John Katko: Mr. Perfect or Flawed Human

Syracuse.com

John Katko, District 24NY Representative to the US House of Representatives, announced the other night on the news that he was bringing home $11m in grants for use in addressing the housing problems poor Central New Yorkers face. Some of the money will go to the city of Syracuse and some to Onondaga County. Of course, this is good news. In 2015 the Century Foundation published an article called “The Architecture of Segregation” which showed the role that being unable to own a house played in robbing poor people, especially poor black people of generational wealth. Redlining kept black folks in center cities that were losing their tax base as white people moved to the suburbs, and real estate companies found ways to keep black people from following them to more prosperous areas with better schools. It was racism that affected the pocketbooks and bank accounts of those who were denied mobility, who remained in crumbling inner city neighborhoods where the equity in any property people owned there declined as housing prices fell. Pioneer Homes (pictured above), the oldest housing at the heart of the city of Syracuse, was built in 1941 and is still fully occupied.

When children do not see way to join a society that seems to be thriving all around them but does not seem to offer them a way in, they begin to dream about ways to make it rich quick. Those who want to choose a legal route dream of succeeding in professional sports or in music. Those who see friends who seem to have found ways to stay local and strike it rich, are attracted by less legal role models, and by gangs which seem like families who have your back no matter what. A few kids are lured into success through academics, and when community programs came along that guarantee college funding to kids who do well in school the numbers improved. But we all know that school success is not always a path to riches, and unless you are born into a wealthy family wealth is certainly not likely to come instantly. Not having college debt speeds things up a bit. Hope is a tender thing, easily killed in harsh surroundings. The same gangs that offered support to members made inner city communities dangerous places that did not encourage the academic route, and tended to bully ‘nerds.’

To deal with gangs cities went the route of tough law enforcement, getting gang members off the streets and into jail. RICO laws made sure that gang members got long sentences. But retribution and vengeance are fostered more often by long jail sentences and gangs seem to stick and stay alive almost in defiance of law and order approaches. I am a law and order appreciator. Cultures that are not lawful and orderly soon disintegrate into thuggery and chaos. But there has to be something hopeful about administering justice in cities. 

Throwing people in jail, letting them out after time served, seems to mostly produce reoffenders, anger, and unhappy communities where residents hold vengeful feelings in their hearts. It is an endless negative loop and it is wasteful. It allows us to consider some people beyond redemption, as throwaways. People who only wish to inflict harm cannot be tolerated; people who are so addicted to drugs that they will do any crime to support their needs are also menaces to peaceful enjoyment of a neighborhood or a city or even a home. But I firmly believe that we can find more creative ways to short circuit reoffenders than simply sending them back to jail over and over. We can reach people if we find the right carrot, the one that will fire up the light in their eyes and make them want to do something new. As for addicts we can either set up programs that allow someone to feed their addiction regularly, or we can set up enough rehab programs to get people off drugs and, at the same time, find the pursuit in life that will serve as their carrot.

Well, right there in a nut shell is my beef with John Katko. He is a law and order man. He does not think about wasting human beings and providing hope. He believes that when people are bad you punish them and this teaches them to not do whatever they did again. Except we know that punishment only works in a very few cases. Using a stick without a carrot fosters anger and resentment, deep resentment that erodes the ability to hold hope for a better life in your heart. 

Plenty of people have studied the efficacy of using praise or using blame to encourage changed behavior and praise works better every time. It can’t be false praise. Finding what fires up the furnace in each person is not easy. Public schools are notoriously bad at it unless you are fired up by academics. Even if you are, the chaos in an individual’s life can make the pursuit of academics unrewarding. Why haven’t we, with all our knowledge, our brain power, figured out how to stimulate the imaginations of diverse populations of students? Why are kids still sitting in armed desks in neat alphabetical rows? Some of it is about money and safety. Some of it is about control. Some of it is about institutionalization. If certain schools can find ways to click with kids of all stripes, more schools could do the same. John Katko most likely thinks this is unrealistic and that ‘softness’ will increase violence rather than counteract it. But I think that using praise and blame together might be worth trying. Creative approaches to educating kids in the poorest neighborhoods would be well worth the extra cash they would cost. There are plenty of intelligent minority professionals in inner cities who could be trusted to design programs that entice participation, using their familiarity with poorer residents to best effect.

