“Why I’m Voting for Donald Trump”

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Yves here. Given how Trump having contracted Covid has invalidated most assumptions about where the election is going, publishing a voter view on Trump before he got sick may seem to be hopelessly out of date. However, I think this article still has merit because it challenges assumptions about Trump voters, starting with the subhead:

I voted for Barack Obama twice, then reluctantly for Trump. This time I’m more convinced he’s the right choice. Here’s why.

Readers will no doubt also notice that this voter’s view of what “facts” are differ in marked ways from orthodox Democratic party views. It is hard to sway people on what they see as matters of fact, at least in formats like ads or sloganeering.

By Craig D. Originally published at openDemocracy

South Carolina in 2006. He was the anonymous ‘John’ in a story I wrote about discrimination against LGBT people in the US army and wider American society that year. We reconnected after Donald Trump’s victory in 2016. The result of that conversation is here. Craig graciously and respectfully engaged with all the comments that his support for Donald Trump provoked. We spoke again last week. 

The 2020 election is a bit of a joke. Four years ago, I voted for Donald Trump because I thought he was the least bad option. This time round, I feel differently.

At first, I felt pretty good about Joe Biden. I voted for Barack Obama twice and thought his former vice president was one of the stronger Democrat contenders. But as time has worn on, I’ve lost faith in him.

When we got the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, I seriously considered changing my vote to the Democrats, or not voting at all. In the days after the news, I really questioned how I could sit right with my actions. But as things stand now, Donald Trump will be getting my vote.

As an out gay man and officer with 15 years of service in the US army, I find the identity politics the Democrats are pushing to be offensive. This time round, the biggest issue on the ballot for me is race – and a distant second is Joe Biden’s mental capacity.

President Trump’s first term in office has clearly had its ups and downs. I really wish someone would take away his Twitter account. And I don’t even know what to say about the first presidential debate. It was an absolute disaster on both sides. If this is how they are going to be this year, there’s no point in having the other two as scheduled.

That said, I feel Trump’s actions as president are net-positive. Prior to the pandemic, the economy was doing great, and there haven’t been any surprises regarding the big issues to me in 2016. The right to self-defense is intact, we have a stronger middle class, we have made some (albeit minor) progress with the immigration issues, and the boogeyman hasn’t nullified my same-sex marriage.

Black Lives Matter (To Everyone Except Black Lives Matter)

As a white male in the age of identity politics, I am not allowed to say anything on the subject of race, but I’m going to say it anyway. There are several prominent Black conservatives who cite some of the same things I have to say here, and the point is no less valid because of the colour of my skin.

To start with, my parents did not pay for my first car, college, or give me any money to get started in life. When I was floundering just after high school and didn’t have anywhere to live, my parents told me to figure it out because my decisions had led me to where I was and they were not responsible for my actions. My “white privilege” didn’t knock on the door and hand me a pile of cash, a degree, a car, and solve all of my problems. I was on my own, and I joined the army to make something of myself instead of blaming the world for my problems.

When the Black Lives Matter movement first gained national attention during the Obama administration, my initial thoughts were of support for the movement, though I questioned their name. Of course, Black lives matter! Why wouldn’t they? Are they implying other lives don’t matter, or that their lives matter more, or that they don’t think their lives currently matter? Upon further research I learned the movement was about equality for all, and about making sure Black lives have the same value as anyone else. This is a message I can absolutely stand behind. There is just one problem.

The Black Lives Matter movement decided to focus solely on Black men killed by police, later expanding to include the anecdotal example of a Black man killed by white men (who were appropriately charged with murder). Whether or not the shots officers fired were justified did not matter. Whether or not the deceased was a career criminal actively threatening the police with a deadly weapon at the time of the shooting did not matter. The only logical conclusion would be that the police are killing so many Black men that this should be the top priority. The problem is the statistics don’t support this narrative.

There are so many other things killing African Americans – many of which are linked to poverty. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 500,000 Black people per year die from heart disease. Obesity further compounds the problem for 56% of Black women and 37% of Black men. This equates to over 20 million Black people who are clinically obese. Diabetes is another leading cause of death among the Black population with almost 15,000 deaths annually. Suicide claims almost 3,000 Black lives and homicide claims just shy of 10,000. Why are the only Black lives that matter to Black Lives Matter the hundreds killed by police each year? I am especially confused because the vast majority seem to have been actively belligerent, resisting arrest, and/or outright attacking the officers at the time of their death.

I don’t believe in ‘systemic racism’ as a concept. But I do believe we urgently need to end the war on drugs. It’s one of the greatest failures of our country, taking too many fathers away from their kids. And we really need criminal justice reform. The stigma of going to jail – no jobs or prospects when you get out – destroys millions of lives.

If we fixed these issues, we could help millions of families struggling. In the US, researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between single-parent households and downward income mobility. It’s a vicious cycle: dad in jail, mom trying to raise kids on their own, unable to put enough food on the table, the kids get in trouble with police, and so it goes. We see the same problems in white communities in poor, rural areas like West Virginia. They are not unique to the Black community. But they are disproportionately affecting the Black community.

These are real problems. But the Democrats are all about ‘systemic racism’ and the ‘ghost in the machine’ which is keeping Black people down. They’ve run Black communities into the ground over time with the mass incarceration of Black men under the guise of the war on drugs, glorified the skyrocketing Black single-motherhood rate, pushed abortions as a contraceptive, and replaced personal responsibility with welfare programs. As long as the Black community is poor and dependent on the system for financial support, the Democrats know they can buy the Black vote with more social programs. There are no easy solutions to the problems facing the Black community today, but allowing Democrats to continue destroying their community while blaming President Trump for problems that existed long before he was president, and issues that President Obama did very little to address, is insanity.

The insanity and hypocrisy have reached the point where Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris publicly told an alleged rapist she is proud of him. What did he do to earn her pride and respect? Simply be Black and be shot by the police. Never mind the fact that he is currently facing charges of sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He has been accused by a police union of violently resisting arrest and ignoring orders to drop a knife – I would expect the officers to shoot me too. I believe that race has very little to do with why police shoot someone.

The insanity goes further because the majority of the shootings Black Lives Matter are protesting occur in Democrat-run cities, in Democrat-run states, with Black governors, mayors and police chiefs – and the Democrats have held control of these places for more than 40 years. Explain to me how President Trump or the Republican party is responsible for these problems?

We Must Get Through COVID-19 Without Further Economic Ddamage

The United States’ COVID-19 response has been far more political than substantive. I was in South Korea when the pandemic started, and I was impressed with the swift action the South Korean government took to get things under control. The United States on the other hand, has been nothing but a partisan battle between Democrats and Republicans over who takes the threat more seriously, while in reality, very few take it seriously. We started with President Trump halting traffic from China, to which Democrats called him racist and said he was overreacting. Democrats criticised him for taking too much action, only to turn around and claim he wasn’t taking enough action.

The pandemic is unprecedented for the United States in modern times. Other countries have dealt with SARS, the Avian Flu, Swine Flu and others, and so it was much easier for the general public in their countries to respond appropriately. The citizens of the United States responded like spoiled children. It still amazes me that people refuse to take simple precautions like wear a mask and wash their hands. Not to mention mass protests where thousands of people are standing immediately next to each other in large groups with few people wearing masks. They don’t even realise their hypocrisy is staring them in the face.

I don’t know what the Trump Administration could have done differently. Many people believe the constitution prevents a mask mandate. Former Vice President Biden has even admitted this recently. I believe the administration did their best to maintain some semblance of order, minimize the economic impact, and take the legal actions they could in order to keep the population safe.

No Dog in the Fight on Healthcare

Healthcare was a big issue for me in the last election, and this time it really isn’t on my radar. I know President Trump still wants to change Obamacare, which I agree was a disaster, though I am not sure how much he will really be able to change at this point. Getting any changes through Congress will be a challenge. While I don’t support Obamacare, I also don’t support Trumpcare. Both are band-aids on a horribly broken healthcare system.

The solution to skyrocketing prices isn’t to change who foots the bill, it is to reduce the prices through transparent pricing and open-market competition. If consumers are able to ask how much a procedure costs, they can shop around for the best price, thereby driving down prices – as we have seen for example with laser eye surgery.

In the end, no one on either side of the aisle has put forth a plan that I can stand behind, so I really don’t have a dog in the fight this time around.

A Conservative Supreme Court Does Worry Me

I am voting absentee in this election due to my military service outside of my state of residence. The election commission emailed my ballot to me a few days before Justice Ginsburg passed away. I’d printed it and started filling it out, but it was still laying on the kitchen table when I received an alert on my phone with the news that she had passed. I was watching TV with my husband and paused the show. My immediate thought was this is not good, and I might need to reprint my ballot.

I love the United States because we do have a peaceful transfer of power between two different ideological points every four to eight years. A conservative Supreme Court threatens that balance. It means they could just overturn or overrule every idea coming out of the left, and I don’t think their ideas are all bad. Throughout history, when one political party or person gets too much power, they don’t make good decisions. To have a conservative majority on the court for the rest of my life could affect something that I care about deeply in the future. I don’t even know what that is yet.

That said, there is definitely precedent for a sitting president to make a nomination in an election year, and even stronger precedent for a confirmation to take place when the president’s party also controls the Senate. I would have loved to see a more moderate nominee, but President Trump is going to nominate someone who will satisfy his base. Unfortunately, this has left us with Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Amy Coney Barrett has many people scared, but I don’t count myself among them. The media is attempting to paint her as a diehard conservative who wants to rip up the Constitution, but I believe that couldn’t be further from the truth. Judge Barrett clearly has conservative morals, but based on the things her colleagues and students at the University of Notre Dame said about her, she keeps them out of her legal analysis.

Some of her philosophies as a constitutional originalist align with my belief in a smaller federal government. I feel the federal government is far too quick to pass sweeping legislation and create monstrosities of federal agencies dedicated to taking care of things we should leave to the states. From healthcare and student loans, to the Veterans Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, there are so many dollars wasted with completely ineffectual programs and unnecessary bureaucracy.

Many people are vocal opponents of changing Roe v. Wade, and are scared this may be a possibility with a conservative majority on the court. While I personally believe we should limit abortions to cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity, I do not support changing Roe v. Wade. I believe the constitution protects women’s right to make that decision for themselves. But I don’t believe that Planned Parenthood should get federal funding. I don’t think this is a good use of taxpayer dollars and would much rather see an increase in education and personal responsibility, alongside reduced-cost or free contraceptives for lower-income households.

I do believe the Senate will confirm Judge Barret before November, so in a way it will be a moot point. However, I am concerned for the consequences should Democrats win the election and take back the Senate. I do not support packing the court, though I would entertain the idea of balancing the court. I think a much better solution would be term limits. I fully support the Democrats’ plan to introduce legislation enacting 18-year term limits for Supreme Court justices, even if it takes an amendment to the Constitution. I hope while they are at it, they introduce term limits for congressmen and senators as well.

President Trump’s taxes

President Trump’s taxes are a complete non-issue for me. We don’t know the validity of the claim from the New York Times, and I have no faith in the media in the United States. They have time and again proven they do not care about honest reporting and I don’t pay much attention to anything they “report”. To my knowledge, the accusation is not that he did anything illegal or unjustified, but rather an emotional smear campaign designed to make him look unrelatable and elitist.

I care far more about the politicians who became multi-millionaires as a result of their public “service” than I do about someone who made a bunch of money and then took political office. When I wrote four years ago, Hillary Clinton’s pay-for-play and complete disregard for securing classified material were key issues to me. It seems the pay-for-play scheme must simply be part of the Democrats’ playbook now, as Joe Biden clearly has some explaining to do with regards to his son’s dealings in the Ukraine, not to mention his financial ties to Russia and China. The Democrats are very quick to scream ‘Russian collusion’ when it has to do with President Trump, but they turn a completely blind eye to Joe Biden. Those in glass houses…

The Harris Administration

It seems Former Vice President Biden can’t remember what his goal is for this election. For example, referring to his administration as the Harris-Biden administration, as if he were running for Vice President again. His inability to maintain coherent thought is scary. His team have been hiding him from the public as much as possible, and when he takes questions from the crowd, they are preselected questions and the Biden team direct the citizens asking them to only ask what is on the card. There are days when he gets up and speaks and it’s the old Joe Biden, and other days where he’s completely incoherent. Quite possibly, I would have voted for the old Joe Biden, but I believe he is legitimately experiencing health issues in a way Trump is not.

Yes, Trump definitely does not think before he speaks – that was blatantly apparent well before the election. He blindly shares things on Twitter without thinking about them. But, looking at his policy action, I don’t think he’s done a terrible job. We’ve definitely had better presidents, for sure, but for me it’s hard to tell what a Biden Administration would look like. The only messaging the campaign is releasing is either criticisms of President Trump’s COVID response, support for BLM, or blaming Republicans for the sins of the Democratic Party.

As a Person, Trump Is Disgusting

I’m exhausted when it comes to sexual assault in politics. It’s become so weaponised, you don’t know who to believe. Because it now affects nearly everyone at the top, it’s almost become a non-issue – which is unbelievably sad and disgusting. I feel bad for the women and potentially men who are truly victims. I don’t think we’ll ever hear them or that they’ll ever get justice, because it’s impossible to tell what’s real and what isn’t.

As a person, Trump is disgusting. There are enough accusations out there that there has to be some level of truth to some of them. These women are going out on the line to make these allegations, it can’t just be the Democrats rounding people up to say things. But I believe there’s a problem with Biden too in this regard, so we actually don’t have an option to vote for someone who isn’t tainted by this. It’s so sad.

I Think Trump Will Respect the Result

I don’t think there is any risk of Trump trying to retain power illegitimately. My father disagrees with me, but I don’t see a scenario where that plays out that way. So many people would rise up. That would be a complete burning of the constitution.

I do think the result is likely to be close, and could come down to the Supreme Court. I wouldn’t look on that as an illegitimate win; that’s how the constitution says it should work.

