How to Lose Friends and Influence No One

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Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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171 Responses

  1. Avatar Kristin Devine
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    says:

    As I’ve said before, I did not know as my hand came down to mark the ballot in 2016 who I was gonna vote for. In the end, I went with conscience and voted third party, but in all honestly it was for much the same reason as you – I knew no matter what I voted it would make no difference. There was some freedom in that, but admittedly, some cowardice (not saying you are being in any way cowardly, simply that I was)

    This time through I don’t feel I have any such luxury. Since so much was made over “the popular vote” vs. the electoral college I feel like I can’t not plug my nose vote for one or the other of them, just have to decide which one I hate least.

    I’m sorry for all the crappiness, though. It really sucks.Report

  2. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    It’s a shame you are getting such crap from people. I still will look forward to your pieces here. I’ll be voting Biden which is not a surprise to anyone here. Every one should vote their conscience.Report

  3. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    The internet is the death of nuance, empathy, and grace. There’s nothing you can do about people bent on taking that hard a line.

    Still, I sympathize. I voted third party last time because of my vow to never vote for a person who voted for the invasion of Iraq. I’m going back on that this election and voting Biden anyway because I’m a totally unprincipled hypocrite. The good news is I am also in a state where my vote does not matter. I’m also pretty sure I’m the only person in my family (other than my wife, who didn’t vote at all) who didn’t vote Trump in 2016. I guess I should just disown the whole lot of them, not that I see what good that would do for me, my life, or society. Just last Saturday my mother and I yelled at each other about it for 20 minutes then moved on to other things, as adults do.

    The only person you control is yourself. It stings to see people you love and respect go off the deep end. All you can do is try to take it in stride and with an open heart. I believe that people who feel they need to cut others out of their lives or threaten to are really stroking some need they have, and that it isn’t about the other person/people at all.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    Well, you have my sympathies, and what you’re going through is a very real and regrettably common thing. There are no doubt support groups for it, although you could consider most of the GOP to be a support group for Democrats who at some point failed a purity test.

    Here’s an interesting interview of a knitter/psychologist who went through it. The reverse is much rarer, as conservatives fully expect some of their kids to go through a liberal/progressive period. It’s not considered a moral failing.

    Anyway, take heart, because Kamala Harris believes Tara Reade too, and she also says Joe Biden, if not a complete racist, did push a highly racist agenda, and fathered decades of mass incarceration legislation.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    If a President has questionable personal history which may well include heinous crimes not directly related to governance, yet he also delivers competent government and steers the ship of state closer to the course I prefer, then I find some ambiguity in voting for a man who may well be of low character but I can make myself do it. This was, I think, the case with Bill Clinton.

    Perhaps this is the case with Joe Biden, too and I’m very troubled by the Tara Reade allegations though that’s in no small part because while elements of her story ring true, others do not and she’s been keeping very partisan bedfellows since going public, which also bothers me concerning her veracity.

    Compare to a man who made some poor personal choices in his youth, appeared to grow out of them and become a decent-seeming fellow, but once given power steered the nation down an unconscionable course. That would be George W. Bush, whose wild youth I could forgive and whose initial response to the attacks on our country seemed just and right, but ultimately sent us into an unnecessary and unwinnable war which is to this day not yet resolved much less resolved satisfactorily. He lost my support by those decisions.

    The incumbent President does not make me choose between a respectable moral character on the one hand, and delivery of competent government on the other. He offers the juxtaposition of an abysmal moral character and governance that varies only between varying degrees of incompetence, corruption and maliciousness. Doing what is necessary and lawful to remove him from power is an easy call for me. Whether or not I can feel good about voting for Joe Biden, I can feel VERY good about voting against Donald Trump, and I encourage everyone to vote against Trump in some fashion.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      very well said sir.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      ” she’s been keeping very partisan bedfellows since going public”

      a: “bedfellows”, very interesting language to bring to this particular discussion

      b: carpenter just posted a whole essay about how her refusal to show full-throated uneqivocal instinctive support for Biden has led former political fellows to vilify her, and you’re expressing concern at the way someone who’s credibly accused Joe Biden of sexual assault has been “keeping partisan bedfellows”? of course she’s only talking to one side! the other side won’t!Report

  6. Avatar North
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    says:

    I don’t have the same struggle as you because I don’t believe Tara Reade for various perfectly good reasons which have been rehashed endlessly. I can certainly understand why someone would believe her.

    Joe Biden is who he is. He’s far too old but he’s the moderate we got. Do I wish that the Democratic Party leadership and rank&file when they performed their astonishing feat of sanity had united behind a younger, fresher moderate? I absolutely do. But Biden was there taking up the space, Biden had the connections that catalyzed that astonishing, gratifying movement and Biden is what we ended up with.

    I absolutely don’t begrudge you your vote. If you take my advice: abandon the cesspool of twitter and bid it good riddance. It is everything bad about the internet wrapped up in one 280-character limit shit burrito.

    On behalf of the Dems I’ll offer only this: The Democratic Party is an old, massive party spanning everything from the passionate (but prone to lunacy) left to the pragmatic (but vulnerable to cynicism) center. It is easy to not love such an institution but it is a living, breathing, functioning political party. It aggregates, mediates and channels the desires of its many constituents and then sets policies and polices its politicians to advocate (imperfectly) for its constituents’ desires and needs. It is, in short, what political parties are supposed to do. Imperfect, old, clunky, but functioning.

    The Republican Party is no longer a similar institution. I came of political age in the 90’s so I believe I saw the version of a functioning right-wing party slipping into a spiraling delirium as those years went on, staggering into the calamity of the Bush W. administration and then choosing, finally, to descent into derangement over Obama’s terms culminating in the conquest of this dysfunctional carcass of a party by the opportunistic parasite that is Trump. Trump is not something that happens to a living functioning party. His nomination, election and governance has turned every single principle they claim to operate under into a farce. The party has become one big personality cult. The only things it is capable of accomplishing is appoint judges and cut taxes, the first because they have a whole cottage industry set up to do so and the latter because the parties monied interests uniformly desire it and nothing else.

    The country needs two functional parties. The only tonic for the state the GOP is in is loss. It needs to be parked in the political wilderness, at least on the federal level, for several electoral cycles. A few seasons of winter might -might- freeze out the parasites, grifters and crazies and leave fertile ash for new, real right-wing policies to grow up in. I can’t think of anything else that’ll help.

    Ginning up passion for ol’ Uncle Joe Biden is simply the name of the electoral game at the moment. It’s how electoral strategies work. Informed politically engaged voters like you, and I, don’t need to indulge in it. The Democratic Party deserves your vote because it has proven itself to be a sane, functional political apparatus capable of administering the country and enacting policies. The GOP just… isn’t… right now.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to North
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      says:

      I don’t have the same struggle as you because I don’t believe Tara Reade for various perfectly good reasons which have been rehashed endlessly. I can certainly understand why someone would believe her.

      Yes. I’m putting the Tara Reade stuff somewhere around 10%, due to a lot of factors about her I don’t want to rehash either, but basically her story just keeps getting rather larger and larger, and I don’t really think anything happened beyond the _normal_ Biden stuff. I believe everything Reade said in spring of 2019, because it fits perfectly in everything we know about Biden. It’s the changes since then I don’t believe, both because they’re changes and because…there’s lots of improbabilities there.

      However…the actual known behavior of Joe Biden is pretty bad. How he has always interacted with women. He’s clearly felt he can put his hands on them for decades. I would really rather he not be president.

      But that said…we only have two candidates for president in reality, and one of them is a hell of a lot worse in this very specify way. Like we have Trump talking, on a recording, about doing what Biden is alleged to have done! He’s been accused of rape by several women. He’s gone into the dressing room of teenagers.

      And, of course, that’s not the only consideration. Trump is actually extremely dangerous as a president in all sorts of ways, and it really is starting to look like people pointing he would not easily leave office were right, which means we absolutely _must_ get him out.

      But…I’m not actually sure how I would feel if we have some hypothetical Trump who was exactly Trump minus any allegations of sexual misconduct. Would I think the dangers of Trump outweighed the misconduct of Biden? Which would I value more?

      Or what if that, plus, the Republic wasn’t at risk? What it was a second term of Romney vs Biden, for example? Would I not vote? Would I vote Republican?

      I don’t know. I like to think I would at least not vote, if put in those circumstances. But I don’t know if I’m telling the truth.

      However…that’s not what this election is. The last election, Republicans pretending that it was the ‘Flight 93’ election, despite Hillary being basically in exactly the same place, politically, as Obama.

      This actually _is_ the Flight 93 election. We really are at the place where democracy is teetering, and that’s on top of a massive pandemic that Trump is too incompetent to actually handle.

      But let me give hope to those who take the Tara Reade allegations seriously: A reminder that we can _impeach_ Biden. We can elect them, and then we can impeach him. Because the Democrats are an actual political party, instead of personality cult. In fact, if real evidence shows up, he’ll probably resign.

      You want to argue for his impeachment the day after the election? Go for it. Maybe you can even get him to resign before taking office. I won’t stop you, I don’t care what lukewarm Democrat is president…hell, at this point I don’t actually care if a lukewarm Republican is, except to the extent we actually need to _deal with_ a lot of Trump’s crimes at this point and I doubt a Republican would do that.

