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Profile Information

Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 45,462

About Me

(2016 update) I teach 10th instead of 11th graders. I'm 52 now. My God, the changes time brings. Invisible Lines has put on about 10 shows in the past five years. Mostly they didn't suck. This is what I wrote about myself in 2011: I live in Houston, if you can call this living. I teach history to 11th graders. They don't appreciate my genius. I'm an active Democrat really only around election time (knock on doors, make a few phone calls, maybe donate a dollar or two if I think it'll do some good). I'm 48. I'm datin a real special gal right now, but if I don't watch my step I may have to edit out this sentence. I have pretensions toward being a director of performance art, although I've only put on one show (as of Dec 2011). I'm currently working on a second show. Our group is called Invisible Lines (www.invisiblelines.net). I mostly drink Shiner Bock beer because it's a mouth full of heaven. I'm a nut about George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, and John Dewey. I've resisted for three years saying "I told ya so" about Barack Obama (but then again, I supported Biden in '08 so my room for complaining is minimal). That said, I'll certainly vote mediocre over evil any day of the week. I want Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016. And a pony. I totally want a pony.

Journal Archives

I hear the Flat Earth Society has members all around the world

When you fly from California to Japan, you get in an airplane, sure, but then what happens is that the plane flies up over the clouds and is then up in the air for a mysteriously long time. Have you ever wondered why that is? A VERY long time. See, you start to wonder--why are we up above the clouds, where we can't see the surface below? What are they trying to hide? Could it be that the whole time, the PLANE IS FLYING EASTWARD, over Europe and Asia, to create the illusion that we're going "around" the "globe", but they don't want you to see the TRUTH?!

And then, while you're up in that flight, if you go to see the compass in the pilot's cabin to prove the whole thing... what happens? They won't let you in! And if you bang and bang and bang on the cockpit door and DEMAND TO SEE THE TRUTH, they'll call security--and they're always dressed like stewardess but they always seem SURPRISINGLY STRONG!! and instead of simply letting you in and prove their so-called "westward" flight, they drag you back to your seat, humiliating you in front of the other passengers and YOUR OWN GRANDMOTHER and tie you to your chair with zip ties... and where did those zip ties come from? Why would they even have them if they didn't have something to hide? Have you ever noticed that?

Don't believe what they want you to believe, my friend. You've got to fight for your freedom. Vote Jill Stein!

WaPo: If you remind people they're going to die one day, they tend to like Trump better


This might be the darkest theory yet about why Donald Trump keeps winning

The reminders arenít explicit, and they probably arenít part of an intentional strategy. All the same, much of Trumpís rhetoric could have the effect of bringing his viewersí omnipresent fear of death closer to their conscious minds, according to Sheldon Solomon, a psychologist at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

That includes his emphasis on terrorism, unsurprisingly, but also his preoccupation with immigration. This focus might be helping Trump, since Solomonís recent research shows that people who are thinking about death are more likely to say they support him. Study subjects who were prompted to talk about their own death later rated their support for Trump 1.66 points higher on a five-point scale than those who were prompted to talk about pain generally.

ďIím not suggesting that any of this is calculated, but almost everything that he does is demonstrably effective for raising these non-conscious, existential concerns that in turn make his kind of candidacy all the more alluring,Ē Solomon said.

Remember when Sharon Angle in Nevada talked about "2nd Amendment Remedies" to oppression?

This is what Dallas was yesterday. Americans, following open carry laws and feeling under threat by their own government, gunned down 11 public servants, men who were only keeping the peace and protecting Dallas citizens, both protestors and their nearby fellow-citizens. Five of those police officers have died so far. A couple of others are in critical condition still.

This is what the gun nuts' scenario of a people's militia rising up against government oppression looks like. This is the NRA's fantasy brought to life. Almost certainly the upshot of this is that more people are going to be murdered. Maybe it'll be a copycat. Far far more likely it'll be a white cop with now intensified feelings of isolation and suspicion about all black Americans will over react to some nonviolent street encounter and gun down another black man. And then the NRA and the murderous extremists in Dallas will have won.

