The first inkling I had was in the late 80s.I was in a hotel room in Washington DC starting to leave and go down to a reception. I stopped at the door and thought I needed to check if I had all my stuff i.e. wallet, hotel key, name badge and a piece of paper in my breast pocket in case I needed to take a note or two. The experience seemed a bit weird but I quickly put it out of my mind and headed to the elevator. That was the beginning of a lengthily road which has recently put me in the same category as one in ten Americans over 65 who have Alzheimer’s.

A number of years after my event in the DC hotel room I became enough concerned to go to a psychologist in Des Moines to be tested for brain function. At that time I registered a small change in memory but thought little of it.

As I think back over the 50 plus years I have been a voting adult, I have seen tremendous change in positions by both parties.

I have watched the Democrat party move toward more liberal/progressive positions and their strength in the Northeast has grown while their strength in the South has waned. The reverse is true of the Republicans. The days of the “Rockefeller” Republicans are gone and the Northeast is pretty much controlled by the Ds. The days of Senator Goldwater, the Republican stalwart conservative saying “a woman’s right to choose is none of the governments business” is no longer Republican philosophy.

In addition both parties have seen shifts in foreign policy positions depending upon changing world events.

For some time, both across the nation and recently in Iowa, the issue of raising the minimum wage has been hotly debated. Although the Iowa General Assembly has failed to act, it looks like Polk County may eventually raise it.

Traditionally the debate has pitted the political left, in favor vs. the political right, opposed. That is actually a misnomer and in fact both groups have adherents in favor of raising it, just for different reasons.

The Liberals (or progressives as some like to be called) see it as fairness, not keeping up with inflation, the government needs to set standards, it helps poor people come out of poverty, business should get with it because it’s the right thing to do, etc.

Over the past 10 yrs. or so the Des Moines area have been listed in every “great place to live and work” survey that has been done in the country.

I thought it might be useful to drill down and really look at reasons why this is true. Here are my 5 reasons in no particular order.

After the Brussels attacks we now have both Republican front-runners giving crazy talk speeches on alienating our Muslim American citizens. I understand where the civil liberties folks and constitutional scholars are coming from and those are important considerations in the now crazy talk debate, but its not the really really important consideration.

The important consideration is that if one were to write a manifesto on how best to radicalize a certain segment of the American population you would turn to the playbook being espoused by both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Treat Muslims wanting to enter the US substantially differently then others, run police patrols and “secure” Muslim neighborhoods-what ever that means and we will have a disaster on our hands. Ask our law enforcement folk to treat a segment of our citizenry differently then others because we don’t really trust them and you will find in short order the very thing you did not want, you would then have.

1-With Trump winning Florida, Illinois and Missouri it looks like its pretty much game over-some walking in a circle and gnashing of teeth at the R’s convention but that’s about it. He will probably be the R candidate. The only other option is a major fight to replace him at the convention. If that succeeds he may well run as a third party candidate. If it doesn’t succeed there is a slim possibility a breakaway faction of R’s might run a third party candidate.

2-Many Republican House members will fall in line or, at minimum, try to run their own race and ignore the Presidential machinations because they see it is the most likely way to keep their seat.

I do think the following-75% chance of Trump becoming the Republican candidate, Clinton-99% chance of becoming the Democrat candidate.

The election: Clinton, a 90% chance of becoming the President, Trump, a 10% chance, if he is the Republican nominee. Although many pundits think the Republican party at best, will be a big big loser no matter what and even I believe that.

Other than Trump vs. the other guys, the second most important news story going on is the Senate’s refusal to even talk to prospective Supreme Court nominees. Their assumption is that next year they will control the White House and maintain a majority in the Senate, thereby controlling the nomination and getting another very conservative judge appointed.

As a registered Democrat, Hillary supporter and an avid follower of politics I have been asking myself every day why does Trump continue his hold on front runner status of the Republican Party? To find the answer I only had to look at my life over the past 50 years or so and then apply a concept called empathy.

Empathy may not be what you would think it is. It is not necessarily agreeing with the other person, it is understanding where they are coming from. Empathy is key to understanding Trump’s poll numbers.

Come on guys (and gals) who are presidential wannabes as the process moves into other states, let’s start talking about stuff that matters.

Yes, the decline of the middle class is of great concern and lots of mouth power should be devoted to it. Other then that issue, most of the rest is generally trash talk especially on the Republican side where an in ordinate amount of word power is being directed at belittling the opponent of the moment.

Here are two issues that need more substantive discussion.