The Goal Is To Hold the Line

Those Who Seek to Control Others Know Power, Those Who Seek to Control Themselves Know the Way*

— Lao Tzu; The Tao Te Ching

There’s been a lot of sturm and drang in the comments recently, not just today, about all is lost, there’s no way out, we’re doomed. This has often been married to doom and gloom about the primary, the differences between the candidates, and whether idealism, incrementalism, or pragmatism is the way to win the 2020 election. How about we all just step back, take a deep breath, and focus on the actual fight that is the 2020 campaign. That fight has five components:

  1. Winning the presidential election
  2. Keeping the majority in the House
  3. Winning back the majority in the Senate
  4. Holding the governors’ mansions and state legislatures currently in Democratic hands
  5. Flipping as many governors’ mansions and state legislatures as possible

The fourth and fifth components are important to set the conditions for a more representative redistricting after the 2020 census. The first three are important for other reasons. Maintaining the Democratic majority in the House is a necessary, but not sufficient requirement to return the US back to a solid political and economic footing. Retaking both the presidency and the Senate are both necessary and sufficient requirements to actually being able to do so. If the Democrats retake the presidency, but don’t retake the Senate, the next president will be a lame duck before her or his hand ever comes off the bible at the inauguration. No one they nominate, for political or judicial or diplomatic appointments, will ever get a vote. Nor will any legislation that passes a Democratic majority House, other than, perhaps, continuing resolutions to keep the government running at a previous year’s top line budget number. Right now the only way to reverse the damage that has been done, and to ensure that we get good policy on the climate and the environment, on immigration, on healthcare, on the economy including trade, and on criminal justice is to not just be able to pass laws through both chambers of Congress, but to have a Democratic president to sign that legislation and her or his political appointees in place to administer the executive branch agencies and fill judicial vacancies.

The only good news out of Senator McConnell’s court packing scheme, and that’s what it was a decades long strategy to achieve a Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican president to fill the vacancies that McConnell abused the Senate to keep vacant, is that almost every judicial vacancy that McConnell has filled was a judgeship that was held by a judge appointed by a previous Republican president. Retaking the Senate stops this before McConnell can replace the last batch of Bush 41 judicial appointees still serving, as well as the older Clinton and Bush 43 judicial appointees who will begin to retire. And it also stops him from replacing the next three Supreme Court judicial vacancies, vacancies that are likely to come open over the next several years whether we’d like them to or not. And yes, I fully expect that even as I write this, McConnell and members of the White House Counsel’s Office and Leonard Leo are working on Justice Thomas to get him to retire next year to both prevent a potential Democratic president from being able to replace Thomas after 2021 and to once again put the Supreme Court majority in play as a successful campaign strategy to both reelect the President and maintain a Republican majority in the Senate.

That reality recognized, this is all in our hands. We have the ability, we have the power to elect a Democratic president in 2020 and a Democratic majority in the Senate, as well as maintain the Democratic majority in the House. This is what the 2020 election is all about. And yes, it is about healthcare, immigration, climate, environmental, economic, foreign, defense, criminal justice, and trade policy, but it isn’t actually about whether to take an incremental approach versus a revolutionary approach. Or something in between. It isn’t really about a choice between VP Biden or Senator Warren or Senator Harris or Senator Sanders or any of the other Democratic primary candidates. The simple reality we face as Americans is that nothing positive, not a single damn thing, is possible on healthcare, immigration, the climate, the environment, the economy, foreign policy, defense policy, criminal justice, and/or trade policy if the President is reelected and if the Senate remains in Republican hands. The real issue right now isn’t whether VP Biden’s healthcare plan is too incremental or whether Senator Sanders is too idealistic and therefore unrealistic and improbable. And that either of them have the ability to deactivate Democratic voters because they’re not having their ideological pleasure centers tickled. At the Federal level, the real issue is electing a Democrat president with a Democratic majority Senate and maintaining the Democratic House. That’s it. Almost any of the Democratic primary candidates is acceptable given this reality. And even a one seat Democratic majority in the Senate is as well.

This is all doable. It is within not just the realm of possibility, but also probability and plausibility. But it is only doable if we both recognize the actual strategic objectives we’re trying to achieve and don’t give in to despair. One of the ways that tyrannies are able to subvert democracies, regardless of whether it is a democratic-republic like the US or a parliamentary democracy or any of the variations in between, is by exhausting the citizenry. Exhaustion and despair are the means to that end. The President, Senator McConnell, their trusted agents, their surrogates, and their supporters want everyone strung out, worn out, and so stressed out they can’t respond effectively. Americans are tired, they’re upset, they’re angry. Even the President and his supporters are angry and they’re getting everything they claim to want. They are the sorest winners in history. How about we give them something to actually be sore about!

It is within our power to turn this around. And to do so at the ballot box, which is the easiest way to do it. Trust me, you don’t want me to have to write the post about how to deal with this the hard way! The ways and means to do this are registering voters and getting out the vote and staying as calm and focused as possible. This means that the Democrats in Florida need to get their acts together and mobilize the Puerto Rican community in Florida. Both those who have been there for a long time and those who have arrived since Maria devastated the island. Do actual, real outreach. Get them registered. Get them motivated. Stay in regular contact. Remind them who has their back, who recognizes them as fellow Americans, and who doesn’t. Similar efforts need to take place, tailored to the demographic realities of each state, in each state to ensure the broad, multi-generational, ethnically and religiously diverse coalition that is the Democratic Party turns out to vote in such large numbers than no amount of shenanigans, no matter who is behind them, can thwart the will of the majority.

The fight right now is to elect a Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the Senate, maintain a Democratic majority in the House, maintain all the Democratic governors and state legislatures, and flip as many to the Democrats as possible. And the battlespace for the presidential election is the Electoral College, no matter how much we’d all like to see it placed in the dustbin of history.

We can do this. We can save ourselves. No one else will. But to do so we must stay focused, we must pace ourselves, we must not give in to despair and frustration and infighting. Because the alternative is simply unacceptable.

Open thread!

