Revisiting “Hope and Change”

How’s It Working Out?

Hope and Change — Sound familiar?

Barack Obama’s theme in the campaign that resulted in his election in 2008 was “Hope and Change”. He repeated that theme over and over during the campaign, also saying “We are going to fundamentally change America”. Now, as he leaves office after an eight-year term, whether Americans have more Hope or less depends on which Americans you ask.  As for Change, few could argue that it has certainly come about on the ideological front and on the international stage [with many dissenters saying “OK, but not that kind of change”!] — but that on the political front, the establishment not only has not changed, it has gotten worse through even heavier polarization and entrenchment.

So is real change on the horizon now?

[and maybe I should add, “… And if so, will it be change for the better?”]

In a recent post in one of the blogs/sites I follow [], the author [a good friend of mine] pursued an interesting question: Will the Trump Revolution bring real change?. His post pursued the question from a Christian Worldview perspective, and as readers of my blog posts know if they have accessed applicable pages at this site, I share that perspective [see applicable links at this site: Who I AmWhy I’m Doing What I Do]. However, since I created this site to appeal to anybody who would listen to me regardless of whether or not they share my Christian Worldview, I’d like to take a shot at pursuing the same question from an “It is what it is” perspective, just applying simple logic to our Current Paradigm and [using what we have learned so far about it] the unfolding New Paradigm [for a refresher on the paradigm shift underway, see these pages at this site: A Major Paradigm Shift Well UnderwayElection Aftermath – 1].

When it became apparent in the final stretch leading up to the 2016 Republican convention that Donald Trump could actually become the nominee, I began to hear a lot more references to him [by Republicans] in which the term RINO [Republican In Name Only] was used. That term had been used early on in the primary campaigns to describe “mainstream” candidates like Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, John Kasich, et al [at that point, the prevalent thinking was that Trump was a flash in the pan and wouldn’t be in the “finals”; otherwise, those who used that term to describe Bush, Perry and Kasich [et al] would have called Trump a RINO, too, because although he didn’t fit into existing categories well, his positions on issues in the “core conservative mantra” were not strong enough to suit them].

I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term DINO used to refer to a person fitting the parallel profile in the Democrat party. My guess is that this avoidance [by Democrats] is intentional because of the potential attachment of the word DINOsaur to that acronym — which would create an imagery of obsolescence that Republicans could use as fodder in their campaign speeches. Be that as it may, the acronym is certainly applicable to “mainstream” Democrats [of which Hillary Clinton could be considered the poster child], and is no doubt thought of conceptually by far left Democrats [like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren] whether they articulate it or not.


For reasons I have stated in one way or another in several previous posts, I firmly believe that the two-party system in the Current Paradigm is definitely on the demise as the New Paradigm continues to move into place. The only thing that remains to be seen is how long it will take for that demise to be complete. I doubt that it will be complete during Trump’s first term, but if his radical approach to things continues, I do believe it could be completed within a second term if he is re-elected.

Under the scenario that can begin unfolding after Trump’s inauguration [which I hope will unfold], terms like RINO and DINO would be meaningless. That scenario would result in passage of major legislation that can fundamentally change the entire outlook for this country while concomitantly putting in place a sustainable long-term fiscal path. That scenario is within reach because the two-party system has already been damaged enough to at least open the door for resolution very soon of the gridlock issues that have made our government dysfunctional [see Dysfunctional Government at this site] for at least the last four to six years. Four things favor the scenario I’m projecting:

