Trump Shoots His Campaign in the Head

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Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tsu

I’ve never been a fan of trying to assess, either strategically or from a mental health standpoint, Trump’s propensity to take extreme positions. Sometimes he lashes out even when he is losing, like with his row during his 2016 campaign with the Muslim parents of a slain “Gold Star” soldier or with cutting funding to the WHO. Sometimes he won’t retreat even though he’s not getting what he wanted, like with his wall or his tariff row with China. Sometimes he does a 180, as he did with first saying only he could lead the charge against Covid-19, then saying the matter was in the hands of governors.

But even by the standards of Trump’s signature erraticness, yesterday was a standout, if nothing for the stakes. Trump decided to own the failure of deadlocked stimulus talks, when these were Congressional negotiations where each party was set up to point fingers at the other guy:

Now admittedly, the Administration had inserted itself by having Treasury Secretary Mnuchin act as chief Republican negotiator against the Dems’ Pelosi. And the talks looked to have been stuck at the empty theatrics stage for a while. The Republicans have been divided, with Congressmen in close races generally more amendable to a bigger stimulus package. But the hard-core conservatives have been opposed to a bigger package, and the Administration is particularly hostile to providing funds to state and local governments. The House had passed a $2.2 trillion bill, while Mnuchin’s offer was $1.6 trillion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the trigger for Trump’s rupture was a Tuesday evening update from McConnell, Mnuchin, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. McConnell said that even if Mnuchin and Pelosi came to an agreement, it wasn’t likely to have the votes in the Senate.

As Lambert has regularly pointed out is that the Dems are willing to throw the working class under the bus rather than pass the Republicans’ inadequate relief bill. It’s more important for them to deny Trump any talking points.

It didn’t help Trump’s optics to have Fed chairman Jay Powell issue his most forceful call for more spending to date. From the Financial Times:

Speaking to the National Association for Business Economics, Mr Powell said the economic recovery from the damage inflicted by the coronavirus was “far from complete” and the “risks of policy intervention are still asymmetric”.

“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” he said.

“By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste,” he added.

Needless to say, Trump’s recovery from coronavirus is more credible than the idea that the economy is anything more than a technical recovery, aka a dead cat bounce. Even thought the earlier stimulus packages unduly benefitted the rich, the income supplements, particularly the $600 a week extra in unemployment benefits, preserved spending. The PPP also bolstered incomes and kept many small businesses going.

However, the economy is bleeding out from an artery, which means stopping transfusions is a very bad idea. From the Wall Street Journal at the start of the month:

A drop in household income and persistently high layoffs are threatening to further slow the U.S. economic recovery, which already appears to be losing momentum as the pandemic continues.

Personal income—what households received from salaries, investments and government aid—fell 2.7% in August as enhanced unemployment checks shrank, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Meanwhile, another 837,000 workers filed for unemployment compensation last week after being recently laid off, the Labor Department said. In total, nearly 12 million workers are receiving unemployment compensation through regular state programs.

The level of weekly jobless claims shows layoffs remain persistent in some industries, and more companies announced cuts this week. American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. told employees they will go forward with more than 32,000 job cuts Thursday, after lawmakers were unable to agree on a broad coronavirus-relief package. Insurer Allstate Corp. on Wednesday said it planned to lay off 3,800 employees. Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday announced permanent layoffs for 28,000 theme-park workers who were previously on temporary furlough.

And despite the support of the PPP and other programs, small business are failing at a rate higher than during the financial crisis. Wolf Richter points out that the PPP helped many very small business owners simply shutter their enterprises, giving them enough to settle with landlords and other creditors, rather than declare bankruptcy. From his post yesterday:

From March through mid-July, over 420,00 small businesses – or 7.1% of all small businesses – permanently and quietly closed their doors, more than typically in an entire year, according to a study by Brookings, released in September.

The analysis found that “many small businesses are financially fragile and not equipped to weather a prolonged period of substantially reduced revenues”:

47% rely on personal funds of the owner to fill a two-month revenue drop.
88% rely on the personal credit score of the owner (such as working capital funded by personal credit cards).
Only 44% have had a bank loan over the past five years.

Small businesses account for about 99% of all businesses in the US and about 47% of jobs in businesses. If these 420,000 businesses are representative of national employment, “this means we have lost at least 4 million jobs that will only return with the creation of new businesses,” the report said.

After Mr. Market had a hissy, Trump tried reversing gears and shifting blame to Team Dem:

Mind you, Nate Silver points out that based on the economic index he uses, Trump would likely be polling ~3 points worse than he is due to the earlier stimulus, and that even if a stimulus deal came together, it would be happening too late to make much difference:

That’s certainly not to imply that the collapse of further stimulus spending will cause a further 3-point or 8-point shift in the polls away from Trump. The news comes pretty close to the election (in our model, only 11 percent of the forecast is now based on the economy and incumbency, and this will fall to 0 percent by Election Day), the stimulus wasn’t necessarily likely to pass anyway, and the failure of further stimulus funding doesn’t entirely erase the fact that people and businesses did get some help in the spring.

However, one of the reasons quite a few Republicans spoke favorably of Trump was due to how the stock market has performed under his tenure. So if the “no stimulus” market sad continues, that could do some damage.

Regardless, the stimulus deal tweets looks like yet another episode of Trump needing to be the center of attention no matter what the cost. And it’s not like Trump has much going for him of late.

His Executive Order barring many foreclosures though year end should reduce homelessness for a while, but isn’t a lasting solution. As widely predicted, his promise of a vaccine October surprise isn’t working out, and two of the front-runners had setbacks. From Motley Fool:

Three patients taking part in clinical trials for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate and two taking part in Pfizer’s study have experienced intense side effects, according to a report published by CNBC. Those effects included high fever, pounding headaches, intense chills, and exhaustion…

On a more positive note, all three Moderna trial participants and one in the Pfizer trial reported that their side effects, while intense, melted away after at most one day. All five, meanwhile, expressed the belief that the discomfort they experienced will be worth it for the value of the research being undertaken.

Trump’s law ‘n’ order routine doesn’t seem to be getting much traction despite support for Black Lives Matter weakening. And not only did Trump’s debate performance work against him, but he doesn’t appear to have gotten much of a sympathy bounce for having been hospitalized. From MarketWatch:

Biden’s lead in the CNN poll was 57% to 41%, in a survey taken after the first presidential debate and mostly after Trump’s COVID-19 infection was made public. Taken together with other polls, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing a 14-percentage-point Biden lead after the debate but before Trump’s diagnosis was known, Biden’s lead is a smaller — though still significant — 9.2 percentage points in the latest RealClearPolitics average. In an average of top battleground states, Biden’s lead is just over 4 points

As you can see, even the relatively cheery The Real Clear Politics poll averages show recent decay for Trump:

And Chris Cillizza explains why the CNN result is even worse than it looks (emphasis original):

With less than a month before the November election, President Donald Trump has hit a new low: He now trails former Vice President Joe Biden by his largest margin (16 points) of any CNN poll conducted in this entire election.

