In 2004, when George W. Bush won re-election, I wrote a post called "Hope In A Hopeless World." The election of Donald Trump seems so much worse. Is there any hope now?
My 2004 post sounds positively hopeful, especially in comparison to how I feel now. But reading it over, some of my ideas still seem sound, if I may so. The main points, adapted for today, are:
1. Trump is not popular. Clinton is favored to win the popular vote. That means Trump is vulnerable, especially in the court of public opinion. That leaves a door open to mount an effective opposition to his probably-even-more-unpopular policies.
2. We still have the court of public opinion available to us. Republicans have been very savvy about using messaging when they lost. Why can't we?
3. I wrote then that rather than condemn the Swift Boat Vets (who went after John Kerry with a bogus, irrelevant issue), we could take a page from their playbook: Fasten on a single issue and hammer it home again, again and again. Wouldn't social media facilitate that? And isn't it what Trump did very successfully?
6. We have a lot of material to work with. Trump has so many shortcomings that sooner or later his chickens will probably come home to roost. Why not rush them along so that we don't go down the tubes along with him?
We know that Trump will not be able to implement all the things he has promised. We know that he will disappoint many of his followers. We know that there are lots of Republicans who do not like him. Our only hope seems to be a robust opposition. I'm not so sure there's a chance but... well, what do you guys think?
I don't know that I'll be able to watch Fox today. I feel like I need to take a breath and think about where to go from here.
Let's all take a time out and take stock.
Meanwhile, here's the song I thought of in 2004 and again this morning when I could not sleep.
Giuliani confirmed that the ACA will be repealed, but Hannity included the phrase “and replace”, which makes no sense given that they have no plan for replacement. Meaning that it will be repealed and trashed.
Giuliani also essentially confirmed that there will be an aggressive pursuit by his Justice Dept of indictments against the Clintons, their aides and the Clinton Foundation. Which will be useful as political theater if Trump is having issues with Congress in April or May and they need a distraction. It will also give Hannity tape he can use forever.
And that was after Bill O’Reilly smugly and angrily told non-Trump voters “If you don’t like it, Canada and Mexico can take you, or maybe they won’t.”
Expect further attacks from Fox News over the next two months, and then a triumphant shout on January 20.
I don’t see these guys trying to do anything more radical than simply erasing the entire Obama history. Past that, they’ll try to push the Supreme Court to the right and they’ll act belligerent both here and abroad. They’ll act a lot tougher about immigration and I do expect that the Trump Justice Dept will busy itself hastening deportations of undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions. Keep in mind that these convictions may not be for anything that severe – it will just be that they were convicted. And yes, the Trump State Dept will try to refuse visas to all immigrants from various countries and it will become a black eye for this country. Not to mention that it will strongly accelerate the numbers of young men in the Middle East and elsewhere choosing to join the ranks of ISIS.
But they won’t be able to send the country back to the 50s and they won’t be able to undo the fact that people have the right of free speech and to vote, etc.
“Regarding military work, get ready to see a far more aggressive posture against Muslim nations, something that will accelerate the growth of extremist groups like ISIS…..”
And it will also accelerate REINSTATEMENT OF THE DRAFT!
Don’t forget that both Trump and Christie promised to throw Clinton in jail. That wasn’t an idle threat – they really want to see her behind bars. I’d be on the lookout for a stepped up investigation of the Clintons and even the Obamas by a Giuliani or Christie Justice Dept. Expect charges and indictments within 2017, even if there is no real basis for them. They will be for show, to give the right wingers the news clips of the Clintons being arrested and frog marched in front of the media. It will be an interesting distraction from whatever legislative problems Trump’s people are having. I have a feeling we’ll see a press event with an AG Giuliani announcing a 30 count criminal case against the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons personally.
Four years from now we might be using two cans and a string.
I expect that they’ll start by repealing as much of Obamacare as they can and that the insurance companies will hold off putting in the screws for a year or so. Then, premiums and restrictions go back to pre-Obamacare levels and tens of millions of people will find themselves without coverage. That, to me, is quite simply un-Christian. They’ll probably make public education as toothless as possible in order to preserve the ignorance that explains their success, and vote suppression for minorities may be just down the line. I don’t think they’ll go so far as to repeal women’s voting rights but wanna bet that the temptation is there.
