Step 1: Trump has got to go

For over a decade I’ve blogged about the need to deal with the climate crisis. I certainly don’t know all the answers, I know it will be immensely difficult, largely because so far, we’ve bungled the job terribly.


But I was distracted from blogging about climate when the COVID-19 epidemic struck. We have to face this crisis too. I certainly don’t know all the answers, I know it will be immensely difficult, largely because so far, we’ve bungled the job terribly.

And now, I can hardly find space or time for Climate or COVID-19 because we absolutely have to deal with the racism and police violence crisis in America. I certainly don’t know all the answers, I know it will be immensely difficult, largely because so far, we’ve bungled the job terribly.

But for all three immense problems that face us today, that are all at crisis level, I know the crucial first step we have to take.

Step 1: Trump has got to go.

70 responses to “Step 1: Trump has got to go

  1. Step 2: Repair all the damage he’s done
    Step 3: Put in place safeguards to ensure we never get another trump

    • One of those safeguards might be to ensure that the vote of every voter has equal status, no matter where they live. So many recent elections have been won only through the electoral college system, not by popular vote. As an outsider, I’m a little confused that a big fuss hasn’t been made, and continues to be made, about this, in the US. Or has/is it?

      • We have the same problem in the UK. Those In Power don’t want to change to a truly representative electoral system, because it keeps the two-party (fiasco) system going.

      • Make every vote equal? How can we do that? The only reliable way is to change the way the president is elected through constitutional amendment that replaces the electoral college with election by national popular vote. It is a very heavy lift to pass a constitutional amendment. This is part of the reason that the US is a very weak democracy, if it is a democracy at all.

      • Susan Anderson

        Fusses are being made. But for at least 40 years, the likes of the Kochtopus and others have been working, overtly and covertly, to develop resources and tactics to suppress the vote of those who have less.

        Fact is, those who are willing to lie with a straight face to support their intolerance have an advantage over those who pay respect to honestly and tolerance. By the way, it’s not new. Schopenhauer tore the lid off in the 1800s. http://www.mnei.nl/schopenhauer/38-stratagems.htm

        Here’s a cute video explainer (ignore verbal obscenity at the beginning; Sarah Silverman is a professional comedienne)

      • smallbluemike: “Make every vote equal? How can we do that? The only reliable way is to change the way the president is elected through constitutional amendment”

        There is probably an easier way and we are already on the way. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

      • As an outsider, my view is that there is not a lot the “voters” can do in the U.S. as long as the nomination process for candidates is restricted to people that can haul in huge corporate donations – either normal donations or the supposedly-arms-length super-PACs. With boundary gerrymandering, the “election” is often decided at the nomination stage for many districts.

        It seems to be a system of “one dollar, one vote”.

      • It’s not just the US, of course, but isn’t it sad that so many people can be influenced by election advertising and sound bites?

  2. Political parties have come and gone in this country before, and it is long past time for the anti-science, anti-education Republican Party to go. Maybe the Libertarians can replace them; maybe some new party. But we must vote out every Republican office-holder if humanity is to survive.

  3. Factio Republicana Delenda Est.

    The problem is not just the Tyrannosaurus Rump – nor the difficulty of cleaning up the immense load of TS (which is like BS but more toxic).

    Think a moment about Mitch McConnell who denied Obama his Supreme Court pick and handed it to the T-Rump? Just what part of that was actually in accordance with the intentions of the framers of the Constitution?

    Consider the redefinition of Money as “Protected Free Speech” and the implication that “Money” is “Free”. It is hard to imagine a more stupid ruling from the inmates of any pig pen, but it is what our Supreme Court decided.

    These decisions however WERE in accordance with the intentions of the far right to impose a permanent minority government on the United States. I hate to say it but the process has gone too far at this point. It is not going to be resolved “nicely” because we have been divided too thoroughly, too deliberately for too long to actually use the word “United”. After the next election, whoever wins, the losers are going to want to secede. It is probably time to allow that to happen.

    “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administred; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administred for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

    ― Benjamin Franklin

    Be Fortunate

    • Nice >Classical reference!

      Unfortunately–or fortunately–I don’t think secession is an answer to the political problems we face. The divisions are too intermingled for that. Should Orange County secede from California if Trump loses? Should Columbia, South Carolina, secede from the state if he wins? (Columbia, like almost every city of any size in the South, went for Hillary in 2016, and like most is to a considerable extent black-led, with an African-American mayor and many African-American council members. The Sheriff is white, but a Democrat, and not a Blue Dog, either, as far as I can tell.) Should young people secede? Women? White men? The educated? Farmers?

      No. We just have to figure this out together, daunting though the prospect undoubtedly is.

