So Trump Loses. What Happens Then?

By Rajan Menon, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the Powell School, City College of New York, senior research fellow at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, and a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Originally published at Tom Dispatch.

Donald Trump isn’t just inside the heads of his Trumpster base; he’s long been a consuming obsession among those yearning for his defeat in November. With barely more than a week to go before the election of our lifetime, those given to nail biting as a response to anxiety have by now gnawed ourselves down to the quick. And many have found other ways to manage (or mismanage) their apprehensions through compulsive rituals, which only ratchet up the angst of the moment, among them nonstop poll tracking, endless “what if” doomsday-scenario conversations with friends, and repeated refrigerator raids.

As one of those doomsday types, let me briefly suggest a few of the commonplace dystopian possibilities for November. Trump gets the majority of the votes cast in person on November 3rd. A Pew Research Center survey found that 60% of those supporting the president intend to vote that way on Election Day compared to 23% of Biden supporters; and a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll likewise revealed a sizable difference between Republicans and Democrats, though not as large. He does, however, lose handily after all mail-in and absentee ballots are counted. Once every ballot is finally tabulated, Biden prevails in the popular vote and ekes out a win in the Electoral College. The president, however, having convinced his faithful that voting by mail will result in industrial-scale fraud (unless he wins, of course), proclaims that he — and “the American people” — have been robbed by the establishment. On cue, outraged Trumpsters, some of them armed, take to the streets. Chaos, even violence, ensues. The president’s army of lawyers frenetically file court briefs contesting the election results and feverishly await a future Supreme Court decision, Mitch McConnell having helpfully rammed through Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to produce a 6-3 conservative majority (including three Trump-appointed Supremes) that will likely favor him in any disputed election case.

Or the vote tally shows that Trump didn’t prevail in pivotal states, but in state legislatures with Republican majorities, local GOP leaders appoint electors from their party anyway, defying the popular will without violating Article II, Section I, of the Constitution, which doesn’t flat-out prohibit such a stratagem. That was one possibility Barton Gellman explored in his bombshell Atlantic piece on the gambits Trump could use to snatch victory (of a sort) from the jaws of a Biden victory. Then there are the sundry wag-the-dog plots, including a desperate Trump trying to generate a pre-election rally-around-the-flag effect by starting a war with Iran — precisely what, in 2011, he predicted Barack Obama would do to boost his chances for reelection.

And that, of course, is just part of a long list of nightmarish possibilities. Whatever your most dreaded outcome, dwelling on it doesn’t make for happiness or even ephemeral relief. Ultimately, it’s not under your control. Besides, no one knows what will happen, and some prominent pundits have dismissed such apocalyptic soothsaying with assurances that the system will work the way it’s supposed to and foil Trumpian malfeasance. Here’s hoping.

In the meantime, let’s summon what passes for optimism these days. Imagine that none of the alarmist denouements materializes. Biden wins the popular vote tally and the Electoral College. The GOP’s leaders discover that they do, in fact, have backbones (or at least the instinct for political survival), refusing to echo Trump’s rants about rigging. The president rages but then does go, unquietly, into the night.

Most of my friends on the left assume that a new dawn would then emerge. In some respects, it indeed will. Biden won’t be a serial liar. That’s no small matter. By the middle of this year, Trump had made false or misleading pronouncements of one sort or another more than 20,000 times since becoming president. Nor will we have a president who winks and nods at far-right groups or racist “militias,” nor one who blasts a governor — instead of expressing shock and solidarity — soon after the FBI foils a plot by right-wing extremists to kidnap her for taking steps to suppress the coronavirus. We won’t have a president who repeatedly intimates that he will remain in office even if he loses the election. We won’t have a president who can’t bring himself to appeal to Americans to display their patriotism through the simple act of donning masks to protect others (and themselves) from Covid-19. And we won’t have a president who lacks the compassion to express sorrow over the 225,000 Americans (and rising) who have been killed by that disease, or enough respect for science and professional expertise, to say nothing of humility, to refrain from declaring, as his own experts squirm, that warm weather will cause the virus to vanish miraculously or that injections of disinfectant will destroy it.

And these, of course, won’t be minor victories. Still, Joe Biden’s arrival in the Oval Office won’t alter one mega-fact: Donald Trump will hand him a monstrous economic mess. Worse, in the almost three months between November 3rd and January 20th, rest assured that he will dedicate himself to making it even bigger.

The motivation? Sheer spite for having been put in the position — we know that he will never accept any responsibility for his defeat — of facing what, for him, may be more unbearable than death itself: losing. The gargantuan challenge of putting the economy back on the rails while also battling the pandemic would be hard enough for any new president without the lame-duck commander-in-chief and Senate Republicans sabotaging his efforts before he even begins. The long stretch between Election Day and Inauguration Day will provide Donald Trump ample time to take his revenge on a people who will have forsaken, in his opinion, the best president ever.

More on Trump’s vengeance, but first, let’s take stock of what awaits Biden should he win in November.

Our Covid-Ravaged Economy

To say that we are, in some respects, experiencing the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s is anything but hyperbole. The statistics make that clear. The economy had contracted at a staggering annual rate of 31.4% during the second quarter of this pandemic year. During the 2007-2009 Great Recession, unemployment, at its height, was 10%. This year’s high point, in April, was 14.7%. Over the spring, 40 million jobs disappeared, eviscerating all gains made during the two pre-pandemic years.

There were, however, some relatively recent signs of a rebound. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s survey of economic forecasters, released in mid-August, yielded an estimate of a 19.1% expansion for the third quarter of 2020. But that optimism came in the wake of Congress passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, on March 27th, which pumped about $2.2 trillion into the economy. The slowdown in job growth between July and September suggests that its salutary effects may be petering out. Even with that uptick, the economy remains in far worse shape than before the virus started romping through the landscape.

However, while useful, aggregate figures obscure stark variations in how the pain produced by a Covid-19 economy has been felt across different parts of American society. No, we aren’t all in this together, if by “together” you mean anything remotely resembling equalized distress. A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release, for instance, reveals that September’s 7.9% nationwide unemployment rate hit some groups far harder than others.

The jobless rate for whites dropped to 7%, but for Hispanics it was 10.3%, for African Americans 12.1%. Furthermore, high-skill, high-wage workers have gotten off far more lightly than those whose jobs can’t be done from home, including restaurant servers and cooks, construction workers, meatpackers, housecleaners, agricultural laborers, subway, bus, and taxi drivers, first responders, and retail and hotel staff, among others. For workers like them, essential public health precautions, whether “social distancing” or stay-at-home decrees, haven’t just been an inconvenience. They have proven economically devastating. These are the Americans who are struggling hardest to buy food and pay the rent.

More than 25 million of them fall in the lowest 20% of the earnings scale and — no surprise here — have, at best, the most meager savings. According to the Fed’s calculations, of the bottom 25% of Americans, only 11% have what they require for at least six months of basic expenses and less than 17% for at least three. Yes, unemployment insurance helps, but depending on the state, it covers just 30% to 50% of lost wages. Moreover, there’s no telling when, or whether, such workers will be rehired or find new jobs that pay at least as much. The data on long-term unemployment isn’t encouraging. The BLS reports that, in September, 2.4 million workers had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, another 4.9 million for 15 to 27 weeks.

These disparities and the steps the Fed has taken, including keeping interest rates low and buying treasury bills, mortgage-backed securities, and corporate bonds, help explain why high stock prices and massive economic suffering have coexisted, however incongruously, during the pandemic. The problem with bull markets, however, is that they don’t bring direct gains to the chunk of American society that’s been hurt the most.

