Is Donald Trump Likely to Resign?

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By Thomas Neuburger. Produced by DownWithTyranny!

Thanks to Trump’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 outbreak, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming the Typhoid Mary of major industrial nations

Donald Trump’s resignation is a topic on many lips these days. Chris Hayes, in a dramatic moment at MSNBC, called for Trump’s to resign over his mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic (deservedly so), and at least one newspaper editorial board has called for Trump to step down, as has Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Michael Gerson at the Washington Post called for Trump’s resignation because of “diminished moral capacity” related to his alleged callous indifference to the alleged Russian bounties offered for American lives in the Afghan theater of war.

Note that there are a lot of “if”s in these bounty reports — Gerson himself leads his argument with “If, as reported by multiple news sources” — while skeptics think it’s awfully convenient timing that leaks from … who? “American intelligence officials,” who proudly admit to lying … have reached the Times just as the Trump administration is working on Afghanistan peace agreements that could get the U.S. out of a war it’s been waging for almost 20 years. (Whether the U.S. has been waging that war successfully or not depends on what you think the U.S. considers success. If military occupation counts as success, we’ve succeeded. By any other measure, we’ve failed.)

Analysts are also speculating that Trump could leave office voluntarily or be forced out. Robert Kuttner wrote at The American Prospect that Trump may leave on his own, since nothing seems to be going his way lately and the minute he’s no longer president he’ll be subject to quite a bit of prosecution. Kuttner’s speculation hinges on the possibility of Trump negotiating a deal for resigning that amounts to a giant “Get out of jail free” card.

“Trump may conclude,” writes Kuttner, “that he has more leverage to cut the best possible deal with all players while the bargain includes a widely wished-for resignation, rather than after he loses an election and his term merely ends. At that point, Trump’s opponents have no incentive to make deals, and a pardon only goes so far.”

Sounds plausible to me, but I’ve been wrong before.

Others feel that increasing pressure from Republicans leaders, fearful of losing both the White House and the Senate in November, will cost him critical support within his party. Most of those discussions are private at the moment, but they are many. The question is the method — how to get him to go.

Which brings us back to the Russian bounties story. Will that carry such weight with the American people that his already “crummy” approval rating (39%) and poll numbers (nearly 10 points below Joe Biden) will drop even further? If so, could a combination of public shaming and deep unpopularity force him out of office?

Sounds unlikely to me, but I’ve been wrong before.

The Typhoid Mary of Major Industrial Nations

Something that might force his resignation, though, is so far low on people’s radar, but it shouldn’t be — the EU travel ban on Americans entering Europe. Consider the following from CNN (emphasis added):

What EU’s new border rules mean for travelers
Updated 1st July 2020

(CNN) — The European Union has formally agreed a set of recommendations that will allow travelers from outside the bloc to visit EU countries, months after it shut its external borders in response to the outbreak of Covid-19.

As had been widely expected, the list of 14 countries does not include the United States, whose current Covid infection rate does not meet the criteria set by the EU for it to be considered a “safe country.”

The criteria requires that confirmed Covid cases in countries on the list are similar or below that of the EU’s per 100,000 citizens over the previous 14 days (starting from June 15).

Countries must also have a “stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days,” while the EU will consider what measures countries are taking, such as contact tracing, and how reliable each nation’s data is.

The US has not only the highest number of reported coronavirus infections of any nation, currently 2,590,582, but also the highest number of deaths, at, 126,141, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

US infection rates will need to dramatically drop if Americans are to be allowed entry to European countries, just as the European tourism industry enters what are traditionally its peak months.

The recommendations are expected to come into force as early as July 1, however, it remains up to member states to decide exactly how the implement any changes in border policy.

According to CNN, exemptions may be offered to “EU citizens or family members of an EU citizen; long-term EU residents or family members; those with an ‘essential function or need,’ such as diplomats, healthcare workers or certain agricultural workers.”

Does being wealthy, powerful or connected count as an essential function? How will business travelers be affected? Would Charles Koch be allowed in? Would a high-ranking official of, say, Apple, on her way to a meeting with a German corporate counterpart, be counted as having a need to enter Europe? What if Charles Koch or the Apple CEO wanted merely to look in on their eighth farm in France, bringing the grandkids for visit? Would they be allowed in?

If yes, how far down the wealth or corporate ladder would one need to be before the ban would apply? Would mere millionaires qualify? How about junior VPs at smaller companies? The questions, once exemptions are granted, are endless.

The Feckless Administration

Which brings us to Donald Trump and his resignation. The following two things are true:

First, U.S. Covid infection rates are never going to drop under the current regimen and under this administration. They will never come down except naturally, if the virus recedes on its own, period. Trump and his administration are structurally incapable of making this better, and yahoo U.S. governors are incapable of not making this worse.

Second, this will be true from now until January 2021 when the next president is sworn in, and perhaps beyond.

The American people can be told to suffer and bear with it, but they don’t travel to Europe. Our bipartisan betters do, however, and this includes our Republican betters. If the Europeans are as strict as, frankly, they ought to be, do you think that powerful and wealthy Republicans, many of whose lives are essentially international, will tolerate a travel ban for the next six months?

When and if Republican elites decide that European governments are serious, that France, Germany, Italy and the rest won’t let most of them in, I’ll bet any money in the world that Donald Trump will be offered a deal, and both parties will be party to crafting it — even if it means letting Vice-President Pence run as an incumbent on the November ballot.

And, if Robert Kuttner is right about Trump’s legal needs post-election, I’ll also bet he takes it.

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  1. Aumua

    As far as the calls for resignation go, they’ve already gone for impeachment and failed so do they really have any credibility left in that regard? Seems like a step backwards. As far as Trump goes, I think if he could bow out while saving face then he might, but at this point to serve only one term would be losing, and Trump doesn’t lose. I also think the predictions of his legal troubles upon stepping down are overblown. What ex-president has ever been held accountable for their improprieties while in office? That’s not how America does things.

    1. a different chris

      >and Trump doesn’t lose.

      Hmmm, he declared bankruptcy how many times? Divorces?

      I think he is quite comfortable with losing, as long as it relieves him of some burden. And POTUS is the biggest burden in the world, even when done right.

      You are so right about the “(Stay) Out Of Jail” card for ex-anybody at that or near that level.

        1. Prairie Bear

          Yes, people always bring up the “he declared bankruptcy x times” as an argument for his incompetence as a businessman or whatever. But Trump never declared personal bankruptcy; rather, it was the corporations he controlled that were put into bankruptcy. Nobody, especially outsiders, knows how much money he wrung out of those companies and stashed away before they went down and he stiffed the creditors, as you said.

          Corporate bankruptcy of limited-liability corporations isn’t rare at all; it is a common business tactic in the USA, especially in the real estate “development” business. Happens pretty much every hour on the hour.

          1. Tony Wright

            So now he is repeating his MO with the biggest business in the world – the US economy. And he does not care less about the majoriy of the 300million or so people who depend on it.

      1. Aumua

        I’m just saying his ego, which rules him with an iron fist, will not allow him to simply step down.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      We’ve been hearing for years that prosecutors would get Trump for his personal business dealings, with no results, ever.

      Remember all the hot air about his business dealings in Russia, and how they’d bring about his downfall? Again, nothing, because he had none; it was all bluster from his hype machine, which #McResistance TM- types were desperate to believe (along with other fantasies, such as a porn star and her s#×*bag lawyer bringing him down. Remember that one? Good times…).

      Oh, and all those laws he purportedly broke before taking office? They are a bi-partisan edifice, intended to protect to people like him.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      Trump’s not resigning would be 100% in tune with Putin who just rigged a passel of constitutional amendments to enable him to die in office – ergo no punishment for past sins while still alive. Odds are that Putin’s MiniMe is thinking along the same lines. He just needs to count on his Red-state governators to rig the November elections as most are clearly trying to do for him.

      1. Phillip Allen

        Do you have any evidentiary basis for claiming that Trump is somehow Putin’s creature? Given that Trump has overseen a steady worsening of relations with Russia, with a heightened inclination toward direct conflict than even the blood-thirsty Obama/Clinton nexus, how is claiming that he is the tool, stooge, puppet, or otherwise minion of Vladimir anything other than a tribal loyalist incantation of faith?

        Evidence – and not that show trial farce of the Mueller investigation, please. That charade is an insult to human intelligence.

    4. Sueliz70

      Trump will never resign. And he will never be pushed out of office by Republicans, who overwhelmingly support him, even now. He was never the most popular president, and I don’t see that his support has actually fallen that much. Certainly not with his base. Who are these people speculating otherwise? It is just obvious their fantasies will never come true. Trump loves being president. He is completely unbothered by his own incompetence – fake news!

      He will never be prosecuted and has nothing to fear on that score.

      The Republicans will probably steal this election. It is obvious from the primaries already conducted. The Dems, as usual, will do nothing about the theft.

  2. ambrit

    This subject cries out for an Eleventy Dimensional Solution.
    Given the trajectory of the Dreaded Pathogen in America alone, why would the Republican Party want to win the 2020 election? The next administration will be a Poisoned Chalice. Whoever takes charge in 2021 will be faced with an almost insoluble problem. A canny Republican Party would want the Democrat Party to inherit the blame for the chaos and suffering the Pandemic will bring. Then, after the worst has happened, the Republican Party can campaign as the ‘saviors’ of the Republic.
    As a side note, if Trump does step down before November, something I don’t see someone with such an outsized ego as Trump doing, I would expect H Clinton to hijack the Democrat Party candidacy in an effort to reassert her pathological ambition and self aggrandizement. Trump, by stepping down will have, from a Clinton loyalist point of view, verified that H Clinton was robbed of the Presidency in 2016.
    The Pandemic actions by the Europeans in banning Americans from entering the Trans-Pondic regions are a serious threat to the myth of American Exceptionalism. The communal Id of the American political class will be outraged by the ‘effrontery.’ Such a time is when the worst missteps and blunders occur.
    Interesting times, squared.

    1. voteforno6

      How could Hillary Clinton possibly hijack the Democratic Party? There have been primaries, and Joe Biden already has all the delegates that he needs. I see that as likely as Trump deciding to stay in office after losing the election. Just because Clinton (or Trump) may want something to happen, doesn’t mean that it will. Part of being a leader is that you need people willing to follow you. How many people would actually go along with schemes like that?

      1. Off The Street

        How could she hijack the Dem Party? Only six ways to Sunday!

        Brokered convention after whisper campaign against Ol’ Joe.
        Subtle reminders of how she handled Sanders.
        Super-delegate mutations to new, shiny 2020 model.
        Add to the list.

        1. Ian Ollmann

          This only happens if Joe Biden is unable to serve. With no delegates of her own, it would also be an uphill battle against Sanders and the progressives. She is also perhaps the only Democrat that Trump could defeat. Unless I am mistaken, you don’t seem to like her much. I think she is done.

          Also, at least to me, to think that the Republicans would pressure Trump to resign over a mere travel ban is beyond ridiculous. There are times when NC should get is feet back on the ground and stick to economics.

          1. ambrit

            Hah! The NC “bunch” sussed out what a fraud Obama was well before anyone else.
            “Creepy” Joe Biden can be ‘sunsetted’ in several ways, such as: a convenient heart attack, him catching the Dreaded Pathogen, him having a catastrophic attack of dementia in public, him needing “family time” of a sudden, him flying in a small airplane (the traditional method.)
            Realistically, Biden is already “unable to serve.”
            As for H Clinton, one must always keep in mind the extreme level of ruthless ambition and vindictive personality bundled up in that fulsome package. Replacing Biden would be a concrete display of her “superiority” and a tarnishing of the “Obama Legacy.” Both of those items are close to her heart. Also do not forget: “First Woman President.” That is a lure capable of bringing the politically dead back to life.
            And, ever hear of ‘Political Economy?’

