GOP Cruelty Pleases Their Constituents

“Divide et impera” … Julius Caesar, circa a long time ago. In English, it is “Divide and conquer”. Control. A disunited people are far less likely to rise up and oppose a dictator or other authoritarian. Keep them hatin’. Our friend Jeff is angry and so am I …

On The Fence Voters

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. As it is presently constituted, the GOP represents a small minority of people in this country who think being cruel to people is a virtue.

We all know about the disgraced former president. We’ve seen the hatred he spewed as president and now as a private citizen. He is the standard-bearer for this type of behavior. He’s got a group in Congress who continue to support him no matter what. And, if he’s indicted, we know that support would continue. Many of those same GOP politicians mirror the personality of their dear leader, who relishes every chance he gets to insult and lie with impunity.

And they wouldn’t do it were it not for millions of people in this country who love every minute of it. And they do not cross the former president because they know the death threats and intimidation…

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Is The Teflon Wearing Out?

Even Teflon eventually gets old, wears out, and is no longer able to keep things from sticking.  The former guy has long been referred to as “Teflon Don” because he has lied, cheated, and stolen for the entirety of his adult life, yet has never had to pay a price.  In 2016 when he said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” most of us scoffed and took it as just more of his hyperbole.  Since then, however, he has committed numerous crimes and treacheries against the nation, against We the People, and the Republicans continue to cheer and support him.  It seemed for a while that he was right, that he was somehow able to escape unscathed where the rest of us would be in prison, probably for life!  But this week, the tides seem to be turning.  Dan and Elliot sum it up rather nicely …


Trump Had a Day

And it might get worse

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

21 September 2022

NY Attorney General Letitia James announcing that her office is suing former President Donald Trump and three of his children. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Well, well, well. Let’s just say that Donald Trump has had better days.

This could be one of his worst, but there may be far worse ones coming down the line if today turns out to be a preface and not a denouement.

This morning started off bad enough.

New York Attorney General Letitia James made it known that she was going to issue a “major announcement.” And she did not disappoint. The lawsuit she filed in state court is in essence a guided missile aimed right at the heart of the Trump family business. Calling the level of fraud she uncovered “staggering,” James outlined a list of facts that could have been a plotline in The Sopranos.

And it isn’t just the patriarch in her legal crosshairs. The three children who have been foisted upon the American public — Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka — also earned starring roles in the court papers.

While this is a civil suit, that’s because James is limited from bringing criminal charges. She did refer her findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, but if they choose to press forward, they will likely have to get in line.

That’s because as rough as this morning’s news cycle was for Trump, more pain was in the offing.

This evening, the 11th Circuit ruled on the outrage that has been festering over the investigation into the classified documents the former president took (for still unknown reasons, at least publicly) to Mar-a-Lago.

If Trump was hoping that Trump judges at the appellate level would fall in line like Judge Cannon (the district judge who’s done legal backflips well beyond the bounds of precedent or prudence to accommodate Trump), he was sorely mistaken. Two Trump judges sided with an Obama appointee to issue a stinging rebuke of the lower court’s ruling — a ruling that most judicial experts had felt was about as serious as an episode of Laugh In.

I will leave it to legal scholars to parse the specifics of the lawsuits and rulings, but some big things are clear. One, Trump is in trouble. Big trouble. And not the kind of trouble that he can squirm his way out of by bloviating to Sean Hannity or browbeating Mitch McConnell. He’s on the defensive, and pressure is closing in from all directions.

The timing of these quickening drumbeats of scrutiny overlap with the final stretch of the midterm elections — into which Trump has vociferously inserted himself according to the only metric he knows: what benefits him. November thus is shaping up to be a referendum on Trumpism, to the dismay of many Republican officials. But those same Republicans have made a decision en masse to embrace Trump, at least publicly. From a cynical political calculus one can understand why. The Republican base is the Trump base, or maybe it’s more accurate to put that the other way around.

It is also clear that the core of this base is not enough to power Republicans to majorities in Congress. And yet, if the base stays home, Republicans also will lose.

