Trump: In Search of a Silver Lining

LOS ANGELES

MY TURN-I did not vote for Donald Trump, which I'm sure will come as no surprise to all of you. I have watched his administration the last forty days or so with an almost morbid curiosity, which runs from incredulity to terror. I am, however, an American (adopted) and he was elected President. 

There was a collective country-wide sigh of relief after his speech before Congress on Tuesday night – or maybe because the bar had been set so low, anything different sounded "Presidential." 

Noticeably missing from his remarks was any mention of Russia and even more importantly ... no blasts at the mainstream press. 

Perhaps since most news reports gave him high marks, he might enjoy getting accolades instead having brick bats hurled at him. Maybe he’ll continue in a less bombastic manner. Broad strokes and few details were the sum of the comments about the speech. But I was heartened by his referral to looking for a bi-partisan approach to an immigration bill. 

I love comparisons and the company WalletHub.com has the most amazing set of statistics and comparisons on almost every topic for all 50 States. 

In light of recent developments in U.S. immigration policy, WalletHub’s analysts compared the economic impact of foreign-born populations in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They determined which states benefit the most -- and least -- from immigration using 18 key indicators, ranging from “median household income of foreign-born population” to “jobs generated by immigrant-owned businesses as a share of total jobs.” 

It's no surprise that California ranks first in both foreign entrepreneurs and foreign workforce. New York and New Jersey are second and third respectively. The mass deportation would have a disastrous effect on our economy as well as a social impact. 

I flipped channels after the speech to see what the right, the left and pundits in the middle had to say. Naturally, there were raves and jeers depending on who was speaking. 

Being a half glass full kind of person I've spent a considerable amount of time trying to find something to cheer about. Some of you have accused me of being naïve. One of my loudest detractors said I was "nuts.” But I prefer to live in my half bubble that says one can almost always find something good in a given situation and I think I have found something positive. 

As an electorate...we suck! Half the eligible voters in our country…don't. Many who didn’t vote were either turned off by both candidates or thought Hillary Clinton had it in the bag and didn't need their votes. Others didn't care who won since they thought their votes wouldn't change anything anyway. 

But the Trump win has managed to do something that we haven't seen in a long time: it has caused a huge number of people to suddenly become "politically active." The Town Halls being held across the country have had huge turnouts with people who seem to understand the issues that affect them. Even with all of the enthusiasm for President Barak Obama's campaign, these crowds today have a different vibe. 

So, maybe it took something like a Donald Trump to get Americans to realize that they need to participate in democratic institutions. They need to communicate with their elected representatives and yes...they need to run for office. 

This is very timely because we have a local primary election next week, which historically gets an even lower turnout. We will have a good idea at the end of next week as to whether President Trump was instrumental in getting Angelenos out to vote...or whether all the marches, sit-ins, phone calls and Town Halls were just a reaction with no follow through. 

For as long as I have been writing for CityWatch, I have pontificated on the importance of voting. Those of you who read CW are among the most knowledgeable and I'm sure almost all of you take your voting responsibility seriously. It's the rest of our collective neighbors we need to motivate. 

There are new faces on the ballot. Will they get elected? We won't know until the finals in May.   There are some offices in which the incumbent is running unopposed. Both Controller Ron Galperin and City Attorney Mike Feurer are unopposed. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield in District 3 is also unopposed. 

District 3 is almost the easiest to manage District out of the 15 Council Districts. Blumenfield shows up for lots of events and issues proclamations, but aside from potholes and traffic concerns the challenges in his District are minor in comparison to the others. He wants to get the City wired, which is admirable, but keeping such a low profile should change now that he has five and a half years left. 

Maybe, now that we have term limits, potential candidates are looking at those three offices and are preferring to wait 5 1/2 years until a given seat is open. 

Beating an incumbent is very difficult. They have the name recognition and unless there has been some kind of scandal during their terms, it’s tough to raise the money and support. Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Times did NOT endorse all the incumbents for either City Council or the Board of Education. They did endorse a prior Trustee, an incumbent and a newcomer for the Community College Board of Trustees. Their endorsement list with explanations is on their website. 

It seems like there is a lot more interest and candidate meetings than ever before. It could be the folks involved now are just noisier. 

Next week will give us a clue as to whether President Donald Trump has given any real impetus to grassroots action. Or is it just more talk? 

As always, comments welcome.

 

(Denyse Selesnick is a CityWatch columnist. She is a former publisher/journalist/international event organizer. Denyse can be reached at: Denyse@CityWatchLA.com) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

 

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