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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,209

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Reasons why Trump's 2016 upset will not be repeated

There are many, including:

Four more years of demographic changes. America has literally become less white since 2016. And, as is naturally the case, more of Trump's older voters have died in the last four years than have Clinton's 2016 voters. Voters who are eligible to participate in their first presidential election in 2020 strongly favor Biden.

Trump is not running against a candidate who the Republican Party has spent 28 years demonizing. Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and a relatively ineffective six month campaign to sour Americans on him is trivial compared to what Hillary Clinton had been subjected to for decades.

The Democratic Party is more unified, and has been so for many months, heading into the 2020 election than it was when heading into the 2016 election.

Democrats control the House of Representatives. That means that adverse news about the Trump Administration receives national attention. Recent case in point, public scrutiny of sabotage of the U.S. Post Office.

U.S. media (with the exception of FOX which remains a constant) long ago stopped falling all over themselves to give wall to wall coverage stressing Trump's "unique maverick appeal" to voters, including hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to free, non fact checked coverage of virtually all of his campaign rallies

Trump now has an actual track record in office. He no longer gets to be all things to all people dissatisfied with the status quo in America. People can no longer simply project their hopes for how Trump will perform in office onto him, now America has seen what a Trump presidency actually looks like.

Trump faces organized significant opposition to his run for reelection from many figures who were previously well established in Republican and/or Conservative circles; various Never Trumpers, the Lincoln Project: Republican Voters for Trump, previous members of other Republican Administrations etc. "Establishment" Republicans mostly muted their criticism of Trump once he secured the 2016 nomination. Now a significant number are openly attacking him and promoting Biden to restore sanity to Government. They hold little to no sway over Trump's base, but they can effect the election at the margins, among some Independents, moderate Republicans etc.

Third Party candidates are in eclipse. We acknowledge to role the Green Party played in Trump's narrow victory in 2016. The Green Party has a significantly reduced profile heading into November. But it is the loss in stature of the Libertarian Party that is more note worthy. Libertarians far out polled the Greens in 2016. Libertarians appealed to significant numbers of younger voters in 2016 with their "pro-pot" position and anti-establishment branding etc.

There is an African American candidate on the Democratic ticket this year. There wasn't in 2016 when we lost, there was in 2008 and 2012 when we won. African American voter turn out dropped in 2016 from the prior two elections. That hurt Democrats.

The pandemic will have killed a quarter of a million Americans by the time election day arrives. This is on Trump's watch, and all of his pronouncements about how perfectly his administration has handled this catastrophe are only playing to his hard core base, his approval ratings on this front are damning.

The public is unhappy to a record degree over the course our nation is on. That is almost universally a referendum on the incumbent Administration. Trump can spin all he wants but everyone knows that the economy remains in terrible shape, largely due to how poorly the pandemic has been handled.

How horrific a human being Donald Trump is has been well litigated and firmly established a thousand times over with floods of new information now available about how utterly loathsome a human being he actually is. No, this does not negatively impact on his floor of support. What it does is lower the ceiling of support beyond his base that Trump can still aspire to, and his base alone doesn't cut it.

Of course there are things that Trump can and will play up to make sure that voters who are naturally inclined to support someone with his professed world view show up at the polls for him. Even Barry Goldwater got almost 39% of the vote in 1964. Any major party candidate in America starts out with over a third of the vote locked in solidly. And those voters tend to be fervent and vocal. I had a friend (of above average intellect, honest) who was convinced George McGovern was going to win in 1972 because where he lived in Oregon at the time McGovern was wildly popular.

Trump can and will rally his base. He will win back almost all of those who might have started wavering in their support of him. But his base is not enough. Trump has racism and the specter of "Anarchists" rioting in our cities going for him in 2020. He had racism and the specter of the M13 gang infiltrating suburbia in 2016. And Mexico DID NOT "pay for the wall". Trump has Russia "meddling in our elections" this year and that was true in 2016 also. But now it is out in the open, and some social media platforms have actually become at least somewhat more active in combating Russian efforts.

