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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 67,334

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Covid, Covid, Covid

A COVID record four days before the election is not an October surprise in the sense that things have been trending badly and it was quite predictable. But the more that COVID has been at the forefront of people's concerns, the worse Trump has tended to do.


One might call this low-energy.

One of the shortest Trump rallies I’ve ever witnessed. Only 21 minutes.


Stephen King on the coming election.

I’ll call her Annie. That’s not her name, but it will do. In September 2016, she worked at a convenience store not far from where I live in western Maine. I still gas up there, but I don’t see her around these days. In the summer, she was always inside, busy ringing up the purchases of the summer people: six-packs of beer, canisters of Blue Rhino for the barbecue, chips and dip, lottery tickets. After Labor Day, though, the summer people go home, and more often than not, Annie would be leaning against the side of the building in her apple-red smock, having a smoke. I’d put her age back then as 60, or maybe a hard-living 50. Deep lines on her face, smoker’s rasp, Maine Yankee from her brassy blond home-dyed hair to the soles of her red sneakers.

One day that early fall, I joined her at her smoker’s post to scratch a five-dollar lottery ticket with my lucky dime, and asked who she was voting for in the presidential. I expected her to say Hillary Clinton, because I stupidly assumed that, as a woman, Annie would love to see a woman president, but also because the polls, in Maine and in the other 49, made it clear that Donald Trump was going down, buried under a landslide.

“Trump,” she said.

I was shocked. I think I said, “You’re joking.”

She gave me a look that said, Surprised you, didn’t I.

“But why?” I asked, and then used a descriptor Joe Biden would use in a debate with Trump almost exactly four years further down the timeline: “He’s a clown.”

“I like him,” Annie said. “He’s not like the other ones. He says what’s on his mind, and if you don’t like it, you can stick it.” And this time her glance said, That goes for you, too, Writer Boy.

I pointed out that Trump had no experience. Annie nodded as if it were her point. “I like that. He’s a business guy. He’ll shake things up, kick over a few apple carts.”

Four years later, here we are. America is more set against itself than at any time since the Civil War, and Trump is the cause. He’s not just an apple-cart kicker; he is that dangerous combination of low pressure and warm water around which hurricanes form. The polls say he won’t win, but they said it wouldn’t happen in 2016. A good many mainstream Republicans have deserted Trump and will either sit this one out or will vote, quietly, for Biden. Yet Trump’s core support has shrunk very little — and it has hardened. The MAGA contingent is an apolitical rock packed into a Republican snowball.

The list of Trump’s rebellions against normal political and presidential behavior — his apple-cart kicking — is long (books have been written about it, thick ones), and each of them makes his core supporters rejoice.

Because he’s not like the other ones. He’s sticking it to the man.

And, of course, he’s for America. There are photos of him to prove it, one showing him holding up a Bible and another where he’s hugging an American flag with an ecstatic (and, to my eye, at least, spurious) smile on his face.

Trump has succeeded in making a direct connection with the American id. He has crystallized formerly vaporous conspiracy theories such as QAnon and the supposed deep state. He has given voice to prejudices that our logical thinking — our better nature, if you like — tells us are damaging and addictive. We understand what the scientists are saying about protecting ourselves from covid-19 and flattening the curve, but those things are plodding and prosaic. The online rumors (vaccines cause brain damage, global warming is a hoax, Democrats molest children and then eat them) are much more attractive. The id is hateful; it’s also fearful. Trump, a rainmaker who takes credit for rain even as the drought continues, has based both of his presidential campaigns on a series of dark myths. He really isn’t like the others.

As Americans prepare to go to the polls, they are facing a crossroads moment like no other in the nation’s history. One fork leads to Trump and a validation of the id and all the dark beliefs it harbors. The other fork leads to Biden. A vote for Biden isn’t a vote for the superego — Biden is not blameless — but it’s at least a vote for the ego: the part of us that is rational and willing to take responsibility (however reluctantly) for individual actions and societal ills.

