festival with … I don’t know … Drake, Adele, Rhianna, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and having Nickelback topping the bill.

Regardless of your opinions of their presidencies, having Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on the bill is a double-edged sword. Obama’s presidency is one of historical nature. It’s kind of like this: Republicans loved Ronald Reagan. They were OK with George H.W. Bush, but not sold. “Four more years of Reaganish policies,” wasn’t a winning pitch. Bush had to embrace and overcome skepticism.

And speaking of Obama, people like his wife and are charmed by their steady marriage. Hell, I’m charmed by their marriage. I think people like Michelle Obama more than they do Hillary.

Meanwhile, an entire decade was defined by Bill Clinton — good and bad.

That leaves… The guy who almost beat her in the primaries and just found out this weekend how the deeply the Democrat Party sabotaged him, and Chelsea Clinton. Good luck keeping the #BernFeelers toeing the line after WikiLeaks.

All of which means this week might not be a bold look to the future as much as it is a wake for the good ol’ days for the DNC. Only nothing beats an Irish wake and unless Biden brings the kegs…

I have no desire to say anything negative about Chelsea Clinton. She may be the only person on the dais without a political agenda. She may simply love her mom. Good for her.

But I just don’t want to watch the convention because it might be as excruciating as it was for Democrats to watch Trump. I watched my Facebook feed last week with utter disbelief. Not because I thought every liberal friend was lying about you-know-who.  I just sat there amazed that everybody had such a masochistic fetish as to watch four nights of something they hate. Some people despised “Batman V Superman.” Then why would you watch it on a loop for four days?

It’s highly unlikely anyone other than Bernie Sanders would think of trashing Hillary Clinton, and he would have to go off-script to do that because this every syllable uttered this week is going to be poll-tested for maximum effectiveness.

Thus, the theme this week is going to be glossy entitlement for somebody many people simply don’t like. Like Nickelback.

Unless violent protests erupt outside. Then I’ll watch.

I think I’ll pop “Man of Steel” in my Blu-Ray player.

Terrorists have France on the ropes

I hope to keep this brief because terror attacks bring me down. I like to keep things light and a little hopeful on this blog. It’s hard to do that after what happened in the last year — in Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando and now back to France in Nice.

Despite reports to the contrary, the terrorists are winning in France.

I’m not here to score political points for a conservative movement. Even if I wanted to, President Obama is out of office in less than a year, anyway, so what’s the point?

Ever since 9/11, we’ve heard a variety of things that we have to do “or the terrorists win.” We have to live our lives or… We have to show Muslims we accept them or… We have to shop in the mall or… We have to fly an American flag attached to the passenger window of our SUV or…

You get the idea.

All of those ideas pale in comparison to one thing: If you concede terrorists cannot be stopped, the terrorists win.

To repeat, I’m not suggesting Obama has waved a white flag.

But these quotes from French politicians sound like a concession speech to me:

“Times have changed and France is going to have to live with terrorism.” — France prime minister Manuel Valls

“The question is, are we able to prevent it? And my answer would be, unfortunately no.” — Nathalie Goulet, head of the France’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee

Wrong. No, those quotes are worse than wrong. If you allow yourselves to accept terrorism, you lose. It’s just that simple. 

A government that shrugs its shoulders and advises its citizens that it cannot keep them safe is not a just government. More than anything else, that is a fundamental purpose of a government. Consider: a government passes laws, imposes taxes, etc. If terrorists don’t follow these laws and you won’t stop them, then why should I, the private citizen? I have to protect myself.

That is one step closer to anarchy.

If France’s elected leaders cannot say they can keep their citizens safe, France needs a new government.

On the plus side, I think both of our major political candidates get that basic tenet. On Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” on Thursday, presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton didn’t use talk as tough as her Republican challenger, but one of the main points of her argument was particularly insightful. Host Bill O’Reilly mentioned sending in NATO troops, which splits the burden amongst nations along with the United States.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” she replied. “If we do that, America will have to lead.”

You’re damn right, Madam Secretary. We will have to lead, because France will not.

Whatever you want to say about Clinton or Donald Trump, I sleep better at night knowing that both of them recognize when other nations accept a new reality of terrorism, we won’t. The United States, for all of its flaws inside its borders, is ready to take command when people outside the borders threaten our way of life.

I don’t claim to know how to defeat terrorism.

But what I do know is accepting it won’t keep us safe.

I finally found something I honestly like about Hillary Clinton

On June 8, the Democratic Party faithful got to take a long overdue victory half-lap when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earned the party’s presidential nomination with primary victories in a handful of states, including my home state of California.

This column, by the way, is not a troll.

They should get to spike the footba… Too masculine? They should get to chest bum… Oh, sexually harassing? Um, they should go to Barnes & Noble and read some Anne Waldman to celebrate.

If her followers want to toast themselves and talk about landmark moments in the country’s history, go ahead. And if pundits want to blather about how the general election is all a done deal, I can kind of live with that — even though I know that’s absurd.

Except for one pile of lunacy written by Vox editor Ezra Klein, which I don’t even have to read because the headline makes everything after it ludicrous on its face. Opines Klein: “It’s time to admit Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician.”

When I was satisfied that I had shaken my head long enough for a minor concussion, it behooves me to let you all know that we should be overjoyed by how wrong Klein is. Because Hillary Clinton’s most endearing trait is that she is a shitty politician.

To repeat, not trolling.

The press loves to call particular beltway types “great politicians” as if it’s flattering, when it should be an insult on the level of talking about your mom or a racial slur. Politicians are miserable, craven, disgusting, narcissistic, duplicitous, odiferous piles of megalomania concentrated in a steaming pile of excrement and stuffed in a fancy suit. Why would being called an extraordinary one be seen as a compliment?

