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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    This is going to continue until November unabated is my guess. There is no sign of either side wanting to back down, calm down, retreat into corners, etc. The Kenosha PD shooting of Jacob Blake shows that the police have not learned anything over the past three months and feel nearly immune to reform. Maybe they are correct in this assessment, maybe they are not but it is clear that they feel like they do not need to reform.

    I suppose the dreary political question is whether the violence or unrest helps or hurts Trump at the polls. The relative evidence we have now is that it seems to hurt him more than it helps. It started on his “watch”, he can’t do anything to abate it, and public polling has remained largely sympathetic to BLM and the protestors and not with the police. Trump and the Republicans are trying to be Nixon in 1968 but Nixon had the advantage of not being the incumbent and dealing with very different demographics. The United States of 1968 was older and whiter.

    “Given the lack of polling evidence so far, are there good priors to assume Kenosha will help Trump?

    I don’t know about that either. Consider:

    1. The unrest is happening while he is president;
    2. Trump’s standing in the polls WORSENED in June amid outbreaks of violence;”-Nate Silver on Twiiter.

    There seem to be some political pundits who are trying to make this a Democrats in disarray/horserace election but it does not appear to be sticking. The RNC performed worse in the ratings than the DNC. Polling is still strong for Biden. This raises some interesting questions. What is this is a boring election despite the high stakes? What is polling continues to be the same until November 3rd or Trump declines in the polls? At what point does the media stop trying to make it a horse race? Why does the media need every election to be a match between equally skilled boxers?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      It’s an open question. So far it seems to have hurt Trump’s standing AND the standing of Black Lives Matter. They’re back down under 50% approval now as everyone right of center hardens against them and as attitudes in the middle are rapidly chilling for them.

      Biden, being not insane nor blinded by left wing ideology, has repeatedly denounced violence and distanced himself from the violent elements of the protest. So far that seems to have insulated him from direct disapproval/blame from the voters. It remains to be seen what this does for turn out, though, which is something we can’t analyse in advance. I’m pretty confident in saying that no one on the left who isn’t blinded by ideology should be celebrating this conflict.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
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        says:

        Perhaps but I am more concerned with the sheer impunity the cops seem to feel at this point. I think that the reforms needed to end this impunity are beyond what moderation has the political willpower for. This is a big problem that can not be solved by incremental use a walker reform. Unless you want to hear more stories of police shooting with impunity.

        The police are out of control. All over the country. There was a story on the 27th in the Guardian about far right and white supremacists
        Infiltrating police departments around the country. Suppose this is true. Why do you think this can be changed slowly and incrementally?

        Another thing I saw this week was a carton published around 53 years ago this week. The cartoon featured a reporter interviewing MLK. MLK sayid something like “I plan on having another non-violent protest tomorrow.” The cartoon showed complete chaos around King of course.

        At some point, you need to conclude that moderation can be wrong and/or untenable.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          Firstly, cop reform is primarily focused on the state and especially the city level. There’s a very practical limit on what federal politicians can do about the matter.

          Secondly, as to the question of incrementalism vs radicalism, the cold reality is that if your supporting politicians just get wiped out in an election they aren’t going to implement anything. So if it’s a choice between incrementalism and nothing? I’ll take incrementalism thanks.

          Third: optics kind of matter. Who the fish do idiots think they’re going to persuade by building fishing guillotines or threatening to burn everything down? This isn’t ambiguous, Kings movement succeeded despite the violent problems that accompanied his demonstrations- not because of them.

          Fourth: maybe we should be focusing of racial justice and police reform? Personally I am pretty sympathetic to calls to refound police departments to wipe out the crooked cultures and rotted police unions (they started the process in Minneapolis where I live and I’d happily vote yes on that), but – as is typical with the left- everyone is merrily trying to stuff every cause under the skirts of racial justice from liberating Palestine to abolishing capitalism.