I always keep several copies of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a gift to anybody who claims that that sort of thing can’t happen in the good ol’ USA. Should burn a few copies of the “Idiocracy” for them, too.
As Ellen said at the start of this thread, we’ve got to keep on trying to inject rationality and common sense into the political discourse. I expect Fox(not)News to wither away as it tries to generate a positive take of the Trump administration. Their demise should not encourage us to abandon the struggle for rational, fact-based reflection led by the Newshounds pack.
So, here’s a big hug for all of you and let’s keep on trucking, because a fact-free administration will provide us with endless opportunities to exchange views and knowledge.
What I remember most vividly was the release of bin Laden’s endorsement of poor old Kerry exactly five days before the ‘04 election. Just long enough time for all the proles to hear about it, but not quite long enough for anyone to smell a rat and find out the hows and whys of such a brilliant piece of propaganda appearing at the perfect time for Bush’s purposes.
My theory is that bin Laden had been allowed to ‘miraculously’ escape from the Tora Bora mountains in late 2001 because it was too early for the CHENEY/bush cabal’s purposes. This was prior to the Iraq invasion and the bastards needed him out there as one of their bullshit justifications.
The timely ‘endorsement’ of Bush was the price bin Laden had to pay.
Raygun was balanced by a dem congress and W had the Supreme Court install him his first term and a crooked Ohio secretary of state screwed over Ohio voters for the second. Bush was a cheat. I don’t think I can say that about Trump. Last night, my head like many others was exploding.
I would recommend anyone depending on the ACA for care to expect that coverage to be dropped as soon as the system collapses. That may take a little longer than the first 100 days – I don’t know that they can just throw people off the rolls, but on the other hand, insurance companies can regularly cancel policies when they wish.
We can hope that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer can hang on for another 4 years, until we can get a sane President. They may need to hang on for 8, if Pence fully takes over the office. If they can do that, then the damage done by this election can be minimized. If it’s only Scalia’s seat that the right wing steals, then we can at least know that in another 10 years, there may be an opportunity to replace one conservative justice. (I guarantee that Anthony Kennedy will come off the bench before Trump leaves office, as he won’t take a chance on a Dem replacing Trump.)
We can hope that the Dems in Congress show some backbone, something they really didn’t do very well when they were faced with this problem in 2000. If they can stand up for themselves, they may be able to rally enough to withstand what they will have to deal with over the next four years.
Here’s another area where the election of Trump may not have helped the GOP the way they would have liked: Trump is not a true party supporter and he isn’t likely to cooperate with other GOP members, as he’s repeatedly shown throughout the campaign. There is a deep and widening divide within the GOP, where the center-right is separating from the far right, and the election of Trump may have accelerated that divide. What this means is that there may be an increase in internecine warfare, and a much more bitterly divided party come 2018 and 2020. Granted, that didn’t help the Dems in 2016, but if they’re paying attention, they may be able to pick up more seats in the Senate in each of these years and eventually regain the majority.
We should also keep in mind that the hardcore base of the GOP and the right wing is continuing to shrink as its members grow older and they fail to attract new members from other ethnicities. Even after Trump declares his various racist positions, he will simply be alienating more voters his party really needed to stay relevant. This means that the trick applied this year by the right wing has a limited shelf life. They got away with depressing the Dem vote this time – it won’t work when they don’t have enough angry white votes to compete. Remember – Romney got 60m votes in 2012. Trump got 59m. If that number continues to recede – say 58 or 57 in 2020, then the Dems simply need to work harder at getting their people to the polls and they will prevail.
We can keep in mind that no presidency lasts forever. The worst presidencies have wound up being exposed sooner rather than later. No party majority lasts forever – there is always a competition and there will always be one. So the right wing cheated and won this round. That’s heartbreaking (particularly the part about the Supreme Court), but it isn’t permanent.
And finally, we can take solace that there are sites like this that are still trying to preserve the facts and the truth of our history. Not everyone is drinking the Kool Aid. I for one am grateful to Ellen for the work she has done – including the work with Robert Greenwald and all she has done to keep this site going. It is my hope that she will be able to continue her work, even if it may be done from abroad. She has done much to correct and preserve the record and I can’t imagine a world where Fox News and AM Radio are able to peddle their smears without anyone calling them on it. If Ellen did not exist, we would have to invent her. And that, if nothing else, gives me a small amount of hope in this dark time.
