Mar 27, 2020

Confessions of a Political Know-Nothing!

Are You Finding Yourself Awash in Confusion?

By Ed Goldman

Starting with the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016—and the simultaneous dissolution of the alleged world order of American politics—I’ve come to realize that despite my decades in journalism, with side trips into marketing and public affairs—I know absolutely nothing.

I did win $500 betting Trump would prevail in the November election. My former bookie, Gabe the Gossip, told a few of my acquaintances about my successful wager, which caused me some serious, if short-lived, alienation. They seemed to think if I won a bet on Trump’s victory I must have voted for him. Not in this or any imaginable lifetime. But I suspected he’d be successful for two reasons: 

1. The Democrats thought that with a Clinton on the ballot, there was nothing to worry about—ignoring the fact that Hillary, unlike her oleaginous husband Bill, was awkward and often icy as a speaker, and carried herself with a sense of entitlement about what she presumed would be her forthcoming coronation.

Bill, in stark contrast, could make himself appear to be holding back tears at the opening of an envelope.

2. For his acceptance speech upon winning the Republican nomination for president, Trump bellowed at all of us for 45 minutes without getting hoarse. The only person I’d ever seen pull that off before was my mom, and with a much smaller audience: me, and occasionally, one of my brothers. 

She could be a tad high-strung at times—like the afternoon when my middle brother Stuart and I wrestled our way around the house and into the bathroom, where I fell through the glass shower door. I was unhurt. So Stu thought it’d be advisable to get out before our mom returned home but to leave her a note saying, “Ed fell through the door, is okay, we went to play football.” I asked if that wasn’t too cavalier (or whatever word an 11-year-old would have come up with that meant the same thing), and he said not to worry. “She’ll be so glad to see you’re alive,. We won’t get into any trouble.” 

He was right. Our mom was thrilled I was okay. Our dad, however, who would have to pay for and replace the glass, saw things differently when he got home.

As we all know, the past four years have been nothing like most of us have ever seen in presidential politics: A world leader who swears, mocks the physically challenged, embraces dictators and rewards racism (bestowing a Medal of Freedom, no less, on one of the most nauseating hatemongers on the planet). 

We saw this president get impeached—though Oil-of- Olé Bill’s impeachment in 1998, two years after handily winning re-election, might have prepped us to not take Trump’s too seriously. Instead of the Constitution-shaking event it was, it turned into little more than a session of small claims court with better water pitchers.

Upcoming Democratic presidential primaries are are on hold, as you know. There was supposed to be one in Georgia today, and in Puerto Rico March 29. Check your local listings to find out whenever these are going to take place.
These dates won’t be the end of them but I’ll hazard a guess that if we don’t know by then who the party’s nominee will be—and we actually have to endure a “brokered convention,” as the pundits like to call a backroom coin toss—we might as well settle in for four more years of my mom yelling at us.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).