The Trump observations thread

Politics and other such topical creams.
Dr. Medulla
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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Mimi wrote:
25 Sep 2022, 10:34am
I just had the best laugh because of this.

Ah, Don, Jr. and Eric.
"And so the sailor goes, 'I don’t know, but it’s driving me nuts!'” - Woodrow Wilson to David Lloyd George, Paris Peace Conference, 1 February 1919

Howard Beale
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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by Howard Beale »

Hey all—since I've finally had some free time, I wanted to revisit the discussion (debate?) from a few weeks back. I think the reason that a lot of what I was trying to get across ended up getting lost in the mix is because there were a couple of different conversations happening at once and certain topics were getting conflated with each other. I realized it would be better to separate the things we were talking about into different buckets and take them one-by-one. Feel free to disagree, obviously, but if you do—please join the discussion, don't be shy! Okay, here goes...

•Donald Trump: Okay, first order of business—let's deal with the man himself. As the subject of not only this lengthy thread, but also dozens and dozens of other posts throughout The Dictator and the various other forums, it's fair to say that The Donald commands attention. I guess it's pretty fitting, as I don't know that I've seen any other single figure in the American political landscape in my lifetime who has served as more of a human Rorschach Test. His followers see Jesus Christ 2.0. My fellow IMCT'ers seem to see the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. When I look at Trump, I see... a two-bit New York street hustler.

While I wouldn't say that I see Donald Trump as a completely benign figure, I think it's still important to understand what Trump actually is, and what he isn't. If you're familiar with his business career, then you know that it's been characterized by ceaseless incompetence and serial catastrophic failure. His only genuine, innate talent is as a marketer. While you'll get no argument from me that Donald Trump isn't cartoonishly, bombastically stupid, even the dumbest people are sometimes born with some sort of preternatural social skill. Such is the case with Trump, and the extent to which he poses any real threat lies in his capabilities as a seasoned snake oil salesman.

Conversely, I think there's also a lot of hyperbole and hysteria flying around out there about the man. I've often heard terms like "fascist" and "white supremacist" get thrown around in relation to Trump, but I'd argue that those appellations aren't terribly accurate. Granted, if we take "white supremacist" to simply mean "generally racist white guy who feels that he should be privileged over everyone else in society," well then, sure, Trump certainly qualifies. I get the impression, though, that the phrase is usually being invoked in a more politically-charged sense meant to conjure up images in one's mind of swastika flags and burning crosses.

Donald Trump's racism is of a much more reflexive and much less ideological variety. For the perfect encapsulation of this, we need to take a look at an example that is unfortunately quite timely again given current events. In the Summer of 2017, when the triple-punch of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively, you might remember that Trump's aid response for Texas (a red state) and Florida (a swing state he won) was swift, whereas Puerto Rico quickly turned into a Katrina-level debacle. In the midst of all this, Trump—as per usual—sent out a flurry of tweets:
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That, right there, is the quintessence of Donald Trump's racism distilled into a few choice tweets. Anyone who's from or is reasonably familiar with NYC knows that "Puerto Ricans are lazy" (or "dirty") is an ugly stereotype endemic to the region. It's unsurprising that he'd fall back on such a trope in service of blaming Puerto Rico for their predicament (not to mention his seeming total inability to grasp the fact that Puerto Ricans are every bit as American as Texans and Floridians).

His brand of anti-Semitism looks a little something like this:

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Now, that's gross—and he even managed the impressive feat of sprinkling in some bonus racism with the anti-Semitism—but notice that it's once again based on the same kind of tired stereotypes that have no doubt been kicking around in Trump's head since at least the '50s. Because there exists no interlocutor between brain and mouth for Trump, statements like these tend to fall out of his face (or into his social media feed) with a high degree of frequency.

The point of all this being, that any attempts to attribute some rigid ideology to Trump's bigotry are misguided; he holds no ideology, as the development of such a thing generally requires (a) reading, and (b) an attention span. Trump is racist in the same way that your crazy uncle is racist at the Thanksgiving dinner table, not in a manner similar to Hitler (or even Richard Spencer). He's a disgusting human being, yes, but Donald Trump's mind exists solely in a perpetual state of trying to identify and scam his next mark(s), there is no master plan beyond that. I promise you that Donald Trump is not memorizing chapter and verse of Mein Kampf or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and formulating a plan to ship us all off to concentration camps. C'mon guys, know thy enemy. We don't need to immediately go full-Hitler in our assessment of every corrupt politician. We (rightly) point and laugh at conservatives when they try to present CRT, Antifa or "cancel culture" as dire threats to life as we know it and all that we hold dear. Let's not fall into the same trap. A politician or president can be really, really, really bad without necessarily always being Hitler.
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Ultimately though, even putting aside his trademark incompetence and lack of planning, there's one major reason why there will never be a fascist takeover of America orchestrated by Donald Trump. It isn't because of any checks and balances or constitutional safeguards; it isn't because a few brave and principled politicians will find their conscience and put country above party. It's because Trump, like any president, will always follow the dictates he receives from the folks who actually run the country: Wall Street, the Military-Industrial Complex, the big banks, billionaire donors, multinational megacorporations, etc. The status quo isn't ever going to be under any real threat for that one very simple reason. After 1/6 happened and the corporate overlords had finally had enough of Trump's hissy fit—and no one ever talks about or even seems to remember this—they told him he was going to give a proper concession to Joe Biden. Trump obediently did so. Big Business didn't hand that order down because they give a fuck about democracy or the integrity of our elections (they don't), but because having an outgoing president acting erratic and casting doubt as to whether or not he'll leave office peacefully can create instability in the markets (which is the absolute only thing they care about). They had no issue with Trump resuming his tantrum after that, as long as there was an unambiguous, on-the-record concession speech to put the donor class at ease. Joe Biden was, of course, sworn in on January 20th—which was always the only outcome that was ever going to happen.

•Trump Voters: I'm already anticipating the counterargument to the above that, yeah, Trump himself may be a fumbling and comically inept jackass, but the real fascist threat of Trumpism lies with his supporters. That's a fair argument and one that I think necessitates a closer look at Trump voters in general. I get that it's tempting to view them all as a monolith comprised entirely of toothless, inbred Klansmen—which does appear to be the consensus view of the average Trump supporter 'round these parts. I'm certainly not denying that that type of person exists, or that their preferred candidate is Donald Trump. It should go without saying: fuck those people, and we should give them no quarter. However, the problem with only focusing on them, as I see it, is that in doing so we fail to reckon with the broader appeal that Trump holds for people outside that very specific demographic. Which is why we ended up with Trump in the first place. Which is why we're likely to end up with him again.