So, John Katko, a rather inflexible, stern and all-knowing Mr. Law and Order, brings money home and it is for housing. He brings $11 m, which sounds like a lot but probably isn’t, and that money is divvied up among several agencies with differing missions, although all related to housing. Katko is given this money to bring home just in time to help him get reelected. We are all grateful for the money, but the timing is certainly suspect. And as long as Katko remains Mr. Law and Order and does not have any more creative dimensions to his approach to stubborn poverty and crime in city neighborhoods, to students who come to school with life problems that make academic pursuits seem like ‘baby stuff’, the cycle of street to jail and back is likely to continue uninterrupted. More, much more is called for. 

Syracuse recently competed for a tech grant with 250 cities and won one of only a few grants. The grant is for $3m and comes from a big unnamed bank. It is paid out over three years and cannot be used by the city for other initiatives. It must be used to plan and deliver tech skills to inner city residents. Here is some hope. Two pools of money to spend on our inner city. May it be spent as it should be. The money could make a difference. 

As for John Katko, don’t send him back to Congress. We can do better. He is no hero, he is flawed human just like the rest of us, but we can see that his particular flaws may be a lack of compassion and imagination. 

Anthony Brindisi: The Attack of the Nonprofit

Anthony Brindisi (Dem0crat) and Claudia Tenney (Republican). Claudia Tenney lost in 2018. Now she wants “her” seat back and she has a big war chest.

Each night when I switch over from cable TV to local TV I am assaulted again and again by an ad against a Democratic candidate from a neighboring district. This ad has a suburban mom with long blonde hair admonishing Andrew Brindisi for not accomplishing anything in Congress. Obviously this woman is lying because almost 400 bills have been passed in the House of Representatives and Anthony Brindisi has voted his little heart out, but all of these bills are sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk, or in his closet, or in his circular file. This means that the reason Mr. Brindisi has not accomplished anything is because the Republicans won’t let him. Then Mrs. Suburban American throws in that fine old chestnut admonishing Brindisi to “secure the border.” How 2016….OK, you say all is fair in love and politics but I say “you get what you pay for.” 

This ad is sponsored by a group with lots of money, obviously, because the ad plays over and over again, sometimes 10 times a night. Yet the ad time was purchased by American Action Network, a nonprofit with a 501c4 tax exempt status (religious). These groups only get to keep this status if they don’t put their thumb on the political scales in an election. These groups are not being held to the rules of nonprofit status because the Republicans fought a battle of intimidation with the IRS in which they accused the IRS of being partisan. Surprisingly the IRS backed off and the Republicans won, so now religious groups break the rules of nonprofits with impunity. I’m thinking that poor Anthony Brindisi doesn’t stand a chance of being reelected in 2020.

https://www.syracuse.com/news/2020/01/anthony-brindisi-targeted-by-300k-ad-campaign-during-trump-impeachment-trial.html

Once again Republicans make a disingenuous argument. Nonprofits are allowed to educate so they pretend that their very partisan ads are intended to educate. This is what happens to language these days. Words are slippery. They mean different things to different people. Nonsense, but dangerous nonsense.

2020 Election: Money, Racism, Misogyny, Brutality

From a Google Image Search – Big Blue Tent – Travel Wisconsin

Today, 1.13.2020, Cory Booker dropped out of the 2020 race. America lost out on Kamala Harris. And Julian Castro. The press is pointing out the ironies of a “big tent” party, a party that would like to back so-called “minorities” like Americans of African descent and Americans of Spanish descent and women (not a minority at all but still classified as such). In fact any Democratic candidate who is trying to run a grassroots-funded campaign will continue to be in trouble in the race for office in 2020. 

Democrats are strong opponents of the Citizens United decision which, in a sense, gave votes to corporations, to money (not an organic life form) and to wealthy Americans (they can buy votes with ads and deeply-strategized ground games). If you saw Rachel Maddow’s wall graph showing the campaign war chest for each Democrat in the 2020 presidential race (except Mr. Deval) then you saw the enormous funds backing the billionaires and you saw the puny amounts raised from individual voters. Our donations are small and they still impact our personal budgets. It begins to seem ridiculous to even bother sending in our ones, tens and fifties. We are each a David fighting a Goliath and it is becoming clear to us that even hundreds of thousands of us are unable to make even a dent in what the Goliaths can come up with. And, although they may feel pained by their enormous expenditures, we know they will not be poor when this is all done.