            1. edmondo

              How could Hillary Clinton possibly hijack the Democratic Party?

              You make the assumption that Joe Biden will be around in November.

              1. Elizabeth

                All Biden has to do is pick Hillary for his VP and then manage to get elected and serve for one day before old Joe has a “health crisis.” Just the other day Biden said he was going to pick a woman (not a black woman), so to me, my radar detected he’ll go with her. Hillary is ruthless and will never give up her ambition to be the first woman prez – in fact the other day she said that she could handle the pandemic much better than Trump and that if she ran today, she’d beat him..

                1. edmondo

                  The only way Biden could blow a lead this big would be to pick Hillary for Veep..

            2. Phil in KC

              If you will recall, we here in Missouri elected a dead man to the Senate in 2000, preferring the late Governor Carnahan to the very much alive Jim Talent, the Republican incumbent. Gov. Carnahan did indeed die in a small plane crash while campaigning. His wife Jean was appointed to fill his seat. It makes one ponder.

          2. KFritz

            It’s not a “mere travel ban” to the rich and powerful folk to whom most top American politicians answer.

            The politically astute portion of Republican leadership may be very reluctant to ask for Trump’s resignation before the election. Trump has an everyman appeal to a big portion of the American electorate that Mike Pence lacks. He’s cold and creepy to many. Any day after a Trump re-election they’d gladly accept the resignation.

      2. norm de plume

        What if Biden falls asleep or pees his pants in a debate?

        If he can’t run, who will?

        Horrible to contemplate but it is hard to imagine they could plump for anyone else in a short time frame but Her Turn.

        As for DT resigning, I think if the threat of prosecution is real enough he might do it. He like many in his party might not fancy the spotlight over the next 4 years. But would that mean Pence steps up? Or would he stay as incumbent VP and have someone (who?) ride in to take the reins?

        Michelle? What are the impediments? The idea of having the sainted one back in the WH, even if he is just cooking dinner and picking up the kids, would be a powerful vote magnet.

        But again, who in their right mind would want the gig for the foreseeable future? Whatever else they are those two are surely too smart to upset their carefully constructed applecart now.

        Perhaps TPTB will have to resort to sortition. It could hardly be much worse than any of the current prospects.

        Are there actual answers to any of these questions – precedents for these scenarios – or are we in completely new territory?

        1. Ian Ollmann

          There are many qualified people who can run. We saw a bunch of them this winter. Oh, for sure the convention is going to be a boiler room of fevered negotiations! If the party can coalesce around Biden, it can do the same around Warren or Klobuchar or even Sanders. We are due for some good old fashioned leftism anyway. The lower classes have been abused long enough. Nearly everyone can see that. It is time for good old fashioned trickle up economics.

          1. ambrit

            Absent a truly ‘robust’ opposition campaign, I see no change to the status quo. Sanders was the strongest attempt at a leftward swing in the Democrat Party in years, and he was kneecapped very swiftly and, sadly, easily.
            Any real swing to the Left in America will require blood in the streets. (Also see Clive’s comment below about real leftists versus “armchair revolutionary(s).” He makes a good point.)

            1. Ian Ollmann

              I think we already have it. It is just a matter of time for it to play out. The way close to 40 million workers were just dumped when the pandemic hit with no recourse and no health care, is going to be very ugly. We are just waiting for them to run out of money or get sick. It’s a desperation time bomb.

              I can understand the DNC’s reluctance to go left this election. As long as the election is about Trump they can sit back and collect the votes. Easy lay up. He is self impeaching. Pelosi had him pegged last summer. If they ran Sanders, then every other D candidate will have to run both the “I am not Trump” and “I am not a socialist” campaign at the same time.

              What I would wishfully like to see though is a hard left corner after the election. There is a lot of blood in the water, and the lower classes are going to be in over their heads pretty soon. There needs to be something, probably a jobs program, to get them earning again. Probably though, we aren’t going to see anything of the sort without a lot of screaming.

              1. tegnost

                If they ran Sanders, then every other D candidate will have to run both the “I am not Trump” and “I am not a socialist” campaign at the same time.
                Gee Whiz!?!?!?!? Thanks for explaining that to me!
                And yes, absolutely, a hard left turn, after the election of course and those lower classes “going to be over their heads soon”…um, about that…
                Maybe some jobs training! I know! Coding school! How about work houses since “those people” are so stupid and it would get them earning again!
                But surely there will be a lot of screaming and very little of it will make any more sense than a bunch of hungry seagulls at the dump.

        2. voteforno6

          What if Biden falls asleep or pees his pants in a debate?

          He still wins the election.

          That’s how much of a dumpster fire that Trump’s administration has been. I also think that there’s a lot more pain to come between now and the election, which isn’t going to reflect well on Trump, either.

          1. Bradley

            i don’t see how Biden can win. He’s unelectable. Maybe if he got Tulsi as his running mate and let her run the show that would be the only hope. Who’s gonna walk or drive to the polls to vote for him? Obama we all did because we were enthused. And Biden or Trump it’s same result anyway, israel wagging the dog as we blame Russia.

        3. Wally

          “What if Biden falls asleep or pees his pants in a debate?”

          What if Trump can’t get a single fact right during a debate or anywhere else?
          Oh… wait – happens all the time and nobody cares. So why should Biden supporters care if their guy is a dementia case? The bar is lower than that already.

          1. norm de plume

            If Trump pees his pants he is toast too. Getting facts right is not required. Can’t recall who but some wise person once made the point that a confident sounding bullshitter will always beat a reticent truth-teller nowadays.

            Trump sounds confident no matter what he is saying. Biden, not so much. But a nationally televised physical or mental breakdown cannot be spun.

    2. CanCyn

      I’d like to think that Trump’s ego may be what causes him to step down … if he thinks he won’t win the election, in order to avoid that humiliation, I imagine Him negotiating the pardons he needs and then resigning, telling everyone that he’s done all he can and that it is time to move on.
      A girl can dream right?
      I write this fully aware that the GOP and the Dems are two sides of the same coin, each doing the bidding of the donors, and that Biden or a new GOP face really won’t be much of a change. I’m just really tired of that orange d*ckhead.

      1. jaackiebass

        I think Trumps ego will do just the opposite. It won’t let him quit. Another thing people seem to miss are Trumps legal problems. As long as he is in office he is shielded from prosecution. One out all hell will break loose on Trump.

        1. ambrit

          In such a situation, the absolutely most head exploding possibility would be for Vlad Vladimirovitch to offer Trump asylum. The Donald could spend his retirement days at the dacha with Snowden.

        2. Rolf

          @jaackiebass I agree. There is no indication that Trump is a strategic thinker, but there is abundant evidence of his self destructiveness. A careful weighing-of-options doesn’t match the Trump I’ve seen in office: disorganized, spontaneous, throw sh*t at the wall.

          A strategic Trump would have seen the virus as an opportunity, reacting early to its appearance with much fanfare, launched an all-out campaign to control its radiation, but in the process saved countless thousands of lives, protected the economy, and certainly reversed his evaporating chances at re-election. Instead, he stupidly ignored and minimized the threat, wasting precious time. Since then, he has if anything doubled down, all but guaranteeing a cascade of woe in the second half of 2020.

          This behavior is pathologically stupid. I’ve read that, historically, his only skill in business was to ruthlessly exploit weakness and vulnerability in others: other than a seductive charisma and willingness to lie constantly, he has no other talents. He campaigned and won in 2016 as an underdog who would pull the rug out from under the powers-that-be. He can’t play that card again. But when questioned re second term plans, it’s clear he has none. So, in desperation, he will do what he’s always done: deflect, evade, confuse, misdirect. But my guess is he will never make a deal.

          It seems highly likely he loses the nominal vote in November. Some of the GOP will jump ship this fall, but Roy Cohn Barr will shield him with a religious certainty, and front a claim that the election was rigged, Democrats committed voter fraud. Thus he can contest the result*, shout COUP!, incite violence from his cult-like base, and bring the process to a standstill, but preserve the affections and attention of his followers. What happens then?

          *This is what he had planned to do in 2016 before he found out he won. And he still claimed voter fraud!

            1. Rolf

              President-for-life Trump, in his self-identified Trump Inaugural Address, broadcast from an undisclosed location: “Incredu–, incrededib–, [pauses, slurring] incradueliablably, the illegal Democratic Party will stop at nothing. [Recovering with Trumpian flourish] No bridge is too far, no news is too fake”.

      2. John Wright

        Trump should be aware of the poisoned chalice he would own if he wins.

        Trump may prefer to lose, resign in the Nov 2020 to Jan 2021 time frame, and have President Pence blanket pardon him.

        After all, which candidate lost, on a personal level, in the 2000 Bush vs. Gore election?

        Post election Al Gore burnished his environmental reputation, got on some corporate boards and is now worth $200 million per some estimates.

        Maybe I am not alone in viewing George W. Bush as a monumental amoral f**k up, who did great damage to the world and USA, despite having an Ivy League education and growing up in one of the most politically connected USA families..

        Bush’s reputation might have been OK if he had lost to Gore.

        This has me suggesting Gore “won” by losing to Bush and Trump can “win” by losing to Biden.

        Furthermore, Trump theatrics during the campaign can launch his return to reality TV.

          1. rowlf

            Would Gore have been able to do anything about global warming other than talk to the media? We have already seen Trump stymied in a stupid simple task like getting out of Syria.

        1. neo-realist

          Gore may have won by losing to Bush, but the American People arguably lost by having Bush win and not only get thousands of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan under false pretenses, but adding lots of Federalist Society arch right wingers to the district courts and Roberts and Alito to the Supreme.

          Trump’s ego would rather stay and win. He may like the responsibilities of the Presidency, but like many that step into it, he enjoys the power of the position.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Who cares how things turned out for Bush or Gore?

          Isn’t the stealing of the 2000 election nd its consequences more important than the personal wealth or PR patina of either one?

          1. Lambert Strether

            > Gore didn’t lose to Bush.

            Yes, he did. Remember the scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 where Gore, still in his VP capacity as President of the Senate since Bush had not yet been nominated, gaveling the Congressional Black Caucus into silence when they tried to bring up irregularities in the Florida vote? Gore rolled over, just like Kerry rolled over in 2004. (Gore’s court strategy was also sloppy and bad. Originally, he only sued in Florida counties where he thought he won, thereby managing to cede the moral high ground to Bush!)

            1. Hanging Chad

              I do remember it. That doesn’t mean he lost, it means he ceded to Bush anyway to avoid making a scene.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      Given the trajectory of the Dreaded Pathogen in America alone, why would the Republican Party want to win the 2020 election? Redistricting. In swing states at least, the power that comes from control of redistricting is immense. Of course, there is the theory that voters could throw Trump out but vote for R’s in Congress and at the state level to “constrain” an activist Dem president (lol). Or I suppose R voters could be convinced to vote for the team except for Trump, who is cast as hurting the team. As you say, Eleventy Dimensional.

