A collage of Lincoln being brought to tears at the sight of the current Republican Party, whose representatives often harken back to his name in order to promulgate their regressive, destructive agenda, deceive the public into believing that their party still bears some semblance to the party that stood for abolition and progressive reform, and to lazily refute any claims of discrimination brought forward by their opponents.
With near perfect precision, Marine Le Pen, the incumbent leader of the National Front, a far-right, extremist political party in France, has reproduced a campaign of nativism and hatred, resembling that of Donald Trump in nearly all of its idiosyncrasies, in her bid for the presidency. Le Pen's campaign has reignited seemingly dormant racist sympathies, has legitimized the various arguments of fringe zealots in France, and has pushed its populist sentiment globally, in an attempt to further solidify the dark presence of the far-right across the world. Although Le Pen's support still remains meager in comparison with that of her opponent and former Prime Minister of France, François Fillon, a prominent member of the French Republicans, her message has dramatically shifted the focus of the election as a whole, has further promulgated vicious nativism globally, and has all but guaranteed victory for the right. But following Trump's victory in the United States presidential election, Le Pen has unabashedly imitated him and has shamelessly paraded her intolerance for all to see. Now Le Pen sees no reason to hide her bigotry, her envy of Trump, or her infatuation with autocrats. The only thing she could do to make her impersonation of Trump more obvious, would be to wear a bright yellow wig while campaigning.
The following article was written a few weeks prior to the presidential election. The premise of the article--that young voters would become apathetic towards the political process, as a result of the perceived insincerity of the two major party candidates for President of the United States--was affirmed by the results of the election. Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 largely repudiated Donald Trump and demonstrated their lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton. Eight percent of millennial voters cast their ballots for third party candidates, almost triple the number who voted for third party candidates in 2012. This exodus of young voters disproportionately affected Hillary Clinton, who only gained 55 percent of the youth vote, compared to President Obama's 60 percent in the 2012 presidential election.
It would seem as though mine is the most politically connected generation in history. Email solicitations from advocacy groups, trying to win over our affections and support, land in our inboxes every day. Our Facebook news feeds are filled with articles, videos, and commentaries on the candidates’ every word. We can find the exact location of any designated polling place on our computers in a few keystrokes. And yet, even with an abundance of information bombarding us at all times about the presidential election, young voters are evidently turned off by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and are either supporting third-party candidates, or are abstaining from voting entirely.
It isn’t as if young voters were uninspired and remained absent from voting during the primary season. My generation was enthralled by Bernie Sanders and his call for dramatic economic, social, and political change, and young voters showed their enthusiasm by voting in record numbers in the Democratic primaries. But the general election is different. The same enthusiasm that sparked the success of an outsider, who began his campaign in protest, has vanished. This lack of enthusiasm is due in large part to my generation’s fundamental distrust of the two presidential candidates. Young voters do not believe a word of Trump’s lie-ridden promises to transform America’s economy or his hateful conspiracy theories that have no factual basis whatsoever. Similarly, young voters find Clinton’s dramatic turnabout from taking exorbitant amounts of money for telling executives on Wall Street what they wanted to hear to being a “bold progressive fighter” to be insincere.
In this election cycle, what matters to young voters is whether the words that the two candidates say in speeches and interviews align with their true policy and personal goals.Verifying the factuality of a candidate’s speech is easy. Politifact, the New York Times, and the Washington Post each present excellent analyses of the statistics cited and statements made by the candidates, checking them for factual inaccuracies with great precision. What is incredibly difficult, though, is verifying the sincerity of a candidate’s words. Young voters look to articles and essays about each of the candidates’ pasts and from there decide whether their statements in the present are truly sincere. But this method of checking the sincerity of a candidate is flawed. On the one hand it leaves little room to account for an individual’s personal growth. On the other hand, it leaves voters suspicious that new positions are really only cynical attempts to gain support.
