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Trying to Make Sense of It All

Columnist: Norman Rosinski
April, 2016 Issue
Columnist

Norman Rosinski
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Welcome to the April Housing and Real Estate issue of NorthBay biz. Not too many years ago, it was a common practice for political candidates to try and hang a disparaging label on their opponents. One of the most damaging was to be called a “socialist,” because if that label stuck, it meant automatic disqualification as a potential winning candidate. American voters—republican or democrat—just didn’t vote for socialists. Last night, Bernie Sanders, a self-described “socialist,” won the democratic primary in Michigan, overcoming polls that predicted Hillary Clinton would sweep the state by 25 points. What’s going on here?

On the other side, Donald Trump continued his improbable march to the presidential nomination by winning several states in the republican primaries. With every attempt to attach a disparaging label to him, Trump emerges stronger, gaining support from the very people the negative message was intended to discourage. What’s going on here, too?

Both of these presidential candidates are tens of standard deviations away from previously accepted campaigning norms. They’re conducting campaigns so unorthodox that, in previous years, support would have evaporated long before they got this far in the election process. All I can conclude is, both candidates have tapped into an extremely widespread, almost seething contempt for “business as usual” in Washington, D.C.

Sadly, politicians elected based on promises to address “middle American” concerns never seem to follow through once the campaign is won. As an example, in the President’s recent State of the Union address, claims were made that just didn’t resonate with the realities of our country’s vast (but shrinking) middle class. A growing feeling of having their interests ignored by the ruling elite is becoming pervasive, and these people are expressing their overflowing frustrations by supporting mavericks outside the normal, traditional elected ruling class in the hope of a different result.

Some of President Obama’s SOTU remarks included: the economy is robust; the nation faces no existential threats; America is respected internationally more now than when he took office; the budget deficit has been reduced; the Affordable Care Act is fulfilling its promise; and proponents of stopping illegal immigration are bigots. Listening to these remarks and so many others from that speech had me questioning whether I’d drifted into an alternate reality.

Here’s the reality facing middle class Americans (one the President seems unable to grasp or, perhaps, admit): The economy is stagnant; full time jobs are disappearing; household incomes and home ownership has dwindled; government assistance programs have increased exponentially; the national debt has soared; the Middle East is in flames; ISIS has a significant presence in more than 20 countries worldwide while terrorist attacks in this country have increased; Obamacare has resulted in reduced care, soaring premiums and deductibles while forcing people to change doctors and lose the medical plans they preferred. 

I think, though, the one single galvanizing issue that’s propelled the unlikely rise of Trump is his brazen stance on illegal immigration. Calling for the expulsion of “illegals” and building a wall to ensure border security got him on everyone’s—but especially on working class America’s—radar. While the President brands everyone opposed to open borders a racist, everyday folks are angry at being labeled something they’re not. They’re not anti-immigrant. But certainly, they’re anti illegal immigrant.

When 12 to 15 million people arrive undocumented and begin to take advantage of the benefits given to legal citizens, it puts an unfair burden on those citizens and the country’s entire welfare system. While the working class struggles to keep their full-time jobs, they see more and more of their tax dollars going to support people here illegally. Consequently, their dissatisfaction and anger with politicians grows.

People are wondering how our obvious self-interests as a nation can be sublimated to a new world order—one where borders don’t matter. As factories close one after another across the country and the manufacturing jobs went overseas, the middle class suffered and it continues to suffer today. While the political elites preach diversity as the all-healing panacea for what ails this country, and anything multiethnic or multicultural is worshipped as the future, the middle class reacts with a loud “bull feathers.” Many believe this notion is absurd and, if followed to its logical end, means the demise of this country as we know it.

Common sense alone dictates that the indiscriminate admission of millions of low-skilled, poorly educated people weakens the country. The nation, lead by the president, has a prime overriding responsibility to ensure the welfare and safety of the nation and its citizens. Immigrants have no constitutional or civil right to demand entry into our country. Americans have never supported mass immigration. It’s against the will of the majority that millions are here illegally, demanding rights they aren’t entitled to. Last I heard, nobody voted to be invaded—and this issue alone might decide the upcoming presidential election.

That’s it for now. Enjoy this month’s magazine.

 



 

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