Tag Archives: New York TImes

Why Costco is proof the free market works: A critique of government interference

Modern American economic politics, particularly in the last 15 years or so, has morphed into a perverse and dangerous game of stock picking.

Given the economic intelligence of most politicians, particularly our last several presidents, the better analogy might be horse racing.

Government has invested heavily in certain industries. Some have grown and some have famously flopped. President Obama’s investments into Solyndra and other green companies have cost taxpayers billions. His investments in bailouts for the auto companies, particularly GM, were band-aids on what are long-term problems. General Motors still owes the government billions while a company like Ford, who had to pull its way out of the recession, is the top selling American brand in the market place.

But it hasn’t just been the Democrats. President George W. Bush put billions of dollars of subsidies into defense contractors for a war we couldn’t afford to fight. Liberals will tell you Iraq was all about the oil, although the Iraqi government has said they plan on using their oil is a bargaining chip from now on.

Even so, Bush put billions into the oil industry as well.

The idea in all of the aforementioned cases was to create growth.

The free market, though, is a funny thing. Failure actually makes the market stronger. Failure is the backbone of any economy. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb puts it, “(Organic systems) need some dose of disorder in order to develop. Deprive your bones of stress and they become brittle. This denial of the antifragility of living or complex systems is the costliest mistake that we have made in modern times. Stifling natural fluctuations masks real problems, causing the explosions to be both delayed and more intense when they do take place.”

His article, Learning to Love Volatility sets the groundwork for why a free market will function much better over the long term without government intervention.

Interfering with the market, whether it’s the stock market, monetary policy, or economic sectors, propping them up over long periods of time as we’ve done with oil subsidies, has done nothing to change the behavior of either the producer or the consumer.

Ending those subsidies, driving the price of things like gas way up, would certainly change the behavior of most people. You’d try to drive less. You’d ditch that SUV for a sedan, or at least a hybird.

Auto-makers would try harder to create technology to make cars more fuel efficient because they’d have to. Ford literally had to stop making Excursion SUV’s because they guzzled gas and no one wanted to pay $100 to fill up their tank once a week.

That’s the market at work. No government mandate would have changed things. Mandating better fuel efficiency doesn’t change consumer behavior because oil subsidies make it cheap to buy gas. If I can still buy gas for a low cost, I could care less what my gas mileage is.

Ask Chevy Volt, who has stopped production on a car no one wants to drive.

And I know the left thinks corporations are evil, but what about Costco? A New York Times profile points out that Costco marks up their retail goods at about half the rate of normal big box stores while paying their employees considerably better.

Jim Sinegal, the company’s CEO, says he knows happy workers are good workers and the same is true of customers. Although Costco is a public company, they focus more on their in-store performance than their Wall Street one.

Still, their stock is up 10% in the last year whereas Wal-Mart is down 5%. Sinegal takes a modest salary, about $350,000 a year, but with his stock options is worth more aboust $150 million.

His theory is that it wouldn’t be right for the salary disparity to be any bigger.

It isn’t benevolence, to Sinegal, it’s good business. And it is.

The best anecdote from the article is a conversation Sinegal had with Starbuck’s head Howard Schultz. Costco, Sinegal threatened, would stop carrying the coffee hegemon if Schultz didn’t lower his bean prices.

It had become public that the price of beans had dropped, which means it had become cheaper for Starbuck’s to buy their coffee, but the price of a latte or a pound of french roast hadn’t changed.

Eventually, Schultz relented and agreed to lower his prices.

There was no government intervention. No conspiracy or oligopoly or collusion. This was market forces at work.

You can bet the New York Times profile will be a bump for Costco’s business. The morality of companies has grown in importance to the market place, and for consumers that should be considered an enormous win.

It will also make the government’s job much easier because they no longer have to decide who wins and who loses. It was never their role to begin with, just one they decided to take up.

But given the expansive media landscape, access the market and access to information has never been broader. The playing field has never been so level.

The government, and that means both political parties, must learn that a free market means a free people. It should be the goal of every government and every politician to see its people free from the shackles of the economic burden that poor management from government has done a great deal to create.

Political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes would say government control can actually make us more free because in what he calls the state of nature – essentially a primeval anarchy – there is no protection for anyone.

