Friday Reads: Peace or Panic?Posted: November 2, 2018
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I simply cannot stand any more crap coming out of a KKKremlin Caligula rally. The bigotry, lies, and outright impossibilities have just about done me and my psyche in for awhile. I’m going to vote on Tuesday at my little fire station on the corner near the old Fire station horse barns that I walk an entire two blocks to reach. Once again, I’m going to join the down trodden in the big hope we can get rid of this huge mess that once was the party of Lincoln.
Today, I’m turning off the horse race coverage. I’m with Vanity Fair writer Peter Hamby on this: “BLOWING SMOKE”: SORRY, PUNDITS, BUT YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON TUESDAY”. I don’t know what’s worse; watching polls that are based on turnout patterns that seem completely upended or listening endlessly to opining guys that never leave the sanctity of their studios in NYC.
Every piece of evidence we have about voting behavior during the Trump presidency—special elections in various corners of the country, public and internal polls, early voting data in key states—indicates that we are heading for a midterm election with explosively high turnout. University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, who studies voting patterns, estimated recently that almost 50 percent of eligible voters could cast ballots this year, a turnout level not seen in a midterm election in 50 years. Trump, in his way, is loudly trying to juice Republican turnout in red-leaning Senate races by demagoguing the threat of illegal border crossings, which happen to be at their lowest point in decades.
Enthusiasm in this election, though, is mostly fueled by Democrats. Aside from college-educated white women, much of the Democratic coalition in 2018 is comprised of voters—young people, African-Americans, and Hispanics—who don’t typically show up in midterm elections. And the main thing to remember about high-turnout elections, especially ones that bring non-traditional voters into the mix, is that strange things can happen. House seats once thought to be safe are suddenly in jeopardy, like Republican Steve King’s solidly red seat in Iowa now appears to be.
Still, in the press, it seems written in stone that Democrats will take back the House but fail to take the Senate, thanks to an unfavorable map that has too many Democratic incumbents running in Trump-friendly states like Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana, and Montana. The prospect of a House-Senate split is the most likely outcome according to the polls and veteran handicappers, and that probability has already started congealing into conventional wisdom. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, writing last weekend, said this scenario is “the sensible thing to root for,” the best way to constrain Trump’s impulses but also an unchecked liberalism.
There you go. Ross “I’m wrong about everything all the time” Douthat is being quoted doing his usual thing of being totally out of his league.
There’s all kinds of narratives out there and I’m sure my mental and emotional health are not improving with each read. From the Cut: “Heidi Heitkamp Doesn’t Care That You Think She’s Going to Lose”. Wow, I really want to believe that one. BTW, voter suppression by states like North Dakota against minority voters is being up held in the courts. The Native Americans lost their plea to stop the crazy “you must have a state approved address on your id” to vote. The Hispanic Americans of Dodge City, Kansas must travel miles ouside of the city to find their one voting place.
Oh, and machines in Georgia are flipping votes in the gubernatorial race and of course, they’re taking the votes away from the black woman. This is crazy.
Who she is, in addition to one of the most endangered senators in the country, is a canny, inexhaustible political operator; a policy enthusiast; a woman who seems to come by her you bet folksiness honestly. She is someone people here like. In fact, so many people like Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota that her opponent, Representative Kevin Cramer, himself saysin a television ad, “We all like Heidi.” (There’s a “but.”)
Heitkamp denies that she is significantly down in the polls — she says many of the pollsters trying to survey North Dakota are “incompetent” — though she declines to provide contrary evidence. “The thing that everybody needs to understand is, I need 150,000 votes,” she says. “You can count 150,000 votes. You can motivate 150,000 votes.”
It’s mostly Heitkamp herself that makes people in North Dakota unconvinced that this race is over, even as most of the political class has moved on. (Trump’s handlers left the state off his final-week rally list, though Joe Biden is about to campaign here.) But it’s also voters like White Owl, here in the 4 Bears ballroom, near the slot-machine smoking parlor where seniors from Saskatchewan and Minnesota are pulling levers. If she’s lucky, what look a lot like hurdles — Heitkamp’s vote against Trump’s Supreme Court justice in a state he won by 36 points, the state’s restrictive new voter-ID law — could form the scaffolding of a win.
