Politics

Election 2022: The Argument for Pessimism


Many people are saying that I’ve grown very pessimistic concerning the prospects of our democracy. From my vantage point, it looks increasingly like we are in for an extended period of minority rule by white supremacist Repubes. We teeter on the verge of the Great Republican Dystopia in which we all live in Cancer Alley, drink Flint water, pay for Texas utilities, and die quickly and quietly when we stop contributing more than we cost the 1%.

From my vantage point, it looks increasingly like white folks are increasingly willing to live in a misery as long as they can indulge their racism, misogyny, and conspiracy theories as much as they wanna. As long as the inequities in our society hurt the Blacks, Browns, women, minorities, the indigent, the indigenous, immigrants, Muslims, Hindus, and other people with funny religions first and worst, then they are willing to sit in their own filth and beg for more.

“But, but, but,” many people stutter and sputter when I express my pessimism about the outcome of 2022, “the Republican civil war, lack of messaging, confused explosion of social issues, no policy, they don’t stand for anything, and other signs of disarray on the right.” And, many of those things are true, but I am pessimistic for the some very good reasons. This post will review the argument for pessimism and the next, the argument for optimism.

Pessimism

My pessimism is rooted in the massive electoral advantages that the Repubes have in federal elections. These advantages are pretty clearly explained by our friends over at FiveThirtyEight in an article, Advantage, GOP, and in this YouTube video that you won’t watch because buffering, but I’ll embed it anyway because embedding is cool.

We all know that the Founding Fathers didn’t exactly trust the common person to make the most sane rational choices, meaning the ones that benefited the upper classes the most, so they denied the unwashed masses the right to vote and then set about preventing most of the government to be free from interference from the electorate. Thus, the Senate was originally elected by state legislatures and the Electoral College could toss a winning presidential candidate that they didn’t like.

Eventually, the communists of their day won and the Senate came to be elected like they were some common Representative in the House. Fortunately, the socialists haven’t completely stripped the Senate from its egalitarian ways and the minority can still rule the chamber when it is Republican and the majority can when it is Republican. And, we’ve retained the rubber-stamp Electoral College to act as a backstop to prevent Democrats from ever actually electing a president again. Do you really think that if the Repubes control a chamber of the Congress in 2024, they’re going to vote to seat electors that #BidenHarris won? Seriously, you think that’s going to happen? And, people wonder why I’m pessimistic.

The vote audit in Arizona is not aimed at overturning the 2020 election no matter what visions of coronation are dancing in the orange fat-one’s head; it is aimed at ensuring that there will be violence before, during, and after the 2022 and 2024 elections. All they need do is keep their 71 million voters riled up enough about the Big Lie until the elections to make it happen. That’s the strategy: violence if we “lose,” and minority-rule if we “win.” And, people wonder why I’m pessimistic. But let’s look at the structural advantages as outlined by FiveThirt Eight that the Repubes enjoy.

The Electoral College

By now everybody knows that the Repubes have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections — the only time they won was when Dubya beat Kerry in 2004 — but we’ve had three Repube presidential terms because the Electoral College awards its state votes on a winner-take-all basis.

Statisticians tell us that the GQP bias in the Electoral College averages to about 3.5% meaning that’s the amount the Dem candidate has to win by before victory can be had. Anything less, and the GQP candidate can pull a Trump. Luckily, Biden blew through that barrier by winning by 4.5%, which still gave him a bare win in some of the battle ground states. Shift a few tens of thousands of votes, and Trump has another minority rule term.

The Senate

As noted earlier, the Senate was always intended to be a minority-rule institution. The framers biased it towards giving more political power to the less populated states because slavery. The modern phenomenon of sorting ourselves into urban-Dem rural-Repube areas and Dem-states and Repube-states, these less populated states are more reliably Repube.

In fact, they haven’t won a majority of the votes in Senate elections since 1999. In the twenty years since then, the GQP has held the majority in the Senate for ten years total.

Couple that bias with the filibuster — we all remember what the obstructionist eight years of Obama’s presidency looked like — and the Dems really can’t get anything done unless they have a 60 seat majority. That ain’t gonna happen very often. It took the Great Recession to deliver that kind of majority to the Dems in 2008. #COVID19 and the 6 January Insurrection ain’t gonna equal that swing in voting.

The Judiciary

We all know how efficiently McConnell packed the judiciary with radically unqualified judges likely to stand the Constitution including three SCOTUS appointments resulting in a 6-3 split. I guess we should be happy that it isn’t a 7-2 split. But, Jiminy Cricket’s aching knees, can we please start voting like appointing Supreme Court Justices actually matters? Can we start voting like confirming federal judicial appointments actually matters? Probably not. Seriously, this is getting depressing, isn’t it?

The House

The House has had a bias towards the GQP since 1968 if you compare results to the presidential elections resulting in the Repubes winning the majority of House seats in 1996 and 2012 despite not winning the majority of votes for Representatives! Of course, you remember those two famous elections. In 1996, Gingrich becomes Speaker and introduces the anti-democratic concept of a permanent majority, even though his House majority was elected with a minority of the votes. You can see why he was so enthusiastic on the idea. And, in 2012, it was the first election after the great fit of gerrymandering after the 2010 census. Thus, Newt’s permanent majority concept resulted in the GQP winning a majority of state legislatures enabling them to gerrymander their way to a minority-majority.

