The frightening divide between Democrats and Republicans

Reader Charles called my attention to a CBS/YouGov poll showing the disparity between Republicans and Democrats in whether they see the number of American deaths from coronavirus acceptable or unacceptable. The results were frightening:

Note that the latest toll of Americans killed by coronavirus, reported in the Hili dialogue this morning, is 176,694.  That is more than three times the number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War (total 58,220, of which 47,434 were killed in battle). Only 10 % of Democrats find that total acceptable, but 57% of Republicans do, while 90% of Dems find the total unacceptable compared to 43% of Republicans. Two-third of Independents find the total unacceptable, about halfway between Dems and Republicans.

Now it’s not clear what “acceptable” means, but given that quicker and more stringent action would have saved more lives, and that the Trump administration—and a lot of Republican governors—have hardly taken the lead here, I think the objective assessment is “unacceptable”, meaning, “could have been reduced strongly with better action.” (Of course, many people don’t comply with restrictions, but I suspect those are heavily Republican as well.) The divide, of course, reflects the GOP’s approbation for Trump.

The data above, and that below, are taken from a poll of 2,226 registered voters.

Here are some statistics splitting Republicans from “all registered voters”:

But the divide gets worse. Have a look at these differences, which I found on a CBS website.  Is the U.S. economy really better, what with unemployment way up and many businesses closed, some for good? Republicans think so, attributing our “success” largely to Trump:

There’s also a huge divide, in the expected direction, on the issue of “discrimination”, which I take as “emphasis on race”:

The good news is that Biden is still maintaining the national 10-point lead among all “likely voters” that he’s had in recent weeks, though Republicans may get a post-convention bounce:

And more good news: the Democratic Convention swayed people more towards Biden:

And, as several readers have mentioned, the approbation for Biden among Democrats seems to be driven more by dislike of Trump than by the Democrats’ political positions, which weren’t laid out all that clearly during the convention. However, since the goal of bouncing Trump from the White House is more important than forging an acceptable political platform—the Dems do have one, and it’s much better than the 2016 Republican platform (the GOP isn’t producing a new platform for 2020)—I don’t much care:

You can see more data, as well as a description of the polling methods, at the CBS site.

Never in my life have I seen polarization this strong, and there’s no reason to expect it to go away. I’m not exactly sure why things are so divided now, but it portends poorly for the passage of legislation should Biden win and the GOP keeps the Senate. (CNN sees a Democratic Senate as possible if not likely.) If the Senate becomes majority-Democratic, well, we can then be happy and hope that Biden and Congress pass some good legislation. But of course if they do, the polarization will only increase.

I’ve lived through the eras of Reagan, Nixon, and both Bushes, but I’ve never seen the electorate not only so divided, but also with each party so hostile to the other. Trump, of course, makes his living by tossing gasoline on those flames, and I can’t imagine how long it will take America to recover from the tribalism—if ever.

118 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “I’m not exactly sure why things are so divided now”

    Religion, IMO. A yearning for theocracy has taken hold in the Republican Party.

    • Steve Adams
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I think you are correct to some extent. However, I think there is a deeper yearning for power and many see religion as a means to that power. For 40 years the Evangelicals have been the national scolds telling us how immoral we are. I’ve never believed their proclamations to be anything more than a thinly disguised attempt to gain power.

      We all saw how quickly their vaunted morality and principles were thrown aside to support one of the most immoral men to ever hold high office in this country.

      The Republicans have managed to drive another wedge into society by convincing their supporters that the Democrats are godless, or at best, lukewarm Christians. It’s amusing that anyone takes this seriously. Most of the Democratic base would probably identify as religious. It’s a similar strategy to stoking sectarian fears that we’ve seen in other countries.

      The Republicans have hit on a winning formula for gaining and holding power. When you have a core of supporters that willingly tolerate such overt corruption, despite their supposed values, then I don’t see politicians turning away from this strategy.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I’m old enough to remember a couple election cycles back when the evangelicals proclaimed the most crucial issue to be to put a “godly” man in the Oval Office — or when the notion that the president had gotten a hummer from an intern adumbrated the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah.

        The Evangelical Right is spent as a political movement, having shot its credibility wad.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Forty years? This has been going on for hundreds of years. What’s different in the last forty is the rise to political power of these folk, a rise nurtured by the Republican Party. They’ve been scolds forever but they used to keep it more separate from political activity.

        • Lee
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Still, forty years has particular biblical significance.. like how long they had to live on manna until they stumbled into the land of milk and money (er… I meant ‘honey’).

    • jhs
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I blame it on Trump… and the media.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Trump is just a manifestation of the actual disease.

        • W.T. Effingham
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          One of the main preconditions of the disease is Dark Money. Thanks to Citizens United for facilitating circumstances ripe enough for the oligarchy to choose how blatant or subtle they can operate.

  2. StephenB
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    A radical consideration for you and my fellow readers: partition the USA into two countries. Of course, there are many challenges to that deceptively simple prescription, not the least of which is ensuring a peaceful partition (case in point, India and Pakistan). Still, the tremendous effort might be worth it for the sake of domestic tranquility.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Well, we tried that in 1861 and it didn’t go well. Also I like living here in Iowa and I wouldn’t want to have to move to Vermont, or western Oregon.

      I say, let the Democrats sweep the presidency and the congress, and ram universal health care, affordable education, sensible gun control, true religious liberty, protection of the environment, and equal opportunities for all down the throats of Republicans whether they like it or not.

      • StephenB
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Did we really try it in 1861? One side wanted it, the other didn’t. I agree, the logistics of where to live in these new countries is the kicker that would most probably render this thought experiment impractical in reality.