So it is interesting to note that there is not a pool of Americans of African Descent who can run as billionaire candidates even though African Americans have been in American longer than most of our ancestors. Racism and its effects on black fortunes couldn’t require any clearer evidence than this. Nor is there a pool, or big enough pool, of billionaires of Spanish descent, or billionaire women to try to buy the Presidency. This election looks difficult enough without trying to inject financial purity into it.

There is also the Trump factor infecting all of our decisions about the perfect 2020 candidate, and it is hardly inconsequential. Trump has the charisma that Jack Nicholson displayed as the Devil in the film Witches of Eastwick, which some of you probably did not see because you are too young. For a while that devil charmed us all, until he didn’t. (The analogy seems to fall apart because some of us have never been charmed by Donald Trump, but it is apt in many ways.) Time marches on and we have now seen many sides of Donald that never bothered us much as long as he wasn’t our President. One of his worst sides is his belief in white supremacy and another is his misogyny. Lying of course, and cheating are also sins that have served him well in getting elected.

Because Trump runs a very duplicitous, alpha male, white-Europeans-rule kind of race Democrats realize that he would, most likely, have greater success demonizing minority candidates than he would against white male candidates, although they have not proven better at standing up to Trump’s patter (which should not work). We worry that with all the racist undercurrents being called forth once again in America and all the anti-immigrant feelings being whipped up and with the fact that Trump empowers white men (who knew they needed to be more empowered) a “minority candidate” could be brutalized in the 2020 election and that however hard they punched, Trump’s long years of practice with counterpunching and his lessons from expert counterpunchers like Roy Cohn and his dad, would leave these opponents bloodied and would give us four more years of a ruinous Trump presidency. Perhaps we are simply being protective of the members of our party most likely to be obliterated by the meanest old man we have ever encountered who isn’t spending his senior years in a recliner.

I’m still reading David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass (it’s a long one). Mr. Douglass’s long career as a warrior who used words to fight slavery, which he understood intimately having been a slave himself, made him feel a bit despondent at the actual unfolding of the Reconstruction which was bloody and deadly for freed slaves in the south. But he immediately recognized that many white slave owners feared reprisals. He also recognized that the South never had to feel the real sting of losing the Civil War. These slave states were welcomed almost immediately back into the Union and as soon as the war was over many southerners returned to serve in the Senate and the House. By then Douglass could see that being set free did not mean that southern hearts had been changed. They still saw black folks as inferior to whites and they certainly did not want them to vote or own land or amass fortunes. Douglass would be saddened to know that these racist elements still exist in America, and be appalled by the amount of time that has passed, as time should have changed such prejudices far more than it has. He rejoiced when the 15th amendment gave freed slaves the vote, but despaired at the horrific backlash in some southern states. 

It is such a sad commentary on American progress with respect to acceptance and tolerance, that in what could be America’s  “space age” (if we aren’t too engrossed in simply trying to survive), we are still fighting the Civil War and battling for equal rights for Americans of color and for women (who achieved the right to vote last).

Don’t be too hard on the Democrats right now because we can only conjecture, run the numbers, employ a great ground game and accept what a tough road it could be to beat this bad man who is still an incumbent and who has both the Republicans and the Fundamentalist vote-getting machinery behind him.

If Donald Wins the 2020 Election Blame the Mainstream Media

From a Google Image Search – Left Voice

Reading the reactions of pundits and press to two nights of Democratic Party debates should actually soothe Donald Trump’s anxieties. The press, especially the mainstream press along with a few temporary volunteers from the Conservative Party, is going to do Trump’s job for him. We are being whipped up into a sense of panic for a number of reasons, all related to the reactionary judgments of people who have reached “a certain age” and beyond. 

