Welcome to Twitocracy

All this week, we’ve been treated to a parade of unqualified Cabinet Secretarial and other nominations. If one is hoping for an administration that governs with fairness, efficiency, and transparency, one will probably want to ignore these hearings, and skip all the others coming in the first few months of the Trump Twitocracy. Yes, even that one, the one to fill the empty Scalia seat on the Supreme Court.

In his so-called news conference Wednesday, Trump showed with more clarity than ever that

  • He’s determined not to treat the media with respect, nor does he feel compelled to answer their questions seriously
  • He’s incapable of making a cogent English sentence
  • He’s completely unconcerned with and apparently disconnected mentally from the process of assembling a Cabinet and getting it approved by the Senate
  • He’s determined to replace the terrible Justice Scalia with someone just as right-wing in outlook, and just as determined to see the words of the original U.S. Constitution frozen in time, right up there with the Laws of Moses
  • He’s as thin-skinned and irascible as ever, going ballistic over allegedly unproven accusations of paid kinky sex with Russian prostitutes, many of whom can be assumed to have been under-age — causing many to wonder if the famous Orange womanizer, spoiled playboy. and self-confessed pussy-grabber doth protest too much
  • He’s totally unaware how Ryan, Pence, Priebus, and McCon are playing him, how the Alt-Right is playing him, how the great corporations are playing him, how the Koch brothers and their Agents of No are playing him, and how they’ll collectively ensure his place in American history: as the President who turned the civil rights and social equality clock back fifty years.

Equally scary, he still has no concept of the corrosive effects of not distancing his Presidency from his convoluted business holdings and deals — or, possibly, he does understand how potentially disastrous his stance can be, and chooses to ignore the risks so he can focus on his only goals: self-adulation, family and personal profit, and “branding”.

His selfishness and utter disregard for civility and the public good explains why his main preoccupation seems to be getting his son-in-law into a key advisory position in his Administration, to join Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. Trump is already demonstrably blinded by his willful ignorance, but his triumvirate of “advisors” will ensure that all sounds of public outrage, all matters of urgent national interest, and all details of governmental policy will be filtered, with none getting through the triple-faced wall of fog to bother the self-adoring, emotionally troubled, unthinking adolescent we’ve elected President.

 

Low drama; dark comedy — 2017’s first theatrical review

“The President For All The People (Who Voted For Him)”, the new TV comedy series, is struggling in out-of-town tryouts before taking center stage in Washington in January.

TPFATPWVFH, to coin an acronym almost as clumsy as the new production, stars former “Apprentice” bully Donald Trump. Unsure how to adapt his Billionaire Boss character to the role of a sitting President of the United States, the Titan of Real Estate Titles has so far proved inept in the new role, wholly ill-suited to its demands and nuances. We’ve watched the preliminary, pre January 20th performances of the new Trumpsters production and so far, instead of seeing the low go high, we’re witnessing the high standards and principals of governance in the world’s most successful democracy brought down to a level of crass commercialism, bumbling public communications, and administrative cronyism.

Not surprisingly, given the raw ignorance of the star and his cast of novice players, the initial out-of-town tryouts mostly centered on the Trump Tower in New York, where early mistakes and sluggish performances would not be so easily noticed by the general audience.

Then we saw the next stage of the tryout process, a series of “Thank You, Suckers” rallies, beginning in Cincinnati, and continuing in seven states that Trump carried, or rather, which helped carry Trump and his traveling circus of a candidacy to victory. Surprise, not! We saw the same thoughtless crowds wearing the same empty hats cheer the same pointless, incoherent Trumpian rambles through the fogbank of his uniquely incommunicable thoughts.

These attempts to engender some public enthusiasm for his imminent takeover of Federal power went nowhere. Which, concluded Trump, was the fault of the news media. But attacking these proven enemies of Trumpiness has largely failed, resulting only in louder and more frequent calls for the traditional and now anti-American “news conference”. Horrors! A public, televised forum where Trump would actually have to allow his critics to ask embarrassing questions that he was expected to answer, in freaking cogent sentences! Our new President would have to reveal himself to be incapable of understanding an issue, and incapable of commenting on it in a manner that did not reveal him to have the mental faculties of an intellectually challenged twelve-year old schoolyard bully.

As Christmas approached, the Trumps and their hangers-on escaped to Mar-A -Lago in Florida, and faced their own reality: the new TPFATPWVFH TV show was nearing launch, and was already threatening to be a dud.

