The 2017 National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Fall Conference drew record attendance this year, and much of that could be attributed to Wednesday's opening session, a debate between former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers.
The leader of the "Republican Revolution of 1994" ideologically sparred against the former Chief Economist and Vice President of the World Bank at the Sheraton Grand Chicago this morning on economic issues, primarily those related to healthcare.
The most memorable portion of the session however, related to electoral politics. Last night saw Roy Moore, a man twice thrown off the state Supreme Court in Alabama, win the Republican party primary race for a U.S. Senate seat.
Moore emerged victorious over the Trump endorsed Luther Strange, despite his overt theocratic ideals, desire to erode the separation of church and state, blatantly anti-Gay and anti-Muslim views and Barack Obama conspiracy theories. Moore holds some exceedingly extremist views that appeal to only a very small fringe, but he still he beat the candidate who is much closer to the middle on the political spectrum.
What sociopolitical forces can explain this? Or how Trump defied the expectations of pundits and polling data himself to win in November?
It turns out there's some commonality and overlap, as Newt Gingrich and Lawrence Summers gave some answers.
These answers contain some insight that we should all pay serious attention to right now.
"We are deeply divided, and I don't people realize just how deep that polarization is. The conservative side of that polarization is unhappy in Washington and sees dysfunctionality in Congress," Gingrich posited.
"They don't take that out on Trump, they take it out on Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the Republicans. On our side of the American system you have people who are very angry at Washington and routinely talk of the swamp, who really believe there is a deep state, and are willing to give Trump a fair amount of rope because they think that he's at least trying. I think it's very telling that the person who won in Alabama, one could argue, is more to the disruptive side of Trump."
"It's not like the system is going back to the norm, the system in fact doubled down."
"This is part of why the left is so shaken- at 8 o'clock on election night Hillary Clinton was going to shatter the glass ceiling and by 11 o'clock they didn't have Jeb Bush, or John Kasich, they had Donald J. Trump; one of the most traumatic moments in social and political history," Newt Gingrich said.
"There are two parts to that, one is you have in Trump the first person to never hold office, and to win the office, and he did it from a standing start in 15 months. So he's a phenomenon."
"On the other hand you had one of the worst nominees ever from a major party."
You can hear the last and most compelling portion of the session below:
It's worth noting though that Gingrich used the phrases "pivot" and "double down" to describe Trump, and those are two terms that don't actually apply to Trump as he doesn't actually pivot or double down, he simply is himself, and thus remains himself.
It's astonishing though just how often so many in the media fall for that trap. Secondly, his calling Clinton one of the worst candidates of all time is WAY OFF BASE.
She won the popular vote by three million, despite the zealous efforts of Russian hackers aided by Vladimir Putin. She also won the popular vote by the largest margin of any electoral college loser in history.
Gingrich is totally spot on though about Clinton's failures to hit the trail as hard and with as much vigor as Trump did. Many have pointed out Clinton's massive blunders in not visiting the rust belt states enough and just the general impression of coasting that she conveyed.
Newt Gingrch may be on the opposite site of Michael Moore but he reached the same conclusion about the enthusiasm gap between the two supporter groups that Moore did in the summer of 2016.
The former Speaker is also correct in his commentary about rallies, Facebook, and social media. Perhaps the biggest mistake Clinton made was the "deplorables" remark because that gave the MAGA crowd yet another identifier which helped to mobilize them.
"Newt has the right elements of the answer- people are really angry, they're disillusioned, they're uncomfortable, they're scared, they're looking for something very different," said Summers.
"He had a gut visceral connection that the Democrats lacked."
"He had statisticians doing computer models around voter targeting, he had gut instincts around Twitter, rallies and Facebook- those three things, gut instincts, Trump's analysis that people are very angry and disillusioned and his tremendous energy."
"That's why I think what happened in Alabama is a big deal."
"You had the Brexit vote, Neo-Nazis back in the German Parliament, the best performance ever for the Facists in France, and when you have a guy who's been thrown off the supreme court in his state twice for breaking the law and he's saying a lot things that are a long long way from the mainstream in this room, about our citizens, getting elected strongly and proudly, there's something going on and it's very very real."
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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