The angst over the use of the word socialism could be enough all on its own to put DT back in the oval office. Progressives are not trying to turn America into a socialist nation. Some progressives may one day manage to overturn capitalism, but not today. Most Democrats see ways to be progressive without displacing the capitalist system we have. Admittedly it would be much easier if wealthy capitalists pitched in to help keep America’s core values alive, but change can be legislated step-by-tedious step if necessary. Or we can start with blue states and use envy to get working Americans to insist that their red state follows suit. If we the people decide to make a budget that offers social programs rather than an obscene tax cut for billionaires, it’s a democracy, we can do that. All we have to do is get enough other Americans to agree. As long as the media keeps asking Democratic candidates about their view of socialism this will remain an unsettled question in the minds of many voters. Democratic socialism is not the same as socialism.

As more Democratic candidates design more and more programs to meet the needs of parents in a world where two parents probably work, or where there are many single-parent families, the mainstream media raises questions about their ability to get these things done. As long as they vow to pay off everyone’s college loans, pay reparations to Americans of African Descent who have been held back economically by discriminatory practices, offer everyone free medical care even though you might have to pay taxes that are a bit higher (offset by free medical care), make the economy more equal, and many more great ideas, the mainstream media passes on the message that these left-wingers are fringe people who will not be able to deliver on their promises. Then the media reminds us of how centrist most Americans are, and implies that we the people don’t want these things and will, as usual, vote against our own best interests. Clearly it is unlikely that all these benefits can accrue to working Americans at once. There are designs that must be debated, bills that must be written and passed. These things take time. And, although all of these programs would be paid for by the federal government they would be paid for with our money and most likely would be run by free-standing agencies with federal oversight.

Everyone who offers Progressive ideas admits that we will have to raise taxes on those at the top of the economy. There are justifications for this. Whether you think they are valid depends on your own ideological bent and perhaps how big you bank accounts are. (Most of us have only one bank account; some of us have none.) The biggest argument offered up so far is the “you did not build it”/”you did not build it alone” impasse in which some people say (“the makers”, in this scenario) that without the business they established society would be poorer. They call the rest of us “the takers”. Well that can’t be right. Without workers they could never have made such great products or offered such in-demand services and they would have stayed very small or failed. What they mean is that, now that they have found new workers, cheap workers, they don’t need us anymore. Except now we are their best consumers. And we can’t consume as much as they would like because they did not share the wealth with us. Workers did not think of themselves as “takers”. It’s insulting. Workers thought of themselves as partners, as family, but now they have been disinherited. New worker families are reaping the benefits of corporations and they are slowly becoming new consumers.

Are corporations American corporations, or do they belong to whatever country has the least expensive workers? If they can switch nationalities for economic reasons, haven’t they switched their nationalities altogether. If they strive to pay as few taxes into the government of the nation they still like to claim as their own, are they still patriots? If they pay no taxes can they still lobby as insiders for more favors from a federal government they no longer support? If they do not contribute to the federal budget should they have any say in deciding how the budget is divvied up?

I believe that if corporations continued to invest in America and American workers this nation would blossom and could, once again, become the hot crucible of innovation that it used to be. The media keeps telling Americans how centrist they are, how moderate. They do not ever get Americans excited about how lifting away some of our worries might free the nation to explore new technologies, medicines and medical treatments, ways to keep the planet clean and healthy and to solve lots of pesky problems that seem inherently solvable, but never get solved.

And finally, Progressive or Moderate, whoever becomes the Democratic candidate must not be obstructed by a moderate mainstream press from having a real shot at beating Donald Trump because he is an existential threat to our democracy/republic. Unless we have decided to stop flirting with authoritarianism and to actually become an authoritarian state; unless we kiss the forefathers goodbye – you tried, you lasted two and a half centuries – but close only counts in horseshoes and (I forgot the other one) but Google says it’s hand grenades. In the 2020 election there are only two choices, Trump or the candidate the Democrats choose. You cannot afford to be an independent voter. Not this time. You cannot afford to sit this one out. And if you saddle us with Donald Trump for four more years we may not be as nice to you as we have been so far.

Not Impeaching Right Away – A Gamble with Enormous Consequences

From a Google Image Search – Truthout

Not Impeaching Right Away – A Gamble with Enormous Consequences

The call for impeachment gets louder each day. As the President orders staff and former staff members called to testify before House committees to blow off any such requests up to and including subpoenas, more and more Democrats urge either outright impeachment or the beginning of an impeachment inquiry. 

