A Fortnight of Trump

It’s been two weeks since I’ve written about Trump here! And what a two weeks it’s been! Herewith, not-especially-well-organized thoughts on a fortnight of a not-especially-well-organized administration:

1. I mean, these are remarkable times, aren’t they? There are moments in life when you are very truly aware that you are living in history — things that will prominently be in history books fifty or a hundred years down the line — and there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind we’re right smack dab in a middle of some bona fide history, people. It’s kind of exhilarating! Mind you, I’m hoping it’s the exhilaration of a nation reawakening to a commitment of democratic principles, rather than the exhilaration of a consumptive’s moment of clarity before they finally hork out the useful portion of their lungs. But either way, it certainly is a time.

2. I’m feeling many things about the Trump administration, but I have to admit one of the primary emotions I am feeling is a deep and abiding embarrassment. I’m embarrassed that my president and his administration are clearly malign, but I’m also embarrassed that they are so clearly incompetent. These people are both ignorant and stupid, and while on one hand that’s a silver lining — it blunts the effectiveness of the previously-mentioned malignancy — on the other hand the fact that a great nation installed these bumptious yahoos in the first place says very little good about us.

3. This is also why I am mildly exasperated at the idea floating about, that the fumbling bullshit nonsense these numpties are up to represents 11-dimensional super-chess political moves. Folks, no. Really, just, no. If they were 11-dimensional super-chess masters, they wouldn’t have had a negative polling rating eight days into their administration; they’d instead have made us delighted to waltz down the path to a comfortable and complacent fascism. But they didn’t, because they can’t, because they’re not that smart. A White House that spends four days litigating the size of an inauguration crowd is not a clutch of masterminds. Masterminds wouldn’t have given a shit about how many people showed up on the goddamn National Mall.

But don’t you see, Scalzi? All of this is distraction from their true mastermind evil plans! Folks, you realize that needing these jackasses to be masterminds is a form of vanity, yes? We couldn’t have possibly chosen to be ruled by custard-headed bigots who can’t find their asses with GPS and an Eagle Scout! They must be smarter than that! Well, no, they’re really not, and yes, we really did. There are lots of ways to explain that — I favor the whole “the GOP’s decades-long plan to undermine its voters’ dedication to truth and public institutions really paid off” angle of things personally — without having to haul out the 11-dimensional chess board.

4. But don’t worry, folks! Blundering numpties are dangerous enough! And to be clear our blundering numpties have a plan — white authoritarianism is a thing, y’all — and fundamentally what they have on their side is that they don’t really respect law, or tradition, or you. You’re either useful, or fuck you. Incompetent or not, they’ll keep going until they can’t, and they expect you to follow the rules they have no intention of following. The thing is, the rules can stop them — from the Constitution on down — but only to the extent that people hold them to those rules, and plant their feet.

Our problem as I see it is that the House and Senate are currently controlled by the GOP, i.e., the folks who spent the last few decades undermining inconvenient truths and political comity, and whose current leaders, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, apparently are working on the motto of “Whatever, man, so long we get to kill Social Security and Medicare, too.” So, yeah. It does help that Trump is busily antagonizing Republican senators who offer even the mildest of complaint regarding his policies and incompetence, but let’s face the fact that spines are in short supply on the right side of the aisle at the moment. Will that change? We’ll find out!

And the Democrats? They spent the first week apparently under the impression things were normal, and it took two solid weeks of protests and phone calls to suggest to them that maybe just going along might not be the thing for them to do. As I’m typing this they’re putting sticks into the spokes of several cabinet confirmation processes of especially problematic candidates, so that’s good! But then Rick Perry just passed his Senate panel vote with Democratic votes, so maybe not every Democrat got the memo (I actually personally think Perry is likely to be one of the least problematic of the cabinet picks — he’s ignorant as hell about his position, but I think he’s more likely to listen to people who aren’t ignorant with regards to his duties, and isn’t that just a perfect encapsulation of the Trump years, when “ignorant but maybe trainable” is a positive). I’m mildly optimistic that the Democrats will generally get the memo that giving a pass to the incompetent and malign will not age well, especially when the incompetent and malign have no intention of ever returning any political favor. Again: We’ll find out!

5. What about Bannon? He’s smart, right? Well, he appears to be the smartest person in the White House right now, which is not the same as actually smart. But inasmuch as his personal philosophy appears to be “I’m a bigot and I have a box of matches” and he’s found a useful idiot in Trump, he’s definitely a problem. Is he the actual president, a la Cheney? He’s certainly got his hand up Trump’s ass, and he and Putin seem to be having a thumb war around the vicinity of Trump’s epiglottis in order to see whose turn it is to work the puppet. I think it’s self-evident that Bannon’s a racist piece of shit who shouldn’t be anywhere near the White House, but I also thought it was a self-evident Donald Trump was a racist piece of shit who shouldn’t be anywhere near the White House, too, and look where that got us.

Bannon’s reflexive racism and anti-semitism makes the Trump administration do stupid things, a fine example being it offering up a release on Holocaust Remembrance Day that somehow didn’t manage to mention the Jews, i.e., the principal targets of the Holocaust and the reason the Nazis built out the entire apparatus of the Holocaust. When called on it, the White House offered the same rhetorical line — “well, others suffered in the Holocaust, too” — that Holocaust deniers use to minimize the extent of the atrocity done to the Jews. Bannon’s fingerprints are all over this, and it’s appalling both that the White House put out a release like this, and that it either didn’t realize that everyone would see the dog whistle to America’s home-grown Nazis… or it didn’t care whether everyone saw it or not. Either, to me, is all Bannon; neither is especially smart.

6. What’s really remarkable about the Trump administration is that we are literally in week two, and its managed to have enough scandal and constitutional crisis for an entire year of a normal administration. Hell, even Dubya, the former modern low benchmark for incompetence, stretched out his nonsense. Now, you might recall that I predicted this the last time I wrote about Trump — I said we’d see a hundred-day “Gish Gallop” of nonsense from them (to the extent the Trump folks had any plan at all) — but it’s one thing to say “yup, this is going to happen” and another to see it in full effect in just two dizzying weeks.

I don’t think this is sustainable, and I don’t mean in terms of people’s ability to protest, which I think is capacious. I mean that, while it is prudent to plan for four years of Trump, I’m going to be surprised if he lasts that long. I mean, this is the goddamn honeymoon for his administration. It is protests and chaos and possibly even Democrats in Congress locating (or at least borrowing) spines, and a subterranean approval rating. Even worse, Trump just isn’t enjoying himself. He’s been fucking miserable for two straight weeks and it’s not getting better from here. I suspect that not too long in the future he’ll find a way to declare victory and bug out.

Maybe that’s wishful thinking (scratch that, it is wishful thinking). But here’s the thing: The Trump administration has already set the tone: It’s racist, it’s nationalistic in the worst way, it’s authoritarian, it is petulant and thin-skinned, and it’s not actually competent. It’s been jammed up from day one and the resistance to it is just going to get stronger from here. Whatever Trump thought he was going to achieve, in his fever dream of the office of the President being some combination of a king and his “Apprentice” shtick, he’s now unlikely to get it. He’s not used to being told “no” and he hates being unpopular, and by all indications he doesn’t actually like working much. I think he’s gonna say “fuck this” after a while and leave the whole mess to Pence (I almost said “poor Pence,” but that fellow signed up for this, so). I also think it’s more likely for him to leave of his own accord then to be impeached or removed via the 25th Amendment.

Is there any way for Trump to save his presidency? Sure, there are lots of ways! But most of them would require Trump getting a personality transplant and/or ditching the core of his brain trust, and I don’t see that happening. Bear in mind “save” is a loaded term; the man is president and he’s entirely capable of weathering four years of this out of sheer cussedness. It’s entirely possible I’m wrong, Trump doesn’t care to “save” his tenure, and he’ll just do what he’s going to do because screw you, that’s why. I’ve been wrong before! Sadly, in this particular case.

7. Leaving aside the ethical dimensions of Trump’s actions to date, from a purely economic and political point of view he’s pretty much been a nightmare. Businesses have to be watching his incipient trade war with Mexico, his immigration ban and the domestic protests and thinking to themselves “well, this is no good.” Trump’s nationalism is going to end up being bad for business, and in particular it’s likely to be bad for businesses in the very states where Trump had his strongest support. This more than anything else may be what turns a sufficient segment of the GOP against Trump — in the end, you don’t screw with the GOP’s money. There’s a racist, nationalist core of Trump supporters who value that more than business, mind you — they’d rather be pure than rich — so now I guess we get to see whether the GOP would rather be racist or rich. Should be interesting!

8. I’ve noted before that Trump is the end result of decades of the GOP working to undermine its voters’ faith in the system and in truth — but that Trump arrived about a cycle too early for the GOP’s plan to really pay off like it wanted. It was hoping for a bland, unobjectionable tool (think: Rubio) to be the front man while it dug itself in like a tick into the processes of government, and instead got a loud, racist incompetent with a pack of racist reactionary pals, who see the GOP as just another tool to use or to thump on when it doesn’t do what it’s told.

This is no good for the GOP, because now that Trump has alienated women and immigrants and the Latinx/Hispanics and LGBTetc and Jews and everyone who knows and cares for anyone in those groups, and the GOP is likewise putting the fear of god into people who want health insurance, who is left for them? Old white people (especially the ones who haven’t twigged to the fact that Ryan wants to take away their Medicare and Social Security), evangelicals who want cover for their racism, homophobia and worldly greed, and the sort of white dude who still thinks Pepe the Frog is the height of wit. Annnd that’s pretty much it! Not a lot to grow on, unfortunately for the GOP, and the longer Trump’s in office, the worse it’s going to get.

I’m not saying that everyone who is appalled by Trump is going to go to the Democrats, who have their own stew of issues, which I will leave to others to essay. But unless Trump actually does manage to destroy American democracy and replace it with a white authoritarian government in the next six months, I think all he’s really going to do is destroy the GOP. Which, you know. Sow the wind, etc. This is what the GOP has been working toward. That they didn’t expect that Trump was the form they’d get is neither here nor there to that.

9. What have I been encouraged about? I’ve been encouraged to see slightly more spine in some elected officials. I’ve been encouraged that blue states, particularly Massachusetts and California, seem to be ready to take the fight to Trump. I’ve been encouraged that news organizations have decided to call lies lies and decide there is more to news than filling up a 24-hour cycle with crap (they still have the 24-hour news cycle, and it is, alas, still largely filled with crap. But the ratio of useful-to-crap seems to be getting better). I’m encouraged that organizations like the ACLU have gotten right into the fight from day one. I’m encouraged that people like Sally Yates put their careers on the line to point out the injustice of Trump’s orders. I’m encouraged that nearly every creative person I know, liberal or conservative or otherwise, has decided that Trump’s nonsense is not for them. I’m encouraged that a large number of the conservative people I know and/or respect have decided to stand for the rule of law rather than a rule of Trump.

