Archive of Articles for April, 2020

Trump Punts Reopening Decision

[ Posted Thursday, April 16th, 2020 – 17:14 UTC ]

As many of the self-induced drama queen moments from Donald Trump tend to do, this one just fizzled away into nothing. The president is now calling for the decision to reopen the economy to be made by the individual governors, not the White House. This comes as relief for all those who were worried that Trump would throw the country into a constitutional crisis in the midst of a pandemic. Because what Trump is announcing even as I write this is nothing short of an admission of the status quo ante -- the ante being "before Trump's nonsense began," of course.

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Democrats United

[ Posted Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 – 17:02 UTC ]

For the first time since 2004, Democrats are united in the spring of a presidential election year. The primary season is essentially over, with only one candidate left standing. All the other candidates of note have now endorsed presumptive nominee Joe Biden. This is downright remarkable when you consider where we were just a few short months ago.

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The Wisconsin Backlash

[ Posted Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 – 16:37 UTC ]

One week after an entirely unnecessary and dangerous in-person election in the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Wisconsin vote totals were announced. And the result was surprising, because it seems there was a backlash against the heavy-handed Republican tactics which forced the election to go forward against all common sense. I guess voters don't appreciate being put in danger for one party's political advantage.

Wisconsin Republicans wanted the election to go forward for one simple reason: they thought that the lower the turnout, the better the result would be for them. In particular, one of the state's conservative supreme court justices was up for re-election, and they thought he'd win if they could just suppress enough Democratic votes. Well, the results are in, and they were wrong -- the liberal challenger handily won the race. This is only the second time in a half-century that an incumbent didn't win re-election, it's worth pointing out. And Wisconsin is a key state in the presidential election in November.

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Trump Can't Rescind An Order He Never Gave

[ Posted Monday, April 13th, 2020 – 16:14 UTC ]

Donald Trump seems determined to reopen the country for business on the first of next month. For a while, the media kind of went along with the fantasy that there was a giant "on/off" switch in the Oval Office that, when thrown by Trump, would immediately put all Americans back to work and fully restore the economy. This was never really true, and now they've finally woken up and realized it. Trump is not king, and we have no royal edicts in this country. It just doesn't work that way. In fact, President Trump has been incredibly reluctant to offer any sort of federal top-down leadership at all during the crisis, from largely refusing to take charge of the supply lines to refusing to issue a nationwide "stay-at-home" order. Because of his absolute abdication of leadership, individual state governors had to step in and fill the gaping void. Which now means that they are the ones in charge of making the decision as to when we should all get back to work. Trump, to be blunt, cannot rescind an order that he never gave.

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Friday Talking Points -- Worst President Ever

[ Posted Friday, April 10th, 2020 – 17:26 UTC ]

In times of crisis, America looks for leadership. This means they want to be told the truth, they want to see the president and those around him working as hard as they can to improve things for everyone, and they want to see mistakes quickly rectified and problems that pop up addressed and ultimately solved. Sadly, though, we are getting none of this from President Trump.

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The Cowardice Of Their Convictions

[ Posted Thursday, April 9th, 2020 – 16:26 UTC ]

The Republican Party has now been reduced to being so deathly afraid of the unpopularity of their political agenda among the electorate at large that they are now openly admitting that the only way for them to win elections is to suppress as many votes as possible. This is the exact opposite of "having the courage of your convictions," folks. Republicans are quaking in fear of the efforts to expand voting to make it easier and (much more important) safer for everyone, because they think they'll lose if that happens.

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From The Archives -- Thank You, Bernie

[ Posted Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 – 15:34 UTC ]

In the intervening four years, much has happened, of course. Bernie now is the leader of a solid movement within the Democratic Party, and fresh new Progressive faces have indeed appeared on the scene. With Donald Trump in the White House, much of Bernie's agenda remains unfulfilled. But the biggest change of all is that Bernie Sanders has personally shifted the "Overton Window" in politics, and now his proposals are seriously discussed by people and politicians who previously scoffed at them (or worse). That is progress. Almost all of Bernie's ideas are not "radical" -- they poll incredibly well with the public, which is the very definition of "mainstream." They may have seemed radical to a Democratic Party emerging from two decades of centrist thinking and Wall Street appeasement, but they weren't radical to the voters. Now the politicians are beginning to catch up to all these mainstream ideas. That is more than progress, that is an enormous achievement.

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On Wisconsin

[ Posted Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 – 16:37 UTC ]

In the admittedly sophomoric fashion of headline creation, today we do not cheer: "On, Wisconsin!", but rather approach the state from the point of dealing with a tricky subject to address, in the style of: "On The Subject Of...". The reasons are pretty obvious (not to... ahem... badger the point), since the primary election they're holding today simply should not have been held right now, seeing as how we're all still in the depths of a medical crisis which demands as stringent social distancing as possible. But Republicans have successfully demanded that people risk death to cast a ballot, so (sadly) here we are.

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Time For Some Republican-Shaming

[ Posted Monday, April 6th, 2020 – 16:39 UTC ]

Suddenly, it's all out in the open. A fight which Republicans have been waging (and mostly winning) in the background for the past two or three decades is about to move to the center ring of American politics. Because of the stance Republicans have taken, they've now painted themselves into a corner -- and by doing so have given the Democrats an enormous political gift. It remains to be seen if the Democrats realize how politically potent an issue this could be, if properly handled. They could always blow the opportunity, of course. But if they start banging the drum now, they can either cause the Republicans to back down (out of shame) or pay a political price in November, up and down the ballot. Because the issue really is that potent. Here is the nutshell version: "Republicans don't want you to vote. Democrats want everyone to safely and securely have their vote counted."

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Friday Talking Points -- Down The Memory Hole

[ Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2020 – 18:15 UTC ]

From time to time, we occasionally use the word "Orwellian" in our writing, usually to describe some governmental action or individual who seems to have stepped straight out of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Today, this term seems more appropriate than perhaps any other time we've ever been moved to use it. You be the judge. Here is the original text from the novel, explaining the protagonist Winston Smith's use of "memory holes" at the Ministry of Truth:

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