Nearly half of American households own no stock at all, according to the Federal Reserve Bank, even if you count pension and 401k plans or Individual Retirement Accounts — and for black and Hispanic families the numbers are 69% and 72%, respectively. Furthermore, the wealthiest 10% of households own 84% of all stock.

Trump preens when the stock market soars, as he did on April 10th, when 16 million Americans had just filed for unemployment. Tweets trumpeting “the biggest Stock Market increase since 1974” were cold comfort for Americans who could no longer count on paychecks.

The Signs of Suffering

Even such numbers don’t fully reveal the ways in which prolonged joblessness has upended lives. To get a glimpse of that, consider how low-income workers, contending with extended unemployment, have struggled to pay for two basic necessities: housing and food.

Reuters reported in late July that Americans already owed $21.5 billion in back rent. Worse yet, 17.3 million of the country’s 44 million renter households couldn’t afford to pay the landlord and faced possible eviction. A fifth of all renters had made only partial payments that month or hadn’t paid anything. Again, not surprisingly, some were in more trouble than others. In September, 12% of whites owed back rent compared to 25% of African Americans, 24% of Asians, and 22% of Latinos. A May Census Bureau survey revealed that nearly 45% of African Americans and Hispanics but “only” 20% of whites had little or no confidence in their ability to make their June rent payments. (Households with kids were in an even bigger bind.)

The rent crunch also varied depending on a worker’s education, a reliable predictor of earnings. Workers with high school diplomas earned only 60% as much as workers who had graduated from college and only 50% of those with a master’s degree. And the more education workers had, the less likely they were to be laid off. Between February and August, 2.5% of employees with college degrees lost their jobs compared to nearly 11% of those who hadn’t attended college.

Those, then, are the Americans most likely to be at risk of eviction. Yes, the federal government, states, and cities have issued rent moratoriums, but the protections in them varied considerably and, by August, they had ended in 24 of the 43 states that enacted them; nor did they release renters from future obligations to pay what they owe, sometimes with penalties. In addition, eviction stays haven’t stopped landlords nationwide from taking thousands of delinquent renters to court and even, depending on state laws, seeking to evict them. The courts are clogged with such cases. Eventually, millions of renters could face what a BBC report called a potential “avalanche” of evictions.

Nor have homeowners been safe. The CARES Act did include provisions to protect some of them, offering those with federal-backed mortgages the possibility of six-month payment deferrals, potential six-month extensions of that, and the possibility of negotiating affordable payment plans thereafter. In many cases, however, that “forbearance” initiative hasn’t worked as intended. Often, homeowners didn’t know about it or weren’t aware that they had to file a formal request with their lenders to qualify or got the run around when they tried to do so. Still, mortgage forbearance helped millions, but it expires in March 2021 when many homeowners could still be jobless or have new jobs that don’t pay as well. Just how desperate such people will be depends, of course, on how strongly Covid-19 resurges, what future shutdowns it produces, and when it will truly subside.

Meanwhile, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the residential mortgage delinquency rate hit 8.22% as the second quarter of 2020 ended, the highest since 2014. Meanwhile, between June and July, mortgage payments overdue 90 or more days increased by 20% to a total unseen since 2010. True, we’re not yet headed for defaults and foreclosures on the scale of the Great Recession of 2007-2008, but that’s a very high bar.

As for hunger, a September Census Bureau survey reports that 10.5% of adults, or 23 million people, stated that household members weren’t getting enough to eat. That’s a sharp increase from the 3.7% in a Department of Agriculture survey for 2019. In July, the Wall Street Journal reported, 12% of adults said their families didn’t have enough food (compared to 10% in May). A fifth of them lacked the money to feed their kids adequately, a three-percent increase from May. Recent food-insecurity estimates for households with children range from 27.5% to 29.5%.

Meanwhile, enrollments in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (known until 2008 as the Food Stamp Program) grew by 17% between February and May, forcing the government to increase its funding. Food banks, overwhelmed by demand, are pleading for money and volunteers. In August, a mile-long line of cars formed outside a food bank in Dallas, one of many such poignant scenes in cities across the country since the pandemic struck.

What Happens After the Election?

For those who have lost their jobs, the CARES Act provided $600 a week to supplement unemployment benefits, as well as a one-time payment of $1,250 per adult and $2,400 for married couples. That stipend, though, ended on July 31st when the Republican Senate balked at renewing it. In August, by executive order, the president directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to step in with three weeks of $300 payments, which were extended for another three. That, however, was half what they would have received had the CARES supplement been extended and, by October, most states had used up the Trump allotments.

In the ongoing congressional negotiations over prolonging supplemental benefits and other assistance, President Trump engaged, only to disengage. With a September ABC News/IPSOS voter survey showing that just 35% of the public approved of his handling of the pandemic, and Joe Biden having opened a double-digit lead in many polls, the president suddenly offered a $1.8 trillion version of the CARES Act, only to encounter massive blowback from his own party.

And that’s where we are as the election looms. If Trump loses (and accepts the loss), he will hand Joe Biden an economic disaster of the first order that he’s made infinitely worse by belittling mask-wearing and social distancing, disregarding and undercutting his administration’s own medical experts, peddling absurd nostrums, and offering rosy but baseless prognostications. And between November 3rd, Election Day, and January 20th, Inauguration Day, expect — hard as it might be to imagine — an angrier, more vengeful Trump.

For now, as his prospects for victory seem to dim, he has good reason to push for, or at least be seen as favoring, additional aid, but here’s a guarantee: if he loses in November, he won’t just moan about election rigging, he’ll also lose all interest in providing more help to millions of Americans at the edge of penury and despair. Vindictiveness, not sympathy, will be his response, even to his base, for whom he clearly has a barely secret disdain. So accept this guarantee, as well: between those two dates, whatever he does will be meant to undermine the incoming Biden administration. That includes working to make the climb as steep as possible for the rival he’s depicted as a semi-senile incompetent. He will want only one thing: to see his successor fail.

Once Trump formally hands over the presidency — assuming his every maneuver to retain power flops — he’ll work to portray any measure the new administration adopts to corral the virus he helped let loose and to aid those in need as profligacy, and as “socialism” and governmental overreach imperiling freedom. Last guarantee: he won’t waste a minute getting his wrecking operation underway, while “his” party will posture as the paragon of financial rectitude. It won’t matter that Republican administrations have racked up the biggest budget deficits in our history. They, too, will ferociously resist Biden’s efforts to help millions of struggling Americans.

And think of all of this, assuming Biden wins, as the “good news.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

151 comments

  1. Trisha

    What happens? As Biden has already promised “nothing will fundamentally change.”

    And let’s back up a bit, shall we? The economy was already devastated after 8 years of the Obama/Biden regime, racking up the biggest budget deficits in history up to that time, with millions losing their homes after the 2008 financial crisis and the first mega-bailout for the oligarchs.

    Democrat “help” for millions of struggling Americans paved the way for Trump’s election, including such assistance as the 1994 Crime Bill, financial de-regulation, Telecom reform act, militarization of the police, mass deportations, NAFTA, bloated war budgets, and massive socialism for corporations. Please spare us from any more help from Democrats!

    Reply
      1. polecat

        And which party took that neolibricon baton – 8 years double-plus bad! – since … and smacked the dirty plebs silly, as they threw a stale crumb down amongst the blue plantation dwellers ..whilst achieving ever greater hurdles of GRIFT ??

        Riddle me THAT!

        Reply
          1. foghorn longhorn

            Only because of clinton hoof prints.
            They went from somewhat beloved to pretty much hated in 2 short years.
            As a sidenote, it only took trump 2 days, progress!!!

            Reply
      2. Glen

        It’s not now, if it ever was, a party issue. In fact, if there is one thing that the Democrats and the Republicans agree on it’s that Wall St and the billionaires run this country, not the people.