    • Roo
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      I have a feeling one of those countries would be taken over fairly quickly as it would lack much of a military and / or law enforcement.

      While I am more in line with liberal culture on the vast majority of issues (although generally centrist,) this is the one where I think they have it horribly wrong. They’ve lived under the protection of others for so long that they are clueless about why “tough guy” culture exists, and just assume “It’s due to horrible people who love being mean, get rid of them and everything will be wonderful!”. (Admittedly, the Right has done this as well, but they’ve generally done it overseas, not domestically.)

      Educated liberals like to look down their noses at Red states, but let’s be honest, they need them to do the work they don’t want to do.

      • darrelle
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        I think this is as inaccurate now as it was during the Civil War during which the Yankees stomped the guts out of the red states. There is a very long tradition of military service among the blue states, always has been. While it’s true that academics tend to be more anti-military than the general population, academics are not a majority among liberals. The classic hippie anti-military point of view is certainly on the liberal side, but it is not a majority view among liberals.

      • busterggi
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        “They’ve lived under the protection of others for so long that they are clueless ”

        Bullshit. Just because red staters pretend to love the military, though the vast majority don’t serve, doesn’t make them our protectors.

        “they need them to do the work they don’t want to do.”

        Again, bullshit. You think blue staes don’t need garbagemen, dishwashers or septic tank clesners?

  3. Pierre Masson
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Typo :
    Only 10 % of Democrats find that total unacceptable, but 57% of Republicans do,

    “unacceptable” should read “acceptable”

  4. Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I can’t imagine we’ll see much of a GOP convention bounce. It has all the makings of a complete disaster. It starts today and there’s still no schedule posted, nor is there a “how to watch” page.

    To the true Trumpers, it will be amazing. But to anyone with a functioning brain, it will be horrid.

    I’ll also point out the hypocrisy of Republicans calling 175,000 US deaths acceptable when Obama was attacked for 2(?) Ebola deaths in the US.

    • Jim Danielson
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Those two deaths to Ebola didn’t even get infected in the USA, they were brought back to the US for treatment. Two nurses contracted Ebola in the USA, they both recovered.

      According to Kaiser Health News over 900 healthcare workers have died in the US from Covid-19.

      Let’s not forget Benghazi. Four deaths, years and years of investigations, the GOP screamed for Hillary Clinton and President Obama to resign.

      Trump’s transition team was given crisis training for a pandemic. They were given a book covered what to do.
      180,000 dead, Russia puts bounties on soldiers (Trump does nothing), Trump thumbs his nose at laws and the right only doubles down on devotion to the Dear Leader.

      It should also be pointed out, Obama tried twice to procure funding to ensure the strategic stockpile was updated and stocked.
      Republicans blocked the requests both times.

    • Max Blancke
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I have had Covid. I recovered, and am just fine. If I get into an accident on the way to town today, and end up dying later in the hospital, it is entirely likely that a Covid test will be performed, and I will go into the “died with Covid” category.

      We have no idea yet how many people in the US or anywhere else have died “from” Covid. That being said, I don’t think any such deaths are acceptable.
      But rural/urban comes into play as well. There are still huge numbers of rural people who have never knowingly seen a Covid patient, and don’t know anyone who has had it. Mostly they wear masks and practice distancing, because those are the rules now. From the perspective of that sort of person, the response to the disease has been pretty successful. They literally have to take it on faith that there is an epidemic. A failed response would maybe have trucks going around in the neighborhoods every morning to pick up the dead. Even in those small towns.

      Of course, a person who had family members die in a NY nursing home probably has a different perception.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        “We have no idea yet how many people in the US or anywhere else have died “from” Covid.”

        Huh? This is simply false.

        • phoffman56
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          Thanks.
          I hadn’t looked for that website; it’s useful for my nerdy desire to compare reported covid deaths to a statistical estimate of what I’d phrase as an estimate of ‘the actual number of deaths which would not have occurred had there been no covid’.

          It’s possible to get something of an idea from the one bar graph there, and that’s easily enough to make your point here as well.

          But I wonder if somewhere someone has written down exactly the number they used for each of the bars, at least starting in May this year or a bit earlier. Eyeballing it is not accurate enough to get a good idea of how much (understandable, not evil surely) error there is in the reported deaths. I had guessed about 30% higher is likely for US from a few things written earlier, so giving near ¼ million now for ‘my number’ above. But it looks like 10%, maybe 15% is more accurate, giving more like 200,000 now for that number.

          • phoffman56
            Posted August 25, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            Found the numbers this AM at

            https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/COVID19/index.htm

            And my revision down from 30% is wrong, it actually came to 32.6%, though that accuracy is a delusion. But I’d be surprised if if it weren’t somewhere between 25% and 40%.

            To explain, if you want to know how many deaths have happened that would not have happened if no coronavirus, take the number given by some reasonable source like CDC, or that Worldometer site which has it around 181,000 right now, and multiply by 1.25 if you use the 25%, 1.4 if 40%, to get somewhere between about 225,000 and 255,000 right now.

            I can explain in more detail, but likely not a good idea here.

            That’s where my ¼ million USian deaths, used a few times, comes from.

      • Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        “I have had Covid.”

        “We have no idea yet how many people in the US or anywhere else have died “from” Covid.”

        Put those two together and perhaps you haven’t had COVID either but just thought you had.

        • Max Blancke
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          My wife got pretty sick, through a patient that was a documented spreader. I had mild symptoms, and probably would not have known, except that we were tested, and are positive for antibodies.

