It actually makes sense…not the talking point, but the effort to cast Ukraine in terms of America’s culture war. That makes it especially nuts given that Ukraine is probably as socially conservative as many right wingers thanks to the deep Orthodox Church influence in Ukraine society. But, Republicans need to find room to the opposite of Biden – so why not cast Ukraine as a hotbed of ‘occult’ or satanic cult worship to make it easy to hate them and rally to Putin’s side. Totally unhinged, but this is today’s Trump/Republican party.
No, its not what you think.
So let me get one thing clear right now. Donald Trump is a fascist who tried to steal power by subverting what’s supposed to be a mundane transfer of power from one President to another.
But he’s worse than that.
His entire ‘governing’ legacy is tragic story of the absurd.
Far from being the voice of the little guy, the candidate to ‘drain the swamp’; Donald Trump was solely the voice of himself and his cabal of insiders – most of all his family. Donald Trump is the swamp he campaigned against in 2016.
His campaign was right out of Mein Kampf, playing group against group in 2016. His skillful use of racist dog-whistle politics gathered a coalition of hate around him that in the strategic concentrations where they voted – flipped electoral math on its head.
Donald Trump brought together a disgruntled and poor voting block (who have real economic grievances) along side those whose cultural hatreds towards hispanic peoples and blacks were in large enough numbers that when pooled with traditional conservative voters of the Republican Party were enough to win the election.
That’s the simple version of how he got into office in the first place.
How he governed as the 45th President will be a fascinating tale told in court rooms as he is held to account for his crimes against America; and there are many.
But what I appreciate about Trump – in the most sincere way – is that he and his movement are defined by the hooligans, thugs and terrorists that tried to violently overthrow the US government to stop President-Elect Biden from being certified as the winner of a landslide election that he won fairly. It wasn’t close.
Trump and his ilk took issue with math itself; failed to understand the laws and the constitution, and violated the law and order narrative told by his party for the last 60 years.
Trump and his terrorists launched an attack on the capitol that can only be rivalled by actions taken by the old Confederacy in the US Civil War – a secessionist regime which split from America in its quest to defend its ‘states right’ to maintain slavery. That is quite the company to keep.
And there has to be a reckoning. There was the Nuremburg Trials after the last world war that held former Nazi regime officials, party officials, SS officials for their actions and crimes against humanity. So there must be a great accountability for the Trump regime and those who profited from his ‘leadership’.
Will the Republicans learn? Hard to say. Every time they lose an election, they resolve to take their party further right because they feel it didn’t act or campaign conservative enough.
After Jimmy Carter won the Whitehouse in 1976, Republicans went far right and teamed up with Christian Conservatives to gain the votes needed to win in 1980 under Reagan. When that coalition fell apart in 1992, they regrouped and went further right in 2000 with neo-conservatives under George W. Bush. When Barack Obama won the Whitehouse in 2008, the Republicans went yet further into the right wing fringe with the Tea Party movement.
And then Donald Trump launched his campaign in 2016 with his famous racist speech attacking Mexicans. Finally, the Republicans tapped into the last vestige of crazy right wing voters.
How much further right will the Republican party go before they fall off the edge. Will this be a test for the American right. Its happened before when a major party found itself in an existential crisis; the old “Whig Party” who served up several Presidents prior to 1860 blew apart in favour of the Democratic/Republican tilt. Internally, the Democratic Party who used to be the racist, rural party that gave safe haven to KKK leaning folks found its spine and under President Johnson signed the voter rights act.
The Republican Party as drifted so far to the right that it would have rejected candidates like Reagan or Eisenhower or Bush. Its fallen off the cliff of what is reasonably expected of parties that exist within a democratic, liberty loving country.
They embraced fascism.
Worse, the darkest elements of Christian Nationalism (who are the core of the white-supremacist movement) rose to high positions in the ‘MAGA’ world. To them, Donald Trump was Jesus…and a whole lot of evangelic leaders followed along with that misguided idea. That the most corrupt, conflicted, greedy and self absorbed political figurehead (Trump) was the symbol of the onset of the final days and the Biblically foretold tribulation.
