HuffPost’s repeated smears of Joe Biden

HuffPost, of course, is not a source of news, but an Authoritarian Leftist rag where opinion masquerades as news. Their agenda is so transparent that you can see it simply by scanning the “headlines.”

Right now the site is busy smearing every Democratic candidate save Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and it especially hates Joe Biden. Well, I’ll tell you this: I think Biden would make a decent President, a gazillion times better than the moron who currently holds the office, and I’d vote for him over Trump any day. But I don’t yet have a favorite Democratic candidate, as it’s way too early.

But HuffPost (is it in secret thrall to Trump?) is trying to divide Democrats by backing only a few candidates and denigrating the rest. To that end, it tries to turn readers against Biden with articles like the one below, whose headline implies that Biden was either a racist or was friendly to segregationists. But read the damn article (click on screenshot):

Here’s what Biden was “guilty” of:

Speaking at a New York City hotel, Biden recalled his working relationships with the late Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), who served under a much more uneven Democratic party platform. Both men fiercely opposed desegregation.

“I know the new New Left tells me that I’m ― this is old-fashioned,” Biden said, according to a pool report. “Well guess what? If we can’t reach a consensus in our system, what happens? It encourages and demands the abuse of power by a president. That’s what it does.”

Biden, who was elected to the Senate in 1973, told the crowd how Eastland used to call him “son,” rather than “boy,” and labelled Talmadge “one of the meanest guys I ever knew.”

“Well guess what? At least there was some civility,” Biden continued. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

. . . He has previously pointed to his successful working relationship with Eastland as proof that people with opposing views can work together in Washington. Yet Eastland and Talmadge held views that would likely shock many present-day Democrats.

This is slander, though it’s not illegal slander. Biden is not a racist, and yes, both Republicans and Democrats have demonized each other to the point where cooperation is not possible. We all know that, regardless of whom you consider most to blame. (I think it’s mostly Republicans, because while we have many centrist Democrats, centrist Republicans are very scarce.)

Recall that Lyndon Johnson courted a number of segregationist Senators to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed. He rubbed elbows with many racists to enact the greatest anti-segregationist law of our generation.

The point of the Senate and House is to make laws, and to do that you have to work with people who often hold reprehensible views. If you refused to do that, nothing would get done.

And HuffPost can shove their opinions, generated by millennials who get paid virtually nothing to parade their vacuity.

 

175 Comments

  1. Posted June 19, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Makes me wonder whose side the HuffPost is on?

    • chrism
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      In the same way I find it hard to understand what CNN thinks it is doing. CNN is very obviously anti-Trump, and I’d expect them to support any Democrat candidate that can beat him. But they keep coming up with headlines like today’s “Opinion: Biden is stuck in the wrong century.” Surely they haven’t drunk the AOC KoolAid?

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted June 23, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        What is wrong with a bit of criticism? Media is supposed to use neutral methods, despite having opinions as well.

  2. denniskeane
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, I just put HuffPo into the same bin as Salon – lefty web mags I will never read.

  3. merilee
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  4. DW
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Can’t we just stick to smearing Biden for his creepy hair sniffing, touching of children, plagiarism, and voting in favor of both the Patriot Act and the Iraq War?

    • Marta
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 5:35 am | Permalink

      Or the bankruptcy bill, the crime bill and the Clarence Thomas hearing. Ugh. Joe Biden.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Not really, no.

      And “touching of children”? Seriously?

      That’s one of the more dismal far-right smear jobs that I keep hearing, almost exclusively from the same kind of Trump-deranged Q-Anon mentalists(or Cenk Uygur/Jimmy Dore-worshipping dimwits) who spent last month trying to get everyone to believe that Nancy Pelosi was a drunkard.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting to watch the media line up behind different candidates, and seeing who they talk down, and who they talk up. Much to Biden’s point in his anecdote, there is little acknowledgement at the moment that there is a bigger picture for the Democratic party. If the party were to work together (such a strange concept) and back Biden, Trump would have no chance in 2020. Clearly, the Huffpo is thoroughly progressive in its inability to compromise in the pursuit of progress, and has its preference for the more extreme wing of the party.

    As a conservative, I voted for Hillary in 2016. Give me a traditional Democrat, and they will have my vote next year.

    • James Swetnam
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I think you are right on point about the age issue. I definitely think that Bernie would have beaten Trump handily last time, and would do so again in 2020. But he’s 77. A Sanders-Warren ticket would be lovely, but I’ll settle for Biden-Warren if that’s in the cards. Unfortunately reason and principle are not in abundance during the Democratic convention. Of course if I have to I’ll do what I usually do in the ballot box and hold my nose while voting.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Holding one’s nose and voting for the lesser of two evils is generally a voter’s lot in a two-party system. In my lifetime as a voter, there’s been but two times I’ve walked out of the booth in a presidential election with a good, clean feeling and my head held high — my first ballot in 1972, and again in 2008.

        • merilee
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Ditto for me, though my first ever vote was (nose-held) for Humphrey in ‘68.

        • Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          I hope, when you walked out head held high, that you voted for McGovern and Obama. 🙂

      • JohnE
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Bernie would have beaten Trump handily last time? OMG, for a minute there I thought you were serious. Like it or not, Bernie scares the sh@t of the middle of the road folks the Dems need to win an election.

        • James Swetnam
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Well yes, I was quite serious. Did you ever go to a Sanders rally? He energized the youth vote like no one I’ve seen since McGovern. Then the DNC kicked sand in their faces and alienated them. That’s where the real power lies, my friend, in the future. I’ve seen about as many projections that have Bernie winning as having him lose against Trump, and I don’t really have any confidence in any of them. Maybe Bernie just scares you. BTW, I think those middle of the road folks are unicorns, they don’t really exist.

          • Posted June 21, 2019 at 12:34 am | Permalink

            In some parts of rural Oregon, the Bernie signs put up before the last election have remained up all this time. I hope the rift in the local Democratic Party caused in the last election doesn’t continue through the upcoming election. I have preferences in Democratic candidates, but it disturbs me to see Dem. candidates bad-mouthing each other. Save it for Trump. And, I will vote for any Democrat who gets the nomination. Even Bernie.

  6. Nat
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Of course,successful & great as Johnson’s Civil Rights Act was, he lost the South for Democrats. (Caro’s bio is fabulous.) I think part of the reaction, whether it’s in the HuffPo or not, is that Biden said:

    “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said, and then, because he really wanted to drive his point home, he switched to a Southern accent and noted that the senator “never called me ‘boy,’” a racial epithet demeaning to black men.

    “He always called me ‘son,’” said Biden.

    (Assuming that’s accurate, from theroot.com)

    If so, that’s really beyond the pale.

    • Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      What’s beyond the pale? Speaking in a Southern accent? Being called “son” by somebody else? Telling the truth about something that happened 40 years ago?

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    This is the kind of thing that kills the democrats. They love to eat up each other and lose the race. Most people with half a brain know that Joe Biden is a bit old and old fashion in 2019 but so what. If the polls eventually show him to be the guy then he should be the guy. If he falls and someone else raises so be it. The purpose here is to remove Trump and the morons over at Huff just don’t get it.

    The way all these news and media people are acting you would think the election is next week. Iowa is 7 months away and election is more than a year and a half.

    The polls at this time don’t mean anything but they are still there and right now they show Biden beating hell out of Trump. That is what Huff should be talking about.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Polls? How about the votes?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I do not understand your question. As I pointed out, there is no voting for a long time. Polls are all you have.

    • Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:50 am | Permalink

      The polls also show several of the other candidates beating the hell out of Trump. You don’t have to choose Biden to beat Trump.

      Anyway, any of the current Democratic candidates would be better than Trump. I just hope that the supporters of the losers don’t go into a massive sulk like they did last time because that might just let Trump back in again.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        I’m hoping that people go for Buttegieg. I think he’s kryptonite for Trump.

        And as much as I hate pile-ons, my nagging doubt about Biden was always his proclivity for saying incredibly politically dopey things, even when he was just VP. Now he’s running for POTUS, so if this primary ends up either forcing him to up his game, or actually underline a fundamental intellectual flaw of his that could be an issue in the election, and thus mean he ends up getting knocked out early, I think that’s a good thing.

        That is what contests like this are supposed to be for, after all: tests to see if they can hack it. If Biden can’t, and if he keeps putting his foot in it like this(I don’t think anything he said was wrong, it was just unnecessary and damaging and most worryingly there was no reason for him to bring it up) then it’s best he was exposed in the primaries rather than in the actual election.

        • Posted June 21, 2019 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          Biden’s “proclivity for saying incredibly politically dopey things” does not hold a candle to POTUS Trump who says dopey things about virtually all topics. I’d gladly take Biden over Trump.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted June 21, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

            Of course. You and I would take him in a heartbeat. But the primaries are the place to test a candidate’s fitness for ‘battle’. And saying dumb things hurts Dem candidates in a way it doesn’t hurt Trump. I’d much rather any seismic flaws in a candidate’s performances were spotted at an early stage, rather than in the actual election, by which time it’s too late.

            BTW, I’ve no idea whether Biden’s tendency to say dumb(or rather, injudicious) things is so bad that it should disqualify him; I really hope not.

            • Posted June 21, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

              Remember that Republicans these days are the epitome of hypocrites – so even if Trump is far worse on some topic (like speaking out of his ass) than a Democrat, the Democrat will be attacked and regarded as unsuitable regardless.

  8. Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Life of Brian: in the tunnels beneath the city of Jerusalem members of the Campaign for Free Galilee bump into People’s Popular Front of Judea. Each group was planning to kidnap Pilate’s wife and demand concessions from the Romans. A fist fight breaks out over which group has the right to carry out he plan and Brian pleads with them to stop: “Please! We mustn’t fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!”
    They all stop and look around: “The Judean People’s Front?”
    Brian: “No no, the Romans!”