        The people are a resource to be consumed.

        Reply
        1. Linda M Elkins

          Amen!! We, the people, are nothing but a “cog” in the wheel house of the wealthy. If we can’t (or won’t) work, then we need to die. That’s why Trump & Republicans have seized on the “herd immunity” idea. To them if 100 million of us would just die there would be so much more for them!! Population control on steroids.

          Reply
    1. Clem

      What happens? THE BIDEPRESSION

      Then in 2024 a conservative that will make Trump look like a pansy will be elected by grateful voters to clean up the mess.

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        You think it’ll take that long? Let’s say unemployment hits 1/3 Bidenville levels, Covid/opioid plagues drag on, botched relief, reparations grifting and set asides, media thought policing, power outages, new quagmire (Egypt, anyone?) etc. The Congressional Dems could be sent the way of the Whigs in 2022, becoming a fragmented rump party confined to black machine districts, college towns and a few rich lib enclaves.

        And then Speaker McCarthy is acclaimed Caesar after the GOP Senate supermajority removes drooling Joe and the Kamaleon for whatever ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ they please on Day One.

        Day 2 of course, that supermajority begins infighting.

        Reply
        1. d

          course it could be that B wins, and the economy comes back because the graft over head shrinks immensely leading less corruption every where. and maybe Congress will actually try to help, cause team red has no interest is helping the majority of the country (see that tax cut from 2017….oh yeah and get ready for the majority looses what tax cut they got from that…gee whiz wonder why team red never could run on that accomplishment?)
          course they might not…but they might also fix that enormous tax cut for the elites…just maybe??? but we know team red never ever will…nor can they admit they did it

          Reply
    2. Patrick

      Prior to his presidential aspirations, as Governor of Delaware Biden served as a pimp for the credit card companies. He’s had his hands on almost every single piece of financial legislation that’s inflicted grievous harm on consumers since then.

      Reply
      1. d

        of like that ‘tax cut’ …from 2017?..oh and the plan to stop collecting payroll taxes…..that would still have to be paid next april?
        those plans?

        Reply
    3. neo-realist

      Not to let Obama off the hook, but the Bush Cheney junta, due to massive Iraq war spending and the usual massive corporate welfare tax cuts, left hope and austerity with a large deficit. Not to mention that a lot of the chicanery in financial and mortgage sectors that led to 2008 meltdown happened on shrub’ s watch, i.e., not much watching.

      Reply
      1. d

        watching? we dont need watching…since they will magically do some thing that never has happened before….not commit massive fraud…cause they get more from the results?

        Reply
  2. lyman alpha blob

    Can we all just stop with this ‘election of a lifetime’ nonsense? Wasn’t 2004 the election of a lifetime? Then there was 2006 with Pelosi’s ‘elections have consequences’ even though that one turned out not to have any consequences at all. Then 2008 was the next most important election EVAH, followed by 2016 once Trump became the Republican nominee, and now 2020.

    This isn’t even the election of the decade for those not suffering from TDS at least.

    Ok, rant over, I will now read the rest if the article.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Ok I was wrong. I couldn’t make it past this part –

      Biden won’t be a serial liar.

      Funny, that’s how his own Democratic opponents portrayed him in previous presidential bids.

      Also, having skimmed the rest, The Democrat party not accepting the results if they lose and spending four years propagandizing the entire US population with false information about Russians to the point where a siginficant percentage of people believe something that is patently untrue doesn’t seem to be a problem for the author at all. It’s only bad if Trump doesn’t cave in and it’s imminent Armageddon if he asks for a recount. Meh.

      Reply
      1. Pavel

        That line jumped out at me as well. Biden may not lie as often as DJT but just as egregiously, starting with his claim to having 3 college degrees and finishing in the top of his class, to his more serious ones about being against the Iraq War, marching for civil rights, and other blatant attempts to cover up his past. And that’s not even including his long history of grifting.

        I am so sick of both parties and their lies I hope the USA breaks up into two or three smaller countries. The current one is too divided culturally, economically, and politically. And hopefully the newer, smaller ones wouldn’t inflict military destruction on other nations around the world.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Kind of like the breakup of the Soviet Union? Which sub-nation will own the nuclear weapons and tanks and attack aircraft and such like Articles of War? Who owns the state security apparatus, including the Great NSA Hoover Machine and the Mighty Wurlitzer? How will the CIA divvy up its assets? Will
          China end up playing Neocon Looter and swoop in to further corrupt the oligarch and snatch what’s left of natural resources? Slavery in the Beacon of Freedom again?

          The possibilities and permutations are endless. Maybe it will be the case the the Owners really do control everything, and a moiety of them would lose too much of their wealth to a Great Divvying Up and so the propaganda and state security apparatus would be deployed to “keep us all together” for more convenient End-game looting?

          Looks like Elon Musk and his coming fleet of Starships will maybe be on line and running off to Mars, the moon, the Asteroid Belt just in time for the Blessed Few and their servitors to avoid the worst effects of a collapse of the Great Experiment?

          Reply
        2. Linda M Elkins

          What country are you from? Not the United States!! How dare you insinuate that we should break into 2 or 3 separate countries. Kind of like the Baltic States? If you are so excited for a civil war then I suggest you enlist and all your yellow bellied family (kin or otherwise) along with you. I guarantee a real American will be standing ready and able to mow you down!!

          Reply
      2. Darthbobber

        Well, in sheer quantity I’ll concede that he won’t come near equalling Trump, but the Biden mendacity level is still pretty high, EVEN by the standards of career electoral politicians, whose relationship with the truth has always been pretty-uh-pragmatic as a group.

        And this doesn’t even take into account the loosey-goosey attitude toward truth displayed by the apparatchiks and doxosophers among the journalists and for-hire intelligentsia, who attempt to control the interpretive framework within which the politicians’utterances are judged.

        Reply
      3. Pelham

        Ha! I was about to write the same thing, about not getting past the “Biden won’t be a serial liar.” I’ll bet we’re far from being alone in that.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          Biden certainly is a serial liar. Has been for decades upon decades and I’m sure that isn’t going to change in the future. Trump is a serial bullshitter more than a serial liar, though he is a liar as well. There’s a difference.

          I’ll go out on a limb and make some predictions about a Biden administration: there will be at least one new war, a “grand deal” will be made on Social Security, the most that will be done on the healthcare front will be possibly raising the Medicare age and bringing back the non-enrollment punishments for the ACA. As I’ve said here before, if I was a US citizen in a place where my vote could make a difference I would likely vote for him, but feel sickened doing so. I would fully understand why others would take the option of write-ins, Green etc. though.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            We all know by now Trump does conflict word-salad judo, e.i. ‘bluster .. while the joe fam are Biden their time at playin their underhanded versions of Monopoly! – on both domestic AND foreign, uh, ‘boards’.
            And Oh, the pieces they play move .. hog-tied college student, bedsheet crackpipe, burnerphone, nose over hair, greasy fist-full-of-fiats, Chinese handcuffs ..

            there are more, to be sure.

            Reply
          2. BrianC - PDX

            You forgot the Health Care Insurance Protection Act. The one that would bring the successful bankers protection act to the health care industry that prevents people from discharging student loan debt in bankruptcy.

            – No discharge of medical debt in bankruptcy
            – No discharge of medical debt upon death, the estate of the deceased *and the survivors* shall by liable for all medical debt incurred by the deceased
            – ACA Mandate Returns. Assuming a Demo House/Senate
            – Grand bargain to bring Medicare/Medicaid costs under control. You’ll get a voucher to buy your insurance in the new “market”.

            Just for starters. I am *sure* it can be improved upon by our elites. After all it is in *our* interest. Right?

