We’ve seen some genuinely great reboots of old film franchises and TV series over the past several years. I suspect I’m not alone in anticipating HBO’s release of the second season of Perry Mason this spring.
But for every successful relaunch, there are probably a dozen attempts to reinvent a familiar franchise that sink because the result is dumb and sad and pointless. I was reminded of this phenomenon while reading an article by Charlie Warzel in The Atlantic that’s about
There is also the mutual decay of both Trump and Facebook. Each thrives by hijacking attention and monetizing outrage, and they’ve benefited each other: The Trump campaign spent millions of dollars on more than 289,000 Facebook ads over the span of just a few months in 2020, according to an analysis by The Markup. But lately, both appear to have lost the juice. Many people still support Trump, and many people still use Facebook products, but the shine is gone—and that matters.
Facebook’s ad business was kneecapped last year by changes Apple made to limit tracking on its devices. It faces steep competition from insurgent apps such as TikTok. And there is a sense, looking at the company’s transparency reports, which detail the most popular content on its platform, that Facebook has become a vast wasteland of recycled memes and scammy, spammy clickbait.
Warzel doesn’t count Trump out for 2024, but I think he’s right to highlight the mutual decay of The Beast and the social media behemoth. Both are still dangerous but waning powers in the process of being eclipsed. The ultimate outcome is unclear, except we know it will be scammy and spammy.
I hope Trump takes on DeSantis.
So Facebook says they opened up an umbrella, and now they’re not getting wet, so it must have stopped raining. But they’re all very rich, so they must be brilliant.
Several mid-week items which caught the eye.
Number two (WaPo link):
On the surface of the Sun, or in the crater of an erupting volcano?
A LETTER FROM BREXITANIA
“Tell That Rough Beast To Slouch Faster”
I was going to start by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve felt the inclination to hurl one of these bile-laden rants into the aether, but that’s not strictly true. Several times over the last few months I’ve glanced at the latest headlines and felt the twitchings and stirrings that normally result in an eruption, but I’ve always either been too busy with or mentally exhausted by Other Things and shrank away from the sheer enormity of the task. These days, you see, the simple act of detailing any specific example of Great Britain’s transformation into an asphyxiation nightmare garlanded with post-apocalyptic bunting requires far too much “and this awful thing also happened” contextualising for me to bear, so I just quail and go back to assembling endless corridors of IKEA storage units.
But now, with Comet C/2022 E3 due to scratch a lambent trail of eldritch emerald across our night-time skies for the first time in 50,000 years (see: Savage, Vandal: The Strange Case of) it seems like a good time to remind all y’all of how very, very awful it is over here in The Land That Learned Nothing & Remembered Even Less. I guess that sometimes you just have to grab the bull by the horns and wrestle that wriggly melonfarmer onto the dusty ground if you want your ballet shoes back. Context can go swing. Or rather, I’ve got your context right here.
“Everything is shit, Everything is broken, the Tories and their allies both institutional and temporary did it. It’s getting worse. There is no hope.”
Nadhim Zawari, the current (as in still in place at time of writing) Tory Party Chairman and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Chancellor of the Exchequer under Flobalob Johnson (in a show of textbook Tory ‘loyalty’ he demanded the job in return for giving Two Tons of Goose Fat in a Suit his support then ‘ever so reluctantly’ demanded his resignation two days later) is getting slowly nut-cracked for a scandal revolving around his failure to pay millions in tax to the HMRC (FYI – that’s the Tax Man) on shares he hid in a Cayman Island Trust under his father’s name, then later transferred into his own trust and sold on for £27 million, which is not in the least bit suspicious. Is it?
First, he denied it, dismissing it all as ‘smears’ and unleashing his pack of ravenous lawyers on any journalist who so much as sniffed around the story. Then he paid off the back-tax and a big fine WHILE CHANCELLOR OF THE FUCKING EXCHEQUER but kept it secret. Then he admitted it, but insisted he’d done absolutely nothing wrong. Then he admitted he hadn’t exactly handled everything right but excused himself on the grounds that ‘forgetting’ to pay millions and millions of pounds in tax is “careless, rather than dishonest”, which sounds like something a teenage boy who ‘forgot’ to wear a French Letter on a third date might tell his furious tesoro, but is an actual category of HMRC wrongdoing that translates to “the crime happened, but there’s no documentary proof that I instructed my accountants to do it, so who knows, eh?” that only the HMRC itself, rather than Zahawi or his lawyers, has the authority to bandy about.
What does the HMRC itself say? Well, actions rather than words came first, they fined the greasy fucker the absolute maximum amount they could (1/3 of the sum of the unpaid tax) which they only do when the guilty party had to be pursued and forced to pay on threat of actual jailtime, so I think the HMRC’s verdict is a bit harsher than “whoopsie, oh, you mean that £27 million?”. In addition the CEO of the HMRC has made a statement saying firstly that the HMRC has a policy of “no penalties for innocent errors” followed by “He could offer a more public comment on a minister’s tax affairs if he was given permission” which many are suggesting translates into English as “You’re bang to rights, sonny, and I’ve got the proof right here” but to me sounds much more like he was telling Zahawi “We already gave your boss all the rope he needed to hang you, pal, do you really want to make even more enemies by going nuclear and setting a precedent that could be used against any minister, even a Prime Minister?”, and which will be sending shivers down the spines of a LOT of very important people.
Why has it reached this stage? Because our current unelected Prime Minister and lacquered wooden shoe-horn Rishi ‘Rich Boi’ Sunak did what he always does when faced with an issue that requires any combination of a functioning vertebrate, decisive action, and a firm grasp of political ethics, which is the sum total of absolutely fuck all of use or relevance. At last week’s pop-up PM event in the House of Commons Sunak followed the rote Tory script and dismissed the entire Zahawi scandal as a partisan nothingburger by insisting that everything had already been dealt with “he (Zahawi) has addressed this matter in full” = nothing to see here, which was dubious at the time and has since proven to be entirely untrue.
This, of course, put Sunak’s own pre-installation claim to be running a Government of “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level” under the spotlight (well, Tory PM with our Tory Media = under a flickering 25W desk lamp, but ‘optics’). It couldn’t possibly be that Sunak is so weak that Zahawi felt he could lie to his face or, even more damningly, that Sunak either didn’t dare to ask the question directly or really doesn’t care about such a piffling amount of grift (this is the guy who, as Chancellor, wrote off BILLIONS in Covid-era fraud with a shrug and a wink) so Plan B went into effect – packing up the whole mess and handing it over to an ‘independent’ (as in, someone appointed by – checks notes – one R. Sunak) ethics investigator to give them cover to say they can’t comment on an ongoing investigation get to the bottom of it with all due haste.
