What Trump Can Do to Win Again (Fair and Square)

With Trump trailing in the polls, some people have suggested an “October surprise” looms, such as a provocation against Iran, that could swing the election. But what if this “surprise” is something different. What if Trump decides to outflank Biden on an issue of great importance to ordinary Americans. It’s a scenario that’s more than possible, as the redoubtable M. Davout argues in his latest article for this site. W.J. Astore

He’s willing to thump a Bible — why not thump Medicare for All?

M. Davout

In my first contribution to Bracing Views a little more than four years ago, I appealed, as an enthusiastic advocate for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, to fellow Bernie supporters in swing states to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming general election. This election cycle I will be taking a different approach.

The virtual Democratic National Convention for the 2020 general election has just ended with the nomination of a candidate, Joe Biden, whose political instincts, record in office, and stated policy goals are in most essential respects updates of Clinton’s. Despite the convention speakers’ almost universal silence about policy, we can expect from a Biden win a continuation of what has largely been the Democratic Party policy agenda of the last forty years: maintenance of the US global military umbrella, protection of neoliberal economic interests, and gestures of racial inclusiveness and multicultural tolerance.

If Biden wins, it will be because of Trump’s catastrophic public health leadership failures in the face of the Covid pandemic, which has radically disrupted social life, tanked many parts of the economy, and thus far killed 175,000+ American lives. And Trump’s heartless and authoritarian response to the mobilization of millions of people in street demonstrations affirming that Black Lives Matter has not helped his electoral prospects.

In his acceptance speech, Biden emphatically told us that if elected he will take effective action to get a grip on the Covid crisis. Yet, on other occasions, he has also told us that if he wins, he will not fundamentally address the more insidious and chronic crisis of tens of millions of Americans with few, if any, health care options, even going so far as to say that he would veto any Medicare-for-All bill passed by Congress. On the issue of policing, he has been up front about his intention not to challenge the militarized and racist institutions of policing in this country other than to call for more training and prohibition of police use of choke holds.

The sad truth is that of the two major party candidates, only one has ever run a national campaign as an economic populist and it isn’t the current standard bearer of the Democratic Party. In 2016, Donald Trump promised Americans that he would get all of them great health care, take on Big Pharma and make prescription drugs affordable, end the hemorrhaging of American lives and treasure in foreign wars and drain the swamp by putting a stop to special interest corruption of members of Congress. Trump was lying, of course, but these lies were just effective enough in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania because the Democratic Party had lost all credibility as the party of working people.

So, this cycle, rather than try to persuade my fellow Bernie supporters once again to vote democratic, let me try a different approach and offer Trump some electoral advice. Give a nationally televised Oval Office speech in which you commit to stopping the pandemic and embrace, as one of the main pillars of your pandemic response, Medicare-for-All. Tell the American people the truth—that the private health insurance system in the U.S. has failed to protect the health of the American people and instead has lined the pockets of CEOs, rich shareholders, medical specialists, insurance industry lobbyists and members of Congress. Tell them that ensuring universal and affordable access to healthcare through universal expansion of Medicare is an essential step not only in defeating Covid-19 but also in protecting against the pandemics that might occur down the road. A true nation-state takes care of its own and Medicare-for-All will Make America Great Again.

As a certified political scientist, I can guarantee that you stand only to gain electorally by taking this advice. You won’t lose your business supporters and anti-Communist Republican voters–they will know that you are lying. The idea of universal health insurance based on the expansion of a system on which their parents and grandparents have relied will be attractive to your white working class base voters who have suffered disproportionately from opioid and alcohol addiction and deaths. And, who knows, maybe some progressives, unhinged by Biden’s hostility to universal coverage, will pull the lever for you. It may be enough to keep Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in your column (and maybe even swing Minnesota your way).

I give this advice not because I want Trump to win but because of my conviction that until the Democratic Party is forced to compete for working class votes on the basis of economic populism, we are going to be locked into an ever more dangerous cycle of alternating rule by neoliberal Democrats and nationalist-racist Republican populists.

M. Davout teaches political science in the Deep South.

66 thoughts on “What Trump Can Do to Win Again (Fair and Square)

  1. I’m really sick & tired of hearing Clinton’s defeat & Biden’s presumptive defeat blamed on “Bernie supporters”. Most of us DID vote for Clinton & those who didn’t are no more culpable for Trump’s disastrous presidency than the Independents who voted third-party. The fact is, Clinton DID win the election, by more than 3 million votes. The only reason Trump pulled off a win is because of our antiquated & racist electoral college.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! Roughly 42% of Americans didn’t even vote. The Democrats need to field a candidate that inspires people — who gives them a reason to vote. Hillary was uninspiring; so too is Biden. But Obama was charismatic and inspiring. Anyone notice a trend here?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No, this is incorrect. The reason the Trump-machine was able to win in the Electoral College was because they understood where the voters were who would vote for Trump. Their “populist” message was not something the Hilary machine understood and those voters’ fears and needs were largely ignored by the Democrats. The Democrats need to fear the white voters in Trumps base and unless they are willing to engage them ALSO, as American voters, then Trump’s fascism might well win again.