            Reply
            1. Clem

              Steve Mnuchin was so grateful to Kamala Harris for not prosecuting his massive 2007 foreclosure fraud bank when she pretended to be California attorney general that he, after donating over half a million dollars to GOP causes and candidates, actually wrote her a healthy thank you donation to get her into congress where she could do more good for his kind.

              Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          I lost all respect for this author when I saw that line too. Biden has done nothing but lie his whole career and it was being caught at lying that sank his first Presidential run decades ago.

          Reply
      4. Duke of Prunes

        Same. There were plenty of warning signs before this sentence, but this one sent me to the comments to find some actual intelligence.

        Reply
      5. clarky90

        Liberal Dem, “fact checkers” are just joyless little tattletales, sitting at the front of the class, reporting every kid they catch passing notes or whispering.

        …”teacher….teacher,…. TEACHER!!!!.” “Donald makes me sooo mad! Do you know what he just said to us kids, while you were out of the room????…….”

        Trump is relentlessly funny, like Groucho Marx was funny.

        Mind you, Biden is also “funny”…..but in a tragic, slapstick, fall on your face, break your leg way. (Being old myself, I do not laugh at the tribulations of the old and infirm, no matter how ridiculous)

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          Trump is essentially Al Czervik, Rodney Dangerfield’s character from Caddyshack – a boorish real estate developer looking to take over the club from the snobs. And Dangerfield was hilarious in that movie. It’s the slobs vs. snobs all over again. I have long thought that Trump might win re-election by using this as his campaign slogan.

          No matter what happens in a couple weeks, I will always remember the Big Cheeto fondly for his takedown of Jeb Bush in 2016 by telling him maybe his mother should run for president instead. That was a classic!

          There are many other things I will not remember fondly at all – assassinations, fomenting coups, etc., but of course both sides of the DC establishment agreed with him on all that.

          Reply
          1. petal

            lyman alpha blob, just the other day I was making that same comparison in my mind. Funny that. Might have to pull that movie out this weekend or for Tuesday night.

            Reply
          2. rowlf

            You nailed it.

            “Hey Nancy, you must’ve been something before electricity.”

            “Schumer : You – you will never be a member of Bushwood!

            Trump: A member? You think I actually want to join this scumatorium? The only reason I’m here is because I might buy it!”

            I had always thought Trump should have worn a Czervik outfit for the State Of The Union speeches just to pwn the haters.

            Reply
            1. gw

              Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) just wanted to have fun. He was a kind-hearted soul much loved by the hipsters in the movie. He wasn’t mean, cynical and cruel like Donald Trump.

              Reply
      6. Brunches with Cats

        The Democrat party not accepting the results … It’s only bad if Trump doesn’t cave in and it’s imminent Armageddon if he asks for a recount.”

        THIS! It’s encouraging to find so much reason among the NC commentariat — one of the few forums we can count on for sanity, for which Team NC has earned enough good karma for the next 700 incarnations, redeemable anywhere in the Universe.

        That said, the final “meh” worries me. The Dems’ plan to steal the election should be setting off alarm bells for anyone not afflicted by MAGA or TDS. I’ve been trying my best to point to the indicators, but admittedly am not up to the task. It looks like cavalry’s on the way, though, which gives me some strength to soldier on.

        Reply
    2. ChrisAtRU

      LOL … shared a joke wth a fellow Econ traveller earlier today:

      Bad Cop: Storms into room, pistol whips you and screams, “THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIVES”. Leaves.

      Good Cop: Enters quietly. Offers you cigarette. Lights it for you. Sighs heavily then whispers, “This is the most important election of our lives”. Leaves sobbing.

      Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      Yes, Flora, she did — by proxy. No snark tag necessary.

      It’s becoming increasingly clear that there is a tightly coordinated effort to defeat Trump, with mega-bucks donors backing it up. As I’ve been writing in previous comments, controlling the narrative is one of their top priorities (not making this up, it’s on the record) and one of the ways they are doing it is by “briefing” journalists. You need only read a smattering of articles on the topic see how similar they sound — in some cases, using exact phrasing. Menon gives himself away not only in his approach, but by linking to other articles with the same talking points.

      How often do we see the rhetorical question, “Did we learn nothing from WMD in Iraq?” Obviously, somebody did.

      Reply
        1. Brunches with Cats

          That info has been out there for ages, but I guess the distinction is a stretch for many people, even the non-TDS-impaired. Reminds me of the difficulty in getting people to understand the difference between having a private server in your basement and a private email account for official State Department communications.

          Speaking of Steele, there’s an email in the State Department’s trove of FOIA releases showing that Steele was working for them as early as 2014. It’s not clear who paid him — the emails are almost entirely blacked out — but it’s undeniable that he was doing a job for “Toria.”

          Reply
    2. ChrisPacific

      Deficit hysteria during a pandemic of this magnitude makes me sick. Nothing would bring nostalgia for the good old days of Trump faster than a hefty dose of austerity (for everyone except senior execs and big business, naturally). Biden has already signaled (“the cupboard is bare”) that he intends to do just that. Let’s hope some degree of common sense or at least rationality prevails.

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    There is precedent, FDR rejected all of Hoover’s advances of fixing things together post election in what had to be the darkest depths of the Great Depression…

    One good bit of potential spite for a Lamé Duck would be the mass pardoning of convicts in our prisons, that’ll teach the country to not re-elect him!

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      A Blue Trump? That would be the best possible outcome….

      But Biden Harris and No new wars in first term?

      Biden would escalate in Syria, more NATO eastward (Ukraine and Georgia), make Russia “pay a heavier price,” considered nuclear war w North Korea…..

      Reply
    2. flora

      With T’s DoJ pursuing an anti-trust case against Google, a Biden win means Google is safe. And Facebook is safe. And the other tech monopolies are safe. O saved the banks, B will save the tech monopolies. imo. No wonder Facebook “has a plan”. /heh

      Reply
    1. dcrane

      Today if you search “Joe Biden fracking” on Youtube, you get not a video at the top but a link to a snopes.com article claiming it is “Mostly false” to say Biden campaigned on banning fracking.

      This ham-handed one-sidedness by Silicon Valley is enough reason for me to vote Trump. God only knows what Facebook and Twitter are doing to the parameter settings on social media.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        If the consensus view is that these two clowns will produce the same neo-lib program I guess I would ask what does distinguish them. And then cast a vote based on that.

        I happen to see the assault on the First Amendment by Team Blue and their lead donors in Silicon Valley as the primary threat. We also have the parallel assault on “acceptable ways of thinking” by the IdPol crowd. If you no longer have the First then you can’t even get to any of the others.

        The next thing is to ask those who say “we must get Republicans out of The White House!” how you accomplish that by electing a team with a Republican cabinet?

        Next I’d ask how you never ever ever ever ever (to quote Joe B on how often he discussed business dealings with Hunter) get a party that is *in opposition* to neo-liberalism if you continue to reward the *former opposition party* for their betrayal and their ever-increasing neo-liberal actions?

        Lastly I’d like someone to explain the mechanism whereby *globalists* can be trusted to act in the best interests of the citizens within the borders of the USA, as opposed to the way that the avowed “economic nationalist America Firster” currently in the White House at least attempts to? From H1B to China policy to immigration…are we really in favor of the continued leveling of standards of living across the globe? (Hint: most nations are much lower than the US). Recall that these globalists cherish no nation and respect no borders. Should policy be set according to the needs of workers in Chattanooga Tennessee or Chatta Barria India?

        Reply
        1. dcrane

          Corporate GOP business/immigration/foreign policy + cancel culture/idpol + riots + global warming virtue signaling = the Democratic Party.

