Trump in 2016: Us Against Them. Trump in 2020: Us Against Us.

Thanks to Janine Robinson for sharing their work on Unsplash.

It took almost four years but here we are.

Trump used to rally his base with innuendo about shadowy others who threatened America: Mexicans are rapists and members of obscure, violent gangs. A Muslim travel ban would keep out terrorists. Orphaning the children of parents fleeing Central America by locking them away and concealing them from their families would ensure that only Americans would receive benefits from paying taxes.

Where we are now was a gradual and incremental shift but it’s easy enough to look back and see it coming. After all, Trump made his mark on the political scene by questioning Pres. Obama’s legitimacy and refusing to acknowledge that Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya.

We know the cascading inflection points ever since. Good people on both sides. Pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio before he could be sentenced for what the U.S. Dept. of Justice called “sadistic punishments” of Latino inmates. Trying to shut down the NFL because Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in response to police killings of Black people. Calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas. Labeling a free press the enemy of the people. Saying the members of “The Squad,” four Democratic congresswomen, should go back to their countries although all but one were born in America. Calling Jews who vote for Democrats “disloyal.” Retweeting white supremacists. The list is endless and neither of us has that much time.

Now, as Poltico’s Michael Kruse, Renuka Rayasam, and Myah Ward note, Trump is no longer talking about us versus them. He’s ginning up the base by making it us against us. […]

New Poll Shows Jacksonville’s Residents Unhappy with Mayor’s RNC Invitation

Jacksonville’s mayor, making his allegiances clear
When Jacksonville, FL’s mayor Lenny Curry offered his town for the Republican convention in August, it proved something many suspected. Curry is a Republican first and a mayor second. Because if the Democratic convention was looking for a new home, he would have never have volunteered Jacksonville. Most likely, he would have cited COVID-19 concerns and opted to protect his residents.

Like Trump, Curry is new to public office. Being mayor of Jacksonville is the former accounting consultant’s first public service gig. Before he took office in 2015, Curry was for three years the chair of the Republican Party of Florida. Yep.

A new poll shows most of Curry’s constituents disagree with his decision to flood the 15,000-seat arena that is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars with Republicans from across the country while a pandemic is running out of control in Florida. (More) […]

Their Lips are Moving Again

Trump claims he’s going off-label again

While denying he was using it but saying he’d be willing to, Vice President Mike Pence committed some other lies today about hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the drug Trump claims he is taking to prevent COVID-19.

Asked during the Fox interview if he had concerns about the message Trump’s use of the drug sends, Pence noted that the FDA approved the off-label use of the drug so physicians could prescribe it if they deemed it appropriate.

Yeah, no.

First of all, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t “approve” drugs for off-label use. That’s an oxymoron. Here’s the FDA’s own explainer on the subject:

When you are prescribed a drug for its approved use, you can be sure:

    That FDA has conducted a careful evaluation of its benefits and risks for that use.

    The decision to use the drug is supported by strong scientific data.

    There is approved drug labeling for healthcare providers on how to use the drug safely and effectively for that use…

If you and your healthcare provider decide to use an approved drug for an unapproved use to treat your disease or medical condition, remember that FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Keep reading. […]

So This is What Living In a Failed State is Like

Marc Maron

I know most of you realize, I don’t need to tell you, that obviously we are living in a failed state.

And that our government’s reaction to this was too late, and that it was not enough. and a lot of what the federal government is supposed to do they’re not doing.

Because over the last few years — but certainly over the last 20 — whenever possible, Republicans tried to dismantle the government, everything they see as non-essential. And some of that being what was needed to respond to this properly.

So this is the goal: the failed state. This is the Republican vision. Let private enterprise take care of it. Great. So now we have people who need ventilators and masks and there’s a bidding war going on over who is going to make a profit on those items and which states they’re going to sell to. It’s all working out.

— Marc Maron, speaking on his WTF podcast about the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of Adam Schlesinger from the disease, the consequences and reality of running government like a business, and the catastrophe that is the Trump administration.

Keep Talking Trump. You’re Getting Less Popular Each Day

From RealClearPolitics.com

New polls are showing the limits of Americans rallying around their leader in times of crisis.

