Wednesday, November 09, 2016


I'm still trying to process what happened last night, even though I'm probably less surprised than most people. I didn't buy the "Democratic landslide" notion at the beginning, although Trump's awful debate performances and the release of the Access Hollywood tape had me believing the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton might have a chance to roll up the score. In general, I always thought Republicans had a shot at this. Commenters would tell me that Democrats couldn't possibly lose any state Obama won twice, but I knew that Republicans had been triumphing in non-Confederacy states all through the Obama years -- see the election and reelection victories victories by Scott Walker, Rick Snyder, Rick Scott, Paul LePage, and John Kasich. In fact, you can pull up a Kasich vs. Clinton Electoral College map from the spring, based on state polling, and that map looks very similar to the Trump-Clinton map: Kasich was projected to win Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, and Michigan was a tossup.

We know a lot of what happens next: Trump signs the Paul Ryan budget without reading it, Obamacare is repealed, Dodd-Frank is repealed, the Paris climate accord is rejected, torture is restored, the Supreme Court becomes more conservative than it was even when Antonin Scalia was alive.

But I think this is also true:

Look, he's not going to be able to make good on his promise to bring all the manufacturing jobs back with a wave of his hand. He's not going to be able to bring back any of those jobs. His trade wars and his very presence will push us closer to economic turmoil -- it's already happening -- and the Ryan/Koch economic agenda will do to America what Bobby Jindal did to Louisiana and Sam Brownback did to Kansas. I'm one of the few people who thinks Trump will take at least preliminary steps toward building the wall, but it won't get far.

Last night, my wife and I were talking about the certainty that Trump can't deliver on his promises, and her immediate reaction was that when he can't deliver and the public becomes restive, he'll just start a war. But maybe the war he'll use to distract the public will be a war against the Clintons and their aides. I think this will be Rudy Giuliani's principal focus as attorney general, under direct orders from the president. Many in the political establishment will express horror at this, and say that this is what Third World dictators do to their political enemies. But they said that when Trump promised on the campaign trail to lock Clinton up, and America didn't care.

Another thing I'm worried about? Terrorism. Not merely because Trump's secretary of state will be Newt Gingrich and his national security adviser will be a guy who seems to have stepped out of an early draft of Dr. Strangelove, General Michael Flynn. I'm worried that these people are going to make us nostalgic for the Bush team, which was at least able to keep the mechanism of government running in a competent way (even if it ran off a cliff as a result of awful policy decisions).

What worries me is that ISIS, in particular, knows that Trump's response to any terrorist attack on U.S. shores will be excessive and wildly targeted -- if he doesn't begin deporting U.S. Muslims or putting them in camps in his first hundred days, he'll start after a San Bernardino- or Orlando-level attack.

And that's exactly what jihadist organizations want. Recall what appeared in the ISIS magazine Dabiq after the Charlie Hebdo massacre:
The attack had “further [brought] division to the world,” the group said, boasting that it had polarized society and “eliminated the grayzone,” representing coexistence between religious groups. As a result, it said, Muslims living in the West would soon no longer be welcome in their own societies. Treated with increasing suspicion, distrust and hostility by their fellow citizens as a result of the deadly shooting, Western Muslims would soon be forced to “either apostatize ... or they [migrate] to the Islamic State, and thereby escape persecution from the crusader governments and citizens,” the group stated
ISIS will expect Trump to take steps to eliminate the American "grayzone" where Muslims can live as Muslims and expect acceptance from their non-Muslim neighbors. ISIS very much wants that to happen. So I believe that Trump's election greatly increases the likelihood of terrorist attacks here.

More awful things are to come. Not all of them immediately come to mind. It's going to be an appalling four years.


mlbxxxxxx said...

It is an embarrassing and terrifying day to be a Democrat. Donald Trump elected president with a GOP Congress. Forget Obamacare, what is Medicare going to look like in a couple of years? Entitlements generally? Social fucking Security?

Also, January 20 will mark the beginning of the most corrupt administration since the 1920's. Saw a headline that said Trump will have to break up his company to avoid conflicts of interest. L-O-fucking-L. He's going to make the Cheney/Halliburton ripoff look like peanuts.