While the massive voter turnout of the racially aggrieved Angry White Man and Bible-thumping evangelicals in 2016 did help carry Trump to victory, most of those people were in red states anyway and would have voted for whichever Republican happened to be on the ballot. It's important to remember that the 100,000 votes that clenched the electoral college for Trump came from Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—the heart of the Rust Belt. That's not to say that no one in the Rust Belt could possibly be a racist, of course some of them are—but a lot of them aren't. Some percentage of that 100,000 voted for Obama twice and are registered Democrats who voted for Bernie Sanders during the primaries.

Bear with me here for a thought exercise—let's say you're a blue collar guy from Flint, MI. You're a lifelong Democrat, perhaps from the "Reagan Democrat" tradition, and come from a family of auto plant workers. You've had trouble making ends meet after the GM plant you worked for closed down; you've had several friends pass away decades before their time from illnesses linked to lead poisoning. In 2008, you voted for Obama. You were proud to play some small part in history by doing your part in electing the first black president, but you didn't see much of the promised hope and change in his first four years. You managed to maintain some optimism when you pulled that lever for him again in 2012, but again saw no improvement in your life or community.

The 2016 election season rolls around, and as you're resigning yourself to the fact that you're going to have to vote for Hillary Clinton, something curious happens: the twin populist grenades of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump explode onto the campaign trail and actually seem to be speaking to some of your concerns. You're uncomfortable with Trump's race-baiting and xenophobia/misogyny/Islamophobia, so you tune him out for the time being—Bernie's your guy. As the Democratic primary progresses and you watch the party move heaven and earth in an effort to push Sanders out of the race, the president you voted for twice visits your city just so that he can perform a disgusting PR stunt.

One day you're watching TV and happen to catch an interview with the top-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and he appears to have a message for you and your fellow working stiffs: you can all go fuck yourselves, your votes are no longer needed for us to win elections—we're going after "moderate" Republicans from here on out.

Can you seriously blame that guy for voting Trump? Trump, who bragged at his rallies about how he was going to tear up NAFTA once and for all. Trump, who all but promised on the campaign trail that, if elected, he'd kick open the door of every defunct coal mine, shuttered steel mill and boarded-up auto factory and make American industry look like it did in 1942. You and I view Trump through the lens of his rampant criminality and vile demagoguery, but that's less likely to be the case for someone in Middle America who may be living a more dire economic reality. When viewed through that lens, it needs to be acknowledged: Donald Trump has good political instincts (or at least he did in 2016). Just go back and watch his "Closing Argument" ad from the day before the election:

If you just chopped out the obligatory immigration fearmongering and the anti-Semitic dogwhistle about "global special interests," that could practically be a Bernie ad. I find Steve Bannon to be as repugnant a creature as everyone else here does, but there's no denying that the man knew how to run an insurgent, populist campaign in 2016. Hillary Clinton's central campaign message seemed to boil down to, "You'll get nothing and like it. I. Am. Inevitable." Trump's core message was: "The elites are screwing you, and I'm gonna bring your job back." It really shouldn't be difficult to see why the latter message resonates more with voters. And, lest we forget, Trump ran to the left of Hillary Clinton on issues like endless war, NATO and protecting Social Security and Medicare (and yes, I'm well aware that he was lying about all of it, but that's beside the point). Economic populism is always a winner.
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My point being: if you want to see—as I do—a resurgent, ascendant labor movement in America, the likes of which hasn't existed since the early 20th Century, we need to stop viewing a giant chunk of the population as irredeemable fascists because they were so desperate they ended up getting duped by a skeevy used car salesman. The American working class being divided into warring factions benefits no one but the powerful. We can't be afraid to grapple with some of the messy and seemingly contradictory realities that such an inequitable system has brought into being. For many decades, billions and billions of dollars have been spent in the form of think tanks, right-wing talk radio, (conservative and liberal) television media, newspapers, school textbooks, et al, to make sure that most Americans have garbled, nonsensical opinions and nothing even approaching a coherent political ideology. The fact that a sizeable number of Americans think that George Soros is a communist is proof that we've entered an era where words no longer mean what words actually mean.

Screaming "They're all racist fascists!!!" isn't a productive solution to any of this, it makes no attempt to reconcile, for instance, the reality that in 2020, Trump actually improved his numbers with African American, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, LGBTQ and women voters (basically everyone except white men). I'll be honest, that's one I'm still struggling to make sense of, but it's a reality that I approach with intellectual curiosity, rather than just lazily assuming that there are are a whole bunch of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim and LGBTQ white supremacists scattered throughout America. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most of the 35% of American Muslims that voted for Trump probably aren't Confederate flag-wavin' good ole boys.

•Democrats vs. Republicans: Okay, getting back to the core debate we were having last month—as I mentioned in previous exchanges with Flex and JennyB, I see the utility in voting for Democrats at the state level, especially the redder the state you're in. Republican governors and state lawmakers are all currently competing with each other to cultivate the ultimate resumé of unparalleled lib-ownage that they'll be able to point to as evidence of their anti-woke bona fides in their eventual presidential or congressional primaries. Of course you should vote against that, and to the extent that various posters who were giving me pushback were referring to state-level politics, hey, I'm in total agreement with you. My criticisms of the Democrats are aimed at those serving on Capitol Hill—and at the national level, it's starting to become debatable which party is more monstrous.

Firstly, I have to take exception to some of the attempts to wave off my cataloging of Biden's horrendous record as simply being mistakes in the past or just bad policy. Bad policy isn't just a whoopsie-daisy that you move on from. Well, you can if you're a powerful politician, but not if you're one of the countless victims who've had your life uprooted by said politician. Bad policy has long-term consequences and can create entire societal paradigms that effect generations of families, as Biden's bad policies definitely did. We were told in 2016 and 2020 that we had to vote Democrat because, if we didn't, Donald Trump would for sure destroy democracy at some undetermined point in the future. When you take a look around at the present-day America created by the legislation that was spearheaded by Biden during his time in congress—the for-profit carceral state, retrograde drug laws that have sent nonviolent offenders to prison for decades on end, the rise of mass surveillance—do you see a healthy, thriving democracy? "Vote for the guy who already destroyed America to prevent that other guy from destroying America" isn't a convincing argument.

Second thing—let's dispel this patently false narrative that Republicans are the only party hostile to democracy and that the Democrats are the ones (even half-assedly) defending it. Democrats are the OG's of making up outrageous, evidence-free claims about a "stolen" presidential election in an effort to delegitimize the results. I have yet to hear anyone offer an explanation as to why four years of nonstop Russiagating was totally okay.


And that's just the general election—let's go back to the primary. Democrats didn't steal an election from Donald Trump in 2020, but they did steal one from Bernie Sanders in 2016; the head of the DNC had to resign in disgrace once Wikileaks publicly revealed this. Four years later, Obama calling up candidates on the eve of Super Tuesday and telling them to drop out and endorse Biden in a last-ditch effort to once again stop Sanders after promising not to get involved wasn't exactly in the spirit of a fair and democratic process either. Even setting aside all the ratfucking they did in the primary, the very existence of superdelegates is pretty goddamn undemocratic.

