In The Atlantic this week, Barton Gellman lays out at great length a dark and plausible scenario in which Donald Trump runs again in 2024, loses the election, but succeeds where he failed in 2020, by getting various Trumpist state legislatures and members of Congress to collude and hand him an electoral victory anyhow. It is clear that this very thing could happen. Extremist Republicans in a number of swing states are right now attempting to take hold of key positions that would allow them to toss out the will of the voters in their states and put forward pro-Trump slates of electors that would, of course, be ushered in by the slimeball wing of the Republican Party in Congress (read: the entire party) and rubber-stamped by a right-wing Supreme Court. If 2020 was a ham-fisted dry run for stealing a presidential election, 2024 will be a much better rehearsed one. There are too many uncertainties this far out to predict that this sort of thing will happen, but if you don’t think that it can happen you are dangerously delusional about the state of our politics today.
Gellman describes this awful scenario in grave terms, as a “Democratic collapse.” Elections expert Richard Hasen warns, “We face a serious risk that American democracy as we know it will come to an end in 2024, but urgent action is not happening.”
There is no doubt that if pro-Trump state legislatures were successful in using their position to ignore the popular vote outcome in their states, it would create a constitutional crisis. That is not the way the system is supposed to work. But what is the core fear here? It is not just blind fealty to the U.S. Constitution that Gellman is touting — the Constitution, after all, has been amended 27 times already, a pretty good sign that it was never considered perfect. Rather, the suggestion is that democracy itself will be shattered if these things come to pass.
“One of the minimal requirements for a democracy is that popular elections will determine political leadership,” Nate Persily, a Stanford election law expert, is quoted as saying. For Gellman, the idea that this bald Republican power grab might work represents an existential threat. “There is a clear and present danger that American democracy will not withstand the destructive forces that are now converging upon it,” he writes, because today’s Republicans are “willing to win at the cost of breaking things that a democracy cannot live without.”
I certainly agree with Gellman and others who feel alarmed that Trump and the Republicans will be willing and (maybe) able to steal the 2024 presidential election if the political stars align for them. Where I part ways is on the idea that this transgression would be a far greater outrage than anything we have seen before. That’s absurd. If your concern is that America is in danger of not having a democracy that represents the will of the people, you should look more closely at what America is.
Since its founding, America has had in place the Electoral College, an institution that exists solely for the purpose of subjugating the popular will of the people to that of the “states,” or, more generally, to the will of a select minority. How about recent history?
Please read the whole essay. And please read the snapshot below. I saw the David Sirota article at Jacobin and texted C.I. I thought maybe I was missing something. She didn't see anything worth praising either. It read like a Bill O'Reilly commentary, if you asked me.
I still can't believe it. If I'm still this bothered tomorrow, I'm going to write about it but I'd rather just ignore it.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:
Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Oh, JACOBIN. THat really covers it all.
Garbage. That's what Julia Rock and David Sirota have written at JACOBIN. Trina texted me about it yesterday. I thought she meant to highlight it in the snapshot here and was all for it. Then I read it and called her and we were both appalled by the article.
It's about inflation. David and Julia are correct to note that inflation media stories do not note the gross inflation of executives salaries during the pandemic. They would've been wise to have built an article around that.
In terms of real people? They write like they know none. Inflation's just an illusion, they insist, and its the normal reaction people have to increased prices while forgetting that their own wages have increased. Huh?
Were you stoned?
Did you write garbage like this when you were stoned:
But the bottom 60 percent of earners have more money in their pockets than they did pre-pandemic, even after accounting for inflation, when wage increases and government programs like COVID relief checks and the Child Tax Credit are included. That spending successfully cut poverty nearly in half.
David and Julie, come over here, it's the real world.
I have no idea why it took two people to write such stupdiity. Maybe you're writing for 'the creative class'? I have no idea but if you thought that was going to connect with workers, you obviously don't interact with any. Maybe that's the point? Maybe JACOBIN fancies itself as a publication for the upscale?
I have no idea. But you can't count COVID relief checks as increased wages. The last one was months ago and it was the one Donald Trump pushed through (but Nancy Pelosi wouldn't allow to go out until Joe Biden had been sworn in as president). Those weren't about increased wages, you idiuots. Those were about easing suffering and pacifying a confused nation. We needed a UBI but all we got were crappy stimulus checks. And, now, thanks to you two, those crappy stimula checks will be portrayed as a 'wage increase.'
