As the smoke clears, one thing stands out to me. The Republican National Committee understood what the Democratic National Committee did not: slogans matter.
We are rhythmic beings to our core. “Lock her up!” “Drain the Swamp!” “Build the Wall!” All dynamic. “Stronger Together” and “I’m With Her,” not so much.
Sloganeering has been with us forever, from “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” (great alliteration) to “I Like Ike” (simple, perfect). How could the DNC, with millions spent, not know that our brains light up like Christmas trees when we are chanting?
But wait … I hear a new slogan in the air as Trump leaves most of Obamacare intact and says that the wall will be more of a fence:
“Bait and Switch” — hmm, clever!
Pamela Kearney, Edina
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I continue to read the pundits’ critiques and criticisms of Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Wrong. She was brilliant and well-spoken. I have never seen better performances in the debates. Thoughtful, engaging and tempered. Hillary lost for one reason only — a media literally obsessed with a nonissue: a private e-mail sever. Every time she began to pull away — additional media attention on the e-mails. The media wanted to keep it close and have more followers watching. The result is the world is a lot less safe today.
Phil Klein, Edina
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This election has me thinking back to 1996, when Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole. Dole had run for the Republican nomination in 1980 and 1988, losing out to Reagan and then to George H.W. Bush. In 1996, the Republican establishment got behind Dole, and he was nominated. It seemed that it was his turn. He had been a loyal party member, serving many years in the Senate and supporting both of the men who had defeated him. I remember thinking at the time that “his turn” was a weak reason to nominate anyone. Dole was an honorable man, a nice guy, and a lackluster campaigner. He lost.
This time around, the Democratic establishment got behind Hillary Clinton early on. She had a long and distinguished career of public service, and she was a loyal party member, even serving in the Cabinet of the man who’d beaten her for the nomination in a particularly hard-fought series of primaries. Surely, it was her turn. And the appeal of putting a woman in the White House added to the “her turn” narrative. Wasn’t it time? Well, despite having an excellent résumé and well-thought-out policy proposals, she didn’t connect well with a large swath of the electorate, and she lost.
It seems that nominating poeople because it’s “their turn” doesn’t work.
Michael Holt, St. Paul
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As an independent moderate, there’s one area in particular where conservatives lose me. I am fiscally conservative because I believe money is an important and limited resource. It should be spent and saved carefully; we should only borrow against the future with great caution. I am an ecological conservative for the same reason: natural resources are vital (in the truest sense of the word) and limited; they should be used with respect and solemnity.
As a physician and scientist, I find the science of climate change to be absolutely real and absolutely serious. The data say we are overdrawing our account, and we have an insufficient understanding of what an ecologically bankrupt Earth might look like. Probably quite ill. There won’t be any Chapter 11, unless you consider Mars.
Why do certain conservatives feel that their opinion about climate change supersedes the scientific consensus, or even the science itself? When we breathe in, and an oxygen molecule diffuses across a capillary and into the bloodstream, the hemoglobin molecule that binds it doesn’t give a damn whether you believe in it or not, or what your opinion of the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve is. Science is nuanced and complex, and our understanding of it is always evolving. But science just is, and the deep truths it represents aren’t swayed by our opinion. We ignore them at our peril.
President-elect Trump weighs 236 pounds because the forces of gravity say so. He can ask for a new scale, or blame scales in general, or try to poke holes in the physics of gravity, but gravity cannot be spun. The Republican Party would connect better with voters like me if it lived up to its “conservative” roots, and let the science of climate change speak for itself.
Craig Bowron, St. Paul
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There is a popular Facebook posting going around that reads, “We should all wish for Trump to succeed because when he succeeds America succeeds.” That is not true. Consider the promises Trump made as a candidate.
If Trump succeeds in rounding up and deporting 11 million people and breaking up millions of families, America loses. If Trump succeeds in building a wall across U.S.-Mexico border, at incredible cost, America loses. If Trump succeeds in lowering the top income tax bracket, thereby either running up the national debt by more than $5 trillion dollars or forcing massive cuts in social programs, America loses. If Trump eliminates environmental protection laws, America loses. If Trump succeeds in eliminating the Obama proposal to require background checks at gun shows, America loses. If Trump succeeds in eliminating Obamacare, leaving more than 20 million people without health insurance, America loses. If Trump succeeds in imposing high tariffs on imports from China and Mexico, a tariff war ensues and America loses. If Trump succeeds in putting Hillary Clinton in prison, emulating dictators around the world who imprison their enemies, America loses.
Trump “successes” mean turning his promises into the law of the land. For the America cherished by Clinton supporters, that is a national disgrace. We hope he will not succeed.
Elaine Hauff, Minneapolis
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A Nov. 12 letter writer, anticipating how Trump might get Mexico to pay for a border wall, recalled that Mexico exacts a 17 percent tariff on U.S. goods sold in Mexico. His recollection is faulty. Mexico, like many other nations (but not the U.S.) imposes a value-added tax, or VAT. In many ways, it is similar to our sales tax. However, it is paid along the way by all those involved in bringing a product to market, instead of being added to the purchase price for the consumer to pay.
The letter writer is effectively asking Mexico to charge 17 percent less on products made in the U.S. as opposed to those made in Mexico or anywhere else, or we will put a tariff on them. If the shoe were on the other foot, it would be like Mexico demanding that we not charge sales tax in America on any item made in Mexico.
Jim Page, Coon Rapids
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Millions of Americans sat quietly during the past several years watching their jobs disappear overseas, their dreams of starting or expanding their small business disappear with regulations, their farm overwhelmed with rules, their hardworking college graduate child not able to get a job, their medical care expenses explode, their long-held beliefs destroyed by the courts, and on and on. So what did they do? They went to the polls Nov. 8 and voted for Donald Trump, who they felt heard them. May God grant President-elect Trump the wisdom and compassion to lead our country of the people, by the people and for the people at this time.
Carolyn Ring, Richfield
The writer is a former chairwoman of the Minnesota Republican Party.
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How long, O Lord, how long until we do away with this quaint but disastrous Electoral College? The Constitution can be amended, and there are also other simpler ways to change something that ought to have been changed years ago. Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election, and so did Hillary Clinton. We could have avoided this whole crazy business with Donald Trump the Unready.
I believe that nearly every American supports the concept of one person, one vote. If we don’t do it now, when?
Alvhild Slen Sherve, Northfield