Like every successful charlatan before him, Trump saw that his notion of reaching out was failing given his smallish hands. Undaunted by the real rejection of his fake reality, he, like his lying predecessors, opted for the proven strategy of misdirection: if your audience is looking right through you and doesn’t like what it sees, or, in Trump’s case, what it doesn’t see, then make them look at something over there, close enough to get their attention, but not close enough to be easily understood.

With true theatrical flair, Trump selected as the object for his misdirection strategy the very Master of Modern Misdirection, none other than Razzamatazz Putin.

For weeks, Trump’s pro-Putin tweets and random interjections into U.S.-Russian foreign relations have mesmerized, befuddled, outraged, and distracted the TV media, the Democrats, the National Security Establishment, the pundits, the Republicans not busy rewriting Obama’s history, and, we’ll bet, the Russians. (But not the army of Trump supporters, whom we may safely assume do not bother watching any news that they themselves haven’t made.)

To be fair, the Putin Gambit has enjoyed mild success. Not because we’ve seen true public comprehension of the current and likely future state of our relations with the Russian kleptocracy, but because Trump’s critics and doubters have pretty much stopped discussing the scope and direction of his incoming administration, and the mostly hidden machinations of Ryan and Mitchell and the Koch Brothers as they prepare to declare a backwards-facing social revolution.

Trump’s chaotic obfuscation of our real reality with his fake one has largely succeeded, in short, and this is the real news these first days of 2017. As darkly comic as Trump’s stumbling attempts to act like a President are, people need to understand this is no joke: we’ve decided as a country that our government is not capable of governing, and have replaced it with a TV show. In the broader perspective, we’ve chosen to substitute a gang of buffoons and bumblers and venal billionaires for the principled practitioners of public policy.

The wonderful irony underlying the new show’s episodes will be that the characters in TPFATPWVFH turn out to be just as incompetent and corrupt as the real-life politicos, corporate grafters, and more-conservative-than-thou right wingers who’ve utterly paralyzed America over most of the past 16 years. The incoming cast of characters will very likely prove incapable of getting anything done, same as the government we’ve had for the past six years. Sure, they’ll do damage, but, it probably won’t be more than the damage done by Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell since they won control of Congress in 2010. Laughable, sure, but hopefully not a tragedy for the country.

Our obsolete Constitution has given us this looming theatrical flop where high drama deteriorates into low comedy. And soon, that same precious Constitution will deliver the Supreme Court even further into the clutches of the great corporations and their One Percent owners. That same Constitution is about to hand unlimited power to start wars all over the map — like the war dreamed of by Bannon, Stone, and Alex Jones, the mad men whispering in Trump’s easily confused ear — the war to end all wars, or at least, these fanatics fervently hope, all Islam. That same Constitution will soon make it possible for a sitting U.S. President to enrich himself and his cronies to the tune of billions, while the great majority, the ninety-nine percent of us, foot the bill.

With one national Constitutional act, we really have made our government a reality show, with a contract set to run at least four years. For the next four years, we’ll get a nightly diet of media stories showing the world’s most powerful democracy attempting to “go forward” by marching in the other direction, as the Trump cabinet and its allies in Congress overturn everything progressive we’ve accomplished since Lyndon Johnson.

Our collective failure to update our Constitution over the past seventy-five years has delivered us into the hands of an utterly immoral, incompetent, immature, spiteful monster, the very apparition of avarice. Soon, probably within months of “The President For All The People Whatever” show’s inauguration, the dramatic question will be: can our Constitution, which produced this clown cavalcade, stop the production from burning down the theater?

Tweet surrender

Government by headline. That’s what we get with Trump. It’s another innovative way to avoid the real work of communicating policies and positions on issues. And damned convenient if one is an intellectually-challenged ignoramus who actually has very little to say that the citizenry might find instructive or informative.

Twitter was made for people of limited wit to make comments of limited depth to people with limited understanding of their world. If Oscar Wilde were alive then such a “platform” might have limited utility, since he, at least, understood how to spend very few words to express thoughts and opinions of very great value.