Everyone is, of course, entirely confident that the blameless Sir Laurie Magnus, yet another trusty Old Etonian, investment banker and Conservative Party donor, will do just as good a job of rooting out and exposing malfeasance at the heart of Tory Government as have all of his predecessors. And if you’d all just take a moment to look out of your left-hand window, you will see that we are currently passing over the uncharted depths of what the native Ingyleesh call The Chasm of Sar, out of which some say you can hear the echo of generations gone by all crying out in unison “Are you having a fucking laugh, sunbeam?” three times a day except on Sundays when the echo cuts out the swearwords.
It’s really a testament to how thoroughly the Tories have degraded the role and reputation of ‘Prime Minister’ with their antics that no one really cares what Sunak says or does on this issue, because whatever ‘decision’ he makes will come after the decisive event, rather than preceding it. He’s really that weak. Everyone’s least favourite Pinocchio-themed sex toy can disappear for days on end without a single journalist caring to ask where or why. Maybe he’s in the States having another perfectly ordinary and non-controversial meeting with some Health Care execs, or he could be jetting around the North of England for cringingly embarrassing photo-ops with cardboard cut-outs of Real, Normal People.
No one cares what Rishi is up to, because everyone knows that Rishi is just a neatly folded brown napkin that the various factions of ingrates comprising the Parliamentary Conservative and Unionist Party have agreed to place upon the Prime-Ministerial hotseat to reserve it for whomever the Tory Party’s donors eventually select to lead their political vehicle into the next General Election. Pull his cord and his mouth opens, feed in a pre-punched Babbage Card and a whining sound will come out. Reedy, spongey, Blair-lite in his polished meaninglessness, he’s a worn vinyl pressing harking back to an era that today’s feral populace can barely remember. Like a karaoke Babylon Zoo, or whatever it is The Killers think they’re doing these days.
Zahawi is obviously doomed. He may even have jumped ship while I’m writing this (I’ve checked, he hasn’t), but he may not be the only one. From the moment Rishi Rich Boi switched his story to claim that he was told there were “no outstanding issues” in relation to Zahawi’s tax affairs, it was as clear as day that the only thing left to negotiate were the terms under which Naughty Nadhim would be clearing out his desk and who benefits from them the most. When it hadn’t all been concluded before this Week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, leaving Sunak to walk into that exhibition of performative pointlessness with Zahawi still clinging on to office, they might as well have put out a Press Statement admitting that the Prime Minister would very much appreciate a period of quiet reflection during this trying time of lube-heavy preparation because Zahawi has him over a barrel.
Everyone knows Zahawi lied, but by not sacking him straight away Sunak displayed either shocking weakness or political ineptitude (or frozen-stiff complicity). Now that the matter is in the hands of yet another ‘ethics advisor’ Sunak has to leave him be until the investigation concludes, with all the derision and opprobrium this delay generates landing on Sunak’s polished mahogany head, because otherwise he’d have to blow a big old hole in the traditional “this matter is being investigated so it would be inappropriate to do anything until all the facts are known” figleaf by sacking him, and no one wants that. It’s so useful!
I’d also bet any sum of money you care to wager that Zahawi spent his brief period in charge of the Treasury getting confirmatory evidence that Sunak (who preceded Zahawi in the Chancellorship) knew all about his tax issues, evidence that he can now wave in the other man’s face as a standing threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. Evidently this may be the case because today’s FTF Guardian has a ‘source’ hinting at just that. Chances are some kind of golden parachute will be arranged that lets Zahawi trot off to “spend more time with his horses” without needing to be sacked, Sunak will go back to hooting on about Ukraine, Vaccines, Jeremy Corbyn or whatever else his scriptwriters have barfed up and the Press will dutifully record that “The Opposition were unable to rattle him”.
Or that would be the case, if it weren’t for the other scandals swirling around the Tory splat-bowl. They’re like ants at a picnic, there’s never just one.
For some unfathomable reason (Ed it’s not unreasonable, it’s just unpleasant and unjustifiable but completely in character for our love-struck Media) Flobalob is getting tons of unearned Press recently. Jaunting off to Ukraine to bother Zelenskyy in a surprise visit so completely out of the blue that I distinctly recall reading about it last week. You’d think at least one journamalist might have remembered this, but you know how hard it is for our lazy hacks to resist regurgitating whatever press release the Big Sexy Ballsack spaffs onto their desks. He was also paid a five-figure sum to gurgle some nonsense about tanks on the front page of Der Daily Heil, once again doing a shielded retreat from his earlier assertations that tanks would never again be a feature of European conflict. Anybody would think the odious wretch’s fans in the Media (which means all of the Media) are trying to keep him relevant and ‘statesmanlike’ for the next round of Tory Leadership Whack-a-Mole, but it’s also because he needs a series of squirrels to distract from his role in yet another case of Jobs 4 The Tory Boys.
In short, the BBC’s Chairman, Richard Sharp, was revealed in Murdoch’s Times to have been the middleman in arranging security for an £800,000 line of credit Chubby Fecker took out as he was becoming PM in 2019. Sharp’s name had already been put forward for the BBC post by Flobalob when Sharp ‘somehow became aware’ that a Canadian moneybags called Sam Blyth had ‘somehow become aware’ that Flobby was in need of security for a line of credit, so he introduced Blyth to the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case, and before you know it, he’s only gone and been selected as Chairman of the bloody BBC, hasn’t he?
Sharp got the BBC role in early 2021, after a long career as a complete and utter banker at J. P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs (he was Sunak’s direct manager when he worked there, small world, eh?) then as an advisor to both Flobalob and Sunak, having previously been a director of a right-wing ‘thinktank’ that promotes the breaking up and privatising of national corporations (including the BBC) and a Tory Party donor to the tune of some £400,000 pounds. So, obviously, the inevitable choice for a role that specifically requires independence, non-partisanship and a clear idea of the role of a national broadcaster in the 21st century, yeah?
Hardly surprising, after all, it turned out that Tory activist Tim ‘Satire is Woke Bullying’ Davie was the only possible candidate for Director-General of the BBC, and that Robbie Gibb, the lifelong Tory fixer whose greasy fingerprints are all over Brexit, the editorial bias of BBC current affairs and the campaign to smear Corbyn simply had to be appointed to the BBC Board. There are so many Tory wreckers squatting in well-paid senior BBC posts that it’s only natural that they’d want Sharp with them to curate the wine list and oversee the carnage.
What seems to have happened here is that Flobby was finally about to achieve his lifelong ambition of moving up into the big role where he could really ‘make things happen’ for people willing to pay for his favour, and he wanted a lifestyle commensurate with the power of patronage he would possess right the hell now, without waiting – as most former PMs do – for financial rewards to come in the form of post-political jobs in the private and/or NGO sector. The word went out that Big Dog wanted someone to pick up his tab and Sharp, who knew exactly how the Favour Economy worked, used his connections to dig up Blyth, who as a distant cousin of Flobby’s (very, very distant) could bypass ethics guidelines by making his financial backing a ‘family affair’.