And most of all, I’m encouraged by the millions of people from everywhere and all walks of life who went out into the streets in the last couple of weeks, and who called their elected representatives, and who donated money and time and expertise to protest against Trump and his people, and their plans, and their morality, or lack thereof. As many people have noted, the alt-right have called them “snowflakes” but you get enough snowflakes in one place and you get an avalanche. It’s heartening to see millions standing for a diverse and vibrant America, and not for a mean and racist one. I noted before that Trump is president and as such he and his crew got to make all the first moves, nor are they done making those moves. There’s more to come from them. But it’s clear they weren’t prepared for the pushback. Good.

10. I hate that we are where we are now, but it’s also not wrong to say that I feel weirdly optimistic. Trump is terrible, his administration incompetent, and we’re confronted with the fact that our nation’s bigotry and awfulness has its head right now. But what’s happening because of it is the exact opposite of a shrug and quiet acceptance. I didn’t want us to have to have this political moment — I would have been happy with a Clinton administration, honest! — but if we have to have this political moment, and we do, I am heartened by the response to it. Our country is going to suffer damage because of Trump. We won’t be the same nation we were before. But we get to find out whether at the end of it we become a better nation. I think we might! If we keep at it.

And that’s an encouraging thought. I plan to keep at it. I hope you will, too.

201 Comments on “A Fortnight of Trump”

  1. Notes:

    1. As is usual with political posts, the Mallet is out. Please be polite to each other; these days I’m inclined to apply the Mallet more liberally in the case of people being specifically rude to other commenters. I’m thinking of some particular commenters here. They should know who they are because I malleted the crap out of their comments in the previous thread.

    2. Something that I think is worth noting but which didn’t fit in the piece above is that, so far, 2017 has been pretty damn good for me — my business and creative lives are chugging along and my personal life is peachy — and it’s been weird to have that disconnect between what’s going on in my life, and what’s going on in the life of the nation. I don’t feel bad or guilty about it, it’s just… a juxtaposition, I suppose.

  2. He’ll have the evangelicals for as long as he wants them. They care about one and only one thing: abortion. And he doesn’t even have to end it, just to look like he’s getting there.

    I’m most worried that we get a terrorist attack fairly soon on US soil and Trump uses that to take further power for himself due to “emergency powers” that have no end date ala the Reichstag Fire Decree. I’m not saying that will happen, but it is best to at least keep it tucked away in the ole RAM.

  3. I really, really, really wish I were as optimistic as you (and your essay helps a bit, honestly). I worry more about “horrificness overload” – basically, it seems like there’s only so much sustained outrage I can muster before I need to shut off the TV/close the laptop and go outside with my kids and not think about this goddam shitshow of an administration.

  4. I have no optimism left. I am depressed every night watching the news. I am truly scared for our Democracy. Steve Bannon wants to overthrow the government as we know it. Is Donald that stupid?

  5. I really wish I were as optimistic as you. What keeps me up at night isn’t even the insanity happening right now. It’s what happens after there is a terrorist attack. Which has just become much more likely due to trump within 10 days alienating all our allies. Bannon’s response to an attack is going to make all this look like a day at the beach

  6. Chuck Schumer
    Democratic Senate Leader
    was born in Brooklyn, baby boomer
    says: “you have to have an internal gyroscope”
    went to the same high school as Bernie Sanders*

    They still talk about the ferocity
    with which he attacked incumbent D’Amato
    and helped 14 more Democrats upset into the City
    of Washington, D.C., I say Toe-May-Toe
    you say Toe-Mah-Toe

    “We can delay nomination hearings
    for months.” He’s no rubber stamp
    his dad was an Exterminator
    no voice vote, but snarky smearings
    Drain the Swamp. Turn your collar to the cold and damp

    6:57 p.m.
    Tuesday 3 January 2017
    *{since you ask, Madison High School}

  7. Thank you again, John. I have been reading more and only watching PBS news, because otherwise I would crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. I too am heartened by the amount of protests I have seen, even more so by the fact that is bothers Trump so much. But I agree with Jim C., the horrificness overload has just about pushed me over the edge. Just keep speaking Truth to Power, John. We need you now more than ever!

  8. If this thread on twitter isn’t chilling, I don’t know what would be.

    This is the sort of nightmare scenario we almost had with Nixon before he resigned. But Trump won’t. So we depend on Republicans to decide if the President gets to order federal agencies to ignore courts.

  9. I have a lot of Thoughts about this post, but the thing I like best about it is the use of “We” and “my.” This is “We the People”‘s mess and it is OUR responsibility to clean up. We need to do what we can to fix it as best we can.

  10. “We couldn’t have possibly chosen to be ruled by custard-headed bigots who can’t find their asses with GPS and an Eagle Scout! ”
    Most of us didn’t. I’d really like to see an Amendment eliminating the Electoral College.

    What I’ve noticed, at least here in the DC area, is lefties buying guns. They’re worried about Brownshirts at the various protests. Seeing Muslims buying guns, too. The differences between lefty gun owners and the wingers is that the lefties tend not to make a lot of noise, they tend not to fetishize their weapons, and the lefties are more worried about mobs than the Government.

  11. The last two weeks have shown that, at the very least, the nation will remain ever divided over Trump. The one upside to this nonsense is seeing that a sizable portion of this country isn’t complacent.

    You’re right to call the him and the current majority of the GOP fools, if for no other reason than they’ve had YEARS to plan for how to repeal the ACA and can’t even pretend to have a replacement. Not even a fake replacement. Or a really cool code name for a non-existant replacement. Even I would be intrigued if they told me they were replacing the ACA with Project Lazarus.

  12. Point 8 is something I’ve been thinking too.

    Given there’s another round of redistricting/gerrymandering due in 2020, the Repubs had a vested interest in keeping things quiet & the voting populace uninterested until the 2018 midterms were over and done with. In this respect, Trump is a fucking DISASTER.

    The only hope the Repubs have now is to get Sessions in, launch Trump’s desired investigation into his “3-5 million illegal votes” and disenfranchise every non-Republican voter they can.

    Hopefully, enough people have now woken up and decided to get involved that this ain’t gonna happen, but there’s enough Repubs in power who want this to happen that I think this is going to be THE fight that needs fighting.

    Also, David Frum’s recent article in the Atlantic (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/) wasn’t terribly reassuring

  13. I, too, am weirdly optimistic. I participated in the LAX demonstration on Sunday, and the passion and determination on display was just incredible. The best cure for despair is ACTION!

  14. Entertaining as always. I’m still a newish reader. Either they’re masterminds or they’re incompetent, no inbetween. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure until the dust settles.

  15. Any comments on the various Puppies’ take on recent events? Larry and Brad seem to be cautiously optimistic for no other reason than “libruls r mad,” and Hoyt just seems to have gone off the deep end in general. Seems like they’re not even pretending anymore that the whole thing was about punishing the “diversity hires” for being uppity.

  16. Your last point is the most depressing part. The history books will forever be stained with Donald Trump, 45th President. He will join the ranks of American history, good or bad. He’s there, no matter how long his reign lasts. We can’t undo it. We can’t go back. Let’s just hope the damage isn’t permanent and we can skip over his paragraph in the history book.

  17. I’m optimistic, too, or at least I try to be. It helps that, last night, I wrote an email to my Congressman, who is a Republican, and asked him to consider if the President’s executive orders and general behavior were in line with his party’s values (i.e., respect for the rule of law instead of subverting it, promoting national security instead of picking fights with other countries). I don’t care if he reads it or not, but I wanted someone in his district office to at least notice these concerns.

    And I totally agree with you, John, about the GOP’s future. At some point, they’re going to have to see if these policies and moves are going to be worth all those financial losses.

  18. I was going to reference the David Frum article also.. it seems depressingly plausible. No WW3, no Stormtroopers goose stepping on the White house lawns, but a country-eroding corruption starting right at the top while the House, Senate and Court are content to stand and watch because they are achieving their legislative agendas.

  19. I’m a scared introvert who never wanted to be anything more than a fart in an open air stadium. I just dropped $1200 to fly to Washington D.C. for the April 29 climate march, where I will wave a flag with the Blue Marble photo on it.

  20. Bannon strikes me as a very intelligent idiot. He’s the sort of guy who read Atlas Shrugged once and decided that taught him everything he needs to know about people, and he goes through life assuming everyone will behave exactly in accordance with his preconceived notions, but when they demonstrate actual agency, he has no idea how to respond.

  21. Protest fatigue and despair are sneaking up on me too. No one can do it all. #ResistTrumpTuesdays is a good idea. One day per week, make calls or send a fax to your state and federal legislators, go to a rally, volunteer, donate to the ACLU.
    If we really want success the Dems have to take back the state legislatures for redistictng, and try for the House and Senate. Go to an organizing meeting to find good candidates. Make safe seats be defended. Urge someone to run for state office and volunteer for them. You can make a difference. Do what you can, when you can. Don’t succumb to despair. #Resist

  22. Looking in from the outside, I have still cried for what I have seen happening in America. But not just at the awfulness, but the beauty and good and people coming together I have seen. That is why I share your optimism – the activism. My mind still boggles at the fact that the American political process appears to allow him to run the country by executive order and ignore the whole constitution and democratically elected representatives though!

  23. Alledria said, “Either they’re masterminds or they’re incompetent, no inbetween. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure until the dust settles.”

    Greetings and welcome to the free-for-all. If we measure competence by the ability to goad political opponents into overreacting, Trump and crew are master trolls. However, their methods are also producing some collateral damage in the form of alarmed or pissed off bureaucrats and businessmen who might otherwise be amenable or neutral as far as the president’s agenda is concerned.

    For example, it’s one thing to disrespect Silicon Valley billionaires, who publicly and lavishly backed HRC. It’s another thing entirely to scare the bejeezus out of every American business executive who imports critical inputs from Mexico courtesy of NAFTA. For now, the Republican rank-and-file is standing behind Trump, despite some noticeable unease.

    In six months, who knows? Serious cracks might start to appear if Trump’s methods generate more hard core national opposition than support.

  24. I like the optimistic note at the end. You will have at least four years though because if Trump goes, you get “Beat the Gay Out” Pence next. America will recover but it may take generations. With four or, Bog forbid, eight years of the associated climate change denial, the world may not have generations.

  25. I’m still really scared, but I’m trying. I keep refilling my “USA for all of us” book display at the library. I’m happy that ACLU donations are through the roof (aim at some of the smaller charities now, guys). But I’m scared.

  26. These certainly are interesting times. I see this administration as a group of zealots that live in a bubble and are unable to see out of it into the real world. Unfortunately I think this short shortsightedness will result in significant harm to millions of people.

    I do enjoy the blog. Keep up the good work!

