Keller @ Large: Extremism Doesn’t Sell In Elections

BOSTON (CBS) – I’d like to be able to tell you that the presidential race this week has reached rock-bottom, what with Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton a “bigot” and Clinton casting Trump as a tool of the Ku Klux Klan. But you and I both know this race has no bottom.

So as the campaign rhetoric grows more and more extreme, let’s take a moment to consider how Americans seem to feel about extremism in politics.

In 1964, Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater made the case that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” He then proceeded to lose 44 states.

But we’re a less-extremist country than we were then. Civil rights have expanded. Every time a president has tried to push the envelope a bit harder than normal, the voters tend to push back by rewarding the opposition party at the polls. Perhaps that’s why Clinton and Trump seem eager to cast the other as extreme.

To hear Trump and his backers tell it, Clinton would unleash a far-left-wing agenda on America if elected. But didn’t we just watch her survive a nomination process in which she was repeatedly cast as too moderate, too cautious, too responsive to outside pressure?

Clinton wants you to believe Trump is the front man for the most far-right-wing elements imaginable.

Check out this new Clinton web ad featuring racist support for Trump.

But aren’t we seeing Trump desperately trying to tack toward the center these days? So which is he – a radical, or a pol on the make with an eye glued to the polls?

Our political track record suggests extremism doesn’t sell in the end. Even if that’s what the mudslingers would have you believe is being peddled.

More from Jon Keller

One Comment

  1. mstarvin says:

    You should have used the leader of Isis pledging his support for Hillary not the KKK.

  2. Sy Clops says:

    Where did the term “alt right” come from? Didn’t the kind of right wing, racist paranoia that embraces loud mouthed wackos already have a name? Fascism. Fortunately, Von Clownstick doesn’t have half the charisma of a Hitler or Mussolini.

    1. mstarvin says:

      Fascism is a product of the left wing…I know that liberals hate fact so I expect you would deny this fact.

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        You seem to have neglected to include anything to back up your “fact”

      2. bees_knees_6 says:

        BTW Those who believe the right is all right or the left is all right and make blanket statements with regard to either side are the problem in this country. Until we work together, we get nowhere. FACT….unless you are also fool enough to think we do not have to work together.

  3. bees_knees_6 says:

    Jon, you say civil rights have expanded. Where? I think we are taking giant steps backwards. Both candidates can take responsibility for that as well as our president. Trump, however, stands at the top of the garbage heap when it comes to racism, as well as being a xenophobe and misogynist. My opinion.

    As far as Trump attempting to reinvent himself….it would take a fool to believe that he is not what he is. Yesterday, Clinton quoted Maya Angelou….:When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” It would be wise for those who think he can change to know he cannot and will not.

    With regard to the voters pushing back where Trump is concerned….never going to happen. Trump himself said…”I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” It should terrify folks, but it does not. Fifty GOP terrorist/NSA experts stating Trump would be a clear and present danger should terrify people, but it does not. I fully believe Trump could walk into the White House next January. Heaven help us if he does.

    1. paul dowd says:

      Trump has no policies. He is just Trump. His followers don’t want policies they just want Trump. He could come out and say he will grant general amnesty to 11m “illegals” and only lose the support of Sarah Palin. The rest are worshipping a false God.

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        It is more than mind boggling, Rowdy. I would like to think that most see the problems with Clinton. However, nothing compares to the horrific rantings of Trump coupled with his history and bigotry.

    2. The Owl. says:

      You seem, Bees, to be rather accepting of Hillary Clinton always “reinventing” herself as a trustworthy, honorable, and truth-telling individual.

      Are you displaying your penchant for double standards again?

      And what’s this? Another name change? This makes four in the past week or so.

      Are you having a touch of schizophrenia

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        Dear Owl, I will choose to believe you are not as stupid as you appear and are just needling which is basically all you ever do. Let me help you. I am anything but accepting of HRC but then you know that and yet continue to make yourself look stupid by constantly making the same comment. There are two choices. I am assuming you are smart enough to know that he other two parties will not have candidates that will walk into the White House. Perhaps, I should not assume that.

        Neither choice is a good choice. I think an intelligent person knows that. Perhaps, you do not. However, one of them in my opinion, which is shared by many on both sides of the aisle, is far more than just dangerous. He would be a disaster. I will do whatever I have to in order to make sure he does not walk into the office.

