The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Biden Has What It Takes to Lose

So,  Covid-19 has led to over 180K deaths so far. The economy is trash, something like a third of renters can’t make their rent, unemployment levels are at Great Depression levels, and so on.

Not all of this is entirely Trump’s fault, but he has been vastly incompetent at handling all of it, and he’s the man in charge.

Back in June, Biden had a commanding lead. Even in battleground states, his worst showing was six points ahead. On average, he was over eight points ahead.


Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading President Trump in five of six battleground states…

…Biden leads Trump by six points in Florida, 50 to 44 percent, and the former vice president leads by five points in Michigan, 48 to 43 percent…

Biden is also up by four points in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, 48 to 44 percent and 47 to 43 percent, respectively.

The former vice president’s lead is slimmer in Arizona, where he is ahead of Trump, 45 to 44 percent.

Trump, meanwhile, holds a narrow lead over Biden in North Carolina, 48 to 47 percent.

The same survey showed Biden holding a six-point advantage over Trump at the national level, 50 to 44 percent.

Biden’s average lead in battleground states is down to about 3.2 percent from over eight percent. Back in 2016, Hillary had similar or larger leads.

Biden’s play is basically the same as Hillary’s was: left-wingers have nowhere else to go, they’ll vote for us no matter what, let’s get the suburban white centrists and Republicans who are repulsed by Trump.

Didn’t work for Clinton. I had assumed it would work for Biden, simply because Trump has reigned over absolute catastrophe, but Biden seems to have what it takes to lose.

I’m bad at predicting elections: I don’t know who’s going to win this. But so far, it’s looking a lot like a replay of 2016. Trump is definitely not out of the running.

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The Real Republican Platform


Open Thread


  1. NL

    Sorry, who cares?

  2. Joan

    I think Trump is going to win. People are willing to stand in line and vote for him during a pandemic. I don’t know if it’s a majority, but a lot of Bernie supporters were behind him based on his policy recs, and tuned him out once he started sheepdogging for Hillary and now Biden. So the people who would have voted for Bernie based on the issues are now going to not vote, with maybe a few voting for Biden and some for Trump. I personally think Biden is definitely going to lose, and it’ll be because we’re all just so evil and racist LOL.

  3. Cesar

    I think Biden will have an popular vote blow out and squeak out an tight, but not defendable electoral college victory, ushering a continuation of the Trump Presidency.

    Perception is the better part of reality, people believe their lying eyes and act. The violence on the streets, coupled with the narrowing definition of “American” by the Right, has created existential consequences for a Trump win/loss.

    Even if Trump didn’t want to be president, as some liberal commentators have wishfully speculated, he’s raised the stakes for his side (his armed side). They won’t let him not win.

    Unfortunately the liberals don’t have the will to fight and the American Left doesn’t have a strategy for victory. They gave up strategy for a martyrdom fetish, criticizing left movements that have taken action as “impure”, and preferring to command the moral high ground of sacrificial lambs.

  4. GlassHammer

    Yeah COPE 2020 is in full swing.

    Not much on offer except the removal of God’s Chosen Chaos Candidate. Frankly I have had enough divine punishment with the Plague, droughts, fires, and floods. Hopefully the Lord takes it easy on us for a few years.

  5. as lawrence berra could have said, “you never know when something surprising might happen”

    for example, today japan’s prime minister resigned because of health reasons – that could happen to biden – or to trump – in the next couple of months

    i am a leftist and a progressive, with the campaign contribution receipts to bernie to prove it – i live in a state where the presidential outcome is not in doubt but intend to vote for biden regardless – but i agree with chomsky – “a little bit better” multiplied by “the ability to affect a great many people” is a reason to cooperate with lesser-evilism

    may the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above

  6. GlassHammer

    “I’m bad at predicting elections” – Ian

    In the U.S. the content each candidate brings to the table is 90% symbolism and 10% substantive. The symbolism moves the electorate even though it’s the first thing abandoned when the candidate is in office. (A comical dynamic for a populace that loves a good joke.)

    You have to turn off your brain and hit the “I believe” button in order to predict this thing.

  7. Ché Pasa

    Ah yes, the inevitable neck and neck horse race time. It seems to come a bit earlier each election cycle, but oh well. It’s like summer shark attacks and missing white women. Media dies without it.

    Trump is trying everything to cheat-to-win, and he’s getting away with a lot of it. Voter suppression is in overdrive, and courts are foot dragging the way they do, just enough it would seem to leave not quite enough time to fix things before the election. Convenient, no? Of course Dems are slow as molasses off the mark (I’m reminded of Kerry’s vacationing and sail boating during the height of the Swiftboat fraud, oopsy!) and are relying on mal- and nonfunctional institutions to protect and defend what is slipping out of their grasp.

    This is one of the problems with a gerontocracy running things. They’re forty years behind the times. Trump may be old, but he’s got plenty of whipper snappers to do his dirty business. Dems? Not so much.

    I really thought Biden would not be the Dem nominee, that he would be replaced before or at the “convention.” I was wrong. Maybe the overclass couldn’t find anybody to step in. Or maybe they’re keeping their powder dry, waiting for the never-coming “right time.”

    As usual, the public is not thrilled with either major candidate, and as usual, many won’t vote because of it. This is the now-traditional way of US presidential elections. Neither candidate represents them, by design. They’re left to take what they’re given or not. 40% or more typically choose not to play.

