McNiven Meanderings, Politics and the Presidential Campaign

Originally published in the print edition of the Yellowstone County News on 7/29/16.

I thought it a fitting time to write about politics since it is the presidential campaign season along with our own local elections. From Trumpmania to our local Safe Montana campaigns, I couldn’t help but tune into parts of the Republican National Convention last week and see all the commotion.

I did not watch all the convention as I did not have time to watch it all, but I did catch the cliff note re-runs on Youtube. As I’ve watched Donald Trump and his unorthodox campaign and decisions over the last year, it gives me see a glimpse into the future of how he would govern as a President Trump.

Firstly, I thought it backhanded that other GOP Presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, et al decided to back out and do an “about face” once Trump secured the nomination and not endorse the candidate, especially after Trump endorsed some of them like Mitt Romney. I was personally on both of Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful Presidential campaigns and wanted him to win but he choked and lost. One has to move on, but Mitt Romney apparently has not, in my opinion. Neither has Ted Cruz, who would not endorse Trump at the convention who actually did sign the pledge previously in the primary season. Just goes to show how much of a politician Ted Cruz is as he could have easily justified his endorsement of Trump as he previously signed the pledge to support the eventual nominee. Had he done that, understanding the type of primary he would go through, I would have completely understood and admired him for being a man of his word, but I digress because he did not.

I personally, would not have even signed the pledge if I was not completely willing to support whoever the nominee was, even if it was Trump, knowing ahead that the primary was going to be bloody at times.

In my opinion, Ted Cruz signed his own political death warrant by not endorsing Trump. I thought it smart on Trump’s behalf to still have him talk at the convention even without an endorsement. It shows that Trump can still find the good in the situation and also believe Trump timed his entry into the Convention at the right time when Cruz ended his speech.

I was impressed by the Trump children who talked at the convention, especially Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr. As the saying goes, by their fruits, ye shall know them. If you get some time, listen carefully to Donald Trump, Jr.’s speech, and you will get a glimpse into some of the things his dad did to teach his kids life lessons. I found it impressive that the Donald would get his kids a mentor (someone that Mr. Trump trusted his kids with) to work and make money under and learn while growing up. I also found it amusing that Donald Jr. talked about being as comfortable running a D10 as being in the office. (For those who don’t know what a D10 is, it’s a piece of heavy duty construction equipment made by Caterpillar).

Another thing that impressed me during the primary season is that Donald Trump made his own decisions and did not have all these paid advisors to tell him what to say or how to spin something. In addition, you will also note in

Donald Trump, Jr’s speech that he mentions how his dad makes his own decisions and does not wait for a panel of “experts” to help him make a decision. Did you notice that Trump financed his own primary, so that he is not beholden to any special interest groups?

I found it refreshing that Ivanka Trump talked about motherhood and the importance of it in business and family life while putting proper priorities in perspective. I also found it refreshing that Ivanka and the other siblings mentioned and recognize how fortunate they are and humble enough to recognize that they have it better than most people to the point that they mention that where much is given, much is required. It shows that they also understand that they have an obligation to perform at the highest level possible and not waste away their time and energy on unimportant things like the Kardashians show us.           I’ve understood in my life and in business that the biggest downfall to life and business are distractions, things that take away our focus from what’s important. The Trump family and children (from what I’ve seen thus far) are good examples for all of us to learn from.

Finally, I found it refreshing that at the beginning of her speech, Ivanka Trump said, “Like many of my fellow millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat. More than

party affiliation, I vote based on what I believe is right, for my family and for my country. Sometimes it’s a tough choice.”

As I find some things that Trump says that are a little concerning, I also see the other option in this election.

Let me put this in perspective, any other vote for someone else other than Trump is a vote for Hillary. It will be interesting to see how this Presidential election ends up. Either way, one better be ready for a roller coaster.

If you vote for Trump and he wins, are you prepared to get behind him and support him in his decisions? I like to use the analogy of a moving train to a fiscal analogy. In a financial perspective, in order to get the country on the correct fiscal track, the train will have to slow down, stop and turn around in order to start going the opposite direction. Can you imagine the amount of energy, time and money it will take to stop the train? Then to turn it around and then start heading the other way?

Well, if you think getting Trump elected will solve all things, then I have some ocean-front property to sell you in Yellowstone County. (P.S., Yellowstone County does not have any ocean-front property)

Either way, I see this Presidential election as two options. 1. We together, as a country, can continue kicking the can down the road, or 2. Hold on for one hell of a ride.

Until then, See you in the paper

JDM