Trump’s Secret: He Delivers to His Base

Trump, delivering to his base, even if it’s all image

W.J. Astore

Chatting with friends today via email, we discussed Trump’s prospects for a second term. Trump could win again, one friend said. “Could” win? He’s got this thing locked up, another friend added. It’s beginning to feel that way.

What’s Trump’s secret? Sure, he’s a shameless con man. He passes himself off as a “law and order” man even as his own way of living demonstrates lawlessness and disorder. Sure, his ignorance, his narcissism, and his laziness have combined to produce 200,000 American deaths from Covid-19, a figure that should have been far smaller with firm leadership from an engaged president.

Yet his supporters don’t hold him responsible for any of this: deaths, disorder, lawlessness in the government, who cares? They favor Trump because he gives them what they want. He makes them feel good.

Can you say the same of Joe Biden? Biden is largely a cipher who’s been picked by the donor class precisely because he’s predictable. His appeals to the progressive base of his party are at best lukewarm. While Trump feeds his base red meat, Biden gives his some warmed up, somewhat spoiled, leftovers.

Trump is an empty shell of man, devoid of compassion and humility. But he knows how to sell, and he knows how to deliver, even if that delivery isn’t quite what one was expecting. So, for example, he hasn’t built much of his great big beautiful wall along the southern border, and Mexico sure isn’t paying for it, but Trump has kept fighting for it. New portions of the wall are being built. And his base likes this because they like walls that allegedly keep out killers and rapists and they like Trump for persisting. Even if the final result is ineffective, a colossal waste of money, it made his base feel better. And Trump knows this.

Trump is delivering with the Supreme Court as well, with help from the ultimate Washington swamp creature, Mitch McConnell. How did Obama do with his Supreme Court choice in 2016? That poor weak man had his pick stolen from him. You think Trump and McConnell are going to let Democrats block or cheat them? Forget about it.

In four short years, Trump will deliver three supreme court justices who are conservative and who will likely overturn Roe v. Wade, sealing the support of evangelicals until End Times. Again, like him or loathe him, Trump has delivered to his base.

Remember when Obama promised hope and change in 2008 and then hired all the usual suspects in Washington to protect businesses and the bankers while screwing the little people? Remember when Obama instantly caved on the idea of universal health care as he worked toward what became Obamacare, which is basically Romneycare and originally a conservative idea? Remember when Obama admitted his policies were basically those of a moderate Republican? So do I.

That’s why we got Trump in 2016. That and the terrible campaign his Democratic rival ran. “I’m with her,” but she wasn’t with me or the majority of Americans, so she lost. Now we have Joe Biden, yet another Democrat who wants to win without promising anything to the base that will upset his donors.

And how does that base feel about Joe? My sense is they are, at best, ambivalent. They don’t trust him. And why should they? Biden is establishment, unexciting, and past his prime. Trump is anti-establishment (in his poses), exciting (in a violent and visceral way), and still hitting on most of his cylinders. Edge to Trump.

Look: Readers of Bracing Views know I despise Trump. I find Biden unreliable as well as uninspiring. His message, so far, is “I’m not Trump.” And I don’t think that’s enough.

You need to inspire. You need to make people feel — something. Trump does this, mostly in a highly charged and negative way. His followers like him and think that Trump knows them and cares about them. Biden is not connecting, not in the same charged way as Trump does, and he’s not giving the Democratic base much of anything.

If the Democrats lose yet again, they had better change tactics and actually play to their base, else you can start penciling in Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner as America’s president and “first man” in 2024.

93 thoughts on “Trump’s Secret: He Delivers to His Base

  1. Biden infuriated me just recently with his “I beat the Socialist” comment. He alienates a sizable portion of his own party and “woke” Independents like myself. Unwise, very unwise!
    Thank you Sir, for your insightful comments on Trumpism. I loathe tRump, but am so disappointed in the Dems.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Just chatted with another friend who’s voting for Biden because they see Trump as an existential threat due to climate change. I think that’s a sensible and defensible choice.

    So, why can’t I vote for Joe? Well, I’m in a safe blue state, for one. But I can’t stand the DNC and its corruption and its hypocrisy — and its contempt for progressive views and issues that really matter to working-class Americans.

    So, as I said, I will write-in a candidate who did inspire me. Tulsi Gabbard.

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    1. Did a little reading about Jerry Garcia last week. One of his most famous quotations particularly struck me: “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” I really don’t have an argument to refute that reasoning.

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  3. I’ll try to be brief: 1.) Leaving aside the matter of the absurd Electoral College, what did Trump’s win last time reveal about the American electorate? Merely that a truly disheartening portion of it will cheer, and vote for, the most openly racist candidate since George Wallace. Further, this base is profoundly ignorant (I dare anyone to call me “an elitist” for this comment; warning: I own firearms!) generally, with a strong anti-Science, anti-intellectual bias. In other words, the receptive audience, egged on by Limbaugh and his imitators, was already in place, awaiting their new Hero; 2.) I think most of us posting here are well aware of Biden’s shortcomings. But the crucial fact is, indeed, that he’s NOT the mentally-deranged demagogue who’s the incumbent. On that basis, I reversed my previous plan to vote Green, even though “in theory” Biden should win my state anyway. Not gonna take chances, thank you!

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    1. Based on the number of Orange signs (100+) versus Biden signs (exactly 3) we saw driving through northern Ohio yesterday, it looks as if the state will be red once again. Especially discouraging as the northern half of the state is supposed to be a blue bastion. In other words, I could vote Green and not affect the outcome, because the Idiot-in-Chief appears to have a lock in my state. Sigh….

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      1. Denise–Yes, I understand completely. I have an old Army buddy who lives in northwestern Ohio. It’s same here where I live, in rural Connecticut. I suspect a lot of anti-Trumpers are actually afraid to post a Biden lawn sign for fear of vandalism. What matters, of course, is how folks actually vote on Nov. 3–assuming they DO, and that the election results are collected reasonably objectively.

