Trump not only killed the Republican Party, but the Christian right as well

I wanted to write today about the fact that Republicans, having successfully passed a $1 trillion tax cut for America’s most wealthy, are now using the subsequent loss in federal revenue to justify devastating cuts to welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, but then two people wrote to me, telling me about how Donald Trump had become a better person since accepting Jesus Christ as his lord and savior, and now I can’t think of much else. And it got me wondering if, when looking objectively at a timeline of everything he’s said and done over the past dozen years or so, I might be able to determine when exactly it was that he became a born-again Christian, and hence a better person… Like it would definitely have to have been after that time in 2005, when he confided to Billy Bush that he liked to “grab” women “by the pussy” without their consent, right? And, one would assume, it would have to have also been after that golf outing in 2006, when Trump, leaving his third wife Melania at home with their newborn baby, decided to have unprotected sex with Stormy Daniels, the star of such adult film classics as “Pussy Sweat” and “Young and Anal.” And, one would assume, it must have also been after that time he decided not to come to the aid of a man whom he thought was dying, or that time he mocked a handicapped reporter. But when? When was it that Jesus Christ came into Donald Trump’s life and he became a paragon of virtue, a real representative of Jesus Christ on earth? Was it before he recently referred to developing countries as “shitholes,” or after?

As for these messages that I received. The first came by way of Twitter, in response to a smartass comment I’d made the day before to Sean Hannity, who, perhaps inspired by the #MeToo movement, or maybe just a desire to deflect attention away from Donald Trump’s sexual escapades, has made it his mission to see to it that Bill Clinton is brought to justice for whatever he might have done 40 years ago. “Donald Trump is a very different person now that he is a Christian,” this self-professed Christian on Twitter said to me, as he attempted to make the case as to why Clinton’s crimes were far more serious than those perpetrated by Donald Trump. The second was an email sent to me through this site, directing me to a letter published a few days ago by a Louisiana newspaper that included the phrase, “It is obvious God changed his heart.”

I know, according to the woman who wrote this letter, it’s “obvious” when this transition took place, and Donald Trump began to walk in the footsteps of the Lord, but, as I’m still not able, based on my brief perusal of the historical record, to see when it happened, I’m turning to Google.

OK, it looks as though, in June of 2016, Family founder James Dobson reported to the world that Donald Trump had just accepted Christ as his personal savior. I would have thought it would have been later, given that Trump was, at that time, still employing violent rhetoric against his political opponents, engaging in pretty intense anti-Muslim race baiting, and working behind the scenes to coordinate with the regime of a murderous dictator to sow discord and subvert our democracy, but maybe that’s all stuff that Jesus would have done. After all, it’s been a while since I read the Bible, and I’m hearing it being said by his followers today that had he been around right now, Jesus would have been pro-gun. SO, who knows, maybe he also would have been in favor of violence and cruelty as long as he felt as though it served the greater good.

I know it’s not much of a silver lining, but I take some satisfaction in knowing that I’ve been proven right about the hollowness of the Christian right. It was always about money and power. It just took Donald Trump to lay everything bare and expose it for what it was all along. It was never anything more than a ponzi scheme run by con men.

Oh, and here’s one last thing, as long as we’re on the subject.

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  1. Sarah
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Also funny (and very sad): 72 percent of Republicans think Trump is ‘a good role model for children’

  2. Citywatch
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    If this man Donald Trump represents the Christian religion and the embodiment of Jesus himself, then God his father must be rolling over in his grave, for surely he is dead.

  3. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I have known for nearly five decades that American Christians are morally bankrupt, and only interested in money and power.

  4. Max
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I actually have to turn off the radio when he speaks and my kid is in the room. I’m amazed that anyone would think that he’s any sort of role model for children.

  5. Lynne
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Pretty much everyone can find *something* in the bible to support just about anything.

    My father has a funny story about doing that. In his career negotiating contracts with public sector unions, he often would bring up The Parable of the Vineyard [Matthew 20:1-16] whenever the union would try to make the argument that someone else was being paid more.

    He said in Detroit it NEVER worked. Or at least not in the way you would think. But when he was working in the bible belt for the City of Memphis, he pulled it out and was taken seriously. Even so, there surely are other verses about fairness that could be used to counter any arguments based on that story. Contradictions abound

  6. Demetrius
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    It almost seems as if the whole point of organized religion isn’t really peace, love, humility, and forgiveness, after all … but rather, a cleverly-organized way for powerful elites to maintain rigid hierarchies and wield raw political power by taking advantage of many ordinary people’s innate sense of grief, uncertainty, and fear.

