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2016: Part Deux

2016: Part 2


            A memory from the Ironworkers Apprenticeship in the summer of 2012 that has never left me was that of a Business Associate (BA) pounding his fist on the podium in the Union Hall while addressing the new apprentices saying, "you have to vote your pocketbook!" Another memory while in the apprenticeship but closer to the election was that of the Treasurer speaking to the apprentices before class one night, expressing how Democrats have always favored and protected unions more than Republicans. And that "we had no debt under Clinton." Not quite true but obviously no mention of how Congress controls the purse and that Newt Gingrich was Speaker at the time, largely the cause of that balanced budget.

            What was clear: if you wanted to be a good, union faithful ironworker, you had to vote for Obama in 2012. By 2016, Obama's desire to "fundamentally transform America" had reached the end of its 8 year attempt... and I sure didn't notice the Hall or BAs screaming quite like 2012. There were the Hillary-ites sprinkled here and there, but too many ironworkers at that time had hopped on Trump Train.


            By May of 2016 I had become a Journeyman and wasn't subjected to the political preening of the BAs because I didn't have to be. I was a Journeyman. As long as your dues are up-to-date and especially if you are employed and even more so if you are a regular with a company, the Hall and BAs aren't really of much concern to you, should you not want them to be.

            The Hall and BAs are much more useful to those ironworkers who are in and out of employment and tend to jump around from company to company. Thus needing a friendly BA to either get them on with a new (old) company or for the "hall rats" - those who spend many a morning in the Hall, waiting for a "work slip" and cannot maintain steady employment be it through laziness, inconsistent job attendance, booze, failed drug tests, no call/no show (the worst offense), downright awful work quality, etc - who need the BAs to quite literally sell their worth and usefulness to a company in need of hands. But possibly not their hand, who has made a name for him or herself. The BA is then your best friend, taking the role of salesman for your (less than quality) product to a company who needs workers: "look, Jon Doe has been in the Hall every morning at 5:30 this week, seems sober and did a great job on that 5 story for Steve Doe Steel Erectors. He'll be a good hand for you."


            By early 2020, people in the construction world had lived and worked for almost 4 years under a very different kind of administration. Jobsites were littered with hardhats sporting Trump and MAGA stickers.

            A personal story of transformation I witnessed was a cohort and foreman who I worked with sporadically from my first job at the company in 2013, and consistently almost every day from 2018 until the present. He went from thinking Republicans were the root of all evil as a Union Ironworker since the age of 18 in 2003 to voting for Trump in 2020. He disliked Trump in 2015 and even into the early part of his Presidency but loved him by the end of his 4 years and still does to this day.

            And maybe the most stunning reversal in union construction: one of my best friends in ironwork of the last 3 years divulged to me that during his apprenticeship, "the Hall isn't pushing the total Dem vote anymore. They're suggesting we look at each candidate individually and decide who is best for ironworkers." 1) what a novel idea and 2) that is an absolutely shocking turn of events when it comes to who the Hall suggests its members pull the lever for, considering their demands of the last 100 years.


            Everyone one can find an "expert" or "scholar" to back up their beliefs on the economy, immigration, inflation, crime, the reason for this or the reason for that. But what doesn't really need backing up or an explanation, is what you experienced under Trump as an Ironworker. Aside from the complete and utter child like meltdown by a majority of the Left and those with Trump Derangement Syndrome, the rest of us (especially the blue collar manual labor grunts) know what we saw when it came to our checking accounts, retirements, the amount of work we had... the price for living.

            We all saw a world that wasn't on fire. Cheap prices everywhere. Record low unemployment across the board (minorities specifically). Abundant overtime (even double-time, which is rare). A boundary on our southern border. An ironworker retirement fund that averaged a 13.8% gain throughout Obama's 2nd term and a 42.6% gain under Trump until Covid hit. Life made sense for well more than half the country that wasn't unhinged with hatred for Trump, especially the working middle class. I have to believe they have not forgotten what that felt like.


            The Left will say things like, "when he tells us he'll be a dictator, we should listen." But ironically, they actually did not listen to him, because he said for one day, on day one, jokingly. And then he referenced two things that are by no means the acts of a Dictator - "close the border, and.... drill drill drill."

            But when Biden says, "I'm going to end fossil fuels in your lifetime," to a high schooler, should we believe him? When he says they have the chance to be the most progressive administration since FDR, should we believe him? When real intentions leak from inside the administration about wanting to ban gas stoves and restrict other household appliances' ability to function efficiently in the name of the environment, should we believe them? When places like California and Minnesota sign into law a schedule to be "100% carbon free" by 2040, should we believe that Biden is looking for the same with America? When Biden tells Jimmy Kimmel in July of 2022 that he should throw his opponent in jail, should we believe him?

            Everything Biden has promised, he has either achieved or is working extremely hard on right now. Everything that was promised under Trump, is happening under Biden - namely... war. Like.... World War.


            Anyone that pays attention to the great minds like Victor Davis Hanson or similar conservative intellectuals, knew this Biden administration was coming. To secure the nomination, Biden made deals with all the most progressive candidates he was running against. Therefore promising woke and radical green policies to Liz, Bernie, Kamala, Pete, The Squad, in exchange for their support.