      1. ambrit

        Redistricting is under the control of each State legislature. So, the real battle there is at the State Government level. This demands an answer to the question: “Does a national Presidential candidate have broad coattails?”
        I don’t know about Trump, but in 2016, H Clinton was found out to have essentially looted the coffers of the State level Democrat Party organizations. If Biden follows the same playbook, the Democrat Party could well shoot itself in the foot for the next decade.
        Another of the Eleventy Dimensions is the fact that some state’s electorates split their votes and vote one way for the national races and the other way for the State and local races. This demands the presence of a strong and well organized “ground game” to gain and maintain power at the local level. As I mentioned in a comment the other day, I have never seen a door to door canvassing program for a national level race. I have seen multiple cases of a door to door canvassing program for State and local races.
        Some political Solon remarked that “All Politics is Local.’ Insofar as the organizing done for local campaigns can be used to help State and National campaigns, the adage is true. What the Clinton campaign showed in 2016 with their theft of resources from the State Democrat Party organizations was that the Democrat Party national level apparatchiks did not heed the sage advice of their predecessors. Since the beginning of the Obama confidence game, the Democrat party has lost State and local positions in spades. So, why should redistricting be any different? Even if “Creepy” Joe Biden wins in November, the odds are that the Democrat Party still loses more State and local seats than it gains.

    4. dcblogger

      I do not get this need to bring up Hilllary. The only reason she was nominated in 2016 was that she was inevitable. Once she lost she was a goat. No one pays attention to her. The big man in the Democratic Party remains Obama.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Thank you for saying that. The only people who think Hillary has any political juice are Hillary herself and some diehard Hillbots. The collapse in Clinton Foundation donations is proof. Along with her and Bill’s embarrassingly underattended grifting, um, speaking tour a couple of years ago.

      2. ambrit

        Why was Hillary “inevitable” in 2016 and not in 2008? Why didn’t Obama support Biden in 2016? (Biden was Obama’s Vice President. Obama supporting Biden would have been traditional and well within common practice.) Obama has shown a willingness to abandon principle before. Any ‘deal’ he made with HC in 2008 could have been repudiated at any time.
        With the Democrat party descending into full on idpol, with HC we get the potent touchstones: HC is a woman, HC is ‘experienced,’ HC, through her status as a PMC can claim to “know what is best for the American public,” HC promises a restoration of the “good old days” of the 1990s.
        The question is, who are Obama’s ‘handlers?’ Why are they in opposition to Clinton’s ‘handlers?’
        Someone elsewhere mentioned that HC was hated, while Biden is not. Is this a situation where ‘hatred’ is more politically valuable than indifference?
        Finally, if the Convention this year is “virtual,” how could anyone figure out if it has been brokered or not?

  3. Polar Socialist

    Just a thought, but given USA doesn’t have public, cheap health care or paid sick leave but does have the biggest prison and most stubborn church goer populations, I don’t think even Zeus himself could have saved the situation much better.

    While Trump has been a total disgrace regarding CoVID, we should not let that mask the huge structural problems.

    1. Lou Anton

      You are right about the huge structural problems, and you can see those playing their role in the long, slow decline in the US from about May 1 – June 10th-ish. Trump owns the upswing thereafter.

    2. jackiebass

      Actually the percentage of Americans that regularly attend church services is small. They happen to be very vocal so they get a lot of attention. I grew up in a small town in PA. We had 2 Catholic Churches and 6 protestant churches. Today there is 1 Catholic Church that only has services on Sunday. There are only 3 protestant churches and their membership is very small. They all continue to struggle to keep open because not many people participate. I now live in a small city in NYS. At one time there were 7 catholic parishes , each with it’s own priest. Now there are two parishes and only one priest serving each one. Also the number and size of protestant churches has gotten very small. This small city I now live in has 2 state prisons and both are filled to capacity. We used to have two hospitals. Now there is one. The whole area is one of the poorest in NYS. It is and always was a strong republican area. At 79 I have personally witnessed big changes in our country and where I live.For the most part the changes haven’t been good. They have created more poverty.

      1. Robert Gray

        > At 79 I have personally witnessed big changes in our country and …[f]or the most part
        > the changes haven’t been good.

        Thank you, Jackie. I am 69 and in general I agree completely with this. However, I can’t help but wonder to what extent it is merely old-fogey-ism. In the mid-late ’60s, whilst we were demonstrating for and/or against everything under the sun in our tie-dyed shirts and bell-bottomed jeans; smoking pot and listening to Jefferson Airplane (/Starship) and the MC-5; the 69- and 79-year-olds were saying ‘big changes … not good’. I remember well when I was in high school, I had a little joke that I repeated every chance I got. I used to say ‘I think the president is doing a fine job!’ and ‘What is wrong with the young people nowadays?’ So, this recognition that things are different now and that we may not be comfortable with the present tense is nothing new. But it’s all so confusing. Was it Engels who said ‘quantitative change eventually becomes qualitative change’? Is that where we are today? Think back — how many times in our lives have we heard that the sky is falling! Yet, the world keeps muddling on. Anyway, to return the focus to American politics, I’d put most of the blame for the present debacle on (1) Reagan, for driving American society over the cliff and — even worse — (2) and (3) Clinton and Obama, for making ‘hope’ synonymous with self-abuse.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        The Deep South and Texas are still extremely churchy, even cities like Dallas. It is normal to ask someone what church they attend as one of the first questions upon meeting them.

        1. fwe'zy

          20 years ago my impression of Dallas was that it had a church and a strip club on every block.

    3. Mikel

      ” we should not let that mask the huge structural problems.”

      “Mask.” Excellent word choice. It brings back the question about the info on masks
      It made no sense to lie about the usefulness of wearing masks in order to try to ensure as many for healthcare workers as possible.
      Think about it. There is a shortage of PPE for healthcare workers, and lying to population about the usefulness of masks is somehow supposed to light the fire under supply chains to rectify the problem. It doesn’t protect healthcare/clinic/hospital workers who now are getting guidance that masks aren’t useful, so they may be more lax in their own use if masks.

      I can remember when people criticized Trump for his travel bans early on.

      There was enough manufactured confusion around this virus early on to ensure a widespread here in the USA and globally.

    4. CuriosityConcern

      I think we should have emulated the covid economic legislation that other countries did. Instead, we got 1200 $. I checked the comments and I don’t see anyone else even mentioning this, which strikes me as a narrative win for someone.

      1. Medbh

        This is what burns me about the U.S. response. It’s not like we have no options. The whole rest of the world experienced the same challenge, and almost everyone else has managed better than the U.S. How about we start with copying what everyone else has already done?!

        1. campbeln

          Because we’re the best in the world! We Americans set the standard for everyone else! If it’s a problem we are facing, it’s because it’s a new problem that no one has ever seen before and it’s our duty as the shining beacon on the hill to show everyone else how to solve it! There is nothing that we can learn from other countries approaches because we lead them all!

          TL;DR: American Exceptionalism.

  4. Terez

    I used to think that Trump would take the pardon and resign if the GOP ever decided to push the issue on him, but I no longer think that’s a possibility. The principle of never admitting fault is too deeply etched into his psyche; he just can’t do it. Instead he will do whatever it takes to stay in office. He will put his thumb on the scales in the election if he is allowed to. The loyal state governments might do it whether or not he asks them to. If he loses, he will do whatever it takes to delegitimize the election, and if that fails, he will use force. There’s a lot of commentary out there about the emergence of ICE as a force loyal enough to Trump to play brownshirt when the time comes, and who knows what the actual SS will do?

    1. voteforno6

      Highly unlikely…he would be physically dragged out of the White House if it came to that, but I don’t think there’s enough people in the government and military who would go along with a crazy scheme to keep him in office.

      1. jackiebass

        Trump would love to do what Terez suggest. I believe voteforno6 has it right. I still have confidence that our institutions are still strong enough to prevent Trump form staying in office if he loses.

          1. RMO

            Well, the US institutions have been almost strong enough to prevent him from staying in office when he won so you’re probably right about that.

    2. dcblogger

      It is theoretically possible that DHS and ICE specifically are loyal enough to Trump to overturn an election, and it is possible he could bring in Eric Prince’s mercenaries, but I do not think so. The White House grounds are controlled by the Park Police, Secret Service, and Marines. During the government shut down both the Park Police and Secret Service were deemed essential workers, so had to come to work, BUT WERE NOT PAID. I think they would physically remove Trump at 12 PM January 20, 2021 if he would not go voluntarily. And I don’t see the Marines risking their reputation for a loser President. DC and all the surrounding jurisdictions voted for Hillary by landslide numbers. Trump will not be able to call on loyal supporters to flood the capitol, he does not have them locally.

  5. CBBB

    I don’t think Trump wants to be President any more so resignation is not out of the realm of possibility to me. It’s no longer fun for him and people aren’t showing up to his rallies. From his perspective what’s the point anymore?

    1. edmondo

      I totally agree. He never wanted to be president. It is harder than it looks.

      Trump will never resign. I honestly believe he ran the campaign to lose.(“White Power” tweets haven’t been good for your political life since the 1890’s.) And he will. I can’t wait for the Senile One to take over on January 21st and find out that everything is wonderful again. There has never been a greater mismatch between the job that needs to be done and the abilities of the man chosen to do them. Joe Biden will be a disaster of unmitigated proportions. It should end the D Party as we know it. I cannot wait to vote for him in November.

      1. campbeln

        Naw. Status quo Joe will be sent to read My Pet Goat while the real work is being done in the bunker.

        Trump’s greatest contribution and detriment to the country is that he puts an ugly voice to our ugly dealings.

        Obama’s greatest contribution and detriment to the country was/is that he put a beautiful voice to our ugly dealings.

        IMHO, if one wants to stop our country’s ugly dealings… an ugly voice will do that faster than a beautiful one.

        1. Phil in KC

          I would say that Trump’s greatest contribution to the country is that he says out loud the things that are supposed to be whispered. Often, to the detriment of the country.

          1. Ian Ollmann

            You can’t heal until you can talk about it, and Boy are we talking about it. The liars, knaves and bigots have all shown themselves for what they are. We all now know for certain why good government is required, why the institutions are what they are and why winner take all politics makes losers of everyone.

            It remains to be seen what if anything we can do with the crisis. The 2008 Opportunity was lost and we get to do it all again with 12 more years of problems layered on top. However, there is a clarity now about exactly why ordinary people need paid sick leave, health care and unemployment insurance / UBI. Why we need a decent CDC and why we need a decent government. Why racism is still a problem. It turns out, we can’t be the greatest nation on Earth or even a halfway decent one if sabotage our own government at every step in the name of drowning it in a bathtub someday.

            At the end of the day, capitalism is there to make a profit, not solve problems, and certainly not solve them for the poor or the penniless (E.g. nature). Government must step in in these areas or no one will. If we undermine our government then we are no longer capable of meeting our needs.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        Joe Biden will never be president, regardless of what Trump does or does not do. 2020 is a crazy year, and we’re just half way done with it. I expect momentous changes in the months ahead, though i cannot predict what they will be.

  6. Clive

    There’s a few congenital weaknesses which the left is prone to and COVID-19 has allowed, to a degree, it to succumb to two of them. One is that it can be prone to acting like a doomsday cult. The other is that is is unable to resist exhibiting authoritarian zealotry. There are some others, but I won’t distract us by going into those right now.

    Both of these, if the voters get the merest whiff of them, can be ballot box poison because the right presents a fairly simply-to-understand deal. Which is: you let us loot and pillage, and we’ll (largely) leave you alone. Of course, the right does now and again not infrequently overplay its hand and overdoes the looting and the pillaging to such a degree that the voters are willing to put aside any qualms they have and consider left-leaning parties and candidates.

    DownWithTyranny! — being of the left — naturally is tempted to perhaps overstating the willingness of the voters to overlook the crazy whack jobs on the left who seem determined (e.g. by egging on Black Lives Matter mob rule, the cancel culture, trans-activism and other creepy COVID-19 thinking) to continue to make the left unelectable in the eyes of, if not the majority, then certainly enough of the voting public to give Trump something of a chance still.

    But, as always, we shall see.