The clustering of Dems in densely populated urban centers makes it easy to draw districts that have Repube majorities. Given the deeply flawed 2020 census and the strong performance of Repubes in state and federal elections in the last election — they did win seats in the House, only barely lost control of the Senate, and retained control of state legislatures — they should be able to gerrymander their way to more minority majorities a la Gingrich’s permanent majority. Feeling pessimistic, yet?

Voter Suppression Laws

The FiveThirtyEight article quotes Rob Mickey author of Paths Out of Dixie about the antidemocratic South as noting that our democratic institutions are being “weaponized and used… by a coherent set of actors with a coherent set of interests and preferences.” This coherent set of actors is, of course, the group that Ye Olde Blogge dubbed the masterminds and their coherent set of interests and preferences is for the nation’s wealth to be transferred to them as quickly as possible.

Because the Faustian bargain that the rural conservative Christian white voter is willing to make with the masterminds, the Repubes are working to transform our democracy into an authoritarian, single-party, pseudo-democratic, minority rule regime. All they need to do is suppress the votes of the Blacks, Browns, youthes, urbanites, immigrants, non-Christians.

We are now seeing the fruition of these disparate efforts come together. The radically unqualified anti-democratic anti-Constitutional judiciary that the GQP has packed the federal courts with including the Supremes is now willing to support these voter suppression laws as being Constitutional and strike down any laws that try to reign in dark money influence on our elections — do your really think the Roberts Court after opining that corporations are people, too, my friend, use money as their speech, and that money does not corrupt is going to allow the For The People Act to stand as Constitutional even if by some miracle the bought and paid for Joe Manchins and Krystan Sinemas of the Dem caucus will allow it to pass? Really? The Roberts Court has also ruled that the federal courts don’t have jurisdiction in state gerrymandering cases, so now the state legislatures are free to gerrymander themselves into a permanent majority so they can neuter any Dem that is elected to statewide office in the lame duck session before the offices change over, and maker gerrymander House districts that do not target Black voters with surgical precision in order to engineer a permanent majority in the House and just allow the structural advantages that they have in the Senate and Electoral College to continue delivering the Senate majority and presidency to them.

Seriously. We’re fucked.

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Image Attribution

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” by kuddlyteddybear2004 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

94 replies »

  1. The Trump kids know better than to look like they are a threat to daddy. They know he will anoint someone as VP if he runs, or as successor if he doesn’t, unless they are all too busy with lawyers to also mount a serious campaign. Trump also, as a would be autocrat, is most likely to follow the pattern of such as Putin, Xi, Kim, and others not part of a formal royalty of not naming a successor or crown prince, keeping everyone in suspense and hopeful as long as possible.

    I remember reading somewhere that it was the usual practice of Ottoman Sultans on coming to the throne to have all their brothers killed and remove any alternative claimants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All that sounds like planning and forethought. Trump is too busy with the right now to be bothered, but you know he is looking at DeSantis and in the back of his mind is a wariness, anger, and hatred of the potential rival.

      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • If there is planning a forethought happening, My bet is that it is being done by Ivanka and Jared about protecting their position and keeping options open. The boys don’t show executive functioning any better than their father.

        All the GOP hopefuls outside the family have a difficult dance to do, demonstrating absolute loyalty and subservience while looking like potential presidents. At any misstep, Trump will unleash the flying monkeys.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          The whole Ivanka-Jared marriage is quite unfortunate. He’s as much of a malignant narcissist as Trump is. He is continuing her gaslighting abuse. He has better executive functioning than Trump does but is vulnerable to all the hubris that a narcissist is. He assumes he knows everything and will make decisions based on that presumption. He’s wildly overconfident. Totally divorced from reality in many ways.

          She’s narcissistic but maybe without the malignance. She is as shallow and vapid as Trump and Jared are and makes the same assumption that she is as smart as everyone else. The thing that distinguishes her from the men is that she is the target of much more narcissistic abuse.

          Nobody likes either of them, but she’s tolerated because of her looks. Anyone who can deliver the 70+ million votes that Trump could will be rocketed to the top of the GQP, but neither of them will do anything other than run for president. After Trump, the field will be so confused and divided that it will be difficult for either of them to prevail. Putin doesn’t favor either — neither are as easily manipulated as Trump because of their executive functioning — and so the Russian disinformation machine won’t come to their rescue. Maybe if one of them can launder as much of their dirty money as Trump could, it would change things, maybe.

          Both of them are plotting Machaveliens who believe they’ve made a pact with the devil and will prevail both over the other one and everyone else in the struggle that they see life as.

          The boys are just lost. Both are buffoons. Trump was extra hard on both of them because they weren’t beautiful women. I don’t know how narcissistic either of them are, but both have PTSD because of Trump’s abuse. There was lots of talk of Don-Don being the next politician of the bunch because of his speech-making ability, but who knows.

          None of them will do anything unless some professional politician and campaign manager latches themselves to them and paves the way. The only thing any of them will ever be is a figure head.

          And, Trump will stop anyone from siphoning off his donor base right now. That’s what it gets down to.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • Trump is already fighting with the RNC about using his name or image to raise money. He wants all the money to flow through him and all GOP candidates for any office to be dependent on his largess. It doesn’t work that way, especially at the state and local levels, but no doubt he thinks it should be.