      For those of you about to say ‘Clinton proves Congress people won’t vote to impeach and remove their own party’s president’…Bill Clinton probably would have been impeached (or resigned) if the allegations had actually been a plausible thing to impeach the president over. If for example Broaddrick, had come forward a year earlier, and the impeachment had been about that.

      However, the thing he was actually impeached for was…incredibly dumb nonsense that no one cared about. Meanwhile, the right had pursued clearly bogus scandal after bogus scandal for such a long time that the public literally didn’t care anymore.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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        says:

        Oh, the ‘fun’ thing about this election is…I live in Georgia, which _used to_ be a red state, so…I actually could sit out prior elections and not worry about it. I didn’t, I care about local issues too, but…I could.

        It’s not a red state anymore, and I can’t sit it out.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    We who write and comment here are for the most part, privileged enough that politics is “”just politics”. We are educated, well employed and secure in a network of relationships.

    We speak as if politics is something trivial and detached from our lives that can be discussed in calm civil tones and then we share a laugh and a beer afterward.

    But of course there are millions of people for whom this is quite literally a matter of life and death, a choice between safety and horrors.

    All those years of people talking about policing and racial injustice, resulted in me facing a mob of people at midnight, hoping and praying they didn’t set my building on fire. Other people less fortunate than me who live in my neighborhood live in daily fear of arrest or having their children ripped from them and being exiled to some alien place they never knew.
    There is a very good chance that I or someone I love will catch the virus and either die or live a life permanently altered by it, and this is entirely the result of governmental incompetence.

    This is real, this election and all the suffering and horror that flows from it.

    So I don’t know quite what to say here.

    That its not anyone’s fault? It definitely is. The world we live in is directly the responsibility of the citizens who made this choice.
    That they aren’t bad people? It doesn’t matter. Every horror in history was brought to us by people to tenderly rocked their children at night.

    I am only being civil right now because I have not yet had to bury a loved one, I haven’t suffered as others have.

    If the worst fate you suffer in the Trump years is lost friendships, don’t complain. Consider yourself blessed.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Ask yourself: “What will help *ME*?”

    And then do that. Will voting 3rd Party help you sleep better at night? Vote 3rd Party. Don’t even think about it.

    Will voting for Biden/Harris let you tell people “I voted for Biden/Harris” without wincing at what they’ll say in response? Then vote for Biden/Harris without hesitation.

    Hell, vote 3rd Party and then tell people you voted for Biden/Harris. Or vice-versa! Or, hell, don’t vote! Tell people you forgot that there was an election that day. Or that you got a “Republicans vote on Tuesday, Democrats vote on Wednesday” email.

    Do whatever will let you do double finger guns at yourself in the mirror when you get home that night.Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Don’t feel bad. I live in WA, where I am quite safe voting for Jo because there is no way short of the SMOD that Biden does not get our electoral votes.Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    People have been posting the below meme on social media and thinking that it makes Kamala Harris look bad. What this meme really does is make Kamala Harris look like a heroine cop from Law & Order: SUV. There are tens of millions of Americans that love Law & Order: SUV and similar shows. Portraying Kamala Harris as heroine cop who sternly faces down criminals but can also smile and play with or comfort a small child victim with an American flag back drop is just going to hit the right warm and fuzzies with lots of people.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86536173a9fe345f1397930bc433b4d8f6744eb187e358c8db85097c109f54bc.jpgReport

  11. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    I am going to say that this essay makes me proud to have been a part, in some small way, of this website. The ability to voice your conscience no matter if others agree with your politics is no small thing.

    I voted third party in ’16, and I had planned on doing it again this election, but the promotion of Harris takes away that ability for me, as I consider to be far more dangerous to the things I hold dear than anyone yet to come close to that office or occupy it. And I too feel that she is the real candidate here, an act that holds even greater disgust to me, all things considered, but it does seem to represent the current day Democratic party. All lies and no heart.

    I watched the wife debate for days over Clinton or Stein in ’16, and I think some small part of her died in so choosing. But at the end of the day, we can only be true to ourselves, and you need to do what you need to do. I am sure you will make the right choice, no matter who you vote for.Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Tara Reade has been discredited by many sources as North points out above. Kamala Harris was a DA but a very progressive one as these things go. Voting is not a consumerist choice.

    Trump is a venal, corrupt, syphilitic, moronic, fascist, authoritarian who hired Stephen Miller. Stephen Miller is a xenophobic racist who his a traitor to the history of his own people and puts kids in cages. Trump is okay with this. Trump rubber stamps 39 year old reactionary firebrands to the Bench. Reactionary firebrands that will destroy progressive causes and popular legislation for decades to come and stymie civil rights and corporate accountability. He enables Republicans who would rather see people starve and get evicted than give aide and comfort during a pandemic and depression.

    Vote for Biden. This is important. He is not bad. Unless you want to see Ruth Bader Ginsburg replaced by Vlad the Impaler or Jacob Wohl.Report

  13. Avatar Jesse
    Ignored
    says:

    That’s fine – don’t vote for Biden.

    Just don’t whine and complain when you get the perfect Democrat you do want and everything they pass is shot down by a 6-3 or 7-2 conservative Supreme Court.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse
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      says:

      If the Supreme Court shoots down what you want, it’s a good sign that what you want is either illegal or unconstitutional.Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to George Turner
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        says:

        Dred Scott’s owner agrees with you.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse
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          says:

          Dred Scott shows why you shouldn’t put Democrats on the Supreme Court. The court’s two Republicans were the only dissenters.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse
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          says:

          While we’re on the subject of justices, Kamala Harris doesn’t think practicing Catholics should be allowed to serve as judges, a stance she strongly took in the confirmation hearing for Brian Buescher for a district judgeship in Nebraska. The only thing that put an end to her ranting was another Senator saying that religious litmus tests for public officials are unconstitutional.

          Harris is free to think it’s unwise for Catholics to hold public office, and of course she would be free to never nominate one once she shivs Biden and takes over, but she should work harder to keep her bigotry in check.Report

      • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Bad take, George.
        Buck v Bell
        Korematsu
        Dred Scott
        Plessy v Ferguson
        Just off the top of my head.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Em Carpenter
          Ignored
          says:

          Three of those examples had the Court upholding something that was unconstitutional, right? Only Dred Scott had the Court overturning something constitutional. So I think George’s statement holds up as a general rule.Report

          • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            I’m confused. George said that if the court shoots down what you want, then what you want must be illegal or unconstitutional.
            So, the court upholding unconstitutional things is the opposite of that.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Em Carpenter
              Ignored
              says:

              From one legal perspective, if the Supreme Court upholds it, then it is constitutional until the Court rules otherwise. We can blame John Marshall for that one, but nobody else on the court even dissented.

              I’m not sure about your point with some of the other cases. Buck v Bell is just upholding Planned Parenthood with the government helping out with the planning, like a benevolent liberal government should. ^_^

              Anyway, Kamala Harris’s position is that she will pack the Supreme Court, adding more justices until there’s a liberal majority. That’s not a wise game to start.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Em Carpenter
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          says:

          Which of the current Supremes want to bring back slavery?

          The current dividing line is whether or not someone can be forced to make a gay wedding cake.Report

          • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            Not sure why you are asking me?Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Em Carpenter
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              says:

              My point is in spite of all of his faults, Trump is putting in high bar Supremes. That’s why he has to have the list(s); His own side doesn’t trust him not to put his daughter or his own lawyer on there so he needs to outsource the choice.

              It’s very hard to see the current Supremes coming in with Dred Scott or Plessy.Report

              • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I see. My list was not related to my fears of the modern court but a rebuttal to George’s assertion that if SCOTUS rules against you it must mean your position is illegal or unconstitutional.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Em Carpenter
                Ignored
                says:

                “[I]f SCOTUS rules against you it must mean your position is illegal or unconstitutional.”

                isn’t literally the whole point of the SCOTUS that its rulings define what is and is not Constitutional

                like, it took a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Dred Scott decision and I don’t know how much more clearly you could affirm that said decision was in fact ConstitutionalReport

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                That’s Legal Realism on steroids. There’s a whole industry devoted to trying to show that various Supreme Court decisions are “wrong” by some standard people can agree upon. Just for example, Clarence Thomas believes that most of the Court’s 20th-century jurisprudence (and some of its 19th-century jurisprudence) is wrong, and some serious professionals, along with a bunch of hacks, agree with him. (Whether his wife would agree with the implications of his views for the validity of their marriage is an exercise I leave to the reader. He just doesn’t have four more votes.
                Dred Scott could easily be described as wrong at the time. The result, for poor Mr. Scott, was probably correct because of a previous case, Strauder, which more or less held that a purported slave’s status depended on the law of the state where the purported slave resided when he sued, whatever his status may have been at some earlier time. Mr. Scott resided in Missouri when he sued, and under Missouri law he was a slave even though he had previously spent time in free territories and might, perhaps, have been ruled free if he had sued then and there. Neat, clean, sad loss for Mr. Scott. But Chief Justice Taney wanted to resolve all sorts of other questions the Court didn’t have to. Big mistake.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                “the Fourteenth Amendment was unnecessary” is a surprising take to hear from the liberal side of the tableReport

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Jesse
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      says:

      Like I said, it makes no difference at all who I vote for, but if it did I wouldn’t feel I had the luxury of my conscience here.Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to Em Carpenter
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        says:

        If all the people who told themselves “well, my vote doesn’t matter anyway because I live in X,” perhaps we’d be possibly seeing far different results, in both ways, than we do now. I’ve lived in a deep blue state, and I still vote every single time, because I think it’s important to show support for a better country, even if it’s marginal and “doesn’t matter.”Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jesse
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          says:

          This. Last time I voted absentee in Maryland because we were still relocating. Hillary won MD.