    Trump is neither popular nor has he ever had majority support. His base was small to begin with, and it’s shrunk thanks to the economic collapse on the heels of the pandemic. He’s been trying to buy off enough sectors to claim a victory (no matter what the election results are) and he may be able to pull it off. He may be able to pull it off because the Dems and Biden are not countering fire with fire. They’re not swift enough, they’re not clever enough, and they’re not determined enough to outdo Trump and his enablers. The campaign so far has been flat and vacuous. I’m not expecting it to change.

    It’s a farce with terrible real-world consequences. Apparently nothing can be done about it, at least not in time to make much difference.

    But you never know.

  8. JoeR

    For several decades now, every time I think of the democratic party (blue party) the adjectives flaccid and impotent pop into my brain. They have no interest in winning let alone doing anything but the party leaders don\’t want to give up their positions. As described elsewhere the choice is between being boiled in acid or being thrown headfirst into a woodchipper.

  9. nihil obstet

    I feel caught in a deja vu loop. I’m not sure I care who wins. I can’t vote for either Biden or Trump. I like talking politics, with a goal of determining rational reality. The discussions I’m having just repeat the ones from four years ago. I say, “The Democrats have to say something other than ‘Trump is awful'” or they’ll lose.” The response is always “Trump is awful.”

  10. S Brennan

    “so far it’s looking a lot like a replay of 2016”

    Could be because the DNCers thought they did a good job in 2016? DNCers only lost because;

    Obama voters became rabid racist!!!

    Russians stole the election!!!

    Or whatever excuse DNCers need to con their sheep into

    The DNC is dominated by the same people as 2016, Al From’s “Children of the Corp”

    One thing has changed though, Julian Assange/Wikileaks has been broken and silenced, so the DNC’s usual shenanigans will not be reported. And with the abject acceptance at this site [and others] for this Julian Assange’s slow dismemberment and death…I think Hillary’s candidate will soon be Prez. President Kamala Harris will owe Bernie big time for taking out Tulsi Gabbard…eh?

  11. js

    The moderate Republicans can not be won. They may not be the Trump cultists, they tend to be more in touch with reality, but they only care about their stock portfolios and property values. That’s the only reality they care about and they can easily be convinced Biden is too liberal even though, OF COURSE he’s not, just out of Republican party propaganda and loyalty. No matter if only caring about their stock portfolio destroys the country entirely. They don’t care.

  12. Guest

    Someone on twitter really summed it up well yesterday: Something beats nothing, and Biden is offering a whole lot of nothing.
    I enjoyed the unattributed paraphrase of trump’s mother. When Mary trump called granny about being disinherited due to her aunts and uncles, granny told her “you know what your father was worth? A whole lot of nothing” then hung up.
    Are the Dems really this scared to make promises they were never afraid to renege on in the past, or are they intentionally throwing away the election? Just like they immediately threw away their leverage in the CARES act?
    One thing the media and so called opposition party seem to avoid as much as possible is discussing the obvious criminality of the trumps. You really have to wonder if the US is basically run by Organized Crime and everyone in DC and NY knows it and is afraid to confront it.

  13. Feral Finster

    I’d be equally concerned if Trump lost, narrowly. Something I wrote elsewhere:

    “I recently drove from North Dakota to central Michigan and back, passing through Minneapolis, Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan (which is the second largest city in that state), as well as rural areas, suburbs, and smaller towns.

    I saw quite a few Bernie bumper stickers.

    I saw a metric crap-ton of Trump hats, shirts, flags, stickers, yard signs, tricks, trinkets, tchotchkes, and whatnot of every description. They probably sell Trump thong panties, and I think I know where to look, if I wanted to see such a thing.

    Apart from those, I also saw a lot of performatively “Guns God and Freedumb” patriotic displays that didn’t directly reference Trump, but left no mistake as to the owner’s sentiments. I also saw frequent references to supporting the Q cult. Not too many militia wannabes and Qultists are planning to vote for Biden, just saying.

    I saw a total of one (1) Biden yard sign on my trip (in rural Indiana, albeit a heavily unionized part of Indiana). I did not see a single Biden bumper sticker, etc.. I did see quite a few BLM and related yard signs, including in conservative western Michigan.

    NOW: I am willing to believe that the polls are off, even if they are probably not as far off as some people claim. There probably are some “shy Trump voters” out there, but I’ll need to see some evidence before I believe that there are enough such people to give Trump the election.
    That’s not why I’m writing. While nobody gets an extra vote just because they own a MAGA hat, if Trump loses, people who identify so strongly with Trump, people who wear Trump outfits head to toe, drive Trumpmobiles, festoon their yards with Trump flags and signs, get Trump tattoos and rename their kids after Trumpspawn are not likely to say “Oh well, I guess we lost fair and square, then. Better luck in 2024!”

    For that matter, many of the people who think that Trump has a direct line to Jesus are armed to the teeth.”

  14. neil tuchin

    Yes, trump may very well win… Thanks, in part, to NL and the like minded above.

  15. Feral Finster

    I will add that I have personally met several people who are convinced, on the basis of no particular evidence, that Trump not only is in regular contact with Jesus Christ, but that the two of them often meet up in order to discuss policy.

  16. Feral Finster

    @Che Pasa:

    “As usual, the public is not thrilled with either major candidate, and as usual, many won’t vote because of it. This is the now-traditional way of US presidential elections. Neither candidate represents them, by design. They’re left to take what they’re given or not. 40% or more typically choose not to play.”

  17. Rose McGinny

    Biden is getting love from Tech companies and Banksters at the moment because he promised big money donors that nothing would change:

    In other words Biden represents the exact same forces that put Trump into office. The same interests that shipped all of those jobs out of the country, led to an epidemic of drug-induced suicide, and kept all those wars humming along.