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        1. You may very well be correct about the anti-Orange people and their fears. I read reports from the resort island where I lived for a time that, no matter how many Biden signs are put out, a person or persons continually sneaks around in the middle of the night and steals them. Bizarre. But then, the Orange supporter would be in a tiny minority there.

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    1. Here’s the thing: If I choose not to vote for Joe, it’s not because he failed an ideological purity test. It’s because he’s a weak candidate who doesn’t speak to me.

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  4. Good article here by David Sirota

    https://sirota.substack.com/p/biden-should-stop-dunking-on-the

    Here’s the text:

    Biden Should Stop Dunking On The Democratic Base

    Polls show Joe Biden faces a troubling voter enthusiasm gap, and has not succeeded in bringing over significant support from Republican voters. That means he will need to generate major Democratic voter enthusiasm — and it means he should stop triangulating against the base of his party and publicly dunking on the millions of Democratic voters who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the party’s last two presidential primaries.

    During an interview with a local Fox affiliate in Wisconsin today, Biden took a shot at Sanders in response to a reporter’s loaded question about “voters that are worried about socialism and you raising taxes.”

    There are plenty of ways to answer that question. You can reject the arguments over labels. You can pivot to talking about expanding health care and fighting the pandemic — two issues that are top concerns to Wisconsin voters, according to the latest Ipsos poll.

    Instead, Biden used the opportunity to dunk on Bernie Sanders — the third most popular Democrat in America, ahead of Biden, according to YouGov’s national poll.

    “I beat the socialist. That’s how I got elected. That’s how I got the nomination,” Biden said. “Do I look like a socialist? Look at my career, my whole career. I’m not a socialist.”

    That’s certainly true — Biden has tried to cut Social Security, supported bank deregulation and is opposed to Medicare for All. The only part of Biden’s record that could be called socialist was his vote to bailout Wall Street executives — but that was a form of corporate socialism that enriched the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country after they ruined millions of Americans’ lives.

    So yeah, while Biden is no socialist, none of his record proving that is anything to brag about. More important, Biden’s instinct to crap on progressives, rather than energizing them, is totally counterproductive to the effort to defeat Donald Trump. It not only helps Trump by validating his red-scare framing of the election, it also tells progressives that Biden may not be the ally he is promising to be.

    “Bernie Sanders carried my district in the heart of Silicon Valley. He won a district known for our support for entrepreneurship, markets and innovation,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, a former co-chair of Sanders’ presidential campaign. “Why? We voted for him because you cannot have a resilient economy without investing in people’s health and education. Bernie’s message really was that simple. Our party should not validate Republican talking points by falsely marginalizing Bernie, his supporters and his agenda. During this pandemic, we should be promoting the principle that healthcare is a human right — a message that has drawn millions.”

    A Pattern That Needs To End
    Now sure, Biden did go on to focus the latter part of his response on income inequality and billionaires paying their fair share of taxes. That’s good. And if his reflex to crap on the left was a one-off, fine. Candidates make mistakes or go off script. No biggie.

    But this is part of a pattern, and it has to end.

    A few weeks ago, Biden’s campaign made headlines echoing Republican talking points about the deficit and insinuating that a Biden administration wouldn’t follow through on its budget promises. Biden also told his Wall Street donors that despite his public promises, “I’m not proposing any” legislation to change corporate behavior. That followed his previous promise to his big donors that “nothing would fundamentally change” for them under a Biden administration.

    Right now, most of the progressive movement has set aside its deep policy differences with Biden in order to prioritize defeating Trump. There’s a whole #NotHimUs initiative working to mobilize former Sanders supporters behind Biden’s campaign.

    All of that is laudable — as I’ve written before, it’s exactly what needs to happen, and Biden’s campaign needs to be helping those efforts help his candidacy.

    Dunking On Bernie & Socialism Is Dumb Politics
    That’s the problem with comments like the one Biden made today. When he publicly stomps on those initiatives and Sanders voters, he’s doing the opposite: He’s making it more difficult for progressive groups to mobilize the voters he will need in this election.

    And for what purpose? To try to attract a handful of affluent Republicans who are worried about socialism?

    The latest YouGov poll suggests that far more people are worried about losing their corporate-run health care coverage than they are about some academic debate about taxes and socialism. Indeed, 70 percent of voters said that health care is an important issue to them right now — less than half say the same about taxes and government spending. A separate Marist poll found 34 percent of voters said coronavirus, climate change and health care are their top issues — higher than the 21 percent of voters who said the economy is their top issue.

    While I’m not suggesting Biden go out and campaign explicitly on the socialism label, let’s remember that a Gallup Poll shows 4 in 10 Americans actually say they support some form of socialism. It is not the deadly political kryptonite that some imagine it to be — which means there is no political imperative for a Democratic presidential candidate to proudly boast to voters about how much he hates it.

    And let’s remember: The relatively small group of people who are genuinely worried about socialism are not a large set of persuadable voters — more typically, they are hard-core Trump supporters.

    The people who are persuadable are young voters and disillusioned voters who need to be energized and mobilized.

    Kicking Sanders and progressive voters doesn’t help accomplish that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The specter of the “threat” of “Biden the Socialist” could only float above the electorate because the voice of rightwing extremism is far and away the loudest voice in the US today, and that’s been the case for years now. We are the laughingstock of what’s left of a sane world.

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  5. I don’t despise Trump. Isn’t it amazing that the Bush Crime Family and the Clinton Crime Family both hate Trump. How does peace look? Korea, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, UAE? Who has ever taken on Big Pharma before? what do you think of his three recent executive orders? Why did Tulsi often come up with the same views as Trump? I have not paid national taxes in three years thanks to him, I am retired with lower middle class class income. He took on mainstream media’s fake news remember 9/11, the lead-up to the Iraq War, the 2016 Bernie campaign, the Russia Russia attempted coup? Trump is better than the last four or five presidents by far. Finally he is onto Fauci and Gates and their responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths in order to promote an expensive vaccine solution which would lead to worldwide debt and austerity, as well as oppression.