        You, on the other hand, have not said one negative word about Trump which of course indicates you are one of the ones who is hearing his whistle

        As for screen names, I also explained yesterday. I have no idea where 3 keeps coming from. It was 5 but as of 23 days ago became 6. I am not worrying about it because I was certain an intelligent person would know that regardless of the number I am Bees_Knees. Whereas of course your multiple names are far removed from each other which is of course a fact since you have been caught a couple of times :)

        In an effort to continue to help you…..please do try to keep up

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        3 was long gone two ago and now one is added [see if you can figure that out ;) ]. It is the new and improved WBZ commenting system. As I said…I believe to you…not much sense in trying to change it because by the time I do, BZ will just swap systems again.

    3. lizzzy321 says:

      Trump is a lot easier to find fault with, so I can see why you have devoted your post to pointing those out, but I think Clinton is just as dangerous, but in a different way. She is a lot more experienced at spinning the narrative to her advantage. She was very clever this week, more so than Trump in ignoring what he was saying about her and drilling her own attacks on Trump. But that’s not a compliment. She attempts to obfuscate the issues by redefining them and mischaracterizing the positions of others. She performs like a classic carnival act that depends on misdirection.

      I would like to hear more about two adjectives you used to describe Trump. Xenophobe – fearful of that which is foreign. And Misogynist – I don’t know, I haven’t been paying enough attention for awhile now. I’d like examples of what he’s done to warrant these descriptions if you find the time.

      I get a disconnect when I hear the Clinton supporters suggest that fearful of foreigners and racism are what many Americans are about. That is way too superficial of an evaluation and does not precisely identify, what people’s attitudes are toward race and foreigners, in my opinion.

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        I suspect it may be difficult to understand if you have not been paying attention. However, I am a bit surprised you don’t know how terrified he is of anything foreign….other than white male. Mexicans, blacks, Muslims….he has lashed out at every one of them. As far as women, there are too many to list. How about sexual assault in the military to be expected or that a woman must be hot in order to be a journalist. The comment that giving a wife negotiable assets is a mistake is a great way to respect a person you are marrying. Or his comment that if his daughter were not his daughter he would probably date her (sorry makes me cringe to type that). His insult to Fiorina would be one I would think you would recall or his comment to Kelly that blood was coming from her whatever……because she had the audacity to ask him a question during a debate that he didn’t like. But then, that is Trump’s MO. The biggest and all encompassing is one I mentioned with regard to Mrs. Khan. I gave other examples as well and would direct you to those.

        The place where you were wrong and that I have clearly pointed out is that I am not a Clinton supporter. I was a supporter of Sanders. I will repeat one more time. I think our choices are horrific. However, when a good portion of a party turns on its candidate, I think it is fair to say that should give people pause. He is a racist. Absolutely no one can deny that. He has no respect for the constitution……..his wall alone shows that. And he preaches isolationism. We are not the world. We…the United States…are part of a very big world. If we do not work together, then we are toast. And a good portion of our allies have now been insulted by Trump.

        As far as your comment…”She is a lot more experienced at spinning the narrative to her advantage.” I do not believe she is even close to being as experienced as Trump. I think you are underestimating him as are many who have not spent some time looking into his background.

        It would be a good idea to do some reading on his business history and his associations. You will notice that mob comes up in many conversations. Also, look into Roy Cohn as I suggested above. Trump himself had said he admired Cohn and his technique to the point that they would talk a dozen or so times a day. Cohn said it was about twice that but even a dozen times should give anyone who knows Cohn’s background pause.

        And Trump is easier to find fault with because he has so many faults. Please understand that I am not saying Clinton does not. I AM NOT SAYING I SUPPORT HER ….yep – speaking loudly – not really yelling ;) just so I don’t have to repeat. I simply believe – as I also have said – that Hillary will not destroy this country (although I’m not sure she will make much if any change). I believe Trump will. It is sadly that simple.

        That is all I am going to say on the subject. You and I do not typically agree and we both have right to believe as we choose.

      2. lizzzy321 says:

        I agree with your reminder of his comments about women. I had forgotten a number of those examples. I stopped listening to him and reading coverage on him about 2 months ago when I decided I wasn’t going to vote for him.

        I was not suggesting that you support Clinton and I do remember you supported Sanders. I agree our choices are horrific and I’m considering a write in.

        As for Trump being turned on by his party, that just makes me sick, when it is in large measure their fault he became their nominee. And for the Republican party to throw their support behind Clinton and not make some effort to provide an alternative Republican candidate to Trump at this point, is unacceptable. If they were going to do something so extreme, as vote Democrat, then they should have gone all the way and tried to provide some remedy that was outside the box. In for a penny, in for a pound. So it may be basically a one party election? It’s not fair that Republican minded citizens have no one to represent their point of view that is reasonable. Even if Romney ran, that would be more acceptable than Donald. Although that’s off the top of my head.

