Plutocrat Sics Thugs on Union Man

Just our future president, putting the “bully” in the bully pulpit:


Jones’ offense was correctly pointing out that Cheeto Benito’s Carrier deal was less than advertised. So now Jones is getting death threats from unhinged Trump super fans. This asshole may get someone killed before he’s even sworn in.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Post-Truth!

One of the meager joys of the PEOTUS-Asterisk’s upcoming term will be watching the establishment GOP’s gentleman-amateur liars get steamrolled by an experienced professional. Because once the troglodyte Trump voters realize that their White Man’s America is not actually being Made Great Again, it’s gonna be the “nice” Midwestern Ryan/Pence/Preibus fellas who look out their windows at the pitchfork-and-torch protesters — not the professional conman on the 24th floor of Trump Tower NYC…

Apart from devoutly hoping the GOP comeupance arrives ASAP, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Early Morning Open Thread: Sundown Voters for A Sundowning Party?

There’s more and more evidence coming to light that the Asterisk-Elect’s electoral college victory relied on the revanchist fantasies of some of America’s least loveable left-behinds. David Roediger, at Counterpunch:

Coming myself from a “sundown town”—that is, one which for most of the twentieth century remained whites-only, in part by disallowing even visits by African Americans after nightfall—I had read the work of the sociologist James Loewen on such places with great care. In the massive volume, Sundown Towns, and on the website accompanying and updating it, Loewen paid special attention to Wisconsin. Partly this was because, proportionately, so many of its towns fit into the sundown category and partly because their histories were so typical. Many had an early Black presence that was removed over time or in a hot moment. Some featured billboards warning of their policies. They included small towns, but also growing industrial ones, whose good, sometimes union, jobs became the property of whites.

Did sundown towns elect Trump in Wisconsin? My research assistant, Kathryn Robinson, and I tried to find out. Since it is much easier to get county-level election returns than municipal ones, we concentrated on “sundown counties,” those having a county seat that could be established as a sundown town or likely sundown town in Loewen’s mapping. An incredible 58 of the state’s 72 counties fit into such a category. Of the 58 sundown counties 31 are 1% or less African American (and only eight more than 2%), suggesting that the proxy of the county seat works in identifying sundown areas at the county level.

The simple answer on Trump and sundown towns in Wisconsin is: “Clearly they elected him.” Sundown counties gave Trump almost 935,000 votes to Clinton’s just over 678,000. His margin in the sundown areas exceeded 256,000 votes. That Clinton won the fifteen non-sundown counties by almost 230,000 votes could not make up for Trump’s 58% to 42% margin in the sundown ones. Just short of two/thirds of all Trump voters in Wisconsin came from sundown counties. Only nine sundown counties chose Clinton with 49 for Trump…

Of course, the NYTimes‘ Media Village Idiots are busily attempting to buff away these angry white fingerprints, because calling someone a racist is far more impolite than being a racist
Read more

Après nous le déluge

If you’re looking for an uplifting post, keep scrolling. This one is just a reminder that not only has the Republican president-elect undermined faith in American democracy with an outrageous lie about millions committing voter fraud to award his opponent a record-breaking popular vote victory, but as of this weekend, the four most powerful Republicans beneath Trump on the org chart are on record abetting that lie.

House Majority Leader Paul Ryan says it doesn’t matter to him if Trump is lying or not. Senatortoise Mitch McConnell says the claim is “irrelevant.” Reince Priebus says hey, maybe 2.6 million and counting really DID vote illegally. VP-elect Pence says lies about big, important things are just self-expression, so chill.

A clear pattern is emerging:

1. Trump says or does something outrageous through wounded vanity or rank ignorance.
2. Republican leaders rush to normalize the action or statement, regardless of the danger to the nation.
3. Trump’s business associates and/or the Republican Party capitalize on the fallout.

It’s an astounding combination of political cowardice and opportunism — without precedent in my lifetime, I think. Read more

The Tabloid Era

A lady wearing a hijab was in front of me in line at the grocery store yesterday, unloading her cart with the help of her two tween girls. While waiting my turn, I scanned the racks of magazines, puzzle books, comics and scandal sheets and saw this:

It occurred to me that we’re entering the Tabloid Era. Trump himself or one of his associates could very well be the source for that story. Some of Trump’s minions have advanced the theory that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the US government and that Huma Abedin was an agent of the Brotherhood somehow.

If I recall correctly, the shitgibbon cited the National Enquirer as a credible news source at some point during the campaign. The Enquirer’s publisher, the aptly named David Pecker, claims Trump as a friend and supposedly axed stories that might have reflected negatively on the shitgibbon, while publishing lurid tales claiming that Hillary Clinton was on death’s doorstep throughout the campaign.