But Wilde is dead. Most public discourse is dead, too, if measured by the number of thoughtful readers and participants. What are called “social media” are actually anti-social media. The internet, which those of us nerds who worked for decades to enable now must condemn, has become a communications vehicle for misinformation instead of the global educational and research platform we dreamed of. Instead of being a shared tool for learning and community intellectual growth, the web is now primarily a weapon of mass defamation, and for the waylaying of constructive dialog. The instantaneous channels of web communication have become an end run around social intelligence and responsibility.

And most online users love it. They love the name-calling, the celebrity humiliation, the visual excitement, the sexual titillation, the shopping, the hate-fests, the surfing, the porn.

If you build it, they will succumb.

A great wave of ignorance is what social media and the fake reality websites has become, the perfect communications channel for Trump and his endless stream of mindless tweets, which stick to any issue or enemy like spewed bird shit.

A perfect vehicle for the television news media as well, who can now replace journalism with six minute long twitter-based “debates” by angry birds and other feather-weight commentators. A perfect platform, too, for the reactionary conservative movements around the world, whose radically regressive agendas benefit not from meaningful, critical, rational public discussion, but a shouted riot of short, take it or leave it statements.

What we have demanded we have been given: the greatest liar in political history riding madly on the greatest anti-truth spreading machine ever, and backed up by a Republican Party built upon lying, anti-scientific ignorance, religious intolerance, racial bigotry, misogyny, and guns. And greed, yes. A perfect storm of undemocracy, presided over by the richest of the One Percenters, and the world-dominating corporations they control.

Your Truthteller is concerned with understanding and explaining reality, so does not tweet, nor “follow” anyone who does. But if I were going to tweet as we approach January 20th, it would say this:

Welcome to 2017, America, and the last American Presidency. Or will it be the first four years of the Trump dictatorship? Take your pick.

One hundred thirty-seven characters, including correct unTwittery punctuation, but not counting the tears between the words.

No one knows…

Says Trump about climate change. As if we needed any more evidence, it’s now apparent how well the right-wing anti-science whisperers who surround the bloated renegade wannabe President-Elect have succeeded in leading the about-to-be dumbass in chief to the poisoned well of the climate change denialists. Like Alice, all they had to do was hand Trump a bottle of “Drink Me” and his already tiny brain shrank down to the size of a pea. Now, all of us who voted and failed to vote alike are collectively headed down the deepest, scariest rabbit hole in human history. And we’re taking the rest of humanity with us.

With the triumph of Mercer-inspired, Koch Brothers disseminated, Religious conservative approved ignorance, our government is about to wage carbon-powered war on the rest of the nations and peoples of the beleaguered Earth. To those of us who have worked or reported on global warming and called out the energy industries that are causing it, this is by far the worst of the many terrible policy shifts that loom on the post-Inaugural horizon.

The approaching battles of the re-invigorated Republican War on Women will be fierce, cruel, and fanatic, reaping horrendous consequences on our wives and sisters and daughters and granddaughters. But at least we can hope for a post-2024 reversal of the misogynistic wave.

The crushing of our minorities under the Law and Order banner of a racist Attorney General and the boots of Trump’s policemen will lead to a generation or more of continued injustice, misery, and brutalization by those responsible for protecting our freedoms, and the further loss of voting rights as Republican state governments suppress the civil rights of those too weak to stop them.

The ongoing assault on the incomes of the 99% will drive most of our people even further away from economic and social equity. In betraying the rest of us, Trump’s unthinking supporters have betrayed themselves, but it will take at least a generation to educate them and begin to stop the unrelenting accumulation of wealth by the greediest among us.

Ryan and his army of sycophants will strip the security from Social Security, and rip the care out of Medicare. Even these regressive, backward looking “achievements” of the stooges of the rich can someday be reversed. But the someday may be a day so far in the future only some among us can hope to see it dawn.

But all these anti-progressive results of the Trump Administration that will soon assume total working control of the most powerful nation on Earth pale before the calculated destruction of every single attempt to mitigate climate change. Unlike all the damage Trump’s goons and gorillas will do, the attack on science cannot be simply halted and reversed by a future administration. We are already on the very edge of the human-caused climate disaster. Once a bunch of greed-driven energy industries and their Trumpian puppets take us over it, there is no going back.

 

 

Breaking news? Or just broken news?

In the midst of the angst and drama and rage over fake news, Twitter-casting, and Facebook feeds full of lies and useless crap, we would do well to remember that the driving force behind the rapid evolution of online platforms as a substitute for news is our obsessive demand for constant updates on anything that might just possibly prove to be worthy of mass public attention. Led by America’s interactive media industry, the entire world seems bent upon drowning itself in a churning sea of “information”, 99% of which is non-informative in any meaningful or useful way.

