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I think I’m still in denial that this is actually happening

[ 269 ] February 16, 2017 |

Even though I suggested a year and a half ago that it very well could.

Therefore I’ll outsource to the always essential Josh Marshall:

 

This is that rare time when I think the cliched phrase is appropriate: That press conference speaks for itself. There’s very little I can think to add. It all amounts to a confirmation of what most of us already know. This man is not emotionally or characterologically equipped to serve as President. He lacks the focus, the ability to commit to even a passable amount of work without immediate emotional gratification. Thus his decision to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Friday. (It’s literally a campaign event, put on by his 2020 reelection campaign). Trump lacks the emotional resilience or toughness to deal with what is the inevitable criticism and difficulties of being President, which – lets be clear – are great.

These different deficits all feed upon each other. He lacks the steadiness for the job.

There are credible reports of Richard Nixon being in this sort of state in the final weeks of his presidency. But Nixon, to give him his due, was at the center of the greatest political scandal in American history, bearing down on him for months and pushing him toward the greatest political disgrace and humiliation in his nation’s political history. He was overseeing the Vietnam War, witnessing various domestic civil disturbances, grappling with foreign policy blowups which neared superpower confrontations. There was a lot going on. Trump has been President for less than four weeks. Aside from domestic, media driven and other crises of his own making, virtually nothing has happened.

But the man who just appeared before the press for a free-ranging airing of grievances looked tired, sullen and half broken. His bracing insistence that everything is going perfectly in his White House sounded desperate and bizarre.

He’s coming up on one month down and 47 to go.

If there’s any justice in the world, most of the Trumpkins will be far enough away from the nuclear explosions to die slow deaths from radiation poisoning.

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Comments (269)

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    • liberalrob says:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfpgpf6QVnI

      You take a mortal man
      And put him in control
      Watch him become a god
      Watch people’s heads a’roll
      A’roll, a’ roll

      Just like the Pied Piper
      Led rats through the streets
      We dance like marionettes
      Swaying to the symphony
      Of destruction

      Acting like a robot
      Its metal brain corrodes
      You try to take its pulse
      Before the head explodes

  1. Murc says:

    I agree with all of this, and I love Josh Marshall… but I think focusing too much on Trump’s character is a mistake. (The same mistake we made in the election.)

    Yes, Trump lacks character. But it turns out people don’t really care about that. They do seem to care that he’s incompetent and he wants to do terrible things, tho. I’ve noticed that’s a common theme running through the now-common “Let’s go see what Trumpkins think of him now” pieces you see in various journalism outlets; remorseful Trump voters never, ever talk about his lack of character, but rather that he doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing and/or is going to hurt them.

    I think that’s our most salient line of attack. This isn’t to say we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but I think the character thing should be the minority partner in this arrangement, as it were.

    • DamnYankees says:

      I agree with all of this, and I love Josh Marshall… but I think focusing too much on Trump’s character is a mistake. (The same mistake we made in the election.)

      I think its wrong to think of this as character. Yes, Trump lacks character. But that’s not what we saw on display. You can lack character and be competent. You can lack character and be stable. You can lack character and not be a narcissistic pathological liar.

      Trump’s lack of integrity and character is bad, but its not what keeps me up at night.

      • Rob in CT says:

        Yes.

        Murc’s not wrong: character attacks didn’t do the job.

        But I totally agree with you that pointing out that he’s incompetent and/or unhinged is not really the same as saying he’s a bad man (which he is, of course) because he treats women poorly or because he’s a bigot.

        • Captain Splendid says:

          character attacks didn’t do the job.

          Worked on Gore, though. Damn liberal media!

          • UncleEbeneezer says:

            And didn’t we just witness two years of endless obsession with Hillary’s character by both the Right AND the Left? I agree that character attacks won’t likely change 45 supporters, but that’s not to say that character doesn’t matter or that character attacks don’t work.

      • Latverian Diplomat says:

        You can lack character and be competent. You can lack character and be stable. You can lack character and not be a narcissistic pathological liar.

        “You rang?”
        — Mike Pence

        • Hells Littlest Angel says:

          “And if you don’t like Pence, there’s me.”
          — Paul Ryan

        • Wapiti says:

          Two out of three ain’t bad. I don’t think Pence is competent. Republicans in *Indiana* weren’t going to reelect him to Governor.

          • timb says:

            This. He was going to lose here and his successor, a man with no name recognition, no personality, and no real elective record (he was appointed Lt. Governor) won handily over the guy Pence BARELY beat in 2012. That guy incidentally is as right-wing as a Dem gets, has a long history of election success, and once pulled saved a man from a burning car after stumbling across a one car accident.

            Pence is incompetent, but I imagine there’s a scale and Mike falls on the “not dangerously” incompetent end

      • (((Malaclypse))) says:

        Right. Nixon lacked character, but he was not a bumbling incompetent with anger management issues.

        • medrawt says:

          Until the end, when he was a binge drinking paranoid and people around him were terrified that he’d order a nuclear strike at the nadir of a depressive episode.

          • Dilan Esper says:

            The major thing that I think people should remember about Nixon as compared to modern Republicans is that Nixon actually cared about getting policy right.

            That wasn’t to say that he was good, or that he didn’t have a lot of sinister motives and paranoias, but he did, nonetheless, want to get policy right because he thought that would redound to his benefit as a politician and historical figure. Most obviously, this resulted in the opening with China. But it also manifested itself in domestic policy– he could do things like sign Title IX and the EPA, support a national health care system and the Family Support Act, etc., because he was a smart guy and cared about his policies.

            The modern Republican Party is no longer run by people who really care about getting policy right. The conservative movement doesn’t even have a serious policy shop anymore. The think tanks no longer do interesting work. It’s just a vessel for resentment and a racket.

            • Brad Nailer says:

              Zackly. Look at the Republicans’–and Trump’s–proposals. Nothing forward-looking, only repeal, remove, deconstruct, reverse. If Obama and the Democrats did it, get rid of it. Nothing to take its place of course, only status quo ante, as in 2008 and previous. Their vision for the future is the past.

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

                Republicans bought the St. Reagan line that “government is the problem”.

                Except, of course, when they want government to control women’s bodies and keep gays from marrying, and then government is their solution.

        • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

          Nixon had to be full of whiskey to be really bad. It is perhaps a mercy that Trump doesn’t drink.

        • efgoldman says:

          Nixon lacked character, but he was not a bumbling incompetent with anger management issues.

          As we’ve noted many times, Tricksie Dicksie Nixie was an excellent, experienced politician who’s character flaws – mendacity and paranoia – eventually overwhelmed his competence.

          • Brad Nailer says:

            Nixon was a nasty shit from day one. Ask Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom Nixon smeared as a communist and cost her her seat in Congress in the 1952 election. (She got back at him by coining his everlasting moniker, Tricky Dick.)