It's also not as though gerrymandering is an exclusively Republican phenomenon. Democrats are more than happy to throw away democracy anytime it inconveniences them.

I'm told constantly that there's one immutable reason that I must always vote Democrat: JUDGES. Supreme Court justices, the federal judiciary, it's just too important that we keep crazy right-wing judges off the bench. There is, however, a pretty major problem with this logic: the Democrats also have a very recent track record of filling the courts with right-wing judges. Chuck Schumer cut a deal with then-prez Trump to expedite the confirmation of 15(!!!) of his judges. Biden tried to appoint an anti-abortion judge a week after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This isn't out of character for him—he did, after all, vote to confirm Antonin Scalia when he was in congress, and while he didn't vote to confirm Clarence Thomas, he provided ample cover for his Demo colleagues to do so by badly botching the Anita Hill hearings he presided over. So, you can largely thank Biden for the reign of terror of two of the most maniacal, right-wing ideologues to ever sit on the Supreme Court.

Speaking of empowering maniacal, right-wing ideologues, and I mentioned this one already (but curiously, no one seemed to want to comment on it), the Democratic Party spent this primary season providing millions of dollars in funding to some of the most fringe MAGA candidates in the country: http://www.progressive.org/latest/dems- ... ore-220916
http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/07/ ... epublicans
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... -primaries
http://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-f ... 1662759677
http://www.politico.com/news/2022/07/27 ... s-00048104

On the foreign policy front, the Democrats have now surpassed the Republicans as the always pro-war party. There were only 68 members of congressall of them Republicans—who voted against a $40 billion arms industry slush fund (in the form of "Ukraine aid"), every Democrat in both the House and Senate voted for it, including Bernie Sanders and the so-called "progressive" wing of the party; among the Republicans who voted nay were the usually reliably-unhinged Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. 18 Republicans and 0 Democrats voted no on NATO expansion, Josh Hawley was the only no vote in the Senate. I'd never vote for Greene, Boebert or Hawley, as they're all total monsters in a million other ways, but the point is that when QAnon lunatics and faux-populists like Hawley are to the left of Bernie and the Progressive Caucus when it comes to being anti-war, there is no "Left" left in American politics.

The Biden Administration has ballooned Trump's already absurdly bloated defense budget, illegally bombed several countries, is starving Afghans, attempting to destabilize the Horn of Africa and maintaining brutal Trump-era sanctions on various nations. I understand that the suffering inflicted by America and its allied governments on black and brown people throughout the Global South exists purely in the abstract in the minds of most Westerners—as it has no noticeable effect on their daily lives—but that doesn't make the bombs that their tax dollars pay for ripping apart and incinerating the flesh of live human beings or high-speed shrapnel flying into the faces of small children any less real. Both parties have spent years actively aiding Saudi Arabia in carrying out a genocide in Yemen that's killed 400,000 civilians and caused 85,000 children to die of starvation. So, you can vote Democrat, you can vote Republican, but either way you're voting for this:

None of this should be surprising, really, now that the Democratic Party has become the proud home of the rehabilitated neocon; they've used Donald Trump as a human reputation-laundering device to do so. They're now unironically presenting Liz Cheney, of all fucking people, as an American hero and welcoming in a rogues' gallery of monsters possessed by the same unquenchable imperialist bloodlust that she and her father are so famous for.

We're so far through the looking glass at this point that open expression of nostalgia for the Dubya presidency amongst Democratic voters became common during the Trump years. We've all heard it: "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually starting to miss George W. Bush. Unlike Donald Trump, at least George W. Bush believed in democracy." [reminder: he actually stole an election]. In another election cycle or two, once Trump is done running and thus no longer useful as their designated boogeyman, the Democratic Party and mainstream media will waste no time in rehabilitating him—and it'll work. Just a few months into the first term of President DeSantis, or President Tucker Carlson, or whatever waking nightmare awaits us in the not-too-distant future, you'll start regularly hearing, "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually starting to miss Donald Trump. Unlike President [fill in the blank], at least Donald Trump [fill in the blank]" We'll be told that these are not normal times and that Current Republican Boogeyman will totally, absolutely, for sure, imminently destroy democracy if we don't vote for Buttigieg or whoever.

Every four years we're told that "this is the most important election of our lifetime" and that the stakes couldn't possibly be higher. I have cognizant memory of this kind of alarmism going back to at least Bush vs. Clinton in 1992—a race worth re-examining as a case study in this sort of thing. In retrospect, was Bill Clinton's victory really the lesser evil prevailing? Clinton would go on to repeal Glass-Steagall—which would pave the way for the 2008 financial crash—and pass NAFTA, which would wreck the Industrial Midwest/East Coast (and give Trump a lane to run in). An outcome that, coincidentally, the third party candidate in that race prophesied to a T.

There's a pretty compelling case to be made that Bush, Sr. would not have been able to get such pro-corporate, anti-labor policies through and that it took a charismatic Democrat to convince the public of how sensible and "moderate" it all was.

As the saying goes: I don't oppose Democrats because I support Republicans. I oppose Democrats because they support Republicans. Embracing neocons, ramming through Trump and Mitch McConnell's judges, funding MAGA to the tune of millions of dollars, the Biden Administration continuing most of the Trump Administration's policies... tell me again how these two parties are totally different. Because they (rather unconvincingly) virtue-signal about not hating gay people and, unlike the GOP, the psychopaths they put into power aren't exclusively white and male?



I'd argue that there's something even more nefarious about co-opting the language and iconography of the marginalized and cynically using it to shield against criticism, at least the Republicans have never even really pretended to be anything other than the town council from Footloose.

•"Democracy": Last thing here—my response to all of the hyperventilating about how "Donald Trump is going to end democracy!" This is the Princeton/Northwestern study on how (or rather, if) public opinion effects public policy: http://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/defa ... cs.doc.pdf

As the empirical, verifiable data bears out: public opinion has no effect whatsoever on public policy. None. Zero. Zilch. So can we please stop pretending that America is still anything even remotely resembling a democracy? America is a corporatocracy, end of story. The American presidency is just a form window-dressing to obscure this fact, Goldman Sachs has been the actual winner of every presidential election since at least '92. At this point, "Democracy" is nothing more than a marketing buzzword to be utilized by politicians in the same way that an ad executive for Coca-Cola would utilize a word like "Refreshing" on a billboard or in a commercial.
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American Democracy is long gone, and it wasn't stolen by Donald Trump and the Republicans. It wasn't stolen by Obama (or Biden) and the Democrats. It was stolen by Buckley v. Valeo, Boston v. Bellotti, McCutcheon v. FEC, Citizens United, and a few other Supreme Court decisions that just outright legalized the act of bribing politicians. The Schumers, McConnells and Bidens just happened to be the lowest form of unscrupulous scum who were the most willing to shamelessly pimp themselves out to America's rotten-to-the-core system. But hey, don't take my word for it. Just ask this guy:

You know, if we were to apply the traditional Marxist definition of fascism—the ruling class driving down living standards and imposing authoritarian measures in an effort to stabilize the capitalist order—then Trump would absolutely be a fascist. But then, so would every president of the last few decades and pretty much every Democrat and Republican currently serving in congress. All this is to say, the problem is not an orange circus clown, the problem is the decades of neoliberalism that have been killing us since Reagan (well, in some ways since Carter). And I do mean us. All of us: Limeys, Canucks, Aussies and all flavors of Europeans we have represented here. Have you noticed how many Western leaders seem to be these little wannabe Obama clones at this point? Trudeau is Canadian Obama, Macron is French Obama, Ardern is Woman Obama. That's because the United States is determined to make sure that the neoliberal order is implemented and maintained in as many countries as possible. Americans have borne the brunt of the effects, but things are going to continue getting worse for everyone. We are all Americans now, and I mean that in the worse possible way.

