Will The Senate Turn Blue On November 4th?

              Want the good news? Yesterday while Trump was telling his minions in North Carolina that he had done more for them than any living or dead person had ever done for them since Jesus Christ, the national aggregate polls notched up slightly for Joe and so did the state-level polls in the Tar Heel state. The polls have also widened in the three states – MI, PA, WI – whose electoral votes combined with the Communist/Fascist/Socialist/ I-don’t-know-what-ist states give Joe what he needs.

              That’s the good news. Now here’s the not-so-good news. The Democrats need to flip 4 Senate seats and not lose any states in order to control the Upper House. They don’t seem to be losing any of their current seats, but all of a sudden their ability to grab 4 GOP seats may be in doubt.

              Here’ how it looks today:

              We still have a strong lead in Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina but Montana, which was trending slightly blue when we last checked the polls back on August 24th, is now trending slightly red.  And Iowa, incidentally, was always going to be very tight.

              When it comes to voting for President, Montana has been a typical Western (i.e., GOP) state.  On the other hand, in 5 of the last 6 contests for Senate, the Democratic candidate has finished on top. The only election since 2002 where a Montana Senate seat was up for grabs and won by the GOP was in 2014, when the incumbent, Steve Daines, won his first election and now is trying to hold onto his seat.

              Bullock has been a stalwart Trump supporter in a state that didn’t register many Covid-19 cases until mid-July.  But every day the Montana media is now reporting 100 or more cases statewide, in a state with just slightly over 1 million residents, which makes the pandemic big and scary news. If the virus continues to increase to increase in Montana the way it is beginning to spread in other Western states, the Senate race in Montana might become a plebiscite on how Trump has handled the disease. If not, perhaps not.

              I happen to think that regaining the Senate majority is more important for the blue team than getting someone to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year.  When your party controls both Houses of Congress you can impeach the President whenever you want. And even though the latest news about how the Postmaster General appears to be nothing more than yet another crook who has latched onto Trump, there’s something to be said about the authority of the legislative branch when all the leaves on the tree are colored blue.

              This week we get Michael Cohen’s book and next week we get Bob Woodward’s account. The early excerpts from Woodward’s book are out there and of course what he tells us is what we already know, namely that we have a President who conduct is false and destructive in every respect.

              But are these books going to be read by enough residents in Montana to swing the election back to the blue team? Are these books going to change the mind of one, single individual who has decided that for better or worse, he or she is sticking with Trump?

              I’m not sure if I could give a correct response to either question. All I know is that every day I put my money where my mouth is so here’s where I just spent a little time and left some cash behind: https://stevebullock.com/.

Why Do We Have Urban Violence? WTFK.

Many of my readers may not be old enough to remember the urban riots that occurred in Newark, Detroit, and many other cities during the summer months of 1967. But I remember them very well because I spent that summer driving across the country to enroll in graduate school, and it seemed that just about every city I drove through was experiencing some degree of civil unrest.

What was the reaction to those riots? The Right said that law and order had broken down and needed to be restored. The Left said that the violence, burnings, and lootings were a response to police brutality, poverty, and other ways in which African-Americans were getting screwed. The federal government appointed a commission to study the problem, various community leaders, religious and otherwise, called for calm.

Here we are, more than fifty years later, and the same scenario is playing out again. The cops shoot some unarmed guy or stomp someone to death, the video goes viral, the crowds go into the streets, Trump calls for the police to crack down on the lawbreakers, Joe says that what happened is ‘too bad.’

If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you a little historical perspective on all this.

In 1936, a civil war broke out in Spain which resulted in the appearance of a brutal, Fascist regime. Headed by Francisco Franco, the dictatorship lasted until 1975.

The 1936-39 civil war unleashed a level of violence and death that touched just about everyone living in Spain. Franco kept the country from any further unrest by cracking down on anyone who said or did anything that evoked feelings on either side. It was said that ‘ni palabra ni pio’ was allowed, which meant not a word, not a sound.