            • Breadbaker says:

              Nixon was a total shit, but he was a total shit who essentially wanted to be remembered as a man who brought peace and prosperity to America and he was both highly intelligent and versed in policies that were intended to reach that result.

              Trump wouldn’t know a policy that could actually achieve peace or prosperity if it came to him wrapped in a Russian golden showers escort. He’s essentially Zaphod Beeblebrox and believes that he is the coolest frood in the universe.

    • Srsly Dad Y says:

      A relative (by marriage) who was born in Rumania posted on Facebook an interesting recommendation for activists based on people’s experiences under Ceausescu. She suggested not calling him out by name at all, but to start saying, “The Republican President did this … the Republican President said that ….” But then, this didn’t really work, since Ceausescu lasted as long as Soviet power did.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      remorseful Trump voters never, ever talk about his lack of character, but rather that he doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing and/or is going to hurt them.

      And all this time I thought they were too busy watching Duck Dynasty reruns to notice.

    • rewenzo says:

      I think different lines of attack will effect different segments of the population differently. I’d divide Trump voters into three basic categories:

      1) People who like Trump because he is a loudly belligerent low information high status asshole, and don’t care about any bad thing he would do. I would agree that these people will not be put off by Trump antics, but these people are beyond help.

      2) People who like Trump because they think he’s a change agent who will shake things up in such a way as to make their lives better, and are willing to overlook some craziness. I think sustained and continued exposure to the Rolling Fuckup Show that is Donald Trump, President of the United States, could change a few minds here, especially in conjunction with people’s lives not actually getting better. You may be able to tolerate someone who’s a little out of the box if they’re effective, but you’ll be far less tolerant once (1) you realize he’s not effective; and (2) you begin to realize that he’s not just eccentric but a full on moron without the temperament to use a fork.

      3) Republicans who voted Republican, and were willing to tolerate a little craziness because Republicans gonna Republican. This is an intriguing bunch. They’re really not likely to care that Trump is ineffective – low taxes and no regulations are always the cure for what ails you, whether things are “good” or “bad.” Moreover, they’re apparently quite willing to tolerate a significant amount of craziness in exchange for tax cuts and polluting rivers. I guess continued character attacks may have a chance of convincing these guys to switch horses after Trump fucks up like an ebola outbreak or something?

      The other thing I would add is that character attacks don’t work, until they do. What is tolerable in the honeymoon period may not be so tolerable once a genuinely preventable crisis or tragedy happens and then you realize your President is Donald Trump.

      • petesh says:

        character attacks don’t work, until they do

        Yup. Various things will happen (today’s hint being taxing health benefits) that will hurt members of the base, and after a couple of those, the base will start thinking maybe he really is a con-man. But we have to focus on the hurting people, and follow-up with the con-man analysis, not the other way round.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

        I think this analysis is right. I don’t know many Trump voters but I have yet to encounter any remorseful ones. Give him a chance, he needs our support, the Democrats are hurting America by viciously undercutting him, etc are what I hear. If the election were reheld tomorrow, I think Trump would still get 95-100% of the voters he got in November. The hope would be that some of the people who stayed home would get to vote against him.

        I think it will take 15-20 months of things Trump promised to do (infrastructure, the Wall) not getting done before significant numbers of his 2016 voters defect.

        • randy khan says:

          Of course, if Trump received 95% of the vote he actually received in November (heck, probably 98%), we’d be talking about how hard it was going to be for President Clinton to get her Supreme Court nominee approved. So peeling off even a small number of Trump supporters is a help.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          I think it will take 15-20 months of things Trump promised to do (infrastructure, the Wall) not getting done before significant numbers of his 2016 voters defect.

          Depends upon whether they believe he would have done all those things except for the press, Democrats, and all the other people they hate.

      • addicted44 says:

        The only question to be asking is “Will this help Trump?”

        If the answer is No, do it.

    • D.N. Nation says:

      I live in a state that the Democrats desperately want to make a swing Thing (Georgia), and down the stretch we were flooded by HRC ads showing Trump saying retrograde garbage. Which, sure, he’s a terrible person. We know that, they refuse to believe it, and the nose-holders will hold their noses. It never said anything about results.

      Of course, HRC actually did turn some of the nose-holders to her side, especially in white, suburban Atlanta, so what do I know.

      • Karen24 says:

        Georgia is an interesting place that way. I made some calls to Arizona for HRC, and my impression I of that state, and North Carolina and Georgia as well, is that absent the Comey letter she would have won there. Lots of D’s stayed home and enough R’s decided to stay Republican because of that damned notice, but in a slightly better world, they would have been blue this time. I do hope we can Price’s old Congressional seat, though.

    • NewishLawyer says:

      Again this is not true. 68 million people cared about Trump’s character and voted for HRC.

      I wonder if the left is simply going to be defeated by overanalyzing the very freak nature of Trump’s victory. Enough votes in key states (three of them!) gave Trump the victory.

      • Murc says:

        Again this is not true. 68 million people cared about Trump’s character and voted for HRC.

        And unless those people are in the correct states, that counts for jack and shit in terms of official results.

        Purely in the context of winning a Presidential election, I don’t care that Clinton ran up a huge majority in the blue states. I care in other contexts, but not that one.

        I care about the people in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and to a lesser extent Florida who either 1) went Obama -> Trump, 2) went Obama – > stayed home, or 3) went stayed home – > Trump.

        Anything else is irrelevant.

      • Anon21 says:

        True! And a bunch of voters who disliked both Trump and Clinton pulled the lever for Trump.

        Let’s not overestimate Trump’s political witchcraft. He’s a bad politician who got extraordinarily lucky. Many of the lines of attacks deployed against him in the campaign worked, and there’s no reason to abandon them now.

      • Just_Dropping_By says:

        68 million people cared about Trump’s character and voted for HRC.

        I suspect that many of those 68 million people cared about the letters after the respective candidates’ names, not Trump’s character.

      • timb says:

        Yeah, i continue to be a) amazed at the Left’s misreading of the election, and b) shocked that i didn’t realize how many white folks absolutely hated Hillary Clinton more than anything in the world. As to a), it’s a one-off because of b). I love HRC, voted for her in the primaries, had the old yard signs, still have the bumper sticker on the car, etc, but she was a uniquely poor candidate for reasons largely beyond her control.

        • Murc says:

          I actually really, really hope that the only real problem with 2016 was Hillary Clinton.

          I’m not prepared to act as if that were the case, but I’d love it if that were true because while grotesquely unfair to her, that is a problem that’s already been fixed.

          • Spider-Dan says:

            If the problem were really confined to Just Hillary, we wouldn’t be looking at Senators Toomey, Rubio, Johnson, and Portman.

            This is my stock response for when people start trying to spin me some nonsense about working-class economic anxiety: if that were the case, the Republicans wouldn’t have held the Senate.

