Trump the Appeaser
by Deacon Blues
If the GOP establishment came out of their convention last week hoping Donald Trump would become an adult general election candidate, and no longer act like an unstable reality TV show host, their hopes have been dashed with the news today that Trump actively encourages Russia to help him get elected president by committing espionage against the United States.
To make things worse, Trump also showed his appeasement streak by openly siding with Putin’s military annexation of Crimea in 2014. And his ties to Putin and Russia are not only recent events; they’ve been ongoing. Trump would be Putin’s man in the Oval Office.
When an American presidential candidate openly asks for assistance from a foreign, nuclear-armed enemy of the United States, and that same candidate is already compromised by his ties to unaccountable oligarchs who want to control the federal government for their personal benefit, I think the Democrats have what they need to go after Trump in the white working class areas of rural Ohio and Pennsylvania. Simply put, the message is “Do you hate your country enough to turn it over to Vladimir Putin and the Koch Brothers?”
I know if a Democrat made these statements and demonstrated these preferences, he or she would be called an appeaser and perhaps even a traitor by the GOP elite and right wing media. Democrats need to make Donald Trump too toxic for Republicans to support.
Update, Wednesday evening: After watching Bernie Sanders's supporters jeer and shout down former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta while he was trying to point out the national security dangers of a Trump presidency, I can only conclude that those supporters actively want a Trump presidency. What these supporters did tonight was not only reprehensible, but worse yet, exactly what Trump would have wanted, as his agents.
Bridging the Divide
by Deacon Blues
After seeing the first two days of the convention, I believe that Bernie Sanders has done whatever is necessary to get his supporters behind the Clinton campaign effort. I applaud him, his wife, and the senior campaign team for doing this, and for their success in getting the Democratic Party refocused on the right issues. As I’ve said previously, I fully support Sanders’ efforts to reenergize the progressive base of the party, including direct support for progressive candidates at the local and state level.
After watching the debacle of the Debbie Wasserman Schultz flameout and what the DNC was doing internally against Sanders during the campaign, I would support Jeff Weaver and the Sanders team taking over the DNC and having someone like Howard Dean as a senior consultant to help out. I also think Team Clinton should make it known that a Clinton White House expects to work closely with a Sanders/Warren/Brown triad in the Senate. There is no harm in telling the party faithful that the progressive leadership in the Senate will have a seat at the table inside the White House. It will be a clear, contrasting image to that of the Koch Brothers running the Oval Office in a Trump administration, which is now a certainty with the elevation of Mike Pence as the GOP vice presidential nominee. The TV commercials write themselves.
Lastly, the best visual that Hillary can create tomorrow night at the end of the convention would be for she and Tim Kaine to be holding hands, with Elizabeth Warren on one side, and Bernie on the other side.
Bernie's Monster is Loose
by Deacon Blues
Sometimes truth reads better than fiction. If you wanted the worst-case scenario for Democrats to self-destruct this fall and allow Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers to take over the government, you would:
1. See parts of the Bernie Sanders’ base destroy the party in full view at the national convention this week; stoked by
2. Individuals and groups that may never have been part of the Democratic Party, ostensibly enraged over
3. The release of emails that were hacked by the Russian intelligence services aiding Donald Trump, and timed to do the most damage to efforts at a unified convention, which is
4. Generating comments like those ascribed to these previously-unknown activists, indicating that they prefer the destruction of the Democratic Party, which leads to
5. A convention reminiscent of the disastrous 1968 melee in Chicago.
I’ve never heard of these activists or their groups, but after reading their “burn baby burn”-type sentiments towards the party, it makes me wonder if they ever were Democrats in the first place, or if they were under-the-radar socialist or GOP-instigated elements hidden in the Sanders base all this time.
For anyone of color to say openly that they want to bring the party down and knowingly turn the country over to Trump indicates to me the probability that part of Bernie’s movement itself was hacked months ago.
The quickest way for the white base to coalesce around Trump is to show them a Democratic Party coming apart at the seams. And part of Bernie Sanders' base is about to give the Supreme Court over to the Koch Brothers for the next 20 years.
Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!
The excellent writer and human Paul Waldman of the Washington Post and The Week gave out a warning to our dear Republican cousins when they blocked the Supreme Court justice nominee Merrick Garland: you’re abandoning another governing norm, do it too many times and you’re de-evolve into something badly unrecognizable.
It can be said that human institutions reflect the personal human psyche, one is rarely in a static general state, there is either a base progression forward or movement backward. There are happy times when variables gel to a stable state, but change will eventually force adaptive growth—or a regressive fall.
Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!Continue reading "Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!"
Giving Them a Real Choice
by Deacon Blues
It's been said before around these parts that the GOP will run 2016 as a law-and-order election, and sure enough, you'll hear a lot of that tonight from Donald Trump. The time-tested way to jack up white people is to scare them with imaginary lawless brown people. So look for Trump and the GOP to run a replay of Nixon's 1968 strategy.
Just don't expect to hear Trump talk about "justice" and "fairness" while he is talking about law and order, unless he wants to brazenly put forward the notion of reverse discrimination, which given his base should not be discounted. Fascists need to display an image of nativism and strength with their overt racism, so the "America First" message tonight is really code for "White People Coming Home."
As for Hillary, and her VP pick, I do think the Pence selection may have changed her calculus, but that is no reason to pick the likes of Castro, Vilsack, or Perez. Nor am I particularly thrilled with a Tim Kaine selection, yet when you look at the Democrats' actual bench, there aren't many commander-in-chiefs in waiting. Obama for his part certainly wasn't himself in 2008, but he selected Biden to compensate for that. Hillary doesn't need to check that box herself, yet she needs to make a good but not pandering pick.