A truly free market cannot stand. But the government-controlled market we’ve created is on its last legs. It’s time to once again let the bones of the market grow strong by standing on its own.

It’s time for government to stop picking winners and losers and let us do that. That’s our job, not theirs.

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The confirmation bias and hypocrisy in critique of conservative group think

Burying the Republican Party, or at least throwing a handful of dirt on it, has become en vogue following Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 Presidential Election.

If they don’t adapt, they’ll die, etc.

But that was always true. Every political party has to adapt to the people it governs. Democracy is, after all, about following the will of the people.

Bruce Bartlett wrote a sizable treatise on the state of the American Conservative on the appropriately named TheAmericanConservative.com.

His position is not new, but rather an in-depth deconstruction of the GOP echo-chamber thesis being put forth by plenty of people both left and right in the political spectrum.

Bartlett, for his part, is a credentialed conservative, having worked with Jack Kemp, the Reagan administration and most recently George W. Bush.

His main criticism of the Republican Party is that they’ve become closed-minded. He cites an example of criticism he offered in a New York Times Magazine article that none of his conservative friends had even read. Some offered disdain that he would even suggest they’d believe something from a “liberal rag.”

One of the architects and champions of supply-side economics, Bartlett had more recently found love with Keynesian theory. Furthermore, he felt the right’s attack of this theory to be misguided and unfair.

But what Bartlett’s criticism, and by proxy any political criticism, of economic policy is missing is the truism that theory is theory. It exists in a vacuum.

Policy exists in the world. It has actual impacts on markets and those markets are never as cookie cutter as the cute, nice examples in such pieces of turn-of-the-century economic diatribes.

No one can argue the Keynesian notion that government spending levels do have an impact on business cycles in an economy, but they were more important in 1930 when the United States didn’t have to compete with China’s currency manipulations, the Euro-zone falling apart, or really any global competition.

Furthermore, spending levels are one thing – FDR spent a ton to help get us out of a recession – but he didn’t run up massive deficits or debt to do it. In fact, his spending as it relates to GDP was a fraction of what President Obama has done and is proposing in the future.

Debt levels have buried Greece and are threatening to bury Italy, Spain and soon yes, the United States.

Bartlett is correct to criticize the heinous perversion of conservatism by George W. Bush, a man who was driven by craven megalomania (an influence Karl Rove must take a considerable responsibility in) and not a conservative ideologies.

Bush 43 spent about as responsibly as a Hilton trust fund baby, but modern conservatives do criticize Bush for that.

Part of the problem, perhaps, for Bartlett and probably for the left who agree with him, is that they just don’t know enough modern conservatives. They don’t know people who believe in the conservative policies that are working in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.

That’s because the loudest conservative voices are, and probably always have been, the most closed-minded and ignorant. That, however, is not a GOP-only issue.

The left, hardened by two straight presidential victories, has become the most closed-minded group of people on planet Earth. Al-Qaeda has more wiggle room on their extremist positions than any pundit on MSNBC or NPR.

Just like Bartlett had friends who were shocked to find he’d think they would read the New York Times, I have friends who are equally shocked that I might think they would watch Fox News or read the Wall Street Journal.

What Bartlett and the Cato Institute have called “epistemic closure” is not something that only takes place on the right. As MSNBC and surrogates like Mother Jones, Daily Kos and others, move further left, the same sort of group think which pervades many circles of conservatives will create its own similar echo-chamber if one doesn’t already exist (and I think it does).

Plenty of GOPers convinced themselves that Gallup and Rasmussen had the party ID breakdown right and no one else did. Conservatives, particularly modern ones, are used to being underdogs. But if Gallup had been right, what would the echo-chamber criticism look like?

This critique is easy to make now because the GOP lost, but it wasn’t the landslide people pretend it was. Mitt Romney, an admittedly weak candidate who was never a strong conservative, nor a sufficiently appealing moderate, lost by less than 2% in the national vote and if half a million votes in swing states go for Romney, he wins in the landslide instead of Obama.

We don’t need to re-write reality in order to conform it to the way we want it. That kind of confirmation bias is evident in the ironically-named Bartlett article, “Revenge of the reality-based community.”