            • Just_Dropping_By says:

              If the problem were really confined to Just Hillary, we wouldn’t be looking at Senators Toomey, Rubio, Johnson, and Portman.

              All of those senators were running as incumbents and in the cases of Portman, Rubio, and Johnson they outperformed Trump by solid margins.

              • Spider-Dan says:

                They were all running as incumbents elected in the 2010 midterm wave, which shouldn’t have protected them any more than incumbency protected Mark Udall or Kay Hagan.

                The point is that it doesn’t make sense to vote Trump if you want protectionist trade and an end to globalism, then turn around and cast your vote for a GOP Senator who vocally opposes protectionist trade and wants to increase globalism. There’s a less-contradictory common thread between Trump and those Senators, having primarily to do with Scary Brown People (both foreign and domestic).

                • so-in-so says:

                  The point is that it doesn’t make sense to vote Trump if you want protectionist trade and an end to globalism

                  You realize that you could/should have stopped right there?

                  And really, if you expect the GOP President to do a bunch of stuff, it doesn’t make any sense to vote for Democrats for Congress.

                • Spider-Dan says:

                  And really, if you expect the GOP President to do a bunch of stuff, it doesn’t make any sense to vote for Democrats for Congress.

                  This seems intuitive, and yet in 2008 Susan Collins won in a state Obama carried handily, while in 2012 Dean Heller won in another state Obama easily carried.

      • RonC says:

        Yes and at the same time I did not see any great election surge for Democrats at the state, local, Senate or House races, so it is more than Clinton and Comey and whatever.

      • brewmn says:

        Elizabeth Drew noted that the Koch brothers committed their resources to helping Trump in those three states, something that I wasn’t aware of before.

    • Crusty says:

      With Trump, there’s a point where personality, character, competence and policy all meet as one giant disaster. Part of Trump’s character is that he’s a bad guy who grabs women by the pussy. But another part of his character is that he is vain and egotistical and consumed with his image to the point where all he seems to do as president is 1) delegate the drafting of EO’s to Bannon, 2) watch tv and keep score of who likes him and who doesn’t. He has no ability to put that aside, or leave it to others, and focus on working with congress to enact the legislation that will accomplish his policy goals. The rub is thank god he can’t accomplish his goals which are horrible. But the point is I don’t know if those things fall under character or some other category. But Trump is lazy, stupid and his administration is grossly incompetent and it starts at the top. He doesn’t have good people around him, he won’t take good advice, he’s the worst in a way that transcends mere “character” problems.

    • wengler says:

      This whole tactics conversation is senseless. Trump’s bad at stuff. His character sucks. He’s lazy. He’s old. He’s a conman. Let’s attack it all.

      Also no more but what if we get Pence!!! Before this Pence was a shitty governor, before that he was a shitty Congressperson. Also he’s the image of someone that a lot of the anti-establishment types that got sucked into the Trump con hate.

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “If there’s any justice in the world, most of the Trumpkins will be far enough away from the nuclear explosions to die slow deaths from radiation poisoning.”

    A fate that the Coastal Elite™ will avoid.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      A fate that the Coastal Elite™ will avoid.

      I live in KS. I struggle to locate any targets in most of the state unless you give Russia an infinite number of nukes.

      They will, however, get the fallout as it drifts eastward.

  3. Caught the second half of it and saw:

    – a completely incoherent answer on whether or not ICE and company will continue to round up DACA kids

    – respond to a question about rising anti-Semitism by proclaiming that he’s the least anti-Semitic person, followed up (unprompted) by also proclaiming that he’s the least racist

    – Asking a black reporter to set up a meeting with the Black Congressional Caucus

    – Saying Melania is “going to be” a great First Lady

    – Muttering about how the BBC is just as bad as CNN

    – Repeatedly asking for “nice” questions

    – Going off on a 10/10 Trump Point tangent about the Russian “reset” button shortly after talking about “nuclear holocaust” and then reminding everyone that we’re a powerful nuclear country and Russia is a powerful nuclear country

    We know the only way the Republican Congress abandons him is if they fear they can’t get any legislation to him because of the circus. May have taken a step forward with that today. But we may also not remember this by lunchtime Friday.

    • Hogan says:

      “Ha! Now they’ll be BEGGING to have Spicer back!”

    • C.V. Danes says:

      – Asking a black reporter to set up a meeting with the Black Congressional Caucus

      OMG ahhh hahahahahahahahahaha!

    • JKTH says:

      – Asking a black reporter to set up a meeting with the Black Congressional Caucus

      Dare I ask, what exactly was the context for this?

      • DamnYankees says:

        I believe she asked him if he was planning to meet with them, and his response was something like “I’d be happy to meet with them. Are they your friend? Set up the meeting.”

      • D.N. Nation says:

        The reporter asked Trump if he was planning to meet with them, and Trump apparently thinks The Blacks all know each other.

        • Domino says:

          Honestly hoped the follow-up question would be “Do you have any African-Americans in your cabinet?” What are the odds he’s already forgotten Ben Carson is on it? I mean, there is no way he’s had a meeting with him.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

            I mean, there is no way he’s had a meeting with him.

            Maybe some aide will trick him into a “meeting” with Carson that’s really a pre-op visit to determine if Trump’s brain can be fixed with surgery.

    • El Guapo says:

      – Asking a black reporter to set up a meeting with the Black Congressional Caucus

      Holy shit, that was awful. The exchange h/t TPM:

      “We’re going to do a lot of work on the inner cities. I have great people lined up to help with the inner cities,” he said during a press conference.

      “When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus), Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda—” American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan asked.

      “Am I going to include who?” Trump interrupted.

      “Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus—” Ryan said.

      “Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” Trump said, speaking over her. “Do you want to set up the meeting?”

      “No, no, no, I’m just a reporter,” Ryan said.

      “Are they friends of yours? No, go ahead,” Trump continued. “Set up the meeting.”

      “I know some of them, but I’m sure—” Ryan began.

      “Let’s go,” Trump said. “Set up a meeting.”

      • tsam says:

        OH GOD REPORTER GUY GET THIS MEETING SET UP

        • Darkrose says:

          Worse: reporter woman. Like she’s his damn secretary.

          • tsam says:

            Oops–I didn’t know that.

            And yeah, that adds another nasty element to it, doesn’t it?

            Fuck, what a fucking jerk.

            • q-tip says:

              His tone was super-defensive-aggressive – “don’t imply I have a problem with the blacks, I’ll meet them anytime, and if you think it’s so important why don’t you set it up.” It was really an awful exchange, and not just for what he said.

              • so-in-so says:

                I suspect that Trump tunes out when confronted. As soon as the question wasn’t “just how wonderful ARE you”, he didn’t even pay attention to the fact this was the “Congressional” Black Caucus being discussed, even when Ryan spelled that out. Could be the gang down at the barber shop in his mind; so if she wants him to meet them, she should arrange it.

                Yes, I suspect he is that stupid.