    Almost …

  7. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I am shocked.

  8. Jcp2
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Popular t shirt logo on vacation.

    I stand for the flag
    I kneel for the cross

  9. EOS
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Today is Good Friday. It commemorates Christ’s death on the cross. The first step in being a Christian is to acknowledge that you are a sinner. No Christian claims they are perfect – that would make them a liar. Contrary to what most non-believers think, you don’t get to heaven by obeying all the rules and being “good enough”. No one is “good enough”. You hear it all the time at funerals. “He was a good man.” or “He lived a good life, he’s in a better place now.” It doesn’t matter. If you’ve ever disobeyed any of God’s commands, you aren’t good enough. The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ. Admit that you are a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. His death on the cross paid for all the sins of those who place their faith in Him. That’s why we can call today “Good Friday”. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Everyone is invited. There’s no sin to big that it can’t be forgiven and it’s never too late as long as you are still on the green side of the grass. Hope everyone has a blessed Easter and that you are able to spend some time reflecting on God’s great gift.

    John 3:17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

  10. Lynne
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    It still cracks me up though how there are so many different branches of Christianity and every one of them interprets the bible a bit differently. Every one of them feels they are right and everyone else is wrong (except maybe Unitarians) . There is so much disagreement about pretty much everything. Even about if today is Good Friday or if Sunday is Easter. Not all Christians are in agreement on that.

  11. EOS
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Whether or not Christians celebrate this Sunday as Easter is not an essential. That Christ rose from the dead is shared by all denominations. It’s the most important holy day of the year and it’s what distinguishes Christians from all other religions. Denominations may have different worship styles, different emphasis, but there is one God, one Savior, and one way to eternal life. All Christians agree on that.

  12. Lynne
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Ok, you got me there. All Christians do seem to agree that Christ rose from the dead and that Easter is the highest holy day of the year.

    I am not sure that there is total agreement that there is one way to eternal life though. The faith in which I was brought up taught that eternal life was for everyone but you could only enjoy it if you were close to God. Others also believe in eternal life for all but in different places (heaven and hell). Some believe only those who have accepted Jesus get into heaven and others think that isn’t necessary. Really a lot of disagreement! But yes, a belief in some sort of afterlife may be universal among Christians.

  13. EOS
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I could start a cult tomorrow and make up my own rules, but that does not change reality. The existence of religious groups that have erroneous beliefs in no way diminishes the truth. The best way to detect a conterfeit bill is to handle genuine currency. It’s the same way with religious groups.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I like the theory that during the missing formative years before he started preaching, Jesus went east and studied Eastern religious philosophy and that after crucifixion, he was comatose, not dead. And so he ‘rose’ from the dead when he awakened from the coma, pushed aside a stone, said a few words and took off back East with Mary Magdalene. Word of God.
    That’s an Easter, and a Jesus, that I can get behind.
    I still eat my greens on Maudy Thursday. That’s the extent of my investment in Easter religious traditions.
    My nephew once announced he was giving up church for Lent. That also seemed a solid choice.
    Hard to imagine a worse eternal fate than being stuck *forever* with a bunch of true believer Christians. Sounds like True purgatory to me… I’ll take my bets with the unrepentant, thanks.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Jesus was a Buddhist monk:

  16. Posted April 21, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I’m just imaging how this will look on display 100 years from now, in a museum, alongside an exhibit about Trump’s penchant for porn stars and “pussy grabbing.”

  17. Posted April 21, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    They don’t give a fuck. They just want Supreme Court Justices, and a president who tells them that they’re better than everyone else. As long a Trump delivers, they couldn’t care less that he mocks the handicapped, has unprotected intercourse with sex workers while his wife is caring for their newborn, and gives winking approval to Nazis. Absolutely disgusting.

  18. Posted April 21, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    We need to start taxing churches.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted April 21, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Someone needs to reveal a few of the mistress’ abortions he has paid for…
    There must be at least a few out there…

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted April 21, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    A reminder that both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal told Anderson Cooper that Trump did not like to use condoms…

    This surprises no one.

  21. Posted April 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    The Lord works in mysterious ways.

  22. Meta
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The Economist: “Donald Trump is more popular than ever with white evangelicals”

    IN CASE anyone should think American white evangelicals are actually in favour of extra-marital affairs with porn stars, Robert Jeffress, a well-known pastor from Texas, offered a helpful explainer last month. “Evangelicals still believe in the commandment, Thou shall not have sex with a porn star”, he told Fox News. “However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him.”

