The Robots Invade CES

i guess this was the year of the robots at the Consumer Electronics convention in Las Vegas. I watched video of the convention and did not miss going at all. For many years as an industry analyst I spent several days in Las Vegas every January exhaustingly prowling the huge convention center as well as many nearby hotel convention centers that serve as auxiliary sites.

Each year seems to have a pervading theme. I remember the year of wireless local area networks as well as the year of huge digital flat screen TVs. What is interesting is that there are always very few jewels among the products that will never take off. One of my jobs was to try to forecast which products would be successful.

Having said that, I can’t help but note the disappointing reviews coming from Las Vegas on the current state of affairs when it comes to home robots. I could have written those reviews without ever setting foot in the door. Why? Let’s review what happened several years ago when shows like the CES spotlighted personal computers. That’s when PCs were in the very early stage of development. What could you really do with an Apple 2, an Atari 400, a Vic 20 or anyone of a half dozen brand products that no longer exist? I remember the stock answer to the question of what kinds of good uses a PC could have. One answer (directed at female reporters) was that women could type in their recipes and then retrieve them in the kitchen. Of course, if you dripped anything on the PC, you would have wasted a couple of thousand dollars.

The truth is that it always takes far longer for technology, particularly home technology, and even more particularly home robot technology to take off and mature because people  expect consumer products to function as intuitively and as smoothly as a toaster or a blender. The problem right now is that artificial intelligence has not yet developed the sophistication to make a home robot respond intuitively to a home owner’s commands. That’s not to say they won’t reach that level within the next few years. My recent research revealed to me that there are products still in development that offer a lot of hope that before too very long the question won’t be, “Why do I need a robot in the home?” but “How can I get by with only one robot in the home?”

Here Come the Robots!

I’m sure many of you have read some of Isaac Asimov’s robot stories or perhaps saw the I-Robot movie with Will Smith. The truth of the matter is that robots are starting to remake society and soon will impact every aspect of our lives including our culture, our economy, our politics, and our military. My latest non-fiction book, The Robot in Your Bed, will appear later this month. It begins with a controversial chapter on how sexbots (yes, sexual robots) are already appearing and soon will grow in popularity, In fact, Japan already has brothels with sexbots rather than women. I also include chapters on the fate of Capitalism when very few people have jobs, how autonomous robot soldiers will raise all kinds of ethical questions, Transhumanism (the idea of living forever by putting your consciousness inside an artificial container, American culture and society AFTER robots, and finally, what humanity must do to survive.

The book is heavily documented with over eighty footnotes and a lengthy biography. I’ll be working very hard to get the message out so people know about this book. If anyone out there would like a copy in exchange for an honest review, please let me know. And now, drumroll please, the cover.

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Creating Miriam Lipsky

If you’ve read my new cozy novel, Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort, then you know it is in part a character study. The reader sees the world through Miriam Lipsky’s eyes and reads her thoughts. Writing a mystery through the eyes of a single character creates a number of challenges for a writer. The reader can only know what Miriam sees, hears, and feels. Yet, she’s an amateur sleuth who constantly guesses wrong when she relies on her gut feelings. She’s not even sure how reliability her radar is when she thinks she detects interest on the part of men. She’s been out of the dating game so long that her radar is out of date, particularly in the new world of dating that faces anyone who has been married for a number of years and is just now returning to the dating scene.

Miriam has differences with her adult daughter when it comes to modern dating practices. She also has problems with her daughter’s choice in men. Readers experience Miriam’s feelings when her rabbi strong-arms her into an arranged date with a member of her congregation.

If finding a killer isn’t hard enough for a rank amateur, it’s even harder when it comes to sifting through the various accounts Miriam receives from residents of the River Bend Retirement Resort. Some appear to mean well and want to help, but they don’t see as well as they did when they were younger and, perhaps, some now suffer from dementia.

Miriam is strong, resourceful, and courageous, and I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her better.


Return of the Amateur Sleuth–Oh Vey!

