Reflections on an Illegitimate President

By Source, Fair use,

Over 80 years ago  Sinclar Lewis wrote a book, It Can’t Happen Here.

Doremus Jessup, the protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” sees something dark and terrible brewing in American politics — the potential for “a real fascist dictatorship” led by the up-and-coming populist candidate Berzelius Windrip.  – Beverly Gage, New York Times Book Review

Sinclair wrote the novel as fascism was rising in Germany and Italy and many in the USA were smugly saying that it “could not  happen here”

The author of this current article carefully reviews the dismal record of our current president and his emasculated acolytes in the Republican Party in destroying the last sixty years of social legislation that moved us closer to a true democracy.  In doing so they reinforced the megalomania of the ‘leader.’

Now, that leader, who has stated that he alone is the only one who can do “diplomacy,” claims he has brought North Korea to the ‘diplomacy’ table.  In fact, it was the more liberal South Korean leader who opened the door, a move that the Trump administration actively opposed.

It is about time that a free press, the careerists of the opposition Democratic Party, and the American people start worrying that the Republican Party and their leader, are not merely shredding the last sixty years of the American social contract, but are moving inexorably towards an authoritarian, fascist state.

One must worry when the “great leader” constantly claims that he is ” a genius, smarter than all of the generals, and always wins”. – Ed.

P.J. Sullivan

Donald Trump has been president [sic] for more than a year now and is being normalized in the media. The shock of his election is gradually wearing off. When I point out that he is illegitimate I am told to stop whining and get over it, the election is over. So what if he lost the popular vote, the argument goes, he won the electoral college fair and square and that’s what counts. Except that he didn’t.

The election was close in Pennsylvania but Trump got all the electoral votes. Since then the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered redrawing of the election district maps due to “unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.”  In other words, his electoral victory in that state was fraudulent. Other states were similarly gerrymandered.

Gerrymandering was only one of at least a dozen Republican scams in the last election. How many of them will decide the next election?

Then there was Interstate Crosscheck, which disenfranchised tens of thousands, maybe millions, of minority voters, by striking them from the voter rolls. They were given provisional ballots, which looked good on paper but were never counted. In Michigan, Trump’s victory margin was barely 13,000 votes, while 449,000 voters were purged from the rolls. According to Greg Palast, twenty-six states still do Interstate Crosscheck.

And then there were partisan ID requirements, long lines at the polls in non-white districts, hackable voting machines, strategic closing of polls and DMV offices where people of color could access them, “caging,” and other elaborate, mostly-racist, schemes to keep people from the polls who might not vote Republican. Maybe Russians meddled, maybe not, but not nearly as much as Republicans did. As Greg Palast said, “Jim Crow, not the voters, elected Mr. Trump.”

I’m talking about election fraud, not the imaginary “voter fraud” Trump complained about.  Exit polls prove election fraud; there is no evidence of voter fraud.

Until we confront Republican cheating it will surely continue. Talk show host Thom Hartmann argues credibly that the last legitimately-elected Republican president was Dwight D. Eisenhower. Republicans always cheat because they have to, as they represent the interests of only one percent of the voting population. It was Democrats who created the Voting Rights Act; it was not Democrats who abolished it in 2013.

Trump is a fraud and an impostor — never forget that — and so are all the fascist thugs under him. His “victory” was fraudulent and I am not going to shut up about that. Nor should anyone else, ever. The 2016 election is not over. No fraudulent election should ever be over.


P.J. Sullivan is the author of three non-fiction books about history. 

14 thoughts on “Reflections on an Illegitimate President

  1. Sinclair Lewis’s book is just one of many I’ve long been aware of but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. But if in fact it wasn’t published until 1935, the author had already had an opportunity to see a (very) botched attempt at a Fascist putsch in this country. Former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Smedley Butler had already alerted the world that he’d been approached by a cabal of American industrialists who wanted him to lead a coup to overthrow social reformer Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (In the eyes of the cabalists, of course–and their political descendants–FDR was more of a FLAMING SOCIALIST than a mere reformer who saved Capital from the wrath of the proles.) But these moneyed gentlemen, all of fine repute and dressed elegantly, no doubt, denied the charge vehemently and were allowed to go their merry way. I reckon their “spiritual” descendants are the Koch Brothers! I’ve never had the least doubt that it was racism that paved the way for Trump’s electoral victory. As long as the US working class remains as “bassackwards” as it presently is, no coup will be required to keep uppity Americans in their place. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.

