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ICYMI: If America can survive this notorious '50s scam, it can survive Donald Trump, by: Tony May

ICYMI on, here is Tony May's column on Trump and the Hadacol scam:

HadacolIf America can survive this notorious '50s scam, it can survive Donald Trump: Tony May

Back in the 1950s, my father (think the role played by Darren McGavin in the movie, "Christmas Story") was one of hundreds of thousands of American swept up in the Hadacol health tonic scam. 

Not only was he drinking the stuff four times a day, he plowed a healthy chunk of the family's nest egg into Hadacol stock. 

Not too much later, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on "false and misleading advertising" that proposed the 24 proof alcohol-based elixir as a cure for a host of ailments.  Lots of working men and women lost millions when the stock tanked.

Louisiana Sen. Dudley LeBlanc, the creator of Hadacol, stayed out of jail but lost his bid for governor of Louisiana. 

Movie stars like Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Roy Acuff, Judy Garland and Milton Berle were mortified by having been publicly associated with the product as performers in the "Hadacol Goodwill Caravan," a sort of traveling medicine show promoting the brew.

 All that's left today of the Hadacol craze are empty bottles and advertising paraphernalia in Southern  America collectibles and memorabilia shows and a few ancient vinyl recordings of  some Cajun and country ditties like "Hadacol Bounce" and "Everybody Loves that Hadacol" and "Hadacol Boogie."

The Hadacol mania came to mind along with that summer of 1951 as I was trying to identify historic parallels to Trump-mania. 

Dudley LeBlanc was never a Donald Trump – but then LeBlanc didn't have  cable TV and the internet to spread his brand.  The point is that Hadacol burst on the scene, seemed to be everywhere for a while and the stock was going to going to go up five or 10 times the purchase price by September  -- but it worthless by Labor Day.  Then life went on.


Right now, he seems to be imploding because he's in a manic state and can't keep his mouth shut long enough for his staff and his kids to help save him from his own verbal excess. 

Donald Trump is the Hadacol of 2016. 

But that doesn't mean that the vein of discontent in the heartland that he has tapped into has subsided.  Salvation for Trump rests in the possibility that Trump-mania has reached critical mass and will take on some life of its own enabling his most passionate supporters to sustain and rehabilitate him.

Right now, it seems unlikely that the movement can be sustained without Trump's energy and outrageous behavior (think WWE). But, as one of those apparently immune to Trump Fever, I'm not qualified to judge.

And, even though Hillary Clinton is happily riding a post-convention bounce in the polls, one dare not rule out a Trump revival in time for Nov. 4.  Realistic and responsible people have to recognize the possibility that Trump might win because it's impossible to gauge suppressed anger and fear with simple polling.

"Stop Trump" scenarios – pre-election – are remote because, as we've seen in the primaries, no one in the GOP is as tough as Trump.

It may well be that America's only hope is that the 25th Amendment to the Constitution can be invoked before an irreversible damage can be done by a Trump presidency.


Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday he expects to be an active player in the 2016 election cycle, and the context was not delivering Pennsylvania for fellow Democrats Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. It was, in Wolf's words, working to elect more "reasonable" people to seats in the state House and state Senate. Wolf's vow came just days after the...

The 25th Amendment, for those who don't carry a pocket edition of the Constitution with them at all time, spells out in detail the conditions under which a president may be replaced.  

Section 4 provides, "Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments ... transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."

This section of the amendment, dating back to 1967, has never been invoked -- yet.

It doesn't demand or require certification of the nature of the president's disability (like, say, "he's manic and wants to personally visit his nuclear bomb collection"). It  also allows the president to protest the declaration and puts the power to mediate the dispute into the hands of Congress.

"If the Congress ... determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office."

So, to paraphrase the old Verizon commercial, "Can you hear me now?  How does President Mike Pence sound to you?"


The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh


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