The mandate in 2008 was obvious: a rejection of Bush-era policies. In 2012, that mandate, if there is one, is less obvious, but Bush-era policies are decidedly not conservative. You can’t, in one breath, say the world is now anti-conservative because they’re anti-Bush, and yet say that means they’re now center left, when 60% of voters believe our economic problems are Bush’s fault.

The inherent implication there is that our dire economic straights are from a president spending like a maniac on programs we couldn’t afford and wars we didn’t really want to fight.

Obama’s policies have been no different. In that way, Bartlett’s characterization of Obama as a center-right politician is fitting: if Bush is what we might call a neo-conservative, Obama isn’t much different.

But there’s no evidence that either is the so-called ‘mandated path’ that this country wants to be on. Just about any critique for an echo-chamber or group think effect you can label on the right, you can do the same with the left.

Going off the deep end and decrying the end of the GOP is an unnecessary and unsupported claim. Critiques are right about one thing, the GOP must adapt or die.

But that was true even 10 years ago when Republicans had a strangle-hold on American politics. It’s a truism. It just is. All political parties, ideologies, and theories must adapt or be rendered irrelevant.

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The liberal’s historical argument for higher taxes on the rich doesn’t add up

I can’t blame left-wing ideologues for not understanding the difference between causation and correlation. It’s a tenant, actually, of liberal ideology, to completely misunderstand the very nature of reality in cause and effect.

But when economists start screwing it up, there’s cause for serious concern.

Paul Krugman hasn’t been the most non-partisan economics writer of his time, but in his latest dive off the deep end into the political economic climate in a post-Hostess world, his title ‘The Twinkie Manifesto” is a fitting one.

You can imagine Krugman’s glee at his Karl Marx pun.

In his piece, he explains that in the 1950’s and 60’s when economic growth was booming, top tax rates were above 70%, even at 90% at various times and the corporations were taxed at double the rates they are now.

All of this in a world where one in three workers were part of a union.

In short, the life of a corporate CEO was anything but luxe…just the way the left likes it.

The implication Krugman seems to be making is that if we go back to these kinds of tax rates, what could it hurt? We’ve seen it work before.

What Krugman is missing here – besides mostly everything – is reality (you know…nothing important).

The post-World War II world was an industrial boom. Cities were being built and rebuilt, industries were expanding, being created and this was happening while the rest of the world, for the most part, was mired in economic hardships.

Europe was still struggling to unshackle itself from the devastation of two world wars, Asia was still woefully behind the modern world and this truly was the time when America asserted its world dominance.

There’s a reason they got in an international pissing match with the USSR; they were the only two countries with any sort of economic or military might at that point.

The point of the history lesson is to point out that this industrial revolution of sorts was what drove economic growth. Imagine, conservatives could say, a world in the 1950’s with some technological advancements and industrial growth, had you let the business owners and investors actually keep some money from their endeavors.

We might still be reaping the boons of such an economic policy. Just because those top tax rates didn’t absolutely murder the U.S. economy, doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t now – they certainly would.

In short, the global economy is such an inescapably different place that to compare current economic circumstances with those historical ones is fallacy and near lunacy.

Enormous top tax rates didn’t cause those economic booms, it was a function of circumstances and opportunities. It’s not a difficult argument to make that if top rates and corporate rates had been lower, we likely would have seen even higher rates of growth.

Perhaps more to the point, modern economists have expressed concerns that America’s history as an economic superpower is too reliant on innovation and growth. The U.S. was a burgeoning behemoth when the car was invented, when digital technology was discovered and industrial advancements were being made.

Now, innovation is harder, there is more global competition. No economy can rely solely on innovation to drive it forward.

Essentially, Krugman’s argument is the leftist Clinton argument re-hashed and doubled down. Clinton’s higher tax rates on the rich are where liberals always turns to in an argument about pushing rates up. But Clinton had the housing bubble and the tech bubble both in full boom when he was in office. Those tax rates didn’t cause either bubble, but they didn’t significantly inhibit them either.

The housing bubble was creating by bad long-term fiscal policy (which is Clinton’s fault), and the tech bubble was created by overzealous business owners and ultra-aggressive investment professionals.

Also remember, Clinton lowered taxes on investments, which caused millions to be re-invested, growing the economy.

But even just 15 years ago, the complexities of the global economy were not the same. Higher tax rates didn’t have the same effects they do now as millions and probably billions of dollars in American corporate profits are being sheltered in other countries with more favorable tax structures.