This week my latest book, Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort, will appear on Amazon and be available in both paperback and ebook versions. Miriam Lipsky is a 55-year old Jewish widow who lives with her divorced daughter and her autistic grandson. When her friend is accused of murdering a resident of a very upscale Jewish retirement home, she springs into action. While Miriam has published mystery novels, she’s a rank amateur when it comes to finding killers, and that’s what makes the book fun to write and, I hope, fun to read.

Miriam must juggle her divorced daughter and her tendency to always choose the wrong man, a best friend’s overly friendly husband, and a pushy rabbi who insists she allow him to fix her up with a member of his congregation. On top of all this, she finds it difficult to pry information out of the retirement home’s residents. When they do tell her what they saw, she finds some of the might have imagined everything. On top of all this, Miriam must grapple with a stalker. Just when she’s sure she’ll never love anyone again, love comes into her life from an unexpected source.

I think  you’ll enjoy the book. If you do, this might be the first of a series of Miriam Lipsky cosy mysteries. Only you can help me decide.


Tying Together Loose Ends in Trump’s Russian Connections

I spent two decades conducting research for many global technology firms. What I learned to do reasonably well is to look at boxes full of data and see patterns. That same approach can be used when it comes to investigating Trump’s Russian connections and resulted in my new book on that subject.

We live in a strange world filled with real news and fake news. One very disturbing study revealed that many Republican voters get all their information on how to vote from Fox News and the ultra-conservative media including radio crazies and loony website columnists that see conspiracies behind everything a Democratic candidate does. It’s true some progressives are just as limited in their search for information. I tried to be far more objective.

Take the news reports on the dossier that Christopher Steele put together. Rather than rely on second hand sensational reports on golden showers, I read a published version of that dossier. It’s always better going for primary data whenever possible. Similarly, I also relied on published interviews by many people around Trump as well as many of his own comments.

Finally, I focused on a small select subset of the press that I found to be most scrupulous when it came to factual reporting. I would include journals like Foreign Affairs as well as the New York Times and Washington Post. There are reasons why journalists from these two newspapers win awards every year.

Did you know that many cable news shows make transcripts available? When Rachel Maddow interviewed a significant figure, I was able to go back to the transcript to see what this person said and not what I thought I heard him say.

Several things struck me when I investigated Trump’s history long before he ran for office:

Trump’s Psychological Profile Formed Early: Donald was raised in a very Darwinian way by Fred Trump. This cold, very nasty man instilled the value that only winners counted. It’s not how you play but whether you win that is important. He bullied his son. Young Donald had a lot of anger as a result. He once struck his teacher. He was discovered carrying a knife and sent to military school. His later bravado and constant bragging reflected a small frightened boy with low self-esteem who covered up for that with a loud facade. Psychologists say that if he allowed part of himself to see just who he really is deep inside, he might crack completely. This explains why he so viciously attacks anyone who has anything negative to say about him.

He Doesn’t Know What he Doesn’t Know: One very clear pattern with Trump is that he never placed much value on learning anything other than those things that he could apply directly to making money. He never has been a reader. More importantly, like George W. Bush before him, Trump has absolutely no intellectual curiosity. As a result, he often expresses amazement over something most people consider self-evident. He is shocked that healthcare is complicated or that China and North Korea have a complex relationship. Even worse, though, Trump often cannot admit he doesn’t know something because it would show weakness. He bragged that he didn’t need to take intelligence briefings because he was “smart” or that he knew more than the generals. He also remarked that he knew more about war than most people even though he didn’t serve because he went to military school and that was his Viet Nam.

He is Comfortable Dealing with Mobsters: Because Donald does not have a core set of values, he simply views people in terms of what they can do for him regardless of their values. Real estate development in Manhattan required him to deal with many shady people with mob connections. I believe Trump saw that as just a cost of doing business. Because of that, I don’t think he sees anything wrong with dealing with Russian oligarchs or even Putin himself. My book chronicles the many people he associated with early who were involved in illegal activities.