With so much at stake, the unknowns hanging over Trump and his legal jeopardy are very consequential. How bad might this get for Trump and those who have fastened themselves to him? Will more be revealed? Will any Republicans decide that they need to separate themselves from Trump? Will that lead to disarray within the party as election day approaches? All of this is possible. But it is also possible that Trump skates by once again, at least for now. It is possible that Republicans take back Congress, and they frame their victory as a validation of Trumpism, nevermind what it means for the health and security of the country.

Right now it looks like a close election, but tides can shift, sometimes drastically. Support can crumble. What once looked like strength can be recast as weakness. Just ask one of the few people having a rougher go of it of late than Trump — Vladimir Putin.

Oh, and in other late-breaking news, the January 6th committee has come to an agreement to interview Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni Thomas. Can’t forget about that investigation.

One imagines all is not quiet tonight in Mar-a-Lago.

A Lot To Think About

The New York Times has been doing a series of editorial pieces that are longer and more in-depth than the usual daily/weekly editorials.  The most recent such piece by David Leonhardt was published on Saturday and is titled A Crisis Coming’: The Twin Threats to American Democracy.

Leonhardt’s piece is excellent, but far too long for me to reproduce here in a single blog post.  Rather, I will give you a few of the highlights and a link, and I really hope you’ll find the time to read it in its entirety, for it is well worth the time spent.

A few of the main points of the article …

  • The Jan. 6 attack on Congress was only the most obvious manifestation of the movement that refuses to accept election defeat. Hundreds of elected Republican officials around the country falsely claim that the 2020 election was rigged, suggesting they may be willing to overturn a future election. “There is the possibility, for the first time in American history, that a legitimately elected president will not be able to take office,” Yascha Mounk, a political scientist, said.
  • Even many Republicans who do not repeat the election lies have chosen to support and campaign for those who do. Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, has gone so far as to support colleagues who have used violent imagery in public comments, such as calling for the killing of Democrats.
  • But there are also many senior Republicans who have signaled they would be unlikely to participate in an effort to overturn an election, including Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate. He recently said that the United States had “very little voter fraud.”
  • This combination suggests that the risk of an overturned election remains uncertain. But the chances are much higher than would have been fathomable until the past few years. Previous leaders of both parties consistently rejected talk of reversing an election outcome.
  • In addition to this acute threat, American democracy also faces a chronic threat: The power to set government policy is becoming increasingly disconnected from public opinion.
  • Two of the past four presidents have taken office despite losing the popular vote. Senators representing a majority of Americans are often unable to pass bills, partly because of the increasing use of the filibuster. And the Supreme Court is dominated by an ambitious Republican-appointed bloc even though Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections — an unprecedented run of popular-vote success in U.S. history.
  • Parties in previous eras that fared as well in the popular vote as the Democrats have fared in recent decades were able to run the government and pass policies they favored. Examples include the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson’s time, the New Deal Democrats and the Reagan Republicans.
  • The growing disconnect from federal power and public opinion generally springs from enduring features of American government, some written into the Constitution. But these features did not conflict with majority opinion to the same degree in past decades. One reason is that less populous and more populous states tended to have broadly similar political outlooks in the past.
  • A sorting of the population in recent decades has meant that the less-populated areas given outsize influence by the Constitution also tend to be conservative, while major metropolitan areas have become more liberal. In the past, “the system was still antidemocratic, but it didn’t have a partisan effect,” said Steven Levitsky, another political scientist. “Now it’s undemocratic and has a partisan effect.”
  • Over the sweep of history, the American government has tended to become more democratic, through women’s suffrage, civil rights laws, the direct election of senators and more. The current period is so striking partly because it is one of the rare exceptions: The connection between government power and popular opinion has become weaker in recent decades.

Here is the link to Leonhardt’s excellent piece … you won’t regret it!

LET’S ALL MAKE SURE WE PROTECT DEMOCRACY ON NOVEMBER 8TH (My attempt to create a helpful candidates guide)

Our friend Annie over at AnnieAsksYou has gone way above and beyond in her latest post that summarizes the mid-term election candidates for the most relevant and/or contentious races. Bookmark this post, for you may want to refer to it more than once in the next 51 days! Annie — I cannot imagine how many hours you put into the research for this post … I applaud your efforts and THANK YOU for all this valuable information!

annieasksyou...