* Also translated as “Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power” and “He who knows others is learned, He who knows himself is wise”, as well as several other variants depending on which translation one is referencing.

115 replies
  1. 1
    Lapassionara says:

    Thank you, Adam. Well said.

  2. 2
    Anne Laurie says:

    This is EXCELLENT, Adam — thank you for taking the trouble!

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    THIS! YES!

  4. 4
    Brachiator says:

    ESTRAGON: I can’t go on like this.
    VLADIMIR: That’s what you think.

    Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

  5. 5
    p.a. says:

    Agreed, it’s do-able, in part thanks to Trump, who “says the quiet parts out loud” and has alienated the better part of the populace. We just have to make sure it’s also the better part of the electorate.

    The part that has me down is discovering, in 21st Century America, that, (going back to Nov 2000 in fact) ~40% of the populace are scumbags.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    FelonyGovt says:

    Hallelujah and amen!!

  8. 8
    donnah says:

    Thank you, Adam! We are now in the age of bombarding information, both good and bad. It comes at us like water blasting from a firehose and we can be overwhelmed on a daily basis. I know that it’s easy to be discouraged because sometimes I just feel like walking away from the noise and the hateful crap coming at me daily.

    And I’m glad you spelled it all out. The details and the nitpicking about our candidates is unnecessary. We do have goals to keep clear and in our sights, we can move our candidates forward and we can overtake the opposition. gett8ng out the vote, motivating anyone and everyone to register and make sure people know where and when they need to be next November may seem like a distant job, but we need to do it now.

    I cannot imagine what a second term under Trump would be like. So we can’t let it happen.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Kristine says:

    I needed to read this today. Thanks.

  11. 11
    zhena gogolia says:

    This is why I have trouble watching the debates. The minutiae of the differences in their policies do not interest me at all. Just NO TRUMP

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    . Because the alternative is simply unacceptable.

    Because we suck at coordination and our logistics are worse.

    Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a plan B.

  13. 13
    A Ghost To Most says:


    The part that has me down is discovering, in 21st Century America, that, (going back to Nov 2000 in fact) ~40% of the populace are scumbags

    You need to get out to Reel Murrica more often. I’ve known this for decades.

  14. 14
    Dan B says:

    There is good news but it gets lost in the haze. Sunday Liz was in Seattle – 15,000 showed for what was supposed to be a Town Hall. She did selfies for 5 1/2 hours! Stamina?
    Also Trump’s support is going negative in swing states. It’s getting close even in Ohio.
    It’s valuable to be aware of the bad things as motivation to keep going. And we need to discuss the changes, especially strategic tweaks, to update our republic.

  15. 15

    I like the goal. It makes me nervous that January 2021 is so far away.

  16. 16
    Dan B says:

    @Dan B: Seattle’s Sinclair station reported 1000+ at Warren’s rally. And Trump can leap over tall buildings and moar!!

  17. 17
    AThornton says:

    In general, the election is shaping to be a major GOP shellacking. Looking at the numbers there’s nothing going in favor of the GOP except incumbency. Women have moved to the Generic Democrat over Trump by 32 points. Pew Research projected whites will fall to 66% of voters and the Grand Old Bigoted White People’s Party need whites to be 72% like it was for Bush and Trump.

    We’re in a good position to win and win big.

  18. 18


    I cannot imagine what a second term under Trump would be like.

    Guess you didn’t see G&T’s comment downstairs, he saw a car today with two bumper stickers…Trump 2020 and Ivanka 2024. There’s your motivation.

  19. 19
    waratah says:

    Thank you Adam. I do not have a twitter account but I am able to read them. You are right people are angry and frustrated. When Beto had his WTF moment in his frustration his twitter account was lit up with people thanking him for saying what they had been thinking.
    When he started taking on Trump calling him a racist (although he has done so before) they wrote telling him to keep it up because that is what they were thinking. when he called Trump out when Trump said the loyalty thing to Jewish people they wrote and thanked him. Trump has a lot of people scared and they are grateful someone is standing up to him.
    Every time I get frustrated or angry about what is going on, like thinking how did we get so lucky to have so many crazy and dangerous men in control of major countries at the same time, I have found a safe place and that is to follow Beto and listen to him because he also has a calming effect and I know he is working to make things better and that it will happen.
    I hope the candidates that BJ’S like have a candidate to make them feel that way.
    He makes me feel that no matter who wins the presidency we will be alright.
    Sorry I got carried away.

  20. 20

    Thanks Adam for this piece, it really lays out what’s really bottom line.

  21. 21
    dmsilev says:

    @AThornton: I think the odds are against Trump winning; he’s been consistently unpopular for years now, with a net approval of -10 or so since early in 2017, and with the economy starting to soften and his trade wars starting to bite people, down is more likely than up. That puts him in the GHWB or Carter approval level at best.

    Not any sort of guarantee of course, and as Adam ably points out there are a whole long list of down-ticket races we need to fight for as well.

    Edit: Look at , scroll down to the comparison with past Presidents. Set the graph to net approval and four years. There’s a clear pattern, that Presidents who are net negative early in their fourth year lose, those who are positive win.

  22. 22
    Baud says:


    Eyes on the prize.

  23. 23

    @Baud: True,

    As an aside, it’s going to be weird not having to be up early in the morning tomorrow.

  24. 24
    dimmsdale says:

    I am deeply hopeful that the Democrats get some game together on the subject of election security. The prospect of stolen, jammed, or sabotaged elections makes everything you wrote twice as important. It is a sore trial to my thin veneer of reasonableness when friends who should know better declare “that’s why so many people are talking about not voting” because the eventual candidate may not be deemed progressive enough. You just want to grab them by the lapels, administer dope slaps, and scream “WTF universe are you living in?????”

    There have been endless twitter threads by Jennifer Cohn about the frailty and hackability of BRAND NEW election systems being purchased nationwide. Many of the voting machine vendors are Republicans, most of them have made significant contributions to local Republican parties. The FEC is now effectively defunct, so no meaningful national action possible on election fraud other than the courts. Multiply the Brooks Brothers riot of 2000 by thousands across the country, and that COULD be what we face.