No. Trump is a fraud there too.
Substantially, Joe Biden is far more pious and religiously aligned than Trump. BY A LONG SHOT. It was a permission structure that opened the potential of a small segment of Trump-hostile Republicans to vote Biden – who might have stayed home otherwise. Why certain evangelicals stuck with Trump is beyond reason – even in any biblical sense.
So much for ‘render unto Caesar what is his’, etc (Mark 12:17).
Evangelical Christianity has now defined itself as a political movement that is intolerant, undemocratic and hyper-judgmental. Ask any one of them and they’ll tell you that only their brand of Christianity is the truth and the light – any only their interpretation of the Bible is valid; they installed themselves as the gatekeeper of heaven.
That’s not faith or religion. That’s a cult.
That’s not the Jesus I’ve known. But then again. These folks have made Donald Trump into the messiah. The fact that he wasn’t supported by a majority of voters and lost an election to Biden is the square peg that didn’t fit into their round hole. They weren’t prepared to accept this as a possibility; so they – with Trump, called the election a fraud and took sides with the terrorists’ that tried to overthrow the US government on January 6.
Now that every legal avenue to dispute the election result is exhausted – and a total lack of evidence to the contrary, no electoral fraud – it was a free and fair election, some still align with Trump and the mythology of the stolen election.
The damage of Trump and his ‘evangelical’ base to American democracy will heal in time; but not before a full accounting and appropriate justice is rendered. What happens next is that the Republican Party might fold and a new conservative, coherent party may rise in its wake.
But what I appreciate about Trump is that he ripped the scab off and exposed parts of American society that are infected with the poison of hatred and that is the first step towards healing.
Trump is a terrible person who is rotten to the core. But further judgement on his character and/or legal misdeeds will be up to the justice system. For the rest of us, we’ll interpret the Trump legacy for what it is; a blight on humanity for all that it represents and hopefully the turning point to return to better days ahead.
Between #defundpolice to cheering on the random vandalism against monuments and statues, the stupid-left is doing Trump’s work for him.
I’m not kidding either.
I understood the #defundpolice ‘movement’ as a cry for help. A demand to rethink policing; in fact, several pundits have described this out well and its not an unreasonable idea to hold. But I’ll be yelled at by some who’ve driven off the ideas cliff that “no, we need to shut down all police departments…no police at all.”
That’s a non starter with me. And its not that I side with police who engage in violent behavior – I don’t. Every officer needs to he held accountable for their actions, including their superiors who enable them and the public officials (politicians) who set the narrative.
Policing, in places, is sick and it needs help. The cure is going to suck for sure, but if we’re to continue to be a society of (fair) rules and laws, then dramatic reform is necessary. Even Camden New Jersey, who abolished their police force, has a police force. Reformed and restructured.
If I had my wits about me, I’d be arguing that the notion of ‘defund the police’ is the workings of far right dark arts specialists. Because defunding something in the public realm (which only needs reforms) is uniquely conservative.
First, we do not place statues that honour white supremacists and Nazi’s. That’s why you don’t find them in post war Germany. Oddly, you find them in the deep south of America. Great, towering monuments to revered Confederate Generals who fought the lost cause against the northern invaders. Oh wait, it was the south that split from the north because they sought to protect the state’s right to maintain slavery.
Germany was smart that way. Once the war was over and began to reconstruct their democracy, they outlawed any Nazi symbols, flags, etc. Not to erase the past, but so that it doesn’t get glorified. Learning about the genocide of Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime is required learning by school kids so that they fully understand what tyranny looks like. Nothing is sugar coated.
The old confederacy however got its losing story retold and a complicit nation did nothing about it. For the better part of a century past the end of the US Civil War, political pressure made it possible that southern leaders got to re-tell the story. That it was the War of Northern Aggression, not the reunification war that it was intended. In all fairness, President Lincoln stated that he would have reunited the country with or without slavery; it wasn’t until later in the war that he found his abolitionist salvation that he is remembered for.
The statues to General Lee and ‘President’ Jefferson Davis are as offensive to African-Americans as one to Adolph Hitler would be to a German; or any reasonable minded person. But I am not in favour of the archaic vandalism used to bring them down.