Everything is Personal: Because Trump’s self-esteem is so wrapped up in everything he does, he reacts violently at any setbacks. Rather than view attacks on his program as “just business” and not “personal,” everything is personal. If he ever feels he is threatened with impeachment or removal from office because of his psychological problems, he will react violently.schatt-72dpi-1500x2000


Discovering the Secret Pattern to American Presidential Elections

There’s a fascinating pattern to American presidential elections that should help us forecast the likely candidate who will run on the Democratic ticket in 2020, particularly if it is against Donald Trump. Now that is an issue, though, because an awful large number of pundits are predicting that Trump will not serve his full term, let alone run for a second term.

Let’s assume for the purpose of argument that he somehow survives and runs again. He already has filed for re-election, by the way. How does the secret pattern in American presidential elections help us understand the likely winner in 2020?

Let’s go all the way back to H.W. Bush and look at the emerging pattern. Papa Bush was an elitist or, as Ann Richards delighted to say, he was born with a silver shoe in his mouth. Papa had a pedigree all right, as well as all the experience you could ask (representative, senator, CIA director, VP). Running against him was Bill Clinton, a man who was born dirt poor and had little experience besides being the governor of a very small state. Papa was more of an introvert while Bill Clinton never saw anyone he didn’t want to shake hands with and talk his ear off. Papa had been an air force pilot while Bill ran as fast as he could to avoid the draft. Clinton, the anti-Papa Bush, won.

The next big election was Al Gore Jr. against George W. Bush. Gore was part of the elite crowd while W was one of the people. Gore talked in long, complex sentences while W even had trouble with short sentences. Still, W was a much better communicator and someone regular folks could identify with so he won. He barely won, but he won. Gore did not even carry his own state.

What about Barack Obama as the man who followed W? They could not have been more different. W was an extrovert, a man who talked like the common folks. He preached a moral crusade against the “evil doers” and pursued an aggressive military posture. Obama was much more an introvert, a loner not happy mixing with the Washington crowd. He was an intellectual who wrote books. Remember that Bush wanted everything he read presented on one page with bullet points. Obama’s rhetoric was soaring and he read lots of books and was often photographed leaving bookstores. He preached caution and he wanted to extract us from Iraq. He had trouble pulling the trigger on military actions because he thought deeply about the “what happens after?” question. In other words, he was far from impulsive. Obama also rarely bragged about himself. He tended to use the pronouns “we” and “us”  quite a bit. Bush wore his religion on his sleeve and even said God talked to him. Obama’s religious faith was  a private matter for him except when he had to defend himself against charges he went to the church of a radical preacher.

Trump obviously was the anti-Obama. He was expansive, particularly  when it came to talking about himself. He spoke at about a fourth grade level and never was seen reading a book. He once said he only read books about himself. He bragged that he operated by his “gut” rather than by studying briefing books. He didn’t want to take intelligence briefings because he already knew the stuff because he was “smart.” I think you see the pattern. He was the anti-Obama.

What about Hillary? Wasn’t she the anti-Trump? The answer is that she had so much baggage that it made it relatively easy for Trump to paint the two of them in the same picture. She constantly attached Trump and came across as “strong” like Trump, but that hardness or strength probably was viewed negatively by evangelical women.  Did Trump’s foundation have issues? Well, just look at the issues with Hillary he would say. Does Trump have issues with his Trump University? Well, he would answer, look at Hillary and her email server. She’s going to be indicted and probably go to jail–do you want a president who is indicted? When Hillary rightfully accused Trump of being a bigot, he just answered the way a first grader would and said “you are also.” The press never made him explain himself because they were getting incredible ratings.

What about Trump’s affairs? Well, he would say, look at Bill Clinton. Do you want him in the White House? I could go on, but I think you see that Trump had probably the one candidate he could label as no better than he was.

So, now we have a president who loves the limelight, loves to brag, loves to threaten his opponents as well as other countries, and does not get along with his own Republicans. He’s not a deep thinker, and he relies on his gut. He’s loud and crude. Who’s the anti-Trump?