When Franco died, everyone believed that the violence would break out again. After all, many of the people who were killed, tortured, or expelled from the country had relatives and close friends who were still alive.

Know what happened? In short order Spain went from being the most,repressive political regime to what is the most progressive, liberated and openly free society in Europe today. And it happened without so much as a peep. Not one shot was fired, not one old score was settled with violence, things moved on.

Now let’s look at what happened in Yugoslavia, during and after World War II. The country was invaded by the Nazis but a strong, left-wing resistance led by Joseph Broz Tito pushed the Wehrmacht out of the country by the end of 1944 with Tito then taking power and running the country for the next 36 years.

During and after the war, all kinds of personal and political scores were settled, the estimates of deaths run into the several millions, nobody knows how many were killed. What we do know is that Tito installed the same kind of repressive government from the Left that Franco installed from the Right. If you wanted to say anything which might be considered a challenge to the Tito regime, you better say it outside the country, not within.

It took 11 years for things to unravel after Tito’s demise, but in 1991 a series of violent conflicts broke out which ultimately resulted in the disappearance of Yugoslavia, the emergence of six separate nation-states, and the loss of as many as 200,000 lives. As late as 2010, there are still more than 10,000 people who disappeared and have never been seen again.

How is it that a repressive regime goes away in one country without so much as the slightest violence at all, and in another country, the same shift from dictatorship to democracy causes thousands of lives to be destroyed? I’ll give you an answer right out of the corporate playbook: WTFK (Who The F### Knows.)

I have been listening to the Right and the Left ‘explain’ urban violence in America to me for what is now more than 50 years and at some point, I go back to what happened in Yugoslavia and Spain. The only thing I can say about what happened in those two countries and what is happening in Kenosha, Portland and other American cities right now is WTFK.

But I’m still going to vote for Joe and Kammie and you better vote for them too.

Want To Overcome Covid-19? Try Race-Baiting. Works Every Time.

              In 1953, the Supreme Court ruled that ‘separate wasn’t equal,’ and that Blacks were second-class citizens, notwithstanding the 13th Amendment passed in 1865.  Two years later, a seamstress working in a department store in Montgomery, AL named Rosa Parks, refused a driver’s order to sit in the back of the bus, and the modern, civil rights campaign began. The campaign culminated in August, 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech before more than a quarter of a million gathered in Washington, D.C.

              Two years later, thanks to the arm-twisting by a Southern liberal named Lyndon Johnson, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were passed. Three years later, Richard Nixon promised political leaders from the Confederate states that he would ‘go slow’ on enforcing federal civil rights laws, a clever strategy that completely remade the political alignment of the United States.

              What used to be the ‘solid South’ for Democrats is now even more solid for the GOP. And to keep this alignment intact so that populous, liberal states like New York and California don’t dominate the Electoral College map, the GOP finds it both convenient and sometimes necessary to fashion their national campaigns around the issue of race.

              Remember Ronald Reagan’s ‘welfare queen?’ Sure, Reagan peppered every stump speech with various one-liners designed to back up his argument that government social programs were no good. But did he have to use such a blatant racist appeal to drive home the idea that welfare was bad? He didn’t, but he did.

              Then in 1988, George Bush was behind in all the polls until he ran his Willie Horton ad which showed a Black guy who was given a furlough from jail and immediately went out and committed some terrible crimes. You mean the Massachusetts penal system hadn’t given an early release to some White guy who then committed the same crimes or worse? Of course it had.

              Race happens to be the only domestic issue over which the two political parties take a fundamentally different approach. But you’ll say – hey, wait a minute, what about taxes? Republicans always cut taxes while Democrats love to spend. So guess who was responsible for signing a bill that has contributed the most personal income to the U.S. Treasury of all time. The great tax-cutter Ronald Reagan, who doubled the payroll tax rate in 1983.

