Froma Harrop - The liberal silent majority

A few days before Bernie Sanders lost badly in the New York primary, 27,000 souls filled Washington Square Park, many wildly cheering him on. The political media consensus interpreted the scene as evidence of surging support for the senator from Vermont. It did not occur to them that:

— The crowd almost certainly included many Hillary Clinton supporters just out to hear what Bernie had to say — not to mention some stray Republicans.

— It included tourists who, on a pleasant spring evening, happened on an exciting event and hung around.

— Some attendees were Bernie backers who had neglected to register as Democrats in time for the Democratic primary.

— The numbers at Washington Square were dwarfed by the battalions of working-class New Yorkers juggling two children and three jobs. These mostly Clinton voters were unable to attend any rally.

This last group is the subject here. It is the silent liberal majority.

Richard Nixon popularized the term "silent majority" in 1969. He was referring to the middle Americans appalled by the Vietnam-era protests and associated social chaos. They didn't demonstrate, and the so-called media elite ignored them.

Today's liberal version of the silent majority is heavy with minorities and older people. Its members tend to be more socially conservative than those on the hard left and believe President Obama is a good leader.

Obamacare has brought medical coverage to 90 percent of the population, with the greatest gains among Latinos. Thus, a politician who repeatedly complains that this is "the only major country that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right" sounds a bit off.

Many political reporters belong to the white gentry that has fueled the Sanders phenomenon. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they know where they're coming from. But some don't seem to know about the vast galaxies of Democratic voters beyond the university and hipster ZIP codes.

In so many races — including those of the other party — reporters confine themselves to carefully staged political events and a few interviews with conveniently placed participants. From the atmospherics, they deduce the level of support for a particular candidate.

It can't be repeated often enough that a passionate vote counts no more than one cast with quiet consent or even resignation. Here are three examples of political analysts forgetting this:

Commenting on the lively debate in Brooklyn, columnist Frank Bruni concluded that the Sanders camp is "where the fiercest energy in the party resides right now." How did he know? "It was audible on Thursday night, in the boos from the audience that sometimes rained down on Clinton."

So, how many people were booing? Three? Four? Who were they? They possibly could have been Hillary people trying to summon sympathy for their candidate (which the booing undoubtedly did).

The day after the packed Sanders rally in Greenwich Village, CNN looped videos contrasting that massive turnout with the much smaller group listening to Clinton in the Bronx. That's as deep as this story went.

Early this month, New York magazine posted a piece titled "In the South Bronx, Bernie Sanders Gives Clinton Cause for Concern." The reporter's evidence was a sizable and "raucous" Sanders rally headlined by a handful of black and Latino celebrities.

We await the magazine's follow-up analysis on how Clinton won 70 percent of the Bronx vote. Someone must have voted for her.

This is not to chide the Sanders campaign. Its job was to create an impression of mass support for its candidate — and job well-done. Rather, it's to remind the media that there's a huge electorate outside the focus of managed campaign events. And silent majorities, by their very nature, tend not to get noticed.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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Susan Estrich - Why Democrats love Bernie Sanders

Why do Democrats love Bernie Sanders? Okay, it's not just because he's "cute" (as some younger voters are calling him). In point of fact, could someone tell me when 74-year-old bald Jewish men became America's symbol of "cute"? Larry David pulls it off, but I'm not so sure about Bernie Sanders.

It is also not the case that the only reason, or even the primary reason, that people are voting for Sanders is because of some grave, if not fatal, flaw in Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

That's not fair to Clinton, and it's certainly not fair to Sanders.

My sense is that most of the people who are voting for Bernie Sanders are doing so for the reasons voters usually do: They think he understands their problems; and he gives voices to their concerns. And this is taking place in the context of a nominating process that, on the Democratic side (sorry, my Republican winner-take-all friends, who used to mock us for the tedious aspect of our process), is absolutely and intentionally structured to advantage insurgent candidates and make it more, not less, difficult for the winner to win.

Can I say it? Sanders is more liberal than Clinton. Sanders' assault on Wall Street would, depending on who you talk to, either destroy the American economy or at least change it radically. Clinton is not a radical. She has also spent too much time in Washington trying to actually get things done to run around with "pie in the sky" promises of free college for everyone, along with a chicken in every pot. We can't afford to send every student to college for free. Some of them don't belong there. Many of them have taken loans that they can and should pay back for the sake of the next generation.