Anyway, just my two cents. I could be wrong.
Last edited by Howard Beale on 30 Sep 2022, 8:00pm, edited 1 time in total.

revbob
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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by revbob »

Fuck sake Howard that post would make Ratty proud

Howard Beale
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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by Howard Beale »

revbob wrote:
30 Sep 2022, 7:54pm
Fuck sake Howard that post would make Ratty proud
*Bows humbly* I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by Flex »

There's a lot to suss through, but if I try to go blow by blow I'll never get through it probably (as evidenced by several partially completed responses to previous posts of yours - although on the other hand the wife is out of town so there's no one to question what the hell I'm doing typing away on a Friday night), so I want to start by taking exception to the idea that Trump's support is primarily working class. It's way more petite-bourgeoisie-to-upper-class than it's usually portrayed. There's a bunch of articles that probe the issues, here's one: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... tion-hopes (and another older one from 538 that isn't paywalled: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/th ... s-support/). Anyways, I push back against the premise that reaching out to the working class means having to win over a bunch of trump supporters. most of his supporters are car dealership owners and hedge fund managers and a bunch of stuff like that. And of course there's exceptions. West Virginia is probably the quintessential example of, like a whole state thats super trumpy and extremely working class. When I express contempt for trump supporters it's because they're (mostly) a bunch of car dealers and proud boys and rich assholes like that couple who brandished guns outside their mansion at protesters. It's not exclusive, but that demo makes up an outsized portion of particularly his fervent supporters - like the ones who can afford to fly around the country to attend his rallies and participate in his failed putsches and so forth. I know a little bit about what I'm talking, I have done - and continue to do - political organizing and outreach work in rural Colorado, in areas that are primarily coal mining and ranching (literal Boebert country for big chunks). The folks you talk to at the door who are worried about the coal plant shutting down and angry at Just Transition policies aren't the ones jetting off for the j6 putsche. I would also say, from experience, that it's not as easy as youtube videos make it look to form connections with these folks to persuade them to support left policies. There's a ton of reasons for that, a lot of fault with how our party system works, and also a pretty big failure from socialist orgs over the years and decades.

In terms of the small gains made among non-white demographics, I mean yeah, demographics aren't destiny. There are conservative hispanics and muslims and african americans and everything else that will vote for the guy promising lower taxes, less regulation, a clampdown on the border, etc. I don't think these people are unreachable or anything else necessarily, and they (or his white supporters) aren't necessarily racist in the sense that their favorite book is the turner diaries or something, but trump connected with this thing in a lot of people that wants to make sure perceived outgroups are punished. For all my disdain at trump supporters (and, to be clear, this board serves dual functions: sometimes it's a place for thoughtful debate and analysis and sometimes it's just to blow off steam and say some bullshit that you just need to to wind down. I have mountains of cranky and mean posts about how anti-vaxers should basically drop dead that, like, of course I don't really mean) I support policies and vision that would improve their lives, economic security, individual freedom and expression, etc. Of course I do! And while I'm skeptical that this alone will win everyone over- like, you gotta start somewhere, right? Let's get everyone's material needs met, and then the people who are still fashy pieces of shit after that we can figure out what to do with then. But doing that still requires gaining some political power within this system or creating a new system out of the ashes of this one, and I'm at a loss on how to effectively do both (I mean, yeah, a resurgen labor movement but 1) the labor movement has never been that strong in the United States, 2) even during this period of supposed labor resurgence the actual number of people belonging to a union is still declining! And most U.S. unions just aren't militant socialists. It's a real quagmire. I'm not saying this isn't the answer, but some real visionaries who are a hell of a lot smarter than me are going to have to figure out how to make this all work, because I don't see it. I'm always glad to realize no one is really counting on me to figure this all out, lol).

On Biden's policy stuff, I have half a response to your last post that I never finished but I'll post what I have since you mention no one really addressed most of the points (sorry, it felt like the moment had passed when we got to the j6 discussion). Again, incomplete (I notice I make unfinished references and so forth) but here's what I had:
It pains me to do this a little, because I don't really enjoy being in the position of defending Joe Biden 1) when I have enough substantive complaints on policy grounds that I think we could just talk about that, 2) a lot of this stuff feels immaterial to the twin assertions that Trump was particularly bad and fashy (my assertion) and that Biden is one of the most responsible elected officials on the contemporary american scene for creating and fomenting structural racism (your assertion). It's not clear what, say, the Tara Reide accusation has to do with either claim (I also think that the Tara Reide claim has some major problems with it, which I can get into). But I also feel a little like I'm skipping out of a date if I don't respond, lol, so here we go.
Howard Beale wrote:
18 Aug 2022, 5:51am
I'll preface my comments here by making it absolutely clear that I think we should remain vigilant when it comes to neo-Nazi and other white supremacist groups and never stop fighting them and everything they stand for. Having said that, I'm much more concerned about the institutional racism in America that ruins the lives of vulnerable people on a much broader scale than fringe hate groups could ever dream of doing—and there's simply no denying that there are few figures in contemporary American politics that have done more damage on that front than Joe Biden.
Fair enough. I'd argue that Trump took the fertile stew of american racism and built an abhorrent, illiberal cult of personality in the soil which, left unchecked, would/will have bad consequences. But, yes, anyone - particularly at the federal level, I think we've both acknowledged the dynamic is a little different at the local and state levels still - is somewhere between culpable in our racist (and classist, sexist, etc.) institutions and actively malicious. Biden's been both at times. I don't know if it makes him unique in that sense, I guess I think it makes him pretty median.

http://qph.cf2.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-c ... 06ecc48993

Off the bat, I have a quibble. First, this isn't a direct quote. It's close, but this image was created by the Trump for USA campaign and they didn't get it quite right. Here's the full quote and context:
Just before the remark, Biden advocated for "orderly integration of society" rather than school integration via busing. "I am not just talking about education but all of society," he said.

