ChrisWeigant.com

My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 – 18:26 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second part of our annual year-end awards column series! If you missed it, you can check out last week's installment too. But a warning -- for both this column and last week's -- they're long. Incredibly long. Monstrously long. It's been that kind of year, what can we say?

One other quick program note is necessary here -- as you can see from the thermometer at the top of the column, we have now officially reached our fundraising goal for the year, so we'd like to publicly thank everyone for their support. Private thanks will go out later, but we did want to point out we hit our goal before the end of the year (which doesn't always happen), so thanks again to everyone who donated.

OK, this is long enough as it is, so let's just dive right in to the awards, shall we?

 

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   Destined For Political Stardom

There were a few good entries for the Destined For Political Stardom category. Joe Biden got a few nods, but we consider him to already be a star (he's going to be president, after all), so we're looking more for an up-and-comer.

Pete Buttigieg got a couple votes, but we're still kind of waiting to see what Mayor Pete does. Transportation isn't the most exciting cabinet job around, so we'll see whether he manages to shine or kind of fades into the background.

We got two home-state bids, for both Alex Padilla (California's soon-to-be senator), and Kamala Harris, but Harris is already going to be vice president, and Padilla is still somewhat of an open question to us, for now.

There was one nomination (from MtnCaddy) for a Republican, which was a pretty good one, so I'm going to award Nikki Haley the runner-up slot in this category. I have to agree with the nominating assessment: "She walked that fine line of both supporting Trump while distancing herself from him. And she picked the perfect time to bail on the Trump administration." Of all the Trumpies, Haley emerged less befouled than anyone, really.

But we're going to give this award to Stacey Abrams, who got the most nominations and seems to fit the intent of the category the best. Abrams delivered Georgia to Joe Biden, which is an absolutely stunning achievement. Hopefully, her good work will also prevail in the Senate runoffs, as well.

Abrams seems destined to rise within the ranks of the Democratic Party, perhaps by winning the next Georgia governor's race (which she's expressed interest in). Or perhaps she rises within the party ranks via a different path, but it does seem like a pretty safe bet that we'll be hearing a lot more from Stacey Abrams in the future.

 

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   Destined For Political Oblivion

We got a whole lot of nominations here worth at least mentioning: Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Steyer, Tommy Tuberville, Michael Bloomberg, the Trump Heredity Dynasty, and (most amusingly, from John From Censornati) Kanye West.

We also considered a blanket sort of award, to "almost any Republican politician who ever stands up to Trump," since so many of them have already experienced the end of their political careers by doing so.

But, in the end, we had to agree with the nominating consensus, because the person who got the most votes for Destined For Political Oblivion was Vice President Mike Pence. His brand of smarmy fake righteousness was never all that impressive in the first place, and spending four years with his head completely up Trump's... well, you know... hasn't exactly helped Pence's public persona one bit. We sincerely look forward to seeing Pence fade from the scene, until he's reduced to being the answer to two trivia questions: "Who was Donald Trump's vice president?" and "Who was that guy who had a fly land on him during a debate?"

 

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   Best Political Theater

We had a lot of good entries to choose from in the Best Political Theater category, starting off with Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of the State Of The Union speech, right after Trump delivered it. That was pretty good, you've got to admit.

Then there was that time when Trump toured an Arizona mask factory and somebody amusingly played the song "Live And Let Die" over the intercom. That was some subtle political theater indeed.

There were a number of interesting videos that were suggested, from a propaganda video from China (which is downright hilarious -- the idiocy of America's COVID-19 response, especially with regards to China, acted out by Lego figures) to an REM parody video ("Losing My Civilians") to Sarah Palin singing (and we certainly cannot make stuff like this up) "Baby Got Back" (with the immortal lyrics: "I like big butts and I can not lie...") on The Masked Singer. All superb political theater, in one way or another. As well as pretty much every video the Lincoln Project put out, all year long.

Then there was the roll call at the Democratic convention (but we've already given that a different award).

There were four Democratic candidates for local office in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, who decided to go viral online (#dressyourballot) to inform Pennsylvania voters about the dangers of mailing in a "naked ballot" -- which would not be counted, since it would not be valid -- by appearing naked themselves (totally "safe for work" images, though). As Allegheny County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam told the press: "I was like, hey I have this wild idea -- let's get naked to save our democracy."

But we have two interrelated awards for Best Political Theater this year, one general and one specific. The general one is the more important, because our winner is the entire Black Lives Matter protest movement all year long. This was the biggest protest summer since the 1960s, all across America. The killing of George Floyd was historic for the public reaction in the same way the killing of Emmett Till was in an earlier age. The rage that exploded, followed by a fierce determination to change the way policing is done in this country truly expanded the conversation on race and race relations in a way not seen for a very long time. All sorts of individuals and groups were affected by this shift in tone, most of them for the better.

But none of this shift in conversation, tone, and attitudes would ever have happened if it hadn't been for the protests. Which is why the Black Lives Matter protests are definitely the Best Political Theater of the year.

Our specific award -- which happened at a Black Lives Matter protest -- was for a young woman in Portland, Oregon who made her own anti-violence statement in the most symbolic way since the hippies put flowers in the barrels of National Guardsmen's rifles, back in the 1960s. Dubbed "Naked Athena," this woman moved between a group of police fully decked out in riot gear and shields and the protesters. She moved into the neutral zone between the two, fully naked, and began doing yoga poses and stretching. She kept this up while fireworks and tear gas were exploding all around (much to the delight of all the male journalists covering the protest).

Kidding aside, though her message was pretty plain to understand: love conquers hate.

Which is why Naked Athena also wins the Best Political Theater award as well.

Now, you might accuse me of being biased, and I can certainly see why you'd say that. After all, this wasn't even the only mention of naked women in politics in this section alone. Also, she is rather good looking, I will fully admit. However, the award isn't for prurient reasons, but for the raw courage it took for her to do such a thing, in such a charged and tense situation. It took a lot of guts, and that's what impressed me the most.

Well, OK, maybe a little biased. But even so, still very impressive political theater....

 

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   Worst Political Theater

Um, Jim Carrey's version of Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live?

Rush Limbaugh being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Trump's State Of The Union address?

Republicans in the Senate holding Supreme Court confirmation hearings a month before the election, after swearing up and down they'd never do such a thing when they blocked Merrick Garland? That was pretty bad political theater, I have to admit.

Matt Gaetz pooh-poohing COVID-19 very early on by wearing an actual gas mask in the House (as a joke)? In November, Gaetz tested positive for COVID-19, truly proving what an idiot he was for belittling it earlier. And he certainly wasn't the only COVID-denying Republican to suffer such a fate, all year long.

Melania Trump rebuilding Barack Obama's basketball court as a "tennis pavilion" and redesigning the Rose Garden, during the midst of a crisis? "Marie Antoinette" trended on social media, both times, and for good reason.

Pretty much everything Rudy Giuliani did and said, all year long?

Well, no. That last one was close, though, because we'll all remember the name "Four Seasons Total Landscaping" for years to come, that's for sure....

Instead, we simply have to hand the Worst Political Theater prize to Donald Trump, not for a single reason... not for two reasons or even three... but for five productions of truly awful political theater this year.

First, there were the daily trainwrecks in the spring known as the "Coronavirus task force briefings." Instead of just standing back and letting the scientists, doctors, and experts speak the unfettered truth to the American people, Trump had to make the whole show all about him (naturally). This culminated in the worst episode of this worst drama/comedy series, when Trump -- after getting briefed on how disinfectants like bleach kill the virus on hard surfaces -- blithely suggested injecting them into the human body (the lungs, maybe) to kill the virus there, too. Oh, and "light" should also somehow be introduced internally to the human body as well (after getting briefed on how certain ultraviolet lightwaves can also kill the virus on surfaces). At the beginning of May, a media watchdog counted it all up, and of the 13 total hours Trump had spent on the briefings (to date), he spent a full two hours of it attacking other people, 45 minutes of it praising himself, and only four and a half minutes expressing any condolences for the pandemic's victims. Which, for Trump, is about par for the course.

Second, there was Trump violently clearing Lafayette Square of protesters just so he could walk with his top military officials (in uniform, no less) over to a church -- whose minister later denounced the entire thing -- to hold up a Bible that wasn't even his. The White House immediately put out what can only be called a "Soviet-style propaganda film" of the event, just in case anyone had missed it.

Third, there was the first presidential debate with Joe Biden. Trump tried to win on "being a playground bully" and the entire thing was just a disaster of epic proportions. I reached back to Shakespeare to describe Trump's performance: "It was a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." But the best review came immediately after the debate concluded, when Jake Tapper summed it up better than anyone else could, calling it: "a hot mess, inside a Dumpster fire, inside a trainwreck." The worst debate in presidential history, in other words.

Fourth, after Trump caught COVID-19 and was whisked away to the hospital via helicopter to get cutting-edge treatments not available to ordinary citizens. After getting shot up with steroids (among other things), Trump demanded to go greet the well-wishers who had gathered outside the hospital. So he went on a "royal carriage ride" in a hermetically-sealed car with hapless Secret Service agents who then had to go into quarantine. When Trump returned to the White House, he dramatically climbed an external stairway, turned back, ripped his mask off and saluted at nothing in particular. Many comparisons were made to Evita, and for good reason.

And finally, what will no doubt go down in history as the worst propaganda film ever released from any president ever, Trump filmed a 46-minute rant after he lost the election, where he spent the entire thing lying and promoting baseless conspiracy theories, most of which had already been laughed out of court for lack of any evidence whatsoever. Because this happened in early December, it was soon likened to the worst "Festivus Airing Of The Grievances" ever. Trump chose not to give this insane rant on broadcast television, because he knew full well that all of them -- even Fox News, most likely -- would have cut him off and apologized to their viewers for how many lies their president was telling.

For all five of these reasons, Donald Trump was certainly the stage manager for the Worst Political Theater, all year long.

 

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   Worst Political Scandal

There were a lot of scandals to choose from, as usual with Donald Trump.

The first big scandal of the year was the Senate Republicans burying their heads in the sand and prejudging the outcome of Trump's impeachment trial before it even began. And then failing to remove him from office.

