TRUMP TO HIS FANS:
But she’s a tough one, and she's having none of it.
“Get up; get up,” the wife bellows. “You get up. You vote.”
“Yes, Darling,” the husband replies meekly.
Aware of, but not directly discussing the treacherous driving conditions, Trump promises that all will be well.
“You’re going to be safe,” he assures the crowd. “And, again, all indoors. It’s going to be all indoors.”
“But you got to get up,” he insists. “You got to vote, because it has nothing to do with anything but taking our nation back, and that’s the biggest thing there is.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS...
Here's a recording of Trump's instructions to his followers to ignore treacherous driving conditions and attend the Iowa caucuses. This is copied from a C-SPAN video.
Turnout was low, maybe because of the harsh winter, maybe because people were sick as dogs, or maybe because they wanted to watch football on TV.
News reports said that 108,000 people participated overall, compared to 187,000 in 2016.
We also don’t know if anyone was hurt or killed going to a caucus or coming home from one
Most reporters didn’t stick around to find out, since the press pack had quickly headed for New Hampshire, the next non-event in the non-race for the GOP nomination.
As for Trump, he’d already said his piece. He didn’t care.
Not only with Trump. But the
people who make him possible
It’s not fair. None of it.
As a country, we didn’t deserve Donald Trump when he took office in 2016.
It also wasn’t fair that Trump turned out to be an even more treacherous president than predicted by his sorry, sordid history as a business cheat, a bigot, an abuser of women, a TV huckster and a liar.
It’s wasn’t fair that after four years in the White House, Trump conspired to overturn the election that he’d just lost to Joe Biden.
Now, it’s even more unfair that Trump, facing four major indictments, is still with us, and in the polls, running ahead of Biden.
So, I’m taking a moment to reflect on the injustice all of this, even though it doesn’t count whether you, I or anyone else has hurt feelings. What matters is what we do to defeat Trump.
On the other hand, I think that sometimes analytical, practical liberals forget to be angry – crazy mad, jumping-up-and-down furious and out-of-our-minds insane about being terrorized for eight years by Donald Trump.
WE DESERVE BETTER.
By "we," I mean the millions of Americans who, among other things, are decent people.
Most Americans love their children. They pay most of their taxes; they usually tell the truth; they are likely to stop at traffic lights; and often they are kind to their pets.
Lots of Americans support and volunteer with hometown charities; they take care of their elders; most Americans don’t own guns, don’t shoplift, don’t say expletive deleted in public.
A good many Americans wish that society should be less biased than we actually are; and a lot of Americans would like to curb the man-made gasses that are frying the planet.
In other words, I believe that lots of us try do the right thing, at least what seems to be the right thing, at the time we’re doing it.
Three years ago, we did this by voting Trump out of the White House.
It was a happy outcome that seemed to be in line with something that the Sardinian philosopher, Joseph de Maistre, wrote in French in 1811: Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite:
- One translation: Every nation has the government it deserves.
- Another version: In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve.
But that turns out to be wrong. It's actually bogus.
The fact is we often don’t get the government we deserve.
Exhibit A: we got Trump.
TRUMP CAME TO BE, in part, because of an unfair election system.
We expect that a candidate who gets the most votes wins. But that’s not always the case, thanks to one of the Constitution’s most flawed provisions, choosing winners not on vote totals, but “electoral votes,” determined by the number of each state’s U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seats.
As you well know, the popular vote and the electoral count sometimes are out of sync.
Hilary Clinton, in 2016, received nearly 3-million more votes than Trump, 48.2 percent to 46.1 percent. But the Electoral College, with a score of 304 to 227, waltzed Trump into the Oval Office.
It wasn’t fair.
Take guns. According to the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans want stricter gun laws. Sixty-seven percent want government to prioritize alternative energy sources to curb climate change; 61 percent think there’s too much economic inequality. The Gallup poll says 69 percent would allow first-trimester abortions.
Word from the State Houses and/or Congress to America: “Who cares?”
So forgive me if I take a minute or two to complain, to be just a little indignant and out-of-my-mind furious, because the country and the world are in trouble, and we don’t seem to be able to fix them.
Remember those mostly nice Americans I was telling you about?