              Racial issues took a back seat in the Presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, and to his credit, John McCain went out of his way to stamp out racial references during his campaign. Romney had enough problems defending himself as a hard-hearted plutocrat in 2012 and, after all, it wasn’t polite to throw racial epithets at the President of the United States.

              Those reservations on the part of the GOP have become completely undone by a Republican President who goes out of his way to stoke racial resentments every chance he gets. You think his description of Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists’ isn’t an appeal to racist fears? You think when Trump laughed and said, “Where’s my African-America?” at a California campaign stop that he wasn’t invoking the worst, most insidious form of race-baiting that there ever was? Yea, big joke.

              This is a time when people are scared. This is a time when people are afraid. What happens when people get scared? They take out their fears and worries by looking for someone or something to blame.

When the corona virus first appeared, Trump blamed the World Health Organization and the Chinese. The only problem is that after he got done telling everyone that it was someone else’s fault, the virus continued to spread.

We are at the point that this pandemic may actually result in adding more than 10 percent to the number of Americans who die in 2020 compared to the number who normally die every year. So the fear will continue to grow, which means that Trump needs to find another target, and what better-proven target is out there than the idea that a bunch of Black thugs are running around burning down the place?

Think Trump wants to go to Kenosha to sit down with the family of Jacob Blake?

Please get a flu shot. Please.

Michael Moore Says Trump Can Win Again. So Where Are All Those ‘Hidden’ Votes?

              I am astonished at how the mainstream (read: liberal) media continues to promote a totally incorrect narrative about the outcome of the 2016 election and has now produced one of their champion big-mouth spielers, Michael Moore, to promote the same nonsense again.

            Yells The Guardian: “Michael Moore warns that Donald Trump is on course to repeat 2016 win. Film-maker says enthusiasm for president in swing states is ‘off the charts’ and urges everyone to commit to getting 100 people to vote.”         

              What is this rant based on? A single CNN poll released on August 17 which showed Biden leading Trump by only four points. Want to see the poll? It’s right here. And of course the moment Moore shot off his mouth, Trump immediately tweeted that ‘Mikey’ Moore was the man who really understood why he’s going to win again.

              Remember how everyone was saying that the polls all got it wrong in 2016? They didn’t. They got it right. Completely right. The national aggregate polls showed Hillary winning the popular vote by a margin of 3 points, which is exactly how the popular vote turned out. As for those swing states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin – that out of nowhere went for Trump, if anyone would have taken the trouble to look at state-level polls over the last several months, this is what they would have found.

              They would have found that in all the states which went from blue to red in 2016, the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, was polling 7-8% of the pre-election vote. But when the votes were counted after the election took place, he didn’t get 4% in any swing state. In other words, half of the Libertarian voters who didn’t like Trump but really disliked Hillary in the weeks prior to the 2016 election decided right at the end that they didn’t want to waste their vote.

              I may not know how to conduct a political poll, but I know how to add and subtract. If you take the pre-election Libertarian vote and then compare it to how the Libertarian Party actually fared in every swing state, the difference is what moved those states from blue to red.

              Guess what? It’s not happening this year because conservative voters, no matter how they feel about Joe, are solidly behind Trump and their numbers have already been counted in pre-election polls. Right now in swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, the Libertarian candidate, Jo Johnson, is polling at 2 percent, the Sedaris dog-shit vote (i.e., people who still don’t know how they are going to vote) is running around 4 percent.

              Back in 2016, as late as one week before the actual election, the percentage of voters who said they weren’t ready to vote for either Hillary or Trump ranged from ten to fourteen percent. Right now, the total dog-shit vote, including the folks who say they are still voting for either the Libertarian or the Green candidate, is slightly more than 7 percent.