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

With the completion of the primaries on September 13 and the midterm elections less than two months away, it’s time to zero in on particular candidates who have been targeted by the Republicans, and/or those I feel are especially worthy of your votes, active support, and any dollars you can spare. My goal has been to cover as many of the key races as I can.

Wherever possible, I’ve linked to substantive information about the candidates. If you want to donate–and even a few dollars are helpful–many of them are linked to ActBlue.

This is a companion piece to my previous post, How to Be a Part of the Solution, which contains organizations working to protect democracy that can also use your support.

In view of rising reports of vote suppression campaigns already under way, please check your own situation soon—to make sure…

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Two Bastards Sitting in Governor’s Mansions

Governors Abbot (Texas) and DeSantis (Florida) are playing a game of Russian roulette with the lives of people – families with children.  And why?  Because there are 52 days left until the mid-term elections and they are both up for re-election.  Because both are Republican incumbents who don’t have a whole heck of a lot going for them right now and who are up against strong Democratic opponents.  So, they respond by playing a deadly game with the lives of people who trusted in the goodness of this nation enough to come here in hopes of a better life for their children.  Dan Rather and I are in complete agreement on this …


A Shameful Stunt

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

16 September 2022

A bus carrying migrants who crossed the border from Mexico into Texas arrives in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

It is easy to demonize the “other” — the one who looks different, speaks differently, or comes from somewhere else. Especially during periods of deep social, political, and economic anxiety, pounding one’s chest about “us” and “them” and using fear as a rallying cry can whip populations into a fervor.

It is clear that Republicans, facing tremendous blowback in the face of the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, falling gas prices, the specter of Donald Trump, and the backlash he provokes for many voters, have settled on immigration as a motivator to turn out their base in the upcoming midterm elections.

The stunts by Republican politicians — specifically Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — of busing and flying migrants and asylum seekers to places like Washington, D.C. (including outside of the vice president’s residence), New York City, and now Martha’s Vineyard have all the toxic energy of a fraternity prank. This is deadly serious.

And it may be effective politically. It has been the case many times before, both in this country and abroad. History is replete with political power built on vilifying foreigners and immigration. As much as they might not like to admit it, Democrats may worry about their vulnerability on this issue, especially in close elections. Fear can be a motivator to get people to the polls.

The public rationale for what Republicans are doing can’t be only to “own the libs,” although that desire is clearly behind the glee with which the governors and their supporters justify their actions. They say they are pointing out rampant hypocrisy, that blue states should have to carry the burden of immigration. The truth is, of course, that blue states, and cities in particular, are full of immigrants, documented and undocumented. And many of these immigrants are thriving members of local communities. Furthermore, blue state tax revenue is a major source of federal government funds, which are then distributed across the nation, including to red states and in support of immigration infrastructure.

You could imagine a reason it would make sense for migrants and asylum seekers to travel from the border to other parts of the country. But a good faith effort would include planning and resources. It would include giving people full and accurate information about where they would be going and some choice in their fate. These current stunts are nothing of this sort. They are driven by cruelty and lies. They are certainly not for the benefit of the immigrant or even the immigration system. They are about scoring political points on the backs of others. Can you imagine being put on a bus or a plane with your children — or even being a child yourself — and arriving at some street corner, maybe late at night, with no idea where you were or what would come next?

Immigration is a complicated issue. It always has been. It stirs emotions deep and powerful.

The movement of people across oceans, over lines on maps, and within nations is a fraught endeavor. It is often driven by desperation, coercion, bondage, and hope. Those in transit tend to be vulnerable for exploitation.

One of the hallmarks of the human species is that we are incredibly mobile. From our origins (probably in Africa, say scientists) we spread out to almost every imaginable corner of the Earth — from the arctic tundra to equatorial rainforests, from the tops of mountains to remote islands. We invented all manner of conveyances to carry us over open seas, across continents, and even through the air. Horizons beckon us to go beyond them.

