Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

As Joe Biden continues to lead the polls, Donald Trump has decided that scaring voters into reelecting him or else he leaves America in a position where Democrats can't save the economy from a depression is his best choice for winning in November.

President Trump seems to believe that stirring up “American carnage” benefits him. He imagines he’ll be better off as things get worse for the rest of us. Is that a winning strategy?

It would be a mistake to overestimate Trump’s ethics (non-existent) and to underestimate his political talent (considerable). He beat down the Republican establishment and defeated a favored opponent in 2016. Four years ago, he knowingly took advantage of foreign interference in the campaign. Back then, Americans wondered whether the Russian intervention was about Trump or about chaos. It was about both.

Chaos was the plan. The worse for America, the better for Russia.

Today, Trump faces a totally different situation in this campaign than he did in 2016, and he knows it. Four years ago, he did not have to win. Had he lost, he could have claimed victory, mocked Hillary Clinton on Twitter, and schlocked his way to retirement. The carefree attitude he evinced back then is notably absent today. The advisers of 2016 are now convicted felons or charged with felonies. By now, Trump himself has been thoroughly investigated, and the prosecutors are lining up. Only the office of the presidency saves him, as he understands.

Like all authoritarians, he aims to die in a comfortable bed rather than in prison. He cannot bear to lose, and he is smart enough to know he is losing. Since he cannot coast and expect victory, he has two options: the democratic one of making things better to attract votes, and the lawless one of courting strife.

He is certainly not making things better. He let covid-19 spread on the logic that it would spare “his people,” but does nothing now even though it is killing his constituents. He could save countless lives by modeling good hygiene, but he will not. He could improve the economy by insisting on meaningful unemployment compensation, but he will not. A democratic politician would work against pestilence and depression; Trump understands that rage can be redirected.

The worse, the better: from the Leninists to the Putinists, one tyrannical tactic has remained the same — let people suffer, transform the anger into killing, blame an invisible conspiracy for your own deeds, and then try to pick up the pieces.

If Trump goes down, he's leaving America an ungovernable wasteland with massive unemployment, deep in the throes of a deadly pandemic, and on the edge of a white supremacist race war. He has now given up on improving anything before the election.

President Trump told reporters at a Labor Day briefing on Monday that he is "taking the high road" by not meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to negotiate the next coronavirus stimulus package.
Why it matters: Unemployment benefits have expired for millions of Americans, but House Democrats and the White House are no closer to a deal — while nearly one in eight households are struggling to get enough to eat.

What he's saying: "I don't need to meet with them to be turned down," Trump told reporters. "They don't want to make a deal because they think if the country does as badly as possible ... that's good for the Democrats." 
"I am taking the high road. I'm taking the high road by not seeing them," he added.

If he goes down, he's taking millions of us with him.  And he could coerce millions of votes this way.

He knows the only thing awaiting him is Hell.

He wants us to make the journey with him.

Trump's Race To The Bottom, Con't

NY Times columnist Peter Baker finally calls Trump what he is: the most vocal defender of a white America.

Not in generations has a sitting president so overtly declared himself the candidate of white America. While Mr. Trump’s campaign sought to temper the culture war messaging at the Republican National Convention last month by showcasing Black and Hispanic supporters who denied that he is a racist, the president himself has increasingly made appeals to the grievances of white supporters a centerpiece of his campaign to win a second term.

The message appears designed to galvanize supporters who have cheered what they see as a defiant stand against political correctness since the days when he kicked off his last presidential campaign in 2015 by denouncing, without evidence, Mexicans crossing the border as “rapists.” While he initially voiced concern over the killing of George Floyd under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis this spring, which touched off nationwide protests, he has focused since then almost entirely on defending the police and condemning demonstrations during which there have been outbreaks of looting and violence.

He has described American cities as hotbeds of chaos, played to “suburban housewives” he casts as fearful of low-income people moving into their neighborhoods, sought to block a move — backed by the Pentagon and Republican lawmakers — to rename Army bases named for Confederate generals, criticized NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag, called Black Lives Matters a “symbol of hate” and vowed to strip funding from cities that do not take what he deems tough enough action against protesters.

In effect, he is reaching out to a subset of white voters who think the news media and political elites see Trump supporters as inherently racist. Mr. Trump has repeatedly rejected the notion that America has a problem with systemic racial bias, dismissing instances of police brutality against Black Americans as the work of a few “bad apples,” in his words.

