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The Herald-Palladium from Benton Harbor, Michigan • A6

Benton Harbor, Michigan
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A6 SATURDAY, March 19, 2016 OPINION The Herald-Palladium UOTE FILE What people are saying in Southwest Michigan Editorial Board DAVID HOLGATE Publisher DALE BREWER Local News Editor DAVE BROWN Managing Editor KATIE KRAWCZAK Design Editor uman ingenuity often has a ripple effect on our lives and our politics, and a perfect example is Eli ingenious invention, the cotton (subsequently shortened to which he patented this week (March 14) in 1794. While there had been variations on the before his prototype worked so well on American cotton it changed America forever. Before invention, cotton that is, removing the seeds from the ber had been done by hand, a slow, expensive and inef cient process that had prevented cotton from becoming a viable cash crop even though the increasing number of textile mills springing up in New England, and in Europe England especially were begging for more cotton to turn into a variety of nished products. By contrast, cotton gin mechanically separated seeds from ber, making the process ef cient and cheap. The implications for the South, which had both the abundant land and the warm weather needed to grow cotton, were immediately recognized.

The cash crop of much of the South, tobacco, was somewhat on the wane, so the cotton gin could make cotton a pro table crop and bene the entire southern economy. But separating cotton seeds from ber was one thing. Planting and picking the cotton plant was another. That required lots of labor, meaning slaves. Which was sadly ironic because, by 1794, slaves had been slowly decreasing in population in America, including in the South.

Prior to 1794, in the South as well as the rest of the country, there had been enough white laborers, especially poor immigrants, willing to work for low wages, reducing the necessity of owning slaves. more, a growing number of southerners began to have misgivings about the contradiction between the principle of freedom on which America had been founded and the bondage in which slaves were held. Finally, especially in the South, there had been a fear that ever increasing numbers of slaves meant the possibility of slave insurrections as their numbers grew. The cotton gin changed all of that. By the turn of the century the number of cotton bales produced in America had grown to 100,000 up from about 3,500 in 1794.

More to the point, while in 1794 there had been about 700,000 slaves in the country, by 1810 (which was two years after the Constitution had banned the slave trade) there were more than 1 million slaves. And as the slave population grew, increasing numbers of southerners looked to extend slavery into the new territories that would soon enter the Union as states, which increasing numbers of northerners found objectionable. The result was the Civil War. Talk about human ingenuity affecting our lives and politics. Columnist Bruce G.

Kauffmann lives in Alexandria, Va. His email is: Eli cotton gin led to a big jump in slavery isits to campaign rallies in Florida this week con- rmed what polls have been suggesting for months: Donald Trump is leading the race for the Republican nomination in large part because winning over throngs of non- habitual voters. The latest challenger to fall: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who lost his home state in a landslide Tuesday and dropped out of the race. Rubio drew healthy crowds in Florida a thousand or more in West Palm Beach, 500 or so at a retirement community near Orlando and his supporters were fervent.

But they looked and talked like traditional Republicans: polite, well- dressed and serious about their conservatism. is not the same as it used to Nancy Dudley, 73, of St. Augustine, told me with a sigh as she waited for Rubio to speak on Sunday. things saying these days! been just She sounded more resigned than de ant. At a Trump rally in Boca Raton, meanwhile, the crowd of 6,000 was younger and much noisier.

want they chanted in unison, a spectacle that would have been striking even if it been at night, in an outdoor amphitheater, with spotlights ranging across their heads. is the change we Allison Polikoff, 47, of Plantation, told me. Simply put, a social divide between Trump fans and not-Trump fans, as my colleague Ron Brownstein has noted. Rubio supporters (and voters for other not-Trump candidates) are disproportionately college-educated, longtime GOP voters. Trump voters are disproportionately blue- collar (which, in practice, sometimes means no collar, plus tattoos), and some said never voted in a GOP primary before.

Some Republicans at all. an said Richard Patronik, 67, of Coral Springs. vote in the primary. But vote for Trump if I Even before primary day, Florida of cials were reporting that the turnout for early and absentee voting was up sharply over earlier years. And already, Trump is using his impact on primary turnout as a selling point, arguing that if the nominee, be able to draw more voters to the polls in November.

been all over, and the biggest story in all politics worldwide today is happening with the Republican Trump told a rally in Tampa on Monday. a Millions and millions of people are going out and voting. But not voting for Democrats; down 35 percent from four years ago. voting for Ask Trump supporters why they back him, and you hear different versions of the same litany: not a politician. a businessman who can get things done.

He bow to a explained Deborah Patronik, wife. saying a lot of things that said Gil Brown, 54, an African American businessman from Lakeland. so refreshing to hear somebody say things (Brown said he worried about views on race. been on the receiving end of racism. I know what he said.

not hearing it from Their faith in abil- ity as a businessman to overturn the traditional order in Washington is hard to shake with conventional political arguments. Anti-Trump groups spent more than $15 million on television ads in Florida, accusing him of straying from conservative orthodoxy and saying demeaning things about women. Both charges were true, but they seem to make much difference. Nor did the violence between Trump supporters and protesters at recent events. One poll even suggested that the incidents made Republicans more likely to vote for Trump, not less, have the First Amendment right to say they like what Mr.