  2. I have many problems with this article, but I’ll try to begin with just two of them, epitomized by the following statements, the first from the editorial introduction that accompanies the article, and the second from the first paragraph of the article itself. Specifically:

    (1) “The author of this current article carefully reviews the dismal record of our current president and his emasculated acolytes in the Republican Party in destroying the last sixty years of social legislation that moved us closer to a true democracy.”

    (2) “Donald Trump has been president [sic] for more than a year now and is being normalized in the media. The shock of his election is gradually wearing off. When I point out that he is illegitimate I am told to stop whining and get over it, the election is over. So what if he lost the popular vote, the argument goes, he won the electoral college fair and square and that’s what counts. Except that he didn’t.”

    As regards item (1), I dispute that the author of this article has done any such thing as “carefully review” the “record” of our current president, Donald Trump, who has completed a little over one year in office. Quite to the contrary, the author, by his own admission, has chosen to remain fixated on the fifty state presidential elections (note the plural “s”) — especially one, namely: Pennsylvania — that took place in November of 2016. He has said nothing about President Donald Trump’s conduct or policies (whatever one may think of them) since his inauguration on January 21, 2017. The author has simply expressed his personal opinion about the 2016 elections and has vowed never to accept President Trump’s election as “legitimate.” I do not consider his case well argued, but I’ll come back to what I consider his flawed analysis later. Sticking with the editorial introduction for the moment, I will only add by way of supporting example that President Trump and the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress have managed to (a) confirm Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee, (b) pass a whopping military spending boondoggle (upwards of $700 billion) and (c) enact significant tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations and individuals. If that constitutes “emasculation,” then I submit that the word has lost all recognizable meaning. If applied to the hapless, rudderless, foundering (equally corporate) Democratic “opposition,” on the other hand, the word would apply in spades. As Gore Vidal once said, “the United States has only one political party, the Property Party, and it has two right wings,” with the also-right-wing corporate Democrats qualifying as neither metaphorical “hawks” nor “doves,” but capons (castrated chickens). As I like to imagine the Ruling Corporate Oligarchs’ operative mantra:

    Buy some Republicans. They’ll shout “GAWD BLESS!”
    Then rent some Democrats. They’ll lose for less.

    Now, as to item (2), the author’s flawed analysis of the fifty 2016 elections — with each state government conducting elections as it sees fit — I do not remember the Democratic party and its awful presidential candidate, You-Know-Her, campaigning against the Republicans on the issue of voter suppression, voter neutralization, or any other form of voter intimidation, especially of African Americans, usually a loyal-but-disregarded (“they have nowhere else to go”) part of the the Democratic party base. Nor do I recall any effort by the Democrats to get the supreme court to rule Electoral College unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection under the law,” or, in electoral terms: one person, one vote. Even worse, however, the author, in his complaints about “election fraud” on the part of Republicans, makes no mention of the greatest election fraud of them all, as explained by Sheldon Wolin, in his masterful treatise on the real American political system, Democracy Inc., Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism:

    The significance of the African American prison population is political. What is notable about the African American population generally is that it is highly sophisticated politically and by far the one group that throughout the twentieth century kept alive a spirit of resistance and rebelliousness. In that context, criminal justice is as much a strategy of political neutralization as it is a channel of instinctive racism. [emphasis added]


    Our government need not pursue a policy of stamping out dissidence – the uniformity imposed on opinion by the ‘private’ media conglomerates performs that job efficiently. This apparent ‘restraint’ points to a critical difference between classical and inverted totalitarianism : in the former economics was subordinate to politics. Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true: economics dominates politics – and with that domination come different forms of ruthlessness. It is possible for the government to punish by withholding appropriated funds, failing to honor entitlements, or purposely allowing regulations (e.g., environmental safeguards, minimum wage standards) to remain unenforced or waived. What seem like reductions in state power are actually increases. [emphasis added]

    And how did so many African Americans end up in private, for-profit debtors’ prisons as convict labor with no right to vote even after serving their time and “repaying their debt to society”? Thank Democratic President Bill Clinton and his “crime bill” with its harsh mandatory sentencing for even the most petty of crimes. And how did ‘private’ media conglomerates get such a hold on American opinion that they could impose a stultifying uniformity (if not hysteria) upon how Americans think? Why, once again thank Democratic President Bill Clinton for deregulating the media landscape so that six mega corporations could buy up most of America’s television and newspaper outlets, allowing them to blanket the American intellectual environment with corporate propaganda, or what George Orwell called “prolefeed,” or “rubbishy entertainment and spurious news.”