I don't get how this article came about.
Is this your effort to try to protect Joe Biden and his big spending bills -- that really don't do anything, by the way?
I'd really like it if we could have honest reporting. I'd like it if the needs of the people could come ahead of the wants and spin of a political party. I'm not here to pimp Joe Biden or his policies. I'm not here to do that for any political party. I'm not a whore. I'm reading over David and Julia's piece and my mouth just gapes wide in wonder.
Let's just deal with that nonsense about a wage increase (based on stimulus checks! and a tax credit!). That's going to lead to so much garbage. The same sort of garbage we have of "People just don't want to work" and "the government paid them too much and that's why they don't want to work."
No, some people don't want to work because wages are low paying and respect on the job is non-existent. I'd love, for example, for David and Julia to do a report on how many workers feel they deal with an office bully each day -- usually some middle management jerk. Bill Clinton gutted the safety net -- and bragged about it. It was racism and it was stupidity. And we're never going to rebuild that until we move beyond media lies of lazy people who don't want to work.
Lousy jobs. That's what you've got. Lousy jobs where people are treated like dirt and the pandemic showed them that they didn't have to put up with it. They could live on a smaller budget, some learned. Others didn't have the choice to 'learn' because they just had to cope. This especialy includes caregivers -- predominately women, but not just women -- who had to take on additional resposnsibilites due to the pandemic.
Now these aren't 'sexy' storeis for the press and, of course, anytime a story involves women, the US press is even less interested.
I don't know why JACOBIN can't cover things like that. I don't know how they see promoting a baseless lie that the discontinued stimulus checks were an increase in wages as being helpful.
Most people, for example, don't get a raise in 2020 but lose it in 20021 while doing the exact same job.
I was all prepared to quote from the article and to praise it. The headline alone made it seem important. But I read it and it's garbage. David and Julia probably think they made their case very well but they didn't. They've created a springboard for right-wing talking points which will hurt workers for some time to come.
And David and Julia need to start interacting with people -- and that's not Emily's constituents at political events.
We're just doing Zooms now because of the pandemic. But we had more than enough encounters via that with real people to see what was going to go down in Virginia. The inflation issue is not minor and it's not something in people's heads. They see the increases, yes. They also feel them in their pockets. Milk has gone up, everything's going up. If you can't acknowledge that (a) this is happening and that (b) the poor and the working poor are especially hard hit, I don't know why you're writing for a Socialist -- or psuedo Socialist -- publication. Marx said, "Workers of the world unite!" JACOBIN appears to be saying, "Workers of the world build us a staging platform and let us know when you're done." They want a movement but there's clearly a first class in their desired movement and a coach or workers' class for everyone else.
To call the piece tone deaf is letting it off too easy. Again, this is a piece that will launch a million and one right-wing talking points. Many of those talking points? They'll begin with, "Even Democratic Socialist JACOBIN admits that workers wages have increased . . ." And these arguments will be used to weasel out of government obligations and to ensure that the US does not provide any other stimulus checks, let alone the needed UBI.
Everyone wants to act puzzled by what has taken place socially. There's no puzzle to it. What's going on is a reset and, like previous ones, it's caused by a demographic bulge. The much maligned millenials are rather earnest, yes. But that's how it always is. That's how the younger generation was seen in the sixties, for example. Societal change, when it comes, usually succeeds because of the young. They're raised on the belieft of doing the right thing and they haven't yet been worn down to desperate whores who'll say, "Who cares if he raped a woman" or whatever. They're not going to accept marching orders. They beilieve in values and equality. And they still believe the system can work. They take those beliefs and they go up against the system and we get change.
Demography is one of the least understood aspects of change when it comes to political theory. But it's one of the most easily predicted. Time and again, it impacts the market first, this bulge in the population. And then, as the young people age into adults, it impacts the system itself.
Maybe if people grasped that, they'd spend less time knocking young people and less time offering garbage like David and Julia have? Instead, they could direct their energy towards what was possible in the brief time before the bulge gets worn down like all the ones that came before?
And maybe they could address that what's actually increased, per labor figures and stastistics, is the amount of work that workers are doing each week. More work and no real increase in wages. Seems like that's a story JACOBIN could and should be covering.
I don't dislike David. I like Emily. I have been really glad to be able to praise David in the last years. It's a huge improvement over our past relationship -- e-mails threatening to sue me -- but I'm not going to be silent right now. This is a very bad article. I'm sure it was not intended to be. But it is what it is. And I'm not going to praise it and I'm certainly not going to be afraid to call it out. It needs to be called out loudly.