You cannot destroy all this hatred with more hatred. We can only fight it with active, engaged, and inclusively-minded love. The murderers in Dallas probably want to provoke a race war. We can only beat them by standing resiliently for peace and inclusion. The cops who killed Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile believed that all African Americans are suspect and need to be controlled by excessive violence. We can only beat them if we insist that there is equal protection for all Americans under the law.

We are taking dangerous steps down a broken road that leads to the destruction of our civil society. We need to deliberate together to find a different path. The first thing we need to do is break the voices pushing for more division and more escalation and more suspicion against one another. We need to defeat those voices by embracing even those we disagree with and accept them as fellow citizens. We can't fight suspicion and paranoia with accusations and rising tempers. We can only fight suspicion with the earning of trust and the demanding of an honest discourse on how to make our world a better place.

Honestly, this year I really do feel bad for people who consider themselves "sensible Republicans"

because apparently they don't know what the world "sensible" means.

My big fear: This is 1988 all over again.

I don't know how long you've been around politics. But I remember a guy in 1988 named Mike Dukakis. Competent, a little weak on the stump, but a proven performer in political administration. He started the Fall campaign with a 17 point polling lead over Poppy Bush (a universally ridiculed and idiosyncratic candidate), which is far better than Clinton's 9 points over Trumpenstein.

How did Bush win and reverse those numbers, winning with a 7% spread in November? He repaired relations with the conservative base and appealed to independents and hammered away at Dukakis's fundamental weaknesses as a candidate.

I don't think we should ever, ever underestimate the conservative populace's earnest willingness to rally round their One Strong Man. The wingnuts did it for Poppy Bush in 1988 (and cashed in their chips throughout the first Bush White House--mostly with SCOTUS nominees and killing condom-based AIDS prevention programs in Africa--fuck all yall conservative motherfuckers very much). Did they like him? No. Did they trust him? No.

But they pinched their noses and voted for him because if there's one thing a conservative has a talent for, it's willingly suspending doubts about a flawed man in service of a higher cause, and then marching along with the crowd. I'm sure there's some evangelists out there already figuring out how to convince their flocks that Donald Trump is just like that adulterous, murdering, corrupt, vainglorious King David. Hell, he's already married to Bathsheba.

(Yes, in this analogy, Goliath would be Howard Stern--do not trouble the minds of the Right or question the mysteries of the Lord)

But I digress. Well.

In our corner, apparently (and give me a minute here, guys, sniff) we've got our establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton. Now, I respect Clinton. She's done great service for the nation. But she's never provided that spark of inspiration that unites broad groups of people. Her negative are high--something Dukakis in his 24 point drop never had to contend with. She doesn't give the sort of inspiring speech that gradually or even temporarily wins over her opponents. Bubba had it. Godfuckhim, even Dubya had it, though to be fair, only when he had 9/11 at his back (it never worked on me or you, of course, but he quite deftly managed to parley his passing popularity into getting his Congressional agenda passed--and frequently he personally was more popular than his atrocious policy agenda). Obama, obviously, has that inspirational spark by the bucketloads.

By contrast, Secretary Clinton has been just barely able to beat Bernie Sanders for the nomination in a fight that has, unfortunately, exposed a lot of fundamental fissures within our party. Yet look at all her advantages. She had millions of dollars just drop into her lap--so many millions that she hardly made an effort to do real grass roots fundraising. The corporate media all but shut down all coverage of Sanders, a crotchety old septuagenarian with a harsh regional accent most associated with cranky misanthropic neighbors on sitcoms, a man who wasn't even a Democrat a full year ago, a man from a tiny state that even other New Englanders think is idiosyncratic, and on top of that he calls himself a Socialist. And this is the guy she's barely able to beat, even with the endorsements of practically every politician on Capital Hill and every state house? Oy.

Don't get me wrong. I love Bernie. But I won't kid myself that he's only ever been a stand-in for Elizabeth Warren.

Let me diagnose the problem right now, my beloved fellow Democrats. We suffer from overconfidence. We suffer from hubris. All this chatter about the Republican Party breaking up misses one key point. Republicans and conservatives are followers. They are by nature hungry to belong to something bigger than themselves. They want a big daddy to tell them what to do. They worship at the altar of Mammon and are about to nominate the golden-haired living son of Mammon... and they will do and believe anything to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. They will even swallow Donald Trump's outright mockery of the Bible as straight Gospel quotations just to believe that they're voting for the right side.