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    3. Not only did Hillary lump Trump’s supporters in her “basket of deplorables”: she further said they were “irredeemable,” a remarkably elitist statement with strong religious connotations.

      As a young Catholic, I remember singing songs about “Christ, Jesus, Lord and Redeemer.” Christians believe the Lord can redeem anyone; you cannot limit His power. Hillary seemed to be elevating herself as the judge of who could be redeemed and who couldn’t.

      Hillary was simply a poor politician — an elitist, stuck on herself, believing she knew best, not the deplorables, for whom she had neither time nor sympathy. And that’s why she lost the election …

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      1. I hate to come to Mrs. Clinton’s “defense,” but my interpretation is that the “basket of deplorables” comment was a characterization of Trump’s most rabid supporters. And it was dead accurate. Naturally, the GOP and their media mouthpieces immediately seized on it as a characterization of the white working class as a whole. That’s why she had to retract the statement immediately. And I am not aware she ever used the term “irredeemable.” Though that, too, is probably accurate re: the really rabid Trumpites.

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        1. Greg: her comment came during a fundraiser with big-money, high-profile types. You might say it was Hillary uncensored.

          Here’s the thing: It’s just dumb, politically, to alienate potential voters. And that’s what she did. Just like Mitt Romney did with his 47% remark to his big-money, high-profile types.

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          1. Of course, it was a “slip of the tongue” in the heat of battle. A professional politician let slip some truth! The horror!!

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  2. Regarding “Trump’s catastrophic public health leadership failures in the face of the Covid pandemic, which has radically disrupted social life, tanked many parts of the economy,” what specifically, repeat, specifically has he done that he should not have done or not done that he should have done? Not one single business has been closed by a Trump order. Those orders have been issued entirely by state governors. Not one time has he orderen that nursing homes for the elderly must accept Covid patients. That has been done by state governors.

    Other than sending federal law enforcement to protect the federal courthouse in Portland, what “heartless and authoritarian response” has Trump shown to the “mostly peaceful” demonstrations which have looted stores and destroyed property in dozens of cities? Declining to be supportive of violence is “heartless and authoritarian” these days?

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    1. If I remember correctly, Trump started by wanting his little inner circle – himself – to decide everything concerning the Covid response, remember Pence and even Kushner being elevated to top Covid expert?

      But then someone must have explained to him, that that would make him ultimately responsible for the – predictably catastrophic – consequences of whatever would happen, so he backtracked and ‘devolved’ Covid policies and strategies to state governments. Supposedly because a federal country-wide policy was not feasible, as each state faced a different situation. Which of course is true, but that does not mean that there could not be general policy guidelines for all states … So now he has scapegoats to whom he can deflect blame according for instance to the political colour of any state’s governor. And he does so with his usual gusto.

      Declining to take responsibility for the sake of plausible deniability, is responsibility in itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Trump would have to be puking blood before he’d ever sign off on any of that kind of Legislation…! His kind only exploits and harms those kinds of people who’d benefit most from that kind of Plan… Lets dream about our future, and not fear it. So that’s why this Kid –who grew up in a Triple Decker, in a working class City, of a 5 Children Family. My Dad had to work 2 Jobs to Support, and feed his Family. So I for one will never Vote for his Kind, or Ilk…We need to rid our Country of Trump! My best regards to M. Davout notwithstanding… We need to transform our Country!

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    1. Phil–I’m pretty sure the author of the article had his tongue at least halfway thru his cheek. But I’ll add this: there are some under the GOP’s “big tent” (ha! ha!) who I think would turn against Trump if he supported something like Medicare for All. They wouldn’t realize it was a cheap political stunt. Yes, there are fellow citizens who are to the right of Donald Trump!

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  4. I have a feeling Mr. Trump won’t be taking this bit of advice! But certainly the Dems have become expert at putting forth uninspiring opponents for the GOP.

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  5. I must confess to mystification here. Perhaps Davout is indeed writing a light satire with this piece. If so, and my sarcasm meter has failed to pick it up, I’ll stand corrected.

    However, this is the third essay I’ve seen in two days that offers sound advice under the heading, “if Trump really wanted to win, he’d do THIS,” all written by supposedly Dem-leaning authors. Al Franken published a commentary yesterday that, judging by the title, I immediately pegged as satire, but after I read the article, I believed him to be serious. There was another, similar commentary in the NY Times today.