The stand Heitkamp took on Kavanaugh, whatever else it did, earned her unprecedented millions in donations and the admiration of voters like White Owl. North Dakota’s new requirement that all voters must have a street address — and surely this is a total coincidence — lopsidedly affects the same Native American voters who helped Heitkamp win in 2012 with a margin of less than 3,000 votes. But the law could boomerang on its Republican sponsors, as community organizers, some cool on Heitkamp because of her support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, spring into indignant action. In a state where a 500-vote swing can decide political fates — North Dakota’s, and potentially even the U.S. Senate’s — everything matters, and anything is possible.
Everything matters. Anything is possible. I keep repeating that telling myself I’m not going to have the same trauma of 2016.
When reports began circulating last week that voting machines in Texas were flipping ballots cast for Beto O’Rourke over to Ted Cruz, and machines in Georgia were changing votes for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to those for her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, it would not have been unreasonable to suppose that those machines had been hacked. After all, their vulnerabilities have been known for nearly two decades. In September, J. Alex Halderman, a computer-science professor at the University of Michigan, demonstrated to members of Congress precisely how easy it is to surreptitiously manipulate the AccuVote TS, a variant of the direct-recording electronic (D.R.E.) voting machines used in Georgia. In addition, Halderman noted, it is impossible to verify that the votes cast were not the votes intended, since the AccuVote does not provide a physical record of the transaction.
“I am sick and tired of this administration. I’m sick and tired of what’s going on. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I hope you are, too.”
I’m sick and tired, too.
I’m sick and tired of a president who pretends that a caravan of impoverished refugees is an “invasion” by “unknown Middle Easterners” and “bad thugs” — and whose followers on Fox News pretend the refugees are bringing leprosy and smallpox to the United States. (Smallpox was eliminated about 40 years ago.)
I’m sick and tired of a president who misuses his office to demagogue on immigration — by unnecessarily sending 5,200 troops to the border and by threatening to rescind by executive order the 14th Amendment guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States.
I’m sick and tired of a president who is so self-absorbed that he thinks he is the real victim of mail-bomb attacks on his political opponents — and who, after visiting Pittsburgh despite being asked by local leaders to stay away, tweeted about how he was treated, not about the victims of the synagogue massacre.
I’m sick and tired of a president who cheers a congressman for his physical assault of a reporter, calls the press the “enemy of the people ” and won’t stop or apologize even after bombs were sent to CNN in the mail.
I’m sick and tired of a president who employs the language of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish financier George Soros and “globalists,” and won’t apologize or retract even after what is believed to be the worst attack on Jews in U.S. history.
I’m sick and tired of a president who won’t stop engaging in crazed partisanship, denouncing Democrats as “evil,” “un-American” and “treasonous” subversives who are in league with criminals.
I’m sick and tired of a president who cares so little about right-wing terrorism that, on the very day of the synagogue shooting, he proceeded with a campaign rally, telling his supporters, “Let’s have a good time.”
I’m sick and tired of a president who presides over one of the most unethical administrations in U.S. history — with three Cabinet members resigning for reported ethical infractions and the secretary of the interior the subject of at least 18 federal investigations.
It’s a long list out there in the Max Boot Op Ed in WAPO but I’m sure we could all add to it.
Mostly, I’m sick of every emanation from KKKremlin Caligula. I want him to choke on badly cooked hamburger so we can toss him on to the heaps of historical mistakes.
The miasma of today is one created by a world in which journalists are described as “enemies of the people,” in which immigrants fleeing chaos or seeking opportunity are accused of harboring terrorists and carrying leprosy, in which a politician aspiring to the highest leadership positions in Congress says, “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg to BUY this election!” It is the miasma created by a leader who cheers a candidate for body-slamming a reporter, and whose subordinates’ professed sorrow for bullet-riddled old men and women is swiftly displaced by self-pity and grievance that their boss is being picked on.
So, that’s it for me because I have to finish up grades for the term today. I want to be done so I can watch my favorite zombie show. For once, it won’t be about the Republican base.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?