Sunday, November 01, 2020

Optimistic signs. And plans, in case I'm wrong. My final(?) electoral blog. Unless its a "winter of discontent."

Like millions, I expect to be drunken-comatose on Wednesday, either giddy with relief or else nervously watching Putin's end-game plan unfold, or even repelling the Holnist Uprising. (See below about that.) 

And yes, with two days left, there are very few Americans still on the fence, so why do I bother with a political posting? Because there are still edges to nibble at.


1- First a prediction… The Roberts Court will only intervene for Trump if they think they can actually succeed without triggering revolution. If Trump appears toast, they and the criminal GOP secretaries of state in Red states will shift their cheats to Senate races. If that seems a blowout, they'll want to avoid anything so blatant the victors will prosecute. So they’ll divert all cheat energies to state assemblies, where the real power lies.

So, what if the best happens and it’s a wave that repudiates them thoroughly? 

Then their final fallback is to confidently expect that the left will betray Biden in 2022, as they did in Clinton in 94 and Obama in 2010. And let’s be clear about the people who will desert our coalition in 2 years: not a single “corporatist Democrat,” or “Republican-lite” mewling has anything to back it up stronger than sanctimony. But sanctimony is among the strongest and hottest of mental metals. So yes, Rupert Murdoch will be counting on that, since it seems as reliable as an atomic clock.


2-  So why am I posting today? Who is left to make a difference? Well, consider how the polls might be wrong! 


Much hand wringing has gone to the “Shy Trump Voter” who might lie to a pollster, then vote MAGA in the booth. This may have been a factor in 2016, but how shy are Trumpists, today?  In any event, there may be a bigger populace that matters even more. It’s the Shy Trump-Fretting Wife of a MAGA. She won't answer a poll with "Biden," especially not if she's in earshot of her husband. But in the polling booth....


In any event, here is one of my last voter appeals: 

MAGA wives of Red America, for the sake of your children, get your husbands and their friends too drunk to go vote. Run down the battery on his phone so he stands in line bored and maybe gives up. You can help save the nation.


3- We finally watched the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm… and wow! Not just the Gift-from-God Giuliani part. (And what if Rudy was a knowing participant?) In fact, the most telling and weirdly devastating scene was at the CPAC in March, when Mike Pence told thousands of assembled conservative activists: 


“There are only 15 cases of the virus in America and just one recently. It’s under control and if there’s a breakout anywhere, you can count on us to be ready.” 


Go 1:20 in and watch... and murmur “OMG. These are worse clowns than Borat!” Show it everywhere. 

The notion that Covid-19 might have been crafted by… well, no spoiler but it’s a cute twist.


4- Kinda sad and scary: "No single group of Americans was targeted by IRA (Russian) information operatives more than African Americans. By far, race and related issues were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the country in 2016," the report said. This year, these campaigns are even more widespread, voting rights activists say. And while in most cases, it's not clear who is behind the disinformation, the intent is unmistakable: to depress turnout among people of color by fueling cynicism and distrust in the political process."


== If America wins, will we be done with the crooks? ==


5-  And what will each side do, when one of them loses? One sign of a phase of the Civil War is that neither side will accept defeat with any grace. It happens that I believe one side would have immense cause, given the staggering levels of cheating by their opponents. Though the worst we've been talking about -- at least at first -- is a national General Strike.  

Alas, the other side promises volcanic and violent fury, no matter what happens with the vote counts. I may post about this on or soon after election day, because those fellows are self-stimulating to a notion that they would win any violent new Civil War Phase Nine

There are wrong, for seven very strong reasons, other than their delusional brains. They truly need to consider those seven facts, and stand down while they can.

6- R.I.P GOP? Here’s  the most cogently well-written optimistic view of what happens if the undead zombie elephant gets a well-deserved stake through the heart.


7- Of course that wouldn’t be the end of American conservatism, nor should it be! Political scientists find that a strong center-right party serves as a bulwark against far worse… and we have seen far worse lately! But it would have to be one with restored love of honesty, democracy, science and justice. 


And yes, there’s talk of Republican Party Resurrection after this debacle. Many of the lifelong Republicans who have shown the guts and patriotism to stand up for country ahead of party – including some Lincoln Project fellows who call for the current top GOP corrupt leadership caste to be ‘burnt to the ground’ are hoping for a sane and smart and decent and grownup phoenix conservative movement to rise from the ashes.  (Ideally led by a clade of fact and justice and honesty-friendly retired military officers and scientists and the like.)


I pray that will be an urgent topic next year! If so, I have some words of advice for those attempting the revival. Like reject the prince-in-waiting, Paul Ryan, who has been lurking to rake in all the ash-covered bones and make them walk to Rupert Murdoch’s tune. And take nothing from George W. BushJunior could have stood up for us by peeling off a million votes from what he himself called “some really weird shit.” His refusal to do so, despite relentless Trumpian insults to his family, is craven and huge. In fact, he would benefit from doing so, by establishing himself as a leader of the new party, so indicates what I’ve always believed. He is another high gopper being blackmailed.


== And finally… ==


Someone asked: 'Say one nice thing about 2020!'


Well… I root for LA sports teams… but how about this? Add a zero in front and 2020 becomes a palindrome and still accurate! 02020. 

The Long Now folks push that meme. Put a zero in front of year dates as a statement of faith that we have a future. Start now! For luck.

As for whether ol' Joe can calm us down... well... all 7 previous phases of civil war finally damped down. After each earlier phase of the U.S Civil War there was acrimony, but some normalcy returned... though only after Union victories.


This is a nasty one and if the recurring confederate fever wins this round, we're dead. Even if they break even. There must be an Appomattox.



TCB said...

Current view from the mail truck here in North Carolina:

1. Remember I said I was writing to the National Association of Letter Carriers president Fredric Rolando, and the pres of the APWU (the mail clerks' union) with thoughts on how to expedite ballots? Well, President Rolando wrote me back! Shocked I am, to get a response. In essence, the Union has already been working with management to do more or less what I was recommending. Feel pretty good about that... hope it helps.

2. I picked up far fewer absentee ballots than I expected this year. I suspect a LOT of people are hand delivering them to the county election board office (as I myself did six weeks ago).

3: My union, the NALC, is a part of the AFL-CIO which has over 12 million members in various trades. The AFL-CIO leadership has been thinking hard about calling a general strike in the event of a Trump coup or election theft. We of the unions may find ourselves at the nucleus of a general strike, in mere days. Unions have been badly weakened in recent decades but still stand astride many a logistical chokepoint. The shipping docks. The trucks. The freight trains? That'd be a hell of a thing. This nation has never seen a real general strike.

4. I wrote a song, posted the lyric here previously. Abe Lincoln risen from the grave, and angry. Bad recording but it has a certain mojo.

Larry Hart said...

Pachydermis2 in the previous comments:

Biden wins and it stands. Well I think he'd be a lousy president but nobody is going to get shot down in the street under this scenario. I'll ask though, because you are an honest man....seeing Biden fade and falter in the last debate...after five days of rest to get ready....and then having him be the Oldest President ever on Inauguration Day and every blessed day thereafter....are ya filled with confidence? The job has worn out much younger, sharper, more versatile men. Don't you just sort of see him as a safe caretaker?

When I say that my cat would make a better president than the one we have now, I don't think you take me seriously. I mean it, in the exact same way that "breaking even" or "losing 5%" on an investment is still a better outcome than losing 80%. The cat couldn't accomplish anything good, but he couldn't possibly do the damage to the nation that Benedict Donald is doing.

And whatever Biden's shortcomings, he'd still be a better president than my cat. Therefore, by the transitive property of "better than"...

As to the rest of your question--I'm not sure what you're getting at other than trying to sow some Comeyesqeue doubt when our eyes should remain firmly on the prize. It's not going to work on me anyway. As I've said to other people in other contexts, "You could show me a video of Biden eating Jewish babies and saying, 'Yum! Tastes like chicken!', and it still wouldn't get me to vote for Trump." And if all else fails, I've already voted, so nor all thy Piety nor Wit. Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

If the job wears Biden out, he can resign knowing the country is in safe hands with Kamala Harris. He doesn't have to hold onto the office at all costs because it's the only thing he has protecting him from criminal prosecution. Furthermore, I believe as I always have that Congress is more important than the president as far as policy goes. Congress can repeal the 2017 tax giveaway. Congress can increase the size of the supreme court. Congress can pass a new voting rights act. The importance of the president in those situations is which bills he will sign and which he will veto. Biden may not be a proponent of the Green New Deal, but he's not likely to veto it either. And as Dr Brin pointed out, unlike the current occupant of the sit-down strike in the Oval Office, Biden will hire intelligent professionals to handle the day-to-day work of government, and won't be afraid to ask for advice.

Whatever he does or doesn't do, he won't sabotage our alliances, empower dictatorships, encourage armed militias in our streets, and harm our country and our planet for entertainment value. A safe caretaker? I have wet dreams about a safe caretaker in the presidency!

