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. […]

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.

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.

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. […]

If They Had Evidence Trump Was Innocent, They’d Be Demanding to Testify

“If Mr. Mulvaney had information that contradicts the consistent and incriminating testimony of numerous public servants, Mr. Mulvaney would be eager to testify, instead of hiding behind the President’s ongoing efforts to conceal the truth.”

CNN, quoting a statement from an official involved in the impeachment inquiry.

Why Doug Jones will Lose His Senate Seat to a Republican in Alabama

When a less chewed up and spit out Jeff Sessions vacated his Senate seat in 2017 to become Donald Trump’s first U.S. Attorney General, it forced a special election in Alabama to replace him. And that’s about the only way a Democrat like Doug Jones was ever going to win in that state.

The reason is straight ticket voting (STV). Alabama (and six other states*) still offer this option for those who have one concern when casting a ballot: party affiliation.
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