  1. Lack of a closely-aligned philosophical mindset within the Republican majorities. A nearly monolithic alignment would be necessary to overcome what will clearly be a solid alignment among Democrats against at least some, maybe many, Republican initiatives.  Far-right Republicans seem to have been learning very quickly that a far-right, ultra-conservative agenda will do nothing but make the Republicans fail at every turn even though their party now “controls” the House, the Senate, and the White House — and drag their newly elected president down with them. The math that computes to this situation is simple: moderate Republicans [RINOs in the eyes of some] will not go along with far-right initiatives, and far-right Republicans will not go along with more moderate agendas [and in the Senate, in situations where Democrats are voting in lock step with each other, it only takes three Republicans to side with them and block a bill].
  2. A more closely-aligned [albeit not completely monolithic] philosophical mindset within the Democrat minorities. The far left wing of the Democrat party does not so far seem as able to exert as much influence on that side of “the center” as is the far right wing of the Republican Party to exert significant influence on that side of “the center” — the result being that Democrats seem more monolithic than they actually are. As 2020 approaches, I expect this will change, and the “Sanders” part of the “Trump/Sanders Phenomenon” [A Major Paradigm Shift Well UnderwayBack To The FutureCome, Let Us Reason Together …] will surface again through some other candidate [e.g., Elizabeth Warren, or more likely, somebody of her ilk but much younger — or,  maybe even Michelle Obama].
  3. A 2018 mid-term election cycle that favors Republicans unless Trump’s first term is viewed as a disaster at that point [i.e., more Democrats than Republicans will be up for re-election in 2018, many of them in Republican states]. Based on what’s been in the media recently, it appears that Democrats are gearing up to make Trump’s first term as unproductive as possible, setting the stage [in their view] for major shifts to Democrats [particularly the Senate] in 2018 and 2020 and a White House win in 2020. If Trump’s first term is viewed negatively by most Americans in 2018, and no better or even worse in 2020, that strategy might prove successful. Conversely, if Trump’s first term is viewed as at least “OK” in 2018, and at least as good or even better in 2020, that strategy will seriously backfire and paint Democrats as obstructionists, possibly resulting in even more power flowing to Republicans.
  4. A President who does not think like practically all his predecessors have, and who may actually: a) threaten vetoes of some legislation even when originated by and supported by a majority of Republicans in both Houses; or b) support some legislation even when originated by and supported by Democrats but opposed by significant numbers of Republicans [but not enough to block passage].

Unfortunately, there is at least one potentially major “fly in the ointment” that may present significant problems vis-a-vis #1 above. At least three Senators [possibly more] probably have their sights set on a Presidential run in 2024 for sure, possibly in 2020 — Paul, Rubio and Cruz.  To the extent they see contentious initiatives as opportunities to exert disproportionate influence and keep themselves in the media, they may “take a stand” on some bills on the Republican agenda [Senator Paul has already done this during the very first week of the new Congress in casting the only dissenting Republican vote on the first bill designed as part of repealing the ACA — on the grounds that it does not contribute toward addressing the national debt crisis].

The stage is set …

The bottom line is that the stage is set, probably better than it has been in recent history, for good negotiators to get a lot done — and remember, the ability to negotiate well was a major theme in Mr. Trump’s campaign; it is also evident that he has filled Cabinet and other top staff positions with people he believes possess this ability. For initiatives that Democrats will probably be unified in their efforts to block [like repealing the ACA], Republicans will have to negotiate intensely among themselves if there is no clear consensus at the outset on the details [because in these situations, almost monolithic Republican support would be required in the Senate].  Furthermore, they cannot assume that Trump will sign all bills that passed both houses without any support from Democrats [which means they must have regular dialog with him during development of those bills to ensure that the versions heading to the finish line address any concerns he may have with them].

It will be very interesting to see whether there is early evidence [say, in the “first 100 days” everybody seems to be focused on lately] that the scenario I’ve described in this post is unfolding.  I hope it is.


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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 3

Out of respect for our veterans on this day that we honor them each year, I’ll make this post short and to the point. The rights of all citizens of this nation exist because our founding fathers were willing to step up to the challenges and risks of forming this nation and for these rights say “We sacrifice our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”. These rights have been preserved and defended by thousands of brave men and women who have fought and died to protect them — and they are still being protected today by the finest military forces on the planet.

It is appalling to me to see the hatred and vitriol on display after the 11/8/16 election. It dishonors the people who gave these very protestors their right to protest. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set the bar for peaceful, non-violent protests as a way to raise the country’s consciousness of issues.  People ostensibly representing both “the Clinton side” and “the Trump side” are passing so far under that bar that they don’t even see that it’s there.

I hope and pray that all of this is just “flash in the pan” temper tantrums being thrown by those who feel they lost and unwarranted gloating by those who feel they won, and that it will subside quickly as all of them realize how foolish they look. All of them need to realize that they are first Americans, and then members of whatever constituency(ies) they identify with. Without that attitude, this nation will not survive in the long run.

Thanks to our veterans, living and dead, and thanks to the men and women currently serving in all branches of the military today. We appreciate what you do, and we respect you for your willingness to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. People in the streets who are holding vitriolic signs and shouting hateful and profane threats and destroying property are not rising to the bar set by Dr. King, are they are not representative of the massive numbers of Americans who will not see this post but who I am certain would join me in saying what I’ve said here.