      • It would lead to people some leaving the places that go against them and others learning to live with their minority status, but I disagree that ours is a system that can be reformed from the inside at this point. The reason has to do with the way successive Republican administrations have allowed the former “Fairness Doctrine” to dissipate and refused to replace it. The groups who are in disagreement now find and fund their own “facts”.

        There is no such thing as an “alternative fact” and a truthful news media that tells complete stories and balances opinions has been absent for a third of a century.

        It started – as Susan Anderson points out – with a philosophical movement started by Hayek who cannot be sufficiently damned for his role in it – designed to protect the wealth of the wealthy. They “earned it” so they must be better than us.

        The problem is that they did NOT earn it. Nor do they deserve it. Apart from a few exceptional folks like Elon Musk or Henry Ford they get their money by owning stuff – not by working. THAT is a form of theft – not a source of virtue. Real Money represents Work Done – Energy – and it is subject to the laws of thermodynamics. Attempted violations of the first and second laws are inherent in our social-economic system and the source of that money. As we all know those laws are inviolable and the breakage occurs everywhere else in the society.

        The problem has been with us for thousands of years – but the influence of the Mont Pelerin society is recent and only became apparent when Thatcher slammed Hayek’s book on the table. It is doubtful that Reagan had that sort of intellectual depth – but his handlers definitely were aware of what they were doing.

        So I think that whether or not it looks reasonable in terms of the geography of the divisions, the secessions are very likely to be a result and people will become refugees in or from our own country. This is unthinkable for most of us who grew up in a very different America – but I am writing from New Zealand because I saw T-Rump coming. The only thing I didn’t know was his name.

      • Doc, I wish I shared your optimism, but the fundamental problem in American society are that:
        1) Roughly 40% of the American people reject the intellectual and political underpinnings of modernity–while embracing the technologies that go with it.
        2) The two factions are unfortunately intermingled across boundaries of state and local government, with the modernists predominantly in urban areas while the rubes are out in the sticks.
        3) The US political system as it is currently constituted is inherently undemocratic and is being made more undemocratic by the minority of rubes.

        We are now two peoples if not more. I do not see how we can remain together without it coming to a violent end. The anti-modernist minority has made it quite clear that they are not interested in any sort of modus vivendi, but only in total victory up to and including mass murder of the rest of us. I think that in the not too distant future we will have to partition the country, respecting as much as possible current governmental boundaries, but making adjustments to ensure defensible boundaries. The Trump faction can realize their dream of living in Shitholistan.

      • Susan Anderson

        For an object lesson in how bad it could be, consider the partition of India and Pakistan, and then Bangladesh. Yes, we in the US think we’re better than that, but are we really?

      • You can get it on a t-shirt, sweatshirt or coffee mug. The risk of making yourself a target in the currently not quite United States is free.

      • bj, snark, I am not convinced–not even close. There is no conceivable division that makes a lick of sense. “Some people will have to move?” Like about 45% of the population in most Southern states! It would make the India/Pakistan partition look like a cakewalk–and would probably, far from avoiding conflict, be considerably bloodier than ’47. (And by the way, Snark, I fail to see how this view makes me in any sense an optimist! I may in fact be one, but not bases on anything I said in the comment we’re talking about.)

        I think bj’s ‘system is broken’ argument and snark’s ‘culture is broken’ argument are far too one-dimensional. FWIW.

      • I fear we have reached a point of no return. Perhaps, Mr. Biden is correct, and only 10-15% of Americans are rotten to the core. But up to 45% of Americans supported Trump, and I know that I can never trust them again. The may not be racist, misogynistic, anti-science idiots themselves, but at the very least they have shown that racism, sexism and a devotion to truth are a low priority for them. They have rejected not just the ideals of the Enlightenment, but those of human decency…of empathy.

        I cannot live with them, and they cannot live with me, so the alternatives are:
        1) I can leave the US and live as a refugee.
        2) They can leave.
        3) We can partition the country and recognize that we are no longer one people.
        4) One or the other of us can stop living.

        The third alternative need not lead to the sort of catastrophe of India/Pakistan. We have an information infrastructure that could facilitate mass migration. It would be disruptive, no doubt. But it is better than the 4th alternative–and that is the alternative favored by the right at present. They want us dead.

      • “The risk of making yourself a target in the currently not quite United States is free.”

        Real ‘Mericans patriots caint read, much less read Latin.

      • Snark, your point of view is logically consistent, but still, IMO, mistaken. I understand your feelings, I think; I certainly share them to a point.

        Yet I’ve witnessed couples overcome betrayal of the most hurtful and intimate sort. For that matter, I’ve witnessed people of color, and women, find ways of living constructively within a reality that many of us would, if we but had the guts to consider it fully and empathically, adjudge utterly unendurable–and to do so with remarkable equanimity.

