The path to the White House overlooks third party candidates. Here's why.
by Walter Brasch
With a month left before the November general election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are trash-talking each other in a financial race to the White House.
According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Clinton has raised about $516.8 million for her campaign. Total spending by outside groups and SuperPacs supporting her was an additional $31.7 million; the total spent opposing her was about $40.2 million.
Trump has raised about $205.9 million. About 45 percent of his income is from individual contributors; one-third is from Trump himself. Total spending by outside groups and superPACs supporting Trump is about $69 million; opposition spending is about $139.7 million.
Both Clinton and Trump are spending heavy on TV ads. Clinton and pro-Clinton outside groups have spent about $190 million, and Trump and pro-Trump outside groups have spent about $50 million, according to data compiled by Advertising Analytics. However, Trump has mitigated the difference by a barrage of Tweets to 12 million followers, and by constant calls to TV stations. In Pennsylvania, one of nine "swing states," Clinton has outspent Trump, $17 million to $6 million.
Trump's problem isn't a case of having less income than Clinton. Every time he opens his mouth, network TV and cable news stations are more than willing to air whatever he utters. His problem is a malignant case of braggadocio. He brags about how great a businessman he is, and says he is smart because he doesn't pay taxes but he uses every tax code loophole he, his attorneys, and accountants can find. This past week, the New York Times disclosed he took a $917 million loss in 1995, and could easily have written off income for every year since then. In a twisting logic that baffles even those who never studied philosophy, Trump blames Clinton because, he says, "Why didn't she ever try to change those laws so I couldn't use them?" His four bankruptcies helped assure his companies would have losses. However, because he refuses to release copies of his taxes, unlike every major party candidate in the past four decades, it's difficult to determine if Trump is a great and experienced businessman or just a great and experienced juggler.
Also within this past week, the New York attorney general issued a cease and desist order against the Trump Foundation for not registering with the state's Charities Bureau and for violating state rules by making several donations from the Fund to politicians and political groups. The Washington Post reported that the Foundation probably violated IRS regulations by spending $20,000 for a portrait of Trump, and $12,000 for a jersey and a football helmet autographed by Tim Tebow. The newspaper previously reported that the Foundation has spent about $250,000 to settle lawsuits. His problems won't end with New York. The Foundation wasn't registered in the 40 states that require registration. It is possible that Pennsylvania, California, and Illinois, three of the states that are rigorous in enforcing rules for charities may file against the Foundation.
A third problem that surfaced this past week is an Associated Press story, based upon statements by about two dozen crew members and contestants of Trump's "The Apprentice USA" TV reality show. According to the AP, citing the sources, "Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language," including rating "female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he'd like to have sex with." The cast and crew of his show also told the AP that Trump wanted his female celebrity contestants to show more cleavage and wear shorter dresses. Hope Hicks, speaking on behalf of Trump, called the statements "outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees [and they] have no merit whatsoever." However, the AP's story confirms that Trump has a history of demeaning women, something the Clinton campaign has seized upon in its TV ad campaign that has a series of comments by Trump who calls women pigs, fat, bimbo, ugly, and other names not suitable for a family-based newspaper. That and his frequent use of obscenity and disregard for civility alone makes him unsuitable for the presidency, according to the ad campaign.
Trump has attacked Clinton for her e-mail scandal, something she should have acknowledged months before her public apology. In response to her attacks upon him not being suitable for office, Trump charges Clinton as unfit for office, and adds crook and liar to his definition of who she is.
The independent Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB) analyzed each candidate's economic plans and concluded that Clinton's proposed budget would increase the debt during the next decade by $200 billion, and Trump's business model proposal would increase the debt by $5.3 trillion. The CFRB noted, "Neither candidate has presented a proposal to address our growing national debt and put it on a more sustainable path, nor have they offered a proposal for shoring up the Social Security, Medicare, or Highway trust funds.
By the election, each candidate, their SuperPacs, and outside groups will have spent more $1 billion to be elected to an office that pays $400,000 a year.
By contrast, the Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson raised about $8.5 million, and the Green Party's Jill Stein raised about $1.9 million. Both have solid platforms and strong ideas that might benefit all Americans, but Americans don't hear them. Neither candidate has the financial income the Democratic and Republican candidates have; they don't receive the funds from numerous lobbyists; they don't get the attention of the mainstream media. Just as important, Congress, made up of Democrats and Republicans, with Bernie Sanders as the only independent, are reluctant to pass campaign finance reform.
And that is why a third party candidacy can't survive at this time.
[Dr. Brasch's latest book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit.]
Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights, and 'Unacceptable': The Federal response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com, borders.com and most major on-line bookstores. BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW is also available at www.greeleyandstone.com (20 discount)
Walter Brasch, a deeply valued Senior Editor at OpEdNews passed from this world on February 9, 2017, age 71, his obituary follows:
Walter M. Brasch, Ph.D., age 71, of 2460 Second Street, Bloomsburg (Espy), died Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville surrounded by his family.
He was an award-winning former newspaper reporter and editor in California, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio; professor emeritus of mass communications and journalism at Bloomsburg University; and an award-winning social issues journalist and book author.
Walter was born March 2, 1945, in San Diego, the son of Milton Brasch and Helen (Haskin) Brasch and was a 34 year resident of Espy.
