Opinion: Republicans Stay On The Wrong Side of History By Opposing DC Statehood

Americans in the nation’s capital live with no representation. Not only do we have taxation, but we pay more taxes than 22 of the 50 states and we pay the highest per capita tax rate in the country.

Our books are balanced. Yes, most of DC is liberal by default and most of the people who live here are of color.  I say liberal by default because Republicans and Trump have nothing but political servitude to offer DC.  It’s likely that if Republicans had something to offer other than racist excuses for denying us representation, more conservative Americans in DC would at least take a look at their candidates. read more

Opinion: Melania Trump Celebrated her Hour of Researching Juneteenth By Showing Off In A Tweet

In the latest series of articles about Mary Jordan’s upcoming book, we learn more about Melania’s effort to be seen as more than arm candy for the most narcissistic president ever.

As she pontificated over her disdain for people who need attention (no shortage of irony there), the woman who married Donald Trump wants the world to know “I lead meaningful life.”  To read Laura Miller’s  review of “The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump” is to confirm any perceptions we had that maybe Melania married Trump because she has a deep and abiding love for his money.

“She is a highly focused utilitarian who likes nice things and whose spoiled stepdaughter gets on her nerves. A childhood in a working-class family in the former Yugoslavia did not offer her many paths to couture wardrobes and private jets.* Her father, Viktor, was a chauffeur, and her mother, Amalija, sewed children’s clothing in a factory. Amalija craved elegance, making stylish clothes for her daughter and instilling in her a penchant for design.” read more

Opinion: A New Book Reveals How Melania Trump Capitalized on Donald’s Affairs

In 2016, we were introduced to a carefully-crafted image of Donald Trump’s third wife, Melania, as a private, family-oriented wife and mother. We read about her self-consciousness over her ability to speak English. So many people felt sorry for her, as a reserved former model married to the bombastic Trump, who is 20 years older.

All of it was stage craft. The Art of Her Deal: the Untold Story of Melania Trump, sheds the veneer of a shy and private Melania away to expose the inner political operative who wanted Trump to run for president and win. The image of Melania Trump got blown away as Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan looked deeper into Melania’s life.

Evidently, the current First Lady is hardly the damsel in distress that her cultivated image suggests. In fact, her image is, in many ways, as much an illusion as her husband’s. According to Jordan, Melania  used the current president’s extra-marital affairs as leverage to get more money. And that’s just the beginning of the character striptease. read more

Opinion: Trump Would Sound Better Wearing a Mask

Trump Insults Auto workers at Ford factory

Anyone who endures the Trump presidency understands why there’s a minimum age qualification to be president.  Trump proved, however, that chronological age doesn’t necessarily reflect the maturity that one needs to make rational decisions as the president of the United States.  Trump’s outbursts are more like that of a two-year-old having a tantrum than of a grown man in control of his emotions. read more

Opinion: Devastated by the Numbers Trump Goes Crazy with Deflection

Donald Trump is learning he can’t escape the ominous death toll resulting from decisions he made in handling Covid-19.

So this week brought on more attacks on the rule of law and a shocking level of callousness in Donald Trump.

There was that moment when he admitted that he doesn’t like testing because it gives him numbers he doesn’t like. Even with the low proportion of testing, the numbers were so devastating that we saw an even uglier version of Donald Trump lurking beneath the surface. read more

Opinion: American Democracy and Covid-19 Penetrate Trump’s Walls of Privilege

Despite Trump’s best efforts to assume privilege from laws and icky peasant illnesses like COVID-19, the pesky features of democracy penetrate his walls.

In two days, three people within Trump’s inner circle tested positive for COVID-19. News broke late Friday night that his daughter Ivanka’s personal assistant  tested positive. Also testing positive is Trump’s valet, but maybe Trump can just get someone else to serve him Diet Coke and Chicken McNuggets. read more

Opinion: Republicans Continue To Politicize If And When We Believe Women

Joe Biden denies Tara Reade allegation on Morning Joe

On Friday, Joe Biden went on Morning Joe to answer questions posed by co-host Mika Brzezinski.  I didn’t watch the interview because the very fact there was one demonstrated that nothing has changed since 2016.

Before we go any further, I’m not about to pronounce guilt or innocence of Trump, Biden or anyone else.  This is about how we politicize the way we treat survivors.

If you have the misfortune of surviving a sex crime committed by a Republican, his spouse will defend him and his party will attack you.  After the Access Hollywood video came out in 2016 and the original public scolding by some prominent Republican politicians, Melania Trump explained the complicated concept of boy talk to Anderson Cooper.  Voila, Donald Trump survived what would have, at one time, been a campaign-ending scandal.  The rest, we know, is the nightmare we continue to live.

We saw it again as Brett Kavanagh went through the confirmation process.  Christine Blasey Ford braved the thug mentality that is a feature of Trump defenders to tell her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  She was so credible that even in his smarmy way, Trump had to make that concession before sending Kavanaugh to do his best Trump imitation before that committee. Lindsey Graham displayed temper unlike anything we’ve seen from him before – in defense of Kavanaugh.

There was no meaningful investigation into the stories of several women who alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them during his drunken frat boy days. Donald Trump’s DOJ made sure of that.