Humans, however, are also territorial. We have claimed time and time again, around the world, and throughout history, that this land is “ours.” We have divided the globe into discrete states. We have created borders, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles long, that delineate divisions over who has the right to live on either side. Sometimes these boundaries follow geographic reasoning — rivers or mountains. Sometimes they are literally just random lines on the map.

For all this human movement, however, we are also a species with a strong sense of home. We group ourselves in regions where we share language, culture, family, and friends. Some of us may be inveterate wanderers, but many would rather stay close to where we are most familiar and comfortable.

But that changes when violence threatens us, when living conditions prove inhospitable, when our prospects for earning a livelihood and providing for our family are hopeless, when our freedoms are trampled. Then a primal survival mode kicks in. We would do anything to protect ourselves and our families. We would put our own health and security at risk in search of a better life. It was this very instinct that over the course of many centuries brought waves of immigrants to the United States.

America, it is often said, is a land of immigrants. Most of us here had ancestors who attempted a similar journey to that of those now being used as pawns in political showmanship. Back in our family tree, someone made the decision that they needed to leave somewhere else and come here. For some of us, that decision was decades or centuries in the past. For some it was recent. Many in this country now are immigrants themselves.

There are also those among us whose ancestors didn’t choose to leave. They were ripped from their homes by force — chained, beaten, and raped — and taken to a new land where they were separated from their families and forced to live in bondage. Others still are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Americas, whose lands were taken by new immigrants. Many of these Native peoples perished from the diseases brought by white settlers. Those who didn’t were forced from their homes and pushed into far less hospitable lands.

Of course, you won’t hear any of this context from those sneering now with xenophobic fear-mongering. There is no nuance in the MAGA slogan. Heck, they want to ban the teaching of this very history in schools. The truth isn’t comfortable, and it challenges their divisive narratives.

For as long as America remains a beacon for those seeking a better life, we will have to find ways of creating a fair, equitable, safe, and humane system for immigration. What can be done? Recognize the incredible advantages immigrants have brought to this nation. Be driven by empathy. And keep our nation protected. We should not expect these balances to be easy. And that is all the more reason to debate the issue with seriousness instead of scapegoating, with a commitment to our noblest values rather than an appeal to our basest instincts.

We would do well to remember those stirring lines from the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus” that adorn the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We are talking about people here. Our fellow human beings. And there but for the grace of God go I.

They {Don’t} Want Your Vote

Every citizen of the United States age 18 or older should be able to vote.  Voting is truly the only official voice we have in who runs our government and how they run it.  Sure, we can write letters, we can protest, we can make phone calls … but at the end of the day, it is our VOTE that counts, that decides what our nation will be or become.  Each and every one of us has … or should have … that right.  In some countries, nobody has that right, so we should protect and safeguard our right as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.  Voting IS a right here in the U.S., but it is also a responsibility.

Even prior to the 2020 election, certain states had very restrictive voting laws, and after the utterly false claims of widescale voting fraud and other lies following the 2020 election, nearly every state in the country proposed and passed even more restrictions on voting.  It is the opinion of this writer that if you are 18 or older, you should be able to vote.  Skin colour, literacy skills, age, gender, income level, and locale should not matter.  And yet … people of colour, poor people, young people, elderly people, disabled people, and those with prior felony convictions are often disenfranchised by unfair voting restrictions in their state.

Did you know that in Michigan it is against the law to “hire a motor vehicle” to transport a voter to the polls unless they are “physically unable to walk”?  So, anybody who doesn’t drive, doesn’t own a car, and isn’t in a wheelchair, will not be able to vote.  You cannot take a bus, taxi, Uber, or even ask your neighbor to drive you to the polls to vote in Michigan.  I imagine that law is hard as hell to enforce, but still … the very fact that it is even a law is beyond disgusting!