          Now I will be voting in Mississippi. I suspect Biden won’t take the state. But voting the Democratic ticket may well get me a centerist democratic Senator (Mike Espy). It may not. But I’ll be damned if I sit home, though I am really hoping the Governor gets his sh!t together and allows no excuse absentee voting.Report

          • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            I never suggested I would stay home and not vote, or that I would not be voting Democrat in other races.
            But I assure you, I am not wrong in my assertion that Trump will win resoundingly here. I can’t walk out of my house without being hit in the face by a Trump sign or MAGA hat.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse
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          says:

          If I still lived in WI, I’d vote Biden, if only because Trump is such a dumpster fire. But I live in WA, where a vote for the Libertarian candidate matters not a whit to Biden, but can bolster the prospects of a third party*.

          Harris does not excite me to vote for Biden, but Trump incites me to vote against him.

          *Although I doubt a third party will ever really be successful, I do think we need a better center-right party, and I see the Libertarians as a better center-right party. At some point, the GOP, if it can’t pivot, is going to implode.Report

          • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            Not voting and voting 3rd party are IMO viable ways to send a message.

            Now, in 2016 it appears to me that the message went unheeded, both of the 97 million people who didn’t vote and then however many voted 3rd party – but it is a message nonetheless.

            For me, personally, I feel I have to make a decision for the sake of my conscience but completely think it’s a valid choice if one’s conscience leads them to abstain or vote 3P.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Kristin Devine
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              says:

              oh I don’t know – I’ve been saying for years now that the 27% of voters who supported the president don’t represent a majority of anything – other then Electoral College votes – and I keep being told (here, by commentators on this thread) that the remaining 73% of voters don’t matter because of that electoral college. And given his track record in office he is sure governing like they don’t matter.

              I intend to vote my conscience too. I believe 4 more years of this guy brings significant harm to people, communities and economies I care passionately about. Which means I have to do everything possible to get him removed. For a whole pleuthura of reasons voting 3rd party won’t accomplish that. Ditto abstaining.

              And my vote will count as much as Em’s does, since she and I live in demographically similar states.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            ” At some point, the GOP, if it can’t pivot, is going to implode.”

            Why? What makes you think that? To back up a little bit, Trump enjoys a similar level of popularity in his party as Obama enjoyed with the Democrats. From what I see, there is a strong belief on the left, and parts of the center, that he is destructive. But on what grounds? The right can point to the economy before governors decided to shut down aspects of it, job creation, the start of prison reform, and so on. And at the same time they can point to various obstructionary tactics of the left, and a complete lack of accomplishments from that side of the fence during Trump’s tenure. Now, whether or not you, in particular, agree with that is immaterial. They feel that their choice was good.

            So, what else could make you think this? Would it be his loss, assuming he does lose the upcoming election? But if he doesn’t, wouldn’t that mean that the need for implosion would be on the left? Should the left have imploded when the Obama presidency was followed up with such a repudiation as Trumps election?

            All that said, there are many Libertarians who feel that their party DID implode during the election of ’16 when Weld endorsed Clinton, such was the party members’ disgust with her over Trump and the feeling that the party shouldn’t endorse any other political party. Are we seeing that now?Report

  14. Avatar KenB
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m generally all for voting based on principle when the result is a foregone conclusion, and I’ve “thrown away” my vote more often than not over my voting lifetime. This year though, I’m a little hesitant about which states are truly safe — the large number of absentee ballots could change things in unpredictable ways. I saw an article recently suggesting that Biden’s lead in many states shrinks noticeably when you factor in historical patterns of mail-in ballot counting/challenging/rejecting.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to KenB
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      says:

      I also wonder about the effect the rioting will have on some states. I don’t expect my “safely blue” state to go Trump, but I think it will be a closer call as a reaction to the riots. My alderman, for example, has urged the mayor to draw on “federal resources” to quell the rioting. I’m not entirely sure what he means by that, but he is voicing a concern that probably resonates among his constituents and plays into the hands of a potentially pro-Trump mentality.Report

  15. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    I voted as you did in 2016, but I was sorely tempted to go third party. The reason was that Jaybird asked me, whom do I want more, to repudiate Clinton (by voting 3d party) or repudiate Trump (by voting Clinton). (I’ll add that I shared your friend’s concern that Clinton was much more of a warmonger than Trump. Events seem to have proved me wrong, but at the time it was a sensible’ish position.) I chose to repudiate Trump.

    I’ll vote for Biden. I’ll do so primarily to repudiate Trump. But like you, I live in a non-swing state. Even if lived in a swing state, my vote likely wouldn’t count. Whoever wins a swing state by a “narrow” margin still (usually) wins by at least a few hundred, if not thousand, votes. My one vote wouldn’t matter. I suppose there’s an argument that winning the electoral college isn’t enough and that a very strong popular vote victory would give the push needed to “legitimate” the election against the inevitable cries of fraud, should Trump lose.

    That said, I won’t chide you for your decision. I don’t know nearly enough about Tara Reade’s story to have an informed opinion on whether she’s telling the truth or is “discredited,” as some confidently assert above. I do share your concerns about Mr. Biden’s mental acuity.

    I also think Biden is the wrong person to defeat Trump. Biden doesn’t seem to stand for much other than “Trump must lose.” I believe Biden probably won’t win. I’m not referring only to Trump’s and the GOP’s transparent efforts to make it difficult for (some) people to vote. I’m also referring to the claim that Trump has enough support to eke another victory. I hope I’m wrong.Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      says:

      It’s incredible me that so many supposedly smart people fell for the whole “Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk” think for a single millisecond.

      Also, even if the polling is off currently, as much as it was in 2016, Biden still wins comfortably. But, I’ve also realized the people that comment on this website are in some weird bubble where the Democrat’s never win, and never make the right decision, because no elections after 2016 have happened.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        This blog has a lot of commentators who have psychological issues and resentments against the Democratic Party and Democrats to varying degrees.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          Oooh! Do you think it has to do with their relationship to their parents or grandparents?

          Do you think it’s more likely to do with their success (or lack thereof) at establishing romantic relationships?

          Do you think it’s more related to how they were raised by a particular religion and this particular religion has twisted how they see themselves in relationship to the world?

          What do you think we could fix in society that would prevent these psychological issues from bubbling up in the future?Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            It could have something to do with a couple of centuries of race-based human slavery, The Trail of Tears, segregation, Jim Crow, Japanese internment, mass incarceration, or police brutality in liberal cities, but who really knows? ^_^

            One of the first places totalitarians go is to claim the malcontents must be mentally ill. That’s going on in Belarus as we speak, with the police arresting thousands who are protesting their corrupt, dictatorial president, and the president saying all kinds of crazy things about the protesters.Report

          • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Nah, I’m pretty sure it’s because this site mostly Gen Xers who grew up under Reagan and thus have weird ideas about Democrat’s that were drilled in your head forever.

            The good news is there’s an easy fix – every day, you get older and an 18 year old SJW becomes eligible to vote.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse
              Ignored
              says:

              So your hope is that wise and experienced people get replaced by kids who don’t know anything and are eaten up with bigotry and hatred?

              That’s not exactly a winning recommendation for a set of policies.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
              Ignored
              says:

              We just need the Boomers to die and then we can finally have that society we’ve been wanting.

              I don’t know why we’re pushing back against opening up the country!Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse
              Ignored
              says:

              Yeah this is a lot of it. Techically I am a Gen Xer who grew up under Reagan but my family are Democrats so….Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                We were also literally born two months before Reagan was elected, so we didn’t really have much of an understanding of politics because we were still in elementary school when we he stopped being President. I think 1988 was the first Presidential election I was really aware of but only in vague sense. 1992 was when I was actively aware and that’s because my social studies teacher covered it a lot in class.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s incredible me that so many supposedly smart people fell for the whole “Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk” think for a single millisecond.

        Well, Hillary was a hawk, or hawkish. I, for one, never believed Trump was a “dove.” I did think his xenophobic nationalism might in some way pivot his administration away from international engagement, and I hoped that would translate into fewer armed engagements. I was wrong.

        Also, even if the polling is off currently, as much as it was in 2016, Biden still wins comfortably. But, I’ve also realized the people that comment on this website are in some weird bubble where the Democrat’s never win, and never make the right decision, because no elections after 2016 have happened.

        I’m already voting for Biden regardless of what you say. But you might want to reconsider that objectively pro-Trump campaign speech when you try to convince people on the fence.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
        Ignored
        says:

        How many new wars were started by Herbert Walker?
        How many new wars were started by Clinton?
        How many new wars were started by Dumbya?
        How many new wars were started by Obomba?
        How many new wars were started by Drumpf?

