The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Democrats

It’s that time of year again, Widdershins. Tonight, we set our clocks back an hour, thrusting us temporarily further into the darkness of these cold, mysterious months. If you have a tendency towards Seasonal Affective Disorder, I hope this is the time you bring out your sunlamp. For me, it means an extra hour of sleep, which I clearly need, as I’m up at 7 am most weekend mornings (not voluntarily, by habit)!

We do measure our time in weeks here at TW, and boy, was this past week a doozy. Certainly there was mixed news on the election front, but overall there were some key bright spots for Democrats. DYB posted that Virginia almost bucked a 30-year trend to vote against the incumbent Party for Governor, and it’s been 44 years since NJ has re-elected a Democratic governor. I have quite a few friends in New Jersey, and four of them are blue dots in big red counties, Sussex and Morris. If you take a look county by county, you can see that while NJ is a blue state for President, it has quite a bit of red. This has a good deal to do with why NJ frequently elects Republican Governors.

The idea that Drumpf guarantees election wins took another hit, as he endorsed the NJ candidate who lost. He also endorsed the VA candidate who won, but the only reason that worked is because Drumpf was forced to stay away by Youngkin’s campaign. They know that while the Mango Moron energizes Republican turnout, he also energizes Democratic turnout. And they knew that if they could suppress turnout, they actually had a chance of winning.

Speaking of turnout, it was the cause of McAuliffe’s loss and Murphy’s squeaker win. No, white women didn’t swing massively to Drumpf – it’s just that during the exit polls, more Republican women showed up between 2020 and 2021. While McAuliffe got 200,000 more votes than Northam in 2017, Youngkin outperformed Northam’s 2017 opponent by 500,000 votes. The Atlantic article linked above has some excellent insights.

Even with Youngkin’s marginal gains in the center, both the exit polls and actual results suggest instead that McAuliffe’s biggest problems were explosive turnout and huge deficits in the parts of the state most alienated from Biden and the Democrats who now control Washington. Turnout in Republican-leaning places was so strong that the share of the statewide vote cast by the blue-leaning big five Northern Virginia counties declined this year after steadily rising over the past three governor’s races; Richmond city and neighboring Henrico, still solidly Democratic, also cast a smaller percentage of the vote this year than in 2017, based on results as of Wednesday afternoon.

Relative to Northam, McAuliffe’s share of the vote consistently declined more in the southern half of the state, an area with relatively fewer college graduates, than it did in more white-collar Northern Virginia. “An engaged GOP base delivered Republicans even bigger landslides than usual in rural central and western Virginia,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics wrote in its analysis of the results yesterday. “In 2013, McAuliffe lost the 9th Congressional District, in the southwestern corner of the state, by about 30 percentage points. Last night … McAuliffe’s deficit there fell to about 50 points.” That erosion was evident not only in the southwestern counties that have become Republican bedrocks but also in southeastern Virginia jurisdictions that are either purple or Democratic-leaning, such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake County.

The article makes the case that Biden’s lower approval numbers, plus a series of reforms that made it easier to vote in Virginia AND historic trends, caused a huge surge in turnout on the Republican side. Democrats were not able to match it in Virginia, but made it work in NJ, against the odds, for a popular incumbent Governor who’s shown good results from liberal policies.

These results say three things to me. First of all, our Party is a big tent. A significant percentage of our politicians and voters, on the “left” (Bernie acolytes who scream about how nothing is ever good enough and vote with Republicans), right and center, have serious problems with Biden’s determination to center the lifting of poor people, women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ as his economic agenda. Racism, misogyny and homophobia work on them. While this percentage is mostly made up of white people, Drumpf made gains in the Latino, Black and Asian communities in 2020 by running racist ads targeted at engaging them to vote Republican. “Zero sum” – keep your foot on the necks of marginalized people so you can stay on top – is literally the only platform Republicans have. All the code words in the world (CRT, socialism) won’t change that. I think as we go forward into 2022, we need to realize that a percentage of voters (especially those who are white and without college education) are not reliable, and expect that they will go Republican.

Second of all, we are a lot more fickle (in my fury I wrote “whiny” on election night) than Republicans. Republicans will vote for a three-eyed alien from Xenu if it has an R label and runs on a racist agenda. (Hence, the success of TFG, a disgusting gob of orange goo who has gained cult-like loyalty and enthusiasm from Republican voters.) A good percentage of Democrats vote on “what have you done for me lately?”, and lack both understanding and patience when it comes to getting bills passed with a tiny majority in the House and Senate. These voters are susceptible to media propaganda about how Democrats are in disarray and terrible at everything and are going to throw all of us under the bus…so vote third-party to elect Republicans who will then proceed to do everything they can to destroy the country. FACEPALM. In addition, young people mostly don’t vote unless they feel every single need of theirs is being taken care of AND they’re able to lift their eyes from social media enough to be aware of the election happening. I have seen this dynamic in my own life, with very smart colleagues who are in their 20s and early 30s, solidly Democratic, who forget to vote in off-year elections. Not good!