I do have concerns about the integrity of the vote itself, though. I’m pro-absentee ballots, but clearly the US postal service isn’t equipped for a mass mail-in system. It’s 2020, how do we not have a better online system in place? I do think it’s possible to make the vote workable, if we prioritise letting high-risk groups and those in COVID-19 hotspots vote by mail. But I don’t have any confidence that this will be done in a sensible way.

No One in Washington Is Sensible

I may be voting Republican this time, but I don’t mind if Trump wins and Republicans lose control of the Senate. I despise Mitch McConnell (the Republican Senate majority leader). He’s been in politics so long he’s completely blind and insulated from reality. So is Nancy Pelosi (Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives). They are both career politicians whose only thought in any situation is “what’s best for my party right now” – the normal rules of law and morality are out the window.

If Trump loses and the Supreme Court post hasn’t been confirmed, McConnell would absolutely install a judge in the ‘lame duck’ session before the new President is installed. It would be disgusting, but I wouldn’t put anything past him.

In that scenario, I would definitely support balancing the court – creating one extra space – but not packing it with lots of new posts. That would be sensible, but I don’t think anyone in Washington is sensible.

My Vote

Once again, there were no excellent choices. I’d have liked to see General Wesley Clark run, perhaps. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were too far left for me to get behind. Bernie’s policies may work in his home state, but I don’t see them working across the US. California has tried some of his policies and it’s bankrupt. Free healthcare for all and universal basic income are just not affordable on a large scale. And even though I’m more conservative, I would have never supported Michael Bloomberg. For me, he’s up there with George Soros. I want nothing to do with those men. They have thrived off the backs of the poor.

Last time, I wrote about the decision between two bad candidates. This time around, I don’t think there are two bad candidates. President Trump is an average candidate for re-election, and could easily lose the election to a realistic challenger. I don’t believe Former Vice President Biden is a realistic challenger because he can’t remember what office he wants, where he is, or his goals.

I also cannot get behind any candidate who would allow the racist vitriol of Black Lives Matter to continue. Freedom of speech doesn’t grant anyone the right to block roads, burn businesses, tear down monuments, and attack people who support a different political candidate.

I would have loved to have a realistic candidate from the Democratic Party, but once again they put forth someone who is simply too extreme for me to get behind. The Democrats’ desire to win votes outweighs any sense of decency or justice. My sincere hope for 2024 is that the Democrats stop focusing on vilifying conservatives, and instead look for a better candidate with a platform of progress, rather than a platform of hate.

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212 comments

  1. Henry Moon Pie

    I’m all for this:

    I don’t know what the Trump Administration could have done differently (re Covid). Many people believe the constitution prevents a mask mandate.

    Now I can assert my constitutional right to refrain from the wearing of pants in public!

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      The fact that this intelligent man cannot separate what the president does symbolically vs. what he can do by law is enough for me not to believe a word he says. Trump could have started to wear masks in public, lead by example, and save lives. Instead he made it a partisan issue to wear a mask, and a spoiled selfish section of the population took the bait.

      Reply
      1. Dwight

        Great point. And he could have urged governors to model and where possible mandate masks, and to seek necessary legislative authorization if they lose in court. As you say, even modeling the behavior would have had huge effect.

        Very interesting article. It’s important to know how people think if you want to persuade them.

        Reply
      2. Dugless

        Agree completely. Trump could have argued for responsibly keeping the economy open by advocating masks and social distancing to the extent possible as well as focused contact tracing. Instead he mocked people wearing masks, ignored his own advisors/experts and elevated a radiologist to a prominent position in the pandemic response.

        Reply
      1. Monosynapsis

        I never understood why young humans should be prevented from seeing naked adults. It seems obvious to me that this is perpetuating the same artificial shaming mechanism under which these adults are operating (a hidden neurosis). Why cant we all live like Scandinavians in the sauna ?

        Reply
        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Perhaps because clothes have to do with hierarchy. Strip the clothing away and at least some of the “better than” and “right to rule” goes away.

          Reply
    2. d

      so now we have it. people have the right to put others in danger of death, and dont have even have tell any one else that. could to know.

      Reply
  2. TheHoarseWhisperer

    I respect his opinion.

    It is very interesting to read a coherent, considered, and honest opinion.

    The thing which amazes me – even after all these years I have lived on Earth- is how different our perception of reality is. We all observe the same set of events yet we come to remarkably different conclusions.

    To me what the Trump’s presidency needs to be evaluated on is the response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the signal. Everything else is noise.

    By any objective measure, said response has been a complete failure due to incompetence first and foremost. Look at casualties, look at unemployment, look at the fiscal position of the government. Look at shortages in the stores. Look at shortages of PPE – STILL!

    I do not buy the argument that the federal government doesn’t have the ability to do much about the pandemic because “freedom”. The federal government has all the money in the world coupled to the war powers act to compel private industry to do its bidding. Add to this the logistics capabilities of the military and you could have had a much better outcome by now. All that was required was basic interest in the job and willingness to work on part of the executive.

    The pandemic response is the kind of track record that clearly tells me that a senile person is the better bet in the upcoming election. We are where we are.

    Reply
    1. jeremyharrison

      Unfortunately we don’t get the benefit of comparing their performance side-by-side. How would a Biden Administration have handled COVID-19 from Day One? We’ll never know.

      The Democrats sure raised a stink when Trump quickly banned incoming flights from China (and then parts of the EU that were hard-hit). Can we imagine how much more widely the virus would have circulated if the Democrats who were squealing about that would have been in power and just kept the gates open?

      Reply
      1. Kurtismayfield

        Just like everything at the start of the pandemic, stances on what to do were in flux. Trump’s stance on banning flights changed almost overnight because of the advice of the experts. I am sure that if it was a Democrat at the helm they would have been advised in similar ways.

        Trump was the symbol that the anti mask population rallied around. All he had to do was wear one as a symbol that it’s ok to wear one, and an obvious way to drive the anti mask crowd to the fringes.

        The fact that he still refuses to do so, and still is attacking Biden on when he wears one as a weakness, is all that I need to see.

        Reply
      2. rhodium

        In terms of policy taken, and the extent to which states played a larger role in declaring their own lockdown rules which probably played the larger role in slowing the spread, I don’t think the actual outcome would have been that much different if a Democrat was president.

        The problem with Trump is that he’s an utter buffoon. Between him wavering and calling it a hoax, asking if the flu vaccine would stop covid, thinking you could maybe somehow treat covid by bringing uv light or bleach “into the body,” and starting the hydroxychloroquine craze among everything else he’s said, I don’t think he could make our country look much more stupid.

        The topic of race, privilege, and police is thorny. The writer has somewhat valid points, but I personally know for a fact there is a lot of racism out there. You’ll hear plenty of it around certain people, and as long as it exists black people will find themselves being treated differently if not unfairly more often. Also, in some of these politicized police killings the officers were following protocol. The real problem is the laws a lot of times. Not one word out of Trump about changing unjust laws. He just keeps ranting law and order. They had “law and order” in nazi germany (sorry) but was it right? No. Trump has (in his own style of doublespeak verbal garbage) very very bad reasoning skills, very bad moral consideration, and very good narcissism, very good.

        I voted in the democratic primaries and Biden was one of my least favorite options. However, assuming it was a legitimate election, other Democrats decided to choose the senile babbling centrist, so that’s who I’m going to vote for because I won’t support having someone as idiotic as Trump in office.

        Reply
      3. lordkoos

        I’m pretty sure a Democratic administration wouldn’t have pitted states against each other bidding for PPE and other needed materials, nor would they have withheld aid from “red” states, as Trump did to blue states.

        Reply
      4. Basil Pesto

        I feel like they probably would’ve stopped flights to/from China too, with the same information at their disposal. They, like their confreres across the aisle, are hypocrites in the name of scoring political points. hence the “that’s racist!!” childishness when he did it. Just a hunch though.

        Reply
        1. JP

          Yes the Dems might well have done the same. Just because one party publicly opposes everything the other party does does not mean they would not do the same thing if the ball was in their court. In fact Trump is an outlier in that he vindictively sabotages all things Obama. This opinion writer is just a dupe in the game.

          Reply
      5. Grayce

        Time passes. People learn. Boys become men and we do not relentlessly judge them on their 10-0year old behavior. Once in a while, a man acts like a 10-year old, in the present. That is what is going on now. You can guess that a Biden presidency (or almost anyone else’s) would have had a central opinion formed around NIH and CDC. If their knowledge grew over time, even Kayleigh could have explained why. So, whatever criticism came in on the banned flights, consider that the communication around it sounded retaliatory, tough, boisterous, and not so much as a safety for the people. He still denied the seriousness of the virus itself and argued with everyone, including the briefings where he publicly contradicted his task force. That is the failure of leadership. That is the feeling of panic that hits when no one is in charge.
        So, no we do not need a strong central government every minute of the day telling us to inhale and exhale. But there are times when our taxes are legitimately used, and we actually do need to mutually support the research needed to combat the new threat. Like the constitutionally provided mutuality of interstate commerce regulation, there is nothing for a conservative to fear with interstate precautions for public safety in light of novel health threats.
        This man has a tinge of whiteness in his talk that he does not see.

        Reply
      6. Ian Ollmann

        Well, the Obama – Biden administration did handle a SARS epidemic. They decided to name Covid-19 as such rather than SARS2 because they didn’t want to panic the public. You may have forgotten about SARS2 because it was well handled, nipped in the bud and most of us hardly noticed.

        Reply
    2. AlsoAnonymous

      Our government might have had the power to to do something about the pandemic, but ability??

      Nancy Pelosi – maskless – telling folks to come on down to Chinatown, because everything is fine?
      Dr. Fauci saying if you are young and healthy go ahead and book a cruise?
      The Democrats calling Trump racist for trying to impose that early ban on travel from China?
      etc etc etc
      Why this messaging with a pandemic emerging? “Because Trump”

      The ability of Washington to lead in any sane fashion appears to be long gone.

      Reply
    3. Donald

      He sounds like the proverbial man in the street. Some parts make sense and other parts don’t. It would be exhausting going through this paragraph by paragraph and there is no telling what you would have to argue to change his mind about voting for Trump. Plus there are all the issues he leaves out, such as climate change. I suspect he would have some rationalization ready for why that issue doesn’t change his mind regarding Trump, or even strengthens his support.

      Rod Dreher regularly publishes letters from anonymous white guys who voted for Obama and now support Trump because of identity politics or BLM. I don’t doubt such people exist. I don’t like identity politics in its Robin DiAngelo style manifestation, but it is a huge leap to go from that to supporting Trump.

      Reply
      1. josh

        This is, distant cousin talks politics while you’re stuck working the grill at the family reunion, in written form. So much wrong I can only smile and nod.

        Reply
        1. T

          It’s like Carl Pilkington talking about ghosts – Makes all kinds of sense based on the information. And yet how does a grown-ass man not review and question his assumptions?

          (Carl thinks people only evolved into being able to haunt a few hundred years ago and then lost the ability around WWII because people don’t see ghosts of cavemen or hippies.)

          Reply
          1. CarlH

            As a Carl with a C, I must strenuously object. Mr. Pilkington is a Carl of the K persuasion, thus Karl Pilkington. I doubt this affects anything concerning the current topic but could not let it go in good conscience.

            Reply
        2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          Yes, dont attempt to counter any of it with your reasoning. If your ideology forms the basis of your opinions, just say so. Otherwise, present arguments supporting your beliefs. If you have some that is.

          Reply
      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        It would be exhausting going through this paragraph by paragraph and there is no telling what you would have to argue to change his mind about voting for Trump.

        The “problem,” such as it is, isn’t changing his mind about Trump. Trump is only the latest and truly the bestest ever distraction. He’s an active participant in the decay, not its root cause.

        To use the climate change metaphor. Trump and the so-called Resistance are the extreme weather variables rather than climate’s path. We must deal with whatever extreme weather hands out. But our reaction in the immediate aftermath has no real bearing on where or if / when extreme weather will hit next. Changing the path humans put our climate on requires a lot more than aftermath reaction or lack thereof.

        So the collective “we” needs to see past the distractions. We clearly see the symptoms of the decay. Unfortunately we squabble over where to find the the root? I’m not sure enough of us even see the disease causing its rot? Perhaps it’s just best to let the root die? The required medicine might not be worth the pleasure pain ratio.

        After all something new will take its place eventually. The earth will happily go about its business without humans.

        So where do we find that root?

        Reply
        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          I’m going to rewrite this a bit.

          I think we see the symptoms of the decay. What we squabble over is what the disease is and how to treat symptoms of said disease. In many cases, missing an underlying root disease.

          We occasionally talk about the finding the root but too often allow ourselves to be sucked back in by the distractions aka extreme weather features. Falling easily back into the habit of squabbling over diagnosis and treatment of symptoms.

          Reply
      3. Objective Ace

        Climate change is the one thing that makes me consider voting Biden – but I’m not convinced he actually will be better for the climate. For all the anti environment legislation coming from the Trump administration, what are the actual ramifications on the climate? More coal has actually been retired under Trump then under Obama’s second term. Trump is trying to jump start the supply side of dirty energy, but the structural factors are still too much to combat.

        Biden on the other hand, while seemingly talking a good game, seems to word his promises vague enough and far off into the future, “100% clean electricity by 2035”, that he sets himself up to not really need to do anything. And he has currently surrounded himself with big oil and natural gas boosters and industry insiders

        While Trump has failed to spur the demand side of dirty energy, little talk is ever given to the demand side of dirty energy. The Pentagon is the world’s biggest consumer of fossil fuels—and agent of climate change. Biden has a decidedly more war hawkish stance then Trump does, which translates to more forever wars and the resultant gas use/climate change (not to mention thousands of innocent bystander deaths and millions more displaced/refugees)

        But the largest factor where I think Biden is bad for Climate change is that of optics. If he is voted in, the majority of the country will say, great I did my part–problem solved. There will be little incentive to continue pushing the agenda and checking up on the Biden administration to see if its keeping its promise. With Trump in the Whitehouse, its a reminder everyday that we need to continue fighting. Hopefully we can get a real progressive in in 2024.

