Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump's Convention Was Almost as Catastrophic as He Is

Donald Trump is all in with authoritarianism. And freedom-loving Republicans are good with that?

Washington Post's July 22nd Op-Eds. Says a mouthful, eh?

The verdict is in across the political spectrum, and Donald Trump has frightened a number of people, including those who had once believed the Republican Party would somehow remain sane. No such luck. The tweet of the week:

Daily Kos's Abreviated Pundit Round-up gives us another look at the impending cataclysm that a Trump presidency might bring: Sample from Bloomberg View:
In short: It was the most disturbing, demagogic and deluded acceptance speech by any major party nominee in the modern political era. It’s no wonder so many Republicans -- including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich -- are refusing to endorse Trump.  When the idea of “voting your conscience” becomes a source of division within a party, something is terribly wrong.
Talking Points Memo gives us a ton of tweets from "new media guru" Clay Shirky. Sample tweet:

Check out all of Shirky's advice at TPM. Food for thought. As a matter of fact, we all need, post-Trump's speech, a lot of thought. Then, vote early and often. (For you know who.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Can the Republicans Get Any Whiter? Or Zenophobic? Or...?

Yes. Yes, they can. And it's not a political winner.

As Jeb Bush said recently, this is a fantasy that Trump could never
deliver, along with the rest of his nonsense. And there's hell to pay.

The recent Pew Poll paints a bleak picture of Donald Trump's chances:
Republicans remain skeptical that their party will unite behind their presumptive nominee.  Just  38% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the party will “solidly unite” behind Trump; 54% say disagreements in the party will keep many Republicans from supporting him. These views are virtually unchanged since March, amid the GOP primary contest. By contrast, 72% of Democratic voters say their party will solid unite behind Clinton; in March, 64% expected their party to unite behind Clinton if she became the nominee.
So, Trump is a divider, not a uniter. But we knew that. The wall he's building is between himself and the voters he needs. Hmm. Go figure.

Oh, and who wants to bet that the Republican National Convention will aleviate this problem?

Friday, July 1, 2016

OK, It's Obvious. When It Comes to Rights, Republicans Are So Retro

We as a nation have steadily moved to expand rights for women, gays, and minority voting. Republicans' go-to reaction is "Just Say No."

Republicans pass bad laws and courts fix them. Weird mechanism.

It's past time we recognized that Republican-led states spend an inordinate amount of time passing laws that restrict abortion, gay rights, voting rights, and, more recently, bathroom rights to transgender people.

Examples are in Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana (again!), and on and on and on.

This is expensive, if nothing else. These same states tend to be against Obamacare and expanded Medicaid to the poor. They go so far as to refuse billions of dollars of virtually free federal money, having the effect of denying hospitals payments they would receive from the feds under the law. These same states often decide to drug test welfare recipients, a practice also proven to be a waste of money, as welfare recipients quite rarely test positive.

Now, let's combine this with the Republicans in the Senate deciding they will not confirm any of President Obama's judicial nominations, including Obama's pick for the Supreme Court.

Those nasty federal judges who rule against those endless laws that restrict minority and women's rights!

It's no wonder Donald Trump has found a following among those who would love to go back to the 1950s, you know, that wonderful time when Joe McCarthy found communists under every bed, racial segregation was rampant, and kids across the country lived in iron lungs as they fought polio. Happy days!

Remember "duck and cover" drills in the 1950s? I do. Freaky, huh?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Is the Worm Finally Turning? Trump Crashes in WaPo Poll

Donald Trump played a brutal game -- as he apparently has throughout his career. Now the bully is being found out.

Trump went to Scotland, where the Scots really didn't want a Trump
golf course, to tell the world how great Brexit is going to be, ignoring
the fact that the Scots were against Brexit. And he did this because?

By now we realize that Donald Trump is not a diplomat. His idea of diplomacy is to go somewhere where he's not wanted and say something that is completely inappropriate and then act as if he's the man of the hour. He definitely did that the day after the Brexit vote passed, standing on his Scottish golf course and praising a decision the Scots hated. Isn't there someone around assigned to keep him on his meds?

Guess not. However, it looks like the American people might impose some discipline on the Donald by expressing their own increasingly negative opinion:
Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee’s candidacy — from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business — foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Trump more than anything else.
At a moment in the presidential election when Donald Trump should be coalescing support around him as he moves toward the Republican National Convention, he instead embarked on The Great Alienation Tour, ostensibly to remind demographic groups why the Republican Party was out of its collective mind to allow such a bullying dolt to become its figurehead.

Now, when a normal candidate would be girding his loins -- a grotesque phrase when applied to the Donald -- for the coming fight, Trump appears, twelve points down, quite nearly already beaten.

The poll, and the article that explains it, goes out of its way to mention Hillary Clinton's unpopularity and Obama's growing popularity, now at 56 percent. This is a most certain double-edged sword. Clinton, regardless of the legitimacy of her unpopularity, will no doubt benefit from having a popular out-going president campaigning for her.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, may have already dug his own grave. If he "pivots" to the general election by reading dull speeches from a teleprompter lacking the fire of his less disciplined screeds, then he'll fail to keep his mob riled up. If Trump decides -- as many expect he will -- to keep his over-the-top rhetoric full of fire and rage, then he risks a growing chorus of complaint from the people he's offended.

Speaking of those he's offended, it seems the entire Republican establishment has no intention of appearing in the national spotlight with him and so intend to ditch the Republican National Convention, a venue most rising political stars would die to achieve. Trump's Trumpness has him Trumped. That's what happened when you're your own worst enemy.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Teleprompter Doesn't Stop Trump's Endless Lies

Politicians lie. Duh. But Donald Trump rarely tells the truth. Plus, his views on issues seem to change at a moment's notice.