    I could go on listing the many ways (NAFTA, repeal of Glass-Steagall banking regulations, etc.) in which Ronald Reagan’s greatest disciple, “Democrat” Bill Clinton, “shredded the last sixty years of the American social contract … moving us inexorably towards an authoritarian, Fascist state,” what Professor Wolin called “Inverted Totalitarianism.” President Donald Trump has a long way to go before he can equal the damage to the American working class done over a twenty-four-year period by former presidents Bill Clinton (D), George W. Bush (R), and Barack Obama (D). And just watch, fellow Crimestoppers, as the corporate Democrats in Congress line up to assist President Trump and the Republicans in gutting the Dodd-Frank banking regulations put in place after the great Ponzi “banking” implosion of 2008. I have to agree with nightclub comedian Ron Placone (who often appears on the Jimmy Dore youtube show) when he says that “the United States doesn’t need a third party. It needs a second one.”

    I have several more criticisms of this article and the editorial introduction that precedes it, but those will require lengthy citations of support and I have already gone on long enough for one “comment.”

  3. The editors of TPC, in their introduction, were conscious of this article’s emphasis on the legislative and executive actions of this administration and used Sinclair Lewis’s prescient novel as a basis of putting the author’s thesis respectfully into the broader context of evidence that pointed to an authoritarian fascist state. Your comments bringing out the background to why this was able to take place are spot on and relevant. It is helpful to provide the background dismal record of the Democratic Party in arriving at this dangerous time in our nation’s history but we are here today and it would be informative to see your view on whether you think we may be on the verge of becoming a fascist state. That is the relevance of this posting in TPC.

    • traven – With all due respect and meaning no offense, I had no insight into the consciousness of TCP editors and so I based my remarks on what they and the article’s author had written. I fail to see where I could have done anything else. I cannot read minds. I have enough trouble reading what people actually write. Had the editors and Mr Sullivan given a few examples of Trump Administration conduct and policies which they found objectionable, along with some examples of what the Democratic party and its candidates would do differently if elected, then I might have had a better understanding of their conscious intent.

      As for the symbolic or metaphorical use of the Sinclair Lewis novel It Can’t Happen Here as context for Mr Sullivan’s essential thesis: namely, that “it” — or “Fascism” — threatens to break out any day now due to Donald Trump’s “illegitimate” presidency (a result, not a cause, of the two-centuries-old Electoral College combined with winner-take-all state elections combined with the four-decades-old Reagan Anti-New-Deal Counterrevolution which began in the 1980s), I understood the literary reference, but — since Americans generally do not read much these days — I would have chosen illustrative motion pictures like “A Lion is in the Streets” (1953) and “All the King’s Men” (1949 and remake in 2006) as more easily digestible to American audiences who typically prefer “entertainment” to “education.”

      For those citizens who do read, attend public lectures (as opposed to theatrically staged campaign “rallies”), and who consequently worry about “Fascism,” or totalitarian Corporatism (as no less an authority than Benito Mussolini defined the far-right phenomenon) I would have recommended the superb work of political philosophy, Democracy Inc.: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008), by the late Professor Sheldon S. Wolin together with the eternally relevant 1984 (especially the book-within-a-book “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism”), by George Orwell. So much for literary and theatrical background context, as I understand such things.

      In other words: an Oligarchical Collective — or “Democracy” (TM) Incorporated — runs the United States today just as did the self-selected collection of southern slave-owning and northern banking oligarchs who designed the United States over two centuries ago as a means of promoting and protecting their own wealth and privilege. I would think that most persons knowledgeable about U. S. history would understand this and would stop wasting good oxygen spouting high-school civics mythology about “democracy” while ceaselessly conducting the national equivalent of student-council “elections.” As a supporting example of what everyday Americans ought to know about their government, I want to quote from Dr. Robert Zubrin, an astronautical engineer and author of Entering Space: Creating a Space-faring Civilization (1999):

      … we do not, in fact, have a democracy. We have a semi-oligarchy with democratic influences. Ordinary citizens have little control over the government, as their elected representatives mostly do as they please or as their Beltway consultants suggest and respond to the public only when massive pressure is evidenced. In addition, many government operations are secret, and the legal system is unfathomable. Of course, when the United States was founded, such indirect representation was the best approximation to democracy that was feasible. But today, with the availability of the Internet and other forms of instantaneous electronic communication, there is no fundamental reason why the general public could not directly engage in voting on legislation, taxation, expenditures, and other issues, up to and including war and peace. It might be argued that the general public is not qualified to do so. Personally, as one who has interacted with some of those calling the shots within the present system, I see no evidence of the public’s inferiority.

