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A few years ago, PBS aired the documentary Town Hall, following the adventures and misadventures of two tea partiers in Pennsylvania. In one scene, on election day 2012, one of the tea parties, John, got himself authorized as a poll watcher. Poll watching usually involves checking the voter registration books at the polling places to make certain your supporters have voted and to be certain that the laws are being followed.
Tea party John got himself authorized as a poll watcher because he was certain, certain, that there was widespread voter fraud taking place and he was going to stop it. The documentary showed him challenging the right of certain people (weirdly only people of color. hm . . . ) to vote. In one scene, he challenges two black women’s right to vote – except they had both become naturalized citizens. They got to vote. John was a stickler for the rules – for example in another scene he made the election judges clear the room of people who had already voted, even though they were waiting for a friend to finish voting. Once you voted, John explained, you had to leave the voting area. The film did not show anyone deterred from voting by John’s earnest idiocy and bumbling poll watching, it highlighted an interesting dynamic among conservatives -convinced there is widespread fraud in voting, they’re going to police the polls to make sure everything is kosher and their interpretation of the rules is adhered to even if that makes voting slow, annoying and difficult.
So it was with some concern that I heard Trump’s statement:
The only way they can beat it in my opinion — and I mean this 100 percent — if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK? So I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the 8th, go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100 percent fine, because without voter identification — which is shocking, shocking that you don’t have it.
There’s no way this could go wrong. A bunch of uptight, panties in a wad white people, convinced they’re saving democracy in America, overrunning polling places in mostly black and latino neighborhoods on election day is going to be just peachy keen.
After the Bush administration presided over the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, American households lost about $16.4 trillion of net worth. The value of real estate alone dropped by $6 trillion.
Instead of making the big banks eat these losses, our government decided to let the middle class pay for Wall Street’s mistakes – even if it meant circumventing the law. “Rocket dockets” (up to 1,000 cases per day) and “robo-signing” (the mass production of false affidavits) enabled the biggest robbery of all time. Some homeowners faced court-ordered foreclosure even though they never took out a mortgage!
David Dayen has laid it all out in a new book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud
Example of “robo-signing”
Political analysts still manage to wonder why people are angry in a time of economic recovery, without ever even hinting recognition of the scarring impact of the foreclosure disaster. More than 9.3 million American families gave up their home between 2006 and 2014, either in a foreclosure or a short sale or some other transaction. That translates to about 14 million people, all of whom have family and friends and colleagues who at least know of the pain caused by the foreclosure crisis. There have been more since then.
It didn’t have to turn out that way. All of the losses didn’t have to be placed upon homeowners. Somebody could have been held responsible. We could have enforced the simple rule that you can’t take a person’s home with false evidence. This bare minimum would have engendered some faith that the system works, that justice still burns somewhere in America.
“Somebody could have been held responsible.” Instead, the Obama administration looked the other way during the “fraudclosure” crisis. They did the same thing on U.S. war crimes, on CIA torture, and on widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans. Only the truth-tellers went to federal prison, never the criminals.
2016 is shaping up as a completely weird election year. Americans aren’t happy with the status quo. But (aside from his most fervent supporters) most aren’t ready to let Donald Trump burn the place down and hope to salvage something from the ashes. But voters aren’t sold on Hillary Clinton, just yet, either.
Ezra Klein has described 2016 as Normal vs. Abnormal, with the Democrats behaving like normal politicians and a normal political party and Republicans behaving abnormally. His cataloging of the abnormality of this year’s Republican party convention and the language used there; the genuinely abnormal behavior within the Republican party, the fervent desire of many Republicans to support Trump without actually saying they support him, to distance themselves from his lurid behavior without actually condemning him.
It’s important to point out that, despite Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton, the Democrats have behaved as a normal political party. After a two term president, it’s not surprising and outsider would challenge the party establishment. Despite claims otherwise, the Democratic party followed the established rules and under those rules, Bernie Sanders lost the primary fair and square. Sanders spoke forcefully on Hillary’s behalf. He has endorsed her for the presidency. And, the Democrats have embraced many of his ideas and issues in this year’s platform. Sanders and Clinton, by the way, voted together 93% of the time. IOW, despite his outsider status, Sanders and Clinton have largely shared the same policies and politics.