    I wish we had a network of moles among the Republican local organizations, to find out what they’re planning BEFORE they spring it on us. I wish I trusted my Democrats locally (or nationally, for that matter) to be up to speed on the challenges we face.

    Thanks, Adam. Eyes on the prize, focus focus focus, let’s stay resilient, aware and ready to act in the face of…whatever comes.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Thank you, Adam.

    There is something everyone can do. If you have money, donate it. Volunteer; there is something that everyone can do. Make calls, make charts of calls that have been made, make lemonade. Walk door to door. Paint signs. Call your Representatives and let them know they have a crowd behind them if they are on our side or that we plan to overwhelm them next year if they are not. Someone kept encouraging people to send faxes during the 2018 election (I don’t know what they do, but, fuck it, it it is helpful, it is helpful. Do all of these things or any of them. Also take care of yourselves. If you get down, look for a way to rest and recharge. Go to church, temple, etc, if that is your thing; Stay way the fuck away from any of those it that is your thing. Have drink, smoke a bowl, or watch some rugby if it helps, then get back to doing what you can. Every little thing helps.

  26. 26
    Baud says:


    I always get up early even when I don’t want to.

  27. 27
    AThornton says:


    As of 8/27/19 there’s no freaking way Trump gets re-elected. He eked out a lucky win the last time, mostly by loosely attached Democratic voters staying home. That’s not going to happen this time.

    there are a whole long list of down-ticket races we need to fight for as well.

    Yup and exactly why all the pissing and moaning is wasted energy that could be going into doing something constructive. Like rebuilding local and the state parties.

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Thank you, Adam! Keeping this for frequent reference.

  29. 29
    West of the Rockies says:

    Do you all think the Senate is genuinely winnable? I thought odds are worse than they were in ’18.

  30. 30
    Mart says:

    Preach it brother Adam.

  31. 31
    jl says:


    But, other than that, thanks for a wise post.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @West of the Rockies: The Democrats need to flip between 3 to 4 seats depending on whether Senator Jones can hold Alabama. Colorado and Arizona are considered probably pickups. Maine is moving that way. There are 22 Republicans up for reelection this cycle, and only 12 Democrats. Of those Democratic incumbents, the only really vulnerable one is Senator Jones.

  33. 33

    @Baud: I have the last few days, I’ve been doing an early “snuggle time” with the girls and end up crashing out and wake up at an ungodly hour.

  34. 34
    dm says:

    I would add:
    – more Democratic Attorneys General
    – more Democratic Secretaries of State

    ActBlue has ways to contribute to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (search for DLCC), and ways to contribute to the Democratic Attorney Generals Association (search for that, though DAGA may work), and the Democratic something for Secretaries of State (DASA, I think).

    The Secy of State are important because they’re the ones that control how values get counted; the DAGA aren’t important electorally so much as just being the ones who decide who gets prosecuted, and for what.

  35. 35
    Martin says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell just stated something that is quite obviously true, but unconfirmed, that Trump’s loans are co-signed by Russian oligarchs per a single Deutsche Bank source.

    If that can be confirmed, that’s the ballgame folks. And on topic, there’s an extension to #4 above that matters. In addition to Adams excellent advice, we can do more than hold the line by advocating within states for policies we wish to see nationally. We have national gay marriage because the states pushed through. We may get pot legalized through a similar mechanism. Republicans think they can get abortion banned through that mechanism, but states like CA have drastically expanded abortion access to counter that move. The nation is still making progress on climate change mainly due to state efforts.

    States can move the national needle. It’s slower, but it can also be more effective. Hawaii and Massachusetts and Iowa moved the gay marriage issue forward in a way that no amount of advocacy to congress could have accomplished. When you lose the national conversation as we did in 2016, you can keep moving forward by working through the state, which is what I chose to do. CA and OR implemented automatic voter registration and more states have joined.

    It’s a byproduct of holding state legislatures, but policy gains can still be had. What’s more, those successes softens the ground for Democrats to win, as we saw here in OC. The policy changes in CA have liberalized the population a bit and made Democrats more appealing.

  36. 36
    Jeffro says:


    The simple reality we face as Americans is that nothing positive, not a single damn thing, is possible on healthcare, immigration, the climate, the environment, the economy, foreign policy, defense policy, criminal justice, and/or trade policy if the President is reelected and if the Senate remains in Republican hands.

    “…if the president* is re-elected OR the Senate remains in Republican hands…” OR


    As of 8/27/19 there’s no freaking way Trump gets re-elected. He eked out a lucky win the last time, mostly by loosely attached Democratic voters staying home. That’s not going to happen this time.

    Absolutely right. So let’s get out there and make it a landslide for the ages.

    Solutions on:
    – affordable health care
    – fighting climate change
    – making sure American workers share in the gains they’re producing

    Prison terms for:
    – trumpov
    – everyone working for him
    – everyone who enabled his treason, his profiting off of his office, and his constant lying to the American people

  37. 37
    Joe G says:

    Pls write a post abt having to do this “the hard way”. Preparation breeds success.

  38. 38
    opiejeanne says:

    @Dan B: Which station in Seattle is Sinclair? I’ve forgotten.

  39. 39
    H.E.Wolf says:

    Thank you, Adam. I hope you’ll keep reminding us of this.

    Anyone with readable handwriting (print or cursive) and an interest in GOTV action from the peace and quiet of your own home, consider checking out

    I like projects that give me an excuse to stick pins in a map. :) At the moment, it’s a map of Florida. I’ve written GOTV postcards to unknown Democratic voters – names are not included, just addresses – in 45 Florida cities thus far, across 4 counties.

    Who knows, maybe one of mine will go to Mustang Bobby or Betty Cracker.

  40. 40
    Yarrow says:

    Thanks, Adam. Excellent post.

    Re: this part of your post:

    This means that the Democrats in Florida need to get their acts together and mobilize the Puerto Rican community in Florida.

    I saw this over on Rick Wilson’s Twitter feed today responding to Trump’s tweet about the hurricane heading for PR. Setting aside Wilson’s swipe about how Dems are bad at politics, is the other part true? Floridians, are Dems ignoring the Puerto Rican community in Florida?