    So here, Davout says that he is not a supporter of the Orange One, but merely wants the Dems to up their game. The chances of that sea change, at this late date, are nil, imho. Even if Biden loses, it’ll be 2016 all over again: the Dems would rather forfeit the election than run anyone with progressive views and no ties to Wall Street.

    Therefore, why give the Occupant any assistance? Why clue him in to possible successful strategies? Is it in the hope that voicing such ideas will assure that he does the opposite?

    To me, it sounds a lot like giving aid and comfort to the enemy. No self-respecting anti-Orange person should be publishing pointers for the GOP campaign.

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    1. I want the US military out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and several other countries where they have no business except exploding inventories of expensive ordnance so that generals and admirals can “decorate” themselves like Christmas trees while weapons contractors (pardon the redundancy) receive guaranteed-profits from orders for more of the same.

      Now, if President Trump would do what I want, or any part of what I want, then I encourage him to do so, because I care for what I want more than I care for who does what I want. Wanting someone to fail to do what I want out of some misguided desire for spite against that person — for reasons having nothing to do with what I want — makes no sense to me at all. The US Marketing Territory has only one president (or so we suppose) at any given time. I want that person to do what I want. If that helps him or her win votes, then it ought to.

      I just want my government to do what I want it to do. If it ever did that, I would want it to continue doing that, regardless of which particular political parasite happened to infest the bureaucracy at the time.

      Now, I also agree with my favorite Australian lady artist and journalist, Caitlin Johnstone, when she says: “US presidents who say the troops are coming home soon should be taken as seriously as people who say Jesus is coming back any minute now.” Nonetheless, should President Trump actually follow through and finish withdrawing our Valiant Visigoths, Dogs-of-War Mercenaries, and Corporate Camp Followers from, say, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, then I think we should reward him for that as encouragement for more of the same. Again, I want what I want more than I don’t want him.

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      1. Theoretically, I wouldn’t care who was in the Oval Office, either, if he or she ran the country with intelligence, compassion, and integrity, with all the associated policies and actions. HOWEVER, that’s all beside the point, as the Orange One has proved a thousand times over that none of those qualities applies to him in the least. Therefore, I still decry aiding and abetting him in any way.

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  6. From Michael Tracey’s Twitter feed:

    James Comey declared today: “The only way we’re going to kick Putin out of our elections is to elect Joe Biden president so someone finally puts real pain on the Russians.”

    Now if that’s not an inspiring campaign message, I don’t know what is

    I don’t think the Russian people really give a shit which right-wing puppet Americans agree to have selected for them as President every so many years. Nothing in their policies ever differentiates one US corporate-imperial lacky from another. Understanding this, the Russians resigned themselves to dealing with American idiots in any event, which one matters not in the slightest. I do understand, though, that Russians have a well-developed, sardonic sense of humor. Trying to see things from their side of the fence, then, I offer:

    Vladimir The Competent vs Joe-Donald Duck

    If “troll” and “bot” are all you’ve got,
    Though these you’ve never seen:
    Imaginary, truly scary,
    Yellowing your spleen;
    You faint of heart just quake and fart
    At your blank TV screen,
    And this should scare the Russian bear,
    You think, ‘cause you’re so mean.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2020

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    1. Oh, yes. And criminal Comey’s desire for Democrat Joe Biden to win election so that he can “put real pain on the Russians” — that insanity in itself — will probably win President Trump many votes as well as further deflate those anti-war voters whom the Democratic Party has apparently written off, assuming — as always — that they have “nowhere else to go.”

      Nothing learned from 2016. The snake-haired Medusa with the philandering husband and dead NAFTA albatross around her neck still weeping and wailing about those “foreign adversaries” who understood the Electoral College better than she did. The Democrats still running to the right of the right-wing Republicans. The “left” (or center of the country) therefore lies wide open for Trumpian pandering, as it did in 2016. Biden and Harris have already made it clear that they will promise nothing, but will “really care” a lot while time-travelling Back to the Failure: meaning, corporate neo-liberal policies that produced Donald Trump in the first place. The empty suit rhetoric reciter, Barack Obama no less, has even uttered streams of soporific word-like noises testifying to this awesome Democratic empathy brandishing its shaky fist at Russian President Vladimir Putin, the premier statesman of the age.

      What could possibly go wrong for the New Cold War Democrats?