Yes, the monuments that lionize Confederates and their ’cause’ should come down and appropriately placed in museums that give proper context and unvarnished facts about the inhuman slavery cause they were fighting to defend; akin to modern venues where the history of the Third Reich are told.
What folks are seeing is an angry mob move into a town square; vandalize and rip down a statue. This is political manna from heaven for Donald Trump. He’s looking to secure a coalition of voters to give him a second term and the stupid-left is doing his work for him. He needs voters from a moderate to conservative voter position to see the alternative as unacceptable. Its working.
Yes the monuments need to come down. But it needs to be part of the re-education process. The affected states and towns need to solicit ideas to what should replace these icons of hate; get citizens involved – as opposed to seeing a mob smash shit.
These once-revered characters sought to preserve the crimes of human slavery and get no honour from us anymore. Sites should be re-dedicated to those who fought against slavery, those who died because of slavery. Confederates were the enemy and they lost. End of story.
By no means am I trying to undermine #blacklivesmatter. Or those calling for major police reforms now. I agree. I support your right to be out, be loud, but not to throw punches, rocks, bottles or otherwise. Both the American and Canadian constitution protect your right to peacefully assemble; but the key is peaceful. To be sure, most are. So don’t give in to the tiny handful of violent saboteurs or you’ll make yourself the unwitting stars in very effective Donald Trump ads.
Do you know how narrative works? Because we’re going to get a hard lesson in narrative.
The George Lloyd murder and subsequent widespread protests against police brutality. For the record, I am in full support of all of these peaceful protests; but reject any and all violence and vandalism/looting. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
The calls for reform to American policing (and elsewhere) are strong; and justified. The increased militarism of some forces, lack of proper training – especially de-escalation, added with some long standing failures of civic and government leaders to address long standing poverty and racial inequality issues has led to this moment. Again.
Lo and behold: #defundpolice.
I’ll just remind readers that I am fully in favour of policing reforms; every community large and small deserves a well trained police who maintain the peace and are active in their communities. We’re not there yet. A militaristic approach to peaceful protesters is a warm breath away from the Banana Republics we’re all pretending we’re opposed to. I didn’t see any riot police or national guard patrol or harass crowds gathered to demand hair cuts. (covid19)
But, “defund police”?
Here we get to a serious divide between rational left, and stupid-left. To take the hashtag at face value, some are arguing that police forces be abolished and their funding be wiped from budgets. Surely that’s not what they mean, right? Well not exactly, its a meme around ‘police reform’.
Cool. So why didn’t you say so?
Because on cue, opponents of the left have seized the moment and now argue that THE DEMOCRATS want to abolish police by defunding it. Its false, and Joe Biden has been forced to pivot to deny that narrative.
But you can guess who’s gonna run with it.
Of course he is. He’s trying to pin the Democrats and Joe Biden *as* ANTIFA, who now want to abolish police forces in America; risking the health and safety of Americans..it might work.
What some Canadian bloggers and far left activists don’t get is that the layers of Canadian political themes don’t apply in America. The NDP and Green Party of Canada have no parallel in America. Democrats would position themselves just right of the Liberal Party of Canada and Republicans would be somewhat right of the Conservative Party of Canada. NDP/GPC would be off the map. So attaching our narratives to the American political realm is out to lunch.
I hope that the lions share of voters dismiss this as a stunt. There are consequences to having Trump in office for another four years; one of them being a further militarization of police, crushing of first amendment freedoms to state a couple risks. Joe Biden is a flawed candidate to be sure, just like Hillary Clinton was; and as flawed as the Barack Obama Presidency. But the shortcomings and flaws of Biden et al, are far superior to Trump *delivering* on his agenda.
Weaken Biden means to Elect Trump.
You know its true. Joe Biden isn’t Barack Obama and doesn’t illicit the same passion and groundswell of support that then Senator Obama did in the lead up to his 2008 election…and you know what? That’s perfectly ok.
There are few political candidates that drum up that sort of gut bending passion that you want to bend over backwards for them. Certainly it was Barack Obama, perhaps Bernie Sanders, once it was Ronald Reagan, or Justin Trudeau here in Canada. That luster wears off in time and its a contest of ideas (as it should be).