    It was useful to have this cleared this up. Since Stephanie Clifford, a porn star who is also known as Stormy Daniels, alleged that she had had a sexual tryst with Donald Trump only months after his third wife gave birth, the president appears to have become even more popular among white evangelicals than he was before. A survey by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), published this week, suggests support among white evangelicals for Mr Trump is, at 75%, at the highest level ever recorded.

    That is much higher than the president’s 42% approval rating among the general population. It is also represents a fairly steady recent increase in white evangelicals’ support for Mr Trump. Less than half backed him during the Republican primaries, in 2016. But since Mr Trump became president their support has not dropped below 65%. Robert Jones, chief executive of PRRI, said that fits a familiar established pattern: evangelicals tend to cluster behind whoever emerges as the Republican candidate in a given race—and cluster even more forcefully when that candidate wins office.

    But it seems remarkable that white evangelicals could be so unfazed by Mr Trump’s latest scandals. Last month, Ms Clifford filed a lawsuit against the president in an effort to be free of a hush agreement she had signed with his attorney. Also last month, a former Playboy model called Karen McDougal gave a television interview in which she described an alleged 10-month-long affair with Mr Trump in 2006 (which was also the year of his alleged tryst with Ms Clifford). Ms McDougal claimed that the president had offered her money after their first sexual encounter and that she ended the affair because she became consumed with guilt about his adultery. The White House has denied that Mr Trump had the alleged affairs.

    Perverse though it seems, it is no coincidence that the president’s popularity with white evangelicals has increased amid these scandals. White evangelicals are a fading force in American politics and society and Mr Trump has cast himself as their defender. So when he comes under attack, they consider themselves to be under attack too.

    A PRRI survey conducted last year found the proportion of Americans who are white evangelicals had fallen to 17%, from 23% in 2006. The intervening years featured another development, the introduction of gay marriage, which for many conservative Christians is both emblematic of their decline and exceptionally aggravating. Mr Trump has signalled his sympathy for such cultural fears by vowing to exclude transgender people from the armed forces. He has also aligned himself firmly with the pro-life movement, including by addressing an annual anti-abortion march in Washington and appointing conservative judges. The aggressive manner in which he has claimed to be leading a counter-cultural pushback seems to go down with white evangelicals especially well. “Trump is like the boy who punches the bully in the playground”, says Mr Jones. “They like that”.

    A longstanding idea that white evangelicals are most concerned about the moral character of their leader has, in the process, gone out the window. In a recent interview with Politico Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, an influential Christian campaign group, said Mr Trump’s relationship with evangelicals was transactional. He suggested evangelicals had got much out of the deal, with Mr Trump delivering more on policy, “than any other president in my lifetime.”

    This is a big reason why Mr Trump’s approval ratings have stayed remarkably steady, despite the many scandals buffeting his administration. Evangelicals are one of the biggest segments of his coalition and they are going nowhere. The PRRI survey also found that 69% of white evangelical Protestants who identify with or lean towards the Republican Party would prefer Donald Trump over any other candidate to be the party’s presidential nominee in 2020.

    Read more:

  23. Lynne
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    RE: “They just want Supreme Court Justices”

    Too bad the far-left doesn’t understand this concept. These evangelicals, even in their hypocrisy in supporting Trump, have made real progress in this regard in a way that absolutely further their agenda. Had Clinton won, we would have had a liberal majority court and likely one for decades. Especially if those on the left also understood the power of congress in terms of approving those justices enough to get out and vote in midterms.

    It is not too late though. There is a midterm this year and it is important to get out and vote so that hopefully a Dem president can be elected in 2020 with a congress they can work with!

  24. wobblie
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, this is dumb, “Too bad the far-left doesn’t understand this concept.” As if any President will ever nominate some one to the Supreme Court who supports a “far-left” position on anything. From a “far-left” perspective a “liberal supreme court” is not much different than a “conservative supreme court”. After all the most “leftist” positions advanced by the Supreme Court have been when it was a “conservative court” ie. Warren was a Republican as was Burger.
    Justice Stevens, a leading dissenter in the Citizens United case was appointed by a Republican.

