M.A. Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
B.A. American History, University of Michigan
Ph.D. Candidate, Folklore and History, Indiana University
Honorary Doctorates: Indiana University, University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University

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Date: 2016-03-13 17:06
Subject: From Bill Ivey

Dear John:

Well, we all thought the big problem for our US democracy was Citizens
United/Koch Brothers big money in politics. Silly us; turns out that money
isn’t all that important if you can conflate entertainment with the
electoral process. Trump masters TV, TV so-called news picks up and repeats
and repeats to death this opinionated blowhard and his hairbrained ideas,
free-floating discontent attaches to a seeming strongman and we’re off and
running. JFK, Jr would be delighted by all this as his “George” magazine saw
celebrity politics coming. The magazine struggled as it was ahead of its
time but now looks prescient. George, of course, played the development
pretty lightly, basically for charm and gossip, like People, but what we are
dealing with now is dead serious. How does this get handled in the general?
Secretary Clinton is not an entertainer, and not a celebrity in the Trump,
Kardashian mold; what can she do to offset this? I’m certain the
poll-directed insiders are sure things will default to policy as soon as the
conventions are over, but I think not. And as I’ve mentioned, we’ve all
been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire
to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains
strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands
some serious, serious thinking – and not just poll driven,
demographically-inspired messaging.

Rubio’s press conference yesterday AM was good and should be repeated in its
entirety, not just in nibbles. I will attend the Clinton fundraiser here
next week but as I can only afford the low level of participation may just
get to wave without a “hello.”

I fear we are all now trying to navigate a set of forces that cannot be
simply explained or fully understood, so it is and will reamin interesting!

Sent with a handshake,