Are Foreclosures Impacting the Presidential Election in 2016?
Like many in this country, I’ve been following the presidential election over this past year and I think it’s safe to say that 2016 represents a new low in American politics. I mean, this past month… a month before Election Day… and we spent the entire time talking about what Donald Trump said on a bus years ago balanced against allegations about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
I’m not saying that both topics aren’t to some degree relevant, but so are specifics about what each candidate plans to accomplish if elected President of the United States. Personally, I could care less about what Trump said or what Hillary did, if it means that I don’t get to hear about the policy positions that are destined to have a real impact on my life in the years ahead.
So, if you’re a Trump supporter, that’s fine… and if it’s Hillary for you… that’s fine too. But both sides should realize that neither one has done a bang-up job as candidates for the highest office in the land. And it’s not like we’re doing so darn well in this country that we’ve got the time to play around with nonsense.
I’ve been doing my own informal qualitative research on my Facebook page over the last month or so, asking questions of both Trump and Clinton supporters and best I can tell… we’re not just more polarized than ever before… we’re absolutely dug in deep on one side or the other. It’s a new take on trench warfare, but instead of machine guns and mustard gas, we’re trying to kill each other by leaking emails or video tapes and throwing inflammatory accusations around wildly.
First… let’s look at Donald Trump. After that, it’ll be Hillary’s Clinton’s turn.
Trump supporters are all united and very vocal about one thing… they HATE Hillary Clinton. But it’s more than that… they think she’s literally a hardened criminal who belongs in jail. In point of fact, when I’ve asked people why they support Trump, more times than not the answer I get back is that Hillary is a criminal who if elected will pretty much bring an end to our world as we know it.
What’s interesting, however, is that many Trump supporters do recognize that a lot of what Donald has said on the campaign trail is sketchy at best, but they don’t care. A few have even admitted to me privately that they realize that he might screw up a few things as president, but that’s okay with them as long as it’s not “her” in the Oval Office.
Trump supporters are flat out mad. They want the system broken, if that’s what it takes. Yeah, sometimes he says stupid stuff, but at least he’s a straight shooter, they often explain.
Clinton supporters are less vocal, but they too are united in the view that Donald Trump is not fit to be president under any circumstances. Their reasons vary a bit, but many are so offended by what he’s said about groping women that they stopped focusing on the myriad of other potentially offensive things he’s said during his campaign.
Hillary supporters are a much more subdued bunch, and I think partially it’s because they’re afraid to mention that they’re voting for Hillary within earshot of a Trump supporter. They support Hillary either because they genuinely like her… or because they’ve decided that they simply couldn’t vote for him.
That the electorate is polarized shouldn’t surprise anyone in the least. After all, Clinton and Trump are about as far apart as two people can possibly be. The two are so radically different that, going into the debates in September, it was hard for me to imagine that anyone was still truly undecided.
Being undecided between Clinton and Trump seemed to me to be like not knowing whether you prefer sushi to a steak at Ruth Chris, or being unsure whether you prefer vacationing in Hawaii or on Mt. Everest in winter. I just couldn’t understand how anyone could have watched the two campaigns for 15 months and emerged unsure as to which way they’d vote in November.
Well, sure enough, even after three debates… the publication of the infamous video showing Trump talking about groping women on the bus… and most recently the announcement by the director of the FBI that new Hillary related emails were discovered and being investigated by the Bureau… and very little, if anything, has changed as far as the probable outcome is concerned. Hillary gained a little here, and lost some there… as did Donald, but for the most part, we’re right where we were at the beginning of September as far as the odds of either winning are concerned.
Okay, so let’s be honest about something here… Donald Trump is no ordinary presidential candidate, and even more than that, he’s not really recognizable as a Republican.
Aren’t Republicans, for example, usually the in favor of free trade? Wasn’t it the Republicans that supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) back in 1993? Most Democrats opposed NAFTA, right?
Yes, that’s right. I looked it up and there were 132 Republicans that voted in favor of NAFTA … 43 opposed. In the Senate, there were 34 Republicans that voted in favor and 10 against. Democrats in the Senate split down the middle, with 28 voting against NAFTA and 27 voting for it… in the House 156 Democrats opposed the legislation with 102 in favor.