        And that indicates to me that there is in fact a 5th alternative: that we start actually talking to each other, and understanding where we come from. I know enough Trumpists to know that they have not turned their backs on decency. (And by “they” I mean the ones I know–I’m not trying to characterize a whole swathe of the population here. Though, by the same token, there’s no reason to suspect that the ones I happen to know are ‘outliers’, either.) They’ve got things framed in such a way that they are excusing, and indeed enabling, truly, historically, awful behavior. Yet most of them, would be just as inclined to help you as anyone else would; just as courageous in working as a frontline Covid responder (yes, I have a very specific individual in mind here!); just as likely to keep their personal word; in short, just as trustworthy in most everyday respects as anyone else I know.

        Is rebuilding trust easy? Of course not.

        But it’s a hell of a lot easier than the kind of partition you envision. How do you propose to compensate tens of millions like me for the money, sweat, time, relationships and memories I’d have to turn my back on if your #3 were to be adopted? And that’s just the start of the extremely awkward questions.

        In short, I believe you are entirely sincere when you say, “I cannot live with them, and they cannot live with me.” But you are almost certainly wrong. You can, and you probably will.

      • Re. snarkrates “Roughly 40% of the American people reject the intellectual and political underpinnings of modernity–while embracing the technologies that go with it.”

        This is a very common theme in actual history and in various forms of speculative fiction (e.g., sci-fi, historical, etc.). It nearly always leads to breakdown and disorder. Why…it’s the very reason for the Prime Directive!

        The end of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court where the good high tech enlightened guy is overrun by the rotting corpses of the ignorant and superstitious masses and their leaders who profit from them is one of the more graphic depictions. But it seems more real lately than ever.

      • I am afraid that there is no basis for discussion with a person who insists on alternative facts. Where would you suggest I begin–halfway between truth and lies? Where is there any evidence that they are even interested in a conversation? My impression is they’d just as soon give me a “helicopter ride” from the Pinochet helicopter company. Moreover, they will stop at nothing to impose their will on the rest of us–and they have all but succeeded. If we are to preserve any semblance of a modern society, we have to leave. Otherwise, the US will simply become Haiti with nukes.

      • “I am afraid that there is no basis for discussion with a person who insists on alternative facts. Where would you suggest I begin–halfway between truth and lies?”

        Begin with a question. Listen, consider the logic, and repeat. Worked wonders for Socrates.

      • Doc Snow: “Begin with a question. Listen, consider the logic, and repeat. Worked wonders for Socrates.”

        Yes. I’m sure the hemlock Kool-Aid was very tasty. Moreover, Socrates was dealing with an audience that had at least a passing interest at arriving at some understanding that resembled the truth. Denying reality and embracing absurdity is the entire point with Trump’s followers. The more absurd and humiliating the opinion is to embrace, the more they are showing their love for the Dear Leader by embracing it. And as Voltaire said, “If they can make you embrace absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities.” Doc, these people have declared themselves your mortal enemies. Darth Cheeto retweeted a Tweet that said that the only good liberal was a dead liberal. Phil Gramm said they’d be hunting Democrats with dogs. The first rule of the dictatorship is “Believe the Dictator when he threatens you.”

      • Snark:

        Denying reality and embracing absurdity is the entire point with Trump’s followers.

        You’re talking about professional or at least recreational ideologues and fascists. I’m talking about ordinary people who’ve been fed a bunch of hooha and have bought it for one reason or another. They are not uninterested in truth or reality, but their premises have been warped by the propaganda that has been spoonfed them for several decades now. And of course, they are, like the rest of us, subject to the usual influence of human nature, which wants to believe that which it wishes were true.

        For more on this, please find yourself a copy of “Strangers In Their Own Land,” in which UCal Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild Russell investigated Trump country in considerable depth:

        She didn’t find bad people–in fact, she found new friends. But she did find some seriously bad ideas. The only way I know to work with that is with questions.

        I’m sure [Socrate’s] hemlock Kool-Aid was very tasty.

        I’m not. But I am sure that it provides ample testimony to the effectiveness of the questions he asked. Surely you weren’t under the misapprehension that any of this was ever easy?

        Believe the Dictator when he threatens you.

        I do believe Trump’s threats–or at least, I believe he means them. But I also believe that America, and Americans, are not that far gone. This is a ‘dictator’ who is looking more and more like what no dictator can afford to appear: a loser.

  4. Susan Anderson

    The Republicans in charge have been exploiting loopholes in our trust-based government to silence opposition for decades. One starting point would be the (Ayn Randia) Mon Pelerin Society meeting in 1947:
    https://www.desmogblog.com/mont-pelerin-society
    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Mont_Pelerin_Society

    As usual, they are heavy on climate denial as well. For a corrective, try Kate Raworth’s Doughtnut Economics.