    How could the Democratic Party possibly field such an awful candidate?

    You have black voters in the Southern states to thank for that.

    Honestly, You could not make this stuff up. A whole demographic that is so emotional and nostalgic that they literally vote against their best interests because it makes them feel all Hope and Change like.

    The GOP should probably purchase some air time to publicly thank them for giving Trump 2020.

  18. S Brennan

    Feral Finster

    I live in a small town where the majority [~85%] will vote Trump, their issues are Firearms, War and Immigration, so I talk to a lot of Trump voters on a daily basis and I have never heard anything like this:

    “I have personally met several people who are convinced that Trump is in regular contact with Jesus Christ in order to discuss policy”


    I think you are having conversations with your imagination, not Trump voters.

  19. Hugh

    I still think it’s all about the ham sandwich. If Biden doesn’t try to be smart, if he stays the ham sandwich, he wins. Policy, other than that Trump completely blew the Covid-19 response, is irrelevant.

    If you look at the forced screechiness of the Repub(Trump)lican convention, a lot of people in it knew Trump was behind, and the more Guilfoyle they got, the more they made the Democrats’ case for them. And you got all these weird moments where they would ignore the coronavirus and then go on to boast about how well Trump had done with the economy as long as you didn’t look at the train wreck the virus had made of it.

  20. Bruce

    Nothing about the NBA players? Of course, it’s a spectacle, but it has never before occurred. Why not fan the flames? But, no, only water for the fire.

  21. Guest

    “Nothing about the NBA players? Of course, it’s a spectacle, but it has never before occurred. Why not fan the flames? But, no, only water for the fire.”

    Not even a speed bump. Wake me up when there is even the slightest threat of a general strike.

  22. NL

    neil tuchin
    Yes, trump may very well win… Thanks, in part, to NL and the like minded above.

    In my view, those who participate in the charade are either misguided or paid propagandists of those who benefit from this political arrangement. There is no intelligent justification for participating in it. If you think you have one, Ok, I am all ears…

  23. different clue

    I only have a little while before I have to clock in and get to work. Not long enough to write an extensive carefully thought out comment. So I will just write a little well thought out comment for now.

    I don’t know what “will” happen. I don’t even have a rock-hard theory of the case. What I do have is a firm suspicion that the Catfood Democrat Party plans to deliberately throw the election on purpose. Assassinating the Sanders Campaign and installing the Biden so they could coronate the Biden at their convention is an expression of that desire . . . to throw the election on purpose.

    Why would the Catfood Democrats want to throw the election on purpose? I am not sure. But their selection and coronation of Dead Joe Walking tells me that that is what they want to do.

    I can only speculate that the Catfood Democrats are hoping that four more years of Trump will make life so bad for so many that a desperate nation will turn to the Catfood Candidate in 2024 and give it an FDR-in-36-size mandate. But that’s just speculation.

  24. someofparts

    I’m one of those Bernie people who just won’t vote. The way the Democrats treated Bernie shows me that they are my enemies. Vote for them? I want them on the dock in the Hague.

    I’m starting to steer clear of anyone who sounds like they still identify with either party. Krystal and Saagar’s project is what I follow because their approach feels promising. They host people in either party who are focused on helping main street while they criticize the corporate tools and fools in both parties.

  25. DMC

    Summing up the Dems campaign strategy for the last 40 years,”But if you don’t vote for Judy, Punch wins!”

  26. someofparts

    From Automatic Earth this morning. Basically also noticing and documenting what Ian is seeing about Biden’s chances.

    I was thinking that if the Dems lost to Trump a second time, at least they would have to shut up about electability, but I’m probably giving them too much credit.

  27. Feral Finster

    S Brennan: Jim Bakker comes mighty close to espousing the beliefs I referenced, and he has something of a national platform.

    As to why I’d make something like that up….

  28. Feral Finster

    Here’s another:

    Note the look on the cultist’s face.

  29. neil tuchin

    “In my view, those who participate in the charade are either misguided or paid propagandists of those who benefit from this political arrangement. There is no intelligent justification for participating in it. If you think you have one, Ok, I am all ears…”

    Yes NL, I think I do… Emotionally I agree with you. But, if you think Biden, and the Dem establishment, would have handled the pandemic as pathetically as Trump; if you think Trump’s encouragement of racism makes little or no difference; if you think making the world a more hostile place, breaking treaties, etc., is of no matter; if you think there’s really no difference re the climate crisis…then I’d have to say you’re right.

    It may feel good to say fuck ’em all, but what does that get us? (This is the short version. I could get really into this but I’m an evacuee from the California fires and I’m getting ready to finally go home!!!)

  30. NL

    neil tuchin
    “Emotionally I agree with you.” — Gee wiz, what a way to start a reply when asked for ‘an intelligent justification’. Where did I ask you for your emotions? Are you implying ‘intellectually’ you disagree?

    Biden will happily pick where Trump left off, and I don’t mean Biden as an actual person or Trump as a actual person, but their administrations wielding the tool of government on behalf of the rulers. Global conditions are shaping adversely for the US for now.

    “It may feel good to say fuck ’em all, but what does that get us? ” — what voting has gotten you? You re saying even your house literally burned down…

  31. Dan

    @Feral Finster,

    Take Trump and the Jesus signs out of that picture in the CBS link you posted, and you see essentially the same stupid looks on the faces of Obama and Clinton supporters. It\’s the fawning itself – over leaders, and wealth and prestige – that\’s the problem.