Which, if you are the President or his supporters, is bad! Like, really bad! But it’s actually not the worst news in the latest CNN/SSRS poll.

That honor goes to this: 9 in 10 likely voters (90%) in the CNN poll say that their minds are made up when it comes to which candidate they will be voting for this fall. A meager 8% of those likely voters said they might change their mind while 1% (who are these people???) said they had no preference between the candidates as of yet.

I never understood how Trump managed to be so successful despite his regular self-destructive antics. I had attributed it to luck. It looks like his luck has finally run out.

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  1. Ignacio

    Possibly the ‘deplorables’ thing was the good luck that helped Trump in 2016 and pushed many to show up against Clinton. As long as Biden doesn’t repeat the mistake he looks safely as next POTUS.

    This is neither good or bad of an outcome, but all the contrary (a bad literal translation of ni bueno ni malo sino todo lo contrario).

    1. Darius

      Biden’s too busy insulting his own base with his maladroit comments about African Americans and Hispanics.

      My wife is leaving the top spot blank. In 2016, I voted for Stein. It’s a solid blue state so don’t hyper-ventilate. This time I’m swallowing my misgivings and voting Biden. A random selection of reasons: ACB, the super spreader event, Pompeo, Stephen Miller, Barr, DeVos. Obama surrounded himself with smug neoliberals, but these people border on psychotic in their sadistic cruelty.

      The super spreader event was emblematic of the superstitious reactionary approach MAGA has taken towards COVID. All the bigwigs there symbolized the corruption that has accompanied and doomed every major COVID initiative Trump has undertaken.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @Jim Young
          October 7, 2020 at 2:23 pm

          Amy Coney Barrett, nominee for Supreme Court Justice.

          1. Tony Wright

            Amy Coney Barrett. Another terrible role model in a position of power. An overpopulater with seven children on a planet suffering acute symptoms of too many humans – loss of biodiversity, unprecedented forest fires, hurricanes and floods, melting ice caps and glaciers etc.

  2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Apologies to our porcine friends but this beauty contest appears to be about which pig wears the most or least lipstick, with the media as described by Taibbi in a podcast on the subject I listened to yesterday, playing the part of throwing gasoline on a bonfire of hatred – when I see Biden I can’t help thinking of formaldehyde.

    Trump is attempting to expose the Dems dirty washing.

  3. Lambert Strether

    We appear to have staggered all the way round the barn to arrive at the same barn door we started from in 2008. I wish I had more confidence that the Obama Alumni Association had learned anything in this cycle; putting the same Flexians who butchered the last crisis — this time, to be fair, with an admixture of Bush Republicans* — in charge of solving this one, when conditions are harder and infrastructure is worse doesn’t strike me as a recipe for success. A party that can’t come out in favor for #MedicareForAll in the midst of a pandemic isn’t likely to be equal to any other task before it besides better public relations and making the rich richer than they already are.

    NOTE * Biden and the liberal Democrat nomenklatura may actually believe that assimilating Bush Republicans into the Democrat Party is the “unity” they crave. I have my doubts.

    1. cocomaan

      Lambert, about joining forces with Republicans, it IS the unity they crave. They’ve already dropped the left wing of the party (“I am the Democratic Party”).

      The reason they didn’t run on M4A is that they don’t have to. They aim to reestablish the bipartisan consensus of the GeorgeW/GeorgeW/Obama/Obama terms again. I’ve seen zero indication to the contrary, besides some hemming and hawing with Bernie.

      The only reason the left wing continues to put up with Biden is because they think that Trump is that bad. We’ll see if that’s true.

        1. cocomaan

          Yes, but I’d also add that these people believe in little other than power and themselves. So they’ll also support the things that they think will get them there.

          1. hunkerdown

            They are approximately as rational human beings as any other. They can see as well as we can how M4A now affects their asking for the manager later, and how not sending a uniform message denying the very possibility now makes it that much more possible later. That discretionary power in broad society is one of the privileges they were taught to expect from their position in the class order and they’re not going to just hand it over. Hiding one’s claws isn’t stupid, for a predator.

    2. albrt

      Yes, unlike the Democrats, the Republicans will learn from their humiliation. Next time around they need to find a candidate from the heartland, someone with the seriousness and gravitas born of suffering, perhaps a military veteran. Someone who understands how badly the elites have stabbed this nation in the back.

      Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Republican Party.

      1. hunkerdown

        They’re a hard-right neoliberal party just like the Democrats. I think you’re fantasizing.

      2. Ian Ollmann

        The need for a People’s party really seems like it should come from the left.. Right?

        The left is just so, so weak and more or less absent and unorganized from 80 years of red bashing that they are nowhere to be found.

    3. Moe Knows

      Funny to use the word ‘nomenklatura’, ah the Democratic party is not any version of left or liberal, hasn’t changed been since 1980, nor claims to be. Nor do Republicans claim to care in the least about the ‘citizens’ well being. We are running on ‘magic’ but reality trumps all, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    4. Matthew

      I’m crossing my fingers and hoping Biden doesn’t gift the next Republican a Constitutional Convention.

  4. fresno dan

    Trump’s entire governing thesis seems to be that United States government is all screwed up, but its not his fault. Which is true enough…except his view REMAINS that it is not his fault after 4 years.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Whoever will be running the country, it will not be a President Biden, even though he thinks that he will be. Nor will it be de-facto President Harris as she does not have the “gravitas” or the political network to back her up. From what I can see, the US government is made up of a number of fiefdoms – the Pentagon, the State Department, etc. – so no doubt the real players will be sorting out the priorities between themselves and getting their trained seals in the Senate and the House to pass the laws to make legal what they want to do

        1. JTMcPhee

          You got it. Anyone want to see how far back the “fiefdom” structure goes, ought to read up on “the revolt of the admirals:

          The “Revolt of the Admirals” was a policy and funding dispute within the United States government during the Cold War in 1949, involving a number of retired and active-duty United States Navy admirals. These included serving officers Admiral Louis E. Denfeld, Chief of Naval Operations, and Vice Admiral Gerald F. Bogan, as well as Fleet Admirals Chester Nimitz and William Halsey, senior officers in World War II.
          The episode occurred at a time when President Harry S. Truman and Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson were seeking to reduce military expenditure. This policy involved deep cuts in the Navy, while making the United States Air Force and strategic nuclear bombing the primary means of defending American interests. The Navy sought to carve out a role for itself in strategic bombing, which the Air Force saw as one of its primary roles.
          Partly driven by inter-service rivalry, the debate escalated from differences over strategy to the question of civilian control over the military. The cancellation of the aircraft carrier USS United States and accusations of impropriety by Johnson in regard to the purchase of the Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber led to an investigation by the House Committee on Armed Services chaired by Carl Vinson. While the dispute was settled in favor of the Truman administration, the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 demonstrated the shortcomings of a defense policy primarily reliant on nuclear weapons, and many of the proposed cuts to conventional forces were ultimately reversed.