          “Why do you think you would be counted as a covid death?”- Because our hospital system tests everyone admitted for Covid. I would very likely test positive. A competent coroner would not find that I had died “from Covid”, but would note that I died “with Covid” However, I would not be seen by a coroner in my state, unless there were controversial circumstances to my death. Due to the CARES act, there is a financial incentive to the hospital classifying me as a Covid patient.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        But rural/urban comes into play as well. There are still huge numbers of rural people who have never knowingly seen a Covid patient, and don’t know anyone who has had it. … From the perspective of that sort of person, the response to the disease has been pretty successful. They literally have to take it on faith that there is an epidemic.

        There are plenty of wealthy enclaves in the United States where none of the residents knows anyone serving in the US military. Would you be as sanguine were they to express similar sentiments should tens of thousands of American GIs be sent off to die unnecessarily in an avoidable war?

        I wouldn’t.

      • Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Why do you think you would be counted as a covid death? I think any competent medical examiner would know the difference between death by accident and death by covid when filling out your death certificate.

  5. elihershkovitz
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The reason for the huge difference is the republican party is no longer the republican party. Instead it is a cult, just like many of the so-called religions. One often wonders how a person could believe in the nonsense pushed by some of these religions – Mormons, Christian Science and others. They are cults just as those following the corrupt and mentally disturbed Donald Trump are nothing more than a cult. We should stop pretending this following is a political party. Does a political party have 8 or 10 of it’s past officials indicted or in prison? The same so-called republicans who said Trump was a complete jerk 4 years ago are today calling him the greatest. That is the mind of a sick cultist.

    • mike cracraft
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      I think the numbers show that many people here would not mind at all living under a dictatorship.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Many of the people in this cult are not smart enough to know what dictator means. They wouldn’t know one if they fell over one. Trump is a full blown psychopath and the people in the cult do not know what that is either. Whether living under such a person is desirable to them is hardly the point. If it is, it just verifies the stupidity.

        • StephenB
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          Yes, authoritarianism and anti-intellectualism go hand in hand. Please forgive the lengthiness of the following sermon, but I feel it’s appropriate to insert in this discussion. The real problem with our country is not the immoral Drumpf and the other odious Republicans. Not to diminish their harmfulness, but they are merely symptoms. The root problem is the large minority of our fellow Americans who vote for the Republicans. These voters are willfully ignorant of history, economics and science, not to mention philosophy and political science. This group is the elephant in the room of American society. To call them ignorant (or, for that matter, deplorable) is to be labeled derisively as an arrogant elitist. Yes, by all means, we have to, if only for the sake of history, call out Drumpf and the Repubs for their lies and hypocrisies, but this problem of the ignorant, anti-intellectual minority has no solution. Their loyalty to Drumpf is completely faith-based, he being their God-King. Our only hope is to outnumber them at the polls. Indeed, we did outnumber them last time; Hillary won the popular vote handily. We lost on a technicality, namely, the outdated, anti-democratic Electoral College. Until we amend the Constitution to abolish the EC, let’s give the Democratic Party strong support in implementing it’s geographic strategy to win the EC this time around. So endeth my rant. Thanks for reading. Have a warm and wonderful day!

          • Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            I agree but surely the case for fighting the ignorance is not lost. Surely there are things that can be done. I’ve always thought that the Democrats have done a poor job of educating voters. Both parties have more and more pandered to their bases rather than leading. And after 2016’s loss, the Dems were rightly accused of ignoring red state voters. Instead of ignoring them or pandering to them, they should educate them. Obviously they need to sensitive in how they portray this effort. Actually, the pandemic is probably one of the best educational opportunities though it’s lessons haven’t been learned by Trump voters yet.

          • Posted August 26, 2020 at 3:51 am | Permalink

            This is a frightfully arrogant comment, I must say.
            I’m not American, and no Trump fan, but I do know plenty of folks who vote for him who are none of the above. They are widely travelled, well educated, cosmopotitan. It’s precisely the bigotry of the attitude expressed here that has them vote ABD — Anyone but Democrat….

            • phoffman56
              Posted August 26, 2020 at 5:09 am | Permalink

              I didn’t notice Stephen calling EVERY Trump voter an ignorant moron. Your selection of ABD friends says nothing approaching scientific/statistical about the matter. Do any of them have descendants? If so, they clearly either don’t give a damn about them and the future of the human species in general, in which case a different sort of arrogance towards them is definitely called for; or if they do have children, describing them as intelligent says little for your ability to discern that. But I guess they more than give a damn about their oil and coal stocks or whatever their fat ‘little’ pensions are based on, and have made a calculation using that kind of ‘intelligence’.

            • Posted August 26, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

              Smart, educated people that prefer Trump over any Democrat? It’s completely illogical. One or more of the premises must be false.

            • rjdownard
              Posted August 26, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

              It is by no means impossible for otherwise bright and accomplished people to firmly believe absolute claptrap. There are young earth creationists with PhDs, after all.

              In the case of Donald Trump, however educated they may be, if they have minds that can somehow overlook the reality of the man (that he is a petty, vindictive, corrupt, self-serving, Roy Cohn-style Big Lie spouting ignoramus), that says a great deal about their cognitive landscape (perhaps an overheated anterior cingulate cortex, a brain system involved in human self-deception) but doesn’t in any way make the observable characteristics of Donald Trump go away.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      If the Trump cult actually is a cult (and there is quite a bit of evidence supporting that), it comprises about 40% of the US population: the largest cult in the US!

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if there is a specific number of Covid deaths that the cultists would find unacceptable. A million? 10 million? Maybe that’s the nature of a cult; once they have their leader, it really doesn’t matter what said leader does. It doesn’t matter who the leader kills either directly or indirectly. And that’s beyond horrible, especially when their leader has control of the Nuclear Football.