    1. They're American citizens, you fucking choad.

    2. You're 300 pounds of shit poured into a suit.

    3. Democrats STILL aren't working to organize Puerto Rican voters in Florida, and that's because even though this douche hands it to them on a platter they SUCK AT POLITICS.
    — Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) August 27, 2019

  41. 41
    Another Scott says:

    Well said. And Virginia’s elections in November 2019 are a warm-up for the big event next year.

    Along these lines, BooMan at WaMo:

    Tomasky also looked at exit polls from the last six elections to get some perspective on how much loyalty Republicans are showing to Trump compared to recent GOP nominees:

    Out of curiosity I went back and looked at the exit polls over the last 20-plus years’ worth of elections. Trump got 88 percent of Republicans in 2016. Mitt Romney got 93 percent in 2012. John McCain got 90 percent in 2008. George W. Bush got 93 percent in 2004 and 91 percent in 2000.

    Then we go back to 1996, when Bob Dole ran against Bill Clinton. Dole got…80 percent of Republicans. Yes, party loyalties were less metastasized then, but whatever the explanation, the fact is the fact. Dole won just 80 percent of Republicans, and he lost—by 8.5 percent, 8 million popular votes, and a whopping 220 Electoral College votes.

    If Trump were telling the truth about having 94 percent support from the GOP base, he’d be in reasonable shape, although Romney lost pretty badly at 93 percent. He’s actually in a much worse position than that because he’s not doing as well as he did last time when he got 88 percent—and he’s getting hammered by independents without compensating for it with crossover Democratic votes.

    Donnie is hugely unpopular. There are the makings of a historic defeat for him and the GOP in 2020.

    But it’s not going to happen on its own. We have to fight for every single vote.


  42. 42
    Catfish N. Cod says:

    Re: Adam’s point about Senator Jones in Alabama:

    I don’t know how much people know about this; I don’t know as much as I’d like to. But right now the Alabama Democratic Party is effectively in the Phantom Zone. Our chairperson has been decredentialed from the DNC. Multiple interventions by the DNC have gone unanswered.

    Are there any ideas from the other forty-nine states as to how to defubar our state party? Because, speaking as a volunteer for the Jones campaign and allied groups — the state party had approximately zero percent of the ground and GOTV efforts going. It was ALL the Jones campaign itself and third party groups. We might as well not HAVE an Alabama Democratic Party for all the good it does.

  43. 43
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Deutsche Bank has Trump’s taxes — and loan applications cosigned by Russian oligarchs: reportPublished 8 mins ago on August 27, 2019 By Bob Brigham

    MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell dropped a bombshell on Tuesday evening.

    “The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the Trump tax returns reveal that the president pays little to no income tax in some years,” O’Donnell reported. “And the source says that Deutsche Bank is in possession of loan documents that show Donald Trump has obtained loans with co-signers and that he would not have been able to obtain those loans without co-signers.”

    “The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin,” O’Donnell revealed.


  44. 44
    Brachiator says:


    Lawrence O’Donnell just stated something that is quite obviously true, but unconfirmed, that Trump’s loans are co-signed by Russian oligarchs per a single Deutsche Bank source.

    If that can be confirmed, that’s the ballgame folks.

    Don’t kid yourself. Trump will be firmly planted in the White House until we kick his ass out. And I believe that day of reckoning is coming.

    But I agree with your well stated idea that the states must become the standard bearers of democracy, showing the way to a better and more enlightened future.

  45. 45
    opiejeanne says:

    @H.E.Wolf: I’ll do that. I prefer it to phone banking, and I’ve done it for years but these days I’m a little timid about making those phone calls.

  46. 46
    West of the Cascades says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It feels like Iowa’s Senate seat (Jodi Ernst) could flip under the right circumstances – Trump’s approval has tanked worse there than in several other states, and should Warren win the caucuses and excite the electorate in one of the most flippy-floppy states for presidential elections (2000: Dem by 0.3%; 2004: Rep by 0.6%; 2008: Dem by 9.5%; 2012: Dem by 5.8%; 2016: Rep by 8.5%), with her residual statewide operation she could drive turnout and — with a good Democratic candidate — have some coattails to swamp Ernst.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @H.E.Wolf: Shit, It was postcards, not faxes that I was referring to above.

  48. 48
    Another Scott says:

    Speaking of taking back the Senate – an e-mail I just got from Durbin…

    Here’s how we take back the Senate, Another Scott

    These races are critical to winning a Democratic Senate in 2020. Contribute $15 to support Theresa Greenfield, Amy McGrath, and Gary Peters right now.

    Another Scott,

    Taking back the White House isn’t our only mission in 2020. We are in the fight of our lives to stop Mitch McConnell’s era of obstruction and reclaim a Democratic majority in the Senate.

    The only way we’ll do that is if we defend every Democratic Senator on the ballot, like Gary Peters in Michigan, while electing new Democrats, like Theresa Greenfield in Iowa and Amy McGrath in Kentucky.

    Gary, Theresa, and Amy need our support to win. Pitch in $15 to their campaigns now.


    Good, good. Incumbents need to support good Democratic candidates everywhere.


  49. 49
    BR says:

    Adam, I agree with you but item 1 is actually pretty tricky. I have been thinking about this which I had never considered before and is disturbing in its implications:

    The whole case against impeachment is premised on the notion that an unchecked Trump will scrupulously oversee a free and fair election, as if an election isn't just a series of laws he can pardon his subordinates for breaking.— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) August 28, 2019

  50. 50
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    I want to interject something stupid here. Well, I assume it’s stupid, though, of course, I kinda hope it has legs, except, if I knew what had legs, I’d be a well paid political consultant.

    Okay, the stupid thing: congresscritters have a duty to the American people. Remember, that’s who “ordain(ed) and establish(ed) this Constitution” (“… for the… United States ooo-of America.” For those of you who can’t keep the damn song out of your head.)