      • Domino says:

        This is astonishing. I literally have no words to describe this.

        • econoclast says:

          God is tired of us smart-asses, and is showing us what real comedy is like — completely terrifying rather than funny.

        • tsam says:

          You can tell he woke as fuck since he uses “inner city” and “urban” as synonyms for black.

          • Domino says:

            “Hey Donald, don’t you live in the inner-city? Like, both the White House and your penthouse are in the heart of downtown.”

            Trump: “Let me tell you, we had a phenomenal victory. A landslide Electoral College victory. Tremendous.”

            • tsam says:

              It was particularly fascinating to watch him say that shit in the joint conference with Bibi. “We weren’t supposed to crack, what? 210?” He asked, looking over at Bibi as if he was expecting Bibi to jump in and help him answer, who chuckled to himself, expressing a blatant thought of “My God, this guy is stupid. I fucking LOVE HIM.”

              • Domino says:

                I know there are people who won’t care at all what is currently going on, but he can’t stay in candidate mode his entire time in office. He’s judged based on what he (and his party) accomplish.

                All the messaging and speeches and rallies (LOL ALREADY HAVING ONE FOR THE ELECTION 4 YEARS AWAY), can’t hand-wave that away. At some point Republicans will have to have something to show, and they’ll have nothing.

                • ColBatGuano says:

                  He’s trying to prove the Green Lantern theory. By charging the base by declarations from the bully pulpit, all will fall before him.

                  We won’t be able to say: He.Didn’t.Even.Try.

                • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

                  At some point Republicans will have to have something to show, and they’ll have nothing.

                  Depends upon which faction of the Republican Party you’re talking about.

                  For many, having nothing to show is great because they don’t believe government should accomplish anything.

                  For another large group, they’ll believe whatever excuse / conspiracy theory is presented about why Great Sir Donald was prevented from accomplishing miracles by the evil Democrats/lamestream media/Illuminati/Jews/illegal immigrants/Hillary’s emails.

                  A smaller group (I hope) will decide it’s because Trump was too moderate and it’s time to go full neo-Nazi.

                  I’m not sure how many of the rest after you remove these three groups is capable of recognizing that Trump failed to deliver, but they might even decide to vote against him, but if only the Perfect Democrat is running.

            • UserGoogol says:

              Trump Tower is in Midtown. Midtown Manhattan is part of New York City’s central business district so it’s downtown in the loose sense, but if any city is allowed to split hairs about the definition of downtown it’s the city that invented the word.

              But I mean, yeah. It is very urban.

      • Moondog von Superman says:

        I think the same reporter ended her first question with “Now that wasn’t so bad, was it.” Which made me laugh.

    • efgoldman says:

      We know the only way the Republican Congress abandons him is if they fear they can’t get any legislation to him because of the circus.

      No,. they’ll abandon him if and when they (individually) see him hurting their re-election chances.
      Congressional Prime Directive = Re-elect ME!

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        Congressional Prime Directive = Re-elect ME!

        Makes me nostalgic for the handful of True Believers who got elected and then actually fulfilled their pledges not to become permanent Congress Critters.

  4. DamnYankees says:

    The sad reality is that none of this will matter until something actually happens. Elected and rank and file Republicans will not care about any of this until it effects them. There is no punishment for being insane or idiotic or ignorant in the abstract. It will only matter when the roof caves in or when a bomb goes off in a city. And not before.

    What makes that thought actually scarier is that its easy to see how someone could have Trump’s malevolence and hatred and policy positions, and if he was just remotely stable as a human being he’d win 400 electoral votes.

    • Cheerfull says:

      I keep wanting him to break, openly, in public, and he doesn’t, not in a way that the Right will acknowledge as abnormal. He’s just their stream of consciousness said aloud and they can’t quite point at a thing like that and say it’s crazy.

      • DamnYankees says:

        He won’t ever break in a way the GOP finds unobjectionable, because at the core identity of GOP is reactionism – hatred of liberals and the “other”. And that’s a trait Trump actually does share with them – he hated his enemies, because they are his enemies. It’s a genuine bond these people have.

      • Murc says:

        I keep wanting him to break, openly, in public, and he doesn’t, not in a way that the Right will acknowledge as abnormal.

        I was very sure Trump would drop a c-bomb on Clinton into a hot mic or a live camera during the campaign. Or that he’d at least call her a bitch. Never happened.

    • Colin Day says:

      What makes that thought actually scarier is that its easy to see how someone could have Trump’s malevolence and hatred and policy positions, and if he was just remotely stable as a human being he’d win 400 electoral votes.

      Doubtful. CA, NY, MA, IL, NJ, and MD have more than 138 EV’s, and the Republicans are going to have a hard time taking them.

  5. rewenzo says:

    Now we’re going to find out how if America is idiot-proof. Can America survive 4 years of being run by a psychopathic moron?

    • LNM_in_LA says:

      Unfortunately, I think a favorite thing my Daddy used to say comes to mind regarding your comment:

      You can always make something fool-proof. But you can never make it idiot-proof.

      • JDM says:

        Sure it wasn’t your “pappy”? (Just reminded me of Bret Maverick.) :)

        • LNM_in_LA says:

          Nope, Dad was a North Dakota farm boy by origin and at heart; I always called him Dad when speaking to him and as my Daddy when not around him and/or referring to his various (and seemingly endless) bon mots.
          Pappy just doesn’t fit the bill, and besides, would be just a bit too Southern for my taste. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I too was a fan of Bret Maverick.

      • Ithaqua says:

        After watching that presser, I think I’ll make myself something about 80-proof. Several somethings, in fact.

        • LNM_in_LA says:

          Oh, that I had that option. I keep eyeing my trusty old Vaughn 28oz. framing hammer, though.
          You watched the whole thing? How does one do such a thing?
          Honestly, I, I gave up after like, 3 minutes . . .
          The horror, the horror.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        Or the line that as soon as you think something is idiot-proof, they build a better idiot.

    • deptfordx says:

      It’s an interesting question isn’t it.

      One of the strengths of Rome was that the Legion was such an efficient fighting force that you could put the most inbred cretinous aristocrat in charge of a campaign, but as long as he wasn’t facing a Hannibal he’d probably win anyway.

      I am less sanguine about the strength of Americas institutions and resilience, but I guess we’re going to find out.

      • DamnYankees says:

        We are lucky that we do actually have elections every 2 years, and they are run by the states. So it’s hard to hide from disastrous results for very long.

        • tahfromslc says:

          Except when the vote is suppressed. Which it is.

          • tsam says:

            This should be job 1 for the DNC in the next two years. Find those suppressed, get them un-suppressed. Rides to the DMV or whatever office, a charity to fund IDs, help them find records, etc.

            I’d happily volunteer for something like that–especially if it was focused on getting disenfranchised black people back to the polls.