The time for Democratic Party in-fighting is just about over. I acknowledge my imminent defeat. But the people among the Hillary supporters who are crowing victory and now demanding that we all concede the day and fall in line behind the nominee are talking to the wrong fucking party. Republicans fall in line. How else do you explain Rednecks for Romney or College Graduates for George W. Bush? Democrats are cats; we won't be herded. You gotta open up a can of tuna fish if you want us to come to your kitchen. The job isn't of the losers to fall in. The job is of the winning side, the leaders of the party, to give us something to believe in. You've GOT to win the Bernie voters over--which is how it should be in a democracy. Hell, half the Bernie voters aren't even Democrats. He's pulling his votes from independents and new voters who are still developing their political philosophies. That's exactly who you have to win over to beat Trump. Don't think for a second he doesn't have a plan to win over pro-reform voters. Clinton has got to get there first with a bigger offer.

Berners can be won over, but the appeal has to be genuine. This would be unexplored country for Secretary Clinton. She's been so scrutinized, so abused by so many powerful, hate-filled people over the years, that she's simply not inclined to be open and generous of spirit even on the eve of victory. She's not just inexperienced at keeping it real; she's quite bad at it. She plays that "I'm an outsider cause I'm a woman" card as if it's fooling anyone. No, Mrs-heir-apparent-to-the-president-of-the-United-States, you're not an outsider. You make a quarter of a million dollars telling something secret to Goldman Sachs; you're not an outsider. You had most of the Superdelegates in your pocket before a single vote was cast. You keep an enemies list with numerical rankings, confident that you'll be able to do payback on anyone who crosses you. I'm not stupid. I fucking know you don't have a bottle of hot sauce in your purse. You're not an outsider. Don't insult me.

The biggest complaint among us Sandernistas is that we're losing our democracy. In a democracy, the voters are sovereign and the leaders are simply public servants. This is how it should be. Clinton needs to approach us, give us concessions, bargain with us, pitch her cause to us in terms we understand and will believe. Don't pull up in a limo and talk about how hard your struggles are. You caved on $15/hour. Cave to us again--not on every issue; you did win, after all--but give us a reason to come into the fold. This is how bargaining and compromise work in a democracy. That is how leaders lead, at least among Democrats. That is how you win.

Trump has one path to the White House, and it runs straight thru Hillary Clinton

He's been busy imploding himself lately, so it's not too much of a worry. But Secretary Clinton's fragility as a candidate was all out on display this weekend. Like a bad boxer, she's got a glass jaw. Her plan was to have this nomination sewed up by now. The battle plan has not fared well under field conditions and she's not adapting to the new circumstances well, despite having a massively superior air game to Sanders.

She'll win the nomination in the end, but I gotta wonder how well she'll hold up in the fall running against Trump, who has not but an air game. The one thing she's not doing--and she desperately needs to do this--is leave the door open to Sanders supporters. She's doing damned little to try and win them over, which needs to start happening yesterday. Of course they won't desert Sanders now, but she needs to make them jumping ship for her campaign an attractive prospect.

Meanwhile, I'm sure Trump's out there, trying to see how he can game the electorate and pick up some gullible progressive votes by playing his bogus can't-be-bought card. He obviously can be--his brand is for sale to the highest builder and his campaign's debt will only be erased by corrupt lobbyists and bundlers coming in after the election to bid out favors from the federal government. So at this point, Trump has a major financial motivation for winning the race, and thus the motivation to go out for a job that, frankly, he probably never really wanted in the first place.

Oh, democracy, you can be so silly sometimes.

A history of Democratic Primaries since I've been awake. And why I'm worried.

- Carter, the incumbent, was challenged by two strong opponents. Carter was amazingly weak, having run an undisciplined White House and having been humiliated by the ongoing Iranian hostage crisis, and had approval ratings that stayed in the low 30s. But there were other problems. Another gas crisis, altho not as bad as the '73 crisis, made people antsy. It also triggered a lethl combo of inflation and a stagnant growth rate--"stagflation" they called it.
- Jimmy Carter was an agile campaigner, but his strength was in the moderate and Southern factions of the Democrats, although the Republicans had long since started digging into the Democrat's
- Factional lines were fluid, and personalities dominated more than interest group, but opposition generally broke down as:
- Teddy Kennedy represented the union movement and old line Cold War liberals. He was a flawed campaigner, at various times not being able to give strong off-the-cuff responses to highly predictable media questions like "Why do you want to be president?" and "What really happened at Chappaquiddick?"
- Jerry Brown was a precursor of both Third Way politics and earth-conscious environmental causes. He started late and didn't have a strong base in the early contests.

