The hand wringing has already begun. Who exactly is to blame for rise of Donald Trump?  Here are the suspects, followed by some clever analysis by Pastor Greenbean. Keep in mind that Greenbean trusts no politician and has misgivings about both major political

The Media–Some people blame the media. Indeed, many in the media gleefully blame themselves as a celebration of their power. It is true that Trump received an overwhelming amount of coverage, such that no other candidate could seemingly get a word into the political conversation. What I wonder, as something of an outsider on this whole thing, is if Ted Cruz might not be onto something–the media made him, now they will tear him apart. Cruz would argue this was their plan because of ideology, however my suspicion is that it is not about ideology, it is about ratings.

The GOP Establishment–By this I mean the popular meme that those in Washington–the insiders–have not gotten anything done, have waffled on their promises, and have sold out to President Obama. I admit I don’t quite see that line of thought, but that is what some believe. I suspect it is not so much that this is a fact as it is a perceived fact.

The Pollsters–One key to Trumps success was his constant pointing to poll numbers. The abundance of so many unscientific on-line polls always favored Trump because of his name recognition, not his politics. Trump talked about them so much, it gave early credibility to his candidacy when it should have been suffocated.

Reality TV/Crude Culture–I put these together. The thinking is that people were not electing a politician as much as they were voting for who got to stay on the island. Each week, they picked the most entertaining person to stay because he was, well, entertaining. Future historians and sociologists might write about this process, but for now I think it is overstated. People knew they were voting for a presidential candidate. It just so happens the one they liked was a crude TV star. That is not too different from people voting for the actor Reagan or the general Eisenhower.

The Tea Party–I think they have much to blame here. The same people who supported the Tea Party movement in 2010 are supporting Trump now. They have no interest in governance or compromise or any of the things necessary for a democratic society. Instead they are complete reactionaries against societal change. Trump is a vote for a return to something like 1957, and the Tea Party has already set the date on the flux capacitor.

The Other Candidates–I keep hearing people make excuses by claiming the field was too big. I find that bogus. All it would have taken was for one of the other candidates to do their job and go after Trump early. None of them had any stamina at all to go toe to toe with Trump in an effective way to reveal him as fraud. It is one thing to say he is a fraud, but none of them showed it. Instead, they all fawned all over him as if they were just happy to be along for the ride. I’m talking about early in the process, even before the debates started. They should have went after him then. But they didn’t, because they were afraid of him. Cruz and Carson specifically had opportunity early but instead they played all nicey nice.

All these bare some of the blame, but they didn’t play the decisive role. The real blame for Donald Trump is the GOP electorate. Let me be clear, I will never vote for Donald Trump under any circumstance. However, he won the nomination fair and square. It is his party for at least the next eight months. The people knew exactly what they were doing and they enjoyed every minute of it. They ran roughshod over a host of great candidates to pick the most unqualified, liberal, reckless, racist, unChristian person they could.  He is what the GOP is right now, and it is time that the people within the party who do not reflect that figure out if they will match to fit, lay low and bide their time, or leave.

Make no mistake, Trump’s general election campaign will be a nightmare for many people. Could he win? I suppose he could. It is hard to believe he will. However, I must admit I never dreamed he would win the nomination, either. If he were to win, it would spell a dramatic change in American politics that would reset almost everything–beginning with the terms left and right, liberal, conservative, hawk, dove, and so forth. If he wins it will be by shaking up the electoral map. He will win places like Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.  He might, in contrast, lose places like Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

Who will be his running mate?  Chris Christie is the obvious choice–that might have already been made back when he endorsed Trump. Sarah Palin comes to mind, as does Newt Gingrich. I could even envision him choosing his daughter Ivanka. In fact, the more I think about it, I say 50-50 odds it is Ivanka.

I hope it is not wishful thinking to feel confident that he will lose. For now I am getting accustomed to saying, “President Clinton” again.


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imrsRecently it has come to light that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson once said publicly that he believed Joseph, as in the Bible’s Joseph, the one with the coat of many colors, sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, dreamer, and Vice President in charge of Famines for Ancient Egypt is the one who had the pyramids built in order to store grain in them.  Click here for a link to a CBS news article about it.