        I hope I’m wrong, nothing would make me happier then Biden getting voted in and keeping his promises regarding climate. However, I see the odds of that happening as virtually 0

        Reply
        1. Dwight

          Changing to 100% clean energy, if it can be done at all, will require massive consumption of fossil fuels. So more carbon in the near term. Lower net emissions in the long term, but that near-term carbon will remain in the atmosphere causing radiative forcing which will be less buffered by sulphate umbrella from coal. Not to mention amplifying feedbacks. Tech alone will not get us out of this predicament. Lower consuming culture also necessary, and as you say, the war economy has to go. Not sure Biden or Trump or Paris Accord matters much without that.

          Reply
        2. d

          not sure that Biden is more hawkish than Trump. about the only thing that maybe true is Trump might not fight…but even that is more of a maybe than any thing else …course who ever wins will still have to deal with Putin

          Reply
        3. Ian Ollmann

          We tried the argument that Trump is harmless because he is inept in 2016. In 2020 we know where that got us. When something needed to be done skillfully and well, he stuffed it. Biden at least knows how to govern and manage a pandemic response (SARS). Global warming is enough of a problem that it’s currently ruining my quality of life (fires in California) and it isn’t going to get better doing nothing. This problem needs to be actively and constructively managed using the best science and engineering and you and I both know Republicans couldn’t govern their way out from under a blanket. They are the blanket, a wet one, and the party of no. They also reject science. They are the worst possible party for our most serious problems.

          The Democrats May be guilty of much stupid and wrong, but they are at least not inherently philosophically opposed to what needs to be done.

          Obviously the Green Party would be better but they are not contenders in this election.

          Reply
    4. lyman alpha blob

      You know, I remember a Hoarse Whisperer fellow tied to MSNBC who made bogus tweets a year or so ago trying to torpedo the Sanders campaign, and now has a suspended twitter account.

      So that may not be the best moniker to use at this website where corporate media hacks tend to be frowned upon, just sayin…

      Reply
      1. TheHoarseWhisperer

        Appreciate the advise. Perhaps the reason I do not know this is because I do not have Twitter account :)

        But if it triggers the commentariat, I will retire the alias.

        Reply
    5. anon in so cal

      Problem with using ‘response to the coronavirus pandemic’ as the evaluative criterion is that Dems probably would have done worse. Nuggets of advice that Dems doled out in the first few months of the pandemic—Biden’s health advisors, campaign personnel, surrogates, leading Democrats—all dismissed mask-wearing, told the public to go out and mingle, downplayed the seriousness of the virus, stalled on school closings, etc. Whatever top secret briefings Trump may have received, they would have been apprised of.

      Take a look at Los Angeles County, California. High case count and high mortality levels—largely due to long-standing poverty and its associated morbidities such as over-crowded housing, “essential work,” etc. California is essentially a one-party-rule Democratic state and these are long-standing problems.

      Covid is significantly more contagious than the H1N1 pathogen, yet 68 million were infected by H1N1 during the reign of Biden and Obama. There’s also Fauci’s recent “noble lie” concerning mask-wearing, which sowed confusion and skepticism. Then there’s the CDC and the WHO, who still downplay the role of aerosols versus droplets. How is there not unemployment when there were widespread lockdowns? How can there not be shortages when it takes time, infrastructure, training to recreate the manufacturing capacity that was offshored?

      On a more abstract level, there’s a good argument that the approach of Western science to the pandemic, more globally, is misguided and contributes to the case count and mortality. This was articulated in the Atlantic article posted in Friday’s WC and is also discussed by this epidemiologist from Japan:

      https://www.japanpolicyforum.jp/diplomacy/pt20200605162619.html

      One useful criterion for comparing Biden and Trump is body count. During the Obama Biden years, they started 5 new regime change wars and escalated 2. Over 2 million innocents lost their lives. This does not even include Ukraine, where Biden empowered Banderite Neo Nazi forces and started a proxy war with Russia. Nor does it include Biden’s role in Plan Colombia, which empowered right-wing death squads.

      The scariest aspect of Biden is his statements to CFR about FP and his FP advisor’s remarks. Biden wants a bigger military budget, they will escalate in Syria, escalate hostilities with Russia, expand NATO. Biden is on record excoriating Trump for not taking out Venezuela’s president Maduro. Biden is eyeing Michele Flournoy for Defense Secy. She’s the CNAS regime change advocate. Biden chose Avril Haines as his campaign transition person. She’s CIA who was in charge of Obama’s daily kill list.

      These criteria do not even include Biden’s other record: documented racism, mass incarceration, doing the bidding of MBNA and Wall Street, and a legacy of mendacity and corruption.

      These criteria do not include the Russiagate and Ukrainegate soft coups, wherein Democrats weaponized the CIA, FBI, DOJ to try to overturn the 2016 results, then impeached based on a 5-minute lapse in weapons shipments to Neo Nazis in Ukraine. Biden had a role in these events. When Democrats cannot win an election fairly, they resort to these tactics. The late great Prof Stephen Cohen discusses some of this:

      “We have also learned that the heads of America’s intelligence agencies under President Obama, especially John Brennan of the CIA and James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, felt themselves entitled to try to undermine an American presidential candidacy and subsequent presidency, that of Donald Trump. Early on, I termed this operation “Intelgate,” and it has since been well documented by other writers, including Lee Smith in his new book. Intel officials did so in tacit alliance with certain leading, and equally Russophobic, members of the Democratic Party, which had once opposed such transgressions. This may be the most alarming revelation of the Trump years: Trump will leave power, but these self-aggrandizing intelligence agencies will remain.

      § We also learned that, contrary to Democratic dogma, the mainstream “free press” cannot be fully trusted to readily expose such abuses of power. Indeed, what the mainstream media—leading national newspapers and two cable news networks, in particular—chose to cover and report, and chose not to cover and report, made the abuses and consequences of Russiagate allegations possible.

      Even now, exceedingly influential publications such as The New York Times seem eager to delegitimize the investigation by Attorney General William Barr and his appointed special investigator John Durham into the origins of Russiagate. Barr’s critics accuse him of fabricating a “conspiracy theory” on behalf of Trump. But the real, or grandest, conspiracy theory was the Russiagate allegation of “collusion” between Trump and the Kremlin, an accusation that was—or should have been—discredited by the Robert Mueller report.”

      https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/inconvenient-truths-2/

      So, for many, the lesser evil is not the life-long racist war profiteer who banks on the public’s unfamiliarity with his disastrous 47-year legacy. There’s also the other aspect: Biden’s VP was rejected by primary voters. She has her own record of corruption, maltreatment of low-income parents, ties to Big Tech, etc. So, no.

      Reply
      1. dcrane

        Back during our famous “go hard and early” lockdown in New Zealand, from March-May, the Ardern government insisted that the evidence for masks was not clear, and they did not recommend them for general use. I still wonder if they were fibbing because they were afraid of mask shortages.

        Reply
        1. Ian Ollmann

          At the time, there was a similar story here in the US. Not that we are paragons of intelligence, mind you, but you may rest assured that if there was a mask conspiracy, it wasn’t just your government doing it. Churchill was right. We also tried the line “Everything is fine. It’s just a cold. Nothing to worry about.” So you can be smug about that, at least.

          I think a more reasonable conclusion is that the experts of the day didn’t know a lot more about the novel corona virus than the rest of us did, extrapolated from knowledge about other corona viruses and got a few things wrong. Government would go on the best information they had, mold it a bit to suit public opinion and muddled through as they always do. If the information is faulty, on what expertise is a public official supposed to base opposition to it? We’ve rightly pilloried Trump for failing to listen to scientists.

          As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have noticed for years a great number of Chinese immigrants or at least visiting family members who would wear masks out in public. I always thought it was nuts. The air quality is generally pretty good except for a few days a year. The sky is blue and I didn’t think a thin paper mask was going to do much for air pollution anyway. Given our experience with the pandemic, there might be a chance that I was wrong and focusing on the wrong thing.

          Reply
      2. TheHoarseWhisperer

        Problem with using ‘response to the coronavirus pandemic’ as the evaluative criterion is that Dems probably would have done worse.

        Actually, it doesn’t. The performance of the current administration during the past 7 months can be evaluated on its own “merits”.

        You can evaluate it against the performance of other countries. You can evaluate it against scientific consensus. No counterfactual is needed.

        The reason that I bring this issue in the context of the article is because – to me – the US federal government obviously did not do well under Trump. The author does not see it like this. He is a highly functional adult, capable of constructing a coherent argument. People can be bamboozled about climate change, health care, the role the American military plays in the Middle East etc.

        It is very hard to argue with 200,000 civilians dead and 13 million people unemployed.

        That record IS the present reality in the US.

        Why would you NOT want regime change? :)

        Reply
        1. flora

          The US Chamber of Commerce, which wants ever lower wages, more damaging trade deals, fewer regulations and higher profits, and the neocons who want more military escalation in the Middle East and aggression toward a nuclear armed Russia are Biden’s backers this time. They expect him to produce for them. And he will. ;)

          Reply
        2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          Yes, we can take it as received wisdom that the 200k deaths “would have been much lower”. No reason to present counterfactuals, and absolutely no way to know, but there it is. We can also receive pearls such as “the Iraq war was a good idea” (which Biden said he voted for “because he did not want the war to happen”), or that “the Crime Bill did not result in massive black incarceration” (which depending on the day Biden either authored, or had nothing to do with).

          This alternate reality stuff is fun!

          Reply
          1. Ian Ollmann

            So, we have something like 20% of the world deaths, but 4% of the world population. It is not like the sample size is small. The same policy was tried over 300+ million people and with some very high degree of certainly was demonstrably worse than all but a handful of countries, and certainly the biggest failure outright.

            There is no doubt here, just people who can’t interpret data. We don’t teach that in schools, unless you are in a graduate degree in a natural science (or math). It it’s there in plain sight.

            Reply
            1. DSB

              So lets move onto another point made by the author and use some real data. Hennepin County covers a big chunk of Minneapolis. This is the county where George Floyd died or was killed depending on your perspective. So far in 2020 there have been 79 homicides (victims) of Henenpin County residents in Hennepin County. The demographic composition of Hennepin County according to Census.gov is White (68.4%), Black (13.8%), Asian (7.5%), Hispanic (7.0%), Other Non-White (2.2%) and Native American (1.1%). Blacks comprise 50 of the homicide victims or 63.3% of the total. These Black victims have average lifespans that are 49.3% shorter than White homicide victims.

              Of course BLM only cares about one of these “homicide” victims. Not a peep about Leneesha Columbus who lived to the age of 0.076923 years. This is a Democrat run city in a Democrat run state. The Minneapolis City Council has moved to defund a police department that was short 400 officers at the time of George Floyd’s death. The same City Council is now concerned about “soaring crime” in Minneapolis.

              So please tell me how the Democrats and BLM will lead America to a brighter place.

              Reply
              1. tanktruman

                Floyd’s death had nothing to do. It was about the depravity of one police officer and the culture that produced him ,

                Reply
                1. DSB

                  What I wrote is not about George Floyd. The violence in Minneapolis is an issue that predates Memorial Day 2020. Minneapolis has been in and out of the list of most violent cities in America. Where it has continuity is that it is among the worst cities in America to be Black. It was ranked 4th worst in 2019 and 3rd worst in I believe 2018. A Black male resident of Hennepin County in 2020 is 8x – yes eight times – more represented among homicide victims than they are to be represented in the county population. I think that is a disgusting statistic. The governor is a democrat. The mayor of Minneapolis is a democrat. The Minnesota attorney general is a former DNP vice chairman. All they and BLM care about is one Black death.

                  BLM tells us they will focus on that when the time is right. Well for all the decades of my life the story is the same. It is the same all over, not just in Minneapolis. So what is Biden-Harris going to do about these victims? What is Biden-Harris going to do about the people in these communities that survive the violence? There was an older Black woman interviewed in South Minneapolis. The stores she shopped at were burned down. The buses weren’t running because of the rioting. She was worried about how she was going to shop for her existence. Maybe BLM could show her how to download an uber app.

                  Reply
        3. d

          and its not just in 2020, Trump and his GOP partners cut the pandemic preparations that had started before 2020. now you might say wasnt that Obama? not really who was in charge in the Congress back then? can you say GOP? cause they were, and back then they could only cut budgets, unless is was the DOD.

          Reply
      3. sharonsj

        I agree with everything you say, which is why I am not voting for Biden or Trump. Trump and his thieving minions are terrible but Biden is just a calmer “caring” thief. In all of Biden’s TV ads, he talks about how much he cares about people but not a single word about how he’s actually going to help them. Yeah, I know Trump isn’t interested in helping anybody but himself either. Both parties have turned into corporate lackeys and I see no solution except to hope all those jobless, homeless millions will camp out on the streets of Washington D.C., never leave, and maybe Congress might actually help them.

        Reply
        1. Ian Ollmann

          To actually help, he’d have to be a progressive. At the moment, the second you appear as a progressive, you will have a million brainwashed automatons pointing and yelling “Socialist!”, blowing their whistle — followed by the spitting and gagging, of course, because the taste of the word is so unbearable.

          Someday, someone will stumble across one of Richard Wolff’s YouTube broadcasts, not realize who he is, and think Wow! He so has what is wrong with America pegged! Why don’t we hear more of this stuff?

          Reply
        2. Abi

          As a non-American, I’m trying to understand this perspective because I hear it a lot. I’m struggling to understand how with everything going on in the world you can say you won’t vote because you don’t like them. You’re not just voting for yourself, but for the other people in the country as well as those to come after you. So I am genuinely curious how with every single thing 2020 has shown us you can be comfortable asserting not to make a choice. How can you exclude yourself from such an important decision?

          Reply
    6. Pelham

      I appreciate what this guy has to say, too. But he’s rather selective in places.

      For instance, on healthcare he advocates for price transparency and the ability of health consumers to “shop around.” Nope. For one thing, you can’t shop around when you’re bleeding out and need an ambulance. And for another, there shouldn’t even be a question of shopping for a basic human right.

      Reply
        1. Jeff

          So pricing for healthcare services shouldn’t be transparent?

          I disagree with a number of the author’s conclusions, but this one’s not one of those. Healthcare customers are harmed by not understanding the price they’ll pay. Know what a balance bill is?