  9. Historian
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    The HuffPo and others on the left fringe of the Democratic Party have instituted a calculated plan to discredit Biden. He and several other more centrist candidates (in terms of ideology in the Democratic Party) will suffer its ire. Just a few days ago, HuffPo attacked Kamala Harris for what she did when she was a prosecutor in California. It is all rather stupid and these attacks could hurt Biden in the general election should he gain the nomination. It seems that the leftist fringe is beyond the capability to learn.

    My guess is that the HuffPo would like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to get the nomination. It is not doing them any favors.

    Of course, I will vote for Biden should he get the nomination. But, he is not my favorite, not because of his views but of his age. In the past, I have commented that serious health issues, mentally or physically, can strike people of his age at any moment. Look at Trump. In my estimation, he suffers from severe mental disability. Since I am not a health care professional, I cannot diagnose him. But, certainly if I saw a friend or relative behaving like Trump, I would urge that person to get help immediately. This is why that if Biden or Sanders should get the nomination, whom they would choose for their vice-presidents is extremely important.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Any idea what the “oranges” of Trump’s mental disability might be? 🙂

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        For one answer, follow the link I give in the third paragraph of my response below, #13. I contend that both of them are afflicted with age-related decline in inhibition coupled with increasing verbosity that’s also age-related. Most assuredly both of them have additional problems, age related or not, but I say they share this one.

      • BJ
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:23 am | Permalink

        I like to think that it’s a bunch of orange packing peanuts with words on them. His brain is like one of those lottery mechanisms that roll the balls around until one is sucked up. Whichever peanut drops to the Broca’s area of the brain is what he says in the given moment.

        That’s why nobody in his administration ever knows what the hell he’s talking about: it’s just a word lottery in his head.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          I remember an article in the Grauniad that was one long deep-dive into why Trump thought the way he did about trade and foreign diplomacy. It had something to do with Canadian milk(?) and it went on for quite a while, ruminating on his psyche.

          There are so many pieces like that. They all assume he has some rich inner life that we don’t know about. Personally I think you could sum up the way his mind works by shaking an aerosol can for a few seconds and spraying it into an old lady’s face.

          • rickflick
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

            That’s what I’ve always thought about him. His inner life is that of a child. Political positions are nothing more that pandering for attention. A 6 year old throwing a tantrum in the grocery store.

          • BJ
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think the man has ever had a coherent policy thought in his brain, but I think he did luck out with putting tariffs on China. If we can keep up those tariffs for several years, I believe they would be extremely advantageous to us and disadvantageous for China.

            People largely seem to have a very poor to no understanding of tariffs (that could be, in large part, because the media keeps saying they’re just “a tax on Americans”). Here’s a point-by-point analysis of why I think tariffs against China — specifically against China’s biggest manufacturing sectors — are an excellent idea:

            1. China has had tariffs against the US for years and has been manipulating their currency by pegging it for even longer.

            2. This is critical: Any negative effects tariffs cause for the US are temporary, but the negative effects on China are permanent. The second the tariffs are dropped, the US economy will no longer suffer their negative effects, but the negative effects for China will persist, and those effects could be anywhere between pretty detrimental to disastrous. Allow me to explain with points 3 and 4.

            3. If the tariffs on Chinese manufacturing last long enough, multinational corporations won’t just eat the losses; they’ll start moving manufacturing to other countries like Vietnam, where they are not only building their manufacturing infrastructure at an enormously fast pace, but their wages are significantly lower than those in China, as China’s wages have increased significantly over the last few years. Once the big corporations start getting cheaper goods from other countries, China has lost their business permanently. So, this not only has the effect of lowering the prices of goods for Americans (and other Western nations) in the long run, but also of depriving China of billions and of many of their opportunities for stealing IP and corporate espionage.

            4. Had China made a trade agreement, they would have received a certain certification that would offer increased IP and corporate espionage (among other) protections to those who invested there. By not reaching the agreement, China doesn’t get this certification and loses out on hundreds of billions in foreign investment.

            5. China’s political institutions are far more fragile than any of those in Western nations. Their people are still largely poor, but they have tolerated single-party rule and oppressive laws because they’ve been given a quick and increasing rise in living standards and household economic gains. If the Chinese government cannot keep this going, there’s a serious chance that their political institutions fail and they see the populace turn against them.

            There are other, more esoteric reasons, but these are the broad strokes.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

              Well colour me pink – I agree. That’s also the one and only thing I approve of in Trump’s term so far. China should be seen as a direct threat to western democracy, it’s one of the most awful, repressive countries on earth and I still resent the repulsive bowing and scraping show the UK government put on for Xi when he came over. They are dangerous, authoritarian and rapaciously expansionist. Any steps by the west to push back against them are long overdue.

              Of course that’s not why Trump’s getting tough on China, but I overall it’s a positive. …With the proviso that good things done with bad intentions, by people with no moral framework whatsoever, don’t tend to be particularly valuable in the long run.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

                See, I knew we would probably agree on most things if we talked about the whole breadth of politics on this site 🙂

                Unfortunately, I’m guessing that, should a Democrat take office next term, they will lift the tariffs. How could they not? The party’s entire stance on the issue has been “it’s a tax on Americans and doesn’t make any sense” from the start. Obviously, that’s because most of them don’t understand the strategy behind tariffs or the Chinese manufacturing industry or the many other issues at play, and most importantly because it’s something the Trump administration did, so it is by default terrible.

                Now that the Greatest Generation has almost completely died out, it worries me deeply that most people don’t seem to understand the horrors that can come from an expansionist country like China or Russia becoming the hegemonic power of the world. Such people want the US to step down from the role as leader of the world. For all the bad things the US has done with its position as a (during the Cold War) and then the (after the Cold War) world’s superpower, the world is much better off with the US at the helm than without it. The only other choice is either China or a Chinese/Russian alliance leading the world. It’s not as if, once the US is no longer the world’s most dominant nation, nobody else will step up to take that role. There will be a power vacuum, and the nation that does step into the role will be far worse.

                But, of course, people don’t even think that deeply about these issues in the first place. We do, though, so we understand that steps need to be taken to weaken both China and Russia until they become part of the democratic world and are no longer threats to their neighbors, as well as people within their own borders.

                And the UK never should have ceded Hong Kong. Not only was it a precious strategic site, but look at what’s happened to the people there. China promised that they would let HK remain as it was (democratic), and I guess everybody just said, “yeah, China wouldn’t lie about that. They’re pretty cool when it comes to letting their own people do what they want.”

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

                You’re from the UK, right? How do you feel about them returning HK to the Chinese? I understand it from the point of view that it was part of ending the country’s colonial past (though it’s not as if they have given back all their other territories). The worst feeling I have about it is for the people there. They lived in a democracy and were transferred to a repressive state overnight.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

                I think handing Hong Kong back to the Chinese was a huge mistake, although I know next to nothing about how it happened or the intentions behind it.

                I’ve always asked people who complain about America, who have anti-Americanism in their political DNA, how they think the world would look if a country like China or Russia had emerged as the world superpower over the last century. They can never quite bring themselves to admit that the world with America in a position of preeminence is manifestly preferable to the other alternatives.

                Unfortunately, the modern American right is doing its best to make a mockery of that belief. And like I said, the tariffs on China are entirely transactional. They have absolutely nothing at all to do with protecting the classical American values that China flouts on a daily basis.

    • Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Whatever her true values (does any politician have them?), Kamala Harris has opted to run on several far-left planks.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        But she skewered Barr beautifully.

        • Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          Demagoguery for the benefit of ‘the Base’. She let Brett Kavanaugh wriggle free, pursuing the same objective.

          I expected more from a former AG.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            “Demagoguery”?

            How was it ‘demagoguery’?

    • Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      I sometimes wonder if the left fringe is actually happier having their party out of power. It’s a lot easier and more fun raging from the sidelines than actually being responsible for things and watching all of your wonderful ideals being steamrollered by the bane of political thought: reality.

      • Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        They’re revolutionaries at heart. The worse things get now, the swifter and more complete the (inevitable, predestined) revolution will be. Gradual change, and the slow, hard slog it requires, is anathema to them.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        You only have to listen to the way UK left spoke once they’d colonised Labour. They were quite open about their lack of interest in getting elected. On of the foremost members of Corbyn’s cabal, a long-time ally right back to the 70s, said something like ‘electoral politics shouldn’t be the focus’. Another, much younger, member said that Labour shouldn’t even bother with elections for four or five years.

        The only difference between then and now is that they’ve learned not to say that stuff out loud, but it’s quite clear that they regard getting elected as a grubby, unacceptable form of political compromise.

  10. Tom Czarny
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Vanity Fair runs daily hit pieces on Biden as well.

  11. James Swetnam
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    What is disheartening to me is that the Democratic establishment is already lining up behind the neo-liberal Biden, as if it’s a done deal. I fear that even if Warren or Sanders ran as spectacular a candidacy as Sanders did in 2016, the DNC would torpedo them in the primary. Cowards. When are the Democrats going to start running on core beliefs rather than perceived electability? I have this old fashioned notion that the electorate will actually respond in a big way to impassioned, reasoned, articulate idealism. I just don’t see that in Uncle Joe. It’s been a long time since the DNC actually stood for something.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, although I will of course vote for Biden if he gets the nomination. I wish the DNC would stop trying to control the voters.

    • Historian
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you that Biden is not the ideal candidate in terms of what the activist base is looking for. During the primary season we will see if Biden self-destructs as he did in his other presidential candidacies. Biden may be a neo-liberal at heart, but he will have to alter some of his views as he is attacked during the primary campaign. As I mentioned above, his age is a negative.

