Monday, November 21, 2016

The Voter is Going to Get What He Asked For!

Look for a decline in the U.S. economy very shortly after the triumphant inauguration of Donald Trump!
by Charlie Leck

One of the things I fear the most as Donald Trump puts together his administration, and continues to talk to a Republican Congress, is that our economy is going to tumble early on in Trump’s presidency. Warren Buffet is expressing concerns about the state of the economy and so are many other well established and reputable economists and market watchers.

Consider this: The stock market has risen by significantly more than 200% since Obama took over as President in 2009. That number is based on U.S. stocks that were traded on the two most significant markets in the country (NASDAQ and the NY Stock Exchange). The Standard and Poors 500 has risen more than 180%.

The morning after the election, sensing a potential decline in the stock market, I wrote to a number of the charitable organizations to which we have given quite generously and warned them that we might not be able to be so generous in the coming years. I couldn’t put numbers to my worry, but I do know that the market doesn’t not like uncertainty and instability in American politics. In my November 5 blog, when I predicted Trump’s victory, I also predicted a serious shakiness in world-wide markets in the coming days.

Now I read that such carefully watched investors such as Warren Buffett and George Soros are carefully watching the markets. Several market watchers have reported over the last few days that Berkshire Hathaway (Buffett’s holding company) has been shedding American stocks that rely on consumer spending.

The Republican Congress and Donald Trump are having conversations about a major shake-up in the size of government. They’ve talked for years about seriously reducing the number of government employees. Of course, such a reduction will have an impact on over-all employment numbers and it will, at the same time, reduce the amount of business the government will do with international suppliers. When the government employs fewer people it has the natural and expected impact on the general employment/unemployment in the rest of the nation.

A significant rise in unemployment impacts shopping and spending – from entertainment to automobiles and from dining-out to travel.

Under President Obama the U.S. unemployment rate was reduced significantly and got under 6% in the last year. It appears that major investing companies are expecting it to readjust and rise significantly in the next couple of years. It’s quite common for the rate to do that under a Republican dominated federal government.

The Washington Post said this morning..

“President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation.
“Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions – these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January.”

This is a common and frequent idea in the philosophy of Stephen K. Bannon (formerly of Breitbart News) and now a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

Many of us will not be able to spend at the rate we have for the last eight years. Nor will we be able to be as generous as we have to American charitable organizations. If thousands and thousands and thousands of individual household managers react that way, the economy is going to suffer.

If the economy tanks, hundreds and hundreds of generous foundations are going to take a hard look at their budgeted giving. Major charitable organizations will find it necessary to spend far less if the economy shrinks. The housing market will suffer. School and education spending will be reduced. Non-essentials, such as entertainment spending, will be examined carefully by each and every family in the nation. Visitors to food shelves will rise while less money will be given to these important organizations.

I think the American voters who led the march to the polls on November 8 are about to get what they asked for; that is, aid for the very wealthy and an enormous hike in the unemployment of the lower classes. Oh, boy!

The American voter has a short memory. He forgot amazingly quickly how damaged our economy had become between 2000 and 2008. While most of us had far less money to spend, the federal government was spending furiously on the Military-Industrial Complex (against which an important and dependable Republican President – Dwight David Eisenhower – warned us).


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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Are you nervous about the President-Elect?


I was giving thought to discontinuing my blogging here, but then Donald Trump got me laughing my head off and shaking it in wonder at the same time. Oh, I can’t stop! That’s what I told myself. This is all just too much fun and games! At least this part, just before the fall!
by Charlie Leck

When I watch President-Elect Donald Trump trying to become President Trump, I am struck by how incapable and inane he is. Is it because he has no background in politics? Neither did Dwight David Eisenhower, who made the transition to the nation’s top office quite easily. Watching all this fumbling around helps me understand why Donald Trump was such a terrible business man who left a trail of broken and maimed companies behind him.

Placing a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin is one of the first things Donald Trump did after his election victory. That call caused an immense amount of confusion and dismay over on Capitol Hill and the Donald received all kinds of corrective advice about that move. I imagine that a lot of people in Independent Ukraine wet their pants and panties when they heard about Donald’s telephone call. Every Baltic nation must be terribly nervous about what is happening in the U.S.. As well, nearly every European nation called the White House to find out what was going on. You know, Putin could play Trump like a Tennessee fiddle.

