Day: November 28, 2016

Democrats at a crossroads

By MICHAEL GERSON    While the challenges of the GOP —its long-term demographic difficulties, its erratic leadership, the bitter struggle for its ideological soul—are obscured by victory, the problems of the Democratic Party are on full display. Republicans suffer from heart disease; Democrats have an ugly, gushing head wound. The losing party would be foolish to minimize the scale of its political failure. Hillary Clinton proved incapable of defeating a reality television host whom more than 60 percent of Americans viewed as unfit to be president. It is perhaps the most humiliating moment in the long history of Mr. Jefferson’s party. But the effect is more than reputational. The Democratic candidate and her team could not protect America from a serious risk to its ideals and institutions by an untested and unstable novice who flirted with authoritarianism and made enough gaffes on an average Tuesday to sink a normal presidential campaign. Donald Trump was riding a modest electoral wave in certain parts of the country, but it was not large enough to overwhelm a reasonably capable Democratic candidate with a decent political strategy. Trump’s vote did not burst the levees; it barely lapped over the top of them in the industrial Midwest. The “blue wall” was too low by just a foot or two. But why was the election even close enough for bad strategy in Wisconsin, Michigan and...

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Campaign promises already trashed

Recognized economists, writing on the subject of the anticipated Trump presidency, predict a “short” four-year term that will be damaging to jobless and low-wage American workers. It is now predicted that the nation’s big corporations and Wall Street will retain the upper hand over struggling workers who helped to elect him in what’s recognized as a populist wave. For the purpose of clarity, let’s spend a moment looking at the definition of populism. It is a political ideology that holds that virtuous citizens are mistreated by a circle of elites who can be overthrown if the people recognize the danger and work together.  Populism depicts elites as trampling the rights, values and voice of the “legitimate” people. No sober person of economic understanding sees it likely or even plausible that Trump’s plan to repatriate huge corporate profits to the U.S. for infrastructure spending will succeed.  In fact, what we know of the sketchy and abbreviated ideas from Trump during the many months he ran for the highest office, we can expect a continuation of the status quo, remaining pretty much the same or with little noticeable change. Economists of considerable reputation on prospects for changes to unemployment and joblessness numbers are amazed at the willingness of the American voters for what they have done to themselves. Global populism may be the wave of the future but it has taken a turn in America that will...

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City recognized for bicycle friendliness

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Keizer has earned an honorable mention as a bicycle-friendly city from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). It was announced last week in Washington, D.C., that Keizer joined 33 other communities throughout the nation in the honorable mention category of recognition. Platinum, gold, silver and bronze designations are also available should city officials decide to pursue them. Oregon has 11 communities that rank bronze or higher. Ashland (gold), Corvallis (gold) and Bend (silver) also received designations this time around. An honorable mention recognizes Keizer’s efforts toward improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. The Bicycle Friendly City (BFC) program provides a benchmark for communities to evaluate those conditions and policies, while highlighting areas for improvement. A trio of city volunteers were the driving force behind the application to LAB. Hersch Sangster, Pat Fisher and John Henry Maurice, all members of Keizer’s Traffic, Bikeways and Pedestrian Safety Committee, took on the effort with the blessing of the city council. “We really tried to play devil’s advocate as we went through the checklist of qualifications,” said Sangster. “And we came out better than we expected. This is a big thing for the city.” More than an honorable mention or a metal designation, the group wanted a baseline assessment of where Keizer stood in relation to other...

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