So that's a "No, it doesn't worry me that Biden might be president." I'd turn the question around to you--does a Biden defeat by the candidate running against him fill you with anything approaching confidence? I had you pegged as a Trumpster, but your last posting didn't make it sound that way, so what sort of admission from me are you driving at? "There are problems with both candidates"? Well, when isn't there? But the problems with Trump eclipse those of even Nixon or Reagan or W, let alone those of Biden. "Biden just isn't up to the job"? That's for us to find out, but I know that Trump isn't. If it's something else you're after, please elucidate. There are only two days left, after all.

Larry Hart said...

Pachydermis2 under the previous comments (again) :

Clear Trump win. I'm sympathetic to your reaction. It would not be easy to have to acknowledge that the world was not as you thought/hoped/believed it to be.

I think you are purposely understating the problem here. Finding out that enough American citizens like what Trump represents enough to elect him again in the full light of day is not just a general case of "Man plans and God laughs." The closest example I can think of is if I were to discover that my beloved wife of has secretly been an anti-Semite all along, plotting to kill me painfully just for fun. It's not just, "Oh, I was wrong about something." It's the realization of a betrayal so fundamental that it undoes practically everything I thought I believed in. Likewise, if America, the government, law enforcement, etc are in favor of the anti-democratic, sadistic, own-the-libs-uber-alles worldview that Trump represents, then every time I ever saluted the flag or sang the Star Spangled Banner (or America the Beautiful) with pride was misguided.

That, more than anything else is why I'm hoping Trump loses in a landslide. It's not even about him. It's a hope that my fellow Americans redeem themselves.

David Brin said...

God bless the NALC TCB! I was made an honorary member in 1986!

ANd HAMMER that no force in American life was more anti-leninist than the AFL-CIO. So much for "socialism" crap.

Anonymous said...

"The left" didn't "betray" Democrats significantly in 1994 & 2010. I'm a Green - pretty good proxy for "left", eh? - and our vote totals didn't jump in those years.

From what I've read, the problem in those years was that millions of (young/non-white/poor?) Democrats didn't bother to vote, and plenty of (old white?) Republicans did. Voting leftists ("Progressives") tend to vote every year, where too many casual Democrats only vote in Presidential elections.

And in those years in particular, the GOP put in a lot more effort (and money) than the Dems did. IIRC, in 1994, the DLC (Clinton) Democrats were still cementing their win over the remaining FDR Democrats. And after 2008, the Democrats somehow allowed the great organization that Obama built to fizzle away by 2010 (and Obama's centrist policies alienated the Occupy types, who may have been "leftists" but were certainly "young").

And in both cases, the core problem may come back to the fact that the Democratic Party lacks money & long-term organization (esp relative to GOP). When Democrats win the White House, thousands of experienced campaigners get hired into the Federal bureaucracy, and they're not available to run the next campaign. GOP manages that better, by being able to employ more people in permanent think-tanks, etc.

- elkern

Alfred Differ said...

I don't know how this table will turn out in a comment when it comes to tabular layout, but it shouldn't be two hard to read. 8)

First column is State. Second column is the House delegation change if one counts the 'number of Wyomings' and truncates to an integer. The third column is like the second but involves rounding to the nearest integer. (1.5 -> 2 <- 2.499999)

(Rhode Island isn't really shrinking. It's just not growing faster than Wyoming.)

Y'all can work out the numbers in a winner-takes-all EC.

trunc round
state delta delta
CA 15 15
TX 14 14
FL 10 10
NY 6 7
PA 4 4
IL 3 4
OH 4 4
GA 4 4
NC 5 5
MI 3 3
NJ 3 3
VI 3 4
WA 3 3
AZ 3 4
MA 3 3
TN 2 3
IN 2 3
MO 2 3
MD 2 2
WI 2 2
CO 2 3
MN 1 2
SC 1 2
AL 1 1
LA 2 2
KY 1 2
OR 2 2
OK 1 2
CT 1 1
UT 1 2
IA 1 1
NV 1 1
AR 1 1
MS 1 1
KS 1 1
NM 0 1
NE 0 0
ID 1 1
WV 0 0
HI 0 0
NH 0 0
ME 0 0
MT 0 1
RI -1 0
DE 0 1
SD 0 1
ND 0 0
AK 0 0
DC 0 0
VT 0 0
WY 0 0

DP said...

Required reading: "The politics of cultural despair" by Chris Hedges

We are piling up massive deficits and neglecting our basic infrastructure, including electrical grids, roads, bridges and public transportation, to spend more on our military that all the other major powers on Earth combined. We are the world's largest producer and exporter of arms and munitions. The virtues we argue we have a right to impose by force on others — human rights, democracy, the free market, the rule of law and personal freedoms — are mocked at home where grotesque levels of social inequality and austerity programs have impoverished most of the public, destroyed democratic institutions, including Congress, the courts and the press, and created militarized forces of internal occupation that carry out wholesale surveillance of the public, run the largest prison system in the world and gun down unarmed citizens in the streets with impunity.

The dance macabre is already underway. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year from opioid overdoes, alcoholism and suicide, what sociologists calls deaths of despair. This despair fuels high rates of morbid obesity, some 40 percent of the public, gambling addictions, the pornification of the society with the ubiquitous of images of sexual sadism along with the proliferation of armed right-wing militias and nihilistic mass shootings. As despair mounts, so will these acts of self-immolation.

Those overwhelmed by despair seek magical salvation, whether in crisis cults, such as the Christian right, or demagogues such as Trump, or rage-filled militias that see violence as a cleansing agent. As long as these dark pathologies are allowed to fester and grow — and the Democratic Party has made it clear it will not enact the kinds of radical social reforms that will curb these pathologies — the United States will continue its march towards disintegration and social upheaval. Removing Trump will neither halt nor slow the descent.

DP said...


An estimated 300,000 Americans will be dead from the pandemic in December, a figure that is expected to rise to 400,000 in January. Chronic underemployment and unemployment is close to 20 percent when those who have stopped looking for work, those furloughed with no prospect of being rehired and those who work part-time but are still below the poverty line, are included in the official statistic instead of being magically erased from the unemployment rolls. Our privatized health care system, which is making record profits during the pandemic, is not designed to cope with a public health emergency. It is designed to maximize profit for its owners. There are fewer than 1 million hospital beds nationally, a result of the decades-long trend of hospital mergers and closures that have reduced access to care in communities across the nation. Cities such as Milwaukee have been forced to erect field hospitals. In states such as Mississippi there are no longer any ICU beds available. The for-profit health service did not stockpile the ventilators, masks, tests or drugs to deal with COVID-19. Why should it? That is not a route to increased revenue. And there is no substantial difference between Trump and Biden's response to the health crisis, where 1,000 people a day are dying.

Forty-eight percent of front line workers remain ineligible for sick pay. Some 43 million Americans have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance. There are 10,000 bankruptcies a day, with perhaps two-thirds of them tied to exorbitant medial costs. Food banks are overrun with tens of thousands of desperate families. Roughly 10 to 14 million renter households, or 23 to 34 million people, were behind on their rent in September. That amounts to $12 to $17 billion in unpaid rent. And that figure is expected to rise to $34 billion in past-due rent in January. The lifting of the moratorium on evictions and forecloses will mean that millions of families, many destitute, will be tossed onto the street. Hunger in U.S. households almost tripled between 2019 and August of this year, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture. The proportion of American children who do not have enough to eat, the study found, is 14 times higher than it was last year. A study by Columbia University found that since May there are eight million more Americans who can be classified as poor. Meanwhile, the 50 richest Americans hold as much wealth as half of the United States. Millennials, some 72 million people, have 4.6 percent of U.S. wealth.

DP said...


In the midst of the pandemic crisis, what did our ruling kleptocratic rulers do?

They looted $4 trillion on a scale unseen since the 2008 bailout overseen by Barack Obama and Biden. They gorged and enriched themselves at our expense, while tossing crumbs out the windows of their private jets, yachts, penthouses and palatial estates to the suffering and despised masses.

The CARES Act handed trillions in funds or tax breaks to oil companies, the airline industry, which alone got $50 billion in stimulus money, the cruise ship industry, a $170 billion windfall for the real estate industry. It handed subsidies to private equity firms, lobbying groups, whose political action committees have given $191 million in campaign contributions to politicians in the last two decades, the meat industry and corporations that have moved offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. The act allowed the largest corporations to gobble up money that was supposed to keep small businesses solvent to pay workers. It gave 80 percent of tax breaks under the stimulus package to millionaires and allowed the wealthiest to get stimulus checks that average $1.7 million. The CARES Act also authorized $454 billion for the Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund, a massive slush fund doled out by Trump cronies to corporations that, when leveraged 10 to 1, can be used to create a staggering $4.5 trillion in assets. The act authorized the Fed to give $1.5 trillion in loans to Wall Street, which no one expects will ever be paid back. American billionaires have gotten $434 billion richer since the pandemic. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, whose corporation Amazon paid no federal taxes last year, alone added nearly $72 billion to his personal wealth since the pandemic started. During this same time period 55 million Americans lost their jobs.