            • UncleEbeneezer says:

              Me too. Never done anything even remotely like that before, but I would be down to do so in some way that I can. Check out VoteRiders. I asked the CA affiliate, via FB if there was anything I could do from a safely Blue state and they responded:

              Thank you for your message. We totally understand your situation – VoteRiders is headquartered in California! We’re working on some volunteer options for those in non-voter ID states, but honestly the bulk of the work directly with voters happens at the local level through our partner organizations in places like Wisconsin with strict voter ID laws. Here’s what I usually recommend to people interested in donating their time: 1) In the weeks right around elections the Election Protection Hotline (866OURVOTE.org) needs trained volunteers to answer phone calls. 2) If you have family members or friends in states that require voter ID, download our Voter ID Info Card from that state (http://www.voteriders.org/voter-id-info-cards) and make sure they have one of the kinds of IDs accepted to vote in their state. Finally, 3) it looks likely that the Trump administration will make changes at the national level that would restrict the kind of IDs accepted for first-time voter registration. So if you already volunteer with local food pantries, churches, or other organizations that serve low-income Californians, it would be a good idea to talk to them about helping their clients get the documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, certificates of naturalization) ready to get a state photo ID. In the meantime stay in touch with the latest voter ID developments by subscribing to our occasional email updates at VoteRiders.org. Best of luck!
              – Laina Levy, VR Director of Communications.

              Absent that, all I can think of is maybe making a trip to a state where voter suppression is a problem and spend a week getting people registered (far enough before election day) or renting a van and driving people to the polls. Hopefully some organization will put together a plan that would give people a way to do something like that.

            • ColBatGuano says:

              Yeah, rather than just complaining about Voter ID laws, the Democrats need to focus on making voting easier and more equitable. Easy access to ID, voting on weekends, upgrading voting machines, assuring the vote can’t be hacked.

      • JohnT says:

        An underappreciated part of the Roman system (which was mostly shared until recently by the American system) was that it was impossible to command an army unless you had done time as various civil offices (quaestor, aedile, praetor) and put in serious time (10+ campaigns) in various military ranks. As a result idiots could still end up in command, but at least they’d be idiots who had done similar things before and knew how the basics worked. It gave them an edge over random lords and kings

        I still remember perfectly legitimate debates from 2008 worrying that Obama had too little experience because he’d only been a senior national politician for a few years. Before that Americans expected a good number of years as a governor, cabinet officer, vice-President or general before they would vote for someone as President.
        Hopefully one takeaway from all this will be that ‘politician’ is a skilled profession, and should not be left to amateurs, especially at the national level.

        • John F says:

          It gave them an edge over random lords and kings

          That was the idea behind the Prussian/German General Staff- trained “staff” officers would really run the army while random lords and kings were officially in charge.

        • BiloSagdiyev says:

          I still remember perfectly legitimate debates from 2008 worrying that Obama had too little experience because he’d only been a senior national politician for a few years.

          Yes. Quite legitimiate. Unfortunately, we now have a political/media/electorate cultural problem where having a political past – -where you actually did things or took positions on things or voted on things — is a liability. Being an outsider is a great big help. (Especially a young one.) Of course, normal people could look at Mango Mahdi’s past and adjudge him accurately. Having little public past helped B.O. a lot.

          We got lucky on that one. And unlucky this time, hooo-eee, what a stench.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          I’ve known a lot of conservatives, and most of them believe that the best politician is one who’s never been in office before because the think “Mr. Smith” is a documentary, not a fantasy.

          They wouldn’t take a chance on a mechanic or a doctor or even a chef who had never done the job before, but they’re absolutely convinced that politicians should have zero experience. But in a perfect example of cognitive dissonance, they’ll re-elect them rather than go with the next newbie.

          • tsam says:

            Those are usually the term limits cranks too. No clue how government works, or why seniority matters right here at home…when that shit got big in the early 90s, my dumbfuck district voted out a sitting Speaker for a dopey lightweight Gingrich trog.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      Can America survive 4 years of being run by a psychopathic moron?

      If it was just a psychopathic moron, then probably. But one supported by a psychopathic Congress and soon-to-be psychopathic Supreme Court? I don’t see how this end well.

    • Major Kong says:

      Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

    • ap77 says:

      I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Eight years of Bush say yes, but it was a close call

    • L2P says:

      I feel like a lot of our past presidents were psychopathic morons. Harding, for instance?

    • so-in-so says:

      Now we’re going to find out how if America is idiot-proof.

      Obviously not, a YUUUGE one got in.

    • bs says:

      Well we survived 2000-2008 with a sociopathic moron in charge, and all we had to clean up was 2 lost wars and a global depression. Now that fuckup looks like an Elder Statesman.
      ETA: Looks like Outside Counsel got there first.

  6. C.V. Danes says:

    The Trumpers voted for him because he is exactly like them, no matter what they say. They’re sitting at home in their trailor parks watching Duck Dynasty reruns, wishing someone would just blow up the world because misery. They’re all a bunch of miserable fucking babies, and Trump is their king.

    • DamnYankees says:

      I’m not sure this is the right frame. Trump didn’t win the election because people loved this shit. He won the election because the people who were terrified of Hillary being President came out to vote, and the people who were terrified of Trump being President didn’t.

      To say that someone’s base loves their antics is true, but not enough. Hell, Bush and Nixon both held their bases until the end. That’s not what undoes politicians.

      • Rob in CT says:

        There’s truth in both, though the “trailor parks” shot was… not great.

      • C.V. Danes says:

        If I had to distill Trumpkinism down to an ingredient, then the common theme to me is a sort of selfish misery where they can’t see the world beyond their own individual sorrow. Every angry Trumper I’ve ever seen is just bitching about their personal shit. They don’t care about anyone else. Scary Hillary may have been a motivator, but at the end of the day it was their own selfish misery.

        • DamnYankees says:

          I think we’re talking past each other. I’m not denying Trumpkins exist or have the traits you ascribe to them. I’m saying there aren’t enough of them to explain the election outcome. The existence of his base does not explain the election.

          • C.V. Danes says:

            I think it was just another factor in a series that had to line up just right: Trumpkins + Hillary hate + polarized electorate + vote suppression + Russian meddling + horse race news coverage + sexism/racism…

            But that in no way lets the Trump voters off the hook. Whatever they say was their motivation, they still voted for a known racist, misogynist, liar and manipulator. That was less important than whatever gripe they had.

        • JohnT says:

          I can imagine. Sounds like an awful lot of Brexiters in my own cloudy island

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

            Since you’re a few months further along in this process than we are, any word on how you think Brexit would fare if the vote was held today?

            My uninformed impression is that most of them think that the Remainers were overly alarmist because the economy hasn’t collapsed as predicted. Of course, GB hasn’t actually exited yet so it’s not surprising that the consequences have been fairly small so far.

        • Rob in CT says:

          Scary Hillary was a motivator to different groups, IMO. The Christian Right (abortion!) and people who love their guns.