Then the Trump machine ran a flag up the old flagpole to see if anyone would salute it when they gave thought to naming Rudi Giuliani to the Secretary of State position. Again there was coughing, sputtering and gasping on the Hill. Rudy’s been deeply involved in big time, international consulting work and has gotten paid big bucks by some major and questionable nations. Sir Donald backed off on that one.

Another flag was immediately raised when Mr. Trump leaked the name of John Bolton, former Ambassador to the United Nations, for the Secretary of State position. Ahem! A few people had to remind Mr. Trump’s transition team that Bolton had once suggested, in a NY Times column, that we ought to bomb Iran to stop that nation’s nuclear program. Oops!

Donald has gone through a number of transition leaders already. The first – NJ Governor Chris Christie – is in big-time trouble for purposefully impeding traffic trying to get across the George Washington Bridge. Can you believe it? That one is a real laugher that left Christie with egg on his face and a dark, dark stain at the bottom of his underwear.

Vice President Elect Pence has now been given the transition leadership job and he is trying to talk some sense into the Donald and his children about how the government works. Good luck to Mr. Pence. He’ll have to figure out how to get the various factions in the Trump organization to stop fighting about who they want to get these prestigious positions.

You know, he’s made an early mess by naming Chief White House Advisors, Stephen Bannon (an outrageous right-winger and editor of Breitbart News) and Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican Party as “co-equal advisers.” The two are poles apart with very different approaches to politics. Lots of people are calling for the President Elect to rescind his appointment of Bannon to such an important position. Mr. Bannon is a darling among White Nationalists.

Government statistics show a serious rise in hate crimes in America since Donald Trump heated up in the election process – especially against Muslim Americans.

A lot of people out here are worried about what Trump will do about abortion, SCOTUS, the far right, his taxes and his holdings.

Now the frightening idea of a Globalist Cabel has also taken hold in the public and in the press. Is there some unnamed organization that has the economy and Donald Trump under its control? Oh, boy!

Evangelical Christian organizations are stepping to the fore and asking for a piece of the pie. Could that ever spell trouble!

Check out Petula Dvorak’s column in the NY Times. Seems that decency, humanity and morality have all been tossed out with the bath water! https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/stop-protesting-democracy-saying-notmypresident-is-the-same-as-saying-notmyconstitution/2016/11/14/87728a9a-aa8a-11e6-977a-1030f822fc35_story.html

The tantalizing question is now about the GOP. What is it? How do you define it?

And, what's the GOP controlled Congress going to do about all of Donald Trump’s amazing promises?

This much is totally clear – there is no fuzziness about it – and that is that the nation is now in the hands of and under the control of a small number of multi-billionaires. Good luck to the old idea of equal protection.

This proclamation is official: The United States of America has gotten itself into a big mess! The question many people are raising is: Can the economy and the economic super-structure handle it?

Oh, Lordsy, have we got a mess on our hands. No wonder the real president scooted off to Europe to try to calm down some nervous nations.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Greatest Nation on Earth?


I don’t know if America will every again be regarded as the greatest of all the world’s nations! I don’t even know if we ever got to that lofty spot. I know that we liked to think so. At the moment, America is seriously crippled and we have a long way to go to claw our way to the top again.
by Charlie Leck

On Saturday, November 5, three days before Election Day, I predicted here that Donald Trump would likely win the race for the presidency.  Believe me, I was very upset about it and couldn’t understand how it all could have happened; however, when I was convinced that he was going to win both Florida and Ohio, I saw no other possible result.

If you look back at the previous blog you will see that I’ve also predicted a number of tragic results of Trump’s early presidency – among them a possible impeachment. I urge you to go back and view my predictions.

I recently read a remarkable essay about the tragedy of this election and I want to urge you all to read it as well. It is by Neal Gabler.

Gabler is a senior fellow at The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California. He is also the author of five books and has won book awards from both the LA Times and Time Magazine. His essay, “Farewell, America” was published on the Moyers & Company web site: http://billmoyers.com/story/farewell-america/

Here are some significant quotes from Farewell, America!
“Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently. We are likely to be a pariah country.… If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t....”
“This generally has been called the “hate election” because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bound us....”
“Democracy can’t cope with extremism. Only violence and time can defeat it. The first is unacceptable, the second takes too long. Though Trump is an extremist, I have a feeling that he will be a very popular president and one likely to be re-elected by a substantial margin, no matter what he does or fails to do. That’s because ever since the days of Ronald Reagan, rhetoric has obviated action, speechifying has superseded governing....”
“But the disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness. Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us.
We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history.”
That’s tough stuff to read. I pray that Gabler is incorrect. I pray that I’m incorrect in my predictions. I am pessimistic, however.