          As distasteful as I find Trump, he pushed for healthcare provider price transparency. That’s a win for everyone.

          Reply
          1. Phil in KC

            Pricing should be transparent and easily accessible. Yes, absolutely. But even with legislation that has gone into effect, prices are still hard to get. Hospitals publish their prices in formats difficult to understand or search. Call a hospital and the best you can get is an estimate, a range of prices.

            When you have to go to an emergency room or seek urgent care, how much time do have to waste on the phone or the internet doing comparison pricing? It’s not like trying to pick out a bottle of salad dressing at the grocery store. When you are in intense pain, you go to the nearest provider and hope it’s in your network. To be able to shop around for prices is a luxury that suits those choosing elective procedures or non-urgent care.

            I note the writer is military. I was Navy, and had excellent healthcare, single payer. If good enough for military and seniors, why not others?

            For some reasons, free markets just don’t seem very efficient when it comes to medical, unless you have a pile of money or are in cushy spot.

            Reply
      1. paintedjaguar

        Well, I suspect that his feelings are heavily influenced by the fact that he himself isn’t subject to health care insecurity, and has had government guaranteed access, including preventative care, during the whole of his adult life.

        Reply
    7. Tomonthebeach

      This guy is your typical Ken/Karen smug American exceptionalist. That he articulated hollow justifications for his views does not make him worthy of my respect in the slightest.

      That was quite apparent in the stuff the guy dismissed as “not an issue for me.” He fails to appreciate how his ego-centric world view is blinding him to what is happening to his fellow Americans – not a very service-oriented serviceman. For example, as retired military, I too might say healthcare is not an issue for me because I get mine free for life. But that IS an issue for me because healthcare is a private-sector monopoly that undermines the democracy I defended for 32 years by indenturing Americans to a system that siphons off large chunks of their income to profit – not healthcare.

      Black lives matter not because the dead put themselves in harm’s way but because their offenses were not remotely capital crimes much less felonies. Most were killed by cops who were racists, and/or poorly-trained, and/or did not follow procedures during an arrest – if an arrest was even warranted, and/or panicked – often all of the above. Statistics show that in contrast, white people would get off with a stern warning like “Sir, you cannot sell cigarettes one at a time – especially in front of a store that sells cigarettes. You are trespassing and interfering with their business. Now move along.”

      Supporting a homophobic and racist president because; “I’m queer and he hasn’t taken away my right to marry.” is not only self-ish, it is short-sighted given how cavalierly Trump has taken away the rights of transgender service members, attacked peaceful public protest with excessive federal force, deprived cities dominated by his political opponents of federal financial support or even pandemic medical support, ignored international law regarding refugee and immigrant rights, and deprived us all of our right to clean air and water by eliminating EPA enforcement and public land access.

      Reply
    8. Charles Yaker

      I don’t believe we all observe the same set of events – in many cases the events are mediated through the MSN or it’s online alternatives and therein is where we see different events.

      Reply
  3. Carla

    The author of this piece thinks that because of Trump, the U.S. economy was going great right up until Covid-19. I wonder if he ever reads Naked Capitalism.

    Reply
    1. Sailor Bud

      He also thinks national health care is “not affordable on a large scale,” hilariously using California as his example, while completely ignoring the hideous money funnel that is his (probably beloved) US military, among all the other things that the government finds money for, including billions for Israel and trillions out of nothing for banks & corpos. Jeepers, even something as thoroughly useless as Burning Man got massive COVID funds – a vapid billionaire’s desert party for other vapid, soulless PMC & techies. I didn’t. I didn’t get one cent from the government. Maybe Craig means we can’t afford it after such “necessities” get their cut.

      I consider a Trump vote “defensible” in the sense that the left has no choices, so all are fine. I also don’t want to see a return of the ACA individual mandate, which barely registers on the radar of even leftist writers and luminaries, presumably because most of them are doing just fine from their gigs as pundits and have never had to pay it. Gutting the mandate is one of the few Trump decisions that helped me, and I have tax paperwork to prove that the penalty put me into a hundred-thousandaire tax bracket as percentage of income, when I made less than $20K. Disgusting.

      It is also likely that it doesn’t matter and that Trump & Biden both will have absolutely nothing to do with policies that appear under their names.

      Nevertheless, in the end I’m deeply skeptical at this point of anyone actually advocating for either of these nominees, and consider it embarrassing in the extreme that we have two men competing for the highest post in the land who are yet visibly dumber and less compassionate than most people I know.

      Reply
      1. Sailor Bud

        Edit: rereading my post, and then rereading the essay above, I guess arguments against the writer’s opinions and speculations aren’t really the point. Yves is trying to show a Trumpian who breaks with the stereotype, which he does.

        Reply
        1. Sailor Bud

          Homemade bread and pizza are the biggest tricks in this poor person’s kit. Just make sure to buy bulk yeast and not the tri-packet ripoff, or for that matter, the jars. Seal it tight and refrigerate, and the yeast will last and last. Julia Child’s French bread method is perfect; it can be watched on YouTube by anyone. I also didn’t have a car, but a bicycle with panniers. No tv or cable bill. And further, my rent was $500/mo, which I’m pretty sure is not possible in that area for a 1-br apt anymore (Buffalo area).

          Reply
          1. The Historian

            What do you do for all the nutrients that your body needs that can only come from fruit, vegetables, and high quality proteins?

            Reply
            1. Sailor Bud

              Lol, it’s not like I only ate bread and pizza. They were bulwark caloric staples though. I could write a book on po boy eating.

              I bicycled like crazy in those days, part of why I so restricted my income flow that I was working only 10 hours a week. I had a touring bicycle and would pack up and do monstrous Appalachian tours, and became addicted. Dried fruits were another cheap staple.

              Did I have a perfectly balanced diet, like some nutritionist would recommend? Hell no. That’s for the normalites. Better than most Americans, even at – what? – 10x the income? Yes, but it’s not a high bar. Healthiest I’ve ever been, tho.

              Reply
      2. sharonsj

        I also make less than $20K and have no problem feeding myself. My problem is paying the outrageous electric bill and the school and property taxes. Fortunately I have no mortgage and I have always found ways to make extra money.

        Reply
      3. sharonsj

        Just a quick note: The U.S. actually gives the most foreign aid to Pakistan, but nobody ever objects to that….

        Reply
      4. d

        yea one always wonders about the national health care is too expensive.

        then how do employers and individuals afford it? basically they are just this is too hard, and if we do it wrong, we can avoid the blame for that failure.

        Reply
    2. LawnDart

      At Carla, “Great economy?” I noticed that too: I had piled into DOG (a short position on the market) based on what I was seeing last fall. It was performing beautifully, and then C19 was like nitrous added to the mix! Woah!!! Running like a rocket! Whee!

      And then the Fed came to the rescue… I couldn’t get out of my short position fast enough, mostly because the cruddy internet in North Mississippi wouldn’t allow me to connect to my broker in a timely way.

      But, yeah, the average Joe/Jane who didn’t have $400 in savings just began to see a slight increase in wages the summer before last, but things quickly turned South with the 11% drop in manufacturing come December, pre-covid: the author has a very selective memory or his head up his arse.

      Reply
      1. Phillip Cross

        Yes, I think that is the vantage point many (most?) US voters make their decisions from.

        If you are ignorant of, deny, or ignore all the facts that are counter to your tribe’s mandated beliefs, then you can make a good case for either of the candidates.

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Strange that as an officer in the US military – the biggest socialist organization in America – that he does not consider the fact that as a member of this organization, that his medical needs are already met for him and that he will never go broke or find himself living on the streets as a result of a medical emergency. Why would he not wish that for all his fellow citizens? The US military shows that it can be done but he seems to have missed that lesson.

      But then he said the following – ‘In the end, no one on either side of the aisle has put forth a plan that I can stand behind, so I really don’t have a dog in the fight this time around.’ Not to put too fine a point on it, has he never considered the fact that this situation was by design? That both parties have been captured so that there will never, ever be a decent health plan. As in never. Does he not recognize a kill zone when he sees himself inside one?

      Reply
      1. cnchal

        > Does he not recognize a kill zone when he sees himself inside one?

        No.

        My “white privilege” didn’t knock on the door and hand me a pile of cash, a degree, a car, and solve all of my problems. I was on my own, and I joined the army to make something of myself instead of blaming the world for my problems.

        Bootstraps of desperation

        Reply
    4. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah definitely a mixed bag. To his credit, he seems to have tried and come to understand what BLM is about (as a friend mentioned, just add the word “too” to the slogan and it makes sense), but comes up a little short regarding what the proper function of the police is. This –

      He has been accused by a police union of violently resisting arrest and ignoring orders to drop a knife – I would expect the officers to shoot me too.

      -is pure peasant mentality.

      The police union says a lot that is blatantly false to protect its officers and the cops do not get to execute people for failing to follow orders. Please explain how other countries with criminal activity (all of them!) manage to not have 1,000 or more people per year murdered by the cops.

      Reply
      1. Futurebroketeacher

        Other countries will overwhelm you with shielded police or shoot a net at you if you have a weapon on you bladed or otherwide. Only if you have a gun do they call in the SWAT.

        Reply
    5. Spring Texan

      Yeah, overall this is a REALLY BAD post, I don’t know what NC is doing re-posting it. I could list five or six bad points but it’s not worth my time. What in heck is it doing here?

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        Well, why do you think?

        It’d be nice if somebody sent this poor chap some salient NC links and a copy of The Deficit Myth. I mean, even accounting for some of his sillier beliefs, he’s clearly fluid enough in his thought that he’s there to be persuaded. So if he did show up here commenting civilly on articles with erroneous pushback on their premises, I would hope the replies would be more didactic than scolding (a bit of scolding might be necessary)

        Reply
      2. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        I could list five or six bad points about people logging in to say they disagree but then not deigning to say why. But its not worth my time.

        The “because I say so” school of politics is tiresome.

        Reply
      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Did you read the introduction? It appears not. This is a former 2x Obama supporter who is even more firmly a Trump supporter than the first time around. He’s gay and therefore Team Dem presumes he’d align with them. He’s not a stereotypical Trump voter and holds positions he firmly believes are fact based.

        People like this vote. You dismiss them at your peril, particularly since they might be persuadable with sufficient patience.

        Reply
    1. KLG

      As is Joe Biden, with real consequences instead of insults to our eyes and ears:

      Bankruptcy Bill, welfare “reform,” Clarence Thomas, carceral state, any number of unwinnable wars in unnamable places…

      Reply
      1. d

        unlike say, returning to the old days of health care, where some can afford it, but not too many, and really only the ones that are suppose to. having employer provided insurance is better that not having any, but it wont keep you from the poor house. while many complain about the insurance companies (and some times rightly so), and the drug companies (those old drugs now cost how much? just because company took over company b???? ). while they all have their part in making our health care system so expensive, so do doctors and specialists. and hospitals (with the ER doctors being out of network…course you have no chance to know that…till you get the bill). doesnt help that most of the med schools are now run by….drug companies

        is Trump going to fix any of that? course not….will Biden? not sure that he will either…but at least he wont make worse than it already is.

        and going ‘back to how it was before the ACA’ is having rose colored glasses to see what didnt exist then

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          No, but he could be used to sabotage the reward cycle (career paths and gig flow) of top Democrats and their retinue who assisted in and enabled the privatization of health care.

          “at least he wont make worse than it already is”… For the insurance companies. If you are actually standing here trying to tell us that the likely reintroduction of the individual mandate and shared responsibility payments would not be “worse” for the uninsured, then I believe you have a lot of explaining (not Demsplaining, if I wanted that, I’d go near a television) to do.

          Reply
          1. d

            well let see, T is going to push for removal of the ACA, root and branch, which will take away the pre existing conditions to control who gets care, and for what.
            now you could say why do i care about that?

            well, that could also be pushed against Medicare too could it not? if the ACA is ‘unconstitutional’, why wouldnt they then push that Medicare is too? and then push on the Social Security?
            just because you may not have a know pre existing condition, doesnt mean that they cant come back latter and say well you had this when you were younger because of X, so that means that condition Y is caused by that. no coverage for that. wouldnt be hard to make that claim would it?

            Reply
    2. anon in so cal

      Actions, not words.

      Saying disgusting things versus doing horrific things (while looking suave and genteel, smiling, and saying very nice things about the group one is decimating)….

      Oh, and choosing acceptable kitchen countertops (granite is so outmoded) and the approved plumbing fixtures (not the ghastly gold-plated crap)…..and Gramercy Tavern versus McDonalds….

      Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Is there any difference besides the poison’s flavor and the symptoms? You will still be dead.

            All this arguing over Orange Bad Man and the Senile Evil One is like arguing over taking lead or mercury. You’ll still die horribly.

            Reply
  4. upstater

    The solution to skyrocketing prices isn’t to change who foots the bill, it is to reduce the prices through transparent pricing and open-market competition. If consumers are able to ask how much a procedure costs, they can shop around for the best price, thereby driving down prices – as we have seen for example with laser eye surgery.

    Everyone should remember to ask for prices innthe emergency room… If you don’t like the quoted price, vote with your feet and pocketbook and go find a cheaper alternative.

    This sounds like a real world solution! From a beneficiary of government TriCare!

    Reply
    1. sd

      My mother wasn’t feeling well, in the span of a few hours, she developed diarrhea and vomiting. I was on the phone with a nurse trying to decide if I should take her to the ER, when the nurse said, “if she starts throwing up something that looks like coffee grounds, call an ambulance.” And at that moment, she threw up the coffee grounds.

      I jumped off the phone, dialed 911 and the ambulance was there within 10 minutes (we live near the station)

      She had sepsis. And the closest hospital she went to was out of network by virtue of where we live. She got to the hospital, they put her on massive amounts of antibiotics, and she survived.

      So was I supposed to call around for rates? Are we supposed to move to live adjacent to an in network hospital, knowing that the network changes on what seems like a regular basis?

      Competition and free market health care are fantasy football concepts that don’t exist in the real world the rest of us are navigating.