      I agree about the electoral possibilities that technology now affords us. We don’t live in the eighteenth century with sail boats, whale-oil lamps, mud roads, and horse-drawn wagons for transportation (although America seems headed back in that direction if its government doesn’t start repairing the nation’s decaying infrastructure). Supposedly, we live in the twenty-first century and twelve of our fellow citizens walked upon the moon almost half-a-century ago. Everyone has a cell phone. Corporate and government (but I repeat myself) espionage software already monitors, records, and sells all of our communications anyway. “Big Bre’r Be Watchin’,” indeed, as the hyper-secretive drone assassin, President Barack Obama, might say. So, just look into your cell phone; clearly pronounce your name; press your thumb against the screen; and the facial, voice, and fingerprint recognition software will validate your identity and provide you with an on-line ballot which you may fill out at your own convenience (and receive a paper copy of on demand) on a Saturday. No “voter fraud.” No need for taking a day off work on a Tuesday or standing for hours in line just to access faulty voting machinery. No secrecy. Discuss anything and everything in public. No wars or military expenditures except by national referendum conducted on any day announced twenty-four hours in advance. Americans could actually have a functioning, responsive democracy if they wanted one badly enough. A Citizens Constitutional Convention, modelled on the anti-war teach-ins of the 1960s would help to get the necessary reforms started. “Representative” government has failed. Our putative “representatives” represent only themselves and the transnational Corporate Oligarchical Collective. They don’t represent the poor and working classes — i.e., the proles — at all. It would have helped had Mr Sullivan given some thought to what he would suggest as an alternative to the “illegitimate” electoral system that he excoriates for producing a President Donald Trump.

      I’ll stop here and post this comment which has gone on long enough. I’ll get around to more about the 2016 elections and the the whole “Fascism” thing later, as time and energy allow.

      • Michael–Two problems with the (admittedly appealing at first glance) concept of electronic national referendum: 1.) with the level of sophistication hackers now possess, I really don’t think we could trust the results (thumb prints on smart phone screens or not); 2.) “Boobus Americanus” (credit: H.L. Mencken) has been so thoroughly brainwashed to support the military that I can’t picture a vote to launch a new war against a new designated enemy failing! To eliminate this hideous and obscene waste of resources for warmaking would require having an Executive that is honest with the citizenry about affairs of state. Electing a mild-mannered Constitutional Law professor didn’t get THAT job done, as you are all too aware. If serious doubts and remorse set in about a war the electorate approved by majority vote, then what? Launch a national “recall” campaign??

        We have previously discussed the notion of a Constitutional Convention. The extreme right very much desires this, as they believe they would control it easily and alter the US Constitution in the most revolting fashion imaginable. In my opinion, this is not a viable solution to the US’s problems at all.

  4. As a Midwesterner from Indiana I’m used to what we call ‘straight talk’ and here’s my take on this discussion.

    If you see a bird walking down the street and it walks like a duck, honks like a duck, and is wearing a hat that says “MAGA” it’s a f#*%king fascist duck.! Pretty simple.

    • traven — Thanks for the glib and superficial retort. I can see that you put a great deal of careful thought into composing it. You’ll pardon me if I take more than a few moments and more than a couple of sentences to reply, as I have with my previous comments in this thread. Albert Einstein said: “We should make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.” To make things more simple than the situation warrants means making them “simplistic.” I’ll leave the simplistic up to you and Mr Sullivan whose article had little of substance to offer but much in the way of opinionated partisanship. Actually, as the youtube nightclub comedian Jimmy Dore likes to say: “The Democrats would rather lose to a Republican than win with a progressive.” As a matter of fact, the Democrats gave us President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress and a majority of Republican State legislatures and Republican Governors because the billionaire corporate donors who own both of the Property Party’s right-wing factions pay the Democrat faction to lose. Again the Oligarchical Collective’s operative mantra:

      Buy some Republicans. They’ll shout “GAWD BLESS!”
      Then rent some Democrats. They’ll lose for less.

      You want simple? There. I just gave you simple.