          There’s a real wealth of discussion and debate, generated by all sides and the “disinterested commentary” sources. Ostensibly a fight over whether the Navy or Air Force would deliver the nuclear weapons on Soviet and other cities and assets. The items in question were a “super carrier,” the proposed SS United States, with a new set of large carrier-borne bomber aircraft, versus the B-36, which was pretty much the F-35 of its day.

          Truman thought he ran the country too. And despite all the noise in the military about “joint”-this and “joint”-that, the internecine warfare goes on, the effing military parasites squabbling over those career-building gobbets of trillions of MMT units, all related to ways to destroy the world, wholesale or retail. Far as I can tell, this kind of structure and behavior is inevitable given the givens (human nature) and the reality of power relationships.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘Truman thought he ran the country too.’

            When Truman lost to Eisenhower, he remarked that Eisenhower, as a soldier, was going to be lost as he was used to giving orders and having them obeyed. And that Eisenhower did not know that as President that you could give an order – and nothing would happen. And that was nearly seventy years ago.

          1. JBird4049

            I think that the American (supposed) Leadership Class does quite a lot, but it’s doing so only for the benefit of themselves and their wealthy Patróns. If you look at Latin America, you might think that the government does nothing, but it is a tool of the oligarchic families of each nation and working very hard to keep those family leaders in ultimate, if not official, control and their families wealthy.

            1. VietnamVet

              Like LBJ, Harry Truman was so unpopular fighting an Asian War that couldn’t be won, he did not run for a second term. Adlai Stevenson lost to Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. What has changed in the 21st Century is that war is permanent and plutocrats rule the West since the 1980s counter-revolt. The US federal government is simply ornamentation for the corporate empire.

              The sole reason Donald Trump is still around is he is one of the plutocrats. The US federal government failed. The White House is a super-spreader site. The Western Empire has fallen. Unlike 1860, there is no third party. Today it is one party with two heads. Who wins will be determined by who counts the votes.

              There may be no clear winner. But if Donald Trump is reelected or Joe Biden takes over in 2021 there will still be no effective federal government. A public health system will not be restored. The intentional exploitation of Americans and the environment will continue.

              The still youthful, not senile, replacements; Mike Pence is a radical nationalist know-nothing and Kamala Harris is a global neo-liberal imperialist. Not one of them will address the Pandemic Depression, restore democracy, and keep America united.

        2. Starry Gordon

          But will the fiefdoms cohere? The weakness of the oligarchs as a ruling class showed when they allowed a loose cannon like Trump on the deck. They are, after all, only thieves and con artists. It’s possible that after some generations of the rich spawning the rich and sending them to prep school that there is no longer anyone competent to rule. Then the people who are competent and, watching Trump, have been taking notes — they will come forward, riding on white horses and hailed by a multitude.

      2. Moe Knows

        The oligarchs run the country and will continue to do so. They do not feel anyone’s pain, nor care to. In this history is relentless.

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        Who’s running the country now? One takeaway from Yves’ post in my mind is that McConnell is playing Trump like a fiddle.

        He’s smacking his lips at the thought of a conservative court for the foreseeable future. Got his money’s worth for putting up with Trump and probably doesn’t care whether he is reelected or not.

  5. timbers

    Gee wonder what headlines we see from MSM when Trump losses. A 2 word phrase from The Apprentice seems likely? MSM will really love itself for that.

  6. Roquentin

    Without COVID and Trump’s abysmal handling of it, this election would be a totally different scenario. For a long time I had wondered if COVID alone would be enough to get Joe Biden across the finish line first, and I had my doubts. I also, along with a whole lot of other people, really underestimated the longevity of this crisis and the extent to which it damage people’s lives. Trump’s antics (and he’s really nothing more than a famous internet troll) are typically only okay when nothing serious is at stake. COVID was the first crisis of any severity he had to face, and he failed to treat it in a responsible manner on every conceivable level in a way which was undeniable to everyone except his most hardcore followers. It looks as if that same group of hardcore followers just doesn’t have the numbers purely on its own to win.

    I still can’t make my self trust the polls completely after 2016, but what else is there to go on? I guess we’ll all find out soon enough now.

    1. The last D

      Didn’t he have to face a climate crisis from Day One? A crisis that is/will make the corona virus crisis seem almost quaint? But like the little piggy he is, he ran away from it, squealing all the way home.

      1. Roquentin

        No, he didn’t, at least not in the terms that matter. The negative effects of climate change are not undeniably linked to current misfortunes, at least in the eyes of the people who would be predisposed to supporting him. COVID reached a level of immediate and severe consequence that even Trump’s exception ability to lie and manipulate people couldn’t work around. Oh sure, you had some “Plandemic” and anti-mask enthusiasts, but once again it’s a numbers game. There aren’t enough of the hard core that went in for that to dominate the electorate on their own, at least if these polls are to be believed.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The global warming deniers will need F6 and F7 tornadoes with hailstones the size of watermelons to change their mind about global warming.

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    I have compared people voting for Trump to the likes of me buying something from Amazon. When I look at a product on Amazon and read the glowing “reviews” I am very excited about the product and I am sure it will solve all my problems. Then the product arrives and I’m faced with the reality of my purchase.

    Fake reviews, fake news, no difference. Trump is truly a modern president.

      1. cocomaan

        It’s really amazing how badly Amazon has gone downhill. It’s more of a thrift store at this point.

        You cannot trust the reviews or even the product you’re ordering anymore, as in, you cannot tell if you’re ordering the correct product! It’s wild.

          1. jeff

            Ordered some pet stuff from Chewy. We all need to do our part to stop buying stuff from Mr. Kisses’ company.

            Enough is enough.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            There are still some NOmazon alternatives for some things for some people at some times in some situations. If people in those little zones of NOmazon refuge still CHOOSE to buy Amazon, they deserve the worst which can possibly happen with any and every aspect of their purchase.

      2. chuck roast

        Occasionally I’ll buy an out-of-print book. AbeBooks was my go-to source. Then Amazon bought them. I followed up by finding the book I wanted on AbeBooks and then back-door Amazon by calling or e-mailing the bookseller direct and eventually sending a check. Amazon copped to that and I can no longer find internet info on contacting the bookseller direct. It now seems that being a member of the AbeBooks consortium requires booksellers to delist all of their contact information so you have to go through the (Amazon) website with your credit card.