        • StellaB says:

          They are all firmly convinced that someone else (including cousin Clem) is being handed more good stuff by the gummint than they are. They just want the gummint to stop handing out stuff to those losers.

        • The Great God Pan says:

          The best description of Trumpkins that I’ve seen came from actor Michael Shannon:

          And a lot of these people, they don’t know why the fuck they’re alive. They know it. They’re doing drugs, fucking killing themselves. Because they’re like, ‘Why the fuck am I alive? I can’t get a job, I don’t know anything about anything, I have no curiosity for life or the world.’ So this Trump thing is like getting a box of firecrackers, or something. It’s like, ‘Well, this will be fun for a little while, this’ll kill some time.’ Because, y’know, the jackass will be amusing on television, say stupid shit. Make everybody clap. Hillary would have been too boring, I suppose.

        • BiloSagdiyev says:

          Every angry Trumper I’ve ever seen is just bitching about their personal shit. They don’t care about anyone else.

          If I had to make a list of 138 reasons why librerals infuriate these people, one might be that we’re always exhorting them to think of their fellow man. And they don’ wanna. Hell, we just found out this week that a young member of their ilk was enraged about being told not to throw his trash on the ground, because fuck janitors.

    • Snarki, child of Loki says:

      They were all pissed off at people looking down on them like they were a bunch of ignorant morons.

      They showed US, you bet.

    • Hogan says:

      My dreams are all dead and buried
      Sometimes I wish the sun would just explode
      When God comes and calls me to his kingdom
      I’ll take all you sons of bitches when I go

    • carolannie says:

      The demographics argue that it was mostly old white male folk without college degrees, and moderately well to do, who voted for Trump. I think the folk living in trailer parks probably didn’t vote, although when I was election judge during the prior election, folk from trailers parks turned out and mostly voted Democratic. They were largely refugees.

      • carolannie says:

        To be sure, I live in Boulder, CO where even RWNJ are lefties

      • John F says:

        Trump won among men 52:41, lost among women 41:54
        He won among married men 58:37
        he lost among married women 47:49
        he lost among unmarried men 45:46
        he lost among unmarried women 33:62

        He lost among first time voters 40:56

        He lost among 18–24 years olds 35:56
        He lost among 25–29 years olds 39:53
        He lost among 30–39 years olds 40:51
        He won among 40–49 years olds 50:46
        He won among 50–64 years olds 53:44
        He won among 65 and older 53:45

        That 50-64 year old cohort, born between 1952 and 1966 is a huge cohort- and it’s voted GOP in every single election since 1980

        whites without a college degree voted 67:28 for Trump
        Obama won among HS grads 51:48 (Trump won 51:45)
        Obama won among those with “some college” 49:48 (Trump won 52:43)

        Folks who thought immigration was the single most important issue voted 64:32 for Trump

        Whites aged 45-64 voted 62:34 for Trump (huge voting cohort)

        2 things:

        1. Trump really won by swinging the less educated vote- that’s what flipped the Electoral college.

        2. The voter demographics are awful for Trump/the GOP- they NEED voter suppression desperately- you model 2016’s vote split on an unsuppressed 2020 electorate – and he loses the popular vote by 3-4% instead of 2.1%- and he loses the Electoral College as well, if they don’t suppress the vote he has to squeeze blood out of a stone- a stone he’s already literally squeezed blood from.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

          I’d add in the percentage of conservative Christians who voted for Trump because of some combination of anti-abortion and believing their religion is in mortal peril so they’re willing to ignore his lack of any identifiable Christian faith, his multiple marriages, his lack of any morals, etc.

          If this group hadn’t voted as a block he would have lost.

          • Jon_H11 says:

            Its interesting (re: terrifying) to see how the evangelical Christians operate politically. They have out and out admitted at this point that they operate under a real-politick strategy to preserve their culture, disregarding scriptural tradition or theological reasoning.

            I think they’ve accepted that the elements of their “faith” which they want to preserve are not anything in the creeds or scripture, but simple cultural dominance by those ordained to be in-group as opposed to those outside the group. It’s become pure tribalism and power-seeking, unmoored from any theological or spiritual pretense.

            Part of me was heartened by the Liberty U students calling out Falwell for backing Trump, but I know they’ll just end up becoming atheist or mainline protestants, purged from the group as opposed to reforming it.

            • John F says:

              but I know they’ll just end up becoming atheist or mainline protestants, purged from the group as opposed to reforming it.

              Yes, conservative evangelicals are VERY vigilant with regard to purging liberals, especially the Baptists- they have to be, they make bible readbg a fetish, but a great many teens and young adults read the New Testament and realize that Jesus himself was a flaming liberal- even the most reactionary Apostle, Paul was/is well to the left of someone like Franklin Graham

          • Redwood Rhiadra says:

            That group ALWAYS votes as a block for the GOP though. There is no possible way for the Democrats to make inroads there.

    • wengler says:

      Trump’s voters are relatively well-off, older white guys who never went to college. The majority of their working lives were in a very prosperous era for people like themselves (60s-90s). They made good money and had plenty of opportunities.

      • John F says:

        These are guys who vote for the Party that espouses the policies that have eliminated their very own career paths- because they don’t vote based on policy per se- they vote based on identity (and assume everyone else does as well).

        The same type people in E. Europe/Russia were the ones still voting for the Communist Parties after Communism fell. They cannot be reached or reasoned with (pandered to)- you basically have to wait for attrition to deal with them.

  7. Joe_JP says:

    Yes, we thought it was cray-cray for this guy to win for a reason.

  8. DamnYankees says:

    On the plus side – every time he does this, it makes it just that much harder for Congressional Republicans to repeal Obamacare. So, that’s something.

    • Thom says:

      Every time he looks like a madman, or what?

      • DamnYankees says:

        Just adds to the chaos. Makes it harder for Republicans to plan, to focus. Every day they fail to repeal it, or fail to focus on repealing it, is one day harder. They don’t have all the time in the world.

        • lunaticllama says:

          The time congressional Republicans have to spend addressing Trump’s serial self-induced crises is time they are losing to work on passing their agenda.

          • DamnYankees says:

            Exactly. And passing big stuff is hard. Even with huge majorities in 2009, think bad to how much the White House had to twist arms and talk to people and just generally lead the process. Do you think its remotely possible that any of the major achievements of the Obama era happen without focus and leadership from the White House? It’s very hard for Congress to just pass stuff they will need to be on the hook for (e.g. laws that will pass, not the kind of nonsense they sent to Obama’s desk) without the White House’s involvement.

            • Peterr says:

              And when the GOP members of Congress start negotiating the specific language and provisions of whatever they want to pass, you just KNOW that Trump will get in front of a mic and say something or toss out a tweet that (a) McConnell & Co. will have to stop and clean up before moving on, or (b) will blow apart whatever delicate compromise they’d just agreed on among themselves.

