A Summary of the Situation….

Okay….Yesterday was the last day of the Republican convention. It was without a doubt the weirdest national conclave in my lifetime.

If Trump did not pose such a threat to national security and American values, the spectacle might have been entertaining; as it is, I can’t help worrying that there might be enough anti-Other, angry, civicly-illiterate voters to put this dangerous ignoramus in office.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has one of the better summaries of the spectacle. (Marshall has also memorably defined what he calls Trump’s Razor: “Ascertain the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts.”) The entire article is well worth reading, but here are a few of his most trenchant observations.

The Republican party nominated a man because of his ability to dominate and denigrate opponents and summon up a plethora of demons already rumbling under the seas of Republican revanchism. The man was and is a charlatan and a grifter, the master of a Potemkin Village world rooted in narcissism and aggression which creaks and staggers under even the most measured scrutiny….

Indeed, while this conflagration was erupting in Cleveland another bomb, which Trump himself had lit earlier in the day, was going off on the pages of The New York Times. One can debate whether it is wise or sensible for the United States to guarantee the independence of small states on the periphery of Russia which had for centuries been either within the Russian domain or inside its sphere of influence. But we have. In his comments to the Times, Trump treated the matter like a real estate goon shaking down a distressed landlord to make an easy buck.

Trump’s mix of cocky ambiguity and predation could scarcely be better primed to trigger the kind of great power confrontation that could push the world from smoldering to fire. It is no exaggeration to say that were it not for the relative confidence that Trump will be defeated in November that interview alone could trigger a genuine international crisis….

On his own Trump is simply a bracing case study in abnormal psychology. But he didn’t shoot to within reach of the most powerful office in the world by happenstance. He is the product of a political and cultural breakdown on the American right, a swaggering reductio ad absurdum of every breach and breakdown and violation of extra-statutory norms we’ve seen over the last two or three decades.

Even more chilling–if possible– is the response of the Trump campaign to a supporter’s call to murder Hillary Clinton. It has gone beyond the rabid chants to “lock her up,” as staggering a deviation from democratic norms as that sentiment represents; a Trump advisor who said Clinton should be “shot for treason” is now being investigated by the Secret Service for threatening the former First Lady and Secretary of State’s life.

Any responsible campaign would immediately disavow a person making such a statement. Not this one.

In response to Baldasaro’s attack, Trump Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said: “We’re incredibly grateful for his support, but we don’t agree with his comments.”

Again, Josh Marshall summarizes the import and context of that “wink wink” statement:

Do I think people on the Trump campaign really want to see Clinton injured or killed? No, I do not. But I do think they believe that exciting a climate of agitated grievance, militant anger and aggression helps them galvanize, gain and intensify support. On one and three they’re likely right. Just as importantly, they clearly believe that any clear denunciation of the growing chorus of angry and occasionally violent threats would demoralize and dishearten a key part of their base. Trump’s brand is dominance and submission. Provocation is his calling card. Calling a pause on their more febrile supporters would simply be off brand and would be hard to clearly differentiate in kind from the campaign-endorsed demand for her incarceration.

Just this week, David Duke reaffirmed his strong support for Trump, and once again, there has been no disavowal of that support from the campaign. Meanwhile, the ghostwriter of “Art of the Deal” described Trump as a nine-year-old with ADHD, and predicted disaster should he be elected.

My ulcer has been acting up ever since this Presidential campaign began, and I think I know why.


  1. During the primaries President Obama stated Donald Trump wouldn’t be elected because he had more faith in the American people than that. I’m not sure of that at all and never have been more concerned for America in my life.

  2. I tried again to stick with the final night of the unconventional Republican convention; the fat, raving Black man drove me away initially so I again switched back and forth. I didn’t recognize the following speakers who appeared to plagarize the earlier speakers speeches. The “I am proud to be a gay man” speaker must have been a concession to Pence and his infamous RFRA – both versions.

    I will readily admit that; IF the man Ivanka Trump described in her speech was a real person and running for president, I would vote for them over Hillary and Trump. Sadly there was no mist for that person to appear out of and only Trump walked out onto the state. I watched most of the first hour but heard nothing new and no evidence that he recognizes our actual issues and problems, let alone have solutions. When he continued repeating accusations against President Obama and anything and everything Democratic, he lost me again. I missed the end of his speech and the dropping of the balloons but believe I will live out my remaining few years with no feeling of loss.