Impeachment is a Congressional duty when America has a President who cannot seem to uphold our Constitution or respect the human rights which are the basis of our democracy. It gets old to repeat the specifics of Trump’s transgressions over and over but there are still Americans who just don’t see them. If you get your “news” from Fox you are told that the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump. If you get your news from almost any other source then you have either read the report yourself or you have heard summaries from people who have read it. The Mueller report does not exonerate Trump, especially of obstruction of justice.

The evidence also suggests that Russians, with probable connections to Putin, did help Trump get elected. Although Trump managed to keep his distance from the Russians there were hundreds of contacts between his campaign staff and Russians. Several of Trump’s campaign staffers have been indicted, convicted, and are serving jail sentences with more still under indictment. Since Trump has an authoritarian leadership style it is difficult to believe that he did not call the shots or at least have final approval over all that went down. Most of his cronies seem willing to take the bullet for him.

He also seems to have decided that the emoluments clause is not settled law, I guess, even though every other President has abided by this prohibition against accepting money or gifts from foreign governments which Trump continues to allow through his ownership of the nearby DC hotel where many foreign petitioners stay.

Timothy Egan sums Trump’s transgressions up this way, writing in The New York Times, and it is worth reading the whole article,

“After the inauguration debacle, Trump moved on to bigger targets — the judiciary, the military, the press, and the professional class of bureaucrats who have made the United States a model for competence and incorruptibility in the Civil Service.

With William Barr, Trump now has an attorney general who doesn’t care how much lasting damage he does to truth, justice and the American way. His mandate as the nation’s top prosecutor is to carry out Trump’s private vendettas.”

Although the evidence tells us that Trump richly deserves to be impeached I can see a possible advantage to starting an inquiry but waiting until after the election to impeach. However as Nancy Pelosi reminds us “impeachment does not necessarily mean removal”. So it is possible we could impeach and also win the election. But it’s a gamble. The order of operations could be very important here.

Trump is a terrible President, but he is also backed by an entire Party full of equally incomprehensible cronies who back his moves and seem sanguine about the damage to our constitutional government, perhaps because they are convinced that Trump is trashing the very same parts of the Constitution they want to trash.

If we could win the 2020 Presidential election and win enough seats in the Senate we could get rid of Trump, Pence, Mitch McConnell and the Freedom Caucus in one fell swoop. That would be a celebration. But if we impeached Trump and won the 2020 election, now that would be winning! 

Don McGahn, Trump, Congress, and the Constitution.

From a Google Image Search – The Daily Beast

Don McGahn, Trump, Congress, and the Constitution – not about the 2020 Election or the Democrats.

Today Don McGahn, who used to be White House Counsel in the Trump White House, did not answer a subpoena to appear before the Judicial Committee in the House of Representatives. The drumbeat for impeachment grew louder. Republican Senator Chris Collins gave an impassioned speech which basically accused the House Dems of playing politics. Well, he ought to know because that is exactly what Mr. Collins is doing. If Mr. Collins was upholding the oath he took to defend and protect the US Constitution he would not be backing Donald Trump, nor would he favor the defiance of any subpoena issued by Congress. He would be insisting that we all hear the testimony of Don McGahn.

We have laws. We have a Constitution. We have traditions. Congress has a long history of investigating government officials, both appointed and elected, even Presidents. The powers of Congress are listed in Article 1 of the Constitution, ahead of the powers of the Executive Branch. The people come first. The president serves at the will of the people. (A cynical ha-ha here is perfectly acceptable). Since the 2020 election began really early it is easy to make an argument that Democrats are just playing to their base whether that is actually the case or not. After all that is what the Republicans do every day. 

Trump is doing two things at once, surprise, surprise. He definitely has political motives. But he also is making a constitutional argument based on some imaginary document that only exists in his mind, backed up by a legal opinion that was never voted into law, filed on an obscure piece of paper somewhere in the Justice Department. He is arguing that Congress should not have the powers that they have, that they should not have been able to investigate or impeach Nixon, and that the executive has absolute immunity from investigation and from indictment. He argues that Congress cannot impeach a President. This is a power grab.

