Weekend Reading: November 12, 2016

Good morning, and welcome to the weekend!  It’s been a few days now since Donald Trump’s electoral victory shocked the media, the beltway elites, and pretty much anyone not living in “flyover country.”  Yet, life goes on, and the peaceful transition of power in our country looks to be well underway.  This transition is a heritage of our forefathers – men like George Washington who surrendered power when he could have made himself a king.

This week President Obama was magnanimous in his speech, though he did not offer up the traditional photograph between incoming and outgoing presidents. He did pose for this dandy in the Oval Office though (captioning provided by one Conan O’Brien):

I saw a few interesting stories on the new First Lady here and here, and here is her bio from the transition site. 


Satisfying Media Headline: WE WERE ALL WRONG

Meanwhile, Dems are in soul-searching mode.  One liberal piece says the current party deserves to die for being so arrogant and ignoring large swaths of the electorate.  Other reactions included rioting and even top liberals in Cali discussion session – something that, if it were to happen, might actually help the American economy. Remember, California is one of the world’s largest economies (as these libs point out in the article), yet that economy has been an economic nightmare and a drag on the rest of the country due to the ineptitude with which that state has been run.

Almost all the analysis stories I’ve read point out that Trump won because his populism appealed to lower and middle class Americans in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pennsylvania.  These are people that Clinton ignored – despite Bill Clinton’s warnings (apparently).  The Post has a pretty good rundown here that will give you the flavor of what media types are thinking. National Review has an interesting post: Obama 2012 Would’ve Beaten Trump 2016.  This is actually a corrective on their initial post which said the opposite, and the conclusion is that Trump got a smaller share of the vote in several Midwestern states than Obama. Well, yes, and who is surprised? This election was a race to the bottom between two candidates who inspired very few people en masse. And while this 2012/2016 comparison is notable, it is not of significant note to me because stepping back, one realizes that different times and different candidates are very difficult to fairly measure against each other.

There are other factors to keep in mind. For instance, Trump won in parts of Florida, New Hampshire and North Carolina in margins that Gov. Romney never came close to achieving. This wasn’t just a rust-belt revolt. While his coalition might have been technically smaller in the midwest and nationally, it was also larger in key NC and FL counties, and in those states as a whole (where he would have probably beaten Obama). This also means his demographic victory was likely more diverse than only middle income uneducated white women and white men.

Our founders (especially Adams, as I am reading), relished the system of checks and balances in government’s power.  One of those checks is a check on the power of the mob mentality, and everything that went wrong during the French Revolution – we aren’t a pure democracy for a reason. To that end, a friend posted this during the week, and made me chuckle:


Now…from a messaging standpoint, Trump’s populistic message struck an effective chord.  Without much specific policy detail, and with a great deal of passion (bluster?), this message has ushered in a mixture of hope and uncertainty. But this could be said of any new president’s term, as one Christian brother recently reminded me. And, on the positive side, certainly the defeat of Hillary Clinton was a major blow to corruption in American politics and the influence of foreign money on our leaders. Indeed, it always struck me as ironic that Democrats (and the FBI) investigated and decried the relationship between Russian leaders and Donald Trump, when Clinton was directly tied to, and benefited financially from, foreign leaders and governments via the Clinton Foundation. So in this respect, we ought to be very glad indeed. Let us now hope and pray for peace, and wisdom for our new President-elect. No matter whether you voted for him or not, his success ought to be our hope and our prayer.

Odds and Ends…

In the aftermath of the election, fellow Weekend Reader David Clementson was interviewed by Quartz re: his analysis of the Trump victory speech. Dave has made himself a sort of niche out of liguistics, and had some good analysis of the Trump speech.

Notable: George W. & Laura Bush didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton — AND —- Peter Thiel To Join Trump Transition Team

TransitionTrump shakes up his power structure

WaPo: ‘Please clap’: The funniest moments you already forgot from the 2016 campaign trail

A good reminder from Ravi Zacharias:

On a similar note, check out this picture from Getty Images of Hillary Clinton prematurely signing a mocked up version of Newsweek – it reminded me of the famous Truman/Dewey photograph:


Something the new President will need to deal with: Iran Breaks Nuclear Deal, But the Obama Administration Won’t Say It’s a ‘Formal Violation’

On to other things of interest…

Check this out: Inside the New York Public Library’s Last, Secret Apartments

This new series from Ligonier is on my watch list: Marks of a Healthy Church

BOOK UPDATE: I’m currently enjoying John Adams by John McCullough, Hero of the Empire, and the Classic Bunyan work, Pilgrim’s Progress. The Adams book is definitely enjoyable – I read it 14 years ago, and its just as good as I remember it. With the election over, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my books (and, of course my family!).

Speaking of books – this was pretty funny: Protect Your Library the Medieval Way, With Horrifying Book Curses.

This might have some small part to do with why we have so many problems economically in America: Government Workers Now Outnumber Manufacturing Workers by 9,977,000.

Ummm…what??? Eavesdrop on Ultrasonic Rat Giggles

Enjoyed this one from gawking Brits: Americans go to the polls in the strangest places – in pictures

INTERESTING: World’s Richest People Add $35 Billion in Wealth After Monday’s Market Surge….ya, this is why they are rich and we are not!  hahaha

PERSPECTIVE: Even though this is post-election now, I thought this video had some very salient points. It’s John MacArthur talking logically through how Christians should consider voting – apparently a lot of people listened to him. (h/t Steve L.). Bookmark this one to refer back to later…

In Jest:  CIA Realizes It’s Been Using Black Highlighters All These Years

Once you get past what this family does for a living, you’ll shake your head at the brazenness of our governement – even the local governments: The Government Seized $100K From This California Family’s Bank Accounts, College Savings.  By the way, think local elections don’t matter? This is why they matter and why we have to do as much due dilligence before voting as possible. It is a local elected official who will likely have to clean up this mess, and who that will be depends on who voted him/her into office.

How did I miss this earlier in the year??? Nintendo NES Classic Edition review

Two articles I haven’t read but look forward to reading are 1. Jon Bloom: Talk to God About Your Anxiety (which I started but didn’t finish), and 2. My friend Fred Barnes’s piece from Friday: The Little Guy and the Billionaire.

A concluding thought:  I recognize what a great privlege it is to work in the political sphere. Upon personal reflection, my own impact on an election cycle – or even a single campaign I’m involved in – does not always seem tangible. A campaign plan here or there, strategic advice (sometimes rejected), and then the usual advertising through online or telephone mediums. Does it help? Sure – its part of the larger messaging aparatus, and its how voters learn about candidates in the first place. But I’ve come to find that impact and influence for God’s honor and our country’s good doesn’t come simply from the advertising or messaging strategies employed during the fall campaign. Rather, it is the individual relationships which forge themselves through the adversity of a political campaign, and strengthen over years of fighting for a cause and candidates you feel will serve our country and community well, which are lasting and worth the effort. For those of you who work with me in this arena, I thank God for you, and the privlege of completing another cycle together.

Enjoy your weekend!



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