The Riot Trail

links, commentary, toons, pics, fun!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

gut check moment

(link to post, for those getting this via email)

Clearly this is a scary moment in the campaign, with Trump apparently catching up to Clinton in the polls. Josh Marshall and Nate Silver have good assesments of the current state of play.  I think it's still more likely than not that Clinton will pull out the win, but considering the consequences of a Trump victory, which I believe would be truly catastrophic, that's little comfort. As Josh Marshall put it, we are "skateboarding the abyss."

Just a couple things for you:

James Fallows has an excellent preview of the upcoming debates.  Long, but worth it.

This article, "How American Politics Went Insane," makes a very interesting argument about where we went wrong. Counter-intuitive perhaps, but I think there's something to it. (another long one, but again... worth your time)

I'll leave you with a quote:
“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.” ― Joseph HellerCatch 22

Who could it possibly apply to?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Feelings = Facts

Let's just say it: these Sanders holdouts are an embarrassment to the Democratic Party, to the Sanders campaign... to themselves.  Their petulance only serves Donald Trump and the Republicans.

One Sanders delegate aptly summed their mentality:
“Bernie basically fed us a bunch of Mountain Dew and now he wants us to go to bed. It’s not going to happen.”
These are children incapable of self-regulating.

If anything Sarah Silverman was being polite:

Matthew Yglesias adds a little context:
Sanders had little control over his delegates, who seemed unwilling to get behind his endorsement of Clinton. This was in part a matter of sloppiness on the part of Sanders’s team in selecting delegates. But as one operative told me, there was another reason Sanders’s delegation was so unruly: Everyone was so afraid to cross Clinton by serving as a Sanders delegate that he couldn't convince the kind of party loyalists who normally take the job to do it. 
Instead, many Sanders delegates come from the world of left-wing protest culture rather than party politics. And on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center, they acted like it.
Yglesias has more on this topic here.

To be fair, I don't think the people we're seeing and hearing at the convention represent Sanders (after all, Sanders himself was booed!) or even most of his supporters.

As Jonathan Chait notes:
Sanders attracted a sizable following by appealing to a long tradition of good government in liberal politics. At the same time, he mobilized a radical ideological vanguard that had previously steered clear of Democratic politics. For them, the attraction of Sanders was neither merely a reiteration of the Howard Dean or the Eugene McCarthy campaign, nor merely a farther-left version of standard Democratic liberalism. His raw language of class, revolution, and the rigged system framed politics in stark binary terms — either the forces of light or the forces of corruption would prevail. 
The ideological vanguard does not represent a majority of Sanders’s supporters, many of whom have changed candidate preferences throughout the primary, and who on the whole support Hillary Clinton at a 90 percent clip. But that minority has commanded vastly outsized attention. Journalists have spent the last year noticing enraged, conspiratorial Sanders supporters swarming social media, dismissing inconvenient facts as a corporate or Establishment plot. 
Those people are disproportionately represented at the convention, as we have seen:
In place of a strategy was diffuse rage. Protesters, minimal in Cleveland, thronged through the streets of Philadelphia. Inside the convention hall, Bernie Sanders loyalists booed everything — mentions of Hillary Clinton, moderates, liberals, left-wingers, even the opening prayer. Some of them repeated the “Lock her up!” chant heard in Cleveland. It seemed possible that the entire convention would be a chaotic cascade of jeering and hostile chants. 
Sanders tried to calm his supporters, but had only partial success. Screams and shouts continued through speeches by Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren. They did not represent Sanders himself, or his supporters.

I think we've all met people whose default setting is 'outrage,' regardless of the situation. Well, we've got a few hundred of those people packed into an arena as representatives of the Democratic Party, with all the nation's media in attendance. Great. They've convinced themselves the election was rigged, when in reality they just lost. If the DNC were as powerful as Sanders supporters seem to believe maybe Democrats wouldn't be in the minority in both the House and Senate right now. The DNC couldn't steal an election if it wanted to. They sure as hell didn't swing 3 million votes. Sure, the people working at the Democratic committee preferred the Democrat to the Democratic Socialist... but that was Sanders' whole appeal! He's an outsider! Fighting the establishment! Seems silly to turn around now and complain that the 'establishment' wasn't impartial, especially when you can't even point to anything they actually did wrong. Some of these Sanders supporters sound strikingly like someone who only watches Fox News: they have their own 'facts' (not actually facts), or even just a vague sense of what 'the facts' suggest, and they can't be dissuaded because anyone who doesn't agree with them is a sellout or a rube. 'Ridiculous' doesn't begin to cover it.

On a more positive note, Michelle gave quite a speech:

I especially appreciated this part:
When she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned. 
Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.

Paul Waldman asks a good question: Why isn't the alleged Russian hack of the DNC being treated more seriously?