On the other hand, if the alleged perpetrator is a Democrat, presidential candidates face a different process.  You don’t even have to be the person who allegedly committed the crime.  Even without investigation, let alone charges and a guilty verdict, If you were married to the accused, that means you enabled him.  Or if you are the person accused, then suddenly Republicans care about believing the women.

In America, everyone who is accused of a crime has the right to be presumed innocent.  It’s also true that accusations of criminal behavior are investigated. That should be done with every case of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape.  Every single one.  It starts with believing the survivor, but does not end there.  To suggest that believing them means convicting the accused overlooks legal protections beginning with the presumption of innocence and going on to the right to confront your accuser and evidence offered and so on.

Me Too became a thing because mostly privileged men pretty much had immunity from prosecution for rape and other sex crimes.  Then we saw some high profile convictions, such as those of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.  Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial he died in prison.  The survivors in all these cases had to fight decades just to get their day in court.

And yet, as Christine Pelosi pointed out in a thread on Twitter, the process for investigating alleged sexual misconduct by members of the Senate or the House is broken.

I still wish there was a confidential independent investigation for charges like these, with counseling due process and transparent results – in that absence, I look forward to seeing the National Archives response and hope we can stop weaponizing trauma and promote healing. read more

Opinion: Trump Adds To His List of Crimes by Proposing We Drink Bleach

On Friday, states and manufacturers of Clorox and Lysol were issuing public service announcements to ignore Donald Trump’s proposed prescription of injecting or drinking those products to cure COVID-19. To be clear, he thought it would “be interesting” to test the effects of bleach on killing the novel corona virus in the human body since it works so well on the surface. read more

Opinion: Coronavirus Exposes The GOP’s America and Its Long Established Inequities

Trump lies about access to coronavirus tests

By making items of privilege out of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and access to testing for a deadly disease, Trump’s mishandling of COVID-19 dragged the skeletons out of our national closet.

It’s the nation’s worst kept secret. The racism, sexism and nativism are so pervasive that they define you, the opportunities you will have, the quality of your life and the quality of your health. read more

Opinion: Trump Proves He is More Monstrous Every Day

During a week when we became number one for coronavirus cases in the world and when we saw the death toll multiplying at dizzy rates, Trump stuck to happy talk.

The current number of 1600-plus deaths is likely to be much larger by the time this column is published. (You can see how much here .)

There are those are masters at arousing emotions. But perhaps because of years of writing for academic journals and preparing legal documents, I’ve learned to self-edit to the point of understating my complete contempt for this administration.  The facts tell us we have a monster for a leader.

Previously, I said that life during this public health crises really is bad if you’re an American citizen and it’s even worse if you’re an immigrant.

I’ve written about the conditions that innocent asylum seekers live in. The concentration camps, the cages, the rotten food, the lack of soap, hot water, shampoo, toothpaste. It’s what you would expect from someone as monstrous as Stephen Miller and the man who follows his advice, Donald J. Trump.

If you aren’t outraged because Immigration judges were ordered to continue to hold deportation proceedings during this pandemic, I don’t know how to make you feel the outrage.

If you aren’t disgusted by the likelihood that COVID-19 will spread like wildfire among children and people of all ages being held by ICE and border control, I honestly don’t know what words you need to move you.

If you aren’t disgusted by Trump insisting on a bit of suck-up from governors if they want lifesaving respirators, I doubt there is anything I can say that will change that.

We live in times when some of us want to turn off emotions because it hurts too much. At least, it does for me. The absence of expressing them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, they lurk beneath the surface as we fumble our way through the worst public health crises in over one hundred years.

Fear figured prominently this week as two people dear to me showed symptoms but couldn’t be tested. Fortunately, by the grace of God, they are feeling better. But, many families are mourning, and they are mourning because Donald Trump is the monster who tried to dismiss the coronavirus as a Chinese hoax and “fake news” put out by the “Democrat Party” because, even as thousands of people fall ill and die, he still thinks it’s all about him.

Donald Trump dreams of opening the country for business at Easter. Some pro-Trump governors still encourage the people who trust them to go about business as usual. Within the next week or two, we will see numbers in those states as scary as the ones in New York.

Even without that, people will die because of his actions. Families will be shattered. Nothing about this should need especially poetic, emotion-inducing prose. The facts speak for themselves!

Doctors are readying themselves to prioritize who gets respirators and who gets pain management as they suffocate to death. No one should have to make such decisions.

And it didn’t have to be this way. It’s a fact that we had a pandemic plan and infrastructure. It is also a fact that monster in the White House destroyed it because of his obsession with erasing everything Barack Obama did during his presidency.

That’s the most maddening thing of all. Trump destroyed the things designed to defend America from the deadly pandemic. He destroyed protecting Americans because he couldn’t stand a black man being president.

There are some positive elements in all this. After a week of negotiations by both Democrats and Republicans, Trump finally signed an imperfect aid package. Ever determined to prove how small he is, though, Trump refused to invite Democrats to the signing ceremony.

That’s actually a good thing, because we know he’s been exposed to COVID-19. So we should be glad that rather than feeling snubbed, Democrats had the good sense to socially distance from a man who cares more about social distancing from the truth than from a deadly virus.