            • John F says:

              Remember how difficult the blue dogs made passing stuff?

              The Freedom Caucus is quite capable of making life difficult for Ryan (what is it about the rightmost memembrs of any caucus?)

        • tsam says:

          Well, that may be true, but they’re still in a good position to get it done–assuming they’re still gauging public sentiment as wanting repeal. But then I think that’s eroding too.

          • petesh says:

            They probably could have re-passed the 2015 bill and got it signed in the first week. The calamity would have taken some time to unfold. But the ACA keeps getting more popular as it sinks in how many good parts of it there are.

            • tsam says:

              I was really surprised they didn’t pull the old bill out of the trash can and sign it on day one.

              • lunaticllama says:

                I think we dodged a bullet, because it’s look like it will get just harder and harder for Republicans to do something that (relatively) simple from here on out.

              • John F says:

                Some of them wanted to do that, others were like, “wait a minute…”

                Many Pols (from both parties) will vote for a bill that has no chance of enactment (filibuster/veto) with no thought whatsoever, if their “side’s” position is that the bill is good.

                Something that will actually get enacted? That changes the calculus for many

          • MyNameIsZweig says:

            I’m not sure public sentiment has been in favor of repeal for several years now.

            • tsam says:

              I should have said Republican sentiment. Support for getting rid of it seems to be waning among their voters, which is…odd. At one point the ACA was literally worse than hitler and the end of all freedom forever and everything and OMG we’re all gonna die! Now it’s “wait–we’re talking about MY health insurance? Hold up, now!”

              • John F says:

                which is…odd.

                not when linked with:

                “wait–we’re talking about MY health insurance? Hold up, now!”

                • so-in-so says:

                  Right, it turns out “Wait, my ACA is the same as Obamacare? Why didn’t somebody TELL me!?” is actually a thing.

                • BiloSagdiyev says:

                  Such things really do frustrate me. To put it politely. You didn’t know? You could have found out. You can look it up. There’s a machine that looks things up now. Christ, what are you doing with your internet?

                  (Justkidding. We all know.)

                  I felt the same frustration when minority voters said, “Bernie Sanders? I never heard of this guy! I don’t know him!” Uh, start looking into it, perhaps? (Of course, it’s the responsibilty of a politician to build bridges with groups of potential voters, knowing that many people aren’t looking things up or reading about you, etc etc., so Bernie is at fault here, too.)

                • tsam says:

                  Bernie stomped on a landmine when he sort of tried to make the case that solving class inequality would solve race problems. Pretty sure black people have heard that line before and are having none of it. Reminds them of those last century populists.

  9. daves09 says:

    If I wanted to be fair-which I don’t-I would say that Trump is no more incoherent than Dubya. But he doesn’t have Dubya’s * aw shucks, I’m just a good old boy schtick.
    At least we are getting an answer to the question of whether or not a repub. could ever go so far as to actually lose the both sides do it press.
    Jake Tapper’s summary of the presser is priceless, until you realize this is the president of the US he’s talking about. Sad, bigly sad.

    • CP says:

      If I wanted to be fair-which I don’t-I would say that Trump is no more incoherent than Dubya.

      That’s not a credit to Trump, just a discredit to Dubya.

      And I don’t entirely disapprove of that kind of talk, because the standard for “good Republican” since primary season has been so low that it literally just means “not Trump.” Ignoring the extent to which the entire party has labored long and hard to ensure that our politics would be overwhelmed with Trumps.

    • efgoldman says:

      I would say that Trump is no more incoherent than Dubya.

      W is an actual, although shitty, politician. He came into office with some understanding of the process, including basic stuff like how legislation is passed and how any EOs need to go thru the lawyers first – even if the lawyers are shitstains like Yoo and Bybee.
      Apricto Asswipe knew none of that, and doesn’t seem inclined to learn it, and he has surrounded himself with sycophants and ass kissers who don’t know anything, either. President Bannonazi is a disgrace to nazis everywhere.

      • Abbey Bartlet says:

        He came into office with some understanding of the process, including basic stuff like how legislation is passed and how any EOs need to go thru the lawyers first – even if the lawyers are shitstains like Yoo and Bybee.

        And more minor things, like “you must staff the fucking White House.”

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      Disagree. With W, you could see what he was trying to say, he just got tangled up and the words came out wrong.

      Trump is pure word salad- he spits out a phrase, sees how his audience reacts, and that reaction leads to the next thing he says, which often is to go off on a completely different topic, lather, rinse repeat.

      At the end of it all he’s either said something that his listeners can interpret as something they like, or actually is something they like, and his “speech” is a success among enough of the voters, while the rest are flummoxed by the gibberish.

  10. NewishLawyer says:

    The only thing saving us right now is rival factions in the White House and general incompetence. I’ve seen a few articles noting how legislation is basically at a standstill.

  11. Harkov311 says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised at it, entirely. I forget where I read it, but something like two days before Trump became president, he was giving an interview, they were mostly asking him about his goals for the first year.

    Then, apropos of nothing, he says he’s already got a slogan for 2020: Keep America Great. And he’s clearly immensely proud of himself for coming up with this. Days before he becomes president, and he’s thinking about re-election slogans, not about, you know, what he’ll actually do to cause all that greatness.

  12. Alan G Kaufman says:

    Heavy sigh: Our president’s overall approval rating is at an historic low of 39% at this point in a presidency, yet 84% of Republicans and Republican leaners approve. http://www.people-press.org/2017/02/16/in-first-month-views-of-trump-are-already-strongly-felt-deeply-polarized/

    • Thom says:

      Yeah, and the way that I heard the press conference (I heard about the last 20 minutes of it) is that his supporters will lap it up.

      • Alan G Kaufman says:

        I think you are exactly right. I keep thinking of the opening lines of “A Tale of Two Cities,” which keep running through my mind like a song stuck in your head: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    • altofront says:

      The thing to remember about that 84% figure is that people who disapprove tend to stop calling themselves Republicans.

  13. Crusty says:

    What percentage of his day did Nixon spend working on his enemies list?

    Every part of Trump’s day that is not doing his hair or going to the bathroom is working on his enemies list.

  14. alexceres says:

    Trump won the election because people wanted to burn the system down. This is EXACTLY what you wished for, said the genie….

  15. Dilan Esper says:

    Hadn’t we actually pulled our troops out of Vietnam by the final weeks of Nixon’s Presidency?

    • Thom says:

      Yes, except for those involved in continued training of the South Vietnamese forces and defending American installations, withdrawal was complete in 1973. But the point about Watergate and other concerns still stands, and Vietnam was also still a major concern despite the withdrawal of most US forces.

  16. MacK says:

    But Nixon, to give him his due, was at the center of the greatest political scandal in American history, bearing down on him for months and pushing him toward the greatest political disgrace and humiliation in his nation’s political history.

    And Trump isn’t?

