Tag: Trump

Explaining Bill Barr

| April 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

One of the most famous quotes of the Vietnam War was published in an AP story by Peter Arnett on February 7, 1968. Describing an operation at the village of Ben Tre, an unnamed American army major said, “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”

It was a sentence that seemed to capture the insanity of American policy with respect to the whole Vietnam War. It also explains the insanity of Bill Barr’s support of Donald Trump for president.

Bill Barr is prepared to destroy the country to save it from progressive policies.

He knows that Trump is a danger to democracy. He accused him of “abuse of power,” called his claims of voter fraud that denied him victory as “bullshit” and compared a second Trump term to the country playing “Russian roulette.” Yet, he has declared that he will vote for Trump because the “progressive agenda” is even more dangerous.

One wonders what progressive policies are so threatening to America? Student loan forgiveness? Infrastructure spending? Child development subsidies? Reproductive healthcare for women? (Yeah, that’s probably it).

In a way, his position on the presidential race is a huge compliment to Joe Biden. He said, “I think it’s my duty to pick the person I think would do the least harm to the country.” He’s betting that Trump’s incompetence will save us…again. While that may have saved us in his first term, the team around Trump this time will be fully prepared to impose authoritarian rule in the second term. While Trump is busy nursing and massaging his many grievances, his army of wannabe-be fascists will be relentlessly dismantling the “administrative state.”

What Barr really fears more than Biden’s ideology is his effectiveness. Biden gets shit done!

That’s why Barr is willing to debase himself before Trump. Trump has rewarded Barr for his endorsement with ruthless ridicule. Here’s Trump’s thank you note:

“Wow! Former A.G. Bill Barr, who let a lot of great people down by not investigating Voter Fraud in our Country, has just Endorsed me for President despite the fact that I called him ‘Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy’ (New York Post!),” Trump posted on Truth Social. “Based on the fact that I greatly appreciate his wholehearted Endorsement, I am removing the word ‘Lethargic’ from my statement. Thank you Bill.”

Fortunately, nobody really cares what Bill Barr thinks about the presidential race. The rest of us just have to make damn sure that Biden wins.

What Happens After Election Day

| October 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

Ron Suskind has a story in the New York Times with a large number of anonymous sources describing the high anxiety on the federal government over what Trump might do to hang on to office. It is both chilling and, I guess, somewhat comforting. It is clear that these sources want the country to know that they are fully aware that we have a maniac as president and will be doing what they can to protect the county. However, they also seem to have doubts about what they can actually do to prevent the worst from happening. That’s the chilling part.

Shy Voters

| October 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

One of the theories behind the flawed polls in 2016 that missed Trump’s strength in the electorate was the concept of the “shy Trump voter.” These were voters who were embarrassed by the fact that they supported Trump and, therefore, would not admit it publicly. And, they wouldn’t even admit it to pollsters. As result, Trump’s vote was undercounted by the pollsters.

To be fair, there is a logic to this theory. I know I would be embarrassed to admit that I support a stupid, corrupt, misogynistic, racist for president. But I think the theory is mistaken in that I would expect that most Trump voters live in a Fox News bubble of like-minded people. It’s part of the “great sort” of Americans that has resulted in most people gathering in communities that think like them.

I would also suggest that most Trump voters that I’ve observed are not shy about their support of their Dear Leader. Trump rallies don’t seem to attract shy people.

In fact, I think the opposite is true. I would propose that, in this election, there will be a lot of shy Biden voters. I suspect that many people who don the MAGA paraphernalia are having second thoughts. Particularly those in the “high risk demographic,” if you know what I mean. They may be a little queasy about four more years of an Administration that says “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” Or that leaves its supporters literally in the cold after a rally. A rally, by the way, that is clearly a super spreader event.

These shy Biden voters probably live in MAGA world and it is part of their identity. They can’t admit to their friends that they are contemplating voting for a socialist, even one more likely to protect them from the pandemic.

My theory is supported by a Pew Survey that asked Trump and Biden supporters how many of their friends and acquaintances support the other candidate. It turns out that Trump supporters have many fewer in their circle of friends and family who support Biden than the other way around.

Trump supporters are more likely to be ostracized for switching to Biden

Trump supporters are far more likely to have “a lot” of friends who support Trump than do Biden supporters. Add to that the fact that Trump supporters are, by definition, a little crazy. And Trump is getting crazier by the day. Common sense suggests that there’s a greater likelihood that some of his supporters (very few, I admit) will decide to get off the crazy train, than that Biden supporters will get on at this stage. And I suspect that those who disembark won’t tell their friends. Instead, in the privacy of the voting booth, they will vote like their lives depend on it.

This I Believe

| November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

I believe the Russians tipped the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump.  I didn’t, at first.  But the more we know about the massive intervention they conducted through social media and the Wikileaks dump, the more obvious it is that it was sufficient to turn 80,000 votes spread over three states to give Trump the electoral college win.  I also believe the Comey letter tipped the election to Donald Trump.  And I believe that the fact that the Democrats nominated the quintessential establishment candidate in an anti-establishment election tipped the election.  And, yes, I believe the Clinton campaign strategy, which neglected Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin in the closing days of the election, gave it to Trump.

It is possible to believe all these things at the same time.  Flip any one of those variables and the Democrats win.  In a close election, everything matters.  However, only one of those variables has consequences for the future, the Russians intervention.  Frankly, I suspect that the Russians did not set out to elect Donald Trump, but rather to simply disrupt American democracy and weaken President Hillary Clinton.  They may have been as surprised as the rest of us the day after the election.  There were reports of celebrations in Moscow, but events since then may have tempered their euphoria.  Some in the Kremlin may wonder whether they overshot.  It’s nice to have a puppet, but maybe an incompetent puppet is more trouble than he’s worth.

But here’s the thing.  Whether the Russian ultimately conclude they overshot in their election meddling is up to us.  Will we, as a nation, respond in a way that will deny the Russians what, at this point, seems like the greatest intelligence triumph in human history, actually electing the President of the United States?  The answer to that question is in the hands of Special Counsel Bob Mueller and the Republican leadership of the Congress.  Mueller needs to build a rock-solid case that denies the Republicans the ability to rationalize away the reality of the Trump collusion in the Russian meddling.  And the Republicans will need to stop protecting Trump and take affirmative steps to impose accountability into the system.

So far, Mueller is doing his part.  The Republicans? Not so much.