    The far right is driven by religious anti-choice, pro-carbon fuels and pro-gun institutions. They are at cross purposes to one another. Pro-gun are pro-individual rights. They are not anti-choice. Pro-carbon are pro big business who are pro diversity. They will only get majorities on the court to support expanding the rights of business and corporations. They will never reverse Roe-Wade, or Brown. People like EOS are simply tools used to advance their business agenda.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “From a “far-left” perspective a “liberal supreme court” is not much different than a “conservative supreme court”. ” — anyone who asserts this should not be calling anyone else dumb.

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    If you look at the voting record of the SCOTUS, you will find that the same justices who are second amendment absolutists are also vigorously anti-choice with regard to reproductive freedom. As are many Christian conservatives. It IS intellectually inconsistent, but they are following the bible not contemporary political thought. There are many Republicans who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, but that political perspective is not well represented on the courts. And very few of those Republicans care enough about social issues enough to lose the economic advantage of getting in bed with social conservatives. They usually prefer to let the states do as they please on social issues. It’s more a stand aside than anything. We still cede a lot of power over social issues to the states and local government. This is an opportunity the left rarely takes into account, much to our strategic disadvantage. CA and some liberal cities are starting to figure this out.

    I think Wobblie just makes stuff up to suit his ideology.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    White evangelicals love to forgive a sinner so long as they are white, straight and Christian. Being male is a plus too. Everyone else can go to hell.

  28. EOS
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink


    I don’t think it’s possible to be further left than Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. Heard that both she and Kennedy will be calling it quits in June. With two more Justices, there’s no doubt Roe v. Wade will be reversed. All that is necessary is to admit that life begins at conception. Defending children in the womb is definitely pro individual rights. Republicans do a far better job at protecting individual rights than the over-regulatory, rules imposing Democrats. Less Government – More individual freedom – Vote conservative. Higher taxes – declining infrastructure – Vote Democrat.

  29. Jean Henry
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Wobblie’s outrage at economic injustice apparently does not extend to women’s reproductive health, which have been chipped away at for decades, so that, in this most critical means to physical and economic well-being, access has been limited to those with means.

    By the time Roe V Wade gets reversed, which will simply send the issue to the states, Red states will already have tightly restricted access.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    bad sentences. should wake up first…

  31. EOS
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    If the Supreme Court issues a ruling that is consistent with science, in that life begins at conception, then the fetus has due process rights and abortion would be illegal throughout the nation, not left up to the individual states. The right to life is an individual right that exists regardless of Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. No other right matters if someone has the right to destroy your life before birth.

  32. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I didn’t not call anyone dumb. Jean you are the one who is constantly calling people names. I said the statement was dumb. I know from your right-center position in life, Bernie seems like an ultra-leftest, but to those of us on the left he is just slightly to the left of what should be the center. It is folks like you and IL and Lynn who are constantly voting for the “lesser” evil that has allowed the political spectrum to be shifted so far to the right, that Lynn imagines anyone to the left of her is an ultra-leftest. You know when Pete M. was Mayor he called himself a socialist, he hardly seems like an ultra-leftest to me. A moderate progressive Democrat yes. Seems like to you folks, even Ted Kennedy’s positions now seem like “ultra-leftest”.
    It is the continual movement of Democrats to the right which ensures that whom ever is nominated to the Court will be anti-worker, pro-big business and pro-gun. It is the “banality of evil” which our society wallows in. Your hero Arendt wrote extensively about that issue, perhaps you should re-read.
    I actually believe woman are equal and any attempt at controlling their bodies is an abomination. What ever happened to the Democrats support for the Equal Rights Amendment? Is that another ultra-left position? You probably don’t remember that struggle and how in the pursuit of voters the Democrats abandoned that fight.

    EOS, Ginsburg is a good liberal and has stood up for what is right, but she is hardly an ultra-leftest. Doubt that she would support Reparations for example. Rumors are rumors. I think she will be like the great jurist Douglas, and stay on the court as long as she is mentally fit. And EOS, cancer cells are living cells, but they have no rights. Anything in my body is subject to my choices, not yours or societies.

  33. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    It is right wing idiocy like this that ensures that abortion will remain a political football.

  34. Lynne
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    wobblie, you threw women under the bus by not voting for Clinton and I will NEVER forgive you for that. You dont see the differences but only because you are looking at things from your privileged white male perspective. The greater evil matters if you are a person whose rights are at stake. Your idealism is something your privilege allows you to have.