        The only way to rid America of the cult is to get rid of its leader. This won’t quell those in the cult, but it will rid them of their perceived power. That will go a long way towards healing the nation.

        • Mark R.
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          I thought this was a stand alone comment, but I guess it’s not too far off topic as a response to the above.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          I’m afraid that this cult will continue on. They were there before tRump and will be here after he is gone.

          There is no number that would be unacceptable, unless that number was attached to their opponents. Then it can be astonishing small. These folk are the same ones who spent years being re-horrified that four Americans were killed in Benghazi.

          • Mark R.
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, I agree that the cult will go on, it just won’t have the teeth of having a “faultless” leader feeding them red meat.

            • GBJames
              Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

              Faultless leaders are a dime a dozen.

              • Mark R.
                Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

                True, but DJT is a special case.

              • GBJames
                Posted August 25, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

                It is most likely that the cult will fall back on Junior. That’s the evangelical grifter’s main pattern. Dad builds an empire and passes it on to the kid. Jerry Falwell. Billy Graham. You know the drill.

              • phoffman56
                Posted August 25, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

                I’ll now give a (bulletproof-ha!) argument that Drumpf is perfect.

                I merely must show that there is at least one perfect object, since no one except he would claim that, and so it must be him that’s the perfect object.

                As for the proof, clearly ‘has no imperfections’ and ‘is perfect’ have the same meaning. Now, not existing is clearly an imperfection. Therefore, by pure logic, it would be contradictory to hold that a being with no imperfections does not exist.

                Therefore, a being with no imperfections does exist, as required to be proved.

                This argument is of course nearly a millenium old, not at all original, as all the god-lovers here know very well. I’ll leave it at that for your intellectual delectation.

        • Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          I suspect that they answered the question based on how everyone would interpret it rather than literally. What does it even mean for deaths to be “acceptable”? The question will be read as if it was “Do you hold Trump responsible for the large number of COVID deaths in the US?” It isn’t even a question of whether he is responsible but whether the problem affects them enough to abandon Trump. Since most people do not lose anyone close to them, it is easy for them to answer the way they did. This is why I take such little stock in this kind of poll.

      • Gingerbaker
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        “the Trump cult …comprises about 40% of the US population”

        Nope. 40% of the electorate. About 20% of voting age Americans.

        • phoffman56
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          I’m confused. That seems to imply that only half those eligible to be registered voters are that.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            In the 2016 US presidential election, 57.5% of eligible US voters turned out at the polls. Give or take a few points, that’s about the norm for recent US presidential elections.

            Of the 40%+ of voters who are not expected to turn out, it’s impossible to say with certainty how many of them are Trump supporters. But the polls at the FiveThirtyEight site — which measure likely voters, registered voters, and US adults, as to both presidential approval and Biden v. Trump — suggest that the totals are within a few points of each other for all groups.

            So, pace Gingerbaker, I think Nicky’s 40% figure is about right.

            • phoffman56
              Posted August 24, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

              Right, I think I understand:
              gingerbaker’s word “electorate” referred to those who actually vote–as opposed to registered voters or at least those eligible to (be registered to?) vote, which is often the meaning of the word.

              I realized that roughly 60 million voted for each last time and about 120 million sat on their asses. That’s why I always refer to there having been about 180 million USians willing to have that dork as their president; a bit of an exaggeration, but….

              I’m ending up with way too many comments here, sorry.

  7. Lee Beringsmith
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    There is a joke going around in Europe.

    What borders on stupidity?

    Mexico and Canada.

    • kraeuterbutter
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Ouch!

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      He he he, 🙂 🙂 mean that one!

  8. Historian
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    There is one basic underlying reason for the Republicans’ detachment from reality. The Republican Party is a cult and, as such, the word of the leader cannot be doubted. Fox News is the organ of state propaganda. But, we must ask why has the cult emerged at this specific time? The answer is the changing demographics of the country. Whenever the social structure of a nation becomes shaky those who benefit from the status quo become defensive and aggrieved. They are afraid of losing their status as top dog, an important component of their psychological makeup. They are upset at the prospect of sharing power with groups that they looked down upon and were able to lord over. These folks (almost all white) are greatly susceptible to the rantings of Trump. They are so afraid of social change that they have become delusional in their hope that Trump will stick his finger in the dike and reverse the course of history. The fact that Trump is a threat to democracy, with his many characteristics of a fascist, means nothing to them. Science means nothing to them. Facts mean nothing to them. All they want is relief from their psychic pain. This is why this election will be the most consequential since 1860. So much resides on its outcome.

    • Dean Reimer
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re a little too certain in your proclamation that it is changing demographics, but I think the probability that you’re correct is very high.

      I’ve said before that we are witnessing the death throes of white people’s stranglehold on political power. A lot of people are going to fight that change.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I think you have a very good point. People respond to their immediate pressures (or incentives), they rarely step outside themselves and look at larger consequences unless those are also part of their internal pressures. This is why it doesn’t matter how logically inconsistent the acceptability of 175,000 deaths is with the “unacceptability” of 2 deaths is. It’s not about logic…it’s about that dysphoric feeling that they are trying to relieve, ASAP.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    … though Republicans may get a post-convention bounce …

    Of that, I have my doubts. Unlike every presidential candidate before him, Donald Trump plans to make an appearance every night of this convention. I don’t think what the 54% of American voters who currently disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance in office need to see to convince them otherwise is more of Donald Trump.