The Teleprompter only means Trump's lies are written down.

We've known forever that Donald Trump says whatever the fuck he wants to. Because of his propensity for both exaggeration and outright lying, the truth is only occasionally touched upon.
As Amanda Marcotte noted on Salon already his entire speech was riddled with blatant well-known lies. Trump lied about Clinton being a bigger liar, he lied about starting off “with a small loan” and building a $10 billion  business, he lied about Clinton’s server being hacked by foreign governments, lied about multiple aspects of her immigration policy, lied about Benghazi, lied about his own support for the Iraq War… the list went on and on...
Plus, reporters have already started collecting Trump's "walk-backs," statements he made that he later un-made. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has an extensive list:
On Friday, Donald Trump offered up this comment on the Orlando shooting: "It's too bad that some of the young people that were killed over the weekend didn't have guns attached to their hip....Had people been able to fire back it would have been a much different outcome."
Presumably Trump figured that this was the "strong" pro-gun position, only to discover that even the NRA thinks it's not a great idea to mix firearms and alcohol. So today he Trumpsplained that he was "obviously" referring only to "additional guards or employees."
This is, obviously, a lie, as even the lightest perusal of his original remarks proves. Nonetheless, the term of art for this is that he "walked back" his comment. If that sounds familiar, it's because Trump has practically made a career of walking back his endless buffoonery. The screen cap below of a Google News search for "Trump walks back" displays it in all its glory.
If we want a president who will lie not only at will but also almost any fucking random time, Donald Trump is our guy!

I've made up my mind, though. I don't want to live in a post-truth world. But, hey, whatever floats your boat.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit Happened. What Now?

The most likely obvious political outcome is that a Trumpish clown of a man -- ever so slightly more sophisticated! -- Boris Johnson, will helm the Tories in Cameron's place. The rest is quite more complicated.

Boris Johnson: When I said Trumpish, I was serious.

So much to say and wonder about the UK's vote to exit the EU. Josh Marshall is a good start. Richard Haass's and Martin Wolf's pieces in the Financial Times are great, and so is Larry Summers in the WaPo. Go find 'em, or just read Josh. Best graph:
One possible contrary note: the UK referendum is not binding in any way. It is purely advisory. That is as a constitutional matter. As a political matter, British politics watchers appear to believe there's no viable way for Parliament to ignore it. Yet Cameron says his resignation will become effective in October - months off - and he will leave to his successor - inevitably a pro-Brexit Tory PM - to invoke the actual mechanism of departure. That's called Article 50. As I said, there's no legal requirement to leave the EU created by this referendum. There's a democratic legitimacy requirement. If the road gets sufficiently bumpy and public opinion shifts, perhaps shifts dramatically, things could change. But don't bet on it.
Really? Did everybody who voted know that? Hmm.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We Fight the Republicans with the Democratic Party We Have, Not the One We Wish We Had.

I've watched as ostensibly progressive people, angered over Bernie Sanders' defeat, scream they're leaving the Democratic Party. Bad move.

Shades of the civil rights movement. Finally ready to fight?

I fully understand why a disillusioned newcomer to the political process, drawn into party politics by Bernie Sanders, would stand up at Sanders' defeat and cry, "This is bullshit!"

Problem is, it's not bullshit. It's the way things work. Also, and more importantly, leaving the Democratic Party in protest doesn't give you anything, it deprives you of your voice within the party.

Let's say you go, "Fuck it, I'm re-registering as an independent!" What have you gained? Nothing. Now you're in that Democratic-leaning independent demo that can't vote in primary elections. Wow. Progress.

True, you can say, "Fuck them, I'm voting Green!" Great. You vote Green and get President Trump. Well done!

Moral of the story: Do what you can, where you can. If becoming an independent and stewing in your own juices is the best you can do, fine. But it's not a strategy.

A strategy is getting mad and not taking it anymore, like Democrats in the House did yesterday. Jamelle Bouie in Slate makes clear that the Democratic Party is changing and it isn't Bernie Sanders changing the party:
But more important for us, as observers, is that all of this [the House sit-in] is over gun control, and it’s happening with almost unanimous support from congressional Democratic leaders. This wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago, and for good reason. The Democratic majority of 2007–08—and even 2009–10—was more liberal than previous majorities, but it still spanned wide divides of geography and ideology. Conservative and center-right “Blue Dog” Democrats were still an important element of the party’s support, and they had a voice in Congress. A public protest for gun control would have been near-suicidal for those members.
But then came the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections (and the subsequent redistricting), and suddenly, the Democratic Party was purged of its most conservative members. There’s no doubt Pelosi wants a majority, but while she’s in the minority, neither she nor her caucus has to cater to vulnerable Democrats in the rural South or West. The kinds of voters Democrats once tried to attract by shying away from gun politics are Republicans now. And Democrats don’t believe they need to reach out to them. The politics, they argue, have turned.
Yes, by all means, reject Rahm Emanuel-style politics -- which enables Blue-Dog Democratism -- and embrace Bernie-style progressivism. But realize this: When Bernie Sanders decided to go for it, he didn't try it as an independent, he joined the Democrats.

Why? Because outside the two main parties, you're instantly marginalized. What would Bernie have gotten with an independent run? A three-way race between him, Clinton, and Trump? You're damned right, he would. And what would he have accomplished? A President Trump. Bold move!

So, please, fight the Republicans with the party you have, not the party you wish you had. The Democrats are changing -- and this is important -- and Hillary Clinton is changing with it. More Bernies! More Warrens! More John Lewises!

Not more independents sitting around pissed. The Democratic Party is where progressives belong. Go there and make it better.

Final point: If you're a pissed-off Bernie follower who'd vote for Donald Trump because fuck Hillary, then you are not a real progressive, and, frankly, you can fuck off.