  32. NL

    neil tuchin

    Actually, apologies, I misunderstood. Your home is still Ok. Or I hope it is still Ok when you go back.

  33. neil tuchin


    Well, from your point of view you’re right. If you don’t see a difference that is. OK by me.

    Seems to me your response IS emotional more than intellectual. That’s why I used the expression. Probably I’m wrong…

  34. NL

    neil tuchin

    I was merely reacting with pathos to a brazen usage of emotion when the question entailed intellect.

    But while we can keep on ‘jostling for position’ and what not, the fact remain a fact, there is no ‘intelligent justification’ for voting and for supporting the current arrangements as a universal proposition. Voting has gotten people to where they are right now. Yes, some people are attached to it for various reason, and I suppose one needs to cater to the audience, but in the end of the day if voting made a difference, we would not be here, would we?

    After it soon becomes abundantly clear that knee-capping the world to stop the global trends would not work, this place we live in will have to reform itself. And one big issue is that voting for people/oligarchy just does not work.

  35. different clue


    There may be things worth voting about downticket and downballot. I remember one election here in Michigan. I can’t remember the names of major officeseekers I was voting about. But I remember an initiative item about making marijuana state-legal. I voted for it. And recreational marijuana is now state-legal in Michigan.

    Sometimes there are things like that to vote about.

  36. Willy

    They say that Trump is a symptom. I say that Biden is as well. Damned Idiocracy.

  37. Vegetius

    This is the left\’s chance to wrest control of the DNC from the Obama-Clinton clique., if they have the stones to take it. Which is a big If.

    All they have to do is anything other than vote for Biden, then tie the neocons now infesting the party around the necks around the neck of Perez and Co, and back Cortez\’s bid to become chair and start the purges.

    They should have dug in hard and fought it out in early 2017, of course. Maybe time has toughened them up some.

  38. bruce wilder

    Krystal and Saagar’s project is what I follow because their approach feels promising. They host people in either party who are focused on helping main street while they criticize the corporate tools and fools in both parties.

    I just went to The Hill and watched a few minutes of the K & S reaction to Trump’s speech at the RNC.

    I am very suspicious of their project. First, if there is anything less effective politically than voting, it is surely watching television. Second, I remember when NC was reporting on how Krystal Ball and her husband had made a modest fortune from a series of penny-stock pump-and-dump schemes. So, maybe not a person of deep integrity. Third, The Hill!? That is the venue that volunteers to host and promote this!!?? Why? What is consistent between everything else they have ever done and the political tendencies expressed in K & S?

    I do find most of they have to say congenial, but I also think they are two actors playing focus-grouped characters. What is the purpose?

  39. anon

    I live in a battleground state and there are at least 2x more Trump signs than Biden signs if not more. Hardly anyone is enthused about a Biden/Harris presidency. I see Black Lives Matters signs in the city and in more liberal leaning suburbs but hardly any Biden signs next to them. There are many more Trump signs and flags in the suburbs and rural towns. I don’t know what is going on with either the Biden or Trump campaigns in my state, but it looks like Biden is making the same mistakes as Clinton by not having a strong presence in my state. On weekends I see Trump tents and stands by the road with people giving out MAGA merchandise, but nothing from the Biden camp.

    At this point it is a toss up. It can go either way with Biden managing to eke out a win because of Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic, though you’d think a good candidate would have a blow out win in these circumstances. It would not surprise me if Trump wins though. He has an enthusiastic base of supporters who are ride or die (literally) for him. While I support the Black Lives Matter movement, I think the protests could hurt Biden among a significant number of white voters who support the police and/or are against the growing violence and destruction in cities across the USA.

  40. NL

    @neil tuchin
    “It may feel good to say fuck ’em all, but what does that get us? ”

    Why don’t we embrace co-determination, direct vote for decisions and not people? Give a say to a widest population, freedom of decision making and democracy for all, stop politics of resentment, and impotence and start practicing what is preached by giving voice in decision-making to the people. Please do not tell me that you believe that populism is a pejorative and janitors are incapable of sound decision making, the ancients did not think so and we must not think either…

  41. Zachary Smith

    This is an opinion issue, and naturally I have one. Maybe it’s wrong, for this time last year I confidently predicted Sanders would be the next President. Didn’t anticipate the levels of sandbagging and backstabbing by the DNC, Obama, and a host of others.

    Biden is a worthless and near-senile old POS. If it is possible to lose, he’ll manage to find a way. I don’t think he is going to be allowed to lose. The Power Elites who want Trump gone have the advantages that The Stable Genius is their target, the Democrat running against him isn’t named “Hillary Clinton”, and the “liberal media” have gone totally silent on Biden-the-horror-story.

    I tell family members I won’t be voting for either of them, for one of them is a corrupt, warmongering, and not very bright sexual predator who is essentially a Mainstream Republican. The other guy is Trump.

    To those same immediate family members I have a standing offer of 20-1 for ‘Uncle Joe’ to move into the White House next year. Their Abraham Lincoln against against my Benjamin Franklin. Nobody has yet taken me up on the deal.

  42. bruce wilder

    The K&S insight was that Trump and the Republicans are counting on riots provoking a law-and-order reaction supporting him. That seems an accurate summation of much of the Republican/Fox News messaging: the Democrats and Democrat Media have gone soft on the protesters/rioters and the violence and looting they have unleashed. I cannot bring myself to watch Tucker Carlson but I understand he is relentless in bringing on witnesses to violence.