      I agree also that the DNC and the Democratic establishment are afraid of candidates they consider too leftist, such as Sanders and Warren. They have made the political calculation that only a Democratic moderate such as Biden can defeat Trump. Since they screwed up with Hillary Clinton, I don’t particularly trust their judgment. For me, defeating Trump is more important than anything else. Electability will compel me to support unreservedly whoever the Democratic candidate is, even if I have some differences with them. What separates me from the leftist fringe is that I abhor political purity. A democratic system to function properly entails necessarily compromise. That is decidedly lacking today.

      • James Swetnam
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Good, thoughtful comment. For myself I am an old, politically active hippie (though I’ve never read the HuffPost.) So I confess that I often wonder if my “impassioned and reasoned” opinions might be slipping into “political purity”. I hope not. I really just hunger and thirst for an FDR, a JFK, even an LBJ. Being a Democrat used to be more than just being not-Republican. And I don’t think it would be impolitic to engage the bastards directly and in their faces about their evil policies. It’s not like we’re ever going to win over that crazy %40 that love Trump. Cooperation and compromise are the business of politics, true. Up to a point. We’ve reached and surpassed that point long ago. We now have a President that openly defies Congress and a Republican party that enables him. How should we compromise here?

        • Jon Gallant
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          What is a “neo-liberal”? Does that mean an old liberal? BTW, if a candidate in the mold of FDR is desired, hasn’t anybody noticed that Jay Inslee looks uncannily like FDR, except for the wheelchair?

          • James Swetnam
            Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            Good question. The answer is many things to many people, but I use it in the sense of a belief in the free market as the universal panacea. I think it is very like classic liberalism, and shares many of the traits of libertarianism. My personal objection to it is my belief, confirmed by observation, that unfettered capitalism is a scourge on the living world, if not humanity. But I’m not a fundamentalist ideologue about it. Capitalism has its place in a well regulated market.

            • Historian
              Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

              I agree with your response in its entirety. Those who believe in an unfettered free market as the solution for all the world’s woes have the kind of faith perhaps only matched by the most ardent religious fundamentalist. You are so correct in noting that capitalism must be well regulated. Otherwise, we will see the emergence of rule by an oligarchy where today’s inequality will be looked back as “the good old days.”

        • Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          I agree that with Trump there is no compromising, but are you suggesting that Democrats and Republicans don’t try to compromise in Congress? That, after all, was clearly my point.

          • James Swetnam
            Posted June 19, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Actually, at this point I can’t really separate Trump from the Republican party. More and more it is becoming clearer to me that he is only the visible manifestation of something deeper and uglier. That crazy %40. So, yes for some issues, even current ones, f__k no, don’t compromise.

        • Steve Gerrard
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps the joint sponsorship of bills by Ted Cruz and AOC could be considered an example of compromise. At least they are on speaking terms.

    • Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      When are the Democrats going to start running on core beliefs rather than perceived electability?

      1) Whose core beliefs?
      2) You can’t achieve squat if you don’t win.

      • James Swetnam
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        OK, you got me there, Republicans and fundamentalists have core beliefs, but in any group of 3 or more liberals you will find more opinions than people, many of them self-contradictory. But here’s one belief, at least, that had a lot of traction last time around, and should gain eve more in 2020: Everybody deserves an even shake, and that means going after the malefactors of great wealth. That’s a winning platform if the party ever shakes off its own deep pocket contributors. Sometimes all it takes to win is guts and confidence.

        • Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:28 am | Permalink

          Campaign finance reform is popular. Soaking the rich never is. Folks are worried about healthcare and job security. Stick to those and you win.

          • James Swetnam
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            The productivity of the American worker has risen some 77% in the last 40 years while wages have stagnated. That increased productivity has translated into profits for the oligarchy and it is largely responsible for the dramatic rise in income inequality. Our increased productivity has gone into their profits and has not been shared equitably. Doesn’t that make you angry? This is not about soaking the rich, it’s about seeking redress for what is literally theft of labor. I think this was what was fueling a lot of Sanders’ momentum last time around, and it is a rich source of resentment that remains largely untapped by the democrats, save Sanders and Warren.

            • Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

              I’m telling you that framing it in those terms does not go over well. This is not just my opinion; it’s based on focus groups and political research.

              Middle class folks are reluctant to heavily tax the rich because they imagine they will be rich some day. No, it’s not rational, but it’s how the unconscious works. (Simiarly, women NFL fans liked Peyton Manning more than Tom Brady, because Brady was too handsome while Manning was homely so they had a better chance of dating him. I kid you not.)

              So promising to punish the rich will fall on deaf ears. OTOH, ordinary folks are deeply anxious about losing their modest but hard-earned financial security. Promising handouts and special treatment for every ‘oppressed’ minority identity under the sun, as the Dems consistently do, worries the middle class, as they see it all coming out of their pocket. Plus, they are struggling too, and Dems signal they don’t care.

              Further, while some people are perpetually infuriated, anger and resentment are ephemeral emotions. There is no rich source to be tapped. Rather, a winning approach is two-pronged: allay fears while speaking positively on *shared* goals & dreams.

            • BJ
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

              The best way to increase wages commensurate with increased productions is to bring back the damn unions, but the Dems don’t seem to care about this. They’re too entrenched in the pockets of the corporate overlords.

              If the Dems would start talking about unions again (in addition to what Matt said), they’d have a lot more success and support from the working classes.

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

                Yes! Unions definitely should be right at the top of the Democratic platform, and they have been neglected for far too long. This has been a grave tactical and philosophical error. As for anger and resentment being ephemeral and not of any political weight, I give you Trump’s army of angry white supremacists. As for those mythical middle of the road moderates and independents, the bare fact that there is any possible support from that quarter for Trump after the last few years has to be clear proof that they are neither moderate, independent, nor middle of the road. Trump’s support has stayed at a rock solid 40%. What do you imagine will wake them from their trance? Uncle Joe and compromise? As for focus groups and political research, I confess I’m a little out of my depth here, however I am not impressed by the political crystal balls used by Democratic pundits in recent years. The DNC, in particular, got it wrong last time. I think that Matt, like the DNC, gives too much importance to those unicorns, the moderates and the independents, and not enough to the youth vote that abandoned the party after the DNC gave Bernie the bum’s rush. I’m going to shut up now, as I am coherent in inverse proportion to the length of any thread.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

                Damn, I forgot to close the anchor HTML code. Still, that whole paragraph leads to the link.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

                Also, I think you’re engaging in the typical mind fallacy here. I again mean no offense; in fact, it’s kind of a compliment in this case, as you’re clearly a person with significantly above average intelligence. It can be very hard for someone like you to understand the mind of the average and below-average person. Hell, even the smartest people are capable of ignoring things that would normally disqualify a candidate for them if that candidate also gives them more hope that something will change. Even the smartest people can be swayed by their own hopes and desires. But, with these kinds of numbers, we’re naturally talking about people of largely average to below-average intelligence.

                Many of these voters who switched were people in places like the Rust Belt and other places where economic insecurity was high and the working class is basically the only class. Even I couldn’t help but feel that HC looked down on the working class and didn’t much care about them, but maybe even that didn’t matter. Maybe all that mattered was that Trump was so far from the average candidate that several million people who voted for Obama (who promised “hope and change”) voted for Trump in the hope that something would actually change for them.

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

                “I don’t mean any offense, but this is your political bias talking. Look at the facts: the best analysis we have says that about 8.4 million people who voted for Obama in 2012 voted for Trump in 2016.” My position is based on a bit more than political bias. An NPR survey revealed that more than one in 10 Bernie supporters ended up voting for Trump. Clearly Bernie was tapping into some of the same discontent that Trump was. The quality both of them share is the chutzpa to challenge the status quo. They are con juevos. The DNC is not. BTW, I am from lower middle class people, I worked as a manual laborer (wildland fire fighter) for much of my life, am largely self educated, and most of my oldest friends have only a high school education. I know some of those people that switched from Obama to Trump. They wanted big change. The Democrats have not been delivering on that. They turned their back on their big chance with Bernie. People are not as afraid of socialism as you might think. Often they just need to be educated a little bit about it.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

                In light of that comment, I don’t understand why you said what you did in the quote to which I was responding…

                Anyway, good for you for being an autodidact and not allowing your roots to suppress your intelligence. One enormous mistake today’s Democratic Party — and, in particular, the woke faction — makes these days is thinking that anyone from the working class/anyone who doesn’t have a college degree/anyone from certain areas of the country must be a rube. It does make them seem elitist because it is elitist. Nobody likes being condescended to or talked about like that.

                I find Sanders hard to support because of other policies he has, like free college for everyone. I won’t go into it too much, but, in broad strokes, I would rather offer free trade schools in certain places, partial forgiveness of college debt, and caps on how much debt colleges can allow a student to accrue before the college has to pay for the rest of the student’s education itself. Then colleges can still charge as much as they want, but, if we also institute anti-discrimination laws based on economic position, more expensive colleges will risk shouldering more of the costs they’re charging.

                I understand other nations have been able to do things like free college, but the US economy and higher education system are not structured in a way that would allow it fiscally.

                That’s just one of several Sanders policies that I don’t like, but they all share the same theme: grand ideas that range from fiscally imprudent to impossible. That doesn’t mean I don’t want more socialism and social programs in this country. It’s absurd how little we do for our citizens considering the nation’s wealth. Hell, if we just got single-payer healthcare done and forced the hospitals to stop charging absurd and unjustifiable prices, we’d already be a long way toward being able to afford more programs in other areas.

                Unfortunately, even if someone like Sanders becomes President, we won’t get things like single-payer healthcare (nor free college, nor most of his ideas). The President can’t force Congress’ hand, and too many reps on both sides of the aisle are in the pocket of the big corporations that stand against these ideas.

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

                “But, with these kinds of numbers, we’re naturally talking about people of largely average to below-average intelligence.”