      Reply
    2. John A

      Exactly. Laser eye surgery is effectively a kind of cosmetic surgery and a lifestyle choice if you dont want to wear glasses and have the money. It is also non-urgent and you can shop around for the best deal. That is not the case in a life or death emergency where any delay can result in death.

      Reply
    3. d

      good luck with that, even if its not an emergency. you really cant get the price…even if you dont have insurance, no one knows what it will cost. till the billing department works the bill up. and even then it can be wrong….by 50-75% . the folks at the check in have no clue what it will cost to talk to the doctor…or any one else. and that i suspect is by design.

      so changing who pays for it, will only allow the cost to explode even higher. or will end up with fewer people living long (which is already happening by the way…as they get priced out of any care)

      Reply
      1. sd

        Is that how it works with TriCare? Because I’m under the impression prices are set. If TriCare is working for members of the military, then we should expand the coverage to any Americans who want it which, of course, would make it MedicCare for All.

        Reply
        1. Carla

          If Medicare is working for people over 65, then we should throw out the private insurance industry (supplements and Advantage) and expand regular Medicare coverage to any Americans who want it which, of course, would make it Medicare for All. We already have a bill with 118 co-sponsors in Congress — HR 1384.

          There. Fixed it for ya.

          Reply
  5. bassmule

    “I don’t know what the Trump Administration could have done differently.” Well, they could have started by not giving Trump’s son-in-law the job of coordinating supplies.

    “Prior to the pandemic, the economy was doing great” For rich people, who just got richer and richer. “A stronger middle class” WHAT?

    “President Trump’s taxes are a complete non-issue for me.” But the are for the Federal Government. Persons in government who owe huge amounts of money are susceptible to blackmail, etc.

    There is one subject we can agree on: Identity Politics is the most effective strategy yet by the billionaire class to keep us at each others’ throats.

    Reply
  6. Noone from Nowheresville

    What’s most interesting about this piece is that’s there no critical thinking about the divide between the truly wealthy down through the merely rich to ourselves. And their purposeful influences / divides to our thinking which directs our attention away from the root cause and to focus on the symptoms.

    It seems cultural whispers make their way through the best of filters. Many times we forget to challenge our own assumptions. Not even realizing where those assumptions came from cuz noone has to say out loud what everyone knows. I appreciate that the article says some of it out loud in order for us to look at it.

    I think saying it out loud is important. The shouting down that generally ensues these days is a horrible horrible but extremely effective technique purposefully deployed by those who don’t want us to challenge those cultural whispers. Way too many of them btw as this article shows.

    Ultimately I feel the interviewed individual almost touches more than the smoke & mirrors but is pulled back into the show. How much responsibility / sway does the interviewer hold here? He chose the questions.

    Reply
    1. sd

      Well said. Framing and narrative are blinding people, left and right. Try to break through that framing, and people just lose it. Just lost a long time friend because I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. Questioning the narrative today is an act of anarchy.

      Reply
  7. Charles Yaker

    Nothing about Merrick Garland, I wonder how informed he really is. However if he is a Fox and only Fox viewer it supports my view that fixing the MSM is job one without which nothing will ever change.

    Reply
    1. DSB

      I personally would have liked to see Merrick Garland receive a vote on the senate floor. However, the one constant in Garland and Barrett is representative democracy. When Obama was joined in government by the class of 2009, there were 55 democrats and 2 from other parties. These 2 typically voted democrat. By the time 2015 rolled around the 2 “other” were still there, but 11 of the previously democrat senate seats were now held by republicans. The American electorate had grown disillusioned by Obama and moved in a different direction – my opinion. Republicans actually picked up a senate seat in the class of 2019. SCOTUS nominees are selected with the consent of the senate. Obama lost the American electorate and the opportunity to see his nomination voted on in the senate. It is as simple as that. It has nothing to do with a sense of “fairness”.

      Reply
  8. Stray Cat

    Sorry Folks. It wasn’t just the Democrats who supported the DLC centrist incarceration policies, it was always bipartisan. And mass incarceration itself is a huge and extraordinary form of economic and literal violence, with historic political aims, akin to the kind of specifically racially targeted violence black Americans have experienced for over a century. There is no doubt in my mind that history shows us that the specificities of racism have a great deal to do both symbolically and operationally with leveraging economic dominance and sorry to buzz you from slumber folks that has always (and in case you haven’t noticed, elsewhere in the world) meant some or most white folks. It is staggering to me that not a single one of the purportedly well educated NC readers who have responded to this guy has seen fit to even offer a nuanced comment about an (overwhelmingly non-violent, peaceful) movement which had gained the support of millions across races in this country and one at bottom with truly intersectional implications which go beyond any clown show self-deceptions (such as those whites have indulged in since the founding of this nation) regarding identity. This begs the question: What is it that you have in common? Now, run and find some other black person to gaslight and tell me I’m wrong or a hothead. I’m staying in the streets, I’ve had enough.

    Reply
    1. workingclasshero

      It’s simply impossible to prove police are hunting black males to murder in a court of law.like he said most blacks or whites a nd hispanics for that matter killed by cops were probably commiting a crime or at least suspected of criminal activity.

      Reply
  9. Tony Wright

    If Trump is re-elected as the author hopes he will go down in history as :
    1. The catalyst of the coup de grace ending the era of US economic and military pre-eminence via a combination of economic bancruptcy and social implosion.
    2. The hammer that smashed a nine inch nail into the ecological coffin of planet Earth due to his total neglect of the need for remediation of both the causes and effects of anthropogenic climate change.
    The near term beneficiaries will be Putin and Xi.
    What far too many US citizens fail to understand, including self evidently the author of this utterly depressing article, is that what happens in US politics effects the whole world, most of whom (like myself) do not get to vote against the scientifically ignorant, narcissistic sociopathic bully currently occupying the White House.
    To misquote a well-worn political axiom from my own country – A Drover’s Dog could beat this despicable clown. Sadly for everyone on the planet the DNC has regurgitated a political hack of precarious mental capacity as their chosen candidate, so the unthinkable may actually happen and Trump may yet get a second term in the White House, despite all of his obvious shortcomings, failures and utter unsuitability for the job.
    If I was religious I would utter a plaintive “God please save us from this horrible person”.

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      One should also ask why the Democrats, with four years to work on a replacement for Trump, selected Biden?

      Will Biden do something about climate change if it requires a drastic decrease in economic activity?

      We know this works from both the 2008 GFC and 2020 Covid-19 economic activity decreases.

      Will a more scientifically aware Biden administration use good science if it harms politically powerful groups?

      The Democrats should have made lemonaid from the Trump “lemon” election as they guided him against foreign military action, toward wiser climate change policies.

      Instead they antagonized Trump with accusations of being a Russian dupe, conducted Impeachgate with no results while they did little legislatively while pushing CIA Democrats into office.

      It may be very good that Trump teaches the world NOT to rely on the USA for guidance and wisdom.

      Both political parties are captive, but not of the voting public.

      The sooner the rest of the world realizes that the USA, with about 4.2% of the world’s population (330million/7800million) is neither reliable nor wise, the better.

      This might be Donald Trump’s unintended great gift to the world

      Reply
  10. UserFriendly

    I’m voting for Trump, mostly because I hate this worthless country with every fiber of my being, and there is absolutely no chance that anything will ever improve so the sooner it implodes the better.

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      I know a sixty something and a thirty something that are politically polar opposites that both hold this view.

      California not being able to pay for Universal Basic Income or Health care for all—- states can’t hit the print or zeros and ones buttons to fund those things they have exhibited the political will to cover.

      As we agree on so much these days, I am very very upbeat about our prospects!

      Reply
    2. Nakatomi Plaza

      It isn’t going to implode. It’s just going to get gradually worse over a period of decades as it squeezes the life out of everybody without the means to escape.

      You should just not vote instead of making it harder for the rest of us to fight back.

      Reply
  11. Otis B Driftwood

    Respect this and respectfully disagree with many of his points,. He raises many issues that reasonable people should be able to discuss.

    But where does he get the idea that Sanders’ agenda was tested in California and failed? Or that California is bankrupt? These are matters of fact that he has gotten wrong.

    And we need to unwrap how you can rationalize Jacob Blake’s shooting while not uttering a word about the kid who murdered two protesters with the assistance of his afaik yet-to-be-charged mother.

    Healthcare left to the markets? Really? C’mon, man! Only someone who benefits from the socialized medical care provided by the DoD and VA could make this claim.

    Reply
    1. diptherio

      The anti-BLMers have their own reality bubble, inside of which Rittenhouse was acting in self defense (he was being chased by a “mob” and had no choice but to shoot), and Blake could have been going for a gun so of course the officers had to shoot him seven times in the back.

      Reply
      1. flora

        The peaceful protests are too often followed by violence, looting, arson, and mayhem, creating a kind of visual “illusion” where the two edges created two different first impressions. Is it a face or a vase? Is it peaceful protest marred by outsiders, or is it riotous destruction under cloak of ‘peace’? I can understand how both ideas can look true to different viewers.

        (an aside: I can find many many news stories of white guys, esp poor ones or with mental illness being shot, in one case shot 13 times by a single cop who was in no way being threatened by the kid, who was in his own driveway at the time. )

        Reply
        1. paintedjaguar

          Yep. White guys shot, strangled, or beaten to death by police, some of whom were POC. Start with Kelly Thomas and Tony Timpka, both of whom died on camera. Where are the demands to say THEIR names?

          As for the “peaceful” protestors, here’s what happened when some random driver attempted to edge around a crowd of BLM protestors at about 2mph (Sept 25,2020). Note that the attacks started BEFORE he cleared the crowd and tried to speed away from them.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE3eMEtMTpY
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SONBeUSnTts&t=13s
          Some outlets described this incident as a driver “plowing through” protestors. You decide.

          Reply
          1. marym

            Surely white people concerned about police tactics in their communities also bear some responsibility to organize protests, say their names, and reach out in solidarity to find common ground with BLM? Anyway, it took about 5 minutes of searching to find this:

            “Protesters gathered outside the Dallas Police Association building near sunset Friday…calling for the firing of the DPA president…after one of the department’s former officers, Amber Guyger, shot and killed Botham Jean, an unarmed black man, in his own apartment, which she says she mistook for her own…

            [Founder of local activist group Next Generation Action Network, which organized the demonstration Dominique] “Alexander “says the DPA has always tried to divide the narrative of police brutality by saying people should back the blue.

            “I believe we all back the damn blue when we pay our tax dollars. That’s not the question here,” he says. “What we’re saying is that we’re tired of you killing us in our communities, we’re tired of you putting a target on our black and brown bodies, we’re tired of people like Tony Timpa dying and families having to ask the question ‘Why?’””

            https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/protesters-call-for-resignation-of-dallas-police-association-president-mike-mata-11768127

            and this:

            One of that day’s speakers was Vicki Timpa, the mother of Tony Timpa, the 32-year-old Rockwall man who died in 2016 after being restrained by Dallas officers…

            https://starlocalmedia.com/rowlettlakeshoretimes/news/tri-east-naacp-launches-movement-to-get-controversial-restraint-method-removed/article_c424b738-a478-11ea-93f6-3bea447001ae.html

            Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    I will cast my vote for Wink Martindale-a competent game show host who never lied to any of his contestants. I feel certain the only vote he tallied in 2016, came from yours truly.

    As an added bonus there is another Wink Martindale who comes along for the write, he’s the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, so there’s that.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Wukchumni
      October 3, 2020 at 9:40 am

      I’m still voting for Pat Paulson. Considering that the probability of either current candidate making it to the end of their term is doubtful at best, a dispassionate analysis of the professed policies of said candidates, and the unlikelihood that either of the current candidates means a word of what they say, I believe an already deceased candidate provides the leadership this great nation needs at this historic time in its…uh, history.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Paulson would be perfect, but sadly he’s no longer with us, not that it should be a problem.

        in the meantime making a WHY NOT WINK? campaign sign of cardboard from an Amazon delivery, to proudly display until it rains and/or the election is over.

        Reply
  13. Aumua

    I’m actually kind of shocked that this is being held up as an example of a stereotype-breaking Trump voter. Is it because he is gay, and articulate? Because other than that he doesn’t say anything that strikes me as at all unusual for a Trump supporter. Maybe that is because I don’t hold the same distorted views about Trump voters as the ones the Democrats have pushed, but that doesn’t mean I see any of this guy’s attitudes or ideas in a positive way, because I don’t. To me it looks like the same old right wing distorted bullet points in a “reasonable guy” kind of package.

    Reply
    1. Sailor Bud

      Eh, your last sentence kind of answers your question, but I consider the stereotypical Trump voter as someone who:

      1. Wouldn’t loathe McConnell.

      2. Would call the corpo Democrats either socialist or far left, or even communist, in spite of the absurdity of the charge, at least once in the post.

      3. Yes, the gay bit figures into it.

      4. Wouldn’t have voted for Obama, and see #2.

      5. Someone else can keep listing stuff. I’m tired of it already, but in short, he just sounds like a suburban democrat who happens to be making excuses for voting Trump. That breaks from the ST for me.

      Reply
    2. Roger Fleenor

      “”I’m actually kind of shocked that this is being held up as an example of a stereotype-breaking Trump voter. Is it because he is gay, and articulate”” And he wishes to vote for the Godhead of a cultural movement which has millions of members who consider him sub-human. I’m surrounded by Trumpists who consider their hatred of Hillary and minorities a political platform. I rolled my eyes so hard at “””he’s up there with George Soros”” that I’m nursing a head ache right now.

      Reply
      1. James P.

        “cultural movement which has millions of members who consider him sub-human”. Agree. He’s in for a shock when he is criminalized by an administration that he’s voting for. Such blindness to reality is truly astounding.

        Reply
      2. Kfish

        Those ‘members who consider him sub-human’ could just as well apply to the wokesters who openly hate white males, just sayin’. All of them seem to be voting Democrat.

        Reply
    3. Yves Smith Post author

      It’s because he voted for Obama 2x, is neither well off (as in likes Trump due to tax cuts) nor living in rural/Rust Belt America (as in a middle aged white loser as defined by coastal elites) nor an evangelical. Those are his stereotyped major support groups (white supremacists are #4 but their #s aren’t large despite their visibility).