Election fundamentals have shifted AWAY from Trump since 2016. Grassroots Democrats are far more organized now than we had been prior to the 2016 election. His election was an eye opener and the immediate response to that came the day after his election with a nation wide (and beyond) mobilization of women against him. Republicans have lost ground nationally in every election year since 2016, and Democrats historically turn out the most in presidential election years.

In my opinion constantly repeating the refrain that this will be a very close election only helps give Trump the cover he needs to more blatantly attempt to steal it. If conventional wisdom hardens on a prediction that this can go either way, then it becomes easier for Trump to after the fact claim that he was the legitimate winner, but for rigging, once he is defeated.

If they cured Covid-19 tomorrow it would make Trump even more guilty of manslaughter

The Trump administration made no real effort to "bend the curve" of Covid-19 cases, let alone "crush it." Instead Trump obsessed over "opening up the economy" because he believed poor job loss numbers would jeopardize his reelection. But it was and always has been possible to "crush" the Covid-19 curve. New York State, under competent leadership guided by science, did it resoundingly. Instead of Trump "bending the curve", the U.S. curve rose, plateaued, and then rose again. Trump didn't "bend the curve", he fed it virus fodder, sacrificing our lives for "his" economy. If a Covid-19 cure came tomorrow it's be too late for tens of thousands of Americans who perished in our tidal wive of virus deaths. Had the U.S.as a whole managed this pandemic half as well as New York State has, bucking Trump's misinformation head winds all the way, those Americans would be alive today and able to benefit from any new breakthroughs in therapeutic interventions.

And let's be clear about one thing. If more effective treatments for Covid-19 emerge, Trump is the last person who deserves any credit for them. Science and scientists will provide the breakthroughs we need, and we have not had a less science friendly President in well over a century than Donald Trump, nor one who was more disrespectful of scientists themselves. Donald Trump consistently made cuts in medical research and our preparedness to respond to health emergencies.

Scientists are looking for cures to Covid-19 because that is what scientists do, it's not because Trump directed them to. All Trump has done is make their work more difficult by insisting they divert precious time and energy to debunking bogus miracle cures that Trump hears about on Fox news.

It's amazing how many ways Trump is hurting his own reelection chances

Let's start with the underlying biggie. Every day Trump's actions serve to make this election a referendum on him. There is not a top election strategist on either side who doesn't understand the nature of this blunder. Trump has significant negative approval ratings. If America sees this election just as an up or down vote on him, Trump loses. Trump needs to sour the public on Biden, in the hope that millions will end up rejecting Biden via their reluctant votes for Trump instead.. However Trump's public performance continues to reinforce his own negatives with everyone outside his hard core base. Trump presents as the obvious primary source for discord and chaos in American politics. That isn't a good look. Trump only has 80 days to turn America against Biden rather than defaulting to a referendum on Trump, and early voting begins much sooner than that. Americans overwhelmingly believe our nation is on the wrong track.

Every day that ends up focused on Trump's controversial role in and manner of steering our ship of state is another news cycle won by Biden. Take Trump's response To Biden's choice of Harris as his running mate, for example. Had Trump compiled a series of specific issue stances to attack her on, he might have blunted some of the positive PR that choosing her for VP gave the Democratic ticket. Instead the take away that Trump left the public with was him calling her a "nasty" woman. Which of course begged comparisons to all of the other strong woman serving in public office who Trump has also called "nasty", which just highlighted "the problem Trump has with women." Trump does have problems with women, which is why he issued a statement directly targeted at "suburban housewives." Except that a high percentage of women living in suburbia (or anywhere else for that matter) are not even wives, let alone "housewives". And even among married women living in the suburbs who don't commute to work each day, many work from home, or are students, or are retired and not overly engaged attending to domestic tasks. The point is that women today don't tend to define themselves in the context of a relationship with a spouse. Why should they? Men don't define themselves as suburban husbands either.