          And yeah, of course the Right is focusing on the violent minority element of the protests, but must we make it so EASY for them? Seems like useful idiot behavior to me.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
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            says:

            No one can ever beat status quo bias, eh? Something can be popular and morally and ethically wrong. I don’t think you would have any problem going against public will if it turned out a majority supported occupational licensing. Why so cautious here? Murder with impunity is the cost.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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              says:

              (Saul’s being a progressive chastising the moderate neoliberals on the board? Wonders never cease.)Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
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              says:

              Like I said, at the civic level where I live I support scrapping the Mpls police department and starting over.

              Occupational licensing? Do I look like a libertarian? Unlike them, and left wing loons, I’m not resigned to standing on the fringes, shouting at clouds and cuddling in the warm glow of my personal virtue. I actually want shit to improve.

              And if murder with impunity is the cost maybe shoving all the ancillary goals into a dumpster and focusing on, ya know, police reform would be a fair price to pay? Evidently not. The pure lefties gotta have mass public housing, abolishing markets and mandatory straw bans too; bless their deranged hearts.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
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        says:

        Also Federal Law is a huge part of it. People sue the police under Federal Law. Namely section 1983 of the United States Code. It is Federal Courts that wrapped cops up in nearly invincible case law of qualified immunity.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      To be fair to the cops, expecting them to turn around and behave differently is a hell of an ask. Even though policing is all very local, you have a cultural leviathan that you are trying to change the course of. Even if they wanted to change*, it would be a slow process.

      *And let’s be honest, right now, the police have no idea what they should change towards. Telling them to stop killing black people is no gonna get the job done. Protesters and pundits aren’t engaging in root cause analysis beyond accusations of racism. Even if racism is at the root of this (and I’ve been pretty clear that I think racism is merely a 2nd order effect of the root cause), dismantling structural racism that has been active for over 100 years is going to take time.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/1300086685863116802

    “3. Polls show voters give Trump poor marks on protest handling;
    4. Polls show voters give Trump poor marks on race relations;
    5. Trump is often careless in his messaging and in crisis management.

    So to me, it seems hard to know how this will play out.”Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/1300079382820794370?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1300079382820794370%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fdisqus.com%2Fhome%2Finbox%2F&fbclid=IwAR2DxQZPgIW3tp5dm4rECNOb-juCTNqyWk8dCdJte4r4JoMcoL9D2I-pSiI

    “It doesn’t help that there hasn’t been much polling lately, but there is a lot of “the pendulum is swinging away from Biden” speculation based on rather little actual evidence, most if it coming from the sorts of people from whom such speculation often proves to be wrong.”Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    Wheeler and Brown have completely screwed up. They had the chances to nip it in the bud, but backed down and always sided with ANTIFA and anyone that said orangemanbad, and now we have the BLM riots going on for 94 odd days. We were told that they would end when the Feds left weeks ago, but that wasn’t true. Wheeler has been down in the pit trying to be a rioter and is laughed at as being a dilettante and a poseur. They can smell his cowardliness a mile away. Gov. Brown has so alienated every other part of the state that she has zero ability to sway and deflect anyone not from Portland, which has blued as much as the rest of the state has reddened.

    Right now the left is trying to grab the tiger’s tail with the BLM issue, and it is biting them in the ass. Biden is sinking like a stone in the polls, the RNC had six times the views online as the DNC, the right is motivated while the left has a sinking ship. I watched Biden do a softball interview with Anderson Cooper and the poor guy could barely read the crib notes for the scripted questions. They can’t have a debate, as they are too scared of what Biden would say and the ammo it will give Trump. I live an hour south of Portland and when I just drove through the local university town I saw zero signs for Biden, but even in that town I have started seeing Trump signs and banners. Anecdotal, I know, and I might have missed them, but I don’t think so.Report

  5. Avatar InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    How this plays out in the election is anyone’s guess but I think we’ve already turned the corner from helpful activism to counter-productive LARPing. Note the demands at PDX5. No local leader could possibly accept that and it doesn’t move the ball on policy. It’s the same thing we’re seeing in DC now with the harassment of diners and random bystanders, and the incident with Rand Paul last week was beyond ludicrous.