But perhaps young voters are reflecting the candidates’ own distrust in them. Clinton withholds information about herself from voters, for fear that they might think less of her and withdraw their support. She doesn’t trust their judgement. Trump tells his supporters that, “no one knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” to affirm his stature as a demagogue. He doesn’t trust their intellect. This feedback loop of distrust is at the core of why the political system in the United States is not working for young voters in this election.
Young voters are left with three unfortunate options from which to choose: voice their dissatisfaction through protest votes that bear the possibility of disastrous unintended consequences; vote for a candidate they don’t truly believe in; or respond in an entirely apathetic manner that can only lead to a less representative democracy.
Of course, this election is not the first in which the candidates’ sincerity has been an issue. But what may be especially dispiriting to young people about this election cycle is that they saw and heard what true sincerity looks and sounds like in Bernie Sanders, whose message resonated with authenticity and the promise for real and positive change. With the choice now between a monster and a moderate, young voters are forced into a retreat from their instincts and even their beliefs. Now, the status quo is the best we can hope for.
The theme of the first night of the Republican National Convention was safety, but given the content of the speeches and the crowd’s reaction, a more accurate theme would have been fear.
The list of speakers included former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and Melania Trump, but former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani delivered the evening’s most significant speech.
Giuliani walked on stage and stood before a screen displaying the words “Make America Safe Again.” After thanking the crowd, Giuliani began his speech about safety and the future of America. But Giuliani’s speech did not offer solutions or present facts to the zealous crowd before him. Instead it revealed the true theme of the night, the overall theme of the Trump campaign, and the direction of the Republican Party as a whole.
At various points throughout his speech, Giuliani began screaming the words on the teleprompter, raising his fists, and authoritatively asserting his claim that the safety of America has been shattered, without offering any evidence, the way only a hypocritical draft dodger turned martinet can. But even without any facts to support his unrestrained, accusatory speech, he convinced the crowd which responded with uproarious applause and cheering. Giuliani succeeded in making them fear their fellow Americans.
Giuliani’s speech at the RNC was not the first time that he had inspired fear and hatred in his audience. As mayor of New York, Giuliani employed racist, discriminatory, and vindictive policing tactics in an attempt to create a city bent solely on maintaining order, no matter the consequences. In his acrimonious 1994 speech on crime entitled “Freedom is About Authority,” Giuliani professed that in order to prevent violent crimes, all minor offenses must be strictly punished. His speech placed all emphasis on order and safety, but made no mention of justice, and almost overnight New York became a penal colony for poor and minority communities.
To Giuliani, 2016 might as well be 1994. At the RNC, he asserted that “what I did for New York City, Donald Trump will do for America.” An America governed in the shadow of Giuliani’s New York is a circle of hell even Dante would find difficult to envision.
Giuliani continued on to say that, “Donald Trump is the agent of change, and he will be the leader of the change we need,” but would not follow these words to explain what kind of change it is that we need.
In language similar to that in his 1994 speech, Giuliani said that in order to “hold us together as a country,” we must “make America one again.” But one what? Here his language is intentionally vague, and it plays to the audience’s broadest swathe of law and order fantasies.
Giuliani’s autocratic personality was on display for all to see—even his mannerisms were reminiscent of fascists past—and the crowd loved it. His speech, emblematic of the dictatorial direction of the Republican Party and the draconian new face that now leads it, manipulated the anger of a willing crowd.
On Thursday, June 23, the British people voted on the future of the United Kingdom’s presence in the European Union. Winning by more than a million votes, the advocates of Britain’s exit from the EU were overjoyed at the final results; Britain will no longer remain a member of the EU. In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, the British Pound began to lose its value; the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones, and the NASDAQ suffered dramatic losses; and relations between Britain and the EU declined almost instantly, leaving many scrambling for answers, wondering how such a decision could have been made and what may occur in the future.
Although its effect on the British economy is in itself frightening, the ramifications of Britain’s exit from the EU are especially worrisome.