Note to future Democratic candidates: you cannot expect to win by just letting your opponent self-destruct. What if he doesn't? What if what looks like self-destructive behavior is a feature not a bug?

Susan said...

Steve -- I have to agree about Trump trying to put Hillary in jail. It seems absurd, but so does everything this morning.

Rand Careaga said...

Well, an apology is certainly in order from those of us who chided you on your periodic attacks of the vapors earlier in the election cycle. Also, if I were Grayson Carter I'd make sure my estate planning was up to date, stat.

How utterly dispiriting.

rclz said...

My prediction is in a year you'll hear nothing buy whaling and gnashing of teeth from those that voted for Trump because they didn't look far enough down the tracks.

Remember how upset those people in Kentucky when they elected a governor who said he'd get rid of their healthcare and then were shocked when he did it?

Oh and all you folks who voted in legal pot....probably gone once the feds start raiding clinics. Only thing standing between legal pot was a democratic president.

I don't even want to think about Roe, or PlandParenthood.

I'm as afraid of no checks on Ryan and Pence as I am of Trump.

I know I'm a downer but I'm just disgusted with the whole mess.

People don't think they feel.....

Steve M. said...

I'm as afraid of no checks on Ryan and Pence as I am of Trump.

Me too.

brett said...


Feud Turgidson said...

Read on the Salazar take-over of Portugal. 40 years.

American myths, crushed:

1) That our 'unique' populist patriotic revolution is a firewall against dictatorship.

Tell Germany & Italy: both had a 'unique' PPR in the middle 1800s, closer in time to being taken over by authoritarian corporatist oligarchs & dictatorships by 180 & 130 years respectively. Or tell Portugal, Spain & Russia. In 1910 Portugal went from populist revolution against monarchy to a male democratic republic; by 1936, the twice elected Salazar succeeded in subverting its constitution & republican democratic norms to turn it into an authoritarian corporatist state, then a police state - for 4 decades. Spain cut the middle stage, going directly from populist revolution into civil war thence dictatorship - for 4 decades. Russia went from Revolution into a limited franchise democracy roughly resembling our Founding, which elected officials degraded within 5 years into Soviet single-party rule, then in under a decade turned into full-blown dictatorship, morphing into a police state for about 4 decades, collapsing briefly into a full franchise democratic republic for under a decade, whereupon Putin turned it into an authoritarian corporatist dictatorship - all in under a century.

2) That our educational institutions produce a 'cultural' firewall against authoritarian corporatist take-over.

Comparative studies show the current level of cognition & basic knowledge in our general population plummeting since 1980, now at no higher, in critical ways less, than all 5 of the examples I cited; no higher, in some ways less than Iran; & on par with Bulgaria, Macedonia & Slovenia.

3) Our Constitution, amendments & norms together establish an institutional firewall against single-party rule.


Trump is the figurehead: watch as Actual President Pence does his worst to the separation of church & state, & does in equality rights across the board. Ryan is about to gut our budget & leave the fed to be drowned in Norquist's hot tub; goodbye deficit financing. The unified Republican crazy Congress is about to smother to death full faith & credit, ending Bretton Woods completely. Gingrich will commit the US to island banana republic status & send us back into living in tents & caves. And Chris Christie will commence arresting, prosecuting & imprisoning all Democratic party leaders. In 4 years - hell, in TWO - THOSE will be our norms.

I was bummed at Nixon's election. I felt worse about Reagan, worse still when Bush was handed the White House. This now is the WORST - the most discouraged I've felt about the future of this ... whatever it is, whatever it's about to become (Hint: single-party rule authoritarian corporatist police state) not just that I've experienced, but that I can even imagine.

We've reached the end of Ben Franklin's dangling question: "A republic - if you can keep it."

Pretty good run, considering all democratic republics:
- Roman Republic (509-47 B.C.) retains gold at 462 years
- USA finally settles for silver, at 234 years, and
- France currently chugging at 146, with interruptions.

Rand Careaga said...

Further to Ben Franklin. Remarks delivered to the Constitutional Convention in 1787:

“In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

bowtiejack said...

