Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Presidential Politics: (to STAND) ON (an ISSUE)

Issues, issues issues.  You might not pay much attention to this two-word (verb + preposition) transitive verb but no democratic election or policy debate can occur without using this verb.

See, for example, the following headline:

First 100 days: Where President Trump stands on key issues

These words, stand on, are always together; they are not separable. They follow the pattern: 

question form:  where does (somebody) stand on (name of the issue)
statement form: where (somebody) stands on (name of issue)

Let's look at the article above. What are the issues that are explored?  Practice using this expression:

1.  Where does President Trump stand on the issue of _____?

2.  Where does President Trump stand on the issue of _____?

Choose five (5) issues that interest you. Where does President Trump stand on that issue?

Here's our next headline: 

While Obama did not intend to directly confront or take swipes at Trump on Monday, an adviser said he wanted to be forthcoming -- if asked -- about where he stands on specific policy matters, including areas where he and Trump clearly disagree, a source said. 

What one political issue did Obama briefly discuss?

But enough of other people's positions. Where do YOU stand on man of the issues facing our country and world today?  

This next headline gives you an opportunity to find out!

Quiz: Where do you stand on the issues with the candidates?

Take the quiz and find out which candidate matches your positions most closely.  Where do you stand on immigration?  Climate change? Taxes?  Take the quiz and find out which candidate most closely matches where you stand on issues that are important to you.

What did you find out?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Presidential Politics: (to) STEP DOWN (from)

Can you keep up with all the changes in the Trump administration?

Many people, myself included, are having difficulty doing this. News analysts are also having trouble.

Let's see why!

In the sentence above, we can see it as an intransitive verb. There is no object, and the verb + preposition always remain together.

Reading the news article, who was this chief digital officer? What was his role in the White House? Why did he step down?

When the sentence includes the job or responsibility of importance that the person formerly had, we use the preposition from, as in the sentence "A source familiar with Lansing’s departure said the former Hill employee stepped down from the office in mid-February. But Lansing isn't the only person who has stepped down so far.

Let's see what others we can find:

Why did Nunes, who is now under investigation himself, step down?  Who took his place?

Here's one more headline and this was very big news on TV and in the print media:

Why did Michael Flynn step down?\ o far we\x27ve seen this used in regard to political office. But the expression can be used for business positions as well. And it doesn't always refer to a scandal. Here are some examples:

Why did this headline say 'step down as" and not 'step down from..."?

If you can say "He stepped down from his position as Chairman" or "She will step down from her job as Advisor" but "She stepped down as Advisor to the President." Notice that Howard Schultz took a different position in the same company.

What position at Starbucks did he take?

These are but a few of the people who are stepping down. No wonder the news is difficult to keep up with!

If that's not enough for you, here is one more headline:

The day Paul Manafort stepped down, he received $13 million from Donald Trump's associates

Let's see who else steps down from the Trump adminstration by the time of our next blog post! Any guesses?


Wednesday, April 5, 2017


This phrase can make or sink candidates for president.

In the 1980 race between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan famously asked this question:

Are You Better Off Than You Were . . .

In 2004, this was the headline:

Bush: America (is) better off with his leadership

In 2012, this was the headline:

Are you better off?

It's the single most important question in an election.

During the election of 2016, this was the headline:

Are you better off than eight years ago?

The expression to be better off  has been in the English lexicon for ages.  But it took on new life with President Reagan during his campaign for president and has been asked by candidates since then.  They want you to compare NOW with FOUR YEARS AGO, the prior presidential campaign season.

Its use is not limited to politics.

Try this headline:

Filling a prescription? You might be better off paying cash

Why, according to the article, would you be better off paying cash than using a credit or debit card?

During political elections, candidates don't ask about your happiness; they ask about money and finances. Take the CNN poll.

What did you find out?