          Reply
          1. Jonhoops

            Corporate GOP business/immigration/foreign policy + racist dominionist culture/idpol + murder police + global warming = the Republican Party.

            Reply
    2. Acacia

      Thanks for that link to Kunstler. He’s a bit excessive sometimes, but this article was nicely effective at washing out the bad aftertaste of reading too much TDS.

      Reply
  4. Calypso Facto

    Made it a few paragraphs in before beginning to sharpen my claws for evisceration but I came down here to see the good commentariat has already beaten me in. What a load of projection, the writer seems incapable of getting through more than two statements without adding on some insane hashtagResist paranoia. Sure am glad we have infinite supply of learn-ed experts to pump this crap out on demand. Definitely better than having infinite supply of productive jobs doing ecological restoration or making useful, functional things. /s

    Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      Chalk it up to media “education” by a well-coordinated propaganda PR campaign, bankrolled by a network of billionaire donors. I’ve been following the breadcrumbs .. not that hard, just time-consuming, and I’m slow to start with.

      The talking points in this article originated with a group of Clintonite Dems. Their “coming out” as it were, was a WaPo opinion piece at the link below. It was gratifying to read so many comments by people who saw right through the “bipartisan” BS. To be sure, many of them were Trump supporters, but not all.
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/

      (One of the most fun things in this piece was the list of some names of participants in the original election “war gaming” exercise in June.)

      Reply
  5. Lee

    Is this an apology in advance for the anticipated failures of Biden and the Democrats? I fully expect the Democrats to once again prove themselves incapable of rising to the dire occasion, except this time things will be much worse than the last time. Apology, if it be one, noted and warranted if not accepted. There is no material basis for the levels of deprivation being experienced in this country. These conditions are an egregiously immoral, long in the making, socially constructed bipartisan project.

    Reply
    1. Ian Ollmann

      Goodness, I had to read down this far before I found a sensible comment. The nuts are out tonight!
      I suppose it’s election season. You are pardoned.

      Yeah, that is the big worry that they will drop the ball or just refuse to pick it up. If Biden listens to the Warrens and AOCs of the world, we might get something nice out of the next two years before the midterms lead to stagnation, assuming the Democrats capture the Senate. Perhaps Biden’s public option will be a help. We’ll see.

      What we really NEED to do is go big on green infrastructure.

      Reply
  6. Michael Fiorillo

    “Biden won’t be a serial liar.”

    Ok, so Uncle Joe may not be the rococco bulls#<×er that Trump is, but Come On, Man.

    I'm planning to vote for Biden, for one reason only: that his election may hopefully create some space for worker organizing, the pre-requisite for any kind of radical/progressive improvement. I also have no beef with anyone who can't bring themselves to vote for him or Harris.

    Beyond that, please spare us the false portraits…

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Beginning to hope that the sen. from mbna does win.
      Once orangemanbad is gone, it is their party.(again)
      Let’s see how they govern (again) from the engineer’s seat, rather than the caboose.
      So does this make me a sadist? Or a masochist?

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        re: worker organizing

        Didn’t we see what happened with Obama/Biden?

        the left was gaslighted — when it wasn’t asleep

        Reply
        1. Pat

          In truth I expect it to be worse. While it wasn’t “worker” entirely, I remember how much the Obama administration “helped” Occupy. The Trump administration just wasn’t as subtle regarding BLM. But that overt federal intervention Pandora’s box has now been opened. Any worker action that threatens the elite view of the National well being which cannot be gaslighted by say an Obama phone call is going to be fair game.

          I may not be ready for Molly McQuire time or full on revolution but I am also becoming resigned to the idea that real change in this country will not happen without both that level of dedication and violence as all the peaceful channels of change are choked off

          Reply
          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Don’t confuse Occupy with worker organizing, which when done successfully is more decentralized, purposeful and effective.

            As for gaslighting under Obama, that’s certainly true; as a public school teacher, I experienced the nasty effects of that gaslighting first hand. However, a big difference now is that there’s a newer, younger cohort with less/nothing to lose. If they can keep the siren song of IdPol at bay, perhaps worker friendly concessions can be forced from the Overclass. If not, then start preparing for Trump 2.0, smarter, more disciplined and organized.

            But what’s the alternative right now? Orange Man as “the worse, the better” candidate? During a pandemic? Please elaborate…

            Reply
            1. Pat

              Call me wild, but however you think of both Occupy and the Sanders candidacies, both were influential and inspired much of the actual worker organizing we have seen. As that organizing expands, you can expect most, if not all of the weapons used against Occupy and Sanders to be leveled at those movements.

              The alternative is to recognize that NEITHER should be elected and vote for someone else. There is no lesser evil really. Both are horrorific and dangerous. And anyone who thinks Biden would be all that much better regarding Covid is not really paying attention.

              Reply
              1. Michael Fiorillo

                Occupy had a salutary effect on the overall discourse on inequality, but I don’t see it’s direct connection to recent labor organizing. Some examples would be appreciated.

                A Left that doesn’t put workers and the workplace first, is not a serious Left, and will be out-maneuvered by a Right that does.

                Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      About that worker organizing. Please recall the promises of the Obama/Biden campaign about the Employee Free Choice Act meant to strengthen labor rights. They promised they’d get right on it if elected in 2008 and then proceeded to drop it like it’s hot and never mention it again once they won the White House. Left to their own devices, I wouldn’t expect much different this time.

      Reply
  7. Noone from Nowheresville

    Biden won’t be a serial liar.

    Has that “fact” been entered into evidence? Or are we just talking decorum and the manner in which Biden lies as opposed to the way Trumps lies?

    Biden probably won’t wink & nod to militias but he can wink & nod to the intelligence and security communities if 4 years of Russiagate followed by Ukrainegate / impeachment are any indication of intent. Which group is more dangerous to the average American citizen or resident?

    Compassion? If we had real compassion, we’d have universal healthcare, we’d put an end to regime change wars, industrial prison complex, etc, etc. We learned we can’t have those things from 2008-16 and since the goal is to return to “normal” and have nothing fundamentally change, I guess we just lack compassion unless it’s part of the broadcasted show. A failing in our moral fabric.

    I’m not a fan of either of these candidates but the lies authors like this keep telling us to justify the moral superiority of their tribe are more than annoying. Just another version of the show. Nothing to see but all will be well if you view the world through our prism. Ignore the fact that your lives are probably very different than our own and that we have every intention of keeping it that way.

    Point in fact: Reminding us of how little “the people” got in exchange for what they had to give in the CARES Act (in March 2020 7 months ago) doesn’t change that the CARES Act was actually a fully bipartisan crap deal. Or that we haven’t even begun to feel its effect yet regardless of any further potential stimulus aka probably not really for the little people but just enough for the “compassion” part of the show.

    What will these people do next if Trump actually wins the election? I’m much more curious about that. For that matter, what will Trump do? Either way, I fear the public brawl will become bloodier and more Americans will find that they are used for cannon fodder because it serves The Machine’s show.

    Reply
    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Ha! I don’t think you went back far enough. Although I struggle to figure out exactly where the dividing line should be. You also need to include Trump’s term since it’s basically a continuation on many levels.

      Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          me, too.
          cia was the vanguard of the counterrevolution, putting the aristocracy back where they were pre-FDR.
          where are we going?
          some mixture of bosnia in the 90’s, post-roman brittannia, a “World Made by Hand”(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1689657.World_Made_by_Hand) and the Archdruid’s Catabolic Collapse.
          we’ll end with some hybrid version of Margaret Attwood’s nightmares.

          as a palliative that doesn’t give me a hangover, I’m bingwatching netflix’ latest addition, the German produced “Barbaren”…about Varus losing 3 Legions in the Teutoburg.
          worth every minute, and very well done.