He addressed the expert witnesses at the hearing, and then launched into the quote in question: "Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle with tensions having built so high that it is going to explode at some point."

"We have got to make some move on this," he added.

The exchange appears here in the transcript of the hearing.

Biden was not against desegregation — he just advocated for other methods, like housing integration, per the Times.

Earlier in the hearing, Biden said he thought mandatory busing had "repercussions" in terms of the "ultimate objective of seeing that we get integrated neighborhoods, of seeing that we eventually eliminate job discrimination, of seeing that we change housing patterns, of seeing alteration of the tax structure."
Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/fac ... 045749002/

I think he was morally wrong on compulsory busing (supposedly he supported voluntary busing, but evidence seems scant), and I wish Congress had taken up his suggestion to focus on integrated neighborhoods. As we probably all commonly know, redlining has been disastrous for generations for racial inequality - and it's a problem that's gotten worse over the years, not better. Whether this softens the (nearly correct) quote or not, as I said, I leave to the reader. For myself, it adds some useful context.


That's him bragging about his notorious 1994 Crime Bill, which would turn America into the most incarcerative society on the planet and disproportionately effect minority communities.
No argument. The meat of the 1994 crime bill was abhorrent. It's interesting to consider whether the democratic party of 2022 would pass it. I suspect they would not be able to. Also of some interesting context, that the bill at the time was more heavily supported by African Americans than white people:
According to a 1994 Gallup survey, 58% of African Americans supported the crime bill, compared to 49% of white Americans. Most Black mayors, who were grappling with a record wave of violent crime, did so as well. As he joined a
delegation of mayors lobbying Congress to back the bill, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said, “We’re trying very hard to explain to Congress that this is a matter that needs bipartisan support.”
Source (and more info, but it's Brookings so, ehhhh): https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2 ... rceration/

Does the fact that Biden was animated by african american pressure add any context? I don't think it's exculpatory but I think it complicates the idea that Biden (and the other Dems, I suppose) were simply animated by unhinged racist fervor. They were listening to their constituency, which was leaning hard on them to support the bill. I wish the left had more conversations about how that all went so horribly wrong instead of using it as a simple morality tale (which it, but not exclusively).
Biden is also arguably the architect of the post-Nixon era iteration of the inherently racist War on Drugs. When even Ronald Reagan rebuffed Biden for hs overzealousness in wanting to ramp up the drug war, Biden enlisted Strom Thurmond to help him craft even more Draconian legislation.

twitter.com/chuckmodi1/status/1141678744396075008
I remember this from campaign season. It's well sourced and probably one of the "best" takedowns of a piece of Biden's historical record - when you click through the sources, context doesn't offer much additional food for thought. My overall history of the proto-drug war is more than a little hazy, but it sounds like there's some activity that even predates this legislation - and the articles mention Reagan was independently looking to refocus on a war on drugs, so I guess the best thing you can say about Joe is that this kind of stuff may have been inevitable, but that's less a defense of Biden than a reinforcement that these issues are truly systemic in the American system.
Thurmond was, of course, one of the most unrepentant racists of the 20th Century—which I'd say places one pretty high in the running for being the racist GOAT—in addition to being such a BFF to Joe Biden that he even gave the eulogy at Thurmond's funeral.

Biden's palling around with ultra-racists doesn't end there, as he bragged about having worked with segregationists as recently as the 2020 campaign.
This one's sort of interesting because the article you linked to says that the assessment from their quoted civil rights scholar is that outside of busing, Biden was pretty good on civil rights issues at the time:
“Biden, who I think has been good overall on civil rights, was a leader on anti-busing,” Rucker Johnson, author of the book “Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works,” said. “A leader on giving America the language to oppose it despite it being the most effective means of school integration at that time.”
It's interesting, I think the popular narrative in the U.S. as the busing was a failure - but (quoting your article) - pretty mainstream academia suggests otherwise:
Federal data analyzed by Johnson and other researchers shows that busing succeeded in narrowing racial achievement gaps before frontal assaults and legislative maneuvers by Biden and others rendered it easier for districts under court order to be released from integration demands. America’s school integration efforts lasted, all told, no more than 15 years, Johnson said.
I would say along with the crime bill, his busing policies amount to Biden's two biggest moral stains on his record (not the only two, but those loom pretty large given some of his unique participation, particularly in busing).
Anyways, that's as far as I got. A few points to noodle over, maybe. I'll address the genuinely interesting of Dems pumping money into repub primaries to advance maga republicans, though, since you made a point that it hasn't been responded to.

I have really mixed feelings about this. I can argue it both ways. For the defense: Dems (correctly, I do actually think) ascertain that the Republican Party is dispositionally anti-democratic now (with fashy leanings if not full blown fascist), that even supposedly more "moderate" republicans will still vote and materially support anti-democratic, fascist republican policies even if they don't love it in their hearts or whatever. This is genuinely how party politics usually works, and since the Republican Party is less coalitional than the Democratic Party, party conformity is even more rigid generally. So, given that, it makes sense to meddle to try to increase the chances of a democratic victory. It's worth remembering - and I'm heartened by this - that Trump's MAGA Republican brand isn't actually that popular. He won an election without the popular vote and then was rather decisively trounced by a thoroughly mediocre Joe Biden. I get that Hillary and the circa 2016 dems made some extremely stupid statements about hoping to face Trump, but the basic logic has merit: face the most unpalatable opponent you can. Statewide races don't have electoral colleges to worry about. You can just be the most popular candidate! And even if you lose, the moderate was probably going to enable all the bad shit the republicans want to do anyways! Susan Collins is proof positive that "moderate" republicans have no material moderating effect.

And yet... for the prosecution: I've said on here many a time that I've never been able to get on board with accelerationism, which this feels awfully close to. There's a certain nihilism in believing that if not for you, it doesn't matter if your opponent is a complete fucking fringe whackjob or just, like, a normal-for-america bad conservative. I can't say that the moderate republicans will save the republic or something, but I do sort of believe you should be guided by a principle of first doing no harm and elevating the voices of the worst and most ugly expression of the american political project certainly seems to be failing that principle. Maybe it's an emotional, even idealistic, position to take, but it does really bother me that they did this.

On the other OTHER hand, we're constantly talking about how the Dems need to take the kid gloves off and get in the muck. This certainly does that. A case where I think the Dems are probably right from a purely rational perspective, but a gut idealism prevents me from endorsing the tactic.