            Going into South Carolina it was: Bernie - 45, Pete - 26, Biden - 15. Then we all know what happened. Biden was a racist, until she was his VP. Biden was too old, to moderate, etc. until they all got jobs. And now he is a smorgasbord of the most radical progressives he promised the moon to.


            I distinctly remember working out of a JLG lift this past summer of 23, welding some outrageously thick pieces of angle into the corners of a building. I have an ongoing text thread with my middle school teacher brother, his only conservative cohort there, and my wife. My brother at the time was convinced that there was absolutely no way Trump could beat Biden in a rematch. His reasoning went to a lot of subjects for which 2020 was such a disaster - too much of the base hates him, people are tired of the drama, he says ridiculous things, no one wants another circus term, and so on. Then I thought to myself and asked, "why is anyone comparing 2024, to 2020? Why wouldn't 2024 act much more like 2016?"


            From 08-16, the progressive Left's dream came true. An activist, community organizer, Leftist progressive President, who was black. He tribalized the country into oppressor and oppressed by skin color, instead of working classes, like the old Marxists before him. He arrogantly and condescendingly talked down to anyone he felt wasn't as smart as him, i.e. working middle class whites and any fellow black person who wasn't a Democrat, and really any conservative. A true modern day progressive liberal. And he really beat Hillary to the punch when demonizing an entire voting block with, "...they cling to their guns or religion...."

            I know of no one who hates Trump more than my father. But during a 2015 Thanksgiving drive home from Watertown, MN at my wife's uncle's farm, even he admitted that the country was staring down the tracks of an oncoming Trump Train because of Obama. Obama had pushed the progressive button so hard for 8 years that people were tired of it and ready for a bull in a China shop.


            Desantis was supposed to be the great GOP reset, giving us all the winning Trump policies without the drama. Haley has been surging but can't shake the billionaire donor class, throwback to the 90s and 2000s Bush Republicans. Christie shined in 2016 with his Rubio take down and came back again with a fastball like Greg Maddox, minus the accuracy.

            Doesn't all of this sound like those who were suppose to snatch it away from Trump in 15 and 16? But you can't, because there is only one Trump, and he can't be destroyed. He just gets stronger and stronger. He's like Peter Greene's character Dorian, from The Mask. Where at the end when he is wearing it, and everyone is shooting at him, hitting him in the chest and he just inhales the bullets into his lungs and spits them all back out.


            The country was sold a fraudulent bill of goods that the adults were back in charge and sanity and peace would return under the watchful, suave, seasoned veteran eye of Joe Biden and his decades long experience as a master diplomat. Never mind Obama's Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, sounding the alarm that Joe Biden has "been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

            The world is on fire. No one can afford even a used car, or fuel for that unaffordable used car. House utilities are so beyond comprehension - last summer, my 1,900 square foot house in a small town 45 minutes outside of Minneapolis had back to back to back months of $345 and $377 and $324 monthly bills. A $125 cart of groceries in December of 2020 when we first moved to Buffalo is now $250 or more. While my yearly union raise has gone up around 2-3% each of the last 3 years, it's not winning the battle. No one is winning the battle against the cost of living. 


I've said this before... people would ask me.... knowing what you know now, do you wish you had a third term? And I used to say, 'ya know what? If I could make an arrangement, where I had a stand in, a front man, or front woman, and they had an ear piece in, and I was just in my basement, in my sweats, looking through the stuff and I could sorta, deliver the lines, and somebody else was doin' all the talkin' and ceremony, I'd be fine with that'......

--- Barack Obama


When they tell you what they want to do, we should listen. We are in Obama's third term. The Biden Presidency told the Obama Presidency to hold their radical progressive beer, except Obama is just holding his own beer, with his stand in, front man and woman, trying in vain to complete his "fundamental transformation" of America through what they hope will be 16 years of hammering away at the foundation of the country.

            8 years of Obama's real Presidency was a slow burn. These last 3 have been so mind blowingly extreme that I sincerely believe, should Trump be the nominee, people are going to remember dropping the hammer 8 years ago. But with also the idea in their head that Trump now knows the game. My communist family used to say, "the scariest thing about Trump is, he doesn't know what he doesn't know." Well, now he knows.

            Michael Jordan got cut his freshman year of high school. The Bulls got beat repeatedly by the Celtics, Pistons and Knicks in the late 80s and early 90s. Then, they didn't. And would have won 8 championships in a row had Jordan not retired in the middle of their dynasty. Trump knows the game and is quite likely Trump 2.0. Top Gun was awesome. Maverick was unreal.

            Trump '24 is not a foregone conclusion of defeat. I think this year will resemble '16 way more than '20. People are too angry, at everything, even more so than '16. Life is unaffordable for the group that Biden is supposed to represent. The world is a powder keg because of intersectionality appointees and woke governing. Covid pulled back the curtain on public classrooms, leftist governments and a comically ideology driven medical community. 3 letter government agencies have been exposed for rampant partisanship. And scariest of all, the current formula of suspending democracy to save it - i.e. remove Trump at all costs (never mind the refusal to hold their own Democrat Primary). He is 10X better than he was at his previous Trump game. He's got a record to pull from. I mean, what, save for a pandemic or nation wide riots, or a Civil War or World War... what could go wrong until November?