At this point I would say Karen Gillebrand is the anti-Trump. In media terms, she comes across as soft but thoughtful and competent. She has worked on bi-partisan legislation. She has worked on women’s issues but also veterans’ issues. She has moved from being a blue-dog Democrat to being more of a progressive. Still, Trump can’t paint her as someone as liberal as Elizabeth Warren. She has represented a relatively conservative and rural set of voters in upper state New York and been re-elected. She knows how to use guns, so ads can show her as “tough”. She is articulate and good looking. She is much  younger than Trump. Because of Trump’s emphasis on being on the wrong side on every major women’s issue, she can be his polar opposite. She can be compassionate for those people in danger of losing their healthcare (or those who already have). Trump lacks the compassion gene and the empathy gene.

The pattern is that the public usually grows tired of a president and wants a polar opposite change. Every Trump year feels like a dog year. After a few of those the public will be eager to hear a softer, more thoughtful and compassionate voice. I think she can be less threatening to conservative women than Hillary was and that could be worth some votes.

The Much Too Early 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Forecast

Right now all the drama is over on the Republican’s side, but don’t forget about the Democrats, particularly as we get closer to 2020. As a former analyst, I’ve been sifting through the early signs and have come up with my forecast for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. You might ask who will run against Donald Trump, but I suspect that by 2020 it very well might be John Kasich or even Mike Pence, depending on the fallout from the Trump earthquake that’s bound to occur before then. So, without further delay, here are the horses in the race wearing blue colors.

The Women

Run another woman? There are positives and negatives to running a woman. I firmly believe that Hillary brought about her own loss along with lots of help from Republican propaganda and Russian fake news, but let’s not ignore the millions of conservative white women who still believe that a woman’s place is still in a subservient place in the home and that any woman trying to run for president must be uppity and arrogant. Remember that Donald Trump won primarily by running as an authoritarian alpha male figure that would take charge. Some psychologists have written that a significant portion of the population sees the world in Biblical terms of black and white, good and bad, and yearns for an authoritarian Daddy like figure. They seem someone to tell them what to do. So, a woman running for president starts with a group of people already solidly against her.

Of course women also start with the support of a lot of other women as well as young people. A woman other than Hillary might be able to offer a softer image that would serve as a nice contrast to Trump’s nastiness. Women also project more compassion and might be better messengers in moving the country toward a one-payer health system, a less expensive prescription drug program, and more support for public education and the arts and sciences while offering a small defense budget.

Elizabeth Warren has squirreled away millions of dollars in her campaign fund. She will face a tough election in 2018 and might be asked to promise to fulfill her term. Assuming she escapes that trap and wins re-election (not a sure thing since her approval rating in her home state is under 50%), she will start with very high name recognition and a reputation for fighting for the average person against big corporations. Her positives include a very solid progressive reputation,  the complete support of the Bernie wing of the party and heavy support from younger people. Negatives include a lack of attention to the traditional Democratic Party’s black and Hispanic voters. Can she excite them to get out and vote?

The other problem I believe Warren has is her personality. She looks and sounds like an angry school marm or librarian. In media terms, she comes across as harsh rather than soft. One talking head described her as “preachy.” While that tone works during Senate hearings when she balls out CEOs who have raped and pillaged the public, it doesn’t work with common people. My concern about Warren is that she will excite the progressives, turn off the moderate Democrats, and mobilize some moderate Republicans to come out and vote against her.

Karen Gillibrand is New York’s junior senator, and a very interesting candidate. She has gradually moved from being a conservative blue-dog Democrat representing a conservative area of New York state to a more progressive position. She has worked with Republicans in a bipartisan way when possible (It’s rarely possible now). She has a much softer image than Warren or Clinton and might not turn off more traditional women. She’s also attractive and has taken a leadership position in working on veteran and gay issues. I consider a definite dark horse in the race.