                BJ, you have managed to be condescending to both me and to those people that I painted with a “broad brush.” Wow. In fairness, I am oversimplifying a complex issue, and speaking in great generalizations, so I’m asking for it a bit.

                Your last comments after that were well thought out, and I could support some version of most of your suggestions. But please don’t condescend to me again and imagine that I believe Bernie Sanders, Warren, FDR or dog himself could effect all of the promises made during a campaign. We all know it’s baby steps, baby steps. These things said in a campaign are our images of what a candidate believes and stands for more than anything. It’s usually and largely an illusion, true, but these are the things that unite people and motivate them to work towards making the promises real.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

                OK, that was weird and not at all the response I expected. At what point did I condescend to you? I don’t know what you’re talking about

                Furthermore, I said we’re talking largely about average and below-average people because that is the bulk of the population in any country. We are both well above average in intelligence, at least as far as I can tell according to your writing (which is usually a good indicator). If most people weren’t average, it wouldn’t be an average! Did I at any point say working class people specifically are stupid? No. I said the independent voters (1) exist in great numbers and (2) are largely average and below because that’s the makeup of nearly any large constituency. And I would say the same thing about the people who already know they’re going to vote for whoever the Dems nominate, and the people who already know they’ll vote for Trump.

                I never named any specific person and I never condescended to you; in fact, I complimented you. I don’t know where you got any of what you’ve imputed to my comments.

                And I include within “average” the slightly above average as well. If we’re to use IQ for the sake of convenience, let’s say almost all the people we were discussing (remember, the independent voters you said don’t exist, which was the initial point to which I responded) are between 90 and 110 IQ.

                I thought this was a friendly conversation that was going quite well. I don’t know why it took this turn.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 12:02 am | Permalink

                I mean, for goodness’ sake, the second paragraph of my comment starts with a compliment to you and then a castigation of the Democrats for thinking that all working class people are stupid.

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 12:32 am | Permalink

                BJ
                In truth I should have shut up when I said I was going to. The thread began to unravel for me a bit when you said:

                “It can be very hard for someone like you to understand the mind of the average and below-average person.”

                As I have lived and worked among “average” people my entire life, that comment did indeed sound condescending. It cast a hue over your entire comment, and its tone.

                I believe that that was not your intent, and I was overly sensitive.

                I did, at least, try to compliment you back on your own comments.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

                Man, text communication can be hard. No worries. I guess I was just confused when you reacted that way, and I think I overreacted in response. Sorry if I seemed peeved (though I was genuinely concerned because I didn’t understand what I had done wrong), and sorry if it seemed like I was denigrating either you or the people with whom you grew up, as my intent was most certainly the opposite. This was all just a miscommunication, but I’m glad you didn’t just shut up because then i never would have known that I presented things in a way that made you feel like I was being condescending. It’s actually important for me to hear that, as my very writing style in itself is often cold and analytical and people take often take just that on its own as condescending. People who only know me from text would probably be very surprised by what I’m like in person. So, I just mean to say that what you said was valuable to me.

                I’ve spent a lot of time around working class people as well, but, no matter how much time we spend around other people, it’s always really, really hard to model the minds of others unless we make a constant effort to do it. That was what I meant to say, and I meant to have a conversation about the fact that there are a lot of “average” people out there each election who need to be swayed in order to win the Presidency. I guess that’s the conversation I was trying to start. I’ll try to be clearer next time and try to make my writing a little warmer (though I will surely fail, as that’s something that I don’t think can be changed at this point).

                Anyway, just another case of miscommunication on the internet. Neither of us should walk away from this with any negative feelings. Take care 🙂

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

                BJ, What a wonderful response. You sound like a person I’d like to know. I have been a lurker for some time here and your comments are always thoughtful and well written. They have several times caused me to rethink or refine one of my positions. This medium can indeed be tricky, even dangerous and I have not mastered it.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

                Thanks very much. I hope to see you comment more often. I lurked for a year or so before I started commenting myself.

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                BJ
                After our last exchange, I hope you don’t think badly of me if we continued just a little longer, as I would genuinely like your take on the following comment I was going to post:

                You:
                “I said we’re talking largely about average and below-average people because that is the bulk of the population in any country.”

                BJ, that’s not actually true. Look up the definition for the normal distribution. I genuinely am not trying to condescend here, but this misunderstanding undermines an argument with some merit otherwise.

                I believe that it’s not lack of smarts so much with Independent voters. They probably have close to the same intelligence distribution as Democrats. Nor are they “low information” either. They get plenty of information, it’s just mostly bullshit. So, if they can look at Trump, all the damage he’s caused, and how much more is yet to come, objectively, and still be on the fence, then I maintain that they’re not really on the fence at all but really believe in and approve of most of the evil shit that Trump says and does and are just held in check by some small shred of decency. Anecdotally, I’ve had several conversations with Obama and Bernie supporting friends and fellow workers who voted for Trump that suggest exactly that. I don’t think that we should ever pin our hopes on them. It’s a tactical and ideological mistake.

                I tend to think of this as like the period before the Civil War. At first there were the slave holders, the abolitionists, and the middle of the roaders. Lincoln was middle of the road at first, you know. But that was a metastable configuration and it could not last. The issue was, and is, a binary choice.

                So, too, with Trump, to oversimplify once again. And his followers, who in many, many cases are the direct ideological and biological descendants of the Confederates.

                This scares the hell out of me. If I, striving mightily to apply reason and compassion, cannot see other than in black and white on this issue, are we inevitably bound towards another bloody civil war? Perhaps I too am part of the problem.

                I hope Professor Coyne does not think we are taking up too much bandwith here, but I’m genuinely enjoying this conversation.

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

                Hey, I come here for the discussion. This is the only site on which I post comments — well, I do post occasionally on a fantasy hockey Reddit, but that’s it — and it’s because the commenters here are generally both much higher in quality and more diverse in opinions than other places. I’m always happy to continue a conversation, especially when someone genuinely wants to engage in one and not just have a tit-for-tat argument.

                I don’t think the independent voter is any different from those who have already made up their minds, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether they are (generally) in that 90-110 range like the rest of the population until I see a study saying otherwise. But, I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway. You’re right that most people in general these days aren’t technically “low information,” if one defines information as “things they read and hear in the media.” Unfortunately, as you point out, even most very intelligent people don’t seek out information that isn’t bullshit or factual but confirming of their own biases. Just about everyone I know, be they shop owners, lawyers, doctors, etc. just consume media that reinforces their own worldviews. I guess that’s just what being human usually means.

                I think that, in any given election cycle, the independent voter is (1) a person who is not completely predisposed to either side ideologically, though they may lean one way or the other, and/or (2) people who are hoping for change and/or feel insecure about their lives and/or country. But there are always several million independent voters every election cycle and they’re the ones who generally decide who gets elected President. Well, at least the ones in the swing states do!

                For those people you know who are sticking to Trump despite having voted for Obama, I’d like to know what would happen if you dug a bit deeper. Are they even aware of many of the things he’s done? Because even the smartest people often just look to confirm their own political biases and, when they make choices, to confirm that their choice was the right one. It’s hard to admit to yourself that you were wrong about something.

                All of this is just human nature, and I don’t blame anyone for it. I used to be the same way. My change came when I ended up doing research for a project on Israel. I went to a school where several professors stated conspiracy theories and lies about Israel as if they were facts, and I was a full-fledged anti-Israel student. When I started researching it and looked at studies and found out just how many blatant lies I had been told by people who I trusted and thought were my “betters,” I promised myself that I would never let anyone or anything lead me astray again. But most people have neither the time, energy, nor inclination to research every little thing, make sure the “facts” they read are true by examining other sources, treat every issue with extreme nuance, seek out sources from multiple viewpoints, etc. It’s something I’ve had to actively work on for years, and I can never stop working on it because it requires constant vigilance…against my own mind. I have to constantly question myself and why I think what I instinctively think or why I believe what I believe.

                I absolutely despise Trump and think he’s the worst President of which I’m aware (I can’t honestly speak to Presidents from before the time of widespread media because I just don’t have enough information about them, but, if I had to guess…well, I naturally think he’s probably the worst ever). But people both on here and in my life often think I don’t hate him and possibly even support him because I will still correct lies about what he has or hasn’t done, how he compares to past Presidents, etc. I promised myself long ago that I would always place truth above tribe and even my own feelings, and I try my best to keep that promise.

                Sorry, I got off on a tangent there. I don’t know if any of that helps answer your question. I hope it does.

              • James Swetnam
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

                Goddamned great reply BJ! Honestly it was the perfect response to my gloomy, paranoid projections. I’ve worked in fire and I’ve been an engineer. These professions instill in you a situational awareness of worst case scenarios. I tend to forget that worst case scenarios are usually low probability events. Usually. Of course the reasons why people remain undecided in normal times is a very complex issue, I won’t deny that it’s complex even now, but times are not normal and Trump stands in such stark contrast to everything that we have been taught is decent that I have great trouble comprehending today’s “undecideds.” However, that’s my problem. I actually believe that you may be right. Damn, but I hope you are.

                I apologize for the “normal distribution” comment, I can see how you might view that as tit for tat. Maybe it was. Like I said this is a dangerous medium. But man did you turn it around. Hat’s off!

              • BJ
                Posted June 21, 2019 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

                Hahaha please, you’re making me blush.

                No, I didn’t view that comment as a tit-for-tat at all. The only point at which I became confused was when you felt I was being condescending, which I know is likely partially my fault because people have told me that my writing often seems that way in the past. I can’t really figure out how to tweak my writing so that disagreeing with people doesn’t also come off as condescending, but that’s a problem for me to solve, not you. Maybe we all feel condescended to sometimes when it comes to disagreeing on politics, especially in these precarious times we’re living now.