Britain’s leaving the EU could result in the secession of Scotland and Northern Ireland, dissolving the presence of the Labour Party in Britain and replacing its liberal ideas with the highly conservative, populist, and nativist ideas of the United Kingdom Independent Party, the main propagators of the movement to exit the EU. According to the BBC’s reporting on the overall result of the vote on the referendum, voters in areas in Scotland, Ireland, and London decisively chose for Britain to remain a member of the EU. Before the vote took place, Scottish members of Parliament campaigned ardently against leaving the EU. But following the referendum to leave the European Union, political leaders from Scotland and Northern Ireland have begun discussing seceding from Britain in order to rejoin the EU saying that it is unacceptable for both countries to be forced to leave the union against the will of their citizens.
On September 18, 2014, a referendum on Scottish independence was held and voters decided to remain a part of the United Kingdom, with 55.3% of the electorate voting against independence, and 44.7% voting in favor of independence. But this specific referendum on Scottish independence took place when the United Kingdom was still a member of the EU. Now, with the prospect of Britain no longer a member of the EU, the referendum may be voted on again with an emphatically different result.
If Scotland and Northern Ireland were to secede, the liberal cause would be abandoned in Britain, the Conservative Party would dominate British politics, and the United Kingdom Independent Party would gain power quickly. But in addition to the possibility of Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving Britain, the Labour Party is already facing massive divisions within itself. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has received immense criticism from members of his own party for his ineffective attempts to prevent Britain’s exit from the EU, and many Labour MPs (members of Parliament) have expressed concerns on Corbyn’s ability to win the next election and lead the party. This fracture in the Labour Party has also led to nine MPs resigning from their positions.
But besides the numerous resignations and uncertainty within the Labour Party, Corbyn dismissed Hilary Benn, a former Labour Party MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary from May 2015 to June 2016, who was at the forefront of criticizing Corbyn’s actions during the Brexit debate. In a response to Benn’s discharge, Angela Eagle, Labour MP and, like Benn, a member of the Shadow Cabinet (members of the Opposition in Parliament appointed to create and propose alternative policies), attempted to stage a coup in order to force Corbyn to step down as Leader of the Opposition. However, against the pleas of many Labour MPs and in the midst of crisis within the party, Corbyn has refused to resign.
Watching as the Labour Party implodes before him is Nigel Farage, the leader and founding member of the right-wing United Kingdom Independent Party. During the debate over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Farage became one of the spokesmen arguing for leaving the union. In the beginning of the campaign to leave the EU, Farage, along with his colleagues in the United Kingdom Independent Party and in the Conservative Party, attempted to sway the British population by proclaiming the economic advantages Britain would gain from leaving the EU.
But as the campaign continued, Farage and his colleagues moved away from focusing on the economy and on to immigration. This tactic proved to be extremely effective at both reinvigorating those who had previously supported a British exit from the EU and persuading many Labour Party supporters to abandon their opposition and vote to leave the union.
But the chaos occurring in British politics is not only tearing apart the Labour Party. Prime Minister David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party and advocate for Britain remaining a member of the EU, announced on Friday, June 24 that he would resign before the end of this coming October. Following his resignation, the Conservative Party became divided on whom to nominate for Prime Minister in the upcoming election. The frontrunner for the nominee for Prime Minister in the Conservative Party was Boris Johnson, Mayor of London from 2008 until 2016 and fervent supporter of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Johnson, who proclaimed himself to be pro-immigrant and socially liberal, was the main spokesperson for the “Leave” campaign during the Brexit debate, employing blatantly xenophobic, racist, and deceitful language as he discussed the referendum. Throughout his political career, Johnson seemed to consistently corner himself by mixing his eloquent expression of elitist, nativist, and racist ideas with overtly offensive banter and was the subject of much criticism by journalists and by his fellow politicians for his bigoted rhetoric during the Brexit debate. But in spite of his turbulent career and enormous criticism, Johnson has seen a surge in popularity in recent months and has maintained his previous support from right wing advocates. Much of his success has been attributed to his brash personality, deceitful agenda, and buffoonish persona. On Thursday, June 30, Johnson shocked his supporters, the media, and members of the Conservative Party by declaring that he would not be running for Prime Minister in the upcoming election.