    Trump in the snippets of speechifying I saw on K&S was (as K&S pointed out) very, very effective in attacking Biden’s record, saying what Sanders could have said if he was not sheepdogging thru the primary.

    Biden’s critique of Trump is basically that Trump is too vulgar. It is a matter of personal style apparently, for ham sandwiches everywhere. Biden/Harris cannot attack Trump on policy for the most part and won’t for fear of frightening either the donors or the sheep. It is a formula for losing against the most unpopular and most incompetent President since Benjamin Harrison.

  43. Ché Pasa

    Political signs don’t mean much in the scheme of things, though some observers like to pretend they are definitive of…. something.

    I live in a county that votes 60% R, 25% D, and the rest L or other third parties. Bunch of ranchers, cowboys and such.

    The only political yard signs I’ve seen so far are for local candidates. Not even for statewide candidates. Just local. There are a couple of yay-hoos who drive their big ol’ trucks around with Trump 2020 flags a-fluttering. Another one used to drive around with Stars and Bars on the hood of his truck and a big flag flapping in back but I haven’t seen him for months. People who live here were disgusted and let him know.

    There are no Trump yard or window signs, no Biden signs, none for Senate and House candidates.

    But if past is prologue, the locals will vote the way they almost always have, 60% R, 25% D, and the rest third parties.

  44. RobotPliers

    No real idea what’s going to happen in November right now, but passing this along:

  45. Jeremy

    They will get the Gov. they deserve.

    Now, how do I spell – “schadenfreude “?

  46. someofparts

    different clue: Thanks. You’re right. Now I need to figure out where I can turn for honest news about local events.

    bruce wilder: After I posted about K&S I found this:

    It is a detailed explanation of the actual thinking behind right-wing populist positions. It is depressing stuff but sounds correct based on my own experience.

  47. someofparts

    Regarding bumper stickers and yard signs, I live in the bluest of blue neighborhoods. There are no Trump signs here, but Biden yard signs or bumper stickers are rare too.

  48. nihil obstet

    On yard signs et al.: In 2008, the Obama campaign swept into town and sneered at the local, benighted party organization. Yard signs are ineffective, they pronounced. The future is on the internet. This effectively undercut one of the reasonably important party organizing activities. There was a whole network of people who undertook to make the signs, contact potential voters about them, and deliver them to the willing. It was an easy volunteer activity that got people together, to meet, energize, see results (even if the results were just signs in yards). My impression is that the party paid staff and wannabees loved not having to deal with hoi polloi any more and embraced the new wisdom. The Obama election has become the model for Democratic campaigns. What you’re seeing with yard signs probably reflects a local context.

    On the protests and violence: I’m not sure how this will play. People aren’t generally very good at finding language that expresses their thoughts and emotions. That’s why leadership is important, not so much to tell people what to do as to create/advance the narrative that makes sense of it. So now, all of a sudden, there are weeks and weeks of protest about racist policing? I don’t think a sudden populist enlightenment about racism sufficiently explains what’s going on, although our elites are trying to limit the effect to a cause that won’t affect them.

    Police actions over the past couple of years have made lots of people feel unsafe. Police have entered the wrong residences and killed the inhabitants by mistake. They shoot children. They gun down people running away. So while people may adopt the language that racism is what they’re protesting, I think a lot of the protests stem from an inchoate realization that doing right doesn’t protect you from the powers of the state. It’s not just police, but unemployment, homelessness, and the other dangers we discuss here. So I don’t know that violence in the protest sites will have the negative effect that it might have done once.

  49. Hugh

    Trump and the Republicans are running on, if you ignore the economic collapse, the economy is doing fine; if you ignore the 150,000+ and counting Americans Trump has unnecessarily killed off with his idiot, reality denying response to the coronavirus, it was a great response. Oh, and even though Trump and the Republicans have been in control for the last four years, suddenly two months out from the election, law and order and rioting in the streets are their big concern. And finally we should all be afraid of the ‘radical,’ i.e. conservative Democrats running against them. In other words, Trump and the Republicans, have nothing to run on, and they are going to run on it as loudly as they can, hoping the rest of us get lost in their noise.

  50. S Brennan

    Actually Hugh,

    D’s are running on Covid-19 is Trumps fault, vote for our shit sandwich.

    And that might work for people who’s ignorance is so complete that they ignore, until the end of February 2020, the D’s sole focus for almost four years was impeachment, by convincing the American public into believing a complete fabrication that Trump was a Russian asset.

    Then, Nancy’s Pelosi’s first priority was to pass a bill that gave trillions to the richest sliver of America. So yeah Hugh, shill for the D’s shit sandwich.

  51. Hugh

    More than 150,000 Americans dead because of your beloved Trump but somehow it is everyone else’s fault even to notice. Good luck selling that garbage barge.

  52. S Brennan

    Thanks Hugh for making my point, keep on shilling bro!

  53. Hugh

    Ooops, SB, your Trump bromance is showing.

  54. Willy

    If Trump had the “very good brain” he claimed to, then why couldn’t he organize all the willing CV patients he’d ever need to participate in objective CV treatment tests?

    Oh that’s right. He was too busy declaring it all a Democrat hoax.

  55. jonboinAR

    Different Clue said:
    “What I do have is a firm suspicion that the Catfood Democrat Party plans to deliberately throw the election on purpose. Assassinating the Sanders Campaign and installing the Biden so they could coronate the Biden at their convention is an expression of that desire . . . to throw the election on purpose.”