The biggest ongoing scandal all year has been the Trump administration's pathetic and peripatetic response to the worst medical crisis America has seen in over 100 years. Trump picked the absolute stupidest thing to do, at every juncture. And tens of thousands of people died, as a direct result. Trump lied, people died.

The pollsters getting things wildly wrong, once again, for the second presidential election in a row.

Mitch McConnell not passing the coronavirus relief bill for over half a year after Nancy Pelosi's House approved a more-more-generous relief bill back in mid-May.

Pretty much every single one of Trump's pardons. 'Nuff said.

Trump telling the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" instead of denouncing them as a dangerous right-wing hate group.

Sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service to try to slow down mail-in ballots. That was pretty bad indeed.

Attempting to sabotage the U.S. Census, in order to give Republicans an edge in the upcoming reapportionment of the House.

Attempting to sabotage a free and fair presidential election with baseless and fantastical claims that somehow Trump won in a landslide, and everyone should just hand Trump another turn in office, no matter what the vote count actually said. This was an attempted coup d'état, in plain sight, although few called it what it truly was (and, sadly, still is).

But we chose as our Worst Political Scandal of the year Trump's disgusting refusal to confront Vladimir Putin or Russia in any way -- even after the news broke that Russia had paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers, and even after Russia pulled off the most massive hack of government computers since computers began. That sound you hear in the distance is Ronald Reagan, rolling over in his grave.

This wasn't just a scandal, it bordered on treason. So it easily has to be considered the Worst Political Scandal of the year.

 

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   Most Underreported Story

As usual, there were plenty of news stories out there that the media either underreported or just flat-out ignored.

At the start of the year, Joe Biden clearly led the Democratic pack, but few political reporters noted it all that much, preferring to focus on their "flavor of the week" candidate instead.

Bernie Sanders very briefly became the Democratic frontrunner, right before South Carolina voted, but the media didn't like that storyline all that much, either.

The Equal Rights Amendment might just have been ratified, but the Supreme Court is going to have to weigh in on the matter. Still, a constitutional amendment is pretty big news... you would think....

As always, climate change was given short shrift by almost the entire media. As was the fact that the rich actually got richer during the pandemic, while everyone else got worse.

It was essentially revealed in June (when the story about the Russian bounties paid to the Taliban for killing American soldiers emerged) that Donald Trump just does not read his daily national and world security briefing, which truly should have been scandalous, but was greeted with no more than a media yawn.

In May (fairly early on, in other words), a mock funeral procession for the pandemic victims moved down Pennsylvania Avenue and ended by placing body bags in front of the White House. I didn't see a single clip of this on the evening news, even though it was some pretty powerful political theater.

The only policeman killed during the entire summer season of protest was killed by a right-wing boogaloo idiot -- not by a Black Lives Matter protester, not by Antifa, but by a right-winger. He later killed another cop when he was apprehended. But you sure didn't hear any of that on Fox News. Or much of anywhere else, really.

A dandy headline that could have run pretty much at any point during the year was: "Republicans In Disarray," but it was seldom seen. It has been generations since a political party has been in this much turmoil, but it was rarely commented on by the punditocracy. Groups like the Lincoln Project were raising millions to get a Democrat elected president. Joe Biden got the endorsement of John Bolton, whose policies can be accurately described as "to the right of Attila the Hun." A former chair of the Republican National Committee (Michael Steele) endorsed Biden. So did dozens and dozens of other prominent Republicans. The party was in the midst of a civil war, all year long. The political chattering class barely noticed.

The Republican grand voter suppression scheme was finally right out in the open, with few attempts at disguising it. Here's one Republican waking up to the reality of what his party has been doing, all along:

"What we have seen this year which is completely unprecedented... is a concerted national Republican effort across the country in every one of the states that has had a legal battle to make it harder for citizens to vote," said Trevor Potter, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission who served as general counsel to Republican John McCain's two presidential campaigns. "There just has been this unrelenting Republican attack on making it easier to vote."

Potter, who now heads the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, added, "It puzzles me... I've never worked for a Republican candidate who thought it was a good idea to make it hard for people to vote."

After the election, the president of the United States ham-handedly attempts a coup to remain in power, by any means necessary. As we wrote a few weeks ago (after talking about the Supreme Court case that Trump and the state of Texas lost):

Throughout this entire process, Trump has been acting like nothing short of a mob boss. He's been calling up any Republican he can in the states' governments, urging them to break the law, do things the law does not allow, and generally ignore their sworn oaths to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Trump has also been subverting (and perverting) democracy by calling up Republicans who have already refused to break the law, trying to talk to (and threaten) them into somehow hand their state's votes to him on a silver platter. Trump is also riling up his base against these Republicans who won't do his patently illegal bidding, since they obviously aren't sufficiently worshipful of the Dear Leader. This is tinpot dictator stuff, folks, and yet the Republican Party (for the most part) has merrily joined in the fun -- out of abject fear of their own voters.

. . .

Consider just how far down the rabbit hole we've gone. The Democrats on the committee in Congress responsible for the Inauguration Day proceedings tried to get the three Republicans on the committee (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Sen. Roy Blunt) to agree to a resolution simply stating that Joe Biden was the president-elect. The Republicans refused.

The Washington Post went to the trouble to poll every single GOP member of Congress, and only 27 out of 249 -- or less than 11 percent of them -- admitted that Biden had won the election.

The "states" of "New Nevada" and "New California" just filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Texas case, further beclowning the proceedings.

Rush Limbaugh walked right up to entertaining the idea of secession on his show, this week. Because, you know, why not?

And in statehouses across the country, extra security is being laid on to guarantee that the meeting of the Electoral College will safely happen on Monday without violence. Think about that one for a minute. The electors who vote for president might actually be risking their lives to do so.

Violence and threats of violence have already been happening, so the fear is already real. A plot to kidnap and kill the Democratic governor of Michigan was foiled already. Michigan's secretary of state recently had an armed mob appear outside her house, threatening her and her family.

. . .

Vitriolic rhetoric has led bipartisan leaders to warn that Trump's baseless attacks on the election are endangering election officials' lives. Multiple Michigan officials have reported being threatened and harassed over the election results, as have officials in Georgia, Arizona, Vermont, Kentucky, Minnesota and Colorado.

A Black lawmaker in Michigan dared to question Rudy Giuliani's outlandish election fraud logic, and is now getting racist threats about lynching.

. . .

Chris Krebs, who ran the federal 2020 election security office and dared to tell the truth (that it had, in fact, been the safest and most secure election ever), wound up getting fired for doing so. He has now filed a lawsuit, because a lawyer for the Trump campaign said, in an interview, that Krebs should be: "drawn and quartered" or perhaps just "taken out at dawn and shot." The lawsuit revealed that Krebs's 10-year-old child asked: "Daddy's going to get executed?"

The Republican Party of Arizona tweeted out two frightening messages this week as well, both suggesting that it might just be time to put your life on the line, all to assuage Trump's bruised ego. One showed a clip from a Rambo movie which contained the line: "Live for nothing, or die for something." The other commented on a clip from a GOP rabble-rouser who said he be "willing to give my life for this fight." The official Twitter account of the Arizona Republican Party responded by retweeting it with the comment: "He is. Are you?"

John McCain is spinning in his grave -- because to add insult to sedition, the Arizona GOP did this on Pearl Harbor Day -- when the U.S.S. Arizona was sunk by the Japanese.

Once again: this is all dangerous, dangerous stuff.

But even that didn't make our top two Most Underreported Story entries. And both are (yet again) examples of how the media just utterly fails to lay the blame at the feet of those politicians responsible in pretty much any way.

The first has to do with the coronavirus relief bill that just got signed into law. There was one reason this hadn't happened previously, and his name is Mitch McConnell. Nancy Pelosi passed a relief bill in mid-May, and the Senate just sat on it for the rest of the year. Mitch said he wanted to "take a pause" before even considering another relief bill. So we paused. For month after month after month. McConnell wouldn't even participate in the negotiations over a bill, leaving it to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to do so. Mitch dragged his feet and dragged his feet, and the blame for not passing a bill a half a year sooner is entirely his to bear. But you certainly wouldn't have learned that from any of the media reports -- even when a compromise bill did manage to pass.

The second was more fundamental. It involved a bit of Trumpian doublethink, really. Donald Trump put forth the bizarre theory that only the votes which are counted before he went to bed on Election Day should actually count.

Any votes counted late were, according to Trump, somehow not valid at all. So the speed which the counting took place became an enormous media story. But throughout it all, one basic flaw in the Republican position was never quite revealed for the hypocrisy it truly is. Because some states (like Florida, for example) actually did count their ballots very quickly -- even with the huge increase in mail-in ballots. You know how they did so? Because state law allows the Florida elections officials to start counting the mail-in ballots before Election Day. But in plenty of states with Republican legislatures (Pennsylvania, for instance), the Republicans just flat-out refused to allow this. No ballot could be counted before Election Day, period. This pretty much guaranteed what we all saw play out, for the entire week. The vote counts were slow, and they took days. But it didn't have to be this way. And there was one political party entirely responsible. Donald Trump was warning about quickly counting ballots long before Election Day dawned, so this problem could have actually been fixed in a timely manner. But Republicans in the state legislatures refused to do so.

So Trump complaining afterwards about how slow the whole process was turned out to be nothing short of a gigantic example of partisan hypocrisy.

But you didn't hear any of that in the media, even though we had a whole week of sitting around staring at a map with several states colored neither blue nor red.

For this glaring lack of explanation, the blame for the slow count was never truly laid where it belonged -- at the feet of the Republican Party. Which makes it our Most Underreported Story of the year.

 

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   Most Overreported Story

This one is really mostly for conservative media (Fox News and their ilk), but there was always an element of it in the more mainstream television coverage as well. The Most Overreported Story was "violence at Black Lives Matter protests."

Millions of people all across the country took place in the protests. Almost all of them were peaceful. People of all ages and races banded together to send the strong message: "Enough!" to governments from the local to the national. And yet the protests themselves were barely covered -- how much footage did you ever see of a speaker addressing such a protest from a stage? Instead what we got were any violent clashes with the police anywhere in the country. That's what the news media really wanted to show -- videos of violence, not people crying for less violence.