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  6. Speaking of Roe v. Wade we ought to be considering this scenario: Pregnant Mom of 3 and husband decide to spend some vacation time in Canada (or Mexico). They have a pretty good time but wonder of wonders they all return but she is no longer pregnant. What happens? A slap on the wrist and a firm talking to? A fine$ so they have trouble eating or sheltering or tuitioning. Prison time, 10 – 20? I was a life according to someone. . . .She might be OK in this state but not that one. Where does it end?

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    1. Interesting scenario. If GOP maintains control of things, this would be tantamount to asserting gov’t control over a woman’s body regardless of where on the planet she goes. Over the decades, many women have crossed national boundaries for abortions–Ireland for just one significant example, before they started modernizing their laws–but I’m not aware anyone was ever jailed upon returning from such a trip. But, like I said initially, under GOP reign, who knows??

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    2. This is EXACTLY how it worked in Ireland, North and South until the very recent changes to the laws here. Hypocritical grandstanding by those ‘saving us from ourselves’ whilst the wives and daughters of the middle and upper classes popped across the Irish Sea for a few days. The working class just had to live with the consequences of their ‘sins’…

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  7. My reasoning tells me that Trump will lose.
    While I won’t go so far as to say don’t worry, be happy, consider the following:

    > There’s no reason to believe that Trump has won over people that did not vote for him in 2016. Then he was a known celebrity, but nobody could say what would happen when he got into office except that he would shake things up.

    > In office he has done quite a bit to irritate and alienate those who might have been undecided in 2016, if only by grasping for unlimited power and openly undermining all the agencies of government. It’s widely known that the GOP has been relentlessly trying to keep people from voting in every way they can. That is by definition anti-democratic.

    > Hillary did win the popular vote and I can’t imagine those who voted for Hillary now deciding that Trump hasn’t been so bad after all and is a better choice than Biden.

    > Trump has botched the handling of COVID beyond contradiction. The data shows it clearly and he never gives any indication that he even cares about the issue. 200,000 dead produces a lot of voters who are relatives/friends of the deceased. Coming down with it quickly shows the most stubborn mind that a virus cares nothing for political attitude about mask wearing.

    > With each year that passes, the percentage of the US population that is white, but in particular older white decreases. This is true for the percentage of the population that are evangelicals. At the same time, minorities are a growing percentage.

    > To back up the last point I checked yesterday and found Harley Davidson sales in the US are decreasing regularly at about 3% a year.

    For all of the above, I believe he is going to lose.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well-reasoned arguments. If only I could have “faith” in a.) the electorate; and b.) that the election is conducted reasonably fairly/squarely. We know Team Trump is working overtime to scuttle that second consideration. We cannot dismiss the possibility that suddenly, in late October, the pandemic Trump tried to downplay so long becomes grounds for indefinitely postponing the election! I still intend to vote in person. Infection rate is pretty low here in the boondocks.

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  8. Here’s a tip: polls, surveys & elementary school playground-level nicknames/insults don’t vote.
    Has anyone here read Dee Brown’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and seen it as something other than “a book about righteous Indians and perfidious white men”? Published half a century ago, still in print, and still relevant. To wit: the committees sent out to negotiate treaties could never grasp the the notion there wasn’t a single, Big Chief over all the tribes. Even among The People themselves, there was no one chief for the Cheyenne or for the Shoshone or the Sioux or any others. There was no shared vision or – to use a today term – agenda. Even after rubbing out Custer and his bunch, The People all went their separate ways and carried on with their lives. So, the treaty committees kept changing the rules and eventually settled on a numbers game: x-amount of adult males “touching the pen” was all it took for an accord.
    Now, turn that around a little.
    The Democratic party has no “base,” no unified vision, no focus. Sorry, but while “preaching diversity” and “economic equality” (among other things) certainly sounds good, it’s a political dead end. A special interest group is a special interest group regardless of which side of the political fence it falls on. And a party of special interest groups is not a party.
    If I don’t have a livable wage (or a realistic hope of attaining one) and can’t get affordable, comprehensive health care for my family, do I really care about student loans that can’t be repaid, trans-rights, or paying out reparations for the way the world was a century before I was born?
    The answer is “no” and that’s the sort of thing that drives votes.
    A party without a vision can’t be expected to offer a visionary candidate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great comment. But I think at the grass roots the party does have a vision, one that’s been spelled out by Bernie Sanders, among others, but one that the DNC bosses refuse to support.

      We need a third, progressive, party because the DNC exists, first and foremost, to defeat people like Bernie. Not just defeat, but to humiliate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re absolutely right here. The Green New Deal is a complex program, but the overall idea of it—saving the environment, helping Joe and Jane Average—is a strong campaign meme with majority appeal. The Dems could ride it into the White House, with an effective effort. Sanders and Warren, along with Gabbard, AOC, and several others, could have been the champions behind such an effort. But, as you say, the Dems aren’t interested, leaving Progressives with nowhere to go. The irony is acute, considering that most Americans actually support mitigating climate change, implementing universal healthcare, and providing living wages.

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        1. Joe Biden, old white male former VP. Jay Inslee, Gov. of Washington, not so old white male who focused on the Climate Crisis. With the rightwing media and idiot trolls all over social media screaming the climate situation is “fake,” the DNC did not have the guts to back someone I thought was a pretty good candidate. To my knowledge, Biden is making no pro-Green New Deal noises at this time.

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    2. Wellllll…yes and no! Dismissing Black Lives Matter–as you did implicitly, butsudanbill–as a “special interest group” movement is to deploy a GOP talking point. Are you denying the deadly institutionalized racism of this society?? We of the left (the REAL left!) know the REAL special interest groups are the corporations in whose interests the world is run. I agree with you that the Dems don’t have a real strong “vision thing” (in the immortal [?] words of G.H.W. Bush!) going on. That said, “We’re not the party of Trump” is going to have to suffice for me this time. And Trump’s “vision”? Don’t get me started!!