      As the working-class son of an Indiana “Hoosier” mother and dust-belt “Okie” father (both FDR Democrats), I take exception to that Nixon-McCarthy ornithological slur about the “walking, quacking duck.” As you ought to know but seem to have forgotten, the seemingly “common man” construction served rhetorically as a greasy way to slime one’s political opponents without openly slandering or libelling them as “traitors.” You can call that sort of thing “straight talk” if you want, but it sounds crooked and cowardly to me. It always has. It always will. As the Republicans’ favorite word-magician guru, Dr. Frank Luntz likes to put it: “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.” In the context of political rhetoric, people say “duck” with the clear understanding that others will hear “traitor” — or any other pejorative label that the conformist political tribe accepts without question. As George Orwell explained in his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language” (1946):

      Meaningless words. … The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable.” The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like “democracy,” not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. …

      Dr Frank Luntz might summarize Orwell’s point as follows: “You say ‘Fascism’, people hear ‘bad.’ You say ‘Democracy,’ and people hear ‘good.'” Simple? Yes. Emotionally cathartic? Yes. Measurable by “dial technology” in selected “undecided” focus-groups? Yes. Unfortunately, vague and vapid venting like that serves no useful purpose when it comes to suggesting practical cures for the Imperial militaristic corporatism or Inverted Totalitarianism that ails us. Unexamined emotionalism like that only aids the Ruling Corporate Oligarchy in its studied manipulation of the uninformed and misinformed working-class public.

      Throughout my comments in this thread so far, I have resisted the use of meaningless words like “Fascism” and “Democracy” because, following Orwell, I realize that most people have no clear understanding of what they mean by these terms and only wish to use them as rhetorical rocks to throw at others as a convenient substitute for thinking. For my part I have preferred Sheldon Wolin’s term “Inverted Totalitarianism” or Mussolini’s “Corporatism.” In the sense of Mussolini’s definition of Fascism as Corporatism, I have always thought of World Wars I and II as “Some of our Fascists beat some of their Fascists, but Fascism won.” Actually, in the Second World War, the Soviet Red Army defeated Fascist Germany (the U.S. and Brittain helped out late in the game) but you would never get any American president or bloviating Congressperson to admit that.

      Getting back to your Nixon-McCarthy slur (on both ducks and the Demon-du-jour), you will remember its precise formulation:

      “If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

      Subliminally substitute (first) “Communist” and (then) “Democrat” for “duck” and you have scurrilous Republicans on the “Right” attacking Democrats on the “Left” as “the party of treason.” Fast forward sixty years and we have the so-called “Democrats,” still supposedly on the “Left” (?) attacking a Republican president from the even-more-extreme “Right” using precisely the same Nixon-McCarthy slurs that the Republicans once directed at them. “Imitation” does indeed constitute “the sincerest form of flattery.” Only now the subliminal rhetorical semantics goes something like this:

      “If it looks like a [Russian] and it walks like a [Russian] and it quacks like a [Russian], then it’s [Donald Trump or some other hapless Kremlin stooge or Putin sock-puppet — or even Bernie Sanders or Dr. Jill Stein].” Corporate Democrats attacking (first) other “progressive” Democrats and (then) Republicans — in both cases from the extreme right of the political spectrum — what galactic supidity! In the case of right-wing corporate Democrats attacking right-wing corporate Republicans as “Russian” dupes or Vladimir’s “useful idiots,” the bizarre spectacle looks more like Genghis Khan attacking Atilla the Hun for lacking a suitable set of Barbarian balls. As Sheldon Wolin said, no meaningful politics left of right exist in the United States today. Only sordid intramural right-wing squabbles over money and privilege matter among America’s “governing elites, regardless of what partisan party labels they apply to themselves as decorative ornaments only. The Republicans give the one percent everything they want and the Democrats make sure that no anti-war or working class Americans give the Republicans any trouble.

      And by the way, as a matter of biological fact, ducks can fly. If you look up at the sky on a clear day, you can often see them flying in formation, heading north or south depending on the season. If you listen, you can even hear them quacking as they pass overhead, not a “Fascist” or a “Communist” among them.

      I say lay off the ducks and bust up the corporations. Simple enough?

      • At 93 I can say you are too young to have ever seen fascism close up as I have, in this country, or to have had your close family effected by it as I have. You spent your youth in a war of “choice”( Vietnam) ginned up by a president who should have known better (Kennedy) Your PTSD has left a tragic mark on you of that war. It has an effect of making the world, even your friends’, look like potential enemies. Three days ago a veteran of another of our wars of choice walked into our local Yountville, Ca. Veterans home and murdered three innocent women whose jobs involved helping veterans with PTSD. He then shot himself.
        Democracy and Fascism are not “meaningless words”. I live in the United States, not Taiwan. , and I am concerned about my country.

      • Mike–For what it’s worth, if we examine the “program” Trump campaigned on, I’m comfortable with calling him a Fascist, and have been doing so since before he was elected. Just my personal view, of course. What confuses ME is: what the hell do folks mean these days when they speak of “the American Left”??? I mean media types attempting at least some level of “objectivity”; when a wingnut uses it, we can be confident it means approximately: “Liberals who want to confiscate our guns, force our kids to sit next to colored folks AND [gasp!] be taught evolution in the public schools, raise wages for women, accord rights to queers” etc. ad nauseam.