      Reply
  14. John Mc

    Appreciate the author taking the time to share with us, what many here might only speculate as to know. The content in this context is much less important than the thinking that brought it about. If we truly listen to what the author is saying (even though we may have differing levels of accepting Trump’s repugnance), there are important kernels of truth that the left need to confront

    1. How much identity politics (virtue signaling) is despised (even so much so as to cloud and to deny something as obvious as systemic racism, white supremacy embedded in neoliberal capitalism). The wrapper of identity politics prevents light from coming into the analysis. This should be a central focus of anyone serious who considers the topic. How does one make the case for a real persistent cultural hegemony when a toxic form of identity politics jammed down their throats for decades, often incorrectly associated with forcing people into good and bad camps? This is the work that left has not done, abdicated it to courtier class of Edward Bernays types.

    2. The connections between health and violence. Whether it be George Floyd’s death in front of our eyes or Johan Hari being interviewed about mental health in the middle of a pandemic, we all have missed an opportunity to link healthcare system of predation to the outcomes of violence and death for the last 9 months. It has been and will continue to be the single largest issue right before our eyes. Tony Benn’s work here is relevant: “people are easier to rule if they are sick, uneducated or poorly education, and struggle to meet the most basic of needs”. Some believe that they “do not have a dog in this fight”, when in actuality it is the failure of people, advocacy groups, local and larger government and wealthy benefactors to make the connections between an indifferent profit-driven system that cannot handle the task and one that could be specifically designed for moments like these.

    Not having a dog in this fight is code for it is not as important to me and I can see both sides. This is abject failure not for the author, but for those who know how much violence is caused by poor health, poor mental health, poorly planned prevention, and those who feel desperate and have NO recourse.

    I am sure there are other places to pick apart the author, and I hardly agree with very many words written here, but I do think we need to find out what people know and what they don’t — as what may be obvious to some may be really all that important to others —– and this is the work that needs to be done now unfortunately – longterm persuasion.

    It did not have to be this way.

    Reply
    1. James P.

      For me this has nothing to do with left or right. This is about Trump being an extraordinarily repugnent and dangerous individual.

      Reply
      1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        Yes sir! “Dangerous”, indeed. Nothing like Biden of course. 2 million people would have found it pretty damned “dangerous” under Obama/Biden because oops, they seem to have lost their lives. But they were just poor and brown and unfortunate enough to have been born in a country Americans cannot find on a map.

        So “dangerous to whom?” is the follow up question for you.

        Reply
      2. John Mc

        James P, this lets the left off the hook for taking credit for opposing Trump on several exaggerated claims, but assisting him in some of the biggest villainy of the past 3 years: foreign assassinations, CIA coups in South and Central America, CoVid preparation, tax breaks for the wealthy, and a complete disdain for the needs of the people. Trump is a function of failure in both parties to help people.

        The rest is a side show, one that Trump was designed to play — a lazy, narcissistic buffoon who is a humiliation to all of us. This was his role all along. But, we tend to forget its during periods like this where institutional rot, wealth accumulation, and propaganda ooze in and out of the seats of power like a virus… at the same time the earth is on fire, flooded or the die off of all species accelerates.

        So, I am tired of finger pointing at one oafish white supremacist — he’ll get his. But real power sits behind the thrown — and we are no closer to solving this than we are who is worse (left or right, Trump or Biden, White or Black, or any other dyadic symbol where both rely upon each other for meaning.

        We need people to solve problems right now —- not replicating the same shit some watch on TV/online.

        None of the above…

        Reply
  15. William Hunter Duncan

    After the debate I was ready to vote for Biden, based solely on the fact that he said he would abide by the election while Trump acted as though he could only lose if it is stolen from him.

    Then I read some material from Nikole Hannah-Jones, and the 1619 project, and then I remembered the epic landslide of everything-gate bull**** the Democratic Party and their cohorts in the media have inundated America with these last four years, and then I was ready to vote for Trump.

    Then Trump signed an Executive Order about fast-tracking mining projects, to not be so dependent on China, and I was like, Donald the Great anti-globalist is working for the foreign conglomerates Glencore and Antagofasta, to pollute Minnesota waters for 25 generations. All hail Donald the Great! And I was ready to vote for Biden.

    Then I heard Oregon Governor Kate Brown, when asked about forest policy and epic fires, and whether we are managing forests so they don’t burn so catastrophically. She said forest management is fine, it is Trump’s fault because he doesn’t believe in Climate Change. And then I was ready to vote for Trump.

    And that is how it has gone for six months. Everytime I settle on one side or the other, some completely appalling thing happens and I can’t possibly vote for you, and then you go and do something beyond the pale…

    Reply
    1. Phillip Cross

      The only logical actions to choose from are:

      a) Don’t vote, ignore the election.

      b) Vote the bums out. Since they failed to impress when they had a chance, don’t reward incumbents with a mandate for a second term.

      c) Third party protest vote.

      Reply
        1. Michael McK

          Option (a) is a vote for the status quo (status show?).
          Only a 3rd party “protest” vote has an upside. If all the people who hate the main 2 parties voted their hopes instead of fears one of them would win. Not voting is claimed as consent by the borg and is actually their preferred action for you to (not) do. The press won’t cover 3rd party votes unless it is to shame you, but 3rd party votes are very much noticed by the machines.
          All the effort the Dems have put keeping greens off ballots in many states is not for no reason. The least you could do is vote Green, if you have that option, just to piss them off…
          BTW, at least in California, a write-in vote is only recorded if that person had registered as a valid write in candidate. It takes work to go through the write-ins and the County offices will be (always are) stretched to the max. Making more work for them for no reason but to feel clever is not a political action. If there is no registered write-in candidate just leaving that choice blank and only voting for the parts you can get behind will be easily tallied and noted in the election report as “undervotes”. The pols look at that number (I know, I was a failed pol this spring and I looked at it).

          Reply
          1. Phillip Cross

            Just ignore it all. It’s a total waste of time and energy. I don’t see any reason to validate the process by participating. It’s a complete charade, and nothing short of Pol Pot II is ever going to change it.

            Reply
            1. Michael McK

              I liked your option (c) better.
              If you are worried about validating our system I assume you don’t use US currency. If you want to give it the well deserved finger take the hour or so a year it takes to vote against bad measures and for the 3rd party.

              Reply
                1. orlbucfan

                  You don’t vote? Ever? You are part of the problem, not the solution. It is still your right, and choice.

                  Reply
                  1. Phillip Cross

                    I would argue the opposite. By providing a quorum for this ridiculous 2 party cabal, you perpetuate it.

                    Why would anyone endorse and prolong what they are opposed to. That makes no sense at all.

                    Reply
    2. Pookah Harvey

      This not a vote for a leader. This is an opportunity to pick a target. BOTH are bad. Which is the easier target? The man with 40% of the population in a rabid cult following or the man who is hated by that rabid cult following, many Independents and all progressives. To make a difference support the groups that are fighting for change.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      Thanks for summing up the dilemma. They are both terrible choices. My impression was that this article was put here, not for us to argue with, but simply to show that Trump voters are not all mouth breathing racists and squillionaires. Hate or despise the politicians, but maybe it’s time for Americans to stop hating each other so much. Friendships are being lost over a question as silly as whether you like Trump. He’s really not worth the effort.

      Reply
  16. The Historian

    I believe everyone has a right to vote for whomever they want – for whatever reason, so I am not objecting to his choice of who he votes for. But I consider him a rather shallow thinker.

    For instance:
    1) He wants to end the war on drugs and release people from prison and I agree, but for some reason he seems to think that will end the single mom problem. But will it? Do people on drugs make good parents? Does he not recognize that people do drugs as a way of self-medication because they can’t deal with their lives? Why not mention the two other things we must do – like medical treatment for drug users and providing economic stability for our young people?

    2) Aren’t military families single parent families for the most part? Where are the two parent households when one member is on tour? The difference between military single parents other single parents is that the military provides medical care, a housing allowance, and income to its single parents. Would being a single parent be such a handicap if every single parent got what military single parents get?

    3) This author has a problem with Black Lives Matter but he is only looking at the surface, isn’t he? Perhaps if he thought a little deeper, he would see that police brutality was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was the spark, not the dynamite. How much abuse can a people take before something sets them off? I only wish Black Lives Matter would also think more deeply and go after the economic forces that have brought them to this point. If they don’t change the economic system, then in reality, nothing is going to get better for them and they will have this same battle over and over. After all, the ones who hold economic power know how to deflect without giving up ground, don’t they?

    4) Yes, there were things Trump could have done differently. He could have tried giving a coherent message on Covid to try and unite this country. Yes, he closed off China, but he didn’t close off Europe until it was too late. He could have fought harder for a decent and longer lasting stimulus that helped the middle and lower classes stay afloat instead of funneling money off to the wealthy. He could have used his bully pulpit to send the message that everyone should wear masks and self-isolate when it was finally clear that those things would help limit the disease. Instead he pooh-poohed the disease and urged everyone to go back to work. Because Pence says masks are unconstitutional, we are supposed to believe him? Why not try reading the Constitution? For the life of me, I cannot find an argument against masks in that document – unless of course, the reader gets creative.

    5) I’d like to know how he thinks a for profit medical care system is ever going to provide affordable health care. The best way to get rich is to provide a for profit service that people have to pay for because they have no alternatives. That is never going to change.

    6) As for how great the economy was, well, it is obvious that he’s living in the military bubble and doesn’t see what is around him.

    I don’t think this person is so unique – I know quite a few military officers and they all seem to think the same way. And none of them think we are spending way too much money on the military.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      The Historian
      October 3, 2020 at 10:48 am

      I agree. You raise particularly salient observations, e.g., health care and the guaranteed job, pay increases, and benefits of being in the most socialized work force in the US – the military.
      And I raise another point. A few days ago we had a debate in the comments section about Rittenhouse – eventually, a commenter who was either not in reality or not engaging in good faith debate was banned.
      Trump many times has the crux of a idea or point that is valid – but he undermines his own point with what is often childish obnoxiousness. It is either an intrinsic part of his personality, or a designed method of operation (or both). There is ever more heat and less light in our politics and Trump was not the first, but he is certainly fanning the flames. We can make every government action an ideological debate – from running the post office, to voting, to approving vaccines. At some point, facts have to be evaluated, values agreed to, and consensus forged, and ACTION taken. OR NOT – but when a faction decides that at traffic signals, red means go, we’re gonna find out that there are decisions that only the government can make for a society to FUNCTION well.

      And finally, for all the Trump bravado, he is a strangely passive man. One would think during the whole pathetic kerfuffle with Sessions, that Trump did not have the power to fire Sessions at will. Sad….

      Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      Even though I lack first-hand experience in parenting, I think a case could be made that marijuana is here a performance-enhancing drug, joyfully improving patience, creativity, and subtle perception, of the sort that a society built almost entirely on inflicting pain down the rank order, could not allow to be broadly used. In other words, the Drug War, like every other war, has much if not the most to do with shoring up domestic rank systems (“the health of the state” -Randolph Bourne), this one just a bit more directly (Ehrlichmann on Nixon, “blacks and the left”).

      Also, “On drugs” is a hideously prejudicial, anachronistic, and arrogant turn of phrase. Please, can you try a more recent one not based on 1980s junk science?

      Speaking of, it’s not really useful to compare the mental faculties and executive functional capacity (especially orientation in the OODA sense) of a normal, healthy person with a person who has been captured by the ruling class, shot full of BZ, and extensively debriefed in an undisclosed location just down the road from Porton Down. The grassroots Black protest groups resemble the former. BLM is much more like the latter, as was clear when they started abusing outdoor diners (however much they deserved it on a class basis) in a clear bid to deliberately pollute support for anti-police (and consequently anti-privatization and anti-oligarch) movements.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        as was clear when they started abusing outdoor diners (however much they deserved it on a class basis)

        istr in Yves’ intro to Steve Keen’s cross-posted lament for Graeber, she related meeting him with Michael Hudson in a sake bar!! oh, the humanity! I assume, given their enjoyment of suspiciously delicious beverages, those three would have been ripe for some well-deserved class-basised abuse too?

        Reply
      2. Parker Dooley

        “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

        ― H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

        Reply
    3. HotFlash

      Because Pence says masks are unconstitutional, we are supposed to believe him? Why not try reading the Constitution?

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      Not a constitutional scholar, but it looks like Medicare for All would meet the mission statement. Instead of spending billions on planes that don’t fly, boats that don’t float, and fighting picayune or imaginary enemies, perhaps the military should be converted to providing health care with all that budget they have.

      Reply
      1. Moe Knows

        It means whatever our Oligarchs says it means and always has from the beginning. If Citizens want the meaning to be something other than what they say, it is as Adams (Quincy) demanded, Lincoln ruminating on, and FDR pleaded – ‘Make Me’. We make them by making Congress to do as we want. It is hard, painful, and requires persistence. But, we have done it before.

        Reply
    4. Yves Smith Post author

      I was not holding him up as profound. I was holding him up as indicative of the way quite a few Trump voters think, and some of the elements of his reasoning aren’t much acknowledged by the MSM.

      Reply
    5. BenFranklin’sDumbCousin

      Military Officer here. I was sequestered (NOT REPAID a la shutdown but SEQUESTERED) during the Obama years and was proud to cut the tax payers a frikin break for once. Ive never been bamboozled into thinking that any effects of defense expenditure reflect in a direct positive impact on US GDP or corporate balance sheets in any sustainable way. Military $$$ can only ever temporarily impact our national margins as net positive. The vast majority of pentagon budget becomes redistributed wealth and indenturement of our children. So, be advised, we aren’t all TriCare babies with pensions.

      Reply
  17. Kurt Sperry

    The author lost me at “I don’t believe in ‘systemic racism’ as a concept.”

    It’s like saying you don’t believe in gravity as a concept. Stuff still falls towards the Earth’s center whether you believe in it or not. You can live in a fantasy world, but you cannot make it real.

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Kurt Sperry: Yep. That is exactly the point where I saw that he has a major defect in his worldview and that he isn’t willing to deal with it.