These were three giants. Brown hovered around 10% in the first contests in February and then dropped to <4% in March. He dropped out in April. Kennedy and Carter battled for the rest of the spring and into the summer. Kennedy eked out a couple of big states, but Carter won many contests by substantial margins, until he was inevitable. Then, once it looked hopeless for Kennedy, he started winning big states like California and New Jersey.


There were four strong contenders and a number of viable also-rans this time.
- Walter Mondale was the establishment candidate, but no one presumed to tell other ambitious senators not to try and challenge him. We were a democracy after all. He had almost unanimous union support--at least from union leaders. He had a strong liberal record and represented both the Kennedy and the Humphrey wings of the party
- Gary Hart was the break out "dark horse" of the campaign, running on a "New Ideas" platform and attracting socially liberal young professionals
- Jesse Jackson put together a strong coalition of the "forgotten man" - urban minorities, family farmers, progressive & single issue activists, and large numbers of university students and intellectuals and civil rights advocates -- the people the party establishment liked to ignore
- John Glenn ran a vigorous candidacy, also drawing from the Kennedy tradition, but was a little too stodgy on the stump to break through to the later primaries & caucuses. He dropped out in March.

These were four giants, but other notables like Ernest Hollings and Alan Cranston ran serious candidacies. (Most heartbreaking was the tepid return of George McGovern, who failed to catch on as he had 16 years earlier in 1972's insurgency campaign)

Generally speaking, Mondale won the eastern states and Hart won the western states and Jackson pulled off three upsets (DC, Louisiana, & Mississippi)

In 1984 Kennedy had shocked everyone by not running. In 1988, it was Mario Cuomo who surprisingly did not run.

A deep bench of mostly new contenders showed the strength of the democratic Democratic party that year. There really wasn't a single "establishment" candidate that year. A few years out of office does that to a party (viz, Republicans in 1980, 2000, & '16, and Democrats in 1992, 2004 & '08). So we had...
- Mike Dukakis combining elements of the Kennedy, Hart, and Cuomo appeals, but also running as supercompetant manager type (it was the 1980s, after all)
- Jesse Jackson repeating, but to less effect, his 1984 Rainbow Coalition. He instead become a regional candidate, but couldn't break out of the South.
- Al Gore combining both the Hart "new ideas" approach and the as-yet-unnamed Third Way that meant appealed to moderates, especially southern moderates, although the country seemed significantly less regional compared to half a generation earlier.
- Dick Gephardt was, if anyone, the union/Humphrey wing candidate. But he was also strong on farm issues and stood for a strong foreign policy in the JFK/Scoop Jackson tradition
- Paul Simon also drew union support as well as professional/Hart-wing & academic support. Bruce Babbitt ran for a while as a conservationist and a westerner (this is when California was considered a potentially flippable Republican state)

Gary Hart blew up in a sex scandal that year. Cuomo began cultivating his Hamlet-on-the-Hudson rep. Joe Biden and Pat Shroeder jumped in and then jumped out when the crowds didn't gather for them.

Again, campaign coalitions were pretty fluid. The people running for the nomination were running on their resumes and their ideas, not their interest bases. All the major candidates were the sorts of leaders the full party could support. Unlike 1980 or today, the party didn't have the sense of being divided into factions, just spread among different candidacies. We lost cause "liberal" had become a dirty word somehow. This was the apex of Nixon's Southern Strategy era.


Bill Clinton happened and Democrats finally got a candidate with some real Elvis in him. He combined Dukakis's & Hart's "governing ideas that work for all the people" appeal with Jerry Brown's liberal-moderate positioning. He swept almost everyone else aside by mid-March. His main rival was...