                Hats off to you too, James. You’re a good guy and I very much enjoyed our discussion. And I got a lot of valuable insight about myself and other people. It’s too bad there aren’t more people like you who will stick with a discussion long enough to come to a place of agreement or at least friendly disagreement. It’s a shame there are so many who have no interest in ever reaching that point. One thing this nation desperately needs back is its sense of community, where we didn’t ostracize others because they don’t agree with us on everything.

                Don’t continue to lurk. Make more comments. You have an insight that I imagine many people here do not: an insight into middle America; an insight into people that those in their ivory towers often write off because they think their towers mean they somehow are above other people who aren’t up there with them. And I’m sure you have many others as well.

                Maybe, with more voices like yours, the Dems will start listening and start talking again about unions and the like. Maybe they’ll actually get back to their roots and fight for the middle class. One can only hope…

                Anyway, thanks again. It’s been a pleasure.

                (oh, and I am the eternal pessimist. I think this country is slowly going downhill, I just don’t know what’s at the bottom, and I don’t think it’s civil war. Perhaps, for once, I’m being too optimistic? Who knows? But the last thing people who know me would accuse me of is optimism 😀 )

    • Posted June 21, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      But the plutocratic beliefs *are* the core beliefs of the Democrats. (Not the people who vote for them, and with a few exceptions.)

      • James Swetnam
        Posted June 21, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Keith, see my reply to Matt, above, about core beliefs. As for the content of your comment, that’s just snark and slander. Unless you really think that all Democrats are spoiled college kids. In which case perhaps you should make a few Democratic friends.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t settled on a favorite among the Democratic candidates yet myself, though I would without hesitation vote for any one of the 24 or so declared over the incumbent, including even Oprah’s flaky guru Marianne Williamson.

    That certainly includes Joe Biden. And it’s hard to argue with the way our former Veep’s kicking lumpy orange ass in the early polling, even if such early polling means little. But ol’ Uncle Joe’s got a foot-in-mouth problem, always has. Juneteenth probably wasn’t the most propitious of times to share a fond reminiscence of James O. Eastland, a stone-cold segregationist, and one of the original signatories of the horseshit “Southern Manifesto” issued by boll weevil senators in defiance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Sam Harris got this right long before Trump was even elected: you could draw a name from the US census entirely at random and he/she/they would be a better candidate for presidency than Trump, no exaggeration at all.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Indeed, he did. One of the best pre-election analyses I heard in 2016 was a podcast Sam did with Andrew Sullivan. Neither was a Hillary fan, but both saw Trump clearly for the dangerous flim-flam fool he is, so endorsed her with relative alacrity.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I know exactly the one you’re talking about and I think that that podcast with the two of them(as well as a solo one Harris did just after the election) was the most incisive and powerful analysis of Trump from anyone in the media.
          They were the only people who managed to convey just how different this guy was from previous candidates. Other anti-Trumpers just spouted the same cliched criticisms they’d been using to describe every GOP candidate since forever, which is probably why so many Trump voters just thought ‘fuck it, the media said all that about Dubya and McCain too, and they didn’t turn out to be racists or dictators’.

          That was a failure of rhetoric on the part of the liberal-left. Decades of abusing the political language meant a lot of people didn’t believe the warnings any more.

  13. Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I think it is actually fair to go after Biden over his legislative history on racism, he did after all vote against school busing – the treatment of Bernie Sanders was certainly less fair on that back in 2016.

    And I don’t think Biden would actually be worse than Trump.

    I’m no fan of Trump, but he’s had a solid economy that has achieved record low unemployment.

    Biden’s biggest economic achievement was stripping bankruptcy protections from the public just before the last major market crash.

    Trump, at this stage of his primary run, had a healthcare plan. It was horrible and would have seen millions uninsured, but he had one.

    Biden told reporters that he hadn’t had time for one.

    And if you want to talk about unfair treatment, one of the major criticisms of Andrew Yang is that his campaign has attracted some support from internet rightwingers.

    Meanwhile one of the selling points for Joe Biden is that he’s supposed to attract the same magical almost mythical moderate Republicans that Hillary Clinton got back in 2016.

    • Historian
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      The economy may be good on a macro level, but I don’t think it will help Trump much even if it is good in November 2020 (which is not all that certain; some economists see a recession on the horizon). I have two reasons for saying this. The first is that I think the election will be fought primarily on cultural issues, not economic. Trump’s appeal to his base is almost exclusively grievance based. In other words, he considers white identity politics as the key to his victory. In turn, Democrats plays to the demands of their constituent identity groups, although economic issues such as inequality and healthcare are also in the mix. The second reason I don’t think the economy will help Trump very much is that there is a great deal of economic anxiety. Many workers have stopped looking for jobs while others no longer get the benefits afforded their parents. As economist Jacob Hacker puts it: “In short, the implicit social contract that once bound employers, families and government has unraveled, and nothing has taken its place.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        We’re in for a low-rent, mean and nasty run in 2020. Which may not be so different from earlier presidential elections, though this time around we’re likely to have our noses rubbed in it as never before.

        It’s clear that Trump has but one, three-step route to re-“election”: First, he will inflame his base to ensure maximum turnout by serving up the same seething ratatouille recipe of fear and anger, grievance and resentment as in 2016. That’ll give him the support of maybe 40 to 44% of the electorate.

        Next, Trump will go relentlessly negative against his Democratic opponent — with his name-calling, his lies, and his constant web of innuendo and bullshit branding — all in an effort to drive his opponent’s approval numbers as close as low to his own as possible.

        Finally, he will count on the assistance of a hostile foreign power or powers to push him over the top. Hell, his entire approach to the issue of foreign interference has been to all but expressly invite more of it. Imagine that you are a foreign power with cyber capabilities (and there have been incursions already into the computer systems of some our election boards’ computer systems) and the rewards that may await if you can help a president with an approval rating mired in the low forties to get reelected.

        Now imagine a second Trump term, with a president unshackled from even the constraint of again having to run for reelection. It will be an orgy of self-enrichment, of rewarding his cronies and those in a position to do him favors in the future, and of punishing his perceived enemies.

        The result could be a nation all but unrecognizable to us.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        There’s a very good argument (I would say that – I agree with it) that the strength of the economy at the moment is a result of the reforms Obama put in place. Many of those have been undermined by the structure of the Trump tax cuts. Imo, there is a recession on the near horizon in the US because of them.

        The US is returning more and more to an economy where there are a few very rich people, a lot of poor people (those living week to week, or struggling to do even that), and a reduced middle class. The key to a wealthy country long-term is a large middle class, and the ability of the poor to make it into that middle class. Trump probably looks at a society of kings and serfs with longing, but it’s actually just as bad for the wallets of the kings as the serfs long-term.

        I think people sense that their futures are not secure in a Trump economy. For too many people it would only take one health emergency to see them destitute. That is no way to live. In fact the stress of that is likely to make a health emergency more likely. While Republican politicians (and Fox News) denigrate “European” economies by referring to the economies of Spain, Italy, and Greece, many look at the relative economic security of those of us living in Canada, Australia, NZ, and western Europe with longing. Our health needs are taken care of because healthcare is seen as a right for all.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Trump, at this stage of his primary run, had a healthcare plan. It was horrible and would have seen millions uninsured, but he had one.

      Trump has NEVER had a healthcare plan, not during his primary run, not now, not ever. None of the Republicans ever have, including the GOP congresscritters who voted dozens and dozens of times to repeal Obamacare (including the repeal of its protections against the exclusion for pre-existing conditions).

      What Trump promised — with his usual, empty, mindless braggadocio — was universal coverage with “great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost.” What he delivered was bupkes.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Yep he SAID he had a plan. He was unable ever to produce it to ANYONE. No one else EVER saw it. Like so much else, it was a lie.

        • merilee
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

          Who is it he’s supposed to have a secret deal with (was it Mexico with tarifs?)? He flashed that stupid letter…

    • Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      … one of the selling points for Joe Biden is that he’s supposed to attract the same magical almost mythical moderate Republicans that Hillary Clinton got back in 2016.

      Registered independents make up c. 40% of the electorate, and moderates who’ll vote either Dem or GOP depending on the candidate are very real and numerous.

      Hillary actually polled well among this demographic in 2008. But by 2016, she was saddled with eight years of obama’s & the Dems’ divisive identity politics, then acerbated that with her reckless pandering to the narrow base and her “basket of deplorables” rhetoric.

      If every Democrat must pass the litmus test of having been sufficiently, anachronistically ‘woke’ back in 1994 to satisfy today’s far left wing of the Party, then we might as well anoint trump President For Life right now.

      • Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” – Chuck Schumer, 2016.

        That was the DNC’s strategy, as enunciated by the DNC, to try and appeal to moderate Republicans at the expense of the working class.

        Then later that year, the DNC was shocked when they lost the rust belt, including Pennsylvania, and thus lost the electoral college.

        The Bush family refused to endorse Trump, a move tantamount to endorsing Clinton – so she had the backing of every living president prior to her run, and a strategy designed specifically to appeal to the moderate Republicans – and where were those moderate Republicans who were supposed to more than make up the difference?

        It is not about being “woke” back in 1994. It is about not using the same strategy that was a loser in 2016.

        People don’t care about social issues the way they do about economic ones, and trying to run a campaign on those social issues with a candidate as deeply compromised on them as Biden?

        Sure you can attack Trump on Charlottesville, he just needs to point out how Biden thought they were “fine people” when Biden sided with them on school busing.

        • Posted June 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          I never liked Biden. This primary will provide me with a fourth opportunity to not vote for him.

          Biden will say anything. He’s said so many different and contradictory things in his long career that at this point he stands for essentially nothing. That, counterintuitively, is an advantage in this weak field filled with strident agitators.