Oh well, I was thinking, standing in that line. We’re a cheap, tacky joke of a country now, mirroring the character of our soon-to-be leader, so why not make the National Enquirer the “paper of record”? It’s not like The New York Times has been using that role to any good purpose anyway.

But my heart ached for the mother and two daughters who unloaded their cart while I waited in line behind them. I was hoping maybe they wouldn’t see the headline. But of course, they see it more clearly than I do. Every single day.

Update on Faces vs. Leopards

This is one of my favorite tweets from the post-election period:

Via TPM, we now have a (metaphorically eaten) face and name to attach to that sentiment:

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.

She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington, D.C. And she knew Trump’s pick for Treasury—Steven Mnuchin—all too well.

OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.

“I just wish that I had not voted,” said Colebrook, 59.

Me too, Ms. Colebrook. Me too.

It’s tempting to wish Ms. Colebrook would just start punching herself in the face now and not stop until 2020, but there is something admirable about her willingness to admit she fucked up.

I suspect that won’t be the case with the lion’s leopard’s share of Trump voters, who will continue to proudly and belligerently proclaim their allegiance to Hair Furor, even when he and his minions are feasting on their noses.

There’s a whole lot of gassing about whether or not Trump voters are reachable by Democrats, and as usual when we’re talking about millions of people, a straight yes-or-no answer is almost certainly too simplistic to be accurate.

I suspect at least some small minority of them are like Colebrook, stupid and/or uninformed enough to be willing to gamble on a terrible person like Trump despite his yawning deficits as a human being rather than voting for the shitgibbon because he’s a racist, sexist, xenophobic bully.

But it doesn’t make any sense to me to remake the party to pursue people like Colebrook, any more than I’d want the party to hand out Corvettes and bottles of Jack to sew up the drunk driver vote.

Anyhoo, open thread.

The Case for Not Normalizing Trump


One understandable and widespread reaction to the recent election of a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue has been a vow not to “normalize” Trump. I share that impulse and even created a “Not Normal” tag here at the blog to catalog the mounting horrors. But what if a focus on Trump’s unfitness for office plays into his (teeny, tiny) hands?

Matt Yglesias makes that case at Vox, and he goes beyond the now-familiar argument that focusing on things like Trump’s Twitter antics pulls media attention off issues such as the Trump U fraud payout, influence peddling, Wall Street grifter cabinet picks, etc.

Yglesias discusses how politicians in other countries have faced down and defeated authoritarian clowns, noting that they do so on policy rather than character issues since the latter can have the opposite of the intended effect. Here’s an excerpt that cites the work of Luigi Zingales, who chronicled the rise and fall of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, a man who shares many traits with Trump:

“How, then, did Berlusconi get elected and reelected? He created an unlikely coalition between the business elite, which supports him for fear of the alternative, and the poor, who identify with him because he appeals to their aspirations. In a country where corruption and lack of meritocracy has all but killed the hope of intra-generational mobility, citizens chose to escape from reality and find consolation in dreams. Berlusconi adeptly fosters the illusion that he can turn everyone else into billionaires. His political career is something like Trump’s Apprentice program, only on a national scale.”

In a post-election op-ed, Zingales revisited these themes and observed that the two politicians who beat Berlusconi in elections — former Prime Minister Romano Prodi and current Prime Minister Matteo Renzi — had two important things in common: “Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste.”

Yglesias also notes the uneasy truce Trump has struck with the Republican establishment, which is wholly dependent on the shit-gibbon’s willingness to support the GOP’s broadly unpopular agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy, dismantling Medicare, overturning Roe v. Wade, etc. He rightly notes that the precarious nature of this alliance presents an opportunity, arguing that Democrats in Congress should stick a crowbar in any cracks they find and exert all possible force to break it.

It’s a fairly convincing case for how Democratic politicians should oppose Trump and present themselves and their agenda as alternatives. But, as many of you have noted in various ways in comments here, the nonstop shit-show that will be the Trump administration is going to require fortitude, focus and the ability to multitask on many fronts from Trump’s opponents, politicians and peanut gallery alike.

I don’t ever want the idea that an unhinged clown like Trump will soon be in charge of an army of flying death-robots to seem normal. The prospect of Trump’s vile spawn leveraging our highest political office for their personal gain should continue to strike us as outrageous for the next three years, eleven months, three weeks and three days.

Can’t we walk and chew gum here, opposing Trump on policy grounds and pointing out that, yeah, we’ve never had such an unqualified, venal, corrupt pig in the White House before? Yes we can.

PS: Breaking news: Pelosi beats back challenge, retaining leadership over the House Dems. Good. We’ll need her experience and vision to successfully oppose the Pig Party.

[Photo via HuffPo]