Over on Fox, this was off the charts. There were no peaceful protesters, according to Fox, there were instead looters and rioters and arsonists and (probably) killers as well. They were burning down whole cities. They were taking over. This mob would almost certainly be heading to your home town or suburb very soon now.

This is where Trump got the idea to scare the living heck out of suburban women (which didn't work, thankfully). From watching the endless loops of protest violence on Fox ad nauseam.

Sure, violence at a protest is newsworthy. But so is the protest itself, and so is what the protest is about in the first place. Those two things got overlooked for the most part, whether intentionally (as in the case of Fox) or unintentionally. Which is why violence at the Black Lives Matter obsession was the Most Overreported Story of 2010.

 

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   Biggest Government Waste

Spending money on Trump's giant border wall? Always a possibility here....

Instead, we're going to give the Biggest Government Waste to all money the Secret Service and everyone else in government has ever paid to any Trump properties anywhere. Millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars spent so Trump could golf as often as he liked on his own golf courses. This is self-dealing of the most odious kind imaginable, which is why we consider it the Biggest Government Waste of the year (and a hat tip to MtnCaddy for suggesting it).

 

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   Best Government Dollar Spent

All money spent to make the election as easy and as secure as possible has to be at least mentioned in the Best Government Dollar Spent category, since it was so critical this year.

But the overwhelming favorite in this category (first nominated by commenter andygaus and seconded by too many to mention) was COVID relief money. The CARES Act and all other money spent on propping up the economy was absolutely crucial (even though Mitch McConnell, to his everlasting shame, could easily have allowed even more money to be spent).

In fact, everything spent on all aspects of the pandemic response -- personal protective equipment, money to small businesses to help them weather the storm, money to buy tests and vaccines -- all of it was equally the Best Government Dollar Spent this year.

 

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   Boldest Political Tactic

We had a few entries for Boldest Political Tactic, both good and bad ("bold" is rather neutral, the way we see it...).

Joe Biden's "basement campaign" was pretty bold, because conventional wisdom said it would be disastrous not to more actively campaign. But in the midst of a pandemic, it seemed both reasonable and responsible -- and that's precisely what the voters were hungry for. So it paid off, in the end. But if it hadn't -- if Biden had lost -- there'd be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on about how stupid a strategy it was, that's for sure.

To Trump's credit, Operation Warp Speed was pretty bold, and it also paid dividends.

Trump "doubling down on the stupid" for the entire course of the pandemic was pretty bold. This one did not pay off for him in the end, though -- thankfully.

Black Lives Matter protests were admirably bold, and have changed the entire national conversation on race, so they were also effective.

During the Republican National Convention, both Trump and all his toadies tried a jaw-droppingly bold strategy -- they just pretended Joe Biden was already president. Trump tried to run as an outsider. "If I'm elected, I will fix all these horrible things that are going wrong right now!" he thundered. But the "emperor has no clothes" question was right there for everyone to see -- "You've been president for three-and-a-half years, so why aren't you fixing all that stuff now?" Of course, the MAGA-hat-wearers never bothered to even ask this question, since they were so consumed with praising the emperor's glorious raiment.

Which brings us to our runner-up in the Boldest Political Tactic category. Mitch McConnell bent over backwards to try to explain why he previously had held up as sacred (which was never true, by the way) the idea that "the voters should have a say" on Supreme Court justice nominations (also not constitutionally true at all), back when the nominee in question was Merrick Garland -- but now that the nominee was from a Republican president, it was more than proper to just ram one through the Senate less than a month before a presidential election. The hypocrisy was breathtaking. It was some Grade-A political flim-flammery for the ages. But say what you want about it, it certainly was bold.

But the winner for Boldest Political Tactic has to be Donald Trump refusing to admit the reality of losing an election. It would also qualify for the most dangerous and un-American political tactic we've ever seen, but like we said, the term "bold" is rather neutral.

Donald Trump not only is living in a fantasy world where it simply was not possible for him to have lost the election, he actually seems to believe that he didn't. And he has forced pretty much the entire Republican Party to give lip service to his bruised ego and his demented insistence that all those Democratic votes just somehow should not count and that he won in a landslide.

An astounding portion of the public has gone along for this dangerous ride. One hopes the fever will break after some Kabuki theater in Congress on January 6th, but even that's doubtful, since Trump will never quit with his false claims of victory.

Trump pressured elected officials in several states to flat-out steal the election for him. He wasn't successful in any of these attempts, thankfully. He has tried to subvert the entire election process from beginning to end. He has filed (at last count) over 60 lawsuits, all of which have failed, almost all of which were in fact laughed out of court. The entire effort was both monumentally stupid and doomed to failure, but that didn't stop Trump from trying.

And while it was a direct attack on American democracy and American elections, and while it was dangerous as can possibly be imagined, it was indeed the Boldest Political Tactic of the entire year (sad to say).

 

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   Best Idea

How about "Wear a damn mask!" (for starters)?

Or perhaps passing COVID-19 relief bills in the midst of not only a medical crisis but also an economic crisis as well?

The House passed a D.C. statehood bill for the first time ever, that was a pretty good idea.

Proxy voting in Congress during a pandemic avoided a lot of needless travel, so that has to be seen as a good idea all around.

Stacey Abrams setting a goal of signing up a million new voters was a great idea, and one that paid off handsomely.

Republicans endorsing Biden was an excellent idea, at least from where I sit.

Renaming military bases that had somehow been named for military people who committed treason against the country and fought and killed members of the U.S. military was definitely an idea whose time had come. Also, removing statues to these very same treasonous military figures, everywhere in the country (including the statue that was just removed from the U.S. Capitol of Robert E. Lee).

These were all good ideas. But the Best Idea of 2020 was striking while the iron was hot and making a major push in multiple states to expand the use of mail-in voting. No excuse should be necessary for any voter anywhere in America to vote by mail if they choose to do so. Sadly, this is not even remotely true in many states. Some of these laws were changed or suspended because of the pandemic emergency, but some will wind up being permanently changed. This is all to the good, because there is no reason on Earth not to make this universal. And now that citizens of some of these states have experienced how easy and convenient voting by mail is, there will probably be a lot of political pressure to make these changes permanent, whether Republicans like it or not.

Donald Trump fought this entire idea tooth and nail, which is another indication of how good an idea it was. He told all his followers not to vote by mail (except -- after he realized the hypocrisy of voting by mail himself -- in Florida, where Trump swore it was OK to do so). He explicitly suppressed his own voting base. This might have even cost him the election. It definitely cost him at least one state, as the Republican secretary of state in Georgia took the time to point out:

Democrat Joe Biden won the state by 14,000 votes. [President Donald] Trump has refused to concede the election to Biden and has made unfounded accusations of voter fraud.

[Georgia Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger, a Republican, ordered a recount. But he also told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB that the president hurt his own cause by discouraging mail-in voting, which he portrayed as a "scam."

Raffensperger told the station that 24,000 Republican voters who voted absentee in the primary did not vote in the general election.

"Those 24,000 people did not vote in the fall," Raffensperger said. "They did not vote absentee because they were told by the president, 'Don't vote absentee. It's not secure.' But then they did not come out and vote in person."

"He actually depressed, suppressed his own voting base," he added.

In other words, if those 24,000 votes had been cast for Trump, he would have won Georgia.

Trump carefully took aim and then went right ahead and shot himself in the foot. Which is the final reason why mail-in voting was indeed the Best Idea of 2020.

 

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   Worst Idea

It's been a pretty bad year all around, so of course there was no shortage of bad ideas floating around.

The app the Democrats used in the Iowa caucus -- that was a spectacularly bad idea. So are caucuses, now that we think about it....

Michael Bloomberg jumping in the Democratic primary race late and skipping the first four states was a truly bad idea.

The Space Force has always been a bad idea, and now they'll be called "guardians," which is even worse.

Sabotaging the mail to win an election was a monumentally bad idea.

Kidnapping and killing Michigan's governor was not just a bad idea, it was a criminally bad idea.

Jamming through a Supreme Court nominee less than a month before an election was a real stinker of an idea.

Senator Dianne Feinstein thanking Lindsey Graham after the Supreme Court confirmation hearing was so bad, we have to repeat her words: "I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in. Thank you so much for your leadership." After which -- during a pandemic, no less -- DiFi actually hugged Graham.

There were a whole slew of bad ideas emanating from the White House, masquerading as their coronavirus pandemic response. Here's just a few:

Trump pushing hydroxychloroquine, when he knew absolutely nothing about it -- a really bad idea. Also bad: Trump pushing all the states to reopen too soon in the spring and throughout the summer.

Having zero national strategy for testing, for distributing PPEs, for ordering and distributing tests, for guidelines on closing and reopening state economies, for actually vaccinating people, and for just about anything else throughout the entire pandemic was not just a bad idea, but a really stupid and shortsighted one.

Pulling out of the World Health Organization in the midst of a worldwide pandemic was an epically bad idea, obviously.

Herd immunity -- or just allowing everyone to get sick sooner so we'd beat the virus faster (at the expense of millions of needless deaths) was a criminally stupid idea, but that didn't stop Trump and some of his minions from pushing it hard.

Having maskless parties and rallies and other superspreader events for purely political reasons was an enormously bad idea.

Which brings us to the Worst Idea of 2020 -- Trump politicizing the wearing of face masks as a preventative measure for the public. Because Trump was so adamantly against mask use, tens of millions of his followers saw it as an extension of politics, when there was no sane reason to do so. The virus is not Democratic or Republican -- it just wants to infect as many people as possible. And Donald Trump made that a whole lot easier by scorning the use of masks. If this one bad idea had never occurred to him, perhaps 100,000 people might be alive in this country today who now (sadly) are not. Trump lied, people died, in other words. Even though Trump had plenty of bad ideas for how to deal with the pandemic, this one was so basic and so needless that politicizing mask use has to be seen as the Worst Idea of the year, hands down.

