Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College.
By Peter Dreier | Jun 20, 2016
Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Palm Beach, Florida, as campaign manager Corey Lewandowski listens at left.
Donald Trump just said, “you're fired” to his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
This was predictable. In fact, it was predicted years ago in a traditional bluegrass folk song called “Darling Corey.”
The Corey in the song is a woman, but otherwise it fits the tragedy of Corey Lewandowski to a tee. Her fate was sealed when she got involved with what the song describes as a “gamblin' man,” clearly a reference to Trump's casino empire. The song is also prescient about Trump's tax problems (“the revenue officers are coming”). Corey's partner was a con man engaged in selling moonshine liquor made in a local “still house.” Is this not an obvious reference to Trump's effort to enter the booze business through Trump Vodka, which the Donald marketed under the slogan “Success Distilled,” but which quickly failed?
The “meadow” and the “graveyard” in the song no doubt refer to Trump's burial site. Some folks recently erected a tombstone to the presumptive GOP presidential candidate in the Sheep's Meadow section of Central Park. Since Trump just killed Lewandowski's job, perhaps he'll be generous enough to bequeath his “lonesome graveyard ground” to his former campaign manager.
Questions about the size of Trump's wealth are clearly anticipated in the first verse, which is found in the earliest published version of the song, “The Gambling Man,” collected from oral tradition by folklorist Cecil Sharp, as sung by Mrs. Clercy Deeton, at Mine Fork, Burnsville, North Carolina, on September 19, 1918. Versions of “Darling Corey” were recorded by The Weavers, Buell Kazee, Doc Watson, the Monroe Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, Jean Ritchie, the Kingston Trio, and Pete Seeger, among others.
My pocketbook full of money,
My friends are all standing around.
My pocketbook are empty
And I ain't got a friend to be found
Wake up wake up darling Corey
What makes you sleep so sound?
The revenue officers are coming
They're gonna tear your still house down
Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Dig a hole in the cold cold ground
Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Gonna lay darling Corey down
Can't you hear those bluebirds a singing
Don't you hear that mournful sound
They're preaching darling Corey's funeral
In some lonesome graveyard ground
Oh yes, oh yes, my darlin'
I'll do the best I can
But I'll never take my pleasure
With another gamblin' man
Throughout its many versions, the basic theme of the song has remained the same: Don't mess around with people involved in shady and illegal activities.
By Peter Dreier | Jun 06, 2016
It is well established that Donald Trump is a liar. Many journalists have documented his consistent disregard for the truth. For example, the highly regarded Politifact points out that 76 percent of Trump's statements are “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants-on-fire” outrageous lies.
But Politifact didn't bother to investigate Trump's comments about one of his most interesting characteristics—his hair. Last year, Today's Emily Sher compiled Trump's statements about this important topic, including this explanation, which Trump tweeted in April of 2013: “As everybody knows, but the haters and losers refuse to acknowledge, I do not wear a ‘wig.’ My hair may not be perfect, but it's mine.”
Last August, at a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama, Trump said: "If it rains, I'll take off my hat, and I'll prove once and for all that it's mine."
The color, cut, and combing of Trump's hair beg the question: Is the GOP's nominee-in-waiting also lying when he claims that his hair is his own?
In other words, we know that Trump is a bald faced liar. We just don't know for sure if he's a bald bald-faced liar.
This has been the subject of much journalistic investigation and speculation.
In “An Illustrated History of Donald Trump’s Hair,” Vanity Fair offered photos of the evolution of Trump's hairstyle over many years, but came to no conclusion about whether the mop on top was actually his.
In “The 100 Greatest Descriptions of Donald Trump’s Hair Ever Written,” The Washington Post's Monica Hess explored the many ways, over 30 years, that people have categorized and labeled Trump's hair (both color and style), but refused to resolve the question: real or fake?
Earlier this year, for an article headlined “Hairdressers Reveal the Secrets of Donald Trump's Hair,” The New York Post's Doree Lewak talked to Louis Licari, who colored the hair of Trump's first wife, Ivana, for 20 years. Licari told Lewak: “I think it's all his hair—through transplants,” adding, "I saw him several times in the office of Dr. Norman Orentreich in the early '80s,” referring to the specialist who, in 1952, performed the first-ever hair transplant.
In an extensive investigation for Gawker, “Is Donald Trump's Hair a $60,000 Weave?” Ashley Feinberg reached a bolder, as well as balder, conclusion: Trump probably wears a $60,000 hair weave.
In light of Trump's obvious insecurity about his masculinity, his vanity and his narcissism, it will hardly be surprising if an independent PAC tries to get under Trump's skin (and on top of his scalp) by running an ad showing The Donald without any hair, accompanied by the headline, “BALD BALD FACED LIAR?”
Trump is likely to go ballistic.
History books might record the ensuing controversy as the Battle of the Mane.
Bernie Sanders supporters are still convinced that he can win the Democratic nomination, but at this point they would do better to help him build a progressive legacy.Peter DreierMay 25, 2016
The Ken Burns documentary airing on PBS this week demonstrates how the fight to break baseball’s racial barrier went beyond Robinson’s personal heroism and rested on a broad political movement.Peter DreierApr 11, 2016
By Peter Dreier | Apr 06, 2016
In his victory speech Tuesday night after winning the Wisconsin primary, Senator Ted Cruz pointed to his endorsements from former GOP presidential candidates former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Lindsey Graham, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as proof that he has the “full spectrum of the Republican Party coming together and uniting behind this campaign.”
But what’s most striking about these political figures is how much they have in common. They differ in height, weight, charisma, and personality, but there’s hardly any distance between them when it comes to what they believe about government and public policy. On a scale of one to ten—with ten being the most reactionary—every candidate rates an eight or above.
Here’s where Cruz and those ex-rivals who now support him stand on the major issues facing the country:
· Raising the minimum wage—against
· Raising taxes on the super-rich—against
· Overturning Citizens United—against
· Abortion and Planned Parenthood—against
· Same-sex marriage—against
· President Obama’s executive actions to protect Dreamers and the parents of children who are citizens or legal permanent from deportation—against
· Strengthening regulations on Wall Street—against
· Tightening gun control laws—against
· Allowing Syrian refugees to enter the U.S.—against
· Eliminating the death penalty—against
· Promoting green jobs—against
· Reducing military spending—against
· Making voter registration easier—against
· Labor unions—against
The “full spectrum” of Cruz supporters covers an extremely narrow ideological niche that is out of sync with the vast majority of the American public.