“Trump is the most extreme, and he has done something that is beyond the bounds of anything we have seen,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “Playing with racism is a dangerous game. It’s not that you can do it a little bit or do it slyly or do it with a dog whistle. It’s all dangerous, and it’s all potentially violent.”

Aides said Mr. Trump’s actions were aimed at eliminating pernicious views that actually exacerbate prejudice. “President Trump believes that all men and women are created equal, and he will stand against anti-American philosophies of all kinds that promote racial division,” Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said on Sunday.

Public views of Mr. Trump flow through a racial prism. A poll by CBS News last week found that 66 percent of registered voters believed Mr. Trump favored white people, versus 4 percent who said he worked against their interests. By contrast, 20 percent thought he favored Black people and 50 percent said he worked against Black people. Among Black voters, 81 percent said he worked against their interests.

In the poll, Mr. Trump led former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger, among white voters by 51 percent to 43 percent, but trailed among Black voters with just 9 percent support, compared with 85 percent for Mr. Biden. Among Hispanic voters, Mr. Biden led by 63 percent to 25 percent.

I mean I've been saying this for years now, but to see a white Times columnist admit it is something else. And yes, he's 100% correct. Trump is the candidate of white grievance politics, pure and simple. It's a smart move on his part, the American electorate is 70% white, and in battleground states it's at least 70% white, if not 80% or even 90%. It's basic math.

Let's take a look at 2016 Wisconsin, where Trump won by 23k votes out of almost 3 million total votes, or 0.75%. CNN's exit poll of the state shows a pretty bleak picture for one of the biggest Rust Belt union manufacturing states.

Wisconsin's electorate was 86% white then. It's probably going to be a couple points less now, but even a small shift in these categories could have changed the race.  Also, Libertarian Gary Johnson's presence almost certainly made Trump's victory smaller than it would have been without him in the race.

Biden is specifically doing better than Clinton with white college-educated men, and with non-college educated white women. That's where he's getting his lead from.  But Trump doesn't need a lot in order to shift the race back to him in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and even Minnesota.

So far, Biden's lead in Wisconsin polling is remaining remarkably steady at right at seven points.

That also means that there remains a healthy chunk of undecided/other voters out there too. And they all broke for Trump in the last two weeks of the election. Trump is playing the final strategy, and it's his best card for a reason.

What I'm saying is, we have work to do up to the election and for years afterward.

Climate Of Destruction, Con't

Over the weekend, California broiled like the desert it is, with temps in the LA basin hitting 121 degrees.

As a historic heat wave left Southern California broiling, Woodland Hills on Sunday recorded an all-time high of 121 degrees, which the National Weather Service said was the hottest temperature recorded at an official weather station in Los Angeles County.

It broke the old record of 119 degrees set in July of 2006 and was one of several records to fall on Sunday. The NWS said Riverside hit its highest temperature ever for September at 117 degrees; Santa Ana hit a record high for the day at 106.

Escondido achieved an all-time high of 115 degrees, shattering a record set in 1909. Idyllwild hit 103, tying an all-time record.

Woodland Hills is one of the hottest parts of Los Angeles and often records extreme temperatures. But the 121 degree reading — taken at Pierce College — marked the highest temperature from an official NWS station from both only L.A. County but also Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
In some areas, Sunday was even hotter than Saturday, where the mercury hit historic levels in some areas. Officials said at least three areas tied or topped all-time record highs Saturday: Alpine (113), El Cajon (114) and Idyllwild (103). The weather service said Burbank appeared to tie an all-time record at 114 degrees.

A slight cooling trend should begin Monday. Even though areas could see temperatures drop by 10 degrees, many locations will remain in the triple digits.

Officials, meanwhile, are warning of possible rolling blackouts because of demand on the power supply brought on by the heat.

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the electric grid for much of the state, declared a Stage 2 Emergency on Saturday night and warned it could order utilities to institute rotating power outages.

Keep in mind also that this is happening in September, and not July.

Extreme climate change is already here, now.  Temps will only get hotter in the years ahead. Large parts of the US will be rendered unsustainable pretty soon unless we do something about it.

And I know this sounds like a broken record, but that all starts with getting rid of Trump and taking back the Senate. Republicans will never allow us to deal with climate change, period.

They have to go.


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