              Want to see how all that enthusiasm for Trump will drive his victory in the swing states? Take a look at the more than 60 ‘events’ listed on the official Trump campaign website, which are described as ‘leadership training events.’ Then read the single, best article yet written on the 2020 campaign by a reporter for New York Magazine, who wandered around some working-class towns in Pennsylvania trying to attend some of those events. To sum up: there were no events.

              Trump goes up to New Hampshire on Friday and does a rally that attracts 1,400 adoring fans. Note the empty chairs:

 

Black Lives Matter and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network brought at least 50,000 people to a rally in D.C. and the NBA owners just announced they will open their stadiums to make it easier and safer for people to come out and vote. Notice the ‘empty’ seats:

              I’m actually glad that Michael Moore doesn’t want us to take anything for granted. I agree with him that any lessening of concern for the November outcome would be a huge mistake.

              But let’s understand something else. I don’t want the blue team to just squeak through and allow Trump to continue lying about how the election has been ‘rigged.’ I want his rear end to be really kicked in. In other words, vote early and vote often, thanks again Al Capone.

               

             

Donald Trump Commits The Biggest Crime Of All.

              Back in 2016 as I recovered from the shock of Trump becoming the 45th President, it occurred to me that his electoral victory was all the more traumatic because his campaign used strategies never seen before. There were those huge, raucous rallies, often held in multiple states on the same day. There was the speaking style of the candidate himself – loud, profane, insulting and completely devoid of any concern about the facts. Finally, there was social media and the banging out of daily, mostly illiterate tweets.

              The campaign didn’t end the day his Administration began. If anything, Trump increased the intensity and tempo of his media and verbal assaults, going after anyone and everyone who disagreed with anything he said or did.

              The one group, however, who were largely spared being the victims of his anger were his various friends, associates and staffers who were indicted and convicted of crimes. I’m thinking of Flynn, Manafort, Gates, Representatives Collins, and Hunter, and now Bannon, the biggest fish of them all. And let’s not forget Trump’s good buddy Jerry Falwell, Jr., who hasn’t been indicted yet but who knows?

              I watched the first 90 minutes of the GOP convention last night, which when the show first started up there was a banner running on the bottom of the screen announcing that the evening’s program was going to contain some big ‘surprise.’ The big surprise was that I didn’t fall asleep twenty minutes or so into the program – the whole thing was really that boring and slow.

              Most of the program took place in the rotunda of the Mellon Gallery, which is a large space that can easily contain hundreds of people at the same time. How many people were in the room besides the speakers? Not one. Of course the camera stayed right on the speaker, you were never shown the empty room. But it was empty, and for all the talk about how the GOP convention was going to be a ‘live’ event that would contrast favorably with the made-for-TV video event held by the Democrats, there was almost a ghoulish quality about the whole affair.

              What the GOP convention underscored more than anything else, however, was the fact that with all the criminality that has been associated with the Trump Administration, the biggest crime is being committed by Trump himself every day. What’s his crime? To paraphrase my dear, late friend Jimmy Breslin, Trump has become a bore. He’s lost the shock value of Twitter, nobody really cares when he refers to his opponent as ‘sleepy Joe,’ and his brief appearance last night in the East Room of the White House when he re-told the same, endless lies about his response to Covid-19 really did put me to sleep.

              As of this morning, Joe now holds a 9.3 lead over Trump in Nate Silver’s aggregate, national poll. This is the widest gap between the two campaigns since July 12th. In all three states that Joe needs to get to 270 electoral votes – Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania – he has hit the 50% mark and is ahead of Trump by 7-8 points. Joe is also 6 points up on Trump in Florida, in mid-June they were basically tied.

              Know why Biden is beating the pants off of Trump right now? Precisely because everyone’s sick and tired of Trump’s lying, whining, and insulting while, meanwhile, the virus keeps killing 1,000 Americans every day. More than 80 guys and gals in four different states who went to the Harley rally in Sturgis have now been infected with the virus, by the way.

              Joe’s the perfect candidate for a time of national anxiety precisely because he’s always been boring, that’s his shtick. But Trump is now guilty of committing the same crime and with him it just doesn’t fit.

