We have too many elections. Nothing can be accomplished because there is always an election which means that the political needle could tip in the other direction. This incentivizes the group that is out of power to block the group in power from setting policies that they find unacceptable.
As elections become ever more expensive, and we tend to read campaign contributions as votes, the stakes are higher and higher. A party that wants to use grassroots financing faces enormous challenges. They cannot talk to their constituents about policy without asking for a donation and they are not actually seeking opinions, only dollars. The grassroots campaign is competing against campaigns funded by corporations and millionaires and billionaires and, although their goal is to put elections back in the hands of the people, the campaigns that don’t accept big donors find it hard to win.
Today the media reports that the GOP spent 8 million dollars on a candidate in a local election in Maryland who is highly unlikely to win, and half the money went to a single firm.
Changing terms and setting term limits would not be easy since these are constitutional matters and would require amendments. Amendments require high levels of congressional agreement and national backing which are probably impossible for any metric to reach right now with our nation split about 47-41 and some voters choosing to abstain.
Setting all terms at six years might fix the problem of always being in an election cycle. Washington pundits, with their deep interest in all things election-related, offer up the common ‘wisdom’ that the first 100 days of any presidency are the most important, that nothing can get done after 2 years into a term, and now we have all have learned that Supreme Court justices are subject to different limits depending on which party is in charge. If the Democrats try to fill an empty Supreme Court seat a year out from an election is too late, but if you are a Republican there is no time limit at all. If a President served for six years would we get more bang for our buck? Suppose that a President could only serve one term.
We could elect Representatives to the House for six year terms and stagger who’s running like the Senate does, 1/3 every six years. We could limit Representatives and Senators to two terms of six years. This would allow more Americans to serve the public and it would not allow career politicians to claim ownership in our legislature. Even the Supremes could have shorter terms. There are so many qualified people to fill all these seats.
Finally we could do that thing that is brought up all the time and then discarded as impossible. We could ditch the electoral college, especially now that politicians are trying to turn it into a numbers game. It always gave elites an edge, now it gives an edge to cheaters. It is an outdated tactic to block uneducated people from choosing bad leaders, that is now being used by supposedly well educated people to choose bad leaders.
The issue of voter suppression is once again before the Supreme Court as legislation tries to put the starch back in the Voter Rights Act with John Lewis’s posthumous bill to restore the preclearance section of the act. Also before the court are various voter rules passed in some states to make it harder for minorities to vote. Some states wish to abolish vote by mail, some want no voting on Sundays to put the kibosh on Souls to the Polls activities which help minorities get out the vote, some states still want voter ID laws and the creative ways to block liberal votes go on and on. Republicans get an A for innovative vote blocking nastiness, but an F for fair and free elections. Clearly here is a chance for all those right wing justices to pay some of their dues to their GOP overlords. We’ll see.
Would shifting the message from killing votes by a thousand cuts to changing terms and term limits stop the GOP from messing with voting rights? IDK. The ERA amendment has been around for many decades and still catches our attention from time to time. We could try composing and proposing an amendment to change the language on terms and term limits and keep that beach ball up in the air for a few decades until it has the votes required to amend the Constitution.
I am announcing that my new novel 2028: Trump at Guantanamo by NL Brisson has just gone live on Amazon.
This is a Trumpian fantasy which takes place in the future. It imagines what might have happened if Trump had won in 2020, if he wins again in 2024. It is fiction and it is meant to be enjoyed. Although Trump’s policies are reflected in the content, the actual policies the story describes are extrapolations. You might enjoy meeting Cyborg Trump with a half metallic head prosthesis. He selected two wigs to wear. He wears them under a MAGA hat. See which wigs he chose. Come join Melania, Trump, Barron, Ivanka, and Jared at Guantánamo. It is a fun revenge fantasy.
Calling all oil and gas men and women. You have the stuff we need. You know energy science. You are risk-takers. You like big bucks. I don’t understand why you are throwing in your lot with a dying industry. These days present a golden opportunity. You could be the new energy barons.
Sad that our best and brightest energy people have been enlisted into the energy wars by our oily overlords. These gas bags have you fighting to preserve energy’s past, rather than offering grants that would allow you to earn your own fortunes (and theirs) while creating new energies. You may be well paid, but these folks you work for are billionaires.
Not only do you oil and gas people know energy, you know money. You understand supply and demand, you understand how to be where the money is. But those petrodollars have been more unstable recently. Of course, fortunes may rise when this global pandemic ebbs, but the climate change you deny will persist. Eventually we will have to drastically lessen fossil fuel use. You could be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You could be heroes, not objects of our ambivalence (or worse). You could be in the forefront, rather than being the rear guard.
This week Texas froze, not for the first time, but this time the cold snap has outlasted their power grid. There sits all that oil and gas, all those refineries. It’s the age-old dilemma of those stranded at sea with no fresh water. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Except, it’s fuel, fuel everywhere but not a good delivery system.
And then you have that Republican mayor you elected who said that survival is up to each individual and only the strong will survive. We do not live in a socialist country he tells us. Your government will not save you.