The United States, awash in military-grade weaponry, is already plagued by an epidemic of mass shootings. There are death threats against critics of Trump, including Rep. Ilhan Omar. There was an aborted plot by 13 members of a right-wing militia group to kidnap and perhaps assassinate the governors of Michigan and Virginia and start a civil war. A Trump supporter mailed pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN, an effort to decapitate the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, as well as terrorize the media outlet that is the party's principal propaganda platform.

Political stagnation and corruption, along with economic and social misery, spawn what anthropologists call crisis cults — movements led by demagogues that prey on unbearable psychological and financial distress and champion violence as a form of moral purification. These crisis cults, already well established among followers of the Christian right, right-wing militia groups and many followers of Donald Trump, who look at him not as a politician but as a cult leader, peddle magical thinking and an infantilism that promises — if you surrender all autonomy — prosperity, restored national glory, a return to a mythical past, order and security. Trump is a symptom. He is not the disease. And if he leaves office far more competent and dangerous demagogues will rise, if the social conditions are not radically improved, to take his place.

I fear we are headed towards a Christianized fascism.

Larry Hart said...

Pachydermis2 in the previous comments:

Biden wins and it stands. Well I think he'd be a lousy president but nobody is going to get shot down in the street under this scenario.

I kinda missed this shot yesterday, but that seems to me to be the scenario in which people are most likely to be shot by armed militia Brownshirts.

My brother, who lives in central Pennsylvania, fears this scenario the most. He thinks that Trump might actually win the state either by outright voter intimidation beforehand or by intimidation of election officials leading to overturning a Biden victory. After the Texas incident the other day when Trump trucks attempted to run a Biden tour bus off of the road--the local police fully complicit, giving no protection to the aggrieved parties, I can easily envision such a thing happening in places not named California or New York or Illinois. That's exactly the sort of result that I will feel honor-bound not to accept. And if you think that's the equivalent of Trump not accepting the result just because he doesn't like it, you're going to have to make an awfully good case for that.

Larry Hart said...

This op-ed nicely sums up my unwavering sentiment over the last four years--among other things, just how important it was to be unwavering.

So at the end of the day on Tuesday, after every ballot is cast, all we can do is stand.

Regardless of the outcome, we can stand tall knowing that we fought against Donald Trump’s despotic abuse of power with courage and valor. We can hold our heads high because we stood for the things that we know in our souls are right.

We stood not only for ourselves, but also for those who are unable to stand on their own.

Larry Hart said...

With so many factors working for him, Biden is the clear favorite. The only thing that can stop him, assuming the polls are even in the ballpark, is massive cheating (the USPS slowdown, disqualifying many ballots, getting the courts to order counting to be stopped, etc.).

That statement is both true and scary for its veracity. Because in a functioning democracy, cheating would be a disqualification, not an expected campaign strategy fully supported by 2/5 of the voters, an entire major party, the courts, and (if we are to believe them) law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

I'm envisioning a World Series baseball game in which the home team is losing in the bottom of the ninth and their final batter (Mighty Casey) swings and misses for his third strike. But in this universe, the winner of last year's World Series got to appoint their own umpires, one of whom is behind the plate, and who simply refuses to call the batter out, insisting that the pitcher keeps on throwing. With a count of 0-3, Mighty Casey knocks in the winning run with a long homer. Fans of the opposing team (Cubs?) are furious and refuse to accept the outcome, but enough jubilant Mudville fans and league officials go with, "If the umpire doesn't call him out, he's not out, no matter what else the rulebook says." So the result stands recorded for all time.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone willing to blame both sides equally for a climate of "not accepting a result they don't like" can talk to the hand, because, "I do not hear the words of traitors!"

Ahcuah said...

Slightly off topic . . .

In the past our host has advocated stock transfer taxes (a small tax each time a stock is traded). See A Transaction Fee Might Save Capital Markets... and Protect Us From The Terminator!.

According to Salon, such a tax already exists for New York State (you know, where the major stock market is ;-) ): A Wall Street tax that could lift many out of poverty already exists — it's just not being collected.


Tacitus said...


I have always enjoyed our discussions. This will be my last post for a few days.

I think you are being consistent. Your cat would indeed do nothing as President. Biden has, I believe, limitations but would do more than that. I see him as being a figurehead and I sense - but won't speak for you - that you are comfortable with that.

I am bothered with the question of who would actually be running the country should the rigors of the job prove to be too much for Biden. I don't hold Harris in particular esteem. I won't descend to discussion of her personal life but I think it's fair to say that her career in politics was launched in a fashion that would not be a shining example to girls as to how to succeed in their own right. And once she had made friends in useful places in the California Dem Party she held a series of jobs that hardly prep her for either a career leading a diverse (politically) nation or in dealing with a world that does not give a damn about what the Dem Party leaders decide behind closed doors. She's just not up to the standards that our esteemed host sets for Veeps. Minimal to no executive, foreign policy or private sector experience.

It would help a great deal if the Biden campaign had the courage to sometimes make commitments early and other times...not to.

I could point out a half dozen other D politicians I think would be better VPs, more ready to step up when needed. But by saying "it will be a black woman" Biden narrowed his field unnecessarily...and gives people pause to wonder what other key posts will be filled not by the best person available but by somebody who fills a demographic/ethnic/chromosomal/pigmentary niche of convenience.

There are many things to dislike about Donald Trump. But he comes right out and says "The Supreme Court is very important. Here's a list of people I would consider". Biden when challenged to do the same....declined. And needlessly so. If he cared much about independent voters he'd just have put out a longer list with an array of well qualified people. It's not good for a President to be bold and cautious at the wrong times.

So I figure the nation under a Biden administration will be run, somebody. I'd like these persons or organizations to be known up front. You have faith that the Dems will by their better natures pick the Best and Brightest. I lack this faith.

Well, that's enough for now. Like you I feel Congress will be of greater importance going forward. It has become relatively weak as compared to the co-equal branches and should assert it's proper role. If this means less of the Celebrity Power of the Presidency, and a reduced role for the (in some people's eyes) Super Legislature role of the Supreme Court then I think we'll be better off.

Thanks for your patience. We both worry about the country and what it will be like for our kids (and grandkids....have a word there Larry!) who will inherit it. Our worries don't overlap as much as they should but for my part and for my perception of yours, they are sincere.

I'd be happier just letting this stand until post election, but if the More Excitable here are worked up enough that they feel a need to slag, go ahead if it makes you feel better. I'll check back in a few days.


Larry Hart said...

And it’s part of Mr. Trump’s re-election pitch in rural areas. At a recent rally in Des Moines, he said, “Some of the farmers were making more money the way I was doing it than working their asses off, all right?”
In Omaha, Mr. Trump said, “Some people say our farmers do better now than they did when they actually had a farm.”

Words fail me.

Imagine touting, "Some people say our workers do better now (on unemployment insurance) than they did when they actually had a job!" I mean, Republicans actually do say that, but they mean it as a reason to stop paying unemployment benefits, not as a reason unemployed people should vote for them in gratitude for their generosity.

This is, exactly?

Larry Hart said...

That's what I'm talkin' about...

Still, in many parts of rural Iowa, it’s difficult to be publicly pro-Biden without getting some blowback. Trump supporters are loud and proud. In nearby Oskaloosa, there is a Trump gear retail outlet, the Trump Shop. It was different in 2016, when analysts spoke about shy Trump voters — people who privately supported him but would not say so publicly. This year we might talk about shy Biden voters, sitting quietly in the coffee shops while their friends opine on the triumphs and tribulations of their great leader and his legion of enemies.

You can still find public signs of support for Mr. Biden. Chuck, a buddy who runs the local food pantry, drives an old, rust-riddled, beat-up pickup truck. At a recent “Ridin’ for Biden” vehicle parade, he led the way, with a Biden flag flying from the back of his truck. Below the flag is a sign that’s been there for years: “Where money is an idol, to be poor is a sin.”

A local yard sign says: “I’m a Republican but not a fool! Biden 2020.”

Democrats are energized. Mr. Trump’s base remains strong and confident. The difference this year just might be the rural shy Biden voters, who don’t like what America has become under Mr. Trump and are looking for a unifier, not a divider, and a problem solver, not a personality.

Pappenheimer said...


My cat left that message by standing on the keyboard - about 4 lines' worth. Could it be a message to remember the Spirit of 1776? A patriotic plea for Larry's vote?

As a WA resident I know my state is already counted in the blue column. but if I lived a few miles east my vote would drown in a sea of ID red. We have GOT to render the Electoral College toothless.

Going for a walk in the hills out back with happy dogs to clear my head.