In his early years he was a writer-producer for multimedia and film companies in California, and a copywriter and political analyst for advertising and public relations companies. For five years during the late 1990s, he was the media and social issues commentator for United Broadcasting Network. He was also the author of a syndicated newspaper column since 1992 and the creative vice-president of Scripts Destitute of Phoenix.
Dr. Brasch was a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee and was active in the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency. He was vice-president of the Central Susquehanna chapter of the ACLU, vice-president and co-founder of the Northeast Pennsylvania Homeless Alliance, a member of the board of the Keystone Beacon Community for healthcare coordination, and was active in numerous social causes. He was co-founder with his wife Rosemary Brasch of The Oasis, a biweekly newsletter for families and friends of personnel stationed in the Persian Gulf. Later, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they published The Oasis 2, for families of persons in combat zones. They were supported by the Bloomsburg Chapter, America Red Cross and Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.
He was the author of 20 books, most which fuse historical and contemporary social issues. Among his books are Black English and the Mass Media (1981); Forerunners of Revolution: Muckrakers and the American Social Conscience (1991); With Just Cause: The Unionization of the American Journalist (1991); Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture (1997); Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the 'Cornfield Journalist': The Tale of Joel Chandler Harris (2000); The Joy of Sax: America During the Bill Clinton Era (2001); Unacceptable: The federal Response to Hurricane Katrina (2005); America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights (2006); Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (2007); and Before the First Snow (2011). He was co-author of The Press and the State (1986), awarded Outstanding Academic Book distinction by Choice magazine, published by the American Library Association.
His last book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit (2015), a critically-acclaimed novel that looks at what happens when government and energy companies form a symbiotic relationship, using "cheaper, cleaner" fuel and the lure of jobs in a depressed economy but at the expense of significant health and environmental impact.
During the past two decades, he won more than 150 regional and national media awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, USA Book News, Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, Pennsylvania Press Club, Pennsylvania Women's Press Association, Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Penn-writers, International Association of Business Communicators, Pacific Coast Press Club, and Press Club of Southern California. He was recognized in 2012 by the Pennsylvania Press Club with the Communicator of Achievement award for lifetime achievement in journalism and public service.
He was an Eagle Scout; co-recipient of the Civil Liberties Award of the American Civil Liberties Union, 1996; and was honored by San Diego State University as a Points of Excellence winner in 1997. In 2000, he received the Herb Caen Memorial Award of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For the Pennsylvania Humanities Council he was twice named a Commonwealth speaker. He also received the meritorious achievement medal of the U.S. Coast Guard.
At Bloomsburg University, he earned the Creative Arts Award, the Creative Teaching Award, and was named an Outstanding Student Advisor. He received the first annual Dean's Salute to Excellence in 2002, a second award in 2007, and the Maroon and Gold Quill Award for nonfiction. He was the 2004 recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Service Award. For 22 years, he was Editor-In-Chief of the awarding-winning Spectrum Magazine, part of the journalism program of the Department of Mass Communications, Bloomsburg University until his retirement in 2010. The community magazine was published twice a year by students for residents of Columbia and Montour counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and one of the few to be inducted into the national Associated Collegiate Press hall of fame. The magazine was also a consistent award winner in competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the American Scholastic Press Association. He primarily taught magazine editing and production, public affairs reporting, feature writing, newspaper editing; every Fall, he taught a 250-student section on mass communications and the popular arts.
Dr. Brasch was co founder of the qualitative studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism, president of the Keystone State professional chapter and for three years deputy regional director of the Society of Professional Journalists, from which he received the Director's Award and the National Freedom of Information Award. He was president of the Pennsylvania Press Club, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Women's Press Association, and founding coordinator of Pennsylvania Journalism Educators. He was a featured columnist for Liberal Opinion Week, senior correspondent for the American Reporter, senior editor for OpEdNews, and an editorial board member of Journalism History and the Journal of Media Law and Ethics.
He was a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Author's Guild, National Writers Union (UAW/AFL-CIO), The Newspaper Guild (CWA/AFL-CIO), and the Society of Environmental Journalists. He was a life member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and was indicted into the national scholarship honor societies Phi Kappa Phi (general scholarship), Kappa Tau Alpha (journalism), Pi Gamma Mu (social sciences), and Kappa Tau Alpha (sociology.) He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, Contemporary Authors, Who's Who in the Media and Who's Who in Education. Dr. Brasch earned an A.B. in sociology from San Diego State College, an M.A. in journalism from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in mass communication/journalism, with a cognate area in both American government/public policy and language and culture studies, from The Ohio State University.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, the former Rosemary Renn the most wonderful thing that happened in his life and whom he loved very much; two sons, Jeffery Gerber, Phoenix AZ and Matthew Gerber and his wife, Laurel (Neyhard) of Bloomsburg, a sister, Corey Brasch of Sacramento, Calif; a niece, Terri Pearson-Fuchs, Calif, numerous cousins; and his beloved dogs Cabot and Remy.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 325 Market St., Bloomsburg with family friend, Nathaniel Mitchell officiating. Interment in Elan Memorial Park, Lime Ridge.
Friends may call at the funeral home on Tuesday from 6 - 8 p.m. or Wednesday from 1-2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Walter M. Brasch Scholarship Fund,
c/o First Keystone Community Bank, 2301 Columbia Blvd, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 or to
Mostly Mutts, 284 Little Mountain Rd., Sunbury, PA 17801