The abnormality, the weirdness, of this year’s election is on the Republican side. A presidential primary that started off with 17 candidates? The “debates” that would have shamed actual adults? Seriously, they talked about penis size as if it were anything that matters for being president. The convention was downright bizarre. Lots of commentators have pointed out that the Republicans have spent years creating the conditions that made Trump possible. It wasn’t aliens who voted for Donald Trump in the primary – it was Republicans. And yes, Trump is a home grown demagogue who seems to know little about actual policy and care even less. He loves the noise of the crowd, the cheering. The tongue in cheek suggestion that we drug him, let him wake up on a TV set, of a reality show known as “President Trump” would probably satisfy him more than actually winning.
The American political landscape is fractured in ways it has never been fractured before.
And yet, an emerging, multi-ethnic, multi-racial coalition is emerging on the left – and being resisted with every ounce of strength by the almost entirely white right Republican party.
As I’ve watched her throughout the primary, the convention and now the general election, I have found Hillary Clinton is a compelling candidate. She may not be a “natural” like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, but she is gifted. Sanders never stood a chance in the primary because Hillary spent years building relationships with the people who matter in the Democratic party. She focused on issues people care about and she has created a network of supporters. She’s going to be a gifted president. By contrast, the Trumpster Fire on the Republican side is as abnormal a campaign as anyone could have imagined. His supporters love it, but almost everyone else is looking on in a mixture of horror and amusement.
Trying to make sense of what’s going on this year has been a job of work. Which is why I appreciated Nancy Letourneau’s post at Washington Monthly.
We are used to hearing that elections must either be about “change” or maintaining the “status quo.” I would propose that neither of those is an apt description for what a majority of Americans are looking for this time around. Is it possible that behind all the noise being created by angry voters, a majority think that – while things are getting better – we need more progress? Could it be that voters know that taking America “back” means going in the wrong direction and that we need to go forward with the kind of change that is currently underway? Are a majority of voters capable of that kind of nuance in a world of either/or? That was essentially Clinton’s message at the Democratic Convention.
Clinton is rejecting the idea that this is a “change” election as well as rejecting the idea of maintaining the “status quo.” She is instead promising to build on the progress that has been underway for the last 8 years. That is precisely why President Obama was confident in passing the baton on to her for the next portion of this relay. And it’s also why this isn’t the kind of “normal” election we’ve seen in the recent past.
In other words, voters are prepared to make a more nuanced choice than in the past. The multiple disasters of the Bush era have been replaced by the normal political events of the Obama era. The Obama presidency has been largely scandal free (despite Republicans ceaseless efforts). Hillary is positioning herself as the candidate who can build on what’s good while repairing what’s wrong. Trump’s position (burn the place down and hope to salvage something from the ashes) only makes sense if you genuinely believe America has gone to hell in a handbasket.
And while things need to be better, we’re not bound toward the underworld just yet.
Because, frankly, Khizr Khan has done more good than anyone could have expected. When Trump started attacking him and his wife, he unleashed a fierce, moral advocate who has done nothing but hurt Trump.
This morning’s article
Khizr Khan, Father of Fallen U.S. Soldier: Trump Lacks ‘Moral Compass’
Says exactly what needs to be said but which a regular politician cannot say.
FWIW, Trump is actively being a bully – a presidential candidate personally attacking the parents of a dead soldier? There’s no way this looks good for him but he keeps doing it.
Very soon, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Cory Booker, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are going to be barnstorming the country campaigning for Hillary Clinton.
It’s going to be a sight to see.
’bout damn time.
Although her resignation is being driven by the wikileaks revelations that the DNC was in the bag for Hillary (a long standing assertion), for the real issue has been her general ineffectiveness as the party chair. I’ve never felt she was an effective representative for the party at a national level. Her appearances on the national news often left me feeling frustrated.