          Reply
  8. anon in so cal

    Biden creating some space for worker organizing??????

    “At no point in his career has Biden proven willing to take the slightest political risk on behalf of workers. His appearances in union halls occur when he needs something from labor. On the other hand, when Biden went to vacation in the Hamptons during the 2011 Verizon strike, workers in the area sought him out “just to possibly get a show of support, a thumb’s-up, a head nod, anything” – to no avail. That same year in Wisconsin, labor leaders specifically asked Biden to come to rally their resistance to the brutal, ultimately successful attack by Scott Walker; Biden declined.

    In fact, I can find reports of only two instances of Biden appearing on a picket line or otherwise supporting embattled workers at any point in his very long public life: once in Iowa, during his 1987 presidential campaign, and just this month in Boston. Now, his first major presidential fundraiser is being hosted by the founder of one of the country’s leading anti-union law firms. The man running to be labor’s champion is sponsored by someone who has made millions choking the life out of the labor movement.

    Nor does Biden have a public policy record favorable to the working class. In 1977-1978, during unions’ big push for labor law reform, he vacillated for months and sabotaged the proposal with public criticism. He voted for Nafta and supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He authored the punishing 2005 bankruptcy bill, a reward to creditors and punishment to debtors. Worse still, he has been one of the main legislative architects of mass incarceration, a regime that has devastated the heavily policed and punished American working class….”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/02/joe-biden-is-no-friend-of-unions

    Reply
    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Biden will do little or nothing for worker organizing, – perhaps some improvements at the NLRB and OSHA – and I didn’t claim that to be the case: I said that more space for organizing might be created “under” him, meaning from rank and file workers who are driven by conditions to organize, under political conditions that might require Uncle Joe to go against his instincts and backer’s immediate interests, in defense of their long-term survival.

      Though I’ll grudgingly vote for Biden, I’m not nearly as invested in this election as most good Pwogwessives seem to be, since I never had a Catastrophist take on Trump… but that still doesn’t mean he isn’t awful, and isn’t likely to be awful-er if re-elected.

      Reply
  9. Ann Thomsen

    Lambert – I don’t expect this to be published, because your group, not unlike Twitter and Facebook, is a carefully crafted and monitored group – NO interlopers allowed.

    The Michigan kidnapping is unraveling as I type. It was an FBI sting, and a bad one. The perps are now represented by the best legal minds in the country – pro bono. Because this was a false flag worthy of the Lincoln Project saboteurs.

    I hoped you might join Tim Pool, Dave Rubin, Eric and Brad Weinstein, Jimmy Dore, Greenwald and Taibbi…. in their quest to reveal the vipers nest that is the DNC and their enablers in media.

    If you are an honest broker in this contest for the country – you must weigh all the evidence in the Michigan kidnapping hoax.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There’s just one thing that’s missing from your comment: Evidence. If you want an honest broker, you need to hold up your end of the deal. And if you think NC is soft on the DNC… you must be new in town. Idea: Don’t make insulting your hosts your first move at the party?

      Adding, the comment that begins “I know you won’t publish this, but….” is a genre. And a rather shopworn one at that.

      Reply
  10. Pat

    Not for nothing, and believe me this article is a whole lot of nothing, what happens if this late mail in ballot victory doesn’t happen?

    Are the Democrats going to finally stop their four year long temper tantrum and start acting like adults? Of course not. For those of us paying attention, decorum has not just been missing in the White House. Lying has not been limited to the Oval Office, and politics for show while ignoring the needs of the American people is first choice for every major acknowledged Democratic leader out there.

    Also not for nothing I notice that they ignore any possibility of one or both Houses of Congress making the deeply corrupt Joe Biden’s life miserable since it is also not certain that Democrats will have majorities in both.

    And I thought I had a detailed fantasy life…

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      One could have hoped that the Democrats would have looked at the newly minted Trump administration and worked, despite their strong dislike for him, to improve the governance in the USA during the Jan 2017 to November 2020 timeframe.

      Instead the Democrats tried to get Trump to do more military actions (Syria), accused Trump of being in the pockets of Russia or North Korea, called McConnell “Moscow Mitch” and tried to undercut Trump when he attempted to wind down military actions or deal with Moscow/North Korea in less hostile “let’s talk” manner.

      That Trump was also disliked by the CIA/FBI and news media indicated he might be doing something right.,

      The Democrats had 4 years to come up with a decent candidate and instead came up with placeholder Biden and donor’s choice Harris.

      But I want Biden to win, mostly because I’m tired of people who believe Trump is a terrible disease for the USA that will be cured by replacing him with Biden.

      Then I expect to see “BDS” = Biden Disappointment Syndrome slowly manifest beginning 2021, resulting in another pair of bad choices in 2024.

      Maybe the USA will not be doing its “Promote Democracy” operations abroad when it has a difficult time with doing democracy in a manner to benefit the broad populace at home.

      Reply
  11. Chris Smith

    Gag me with a spoon. Seriously. This is just more apologetics for “the cupboard is bare” austerity Biden is going to bring.

    Reply
  12. howseth

    Reading comments: Yeah, yeah, yeah (‘Never told a lie’) Biden bad too… Nevertheless, Trump has to go. He has to go. Would have greatly preferred Bernie… but Trump must go.

    What a rickety Nation we have. We will see soon enough – unpleasant, interesting times.

    Reply
    1. flora

      I managed to survive 8 years of W.

      One thing about media TDS is they’re reporting on a bunch of horrible stuff, like illegal alien detention camps and deportations, that O did and ramped up but are only reported on as serious bad stuff because T does them. Deportation numbers are only about half what O’s were at the end of his first term. Now, the reason isn’t that T is Mr. Nice Guy, it’s because the national media focusing on it has caused agencies not to immediately call ICE, like the LA Sheriffs department no longer invites ICE in when inmates are being released after serving their time. So some good reporting is happening, and it’s having a good effect, but only because it makes T look bad. But it’s being reported. If T isn’t pres I wonder if the same bad stuff or worse will go on but the MSM will not report on it. Will they happily go back to sleep so everyone can go to brunch and not worry their beautiful minds. ?

      Reply
    2. dcblogger

      Trump REALLY needs to go. It is such an indictment of our country’s political culture that he was not confined to the clown car back in 2015. I have been thinking of Bob Somerby so much recently, about how the celebrity press corps imposes a script on our national discourse, how they raise trivialities not in spite of the fact that they are trivial, but because they are trivial. Trump needs to go.Just ask Michael Reinoehl.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Not one of the three most recent Presidential candidates should be anywhere near the White House. All of them are a cancer that should have been cut out and treated as the hazardous waste they are.
        The indictment isn’t just that Trump wasn’t confined but that Clinton and Biden and yes Obama weren’t put in the same clown car AND that so many honestly do not realize that.

        Reply
        1. howseth

          I mostly agree. 4 years should be enough time to show a President’s value – if not up to the job – we need to elect the next clown – I mean contender.

          Our political tribalism – and as Flora pointed out – selective media focus- clouds the issues – what gets mentioned what is excluded.
          Yet, there really does seem to be ‘Something the matter with Kansas’…and the swath of states going North from Texas and New Mexico, all the way to the Canadian border, If our current Presidents job performance – including his daily statements is any indicator. (My Coastal prejudice is showing?)

          Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        The press corps treated the presidential elections like a reality show for a generation, and then they act surprised when a reality show star wins.

        I wasn’t, and won’t be if Trump wins again.

        Reply
  13. Mark Gisleson

    In addition to agreeing with much of the criticisms voiced in the comments, I don’t know how the author managed to forget about the Durham Report which will come out between election day and the inauguration.

