How We Got to Trump


One of the more vexing things about the current election has been the fact that the now, all of a sudden, principled conservatives who are #NeverTrump are basically being given a free ride by the media to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their party nominating Trump. This didn’t just happen. This took years of effort, years of unprincipled playing to the mob, decades of subtle and not so subtle racism and otherism, years of chipping away at facts and logic, pretending tea party candidates and Sarah Palin were serious people, and to borrow a phrase from the C+ Augustus reign, years of “creating their own reality.” To borrow a more recent wingnut phrase, you built it, GOP.

At any rate, if you want a striking example of how we got to Trump, look no further than the spin from the Republicans, including the #NeverTrump frauds after Donald Trump refused to state he would accept the election results:

There is a fundamental difference in refusing to accept the results of the process before a vote has even been cast, de-legitimizing the election before it even happens, and contesting an election using pre-existing election law. What Donald Trump is doing is the former, what Gore did was the latter. It’s a fundamental distinction, and it is why people who know things are horrified by what Trump did last night:

Contesting an election does not de-legitimize it. Asking for a recount and pursuing your rights as LAID OUT IN ELECTION LAW does not de-legitimize elections. These polices are argued over, debated, and passed into law to make sure that we keep elections legitimate and fair and that everyone knows the rules. Individuals on twitter still being pissed about the election outcome does not de-legitimize elections. Candidates refusing to accept the outcome, before and after, de-legitimizes the election. Gore did neither.

And for the record, if anything in the 2000 election de-legitimized things, it was the Supreme Court making shit up and passing a ruling that was so obviously shite that they made sure it COULD NEVER be used as precedent:

omentous Supreme Court cases tend to move quickly into the slipstream of the Court’s history. In the first ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that ended the doctrine of separate but equal in public education, the Justices cited the case more than twenty-five times. In the ten years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion-rights decision of 1973, there were more than sixty-five references to that landmark. This month marks ten years since the Court, by a vote of five-to-four, terminated the election of 2000 and delivered the Presidency to George W. Bush. Over that decade, the Justices have provided a verdict of sorts on Bush v. Gore by the number of times they have cited it: zero.


Even at the time, Bush v. Gore was treated as a kind of novelty item, a one-off decision that applied only to the peculiar facts then before the Justices. The majority itself seemed to want it that way. In the most famous sentence from the decision, the Justices wrote, “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.” (Unlike most weighty decisions, Bush v. Gore had no single author and was delineated “per curiam,” or by the Court, a designation the Justices usually reserve for minor cases.) In light of all these admonitions to leave the case be, might getting over it be the best advice?

Actually, no. To return briefly to the distant world of chads, hanging and otherwise, it’s worth recalling what Bush v. Gore was about. The pervasive uncertainty about the results of the election in Florida—at the time, Bush led by five hundred and thirty-seven votes out of nearly six million cast—prompted the Florida courts, interpreting Florida election law, to order a statewide recount of all undervotes and overvotes; that is, ballots that indicated no Presidential preference or more than one. (Chads were the tiny paper rectangles that voters were supposed to push through punch-card ballots.) That recount had already begun on Saturday, December 9th, when five Justices—Scalia, William H. Rehnquist, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas—issued a stay, barring the Florida authorities from continuing their labors. Three days later, the same five issued the per-curiam decision that stopped the recount once and for all.

What made the decision in Bush v. Gore so startling was that it was the work of Justices who were considered, to greater or lesser extents, judicial conservatives. On many occasions, these Justices had said that they believed in the preëminence of states’ rights, in a narrow conception of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and, above all, in judicial restraint. Bush v. Gore violated those principles. The Supreme Court stepped into the case even though the Florida Supreme Court had been interpreting Florida law; the majority found a violation of the rights of George W. Bush, a white man, to equal protection when these same Justices were becoming ever more stingy in finding violations of the rights of African-Americans; and the Court stopped the recount even before it was completed, and before the Florida courts had a chance to iron out any problems—a classic example of judicial activism, not judicial restraint, by the majority.

In short, this is how we got to Trump. Yes, Republican, you built this. And if you read this “DEMOCRATS ARE WORSE” gibberish from Bre Payton, graduate of the “Patrick Henry School of Political Journalism,” which I googled and is an actual place andnot a quip made up in the Free Republic comments section, they are still building it. Or demolishing it. Your call.

Early Morning Open Thread: Bad Houseguests & Generally Shifty Fellas

It’s natural human decency to offer the spare room to a bare acquaintance escaping (he tells you) a dangerous stalker, but after months of bearing with his deficiencies as a house guest — not to mention the extremely noisy and often unsavory ‘friends’ he invites over without so much as a by-your-leave — one might grow tired of the disruptions…

There were other rumors, but Buzzfeed has a good report debunking the most lurid.