Meanwhile, we’ve seen America coming together, recognizing that we are on our own because there’s a monster in our White House. We saw great leadership from governors like Andrew Cuomo, Jay Inslee and Gretchen Whitmer this past week. They showed evidence of understanding how quickly the virus spreads and at what point the curve collapses the healthcare system. They’ve done things within their powers, looking at less-safe treatment options, at creating hospitals out of stadiums and hotels. (One particular hotel comes to mind.)

At the same time, we saw them plead with Trump on live television, but then we hear him grouse about how all they do is “take, take, take”.
Amid these emotion-rousing, outrage-inducing facts, amid the grander landscape of Trump’s affront to the nation, is an affront to our nation’s capital. The same COVID-19 bill that is so generous to the rest of the country gives less to Washington than it ought to. Traditionally it would be treated like a state. Instead it’s ripped off by some 700 million dollars.

But Washington, DC, which pays more per capita in taxes than many states, is also the site of the Trump International Hotel. I so wish District of Columbia council would expropriate this crown jewel of the Trump empire. It’s nowhere nearly enough to make up the difference, but it hits the monster in what passes for his heart.

Note: Occasional PoliticusUSA writer Tobias Grant contributed to this column.

Opinion: Donald Trump, Sit Down and Shut Up

When buying food is like going to the jungle and dinner becomes the thing you managed to grab before anyone else does, you know that things have changed. When you go from store to store desperately seeking toilet paper, you know this isn’t “normal” and no, it is not fine.

Trump’s happy talk doesn’t match the reality of states appealing to people handy with sewing machines to make masks for health care providers.

People are dying, the health system is on the verge of collapse, and people are hunkering down. Do we even dare to imagine what’s happening with homeless people now? No, it’s not just a slumber party. If you’re an American citizen, life sucks, but at the risk of sounding inappropriately optimistic, your worries end there.

If you’re an immigrant, you’re still expected to show up for deportation hearings and get deported, as if there wasn’t a pandemic and the world hadn’t stood still. If you’re an immigrant, you wonder whether getting that Corona virus check will result in your future deportation because of some more draconian version of the Miller/Trump “public charge” rule.

I’m one of the lucky ones and I know it. Still, I’m feeling the trappings of civilized living collapsing around me. I’m reminiscing about the times I had the luxury of wondering why people would just throw good government away to elect someone like a Donald Trump.

The fact is, Donald Trump is making all of this a lot worse than it has to be. And I’m not sure how much of it is sadism on his part and how much is pure idiocy.
But I do know one thing.  Donald Trump isn’t worth listening to. Responsible media has to stop reporting on him and covering his propaganda conferences.
Things are not fine, regardless of his words. We know that from what he is not doing.

We knew about the corona virus for months, but Trump denied it, then played it down, then delayed action. He squandered time that could save hundreds of thousands of American lives.

Trump’s Centers for Disease Control chose to develop their own COVID-19 tests,  disparaging the WHO tests because they were not up to standard. The America First test kit was a failure, so yet more delays came at a time when testing is crucial for containing the virus.

Oh, and Jared Kushner’s brother has interest in the company that Donny was hoping would have a monopoly on deciding who gets tested.

In real terms, meanwhile, the priority for too long was people with the right relationship to the Trumps. Trump claims anyone who wants to get tested can. However, that was not true for people with disconcerting symptoms but without the “right connections.”

By the time we got around to testing widely, it was already too late to prevent what happens in a national crisis. The order of day-to-day life began fraying at the edges. Price-gougers  were hoarding hand sanitizers usually priced at maybe $2.99 and jacking the price up. One such team of brothers was put out of business, but who knows how many more are out there.

At the earliest signs of break-down, we should have started getting ready, building more facilities, increasing our inventories of personal protection equipment and other supplies. Instead, hospitals are on the verge of having to play God about who lives and who dies – the absolute nightmare scenario.

But, Trump worried about how the number of cases would make him look, and Melania, one of his most influential advisers, was busy with her tennis pavilion. I can almost imagine her saying to Trump “let them eat Corona”.

We worry about friends who have symptoms but can’t be tested. We worry about people who are vulnerable because of age, because they are immune-compromised or have complicated health situations.

Our imaginations venture to areas that seem surreal – like what if Trump is out to let people in blue states die, while he helps the people in red states just so he can win an election? Then reality sets in, the reality that reminds us viruses don’t care about politics, or about walls, borders, race, age, gender, or whether you think the virus is real.

Our reality is like every dystopian novel wrapped into one. And just when you return to reality from the surreal, Donald Trump appears on TV with his happy talk appealing to the ignorant segment of the electorate.

Every time I see Trump speaking, I think of a professor who suggested limiting voting to political scientists. But he pointed out as well that that would merely exchange one arbitrarily-chosen elite for another.

Right now, I’d settle for media that only allow people who tell the truth to frequent our airwaves.

While we wander further into this nightmare, we need accurate awareness more than ever. We need access to credible, valid facts conveyed by people we trust.

Time for Trump to sit down and shut up.

Opinion: Trump’s Incompetence Shows Us Why We Need Universal Healthcare

Katie Porter gets the CDC to agree to free coronavirus testing

The world is shutting down as the novel corona virus continues to wreak havoc. While we cannot blame Trump for the panic, illness and death surrounding the virus, we can blame him for making an already bad situation far worse. Trump’s incompetence means some people will die who did not have to.