  27. I’m in agreement that his personal misery (wait…this is actual work?) will win out over his thick-headed fuck-you-itiveness, and he will abandon the office long before he’s impeached or his term runs out. But he can, and is already, doing a lot of damage before that day comes. Until then…we organize. So, lefty and moderate friends, who’s with me in running for school board? Prothonotary? District magistrate? County committeeperson? All politics is, eventually, local.

    And as an aside, if we can drop the terms “special snowflake” and “suck it up, buttercup” from the national dialogue I will be so, so happy.

  28. The GOP’s fatal flaw was in embracing the bonfire of the dog whistles and allowing simultaneous attacks on all marginalized people. Most attempts at genocidal dictatorships succeed because they target relatively small chunks of the population who make useful scapegoats with which to distract the proles from understanding that they’re being exploited by the guys with offshore bank accounts. While 10 million people is an enormous number, it was actually only about 1.5% of the population of Northern Europe through which the Nazis rampaged. Most people just shut up and were glad they weren’t on the list of vermin to be exterminated.

    The Mango Mussolini and the rest of Hydra cannot hope to deport, jail or kill everyone they’ve put a laser sight on because there are ~100 million of us–a third of the population–and we’re pretty dang close to completely united against our common enemy. Moreover, we’re spread across a massive and varied geographical area, much of which is territory controlled by people who have no intention whatsoever of letting the jackboots-as-fashion crowd waltz in and take innocent people. Sure, Trump could try to drop a bomb in the middle of Seattle to get people here to comply, but he’d need cooperation from military folks to do that, and I doubt the entire chain of command necessary would do so, Milgram experiments aside. The moment his finger even inched toward those buttons, the NYPD would stand aside while UN forces come up the Trump Tower elevators to politely serve notice that he’s fired.

    This is not to say we’re not in for a long and bloody siege. Thousands will die, either by direct government action, trigger-happy brownshirts, or lack of services. It’s also possible Trump may just calmly wait for the next major terrorist attack (one not committed by a white person, of course), and declare it’s time to ditch the Constitution and go with martial law for “security” reasons. Recovering from that will be a lot harder if it comes to it.

    But thing is: He can’t kill us all. He needs cooperation to do that, and though he has quite a lot in Congress right now, even most of them won’t sign off on literally bombing Americans on American soil. It would be bad for their re-election chances.

    (All that said: I’m spending this week assembling disaster kits/go bags. The one thing I’m pretty sure of is that if the Big One hits, Trump will sit on FEMA and other fed aid to punish us naughty liberals for our refusal to genuflect. May as well be prepared for that.)

  29. Something I’m pinning hopes on is that *if* Trump formally leaves office, his enthusiastic personal following doesn’t transfer to Pence, because it’s personal. Trump is an authoritarian figurehead, and that sort of thing is hard to pass on without years of preparation. Of course, Trump could just resign in place.

  30. I wouldn’t count the 25th Amendment out quite yet. US President is probably the most stressful job in the Western Hemisphere, and Trump is an overweight 70 year old with health issues. If he decides that he’s the only one who can present his message properly (using the term “message” loosely here) and tries to actually do the job, the only question left is stroke or coronary.

    But yeah, that assumes he’ll actually try to do his job. Trump seems to think he was running for CEO, and in that position shoving work onto underlings is not only expected but normal. I expect him to do the same with the presidency.

  31. Protests are great. I’ve participated in several protests these past two weeks, my wife is involved in organizing them, my 4-year old is learning how to lead chants and make signs, and tonight a few thousand of us will be protesting in front of Chuck Schumer’s house (if you’re in NYC join us at Grand Army Plaza at 6: https://www.facebook.com/events/1325709684156082/?notif_t=plan_edited&notif_id=1485838668257730).

    However, I am hopefully (and somewhat desperately) looking for signs that these protests will motivate sufficiently large numbers of people to participate in more conventional (and perhaps less pure, less cathartic) forms of politics. It doesn’t feel nearly as good to cut a check or go door-to-door for your local milquetoast middle-of-the-road legislator as it does to stand alongside a few thousand other people and shout at them in front of their house (and if you don’t believe me join us tonight and see for yourself—it’s exhilarating!). But that less exciting, less pure part of politics is every bit as necessary.

  32. MadameHardy: You’re definitely on to something there. While I’m sure the GOP coffee klatsch in DC (particularly the Dominionists) would be perfectly happy with Pence, he doesn’t have the same rock-star dictator cachet of Elvis Hitler. He’d be Gerald Ford all over again.

  33. I’ve been wondering…I want to give money to an organization that would help get the Democratic party back into the rural areas they forfeited. But I distrust Move On because of their tail-gunning of Cory Booker. I want local people who will be effective and sufficiently Democratic – I’m not going to be religious on the finer points. Can anyone recommend an organization reaching out to such candidates?

  34. In the next few weeks (or at most months) we’ll likely see firsthand where the military lands in this debacle. And that will do a lot to determine the outcome. We already know where much of law enforcement stands. I’m still not feeling very optimistic. That’s been true for the past year. If my pessimism had ever been significantly wrong, I would be feeling better, I think.

  35. I took my eldest (she’s six) down to DC* on Sunday to protest the immigration EO. While I’m not sure how much of a mark it left on her, she was chanting “this is what democracy looks like!” to herself this morning…

    *(Not far for us, about 45 minutes or so each way, Metro be willin’ and the creek don’t rise)

  36. Thank you, Mr. Scalzi. I took an unprecedented step the other day of unfollowing some rather important genre figures on Twitter simply because my health can’t stand prolonged hysteria and anxiety caused by ceaseless retweeting of how outrageous POTUS’s behavior is.

    So, thank you for some reassurance. I guess I’ll go back and refollow them now, but keep my finger on the scroll feature.

    Love, Vonne

  37. Regarding #8, of course not all old white people are happy to go along: my 89 year old mother is sad and upset enough about it that it’s just one more thing for me to hold against this bunch. We all hope she will be around long enough to see the other end of the tunnel.

  38. John: How do your neighbors who voted for Trump feel about his presidency. Are they second guessing themselves at all?

  39. 3. Yep, they are idiots, they are not in control.
    6. Democrats with spines – now I know you’re a fantasy writer, as well as SF ;)

    I think he risks the narrative getting away with him and you’ve hit the point on the head – don’t fuck with the GOP’s money supply, and all this border crap is scaring the bejeezus out of the billionaire owners of the GOP.

    My wife says I can’t complain unless I do something, so I’ve been e-mailing my senators (Feinstein, ugh, and Kamala Harris) and asking them to oppose Sessions, De Vos, and Tillerson as these are the most egregious nominees. You’re right in that the Senate Dems are just bumbling along as normal without kicking up a fuss – the more noise normal people make, there is some vague hope that they will listen.

    I think cheeto mussolini is shocked at a) how much work it is and b) the limits on his power. He will get increasingly frustrated and angry on twitter, the best way to push his buttons is to show up on TV (go to demonstrations) and push your local spineless Democrat to oppose him. The Republicans will abandon him faster than rats leaving a sinking ship when he starts to melt down, but that’s still a month or so away, at the moment they are too scared of being tweeted at. As soon as his tweets reach 75% derision, they’ll throw him under the bus.

    Now all we need to do is primary Feinstein and replace her with someone who isn’t a total invader of privacy – she’s outlived her welcome. Though apparently she is going to vote no on Sessions, which is at least a start.

    I checked in with our government liason person here, all politicians do collate e-mails and phone calls, so it does help. The best way to get to them in person is to donate to go to a donor reception, the more you spend, the more likely you are to get facetime. Also, most congress critters do meet with constituents in Washington and will have meetings in their states – CA is a big one, smaller states may have easier access. Just keep on them.

  40. “Blundering numpties are dangerous enough! ”

    I think you missed an opportunity to add the Blundering Numpties Theory of History to your already existing set of theorems like the Cinemax Theory of Racism.

    The more history I read, the more it seems apparent that it is driven far less by lofty and directed goals than it is careening, sliding random flux, personality, luck, circumstance and chaos. In short by, as you so aptly phrased it, “blundering numpties”.

  41. I’m heartened by the protests and activism and the thought that the GOP and Dems might finally find the backbone to stand against Trump and his inner circle. But the one result of this election I think will last longer than any other is the rejuvenation and validation so many hateful people have been given.

    It’s not like they haven’t been there all along, and maybe having them more visible (to people who haven’t had to deal with them every day of their lives already, I mean) will ultimately be a good thing. But damn it’s depressing.

  42. Watching all this from Brazil (yes, we have our own load of issue) my take is that in the end it might make US stronger and fairer, if you all can survive this. I sure hope so for your sake and our own. Good luck.

  43. A quote that encapsulates Trump, Bannon, et al…

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    At work I’m not allowed to have “political” or “controversial” posters or things hanging around. So I have made a banner with this quote on it and I’ll just let the others in the office take from it what they will.

  44. Sadly, I share strugglingwriter’s take that the core of support for Trump is larger than you suppose. There are an appalling number of Republicans who would hold their nose and vote for Hitler (the real Hitler, not our reality show copycat) for President as long as he had the GOP nomination and checked the “pro-life” box on the abortion issue. That said, excellent analysis, and I can only hope you are right about the Orange one deciding that being President is too much like work and figuring out a way to declare victory and get out.

  45. > I’ve noted before that Trump is the end result of decades of the GOP working to undermine its voters’ faith in the system and in truth — but that Trump arrived about a cycle too early for the GOP’s plan to really pay off like it wanted.

    So basically, he’s the Kwisatz Haderach of incompetent conservatism?

  46. Ho, boy. I’ve been trying to talk to my husband about this stuff, and he’s either got his head in the sand or I don’t know what. I say NSC and he says it’s not as bad as it seems. Or sometimes he says, that can’t happen. There is no discussion there, at least not yet.

    I’ve called my congress/senators, but we couldn’t even get to the March in Montpelier, VT. It was so clogged up that people were parking on the interstate and walking into town.

    I have a bolt hole. My brother lives in Canada, although on the opposite coast. That is if they’ll let me across the border. Of course, if it came to that I could sneak across. There are places. I am appalled and embarrassed. And I feel a little unreal like I’m living in an Orwell novel.

  47. The hope that keeps me going is that Trump’s election will be a political “Sputnik moment” where we all remember that democracy is not a spectator sport.

  48. the gap between
    fact and fiction
    now hangs
    by a thread

    a tenuous
    inside an
    Orange Head

    Such foulness
    upon the land
    wretched effluvium
    we’ve been scammed

    I knew we
    had problems
    been coast
    to coast

    our presumed
    is now a
    silly ass boast

    some see trump
    as a savior
    better than
    sliced bread

    I see nothing
    but evil
    sickness and

  49. The hope that keeps me going is that Trump’s election will be a political “Sputnik moment” when we Americans realize that we’ve taken out democracy for granted. The recent protests have strengthened that hope.