        I’m under the impression that the answer to that last question is “zero”. Is that not the case?Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          What’s interesting is that Democrats are blocking Trump from withdrawing troops from foreign deployments, arguing that he’s out-of-control and out-of-his-depth and that withdrawing from countries like Afghanistan will put US national security at risk.

          If Trump endorsed breathing oxygen, Democrats would suffocate themselves in protest.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, and here’s a graphic illustraton

          Meanwhile, Trump just secured a transformational Middle East peace deal that all the “experts” couldn’t pull off. Israel and the UAE are normalizing relations, including direct flights, and as a result UAE’s citizens will be free to get on a plane and visit Jerusalem.Report

  16. Avatar CJColucci
    Ignored
    says:

    I do not criticize people for “voting their conscience” unless they lie to me and tell me their votes might, nevertheless, be had if [fill in unacceptable condition or vacuous plea for “understanding”], which you are not doing. If you believe Tara Reade — I don’t, but we won’t get into that — that is a perfectly acceptable reason not to vote for Biden, as long as you apply the same standard to Trump, which you do.
    But that’s just me. If other folks take umbrage, that’s just the normal cost of conscientious behavior. Always has been, always will be, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. At least not consistently with any set of principles involving freedom of speech or conscience. Conscience is not for wimps; fortunately, you aren’t one.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to CJColucci
      Ignored
      says:

      Chip said this way more diplomatically than I did but I am a hothead, voting has consequences. The problem though is that a lot of relatively to very privileged people would like to treat voting as a kind of consumerist choice to state how ideologically, morally, ethically, philosophically, and aesthetically pure they are. A lot of the leftier than thou types screaming for “socialism” and bashing the Democrats as “corportist neoliberal sellouts” are cosplay socialists/bohemians/down and outs. Walker Bragman, Nathan Robinson, the Jacobin set are all well off. They can survive a Trump 2 administration okay.

      But the thing is Biden is moving to the left. His platform now is way more progressive than the Biden who caused so many groans in late 2019 for his talk on comity. The issue I think for Rose Twitter is that the Democrats do not use the magic words that Rose Twitter wants them to use.

      Tara Reade has been throughly debunked. Every attempt to smear Biden has gone down the tubes. The GOP and its Fox News pigs at the trough lackeys are already launching gleeful racist attacks against Kamala Harris.

      Yet a small but decently sized minority of American voters still wants to pick politicians like it is picking between two jams at a supermarket. Voting is not like that. You have one political party that has gone rather nihilistic, fascist, and is on the verge of declaring it openly supports apartheid style government. Does Biden have flaws? We all do. He was not my first choice for the nomination but the stakes are high.

      I am old enough to remember when voters in Louisiana were urged to “vote for the crook, it’s important.” The stakes in 2020 are much higher and Biden is far less objectionable than that the crook of that famous line.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        One of the weaknesses of liberals is in that jibe about how we “fall in love” rather than falling in line.

        Its like people treat politicians the way teenagers treat boy bands, forming an attachment and allegiance to them personally as the avatar of all their desired attributes; You don’t just like their music, you adopt their clothing style, hairstyle, and identify with them.

        As opposed to the strategic posture of conservatives who grasp that politicians are instruments of the people to be used to gain power and do things.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Yep. I also think that a lot of people on the left (and interestingly also libertarians) do not want power. Political power means compromises and trade-offs and priorities. Being out of power means not having to worry about those things.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m not sure if the “liberals fall in love, conservatives fall in line” quote is accurate anymore. It might have been true or truer in the past but conservatives definitely fell in love with people like Saint Reagan, Bush II somewhat, and definitely Trump. I’m not sure that liberals were that overly fond of Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry.

          What I think Biden reluctance is about is that white liberals don’t like how utterly irrelevant they are to the Democratic Party. Both Bernie supporter and Warren supporters got hit hard in the primaries. The very things they believed about the political process and what the Democratic electorate wants was proven to be false. Warren supporters really believed that a white man would never get the nomination from the Democratic party again, etc.Report

          • Avatar P_hilip H in reply to LeeEsq
            Ignored
            says:

            My reluctance for Biden (other comments here not withstanding) was always rooted first in his full throated adoption of neoliberal economics coupled with his less the inspirational style. In the primaries I said often that I was not sure he could motivate enough people either to switch hit or to not sit out. The Administration’s response to COVID overcame much of the later for me because they reinforced in the most public way possible their utter contempt for America’s citizens.

            I also still have huge reservations based on Tara Reede’s accusations.

            As i note elsewhere, he is still the most practical shot at righting the ship of state.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to P_hilip H
              Ignored
              says:

              Biden is plenty inspirational. He just isn’t inspirational for people with graduate school educations or the Very Online because his charisma is more in the folksy, old school street level politician. Think Harry Truman or even Bush II. Part of the appeal of Harry Truman and Bush II was that they weren’t overly elegant but appeared as just regular American speakers. This isn’t the type of charisma that the heavily online goes for.

              As for economics, Biden is always where the Democratic Party stood on a given issue. We debated this before but the Democratic Party got hammered while remaining true to the New Deal and Great Society between 1968 and 1988. The Labour Party received similar electoral blood lettings between 1979 and 1997. Both moved right because that is where the voters were and what was necessarily to win elections. There was not enough votes for Keynesian capitalism during the last decades of the 20th century. Being tough on crime, reforming welfare, etc. These were things that were popular with voters across parties. So the politicians gave them what they wanted.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                This is a good analysis. Biden has been the biggest threat from the beginning. He’s the only candidate who comes off like a normal person. Even if increasingly it’s a normal person ready for assisted living.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it is very clear from the Democratic primary campaigns that Biden was the Democratic politician that Trump would care about. Sanders would come across as way too angry. Warren would be Clinton 2.0. Trump knew how to get under their skins. He possibly believed the same for the lesser candidates. Since Biden is now a Grand Old Man, which is basically anti-Trump as you can get, Trump doesn’t know how to handle him. The best he can do is Sleepy Joe and that’s weak.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Lee, since you’re a person with a graduate degree what makes you think the non-degreed plebes find him inspirational? Do you hang out with the working poor and blue collar crowd?

                Honestly, I’ve seen zero evidence that he’s inspiring anyone. What people are inspired by is denying Trump a second term. A potato could serve that role.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                ‘Inspirational’ isn’t the word I’d use. But he doesn’t scare the normies which can’t be underestimated.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s what I find inspirational about Biden so far, and its things he hasn’t done. He hasn’t made public appearances to grow his brand (the lesson of Clinton is well learned – the less exposure the better!), and he hasn’t gone toe-to-toe against Trump (another lesson learned from the Clinton campaign). My hope is that he persists in doing both. But mostly I hope he stays in the bunker. It’s a wise, and inspiring, move.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I pray every day he is disciplined enough to do just that.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Biden’s charisma is that he comes off as the Grand Old Man that appeals to people’s better natures and is genuinely interested and concerned about other people. This is demonstrated by this new story from 2018:

                https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/03/13/joe-biden-homeless-man/422097002/

                There is no way in hell that Trump could do this or would do this. Biden makes people feel calm. During Covid-19 he has given what can be called fireside chats like FDR did. This is really old school stuff but people love it.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I spend a fair amount of time with the working poor and blue-collar crowd because of the nature of my practice and my own years working as one of them or with them. Someone here pointed to the Elevator Lady as an example of Joe Biden inspiring someone. I suspect that her reaction was really more of a surprising close encounter with a famous person who was not an a*****e rather than a genuine belief in Biden’s awesomeness, but I could be wrong.Report

      • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        You can say all you want about how YOU BELIEVE Tara Reade was “thoroughly debunked.” Nothing I read or heard comes close to moving my needle. You saying it does not make it true. I am not stupid, not ill-informed, not reactionary. Believe me, I tried to convince myself she was lying. There are a lot of people who insist Christine Ford has been thoroughly debunked as well.
        I analyzed it in the same way I tackled criminal cases; whatever side I represent, I look for all the holes in it as though I were on the opposite side. I did that here, and remained convinced.
        This is not about my wish for a perfect candidate. HRC had a lot of flaws but I happily and without a second thought voted for her.
        The part of me that is a rape survivor cannot face the prospect of voting for someone I believe is a sex offender. It makes me physically queasy (and yes the thought of voting for Trump gives me an even stronger visceral reaction.)
        And once again, I reiterate: the stakes are not high for me. Not because of my personal position in life (that’s true too, but that in itself would not stop me from voting for Biden) but because Biden can’t win here. Everyone keeps telling me I am wrong or might be surprised, but I live here, and Trump supporters outnumber me by 100 to 1 (please do not mathcheck my hyperbole).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Chip said this way more diplomatically than I did but I am a hothead, voting has consequences.

        In what sense? As signaling value?

        If you’d said that elections have consequences I’d 100% agree. Fact is, though, Em’s correct that her vote in WV is meaningless *except* for its signaling value. Framed that way, your argument to Em is that she should violate deeply held principles to merely signal support for a person she in fact cannot support.

        Maybe response is that she should forget about Biden the person, and merely signal support for Democrats by voting for the Dem presidential ticket. But that doesn’t rise to the level of a justification either since if she’s an otherwise (pretty) reliable Dem voter, she’ll be voting D for state-level offices.

        At the end of the day, maybe the most compelling argument is that by publicly expressing her decision to not vote for Biden/Harris she’s inclining other fence sitters to *also* not vote Biden/Harris, which reflexively leads to the accusation about who’s side she’s on. Is she siding with, to use your term, the “pigs” in the GOP?

        At this point, though, notice how far we’ve moved away from the “voting has consequences” argument. We’re no longer talking about the causal connection between casting a vote and “getting what you deserve good and hard” policy. We’re talking about Em *refraining* from honestly expressing her reservations about supporting Biden with her vote for the sole purpose of helping him get elected. That strikes me as an incoherent demand. Why would she not express her views, especially when people ask for her reasoning?

        People should vote their conscience as informed by a fair appraisal of political reality as they perceive it. You (Saul) are voting your conscience. So is EM.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        My dad had that bumper sticker on his car that year. Had election day been rainy instead of sunny and unseasonably warm we might have had a Governor Duke for 4 years.Report

  17. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    1) I have been the subject of a lot of vote shaming elsewhere in the world of Social Democrats. It’s nuts. They really have no other belief then if they don’t get their way the whole thing should be burned down. I remind them that’s the approach the current President takes. Its always amusing to watch the comments after i toss that out.

    2) I disagree that your vote doesn’t matter. You may not sway the presidential election (I certainly won’t down here), but if we don’t all vote some form of our conscience at some point we will never persuade any party to take our votes seriously enough to actually move the needle on issues we care about.

    3) I believe Tara Reede, but her lone accusation pales in comparison to the dozens of credible accusations against the current President. Even if he had been capable of governing competently I told a conservative IRL acquaintance of mine during the 2016 election that for my daughter’s sake I could never support any man who felt grabbing women by their genitalia was his right. Its an imperfect distinction, but its a necessary one.

    4) I agree with CJ that you are no wimp.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      But if you believe Tara Reade, then apparently Joe Biden feels the same entitlement to grabbing women.
      One rape/sexual assault is not better than a dozen. It’s the same evil.
      And I am voting my conscience.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Em Carpenter
        Ignored
        says:

        I get that. And the volume really doesn’t matter, except I guess to remind Republicans to look at the log in their own eyes first.

        But Conscience is a funny thing – Four more years of the current Administration will can off democracy as I knew it for the 49 years of my life so far. They have all but said they will do so – heck their approach to the election itself and the Post Office shows they have no interest in a representative democracy. So from a conscience perspective if they are allowed to remain they will do more harm then I am willing to ascede to.

        Its also true that, from a morality and ethics perspective – the current Administration has taken actions against social and economic groups I care deeply about. Thus my conscience compels me to vote them out.

        So I would politely suggest that if you will grant no quarter on the sexual assault issues, will you do so for the damage to the country? Your fellow West Virginians may not want you to make a better world for them form the ballot both, but I would argue you are still ethically required to.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          So it’s not democracy unless the votes go by mail, with people’s actual names attached to each ballot so they can be tracked down and exposed later, assuming most of the ballots aren’t actually from Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, and Coyote?

          Trump is working to end the mass incarceration policies that Biden started and Harris gleefully enforced. Perhaps your conscience recoils at the photos of kids in cages – that were put there by Biden and Obama. Perhaps your conscience recoils at work gangs of convicts, but it was Harris’s hand that was holding the whip and refusing to release them because rocks needed busting.

          If you invest too much “morality” into your perspective on policy decisions, you box yourself into a corner. You end up either refusing to see the other sides of issues, because you must view the other sides as evil, or you might realize that your previous positions were “evil”, not just mistaken or not simply alternatives based on a different ordering of optimal goals or outcomes.

          And since your decisions are rooted in morality, then whenever one of your friends decides to put more emphasis on, say, benefit A to group B over benefit C to group D, they’ve suddenly run afoul of your moral order, and are thus less moral than you, the one who of course has the only truly moral set of priorities. How convenient is that?

          Though this view might be emotionally rewarding in the short term (I’m more moral than anyone who disagrees with me), it ultimately results in viewing everyone else as moral inferiors or outright enemies, and eventually becomes exhausting.

          The conservative view is much healthier and easier to maintain. We recognize that most people will have a different set of priorities and interests, and those who strongly disagree are often well-meaning, but either naive or focused on a narrower set of concerns (Such as saving the whales despite the fact that whales are the largest per-capita CO2 emitters in the animal kingdom.)

          Long story short, these differing perspectives are how we end up with a world where the evil conservatives are watching baby sea otters on Youtube while the moral, liberal, progressive people are violently attacking kids with cancer huddled in the Ronald McDonald house – for justice.

          So instead of trying a complex guilt trip, why not go the simple and easy route?

          [Andy Kaufman voice] “Em, vote for Joe Biden or Larry the Lobster dies!”Report

  18. Avatar Mikkhi Kisht
    Ignored
    says:

    Both tickets are full of fail for me now. There’s the bully liar & the Fundie on one side, the dirty old man & the law enforcement hammer on the other. I’ll vote, I just have to figure out which ‘team’ leaves me less covered in grimy guilt when I get home. Alas, my city has finally moved to electronic voting, otherwise I’d scribble in Alfred E. Neuman & call it a day.Report

  19. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    ” I must unhesitatingly and enthusiastically proclaim my unwavering loyalty to Joe goddamn Biden or I’m a fascist who deserves to be shunned by all who love me.”

    Everyone who’s a “my way or the highway” person deserves no indulgence. Screw them. This is why I’m not active on social media, and would never use twitter and such. I’m not casting my opinions to the wind and inviting assholes to respond. If my friends ever give me crap like this, they graduate to no longer being my friend. Our relationship should be bigger than base politics. Hell, politics rarely enter into my conversations with my friends because it’s not their core identity.Report

  20. Avatar Phaedrus
    Ignored
    says:

    Where I was at 14 years ago.
    I’m more comfortable being a Republican.
    You’ll never really understand the Republican Party without understanding the whigs, because party-level politics tends to be binary; but the whigs became a party because of the selection of Martin Van Buren as Andrew Jackson’s running mate for his re-election, rather than Robert Mentor Johnson of Kentucky, the popular favorite. Succinctly, the whigs refused to convention, running multiple candidates, amassed quite a history of losing badly, then, when Hardin was killed in the Mexican-American War, Lincoln implemented an agreement to take turns running for office, so everyone who wanted to could serve (which is why Lincoln, the last to take his turn, served only one term in Congress). The Republicans came about when the whigs began to convention again.

    Now, from an aspiring prosecutor, the most important things I learned in my first year of law school:
    On my way back from the dispensary, I rode the local rail system by myself for the first time. A fight broke out, and three teens were beating a woman. She ran behind me, and I held my arms out and said, “That’s enough,” over and over, and the teens left. Immediately following that incident, I walked out into the street and turned in the wrong direction, and I walked past a place with the name of my patron saint, so I stopped to ask about it. It turned out to be a day shelter for the homeless, and I began to volunteer there. It was there I learned the most important things I learned in my first year of law school.
    1) I saw a woman, a heroin junkie, who was dope sick. A man at the table next to her had been clean for 15 years, and was inviting her to a meeting.
    2) Another heroin junkie, a Puerto Rican fellow, is helping me with my Spanish. He knows I want to be a prosecutor, but in another county. We work in different areas, you could say. But I told him that I made a promise to Angel Gonzalez, broadcast repeatedly on television, that I was learning Spanish so that what happened to him would never happen again (though, I admit, it’s going to take a little more than that). He knows that there are Spanish-speaking people who need an attorney who speaks Spanish.
    3) I saw a man with a tattoo on his neck carrying a tray of food for an elderly woman on a cane. The kindness and tenderness with which he acted made me very ashamed of a comment I had made some months previously about not wanting to work with “people with tattoos on their necks.”

    All that stuff in those doctrinal courses you could train a monkey to learn.
    Actually, there was an unauthorized practice of law case in Texas where a software development company was tried.
    But it doesn’t take that much processing power.Report

  21. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    We live in a time where we have unprecedented access to other people’s personal history. Seriously, it’s easy to forget how little we knew about candidates in the 70’s, when I cast my first vote for president. We tended to vote on policy (in general terms) and a bit on personality. The kind of hit things we regularly see now were relegated to “whispering campaigns”. Now they are offshore websites shared via social media, and they have far more legs.

    Some of this material may have a factual basis. It may also be that many of the politicians of yesteryear had all sorts of issues that we never heard about.

    These days, we hear about everything, plus a bunch of garbage. Don’t take this as weighing in on Tara Reade. I’m not.Report

  22. Avatar Kristin Devine
    Ignored
    says:

    Just want to reiterate that this is a great piece that describes where a lot of people are at politically right now. It should be put in a time capsule for future historians to study.

    I came back here thinking to have Em’s back but there’s really nothing more to say.