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    2. “James Comey declared today: “The only way we’re going to kick Putin out of our elections is to elect Joe Biden president”

      So… the devil incarnate Putin has control over US elections and can put the puppet of his choice in power… and you’re supposed to defeat him by voting for and electing Biden, the guy we’re told Putin doesn’t want in power… but apparently Putin can make the election dance to his tune by merely spending a few grand on embarrassing Facebook ads… so wouldn’t voting at all be futile? Comey isn’t even bothering to try making any sense anymore is he? Even Les Nessman’s surreal red-baiting on “WKRP In Cincinnati” would have been easier to take seriously!

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  7. These certifiable morons and aspiring Nixon-McCarthy Red-baiters simply have no shame They contemptuously consider thoughtful Americans as stupid and corrupt as themselves. Bottom line: thinking for yourself and reaching your own considered conclusions makes you an “unwitting” Russian agent. Honest Injun. Take it from Democratic Party Senator Mark Warner, ranking minority member of the Senate — and I must suppress a side-splitting laugh here — “intelligence” committee who actually wants American citizens to take orders from the CIA instead of abolishing it outright because it “Can’t Identify Anything” (certainly not “WMD in Iraq” or the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, etc.) See: Americans criticizing Biden may be ‘unwittingly’ spreading ‘Kremlin disinformation’, top Russiagate peddler warns, RT.com (23 Aug, 2020).

    Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, has been overseeing the infamous Russiagate saga for the past three years

    US citizens may “unwittingly” become Russian agents and spread “disinformation” about Joe Biden, Senator Mark Warner has warned, urging the intelligence community to be more vocal and tell the public what to do [emphasis added].

    Since when do the James Bond and Jason Bourne wannabes get to tell the American citizen what to do?

    According to the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, one should be particularly vigilant about the Russian trolls, lurking around the social media feeds, as Kremlin is allegedly once again seeking to prop up President Donald Trump and help him secure re-election in November.

    “Lurking around the social media feeds”? Oh, for crying out loud! Somebody issue this infant a bib and diaper.

    Speaking to NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the Senator warned that if one is not careful enough, he can accidentally become a Russian “agent” partaking in the alleged smear campaign against Biden.

    How can one “accidentally” become a “Russian agent” simply by criticizing a vote-seeking political candidate who criticizes other vote-seeking political candidates. And since when did American political power seekers ever refrain from smearing their political opponents at every opportunity. Ever hear of Thomas Jefferson fathering “illegitimate” children upon his slave mistress Sally Hemmings? Ever hear of Bill Clinton getting blow jobs in the White House from Monica Lewinsky? Newspapers and voters of the respective times certainly did. Jefferson’s and Clinton’s political opponents made certain of that. But the American people, nonetheless, twice elected Jefferson and Clinton (thanks to Ross Perot) President. As Jefferson himself said, “Whenever a man has cast a longing eye upon office, a rottenness begins in his conduct.” Well, we can certainly see the rottenness in Senator Warner’s Red-baiting conduct. And may the slime deservedly stick to him instead of those he seeks to smear with it.

    Those interested can read the rest of the article, which I recommend, but personally, I can’t stomach any more of smear-merchant Senator Mark Warner. “The pot calling the kettle black” doesn’t begin to cover my contempt for this charlatan. My apologies to the Russian people for this sub-human hypocrite who knows absolutely what he has done but doesn’t give a damn.

    And I’ll take my news from RT over CNN and MSNBC any day.

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      1. Yes, destroying the country in order to save it from the Reds. And the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Iranians, the Muslims, the LBGTQs, and any one in general who thinks independently or isn’t “them.”

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    1. Not RT, Mike. That is media driven by Russian state interests.

      Go with CNN and MSNBC: independent media driven by the public interest. HA HA HA HA HA!

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      1. “Russian state interests” = interests of the Russian Ruling Class, the oligarchs who rose to power post-USSR. This is no different than the situation here in US, where “our national interests” = interests of the US Ruling Class. I was exposed to Russia Today broadcasts in my hotel room in Moscow in 2013. The commentators were clearly working to put forth views inimical to interests of the US Ruling Class. Were the programs any less “objective” than the pap we get on TV here in US? I doubt it. I suppose I could access RT via the internet, but I just don’t have the time to pursue all this stuff.

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        1. Yes, Chris Hedges does often put forward views inimical to the interests of the US Ruling Class — on RT. So do Max Kaiser and Stacey Herbert. Ditto for Crosstalk with Peter Lavelle. I don’t know much about Jesse Ventura’s show but he generally takes a somewhat maverick view of matters in the US. These Americans do not appear on CNN or FOX or MSNBC as far as I know, and tuning into their programs on RT.com takes no more effort than tuning into this blog.