    The increasing power and wealth of the far right are succeeding with their tactics to pack courts and local authorities, limit voting, train and arm police in military tactics, etc. “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat”. Second amendment rights are important to them (not so hidden message, arm yourselves for an insurrection if the majority prevails) while first amendment rights are degraded. They use their claims to religion to pervert Christianity (they’d put Jesus away as a terr’ist today).

    The fragile thread to majority rule in an open democracy hangs by a thread. We need a majority so large that tactical moves during the lame duck session cannot kneecap the win.

    152 days to November 3
    227 days to January 20
    (though 17 days before that Congress changes hands)

  5. FWIW, I think Trump *will* go, in November if not sooner. (The electoral route is my preference, despite worries about the further damage he might do in the interim: I really want to see him definitely rejected by the country. And someone from the Administration will end up in charge, and will do damage of some sort anyway, so it’s just a question of degree in that sense.)

    I think the revulsion has now passed a tipping point, though I admit you can’t see it definitely in the polls–albeit the news there has mostly been bad for the so-called president. (This morning the Trump-friendly Rasmussen tracking poll has him underwater by 6%, and with an “approval index”–the difference between strongly approve and strongly disapprove–of -10%. Not great, and it’s an improvement over the last couple of days.)

    • He may loose the electorate’s vote, but does this mean that he will go or will he start a civil war?

      • The fact that the ‘little green men’ in DC right now are Bureau of Prisons, not regular military, is a pretty good indication that my fantasy of the Marine Guard frogmarching Trump out of the White House on inauguration day–in handcuffs!–is considerably less unrealistic than Trump’s fantasy of staying in it regardless of the result.

      • Funny, but I don’t take comfort that Trump now has his own SS troops.

      • They aren’t even close to SS, and this is decidedly a part-time gig for them.

      • Bernie Sanders got more donations from the military than Trump. Number two was Biden. Number three is Trump.

        The protests have shown that also the leaders of the US military support the Constitution more than Trump.

      • If he tries to start conflict, he will lose, fast and very decisively. His own supporters are bleeding away visibly because of his mishandling of the pandemic and of the recent protests. He’s trying to be Nixon 2.0, and so far at least it’s not working for him:

        https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/social_issues/popularity_of_black_lives_matter_jumps_to_62

        Basically, support for BLM has doubled. Trump, on the other hand, is underwater by 11 points–in the Rasmussen daily tracking poll, historically the most favorable for him. There are more “strongly disapproves” (48%) than total “approves” (44%), and in the so-called “approval index” he’s down by 19%.

        Moreover, the military is not going to back him, as noted elsewhere on this page. We’ve had a number of indicators, from the high-ranking officers speaking out against his policies in very strong terms, to the donations gap Victor (I think it was) noted. Every member of the military takes an oath to defend the Constitution–it shares the first couple of paragraphs with the one taken by naturalized citizens. And many of them take it quite seriously, in sharp contrast to Cadet Bonespurs.

  6. Susan Anderson wrote: “The Republicans in charge have been exploiting loopholes in our trust-based government to silence opposition for decades.”

    Yes, and the consequences of this exploitation cannot be overstressed. Society is held together by two things – trust and force. The less we have of the former, the more we require of the latter.

  7. It’s an uphill battle to move the red state racist kleptocrats out of power because the playing field is tilted by gerrymandering, unlimited money, vote suppression and the inherent undemocratic nature of the Senate that provides unreasonable power and influence to the rural, low population states that skew conservative. I am not certain that any movement toward a more honest representative democracy is possible without addressing most or all of this. But, all that said, we can start with one critical task: Trump must go. I favor the 25th amendment, section 4 removal before the election or after the election if he somehow remains in office after the election. He is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office as demonstrated by his repeated failure to recognize the constitutional restraints on the president established in the Constitution. We have three co-equal branches of government. The president is duty bound to respect and comply with the powers that are delegated to the legislative branch and he has repeatedly refused to do so.

    This 25th amendment, section 4 removal process becomes more possible if Trump is still in office after the election and the Senate and House are both controlled by the Democrats after the election.

    US democracy is designed to be weak and one of its weaknesses that has been exploited by a succession of presidents is the idea of a powerful unitary president who can function with little or no agreement from the other two co-equal branches of the US government. Obama contributed to this slide to unitary power with his drone warfare around the globe. We might all love to have Obama back, but I think it must be noted that he helped us get to this sad state.

  8. tastycheese

    Trump is a symptom, attacting the necrotic limb doesn’t negate the sickness.

    Replacing Trump with Biden won’t help … [edit]

    [Response: There’s a level of stupidity I won’t tolerate. You just crossed it.]