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Trump as President?

It never seemed a real possibility to me until this morning, when I read the major newspapers carefully, checked into the dependable polling organizations, and decided to face reality! by Charlie Leck


It appears to me that Donald Trump is going to win the current presidential race. To take my mind off that dangerous and frightening possibility, I took my camera and wandered around my town on an incredibly beautiful, 70 degree day, and took some photographs. One is of the small lake that was discovered by white people on the 4
th of July much more than a century ago (therefore named Lake Independence) even though it had been a favored home site for Native Americans for many centuries before we came upon it; another is of the old farm silo on Windsong Farm Golf Club right next to our property. The other two are shots right here on our own lovely farm. They will allow you a sense of peacefulness and beauty
before you advance to my frightening and ugly predictions.

 






Trump is geared up to win in Florida and Ohio!
Frightening! I wrote here a couple of weeks ago that the candidate who could grab both Florida and Ohio would be the winner.

This is how I see the next several years in America…
No more prognosticating from me about the 2016 presidential race. Now I’ll turn instead to guessing just what might happen to Donald Trump, to our nation and to the world in the next couple of years. He’s going to be very sorry that he ran for president for the following reasons.

One:
The job is too big for him. He is not bright enough to handle it. He hasn’t the psychological fortitude or the patience to be the leader of the free world. His ties to Russia’s Putin are too strong and tight! He will make many and enormous mistakes
.
Two:
The American economy will tank. All the amazing gains under the Obama administration will disappear. Jobs will be lost and, therefore, unemployment will rise to levels we haven’t seen in 50 or 60 years. The stock market will take a major hit and the American economy will falter badly.

Three:
The United States Congress will be in total disarray. Both parties will be stalled and unable to restart their engines. The problem will be so serious that Democrats and Republicans will seek ways to cooperate in order to save the nation from chaos.

Four:
Mr. Trump will face major criminal charges for improper sexual activities (some of them very serious) and he will also face severe criminal charges related to his family foundation. America’s major newspapers will continue to report freely and vigorously about his unethical practices in both his businesses and his personal life. It will force the congress to seriously look at the possibility of impeaching him.

Five:
Contrary to his great boast, America will be viewed far differently around the world than it is today. We will no longer be regarded as a great nation, but, instead, as a nation in great disarray and with little influence on national issues.

Six:
The ecological and climate advances we’ve made over the last decade and the goals we’ve set for ourselves in the future will stall out. There will be international panic over the lack of leadership in these important areas.

Seven:
Mr. Trump will be aghast at the esteem in which Hillary Clinton will be held over the coming decade. It will be recognized that she was and is not guilty of any crimes whatsoever. Her tenure both in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. State Department will be recognized as important periods in our nation’s history.

Eight:
China and Russia will each makes moves on other nations and international territories and attempt to declare authority and ownership over them!

Nine:
The world economy will be shaken vigorously and dangerously during the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency. International poverty will increase and there will be serious rebellions and revolutions in several nations.


Ten:
World-wide financial corruption will increase to levels we never dreamed possible. Our nation will be called upon to meet demands for aide to which we will not be able to respond because of our weakened financial condition.

Eleven:
No wall will be built along the southern border of the United States of America; however, the movement of people from the south into the United States will slow to a trickle because our nation will not be an attractive place to live – not at all great again!

Twelve:
The Republican Party, in an attempt to save itself, will disavow any connection to Donald Trump; and the Grand Old Party will scramble to rebuild itself into an important political force again.

Enough! It is all too frightening and, for the sake of my grandchildren, I pray that I am mistaken about each and every one of the predictions above.

Goodnight!

As soon as the novelty is over and the force of contrast dulled,
it ain't happiness any longer, and you have to get something fresh.

Mark Twain - Captain. Stormfield's Visit to Heaven


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trump Does Not Understand the American Way!


There are all kinds of reasons not to vote for Donald Trump and here are a few of the important ones!
by Charlie Leck

Here’s the biggest reason (and its ramifications) not to vote for Donald Trump: He doesn’t understand how American democracy works. Dozens of leading political experts were shocked at Trump’s unwillingness to state that he would accept a Hillary Clinton victory if she wins the election that is only a bit more than a week away. It’s unheard of. Accepting such defeats and wishing the victor good success has been a tradition in America for a long, long time.

Instead, Mr.Trump is encouraging chaos and protest if Mrs. Clinton wins! As a result, supporters of Mr. Trump are warning of an American revolution if their candidate loses.