Higher taxes on the rich would only make liberals feel better. That’s the only causation in this equation. It wouldn’t put even a nick in our debt, nor would it account for even a fraction of our deficit spending. It would just make liberals feel the world is fair and they could pay for more inefficient and ineffective government programs.

For all the talk about the GOP not being the party of math, the liberals’ math on tax reform doesn’t add up. Nor does their stance on physics: their reality is not the one in which we all live.

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Why ObamaCare doesn’t solve the problems liberals think it does

ObamaCare was supposed to be the crown jewel for Barack Obama’s first term as president. Instead, for the most part, our soon-to-be-former President has hid from his behemoth of non-partisan insurance take over.

But just because Obama himself hasn’t really taken up for his own legislation – in part because polls right now show people think Romney is better suited to tackle the issue of health care – the bleeding hearts over at the New York Times will do it for him.

Nicolas Kristof penned this heart-breaking, fallacy-filled piece about how ObamaCare would have saved his friend’s life. The problem is almost none of the assumptions Kristof makes about how the law would affect the average person is even close to correct.

John Goodman explains Kristof’s folly in a piece for Forbes and it serves as an archetype argument against ObamaCare in general.

The long and short of Kristof’s piece is that a friend of his chose not to buy insurance because of the costs. He eventually developed cancer and passed away.

It’s a sad story, but the substance contained therein is lacking…so you know a liberal wrote it.

Goodman explains that the basic fallacy in this idea of ObamaCare is that somehow mandating insurance would have saved this man’s life. We all have to make choices about our health, whether to buy insurance, whether to take all of the medicine we’re prescribed, whether to go to the emergency room or see our general practice doctor.

Just having insurance doesn’t solve the true effects felt from humans interacting with the system.

Furthermore, plenty of people like Kristof’s friend could still choose not to have insurance. The penalties for a young, healthy person like me are relatively low, although so are the costs of individual plans.

By way of example, at my current job at a small company, the cost of my individual insurance plan is prohibitively high. There are several young people and several much older people at the firm. We buoy their coverage because we’re cheaper to insure. It’s actually more expensive, not less, for me to enter into a group employer-paid plan because the older employees pull my costs up.

As Goodman explains, insurance is not something we get in addition to wages, but rather a substitute for them. There are subsidies for employers who provide insurance, but none for people who buy their own.

Kristof’s friend, like all of us have to, made a choice. ObamaCare doesn’t fix that. I can still be uninsured because the penalties aren’t that excessive, nor does the IRS have a firm grip on how to actually enforce the penalties.

More to the point, having insurance doesn’t ensure you stay healthy. You are your own best friend and worst enemy when it comes to your health. Mandating health insurance doesn’t solve the problem of rising costs because people are still making poor health decisions. They always will.

Unless you want government to decide which screenings and treatments you have to take, that won’t change. Some progressives will probably think that’s a great idea.

But putting sicker people on the insurance doles, doesn’t make my costs go down. The people you’re adding to insurance are the people with pre-existing conditions and the currently uninsured, most of whom work jobs where they aren’t provided insurance, which are, by and large, a lower income cohort.

Much like I brought down the group rates for my company’s insurance, if you pool rates by adding only more sick people, rates have to go up to cover the additional costs.

ObamaCare uses government dollars and those fees, which they won’t possibly be able to collect, to offset some of those costs, but the fact is, the vast majority of the country will see increased costs as a result when we already have systems in place for people who can’t afford coverage.

This is to say nothing of the actual cost of ObamaCare, which will be in the trillions of dollars. And if what you really want is people with pre-existing conditions to be covered, then create a subsidy or a program specifically for those people. It doesn’t make sense for the government to affect everyone’s coverage, but rather just those who most need it.

Luckily, we won’t have to discuss ObamaCare once the first week in January roles around.

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Obama’s arrogance to be a talking point for the GOP

President Obama loves to compete…unless you’re a business.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the New York Times had a slobbering piece of President Obama’s competitive nature and his recent affinity for touting his own non-presidential skills.

I had a liberal friend tell me that, as far as politicians go, she thought President Obama’s arrogance was somewhere in the middle of the road.

To hear New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor tell it – Kantor wrote a detailed novel on the president and his family called ‘The Obamas’ so she, more than most writers, is qualified to speak to this – the president’s arrogance and braggadocio are second to none.