In some cases on the sidelines, it will be an immigrant who could have known about precautions and symptoms if they had had the chance to read a poster while at immigration court. Or maybe it was someone who heard Trump claim the corona virus was a just a “Democrat Party” conspiracy to make him look bad. As if he needs any help with that.

Most of it is because of Trump’s special blend of dishonesty, ignorance and bigotry. Trump didn’t want to know how serious it was and didn’t care. As precious time was lost, Trump denied the virus’s existence, then denied that it would be serious. Once he finally accepted that maybe we should get around to testing for it, he refused test kits offered by the World Health Organization in January.

When he could no longer use the authoritarian tactic of denial, Trump trivialized the seriousness of what is now a pandemic. He talked about miracles and warm weather. When that didn’t work, very restrictive testing started and Americans were prevented from coming home so the numbers were to Trump’s “liking.”

While other countries have been testing people and taking measures to prevent further spreading, Trump dug in with plans to hold rallies (now, thankfully cancelled) and met with the world’s dictators at Mar-a-Lago. He kept shaking hands, and some of the people he had contact with have either tested positive or are in self-quarantine awaiting testing. That makes him a walking health hazard, and proves that it doesn’t matter how rich or powerful you are, anything that’s transmittable will come after you.

Meanwhile the first wave of COVID-19 cases reached our shores and we had almost no clue how big a wave it was. Hindsight tells us we would have had a better chance of containing the virus had we just gone with the WHO kits. While other countries also opted for developing their own tests, we had additional delays. Some of them had nothing to do with Trump, like the flaws in the CDC’s kits. Still, that meant that while other countries were testing and getting a handle on the scope of the pandemic problem, we couldn’t.

As a consequence, the best options are no longer available to us. Solutions like free testing only begin to address a problem that got worse and more complicated, and largely because Trump didn’t want to know how serious it was and didn’t care.

This business of not caring has been around since he took office. In the years preceding the virus, Trump dismantled every plan we had for foreseeing and preparing for severe medical crises. He spent the bulk of three years gutting the Affordable Care Act, which is the closest to a healthcare system this country has seen.

But now, epidemics and pandemics remind us of the value of a public healthcare policy and infrastructure. The worst thing for those of us who actually value life is in knowing that wasted time may put doctors in the position of deciding who lives and who dies. People will die not because of the illness but because of the treatment that was denied because we weren’t ready.

A comprehensive public health plan could have contained the virus sooner. We would still have some deaths, we would still have school closings and social distancing, but we would have a handle on the problem sooner. The economic consequences stemming from the Trump administration’s incompetence would have been minimal, if any.

Instead, we weren’t ready. We weren’t ready because a medical crisis came at an inconvenient time for Donald Trump. We weren’t ready because Donald Trump let his bigotry take over.

While most of these delays make the case for competency and compassion in the White House, universal healthcare would make testing available to anyone who needs it. And while most of the emphasis is on the cost benefit analysis, that’s only part of it. Universal healthcare assumes that healthcare is a right, not merely a privilege for people who can afford it.

Built into that assumption is the realization that in cases of contagious diseases, protecting all people’s health would benefit all of us. We are seeing this in economics while daily life shuts down around the world. Just look at the list of industries  likely to be affected. And layoffs start at the bottom, where people can afford it the least, and are unlikely to have paid leave and decent healthcare. That means consumer spending goes down and so on and so on.

Other industrialized countries recognized the nexus between healthcare security and productivity. It’s why even conservative political parties in those countries are on board with a single-payer healthcare system.

We have a chance to see how it could work in America, thanks to Congresswoman Katie Porter’s  follow up to a letter she and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield in advance of the hearing.

They outlined the commitments already made during congressional testimony to assure that testing would be available to all.

“In the midst of global pandemic, fear of surprise medical bills and financial ruin will only lead to more devastation and harm to the global community.”

The letter was co-signed by several members of Congress: Rosa DeLauro, Lauren Underwood, Joseph P. Kennedy III, and Pramila Jayapal.

These members of Congress saw a chance to test universal healthcare, and it’s because Trump messed up every step of the way. Our jaws may drop at the cost, not to mention the costs for sick pay, food security and other programs needed to contain the virus and eventually bring it to an end. The fact is we either pay this now or much more later.

We can use this time to see if there are policy steps we can leave in place for future emergency situations like this one. A universal healthcare system, one with solid crisis planning, isn’t just about people getting free stuff. Rich and poor alike will benefit. At the very least, people who already have jobs with sick leave or telecommuting won’t be at risk from encountering someone who couldn’t afford to be tested or take steps to avoid spreading the virus. This is about everyone being safer.

Opinion: International Women’s Day Reminds Us That Women Who Lead Get Things Done

Warren Sanders

International Women’s Day is on Sunday.  It will remind us that women who lead get things done.  This is true even if at the moment in America, election to the presidency remains an unbreakable glass ceiling.

This past week, we saw two great women, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, suspend their presidential campaigns.  This means that glass ceiling remains intact and it means that even before a single ballot is cast, we know a white man in his seventies will be elected president this year.