These House investigations are not important because they might help Democrats get elected in 2020 and everyone who is paying attention knows that. These struggles between Democrats on one side and the President, the Department of Justice (not a branch of government) and the Republicans in Congress on the other side are about the distribution of power in our government, who has it, how much power each branch or agency has, and what that power allows, or requires, them to do. If Trump wins he will change the balance of powers in our government forever, and that will change the entire design of our constitutional government (rewritten by a man who doesn’t even like to read).

Trump, for his own personal reasons, wants an executive branch that consists of an all-powerful executive backed by a DOJ that makes a president basically above all the laws of the land, including those described in the Constitution or devolved through tradition. A president could not be checked by any other branch of government, or the DOJ, or any political action by voters – untouchable, defined in a whole new way. 

Why does DT want all this power? Since we can’t see the evidence in the Mueller report, or even the many redacted sections of the Mueller report, and we can’t hear anyone testify in Congress for the most part we can only guess about the reasons. Perhaps the liar-in-chief who seems to have a lot of nearly criminal or actually criminal baggage has so much to hide that he doesn’t mind changing the whole balance of power so that he can operate unchecked by anyone. 

He says he wants to make the Presidency more powerful because that will benefit future presidents. Donald Trump does not do things for others. He is not an altruistic type of guy. If he is fighting for an all-powerful executive branch he is doing it for himself. As long as he is president he cannot be indicted. Perhaps he actually does want to be president-for-life also, which would not only change the powers as defined in the Constitution, it would signal the end of our Democracy/Republic. Our Congress would exist then only for purposes of making a show of democracy. The grand experiment of our forefathers would be finished. Historical evidence suggests that democracies do not have a long shelf life, perhaps about 250 years (which is about where we are right now) but we all felt that our democracy would be able to beat the odds, which are based on only a few examples.

Why don’t the Republicans protect the documents they are sworn to protect and defend? The Republicans are playing their own game but since Trump will get them where they want to go they are along for the ride. The Republicans seems to be involved in their own rewrite of our United States government. They are possibly trying to resurrect the CSA, only this time it will be the Conservative States of American, rather than the Confederate States of America. But in their hearts it will finally be victory in a war that never ended, that just simmered along underground, like a fire that smolders for decades and then flares once again into a conflagration. America will live according to Conservative values or else. America will be a born-again Christian nation, or else. I don’t know if Trump is with the Republicans on this or just going along with them for the ride; two riders who both think they are driving. What could go wrong with that?

We the people have to think very carefully about what we want. Are we going to abandon the US Constitution written by our forefathers and follow the US Constitution as rewritten by Trump and the Republicans. You may be pretty cynical about our government already, but are these the changes you want to make? You may think that if the Republicans are so good for the economy and so tough on foreign leaders that perhaps we will like the changes they will make. Look it up, Republicans are not that great for the economy. They have run up huge deficits in this administration, and both the Great Depression and the recent Great Recession followed Republican administrations. And Republicans love war. 

Do you really want an imperial presidency? Don McGahn not testifying before Congress may not sound like a big deal, but it is. The future of our American democracy depends on upholding the powers of Congress, including the House of Representatives.

Democrats Women and the 2020 Election

In 1969 Golda Meir became the leader of Israel. This photo is captioned The Lioness Roars Again – From a Google Image Search – Moment Magazine

As we get ready for a weighty election in 2020 to decide whether the incumbent candidate, Republican Donald Trump will have four more years in office, or whether we will let a Democrat or even a Democrat woman lead, it is clear that Trump and the Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure the playing field is not level and favors them. These tactics are in addition to the attacks on voting rights in America, especially Democrat voting rights.

The Democrats won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives but they have been sidelined, effectively stripped of real power by some pretty unprecedented and perhaps unconstitutional strategies, that this President, Trump, not a by-the-rules kind of guy, likes to use. These tactics are ridiculously transparent and should not work but his peeps have placed him in a fortified tower where he seems untouchable (word choice, deliberate).