So, Flobalob got his credit card and holiday perks (it was Blyth’s Caribbean estate he was sunning himself at when Truss resigned), Sharp got his BBC job rubber-stamped, and Blyth got… what? Connections? Promises? Was it even his money he was loaning at the end of the day? Or rather, would any money spaffed away by Bad Bunter be reimbursed with interest by favourable deals and contracts that would – entirely legally – be steered towards Blyth’s private education business by third parties who approved of his investment?
The questions are obvious, so our Media are naturally having a bit of trouble framing them. How could someone with Sharp’s resume ever be considered a suitable person for such an important role? How could he have thought putting Flobalob in touch with a foreign multi-millionaire he could borrow money from was vaguely appropriate? How did Blyth find out that Flobby was in such dire need of folding money that he would accept loan guarantees from a man he’d never met? What the hell did a man on a quarter of a million a year salary and with all of his accommodation, transport, food, drink and assorted lap-dances paid for by either the Public Purse or the Conservative Party itself possibly need that much credit for?
Scandal? You betcha. You can tell it’s got those involved sweating because Flobby felt the need to run to a microphone and claim “Let me just tell you, Richard Sharp is a good and a wise man, but he knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances, let me tell you that for 100 per cent ding, dang sure. This is just another example of the BBC disappearing up its own fundament.” Which by my count is four solid lies and a lot of panicked misdirection. Sharp himself settled the matter (in the eyes of absolutely no one) by giving an interview to the BBC in which he told the organisation that he Chairs that he did nothing wrong, is entirely happy with his own conduct and there is nothing further to be said about the matter, which I’m sure will lay the whole matter to rest. For at least an hour or two.
Meanwhile, there are a few other trifling matters barely worthy of Press attention. 200 children of asylum seekers have gone missing from a supposedly secure ‘NotAPrison’ where the Government was supposed to be housing them. But they’re brown and foreign, so its disinterested shrugsies all round. Basically it’s their own fault because “They shouldn’t have come here illegally”, according to Tory MP Johnathan Gullis, thus displaying the kind of wilful and contemptuous misunderstanding of what constitutes ‘They’, ‘Coming here’ and ‘illegally’ that would once have seen him pilloried on every front page until he resigned in shame, but will now just see him guaranteed a guest billing on every BBC current affairs vehicle as ‘immigration expert and safe-border advocate’ Johnathan Gullis MP.
Nurses, paramedics, firemen, bus-drivers, train staff, teachers, basically bloody near anyone and everyone in the country who isn’t self-employed or in a position to vote on their own wages increases is on strike. The Government strategy seems to be to refuse to even talk about increasing wages to levels people can survive on, with the understanding that the dirty plebs should know their place and the Government’s friends in the Media will be willing and able to set a narrative where all of the strikers are foreign-backed Bolshevik agitators out to disrupt the comfortable lives of Mr & Mrs General Public, thus allowing the Government to look all rock-hard and virile by crushing them beneath the boot of draconian anti-strike legislation and the kind of divide-and-conquer stratagems that worked gangbusters when Thatcher was at the helm.
It’s not working now, though. Apparently, they failed to game-out a scenario where the General Public, having seen Tories bankrupt the country via Brexit and torch national infrastructure through their Austerity cuts, while simultaneously shoving tens of billions into the pockets of their rich backers, would fail to obey direction and blame it all on the horrible, no-good, greedy virtue-signallers in uniform who they had previously been instructed to clap for during the Covid pandemic. Forget nurses and firemen, they can’t even get the General Public to blame the bloody Unions, and they’ve even got Nu-New Labour’s soulless leadership helping out with that propaganda push. People seemingly can’t be induced to hate on the ‘essential workers’ who keep their world spinning just because they want to be paid more than a pittance. Whodathunkit?
In addition, the Government’s farcical sham of a ‘Levelling Up’ Policy (the second leg of the tripod of bullshit – see also ‘Get Brexit Done’ and ‘Corbyn = Hitler’ – that won Flobalob his 2019 majority) has been exposed as exactly what everyone on the Left said it was years ago, namely a ruse by which Tory constituencies get extra funding while Labour constituencies get stiffed. The national polling situation has got so bad for the Party of The Right that they’re shovelling whatever cash they can spare towards formerly ‘Safe Blue’ seats in the South rather than trying to hold onto the swathe of ‘culturally traditional’ Northern seats the Tories took in 2019, which doesn’t bode well for Tory chances in the upcoming local elections. I foresee a dramatic drop in the Tory vote and a huge swing of local councils towards the Opposition parties which will mask a large drop off in support for Nu-New Labour in the dark red areas where the vast majority of their own base live.
Oh, and the Metropolitan Police have had to admit that it hasn’t so much got a few bad apples spoiling the brand as it has entire orchards of carefully maintained rapey scumbags in uniform forming the bulk of their Force. Never mind though, the new Chief Commissioner is totally going to get on top of that and make it easier to get rid of sex-offenders, corrupt thugs and misogynistic cranks from the ranks… eventually. Honest. Now, about these new laws shoved through Parliament allowing The Police to arrest and detain anyone without an up to date Tory Party membership card. Are we sure they’re quite draconian enough to keep the lid on this shit?
All of these things, and many, many more, lay heavy upon the hearts of Albion’s people. At least you guys only have a dysfunctional House majority, George Santos’ war against Kang the Conqueror and a bunch of black-gowned nihilists to worry about. Over here its utter depravity on every level, in every major national Party, and the TV isn’t even that good.
I think I’ll break out another Kallex unit. Where did I put that Allen key?
Hey, only a genius could come up with the Metaverse! It’s going to replace the existing internet! They have LEGS!
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Baud: It’s a true rooting-for-injuries situation.
I do think Trump is the overwhelming favorite for the 2024 Republican nomination and has at least a decent shot at winning the general election, since the media seem determined to kneecap Biden and he is not that popular, and Trump has his social-media platforms back. There is probably going to be some sort of recession and it might be timed badly for Biden’s reelection. We’re going to see a lot of Trump-era nostalgia that is really pre-pandemic nostalgia with Trump paint on it, studiously ignoring that it was Trump who fucked up the pandemic response.
The one big, big thing that broke in our favor is that the lack of an election-denial-fueled red wave makes it much less likely that purple states led by Republicans will simply throw out unfavorable election results and anoint Trump.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@waspuppet: I have to say I’m not looking forward to having Trump endlessly in the news, which he will be if he’s tweeting again. It’s been lovely to have him silenced. I was surprised by how effective the twitten ban was at making that happen
@Tony Jay: OMG I can’t read all that on my phone! I love your invective but I may have to wait for the next one. Or get better bifocals!
The media always portrays Dems are being pressured to do things.
Money is not neurons. (Nor is it speech, but that’s a philippic for another, more civilized hour.)
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Not only that, thanks to Musk, there’s now this ongoing news story about how the Twitter bans of Trump and fascists and antivaxxers were heinous acts of tyranny and all the wrongdoing is being exposed.
His Majesty’s Royal Coffers?
@Matt McIrvin: I don’t pay that much attention to the news media, but I haven’t seen one mainstream story about that.
I know I’m in the minority here but Trump talking more is better for Democrats and democracy.
We ran against him in ’18, ’20 and ’22 and won. I don’t even think it’s up for debate, honestly. Once you look past the trauma of the shock-win in 2016 he’s really a loser and I say that knowing he could still win the 2024 GOP primary.
I’ve been on FB since 2011 when my late SIL invited me. In the last few years most of the friends I care about have faded away. I did a count this week – at least 1/3 of the stuff on my feed is junk: sponsored or “suggested for you” or ads. It’s too much crap to wade through so I’ve cut it back. I’m still on to see what my cousins and some friends are up to though.
@Baud: It gets op-ed attention from the Washington Post’s pet conservatives, and today, op-eds are basically functionally the same thing as news stories.
He lost a re-elect and a re-elect where he used the entire apparatus and staff of the executive branch to attempt to drag his ass over the finish line. To listen to Republicans and half of media he lost a re-elect to a man with dementia.
@Kay: We nearly lost in 2020–underperformed all the polls about as much as in 2016. I think Trump does have some special celebrity quality working for him that defeats a lot of predictions.
That keening sound in the distance is both Strunk and White subterraneanly awhirl.
@Tony Jay: My dim understanding is that the Tories have two more years before they have to call a general election (although I think Liz Truss made a brag about leading the party to victory in summer, 2024). Is there any chance these creeps fall out with each other and trigger an election sooner?
Musical birthday notes for Jan 25 might help.
Interesting way to say we won
ETA: W twice and Trump once also “nearly lost.”
Technically Revenue and Customs, but I prefer your terminology.
This is when any malevolent force is most dangerous and unpredictable*.
*Well, except tRump. He’s predictable in that he’ll always make the stupidest but most self-serving choice in any situation.
But they’re mostly very small words, just grouped together because they’re afraid of large white spaces.
We didn’t “nearly lose”. Trump was unpopular with MOST people. Most people think he’s a nasty bore and a liar. I swear liberals have been brainwashed by the NYTimes into thinking he’s as magical as the political team at the NYTimes does. If Trump had been a “real estate developer” (as much as that is even true) from Arkansas he’d be an unknown GOP donor.
I say roll the old, nasty, country club bore out again. He can regale us with his stale 1980s opinions on everything. Keep him talking, by all means.
I can’t see it. They could call a General Election whenever they like, but with the Tories 20+ points behind in even the most favourable polls they’re not going to vote to cut their own throats. They’ll grind this one out until the bitter end, looting and burning everything they can on the way.
Plus, the boundary and electoral bureaucracy changes coming in will effectively hand the Tories a ton of seats. They’ll go for a shiny new rebrand next year and see if that gets them back within cheating distance of a hung Parliament. After all, with Starmer’s slimy army of focus-grouped Centroids as the major Opposition its not at all guaranteed that the Labour base will hold its nose and vote for people who hate them when the Tories look so weak and doomed anyway.
IOW – Shit can happen, but it won’t be soon.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Tony Jay: Holy cow, Tony. That’s longer than some novels I’ve written. OK. I’ll go read it now.
But… but LEGS! Surely that’s an amazing innovation that proves the Metaverse was worth all that money, and not a problem random players on VRChat and Secondlife solved a decade ago for free!
Whatever happened to Inland Revenue?
@Tony Jay: Aha, that’s a much better way of looking at it. I’ll be back for it after I get some coffee.
I thought the 2020 election was close, at least too close for comfort. If Trump hadn’t been such a lazy President, he might have pulled off reelection.
Plus, Trump is a trash magnet. He repelled capable people, and attracted second- and third-rate grifters to his campaign.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Tony Jay: So are they going to destroy the National Health Service or not?
You know what was really close? The 2016 election. His one and only win.
I think the GOP are praying Trump will be indicted so they can run on defending him but won’t have to actually run behind him as their leader. It’s the best of both worlds to them. They keep his voters and let the courts get rid of him because they’re too scared to do it themselves.
@Kay: people were tired of Trump’s schtick in 2020 and it’s even more boring now. Endless whining.
Same thing, just a name change.
Oh hell yeah, don’t forget the caffeine.
@Baud: Yes, I don’t even remember where it was (NPR?) but I heard Biden is under pressure to do something about gun control. I screamed at the radio “wadda bout congress?”
@Kay: Yes, the 2016 election was closer than 2020. My Atlanta friend thinks that if it had fallen three days before or three days after Trump would have lost.
Also, I think that the widespread perception that Clinton had the election in the bag made a difference in the result..
@Kay: His margins were within a few thousands or tens of thousands of votes in all those swing states he tried to contest. It would have only taken a slight difference in turnout and it’d basically have been a repeat of 2016, Trump pulling off a bizarre dark miracle again.
Trump will probably never get a popular majority but he doesn’t need one.
@Tony Jay: Sweet Jeebus, what a mess! Appreciate the confirmation that yes, it can always get worse. Also, thanks for a serviceable new definition of hell: assembling endless corridors of IKEA storage units.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
They’re nearly there. Decades of deliberate underfunding, privatising more and more of it (I think I read yesterday that outsourcing went up by 650% in the last few years, and most of that is directed towards NHS specialists who moonlight in the private realm) understaffing, and the imposition of a corporate-minded management overlay. It’s always been the long-term plan.
And in Nu-New Labour the global ‘Healthcare’ corporations who want all the UK ‘market’ opened up for exploitation have firm allies. All in the name of ‘modernisation’ and ‘saving honest taxpayers’ money’, of course.
When Democrats run against Donald Trump and Trumpism in swing states Democrats win. This is no longer up for debate, that it happened. The only possible debate is they won on something else, because they did win– in ’18, in 20 and in ’22. Maybe they won on..inflation or..crime? Maybe they won on critical race theory?
I put this comment about yesterday’s “On Point” interview of Bruno Lozano, the former Democratic mayor of Del Rio, TX, at the end of a dead thread yesterday. I wondered if anyone else listened to it and if so, what you thought about the interview.
The Thin Black Duke
@Matt McIrvin: But Trump lost in 2020. There isn’t a cheat code where “Almost Won” actually exists.
Assembling endless corridors of IKEA storage units… and fitting doors to them.
Still, it’s been more fun than watching the News.
20,000 votes in a swing state for a novelty candidate is not a “miracle”, it’s just a number. It’s not a big number but that’s the nature of swing states. They’re close.
Biden beat this supposed Master of Marketing and Wizardry soundly in his re-elect.
Maggie and the NYTimes team all got their beach houses. We can puncture the Trump they created now and watch him sink like a parade balloon. “We” don’t have to do anything. He’s a racist, ignorant incurious bore who never shuts up– he’ll do it himself.
@Kay: I agree. In fact, I hope Trump is the GOP nominee again since he’s a proven loser. That’s not to say he couldn’t win — whoever the Repubs barf up will have a distressingly large chance of winning because about 40% or so of our fellow citizens are hard-right assholes and approximately 15% are morons who forget everything as fast as it happens. But I like our chances better with Trump as the opponent.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Tony Jay: That’s sad. We waste so much “health care” money on filling out forms and paying insurance executives. Our health care is so expensive
Liberals have always had this hubris where we tell ourselves that we should be dominating elections because we’re objectively morally superior to fascists, and so we can’t celebrate close wins because we compare it to that imaginary baseline. It’s a viewpoint that simply sweeps under the rug that elections will be close because a large portion of the electorate does not share our moral reality.
@Tony Jay: It is distressing to see how completely dysfunctional your country has become. Thanks for that heroic effort in keeping us updated.
@Matt McIrvin:Another thing that broke in our favor was the October messaging bandwidth that Trump’s team wasted on Hunter Bidens laptop. From what I read, they really thought they would blow Biden out of the water with that rocket. But it turned out to be a damp squib, another product of his second-rate campaign strategists.
What does it say about Donald Trump that Joe Biden – who Republicans and media portray as senile and also now corrupt- is more popular than Trump? Because he is more popular than Trump. So whatever dark magic Trump possessed is not strong enough to beat the (always) underestimated Joe Biden.
While I haven’t seen polling, I think it’s fair to say that, in hindsight, Covid mitigation measures hurt Dems at least as much as Covid mishandling hurt Trump. It was probably a wash.
Trump would not have won in ’16 without the NYTimes (#1) , cable channels and Comey treating Hillary Clinton completely unprofessionally and like a presumptive criminal and promoting Donald Trump. He had a whole team of influential helpers who were not technically on his campaign but either harbored an irrational hatred of the female candidate or were busy promoting the NY celebrity. They weren’t on board in 2020 so he lost.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
And that’s exactly the system they want here, precisely because it is such a proven source of rent-seeking revenue. The lives that will be destroyed by it are, well, they’re someone else’s problem, a problem to be taken up with their new Insurance Company’s legal department.
It’s been so long I thought you all deserved a sucking pit of depression to marvel at. You’re welcome!
Agreed. Trumpism got juice in 2016 due to its many non-Trumpist allies against Hillary. We’re still recovering from that.
@Baud: I’m more and more noticing their editorial-type word choices. In talking about the latest classified docs found at Biden’s house, they almost all used the word”seized”, implying something that was done by force rather than with Biden’s cooperation. When talking about the docs at Pence’s house, they almost all used the word “retrieved” or “recovered”, which is passive and has the connotation of cooperation. These word choices matter, because they shape people’s perception of what happened, especially people who don’t follow the news that closely. They did as much as they could to make Biden’s situation sound just like Trump’s.
Worthy of John Crace!
@Kay: I think it’s going to be different now, because he’s a loser who lost the 2020 election and who backed mostly losing candidates in the 2022 election, and who tried to foment a coup in order to stay in power. Plus, I kind of agree that it’s better that people see what he is so they remember and don’t get nostalgic for him to be in charge again. I only hate that he’ll be in the news more.
Yes, I’ve noticed that too.
Those are called Russian Internet trolls from Moscow and St. Petersburg. :)
This is the person who covered Hillary Clinton in 2016 in the nations most influential newspaper, the newspaper the rest of political media follow like lemmings:
I mean, Jesus Christ. They couldn’t have stacked the deck more for Donald Trump if they had been on his actual payroll. They ALL made out fabulously. He was GREAT for them.
But he still lost his re-elect because he’s actually a nasty, ignorant racist who most people don’t like.
@frosty: I’d say that at least half of my feed is stuff like that. I see the same thing on Twitter, too. I wonder if they both changed how they push ads.
I edited to take out the link for “order here” because I really think Americans have sacrificed enough for these peoples fucking careers.
A whole new generation of mediocre NYTimes writers and reporters make their jumbo mortgages bashing Hillary Clinton. They pass Clinton hatred down like a treasured heirloom.
That’s what Trump had in ’16 that he didn’t in ’20. he lost in ’20.
He didn’t need Russia! He had Morning Joe and Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick and the management of CNN! It wasn’t cloak and dagger spycraft- we all watched them do it. Hundreds of millions in free ads beginning with his entry into the race, as a viciously racist birther.
@Baud: I think that’s generally true, but for me it’s less about moral superiority than competence and a vision for what kind of community we want to be. I wasn’t surprised DeSantis got reelected — I was sure he would. But it’s still appalling that so many Floridians reupped on an openly corrupt bully.
There’s a moral component, sure, but there are also practical questions such as: Do you want a world-class education system or not? Do you think it’s okay for the governor to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on pointless political stunts or not? Etc.
@The Thin Black Duke:
If we’re talking about the prospects for 2024 (we are, right?), and we still have the same freakin’ Electoral College as we did in 2020 (well, almost the same: IIRC, Texas and Florida each picked up a coupla electors, and we probably lost a couple in the Northeast), then 2020 was even more of a knife-edge than 2016. Sure, we lost the first and won the second, but by mere tens of thousands of votes in both cases.
And the Bogus Scotus is set to take up the Independent State Legislatures case, quite possibly giving the legislatures of states like Wisconsin and Georgia the ability to say, “we’re choosing the Trump slate of electors” and have it stick.
If we’re playing 2024 on basically the same board as 2020 and 2016, I think we’ll win, but it’s far from guaranteed. If the Bogus Scotus throws out the old board and gives us a whole new set of rules, then who knows.
@Betty Cracker: Well, I think community vision is an aspect of moral superiority. My point still holds, that a lot of people across the country don’t see any of that the same way we do, so we shouldn’t expect blowout wins on a national scale.