So there's a few bits, at least.
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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the missus called and told me i needed to stop and go watch a movie lmao
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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Flex—awesome post! Thanks for that. Right off the bat...
Flex wrote:
30 Sep 2022, 11:25pm
There's a lot to suss through, but if I try to go blow by blow I'll never get through it probably (as evidenced by several partially completed responses to previous posts of yours - although on the other hand the wife is out of town so there's no one to question what the hell I'm doing typing away on a Friday night), so I want to start by taking exception to the idea that Trump's support is primarily working class. It's way more petite-bourgeoisie-to-upper-class than it's usually portrayed. There's a bunch of articles that probe the issues, here's one: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... tion-hopes (and another older one from 538 that isn't paywalled: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/th ... s-support/). Anyways, I push back against the premise that reaching out to the working class means having to win over a bunch of trump supporters. most of his supporters are car dealership owners and hedge fund managers and a bunch of stuff like that. And of course there's exceptions. West Virginia is probably the quintessential example of, like a whole state thats super trumpy and extremely working class. When I express contempt for trump supporters it's because they're (mostly) a bunch of car dealers and proud boys and rich assholes like that couple who brandished guns outside their mansion at protesters. It's not exclusive, but that demo makes up an outsized portion of particularly his fervent supporters - like the ones who can afford to fly around the country to attend his rallies and participate in his failed putsches and so forth. I know a little bit about what I'm talking, I have done - and continue to do - political organizing and outreach work in rural Colorado, in areas that are primarily coal mining and ranching (literal Boebert country for big chunks). The folks you talk to at the door who are worried about the coal plant shutting down and angry at Just Transition policies aren't the ones jetting off for the j6 putsche. I would also say, from experience, that it's not as easy as youtube videos make it look to form connections with these folks to persuade them to support left policies. There's a ton of reasons for that, a lot of fault with how our party system works, and also a pretty big failure from socialist orgs over the years and decades.
...You got me. My post, admittedly, had a blindspot with regard to the Ken & Karen contingent of MAGA, which as you say, accounts for an outsized portion of Trump's base. Let me be very unambiguous that I share your extreme disdain for the type of Trump supporter showcased in that Guardian article (which was an endurance test to get through). I think we basically agree that there's a difference between a poor person supporting Trump because they fell for his faux-populist song and dance and an affluent person supporting him as the latter isn't fueled by the same desperation. To proactively support Trump's stated vision for America when you're already quite well off is, as you point out, rather fashy.

I still think we should reach out to working-class Trump supporters though, it's not as if they don't exist in large numbers even if they're not Trump's main base of support. If the folks you mentioned in rural Colorado are Boebert supporters, I'd imagine they're also Trump supporters, even if they're not the ones attending his rallies or storming the Capitol. I'm under no illusion that it'll be as easy as TikTok videos sometimes make it look, it's going to be a long road ahead.

There are some small signs that we should have some hope. Perhaps because of Trump's lack of any solid ideology, I think there's a certain malleability to MAGA/"Trumpism"/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. If the populist impulses within the movement can be amplified and steered away from the illiberal cult of personality aspect that you mentioned, good outcomes are possible. You mentioned West Virginia—I think back to a House race from 2018 you might know about. Richard Ojeda was a virtual unknown who ran as a Democrat, and his campaign tapped into working-class rage pretty well. In doing so, he almost closed the near-40% lead of his Republican opponent, Carol Miller. After Miller was given an assist in the form of a Trump endorsement and campaign appearance, the race ultimately shook out at Miller-56%/Ojeda-44%—but, that was a massive improvement from the district's Democrat/Republican 24%/68% split in the previous election. That says to me that the people of WV respond to populism more than just to Trumpism.
the labor movement has never been that strong in the United States
l'd say it was in the 1920s/'30s—Roosevelt didn't give us the New Deal because he was a benevolent altruist, he did it as a safeguard against the very real threat of a worker's revolution.
and, to be clear, this board serves dual functions: sometimes it's a place for thoughtful debate and analysis and sometimes it's just to blow off steam and say some bullshit that you just need to to wind down. I have mountains of cranky and mean posts about how anti-vaxers should basically drop dead that, like, of course I don't really mean
I hear ya. I wasn't trying to disrupt the flow of yuk yuks—God knows I've laughed at and enjoyed plenty of Trump memes—I guess I just started getting a strong let's-all-point-and-laugh-at-the-dumb-inferior-rednecks vibe that seemed to have an air of classicism about it. That may have just been a misreading on my part. If most of these memes are aimed at the McCloskey types, then hey, I wholeheartedly endorse.



We seem to be in broad agreement on the awfulness of Biden's record vis-à-vis the crime bill and busing, so I won't spend too much time on it, but to address the thing about the '94 bill having more support among African Americans: that's definitely an interesting piece of context, but it does kinda support the general "Democrats are spineless" criticisms. They tend to be led on this issue by Republican attacks accusing them being soft on crime, which was no doubt a major factor back then as well, even apart from the support the bill was getting from the African American community. Notice how they're currently ratcheting up the "Tough on Crime"-style rhetoric in the lead-up to the midterms. It's also not as if there was no canary in the coalmine here warning of the effects the bill was going to have—Bernie Sanders was screaming on the House floor with his hair on fire about how bad this bill was:

Sanders was later disingenuously attacked for voting for the bill, but his detractors leave out the key context that Biden forced his hand by slipping the Violence Against Women Act into the legislation.
a lot of this stuff feels immaterial to the twin assertions that Trump was particularly bad and fashy (my assertion) and that Biden is one of the most responsible elected officials on the contemporary american scene for creating and fomenting structural racism (your assertion). It's not clear what, say, the Tara Reide accusation has to do with either claim (I also think that the Tara Reide claim has some major problems with it, which I can get into).
Feel free, but in terms of Reade, Christine Blasey Ford, Juanita Broaddrick, E. Jean Carroll, et al, I think it basically boils down to reading their accounts of what they allege happened and, then, you either believe these women or you don't. For the record, I happen to believe all the ones I mentioned, and I'm not in the camp that no one could ever make up such a story or that the accused shouldn't have a chance to defend themselves. The third Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, for example, had a flimsy story that fell apart pretty quickly under scrutiny.

As far as why I mentioned it in the first place, well, my post was meant as a broad overview of Biden's overall shittiness (and similarities to Trump). I'd say that raping women (or creepily sniffing their hair, or touching children inappropriately during photo ops) makes someone a pretty shitty person.