  50. Guys, remember that emailing your Congresspeople has a very low impact. All the Congressional aides who’ve been speaking up say that only personal meetings or town hall attendance (best) or phone calls (okay) matter. My Senators’ phonelines are always jammed, including all their local offices. If you can’t get through in DC, do call the local offices; you may be luckier than I was.

    Read the Indivisible Guide here: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/web It’s based on people with actual legislative experience. It talks about how to organize locally, and how to make sure that your phone call has maximum impact.

    Don’t bother calling other states’ and districts’s Senators and Representatives. They don’t care what you think.

  51. Here’s a good way for Trump to make the history books: resign before the 20th of February. That way he gets take the title of serving the shortest tenure in United States presidential history away from William Henry Harrison.

    It’s a thought.

  52. He’s certainly got his hand up Trump’s ass, and he and Putin seem to be having a thumb war around the vicinity of Trump’s epiglottis in order to see whose turn it is to work the puppet this time. – This caused me to burst out laughing. Thank you, John Scalzi.

  53. He’s not going to quit until he gets what he wants: low taxes on repatriating his overseas accounts back to the US so he can reduce his tax burden. He’ll dress it up as returning money back to the US, but it’s all about him and always has been.

  54. More evidence of the non-mastermind idiocy of the Trump administration: Trump evidently didn’t realize that Bannon needs Senate confirmation for a permanent seat on the Security Council. I may have to take a day off work for those hearings.

  55. It’s been interesting watching things change as Trump signs those Executive Orders (or as I’m calling them “political fanfic”) (“This one is about Burr not shooting Hamilton and they move in together and…”). He’s gone from acting like a toddler who just went to the bathroom all by himself and expecting praise to… well, not that. Now it seems like he’s doing this thing because he has to, it’s the only way he gets his fix of praise and it’s not happening because his notions (and/or Bannon or whoever is actually writing these things) are mad!

    Honestly, watching him reminds me of myself at those awkward ages where you’re trying to figure out who you are and how to interact with others and I remember aping other people’s actions, stealing jokes, quoting the same TV shows and whatnot because they made people laugh the first time! Why not when I do it?

    Except I was quoting Gilligan’s Island reruns, not running the free world (“You liked Obama’s cake? OMG, I’m going to get the same cake and why aren’t you cheering?”

  56. “I’ve noted before that Trump is the end result of decades of the GOP working to undermine its voters’ faith in the system and in truth — but that Trump arrived about a cycle too early for the GOP’s plan to really pay off like it wanted.”

    You mean he’s like the Kwisatz Haderach of the GOP?

  57. Thank you for your mental musings. They are so very helpful and dare I say, entertaining in spots. I laughed so loud a few times my normally quite serene Stella Bean >^..^< bolted from my lap and shot me a worried look over her shoulder as she fled the kitchen.

    I needed that laughter! Dear God it's been a rough two weeks. I've even had a few nightmares featuring mushroom clouds. Seriously.

    I can't say that I am as optimistic as you are John but I do hope you are correct in your potential predictions. I'm doing what I can – donating to various groups, emailing my reps (their phone lines are always busy, every single time) and speaking up. I've had to limit my news intake to twice a day, 15-30 minutes per. Any more than that and I can't function. I read about what trump said instead of listening. If I listen my head wants to pop off.

    When I want to crawl under the covers and stay there I think of this (partial) quote to help me keep going: "…stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage…". It helps.

    Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  58. The six, yes 6, Dems who voted against Chao as Transportation secretary today:
    Booker (D-NJ)
    Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Merkley (D-OR)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Schumer (D-NY)
    Warren (D-MA)

    So they haven’t quite gotten the message yet, no.

  59. The GOP won’t impeach Trump, no matter how bad, till A) they’ve gotten everything out of him (cut taxes, privatize social and medicare), and B) at least 2 years have passed so that Pence has the ability to run another 2 times.

    The GOP don’t have the spines to stand up to him. I think they are still acting like Franz von Papen in that they think they can control him.

  60. Doing my part by emailing a postcard a day to Trump. These are not love notes by the way. I hate NAFTA too,but the jobs aren’t coming back. We love our cheap crap too much. But I too am excited that citizens are protesting, calling their reps, and so forth. There’s hope. Thanks John, for this great post.

  61. He won’t leave, because a LOT of people don’t agree with you.

    I saw a FB “poll” on how is Trump doing yesterday (“Like” for good, “angry face” for bad), run by a NBC affiliate TV station in a Republican state. 17,000 people had voted when I looked.

    nearly 60% thought Trump was doing a good job.

    Not scientific, of course, but still…I learned yesterday that what I see as obvious, what Scalzi sees as obvious, is not obvious to a majority of people in some places. I am still processing it. But the “obvious” outcome of this blowing up quickly is probably not going to happen.

  62. Thank you, John. I needed this.

    Remember how everyone was in a funk on November 9th? I went to the Women’s March in DC, but still feeling a funk as bad as 9 November. Maybe worse–because now it’s all real. And yes, I still intend to continue taking action where I can.

    After the election, I thought maybe I could stop compulsively reading about Trump in the Washington Post. Instead, I’ve added the NYT and now Lawfare. I tend toward depression—marching and phonecalls aside, this crap is getting to me. I guess I’m allowing it to get to me.

    I know you can’t write these brilliant posts daily. I’m sure they take a lot out of you, and you still have a life to lead. But just wanted you to know they are appreciated, and helpful. Your intermittent posts, Trevor Noah, and Stephen Colbert may be the three things that help me get through the foreseeable future with my sanity somewhat in tact. Noah and Colbert because they help me laugh despite the bullstuff, and you because your writing helps me process my feelings and thoughts on these matters better than any of the op-eds I routinely read. So–sincerely–thank you!!

  63. Interesting that John wrote at the end that is he is feeling optimistic since I’m starting to feel that way too. Trump/Bannon will do a lot of damage and hurt a lot of good people, but the outpouring of people fighting back leads me to believe that the pendulum is going to swing back a LOT further left next time than it did under Obama.

    Living in NY, I often feel disenfranchised because the pressure these days has to be on Republicans or primary-able Democrats (and Schumer is not that), and I can’t participate in that. But turning out to protest is having an effect every time it becomes a media story, if for no other reason that it shows others that they are not fighting alone – and that is HUGE. Keep up the good fight everyone!

  64. Had to clean my monitor after this one:

    “He’s certainly got his hand up Trump’s ass, and he and Putin seem to be having a thumb war around the vicinity of Trump’s epiglottis”

    In case no one else mentioned it: GOP = Bene Gesserit, Trump = Kwisatz Haderach.

  65. NJ Transplant:

    The Facebook “poll” you mention is worthless. While I agree that a lot of people don’t agree with Scalzi’s view, I think it’s important to stick to reliable measures.

    Take, for instance, Gallup’s presidential job approval tracker: http://www.gallup.com/poll/201617/gallup-daily-trump-job-approval.aspx

    Yes, about 43% of respondents still approve of Trump’s job performance, and this number has not shifted significantly since the inauguration. But the number that disapprove of Trump’s performance is definitely shifting upwards, even in the more pessimistic reading of the data (i.e., assuming that the lower bound of the margin of error is the “true” value).

  66. I was going to point the approval numbers out but you beat me to it. Although it’s actually 42% as of today, which is pretty historically low for a president in the first two weeks in office. It also hasn’t held steady but has dropped 9 points since the inauguration.

  67. I too had a moment of clarity. I had been getting pretty worried about the possibility of a lunatic buffoon leader turning the country into a fascist police state.

    But then I realized he and his administration seem to be on the fast track to prove themselves *so* bad that he might get impeached or otherwise clearly disqualitied and ousted from office by this nice little quaint documented process called the Constitution and Amendments.

    It’s bad, it’s really bad. And a large portion of the American people voted these people into office. (Ugh. I voted the other way.)

    I really do hope we don’t manage to keep such bigoted, isolationist nonsense in office. That is *not* my America.

    I am mostly a WASP male. Mostly. Except I’m not white enough, too liberal, too enamored of “foreign” languages and cultures and *people*, too handicapped, and too gay to suit any supremacists, and I sure as blazes don’t want to toe the line and goose-step. — And yes, the current nonsense is way too much like some watered-down Neo-fascist wannabes to suit me, with a guy at the top who seems just plain looney and boorish and dumb as rocks; and yes, I suggested he’s crazy-stupid and possibly dangerous as a leader of anything.

    I am, however, highly in favor of that quaint little process called Constitutional democracy, the rule of law, an orderly and sensible way to do things for the common good. I don’t want revolt. I want the other people elected into office, including any Republicans with sense enough, to do the right thing and have the present administration impeached, removed from office and replaced by the Constitutional process designed to cover such tragic emergencies as, say, a lunatic and his cronies and a crazed-crowd minority aiming at seizing power.

    I am ashamed that some large portion of my fellow citizens think this guy and his followers in office are the way to go. I’m ashamed they’d think that’s what it means to be Americans. I believe they are badly wrong, and our country, our people, and the world situation, are going to be the worse for wear because of this mess..

    Sigh. In any case, it’s going to be a rough four years until the next election.

  68. zemadmax, 43% in national poll and 60% in a red state “poll” don’t read all that different to me, but fine. you could insert “the percent of people nationally who approve of Trump has not shifted significantly since the inauguration” and I still have the same response. A lot of people like what they see, as difficult as that is for me to understand.

  69. John, (and all others here), did you read the very scary article on Cambridge Analytics, Trump and Brexit? To me (over the pond) it was the most chilling thing, if true, that I have read in a long time. Thank you for just being you.

  70. Your are spot on.

    Except there is a but and it is the size of the Universe.

    The people you describe, the people who are now in charge of the US Government inhabit a totally different universe than yours. They follow different rules, have different metric for success.

    And they are, this very moment, rearranging reality so that you, I (even over here on the other side of the Atlantic), everyone, will have to survive in their reality in a world run according to their rules.

    For some, like you, an educated white guy, this will be easier. You are not an affront to their sensibilities every time you step into the public sphere, but for others, this new world order is a matter of life and death. Like those stranded in immigration limbo, sent back to unsafe countries.

    People like you need to understand this. The analysis is by the by, when the pragmatic day to day survival of significant sections of the population is threatened.

    And another thing. You have got a militarised police with fascist tendencies who behaved like an occupying force under the Obama normalcy–and mostly got away with it. You have control of the biggest weapons arsenal on the planet and your government has just aligned itself with Russia, the nation with the second biggest.

    Seriously, what is there to be optimistic about. People like you need to get their act together. Because this is not theory this is practical reality, already impacting peoples lives in very real tangible ways.

    p.s. just to add that the vast majority of the population in 1930s Germany just kept on doing fine, as you will, if you manage to keep away from what is happening on the frontline of this assault to our reality.

