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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 18,201

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My gut worst case scenario for tonight is still a good one

I say Hillary takes FL, NC, NV, PA, CO, NM, WI, one electoral vote in Nebraska, and NH. In my worst case I give Trump OH, one electoral vote from Maine, and just possibly Michigan. I actually think Trump may lose Arizona but let's say he wins it, and Georgia too and holds on to Missouri and Indiana. No way he gets Minnesota. Bottom line: No way Trump comes close to winning. And he gets swamped in the popular vote.

Hillary wasn't my preferred candidate...

But for the next 48 hours she will enthusiastically be my avatar, and I warmly wish her a long and progressive presidency!

Any other DUers who don't already have Hillary for their avatar interested in joining me?

For the paranoid amongst us

We are in a far safer place today vis a vis the potential for election fraud than we were three days ago. The public narrative has finally shifted. It is no longer dominated by talk of Trump having the momentum heading into election day. Encouraging polling for Clinton is finally breaking through the "Trump is on a roll" mantra that had dominated media coverage ever since the FBI inserted itself into the race. Now with the "all clear" signal from the FBI dominating the final news cycle before we shift to traditional "America heads to the polls" coverage tomorrow, it is impossible to convincingly still sell a "Trump is closing strongly" message.

Any attempt to steal any election in the face of polls that show that candidate losing depends on a favorite staple of political commentary; a "late surge of voters" changing the election dynamics at the eleventh hour. But any attempt to sell a theory of a "late surge of voters to Trump" this year has been derailed by increasingly blatant reality - it's not happening. And late breaking news is breaking against Trump. Even Russia can't change that.

This all blows up any claims the FBI was protecting Hillary by not seeing criminal intent earlier

Sure conspiracy theories will go on as usual in the minds of those who cling to them, but for the clear majority of the public what happened over the last two weeks settled any lingering doubts. The earlier FBI bombshell announcement about a newly refocused investigation into Clinton, just 11 days out from Election Day, clearly was highly damaging to Clinton's bid just when Trump was on the ropes. An agency that was widely attacked for inserting itself in a partisan manner benefiting Trump, during the climatic phase of a presidential election clearly never was in her pocket - which gives the FBI's green light even more credibility.

Facing the Ugly American as the Face of America

Once it was just an unflattering cliché; the boorish self obsessed tourist or arrogant businessman, boasting of being American and at all times demanding the utmost respect, while disdaining all those around him. The Ugly America was our false face to the world, a distorted representation of what it means to be an American. Sure he actually existed, every cliché has a basis in fact, but Ugly Americans, at most, were self anointed representatives of our culture to the world. They never really spoke for our country, they never really defined the soul of our nation or the real character of our people. Within one week that all may change.

I have profound differences with Donald Trump on specific policies, on a number of important issues. That is nothing new for me. Every four years I find myself opposing central aspects of the agenda embraced by at least one of our major party candidates for president, and in some cases both. Often I feel passionately about those differences, and the final call I make isn't always a whole hearted endorsement. Whether America elects one or the other, the Democrat or the Republican (or at some point possibly a third option) presidential elections for me are a starting point for debate and political organizing, not the culmination of it for a four year cycle.

Some of the sentiments Donald Trump espouses hold some appeal for me, I'll freely admit that. When he says that the economy is rigged against ordinary Americans, I agree with him. When he says that our political system is designed to perpetuate the status quo, I agree with him. When he says that America's foreign policy has been too militaristic in the past, I agree with him there as well. The point I make is a simple one. While debating ideas, in the abstract, no one side ever has a monopoly on wisdom and truth. In that regard politics is never black and white, frequently all sides are essentially arguing for virtually identical goals. Probably that is why our Republic has endured as well as it has for as long as it has.

People of good will can disagree. When it comes to politics responsible national leaders, even those compromised in some ways by the influence of special interests, keep at least one eye focused on the fundamental common good. As long as that is true America can usually find a way forward, through any presidential term, that minimally minimizes irreparable harm while promoting at least some common ideals. At 67 years of age, I have seen the political compass gyrate wildly in my lifetime; from LBJ to Nixon, from Carter to Reagan, from Clinton to Bush. I have heard apocalyptic rhetoric used from alternating sides to describe those transitions and their likely impact on America. Hell, I've used it myself. This time, though, feels different.

It is extremely rare for a political figure of national prominence to truly be evil and this year is no exception. Everyone has their reasons, often highly self serving, for advocating what they do, as unpopular as it may be to some. That is normal to America politics. Extreme narcissism however isn't, not in a nation dedicated to government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Donald Trump is the Ugly American personified. All his life he pledged allegiance to himself, not to the United States of America. It's always been about Trump for Donald. That it is why he plasters his name bigger than life onto everything he touches. And it's why he thinks it was “smart” to avoid paying any income taxes to the nation that protects his property while he lives in luxury penthouses with servants who can't avoid paying theirs.

What type of man is even capable of joking:“And just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it for? “ Or; "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" It's the same type of man who is capable of boasting “Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, Grab 'em by the pussy."

Trump's psyche is a toxic stew of unbounded ego and an unlimited sense of entitlement. It allows him to make and actually believe statements like "I know more about ISIS than the generals do", or the even more ominous “I am the only one who can make America truly great again!” Donald Trump fundamentally fails to grasp the essence of America's greatness, the power and the dignity that rests with all of our citizens, even as he stands at the threshold of becoming the 45th President of the United States. Trump is, temperamentally, a man who gladly would be King if political circumstances would allow for that.

The first American president literally refused to be made King, though his peers all acknowledged that nothing could have prevented George Washington from ascending to that status had he sought it. Washington's inherently humble understanding of leadership established our nation on the democratic course that our Republic has followed ever since. After two terms in office he stepped aside, initiating the longstanding American tradition of a peaceful transfer of power, so unlike the norm throughout most of the world.

Already Donald Trump is threatening to undermine a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, and to seek the imprisonment of his opponent should he win it. He is man who elevated vanity into his own life calling, and who spent his time on earth thus far exploiting those less powerful than he. Crass, vulgar, arrogant, pompous, and self entitled; this is the Ugly American, and should our nation chose Trump as President, that is how we shall be represented, both at home and to the world.

Watching all the reports come in about early voting...

Seeing that surge in early ballots being cast in Democratic districts in varied states across the land, taking in the reports of women and minorities in particular turning out, looking at all those long lines of folks waiting to vote in places where Democrats tend to congregate...

It's giving me a much warmer feeling about the presence of an "enthusiasm gap".
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