Mr. Trump is also encouraging followers to be at polling sites to watch for phony voters. Government institutions already have poll watchers and a number of ways to check for fraudulent voting. The U.S. voting system protects against fraud and there are only a few small cases of fraudulent voting over the last several decades. Actually, the system discourages undesignated poll watchers because they might intimidate people from entering polling places.

Mr. Trump does not really understand how democracy works and he doesn’t understand that our nation is really a republic more so than a democracy. Trump has had a hard time understanding the sophisticated and subtle differences between the two.

The tactics and off-handed threats that Mr. Trump has been issuing in the last week are both unprecedented and unpresidential.

Final, the continued coziness of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is frightening. Putin has been unquestionably messing in America’s political campaigns and voting procedures. Mr. Trump continues to heap praises on this man who would like nothing more than to see the American way and the American system trashed and ruined. I don’t understand why so many of Mr. Trump’s followers cannot see the danger of this cozy relationship.

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I’ll probably write only one more time before Election Day, looking at the likely results of the Democrats regaining control of the Senate; and then one other time after the results of the election are clear. Then I’ll retire again and continue to put my writing skills to work on some private pieces I am trying to publish.


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Monday, October 17, 2016

An Update on the State-by-State Polls


I’ll stick with the explanation of state-by-state polling I gave you about a month ago! Florida and Ohio will determine the winner – anyone who takes both of them will win the race, so Hillary must win one of these two states to become president.
by Charlie Leck

One of the major changes in the polls from that earlier blog [http://chasblogs.blogspot.com/2016/09/ohio-and-florida-areabsolutely-crucial.html ] is that there is a real chance that Hillary (believe it or not) could win in Arizona. Nevada and Colorado are also stronger possibilities for her now than they were when I last wrote. And North Carolina is also leaning very slightly toward Hillary.

As for Ohio and Florida, at this moment Florida is leaning rather strongly toward Hillary and Ohio is leaning slightly toward her. This is according to excellent polling information from tried and true sources that I have learned to trust ever since I began following polling information in the 2007 election. However, this is a volatile election and any kind of serious misstep by either candidate jolts the polls like an earthquake hit. There’s another debate coming when and where Donald Trump will have to throw everything at Hillary (including the kitchen sink). Expect him, on that night, to be the most crazed politician you have every seen.

I think you can put all of New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland in Hillary’s Column. And, you can add all the west coast states (California, Oregon and Washington). That leaves the southeast states and the great center of the country to worry about (including Ohio, which could go either way). Hillary actually has a shot at North Carolina and a teeny-weeny shot at Georgia. Trump will, of course, carry the rest of the deep-south states and Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Put my home state, Minnesota, in Hillary’s column and I think she’ll also carry Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Trump will likely carry Indiana.

Iowa and Ohio!
These are two key states that we don’t know about. Of the two, Ohio is the most important, but Iowa always seems to be a bell-weather state that indicates likelihoods. I’ll watch them closely on election night. As a matter of fact, here are the states I’ll keep my eyes on very carefully on election night…
  • ·         Ohio
  • ·         Florida
  • ·         Arizona
  • ·         Georgia
  • ·         Iowa
  • ·         North Carolina
  • ·         Nevada

Here’s what you can count on!
Sweeping the first two on the list above will indicate a win. If the candidates split those two states then you can consider the other states on the list crucial; and, the results of the election will probably not be known until late on Wednesday morning.

It used to be fun!
In the past this was great fun for me. My sanity never hung in the balance. A win or a loss would not cause me to jump off a cliff. This year is different. The kind of nation we will be in the foreseeable future depends on the election results on November 8. That is only three weeks away.


I’ve begun checking the prices of homes in le Midi en France.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Young Voters Refuse to Support Trump


Liberty College students, the University of Virginia Republican Club and the Harvard Republican Club have refused to endorse Donald Trump.by Charlie Leck
At the University of Virginia the student’s Republic Club said this about Donald Trump.

“He has gone from simply being an embarrassment to our party to a potentially permanent stain on our brand and our country.”
Reports from several polling organizations are showing that only about 1 in every 10 young voters will cast votes for Donald Trump. And now we are starting to see that the young college Republicans at both liberal and conservative institutions are refusing to vote for Trump.