 

Trophy
   Sorry To See You Go

Two giants in the political world passed away this year, both of them leaving a hole which will remain unfilled for some time to come. The first was Representative John Lewis, a survivor of the Civil Rights era and champion for voting rights. The funeral service for Lewis featured eulogies by three past presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama), but no representation from the current one (neither Donald Trump nor Mike Pence bothered to show up).

The second was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, of course. Not much else needs be said about "the notorious R.B.G.," really, since she was such a legal legend in her own time.

There were really only two other political deaths of note this year, Herman Cain and Linda Tripp. Cain's was especially notable because there is a strong likelihood that he caught COVID-19 from attending Donald Trump's Tulsa rally and not wearing a mask.

Outside of politics, there were quite a few deaths in the world of pop culture to mourn:

  • Regis Philbin
  • Alex Trebek
  • John Le Carré
  • Jim Lehrer
  • Little Richard
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Terry Jones (Monty Python)
  • John Prine
  • Jerry Stiller
  • Christo
  • Vera Lynn
  • Carl Reiner
  • Diana Rigg
  • Helen Reddy
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Sean Connery
  • Chuck Yeager

And, for some, the end of Tab cola. Or, more properly, "TaB" cola. While we cannot say we are going to miss it at all, there are millions out there who will (for some strange reason).

 

Trophy
   15 Minutes Of Fame

As usual, we're just going to provide this as a list with little explanation needed:

  • Long Island nurse Sarah Lindsay, who became the first person to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the entire country
  • Republican Martha McSally, who singlehandedly handed both of Arizona's Senate seats to the Democrats
  • All the impeachment witnesses who told truth to power -- thank you for your service and for doing your duty to the Constitution
  • The Lincoln Project
  • the New England Journal of Medicine and Scientific American, for publishing their first presidential endorsement ever (in over 175 years of publication, for both of them) to warn against the dangers of four more years of Donald Trump
  • All the Republican officeholders in Georgia (and everywhere else) who resisted Trump's coup attempt, and followed the law instead
  • The Michigan State Board of Canvassers, who also did the right thing in the end
  • Cheech and Chong, for actually filming a hilarious "get out and vote" public service ad
  • Emily Murphy, the G.S.A. administrator who failed to do her job for far too long, but who finally did do her job after the Electoral College had voted and signed the ascertainment for Joe Biden's transition to begin
  • Rudy Giuliani's hair dye (who could ever forget that image?)
  • And, for similar laughable reasons, Sidney Powell, whose lawsuits to overturn the election were so downright insane that even Team Trump disassociated themselves from her. When you're too crazy for even Donald Trump, that's really saying something!

 

Trophy
   Best Spin

This one's going to be short. Four words, to be exact. Because it was so serious, and because it justified such grim language.

Donald Trump's entire coronavirus response effort, from start to finish, was best described by dusting off a phrase first effectively used on George W. Bush. But in Bush's case, the number of dead involved only adds up to one or perhaps two days of COVID-19 deaths, so it's really on an entirely separate scale, these days.

Best Spin of 2020 was:

"Trump lied, people died."

 

Trophy
   Worst Spin

We did get one nomination here for Rudy Giuliani's "I was just adjusting my pants," to explain his cameo in the Borat sequel, from TheStig.

But we're going to give Worst Spin to pretty much every lie President Trump told about the COVID-19 virus, and his administration's response.

There were too many of these to even attempt to list here. We do have to note the best criticism of Trump's spin, which came from Barack Obama, while campaigning for Joe Biden:

What's [Donald Trump's] closing argument? That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies: "COVID, COVID, COVID," he's complaining. He's jealous of COVID's media coverage.

. . .

Last week, when Trump was asked if he'd do anything differently, you know what he said? He said: "Not much, not much." Really?! Not much? You can't think of anything that you might be doing differently, like maybe you shouldn't have gone on TV and suggested we might inject bleach to cure COVID? That's not something you said -- you know -- "Maybe I shouldn't have said that?"

Obama's right -- Trump never should have said any of it. Trump tried to gaslight the entire country into believing that (1) the virus was no big deal, it was like the flu, (2) it would go away magically very soon, (3) there were no shortages of medical supplies, (4) everyone who wants a test can get tested... and on and on and on. From the very start, Trump has tried to spin the whole thing away even while (as he admitted to Bob Woodward) he actually did know the truth of how serious it was from the very start.

He ended the year by promising, over and over again "we're turning the corner," or sometimes, "we've turned the corner." We haven't. We're not even close, even with the vaccines.

Which brings up his final spin (or final lie, take your choice): that 20 million people would get vaccinated before the end of the year. We are now two days out from this deadline (as of this writing) and fewer than three million people have been vaccinated.

Pretty much everything Trump said about the pandemic, from the beginning to the end, was the Worst Spin of the year.

 

Trophy
   Most Honest Person

There were two strong candidates for Most Honest Person this year, both of whom deserved both recognition and our thanks. First, there was Dr. Anthony Fauci, who consistently told the truth about the pandemic from beginning to end. Unlike pretty much every other federal government medical expert, from the surgeon general to the head of the C.D.C., Fauci never once gave credence to any of Trump's wild statements or lies or conspiracy theories. As he put it: "I can't jump in front of the microphone and push [President Trump] down. Okay, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time." For doing so, he became an object of intense hatred from the right, since he was daring to contradict the Dear Leader (who was monumentally wrong about just about everything, throughout the entire crisis). But we already gave him Person Of The Year, so we decided that was enough.

The other strong candidate was Chris Krebs, who was in charge of the federal government's election security overseers, and who blatantly contradicted all of Trump's lies about election fraud with the solid truth -- that this election had been the safest and most secure ever. Even after the election was over, Krebs maintained a web site which debunked all of Trump's nonsense in real time, which was truly above and beyond the call of duty.

For being so honest, and for telling the public the absolute truth, Krebs was (of course) fired by Trump.

But instead we're going to give it to an obscure Republican election official in Georgia, Gabriel Sterling. Sterling gave the most honest and heartfelt speech I think I've ever heard from any politician ever, after a twentysomething election worker had been targeted with right-wing death threats for merely doing his job correctly. So Sterling went in front of the press and -- without notes -- told everyone exactly what was on his mind. He vented his anger at what was happening, and he pinned the blame exactly where it belonged.

I even used an entire Friday Talking Points segment to reprint what he had to say. Or if you haven't yet seen it, I strongly encourage you to watch the whole video of his speech (it is short, around 10 minutes). Here are some key excerpts:

Good afternoon. My name is Gabriel Sterling. I'm the Voting System Implementation Manager for the state of Georgia. And just to give y'all a heads up, this is going to be sort of a two-part press conference today. At the beginning of this, I'm going to do my best to keep it together because it has all gone too far. All of it.

Joe diGenova today asked for Chris Krebs, a patriot who ran CISA, to be shot.

A twenty-something tech in Gwinnett County today has death threats and a noose put out, saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from an E.M.S. to a county computer so we could read it.

It has to stop.

Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions.

This has to stop.

We need you to step up and if you're going to take a position of leadership, show some.

. . .

This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.

It's too much.

Yes. Fight for every legal vote. Go through your due process. We encourage you. Use your First Amendment. That's fine.

Death threats, physical threats, intimidation, it's too much. It's not right. They've lost the moral high ground to claim that it is.

. . .

Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We're investigating. There's always a possibility. I get it, and you have the rights to go through the courts. What you don't have the ability to do, and you need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.

Someone's going to get hurt.

Someone's going to get shot.

Someone's going to get killed.

And it's not right.

It's not right.

And y'all, I don't have anything scripted. Like I said, I'm going to do my best to keep it together.

All of this is wrong.

. . .

It's un-American.

For this amazing display of raw honesty and heartfelt anger, Gabriel Sterling is our hands-down winner of Most Honest Person for the year. If you haven't watched the speech, take the time to do so and you'll immediately see why.

 

Trophy
   Biggest Liar

There's really only one possible candidate for Biggest Liar, once again. President Donald Trump will leave office having uttered at least 25,000 lies while in office. The Washington Post has been doing the thankless job of documenting and listing each and every single time Trump lied, and their final tally will no doubt be published on or soon after the twentieth of January.

Trump lies even when he doesn't have to. Bernie Sanders is right -- he is a pathological liar, through and through. At this point, who even cares whether he knows he's lying or just lives in a fantasy world inside his head -- it simply doesn't matter. Donald Trump will go down in history for many things, but at least one of them will be the sheer stupefying volume of his thousands upon thousands of lies told while in office.

 

Trophy
   Most Overrated

To begin the year, there were plenty of "media darling" Democratic candidates who never caught on with the public in any way (I'm going to be polite and not name them individually...). Michael Bloomberg, too, even though he was never a media favorite or anything.

Andrew Cuomo got one nomination, and I can understand why, because I too consider him to be rather overrated in general. Self-driving cars also got one vote, as well.

Towards the end of the year, there was Rudy Giuliani -- specifically, Rudy's abilities as a lawyer (and as an event-booker, for that matter).

Oh, and pollsters. Once again, very overrated and underperforming.

But we couldn't decide between our two finalists, so we're handing out dual prizes this year, to both "American political traditions" and "the American election system." The first refers to all of the things that are not actually written down as laws constraining the president, but merely tradition that was always assumed to be sacred -- things like putting all your wealth in a blind trust, or not relying on your immediate family as advisors, or not seeking to personally profit off of your presidency. We have never really had such massive problems with any of these things before (and that's just a short list of examples -- there are plenty of others as well), but Donald Trump proved that maybe it'd be a much better idea to enact a few of these as hard-and-fast laws rather than just relying on each new president to follow tradition for tradition's sake.

The second Most Overrated winner is the way we elect presidents. Not the Electoral College so much as the actual nuts-and-bolts processes that must take place every four years. Donald Trump tried his mightiest to subvert the will of the voters, and he failed. But he was an incompetent buffoon in doing so, and the next time around we might not get so lucky. Next time, it may all come down to a single state, and if that state's legislature goes along with an effort to overturn a free and fair election, we don't have a whole lot of guidance as to what will happen next. We're even still sweating because nobody knows what's going to happen during the final (previously pro forma) step, when Congress meets to officially accept the results of the Electoral College votes. The basic law that covers all of this was written in the 1870s, and it is (according to legal experts) "incomprehensible" and contradictory. This law needs updating and it desperately needs clarifying, so that what Donald Trump attempted to do becomes an absolute impossibility in all future elections. Because as should be obvious and evident to all, the American electoral process is seriously overrated.

