Anti-American Presidential Contenders

Thomas Friedman had an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times. He finds the current Presidential campaign bizarre because of the different candidates trashing and disparaging things that make America great.

He points to three strengths of the United States: entrepreneurship, pluralism and the quality of our government institutions and then cites several examples of candidates trashing them.

Donald Trump is first up for his attack on pluralism.

Trump talks about making America great again as many candidates do on both sides (although that implies that we aren’t great anymore.) Yet Trump also is telling Hispanics and Muslims to get out or stay out or both. Our multicultural and diverse society is a key factor in what makes us great.

Friedman points out that Democrats haven’t wanted to control the border because they saw more potential votes coming and Republicans saw it as cheap labor coming, so both left the border porous. But contrary to the impression that Trump gives, they aren’t terrorists and criminals and rapists. A few perhaps, but they are the exception.

He is also using this as a wedge issue to make people fear about losing jobs and create divisions that give him an advantage when in fact many of the job loses are due to technology and not immigration.

Friedman asks where else in the world would you find Presidential elections where a black with a Muslim grandfather defeats a woman candidate and then runs against a Mormon.

Bernie Sanders for Trashing Banks

Friedman feels that Bernie Sanders is a good person and his complaints about the Wall Street excesses were a major factor in the 2008 economic disaster. However, he feels that Sanders is going way overboard in wanting to break up the largest banks. Friedman believes that because of Dodd-Frank we don’t have to worry too much about future problems. (That is what they always say until the next crisis)

He feels that Sanders should put more focus on ways to help entrepreneurs and start-up companies instead of putting so much focus on carving up big banks. His opinion is that these are the people who generate growth in the economy and create jobs and that is where energy should be focused.

Ted Cruz for Being Mean Spirited

Friedman compares Ted Cruz to Grover Norquist who is an anti-tax zealot who has said he wants to decrease the size of the federal government (probably state too) and make it small enough that you could drown it in a bathtub. Friedman very amusingly wonders (and hopes) that if Norquist succeeds in his wish and then slips and falls in that bathtub, would anyone be around at 911 to come to his aid?

Friedman’s take on Cruz is that he is full of hate and Friedman is offended by the way Cruz trashes the federal government. He has a good point in that as the world gets more complicated and interdependent, good national institutions will be ever more important. It will be difficult to compete globally without the sort of programs and projects that can only be done by the federal government. Others don’t have the resources to pull it off.

Friedman points out that the Russians would give a lot to have our Justice Department and the Chinese would really like to have our Environmental Protection Agency.

As he says to sum up the article, our motto is E Pluribus Unum which translated means Out of Many, One.