As for the Democrats funding MAGA—you make some interesting points (as usual). I guess that reasonable people could see some worth in the strategy. I can respect that opinion, I suppose. As far as my stance on the justifiability of the strategy, I'm firmly in the "Utterly Indefensible" camp. I'd imagine that most here would be as well—if they're applying a principled standard—given the consensus view here of Trump's agenda as indescribably evil.


the missus called and told me i needed to stop and go watch a movie lmao
That was sound advice—I hope you took it! :mrgreen:

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Re: The Trump observations thread

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Howard Beale wrote:
02 Oct 2022, 9:41pm
There are some small signs that we should have some hope. Perhaps because of Trump's lack of any solid ideology, I think there's a certain malleability to MAGA/"Trumpism"/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. If the populist impulses within the movement can be amplified and steered away from the illiberal cult of personality aspect that you mentioned, good outcomes are possible. You mentioned West Virginia—I think back to a House race from 2018 you might know about. Richard Ojeda was a virtual unknown who ran as a Democrat, and his campaign tapped into working-class rage pretty well. In doing so, he almost closed the near-40% lead of his Republican opponent, Carol Miller. After Miller was given an assist in the form of a Trump endorsement and campaign appearance, the race ultimately shook out at Miller-56%/Ojeda-44%—but, that was a massive improvement from the district's Democrat/Republican 24%/68% split in the previous election. That says to me that the people of WV respond to populism more than just to Trumpism.
Yeah, I'm also reminded that most folks don't really pay the kind of in-depth attention to politics as, well, the kind of folks like us who will spend our leisure time writing having lengthy political discussions on a Clash forum. On the one hand, you end up with folks who can have pretty contradictory opinions about political issues - the old chestnut recent American example is how well individual components of the Affordable Care Act poll but when you ask them whether they support ObamaCare the answer is no - and I think there's a hill to climb because words like socialism are still so stigmatized even when we have very obvious evidence that people will support the kinds of things we are talking about when we say socialism, but you're right there's a benefit that the number of people who are ideologically committed to, say, "Trumpism" is smaller than one may think and a segment of those folks may even be fairly easily persuadable because a lot of people just don't bother too much about rigorous political consistency. Which I think at one point in my life I would have said as a criticism, but I actually think it's healthier in some ways to not get too hung up on rigorous ideological consistency. I think folks could still stand to try to be a little more thoughtful than, like, saying they love medicare and social security but hate government "benefit programs" and stuff, but I think it's important that an accessible politics leave room for people to be pretty idiosyncratic and even contradictory.
l'd say it was in the 1920s/'30s—Roosevelt didn't give us the New Deal because he was a benevolent altruist, he did it as a safeguard against the very real threat of a worker's revolution.
Right, I just think when you compare the historical labor movement of the era in the United States against its European counterparts when agitating for similar reforms, its characteristics were never as uniformly socialist/militantly left wing. I don't know if we even really need to "grapple" with that as a historical issue per se, I just think there's a bigger hill to climb here in the U.S. than even the historical record suggests sometimes.

This is tangentially related, but one of the thoughts that I've been noodling on a lot lately is the idea of despairing at the seeming futility or failures of political projects. I remember after, I suppose, the 2016 election I was talking to a friend's daughter who was quite upset at Trump winning the election, her first one she participated in. I remember telling her (I'm sure I'm remembering this as being more eloquent that whatever came out word word): welcome to being on the left (I mean, her family and at least her at the time were just normie dems, but for american political discourse purposes that's the left), it means you pretty much lose all the time.

My friend said that's a pretty bleak thing to say, but I disagreed (and still do). Not because there's nobility in futile struggle or something but because having a clear assessment of where your political project stands is the cornerstone for being able to effectively push for what you want and the necessary foundation for being able to persuade. When I express skepticism at some narratives we see on the left, it's not because I root against a left project (although I do admittedly root against tankies), its because I'm rooting hard for success - and I'd like to think doing my small bit although I'm no movement leader - and I think it's easy to misjudge the landscape we find ourselves. And I think that when we misjudge the conditions we find ourselves in, we leave open the door to a potentially overwhelming and movement-breaking sense of futility and despair.

That's why I bring up the history if unionization in the U.S. and how small the gains are right now in what I see celebrated as a major resurgence of union power (which, as an aside since Biden is always orbiting discussion it seems, is helped by Biden appointing new NLRB board members who are much more supportive of unions than Trump's highly active anti-union NLRB. This is something I've seen folks like Meagan Day and Kim Kelley acknowledge, who are certainly strong left union voices. I would say until recently it probably wasn't the case that the democrats were better on unions that republicans, not before Jimmy Carter at least. But this may be an area where we're seeing some real, if incremental, shift). It's not that I dismiss the work being done or something, but I think the progress made is smaller and more precarious than how I often see it described. And I think that if folks have an outsized picture in their head of where the movement is at, the defeats and setbacks are going to seem even more crushing. We all have friends who have said that disengage because it all seems so hopeless. I think its easy to convince ourselves that the movement is just One Weird Trick away from achieving transformative success, and that can both lead us to feel hopeless when material reality collides with our own perceptions and it can also lead us to ignore or downplay successes that do happen. Incrementalism gets its share of stick on the left, and rightly so given the way its cynically used as an "ideal" process to undercut more transformative goals. But, like, actually making this a little better or even a little less bad should be something we celebrate as long as its not confused for an final destination. I think, as it happens, an American story of expanding and restoring the power of unions is going to be a story of incrementalism.
I hear ya. I wasn't trying to disrupt the flow of yuk yuks—God knows I've laughed at and enjoyed plenty of Trump memes—I guess I just started getting a strong let's-all-point-and-laugh-at-the-dumb-inferior-rednecks vibe that seemed to have an air of classicism about it. That may have just been a misreading on my part. If most of these memes are aimed at the McCloskey types, then hey, I wholeheartedly endorse.
Yeah, I can only speak for myself but I think of that little video of that guy waving his flag in the hurricane and I assume that asshole owns a yacht.
We seem to be in broad agreement on the awfulness of Biden's record vis-à-vis the crime bill and busing, so I won't spend too much time on it, but to address the thing about the '94 bill having more support among African Americans: that's definitely an interesting piece of context, but it does kinda support the general "Democrats are spineless" criticisms. They tend to be led on this issue by Republican attacks accusing them being soft on crime, which was no doubt a major factor back then as well, even apart from the support the bill was getting from the African American community. Notice how they're currently ratcheting up the "Tough on Crime"-style rhetoric in the lead-up to the midterms. It's also not as if there was no canary in the coalmine here warning of the effects the bill was going to have—Bernie Sanders was screaming on the House floor with his hair on fire about how bad this bill was:


Yeah, I don't disagree. This, I suppose, gets to some more of what I was saying above. When we think about criminal justice reform, I think there's a problem here which is that the public is actually pretty responsive to crime as a problem that needs to be addressed by police. That seems almost stupidly basic, but it's a real problem for reform (and even more so for police abolition). I mean, this is why Dems are talking up supporting the blue and being tough on crime and so forth. People are genuinely concerned about crime (which is different from crime being a genuine problem, mind). Support for Defund the Police has cratered across all demographic groups. If you're a democrat in office, you have well-funded police unions telling you there needs to be boots on the ground, you have a media landscape that is talking up crime in cities, and there's a social movement dedicated to reducing policing and over a couple years in the public eye its favorability in the eyes of americans has largely cratered. I think in a narrow sense the Dems are being rationally responsive to the political climate for the goal of staying elected to office.