Yesterday, Election Day, I had the misfortune of watching Leonardo DeCaprio's documentary for National Geographic - Before The Flood. A beautifully made film laying out in detail how much worse the catastrophe of climate change is than you thought.
You owe it to yourself to find it and watch it. Here's a start:

I say "misfortune" because I woke up this morning to the narcissistic-personality-disorder-with-the-attention-span-of-a-gnat just elected president who has twittered:

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

All of the stupid things Trump has said or twittered, all the stupidities the GOP RWNJ and their plutocratic patrons seek [tax cuts for the rich, ban abortion, go after Social Security and Medicare and the ACA, and all the rest of it] pale before the reality of climate change.

And there's this:

Philo Vaihinger said...

Trump and the congress will divvy up the spoils between them and do not be surprised if he gets his wall and his deportation force and his protectionism in return for gutting entitlements and abolishing Obamacare, the EPA, several executive departments, and even the IRS.

Imagine Grover Norquist, Ayn Rand, and David Duke running America.

rclz said...

Imagine Grover Norquist, Ayn Rand, and David Duke running America.

If possible I'm feeling worse than I did when I woke up.

Mart said...

Also too, minimum wage.

Lit3Bolt said...

Obama should pardon the Clintons, and himself, before leaving office.

Banana republic? Sure. But we're already there.

Also, four years? Try forty.

Feud Turgidson said...

3 points about 'processing', of the vote at least.

1) Thru this year, the GOP kicked D butts on registration numbers. Yet, we heard reports of record registrations (mostly, it turned out, Republican), and record lines, suggesting increased overall voting.

In 2008, 58% of eligible voters voted. That was the highest turnout rate since 1968 (incidentally - or maybe not - the LOWEST rate, at 49%, was in 1996 - the second Clinton election). That added up to about 129.5 million votes.

In 2012, the vote rate dropped to 54.9%, resulting in just under 122m votes. IOW he rates & votes for BOTH Obama wins indicate a total for eligible voter 'base' of about 222m.

But that's despite that the difference between the rate of folks turning old enough to vote over the 4 years between 2008 and 2012 exceeded the rate at which folks died off the voter rolls by a total of about 1.6%. IOW, there should have been an increase in total eligible voters of about 3.5m. Where did those go? Or what depressed that natural increase?

Currently the total votes for 2016 sit at under 119m. We don't yet have a number for total eligible voters. Given differential population aging & death rates, the total ought to be at about 229m. That suggests a turnout rate of just under 52% - lower than 2012 by 3%, as well as lower than in 2008 by more than 6%.

Once we learn the actual eligible voter total, we'll be able to determine the turnout rate for this election. I expect the turnout rate to be about same as in 2012, +/- a point. But that's because I also expect the total for eligible voters to come in at around 222m.

That's voter suppression: about 10m voters have been entirely discouraged, prevented or purged from voting.

2) HRC easily won the votes of college educated. She also won the votes of blacks and of Latinos - blacks at slightly less but not all that material a rate than for Obama, Latinos at both a higher total & turnout rate than for Obama. IMO it's likely that by far the most of those missing from the eligible voter total will turn out to be black or Latino.

3) Current totals show that Trump beat HRC with "white women" by 53 to 43. This. <-- THAT! must be considered just as immense a tragedy as the one that will now be visited on this country. White non-college-educated woman buried themselves, either by not showing up, or showing up effectively wearing those "TRUMP CAN GRAB THIS V" t-shirts.

My guess is the enthusiasm gap - the first point - is largely folded into the second point about active relentless programatic Republican voter suppression programs. That is, it's secondary to voter suppression.

I don't even pretend to understand the third point; like with my opinion on birth control, I'm mostly not qualified, and with my opinion on abortion, where I'm entirely unqualified. But I strongly suspect that the 10 point differential really comes down to Republican programs aimed at and succeeding in suppressing girls' educational opportunities & women's reproductive rights.

Jimbo said...