There are not a lot of strong male candidates, and some of the ones who are out there seem to want the nomination a bit too much. Martin O’Malley, as an example, this former governor of Maryland needs to find a job rather than run perpetually. He comes across like the kid who always runs for student body president but never wins. The question is who would make a great foil against the Republican candidate. Cory Booker has been running for President from the day he was elected Senator. If Barack Obama had never been president, then he might actually have a chance. This country is still even more racist than it is anti-woman. I think Booker is articulate, truly progressive, and heroic in some ways, but he has baggage going back to his time as Mayor. He never has married, and let the whispers begin in the Midwest and South. While Booker would excite some progressives and minority voters, he would not do well enough in the suburbs.

If Karen Gillibrand doesn’t get the nomination, another dark horse is Brian Schweitzer. He’s the former folksy Democratic governor of Montana. He left with over a 60% approval rating in a very conservative state. He has supported green energy initiatives, cuts in prescription drug costs, and other positions that would make a nice contrast with the Republican candidate. He is folksy and quirky enough to appeal to both suburban and small town voters, particularly in the Midwest states that cost Hillary the election. He’s not perfect. He sometimes puts his foot in his mouth, and he has been accused of some ethical violations that I’m sure the right-wing media would exploit. Also, he signed a bill that promoted Montana’s home produced firearms. One other item of interest is that he speaks Arabic because he spent a few years doing business in the Middle East. Can you imagine the contrast with the Republican candidate?

Some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t mention Tim Kaine. I really like the guy and think he has a very good heart and stands on the correct side of most issues I care about. The problem is that he did not distinguish himself in his VP debate against Mike Pence (not the world’s greatest orator). He comes across as very earnest, but he doesn’t cause excitement. Most pundits thought he represented the “safe choice” for Hillary. He checks all the boxes, but he won’t cause people to become excited enough to devote months to getting him elected. I think he’s great to have in the Senate. If the Democrats can win back the Senate, he could really help chairing some important committees.

So, here’s hoping someone new comes riding out of nowhere on a white horse and captures the public’s imagination and their votes. If not, here are the candidates in my opinion.

Donald Trump’s Russian Connections

schatt-72dpi-1500x2000I spent two decades in the research industry, and became a pretty damned good researcher. The last decade I’ve been writing mysteries that include the Frankie and Josh series published by Pen-L Press. The relationship between Trump and his associates and Russia is a fascinating mystery, so I used my research skills and my experience solving mysteries I created to examine this issue.

The result is Trump’s Russian Connections. The book is available as an ebook and soon as a paperback on Amazon. Among other things, I investigate the psychological analysis of Trump by several well-respected psychiatrists and then compare that analysis of the president’s psyche with what we know about Vladimir Putin’s long-term global strategic plan.

If you honestly want to learn more about this issue, I think you’ll enjoy the book!

Updating Einstein: My Unified Theory Explaining Trump and His Future

Scientists have long sought to come up with a “theory of everything,” one simple theory that answered all the questions about the way things work and made everything make sense. I’ve come up with a unified theory regarding Donald Trump. Bear with me for a couple of minutes, and everything will make sense. Let’s start with the Republican establishment.  Have you wondered why the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader both give him such strong support? What about Bannon and Miller behind the scenes? What exactly is going on?

Paul Ryan is in a box. He desperately wants to get his legislative agenda passed. He would prefer cutting social security and Medicare immediately, but Trump promised nothing would be done about these two programs for now. So? How do you get the money to pay for a 10% increase in military spending to prepare for future wars to fuel the industrial military complex? Several senators have already made it clear they wouldn’t vote to gut social services to the extent Trump wants to do, so the money has to come from a border added tax.