      Reply
        1. flora

          There are restrictions on what active service members may publicly say or do politically, in or out of uniform, specifically in uniform the restrictions are greater. Generals have been demoted or ‘resigned’ over acts that stepped over the line of required public military non-partisanship, political neutrality. (This is also true for people in government civil service jobs.) So not a surprise he didn’t sign his name, signing would have indicated he was a political actor while wearing the uniform – since he wrote specifically as an active duty person. Politicking as an active duty is person is not on, and for good reasons.

          Reply
  18. Don Utter

    What is to be done when there is no common ground?

    This is a profound condition that current politics cannot deal with.

    We need a new politics for the anthropocene.

    In the meantime, capitalism and resource extraction are in charge

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Politics is the art and science of getting you and him to fight. Politics is the problem, not the solution.

      We need government without politics, an unachievable ideal. Government without politicians might be feasible. Government without a permanent political class is definitely possible, though authoritarianism-loving Americans might find it too unfamiliar.

      Reply
    2. lordkoos

      I think there is actually plenty of common ground – look at the bipartisan support that Bernie Sanders had, because he spoke to the issues that people care about and which affect them directly. That is an unusual thing in American politics.

      Reply
    1. workingclasshero

      I don’t either.the anglo-american left is being strangled by it’s semi meaningless and vacuous sociological nonsense.the voting rights act and the dismantling if jim crow laws happened almost 60 years ago and incarceration rates for blacks are still way to high along with allot of voluntary unemployment by black males.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        You realize that your points could also be construed as arguments for the existence of systemic racism as well.

        Reply
  19. The S

    If Obama made this guy comfortable, it simply demonstrates what a right-wing monster Obama really was. The military and TV have done a number on Craig. Imagine blaming Black men for not being there for their families while still supporting the govt that is pumping Black neighborhoods full of drugs and then stealing Black men with bullcrap mass incarceration. This is why Harriet Tubman had to shoot, not argue, her way to freedom.

    Reply
  20. Boothroyd

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an informative entry titled, “The Ethics and Rationality of Voting,” which I find worthy of re-reading every four years or so. According to Down’s Paradox, the costs of voting will normally exceed the expected benefits, at least for a “rational, self-interested voter.”

    Reply
    1. Sailor Bud

      Yeesh, has it ever been a more salient point? Another for the big list of wry, cynical statements in philosophy.

      The big thought that comes into my mind these days is Schiller’s (paraphrased) :

      “Be careful how you choose to view the world. It really is like that.”

      Reply
  21. DJG

    Quoting esteemed commenter Kurt Sperry: The author lost me at “I don’t believe in ‘systemic racism’ as a concept.”

    In short, the guy keeps saying that he has not benefited from white privilege (or just from plain old being white). Somehow it translates into his not understanding a couple hundred years of slavery, the deliberate failure of the Reconstruction, Plessy v. Ferguson (not systemic! no indeedy! Plessy was a New Orleans creole who claimed to be an eighth black–and still lost the case), and years of terrorism by the Ku Klux Klan. I won’t even mention Reagan’s famous speech at Philadelphia, Mississippi.

    So there’s that blind spot, no accident in U.S. life.

    A couple of other observations: He writes well and marshals his facts and data pretty well. That is a testimony to how accomplished the U.S. officer corps is. As a group, they are much more educated than the general population. So we are lucky that he has a broad view of the world and his role in the world.

    Yet: What the writer shows is a big split in the gay community. At many points, I kept thinking, “Mayor Pete, is that you?” They are roughly the same age, and they both show how for younger gay men (as well as for some lesbians, but much less so), there is this weird sense of having arrived. He has his husband. He has his place at the table. He will have a pension coming to him in about five years.

    What he sounds like to me is a middle-aged, self-satisfied white guy who does’t want to be all-too-inconvenienced about being gay. Like Mayor Pete.

    This leads to a resistance to change.

    The facts are otherwise. The veneer in the U.S. is quite thin and brittle–you can ask a black person about that and about the nonexistence of systemic racism. The Trump and Putin as lovers stuff (tee hee hee) showed the thin veneer that gayfolk see just about every day.

    As a self-satisfied middle-aged white guy, he doesn’t understand what a gay man over, say, 50 might have experienced, let alone those over 60 who recall uncontrolled HIV infections. Further, he likely doesn’t understand the dilemmas of young gayfolk, those only five or ten years younger than he is, who still experience discrimination at a time when the lousy economy covers for discrimination.

    Nevertheless, a well-written description of his political ideas, even if he is not persuasive in the end.

    Reply
    1. ChrisAtRU

      DJG:
      “At many points, I kept thinking, “Mayor Pete, is that you?”

      HaHaaaa! Wonderful! #SameSame

      But for his choice of presidential vote, the author is essentially Mayor Pete reaching across the aisle on the issues of “Law & Order” and “Bootstraps for Black People”! On the latter issue, let me address two other members of today’s commentariat:

      juno mas: ” I have [no] idea how he convinced himself to vote for Obama, but he was wrong there too.”

      Obama also lectured to black people. That is how the author could convince himself. Look up this #WaPo article: “To critics, Obama’s scolding tone with black audiences is getting old” by Vanessa Williams from 2013. Excerpt:

      During the speech, Obama admonished black men to take care of their families and their communities and told the graduates that despite the lingering legacies of slavery and discrimination, “we’ve got no time for excuses.” Obama also used the occasion to talk about his own life, touching on the fact that he was raised by a single mother and that growing up he sometimes blamed some of his bad choices on “the world trying to keep a black man down.”

      Nothing to see here folks. It’s not the world trying to keep a black man down. It’s my bad choices!
      Get it now?!

      The S: “If Obama made this guy comfortable, it simply demonstrates what a right-wing monster Obama really was.”

      Obama professed admiration for Ronald #FamilyBlog Reagan. Think about that.

      Reply
    2. Kurtismayfield

      The reason he sounds like those white middle class men is because he is in the same economic class. What he doesn’t understand is when the topics broach things outside of his class or his worldview. This is why he doesn’t believe in systemic racism, he has never experienced it. He should be pulled over for DWB, or get arrested for a drug offence as a poor person and see what happens to him.

      Reply
  22. Vergniaud

    A bit off topic, but I found this interesting:

    I do think the result is likely to be close, and could come down to the Supreme Court. I wouldn’t look on that as an illegitimate win; that’s how the constitution says it should work.

    I think the steal of 2000 (and the Kabuki-ish way the political world and the media perpetrated/acquiesced in it) has made this a common opinion among the citizenry. But where is that in the old ‘suicide pact’?

    Jim Baker’s great PR campaign of 2000 was extremely successful. The People have been persuaded that when an election is declared in the press to be “too close to call” and to have taken too long to reach a decision (we can’t allow any state’s votes to be left out of the “safe harbor,” don’t you know), the Supreme Court gets to stop everything and make the decision. (Scalia: “The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election.”) Given that both camps are clearly preparing for a disputed result, the fact that many People believe that the Constitution puts the resolution of such disputes in the hands of the Court, and not in the hands of Congress, the political branch, suggests that another Bush v Gore decision may be in store for us.

    On the other hand, since the Supremes completely burned up what little legitimacy they still had in 2000, perhaps this time around the powers-that-be will opt to actually follow the Constitution and let Congress decide like in 1800 . . or maybe have Congress appoint a commission — like in 1876. Yikes!

    Reply
  23. juno mas

    This guy is no different than Trump: makes stuff up, creates a personal history of “bootstrapping”, and believes he lives in a vacuum. I have now idea how he convinced himself to vote for Obama, but he was wrong there too.

    Reply
  24. Unsympathetic

    This entire post seems like a lot of wild hand-waving stemming from a lack of curiosity regarding objective reality. First establish fact, then proceed with conclusions. This guy seems to work backwards from what he wishes were true. Unfortunately many of our fellow USians do the same.

    Sure, Democrats are corrupt – but this post doesn’t address the reality that Repubs are as well.. and why not? Would it shatter his personal reality to grapple with the notion that no politicians are actually looking out for him.. and that therefore he might have to fight the “conventional wisdom” to achieve his goals at some point?

    Reply
  25. Eric Anderson

    After a few years of daily reading Naked Capitalism, I conclude this is the most revealing post yet. Thanks, Yves for your wisdom in sharing Craig’s opinions. As a bit of a wanderer politically, voting for the person, not the party, your responses have become somewhat of a bellwether for me. I respect so much of the open-minded comments. And then there are those who mistake the edge of their own ruts for the horizon. Personally, I couldn’t vote for Hillary or Donald. I’ll credit NK for changing my mind this time and prefer the risk of going with Trump.

    Reply
    1. Drake

      Agreed. I found it very interesting to read the whole thing and find someone actually honestly and thoughtfully grappling with all of this stuff, even the stuff I disagree with him on (main one being that we can’t afford universal healthcare, to which I would counter ‘can we afford the one we have?’). I find a lot of the responses here to be smug, superior, dismissive, and probably a lot less sincere.

      Reply
  26. bruce

    Reading that guy, I was reminded of what a prominent Russian churchman said about his successor long ago. “He is a man in whose head three cocks are crowing at the same time.”

    Reply
  27. AdamK

    I have to raise an issue which bothers me the most here, which is regarding the police. In no democratic country has the police a mandate to kill. Separation of powers is to take care of this. No policeman has the right to be a judge, jury and hangman. The line of thought that police force have the right to go back to their families stems from the second amendment, which in itself makes no sense. First respondents are required to save lives while endangering themselves, so do healthcare workers and firefighters. No one promises them that at the end of the day they will go back safe and sound to their families. Imagine if healthcare workers would use the same logic and refuse to treat patients that are seriously ill in times of pandemic, firefighters will refuse to fight fires because they would like to to ensure their safe return home ( oops, they are mostly incarcerated people and no one gives a damn).
    This line of thought undermines the democracy in its foundations.
    Regarding his arguments, he has selfish individualistic world view that sees only himself as a center of the world is well articulated, and sometimes you can relate to them, but the core problem of American democracy is the selfish individualistic world view and …markets corrects all distortions. There IS such thing as the commons and each and every citizen should be obligated to advocate for it, without it there is no democracy.

    Reply
      1. AdamK

        Thank you for your comment, and it is all known, but apparently numbers are not convincing nowadays. Anyone who advocates for vigilante cops is at the same time sawing the branch she/he is siting on – democracy. Democracy is separation of power and common good. It has nothing to do with the situation of black neighborhoods which cries for action and improvement. Black life matter because it does, because every life matter in an equal way. The fact that we need to be reminded of it is sad, it tells us how lost we are.

        Reply
  28. Dermot M O Connor

    His assumption seems to be “work hard by gum and you’ll do OK”. Horation Alger bootstrap / meritocratic humbug of the first order.

    You’d be working a very long time to convince him that his (classical) liberal worldview was built on quicksand.

    Reply
  29. Alex Morfesis

    Gotta luv these self righteous rainbow racists…no systematic racism…so…in Birmingham, where the university of alabama set up its own non profit and used black folks as guinea pigs for experimental treatments, in a modern day Tuskegee affair no one talks about so that non cis white men could live and survive and flourish with their own predicament…no white priv there…

    And the fact most gentrification against black property interests in urban america
    were catalyzed by rainbow wipipo, where when black owned the properties were old and unsafe and unrehabable…but…

    As soon as rainbow folks owned them they were classics, which could never be rebuilt for the cost and here…have an easy, no questions asked homeowners line of credit now that the right people own this valuable property…

    And today, most resources for hiv/aids still flows to rainbow white men when we know the majority of New hiv/aids victims are black american women…but you know…

    No rainbow wipipo priv to be found there either…

    And finally…most civil rights in America which fall under diversity was paid for by cis black men in the 50’s & 60’s and today, we have all these formerly in the closet rainbow wipipo stepping into the diversity category, blocking the jobs and opportunities paid for by these same cis black men who instead of moving up from 60% of wipipo rights are mow reduced to 6% due to the fake diversity pie suddenly inviting all these others who basically paid no price, to share in the vittles paid for by malcolm, mlk, medgar, marcus garvey, paul Robeson, etal…

    But no wipipo priv to be found in the rainbow world…

    Reply
  30. rowlf

    I am wondering if the article was a wind up to see how the dogs bark? With so much material to punch a button for everyone who reads it seems synthetic.

    Reply
  31. Palaver

    I read “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” when it was first published. Conservatives use “identity politics” to get people to vote against their economic interests. Liberals use it to avoid progress on economic issues. John is a casualty of both misdirections, by either Democrats or Republicans.

    I’m disappointed that conservatives use old fashioned racism to dissuade people from supporting sensible police reform, like public oversight, improved training, and balancing social service with law enforcement.

    The Great White Backlash that lost Democrats the South resulted from the passage of Civil Rights Act 1964. 75% of Americans at the time had a negative view of Martin Luther King Jr. On racial justice and equality, the opinion of white suburbanites and Southerners are lagging indicators. History should make us humble in our popular opinions. Seismic shifts in American politics have been about race and ethnicity.

    Replace “police reform” with “desegregation” and the arguments become familiar:

    Segregationists’ Argument for Separate but Equal Education: Whites were making a good faith effort to equalize the two educational systems. But because black children were still living with the effects of slavery, it would take some time before they were able to compete with white children in the same classroom.

    Segregationists’ Argument for Unequal Policing: Police are making a good faith effort to reduce the disparities in black deaths. But because black communities are still living with the effects of poverty, it would take some time before police stop racial profiling and before they are sentenced more favorably in the justice system.

    But we all know now that segregation created problems that we are still dealing with today, as will our unequal justice system create problems for our children’s children.

    Reply
    1. Scott

      As Bartel’s outlines in Democracy for Realist, the South was trending Republican before the Civil Rights Act, and didn’t become solidly Republican until the late 90’s and early 2000s likely as a result of NAFTA. For example, in the book the author claims Gore lost Tennessee because of drought conditions preceding the election.

      Reply
  32. Big Tap

    I largely agree with the author of this piece particularly regarding the Black Lives Matter organization. They are an anti-police organization that use black people as pawns to make their point. More than 90% of black deaths mean nothing to them. A very few deaths are the police as a cause. I support ALL black lives not s small subset.