    To sum up my version of what I did witness over the past four nights – we are doomed! People; we are doomed! What can Hillary and the Democratic party come up with at OUR convention to dispel the level of hatred and animosity which the GOP allowed, supported and released in Cleveland. Will Cleveland be blamed or are they part and parcel of the horrors unleashed this week. I view this as a form of home-grown terrorism of the worst kind.

  3. Dear Sheila,
    The Donald Trump campaign is freighting for responsible, well meaning people. In trying to understand what is happening your blog of today is very helpful.
    It is clear to me that Donald Trump is the big collector of feelings of fear and insecurity of people in the USA who are in someway frustrated about their position in life and society. Trump like a devilish preacher lthem know that he understands and shares their feelings and poses himself as the Salvator, promising them paradise.
    It means that something is terribly wrong in society, there are to much losers, who feel anger towards establishment and the non- losers.
    I hope Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and others inside the Democratic Party do take notice of this and use it to do justice to societal problems and win the presidency.
    I hope you will feel better soon, Sheila.

  4. Of course that should read, “…only Trump walked out onto that stage…” NOT state.

  5. I have never seen ideology so polarized and that includes Goldwater, Johnson.
    This time however I find the blame in the liberal left’s inability to offer leadership rather than reactions. The left has forgotten concern and deliberation and gone to sound bites and publicity. Michael Moore is a good example as he makes news on the fear train. http://www.mercurynews.com/movies/ci_30153179/donald-trump-will-win-says-michael-moore

    If the fear mongering wins it will be because the liberal and center of this country decided thinking and concern for our fellow man is not as glamorous as being interviewed like Moore on how bad things are.

    The important news this week was Roger Ailes and why he was fired.

    Even with a Republican win at the Presidential level this year the end of Democracy is not at had.

  6. Sheila, thank you for sounding an alarm. I just keep shaking my head in disbelief. This man has promised to discriminate on the basis of religion and to forcibly round up 11 million people and deport them. He wants to kill innocent people merely because they happen to be a family member of a terrorist. He mocks the disabled the way an ill-mannered eight-year old would. He crudely denigrates women. The world is alarmed by his rantings on foreign policy. He is a fear-mongering bully. And for the last four nights he has been embraced by a major political party. He could actually become president of our country, a terrifying possibility which includes access to nuclear weapons. Yet he is welcomed and adored as if he is a real candidate, because he IS !!! Thanks for pointing out the danger of this situation. Thanks for letting me vent. I hope we can fend off this disaster.

  7. The claim Trump made last night that really stood out to me was “I Alone Can Do It”.

    He was referencing his singular ability to solve all of America’s problems. They panned out to the crowd for their reaction – the people were wildly clapping and yelling.

    I just cannot understand how they can possibly believe all of his BS. Well, I guess I might understand a little – they are completely ignorant and willing to believe anyone who tells them what they want to hear. They don’t want to recognize the reality that he cannot possibly deliver on what he is saying.

    For some humor mixed in with a lot of truth, here is a link to Jon Stewart’s appearance on last night’s Stephen Colbert show.


  8. I watched Trump’s speech until he mentioned Mike Pence’s name and then I immediately turned off the tv. I could not stomach the thought of him saying anything positive about that awful man.

  9. If there is anyone who thinks his or her vote doesn’t matter, let me disabuse you of that notion and let me ask you to disabuse your friends and neighbors of that notion. The point that Michael Moore was making is that there are many angry people out there and they will all show up to vote. Notice “It is no exaggeration to say that were it not for the relative confidence that Trump will be defeated in November that interview alone could trigger a genuine international crisis…”

    Complacency loses elections. Again, I offer Governor Ventura as proof of that. Don’t live inside the bubble that says a Trump Presidency can’t happen. It can.