Whoops! The “Freedom” caucus almost 50 strong is composed of fiscal conservatives who want to see offsets for every expense and certainly don’t want to see any new taxes. So, that’s where the symbiotic relationship between Trump and the Republican establishment comes into play. There is only one thing that conservative Republican House members fear —that’s certainly not Democratic challenges since their districts for the most part are safe through gerrymandering. What they do fear with all their hearts, though, is a primary threat from someone more conservative than they are. Trump has many supporters who fall into the very conservative camp. Imagine, if you will, what happens if several “Freedom” caucus members announce they will not vote to kill the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) because they don’t buy into the border tax to help finance the cost of supporting people currently on that plan. Presumably all Trump has to do is tweet the names of these people and tell his fans that they are keeping him from fulfilling his promise to demolish Obamacare. He then can tweet that he would support a primary candidate to take them on in 2018.

That threat probably will be enough. In fact, any time there is rough sledding in Congress, look for the Republican establishment to rely on Trump to get reluctant House members to go along.

Bannon and Miller have a different reason for supporting Trump. Both are die-hard nationalists who can praise the President and push him in any direction they want. While someone like Barack Obama might have been impossible to manipulate like a puppet because of his intelligence and psychological health, Donald J. Trump is an easy mark.

I’m assuming the Russians are also using Trump. Besides all the people in his cabinet who have been shown to have contacts with the Russians, there are the rumors about massive financial loans or gifts he has received. Ironically, the only way for Trump to show these rumors are not true would be to release his tax returns. I think he would rather die first than admit he’s a lot “smaller” than he pretends to be.

So, what happens next? I believe the Republican establishment already has anointed Mike Pence as the man they really want to work with to achieve Republicans’ wet dreams regarding everything from unrestrained capitalism to the abolishment of social security and medicare as we now know them. Wall Street long has been eager to get its hands on people’s retirement money.

The very moment the Republican establishment decides it does not need Trump anymore, all Paul Ryan has to do is to solemnly announce he reluctantly has decided a special prosecutor is required to look into Trump’s links to the Russians. He could then indicate that a committee will reconsider and now vote to demand Trump’s tax returns. Donald will resign, play the role of martyr, and go build the new political news network he had planned on doing before he “won.”

The Republican establishment will then clean house by removing some of the nationalists and replacing them with pro-business Republicans. They will continue moving to pour public school funds into the hands of private schools, including the most extreme religious schools. They will continue to dismantle environmental controls, and run amuck.

The only danger the establishment Republicans face is whether they get splattered with the news that finally comes out about Putin and Trump. I do wonder about many of my friends who have run around each day with the hair on fire over the latest moves of Trump and his cabinet. I fear that they will burn out long before elections in 2018. That very well might be one of Bannon’s strategies. What once seemed totally outrageous begins to seem relatively normal after a while. Also, people become so disgusted at the latest headlines, they very well might tune out the elections in 2018 and 2020.

So, Schatt’s unified theory of everything relating to Donald J. Trump suggests that he is living on borrowed time and is at the mercy of not only the Republican establishment but also the intelligence community that supposedly has tapes of conversations between Trump’s people and the Russians. The more drips of scandal that come out, the more Trump will try to change the subject by deflecting the attention of the press by waving his shiny keys as he tweets. Today he reacted to new leaks about his ties to the Russians by tweet an unsubstantiated charge that President Obama wire tapped his offices. The charge came from Breitbart type sources and Obama’s people quickly reacted by denying everything, but Trump partially succeeded by change the story and the press’s attention for a 24-hour cable news cycle.

Another example of how my unified theory works is that the very effort of Trump to deflect the press and the public from the Russian links story makes Trump appear to be desperate as everything starts to close in around him. He sounded paranoid today, very much the way Nixon sounded just before the end. In this case, though, almost everyone is started to turn against Trump so he might be right.


Living and Dying by the Polls

I’ve gone cold-turkey and have avoided any cable news for the past three weeks. During that time I’ve managed to get some writing done and to relax. It also has given me some time to think clearly. I remembered what happened to Karl Rove back when Obama beat Romney. Do you remember that Rove was on Fox news and refused to believe the results coming in. Why? He had his own set of polls that shows Romney winning. Romney was getting ready to give his acceptance speech.