    It felt this needed to be said. It is completely utterly irrelevant how idiotic, stupid, bumbling a despot is, when he wields the instruments of destruction you get distracted by his stupidity at your peril.

  71. Wonder if it would be possible to organize a ratings boost for the new Apprentice with Arnie at the helm and get its ratings way above Trumps
    That ought to get DJT completely unhinged

    Makes you wonder what would happen if the press STOPPED going to the Presidential press briefings (yeah I know thats not going to happen)

  72. Thank you for putting an optimistic slant on the upcoming apocalypse (and that’s not sarcasm). I feel we already have heroes who stood up to the enemy: Sally Yates, the flash-mobs at airports, the millions (really, fucking MILLIONS) of marchers across the country the day after orange donny was inaugurated, the ACLU. It’s hard for a former soldier to just tweet, retweet and write blogs no one will read; my inclinations are not what would be helpful and would negate the primary responsibility of protecting my wife and home. Thank you.

  73. We have to stop underestimating them. I did it too, throughout the election, telling myself they probably wouldn’t win. I remember reading about how Clinton cleaned the floor with him during the debates. Then I remember watching them and thinking “actually this would play pretty well in the living rooms of many of my relatives”. Then I looked at the stats and the news and said, “Nah, he won’t win.”

    We are freaking out and people hate him. His base, meanwhile, LOVES every bit of it. It’s playing very well with his supporters. Those are the people he’s talking to. And as for Bannon, yes the man is very smart. Read a bit about his life. He’s an intelligent person who is also extremely good at taking advantage of opportunities that other people don’t see AND he’s a propaganda mastermind. I’m not saying everything happening is his grand plan, but certainly he knows how to manage media and he knows how to push the buttons of what he’s calling “social justice warriors” and he knows how spin a narrative. All of this is happening, and yes it is a plan. We should stop pretending that our choices are bumbling idiots or conspiracy theories. The truth is in the middle- very smart people who know how TV works. The power consolidation is concerning. The timing of it is not coincidental.

    I believe Seymour Hersh has plenty of cred. His interpretation is that Trump is eliminating the middle men. We are looking at a post-state foreign policy (driven entirely by select business interests, it’s why the deep state is freaking out, that plays well with Trump’s base) and a complete privatization of all public programs and infrastructure. Then a major increase in domestic surveillance, including control of what different government agencies say. There’s not going to be the sort of Nazi style rounding up and deportations of people. We will this ban thing, but let’s keep in mind that their goal was never to ban Muslims in the first place but to play to their base. And we’ll feel like we won something and then all the liberals will go back to sleep while US foreign policy continues to be horrific and while the government continues to deport/detain illegal immigrants (2.5 million under Obama) and while the GOP continues to totally transfer wealth from the majority to a small number of oligarchs while causing the decay of all public systems. Then four years from now, someone else will be president and inherit that mess. This is not OK, and if it seems that way to you, you are already in the process of going back to sleep and normalizing this mess.

  74. I hope that the attempts at inducing outrage fatigue will merely produce a war on a zillion fronts for that crowd, but I was reading elsewhere that for some of ’em (notably Bannon), the END is to make people opposed to all this crap upset, and anything else they might get out of it (ill-gotten pelf, power over fellow humans) is just gravy.

    I hope that you’re not under-estimating things on point 4– blundering numpties, certainly, but unspeakably vicious numpties as well. The tone of the letter dismissing the brave interim AG was fairly chilling, and it bolsters my suspicion that at some level the past weekend’s unpleasantness was as much a loyalty test as anything else. Evidently DHS, CBP, and possibly the US Marshals are in hand, and if the FBI is also willing to do as Trumplethinskin commands, which appears the case, that’s an awful lot of mallets to wield against an “uppity” American public.

    I’m also not sure that installing Pense would to anything other than get the shouty baby out of the equation; he seems to be in AWFULLY good favour with the radical evangelicals.

  75. As the Na’vi say, “nga yawne lu oer.” Your frank layout and common-damn-sense tone is what’s needed now, the balance between fear and anger, with the cautious optimism and open admission of the unknown is a balm on the anxiety I feel, the worry fighting with my desire to just be done with it all and let it all burn. The broken-hearted idealist in me doesn’t want to turn bitter and angry and into a late-George-Carlin nihilism, or a post-Nixon Hunter Thompson, and yet as much as I want to go full Gonzo on Trump’s sham of a Presidency I feel that it’s just feeding the beast. I don’t know what to do anymore in a world of “alternate facts” and people so stupid you wonder how they function in society.

  76. I agree with Emma’s evaluation of bannon. He knows exactly what he’s doing and it won’t end well. I’d like to say “for him that is” but it may be for us.

  77. Thank you, John, for cheering me up; even on this side of the pond we have vast amounts of information but very few people pulling it together as you have done.

    One of the things that doesn’t worry me is a military coup. The U.S. has around 1.5 million active military personnel, and spends approximately 40% of the global expenditure on the military. I think that it would be remarkably difficult for Trump to initiate a military coup on his behalf, not least because a very substantial proportion of those forces are located around the world, and all the generals have studied Roman history.

    Trump might not know of the existence or outcome of the Legions far from Rome creating Emperors, but the generals do; it’s all very well Trump being Commander in Chief, but in Roman terms that’s just another word for Emperor. And Emperors were destroyed as well as created by the Legions…

  78. I am a happy warrior these days. I read the news instead of watching it (amazing how much this helps!). I call my Senators & Rep first thing in the morning with the 1-2 biggest garbage fires of the day, and I’m deliberately, actively kind to the intern (makes my whole day better, plus that’s somebody’s kid picking up the phone). Trumpmerica Inc. can do whatever it wants, but it’s not competent enough to improve daily life for his base and in fact could make it a whole lot worse PDQ. A few racist/evangelical holdouts pulling for Armageddon will not win out against the growing coalition of women, gays, brown-skinned folks, immigrants, teachers, IT corporations, NAFTA-dependent business et cetera. DJT hands us a new ally practically every day. At the Women’s March, I saw a sign that said. “Will I See All You Nice White Ladies at the Next Black Lives Matter March?” I heard a whole lot of YES!, that day and after. *This* is America, and no one’s whipped us yet.

  79. Three thoughts:
    1) I’m saving my optimism for when *one* of his actions is actually stopped. Not put on hold by the courts or delayed by the few Dem congressmen with spines. Actually stopped. Give me one Cabinet nominee voted down or one executive actually overturned (and the relevant enforcers actually following court orders) and then I’ll be optimistic. Still just scared for now.

    2) The ‘Early Signs of Fascism’ sign from the Holocaust museum has been going around and I’ve seen the comment that the main reason Hilter et al were able to get away with all of it was thanks to mass control of the media. Guys, social media might just save us all. Also, very reassuring that some of the mainstream media are finally realizing they can actually point out lies.

    3) Lets stop the handwringing over Pence ending up in the big chair if/when Trump quits/is kicked out. Pence already has the power. I’d much rather take them on one at a time rather than try to keep an eye on Pence behind Trump’s tantrums and fight both at once. Yea, he’ll be horrible and dangerous. But we cant put enough effort into bringing that to light when we still have to deal with Trump. Plus, the dullest of silver linings – I’m not all that afraid of Pence getting us into a nuclear war with the Middle East.

  80. Regarding #8 and Trump arriving one generation/iteration too soon: so basically, the GOP is the Bene Gesserit and Trump is their Paul Atreides/Kwisatz Haderach conundrum. Except, you know, worse.

  81. Well said, JS. Of course if creepy old Donald Trump does indeed head for the hills, then we are stuck with President Pence, which is not likely to be good in any way. And if somehow we were to get rid of Pence, then it would be President Ryan (shudder), and HE is pure evil.

  82. On more point to add to my thoughts above – I just saw that Harley-Davidson cancelled Trump’s visit because they don’t want to deal with the politics (protesters). Big Business may love their tax cuts, but they don’t want any part of immigration bans, tariffs, or bad P.R.

    Fighting back through the business community is a tool that people are just starting to use, and it will be powerful.

  83. I am looking forward to primarying the HELL out of my congressman and at least one of my senators. Gonna register Republican to do it but it will be WORTH it. Gonna campaign too.

    I know that’s two years down the line, but Indivisible is looking for candidates and there’s already reasonable moral conservatives scoping out the senate seat. Hopefully we’ll get our rep too.

    (Meanwhile, I’ve been to 3 protests, am constantly leaving messages for and occasionally faxing my senators whose offices no longer answer the phone, am helping organize local groups, etc. etc. etc.) People keep coming to me asking where to start, so I have a handout that I give them with links to local groups in the area, how to call our senators, rep, state reps, where to find to-do lists and info on issues etc. We handed out 50 of them at last night’s protest.

    Incipient fascism shows the worst in some people and the best in others. People who have never been politically active before, who had given up hope in our Red state are doing things. That gives me hope and keeps me moving forward.

  84. Kevin Hicks mentions the requirement that Bannon must be Senate approved to be a permanent member of the National Security Council. I don’t think the perfidy of these folks is fully appreciated. It’s all about the loopholes consuming the rule so they get what they want.

    Gerrymandering is one example. Another is the rule that the Senate has to confirm Supreme Court Justices but the loophole that consumes the rule is that they don’t have to do anything.

    In this case, the rule is that to be a permanent member Bannon must be confirmed by the Senate. The loophole that consumes the rule is that he remains a non-permanent member . . . who just happens to attend every meeting. See how simple that was?

  85. I’d love to think they are the verge of collapse, but as another poster said, he’s gotten most of what he wants and gotten very lukewarm opposition from congress. And this in the face of what I know are unprecedented amounts of protest from voters all over the country.Have you tried calling Ryan? You can’t get through. He doesn’t give a shit how many people tell him to not nuke the ACA though, because we don’t elect him, and the people in his ass-backwards district are happy with what he’s doing, and his donors are happy with what he’s doing, so they let trump be a psycho. If they were going to stand up, they’d have done so already.

    And his low approval ratings change when you look at the people who voted for him. They are ecstatic, at least according to one poll I saw. He’s doing what he said he’d do! He’s at like 80% among republican voters.

    Keep that in mind: He’s doing what he said he’d do!!! And as for his incompetence, well, he said he’d fuck shit up and he’s doing it! This is awesome! Drain the swamp! Get those fatcat politicians out and appoint everyday (billionaire) americans!!!

    One thing that seems unlikely is that he’ll be able to install himself like Putin. He’s not smart enough, mean enough, and we as a country are too used to telling politicians we don’t like to fuck off. It’s not unlikely that he’ll be able to massively damage our democracy, but I’m hopeful he won’t be the end of it. the bad news is that his opponents are more lovers than fighters. There’s a gajillion guns in this country, but they are mostly owned by the people who are having daily fapfests about Trump making america white, I mean great, again.