He is also a very likable guy: from all appearances a smart, well-meaning and decent man, who actually believes in what he says. And unbridled by the need to do it, or even show how he would, he speaks with great sincerity of the land of opportunity he hopes to keep building. I'm glad he's in the Senate, and I can imagine a 30-year-younger version of myself (slightly deluded into believing that women had achieved equality) being attracted to a candidate who doesn't have to choose his words carefully or think three steps ahead about diplomatic consequences because no one in the Kremlin is really paying attention — not like they are paying attention to Clinton and, God help us, Donald Trump.

So the fact that Sanders is doing well in processes that are as skewed to the left (as the Republican processes are skewed to the right) should not cause waves of panic among the Clinton faithful. Sure, it is right to ask whether his success should cause Hillary-ites to carefully examine weaknesses in her campaign. But it is just plain wrong to assume that because a well-meaning socialist could defeat Clinton in a low-turnout caucus filled with true believers she is vulnerable to Trump or Ted Cruz in a general election.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

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DuBois — Plan your summer adventure – Yosemite to Whitney on the John Muir Trail

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By Gordon DuBois

 

The following article is part of a series on hiking trails that you may want to consider tackling as you make plans for your summer adventures. Over the next few months I will share my experiences of multi-days hikes that I have taken, so you can take advantage of the many trails that await you. As a follow up to this article I will be offering a program, The Life and Legacy of John Muir, Hiking the John Muir Trail on Monday, April 18, 7 p.m. at the Laconia Public Library. The program is being sponsored by the Laconia Historical and Museum Society.

In 1884, when Theodore Solomons was 14 years old, he envisioned a trail along the spine of the Sierra Nevada Mountains running from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. He and others explored several routes and in 1914 the Sierra Club, founded by John Muir, began to organize efforts to officially build the trail and in 1916, with an appropriation from the California legislature, the trail began to take shape. It wasn't until 1938 that the John Muir Trail was completed with the construction of the Golden Staircase that climbs over Forrester Pass at 13,153 feet. The JMT is the premier hiking trail in the United States. This 230-mile trail starts in Yosemite National Park and continues through Post Pile National Monument, Ansel Adams Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and ends at the highest peak in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney, at 14,496 feet.

My daughter, Annemarie, and I learned of the John Muir Trail on a multi-day hike along the Appalachian Trail in Maine. It was late fall when we began our hike. We had pulled into the Popular Ridge Shelter, north of Saddleback Mountain in Maine, when along came two thru hikers heading south on the AT. They were cold, wet and tired as it had started to rain and snow earlier in the day. We welcomed them into our place of comfort and after a warming cup of soup and hot chocolate we began to swap stories of our hiking adventures. They began by telling us of their struggles to get through Maine as the weather was worsening with the approach of winter. One thing I have learned about thru hikers, we love to share stories of our adventures and our most telling moments on the trail. Our conversation turned when they told us they had just returned from a thru hike of the John Muir Trail. Anne Marie and I became locked in and fascinated with their stories of this trail, the incredible beauty and awe inspiring majesty of the Sierras. From that point forward we began to plan our hike of the JMT.

It was two years later that we began the JMT in Yosemite National Park. After learning of the JMT, we began our research of the trail. Our study would always lead us to John Muir. He is the trail. All paths in the Sierras lead to Muir and his legacy. Born in Dunbar, Scotland, in 1838, he immigrated to the US with his family in 1849. He always loved nature and had a wanderlust for walking and travel. His itchy feet eventually brought him to the Yosemite Valley, where he began his activism for preservation, especially the Yosemite Valley. He became known as a pioneer in the conservation movement and is widely recognized as the father of our national park system. According to the Sierra Club, "John Muir was perhaps this country's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He taught the people of his time and ours the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage. His personal and determined involvement in the great conservation questions of the day was and remains an inspiration for environmental activists everywhere."
Annemarie and I began planning to hike the JMT a year in advance. Taking on any long distance hike requires significant planning, but the JMT has several additional caveats. First and foremost, we needed permits. JMT permits are in high demand. There are more people interested in hiking the John Muir Trail than the trail can handle. Wilderness permits in the Sierra Nevada are under a quota system that prevents crowding on the trail and protects the environment. Because of its popularity, permits go quickly. Our start date was in August and we began the permitting process the preceding January. Our travel plans had to be prudently coordinated in getting to and from the trail heads. We also needed to plan our food menu with care, keeping in mind that we would be hiking in large expanses of wilderness. After leaving Yosemite Valley, resupply points are few and far between and for the last 100 miles, from John Muir Ranch to Mount Whitney, there are no resupply points. One other thing we had to consider was the need to purchase bear canisters for food storage on the trail. This is a requirement, as encounters with black bears (not grizzlies) and marmots are common. We wanted to keep our food safe and not provide an easy meal for the local wildlife.