    The arguments against what she’s saying ring hollow and are simply more of the same. But hey, no one’s gonna change their minds here, this is a site for people who like to hear themselves talk. No point. If you have the luxury of being completely convinced you’re doing the right thing, hey, cool for you. The rest of us have a harder job to do.Report

  23. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    IM(very)HO, it’s absolutely no ones Got damn business who you vote for or why. Like a lot of commenters here, my vote will not matter a whit this November. The polls will close at 7:00 p.m. and IL will be called for Biden at 7:01 p.m. But this give me a lot of freedom!

    My first presidential vote was for Dukakis in ’88. My first, and only, winning vote was for Obama in ’08. I’ll continue to vote my conscience, and continue to pray for the day when political parties come to their collective senses and do away with primaries. it’s pretty obvious the American people are pretty terrible at picking the nominees.Report

  24. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    We know Trump is going to try to steal the election. He said so in so many worlds today, while explaining why he’s trying to strangle the post office. If that’s not reason enough to do everything possible to defeat him, I don’t know what is.

    P.S. Kamala Harris really is eligible.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      Trump doesn’t even need the election. The Democrats’ illegal actions during 2016, and subsequent actions to illegally overthrow the government of the United States, means he can have a do-over on his first term and then run again in 2024. 🙂

      Biden actually tried to steal an election. He helped coordinate it. We don’t know whether he’ll and Obama will face charges for it, much less rot in prison, but many remain hopeful that he will.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        You used to at least be funny sometimes.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
          Ignored
          says:

          The Obama Administration’s attempt to rig the election and then coordinate with the intelligence community to remove Trump isn’t actually very funny. It is unquestionably the worst scandal in US history, and the exposure of it is something the press and the Democrats are terrified of. And some of those facing indictment have been singing to Durham, according to sources close to the investigation.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            The Obama Admin tried to remove President Trump from office? How does that timeline work out?Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              DeLorean. Probably built by the Kenyan intelligence services. Piloted by crack commandos from Wakanda.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Comey’s people meeting with Flynn. Flynn wasn’t the target, Trump was. They were trying to find a basis for criminal charges, and also floating the 25th Amendment angle. It’s all going to come out in court quite soon, and it’s going to be unbelievably ugly. Involved were Obama, Biden, Rice, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, and many many others at the NSA, CIA, FBI, and State Department.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Boy I can’t wait to read it all! Though McConnell is throwing some cold water on RonJon’s effort to really get to the bottom of it. Won’t let him interview Comey… Maybe McConnell is secretly RINO traitor Obama guy too I don’t know we’ll see when the report comes out.Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes George, sing us the song of poor Mikey Flynn, who while walking down the sidewalk to church humming the national anthem in full dress uniform slipped and fell into a random pile of Turkish money that just happened to get into his bank accounts through osmosis. Dude was so compromised the Obama Administration went out of there way to tell the Trump Transition not to let him back in after they fired him. Then Trump fired him again.

                But enjoy your defense of Mike the Martyr, if it makes you feel betterReport

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess you haven’t kept up with the story over the last few months.

                It’s amusing that with so many criminal acts getting documented, and a President they think is a madman and tyrannical dictator, nobody on the left is the least bit concerned about a November surprise, despite Democrats being so desperate to try and avert it that they impeached Trump without even having a coherent case.

                A rational fear isn’t that Trump would refuse to leave office if Biden won, it’s that Trump will put Biden in prison in October.Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                You bring all that up avoiding my point because what I said is indisputable facts that nothing in the preceding months have changed.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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                says:

                The purpose of propaganda is not to persuade the nonbeliever, but to reassure each other and justify their behavior.

                Republicans have accepted that that truth is against them so they attack truth itself.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            They tried to rig the election by not saying a word about their investigations before it took place.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              Are you nuts? They leaked things to the press the entire time, which then printed each new tidbit. The entire Russian collusion story was fabricated, and leaked, by the Obama Administration. The unmasking, which is a felony, was committed by multiple top members of the Obama Administration such as Samantha Powers, and including Susan Rice, stemming from a meeting she had with Obama.

              Tomorrow Barr is going to make a minor progress announcement, and he says he’s making sure each case can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. He’s not going for the kind of circus we saw in the House, he’s going for convictions.

              There’s been a long unspoken rule in Washington that politicians don’t try to put other politicians in jail, as a form of MAD strategy. Trump doesn’t feel the least bit bound by that agreement. He will send them all to prison without batting an eye.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                A novel legal theory — being part of a presidential campaign grants full legal immunity for all crimes.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Indeed, which is why Barr is very likely going after Biden and all the other Obama cronies, most of whom are probably now working with Biden’s campaign.

                As for 2016, note that there were no crimes to investigate, and the FBI knew it. That’s already been established. The FBI and other agencies fabricated evidence and used that evidence, which they knew was false, to illegally obtain FISA warrants. They used those to turn the tools of US national intelligence agencies against Trump’s campaign, coordinating with willing members of the press to gin up leaks about all the illegally obtained or fabricated information.

                Nixon never did anything remotely that bad. It’s almost right up there with Trump beating Biden and Harris by having the Air Force shoot down their campaign jet. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the whole Russian collusion story, and the subsequent impeachment attempt, was just a scam perpetrated from within the US government.
                .
                Now, the question is, will Trump, the person the left daily describes as an out-of-control, norm-violating madman, let all that slide, or has he been biding his time and waiting for the right moment to delivery Godzilla-level destruction to his enemies?

                And that’s why many people are waiting on pins and needles to see what happens this fall. It might be more exciting than anything that’s yet occurred in 2020! 🙂Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                I doubt the AG will hold a Saturday News Conference. And you dump news you want to bury on Fridays. But sure, Barr will tell us everything tomorrow.

                Stay classy George.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Thing is, the conjuring up a flimsy pretext to put an opposition leader in jail is completely on brand for Barr and Trump.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well yes, it is. But honestly if they felt they could or should there’s nothing stopping them now. Except I suspect any judge presented with that warrant at this point is going to have a LOT of questions.

                I said when Barr started his “investigation” that it was all for show, kind of like the Senate subpoenaing Hunter Biden. You will notice Mr. Biden’s hearing has yet to be scheduled . . . and the Senate is now on recess for the rest of the month.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                kind of like the Senate subpoenaing Hunter Biden. You will notice Mr. Biden’s hearing has yet to be scheduled . . . and the Senate is now on recess for the rest of the month.

                This is the sort of thing that can wait until October.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Not for Senators running for reelection who now find themselves in statistical dead heats they didn’t expect.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Two thirds of the Senate isn’t having elections. Some of the remaining aren’t in “dead heats”. The odds of having NO ONE who can carry the ball is extremely low.

                The election is in November, so an October surprise needs to be in October.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Barr already announced the news. “Kevin Clinesmith, a former top lawyer in James Comey’s FBI, pleaded guilty on Friday to falsifying a federal spy warrant against Carter Page.”

                For months there have been minor leaks that said many of those involved were ratting each other out, and ratting out their superiors. I would expect that part of Clinesmith’s plea agreement includes testifying against his bosses.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                No, he pleaded guilty to altering an email used in a warrant saying Carter Page wasn’t a prior government informant when he had been. Clinesmith did a dumb thing, but he’s not going to bring down any of the people you feverishly hope he will.

                Again, big news that’s good for the President isn’t going to drop on a friday.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Barr never said it was going to be big news, just a minor update. If you’ve been following these cases, the FBI did a massive amount of lying, falsification of evidence, and evidence tampering to get the FISA warrants that they needed to illegally spy on the Trump campaign.

                By the way, that’s far worse than anything that occurred during Watergate. Far worse. Nixon had to use some Cubans because there was no way the FBI, CIA, or NSA was going to do his bidding. What’s perhaps more troubling is the fact that it wasn’t Obama and Biden’s corruption that allowed them to pull this off so easily, it’s that the corruption had eaten into the highest levels of our government agencies, and had Hillary won, all of this would have been completely covered up.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                This is the first instance in history where evidence was ever “improved” to get a warrant. And of course the FBI wasn’t involved in Watergate; that’s why L. Patrick Gray had to resign.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                This just in. The FBI wasn’t involved in Watergate. They were investigating the heck out of it. Gray recused himself and put Felt in charge. Felt, you might recall, is also known as Deep Throat.

                Obama and Biden didn’t use G Gordon Liddy and some Cubans to try and bug a hotel room, and then trying to make sure the FBI never figured it out. They had the heads of the FBI, NSA, CIA, and other intelligence agencies coordinate to use their agencies’ vast spying apparatus against the GOP Presidential campaign.

                Democrats will of course defend that kind of action with every fiber of their being, which is why I’d find it amusing if Trump just ordered the FBI to plant gigabytes of child porn on Biden and Harris and then just throw them in prison for life, since it’s apparently okay for a President to frame his political opponents, falsely smear them, falsely charge them, and falsely imprison them.

                One day maybe they’ll wake up and wonder how come they’re living in a banana republic run by a military junta, and then recall that progressive pundits were urging the Pentagon to remove Trump by force.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                L. Patrick Gray had to resign in disgrace and spent years under threat of indictment. Look it up.

                If we end up living in a banana republic run by a military junta, it’ll be because that’s what “conservatives” always wanted.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                The current number of political opponents arrested is zero… however Harris has flirted with the idea with Trump. Similarly she’s flirted with the idea of court packing.