Joe Biden doesn’t do it at all. While he was an enthusiastic campaigner and very capable Vice President to Barack Obama, on his own terms, he’s not ‘that guy’.
He doesn’t have to be.
American politics are going through the other side of what began in 2008. Where there was hope and potential of great progress under Obama, the arrival of Donald Trump as President in 2016 is the exact opposite of hope and progress. He is literally the antidote of the excitement and promise the 2008 election.
Donald Trump is the worst excesses of the Tea Party movement filtered down through the most offensive and militant versions of racism and bigotry imaginable.
If there is anything that progressives, liberals and the left are guilty of, it was to pretend that this hateful force doesn’t hold any sway. They apparently vote…and in large enough numbers that they can win elections.
There are some D’s still fretting about 2016 like it was a stolen election. It wasn’t. Popular vote doesn’t determine elections, despite runaway tallies the Democrats had in their core, big states. What they cannot defend is how they lost swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and dropped (in percentage) support in areas they did win. There was a pronounced swing against the Democratic party thanks to the angry racially populist messaging of Donald Trump. Given the tightness of the polls right now, Joe Biden has to offer more than “I’m not Trump” as a narrative.
To the left wingers and progressive populists that were aligned with Bernie Sanders, I know your disappointment. This is the second, and probably last time that Sanders will make a play for the Democratic Party Presidential Nomination. Progressives will have to think up something different if they wish to change America.
And this leads me to a point I think is necessary to discuss. There are those genuinely on the left so disappointed at Bernie Sanders’ withdrawal from the race that they’re actively trying to undermine Joe Biden. Either you’re a closet Trump supporter clawing your way into the open, or you’re probably stupid.
Yes I said that.
Here’s the problem.
America is not Canada.
In Canada, we have a robust multi-party democratic system. Its not just Liberal vs Conservative; those voters further to the left or right have different options.
The American system isn’t designed this way. Oh, yes it should be different, and that’s nice debate to have, but that’s not the reality on the ground.
Either Donald Trump gets another four years in power, or he’s stopped.
The frustration of the left is understandable. We’re proving that major government intervention is helpful; Canada is proving this. With the power of the state to levy taxes, print its own currency, and enforce laws, left wing ideas can get us out of the muck we’re in as a result of the global pandemic. So why hasn’t this caught on?
Because America isn’t a left wing country. Its a centre-right nation. Come to think of it, so is Canada.
Far left ideas haven’t caught on in America for the same reason that far right ideas haven’t caught on in Canada. Our people aren’t typically extreme.
This isn’t to suggest that far left ideas are equivalent to the far right. Folks on the far left aren’t screaming outrage at ‘Mexican rapists and drug dealers’ in left-wing rhetoric. You’re more likely to hear ‘medicare for all’, and ‘basic income (for all)’ coming from the left.
It didn’t matter that Trump’s rhetoric was racist or that it was substantially wrong, he said it regardless…and thus began the effort to create a permission structure for blue collar voters who were generally underwhelmed at a slow economic recovery, blame immigrants and other people of colour (even if factually incorrect). That’s how Trump was able to peel off enough votes to flip swing states.
We’re at a place where the hard core activists are angry their chosen person didn’t make the cut and some are threatening either a boycott or obstruction as a result. That doesn’t make you much of a team player now doesn’t it?
Did Bernie Sanders throw a tantrum at Hillary Clinton in 2016 and run as a third party candidate? No: he was a powerful surrogate who headlined over a dozen events in her name – because he knew that Donald Trump had to be stopped. If the US Presidential Election was decided on popular vote, she would have won. In fact, one could argue that because of Sander’s efforts, Hillary was able to score the second highest popular vote tally in US history. But that’s not America’s system.
Did the losing GOP candidates throw a tantrum in 2016 and undercut Trump? No, they climbed aboard. Unfortunately.
Some of the most cantankerous progressives would seemingly be happier of Trump got a second term than if Biden won instead. I’m having a lot of trouble with this.