And there we have it, we can’t drink oil and gas, we can no longer get water without electricity. We have put everything in pipes. If those pipes don’t have pumps we have nothing. All the old springs where people used to take containers to fill with water have been capped because it made road maintenance harder, or because it became valuable to sell water. Big money comes now from selling fresh water encased in throwaway plastic.
So this mayor thinks nothing of people, people who are his people, who are freezing in their homes for days on end, piling on clothing and blankets. He doesn’t care that their refrigerators will no longer keep their food safe to eat. He doesn’t mind one bit that most new stoves, even gas stoves, need electricity to function. He’s not worried that stores and restaurants have had to close so takeout may not be an option. Two people in his city die trying to use their car for heat, that’s their problem. Where are the FEMA trucks with the water? Where are the heated shelters? This is America without any safety nets. This is small government and every man/woman for him/herself. Of course some of these ‘people’ are children.
We’re not going to beg; but clearly we need all the engineers, all the physicists, all the laboratory scientists, all the builders and designers and planners, all those who understand how to run manufacturing businesses, all the inventors, and patent lawyers. You can either kill the planet or you can save it. If you help create the switch-over to new energies that saves the planet you could be the new tycoons. If you were even to find a way to allow global use of fossil fuels without climate repercussions you would probably end up famous. Creating better batteries would put gold in your pockets. Perhaps we are begging, but we’re not expecting you to work for free.
Disclaimer: Trump at Guantanamo is a Trumpian Fantasy. It is fiction. Although Trump is the main character, this is a hypothetical Trump, based on the real one, but since the story takes us to the year 2028, and since the author cannot actually know the future, this is just a projection of a man who already keeps reinventing himself. Perhaps a warning, perhaps simply because she can’t help herself, this story insists on being told.
Day 2, Guantanamo
Melania, determined to keep up appearances, got fully groomed and dressed before she wandered downstairs but she was still the first one up. There were all their portable possession piled up in the foyer. She separated her things into a pile near the pedestal table. She picked out a few outfits to wear in the coming days, hung them on the pegs off to the side of the foyer until she was ready to go upstairs again and made her way to the kitchen. It was looking like the kitchen would be a popular room for gathering, although they were not normally a gathering type of family. They usually operated more like billiard balls on a pool table, bouncing off one another and coming to rest in their separate corners.
Barron was the next person to arrive in the foyer. (person, man, woman, camera, tv) He found his stuff and moved it to the blank wall in the foyer. He decided to come back later to see if there was anything he needed. Then Barron continued on to the kitchen.
Melania was trying to find the proper kitchen appliance for making coffee. Were there any of those pod things? Was there any ground coffee? Where were the sugar substitutes? Was she humming, Barron wondered, as he entered the kitchen? Well, that was new. Was his mom a secret housewife? But Melania kept getting distracted by other discoveries as she worked on getting a coffee service together. She was distracted by taking stock of the pantry, by looking out the window over the sink, by a flock of parrots in a stand of palm trees, by the pastries someone had left on the counter in the pantry.
Fortunately, Ivanka wandered in and took charge of the coffee endeavors. Ivanka had more recent experience in kitchen tasks, although not much as the kitchen staff usually took care of such matters. Her children were younger than Barron though, so sometimes Ivanka had done kitchen duty.
Barron placed the pastries on the island, and set about finding coffee mugs, filling a creamer he found, and setting out the sugar cubes and fake sugar packets. He found some paper plates and added them, and he turned some paper towels into napkins. Looking over the pastries he picked a glazed apple fritter and started to devour it. This family, except his father, was not a pastry family. His mother and Ivanka both rarely ate anything worth mentioning. Donald was not supposed to indulge in sugar but to stop him they would have to hide all traces of the pastries before he joined them. Barron could tell that everyone would treat themselves for this one strange morning.
Donald came downstairs bellowing. “Where the fuck are we? Where is everyone? No one came to wake me up. There is no radio, no TV. I’m the United States President. Where’s my body man?”
They could tell when Trump arrived in the foyer because he was quiet for a few seconds. Then came the explosion, “What is all this crap? Someone clean up this mess?”
No one stopped eating and the coffee was now ready so mugs were being filled, although no was willing to be the first one to taste the coffee. Trump found the kitchen by smell and started ranting some more. “Melania, why didn’t you wake me? You need to clean up that mess near the front door.”
“Donald, sit down,” soothed Melania, “you can have a pastry this morning. Here’s your coffee.” The coffee had apparently passed the taste test.
“I don’t want coffee. Are there any Cokes in the refrigerator? Someone prepare one for me”, he looked around at who was present and reluctantly added a “please”. He was handed his Coke in a glass, no ice.
Jared, just entering the kitchen thought, ‘oh, oh, this patient version of Melania will not last. She does not like taking orders and she doesn’t like domestic labor.’ He wasn’t even sure what Melania did all day. He took a seat at the counter by an unclaimed mug and Ivanka filled it with coffee. Jared hid his shock and offered up a thank you instead of a cynical remark. ‘What was happening to this family? Maybe isolation was going to bring them closer together. Of course, it was only day two,’ Jared thought as he reached for a pastry.
“What should we do today?” Ivanka asked. “I want to go for a walk, and then maybe a swim. Anybody up for that?” Ivanka had found a note in her pile of possessions that said she would see her children soon. She was happy about not having to keep fighting with their ghost hosts about this.