Although the interactive platforms are the principal originators of the flood of forgettable info-trash, other parts of the media industry have played a supporting role in the rapid degradation of our public information resources from news suppliers to mass audience manipulation machines. The cable news channels in the US have largely turned into instant reaction puppets, as they attempt to maintain their audience’s attention by assembling mini-panels of topical “experts”, journalists, and public officials or politicians to provide about five minutes of collective perspective on the latest hint of a “breaking news” story. Even MSNBC, which is the sole reliable TV source of news relevant to progressives, now goes whole weeks without any significant mention of major news stories like climate change, over-population, or the relentless concentration of economic wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of the earth’s people.

The vaunted print media are not immune to this pressure to feed the public demand monster with bits and pieces of basically irrelevant or repetitive “news”. The main guardians of our freedom like the Washington Post and the New York Times have become large websites backed up by their print publications. These websites need to be updated with every passing whisper or rumor, and thus fall into the panic-to-publish syndrome.

As the Trump takeover demonstrates, we are more reliant than ever on a free press to protect us from the assault on truth led by the President-Elect and his partners in lying. But a free press that is busy chasing the fickle, largely ignorant, easily bored digital audience is easily distracted from doing its vital job as our public truthtellers. The news media has become the latest victim of the web’s “everything should be free” dictum. When readers and viewers won’t pay to learn the truth, only the “truths” that are free will attract massive audiences. The real journalists, the courageous ones who tell us what we’d prefer not to hear, will be drowned in a rip tide of clickbait, lies, and mindless entertainment. The information we consume may be free, but freedom itself will be diminished.

 

It’s not over until this Democratic Party is over

Sorry to rain on the parade of professors, political scientists, pollsters and pundits, but all this debating over a percentage point here or a population sub-segment there; all the excuse-mongering; all the “if only she’d done that!” wailing and flailing; the (well-deserved) Comey-shaming; all the blame gaming, in short, is missing what this Truthteller suggests is the main question.

Instead of trying to justify, explain, excuse, or condemn the Democrat loss by a few votes in a few states, the real issue is NOT why this contest was won by the Republicans with so few strategically-located votes, but why it was not won by the Democrats with a ten-million (or more) vote plurality and a 50 (or more) edge in the Electoral College.

What enabled the coalition of the ignorant, the religious right, the Hillary haters, the rabid Tea Party and all the other anti-progressives, and, most tellingly, the millions of voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 rather than vote for a Black man, to go out and support the worst educated, least qualified, most dangerous, most despicable candidate in our history?

How did what should have been a nation-wide mass rejection of this oafish lout by all the real patriots and serious, educated, issue-conscious citizens turn into a sullen victory by the minority of Americans who hate the very idea of a rational, informed, fact-based approach to governing and public policy?

How did a no-brainer choice, the *obvious* win over ignorance, become literally a no brainer: the victory of a mindless minority composed of only about 25% of our neighbors? We are talking here, fellow losers, of what should have been a historically massive victory of rationality and public spiritedness over a mob.

The answer will not be found in the nit-picking of exit polls, or the insidious vote suppression schemes of the Republicans. The answer will be in understanding why, when faced with a looming disastrous overthrow of our country’s slow march to a progressive society, fully 45% of our citizens would not care enough to vote.

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind. We are a country, not a collection of population samples. Our government has failed *everyone*, not just the angry white men. Seniors, minorities, women, and immigrants have been pushed aside in our relentless march to a brave new progressive world. The Democratic Party has been a significant part of this failure. The party has mainly focused on local or regional causes and written off whole sections of the country along with most of the unfortunate people who happen to reside in them.

We in our coveted Blue liberal safe zones forget too easily that the people in the disaffected class include millions of Democrats, independents, minorities, frustrated young persons, and ignored seniors. More stupidly, we who are living the educated, employed, progressive good life seem to have forgotten there are millions of less-fortunates living in the slums and ghettos and forgotten rural regions of our Blue states and urban areas.