        1. diptherio

          Try Indiebound, if you haven’t already. Every time you order from them, they send you an email saying “thanks for your order, but next time try going to one of these local independent bookstores” followed by a list of said bookstores in your area.

          1. Alex Cox

            There’s also alibris, better world books, thriftbooks, and others.

            Lots of alternatives to Amazon and their Abebooks spin-off.

            1. Old Jake

              Powells is my goto. Has brick and mortar in Portland, will buy items that they see a market for, just send them the ISBN of the books you want to surplus. If they don’t want it, at least give it to the local library for their usual fundraisers.

        2. apotropaic

 I work in the industry and they are top notch and growing fast.

          Independently owned and run, been going concern for 20 years.

    1. Oh

      I make sure I don’t buy ANYTHING from Amazon. I look for independent sellers or go to the local stores if they have it. I wish more people would do that. A company that does the end around on its own suppliers is not to be trusted. Too many fools get into the Amazon Prime trap – they pay for it since they get free shipping and they keep buying junk because they paid for the membership.

      1. MK

        The music and TV/movie offerings included with Prime are decent and fill in some of the gaps since I cut the cable cord a few years back.

        1. furies

          Here in rural ‘murka, I cannot get certain items (grocery) without a 120 mile round trip. Amazon fills in the gaps.

          My son chided me for using WallyWorld after I moved up here…the sad fact is; TINA.

          I’d love for things to be different, but I don’t have the cash to be perfectly aligned with the Politically Correct.

          I support local organic agriculture tho, even as it’s more expensive—we are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Stoller explained it well I think when someone pointed out Goliath was on Amazon: The problem of a monopoly like Amazon is only something that can be solved
            politically – a mass consumer boycott that would prove fatal just isn’t possible with the market power they currently have (and you’ve given some good examples why, “ I’d love for things to be different, but I don’t have the cash to be perfectly aligned with the Politically Correct.” sums up the dilemma beautifully)

            I rarely shop at Amazon (a bit easier because they’re less ubiquitous here – I used to buy from Book Depository a LOT even after they were bought, but I now mostly go with Australia’s Booktopia, which has BDesque prices) but if I want something that I think will be of value to me and I can only get it from an Amazon retailer then I’ll just go ahead and get it, albeit be slightly miffed about it.

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            same here.
            sometimes walmart is all there is, unless i want to make an expedition to san antonio or austin(I don’t).
            with wife’s every two week chemo,i can go to actual stores….but is Lowes or Home Depot really any better than amazon or wallywhirled?
            it all comes from china, any way.

            most of this recent windfall is being plowed right into the local economy…wages for my guys, and lumber and such(comes from somewhere else, too), MIL’s back taxes, and a few other things.
            one does what one can.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            You are among the prisoners of Amazon. You have no choice. Therefor, others have no criticism to make.

            Some of us are not yet prisoners of Amazon. Those of us who still have a NOmazon choice to buy from, should do so in order to keep some small remnants of NOmazon alive.

            Alive until what? Alive until perhaps the political countermeasures needed to control Amazon are taken against Amazon.

            Bezos knows he is in a race of some kind. Can he exterminate all NOmazon business from the earth beFORE people can apply political force against Amazon? Or can people apply political force against Amazon before the very last NOmazon is extinct?

            The more people keep buying from NOmazon, the longer some NOmazon can survive. Perhaps long enough for people to wage political control against Amazon while there is still some NOmazon left to save.

      2. Carla

        I’m with you, Oh. If the only way I can get it is on Amazon, I’ll live without it. And happily!

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Bezos plan is to exterminate all NOmazon ways to get insulin. If you are insulin dependent, and Amazon is the only place to get insulin, you will get your insulin from Amazon.
          The only way out of that Bezos future dream for us all is to exterminate Amazon from existence if we can. And that can only happen if an overwhelming majority of people decide to figure out how to do so, politically or otherwise.

          What is the Bezos dream for the human future? To paraphrase George Orwell, imagine a dirty naked fat person sitting on a human face, forever.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Exterminate Amazon. Wipe Amazon from off the face of the earth.

        “Regulate” Amazon or “break up” Amazon or “nationalize” Amazon are cheap cop-outs and fear-based refusals to see the deep and utter evil which Amazon is.

        The binary choice is this: total extermination or total submission.

  8. CletracSteve

    For me, the vote is between an incompetent petulant incumbent and a competent DNC. I fear the competent DNC more.

    The Donald’s ‘luck’ is that his competition is a ‘ham sandwich’.

        1. chris

          Right, they’re deadly in combat against the Judean People’s Front. Against the Romans…they got nothing.

          And the choices they made to knife Sanders were all internal. Getting Clyburn to violate his promise on the SC primary, getting other candidates to drop out, screwing up Iowa, etc. There’s nothing in that which says they can handle other people or outside challenges. They’re just good at keeping their own house in order. Even then, even with all that ratf$cking, if Sanders had been willing to blow up the party it wouldn’t have worked. But because he famously committed to not being another Nader, he was dispatched. Now he’s Joe’s surrogate poodle and all the things he championed are discussed in vague outlines. The democrats will no doubt be “fighting for” all these noble causes, but alas, they will never win – send more checks please…

          I’m in a harm avoidance mode right now. Whichever candidate when elected will result in the least amount of chaos is my choice. Joe might meet that standard but I sincerely his administration will make anything better if elected.

  9. Harry

    My impression was that the President would use executive orders to get his own package through.

    1. Shiloh1

      Yes, I don’t see the downside of a Stand Alone Direct Payment Stimulus Check to individuals as long as it quick and complete.

    2. The Historian

      I think President Trump has already used up any pots of money that he controls. If we get a new stimulus, it will have to be approved by the Congress. Do you see that happening any time soon?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      As we’ve explained, about 80% of Trump’s executive orders are mere press releases. You can’t accomplish via an Executive Order anything that requires legislation. All spending bills must originate in the House, so unless Trump figures out the Platinum Coin, fast, he can’t do stimulus without the agreement of both houses of Congress.

  10. Jackiebass

    In the eyes of Trumps hard core supporters, Trump can do no wrong. They support anything Trump does. If voters objectively looked at what Trump stood for , Trump would lose big time. Trump promotes policies that are harmful to a large portion of his base. They still support Trump. Apparently many Trump supporters look at Trump through rose colored glasses. Too many voters on both sides vote based on a hot button issue like abortion or gun control. They unfortunately ignore the more important issues that have a big effect on their every day life. That is why we have the best government money can buy.
    It’s amusing to me that what happened to the US economy under Trump is the same thing that happened too many of Trumps former businesses. He’s present business venturer are driven by the Trump name. When this name is no longer magic his present ventures will fold. It will happen and sooner than people think.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      And if the voters looked objectively at what the Dems stood for, the Dems would lose big time. They’ve kept and continue to keep RussiaGate going for 4 years now. That’s one hell of a lie. It’s also a nothing burger using on behalf of “for the people” results as a measurement for “The Resistance” score board. I guess Pelosi’s quiver was empty after all.