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      1. Nevertheless, Butsudanbill is correct in the sense that with the Dems, it’s like herding cats to get a cogent, definitive platform and approach. Whereas the GOP has a few short, blunt talking points that they hammer. all. the. time. On message 24/7, lock-step. Gotta hand it to them that they’re more savvy with communication and campaigning, as execrable as their message is.

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  9. Lots of great comments here, but I still if for the Enviroment only will Vote Biden in 40 days and counting! I want to see an Earth not reduced to a burnt out Cinder for only the love of money… And for my Childrens, childrens, children be able to experience the same kinds of wonders Summers I’ve had growing up on this amazing Planet that’s taken so much for granted. What would an Alien Race think of our progress up to this pt. in time of our Evolution as a Species “Homo Sapiens” which ironically means “Wise Ones”–if they are out there watching, waiting, and listening!?

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    1. I think Klaatu (Michael Rennie) made the “Alien Perspective” of humanity’s progress quite clear with his every utterance in the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951).
      (By the bye, that was the first real science fiction film to feature an alien presence on Earth. He came with compassion and a warning, but posed no immediate threat to anyone. Naturally, the Army shot him (twice) but they were powerless against Gort. That couldn’t stand, so it wasn’t until the “ET” era that aliens didn’t arrive to pillage & plunder this island Earth. The military must always emerge triumphant and as heroic as The Iliad x 10. Cue Will Smith & Randy Quaid.)

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      1. Thank you for mentioning one of my fave movies of all time. Even Klaatu’s society must have at one time been prone to human-like bad tendencies, else they wouldn’t have felt the need to create the “race” of robots (exemplified by Gort) to maintain the peace. It’s also important to note that the screenwriter was forced by the Production Code of 1951 to deny Gort the power to resurrect Klaatu permanently from the dead. The power to do that, we are told, is reserved to “the Almighty Spirit.” Sigh. Oh, that damned Joe McCarthy and his ilk!! Also note that the aliens of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” were benign, preceding “ET” by five years.

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    2. In pondering the question “If there is abundant intelligent life in the Universe, why is there no documented proof we’ve been visited by alien civilizations? Why no radio signals from such civilizations being detected?” Carl Sagan offered as one possible explanation that societies might tend to destroy themselves upon reaching a certain level of technological sophistication. Dr. Sagan did not embrace that position, he merely raised it for consideration. He believed as early as 1965 that the odds are mathematically almost overwhelming that, given the abundance of possible life-friendly planets, “we are not alone.” I consider myself the Ultimate Optimist on this question, since I believe it EXTREMELY UNLIKELY that other civilizations are as STUPID as what Homo Sapiens Sapiens (“Man Who Knows Himself”–ha!!) has erected here on Earth.

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  10. I get Biden/Harris campaign messages — here’s a typical one that complains about Trump’s behavior, says we’re in a battle for the soul of the nation, but gives no specifics about Biden’s platform:

    “What we saw tonight [Pittsburgh rally] was a president who continues to lie about his own record, and resorts to insults and mocking.

    He had plenty to say about Joe Biden, and it was just a peek at how low he will stoop in the coming 42 days to distort Joe’s record and attack him personally.

    Presidents lead by example. Their actions and words matter. It’s never been more clear that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation — and that we cannot give Trump four more years.

    Tonight, let’s send a message that we need Joe Biden. That we need a real leader in the White House.”

    But what, specifically, is Biden going to do for us? What progressive positions will he support? Nothing and none, apparently.

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    1. The ad you cited follows classic marketing tactics: create a positive feeling without offering specifics.

      A lot like, “Make America great again.”

      Everybody’s using the same playbook, because it works on the masses. Unfortunately, the Orange minions are a) more unified in getting the message out; and b) willing to combine the message with a push to hate everyone not “them.”

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      1. Yes, “the Orange minions” are more unified. The bigger problem we now face is the internal discipline of the GOP members of Congress, much more solid than the Dems’. Despite the occasional dropping of words of criticism of Fearless Leader by GOPers, we are about to witness a juggernaut moving the new SCOTUS nominee to her seat on the big bench in perhaps record time. Under this wretched System we have here in USA, there isn’t a damned thing the Dems can do to derail this.

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    2. I am constantly reminded of the scene in “Aliens” when the Planetary Marines are ordered to remove the magazines from their weapons because it will be too dangerous to have bullets flying around. Trooper Frost asks, “What are we supposed to use, harsh language?”
      Joe Biden – it seems – wants to return to the Obama Years, but with him in the Big Chair.
      Bernie Sanders could never get across that socialism is not Communism.
      Donald Trump says, “I’m kicking the asses of all those people who have made your lives miserable.”
      The Republicans understand power and how to wield it, legally or otherwise.
      The Democrats had nearly four years to re-establish themselves as a party of the people and find a suitable candidate but spent their time engaged in pissing contests with Trump and McConnell and playing the TV game with their staged “debates.”
      All that’s left is to vote your conscience.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. And even in those staged debates, Bernie was building momentum, and should have won, but Obama and the DNC intervened and got Mayor Pete and Amy K. to drop out, etc.

        Mr. Hope and Change acted to limit our candidates while throwing his support behind Joe, ensuring we’d have no change and little hope.

        Water under the bridge, as they say. But I haven’t forgotten.

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      2. I’ll just point out that it is precisely the dominance of what passes for “public discourse” in this day and age by the extreme right that makes the Dems terrified to be seen by the electorate as anything remotely resembling “socialists.” One of the sickest phenomena I’ve observed these four years is Fox “News” becoming essentially the president’s personal propaganda outlet.

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        1. Yes. Dems should explain America needs to be a we-we society, not me-me. Because rugged individualism ends with us all eating one another. It’s not about “socialism”; it’s about teamwork and self-sacrifice. This is the sort of language Joe Sixpack understands. He sure doesn’t understand the finegrain details of democratic socialism. Not that he can’t — just that MSM propaganda, serving corporate agendas, teaches him to fear it and despise it.