Donna Brazile will be serving as interim chair. From what I’ve seen of her, Brazile is going to be very effective in that role.
This gathering made one thing clear, if it had not been already. The battle between left and right is no longer a contest of ideas, no longer about low taxes versus higher ones, small government versus big government, intervention versus isolation. No, the defining clash of our time is reason versus unreason, reason versus an inchoate fear and fury growing like weeds on the cultural, class, religious and racial resentments of people who cling to an idealized 1954 and wonder why the country is passing them by.
The Republicans, as presently constituted, have no ideas beyond fear and fury.Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article91388022.html#storylink=cpy
All hail Hillary of the House Clinton, First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mhysa, Breaker of Chains, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons. Oh wait, that’s not her, that’s Dany on “Game of Thrones.” BTW Season 6 of GoT was awesome– Winter isn’t coming, it has arrived!
What has Hillary Clinton learned from more than a year of being yelled at by anguished progressives, worried about the disappearing American middle class and endless warfare? Answer: Nothing whatsoever. Winter is coming for neoliberalism, and Hillary just doesn’t get it.
She has in hand the endorsement of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She has the terrifying prospect of a President Donald Trump, who might be described as anti-progressive, as the ultimate foil…
…She’s not sweating the Green Party’s Jill Stein or the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson—who have been registering respectable poll numbers but combined have been drawing about the same proportion from the two major party candidates. She’s not nervous about the prospect of rogue Sanders delegates making a symbolic protest on the convention floor. She doesn’t believe she is going to lose enough of the left on Election Day to make a difference in the outcome.
Whether such confidence is justified is not crystal clear when looking at the most recent poll numbers. The most recent CNN poll finds Clinton keeping only 57 percent of Sanders voters, with 23 percent going to Johnson, 12 to Stein and five to Trump. Johnson and Stein are taking a combined 12 points in Saturday’s Real Clear Politics average.
I think Hillary actually believes she can pick up votes from anti-Trump Tea-GOPers. That’s crazy, because those are the people giving her such high negative ratings. She probably thinks identity politics will provide the winning margin, like it did for President Obama. She may know she has driven away progressives and independents, whose support she doesn’t seem to want anyway.
All in all an epic political miscalculation. This is going to be a close election, even though it really shouldn’t be. If the Dems nominated Bernie Sanders instead, it wouldn’t be. See below for Samantha Bee’s hilarious take on Tim Kaine for VP.
Next week’s convention is going to be interesting.
I wish Molly Ivins were around. In response to the 1992 Republican convention speech given by Pat Buchanan, she quipped “it probably sounded better in the original German.” She would have had a great, pithy response to last night’s speech from Donald Trump. All I’ve got is “Mussolini’s delivery was better.” Trump reminds me of Il Duce
The entire week at the RNC was a week of fear, unreasoning terror and more fear topped off by a surreal, incoherent rant delivered by a wannabe strongman intent on stoking our fears.
It was a horror show. It was also an honest representation of how Republicans would govern – chaos, disorganization, and a fundamental lack of competence.
BREAKING: Eyewitness: 'Bodies everywhere' after truck hits crowd in Nice.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 14, 2016
Just so we’re clear – no God worthy of human worship demands this of their followers. If someone claims to do this in the name of God, they’re liars.
I’m not sure I agree with everything in this article, but there’s some good stuff here. The central insight seems to be that the traditional, protestant America defined itself by race and exclusion of non-protestants and that version of America is gone. Trump is promising to restore it.
Jones’s book convinced me that white Christian America didn’t just die a natural death, thanks to demographic change; it is committing suicide, by clinging to that seductive yet toxic modifier “white.” It would seem that Donald Trump is helping it along, as it trades adherence to its supposed moral values for nostalgia about an age that many Christians now believe was immoral in its cruelty and inequality. Still, as they fade into the past, these embattled Americans can still endanger our emerging multi-religious, multiracial communities. If Trump loses, as most polls indicate he will, it’s hard to imagine them admitting they’re wrong and trying to join the rest of the country. But if God works in mysterious ways, maybe that’s still possible.