A Day Of Reckoning…..

Americans go to the polls today. When those polls close, and the results are announced, we’ll know whether we live in the America whose motto is e pluribus unum or Trump’s “Christian” America (note quotation marks) that wants to be White again.

Paul Krugman often speaks truth to power, and his recent column in the New York Times  pulled no punches.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the midst of a wave of hate crimes. Just in the past few days, bombs were mailed to a number of prominent Democrats, plus CNN. Then, a gunman massacred 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Meanwhile, another gunman killed two African-Americans at a Louisville supermarket, after first trying unsuccessfully to break into a black church— if he had gotten there an hour earlier, we would probably have had another mass murder.

All of these hate crimes seem clearly linked to the climate of paranoia and racism deliberately fostered by Donald Trump and his allies in Congress and the media.

Killing black people is an old American tradition, but it is experiencing a revival in the Trump era.

Krugman titled his column “Hate is on the ballot next week,” pointing out that the perpetrator of the synagogue massacre had been motivated by a widespread Neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that was part and parcel of Trump’s despicable attacks on the would-be immigrants who are still some 900 miles from our Southern border.

The fearmongers aren’t just portraying a small group of frightened, hungry people still far from the United States border as a looming invasion. They have also been systematically implying that Jews are somehow behind the whole thing. There’s a straight line from Fox News coverage of the caravan to the Tree of Life massacre.

The main target of Krugman’s ire was what he termed “whataboutism” and “bothsidesism”–a refusal to distinguish Republican White Nationalism from Democratic garden-variety bullshit.

False equivalence, portraying the parties as symmetric even when they clearly aren’t, has long been the norm among self-proclaimed centrists and some influential media figures. It’s a stance that has hugely benefited the GOP, as it has increasingly become the party of right-wing extremists.

This election season, arguing for equivalence takes real effort. Republicans haven’t even tried to dampen the racist rhetoric being spewed by many of their candidates, or hide their efforts at vote suppression. In a column that in many ways echoed Krugman’s, Michelle Goldberg focused on the Governor’s race in Georgia.

Right now America is tearing itself apart as an embittered white conservative minority clings to power, terrified at being swamped by a new multiracial polyglot majority. The divide feels especially stark in Georgia, where the midterm election is a battle between Trumpist reaction and the multicultural America whose emergence the right is trying, at all costs, to forestall.

Abrams’ Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, is the Georgia secretary of state–an office responsible for overseeing the election in which he is a candidate.

Last week, Rolling Stone obtained audio of Kemp telling donors of his “concern” about what might happen in Georgia “if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.” As the secretary of state overseeing his own election, he’s taken steps to make that harder. His office has frozen new voter registrations for minor discrepancies with official records, and, starting in 2012, purged around 1.5 million people from the voter rolls — some simply because they didn’t vote in previous elections.

It isn’t a coincidence that the vast majority of registrations Kemp found “questionable” were from African-Americans.

Kemp is the candidate of aggrieved whiteness. During the primary, he ran an ad boasting that he drives a big truck “just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.” (That would be kidnapping.) A person who claimed to be a Kemp canvasser recently wrote on the racist website VDare, “I know everything I need to know about what happens when blacks are in charge from Detroit, Haiti, South Africa, etc.” Kemp cannot be blamed for the words of his volunteers, but he’s made little discernible effort to distance himself from bigots. This month he posed for a photograph with a white nationalist fan in a T-shirt saying, “Allah is not God, and Mohammad is not his prophet.”

It’s no accident that Trump has emboldened the haters. His intent has become so obvious that last week, Florida’s former Republican state chairman called him out for an outrageous anti-immigrant ad.

“You are a despicable divider; the worse social poison to afflict our country in decades,” Cardenas wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. “This ad, and your full approval of it, will condemn you and your bigoted legacy forever in the annals of America’s history books.”

Voters aren’t going to the polls today to choose between candidates or parties. They are choosing between incompatible versions of America.


  1. I can honestly say that anyone that reads this blog will probably vote today. I hope we can see a historic turnout today and the results are in our favor all over the country. I think this election is so much in your face, it’s impossible to avoid it. I’ll be watching from over the pond.