    To deliberately put a personal consideration in front of any primary duty is to be corrupt. A congresscritter who sold their vote would be corrupt, even if we didn’t know, and couldn’t prove, they sold their vote. Okay, but , forget proof, because, historically, we have *knowledge*.

    While you could argue day and night about whether any *single* bill was given fair consideration by a Republican controlled house, or, whether partisan considerations played an improper role in preventing a bill from getting appropriate consideration, we know that the Republicans instituted the Hastert rule: we knew that they deliberately put partisan considerations first and foremost, before their duty to the American people. And while you could argue with any *single* bill, this was a blanket ban on *any* bill that was more favored by one political party than the other. It’s clear that the Hastert rule was corrupt in both spirit and fact; further, we knew it was held on to, even when it caused clear harm to the American people – brinksmanship, and shutdowns.

    Now, there are millions of times when we *know* that the Republicans are acting corruptly, letting partisanship prevent them from holding hearings on Presidential wrongdoing, and worse, letting it cause them to attack the President’s enemies; but they’ll always have an excuse for any one issue; that’s how they play the game. Still: it’s clear that the GOP is a corrupt organization, and we just aren’t actually discussing it.

    And I’m not saying we should just start pointing out how the GOP is corrupt, and bam, the world gets better. What I *am* saying is, unless we *do* bring that up, there’s reason for continued gloom and doom, because they have no reason to change.

    I guess what I’m saying is, yes, we’re having to be concerned about normalizing Trump, and we have battles to fight, and we can hold the line and do well, but… but until we end the normalization of the GOP’s decision that “might makes right is the only rule” we will be winning battles, but not the war. It’s *essential* that we change the political conversation, so it’;s no longer acceptable to have a GOP congresscritter refuse to speak against the President’s behavior for “partisan reasons” – at least, not without a followup question akin to “so you’re saying the GOP doesn’t care if someone says these things – so long as they don’t actually *shoot* anyone?” Because a person is supposed to be a congresscritter first, serving the people; and then a member of their political party. That we’ve removed that idea from the political calculus is what’s normalized the GOP’s corruption.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott: Oddly enough, I got something similar from Seth Moulton today. His is raising money for the DNC though.

  52. 52
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Yeah. I just saw that. If so, it’s REALLY damning. Most of Trump’s racist voters won’t give a shit, but if Trump has literal Russian oligarch co-signers that’s obvious corruption and lying from someone who’s publicly said repeatedly that he doesn’t have any business connections with Russia.

  53. 53
    oldgold says:

    The Iowa Senate race just got very interesting. A retired Three-Star Admiral, Michael Franken, has announced he will join the Democratic race for Senate in an effort to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst next November.

    His impressive military resume’ is going to help him as is the fact that he is from the beet red Dutch counties in NW Iowa. Holding down Republican majorities there is always a key to Democrats winning statewide elections in Iowa.

    In addition to Admiral Franken being a strong candidate, Trump is going to be a significant drag on Ernst. The ag sector over the past several months has really soured on Trump.

  54. 54
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Oh, that IS exciting news! (Rubs hands together: “Excellent, Silvermithers…”)

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    This rocks, Silverman.👏👏👏👏👏
    Thank you 🤗

  56. 56
    Marcopolo says:

    Thanks for the post Adam. For folks who would like to make a jumpstart contribution for one of the elections coming up in the next three months please go to

    Vote Save America

    When you click on the Save these States box you are given the option of helping to elect Dems in the following states with upcoming elections: Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, and Louisiana. Clicking through to a state gives you that state’s voter information & at the bottom a link for donating to selected candidates in those states (for example the donate link under NC goes to Dan McCready’s ActBlue page for his special US House race September 10).

    Or you can start donating to Retake the Senate 2020

    This page lets you donate to Democratic Senate incumbents as well as to Democratic challengers for GOP-held seats. Pick & choose which ones you want to support, or donate to all of them at once!

    Finally, Stacey Abrams new group Fair Fight 2020 is up and running.

    This year, Fair Fight is working to expand democracy and ensure all voters have access to the polls. We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in targeted voter registration and other voter outreach programs and communications.

    Stopping there since I think we get punished for more than 3 links.

    But as Omnes said up there in comment 25:

    There is something everyone can do.

  57. 57
    Ronno2018 says:

    Nice summary. We just need to keep fighting. I am hopeful.

  58. 58
    opiejeanne says:

    @MisterForkbeard: It makes me wonder just how long the fix was in, how many years before he announced he was running for president were they propping him up with just that in mind?

    I mean, he bought Doral in 2012 with Russian cosigning for the DeutscheBank loan.

  59. 59
    H.E.Wolf says:

    Re: postcards


    I’ll do that. I prefer it to phone banking

    Me too. I’d suggest bringing a few to the next meetup in our area, but my typo rate soars when I’m multitasking.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Shit, It was postcards, not faxes that I was referring to above.

    I wish I could recall which Jackal was the one who mentioned it in 2017/2018 – many thanks to that person for sparking my interest.

    Also, thank you to Omnes and Scott and donnah and many others of you on this thread who are adding your words of encouragement.

  60. 60
    Another Scott says:

    I’m not on Twitter so I can’t respond to Cheryl’s thread there, but I hope she reviews the Politco story from June:


    In reality, the speaker and her top lieutenants have been trying to tamp down a rebellion within the caucus, as close to 60 members have publicly declared they want to begin impeaching Trump.

    Trump, meanwhile, has continued to stonewall Democrats’ every attempt to investigate his administration, personal finances and charges of obstruction of justice outlined by special counsel Robert Mueller.

    Party leaders have tried to relieve some of the pressure by taking more aggressive public action against the White House’s repeated defiance, including scheduling a contempt vote on the House floor next week against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

    And Democratic leaders continue to emphasize that their methodical, step-by-step oversight process is working, pointing to recent federal court victories Democrats have secured against Trump’s efforts to block them. Nadler is also still trying to secure Mueller’s testimony before his committee.


    It’s up to 131 Democrats now, according to Cheryl’s count.

    Mueller testified, and helped encourage more Democrats to come out.

    Court cases are coming to a head.