    Look for Trump to go full King Lear, Act 1, scene 1, at this convention, demanding fulsome declarations of undying love from all who take the RNC stage, no dissent brooked. Long gone is anyone who might’ve taken on the role of the Earl of Kent — like Mitt Romney or George W. Bush or even Dick Cheney — avoiding this convention like the coronavirus, each and every one of them. We’ll see, I suppose, whether anyone’s left in the Party with the stones to play The Fool.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Sorry, I couldn’t help it:

    • Charles A Sawicki
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      It may be a foolish hope, but I think that overexposure to the orange narcissistic fungus will turn some people to Biden giving him a negative bounce. I cringe every time I hear that self involved idiot speak.

  10. Stephen Barnard
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The US has about 4% of the world’s population and about 23% of the covid-19 deaths. That’s all I need to know about whether the response is acceptable.

  11. Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    One pattern to see as well is the widespread doubt that people have in the number of cases of corona virus cases and deaths. It is common to encounter people (the ones I know are always Republican) who think that those numbers are somehow inflated. For what reason? Money is the answer, for some reason.

    • darrelle
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Some right here even.

  12. busterggi
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Its not as if today’s GOP wasn’t predicted.

  13. Observer
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    If there is no libertarian free will, then it is meaningless to talk about how deaths could have been reduced with better actions. The Republicans are accepting reality, and the Democrats are living in a fantasy land.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      You’ve confused causal determinism for fatalism.

    • Observer
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Your source says that is a theological distinction, for those who believe in the will of the gods.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 25, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      No, you’re simply confused about the way determinism works.

  14. Linda Calhoun
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    My personal opinion of Biden went up not as a consequence of the convention, but rather after the primary was over, when he brought in Bernie’s people as equals to develop policy and platform proposals.

    Inclusion is something we need, that has been sorely missing. Ideological purity is dividing us, stupidly, and I see Biden as not letting that happen. If Bernie had won the primary, his people would have circled the wagons and not been open to anyone but those in their in-group.

    L

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    If the Senate becomes majority-Democratic, well, we can then be happy and hope that Biden and Congress pass some good legislation.

    If Biden wins the presidency, I think the Dems will gain control of the Senate. To do so, they’ll need to net at least three seats. Since poor, sacrificial Democrat Doug Jones seems assured of losing in Alabama, that means the Dems’ll need to win at least four of the 23 Republican seats up for for grabs this year.

    I’m reasonably confident they’ll win in Colorado, Maine, and Arizona. I think they’ve got a good shot at picking up the necessary fourth in either Iowa and/or North Carolina. They’ve also got at least on outside shot at one of the two senate seats at issue this cycle in Georgia or the one from Montana.

    If Biden wins and the Democrats do gain control of the senate, the question of the day come the next congressional session will be the one Edward G. Robinson asked in Little Caesar: Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico the filibuster?

    • Jim Danielson
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I’m not confident of anything at this point.

      Republicans and Trump will go beyond all previous machinations of voter suppression/election fraud and kick it into high gear.

      If they get caught and they win very little changes. If they get caught and lose very little changes. Past experience shows few people wind up sanctioned, besides a few little people who fall on their swords.

    • mike cracraft
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Don’t rule out Texas. It’s getting bluer all the time. Many observers think it’s up for grabs this year. It would be great to get rid of Cornyn.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, it would be. Lindsey Graham isn’t out of the woods yet in South Carolina, either.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I wish the democrats could take Kentucky. Or that SOMEONE else could take Kentucky.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Maybe we could trade the Bluegrass State for Greenland?

  16. Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Such extreme polarisation is inevitable given the US’s incessant election cycle. If you drag out election campaigns over two years or more instead of a month or so, then it’s inevitable that differences get exacerbated.

  17. Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Recently, Trump claimed in a tweet that Dems had omitted “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance given during the DNC last week. This is something that is easily proven false by looking at video of the event. Still, Republicans overwhelmingly believed Trump’s statement to be true. Truly amazing, and not in a good way.

  18. Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Education and class divide. Is it any wonder who Trump supporters are Boomers with money or troglodytes?

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      The people I know who are Trump supporters are almost all the same people who do things like watch (and kind of buy into) the “History” channel’s shows about ancient aliens and things like the Perseid people. It’s not a surprise to find the correlation, but I’d love to know how to counter the cause.

  19. Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    What “pro life” and “all lives matter” really means

  20. clarkia
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    If elected president, Biden needs to focus on policies that will pop the misinformation bubbles that some segments of the population currently reside in.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I second that. If I had to name one problem in the US whose solution would matter the most it is education of voters and some better way to battle the conspiracy theories and lies.

  21. Curtis
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The Democrats can be just as biased when the Democrats coronavirus response is bad. In NYC, sick people were returned to nursing homes while an emergency hospital and Navy hospital ship were all but empty. DeBlasio’s and Cuomo’s actions killed many thousands but they are still celebrated for their response.

    This is not a defense of Trump just acknowledgement that blind loyalty runs both ways.

    https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2020/04/30/hospital-ship-comfort-departs-nyc-having-treated-fewer-than-200-patients/

    • GBJames
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      You don’t seem to understand what “following the science” means. It doesn’t mean making no mistakes, which seems to be your view. It does mean learning from your mistakes and changing behavior as a result.

      One political “color” has difficulty understanding this simple fact. The other, not so much difficulty.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I’ve seen DeBlasio’s and Cuomo’s mistakes called out many times on CNN. I think you are engaging in some gentle both-sideism here. There’s also a big difference between what they did and what Trump continues to do. They were under the impression at the time that they were doing the right thing. The same can’t be said for Trump’s actions. It was clear that he was denying the virus because he wanted to downplay any impact on his administration, not because he thought downplaying it would save lives.

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Curtis’ supposed evidence (the NYTimes story) of what he writes as the lying claim that “..DeBlasio’s and Cuomo’s actions killed many thousands..” is far worse than just both-sides-ism.