  10. “Notice “It is no exaggeration to say that were it not for the relative confidence that Trump will be defeated in November that interview alone could trigger a genuine international crisis…”

    Peggy Hannon; WHO has relative confidence that Trump will be defeated? I only talk politics with Democrats, learned long ago not to waste my time or breath on Republicans, and each and every one of them is totally afraid Trump WILL be elected. One of my friends has been a political activist (she has been arrested in SF and turned away from government buildings in Washington, D.C. due to her affiliations) in the San Francisco area for more than 50 years – that is half a century – she and the Democrats and groups she is still in contact with have the same deep fear. It is those who hold the belief and spout it off that Trump will be defeated will be the ones who keep Democrats and Independents at home on November 8th because they believe their votes are not needed.

  11. Peggy; I neglected to add that we can and we MUST keep pounding into the heads of those who are complacent that they are WRONG and their complacency will help elect Trump and Pence.

  12. Correction to the Trump speech comment in my earlier post. His statement was “I Alone Can Fix This”.

  13. My thoughts are the republican middle will impeach him if he wins. I have to believe there are good folks on both sides. I doubt it would be hard to find some collusion or treason on his part. Where are those tax returns anyway.

  14. I thought Moore had some valid points that related to his statement…he is acutely aware of civic illiteracy and continues to talk about complacency among Democratic voters. He had gone on to state that angry white guy over 35 demographic will be at the polls on November and we should not under estimate the anger. His comments were really in response to Maker’s audience that while it is fun and reasonable to make fun of Trump there are a lot of people, alot of people who agree and are quite serious about him being their savior

  15. I am so glad not to be living in Trumpence’s between wars Germany with enemies and threats behind every tree and Bush and only one savior.

    I thought that I was watching a superhero movie.

    The con is on. The Trump family grifters are on the prowl.

    The White Resentment Party has been formed to replace the failed GOP.

    Thank God that one lone lady, like the tank stopper in Tiananmon Square, showed the world what life without the First Ammendment would be like.

    Are we really this stupid????

  16. Pence and others have said that when Trump is president they can move their agenda forward; it has been defeated by Obama using veto and executive orders. Those bastards are crazy; if the Tea Party Republicans win this election, it will be the end of the social safety net, environmental progress, and few fair labor practices that remain. My rational self is confident that Trump is destined to lose; the emotional side is concerned with the “what-if”.

  17. Trump is the perfect rubber stamp, that is why the party rallies behind him.

  18. daleb; it is not the rational segment who is voting for Trump, it is those emotional, irrational people who will rush to the polls in November. My 16 year old grandson posted a comment on Facebook earlier this year; he has been listening to and carefully reading Trump’s speeches as well as Bernie’s and Hillary’s. He stated Trump’s supporters believe they will get instant resolutions to their “problems” when what they will actually get is war. He was and is a Bernie supporter; being an “election watcher” he has seen that people just don’t like or trust Hillary. Let’s hope they are afraid enough to let those feelings go and vote against Trump.

  19. The interesting point to the Republicon Convention is to see and hear the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth among the various Republicon establishment types. The most common theme is the Trumpet is not a Real Conservative. It is also of particular note the one man who gave wings and a voice to the extreme Right Wing, Roger Ailes of Faux News is gone. Ailes should have a soft landing as rumors are he will receive a $40M Golden Parachute. At least according to what I have read – Last year Fox News was the number two channel on cable, behind only ESPN. I suppose at some point the Foxies will develop the story that Ailes was pushed out by the Luberal ( I spelled it the way it is pronounced by the Foxies, etc.) Media.

    After Trump who else did the Republicons have??? Cruz, John Kasich or Marco Rubio all are dyed in the wool Right Wingers. Kasich and Rubio are considered moderates, if there can be such a thing in the Republicon Party. There is something though that resonates the Republicans clearly dominate the Federal Senate and House.

    Although the Republicans are considered in some quarters as fringe and having a narrow appeal 31,160,103 votes were cast in the Republican Primaries vs 30,015,289 votes in total for Clinton and Sanders.

  20. Posted on Facebook last night:

    “Would the White Resentment Party please follow Herr Trump to planet B.”

  21. How long would America last behind a big beautiful wall isolating it from the rest of the world burning copious amounts of coal thus insuring a limited time for life on earth?

  22. I’m not so sure it’s Democratic complacency that will help elect Trump – or, at least, not not Dem voter complacency.