  35. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Lynne does your unforgiveness extend to all those Detroiters and other Michiganders who didn’t bother to vote for a Presidential candidate, or do you just hold on to it for folks like me? I just love folks who are consistent in their dislike. And Lynne, no body is going to take away your reproductive rights. It is only folks in Red states like Indiana that have to worry. The Court will never say that abortion is illegal, the most they can do is reverse Roe-Wade. For those too young to know, abortion was legal in New York prior to Roe-Wade and it was the Court decision that stopped the legalization that was occurring in other states. Those who do not know or understand the past are bound to repeat the same mistakes. Here is a map of pre-Roe Wade abortion laws. I was surprised by some of the southern and western states.

  36. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    For those who are unsure of their current reality, here is a map of what the current status of choice is by state.

    So in the end, Roe-Wade, has left a lot to the states regardless. It has given the right wing far too much political clout for them to ever let it go.

  37. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    In fact if you compare maps, it is now harder for some woman to exercise choice today than it was prior to Roe-Wade.

  38. EOS
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink


    A cancer cell is alive but is never considered a life.

  39. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink


  40. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) all have announced support of Pompeo for Sec. of State. Voting lesser evil gives us an evil Sec. of State. No doubt they will also support the torturer for Director of the CIA.

  41. wobblie
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Best quote of the day,
    Scooby doo teaches kids that everything supernatural or other worldly is just some asshole trying to scare you so they can make some money.
    Pretty much sums it up I think.

  42. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    wobblie, oh yes, my ire includes those who didn’t vote. But when it is privileged people who vote badly, it is worse than when underprivileged people who face more obstacles in voting don’t jump through the extra hoops.

    And you are correct. MY abortion rights are not in question and that would be true even if I were younger. I mean I am at an age when I am fairly certain I will not need such services. Yet, yes, I have a passport and people in my socio-economic class would have access to abortion even if it were completely illegal in all 50 states. That isn’t the point though and doesn’t change that there are many women who are really suffering and who will continue to suffer because of lack of access to legal abortions. All because some people would rather they suffer than vote for anything less than a perfect candidate.

  43. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    This is how you get things that most Americans support. It is not by voting for lesser evil

  44. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Another article on the inroads that the “leftest” are making within the Democratic Party. Lynn you just keep reading the corporate approved propaganda we don’t want anything to upset your privileged life style.

  45. EOS
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The suffering of women due to lack of access to abortion pales in comparison to the suffering of the individuals who are aborted. They don’t even get the benefit of anesthesia.

  46. Iron lung
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink


  47. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    wobblie, if I understand you correctly you don’t want me to vote for Sanders or anyone Sanders endorses if doing so would be voting for the lesser evil?

    I am glad that so many have figured out how the system works, actually. I am glad that people are getting involved in party politics and learning how to make the party work for them. My beef is with people who don’t do the ground work, then complain while they throw everyone else under the bus by voting third party.

  48. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    My complaint is those who vote for war mongering corporate clones because they are part of their tribe. If it takes voting 3rd. party to get the Democrats motivated to work for the people and actually pursue a people oriented agenda then I will vote 3rd. party.

    Since Sanders has been talking up jobs for all, two of the Democratic Party wannabe nominees are also starting to talk the talk. Having the threat of a 3rd. Party will make them also walk the walk.

    Vote for the Good. Be Principled. The politicians will follow. If we let them wallow in the filth, that is where they will stay.

  49. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    “A representative from Sanders’s office said they had not yet done a cost estimate for the plan or decided how it would be funded, saying they were still crafting the proposal.”

    Well, typical of Sanders’ camp. Make grand self-aggrandizing pronouncements without considering how to pay for any of these “plans.”

  50. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I’d be more willing to get behind Sanders magical plans if I was at all confident that he and his followers had done at least some basic ground work on figuring out the how to pay for these plans, how to sustain them, and what the risks are.

    To date, however, I have not seen evidence that he and his followers are interested in doing such work.

    And that’s a major disappointment… and why I couldn’t support him.

  51. Demetrius
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Sanders, as an individual, is somewhat beside the point.

    What’s really needed is a new politics that isn’t afraid to be bold and aspirational, that seeks to inspire and motivate voters, by proposing (and being committed to) big solutions to big problems – not modest, lukewarm, Republican-lite half-measures …

    Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, etc., were all BIG ideas, and each was considered politically risky in its time. Can you imagine any “serious” Democratic candidate today putting forth even a modest proposal that wasn’t focus-grouped and poll-tested to death, or seen by the establishment as a “reasonable” compromise designed to appease Republicans?

