Monday Musings, October Surprise Edition

My vote for 2020 is in …

W.J. Astore

The real October surprise is that there is no surprise. Trump or Biden will win, meaning Wall Street, Big Finance, and the Military-Industrial Complex win. (Biden is on record as saying he would increase defense spending!) All you “little people,” whether you’re for Trump or Biden: you lose.

My dad, born in 1917 and a survivor of the Great Depression, used to remind me you need three things in life: A roof over your head, three square meals, and clothes to keep you warm. (Nowadays, given the high cost of getting sick, I’d add health care coverage.) How sad is it that America may soon face a massive eviction crisis, and is already seeing people hungry in the streets, even as Wall Street booms? (Yes, I know America has had trouble housing and feeding people for decades — and it’s only getting worse.)

Amy Coney Barrett was picked for one reason, and one reason alone: Her mentors and handlers know how she will vote in the future. So much for judicial independence.

When you think about it, there shouldn’t be “liberal” or “conservative” justices. Each justice should interpret the law based on her understanding of it informed by her conscience. If this were true, justices would be more or less unpredictable in their rulings. But the justices are hopelessly politicized, rendering “justice” politicized as well.

Speaking of justice, Amy Coney Barrett is a friend of corporations; she’s also uncertain whether global warming even exists. Does this sound like a person with a strong conscience, someone who will fight for equality under the law?

What does it mean that the U.S. military is still at war in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but that few Members of Congress even attempt to exercise oversight of the same, let alone make an attempt to end these wars?

I got my ballot this weekend. Faced with a choice of voting for Biden and Harris versus Trump and Pence, I wrote in Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders, in that order. It’s the only way I couldn’t waste my vote.

Tulsi would make a great president. Young, insightful, smart, she’s taken a critical stance against the military-industrial complex and wants to end America’s awful regime-change wars. Bernie would make a terrific vice president. Seasoned, dedicated, he could focus on domestic policy while Tulsi remakes U.S. foreign policy. Imagine if Bernie really could advance his essential policies: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college education, relief of student debt, and so on. Gabbard and Sanders are the closest candidates to my positions, so I voted for them.

There are still plenty of good people in the USA, but callousness and cruelty are on the rise. Who knew that as the Covid-19 death toll soars past 200,000 to approach possibly as high as 400,000 by the new year, so many people would just shrug collectively and then consider voting for a man who so disastrously mismanaged the pandemic response? Trump — what a loser!

Speaking of Trump, is he even our president? As near as I can tell, he’s spent most of his presidential days golfing, tweeting, attending rallies, signing statements and holding them up like a child, and traveling to and from his various resorts. America’s next authoritarian autocrat will be far less lazy and spoiled — and far more dangerous to the world.

28 thoughts on “Monday Musings, October Surprise Edition

  1. I’m just curious about how a write-in vote for President works. Since we don’t really vote for the person but for the electors associated with the person, Trump or Biden. So what would happen if Gabbard actually got a plurality or even a majority, what is the obligation of the electors?

    Thanks for the thoughtful articles, always learn something from your site.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Unfortunately, when Trump HASN’T been golfing (cheating on his score, of course!), spewing racist drivel at rallies or insulting members of his own administration via Twitter (Dr. Fauci is really under the gun right now, but Trump would rather drive him out than openly fire him; so far, no luck for Donald), he has been signing executive orders that intentionally accelerate the destruction of the country’s and world’s environment. To me, that is the only argument needed that this man is genuinely evil and I can’t find it in my heart to ever forgive him for that. Oh, by the way, there’s still time for an “October surprise”! No specific prediction from this quarter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How write-in votes are handled varies from state to state. Many decades ago, I wrote in some Socialist candidates for POTUS/VP, but since they weren’t declared “official” write-in candidates in my state of residence, my vote absolutely was not counted. And so it goes.

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    1. I’m just so tired of hearing I need to vote for the lesser of two evils.

      Tulsi could have been our Jacinda Ardern. But the DNC, joined by NBC News and amplified by Hillary Clinton, chose to smear Tulsi as a Russian agent. To me, it’s unforgivable. As is Obama intervening to throw the race to Biden and steal it from Bernie. Shameful.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bill–Of course we’re tired of voting for “the lesser evil.” But to fail to do that empowers the greater evil. Prior to this year, the only time I ever voted along these lines was to vote for Obama in 2008 (I decidedly did NOT vote for him again, after he showed his “true colors”). The fact that I feel compelled to vote for Joe, even though my state “in theory” should be a safe win for Biden, is simply a measure of how unacceptable the alternative is. Anyone who thinks Trump is “just another Republican” is way off the mark, in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I understand. As I’ve said, I live in blue state that Biden will carry comfortably, so I have the luxury (ha!) of voting the way I want.

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          1. The “lesser evil” was Sanders (I have trouble with many of his foreign policy positions and his signing on with the anti-Russia hysteria so don’t consider him an ideal candidate but he was the best one who has made a serious go of it in my lifetime) but he was so much less evil there was no way the citizens of the US were ever going to be allowed to see him win the nomination. At best I see a Biden win as putting Washington into a holding pattern while things continue to deteriorate and thus setting the scene for a competent and energetic authoritarian to come on the scene. Just think, the race is still fairly close at the moment. Without the pandemic, something that could hardly be counted on in strategizing an election Trump would likely have a clear lead right now, despite everything he’s done – and failed to do. I find that quite remarkable.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Certainly things will continue to go downhill regardless of who occupies the White House come January. I have to agree Trump would have a very good chance of winning IF those who can’t stomach him didn’t bother to vote. But it always comes down to this: we’re voting AGAINST someone more than voting FOR the opponent. The crucial issue now is how many anti-Trump votes will be made to mysteriously disappear in districts controlled by GOP.