For that fickle Democratic electorate, it’s absolutely critical to get Biden’s economic agenda passed ASAP. As the Atlantic article states (and many smart Widdershins as well!),

For the majority of Democratic elected officials and strategists, the most immediate lesson of Tuesday’s tough night is that the party needs to finally pass Biden’s economic agenda—which they hope will both assuage doubts about the president’s competence and provide them a list of tangible programs they can take to voters next year, including an expanded child tax credit and child-care subsidies and plans to lower prescription-drug prices. One message from last night’s result is that “when you are the party in power, you can’t win only by convincing people to fire the other guys; you have to convince people to rehire you,” says Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic communications strategist based in Virginia. “And that means getting the Biden economic agenda done and then relentlessly talking about how we delivered on it.”

This week, the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill was passed, and the Democrats are working on the other two big bills they want to pass through reconciliation. If these bills go forward, will it be enough for the second fickle group to turn out? I don’t know, because there’s always something to complain about. Merrick Garland! Voting rights! What have you done for me lately, on my timeline, without any consideration of yours? I’m disappointed and I’m staying home! So here’s where I have a third point to make.

Democrats should be unapologetic about their priorities and call out the QOP for theirs. Yes, we center women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and poor people. Why shouldn’t we? What have you got against this? Use “Build Back Better” as your slogan – three words Americans can remember (we really can’t focus on much more than that). Go on offense. When Republicans use their racist code words, call them out as racist, don’t say things like “CRT isn’t taught in K-12 today.” That’s not the point – the point is that “CRT” is a racist code word. Say that. “Your talking point about CRT is racist.” Just keep hammering on that. “Your talking point about socialism is racist.” It will gain the attention of the profit-driven media, which will then say “racist” repeatedly in association with Republicans, and has the added benefit of being true.

Yes, this will turn out the QOP base, but as we saw this week, that ship has already sailed. They are energized and ready to bring back JFK, Jr. as TFG’s running mate in 2024, and happy to elect Republicans in 2022 to accomplish their agenda. We can’t do anything about that. What we can do is energize our own base with real talk and accomplishments to go with it, and start voter outreach campaigns NOW for our House and Senate candidates.

I sincerely hope we do all of this in time.

As always, an open thread.

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

I must confess that watching the Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testimonies left me feeling hopeless. I don’t know if I’ve felt this depressed since election night and inauguration. What we saw was such a horrific display of partisanship from Republicans, such naked thirst for power, such terrifying absence of decency, that I don’t know if we can ever truly recover from where we are now. And, frankly, the weak performance of Democrats against Kavanaugh revealed that we don’t have strong leadership. Yes, there may be flashes of it here and there, but in the second half of the day Democrats surrendered all control to Republicans. Lindsey Graham goes on a full frontal attack on Democrats and their only response was Cory Booker calling Graham his friend. Every Republican attacked Diane Feinstein. And Democrats remained silent. Democrats kept hammering on about the FBI investigation: important yes, but the point was made already and repeatedly, and anyone who mentioned it after Dick Durbin drew blood by getting Kavanaugh to fall speechless on the subject was wasting time. They let so many things fall through the cracks because they harped on that single issue. They also kept quoting Kavanaugh’s former roommate who said he saw Kavanaugh get very drunk many times: yes, we heard it and Kavanaugh dismissed that story pretty easily. Yet they kept returning to it Kavanaugh swatted them away just as easily each time. It was a waste of time.