          So talk about teamwork, coming together, sacrificing for the greater good, even taking one for the team: this language is far more acceptable than socialism … even though they end, I think, in similar legislation and organizations.

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    3. Well, sure. This is called preaching to the choir. Will it win over any “undecided” voters? Any of the dozen or so specimens of that creature I suspect dwell in the whole nation? The jury’s out!

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    1. Oh hell, seems like blaming China for the severity of the pandemic was the focus of Trump’s pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly this week! Here’s a shocking sentiment from me, a most severe critic of this country: I am not concerned about Donald refusing to step down in an electoral defeat. Though the ranks of the officer corps of US Military have swollen with “Evangelical Christians” in recent decades, I do NOT picture the military on the whole backing an attempt at a coup by Trump. Heck, I’ll go on record here and now as a volunteer to be on the squad that physically evicts the bastard from the White House!!

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      1. Michael Tracey @mtracey · “Those whose entire waking lives have been dedicated for 4+ years to screaming about the profound democracy-shattering danger of Trump won’t be able to deal with an anti-climactic ending. They’re desperate for an emotionally satisfying climax, even if THEY have to engineer it.”

        Which earned this from Glenn Greenwald:

        Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald Replying to @mtracey: “If he just loses a free and fair election & vacates the White House in favor of the judicially declared winner, so much of the #Resistance edifice — all the ratings and profits and social media booms — will collapse as a fraud, so they need him to mount a Nazi-refusal to leave.”

        As Count Dracula (in Love at First Bite) said to the pitchfork-and-torches bearing peasants cheering his eviction (by communist apparatchiks) from his family castle in Transylvania : “Go ahead. Have your fun. But without ME around, this place will be as exciting as … Bucharest … on a Monday night.”

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    2. You can always make a large number look smaller by comparing it to a larger number. Here in Taiwan on CNN International (during my wife-imposed 5-minute US-TV bullshit limit) President Trump proved that truism once again by blaming China for the Corona virus and touting 200,000 American deaths as “unfortunate” but proof of great success compared to the 2,000,000 Americans who “might have” died absent his great leadership. I didn’t even make it to the 5-minute mark, bailing out when the CNN anchor persons showed Trump holding a crowded campaign rally with not one person visible wearing a mask. Stupid and disgusting, really.

      Yesterday, my wife and I went to visit her (more elderly than me) aunt in the hospital where she currently struggles against cancer after undergoing various treatments for the illness. A very nice facility, a sort of “assisted living” attachment to the hospital proper. On the way there and back, we rode the inexpensive buses and subways, wearing our medical masks (we get nine of them every two weeks at the local pharmacies) like everyone else. At the subway and hospital entrances we had our hands disinfected and our temperatures taken by a light-beam thermometer aimed at the forehead. I came in at 36.0 (Celsius) and my wife 36.6 (for which she blamed menopause). Anything 37.0 or over and we would not have gained admission and would probably have wound up self-quarantined at home. Taiwan, needless to say, has no current cases of the virus and no deaths for quite some time. Pretty much the case in mainland China now, too.

      Competent governments that get the job done have no need to blame anyone else for failure. Nor do they need to compare Zero to any larger number in order to make the government, single-payer health care system, and civilized, common-sense society look competent. Meanwhile thousands more Americans will die because of incompetent governments (at several levels), a Wealth Care system that millions of sick Americans cannot access, and a self-centered, barbaric attitude towards less-well-off fellow citizens manifested by millions of Americans. To call that militarized marketing territory it a “civilized society” does violence to both the adjective and noun, at least from what the rest of the world sees regularly projected by navel-gazing, ratings-obsessed US corporate media.

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  11. To elaborate on my article: Trump makes his followers feel good — especially the base. The Democrats make their base feel unwanted, like a nuisance, an annoyance to be put up with every four years.

    Certain Democrats also make people (I should say White people like me) feel guilty. Racial reparations. Racism. Sexism. LGBTQ. Cancel culture. Colorism. Diversity. Who among us can truly say we feel confident we are free of bias? Who among us has not said something or done something (or failed to say or do something)?

    Don’t get me wrong here. I’m all for LGBTQ rights, I support BLM, etc. Activists hate to hear this, but you do have to be careful, or better yet clever, in how you sell your ideas. How you effect change.

    Trump makes certain people feel less guilty or even guiltless when they should feel very guilty indeed. The Dems sometimes make people feel more guilty when they should feel less so (about their frailties, weaknesses, biases, and so on; less guilty because their hearts are good, they’re reachable; and, after all, we’re all imperfect).

    Another way of saying this is that Democrats need a message of uplift, one that unifies. It’s not enough to say “Orange man bad.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am subject to very minimal propaganda from either party, having been priced out of being able to maintain cable TV. Since Orange Man dominates all news, by design, I see/hear far more from him than the other gusy. Then again, Pelosi is often in my ear on radio news soundbites. Cutting to the chase: I think Biden might have expressed some openness to reparations in one of the Dem. “debates,” period. I don’t see this as an issue the Dems WANT to push, or DARE to push! The GOP will raise this as just one of their specters haunting the society, threatening to ruin us if we don’t have the wisdom to keep The Donald around another four years. I certainly see nothing to celebrate in Trump’s blatantly racist supporters being made to “feel good” by their idol’s repulsive statements.

      Like

  12. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Donald Trump doesn’t even need two eyes when silly-narrative-blinded Americans refuse to focus on anything but him.

    Boobie Infotainment
    (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

    Some chose to place a saintly crown
    Upon her dead blonde head,
    While others felt relieved at last:
    “She’s better off,” they said.
    A woman born of others’ needs:
    An unreal life she led.

