We feel guilty spilling more ink on Donald Trump, but we can’t help ourselves.
What does the success of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders say about the electorate in this 2016 election cycle?
Pignanelli: "Revolution is an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment." — Ambrose Bierce
Most of us have experienced the following anxiety: you are woken up in the middle of the night by an unfamiliar noise; something disturbing is happening but you don't know the cause or origin. The fear of the unknown is gripping.
A similar emotion of puzzlement is plaguing very smart people who possess a great deal of expertise in campaigns and elections. (Thus, really dumb political hacks — like me — are genuinely confused.)
The Trump phenomenon is defying normal behavior. All the predictions and expectations by the intelligent experts continue to be confounded. Moreover, the top three Republican hopefuls are outsiders who never held office. The Democratic contender was not a member of the party until several months ago.
Something is generating a great deal of noise and scaring the residents of the house.
Several prominent members of the political intelligentsia (aka braniacs stumped at the conundrum) are subtly suggesting that the boisterous billionaire and the septuagenarian socialist are benefitting from a new dynamic among voters — an absolute rejection of those who represent the establishment. Despite attempts to dismiss the long-term viability of the duo, the excitement they are generating is intriguing and cannot be ignored. This is especially highlighted because the mainstream candidates are struggling for relevancy.
Americans often forget we were bred in revolution. Pushing back against an establishment we believe to be incompetent and clueless is fundamental to our character. The 2016 primary voter could be returning to his and her roots.
Webb: I worry about the intellectual capacity of a certain segment of the electorate. Sure, enough prurient tendencies exist in all of us to watch a video replay of a bloody automobile crash, or pay attention for a moment to some antic by the Kardashians. Shock value grabs eyeballs. But to support an egotistical entertainer who is also boorish, inconsistent, illogical, simplistic, reckless and absurd (I could go on) to become the world’s most powerful leader is a dangerous departure from common sense.
Yes, I know a segment of the population is fed up with the establishment, with politics as usual. I’m tired of gridlock and dysfunction as well. But Trump and Sanders would amplify these problems, as well as others the country faces, not solve them.
I’m all in for a big shakeup. But it has to be done wisely and intelligently by someone who can bring diverse societal segments and branches of government together to make significant changes. That’s the only way our country works. Dictators aren’t welcome. We need a uniter, not a divider.
Will the eventual party nominees be establishment candidates?
Pignanelli: Political history for the last half-century compels mainstream candidates will eventually triumph. But a longer view of our Republic suggests the United States may be undergoing a major political realignment we experienced in the early 1800s, 1850s, 1930s or 1960s. The rumblings of 2015 could be the beginnings of an insurgency against the status quo that will occur over the next several years. Thank goodness the victims of our modern bloodless revolutions are just the political parties who lose traditional supporters.
Webb: After folks have had their flings with Trump, Sanders, and the other flavors of the week, voters will back someone who can win. On the Republican side it will be Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina or Scott Walker. On the Democratic side it will be Hillary Clinton, although Joe Biden could be a credible challenger.
The proposal to increase the sales tax by one-quarter percent for local transportation projects will be on the ballot in most counties in this year's municipal election. Is it going to win or lose?
Pignanelli: Many municipalities and county governments were slow to pass resolutions authorizing a proposal ballot in their jurisdiction. Politicos believe this is a reflection of opposition that is percolating. Municipal elections suffer lower voter turnout, which helps opponents. But this may be neutralized by the preponderance of mail-in voting. Polls are eagerly anticipated.
Webb: Utah’s economic success, in part, has occurred because we’ve been willing to invest in infrastructure. We remain a young, dynamic, fast-growing state with significant mobility and infrastructure needs. Local governments desperately need funding for local roads and highways, plus trails, bikeways and increased bus service. Freeways are great, but we must support local governments and improve air quality by investing in other modes of transportation as well.
If you don’t like congestion and gridlock, and you do like clean air, vote in favor of the quarter cent. Then it will pass.