 

Trophy
   Most Underrated

Our winner of Most Underrated is related to that last item. Because what was Most Underrated (by Trump, especially) was the American judicial process. Judges were really all that stood between Trump overthrowing an election he clearly lost, and they did an admirable job of defending the Constitution.

We tend to think of judges as just being part of the "team sports" aspect of politics -- each time an obscure federal judge is named in the newspaper, there is an immediate reference to which president appointed him or her, for example. While this is true to a large extent for Supreme Court justices, most judges know full well their responsibility to basic law. They may lean one direction or the other, but few judges are going to make rulings which will be seen as destructive of the Constitution itself.

Which is why pretty much every judge involved in all of Trump's pathetic attempts to overturn an election in the courts laughed the cases right out of the courtroom. Even the Supreme Court, in the end, refused to hear the ludicrous Texas case unanimously.

Our judges -- appointed by not just Democrats and Republicans, but not a few of which were appointed by Trump himself -- were really the only ones in the whole sad saga who stood up for what was right pretty much across the board. So the American judicial process is the clear winner for Most Underrated this year.

 

Trophy
   Predictions

Before we get to predictions for next year, as always we like to review our record from last year. The following list is from last year's column, where we tried to predict the outcome of 2020. So let's see how we did:

North Korea's Kim Jong Un delivers his "Christmas present" on either New Year's Day or the day after. Much to the surprise of many, this comes not in the form of an I.C.B.M. test but rather with another nuclear test explosion. Trump flails in response.

Trump's impeachment trial takes place in the Senate, and at the end of it four Republicans actually cross party lines to vote for Trump's removal. However, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia also crosses the aisle, leaving the final vote at 50-50. No tiebreaker is necessary, since the requirement is actually 67 votes.

Brexit finally happens. It is not as bad as some predicted, but it's nowhere near as good as the promises made to the British public. By year's end, there are political movements calling for a vote to leave the United Kingdom in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Trump loses in the Supreme Court over his stonewalling argument, and his income taxes are finally released and made public. What he was hiding turns out to be: (1) he's nowhere near as wealthy as he claims, and (2) Russian oligarchs do indeed hold the note on enormous loans to Trump, explaining his love for Putin.

More impeachable behavior is also uncovered after Trump aides are forced to testify before House committees. But Nancy Pelosi refuses to start a second impeachment proceeding, explaining that we're too close to the election to do so.

China continues to stifle free expression in sports, using the power of their gigantic market to do so.

And let's just close the list (and this article) out with our election predictions. Elizabeth Warren surprises everyone by winning Iowa. However, Pete Buttigieg comes in second and then wins the New Hampshire primary. Bernie Sanders pulls an upset in Nevada on the strength of the Labor vote, and then Joe Biden wins in South Carolina on the strength of the African-American vote. This leaves the field almost exactly where it is before the first four primaries, with no clear winner.

On Super Tuesday, Bloomberg does better than expected, but fails to win any state. In fact, in most states he fails to even meet the 15 percent mark, which leaves him with no delegates. He drops out within weeks, but does continue to run ads to help downballot Democrats and the party in general (while refusing to endorse any of the other candidates).

Slowly, the race narrows as Pete Buttigieg drops behind. Eventually Biden picks up his share of the voters, while Warren and Sanders continue to split the progressive vote. By the convention, though, Biden will have picked up enough delegates to secure the nomination.

Biden chooses Stacey Abrams as his vice presidential pick, which shouldn't really come as a surprise. Warren and Sanders would just reinforce how old Biden is, while Kamala Harris doesn't really bring much to the table (Biden needs no boost among African-American voters, and California is going to vote blue no matter what).

In November, Biden beats Trump like a drum by absolutely crushing him in the Midwest, just as he had predicted all along. In fact, Biden's victory is so big it even precludes Trump from claiming that "the election was rigged!" (which you just know he'd do if it is even remotely close).

However, I leave everyone with a truly terrifying thought -- what will Donald Trump be like as a lame duck? He'll have three months to sit and fume about his loss, and he's already proven he doesn't care a whit about the norms of expected presidential behavior, so the sky will be the limit for what he'll occupy his time doing. One prediction: he's going to pardon not only everyone from his administration currently in jail, but he'll also issue proactive pardons for every member of his family, including himself. Of course, this won't stop any of the state-level prosecutions....

Well, on the whole, we didn't do so hot this year. In fact, it's going to be a lot easier just counting up the ones we even got close to being right.

On the impeachment trial in the Senate, Mitt Romney voted to remove Trump on one of the articles of impeachment, becoming the first senator in U.S. history to vote to remove a president from his own party. But this fell far short of the five defections (four GOP and one Democrat) we had predicted.

Brexit will indeed happen this year, but only just (tomorrow). And the independence movement hasn't arisen, so on the whole we were wrong about this one, too.

Pelosi was smart enough to never again consider a second impeachment of Trump, so partial credit for that one, at least.

Joe Biden did win the Democratic nomination. Not as I predicted he would, but even so when I made these predictions not a single state had held a primary yet, so that's at least a partial point for me.

Trump isn't done yet with his pardons, but I bet this will indeed turn out to be right in the end and all his kids (and their spouses) will get a pre-emptive pardon.

So, as you can see, a pretty terrible record from last year. My crystal ball was on the fritz, or something. But in my own defense, I do have to point to an article I wrote in May which pondered what Donald Trump would do if he lost the election, which was a lot more accurate, in the end. Here are just a few excerpts:

What will Trump do if Joe Biden is proclaimed the victor on election night? Judging from past behavior, he's not very likely to gracefully concede defeat with a gracious phone call to Biden in the wee hours of the night. Instead, he will quite likely start blaming everything and everyone he can think of (other than himself, of course, since he can never do any wrong in his own mind). That's pretty much a given. But the real danger lies in whether Trump actually accepts the results as valid or not.

What if it does come down to very close margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania? Or, for that matter, any other combination of a handful of states where Trump loses (but not by that much)? The election is almost certainly going to be affected to some degree or another by the pandemic (which will hopefully be minor, but could possibly be major if a second viral outbreak wave is underway in the fall). This provides Trump a built-in scapegoat for any losses -- the election wasn't valid because his people somehow couldn't vote, therefore it must be thrown out or at the very least strenuously challenged in court. Democrats stole the election with all their fake votes, therefore Trump actually won. Anyone who cannot see either of these as possible outcomes just hasn't been paying attention to the last three-and-a-half years. Remember that right before the 2016 election took place, Trump was already teeing up all his conspiracy theories for why he lost. Turns out he didn't need to use them, but that didn't stop him from complaining about Hillary Clinton's clear popular vote victory, did it? He wanted everyone to believe that three million illegal immigrants decided to vote for Hillary, and thus he actually really won the popular vote. Remember that?

So what will he do if he loses this time around? The safe bet is that he'll throw a tantrum bigger than any he's thrown yet -- which is truly saying a lot, at this point. He'll latch onto one conspiracy theory or another (or possibly a whole bunch of interlocking conspiracy theories) which somehow explain how he managed to win a great victory even though his average job approval rating with the public has never topped 50 percent during his entire term in office. He may then demand that the entire Republican Party get behind his challenge of the election results, and he will almost certainly deploy legal teams to whichever states had the temerity to vote for his opponent. We may see multiple Bush v. Gore cases, all at once. And with Justice Fratboy now on the Supreme Court, any final legal result is possible.

. . .

Of course, all of this is sheer speculation, but it is not entirely baseless speculation. After all, with Trump, almost anything is possible. There is no political norm he is unwilling to destroy -- he's shown that over and over again. America prides itself on a peaceful transition of power after a national election, but this could be just one more thing Trump throws on the Dumpster fire to boost his own ego. When he is already lining up his scapegoats and excuses -- over five months before the election actually happens -- it's pretty easy to see that he's at least contemplating what he will do if he loses in November.

There's only one thing, at this point, that I would bet the farm on, and that is that if Trump is defeated by Biden (and if the courts back Biden's victory up no matter how many lawsuits Trump attempts), then Donald Trump will refuse to attend Biden's inauguration in person. He will sulk in the White House for his final hours as president, refusing to attend Biden's swearing-in. The last time a Republican president attended a Democratic inauguration (in 2009), George W. Bush was greeted by the crowd (which was enormous, by the way) with a spontaneous rendition of: "Na na na na / Na na na na / Hey hey hey / Goodbye!" One can only wonder how Trump will be greeted by Biden's inaugural crowd. There will doubtless be a lot of dancing in the streets, that much seems certain. Which brings up the real reason why I am certain Trump will not attend -- because Biden's crowd is quite likely to be a whole lot larger than the pathetic turnout Trump saw. And remember how annoyed Trump got at that? So why would he put himself through the humiliation of seeing with his own two eyes what size crowd Joe Biden pulls?

Of course, I hadn't really thought through what the crowd would be like if we were still in the depths of a pandemic, but everything else is pretty spot-on, wouldn't you say?

In any case, even though my record from last December was pretty dismal, it's not going to stop me from making several bold predictions for 2021! So buckle up, here we go.

Vice President Mike Pence will follow the law and (eventually, after plenty of shenanigans and Kabuki) declare Joe Biden to have won the election, in the first week of January. This will cause Trump to absolutely throw Pence under the bus, forever.

The Georgia special elections both go to the Democrats, giving Democrats razor-thin control over both houses of Congress (I am being more optimistic here than I actually feel, I should mention).

Trump will refuse to do all the niceties of the handover on Inauguration Day, and will not even attend Biden's swearing-in, for the very real and justifiable fear that an enormous crowd of people will boo and jeer and taunt him in a very public fashion. Instead, Trump will hold a late-morning rally which will compete for television ratings with Biden's Inauguration. Trump will lose this ratings battle, though, badly. Either that, or he just plays golf.