        And here is where I disagree, whether Trump himself is uncomfortable with anything foreign or not, I’m sure that many of his followers are not so much uncomfortable with something foreign but with what that represents. You can’t make a blanket statement that no one should be fearful or uncomfortable with anything ‘foreign’. There is such a thing as reasonable caution about changes to what you know. I don’t see anything whatsoever wrong with being cautious about the changes that you accept. Or trying to maintain your own culture and way of life.

        Too many people leap to the conclusion that to be wary and cautious about people from different lands, is racist. To the point they created a name for it – hence your choice of xenophobe. It’s difficult for me to understand why people have such a hard time being more precise and seeing the nuances of what people think.

        It is unfortunate, that Trump has been the spokesperson for that viewpoint, because he has been full of disrespect and not a good representative at all, so now not only has Trump become the poster boy for racist, but wanting a fair immigration policy is also labeled as racist along with him. And I believe the Democratic party, Clinton’s campaign has purposely done that to gain an advantage.

        I fail to understand what the Clinton campaign’s position is on fair immigration policy. The quote I am aware of, is that Clinton admires Merkel and wants to imitate her. Clinton said that if she had her way, she would increase immigration from the MidEast by 500%. I oppose that for sure. Western culture and Eastern culture clash. Many in the MidEast are very vocal about their opposition and lack of acceptance of Western values. Women in Germany have been attacked by immigrants simply because their Western dress was unacceptable to them.

        In Germany, authorities report that Refugees don’t’ leave their conflicts behind, they bring them with them. They are considering separate housing for Muslim and Christian asylum seekers. Ethnic, social, cultural and religious tensions are on the rise. Insults, threats, discrimination and blackmail against Christian asylum seekers in particular are a regular occurrence.

        It isn’t a race of people that people do not want to import, it is the culture and the conflict, their intolerance and the violence. They’ve failed to get along in they own part of the world to the point of destroying it and exporting that to all corners of the world and as they are now being ‘invited’ in to countries in Europe, they are bringing that along with them. So, to be wary of ending up with the same problems we are now seeing in Europe, to me is not racist and the term ‘xenophobe’ does not apply. Americans are not against anything foreign. We accept all kinds of positive contributions from many cultures. Food for example. Every major city in the U.S. celebrates the foods of different cultures. No, it is the negative that we don’t want to import.

  4. fred125 says:

    The only person using this language is Sickly Hillary because she can’t actually talk about the issues she believes in

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Ahhh the language. How about the actions. Trump’s company was sued TWICE for not renting to blacks. Employees of Trump have consistently accused him of racism. He determined that a judge would not be fair because he was Mexican. He refused to disavow the KKK. He answers accusations of bigotry by saying he loves that (fill in the blank) group which of course singles out a group and treats it as one. When a native american tribe was concerned about competition with the casino Trump wanted to open in Ct, he loudly stated that “they don’t look like Indians to me….they don’t look like Indians to Indians.” And the most egregious was when he attacked the mother of a man who had given his life in order for you and me to be having this conversation….for our country….by faulting her for not speaking – not because she was grieving but because she was Muslim.

    2. The Owl says:

      Nor can Hillary talk about a) her accomplishments, b) her actions while Secretary of State, or c) her relationship(s) with donors/and or the Clinton Foundation.

      That leaves her with just either lying about everything or “trumping up” things to say about The Donald.

      But, hey, it’s Hillary…and Hillary does NOTHING but think of The People and their needs….

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        Curious, Owl. Will you please provide specifics to illustrate each point.

        As far as “c) her relationship(s) with donors/and or the Clinton Foundation.”

        That has been investigated extensively and safeguards were put into place.

        I am surprised you will question the foundation and not mention Trump’s refusal to provide tax returns.

        I’m sure you do understand that each president has a foundation of some sort. The unusual here is that none of their wives were also in the political arena so that this has not cropped up in the past. Below is a quote.

        “From the very moment Hillary Clinton was put forward to be Barack Obama’s secretary of state in 2008, the potential for conflicts of interest tied to the Clinton Foundation was front and center. The international health and development project was the brainchild of Bill Clinton, and foreign governments were giving millions. Until 2013, Hillary Clinton had no formal role, but the possibility that donations to the foundation might influence foreign policy decisions would never pass the smell test so long as Clinton was running the State Department.