      The story is poorly written, but makes very clear, when you read the parts containing specific facts, that the ‘Billy-Jean instant hospital’ was a totally incompetent fuckup by a Texas company. That company was apparently known only as one which had raked in money to build the Mexico wall but likely didn’t do much of a job there either. Just read the damn thing, looking for facts, not the author’s attempt himself at both-sides-ism.

      • Curtis
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Navy hospital ships are the most advanced medical facilities in the world. Would lives have been saved if patients went there instead of into nursing homes?

        • phoffman56
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Read the actual NYT words written, inc. re the ship, in what you claim to be some kind of proof that those Dem politicians were just as bad murderers as your president.

          Have you? If so, I’d have to think dishonesty is attempted to be foisted on readers here. But they can read it themselves.

          And I’d prefer it to be non-reading or non-comprehension, not dishonesty. We get enough of that from Mass Murderer donald.

    • Curtis
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      @Paul, GBJames and phoffman56. Thank you for proving my point. From ProPublica:
      “If a hospital determined a patient who needed nursing home care was medically stable, the home had to accept them, even if they had been treated for COVID-19. Moreover, the nursing home could not test any such prospective residents — those treated for COVID-19 or those hospitalized for other reasons — to see if they were newly infected or perhaps still contagious despite their treatment. It was all laid out in a formal order, effective March 25. New York was the only state in the nation that barred testing of those being placed or returning to nursing homes.”

      Cuomo forced contagious people into nursing homes while hospitals sat empty!! He refused to allow testing. The order was clearly responsible for the deaths of thousands. And yet he is praised for his response.

      https://www.propublica.org/article/fire-through-dry-grass-andrew-cuomo-saw-covid-19-threat-to-nursing-homes-then-he-risked-adding-to-it

      • GBJames
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        “for proving my point”

        Say what? Nothing of the sort. I spoke of the difference between making mistakes and learning vs. making them and doubling down.

        So, naturally, you just doubled down.

        • Curtis
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Cuomo and the Department of Death continue to blame everyone but himself for the deaths. All he has learned is to spin.

          ‘Thousands of COVID-19 deaths inside New York nursing homes stemmed from infected workers and visitors introducing the coronavirus into the vulnerable facilities, a new state Department of Health report asserted Monday.

          The report also contended that a controversial Health Department order on March 25 directing nursing homes to admit COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals had limited impact on the outbreaks.’

          https://www.lohud.com/story/news/coronavirus/2020/07/06/why-doh-says-staff-visitors-brought-covid-19-into-ny-nursing-homes/5383400002/

          ‘Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But he continued to defend it this week, saying he didn’t believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York — more than in any other state — and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem.

          “Any nursing home could just say, ‘I can’t handle a COVID person in my facility,'” he said, although the March 25 order didn’t specify how homes could refuse, saying that ”no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based” on confirmed or suspected COVID-19. ‘

          https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ap-count-4300-virus-patients-ny-nursing-homes-70825470

          • phoffman56
            Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            I could write 2+2=100,000 seven times in a row, perhaps one more than you here. The latest rumour is that saying something often enough doesn’t convert it from false to true.

      • phoffman56
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Instead of taking a more careful look at his NYTimes ‘evidence’, and seeing what non-evidence he has attempted to pass off as showing the murderous activities of a couple of NY politicians, Curtis gives us another perfectly good bit of reporting (but not headline writing) which also does no such thing. Perhaps he is honest, having only read that title and first few paragraphs.

        “The entrance to Diamond Hill in Troy, New York, where a new sign reads Collar City Nursing and Rehabilitation”

        Above from one of its pics, the lengthy article is almost entirely about the incompetence of that one ‘Diamond Hill’ nursing home which avoided answering reporter(s), and now has changed its name. Like I said above about the NYT, read the damn thing to see how little, virtually not at all, it supports Curtis’ claims.

        Cuomo and deBlasio were and are far from perfect. But get real about the comparison with your (not my) Mass Murderer president.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Democrats do not expect (or pretend) that other Democrats are perfect. (Ask Al Franken.) We do, however, expect them to follow the best scientific and medical advice available at the time a decision is made.

      Republicans live in mortal fear of a mean Trump tweet.

    • Curtis
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I think we can all agree that Cuomo’s performance was less than stellar but his popularity has skyrocketed since 32,000 New Yorkers died from coronavirus. From an objective point of view, this is ridiculous. From a political, anti-Trump POV, it is logical.

      Trump and Cuomo are the two people most responsible for coronovirus deaths in the US. One is celebrated and one is blamed. The hero and villain are swapped according to political allegiance. Both sides are blind to the incompetence of their own bozo.

      “Sixty percent of registered voters in New York approve of the job Governor Andrew Cuomo is doing, a Marist College released on Thursday found.

      The job performance approval is the highest score Cuomo has received in the poll since taking office in 2011 and is a sharp increase from a 38 percent approval rating in March 2019.”

      https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/ny-state-of-politics/2020/07/10/marist-poll–new-york-voters-approve-of-cuomo-s-job-performance-

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Trump and Cuomo are the two people most responsible for coronovirus deaths in the US. One is celebrated and one is blamed.

        One of those politicians has been completely incoherent in his response to COVID-19 — saying first that China was had been “transparent,” then that it hadn’t; claiming the virus would quickly and simply disappear; putting out social-distancing guidelines, then immediately urging states to “liberate” themselves from them; recommending that people use quack remedies like injecting disinfectants and taking hydroxychloroquine; discrediting the recognized experts in his own administration; and constantly dissembling about the nature and scope of the pandemic — among his many other, near-daily incoherencies.

        The other one’s name is Cuomo. In some instances he erred. But in his daily briefings while the COVID crisis was at its peak in New York, he was calm, straightforward, and coherent.