Ellen, I’m thinking I will have to talk to my doctor to kind of speed things along before Jan. 20.
We can expect Donald Trump to appoint the most extreme cabinet we’ve seen in my lifetime, and that includes the Nixon, Reagan and W administrations. Get ready to see Rudy Giuliani in a senior position, along with Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie and various of the other favorites. Get ready to see some of the most extreme right wing congresspeople tapped for senior positions.
Regarding the legacy of President Obama, it’s sadly done. Within the first week he is in the White House, expect Donald Trump to sign a series of Executive Orders that will erase every single thing he can that Obama did during his two terms. Those that Trump cannot do himself through his Orders he will accomplish through a GOP-controlled Congress. Get ready for an expedited bill to rush through both houses that will repeal as much of the Affordable Care Act as they can realistically touch – which is most of it. Had Clinton been elected, she would have taken some steps to adjust the ACA with Congress, but that’s not what the right wing wants. They want that Act OBLITERATED, as if it had never been. And they will get their way – the repeal Bill will be signed by Trump in a triumphant public event, which will allow various AM Radio pundits to effectively declare the Obama Presidency one that never accomplished anything of note. Get ready for Fox News to wait until that moment to do a retrospective on the Obama years to say something right along those lines.
Regarding the Supreme Court and all the other court appointments held up by the right wing over the past 8 years, get ready for a series of extreme right wing judges to be named and quickly confirmed by the majority party. For the Supreme Court, get ready for someone even farther to the right than Samuel Alito, and no older than his early 50s, to be named by Trump to fill the still-vacant seat left by the death of Antonin Scalia. The Dems will ask this man some very embarrassing questions during his confirmation hearing in early February but it won’t matter – the Republicans will ram the appointment through. If the Dems try to filibuster, the GOP will go ahead and make SC appointments a straight majority situation, citing the long time the position was left open since Obama failed to fill it. (And yes, they will blame Obama for their own obstruction)
Regarding domestic and foreign policy, you’d have to ask Mike Pence, since he’ll be supervising them. Given that he’s to the right of Ted Cruz, I wouldn’t expect to see anything remotely resembling geniality. Let’s just say we’ll see the US taking a MUCH more obstinate position on everything from trade to military operations. I fully expect to see a major trade issue happen with China within the next year, and I fully expect to see multiple conflicts with other countries after their leaders are heard denigrating Trump. Not necessarily military – just things like pulling the ambassador or denying aid or refusing to trade with them. Regarding military work, get ready to see a far more aggressive posture against Muslim nations, something that will accelerate the growth of extremist groups like ISIS and increase the likelihood of random attacks abroad and here at home. I honestly don’t think the next four years will be a safe time for Americans to be travelling as tourists abroad, particularly if they head anywhere near the Middle East.
First, let nobody misunderstand what happened last night. This was not “the majority” speaking, and it wasn’t even the majority of the people who voted, since Clinton won that by over 100K votes. This was not a “revolt by the folks” by any means. This was a matter of simple math.
In 2012, Romney netted about 60m votes and Obama netted about 65m votes. Last night, Clinton and Trump each netted about 59m votes, with Clinton pulling ahead in areas that did not help her in the Electoral College. So 6 million fewer Dems voted for Clinton last night than voted for Obama in 2012. There’s the election in a nutshell.
There are multiple reasons we can point to – that Trump appealed to the baser instincts of blue collar Dems in the Rust Belt, that many white Americans voted based on fear of non-whites, that too many people have bought into the lies and smears peddled by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News about the Clintons over the past 25 years. I don’t think it’s accurate to point the finger at the Sanders crowd, as the indications were in recent days that an overwhelming majority of them were grudgingly voting for Clinton. There were always going to be a few that wouldn’t, but the percentage in the polls was far lower than I would have anticipated. We could point to the right wing attempts to limit voter participation to their own crowd, but even that didn’t dissuade 6 million voters from showing up.