I simply think in this election, with a need to drive out the Democratic base while undercutting Trump's alleged concern for blue collar economics, combatting two extremist white guys with two pro-middle class women could be a smart, and energizing play. It would also help if Hillary called Trump's bluff on economics, and focused on unions, as we've said before, and make Trump go against that.
No matter what, Hillary will have a target-rich environment to go after Trump and Pence, bit it starts with the right economic message and the right running mate.
Update, Thursday evening: Trump's prepared remarks cast America in a dark place that is all Hillary's fault:
Trump’s speech will lay out stark differences between his agenda and Clinton’s. He asserted that the likely Democratic nominee was a “puppet” of corporations and elites, and that she would “keep our rigged system in place.”
That's right, the man who is now owned by the Koch Brothers, and who has been an elite himself his entire life, is attacking the woman who came out last week for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.
Trump also blamed Clinton directly for the past decade and a half of turmoil in the Middle East and cast the former secretary of state as a favor-trading, self-enriching agent of foreign powers.
That's right; it was all a dream that Bush/Cheney were in the White House from 2001 until 2009. And apparently Hillary has been running our foreign policy since 2009.
"This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: Death, destruction and weakness," Trump said in the prepared remarks. "But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy."
He's now opened himself up to a 4-day exploration next week of what a Trump world would mean for America.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Trump
by Deacon Blues
You have to love how Donald Trump views party unity. Your campaign chairman picks a fight with the governor of the state hosting the RNC convention, explicitly making a threat against that governor, and then blames Hillary Clinton for the outright plagiarism committed by Trump's wife last night. Yes, Paul Manafort is definitely Vladimir Putin's man inside the Republican Party.
It's pretty bad when the RNC chairman and the departed Trump campaign chairman both agree that there needs to be accountability for the dumpster fire that was Melania Trump's speech last night. But what gets lost here are two things:
1. The Trump family has integrity issues all around; and
2. Trump and his supporters are the same people insisting that Hillary's alleged lack of integrity disqualifies her.
Yet there was Matthew Dowd and Robin Roberts on ABC's "Good Morning America" this morning, giving golden child Ivanka Trump strokes for being a political star in the making. That's when you know ABC and perhaps other networks are in the tank for Trump, while continuing to pick away at the Clintons for their "integrity" issues.
Missing The Obvious
by Deacon Blues
It’s amazing how much of the initial commentary about the Pence VP selection never mentions the real reason why he was selected over Gingrich and Christie: Pence is a bridge to Koch money and immediately solves the GOP financial disadvantage. Yet you wouldn’t know this by reading the New Republic, Politico, Joan Walsh at the Nation, Buzz Feed, or other outlets.
Yet I can’t blame them: the Clinton campaign dropped the ball also. I mean, how hard is it to start tying Trump and Pence to the Koch Brothers, and destroy Trump’s alleged independence from GOP establishment plutocrats? Apparently it is too difficult for Team Clinton.
As for the recent coverage by mainstream media outlets about a tightening race, remember that the New York Times/CBS News poll was of registered voters, and not likely voters. Because the media wants to cover a horse race, they want to sell their narrative that Hillary was mortally wounded by the FBI conclusions about her email stupidity. Yet you won’t hear the mainstream media cover other polls taken at the same time, of likely voters, that show Clinton not affected by the FBI report, but in fact leading Trump by a good margin.
And that’s before the GOP gives us four days next week of Benghazi, Clinton sex crimes, and laughable Trump surrogates. What you won't hear in Cleveland from Trump's media spectacle are actual solutions to our problems, just attacks.
There's been some talk recently about Team Clinton getting its act together and the candidate finding her voice. I haven't seen it yet, nor have I been impressed with their ability to take what is handed to them and beat Trump over the head with it. Clinton now knows the GOP ticket and the convention agenda: a failed businessman and discriminatory governor, peddling attacks and not a positive vision of solutions to real problems. A smart campaign would spend every day over the next week driving the "Party of Koch" narrative, and blasting Trump for selling out to the plutocrats and extremists who have nothing to offer Main Street.
A smart campaign would do that. Where is that campaign?
Pence = Koch Brothers
by Deacon Blues
With Trump's VP nominee search apparently narrowed to Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, and now Indiana GOP governor Mike Pence, you only need to remember one thing: Mike Pence is a wholly owned political subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. For a campaign struggling to gain ground against Clinton's fundraising advantage, the quickest way for Donald Trump to access $1-2 billion is for him to put Mike Pence on the ticket.
No matter how tight the polls may be getting right now, Team Clinton should want Trump to select Pence, because such a selection immediately destroys Trump's narrative of being his own man, one not tied to GOP plutocrats. Having Mike Pence on the ticket means putting Charles and David Koch in the Oval Office, giving orders to "Man of the People" President Trump.
Update, Thursday: Money wins out; Trump will pick Pence. Trump's ascension demolished the GOP establishment infrastructure to the degree that the Koch Brothers have now achieved what they always wanted: control of the Republican Party.
America’s Weimar Election
Via Hullabaloo and Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine comes a fascinating insight into the evolution of Adolf Hitler and extremely disturbing parallels to Election 2016, America’s Weimar election.
Conservative Germans then, just as most Americans view Trump now, saw Hitler as rabble political trash, certainly good at mobilizing base political forces but completely hapless in his ability to organize intellectually or to practically seize power. A contemptible lightweight, soon to be easily swept away by rationality and events.Continue reading "America’s Weimar Election"