Democrats should have pursued Rachel Mitchell’s questions about the July 1st party on Kavanaugh’s calendar – which perfectly matches Dr. Ford’s description of the party where she was assaulted, including the guest list and the timeframe where she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. The Republican prosecutor seemed to accidentally stumble on the actual date of the party where Ford was attacked! She had Kavanaugh read the first and last names of all his friends who were going to attend this party. The names match everyone Ford names, including the man Kavanaugh’s friends tried to pin the assault on (but who denied any involvement in a letter to the judiciary committee.) The date of the party – July 1st – also matches Ford’s story that she ran into Mike Judge in a grocery store approximately 6 weeks later. But because she wasn’t sure when the party was, knowing when Judge worked in the store would help. Well, Mike Judge wrote in his book that worked in that grocery store in August of that year. It matches perfectly the time-frame Ford laid out. A party Kavanaugh attended, the guest list of friends that matches Ford’s list of those present, and the 6 weeks before seeing the eye-witness in a store. Rachel Mitchell – intentionally or not (probably not) – laid this out for Democrats. Democrats did nothing with this information. As soon as Mitchell asked these questions about the July 1st party, Grassley called for a recess. They returned and Graham went for the Democrats’ jugular. Mitchell was not heard from again. Every Republican after that went for the same jugular. And Democrats did nothing. They didn’t fight back, they did not pursue the line of questioning that quite literally may reveal the date – on Kavanaugh’s own calendar – of the party where Ford was assaulted.  The hearings ended as a disaster for Democrats.

Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was astonishing. With strength and courage she arrived to tell the truth. And she did. What was striking about her answers is that she didn’t try to be right. She knew there were gaps in her story, she willingly acknowledged the limitations of memory. Contrast this with every Kavanaugh testimony: in his desire to be right and perfect, Kavanaugh lies. He lies easily and repeatedly. Republicans don’t care that Kavanaugh has committed perjury numerous times already. But we know that he has. And we know that Dr. Ford has not. This extraordinary woman has upended her entire life – the persecution of Dr. Ford will continue forever – because she wanted to do what is right. She faced the lions and went in. She did it for all of us. She said that her greatest fear is that she would do all this, put her family and herself through hell and it would not matter. She is probably right, that Kavanaugh will still be appointed to the Supreme Court. But her testimony matters. It matters to countless women and men who have been abused and who have been too afraid to speak up. People who have blamed themselves for the attacks. Christine Blasey Ford showed us that sometimes we must do what is right, even when we know it may not make the difference we seek in the moment. Dr. Ford and her courage do not exist in a vacuum. She has already changed the lives of countless victims of sexual abuse. May she take some comfort in that. And may we all hope to have that kind of courage.

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Hump

Posted on: August 23, 2018

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Wednesdays are known as hump-days. Those dreadful days we suffer through between the terrible Mondays and much-anticipated Fridays. Something about the past few days has felt like a hump of the Dump presidency. We’ve been making our way to the top of the mountain – is it downhill from here? Of course, it is impossible to really tell. I certainly can’t predict anything; I have been wrong before. But with Manafort’s 8 guilty verdicts (or 10 mistrial verdicts, as Faux News and The Federalist like to point out) and Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas – and, more importantly, saying that the candidate for office told him to commit crimes, thus making Trump an unindicted co-conspirator – something feels different today. It’s not the actions of McConnell and Ryan. They are both trying to say as little as possible. Ryan’s office released a statement that they’re aware of Cohen’s plea, but need to see more information (LOL). So that hasn’t changed. Though the NY Times articles on how people in Ohio diners feel about these developments is still a few days away, I think we can safely assume they don’t care about any of it and Trump’s base remains very much intact. Orrin Hatch just told Jake Tapper that “I think [Trump] has changed a lot of his life once he was elected. I think Trump is a much better person today than he was then.” So Republicans in Congress won’t change their tune.

But something changed in how Democrats in Congress speak about Dump. Many have come out very strongly, directly and explicitly accusing Trump and his administration of being a “criminal enterprise.” Nancy Pelosi tweeted very direct attacks on Republicans in general and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of language from her or most other Democrats. “The gross #CultureOfCorruption runs deep among Republicans in Washington,” – Pelosi tweeted. And then: “Michael Cohen. Michael Flynn. Paul Manafort. Chris Collins. Duncan Hunter. Vern Buchanan. Scott Pruitt and the Trump Administration. The Republican Party looks like a criminal enterprise.” This kind of directness has always been Republicans’ ammo and Democrats have largely tried being polite. We know how that’s worked out for us. It seems that Pelosi – and others – have finally smelled blood in the water and, thankfully, are not letting good blood go to waste.

Several people have now explicitly called Trump an illegitimate President. Democratic Senators have also now come out and said they will not even consider Kavenaugh for SCOTUS because Trump is an unindicted criminal and should not be allowed to appoint a SCOTUS judge. This is also different. Kamala Harris: “President Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator to a federal crime to influence an election for the office he now holds. He should not be allowed to name a Supreme Court Justice without resolving this accusation first.”

So something is different. Do you feel it? Or am I being too optimistic?

This is an open thread.

Taxes

Russia Investigation

Country over Party

Six words, that’s it.  If we’re lucky, by 2018 we won’t even need a noun or a verb to finish the thoughts.