We saw very different women campaign for the presidency.  They had different styles and political views.  Different policies and different strengths.  Elizabeth Warren, especially, stood out because she was going her own way.  It’s overly simplistic to categorize her as someone from the Bernie wing of the party.  She has progressive ideas, but they are based on knowledge stemming from a lifetime of research – not merely embracing ideology.

She was the best communicator there.  She also gave the personal touch in a time when communication has given way to messaging.

America isn’t ready for women like Elizabeth Warren, women who are comfortable in their own skin and develop their own ideas.  We saw it as another primary that began with a diverse group of capable people was whittled down to two old white guys. Either of them would be a better president than Donald Trump, but the fact remains women’s fight for a return from the political exile imposed by Trump remains unfinished.

It is a little ironic that tomorrow is International Women’s Day.  It marks another year in which that day is commemorated while American women and girls see the presidency overtaken by male egos and misogyny – not only among candidates but in the media coverage as well.

International Women’s Day also marks another year in which most political news is written by men, which means the “narrative” is defined pretty much exclusively from a white male perspective.

If she’s lucky, the rare woman who writes about politics might get some crumbs – after men have firmly established the parameters of political discussion, saying which issues merit discussion and who qualifies as a strong contender against Donald Trump.

If you’re an intelligent woman and comfortable in your own skin, you’re a bigger threat to the male ego than any other kind of woman.  That was true when my mother was the lone woman standing in her class of biochemists.  It was true of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she had difficulty getting a job despite excelling in law school.

The women of that generation had to surpass men in ability just to be equal.  In reality, that hasn’t changed.  The pursuit of equality for women in the classroom and the workplace remains an uphill battle for subsequent generations.  And, we’re losing ground in other areas, as reflected in the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a case that could send our personal autonomy back to the Dark Ages.

The election of Donald Trump proved that misogyny remains a driving force in America.  There is no place in Trump’s America for smart women, regardless of where they were born.

With the exception of his propaganda machine, women were erased from the Trump administration.

A notable exception on the policy side is his daughter, Ivanka, who’s greatest accomplishment is inappropriately sitting in for daddy at the G-20 Summit.

Then there’s Elaine Chao who is under investigation by the Senate her husband controls for ethics violations.  Gee, we’re all wondering how that’s going to turn out.

Even with these two women and Trump’s mouthpieces, misogyny had single party control of the Federal government for two years, achieving nothing before Nancy Pelosi and a group of women retook the House in 2018.

Breathing became a bit easier then.  The one political institution that is led by a woman is also the only thing protecting democracy from a brutal assault by Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Roberts Supreme Court.  The women on the Supreme Court continue to issue insightful and legally substantive dissents, yet the misogynistic majority all but states out loud how cute it is when some smart women “over think” things.

Well, maybe women should do more of the thinking.  The world won’t fall apart when women take charge.  In fact, women make things happen, as we saw with Golda Meier, Benazir Bhutto, and even Margaret Thatcher.  Anyone with knowledge of European politics knows Angela Merkel has a legacy of success and she was one of a handful of people who stood up to Donald Trump.

Moreover, there are many girl wonders who are already making their voices known to the world.  Girls like Greta Thunberg.

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating all the women who broke down and go on breaking down barriers built by the privileged white male establishment.  That establishment sees Trump, Biden and Sanders united in the same drive for power.  That drive unites more strongly than anything else – including ideology and money.   And I’ll be celebrating how women who lead get things done, and get things done despite white male privilege.

But most importantly, I’ll be celebrating the girls who I hope will see the day when it is normal for women to run for the presidency – and is normal for them to win.

Opinion: Super Tuesday Could Bring Us Closer To Unity Or Bust

Super Tuesday might tell us which of the four remaining candidates is likely to become Donald Trump’s opponent. I’m not counting Tulsi Gabbard, given that she has yet to register a single percentage point in popular support. Call me crazy, but the last time I looked, having zero support precludes you from beating Donald Trump.

Of the four, one bought his way to this point and he did so with as little contact with actual voters as possible. Then there’s Bernie Sanders, who never stopped campaigning since he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. His followers are increasingly certain that only Bernie can solve all our problems.

For the record, they are not the only people using this approach.  However, Bernie is one of the two most likely to be the Democratic Party’s nominee.  Therefore, I’m focusing my attention on him.

I heard the savior argument before, and not just from Bernie supporters and Trump but also from far right and far left demagogues in several countries on multiple continents. I didn’t buy it before and I won’t buy it now. That doesn’t make me corporate, it doesn’t say a thing about my views on policies. It speaks only to my opposition to demagoguery.

This brings me to Elizabeth Warren, who doesn’t have a realistic chance of being the nominee. As much as I may believe she better represents the possibility of achieving a progressive agenda without revolution, this is not her time.

It looks like other former contenders are choosing to unite with Joe Biden. Some people see this as a corporate conspiracy. I see it as a desire to put forward the candidate most likely to win over the most diverse groups of American voters.

Still, Bernie Sanders supporters are numerous enough to matter and anyone who has been paying attention recognizes that. However, (and this is where the bros start tweeting insults at me) they are no more entitled to impose their views and ideology on others than anyone else. Their opinions and experiences are no more (and no less) valid than anyone else’s.