    It’s working, but it’s a slow process. Politics is (almost) always slower than we want. I expect, as I’ve said before, the process to speed up in the fall and winter.

    We know that we don’t have the votes to remove Donnie from office, so we must use the process to maximize the chance of prosecuting him, and his minions, after he leaves office. And lay the foundation for voting out as many of these monsters as possible so that we can begin to fix the damage they’ve done.

    My $0.02.


  61. 61
    Marcopolo says:

    @H.E.Wolf: I was an early Postcards to Voters pusher here. My local Indivisible group wrote well over 100K during the 2018 election season for local, state, and federal candidates. Later on I think it was Mazedancer who actually set up an operation where BJers could write to her to get postcard addresses.

  62. 62
    Another Scott says:

    @H.E.Wolf: MazeDancer was the one who encouraged us to participate in her Postcard Patriots project. She’s amazing.


  63. 63
    Yarrow says:

    @opiejeanne: Cultivated by the old Soviet Union since 1987, owned by Russian mobsters/oligarchs/GRU/Putin since the early 1990’s.

  64. 64
    Marcopolo says:

    @Another Scott: Boy is my memory awful. Apologies for forgetting it was Mazedancer. And yes, that project was great.

    Even better I still had time to correct my prior post! It is the small things in life.

  65. 65
    Redshift says:

    @Another Scott: I don’t know if there’s real evidence for this, but I also recall reading back a year or more ago that Trump’s drop-off among Republicans is worse than it looks because people who stop supporting Trump tend to stop identifying to pollsters as Republicans. If true, that would mean his lower percentage is also of a smaller total pool.

  66. 66
    HRA says:

    Trump began making his plans to become president in the mid 1980s. He said it in an interview outside if his tower along with “They will never accept me.” He was referring to the Democratic Party of which he was a member.

  67. 67
    dww44 says:

    @Dan B: On tonight’s 10 p.m. news, the local Sinclair station had a feed about McCabe and Comey;this was while Lawrence O’Donnell was reporting (from a single source, he pointed out) that the 125 million dollar loan from Deutsche Bank (for the Doral property I believe) to Trump was cosigned by Russian oligarchs.

    It is increasingly obvious why we are such a politically divided country. I do not watch the local Sinclair owned Fox (not Fox cable news) affiliate because they are obviously controlling the coverage from the top down. That’s just plain anti-democratic and authoritarian.

  68. 68
    kindness says:

    I think we’re good. I mean those of us here will vote and act accordingly. The wild card is our media. Will they pull a 2016 again when they knowingly repeated Republican bullshit to the point where anyone who wasn’t involved thought Hillary was a mastermind criminal.

    I don’t know what we can do against that except try. Work and try harder because our very way of life and beliefs of our government depend on it. Also too…get out the vote.

  69. 69
    frosty says:

    Great post Adam. I’m within driving distance of NoVa where Blue Virginia says there’s 12 districts with R incumbents that Hillary won. So I think it’s time to slough off the introversion, go knock on doors this fall, and make VA the first of many to flip.

  70. 70
    Yarrow says:

    @Catfish N. Cod: Show up to meetings. If there is an elected Democratic person near you, make an appointment and talk to them. Ask them to speak to your Dem group. Bring your friends to meetings. If there isn’t a Dem group near you, start your own. Run for or volunteer for an office. It’s going to take people like you showing up and doing the work to revitalize the party.

  71. 71
    Mary G says:

    New story in WaPo: ‘Take the land’: President Trump wants a border wall. He wants it black. And he wants it by Election Day.

    President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

    He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

    I just wrote a postcard to Nancy SMASH that enough is enough, do whatever arm twisting you have to on the 87 Dem Reps to get them to impeachment.

  72. 72
    Tehanu says:

    Thank you, Adam. I shared this on Fbk in the hope it will reach a few more people who need to hear it.

  73. 73
    Mary G says:

    @Mary G: Also, too from the WaPo story:

    Trump’s determination to build the barriers as quickly as possible has not diminished his interest in the aesthetic aspects of the project, particularly the requirement that the looming steel barriers be painted black and topped with sharpened tips.

    In a meeting at the White House on May 23, Trump ordered the Army Corps and the Department of Homeland Security to paint the structure black, according to internal communications reviewed by The Washington Post.

    Administration officials have stopped trying to talk him out of those demands, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to instruct its contractors to apply black paint or coating to all new barrier fencing, the communications show.

    Trump conceded last year in an immigration meeting with lawmakers that a wall or barrier is not the most effective mechanism to curb illegal immigration, recognizing it would accomplish less than a major expansion of U.S. enforcement powers and deportation authority. But he told lawmakers that his supporters want a wall and that he has to deliver it.

  74. 74
    HRA says:

    Adam L. Silverman
    Thank you for this post.
    To all of us it will do well to accept all of our candidates as equal in this process and realize it is a very long time till this primary process plays out to our one presidential candidate.
    As per Adam’s statement on the Senate, it is imperative to get our majority in there. One of my 1st assignments in my cataloging work was for government documents where I was assigned to Senate hearings. You bet I had questions. As fate had it, then I had an accident and recuperated in front of the TV watching the Senate. For years they took turns flipping the Senate by one or two chairs. Lets us make history and flip a great number this time.

  75. 75
    Uncle Jeffy says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: Of course, you recall where Denny Hastert wound up. Here’s hoping the same thing happens to Dump, Massacre Mitch, and Tom “Bobble-Throated Slapdick” Cotton and the other enablers.

  76. 76
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mary G:

    Trump conceded last year in an immigration meeting with lawmakers that a wall or barrier is not the most effective mechanism to curb illegal immigration, recognizing it would accomplish less than a major expansion of U.S. enforcement powers and deportation authority. But he told lawmakers that his supporters want a wall and that he has to deliver it.

    Spoken like a true leader.//

  77. 77

    @Mary G: What ya wanna bet that most of his “new wall” will be existing barriers painted black.