Larry Hart said...

Stonekettle on Twitter:

If you don't support Trump, you don't count. You're not an American. You're the enemy. So, if his supporters assault you, it's not a crime, it's patriotism because you're not human enough to deserve respect.

This is how fascists always treat those they deem subhuman.

Darrell E said...

Regarding similarities between Nazis and Trump and his stooges, a commenter on another site I frequent provided an interesting one that fits like a glove. It is a quote from this review by Antony Beevor, a British historian, of the book Eva Braun: Life with Hitler, by Heike B. Görtemaker.

"For Hitler and the Nazi leadership, image and impression were often more important than reality. In a deeply disturbing way, this frivolous irresponsibility and fantasy were an integral part of their inhumanity."

That fits Trump to a tee. Though I'd probably add "pathetic" to "frivolous irresponsibility." Of course Trump doesn't have Hitler's pathetic addiction to romanticism. He doesn't have the capacity for something like that. Trump is much cruder than Hitler.

Jon S. said...

Speaking for myself, Pachy, I'm much more comfortable with a president who doesn't make commitments on hypothetical topics. Barring random disease or a meteor or something, there are no predicted openings on SCOTUS over the next four years, to the best of my knowledge, nor has Congress yet expanded the court, so why should Biden be expected to opine on who he wants for a job opening that doesn't currently exist?

I'd be interested to know who he has in mind for cabinet posts, but oddly am also fine with that not being announced until after he's won. (After all, in the unlikely case of his not winning, there's no point in burning political bridges too early by "snubbing" the ones he didn't choose.)

Larry Hart said...


President. Biden has, I believe, limitations but would do more than that. I see him as being a figurehead and I sense - but won't speak for you - that you are comfortable with that.

Not so much "figurehead" as "placeholder". The way our elections work, the only way to vote against someone is to vote for someone else. I wasn't after the Democrats to nominate the candidate who most agreed with me on every issue--I wanted them to elect someone who enough voters were comfortable voting for against Trump.

I am bothered with the question of who would actually be running the country should the rigors of the job prove to be too much for Biden

Bothered enough to prefer a Trump victory? Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell running the country isn't as scary as some hypothetical Biden surrogates?

Words fail me.

Trump is an aberration in the sense that he does have a Brownshirt army who is loyal to him personally. Neither Biden nor any other Democrat nor most Republicans I can think of as president would be like that. Congress and the bureaucracy would be running the country (whether Biden was healthy or not) much more than we've been used to in the past four years. What Biden wouldn't do--what Trump is doing--is to remove competent people in favor of yes-men.

Larry Hart said...

Darrell E:

Of course Trump doesn't have Hitler's pathetic addiction to romanticism. He doesn't have the capacity for something like that. Trump is much cruder than Hitler.

I've heard Rick Perry described derisively as "George W Bush without the intellect."

In the same sense, Trump is like Hitler without the competence.

Darrell E said...

Some things that make me think the undecideds, both-siders, thoughtful-reluctant Trump supports and I'm-a-true-patriot Trump supporters are delusional. In the precise sense of that word.

1) Trump's low character.

2) Trump's denigration of military personnel in general and specifically. Real life heroes and military personnel of high achievement.

3) All of the Admirals and Generals, like James Mattis who is generally considered by Marines to be a walking, talking, live action icon of the ideal Marine, that have denounced Trump as a moron who is uniquely disqualified for the job.

4) More than 70 former Republican national security leaders signing onto an open letter backing Joe Biden and saying Trump is unfit to lead. Saying things like, "Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President." These are people that worked in top level positions in previous Republican administrations.

5) An open letter signed by 489 national security leaders, many of them life long Republicans, supporting Biden and denouncing Trump. Secretaries of state, defense secretaries, joint chiefs, intelligence-agency brass, etc..

6) A letter from 20 Republican former US attorneys denouncing Trump as "a threat to the rule of law in our country," and urging support of Biden. These are US attorneys appointed by previous Republican administrations.

7) Regarding 3-6, these people are not the little cog bureaucrats that fill government agencies by the thousands, these are the leaders, the people of note, the heroes of conservative Republican citizens over the past four decades.

8) Agencies like the FBI, whose personnel have leaned conservative and Republican since anyone's living memory, are dismissed as deepstate because they investigated Trump and showed him for the corrupt, criminal incompetent that he is.

9) The ridiculous, unprecedented turnover rate in the Trump administration. Over 90% among his senior advisors, over 415 appointees fired or resigned. A significant number of these selected personally by Trump and many more, of course, by people he personally appointed.

10) How many of those people from 7 above have denounced Trump. And what they have revealed about the inner workings of his administration. This degree and rate of criticism by former appointees is unprecedented. People disgruntled about being let go doesn't begin to account for it. No other presidential administration has drawn such criticism for appointees that got fired. This is different than anything we've seen before.

There is an enormous amount of data available on all of these things, and more, that make them undeniably true. Unless one is delusional enough to believe that all of the enormous amount of data, including recorded incidents with full context, are fake news. Anyone who argues that, well, both sides do these sorts of things, is just as delusional. Something is wrong with them that prevents them from being able to assess the data and accept what it shows.

It is not a matter of different opinions, or different views. If you insist on going that route then that pretty much entails you placing yourself in the basket of deplorables. Because you are saying yeah, I can see what the data shows but I prefer Trump and the normalization of open racism, misogyny, big lie propaganda, a president routinely using the office to funnel money into his businesses, a president routinely using the justice department as his personal lawyer, a president that is so fucking stupid that his staff has failed to figure out how to keep him briefed even though they dumb reports down to kindergarten picture book level, a president that has routinely engaged in actions that if he were not a sitting president would result in legal sanctions and criminal prosecution, and much, much more.

Larry Hart said...


Going for a walk in the hills out back with happy dogs to clear my head.

I'm thinking of "going dark" tomorrow as well. As we won't know any actual tallies until at least 6pm (my time), it's probably best for the blood pressure not to try to read tea leaves in the daytime broadcasts.

As to what it means if Trump wins by cheating vs if he wins by the rules, I've adapted an Oscar Wilde quote:
"The only thing worse than Donald Trump cheating to win is Donald Trump not cheating to win."

If anyone remembers the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve, I've decided that that's my plan if we have to endure four more year's of Trump's America. I'm going to hide all the modern technology from my home-office space (which still contains the numbered-block calendar I've had since fourth grade), wear my late father's old wind-up watch (which I'm wearing even now), play music from the summer of 1977 on my old cassette player, and do my best to hypnotically transport myself to that most wonderful of years. I'll miss y'all here, but what can you do?

Darrell E said...

Larry Hart said...

"I've heard Rick Perry described derisively as "George W Bush without the intellect.""

That is funny as shit. Never heard that. Made me LOL. At work no less.

David Brin said...

Dear elkern, you assume those who turned their backs on the democrats and Clinton (94) and Obama (2010) must have then voted for 3rd parties. What? They stayed home! Shrugging and grumbling with chic cynicism (as Pachydermis2 does in thoday's long comment) despite all of the accomplishments of the 111th Congress… which I will wager you could not name (except the ACA) if your life depended on it.

The rest of your rationalizations are at-best gross exaggerations and mostly simply untrue assertions. How I wish there were some way to hold accountable such ravings. But if you actually cared to KNOW something, try this:

DD while some of the indictments you cite are true, and many of them horrible, the reflex to assume that US Defense spending is indefensible is utterly wrongheaded in light of human history, in which Pax Americana has been by far the best time, by orders of magnitude. ALL past nations spent around half of their disposable budgets on arms and armies. But since 1945 a vast majority have been able to spend maybe 5% per year on such things. Except for leninist empires and the US which kept the 80 year peace. There were horrific mistakes in that time, but at a lower ratio than any previous pax. And you know it.

Factor in the development most countries were able to accomplish under that protective umbrella… and the fact that we lost millions of jobs by allowing them to go overseas and buying tens of trillions in crap we never needed. Those two things, far more than foreign aid, resulted in 90% of the world’s kids spending their childhoods in school, with full bellies.

So criticize! But do not demonize what gave the world its only progress and hope,

“Those overwhelmed by despair seek magical salvation, whether in crisis cults, such as the Christian right, or demagogues such as Trump, or rage-filled militias that see violence as a cleansing agent. “

Yeah? or else they seek magical leftist incantations that ignore the good and progress done by the “empire” that FDR and Marshall built. And juist watch how popular America will be again, the instant Putin's shills are ejected from DC.

Seriously, while citing genuine facts about real problems… that screech of despair and hate upon America is exactly the kind of demoralizing crap you’d expect from one wing of the FSB.IRA/KGB sub-basement.

David Brin said...

Pachydermis… sorry. I like you, but that was one long stretch of magical incantation-assertions without a scintilla of actual reality to back them up. What a series of just-so chants!