Perhaps there are some people who, as Michael Moore suggested, are afraid of Sanders and therefore backing Biden. I know that’s not the case with all Biden’s supporters because I actually bother to listen to them. Some people like Sanders and his ideas. But they want unity, not revolution. Some people don’t want socialism, and don’t see a difference between democratic socialism and socialism as such.

There are some people who are put off by Bernie’s supporters who are under the mistaken belief that being obnoxious wins votes. I understand their concerns after encounters with the more militant Bernie supporters. Those supporters think revolution is far more entertaining than democratic processes and yeah, we can just rebuild the country after it has been torn apart.

That was tried that in the former Yugoslavia and in the former Soviet Union. The idea of revolution as a political tactic comes straight out of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto – a document I studied in detail and rejected for too many reasons to get into here. One important reason is the fact that revolution tends to lead to violence, even if that wasn’t the intent, and rebuilding a country doesn’t necessarily mean the end product will be any better than what you started with. In the meantime, future generations are pretty much guaranteed a lifetime of poverty and oppression.

This observation doesn’t mean the answer is carrying on with business as usual. There are many of us who know that and whole heartedly embrace progressive ideas. However, embracing ideas that would, for example, guarantee everyone a living wage and assure that every wealthy person and corporation pays their share of taxes does not automatically mean being a Bernie bro’s doormat.

One can be all for a version of Medicare for all and yet recognize the odds are highly against congressional support. It would be stupid not to wonder what that means, especially now that the Supreme Court could rule that the gutted version of the ACA is unconstitutional. In short, the all-or-nothing approach advocated by some of Bernie’s supporters could mean leaving future generations with the same corporate “health care plan” that made Obamacare necessary.

I don’t believe in political saviors who come riding in on their horses, declaring that they will make our problems disappear.

None of us has all the answers. No theory is perfect. It took me a life time of learning and experiencing it to recognize that while nothing is perfect, there are some ideas that are worse than others. It’s why I’ll still insist on considering all candidates and their ideas before choosing one. It’s also why I refuse to allow anyone to bully or intimidate me, no matter how right they believe they are or how right I may believe their ideas or arguments are.

Either one accepts that all humans were created equal or one doesn’t. If you accept that all humans were created equal, it means you respect other people’s right to form their own opinions. No one owes you or your hero leader complete subordination.

I say this as a woman who was raped as a teenager. That was the day I learned how vicious and primal power is. I say it as a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who saw first-hand the scars that any ideological extreme leaves on the lives of survivors and on their subsequent generations.

I don’t have a preferred candidate. I do have preferred ideas and preferred tactics. Unfortunately, no one fits my criteria perfectly. Odds are that many of us have a similar quandary. So we’re left with two options. Either we trust and accept the will of the majority of voters and caucus participants, or we get four more years of Trump.

Of the remaining candidates, none is my idea of perfect, but every one of them is better than four more years of Trump. I hope we choose wisely and that those who are doing everything in their ability to antagonize people who happen to oppose their chosen one, will realize how short-sighted it is to alienate people who might be won over to their side. In the end, that’s what we’ve got to go up against a brainwashed army of maga automatons using voter intimidation, bullying and hate speech to impose their will on others.

The only advice I have is don’t give up your own voice to support a presidential candidate.

Opinion: Militant Moderates and Bernie’s Revolutionaries Are Donald Trump’s Best Friends

The only people who were more excited about Bernie Sanders’s win in Nevada than Sanders and his supporters were Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Trump wants a second term so that he can stay out of jail and kill American democracy once and for all. Putin wants a weakened America so that his Russia can regain status as an important player in the world’s politics. Both, rightly or wrongly, believe that of all the Democratic candidates, Bernie Sanders is the easiest one for Trump to beat.

Most democrats fear that if Bernie is the nominee, we’ll merely be choosing between oppressors.

Often we equate the Bernie wing with ideological purity, but it seems to me that argument can also be made of people who conflate democratic socialism, authoritarian socialism and communism.

I come at this with contradictory views about Sanders. I’m working through what a Sanders win would mean as much as everyone else is. And I think that like most things political, the result of a Bernie win is one of many shades of gray. But key to it is knowing to what extent, if any, Bernie has authoritarian tendencies.

I don’t want to offend anyone. But the reality is we didn’t ask hard questions in 2016 and we’re paying for it. If we agree on nothing else, let’s at least agree that we need answers to the scariest question. Are we choosing between democracy and tyranny or are we choosing our oppressor?

If Bernie is, as his surrogates claim, a democratic socialist, it’s possible his ideas can address socio-economic inequities that were institutionalized by Republicans and entrenched by Donald Trump.

It’s just as possible that Sanders may opt for a more authoritarian approach – especially if Congress is as resistant to his ideas as it is to Trump’s. It’s this possibility that concerns me. And that concern grew when we learned that Sanders knew about Russian efforts to help his campaign for a month before he said anything.

To be fair, his response was near perfect – except for the part where he blamed the Washington Post.

I saw him dismiss concerns about Castro because he had this really awesome literacy program, I’m more uneasy about him than I ever was, and the same is true of the prospect of including Russia in NATO. We heard that before from Donald Trump.

Anyone who says they know with certainty if Sanders is, in fact, a democratic Socialist, or an authoritarian version isn’t telling the truth. Sanders does conflate supporters of other candidates with establishment Republicans in a way that’s similar to Trump’s deep state references.