      Personally, I’d love for both sides to lose big time but that means the cost to we, the people, is even higher. Maybe some day we’ll get lucky and we’ll figure out the cost of keeping the two-face political coin isn’t worth it.

      1. Starry Gordon

        Most people do not vote rationally or even ideologically. They vote on the basis of intuition, instinct, and image. Many Americans see Trump as one of them. He is not the Id of White America for nothing. They will not be easily deflected no matter how destructive Trump is — whatever pain he causes will be less painful than thinking rationally, which is taken up only as a last, loathsome resort.

    2. edmondo

      If you did a “Search and replace” and traded your “Trump” references with “Biden” it still rings true. This is exactly the problem. The article mocks people like me “while 1% (who are these people???) said they had no preference between the candidates as of yet.” Well, I sure as hell can’t find a rationale to vote for either one of these freaks. A pox, no better yet, a pandemic on both your houses.

  11. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Sometimes I suspect that Trump doesn’t really want to win. Biden too. They probably realize what a horror show the next four years are going to be.

    Admittedly I am not in the position of needing a $1200 check fresh off of Powell’s printing press (and while not a villain like Greenspan or “Helicopter” Ben, the current Fed Chair is not any kind of role model for anyone other than white collar criminals.)

    I am sure it would have made a difference to some out there. But as anything other than a stopgap to keep the collapse-o-meter from hitting “10” what would MOAR stimulus actually accomplish? I suspect that unless we rebooted the system, got rid of debt-based financing of the US govt that only benefits the Wall St. banks, and went with full MMT and M4A, it would at best result in only a temporary sugar high, and chief beneficiary as always would be the parasitic elites who own most of the stock market. Meanwhile, in about 6 months, when the sugar high wears off, another larger shot of dope will be required.

    You can’t fix a broken system with the same methods that led to it being broken.

    1. Upwithfiat

      Meanwhile, in about 6 months, when the sugar high wears off, another larger shot of dope will be required. ChrisFromGeorgia

      How can one argue that ALL fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare NOT be in the form of an equal Citizen’s Dividend?

      What you call a “sugar high” is quite arguably simply justice.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Well if we’re going to go with that approach, let’s acknowledge that attempting to do so without undertaking the political and legal measures to end debt-based money and replace it with a MMT framework is essentially counterproductive.

        This year’s printing-fest actually resulted in more fiat-creation than the government could spend. I just read that there is $340B in unspent money from the original CARES act. Which makes the whole notion of MOAR stimulus actually quite ridiculous. That $340B could be distributed equally to all citizens as you say, in the form of a one time payment. I don’t personally think that would be much of a long term solution, but it would certainly be preferable to giving it to the big banks and Wall St. to jack up stocks.

        1. Upwithfiat

          An equal Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation for private interests is not the total* solution, of course; we also need to de-privilege the banks to end what is, in essence, the use of the PUBLIC’S credit but for private gain – the MMT School, however, is NOT on-board with this.

          Shorter: We need to quit studiously ignoring the concept of equal protection under the law wrt fiat creation, fiat use and the banking model we use.

          *Land reform is also needed.

        2. JTMcPhee

          So that’s about a thousand bucks to every man, woman and child in the country. Would go a long way toward relieving a lot of distress, even if not targeted to those in the greatest need. I wouldn’t even mind if effing Bezos and effing Gates got a check — or any of those other squillionaires who have pledged to give away (to their favorite opera and museum charities) large chunks of their loot.

          I say this while having to struggle with the (neo)liberal Pavlovian training from 74 years of living under the operative paradigm in this country, where one is never supposed to provide any concrete material benefits to any “undeserving” person… as determined by a large bureaucracy operating under complex, opaque and cruel regulations.

  12. Noone from Nowheresville

    The two-faced political coin should’ve lost the legitimacy to rule already. That it hasn’t tell us that the lies of both sides work, and that if the media is correct, too many are still fully invested in the outcome. Just as the media is.

    By the time the election is over we’ll have another big surge in blame ourselves and not the system. Or rather blame our neighbor. The other side’s deplorables.

    Frankly it’s exhausting. How many people will just stop paying attention because the political coin seems crazy? How many will become further militarized?

    I’d love to blame Trump alone but this tragedy officially started in March. The CARES Act the high-water mark of federal government response. Six months ago and nothing substantial has happened since? Boy, these people are the epitome of top-notch negotiators when it comes to doing something for real people. Reminds me of Brexit or Greece. Where are the cattle again? Here Bessie!

    That should tell us exactly what the priorities of the political coin are. Then throw in the many varied state & local responses. Love to be a fly on the wall for some of those private v. public face discussions. Again exhausting.

    Trump will either go out in a blaze of glory or he’ll become a phoenix and be reborn. Either way none of this ends any time soon.

    1. horrified

      This tragedy started long before March. This is just another episode. Try and find the earliest progenitor of the idea that the USA is a one-party state with two wings – the Republican wing of the money party, and the Democratic wing of the money party.

      There would be fewer dead and bereaved people if the Democratic wing were in power, but your health-care system alone made it almost impossible to do the right thing in this pandemic, never mind the dysfunction in the branches of government. Right now the Republican wing would be blaming socialists (well, Hillary) for ruining the country (ignoring all the data from the rest of the world), with all the “motivation-killing” support payments, and huge unemployment and business closures. So you’d be looking at an imminent Republican sweep of all the branches of government (even the Supreme Court, ’cause the Republicans have form in that regard). We all saw what a dumpster fire the Republican nomination process was last time — why would anyone expect better this time around?

      The roots of the problems are both wide and deep, and far beyond the fractured attention span of the body politic to consider, or even become aware of. As a non-resident, non-American I can only shudder in horror whenever I look at the situation, and take every step available to slow and/or prevent the same poisonous processes in my own country (for the processes are universal, just not so structurally-favoured as in the USA)

  13. kees_popinga

    Trump’s use of executive order to stop collection of social security and medicare taxes from paychecks, and promise to stop collecting them entirely if elected, deserves to lose him the senior vote. It’s basically a way to provoke a funding crisis for those programs that would then require a “compromise” (benefit cuts).
    I’m not sure if our journalism community adequately informed seniors that this is what is happening, however.