            The person in the Trump circle who Jared reminds me of most is Steven Miller – no a front man, but a schemer behind the curtain. Ivanka much resembles Paris Hilton. Any of the Trump kids would need a very, very good campaign manager, but would not follow advice. They would be a hard to manage as Trump himself, I think.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              Unfortunately for Trump, he doesn’t own the use of his image or name. He cannot stop them legally, and they have not bowed to his pressure. Luckily for the RNC they have a bunch of low-information voters to grift off of who will react to the name Trump in their appeals.

              I don’t think the kids make any better of a candidate than Trump did. No discipline, careless, condescending. In 2017, I remember reading that Ivanka and Jared had flipped for it, and Jared gets to president first. Or at least run for president first. Jared, of course, sees himself as the perfect man for every job. Look at the lasting peace he negotiated in the Middle East.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • It is going to be interesting to see how Trump and the RNC (separately) respond to the 100+ Republicans who are on their way to forming the rump conservative party. I think the urge will be to kick them out before they formally leave (“You can’t quit, you’re fired.”) which is counter balanced by the fear of splitting the voter base. What is clear, is that it going to happen because the only way back for the rumpsters would be to grovel and prostrate themselves at Trump’s feet. He will not forgive them.

                The deals that Jared set up between Israel and some Gulf countries may have been premised mainly on being against Iran, but it has left the Palestinians feeling (rightly) abandoned. Meanwhile, the Israelis and Palestinians have gone full on “He hit me first.” and are reenacting the traumas of their generational PTSD. I hear the reports of what is happening in Gaza and think, except for the Palestinian rockets, of the Warsaw Ghetto.

                Abuse victims tend to go one of two ways. They either reenact their abuse and become abusers, or avoid that at almost any cost to themselves.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  I can’t believe that the Israelis have milked the Holocaust into any criticism of them is anti-Semitism and are doing the whole apartheid Kristallnacht thing to the Palestinians. I hope that doesn’t offend you, but it is just unbelievable how badly the Palestinians are treated. They fight back and wrongs are committed but it is so uneven. The disparity is just so uneven. I’m guessing in your abuse victim thing, the Israelis have become the abusers.

                  If the Republicans who voted for impeachment were censured by their state parties, I can imagine that they’ll be run out on a rail for wanting to abandon Trump and his 74 million voters. Cheney’s big sin is holding a mirror up to them and showing them what they’ve become. She dares tell them to their faces that they are destroying the democracy. The rump party folks aren’t quite ready to go that far. I’ve heard a couple of them on the newsy opinion shows saying that the GOP needs values and other bullshit. They got to stick with the line. The GOP means to end our democratic tradition, and we cannot support that.That’s got to be it.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That’s exactly it, the victim becoming the abuser. How uneven is the conflict? The ratio of Israeli dead to Palestinian dead is consistently a minimum 1-10. The bottom line has been that Israelis cannot believe that any group or nation that looks cross-eyed at them does not intend to exterminate them, and especially Muslims. That is rather odd considering that the most energetic practitioners of ethnic cleansing and genocide against them have been Christians for two millennia. But when one remembers that Israel was created through a terrorist campaign to drive out the British Protectorate and expropriate Arab land (What Palestinians call The Catastrophe ), it does make sense. At this point, I don’t see a possibility of a Two State Solution being negotiated between the two groups. It would have to be imposed from the outside.

                    The GOP Rumpers need to get clear that what is needed is that the party needs to dump Trump first and foremost, but they know it won’t. They have not made the connection in their own minds between the core goals of the party and the anti-democratic thinking that made Trump possible. Even Cheney didn’t get to there, that the conservative agenda is anti-democratic, not just anti-Democratic. Those that do know dare not say on that side of the isle.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I’d say Netanyahu has pretty deliberately killed the two-state solution, which was one of the only viable solutions out there. I understand the schism between Muslims and Christians, but not necessarily between Muslims and Jews. I’d like to find the time to figure out how the people of the book fell by the wayside in Islam.

                      That was the problem with Dubya and the neo-cons, the neo-cons were so sure that they were right that they never thought they had to question themselves. While the Iraq war debacle laid their interpretation of the world to waste, it hardly discouraged them. Essentially, those are our never Trumpers.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It seems that the creation of the modern state of Israel (and the militant Zionism that produced it) was the breaking point between Jews and Muslims. The late 19th Century and early 20th Century Zionists who made their way to Palestine tended to try to fit in and express hope to lift up the area, and their neighbors economically and (before WWI) join in their dislike of the Ottoman overlords. To the Arabs, the war to establish Israel and the complicity of The West in doing that looked like the Crusader States of the 12th Century. The fact that Christian End Timers were and are so gung-ho about it didn’t help.

                      Liz Cheney is definitely a second generation neo-con, so I think that is who the never-trumpers are.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!
                      I go back to the assassination of Yitzak Rabin and the failure of those around him to carry his peace mission forward. It was after his assassination that the militant right wing of Israeli politics really started its assent. That was probably the best chance for Israel and the Palestinians to make peace and live together. Now, you’ve got Israeli Jews and Palestinians firebombing one another’s houses.