@Geminid: I think that’s right, a lot of people were pretty casual about the danger TFG represented because they were so sure he couldn’t win. I kept telling people, over and over, that he and the things he was saying he would do were dangerous, and I was dismissed a lot as a fearmongerer. Turns out I was more right than wrong. I think some liberals will always have a touch of PTSD from TFG’s win; I remember lying upstair in bed with a pillow over my head at 2 a.m. as my husband sat on the couch downstairs and listened to his acceptance speech. People at work avoided me for a few days after the election, it was that obvious how upset I was. I loved Diane Rehm’s show (still listen to her weekly podcast religiously, she’s a fantastic interviewer), and I couldn’t listen to it the day after the election because they were talking about his win.
Spring of 2015.
Trump has a lot of help from a lot of fancy people. When the help dried up in 18, 20, and 22 so did the “magic”.
@Baud: The question really is, was the difference between 2016 and 2020 something inherent to Trump or the situation, or was it mostly chance? I think a lot of it was chance.
@Matt McIrvin: I don’t. The big difference between 2016 and 2020 was that Trump was the incumbent. He had lost a lot of his 2016 anti-Hillary allies, but he had the power of the presidency behind him. And he lost in a record turnout election. I don’t think that’s purely chance.
@Baud: I think that depends on where you live. Covid mitigation measures were supported by a lot of people in 2020, at least in some states. I wouldn’t say they were “popular”, but people knew they were necessary. I commented to the cashier at Walgreens yesterday about how they still have the plexiglass barrier on their counter at the checkout, even though those things didn’t actually do much to stop the spread of Covid.
The upside for D’s of knocking him off social media is it allowed conservatives to get more and more insular and delusional, so for example they thought inventing litter boxes in public schools would carry the MI governors race. Right now they think insisting that millions of people are dropping dead due to the covid vaccine is a political winner. We sort of drove them into a nutty corner where they’re running around in circles saying things that are more and more baffling to normies.
@Soprano2: Sure, it’s not evenly distributed. But in terms of the vote in the national election, I’m suggesting it was a wash.
Let’s see. A popular vote margin of 7+ million. An electoral vote margin of 74. Yeah, “nearly lost”.
@Kay: When Comey announced the re-opening of the e-mail stupidity right before the election, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach that this one action could make TFG win. The e-mail crap was receding from the news and she was gaining momentum, and then that happened and it all came rushing back. The NY Times definitely needs to figure out who gave them the info that the FBI didn’t find any TFG/Russia link; I think we can all guess where they got that. They really let the American people down with their terrible coverage of the 2016 election, but they’ve hated the Clintons since 1992, so it wasn’t surprising.
Gin & Tonic
Some of you may be aware that Turkiye is angry at Sweden and threatening to block its NATO application due to an incident where somebody burned a Koran/Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. Here’s an interesting thread positing that that was a russian op.
@Soprano2: Yeah, I thought our people would be angry about Comey but it turned out our marginal voter is easily manipulated into being discouraged. Lesson learned.
@Baud: I think it’s polarization and a related lack of shared reality that eliminated the possibility of blowout wins. Maybe that amounts to the same thing.
@Kay: I think if TFG had been running against almost any other Democrat in 2016 he probably would have lost, especially if it were a male Democrat. He’s a nasty piece of work, but the press downplayed that and did their best to make Hillary seem as nasty as he is, and it worked with just enough people that he was able to win.
We do have to remember that one party winning a 3rd term of the presidency is a heavy lift under any circumstances.
@Betty Cracker: I’m sure the causes are complex. At bottom, all I’m suggesting is that we should excise the notion that “it should be/have been a blowout win” from our mindset.
My husband is a former county prosecutor who was really scrupulously fair in that role (he now does defense which has no requirement for “fairness”) and he walked into the kitchen where I was watching and was just so alarmed and upset – “what is he DOING?”
It’s ego. Comey could hae just followed the rules and norms and he would have been fine- the rules and norms are really there to protect individuals by giving them an objective rule to rely on – but his huge ego wouldn’t allow anything so ordinary. He’s SPECIAL. He has to PERFORM ethics!
I loathe him. That ego – that pompous strutting- causes more trouble than malice ever does.
@Betty Cracker: I think we could still have a blowout win for a Republican, just not for a Democrat. It’d take some kind of traumatic event. If Bush’s reelection run had been in 2001 instead of 2004, he’d have won in a Reagan-level blowout.
@Baud: I think it reminded the marginal voters that they were uneasy about Hillary’s trustworthiness (because of how the press has covered her since 1992), and gee that TFG was a successful businessman (did you see how great he was on “The Apprentice”?), maybe we should take a chance on something new. I swear I think half the people who voted for TFG in 2016 thought they were voting for the character they saw on “The Apprentice”.
@Kay: Thank you.
The defense for state actors against claims of bias is not “I am an ethical individual“. The defense is “I followed ordinary process” because people shouldn’t have to rely on “ethical individuals”. They can rely on an objective, orderly process. But Comey has too big to an ego to subvert himself to that smaller role where he’s relying on a rule. He is so smart and ethical he will invent a new rule! Fucking DISASTER.
It’s a rookie mistake too. You really have to be pretty goddamned dumb to be in government as long as he was and not get the whole “process” frame for fairness.
@Matt McIrvin: Probably true in 2001, but I’m not sure about today. The GOP got a jump start on polarization, but we’ve caught up to a large degree.
@Baud: I second!
@Kay: But he had Russia too. See Timothy Snyder’s twitter thread somebody linked yesterday. Heck, see the f–ing Mueller Report!
It works in the private sector too. What’s the best defense against a bias complaint? “We have a process (a handbook, a code, a system) and we followed it“. The individual isn’t “fair” – that’s not the claim because that’s subjective. The claim is the process is fair and the process is applied to everyone.
Agreed. He had Russia too.
@Baud: Okay, but I reserve the right to be disgusted by it. ;-)
@Kay: I agree. I see a lot of problems at my workplace that are caused because the bosses don’t want to go to the trouble to follow the guidelines for disciplinary actions. They just want to “do stuff”, they don’t want to have to keep records or actually document anything! I had a boss who didn’t like for stuff to “get out of our department”. He had rock solid evidence that some crews were lying about night calls to pump up their paychecks, and that they were saying they were coming in and working when they weren’t, but instead of writing it up and going through the HR process he just handled it “in-house”, which means that if it happens again it’s considered a first offense because there’s no official record it ever happened before! It was so dumb, but I think he didn’t want to fire the people involved and he was afraid HR would make him fire them. Two of them still work here! One straightened out after that happened, but the other one didn’t.
Comey’s ego, that he’s convinced he Saved Democracy in 2016 with his principled stance of proving to the public how unbiased the FBI is, has been on display in every interview since that election. The man can’t stop patting himself on the back for the noble sacrifice of letting Trump be elected to prove his incorruptible moral honesty and dedication to doing what’s best for the country.
It is vomitous, yes.