    There are many Dems (and left – leaning Independents) who feel, rightly or wrongly, that the Democratic primaries were an exercise in voter suppression. Indefensible in any situation, but certainly when the objects of such tactics were Sanders-supporting Independents (whose votes are critical in November) and roughly 40+% of Democratic voters.

    The Democratic Party put out a big old UN-welcome mat for those people and millenials, and they have reacted predictably. There are a fair number of disaffected Dems and even some Independents who will do the responsible thing and vote for HRC in the general. But the effects on voter turnout in this election, and the future of the party look pretty dismal.

    Then there’s this: Republicans who were considering voting for HRC against Trump have been thrown a lifeline by the GOP: Trump giving signals that he’s not all that interested in actually governing, and will hand off his responsibilities to his VP, the much more palatable (to conservatives) Mike Pence.

    It has Koch brothers machinations all over it, and, frankly, I’m in awe. Which doesn’t mean that I’m any less heartsick and terrified.

  23. View the link to Jon Stewart on Colbert last night. It’s on point and fabulous! Don’t miss it! Scroll back and click!

  24. Roger Ailes has been replaced by a bigger threat, Rupert Murdoch.

    The questing is will Fox continue to be the exclusive ad agency for:

    A) Conservatives
    B) GOP
    C) White Resentment Party

  25. I think that many in the GOP woke up this morning with a hangover and a sickness in the stomach over what they created.

  26. Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal” was on Real Time with Bill Maher on Wednesday evening. He said that if you google “sociopath” you will see a laundry list of Donald Trump’s personality characteristics. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiAnKaFrofOAhUhxYMKHS7_BZgQqQIIHzAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D3SeDjWOuOyY&usg=AFQjCNHXW0nfXtqWSKqbEy346amhKSQPXg. In that same episode, Both Bill Maher and Michael Moore (another panelist) cautioned that the enemy is complacency. On that we agree. I believe it is more possible than does Josh Marshall.

  27. About 20 minutes ago I turned on MSNBC and caught the end of a Trump rant; he was surrounded by his usual minions, turned his back to the camera and the group walked off stage with him still talking and patting one of them on the shoulder. The newscaster only stated that he had just delegated some sort of orders or duties to his men regarding Ted Cruz then she changed the subject. What the hell is he up to now? He is like AIDS and more dangerous; there is no getting rid of him and seems to be no way to avoid being infected by his ego and his hatred. Can no newscaster or cameraman refuse to put him on the air? Watch for his next action.

  28. The so-called party of freedom cheered endlessly for what promises to be nothing less than martial law. They won’t be able to say he didn’t warn them.

    Apparently, they also believe money rains from the sky, because they can’t cut taxes and do everything he promised.

  29. I take some exception to limiting Sheila’s comment to “[Trump} is the product of a political and cultural breakdown on the American right”. The other thing that will help Trump in the election is Hillary’s unwillingness to get off of the neoliberal train.

  30. Trump is probably a SOCIOPATH, not a psychopath. Sociopaths can make a lot of money because they lack a conscience. Many times it is caused by early onset schizophrenia, which can come about through serious child abuse. The use of that defense was my specialty as a criminal trial lawyer in Dallas starting in 1971. My first case was Pesch v State which was the first case tried under the new insanity law in Texas. After that case, I was appointed by the Criminal Courts as an expert in the defense of sociopathic conduct caused by early onset schizophrenia. It was a hard sell to juries.

    Most sociopaths avoid treatment. Consequently, it’s very hard to prove that their actions were caused by EARLY ONSET schizophrenia. In the case of Paul Pesch, he killed both his mother and father by stabbing them in their eyes while they were asleep. It’s still too early to predict the extent of the damage Donald Trump will cause. Let’s see last night he took on China and the Muslims in the Middle East. I’m afraid the vicims list is going to be a lot longer than just a mother and father if he becomes President.

    The leading book in this area, at least back 45 years ago, was “The Mask of Sanity.”

  31. Marv, with due respect, I’m unsure if you or any of us on this forum have the professional credentials to diagnose a mental disorder from the DSM-V and especially to diagnose a mental disorder from afar and/or from material dated to the early 1970’s.

  32. BSH,

    I appreciate your comments, but I know a sociopath when I see one. You can never be sure about the diagnosis. However, I believe my credentials would stand up to scrutiny as much as anyone in America.