    The tabloids built an image up
    To vend to those who dreamed
    Of two deadbeat aristocrats
    Unreasonably teamed:
    A fable for frustrated lives
    Vicariously beamed

    Into those households where the proles
    Preferred their rubbish crass
    Along with propaganda “news,”
    Leaked from and to an ass,
    Delivered by celebrities
    With tits or balls of brass.

    Thus Marilyn, Diana, or
    Maid Monica will do —
    Along with Michael Jackson and
    Dead Elvis Presley, too —
    Distracting ‘Murcans from the bad
    And ugly larger view.

    Just so did Bush and Blair concoct
    Some “coalition” fun.
    They’d have a go at poor Saddam
    And set him on the run:
    The mad dog and his Englishman
    Out in the noonday sun.

    This illustrates a lesson that
    Some liars never learn:
    Do not believe the lie yourself
    Or else you’ll surely burn
    And find your ashes dumped into
    A small ceramic urn.

    As Hayakawa wrote, we have
    This thing, the Empty Eye:
    A Technicolor campfire on
    Which Boobies now rely
    To dull the pain with images
    That pass too swiftly by.

    The Eye emitted “content” both
    Innocuous and bland
    And pushed it past the limits of
    What Boobie brains could stand,
    Inducing thought rejection all
    Across the Boobies’ land.

    The pictures came and went too fast
    To process on the fly,
    So Boobies felt upset but they
    Could find no reason why.
    The only thing they knew is that
    They felt compelled to buy.

    With nervous systems stunned and jazzed
    They couldn’t bring to mind
    Some cartoons from the past that told
    Of just this Boobie kind:
    A salesman of the bait-and-switch
    Who robbed a sailor blind.

    He’d beg a meal from Popeye then
    This Wimpy guy would say:
    “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for
    A hamburger today.”
    Which meant, of course, that he had no
    Intention to repay.

    King George the bumbling Boobie, too,
    Worked things the selfsame way.
    He waged a war on nothing down
    But promised that some day
    Some other one would come along
    And all the costs defray.

    “When Tuesday comes, I won’t be here,”
    He snickered as he spent.
    “I’ll eat my burger now and get
    Those lenders to relent
    Till I can high-tail out of town
    And stiff them for the rent.”

    The Infotainment tabloids, though,
    Saw no need to retort.
    They liked the dead-blonde pictures that
    They showed around for sport.
    Convinced that only “good news” lies
    Deserved a full “report.”

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2006, 2009

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As usual, Trump goes batshit crazy, but it’s with a purpose. He’s establishing a narrative that mail-in voting is “out of control” and fixed for the Democrats. So, if he loses, he can actually argue he’s won, apparently hoping the Supreme Court will rule in his favor:

    “Will you commit to make sure there’s a peaceful transferral of power after the election?” Karem asked.

    All of his 43 predecessors would have said yes, presumably. But Trump replied: “We’re going to have to see what happens, you know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

    Karem shot back: “I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to make sure that there’s a peaceful transferral of power?”

    Still Trump refused to commit. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/23/donald-trump-press-conference-us-elections-breonna-taylor

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    1. Again, and uncharacteristically, I have to express enuf confidence in The System that cooler heads will prevail in sorting the (presumed) election out. It’s become impossible to weigh the outrageousness of Trump’s words and deeds one against another to determine a champ, but his announcement in advance of a presidential election that he will do everything in his power (legal or purely imaginary on his part) to HOBBLE the process–essentially to rig outcome in his favor–is surely a contender for that title. Grounds for impeachment in and of itself, surely, but we know that’s going nowhere.

      Like

    2. Oh, I meant to add that anyone planning to have a bottle of bubbly on ice ready to celebrate Trump’s defeat on the night of Nov. 3/4 better be prepared to keep that bottle unopened for a long damned time.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, once the bubbly is gone, all you’ll need will be need gasoline, powdered laundry detergent, a bit of rag/cloth, and an ignition source. If you’re going to use a champagne bottle, use a cheaper brand as on better quality hootch the glass may be too thick and not burst on contact.

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        1. B.T.W. In my City back when I was on the Job in a Factory Bldg. Worker- 3 Alarms a GA General Alarm that Burned suspiciously whilst in Overhauling Operations we also found said Wine Bottle near shattered window w/ Rag soaked in, but didn’t break, or explode (this Wine bottle glass was Tick!!) Long story short these bottles are not filled with Alcohol as you know it “Spirits”, but “Gasoline” Yes, lets hope we jest…

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    3. If you take a step back, think about how purely staggering it is to be justified in using the phrase, “batshit crazy” in connection with an ELECTED head of state. Old Eutope saw its share of mentally unfit monarchs, of course, but that was a matter of bloodline succession. The U.S. has inflicted a psychopath ON ITSELF, and may repeat the debacle. The guy in charge of our country is a nutcase. Boggles the mind. And how far gone are we that the craziness has been normalized?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Those “blue bloods” of Old Europe did not wield the power to do harm to the world that Trump possesses. And will the US EVER get rid of that godforsaken relic called the Electoral College?!? Obviously, not while GOP still has the presidency and a majority in Senate, but…some day?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When did any Democratic politician that you can remember ever try to rid the U.S. of the electoral college? If I remember correctly, after the 2016 decision, the desperate losing Democratic party candidate — You Know Her — tried to persuade a number of electors to switch their votes to her. The result: she lost by an even bigger margin as a few electors switched their vote from her to Colin Powell or someone else.

          The electoral college clearly violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection under the law” and on that basis the Supine Court should have long ago ruled the antiquated institution unconstitutional. Yet, for some reason, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have made the slightest effort to assure Americans of “one person one vote” equality. Both of America’s two principal right-wing factions agree that the electoral college presents them with opportunities to prevail even when the actual ballot-count totals might suggest otherwise. Third-party candidates like Ross Perot can win 19% of the popular vote and still not win a single electoral college vote, leaving a candidate like “Democrat” Bill Clinton looking like a clear winner when he only got 43% of the actual vote in 1992. So Democrats have just as much reason to support the electoral college as do Republicans.

