Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I remain oddly optimistic about the election a week from today.  I certainly hope that optimism is warranted.

A few items have come out in the last 24 hours that deserve attention.

First, we have a report that there was consistent and suspicious contact between a server in Trump's offices and a bank in Russia with ties to Putin.

Second, we have a veteran intelligence officer convinced Trump has been cultivated as a Russian pawn.

This is almost certainly what Harry Reid was referring to when he accused Comey of a double standard in releasing his Friday letter and not releasing his investigation into Trump's apparent contacts with Russia and Putin.  There is obviously the additional information that Russia clearly hacked the DNC and that Putin has a history of engaging in ratfucking Western elections.

This fits in nicely with a piece by Jon Chait about how Libertarians like Peter Thiel and perhaps Paul Ryan are despairing of democracy.  If your goal is to funnel wealth upwards - and that has clearly been the GOP modus operandi for 36 years - then you are unlikely to find much support among the great mass of the voting populace.  So, you engage and activate the ethnic and racial resentments of white Americans to win elections.

If that doesn't work, then to hell with elections.

Chait goes on in a longer piece about how the GOP is increasingly becoming an authoritarian party, with no respect for democratic governing norms.  We now know that a GOP controlled Senate will not confirm any of Clinton's Supreme Court nominees because they simply don't give a shit about democracy anymore.  The GOP has abandoned the very idea and practice of governing.  They control a co-equal branch of government, but they simply won't do the basic tasks of governing.

Norm Ornstein's thesis that the GOP has become a radical insurgency within American politics has never looked more true.  And that is separate from the phenomenon of Trump.  Trump isn't wildly out of step with the GOP elite, he's simply embarrassing them by not using his inside voice.  He's a personal disaster, but his threats to democracy?  Whatever.  In the end, Paul Ryan can look back Trump's "textbook racism", veiled and not so veiled threats of violence and virulent misogyny to support someone who will give him power.

The GOP was headed to a historic defeat last week.  Right now, we have a deficit of polling, as I imagine everyone pulled their polls after Comey's letter.  We are stuck looking at shitty tracking polls.  If this letter gives us Trump, I weep for our country.  But if it merely preserves GOP control of the Senate and removes the ability of the Democrats to win the House, I shall weep still.

There simply isn't a margin big enough to teach the GOP to stop violating the norms that govern our governance.  

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