But Johnson’s rise in popularity and ability to persuade much of the electorate into voting against their own best interests through the use of bigoted language does not bode well for the presidential election in America.
While campaigning in favor of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, Johnson was able to use his offensive and out-sized personality, as well as his eloquent and deceitful rhetoric in order to sway Labour Party sympathizers, who had previously supported remaining in the EU. Donald Trump has similarly tricked an alarming percentage of the electorate into voting against their own best interests. Although Trump lacks Johnson’s rhetorical ability, his personality has played an integral role in his rise in popularity and political status. However, Trump has not been able to convince as large a percentage of liberal voters as Johnson had, leaving his polling numbers significantly behind from Hillary Clinton’s.
In the end, the main factor in Johnson and the Conservative Party and Farage and the United Kingdom Independence Party’s success in campaigning for Britain’s exit from the EU was not their persuasive rhetoric or entertaining personas. What led to their decisive victory in the vote on the referendum was the complacency on the part of the opposition to Brexit. Once the results of the referendum had been finalized and reported, many voters who had voted for leaving the EU on a whim, in protest, or without fully understanding what the EU was expressed their regrets in interviews with various media outlets.
In a frightening similarity, voters in the United States are complacent about the upcoming presidential election, which could portend an undesirable outcome.
Besides the potential implications of Brexit on American politics, the result of the referendum has left many other members of the EU discussing a referendum on withdrawing from the union as well. Marine Le Pen, president of the National Front, a nationalist and anti-immigration party in France, declared that if she were to be elected President of France she would hold a referendum on leaving the EU. Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom, a far-right populist and strictly nationalist political party in the Netherlands, proclaimed that “Nexit” (a portmanteau of the words Netherlands and exit used to describe a referendum on leaving the EU) would be a main topic in next year’s general election. Members of Italy’s far-right Northern League political party have expressed a strong desire to leave the EU; so far their support has been minimal, but has recently been increasing. Norbert Hofer, a candidate for President of Austria in the 2016 general election and member of the right-wing populist Freedom Party, called for a vote on abandoning the EU. Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the national-conservative and far-right populist Sweden Democrats, a party that saw a substantial increase in support during the 2014 election, has spewed anti-immigration rhetoric and has demanded that a referendum be held on leaving the EU. The success of Brexit has brought about chaos in Europe and has paved the way for the European far-right to gain popularity in an unprecedented manner.
Brexit Referendum 2016 Results
Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 Results
Search Interest on the Question, "What is the EU" Following the Results from Brexit
Donald Trump is now the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States, and the question many people may be asking is, “has there ever been another presidential candidate like him?”
The answer to this question is yes.
Andrew Jackson served as the seventh President of the United States, and his arrogant and bellicose personality as well as his cultural and political influence over the American people of his time bear a striking similarity to Trump’s.
Before running for president, Jackson served as a colonel in the Tennessee militia and was later promoted to Major General during the War of 1812. In 1815, Jackson led a group of American soldiers opposing the vast British offensive in the Battle of New Orleans. This decisive victory was responsible for Jackson’s popularity and fame. His nickname, “Old Hickory,” was an apt description of his tough persona.
Jackson’s resounding victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans resulted in the withdrawal of the British from their campaign against America and led to massive celebrations throughout the country. But the American people were not only celebrating the dramatic victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans. The War of 1812 symbolized the resilience and independence of America. The American people were celebrating this symbolic meaning of victory.
Jackson’s military fame and popularity would remain for many years after his triumph in the War of 1812 and his image would soon become synonymous with American independence and resilience.
However, Jackson lacked the political expertise and credentials that would have qualified him to run for or become president. Jackson, unlike his presidential predecessors, had never served as Secretary of State or Vice President, and had limited political involvement other than on the local and state level. What gave Jackson such indisputable success while running for president was his military fame, name recognition, and popularity.