Well, they are still here.
But what Trump demonstrated in 2016 and what he’s showing us again, is that there’s a second bunch of Americans – and it’s a big bunch – who aren’t nice at all.
More than 74-million people voted for him in 2020.
And that wasn't fair to the rest of us.
We’ve trusted our neighbors.
We thought we shared most of the important things, the basic, core values like being a good loser, obeying the law, telling the truth and supporting the peaceful, non-violent transfer of power.
We thought we could rely on each other, the folks in the house across the street and others, whom we've never met and who live on the other side of the country.
The shock in 2016 was that even though Trump had lost the popular vote, millions of people did vote for him and cheered when the Electoral College put him over the top.
Now, even more people would do it again.
Even after Trump’s terrible presidency, culminating in his attempt to overturn the Biden election by engineering the 2021 riot at the Capitol, millions of voters are okay with that and want him to continue to do awful stuff, only worse.
Think of it. The presumptive leader of the free world tried to cheat on an election, and lots of people are okay with that.
Pollsters tell us that if the election were held today, more people would vote for Trump than Joe Biden.
And the reason lies with those who are close to us.
Our uncles, wives, great-aunts and brothers are okay with Donald Trump.
The same goes for our co-workers, teaching assistants, second-best friends and the diners at the restaurant table next to ours.
The guy driving the Honda Civic behind our F-150 is A-OK with Trump.
People who went to daycare with us have grown up to be okay with Trump.
Fans, who are cheering for our football team, are okay with Donald Trump.
The patient groaning in the emergency room bay next to yours is okay with Donald Trump.
The friendly lady, who’s walking in the park with her cute Jack Russell, is okay with Donald Trump.
We are betrayed.
10 MONTHS TO GO.
Democracy Is On The Line Nov. 5th
Which means that the election, which will determine whether the United States remains a democracy, is almost here. And right now, democracy is losing.
I had a close encounter earlier this week with one of the many obstacles that President Joe Biden faces in his underdog campaign to win a second term, and prevent Donald Trump from returning to the White House and creating a dictatorship.
My wife and I were at one of several events that Rhode Island Democrats are holding to collect signatures to put Biden’s name on the ballot for our state’s April 2 presidential primary.
This signature gathering event happened to be held at the Middletown Public Library. Greeting us at the front door was an affable guy with a clipboard. He asked whether we were registered voters, and if so, could we sign some nomination papers?
The candidate? Dean Phillips.
You might be excused for wondering who Phillips us. He’s the Minnesota Congressman who is challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination. Phillips claims to be a big fan of the president, but warns that Biden can’t win, so he’s stepping up.
“Absolutely not!” I told the guy, who said he was from Phillips' state and seemed taken aback by my response. Shouldn’t voters have a choice, he asked? And besides, we're all the same side, wanting to defeat Donald Trump - right?
Phillips’ candidacy is absurd. But it’s also dangerous. Because anything that suggests pro-democracy voters have a choice other than Biden – such as an alternative Democrat, or a third-party candidate – takes precious votes from Biden and helps Donald Trump.
The Real Clear Politics website, which tracks current voter preferences, has been showing Trump with a more than two-point lead in a hypothetical match up. These were the figures yesterday.
BIDEN: 44.3 percent
TRUMP: 46.5 percent
Especially astonishing considering the symbolism of tomorrow’s anniversary – the third year since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Trump’s final, desperate attempt to stay in power.
That should have been the end of Trump. Instead, the opposite has happened. Trump gets a pass from millions of Republicans.
For example, a disturbingly large cohort of voters think the FBI, not Trump, was responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection.
A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll asked respondents whether it was true or false that FBI operatives caused the Capitol riot. Twenty-five percent answered it was "definitely" or "probably" true that the FBI was behind the uprising.
Trump can probably count on some of these unhinged voters to support his election and his goals if he wins: to put federal departments, the military, the apparatus of government under his control.
Offering advice is Robert Reich, a University of California professor and former labor secretary under President Bill Clinton.