It makes sense, right? Democrats, at least in recent history, have been heavily supported by the unions, while Republicans have found most of their support from the business minded. So, since free trade is a concept that favors companies, while not necessarily favoring workers, it shouldn’t be a surprise that NAFTA was way more popular with Republicans than their cohorts sitting across-the-aisle.
Well, Donald Trump has changed all of that… he’s not only opposed to free trade agreements, pledging to repeal NAFTA, but he’s even gone so far as to say that he plans to put tariffs on American goods that are made overseas by American companies, and then sold here in the USA.
Now, I don’t care what anyone says about that idea, it’s simply not a good one… not for our economy or for anyone else’s for that matter. Economists all over the place have agreed with that assessment, not surprisingly, but I don’t think that fact has changed a single Trump supporter’s plans for Election Day.
The Wall Street Journal, not exactly a liberal newspaper to say the least, reported yesterday that they received a letter from 370 economists saying that Trump, “has misled the electorate” and “promotes magical thinking and conspiracy theories over sober assessments of feasible economic policy options.”
The Journal also surveyed all 45 past White House economists as to which candidate they’re supporting and Trump didn’t even come in second. None of the economists surveyed said they’re supporting Trump, and we’re not talking about a bunch of liberals here. Martin Feldstein, who chaired the council under Ronald Reagan was quoted by the Journal as saying…
“I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon. They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs….Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgment.”
That’s not all of the economists that have come out saying that Trump would be bad for the economy, in fact, there are plenty more at your fingertips… just Google something like “Trump on the economy.”
Normally, that sort of opposition would likely harm a presidential candidate’s chances of winning, but as I said, Trump is no ordinary candidate and I don’t think what economists have said has cost him any measurable amount of support.
On the other hand, Trump promises tax cuts, which is a familiar theme for the GOP, but he also says he’s going to tax the rich, which must make most Republicans unsure of whether to cheer or run away. He’s going to tax American corporations that manufacture overseas, but he wants to reduce or eliminate the corporate tax.
It’s impossible to pinpoint Mr. Trump in conventional terms because he isn’t like anyone that came before him, and he doesn’t seem to know what he’s supposed to be saying as the GOP candidate for president.
Trump started his campaign with his promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and he hasn’t abandoned the idea… he’s as pro-wall as ever. He also wants to bus millions of undocumented immigrants to… well, I’m not actually sure where the buses will be dropping people off, but he’s ready to start lining up the buses immediately.
Is something like this even possible in this country? Of course not, but that hasn’t deterred Donald from talking about his wall at every opportunity. I kind of picture it as having the brand, “TRUMP” printed every six feet or so along the 2000 mile long border… and there’ll be lights, I just know there’ll be lights.
The fact is that Trump hasn’t said much specifically about how he’ll accomplish anything he promises to accomplish. He’s going to lower health care costs, but as to how, all he’ll say is that Obamacare is a “disaster,” and he’ll repeal it immediately. After that hat tip to the Tea Party, he just says things will be terrific and that we’ll love it… we just have to wait and see.
But his supporters do not care about hearing specifics from Mr. Trump. The only specifics they’re interested in hearing are those related to Hillary Clinton’s private email server along with every word in every email she’s ever sent or received.
When it comes to Hillary Clinton, Trump supporters want every detail about every conversation she’s ever had. And many don’t even care whether the story is true or not… if it makes Hillary look bad, a little smoke is all they need to declare a four-alarm fire.
Last July, when FBI Director Comey held a press conference to announce that the investigation into Clinton’s emails was ending with no charges filed against her, the outcry was truly something to behold. Even though he explained his decision in some detail, Comey, a Republican appointed by President Obama, was accused of being either corrupt, incompetent or both by the Republicans, who seemed as genuinely disappointed at Comey’s decision as a five year-old who wakes up Christmas morning to nothing under the tree.
Last week, as we all know, Director Comey announced that there may be additional emails related to Clinton found on former Congressman from New York, Anthony Weiner’s laptop, and that the Bureau would be looking at them as part of their investigation… the one that was closed, but now isn’t.
And, perhaps predictably… Republicans cheered like their sons and daughters had all just won gold medals in Olympic events. Never mind that they had all been accusing Comey of terrible things since last July, it only took one vague letter to Congress saying that he’s reopening the investigation, even though he has no idea what the emails say or who they’re from, etc. No matter… he became their hero overnight.
Even Trump himself commented during a rally that, “Maybe things aren’t as rigged as he thought.”