“I think I might take one of those golf carts and go play a few holes,” Jared said, “Dad, do you want to go?”
“Someone has to help me get dressed,” Trump grumped.
Barron surprised himself and everyone else once again by volunteering to help Trump sort himself out. “Then Dad and I will both go golfing with you, Jared,” Barron added.
Everyone cleaned up the kitchen, except Donald, of course, and retreated to their rooms to dress for their planned activities. Melania had to make another deep dive into her belongings in the foyer to pull out exercise clothes and a swimsuit. She also grabbed the outfits she had hung on the hooks and this time she took the elevator. Barron was already wearing casual clothes and, in fact, had thought to put his bathing suit on as his shorts. He trailed behind Donald into the foyer, helped him pick out appropriate clothing and by then the elevator was back on the first floor waiting for them. Fortunately, Donald did not need help grooming or shaving or even dressing. He simply did not know how to pick out an outfit to wear and he would sit down and never bother to get dressed at all if left alone. So, Barron ended up being sort of a cheerleader handing wardrobe items to his dad one at a time.
Barron and Donald picked up their golf bags from the foyer on their way out. The ladies were just leaving also and Jared was already sitting in a golf cart. Barron and his dad climbed aboard another golf cart and the guys left for the course. Melania and Ivanka set off on a brisk walk but soon slowed down. It was really hot. If they wanted to walk fast they would have to get up earlier. They didn’t stay on the perimeter road. They decided to walk the streets around the barracks and other buildings. The base was deserted except for them, and a bit eerie. It was sort of post-apocalyptic.
In a strange way the privacy was a welcome relief from the usual chaos that surrounded Donald Trump. Eventually they reached the pool by a circuitous route. There it sat with all the pool furniture around it like survivals of a nuclear disaster. They swam and stretched out and then repeated that pattern, hardly in a hurry since they had nothing else to do. Neither of them even had a book or a magazine. They did not intend to do any cleaning, their were no electronics, no movies to watch, no music to listen to. They might have been inclined to decorate the houses they were living in but there were no shops, no online buying, no Home Shopping Network.
“Next time we do this we’ll have to remember to bring water with us, said Melania.
“Let’s look in that pool house on the other side of the pool,” Ivanka said.
Sure enough, there was a mini fridge in the pool house with water and Coke and even some lovely green grapes. They took their loot back to their chaises and enjoyed the cool water in the pool for a while longer.
When Barron, Jared, and Donald arrived at the small golf course and started to play, they had a hard time adjusting their strokes to the new measurements; their balls traveled too far at first. After a while their perceptions obeyed the new dimensions. It was very hot though. They found a little air-conditioned club house at the fourth hole and it had a manly bar with all kinds of liquid refreshments and card tables equipped with cards, poker chips and dice. Trump grew expansive and tried to guess what was happening outside these walls in the Confederated States of America.
“Why did they have to rescue us,” he asked, “What was the danger? Everything seemed fine until they landed at Mar-a-Lago. Sometimes I wish I didn’t shut down Twitter. No one gave me any intelligence reports about unrest or resistance. We had our people everywhere. We would have known immediately if something was going on. This is all very strange,” Trump talked it all through as he paced the small club house.”
Then Trump lapsed from this super lucid state into exhaustion. “We had better head over to the pool and meet the ladies,” said Jared. “The women are probably lobsters by now.”
“Those two can take care of themselves,” said Barron. “Com’on Dad, let’s get in those golf carts.” Barron helped him along by putting an arm across his father’s shoulders.
The pool led back to their patio where the unlocked patio doors opened into the cool interior of the house. They left the golf carts parked on the patio.
“We all need showers,” Melania said, “I’ll be in the kitchen after I clean up.” So, they all kept moving past the very beige, beckoning furniture and went to their bedrooms. Barron followed his dad so he could put out some fresh clothing for him. His father was oddly compliant.
When they got to Trump’s bedroom Trump brightened up. “Look,” he said, “there’s a TV in here now. Where did that come from?”
Jared stuck his head in the room to see how his father-in-law was doing. When he saw the TV, he got a few goose bumps and the fine hairs on his arm rose. They were not alone he reasoned. Someone knew exactly what they were doing and the things that appeared in the house would only arrive when no one could see how they got there.
The whole thing felt a lot more like prison than it did like protection. Jared had spent lots of time in Iran which made him very aware of what a surveillance state was like. Hadn’t Trump set up a surveillance state in what used to be America? Of course, Jared, Trump’s right-hand man had helped him do it. Keeping track of how many white children were being born. Making sure that any minority children were spirited away with no records kept and each of the moms were imprisoned or sent into white families to serve as maids or nannies.
Jared did not want to think about some of the policies he had helped Trump implement. If there was a rebellion, and he had heard rumors that there was before they were hustled away from Mar a Lago, it’s possible the family would remain in this expensive ‘prison’ forever. Who knew where they were? Did they still have allies? Hell, he didn’t even know where they were. Would the Saudi King help them now? How about Netanyahu? How about Trump’s shady pals?
Trump had put a comfortable armchair in front the TV and he was happily watching the very sparse offerings, which seemed to be one news channel and one movie channel. Trump said, “tell Melania I’ll eat up here.”