    My worst case scenario would be a convincing Biden win, with Durham’s report then being released and thoroughly discrediting the FBI, DOJ, DNC, Clinton campaign, various party consultants and all manner of news media ‘journalists’ and pundits. None of whom will ever be punished because of a lack of news coverage and everything being dropped once Biden takes office, signs a bunch of stuff, coughs twice and then resigns.

    Reply
    1. Gc54

      Yup, and those perps remain in their positions unless Trump fires them all during the transition to the biden/Harris admin

      Reply
  14. Darthbobber

    Their “disaster” scenarios stop at the point where things get really interesting/frightening/depressing, where a Biden administration begins showing what tangible actions it will and can take. (that the winning candidate will be facing a disaster of the first order is baked in even if that winner is Trump, BTW).

    I’m unable to see a Biden administration voluntarily taking measures likely to be even in the near-neighborhood of adequate.

    Apparently the author also has a problem there, too, or they’d be spending a few paragraphs weighing the Biden nostrums against the massive list of problems.

    The court will be another interesting loose cannon, as besides most of what gets said about Barrett she will be a 4th justice whose view of the appropriate level of government regulation and economic intervention is roughly that of the Court at the beginning of the New Deal, and who look askance at much of nearly 85 years of “settled” jurisprudence.

    Reply
  15. km

    Assuming that Biden wins big (in other words, no question as to his legitimacy), what will happen?

    Nothing will fundamentally change, except some tinkering around the edges to show that there’s new management.

    The messaging and optics may be slightly more coherent.

    Team D and its enablers will continue to make excuses.

    Reply
  16. Big River Bandido

    Wow. I couldn’t make it past paragraph 3. This piece is what Steely Dan called Pretzel Logic.

    The smug, self-satisfied tone makes me sick. How I hate my former party, and all its personalities. Democrats are frightening, untrustable, and completely unfit to hold power.

    Reply
    1. Fastball

      Well it’s pretty much a given that Biden will die in office, walking death rattle that he is. Then we have President Kamala (“we need the prison labor”) Harris.

      Trouble is, Manchin and all those other DINOs will still be there. And Biden’s Wall Street Neocon cabinet will still be there. And Democrats won’t be able to care less until election season 2024, unless it’s to destroy any even remotely leftist insurgent by any corrupt means necessary.

      THEN they will say “this is the most important election of our lifetime” against Republican nominee Cotton.

      Rinse, repeat, until we all die gasping for oxygen, since leftists will never ever learn that voting doesn’t actually change much.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        That crook won’t die in office because he will have the best free medical care that he refuses to support for the people. J E R K !

        Reply
    2. feox

      Do you really think that the American population wants to have a president that deploys the US military against its own citizens to crush protesters? I hope you’re wrong about that electorate.

      Reply
  17. Fastball

    When Biden wins, he intends to do absolutely nothing about the pandemic. He intends to let millions of Americans suffer in the streets: “Nothing will fundamentally change”.

    The Democrats have utterly no intention about treating this situation with the urgency it requires, no intention of eliminating the filibuster, no intention to pack the courts, no intention to pass any aid for workers without monumental concessions to giant corporations (turning the entire country into Amazon), basically nothing.

    And in January, the pandemic will still be raging. I’m no fan of Trump, but even with control of the House, Senate and White House, the Dems seemingly intend to sit on their hands and make American workers suffer.

    Reply
    1. Prairie Bear

      Yes she did! As she pretty much always does. Was thinking of sharing but figured I should finish the comments first to see if someone did. I am looking forward to the other three in the series: 1) what good might happen in a Biden wind; 2) what disaster will happen with Trump reelection; and 3) what good might happen with a Trump reelection. Don’t know what order she will do them in.

      Reply
  18. hour_glazz

    “Once Trump formally hands over the presidency — assuming his every maneuver to retain power flops — he’ll work to portray any measure the new administration adopts to corral the virus he helped let loose and to aid those in need as profligacy, and as “socialism” and governmental overreach imperiling freedom. Last guarantee: he won’t waste a minute getting his wrecking operation underway, while “his” party will posture as the paragon of financial rectitude. It won’t matter that Republican administrations have racked up the biggest budget deficits in our history. They, too, will ferociously resist Biden’s efforts to help millions of struggling Americans.”

    Very nice writing and rings true for me. I do however hope republicans will continue to outflank democrats on helping struggling Americans. Even if it’s mostly posturing it creates some healthy competition to actually help their constituents.

    Reply
  19. Shiloh1

    This article reminds me of Jack Brickhouse, long-time Cubs announcer, during their bad times in late ‘70s to early ‘80s:

    “If we can just get some runners on and keep the inning alive then Dave Kingman will be the 13th batter coming up!!!”

    Reply
    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      +1

      If only Brickhouse and Steve Goodman had lived to see the day. And Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo . . . anybody else want to suggest any more names?

      Reply
  20. Andrew Shelley

    Oh, other predictions after a Biden win:

    1. Trump will not be arrested for his crimes.
    2. Trump will continue to dominate Twitter
    3. The media class including the DNC and Faux News will continue to obsess over Trump tweets.
    4. The misdeeds of the Biden/Harris administration will be virtually ignored by the corporate media
    5. Censorship against Democrat-alternative voices will be drastically tightened
    6. Harris / Biden will not post mean / stupid tweets, but only to stay under the radar.

    Every one of these things is practically as certain as that it will snow someday in Alaska. Why do people not see this? Could it be their paychecks depend on not seeing it?

    Reply
      1. Another Scott

        Democrats wanted the Bush Republican votes because they came from wealthy, educated professionals who live and work in nice cities and suburbs. Why would Democrats want the downscale, non-degreed Republicans who repudiated Bush when they supported Trump in the 2016 primary?

        Reply
    1. Acacia

      Yep. All of that. Sigh. Another prediction: the media will drool and fawn endlessly over Harris wearing Converse shoes into the WH. It will become a piece of standard boilerplate in DNC PR articles from the NYT and WaPo — until somebody in the meanie rightwing press publishes candid telephoto snaps of Harris wearing beige bathroom slippers on the stairway to the South Lawn.

      Reply
    2. Acacia

      On a more serious note:

      It’s worth considering the implications of Harris’ lame claim that it is impossible and unethical for the attorney general to investigate the executive-branch employees of agencies because the attorney general represents the executive-branch agencies in certain lawsuits.

      If she takes that position at the federal level, there could never be a Department of Justice investigation of any executive-branch employee.

      — “Kamala Harris’ rampant prosecutorial abuses” (NYPost)

      Trying to lock the door from the inside, then?

      Reply
  21. cocomaan

    Biden won’t be a serial liar. That’s no small matter.

    This is a guy who couldn’t tell the truth about his own higher education record.

    Reply
  22. Alex Cox

    Excellent analysis of the article. TDS par excellence. While the author fears “an angrier, more vengeful Trump”, of the two candidates, the one who appears to have anger management issues isn’t Trump.

    Biden has lost it repeatedly, insulting journalists on his rare campaign appearances, and threatening voters with invitations to “step outside.” I appreciate that some of this stuff may be play-acting, because rudeness is equated with effectiveness in our culture. But I am concerned that anger may be a default position for Biden, and with where that may lead.

    Reply
  23. John

    Scrolling through the comments I can only conclude that whatever happens, we’re doomed. Your get to choose the doom you prefer.

    Reply
  24. Jeremy Grimm

    Maybe if Bidden wins, the DNC will quit spamming my email. I only stay with the party so I can send two penny contributions to the party taped-to the postage-paid envelopes they send me in an endless stream of snail-junk mail. [I started to run out of the nasty pennies I find rusting on the ground. I had to pick through my penny-jar to find the worst pennies I could, put them in tin can, and cover them with saltwater.]