- Jerry Brown, who now was running a more outsidery/New Age/pro-environment campaign and earned the support of much of the old Rainbow Coalition. Brown kept losing but kept at it until the convention. This is probably the real beginning of the current cultural divide in the party... the candidacy that isn't about resume but about policy approach--the "include us too" coalition of the forgotten families.

A few others also tried to get the nomination, but they were running as job applicants, not interest-base candidates. Still, there was competition and a real question as to "Who would catch on with the people". The small-d democracy mattered still.
- Tom Harkin who won his home state of Iowa and sub-30% victories in the midwest on Super Tuesday before dropping out
- Bob Kerrey who won South Dakota big and couldn't break 15% support anywhere else before dropping out
- Paul Tsongas who had unfair comparisons to the lackluster Dukakis, won New Hampshire and did just as good as Clinton on Super Tuesday (winning Maryland and several western states while Clinton bagged Georgia, South Carolina, and Wyoming and Brown won Colorado in a three-way photo-finish). He was plagued by health rumors tho (he died of cancer before Clinton's 2nd inauguration) and lost every contest (by 2-to-1 margins) except his home state in the two weeks after Super Tuesday.

Again, these were all men of parts, and the contest was decided by the people, although big campaign donations were starting to matter to all but the insurgency candidate.


Succeeding a successful president was bound to fall to the young handsome intelligent vice president. But even then, the Democrats had a real contest with real arguments between two potential leaders.
- Al Gore ran the first Democratic campaign in the Fox News era. He was clearly the establishment Democratic candidate and the moderate in the race. He had boodles of money. Despite the dot-com bubble popping there was plenty of Wall Street money for the Democrats to wallow in. Democrats, it was finally demonstrated, simply ran the economy and the government better than the Republicans (a comparative list of Reagan-Bush-Bush scandals towers over the paltry and mostly naughty Clinton scandal list, while Obama's scandals consist pretty much of one fucked up website). A few potential challengers (Kerry, Kerrey, Gephardt, Howard Dean) "tested the waters", meaning they found out no one would back them against Gore's megabucks. In the end only one candidate challenged him:
- Bill Bradley attempted to capture the liberal banner, but the party wasn't up to monkeying with a successful formula. He didn't really play effectively to the "hey include us too" wing of the party, the forgotten underclass. He was a millionaire and had no feel for the expanding yet shrinking working class. He lost every primary and was out by mid-March.
- There was no one else. We were a party with a short bench.

By this time, the Willie Hortening of the Democrats was more or less de rigueur now. This was the post-Lewinsky election. So the Al and Tipper showed the strength of their marriage by making out on the podium. This wasn't about governance, but about values. He talked like Mister Rodgers during the debates, as if out-dumbing George Bush was a viable strategy.

Democrats' real strength was now being able to trump Republicans on the economy (tho the party of Reagan never gave up the talking point). So they grabbed the culture war theme from the 80s and 90s, which was only meant to keep the South from drifting to moderation, and placed it center stage. They also gussied up Dubya in the veil of "compassionate conservative" and pretended he would be a bipartisan leader--a deeply empty promise it turned out.

so Florida happened

Despite winning, by a hair, we lost the White House.

But oh, our loins ached for Bubba, just as the generation from 1968 to 1988 ached for Bobby's return. Damn that Constitution. We needed that Clinton mojo back. And there was that new senator from New York with her secret weapon. Fox News spent the next three years sneering that we were all puppets for Hillary. And so, of course, CNN and all the newspapers echoed the voice of America's dysfunctional drunk uncle.


Not surprisingly, Sen Clinton didn't run in the next election. I mean, after all, it'd be insane for a 1st term senator, never re-elected, to run for the White House.

So we got another deep bench year. This was DU's first Democratic primary season. Those of us who were here 12 years ago remember the vitriol. It was harsh, but at least it was a race split multiple ways.
- John Kerry represented the old Kennedy wing, the high church liberals, and a strong slice of the union vote--altho to our shame as a nation, the union vote in 21st Century was not as weighty as it'd been in the middle of the 20th.
- John Edwards gave a populist twist to the moderate wing, striking a perfectly inclusive note for the forgotten citizen, but seemed to lack gravitas (and boy howdy! as we found out four years later!)
- Dennis Kucinich recreated the Rainbow Coalition and gave for the leftier activists a true voice
- Wesley Clark went for the intellectual crowd, and was accused of being a Hillary surrogate, but also brought a lot of veterans and suburban professionals into the Democratic tent
- Joe-mentum (!)
- Al Sharpton did his thing, but mostly just diverted the black vote as a bargaining tool for the convention
- and then there was people-powered Howard Dean, who galvanized many activists and more importantly created the internet wing of the Democratic Party.