          I do get CNN International here in Taiwan, but my wife will only allow me to watch five minutes at any one viewing for fear that I will throw something at our large flat-screen monitor. I swear, the Red-baiting/Russia-gating starts up almost first thing on several “news” segments. Former “intelligence community” ass wipes (like John Brennan and James Clapper) and former military officers (too many for me to list) have featured gigs as “experts,” too. Mostly, though, the CNN broadcasts feature a regular parade of mind-numbing vignettes featuring the various “reporters” and “hosts” who will bring you the news once they stop talking about themselves. A total waste.

          As Jimmy Dore likes to say “. . . And that’s why people get their news from the Internet.”

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  8. As a physician who works in private practice in OR and accepts Medicare and Oregon Health Plan patients, I want to disillusion people. Medicare is not there to provide health care to patients. The regulations are designed to make money for big corporations. Example, hospitals buy up free-standing clinics so they can charge a “facility fee” in addition to the other charges without changing the care one bit. I could go on for hours but the summary is that anyone who claims Medicare is a system whose aim is to provide health care is delusional, ignorant, or lying. It is there to pay those with highly paid lobbyists.

    The problem with health care in the USA is the same problem in other areas of society. There is no disincentive to making more and more money. A strongly progressive tax system (think Eisenhower days) would fix a lot of the problems by making it much harder to make huge sums of money without contributing back to the society. And neither Trump nor Biden is going to push that.

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    1. Very good points. If memory serves–and I have made quite a few revolutions around the sun, thank you–Medicare was enacted under LBJ while he was under tremendous pressure on civil and voting rights issues, and was meant to be part of the now constantly-being-frayed “social safety net.” Specifically for those of us 65 and over and perhaps no longer bringing home a paycheck. Those who crafted the legislation, I’ll bet my dollars to your donuts, could not envision how private-sector “health insurance” operations would become the grossly “overweight” arbiters of who gets what care and at what (often withering) price. I prefer to speak of Universal Healthcare, the recognition that medical care should be considered a basic human right. I am not prone to hallucinating, and I’m sure that back when the presidential nomination of the Dems was up for grabs, more than one contender “promised” that the Fed. Gov’t would (or at least SHOULD) pick up the tab for Covid-19 care, because this is, after all, an unprecedented emergency. [Though the death toll seems thus far to be a mere shadow of what the 1918/19 flu pandemic produced, this virus is impacting people in numerous different ways. Seems some can shrug it off while others have massive organ failure and are “gone” in a jiffy.] And I swear I heard Trump or some spokesperson for him counter by saying, in essence, “Don’t worry, the gov’t WILL pick up your medical bills.” Wow, good luck getting them to deliver on THAT!!

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    2. Yes, good points. I should say “universal health care” that is not driven by profit. Health care that is not wealth care, to coin a phrase.

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  9. I’ve just read there will be no discussion of a party platform during the Republican convention because the RNC “enthusiastically” supports Trump’s programs and actions. In addition, he will speak all four nights. Well, okay. So, this would seem to remove the need for debates. Nothing to talk about. As Chicago cops walking a beat used to say, “Show’s over, folks. Nothing else to see.”

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    1. That is so Trumpian! He must always be the main speaker — every night. And there’s no need for debate — everyone supports the Our Dear Leader!

      What a sham — but, in a strange way, it’s more transparent than the DNC.

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        1. And yet, Denise, the GOP fools enuf boobs and rubes–and not all rubes live in the countryside these days!–into thinking that party is on their side! “Down with the Elites! We’re gonna drain the swamp!” It IS a stunning textbook achievement of marketing, that’s all I’ll credit the GOP with.

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          1. I tend to think that the GOP isn’t fooling rubes and boobs. Rather, the party’s open callousness, greed, and corruption, along with its white supremacy mantra, are what the rubes and boobs want. Trump is them, in a better suit. Such believers dream that one day, they, too, can achieve wealth and status, and if (wink, wink) they have to cheat or steal or abuse women or step on “others” to do it, well….who’s gonna care? They have a living example right in front of them. Or, if they’re sensible enough to realize that they’ll never in a million years have Trump’s lifestyle, nevertheless, it’s the life they’d LIKE to have, so, you GO, Donnie!

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        2. Yes, Denise. As Thomas Frank wrote just before he took a temporary leave of journalism to write some books:

          “For all their cunning, Republicans are a known quantity. Their motives are simple: they will do anything, say anything, profess faith in anything to get tax cuts, deregulation and a little help keeping workers in line. Nothing else is sacred to them. Rules, norms, traditions, deficits, the Bible, the constitution, whatever. They don’t care, and in this they have proven utterly predictable. ”
          . . .
          “The Democrats, however, remain a mystery. We watch them hesitate at crucial moments, betray the movements that support them, and even try to suppress the leaders and ideas that generate any kind of populist electricity. Not only do they seem uninterested in doing their duty toward the middle class, but sometimes we suspect they don’t even want to win.”