Were you a MAGA I’d right now be shouting a dare to back up any of them (except that Kamala got some mentoring during her rise) with actual cash wagers. That sorta works with macho guys but never with liberals. So all I can do is wave and wish you well.

LH: “The difference this year just might be the rural shy Biden voters, who don’t like what America has become under Mr. Trump and are looking for a unifier, not a divider, and a problem solver, not a personality.”

Not superstitious but not wanting to jinx. But yes, that is the big hope.

Alfred Differ said...

her career in politics was launched in a fashion that would not be a shining example to girls

Ha ha!

She slept with a CA Party Boss (who was actually on his way out) and admits it as an early, somewhat regretted relationship. Oh what a shock! Now I can't possibly vote for her ticket! Pfft!

If guys had that kind of opportunity for political advancement, you can be sure they would have being doing it since the Dark Ages. Really? They did? With the Priest? (Thumbs through the history books) Yah. Up until syphilis made its way to the old world from the new world? Hmm. Nah. After that too. Wait a sec! These books say they do everyone and not always figuratively!

This is silly nonsense. We ARE related to Bonobos, after all. Very silly not to recognize that fact about us.

Alfred Differ said...

With the election finishing up tomorrow, it is time to lay down my prediction.

Biden will have 351 electoral votes by the time this is done.

Democrats will pick up +12-14 House seats. NC got redistricted.

Senate Democrats will hold 51 seats. Indep's will side with Democrats making 53.
Lindsay Graham will survive re-election. Susan Collins won't.

North Carolina will elect a Democrat for Governor. Montana won't.

CA Prop 17 will pass. Parolees will get to vote next time.
CA Prop 18 will go down. Voting age will stay at 18 no matter what.
CA Prop 22 will go down. Uber, Lyft & DoorDash are trying to define what we call an 'employee'. [~$200M spent so far]
CA Prop 25 will survive ending cash bail in CA.
[In case it isn't clear, I think 'cash bail' needs to be staked through the heart.]

Larry Hart said...

My college daughter and I have been exchanging texts today. She was in theater in high school and they did a very good version of Les Miserables, so she knows exactly where this line came from:

Tomorrow, we'll discover just what God in Heaven has in store.

A.F. Rey said...

All I can say is everybody stock up on alcohol for his election.

You're going to need something good in case your candidate wins. :)

You're going to need something strong in case your candidate loses. :(

And you're going to need a lot of it, because we probably won't know which it is for a few weeks. :p

Cari Burstein said...

Alfred I'm a bit surprised by your prediction on CA Prop 18, I would have thought that was the least controversial measure on the ballot. Is there actually any organized opposition to that prop?

Larry Hart said...

A.F. Rey:

And you're going to need a lot of it, because we probably won't know which it is for a few weeks. :p

I was gonna say. :)

I'm hoping for some real humor value. Like, the vote count at midnight has Biden winning, and suddenly Trump and his sycophants are screaming about how every last vote has to be counted, no matter how many weeks it takes! Oh, and we've also always been at war with Eastasia.

And while I don't think this is mathematically possible, it would be hilarious to watch the aftermath if Trump won the popular vote but not the electoral vote.

David Brin said...

As the Jews say, if Alfred's forecasts were all true, then Dayenu... it would be enough. But (1) the portents suggest more... and (2) superstition fears less.

David Brin said...

Prop 18 is just silly. The demarcations are arbitrary. May wie live to see a day when giving a vote to kids 17and 2/3 old but NOT 17 and a half will be worth arguing about/

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Biden will have 351 electoral votes by the time this is done.

From your lips to God's ear, although I am glad that you think so.

It has to be more than just a few EVs higher than 269, because so much can still change after the official count is through. There is not one objective answer to the question "How many electoral votes will Joe Biden get?" Because these are not necessarily the same thing:

+ The number he gets by adding the electoral votes of the states (or districts) which were called in his favor.

+ The number he holds onto after the courts throw out votes in some of those states.

+ The number of human beings called electors who actually cast their vote for him, regardless of who they are pledged to support.

I'm not comfortable with the bottom options unless the top one is up around "All of them".

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Prop 18 is just silly. The demarcations are arbitrary.

Not being from California, I had to look it up, but if I'm reading it correctly, we in Illinois already let kids who will be 18 by Election Day vote in the preceding primaries. I thought California was supposed to lead the nation in stuff like this.

It's not about changing the voting age as much as it is about letting those who will be eligible to vote in a cycle participate in the entire cycle. Just as I'm pretty sure that someone who will be of voting age on November 3 is allowed to early-vote even before his 18th birthday.

As the Jews say, if Alfred's forecasts were all true, then Dayenu... it would be enough. But (1) the portents suggest more... and (2) superstition fears less.

The portents don't take into account all the ways, known and unknown, in which Republicans might cheat their way to victory. I don't think that fear is a superstitious one, any moreso than "Hillary won by three million votes, but she still might lose the presidency."

Lorraine said...

A.F. Rey: All I can say is everybody stock up on alcohol for his election.

I would, but the run on alcohol was even more total than the run on toilet paper. And unlike w. TP the supply lines still haven't reconnected.

Or do you mean the other kind of alcohol?

I'm reminded of 2008 when somehow the gunnuts engineered a run on ammunition that managed to be picked up as a "news" story. They are very good at playing the media like a fiddle. It's sad. The left invented gorilla theatre in the sixties and now (apparently) we can't even meme.

Cari Burstein said...

I'm not really sure if you are in favor or against 18 by your last comment David. To me it seems that Prop 18 makes a lot of sense, since it allows people who would be eligible to vote in the general election to participate in the primary for the election. There are quite a lot of states that already allow for this.

All age based demarcations pretty much have to be arbitrary, since nobody becomes automatically wiser on their birthday, and behavior and judgement varies widely within age groups, so there is no real age based way to reliably measure who is mature enough to vote (although certainly there are statistical arguments in favor of certain age groups over others).

Doing a quick look online, the biggest argument I could see people coming up with against 18 was that kids are more likely to be in school at 17 than 18, and therefore might be influenced by teachers. Personally I think any risk associated with that is well worth it if it results in more young people getting engaged in paying attention to elections and voting earlier, which may result in long term increased voter participation.

I've always felt we need to do more during high school to get students engaged in understanding the voting process and participating it. By the time people are old enough to vote, they've spent many years of their lives being told they have no voice in the system and that nobody cares what they think.

Personally I think it'd be great if we had non-official ballots at every high school that students were encouraged to submit, with the results actually tracked and released, so that even if their votes don't yet count, their opinions can be heard and paid some attention to, keeping in mind that in a short period of time those votes will be counting. If people get into the habit of voting at a younger age, while they can be taught how to research details about the candidates, who is funding them, etc. that could have major impacts on the quality of political engagement in the long haul.

Larry Hart said...

I just looked at the "despair" article Daniel Duffy linked to above. Couldn't make it past a few sentences. The best I can say for it is that it might (just might) be "right, but at the wrong time", a la Edith Keeler.

More "Biden is just as much the problem as Trump is" crap! "A vote for Biden is an insult to women like Anita Hill", as if Biden hasn't learned anything in the almost-30 year interval, and the issues at hand are a bit different. Oh, btw, the corollary is that a vote for Biden's opponent is a lesser insult to women? Render unto me a fucking break!

Another article designed to depress Democratic/liberal turnout.

Enough! I do not hear the words of traitors.

Alfred Differ said...


Organized opposition? Not that I've noticed. Ballotpedia has tracked about $1M contributed in support of it and nothing against. My prediction is based on what I've seen in the people around me. Mostly it is raised eyebrows and questions like "Who thought that was a good idea to put on the ballot?"

Turns out it came from our state legislature and is phrased as an amendment to our state constitution.

Sometimes... they get carried away with their effort to appease us. I suspect that is how this is being viewed here.

Still... that cutoff is pretty arbitrary. It came down to 18 because of the draft many years ago. If you can be drafted and sent to war, should you not be able to vote? That got fixed, but CA changed our elections a bit when we went with jungle primaries. That made a primary the 'real' election and the November election a run-off for many races. So... it could be argued that someone allowed to vote in a run-off should be allowed to vote in the first stage too.

I voted for it, but I'll live with it failing. No big deal. Our jungle primaries aren't for the Presidential race, so it's mostly a state matter as far as I'm concerned.

I'm MUCH more interested in #17 and #25. We have some left-over cruft from our days of tolerance of bigots. I'd much rather felons never lost the right to vote, but I won't win that argument any more than I'd convince my neighbors to give up the death penalty. I'll settle for nibbling away at old rules that are used in not-so-novel ways to enforce immobility on the socio-economic-status ladder.

There ARE overlaps between progressivism and old-school liberalism. Removing the tools of bigots is one of those regions.

Zepp Jamieson said...

What is this "election" you people keep speaking of.

David Brin said...