              Incidentally, the latest African-American athlete to go alt-right and appear on the GOP cavalcade last night is the former running back, Herschel Walker, who turned pro in 1983 and first played for a team called the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League. The league went defunct and Walker ended up having a good career with four teams in the NFL.

              Know who owned and then took the Generals into bankruptcy? A guy named Donald Trump.

Trump Believes In Equal Opportunity. For Crooks.

              I was born in 1944 and until 1956 lived in Washington, D.C.  My grammar school, like all public schools in D.C., was segregated until 1954, following the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Since the D.C. schools were on Federal property, they had to integrate right away. And once the schools started to integrate, ditto the neighborhoods as well. We lived in what had been an all-White neighborhood in Northwest, it became at least 50% Black almost immediately.

              I really didn’t notice any difference and to this day I don’t register skin color when I meet or talk to someone other than Leonard Mermelstein, who happens to be one of my cats. People are people, it doesn’t matter whether they are White, Black, Brown, straight, gay, LGBTQ or whatever they happen to be. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who moves into my neighborhood as long as I can drive down to the corner and pick up the takeout from the Chinese. I must say that last night’s spareribs tasted wonderful for lunch today.

              Back to the 1950’s, okay? One of our new neighbors in D.C. was a Black guy who worked downtown in the USPS headquarters building in the Federal Triangle. He had some kind of management position and his son was a student at my public school.

              Many years later, I happened by chance to read his obituary in The (failing) New York Times. When he retired from the USPS, he was the highest-ranking Black official in the organization, having worked his way up from being a letter-carrier in his native city of Richmond, VA. But the reason he got an obit in The New York Times was because during World War II he was the only Black who commanded a warship.

              His command was a 60-man submarine tender that was in numerous Pacific battle zones during World War II. He mustered out of the service in 1945, returned to his native Richmond and got a job delivering the mail. A naval commander delivering the mail.

              This man worked his way up to the top managerial ranks in not one organization, but two. And he did it at a time when Blacks were rarely found at even the lowest ranks of any government organization, never mind an organization as lily-White as the U.S. Navy.

              I thought about this man several times over the last couple of days and my thoughts went like this: How many other men and women could have made the contributions to our country that this man made, had they been given half the chance? When we talk about discrimination, we usually focus on how racism and sexism robs the victims from their just rewards. But the real victims of racial and gender hatred are all of us because we don’t reap the benefits of what people who have been discriminated against might have otherwise achieved.

              It’s all fine and well that my man Barack got up there and talked eloquently and forcefully about preserving American ‘ideals.’ Maybe that’s his agenda, but I’m not going to vote for Joe and Kammie because I want to ‘save Democracy’ or some other high-sounding woof-woof like that.

              I’m going to vote blue because I want everyone to have an opportunity to make a contribution to this civic enterprise known as the United States. And if we have learned one thing from watching Trump since 2016, it’s that the only people getting an equal opportunity with him are crooks like Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, who use their access to Trump to enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense. Which is what the polite term ‘money laundering’ really means.

              I’ll have more to say about Steve Bannon and those pre-election polls next week.

              Right now, please wear a mask at all times, keep your kids out of the classroom and stay safe.

The Perfect Choice!

I was going to write a column today on state-level campaign polls and what they show and don’t show. But obviously today it’s incumbent upon all of us to spend a little time thinking about Joe’s perfect choice. And Kamala really is the perfect choice, but you’ll have to read to the end of this text to see why.

Now you would think that the RNC would have gotten together with the Trump campaign at some point and put together some clear, coherent talking points to be used for whichever person ended up being picked by Joe. After all, once Joe said that he was going to choose a woman of color, it’s not as if this made it difficult to figure out who would end up on the short list.