    Reply
  25. sharonsj

    Didn’t I read somewhere that 6 to 8 million more have already fallen into poverty? That maybe 6 million homeowners haven’t paid their mortgages? That perhaps 20 million renters might be evicted? And what about all those folks who couldn’t pay their car loans before the pandemic hit? Plus the actual unemployment rate is 25%–Great Depression number–and millions have lost their health insurance along with their jobs. If Biden supporters think the Dems will fix any of this, then all of Naked Capitalism has a bridge to sell them.

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      Indeed. I wonder how many are voting Dem, so that they can tell themselves that with “mommy and daddy” back in the WH, “all of this will be fixed” and they can proceed to forget about the millions of people whose lives were just torched by this broken system.

      Reply
  26. notabanker

    Ah yes, the privilege of having seen the movie before.

    Sounds like we need a nice round of belt tightening, Trump left everything a mess so we all need to suck it up, because that’s what Americans do. Unless you’re essential, but don’t worry, we have an app for that, we’ll make sure you have access to it. And we have great programs but the Republicans won’t vote for them and we insist on bi-partisanship, ya know, it’s America, so sorry we didn’t actually do that stuff.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Differences? All I know is that for the last almost 20 years the fed govt under both parties has been running a fear campaign against us mopes. Remember the danger alert color codes under Ashcroft and Ridge that never seemed to end… until people began mocking them. I’ve been waiting for life to return to ‘normal’ for 20 years. A whole generation has been born and grown up in this pervasive climate of fear. A whole generation has never experienced what was once ‘normal’ American life. I’ve decided to stop listening to the fear and doom mongers. It’s boring. While I’ve waited for the sky to fall Wall St and the tbtf have picked my pocket.

      I’ll return you now to the regularly scheduled fearfearfear broadcast from our MSM sponsors. ;)

      Reply
  27. d

    some how i suspect that no one has thought through what could happen
    Trump looses

    next day he orders the football brought to him (for those that dont know…thats what has the launch codes for the missiles). and starts the process to fire them.. there really is no way to stop this. or he declares martial law. now what?

    and while many will vote for Biden because isnt Trump. because the way the US politics are set up, voting for some else, is a vote for Trump. there really are only 2 choices that matter. dont like it? then you need to start in the legislatures….and Congress to change it….any thing else will accomplish nothing

    Reply
    1. Calypso Facto

      why would he do that when he could flounce off to start a MAGAfied news empire? I agree that breaking out the football is much more lurid but the man has been fantastically consistent his entire public life. And when he starts MAGATV, bonus for the media class, they don’t have to change a single thing about what they’re doing while Biden/Harris serenely ram through austerity.

      Reply
  28. Charles 2

    1) Trumps pardons everyone who is useful for him (Snowden/Assange would be fun, but I don’t have very high hopes), including of course himself now that he has a Supreme Court who will rubber stamp it if asked.
    2) Senate stays republican, which triggers the mother of all deflation in a COVID economy. The only thing that gets funded is the military. DARPA is the only place left where engineering/science can happen.
    3) Warmongering Dems do wars because that is about the only discretionary lever of demand they have on the economy, and also because they like it.
    4) The ensuing disaster (even if there is a win) propels a staunchly isolationist/protectionist Republican Party, whose natural leader is…
    5) Trump 2024 !

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      I’d love to see T blanket pardon every nonviolent drug felon, thereby both flipping the bird to the Swamp’s War on Drugs cash cow and (somewhat) walking his talk about doing more for Black Americans than any President since Lincoln.

      Since the law and order shtick didn’t play for him in the burbs if he loses, what de heck?

      Reply
  29. The Rev Kev

    I’m trying to think of a scenario where Trump will make it easy for others as he leaves office but why should he? The intelligence community Russia-gated him the past four years. Noteworthy chunks of the Republican establishment are voting Democrat (oh, the irony). Silicon Valley is siding with Biden in spite of him not going after him. Maybe in the end he will do a James Cagney going out the door-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar6kRtCuuUo

    It is a tradition that each outgoing President leaves a note for his successor in the desk drawer on the last day in office. I wonder what his will say? “I’m going to brunch now” maybe?

    Reply
  30. Dianne Shatin

    Here we go again. We are Americans. Period. My G*d if we are unable to come together to overcome this pandemic, this wrecked economy, and despair, then what is the point of it all? For sixty years this country has been rotting away; the Vietnam War, Grenada, El Salvador, political assassinations, drug addiction, greed
    with little if any. improvement what so ever. Do you understand we make almost nothing in this country?
    We depend on all of the other countries for our food, our medications, our clothings, etc. We are in the opposite position our first President, George Washington had hoped for our nation as stated in his farewell address… America must be independent in all things. Greed killed our country. We must learn from the past 30 years what not to do and retake our future together. I can’t’ take it anymore. Read history and educated yourselves with depth of understanding. Too much is at risk to remain in a primitive tribal association which is simply a negative mess. I gotta wonder what $140k teachers are teaching our children. I’d like to see the dissolution of School Boards across America and let parents of school children work on solving school related issues and once and for all, kick out ‘political correctness’ the has been so destructive to our children. We cannot solve 50 years of collapse in one Administration or even two or three. There is no panacea for the grievances of Americans. It will take alot of work, energy time, devotion, and intelligence to get us unstuck.

    Reply
  31. John Anthony La Pietra

    State legislatures no longer have full (sometimes called “plenary” by attorneys) power to allocate electoral votes however they wish. Not since the 14th Amendment and the one-person-one-vote cases of the 1960s.

    Section 2 of the amendment says any state that denies or abridges its voters’ right to vote for President (or any of a list of other top Fed al or state offices) is to lose a proportional share of its US Representatives — and by extension, the electoral votes that go with those seats in Congress per Article II, Section 1, Clause 2. And that line of SCOTUS cases includes a thread which says one way to deny or abridge voting rights is to dilute voting power, the ability of a voter or bloc of voters to affect the outcome of the election.

    Put those together, and we see that all states which don’t allocate at least their “House-based” electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote are violating the Constitution.

    For more on this, see this page, for example.

    Reply
  32. Brunches with Cats

    John, your point added to my suspicion that Menon based his essay on talking points from the Clinton machine’s propaganda campaign media outreach, so I just did a quick search for his connections. Sure enough, he was a fellow at the New America Foundation, the head of which was an assistant to HRC at the State Department. The “Trump is plotting a coup” scenarios emerged from election war-gaming conducted in June by a “project” founded by another former New America fellow. A 22-page white paper followed, reporting on the various scenarios and making recommendations for mobilizing to defeat the tyrant’s existential threat to Our Democracy.

    Among the scenarios for how Trump might steal the election were various ways he could defy the will of the people; for example, by convincing Republican-majority state legislatures to change the allotment of electoral votes in his favor. To be fair, Menon credits a “bombshell” article in the Atlantic with that scenario. However, it’s safe to assume he read the white paper himself. Where the Atlantic got the idea is an even safer bet.

    It would be a big mistake to dismiss all this is as huffing and puffing by political elites in Washington that will have little impact on our daily lives. The white paper reads like an oppo playbook, and if one is adept at deciphering the doublespeak, it’s hard not to come away feeling that events over the next two months are going to burn our political landscape beyond recognition. We spend a lot of time here discussing what a Biden administration would or wouldn’t do, versus what Trump would or wouldn’t do if re-elected and how, either way, we’re still stuck with 24/7 reporting on his latest outrageous tweet. Built into these discussions are assumptions consistent with the current reality, albeit with acknowledgement that getting from here to Inauguration Day will be a bumpy ride.

    When I try to imagine what the new reality will look like, all I can come up with is that “unimaginable” means exactly that.

    Reply

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