Even by the standards of the political world, Mr. Obama’s obsession with virtuosity and proving himself the best are remarkable, those close to him say. (Critics call it arrogance.)

Jodi Kantor ‘Obama Plays to Win, in Politics and Everything’

This, of course, is hilarious for so many reasons.

First and foremost, it speaks to the president’s lack of you know, actual presidential skills. What else is the guy going to run on besides his “mean chili,” as the Times notes he apparently makes (if he does say so himself).

He may make a trick shot in pool, but can’t insist that his party, which controlled Congress for the first two years of his presidency, to put together a budget.

Secondly, though, this is part of Obama’s character that doesn’t seem to translate at all into politics. He wants to win elections, sure, but why doesn’t he want to compete globally?

Why doesn’t he believe in American exceptionalism? Why doesn’t he believe in competition in the marketplace? Why does he believe millions of Americans need government when he’s spent his whole life trying to prove he doesn’t need help from anyone because he’s so great?

This cognitive dissonance is hard to reconcile, but is something the GOP has already begun undermining in this campaign.

As Noah Rothman points out, Mitt Romney’s RNC speech took a direct shot at the president’s arrogance in what was one of the most poignant political moments I can remember for the Republican party.

It was by far the best line in the speech, if not of the convention. It may have been the best line since Barack Obama uttered the impetus for the line.

You know the one.

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.”

The audience in the arena laughed, not because they think global warming is a joke, but because the president’s words at the time, were riddled with arrogance and self-importance. It has been President Obama’s overpromising and underdelivering that has put him at risk in this election.

In retrospect, his comments seem hollow, full of hubris, and perfectly ridiculous.

Mitt Romney’s response was clean, clear, and ridiculous perfect.

“My promise is to help you and your family.”

It’s s a script-flipper: President Obama, the man who promised you everything, but gave you nothing. It’s Mitt Romney, the man who cares about helping your family, and Barack Obama who only cares about his legacy.

And it isn’t something that just happened with global warming. The president still says he’s “saved the auto industry” which would be true if Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, and the world’s other automakers weren’t doing fine. In fact, GM was struggling because it couldn’t be compete globally.

President Obama didn’t save the auto industry, but rather saved an American company from going under. Seemingly every accomplishment our soon-to-be-former president has, he believes is 10 times more important than it was and that he had 20 times larger a role in its success than he actually had.

Out of touch? How about a guy who can’t stop competing, but refuses to allow others to compete? That’s a platform on which the Republicans can win and the RNC speech was a sign that Mitt Romney and the GOP get that.

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Polls shifting as support grows for true change in the White House

The left is incredulous that Mitt Romney is doing so well.

Look at him, he’s rich, out of touch, isn’t a great speaker, what do we have to do to bury this guy?

But as the election cycle moves out of the primaries, support is consolidated behind the former Massachusetts governor and we’re seeing things that seem almost impossible.

Take, for instance, the latest New York Times/CBS Poll showing Romney with a 46% percent to 43% advantage. The overall numbers aren’t as shocking as the six point decrease among female voters for Obama, mixed with a three point increase among women for Romney.

Perhaps part of the reason is the same poll found 67% of respondents believed Barack Obama was politically motivated when he came out in favor of gay marriage.

Even more startling, that particular sample was actually skewed Democrat, with 6% more respondents self-identifying as liberals.

I don’t want to get too bogged down with the numbers, but the point is, the idea that Obama will whip together a campaign and run away with this election is frankly absurd, no matter what Matt Taibi says.

In fact, I think the President’s first campaign may actually hurt him in his re-election bid. President Obama doesn’t have any more accomplishments than Candidate Obama did, so once again, he’ll have to run a hope and change campaign.

The only problem is we’ve seen it from him. He has the best campaign officials and media people in the world. There’s almost no disputing that. They put him in the best possible position to come off in the best possible light.

But what happens when the economic numbers don’t improve? When health care costs continue to rise? When state after state goes further into debt and has to lay off teachers, fire-fighters and police officers?

Mitt Romney doesn’t have the president’s wit or charm. He doesn’t have the grand slogans or fervent support of thousands of impressionable college students looking for a savior.