I listened to and watched at least 5 radio and TV shock-jocks yesterday and today, and their reactions to Kamala ranged from stupid, to incoherent and back to stupid again. They couldn’t figure out whether her ‘tough-on-crime’ policy as the California AG was good or bad for either the Democrats or the GOP; they couldn’t figure out whether coming from a far-Left state like California where they teach Marxism in the public schools was good or bad; and one of them repeatedly mis-pronounced her name.

But the worst ‘let me tell you about your Kamala’ performance was turned in by none other than America’s wartime leader himself, who answered a couple of non-question questions from Sean Hannity and then launched into a rant about the Russian ‘hoax’ and the economic threat posed by windmills.

Back in 1982-84, I was Public Information Officer for the New York State Assembly, which means I worked for the Democratic leadership headed by the Assembly Speaker, Stanley Fink. At one point I mentioned to the Speaker that the incoming Governor, Mario Cuomo, seemed to be getting very good press. To which the Speaker replied, “You always look good until someone starts leaning on you.”

We need to remember that until just a couple of month’s ago, nobody was leaning on Trump. Sure, he was occasionally asked a real question by some Deep State reporter which he didn’t bother to answer; sure, the liberal blogs ran negative stories about him which nobody read; sure, he was attacked by the House political leadership, Pelosi, et. al., at news conferences that nobody watched. Everyone knew that the impeachment would never even get to a Senate vote, and until Joe basically cleaned up in the primary campaign, the various would-be Democratic Presidential candidates spent most of their time attacking each other – Trump would have to wait.

But the waiting is now over and guess what? Trump isn’t going to be leaned on by one candidate but by two. And know why Kamala is the perfect choice to be Number 2? Because she’s so much like a Number 1. She’s Presidential in every sense of the word. She gets up on a stage in front of people and you know she’s really there.

What a perfect, perfect choice.

Who Makes Up Trump’s Real Base?

              Christopher Caldwell is what we would call a ‘responsible’ conservative advocate and publicist, as opposed to someone like Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham who peddle various self-help medical ‘remedies’ and so-called news which is nothing but pure crap. He now hangs out at the Claremont Institute, which is a right-wing think tank with emphasis on ‘right’ and not ‘think.’

              Anyway, he came out with a book in January which attempts to explain the Trump phenomenon by promoting the idea that many Whites have been attracted to Trump because of how the 1964 Civil Rights Act ended up being used to advance opportunities for all kinds of groups – women, Hispanics, illegal immigrants – except one group; i.e., Whites. In fact, as the fortunes of all these other groups went up through what he says are mis-applications of the Civil Rights law, the fortunes of many Whites have gone down.

              The book is basically an argument against ‘intersectionality’ and PC; the former meaning putting disparate groups together into one, organized mass, the latter meaning what we all know PC to mean. Caldwell argues that this strategy depended on using he Civil Rights law in an extra-Constitutional way, meaning that Obama could reward his supporters by creating government programs and financial rewards without going through traditional legislative channels at all.

              Caldwell spices his argument up with descriptions of events here and there where liberal policy-makers and/or advocates sometimes tried to move the needle a little too far. So, for example, Obama could instruct his Department of Agriculture to make school lunch menus contain more ‘healthy’ foods, and if the kids didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t eat a Hershey bar for lunch, too bad for them.

              Where did Trump come from and how did he understand that White men and women were feeling resentful towards a liberal elite which was rewarding other groups while ignoring or penalizing them? Answer: The rise of the Tea Party which reflected the fact that “those who lost most from the new rights-based politics were white men.” [P. 276.]

              Caldwell’s book is just the latest in a long line of explanations (from both conservatives and liberals, by the way) which uses the rhetoric of the Tea Party to explain both Trump’s 2016 victory as well as the continued support of his ‘base.’ Which is all well and good except that the resentments and anger of the so-called forgotten White majority didn’t first emerge in a rant by CNBC’s Rick Santelli in 2009.