          Put another way, the Democrats don’t care if they win, just so long as they get paid. The donor class which prefers the Republicans will still see to it that the Democrats get paid a little, because they will do what the Republicans would do — sometimes even more — and won’t even ask for very much.

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          1. Yes, Denise. But to billionaires, $675K to Hillary for three speeches is pocket change. And a few million here and there to the Obamas is almost a rounding error for corporate balance sheets,

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          2. You’re right. But compared with the bank accounts of the 99%, who are supposed to be deciding who wins the election (whether or not one believes they do), the money in question is beyond imagining. When I hear that Hillary got $675K for three speeches, I say, “Obscene!” And in the next breath, I say, “Bought and paid for.”

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          3. While I was a radio broadcaster at Univ. of Connecticut, George H. W. Bush (this was probably less than two years after his ouster from White House) received an “honorarium” of maybe $15 or $30 thousand (I don’t recall exact figure) to make a speech of just a few minutes’ duration. Can you imagine? The man worked dirt cheap! Of course, the Prescott Bushes are a bona fide Ruling Class family, so he managed to scrape by.

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          4. And I have to wonder if, as that honorarium was a mere pittance, George I donated it to charity. Or whether, Scrooge-like, he put it in his pocket and added it to his petty cash account. : )

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      1. At this point, I’m actually looking forward to “debates”! It’s a given that Trump will make extra-preposterous claims about his Great Accomplishments and paint a portrait of the Dems as “leftist extremists,” and that Biden will lose his temper! However, I think it unlikely any viewer will actually shift allegiance as a result of these (presumably there will be more than one, though I suspect Trump is not thrilled with that) circuses. Let the “entertainment” begin!

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    2. I didn’t watch any of the Dems’ affair, but I imagine the GOP version of a convention will have superior “production values” (you got the money, you hire the best talent). Apparently Trump already showed up in person in N. Carolina–from which I coulda sworn he’d withdrawn any such activity in a dust-up over virus precautions–and was officially nominated right at the outset of the event. But his official acceptance won’t be until Thu., per NPR News today, and done at the White House. Another gruesome precedent set, doing party business from official gov’t facilities. The taxpayer foots the bill for the upkeep on that building, after all, I assume including Donald’s renovation of interior and Melania’s re-do of Rose Garden. So between now and Thu. we can expect a non-stop love fest for The Donald and ongoing displays of the depths of depravity to which the modern GOP has sunk. Think some folks will be waving Confederate flags and such like? “Probably” won’t go so far as to have a speech by hooded, robed KKK spokesperson, though. Right? Right??

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    1. Not quite an accurate statement, Bill. The Dems try to “play to” women, minority groups, the Queer community, what’s left of organized labor, etc. The crucial question now is can their uninspiring candidates get enuf voters to polling places to overcome all Trump’s dirty tricks? (Postmaster Gen. DeJoy [great surname!] to Congress today: “No, I will NOT put those sorting machines back in place!”) I totally believe Trump’s “vow” that this election will NOT be decided quickly or easily.

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      1. No question you’re right about DeJoy’s determination not to allow the USPS to function effectively.

        As far as the Dems’ trying to play to the various groups you listed….I guess the comment I’d make is that they’re not trying very hard. Nominating a “handsy” (as so many pundits and commenters have put it) man who has shown an inclination to misogyny is not exactly an appeal to women, as just one example. If tapping Harris is a sop to women, I for one don’t see the attraction. Ditto organized labor and minority groups—this ticket has very little to represent them. In fact, if the DNC had had as its mission to alienate everyone except wealthy, middle-aged, white males, it couldn’t have found a better figurehead than Biden. Harris is so obvious as a token pick, it’s laughable.

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        1. I don’t want to come off as an “apologist” for Biden, but you must understand he’s an old-school politician. Hug the supporters, kiss the babies, etc. (Activities now proscribed by Covid-19.) There is a line between that conduct and groping a woman in a Senate corridor. That story died a while ago, with no way for the accuser to objectively prove her complaint. But we shouldn’t be surprised if “pussy grabber” Trump manages to resuscitate it. Irony is among the zillion things Trump has no grasp of!

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          1. Understand completely about the old-school-politician M.O. And yes, I do believe that possibly too much has been made of Biden’s “familiarity” with various women. I have no opinion about the groping story. I’m old-school, too, in that I don’t resent it if a man would, say, touch my shoulder, IF that man were someone I liked and felt comfortable with. When I worked for a big five accounting firm many years ago, my boss was standing behind me and bent to look down at my computer screen. He rested his hand on my shoulder for a second as he did so, a totally natural movement. In an instant, obviously remembering the firm’s ultra-strict rules about harassment, he pulled his hand away as if I’d bitten him, and apologized profusely. I laughed and told him not to worry. This guy was nice down to his socks, and I knew that. On the other hand, a later boss at another company, after retiring, came back to the office a year later and wanted to hug me. I kept him at arms’ length, because he was a creep if ever there was one.