WTF does Sam Houston have to do with our tension, the next couple of days, fretting about possible hot civil war? Well first, I think we'll be rescued by several million white women and hispanic males, two groups who may shock pollsters and tip the balance by voting for their families' future. But if I'm wrong? Stores on Main Street are boarded up and National Guard units on pre-alert, in fear of civil unrest by either side, if it loses.
True, there's a difference in what activists mean by 'resistance,' with the left preparing to call a national General Strike, if it appears a myriad GOP cheats stymied the people's will.

Meanwhile, Trump is telegraphing that tens of thousands of brutes are 'standing by' to wreak violence, if he thinks he can get away with calling for it... and even if he doesn't.

Time for a reality check there, fellahs. Before you move on any of your blowhard plans, look around your basement scheme sessions and take a guess who's wearing a wire... or just blabbing, the moment he leaves your parents' house.

Imbeciles think because they stockpiled a basement fulla guns they'd 'win.' But each jerk has just one trigger finger. Meanwhile, most of the NEW gun owners since 2001 have been liberals and minorities who are quieter about it and only buy what they might need. (It's why almost no liberals have called for an end to the 2nd amendment, only reasonable background checks.)

Given that the US military officer corps now hates the mindless-traitor GOP, where will any boogaloo bois action or Timothy McVeigh stuff lead? Maligning as "deep state" enemies the very men and women who defeated Hitler, thwarted Stalin and won the Cold War and the War on Terror. You've spewed venom at them for years, all without offering one scintilla of evidence. How was that smart?

In fact, the boogaloo/supremacist/ ranks are riddled with braggarts, informants and FBI undercover agents. And I give 30% odds we'll see massive sweeps.

Oh just one final thing, bois. These morons are fully vested into the Fox-Putin propelled meme of hate toward all fact-using professions, including not just military officers, but the doctors who save their lives and scientists saving the planet. So, let's ask: who will all the NERDS help, in this civil war you bois plan?

YOU may just have one trigger finger each, but the geeks you plan to war against know how to program as many robots and drones as they want. Hence. a piece of advice that confederates ignore every time they flash-start one of our 8 phases (so far) of civil war is this: Pick your enemies well. (You never do.)

And so we come full circle to Sam Houston, hero of Texan Independence and the quintessential Texan-with-a-brain (and there are many, as we'll soon see.) Houston pleaded with his fellow Texans, both morally and pragmatically, not to follow the mad, emotional rush to treason and confederacy.

Alas, as has been the case for us - entreating our MAGA neighbors not to hate on science and fairness and factual reality and maturity - moral arguments seldom to quell these periodic fevers. MAGAs - as with their confed predecessors - take such appeals as signs of weakness. But Houston chided: assuming that would be a terrible mistake.

“Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives you may win Southern independence, but I doubt it. The North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche.”
-- Sam Houston

Zepp Jamieson said...

While this sort of poison has proliferated under Trump, it didn't begin with him.
This article details overt Nazi infiltration in the training of police in Kentucky. The manual was supposedly discontinued in 2013, but the fact that it was used AT ALL is deeply troubling.

Kentucky state police training quoted Hitler to create ‘ruthless’ warriors

Instructional presentation quotes the Nazi leader on three separate slides, as well as Confederate general Robert E Lee

Alexandra Villarreal

Mon 2 Nov 2020 12.49 EST

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding our Prop 18 about the voting age, there are arguments for and against that don't move most of us. I suspect we will go with either our 'gut' or a sense of fairness. Justice and Prudence don't always get along with each other.

Some of my in-laws and their friends get together each election of a 'junto'. (If you don't know the term, look it up and consider hosting your own during the next election cycle.) At ours, we focus on the ballot propositions. I got to present the one we have regarding rent control (Prop 21). Fun.

But on prop 18 we saw the same old arguments.

1. Kids vote as their parents/teachers tell them. || BS. Wives don't always vote as their husbands demand and that's a TERRIBLE defense for depriving women of a right claimed by their sons. Some will. Some won't. Some won't even vote.

2. Kids aren't mature enough to vote. Adults are. || BS too. Science has made it clear that our brains aren't finished with myelination until our mid-20's. By then, the forebrain is properly hooked up and we become as capable of forethought as we are ever going to be. If there is a decent age to use for demarcation, full myelination IS IT. Our Founding Fathers would have happily accepted that line as a lower limit had they known it. But... we can draft youngsters before full myelination occurs. Perhaps we should stop that, prevent them from joining voluntarily until 25yo, and RAISE the voting age limit instead? Heh.

3. Why not 17.5? 17.25? 17.12345689? || Nonsense. Unless our State Legislature chooses to push the primary election much earlier than makes sense, there is a limit. It won't be 17.5 or any other precise number. It will be whatever it is to ensure legit voters in the general election have access to the relevant primary ballots too. [If the legislature tries that, we will strip that power from them.]

At our junto, none of these counter-arguments moved people. The general feeling split into two camps.

A. Kids should not be voting. Period. [The Prudence position]
B. Everyone who can vote in a general election should be allowed to vote in the primary. Period. [The Justice position]

Most of us favored passing prop #18, but we aren't a fair sample of CA residents.

Larry Hart said...

No further comment necessary...

My mom, who calls herself a “conservative socialist,” is the sort of persuadable voter Donald Trump might have been able to win over if he had governed differently. She couldn’t bring herself to vote at all in 2016 — Trump was too disgusting; Hillary Clinton was too entitled — but she wasn’t entirely crestfallen about the result, either. “Give him a chance,” she told her shellshocked grandkids as the election night returns came in. “Sometimes it’s good to shake things up.”

Four years on, she’s given the president a chance. Her verdict: “If Trump were running against a giraffe, I’d vote for the giraffe.”


I ask if she thinks America can ever return to its former self after Trump. She has her doubts. “It’s like when you have a fight in a marriage, there are some things you cannot say, because afterward there is no going back.” Trump’s presidency, she thinks, has torn the fabric of American life — some of it based on old habits, some on sustaining illusions — in ways that can neither be repaired nor forgiven. What’s her hope for a Biden presidency? “Some respite,” she answers.

Larry Hart said...

Waking up.

More optimistic than typical, but nervously so.

It looks as if, if the vote is allowed to stand, Biden will win comfortably. But as far as the ways Republicans have to cheat, everything has to break Biden's way for that electoral vote lead to hold. And he's not just running against Trump, but against the Republican-packed courts. gives Biden 273 electoral votes, without even counting the "Barely Dem" states in which the polling is really close. But that total does include Pennsylvania. If Trump manages to invalidate Pennsylvania, then Biden needs help from the "Barely Dem" states, and no single one of them except Florida is enough to make up the difference. A Democrat counting on Florida is foolish, so he would need to pick up two of either Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada (and just Arizona and Nevada won't do it either).

So as of this morning, it looks as if Biden stands atop a very precariously balanced house of cards which could be easily tipped over in many ways.

Or has the national media simply succeeded in their never-ending pursuit of a nail-biter?

Only time will tell. And not all that much time, either.

Larry Hart said...

Back when the earth was cooling and I was in high school, my AP History teacher tried to make the point the weekend before AP exams that we probably already knew all we were going to learn for the test, and rather than struggle to cram, the best thing to do was to enjoy some non-school activities and just let the chips fall where they may.

Undaunted, a classmate asked him what books it would be best to study over the next day or so, and the teacher's wry response was, "Batman".

43 and a half years later, I'm taking that to heart. Since last night, when not actively working from home, I'm binge-watching the 1966 Adam West Batman tv show.

Larry Hart said...

New Stonekettle long-form post:

This is just the initial quote:

On Undecided Voters: To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.
— David Sedaris, American humorist

Carl M. said...

The Party of the Proletariat.

David Brin said...

Carl interesting charts on who donated to ActBlue and WinRed. I had wondered about the one possible exception to my generalization that all the Fact Professions despise the right's war against facts and fact users. That possible exception was non-software engineers, of whom I know several RASRs and obstinate Republicans.

But according to the second chart, non-software engineers in general have donated a lot more to Democrats than to the GOP, this year. So yes, I can get away with calling it a universal generality!

David Brin said...

Posted on FB: Is it over yet?

Welcome to Get Your MAGA Friend or Uncle Drunk Day.

Gifts of liquor* are a win-win! Couch them as a "peace offering so we can all have a fresh start as friends." And drink with them to seal it. And mean it!

But then... you've already voted, right?

*or other substances of choice.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

f there is a decent age to use for demarcation, full myelination IS IT. Our Founding Fathers would have happily accepted that line as a lower limit had they known it. But... we can draft youngsters before full myelination occurs. Perhaps we should stop that, prevent them from joining voluntarily until 25yo, and RAISE the voting age limit instead? Heh.

Raise the age of sexual consent to 25 too? How about the age at which someone may enter into a contract? Be tried as an adult?

Yeah, good luck with that. :)

Larry Hart said...

Carl M:

The Party of the Proletariat.