The tension between Trump and Ryan will make for an interesting story in the next few weeks/months. Trump and Ryan hate each other; we know this. In addition, Ryan is not at all popular with the Freedom Caucus/Tea Partiers so there is a distinct possibility that Ryan could get dumped as Speaker. He would then get replaced by a real radical wingnut who would probably dump Ryan's awful policy agenda but only to replace it with an even worse one. That could mean a confrontation with the Senate, which, even though it is deeply conservative now has a smaller majority which might make managing legislation a bit more difficult. The budget reconciliation process only requires a simple majority but the final bill cannot have amendments, which would likely mean the Senate having to pass the HOR bill, one that would create incredible havoc with the economy. Or the Senate could refuse to consider it and we would have yet another continuing resolution.

If the House does go after entitlements, remember the Ryan bill calls for essentially privatizing Social Security, voucherizing Medicare and basically ending Medicaid altogether. As the Rev. Barber pointed out, the vicious action of the 25 Republican governors and legislatures, which chose not to implement Medicaid in order to punish minorities has led to the death of thousands of poor, white mostly conservative rural voters and the closure of many rural hospitals. In addition, messing with Social Security and Medicare is completely toxic to older voters, including white conservatives. So, all in all, the policy and legislative horizon looks quite stormy for everyone.

DRickard said...

As far as Hillary being arrested: it looks like Vatican City has no extradition treaty with the US; and Pope Francis is no fan of Il Douche. Admittedly not much elbow room, but seems like a reasonable place for the Clintons to take a really long vacation, starting roughly now...

Gadfly said...

Per MLB, I'm not a Dem, and this is the clearest illustration yet of why I've voted Green every election this century. Do I expect national-level Dems to learn from this? No.

jsrtheta said...

Charles P. Pierce agrees:

Feud Turgidson said...

DRickard - I really don't expect criminal prosecution of either Clinton, though I full expect wall-to-wall criminal investigations, particularly into the Clinton Foundation, & I also expect the next DoJ to go after some Clinton people, in particular over the emails from when she was SoS, AND I fully expect both Congress & the Trump administrtion to pull both Clintons' security clearances.

Congress is another matter. There'll be what in effect will turn out to be a permanents special committee into the Clintons, which naturally will extend out towards any future D candidates for president, or even other offices on the excuse they MIGHT stand for president. This will become a norm for our new overlords: it's a typical feature of any and all states with single party rule in nominally democratic republics.

The goals are obvious: a permanent spotlight on Enemies of the State, aiming not so much for front-on prosecution (though there will be lots of regular threats of just that) as for show trials & perjury traps.

This is part of why I think that folks who imagine the Democratic party can bounce back in 4 years, leave aside in 2 years, are just ignoring both what brought about the outcome in this election & the things that the unified Republican national state government can and will do to ensure its permanency. Voter suppression will expand, caging will be legalized, registration drives will fall under police control (The only way they'll be tolerated is through benefitting police unions & their causes.), reproductive rights will be eviscerated (ensuring the permanent subjugation of girls & women), & control over the internet will be handed to Jeff Bannon & Matt Drudge.

Again, look to myriad examples of how to impose & maintain permanent one-party rule: Russia in the 1910s, Italy in the 1920s, Germany, Spain & Portugal in the 1930s, more recently Russia again, Hungary & now Turkey. The Republicans will pull lessons & tools from all those: they've been thoroughly tested out, and they work.

And with every single one of them that collapsed, the only way that came about was with an unconscionable amount of horror & death involved.

Roshan said...

Steve, you were right to be cynical, till the end, of the intentions of your fellow citizens. You were right to believe that this was not in the bag at all and there was just too much unknown left. I guess, the country, or at least the half of those who voted against this buffoon, are left to fend for themselves. It's not going to leave those who voted for him left un-scarred.

This brings me to the final thing. HOPE! There is nothing but hope for the future. Maybe not in my future but at least for those who come after us. Please keep writing, Steve. I know you are hurting. I am too. I just am too stunned even now, but it's beginning to wearing off. I'm always up for a fight. And by god, have we got one in store for us? Never ever quit, ever!

mccamj said...

I don't think they'll bother with pot. Easier to leave people anesthetized.

rclz said...

Mike, in a lot of states the cops are against legalization for one reason, they can't use it as a club against someone who might be found with a joint in their pocket. Same with the feds, they use it as a bargaining tool and hate that it could go the other way, besides, how are they going to keep filling all those private prisons without pot? No, I think you're dead wrong on this one. It might not be on the top of their list but it's going to happen.