Thank you!

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Charles M. Jones

Election Aftermath – 2

poster227x227-2Note. … After purposely consuming a bit more than my usual amount of media coverage over the past 36 hours or so since the election outcome was known, I decided to take a different approach in this seven-day “Election Aftermath” series than I outlined in yesterday’s first post of the series. Although I will probably incorporate into remaining posts some results of the “number-crunching” I mentioned in that first post, the overall purpose of this series will now be to assess and comment on the unfolding post-election climate.

In a way, I guess it’s encouraging to me that the only negative I got from the victory and concession speeches of 11/9/16 was the “glass ceiling” reference Hillary Clinton made in her concession speech. I call that a negative because the outcome of this election had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the defeated candidate was a woman, but everything to do with the fact that she is a “standard politician”. Running against a person like Trump, she [or he] would have been defeated whether she/he was a woman, an African American, a Latina/Latino, an Asian American, or whatever. By the same token, had the Republican candidate been a “standard politician”, too [which would have been the case if one of at least 14 of the other 16 initial contestants had won the nomination], a Clinton win might have been more likely. Although ideological drivers were clearly at work, too, this election was mostly about fixing Washington. People are simply fed up with the current dysfunctional government in this country. They want something that will work, and things like which major party our leaders are in, or what their race or their sex is, simply don’t matter any more.

So what else about the post-election climate stands out so far? Without hesitation, I can say it’s all the demonstrations going on. Democrats [and of course, the media] were the ones that pounced on Trump’s hesitation to say up front that he would accept the election outcome. In that debate, Clinton quickly gave the “standard politician” response: “Yes”. For the rest of the campaign, she touted that “peaceful transition of power” was a “hallmark of our democracy”, and that Trump’s refusal to say he would accept the outcome “no matter what” was deplorable.

Fast forward to now. Demonstrations that cause traffic blockages, “keying” cars, breaking store windows, starting fires … the very people whose leaders [yes, both Obama and Clinton!] have graciously expressed their own support for an orderly transition are doing exactly what those same leaders have denounced and called deplorable. In fact, what they are doing is much worse — damaging property, and putting lives in danger. The vitriol and the hateful remarks are at least as bad if not worse than anything Trump has said, even including his disgusting remarks in the now-infamous 2005 video released by NBC. It appears to me that if these people are a valid sample of Clinton’s supporters, she was referring to the wrong people when she called Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables”.

In order to make one last important point in this post, let me mention one other remark Trump made that many people considered inappropriate and was picked up and amplified in the media and in the campaign … Lately, he has referred to the election process as being “rigged”. I believe his opponent, and the media, failed to grasp the scope of what he meant. Everybody denouncing that remark referred to dead people voting, multiple votes being cast by the same person, etc. — i.e., actual fraudulent activity — and gave the “standard politician” response that there is no hard evidence that any of this is actually going on.

Back to the “issue” of Trump’s refusal to say up front that he would accept the outcome of the election, and relating it to his “the system is rigged” remarks, what everybody who pounced on him about both of these “issues” failed to take into account was that Trump might have had a broader-scope view of them than any of them had. I believe the scope of his “rigged” remark extended to how the Electoral College system works [not whether or not it’s a valid system — just how both parties have learned to manipulate it], the presence of Super Delegates in the Democrat Party nomination process [and outwardly different but conceptually similar components of the Republican Party nomination process], and how liberally biased the media is [which results in grossly disproportionate “free air time” that supports the liberal candidate].

In the same way, his refusal to just answer up front with a simple “Yes” to the question “Will you say now that you will accept the outcome of the election?” was less about selfishness and narcissism than it was about a shrewd businessmen simply giving an answer that harmed nobody and wouldn’t affect his electability — and doing so after calculating very quickly in his mind potential conditions under which that could come back to haunt him [like the 2000 “hanging chad” issue, particularly if there was solid evidence of fraudulent activity].

The truth is that what won Donald Trump the presidency was not just his own brilliance, but his ability to surround himself with people who could find out what it would take in this election to win, put together a plan [i.e., a campaign strategy] that would capitalize on that knowledge, and effectively and efficiently implement that plan — and his part was to continuously assess how it was going and make personnel or other adjustments as necessary to drive the process to a successful outcome. As just one example of why that outcome was successful, the “Blue Wall” was toppled by Trump’s wins in midwestern and other states the Clinton campaign literally quit campaigning in because they viewed them as being behind the “Blue Wall”.