Come for the chaos, stay for conflagration.  This is the Dolt 45 fine-tuned machine.

Yesterday’s performance was a guided tour of Dolt 45’s brain. In 77 minutes, he demonstrated what I have so inadequately tried to explain.  He is the San Andreas of emotional fragility.  He’s not going to change.  You saw what stress does.  Behavior patterns become more pronounced.trump-presser

Dolt 45 is not crazy.  He’s a 70-year old man who has never worked an honest day’s work in his life who likes to watch television and tweet.  He believes he’s infallible because he doesn’t know what the word means.

Setting up warring factions in the White House ensures he is the eye in a hurricane of chaos.  It provides him the self-esteem he so desperately craves and the charade of power sustaining his veneer of legitimacy.

Let me try to explain.  Think about the best, mind-blowing, earth-moving sex you ever had.  That is what yesterday’s press conference was for the citrus pustule.  As he said, “I’m having a good time doing it.”

Here’s what I know from studying leadership.  Any organization centered on charismatic leadership (personality-centric) rests upon clay feet.  It is like the Platte River – a mile wide and three inches deep.  It evaporates in the least bit of heat.whats-wrong-with-trump

Crises are not planned via e-invites.  They are coming.  Whether it is a natural disaster, a Horizon oil spill, an incident in the Strait of Hormuz, or a terrorist attack, the time is ticking down.  It won’t just be a failure; it will be a Category 5, Frontline documentary fiasco.  Failure is simply the non-presence of success, but a fiasco is where anarchy apportions anguish and adversity.

This weekend troubles me.  It has been almost 84-years to the day since the Reichstag Fire.  It was a planned provocative act of arson to set emotions ablaze.  This weekend event in Florida has a certain suspicious air about it.  Nothing would change the media’s attention faster than paid insurrectionists rioting at an event where Dolt 45 is whisked away by Secret Service.  Just sayin’.gop-support-for-trump

Currently among Republicans, SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the U.S.) is at a more robust approval rating than either Bush or Reagan was at a comparable time.  The symbiosis is complete.  Congratulations Dr. Frankenstein, it’s a boy.

And this brings me to the Country over Party part of TRICOP.  Never before has the reverse concept been so clear to me.  I’m guilty of mindlessly accusing Republicans of prostituting themselves as Party over Country and Power over Country, but when a future drapery salesman from South Carolina is your party’s lone moral compass, the GOP ain’t exactly writing new chapters for Profiles in Courage.

Here’s the takeaway:  The Republican Party will allow this orange stooge to do immeasurable harm to the country in order to eviscerate FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.

There is an ugly, angry, maniacal lust at work to deprive twenty million poor people of health insurance in order to allow the One-Percenters an obscene tax break.  I lack the intellectual capacity to understand that.  It isn’t just the repeal of the A.C.A.  It is also a rollback of Medicaid that happens to be the primary financing mechanism for the country’s nursing home/end of life care.

The gobsmacking piece of all of this:  To finance the lipstick for the piglet they are going to pass off as a “replacement,” they are proposing taxing some portion of employer furnished health insurance.

Here are a few highlights from the first 25 days:what-coal-mining-does-to-streams

The first Republican counteroffensive against the War on Coal was signed into law this past week.  Coal mines will now be free to pollute some 6,000 miles of once protected waterways in the country.

For those poor, over-regulated, underappreciated oil companies, they will no longer have to report their payments to foreign governments.  Anti-corruption is so déclassé.

If you are keeping score, this weekend we will be spending $1,240,000 a day to protect Trump Tower with no one home, another $3.0 Million for another Mar-a-Lago golf outing, and about $200,000 for Uday and Qusay Trump to open their Dubai golf course.

Finally, if you are a policy wonk like me, we can be alarmed that Dolt 45 swatted away 50-years of U.S. policy supporting a two-state Middle East solution as easily as he would a Citrus Whitefly.  And if you were worried about that pesky dust-up over a “One China” policy, it seems to have ironed itself out quite coincidentally with the granting of Chinese Trump trademarks.

For those 70,000 under-educated white guys in the upper Midwest:  Is America great enough yet?

What’s on your mind today?  Spasibo.  Never too early to learn some Russian.

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The statutes History and Grief overlooking the transition of power...

The statutes History and Grief overlooking the transition of power…

That’s how many seconds we have survived under the Trump/Putin Administration.  Thinking of it like that gives the illusion of something longer than just a week, but that’s all it has been. There are 207 more weeks to go in this first four-year installment of, “Government by basic cable.”

While the Women’s March gave me hope, I have fallen into a pall.  I’ll save the reason for the end of this post.