“I’ll tell her,” promised Jared, but he hoped Barron was still in the mood to play good son, because he was pretty sure the duty would fall to him.
When Barron left Trump in front of the TV, arrived in the kitchen and told Melania about Trump’s expectations, he was given his mom’s evil eye.
“I think I’ll go up and have a talk with your father,” Melania said carefully controlling her emotions. Donald did not respond well to anger. You had to use psychology. Melania had tons of practice.
After a while Trump appeared in the kitchen cleaned and casually dressed followed by a grim Melania. It turns out that a TV had been placed in the kitchen also so the promise of both food and news had done the trick. In fact, there were TV’s everywhere now.
Outwardly peace reigned once again in the Trump family, but inwardly several family members had lost their peace of mind.
Disclaimer: Trump at Guantanamo is a Trumpian Fantasy. It is fiction. Although Trump is the main character, this is a hypothetical Trump, based on the real one, but since the story takes us to the year 2028, and since the author cannot actually know the future, this is just a projection of a man who already keeps reinventing himself. Perhaps a warning, perhaps simply because she can’t help herself, this story insists on being told.
The Trumps were not actually alone on this tropical island. Guantanamo was a naval base, but this one compound had been appropriated to the army. The President and crew were being monitored from a bunker inside one of the barracks that had once been occupied by enlisted soldiers. It was a big compound but there were not many barracks as the area had been mainly designed for officers. But officers needed underlings so there were several now empty barracks on the property. The bunker was inside a barracks building and did not stand out. Usually only one or two men pulled short duty assignments in the bunker.
There were computers but the building was shielded to prevent the Trumps from using phones or computers by connecting with the post wi-fi. The Trumps had their phones and Jared had an Apple watch but no computers had been packed. For the most part, the observation team (guards) listened to the families more than they watched. They really had no desire to see the sights they might see.
There were four men on the team so they could spell each other: John Bingham, Dwight Eisenstadt, Michael “Rocky” White, Nelson Court – code names – Swimmer, Old Man, The Rock and Rockefeller. Old Man was currently on duty while the family slept. He heard noises in the foyer of the main house so he went to video and watched the family’s possessions being unloaded. Then he saw the same activity in the junior house. No one in either house heard a thing as far as the Old Man could tell.
A meeting had been called for 0600 of all four guards and the commander. The commander was Colonel Harold Masters and no one was aware that he was a Trump sympathizer. It had never seemed very important until right now. But he intended to play it cool. He would try to win small concessions for 45. This meeting was about providing Trump with some closed-circuit in-house video while making sure no signals could go out. They couldn’t give him real news because the news was all about the rebellion and the new inhabitants of the White House. Perhaps they could find a soldier who could broadcast fake news several times a day. Trump without TV or social media would not be pretty. His frustration and boredom might actually kill him.
They met in the bunker although it was a bit crowded with the five of them. Master’s told them about the newest project “Operation Fake News,” a bit ironic, but the other men probably wouldn’t see it that way. He needed to find two soldiers who could patch together some TV programming; a mix of old movies and news shows they either invented or cut from old news broadcasts.
There was a tunnel underneath the barracks that went down from the bunker and then under the wall. This is the way soldiers from the base outside the wall were able to enter and exit the bunker. Food was wheeled in from the DFAC or “chow hall.” When it arrived, the Colonel ordered a breakfast break to give the men time to toss around some names.
Michael (The Rock) White thought that Daisy Mellon used to be stationed in Hollywood and did some work in the movie business. Michael was pretty sure that Daisy would know who else would be good for this project.
Breakfast over, they all took their original seats to see what else was on the agenda. It turned out that the Colonel was worried about Trump’s health. He said that he did not want 45 to die on his watch. Since NY had sent no doctor they would have to provide one from within their ranks.
He was hoping for someone who knew the brain and the circulatory system since Trump tended to have fairly frequent TIA’s. Nelson “Rockefeller” Court knew a doctor from his last posting who was at Guantanamo now. He thought he was a “heart” doctor. But his name was Hunter, Hunter Grant. Rockefeller reasoned his name might call up bad associations for the President.
“Well,” said the Colonel, “we can just call him Doc or Doctor Grant or we can find out his middle name and use that to introduce the doctor to Trump.”
“Let’s wrap this up and I will issue orders to these soldiers to see me and get the ball rolling. Thanks, men. Who’s on duty now?”
“I am, sir,” said Swimmer.
The Colonel rose, “Dismissed,” and a salute.
The Colonel’s salute returned, every one exited the bunker except for Swimmer.
Hanging out with President Barrack Obama has been a real trip through his early days in politics, campaigning for the Senate, his journey through the presidential primary in 2007, his presidential campaign and a win that will seem like a bit of magic and a truly historical accomplishment. Obama was both a black man and a young man, fairly new to Washington, but with a grasp of American hopes and a charisma that fueled his improbable election.