There are several good trail guides available as well as resources on line. A recent survey by Backpacker Magazine found that the JMT is the number one long distance trek that all hikers should do. So, start planning now for the hike of a lifetime. In the words of John Muir, "Climb the Mountains (Sierra Range) and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."

Gordon has hiked extensively in Northern New England and the Adirondacks of New York State. In 2011 he completed the Appalachian Trail (2,285 miles). He has also hiked the Long Trail in Vermont, The International AT in Quebec, Canada; Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire and the John Muir Trail in California. Gordon has summited the New Hampshire Hundred Highest peaks, and the New England Hundred Highest in winter. He spends much of his time hiking locally and in the White Mountains with his dog Reuben and especially enjoys hiking in the Lakes Region due to the proximity to his home in New Hampton. He is also a trail maintainer for the Belknap Range Trail Tenders and can be found often exploring the many hiking trails in the area. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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March waterfront sales are off to a good start

By ROY SANBORN

There were eight residential waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee in March with an average price of $1,296,250 and a median price point of $1.125 million. Five of the sales exceeded the million-dollar mark. This brings the total to 25 sales in the first quarter of this year at an average of $1,046,300 and a median price point of $825,000. There were 20 sales during the first quarter of 2015 at an average of $816,450 and a median price point of $800,000. So total sales are up 25 percent and the dollar volume is up 28 percent. I guess we are off to a pretty good start this year!

The entry-level sale last month was at 13 Loon Cove in Alton. This property consists of an 1850 circa cape-style home with four bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths on a .84 acre lot with 425 feet of frontage. The lot is level for the most part but then dives steep down to the water ... but it does have great views. I expect that we are likely to see some new construction here this summer? This property did take a little while to sell. It was first listed in 2009 at $869,000, again in 2010 at $775,000, and then in 2012 for $650,000. It was subsequently reduced to $480,000 (perhaps reality was beginning to take hold?) and went under agreement for $465,000. Total time on the market was 1,820 days and then it still took another 508 days to close. Not sure what went on there but this was a pretty long process. You've gotta have patience to be in this business! The property is currently assessed at $590,800.

The median price representative this month is the property at 22 Watson Shore Road in Moultonborough. This 3,347-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath home offers a kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters and hardwood floors, nice living room with brick fireplace, a first-floor master suite, large family room on the second floor, and sunroom. As an added bonus, the detached three-car garage has guest quarters above. The house sits on a level .91 acre lot with 200 feet of frontage with a sandy beach, large waterside deck, U-shaped dock and great southern exposure. This property also took a while to find a buyer. It was first listed in December of 2012 for $1,185,000 and again in January 2014 for the same amount. It was reintroduced in March of 2015 at $1,135,000 and sold for $1,050,000. Total time on market was 1,065 days. The current tax assessment is $942,500.

The highest sale for the month was on Governor's Island in Gilford at 18 Broadview Terrace. This 5,152-square-foot home has five bedrooms (two of which are on the first floor), four-and-a-half baths, an eat-in kitchen with all the bells and whistles, large gathering room, private office and second floor family room. The walk-out lower level is unfinished but will make the perfect man cave space. Outside, there is a three-car attached garage plus a detached two-car garage, so there is plenty of room for the toys. The house sits on a large, level 1.2 acre lot with 150 feet of frontage and dock. This property was first listed in March of 2011 at $2.995 million and then reintroduced in February 2015 at $2.795 million. It was reduced to $2.499 million and found a buyer at $2,350,000 after a total of 1,682 days on the market. The current tax assessed value is $1,741,250.

There were two waterfront sales on Winnisquam in March, bringing our total to five sales so far this year. That's five times what we had for sales in the first quarter of 2015! Pretty good start to the year on little Winni, I'd say! The average sales price so far this year comes in at $408,000 which is a pretty affordable price point to get onto the water.

A 1950s vintage, 720-square-foot "rustic" cottage with three bedrooms at 7 Gilman Shore Road in Belmont sold for $215,000 after starting at $279,900 some 457 days ago. It sits on a .26 acre lot with 48 feet of frontage. The saving grace is that it is on town sewer, making it much easier to build something not quite so "rustic." It is currently assessed at $254,300.