I can’t help but wonder what will happen if the FBI doesn’t find anything new or troubling in these emails. Will Comey be judged corrupt or incompetent again? I’m sure there’ll be something wrong with him should that be the case, because Trump supporters will only be happy if Hillary is charged, sentenced and jailed. They don’t seem to care what she did, they just know that it was a crime no matter what.
Today, I heard a supposed news story that actually made me laugh. Someone I know called to tell me that she heard that FBI Director Comey was somehow paid off by the Clintons to drop the investigation into Hillary’s emails last July. I replied that it wasn’t true. She said that it was. And I said that it wasn’t.
“How do you know it’s not true,” she asked me in earnest. Because it makes no sense, I told her.
I explained… he’s the director of the FBI, which means that for the rest of his life, he’s pretty much got it made. All he has to do is a decent job and not break any laws. Maybe he’ll get another position in the federal government… maybe he’ll go into private practice at some giant law firm that will make him a partner and pay him big money to have his name on the door… or maybe he’ll teach at a major university and lecture all over the world… who knows?
Why would someone in his position take a bribe to drop the most high-profile investigation in Bureau history… the one that everyone everywhere is watching? I’m not saying it’s impossible to buy off someone in that sort of position, but I would say that it’s exceedingly rare, and it would have to take a lot more than six figures… and probably a lot more than seven figures.
The story is nonsense, of course. And now that Director Comey has announced the reopening of the investigation, albeit in a insanely vague way and only days before Election Day, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to say he gave Clinton any sort of special treatment. In that way, he did Hillary a huge favor by doing what he did, and we’ll now just have to wait and see what the FBI finds or doesn’t find.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a long way from being the wildly popular candidate for president that her husband was… and certainly Barack Obama was too. I’m not really sure what she’s done over the years to piss off so many people in this country, but she certainly has managed to make quite a few enemies over the years.
It’s weird because when she left office as Secretary of State, she had a 70 percent approval rating… as a New York Senator for eight years she was very popular and known for being able to work across the aisle… and when she ran against Obama in 2008, I don’t recall hearing any of the vitriol I hear about her today.
Some people still believe that she ignored requests for additional security in Libya, while led to four Americans being killed at Benghazi, but that story simply isn’t true.
Last June, the Republican committee that investigated the incident published a 900-page report that severely criticized the Defense Department, the CIA, and the State Department, but found no evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Clinton related to that incident.
“The Benghazi investigation has been completed and the committee is in the process of clearing documents with the administration and archiving records,” Republican committee spokesman Jamal Ware said last Friday.
It was from the Benghazi investigation that Clinton’s use of a private email server was first discovered, and I would never have guessed that much anger could possibly result from such a discovery. Millions of people absolutely hate Hillary for her email server, and they’re ready to rumble. Lock her up, lock her up, was chanted at the GOP Convention, and it’s still heard today at Trump rallies around the country.
I don’t think we’ve seen that amount of outrage in response to any of the scandals of the last 20 years.
For example, more than seven million Americans lost homes to foreclosure since 2008, with at least hundreds of thousands that shouldn’t have been lost… banks were fined untold billions, while homeowners were routinely ignored… it was absolutely a failure of government and travesty of justice that continues to this day… but it barely upsets anyone anymore. Even at the zenith of the foreclosure crisis, I can’t remember huge crowds of people yelling “Lock him up,” in reference to President Obama.
You see, there are many reasons I can think of to dislike Hillary Clinton, but it’s hard for me to imagine why she’s even interesting enough to generate the level of hatred that has appeared among Trump supporters this election year. She’s about as Wall Street friendly and funded as any politician in history, for example, but no one seems to care too much about that. There’s a line of Wall Streeters waiting to assume positions in her administration, but that barely even makes the news.
Her husband, when in office, was adamantly opposed to regulating derivatives, like credit default swaps, and was supportive of repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, which protected publicly insured depository banks from making risky investments. Both of these positions directly contributed to the financial collapse of 2008, and the recession and anemic recovery with which we are all still living.
When it comes to taxes, Hillary wants to raise them, at least on the wealthy. I understand that this is a popular idea these days, and I’m not saying that I oppose higher taxes on those that can most afford them, but will this really accomplish anything beyond making us feel better for a short time?
For example, one of Clinton’s proposals is to create a four percent “surtax,” that would tax all income over $5 million a year. That sounds okay to me, but we should all realize that there are only .002 percent of Americans that will be impacted by this new tax… according to the IRS, only 34,000 tax returns out of 147 million report adjusted gross income of over $5 million.