        The distinction between the two shouldn’t be difficult for any reasonably objective observer to discern.

        • Mark R.
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

          And where does the “buck stop”? with this prez? Even if this or that governor fucked up, is it simply too quaint to blame the Commander in Chief? gud Foobid. Blame must always start at the top, especially the kinda shitshow falling from the top in the US right now. Keep pointing it out. This shit* keeps falling from Trump and the GOP.

          *shit: lawless, corrupt, inept, foolish, immature, sad, powerful, deadly, and currently in charge. Really smelly shit! Vote the fuckers out!

  22. scruffycookie
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    In comment sections in online articles, I often see Trump supporters crowing gleefully about the large number of deaths of Democrats in the so-called pesthole Democrat cities. When I call them on their dehumanizing of their fellow Americans, they call me their “enemy”. When I tell them I could easily be their neighbor or even their grandmother, they either ignore my comments or start in with ad hominem attacks. Most of that they get from Trump, IMO.

    I also blame the rise of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the lack of balance with all the media outlets. IMO, most “news” is entertainment disguised as journalism and most Americans are too stupid or ignorant to know the difference.

    In addition, I think many people are fearful of the major changes going on in society such as gay marriage, as well. It’s been reported –though I don’t know how accurate the research is– that most people who tend to vote conservative aren’t very open to new experiences and dislike change, unlike most who vote liberal.

    Just my 2 cents.

  23. Peter Blunt
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    As to why US Americans are so polarized, here are 2 recent books trying to answer this question:
    Ezra Klein: Why We’re Polarized. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, Jan. 2020
    Klein is a journalist, and a founding editor of Vox News.

    Nolan McCarty: Polarization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, July 2019
    McCarty is a political science professor at Princeton.

    • Curtis
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      I also like The Big Sort by Bill Bishop. It was written in 2008 but it identifies the problem perfectly. The age removes Trump from the analysis which I think is helpful.
      “Over the past three decades, we have been choosing the neighborhood (and church and news show) compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. The result is a country that has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred that people don’t know and can’t understand those who live a few miles away. How this came to be, and its dire implications for our country, is the subject of this ground-breaking work.”

  24. Dean Reimer
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I despair at what I see in our American neighbours. I simply cannot fathom that Trump has any support at all, let alone from over 40% of your population. I cannot put myself in the mind of a Trump supporter, and understand how they believe what they believe. How can they not see his lies, his narcissism, his sociopathic inability to care about others?

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      It’s what comes from lack of critical thinking, no engagement with the truth, and massive group-think. All of the sources from which we see “his lies, his narcissism, his sociopathic inability to care about others”, they believe are telling liberal lies. When Trump said that Dems left out “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance given during the DNC, some 80% believe Trump even though there is video from many sources that shows it was a lie.

    • darrelle
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      From my point of view in the pits, as it were, it is simply delusion. A significant percentage of the people that still to this day support Trump are delusional. Their delusion is caused by decades of the Republican Party leaders, tacticians, strategists and their moneyed supporters multi-pronged propaganda efforts.

      The results have been fruitful beyond their hopes. So fruitful that the RP lost control of the base they created. This became noticeable with the rise of the Tea Party, spiked with Trump entering the race for POTUS and their control has continued to slip further every day of Trump’s reign.

      The primary delusions that have been instilled by the RP’s long propaganda campaign are liberal is a dirty word, liberals are a priori worthy of only scorn, social in the context of economics and politics is likewise a dirty word and worthy only of scorn, educated people, smart people are bad and want to deceive you, ideology trumps facts / reality . . .

      The RP has persuaded these people to vote against their own best interests election after election. All anyone has to do to see that is to look at socioeconomic statistics and compare them to a timeline of US administrations. But facts don’t mean anything to the people that need to be convinced. They are way beyond that. It has long since become very much like religion. It is a matter of moral decency and foundational self-image which trumps all other considerations and they are sure they are the righteous ones. IMO I think a lot of these people I’m talking about, and I know many personally, are reasonably decent people. But they are committed to a delusion as strongly as Evangelical Christians.

      I should note that the RPs decades long propaganda efforts have also thoroughly infected the liberal side of the US political divide, to lesser extent but still quite beneficial to the RP. The brightest example there being the many on the left that believe elements of the many lies told by the RP, to one extent or another, about the Clintons or believe that Hillary must be bad if the RP spent so much effort investigating her. More generally it is seen as constant equivocation and what-about-ism whenever politics is discussed.

      • Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and all the equivocation and what-about-ism is in defense of a life-style in which Republican voters have been allowed to indulge themselves for decades. It’s not about truth but more like a choice in music. They are simply defending their right to live the way they’ve chosen to live. They are selfish.

  25. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    For the first time in modern history for either of the two major political parties, the GOP is enacting no party platform at this year’s quadrennial convention — no set of unifying principles and policy positions on which candidates on the Republican Party ticket can run. All that holds today’s GOP together is a willingness to pledge unwavering fealty to its strongman leader, Donald Trump.

    That’s the very definition of a cult of personality.

  26. phoffman56
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s NOT the “divide” that’s “frightening”.

    It IS the total unwillingness of huge swaths of USians to acknowledge many very clear truths, and change their minds about thoughtless following of a monstrously dangerous mass murderer. What’s frightening is that thoughtlessness, ignorance and related ridiculous attitudes about how to learn the truth.

  27. nellwhiteside
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Daniel Dennett posted this today – about Republican vote rigging.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/08/21/how-to-rig-an-election-an-interview-with-greg-palast/

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Dennett, but not Daniel, I think. But very interesting just the same.