    In many ways, even though we’re now nearly two decades into the 21st Century, we’re still fighting the battles based on lines that were drawn in the previous one. Democrats need to identify the “big ideas” that would resonate with today’s voters – then fight like hell to make them a reality.

  52. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    IL, that is my issue with Sanders too. He panders to the far left with grand ideas but because he knows that they will never pass, he doesn’t have to do the work of crunching the numbers.

    Also, voting third party does not move the Dems to the left. It moves them and actually our whole nation to the right. Imagine how much more progress we would have made with Al Gore as president instead of Bush? Yes, I am still bitter about those third party voters too. We really have to look to the GOP on this. They may have their disagreements but at the end of the day, they vote together and that is why even though they don’t represent the majority of people, they have the majority of representation.

  53. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    “Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, etc., were all BIG ideas, and each was considered politically risky in its time. Can you imagine any “serious” Democratic candidate today putting forth even a modest proposal that wasn’t focus-grouped and poll-tested to death, or seen by the establishment as a “reasonable” compromise designed to appease Republicans?”

    That is irrelevant in 2018. People have the ability to do research of costs and how to pay for policy proposals in a fraction of the time it would have taken in 1963.

    Sanders and his followers are either lazy or afraid. It’s not the ideas that piss me off, it’s the lack of preparation.

  54. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Also, Sanders did not come up with the plan, House of Cards did. And the plan sucks anyways

    Demetrius, sure but there is a pretty wide spectrum of ideology in the Democratic party and what might inspire you will leave others cold especially if it is like much of what comes from that wing of the party. Lots of good ideas but not necessarily realistic ones.

    Don’t get me wrong though, there is plenty of room for discussion of pie in the sky ideas (I know I like dreaming of a UBI) but unless someone can talk about the costs of such things in a realistic way, they are useless. I was just reading an article about some tech CEO out west who is going to run in 2010 on a UBI platform with a VAT to pay for it but once I did the math, it became clear the the VAT would only pay for half of it. That VAT would be hard sell too because people don’t like paying taxes.

  55. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    er 2020. the dude isn’t building a way back machine or anything ;)

  56. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Your wither pro war or not
    IL and Lynn where is this money coming from? Your “lesser evil” Democrats easily voted for
    $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019.

  57. wobblie
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Lynne and IL where did this 780 billion dollars come from?

    2009 Obama saving the banks.

    Money is only a problem if you are opposed to spending it on people.

  58. Demetrius
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    All I can say is this: There are now fewer elected Democrats – at all levels, and in nearly every region of the country – than there have been in generations. And yet, somehow, many establishment Dems (including some on this blog) see no irony whatsoever in continuing to lecture the rest of us about how we need to double-down on the same failed, uninspired, strategies that have basically gutted the party from the inside out … and that to wish for policy goals that are bigger, bolder, and more inspiring is merely “pie in the sky,” impractical, or unaffordable.

  59. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    ” There are now fewer elected Democrats – at all levels, and in nearly every region of the country – than there have been in generations.”

    Well, then you better get your policy game on or Republicans are going to start doing the math for you.

    Right now, the American left is exposing itself as more unrealistic about budgetary issues and more ignorant of policy making than right wingers. It might get a few votes to think magically, but that’s not a way to get anything done.

    Put it this way, right now there is far more money to pay for policy research and more resources than at any time in US history, but Sanders and Co. can’t seem to want to use any of it. Kind of make you think they are simply interested in their own inflated egos rather than the welfare of the people.

    At least that’s what it makes me think. I have never not voted Democrat, but Sanders lack of preparation just made me embarrassed.

    Do your homework. It’s not hard.

  60. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    “Money is only a problem if you are opposed to spending it on people.”

    Well, then budgetary issues should be in the proposal. Talk about what to cut and where to spend and how to maintain it. Give voters details. Come up with a reasonable plan.

    As of now, those issues aren’t there in any substantive way.

  61. Jean Henry
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    HRC had plans. So many plans. And all the numbers tied out. But they were achievable and so ‘not inspiring.’ I met exactly one Sanders supporter who had even bothered to look at HRC’s policy proposals during the primary. One.

    I understand that big progressive ideas made to sound easy and without any real costs appeal greatly to liberals. Any thing that will fit on a bumper sticker. (Health Care and Education funding can be had by cuts in military and then peace will reign over all the land… win, win, win!) This is why conservatives think we are stupid. Because, like them, we are willfully stupid about certain things. Like numbers… And feasibility. And strategic plans. And broader economic impact.