Nobody is saying Biden is perfect. He’s no less flawed in 2020 than Hillary was in 2016; neither would have been my first choice in any primary/caucus contest had I been an American registered Democrat. But they’d get my vote for President in November regardless.
As Trump cheers on anti-lockdown protests (by folks looking to shop, get haircuts), nobody is talking anymore about the thousands of children of undocumented immigrants locked in cages separated from their parents at the direction of the Trump administration. Not just separated, seized. Not just seized, being adopted out to American families.
Progressives will point to some allegations made by Tara Reade of very inappropriate behavior of Joe Biden. Allegations that we’re to believe; as per #metoo activists. Now, I’m not going to be the one to challenge if a woman has or hasn’t been a victim of a sexual crime; they face enough hurdles on coming forward with allegations. But, questions have been raised, and doubt is being raised towards the allegations.
Rather than delving into either the allegations, or denials, I’ll just say this..
That ship has sailed.
Maybe Tara Reade is right and Joe Biden is a creep. But I’m just going to say that nobody cares anymore about that. Donald Trump bragged up shitty behavior, and he won an election. There are more powerful people in office who do shady things than we know. Some are known quantities, some aren’t. The time before Trump, it was Bill Clinton being a creep – and he won re-election.
People vote on bread and butter, economic issues now. They could care less about personal lives. Republicans learned this too; after showcasing their moralistic holier than thou attitude during the Bill Clinton impeachment efforts, it was revealed later that many GOP folks were creeps too.
Again, I don’t want to minimize Tara Reade’s allegations, but the outrage is muted. The sitting President is out in the open with his depravity and could win another term. The person that the far left really do want, Bernie Sanders isn’t without his own interesting issues. His political legacy is that once he called for an end to mandatory public education…along with other distractions.
Oh yes, that’s literally a dose of ‘whataboutism’, but seriously, to the American voter, the choice ahead may just be a life or death option. Donald Trump and his covid10-trutherism has been picked up by the anti-vaxxer crowd; and should he get a new term of office, the anti-medicine people will have sway in public policy.
This will get people killed.
I’m truly sorry, Bernie folks, that your guy isn’t the Democratic nominee. Sure, Biden is a flawed candidate, just as Hillary was; just as Obama turned out to be. But you will be hard pressed to convince me that at any time that America would have been better off under the influence of any of the Republican options. We’re now finding out how bad it is under Trump; now imagine four more years of it.
You’d argue that the system is broken and that its hardly democratic: and that’s not a bad point to make. Except that its wrong.
The Republican party got as stupid and right wing not because Trump convinced them to be; it was a concerted effort over decades at the grassroots level that the worst lot of conservative ideologues slowly took over low level party positions as volunteers and rank/file gate keepers. It was only a matter of time before its leadership followed suit.
The left assumed that Bernie could just be dropped into place and win the nomination race. What were they thinking?
This isn’t to say that there are some genuine left enclaves within the Democratic Party; there clearly are. But they don’t dominate the party, nor are they the front line foot soldiers in the same way that far right activists have taken over the GOP. If the left wants the Democratic Party to move left, then get involved and drag it to where it needs to be. Or start your own party.
Look. Vote Biden to halt Trump. Vote Democrat to sweep Republicans from house and senate seats; shift the legislative direction. Put facts and science back in their rightful place.
Odds are, that even if it Biden wins, he’s only there for one term. Bernie isn’t likely to run for this again either. Progressives and liberals within the Democrats can look for new alternatives to campaign for in the ’24 campaign.
But if the left is genuine about changing America, as many of their loudest cheerleaders suggest, you can act first by saving America by throwing Trump out. If you cannot do that then I question your motives.
Either you actively choose someone that doesn’t stir excitement in you, or you’ll get Trump.
I’m aware that this opinion might trigger a blow-back in some of my political circles, but I’m unmoved by that possibility.
What I’m calling for is an ounce of pragmatism here, and if folks can’t read the “unite to stop the fascist from destroying a country” message here, then you’re just as much a hard-liner as you pretend not to be. There are times when a nations’ citizenry unite to overcome a common threat; this is that time, Trump is that threat.
Time to choose.