Trump will not actually announce his 2024 re-election bid in 2020 (due to campaign finance regulations that allow him to fleece his followers a lot more freely before such an announcement is made).

Fairly early in the year, Twitter permanently kicks Trump off for repeatedly violating their rules.

Melania Trump will file for divorce at some point during the year.

"Fiscal responsibility" makes a big comeback in the Republican Party, as they try to block everything Joe Biden wants to do. Biden's attempts at reaching across the aisle will bear little fruit, beyond perhaps some infrastructure bills.

Joe Biden will make great strides at building America's reputation on the world stage back up again -- rejoining things like the Paris climate agreement and the W.H.O., and resetting all our diplomacy to get tough on Russia and North Korea and (to a lesser extent) China.

The Republican Party will continue eating its own, as it devolves into "pro-Trump" and "pro-being-sane" factions. Trump will try to be "shadow president" from the sidelines, but without as much success as he now thinks.

On the Democratic side, the progressives will become increasingly frustrated because most of the items on their agenda will go nowhere. The Democratic majorities in Congress will just be too thin to pass big, bold bills.

Vaccinating everybody will take one heck of a lot longer than we are now being told, and this will give rise to a lot of resentment and bad feelings from groups of people who all think they should be at the front of the line.

Japan will throw in the towel and not actually hold the Olympics. The next games will take place in 2024.

OK, that's it for now! Maybe some of them will come true next year, maybe they won't. I'd dearly love to see that Georgia prediction happen, and we'll know that one sooner than all the rest.

Have a happy new year, everyone! And to end in true McLaughlin fashion, we say to all of you:

"Bye-bye!"

-- Chris Weigant

 

If you're interested in traveling down Memory Lane, here are all the previous years of this awards column:

2020 -- [Part 1]
2019 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2018 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2017 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2016 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2015 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2014 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2013 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2012 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2011 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2010 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2009 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2008 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2007 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]
2006 -- [Part 1] [Part 2]

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

72 Comments on “My 2020 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]”

  1. [1] 
    andygaus wrote:

    You're not predicting that Trump will be indicted for anything?

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    andygaus -

    I really think Trump is such a master of legal delay tactics that if it does happen, it won't be before 2022, at the earliest....

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Program Note:

    Man, I forgot one for "15 Minutes Of Fame":

    Lisa Desjardins' cat, for her adorable cameo (and VERY loud meow) in the middle of one of Lisa's zoom reports on the PBS Newshour.

    HOW could I have forgotten that one?

    :-)

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Whew! That's a lot of writing, and reading for us.

    And the upshot is:

    There has never been a president of the United States, or any other American politician at any level, so completely and utterly corrupt on moral, ethical, legal, financial, intellectual, cultural, racial, religious, political, and existential grounds, as Donald Trump.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Very nice!

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    Speaking of 2020 coming to an end, I just came across this at my favourite radio station and can't resist sharing...

    2020, 24 hours to go

    Comment if you get it! :)

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris[3],

    How, indeed! Heh.

    And, a very big CONGRATULATIONS on reaching another fundraising goal! You have an unbroken record in that department, no!?

  8. [8] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Chris,

    Destined For Political Oblivion

    and (most amusingly, from John From Censornati) Kanye West

    Nope. That was andygaus. I chose Mike Pence.

  9. [9] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    [6] I wanna be sedated.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Me, too.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just get me to the airport and put me on a plane. Hurry, hurry, hurry before I go insane.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Canada has just announced that all air travelers flying to our fair land must be accompanied by a negative COVID test.

    God help us.

  13. [13] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I saw them live quite a few times and all they ever did was play the same song over and over and over. lol

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Or, it just seemed that way. :)

  15. [15] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    a little disappointed that none of my nominations bore fruit. still, much respect to all your decisions, especially the scarcity of what i consider "cop-out" winners, like "the american people" or "physics." excellent explanations for all winners.

    JL

  16. [16] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Best Political Theater
    Naked Athena was awesome, but it was the sequence that cements us. She was followed by Navy Hero Dude and then the MOMS (don't mess with them, they'll ground you) and then, even, the Dads using leaf blowers to push chemical weapons away from the MOMS. Our people were special.
    FWIW, it'd been 40 yrs since I was last gassed. The stuff they used in PDX was more rude than what I was hit with way back in '81.

  17. [17] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Chris, another list that is as well-founded as it is thought-provoking.

    It will be interesting to see where the Republican Party goes in the coming months. Consider that many, many 'esteemed' Republicans publicly endorsed Biden. And yet, 74+ million voters decided they wanted to re-elect the 'Stable Genius'. If 'the base' is beholden only to Trump, where does that leave every other Republican elected official and state party apparatus?

    Also, too late for this column is the news that Dawn Wells died - of COVID-19 related causes. We can add "and Mary Ann" to the list of entirely-unnecessary deaths, because our President refused to publicly acknowledge a deadly virus in the early months of 2020.

  18. [18] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    On an unrelated note, if you haven't been introduced yet to Mrs Betty Bowers, this is the perfect opportunity.

    https://youtu.be/o0C7_c8ylvk

  19. [19] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    A very solid McLaughlin set to finish off the year!

    One miss: Operation Warp Speed. Trump supplied a snappy title to something he had nothing to with - and that very likely includes the snappy Operation Warp Speed label ...some staffer thought that up. Molecular Biology is responsible for the rapid rollout of vaccines. Trump’s genuine contribution to the battle plan was summer, sunlight and bleach. Pathetic and stupid. Trump’s Super Spreader Rallies helped spread the virus more quickly....and the virus didn’t even give him any money!...although it almost certainly crashed at his hotels.

  20. [20] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    That sound you hear in the distance is Ronald Reagan, rolling over in his grave.

    I love living here in Country-Cali but it's been four long years that we've been living with Reagan grave rolling noise pollution.

  21. [21] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    "Fiscal responsibility" makes a big comeback in the Republican Party, as they try to block everything Joe Biden wants to do. Biden's attempts at reaching across the aisle will bear little fruit, beyond perhaps some infrastructure bills.

    This is an "absolutely bet everything -- even your bitcoin -- in fact, bet even your Weigantia contribution" category bet!

    My question is, how effectively or ineffectively Democrats throw some version of "deficits are never an issue when Republicans give the wealthiest a tax cut. Let's return the top marginal rate to 91% if you're so concerned."

  22. [22] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    JK, Baby. You'll get my loot as soon as a check clears.

  23. [23] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    There is a fellowship that we eight billion humans share. It's fairly unique and fully due to these Covid times... but right now we're almost all thinking the exact same thing...

    "Whew! Thank Gawd that 2020 is finally over!"

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    indeed, let's balance the budget by making a few people choose between the yacht or the private jet - not by making a few million people choose between food, rent and medicine.

  25. [25] 
    James T Canuck wrote:
  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    well... okay then.

  27. [27] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    We can safely say we all have 2020 hindsight.

    a.Yup, she's a dynamo.

    2.Smarmy is spot on, cold as an undertaker, without the charm.

    c.Damn you, CW...three 4 three. A not objectionably fit naked woman will always win the day, given the chance, we'd all make love, not war'...

    4. So much choice, so little time.

    e. That and reportedly referring to servicemen/women as losers for putting themselves in harm's way for their country.

    6.Trump getting in his own way is the tale of the last four years... As we knew it would be. He's wrung about as much stupid out of his time in office as time allowed...

    g.Left-wing Fascists, take a bow.

    8. Without question, a double dip.

    i. The delightfully liberal idea of universal dosh, oh my.

    10. He's such a toad. How did this happen?

    k.Suppressing your own voters rarely augers well.

    12. For Trump, allowing Bob Woodward within earshot. Trump's scopolamine.

    m. Rip, Terry Jones, Sir Sean, Alex, Chadwick, Kirk...Vera, Chuck, and Dave...

    Send me a postcard, drop me a line
    Stating point of view
    Indicate precisely what you mean to say
    Yours sincerely, wasting away
    Give me your answer, fill in a form
    Mine forevermore
    Will you still need me, will you still feed me
    When I'm sixty-four?

    14. nuff said

    o.It was what it was/is.

    16. His first instinct is to lie, his second is to spin into a double-down.

    q.Yup, a profile in courage, to be sure. There's a few more recent, not quite matured truth-tellers among the GOP, Adam Kinzinger is growing on me.

    18. Cough...like this is even a catagory this year.

    s.see above

    20. People's common sense. Trump never really stood a chance here, he was universally loathed and never expanded beyond his base. Elections in the US seem to balance out up and down the ticket.

    u.Judges, once picked, need no favours.

    22. One each for Georgia, Moscow Mitch dances on a razor's edge. Trump kids dodge jail, Nunez closet egress, Lindsey butters up Biden, and Trump, the boil on the arse of American politics, retreats into the obscurity from whence he came.

    besto for things to come

    20/20 hindsight.

    LL&P

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @caddy,

    on reagan rolling in his grave: i'll give a link to dean blehert's commentary on his poem, written while reagan was still alive (but forgetting things). i couldn't find a link directly to the poem, so with apologies i'm re-posting it below. blehert is a wonderful poet and author, so i hope his words are generally appreciated.

    http://www.blehert.com/essays/onforgetting.html

    Lest We Forget - by Dean Blehert

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    An elephant never forgets, but this is
    personal, not political. We must make that distinction
    or all our politicians would be institutionalized
    for forgetting their promises.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    In his day he was called "Teflon" because
    nothing stuck to him; now even memory
    turns slippery.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    Nancy went to his birthday party without him.
    Was he missed? Probably not - so many people
    know how to "do" Ronald Reagan...