    I believe that when they fairly suddenly, but devastating, garroted the Sanders Campaign they were only following orders. From whom, I don’t know. I’d use the vague term, “corporate”, I guess. But, to me, it’s all that makes sense. The orders came from above the DP itself. “Enough of this socialist, redistributive non-sense!” I think most of us would agree that the DP is beholden to its donors. In this scenario, yes, actually putting forth a winning strategy would be a secondary consideration.

  56. bruce wilder

    Re: Mike Konczal and differences between the left (defined as Mike says, “in the broadest terms” whatever he imagines that means) and the rising “populist right”

    Konczal is very smart and connected and he lets us know that. There is something academic in his rhetorical style (“as Greg Sargent has noted, . . .” “In 1972, Trot-turned-neoconservative Irving Kristol wrote . . .”)

    If his point is to be that the populist right does not consist of newly enlightened converts to a broadly left sensibility, I would say he has made it. But, who cares?

    The point of seeking allies in overthrowing neoliberalism is not to agree on cultural issues. Effective power politics is agreeing to disagree on a whole range of potential issues none of which are being decided in order to exercise power to govern in specific ways, and accepting that allies may rationalize their support for specific action in ways fundamentally different from your own preferred rationalizations.

    The point of forming a political coalition is not a philosophic comity, it is power. The Reagan coalition that solidified neoliberal dominance had mainstream economists in the same room with nutty gold bugs from the Wall St Journal editorial board.

    To me, Konczal is overly impressed with his own intelligence and capacity to sort thru details. He thinks he knows ” what it is really about” and feels a need to correct other people on what may be largely a difference in perspective or priors. Yes, the populist right emphasizes immigration as a factor depressing working class wages. And, it is a factor as Konczal reluctantly acknowledges, but Konczal feels a need to keep on talking and talking. No where does he acknowledge that the actually now existing “broadly left” coalition also makes a sine qua non out of immigration for the idPol reasons that block a lot of economic reforms favored by that part of the left most worried about the working class.

    Yes, if the “Sanders” left (for lack of a better shorthand) ditched Biden (sure to be the most progressive President since Herbert Hoover) for an alliance with conservative populists and nationalists, they would have to support restrictive immigration. Would that be more coherent economically? Konczal tries to sidestep that one. Would that Sanders left get anything else? A raise in the minimum wage? Konczal the all-seeing says, no, but does not really argue the point. The current “broad” left has not gotten a rise in the minimum wage or support for unions from the Dems. That fact ought to be wrestled with before asserting counterfactuals.

  57. Zachary Smith

    But if past is prologue, the locals will vote the way they almost always have…

    I believe this is an excellent rule of thumb. In my immediate family, I know of three votes who Trump won’t be getting this fall. These people voted against Hillary, and she isn’t on the ticket this time. But those are special cases – in general I like your maxim!

    I’m reading “White Too Long” – a new book about White Supremacy among US Christians. It says that in 2016 Trump got 64% of the vote by white Catholics. I expect that number to plummet, for Biden is a rock-rib Catholic whose support for “Choice” is extremely wobbly. 81% of white evangelical Protestants voted for Trump, and I’d be surprised if that doesn’t drop at least a little bit. They’ve been trained by the Vatican to consider abortion a major issue, and the Falwell scandal isn’t going to help Trump any.

    In any case, the Democratic Elites won’t be heartbroken if Trump wins this November. Why else would they have so brazenly chosen their two worst candidates for the 2020 ticket? It’s the Republican Elites who are running scared, IMO.

  58. different clue

    Trump oversaw the coronagenic response at the national level. But the TrumpAdmin had major help in spreading the epidemic in New York State and City from Gov. Cuomo and Mayor deBlasio. Cuomo ordered old coronavid-infected patients into nursing homes in order to create super-infection clusters. DeBlasio ordered the schools kept open long enough to get a fast spreading epidemic really going in NYC.

    The above interpretation depends on supposing that two fine gentlemen smart enough to get elected mayor and governor were smart enough to know how their lead-in policies would effect the spread and behavior of Coronavid. But maybe they are just idiot-savants. Savants at getting elected and idiots at knowing about cause and effect in the policy realm.

  59. someofparts

    “The point of forming a political coalition is not a philosophic comity, it is power.”

    I think you’re right about that. That said, it seems like a good idea to know the different perspectives that motive my ally, even though it is beside the point as far as out basis for alliance goes.

    Thanks for that tip about the Krystal Ball story at NC too.

    I’m still going to watch the show. If anything, I’m more comfortable about it now that I know more about the back-stories of the hosts. I like seeing a Democrat and a Republican finding common ground on issues I care about.

  60. Ché Pasa

    I have been corrected. My county traditionally votes 70% R, 20% D and 10% Other. Even if they don’t like him, and some don’t, the R voters are going to vote for him because they like a bullshitter and bully, and they don’t like Dem pussy-footing and disinterest in the well-being of the non-urban.

    That said, the riots and protests this time do not equal 1968 — which Trump and his minions hope to convince people who weren’t alive then that they are. In fact, most Americans were in favor of the draft and the Vietnam War in 1968. Most Americans were conflicted about or against “giving Negroes rights they didn’t earn,” and most didn’t want them living in their neighborhoods or dating their daughters. Anti-miscegenation laws were still on the books and had only been ruled unconstitutional by the Warren court in 1967 — Loving v Virginia.

    Riots in 1968 destroyed whole sections of cities and hundreds of people were killed by police and the Guard putting the riots down. The assassinations triggered riots and devastated millions of activists. It was as if the world was coming to an end. And Nixon beat Humphrey like a drum in the fall.