Every four years every candidate running for president and every surrogate for each party repeats the implausible mantra that "this year's election is uniquely historical... indeed, it may be the most important election of our lifetimes." For short I'll call it the MIEOOL. They have always been wrong, probably even for 2016, except when they said it in 2004. Bush's run for "re"-election was the MIEOOL of your lifetime. Unless you're under 12 (in which case Kanye's run for reelection in 2024 is your MIEOYL).

Both Dean fully realizing how to use social media and the internet in pulling together a voting block and the American public's failure to repudiate George Bush's reckless warmongering had lasting implications for democracy and for America's global behavior for the rest of this half century. Thirty years from now we will still be cleaning up Bush's mess in the middle east.

When America needs an orgasm, it turns to the Republicans. When it needs a janitor, it turns to us. Each election pretty much comes down to "Do you want to get the house in order or do you want to want to throw a missile at your middle aged insecurities?" And that leads us to the year....


Once again there was a deep bench. But despite the quality candidates coming forth, there was really only two. One ran on Wall Street money, one ran on Chicago money. But the cast was impressive. One was the Clinton establishment and one inherited the liberal opposition to Clinton, despite being discernibly a moderate of the Third Way stripe. He hadn't been bamboozled by the Bushco drumbeat for war in Iraq, but then he hadn't been a senator yet. It was one candidate with connections and another with a sort of professorial version of Bubba's Elvis factor. He shifted his cadences when he went south and it won him important primaries. She turned up the fire and when she did she won, despite her husband's Hermann Munster like inability to help. I won't go all Freud on the Big Dog, but he was not playing his A-game that year.

There was also...
- John Edwards finished a close 2nd or 3rd for January, then dropping out after losing South Carolina.
- Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel splitting the activist and anti-establishment vote, but Kucinich dropping out after South Carolina
- old schoolers Chris Dodd and Joe Biden running shoestring campaigns like it was 1972 again, and thoroughly rejected by the party money-bags
- Bill Richardson who in another time might have made history, but stumbled under rumors of hubris (as if they didn't all suffer from ego inflation!)

But really it was just the two. It was epic. It was civil war. It was razor close again and again. And then we made history. Which leads us to...


And this year, I contend, is different. It's more than just "2000 Jr" with the incumbent successful-despite-shockingly-disciplined-obstruction. In 2000, a mainstream liberal senator was able to mount a serious opposition against a competent-yet-Fox-villified establishment candidate. Gore then was favored, but his opponent was given more or less equal coverage. The terms of the debate was "who could build on the establishment Democrat's worthy record of progress?" In 2000, a few senators tested the waters.

In 2016, no one from the DC establishment tested the waters. There was a presumptive nominee and there was no one, as in no one, who made any noise. I mean, it's still America and so a few gadflies went out there, Dodd/Biden-like to test the waters, to see if they could catch fire as the anti-Hillary as Obama had done 8 years before. Two were jokes and Martin O'Malley lacked charisma. And money--boy, did he lack money. Senator-Secretary Clinton, for all her service and gravitas and experience and connections to the financial world and good works with the Clinton Foundation, was still a flawed candidate with national negatives that hovered around 55%.

To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, it was the story of the donkey who didn't bark. Where have all our giants gone? The country's forgotten citizen, the screwed over working class, is far far more numerous now than it was in 1984 when we still had strong unions and college students expected to live better off than their parents. Both the incumbent and his designated successor represent a genuine compassion for the working class who, despite the compassion, continue to get squeezed down by a relentless globalized economy. No one with a solid Democratic pedigree stood up, like FDR would've, like Hubert Humphrey would've, like Ted Kennedy would've, like Bobby died doing, to speak powerfully for the disincluded American.

Had we become the compassionate conservatives? The Party of Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Carson, and Murdoch is quantifiably neither compassionate nor conservative. They are contemptuous reactionaries, perverting the American dream in ways that would mortify Reagan if he were alive (or Poppy Bush if he weren't a whore for energy, pharmaceutical, finance, and construction interests), and polluting the minds of actual conservatives with tribalized resentments that threaten the unity of the nation.