The more Trump crows during his daily free TV rally that his poll numbers are excellent, the more they show signs of declining. After Trump tweeted a New York Times quote that said, “President Trump is a ratings hit,” Never Trumper Rick Wilson responded:

“This is what you are to him, Americans. An audience. Not his constituents. Not the people who hired him. Not even humans. You’re boxes in a spreadsheet of his Nielsen ratings.”

[…]

Contrasts with South Korea Show How Badly Trump Team Failed at Early COVID-19 Efforts

There are facts that won’t change as the COVID-19 virus spreads, and the bungling of the crisis by the Trump Administration is etched in stone.

A story by Reuters contrasts the South Korean response with that of the United States. It ain’t pretty for the U.S. Both countries discovered their first cases on the same day but South Korea acted decisively, pioneered drive-through testing, and slowed the spread of the disease.

South Korea’s swift action stands in stark contrast to what has transpired in the United States…the Koreans have tested well over 290,000 people and identified over 8,000 infections. New cases are falling off: Ninety-three were reported Wednesday, down from a daily peak of 909 two weeks earlier.

The United States, whose first case was detected the same day as South Korea’s, is not even close to meeting demand for testing. About 60,000 tests have been run by public and private labs in a country of 330 million, federal officials said Tuesday.

As a result, U.S. officials don’t fully grasp how many Americans have been infected and where they are concentrated – crucial to containment efforts.

Read the whole Reuters special report.

The Surest Way for Us to Lose is to Vote Based on Who We Think Can Win

Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

Update: In light of the 60 Minutes interview with Bloomberg and the announcement by Buttigieg that he is dropping out, I’m switching my vote to Bloomberg.

“At a certain point, we have to stop backing away from Trump and turn around and start walking toward the America that we want to create. That’s the problem when the only political goal is defeating Donald Trump. All you’re doing is fighting a vendetta, you will literally accept any kind of foul evil as long as it’s not the specific evil that you’re fighting…

“People say, ‘Well HE can defeat him. THIS is the guy that can defeat him, or no, Biden can defeat him, or a moderate can defeat him, or a leftist can defeat him…’ Nobody knows who can take it so you might as well vote for the America you want to see, not the America you’re afraid to let go of.” — Moshe Kasher, comedian and writer

I live in a state that doesn’t vote until two weeks after Super Tuesday. A lot of tea leaves will have been read by the time I vote. The conventional wisdom will be set in stone and my state’s decision will be an afterthought.

And I am still going to vote for who I’m going to vote for. Pete Buttigieg has impressed me from the beginning. None of the other candidates feel right to me. I’m voting for Pete no matter what I’m being told by St. Patrick’s Day about who can win. I’m voting for Pete because he’s who I want to see in the White House in January.

The truth is that nobody knows who can or will defeat Trump. The truth is that most voters are not pundits. The truth is that by trying to be pundits, by voting based purely on who you think everyone else will vote for, you end up with a candidate that most don’t hate but no one loves. How did that work for us in 2016, 2004, and 1988?* […]

Forget the Presidential Race. This One is Way More Important

“We’ve already seen how he did, how he acted, the week after impeachment. Can you imagine this man after re-election?”
— Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor to Pres. Obama and author

Party affiliation of the Senate of the 111th Congress

If impeachment taught us one thing, it has to be the importance of flipping the Senate from Republican majority to Democratic majority. Had Democrats controlled the Senate during the trial, evidence would have been pursued, witnesses would have been both called and believed, and Donald Trump would have been held accountable for his naked power grabbing.

Likewise, even if Donald Trump wins in November, with a Democratically-controlled Senate joining the Democratically-controlled House, he will get nothing done. He will be rendered the ineffectual red-faced crybaby that he is if he has no enablers to make his dreams reality.

Not convinced that the Senate races are more important in 2020 than the presidential contest? The next president will almost certainly get to nominate two Supreme Court justices — but those people will have to be approved by the Senate. We’ve already seen who Republicans approve. Having two more justices like the first two will change life as Americans, particularly progressive Americans, know it. […]