                      Now the best Israel has to offer is Netanyahu who is only for Netanyahu and willing to demagogue the Palestinians all the way out of jail. The failure of the Israeli left to rise up is one of the most depressing things to happen in our world.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That definitely was a turning point. Another piece of the puzzle that I realized I’d been remiss in writing about the situation (Remiss is a way all too common in our media and among our politicians) is the culpability of the neighboring Arab states in creating and maintaining the problem. The Palistinians who fled or were driven out of Israel in1948 went to Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and the Gaza Strip (then still held as part of the British Protectorate). The “refugee camps” set up then are still refugee camps. The people are still called refugees. The ones in Jordan came under Israeli occupation in 1967, as did Gaza. The Arab countries withheld any possibility of those people becoming full citizens (except, to some degree in Lebanon where Hezbollah became politically powerful). The fantasy of the “Right Of Return” was officially maintained, and still is a breaking point in negotiations. After the 1967 war, any official talk among the Arabs of undoing Israel quietly went away, only to be taken up by the Iranian regime in ’79, but they are far enough away not to have to actually do anything about it. In the ’70s, Israel got nuclear weapons and Egypt made peace due to its existential vulnerability to a nuclear hit on the Aswan High Dam. But through it all, the refugees are still defined as refugees, as are their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, a stateless people, and still pawns to both Arab and Israeli politicians.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No one wants the Palestinians, but no one is willing to actually say it. It is one of the greatest failures of the international order to not have adequately resolved the problem of the displaced Palestinians. If nothing else, Israel could pay them reparations. It is like being a child living separately from a remarried parent. The parent sends money, but no visits, the occasional gift, and certainly no love. But, it is clear that neither Netanyahu or Hamas want peace. They get too much out of the arbitrary conflict flairing up between them.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • For both Hamas and Netanyahu, their hold on power is based on the conflict. Except for a few simple conquerors (like Alexander and Genghis?) nobody is ever the aggressor, but always the defender. That is a major part of the intractability of this kind of situation.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Our amazing power of rationalization will be our downfall yet. If we had better reporting out of Gaza, I imagine that public opinion would swing even further against the Israeli action. However, Palestinians in America are not helping their cause by attacking American Jews in the streets. Like MLK said, rioting is the protest of the oppressed… or the language of the unheard, same thing, really.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      You got be going back over the history of the conflict.I was reading about Rabin’s assassination when I ran across this paragraph in an old Guardian article:

                      “The then leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the star speaker at two now infamous demonstrations, where the crowd’s slogans included “Death to Rabin”. In July 1995, Netanyahu walked at the head of a mock funeral procession featuring a fake black coffin.”

                      Given today’s heated rhetoric, it puts me in fear of it happening again here.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Any time it becomes common to speak of some leader needing to die, somebody is eventually going to take it literally. There were, among the 1/6 rioters some who were already in that mode and intending executions.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • And I’m afraid some of those people are elected Congress people. I swear that there were a couple who were hoping to take a shot during the chaos and are quite disappointed it didn’t get to that point.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • And some continued to demand to continue being armed, and trying to bypass the metal detectors. We can hope that the DOJ investigators will be able to connect some of them in actionable conspiracy with the invaders.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The performance protests around the metal detectors seem to have died down. Now it is all focused on masks and vaccination honesty and lying to MAGA nation about the 6 January Insurrection. I know for most of us, things are moving too slowly, but I have some confidence that the DoJ will investigate everyone involved with the insurrection and prosecute those it can build a case against.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I agree that we can expect the DOJ under current leadership will proceed carefully, thoroughly, and methodically, and flip every suspect they can, as will the AG of NY and DA of SDNY. They all know well how to pursue organized crime and financial crime.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That’s the way it goes in the Balkans and a lot of conflicts around the world. But, watching the Palestinian population of East Bank slowly dwindle since 1967 tells you something about Israeli intentions. It’s just an ugly ugly situation that is not being handled very well or fairly.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think there might have been some chance of unwinding the Occupation in the 70s, but that ended with the Iranian Revolution and the rhetoric there that followed. The Israelis have clearly given up on the Two State idea and a One State Apartheid state will be the end of their democracy. But, American Evangelicals want them to have all the land to fulfill prophecy, so we keep sending the bombs and missiles and money.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The evil of self-serving ambitious men. What a grievous combination Netanyahu and Trump were. The idiocy of the Evangelicals and other fundamentalists in Dubya’s administration who believed that we were in the End Times and their job was to hasten the end.

                      Hamas used Israel to do away with the Palestinian Authority, which is so corrupt as to be moribund.

                      Is it just me or did the ’80’s see a shift towards more self-serving politicians that has only gotten worse?

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think the 80s were a turning point in that direction on more than one front. We had the celebration of the corporate raiders and “Greed is good.”

                      Many years ago, in the mid 60s, I met the mother of a college friend. She identified as Assyrian (family was probably from the Mosul area of iraq). She refereed to the ruling class in Baghdad as, “Those damned Babylonians.” 3,000 years is a long time to carry an ethnic grudge. In that remark, she taught me the most important thing I have needed to know to understand the Middle East. Nothing that has ever happened there is ever forgotten or forgiven.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!
                      An Iraqi and an Iranian girl went to the small university where I got my undergrad degree. They hated each other. That was my eye-opening experience for the long-standing grudges of the Middle East. I also remember the Iranian girl bitterly denouncing the revolutionaries in Iran because they only wanted to perform the music of medieval Persia in the exact same way without ever changing it again.