Hillary also says she wants to expand the estate tax, increasing it from 40 to 45 percent, and lowering the estate size from $5.5 million to $3.5 million. That’s a pretty small change, to my way of thinking, and even her plan admits that it will only affect four out of every 1,000 estates… to which I can only say: So what and who cares?
Don’t get me wrong, I think we need a much more aggressive estate tax in this country. I wouldn’t mind if you increased it to 75% on estates over $1 billion, but Hillary’s plan is more soundbite than real change.
She wants to eliminate the loophole that allows people to keep millions in IRA accounts, which also isn’t such a terrible thing necessarily, especially when you consider that 98.5 percent of taxpayers have balances under $1 million. Hillary also wants to raise the long-term capital gains tax by 17 percent, and as I near retirement age, I’m certainly not thrilled with that idea.
My point here is that Hillary Clinton is no Bernie Sanders, her emails show that she opposes ideas like raising the minimum wage, for example… but that doesn’t mean she’s Al Capone either. Many of the stories circulating about her don’t stand up to fact checking.
One that’s going around is about how she, back when she was a legal aid attorney, defended a 41 year-old man accused of raping a 12 year-old girl, and as the story goes, she laughed at getting the charges dropped against him. The first time I heard the story I knew it would turn out to be untrue. Hillary may be many things, but a defender of rapists who rape 12 year-olds, she is not.
It was easy to check out and sure enough… it’s all just crap. Untrue. Ridiculous, even. She was appointed to represent the guy by the court, she didn’t want to do it… and her client pled guilty so there was no laughing about getting him off… you can read all about it HERE.
Hillary haters, aka Trump supporters, however will believe almost anything negative that’s said about her… it really doesn’t matter what’s being said. Even when there’s no evidence of anything, their argument goes, “there must be something to all these allegations.”
On one hand, Hillary haters want you to believe that she and her husband are above the law… on the other hand, the FBI just re-opened the investigation into her emails, only days before Election Day… and if I recall correctly, her husband was impeached, so I’m not sure how above the law that really makes them.
However, make no mistake about it… if the FBI comes up with some evidence that donors to the Clinton Foundation received political favors connected to her, as Secretary of State, that will change everything and depending on the specifics, she could be impeached.
At the same time, Donald Trump is not without his own potential future problems. His foundation is also facing scrutiny… there’s even a lawsuit filed in New York that accuses him of raping a 13 year-old girl, for heaven’s sake. (If you want to read about it, click HERE.)
Do I personally think Donald Trump raped a 13 year-old girl? No, I really don’t… but then I also find it very hard to believe that donations to the Clinton Foundation were used to gain favors from the United States government.
The reason I find either allegation so hard to believe is in part because both are such extreme acts, but in addition because both could have easily been handled much more privately, as opposed to how they both allegedly happened.
In other words, if a foreign government wanted to funnel money to the Clintons in exchange for political favors, why funnel it through the Clinton Foundation, a public charity whose records and public filings are readily subject to examination by authorities and even the media… to say nothing of how difficult it would be for the Clintons to access foundation money without anyone knowing.
If the Clintons are as clever and nefarious as many believe, why couldn’t they come up with a more clandestine way to funnel such illicit funds? And if Donald Trump wanted to rape a 13 year-old girl, why would he commit such an act at a party with witnesses around? Why wouldn’t he fly his plane to Bangkok to commit the horrific act far from the eyes and ears of others?
So, what made this year’s political circus possible? How did we end up with one candidate that half the country thinks should be imprisoned for high crimes and treason… and a Republican whose biggest problem is getting support from Republicans?
The answer is the anger…
We got here because tens of millions of Americans are really angry… at basically everything. They’re smoking mad at the way their lives are going and not going… and they’re ready to go to war with ISIS or whomever appears to be a problem… or rather, I should say… a Muslim.
These people are so mad at the way things are going in this country, that they truly don’t care what happens exactly going forward, as long as it can be blamed on illegal immigrants, or on companies moving jobs overseas, or on ISIS… something they can understand and attack. They see Trump as an outsider, not a Washington DC politico, and they believe that he’ll do more for them than Hillary will.
I don’t know why they think this way, maybe it’s his shock value… maybe it’s his politically incorrect way of communicating that’s refreshing to some… but I think mostly it’s that Hillary should be in jail.