  5. Greg — You probably noticed not long ago when NASA sent the New Horizons robot probe past Pluto, three billion miles distant from earth. The journey took twelve years, but somehow, the hardware technology and guidance software performed admirably. No one hacked JPL or any of the participating universities, world-wide, to screw up the mission. I maintain that suitable encryption technology exists to make participatory democracy work, but only if Americans (1) want it to work, (2) demand that it work, and (3) hang every politician, general, or corporate CEO who does not make it work. You despair of this ever happening, to which I have no reply except that giving up without even trying seems unnecessarily defeatist. Problems exist with any technology, but we continue using that technology — automobiles and airplanes, for example — if the benefits outweigh the liabilities. If electronic participatory democracy works well enough, and produces better results for the greatest number of citizens than the present, thoroughly corrupted eighteenth century system, then we have only to try it out and give it a chance. I see no downside to making the experiment. How could any truly democratic system, however imperfect, produce anything worse than All-About-Him and You-Know-Her: the Hothouse Orchid and the Special Snowflake?

    Here in Taiwan, we all have a national health care card with a little chip on it which contains our complete medical history. We can go to any clinic or hospital and receive immediate treatment without having to fill out insurance or medical paperwork. So far, this system has saved my life and no one has hacked into it in order to deprive me of my medical and dental coverage. In more areas than just health care, the United States hasn’t even caught up technologically with Taiwan. Elections here take only a few months. The candidates have to produce a formal document listing what they will do for the people if elected so that the voters have a ready means of judging whether or not their officials have kept their promises. In the United States, for example, the Democrats could run for office promising to forgive all student loans, in effect bailing out our students instead the crooked banks and cementing the political loyalty of millions of Americans for another generation. I could multiply examples of what the Democratic party — or better yet, a new Labor and Environmental Party — could do to win elections by promising to do positive and popular things for the greatest number of Americans instead of the fewest.

    As for the Russian Federation its their competent President Vladimir Putin, I can only offer my thanks for carrying our American astronauts up to the International Space Station and safely back to earth, something that President Barack Obama and (so far) President Trump have spent the last nine years not doing. I can remember when we Americans had to do hand calculations with slide rules and still we developed the Saturn-V rocket, start to finish, in only five years. So, yes, I can understand why some people seriously doubt whether Americans can make any reasonably modern technology work for the people’s benefit. The Pentagram, as only one example, cannot even conduct an audit letting us taxpayers know how many trillions of dollars our militarist incompetents have squandered over decades. Still, I think Americans could fix things up a bit we stopped babbling about Donald Trump’s “Fascist” proclivities. You-Know-Her had the same, if not greater, ones. Unfortunately for her, Donald Trump understood American cable-TV audiences better. He put on a more entertaining “click-bait” show while You-Know-Her induced a narcoleptic stupor in whoever tried to figure out what the slogan “I’m With Her” (with an arrow underneath the words pointing to the Right) actually meant, if anything.

    As for the Trump campaign slogan MAGA, I can only point out that (1) neither Donald Trump nor his supporters can properly spell the word “Grate,” (as in fingernails scraping down a chalkboard) and (2) the use of the word “Again” implies that the United States had somehow stopped grating on the world’s nerves and only needed to resume doing that. Meaningless campaign blather by both right-wing corporate shills, only Donald Trump had the instinct to run slightly to the Left promising desperate, downward-dropping Americans Peace and Jobs while You-Know-Her babbled on about “Russians” and punching through an imaginary “glass ceiling.” Oh, well. One woman’s glass ceiling is another man’s transparent floor, and punching through it from below only results in the man crashing downwards upon the poor woman’s head.

    Finally, Greg, you will remember that the national “teach-ins” of the 1960s and 1970s helped precipitate Congress into cutting off all funding for further presidential military adventurism in Southeast Asia. The Republicans in office — like Nixon, Ford, and Kissinger — certainly didn’t like these and sought to discredit them. They tried everything but they failed. Time to revisit these same kinds of national educational discussions. I maintain that our corporate political hacks will either get the message and reform in their own self-interest — like passing a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College — or else begin shooting protesters and college kids like at Kent State. As Gandhi said about the four stages of revolutionary change: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”

    The collapse of the multinational corporate empire will inevitably bring about a revolution. The only question concerns what kind. Should the American people seriously begin to openly and widely debate the nature and future of their dysfunctional political and economic system, perhaps some real reforms can come of the effort. A failure to try will only result ignominious collapse. Time to start experimenting again …