                      The region is home to a lot of pain and misery that they inflict on each other and the rest of the world tries to exploit to their advantage.j

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Then, there are the Turks and Armenians, well, the Turks and everybody else the Ottomans ever ruled, but especially the Armenians and Kurds both of which groups long predate them in the region. The only group I can think of that has not carried through after having an empire is the Hittites.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I suppose they all have their descendants somewhere, but some are better remembered than others. I suppose that is a good thing. The Armenians and Kurds certainly haven’t fared very well in modern times. It is clear that the boundaries in the region, and in Africa, need to be either redrawn or everyone just accept the people living in the boundaries that exist. Neither is going to happen, though.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      It is funny how borders are meaningless unless a government enforces them. From language to trade, most border communities are closer to those on the other side than to the government or people in the interior. The Kashmir border and Kashmir in general is on that list, too.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Kashmir is such a bizarre set up, guaranteed from the beginning to be a problem. But then, the entire project of the partition of India was so badly managed by the British that everyone on the sub continent continue to pay a price.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The subcontinent, East Africa, South Africa, the Middle East. Is there any place that the British colonized that they didn’t just totally screw when they left? The French didn’t leave their ex-colonies in as much chaos and turmoil as the British did. The British are a scourge on humanity, aren’t they?

                      Not like the US isn’t, but we adopted it from the British.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Well, the Brits did have a lot of help from the other colonial powers in screwing things up, mostly in drawing lines on maps without regard for the social and ethnic facts on the ground. I speculate that the difference between the British and French might stem in part from the British educating native elites and leaderships in their “Public” Schools, the boarding schools of the English upper class (with all their horrors) or copies of them, thus trying to transfer their class system (and with it, their racism) to the colonies, while the French relied mainly on the Catholic Church and its Jesuits to educate their native leaders and bureaucrats, and allowing the natives to actually try to credit their proclamations of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. There is a great difference between “Rule Britannia” and “La Marseillaise”.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      My time in Viet Nam — as much as the Vietnamese hate the French (they don’t hate Americans because they recognize the difference between impersonal politics that drove the American War and the personal nature of colonization that they overthrew) — taught me to appreciate the influence of French colonization: good bread, good wine, cheese, and croissants. The British didn’t leave anything nearly as appreciable in Kenya.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The English culinary tradition does not have a great reputation around the world, especially when compared to the French. One of the things that the British colonial system did leave behind (with the help of British and American missionaries) was a particularly harsh body of laws about homosexuality that continues to plague their former colonies. Also, they left a very color stratified system, again, I think, more so than the French.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I’ve oft wondered how the world would be different had the French won the French-Indian War and kicked the Brits out of North America instead of the other way around. The French were much more inclined to work with the local populations than to oppress and displace them as the British did.Although, the record of the French in Indochina is pretty dismal in terms of mistreating the Vietnamese.

                      Of course the French were always very grateful to Libya and their other colonies in West Africa for providing a haven for the Free French forces and government in exile during WWII.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Another difference was in the way at least some French colonial planters treated their mixed race children (of slave mothers). They had far more tendency to favor, educate, emancipate, and even legitimize the promising ones. One example was Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a French classical composer, virtuoso violinist, a conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris, and a renowned champion fencer. Born in the then French colony of Guadeloupe, he was the son of Georges de Bologne Saint-Georges, a wealthy married planter, and Anne dite Nanon, his wife’s African slave. I imagine that his skill with the sword may have put a damper on any overtly racially disparaging comments in a level of society in which dueling was common. On, perhaps, the down side, the favoring of the mulatto offspring of the slave owners led to a class division and their political dominance in post-revolution Haiti to this day. And Haitian mulattoes also were a significant group in French Louisiana and New Orleans. The British slave owners maintained a much more rigid definition of their dark offspring as slaves to the last generation.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      It’s funny how the British condemned homosexuality but tolerated pedaphelia. I guess that went along with the boarding schools and the Anglican priests, not that the French priests and monks were much better.

                      In Kenya our housekeeper used to make what she called Coronation chicken which was a recipe developed to honor the queen’s visit in 1983. It was boiled pieces of chicken in mayonnaise. She was so proud of it. I doubt Queen Elizabeth had any. Otherwise, the Kenyans stuck to more traditional Kenyan food which reminded me a lot of my grandmother’s cooking. She lived in the mountains of Tennessee.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think I’ll skip the Coronation Chicken. A similarity between Kenyan and Southern American cooking reminds me of how much American cuisine, especially in the South is influenced, including both methods and ingredients by those brought from Africa by the slaves.

                      That British attitude on homosexuality and pedophilia seems to be a difference between that which must be punished, and that which must not be spoken of.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh, yes, there is that too. I think that is part of the point of the traditional boarding school system for the British ruling class, to have something compromising on everybody, and that however high they may climb, humiliation is always possible.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The British through much of their modern history from 1600 or so on thought of themselves as the best in the world. Everyone else had to prove they were human. This was no where clearer than in Ireland. What the British did the Irish was criminal. And, it continues with Brexit. In fact, I reckon Brexit captures the British attitude towards the world. Basically, they didn’t care what their exit did to Europe or the rest of the world or even to themselves. They were going to do it.

                      The French in Indochina were real bastards. Part of that was because they couldn’t get the place to break even muchless earn a profit until just before WWI. Also, the Vietnamese were fiercely independent having practiced up their resistance to colonizers on the Chinese and Mongols. Elsewhere in the world, the French were much kinder or at least that was my impression.