    1. hunkerdown

      When I was a kid, lots of motor homes bore the bumper sticker “We’re Spending Our Children’s Inheritance”. It’s the same energy here. What do they care? They “earned” these claims and they are “entitled” to their reward for “paying dues” to the last generation of Big Men. They will ensure, according to custom, that benefit degradation will fall hardest on new claimants. I guess the kids will just have to use their inheritance (and their powers of attorney) more wisely.

      1. Anonymous

        “We’re Spending Our Children’s Inheritance”.

        They should be ashamed since:

        A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, … Proverbs 13:22

        1. hunkerdown

          I don’t see anything about the public sphere in that verse. I see the archy (olig today, patri then) doing exactly what it says, with necessary allowances made for modern understandings of gender: preserving the stolen wealth of the tribe and the clan.

          If the OT were a good moral guide, Evangelicals would be much better behaved.

          1. Anonymous

            If the OT were a good moral guide, Evangelicals would be much better behaved.

            If Evangelicals paid any mind to the ENTIRE OT, they could never justify government privileges for a usury cartel or charge their fellow countrymen ANY interest for loans, much less the 24% the Alabama Southern Baptists says is OK for payday lenders.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        How long ago were you a kid?

        Depending on your answer, those old people in those motor homes would either be Silent Generation or Greatest Generation.

    2. Milton

      and yet, the viability of SS is not predicated on any “funding source”. Where are the sources that pay for military expenditures? As far as I can discern, Defense bonds haven’t been a thing since the 50s. I tell you what we need and that is an independent and critical press that will call out bullsh*t on this whole taxes pay for gov’t services trope.

      1. kees_popinga

        The so-called “payroll tax” (which Trump stopped just collecting) was put in place in the Reagan era to cover so-called Social Security funding shortfalls because investments from the SS “trust” alone were going to “run out of money.” I agree that the military doesn’t jump through the same hoops and the money for SS could be provided the same way the CARES Act helped hedge funds. What Trump did is a maneuver to exacerbate a sense of crisis among people who think benefits should “pay their own way.” For that trick alone no over-65 should vote for him (as if they didn’t have enough reasons). They are taking food out of their own mouths.

      2. Oh

        Most people being idiots that they are, fall for the argument that payroll taxes pay for social security and medicare. These are the same morons who believe the same lies that the politicians tell them year after year,

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          FDR crafted the payroll tax system to make people feel so attached to their SocSec benefits
          that ” no damned politician can ever repeal my Social Security” ( FDR’s words I believe).

          Payroll tax doesn’t pay for Social Security? What does it pay for then? Nothing at all?
          It certainly costs every one of us who has to pay it. And you want us to decide that none of it ever paid for anything at all? Do you think you will sell the intellectual prolixity of cargo cult MMT logic to these people whom you have just told their Payroll Tax never paid for anything at all ever to begin with? That all that money which represents years of suffering and loss was all for nothing? Because that is what you will be left with. A hundred million people ready to burn the country down because you convinced them their payroll taxes never did pay for anything at all.

          And since they don’t believe in magic, they won’t let you live long enough to explain your precious “MMT” to them.

          1. kees_popinga

            Sorry, I meant to say payroll taxes were increased under Reagan. The Social Security actuaries take Trump’s tax moratorium seriously and have been issuing alarm calls. They aren’t counting on MMT coming to the rescue any time soon.

  14. Carolinian

    I think the most foolish thing that many people believe about Trump is that he wants to be some kind of dictator whereas clearly what he really craves is not power but attention. He can’t even maintain control of his own administration–no Night of the Long Knives for him–much less run the world.

    So it’s quite possible that he doesn’t really care about being reelected and that he didn’t really want to be elected in the first place. He’s an old man. Why would he want to spend another four years dealing with the titanic problems created by covid added to the preexisting economic and political dysfunction.

    He has reportedly said “I’m not going to be beaten by Joe Biden” so it’s an ego contest for him and that may have been the undercurrent of the debate (which I didn’t watch). But deep down he may not care that much.

    1. John Wright

      I suspect that Trump is willing to put up a somewhat competitive election show, like the staged knockdown of Vince McMahon at the pro wrestling event in 2007.

      When Trump loses (as I expect he will) then he will try to shore up his shaky businesses with US government largess from the Biden administration.

      Maybe he can use his future Secret Service detail for tasks around the Trump properties and save a few bucks?

      He can throw pot shots at the new administration for a few years to get more attention as progressives excuse Biden’s future behavior with “But Trump would have been worse”..

      That is why all the wailing and gnashing about “dictator” Trump being willing to do anything to stay in power doesn’t resonate with me.

      Trump may be positioning himself to be perfectly content with getting the Silver medal in this election.

      1. The Historian

        Oh, no, I doubt sincerely that Trump would settle for a Silver this election. The long knives are already coming out. If he loses, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be indicted for his tax evasion – $70,000 for haircuts? – after all he is already in a battle with the IRS that has been put on hold while he is President. I have a strong feeling that the Dems will hound him mercilessly if he loses, if for no other reason than what they see as payback.

        1. edmondo

          No way. The one thing the Dems want more than anything is “civility” and that sets a really bad precedent when President Hawley controls the DOJ in 2025. Trump will show up at Carter’s funeral and hand out candy. To prove that the Democrats still have their mojo, they will publicly turn it down and it will go viral and become a major fundraising tool. These are Democrats after all.

          1. The Historian

            Civility? Haven’t seen much of that lately.

            Don’t you think the Democrats will want some retribution for Trump taking down their Queen?

            1. edmondo

              Nope. The Dems hate losers. Besides, if Biden wins, it reinforces the Queen’s theory that the only reason she lost was because of misogyny. And the Russians. And Trump. and TPP. and Bad voters. and Robby Mook is an idiot.

            2. apleb

              They are a pack of hyenas. If you take down their current queen, there are a dozen already sabbering for the post to be filled. They won’t send a thank you card for giving them the opportunity to raise to the top, but they certainly will not care about the fate of the former queen either.

              More and more she is out of the media already. She’s gone, yesterday’s news. Why would anyone care? The queen was there to give them jobs, positions to fill, opportunities to rise further, opportunities to build a power base. She cannot provide that anymore, so who cares about anything regarding her? Same for Bush II, he’s a nothingburger in the opposite party. Obama did something by eliminating a threat in spring, but apart from that? Neither Clinton nor Obama have actual money, they don’t have power from any office anymore either. So why would anyone care about them?

        2. John Wright

          Perhaps the Dems will invoke the “Obama Doctrine” (AKA, “look forward, not backward”) that was used to ignore prior financial crimes and illegal war actions during Bush II administration?

          The Dems might hound Trump mercilessly in the press, but actually doing something legally to him, I tend to discount.

          Perhaps some of the Democrats live in glass houses?

          It will be very interesting to see the Biden Administration’s first 100 days.