  33. BSH, I believe that Marv expressed an opinion, just as you have, and both are still legal in the US with the possible exception of at Herr Trump rallies as the lady with the sign demonstrated for us last night.

    Of course martial law, which Trump virtually promised the possibility of in order to keep us safe from each other, suspends that Constitutional right.

  34. C’mon Marv, you know a sociopath when you see one? That reminds me of hearing something similar, ‘I know pornography when I see it.’

  35. No, neither Obama nor Clinton caused the demise of the GOP and the rise of its replacement the White Resentment Party and its superhero Trumpence.

  36. Let me make myself clearer, sociopaths, in many instances , are the victims of child abuse, not the other way around.

    I don’t believe I’m wrong about Trump. As a matter of fact, I purchased a URL, Trumpcard. video about a week after he announced his candidacy back in June of last year. My understanding of Trump has been confirmed every day for over a year.

  37. One of the concepts that seems over the head of many Americans who’ve received their civics education via entertainment media is social stability.

    When things go unstable they become in a word unpredictable. And the exact dividing line between stable and unstable is also unpredictable and sudden.

    As conservatism has demonstrated failure after failure after failure in practice, adherents, unable to admit the error of their thinking, have found no avenue for redemption other than destabilizing America and hoping that as it fails good things come to them.

    Trumpence they’ve decided is that lucky break.

    While he is not a conservative but a megalomaniac they see in him salvation through power. We’ll become right by being totally powerful over those who have publically pointed out our failures.

    Conservatives have gone from inept to dangerous.

    Their ineptitude stems from the fact that their worldview offers no measure of value. They see all expenditures as costs devoid of the redemption of return on investment. So their sole economic compass is cheap.

    Conservatives used to threaten America by the policies that avoid investment. Now they threaten America by their willingness to sacrifice everything for power.

    The best that we can hope for is a three party system. Liberal Democrats, middle of the road Republicans and the conservative White Resentment Party.

  38. Pete,

    “The best that we can hope for is a three party system. Liberal Democrats, middle of the road Republicans and the conservative White Resentment Party.”

    You’re right Pete. Hopefully, the middle of the road Republicans can have enough courage to break away from the White Resentment Party. That’s our only chance at this point in time.

  39. Marv, they have a choice. Break away and compete with Hillary for the middle, or stay captured by the White Resentment (Entitlement) Party and suffer the consequences.

    Personally I think that they’ll take the drain.

    It’s turned out that the real game on is Hillary in the middle vs Sanders/Warren/Schumer on the left.

    That’s actually the situation that I was born into except that Hillary would have been a Republican.

    What goes around, comes around.

  40. Munich at the moment: Ample reason why we do not need a narcissistic sociopath with ADHD as leader of the free world. Vote to keep him well away from Washington, security briefings, and the hot button.

  41. People need to realize that despite the fortune given to him, four times Trump owned businesses had to tell a court that they could not pay their bills so the court would have to decide who would. Four times. This from a man whose only accomplishment is his wealth.

  42. Let me know when you have time for coffee and venting. Great blog entry, as usual.

  43. It’s a great piece from Marshall, but the use of the word ‘plethora’ instantly disqualifies him from the group of writers worth taking seriously.

  44. BSH, you’re right about the comments. It’s a shame the everyone feels empowered to speak before the facts are even known.

    I’m afraid that the US has made over the last 25 years a less safe world for everyone. Speeches like from Trumpence last night just make things worse.

    We have met the bully and he is us.

  45. I don’t know much about Tim Kane.

    My first question is does he believe in science because anybody who does not has no business in government. Science is what humanity jointly knows about reality. Those who reject that knowledge simply have no basis for whatever they do claim that they believe about reality.

    Reality of course stays exactly the same whether we know it or don’t or accept what we know or don’t.

    It will be unfortunate for some when we act on what is known by climate science. It will be unfortunate for all if we don’t. The longer that we take to realign with reality the higher the price will be.

    I don’t care much about Trump’s corporate bankruptcy record dismal as it is. I do care about his efforts to bankrupt the world in service of fossil fuel campaign donations and the votes of the uninformed.

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