We assume that, just because a person is ignorant, they cannot think. Too many young progressives assume that seniors are out of touch with reality, when many of these same seniors are distraught at the prospects of their grandchildren coming face-to-face with climate change, in a country impoverished by Republican financial excesses. Too many of us assume that, just because a person is white and poor, they must be a racist, or anti-progressive, or unsympathetic to, or even resentful of, the plight of Black and Latino people, their fellow-sufferers in poverty.

We claim to be the champions of public education, but have done nothing as a party to educate the public.

We lost this election because we failed to mobilize all the people from ALL the population segments who want a progressive future for their children. Drunk with our own clever numbers, we ignored the more important ones:

  • Two thirds of Americans fear global warming and want our government to take action to mitigate it
  • More than 80% of our citizens want gun safety implemented
  • More than 80% of our citizens want a fair, universal, comprehensive national health insurance scheme
  • More than 80% of our people accept the principles of women’s equality, voting rights, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform
  • Most of our people want employment in all the country, not just the thriving pockets of the educated class.

Instead of forcefully and consistently pressing these issues, we allowed our candidate and leadership to campaign on the singular theme of “We’re not him, or the Deplorables, morally bankrupt Republicans, and hypocritical Christians who support him.” We let our political leadership run away from the real issues for fear of offending some small population segment or special interest group.

We sat back and mocked Trump and his rally-goers, sure that all the other rational folks would crush him and his misogynistic, White Nationalist, anti-science, jingoistic followers. We gave them no reason to get off their duffs and go out and stop him. We simply said, “We’re not him.”

And guess what!? The vast majority already knew that they were not “him”, either. They obviously felt that we’re so much “stronger together” that they need not do anything unpleasant, like voting. Or assumed they could fritter away their vote on ineffectual independent candidates.

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind, an answer for all Americans. And it needs to be based on the commitment of the Democratic Party to utterly reform itself, top to bottom.

We do not need a Democratic Party led by career politicians who are committed to a Democratic party, instead of to democratic principles. We will not win with a party that is reformed in name only, after ideological cosmetic surgery. It needs to become the natural and national party for all those who want a progressive future for their children. It has to include fierce progressives, independents, seniors, and millennials alike, of all colors and cultures. It needs to include the struggling poor as well as the successful professionals. It needs to work, in every sense of the word. It needs to become the Progressive Democratic Alliance.

For days, recently, I’ve listened to good people like Joy Reid of MSNBC hound their pundit and political party guests with one question: “What is the message that can reform, revitalize, and redirect the Democratic Party? What is the one thing 65, 75, even 85% of the people can agree with and take to their mind and hearts, and carry to their polling place?”

It’s this, for me: “Change that works”, period.

 

Draining the swamp, and…

…replacing it with a new luxury fishing pond for lobbyists, Trump loyalists, big corporations, and Republicans of all stripes. No, not those stripes. At least not yet. Anyway, prisoners don’t wear stripes anymore. Nowadays they wear bright orange jumpsuits.

Trump is leading by example in this stampede to corruption, by:

  • Continuing to refuse to show us his tax returns — without those, we’ll never know if, where, and how he’s using the powers and prestige of the Oval Office to curry favors and cash from his overseas “partners”
  • Resisting the demands of even his own adherents to put his business assets in a truly blind trust — Trump says by law he doesn’t have to do what all modern Presidents have done in order to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest
  • Pushing for a so-called “infrastructure plan” that would actually be little more than a giant tax-cut for his pals in the construction industry
  • and today, we learn that he plans to appoint an IRS Commissioner that will go easy on him in any audit he can’t avoid while he’s President.

So now we know that he’s draining the swamp only to make way for his own scheme for graft on an international scale, in sums that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, or more.

Jobs? The only jobs Trump’s concerned about are power positions for his adult children and his son-in-law.

As for ethics, Trump’s clearly not concerned with those annoying directives.

He’s grabbed us by the unmentionables, folks, and set it all up so that we’ll never even know how much he’s gotten away with.

Blind trust? Rather, trust, blinded.

 

Let the chaos begin

OK, so Trump has no management skills — can anyone who has read his long history of business failures find that surprising? Little wonder he and his so-called “transition team” cannot come up with a plan to staff the new administration; they could barely even develop a game plan for the campaign. Take the “game” out of it, and they are suddenly dead in the water. They clearly are unaware that the Ship of State is steaming straight for Trump Tower, on a collision course. The current confusion and disarray ensures that the new administration will hit the ground bumbling.