In 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. More than 440 bills with provisions that restrict voting access were introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.  Last year, Congress had the opportunity to pass two bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which would have protected our right to vote at the federal level, overriding restrictive state laws.  Both bills passed in the House of Representatives but failed to pass in the Senate.  Why?  Because while all Democrats voted for and all Republicans (except one) voted against, the filibuster kept the bills from passing.  The filibuster rules might have been changed to exclude voting rights legislation, but no … Republicans, aided and abetted by Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema, refused.  Why?  Because as one Republican openly admitted, if everyone could vote, Republicans would never win another election.

The 2020 election had the highest voter turnout of this century with nearly 67% of all eligible voters actually casting a vote.  In part, the reason was that many states went the extra mile to make it easier to vote by mail or ballot drop box in light of the pandemic.  Also in part was a concentrated effort to unseat the person who was, at the time, sitting in the Oval Office.  However, I find it pathetic that even with easier access to the ballot, only 67% voted.  WHERE WERE THE OTHER 33%???

With just 53 days until the mid-term elections on November 8th, it’s time for us to all be giving some serious thought to voting.  In most states, you can check online to make sure you’re registered – DO IT!  Some states are quite aggressive in removing people from the list of registered voters without cause, so it’s important to make sure you are registered.  If your state supports no-excuse absentee voting, by all means save yourself considerable time and angst by requesting an absentee ballot.  If you have the wherewithal (time and vehicle) to help transport people in your neighborhood to the polls on election day, please do so.  Your vote … is so important.  Every single vote matters.  Let’s not let the bastards keep us away from the polls, let’s not throw away our one opportunity to be heard, to have our say in who is making the decisions that affect the lives of each and every one of us.  If you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for your children and grandchildren who will inherit the world we create today.


Warning:  This blog will frequently contain posts, including some updated reprisals of past posts, about voting and voting rights between now and November 8th.  I make no apologies … this may be the single most important election thus far in our lifetimes and we need to understand the issues, the candidates, and what is riding on our choices.  Thank you for your patience.

A Conservative Worth Listening To

In his speech a couple of weeks ago, President Biden made it a point to note the difference between the “maga-Republicans” and the more moderate, mainstream Republicans.  It often seems that the latter group are scarce, at best, but they are out there … the ones that are sickened and disgusted by the former guy, the ones who see the maga-cult as a very real threat to this nation, to democracy, to We the People.  Among those is David Brooks, a well-known conservative political and cultural commentator who writes for the New York Times and is also a commentator on NPR and the PBS NewsHour.  I find his latest OpEd to be thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Surprising coming from a Republican, a conservative, but Brooks has always stood above the madding crowd!


Why Is There Still No Strategy to Defeat Donald Trump?

By David Brooks

15 September 2022

One of the stunning facts of the age is the continued prominence of Donald Trump. His candidates did well in the G.O.P. primaries this year. He won more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016. His favorability ratings within his party have been high and basically unchanged since late 2016. In a range of polls, some have actually shown Trump leading President Biden in a race for re-election in 2024.

His prominence is astounding because over the past seven years the American establishment has spent enormous amounts of energy trying to discredit him.

Those of us in this establishment correctly identified Trump as a grave threat to American democracy. The task before us was clear. We were never going to shake the hard-core MAGA folks. The job was to peel away independents and those Republicans offended by and exhausted by his antics.

Many strategies were deployed in order to discredit Trump. There was the immorality strategy: Thousands of articles were written detailing his lies and peccadilloes. There was the impeachment strategy: Investigations were launched into his various scandals and outrages. There was the exposure strategy: Scores of books were written exposing how shambolic and ineffective the Trump White House really was.

The net effect of these strategies has been to sell a lot of books and subscriptions and to make anti-Trumpists feel good. But this entire barrage of invective has not discredited Trump among the people who will very likely play the most determinant role. It has probably pulled some college-educated Republicans into the Democratic ranks and pushed some working-class voters over to the Republican side.

The barrage has probably solidified Trump’s hold on his party. Republicans see themselves at war with the progressive coastal elites. If those elites are dumping on Trump, he must be their guy.