          The economy has to be the overriding focus for Dems. The divisive identity politics has got to end. Directly attacking trump would be counterproductive. Persuadable voters know he’s been a disaster; let it go unsaid.

          • Posted June 20, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            But the economy is going to be Trump’s big selling point, unless it goes south before 2020.

            • Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

              It may be his *only* selling point. But the economy is not as good as the surface numbers indicate. Not as good for ordinary folks, at least.

  14. NJ
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, if there’s a choice between getting something good done while working with your opposition, or getting nothing done while dehumanizing and mocking your opposition, the latter is the only moral choice.

  15. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I stand adamantly in opposition to anyone who would trivialize and/or ‘whitewash’ these past actions of Joe Biden. Furthermore, like it or not, agree with him or not, he’s going to be called to account for this and his other past actions re race, and well he should: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/joe-biden-record-on-busing-incarceration-racial-justice-democratic-primary-2020-explained.html.

    Beyond all that and beyond his penchant for being repulsively touchy-feely, the man has a raging case of foot-in-mouth disease that seems to be beyond remedy; and he’s been afflicted with it for a long time.

    That in itself alarms me, especially at his age when age-related decline of inhibition can occur, as well as increase in verbosity https://academic.oup.com/geronj/article-. The two together don’t make for a good mix, and Biden can be quite garrulous. Donald Trump is also afflicted with this, in spades, and it is a notable manifestation of his cognitive decline.

    All of these things have been with Biden for a very long, and I don’t think they can be changed or contained but will only increase. (Even with handlers,I shudder to think of what he might say to Kim Jong Un in a face-to-face meeting.)

    Beyond all that, I detest HuffPo, and I detest the slant but I see nothing egregiously reprehensible with them criticizing Biden any more than I can condemn any highly partisan right-wing rag that goes for sensationalism. I may not like it, and I don’t, but to me they’re the print equivalent of Fox News. And the HuffPo here is not trading in ‘fake news’. Biden defends what he did by putting his foot in his mouth once again. Eastland didn’t call him “boy” but “son”. That’s rich.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Well you check that geronj link please. It gets me to a “oup not found” message. Maybe a missing letter?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry but HuffPo equivalent of Fox News. If that were true they would be spending their ink going after Trump, or the republicans, Mich, anything but democrats. Democrats cannot swallow their own personal pride and that is why they lose. They stay home, read more HuffPo and lose.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        You’re right as to the difference in who and what they go after and it’s something worth thinking about.

        I should have been more specific in what I was trying to get at: both claim to be news outlets but frequently publish opinion in the guise of news, slant and twist the reportage to fit their own agenda,as well as blend opinion with news and even report ‘fake news’ when it serves their purposes.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

          Agree with you there. Huff Post is mostly just slanted opinion and Fox is just a branch network of Trump. They all may be media but news journalism is absent.

  16. Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Biden would be a terrible choice for Americans and the rest of the planet. I want the US live up to the ideal it once represented.

    According to Gilens & Page (2014), as summarised here (emphasis mine):

    […] when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans’ preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not.

    Some other Democratic candidates have stated they want to address this problem. Sanders also would have the track record to actually attempt to repair it. Americans should want to fix gerrymandering and the obscene corporate corruption.

    Otherwise, money will continue to rule, democracy will remain a farce and the dire consequences of American corporate greed are burdened on the rest of the planet, with likely disastrous consequences.

    Biden is a dinosaur who survived the meteor strike while hidden under a rock. He was lucky and should enjoy his remaining years somewhere away from politics. It’s not the age, but his uninspiring, conservative attitude. He’s a lame feet-dragger and would expose the corruption of the Democratic party once more.

    If he is running against Trump, then Trump should represent the USA another term. He’s the more authentic crooked politician. Why pick the fake when you can have a Republican Proper.

    • Historian
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      To equate Trump and Biden in terms of policies or honesty is absurd.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        +1!

        Also, as a non-USian, while I would I agree that Biden isn’t the best choice for president in the field, I don’t think Sanders is either. The damage done internationally by Trump means that, imo, you desperately need someone who can restore your reputation on the world stage. Sanders is very weak on foreign relations, and not someone who could address the problem to the level needed.

        However, the polls at the moment are a direct reflection of name recognition, and things are extremely unlikely to end up the way they are now. At this stage I’m most impressed by Kamala Harris, but there are others I think I might like just as much if I knew more about them. Elizabeth Warren must have a senior cabinet position, if she’s not president.

        The Dems have a history of eating their own. Biden is a victim of that. It was a problem in 2016 too. Sanders stubbornly stayed in the race even when it was clear he couldn’t win, doing untold damage to Hillary. (And yes, I know there was a lot more to it than that and he was by no means the biggest problem.)

      • Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        No, why vote a Republican Light when you can vote a real Republican. He’s not equal, but he’d fit into the Republican party, perhaps from before they went off the charts.

        • BJ
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          “but he’d fit into the Republican party, perhaps from before they went off the charts.”

          So, in other words, he wouldn’t fit into the Republican Party. Nor did he ever. And, in saying something like this, you’re saying probably 1/4 to 1/2 of the Dems in Congress would somehow belong to the Republican Party.

          Being in the center doesn’t mean being a Republican or “Republican-lite,” it just means, apparently, not being far enough to the left on certain issues for you, personally.

          If Biden is “Republican-Lite,” then so was Hillary Clinton. Would you agree? If not, why not?

          • Posted June 19, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            US politics are right shifted, and both Clinton and Biden would be Tories. There is no relevant “left” in the USA. What would be centre-left Social Democratic in Europe is deemed “socialism” in the US.

            • BJ
              Posted June 19, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

              Well, that’s a complete shift of the conversation and irrelevant to the statement you made. You weren’t discussing whether or not Joe Biden would be a Tory in the UK, but whether he fits more into the Republican Party in the US. This seems like a complete dodge.

              • Posted June 20, 2019 at 3:55 am | Permalink

                “complete Shift of conversation”, or “dodge”? Where did that happen? I read up on him last time he came up, and nobody presented anything that would change the picture. I can only repeat it once more: a Democrat should be vaguely liberal-left and attempt to solve big issues we’re all facing right now (concerning environment and wars), and some issues which should animate Americans, like fixing the money/gerrymandering in politics problem).

                For that, you need reforms, not an essentially conservative guy in the pockets of various industry complexes.

                It’s a terrible idea, and a recipe for disaster to have a theofascist wing of one party keep pushing right and righter, and Democrats trying to catch up with an ever rightwards shifting “centre”.

                Ideas by the other candidates have been described as “far left”, when in reality, they are solidly social democratic.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

                So, would do you retract the statement that he’s really just a Republican in Dem’s clothing? If not, I don’t think you really understand politics in the US (which, fair enough, you’re not from here). But, when it comes to most of the Democratic Representatives and Senators in Congress, they’re people like Biden, not people like AOC. The Democratic Party is not the Labour Party and it never will be. Our politics is simply not the same as yours.

            • W.Benson
              Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

              Remember, in 1974 Biden worked civilly with Republican segregationist senator James Eastland of Mississippi to kill school busing, a promise Biden made to his Delaware constituency. Biden will work for Biden and the wealthy. Just yesterday Biden vowed he would not do anything to endanger the fortunes of the rich. He is the wealthy white Democrat’s candidate [IMHO, of course].
              https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/6/19/18690910/biden-fundraiser-controversy-segregationists-donors

              • BJ
                Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

                So it seems we’re (1) judging him on things he did nearly 45 years ago, when the political environment was very different and when, as he explained, he had to work and compromise with people (both politicians and citizenry) with whom he didn’t necessarily agree, and (2) he said to wealthy donors that he won’t demonize them.

                Boy, compare what he said to wealthy donors to what Hillary said in some of her secret speeches to wealthy donors and Biden looks like a damn saint.

                If anyone can give me tangible evidence that Biden has, in the last 15 or 20 years, worked for racist policies, please bring it forth. Otherwise, a man who has been in politics since the 1970’s is bound to have done some things that would not be acceptable by today’s standards. This is the same argument we always have: judging people by today’s standards when what they did was in a very different time and environment. Except Biden’s not dead yet.

                Regardless, this whole conversation has moved from Aneris claiming that Biden is basically just a Republican to a whole new discussion. I would still like to see Aneris step up and defend his/her position, rather than punting on it and changing the subject.

  17. Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I can recommend Joe Biden’s 2007 book Promises to Keep where he discusses this in detail.

    Many forget that Biden arrived in the Senate in 1972 back when you had segregationists to work with. Sure, he stood his ground and did what he needed to do to get things done.

    Personally, I am a Klobuchar man, but given that she isn’t gaining traction, this ridiculous woke stuff is driving me TOWARD Biden, despite my misgivings about his age.

    • Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I like Klobuchar best.

      Biden is leading in the polls because of the well-known candidates, he’s the only one who isn’t unelectable at this point.

      • yazikus
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        The salad-comb story meant to malign her only endeared her to this voter.

        I think Inslee would be a fine VP. I mean, I feel like I should throw his name out there as he is my Gov. and all. The rest, I’ll keep watching.

        • BJ
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          Haha I thought the same thing. And all the other allegations have been from single “anonymous sources,” all just saying that, in essence, they thought she was mean.

          And, frankly, you don’t become President in today’s environment if you don’t have a bit of a mean streak, and, if you do, you sure as hell have a good chance of not succeeding, especially when it comes to foreign policy (which, unlike most Americans, I think is one of the biggest issues of the day, and I thought that before Trump fucked things up even further).

        • BJ
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          I have a picture in my head of a one-panel political comic of Klobuchar brandishing a comb with the glint of a knife on it and yelling at a salad, “you think I won’t eat you just because I don’t have a knife?!? You think you can get out of this that easily? TAKE THIS!”