But I do think a big chunk of that is he’s a stone-cold misogynist. He hated having Hillary in the cabinet, and he had to hurt That Woman for daring to run for president, try to be his boss. It’s the only explanation for his vile press conference where he announced that Hillary was completely innocent, but described it as if she was guilty as Hell and got off on a technicality.
He would never admit to himself that he’s petty, spiteful, and misogynistic, and would abuse his office for a bigotry-driven personal grudge. So, he doubles down on patting himself on the back.
I made the mistake of thinking all my relatives who voted for W and admitted regretting it couldn’t possibly bring themselves to vote for TFG. What they really meant by regret was that W wasn’t horrible enough. Never underestimate the ability of right wingers to find someone even more horrible than the last abomination they coughed up. Quayle<Palin<Pence<???. Nixon<Raygun<Poppy Bush<W<TFG<paranoid dementia TFG or DeathSantis?
@Matt McIrvin: I’ve wondered about that too sometimes. If Gore had been president on 9/11 (and assuming the attacks still happened), would he not have benefited from the same “rally around the flag” effect? I don’t know. I think Baud makes a good point at #93 that polarization is more of a two-way street now.
@Kay: OT, but thanks for sharing that link to the NY Democrats election report in the thread last night. Seems like the losses were due to higher Rep turnout and of course the lies about increased crime and cashless bail.
Rotating tag nominee!
@Betty Cracker: no way the press, military or the GOP would have rallied around Gore. They were all in on Swiftboating a twice decorated war veteran and never gave Bill Clinton and Warren Christopher credit for ending the holocaust in Kosovo and putting Milosevic in the Hague.
I reminded myself of something: Misogynists LOVED Trump. He triggered something in their lizard brain, and it may be part of why he was picked against Hillary. It showed up on which minority voters he gained over the GOP base. Anyone who thought women should shut up and get back in the bedroom saw him as the ultimate man.
Lots of Republicans hate women and cheat on their wives, but Trump had something in his attitude that got a visceral reaction. I don’t think any other candidate out there has it.
I think anyone trying to read anything deterministic from these outcomes into the 2024 outcome is out of their minds. We’re still playing on a game board where the popular vote only means anything in a handful of states, and the popular vote changes between 2016 and 2020 in those states were very slight.
And the Supreme Court could always throw out the old board and give us a new one.
@artem1s: Maybe you’re right, but it’s also possible that a mass casualty attack on the US might have moved public opinion in a way that would be difficult to control, at least back in 2001.* I don’t think conflicts in other countries are an apples-to-apples comparison. For example, most Americans support Ukraine, but Biden isn’t getting a ton of credit as a “wartime leader” because he’s not in the same way he’d be if another country directly attacked us.
*Today, who knows. Polarization comes with ready-made narratives.
The Thin Black Duke
@lowtechcyclist: What’s changed? As long as I can remember, White America has been trying to erase me and mine. I have no illusions about what the rules of the game are. I was born in it and I’ll die in it. Might as well do something, because doing nothing isn’t safe. Never was.
I don’t blame for them for the crime panic which was absolutely engineered specifically in their state but “higher Rep turnout” is a lame excuse. It just doesn’t mean anything.
Political parties can’t blame voters. I mean, they CAN but it doesn’t mean anything and won’t work. It’s like venting. They’re supposed to be professionals. They don’t get to vent. Your voters not coming out is not an excuse when it is your job to get them out. I agree “swing voters” are like flighty little hummingbirds and no one can rely on them to use their heads but they are what we have.
Mark my words- they’ll wish they had gotten rid of their chair. He won’t get better. He’ll either stay the same (what he plans, according to his ass covering ‘report’) or he will get worse. “Better” at this point with the same person in the same job – a proven failure- just won’t happen. “Better” is hard. It’s the exception, not the rule.
@zhena gogolia: I have learned a lot from following Magdi Jacobs (Mangy Jay) on Twitter. She has a good base of social science knowledge, and she recently introduced me to the term “multiply determined” I’ve understood the concept but did not have a word for it.
For instance, Glenn Youngkin’s 2 point win over Terry McAuliffe in 2021 wasn’t caused solely by him running an effective and efficient campaign, although he did. It took more than one factor to determine a result 12 points different from Joe Biden’s 10 point win the year before. The result was multiply determined by several factors, and the absence of any one would have given McAuliffe a close victory .
This was even more the case in the 2016 result. That election was very close in terms of electoral votes, and a small margin in Pennsylvania’s vote and tiny margins in Michigan and Wisconsin put Trump in the White House. It took a lot of things coming together at the wrong time to knock Clinton out. Russia, Comey’s malpractice and the NYT’s bias are three of the most notable ones.
Comey did his damage and has been a non-factor since, or at most a pain in the ass. The Times continues to sandbag Democrats and it influences other media to do the same.
Russia still tries to influence American politics currently, but I sometimes think their malign work in 2016 still has a greater effect. They wound up a lot of people in 2016, on both right and the left, and they chose their targets shrewdly. I think that these folks are marching on more or less autonomously now.
The Moar You Know
@Gin & Tonic: I’m sure it was, but damn, the Swedes have handled this about as badly as possible. There will be no NATO membership for Sweden for quite some time, and they sure could use it.
@Betty Cracker: Hell, I believe that if Al Gore had been in the White House the 9/11 plot would not have succeeded. Bush’s team did not take Al Qaida as seriously as Clinton’s did. They thought they knew more.
@The Moar You Know: Sweden doesn’t need NATO membership the way Finland does. And with the military coordination and cooperation they now have with NATO, they are effectively part of the alliance, just not formally.
But I think Erdogan’s playing hard to get, and will eventually sign off on Sweden’s membership. Maybe after the Turkish election in June.
@Gin & Tonic: One thing I saw in an account of the Quran burning was that the guy was described as an anti-immigration activist, exploiting a demonstration by Kurdish immigrants. I had not heard of the Russi connection but it is a very logical one.
@Tony Jay: So, things are looking up then?
I will never ever forget FTFNYT’s blatant laundering of the lies in the execrable “Clinton Cash” and making that POS presentable to be picked up by CNN and the rest of lamestream media (than you Sarah Palin).
I can see myself in the nursing home muttering “they front-paged Clinton Cash -” and all the staff slowly backing away ,,,
Chozick was so shameless after the 2016 elections – she couldn’t see why anyone could be critical of her “reporting” in the run-up to the elections. Chozick and Basqet – quite a pair.
@Gin & Tonic: Halfway through your first sentence, the words was Russian op had already formed in my head. I would have to be convinced that it was NOT a Russian op. Off to read the article.
Oh, yeah. In about 18 months or so we get to wake up the Great White Worm that slumbers ‘neath Pendle Hill and ask it if it would like to slither on down to the Palace so King Big Ears can feed it 1000 sobbing virgins and ask it to form a Coalition Government.