A couple weeks ago, Biden gave a speech in Philadelphia, declaring the MAGA movement a threat to democracy. The speech said a lot of true things about that movement, but there was an implied confession: We have no strategy. Denouncing Trump and discrediting Trump are two different tasks. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, denunciation may be morally necessary, but it doesn’t achieve the goal the denouncers think it does.

Some commentators argued that Biden’s strategy in the speech was to make Trump the central issue of the 2022 midterms; both Biden and Trump have an interest in making sure that Trump is the sun around which all of American politics revolves.

This week, I talked with a Republican who was incensed by Biden’s approach. He is an 82-year-old émigré from Russia who is thinking of supporting Ron DeSantis in the 2024 primaries because he has less baggage. His parents were killed by the Nazis in World War II. “And now Biden’s calling me a fascist?!” he fumed.

You would think that those of us in the anti-Trump camp would have at one point stepped back and asked some elemental questions: What are we trying to achieve? Who is the core audience here? Which strategies have worked, and which have not?

If those questions were asked, the straightforward conclusion would be that most of what we are doing is not working. The next conclusion might be that there’s a lot of self-indulgence here. We’re doing things that help those of us in the anti-Trump world bond with one another and that help people in the Trump world bond with one another. We’re locking in the political structures that benefit Trump.

My core conclusion is that attacking Trump personally doesn’t work. You have to rearrange the underlying situation. We are in the middle of a cultural/economic/partisan/identity war between more progressive people in the metro areas and more conservative people everywhere else. To lead the right in this war, Trump doesn’t have to be honest, moral or competent; he just has to be seen taking the fight to the “elites.”

The proper strategy in this situation is to scramble the identity war narrative. That’s what Biden did in 2020. He ran as a middle-class moderate from Scranton. He dodged the culture war issues. That’s what the Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is trying to do in Pennsylvania.

A Democratic candidate who steps outside the culture/identity war narrative is going to have access to the voters who need to be moved. Public voices who don’t seem locked in the insular educated elite worldview are going to be able to reach the people who need to be reached.

Trumpists tell themselves that America is being threatened by a radical left putsch that is out to take over the government and undermine the culture. The core challenge now is to show by word and deed that this is a gross exaggeration.

Can Trump win again? Absolutely. I’m a DeSantis doubter. I doubt someone so emotionally flat and charmless can win a nomination in the age of intensive media. And then once Trump is nominated, he has some chance of winning, because nobody is executing an effective strategy against him.

If that happens, we can at least console ourselves with that Taylor Swift lyric: “I had a marvelous time ruinin’ everything.”

What Drives The Election Roller Coaster?

The upcoming elections remind me watching a game of tennis, or ping pong … back, forth, left, right, back, forth.  Round and round she goes, where she lands no one knows.  To say that it is stressful is an understatement!  Frank Bruni’s latest column sums it all up fairly nicely …


Live By the Trump, Die By the Trump

By Frank Bruni

8 September 2022

Democrats were doomed. We prediction-mad pundits felt predictable certainty about that. The recent history of midterm elections augured disaster for the party in power. Inflation would make the damage that much worse.

So why are Republicans sweating?

Their overreach on abortion and the subsequent mobilization of women voters explain a great deal but not everything. There’s another prominent plotline. Its protagonist is Donald Trump. And its possible moral is a sweet and overdue pileup of clichés — about reaping what you sow, paying the piper, lying in the bed you’ve made.

Republicans chose to kneel before him. Will he now bring them to their knees?

Thanks in large part to Trump, they’re stuck with Senate candidates — Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Herschel Walker in Georgia, Blake Masters in Arizona — whose ineptness, inanity, immoderation or all three significantly diminish their chances in purple states at a propitious juncture.

Thanks in even larger part to Trump, voters ranked threats to democracy as the most pressing problem facing the country in a recent NBC News poll. That intensifying concern is among the reasons that President Biden went so big and bold last week in his intensely debated speech about extremism in America. He was eyeing the midterms, and he was wagering that Republican leaders’ indulgence of Trump’s foul play and fairy tales might finally cost them.