In a recent column in The Guardian newspaper, Reich proposes 10 steps individuals can take to head off a Trump victory. Here are two:
- "Become a political activist to ensure Trump is not elected. For some of us, this will mean taking more time out of our normal lives, up to and including getting out the votes in critical swing states. For others, it means phone banking, making political contributions, writing letters to editors, and calling friends and relations in key states."
- "Don’t decide to sit this election out or to vote for a third-party candidate, because you don’t especially like Biden and you’re tired of voting for the 'lesser of two evils.' Biden may not be perfect, but he’s not the lesser of two evils. Trump is truly evil.
Ten months until the election.
Ten months to save a country.
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: GO CRAZY OVER POLITICS
An election, only months away, will change our country and our lives
The boat sails alone under angry skies. But it seems to do so with confidence, suggesting that, despite ominous odds, it expects to reach its destination.
As I took this photo last October, someone on board waved cheerfully at me as the boat moved steadily up Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. I don’t know why.
Maybe he was just a showoff.
Maybe he was a terrorist, enlisting Old Glory en route to his rendezvous with Donald Trump, eager to join his cult's mission to turn the United States into a dictatorship and, incidentally, keep Our Leader out of jail.
I prefer to think of the sailor as a patriot, proud of his country, its traditions and sacred symbols, suggesting that no matter how bleak the prospects, democracy can be saved.
The day I saw the boat, I was taking one of my favorite walks, at Fort Adams State Park, where there are lots of ways to have fun: ruby matches, sailing programs, vintage car shows and the Newport folk and jazz festivals.
Instead, I was obsessing about Donald Trump.
All I care about on any day, at any time of day, is politics and whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump will win the Electoral College.
Instead of seeing a boat with a clever sail, I looked for signs about whether the United States, as we know it, will survive.
Or is it?
Is it crazy to be afraid that the worst president in history – a vicious cheat, a sex criminal and psychopath who almost overturned the election that he’d just lost – is not only trying again, but at the moment he's winning?
What I’m hoping is that millions of people will recognize there's a catastrophe in the making, and realize there is only one thing that matters in 2024.
It's not the economy, the climate, overseas wars, all of which truly are all critical, that counts this year. The life-and-death event of 2024 will be number of votes counted on Nov. 5.
If Trump wins, there will be no going back: “Oops, I guess that a dictatorship wasn’t a good idea after all.”
WHAT TO DO?
I have no special insight here. I’m just one insignificant elderly gentleman, who's no more worth listening to than any other loudmouth sounding off at the neighborhood diner.
But in this national crisis, every voice, every idea, every opinion, every vote, counts. So, here are my two-cents about what to do:
- Everyone should care about the Nov. 5 election. The more obsessed people get, the more people will be alert to the danger and how to avoid it. Big numbers are the only way to be rid of Donald Trump.
- Stop complaining about Joe Biden age and other flaws, and start talking about the positive things he’s done, including not being Donald Trump.
- Stop thinking of yourself, and your one vote, as insignificant.
- Give money. Politicians, the good ones included, need lots of it.
- Look for small things to do – go door-to-door, write letters, postcards and texts. Some of them may work.
- If you have friends or relatives on the Trump-Biden fence, tell them – respectfully - how important this election is to you and how deeply you feel about it. One out of a hundred may care.
- If you are an ace headline writer or advertising genius, write a slogan that nails Biden. So far, no one has. But there is an effective slogan out there somewhere; the right two or three words may win the election.
ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, which is supposed to be the final, joyful holiday of the season, everything seems grim, because it is grim.
Biden is too old, and his many accomplishments are unappreciated. Millions of voters have already made up their minds and not in a good way.
It’s impossible to understand anyone voting for Donald Trump, but they plan to.
So, it's up to millions of other Americans to care about the peril we face as individuals and as a country.
Politics will crush us. Or save us. It’s not hopeless. We can make 2024 the year Americans cared enough about their democracy to save it.
I'VE BEEN a reporter and writer for 58 years, long enough to have learned that journalists don't know very much, although I've met some smart ones.
Mainly, what reporters know comes from asking other people questions and fretting about the answers.
This blog is a successor to one inspired by our dog, Phoebe, who was smart, sweet and the antithesis of Donald Trump. She died Feb. 3, and I don't see getting over that very soon.
Occasionally, I may try to reach her via cell phone.