    • Mike–I believe you meant to indicate that political campaigns in Taiwan are, by law, limited to X number of months, rather than that “elections” take several months. The trend that set in here in the US several presidential cycles ago to start campaigning for re-election as soon as you’ve been sworn in for your FIRST term is more than hideous! (Trump’s “rally” in western Pennsylvania, which failed to put his man in office, was much more about Trump puffing himself up–again–than campaigning on behalf of a specific GOP candidate.) As to “obsessing” over Trump’s presence in the Oval Office (nominally, at least, i.e. when he’s not golfing), I will match your level of being fed up with the whining of You-Know-Her’s heartbroken supporters. But we dare not IGNORE Mr. Trump himself, for never has a POTUS hatched such a foul agenda to actively undermine and destroy the few functions of government that aid more than just the Ruling Class.

  6. I have already gone through the main points that I wanted to make regarding Mr Sullivan’s article, but to recapitulate: (1) it does not actually review President Donald Trump’s first year in office and (2) it offers hardly anything in the way of an objective analysis of the 2016 presidential elections. Still, in my opinion there remain a few details concerning the author’s argument that could use a more expansive treatment. For example, Mr Sullivan writes:

    “It was Democrats who created the Voting Rights Act; it was not Democrats who abolished it in 2013.”

    Not quite so simple. Yes, a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, did sign the Voting Rights Act and he deserves credit for this. However, in 2013, another President from the Democratic party, Barack Obama (himself a half-negro), did nothing to contest the abolition of this law by the Supreme Court, nor did he propose any legislation to replace it where appropriate. As I recall, he didn’t even try. So, yes, the Democrats did not abolish the Civil Rights Act, but the Republicans did not abolish it either. In any event, African Americans fared poorly under the “historic” presidency of “Democrat” Barack Obama who once proudly called himself “a moderate Republican.” On the other hand, bank frauds and stock market gamblers (but I repeat myself), did very well indeed.

    More importantly, though, upon signing the Civil Rights Act, President Johnson said: “I just lost the South.” As a “southerner” himself, Lyndon Johnson realized the depth of anti-negro racism in the states of the former Confederacy and he knew full well that the Republican party would immediately seize upon his action to anchor themselves in the “solid South” for decades to come. This strategic electoral decision by the Republicans abandoned their party’s former historic role as victors in the Civil War, promulgators of the Emancipation Proclamation, and sponsors of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth amendments guaranteeing former negro slaves full American citizenship, the right to vote, and “equal protection under the law.” For nearly a century thereafter, southern “Democrats” passed every conceivable Jim Crow law, effectively gutting the civil rights of African Americans and relegating them to segregated, second-class citizenship, if that. As a historical watershed event, then, the signing of the Civil Rights Act by Democrat Lyndon Johnson had the effect of reversing a century of political alignment in the United States and, for all intents and purposes, turned “the party of Abraham Lincoln” into the party of Dixiecrat George Wallace.

    Additionally, as regards President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, and other New Deal type legislation (collectively called The Great Society) a great many people — including President Johnson himself — paid a terrible price for that. As youtube comedian Jimmy Dore said just the other day: “three million Southeast Asians died” for Lyndon Johnson’s domestic political achievements. Why did Mr Dore say this? Well, consider the deal that President Johnson made with the U.S. military shortly after he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963. From Vietnam, a History: the First Complete Account of Vietnam at War (New York: Viking Press, 1983; Penguin Books, 1984), by Stanley Karnow:

    Johnson subscribed to the adage that “wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals.” He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces “need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic,” and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislation unless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him “soft on communism” were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and the braid with promises he may never have intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Just let me get elected, and you can have your war.

    So, yes, President Johnson would later sign some significant domestic social legislation in 1965, but two years prior to that he gave in to U.S. military and Republican party Congressional blackmail, giving them the war they wanted if only they would hold off on criticizing him while he ran for re-election in 1964, promising me and my generation that he “would not send American boys to fight a war in Asia that Asian boys could fight for themselves.” We graduating high-school seniors didn’t know about this deal at the time, of course, but the shock of President Johnson’s betrayal of us, just so the Republicans and military brass would have millions of Southeast Asians — and nearly sixty thousand American ‘boys’ — to fuck over just because they felt entitled to, created an appalling “Credibility Gap” from which President Johnson never recovered. Johnson’s successor, Republican Richard Nixon — the son-of-a-bitch who sent me to Vietnam in July of 1970 — would widen that credibility gap into a yawning Credibility Chasm and his presidency would go down in flames along with all the Southeast Asian and American casualties. Good riddance to Tricky Dick.