          • BJ
            Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

            Damn it. I meant to say “won’t eat you because I don’t have a fork.” I ruined my own joke. I’ve done that so many times…

            I wouldn’t last a day on Klobuchar’s staff, and that’s a good thing.

          • yazikus
            Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

            It was absolutely perfect, BJ. I got what you meant and it was well played.

            • BJ
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:16 am | Permalink

              But I still fucked it up. Story of my life!

            • BJ
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:17 am | Permalink

              Still, thanks for the words of encouragement 😛

    • BJ
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Klobuchar has been my favorite from the start, but she’s not getting any traction because the media won’t give her any exposure. She’s not Joe Biden, an old hand and known quantity who people see as electable and already leads the polls; she’s not Elizabeth Warren, a far-left candidate; she’s not Kamala Harris, so she’s not as diverse; she’s not Bernie Sanders, who ran a very good campaign against the already-ordained H. Clinton and is also seen as a known quantity (and is far-Left).

      The media will never give Klobuchar enough coverage to succeed because she doesn’t tick enough boxes for the people running it.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        I’ve seen her on CNN a few times, and she’s very impressive. I agree that if she got more media time she would gain traction.

        • BJ
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and she really speaks with authority and toughness, but with an underlying sense of sincerity. She actually seems to care about working people. She’s not only exactly the kind of person to stand up to Trump, but to put the BS to the idea that a woman can’t be tough enough for the job (not that I think enough of this country thinks that to keep a woman from getting elected President anymore, or has for many years. Many countries far more regressive in their sexual politics than ours have already had female leaders).

          I also think she would be a good ambassador for the US to the rest of the world after the embarrassment we’ve suffered under the current administration. And I would just really like someone who isn’t inflammatory in their positions and/or how they espouse them, while also standing up for the working class. The Democratic Party has completely forgotten its working class roots, and the last election showed that, in part. They’ve cared more about their friends in academe and corporate donors for far too long now.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        I picked Klobuchar as the anti-Trump from the get-go. She’s sharp and fast on her feet; wouldn’t surprise me to see her make a move, or at least gain ground, during next week’s debate.

        Don’t know whether that will be sufficient to push her into the front ranks, but it should keep her going to fight another day.

        • BJ
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          At the end of the day, the debate won’t really matter; what the media says about how the candidates did in the debate will be what matters. Most people won’t even watch, and even those who do will largely forget quickly what they saw.

          The only way a debate can make a difference is if Klobuchar somehow makes such an enormous impression that she can’t be ignored any longer.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

            If she provokes a twitterstorm eg?

            • BJ
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:16 am | Permalink

              Hmmm…I feel like that’s not her style (and that’s one of the things I really like about her), but maybe over lack of coverage, or her opponents’ positions not supporting the working class (which makes up most of America)? I guess anything is possible. But, ultimately, the media decides, and unless they decide that what she said on twitter was bad and tries to damage her for it, it probably won’t work 😦

              • Nicolaas Stempels
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

                I was thinking more of Mr Trump Twitter storming in reaction.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          I don’t actually know that much about Klobuchar but of the candidates I’ve seen I’d say the anti-Trump among them is Buttegieg. He is kryptonite to Trump in every single area except one(the admittedly rather big area of his sexuality, although I do wonder about how big a deal that is anymore.).
          He’s a veteran, he’s young and intelligent, he’s calm and composed instead of…well, insane. And even when it comes to the subject of his sexuality he has been note-perfect: he can’t be accused either of milking it on the one hand or ‘stuffing it down our throats’* on the other.

          If it wasn’t for his sexuality he’d be quite obviously the most electoral candidate by a country mile.
          His approach has been brilliant too: he has basically treated Trump like a child, and framed himself as the grown up in the process, while also making it a point of his to reach out to Trump supporters and sympathise with their quarrels. He has avoided identity politicking and his appearance on the Fox News town hall was brilliant.
          His approach to Trump was best summarised in his comeback to the insult about looking like the MAD comics kid: he chuckled to himself and made a neat little dig at Trump’s age. It was wry and nimble, and effortless, and as soon as he said it he changed tack and re-emphasised his contempt for Trump’s rhetoric, again framing himself as the grown-up and Trump as the child.

          *A common, unintentionally Freudian complaint from conservatives whenever someone dares talk about their sexuality.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

            Yeah, I pegged Klobuchar as the anti-Trump early on, before Mayor Pete tossed his hat in the ring. Except for his overt religiosity — and there’s not an out non-believer anywhere in the pack — he’s right on the money on nearly every issue.

            • merilee
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

              His religiosity is the only thing which remotely bugs me, but he’s been quite clear about his belief in separation of church and state. If his mention of “scripture” brings in the voters, I can live with that.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                +1

          • merilee
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

            And nothing seems to rattle Pete. He doesn’t seem defensive about anything. When that nutjob walked by with the giant Sodom and Gomorrah sign, Pete said something like “Say hi to them from me.”

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

              That’s another reason I think he’s so electable: he deals with Trump’s bullshit so well. I don’t see anyone else handle it nearly as calmly, even Biden, who has a habit of getting pulled into it too easily. Pete just sidesteps it like a puddle of sick on the floor.
              In a debate I think he’d do very well.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        I am, provisionally, also impressed with Klobuchar. I say provisionally simply because I know next to nothing about her except perhaps 3 brief interviews in the past few months. But I really like what I’ve seen and heard of her so far.

  18. Historian
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Despite Biden not being my favorite as discussed above, I pose these questions to those who think Biden is somehow conservative and no longer worthy of being in the Democratic Party. Did Obama make a mistake picking Biden twice as his running mate? If so, was Obama just another conservative tool or too stupid to know what Biden is really like? If not, why was Biden okay then but not now?

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      He chose Mr Biden to ‘broaden’ his ticket, I guess, well, I’m nearly sure.
      Note, I’d never vote Mr Biden in a primary, but I definitely would vote for him over the present usurper.

  19. Posted June 19, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I want a candidate who will be able to hold his or her own against Trump’s attacks. Why isn’t Pelosi running? She has proven she can make Trump cry like the chicken-bully he is.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I think Pelosi would likely make a pretty good POTUS. My only personal concern is her age. A practical concern is that she is nearly as unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats as Hillary Clinton is, largely for the same reason. A decades long smear campaign.

  20. Christopher
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I want to remain hopeful but based on articles like this and some comments here…?!

    This is the way liberalism ends
    This is the way liberalism ends
    This is the way liberalism ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Really? You think it’s liberalism that’s moribund? I see conservatism in extremis.

      Except for the never-Trumpers who are clinging to its mantle at its edges by their fingernails, conservatism has abandoned every last one of its traditional principles — — free trade, open markets, limited government, balanced budgets, personal rectitude, a due regard for American institutions and traditions and norms of behavior, strict constitutional construction, maintenance of strong international alliances in opposition to Russian expansion and aggression — the lifeblood of traditional conservatism from Edmund Burke to Russell Kirk.

      In its place, today’s Republican Party is making like lemmings following their strongman leader over a cliff. Ask yourself this: What if Donald Trump loses the next election with just 42% of the vote (the highest number he currently polls against every top Democratic contender)? It will, of course, be a disaster for down-ticket Republicans. And what if Donald Trump then refuses to go gracefully from office (as he almost certainly will refuse to do)? What do Republicans do?

      Trump has the undying support of approximately 25% of the American electorate, which is to say, just over half the Republican Party base — the half that wouldn’t abandon him, as he’s wont to brag, even were he to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. But he has the support of virtually no one else, not traditional college-educated Republicans, and certainly not independents who lean Republican.

      What if Trump claims that the election was fixed and that’s his loss is the fault of establishment Republicans for insufficiently supporting his candidacy? What if he takes his dead-end die-hard followers with him and leaves the Republican Party? It will be the death of the GOP.

      I’ll see your T.S. Elliot paraphrase above, and raise you a Robert Frost:

      Some say the GOP will end in fire,
      Some say in ice.
      From what I’ve tasted of desire
      I hold with those who favor fire.
      But if it had to perish twice,
      I think I know enough of hate
      To say that for destruction ice
      Is also great
      And would suffice.

      • BJ
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        “Except for the never-Trumpers who are clinging to its mantle at its edges by their fingernails, conservatism has abandoned every last one of its traditional principles…”

        And what of the Democrats? They have abandoned unions and all other policies to support working-class people in favor of corporations and banks; they have abandoned peaceful diplomacy in favor of war; they have abandoned the idea of a government that spends responsibly; they have abandoned the idea of standing for free speech; they have abandoned principled stands against corporate takeover of society and people’s lives, and corporate and financial-sector monopolies; they have abandoned their stand against the surveillance state; they have abandoned their opposition to the suspension of habeas corpus and torture and simply said, “eh, well, W.’s administration started it, so I guess there’s no stopping it now.” I could go on, but why bother?

        It just rubs me raw when people see only one side having abandoned their principles. Both sides have abandoned their principles, both sides contribute to today’s climate (which started well before Trump, but has simply been amplified by him), and both sides are concerned with power rather than policy and defeating their opponents than standing for what they used to believe was right.

        At the end of the day, we need to find a candidate that will bring back the ideals of the Democratic Party, because the Party itself sure as hell won’t.

        The process of bringing back the Democratic Party that used to stand for the things above and other policies and positions will be a long one, and it may never even happen; frankly, I have little hope that it ever will. But maybe, just maybe, with the right leader, it could slowly happen.

        • darrelle
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          I think it is essential to identify and criticize the flaws on your own side, but I think your despair / disgust with the current democratic / left in the US might be skewing your assessment a bit. Degrees do matter and there is a huge degree of difference between the US Republican / conservative / Right and Democrat / liberal / Left. There is no equivalence between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. One side has more or less normal levels of corruption, ineptitude, decency and competency while the other side is nearly uniformly dishonest, craven and reprehensible.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          Jeez, Beej, I was reacting to a one-sided attack, not spontaneously promoting one on my own.