    This isn’t a defense of the right-wing ‘militia’ tomfoolery. They have their rights too but they’re just as eligible for winning stupid prizes as anyone looting or destroying property.

    I think the most likely winners in this will be the police and the unions. Every city that erupts into chaos is making the case to the public that the cops, whatever their problems, are preferable to the apparent alternative. The longer it goes on the less chance there will be for meaningful reform.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      https://www.vox.com/2020/8/30/21407646/trump-approval-poll-rnc-abc-news-ipsos

      “Poll: Biden’s approval rating got a convention bounce. Trump’s didn’t.”Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        And Biden has, very sensibly, denounced the violence in no uncertain terms.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        What does that have to do with my point? Biden is by far the best of the options from the primary to be unimpacted as a candidate for president but that in itself doesn’t do much for the necessary work of reform. The feds could stop arming the cops with military weapons, un-schedule marijuana, and change 1983 but the bulk of the work is still local and state.

        Even what the feds can do is being undermined by activists whose passion apparently outpaces their intelligence 100 fold. See the Rand Paul episode. I guess the definition of being woke is refusal to take yes for an answer.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Trump Pulls Closer to Biden After RNC

        Post-convention poll shows Trump almost halved national deficit against the Democratic nominee
        https://morningconsult.com/2020/08/29/post-rnc-poll-trump-bounce/

        Has Biden even left his basement yet? He needs to be on the ground there:

        Iron Range mayors pitch Trump with Pence
        https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/6628320-Iron-Range-mayors-pitch-Trump-with-Pence

        I believe the Iron Range area is… was a Democrat stronghold?

        But you have nothing to worry about!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Do you have any nagging thoughts about 2016 when you point such things out?

        Like “this feels familiar” or something?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Jaybird, does this election seem similar to the 2016 election *to you*? Biden is widely liked, Hillary was widely reviled; Trump is now known incumbent, in 2016 he was the fresh-faced new ideas guy; Post RNC convention in 2016 about 20% of the electorate was undecided, same point in 2020 only 6-7% are undecided.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            In the last month, Biden’s lead in battleground states has dropped from 6.1% to 2.7%. And continues to drop.* If he cannot arrest that with a strong debate showing, he is dead in the water. And if he passes on a debate? Trump stands up and declares that if Biden cannot face the current president, how would he face Xi or Putin? How would he face America? The ads just write themselves.

            No, the race doesn’t feel similar, but the D’s putting their fingers in their ears feels the same.

            *https://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/trump-vs-biden-top-battleground-states/Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Aaron David
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              says:

              One polling firm said Trump gained about 5 points on Biden last week or two in Minnesota, producing a statistical dead heat. But Hillary was up by 11 in Minnesota until the votes got counted, and then Trump beat the polls there by 9.5 points. So he’s likely already got the state locked up. The same firm said he was doing better in Michigan and Wisconsin than he was in Minnesota. If so, that means the Democrat’s blue wall is long gone.

              And if you look at who is flipping, it’s even more ominous for Democrats. They aren’t swing voters, their lifelong, multi-generational base voters. Those change parties vastly less often than they get a divorce, so you could argue that for a life-long partisan, switching parties is less traumatic and profound that dumping the spouse. Wooing those voters back is almost impossible, less likely than convincing them to get back together with their ex. ^_^

              CSPAN had to change their call-in system because so many people calling in on the Democrat line were explaining why they’d decided to vote for Trump. Now their call-in is “Going to vote Biden, Going to vote Trump” so they can keep the calls sorted out.

              As to polling, I think they numbers are even less accurate now than in 2016 because large numbers of Republicans, in a recent study, lie to pollsters. I would lie to a pollster, too.