          1. Cas

            Yes, I agree with this. The Democrats would not want to be the ones poking around their fellow politicos’ finances. Sets a bad precedent. Is there anyone in Congress whose hands aren’t dirty? Maybe a dozen, half a dozen, if you count members of both houses?

    2. Sutter Cane

      He has reportedly said “I’m not going to be beaten by Joe Biden” so it’s an ego contest for him and that may have been the undercurrent of the debate (which I didn’t watch). But deep down he may not care that much.

      I agree, he wants to WIN, but he doesn’t care about governing, or even power. The Republicans care about maintaining power, but Trump just wants to win, because he doesn’t want to go be seen as a “loser.” I really don’t think it goes any deeper than that.

    3. Oh

      Why do you assume that he wouldn’t like to have a second term where he can loot more? He doesn’t give a family blog about the country’s problems. The second term will be easier because he won’t be able to run again. It will be open season for him and his cronies. The DimRats won’t charge him with anything because that would hinder their looting.

  15. Yik Wong

    Some while back, I believe on Water Cooler, I opined a Freudian would opine that subconsciously Trump wants to lose, that the tedium of being president has worn him thin, hence the remarks about people joining the military service being chumps, and his speech on RBG death and nomination was a dull and listless without him going off script. He’s looking for a face-saving formula to lose. Many have suggested he never expected or wanted to win, in his mind he was simply promoting his next reality TV show. Would not be surprised if that’s how Bill Clinton sold him on the run.

  16. KLG

    I have been surprised by Trump’s abject political stupidity this year, but reality has never really been a thing with him. Or with anyone else leading the single, two-winged bird of prey that is our politics. Sarah Chayes’s On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake was the subject here on October 2. Except for one note that clanged rather loudly (“overwhelming evidence emerged of foreign efforts to subvert” the 2016 election; I guess Sarah is not a regular reader of naked capitalism) the book is as good a guide to how we got into this abyss as any from the usual suspects (Taibbi, Mayer, Teachout, Frank, Robin). Biden will now probably “win.” And nothing will change. Nothing. Seems to me our only hope is a decent revival from collapse, but a more authoritarian extension of the current Guilded Age is much more likely…still, neither the Hamptons nor Palm Beach nor La Jolla are defensible redoubts. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

    1. William Hunter Duncan

      I linked that interview on Minnpost, a liberal news outlet in Minnesota. One of the moderate liberal Biden supporters in the regular commentariat rejected the interview and the book because Ms Chayes did the interview with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, on the grounds that the INET has it’s headquarters on Park Avenue. Another moderate there compares The Intercept to Qanon, in fact saying that The Intercept is WORSE than conservative media like InfoWars. Another moderate there rejected NakedCapitalism because Yves is a “Limousine Liberal.”

      Nothing will change indeed, with Biden. Except Biden’s people will gouge out the heart of the left, as they resume their progress as the party of global empire.

      1. KLG

        By your enemies they shall know you. I often have fellow members of the PMC (in it now, but from a thoroughly working class background, which was a possibility for someone born the same year the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series) tell me that Trump is destroying our democracy. When I ask “Which democracy is that?” all I get is a bovine stare, with apologies to all self-respecting cows out there.

        Also too: Gilded Age! Jeebus. Some typos are worse than others…

      2. polecat

        They are already taking measure of new wigs and ruffled sleeves, whilst ticking off weights of power, rouge, and stick-on moles.

  17. William Hunter Duncan

    I’m one of those people who has no preference between these two candidates. Trump’s ugly, brutal, stupid “fascism” is little different from my perspective from the corporate fascism Dems call meritocracy. A choice between right authoritarianism and left authoritarianism is no choice at all, there is not a lesser evil. Do I want nativist crony capitalism, or corporatized globalism where a foreign corporation has more standing than I, citizen? Oligarchs ruling the roost either way, shoving Americanism/Western-primacy or critical race theory down my gullet. No thanks.

  18. Norm

    Just imagine if Bernie were the Bernie we had hoped he would be. What if he had bolted from the Dems, and we actually had a third choice? Would Bernie’s candidacy been still viable at this point? Probably not, but maybe. Could Bernie have had a chance of winning? Not impossible, but not likely. Would the Dems finally have come to the realization that throwing the left under the bus is not a good approach? Possible. Would a Bernie-based third party have gained some traction for future adventures? Again, possible. Of such thin gruel are dreams made.

    1. edmondo

      If Bernie had been the nominee, then the Lincoln Project would be supporting Trump, and so would MSDNC, NYT and half the Democratic Party. Bernie would have lost.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      The most votes a third party received was Ross Perot in ’92. About 19.8 million. It might have been possible for him to win had there not been that in, out, in again bit. The causes / reasons unimportant at this point.

      In 2016 the Greens got just under 1.5 million down from Nader’s 2000 2.8 million run.

      While the Libertarians got around 4.5 million in 2016.

      1. hunkerdown

        To be fair, the Libertarians are the third member of the two-party system, proud upholders of the bipartisan neoliberal consensus without all that proletarian kayfabe. They are everything the two-party agree on, the exact opposite of a threat to the social Order of oligarchy. In fact, I suspect most oligarchs might wish for more quiet outside and inside the smoke-filled rooms from which we are ruled, so they can enjoy the impunity they intended when they designed the system, but the surplus elite wannabes have debts to pay, and several years of having been propagandized to “make their mark on the world”, that their personal significance is a public good…

        I don’t see any reason for either party to interfere against the LP any more than is absolutely necessary for appearances, especially not now that the Marktjugend of 4chan and other lolbertarian lesions are actively working now to control the rump GOP and keep politics safe for the oligarchy. Greens, on the other hand, are a clear and present threat to the ability of the oligarchs to prevent access to fitness-enhancing resources, and thus their ability to make themselves needed and superior, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see their votes undercounted as a matter of course.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          I can believe under-counting or over-counting of votes. But the two-faced coin supposedly gets 120 million votes. If you increase the Greens by 200% that still only 4.5 million. And apparently no one can motivate the other 60 million eligible citizens that voting is either worth their or will make any type of substantial difference.

          As far as the Libertarians are concerned, it was more a comment that they got more votes than the Greens. 200% more. Rather than anything about where they are on the spectrum and what their goals are. Will be interesting to what official tallies are for the 4 groups once the chaff falls to the ground.

          Greens: Interesting that the myth of Nader is still part of our cultural whispers. It does serve its purpose well.

    3. vlade

      For a third party candidate to win, the US would first have to drop its electoral college, and move to some sort of proportional vote.