Last August I wrote about the Yam’s psychological composition.  It’s time to revisit those for a starting point to today’s discussion.  I went into much more detail back in August, but I wanted to mention the high points.

Der Trumpenfuhrer exhibits the traits of an Executive Sales consultant.  You won’t find these people under every rock you turn over, but they aren’t an endangered species.  Predominant are his traits of Significance, Competition, and Command.

how-the-public-graded-the-candidateThe Significance means he receives every ounce of his self-esteem from the way other people see him.  In short, he is an empty vessel of perpetual need.  Emotional fragility is his default position.  No amount of positive feedback will quench his constant thirst to be told he is a person of value.

Competition explains his fixation on the inaugural crowd and the popular vote.  As I said back in August, it isn’t so much about winning as it is about everyone else losing.  There’s a darkness and mean-spiritedness prevalent in this characteristic.  It’s about wishing ill to befall everyone standing in the way of conquest.  Numbers are measurements and everything is about measurement.

Then you have the third leg of the stool – Command.  People who have Command must be in charge.  They are essentially rhetorical bulldozers without a reverse gear.  Emotions and feelings are merely weaknesses giving those with Command something at which to aim.  Command is the trait that erases the Yam’s shame and embarrassment genes.

I mention these characteristics again for a simple reason.  The clamorous Yam is not going to change.  The only change is this:  When he is tired or under pressure, these proclivities will be stronger.  These are his default settings.  We will see more of this behavior, not less.

These characteristics have not been lost on those around the Yamster.  The devious ones are attempting to harness these characteristics as best they can.  The others are leaking like incontinent sieves.ansel-adams-fight-our-own-government

In my humble opinion, the true evil behind the madness is hiding in plain sight – Bannon.  It takes a certain kind of discerning evil to play to Trump’s character by publicly humiliating Mitt Romney.  It takes a keen hand to play to the base by parading Al Gore through the Trump lobby and then appointing his antithesis to head the EPA the very next day.

Bannon’s fingerprints are all over this first week like overwhelming the press by chewing paper and crapping Executive Orders.  Such are the actions of a two-bit dictator.  The number of full democracies in the world was reduced by one this year – from 20 to 19.  The one falling to the “flawed democracy” category was the U.S.

This is merely the tip of the great orange turdberg into which we are sailing.  Pence and Ryan have conspired to erase the New Deal and surrender human rights within our foreign policy.  Eighty years of progressive policy will die in some Ayn Randian polemic mirroring the dystopian carnage the Yam barked about in his inaugural address.

From transferring the corporate tax burden to the middle class, from starting a trade war to inadvertently conferring superpower status on China, from increasing infant mortality to accelerating climate change, the future is indeed dark.  To summarily cede the largest trading bloc to China will haunt us for generations.

This is what I know.  The harm will be quickly legislatively engineered.  The effects will metastasize at a slower pace.  Pence, Ryan, and Bannon will fray the social safety net and the damage will not be undone for generations.  In these hyper-partisan times, re-engineering Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid is incomprehensible.same-crap-different-century

This clown show is currently booked for 4 years.  The fools lured into Cabinet posts won’t have comparable longevity.  They will be expected to fall on their swords like a Jonestown dance team to protect the dear Supine Leader’s emotional fragility.

If these people have their way, corporate profits will win over regulation.  To speed up making the world a more dangerous place, the House has passed legislation allowing regulations to be rolled back without the protections of normal rule-making.  We will soon be living in the “regulation-free jungle” where food, water, air, voting rights, and any number of basic human needs are a roll of the dice.

All of this is sad, but my despondence is deeper.  For me it is this simple:  I have always believed in the goodness of my fellow citizens — their better angels.  We are embarking on an era where such optimism is misplaced.

Trump is ushering in an era where the vindictive nature of the Tea Party/Trumpists will reign supreme.  It isn’t about a wall or health care – it is about causing pain.  Whether the enemies are Mexicans or people of color or the libruls or gays or immigrants, someone has to hurt in the goofy belief it will be a balm for generational economic transition.no-moderates-we-are-republicans

A $50 Billion great wall will never satiate people who fought to deny water to Katrina victims. Who fight funding for health care to children and the elderly.  Trump and his pack of jackals bragged about harnessing the anger of the electorate, I never believed our national morality would be the first victim.

If our collective goal in the American experiment was building the Utopian “shining city on the hill,” by surrendering our institutions to this callous cabal we have forsaken that dream, embraced the malevolence, and forever altered the course of our shared history.  This moralistic void chills the soul – hopefully our better angels will reawaken.  Last weekend’s march was a great start.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

 


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