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    What was it he said about the dead storm troopers?
    That they, like those they killed, were victims?
    Was that a remembering or a forgetting?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He said Americans should be proud of being
    American. Was that a remembering or a
    forgetting?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He used to know a great many things by rote -
    that is, by heart, such as movie scripts, the
    speech he took on tour - who knows how much
    else he was or seemed to be was memorized,
    is now forgotten or comes back only
    in random bits?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He's forgotten about sending arms to Iran
    for hostages - if he ever knew. If he ever
    knew, he's forgotten he knew. He does not
    at this time recall. He may have been an
    honest man. If not, he is becoming one.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    Nancy is taking good care of him. If he were
    still President, probably we wouldn't be told.
    Would we notice?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He used to be a spokesman for General Electric:
    "Progress is our most important product!" - can
    you still say that? Come on...Progress...? Progress...?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He is - has always been - such an easy target.
    Now he's a sitting duck. It's not sporting to say
    these things. He suffers from a disease. It could
    happen to anyone. It could start at the top of
    our nation and trickle down to the rest of us.
    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    It's not so bad: He can still play golf with
    Hope. And now even his own children
    speak well of him.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He is loved and hated for wanting to shrink
    government, for failing to shrink government,
    for forgetting the poor, for remembering the
    rich, etc. He is loathed and adored for saying
    it is not evil for a person or nation to prosper
    and be strong. Now here's the odd thing: Nearly
    everyone hates or loves Ronald Reagan for something
    he said or is said to have said, and everyone
    is certain that somehow events have justified
    this love or hatred, but hardly anyone remembers
    (or ever knew) just what Reagan did or what
    came of it or how much of what has happened since
    came of it. Today's newspapers are already a gray
    blur. Tell me, who are these candidates really?
    Even our pain becomes unreal the moment our
    President feels it. What is the difference
    between such knowing and forgetting?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    He proved that an actor playing the role
    of a political leader is impossible to
    distinguish from a political leader. Is this
    something we should remember or forget?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    His baiting the Evil Empire and his "Star Wars" plan
    were so stupid that maybe they ended the Cold War.
    Lebanon, Libya, Grenada... His idiotic economics
    brought us huge economic expansion - or was it
    ruin? Or was that because of the liberal congress?
    O listen, I can't think with such stuff. I remember
    only "Doonesbury" and that full forelock awaft on
    helicopter wash that drowns out his smiling voice.
    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    Does he still have a full head of hair? Does
    Nancy tint it? Does he stammer more now, quaver,
    jowls shaking? Can he still grin that grin?
    Is there anything he must forget to be able to grin
    that grin? Is he cheerful about forgetting?
    Can he joke about it? Isn't Ronald Reagan
    a pretty good guy? Nicer than Nixon, anyway?

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    Even as we speak Ronald Reagan is forgetting
    things. There is so MUCH to forget! He has
    just this moment forgotten "Where's the
    rest of me?" and now he's forgotten preferring
    to be in Philadelphia...and there goes "There
    you go again!" But there is more -
    so much more to forget.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    We, too, are alive but forgetting things.
    "Surveys show that 60% of those under 18
    don't know..." - that we fought in Vietnam,
    that we didn't win in Vietnam, who Roosevelt
    was or Truman or Ike (Does anyone remember
    Gerald Ford?) - and one-year-olds have
    forgotten almost everything, though some
    have remembered how to grin that grin.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    And us? With each new miracle drug, we forget
    all the earlier miracle drugs that are now
    called evil drugs. We all know that things
    have always been the way things are and so
    must always be so.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    If we can forget fast enough, we will, at last,
    be able to live in the eternal present, having
    no past nor future - 100% guilt-free,
    without plans, budgets, debts or regrets.
    Someone will take care of us - maybe the Government,
    for hasn't the Government always taken care
    of the People? Ronald Reagan, of course, preached
    self-reliance, but Ronald Reagan probably
    isn't allowed to go for a walk alone now
    lest he get confused - all those Pacific Palisades
    mansions look pretty much alike.

    Ronald Reagan is alive but forgetting things.
    Soon we will forget Ronald Reagan. It is said
    that what we forget we must repeat. We will
    forget Vietnam (he helped us) and have to do it
    again. We will forget the Holocaust and have
    to do it again. We will forget slavery and
    have to do it again. We will forget religious
    intolerance and racism and ignorance and greed
    and cruelty and have to do them again. We will
    forget ourselves and have to do them again.
    We will even forget forgetting and have to
    forget again. And so we will have to do
    Ronald Reagan again. He will die and be forgotten,
    but when we need him, once again Ronald Reagan
    will be alive for us, forgetting things.

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Very nice, Joshua.

    I hope we don't forget how to deal with a virus before it causes an epidemic or pandemic and have to go through all of this again.

  30. [30] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    we kind-of just did.

    @cw,

    here's another blehert title, directed straight at the management.

    http://www.blehert.com/bookstore/catbook.html

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, we are still in the learning stages and middle stages of this pandemic so it's never too late to learn how to prepare for the next .

    There is hope ...

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris will love that!

    I used to be a cat person, too ... Fluffy and, later, Boots. Heh.

    An early childhood memory, fairly vivid ... Fluffy came home one day, all bloodied ... was in a fight, I guessed and knew just who with ... then that other cat from a neighbour house down the road appeared and I started yelling at it and then chased it, with a broom, down our driveway and down the street ... all the while with Fluffy running beside me as if to say, what on earth do you think you're doing!

  33. [33] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Mtn Caddy-
    It seems you have not been sober for several days now.

    Hope you enjoyed yourself and are able to recover.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    I just discoverd a beautiful voice and will highlight it at the next CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party.

    Let's make it a night of new discoveries ...

  36. [36] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Trump’s call to Georgia’s Sec. of State on Saturday BEGGING him to just give Trump one more vote than Biden’s totals so he can stay President!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-transcript-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/2768e0cc-4ddd-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html

    Listen to the recording if you get a chance... it is outrageous!

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @russ,

    that's behind a wpaywall. care to quote the relevant paragraphs?

    JL

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You could always just watch CNN. :)

  39. [39] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    My takeaway is that somehow this is all still being done with a straight face. It's not just a fund raising scam, they really do still believe they're going to overturn the results of the election.

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That's how I read it, too.

    There have been dozens of court cases lost and election certifications by Republican administrations and even a Supreme Court case - decided by all nine justices, three of whom were appointed by Trump - that have gone against the president and his claims of vote fraud but, apparently, that is not enough for the president and many congressional Republicans.

    If it wasn't so distressing on its face, it would be laughable.

    My takeaway is that there are many Americans, half the country, perhaps, who see this very differently from most of us. I wish we had someone among our group who could help us understand how America moves forward from here without tearing itself apart.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It would be very easy for discussions here to become destructive and we have all surely seen how futile that can be. It's important to be mindful of that and try very hard to make sure that this excellent political blog remains a constructive force and a place where all viewpoints can be expressed and debated with respect - even given what is happening now, especially given what is happening now!

    It would be nice to see more diverse voices here who help us dig deeper into what it is that is really dividing Americans and whether finding common ground or even an agreed upon starting point can be found in the wake of all that has happened over the course of the last four years and, indeed, over the last many decades.

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    it would be laughable if it weren't so damn scary.

    what does it take to get all surviving former defense secretaries (including cheney and rumsfeld of all people) to have to write a letter to the military not to get involved in politics. admirable that they all signed on, but what does it say about our military that such a letter is even necessary?

    JL

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    according to CNN it was cheney's idea.

  44. [44] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (41)-
    More diverse voices would be good. But this blog cannot remain a place where all viewpoints can be expressed and debated with respect. It would have to become a place where all viewpoints can be expressed and debated with respect before it can remain that way.

    When I first came here in 2015 there was much more diversity. At the time CW was writing with a different outlook, saying things about Bernie and willing to consider exploring new ideas and approaches. This attracted a more diverse collection of voices.

    But after Hillary secured the nomination in 2016 CW became (or returned to being) an establishment big money Deathocrat cheerleader.

    CW allowed the Deathocratic cheerleader commenters to attack the diverse voices and even punished at least one of those diverse voices for fighting back while not even acknowledging the attacks of the Deathocratic cheerleader commenters.

    And commenters like you remained quiet or just went along with it as if it was okay.

    It's up to CW to write more diverse articles instead of just the Deathocratic party line bullshit which will bring in a more diverse mix of commenters and up to commenters like you to encourage CW to do so. And you should speak up when trolls like Kick and Listen attack other commenters and do not engage in respectful debate.

  45. [45] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Speaking of respectful debate-

    Are you sober yet Mtn Caddy?

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, Don, I think we can all be better when it comes to respecting diverse viewpoints and calling out the opposite.

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    Yeah, it was Cheney's idea.

    And, many Americans - perhaps half the country - have grown disenchanted with Republicans like Cheney and the rest of the Republican and Democratic co-signers.

    So, where does that leave us?

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don,

    I think we have a pretty good forum here that is more open to diverse views than most political sites, to start with.

    What would make it better is if we would all try to challenge our own viewpoints and ways we go about discussing things and try to understand where other viewpoints are coming from.

    This is how we find common ground and a basis for constructive debate and discussion.

  49. [49] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    That all sounds wonderful.

    But it depends on commenters actually wanting to find common ground and engage in constructive debate and discussion as their purpose for commenting.

    And in some instances common ground is not possible. There is no common ground between believing the big money two party charade that the Deathocrats and Republikillers are opposition parties and not partners working together for the big money interests and recognizing the reality of that deception.

    That would be like trying to find common ground between believing the sun and the rest of the universe revolve around the earth and the reality of our solar system and universe.

    Debate and discussion that does not recognize reality is not constructive.

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don,

    I think there is more common ground among people of all political stripes when it comes to the corrupting nature - perceived or real - of big and dark money in politics that both parties are a part of.

    I think there is a lot of common ground around the notion that the challenges - domestically and internationally - that are of most importance to all of us and our planet may not be met so long as special interests and big money interests have such a strong hold on political parties and politicicans.

    I think that is a pretty good starting point for a reality-based discussion and debate here at Chris's blog and one which would certainly attract newcomers of all political persuasions to these comments sections and we would all be the richer for it.

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I also think that the more we can avoid name-calling, the better will be the chances for enlightened discussion and debate. I'm just saying ...

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Trump goes against the grain. That can be very attractive, despite all of his antics. Most people simply discard the crazy stuff and focus on the basic stuff.

    Trump didn't lose this election by a lot. And, if he wasn't his own worst enemy he could easily have been re-elected.