  86. Edit: Sorry for making snarky comments about gun owners. I don’t think y’all are evil white supremacists. I don’t even think the majority of trump voters are evil white supremacists. I do think people with lots of big guns tend to vote conservative, so will be more likely to take Trump’s side should it come to that.

  87. One thing I’d hoped you’d address is the reaction of your neighbors. You’ve previously reported that some are nice people but Trump supporters. I’m wondering how they are squaring those two things right now. Unfortunately I live in a big blue bubble so there’s nobody I can ask directly.

  88. I think its relevant to point out that sweeping generalizations are a part of the problem on *both* sides as emotions run high. Speaking as a left-leaning gun-owner….

    As for the content of the JS’s post, I wish i shared the same level of optimism, but I do not think that the end is nigh either.

  89. Matt

    Which is why Trump et al throw hissiefits about boycotts; they know they can be undermined by them, and in a land where the $ is sacred the people on the receiving end of boycotts are likely to rapidly disassociate themselves from the people who provoked the boycott.

    Addenda to my comments above re the possibility of a military coup and the Commander in Chief: the Roman Senate continued to exist long after Augustus became the first Emperor. The Senators just didn’t have much power,

    For anyone interested, Mary Beard’s ‘SPQR’ is a good place to start.

    Unsurprisingly the alt-right diligently ignores the scholarship in favour of shrieking about the barbarians taking Rome, but we’re back in the lands of alternative facts, not to mention their ignorance of history…

  90. I love the idea that we are going to find out whether the GOP would rather be racist or rich. That is so apt. Thank you for that.

    I have to disagree with you on one point. Trump’s ego is way too big to allow him to resign. He will ride this train until someone shoves him off it. I doubt seriously that he can be impeached, unless it’s after the next midterms, and I don’t know how bad it will have to get for the Democrats to be able to retake Congress. But Trump resign? Never. That would be admitting defeat, which he never does. Never.

  91. Thanks for the great post. I’ve been reading too many bedwetters lately, so I needed something that is looking at our current national problem for what it is and not imaging how much worse it will inevitably be.

  92. Agree with David Karger – I’m also curious how your neighbors are regarding the past two weeks.

    Also agree with NYT’s Binyamin Appelbaum who tweeted “Now would be a good time to stop taking things for granted.” We need to be ever vigilant and relentless in pressuring representatives. The GOP is just waiting for attention to fade away – shock the hell out of them by not fading!

    Finally, the GOP has to pay for this – start organizing now to protect voters’ rights and find primary opponents and Democrats with spines for 2018.

  93. Another left-leaning gun owner here… and I was in the USAF for 12 1/2 years as a security police officer, so I know how to shot, and go to the range several times a year to keep my familiarization levels up. I also have to say that the stereotype of active duty military and military veterans saying we are mostly Trump supporters is inaccurate. In my experience, we are not even majority conservative. Liberals amend moderates believe in defending our country, too! I’d say we are pretty evenly divided. And I suspect that a heck of a lot of the military may refuse to obey orders to shoot at American civilians, especially if they think those orders are illegal in nature. Unlike a lot of the civilian world, military and ex military have mostly had training on illegal orders as the legacy of the Lt Calley case.

    Me, I worry about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – and I know a lot of people who are going to be hurt with the destruction of the ACA. I know some who are trying to fast forward needed operations, etc so they can get the care they need before thier insurance goes away. I also have a BA in Political Science and a MS in International Relations, with minors in Russian and History… so the speed with which Trump has been destroying long time alliances and made relations worse with those who weren’t our allies just takes my breath away, and not in a good way. The problems on all levels with the travel bans, and the idiocy of trying to claim “it really isn’t a ban on Muslims!” and the fact so many of those detained and turned away are so obviously not terrorists speaks more of incompetence and overweening refusal to admit they’ve made mistakes than anything else. Trumplethinskin is obviously of the mind set of “Kill them all, and let God sort them out afterwards!” Then you have KellyAnne Con-job and her ‘alternate facts’ and the rest of the occupants of the ooze in the swamp… no, not swamp, the ooze in the sewer system that Trump has pumped up to the surface and is spraying all over. Both the Dems and the GOP need to grow backbones…

  94. @Dana Lynne “Trump’s ego is way too big to allow him to resign.”

    Agreed. But there’s nothing to stop him from declaring victory and quitting. I don’t give it a big chance, but it’s not zero, either.

  95. This moment will definitely be in the history books, assuming Devos doesn’t outlaw schoolbooks.

    I don’t think Trump will quit. Four bankruptcies tells me that he’s too stupid to understand when he can’t win, and doesn’t get out until things are so bad that he is forced out. And then he blames someone other than himself for his failure. I don’t see Trump quitting.

    As for the Dems, they’re fucking pissing me off. Only a couple fo them have spines. And the Democratic leadership seems more interested in maintaining their personal positions fo power within the party rather than doing whats best for the party. Pelosi leads in the house. Shumer leads in the senate. Both should be ashamed of themselves and step aside for actual progressive democrats. But they’re dug into their positions like ticks, to the detriment of the party.

  96. @Old Bob…. Perhaps it’s a failure of imagination on my part, but I honestly cannot conceive of the spin required to present a Trump resignation as a victory! But all bets are clearly off. I certainly hope he gets bored and resigns. But I don’t think his ego will allow it.

  97. Does anyone else besides me read stories about Trump’s reactions to the inauguration/protests and hear an inner John Scalzi narrating in their head: “Barack Obama was not a very popular president and I myself am quite popular”?

  98. I have serious trouble believing Trump will quit, but also trouble believing he’ll want to put the effort into a 2020 campaign.

    I don’t think the dems are doing too badly given they have 0 power. Some definite unforced errors, and some definite and bizarre reluctance to go full on nuclear, which they need to get past. But they boycotted the senate hearings today, and if all they succeed in doing is getting the rethuglicans to annihilate the filibuster and all other procedural hurdles, well, that’ll make things infinitely easier the next time the democrats win the senate. I also agree with John, it’s (kinda sadly, slowly) dawning on some of them who have further career aspirations that lines are being drawn and maybe total opposition will look a lot better in the aftermath than complicity.

  99. “…now that Trump has alienated women and immigrants and the Latinx/Hispanics…”

    But he didn’t actually do that. 42% of women voted for him. 26% of Latina women voted for him. After the Billy Bush tape, I would have expected these numbers to be much, much lower, but they weren’t.

  100. For all the nominations being made for Cabinet positions where the nominee is a member of Congress, wouldn’t it be better to approve those ones?

    Take Sessions for example. OK, he may contribute to the carnage by being at the DoJ but he’ll be gone before or when the President next changes. Do you really want him to still be a Senator in four years time when he could still be actively obstructing a possible Democratic president? All right, you don’t know who will replace him in the Senate but that person won’t be an experienced Senator.

    And SCOTUS. As I see it that’s a lost cause. As the Senate wouldn’t go into recess to allow Obama to make a recess appointment, isn’t the exact opposite going to happen now. If the Democrat Senators put up a fight and prevent the Senate approving a nominee then all it will take is for the Senate to go into recess and … voila.

    Several of the other commenters have been mentioning Trump resigning. As Old Bob just mentioned
    if he does he’ll claim victory and if you look at his record to date that will happen. The message has to get to him before he resigns that “Only losers quit”.

  101. Please stop imagining your old world still exists.

    It never really did.

    It was, as they say, the nice way to make money.

    Trump is now a weaponized Twitter Algo who can tank Pharma (-$25 bil) or Tech (-$32 bil) stocks just by talking. If you thought that POWER = MONEY was a thing, well… Not seeing a JFK moment here. Fighting the CIA? For sure.

    Are you worth +/- anywhere over $100,000,000?

    Then, nope, you don’t count.

    Every. Single. One. Of. You. Who. Allowed. Them. That. Judge. Seat? Just sat there and Goggled and thought the Aliens / Elder Gods would save you?

    You’re complicit.

    You’re also on the list.

    The list isn’t about progroms (yet), it’s about “who counts”.

    You’re not on that list though.

    They do not play nice and their Minds do not work like yours.

    Tell me about the Dragon Symbiosis some more, since you missed that metaphor, you’re gonna hate their world of “All Metaphors Banned by Imperial Decree”.

    No, really.

    Their Minds don’t even understand the metaphor of “empathy”.





    Green movement ‘greatest threat to freedom’, says Trump adviser Guardian, 30th Jan 2017

    (No, really. If you want it technical, they’re redefining what it means to be a Citizen of the Empire. Go look up some Roman History already. Or rent “Starship Troopers”, same kinda deal)

    Holy shit.

    You double-dared them and hated on our kind.

    And you’re going to PROTEST a bit. they’re going to fucking kill you, your world and your ethical beliefs.

    And you’re the white ones!


    Get Fucking Serious About This.


  102. Can Trump keep up the awfulness? IE by setting such a low bar to begin with. If we go an amazing week without a scandal, how long is it before the media is again talking about Trump learning to be Presidential, Trump finding his way into the job?

    Every time during the campaign the media rescued him. Normalized him. I already see the media back interviewing republicans on the Muslim Ban and already the media is falling for the “well we didn’t go after all predominantly muslim countries” BS.

    Look at how the media normalizes his appointments. Lying to congress means nothing. Not knowing what the job is… being for disbanding the department one is suppose to lead… Look at the way the Media hasn’t questioned that Trump hasn’t really given up control of the Trump Organization any more than I have when I tell someone to watch my house when I go on vacation.

    Further look at the pass the Republicans in congress are getting- like Trump isn’t a Republican President. That somehow if Pence were in charge things would be different. The only difference is same malevolence but more competence.

    I march. I call. I will continue to do so. Trump has low approval ratings… So what until the Democrats have higher ones and in the right locales.

    Resist Trump. But dammit resist the liberal bubble too. Right ideas, but the fight is going to be hard, and it is going to suck. When Republicans are loosing support in Scalzi’s neighborhood enough for more people to vote democratic, then I will feel change. Right now still the power of the powerless.

  103. And, for the doubters.

    Ask John about “PizzaGate”.




    That was the test run. (And, jokes aside, that was extremely damaging to process).




    Holy Shit, you’ve no idea what they’re going to brew up or the weapons being used. That stuff is 101 land. The early stuff. The WW1 crappy gas tests.


    It doesn’t help that in certain cases, it was true. I’d get on that.

  104. You’re a good deal more optimistic than I am, John, but your perspective is nonetheless greatly appreciated. I can’t help but wonder what the midterms will be like, although that’s a long way off, and most of the Senate seats that will be up are already held by Democrats. Still, even the moderates seem to be realizing that this country just made an epochal mistake, and I sometimes wonder if Barack Obama gets any satisfaction out of realizing that, for all the bullshit he had to put up with, this nation is already starting to miss him. He was a class act, regardless of whether you agreed with him on every issue.