Yes, I get it. Both parties are corporatist. Only the Libertarian Party is untainted by billionaire donations. /sarcasm

But this time around, it's not even about that. Democrats are the party of functioning democracy. Republicans are the party of authoritarian dictatorship. If Michael Bloomberg wants to help the former defeat the latter, I'm not going to say him nay.

Larry Hart said...

Stonekettle on Twitter:

Last Sunday, in a Zoom podcast to our various audiences, David Gerrold, Louise Marley, Adam-Troy Castro, and I, decided that we're calling it "Terrified Optimism."

That's about right.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Re: Texas maybe moving blue, and Texans-with-a-brain. Republicans have declared war on smarty-pants intellectuals, but there are several enclaves of non-dummies in Texas who are likely blue. For starters, Johnson Space Center is in Houston, and NASA doesn't tend to hire ignoramuses. Texas is home of Big Oil; I've known a few petroleum engineers, and while their time may be coming to an end (or at least needing to be significantly redefined), they are engineers, which indicates a certain familiarity with facts and how things work, and a disinclination towards handwavium. Finally, there is Austin, everyone's favorite City of Weird. I wouldn't write off Texas just yet.

Darrell E said...


I don't know. Based on what I see in the engineer-heavy comments section of the tech sites I keep tabs on, I'm not convinced that engineers as a group are less likely to be Trump voters than any other group. Quite the opposite actually, though I keep telling myself it's a self selection phenomenon (what sort of traits are more likely to make comments). Engineer's may have a disinclination towards handwavium with respect to things close to their area of expertise, but they do not seem to be less susceptible to delusion in other areas. Not religion, not politics, heck, not even science.

Der Oger said...

Larry Hart: "Or has the national media simply succeeded in their never-ending pursuit of a nail-biter?"

This is why I support a politically neutral public broadcasting service financed by a special fees (albeit grudingly).

Also Larry Hart: "Raise the age of sexual consent to 25 too? How about the age at which someone may enter into a contract? Be tried as an adult?"

You (perhaps accidentally) proposed an interesting idea. With many mental health, substance abuse and developmental disorders peaking around the mid-twenties, law enforcement and persecution should reflect this. Also I'd like to point out that the concept of adulthood has shifted to later ages culturally (from, say around 16 in the middle ages to early 30 in modern industrial countries.)

Alfred Differ said...

I don't think Texas is turning blue. We are seeing an extreme range for their behavior under stress. They can 'reach' blue, but they aren't.

The cities are. Sure. The bigger ones.

For Texas to go Blue, someone Red has to do something especially egregious AND personal to Texans.

There is one more path. It's the path California took when it shifted from GOP to Dem. It got expensive to live here. Very expensive. That caused certain professions to leave. That essentially filtered the population on a scale of education. Our Red areas remain livable without huge incomes and graduate degrees. No so in the expensive cities.

What would cause Texas to do this? Not sure. If I knew I'd be investing every penny I had in it. Whatever it is, though, it CANNOT be an extractable natural resource. Such things lead to petro-empires.

Alfred Differ said...


Raise the age of sexual consent to 25 too? (etc)

Exactly. I was going for "Reductio ad Absurdum". Our friends at the junto understood because I was embellishing with facial expressions and tone of voice like you were when you responded no doubt.

I kept notes, but didn't review them last night. Apparently we discussed the arguments, but the choice was unanimous in favor of Prop 18. Groups that talk through ballot props are good at that, I think. We split on a few props, but moved the undecideds among us on most of them.

We couldn't reach consensus on the one I briefed. Rent Control.
... and on the Kidney Dialysis prop.

matthew said...

I awoke full of optimism today after about 6 years of hearing the footsteps of doom.

Let's do this thing!!!

Here's hoping my mood holds true. (and be ready for that General Strike when SCOTUS starts taking back votes)

Der Oger said...

Zepp Jamieson: "While this sort of poison has proliferated under Trump, it didn't begin with him.
This article details overt Nazi infiltration in the training of police in Kentucky. The manual was supposedly discontinued in 2013, but the fact that it was used AT ALL is deeply troubling."

I learned about it on "Beau of the Fifth Column":

Remember, owning the book used to be a felony over here. Using the quote in a public statement could be one, too.

Robert said...

they are engineers, which indicates a certain familiarity with facts and how things work

Speaking as a former engineer, a great many of my ex-colleagues were also very convinced that, because they could design a circuit board or a bit of code, they could also figure out the solution to problems that continue to baffle experts. Lots of serious Dunning-Kruger going on with many engineers.

Acacia H. said...

Dr. Brin, I thought you'd enjoy this article on the use of facial recognition software to deal with abuses of power by police. And the problems that laws forbidding this use of the software is having on implementing it.

On a positive note, a Federal Judge who was expected to possibly throw out 100,000 votes in Texas refused to do so on the merits of the case, stating that this is a violation of these people's right to vote. The Trump-stacked Court of Appeals likewise refused to touch the case. Seeing the Texas Supreme Court already said no? I doubt the U.S. Supreme Court will validate throwing out 100,000 ballots.



Larry Hart said...

Der Oger:

"Raise the age of sexual consent to 25 too? How about the age at which someone may enter into a contract? Be tried as an adult?"

You (perhaps accidentally) proposed an interesting idea.

More accurately, I proposed what seemed like the inevitable consequence of Alfred's suggestion, although fully aware of the political impossibility of ever implementing it.

Larry Hart said...

Acacia H:

On a positive note, a Federal Judge who was expected to possibly throw out 100,000 votes in Texas refused to do so on the merits of the case, stating that this is a violation of these people's right to vote. The Trump-stacked Court of Appeals likewise refused to touch the case.

So far (from my lips to God's ear) even the Trump-appointed judges have refused to go so far as an umpire not calling a batter out when he has just swung at strike 3.

If the supreme court doesn't rig the election for Trump, I might have to start capitalizing its name again. :)

Larry Hart said...


I awoke full of optimism today after about 6 years of hearing the footsteps of doom.

That is saying something. I remember well that you knew Trump would win while I still believed Hillary would have 400+ electoral votes. If you're feeling good, I might just be a little less terrified in my optimism.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Raise the age of sexual consent to 25 too? (etc)

Exactly. I was going for "Reductio ad Absurdum". Our friends at the junto understood because I was embellishing with facial expressions and tone of voice like you were when you responded no doubt.

I was going more for irony than sarcasm. I didn't mean that your point was absurd. I meant my suggestions to be the inevitable natural consequences of your observation about brain function. While at the same time, implicitly recognizing the fact that there was no way politically to treat under-25-year-olds as minors. Society can (barely) keep teenagers down on the farm "for their own protection", but we need affirmative buy-in from twenty-somethings too much to try to treat them like children, even if they really are. :)

Larry Hart said...

Posted earlier in the day on Stonekettle's Twitter feed:

Dixville Notch* : Biden 5-0.

Stop the counting now!

* A small enclave in New Hampshire where traditionally, everyone votes just after midnight, and they are always the first precinct in the country to report a total.

TheMadLibrarian said...

I must reluctantly concede that not all engineers* use the same analysis and fact-based thinking in other areas as they do in their work. More's the pity. I was rather hoping that it would carry over, but that seems to be wishful thinking, to which I am not immune :)

Tom W Harris said...

"Then their final fallback is to confidently expect that the left will betray Biden in 2022, as they did in Clinton in 94 and Obama in 2010."

The left owes him nothing, you stupid fuck.

Larry Hart said...

Gezz, it already looks like Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are lost causes.

Which means Biden needs Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin to win.

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

Larry Hart said...

I feel like it's my fault. I allowed myself to be too optimistic, and the gods are making us all pay for that.

David Brin said...

Hey Tom H what courtesy are you owed by anyone? How cogent and fact-filled your rebuttal! Do you know anything about the 111th Congress of 2009-2011? THAT is what the left betrayed, as Pelosi was delivering the goods. And she and Oabama had much more queued up. YOU gave us the hell that followed.

Try knowing something:

BTW... Care to bet whether any sane person on this planet would call me "stupid" compared to you? Let's bet. As for being a "fuck"? Well, okay, you got me.

duncan cairncross said...

Trump is ahead by 3% in Florida
But is that just todays votes?

Or is that all of the early and postal votes??

Tony Fisk said...

I believe Fl counted postal ballots prior.
But what's going on in Tx??

Larry Hart said...

Why does my mind keep jumping back to:
"This is largely as I predicted, except The Silly Party won."

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

But what's going on in Tx??

Remember Beto O'Rourke. He lost, but by a very small amount. Looks like Trump will do the same. Good news for the future, if there is one.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I am worried about the Senate. If the Dems can't take control (and they've lost two of the five races I was hoping they would win) then a Biden presidency is doomed.

David Brin said...

McGrath never stood a chance. but McCannel may not last 2 years.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I am worried about the Senate. If the Dems can't take control ... then a Biden presidency is doomed.

