OUTSIDER CANDIDATES CRASH POLITICS: TYLER SLOAN, TRUMP & OPRAH!

In my novel, Roll the Dice, rock star Tyler Sloan exits the Las Vegas stage to campaign for Nevada’s seat in the United States Senate. Oprah Winfrey, like Sloan, has personal and political skills that would render her a serious political figure. There is no doubt Ms. Winfrey has many qualities that would make her a major player for President in 2020.

Personally, Oprah is smart, successful, charming and empathetic. As an African-American woman who is a self-made billionaire and national celebrity, whispers of her candidacy have created fluttering hearts in Hollywood.

Politically, she has what every candidate desires; very high name recognition and skill as an interviewee.  And apparently, she has very few negatives.  Based upon her Golden Globes speech, her oratory skills are a given.  She gave a hell of a speech. 

In my novel Roll the Dice, Hall of Fame rock star Tyler Sloan is no political neophyte or dilettante. His father was the former governor of California and nearly captured the presidency. Just like Oprah, Sloan has a record of political activism, philanthropic achievements and business acumen.  They both are the complete package.

Oprah would be a formidable candidate on day one; but the dozen or more politically experienced Democrats will not step aside for her. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Garcetti, Andrew Cuomo, Cory Booker and a handful of others will not be intimidated. 

Her progressive social views should be welcomed by the Democratic base; but she may not engage in the demagogic anti-business rhetoric as sought by the Sanders/Warren wing.  While many Democrats may be very comfortable with a social progressive who does not demonize corporate America, will Move On, Media Matters and other progressive groups stand behind her, or rally around the rhetoric of someone challenging business at every turn?

Where Oprah could fail is with the “reaction voter.” Many candidates are elected as a contrast to perceived failings of the incumbent. The reaction to the present bestows the future candidate. Jimmy Carter was the honest tonic after the scandal-plagued Richard Nixon; and the bold vision of Ronald Reagan was overwhelmingly elected after Carter was perceived as feckless and ineffective.  

In 2020, many voters who oppose the current President may yearn for a more experienced hand at the wheel. Even if you love and admire Oprah, there is a lack of experience on major foreign and domestic policy issues.

Will she run? An emphatic no!  Oprah will not subject herself to the grueling, two-year gauntlet of campaigning.  She, like all candidates, will be scrutinized as she has never been before.  Republican and Democratic opponents will scrutinize her life.  All of Oprah’s past speeches, partnerships, business dealings and her personal life will be viewed with a laser intensity by forces bent on her defeat. 

Trump received a “pass” from the national media during the Republican primary. The sheer number of 17 candidates and his skill at obtaining media attention allowed him to avoid tight scrutiny. During the campaign, he was seemingly on CNN every night. The media never pursued Trump’s business dealings, his lack of policy knowledge and his temperament.

In the Age of Trump—it is foolish to rule out any candidacy or political scenario.  However will Oprah subject herself to a very difficult candidacy and the microscopic scrutiny of her past?  I wish her well, but I don’t see it.

I’M MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN ELON MUSK ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Technology and automation have been altering American’s work force for centuries.  The first moving assembly line by automotive genius Henry Ford in 1913 created far more jobs than the displaced blacksmiths that aided horses. Tesla founder Elon Musk opined that a universal social safety net will be required to maintain social and economic order in the 21st century from the loss of jobs arising from automation and artificial intelligence.

Nonsense—society will adapt and new and different job titles and duties will emerge.  The world will prosper due to A.I.

As the author of the novel, Roll the Dice, I experienced many technological changes.  I dictated a draft of this blog on voice recognition software. Aside from traditional print and radio appearances; I have been a guest on Internet radio shows, written for blog tours, and spoke on podcasts throughout the nation. None of these mediums were in existence 20 years ago. New technologies, with new occupations, made all this possible.

In my novel, rock star turned Senate candidate Tyler Sloan relied on social media to raise campaign funds, air on-line ads and communicate to Nevada’s voters. As an independent, Sloan resorted to new media to equalize the advantages of his Democrat and Republican opponents. 

Many occupations will be severely reduced or eliminated. Who needs a baseball umpire when we have advanced video replays to call balls and strikes?  Who needs a referee to determine whether the wide receiver tiptoed out of bounds? Society will have far fewer postal service workers, assembly line jobs, bookkeepers, legal secretaries and fashion designers. 