Trump inserting himself so forcefully into decision making over whether schools should reopen to in classroom education is another self inflicted wound. Education is America is a highly localized matter, and so is the state of the pandemic roaring through our nation. Trump could have chosen to subtly move the needle toward reopening by emphasizing the importance of in person education while acknowledging that parents are obligated to do what they have to when evidence shows that the health of their children would be at risk if the wrong decisions were made. But the words Trump and subtle can't be used in the same sentence, and so he demanded that schools must reopen. A wise politician does not insert himself in between parents and the decisions they must make to protect their own kids, but that is what Trump has done..

Trump always makes himself the news lead, and seldom is that to his benefit. He could have simple said that educators should factor in that children seem to be far less susceptible to serious health risks from Covid-19. Instead he asserted that children are "virtually immune" from the disease. Now every child who falls seriously ill from Covid-19, and every school that has to close because of a Covid outbreak, is evidence of Trump's failings as a leader.

Instead of Trump showing real concern over the progression of the pandemic, he has instead shown more concern over the tabulation of statistics concerning it, heavyhandedly, for example, routing the compilation of data away from the CDC to a essentially classified location at HHS lacking in all transparency. And that is just added to earlier data points demonstrating that Trump is more worried about his chance for reelection than the health of the public.

And now his blunt and overt efforts has hobbled the USPS to the point of serious harm, both to that institution and to those who depend on its efficient operation for both their lives and livelihood. The public loves the post office, it is ingrained in the fabric of all our lives. And now Trump is taking something that has functioned well for generations, and caused it to backfire just when it is needed most, and that isn't only for processing mailed in ballots. Many people, rural and older Americans in particular, are counting on the post office to deliver them the items they need that they no longer can easily shop for in person because of the pandemic. If Trump had been more subtle he could have hindered the post office in one or two ways and perhaps not have been discovered doing so. Instead he's led a multi front attack on it, changing and dismissing top personnel, rewriting mail handling procedures, eliminating overtime pay, dismantling mail sorting machines, and standing in the way of the funding the post office needs during this pandemic. Trump has made himself Public Enemy Number One of one of America's most beloved institutions

And of course by doing so he is trying to force people to risk their lives in order to participate in our democracy come Election Day, by lining up in public for hours during a deadly pandemic n order to vote. One does not win friends and favorably influence their votes through behavior such as all of the above. There is more of course, but the pattern is clear, and I am out of time to write so let's just leave it here for now. There will be more no doubt to list in coming days.

Saving The Republic: A Macabre Echo

The great American democratic experiment, the creation of a Republic governed by the rule of law, with the motto "E. Pluribus Unum" (Out of Many One), nearly ended with the Civil War. The outcome of that bloody struggle was uncertain while it was being waged. A northern victory was far from assured, with the preservation of the Union at stake. The most conservative and restrictive estimates of the number of lives lost on both sides during the Civil War count only those either directly killed in combat, or afterword from wounds sustained in combat. That number is approximately 260,000 When those felled by disease, starvation, and all of the consequences of massive social disruption are included that number multiplies.

A thought has taken hold of me of late which at first seemed overstated, but I have come to believe it is true. At no time has the future of our Republic, and of the great American experiment in Democracy, been more imperiled since the Civil War than it is now. Furthermore, were it not for the great conflict that we currently are fighting against Covid-19, with the likely resultant loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives sacrificed in that battle, I fear our Republic, with all of its freedoms that Americans have died fighting to preserve over centuries, wold have been subverted. Within a decade, I fear, our government of the people, by the people, and for the people, would have perished from the earth. replaced by mere outward trappings of democracy, manipulated by an autocracy fronted by demagoguery.

There is no solace in glorifying the dead. The majority of those felled during the Civil War, I suspect, did not gladly sacrifice their lives to the cause. Both sides drafted large numbers of men to replenish their armies. If that conflict could have been avoided the vast majority would have wanted that so. Historians argue over whether the U.S. Civil War could have been avoided. Perhaps so, some suggest, but at what price? Would slavery have been preserved? Or might it have been slowly phased out, so that human beings would continue to be defined as property, but for a finite rather than infinite period of time? Would we today still proclaim it our national destiny to "strive for a more perfect union", had some pragmatic national accommodation to allow slavery to continue been embraced by us in the late 1850's?