Trump is saying, but we have the right to hear him, said Brown.) But what about all those Rubio voters? Will traditional Republicans who loathe what Trump is doing to their party hold their noses and vote for a nominee who breaks all the rules? The unscienti sample I interviewed this week all said yes: vote for Trump if the only way to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. a said Dudley, the Rubio voter from St. Augustine. a few months, settle in and vote Even Rubio has said probably vote for Trump. still at this moment continue to intend to support the Republican he said Saturday, adding: getting harder every Those are anecdotes, not data.

But they suggest that if Trump wins the nomination, he could nd a path to winning the votes of most regular Republicans in addition to all the irregular ones lured to the polls. Doyle McManus is a columnist for The Los Angeles Times. gone here ever since I was a little girl. always dreamed of this ASHLEY SIPLA Miss Blossomtime 2016, immediately after winning the title. Sipla is from Coloma If I can be somebody remembered for loving my team, the game and the community, how I want to be KYSRE GONDREZICK Benton Harbor senior guard after winning Miss Basketball title They are called away from jobs that are paying them a higher wage than we are providing, from their families and friends during the weekends or from their sleep in the middle of DAN DURHAM Benton Township fire chief, making the case for a long-overdue pay raise for reserve firefighters Collectively, our businesses will lose more than the project costs.

Our businesses pay tax dollars. We feel been let TERESA ESPINO Chikaming Township business owner, protesting a planned major Red Arrow Highway project during tourist season unfair to the city and the neighborhood to continue to hold out hope, and let it get BRET WITKOWSKI Berrien County treasurer, regarding the old Mercy Center building as hope dwindles that it will be purchased and renovated uring Mitt recent speech denouncing Donald Trump as a stark question arose: How did the Republican Party go, in four years, from nominating a sober grown-up with a record of achievement in the public and private sectors to embracing a loudmouthed playboy with a string of bankruptcies and no experience in government? Remember when George W. Bush vowed to honor and dignity to the White Those qualities are no longer in demand. Say what you will about Romney, you would trust him with your wallet or your daughter. Trump? Not a chance.

not always possible to identify the moment when a journey to destruction began. But in the case of the Republican Party, there is no doubt: Friday, Aug. 29, 2008. That day, presidential nominee John McCain announced that his running mate would be Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

It was a test for McCain and the GOP rank and le. Both failed, and the party has never recovered. The problem is not that Palin was a poor candidate who helped drag the ticket to defeat. The problem is that she was celebrated for qualities that were irrelevant and excused for defects that should have been disqualifying. Instead of recognizing her inadequacy, Republicans hailed her backcountry hockey-mom persona, her scorn for the of elites, her in ammatory rhetoric and her inexperience in the matters a vice president and president have to handle.

Some conservatives caught up in the adulation, but many who should have known better were. Former Dan Quayle speechwriter Lisa Schif- fren gushed, get much better than Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger sneered at skeptics who thought Palin suf cient commending her as a common-sense The late Sen. Fred Thompson, extolled her at the GOP national convention as breath of fresh and bragged that she was only candidate who knows how to eld-dress a Her ery address sent the delegates into paroxysms of ecstasy. The ensuing months and years exposed Palin as a glib egomaniac with a penchant for lying who knew little about national and international affairs (and cared less). But none of the discoveries did much damage.

Even after abruptly resigning as governor, she remained a Republican star and a tea party favorite whose endorsement was coveted by GOP candidates. Fox News hired her. She became an annual draw at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Her book sold more than 2 million copies. Through the years, she made it all about Sarah, the fearless who scorned the referred to the president as Hussein and defended waterboarding as we baptize Her hubris, demagoguery and irresponsibility were a heady mixture that many could not get enough of and that no one could match.

Until this year, that is, when Trump appeared on the scene and captivated a large share of the electorate. His contrasting biography a luxury-loving, high-rise- living, Ivy League-educated Manhattan tycoon who would rather play golf than shoot big game obscures the ways in which he resembles Palin. Like her, he substitutes certitude for understanding. Like her, he revels in self-infatuation. Like her, he heaps contempt on his critics.

Like her, he exploits a pervasive sense of victim- hood among whites who distrust minorities. As with Palin, the distinctive persona and abrasive attitude that attract followers. They see Trump as a man of great talents who offends the establishment because he understands and speaks for the common folk. Trump supporters care that he has only a shaky grasp of vital issues. Knowledge, many of them obviously believe, is overrated.

Ideology is secondary. Gut instincts are what really matter. That was the appeal of Palin, too. So it was no surprise to see her endorse him. Palin paved the way for a trash-talking narcissist to take over the party.

Their partnership was destiny. William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, wrote recently in opposition to Trump, calling him the of vulgari- and his campaign a form of But in the summer of 2008, Kristol called on McCain to choose Palin, who ts the same description. In wrapping its arms around her, the Republican Party sold its soul. Trump is just here to collect. Steve Chapman is a columnist for The Chicago Tribune.

road to damnation started with Palin, ends at Trump Bruce Kauffmann History Lesson Steve Chapman path to victory Doyle McManus.

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