The Democrats are trying to ignore the fact that, to almost 40% of Americans, they have been sold as annoying gnats, a ghost party, an object of trolling and derision. Democrats are hoping for two long-shot outcomes in 2020 (at least 2). 1) They want to elect a Democrat to the Presidency, and 2) They want to elect a woman to the Presidency. The Dems test of a good candidate right now is ‘can that candidate beat Donald Trump’. So far, among 25+ candidates no one seems to be a real stand-out, but if you watch any news program, women are certainly not making the cut.

Donald Trump has a truly underhanded quiver of election arrows which seem quite crude. Each and every day Americans are informed of the sins of Democrats. They actually, supposedly, did every single thing we all suspect that Trump and the Republicans did. Isn’t that quite a coincidence? And that’s not all, Dems ruined the economy, and ruined health care, broke trade, almost dismantled the fossil fuel industry. Therefore all things lib are awful and must be quashed. Trump has followers who constantly troll Democrats and Liberals, women, and now Progressives, on the internet with insults fed to them by the Fox channel. It is almost like getting strafed every time a head appears above the ditch Dems are supposedly standing in.

According to Trump, lefties have spied on the Trump campaign (no proof). They rigged the vote (again, evidence?). They conspired with Russia (the Steele report, the FISA warrant requests re Carter Paige – what?) Of course Hillary did not win the Presidency, but according to Trump that’s because she is so inept. It is actually the Dems who conspired (colluded) with the Russians (?) So the Russians must be quite inept too, because Trump won. (Hint-Trump cheats). 

So this has to be about I’m rubber, you’re glue, “everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you”. It isthe equivalent of shooting someone on Fifth Avenue and getting away with it, which has metaphorically happened more than once in this presidency. 

Again according to Trump, Hillary is a demon, in fact, all women are pretty demonic. The Democrats are traitors and the party is on life support. The FBI is subverted and is actively undermining the Trump presidency (shame on you Peter Strzok and Lisa Paige, really shame on you for giving this person ammunition), and Mueller wrote 400 pages to tell the DOJ that Trump was totally exonerated, which only took four pages in Barr-speak. Barr withholds the full report from we the people which is not so unusual but he also withholds it from Congress which is very unusual. (Barr’s actions are somewhat equivalent to watching a pregnant elephant carrying a baby for about two years and then having that baby elephant placed in solitary confinement as soon as it is born by someone who says to the mom and all of us, “it is mine and you can’t see it”.)

Furthermore Trump contends the entire thing is a huge conspiracy by the “deep state” (a descriptor that refers to different actors depending on who employs it). Add it on to all the old “Benghazi” and “child abuse” threads in the conspiracy theory that the right wing likes to keep spinning out and the Dems are destined not only for political oblivion but will be left out of the Rapture and sent straight to h-e-double hockey sticks. (Isn’t this a fairly complex narrative? Whatever happened to Occam’s razor?)

So, as Democrats have clearly, according to Trump and his minions, been checkmated, only some stunning circumstances will give Dems the victory in 2020. No one seems to believe, possibly including me, that a woman can win the race in 2020.

It certainly is time for a woman to be President and I know a woman could do the job very well, but the patriarchy is obviously not done hogging this privilege and responsibility and the public is not done letting them. If women in the race were not so outnumbered by men (and by men who conveniently have the letter B in their name making it easy for the press to focus on this group) I would suggest that candidates pair off, a woman and a man, running for President and Vice President as a team, with the man agreeing that the female candidate would assume the higher office.

OK, I know I am asking for mountains of criticism. But does anyone see a woman being elected President in this particular election? Will the men we elect just keep getting older and older? I know age is supposed to bring wisdom, but sometimes it just brings arthritis. Still the old men are the ones we know, the ones with experience, the ones who don’t seem hopelessly invisible. And, we remind ourselves, they have paid their dues.

I remember when Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel. She seemed so wise and motherly, although if you read about her time in office she certainly did not get perfect grades. I wonder if Elizabeth Warren might turn out to be a trimmer but equally comforting Golda-style leader, who also gets things done. Or maybe Kamala Harris, or Amy Klobuchar or Kirstin Gillibrand could offer us a very America version of the wise woman as a nurturing, but fiercely protective leader, providing effective governance both at home and abroad. America does not seem to be feeling it yet. Is there any way we can get both things we want in the 2020 election? Could each man invite a woman to the dance? Let her lead. Women could be wooed by more than one man.