I don't think you meant it this way, but if the Dems can't take the Senate, I don't think they'll take the presidency either.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Yeah, there's something very seriously wrong with McConnell's health.

Alfred Differ said...


If you want to limit young guys 18-25 from a certain activity, just require that they have liability insurance for the consequences to themselves and others. Insurance agencies will charge appropriately and leave young men with a discouraging choice.

Yah. I know. Won't really work in most states. 8)
Probably a good thing... unless you have a son in that age range.

Now returning to the election ticker.

Jon S. said...

WAY too early to be calling GA. I'd be surprised if they were finished counting before Thursday, and then there are the (I believe ongoing) challenges to those broken voting machines...

duncan cairncross said...

Looking at the BBC coverage they appear to be very reliant on exit poles

But with all of the early voting is that sensible?

Larry Hart said...

Woke up this morning channeling Dr Brin's "Asx" character, the traeki stack of rings who is able to not believe something has happened if the wax containing those memories haven't yet hardened. In point of fact, that's not far off from reality, as we barely know anything now that we didn't know last night. Except that it looks like Biden won Arizona. So if the courts stop the counting now, Trump will get Michigan and Pennsylvania, and thus hold onto the presidency. If the counting is allowed to continue, then he'll almost certainly lose Michigan. Pennsylvania is the new Florida--a complete unknown as to which way it will tip.

Interestingly enough, if Biden has the single Nebraska EV from the Omaha area, he can still eke out a "win" of exactly 270 without Pennsylvania. But if the outcome is that close, with state delegations and the courts in his pocket, Trump will certainly pull every string he can to have the actual electoral vote in December go his way.

What does this morning feel like? I'll let Inspector Javert take that one:

And must I now begin to doubt,
Who never doubted all these years?
My heart is stone and still it trembles.
The world I have known is lost in shadow.
I am reaching, but I fall
And the stars are black and cold
As I stare into the void
Of a world that cannot hold

Larry Hart said...

Y'know, I'm willing to make a prediction, not about this current race, but about future presidential contests. The news media will now make sure that this nail-biter-for-days scenario happens all the time.

matthew said...

Ugly. This is ugly.

If Biden can eke out wins in MI and WI then SCOTUS doesn't pull Bush v. Gore part II, IMO. Otherwise, SCOTUS will bend the law into a pretzel to favor the GOP, again.

TV questioning if Trump supporters would see Biden as lawfully elected, even if he wins.

We are in Putin's favorite scenario.


Get ready for that General Strike.

Larry Hart said...

My takeaways from the election so far, regardless of who ultimately prevails...

It is wrong to think the Republican Party is losing the demographic war and will be relegated to a "regional party". In fact, that seems to be the case for the Democrats. Democrats continue to dominate the west coast and the northeast, and the island of Illinois. Almost everywhere else, Republican hegemony is unquestioned. They'd rather elect a Russian than a Democrat.

Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania together are now the new Florida, deciding presidential elections. If all voters are allowed to vote and all votes are counted, Democrats can still win their electoral votes, but the Republicans have a good lock on the levers of power which allow them to prevent both of those things from happening.

The biggest wave of voters in a century didn't change the outcome. Arizona (which hasn't actually been called yet) seems to be the only flip from 2016. For Biden to win, he has to hold Nevada and flip Wisconsin and Michigan, and even then he needs Nebraska-02 if he doesn't also flip Pennsylvania. Everyone was expecting a blue wave, but apparently a rising tide lifted all votes.

Trump and Trumpism is normalized. There was no political cost to lying, bullying, and incompetence at governing. His voters seem to like that about him and his sycophants. Trumpism will be a successful model for Republicans to follow from here on out. Even if a miracle occurs and Biden is allowed to take office, a Republican Senate will prevent him from wiping his own ass after using the toilet, let alone appointing a cabinet, negotiating treaties, and doing anything useful.

Does the Constitution have any meaning other than as a rulebook for how Republicans can dominate the mechanics of elections? Oh, and protecting gun rights? Other than that, it doesn't seem to do much.

Since I'm on a Les Miserables roll for now:

I love (America), but every day, I'm learning.
All my life, I've always been pretending.

Larry Hart said...

This op-ed echoes my recent conversations with Pachydermis2 as well as some older ones with Tacitus:

We are best friends, my twin and I. Our relationship predates our actual lives, and except for the seesaw incident, we have never been on opposite sides of anything that could hurt one of us — until recently.

He believes that Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are the biggest threats to our ailing democracy, that Donald Trump is doing a fine job — maybe not great, but definitely not terrible — and that the mainstream media (of which I am a part) is biased in its coverage of the president.

I don’t just disagree with these views, I find them unfathomable. I think that Donald Trump is a liar, a racist, an authoritarian and a criminal. I think he’s a disgrace to the office he holds and to the nation at large, and I’m worried that American democracy would not survive another four years of his leadership. I also think that the entire Republican Party is complicit in his ascension and so bears responsibility for the broader national crisis we are now facing.

Larry Hart said...

Stonekettle on Twitter describes why I'm so bummed out, even if Biden does pull out a win:

It's not over, of course, and Biden may indeed yet win. But even if that happens, it's pretty obvious at least half of our country would have been those Germans who embraced the Nazis.

Larry Hart said...

In other words, ethnic antagonism is a far stronger force among Republicans than it is among Democrats.

Well, duh!

Zepp Jamieson said...

Georgia hasn't been called yet, not even on Faux News. Wisconsin and Michigan both look fairly promising for Biden and if he takes those and Nevada he'll have 270 EVs. In PA, GA and NC Trump has leads, but I understand in all three states is mostly urban, blue-leaning districts that have yet to report.

Tacitus said...


BBC coverage is fairly even handed, but I agree too reliant on exit polls for preferences. On the other hand they did have an insightful exit poll on what people felt were the main issues in the election. I'm doing this from memory but The Economy was #1 with 34%, Racial Justice #2 somewhere in the low 20's. Covid came in third.

This may go a ways to explain the - unexpected to some - outcome to date. I'll have more on that in a while but am so far continuing to enjoy magnificent weather and sunny skies. Politics can wait.

I will say that the whole mail/absentee ballot thing is a hard game to handicap. Observationally I'll say that in WI it's all being handled pretty competently. PA has a history of issues involving primarily Philly, but I doubt that will be a flashpoint. Both sides had first rate internal polls to work from and are not surprised.

What the composition of mail/absentee ballots might be in MI, AZ, NV I cannot say. I don't know, and doubt really that anyone can know exactly what the disposition of people requesting a mail ballot is....and which of them returned same. Military, retirees, people away from home due to covid....dunno.

Well, more in a day or so. But I continue to be optimistic regardless of which guy squeaks out a victory. Much to consider in other results.


scidata said...

Boca Chica
Delays, but static fire still on for this week and 15km flight for this month. We may be on Mars before a president is sworn in.

Congratulations to the 46th President (elect) of the United States,
Joseph R. Biden

David Brin said...

Yipe! Some people are less superstitious about jinxing than others.

If Biden wins but the GOP retains the Senate, it is vital to form a Truth & Reconciliation Commission, ostensibly to calm our divides, but to lure into the open whistle blowers. If I am right about blackmail, some Democratic governors will get to appoint replacements for suddenly rsigning goppers.

A.F. Rey said...

In case this is handy, NY Times has a tracker which lists which states the news organizations are calling:

Alfred Differ said...

I'm not worried about jinxing things, but I AM disappointed in my fellow Americans.

I thought we were better than this.

I used to use an image of a beagle wearing rose colored glasses as my avatar.
Seems it is still appropriate.

matthew said...

MI votes going to SCOTUS, it looks.

This thing is not over yet.

We'll be in the streets before Trump leaves.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: I thought we were better than this.

You are.

I think I've said before that most of my American relatives are in ruby red states. I love them deeply. I'd sacrifice bigly for them. I believe they feel the same way about me. Well, most of them anyway. We poke fun at each other's culture and politics at times, but we cherish and nourish each other's children instinctively. No election, regardless of the outcome, could ever change that.

People often criticize Hillary Clinton for complimenting Trump on his children during one of the 2016 debates. I don't; it showed a softness and kindness that might have made a difference if she'd shown it more often. I've never been a particularly big Biden fan, but when he defended his son's struggles in the 2020 debate it really got to me. A harsh, stern, and unforgiving father can inflict a lot of harm... to a lot more than just his child.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

I AM disappointed in my fellow Americans.

I thought we were better than this.

I had hoped we were better than this. Several people on this blog have made the argument that we're not, and that it's not everyone else's fault that I'm so delusional. I guess they were right.

A.F. Rey said...

All the major news organizations have called Michigan for Biden. If he takes Nevada (which he is currently leading and is favored) and Arizona (which only Fox News and AP have currently called for him), then he'll have reached 270 EV. :)

Then all we have to worry about is recounts, court challenges, etc. :(

David Brin said...