Tag: flip-flop

Bernie Sanders forces Donald Trump to flip-flop on raising wages

For all of Donald Trump’s bluster about the Clintons, there’s one presidential candidate that Trump is truly scared of, and his last name isn’t Clinton:

Bernie (Sanders) has consistently maintained that Trump supporters are working class people who are taking out their grievances on minorities and others, rather than addressing the rigged political and socio-economic system that has let them down. Bernie has for some time been saying that Trump is a demagogue who does “what demagogues do … scapegoating others.” And Bernie has asserted that his message of economic justice would resonate with those voters, and he could peel away many Trump supporters.

But on CBS Face the Nation last week he seems to have struck bone.

“This is a guy who does not want to raise minimum wage,” he said of Trump. “In fact, he has said that wages in America are too high.”

Trump responded to Bernie exposing Trump’s big weakness with the white, working-class voters he’d need to win a general election for president by…you guessed it…flip-flopping on raising wages:

Make no mistake about it, white, working-class voters are going to decide the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton has virtually zero appeal to white, working-class voters, so she’d lose badly to Trump. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is an ardent economic progressive who can appeal to white, working-class voters left behind by both a Democratic establishment that openly attacks them and a Republican Party that is hell bent on destroying their livelihoods.

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Scott Walker is the WCW of presidential politics

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains some terms that are used by professional wrestling insiders, such as heel, face, shoot, kayfabe, and stable, that are not used in a normal context. A glossary of professional wrestling terms is available here.


The sudden fall of Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign has caught me, and many other political observers, by surprise. Since not long after Walker survived a recall attempt against him (full disclosure: I was a vocal recall supporter from a neighboring state) in 2012, I pretty much assumed that Walker was going to win next year’s Republican presidential nomination in a cakewalk and be a formidable general election opponent to whoever Democrats nominate. However, in recent polling, Walker has only been polling at a few percentage points in Iowa, where Walker lived part of his childhood.

Molly Ball of The Atlantic magazine has a great piece about Walker’s floundering campaign here. Normally, I would link to Ball’s piece on Twitter and say that anything else I could add is redundant, but I do have something to add. The fall of Scott Walker’s presidential campaign, and possibly the beginning of the end of Walker’s political career, seems eerily reminiscent of the fall of the scripted professional wrestling promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. What I’m about to write is, in professional wrestling vernacular, called a “shoot”, or something (in this case, a blog post) that is unscripted and not part of “kayfabe”, which is the presentation of storylines and matches in a professional wrestling promotion as being real, when, in reality, they’re scripted.

While WCW being in deep debt by early 2001 and AOL Time Warner (now called Time Warner), which was WCW’s parent company in its last years, no longer being interested in professional wrestling actually brought WCW down, WCW lost its way, and much of its audience, in the late 1990’s for a number of reasons:

  • WCW was essentially caught flat-footed by a World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now called World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE) that began using their adult-oriented “attitude” programming style to boost TV ratings for its flagship weekly program, Raw.
  • WCW began rehashing the New World Order (nWo) stable and storyline, which worked very well for WCW for a couple of years in the mid-to-late 1990’s, in a number of different iterations to the point of being repetitive.
  • WCW began alienating its traditional fan base in the southeastern part of the country. In one notable instance, a storyline in which the West Texas Rednecks, a group of wrestlers (stable) with a country music-themed gimmick, were supposed to be the antagonists (heels) to a protagonist (face) stable called the No Limit Soldiers, which was led by rapper Percy “Master P” Miller. However, the storyline backfired on WCW after their fans cheered the Rednecks and booed the Soldiers.
  • On one 1999 episode of WCW’s flagship weekly program, Nitro, WCW announcer Tony Schiavone (under orders from WCW executive Eric Bischoff) gave away the result of a WWF Championship match that aired on a tape-delayed episode of Raw (Mick “Mankind” Foley defeated Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to win the title) on Nitro, which caused many Nitro viewers to tune into Raw in order to see the WWF title match. The Nitro main event that night featured the infamous “fingerpoke of doom”, in which Kevin Nash deliberately laid down after Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea poked Nash in the chest with his finger, and Nash allowed Hogan to pin him and take the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. This is often cited as the beginning of the end of WCW, which folded in 2001.