It took a while to finish Obama’s book, A Promised Land, but not because it wasn’t readable or revealing, just because there were so many things going on as the 2020 election unfolded and the events of January 6th shocked us all. I was actually blogging about politics all through the Obama administration because the opposition to him in the Republican party and in the media, especially the alternative media (Fox News, Talk Radio) became a constant stream of negativity. As a Democrat, I agreed with Obama’s politics, but setting that aside, the use of racist tropes and the shade cast on his every move jump-started my love of the underdog.
Obama’s book gives him space to reveal the thinking behind his actions as President and offers plenty of insight into foreign affairs, especially the upheavals in the Middle East, which perhaps grew out of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which Obama inherited but did not initiate.
After blogging for the past decade, I published some of my posts in a series of books entitled Loving America to Death and two omnibus editions which cover all ten years, including the Trump administration. Reading about the same events I wrote about with the new advantage of being, in a sense, inside Obama’s head and heart was similar to time travel. He discusses but does not dwell on the ACA. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the difficulty plugging that leak was something we both wrote about. Obama touches on Fukushima, the tsunami and the failure of the nuclear reactor. The dual track optics was so odd for me. We were observing the same events; me as a citizen sitting out here in the cheap seats, and Obama as the prime actor, the President of the United States.
Even if you don’t agree with Barrack Obama and you don’t like his politics and you think any of the dozens of complaints that were aired about him were true, it never hurts to spend time in someone else’s shoes. The memoir is personal, intimate, and informative and well worth the time it takes to read it. After all, it is our history.
Ten Republican Senators have come up with an alternative to Biden’s COVID Relief Plan. Biden has asked for $1.9 trillion in relief covering a number of areas where relief should help bolster the lives of individuals and the American economy. He explains that experts were consulted and they did the math.
Republicans are offering a bill that totals $600 billion in relief, less than 1/3 of the amount experts say is needed. They know of Biden’s desire to be bipartisan and they have cleverly played him. Now the media is on President Biden’s case, broadcasting everywhere that if he doesn’t give the Republican plan serious consideration, negotiate with them, and come up with a compromise that he will have thrown bipartisanship out the window from the get-go.
There is certainly the possibility of entertaining a different take on this whole charade. Susan Collins, who is leading the charge, all smiles because she loves the media attention, is hardly a trustworthy actor. She claims the high ground in proposing supposedly bipartisan legislation but she often backs down at crunch time.
Isn’t it also a bit humiliating to already question Biden’s ability to assess the needs of the nation? Doesn’t this ridiculously low ball offer reek of condescension? Aren’t Republicans, as always, painting Democrats as big spenders who don’t mind tanking the American economy? If you look back at our tanking economies they followed Republican administrations, and Democrats were stuck with turning the economy around every time. Real bipartisanship would be if Republicans were to come on board with the Biden plan in a show of confidence. They are not being bipartisan; they are being insulting.
It has been true through many administrations that every time Democrats came up with a solution for problems that plague the poorest Americans, the hard-working middle class, those who have suffered from disaster either natural or manmade, that the Republicans have doubted the American people’s honesty and have believed that some people would accept government aid forever (the deadbeats).
Republicans have made people go through complicated bureaucratic processes to take part in programs like unemployment, food stamps, and Medicaid, while attaching a stigma to those who had to make use of such programs. Republicans never approve the funding that would make such programs really effective. In the name of cutting costs and lowering the deficit they cut the funding enough to affect the outcomes of the programs. Then Republicans claim that government programs don’t work.
And so it goes with COVID relief. Offer a bare bones relief package that is too small to meet the needs of the moment and then use the ineffectiveness of Democratic legislation as a Republican selling point in the next election, or at least to prevent Democrats from being able to campaign on their successes.
The Republicans know how to play the media and they know that Biden might look bad if he doesn’t take the supposedly bipartisan bait. But this bait is just another poison pill, cheap bait that looks bipartisan but actually isn’t.
Republicans take every opportunity to sell Americans on believing that the American government bears no responsibility to take care of its citizens, even in a pandemic, and that starving both citizens and the economy will be better for our financial recovery than any assistance the federal government could offer. Republicans are not only insulting America’s new President. They are protecting their new ‘small’ government from the neediness of ordinary (not wealthy) Americans. You’re on your own, but it will be ‘bipartisan’. The Republican ‘relief’ plan is an offer Biden cannot accept, but it appears that he is damned if he does accept it, and damned if he doesn’t. That’s some kind of phony bipartisanship.
For at least a decade I have been writing about the escalation of unconstitutional behavior by the Republicans, and by unconstitutional I mean behavior that went beyond normal legislative battles and our usual political scrum
I don’t think I caught the very beginnings, but by the time I tuned in even someone like me, out here in the cheap seats in America, could see that things were getting a bit extreme. Glenn Beck’s rants about Obama told the story, the ones where he mentioned Hitler and Obama in the same sentence over 140 times according to a count by a journalist at The Washington Post. Rush Limbaugh talked to truckers through the long dark nights helping them express their anger over the employment and pension changes that had put hard-working middle class Americas at a sudden disadvantage, with, according to Limbaugh (and O’Reilly and Levin) minorities and then foreigners taking their jobs, and illegal immigrants taking their benefits, and Democrats to blame for all of it, because unions.