    • Dude, even by your own analogy, you’d want to amputate the necrotic limb so you wouldn’t die of gangrene. Tell ya what. Take some time to get your thoughts and metaphors straight–maybe 8 or 9 years, and then if you’re still as stupid, just fricking give it up. If you aren’t smarter by then, your learning curve doesn’t have a positive slope.

    • I think I’m glad I missed that one.

    • nice censorship move. I get it, but I disagree with it. Biden does not have clean hands wrt so much that is wrong in this country today. [edit]

      [Response: Saying “Replacing Trump with Biden won’t help” is stupid beyond what I will tolerate. Your coming to the defense of this idiocy is also stupid beyond what I will tolerate.

      Shame on you. People who can’t let go of their axe to grind in a post TITLED “Trump has got to go”, remind me of those who respond to “Black Lives Matter” with a resounding “All Lives Matter!”]

      • The “clean hands” test? Which of us would pass it?

      • Biden was my second to last choice among the candidates (after Tulsi). However, he is at least a human being, capable of empathy. That places him in an entirely different league than the current sociopath who occupies the office, but carries out none of the duties.

        I am exposed to plenty of stupid. I don’t need to be exposed to more of it here.

      • The “logic” of “All Lives Matter” is typical 180 degree reversal on the part of republicans (as usual). If all lives really mattered, then there’d be no reason to ask for people to realize that black lives matter.

        The point is to make black lives matter at least somewhat as much as white lives, not to make black lives matter more. But trying to change the subject by projecting their own sins on to their opponents and is now an everyday occurrence. Thank Rove for fine tuning this technique to a high level.

      • Bubba Wallace’s Nascar car has been painted with #blacklivesmatter though he said he’d prefer to add “too”, black lives matter too. Seems to be a better slogan, shame he didn’t actually have the “too” added.

      • The downside to “BLM, too” is that it can be read as not demanding that they matter *equally.*

        I’m quite sure that’s not how Bubba meant it, but I think the full-throated version we have today is preferable–FWIW. And not least because it provokes thought and demands consideration and hence, engagement.

      • We have a tendency to lean on adjectives, adverbs and qualifiers to obfuscate and soften meaning more than to sharpen it. Mark Twain realized this when he suggested that the adverb “very” be replaced by the word “damned” in one’s prose, as one’s editor would strike it out and the prose would be as it should be.

        The phrase “Black Lives Matter” serves its purpose perfectly. It should not be controversial at all. Most certainly, black lives matter–to family, to friends, to society, to all of us. We should be able to say, “Of course,” “Certainly,” “How could it be otherwise,” and act accordingly.

        Any idea that the sentence as it stands requires any sort of qualifier or modification is a reflection of racist ideation in our thought. Change it to “All Lives Matter,” or “White Lives Matter,” or “Blue Lives Matter,” and you are changing the subject, indicating that you are uncomfortable with the sentiment as is. That is racism.

        The power of “Black Lives Matter” lies in its simplicity. It is indisputable in that simplicity and therein lies the challenge. It illuminates racist ideation and allows its elimination with the precision of a scalpel. Don’t change perfection.

        [Response: I agree. Completely.]

      • Well, I saw the message change in one poster carried by a protester. It read, “black trans lives matter”. Even the protesters don’t stay on message.

    • Mal Adapted

      Trump is pestilential, not to be borne by a decent society. Replacing him with Biden will help. OTOH, a blue US government will still be mediocre, because that’s how the framers of our Constitution set things up. Considering how European colonization of the continent progressed, the republic they gave us was unavoidably pluralistic. It’s true that the modern Republican Party has substantively undermined constitutional checks and balances, while working to suppress Democratic Party voters. Yet they couldn’t have succeeded so well without an effective plurality of Republican voters, who happen to be our families, neighbors and coworkers. They are “the people” for better or worse, just as we are, and talk of disenfranchising them is plainly undemocratic. Our political views don’t make us elite in any way, nor especially entitled to make decisions for the hoi polloi, not even the racists and science deniers. We can excoriate them all we want, but then we have to outvote them.

      Even in a perfect democracy, we’d have to choose on the margins. A government that recognizes the deeply rooted racism in our culture would be a step in the right direction. Accepting the climate science consensus would be another. Willingness to re-internalize market externalities would be still another. Those may not all be found in the same blue candidate. And under our version of popular sovereignty, all victories are incremental and reversible, as we are now seeing with Trump’s rollback of long-standing environmental protections. Replacing him with Biden will almost certainly be meliorative, but we’ll have to keep the pressure on, and defend our gains. That said, my choice for POTUS and all legislative offices this fall is easy!