The kerfuffle gave the social-media snarkers a happy interlude, though…

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Trump & Pence, Deliberately Undermining Our Voting Process

… because OF COURSE HE DOES, since he’s a committed proponent of the Republican plan to restrict and obstruct the rights of all Americans who are not reliable conservative Republican voters.

Ari Berman has a book to sell, and it looks like a very worthwhile read. Here’s a review by David Cole, in the NY Review of Books, “How Voting Rights Are Being Rigged”:

The Brennan Center for Justice identifies fifteen states that have new voting restrictions in place for the first time for the 2016 presidential election, and five more that have had restrictions in place since the 2012 election. These include several states considered “battlegrounds” in the upcoming presidential election, or that have competitive elections for Senate seats, including Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Illinois, and Arizona. In each of these states as well as many others, legislatures have imposed rules, like those in North Carolina, that limit opportunities to register and vote, and that demand forms of identification at the polls that many poor and minority citizens do not have—all in the name of fighting nonexistent “voter fraud.” Meanwhile Donald Trump, also invoking the specter of fraud, has sought to impose voting restrictions of his own, urging his followers to watch polls in November, a practice designed to deter Democrats from voting.
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Evil Minions Open Thread: Rude-y Ghouliani

GOP Strong Angry Daddy Figure will defend his beau ideal to the last. Per the Washington Post:

Giuliani, who has regularly appeared on the Sunday political-show circuit as one of Trump’s top surrogates, insisted Sunday on CNN that it is the Democrats who overwhelmingly engage in voter fraud because they “control the inner cities.”

“We do cheat,” Giuliani told “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper. “We have people who cheat in elections!”

“I’ve found very few situations where Republicans cheat,” Giuliani said, shrugging. “They don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats.”

“I think there are a lot of elections experts that would have very, very strong disagreements with you,” Tapper responded, shaking his head…

He won two elections, running in a high-crime era as the Tough Sheriff who would put those people in their place (the inner city). But New Yorkers got Rudy’s number, just as they got Deadbeat ‘Developer’ Donnie Trump’s. If it hadn’t been for 9/11 — which Giuliani tried to use as an excuse for extending his last term — he’d be eking out a modest living on the rubber-chicken circuit. The Media Village Idiots’ romanticization of “America’s Mayor” greatly increased his marketability… just not always among those who knew first hand how badly he’d botched both the security preparations and the response.

As with everyone whose reputation ends up Trump-crumpled, Rudy was never a good person.

Eight years after his own presidential bid failed, Giuliani has emerged as Donald Trump’s unflinching chief apologist, cheerleader and rhetorical Rottweiler, even as GOP leaders far and wide abandon their party’s candidate.
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Late Night WATB Open Thread: “RIGGED!”

This is the first, Saturday-night-rude version of what will probably be several posts on Lord Smallfinger Shitgibbon’s latest hate-mongering performance skits. Sometimes only a satirist can do justice to the essential meanness (as in: lack of quality or attractiveness; shabbiness) of Donald Trump…

And futhermore…

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Early Morning Open Thread — Answer: Yes.

Trump’s like one of those porch lights that sends out a pheromonal signal to moths, only for horrible people instead of nuisance insects.

I’m honestly afraid to speculate on actions that might be too base even for Littlefinger ShitGibbon, because then there will be another tape released of those very actions within 24 hours…

Late Night Open Thread: “… The Christian Aristocrats!”

As some of us remember all too well, Jerry Falwell Senior made a great profit for himself and his Liberty University project by embracing Ronald Reagan’s most thuggish social policies as the mouthpiece of his very own “Moral Majority“. Now, just as Trump’s campaign has managed to permanently damage the (undeserved) reputations of a number of Reagan-era political holdovers, it looks like he’s going to bang up some of the Religious Reicht’s most valuable second-gen players on his way to flaming out.

From the Washington Post, “Liberty University students protest association with Trump“:

Students at Liberty University have issued a statement against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as young conservatives at colleges across the state reconsider support for his campaign.

A statement issued late Wednesday by the group Liberty United Against Trump strongly rebuked the candidate as well as the school’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., for defending Trump after he made extremely lewd comments about women in a 2005 video. The students wrote that Falwell’s support for Trump had cast a stain on the school’s reputation.

“We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history,” the statement said. “Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him. … He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose.”…

Paul Ryan attempted to faith-shame Clinton staffers, got rebuked by actual practicing Catholics:

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