    1. voteforno6

      DownWithTyranny! — being of the left — naturally is tempted to perhaps overstating the willingness of the voters to overlook the crazy whack jobs on the left who seem determined (e.g. by egging on Black Lives Matter mob rule, the cancel culture, trans-activism and other creepy COVID-19 thinking) to continue to make the left unelectable in the eyes of, if not the majority, then certainly enough of the voting public to give Trump something of a chance still.

      The only people I actually see making any of those complaints are the crazy whack jobs on the right. In other words, Trump supporters.

      1. Clive

        I’m not entirely convinced that the antics of Black Lives Matter (or those who have maybe hijacked the brand) are wooing huge swathes of the sunbelt or anything outside of the liberal metropolitan areas.

        And are trans rights a big thing in Louisiana? Or even in Massachusetts? I’ll have to defer to US readers on that one.

          1. ambrit

            The cynic in me thinks that the BLM were designed to go “too far.”
            It is almost like union politics. The old guard union officials fear wildcat strikes the most. Using that as a guide, the old guard politicos co-opt these protest movements at the first opportunity.

            1. Mr. House

              I agree, and if you’ve been alive the last ten years and you aren’t a cynic then you haven’t been paying attention.

        1. Ian Ollmann

          Trans rights will play out just like gay marriage. The conservative regions will scream and holler about it, fearing the wrath of (something), acting like it’s the end of the world. They will be endless agitation, fear and loathing, noise and pounding of the pulpit. Then some law or court decision will come down, and the whole thing will evaporate into a pile of nothingness, and it will turn out that allowing people to pick their gender identity will be entirely harmless, and perhaps even slightly beneficial for the gender typical majority, just like allowing people to be open about their gender orientation, and pair bond as they will.

          I am sympathetic to concerns about privacy in public bathrooms, but I think the solution there is to just design them like they are unisex with private cells for doing the necessary, and some more public sink areas and baby changing stations. We will all appreciate that.

          1. Shiloh1

            Everybody should have their own bathroom. That’s why I don’t run in the big marathons. The work from home thing should help on this, #metoo, and climate change issues.

          2. Medbh

            I hope that trans rights evolves in a way that enables everyone to live a safe and equitable life. But it’s not just conservatives who have concerns about some of the changes. I’m agnostic, and have no religious beef about sexual orientation or gender roles. I’m a strong supporter of gay marriage and work to eliminate gender stereotypes.

            However, I’m opposed to transgender women participating in women’s sports. There are substantial differences in male and female bodies that do not disappear even with hormones. Do a search for male/female sports records, and there are consistent and substantial differences between the two. If trans women are allowed to participate in women sports, we’ll end up with men’s programs and trans women programs, and women will largely be left with the bench.

            Women fought for their own programs and spaces to address legitimate safety and equity concerns, and it’s not just religious fundamentalist or hatred that leads women to question the elimination of gender-based differences.

            1. rl

              I am in full agreement with you, Medbh, and I am a gay man.

              Over in the UK, LGB Alliance split from Stonewall for a reason.

              These causes are not interchangeable; indeed, hormone treatments and eventual SRS are being culturally legitimized as a new (yet: old, recall Alan Turing) “option” for parents who do not want to raise a gay son or a lesbian daughter (a la Iran, it would seem; see the BBC’s recent expose on the Tavistock gender clinic). The new (yet: old) social pressures on young lesbians and gay men on university campuses, in political organizations, in journalism, on dating apps … etc. to “examine” our “genital preferences” are extraordinary (and vengeful when denied—look into the phrase: cotton ceiling).

              None of this should have any bearing on legal measures to guarantee the civil rights of anyone who (with or without dysphoria) wishes to self-identify any which way.

              But how many are paying attention to what is really happening here if it isn’t affecting them personally? Look at how JK Rowling was “cancelled” for observing that “people who menstruate” used to be able to refer to themselves as “women.”

              And consider how often homosexuals have been heterosexual society’s scapegoat in the past—not even the distant past. That is ultimately what I and many others are concerned about. We are well aware of our precarious status.

        2. dcblogger

          I hardly see the proposition that the police ought not to murder black people, and be brought to justice if they do murder black people as whack job left. I hardly see the proposition that trans people be given the rights the rest of us take for granted as whack job left.

    2. Thuto

      The current iteration of the (radical) left is on a slippery slope towards authoritarianism and seems incapable of getting off its high horse long enough to even debate issues. Cancel culture in particular has stormed the gates of the zeitgeist and become a particularly vindictive form of vigilante justice meted out by a cruel online lynch mob unwilling to forgive even the smallest of missteps. I’m all for companies and public figures with cultural cachet being held to higher behavioural standards, but vigilante groups being on a constant prowl seeking out the tiniest of infractions so they can mete out their brand of justice seems like “authoritarian zealotry” as you put it. Sad to say even here in South Africa we are not inoculated against the effects of cancel culture snowballing into our cultural landscape. Will Biden seek to ingratiate himself with the radical left in order to secure votes? Only time will tell I guess…

      1. Tom67

        Here a European (German) perspective: what alternative is there? The “left” has basically allowed itself to be hijacked by identity politics. In the US and here as well. In Germany particularly “die Linke” has killed the career of Sarah Wagenknecht, the most popular and intelligent politician it had. Her sin? She called into question the wisdom of abolishing all border controls to the EU. For that she has been basically vilified as a Nazi. The kicker is that her opponents are all PC but at the same time all for NATO and foreign interventions. Bread and butter issues are totally foreign to them. They don´t give a shit for ordinary workers and their worries. They are getting ready to join a coaltion government. The only thing that still unites the left is opposion to the far right which is played up by the media as a useful bogey man. In reality it is insignicant and anyhow nowhere real power. But playing it up serves to close the ranks behind a policy which will certainly alienate the population even further. As we don`t have a German term I might as well call it “Trump derangement syndrome”.
        It really makes you despair of the times.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I notice that ‘Mohrenstraße’ uBahn station in Berlin-Mitte is to be renamed after public pressure. Is there some particularly historically unpleasant use of the word in German (as an epithet for example) that might distinguish it from, for example, nearby Jüdenstraße?

          (‘Mohren’ means ‘moors’ for the uninitiated)

          1. Alex Cox

            How interesting! There is a Moorfields Station on the Liverpool Merseyrail also: the largest station on the network. I’m not aware of any plans to rename it.

        2. Andrew

          I wondered what happened to Wagenknect. I seem to remember her also questioning the legitimacy of the Ukrainian coup government and continued American troop deployment in Germany but that was a while ago so Im not sure ; the Saker blog used to talk about her.

          1. TV Face

            She participates in the talksshows every now and then, like Anne Will, Hart aber fair. Guess it means she is a talking head now.

            Have not seen the current die Linke leaders on these shows though. I don’t watch these shows regularly but I haven’t seen the new (mis-?)leaders of die Linke on TV making their case (if they have any).

        3. Aumua

          Well it appears that you do in fact have a bit of a Nazi problem there, in your military. Or is that part of the media hype?

            1. Aumua

              Yes, the tide of the far right is rising in many places, not the least of which is the U.S., of course.

              1. ambrit

                The point is still valid. There is Naziism in the German military, and Exceptionalist Authoritarianism in the American military, and something similar everywhere you go. However, it is manageable as long as the situation does not devolve into a coup.
                Aumua’s point about the performative nature of the “threat” is also valid. The question becomes, which media are behind the “hype,” and for what purposes? The “threat” is a tool.

      2. marym

        Re: the “current iteration” of vindictive authoritarian cancel culture

        People ask cops to stop killing black people. Cops respond with tear gas, rubber bullets and work slowdowns. The president calls in the military. Corporations respond by changing their logo.

        People ask for vote-by-mail during a pandemic. Republicans judges say no.

        Trump extols Andrew Jackson and generals who fought to destroy the union in defense of slavery.

        People declare that brandishing guns in public is freedom and wearing a mask to prevent themselves from spreading a disease is tyranny.

        Re: Biden ingratiating himself with the radical left
        Not to worry.

        1. Clive

          Which rather neatly brings me to another of the tropes which bedevils and hampers the left — the armchair revolutionary.

          Not only does this unfortunate creature set back the credibility of the left with their endless calling for (or imminent predictions of) an emergent mass movement which will, apparently, sweep away all the ills of our societies but they do so in sufficiently invective terms that the middle ground of politics (who may well be sympathetic to the causes espoused) takes fright, takes the armchair revolutionary at their word and fears a sudden upheaval and takes comfort in the “stability” which the right promises to enforce (the right being all-too-happy to offer such reassurances).

          The left, when it does it’s job properly — which doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should — can manage to tread a narrow line between firing up and inspiring the base, converting incipient radicals to join the movement and all the while reassuring the squishy middle that everything will be okay. All three are necessary and must be engaged for genuine social reform that doesn’t immediately run into trouble in the execution. But all-too-often you get a mushy compromise that pleases no-one. At which point, the right can pull its well-honed divide-and-conquer stunt.

          The other option is the armchair revolutionaries are such self-absorbed and out-of-touch twats, everyone just laughs. See your average Guardian columnist for examples of this last group.

        2. tegnost

          Re: Biden ingratiating himself with the radical left
          Not to worry.

          Thank you, as always marym
          I see biden keeping his mouth shut and trump succumbing (electorially) to the coronavirus response, which was his bad luck to have on his watch as I believe we are/were culturally incapable of dealing with the virus. The business class that makes money off of others labor is fully bipartisan. The treasury showers money on wall st no matter who is the putative leader of the country. Sad to report that here in washington state we have surpassed our previous peak of 68.8 per 100,000 to now be accelerating past 73.6 per. It’s going to be a long summer and I urge all to be vigilant, please.

          1. neo-realist

            Re Trump’s luck with the virus, he was warned on numerous occasions by the intelligence apparatus and disregarded the warnings. Even if he didn’t stop the virus, had he responsibly prepared early on, he would have helped mitigate the severe impacts in loss of life and economic ruin for many.

            1. Tony Wright

              Interesting comment neo-realist. The description of Trump as a narcissistic sociopathic liar becomes almost an understatement if you are correct. The logical consequence of that analysis is that Trump should be subject to charges of the genocide of a significant portion of the American people. So much for his shameless embracing of the US flag.
              Bolsinaro seems to be doing a similar job in Brazil, and both he and Trump seem to be negligently causing the deaths of a disproportionate number of their indigenous peoples.

        3. Ian Ollmann

          Yeah, can’t speak about the rest of of the world, but in the US, it’s like “what Radical Left?” You can still find one or two with some real sleuthing. Jonathan Wolff is still around, but even he is not pushing for a complete communist reformation. He just wants a bit less than 100% capitalism we currently enjoy, Take the list of basic human needs, food, shelter, healthcare and work out some way to guarantee that for everyone. But, you know he’s pretty far left. You don’t have to like his policies, but he is dead on when he criticizes capitalism. Few do it better.

          The risk of some Marxist authoritarian takeover in the US has never been lower. The left is exhausted over the daily outrages of the current right wing authoritarian takeover. Maybe if we are really lucky we’ll get some limited social democracy like Europe, like a universal healthcare or some very small UBI, or maybe some long delayed green infrastructure program. Raise taxes 10% on the wealthy perhaps. But that is all that will occur. Authoritarian? No.

          The right will scream and yell about fascism, of course. And project.

          …always with the projecting…

          Project. Project. Project.

          With a side of whataboutism and but they did it too, so it must be okay? (No. Follow the golden rule. If you don’t like it when they do it, then be better than them and don’t do it.) But I digress.

          I’m pretty sure your fears are just that, and Biden can be relied on to be above all, tepid in his response to anything..