            And Biden has apologized for any inappropriate touching. giving the explanation you cite. As I didn’t witness any of the incidents in question, I’d reserve judgment personally. If the women involved were made uncomfortable, however, then it’s their call. And after all, perception is reality, so in the eyes of the world, Joe is “handsy.”

            There remains, though, the one big issue he can’t dance around and can’t make up for: Anita Hill. Even allowing for the times and the context of his actions, they’re still unforgivable.

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          2. Biden is more than a little bit creepy; Trump is most definitely a lot creepy. What a “choice” for the women of America!

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  10. Professore, as we’ve seen by the DNC’s treatment of Tulsi Gabbard and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, palms may get greased but squeaky wheels don’t. And, for what it’s worth, I believe the DNC wants someone with charisma, backbone, and vision taking over the party even less than the College of Cardinals wants a Pope who will truly lead Holy Mother Church.

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    1. Well at least, based on his challenging hecklers to push-up contests, Biden should be able to run circles around the beached whale Trump if their “debate” confrontation gets heated to point of physical altercation!! That’ll show a bit of backbone, and even a hint of charisma!

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    1. The “kind of creepy” vibe Biden strikes some folks with works against his attempt to project personal warmth. As I’ve been advising, watch for him to blow his top in the “debates.” I mean, put me in the same room with Trump and you’ll see an explosion, but it will be deemed “un-presidential” for Joe to have a meltdown on camera. But on the other hand, show me one bloody thing about TRUMP that IS “presidential”!!

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  11. Like many others, I didn’t watch the “virtual” Democratic Party Convention, although I did see snippets of various speeches as reviewed by others on the Internet. From what I could tell, not one of the many women speakers referred to the #metoo allegations against Joe Biden. I suspect the same sort of thing will happen at the Republican convention — virtual or actual — although Matt Taibbi reported from Trump rallies in 2016 that he saw many middle aged white Republican women wearing T-shirts with arrows pointing downward toward the groin along with large letters taunting: “Grab This!” So if that sort of thing gets on TV at the RNC show, then perhaps at least some of it would merit watching.

    I remember something similar back in 2003 when the Republicans managed to mount a referendum in California successfully recalling Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Republican movie actor Arnold Schwarzenegger won that one from among a crowded field of relative unknowns. During the campaign, many Democrats taunted the Republicans about their eight years of seething righteously about Bill Clinton’s sexual immorality. They reminded Republicans of Schwarzenegger’s own sexual adventures in Hollywood. Replied one Republican woman casually: “Nobody’s perfect.”

    So whenever someone tries to inject human sexuality into political proceedings, I suspect purely partisan hypocrisy, to say the least, with the putative female “victim” only too happy to “suffer” publicly — and repeatedly — as a “sacrifice” to some more “noble” principle. In the case of the evidence-free allegations against Joe Biden, these collapsed rather suddenly and ignobly the minute Bernie Sanders decided, once again, to embrace the DNC’s choice for presidential nominee, this time his “good friend” Joe Biden. The woman accuser in question — having (1) no case and (2) no further use for the Sanders campaign — promptly returned to the oblivion from which she came. Everybody using anybody against anybody else for whatever. Nothing new in greasy-pole-climbing US politics, to say nothing of human nature.

    So let the Orange Man Bad Show begin with, for some reason, the names of former Republican President G. W. Bush and former Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush absent from the list of speakers. Now, I wonder what could explain that . . .

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    1. Speaking of scandalous affairs taking place in our nation’s capital among the “elite” members of our “ruling class,” my wife the Film Noir fan, loves that movie “Random Hearts,” about a D.C. police detective sergeant who discovers his wife having an extramarital affair with the husband of a Republican Congresswoman. Discovery of the affair only happens after the two cheating spouses die together in a plane crash on their way to a weekend rendezvous. Later on, at a dinner with her Congressional aide after a fundraiser, the Congresswoman learns of even more betrayals:

      Congresswoman Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas): “It’s only adultery. Nobody gives a damn about that any more, except the people it’s happening to, and it’s not happening to you.”

      Representative Chandler’s Congressional aide, Wendy Judd (Bonnie Hunt): “Oh, Kay. Please give me a chance to explain. Kay, it didn’t mean … I was always going to tell you.”

      Kay: “Where is it?”