                      The Europeans have their class warfare, we’ve got our guns and culture of violence. And, everyone has racism.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      PS I apologize for being so late in responding to your comment. Somehow I missed it. I found it a day or so ago.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I recall a guy I knew who had an uncle who worked at Rand, Inc. in the 50s and 60s. According to him, the think tank ran scenarios on Vietnam as the French were getting kicked out. The conclusion reported to both the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations was “Don’t go there. Don’t touch it.” Well the Domino Theory won and the rest is history.

                      I wonder whether the US will ever get it that fighting colonial wars without actually colonizing doesn’t work. We are seduced, I think, by a combination of sharing in the English sense of exceptionalism and the success of our settler conquest model over the Indians to simply refuse to believe we can loose, despite abundant evidence. That may be a large part of why Trump’s presentation as The Man Who Can’t Loose has been so successful and persistent (the stolen election myth), the deep vein he tapped into.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      One of the deciding factors of the US getting into the Viet Nam was the Russians and France and Europe. The US needed the French in Europe to counter Russia. At the time there was a strong communist party in France and other European countries. We had to support the French against the Viet Minh. That pushed Ho Chi Minh to Russia because they would support them.

                      We had a similar experience with Mao and China. The professional Far East experts in the State Department recommended that we support Mao and seek to make an ally. But, the anti-communists won the day. We sent China into Russia’s orbit. It set up the domino theory. And, we were in the anti-communist mindset instead of the realpolitik mindset that we shoulda had to isolate Russia.

                      Given the anti-communist attitude coming out of the 50’s, and LBJ’s conservative sensibilities, Viet Nam was going to be hard to avoid. That attitude persisted into the 80’s and look what it did to Central and South America.

                      Wasn’t it McArthur who warned against land wars in Asia? I wish Dubya had listened to that advice.

                      That foundational ideation of the white population being god’s chosen predestined for greatness is catching up to us.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • McArthur did warn against a land war in Asia, but he also wanted to nuke the Chinese in North Korea and then nuke China, with a lot of support from LeMay. Earlier, General Joseph Stillwell, who had worked with both Mao’s and Chiang Kai-shek’s in the resistance to the Japanese, and had long experience in China (one of the “Old China Hands”) had warned that Mao was clearly going to win and Chiang Kai-shek was a doomed and dangerous ally, [Barbara Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–45 (New York, New York: Macmillan Co., 1971)]

                      Add to the list the overthrow of the elected government in Iran because they talked to the Soviets (with who they share a border and an inland sea) and wanted to control their oil and get a fair price. Then the Shah nationalized the oil anyway. Look what all that got us.

                      The waning is even in The Bible: “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

                      Everyone who does or hopes to lead a nation should have a framed poster of “Ozymandias” facing their desk.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • The parachutists assumes that there is some place we can land. I’m not convinced that if we abandoned this sinking ship, we’d have any place to go. At the beginning of the Trump admin, I made a meme that read like, the shipwreck of state can’t be steered with lies and half-truths. But, if they’re driving us over a cliff, where do we go from here?

      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • When it comes to organized crime. which is what we are facing, the usual SOP at DOJ has been to start at the bottom, flip suspects into witnesses, and work their way up to the kingpins. The question is how long it will take to get to Don Donald. There are two tracks. One is through the likes of Rudy G. who actually know things and have evidence, and going after the inner circle and cutting off the big money. The other is through the prosecution of the Capital mob and eventually making prosecutable connections to the enablers and organizers in elected office. Neither track is fast and both of those trains might arrive too late, but other than the Democrats breaking the filibuster and doing enough to break the hold of the “government can’t help you” world view, they are the best hope. It won’t change the essence of the GOP, but it could break the hold on it of the cult of personality, which is what they hope to win with.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          The GOP has wanted to be the single-party in their pseudo-democratic minority rule dreams for decades, so I doubt removing Trump would dampen their enthusiasm significantly, but it might hurt their chances of actually winning.

          Many of the #Resisters have grown impatient with the various and sundry AG’s investigating Trump. They want indictments yesterday. But, we’ll just have to wait and see what the investigations turn up.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • Investigations and AGs who win are like fine wine. They can’t be hurried.

            Any and all legal actions against Trump will be described by him and his as “political”, and driven by “The Deep State”, which at the level of protecting the constitutional system is not untrue, because they are about combating a threat to democracy. It will, hopefully, get across the idea that loudly and constantly proclaiming the Big Lie will increase the odds of attracting an uncomfortable kind of attention.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              It’s really hard to predict how his legal issues will affect the general sentiment about him. My guess it will continue the erosion of his base. Only the most hardcore will continue believing that judges he appointed are ruling against him. I was going back through exit polls of the 2020 and 2018 elections and it is amazing how evenly divided we were in 2020, especially white people. I think if we can stave off the voter suppression, we can put the MAGA nation to bed by 2024, but it is going to take organizing communities across the nation to get out the vote and overcome the suppressive measures.

              Huzzah!
              Jack

              Liked by 1 person

              • One thing that will erode Trump’s base that may come out of his legal troubles will be if he appears to loose confidence, if he looks worried and diminished rather than defiant and angry. If his facade of impunity and invulnerability cracks, many will loose their confidence in him. And, those closest to him will flee or turn state’s evidence to try to save themselves.