              The GOP has been making common cause with pissed-off White men since Jerry Falwell invented the Moral Majority back in 1979. And what were these White men pissed off about back then? They were pissed off at the fact that a Southerner named Jimmy Carter was reversing Richard Nixon’s pledge to ‘go slow’ on civil rights.

              To deny that the Republican Party hasn’t been playing the race card since Reagan was elected if not before, is to deny the reality of American politics from then until now. And how Caldwell can write an entire book about why White men support Trump and not mention Jerry Falwell even once is beyond me.

              Where did Trump after he was elected President give his first commencement speech? At Liberty University on May 12, 2017. He also spoke at Liberty University in January, 2016. And even though he referred to the Second Corinthians as the ‘”two Corinthians,” he was greeted like a conquering hero by his good friend Jerry Falwell, Jr., who compared him favorably to Ronald Reagan and – ready? – Martin Luther King!

              The only place where anyone would ever dare mention Trump’s name and Martin Luther King’s name in the same positive terms would be at an Evangelical university which was founded by a guy who wanted to give White parents a place where they could send their children to a segregated school.

              This is what Trump’s so-called ‘base’ is based on: racism pure and simple. Nothing else. And no matter what Trump and his acolytes say, racism just isn’t all that popular anymore, which is why all of a sudden Trump’s tweet today refers to his electoral opponent as ‘Joe Biden.’

              What happened to ‘Sleepy Joe?’

Trump’s Wartime Report: “It Is What It Is.”

A week after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt held a meeting with a group of close associates. He was now Commander in Chief of a war effort that would have to defeat both the Germans and the Japanese. So he needed to know whether he could count on his current military leadership, given how they had screwed up the intelligence which allowed the Japanese to wreck our Pacific fleet.

Now imagine what would have happened if Roosevelt hadn’t reviewed the report a month later, immediately cashiered the entire military general staff, and replaced them with a brilliant group of commanders – Marshall, King, Eisenhower, Arnold – who organized and won a worldwide, two-front war. Imagine if a year after Pearl Harbor we hadn’t already defeated the Japanese at Midway; imagine if we weren’t about to land at North Africa, and imagine if Roosevelt had been asked by a reporter to assess the war’s progress and had said, “It is what it is.”

Let’s remember that back in March, Trump considered himself to be a ‘wartime President.’ I didn’t say that – he did. So when he was asked last week to tell us how the war was going, the best he could come up with was: “It is what it is.” This is how you give the American public an assessment of how well we are fighting a war?

Back in 2016, a story began floating around that Trump had told People Magazine in 1998 that if he ran for President he would run as a Republican, because  “Republicans are the dumbest voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News.”

The story has been debunked numerous times, but when Trump describes his Covid-19 effort as ‘it is what it is,’ he must believe that his supporters are as dumb as they come. He must. Nobody could say something that stupid in the midst of a political campaign.

Or maybe it isn’t the Trump ‘base’ which is so friggin’ dumb. Maybe it’s Trump who speaks up to his base rather than down. But wait a minute – you can’t be that stupid and yet build a fairly-successful Manhattan real estate business featuring luxury condos and five-star hotels.

On the other hand, let’s not forget that Trump wasn’t exactly someone who had any kind of connection or previous experience with anything having to do with planning or fighting a war. The last President who actually saw combat action was George H. W. Bush, and he didn’t do a bad job of planning Desert Storm. If anything, he was more successful fighting Saddam Hussein in 1990 than fighting Bill Clinton in 1992.

And this is exactly the reason why Trump has been such a miserable failure when it comes to his non-response to Covid-19. Because from the day we first learned about the virus, Trump has been dealing with it as a political problem, as if this is just another part of his Presidential campaign.

The first thing he did was spend a month going after the Chinese ‘thugs,’ the same way he went after ‘Hillary the crook.’ He then said the problem could be solved by keeping people from China out of the United States, just another riff on how that now-forgotten Mexican wall would keep us safe. Then he put together a ‘task force’ led by none other than the renowned medical expert Jared Kushner, whose work in helping Trump get elected the first time around guaranteed that he would quickly develop and implement a plan to defeat the virus in its tracks.