        To allay those concerns, the foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with Obama’s presidential transition team in December 2008. Under the terms of that agreement, the foundation promised to report its donors in order to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. It would say who gave, but it wouldn’t say precisely how much. Instead, donors were revealed in broad dollar ranges. The agreement was signed for the foundation by Bruce Lindsey, a longtime Clinton adviser and the foundation’s CEO, and by Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett for the presidential transition team.

        It’s now possible to look up donation amounts on the Clinton Foundation’s website. Using Trump’s Saudi Arabia example, Saudi Arabia shows up as having given between $10 million and $25 million since the foundation started. When it began in 1997, the foundation’s main goal was to build the Clinton presidential library, although it left open the option to “engage in any and all other charitable, educational and scientific activities” that nonprofits are allowed to do under federal law.

        The Washington Post reported that Saudi Arabia gave about $10 million to build the library. (According to the Post, the Saudis gave a similar amount to the George H.W. Bush library.) After the library donation, the Saudis gave very little and stopped giving entirely during the time Clinton was secretary of state. She stepped down in early February 2013.”

  5. Donald J Trump, Putin's butt boy says:

    When Donald Trump suggested that the 2016 election might be “rigged,” he probably wasn’t thinking about his new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, who, The Guardian reports, is registered to vote in the key swing state of Florida using the address of a vacant house he never lived in. Bannon has an active voter registration in Miami-Dade County, with the address a condemned house that was abandoned a few months ago by one of his ex-wives, Diane Clohesy (who also appears to be registered illegally in neighboring Broward County), according to neighbors, who say they have never seen Bannon at the house.

    Bannon owns a house in Orange County, California, which is reputedly his primary residence, and co-owns a Los Angeles condo, though he also claims to live in the “Breitbart embassy” in Washington, D.C., a $2.4 million townhouse owned by an Egyptian businessman named Mostafa El-Gindy, The Guardian says. Florida requires people to be legal residents of the county and state where they are registered to vote, with the Florida secretary of state’s office defining legal residency as the place “where a person mentally intends to make his or her permanent residence.” In Florida, willfully submitting false information on your voter registration is a third-degree felony.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Despite the fact that your name is a bit silly, that is interesting information. Do you have a source?

    2. Sy Clops says:

      Trump seems to like to make preemptive strikes. If he feels he is open to charges of racism, he immediately charges his opponents with racism. Just like certain people here abouts are always claiming that Obama is contributing to racial discord in this country (presumably by having the audacity to run for President while being black).

      Probably the “rigged election” charges are the same thing. Or he is just planning for the inevitable.

      1. bees_knees_6 says:

        You might be interested in reading about his relationship with Roy Cohn who was, according to Trump, his mentor and friend. They spoke multiple times every day. Reach Cohn’s approach to making outrageous statements, etc. Also a good read is Wayne Barrett’s book on Trump which is rather telling or chilling…depending on your view.

  6. bees_knees_6 says:

    Liz, fair enough. And I truly do not want to get into this. I am, for the first time in my life, finding I have not one person to vote for that I am comfortable with. However, I do have one person that I feel would …as I have said..destroy this country. As far as the republican party “turning.” Remember, the founders did not want parties for this very reason. They believed vote country and not party. That is what I admire so very much about the republicans who have spoken against Trump. For them to simply vote for him because he has an R beside his name would, in my opinion, be go against everything this country was founded on. It is a start to bridging the divide. I firmly believe that people thinking that because they are a D or an R that they cannot also support views from the other side.

    Immigration is not a dirty word nor is immigration reform. Trump’s brand is a dirty word. Even our own governor has said he will not say no to immigrants but he wants to make sure they are vetted properly. That is the part you left out of your comment re Hillary because of course Trump left it out. She has said repeatedly that there has to be a vetting process. HRC has been consistent on her views of immigration. It is Trump who changes his views (on that and everything else) daily.

    And for foreigners….there are many Bible references to “foreigners.” BTW I think of foreign as something we are not used to and not always someone from another area of the world.

    We will have to agree to disagree on the rest. As always, I have said more than I intended. We will see what we have come November, and God help us all.

    1. lizzzy321 says:

      Unfortunately, I’ve failed to consider that I don’t really have the time I used to have to have a long conversation that requires much thinking and researching. And I don’t know when I will have. My apologies for opening a can of worms and not being able to follow through. Take care…

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