Our eldest daughter, husband and children live in Indianapolis, about a 4-hour drive away from us. We go down there as often as we can to see them, but we always wish we could see more of them.
Diane, my wife, is down there now to help look after the four children while our daughter recuperates from routine surgery. I stayed behind as our youngest daughter is about to have her third child.
That will make a total of nine grandchildren. Two of them live with us. Soon that will be three. All boys. All full of life, with lots of energy. They can be a lot of fun. I often wish we’d had grandchildren first!
Our frequent visits to Indiana have impressed us. The state is more conservative than Michigan. It has a positive, upbeat feel about it, while Michigan can sometimes be a bit depressing – the economy has struggled for as long as we’ve been here and the weather doesn’t help!
Tuesday will be a big day in Indiana, which is holding a crucial primary.
Friends in Indiana have been saying that Ted Cruz will win the Republican primary as he’s the most conservative candidate and, besides, Donald Trump is crazy and unpredictable. The popular Governor of the state came out and endorsed Cruz last week, even though he has a lot of respect for Trump.
But the latest opinion poll shows that Trump is winning the Republican primary in the state. He’s winning by 15%. Mrs. Clinton is winning the Democratic primary, but only by 4%. Donald Trump is confounding everybody. Why is he so popular? Although he does hold some conservative views, Ted Cruz is definitely more conservative, so why does Trump appeal to so many Republicans?
It seems to come down to two issues and an additional third factor.
The first issue is the economy. Although there are pockets around the country that are doing well, many Americans do not feel that it is. They blame trade deals with other countries for taking away the good paying jobs; they also blame government. The federal government seems to take more and more of the national pie, paying employees well and giving them annual increases. This is not the reality for people in the private sector, who are paying for it all.
Donald Trump has become the national spokesman for blue-collar workers, many of them going under in this economy. A cover story in the latest Atlantic Monthly magazine is about America’s secret shame, that almost 50% of families cannot put $400 together in an emergency. That means they cannot fix the car or get urgent medical treatment for one of their children.
It’s ironic but the Republican Party of Donald Trump is the party of the working-class; whereas the Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton is the party of the intellectual elite.
Whereas Bernie Sanders received donations that averaged $27, Mrs. Clinton held fundraisers where those in attendance had to donate a minimum of $33,000.
The political system has been turned upside down.
If the party conventions nominate Trump and Clinton, polls suggest the latter will win by 10% and become the first woman in the White House.
That brings us to the second issue – immigration. Tied in with that is terrorism. The two are often linked in people’s minds.
Donald Trump said what many think, questioning further immigration from the Muslim world until we see clearly what’s going on.
He’s also proposing a wall to keep Mexicans out.
Mrs. Clinton takes the opposite view on immigration. That overlooks the fact that poorer people, blue-collar workers, have to compete for jobs with many of the immigrants. It’s an example of how out of touch many politicians are.
Which brings us to the third factor. Trump is not a professional politician like his opponents, in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
People don’t trust professional politicians. They have been seeing a progressive decline in their standard of living and no longer feel secure thanks to five decades of myopic immigration law.
They have had enough.
Tuesday’s vote in Indiana will be a good indicator of what the future will bring.
The same can be said for Thursday’s mayoral election in London, 4000 miles away.
A Muslim is expected to win.
This will make London the first major western capital to be led by a Muslim.
Again, it’s an indicator of what the future is going to bring!