    I don’t know if Trump will resign, and impeachment seems unlikely. But the chaos of these past few weeks cannot stand. At the rate we’re going, it’ll be open rebellion before spring hits. Maybe that’s for the better. But I can’t say I like the thought of it.

  105. I can’t help but wonder what the midterms will be like, although that’s a long way off

    Dude, little tip.

    If a President just cost the stock market ~$50 billion, you ain’t in fucking Kansas anymore.

    You’re delusional if you think that’s normal.

    For SF fans, you’re very conservative in your mental outlook to actual reality.


  106. By a broad classic definition, the man is a terrorist. He’s disruptive, destructive, sows fear and chaos, and is indiscriminate in his targets…All the while being cowardly and dismissive of others.

    I’m pledging to not ever write or speak his name, denying him the respect of basic civil acknowledgement. Other descriptive words will suffice, e.g. ‘ liar’, without even resorting to insults.

    I encourage others to boycott his name as well. Thanks.

  107. Yes, we know.

    We’re trying to warn you of the Weapons they’ll unleash. They don’t really see Consent and Boundaries like you do.

    We’re the vaccine, as it were.

    I’d really seriously think about Civil Rights and Economic Rights now.

    They spent ~30 years flat-lining the wage. Robots are coming. It’s not a good outcome.

  108. Just on point two above, you mentioned that your were embarrassed that a great nation installed the current administration. While I agree with you its pretty bad PR for the US right now I also find it quite strange that the US has been referred to as a great nation. By what measure?

    This might seem like a troll, but I promise you its a genuine attempt to question the fairly shaky concept that the “American experiment” has produced a great nation. For one thing, its still a young nation and is currently proving its constitution doesn’t protect it from Fascism.

    I’m not a US citizen or resident, I’ve visited before though and from the outside looking in the “America is a great country” thing doesn’t make sense but seems to just be this unquestioned assumption in the majority of its citizens. Sure America is better than some (most?) nations the nations but that is like saying fries are healthier than ice cream.

    Even then, if its a question of relative greatness, the US clearly punches below its weight. Most OPEC countries have happier, healthier citizens than the US and most have better schools, libraries and hospitals (you can thank your lucky stars we don’t live in Paraguay) than the states. Its history is as dark as most nations (slavery, kicking the Mexicans out of California and Native American genocide spring to mind) This was how it was pre-Trump and its obviously going to get worse before its better. So yeah, I’m a bit baffled by the whole assumption its a great country. What evidence exists to support this view?

  109. John, great post. This is just the very start. Unfortunately, I think the GOP sees this as their grand and only opportunity to install a permanent republican dictatorship like Rove predicted. Yes, that is treason. But the GOP can rationalize it as being for the good of the country (meaning their pocketbooks).

  110. The paranoia here is delicious…the knock on the door will never come…

    Yes, we know.

    It comes via Wall Street, your bank and Goldman Sachs : you’ll still be poor, but this time you’ll re-imagine the bathos as against those you hate, so it’s all cool? As you pay for your $319 dollar insulin and eat your cheetos.


    ~Looks at totally broken WordPress Site.

    “Paranoia”… yeah, I’d work on the basics first.

    Doing well there, Son.


    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

    Cute Quotation, you do know that it’s about his body, right? The entirely unimportant part of the whole story, and why using that quotation marks you as Biblically illiterate?

    You do get that he was making a point about how unimportant the raising of the third temple prophecy was, right?

    John 58:21

    And if the money-lenders and Saducees[1] fuck with your life then kick them in the balls, ‘caus sure as shit, they’re ignorant tossers”

    [1] Any muppet who thinks the Pharisees were in power then is a) ignorant and b) knows nothing about the power struggles within the Jewish Temple at that time – SPOILERS: the Pharisees were all about the “Common Men”, which is why they pressed for Barabbas. They weren’t in power at that time, they were, however, in power ~70-90 years later once the Temple had been smashed by Rome.





    It’s not as if I wasn’t at Caana you fucking scrub.

  111. At this point, I’m hoping the rest of the world (especially our allies) will understand that we’ve shot ourselves in the foot and with deal with us with compassion and understanding.

  112. “If they were 11-dimensional super-chess masters, they wouldn’t have had a negative polling rating eight days into their administration”

    So we’re back to taking polls at face value like November 8 didn’t happen? I feel like an important lesson is not being learned here.

    Anecdotally, the Trump voters I know are as enthusiastic as ever about him.

  113. Cthulhu: “You’re delusional if you think that’s normal.”

    Having someone who writes incoherent screeds (screeds that I would normally associate with a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist who talks to dust bunnies and argues with postage stamps) tell me that I’m delusional pretty much negates the declaration.

    “Get Fucking Serious About This. NOW.”

    Having someone who is at best sane but taking on the personality of a mentally disturbed person for comedic effect, having that person tell me that *I* need to get serious, makes me wonder if human beings really have no limit to the level of hypocricy they are capable of.

  114. Not since the Vietnam era 40, 45 years ago have I seen anything like the protests and marching that are going on now, It’s happening so fast the musicians haven’t even had time to write the protest songs yet.

  115. As many people have noted, the alt-right have called them “snowflakes” but you get enough snowflakes in one place and you get an avalanche.

    Snowflakes in sufficient numbers defeated both Hitler and Napoleon.

    I do worry that the current goings-on are, as has been suggested, a head-fake: they’re trying to test the limits of what they can get away with.

    What will happen when departments ignore court rulings? If they can neutralise the judiciary, that’s very dangerous.

    Finally: it’s a sobering thought that Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world.

  116. As an outsider (I live in Belgium) I have always found the idea of American exceptionalism a little strange. Next to the many attractive aspects of your system there are quite a few flaws.
    However, Trump is a pretty serious stress test to the whole democratic system. If the system manages to survive Trump I might have to reconsider.

  117. While I’m right in line with what you say, there are a couple of areas where I’m not quite as optimistic.

    1. Even if Bannon/Trump gets removed, we in the federal government will still be stuck with Bannon’s lackey running everything, not to mention the Supreme Court (which I expect they’ll use the nuclear option on).

    2. Even if Bannon isn’t all that smart, he is smart enough, in my opinion, to see that the GOP will be turning on them at some point, and I really doubt he is just shrugging his shoulders and waiting for that to happen. I do think he is making plans, perhaps including finding a way to label what Congress does as a coup attempt. I work alongside a lot of military folks, and as much as I love and respect them, the vast majority of them seem very keen on Trump.

  118. My take is that y’all need to blame Obama for creating the environment that allowed Trump to come to power. A few prior POTUS’ also share the blame for creating an environment that resulted in so many job losses (but there are powerful other reasons as well). Toss in an extremely poor candidate this cycle and poof .. you have what we see. If Trump is reasonably successful at pulling off most of his stated goals, then the D’s will be in trouble in 2 and 4 years. The D’s need to rebuild their party for the future. If they continue the 100% obstructionist path they are on .. I doubt their district’s will look all that favorably on them in 2 years.

  119. Here’s the scenario which scares me: A month or six months or a year from now, Trump is an unmitigated disaster. Either he continues to make insane and destructive decisions, or he goes into a massive sulk and refuses to make any decisions. Either way, it’s so bad the GOP decide to remove him, via impeachment or the 25th Amendment, and Trump simply refuses to go. Instead, he declares a state of emergency and orders the military to start rounding up “traitors”, starting with the people who just voted to remove him from office.

    Would it work? I hope not. We would be relying on the professionalism and commitment to the rule of law of the US armed forces, which I believe to be strong. But when a country reaches that point, where we nervously wait to find out which side the people with tanks and artillery choose to support, it’s absolutely terrifying. At the very least, it would make Nixon’s resignation look like a kid’s birthday party.

    It would be fun to watch Trump be dragged from the White House in chains, but with a high price to pay for it.

  120. I have been to several large marches in the past, but nothing like the one I attended in DC last weekend. I wandered into a fabric store the Friday before to avoid the TV coverage of the inauguration and ended up spending the day sewing hundreds of pink polar fleece pussy hats since they’d run out of the thousand knitted ones the owners and their volunteers had made. Six women, three of us total strangers, just cranking through bolts of fleece while another volunteer handed them out and collected donations for Planned Parenthood.

    The march itself was such a positive experience, and for the most part, we weren’t spending our energy tearing him down, but making our concerns known. The City of DC, the local and federal cops, the National Guard, the DC Metro staff could not have been more helpful, and the crowd was amazingly patient when it came to waiting for the porta-potties, waiting to get into stations, waiting to get onto trains, waiting to get out of parking ramps.

    I came home charged up and have stayed that way. I’ve been making calls, writing letters, sending emails, and once I retire next month, plan on spending one day a week volunteering for any organization that needs another pair of hands. I figure the Tea Party did this from the ground up, so we should do the same. I’ll do what I can.

    It is still hard to watch the news without feeling that edge of panic, and I couldn’t bring myself to watch the Rose Ceremony for SCOTUS (seriously?!).

    I’m working on a two-year agenda – we have midterms that could stop this in it’s tracks if we start now.

  121. Greg, the poster known here as CTHULHU (SJW TINGED) has been hanging around Charlie Stross’s blog for more than a year. Over there she(?) changes her name periodically (most recently calling herself Wōdan Shodan), but the content she produces remains the same: usually puzzling, occasionally insulting, occasionally insightful. Requests for clarification are futile.

  122. 1. Trump’s never ran an organization that was big and complex enough he couldn’t keep it all in his head. The federal government is a beast of a different nature than he’s ever dealt with. His inexperience and lack of ability is showing; there’s a reason things like the interagency coordination process exist, as hard as they are to work through. The question is if he can get past his narcissistic “I’m the greatest” and learn how to control something like the leviathan he’s now in charge of. Initial results aren’t encouraging.

    2. Trump’s never managed anything the than a family business with him in charge. He’s never had to deal with a Board of Directors, shareholders, a public that has a voice. He’s always had complete control. Welcome to a completely different world. Be interesting to see how he adapts, if he can.

    3. In his businesses he’s had strong non-disclosure agreements with all of his employees; you never have read what it’s like to work for him, how he operates, how he makes decisions…anything at all. Welcome to the fishbowl now, Don. He’s going to drive himself crazy with leaks, anonymous criticisms from inside the White House, government officials who oppose decisions providing material to the press, constant Congressional criticism…he wants to be applauded for all he does, and will be very unhappy to find that something over half the population won’t get behind him. Watching him deal with ratings for his reality show that he doesn’t like and can’t change will be fun.

  123. I’m down here at the bottom, so I hope you get this far down and read all of our posts (You may need more hours in the day.) The executive actions taken in the past ten days show a disregard of intelligence (both kinds), humanity, compassion, and our Constitution. Not surprising because the campaign ran and succeeded in electoral votes on the policy of greed, fear and hatred for the American people.