                I’ve no clue if she’s serious but if she is then that’s MUCH further down that road than anything Trump has put on twitter. It’s even a lot further than HRC selling pardons and the other run of the mill corruption we have.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                As if there is no difference between arresting innocent people and guilty people…Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                As if there is no difference between arresting innocent people and guilty people…

                With the kind of resources the gov can bring to bear, everyone is guilty of something. Trump has 500 LLCs, ergo he’s done something the gov didn’t care about before and that they could arrest him for now.

                Which doesn’t change that this would be several steps down the path to being a banana republic state.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Ah. Putting politicians in jail is the sign of a banana republic.

                Rod Blagojevich, Marion Berry, Tom De Lay…they are all victims of a corrupt banana republic, then?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Banana Republic territory is when it’s assumed that the new President will arrest/imprison the old and pack the court with his allies so whatever he does is legal.

                Similarly your statements about “millions of people dying” if the election goes the wrong way is seriously damning.

                If those sorts of statements are correct then large numbers of people, and especially politically important people who control enough resources to overthrow the country, have to wonder why have elections at all?

                Our lives are on the line, the other side can’t be trusted not to kill/imprison us, why on Earth aren’t we doing what they’re going to do and simply kill them?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Trump is doing virtually everything banana republics do.
                Making the office his personal profit center, demanding personal loyalty from all branches of government, using the judiciary as his personal defense/ prosecution a using every power he can to suppress and prevent an honest election.

                At this point he is reaching Nigerian prince levels of buffoonish corruption. The only reason he is still in office is that he has the loyalty of his Republican cronies in the Senate.

                The best thing a Biden administration can do is hold a Truth and Reconciliation Commission sort of thing like the former Communist and apartheid regimes did.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Would those be the same former Communist and current Communist regimes that give Biden’s drug-addict alcoholic family member over a billion dollars in return for favors from Biden?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Making the office his personal profit center,

                How many Billions has he collected (TCF got $3B but that took years) and what’s your source? Exclude the Trump Empire selling hotel space. It’s not clear to me that being President is even a good thing for him from a money point of view with the Left boycotting his stuff.

                demanding personal loyalty from all branches of government

                That’s how he’s selecting Supremes? Really? You have a lot of heavy lifting to back that up because as far as I can tell the quality of his judge picks has been fine.

                using every power he can to suppress and prevent an honest election.

                You mean like using the IRS to prevent the creation of hostile groups? Oh, wait, that was Obama’s people.

                My news feed has missed him cancelling elections or making them worse than say what has happened before. What are you talking about?

                And keep in mind that in order to reach “Nigerian prince levels” it needs to be a lot worse than what we’ve seen from Team Blue.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Umm, dude? The IRS thing was debunked, entirely, Obama’s people had no clue it was going on and the IRS was hitting political groups on the left as well as the right. The GOP had to give up on it because there was noone to charge over it and no malfeasance.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
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                says:

                The IRS thing was debunked

                “Debunked” is very much not the word I’d use. Go read the full wiki on this one. It happened. It seems to have happened worse for the conservative organizations than the liberal organizations.

                It wasn’t provably criminal. It was never connected to anyone high up in Obama’s group. Big picture the IRS decided to stamp down onto some abuses… and we’re just supposed to ignore that this rule change (much less putting all applications with the words “Tea Party” in them under a microscope) affected conservatives more than liberals.

                If the burden of proof needed is that of a criminal in a normal trial, then we don’t have enough proof.

                Change the burden of proof to what we’d say is a problem when White Southern politicians enact laws/policies which, by coincidence, make it harder for Blacks to vote than Whites, and I suspect we get a different answer.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I’m not going to respond here, since at this point the whole “Donald Trump isn’t corrupt” stuff is at 9-11 Truther levels of denial and not nearly as fun.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                This just in. Donald Trump is not corrupt. He’s not 1% as corrupt as Hillary or Biden because he isn’t desperate for money. He was already rich.

                Hillary, in contrast, has a pathological need for money. She had her own campaign pay her to be the candidate, something no other candidate has ever done before. She raked in billions as Secretary of State, with checks made payable to The Clinton Foundation, which was an influence pedaling operation that somehow wasn’t made illegal because Congress never anticipated such blatant corruption.

                Both the Bidens and the Clintons entered politics as poor as you or me, and merely from a life in public office, they became incredibly, obscenely rich, with multiple mansions, private jets, and offshore accounts.

                In contrast, Trump is worth less now than when he entered office because he’s sacrificing his personal income to serve America.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Except, of course, Clinton’s foundation was, and is, in adherence with all laws regarding charitable organizations, none of that money has ever been proven to have been misappropriated in any way and the Clinton Foundation is operating as a going concern. Whereas the Trump charitable foundation has been convicted of rampant fraud in multiple courts of law and has ceased operation.

                And Obama has never hawked Goya beans from the oval office. I mean you’re an expert at peddling Kentucky horseshit with a grin, George, but this isn’t even Tennessee level chicken shit. You can do better.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North
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                says:

                I’ve always said I would be very confident that the foundation was in ‘adherence with laws’ … but back in ’15/’16 I could only speculate on what it would look like if she lost.

                From published consolidated financials at Clinton Foundation Website these are the Annual Contributions:

                2015: $217,832,954
                2016: $182,501,956
                2017: $15,274,057
                2018: $21,305,219

                As I say, I’m confident the books are in order.

                Trump and Clinton are different viruses… but viruses nonetheless.

                In fact, I’m perfectly fine if Trump goes to jail for any or all of the increasingly obvious financial irregularities of his charities and straight up business practices.

                It would be a cautionary tale to other would be political hacks that the scrutiny will make your wax wings melt… but let’s be honest that the lesson learned by those folks would be to, well, be more like the Clintons. Launder your influence with more sophisticated vehicles than Michael Cohen can provide.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Except, of course, Clinton’s foundation was, and is, in adherence with all laws

                “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” A lot of people really hate the game, North.

                The Clintons, seems to me, have always been on the leading edge of legalized corruption in politics. Both of em.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’m not here to advocate that the Clintons are pure as the driven snow (for one thing the Clintons are utterly finished in politics), just that Georges assertion was especially and boringly ludicrous. You can certainly say “yeah no one can prove anything but the lefties are all as corrupt if nor more corrupt than the nakedly, historically and idiotically corrupt current right wing operation,” but we’d just have to take your word for it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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                says:

                Well, it’s a tricky thing to discuss. A charitable (heh!) appraisal of the Clinton Foundation is that it’s just an extension of how Democrats do politics from the local level on up. Identify the big stake-holders, offer them some rewards for skin in the game, construct backroom deals, sell those deals to Dem base (who eat that shit up).

                If you criticize this fundamental feature of how Dems do politics, you’re marginalizing their ability to win the next election, but since the Dems (both parties of course) are in perpetual campaign mode, structural/institutional criticisms of how the Democratic Party conducts politics are never politically appropriate. “Shut up, we’ve got an election to win, dammit! Whose side are you on?”

                To their credit, the Dems, as a party, have done a good job of training the base to see only what’s in the right hand and to *not* see what the left hand is doing. That type of deception is part of politics too! Dems have been pretty good at that sleight of hand over the years, until Hillary, who said the quiet part – what the right hand was doing – out loud.

                Backroom deals are part of politics. What I object to is that that type of policy formation has become the Dems *preferred*, sometimes only, way of doing politics. Pelosi saying “We won’t know what’s in the bill til we pass it” is a good example of what I mean. It’s become an article of faith within the Dem party that our Leaders are doing the best they can, so trust the backroom deals. That’s a bad place to be if you’re a voter.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I gotta a comment in moderation with no links or curse words. ??Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                The most surreal part of the Trump presidency is the lionization of politics as usual. We need him gone but I still don’t believe elite media and the full time political class understand how we got him in the first place. Of course if you bring things like this up and, well, you must be a Republican or an anti-anti-Trump or some other designated person of bad faith.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Take legalizing weed as an example. 83% of registered Dem voters support legalization; the DNC excluded it from the official party platform.

                The response from the Dem right-hand-watching voters is that Our Leaders *obviously* have their reasons… And who’s side are you on, anyway? The left-hand-watchers just shake their damn heads at the insanity of it all.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I think one view is that we need younger D’s who are out of the reefer madness generation. Which will happen sooner or later. Likely sooner at this point.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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                says:

                Mod help! I got a comment in moderation with no links and no curse words.

                I gotta reply to that comment in moderation which says the above.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                (Did you get freed?)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yes. Thanks for checking.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’m pretty sure she violated the law that prohibits US government officials from using their office to pressure foreign leaders to commit illegal acts for her personal financial benefit. She did that.

                She committed so many illegal and corrupt acts that corrupt FBI agents had to become complicit to keep her out of prison. Fortunately those agents are under investigation and will hopefully face prosecution.

                The problem is that the core of the DNC became wildly corrupt, turning the State Department and other agencies into what almost amounts to criminal syndicates, shaking down foreign governments and foreign companies for cash. Bill Clinton set up shell corporations to rake in money from companies that sought to evade US sanctions, and Hillary was the beneficiary who would in turn give them permission to do so.