    All that said we liberals will never be as willfully stupid as wobblie or EOS on these pages. Because we’ll never be as ideological. Thank God.

    There, Wobblie. I finally actually called someone other than HW a name (v critique). And you totally earned it on this thread.

  62. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “And feasibility. And strategic plans. And broader economic impact.”

    American leftists have long been uninterested in these things. Look at them speak longingly about Scandinavia without at all looking at how they pay for services in those places.

    Even Sanders seemed to be clueless as to how it works there.

  63. Jean Henry
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    If we do split into many parties, I hope there’s one for progressives who value expertise (all forms) and actually want to figure out who to accomplish change. We can call it the Wonk People’s Party. Stay wonk, everyone.

  64. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    “We’ll just take it from the military.”

    That will go over great in States like North Carolina when people start losing their jobs.

    These things don’t come without political consequences. I don’t like the military either, but like it or not, the military is a major source of public stimulus funds into the economy which does keep people in otherwise stagnant areas employed, hence the Republican obsession with maintaining high levels of funding.

    Just sayin. There’s no easy answer.

  65. Jean Henry
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    This is interesting.

  66. Jean Henry
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Strangely enough, I was friends with Stacy Dean, who is mentioned in that article, during my first years at UM. I lost track of her years ago. She’s a proper wonk doing great work to advocate for the poor inside the system. If her experience is at all like my other friends doing policy work, then Sanders and his campaign had zero interest in learning from her expertise. I intend to find out. I would be thrilled to be wrong about this.

  67. Iron lung
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Sanders’ campaign was shoddy as to be an insult to the many people who make policy research their profession.

    It’s like they went out of their way to appear ignorant.

  68. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    2016 is over… but the problem of willful ignorance and lazy planning amongst American leftists persists, and, to me, that’s a real problem.

    Again, it isn’t that I am not sympathetic to leftist ideology, it’s that I like to see ideas become reality.

    Problem is, though, that many people are just interested in making themselves feel good.

  69. Jean Henry
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    What liberals most desire is externalizing Blane for legitimate societal failures in others. 90% of what they do is blaming and protesting others (waving their own kind of flag) rather than working on sustainable solutions. I’m not saying the first part isn’t necessary; it’s just useless without well-developed policy alternatives. And those making progressive policy alternatives are not technocrats 3 laces removed, but people drawing their expertise from direct connection to those most impacted. Most of the ‘leftists’ here and elsewhere are more removed than the wonks. Both sides of progressivism need one another. Only one side seems to know that, and it ain’t the radicals.

  70. Lynne
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    *sigh* I thought there was real hope that HRC could have been convinced to make small but meaningful changes as long as those changes were well considered and feasible. I really do not understand the all or nothing attitude of so many on the political left.

    Sure, it would be amazing if the Democrats were to come up with some magic solution that would inspire the apathetic to get off their asses and vote. I just can’t think of any issues which would do that. Demetrius is like many (including myself sometimes) who find it easy to identify a problem but don’t have anything meaningful to say in terms of solutions. My best solution has been to not get in the way too much of the idealists in the party other than to ask them questions about how they plan to implement the policies they propose.

  71. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    The argument is that wild ideas push standards and ideals in particular directions.

    The reality is this might work for social issues such as same sex marriage or civil rights, but won’t at all work when dealing with programs that need to be paid for out of government tax revenue.

  72. Demetrius
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Yes – nothing is more certain to fire up potential voters than a candidate who proposes “small but meaningful changes as long as those changes were well considered and feasible.”

    Some folks here seem to believe that winning elections is about who has the biggest briefing book, or whose numbers/harts and graphs are the most impeccably detailed … when in fact, it is really much more about vision, and passion, and connecting with real voters and real issues.

    No question, Trump was (is) an idiot and a charlatan – but as a candidate, he was definitely able to connect with, and inspire, millions of ordinary voters. His speeches about “bringing back jobs,” “draining the swamp,” “building a wall,” were, of course, utter horse-shit … but his passion (some would say, anger) at least *seemed* somewhat real to many … and I think many voters chose his simulated passion and vision over Clinton’s more realistic – but much more boring – policy acumen.

    I’m not saying the next Democratic nominee should try to bluster and lie their way into the White House. I’m just saying that if Democrats ever want to regain power, they need to have demonstrate more passion, and a mjch more “common” touch – to go along with their formal platform.

  73. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    “Some folks here seem to believe that winning elections is about who has the biggest briefing book, or whose numbers/harts and graphs are the most impeccably detailed … when in fact, it is really much more about vision, and passion, and connecting with real voters and real issues.”