              One of my close friends used to run Kentucky’s oldest polling firm, and the people making the phone calls are almost invariably young college students or minorities, because the job doesn’t pay very well, and pollsters would probably switch to using Indian call centers in Bangalore if they could get away with it. But just as Americans would be highly reluctant to give truthful political information to a foreigner, so to are conservatives reluctant to tell the truth to someone who sounds young and different.

              This is further reflected in how conservatives keep their mouth shut when their out having dinner with their spouse’s friends, acquaintances, and other general folks that they don’t know really well. The left is so quick to jump on anyone who evinces even the slightest support for Trump that conservatives just smile and nod along so as not to get subjected to some idiotic tirade and having their whole evening ruined. They’ve been conditioned to either lie or stay quiet.

              One of the side effects of a press that utterly demonizes the opposition is that the opposition seems to disappear, creating a vast disconnect between reality and perceptions. This creates election night surprises, or in the former Soviet Bloc, creates people’s revolutions like 1989.

              Of course, another unanticipated result is that conservatives can hop on Youtube and get just as much happy happy joy joy from watching 2016 election night recaps as they would from watching cute and funny pet compilation videos.

              I think The Young Turk’s meltdown is one of the funniest. 🙂Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              but the D’s putting their fingers in their ears feels the same.

              Well, one person’s finger-in-the-ear is another person’s principled-stand-for-liberty-and-truth. That’s just the nature of politics. People *insist*, not by argument but by assertion, that their party is on the side of angels wrt X and move on to attacking their opponent for doing not-X stuff.

              So, comparing the two elections on merely those grounds is a bit tricky, seems to me. Hillary thought she could skip on the surface of issues and avoid doing retail politics because she thought (mistakenly) that people would/should trust her. Biden isn’t going to make that mistake because it’s not in his character to do so.

              BUT! … that doesn’t address what I take to be your criticism of Dems. The trap Trump lays for Dems isn’t that they stick their fingers in their ears, it’s that they (seemingly) cannot coherently assert a definitive response to certain types of problems, the obvious one right now being rioters roaming city streets. Why? Well, it seems to me that Dem politicians at the local level understand that their coalition is comprised of three inconsistent factions: wealthy-ish urban/suburban white people who want cops to protect their property values; cop unions who want insularity from their wrongdoing; and criminal justice reformers who are critical of the CJ status quo. Their coalition, seems to me, *causes* their paralysis in the face of the current moment. It’s a weakness which Trump instinctively – like the predator that he is – jumps on.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “Well, one person’s finger-in-the-ear is another person’s principled-stand-for-liberty-and-truth.”

                aaaand that isn’t what I am saying at all. In case I wasn’t clear, what should be a slam dunk election in the D’s eyes, isn’t. Like I have shown, Bidens numbers in battleground states are falling, Jaybird showed how the riots are polling badly for the D’s, and so on. But you are right that things on the ground aren’t the same; Trump is the incumbent, Biden isn’t as hated as Hilary was, and so on. So, no, the race isn’t the same. Which is what I said. But insisting that all is well, remain calm? That is what is familiar.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                Aaaand, you didn’t actually read my comment. My first instinct was to not respond to you. I shoulda stuck with it.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I read your comment Still, I simply answered and corrected the part that was wrong. I figured that I wasn’t being clear, but now it is obvious that you just want to bloviate.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            No it doesn’t. It doesn’t Remind Me of anything.

            But seeing arguments that point to the polls remind me of the arguments from 2016.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        Ya asks for horserace punditry, ya gets horserace punditry.Report

  6. Avatar LTL FTC
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    says:

    Republicans must love the fact that this is happening in Portland – very few images of black people being brutalized.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    If you appeal to “Law and Order” you need a credible claim to be lawful and orderly.

    The Trumpists are not the Establishment, defending the status quo order, remember?

    They established themselves as the Steve Bannon Leninists who wanted to smash the status quo and drain the swamp and bun down the rotten structure of the Beltway.

    For three years Trump has destroyed every institution, broken every norm, shattered every tradition and convention.