It took me four years, but I get where Annie was coming from in 2016, and I get where all those yelling, unmasked, red-hatted partisans at Trump’s rallies are coming from. I understand the desire to kick over the apple cart and then just walk away. But I also understand the need to move forward in a rational, if sometimes plodding and painful, manner. Trump kicked over the cart. Millions of American voters helped him. Biden is promising to right it again … but we’ll all have to pick up the apples.


The GOP Plot Against America

The following isn’t written by some hysterical blogger or a middle-aged Resistance wine-mom. It’s written by Robert Kagan (!) and it’s remarkably clear eyed about what’s really going on.


Let’s be clear about what that America will look like. An administration that steals an election by abusing power must continue abusing that power to keep it. And Trump will have no shortage of excuses to wield power. A stolen election will bring tens of millions into the streets, possibly for weeks and months. The nation will have descended into an extra-constitutional civil conflict, with each side using the tools available to try to prevail.

For Trump, those tools are those of the executive, which the founders entrusted with immense power, from the administration of justice to the defense of the nation by the armed forces. The administration’s opponents, lacking institutional power, will be able to count only on its millions in the streets, and on the democratic consciences of individual judges and justices and federal employees, armed and unarmed, across the country. But consider what they will be asking. They will be counting on federal employees to do the “right thing” by turning against the man whom even the Supreme Court has declared their legitimate president.

Meanwhile, Trump and his minions will purge the federal government of all those deemed disloyal. Barr will open and expand investigations into anyone suspected of conspiring against the president, in 2016, in 2020 and for as long as Trump remains in power. Owners of mainstream media outlets will become targets of investigations by government agencies. Smears against Democratic lawmakers will mount. Trump’s supporters at massive rallies will shout “Lock them up!” And who will come to the rescue of the persecuted? Who in a position of power will have an incentive to reverse the events that kept them in power?


This may sound like the Sinclair Lewis novel “It Can’t Happen Here.” Perhaps it won’t happen. Maybe Trump and his gang don’t have the skill or steely courage required to pull it off. Perhaps they will just fade away. If so, we will be fortunate, but undeserving. We kept counting on others to save us — our institutions, our political leaders, our courts — but help never arrived. And as we waited for someone, anyone, to do the right thing, we moved closer to the end.

Now all we have left is the people. The voters, for all their failings, may prove more trustworthy than their supposed guardians. They may deliver us by delivering an irrefutable landslide to Biden. Or, failing that, by going out into the streets in an American version of “people power” to foil the plot against their democracy. A republic, if we can save it


He's gaining steam...he just looks better and better


Twitter sends Peggy Noonan the new Biden-Harris ad; chock full of Black folks drumming and dancing.


It ain't normal or right.

Let’s never normalize how bizarre it is that we are all having to expend an inordinate amount of time making sure that our votes get counted cuz there is a whole side in this country that knows they can’t win when lots of people vote. It ain’t normal or right.


The president’s inability to capture a majority of support sheds light on his extraordinary efforts to suppress the vote.

Never before in modern presidential politics has a candidate been so reliant on wide-scale efforts to depress the vote as Trump.

“What we have seen this year which is completely unprecedented … is a concerted national Republican effort across the country in every one of the states that has had a legal battle to make it harder for citizens to vote,” said Trevor Potter, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission who served as general counsel to Republican John McCain’s two presidential campaigns. “There just has been this unrelenting Republican attack on making it easier to vote.”


Trump Adviser: "If you put a gun to my head, I'd say, 'Shoot.'"

Underscoring the true uncertainty in Trumpworld, Ashley Parker asked a Trump adviser for their gut sense on what will happen on Election Day.

The response: “If you put a gun to my head, I’d say, ‘Shoot.'”


Hillary Clinton Slaps Trump: "Look around you, Donald."


If you vote for Biden, your kids will not be in school, there will be no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, and no Fourth of July!

Notice how nobody is saying that "economic anxiety" is driving Trump voters

during a time of immense economic anxiety.

So, what is then?

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