  78. 78
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @Mary G: “The Wall will be standing in 50 and even in 100 years” GDR head of state Erich Honecker, East Berlin, January 19th 1989

  79. 79
    H.E.Wolf says:


    I was an early Postcards to Voters pusher here. My local Indivisible group wrote well over 100K during the 2018 election season for local, state, and federal candidates. Later on I think it was Mazedancer who actually set up an operation where BJers could write to her to get postcard addresses.

    My most grateful thanks to both of you!

    The Postcards To Voters folks are methodical and down-to-earth in their approach, which suits me to a T. (T for Trouble. The good kind.)

    Good night, all.

  80. 80
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @H.E.Wolf: @Marcopolo: I’m wondering about something: maybe you can comment. My penmanship is for -shit-. I can’t even print very well. And after 30+ years of working in software, I just don’t write things by hand very often, so it doesn’t get better. I tried postcard-writing, and while I got my allottment done, it was …. very, very painful. I’ve thought about buying a handwriting robot, to automate the task …. is that something people have already tried? And it worked? Didn’t work? Is there a model that’s best for the task?

    Just wondering ….

  81. 81

    @Thor Heyerdahl: To be fair, he was kind of right, he didn’t say the wall would be in Berlin. There’s a couple of sections here in Southern CA(Miracle Mile and Simi Valley).

  82. 82
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator: Democrats need to make every Republican member of congress vote on the record that it’s okay that Trump’s business interests are dependent on the Russian oligarchs that they likely sanctioned. That’s got to be every campaign ad of 2020.

  83. 83
    Calouste says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I have a section of the Berlin Wall in my study. Ok, a chip.

  84. 84
    Martin says:

    @Martin: Oh, and to add, there’s no fucking way the oligarchs cosigned a loan that wasn’t for the sole purpose of money laundering. No wonder the banks are fighting this.

  85. 85
    Calouste says:

    @Martin: Trump might survive this if it is true, but Deutsche Bank won’t.

  86. 86
  87. 87

    @Calouste: This is the section in the Miracle Mile(it’s across the street from the LA County Museum of Art), it’s probably a bit larger. There’s also(it looks like a single panel) at the Reagan Library in Simi.

  88. 88
    opiejeanne says:

    @Yarrow: I know about that, but I thought back then it was only because they wanted to use him to launder money. Now I’m wondering how far tback heir Presidential plans for him go.

  89. 89
    Martin says:

    @Calouste: No, he won’t. This is one of those slowly, then quickly situations. The GOP is in a real fucking bind if this is true. If they try and protect him, and you get a Dem administration, the DOJ is going to tear this the fuck apart. The GOP is already straining at the seams to contain the damage. House retirements. The NRA imploding. I get that they are lashed to the only ship afloat right now, but if its inevitable that too will sink, they’ll abandon that too.

  90. 90
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: There’s a good-sized chunk of the Berlin Wall at the Redmond campus of MicroSoft. About 5 miles from where I’m sitting. It is not a pretty thing, but the fact that it’s in chunks scattered around the globe is a great thing.

  91. 91
    Calouste says:

    @opiejeanne: I’m wondering, considering that Putin is way too smart to put all his eggs in one basket, which other horses he has bet on. Although with the money laundering, they got control over Trump and did something they needed to do anyway, so not much lost if he didn’t succeed.

  92. 92

    @opiejeanne: When I visited that section of the wall, they also had Checkpoint Charlie which was on loan from the Wende Museum in Culver City.

  93. 93

    @Calouste: Well, there’s Moscow Mitch.

  94. 94
    opiejeanne says:

    @Calouste: It’s something worth considering, and there may be a few on our side of the aisle. We need to weed them out, if possible, and replace them with non-corrupt people. Meanwhile, we need to get rid of every Republican, EVERY Republican, no exceptions because that will take care of the vast majority of corruption in government.

  95. 95
    Yarrow says:

    @opiejeanne: Well, Trump ran for president on the Reform Party ticket in 2000. Didn’t get very far. I’d guess they figured he was flashy enough to run but winning the office was another thing entirely.

    @Calouste: Look at voting records and so forth and it’s not hard to get an idea of who is compromised. The Pauls (Ron, Rand) are one family that’s got ties for sure. The ones who went to Russia for the 4th of July. There will be plenty more who are compromised so can be useful but maybe not someone they put a lot of energy into.

  96. 96
    Sebastian says:


    This. A thousand times this. EVERYONE who worked for him goes to jail.

  97. 97
    Yarrow says:

    @Martin: Exactly. It’s slowly, slowly and then all at once. When it goes we’ll be astonished at how fast it falls apart. You’re right that the GOP is in a bind but they’re the party of Trump and they have nowhere else to go.

  98. 98
    Felanius Kootea says:

    Oh bless you! I had started to limit my visits to Balloon Juice to avoid falling into full-blown depression. I’m still giving to three Democratic primary candidates’ campaigns and will back whoever wins the Democratic primary as well as support Democrats in Senate and House races with whatever funds I can. Trump is a known entity in 2019 in a way that he wasn’t in 2016. We can and should win this thing, Mitch McConnell notwithstanding.

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Calouste: I have a piece of the Berlin Wall as well. Also a couple of 4″ x 4″ squares of Czech Border Fence. When everything was coming down in ’89-’90, my battery commander drove over to the Czech border and tore off a section. He strapped it to the roof rack of his Subaru wagon and brought back home. He got a soldier to cut it up with a torch and then he gave each soldier in the battery a square. He gave a few to the other officers in the battalion. I think I had six or so, and handed a few out to my parents and my brother, etc. I still have two left.

  100. 100
    James E Powell says:

    We should all bookmark this post and make it a point to come back to it from time to time, so as to remain focused.

    Only problem is that I now have this earworm.

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    There was always a real reason he wouldn’t release his tax returns. And it isn’t because he’s in hock to Vlad. He’s been in hock to Vlad and friends for what appears to be some time. I wonder if it started when he claimed he was worth 13 billion, and Forbes said at best he was worth 3 1/2 billion. I’d bet that 3 1/2 billion was without the knowledge of how deep underwater he was to DB and actual Russian billionaires. Which would have meant that he was effectively broke. Bankrupt. Oh wait, he should be used to that feeling.
    Now the crap news, his racist supporters won’t give two shits about being lied to about his money, that piggy bank of quarters, and his being a front for a foreign power, in the oval office.
    I wonder how deep in Moscow Mitch is?