Trump is also a factor in Republicans’ vulnerability regarding abortion rights. For his own selfish political purposes, he made grand anti-abortion promises. He appointed decidedly anti-abortion judges, including three of the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. He as much as anyone fired up the anti-abortion movement to the point where Republicans may now get burned.

With two months until Election Day, Republicans want to focus voters’ attention on unaffordable housing, exorbitant grocery bills and the generally high cost of living. They want to instill deeper and broader fear about immigration and crime. They want to portray Democrats as the enemies of the American way.

But that’s more than a little tricky when Trump had America’s secrets strewn throughout the bowels of Mar-a-Loco. When his excuses for mishandling those classified documents change at a dizzying clip, contradict previous ones and often boil down to his typical infantile formula of I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I. When he uses Truth Social, the media penal colony to which Twitter and Facebook sentenced him, for all the old falsehoods plus new ones. When criminal charges against him aren’t out of the question.

The progressive excesses of some Democrats pale beside the madness of this would-be monarch.

Democrats could still have a bad, even brutal, November. That is indeed how the pendulum historically swings, and two months is plenty of time for political dynamics to change yet again. Biden could overplay his hand, a possibility suggested by that speech.

But for the moment, Republicans are spooked. Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, has decided to try to recapture the party’s long-ago Contract-With-America magic by detailing a “Commitment to America” that will no doubt omit what should be the most important commitment of all — to the truth. It also won’t erase the fact that 196 of the 529 Republican nominees running for the House, the Senate, governor, attorney general or secretary had “fully denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election,” according to a chilling FiveThirtyEight analysis of the party’s nominees as of Wednesday.

That morally corrupt position was probably a political asset in their primaries, just as having Trump’s endorsement usually was. But in the general election? As Republican nominees pivot toward that, at least a few of them are realizing that it’s a different ballgame — and that Trump is trouble. They’re taking baby steps away from the world’s biggest baby.

Good luck with that. He’ll never let them go, never muffle himself long enough or behave well enough for there to be a Republican narrative that doesn’t revolve around him. That was clear to Republicans from the start. To hang with him is to hang with him.

A Powerful Question

Yesterday, our friend Nan posted a question asked by Robert Reich and this may well be one of his best pieces ever! I was impressed enough to want to share it. Thank you, Nan … and Robert! (I actually thought I had re-blogged this yesterday afternoon, and didn’t find out until late last night that I had it all set up but forgot to hit the “Reblog Post” button! Senility is setting in!)

Nan's Notebook

blue_question

OK … I’m doing it again. But this is something that NEEDS to be shared. It was written by Robert Reich (via Substack):

A personal question to powerful people who continue to deny the results of the 2020 election

What do you tell yourself in private?

I have a serious question for people who have power in America and who continue to deny the outcome of the 2020 election and enable Trump’s Big Lie: What are you saying to yourself in private? How are you justifying yourself in your own mind?

I don’t mean to be snide or snarky. I’m genuinely curious.

I’m not interested in Trump’s answer to this question. He is too far gone — lost in the depths of his own pathological ego. I’m also not asking the millions of Trump followers, Fox News viewers, and rightwing social media fans who have been fed the Big…

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A simple question

Accountability. Responsibility. Truth. Our friend Keith reminds us why we should demand these three things from the people we elect to represent us, and points out that we are being let down in all three areas, particularly by those in the Republican Party. Thank you, Keith, for your wisdom and ability to see beyond the rhetoric, beyond the lies and chaos.

musingsofanoldfart

A simple question for elected officials in my old party – the Republican Party. What will you have to defend tomorrow, next week, next month…next year? And, will it be from an old, alleged crime or a new one. I have been asking this question of GOP officials for over four years now. There is always a new or newly discovered Trump alleged crime or some form of deceit that surfaces.

Accountability. Responsibility. Truth. These are words that are lacking these days to define the Republican party. Democrats are not perfect, but they are at least talking and doing something about issues of import. Yes, Dems stretch the truth, but it is not even close to the level of mainstream deceit that is required by the GOP. Seeing Sarah Palin claim election fraud yesterday was as predictable as the nose on my face. I told my wife…

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