Josh Marshall thinks it could be a 'big, big deal:'
not just a big deal in the way we toss around the phrase in politics but a big deal in terms of our future, our safety, our children's safety.

Vox has what may be the ultimate Trump article, with excerpts compiled from many other Trump profiles.

Ezra Klein also wrote a good piece on why Trump should never become President.

Another example of how Trump does business:

This is scary:

Oliver on the RNC convention:

Feelings = Facts...  A tautology that Republicans don't have exclusive claim to, as we've seen.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Least Racist Person

This NYT article about Trump's racial politics is really worth the read.

Josh Marshall at TPM follows up with what Trumps been saying lately and what it means.

Speaking of race, I wanted to flag another valuable post from JM at TPM... I think one thing that's often glossed over or missed entirely in our recent debates over race is the role of unconscious bias, which even people who consider themselves (perhaps in many ways accurately) fair minded can fall victim to. To accuse such people of bigotry kind of misses the point, and more importantly makes them defensive and therefore less open to introspection. Proper police training could dramatically reduce the kinds of incidents we've been seeing lately... Unfortunately many police departments training programs seem to (unintentionally) only make them more likely.

Obama's most recent speech in Dallas was one of his best, IMO:

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Warren's with her:

I have to add this bit of awesomeness:

This audio from Hillary's 1969 commencement speech is fascinating:

The Atlantic provides some context.

Fast forward to this:

Why Hillary may be the perfect candidate to take on Trump.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: "this is the fight she was preparing herself to wage."

Matt Bai peers into the black hole of Trump's psyche.

Jamelle Bouie makes an interesting point about the Republicans current predicament:
Why is it so difficult for Republicans to condemn Trump without also qualifying and essentially negating their condemnation?
Republicans, from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ballot, are caught in a bind. If they don’t say anything to counter or condemn Trump’s rhetoric, they are complicit in the Trump candidacy. If they say anything, they become fodder for Democratic efforts against their party. The only alternative is to try to walk the line of criticism without disavowal. But as we see with Paul Ryan—who was savaged by both mainstream and conservative press for looking past Trump’s racism even as he bemoans it—that’s almost impossible.

Couldn't happen to nicer people.

ICYMI this look inside the Sanders campaign makes for quite a read.  Eek.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Game Time

Well, they're finally calling it for Hillary... so after tomorrow's primaries we should be full on into the general, whether or not Bernie wants to continue tilting at windmills. Sounds like Obama's ready to get off the sidelines, too... so it's game-time!

Fortunately, with her recent speech HRC finally seems to be hitting her stride.

If you missed it here it is:

Here's an excellent profile of HRC that gives you a sense of who she is. If you Sanders supporters want to feel like you have to hold your nose and vote for the "lesser of two evils" it's fine with me, but in reality I think Hillary is a smart, hard working, experienced politician who shares our basic values. I think we could all lay off the cynicism a bit if we wanted to.  Just sayin'...

While HRC seems to have found her mark, Trump's been having a harder time lately.

It doesn't help he doesn't have a campaign operation to speak of. (I found the examples contrasting how a normal campaign would operate to Trump's instructive.)

Perhaps Trump thought the primary was the hard part, but if so he was very mistaken.

Josh Marshall on Trump's ongoing meltdown.

This is starting to get good!

P.S. I hope that Bernie will gracefully bow-out of the race tomorrow night and throw his support to Hillary... we need to be on the same team here! So I don't really want to get on his case too much, but I have to include this bit from Jonathan Chait who puts his finger on something that's been bugging me about Sanders' rationale for staying in the race so long:

3. Pledged delegates don’t count because of superdelegates. When presented with Clinton’s insurmountable lead in pledged delegates, Sanders notes dismissively that pledged delegates alone are not enough to win (i.e., “Hillary Clinton will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the end of the nominating process on June 14. Won't happen. She will be dependent on superdelegates.”). 
4. Superdelegates also don’t count because of pledged delegates. The superdelegate system, he has charged, “stacks the deck in a very, very unfair way for any establishment candidate.” Or, alternately, “The media is in error when they lumped superdelegates with pledged delegates. Pledged delegates are real.” 
The nomination is won by adding up pledged delegates and superdelegates. Clinton has a large lead in pledged delegates, and an even larger lead in superdelegates. You could rely entirely on one or the other, or change the weights between them in any fashion, and Clinton would still win. Sanders simply refuses to accept the combination of the two, instead changing subjects from one to the other. Ask him about the pledged delegates, and he brings up the superdelegates. Ask about the superdelegates, and he changes to the pledged delegates. It’s an infinite loop of bullshit.

I guess his obstinance is part of his appeal, but it's certainly wearing on me. Hopefully we'll be turning the page on this chapter soon...