Nope, this year should be a walk for us. The Republicans, long culturally denoted by their ability to conform and line up behind their leader every four years, are fractured like rats on the Titanic ripping out each other's throats over who gets to eat Leonardo's fingers before drowning. Okay I botched that metaphor. They had a few giants of their own ilk this time around and--significantly--rejected every last damn one of them so they could choose between a deranged theocrat, an empty suit, and gold-plated Mussolini.

They're falling apart. And yet they consistently beat our front runner in head to head polling, except for the fascist (but even then we haven't seen his inevitable tactical turn to reforming populist; and ideologically he's the best positioned to pick up independent and moderate votes that currently elude him for his monkeyshines--trust me, those'll go away by the end of May). They conduct their debates with the dignity of a middle school food fight. And yet they still outpoll Clinton.

With so weak a frontrunner, why was there no mainstream challenger this year? Where was our bench?

Of course, instead we saw the rise of a non-Democrat as the voice of the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party." Bernie Sanders is a national treasure, but it's not insignificant that he hasn't ever run as a nominal Democrat to Congress. He's been great, speaking for the voiceless, caring for the forgotten. But he's so far out of the mainstream that he hasn't been able to coalesce a working majority against the centrist candidate--a singularly unpopular centrist at that. There's no reason on earth that big money couldn't gather behind a more effective spokesperson--one who hasn't been smeared by a quarter century of lies, vitriol, rumor mongering, conspiracy theories, baseless character attacks, and plain old misogyny. But it hasn't. Either someone up there in the penthouses wants us to lose this year, or there is a corrupt class of one-percenters who are truly out of touch with the mecha-bot they think they're driving.

And don't get me wrong. I do respect Hillary Clinton as an administrator, as commander, as a champion for women's rights, as a foe of global climate change, as a diplomat negotiating treaties. I'd trust her as president as much as any other mainstream Democrat. Part of me wants to see Fox heads explode when she's inaugurated. Sadly, I'm not very confident she can hurtle over that bar, however. And I adore Bernie Sanders's fire and advocacy as a politician, though I do worry about his trade policy and the economic impact of his approach to healthcare (I'm supporting him financially, but mostly because he's tons more electable and probably can't get his more extreme proposals through anyhoo). And they're both wonderful people and they're invited to my barbecue. But from a historical perspective, I gotta ask... is that all we've got?

So, again, I wonder what's going on. How was every ambitious, charismatic senator and governor spooked out of challenging Secretary Clinton? How was the anti-Clinton vote defaulted to a guy who has the political luxury of giving zero fucks (as the kids say) when her cloud-high negatives have been a known entity for so long a time? How was all of the money on Wall Street funneled into only one candidate's warchest?

In a phrase, what on God's green Earth happened to our Democratic Party?

Old CW: Trump'll be a trainwreck; he can't unify the GOP. New CW: He's unifying the GOP

About a month ago the big orange troglodyte was persona non-grata in the minds and hearts of all Republican leaders. They all loathed him. They plotted and wheedled about looking for a single conservative David to take on this carnival huckster of a Goliath. They nudged Walker, then Christie, and then by God Jeb W. fuckin'Bush out of the race just to consolidate the opposition. It didn't work, as the Insultinator racked up <40% victories and grew increasingly coarser and edged higher and higher in the polls.

The worst part about it all--and I mean worse for America, not for the Republican establishment--the worst part was Donald Trump's Mussolinalicious campaign works just like any other narcotic. The more you take, the greater your tolerance level grows, and the more, the more pure, and the more harsh varieties of the drug you need. By this summer, the Democratic logic goes, Republican voters will be free-basing orangutan hair and outrage enough independent voters to give us a landslide. Trump, in a word, is unelectable. After years of indulging in the gateway drug of dog-whistle rhetoric, the Republicans are now hitting the hard stuff, speedballing outright racism, marching gleefully behind a guy who shrugs off Klan endorsements and revels in retweeting actual Mussolini quotes and openly announces he'll "open up the libel laws" so he defang the First Amendment. In the good old days of the early 2010s, Republicans only had the cops eject noisy protesters from their rallies. Trump, like the true Il Duce bag that he is, calls on his supporters to beat up protestors and lets it be known he'll cover their bail. Democratic logic assures us no one who goes that far in America can get elected.