    I disagree with his healthcare point about transparent pricing. That would work with elective surgery but what about emergencies? Not well thought out.

    Reply
    1. ChrisAtRU

      Since we’re focusing on critical thinking this week during #NC’s fundraising season, let me offer the following as to why that train of thought is problematic.

      Methodology:
      Identify a subset of the populace: P
      Identify some small portion of P that suffers loss of life via some socially unjust or erstwhile illegal manner: S (a fraction)
      Identify all other manners by which members of P can lose their lives: (1 -S)

      Claim:
      If (1 – S) >> S, then society should not consider the causes of S reason for concern, and should focus on the causes of (1 – S).

      Example:
      P = Black people
      S is the portion of black homicide deaths from police: (less than 10% by your estimation above, so let’s make it) 5%
      (1 – S) is the portion of black deaths from all other sources: 95%

      Sounds legit …I guess. I mean if someone in power were to say: 12% of Black deaths are from poor healthcare, which is more than double the number of black people killed by police; and then other politicians said: OK, this means we should have #M4A, then cool. But we aren’t really doing much about the other 95% are we (as a country, that is)? And when progressive black politicians talk about ways to improve the condition of black people, what do such politicians get from both sides? Nothing really tangible, right? All this of course, while trillions of dollars keep getting pumped into banks to keep the casino that is Wall Street going for people like Trump, Bloomberg, Steyer and the entire plutocrat class to benefit. Reminder: the stock market hit a new high the day record job losses from the pandemic were announced. So saying that you support all black lives while agreeing with the author’s vote for Trump, who perpetuated Obama’s wage depression approach to making unemployment look “good” (most jobs created during and since Obama’s presidency are low paying); and who belongs to the class of people actively benefiting from our rigged financial markets tells me that you haven’t actually given much thought to what Trump (or any administration) can or will do for that other 95% of black lives.

      Are you talking about opportunity zones? More low paying jobs.
      Are you talking about better health care? Trump thinks #M4A is socialist.

      Or are you perhaps just convinced that BLM is anti-law-enforcement and also perhaps anti-white?

      A word about the latter:
      While the reasons for a lot the police-related protests have been violence against black people, have you seen who many of the victims in the protests have been? It’s white people … whether they’re just unfortunate passers-by like the poor white girl who took a rubber bullet in her forehead while walking home with groceries; or like some of the journalists currently suing Portland; or like Kyle Rittenhouse’s three victims (two deceased) … it’s not just black people … anymore.

      With respect to the former, can BLM be about “anti-needless-killing-of-black-people-by-law-enforcement-with-impunity” and not just “anti-law-enforcement”? #DefundThePolice is an awkward term to process, but if our famously free press cared to do their jobs, they could explain that it’s about reining in bloated, union-corrupted law enforcement fiefdoms that are increasingly demand larger and larger percentages of city/municipality budgets – oh, and who has to foot the bill for civil lawsuit payouts again?! Wanna do something for that 95%? Stop hiring more cops; stop buying Iraqi Desert Storm surplus for police departments; take that money and invest in housing/jobs-at-fifteen-per-hour-plus.

      I’ll end by deploying the logic above on another group:

      P: Americans
      S: 0.001% of Americans killed by 911 Terrorist Attack
      (1 – S): 99.999% Americans killed by other causes in 2001

      “A very few deaths are terrorist as a cause. I support ALL American lives not [a] small subset.”

      …said not one #FamilyBlog politician on September 12th, 2001.

      Reply
  33. Clem

    “The Black Lives Matter movement decided to focus solely on Black men killed by police, later expanding to include the anecdotal example of a Black man killed by white men (who were appropriately charged with murder).”

    So White Lives don’t Matter? Damn the numbers.

    Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008
    Department of Justice Study
    https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf
    Page 16

    “While young black males have accounted for about 1% of the population from 1980 to 2008 by 2008, young black males made up about a quarter of all homicide offenders (27%) (figure 23b).

    “In 2018, 16% of white victims-(60% of U.S. population), were killed by Black offenders, (13.4% of U.S. population),
    while 8% of Black victims were killed by white offenders.”
    2 to 1.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/fact-check-rates-of-white-on-white-and-black-on-black-crime-are-similar/ar-BB19y4Pv

    Reply
  34. Jeremy Grimm

    What I find remarkable [and somewhat envy] is that Craig D. still seems to believe his vote matters. I lost what remained of that faith in this election cycle.

    Reply
  35. Fresh Cream

    I stopped reading when I got to this, “I believe that race has very little to do with why police shoot someone.“
    Hey I believe the moon is made of green cheese and my cat, she believes that she has seen it all before.

    Reply
  36. Lydia Maria Child

    So basically he’s just another fully brain-washed right-winger. Got it. Morons do, in fact, exist. And it’s not “offensive” to point out this fact. It’s perfectly accurate.

    Reply
  37. Andrew

    I am filling out my absentee ballot this weekend in the Upper Peninsula of swing state Michigan. I voted Trump in 2016 primarily as an anti-vote to Hillary Clinton and to leave the lane open for a working class candidate in 2020. I feel the strategy was at least moderately successful in that Bernie had a strong run again with MFA , the emergence of Tulsi Gabbord is also a great thing to see, and here in the U.P. we have solid progressive Dana Ferguson running for U.S. rep seat. The way I see it another Clinton regime would have prevented these developments, and so would Biden/Harris.

    Reply
  38. David Thomas

    When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

    Craig thought he would keep it real by voting for a career criminal with a smug disdain for science and morals. Unfortunately for Craig, an openly gay military man, the candidate he supported just happened to stack the Supreme Court with justices with a disdain for gay rights. Craig loved the racist rants and antiimmigrant fervor, but never realized he would lose his livelihood once his right to serve in the military became part of the madman’s purge.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      Liberal Democrats have four fundamental tropes about their political opponents: (1) They’re stupid, (2) insane, (3) racist, and (4) sexist. Their fifth trope is that they themselves are none of these things.

      It’s fun to watch, I’ll give them that.

      Reply
    1. Brunches with Cats

      Yves didn’t intend this to be “a well-reasoned essay” about why to vote for Trump. Please re-read her intro.

      I found this essay extremely enlightening, as I live in a rural area of Upstate New York where Republicans outnumber Democrats almost 2-to-1 (registered voters) and can almost guarantee that Trump will win by a huge margin here. Yet I’ve encountered few of the Trumper caricature portrayed by MSNBC, CNN, etc.

      Most of the Trump supporters I talk to are more reflective. They tend to watch Fox News, but don’t believe everything they hear. One with whom I’ve had several in-depth conversations tells me he doesn’t believe anything from the corporate media, period. We talk facts. When my facts are counter to his, my response depends on how confident I am in the source (another reason that NC is essential reading!). If I’m reasonably sure I’m right, I give the source and explain as dispassionately as possible. If I’m uncertain, I frame it as what I’ve heard/read and then ask for his take. He has always listened — maybe because I respect him as a person, empathize with his struggles, and agree with him on many things (e.g., corporate media aren’t to be trusted, Fauci lied, Big Pharma and Facebook are evil, solace is to be found in nature).

      As a military officer, Craig D is a different sort of atypical Trump voter. I’ve got some thoughts on that but will put them in a separate comment.

      Reply
  39. IronForge

    I wished Tulsi Gabbard and Ron Paul Ran Together on an Independent Veterans’ Ticket.

    That being said, the DNC+RNC have Hijacked the WH and Congress from the BodyPolitic.

    We need to END Political Parties, PACs, NGO+Corporate Funding and resort to Individuals Running on Hard Cold Cash from Individual Citizens (with limits to Candidates’ Own and Contributor Funding based on the Seat).
    The Fed and States can CrowdFund Debates and Basic Voter/Balloting Guidelines.

    Also – wrt the Supremes, we need to have more Proportional Representation from the BodyPolitic Worldviews.
    6 Catholics(Lone “Protestant” went through Catholic Schooling, IIRC) and 3 Jewish – that’s 28% of the Population – for quite awhile.

    This isn’t a Catholic Theocracy nor a Vassal State of the VATican. The Founders were Primarily Protestant, Deist, Secular, or Unaffiliated. Including Other Religions, still make up 72% of the Population. Considering that the RCC have done much to prevent the Due Process Investigations, Prosecutions, and Incarcerations of RCC Clergy+Laity Accused of Child Abuse+Molestation Cases Demonstrate their Collective Failure to Interpret+Enforce the Secular Rule of Law.

    SIDEBAR
    Add to that, Jesusneverexisted.com – until the 4thCE when they were Amalgamated by Constantine’s Chrestus(that’s the original cult name – means “good” or “useful”) Cult Supporters at Nicea.
    The First Written Records of Jesus and his Followers were the First Gospels which were parts of the First New Testament which were part of the First Christian Bibles Published under Constantine’s Sponsorship – After Nicea.

    A.D. Timeline was BackDated by a Monk in the 6thCE during the Christian Dogma Dark Ages – which explain why the Julian Calendar was used until around 1598CE – with Dec25 Always being the Winter Solstice, which happen to be the Key Date of Events Plagiarized from the Dionysus and Mythras Cults.

    No Roman, Jewish, or any other Writer Recorded any activity of Jesus or his Followers from 01BCE thru 02CE. Josephus’ Entry was an Anachronistic Forgery.

    Time for Humanity – especially those who Honor the Creator – to Move Forward Beyond this Theocracy Racket.
    END SIDEBAR

    We the People need to start Selecting more Non-Catholics and Non-Jewish for the next 6-7 SCOTUS Seats. Per Our Present Demographics, we should have 5 Protestants, 2 Catholics, and 0-1 Jewish at any given Time Period.

    Time to End this Influence Peddling Racket.

    Reply
  40. Karl Brantz

    Your vote does not matter in the least to the economic/political elite in this country, and in the entire world for that matter. In any event, why would you vote for warmongers, thieves, liars and killers of innocent people throughout the world ? Builders of nuclear weapons!?Wasting time and giving your assent to evil hardly makes sense. Not only that, but you are giving your tax dollars to these crooks. How can we be so stupid as to vote for either of two parties that firmly refuse to even grant the citizens health care while instead using the tax money to enrich murderous war machinery corporations, executives and the politicians that take the bribes? Have you noticed the burgeoning tent/tarp settlements? The ratcheting increase in police violence? Can you see where this is headed based on the history of human behavior ?
    Stop squabbling over the lesser of two morons. Ignore the trivial meaningless rituals and concentrate on preparing for the coming violence and inevitable, overdue collapse of a failed governmental system that is inherently evil.

    Reply
  41. Phil in KC

    I thought this was well worth the read. Given the background profile of the writer, one would assume a Democratic voter, based on several factors, including his ascension into the ranks of the PMC. How wrong one would have been.

    I don’t sense the writer identifies strongly with either party. In politics, he seems to skew to the left on some issues ( Trump’s character, for example, or McConnell and the rush to confirm), to the right on other issues, such as law and order. In other words, an independent thinker. A candidate has to earn his vote. A respectable and responsible position, I think.

    Honing in on what flipped his support from Biden are the massive protests in the wake of George Floyd and the BLM movement. I don’t sense the writer despises peaceful protesters, the ones I call the daylight crowd. He is appalled by the looting, damage to property, arson, and overall anarchy in the streets, all of which violate order and dialogue, the work not of peaceful demonstrators but street brawlers—the nighttime crowd. Trump was savvy to note that Democrats were slow to condemn and slower still to bring back some order in our streets. Where was the Biden who once bragged about putting 100,000 additional police officers on the street? I think he did condemn the violence, but not as forcefully as he could have. If Biden is truly the Democratic Party now, then a few phone calls to some governors and mayors would have been helpful, if only to him.

    Sadly, no one seems to have learned anything useful from our summer of discontent, especially the Democratic Party.

    Reply
  42. Brunches with Cats

    Many thanks to Yves for posting this enlightening essay. I left a comment above in response to Cuibono describing atypical Trump supporters in my red district in rural Upstate New York. Craig D. is a different sort of atypical, undoubtedly due to the military bubble in which he lives, as others have noted. However, there’s a racial “alternative reality” in that bubble that I haven’t seen addressed.

    The consensus among the commentariat seems to be that Craig’s ignorance of the economic struggles facing most Americans stems from being an officer in the military, where no one has to think twice about adequate health care, housing, food, and so forth. This strikes me as being the same argument that’s made for the cluelessness of the upper 10 percent (PMC, Republican wing of the Democrat Party, etc.). Reflecting on his essay and the commentariat’s response, I had a light-bulb moment in realizing that I’ve encountered many veterans with beliefs similar to Craig’s. And, as a veteran myself, I have an idea where this is coming from.

    In addition to the alternative economic reality inside the military bubble, there’s an alternative racial-equality reality. Whether you’re an officer or enlisted, you work side by side with POC as equals (odds are higher that you’ll work with a black man of equal rank than with a white woman). While racism and sexism are still rampant in the military, and while personal prejudices can’t be regulated away, the military can and does enforce equality in a way that non-military society can’t (or won’t). Promotions are based almost entirely on time in grade. It’s a given that at some point, your immediate supervisor will be a POC. In combat, your life will depend on a POC teammate.

    In the military, order is maintained by strict rules, with little room to apply them unequally based on race or gender. Military police are subject to strict rules of conduct. And remember, their jurisdiction is the military base, where residents are well aware of the rules and the punishment for breaking them. With this background, it’s hardly surprising that Craig would expect to be shot by the police for breaking a rule, or that he thinks the rules are applied to everyone equally. Bubble? More like a sound-proof copper-lined chamber.

    Please be clear that I am absolutely not defending Craig D’s ignorance of police targeting of black men. All I’m saying is that it may be based on his personal experience in the military, just like his ignorance of how Americans get their healthcare.

    The Rev Kev called the military “the biggest socialist organization in America.” Social democracy, however, it is not. I recall early in basic training one of the drill sergeants telling us to get it through our heads that while America was a democracy, the Army wasn’t. Maybe the ultimate takeaway from Craig’s essay is that cognitive dissonance is such a tough nut to crack that you can’t do it without crushing the insides.

    Reply

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