Again, no surprise. Trump got his win by lying and reality-show gimmicks, not through the diligent efforts of a skilled campaign team. Now that the exit-polling data from the election is beginning to come to light, we know that:

  • Many voters who had told pollsters they supported Clinton stayed home, or went to the polls and voted for Democratic candidates down-ballot, but decided on Trump at the top
  • Millions of Trump supporters refused to be polled, severely skewing the pollsters’ projections of likely support for the windbag
  • Millions of working-class whites in the Battleground states who had not voted recently, or never voted at all, came out for Trump.

Most galling of all,

  • We know now that Clinton won the popular vote by, probably, two million or more votes
  • She lost the most important Battleground states by a small number of votes; had she prevailed, she’d have won the Electoral College by a comfortable margin
  • The Comey Gambit cost her those Battleground votes, and about a million more last minute deciders around the country.
But it’s too easy to blame Trump’s win on the Comey game of “Now she’s not guilty”; “Wow! Here’s a bunch of unknown emails!”; and “Nah, she’s clean after all.”

The real, simple, embarrassing, shameful truth is that millions of white, working-class Americans came out of the political shadows to support the worst candidate in the history of the country. They were not persuaded to do this by Trump’s super-effective campaign machine, because no such machine ever existed. They were not brought to the polls as a result of the Republican Party’s ground game, because it was weak and missing in action, mostly, and never even knew of this missing legion of pissed-off white folks. They certainly were not motivated to go to the polls by the Trump plans and proposed policies to Make America Republican Again, because those plans and policies were never enunciated by the Donald or his endlessly spinning, reality-denying surrogates

The ugly truth is millions of Rust Belt and other swing state Trumpsters were motivated by Trump himself. It was his simple messages they heard, thanks to the thousands of hours of free television coverage by our lazy, unthinking mass media. It was his words of hate for the Other they heard, giddily, excited to finally hear a national celebrity defy all the rules of public discourse, rules the whites in their churches and bars and neighborhoods call “political correctness”, but which the rest of us call common civility.

It was the President-Elect’s false claims, personal bombast, childish over-simplifications, and outright lies they listened to, and loved, because his words were easy to understand, and, because they confirmed what these ignorant people truly feel and believe: that they are the Forgotten Americans, that it’s their toil and decency that makes the country work, and supports all these millions of immigrants, Blacks, Hispanics, and now, Muslims.

Donald Trump spoke to these people, and told them what they wanted to hear. He told them, directly, forcefully. He spoke, not some slick, sophisticated political consultants, not a bunch of clever TV ads, not the few wise voices of the print media still working to keep journalism alive.

Trump used the Big Lie strategy to perfection. We all laughed last Spring to hear that the only book Trump keeps by his nightstand in his golden tower is Hitler’s speeches, and, like in a second-rate TV drama, the last laugh is on us.

Now, he’s facing the challenge of turning just enough of the lies into truth, the task of converting the largest government on the planet to a bunch of fellow liars, the job of making reality conform to the fake reality he sold all those foolish people. He has to do this, or, soon, the millions he conned into supporting him will begin to turn on him.

It’s an impossible mission he’s asking his clown car team to achieve. Even a competent group of men and women couldn’t pull off the greatest Lie in human history, and the loyalists and goons surrounding Trump are showing themselves to have all the competence of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

The media sense this, are beginning to realize that when Trump is inaugurated January 20th, the Executive Branch of our government will not have a viable Chief Executive, and precious few other competent executives either, if any. The key positions in the government will mostly be empty of a key brain with the knowledge needed to do the job. We will begin the Trump Era in utter administrative chaos.

To some, this will be richly satisfying: the beginning of the Great Trumpian Fail. “So there, all you right-wing nut-jobs!” many will preen.

But we need to understand: nature, and history, abhors a vacuum. The absence of a working Administration will be the long-awaited opportunity for the forces of Ryan and McConnell to push their insidious ultra-Conservative agenda forward. They know Trump will have to sign almost any bill they submit in order to maintain the illusion that he is in charge, that he is the only one who can fix it, that he is draining the swamp.

We face, patient readers, Ryan’s rapid dismantling of much of the State. We face the certainty that the Supreme Court will take a sharp turn to the right, on a dystopian journey that could last decades, a dark, unforgiving trip that will see the likely reversal of many of the rights we all assumed were won over the past fifty years. Trump and his anti-progressive allies will soon be leading us on a forced march into fascist plutocracy. That is the danger now, which the absurdly foolish media and most Democrats cannot seem to get their heads around: the danger now that a rabid minority of unthinking fellow-citizens has let loose the Orange Kraken.