  9. Susan Anderson

    “clean hands” thinking got us Trump. I am hoping against hope that Biden will choose Warren, as she is an educator, and imnsho he needs her steady hand on climate, income inequality, etc. I don’t think the symbolic move of choosing a black woman is as important as choosing someone who has the brains and experience to identify how to make real change.

  10. Biden will at least appoint cabinet department and agency heads not committed to destroying their organizations. That in itself will be a huge change that will directly affect millions of people. That’s only one reason why I’m voting for Biden in 2020.

    • Me, too. I keep saying it, but I’d crawl over broken glass nude to vote against Trump.

      Anyway, your stated reason is certainly a good one, even if there are many others as well.

      Here’s one that’s not much considered:

      Trump won the election in part by saying he would “drain the swamp” but there are basic responsibilities of the federal government that he would have been better equipped to manage if he had some level of institutional knowledge (Joe Biden is the exact opposite). And that takes time which means it takes a couple of months to make appointments and to learn how things work.
      I wrote in my book “Team of Five” that Obama aides were told to prepare drafts of thick “how-to” manuals on how their offices functioned, including details as small as voicemail passwords.
      This is from the book:
      But Obama aides had no one to hand their carefully curated briefing books to.
      Career government employees waited at the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and all across the sprawling bureaucracy. They wanted guidance — they wanted to know who their new bosses were and how their jobs would change in a Trump presidency — but they got nothing. In fact, some high-level employees waited and waited until, after weeks of silence, they assumed they were no longer employed, and packed up their offices.

      (This was also detailed in “The Fifth Risk,” by Michael Lewis.)

      So there was a serious loss of institutional memory and capacity already with that transition. It was intentionally worsened throughout the current Administration by personnel decisions that put foxes in charge of the henhouse, budgetary ones that starved worthwhile programs (although Congress did serve as effective check here, or it would have been much, much worse), and administrative ones like Sonny Perdue’s exiling of an entire office from DC.

      But going forward?

      I think that should Trump lose to Joe Biden (who is the epitome of a career politician after spending eight years as vice president and almost 40 in the Senate) he will feel no obligation to do for him what George W. Bush did for Barack Obama. I do not think there will be a genuine handover, or peaceful transfer of power. I think it’s unlikely in defeat that Trump would behave radically differently than he does in office. I would be surprised if Trump shows up to Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol if he wins.

      Now, Trump does have a transition team in place; he has to, by law. The dangers of failing to plan for transition became apparent on 9/11. But I think it’s safe to assume that it will be half-hearted at the very best, which presumably means that we’ll take yet another institutional hit even if, as I expect, Trump gets soundly thumped in November.

  11. Bob Loblaw

    Living in that country north of the U.S., I of course have no vote in what happens in November, but it surely worries me… In a private forum a few months ago, someone mentioned “the election in November”, and I said “what election?”. The stage is being set to either postpone/prevent an election, or deny that its results are valid. The “power at any cost” attitude is becoming more and more apparent.

    I’ll lose any argument here by mentioning pre-WWII Germany, but I have this quote in my collection – I think grabbed from the Unix “fortune” program. (I don’t know if it is a true quote or not):

    Goebbels said, in 1935: “When democracy granted democratic methods for us in the times of opposition, this could only happen in a democratic system. However, we National Socialists never asserted that we represented a democratic point of view, but we have declared openly that we used democratic methods only in order to gain the power and that, after assuming the power, we would deny to our adversaries, without any consideration, the means which were granted to us in the times of opposition.”

      • I expect nothing but heinous fuckery from Republicans regardless of where they govern. It was not just one state, but two that crippled the powers of incoming Dem governors (MI and NC). Republican politicians are purging voter rolls in several states as we speak. They are standing in the way of vote-by-mail during a deadly pandemic. They are appointing “election judges” to challenge legitimate voters of color who do make it to the polls. They have cut way back on the numbers of polling places in minority districts and Dem strongholds. I expect to see the “Proud Boys” and other brownshirts actively patrolling on election day. And that is if we even have an election day. The thuggery in Lafayette Park will likely be replicated on a grander scale.
        Rethugs have given up on government. Their focus now is on looting what is left of America. They have gone to extraordinary lengths in the past to steal elections And now, many of them know that if they lose, they will be investigated, prosecuted and likely imprisoned. Just imagine the lengths to which they will go and the depths to which they will stoop to delay the reckoning.

      • Snark:

        I expect nothing but heinous fuckery from Republicans regardless of where they govern.

        Yeah, me, too.

        It was not just one state, but two that crippled the powers of incoming Dem governors (MI and NC).

        You’re forgetting Wisconsin–though ‘crippled’ was always a stretch there, since the WI governor has traditionally had much greater power relative to the legislature than most states. But I’d say that the attempts in NC and MI failed–more or less completely in NC, and for practical purposes in MI, where Gretchen Whitmer has been reasonably effective in the fact of a GOP legislature, at least AFAICT.