Similarly, Trump lacks the political experience and understanding that would qualify him to become the President of the United States. Yet Trump’s fame and popularity, like Jackson’s, has led him to success in the Republican primaries and caucuses and has allowed him to amass an alarmingly large following. But with Trump, his popularity and political success has not been a result of any military experience, much less triumphs; Trump’s political success results from his reality TV appearances and his alleged business accomplishments.
For both Trump and of Jackson, the main factor leading to each candidate’s initial political success was neither qualification, nor experience, but rather popularity and name recognition.
Jackson, throughout his life, was notorious for his bellicose personality, which inspired him to engage in numerous duels. Jackson typically engaged in these duels over what he proclaimed to be an affront to his own honor or the honor of his wife, Rachel.
Likewise, Trump, although not nearly audacious enough to engage his opponents in a physical duel, wastes no time in dueling in court or filing a lawsuit against anyone who seeks to malign his image, and claims he will pay the legal fees for any of his supporters who are arrested for assaulting protesters at his rallies.
Although Jackson despised others for defaming his image, he was happy to cast aspersions on his political opponents through personal attacks and derisive propaganda. During the contentious election of 1828, with the help of his supporters, still outraged by the repudiation of his nomination and the election of his opponent John Quincy Adams, Jackson began to denounce Adams, running to be elected for a second term as president, as corrupt and untrustworthy.
For the duration of his presidential campaign, Trump has employed similar tactics to Jackson, promoting propaganda about his political opponents, and attacking them and their families personally, without any substantive or coherent criticisms of their policies. Like Jackson, Trump has also supported and perpetuated various conspiracy theories about his opponents. In an interview with Fox News, Trump professed that Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was linked to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. During his campaign for President of the United States in 1828, Jackson, in a propagandistic attack, claimed that Adams, while serving as United States Minister to Russia in 1809, became a pimp for Tsar Alexander I.
As president, Jackson introduced the spoils system, allowing him to remove previously serving government officials and replace them with his own supporters, no matter their lack of qualifications. Jackson attempted to disguise this system as a measure to ensure a truly democratic government, but it was evident that Jackson was only appointing his followers, who he had promised government positions in exchange for their support.
When Trump has been asked about possible appointments to his cabinet, should he become president, his responses have been nebulous at best. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump said that, “I would use the greatest minds” and “I know the best negotiators”. But Trump’s definition of the “best negotiators” is based solely on his personal interactions and opinions, rather than actual qualifications—perhaps as much Old Hickory as his own new trickery.
Throughout his political career, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has touted his dedication to "preserving and defending" the Constitution. In a prominent position on Cruz’s website and written in glaring letters is the statement, “Ted Cruz has spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution.” He repeatedly alludes to Thomas Jefferson by saying, “Our nation’s founding document and the supreme law of the land was crafted by our founding fathers to act as chains to bind the mischief of government and to protect the liberties endowed to us by our Creator.” But was this the founders' purpose in creating the Constitution? Or was the Constitution created as an interpretative document, one crafted not to bind progress, but to facilitate progress and discussion? Is Cruz's use of Jefferson a crafty misrepresentation?
On June 21, 1788 the Constitution was ratified. Shortly after, in 1791, Congress proposed the addition of twelve amendments to the Constitution, ten of which--the Bill of Rights--were simultaneously incorporated into the Constitution. Following the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, seventeen subsequent amendments have been adopted and ratified by Congress. As Jefferson, a self-proclaimed strict constitutionalist, stated in his address to Alexander Hamilton regarding the National Bank and the Constitution, "The second general phrase [of the Constitution] is, 'to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers'". The reason for the addition of these amendments lies in the words of the Constitution itself; necessity propels addition and revision to the Constitution. As society progresses, the words of the Constitution become increasingly hard to apply to current affairs.
Ted Cruz has repeatedly dismissed the notion that the Constitution is and was intended to be a "living and breathing" document. His statement that the Constitution was intended to be left untouched is demonstrably false. Subsequent to the ratification of the Bill of Rights, two amendments, one addressing state sovereign immunity and another revising the presidential election process, were added to the Constitution within a thirteen-year period. These amendments needed to be incorporated into the Constitution to account for changes in government, society, and foreign affairs.