We watched the rise of the Tea Partiers indignant about deadbeats (also hyped by talk radio) using precious tax dollars and yet not paying any taxes; gaming the system so that they did not have to work, riding on the tattered coattails of the middle class. Then we watched the rise of rude behavior in Congress, Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham, interfering in House business, purposely mocking the business of government and those elected to govern; his disrespectful ‘crew’ acting like “Merry Pranksters” drowning the establishment in farce.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, when GOP legislators got the court to drop the preclearance section, the section that made states who had suppressed black votes clear changes to voting with the courts, voter suppression began in earnest. Obstruction had already become the overweening Republican strategy. The entire goal of the party seemed to be to prevent Democrats from getting elected in enough places that Republicans would be able to maintain control of the federal government.
From those days to the present day Republicans have stuck to these same derogatory and obstructive strategies and more. The reason there are so many all red states, with Republican governments and legislatures is because Republicans wooed them and won them. How much of a role did white supremacy play in their success? Hard to say; easy to guess.
This has been a ‘take no prisoners’ party for some time. They have taught frustrated Americans to blame Democrats, to demonize Democrats, to ‘own’ Democrats and they intend to destroy the Democratic Party completely. They are so close.
But, look what they have to do to make it so. They have to use hate, racism, misogyny, jealousy. The Republicans have to destroy democracy in the process, trash the republic they pretend to be protecting. They have to ignore rising violence. They have to love a President who did not have the least clue or desire to stop a pandemic from ravaging the nation. They have to act like insurrection is no big deal, and that there is nothing to see here.
Were there any Republican Senators who had to take shelter in the Senate as an armed mob rattled the doors and broke the windows and eventually cavorted in the well of the Senate, or were only Democrats terrorized? How can they pretend that insurrection doesn’t matter?
Their allies are millionaires and billionaires, corporate CEO’s and Evangelical big wigs who want to keep the oil and gas flowing, the oil and gas that lines their pockets with more and more money in order to help them win the big prize of being at the top of the Forbes list of richest men. They want to keep oil and gas flowing because they are too old and too unimaginative to picture how new forms of energy could be just as profitable.
Here we are then, what is one frightening insurrection fomented by a lame duck President who doesn’t want to lose his power and a few radical legislators who will act like they have done nothing wrong? Apparently it is nothing if you are a Republican.
Still, we wonder will one insurrection lead to another? Is all that anger gone in just one heady day of mayhem?
We are trying to reboot a saner government, but when only one party is trying we may fail. What will our country become if Biden fails? Clearly he will get no help from any Republicans. What can he do so that his actions won’t fail? The Republican message is very clear. So, we have to keep asking, can one party, very effectively obstructed by another political party, make headway that will strengthen our democracy/republic enough to save it, or will we become whatever it is that the Republicans want us to become.
They will not even change their course in the face of insurrection; of being attacked in their own safe spaces. It all has to do with their long term plan and they can taste victory. We all saw the disinformation campaign and the incitements happening in real time, and yet we could not stop the brainwashing. Can we deprogram those who were stirred up to commit mayhem and can we do it now at this crucial moment? Will Republicans really go so far as to embrace insurrection?
( I have written about this escalating anti-democratic behavior in my books Loving America to Death by N. L. Brisson available on Amazon.)
This is an excerpt from Part 2 of a Trumpian Fantasy that is set in the future (2028).
Where Are We?
When the army helicopter landed in the officer’s compound at Guantánamo, the Trump family seemed dazed. They relieved Donald of the strait jacket, which the 10 th Army Division had told him was needed to protect him from Antifa. He wandered around the landing area like the bewildered old man that he was. The meds they gave him to keep him calm when they removed the strait jacket had kicked in and contributed to his disorientation. But, thankfully, he was docile.
Melania moved off in the opposite direction from Donald, turning in a slow circle to take in their surroundings. The helicopter had already lifted off. Ivanka’s movements inscribed that same slow circle as Melania’s. Jared was trailing after Donald, and Barron was trying to get his phone to work but could not find even one bar. These were the only family members at the Southern White House when the “rescue” took place. The question “where are we” was written on every face? The flight had not been long.
Clearly they were in a walled compound, and that made it hard to tell where they had been set down. There were few geographical clues. After wandering a bit, the family could see that there were buildings if you wandered away from the wall. The buildings were obviously the sorts of buildings the US military builds on bases around the world. The buildings nearest the landing platform looked utilitarian with some personnel barracks off to one side. There were golf carts nearby. There were palm trees and the air was moist and tropical. Perhaps they were simply in another part of Florida.
Someone dressed as secret service appeared on his own golf cart. He told the family to follow him and he would give them a tour of the compound. They set out in their separate golf carts in parade formation down the main road that divided the buildings. It was hot and humid. The roads were made of concrete so that melting tar would not be a problem.
Their guide drove around the perimeter, which was a long drive, and stopped at the recreational facilities where there were tennis courts, and a swimming pool visible in the distance. He drove around an abbreviated 9-hole golf course. After checking out the amenities they traveled back towards the landing pad. The guide turned down the tree-lined main road, traveling straight ahead rather than turning left to trace the perimeter. Eventually, he pulled up in front of a pair of buildings obviously built to house officers. He dropped Ivanka and Jared off at the smaller house and then left the Trump family at the door of the larger building.