        4. Mr. House

          “Trump extols Andrew Jackson and generals who fought to destroy the union in defense of slavery.”

          Andrew Jackson actually saved the Union. The South was threatening to secede over tariffs while he was president and he threatened force, they backed down.

          He was also against the central bank of the time, which i consider admirable. No one is perfect and judging people who lived hundreds of years before you by todays standards seems counter intuitive.

      3. lcn


        The left in America is anything but radical.

        Who, or what, are you talking about? You think Ralph Nader is radical?

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          How about Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes? Woo-hoo, they’ll have The Bosses shaking in their pants!

        2. Thuto

          I distinguish between the politically legitimate left and the radical left. The radical left brings a cultural enforcement, “secret police” type mentality to proceedings. They’re the avatars of moral purity who take the time to dig up a joke comedian Kevin Hart made years ago and accuse him of homophobia. They’re the language police who punish simple faux pas with disproportionate ferocity, and are intent on petitioning governments to back this vindictiveness with punitive legislation. I know because it is also happening in my own backyard.

          1. Ian Ollmann

            Who are these people on the radical left? What office do they hold? What power do they wield?

            If these extreme lefties exist, as I am sure they must hiding under a rock somewhere, they obviously wield no power. We are the only industrialized nation in the world who decided to just fire 40% of our workforce when the pandemic hit, and kill their healthcare coverage in the same move. (In a Pandemic!) Germany and France didn’t do that. We literally just said, “Look a Pandemic!” and while distracted we landed a mighty kick in the fork and a sucker punch in the teeth of the lower classes. It is going to take them a decade of scraping and begging to work this off and get back to job security again. If they had /any/ say in how this country is run, you can get your last dollar that wouldn’t have happened.

            Perhaps you are just concerned because there are social /language/ warriors who would like us to speak of and to others with dignity and acceptance? Yeah, I don’t like being lectured to either, but it’s just words man! Words! I’m probably not going to adopt new pronouns — I don’t believe I have it in me to remember them. I can’t even do names — but if I did, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t cost me anything. I say sorry a lot when I’m pretty sure I wasn’t at fault, too. Sometimes, we do little things to get along. I’m pretty sure that you will survive this and maybe you are just looking for something to demonize.

            If the right will happily deprive a man of the basic necessities of life, and the left just wants you to be careful about how you /talk/, I’m pretty sure the choice is clear on who is your friend on this one.

            1. ambrit

              The ‘social warriors’ you speak of have backers who are nothing like their front groups. What about depriving an American of the right to “speak” over the Internet being a basic evil do you not get?
              Plus, with the newly energized Panopticon in control, a person can now be denied the chance to get a decent job, have healthcare, have a place to live, etc. due to a set of metrics that take the social warrior’s concerns into account. One’s Credit Score is already being used to marginalize and demonize the lower classes. With the evolution of the Credit Score into the Social Credit Score, the probability is that the Cancel Culture will soon include life itself as a category under it’s control.

            2. Thuto

              Except they do more than lecture people, they demand that people be fired from their jobs for sometimes the tiniest of missteps. They clearly don’t share your belief that “it’s just words”.

            3. Massinissa

              I agree with Thuto and Ambrit that SJWS are very dangerous. I just disagree with Thuto that they are ‘leftists’ rather than Liberals. Playing down their attempts to socially silence discourse on both the left and right is playing with fire, I feel, and it’s telling that the mainstream liberal democrats support them to damage their enemies on either end.

              1. Dwight

                Astute. These social discourse wars keep us from reaching the common ground of Medicare for All.

            4. FluffytheObeseCat

              Thuto is correct. Our “leftist” Twitter vigilantes aren’t doing jack about the immiseration of the vast American working class….. because they are too busy pleasuring themselves by destroying the lives and careers of a few hapless scapegoats.

              Self-congratulatory social justice “warriors” aren’t radical leftists. They are dominantly just younger credentialed members of the not-likely-to-die-of COVID-19 class. They exude contempt for the majority of the people in this nation. They’re pretty much clones of the Betsy DeVos’s of our world when comes to hauteur, preening arrogance, and malice; they’re simply a new and therefore contrary flavor of superiority seekers.

            5. Lynne

              Recently, I read a post on FB about a woman who reported a horrible experience with some right-wingers in Stillwater, MN. In addition todecrying the way way “Nazis” were allowed to walk in public, the commenters were planning to find any cafe or small business who had sold anything to those “Nazis” and run them out of business, through violence or whatever it took. They weren’t talking about some outfit selling Nazi paraphernalia, they were talking about coffee shops, ice cream stands, etc. I put Nazis in quotes because although the OP called them Nazis, from her description it was not clear just who they were.

              My point here is not to defend Nazis. it is that the immediate reaction on the part of some was to ruin the lives and livelihoods of small shopkeepers who have to deal with things like public accommodation laws, based on a vague description of some other customers. One person pointed out a little thing in the constitution called the right to assemble (in response to those who declared that right wingers should not be allowed to walk on sidewalks) and was immediately threatened with demands to his employer that they fire him because he was a Nazi. It was rather frightening, honestly. You might say that it was a bunch of kids carried away in the moment, but I know some of the commentators and they are middle-aged PMCs.

          2. Massinissa

            These are radical liberals, not radical leftists. Actual leftists are just as prone to getting cancelled. Remember when radical left professor Bret Weinstein got fired from his university for showing up to teach on a day when white people were apparently supposed to stay home for some reason?


            Scroll down to the Day of Absence ‘controversy’.

            1. Dwight

              Is Bret Weinstein a leftist on economic issues? He claims that but I’m not sure that support for UBI shows that. I’ve been wondering about this after hearing his podcast – can you please explain? Thank you.

              1. Massinissa

                Actually, its good that you said that. I found out earlier today I was given a slanted take of the man and seem to have been misinformed, and came here to mention it. I do apologize.

      4. Kurt Sperry

        “Radical left”? I don’t think idpol warriors fit that category. The radical left in the US would fit in a movie theater.

      5. dcblogger

        Biden has dedicated the whole of his sorry career to insulting the left, so no, I don’t see him taking any more notice of us than he has to.

        1. Massinissa

          If he notices the left, he will threaten to hit us with the chain he scared Corn Pop away with.

  7. Redlife2017

    Whilst the Democrats in how they acted after the 2016 election have set the current stage having this essentially spiral out of control, the foundation for this was how the Republicans acted after the 1992 election.

    I recall the viciousness of the right-wing in the run-up and aftermath of the 1992 election, calling Clinton evil and horrible. Of course, he IS horrible, but not because he may have once smoked pot or visited the Soviet Union. The aftermath of that election still haunts us:
    – The rise of the right-wing militas (which were stoked by George HW Bush with Ruby Ridge and Clinton with the Waco massacre),
    – the rise of right-wing media like Limbaugh / Fox News,
    – the rise of 3rd Way triangulation (thanks Bill!),
    – the destruction of Russia with Bill Clinton getting directly involved in the 1996 Presidential Election to get a basically incapacitated Yeltsin elected and directly led to Putin becoming President,
    – the right-wing nutjob bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City,
    – the right-wing murders of abortion doctors which started in 1993 which included bombings – the same guy bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics!!
    – other blowback terrorism (the first World Trade Center bombing, 1998 Embassy Bombings, the USS Cole asymmetrical attack) that the right wing didn’t seem to take seriously (see Bush’s reaction prior to 9/11)

    I am very sure that is not a comprehensive list of all the horrible stuff that happened mostly from the right and stupid Democratic reaction to it in the 1990s. I have never been able to work out why Clinton frightened people so much – it was visceral.

    My points to this very long list of horrible stuff from the 90s:

    a) Trump is taping into some real underlying stuff – real history and a certain terror inside parts of the American psyche. This stuff was unleashed in the early 90s and Trump is riding the wave. He won’t back down, because this is actually bigger than him!
    b) Writing this I now really understand what scared me about the US after I graduated University in the late 90s and where it would all lead (the 2000 election and 9/11 cemented my thinking). I left the US in 2002 because I couldn’t understand any of it.

    And if I may – I apologize to Yves, Lambert, etc on the threadjack. I don’t normally write this much!

  8. Charles 2

    a) the travel ban is a feature, not a bug. It is an isolationist wet dream : what better way to force industry to produce domestically if it is impossible to negotiate with foreign suppliers, perform quality control, etc… ? Donald Trump base for its largest part, doesn’t even have a passport. I am sure that Trump is thrilled that Tim Cook can’t tour Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen !

    b) Trump can step down just after the election and before the inauguration to get pardoned by Mike Spence if he needs federal immunity. That is just between him and Spence, he doesn’t need to negotiate with anyone else.

    c) After that, Democrats and never Trumper Republicans will realize to their horror that a losing Trump is worse than a winning Trump. If Trump loses, he can set up a very profitable media operation just by himself to surf on his die-hard supporters outrage and drum up a 2024 run comeback kid campaign.

    1. Tom Doak

      Thank you. It’s the front row kids from the D party who travel to Europe every summer. Many Republicans are happy to stay at home because no place is better than America.

      Now, if the travel ban affects the stock market significantly, then Trump is in more trouble.

    2. DJG

      Charles 2 and Tom Doak:

      Maybe. Many people, some quite conservative, send their kids to colleges and universities that have study abroad. I can think of two very middle-class universities, Temple in Philly and Loyola Chicago, that have big presences in Rome. So there is an expectation that people can travel to take in the major sights–and it isn’t limited to Manhattanites.

      Further, and speaking of Rome–and also Assisi–many Catholics still go on pilgrimage. Rome is always filled with tour groups that were organized by Catholic parishes. I know people who have taken such tours–the art and churches of Italy with some Catholic voodoo thrown in (Madonna del Parto in the Church of Sant’Agostino in Rome, anyone?)

      It is very much front row to think that all travel is pleasure travel, which means shopping and hobnobbing.

      And there are relatives. I was eating dinner at a wonderful cafe in Athens, seated at the bar, and the waiters took an interest in me, maybe because I asked for retsina. One of them asked, “Where do you come from?” “Chicago.” “Oh, I have a cousin who’s a real-estate agent in Niles.” Waiters in Athens are not exactly front-row kids.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        There are *lots* of US foreign study programs in Italy. You won’t have any problem hearing American English spoken on Via Zamboni in Bologna and I ran into a significant contingent of Texas A&M students in, of all places, Castiglion Fiorentino, which is pretty much the middle of nowhere, Tuscany.

        I haven’t done polling, but your average American tourist in Italy presents more like a classic country-club Republican on vacation* than anything else.

        *For men, pastel polo tucked in over beer gut, pleated shorts with the bottom hems in a rather disturbing inverted vee shape, baseball cap, puffy white sneakers. For women, must shop at same stores as the pistol lady in St. Louis.

        1. DJG

          Kurt Sperry: +++

          Yep, the American men in slouchy pants sliding down the gut and the big wallet hanging out the back pocket.

          As to the number of U.S. university-sponsored programs, I read an article recently about the threat to all of them. The number of programs was listed as some 250.

          Bologna? Americans have now found Bologna? Ahinoi.

  9. Mark

    When Trump leaves I expect him to flip the board and scatter all the pieces while claiming the opposition has cheated.

    At what point he does this will really depend on how much self delusion he has. Trump doesn’t think of himself as a “loser” and will refuse to “lose”. If he does manage to see the writing on the wall before his term is up the consequences could very well be worse.

    (I’m obviously assuming he IS going to lose. I would place it upwards of 90% likely, it is scary to imagine a second term.)

    1. Shiloh1

      If flipping the board includes full disclosure on Epstein, JFK death and 9-11, then bring it on!