Thomas Jefferson, in an attempt to constitutionally validate his proposal for the Louisiana Purchase, addressed his Democratic-Republican counterpart, Wilson Cary Nicholas, by writing, "Let us go on then perfecting it, by adding by way of amendment to the Constitution, those powers which time and trial show are still wanting." Jefferson's statement emphasizes the importance of addition to the Constitution based on both necessity and maturation of interpretation. Jefferson argues for adherence to the words of the Constitution, at the same time as he proposes that it be revised and expanded as needed.
So does Senator Cruz protect and fight for the Constitution?
For his entire political career, Cruz has touted his defense of the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms. However, Cruz's "defense" of the Second Amendment has been based solely on his opposition to the Assault Weapons Ban proposed in March of 2013. The Constitution was ratified in 1788, assault weapons were first implemented in 1940. There is no possible way for the framers of the Constitution to have predicted the future use of assault weapons. By the standard of Jefferson's "time and trial," Ted Cruz's "constitutional" opposition to the Assault Weapons Ban is profoundly unconstitutional and contradicts the founding principle of the Constitution: revision when necessary.
Recurrence of the American Constitution in Literature
Source:Google Books Ngram Viewer
Marco Rubio's presidential campaign is over. Following a resounding loss in his home state of Florida, Rubio suspended his campaign, seeing no further opportunity in the upcoming primaries and caucuses. At the start of Rubio's campaign, his appeal was evident, attracting support from younger voters and voters with college degrees, as well as drawing support from Catholic and minority communities. However, Rubio's grasp on the support of younger voters weakened and his appeal to male voters shrank following Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's entry into the Republican presidential election. But why did once faithful Rubio supporters suddenly decide that Trump should represent the Republican Party in the general election?
The primary reason for Republican voters' change in allegiance from Marco Rubio to Donald Trump is the Republican Party's transformation from a party of implication to a party of explication. After years of implied discrimination through policies proposed to disadvantage minorities, women, and impoverished groups, as well as using euphemistic language as a means to mask bigotry, the Republican Party has, under the influence of Trump, moved towards the use of explicitly bigoted language in order to promote a discriminatory agenda. Throughout his campaign, Rubio continued to use euphemistic and implicit language in order to promote his agenda, which proved unappealing to Republican voters, seeking a demagogue, like Trump, who uses explicit language to promote his agenda.
Upon close examination on key topics in this election cycle such as: immigration, abortion, and gun laws, both candidates have nearly identical positions, expressed using entirely different language. Senator Rubio stressed the importance of maintaining a secure border by saying, "Before we do anything with immigration, we are going to secure the border.” Trump has expressed a similar view on immigration, although the language he has used has been drastically different. In a speech discussing the border between the United States and Mexico and immigration reform, Trump stated, “These are people that shouldn't be in our country. They flow in like water.” Rubio's vague language directly contrasts with Trump's direct statement, which has shown to be appealing to Republican voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Yet the main factor leading to Rubio's failure to attract voters is his lack of anger. In addition to a desire for explicit, offensive, and violent language, Republican voters have expressed a longing for an angry candidate, who shares the same displeasure that they feel. In past Republican presidential debates, Rubio stated, "I know you're angry; I'm angry too," but his rhetoric never conveyed the sense of anger that Republican voters pined for and Trump has exploited and thrived off of.
Finally, Rubio's emphatic loss in the Florida Republican primary may be indicative of a precipitous decline in his popularity among residents of the state. In his home state of Florida, Rubio was only able to win in one county (Miami-Dade County), while Trump secured a victory in all 66 other county primaries. According to the final polling results, Trump acquired 440,568 more votes than Rubio, who relied heavily on his win in the population dense Miami-Dade County, inflating his overall total of votes.
The collapse of Rubio's presidential campaign is indicative of the transformation that is currently happening in the Republican Party. Republican voters have expressed their desire for explicit discrimination as opposed to euphemistic discrimination and have shown their longing for an angry and violent candidate.