In tonight’s Republican presidential debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), one of four Republicans seeking the GOP’s presidential nomination, claimed that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff led to the Great Depression.
This is yet another right-wing lie from Cruz.
The truth of the matter is that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was enacted in response to the Great Depression, not before the Great Depression. Although economic problems that led to the Great Depression had been building up for years prior to the 1929 stock market crash (most notably rampant income inequality), the crash is seen as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and is viewed by many historians as the beginning of the Great Depression. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff, named after then-Sen. Reed Smoot (R-UT) and then-Rep. Willis C. Hawley (R-OR), was signed into law by then-President Herbert Hoover in June of 1930, nearly nine months after the Black Tuesday stock market crash of 1929.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff failed to reverse the extreme economic decline for a number of reasons. First, the tariff was completely reactionary and not designed primarily to protect American manufacturing jobs or bring manufacturing jobs that went overseas back to America. Second, there wasn’t much in the way of social safety net programs or public works programs that any revenue generated by the tariff could be used to pay for back in 1930, as many of them still in place nowadays were enacted either as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal or as part of other policies enacted by subsequent presidents.
Ted Cruz, as well as many of the people he associates himself with, has a habit of lying through his teeth, and he’s proven that yet again. If you’re looking for a presidential candidate who will rebuild America and take on Wall Street greed, he’s not on stage tonight…he’s Bernie Sanders, and he’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
If you thought that the race for the Republican presidential nomination couldn’t get any more juvenile and bizarre, Donald Trump had to talk about his dealmaker on national television:
“Look at those hands, are they small hands?” the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination said, raising them for viewers to see. “And, he referred to my hands — ‘if they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”
That’s right…the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination referenced the size of his penis during a nationally-televised Republican presidential debate. Trump’s penis got more airtime at the GOP debate than actual political issues like climate change, paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, mass incarceration, and higher education debt.
If you want to send a loud and clear message that you’re sick and tired of the Republican presidential race resembling a third-grade playground fight, then vote or caucus for Bernie Sanders if your state, federal district, or territory hasn’t voted or held caucuses on a Democratic presidential nominee yet!
With her political firewall eroding, Hillary Clinton is now calling for another Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire on February 4, between the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary. Not to be outdone by Hillary, Bernie Sanders called for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to sanction three debates in the later stages of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination:
Sanders’s campaign released a statement late Wednesday calling for additional debates in the Democratic primary, but with specific provisions.
The campaign is requesting one each in March, April and May. All three must not be scheduled on a Friday, Saturday or holiday, and all three must include Martin O’Malley along with Sanders and Clinton.
“If the Clinton campaign will commit to this schedule, we would ask the DNC [Democratic National Committee] to arrange a debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 4,” the statement said.
While Democrats are pushing the out-of-touch DNC into sanctioning more debates without using anybody as a political pawn, Republicans are offering more debates on their side of the ledger as a way of using those who served our country in uniform as political pawns. That all started over Donald Trump’s hissy fit about the fact that Megyn Kelly, a woman, will be the lead moderator of tonight’s FOX News Republican presidential debate in Iowa.
Two SuperPACs supporting Ted Cruz, Keep the Promise I and Keep the Promise II, offered to donate $1.5 million to charities supporting veterans if Trump and Cruz agree to a one-on-one debate before the Iowa Caucuses.
Not to be outdone by a Cruz SuperPAC, Carly Fiorina made a couple of offers to Trump, both of which would involve money being donated to veterans. The first offer involved a promise of a $1.5 million donation to veterans’ charities if Trump and Cruz agree to debate Fiorina in Sioux City, Iowa on Saturday, and the second officer involved a promise of a $2 million donation to veterans charities if Trump agreed to debate Fiorina at a Trump campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa scheduled for the same time as tonight’s debate.
While I normally appreciate donations to groups that seek to provide help to those who served our country in uniform (provided that they’re a reputable charity), using our nation’s veterans as political pawns is absolutely disgusting, and one of the lowest things I’ve ever seen in a presidential campaign. In fact, at least one veterans’ charity has already pre-emptively refused any money from a Trump event.
Donald Trump is not your typical Republican presidential candidate. He has a very unorthodox appeal to Republican primary and caucus voters, an unorthodox appeal that has helped him take the lead in race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to recent national, Iowa, and New Hampshire opinion polls of Republican voters.
Here’s some of my thoughts (these are entirely my thoughts, because, unlike Jeb Bush, I actually am my own man) on Trump’s unorthodox appeal to Republican voters:
- Trump says what he thinks – Not too many politicians in this country speak their mind, but Trump does. Trump has made a habit of speaking his mind, both before his presidential run and as a presidential candidate, and the right-wing corporate media in this country gives him a ton of attention. The fact that he is wealthy enough to, if he had to, self-fund an entire presidential campaign (his net worth is probably somewhere in the low-to-mid ten figures, although Trump himself publicly inflates his net worth for his own ends) gives him even more of an incentive to speak his mind.
- Trump has a giant ego – While someone with as huge of an ego as Trump wouldn’t stand much of a chance of winning a Democratic primary or caucus, being overly egotistical, which Trump is, does play well with the Republican caucus/primary electorate. To put that another way, Republicans admire jerks like Trump.
- Trump’s overt racism and sexism plays well with Republicans – Racism and sexism is not a negative with the Republican crowd…in fact, they admire bigots like Trump. Trump’s racist remarks, such as his anti-immigration tirades, as well as his sexist remarks, such as claiming that Megyn Kelly of FOX News questioned him at a Republican debate because she was on her period, play well with Republicans.
- Trump has an unusual appeal to working-class voters – For someone who is extremely wealthy and a real estate magnate, Trump actually has an ability to appeal to working-class voters who are open to the idea of voting for a Republican presidential candidate. The kind of working-class voters who are open to supporting someone like Trump are mostly white racists who view foreigners and ethnic minorities as taking their jobs away and have not just resentment, but racist resentment, towards foreigners and ethnic minorities. Trump’s tirades against Mexico, China, lenient U.S. trade policies, and immigration play very well with this crowd of voters.
While I do agree with Trump on a few issues, such as his opposition to Common Core State Standards and criticism of U.S. trade policies that are far too lenient towards our largest trading partners and have cost America thousands of jobs, I’d never consider voting for Trump. While, admittedly, I’d be seen by many as a poor, left-wing version of Trump if I ever for public office, Trump is way too much of a blowhard, egomaniac, bully, and bigot for me to consider voting for him. Also, if Trump were to self-fund most or all of his presidential campaign, that’s just as much of an undue influence on the political system as politicians being bought off by wealthy campaign donors.
Regarding whether or not I think Trump can win a general election for president, I think that he’d defeat Hillary Clinton, but lose to Bernie Sanders. Although Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are not one and the same by any stretch of the imagination, Clinton can be compared to Romney in a way: She’s perceived as out of touch with ordinary people and part of the political elite, which is what cost Romney the 2012 presidential election. On the other hand, Sanders can appeal to the kind of persuadable working-class voters that Trump would need to win, in that Sanders is a stronger opponent of free-trade policies than Trump is and comes across as more presidential than Trump does.