                Why do the Republicans (Moscow Mitch) want to prevent the Dems from spending big enough to make a difference? It is not about the debt or deficit. They are terrified that if Biden gets to spend what he wants he will succeed (as they see it) in buying votes.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  Why did the Republicans oppose Obamacare? They knew if it passed and was enacted, that it would become like Medicare, something that people expected and wouldn’t want to give up without realizing exactly of where it came from and what it means. There’s the trope of people wanting the government to keep its hands off of their Medicare. It was the same thing with Social Security Retirement and Disability. Their supporters want to keep their benefits regardless of it being socialist or not — It’s not socialism. I think you’re right. McConnell is being all Mitchy about the American Jobs Act is because he knows if it passes and people start getting good high paying jobs either building green infrastructure or working in the care industry, they won’t want to go back. In the same way that the Dems dominated the government for thirty years after FDR, they could again after Biden.

                  If Trump remains in Merde-a-Lardo and doesn’t hold office, he becomes another partisan media hack, eventually. I get why the Republicans feel like they have to buddy up to Trump because it is the only constituency they have. They have to work them, even though 10 to 20 million of them won’t vote unless Trump is on the ticket. Whether those people are taken out by Trump not being on the ticket or by their voter suppression tactics, it doesn’t matter, they still aren’t voting. Now, they have to hope that their voter suppression tactics take out 30 million Democratic voters. Do you think it does that? I don’t.That’s why I’m optimistic.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  PS. I said it much more clearly here than I did in the optimism post. Maybe I should update the post?

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Definitely clear and concise. I agree, that if Trump shrinks into just another outrage peddler trying to scam a buck out of the rubes, some will tune in to get their fix, but even some of them will get weary and bored with his whining about how he is being persecuted by the Deep State. If it get real for them that he really isn’t President any more and isn’t going to be, voting will be too much trouble to bother.

                    Also, it is looking, with the ouster of Liz Cheney more possible that some combination of the “real conservatives” and corporate conservatives will split the party.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      It has taken a much longer time than I thought it would for the party to actually split. And, the split will result in a conservative rump party rather than anything actually viable. We have to get back to who is going to vote for them. When your voters only come out to vote because of the dopamine high of outrage over imaginary injuries, then you can’t give them the usual Republican lies of being for small government, deficit hawks, and low taxes and expect them to turn out to the tune of 80 million strong.

                      As we’ve been discussing, the Trump voters have to have outrage to motivate their turn out, and that only got them to a high-water mark of 74 million. The Democratic voters are motivated by protecting our democracy and overcoming a clear and substantial effort to suppress our votes and deal with the problems of #COVID19 and climate change and cyber security and higher wages and healthcare.

                      The next is what are the effects of indictments of Trump. Will it make him a martyr for the cause or will it cause him to fade into disgrace? My guess is that it will be galvanizing for the Trump voter and get them to turn out if it is close enough to an election.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The split off Conservative Party will still vote like Republicans on issues, but it is possible that there could be 10 of them in the Senate incensed enough about the BIG LIE of the stolen election to vote for the election reform bill, just as a poke in the eye of the Trumpsters in the states passing the voter suppression measures. Although there might be a few center-right “moderates” among them, most, like Ms. Cheney are hard core Reagan Trickle Down and deregulation conservatives. How many votes can they pull away from the MAGA candidates? More likely, a fair number of GOP voters who are not fully committed to Trump will be too confused to go vote.

                      Yes, regarding any indictments of Trump himself, timing is the critical factor. If it is the breaking news in the month before the election, it will bring them out. If it is six months before (a year from now) and the furor has subsided into lawyers filing motions and depositions (i.e., boring and jargony), other things will be on their minds.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      I’ve listened to several of the anti-Trumpers working on the rump party. They have an emotional attachment to the Republican Party, which is understandable. It’s a big part of their identity and it is hard to give up. Right now, they aren’t even making the party, they’re just threatening to unless the GQP comes to its senses and gives up the 74 million voters that voted for Trump in 2020. Some of those folks, what 30 million of them will vote conservative/Republican no matter what or who; 20 -30 million will only vote for Trump; and 10 to 20 million are conservative-leaning independent voters. It is a tough pie to divide and hope to be viable in national elections.

                      One of the problems is that the rump party will also take some of the conservative-leaning independent voters who voted for Biden in 2020. How many is that? I don’t know, but probably no more than 10 million.

                      I think in my heart of hearts that the conservative mindset — the cognitive tendencies that produce conservative beliefs and behaviors — has a lot of overlap with the racist or racially anxious mindset. In other words, I think conservatism is very vulnerable to racism. They both basically use the same cognitive tendencies of viewing difference-change-unknown as dangerous and to be avoided. So, color me, once again, pessimistic, but I don’t see the rump conservative party being any different from the Reagan-Dubya Republican Party. The only way it will be different than the Trump Party is that they will “respect” the transfer of office from loser to winner, which is a big deal given the alternative, but the bare minimum. Otherwise, we’re still going down the same rabbit holes of selling the middle class to corporate interests as so much cheap natural resource through the usual demagoguery of tax cuts for the rich, sacrifice of the environment — that’s the environment the middle class lives in — for the economy, failures to thrive are due to character flaws not social and economic structural flaws, and the racist Southern strategy. To that end, I can’t see the Mitt Romney’s of the Senate voting against the conservative principle of transferring the nation’s wealth to the 1% as fast as possible any time soon no matter their party affiliation.

                      I think that without Trump running and given alternative rump conservative party, you’ll see a drop in the number of conservative voters. You’re right. Confusion equals inaction.