                Biden was more than a willing participant in those schemes, and he ran his own schemes in Central Europe and elsewhere. Why is his son on the board of a Ukrainian energy company? Why did the owner of that company, long sought by police, launder hundreds of millions through a US investment firm whose major stockholder was Obama’s national security advisor? Why was Biden’s son given over a billion dollars in Chinese investment money to manage a week after Biden gave China the green light to stake territorial claims in the South China Sea?

                Schemes like that are why Hillary lost. There’s just too much dirt for some Democrats to be able to vote for her with a clear conscience. Others wouldn’t vote for her because of the Clintons’ close association with people like Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’ll hate the players, because no one makes them play the game.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
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                says:

                …Clinton’s foundation was, and is, in adherence with all laws regarding charitable organizations, none of that money has ever been proven to have been misappropriated in any way…

                You’re assuming “legal” means “not corrupt” or even “ethical”.

                So Hunter Biden’s various joke “jobs” are fine, even though those jobs are only available to the family of high level politicians and would be illegal if Joe Biden were a foreign politician.

                TCF is fine, even though its funding dried up the moment HRC lost power and even though it’s pretty obviously a vehicle designed to monetize political muscle on one end and create it on the other.

                Bill sneaking off to a clandestine meeting with the AG on the tarmac to “talk about his family” a few hours before the AG would rule on whether his wife has a political future was fine.

                HRC selling pardons was fine.

                The big thing which stands out is how “ethics” is just a club to beat the other side, there’s no claim that we should have ethical reform to make everything I just mentioned illegal (and yes, I’m sure there are lots of Red examples).Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Mmmhmm at this point, of course, the allegations of TCF’s malfeasance amounts to unsubstantiated rumors and allusions. Based on that standard anyone and everything is malevolent. Recall, if you will, that the Georges’ assertion, which I responded to, was that Obama and Clinton were -more- corrupt that Trump, which is to say that a foundation that has been convicted of rampant fraud is being said to be less corrupt than one which, so far, has shown no actual evidence of fraud or any shady behavior at all except that their revenue stream diminished when their titular public figure ceased to be significantly prominent. That is not only incoherent, it’s verging on tin foil hat.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North
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                says:

                the allegations of TCF’s malfeasance amounts to unsubstantiated rumors and allusions.

                This is like saying HRC selling pardons is an “unsubstantiated rumor” or that Hunter Biden’s jobs are an “unsubstantiated rumor”.

                The problem is with what’s legal and what we know is happening. They were given vast amounts of money. That money didn’t go into their pocket (there are other pools of money for that). So it gives jobs to Clinton insiders between gov gigs, supports Leftist causes and does other soft money Billionaire style influence stuff.

                We can’t prove money becomes favors becomes money any more than we can prove HRC traded a million dollars for a pardon because this is following the Chinese model for corruption. There are no direct links between any specific action. You build relationships where you constantly shower the Clintons with money and they will do the occasional good deed for you.

                So at the end of the day there’s no reason for the million dollars other than the pardon and there’s no reason for the pardon other than the million dollars, but without telepathy we can’t prove they’re related. However, yes, the moment political influence wasn’t available TCF’s funding dried up.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                tl/dr; Squirrel!Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “Donald Trump isn’t corrupt”

                I’m not saying he isn’t corrupt, I’m pointing out that he’s not “millions of people will die” corrupt nor even “significantly worse than the worst of Team Blue” corrupt.

                All of this hysteria and pearl clutching is how we end up with Blue pointing to Obama era pictures of children in cages and saying they’re death camp level immoral.

                Now court packing and/or arresting political enemies? That would be seriously worse than anything we’ve seen, let’s hope Harris isn’t serious.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Now court packing and/or arresting political enemies? That would be seriously worse than anything we’ve seen, let’s hope Harris isn’t serious.

                THis is an odd criticism to throw at Harris given that the GOP/Trump have done those very things. (Eg., McConnell/Trump stole a SCOTUS seat/packed lower courts, and Barr’s DOJ is in fact investigating Obama officials and holdovers for criminal conduct.)Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                DOJ is investigating Obama officials for illegally wiretapping and spying on their political opponents.

                If you want a stay-out-of-jail card for things like that, then surely it would be okay if Trump just eliminated top Democrats with drone strikes, without fear of prosecution for it. Surely.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                THis is an odd criticism to throw at Harris given that the GOP/Trump have done those very things.

                Inflamed rhetoric doesn’t serve us well.

                (Eg., McConnell/Trump stole a SCOTUS seat/packed lower courts

                Stole? So you can have him arrested? Or do you just mean he followed the Biden rule and that wasn’t supposed to be used against Team Blue? And are we supposed to think that Biden following the Biden rule would have been held against him?

                You don’t see the difference between Team Blue getting outplayed and Harris whimsical deciding Team Blue should have four more Supremes because they want “the correct” version of the law?

                , and Barr’s DOJ is in fact investigating Obama officials and holdovers for criminal conduct.)

                How many people have been arrested? Are they playing “show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”? Or is it more “did Team Blue try to steal the election”? Or maybe, if no one has been arrested yet, it’s more political show?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Reforming the court system isn’t criminal or unconstitutional either.

                There isn’t any magic to a 9 member SCOTUS, and the appellate courts can easily be reshaped and redistributed to add many more members. And of course a unified Congress can add two more states if it wishes.

                What McConnell has demonstrated is how much of the machinery of the federal government was not spelled out in the Constitution, but merely norms and traditions which can now be replaced with political hardball.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And of course a unified Congress can add two more states if it wishes.

                If that’s Puerto Rico then it’d be against their will which would be interesting. The reason they don’t want it is because they’d lose too much money.

                DC would be weird because they’re a city and I suspect there would be weird unintended consequences (see also Puerto Rico). I do wonder if this wouldn’t lead to Texas or California splitting up into a dozen or so sub-states to pack the Senate.

                Reforming the court system isn’t criminal or unconstitutional either.

                I didn’t say it was “criminal” I said it was serious Banana Republic and a HUGE step down the path of getting rid of elections. This would be opposed to simply winning the game by the currently existing rules. Now I will also note your reasoning seems to be if Team Blue wants to do it then it’s perfectly fine.

                What McConnell has demonstrated is how much of the machinery of the federal government was not spelled out in the Constitution, but merely norms and traditions which can now be replaced with political hardball.

                Serious question for you, do you think Biden wouldn’t have followed the Biden rule back in ’92?

                IMHO it’s less a rule than a reality. President elected to appoint Supremes and swing the court. Senate elected two years later to stop him, both sides can point to the voters. That was true in ’92 and it will be true in the future. I don’t see how we solve that without the voters weighing in.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Why is reforming the courts somehow “banana republic” behavior?

                It seems perfectly within the intent of the Constitution.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If that was the intent of the Constitution, justices wouldn’t have been given lifetime appointments, they’d have been like cabinet picks or federal employees under the old spoils system.

                The point was that the justices were apart from and in some ways above the shenanigans in the other branches, and the ever changing winds of fickle public opinion.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                1. Justices only serve for a term of “good behavior” and can be impeached and removed like any other government official.

                2. The Constitution doesn’t say how many justices there shall be, and doesn’t mention appellate courts at all.

                Which branch of government created the appellate courts, deciding how many court justices there should be, and in what division and organization?

                Can this branch of the government do it again?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What “reform” are you trying to accomplish here?

                Do you want to do anything other than Banana Republic style packing the court with your supporters?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Gray was completely exonerated, and had the New York Times ran with what he was giving them, they’d have beat the Washington Post on the Watergate story.

                Gray had no idea the White House was involved in a cover-up, and as soon as he figured that out he became one of their enemies. In contrast, Obama’s high level officials were actively and willingly taking part in the White House scheme to damage Trump and his campaign.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                The entire case collapsed, which is why Roger Stone was convicted, and why Barr is desperate to drop the prosecution of Flynn.Report

  25. Avatar Stillwater
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ll put this here, I guess, since it seems relevant to how and why people might vote:

    I Resigned from U.S. Government After My Own Leaders Began to Act Like the Autocrats I Analyzed

    I left government service after more than a decade because I lost faith in the courage of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to refuse unlawful orders from the President. They effectively labeled me and other Americans expressing our views in a peaceful assembly as enemies. ….. I have seen up close the president’s disdain for democratic values, and recent events should be put in the context of a continuous slide toward authoritarianism.

    Report

  26. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    We should probably start watching, and learning how to react to a stolen election:

    Belarus crackdown: Women form human chains in ‘solidarity’ protests
    iIn recent nights, authorities have responded with a level of brutality remarkable even during Lukashenko’s rule. Police have dispersed protesters with tear gas, stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets and severely beat them with truncheons.

    Black-uniformed officers chased protesters into residential buildings and deliberately targeted journalists, beating many and breaking their cameras.

    In several parts of Minsk on Wednesday night, groups of hundreds of people formed human chains. An AFP journalist witnessed one such chain in the north-east of the capital being broken up, with demonstrators beaten by police.

    Elsewhere, motorists blared horns in support and, in some areas, slowed to a crawl to block police vehicles. On one avenue, people stood on balconies, clapping in an expression of support. Riot police fired rubber bullets at them.Report

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