My question is… what percentage of Trump supporters do you suppose lost homes or almost lost homes to foreclosure during the last eight years? How many do you suppose were out of work for a year or more between 2008 and 2016? How many voted for Obama in 2008 and have been disappointed by the lack of hope and change they saw from his presidency?
I can tell you this… Trump’s base is not made up of traditional Republican voters, there’s no question about that. Trump is leading with non-college educated white voters this time around, a group that usually has voted Democratic in the past. Republicans used to get the majority of college educated white voters, and somehow Trump has turned that around 180 degrees.
No one in the media has even mentioned it, which is why I felt compelled to write this piece… it’s not that I think my article will accomplish a darn thing, it’s just that I think it should be pointed out that it’s the Obama Administration’s handling of the foreclosure crisis, and the depth of the recession that resulted from the administration’s handling of the economy, among other things, that has left millions of Americans so mad they can’t see straight and at this point, don’t want to try.
I’m sure there are many in the media that will disagree with me on this point. They’ll ask how I know this to be true and they’ll point out that there hasn’t been any polling to support this idea, etc. etc.
So, let me ask you a question… what created this level of anger in this country over the last eight years… or even over the last four, because I don’t remember this sort of anger when Mitt Romney ran in 2012.
What else could it be?
It’s funny to think that it’s not related to the eight million foreclosures that took place since 2008. I‘m saying, is it even possible that those foreclosures had no effect or somehow left people happier than they used to be? That’s not only impossible, but it sounds ridiculous.
To listen to the mainstream media, you’d have to believe that losing eight million homes to foreclosure, many of which were lost under very questionable circumstances, has had no impact on anything in this country… it was the worst economic meltdown in 70 years, but its meant nothing as far as American attitudes are concerned?
“We don’t know exactly what has created the Trump supporters, but we know that it’s got nothing to do with how the foreclosure crisis was handled by our government,” is what I feel like the press is saying when they say nothing about what’s been allowed to transpire in this country since 2008.
The Great Depression went on for 11 years and those who lived through it were changed by it forever. Our Great Recession may not have been as bad as the 1930s, but it was a close second by anyone’s measure. How can it have had only a fleeting impact on our society? Shouldn’t we expect some significant amount of anger among a large percentage of the badly wounded American middle class?
I’m not going to blame all of that on Hillary, but it was President Obama’s response that fell miles short for homeowners, while keeping bankers nice and comfy no matter what. And homeowners weren’t just screwed, we should all remember, they were also largely ignored for a long time… as they suffered.
So… Memo to Hillary Clinton.
Yes, you’re going to win on November 8th. But that’s mostly because of the Trump campaign, not because of you or your brilliant campaigning skills. No one wins a national election in this country by doing everything possible to threaten Latino families and deeply offend women. Trump picked up no support from the three debates but that wasn’t your doing either… he simply wasn’t good and I’m pretty sure it was his first time out.
You haven’t done a very good job explaining who you are and what you’re about… half the country thinks you’re a hardened criminal and you haven’t won any of those voters over by attacking Trump… maybe if you had talked more about yourself and less about him… who knows?
The point is, the Democrats own the poorly planned and therefore wholly inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis… how badly it went is on them. And they should expect a lot of anger directed at them as a result… and for quite some time, as a matter of fact. Why else do you think the GOP so decisively won control of the House in 2010, only two years after Obama’s historic victory?
Trump was actually a Godsend for Hillary Clinton, so stop complaining about him so much. Were Mitt Romney running this time around, he might likely win the presidency. (Last time he only lost by a little over three percent… he lost Florida by less than one percent, you might recall… and he won North Carolina and Utah handily.)
So, I’d say that it’s a good idea to be gracious when you win on Election Day. And from there you’d better be candid and forthright about everything, even your mistakes. With a little luck, you’ll prove to be a better president than you were a candidate, and we can all return to whatever normal in this country is anymore, going forward.
Oh, and one last thing… foreclosures are down, but by no means over, so don’t pretend that there’s nothing left to do in that regard because every time someone loses a home to foreclosure, you very likely lose a supporter in the next election.
The media may not talk about it, and the polls may not show it, but it’s there… real anger… under the surface… just waiting for a Donald Trump to come along and light the fuse. This time you were lucky, next time you might not be nearly so fortunate.