The family had tried to pepper their guide with questions but his answers were surprisingly slippery. He never did tell them where this compound was located or why it had been built. He didn’t have any idea where their belongings were, if or when they might arrive. He never would discuss why they seemed to be the only people here. Donald repeated often that he was the President of United States and people did not keep secrets from him. He demanded that the uniformed man answer his questions but all his allies were gone. He was only one old man with his useless son-in-law, both unarmed; his only tool the imperious voice Trump had learned to wield when his power was absolute.
“Donald”, said Melania petulantly. Let’s just go in that building for now. I am hot, I am thirsty, I am hungry, and I am tired. There must be a staff in there to take care of us.”
Donald did not answer but he began to move in the direction of the front door to which a White House style portico had been added. They kept expecting a butler to appear to welcome them. When that did not happen Barron finally opened the door. The cool air that escaped lifted their spirits. Baron led his befuddled parents into a foyer centered by a round pedestal table topped with an enormous fake floral arrangement and resting on a Turkish-style carpet. Off to the side was a line of hooks for outdoor accessories and a thick absorbent mat for wet footwear.
They wandered further into the dwelling and came across the living room, large and very beige. The couches were comfortable and expensive looking. There were three couches and four matching chairs. Various tables were arrayed around the walls of this very large room and held lamps and a few unartistic items of décor. The sofas faced a line of patio doors that could be left open at rare cool moments. The pool was on the far side of the patio. Trump sat on a sofa and waited to see if any staff would appear. Melania continued to explore, wandering towards a dining area and an enormous chef’s kitchen. Barron trailed along behind Melania. He opened the refrigerator and found bottles of water.
“Mom, do you want a water?” Barron asked.
“Oh sure, honey.” Melania answered, although she was distracted by the absence of any kitchen staff.
When they returned to the living room Trump was beginning to come out of his docile state.
“Did you find anyone to make a meal or bring us some food?” Donald asked. “Why isn’t there any TV? Why doesn’t my phone work?
Donald was getting agitated and cranky. Melania told him she would bring him some water and quickly exited the living room. It began to dawn on her that she might be expected to cook. She knew how to cook but she did not want to take on that role without putting up a fight. She was, after all, the First Lady.
Fortunately, Barron had already investigated what the freezer had to offer and he had microwaved some pizza snacks which he was happily eating. Melania stole one from the stash and gave him a little grin. She ate half and set it down on the table. She wasn’t quite hungry enough for pizza snacks yet. So, she grabbed another water bottle for Trump and returned to the living room where she sank into a chair as far from Donald as possible.
“Something’s not right,” Donald stated. Well, that was obvious even to Melania who said nothing. “What happened that we needed to be protected from? Where are all our Secret Service people? Why isn’t this place staffed?” Donald rose from his seat on the sofa and started to pace the room, his mood escalating towards anger. He would begin venting at any moment and then move on to a massive temper tantrum which might cause a mini stroke. Melania was getting worried. There were no doctors here. Where were Donald’s meds?
Melania said, “Donald, I think we need to go find the bedrooms and unpack those overnight bags that they had the staff pack for us. Then we should go to the kitchen and maybe make a sandwich or something and just go to bed until morning. By then the rest of our belongings and our staff may have caught up with us.”
Presenting Donald with a plan seemed to short circuit his impending rant, for now. The bedrooms were on the second level and each bedroom had its own bathroom. Donald took the one that seemed most palatial, perhaps intended for the base commander. Melania took one closest to the stairs and the elevator. The rooms were also beige with army green blankets on the beds, but they were nicely furnished, had good-sized closets, and the bathrooms, while not designer spas, had everything necessary for comfort. Donald and Melania had not shared a bedroom in quite some time so this arrangement would not seem odd to Barron who must, at this moment, still be in the kitchen.
Melania appeared in her husband’s bedroom and unpacked his overnight bag. Just as she thought. There were his meds. As in a hotel there were glasses on the dresser and an ice bucket. There was also a mini fridge filled with water bottles. She collected his pills in the palm of her hand, grabbed a water bottle, and he absent-mindedly swallowed the pills. The army personnel on the helicopter had given her a small number of tranquillizers in case they were needed. Melania had added one of these pills to the others. After distributing the contents of the overnight bag around Trump’s room she took his hand and led him off towards the kitchen.
When they got to the kitchen Barron was already there. Ivanka and Jared were also there. Everyone was sitting around the large granite island in the center of the kitchen but nothing had been done about dinner.
“You know these doors don’t lock,” said Jared. “I guess with the 20-foot walls around this place locks are unnecessary.”
“Is it possible that we’re prisoners?” asked Ivanka.
Melania looked at Ivanka and lifted her carefully penciled eyebrows, tilting her head slightly towards Donald. But the tranquillizer had kicked in and Ivanka’s father was tuned out.
“Let’s talk about that later,” said Melania as she opened the big double doored stainless-steel refrigerator. “I think we should just have sandwiches tonight and then get sleep.”
The refrigerator was not full but it held a few staples. There was some cola for starters so Melania poured Donald some in a glass she found in a cupboard. Someone had left them a fresh-baked loaf of bread in the pantry, a small room next to the stove. There was deli meat-both turkey and beef, along with lettuce and tomatoes and mayonnaise. Melania placed all of these things on the counter. Everyone else was just sitting there waiting to be served.