I just want to go on the record as saying that as much as I want to like Ben Carson–he really does seem like a nice guy–this is just crazy talk.  The Bible never makes any such claim, and for good reason.  The pyramids would have been complete overkill for the storage of grain, plus it would have taken too long to build them.  By the time they were finished, the famine Joseph was preparing for would have been long gone.

We can safely file Carson’s theory right alongside the one that says aliens built the pyramids.

Statements like this demonstrate that just because a person is brilliant in one field, such as neurosurgery, doesn’t mean he is an expert, or even competent, in other areas.

The troubling thing is that this kind of sloppy Bible talk makes all of us who take the Bible seriously look silly, and discredits the cause of the gospel in the world.  I just want everyone to know that not every Christ-follower who loves the Bible thinks or believes in such nonsense.

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“I’m huge!  Someone wake him up.”

When I was in fifth grade I lost a bet of fifty cents to Bryan Owens.  I bet him that the Dallas Cowboys would beat the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFC championship game.  Of course, Joe Montana and Dwight Clark had different ideas.  I learned a valuable lesson, though.  Don’t bet on things, especially if you have absolutely no control over the outcome.  You can count on one hand and have fingers left over the number of times since then that I have gambled on events.

But if I were to gamble, I think it would be fun to wager on the over/under for certain aspects for Wednesday’s Republican Debate.  Usually over/under is about stats–will the Patriots score over or under 29 points, will Lebron James have over or under 12 assists.  Things like that.  With that in mind, what is the over/under for certain things being mentioned or happening during the debate?  Keep in mind I am only referencing the main debate, not the cocktail hour debate.  The bold O or U in parenthesis is my guess as to over or under the number.

  • Email Server  O/U 4 (O)
  • Benghazi O/U 2 (O)
  • Bernie Sanders O/U 1 (U)
  • Rick Perry O/U 2 (U)
  • Chris Christie/Rand Paul argument O/U 1 (O)
  • Megyn Kelly O/U 5  (U)
  • Donald Trump says something racist/offensive O/U 3 (O)
  • Ben Carson makes a joke about surgery O/U 2 (U)
  • John Kasich says “Mailman” O/U 4 (O)
  • Scripture is quoted O/U 5 (U)
  • Donald Trump quotes scripture O/U 1 (O)
  • Kim Davis O/U 2 (O)
  • Planned Parenthood is referenced O/U 8 (U)
  • Carly Fiorina takes on Trump on an issue O/U 3 (O)
  • The word Florida is said O/U 15 (O)
  • The Iran Nuclear “Deal” is talked about (7) (U)
  • Audience “Boos” O/U 7 (O)
  • Huge O/U 21 (O)

I don’t think any of them want to mention Bernie Sanders because they want him to be the Democratic nominee.  Trump will mention Rick Perry as a “sleeps with the fishes” kind of warning for people who attack him, and I expect one of the questions might be about Perry dropping out.  As to Christie/Paul, I think there is at least a thirty percent chance that those two will arm wrestle, or at the least have some kind of physical contact.  Watch for it.  Fiorina will be feisty, particularly against Trump.  The Rubio/Bush/Florida connection might get a little nauseating.  Trump will quote scripture, probably more than once, because he realizes he needs to continue his ruse on the Evangelical vote.  Watch the quotations though, I suspect they will be out of context or weirdly applied to justify his own wealth and arrogance or his absurd immigration stance.

In terms of other trends, I think CNN will come at this with a different bent than FOX did.  I expect questions about #Blacklivesmatter, particularly to Carson and Trump.  I suspect there will be questions about the Migrant-Refugee crisis in Europe as well as more foreign policy issues regarding ISIS and Russia.  I also think that at some point a CNN questioner will say something like “Now that unemployment has dropped down to 5.1%, do you still think that President Obama’s policies are not working.”  I also think we’ll get more broad reaching questions about immigration, and that might be when Christie and Paul arm wrestle, because of Christie’s desire to build a wall between the U.S. and Canada.

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