                      Who are the Republican moderates in the Senate: (1) Capito (WV — interesting that both WV senators are from different parties but are “moderates”), (2) Collins, (3) Murkowski, (4) Romney, (5) Sasse, (6) Tim Scott, (7) Toomey? (8) Tillis? I mean I can’t get to ten. I don’t know who the Tim Scott-Joe Manchin compromise on police reform brings along much less the voting rights legislation or anything else #BidenHarris want to get done.

                      Given the pace of investigations, we’ll see indictments of Trump in the next year. Trials won’t be held until after the 22 election.

                      Hopefully one of the big outcomes of #BidenHarris is that the Overton window has shifted a good ways left.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think you’re right about the conservative mindset being vulnerable to racism. The tendency is toward binary classification and definition of choices, and literal-ism (especially in interpreting scripture).

                      In regard to that, a recent episode of the The Hidden Brain show on NPR seems relevant: https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/one-head-two-brains/

                      The primary motive of the rump conservatives clearly is disgust and fear of Trump and Trumpism. They are not becoming liberals. They want their party back.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Hidden Brain has long been one of my favorites. I think I listened to that one or another one about the two halves of the brain. I’ll give it a listen tomorrow.

                      They want their party back echoes the same sentiment as wanting their country back. Given the reporting that the current spat of voter suppression laws were all written and distributed by the Heritage Foundation, just reinforces the notion that there really are mastermind-types at work trying to direct the destruction of our democracy and that most everyone else are just willing useful idiots.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • If the Heritage Foundation had their way we would be back to having a property ownership qualification for voting, and at least 50% equity on mortgaged property at that.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • What was it that Boss Tweed used to say down in Tammany Hall? I don’t care who you vote for as long as I can pick the candidates? If you can’t pick the candidates, I guess the next best thing is to pick the voters.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • In fact it even seems a clever move on his part because it gets around one of SCOTUS chief objections to the original Voting Rights Act, so, maybe, Manchin is a politician after all and knows something about what he’s doing.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • He definitely is one who has a skinny tightrope to walk in his state, as does his republican fellow senator. In part, both of them have to be waiting to see how much goodies they can get for the state out of the Biden spending plans. They have a constituency of coal and fracking workers and owners who need to see the well paid alternatives soon and will reward whoever can claim credit for getting them.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The coal owners were already burned once by Trump promising that coal would be back. Ha! Not even the coal miners fell for that one. I don’t know why the owners would. They have to be listening now. You gotta think that Biden, who is well known as a deal maker when he has to get legislation passed, has got something for them. You gotta think that it’s no coincidence that Capito, the other WV senator is taking such a prominent role on this. Having thought it through a bit more, I’m feeling a bit better about the prospects of getting something worthwhile through. We’re still going to have to pass it with budget resolution. No way McConnell lets any Republican senator vote for it, but still things look better now than they did this morning when I got up.

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • A lot of deals become possible when trillions of dollars are on the table. When principle, good sense, and honor fail, greed can still work wonders. The caution is to not count of any politician to stay bought for long.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The old hands on Capitol Hill know that earmarks were an effective way to facilitate across-the-isle deals. The new members, especially in the House are not deal oriented, too partisan. And McConnell ain’t going for anything bipartisan he can avoid – no isle crossing on his watch.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      When they did away with earmarks, they did away with deal making and made hyper partisanship possible. When you don’t have goods to deliver to your constituents, you only have abstract social issues to “sell” to your constituents. We used to divide along the lines of who could provide us with what, now it is who shares our same beliefs.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      The more you look at our history, the more you realize that the moneyed-interests have only used democracy as a stepping stone to increasing their wealth. Government is to be manipulated to transferring wealth to them and the public is to be manipulated into voting for those who will support transferring wealth to them.

                      Earmarks were just another tool to manipulate the public with, but, at least, they ensured that the public got something out of the bargain. Right now, all the MAGA base gets is a total ban on abortion, suppressed voting rights, environmental degradation, the ability to carry a gun and use it against certain people, and the knowledge that Blacks are being hurt first and worst by all of it. It ain’t much of a bargain, is it?

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      Maddow reported that Florida Governor DeSantis is threatening to defy extradition orders if an arrest warrant to issued. Although, Trump was thinking of summering at Bedminster, NJ because the season at Merde-A-Lardo has ended and the heat and humidity. So, there’s that.

                      Huzzah!
                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The governor is, so far, proclaiming his loyalty to Trump to the bitter end, and the Rule Of Law be damned. One must wonder what even the current SCOTUS would think of a state governor’s absolute refusal to honor a federal warrant. That is dangerously close to the claims that a state can negate any federal law or regulation, a form of partial session.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The jokes on DeSantis, though. Trump will tolerate him as long as he’s useful, but you know what happens to people who are close to Trump but get too ambitious…

                      Jack

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • There is room in the spotlight for only one. And, if DeSantis ever comes to see Trump as sufficiently wounded that he has a shot at taking his place, he will go for it. And, Trump knows that, because it is what he thinks of everybody.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Especially if the donations are flowing the wrong way. I’m sure he had a little list. He will be keeping a sharp eye on the potential 2024 candidates. The message to them is or will be, “You only get to really run if I don’t. And if I do, be sure to make it clear that you are running for VP.”

                      This got me thinking about all the troubles so often associated with succession in autocratic regimes.

                      Liked by 1 person

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