Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election day: where we are and why

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” — Donald Trump

PAUL AND I are off to door-knock and drive people to the polls. We've (literally) not been able to sleep for worrying about this election, so it's best on this day to distract ourselves by doing things we hope will help.

A few days ago, after a great deal of soul-searching, I wrote a post on Facebook that said, "I've thought about this deeply over the course of this campaign: If you have voted for Trump or plan to, unfriend me now. I do not want to know you. It's not because you're usually, perhaps even always, a Republican. But not this time. This is different. There is no excuse."

I was startled to receive a reply from a woman I know, a woman I have heretofore always viewed as kind, gracious and intelligent, someone I like well enough to have her birthday noted on my calendar, letting me know that she would be following my instructions and 'unfriending' me.

I was honestly shocked . . . not that she was complying with my wishes, but that she fit the profile. It gave me pause, and inspired more soul-searching.

I've always wondered where the tipping point was for Nazi-era Germany as a country and for its individual citizens. How did seemingly moral, intelligent people allow a fascist psychopath to rise to power? When was there no going back?

It was multi-layered, but somewhere along the line each person and the combined populace failed to draw a line in the sand.  

Supporting and voting for Donald Trump, a man who is clearly fascistic by inclination and temperament, is my line in the sand. 

I don't think it's hyperbole to label him as such. 

– He wants to ban Muslims from entering the country, and inveighs against the ones who are 
already our fellow citizens. 

– He forcibly ejects people he doesn't like from his rallies. 

– He incites violence, suggesting that those who are second-amendment supporters could 'take care of' Hillary

– He does not disavow people who proudly advertise slogans on T-shirts and signs such as "Trump that bitch" and "Tree. Rope. Journalist." 

– He condemns Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as "rapists and murderers."

– He wants to clamp down on immigration, particularly illegal immigration, when he himself married not one, but two immigrants, the latest of whom it has now been proved worked in this country illegally before she was permitted to do so.

– He does not reject the blatant racism of his supporters like David Duke or his endorsement by the KKK.

– He has relentlessly and incorrectly called Barack Obama a Muslim and denied our duly elected president's legitimate, native-born citizenship.  

– He lies uncontrollably (statistically calculated by a well-regarded, non-partisan fact-checking organization as every 3.5 minutes when he speaks), even about that which is easily and factually disprovable. 

– He threatens to have his enemies jailed. 

– He has stated outright that he may not accept the results of the election if he doesn't win, thereby thwart the Constitution

– He's spoken openly about his willingness to resort to the nuclear option in war.

– He has spurious, misogynistic views of women.

– He has groped and sexually assailed at least a dozen women that we know of, and his denial has consisted of pointing out that they were hot enough for him to want to grope.

– He has low mental acuity; his own biographer (that he hired) estimates his working vocabulary at 200 words whereas as an average normal adult has a vocabulary of of 20,000 to 35,000 words, and an average eight-year-old child knows 10,000 words.

– He's stiffed contractors and workers for millions of dollars for work he hired them to do, yet talks about "creating jobs."

– He has such a lack of impulse control that his campaign managers had to take away his access to his twitter account.

– He has been deemed by numerous mental health professionals as pathologically narcissistic.

Yup, that's my line in the sand.

PS: If you haven't already read the essay by an Iraq war veteran that is contained in this link: An Iraq War Veteran Speaks to the Election — it's so worth your time.

PPS: Below is an excellent piece from the today's edition of NBC News.

The 2016 Election Has Been the Final Battle of the Obama War

By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

November 8, 2016

One way to view the presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is it being the final battle of the eight-year-long Obama War. Think about it: you have one candidate (Clinton) who has embraced 98% of Obama's agenda, as the current president has spent much of the fall campaigning for her, including last night in Philadelphia. 

And you have the other candidate (Trump) who not only first entered the political fray of the Obama era by questioning the president's birthplace and legitimacy for office, but who is also Obama's polar opposite in so many ways. That's why the divides we see in this Clinton vs. Trump contest — on race, gender, age, and geography — were the same ones we spotted eight years ago. 

The Obama era has featured so many different political battles. 2008: Obamacare and the debt-ceiling standoff. 2012: the government shutdown and the 2014 midterms election.

And tonight is the final one. Which side will win? There are no certainties in politics, but the side who has a current president with a 53% approval rating in the last NBC/WSJ poll has the upper hand. 

And a Clinton win would be affirmation that Obama is the Democratic Party's Ronald Reagan. Indeed, remember the last time a party won a third-straight presidential election was in 1988, when George HW Bush succeeded a popular Reagan.

Eight years later, of course, "Hope and Change" has transformed into the ugliest and most disheartening political race we can EVER remember. "The nation's democracy has been battered by a Category political storm unlike anything seen in the modern era," one of us writes. "As election day dawns, there isn't a political figure or institution in the country that has avoided damage from the unrelenting battering the 2016 presidential campaign has unleashed." And it's everyone's responsibility to begin cleaning up the mess starting tomorrow. That includes:

– A Republican Party that has become too racially homogenous, that has all too often refused to govern when not holding the White House, and that hasn't listened to many of its voters.

– A Democratic Party that has lost touch with many of the white working-class voters who had been its base in Roosevelt era, and that is becoming less 'big tent-ish' than it was eight years ago.

– A media that despite producing some excellent journalism this cycle, first focused too much on Trump and not his supporters and then helped normalize so much of the ugliness we've seen over the past year.

– A Congress whose inability to do the bare minimum helped give rise to the anger that fueled Trump and (to a lesser extent) Bernie Sanders.

– And a President-Elect Clinton or President-Elect Trump who would start off with the highest negative poll numbers in the modern era.

All of the ways in which Trump smashed so many norms

To help make American politics great again, it's also important to list all the ways in which Donald Trump smashed so many norms that have damaged our political system. The Huffington Post's Sam Stein lists them:

– Trump became the first major party candidate in 40 years not to release his tax returns during an election

– He was openly hostile to the media

– He called for the jailing of his opponent

– He made it more acceptable to single out and target minority groups

– He admonished veterans and current military leaders

– He attacked the spouses of his rivals

– And he openly delegitimized the election process by repeatedly suggesting the results will be rigged

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