However, instead of the wealthy few who retain a Nordstrom personal shopper, many more jobs are created at Stich Fix when data analytics creates your on-line, personalized clothing outfit. Many highly skilled, highly paid people are necessary to construct these analytics to assess your personal tastes and budget.

You can revel in the time saved by A.I. when your vacuum scoots around to clean your carpet. No need to hurry to the grocery market if that market or Amazon delivers the items the next day.

 A touchscreen will replace the clerk to place your order at a fast food or family restaurant. The loss of entry-level jobs will negatively impact teenagers, part-time workers and senior citizens supplementing their Social Security. The taxi cab, Uber and truck driver can all be replaced with driverless vehicles. But as with Stich Fix, higher-paying positions will design, install and create the chips, write the analytics and make critical decisions on how to maximize resources.

Here’s some newly minted positions: “data detectives” will sift through their companies’ records to generate recommendations for the firm and their customers.  “Teaming managers” will oversee how machines and human workers are seamlessly utilized to maximize their results. Unskilled workers will include, “walker-talkers” who will answer the needs of the aging population. They may walk dogs, assist with technology, or run errands

Celebrate!  Careers, work and duties are never stagnant; they historically have always changed and will change again, and again and again.  

The Winners and Losers of Fire and Fury:

I will leave it to others to sort fact from fiction in Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury about President Donald Trump.  Here’s the political fallout and winners and losers.

Wolff.  The book is a bombshell. Regardless of journalistic errors, questions over the author’s true access, or whether specific allegations ring true; anytime the President of the United States threatens a lawsuit against a book’s author and publisher one thing is certain—the book will be a best seller.

As the author of the novel, Roll the Dice, with a plot of a rock star’s campaign for the United States Senate—I’m hoping Trump or a leading Democrat threatens similar legal action against me. That was the best publicity Wolff could receive. 

President Trump.  The President needs a united GOP to enact his legislative agenda through Congress. In the past Nancy Pelosi would unite the Republican Party; now it’s Steve Bannon. Bannon previously announced his intention to run “anti-establishment” Republicans against all incumbent Republican senators except Ted Cruz.  Cut to Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans dancing with glee at Bannon’s downfall. The former Breitbart editor has been discredited. He is now apologizing and attempting to walk back his comments, which included calling out all the Trump children. Good luck.  Blasting one’s children is never a smart play.

Democrats. The book feeds raw meat to a hungry lion.  On January 8, Author Wolff appeared on two MSNBC shows: Morning Joe in the a.m. and Lawrence O’Donnell in the p.m.  For Democrats, the book’s portrait of an unhinged Trump is the tonic to rally the base in 2018. Even if there is no collusion with the Russians, or high crime or misdemeanor to impeach, Dems are now claiming Trump is mentally unstable.

White House staff. I pity the fool who allowed Wolff access. Why let this wolf in the door?

Steve Bannon.  Where does he turn?  Since a successful run during the last stages of the Trump campaign, Bannon has been: fired from the White House, led the battle to unseat incumbent Alabama Republican Luther Strange with Judge Roy Moore which led to a Democrat beating Moore, the most singularly flawed candidate I’ve seen. Now his bombastic nature has soured Trump. All parties can question his temperament and judgment.

My take?  There are many criticisms of Michael Wolff’s veracity and journalistic style in outlets as varied as CNN, the New York Times and the Business Insider.  To me, Trump remains the same chaotic, disorganized, blustery, egotist he always was. No news here. Per the book, I do not care if this or any president, no matter who he or she may be, sleeps in separate bedrooms as their spouse. Was the post-Monica Clinton White House boudoir warm and cozy? Who cares?  

The Democratic problem during the Trump presidency has always been misfocused on the personal, idiosyncratic and often disturbing Trump—as opposed to proposing alternative policy and legislation. 

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Tyler Sloan & Kid Rock - Rock Star Political Candidates

Tyler Sloan & Kid Rock - Rock Star Political Candidates

Life imitates art.

                  Kid Rock, the Michigan based rock star, has launched a voter registration drive to lay the groundwork for a possible run against United States Senator Debbie Stabenow. In my upcoming novel Roll the Dice, Tyler Sloan, a member of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, leaves the Las Vegas stage to campaign for Nevada’s United States Senate seat...

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