  10. Larry

    I don’t see people discussing how Trump could wield power to quickly snap the ban. Threaten trade measures, withdraw from NATO. There are any number of blustery and newsworthy things a president can do to the EU to get the travel ban lifted.

    1. nick

      I’m not sure how PENCE would be able to get the EU to lift the ban. I guess he wears a mask now, at least, but so much of the structural barriers to good COVID policy in the USA are still there.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Can US inflict more economic damage on Europe than a resumption of lock-downs to control new outbreaks would? And wouldn’t that damage ricochet back on US?. DJT is allergic to measures that impair US growth, no matter how vital for public health. I don’t see him damaging the recovery to exact vengeance for a European cordon sanitaire.

      1. tegnost

        “the recovery” would require the johns hopkins chart to have a much different slope for the USA. Buying worthless or compromised corporate debt (didn’t boeing sell 25 billion in bonds to avoid the draconian stipulation in the PPP that they not lay off workers? Didn’t the the US just offer to double the unemployment payments to laid off boeing workers as long as they are in a training program for a job that no way will compete with their previous wage, retroactive from may 2019, long before the CV, until mid june 2022?) and juicing the stawk markitup with a cool 5 tril?. There are consequences to being a declining empire…just like if one were to jump off the empire state building you’re fine, until you hit the ground, and that’s pretty much the trajectory we’re on…

    3. jackiebass

      Trump has already alienated Europe. They long ago decided to go on their own. Trump has already used up most of the clout he had. Trump can no longer get away with trying to bully the EU.

      1. fajensen

        Undermining and Subduing Europe is a long-term, bipartisan, effort!

        The good thing about Donald Trump, Pence, Pompeo and the other misfits is that they are so blunt and pigheaded about asserting their dominance, that our politicians cannot let it slide like they could with, say, Obama.

        From my selfish perspective, it might be better if he wins another period to allow reality to properly “gel” here and prevent any return to “normalcy”.

        1. RMO

          To me, this is the only good thing about the Trump presidency – he’s so obnoxiously awful that the leadership of the rest of the rest of the world has finally started questioning their previously almost complete obedience to the US.

          No matter which way the upcoming election goes the results are going to have bad fallout. An overwhelming, historical landslide for Biden might lead to a relatively calm transition, but only to an administration which will just go back to the pre-Trump status quo. Four years of that and you might see the rise of a genuinely competent authoritarian false-populist sociopath. A close election that Trump loses will have his supporters convinced the election was rigged. A close election that Trump wins will not be accepted by the Washington blob and what we saw with Russiagate and the rest will seem like a calm summer breeze compared to a tornado. All three possibilities have the prospect of the disintegration of the US in them.

          1. KFritz

            It will be difficult for the Republicans to produce a more competent verson of Trump. The conditioning practices they’ve practiced since 1964 have created a bunch of cardboard cutout clones who function well in specialized situations, but are politically useless as national leaders. The quality of the Democratic candidates of 2020 is astonishingly better than the Republicans of 2016.

            The Reps have produced a large quantity of extremely competent borderline pscychopathic jurists who will plague us for decades to come, or until the republic implodes.

  11. Pat

    I am flashing back on some “greatest hits”.

    “ACA is just a start.” And “ACA will eliminate medical bankruptcy.”
    “Obama is just waiting for a second term to push and enact ___________ (insert numerous favored public support policies that never see fruition in the blank).”
    “No woman/Black/Hispanic American will vote for Trump.”
    “Clinton will win in a landslide.”
    “Once they see the evidence, Republican Senators will vote to convict.”

    1.) Trump will need to see greater value in resigning than in rolling the dice and expecting Biden to implode.”
    2.) WHO is any position to offer him a deal that could be enforced that would be of greater value to Trump than a very possible second term? Not only the continued perks of an ex Presidency but protection. As in who can guarantee that no politically ambitious player would not decide to indict Trump or a close family member in order to advance their career. Keep in mind that while N.Y. is the logical epicenter of retaliatory prosecution, they would also need to lockdown NJ and Florida at the very least.
    3.) And would Trump trust anyone who fits in 2.?

    I do recognize that an European lockdown might put greater pressure on the administration, but that assumes that all of Europe actually adheres to said lockdown. Not for nothing, but despite the EU, Europe is less of a monolith than the US is. Their response has also beesn piecemeal with individual countries having different responses.

    This speculation is largely wishful thinking.

    1. Mikel

      I want to know how strongly Euro govts will prevent jet-set Europeans from coming over here.
      A travel ban should work both ways.

  12. The Rev Kev

    Sorry guys but I do not think that Trump will just up and quit and the reason is simple. To do so, he would have to have some sort of agreement with the Washington establishment that he will do so on exchange for immunity in any crimes that he may have committed but there is the rub. What guarantee is there that such an agreement will be kept? The Russians have labelled Washington as agreement-incapable and Trump will know this from what he has seen over the past four years. Will he actually put his neck on the chopping block and trust in all those players. The experience that he has had would tell him no.

    He knows that the whole Russiagate saga was just total bs from the get go and after it became toast, nobody gave him any vindication. He might reflect that the establishment and the media have constantly accused him of treason for doing stuff like meeting the Russian President which many other previous Presidents have done. Trump may be a thug, a lout, suffer from a total lack of curiosity and all the rest of it but one thing in his favour is that he is as cunning as a s***house rat. He will go for a second term to ensure his safety whatever he has to do to achieve it. He knows that for him, that he is playing Game of Thrones rules.

    1. jacckiebass

      Trump could get immunity from federal crimes. It wouldn’t protect Trump from state prosecution.

    2. Tony Wright

      During the last four years US Republican politicians, with the exception of a small handful such as Mitt Romney, have shown that they are willing to throw most if not all of their stated principles out of the windows of tall buildings in exchange for power. Hence they have supported Trump because he was a winner in 2016.
      Just watch their support miraculously evapourate if he loses in November.
      And Trump has also thoroughly alienated many in the US military and intelligence establishments, so he is unlikely to get much help there if he loses either.

      1. Pat

        Ever read Hillary Clinton’s statement before voting for AUMF? Just asking because what you have described is just
        S O S different day, different party. Think of it as MeToo meets Joe Biden. Or Biden/Ukraine vs Trump/Ukraine or even better the continued Russia!Russia!Russia! accusations in the face of ever increasing evidence that not only was there no collusion but Obama knew that the Trump campaign was illegally targeted and surveilled by our Intelligence Agencies.

        If you are looking for integrity DC is not the place to search. No exceptions.

        1. Tony Wright

          Pat- my comment on the Republicans related to the subject of this thread which is Trump. I am under no illusion that the Democrats are much better, as evidenced by their shameless manipulations to deny Bernie Sanders the Presidential candidature not once, but twice.
          As a non US citizen I despair at the parlous state of US politics. The net result will be the rapid decline of US economic and military power and influence in favour of Xi and the CCP.
          This will mean the replacement of a (relatively ) friendly global bully by a completely ruthless, unscrupulous and rapacious one.
          As an Australian citizen this scares the S… Out of me.

          1. LilaJean

            Not so sure that the CCP is really going to do so well what with floods & second-wave virus. Guess we will see.

      2. David Carl Grimes

        If Trump was replaced by Romney, Biden would be toast. I’ll vote for him over Sleepy Joe any day.

              1. ambrit

                See, there you go again, expecting ‘honesty’ from politicos.
                However, since Obamacare was originally Romneycare, we could consider a Romney administration as a continuance of the Clinton-Bush-Obama Axis of (Lesser) Evils.

              2. David Carl Grimes

                A least Romney is not demented. He will be the real power on the throne. With Biden, I’m not so sure. His VP pick, his cabinet will be more important.

  13. Oh

    This article is total wishful thinking and day dreaming by the author. No matter what a President does in office, he’s never been prosecuted. Even Trump knows that he can always make a deal for Pence to pardon him “for any crimes he committed or may have committed”. We don’t have a Democracy in the US. It’s at best an Oligarchy and the rich band together while fools go to vote thinking it makes a difference.

    1. KFritz

      You’re discounting a possible event because it would be a historical anomoly. Trump’s election–a complete political outsider with virutally no backing from established elites and pundits elected POTUS–was a huge historical anomoly. Numerous state and local prosecutors in blue constituencies are salivating at the thought of charging and prosecuting Trump. I think that a blanket pre-emptive pardon may be unconstitutional.

  14. Mikel

    It wasn’t that long ago Trump was being criticized for implementing international travel bans.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The EU travel ban on US tourism is completely rational, unlike Trump’s restrictions.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          That was a bit unnecessarily categorical, thanks for the correction. The EU ban on travel from the US is the only sane policy from their perspective right now.

  15. Susan the other

    I have no intuition any more on what has been gained, what has been lost and what is at stake. I do believe we have all witnessed the end of an era, call it Liberal or Neoliberal or Neoconservative The only thing I continue to think is that if the Democrats win in 2020 there will be a war somewhere. A very stupid one. And my greatest concern, as always, is that the U.S. Congress does not know, nor does it want to know, how to govern in a modern world. We need new institutions or “organs” of government as the Russians say. I don’t think it is possible to have a president with more gravitas than a game show host ever again with the inept, hapless, squabbling government we have allowed to evolve.

  16. ObjectiveFunction

    Hoping NTGeithner weighs in here.

    For my part, while I appreciate the question being tabled at NC, I find the resignation issue yet more magical thinking, touted by the same crowd who never accepted the inconvenient truth of Trump’s election, and in the 4 years since have never tried to understand the actual motives of the many millions who pulled a lever for him knowing full well who he is.

    Pretty much all voters, other than the (mouthy, bullying) ~25% who will vote for a ham sandwich if it unseats Trump, are aware that Joe Biden, in the way of nature, is becoming nonfunctional month-to-month as a thinking human being. His record, for good or ill, is now irrelevant. Joe needs to retire to his mansion overlooking Chesapeake Bay and leer creepily at the nice caregiver who changes his diaper (presumably not Jill).

    Deep down everyone seems to know the Dem VP pick is the real Presidential candidate. The 2020 campaign really doesn’t start until that figure is declared. Once the heartland gets a look at who the (distant, elitist, judgmental, humorless) spokeswoman is to be for the Establishment, the electorate will promptly revert to its rough 50/50 split, and at that stage the fighting will be hand to hand.

    In the meantime the latest Covid ‘crisislet’ will have played out, for better or worse, and Americans’ primary worries will once again be pocketbook/kitchen table, with Corporate America shedding middle class managers hand over fist. The winner will be the one who can attract the fearful swing voter.

    Once Bernie folded prior to lockdown, I was expecting Trump in a walk over Drooling Joe + Door Number 2 (Kamala). But now I don’t think it’s easy to call.


      1. Aumua

        This is a completely off-the-cuff observation, but it seems more contagious, but perhaps less deadly. So maybe it’s 6 of one, a half dozen of the other? It remains dangerous regardless.

    1. tegnost

      Deep down everyone seems to know the Dem VP pick is the real Presidential candidate. The 2020 campaign really doesn’t start until that figure is declared. Once the heartland gets a look at who the (distant, elitist, judgmental, humorless) spokeswoman is to be for the Establishment, the electorate will promptly revert to its rough 50/50 split, and at that stage the fighting will be hand to hand.
      I think you pretty much nailed it there, and the existential quagmire the DNC finds itself in now is who to choose that won’t reveal their (the DNC et al.) own deceptions. Right now the choices are a cop, and insurance executive, a policy wonk whatever that is, and etc…whoever it is must appeal to “moderate republicans”. Now biden can go the entire race just being not trump, but the choice of vp will expose policy preferences whether they like it or not. Rock and a hard place. Thus the stalling.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          If that’s right (and it may well be), it would pretty much disqualify anybody who was in the primaries — either as too much of a known quantity or as someone who tried to get known and failed.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        There is one perfect Dem VP candidate for the moment: Cory Booker. His rhetoric is completely awesome and a great fit for the moment, yet he is solidly in hands of Wall Street, big Pharma, etc. Hilariously, the brilliance of the Dems is evident once again, in preemptively ruling him out for idpol reasons.