    No, I think that winning elections requires a certain amount of vision and passion, but I don’t feel comfortable with voting for someone who can’t back it up.

    Sanders ran on a populist platform, but offered something concrete (“free” college, ” free” healthcare) that do, in fact cost money and do, in fact, have economic impacts. He can offer those things, but there’s a large chunk of the electorate that wants to see solid plans on how to implement them and what the costs will be.

    He did not do this, it would not have taken much to do so, hence my not voting for him in the primary. I am not alone.

    It is true that many people aren’t concerned with details in election time. But there are lots of people who are.

  74. Demetrius
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


    I think you are confusing the relatively small number of people who actually understand and pay attention to complex policy proposals, and their potential consequences (including, perhaps, many MM readers) – with actual, everyday “voters.”

  75. Lynne
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know Demetrius. Sanders had a lot of passion but couldn’t even get enough votes to win the primary. It takes more that just passion and charisma. I don’t disagree that those things help but I also don’t think a lack of such things is a valid reason not to vote for a candidate that is otherwise good.

    And yes, I know that HRC was lacking in that department. I always think of a story my brother tells. He was in a restaurant in DC when the Clintons came in. Hillary followed the waitstaff to the table like a normal person. Bill, OTOH, walked around the restaurant shaking people’s hands and talking. A huge contrast in personality but ultimately, does it matter in terms of running the country?

    It reminds me too of a story my father likes to tell about his grandfather. He was a politician and the reason he was successful at that was that he had a great memory. He remembered people’s names and details about them so when he ran into people while campaigning, he could say “Oh hello Mr X, how is Mrs X and your three children?” whatever. The point is that he was able to make others feel like he knew them and thus would represent them well. Except that remembering people’s names has nothing to do with running a government well.

    I have to wonder though how Demetrius things the nomination process should change when a significant number of people in the party absolutely will not vote for someone who doesn’t have practical plans for making change. YOU might not find “small but meaningful changes as long as those changes were well considered and feasible.” to be inspiring but I do as do many others. Are you suggesting that the majority of the party suppress what they want in a candidate in order to nominate someone who might be more likely to win the general election? And fwiw, I think a LOT of the people who voted for HRC in the primary were genuinely passionate about her. I know that when she walked out at the convention in that white suit, I became passionate about her!!!

  76. Demetrius
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    @ Lynne

    “… Bill, OTOH, walked around the restaurant shaking people’s hands and talking. A huge contrast in personality but ultimately, does it matter in terms of running the country?”

    In terms of running the country, of course not. In terms of getting ELECTED, absolutely.

    To be clear: I’m not saying that a candidate should be all style and no substance. Of course, intelligence, experience, judgement, should all be prerequisites for such an important job.

    My point is that – no matter how smart, experienced, or wise a candidate is, they need to be able to connect with and motivate voters if they want to be elected.

  77. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    “they need to be able to connect with and motivate voters if they want to be elected.”

    Sanders website was a joke. I heard about the man, wanted to learn more about what he offered, perused his website and found a lot of empty air.

    Writing some lines on a website isn’t difficult, but his campaign couldn’t even be bothered to do that.

    Why on earth would I vote for him?

    My point is, that a candidate must both energize voters and offer substance during a campaign. It’s not difficult.

  78. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    “I think you are confusing the relatively small number of people who actually understand and pay attention to complex policy proposals, and their potential consequences (including, perhaps, many MM readers) – with actual, everyday “voters.””

    No, I am not. Many voters do, in fact, care about things like how services are paid for and whether candidates have substantive plans.

    “How are we going to pay for that?” is a reasonable question among tax payers.

  79. Lynne
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t see any suggestions for improving the process in order to get the candidates that will be inspiring to the general electorate. I mean we have a process now where a minority vote in primaries and seem to have a problem where the candidates who inspire those people may not be motivating to the general electorate. I think we saw this in HRC. A lot of people were passionate about her. That is why she won the primary. So then what?

  80. Demetrius
    Posted April 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    For starters:

    Hold a genuinely open primary – on the same day, in all 50 states. (The current patchwork of “open” vs. “closed” contests, including straw polls, caucuses, primaries, etc. is overly complex, prone to manipulation, and gives undue influence to states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

    Restrict primary campaign donations to individuals (not corporations or PACs), and limit the total amount that can be contributed by any single individual.

    Get rid of “Superdelegates.” One person (party member) = one vote.

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