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        2. I don’t know what the effective answer is, Greg. But I agree that continually having only two bad choices is not acceptable. The only way for that situation to change would be for the Progressives to split off and no longer suffer the slings and arrows of the DNC.

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          1. An actual independent, progressive party (which presumably the Greens are, though I haven’t even studied their platform for this year) would, of course, be attacked by the GOP and the Dems! Especially if they gained the influence that would make them a credible contender for major elected offices. I’m not saying no such effort should be made, but given the sad state of our fellow citizens, devouring “conspiracy theories” via YouTube, unable to think at all independently, I don’t see a whole lot of hope for this nation. And now, some of “someone’s” supporters are reportedly making death threats against Dr. Anthony Fauci! Gee, I wonder whose supporters those could be!!

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, one gov’t agency or another (FBI? “Homeland Security”?) has acknowledged that groups like “The Proud Boys” are the #1 threat for domestic terrorism. Yet, “remarkably,” on Trump’s watch no vigorous measures are being taken to deal with this. Trump and his underlings would rather rant about “antifa,” which isn’t even an official organization. IF another “debate” takes place on 10/22 (CNN online reports there are already doubts), will Trump again issue instructions to “Proud Boys” over the airwaves?

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  4. From the Moon of Alabama blog:

    [begin quote]
    Now onto the other election that is on peoples’ mind.

    While most polls show that Joe Biden will win the U.S. election my gut is telling me that Donald Trump will have a second term. The election might well become a repeat of 2016 when Trump won even though most media had predicted that Hillary Clinton would win.

    There are two main reasons for this. The local ground game and enthusiasm for the candidates.

    The Democrats have neglected the ground game. Their get out the vote efforts seem minimal. Meanwhile the Republicans are going from door to door and have registered large number of voters:

    Republican registration has ticked up in key states at the same time Democratic field operations were in hibernation. Democratic turnout is surging in the early vote. But it’s unclear whether it will be enough to overcome an expected rush of ballots that Republicans, leerier of mail voting, will cast in person on Election Day.

    There is uncertainty about the accuracy of polling in certain swing states, the efficacy of GOP voter suppression efforts and even the number of mail-in ballots that for one reason or another will be disqualified.

    Biden has collected more donations than Trump but money can only buy him advertisement. Trump gets media attention for free due to the constant outrage the Democrats project on him.

    The second reason for predicting a Trump win is the enthusiasm of his supporters. Video shows thousands of people standing at the streets to wave at a passing Trump convoy in California. Meanwhile Biden goes out to read from giant teleprompters to empty parking lots.

    While Trump will be campaigning all week Biden decided to stay at home to prepare for the next debate. How can he defend himself against the serious corruption accusations that his son’s emails seem to support?

    The Democrats under Biden have shunned the progressive policies who brought the most enthusiasm to the primaries. Everyone presumes that the center-right Biden is just a stand in who will be removed soon to be replaced by the center-right Kamala Harris. Harris has been Hillary Clinton’s choice since at least mid 2017. During the primaries she never polled higher than 2%. Politically she is not an attractive candidate.

    The other people behind the Biden/Harris campaigns are just the same warmongers who wreaked havoc all over the world during the Obama administration.

    Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms – 22:14 UTC · Oct 18, 2020

    I’m expecting America to get needlessly involved in more conflicts in the name of democracy, freedom, credibility, resolve & leadership. Just listen to folks like Michèle Flournoy, Mayor Pete, Susan Rice. Non-intervention has been branded as a Putin gift. We live in stupid times.

    Patrick Porter @PatPorter76 · 5h

    I’m skeptical of whether a Biden presidency will significantly draw down US military presence in ME. As well as the general forces that favour inertia, there will always be more pressing things for a new Democrat president to do.

    Trump has botched the response to the pandemic. But would a Democratic president have done better against the resistance of many states against harsher control measures? The reasons the U.S. was hit so hard are in my view ingrained in its society. A different president would have prepared somewhat better but the outcome would likely not have been much different.

    On most domestic issues Trump is only slightly to the right of a Biden/Harris administration. His foreign policy is less warmongering but more chaotic than a Democratic administration would likely be. That makes him in total more preferable to me.

    That does not mean that I would vote for Trump. If I had a vote in the upcoming election it would likely go to where it does the least harm – to some third party candidate who argues for more peaceful and more socialist policies.

    [end quote]

    A lucid analysis from “b” who writes from Berlin, Germany, I believe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. An interesting comment on the above article at Moon of Alabama:

      As for the enthusiasm thing. My guess is the “foot soldiers” of the Democratic Party, the people who historically go house to house to do campaign for the party, migrated to Bernie Sanders. When Bernie Sanders was robbed of the nomination twice in a row, the Democratic Party essentially lost its “foot soldiers”. In my opinion, this was a calculated risk: the DNC certainly knew it would happen, and decided they were not worth the risk of nominating a socialist.
      — Posted by: vk | Oct 19 2020

      Oh yes, and about Berie “the cuck” Sanders doing that Pied Piper thing leading the little Democratic party “foot soldier” mice down to the river to drown — for the DNC/Republican town fathers who reliably stiff him for his “fee” — some ’60s-era lyrical accompaniment for Bernie’s latest humiliating campaign rally for “good friend” Joe (“I beat the Socialist”) Biden, held at an empty parking lot in front of an out-of-business J. C. Penny’s near you: “Love me, I’m a Liberal”, by Phil Ochs.

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    2. Of course we know Biden’s going to win because the polls (and pols) say so. Right, Mike? Just like Hillary was supposed to win in a landslide in 2016 …

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