“Ivanka, get some plates and silverware please. Jared, find a board to cut things on and a sharp knife, not too big. Barron, you just ate. Do you want a sandwich also?” Melania said all this with a bit of a scowl. When she married Trump, she had thought she was done with kitchens. But everyone jumped up in satisfying fashion and hustled to do the chores they were given.
Soon they were cutting bread and tomatoes, slathering mayo on bread and building their sandwiches. Donald seemed to be somewhere else.
“What’s wrong with Dad,” asked Ivanka.
“The man who brought us here gave me some extra pills for your father. He was upset so I gave him one. He can’t have a stroke right now, there is no doctor here, our phones don’t work, we don’t even know where we are.” Melania was usually pretty silent. This was a long speech for her.
Barron made his father a sandwich and Donald did focus enough to eat it. “I’ll clean up,” Barron said and got a grateful smile from his mom. Barron, at 22, should not even be here, but he had been home on a visit from graduate school and got scooped up with the rest of the family. He seemed pretty calm considering.
“We can’t stay here without the children,” Ivanka complained. Why are we all here in this godforsaken place anyway? What will happen to us?”
“Maybe we’ll get some answers tomorrow when they bring our belongings. Let’s go try to get some sleep,” said Jared.
You might want to check out Part 1 of this Trumpian Fantasy, 2028: The Rebellion
This morning on Meet the Press Chuck Todd asked his panel, “Will this be a functional bipartisan government?” It was his feeling that we would know in eight days. Sadly, I think, if we listen to what Republicans are saying we already know the answer and the answer is no. Republicans do not like Biden’s plan to rescue Americans from this “COVID” economy nor do they agree that an infusion of money is necessary to keep the American economy afloat until we can vaccinate enough people to reopen safely. They are livid that Biden has included a boost in the minimum wage and they contest that this will ruin each of their particular red states. They are pointing to the deficit once again. They did not lose enough seats in the Senate or the House to feel a threat to their “putsch” for power.
On that same politics-round-table this morning, where the round table has become a zoom meeting, Todd also asks if we had to choose what Biden should prioritize, would we want him to go “big and bold” or stick to “bipartisanship?” Other talk shows were highlighting the same choices.
If Republicans persist in obstruction of Democratic priorities, should we end the filibuster rules and make every item subject to a simple majority vote? The reason Democrats keep hesitating to scrap the filibuster is that doing so may work against them at some future moment in time. Do we live for today? Are we at an existential moment when policy decisions will matter enough to buck tradition, and perhaps hurt us in the next election which is only two years away. Which way will the scales tip?
From the things we are already hearing Senate Republicans say we should hold out almost no hope for bipartisanship. Keep your eyes on them. If you are happy to have them simply hold the current line until they regain power in two years or four years then you will have to give some things up, like a better rollout of vaccinations, like opening up our economy, like getting kids back in school, like making it through these tough financial times without ending up on the streets or living in your car. When that eviction order ends, and you can lose the apartment you call home because you are unable to pay all your back rent, will you be glad that you chose the Republican way?
Biden knows and likes many of the most moderate Republican figures, many of whom are not politicians, but are writers and professionals who are married to Conservatism. The Democratic Party is paying far more attention to ex-Republicans who helped Biden win than they are to the Progressives who know where the party needs to go in the future. Conservatives did not stop being conservative when they stopped being Republicans. David Brooks is not really with us, nor Jennifer Rubin, nor David Frum, Michael Steele. I have come to appreciate all of these people, but not their conservatism. Conservatism has not served America well. Conservatism harbored racism in its bosom as long as the racists kept relatively silent. Will these “nice” Conservatives steer the Biden agenda, or will Democrats assert themselves and help Biden do those big and bold things America needs so badly right now. He doesn’t even have to go full-on Progressive to go big right now. Democrats know what America needs to do. Tap into some of those memes on Facebook and build party confidence. Proudly take the stage and govern. Show no empathy for those who have to sink to conspiracy theories to demonize the party. Let success change their minds.
Democrats are relieved and ready to accept far less drama in our politics. The spectacle of that domestic insurrection that seemed intent on overturning our government as we know it has helped us, like opening a pressure valve keeps a kitchen pot from exploding, but the pressure will build again and Republican obstruction will feed it. Keep your eyes on them. The fever for power is still alive and well in them.
If the Democrats accept obstruction and accomplish little or nothing they will be blamed. Americans are not very subtle about their politics. Those who say that first the Democrats must win on their issues and second they must trumpet their wins, own their wins, use their wins to win again are perhaps offering the best advice. And there are only two years before the next election so it all has to happen fast. Whether things can turn around enough in two years remains to be seen. VP Harris, President Biden needs your counsel; advise him well and prod him to be the somewhat progressive voice America needs right now. Right now Biden seems on fire, but can he make that fire burn beyond the Oval Office?
Ousting Donald Trump is just the first step in restoring American sanity. Either the Republicans help govern or they also must go. Right now they are still the party of insurrection. Democrats can’t have gone through all this just to let the Republicans take back the con in two years.