This & that: The peanut farmer and the real estate mogul

Left: In this April 5, 1990, file photo, Donald Trump ascends the stairs with his fist raised from the genie's lamp after opening the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in a spectacular show of fireworks and laser lights in Atlantic City, N.J. April 5, 1990 | AP Photo by Chaarles Rex Arbogast, File; modified to black-and white, St. George News | Right: Jimmy Carter disembarking from the airplane "Peanut One" at the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport for a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Sept. 8, 1976 | Photo by Thomas J. O'Halloran via Library of Congress; St. George News

OPINION – We are experiencing an interesting phenomenon in this year’s election season. I watch as Donald Trump is having a polarizing effect on not only the Democrats but also mainstream Republicans.

The first election I remember as a child was the 1976 race. I was 11 years old and in the fifth grade. That election sticks out to me because it was the first time that my classmates argued politics with each other. I am sure the arguments were the same they heard their parents make with other adults. I can’t imagine that any of my classmates were any more politically in-tune than I was.

I do remember that my father was a Carter man. I don’t know why exactly, but it was usually because he was dissatisfied with the incumbent. He was a Reagan man four years later. What I remember most though was how rabid my classmates would get at school. These arguments were much more heated than the “My dad can beat up your dad” rifts you have in kindergarten and first grade.

I don’t remember the following elections having the same effect.

Until now.

And the reason boils down really to one man — Donald Trump. I find many parallels of this primary election season to that of 1976.

That year a peanut farmer from Georgia began the election season with little general expectation of him winning the nomination. Despite being a former governor he was not well known on the national stage. There were several other more highly-regarded candidates. Among them were Henry Jackson of Washington, Morris Udall of Arizona and George Wallace of Alabama.

Jimmy Carter had an interesting strategy. In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, Carter painted himself as a Washington outsider. That strategy allowed him to win the early states and force several others to end their campaigns early.

As Carter closed in on his party’s nomination, the liberal faction of the Democratic Party elites formed the “ABC” movement — Anybody But Carter. California governor Jerry Brown announced his candidacy and defeated Carter in several late primaries but it was too little, too late. Carter had garnered enough delegates by mid-June.

Of course Carter went on to defeat incumbent Gerald Ford. And as the nation suffered through long gas-station lines and skyrocketing inflation I got to hear from my dad how lousy Carter was for the next four years. (Did I mention that he was a Carter man?)

Donald Trump is drawing even more resistance than Carter did. He not only lacks the support of the Republican Party establishment but also gets blistering attacks from many on the left. I am not certain why he is opposed by Democrats. It seems that liberals would want the Republicans to put forward the candidate not fully supported by the Republican Party. I think they see what many of us see. Donald Trump has forged a populist movement that has not only garnered support from many Republicans but also several Independents and Democrats that are voting Republican for the first time in many years.

I am curious how interested our elementary school kids are in this election. Will they be talking about this election in 40 years?

I must admit I have become more intrigued to see how the election season plays out. And despite the many similarities the two campaigns have had, I have already noticed a glaring difference that a President Trump would have with President Carter.

There will be a reverse effect on the population of our northern neighbor. With a President Trump, many people have at least threatened to move to Canada. While with President Carter, a blanket pardon allowed many people to return from Canada.

Darren Cole is a developing columnist and otherwise sports writer for St. George News. Any opinions given are his own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: DCole@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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Posted in Columnists, General Election 2016, Opinion / Columns, PoliticsTagged , , , , , ,

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