On the other hand, millions of Americans have seen what can happen when you have a president who’d rather hang out with George Clooney than institute sound policy.

Romney has the qualities we look for in a leader that our current and soon-to-be-former President lacks. He’s consistent, has a strong sense of himself and his beliefs, and won’t rollover at the first sign of political turmoil.

As this election wears on, it’s becoming clear America has recognized the mistake it made when it elected a president it’d rather see on Late Night with David Letterman than as the leader of the free world.

Candidate Obama promised change in 2008 and he delivered, to some degree. What he brought about was the biggest growth of government, most outlandish waste of spending and perilous lack of leadership in recent memory.

George W. Bush wasn’t perfect, but the way he united us after September 11 and Katrina, and put forward legislation like No Child Left Behind to include every family, not just the poor or rich, is so anti-Obama it’s startling.

Obama did bring change, but after more than three years, it’s no longer a change most people believe in. More and more, people are realizing another change is needed and it starts with a new man occupying the Oval Office.

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Obama’s abuse of executive powers highlights risk of second term to our democracy

When Republicans warn of an unfettered second-term presidency for Barack Obama, they’re not fear-mongering, just being realistic.

The New York Times has finally gotten off its ass around to criticizing the president, or at least analyzing the way in which President Obama uses his power. Finally, it seems, they’ve realized their dereliction of journalistic duties and have decided to hold the powerful accountable.

In the above article, “Shift on Executive Powers Let Obama Bypass Rivals,” should have a headline like “Obama uses executives powers to side-step constitution,” but let’s not quibble when the Times actually attempts to be fair in criticizing a liberal.

The gist of the article is President Obama has taken increasing advantage of his executive powers as President. In other words, if Congress doesn’t do what he wants, he does it anyway.

It’s this kind of authoritarian, anti-democratic mindset that makes characterizing the president as a socialist so easy.

But let me take this one step further because it truly highlights the character, or lack thereof, inside our soon-to-be-former President.

Let me pull you the first quote from one of Obama’s staff advisors as to why the President has decided to ramp up his use of his presidential powers.

“We had been attempting to highlight the inability of Congress to do anything,” recalled William M. Daley,”

This isn’t about legislating. It’s not about doing what’s right or fair or just or any of the things our president says. It’s about making Congress look bad.

Our president, the man who is supposed to be uniting our country to grow and prosper together, is working and planning everyday for one singular reason: he wants to get re-elected.

He doesn’t care about the EPA standards, or whether or not women get their birth control paid for by employers. He cares about getting voters to the polls in November.

That’s it.

He’s even branded the effort, “We can’t wait.”

It’s unconscionable to me what this man does on a regular basis. We’re in the midst of the biggest economic crisis in a century, our government is politically gridlocked and our president is abusing presidential authority to score political points, even creating catch-phrases to make it easy to see what he’s doing.

And if that weren’t enough, he’s acting in direct opposition to his own criticisms of President George W. Bush.

“As a senator and presidential candidate, he had criticized George W. Bush for flouting the role of Congress. And during his first two years in the White House, when Democrats controlled Congress, Mr. Obama largely worked through the legislative process to achieve his domestic policy goals.”

This, remember, is the New York Times, the most liberal paper this side of The Daily Worker. The article goes on to say that President Obama is even making a point to tell people he’s bypassing legislators. Put another way, he wants people to know that he’ll act on his own to go over the head of literally hundreds of dully-elected members of Congress.

President Obama thinks so highly of himself and believes the people, despite his historically low favorability numbers, believe they’d rather have him making decisions, rather than our democratic process.

The man expects you’d elect him king if he asked you to.

This, at a time when he’s facing re-election. Normally a president would be seeking to reach across the isle to appeal to independent voters. He’d be trying to find a theme to unite the people in support of his presidency, his ideals.

Instead, he wants you to know he’ll do whatever he feels like doing. Imagine how abusive he’ll be with the constitution, with your freedoms, if he is re-elected.

If he wins in November, it’s a referendum on his anti-democratic and anti-American view of what our country should be. The threat to our very foundation is real, and those who point it out aren’t alarmists, they’re realists. The threat to our liberties, to our very democratic foundations as a country are at stake.

In what would be historic irony, it could be a democratic election in which a democrat wins that could ultimately crumble the structures of the world’s greatest democracy.

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