The biggest single reason for that wipeout is that the right succeeded in a fairly brilliant long con. They ran the nastiest, most vicious campaign we’ve seen in my lifetime – a nonstop parade of smears and attacks that Clinton was repeatedly forced to repudiate without effect, and a nonstop display of childish behavior by Donald Trump that left most voters sour. By the time we got to Election Day, people were frankly sick of it, and many people threw up their hands – especially after the repeated assertions about Clinton being a criminal were given unfounded credence by James Comey’s letter two Fridays ago. Fox News of course played the notion that everyone was tired of this election, with good reason – this was always the intention. The game being played was to see if they could depress the Dem turnout enough to get their man through the gate. If the campaign was ugly enough, you could see turnout dropping closer to a midterm. And what do we see? 6 million fewer Dems voted for Clinton. That’s not a coincidence. That was a strategy at work.
The right wing knew after 2012 that they needed to do something to deal with the fact that they were only appealing to a diminishing segment of the white population. The advice at the time was for them to expand their tent and stop trying to alienate people. The response from places like Fox News was to reject that advice and instead double down on the hatred and fear mongering. The approach here wasn’t to expand their tent but to collapse the OTHER tent. And their gaming worked. Enough Dems either voted for Trump or didn’t vote that Clinton was unable to get the numbers in virtually any of the “battleground” states. The only way for Trump to win was to run the table – and he did – by using a strategy that essentially took the pool cue away from the Dems.
As I’ve said to others, this is only somewhat reassuring but it’s one less problem in the immediate future.
……and con men like Donald Trump.
The US Senate is an old archaic misrepresented system of government. While getting rid of the filibuster is appealing, it is the only tool in the Democrat’s toolbox right now.
He thought Donald Trump was the best guy in the world. I told him I was gonna lose Obama Care and his insurance was probably going to go back to ‘pre-existingconditions’. He shook his head and said, “Naaah.”.
Some people gotta learn the hard way.
I’m reading/replying sequentially. Sorry for a 2nd reply re: just read your other comment.
Not that it helps your situation. However, I assure you our immoral pre-ACA world is no abstraction to me.
Prior to ACA back when I really was EOF blogging with a close buddy of mine, he got laid off. He was in great pain, had no insurance and no money (he was always paycheck to paycheck). Naturally, no insurance. Working with my girlfriend, long story short, got Gary hooked up with the Fan Free Clinic, a long story in itself because it’s so under resourced, but the point is he found a job before his appointment working for a low budget ‘body shop’ which offered crap employee insurance.
The insurance was such crap I advised him not to waste his money because, if memory serves, it cost well over $300/month and offered little in the way of coverage. Against my advice, he got it anyway. Which meant he lost his eligibility at Fan Free Clinic. Unwittingly, he ended up stuck with near crippling pain for 6 months due to the policy’s grace period.
I’m not even at the bad part yet. Gary later got pneumonia and spent a while in St. Mary’s Hospital. At first he was pleased because the 1st bill for $3,000 was paid in full. I felt bad for advising him against the insurance until the next $11,000+ wasn’t. Not a penny.
Gary was hounded the rest of his life by bill collectors and even dragged into court until his untimely death by a heart attack.
I can sympathize. My girlfriend is in public health with a large staff funded by federal grant money. We know how much Randian Paul Ryan and his alt-right pal Hair Hitler think of public health. Her and her staff’s jobs are toast. The only question when.
Regarding Obamacare, prior to ACA she would get calls from frantic people with, say colon cancer (real life example, BTW, not a hypothetical), in an advanced stage and no access to medical care. These people would be hysterical for treatment. She’s over many years built an amazing network of resources and always would come through with a care solution.
ACA put that collateral duty of hers gratefully out of business. To not put too fine of point on things, if the Democrats can’t or won’t filibuster, these people are dead.
Since many years ago I used to work with her in public health as well, I had an interest in the ACA public forum Obama and the Republicans held on it. The one thing I’ll never forget is Obama asking Cantor, Boehner, et al if they had any ideas other than the usual selling insurance across states lines, HSAs, etc. baloney since they were scored with only covering 3 million max compared to the ACA’s many millions. They are sat there like lumps of coal.
“Trump Death Race 2017”. A horror flick coming to a theater near you soon.
46.9% didn’t vote
25.6% voted for Clinton
25.5% voted for Trump
1.7% voted for Johnson