The Strange Politics of 2016

by Lowell Ponte

In ancient Gordium in what today is central Turkey, a Greek legend told that whoever could untie a large knot in that city was destined to become the ruler of all Asia. In 333 B.C., Alexander the Great came to see this Gordian Knot.

“Does the legend say how the knot would be untied?” the young general asked local soothsayers.

When told that only the future ruler knew this secret, Alexander drew his sword and hacked the knot to pieces.


Alexander fulfilled the prophesy, but in a wildly unexpected and shocking way. He then went on to conquer the Persian Empire.

Billionaire Donald Trump may or may not be a reincarnation of Alexander the Great, but at the moment he appears to be a man of destiny.

From his insulting former prisoner of war and U.S. Senator John McCain (R.-Arizona) to belittling New Mexico’s Latina Republican Governor Susana Martinez, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate has done a hundred things that pundits said would destroy a lesser candidate.

Trump’s invincibility seems to come from being an equal opportunity offender, a bold and independent leader who will attack the distrusted and despised ruling elites of both major political parties. He appears willing and able to shake the old order down, yet Trump exhibits a chameleon-like changeability about what he will do then.

On the Democratic side, the front runner former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has seen her poll numbers for honesty and trustworthiness plummet down into the 30 percent range, a fall that few candidates in any party could survive.

Her collapse was evident last weekend on Fox News Sunday, where California Congressman Adam Schiff made an appearance to defend her. When this liberal Democrat compared Mrs. Clinton’s email controversy to that of former GOP Secretary of State Colin Powell, he was sharply rebuked by the news show’s anchor.

Doing this was a “red herring,” an attempt to mislead pursuing hounds following a scent, said Chris Wallace. When Schiff continued to push this comparison, Wallace said with anger – and this from a soft liberal journalist in whose mouth butter usually would not melt – “frankly, I expected better of you.”

What does it tell us that even a Chris Wallace, son of the legendary CBS reporter Mike Wallace, felt moved to give a deceitful Clinton apologist the journalist equivalent of a hard slap across the face.

Was Schiff deceitful? In the dawn of mass email, Secretary Powell saw two of his emails later classified. In modern times, when the security rules for emails are vastly tighter, Mrs. Clinton played fast and loose with the national security via at least 2,100 emails.

We now know that she directed a staffer to remove the classified marks from one email and then send it to her unsecured private server. Another email disclosed by the State Department Inspector General shows her directing that communications be kept out of the hands of Freedom of Information Act inquiries, yet more evidence that her motive was not convenience but a desire to keep incriminating emails secret and under her control.

The likelihood that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign may soon implode is also evident on fashionably liberal shows such as Charlie Rose, which days ago aired an infomercial for Vice President Joe Biden that depicted him as deserving of sainthood.

The Democrats appear to be frantically preparing for an alternative Biden ticket with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as his Vice Presidential running mate. If substituted for a falling Hillary Clinton, this ticket would depict Mr. Biden as an experienced and steady stopgap who would serve one term or less and then hand over the reins of power to Warren, a woman to the left of socialist candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who could attract Sanders’ young and female voters.

With more political “executive experience” than Trump, Clinton, Sanders or Biden, the Libertarian Party ticket will be former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts liberal Republican Governor William Weld. A few early polls suggest that in this odd year the Libertarian Party, which appears on all state ballots, might get up to 10 percent of the votes in November.

The Federal Election Commission should include Governor Johnson in the presidential debates this fall, as it allowed with Texas billionaire Ross Perot. The FEC, alas, is a duopoly run by former chieftains of the Republican and Democratic parties. Do not hold your breath waiting for them to let a third party into these debates.

For a lively discussion of this year’s peculiar politics, consider doing an interview with Lowell Ponte – veteran think tank futurist, former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor, and co-author with monetary expert Craig R. Smith of six books, the latest being We Have Seen The Future and It Looks Like Baltimore: American Dream vs. Progressive Dream.

To schedule an interview with Lowell Ponte, call: Sandy Frazier at or call 516-735-5468

(Lowell has worked as a legislative aide in the California legislature and as a journalist in Washington, D.C., but he is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. He can bring many fresh ideas and insights to a discussion of the present and future of 2016 candidates.)

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