  17. DrDick says:

    Trump is the perfect melange of psychotic incompetent malevolence. He is also dumber than a rock and I have doubts about his literacy level.

  18. philip.koop says:

    And the President said to Kit Carson
    “Take my best four horsemen please
    And ride out to the four directions,
    Make my great lands barren for me”

  19. Peterr says:

    From the presser (via The Guardian):

    [Trump] argued that there has been “incredible progress” over the past four weeks: “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we have done.”

    I don’t think so, and probably 95% of the career civil service employees agree, too.

    Truly, Trump’s opening month has been beyond belief.

  20. DonN says:

    It occurs to me, now that the new SCOTUS nomination norm is in effect, we can’t vote for a nominee until after the 2020 elections. Trump is already running and having a rally. That certainly implies we should put all supreme court decisions on hold till the election is over.
    DN

  21. If there’s any justice in the world, most of the Trumpkins will be far enough away from the nuclear explosions to die slow deaths from radiation poisoning.

    That’s an ugly thing to say, and it neatly evades the ways that Our Team have failed enough working people to make Trump attractive to them.

    Look: I like the narrative that “They” are pure, distilled Evil and “We” are the Forces of Light. It’s not the truth, though.

    Democrats more or less gave up on giving working people a meaningful seat at the table, (whatever happened to the EFCA? Repealing Taft-Hartley? Shoring up the Wagner Act?) and have reaped the electoral consequences.

    But, hey, what do I know? Let’s just demonize absolutely every Trump voter as Irredeemable Racist and moronic, and watch the collapse of the Republic and descent into either civil war (a thoroughly stupid thing to do for a nuclear-armed state), anarchy (ditto), military coup (I think this is a real possibility) or social and economic collapse.

    But at least We are superior to Them.

    • John F says:

      But, hey, what do I know? Let’s just demonize absolutely every Trump voter as Irredeemable Racist and moronic

      One the one hand literally every single Trump voter I personally know is in fact either Irredeemable Racist or moronic (or both) so:

      1. I’m quite well aware that telling they are racist or moronic really does no good;

      2. 63 Million people votwd for Trump- that’s absolutely terrifying;

      3. Yes the Dems could and should have done far better on labor issues- but voting for Trump/GOP because Dems should have done better on labor is either a sign of insanity, stupidity or a claim that is flat out being made in bad faith.

    • Ithaqua says:

      uh, yeah… that ACA didn’t affect working people at all, nor did the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, or defending Roe vs. Wade from the Republicans, or defending Social Security and Medicare from the Republicans, nor would have raising the minimum wage, whether to $12 or $15 / hour… and of course all Obama had to do was use his Green Lantern powers to get the Republicans in Congress to agree to repeal Taft-Hartley after his first two years and get the EFCA passed over the threatened Republican filibuster (first two years) and unanimous majority Republican opposition (last six years.) But Obama didn’t. even. try. Oh wait, yes he did, but the Republicans blocked it.

      I think that phrase “gave up” does not mean what you think it means.

    • AMK says:

      Unless “Our Team” includes the Republicans who have controlled Congress for 7 years, then “we” didn’t really “fail” them–certainly not in a policy sense, given the constraints we were working under. Our messaging and strategy could have been better in 2016, but that’s quite different from saying we “failed” the great unwashed.

      And the complete political cluelessness of lots of otherwise well-intentioned, well-educated people explains Trump at least as well as the racism and economic anxiety arguments. But that’s still on them, not on us.

      • so-in-so says:

        The Dems didn’t bully-pulpit the GOP into submission, so obviously –

        They Didn’t. Even. Try.

        But sure, more emphasis on inequality would be a good thing. Okay.

        • Bloix says:

          We failed them – “We”? I had nothing to do with it – by not. even. trying. to protect underwater homeowners. Not. Even. Fucking. Trying.

          And “we” failed them by not putting a single bankster in prison. Angelo Mozilo lives today in a 12,000-square-foot house in Santa Barbara instead of a 64-square-foot cell in FCI Lompoc. If we’d had a dozen criminal trials with men in $3000 suits doing the perp walk Clinton would be president.

          And don’t fucking “green lantern” me, Holder’s Justice Department made the decision that the criminal bankers would keep their money and the homeowners would lose their houses. There was a conscious decision to keep the banksters happy – “if we can pry Wall Street from the Republicans we’ll be in power forever!”

          Well, you know what Wall Street told the Dems? “You stuffed our pants pockets with money and you stuffed our jacket pockets with money but you didn’t stuff our BOOTS with money so we’ll go with the Republicans.”

          Yes, Obama did a lot of good things that helped working class people. But he never showed an iota of outrage about the criminal con on people who bought houses during the bubble or on behalf of the people who lost jobs in the resulting crash. And neither did Clinton. People were angry and the Dems had compassion. Compassion doesn’t cut it when anger is what’s required.

          • AMK says:

            If you can find me 1 Trump voter in 300 who knows who Angelo Mozilo is, I’ll buy this argument. Or one voter in 300, period.

            The messaging problem was on trade. Obama spent the last year of his Presidency going around peddling TPP with Paul Ryan, because his ex-Google data oracles had convinced themselves and the liberal command bubbles in NY and DC that “demographics” was a magic word and winning a certain % of the white working class was no longer necessary.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

              Disagree. I think Obama was pushing the TPP because he thought it was good policy. I disagree, but Obama was more of a policy wonk than a partisan politician.

              His career, up to becoming President, was about finding compromise with Republicans. When they full-court pressed him with absolute opposition, he had great difficulty responding because he’d always been able to make it work before.

            • LNM_in_LA says:

              Back in the late(ish) 90s, I was working a gig as a network consultant at the Countrywide HQ in Simi Valley. One afternoon, Mozilla, leading a gaggle of bigwigs of some sort, came through the office I was in, and for some reason (probably the ponytail) was made aware of who I was and the nature of what I was working on, which was kinda important, and proudly and loudly pointed me out and made a comment about the amount of money he was spending on brainiacs to make his network the best.
              At the time I knew jack about him, but something about him irritated me to no end, and I began studying what I could find on him.
              Which basically influenced me to start restructuring my 401K to harden it against the badness to come. Saved a good deal of the stuff in the cookie jar from crumbling into nothingness that way.
              To this day I can remember the instantaneous revulsion I felt that day; the smarm, it was strong in that one.

          • NoMoreAltCenter says:

            The Democrats’ job is to protect the privileges and power of capital, in a slightly different way than the Republicans. Dems carrot, Republicans stick. Both parties bourgeois to the core.

            Nowadays the Davos uberelites are preparing themselves to adapt to a new ballgame of truly radical militant nationalism and inequality. Things are going to get real ugly before they get any better, if they ever do. Social democracy is dead and ain’t coming back, we have secular stagnation coming on top of climate change. It is all a shitstorm in a world that could have been a paradise if people weren’t stupid.

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