A moment came when it looked like the twin pillars of authoritarianism – extreme left and extreme right – were beginning a stare-down. Some pundits suggest Bernie doesn’t need to build a consensus beyond his base. He has enough support there. Everyone else, like the older African American women who do the work it takes to win elections, and to a far lesser extent educated white women who are alienated by Trump, ultimately don’t matter. They’ll take it because they don’t have any other options.

Of course, that assumption was wrongfully made before and Donald Trump’s presidency was the result.

Meanwhile, there is talk of lists segregating the Trump loyalists from the “deep” state in the civil service. This prospect of a politicized civil service has implications too numerous to list. Suffice to say party affiliation and real or imagined loyalty to dear leader would define all aspects of life. You could be deemed insufficiently loyal simply because you know someone who is deemed disloyal.

It’s like McCarthy woke from the dead and married Clarence Thomas.

We’re running out of second chances. Trump is hollowing American democracy out. His followers are all too happy to bully and threaten anyone perceived to be disloyal to Trump into submission, as reflected in death threats the Ukraine whistleblower’s lawyer is getting solely for doing his job protecting the whistle blower’s legal rights.

Bernie says he envisions a more equitable America that addresses climate change, brings the American dream back and expects the wealthy to pay its share in taxes. And there are people who are with him for that. If he wins, they’ll be happy. If not, they’ll still vote for the person who wins the nomination because they, like most Democrats, see defeating Trump as the most important moral imperative of this election.

But there are other kinds of Bernie supporters.

As Megan McCardle explained, there are three broad categories of Bernie Supporters. Aside from the realist-idealist who will vote blue no matter who but hope it’s Bernie; there are bandwagoners who are also more likely to vote blue no matter who; and then there are the revolutionaries.

It’s the revolutionaries who “resemble the new voters President Trump brought into the GOP”. McCardle met them in person, independently confirming some accounts I’ve been told by some individuals who went to Bernie rallies.

I suspect it’s the revolutionaries who resort to bullying and intimidation, often on line, but not exclusively.

You may have heard of them as Bernie Bros and Bernie or Bust people. Either they get Bernie or they’ll wait for revolution the way some Evangelicals wait for the end days. They don’t think of Trump as all that bad, just as Bernie doesn’t think Castro is all that bad. In the words of one Bernie or Bust supporter;

“Donald Trump is not worse, for one reason: He’ll destroy it faster than they will. And then we can rebuild.”

The threat to America democracy got more complicated as Bernie Sanders won Nevada. It’s not because healthcare or a more equitable economic policy automatically means the end of democracy and freedom. It’s because we don’t know how much of the Sanders base is comprised of revolutionaries whose approach is more consistent with authoritarianism.

If you lived through the cold war, I could tell you a million times there is a difference between Soviet communism and democratic socialism or social democracy. It won’t matter, just as it won’t matter if we tell younger voters that while they have valid concerns, it’s possible that Bernie is as authoritarian and uncaring as Trump. (Both are seen as authentic by their followers.)

Younger voters feel the sting of an economic system that has no good place for them. They hear of the possibility of a system that will give them economic opportunities and remove the fear of financial ruin if they get sick or have an accident.

Some of them will vote blue because they see the destruction by Trump and are just as repulsed as most of America. But even if democratic forces prevail this time with the help of realistic Bernie supporters, it’s all but certain they’ll change sides if we don’t address their concerns in ways that produce concrete results.

Opinion: Democracy and Bullying Don’t Mix

A small and intimidating group of self-described Bernie supporters are a stark reminder of the core reason Donald Trump has to go.  Democracy and Bullying don’t mix.

Most of the time, authoritarianism is about leveraging and abusing power against the populace for a tyrant’s personal gain. Trump did it with the Ukraine. He did it again last Friday during his meeting with New York governor Andrew Cuomo and he did it again with the wedding present he gave Stephen Miller.

Stephen Miller got married this weekend and Donald Trump gave him door-to door-searches in sanctuary cities as a wedding present.

One of the key traits that distinguishes us from banana republics is the idea of voters freely choosing whom they want to represent them at all levels of government, including the presidency. When a faction of a candidate’s supporters starts threatening people, they are as much a threat to our democracy as anything Donald Trump has done.

This came during a week when all the prosecutors on the Stone case quit because they didn’t want to be a part of destroying the rule of law. One of them quit the Federal government, making it clear he didn’t even want to watch it in silence.

The rule of law means the law is applied equally to all people, regardless of whether they are the president, a recent immigrant, someone popular or someone who is an awful person. There is an elegant parallel between standing up for the rule of law and standing against voter intimidation. Both recognize the inherent equality and worth of all humans regardless of their station, ethnicity, religion or even their character.

That is jarring. But for all the disturbing things that happened last week, the most disturbing was the story of the Culinary Workers Union leaders who were attacked by self-identified Sanders supporters.

The original reporting came from The Nevada Independent
There is one paragraph that is particularly disturbing.

Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline, for instance, has come under attack for her Nicaraguan heritage, and union spokeswoman Bethany Khan was accused of being paid off by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Democratic establishment types. In tweets, the union and its leadership have been referred to as “bitches,” “whore,” “fucking scab” and “evil, entitled assholes.” read more

Opinion: We Need To Be Willing To Sacrifice To Make Trump A One Term President

Winners and losers of CNN Democratic debate

The deeper we fall into the hell of Donald Trump’s presidency, the harder it is to keep hope alive. I’ve been trying to channel my mother for answers – and I don’t believe in channeling.

So it comes as no surprise to me at all that a Quinnipac poll shows Joe Biden lost 22% of his support among black voters, with Michael Bloomberg as the chief beneficiary, with a gain of 15% support among black voters.

Of course, Amy Klobuchar is having a moment among more conservative-minded Democrats. The top two contenders are Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, with Elizabeth Warren losing ground.

America is divided, which was the whole point of Putin’s interference to help Donald Trump. Anyone who saw Trump’s announcement in 2016 knew that unity is not his thing. I doubt Trump read Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, but you don’t need to be formally educated in divisiveness to know how to divide people. Just as you don’t need to know what fascism is to be a fascist.

From a selfish perspective, I found some comfort in that poll. Unlike back in 2016, there is a quantifiable measure of divisions among Trump’s opposition.

We could not see then the unquantified things that allowed him to prevail. Today we can see the divisions, but we also see they can shift. We also see that some shifts matter more than others, such as the shift black voters’ support.

And until now, even admitting to being afraid was something I never did in public because it looks weak. But there it is. I’m terrified of Trump getting a second term, because America won’t survive it.

It won’t survive the Trump family’s lavish spending, their even more lavish gifts to their friends in the maga swamp and the structural damage to the aspects of the economy that affect people who work for a living.

America won’t survive the divisiveness. Trump is feeding his most dedicated loyalists with rhetoric so toxic that they will turn on a conservative Republican like John Bolton the second Trump issues the order.

The poisonous mix of fake news from Russia and bullying tactics by a faction in the Bernie camp is a dictator’s sweet spot. It can only further complicate an environment that can be deadly to democracy.

I fear that American won’t survive the corruption of justice, corruption that is reminiscent of the Soviet Union. Rudy is gathering “evidence”, meaning manufactured information on the Bidens, because Trump’s idea of campaigning is criminalizing opponents and opposition in general. That may be something he learned from Putin, Melania or someone else.

While Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives continues to fight for oversight by co-equal branches of government, Moscow Mitch continues to play Grim Reaper. Over four hundred bills continue to languish while Senators confirm unqualified people to the courts in a process that looks more like speed dating than actual confirmation.

And just a reminder, this is what McConnell had in mind when he refused to consider Obama nominees to the bench and, for that matter, in diplomacy too. He was keeping these positions open for a bunch of party hacks. No other reason.

While I’m white, I’m still a Jewish immigrant who has been critical of Donald Trump since the day he arrived on the scene. So I can relate to the willingness to give up things in the name of getting rid of Donald Trump and the Republicans who enabled him.

And while we’re at it, yes, I support Nancy Pelosi. She, even more than Chuck Schumer, has shown a capacity to manage Trump and get under his skin unlike anyone else. She’s to Trump what Hillary Clinton was the Vladimir Putin.

Of all times in American history, we need a Speaker who understands that preserving the good about the old rules means defeating Trump under existing rules we don’t like. But she should also know how to employ new rules. We saw Speaker Pelosi using a new rule when she tore up Trump’s speech.

Sure, we heard about how somehow it was undignified for the Speaker to tear up the speech, this from a man who turned the State of the Union Address into a spoof of its former dignified self. But come on, she spoke for every one of us without saying a word.

Yes, it broke existing protocol, but then so did Trump’s invitation to foreign adversaries to interfere in our elections. Honestly, I have to say that the Speaker tearing up that speech was the smaller faux pas.

We need a candidate who can defeat Trump, and we will have to sacrifice something to do it. But that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice what’s left of our increasingly fragile democracy. It means that even if Bloomberg and Steyer don’t need a foreign adversary to buy their way into the office, we need to make sure we aren’t jumping from a deep fryer to a boiling pot.

Bloomberg, especially, opted to use his money to meet financial requirements while skipping interacting with voters. He’ll have to show his hand in a debate. Can Bloomberg himself take Trump on in an unrehearsed setting? If so, does he understand that being accountable to himself alone is not good enough? We already have that.

The other candidates have to look at themselves and their policies to figure out what’s missing. What is it about them that has yet to win the confidence of people who have the biggest stake in making Donald Trump a one-term president?

The candidate Democrats choose will carry an incomprehensible burden of responsibility to Americans, the nations of the world, and to the sustainability of the planet itself. They won’t be able to do everything within five minutes or even five months of getting into office because, thanks to Trump and the Republicans, our institutions are damaged, as are relationships that affect our national security.

We may need to sacrifice getting the candidate we love to get the one who can beat Trump, even if it’s in the eyes of Americans who think and vote differently than we do. Just barely winning isn’t enough. This election has to be a resounding defeat of Trump, his Republican party, and the authoritarian corporate socialism they represent.

When we show up, we do win. Voters showed that even when Republicans found new ways to damage the structures of our election system and just plain cheat. The people who are America’s heart and soul still won in 2008, 2012, and 2018. We can do it again. In the name of saving America democracy, we may have to reunite with compromise. Otherwise, we will have to live with the consequences.