    I make these observations as a caution to those who wish to credit only one political party for the successes or failures that have led to our present circumstances. Both right-wing factions of our single, corporate “Property Party” have worked hand in glove to produce the awful mess that we somehow still regard as a “government.” And just as a final example of partisan historical irony, consider this claim and question by Mr Sullivan:

    ” Gerrymandering was only one of at least a dozen Republican scams in the last election. How many of them will decide the next election?”

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

    The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on 26 March 1812. The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under Governor Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814). In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a mythological salamander.

    The original gerrymander, and original 1812 gerrymander cartoon, depict the Essex South state senatorial district for the legislature of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    Gerrymander is a portmanteau of the governor’s last name and the word salamander. The redistricting was a notable success. Although in the 1812 election both the Massachusetts House and governorship were won by Federalists by a comfortable margin and cost Gerry his job, the redistricted state senate remained firmly in Democratic-Republican hands. [emphasis added]

    So, the “Democrats” invented Gerrymandering in 1812 and now consider the practice to their disadvantage in 2018. Actually, I believe that nearly all incumbent Congressmen profit from Gerrymandered districts, which accounts for their re-election rate of over 90%. After two centuries, one would think that if Congresspersons of both right-wing corporate factions didn’t want Gerrymandered districts, then we wouldn’t have them.

    In summary, then, I do not find the author’s particular concerns either adequately stated or convincingly argued. It seems to me that he just doesn’t care for President Donald Trump and refuses to investigate why the Democrats gave The Donald to us instead of a progressive Socialist like Senator Bernie Sanders. For the record, I don’t care for President All About Him, either, but since the Democrats alienated me by running You-Know-Her, the Wall Street Bimbo and War Whore, I had no choice but to vote “neither of the above,” marking my ballot for the Jewish Lady Dr, Jill Stein of the Green party. Dr Stein wanted to cut the Pentagram budge by 50%t and significantly reduce carbon gas emissions into the atmosphere. I agree with those policy goals and voted for the candidate who promised to do what I want a President of the United States to do. If the corporate Democrats had wanted my vote, they could have attempted to earn it. But they didn’t care enough about me to address my concerns. Frankly, I see no necessity for a Democratic party that only functions as the Republicans’ junior varsity.

    Still, I can’t figure out why those who despise Donald Trump for good and numerous reasons keep obsessing over him. I would think that those wanting to punish a narcissistic ego-maniac would simply ignore him or her. As the old saying goes: “Never get into a wrestling match with a pig, because you’ll just get dirty and the pig loves it.” And right now, more than ever, the corporate Democrats look about as dirty as any pig-wrestler I’ve ever seen. They just don’t get how cable-TV “star” Donald Trump has played them. Hard to feel sorry for clueless losers like that.

    • As FDR instituted the New Deal to ward off the threat of actual revolution by the working class–Libertarians continue to “thank” him for saving Capitali$m by reviling him!–so LBJ only acted under pressure from the reaction of world public opinion to the murderous attempts to suppress racial minorities in this country. The most major uprisings in Black and Latino communities followed the enactment of the voting rights legislation, and the suppression/repression continues, of course, but at least a legal framework was established to support the (shall we say theoretical?) concept of human rights in this country. Naturally, in this land of indescribable hypocrisy, criticism of human rights abuses is 99.9% aimed at foreign regimes the US wishes to “change.”

  7. Greg — just a note on the possibilities of electronic technology as a component of democratic elections — not American, of course. How the Russian Presidential Election Race Looks in its Final Days, by Gilbert Doctorow, Consortium News (March 15, 2018):

    The balloting itself will be another test of the consolidating mechanisms of democracy.  The Kremlin says it has done everything possible to ensure fair and transparent elections.  Advanced technology has been put in place to make every polling station accessible online, so that electoral monitoring by remote is a reality.

    Moreover, on a pilot basis the Russians have deployed what they say is block-chain technology to make the voting hack-proof.

    As an international election observer serving with an NGO, I expect to see firsthand the results of these efforts to reassure Russians and the world at large that democracy is on the move in Russia. I will issue a report on what I see in the days immediately following the election.

    Apparently, not every country on earth thinks that the corrupt eighteenth-century U.S. model for holding elections — a system specifically designed to keep voter participation to the barest minimum — merits imitation in an age where technical advances make transparency and convenience a real possibility. Good for the Russians. I will await Mr Doctorow’s report with great interest.

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