          The electoral college continues because the US Marketing Territory’s Corporate Duopoly wants it to continue. And until the US Empire does what the Soviet Union did: peacefully reorganizing societal, economic, and political systems while divesting itself of parasitic vassal dependencies — most notably NATO and the Zionist Occupation of Palestine — the ridiculous institutional relic of American “slavery time” will remain.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Speaking of delivering to one’s base, Joe Biden just delivered to his (supposed) base the kick in the teeth “the left” always gets from Corporate Democrats. “<b<I beat the socialist!” Joe proudly proclaims, dropping another little turd into Bernie Sanders’ wide open mouth. What a “friend” you have in Joe, eh, Bernie? With a cuck like you telling me to vote for Joe Biden, you can rest assured I wouldn’t do any such thing under any circumstance imaginable. I’d really rather have the Republicans doing their own dirty work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Old Story which the corrupt career of Joe Biden only too amply illustrates. More generally, from Democracy, Incorporated, by Sheldon Wolin:

      While the Republican Party is ever vigilant about the care and feeding of its zealots, the Democratic Party is equally concerned to discourage its democrats.
      The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts points to the crucial fact that, for the poor, minorities, the working class, anti-corporatists, pro-environmentalists, and anti-imperialists, there is no opposition party working actively on their behalf. And this despite the fact that these elements are recognized as the loyal base of the party. By ignoring dissent and by assuming that the dissenters have no alternative, the party serves as an important, if ironical, stabilizing function and in effect marginalizes any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans.” [emphasis added]

      Thomas Frank, a long-time student of right-wing populism in America explains:

      “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.” [emphasis added]
      . . .
      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.” [emphasis added]

      Republicans want to win (power and wealth). Democrats just want to get paid (a little). But “Independent” Bernie Sanders only wants to stay “friends” with a Democratic party that openly despises him and those “socialists” dumb enough to think he really wants to lead some sort of working-class “revolution.” And now Joe Biden joins Donald Trump in publicly pissing all over “socialist” Bernie Sanders and any possible working-class program like those that FDR instituted during the Great Depression.

      A good video on this from Jimmy Dore (Sept. 25, 2020): BIDEN Blast BERNIE in Attempt To Get VOTES!. Go get those Republican votes, Joe. The right-hand shoulder of the political road (or “center,” as you corporate Democrats call it) lies wide upon for one of your patented passing maneuvers. You know, the kind that worked so well for you in 2004 and 2016. Another crypto-fascist food fight slouching towards another November with the the “socialist” working class and their “hero” excluded, of course.

      Like

      1. For those interested in Joe Biden’s career-long love of Republicans (like Paul Ryan and Bob Dole) and contempt for the common American citizen, I’ve done a transcript of the above Jimmy Dore video here.

        Joe Biden. What an arrogant, bald-faced horse’s ass. No thank you, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders for your joint demand that I vote for someone determined to cut Social Security and increase military spending, exactly what Republican President Trump has done or will do if re-elected. What did President Harry S. Truman say? “If you give the American people a choice between a Republican and someone who just looks, talks, and acts like a Republican, then they’ll pick the real Republican every time.” Looks like a guarantee this November, no matter what letter of the alphabet appears next to the candidate’s name on a ballot.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So sad and disappointing about Bernie. Give me Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich.

        But, as Jimmy Dore said, Bernie didn’t want to be exiled like Nader was. And Bernie still wants his perks from his senate seat. So he’s decided to play along, even as they continue to kick him even when he’s down.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agree, especially in regard to Kucinich. He refused to be silenced, was gerrymandered out of office (because he would never have lost a Congressional election), and has been effectively marginalized, though he still continues to work for his causes behind the scenes. But for Dennis, it was never about the perks. He’s always been the real deal.

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          1. Kucinich signed his own (mainstream, at least) political death warrant when he proposed a Department of Peace to replace the MIIC!! (I added an ‘I’ to represent the “Intelligence” community.) I definitely respect the chap.

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          2. You’re so right about that! I canvassed for him a couple times and attended several of his speeches. He’s a true Progressive who actually walks the walk, no matter what it costs him, as you point out.

            As you probably know, he saved the publicly owned electrical utility when he was mayor of Cleveland, upon which the “vested interests” called in the city’s loans. He did a truly heroic thing, and to this day, the people who are clueless still vilify him, saying he bankrupted the city. He also tried to break organized crime’s hold on the waste hauling sector, resulting in a contract’s being put out on him at one point. Small guy, but a tireless fighter.

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          3. The mainstream media, along with the DNC, are always at pains to portray Kucinich, Nader, even Bernie as wild-hair radicals who are unelectable.

            They’re not unelectable: the owners simply don’t want us to elect them.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Exactly so. During his last presidential candidacy, Dennis, along with others, was omitted from debates, a common practice with Dems. Moreover, there was a press blackout on his movements. He posed a danger to the status quo, especially as he’s a riveting, powerful speaker. I well remember his perennial closing line: “Courage, America!” Meaning we should have the strength to look at things as they are and change them. He also would stand on a dais and slowly rotate in a full circle, saying, “Look! No [corporate] strings!” He was as good as his word, too—per a Dem candidate slate profile, his extremely modest home was worth a small fraction of those of his competitors. They stopped just short of making fun of him. Evidently, living a frugal life is inconsistent with political legitimacy.

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          5. Of course, the courage of our fellow citizens to look in the mirror and accept that they have allowed things to get this bad is precisely what’s LACKING. Most appallingly, it appears up to 40% of them gravitate to the blatant racism displayed by Trump & Co. The Ruling Class couldn’t pray for a dandier level of division in the working class to allow them to steamroller their way to a New Age of Austerity. It’s coming!! Austerity for just about everyone but “the 1%,” of course. Just keep blaming “the other,” America, and your bosses will be in Seventh Heaven. The rest of us will be on a lower level of Dante’s Hell.