There are some interesting correlations between what led to the fall of WCW and what has led to Walker’s fall in the Republican presidential caucus/primary polls:

  • Walker (and a lot of other Republican presidential candidates) have been caught flat-footed by the Donald Trump presidential campaign, which has used overt racism and other forms of bigotry to appeal to many of the same racist, far-right voters that Walker would need to win the Republican nomination. Trump’s campaign is, in this regard, analogous to the late 1990’s/early 2000’s edgy programming of the WWF (now WWE).
  • Walker has rehashed his infamous 2011 fight against Wisconsin labor unions repeatedly as a presidential candidate to the point of being repetitive. Walker’s campaign message is, in this regard, analogous to the late 1990’s/early 2000’s WCW rehashing the nWo stable and storyline under various iterations to the point of being repetitive.
  • Walker has dodged questions on, refused to take a stand on, and/or flip-flopped on a number of issues, most notably immigration. This has alienated many conservatives from Walker’s campaign and is somewhat analogous to the late 1990’s/early 2000’s WCW using storylines and gimmicks that their fans did not like or respond in the way that WCW wanted.
  • In a desperate attempt to pander to Trump’s far-right supporters, Walker tried to tack to Trump’s right on immigration by suggesting building a border fence along the U.S.-Canada border. This was quickly viewed as desperate pandering to Trump’s supporters on Walker’s part, and is somewhat analogous to the “fingerpoke of doom” that led to WCW’s demise.

With increasing evidence that Scott Walker’s presidential campaign is tanking (such as recent polls showing low support for Walker within his own party and Walker cancelling a scheduled appearance at the California state Republican convention), Walker has become the WCW of presidential politics.

CONFIRMED: Hillary Clinton was actively involved with developing TPP before she was against parts of it

Since launching her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton has voiced opposition to parts of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free trade agreement that, if fully implemented, would undermine American sovereignty and result in thousands of American jobs being moved overseas.

However, Hillary Clinton wasn’t simply for the TPP before she was against parts of it; she was heavily involved in developing the TPP before she was against parts of it. To prove this point, International Business Times, a business news website, linked to seven leaked diplomatic cables from September 2009 to February 2010 in their report about the U.S. State Department’s role in developing TPP under Hillary Clinton. These cables outline the then-Hillary Clinton-led U.S. State Department’s involvement in developing the TPP with other countries that would be parties to the TPP if fully implemented.

In chronological order according to the timestamp on each cable, here are the cables outlining how Hillary Clinton’s U.S. State Department was involved with the development of the TPP:

  • September 18, 2009 – New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser “expressed his firm belief that the U.S. Administration would move forward on expanding multilateral trade when the timing is right”.
  • September 30, 2009 – Then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg “was interested in moving beyond” the current bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam. Additionally, Then-Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister (now-Vietnamese Foreign Minister) Pham Binh Minh complained that the U.S. was “too protective” regarding international trade.
  • November 27, 2009 – Then-U.S. Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats visited Japan on November 16 and 17, 2009, and his visit was viewed by Japanese officials as “a strong sign of the importance the United States attaches to the U.S.-Japan economic relationship”. However, Japan was “not ready to join a broad regional trade agreement due to sensitivities over agriculture” at the time.
  • December 22, 2009 – Then-U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak hosted a dinner for representatives of would-be TPP member countries, and said representatives “inquired about the goals and objectives of the United States at the upcoming Melbourne (Australia) meeting March 15-19, including the shape and content of the agreement to make it a 21st century agreement, timing, and rules for new members”. Michalak was only mentioned by last name at the very end of the diplomatic cable and was never mentioned by first name in any part of the cable.
  • January 6, 2010 – Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand requested “an additional officer in the Political/Economic Section” for, among other purposes, “allow the Economics Officer to focus on preparations for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations”.
  • January 28, 2010 – Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia advised Then-U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, who was referred to as an ambassador in the cable, on strategies for convincing Malaysia to join the TPP, including advising Marantis to “highlight the priority the Administration is giving to the Trans Pacific Partnership initiative, and the role that the TPP will play in promoting economic competitiveness and trade opportunities in the region”.
  • February 19, 2010 – Then-U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frankie Reed engaged with New Zealand officials “on a wide range of topics including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)”, and Mark Sinclair, New Zealand’s chief negotiator for the TPP, stated that the New Zealand government “views the TPP as a platform for future trade integration in the Asia Pacific (region)”.

The Deputy Secretary of State, Undersecretary of State, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassadors, and U.S. Embassies are all part of the U.S. State Department, both when Hillary Clinton was the head of the State Department, as well as today.

If you needed proof that Hillary Clinton’s recent opposition to parts of the TPP is purely political expediency, there it is. Her U.S. State Department has played a key role in developing the TPP, and that’s something that, as much as she wants to, she can’t deny.