          I’ve been a registered Democrat my entire voting life, ever since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 in the nick of time to allow me to vote for George McGovern and against that sonuvabitch Dick Nixon. But I’ve never been a Democratic Party activist. To the extent I’ve been an activist at all, it’s always been on behalf of particular candidates and issues, not party politics, although I certainly see the Democrats as the lesser of two evils.

          What you describe above as “the Democrats” now I think is true of a narrow (but dangerously growing) band of self-described leftists. I don’t think it accurately describes the Democratic Party as a whole. It isn’t applicable to any of the leading 2020 Democratic contenders, all of whom I disagree with on some issues, and some of whom I disagree with on nearly all issues.

          At this particular moment in history, there’s an asymmetry between our two political parties. The GOP has been headed in a perilous direction for a long time now — since Nixon’s Southern Strategy, since Reagan’s embrace of the evangelicals, since Poppy Bush’s Willie Horton ad, since the advent of right-wing Talk Radio and Fox News, since the rise of the Tea Party, since the Party’s toleration of “Birtherism.” But now it’s gone completely around the bend, with 90-plus percent of self-identified Republicans going all-in for the afterbirth of Trumpism.

          Beware the Golden Mean Fallacy, BJ; halfway to crazy-town isn’t necessarily the Goldilocks zone where you wanna be.

          • BJ
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            “What you describe above as “the Democrats” now I think is true of a narrow (but dangerously growing) band of self-described leftists. I don’t think it accurately describes the Democratic Party as a whole.”

            I mean, if you can point me to a significant and influential (both in media and policy) part of the Democratic Party that is interested in things like unions anymore, please, for the love of all that is good in this universe, do. But note that one or two candidates won’t do it, as I can find a handful of candidates on the Republican side as well who are people I would like. They can’t be a handful of token “mavericks.”

            “Beware the Golden Mean Fallacy, BJ; halfway to crazy-town isn’t necessarily the Goldilocks zone where you wanna be.”

            Oh, I agree, better to have a Democrat that a Republican in the White House (unless it was a really moderate Republican versus a really extreme Democrat), but they’re ultimately leading toward the same place: a society ruled by corporations and politicians ruled by who can give them the most money. Nobody cares about the common people.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

              BTW, Beej, you still lookin’ to wager a C-note that Trump won’t launch some ordinance against Iran, the way we discussed about a month and a half ago? 🙂

              Though I gotta admit, even then, I didn’t think we’d get to a wag-the-dog scenario quite this quickly.

              • BJ
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

                Yep, I’d still do it, though I would make an amendment and say maybe there’s a bombing run or two to “take out strategic targets” like supposed WMD plants, which I know wasn’t my initial wager. I’m still 99.5% sure there will not be an actual war. I would bet $100 on that. No invasion, no full-scale bombing across the country, etc.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        “refuses to go gracefully”

        I figure if(when) he loses the election he will whine mightily, but there would be nothing he could do but host another reality TV show. There are no military officers that would give him a minute of their time. No respectable media outlets would give a shit. He’ll be down the tubes, as they say. Not to worry.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Yeah, I don’t buy into the paranoid scenarios one sometimes hears about Trump refusing to vacate the White House. But I can certainly see him (especially if he loses a close election) ranting and raving about the election having been stolen — the man will do anything to avoid the label “loser” — and thereby breaking the GOP in two, between his dead-end, never-say-die supporters and those Republicans who wish to live on to fight another day.

          What I can’t imagine Trump doing is magnanimously welcoming the opponent who defeated him to the White House on Inauguration Day and standing by smiling benignly while his successor takes the oath of office. Can you?

          • rickflick
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            magnanimously? Trump!?

            It will be a morbid non-transition. Probably well over half the cabinet will resign before the end leaving the process to the dregs and remaining lackeys.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

              If beaten, Trump will doubtless use the post-election lame-duck period to pardon his whole rotten clan, and to try to pardon himself (thereby throwing the nation into a constitutional maelstrom), and to settle scores with his myriad enemies, real and imagined.

              • rickflick
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

                Wouldn’t he only be able to pardon himself of federal crimes? There’s plenty of state level villainy to pursue that will provide that schadenfreude we all crave. I’m hoping 10 states sentence him to 10 years each, to be served sequentially. That gives us a nice round number to remind future talk show hosts to stay out of politics.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

                Yes, a presidential pardon extends only to federal crimes. But Trump will undoubtedly try to give himself that much protection before leaving office, given the likelihood that there’s already a draft indictment awaiting him when he leaves office, pending in the Southern District of New York US attorney’s office, on the same campaign-finance violations for which his thuggish former lawyer is currently serving time.

                It’s not at all clear that a president has the constitutional authority to pardon himself. But, as you observe, Trump also has exposure for many state crimes in New York, and both the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the office of the NY state attorney general have open investigations of him, his businesses, and his family.

                I think it’s at least as likely that Trump will be doing prison time himself come inauguration day 2025, as that he’ll be turning over the reigns of power to his successor after a second term.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

                “reins” of power …

              • merilee
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

                HE thinks it’s a reign…

              • rickflick
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

                2025? We’re doomed.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

                Don’t get me started on how the reign in Spain falls mainly on Juan Carlos, Prof. Higgins. 🙂

          • merilee
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Have you ever seen him smiling benignly about ANYthing??

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

              Onliest thing could make Trump smile benignly would be the sight of a handicapped voter struggling in vain to pull the lever for his Democratic opponent. 🙂

              • merilee
                Posted June 20, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

                That wouldn’t be benign; it would be a sneer.

          • darrelle
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            At a sort of day-dream fantasy level I’d purely love to see Trump try to not vacate the White House after losing the election.

            Sadly, on sober reflection I have to say that I hope it doesn’t happen. I am pretty confident that it will be a real shit show though.

            Trump may not care, may not have the capacity to care, but many of the outgoing members of his administration will be frantically scrambling to sweep all the clutter of evidences of their messes under the rug before the incoming administration’s people see what’s left of our government institutions. I think the state of abandonment, disrepair and intentional destruction will take years to be revealed and will surpass all imaginations. It will take more than one administration to recover our institutions from the Trump Administration.

  21. yazikus
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I would like to believe no one gets their political news and opinions from HuffPo. I’d like to think that we go visit each candidate’s website and read their planks/platforms/proposals. Short of that, I’d like to think we’d at least stick to more neutral news sources.

    I think Biden would be fine. I’ll happily vote for him if he is the nominee. I still like Harris. I think Warren would be great – I’m a sucker for a plan. I like Klobuchar quite well. Inslee is nice and I think spending time talking about climate change makes his campaign worthwhile. I know I’m forgetting the vast majority of the others.

    Amusingly, in my red-corner (nay, crumb) of the blue side of my reliably dem. state, a conservative asked me (quite seriously) whether I’d be voting for Bernie over Trump because of his promises to eliminate college debt.

  22. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    One thing is sure (‘read my lips’), during those democratic debates, Mr Trump is certain to do something outrageous, just to keep the attention to himself.

  23. merilee
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m impressed by Mayor Pete.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      You have to be. He’s sharp as a whip.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      Yes, he’s about everything Mr Trump is not and would probably make a great president. . However, there is the African American and Hispanic vote, I fear Mr Buttigieg faces insurmountable difficulties there.

  24. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 20, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I do like major Pete but do not think he will make it to the top. He is likely the smartest guy in the room. However, Warren is also pretty smart and she is moving up in the polls. She is now equal to Bernie and may pass him soon. Look out for Warren in this thing.

    If money is the decider then Trump wins easily. He will have more money than all the rest combined. His presents on Facebook already is double the democrats. If Bullshit and propaganda is this country then Trump will certainly win. And of course he has Russia.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Ah, presence.

  25. Roo
    Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I realize that part of this is because the Democrats have a Presidential primary this election and Republicans do not, but I do wonder what effect months of tearing each other down will have when elections roll around. If you look at what’s highlighted in the news now, it’s generally divisive issues on the Democrat’s side – Biden’s comments; reparations; anything involving police controversy (which I think is important, of course, but the cases the media highlights seem selected to be lightening rods – a man is shot, he didn’t have a gun, but he used his car to ram a police car several times, for example), etc. The same is not true of the Right… you’re not seeing hot button issues like abortion and gun control on the news every day. (Of course the news cycle changes a good bit from day to day so that may change, but when the focus is on the election, this is what the headlines have been.) Pretty much any issue that will line people up staunchly on two different sides seems to be front and center, which seems like a questionable strategy to me. You’re not seeing a lot of spotlight on topics like prison reform, economic issues and support for the working class, or health care at the moment.

    That said, I’ve also seen the argument that the Democrat’s strategy of trying to be the moderate party for years wasn’t working, as evidenced by Clinton losing the election with some polls showing that Sanders might have done better (if I recall correctly – take that with a grain of salt as I don’t remember the source.) Trump certainly embraced hot button and often very unpopular (on some sides, obviously not all,) ideas and still won in 2016, so who knows? I guess there’s a tradeoff between rallying one’s supporters and alienating potential supporters a bit further from the base, and it’s generally a gamble trying to figure out how that will play out. Whether the HuffPo’s of the world are helping or hurting the Democrat’s case, I guess we’ll see in 2020.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      I think the republicans will be in the primaries as well, but it means little. There is at least one guy who will be running against Trump, I can’t remember the name. Social issues are not of interest to Trump, so the republicans are simply against most of them. Anything that spends money on people is out in the republican party. It is primarily the party of the rich, the money’d and the base is mostly the poorer whites. Makes no sense, but that is it. In the south it is very much a race thing. Use to be democrats but no more. Look at those people who were down there in Florida at the Trump thing. It is a cult. They have no agenda but their leader.


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