Barack Obama is a brilliant man, but he has been one of the worst if not the worst President in my lifetime. Donald Trump is a brilliant man. Whether he will be an even worse President, a good President, or a great President remains to be seen. On this, I can truly say “I’m with her” [to use a phrase from the Clinton campaign, coined by Elizabeth Warren, I think]: We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. And we don’t just respect that, we cherish it”.

Stay tuned. We’re in uncharted territory, and until some trends and patterns begin to take shape between now and 1/20/17 [inauguration of Donald Trump as POTUS], there is literally no reliable basis on which to predict what each post-election day/week/month will look like.


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Charles M. Jones


Binary Party Affiliation Choices — We Need Something Better


Why are you a [Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, … pick your poison]?

Version 2One of the ten long term trends John Naisbitt identified in his 1982 book Megatrends that is being heralded now as being “right on” was “[a] society [
that] is changing from a narrow ‘either/or’ perspective with a limited range of personal choices to one of ‘free-wheeling’ multiple options”. One realm in which this prediction has not moved as rapidly to reality as it has in many areas is the political arena.

Although third party options were available at the time Naisbitt’s book was written, the fact is that no third-party candidate has ever won a U.S. presidential election. The strongest showing for a third-party candidate came in 1912, when former President Teddy Roosevelt left the Republican Party. He ended up coming in second, with 27.4 percent of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes. It’s generally agreed that Roosevelt’s 1912 candidacy took votes away from the Republican candidate, incumbent President William Howard Taft, allowing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win with just 41.8 percent of the popular vote. Many say third-party candidate Ralph Nader played a “spoiler” role in the 2000 election. Running to the left of Democrat Al Gore, Nader received 97,488 popular votes in Florida, a state Republican George W. Bush won by just 537 votes. If most of the Nader supporters had voted for Gore instead, Gore would have won Florida’s 25 electoral votes, and he would have been elected president instead of Bush [1].

So the bottom line is that a vote for a third-party [or write-in] candidate has historically been a vote for the incumbent-party candidate. However, if a major paradigm shift is in fact underway now, as I believe it is, the current polls can be misleading. I believe that trying to apply past statistics to this election is a useless process.

At this writing, the Republican and Democrat candidates are virtually tied — polls show that either party’s candidate’s lead is within the statistical margin of error. Support for all alternative candidates, collectively, accounts for about 10% of the people polled [2]. If the alternative-candidate support is pulling from both major-party candidates equally, the race is still a toss-up; if it is pulling more from one than the other [particularly if prevalently so in the so-called “swing states”], that segment alone can determine the outcome of this election. The interesting thing about a paradigm shift is that nobody, even “experts”, can accurately predict where within this range actual election-day votes will fall.

A major problem at this time is that the campaigns of the organized political parties, all of which are largely tied to the Current [I would say, Old] Paradigm, are not equipped to operate under the New Paradigm that is rapidly [exponentially] unfolding. In polls, people are asked whether they are Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican, for or against a particular issue, etc. — binary, either/or, current/old paradigm choices. It would be great if people could indicate where they are on a far left to far right scale on each of, say, ten specific issues, with their answers resulting in mapping to a specific point on a left-to-right spectrum. Such a system would be even better if each person could then form his/her own “custom-tailored party”, or CTP — i.e., connect [through emails and/or texts and/or web/app interaction designed by that “custom-tailored party”, or probably more efficiently through existing social media like FaceBook, Twitter, etc.] with everybody who is within some plus or minus “band” around his/her position on the left-to-right spectrum.

In this CTP system, it might also be advisable to allow each person to place a weight on each issue. This weight could be 1, 2 or 3, with 2 meaning average weight for that person, 1 meaning less important / critical than his/her average and 3 meaning more important / critical than his/her average.

As an example of how this would work, I designed a prototype model to do the computations for ten issues [3], and I entered my selections for each issue. On a 5-left to 5-right scale, and using a weight of 2 on all issues, my point on the left-right spectrum is 2.4 right. For perspective, the most enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporters in this election would probably find themselves at least between 4 and 5 left, maybe all the way to 5 left. Most people who identify very closely with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party would probably find themselves at least between 4 and 5 right, maybe all the way to 5 right.