When the history of this current time is finally written, I am confident that historians will conclude that hundreds of thousands of American deaths caused by Covid-19 would have been saved if sane and effective national political leadership had guided us, but of course it didn't. But those deaths may well prove to have saved our Republic. I subtitled this OP "A Macabre Echo" because the thought that is haunting me now is indeed a grim one. I believe, as we entered the year 2020, that the basic fabric of our American democracy was already seriously and almost irreparably degraded. The sugar high of a "good economy", that mortgaging our future and undermining any and all safeguards that might stand in the way of maximizing short term "profits" produced, served as a powerful narcotic for many, even if their share of the resulting "spoils" were mere crumbs that temporarily fell from mega corporate tables That narcotic like temporary "high" disguised grave maladies in our Republic, such as the literal subversion of the concept of truth, the arbiter of reality that a democracy depends on to guide people toward sound choices.

Great wealth has increasingly been concentrated into fewer hands in America, and with great wealth comes great power. Increasingly that power had been used to implant fraudulent substitutes for truth into the American psyche. Major personal fortunes are earned by participants in media empires that propagate these frauds, and so they have little incentive for honesty. Back when these propaganda techniques were being perfected by merchants of death (and their subsidiary scientists) in the tobacco industry, it was the use of advertising dollars that enabled them to dominate the air waves. Now though, the mouthpieces the autocracy employs hugely and directly profit from those lies also, which incentivizes their loyalty to disinformation. A massive cottage (or should I say mansion) industry developed employing media celebrity commentators on cable TV and talk radio, with easy access to lucrative "red meat peddling" paid speech circuits, not to mention a pre-programmed audience ready to purchase their written to inflame instant best selling books. It was never their intent to convince all Americans of the wisdom of their lies, nor would that have aided their efforts had it been possible to do so. A unified public is harder to control, they want and need division to accentuate raw passions and thus over ride any appeals to reason. Disinformation saturation approaching 40% is more than sufficient for their purposes.

Had Covid-19 been eradicated before it could spread world wide, Donald Trump stood a decent chance of being reelected. But even had that victory been denied him, the forces marshaled behind Trump, let alone Trump himself, would have remained highly potent and increasingly agitated. The threat to our democracy would not have ended, it would have just entered another round. Even with the virus reaching America, had Donald Trump just gotten his own malignant ego out of the way and allowed those who really knew what they were doing guide our nation's response to the pandemic instead, he could have reaped the loyalty that a war time president, which he posed at being for all of two weeks, normally benefits from, and he likely could have ridden that to another term in office. Tragically for hundreds of thousands of American families, now suffering the loss of their loved ones and/or economic devastation, Trump didn't follow scientific advice. With that choice Trump needlessly condemned staggering numbers of Americans to die, and I believe, guaranteed his loss in November's election. As has so often been stated, even Donald Trump can not spin, or lie, or distract his way out of the brutal magnitude of his failure, which now touches the life of every American.

The poison that has flowed into our body politic for years now will not drain out completely with a Trump loss in November. We have become far too ill for that quick of a cure. But with it the tides will have finally turned, and they will turn decisively solely due to the sheer magnitude of Trump's failure, resulting in the loss of American lives on a par with our losses from the Civil War, and with that the harsh discrediting of those who profited through Trump's rule, or who acquiesced to it for their own self preservation rather than that of the nation, will proceed. Trump's defeat must be massive in order for Trumpism to be routed. Spineless Republicans in Congress revealed to us just how fragile our democracy actually is. The repercussions for their cowardliness must be severe. And as Covid-19 continues its deadly march now through every state in the nation, I believe they will be. Hundreds of thousands will die, but I think the Republic will be saved.

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