        I don’t think they are stalling because the VP choice is so difficult. I just think they are waiting for the last possible moment to (try to) avoid picking someone who later blows up. I mean, how fortunate are they that Biden didn’t already select Klobuchar, who apparently was his first choice?

        1. edmondo

          Cory Booker is a cypher. He would be perfect as the Dem VP. I wonder how he looks in a dress?

  17. steven

    Something that might force his resignation, though, is so far low on people’s radar, but it shouldn’t be — the EU travel ban on Americans entering Europe.

    Ah, but the author missed something even more delicious: As COVID-19 explodes in Arizona, Sonora to close border to nonessential travel

    To be fair:

    Border checkpoints will remain in place in Nogales, Agua Prieta and San Luis Rio Colorado, turning away travelers from Arizona who aren’t engaged in essential activity, such as work activities or seeking medical care.

    But the Lukeville/Sonoyta crossing will allow passage to Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point or “Arizona’s beach,” according to the office of Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich.

  18. chuck roast

    Given the temper of the times I’m seeing Jared Kushner as Trump’s Ghislaine Maxwell. He’s the boy that buried the bodies. I think Roy Cohen was Trump’s lawyer at one time. One of our genius/comedian commenters suggested that the over/under on Ghislaine was 23 days. I wonder what O/U on Trump’s bag-man is?

    1. Synoia

      Is you are correct, I’d bet that Jared is watched over by the Mossad as “one of theirs” and the Mossad is generally effective in what they protect.

      1. Tony Wright

        Well, that would explain Trump’s attitude to Israeli de facto annexation of the West Bank. And by their total lack of support for West Bank arabs and all the millions of Syrian refugees the Saudis under MBS have shown that they do not give a s… about the welfare of their Sunni brethren elsewhere. Hence also the lack of criticism of the Saudis by Trump when Khashoggi was assassinated and dismembered.
        Birds of a feather.

  19. d

    i doubt that trump will resign. cause the real question is will he leave if he looses? the theory seems to be that he will claim that the election was corrupted by fraud in voting. and then his DOJ will ‘investigate’ these ‘crimes’. and that buying doing that they give the states the ability to appoint electors, who the legislature approves (note there are quite a few legislatures). which the electors will be their electors, leading to Trump winning the election based on electoral college. not sure that the election has to be accepted by the Congress, which might be the only hitch in this plan

  20. ptb

    my 2 cents…

    This article is premature, because the argument depends completely on Republicans (and Trump himself) being confident that Biden would win.

    That in turn depends on there not being a recovery from Covid in the next couple months. Despite doing everything wrong for half a year, states like FL and TX finally got the memo, and a month or two from now the wave will pass – the question being whether the average age of the infected can remain low.

    But in terms of purely cynical politics, look at it this way. However bad the death toll that is already in the pipeline, it will likely be less than NY. That comparison is how they will spin the direct effects of the Covid situation. The politics of the economic fallout will then follow. For that, Congress either passes another round of cash handouts, in which case the Trump campaign attempts to take credit, or Congress does not pass it, in which case the Trump campaign attempts to blame Dems for that. In other words, there remains a path forward politically. Thus too soon to be talking about all this.

    Would it make sense for Repubs to replace Trump now? No.
    Would Trump want to leave anyway? Probably not.
    Would it be an effective tactic for Republicans to sub in someone else, once Dems commit to Biden? Quite possibly.

  21. GK

    I suppose anything is possible, but Trump’s resigning seems very unlikely to me. Most importantly, I think he and much of his base really do believe things are going well and they can win again with white resentment. That has been the foundation of Trump’s life, I doubt he’ll decide he was wrong now, and there’s literally no one in his inner circle who can tell him otherwise. It’s possible that some elected Republicans will publicly repudiate him if his polling gets even worse, in the hope of saving themselves in November. But they have no credible way to remove him if he refuses to resign (unlike with Nixon, where Senate Republicans could threaten him with resign or be removed anyway). As for the resign + pardon deal, I doubt Trump thinks he ever did anything wrong so why would he think he needed a pardon? If Pence pardoned him, the stink would only further doom Republicans. And it’s hard to see why Biden or the Democrats would agree to such a deal — why would they choose to run against Pence?

    Even absent a deal, and even assuming Biden wins, I doubt Trump will be prosecuted anyway. Biden’s premise is restoring long-standing norms and prosecuting Trump, no matter how guilty he is of a crime, will look political. The received wisdom is that Ford was a “statesman” for pardoning Nixon an while I doubt Biden would pardon Trump, the pressure to choose not prosecute will be overwhelming — from “serious” mainstream media outlets and leading Democrats, not to mention Fox News and Trump’s base, some of whom would see any prosecution as grounds for armed rebellion.

    In short, I think the Republicans’ least bad choice is to stick with Trump and put their hopes in voter suppression/developments breaking their way. And I think they think that, too.

  22. Kim Kaufman

    Some have speculated that Bill Barr’s firing of Berman at SDNY was part of his attempt to protect Trump from state prosecution. The timing may have been connected to the arrest of Ghislane Maxwell. He’s the key here to any possible resignation of Trump, I think.

    1. Rod

      imo—Ghislane Maxwells arrest in NH after 9 months of “unknown whereabouts”, at this time in America would have the Spiderman’s Senses twitching uncontrollably.
      How much reporting has anyone seen on the Estate Fire in the Virgin Islands following Epsteins suicide?

      1. ambrit

        Good heavens! Your point is right to the mark. Although, the only reference I could find on the google was to a Jan. 2019 article in something called the Clover Chronicle.
        “Move along! Move along! Nothing to see here.”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        As indicated below, the Southern District is a Federal district. The DoJ organizes its regional offices to correspond with Federal court districts.

        It has nada to do with NY state prosecutions. That is why Trump could fire Berman. Anyone who conflates SDNY with state prosecutions has demonstrated they don’t know what they are talking about.

  23. Kurt Sperry

    Trump will be impeached, Trump will resign; looks like similar TDS fever dreams to me.

    1. DJG

      Kurt Sperry: Yep. What we are seeing in the main post is the usual inability among U.S. liberals to engage in politics. All Nancy Pelosi has to do is (1) tear up Trump’s speech and (2) show up in kente cloth–and our problems are over. What with the political genius of Steny Hoyer, you can expect the land of Cuccagna next week.

      What is being glossed over is that Trump isn’t unique or uniquely evil. He is a product of the corruption of the U.S. elites, the culture of speculation, and the lack of social trust and solidarity in the U S of A. Mainstream liberals benefited from the hollowing out of U.S. culture and now expect government to change by intelligence leaks and sex scandals.

  24. Glen

    There is no way Trump will resign, and it will be difficult to get him to leave after loosing an election.

  25. Big River Bandido

    I was fully expecting this article to be a case of Betteridge’s Law. It ought to have been.

  26. ChrisAtRU

    I am suspicious of this trope if only because it’s been making the rounds in decidedly liberal circles for a while now. In a sense, it was the dark horse bet on the flip side of impeachment. Granted, IMHO, I still believe that Trump never started out actually wanting to be president, but whatever dreams of he had of being a kingmaker in 2016, and leveraging that for his television pursuits, quickly dissipated under the fair skies of the power he’s come to relish.

    Enter The Pandemic

    This has thrown a wrench in the works for sure, but given the flaccid opposition in the form of team Dem, it’s obvious Trump understands that as horrible as things are, and despite mainstream media spin to the contrary, November is not a done and dusted Democrat win. Remember, when in the heat of the 2016 race, a bemused Hillary Clinton, failing to pull away from Trump in polls, asked rhetorically,” … why aren’t I up by 50 points?!” The same could be asked of Biden candidacy today – why after nearly four horrible years of Trump and the abject failure of his handling of the Coronavirus, isn’t Biden running away with this thing? I would be very surprised if Trump were to resign at any point from here on out. The article hits the nail on the head when it suggests that the average American doesn’t travel abroad. People in the professional and credentialed classes do, and who knows? We may see exemptions for members of that class and the uber-rich.

    Trump has a plan. Keep his base happy. One thing that might put a dent in his plan is if a substantial number his non-mask-wearing, but-muh-freedomz supporters were to start getting sick and succumbing to the virus. However, his poor turnout in Tulsa shows that many of them – perhaps skewing older, and as such more wary – are certainly wise enough to avoid crowds as a precaution. He can still count on their vote in November, though, and that’s what ultimately matters.

  27. anon in so cal

    Early on, this article summarized the across-the-board failures re: the pandemic:

    The WHO, CDC, MSM, WH, Congress, elite universities, etc. No one gets off the hook.

    Otherwise, there’s no question Trump continues to botch the response. But look at California, with one-party Democratic control of the state. CA was first to lockdown, just as it did during the 1918 flu pandemic. And CA repeated those same mistakes: reopening too early. Now, the case count is off the charts, and Los Angeles County has staggering daily numbers. Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti finally admitted the other day that the protests may have had something to do with the current out-of-control uptick. However, I suspect it is mostly people out carousing in bars and eating inside restaurants. In my solidly blue neighborhood, I see people out and about with no masks, strolling, hiking, walking their dogs, stopping to chat—right up in one another’s faces. The house parties have stopped in the airbnbs, but neighbors still have get-togethers. I live near some rock musicians and they regularly have pool parties. These people are totally oblivious to Trump.
    CA Gov Newsom recently reinstated the shutdown of bars, eat-in restaurants, and wineries. But the rumor is he exempted his own winery.

    NC posted about this pollster who correctly predicted 2016 (as did the LA Times / USC Dornslife polls):

    >” why after nearly four horrible years of Trump and the abject failure of his handling of the Coronavirus, isn’t Biden running away with this thing? ”

    Because many are informed about Biden’s racist, war profiteering record. How would Biden improve the response to the pandemic? Martial law? Total shutdown? One thing for sure: the bombing in Syria would probably quickly resume along with payments to “rebels.” The proxy war with Russia in Ukraine? Unfinished business. Quite frankly, there seems to be a certain plausibility to the CTs that hold that the protests have morphed into something larger. Right now, are they Dems’ only election strategy? Mark Ames weighed in on Soros’ links to the Maidan.

  28. maplesyrup

    Wrong words, poorly written sentences, too speculative? Dunno….but again….I’m afraid that Trump may see himself as our sovereign (or soon to be) & when election time rolls ’round……..well……..political parties
    may loose their ….relevance?

    1. edmondo

      Wrong words, poorly written sentences, too speculative?

      And now you know why no one reads Down with Tyranny anymore.

  29. Synoia

    The US Covid 19 case numbers raise the question:

    What is the possible maximum case load of cases without letting seniors die in the streets?

    A country maintaining a low case count is betting on an early vaccine. A country managing the case load to avoid seniors collapsing in the streets is betting on some form of immunity, even if short lived.

    I do not wish people to become ill, or die. There is, however, a manageable case load that gets to then end of this pandemic more quickly, absent a vaccine.

    Even if an effective vaccine arrived tomorrow, there would still be the issue of process to make and deliver billions of inoculations, and the further question of the length of immunity provided by the vaccine, or a re-inoculation rate.