  53. [53] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [45]

    I haven't forgotten about you, Don. I have been burried in tax work since before the first and I've got to get on top of it before I address your substantive arguments in favor of One Demand, so be patient.

    Nope, wasn't a bender worthy of the name.

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hope you get that tax work done before Sunday night! :)

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's going to be a special evening of music that we have newly discovered, not necessarily new music ...

  56. [56] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    [39][40][48]

    Here's some common ground that we should all be able to agree on: Fat Donny is a good con man.

    Since the only apparent defense for the crime he committed on that tape is to plead insanity and say he believes his own lies, I'm sure he's pleased to know that you believe that he believes.

    Everything he says is a lie. Everything.

    As far as "they" goes, cult members don't use critical thinking. They do what they're told.

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, JFC, we won't get far, let alone to a better place, if we continue to use labels and generalize about who 'they' are.

    If we can't show a little respect for each other at a site like this, then what is the point of our being here?

  58. [58] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "They" count on people like you giving them the benefit of the doubt that "they" don't deserve.

    Who exactly do you think JL was referring to when he said: "they really do still believe they're going to overturn the results of the election."? That's the "they" I'm referring to. It's pretty clear to me who/what Mark Meadows is. I don't know who else was on that call with them, but it isn't a generalization to call them criminals and cult members at this point. It's the eyes wide open truth.

  59. [59] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    In addition, Republican voters will show their true colors tomorrow. "They" don't believe Fat Donny's lies. "They" are lying when they say "they" do. "They" will show up and vote.

  60. [60] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i was referring to donald and his 33% hard-core supporters. that's "they" from where i sit.

  61. [61] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    Respect is earned.

    It is earned in part by recognizing reality.

    While people may agree that big money is problem, many refuse to accept the reality that politicians such as Trump, McConnell, Pelosi, Biden, etc. are corrupted by big money despite the ample and undeniable evidence. (For just one of many examples- around 350,000 citizens dead and many more severely affected by the pandemic)

    Pointing out that supporters of both divisions of the corrupt big money cult is no different than a supporter of one division of the cult pointing out hoe supporters of the other division of the cult are in a cult- other than being more accurate.

    And cults are made up of some people that know they are in a cult and manipulate others that are true believers.

    And using Deathocrats and Republikillers is not name calling- it is just being accurate in recognizing reality. (again see the 350,000 dead citizens)

  62. [62] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    i was referring to donald and his 33% hard-core supporters

    So, you actually believe that tens of millions of people are dim-witted enough to believe that the presidential election result will be over-turned? Like they're just generally cult members who believe everything Dear Leader tells them?

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    JFC,

    I'm just saying that there are a lot of Americans who don't like the Republicans or the Democrats and they saw and still see something in the way Trump operates that they like and that they think will make America strong.

    For me, the common ground is that I want to see a strong America, too. I think the world needs strong American leadership. The question is how does America provide that leadership and that is what is worth discussing.

    I think we sorely need people here who can present clear arguments about America's global leadership and why they supported Trump on that basis, for example.

    Even if people who believe the 2020 presidential election was compromised should be welcomed here and treated with respect - and be presented with cogent arguments that lay out a persuasive case that there was not substantial vote fraud in this election.

    My point is that if America is going to work towards a less divisive and mean-spirited politics then voices from all sides need at least to be heard in a respectful manner and allowed to make their case in a forum like this.

  64. [64] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Don-

    Respect is earned.

    Yes it is. Something you have yet to do with most commenters here.

    It is earned in part by recognizing reality.

    Completely agree. You might want to have a serious look in the mirror on that one...

    ...are corrupted by big money despite the ample and undeniable evidence. (For just one of many examples- around 350,000 citizens dead and many more severely affected by the pandemic)

    ...ample and undeniable evidence...

    With "ample and undeniable evidence", you should be able to post some of it finally, yes? Or is this more like Trump's election shenanigans, all boast, no follow through?

    I'm going to call bullshit in the covid deaths unless Can you come up with a reasoned argument on this? I think covid deaths have nothing to do with money in politics and everything to do with Trump disassembling anything he can of Obama's, in this case the white house pandemic response team, and feeding his poor judgement on re-election strategy. If Trump had advocated mask use, stood back and let Fauci handle it, then made a mint selling the MAGA crowd branded face masks, we would likely be in a completely different situation. Trump would have also likely won re-election. There is a single reason we are not in line with the rest of the world on covid mitigation, and that reason is named Trump.

    And cults are made up of some people that know they are in a cult and manipulate others that are true believers.

    And which are you of your cult of one?

    I mean you have become a perfect example of what a left wing Trumpateer would look like. You even fit the demographic.

    On a plus side, Netgear armor has finally let you out of it's internet purgatory. 6 months is a pretty big screw up in controlling a website.

  65. [65] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Bashi-
    I have earned respect.

    But people in cults that do not recognize reality do not give respect when it is earned because they do not recognize reality.

    No matter whether I am looking in a mirror or not I am accurate in my description of reality.

    I have repeatedly posted evidence and when I do you ignore or dismiss it.

    For someone that diligenly posted the numbers of covid deaths before the election you sure seem to have changed your tune now.

    The economic relief in the spring was heavily favored toward the big money interests and contained only some crumbs for ordinary citizens. Even the Deathocrats admitted at the time by saying this is just the first step and more will coming over the summer. It never came and both parties had a hand in it.

    There are plenty of articles that clearly explain this. If you haven't seen them it is because you use your Netgear armor to shield yourself from this kind of information. Funny how that six months coincided with the election.

    I am not in a cult of one.

    I am not deceiving anyone. I am just pointing out reality.

    Two things that are not in any way a cult and are in fact just the opposite of what a cult like the Deathocratic/Republikiller big money cult does.

    Yes Trump could have been better on masks and pandemic response and Biden could have spoken up about delaying the Wisconsin primary but did not for purely political reasons because a delay might have benefited Bernie.

    Pelosi could have done much more to get more relief. She could have pushed for BMI. She could have not stopped 1200 dollars before the election just because Trump wanted to put his name on a check.

    We could have used other approaches like the paper strip test that lets people know when they are shedding the virus and used that to slow the disease back in the fall while waiting for a vaccine. But we didn't because then if the disease began to get under control without the much more expensive and much longer to implement vaccine(s) were ready, how could we justify spending all the money on the vaccine(s)?

    There may not be a smoking gun evidence trail, but this happens so often on so many issues that it is just not feasible to explain it away as coincidence.

    That is why 80% pf citizens and a majority of Republikillers want the big money out.

    It is why a majority of Biden voters said they were NOT voting FOR Biden but AGAINST Trump. (I posted that.)

    We can do better and the first step is recognizing reality and leaving the cult.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.

  66. [66] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @jfc[62],

    yes... and... ?

    JL

  67. [67] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Don,

    I have earned respect.

    Really? That does not come through in the comments. Opposite actually...

    No matter whether I am looking in a mirror or not I am accurate in my description of reality.

    Well, you certainly think you do. The rest of us, not so much. You have been here for what? 6 years? How many candidates have met your requirements? Zero. How many supporters do you have? According to your website: 4. Didn't it used to be 10? Wow, just bowled over by your success!

    For someone that diligenly posted the numbers of covid deaths before the election you sure seem to have changed your tune now.

    Really? How? At the time I gave my reasons I thought the US response to the pandemic was bad. That has not changed. At all.

    Pelosi could have done much more to get more relief. She could have pushed for BMI. She could have not stopped 1200 dollars before the election just because Trump wanted to put his name on a check.

    And do you have anything to indicate McConnell would have even considered the bill? It's all nice that you want Pelosi to pass all these bills but if the support does not exist in the Senate and with the President or it can be negotiated through reconciliation with a senate bill it's just a waste of time to feed your base...

    That is why 80% pf citizens and a majority of Republikillers want the big money out.

    But even if that statistic is true it does not mean they would find your answer the correct one.

    We can do better and the first step is recognizing reality and leaving the cult.

    But that would require you learn web tech, update your website and give a reason for people to visit. We all know you won't do that. Hell, the link in your user name still goes to vouchervendetta and that change is easier than hitting the refrigerator for munchies.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Put down the bong. Get to work.

  68. [68] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @bashi,

    i think there's a bit of a disconnect as to how respect is earned. most people would respect a credential, a degree, having run a successful business, or having experience in political campaigns or activism.

    now where's kick with that quote?

  69. [69] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    nypoet22-

    I generally agree, but I think respect in context of a forum comments section also comes from making coherent arguments and backing them up, not to mention a certain level of decorum. I don't have to agree to earn my respect, but backing your stuff up is critical. Michale, pre-Trump, had my respect even though I rarely agreed with him because he used to at least try to back up his arguments and they used to be more or less coherent. This last year or so as he declined, not so much. Don on the other hand...

  70. [70] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    yes... and... ?

    . . . and you probably need to get out of NY for a change.

    Fat Donny knows that he lost and that it's not going to change. He needs to be able to say that he would have won had he not been cheated. His cult members are willing to get COVID and die for him, but they're not confused about who will be president on January 21st.

  71. [71] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @jfc,

    have you read some of the articles on conservative outlets? they may not think it's LIKELY that the election will be overturned, but they do think it's possible, and they are still hanging on to that hope.

    JL

  72. [72] 
    Kick wrote:

    nypoet22
    68

    i think there's a bit of a disconnect as to how respect is earned. most people would respect a credential, a degree, having run a successful business, or having experience in political campaigns or activism.

    Don Harris is an advertisement here, and there is no respect for advertisements here because this website is purportedly "ad-free"... except in "reality," it isn't ad-free as long as Don Harris is allowed to advertise his bullshit here without abatement.

    now where's kick with that quote?

    I have none of the credentials normally listed in a bio. No degrees, no years of running a successful business and no experience in political campaigns or activism. I am simply an average person that has been working and living at survival mode. But I have the only credentials that I believe really matters. I am a citizen and I have an idea that may improve our political system. ~ Don Harris

    So to recap:

    There is no respect here for:

    - Advertisements
    - Self-described "average" people claiming their nonexistent superior knowledge regarding.

    :)

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