    Chaos is his brand and he’s good at it.

    Which naturally flows from the observation that fascism doesn’t promise peace and tranquility, but endless war and struggle.

    The guys driving trucks with giant Trump flags and carrying guns aren’t promising a world of prosperity and peaceful cooperation.

    I can’t predict how this plays out electorally.
    But I can say that anyone who truly wants peace and order and trusted institutions is not on the Trump train. Maybe a majority of Americans will watch this and get excited enough about bloodshed and violence to win him a second term, I really don’t know.
    But no one is going to think, “I want piece and stability so I’m voting Trump.”Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      “But no one is going to think, “I want piece and stability so I’m voting Trump.”” But are they going to think “Ill vote for Biden”?Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Damon
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        says:

        Kamala Harris Tweeted to tell people to donate to the organizations that are posting bail bond money for the rioters and looters who get arrested. The peaceful protesters aren’t the ones getting arrested, the looters, rioters, and arsonists are. She and Biden are working to keep them on the streets.

        That’s going to make some great ads for the RNC.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          My god, that woman is politically tone-deaf. This is what picking a Veep candidate from a one-party state gets you.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Aaron David
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            says:

            The Antifa member (age 48) who murdered the Patriot Prayer member in Portland had been previously arrested for assaulting cops, illegally carrying a firearm, and the other usual violent stuff. Portland’s DA cut him loose and refused to file anything. If the Portland PD manages to catch him again, perhaps the DA will at least consider charging him with something.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Damon
        Ignored
        says:

        His nickname is “Sleepy Joe Biden”, remember?

        Not “Crazy Joe Biden”, or “Mad Dog Joe Biden”, but….Sleepy.

        The kindly old grandpa who tells funny stories, the aging Boomer who drives a Vette and wistfully talks about the good ol’ days.

        No, the Trumpists have had three years to make their brand, three years of screaming “Lock Her Up” and “Trump That Bitch”, three years of “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required”.

        Carnage In America is their self professed identity, and now they are making it a reality and promising more if they win.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          I must have missed the coverage where Trump supporters are burning down major cities, even though we’ve seen 90+ nights of continuous riots. I haven’t even seen a single Trump supporter pulling a gun on journalists, but I have seen numerous journalists violently attacked by BLM/Antifa. Just last week a journalist had a gun pointed in their face by one of those “peaceful protesters”.

          The left has gone full on delusional in trying to blame the riots on Trump. This is but one example:

          Mayor Jacob Frey @MayorFrey [ed. mayor of Minneapolis]

          We are now confronting white supremacists, members of organized crime, out of state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors to destroy and destabilize our city and our region.

          Translated -> “Riots? Arson? Looting? It’s the Klan! It’s the mafia! It’s hillbillies and cowboys! It’s the Russians!”Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, that doesn’t really answer the question. If the voters you mentioned aren’t voting for Trump are they voting for Biden? Someone else? Not voting? What?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Damon
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            says:

            I honestly don’t know. We can all read polls but they are not giving us a lot of certainty.

            I think its better to just ask each other here.
            Who here sees Trump as emblematic of peace, calm and stability?

            And if you don’t, who represents such?
            Or peace and calm even a priority in voting?

            For me personally, I see Biden as representative of the return of institutional law and order.

            “Institutional” meaning he represents the old order and norms and traditions that have been broken in the last three years.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              By “Institutional” he represents the old order and norms of the 1960’s South. He brags that Delaware was a slave state. He accepted an award from George Wallace. He led the fight to stop school busing. He authored the 1994 Crime Bill to get millions of black men off our streets. He picked the only person in the race who knowingly worked to keep innocent black men in prison.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      But no one is going to think, “I want piece and stability so I’m voting Trump.”

      Depends on whether or not you think the rioters need to be shot.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Joe Biden:
    “Donald Trump keeps telling us if he was president, you’d feel safe.

    Well, he is president — whether he knows it or not.”

    https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1300495317041729536Report

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