    For example: If the vaccine is effective for 6 months, then we would need many billions of inoculations every year.

    The US appears to be on the path of managing bed count by lock-down, without the assuming an effective vaccine is on the horizon.

    Is that the wrong plan? Or should the the disease be suppressed with lock-down and hope for speedy delivery of a yet to be produced and distributed vaccine?

    What is not constructive is being alarmist. Acknowledge these two possible approaches. This coupled with the propaganda, likes and lack of information from our leaders to drive the discussion, is how the US media appears to drive all problems.

    One see talking heads, just trying to score points in a sound bite.

    Having an ethos which forces people to be on the defensive on all issues, and blaming them when they admit they are poor at predicting the future, is noting more than sensationalism and totally unproductive.

    It appears as a major contribution to the atmosphere of secrecy and lying in the US, and is enormously destructive of any civil discourse.

  30. shinola

    Many mentions of Trump’s “crimes” but, so far, no specifics.

    Just what crimes has Trumps committed that no prior prez. hasn’t also committed (as well as many prior & current congress critters) & gotten away with scot-free?

    Compared to Bush/Cheney, Trump’s transgressions are mere faux pas.

    Resign? Unlikely.

  31. Shiloh1

    I’d vote for “Gorbachev on steroids”.

    Dissolve the federal government. All debts are null and void.

    Each sovereign state ‘works out’ whether it will remain whole or break further into smaller pieces.

    What were separate states or new entities can ‘work out’ to combine to form their own new country, even if it is the former state or a smaller piece thereof.

    It won’t be holy, it won’t be Roman, and it won’t be an empire.

    Happy Independence Day!

  32. kareninca

    Trump has spent his entire adult life collecting dirt on powerful people, and some of that dirt is now being put to use. He seems to be thriving on the pressures of the office of presidency, or at any rate he hasn’t aged much in appearance. He would have no reason to trust a deal given to him to leave office. So I really don’t know why anyone would expect him to resign; that just sounds like some sort of fantasy. In addition, everyone I know who voted for Trump (not many people, I’ll admit) still favors him. So I’m not sure I trust the polls. I do expect Biden to win (if he is kept hidden), but that doesn’t mean the polls are legit.

  33. RickV

    “First, U.S. Covid infection rates are never going to drop under the current regimen and under this administration.”

    Not necessarily, according to the Worldometer website, US cases are now about 9% of the population. Without mitigation, such as masks or social distancing, the cases are doubling every month so 18% by Aug 1. 36% by Sept 1 and 72% by Oct 1 which is basically herd immunity level. This could happen in Trump’s red states, at least, which have very few mitigating measures, of course, excluding seniors and high risk individuals. At a minimum, it would be enough to turn the slope of the new cases curve down so Trump could legitimately claim victory over Covid for the entire month of October.

    1. vlade

      About 50% of cases are likely asymptomatic, based on the latest papers I saw. So it could be way faster. But, at the same time, the death rate runs at 5% of detected cases (most of which are symptomatic, let’s assume all). So if by Sep 36% of the population had symptomatic infection, 2% of population are dead Tthis is conservative number, as the ICUs would be swamped at this rate by August across the country, and the death rate would creep towards 15% or so, which is the “require ICU treatment” mark IIRC.

      2% of population is > 4 million people.

      With 4 million dead, yes, I can see how Trump could call it a victory, but doubt many would listen.

    2. fajensen

      Don’t forget that an unknown portion of the infected, whether they are asymptomatic or not, will end up with kidney-, liver-, lung-, brain-, other (…..)- issues, that will keep cropping up starting from now and for years after the mass infection event.

      Every case of those will be reminding people what a total fiasco “Heard Immunity” & “This is Just A Flu” was.

  34. none

    Trump resigning is a pipe dream, Biden being unable to serve is a realistic possibility, but if Biden steps down / DNC decides not to nominate him, they will nominate some neolib instead. Andrew Cuomo’s name used to come up a lot but Hillary Clinton is also waiting in the wings. This is why they fought to get Bernie off of primary ballots after he suspended his campaign and even after Biden clinched the nom. They don’t want Bernie to have enough delegates to affect the process.

    Meanwhile that graph of US vs EU infection counts is horrible. Here is another horrible graph, this one US only, but separating red states from blue states:

    Origin and discussion of the graph are here:

  35. furies


    It’s LOSE

    LOOSE is a different word with different meanings.

    I’ve seen this misused much on this thread and it’s a huge pet peeve.

    Language is important and ours is being destroyed by spellcheck and sloppiness.

    I communicated yesterday with a farmer I found on Craigslist…and was very impressed. His entire linked website had zero misspellings. Such a rare thing these days including many of the blogs I regularly visit.

    A small thing, perhaps when the world around us is crumbling. But it bugs the crap outta me.

  36. anon75

    If Trump’s intuitions about the severity of Covid-19 are not wildly (say 5+ times the yearly flu death total? more?) wrong by Nov., then my guess is that those intuitions will “trump” perceived policy errors; i.e. there’s no arguing with success even if by apparent luck.

    Plus, I read Trump is supporting new “stimulus checks” which I imagine are wildly popular and justly so given our unjust economic system.

    Plus, I doubt Trump supporters will be scared away from the polls by fear of catching a disease…

    Plus, there are many who need to be humiliated by the rejection by the voters that yet another Trump win would signify.

    Then Trump’s problem would be to have so popular a 2nd term that his legal problems post-office would be small. That might be a teachable moment for Trump, one can hope.

    1. vlade

      The covid deaths are already 2x the average flu season deaths (120k vs 50-60k a year), and it looks like it will get worse before it gets bettter. With flu, you usually do not get hospitals running out of ICU beds, which seems to be the situation in a number of US counties now.

      The “he’d humiliate” argument is not really an argument, it’s a wish.

      Trump may support stimulus cheques, not sure whether it would pass the Republican house/Senate though (or Dems, although if Dems didn’t support it in some way, it would be dumb beyond measure, but they ARE Dems, so who knows).

      The Trumpies not being scared away by some virus is a good point. Unless they are of course incapacitcated by the virus or dead of the virus, or having had near-death experience with the virus (in which case they may not be Trumpies anymore).

      TBH, it’s pretty much all speculation. Short of any major development making it a foregone conclusion either way, early Oct is the soonest people could make reasonable educated guesses.

  37. vlade

    Trump will never resign if he has anything to say about it. He will not even consider resigning in return for a pardon, because I very much doubt he’s capable of such a rational analysis. I believe he genuinely sees himself as THE guy now (that might not have been the case when he run and expected to lose, but things change) and believes his own bullshit.

    I very much suspect that if he does lose the elections, he will try to claim it was stolen from him and cause problems. How big problems it will be, we may well see in a few months time. TBH, I do not worry too much about the army/police, as the “cooler” Republican heads will take care of those (former Republican president most of them supported at some time trying to run a coup would not run well with Republicans. Unless the coup was sucessfull of course). But Trump fanatics are armed, so we’ll see. Amongst the things I’m curious to see (but hope we won’t) whether police are as keen to pacify automatic weapon wielding white Trump supporters as they are blacks and others.

    1. Calypso Facto

      Amongst the things I’m curious to see (but hope we won’t) whether police are as keen to pacify automatic weapon wielding white Trump supporters as they are blacks and others.

      In many places where the protests got violent there was lots of cellphone footage either directly showing cops warning off right wingers with guns prior to sweeping the black and leftist protestors, or implying the cops were using right wing militias as additional intimidation. Prior to the BLM protests there were anti-lockdown protests where they brought their guns into capitol buildings and the police allowed themselves to be screamed at without getting violent with those protestors.

  38. Tom Stone

    Not much mention of the Pathogen here,both Trump and Pence have co morbidities and there have already been a number of SS protective detail agents who have tested positive for Covid-19.
    As has Kimberly Guilfoyle.
    There’s a good chance on or both of these men will contract Kung Flu and become incapacitated even with the best medical care.
    That would open things up in a bigly way.

  39. Chris

    I could see Trump suffering some kind of awful consequences from contracting COVID-19 as a reason he ends his term early. I can’t see other ways he leaves short of losing the election. I still think the jury is out on whether Biden and his puppet masters are a lock for that.

    I’m not sure how worried Trump should be about any criminal prosecution. Nothing he has done and could be credibly accused of in court is unique to him. For example, if people started seriously prosecuting people for charity fraud, the Clinton’s and hiw many others go down too. Ditto for insider trading and the emoluments clause.

    Trump doesn’t have norms. He has interests. He’s nearly feral. His political opponents still don’t understand this about him. I also think they’ve lost the plot with the people. You can throw as much science as you like on the side of the protests and why they weren’t a risk but church and service remain risky. An awful lot of voting citizens will always view that as a purely biased political decision and they’ll happily vote for Trump because he was against it.

  40. Phil in KC

    From what I have read, Trump’s greatest fear is public humiliation. I am sure he is weighing options, but one thing not on the table is giving his enemies (who would relish his humiliation) what they want. Hence, he won’t resign, even though being the President is not as fun as it was just a few months ago. So there is an internal struggle, in my opinion.

    A Trump resignation is indeed magical thinking.

    On the other hand, I do worry about Trump’s physical health. He’s only three years younger than Biden. No exercise, terrible diet, sketchy reports on his health, crackpot doctors, and he just hasn’t been looking good of late. He’s the sort of guy who will go full tilt until he hits a wall and then he’ll just crumble overnight. Have seen it before.

  41. VietnamVet

    The Elite can’t rule over their properties if they are unable to visit them and first class professionals won’t earn their salaries if quarantined in hotel rooms. The Empire is over. Former vassals will blame coronavirus.

    Donald Trump has always been able to pull the fat out of the fire. He can gamble that he will win the election or make a deal beforehand where Joe Biden goes, he gets out of jail, and Mitt Romney is the consensus caretaker. But this certifies that democracy is dead. No matter what happens, the non-response to the pandemic and the death of 130,000 Americans so far make Donald Trump’s chance of winning a second term too great of a gamble for the global Elite, if they realize it or not. The death of hundreds of thousands, the greatest depression, end of democracy, and quarantines guarantee unrest. Divide and conquer will not work much longer as the pandemic rages. The West’s ruling class is on the cusp of being overthrown unless democracy is restored and the pandemic conquered.

  42. ChrisPacific

    I think the fundamental problem with this article is that it’s an analysis of whether it makes sense for Trump to stay on from a party politics perspective. Yes, it all makes sense in terms of traditional politics, but if what the Republican and Democrat establishments wanted amounted to a hill of beans in 2016 (even if they were in agreement) then Trump would never have been elected.

    What matters is what Trump, himself, thinks – and even the most casual Trump observer would have to conclude that resigning would be an admission of defeat and that admitting defeat is the last thing that Trump is ever likely to do. If he goes down – as is looking increasingly likely – then he will find somebody other than himself to blame for it. All you have to do is listen to his 4th of July speech to confirm that.

    If we take it as given that he will never go willingly, then I think the only Constitutional mechanism available to remove him is impeachment. While that would certainly be possible with Republican help, it would require them all to eat a spectacular amount of crow (given all the high dudgeon about the earlier impeachment proceedings) and probably significantly hurt their chances in elections in the near term. I don’t see them being willing to make the sacrifice.

  43. Roland

    I still give Trump 50-50 in November. Pre-covid, I thought he had it 2 to 1 in his favour.

    The Dems are just running another nondescript Establishoid. People don’t like or trust the Establishment any more than they did four years ago.

  44. Jack Parsons

    When he was elected, a few long-time Trump watchers claimed that he would decide the job was a pain in the neck, and would fake a heart attack to get out of it.

    Still waiting.

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