Harvard’s Republican Club was founded in 1888. It is likely the oldest College Republican chapter in America. It proudly proclaims that its purpose is to “promote Republican principles, policies and candidates.”
Here’s the Harvard club’s statement, saying that the club will not endorse their party’s presidential candidate. This is the first time in the club’s history that it will not do so. The statement below speaks of shame and claims Trump is actually a “threat to the survival” of the United States.
According to a poll conducted by the  Harvard Crimson, a student newspaper, only ten percent of students in the club said they would support Mr. Trump. Another ten percent were undecided. To be clear, 80 percent of the club’s membership said they would not support Donald Trump.
The club’s full statement is worth reading…
“In every presidential election since 1888, the members and Executive Board of the Harvard Republican Club have gathered to discuss, debate, and eventually endorse the standard-bearer of our party. But for the first time in 128 years, we, the oldest College Republicans chapter in the nation, will not be endorsing the Republican nominee.
“Donald Trump holds views that are antithetical to our values not only as Republicans, but as Americans. The rhetoric he espouses –from racist slander to misogynistic taunts– is not consistent with our conservative principles, and his repeated mocking of the disabled and belittling of the sacrifices made by prisoners of war, Gold Star families, and Purple Heart recipients is not only bad politics, but absurdly cruel.
“If enacted, Donald Trump’s platform would endanger our security both at home and abroad. Domestically, his protectionist trade policies and draconian immigration restrictions would enlarge our federal deficit, raise prices for consumers, and throw our economy back into recession. Trump’s global outlook, steeped in isolationism, is considerably out-of-step with the traditional Republican stance as well. The flippancy with which he is willing to abdicate the United States’ responsibility to lead is alarming. Calling for the US’ withdrawal from NATO and actively endorsing nuclear proliferation, Donald Trump’s foreign policy would wreak havoc on the established world order which has held aggressive foreign powers in check since World War II.
“Perhaps most importantly, however, Donald Trump simply does not possess the temperament and character necessary to lead the United States through an increasingly perilous world. The last week should have made obvious to all what has been obvious to most for more than a year. In response to any slight –perceived or real– Donald Trump lashes out viciously and irresponsibly. In Trump’s eyes, disagreement with his actions or his policies warrants incessant name calling and derision: stupid, lying, fat, ugly, weak, failing, idiot –and that’s just his “fellow” Republicans.
“He isn’t eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency.
“Donald Trump, despite spending more than a year on the campaign trail, has either refused or been unable to educate himself on issues that matter most to Americans like us. He speaks only in platitudes, about greatness, success, and winning. Time and time again, Trump has demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge on critical matters, meandering from position to position over the course of the election. When confronted about these frequent reversals, Trump lies in a manner more brazen and shameless than anything politics has ever seen.
“Millions of people across the country are feeling despondent. Their hours have been cut, wages slashed, jobs even shipped overseas. But Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan to fix that. He has a plan to exploit that.
“Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of the Republic. His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy. He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House. He is looking to to pit neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, American against American. We will not stand for this vitriolic rhetoric that is poisoning our country and our children.
“President Reagan called on us to maintain this, our shining city on a hill. He called on us to maintain freedom abroad by keeping a strong presence in the world. He called on us to maintain liberty at home by upholding the democratic process and respecting our opponents. He called on us to maintain decency in our hearts by loving our neighbor.
“He would be ashamed of Donald Trump. We are too.
“This fall, we will instead focus our efforts on reclaiming the Republican Party from those who have done it considerable harm, campaigning for candidates who will uphold the conservative principles that have defined the Republican Party for generations. We will work to ensure both chambers of Congress remain in Republican hands, continuing to protect against executive overreach regardless of who wins the election this November.
“We call on our party’s elected leaders to renounce their support of Donald Trump, and urge our fellow College Republicans to join us in condemning and withholding their endorsement from this dangerous man. The conservative movement in America should not and will not go quietly into the night.
“A longtime student of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
“De Tocqueville believed in the United States. Americans are a decent people. We work hard, protect our own, and look out for one another in times of need, regardless of the color of our skin, the God we worship, or our party registration. Donald Trump may not believe in that America, but we do. And that America will never cease to be great.”  [The Harvard Republican Club]
Harvard and Virginia are two of the most historic and storied universities in the nation. Their students represent the best of American thinking.

Liberty University is not at that level, but even though it’s a bastion of conservative religious thinking and is headed by Jerry Falwell, Jr., students at the university have refused to follow in lock-step and many of the school’s students have refused to go along with Mr. Falwell’s endorsement. The students have formed a club called “Liberty United Against Trump.” Student members of the club, according the Washington Post, have claimed that they are disappointed and “are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history.’’ More than 250 Liberty students have signed on to those sentiments.



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