Ask yourself, do you trust “the office politician” where you work? Do you enjoy engaging in “office politics”? Go to any dictionary and look up “politician.” The first definition is straightforward, someone seeking public office. Every definition after that includes words such as “manipulative” and “devious.” Here’s a definition of politician I found: “Politics” is derived from the words “poly” meaning “many,” and “tics” meaning “blood-sucking parasites.”

Hillary’s husband was often called an extraordinary politician and his smarmy ass got impeached. Why did he stay in the White House? Because he is an extraordinary politician.

If Hillary Clinton were, in fact, an amazing politician, she never would have lost to a highly inexperienced Sen. Barack Obama in 2007. If she were an extraordinary politician, she would have never had to battle a frumpy socialist who believes most women have rape fantasies until June 7.

No, Hillary Clinton is a lousy politician. We should be happy she is. And if she does beat down you-know-who in the fall, we’re going to be better off for every idiotic thing that she says and does.

Because those mistakes will lead us to describe Hillary as something she doesn’t get called often.

Human.

Vote for who you trust… No, not those lunkheads

Do both major political parties’ presidential candidates make your skin crawl? Does the idea of voting for either of them give you a rash?

I have an idea, and no it’s not something as wasteful as a third party candidate. This is wasteful and fun.

I learned long ago my vote didn’t count. Until last year, I had lived all my life in California — the Inland Empire, which is nowhere near as regal as it sounds; San Diego; Hollywood; the Bay Area and a miserable year in Redding. I know that state as well as a Sacramento resident knows how far their index finger has to plunge to reach the maxillary sinuses.

California, in terms of its politics, is a hopeless state. Not that being liberal is inherently hopeless. The Democratic Party is so dominant out there it could nominate members of the Stanford swim team for the governorship and it would be a slam dunk.

The state is not simply blue. It is midnight blue. It is so blue that voting there no longer matters. Getting that little “I voted” sticker isn’t an act of thoughtful patriotism as much as it is an “I’m toeing the line” accoutrement. No Republican has held a major office in that state since Arnold Schwarzenegger left to peddle smartphone apps. But it’s not just a red/blue issue. Smart, capable and ethical people within the Democratic Party can’t challenge who the DNC wants in office because that machine will squish you.

Consider that the current governor doused us all in toxic pesticides in the late 1070s when he ran the state back then. Since his return, he took away all local control to combat blight and cut their allowances of water so much residents have to bathe with an eye dropper and their own spittle.

And that’s the best either party had to offer?

So yeah, your vote doesn’t count if you live in the Golden State.

Even worse, if you don’t live in the Golden State, why would you want to vote for either of the two major parties nominees? I could list their profound faults, but you already know. You know how whack both of them are. It would be an insult to your intelligence to tell you, as if you didn’t already know.

So what to do?

There has been a half-assed push to write in “none of the above,” but to hell with that. As jokes go, it’s pretty lame.

Do something that respects your own intelligence.

Vote for yourself. Write your own name on the ballot.

I have already voted for myself. I did so when George W. Bush ran for re-election in 2004. He wasn’t going to win California’s electoral college votes from John Kerry. So I thought it over at that little fiberglass closet, scratched my ass and wrote in my name.

At the time, I thought it was hilarious. Somewhere, after counting the millions of votes for Bush and Kerry, somebody got paid by the Feds to write “James Curran — 1 vote, 0.0000000001 percent.”

Which technically means, my vote counted.

Afterward, I held a one-man victory party with some ice cream sandwiches, a six-pack of Coors Light and watched “Pinky and the Brain” DVDs.

You may not have all the answers, but you know enough not to start a nuclear war. You may not get all you want, but you probably don’t have the energy to battle Congress over their objections to “National Nude Hooters Girl Day” so it’s not like you’ll be ramming horrifying legislation we don’t want down our throats like the last dozen or so presidents.

Voting for the current candidates in California is a ballot that does not count.

Make your vote matter. Vote for the one candidate you do trust.

Write in your own name.

Quick howdy to my political buddies

Those who know me, feel free to advise those who don’t on my behalf: I’m not about to tell you who to vote for. You think I’m going to tell Democrats that they’re about to nominate a son of a bitch? Or the daughter of one? Who am I to talk? I’m fully aware my party already did nominate a son of a bitch.

You ain’t seeing me getting all defensive about your posts about you-know-who.

But I would like you to think twice about your memes, your links to a hot “news” item on conservativesuberalles.com or ifyouaintliberalyoureaworthlesspieceofshit.com. You know the posts. The ones that claim, for example, that Hillary Clinton is off to jail or the hand of God graced Bernie Sanders, and his supporters glowed the holiest of glows despite the fact that they were avowed atheists.

Because every election year — and this is a defined portion of the political calendar, I might add — pundits, pollsters and the permanently aggrieved shriek the shrillest of shrillness to keep you engaged in the electoral process. Put another way, to keep the fat cats’ checks coming and to keep you posting outright falsehoods that your candidate’s opponent is a cockroach in a tie or a pantsuit.

The political “silly season” is defined as such (italics from me): In US politics and lifestyle, the silly season is a period from early summer until the first week of October of election years. Primary elections are over at this time, but formal debates have not started and the general election is still many weeks away. Issues raised during this period are likely to be forgotten by the election, so candidates may rely on frivolous political posturing and hyperbole to get media attention and raise money.

In other words, your patriotism is being cynically used by politicians during a gorgeous time of year.

So why raise your blood pressure or mine? You can’t tell me something about any of the candidates right now that I don’t already know.

If OccupyDemocrats or Right Wing News sends you an alert that — for the good of the country — is an absolute must for your Facebook feed, know this: It isn’t. It’s childish name calling.

You know what would be more mature? To be a child again. Go outside and play. It’s summer, for Pete’s sake.