    Note: the protests against the War were short-circuited by Nixon’s ending the draft. Not ending the War. That taught the politicians something important. We’re seeing them try to replay that with reference to police abuse. Lots of cosmetics, and only the minimum or less done to meet the demands of the protests — and nothing at all done to abolish (“no cops, no prisons, total abolition”.) Banning police choke holds — that are already banned most places — is pure cosmetics.

    Demonizing “Antifa” may be less useful to Trump and his minions than they think, since a lot of the people in the streets dressed in black, even in bloc, are the sons and daughters of the suburban white women they want to win again. And many of them are loved by their families.

    The property destruction by the black-clad demonstrators (not all “Antifa” by any means) is highly targeted: mostly police and court facilities and equipment. These are the entities that are being protested in general, and they are not considered sacred institutions (especially not police) they way they once were.

    The exaggerations of what’s been damaged or destroyed during the demonstrations doesn’t play well, either. In some cases, such as that of a car dealer who lost most of his inventory in Kenosha, victims of property destruction say that if it is what’s necessary to bring change to policing and unjust courts, then so be it. The rage is widespread, much more widespread than is realized.

    But not as widespread as it needs to be.

  61. Well said: \”Biden’s play is basically the same as Hillary’s was: left-wingers have nowhere else to go, they’ll vote for us no matter what, let’s get the suburban white centrists and Republicans who are repulsed by Trump.\”

  62. S Brennan

    Bruce Wilder,

    Two and a half issues separate “right-wing”, largely rural populists and “left-wing” populists from becoming a political force akin to FDRism 1932-1977. [Not that there is a real left in America]

    1] Fire Arms, particularly rifles, but…at this point, D’s have repeatedly shown that every restriction is a “first-step” to total confiscation. So, nobody in rural America believes in “sensible-gun-control” because D’s have been such effing liars on the subject for so long.

    2] Immigration, which is wacky since the”right-wing”, largely rural populists hold the same position as Caesar Chavez and Barbara Jordan and other forgotten leftist Democratic luminaries of the 1960’s through the 1990’s.

    1/2] Abortion; a significant portion of the pro-life demographic are against late-term* abortion, as I am. 4 months is enough time for a woman to decide, after that the “state” has a duty to what is now a child. I don’t know when “human-life” begins, but it ain’t 0.0 and it sure as hell isn’t 9 months either. The Supremes ultimately decide the matter but, saying there should be a limit…and meaning it, would cost R’s 25-30% of their pro-life demographic.

    So there it is, the keys to the kingdom for “leftist”. Support the “populist-right” on those issues and you get power. If the answer is NO, then whine all you want, or do what fascists do, rule through unremitting terror…as many here seem to advocate.

    This has been written before by D populist back before the Time of Billy Clinton but was rejected because D’s don’t really want to rule…as Obama made clear, they want power divided so..they can play the good guy who was “forced” to do bad things because of the mean-old-Republicans. And so far, even though D’s openly talk about their cynical ploy, “lefties” still haven’t caught on to the D’s shtick.

    * After the child is viable, 4-4.5 months

  63. different clue

    @S Brennan,

    We would need a new political party with a Truth-In-Label name for that. Maybe a New Deal Revival Party or a New Deal Restoration Party. Or some other useful name.

    And it would have to guard against infiltration by Catfood Democrat operatives with a Deep Extreme vetting operation to prevent anyone with Catfood Democrat ( Clintonite, Obozo, Bidenoid, DLC, Hamilton Project, etc.) links and ties from getting in.

  64. Temporarily Sane

    The Democrat’s goal isn’t necessarily to win the election. It sounds ridiculous but it makes sense. Bear with me for a moment.

    The Democratic Party’s base isn’t “progressives” or left-wingers, it’s the members of the very rich donor class that funds the party and the overwhelming majority of its candidates. They ultimately call the shots. He who has the gold makes the rules as the saying goes.

    This illustrious club of political influencers includes the slimy Randian tech oligarchs of Google, Facebook and Amazon, the plutocratic CEOs of the leading Wall Street investment banks, the liberal version of the Koch bro, currency speculator George Soros, the paranoid tech billionaire and “philanthropist” Pierre Omidyar and many more lesser known but extremely rich and influential individuals and their foundations.

    On economic policy this group is to the right of Reagan/Thatcher and, like most Republicans, almost all of them happen to be foreign policy hawks and/or vehemently pro-Israel. However, unlike their Trump loving counterparts they strongly value their carefully cultivated reputations as good liberals who care deeply about the earth, value fair play and think black lives matter. Like a raucous uncouth dinner guest who leers at the women, speaks impulsively and doesn’t observe upper-class fork etiquette, Trump’s openly avaricious and venal tendencies, his blatant nepotism, unapologetic anti-PC assholery and penchant for inadvertently telling the truth about how the American political and economic system operates appalls and embarrasses them. He pulls back the curtain, revealing to the American public exactly how their country’s sausages are made. It’s a disturbing and ugly scene and reflects and badly on all the elites and top tier political operatives, even the “nice” liberal ones.

    So, yes, they would love to see Trump exit the White House in January so the Obamaesque charade of morally sound humanitarian governance can continue. But they all know that they and the players on the other side are really on the same team and they are afraid Trump will destroy their cover. Hence Republican war criminals like Colin Powell and Bush Jr. are welcomed into the fold and even the batshit insane, but always polite on camera, John Bolton is lauded as an “adult in the room” simply because he had a falling out with Trump.