In the eye of the storm

My apologies for “going quiet” the last few days. Like many of you and millions of others around the country, I had to step back from what will turn out to be a historically critical event, and think.

I haven’t been sitting in my darkened office stewing how we Progressives have lost what had seemed a sure win in the Electoral College. It was obvious to me and other insiders by about ten PM on Tuesday that the polling data we had relied upon to construct our various models was waaay off the mark. I’d struggled while building my own little “late decider” predictive tool with the likelihood that turnout could vary widely from what the pollsters were expecting. The polling organizations don’t tell us the detailed assumptions in their likely voter screens, so none of us who use the polls were prepared for the shocker that all their screens were devastatingly wrong. Bigly wrong. Yoogely wrong.

Simply put, no one, on the Republican side as well as the Democrat/Progressive side, had a clue that millions of Trump supporters were actively “hiding” from the poll takers. And, equally disastrous, the pollsters’ likely voter assumptions overlooked the millions of Dems who “supported” Clinton ideologically, but could not stomach actually going out and voting for her. The statistical result was that all predictive models missed an enormous bunch of Trump voters, and over-estimated Clinton likely voters by as much as ten percent, depending upon the state.

So much for the math, and the egg on nearly every political analyst’s face.

But as I said, that was no longer on my mind these last few days.

What I’ve been wrestling with is the recognition that one famously Progressive voice had called this result fully five months earlier, when Michael Moore, the documentarian of despair and right-wing deceit, said flat-out that Trump was going to win.

He made this maddening prediction and stuck to it, even though he was fighting day in and day out all these months to ensure it would turn out to be wrong. His assessment was based not on clever modeling methods but his deep, personal, and long experience of living with and studying the white industrial uneducated under-class; the core of Trump’s army of anger.

I’ve always respected Moore’s selfless, dedicated, persistent documentary work. He grabs an issue and then, like a terrier with a chew toy, won’t let it go until he has exposed the truth and captured it in a way millions can understand.

But I’ve never listened to his mind. I have, now, belatedly, and am considering his thoughts and advice in formulating my own. We have, as he has recently said, an incredibly challenging four years of struggle ahead of us. Those who are able must prepare, and plan, and think.

We are in the eye of the storm, reader. To preserve and protect the best, we must ready ourselves to face the worst.

Trump trumps love

Call it Brexit 2, call it the triumph of the mob, call it an American tragedy. What we label this stunning defeat of rational governance doesn’t matter, won’t make us feel any better, will not soften the hard truth we learned last night: Exactly one half of the voters in this country have taken it away from the other half.

How did it happen? That’s for another essay, or five, and I may choose not to write it/them. The crushing fact is that I, along with all other self-styled “experts” and “political scientists” relied on polls to tell us what the people were thinking and feeling, and the polls were disastrously off. The polls did not include the views, the hatreds, the frustrations, the despair of millions of angry White working class and rural people. These folks, especially the ones in the Battleground states, saw the pollsters as part of the established governing and economic order, and refused to play the polling game. They hid in the weeds of our broken economy, and waited. They waited for November 8th, and the chance to grab a pitchfork and stick it the heart of the democracy that had failed them for thirty years and more.

They received an unexpected assist by FBI Director James Comey, when, on October 29th, he announced the discovery of 650,000 emails, some of which might be related to Hillary Clinton. It must have seemed to Trumps’ bumbling campaign team at that moment that there was a God, and that He was White. Overnight, the “discovery” energized Trump supporters, the ones who’d been polled, and the ones who hadn’t. “They’re gonna nail her!” went the internet, Sure, nine days later, Comey dropped the new “investigation”, clearing Clinton of the renewed suspicion. But the damage was done.

Trusting the polls, I made a model that at one point suggested a potential tsunami of votes for Clinton. I was wrong: the polls we were all looking at didn’t include about 5% of the country’s likely voters, all those hidden Trump supporters. The wave came, alright, but we were the ones who were drowned. Mea culpa.

Now, we have a con man about to bring his clownish confederates into the White House. May the native wisdom and courage of the better half of the country protect us, for it’s a certainty God won’t — he is White, and wants to resurrect a past when He was worshiped by ignorant masses.