        And that is if we even have an election day.

        Oh, we’ll have an election day–or we’ll have an insurrection.

      • Bob Loblaw

        Recourse through the courts takes time, and if it has to do with an election then it may come too late. If the court decision is only a case of “don’t do that again” then the perps get away with it.

        “…we’ll have an election day–or we’ll have an insurrection”

        That isn’t an either/or question.

      • Correct. But an insurrection by hard-core Trumpists would be a bloody failure which would lead to the complete discreditation of a much broader swathe of the right. (As far as I can tell, most of these so-called ‘militias’ still think that hardware is much more important than discipline, command and control, strategy and tactics, and professionalism in general. And I strongly suspect many of them are lacking in basic courage.)

        It would be a terrible outcome in the first instance, but one with a silver lining.

        Or so it groks to me. But I admit to a certain optimism, to be sure.

      • Bob Loblaw

        While I agree that how the military response to political direction is important, a lot of the next U.S. election could be decided in the courts, not the ballot box. Bush v Gore was decided in the courts, and IIRC nearly every decision at the various levels of appeal fell along party lines. And I don’t think the U.S. courts have become less partisan since then.

        No matter how illegal, if the current resident of the White House refuses to accept what he sees, and creates an environment where his actions require protracted legal battles with a judiciary stacked in his favour, it will get ugly. Imagine the conflict if the current senate refuses to accept election results that transfer power to the Democrats, and supports Trump. Imagine how the Trump supporters will respond if they are convinced that the election was a fraud (or are convinced that even holding an election will be a fraud), and start mass armed protests.

      • I don’t think that the partisanship goes so deep yet that a clear electoral loss would be fudged even by a Kavanaugh or a Gorsuch. And I don’t think that the loss is going to be narrow at all.

        But hey, I’ve been wrong before. So yes, I worry about these things a bit, too, though not too much as there’s little I can do about them.

        Oh, and I don’t think that the Senate has anything whatever to say about the Presidential election results, except that they are supposed to be present (with the House) when the Electoral College votes are counted. In case of deadlock, the House chooses the President from among the top 3 candidates–that provision goes back to 1804, before the two-party system got entrenched. But I don’t think that’s ever actually happened.)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Electoral_College_under_the_Twelfth_Amendment

      • Bob Loblaw

        I was thinking more of the senate using whatever power it has between the election and the official swearing in of new members, in an attempt to force issues and support Trump. What happens if a Supreme Court member dies in mid-November? What if the Senate blocks various actions? I don’t know where the power lies constitutionally, but various illegal acts could be tied up in courts for years while people try to challenge them. Turmoil. Bush v Gore went on so long that CNN had “Election Results” listed in its TV schedule into January. What if various GOP states try to pass illegal legislation to restrict voting? One outgoing GOP state legislature passed a law limiting the governor’s power after they lost the governorship (but before the hand-over) to cripple the incoming DEM governor.

        I hope you’re right. But I’ve seen too much in the past few years that I wouldn’t have believed could happen before I saw it. There is an element of power madness going on.

      • Bob Loblaw:

        “There is an element of power madness going on.”

        You aren’t kidding. That is, of course, an ineluctable part of the fascist constellation, and Donald Trump is a fascist by temperament and, insofar as he has one, ideology. So are a considerable number of his minions–the name Peter Navarro comes to mind–and, to be fair, it’s a bit of an occupational hazard for politicians in general. And yeah, it’s worrisome, to be sure.

        It’s worth noting, though, that the North Carolina power grab you referred to ultimately failed. It was initially stymied in the courts, and when the GOP tried to salvage it via referendum, they were rebuked by the voters:

        https://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-north-carolina-governor-legislature-power-ballot-measure.html

        The US Senate doesn’t have all that much power independent of the House (and vice versa; there are over 400 House bills that Mitch McConnell and the gang have simply refused to take up). The main one is appointments of judges and officials, and McConnell has certainly tried to cram as many young, conservative appointees in as he possibly can, and increasingly so now that he sees a realistic possibility of losing power. Sadly, there is not that much to be done about it, other than Democratic senators continuing to fight delaying actions as much as they can.

        But not much gets done in the nub ends of Congresses. The legislative schedule is pretty sparse toward the end of the year, and most Senators are preoccupied with their own political futures.

        https://ballotpedia.org/116th_Congress_legislative_calendar

        Finally, I think that while it’s a relatively small number of GOPers who are willing to speak out, considerably larger numbers are beginning quietly to reconsider the political wisdom of supporting Der Donald. With his poll numbers continuing to fall and his incompetence, tone-deafness and lack of focus on full display, he now looks much more like a ‘loser’ than ever before.