  2. Today will also be like waiting for a jury decision in a murder trial; it is all about Trump. Is he “guilty” or “innocent” of calling the neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK members and their followers to action in our streets, churches, schools, places of business? I know the court term is “not guilty” rather than “innocent” because it means the person was NOT proven to be guilty…this is a different situation. We have no full body count in this country whose guilt can be directed at Trump; we have all watched him daily use his powers to suborn violence.

    “Voters aren’t going to the polls today to choose between candidates or parties. They are choosing between incompatible versions of America.”

    The American juries have been speaking for days in the early voting sites; but has this election been rigged and the decisions will just be a formality? Hate and fear are strong decision making factors.


  3. Not premature, Marv, but you are a fully fledged mature patriot.
    I voted this morning after signing in before the crack of dawn. I don’t think I ever left the polling place before with such high hopes.
    I voted as proudly promised: Straight Ticket Democrat in honor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to benefit the next generation.

  4. The Republican Party is on its way to Whigdom and is not a political party but rather a mere vessel for the rich to control the rest of us via race, gender, religious and other such artificial demarcations while cheating ordinary Americans of their rights to fairly and equitably share in the wealth and income of our economy. As for Abrams, who Trump has labeled “unqualified,” (i.e., she’s black – who does he think he’s kidding?), she is a magna cum laude college graduate, a Yale law graduate, a tax attorney, minority leader in the Georgia House etc. etc. etc. If Don wants to see an unqualified officeholder, he should look in the mirror.

    Today is D-Day for American democracy. I’m sure contributors to this blog have voted or will vote yet today, but even so our job is not done. We can still call friends, neighbors, relatives and urge them to vote or, if possible, volunteer for local get-out-the-vote efforts via phone banks, precinct drivers etc. This is it.

  5. Sorry Sheila, but you lost me with, “Paul Krugman often speaks truth to power…”

    Pointing out racism and hate isn’t speaking truth to power. Now, maybe if Paul peeled back the curtains and started ripping into those who finance this hate and who are manipulating people’s prejudice, I’d give him some props.

    Let’s be clear, if Krugman held truth to power, the editors at The NYT wouldn’t let him write his column. Those holding truth to power are being censored in the United States and dismembered across the pond and elsewhere.

    As a reminder, the #MeToo was forestalled for ten years because The NYT decided they couldn’t hold a pampered princeling from Hollywood accountable because they would lose advertising revenue from his studio.

    I very much anticipate a Blue Wave today, AND I expect the lame DNC leaders will quickly jump in front of it with their media to claim a victory for the Democratic Party.

    Let me be crystal clear, the financiers of progressive victories are average people – not Wall Street. Wall Street bankrolls the DNC which is why we get the puppets called Pelosi and Schumer. If you think these two morons speak for the people, you’ve also fallen victim to a cult and need to have a friend snap you out of it before you drink poison.

    Enjoy what can happen when people find candidates who will represent them within our Oligarchic structure, but also pay attention to how the DNC and it’s media plays the victory. As I mentioned earlier, the lobbyists for Wall Street are very nervous about this election. They’ve been tossing money around hoping it will suppress what’s coming at them. There will be a few sellouts, but I suspect not many.

    The media has given it’s all to Trumpism and hate but is ignoring the real story which is the rising tide on the left. Use your critical minds today and tomorrow.

    Watch for it…

  6. In a rural county in northeast Indiana I am surrounded by (mostly uneducated) white republican bigots. I want to escape this hell-hole, but so far have not been able to.

    Sheila has written before that we tend to migrate to communities where we have the same political beliefs, rather than live where we differ. The extreme hatefulness that trump has unleashed among these bigots has done lasting damage within communities that will take at least a generation to repair, if that is even possible at all. Obviously, the bigotry was always there, but trump has given them permission to bring their ugly hatred of others out into the open and to condemn those of us who do not agree with them.

    What disgusts me most is my neighbors go to church on Sunday and see themselves as good Christians. I now see them as something completely different, less than.

  7. “Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump won preliminary approval from China for an additional 16 business trademarks last month, including one for voting machines, according to Chinese records released by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility (CREW) in Washington.”

    The quote above was just copied and pasted from a new Huffpost news item on AOL. I had just watched one of Trump’s rallies on MSNBC (they are unending and unavoidable if my TV is on); I always read some of the signs held by those behind him. The one that caught my eye this morning was, “BUY AMERICAN, HIRE AMERICAN”. This is becoming a near impossibility; yesterday I did happen to buy Romaine lettuce with a tag reading “A USA product”; the last TV I bought 2 years ago had large writing on the box, “Assembled In America”.

    There are so many reasons to rid this country of the current Republican monarchy. Notice to voters on the front page of the Indianapolis Star this morning that they will be providing election results throughout the day via their on line edition. Also providing election results on their local sister-station Fox59. I have been weaning my way off of my decades of Star subscribing; this moved it forward, will just let it run out as this month’s statement already paid.


  8. The republicans didn’t have a choice. If they tried to campaign on any issue other than fear they would lose. Their tax cuts are unpopular. Their stance against SS and Medicare/Medicaid Is unpopular. Voter suppression and gerrymandering is unpopular. This is their last chance to create a government that excludes anyone except rich white men. I hope they fail.

  9. Krugman DOES speak truth to power when he zaps Republicanism. Todd’s continued harangue about the NYT reflects his envy over is tiny publication and not a true analysis of what the Times writes, or its editorials say. I read the NYT every day and find its overall views as talking truth to power.

    Whining about the DNC being funded by Wall Street is, as usual, only half the story. First, that’s where the real money is. Second, small donations indeed greatly aid the Democratic candidates at all levels. Third, we can’t ignore the fact that the Wall St. financiers hedge their bets by investing in both sides to some extent. Pelosi and Schumer are absolute insiders. Their days must be limited vis-a-vis their leadership roles in the coming Congress. As with Democratic Presidential candidates, the House and the Senate must have younger, less compromised Democratic leaders.

    I agree completely with the “yeah but” and “both sides do it” arguments as pure bullshit. This is what comes from the mouths of those who haven’t been paying attention to the actual outcomes of political wrangling and operating philosophies. Oh, and the two major parties couldn’t be more different in every way. Those who lump them together either have their own, particular agenda with a third party or also haven’t been paying attention.

  10. If the Ds retake the House, today is a success. Every other D win is icing on the cake.

  11. There is at least one area in which we will all be winners at the end of the day. We will get a break from political commercials.

    I hope that we are better than we now appear to be as a country.

  12. Vernon; your words echo my thoughts about Todd’s repeated anti-Democrat comments. You are much kinder than I would be so I don’t comment.

    He is the “Muncie Voice” and speaks to or for Middletown, IN. I know nothing about Middletown but Muncie is a small town with high crime rate and many areas of poverty. My grandson graduated this past May from Ball State University in Muncie; we worried about him all four years he lived there. Todd is a big fish in a small puddle with a huge ego; is he seeking attention by being oppositional?


  13. JoAnn,

    I know. I looked him up. I understand the situation. Thanks for the confirmation.

    NOW, let’s all keep fighting the good fight against those people and things that are eroding our culture, our government and our country’s grace: REPUBLICANS AND REPUBLICANISM.

  14. Tayari Jones, writes: http://time.com/5434381/tayari-jones-moral-middle-myth/

    There’s Nothing Virtuous About Finding Common Ground

    I find myself annoyed by the hand-wringing about how we need to find common ground. People ask how might we “meet in the middle,” as though this represents a safe, neutral and civilized space. This American fetishization of the moral middle is a misguided and dangerous cultural impulse.

    The search for the middle is rooted in conflict avoidance and denial. For many Americans it is painful to understand that there are citizens of our community who are deeply racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic.

    Compromise is not valuable in its own right, and justice seldom dwells in the middle.
    It bears repeating : For many Americans it is painful to understand that there are citizens of our community who are deeply racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic.

    The cult followers of President Agent Orange and Pastor can now proudly put on display, their Neo-Confederate Evangelistic Reactionary beliefs. The GOP has hitched their wagon up to President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence.

    There is no compromise or middle ground with these people and none should be attempted.

  15. Do we all agree to BLACKLIST Todd for speaking the truth about Paul Krugman and the NYT.

    I remember a few years back, Krugman had to apologize for not dealing with racism. The NYT isn’t going to risk its advertisers on attacking the real power base. They’re not nuts, nor are they a charitable organizations.

    Historically, small town journalists have been responsible for many important social changes. In my estimation, for ever it’s worth, Todd speaks to POWER, not Paul Krugman.

    Nevertheless, TODAY, be sure and VOTE BLUE!

  16. Yes, Nancy, sold the house in Tucson and moved back to Switzerland in June.

    Todd: I bet you’re fun at parties.

  17. Sorry, Marv. Your “analysis” is incorrect. Speaking to power means you have something meaningful to say instead of just whining and wringing ones hands. Journalistic envy is NOT speaking truth to power.

  18. Todd’s message is clear. There is nobody to vote for. If he’s right today has no meaning and democracy is dead.

    In other news: I happened to tune in Shawn Hannity while trying to domesticate a new car “entertainment” system yesterday so I listened to what he was selling. This was my conclusion:

    Everyone knows that Trump and the collection of Republicans lip locked to his butt lie almost without stop. We try to hold him accountable for that, his base values his words way more than the truth that they are absent of.

    When people in a democracy love to be lied to there is a fundamental rot among the electorate that will take a very long time to root out and cure. No matter the degree of success today please accept it as a start, a beginning only of a long arduous trek. We must be united and stay united and work to undo what apathy did and that’s a long challenging process.

    Keep your eye on the prize.

  19. Let me say first off, I am glad to have the ability to make my opinion whatever it may be posted publicly and be able to read those of my fellow Americans – all of them. I am for all practical purposes about as liberal as you will find barring a few things that just don’t even strike me as close to normal… (ie.; the present company in the WH for example..) I am glad to be able to read Sheila’s Blog notes, and it is good to share and read the thoughts of those who respond. THAT to me is freedom, that is Democracy in action – the old ‘talking stick’ ideal… We have to believe that our fellows have a brain and can reason enough to know what is right for this country. And failing that – I hear baseball bats are cheap… ~8) Good luck to US all!

  20. Haven’t been around much, but I am today and I voted, baby!

    Since I am old now, I can make fun of old people, so here goes. It’s not a long march, except to the funeral home. The current problem will largely resolve itself through mortality, and blessed be the Lord’s creation of death as the great equalizer.

    Trump is the fugitive slave act of the current era. The Civil War probably could not have happened if it weren’t for the fury of Northerners over having their towns invaded to protect Southern interests. This great rejection of the GOP could not have happened if it weren’t for Trump. Perhaps another Clinton presidency would have doomed us.

  21. AgingLGrl – Switzerland sounds wonderful…what is it like to live there? The country and some of its customs was the topic of a recent story in Time magazine – it looked very inviting! If I weren’t so old, I’d definitely consider moving away from all this chaos, corruption, fear mongering, bigotry, antisemitism, the lying, the wall, the NRA and the lack of integrity or backbone of politicians on both sides of the aisle. Lord help us if the “blue wave” fizzles….although I’m trying to stay positive.

  22. Well done, as usual, Sheila, but you know what? I’m worried. I’m worried that there should even be some question about Republicans having any chance at maintaining power when they absolutely won’t speak out against Trump and all of the bad things he stands for, all the bad things he’s done, his lack of leadership, his racism, misogyny, xenophobia and all the rest.

    I don’t understand how Trump pulled it off the first time. I don’t understand how thousands of dumbasses turn out for the vainglory rallies, wearing their red hats, holding “Women For Trump” signs and cheering as though a worthy, respectable person has entered the room, including right here in Indianapolis. I don’t know why so-called “Evangelicals” don’t see Pence as the syncophant and hypocrite he is, standing next to that fat rodeo clown who calls migrants “animals”, “criminals”, “rapists” and “murderers” and who brags about sexually assaulting women. What the hell is wrong with these people? How many of them are there? Like the rhetorical question asked in “Pink Flamingos”, “where do they go after dark?’ I’m worried.

  23. Who are those people? Well, thankfully we all know now. They don’t even try to hide it. They wear it like a badge, those red caps. We can Spot them a mile away. They really are deplorable.

  24. Natacha,

    “I’m worried”

    You ought to be. Trump hasn’t lost his base through all his misadventures. They will just become more radicalized and thus more dangerous, no matter what the results are tonight.

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