So to use Naisbitt’s terminology, how would this new multiple-option system be better than the current either-or system? Our current government has become dysfunctional because of party polarization [see the Dysfunctional Government page in the The Situation Today section of this web site]. Lawmakers in both of the major parties tend to flock together and vote along party lines. This is why Republicans can’t move legislation that can easily pass the House through the Senate and on to the President — the Senate minority can, in effect, ensure that bills the Democratic party opposes never even get voted on in the Senate. In the rare cases where a bill is opposed by most Democrats but manages to get through the Senate, the President can veto it — and the odds are heavily against a veto override because whatever bipartisan support it had would not likely have included the number of Democrats that would be needed for an override.

This new CTP system would have both short term and long term advantages over the current dysfunctional system. Under this system, elected officials’ “bases” [died-in-the-wool, no-matter-what supporters] would no longer be as easily identifiable, making it much more difficult for them to pander to these “bases”. Also, “blocks” [groups that tend to vote heavily in favor of one party or the other] like Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, LGBTs, Labor Unions, Evangelical Christians, Rural, Urban, etc., would probably not be as monolithic in their voting patterns, because the people in these “blocks” would feel less need to formally affiliate with organizations that ostensibly represent their interests and concerns.

In the short term, this system would require elected officials to pay closer attention to a wide range of CTPs rather than assuming that their traditional party “bases” and the “blocks” that traditionally vote for their parties are securely in their camps.

Longer term, this CTP system would greatly diminish the power and influence of traditional parties, possibly even ultimately rendering them completely obsolete. Perhaps even more importantly, it would set the stage for ensuring that better slates of candidates make it into races in the first place — because money and “connections” would play a much smaller role in a person’s decision to run for office. This, in turn, would result in a dramatic increase in the ability of elected officials to find common ground on which compromises could be negotiated.

I am actually trying to find ways to develop and implement an app / web site that can provide exactly this capability, with the goal of ultimately using existing social media as at least part of if not the main communication mechanism within CTPs. If this effort is successful, readers of this blog will be among the people given the opportunity to participate in the development process. Meanwhile, I would welcome any feedback anyone would like to offer on the concept.

If the app / web site then gains some traction and becomes widely used, it could become a key component of the New Paradigm developing at this time. If I am unable to actually bring this about, it is my sincere hope that by introducing the concept, I am making a meaningful contribution to the development of a better future system than the current dysfunctional one.


  1. Source for the historical summary in this paragraph:
  2. Source:
  3. The 10 issues were: Abortion, Marriage, Defense, Education, Social Security, Medicare, the ACA, Budget, Law Enforcement, and Capital Punishment. An example of far-left / far-right extremes [using Abortion]: 5 left, “Abortions should be available on demand for any reason and at any point in a pregnancy, and government funding should be available to any woman who wants one but cannot afford it”; 5 right, “Abortions should be illegal with one exception: when a choice must be made between the life of the unborn child and the life of the mother”.

[Note … If you haven’t read my Introduction To blog post and the Home Page of, I strongly urge you to do so. This and all subsequent posts will make more sense to readers familiar with that introductory information.]


Charles M. Jones

An Introduction To

According to experts on blogs, if I’m going to capture your attention with this, my introductory blog post at this site, I must do so in the next few sentences. I sincerely hope I can do that, … read more

According to experts on blogs, if I’m going to capture your attention with this, my introductory blog post at this site, I must do so in the next few sentences.  I sincerely hope I can do that, because I honestly believe I have a perspective on “goings on” in America that makes me more than just another blogger in the [insert your own adjective: Liberal; Conservative; Republican; Democrat; White; African-American; Asian; Gay; Straight; Religious; Non-Religious; Wall Street; Main Street …] Camp. This country is on a path to a future that the vast majority of its citizens will find very undesirable — from many perspectives, but although I see the country [just as anyone else does] through the lens of my ideological worldview, the financial situation will ultimately make all ideological considerations moot if we don’t develop the political will in our leadership to get ourselves onto a more sustainable fiscal path.  If you don’t agree with me at this point and your interest in what I have to say is waning, PLEASE consider the possibility that there may actually be something to my claim of potentially bringing a broader — perhaps even unique — perspective to the endless stream of opinions from bloggers in the various camps mentioned parenthetically above, and at least read the rest of this introductory blog post before making a decision to move on to something else.  If you agree with me to this point, I’d like to assume that you will at least read the rest of this introductory blog post [if that assumption is incorrect, all I can do is ask you to PLEASE reconsider — for the same reason]. Continue reading “An Introduction To”

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