  103. 103
    Chris Johnson says:


    It makes me wonder just how long the fix was in, how many years before he announced he was running for president were they propping him up with just that in mind?

    I mean, he bought Doral in 2012 with Russian cosigning for the DeutscheBank loan.

    Since the 80s. I’ll probably never know, but I lit up when Adam floated a theory that Trump dropped out of sight for a while and returned with snuffling (from facial reconstruction surgery) and now he’s afraid of stairs and completely owned by the Russians… and he went around ever since the 80s acting like the big rich dude much like his associate Epstein who went around like the big rich dude and then nobody could identify WHERE his obvious money came from, while Trump claims various things as the source of his great wealth, but it’s another big fake: he has nothing but debt and personal demons.

    He’s been there, like Epstein, ALL THIS TIME, working for his masters. Plain as day. Hillary must have been shitting herself all this time, keeping Bill out of their clutches. It seems like she knew so much of all this, but Pelosi-like, was certain the time wasn’t right to fill the rest of us in on it.

    I’m thinking it’s an open secret… among elites. And waaaay too many fell into the trap, because the oligarchs and Trump and Epstein were in fact able to provide the wealth and the young girls and all of that. Because they had all the money, they could make good on whatever promises they made.

    And this, that we’re living in now, this is the price come due.

  104. 104
    J R in WV says:


    Republicans think they can get abortion banned through that mechanism, but states like CA have drastically expanded abortion access to counter that move.

    What we need is a foundation to pay travel expenses for young women to visit California to see the Pacific Ocean and visit the health care clinic of their choice! No questions asked! Funding provided to young women by anonymous liberal contributors.

  105. 105
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And yet I hear crickets from Senate Dems about this. I wonder who we need to pressure and how to get Senate Dems on board with, you know, winning.

  106. 106
    Tata says:

    @H.E.Wolf: I’m writing for PostcardsToVoters as well. Trying to turn out 10 every/every other day. At the moment, I’m writing for a North Carolina candidate. Every extra hand is needed and welcome. Bonus: I have never been so acutely aware of smaller, local races and runoffs.

    Please join us!

  107. 107
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @H.E.Wolf: Thanks! I’m off to

  108. 108
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Redshift: I’ve heard that too, but there’s a limit to how bad it can be because Trump’s overall approval is just not that low. It’s low forties, though it’s a little worse than that usually implies because there are so few undecideds– his disapproval rating is above 50%.

    Toward the end, George W. Bush was shedding Republican support and his approval got down to the mid-twenties. Trump doesn’t show any signs of sinking to that level.

  109. 109
    Florida Frog says:

    I love postcards to voters! A group of about 20 of us have been writing every Tuesday since 2017. In addition to supporting faces around the country, we keep each other motivated and energized. It is much more fun to work in a group,

  110. 110
    Raoul says:

    Indeed, Adam.

    What if, rather than this being framed as rising authoritarianism, we look at this as the last, desperate thrashings of the old guard, the old ways, the 20th century finally letting go.

    Yes, absolutely, we have tons of work to do. We have to dislodge Yurtle and Donnie and 100s of other malignant and malfeasant Republicans. But this can be a huge wave election. And we have amazing people like Warren, and Harris, and Buttigeig and several others who are working like crazy right now to lead this country.

    At the Senate level, we have winable races. I think Donnie is going to be a massive anchor that drowns the GOP. I fear for the damage he can do between now and Nov 2020, but I think he is turning into poison for Republicans. And when they figure it out, and they suddenly claim to be against him, we have to pound and punish them none the less (not the voters – we don’t have to make ’em Dems, but not scorn them if they change their minds).

    Legislatures and Governorships are also critical. Redistricting is kind of the whole pie in 2021! (If we have a census that doesn’t end up dragged slowly thru the courts, dammit).

    Carry on! Get at it! Let’s GO.

  111. 111
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Calouste: As do I. Chopped it out myself near what was Checkpoint Charlie in July 1990, with a hammer & chisel rented from some enterprising Poles. And somewhere I have a photo taken by one of them, of me wearing a Red Army hat, rucksack over one shoulder, hacking away.

  112. 112
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I also have a photo somewhere from the same trip of the guard shack at Checkpoint Charlie up on wooden blocks prepped for its eventual transport to the US – the RMP on duty pointed out the blocks & told me it was headed for a museum in Chicago, but he might have been misinformed. (FWIW he also told me soldiers posted to then-West Berlin loved it because the place never shut down.)

  113. 113
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Any interest in selling one? It might make a unique gift for my friend in Prague’s 80th birthday next year.

  114. 114
    UncleEbeneezer says:

    Ruckus: SundayCivics podcast had an interview with Joy Ann Reid where she talks about how when The Apprentice chose Trump as it’s host and they saw his actual office, it was so dumpy that NBC paid for it’s renovation, because nobody would believe this guy was really a successful real estate mogul/developer. The whole thing was a sham. Anyways, it’s a really enjoyable interview. JAR is a treasure.

  115. 115
    Richard Guhl says:

    Thank you, Adam for this encouraging message.
    Rachel Bitecofer is of the opinion that we could nominate a ham sandwich and beat Trump. The only candidate she has any reservation about is Bernie Sanders, since he is a disruptor, like Trump. She is also quite optimistic about the House, listing 18 potential Democratic pickups.
    Perhaps one reason Biden leads is because he is following Bitecofer’s prescribed strategy of attacking Trump as an existential threat.
    The Senate is the tough nut despite the fact that the GOP is defending so many seats. We need at least a four seat pickup to offset the likely loss of Jones in Alabama. Colorado, Arizona and Maine seem likely. After those, the hill to climb gets steeper.
    Ernst in Iowa? Tillis in NC? Cotton in Arkansas? A new possibility has opened in Georgia with Isaakson announcing his retirement today.
    I have zero votes in these contests, but I will give substantial financial support to the Democratic candidates in these states.

Comments are closed.