The Democratic logic is flawed. He's not scaring away potential voters from his camp. He's actually, finally, getting closer to that 50% support threshold in the Republican polls. Instead continuing in a linear devolution down to virulent tribalism and then quietly marching off a cliff toward unelectability with his radical proclivities, The Donald is actually taking a sizeable chunk of the party, including the first outliers of the party establishment, with him. This is the same party establishment that first ignored, then laughed at, then fought, and finally faintly echoed the tar-baby of his substance free entertain-o-thon campaign. They are now, slowly, willingly waltzing into the balls-out, xenophobic, misogynistic, loving arms of Donald J. Trump.

He's not just winning now, he's winning over the quisling leaders of the Right. Those of us who thought the GOP would see a convention walk-out are going to be disappointed. Those of us who thought Rubio or Cruz or Droopy MD were going to launch a 3rd party run and split the Red State votes are going to be disappointed. Those who once reveled in the pouty tweets of Christine Todd Whitman that she'd vote for Hillary over The Donald are going to be the most disappointed of all. That fucker is going to hold them all together. The rats have started running toward the cheese traps, lining up for their slice of the chedder. One thing you can always count on Republicans to do is fall in line and follow the leader when the time comes. Every Republican loves a winner. It is their natural manure.

Thus, come November, they will turn out to vote. But for now, the steady trickle of endorsements for Trump is just starting. More rats will line up as The Donald gets closer to the brass ring. In fact, they've already started doing that. It's not just Chris Christie.

Jeff Sessions, Jan Brewer, Kansas POS Kris Kobach, Sarah Palin, US Reps Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, and Gov. Paul LePage of Maine are the vanguard. And sure, to you and me this sounds like a run-down of Dick Tracy's Rogues Gallery, but to Republicans most of these people are only a little bit shy of eccentric, the sort of mavericks who "speak their minds" and "don't knuckle under to the PC culture." But they are just the tip of the spear.

Little by little, the GOP is becoming the Party of Trump. And they are becoming a unified party. Before too long, the conservative establishment will come along, convinced like Neville Chamberlain, that they can compromise with Trump, cut deals with him, pat him on the rump, and then get a few choice seats at his cabinet table. They just have to not raise a ruckus while he toes his way into the Sudentenland of their nomination. Surely he won't want the rest of it all, right?

If you're like most Democrats, you've been thinking Trump can't pull them together. He can't rebrand himself and unite the party. Even if he can, he can't then re-rebrand himself in the Fall and be an anti-corporate populist, pretending he's more concerned with curtailing corporate corruption of Congress than with stopping immigrant racists. But when has he not told the next group of voters he's facing exactly what they want to hear? When has he not tailored his message to the fears that motivate the biggest number of panic voters?

But pivot he will, bank on it, when time comes to retailor his messages for a general election in November. Meanwhile, Democratic voter turn out is looking pretty sluggish this year. Despite the expected backlash of floods of Democrats coming out to register a "stop Trump" vote for Hillary or Bernie, we've got crickets. Are our people demoralized, burnt out, or finally driven by this year's trash politics across the thin line between apoplectic and apathetic? We're not the pro-Democratic party this year, just the anti-Trump party. When in US history has that ever been enough?

Of course when in US history have we ever faced an anti-small-d-democratic candidate like Trump before? When I joined this website in 2002, I got a smirk over the hyperbolic name: Democratic "Underground"--ha ha--as if plutocrats like Bush and Cheney were gonna start hunting down the noisy opposition. I'm not laughing at the hyperbole now. This only thing scarier than this Trump guy is the fact that we as a party aren't more ginned up about stopping him.

Bernie Sanders will stand up to Bankers just like he stands up to Barbers!!

When Bernie's in the hot seat, you do things HIS way.

Say no to Big Scissors. Say yes to Bernie.

Young Turks explain on how millionaires gain influence/access to Democratic candidates

Cenk is framing it how Clinton is taking millions from industries that her administration will later be required to regulate. But this is really how all industry controls Washington.

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