      That ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, as both parties recognise that the FPTP serves both of them well. If you moved to proportional votes, the Rep-Dem stranglehold would be broken. Maybe not immediately, but would be, eventually.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Actually, Section 2 of the 14th Amendment says states which deny or abridge the right to vote in elections for President (among other offices) are subject to losing a proportional share of their US Representatives — and the associated electoral votes. To this “Mal-Apportionment Penalty”, mix in the Supreme Court one-person-one-vote cases which say one way to deny voting rights is to dilute voting power — the ability to have a chance to decide an election by your vote (or, for a group of voters, votes) — and we reach the conclusion that states should already be allocating out at least their “House-based” electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote in them.

        See, for example:

  19. Susan the other

    When politics is this chaotic usually some “strong man” emerges to take over. We don’t really have one. Not Trump, he blew it by finally catching Covid; not Biden, as EdSP said above, Biden “makes me think of formaldehyde.” Although I think Little George wanted to be dictator for life but didn’t know how to overturn the Constitution, so the impulse goes back at least to 2000. Putin and Xi and Modi are already in that pattern. Point being that everything is up for grabs with the failure of neoliberal “capitalism”. The one thing the USA has is a functioning federation. We have state government. So we will stay together. And we won’t need a dictator. But, unfortunately for us, we will need Congress – unfortunate because Congress has proven itself to be the most incompetent institution imaginable. I fully anticipate Congress withholding the money necessary to get us out of this crisis. Because they are just basically reactionaries of the worst kind. Congress will bring this country down faster than a revolution. imo.

  20. TBellT

    As Lambert has regularly pointed out is that the Dems are willing to throw the working class under the bus rather than pass the Republicans’ inadequate relief bill. It’s more important for them to deny Trump any talking points.

    I think of David Dayen repeatedly making the point that Dems should have gotten everything they wanted in the first bill, because they weren’t going to get another once R’s got the market calming measures. Even Jake Tapper pushed Pelosi on it in an interview.

    I do wonder if this was Pelosi “wising up” and playing hardball knowing that electorally Trump needs the stimulus more than D’s do. Now that it seems Trump is unconcerned with winning, maybe she devises a new strategy and passes the stand alones. I am aware I’m being way too charitable to Pelosi, call it a form of hope/cope.

  21. Bruno

    ” 1% (who are these people???) said they had no preference between the candidates as of yet.” (Cilizza)
    Who are these people? I strongly believe that a whole lot more than 1% of voters will either vote for a third party or leave the line for those two nudniks blank! So much for the veracity of Pol-pol-polls.

  22. Pookah Harvey

    Over the last 40 years the neo-liberals have taken over the Republican party (Reagan 1980), and the Democratic party (Clinton 1992). Yet I’m constantly told taking over a party is impossible. Parties have been taken over again and again in our history. Is the Republican party of Teddy Roosevelt the same as under Trump, FDR’s Democratic party the same as Obama’s? The only accomplishment third party activism made in the last 40 years is putting Bill Clinton in power.
    I would love a viable third party but we seem to be stuck with a duopoly. Adopting a national ranked choice voting system would change that but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. An incompetent Congress is due to incompetent parties.
    Historically change has come thru taking over an established party. So in the short term which party will be the easier to change?

    1. apleb

      Imho neither. You lack the requisite resources mainly money. Not just you personally, but your whole “class”. The oligarchs can easily outspend you and even if that doesn’t help they have various other tools like the supreme court, the voting machine makers to count votes the way they want to, etc.

      Seeing how the Sanders campaign went, twice, should show you what you would run against.

      To change, probably some sort of revolution is necessary. Doesn’t have to be bloody either, could be 1789 or 1989. Doesn’t mean it necessarily gets better after that revolution.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Agreed, we need a revolution. That’s what Bernie’s campaign was all about. Remember “Not me. Us”. Bernie was the sole real progressive in Congress for years. Since his 2016 campaign there are now a dozen in Congress, and seem to double every campaign cycle.

  23. John Beech

    I suspect those voting for Biden are of a type. The kind who foamed at the mouth about the President and the Russians – took the bait hook, line, and sinker because it’s what they were told to believe by Rachel Maddow or Hoda. You know the type, credulous maybe a bit gullible, who even today, with the evidence starkly showing the FBI in the tank, wonder if it still isn’t really true (about the President) despite the manifest evidence he was railroaded. The type whose emotions are so easily manipulated they actually wanted the government to force everybody to wear masks (too stupid to have ever read the US Constitution) and cheered when the likes of Chris Cuomo took the President of the United States to task for not mandating mask use! Worse, they’re the type who look forward to when someone, perhaps Biden himself, will win the Presidency and force the deplorables to comply with mask wear by force if needs be. Basically, they’re the ones who do what they’re told. Folks who never have and will never sign the front of a paycheck (endorser-types). Probably the very same type who believe disbanding the police is the answer to crime. In short, the obedient type who never rebel, never stick it to the man – not even in thought – and always look around at the rest of the herd for clues of what to believe!

    Me? I wonder this; America, what have you come to? Guess we’ll find out in a few more weeks, eh?

  24. Annus Horribilis

    The only hospital where the patient looks healthier than the depleted relatives who visit – a psychiatric hospital. Madness has appeal. Trump’s survival rate past the next four weeks, the actuary metrics alone, is 11.6% at best. The anecdotal CoVID pathology suggests higher viral loads associated with exposure of both patient and proximate other sans mask. On top of that, an exhausted hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis associated with the modern presidency. One-in-five mortality. Those without delusion would be getting their affairs in order, looking over their living trusts, and having [distanced] one-on-ones with family.

    As for Trump’s success, he exploited our ambivalent responses to abnormal behavior. Once. Four years ago. The un-mad are capable of learning from experience and do.

  25. chaco52

    Going back to your reference to the Gold Star parents: what appeared a disastrous move at the time reversed itself with the Hillary/Podesta email bit. An apparent boost of good luck. Even the Russiagate revelations this week appear not to have helped Trump, so perhaps you’re right about Trump’s reversal of fortune. Except-the new Russiagate information is being heard by his base; his C19 infection is helping him with his base; his Mid-East actions are of some significance- and the marginal voter who supports Biden, just because, is hearing these pro-Trump points. And the same voter is aware that there’s questions of fairness arising from the apparent Hillary/Brennan black political art of suborning the FBI to your goals.And maybe, like their under-30 counterparts, they’ll choose to stay home. And Biden is trailing Hillary’s numbers in the 10 in play states that will decide this election. And Biden’s hiding was last practiced by Tom Dewey when he defeated Truman. And there’s 3 weeks left and Trump’s traditional comeback move hasn’t happened yet. And we’ll have a new conservative Justice to rule on the questionable mail in ballots. Watch Pennsylvania, for there goes the path to victory( where recent polls suggested a 7 point lead, but when you get rid of the 4 questionable polls the race is suddenly within the margin of error.) The only poll of merit is the one on Nov. 3.

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