Let's note this from Hamilton Noah's piece at IN THESE TIMES:
People who view the world through the lens of electoral politics don’t tend to like the phrase “Which side are you on?” It is seen as unsophisticated, simplistic — a black-and-white view of a political reality in which compromise is the path to getting anything done. But the phrase has great utility. It acknowledges that there are sides, and that you have to be on one of them. Organized labor is about power. Power concedes nothing without a fight. Compromise is fine, as long as everyone can tell — without looking too hard — which side you are working for.
A year into full Democratic control of the federal government, and a year out from the likely end of that happy arrangement, is a useful time to consider what the labor movement has gotten out of this ostensibly ideal situation. Have we gotten the PRO Act, the number one thing that labor wants and needs? No. Nor will we, until the filibuster is gone. In fairness, only a minority of Congressional Democrats are holding this legislation back, a result of the fact that the Democratic Party is not one unified thing, but a very loose collection of many disparate things united only by our nation’s poor two-party design. It is fair, however, to look at what the Democrats are doing from the very top — where the agenda is set, and where symbolism matters.
reason the PRO Act is so important is that it is not an easy time for
unions in America. The law is tilted against them. Major victories are
rare. Inspiration is at a premium. Democrats claim to understand this.
During the pandemic-wracked year of 2020,
there was no more important or inspiring union story than the effort to
unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. It represented an
attempt to crack the most influential and powerful (and anti-union)
company in the nation, where the battle to organize workers will have
ripple effects on what the future of work looks like across the country
in decades to come. Though the union lost that election, the company
cheated, and another election will be held. In the fight to unionize Amazon, everyone must be on a side.
Last week, we learned that former President Barack Obama’s foundation has accepted a $100 million donation from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. It is a trifling sum for Bezos, who has made more than $100 billion while doing everything possible to ensure that his hundreds of thousands of workers are unable to organize to improve their own lives. The donation was reportedly arranged by Jay Carney, Obama’s former press secretary, who is now Amazon’s spokesman, and who spoke out against the union drive in Alabama. Bezos specifically asked that the donation be earmarked to build a plaza in honor of recently deceased Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.
John Lewis was a strong and active supporter of unions. Imagine how meaningful it would have been if Barack Obama had publicly supported the Amazon union drive in Alabama. He didn’t, though. But he will have a “plaza” paid for by the guy who has become richer than Rockefeller by crushing Amazon workers. I hope that plaza will be spacious enough for John Lewis to roll over in his grave. Thank you for your leadership, Obama.
That's reality. It's in short supply at JACOBIN this week. They're also promoting Liza Featherstone's deeply misguided defense of the 'canon.' And, Liza, I don't know that I'd called young right-wingers "little s**ts" in the same article where I went on about how the books of Aristotle and Shakespeare must be read. No, we're not just talking personal taste here (I've never had the Eurocentric devotion to William Shakespeare), we're also talking about the fact that neither wrote boos. Shakespeare wrote plays, dear, and Aristotle delivered lectures. It's a quibble but so is dismissing some young people as "sh**ts."
Iraq? ISIS is back or 'back.' I guess it's shocking if you were stupid enough to believe ISIS was ever defeated in Iraq. It never was and we noted that over and over in the last years. ISIS lost territory. BIg deal. A terrorist organization is suppoed to promote and conduct terror. It's not supposed to govern. (Although we could have a lively discussion about governments who terrorize their own citizens -- not to mention the citizens of other countries.) ISIS losing control of Mosul was not a defeat.
And ISIS has continued to be active. As they reach for reasons to argue US troops need to stay in Iraq, the US press is rediscovering ISIS and treating the Basra motorcycle bombing as a major event. Even quoting from slumlord Moqtada al-Sadr. Hopefully outgoing President Barhim Saleh is making noises about how this is a threat to Iraq's society. Really? I think corruption is a bigger threat and I think there are about six other factors that are more threatening.
In fact, ISIS benefits from these factors. But Saleh won't address that right now. Though it was only weeks ago that he was making similar statements.
Let's wind down with this announcement by Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy:
The Army/Navy Game is about more than just football. It's about coming together to recognize that, even though we come from different places, and even though we wear different uniforms or perform different tasks in service, we have all sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Army/Navy Game is a reminder that we serve something larger than ourselves.
The following sites updated: