The Essence Of My Angst

A lot of Americans were breathing sighs of relief Wednesday. With Democrats in control of the House, there will be some accountability–at least some measure of those “checks and balances” not enough of us learned about in high school civics.

The problem is, while sanity won a skirmish, it didn’t win the war. Just two examples of what reasonable people are up against:

From The Hill, we learn that Republican state Rep. Matt Shea, who published a manifesto calling for “war” against enemies of Christianity, was reelected in Washington state.

Shea, a six-term legislator, won with 58.3 percent of the vote, defeating his Democratic challenger by a comfortable margin, according to local NBC affiliate KHQ 6.

In a manifesto he published and distributed, titled “Biblical Basis for War,” Shea calls for the end of same-sex marriage, abortion and the death of all non-Christian males in America if religious law is not followed.

Nice guy.

And then, of course, the news has been full of terrifying details about Jeff Sessions’ replacement at the Department of Justice. (If you thought it would be difficult to exceed the mismatch between Sessions and the word Justice, you were wrong…).  In 2014, when the new acting Attorney General was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, he said he would only support federal judges who “hold a biblical view of justice.” And not just any biblical view–an explicitly New Testament view.

As a lawyer, one might expect him to know that setting religious conditions for holding a public office would violate the Iowa and U.S. constitutions. He was effectively saying that if elected, he would see no place for a judge of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or other faith, or of no faith. Yet no one in the audience or on the podium seemed to have a problem with that, and his answer drew applause.

Whitaker is also on record as criticizing the Special Counsel inquiry as a “witch hunt.” (hmm..where have I heard that phrase before?)

These are just two example out of the many, many others we might point to, and they underscore the points made in Gin and Tacos, in a post that may be the most perceptive commentary on the election and the country that I’ve seen in a very long time.

The post was titled I Know Why You’re Sad. 

On paper, Tuesday was a good day for Democrats. They took the House for the first time in eight years. Several important Governorships (in advance of post-Census 2020 redistricting battles) were won. Notably vile Republicans like Kris Kobach, Scott Walker, and Dana Rohrabacher lost. The high-visibility Senate races Democrats lost (Missouri, Tennessee) were pipe dreams anyway. You already knew that Florida sucks, hard. So you’re not sad because “The Democrats did badly.”

You’re also not sad because Beto lost, or Andrew Gillum lost, or any other single candidate who got people excited this year fell short. They’re gonna be fine. They will be back. You haven’t seen the last of any of them. Winning a Senate race in Texas was never more than a long shot. Gillum had a realistic chance, but once again: It’s Florida.

So why are we sad? Because Ed (the author of Gin and Tacos doesn’t share his last name) is right. We are still sad.

No, you’re sad for the same reason you were so sad Wednesday morning after the 2016 Election. You’re sad because the results confirm that half of the electorate – a group that includes family, neighbors, friends, random fellow citizens – looked at the last two years and declared this is pretty much what they want. You’re sad because any Republican getting more than 1 vote in this election, let alone a majority of votes, forces us to recognize that a lot of this country is A-OK with undisguised white supremacy. You’re sad because once again you have been slapped across the face with the reality that a lot of Americans are, at their core, a lost cause. Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.

There’s more, and every word is worth reading, but let me just share the conclusion.

These people are not one conversation, one fact-check, and one charismatic young Democratic candidate away from seeing the light. They’re reactionary, mean, ignorant, uninterested in becoming less ignorant, and vindictive. They hate you and they will vote for monsters to prove it.

Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.

We’re sad because he’s right.

There may be some “very fine people” among the Trump voters. But there aren’t very many. And we’re sad because we are beginning to recognize that there are some compromises that are impossible– and some aisles that simply can’t be crossed– without losing our souls.


  1. West Coast Republicans elected two indicted criminals to Congress, and out in Nevada the “family values party” elected a dead pimp to their state assembly. Why not? Look who the Republicans put in the White House.
    And we are now suppose to kiss and make nice with these voters?

  2. “There may be some “very fine people” among the Trump voters. But there aren’t very many. And we’re sad because we are beginning to recognize that there are some compromises that are impossible– and some aisles that simply can’t be crossed– without losing our souls.”

    As I have commented many times before; I live in a very small neighborhood with one way in and out, only 3-4 neighbors were actually friendly other than the lesbians who became my friends. I gradually learned most of the neighborhood were Catholics; which to me, was meaningless in being on a friendly level, we never talked religion, nor did we ever talk politics. Two of my friends died and the 3rd, who was is an accomplished handyman who held my old house together, his son played with my great-granddaughter, in and out of our homes. During some of his repair/renovations jobs, his dog was in my home with him. When I got an E-mail that my son Mark had been found dead in his Florida home, I was alone and panicked, couldn’t respond to the message and being deaf could not call anyone. I took my address book down the street to Dewayne, crying and in hysterics, luckily he was home. He calmed me down, called family members, helped back home and stayed with me till family members arrived. One day as I sat on the bench he built on my front porch; he shot me with his son’s huge pump-type water gun. He kept my driveway cleared of snow every winter. That is friendship. We were friends who never talked religion or politics. I always had Democratic yard signs during elections, he never posted any till 2016 when 2 Trump signs appeared in his yard. After the election he stopped answering my messages, we have rarely spoken on the street.


    This is cause for angst for many reasons other than politics; we can no longer count on them in any emergency. And this country rarely passes one day without an emergency in one form or another and no one can be assured they will not become a victim of shootings or need help during severe weather and power outages. Trump’s “very fine people” are our family members, our friends, our neighbors, fellow shoppers in supermarkets and big-box stores; we can no longer look to them for help on any level.

    “The problem is, while sanity won a skirmish, it didn’t win the war.”

    Neither did it return that “Audacity of Hope” President Obama carried into the White House with him; the hope that both parties could/would sit at the bargaining table and seek solutions to the problems in this country.

    Trump entered Paris with another insult for French President Macron, carrying our angst to former allies. Will he meet with Putin on this trip or is this another distraction? And Congress sits idle; and will do so till after January 1, 2019, continuing our angst to the international level.

  3. Another $64,0000 question, does the Southern Poverty Law Center’s investigation of neo-Nazi organizations extend to the Republican Party? If not, then why not?

  4. Neo-Aryan tribalism and Christian Identity. Encourage a thorough read if you have not the past two years. Trump was never a true Republican.

  5. Session’s replacement is also on record as saying that Marbury v. Madison basically was wrongly decided- a bad decision he’d like to undo. I don’t know where he got his law degree, but he must have been out of the room on more than one occasion.

    There are no “good people” left with GOP voters. There are only Trumpists and Vichy Republicans. Any conservative who truly cared for the country would have followed George Will and others out of the party long ago, and would be working to crush the GOP and build a new party in its place. As for Democrats, we’ve always been better at mobilizing than at organizing. We have our work cut out for us. But we’ve seen, sadly, with this election that the GOP is still a strong party, and still has its tactics of gerrymandering and voter suppression to help it, as well as its disregard for the rule of law (if you can’t win a recount, make sure there isn’t one). And, again sadly, even if we do manage to organize ourselves into the White House, majorities in Congress, and a majority of states, that doesn’t mean that large voting block of racists, bigots, misogynists, and willfully ignorant science deniers is gone. It only means they are momentarily contained, back just below the surface, and ready for the next authoritarian demagogue to come along and raise them up again.

  6. Norris,

    Thanks for the referral. I would also suggest “The Transfer Agreement—25th Edition: The Dramatic Story of the Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine” by Edwin Black.

    This book helps to explain, by way of an earlier historical context, the actions of DonaldTrump with respect to his moving our Embassy to Jerusalem. He’s is as big of an anti-Semite as they come. Hitler also supported the Jews moving to Palestine. He wanted them out of the country one way or the other. The media seems to forget Trump opened his successful presidential campaign with anti-Semitism and “swatted away” Move-on when they attempted to stop him, like they were a “bunch of flies.”

    Maybe, the Southern Poverty Law Center should extend their investigation of neo-Nazi organizations into the Office of the Presidency. Does anyone disagree?

  7. fraud,religion,religion,fraud. when speaking with such citiznes,tell em to keep thier cult idiology out of goverment,its much more fun when your not dictated by laws to conform to something you want to believe in. like your religion..i spent a nauseating hour watching pat ( send me money now i gotta save something)robertson,with a level mind,it seems they are devoutly using god to turn freethinking americans against themselves,and religion to be the nations ideology. the 700 club obviously is a headstone to hard headed,self rightiousness. they have the fox syndrome for religion. pat seems to believe everything is crashing down on his little word of religion,and by any means,spins the facts,and tells followers to crash our thinking in any way possible ,even by goverment intervention,at any,if i remember right,before trump,they shunned the devil..

  8. Thank you Dr. Kennedy. You are saying what I’ve been preaching since the rise of Reaganism. It was during that time the GOP became God’s Own Party. From here we got the Tea Baggers, reactionary, angry, stupid and driven by “isms”. There is no compromise with these people nor will I seek any. They must be eradicated and driven back into the ground. By force if necessary.

  9. James, I see it the same way. It was with the election of Reagan that the Republican Party turned into an ideology driven force pushed by greed and religion.

  10. Yes, it does, Marv. I would say that Fox News would also qualify. I still cannot believe that our White House used a doctored video from Infowars to prove a TV journalist assaulted a young woman during a press conference. And our Nazi POTUS said if the media mouthpieces don’t honor him and respect him, he will cast more away from his press conferences.


    Love this, “Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.”

    And they want respect. And the leader of our congressional newbies, a multimillionaire, said, “Yes, by all means, we should work these assholes.”

    Nancy Pelosi epitomizes the archaic remains of the national democratic party. She doesn’t represent the people and never has. She is the problem, and she is responsible for the Rise of Assholes because she’s provided no resistance whatsoever. NONE.

    Even after the victory, she tells the young progressives, “Calm down; now we must work with these assholes to obtain small victories.”

    No, now we cast aside the leaders who failed to prevent Nazi assholes from rising to the top of our countries leadership. Now they must be put back into the small box from which they came. Now we eliminate their media which allowed them to thrive and multiply. They are the scourge and should be dealt with accordingly.

    We allowed all of this…Nancy allowed all of this…to save capitalism from itself. We force our will militarily where possible or starve people to death when the use of our military raises eyebrows, to advance predatory capitalism among foreign countries. Where do you think these asylum seekers come from?

    Look at Europe. Why hasn’t our European leaders stood up and said, “We wouldn’t have an immigrant problem is the USA wasn’t directly or indirectly bombing neighborhoods in the Middle East.”

    It’s all called cowardice. We have cowards for leaders and cowards in the press. Wait till the country starts hearing these young progressives speak next year. It will be interesting to see how our propaganda media handles them. I’m guessing CSPAN might see a jump in ratings due to their uncensored video within the chambers.

    Meanwhile, evidence of late stages capitalism abounds held together by cowards in political office coupled with cowards in the media. Meanwhile, the POTUS demands all who come before him to bend over and kiss his hands or be tossed into the marsh on the other side of the kingdom.

    Ignorant assholes shrink under assault because they are bullies. They have no self-esteem beyond threats with violence. Every single time I’ve called out these bullies, they threaten to kick my ass or offer a subtle threat of gun violence. Guess what?

    You can follow Nancy Pelosi and play bipartisanship with Nazis all you want. I’ve gone well beyond that for years. Cowardice keeps perpetuating victims of violence. She’s a corporate slave, and so is Trump. If Trump was personally independent, he wouldn’t be swindling people or laundering money for crooks to stay afloat. He sold out long ago, and Mueller probably knows all the ins and outs by now.

    Watch the storytellers…the Goose must be saved so those addicted to Golden Eggs can keep collecting them.

  11. The teenager who knifes me to steal my iphone is not my political opposite, he is my enemy; no reaching across the aisle for cooperation from him.

    The deplorable who aims to kill my soul to steal my rights is not my political opposite, he is my enemy.

    The friend who wants me to turn another spot of flesh to the knife is a supporter of the enemy and therefore my enemy.

    The friend who wants me to gently sell out my rights to those who covet them in order to quell public disturbance is not a peacemaker, he is the front man for the enemy.

    We must not go again into the ovens thinking they are an agreeable shower. Stop the Let’s just be nice lectures; they, too, are the advance man of the enemy.

  12. My question now is, “How do we get those who continue to sit on the sidelines to wake up and vote?” There is no way, with both the Senate and the Presidency in Republican control, that we will ever make voting mandatory.

    Additionally, the appointment of Mr. Whitaker is illegal. Cabinet level positions must be filled by people who have already been confirmed by the Senate, such as the Deputy AG. Will the Republicans in the Senate let that slide? Probably. We currently have rule of no law.

  13. James,

    Hopefully, we don’t have to use force. All we need is a successful prosecution and you don’t need to be an attorney to do that.

    See That’s an example of a successful prosecution which, eventually, cost George Bush#1 his re-election. However, it did cost me, two failed attempts by the State Bar of Texas to disbar me, but, nevertheless, it was well worth it. It was a learning experience. A law license can be a burden in certain difficult political situations, much like we are now facing.


  14. Hang in there Sheila, I will have angst as long as Trump is President, for all the reasons I would never shake his hand or invite him to my home. He is a morally corrupt man without any leadership qualities.

    On the other hand, this last week was the best I felt in a long while. We have a sound check and balance in the House of Representatives. We have elected the most women ever to Congress. High voter turnout. High minority voter turnout. Increase in young voter turnout.

    There are times like these that provide the best civics lessons of how our government operates. If people didn’t learn from their high school government class, they are living a reality show of testing the limits of government, and why it is so important to protect our democracy. I think there is an upside of having a living example of Trump and the GOP, and it has brought the opposition and non-interested in government people to the forefront. I think voters are more engaged then ever.

    I am not so sure that in the wisdom of our founders that they didn’t intend to have gridlock as the goal. A 55-45 vote is a solid victory today. A 60-40 vote is a landslide. I don’t think that they intended for the Federal Government to be fast moving. I may be in favor of neither party having complete control of our branches of government.

    We are making progress. I think the President and his family are in the sights of the law and even if he isn’t prosecuted while in office, his legal problems won’t be over after he leaves or is removed from office. Justice will be served.

  15. The choice has always between self rule by we the people and special interest rule. That reality just has never been as evident as it is today.

    Because it was the only pathway available to Republican power they chose to represent special interest and now have those as defining their base.

    It’s an exceptional loyal base for people who choose to define themselves by a single issue. We have evidence of their minority status but since when has that limited ambition?

    The sides now competing for the soul of the nation are well defined and at least for now willing to contest this existential issue using democracy and rule of law as judge and jury. Will that hold?

  16. Pete,

    “The sides now competing for the soul of the nation are well defined and at least for now willing to contest this existential issue using democracy and rule of law as judge and jury. Will that hold?”

    NO. Only for someone under the impression that this a TRUE DEMOCRACY.

  17. Oh, Ms. Kennedy! Angst isn’t the word for it – more like ‘heartburn’, grab the TUMS and get ready for the legal battle(s) ~8) (or as Nan was fond of doing upon returning from a day of wrangling code… break out the Bloody Mary and a hot tub!)
    THIS is going to get GOOOOOD….!
    P.S. Marv Kramer – I concur. That mistake has been made much too many times so far, somewhere along the line comes the time to say, “Enough.” and mean it. No handshakes about it.

  18. It’s thrilling to see that the Democrats are in the process of conquering the world. They won control of the House of Representatives. Granted, the Republicans still control the Presidency … and the Senate … and the Supreme Court … and the lower courts … and … gerrymandering … and, oh well … you get the idea. We’re gaining on it.

  19. Reverend,

    My longtime companion was a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York where Dietrich Bonhoeffer came to study. Barbara, who died in 2009, and I had much in common, the basis was a strong belief in the Social Gospel and the Sermon on the Mount.

    Using Sheila’s son’s division as a guide, I believe it will come down between those who accept the Social Gospel and the Sermon on the Mount and those that don’t. The problem is much deeper than just plain, old, partisan politics.

  20. “They’re reactionary, mean, ignorant, uninterested in becoming less ignorant, and vindictive. They hate you and they will vote for monsters to prove it.”

    “You’re sad because once again you have been slapped across the face with the reality that a lot of Americans are, at their core, a lost cause. Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.”

    These are the type of people that I am surrounded by. They are aggressive and extremely mean. The less educated they are the more mean and threatening they are. It is getting more and more isolating to be a Democrat living in this rural blood red hillbilly district. Yes – many people came here in the 50’s from Kentucky coal mine country to join the booming auto related supply industries that have since closed. They were uneducated and had a completely different lifestyle, incest and all.

  21. Todd couldn’t carry Nancy Pelosi’s briefcase. Why he keeps bashing the most powerful Democratic woman in Congress is beyond fact and reality.

  22. Why do so many think that Nancy Pelosi is the one and only person capable of leading the Democrats in Congress? This is the same thinking that gave us Donnelly. and look what that got us. She may have the experience, but she does not have the vision or the guts to lead the progressives in the party.

  23. “The less educated they are the more mean and threatening they are. It is getting more and more isolating to be a Democrat living in this rural blood red hillbilly district.”

    Nancy; excellent comments. My Trumpite neighbors are not only less educated in the sense of formal higher education but less educated in the downgrading of the Republican party they stubbornly continue to support. Are you aware that there is a rural, hillbilly mindset deeply embedded in most suburban areas of big cities in Republican states? And yes; it is getting more and more isolating to be a Democrat these days in all of these areas; we are vastly outnumbered making our situation also more dangerous, it is not only rural folks who are gun tottin’ these days. They also tend to inbreed in a different form of incest; especially within the evangelicals, resulting in almost a new life form.

    I keep wanting to add VOTE BLUE! to my comments but we did that earlier this week; now we wait for the actual results of our efforts.

  24. Strong words. My father taught me to never discuss politics, religion or money with friends. They often do not mix well in this climate. No yard signs for me. My friends and neighbors may enjoy my company, they MAY inquire about the sign, they may just form a biased opinion from the sign. So no yard signs. I have a vote, I vote. Religion has always been inconsequential. My only opinion on the matter: constitutionally there must be a separation of church and State. As for money, I have what have and it’s no one else’s business. I enjoy life and what money I have provides some of lifes benefits …. so do friends, family, church, theater, sports, etc. I am a gay man who now volunteers for a number of spiritual, visual and performing arts groups, civic organizations. I was a former CFO. I have learned through friendly conversation the boundaries of my acquaintances. I navigate each conversation carefully often showing my interest in their view. I just ask questions as if I am ignorant of the topic. Thus I am often able to make them question (or uncomfortable) with their own responses. Yes, I too find it challenging to comprehend a trump supporter, and social media allows us to make our views clear. I just find a one on one to have more value and to be less combative. Just like at work, we are losing the face to face discussions. Interpretations often get lost in emails, messaging, texts, instagram, etc. For me, It’s my personality, smile and openness in a face to face that breaks down the negative energy. Have we forgotten our own powerful tools that God (someone) gave us. Like “kill them with kindness”. I held my nose and voted for Donnelly. I sometimes do the same in delivering a pie to a neighbor. Bad analogy?? Cheers all. Be kind to one another.

  25. Actually I think what is scary is that “good” people, people who usually are kind to their neighbors and others have voted for Trump. I grew up in small farming/manufacturing communities in the 50’s and 60’s. I have watched their economies suffer due to the migration to the cities, automation, and sending jobs to other countries. They are desperate. The suicide rate in men in these neighborhoods has increased. Somehow, democrats have got to figure out how to create policies that help revitalize these communities. Usually that happens at the local and state level. If Democrats want to start balancing the power with Republicans then politicized gerrymandering has to end.

    If we are going to end the divisiveness we have to quit demonizing our opponents and yet, still voice our disagreements with them. As long as we keep shouting over each other and not listening to one another, nothing will improve.

  26. Sounds like civil war rhetoric to me. These people are our neighbors, friends and family. We will never bridge our divide with sweeping demonization and animus.

  27. Reaching a hand across the aisle to Republicans is akin to handshaking with a wood chipper, and it will be even worse since what is left of that sad excuse for a party are the hardliners.

    So how should we proceed?

    We don’t reach across the aisle. Instead, on our side of the aisle we write a bill for universal health care. Why? A vast majority of the country want it. Screw the hard-line right.

    We write a bill ending the accumulation of interest on all student debt. A majority of the country would support that as well.

    We write a bill to require mandatory background checks on ALL gun purchases with severe punishment for violations. A majority of the country would support that as well.

    We write a bill relaxing bankruptcy laws for common folk. Many, if not a majority would support that too.

    We write a bill requiring non-partisan redistricting nationwide. Many, if not a majority would support that too.

    We write a bill ending the separation of families and incarceration of children. A majority would support that too.

    We put a bill on the floor ending the federal taxation of Social Security. Every single retiree would support it–and they should. After all it is nothing less than double taxation.

    Then we put those bills to a vote in the House, one by one, and send them to the Senate. If McConnell won’t bring them to the floor we beat him and the Republicans to death with them every day.

    It is well past time we became a militant supporters of the people instead of mice beneath the table of wall street hoping for crumbs to fall.


  28. As I have said here before in so many words:
    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.

    Equally true is something else I have posted here before:
    There is no compromise or middle ground with these people and none should be attempted. The Corporate Democratic Party is making a huge mistake in thinking you can “Reach across the Aisle”, because past experience has demonstrated when they do so their hand is hacked off. The counterfeit Democrat Joe Donnelly found this out.

    The Democratic Party as a whole and individually elected Democrats should understand with crystal clarity that since Gingrich there is no middle ground.

    Louis Proyect writes: Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing.

    >>Ever since the Democratic Party abandoned its New Deal legacy and adopted the neoliberal centrism associated with the Carter presidency and then cast in stone by the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985, each election loss has generated a chorus of remonstrations in the left-liberal press about the need to run “progressive” candidates if the party wants to win. The latest instance of this was a post to the Jacobin FB page that stated: “By running to the right, Democrats insist on losing twice: at the polls and in constructing an inspiring agenda. Bold left-wing politics are our only hope for long-term, substantive victory.”

    In the 2010 midterm elections, there was a massive loss of seats in the House of Representatives for the Democrats. It ( The Blue Wave) turned out to be more of a “Blue Spray”, not to speak of the toothless response of House leader Nancy Pelosi who spoke immediately about how the Democrats can reach across the aisle to the knuckle-dragging racists of the Republican Party.
    As Bob Dylan sang:
    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’.
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.
    We do not need a Nancy Pelosi, a John Gregg, Evan Bayh, or Joe Donnelly to block up the hall. Progressive Leadership is what is needed.

  29. Well, here’s your silver lining.

    With all the winning/losing the republicans experienced on Tuesday, there was no rioting or violent protests.

    So yeah, go fight fascism with fascism.

  30. Wray @ 12:10 pm, I totally agree with what you have said. Issues are what win elections in the short run and long run.

    Listing all the various outrages, lies of the Neo-Confederate-Evangelical backers of President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence is OK to define the battle lines, but you have to most importantly have a goal you are trying to reach.

    The GOP is entrenched, which simply means they will not budge from a position or belief. As Karl von Clausewitz wrote, “If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.”

    Your post Wray, perfectly exemplifies the idea of seeking a solution elsewhere. Rather than attacking the GOP head on, or reaching a hand across the aisle, the GOP must be placed on the defensive, the GOP must be made to feel like their policies are under constant attack.

    Karl von Clausewitz also wrote, “Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity”.

    I see Nancy Pelosi as the timid choice.

  31. Excellent article in the Guardian:
    The Democrats shouldn’t move right to win Trump voters.

    Do the Democrats need to do better in these conservative, “red” areas? Certainly. Should Democrats attempt this by running candidates who play to the right and appeal to elements of Trump’s base? Many pundits are already stepping forward to urge this. I disagree. And the case of my home state of Indiana is instructive.

    One of the most striking Democratic losses on Tuesday was the resounding defeat of the incumbent Senator Joe Donnelly by conservative Republican Mike Braun. Donnelly, a conservative Democrat, confronted serious obstacles. He faced an opponent actively supported by fellow Hoosier Mike Pence, and by Trump himself, and he faced an onslaught of vicious, anti-immigrant, anti-liberal, red-baiting ads.

    The worst features of Trumpism dominated the Indiana Senate race. How did Donnelly respond? By emphasizing his closeness to Trump and the fact that he voted with Trump over 60% of the time, and by campaigning not against his rightwing attackers but against the left of his own party, running his own anti-immigrant, anti-liberal, and red-baiting ads.

    It was a destructive and cynical calculation that severely compromised Donnelly’s integrity. More importantly, it was an abysmal political failure. Indiana voters drawn to Trumpism demonstrated on Tuesday that they strongly preferred a real, unadulterated Trumpist to a Democratic facsimile. And so Donnelly lost. First his soul, and then the election. A significant Democratic defeat.

  32. Monotonous; your last comment is profound. I said long ago, because I remembered some of my choices as a new voter, some people vote for the name that is familiar rather than the unknown and continue in later elections. I wonder how many of our elder statesmen ARE elder statesmen for that reason? Years ago we didn’t have the sources of information we have at our disposal today; there is no reason other than laziness not to have information for all candidates before making a decision.

    With Sessions’ firing; does anyone have a full count of the number of resignations and fired appointees since January 20, 2017? The last count I remember by Rachel Maddow was at 42; that was when she stated she needed a bigger wall. Those “no longer with us” were appointed with full knowledge by Trump of their histories as well as their lack of qualifications and or experience. Just curious at this time because I don’t see Matthew Whitaker lasting long due to the immediate onset of scrutiny. Wonder if he is suffering any angst at this time?

  33. We have been incessantly told to accept incrementalism from our betters within the party,now we decry incrementalism within the confines of the latest election results?

    What a bunch of spoiled brats we have become.

  34. Monotonous; I was referring to the last comment in your 1:16 pm entry, your 2nd comment appeared as I was typing my response. An excellent description of Donnelly’s loss at 1:35 pm.

  35. Wray,

    Your shopping list of legislation is exactly what Democrats should have been doing since 2009. When the Republicans told us they were going to resist EVERYTHING coming from the Democratic caucus, they also removed themselves from consideration in our government. The gross insult to the Obama presidency added to Republicans voting against THEIR OWN ideas was the most idiotic thing they could have done. Sadly, Democrats continued to try to work with those who had no interest whatsoever in doing so.

    Your shopping list can be implemented by the person who knows how to get it done: Nancy Pelosi. So, all the Pelosi bashers can just go sit down.

  36. Vernon makes a good point. But, we need to find a way to test her out now. We can’t afford to make a mistake, nor can we wait to long to see if she’ll make a move.

  37. The more desperate Trump becomes, the most mistakes he makes. He is as reactionary as a pinball machine. Apparently neither he nor his staff can do even minimal vetting of Cabinet officials to avoid the tag of corruption which should hang around his neck like a millstone next election day – assuming he lasts that long.

    My gloom over Indiana’s losses has brightened considerably with report after report of progressive candidates overtaking neanderthals and corruption in some of the most unlikely places like Kansas, Arizona, Maine, and even Wisconsin’s Scott Walker who has been the Koch brothers’ errand boy for years. Putin’s favorite Congressman in Orange County California lost where the demographics are changing sufficiently to discourage even the tone deaf Daryl Issa from running again.

    Women, gays, Muslims, immigrants, African and Hispanic Americans were among the victorious candidates. It’s ABOUT TIME that those in elected office looked more like those they represent, including more than 100 women being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in history. I’m just sorry it took Donald Trump to deliver us to this point. But the lesson was and is – voters have more power than all the billionaire donors, the media pundits, and the politicians COMBINED. All voters have to do is use the power of their vote.

  38. Wray:
    Let me add my voice to those cheering for your legislative agenda! I think it’s the right way for the Democrats to go. And I would like to see Nancy Pelosi start down the path, share the leadership with the newcomers and reasonably soon step aside when new leadership is ready to go.

  39. So yeah – shit like this forces us to back up and say waitaminute, my paradigm doesn’t fit reality. Huh.

    But you know whose does?

    Black Americans.

    Listen to Black Americans and they are zero percent surprised. Because they already know what we-all conveniently ignore: America is hella racist.

    Two years of Trump merely confirms it. And one election cycle is nowhere near enough to address the rot at our core. We’ve had this problem for 400 years.

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