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          6. Yes, Greg. Roughly 40% of those who vote. But the biggest block of Americans are eligible voters who don’t vote. They think their vote doesn’t matter, or they’re turned off by the whole corrupt system, or they’re apathetic.

            We need to motivate more people to vote — which is why the Biden/Harris ticket of boring establishment puppets is so disappointing. They’re not offering much of anything to get people to the polls — or to mail those ballots.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. It’s a case of a boring choice, yes, but I’d go further, and say that the very fact that the Dems are running Biden/Harris confirms to voters that the fix is in. Even an uninformed person can see that there’s not much to choose between the two slates. All this aside from the fact that the Orange Menace is openly promising controversy if the results don’t clearly favor him. After I saw the 2000 and 2004 elections very obviously stolen, I don’t think there’s much point in going to the polls myself, but I’ll do it, because it’s part of citizenship. Even if it’s only a formality.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. Whoa, Denise, whoa!! Not much of a difference between the two slates?? Of course they’re BOTH pro-Business and pro-War, but I would not be willing to vote for Biden if not for the utterly depraved condition of his opponent! Trump truly has been a unique holder of this office, which fulfills his fantasy of going down in history as a Great Man. And a sordid, sorry fantasy is all that is.

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          9. I stand by my comment. The two candidates’ personas may be different, but they’re both bought and paid for, both pro-war, as you say, both pro-Wall Street, both against universal healthcare, and neither one is going to rock the boat for the sake of the environment. Biden has already assured his donors that he plans to make no significant changes. Obama is lauded for the ACA, and it did guarantee coverage for millions of people (NOT at bargain-basement prices, mind you), but it also guaranteed billions to the predatory insurance industry. Playing the corporate game, in other words. Biden will be the same: looting the country to serve big business. The fact that he just isn’t as personally repulsive as the current Occupant won’t mean much in practical terms to the average citizen.

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          10. I believe the personal repulsiveness of the incumbent and what he “stands for”–above all, the vile racism and xenophobia–is precisely what will decide this election. IF it can be conducted fairly. After all, The Donald has made himself absolutely inescapable in the mass media. He’s the only news item worth paying attention to, right?

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          11. I think the Orange One’s racism and xenophobia will keep his base loyal. Otherwise, i think it’s a crap shoot. After all, Biden has misogyny in his background, and he never deplored the racism of those he worked with in his “across the aisle” efforts; for example, Strom Thurmond, his “closest friend,” per one comment. Yes, that was 30-odd years ago, and times have changed, but then again, Uncle Joe never really apologized to Anita Hill. He’s not as in-your-face with his more unsavory traits, but his baggage is considerable.

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          12. Of course–as I’ve been stressing for months immemorial now (!)–the racism is what Trump’s base devours and celebrates. I had in mind first-time voters, perhaps, even if they’re 99 years of age! Mike Tyson–Mike Tyson, hey!–has stated he’s motivated to vote this year for first time in his life!

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          13. Now, now! Best to not make Mr. Tyson angry! In all seriousness, though, he ain’t a dummy and he’s had a difficult life, to put it mildly!

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          14. Those who can’t “be bothered” to vote are absolutely correct, of course, that the only “choice” is between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The only hope of being rid of Trump is that he has irritated enuf voters who still have some grasp of human decency that they will vote AGAINST continuation of his wretched reign. Sure, it would be nice if “the other guys” came up with a youngish, inspiring candidate, but we’re stuck with what we’re stuck with. [All this requires an asterisk questioning whether this election can be conducted reasonably on the level.] I find it very interesting that pro “wrestling” superstar turned star of some really dopy movies, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (a Samoan by origin), today endorsed Biden, and complimented Kamala Harris as “a real badass”!! One would assume most fans of WWE are for Trump. If ‘The Rock’ can sway this election against Trump, more power to him!!

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          15. Or….they’re keeping the proles quiet by keeping up a facade about the worth of votes. If there is a “winner” and a “loser,” then the machinations can remain hidden. In 2004, especially, the fix was in long before the polls opened (go to blackboxvoting.org). If nothing else, the results directly contradicted the blue shift theory. But I watched as Ohio was decisively called for John Kerry a little after midnight on Election Night, and then by 6 AM—after the polling data was routed through a server in Kentucky—lo and behold, Dubya came out on top. All courtesy of then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, along with Ohio maker of voting machines, Diebold, a corporation whose CEO had vowed to do everything possible to re-elect Dubya. All this to say that, imho, the entire election process is a kubuki play, staged by the real decision makers.

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          16. Certainly, “We the people” don’t get to make the big decisions. Even if we could elect someone to the highest office who was highly critical of “American Exceptionalism”–fat chance, right?!–there’d be zero guarantee that person, once in office, wouldn’t launch a new round of wars of choice. This is the ultimate rottenness of The System. Looking at a really far out scenario, suppose Kucinich has gotten elected POTUS! We believe that, personally, he would sooner cut off his right arm than send the country to war. But…reluctance to please the real powers that be could have literally cost him his life.

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          17. As it did JFK, and Bobby, and MLK, Jr.

            I did fear for Kucinich’s life, as a matter of fact, even while he was campaigning. Had he miraculously been elected, I doubt he would have served a year of his term.

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  15. BTW, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of the commenters at the site. You make this site so much more interesting and provocative. I learn as much from you as you do from me — probably more.

    So thanks for taking the time to read and comment and participate.

    Like

  16. I keep getting emails from Biden/Harris asking me for money. They seem to think I’m a “supporter,” even though I never signed up and never gave them anything. Of course, they never ask me what I think; they only ask for money.

    You haven’t done anything for me, Joe, and your positions on most issues are contrary to mine. So why should I give you money?

    Perhaps you might consider adopting a progressive policy or two, instead of dunking on Bernie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s alotta work asking to be unsubscribed from emails from various parts of “Team Blue.” They’re operating many “fronts.” And Biden’s not doing badly in fundraising anyway, I hear.

      Like

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