  28. rjdownard
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump has accelerated and exploited a process and demographic he did not create, but which had been brewing for decades. The old GOP of 1970 which had a range from very conservative to quite liberal has shrunk year by year to a party which ranges from extremely conservative to largely conservative. (In Trump’s time even traditional conservatives like the late John McCain are demonized as RINOs.)

    A notable factor to consider is Trump’s support among creationists, who reflect most all of the current GOP. Those minds readily accept dogmatic authority and do not fact check claims, so all Trump is doing is tapping into a social system that easily follows his weather wane flips and whims with the same rationalizing ease as the Stalinists of old. As went Trotsky, so goeth Bolton.

    The result are polls like the ones noted here, where “Republicans” (they should be called Trumpistas now, to avoid insult to Lincoln) embrace a callous delusional lock-step adulation for a hyper-narcissist more than capable of feeding off their sycophancy, and poised to demolish any who thwart his desires.

    Never have I seen so many doctrinal creationists circulating so prominently in an administration, including ACLJ’s Jay Sekulow and Ken Ham bud Mark Meadows. I would only want the media to call attention to this aspect when they appear as authorities, but so far those aspects are never noted.

    The resulting policies, and the degree to which the “GOP” grassroots will adhere to them no matter what the facts are (even lethally so in the case of COVID-19), should surprise no one.

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      “As went Trotsky, so goeth Bolton.”

      I like that analogy. I should know more about Trotsky, but imagine he was somewhat less of a hypocrite. But let’s hope there’s no icepick for Bolton, though I better not give the mass murderer any ideas.

      To pick up on the icepick, the story of Jean van Heijenoort is a very interesting one. He was a mathematician/logician (translated/edited/wrote the technical ‘history’ of modern mathematical logic ‘The Source Book’–see the wiki on him). But he was a Trotskyite, and had been a bodyguard for Trotsky for some time. Then he left that from Mexico to continue his math career in US, just before the notorious assassination (with an icepick) in Mexico of Trotsky.

      Ironically and tragically, in an attempt to help a former wife with severe mental difficulties, he had gone back down to Mexico many years later, and himself was murdered there by her, she then committing suicide.

      Oddly enough, I even know another fact about dramatic and tragic deaths of mathematicians in Mexico. This was the Polish/American–I think–he was at MIT, Hurewicz, in the very field I wrote my Ph.D. thesis, who fell down a pyramid during a conference down there.

      Talk about changing the topic!

      Mass Murderer donald may well go down in history as worse than Stalin (this being the accompanying analogy), except there may be no civilization left to write/read that history once the presidential monster gets finished with us.

      • rjdownard
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Not to fault mega-egotist Trump, but there’s far less capacity for serious Stalin-class murder in the lazy coward Donald. Unlike serious dictators, he had founded no paramilitary army of thugs to beat up or kill opponents on his behalf, or have (as Stalin did) a tradition of Tsarist secret police, pumped up on Marxist-Leninist fervor to do the Leader’s bidding with no questions asked.

        Trump is exhausted reading a four page brief, or remembering if Nambia is on the same continent as Thighland. He wants to watch FoxTrumpravda, hear the pundits there stroke his fragile ego with praise, munching fast food, and then get some golf in at one of his courses (where at least he can rake in profit because the staff and Secret Service have to tag after, paying top dollar stay-over fees).

        His history of litigation has been aimed at ass-covering & indiscretion suppression, not geopolitical agendas, and beyond trying to keep foreigners from supposedly taking advantage of us (by him cheating them first), his attention falters the moment he has to weigh unpalatable alternatives (which is why he wants to exit from Syria and elsewhere).

        Trump is no Caesar, he’s too lazy for that.

        Where danger lies are in the nutballs who may go free lance while he’s on the links (from torch-wielding Nazis to QAnon extremists trying to intimidate voters at mailboxes) and whether Trump will interfere to play down the blow-ups.

        So there’s a slim silver lining in the Trump Tyranny call sheet. He’s too much the feckless jerk to be a steely-eyed ruthless dictator. But he’d look the other way if a baby-Putin wanted to do the dirty work for him.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Trump lacks the ambition to remake the nation according to some grand policy vision — which distinguishes him from infamous dictators past.

          As in everything else he’s done in his self-aggrandizing life, he’s in it to grab as much lucre and adulation as possible, the quicker, the better, as far as he’s concerned.

          Should he be given a second term, it will be an orgy of self-enrichment, as Trump cuts deals with the world’s worst autocrats for present and future consideration, the best interests of the United States be damned.

        • phoffman56
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          Replied below, ended up as #30, my mistake.

  29. jezgrove
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    There’s a lot of self-serving rationalisation going on with the Republicans in the survey. They support Trump (after all, he’s the candidate) so decide the death toll is “acceptable”. The same figure, or even a much lower one, under Obama’s watch (as comments above point out, two non-fatal cases of Ebola had them baying for his resignation) would, of course, have been “unacceptable”.

  30. phoffman56
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    You’re probably correct. We’ll see soon enough, probably within months.

    That he’s nowhere near the evil competence of Stalin is clear.

    But a thermonuclear war due to the narcissistic nitwit would convert the mass murder of a good proportion of the present ¼ million (making a reasonable extrapolation) into likely billions. And the survivors wouldn’t be writing much of anything, much less history.

    I realize this has very low probability. But I think not as low as the ostriches here and elsewhere think. I cannot blame them psychologically.

    From the man who had an asteroid named (Zappafrank) after him
    “It can’t happen here”

    That refers also to the more possible dictatorship people here have mooted, if only Drumpf could get more of the generals cooperating.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      I think Trump could do a reasonable Stalin impression if given half a chance. He’d grow into the position.


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