        He’s trying to be Richard Nixon 2.0 now–“I’m your Law & Order President!”–but as one commentator pointed out, this time the ‘lawless hordes’ he’s trying to scare suburban voters with actually are comprised in considerable part of those voter’s own kids. (Unlike the 60s, those kids are not particularly alienated from their parents, either.) His strategy *could* work. But I don’t think the chances are very good that it will.

  12. Hmm.. I do not think I am getting this thing correct and I hope you will not understand this as a call to dishonesty. But, on the other hand. Imagine you are politician, imagine you are in the race for that job. You will need to atract voters, you will need to get as much of them involved to your cause as possible. Can you really do that with a program where no promise will be broken ? I doubt it – even the most honest politician will be bound to opposition in the Senate and Congress. And even worse, any sensible politican will have to do some compromise – even the most honest one.
    But what Trump has done is the following – he used that fact to propagate his agenda and direct all of the frustration of people and presented him as “the honest one” – even if he was cheater and liar. The people who vote for him are frustrated – but cannot recognize the con he is up to (and I do not pity them all – some of them are just racist bastards), He is riding on the destructive wave of frustration with not just reality of systemic corruption, but also the frustration of daily reality of actual world (in terms od actual, real limitations of daily life).
    We must be aware that no politician will ever solve our lives – that is way beyond their reach. What we should expect for them is that they provide good, reasonable platform (law and services) for us to live our lives easier. And in many aspects, they might just provide us good talking points and general framework, and the actual solution will be to us, people.
    And this is where I find mr. Biden very needed at this time: He is providing a good talking point about uniting people in US, about at least some points of decency. He is doing what politician shall do: Mainly talk, and do a foundation to walk.
    I also want to address the ones who do not like to vote: you are voting anyway – by absenting you are supporting the most popular politician in your area – and please do not complain, if an idiot is not dealing with crisis – you supported him (her) on previous elections. Your inaction has consequences. When you choose not to vote you have voted anyway – for the winner of elections. Do not think you were apolitical – that is impossible.

    • Trump’s re-election will be decided by electoral college votes in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska’s second congressional district, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin

      If you want to defeat Trump, you might want to focus your energy on persuading republicans/independents/undecideds in those locations to vote blue rather than red. Dems can win the popular vote and still not elect a president as Hillary demonstrated. Campaign smart, work on your contacts in the swing locations where Trump’s re-election fate will be decided.

      here is a way you can volunteer to move the country to the left: https://swingleft.org/p/super-states

      here’s another: https://www.openprogress.com/text-troop

      some folks think Texas is on the verge of going blue, so they are working on voter registration in Texas:

      https://secure.actblue.com/donate/tdp-ci?abt=facebook

      These are smart moves to get rid of Trump. You can also play punch a hippy and bash the folks who cannot get excited about Biden. That’s a popular distraction, but it won’t defeat Trump. You want to defeat Trump? Campaign smart and hard. Work on the right voters in the right states.

      [Response: Nobody here in any way came close to “play punch a hippy and bash folds who can’t get excited about Biden.” That’s an outright lie — but a convenient way to portray yourself as a victim because I’m not putting up with your bullshit. Nobody here pushed Biden, you just decided to put your axe to grind against him above the excruciating pain of this moment inflicted by Trump. Congratulations: it’s all about you.]

  13. It is not enough to defeat the Tyrannosaurus Rump. It is necessary to reduce the Senate Republicans to impotence as well. It is not enough to reduce the Senate Republicans to impotence, it is necessary to take back the state governments as well.

    They may be my “fellow Americans” but they no longer believe in the principles of the United States and they no longer are capable of having a conversation about the real world. This is a result of the removal of the Fairness Doctrine at the end of the Reagan Presidency and the failure to replace it.

    The consequences of that failure is the EXTREME division of a nation that cannot even agree on what the facts are. They are entitled to their own opinions – they are not entitled to their own facts. Neither for that matter – are we, WE know that – that’s why we follow science and abhor censorship.

    This can only be corrected (and I am dubious that it can actually be corrected any more) by making truth important in our media again. The fact that media has changed makes that only a bit more difficult. What twitter did – tagging the T-Rump’s tweets as requiring fact checks – was the correct approach. We need it built into our browsers – a set of truth flags that may be independently sourced and that indicate to you whether the site you are accessing has a reputation for truth of falsehood and potentially whether a particular page is “troubled”. The answer to bad speech is more speech.

    Yes – I have suggested this to Google. Perhaps I should try again :-)

    https://www.protruthpledge.org/

    • You’re right; a big part of the problem is America’s inability to recognize reality–no matter how many times we are introduced to her.

      I call it the “epistemological crisis,” and I think it underlies all of the problems we face.