The other sale was at 472 Shore Drive in Laconia. This 1963 vintage contemporary is of precast, prestressed concrete construction, making it one of the more unusual waterfronts in Laconia. It has 3,616 square feet of space, five bedrooms, and three full baths. It features a gourmet kitchen with high-end stainless appliances and granite counters, a great room with fireplace, dramatic high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, a first floor master suite, lots of natural light, and incredible westerly views. The house sits on a beautifully landscaped 1.09 acre lot with 288 feet of frontage, sandy beach and U-shaped dock. This home was first listed in July of 2012 for $1.2 million, again in February of 2014 for $1.15 million, and then in February of 2015 for $979,000. After a final reduction to $849,000 it brought a buyer at $810,000. Total time on market was 1,243 days. It is currently assessed at $686,000.

Pl​ease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of April 11, 2016. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012

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Pat Buchanan - WIll Trump & Sanders be swindled?

In the race for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump would seem to be in the catbird seat. He has won the most states, the most delegates and the most votes — by nearly two million.

He has brought out the largest crowds and is poised for huge wins in the largest states of the East, New York and Pennsylvania.

Yet, there is a growing probability that the backroom boys will steal the nomination from him at a brokered convention in Cleveland.

Over the weekend, Colorado awarded all 34 delegates to Ted Cruz. The fix had been in since August, when party officials, alarmed at Trump's popularity, decided it would be best if Colorado Republicans were not allowed to vote on the party's nominee. After all, these poor folks might get it wrong.

In South Carolina, where Trump swept the primary, a plot is afoot for a mass desertion of Trump delegates after the first ballot.

The Republican Party in Georgia, another state Trump won, is also talking up delegate defections.

In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive — to thieve delegates for Cruz.

"This is a crooked system, folks," says Trump, "the system is rigged. ... I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. ... Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. ... I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You're going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don't like what's going on."

Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race.

Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind.

"I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning," said Trump in Rochester. "And then I see, he's got no chance. They always say he's got no chance. Why doesn't he have a chance?

"Because the system is corrupt."

Sanders seems to be shorted every time he wins a primary or caucus. And the insurmountable hurdle he faces was erected against folks like Sanders some time ago — the 700-plus superdelegates.

These are Democratic congressmen, senators, governors and party officials. By more than 10-1, close to 500 of these superdelegates have lined up to back Hillary Clinton and stop Sanders.

The Democratic Party believes in democracy, up to a point — that point being that Democratic voters will not be permitted to nominate a candidate to whom the party elites object.

Richard Nixon's 49-state triumph in 1972 cured the Democrats of their naive belief in democracy. Henceforth, the George McGoverns and Bernie Sanderses can run. But they will not be allowed to win.

Yet, since it is Trump and Sanders who have stirred the greatest passion and brought out the biggest crowds, if both are seen as having been cheated by insiders, then the American political system may suffer a setback similar to that caused by the "corrupt bargain" of 1824.

Andrew Jackson ran first in the popular vote and the Electoral College, but was short of victory. John Quincy Adams, who ran second, got Speaker Henry Clay to deliver the House of Representatives, and thus make Adams president. Clay became Adam's secretary of state.

In 1828, Jackson got his revenge, winning the presidency. Clay would never make it. On his deathbed, Jackson confided that among the great regrets of his life was that he did not shoot Henry Clay.

While the turnout in the Democratic primaries and caucuses has not matched the Obama-Clinton race of 2008, Sanders has rallied the young and working class, turned out the biggest crowds and generated the greatest enthusiasm.

But on the Republican side, the party has had the largest turnout in American history. And the reason is Trump.

And if, after having won the most votes and delegates, Trump is seen as having been swindled out of a nomination he won, by intra-party scheming in Cleveland, the GOP could suffer a self-inflicted wound from which it might not recover.

Another matter that could prevent a return to national unity? The deepening split over trade and foreign policy, both between the parties, and within the parties.

Sanders, last week, was saying that what disqualifies Clinton as president is her support for free trade deals that gutted American industry and cost millions of jobs, and her support for an Iraq War that was among the costliest, bloodiest blunders in U.S. history.

On both issues, Trump agrees with Sanders. Cruz, an uber-hawk and free trader, is more aligned with Clinton.

If the "America First" stance on foreign and trade policy, close to a majority position today, is unrepresented by either party this fall, and we get a free trade, War Party president, the divisions within the country will widen and deepen.

If Sanders and his revolution are sent packing in Philadelphia, and Trump is robbed in Cleveland of a nomination Americans believe he won, political disillusionment, and political realignment, may be at hand.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

 

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