Defund/CJR had this interesting moment where there was actually sort of popular interest in more revolutionary reform and even abolition, and actually got pretty sympathetic media coverage for a bit. But it didn't really translate to sustained, long-term support. And importantly, it didn't seem to convince people to rethink the equation that harsher law enforcement = less crime. That's not to shit on the leaders and activists of the last few years - fuck knows I'd fail too - but it's to say that the Dems being spineless feels like a downstream problem (although a problem that also actively helps try to reinforce the status quo) from the the fact that people just really don't agree with the left on this issue, at least not in ways that manifests itself in popular political support. So how do we change that equation?
As far as why I mentioned it in the first place, well, my post was meant as a broad overview of Biden's overall shittiness (and similarities to Trump). I'd say that raping women (or creepily sniffing their hair, or touching children inappropriately during photo ops) makes someone a pretty shitty person.
Just to be clear, and this is probably partly a result of just copy/pasting a half finished and unsmoothed out response, but I think assault and rape should be disqualifying for any sort of office (or general position of leadership in society anywhere) in a sane world. It's not a sane world, people can make whatever calculations they think they need to, but I certainly find assault and rape disqualifying on their own. The original point of its relevance or not to a particular point is probably well past anything worth discussing.
Feel free, but in terms of Reade, Christine Blasey Ford, Juanita Broaddrick, E. Jean Carroll, et al, I think it basically boils down to reading their accounts of what they allege happened and, then, you either believe these women or you don't. For the record, I happen to believe all the ones I mentioned, and I'm not in the camp that no one could ever make up such a story or that the accused shouldn't have a chance to defend themselves. The third Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, for example, had a flimsy story that fell apart pretty quickly under scrutiny.
I admittedly haven't followed Carroll's case much, but I believe the others. It's telling, I think, that Broaddrick's account has been held under such intense scrutiny and it's still persuasive. For Reade, I think Andrew Feinberg's breakdown of the problems with her account here pretty persuasive that there are some serious issues:


I certainly acknowledge that its hard to recall traumatic events, but there are pretty broad descriptions in her testimony that don't really make sense in terms of basic details about where the assault supposedly took place and how it could have happened.

I think Nathan Robinson's behavior was also a massive red flag:
In his lengthy April 10 piece and subsequent tweets that have since vanished, Robinson wrote that he had spoken with Reade and her brother, Collin Moulton, as they were dealing with other media outlets. He wrote, “Back before the story came out, I actually warned Tara myself during our conversation that it didn’t sound from Marcotte’s inquiries that she was interested in being fair and recommended being cautious about her. I think that concern was vindicated. Marcotte used the fact that she couldn’t get a comment from Tara’s brother and friend as one of the ‘red flags’ that justified the media’s silence on Tara’s accusation.”

Moulton initially told The Washington Post that Reade had told him Biden had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders and told ABC he had only heard about the sexual assault this spring. He subsequently told the Post that Biden had put his hand under her clothes and “clarified” to ABC that Reade had told him of the assault in 1993. But between his two statements to the Post, he had conferred over the phone with Robinson.

This has led to accusations that Robinson “coached” Reade and Moulton, which he has denied doing. But regardless of whether “coaching” accurately describes his interactions with them, what he did amounted to PR consulting, while operating in a journalistic capacity. This creates a significant conflict of interest — something that journalists are taught early on to avoid.
Full article: https://abovethelaw.com/2020/05/how-the ... ade-story/

If Reade was/is a genuine actor, then the best you can say is that Robinson did a massive disservice to her by engaging in such inappropriate manipulation. The piece also lays out a basic problem with the story from the jump: that you had a handful of reporters with a clear (and self-stated) agenda who viewed their roles as advocates to bring down Biden, not try to ascertain the truth wherever it leads them. And sometimes that's a fine mode of journalism, correcting for errors in mainstream, traditional reportage. But relying exclusively on that reporting can create its own issues. Like, for reporters, I think you have to eventually be open to scrutinizing claims even if you want them to be true. The writer of that piece, Clearment, seems like a jackass on a bunch of other stuff, but I think he's correct about this. Unlike those other women you mention, where a wide array of journalists scrutinized these stories and found them at least credible and plausible, even when journalists went in with an ethos of wanting to believe Reade (like McGann in this Vox piece: https://www.vox.com/2020/5/7/21248713/t ... accusation), no one is able to come back reporting a very coherent picture.

You can find all sorts of creeps attacking her for her political views, etc. I don't view that stuff as relevant, but I do think it's a problem that she mischaracterized her role in Biden's office and it's... unsettling... that she apparently lied about her credentials to be an expert witness in court trials. People who act imperfectly can be victims of crimes too, obviously, and deserve justice but I do think that creates a more intrinsic credibility issue for her: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/2 ... ony-274460

If you search IMCT you can find me referring to Reade's accusation as credible... and my default position was to believe it. But as problems with the reportage and the basic mechanics of her claims came out over time, I think it became fair to drop the "credible." If there's some new evidence that warrants reconsideration, I'll certainly reconsider, but given what we know I find it hard to believe.
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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Jesus, HB, you've really brought back the good ol' days of extended back and forth on politics on here.
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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I'm at the stage of my life where I'm acutely aware of how little my opinion actually matters, so all I'll say is I've found something to agree with in most of the posts in this discussion.
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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eumaas wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 7:20pm
I'm at the stage of my life where I'm acutely aware of how little my opinion actually matters, so all I'll say is I've found something to agree with in most of the posts in this discussion.
Well, you never know, Biden and Putin may both be lurkers. They're Terry era fans, though.
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Re: The Trump observations thread

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eumaas wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 7:20pm
I'm at the stage of my life where I'm acutely aware of how little my opinion actually matters, so all I'll say is I've found something to agree with in most of the posts in this discussion.
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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by Dr. Medulla »

Flex wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 7:35pm
eumaas wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 7:20pm
I'm at the stage of my life where I'm acutely aware of how little my opinion actually matters, so all I'll say is I've found something to agree with in most of the posts in this discussion.
Well, you never know, Biden and Putin may both be lurkers. They're Terry era fans, though.
Putin loves GEER. Deal with that.
"And so the sailor goes, 'I don’t know, but it’s driving me nuts!'” - Woodrow Wilson to David Lloyd George, Paris Peace Conference, 1 February 1919

Flex
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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by Flex »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 7:49pm
Putin loves GEER. Deal with that.
*Quietly airbrushes a Z on the side of my bitchin' van*
In the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: "Au revoir, gopher."

Pex Lives!

Dr. Medulla
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Re: The Trump observations thread

Post by Dr. Medulla »

Flex wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 8:38pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 7:49pm
Putin loves GEER. Deal with that.
*Quietly airbrushes a Z on the side of my bitchin' van*
If you pick up a Ukrainian chick, just say you're a ZZ Top fan, but you're waiting till payday to get more spray paint. In like Flynn.
"And so the sailor goes, 'I don’t know, but it’s driving me nuts!'” - Woodrow Wilson to David Lloyd George, Paris Peace Conference, 1 February 1919

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