    Republicans who less than two decades ago traumatized liberals and were considered off-the-scale right wing lunatics are now speaking at the Democratic national convention. That’s how right wing the Democratic Party really is. Their presidential candidate is a demented geriatric segregationist with a hair sniffing fetish who might also be a rapist. He spouts offensive gibberish on a regular basis and is bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists. He lies regularly and engages in corruption. He is a war mongering hawk. (But compared to Trump he’s low key about it and the media are nice to him.) His VP candidate is a pro-corporate narcissistic cop who lets corporate crooks like Steven Mnuchin, who donated to her campaign when she was running for AG in California, off the hook while punishing poor parents, pot smokers and the wrongfully convicted. But she’s a woman of color with a pleasing facade so it’s all good.

    This is the party that says Trump is Hitler 2.0 and the worst dude ever and yet scratch their liberal surface and you get…polite Republicans who know how to control themselves in public. They don’t even bother hide it very well and don’t have a platform to speak of other than “vote for us because the other guys are bad, terrible people.” That’s shockingly weak stuff for zero sum fight of a lifetime that supposedly determines if America will survive in its present form. The “progressive” left wingers of the party, who they claim are their base, get not one concession. None of milquetoast Bernie’s proposals were accepted by team Biden. All the left gets from the DNC is one massive gaslighting operation that tries to shame and bully them into voting for a Bush Jr. era Republican ghoul like Biden and his law and order, put very PC, sidekick. Do they think this anemic strategy guarantees them a win? Are they stupid? Deluded? What the hell is going on here?

    It’s pretty simple actually once the pieces are put together. The Democratic Party’s über rich base of phoney liberal elites and Republicans lite don’t like Trump’s personality and his race baiting uncouthness but as they have have demonstrated these last four years they are okay with his actions and policies. When he gets out of line and threatens to draw down the troops he gets slapped into place pretty quick. They are confident that he can be easily controlled.

    So Trump = asshole but his policies let us keep and “grow” our looted money, he keeps the rabble in line and his foreign policy fantasies are easily overruled. The deal breaker for the Democratic base is a party that moves one millimeter to the left, that makes one concession to the “progressives.” Remember that guy on CNBC, Donny Deutsch, when Sanders was polling well? He said “step away from the socialism” and said on camera that if Sanders is the nominee he and his peers will have “no choice” but to vote for Trump. The host pretended to be shocked and Deutsch pretended it was a big misunderstanding and he didn’t really mean what he said, but it’s clear that he was speaking the truth in an unguarded moment.

    The Democratic Party knows that its base will absolutely not accept even a mildly left wing presidential candidate. So they get a right wing liberal pig, cover it in lipstick and hope that gaslighting and guilt tripping the “progressives” will get them over the finish line. If not, scream bloody murder, feign outrage, blame Putin, Chinese commies and Facebook and try again next time.

    The takeaway for “progressives” is that dutifully letting yourself get bullied and gaslit into voting for a corrupt political party that never throws you even a tiny bone is a fool’s errand. Why would they honor their fake promises to you if they know that you will vote for them no matter what? They know from decades of experience that they can get away with giving you nothing and you still vote for them. It’s electoral politics 101. You have no leverage. So stop doing this. Stop taking the advice of people like Chomsky (smart dude worth listening to but not on this issue). Lesser evil voting does not work.

    The Democrats move further and further to the right with every election cycle and the country continues to fall apart. Stop playing the masochistic abused spouse and withhold your vote or vote for a third party candidate. Yes things will get worse before they get better (if they ever do) but that will happen regardless of who you vote for. The Democratic Party (and its main opponent) are hopeless causes and while not voting for them guarantees nothing, continuing to vote for them definitely guarantees more of the same dysfunctional insanity until the country finally collapses or tears itself apart.

  65. nihil obstet

    @S Brennan,
    What you say Democrats believe on firearms and abortion is what hard right Republicans say Democrats believe. Until Wayne LaPierre made the NRA a Republican militia, most Republicans and Democrats could say that they believed in sensible regulation. Then the Republicans, the media, and some Democrats were delighted to turn firearm control into a battleground of the culture wars.

    Why Republicans think that women screw like bunnies (with whom is a mystery, since somehow men don’t ever seem to be involved in unwanted pregnancies), and then loll around for nine months and then say, “Hey, kid’s due tomorrow. Think I’ll go have an abortion” is beyond me. I grew up in a rural area and I’ve worked in some throughout my life. I have not found rural residents to be that dumb. Again, this was a creation of the culture wars to occupy the populace’s minds on something other than civil and economic rights. Go read the Republican platforms in the 60s, or the finds of most Protestant governing bodies then.

    The immigration question is a little more complex, having to do with the difference between allowing open borders and treating people in the society as non-people. The Democrats have not addressed this issue well.

    Maybe you could develop a wider range of sources for what you believe to be facts.

  66. Feral Finster

    @Dan: I am not sure anyone feels that strongly for HRC or Biden. Watching Team D stalwarts feign enthusiasm for Biden is like watching a deeply closeted gay man feign enthusiasm for bedding his lawfully wedded (female) wife. The harder they try, the more fake it looks.

    I’ve certainly never encountered or heard of anyone who thinks that Biden is in contact with any kind of supernatural or transcendent being. In fact, the entire Team D schtick can be summed up as “Biden Is Not Trump”.

    That’s not to excuse Trump or his cult, either.

  67. Carey

    Biden is playing the sacrificial-lamb, Dole ’96 role. Is it not obvious enough that the “Democrats”- who are offering the 90% exactly nothing- are being *again* well-paid to lose (and start a new Civil War in the process)?

    Theatre / hard pass.


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