In other words, Trump did everything except the one thing he should have done. He should have gotten the best and the brightest experts on fighting pandemics together, told them to come up with a plan and then use this plan to tell the American people what they all needed to do.

This is what Franklin Roosevelt did in 1941. This is the reason we won World War II. This is what Trump is unable to do which is why we now have a virus killing 1,000 people every day which is what it is.

On November 3rd: Vote Early, Vote Often.

What Will We Write About If Biden Wins?

              The latest issue of The Atlantic Monthly contains an article which makes the case that Trump could still pull things out in November because he has key advantages that our side doesn’t have. The problem with this article, however, is that it’s based on a mish-mash of quotes from various sources, all of whom will find themselves without anyone to talk to if Biden actually wins. Let’s look at each argument in turn.

              Argument #1. Trump will spin a slight recovery into the beginning of a real economic return. To buttress this point, the author of The Atlantic piece, Peter Nicholas, says that a new ABC-WaPo survey still gives Trump a 50 percent mark for how he’s handled the economy. Except the mark is actually 47%, Trump is tied with Joe in the new poll and his positive number has dropped by 19 points since March.

              Argument #2. The polls are no more correct than they were in 2016.  Which experts does Nicholas quote for this idea? None other than KellyAnne Conway, who deserves the Lifetime Medal of Freedom for how much bullshit she has pitched for Trump over the past four years.

              Argument #3. Trump can use the powers of incumbency to campaign all the time. Nicholas uses as an example of Trump’s media presence his daily briefing on Covid-19. Except there’s only one little problem. Trump has now twice abandoned those briefing because he looks and sounds like a fool.

              Argument #4. Biden still can’t convince the Bernie supporters to get onboard. This argument is bolstered by a comment from big-mouth Nina Turner, a co-chair of the Sanders campaign, who believes that voting for Biden is like eating a “bowl of shit.” The pro-Trump media has had a field-day with that one.

              Argument #5. Biden’s vote might be suppressed because Trump is against the mail-in vote and in-person voting sites are being reduced as a protection from Covid-19. Why do we assume that making people wait longer to vote will only hurt Biden? Why couldn’t the same lack of voting sites hurt Trump?

              Argument #6. Trump could always pull an October surprise. Trump can pretend that a vaccine is ready to hit the market, but how does such news mitigate the fact that because of how Trump responded to the ‘Chinese plague’ back in February, we need to rush a vaccine into production at all? And what about the possibility that an October surprise would be pulled off by Biden against Trump?

              Trump may want to believe that he’s a ‘wartime’ President but Americans aren’t lining up to support him the way they supported George Bush after the Twin Towers came down. Why not? Because Trump isn’t a wartime President. He’s a real-estate salesman who figured out how to use social media against an opponent who ran a totally inept and mismanaged campaign.

              When Obama was President, every time I walked into a bookshop there was always a big display of anti-Obama books. He was undermining the Constitution, he was promoting nefarious social policies, he was born outside the United States, he was doing this or doing that.  Now I go into bookstores and that same display case is filled with anti-Trump books. He’s a Fascist, a crook, a liar, next month Michael Cohen’s tell-all will be on display.

              So here’s the question: What are all these writers going to do if Biden wins? Can you imagine an anti-Biden book which argues that he’s a threat to this or a threat to that? If things keep going the way they are going in this campaign, nobody’s going to buy a book which tries to prove that Biden’s anything other than what he really is – a nice guy who might have beaten Trump in 2016 except he didn’t run because of the untimely death of his older son.

              Yesterday the President of the United States got up in public and promoted the medical views of a doctor who actually believes that DNA from outer-space aliens is being used to treat patients here on Earth. And Biden’s the demented candidate this year?