And that’s the GOOD ending. The alternative is Wes Streeting, and I’m not living in a country where something that artificial gets to decide the fate of the NHS.
I went back and checked this. Very interesting, thank you for writing it up. Too bad that the Dem mayor is not able to work with people on Biden’s team tasked with immigration policy and messaging. I agree that there is a problem – and no clear resolution.
That she sort of laundered the book to make it not about Hillary Clinton but instead about (supposedly!) a woman among the Boys On The Bus is just so shameless I can’t even believe it. I watched this process on Twitter and the clear aim was to sell it to HBO, you know, given that no one in the fucking world wants to live thru the NYTimes coverage of the 2016 election once let alone TWICE.
Hillary Clinton dislikes them for a reason and it’s not the hard hitting journalism. It’s because they’re horrible.
BC in Illinois
Keeping up to date on Presidential Candidates:
You may have missed the Presidential campaign of Rollan Roberts, an honest to goodness State Senator of West by God Virginia who announced his candidacy on January 19th.
His campaign came to an end (whether he knows it or not) at the same event, when his pregnant wife fainted. He stood immobile at the lectern while everybody else in the area ran to her aid. The older couple on the other side of the podium got to her before he did.
It’s worth watching. (On his campaign website, he edits out her collapse and the video moves from showing her standing to showing her sitting down.)
This is the only time you will ever hear of Rollan Roberts. (That’s Rollan Roberts II. He lists his son-to-be, scheduled to be born in May, 2023, as Rollan Roberts III.)
On the other hand, he is a graduate of Liberty University, so there’s that.
@Tony Jay: How long do you reckon Raab has left?
Tricky one that. With sooooo many underlings bringing cases against him for bullying and generally being a swollen-veined steroid monster he’s not served by stepping down. He’d be leaving himself wide open to a massive legal battering that could, potentially, ruin him for life. He’s actually better off staying where he is and making the Government defend him to the hilt, hoping that ‘something’ comes up to save his worthless hide.
By the same measure, Sunak’s papier-mâché impression of a Government doesn’t dare force him out. He might be a thuggish arsehole but he’s – their – thuggish arsehole, and admitting the scale of the shit he’s been allowed to get away with for years opens the floodgates for other underlings to come forward with their horror stories about other Tory Ministers and suddenly it’s a Media feeding-frenzy that even the Tory Press won’t be able to resist because that shit sells.
Meanwhile, Starmer’s Nu-New Labour gets away with purging the Party of anyone deemed ‘too Labour’ in direct violation of the Party rulebook because the Media aren’t interested in talking about that, either. Not yet, anyway. I’m sure they’ll come sniffing around once the Purge is done and there’s an Election to fuck with.
@The Thin Black Duke: Kari Lake et al disagree.
J R in WV
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
It was long, but uplifting, as Great Britiannia may have more troubles than we do… Marvelous invective Tony, as usual. I study it to improve my own Navy-influenced invective.
@Kay: I wasn’t even surprised by any of it. I’m old enough to remember the summer of 2000, when Margaret Carlson went on the Amish show and literally laughed at the favoritism that the media showed Bush over Al Gore. Because it was “more fun” to attack Gore than Bush.
@Tony Jay: Love your wordsmithing abilities. This one I’m forwarding to a friend who had considered moving to Old Blighty to escape the fascists here.
@Matt McIrvin: The flip side of that is also true. I stans by my belief that, absent 911, Bush would have gotten crushed in 2004.
@Soprano2: The democrats should just run Morgan Freeman for president. A significant percentage of the American people will think he is literally God.
@Kay: My father the ultra right winger, now calls TRump “that creep”. Another friend with very similar parents has said they aren’t likely to ever vote for a D, but they view not voting as a vote, so they and many of their friends also won’t vote for him again. The last straw was Jan 6 and abortion rights, since they aren’t evangelicals.
@Betty Cracker: Oh God no! If 911 had happened on Al Gore’s watch, he would have absolutely been Impeached for it. Hell, before the election they were already making plans to impeach him because of that one time he called a donor and used the wrong phone.
SFB has that billionaires quality, a self made man who started with only $400 million, at a time when a million was worth something. For people who value and respect large sums of money over everything else – IOW rethuglicans (and yes even if they don’t have anything approaching a large sum – they respect those who do, no matter how they got it or who they fucked over getting it or that if they weren’t so fucking stupid and in love with the smell of their own shit they could have actually become a lot richer) SFB is their perfect candidate, he’s wealthy, OK sort of wealthy, he has zero friends – only sucker fish hanging on and they can smell his greatness. (Isn’t it unfortunate that they like the smell of dipshit failure?) Our country is built upon the concept that we are all equal but some are more equal than others and it’s money that makes them more equal and the conservative mind says that a rich man who will lower himself to be their leader is a wonderful human. And yes that is a hard sell when the “leader” is someone who has failed and failed and failed upwards despite his “success” at being a valued member of the rich class and has all the couth and odor of a dumpster behind a butcher shop that has been sitting in the sun unemptied for decades.
My point is that they are as delusional as SFB is about his prowess as a human being and a self made mistake.
@J R in WV:
You’re both wonderful judges of character. 😂
A point about a lot of people who have moved to FL to retire. (Yes I know they aren’t everyone, but it’s still a sizable segment) They, in theory, have worked a lot of years to get to retirement age and saved money to afford to live in something resembling style and they no longer have to worry about schools or really anything but getting up in the morning and their golf game. Their kids are grown and have their own lives. Most of them likely do not really want anything more than peace and quiet and maybe a semi annual cruse to the islands. They’ve got their Faux news to keep them informed, and their retirement accounts to keep them fed. Life is good? Right? And of course it’s not just FL that is old farts central or the only place that humans with limited vision of others live. That’s a human condition in every corner of the world.
I think he wouldn’t have–he’d have been blamed for the attacks, “9/11 was an inside job” would have become a mainstream conservative position, and he’d have been turfed out in 2004. It was completely asymmetrical; only Republicans get rewarded for failure.
It might indeed be more symmetrical now.
@Citizen Alan: Morgan Freeman isn’t God, he’s Easy Reader, and that is almost as good.
Vote for Easy Reader and rediscover the joys of reading traffic signs, newspaper ads, the ingredients list on a can of soup! Nixon may have had the silent majority but Easy Reader has silent E!
@The Thin Black Duke:
As I’m sure you very well know, better and equality are not the goals of a lot of people. And equality is so far better for all except the powers that be, so they have long ago decided that they know and hate better than anyone else. And that is because if you gain equality by being equal they will be the ones that have to improve to belong, because it isn’t you or me that are inferior, it is TPTB who are. And SFB is considered one of TPTB, at least by those who hate. He was elected because he showed that he can hate for no valid reason and shitty people like that in their shitty leaders.