      Wendy: “For over a year I haven’t been there.”

      Kay: “Where is it?”

      Wendy: Colton Building on Rhode Island.”

      Kay: I’m not really hungry. If you could get the check please.”

      Wendy: “Stop, please, Kay. Just listen to me. If we don’t see each other then Richard will know.”

      Kay: “I can’t keep seeing you so your husband won’t know that you’ve been screwing mine.”

      As the old saying goes: “No woman has a worse enemy than her best friend.” And if you don’t believe that, ask Monica Lewinsky what she thinks of Linda Tripp.

      Let’s see Orange Man Bad top that.

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      1. A few comments: those “cheatin’ women” generally need “cheatin’ men.” And that old saying? It’s pure prejudice.

        Let’s consider that paragon of virtue, Donald J. Trump, and his proven record of cheating on Melania with porn actors and Playboy bunnies.

        When a woman can have five kids with three husbands while cheating on them with porn stars and Playgirl hunks, and win the presidency with the rabid support of evangelical Christians, we’ll finally have women’s equality in America.

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        1. But sometimes the man just “likes to watch” (phrase borrowed from the movie “Being There”). It’s been reported that Jerry Falwell Jr. enjoyed watching his own wife having sex with…Jerry’s business partner! Ya can’t make this stuff up! Liberty University says Falwell was resigning, Falwell claims t’ain’t so. Well, we’re sure Jr. wouldn’t fib to us, huh?! So, exactly what kind of “liberty” does that hallowed (!) institution wanna promote??

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        2. Thanks for the comments, Bill. We obviously have a difference of opinion regarding the degree of romanticism that one should attach to the female of the species. In my case, I offered an aphorism (which I got from my mother) and illustrated it with a specific, and quite notorious, example. For another example, neither Melania Trump nor Hillary Clinton have divorced their husbands despite awareness of their well-known philandering. On the other hand, Maria Shriver divorced Arnold Schwarzenegger for having sex with — and impregnating — one of their house maids. Some women have a sense of integrity. Some women don’t. Wealthy and powerful men can provide women a luxurious lifestyle — and political advantage — that the honest, loyal, morally superior local pizza-delivery man simply cannot match. Decisions, decisions . . .

          I haven’t seen any of the Republican Party Convention speeches — and don’t plan to — but I understand that several of Donald Trump’s children from former marriages — especially his daughter Ivanka — will speak in support of their father’s re-election. President Trump’s proclivity for multiple mistresses and wives apparently does not bother them, and this goes for Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, as well. If a man’s sexual infidelity doesn’t bother these wives and daughters, then I see no reason for me to care one way or another. None of my business.

          Also, sex workers (including porn actresses), Playboy bunnies, and female models (swimsuits and lingerie) have a right to earn a living exploiting their female sexuality — if they voluntarily choose to do so. If Donald Trump chose to pay these “professionals” what they asked for their services, then no one has any reason to complain. Most of the civilized world views the endemic American Puritanism as laughably hypocritical, especially given the salacious saturation of US media with “sex” at any and all levels of the economy, society, and political “culture.” The US should legalize prostitution (Nevada already has). This will result in many fewer American men cheating on their wives because those men who only want sex will see no reason to marry an American woman (just for that) in the first place.

          Finally, mention of the hypocritical evangelical Christian base of the Republican Party — in the context of cheating wives — deserves a proper scientific, theological, and poetic treatment, which I will get to if time permits. For now, though, let me just allude in passing to Deputy Dubya Bush’s dog-whistle invocation of “a higher father” as justification for his murderous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. That loaded reference kind of makes a cuckold out of George H. W. Bush in the same way that . . . (do I really have to complete this line of reasoning?)

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          1. I’ve always said that, if Hillary didn’t leave Slick Willie, she deserved anything else she got, along those lines. Ditto Melania. To remain in a situation in which one is made a fool of, simply because of a wealthy lifestyle or political expedience, belies one’s integrity and self-respect, says this woman.

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          2. From tonight’s online headlines, it appears the GOP tried to don a “human face” (ever so briefly) by having Melania express sympathy for those felled by the virus pandemic. She is Trophy Wife #3 in Donald’s life. I wonder if she fears he’d find a way to deport her if she publicly turned on her “Master”? Certainly being FLOTUS and married to Trump quite a while should’ve conferred Naturalized Citizenship upon Melania, but who knows? I heard a tiny snippet of coverage of GOP convention wherein The Donald was hailed as someone who really upholds the Rule of Law! I had to laugh out loud quite vigorously!!

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          3. Really, the last four years fall squarely in the “truth is stranger than fiction” category. You couldn’t make this stuff up, although some of the soap opera writers have come pretty close.

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