Many people laughed at Rove. What an idiot! How could he have any credibility again? Then 2016 came along. Virtually every major poll had Clinton winning and we know what happened. Some recent data shows that Kellyann Conway was lying as usual when she attributed Trump’s victory to unpolled people who came out in droves to vote.

That didn’t really happen. What did happen was that the pollsters fell victim to what is a dirty little secret. Up until the end of September or so the polls all seem to agree. Suddenly they diverge widely. Why? The answer is the “secret sauce” that pollsters start brewing as the election grows closer. They take their raw data and begin adding their own secret algorithms to forecast how many of which particular voting segment will actually come out to the polls and vote.

The problem for pollsters is that most people say they will vote, but historically only a relatively small percentage do. I think the answer for the rest of us is pretty clear when it comes to our own forecasting. Remember the old adage that “It’s the economy, stupid”? People tend to be motivated by how they feel about the economy. They need a reason to vote.

In 2008 and even in 2012 people waited in lines for hours to vote for Barack Obama. They felt a strong attachment for him and they believed he represented change. Even more basic, he excited various “tribes”— the most elemental human building block. What I mean by that is that he attracted overwhelming excitement and loyalty from Afro-Americans (the first black President), young people (he’s young and hip like us), etc.

Some 2016 and we had the two most disliked candidates in history running. One was a con man who basically promised whatever people wanted — “clean” coal, steel jobs returning, riding the country of those nasty Mexicans who were taking their jobs, less wars, and lower taxes. The other candidate basically built her campaign around the message “I’m less scary than he is.” Does anyone remember anything Hillary promised? She pitched her speeches at the 12th grade level of English while Trump spoke in 4th grade English (Yes, people have analyzed their speeches).

So, when it comes to estimating what it takes to get people out to vote, what is the more compelling message —-vote for me and your life will be better or vote for me or that scary guy will blow up the world? If people already feel the world is in bad shape, they don’t worry as much about the possibility that it might blow up.

So, in the future, those of us who want to get a better handle on the election shouldn’t just read 538 and the NY Times. We should look at voter enthusiasm. Trump was right about that –he was able to generate huge crowds without the need to bring in celebrities. Hillary for all our strengths and experience lacked enough charisma to excite people.

We’re in a world now where people want bread and circuses. We’ve come a long way downhill from the time that Lincoln and Douglas would debate real issues and platforms. In the age of reality TV, people need a reason to switch on the program. From now on the Democrats will need to focus on pocketbook issues and run candidates who middle class and lower class people will conclude understand their daily lives. How a billionaire with no real experience or in-depth policies could pull that off shows us that the traditional approach to nominating candidates no longer works. I believe Bernie would have been a far better candidate but would not have won because he would have been killed in the rural areas over his “socialist” history as well as anti-Semitic slurs.

Polls can’t evaluate this country’s hearts. Unfortunately we are still a country where significant numbers of people hate anyone not like themselves. It’s a country where a significant percentage of “traditional” women will not vote for a woman with the audacity to run for President. We are far less evolved than the Europeans in some ways. While we don’t have the rigid class structure found in Europe, we have de-evolved into tribes that are distrustful of each other. If I asked you what you are, rather than saying you are an American, you are more likely to reply with your ethnic heritage, your religious affiliation, or even a list of the “others” you hate.

People will not reveal their petty hatreds in a poll nor will they reveal the likelihood they will vote. It’s hard to measure the intensity of their feelings toward a candidate, but it ultimately comes down to self-interest. Trump didn’t win because most people wanted to make “America great again.” He won because they hoped he would improve their individual lot. No matter how rational the argument that could be made to them that Trump wasn’t capable of doing that or really didn’t care about them, people clung to the hope that he would do what he promised. That’s why they came out and voted in droves. Those people who couldn’t stomach Trump but felt unmoved emotionally by Hillary decided not to stand in lines and inconvenience themselves on election day. Perhaps they stayed home and watched a reality show.