    Positives: Jobless numbers have dropped.
    Abortion is at an all time low (thanks Planned Parenthood for counseling services)
    Demonstrators are following proper procedures, making great signs and filling the streets all over the nation.
    The court system seems to be working as a checks and balance to offset some of Trump’s mean spiritedness.
    I feel part of a great movement and know that for every demonstrator out there, there are at least ten sitting at home cheering the pictures on the TV.
    Congress is confused, and maybe will think with their heads instead of their personal rules.
    Doctors want people to be able to pay for their medical bills.
    Virginia’s politicians are meeting with the “people”, demonstrating with us, and voting with the best of our welfare in mind.

    Between you and Chuck Wendig, I get to laugh everyday. Since I am basically reclusive, getting your views on life make me feel included.
    Thanks, and keep publishing books, I’ve read everything you’ve published to date, and you just keep on getting better.

  124. Thank you for this. Among other things, you’ve stated my feeling about the protests that I’ve been trying to put together for myself. I’m forwarding this to progressive friends who need to see one or two signs of hope.

  125. A view from outside. You have Federal marshals refusing to enforce court orders. You no longer have a constitution.

  126. David Karger said, ” . . . they are at least 3-dimensional chess masters: that they are provoking these protests deliberately in order to strengthen the alienation and loyalty of their supporters . . . ”

    And at this early juncture, it looks like their strategy is working. See this article from the NBC News:

    “The relaxed reaction among the kind of voters who drove Trump’s historic upset victory — working- and middle-class residents of Midwest and the South — provided a striking contrast to the uproar that has gripped major coastal cities, where thousands of protesters flocked to airports where immigrants had been detained.”

    And see this Rasmussen poll: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/january_2017/most_support_temporary_ban_on_newcomers_from_terrorist_havens

    “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided.”

    In my estimation, Trump’s strategy is to force his opponents, especially the Progressive Left, to fight on his choice of political terrain and at the time of his choosing. He believes, again in my estimation, that immigration is a battle that the Progressive Left is likely to lose, no matter how amped up its emotional response happens to be at the moment.

    And by expending tremendous emotional energy on the immigration fight, the Progressive Left risks emotional exhaustion when the other big political battles start up. That’s my simple take on the president’s strategy.

  127. @Gary

    Right, because the 100% obstructionism from the Republicans totally hurt them this election. Yup, it was totally not a winning strategy and therefore the Democrats should definitely not do it (Nevermind the fact that if what the Dems are doing couldn’t be considered 100% obstructionism by any stretch of the imagination.) I also note the passing of the blame for the garbage fire that is Trump onto the left, and well…no, hell no. The right owns him, hook line and sinker. It’s bad enough when people are being ahistorical, but it’s worse when they do so with a time period *I* actually lived through. I was there dude, I saw what was happening.

  128. Yes, Gary – after all, 100% obstructionism hurt the Republicans so bad, didn’t it? The blame-Obama thing is getting old now, since everything in the galaxy is apparently his fault. The only thing I blame Obama for (domestically) is spending way too much time trying to get along with the Republicans. A kick in the ‘nads is the only thing Mitch McConnell understands.

    I do think the Dems can safely support Gorsuch’s appointment to the SC since it’s probably as good as the country’s gonna get from the Lunatic In Chief. But Jeff Sessions/Jerry Falwell Jr./Betty De Vos and most of the others? Way past time for some Democrats to start a public campaign against every one of them.

  129. Trump is the Kwisatz Haderach a generation early – if it had been Feyd-Rautha instead of Paul.

  130. I, myself, am also encouraged by Twitler’s fury at the protests/leaks/media, combined with age and dubious health. Hoping for aneurysm of the King-novel explosive variety, will cheerfully take heart attack or nervous breakdown.

  131. My big concern is that people who voted for Trump still believe that mainstream media is lying to them, not just that they have a liberal bias, so when the White House doubles down on their alternate facts, Trump voters will accept them instead verifiable facts. They probably believe that Trump can build the wall without it costing them a dime, that the travel ban will keep them safer, etc.

    BTW, if you don’t want to see the Federal government give up a huge amount of land including the national monument area Obama created recently, talk to your Congress critters, Utah representatives have added language to the budget bill to consider federal lands worthless, to give away 3.3 million acres, and take away federal enforcement on federal lands.

  132. “My big concern is that people who voted for Trump still believe that mainstream media is lying to them, not just that they have a liberal bias, so when the White House doubles down on their alternate facts, Trump voters will accept them instead verifiable facts.”

    Um, yeah, that’s already happening.

  133. Well, Trump holding our Prime Minister’s hand will not have gone down well with Her Majesty the Queen, and it’s had an unexpected result in firing up Parliament to get stuck into Brexit following our Supreme Court’s Judgement that the Prime Minister could not use the Royal Prerogative to bypass Parliament.

    As results go, I’m happy with that one…

  134. The transcript of Trump’s speech about Black History Month is wending its way through the Twitter threads. Well worth reading the comments of a son of a man arrested at a KKK event. Bonus: his comments around MLK center on the claim that his bust had been removed from the Oval Office and how it proves “fake news” outlets are trying to get him.

    Also, there’s a new twitter account: https://twitter.com/trumpdraws
    It’s great!

  135. Chiming in once again, in response to this:

    “I also have to say that the stereotype of active duty military and military veterans saying we are mostly Trump supporters is inaccurate. In my experience, we are not even majority conservative. Liberals amend moderates believe in defending our country, too! I’d say we are pretty evenly divided. ”

    …because I think it is important to remember that gun use/ownership doesn’t necessarily track with political inclination.

    As a leftish (in the context of Canadian politics, even!) person who also fancies firearms, I have to say that I was encouraged at the appearance of James Mattis in the collection of Cosplay Lex Luthors that Trump is surrounding himself with– there’s the mere fact of him being a Marine, a service I understand is notable for valuing thought because they have to twist funding out of the Navy, plus he apparently values Marcus Aurelius, PLUS as a member of the military he’s spent a lot of his life at least subconsciously considering the notion of “enemies foreign and domestic.” It’s that latter which makes me think that if things seriously fall apart down there, the military is not going to just swing monolithically into line behind President Bannon and do as it’s told… which will be somewhat cold comfort at the time, of course, but cold is better than none.

    I also have to think that he got the invite to the cabinet because his nickname seriously misled The Orange Peril as to his nature.

  136. I was at Barnes and Noble the other day when the PA announced that the customer looking for Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here should go to the information booth. I wondered whether they found it in fiction or current events.

  137. @Dirk and others:

    Apologies again for making sweeping generalizations about gun owners. I live in the bay area and very few/none of my lefty friends are gun owner, or at least open about being gun owners. The only people I know personally who are pro-gun voted for Trump, (although all the veterans I know are lefties). Since gun rights is so associated with conservatism, i just assumed it tracked by party affiliation.

    That said, if it comes to americans shooting americans, we’re still screwed as a country.

  138. Wow. You could develop this post into a really good story about a dystopian theocratic America run by an evil dictator and…oh, wait, Robert Heinlein already did that, and I think he even placed it around now. Maybe you could just do the Fuzzy Nation treatment with “If this Goes On” using a reality star as the villain. Lotsa possibilities there.

  139. One thing that should be removed from the conversation around Trump is the idea that he has some magical power over the stock market, as per the rantings of Cthulhu above. He does not. What he has is powerful rhetoric, a position of authority and a even more panicky and reactionary market than normal. I work for an investment firm and have for 14 years. Unless you’re some crazed day trader, the day-to-day value of a stock is important as a data point, but not that important over the long run. Lots and lots of things can cause the market to fluctuate over the course of a day, maybe even a week. That’s why investment is a LONG TERM strategy. The market hates uncertainty, so anything that ramps that up, any news the market considers ‘bad’ or even just some investor or corporate action can cause a massive stock shift, regardless of the validity of the company or its prospects. Remember Pokemon Go was release as a major hit and then Nintendo’s stock soared….UNTIL the market remembered that Pokemon is owned by the Pokemon Company, not Nintendo, who is one of three companies to own it. Trump can sway a stocks value on an individual day…but so can the Fed, an act of Congress, a company hitting their projections for the year, a company missing their projections for the year, a movie, social media and tons of other things. And the stock will right itself eventually. Again, returning to Nintendo, when the Wii was king, their stock soared and when the Wii U failed, it returned to earth. But over 10 years, it’s fluctuated much less…and none of it has anything to do with the health of the company per se (especially as they hold a TON of money in the bank and don’t trade on the US market.

    TL;DR: Don’t give Trump super-powers he doesn’t have. The stock market and a company’s stock price is not a magical metric for anything other than how desirable that stock actually is for an investor.

  140. Thanks for posting this. As an introvert I hate calling people, going to rallies, and anything else that takes me out of my comfy little shell. I went to the DC rally, and a local one this week. I was even able to breathe for most of the time. I have made a couple of calls. If I can do it, anyone can. I agree that Trump and Ilk are incompetent, but incompetency can often do more damage than intentional evil. Maybe. Pence could prove us all wrong.

  141. I’m willing to accept that there are some three-dimensional chess masters in the Trump administration, and even that they planned the immigration order with the objective of widening the division between liberals and conservatives. However, there’s a reason that simplicity is considered a virtue in military operational planning: Murphy gets a vote too. From New Republic (http://newrepublic.com/article/140286/trump-ignored-obamas-adviceand-now-hes-world-trouble):

    “A great deal of reporting backs up the claim that the most ideologically extreme members of the administration cobbled the order together without external input, but the scapegoating is an effective admission that Trump signs whatever is put in front of him, without reading or understanding it. The incentive for ambitious operators within the administration is thus to do whatever’s necessary to get unvetted orders and choices before the president by any possible means, so they become national policy before sensible people can intervene.”

    While I wouldn’t put it past Bannon et. al. to have planted the seed for this idea and possibly even have encouraged it to germinate, it sounds like the disorganized nature of the Trump team led to a botched execution.

    “After meeting with Trump and a number of other White House sources this weekend, Joe Scarborough reported that [policy adviser] Miller was able to single-handedly rock the conscience of the world because Trump has done nothing to establish an orderly and lawful process.
    “It was Stephen Miller sitting in the White House saying, ‘We’re not going to go to the other agencies. We’re not going to talk to the lawyers. We’re going to do this all alone,’” Scarborough said on Morning Joe. “And I’ll just say it right here, and reporting will bear this out, you’ve got a very young person in the White House on a power trip thinking that you can just write executive orders and tell all of your cabinet agencies to go to hell.””

    I agree that Trump supporters continue to have a high opinion of him, and there’s probably been some widening of the chasm between liberals and conservatives. I don’t expect a bunch of hard-core Trump supporters to change their beliefs (not yet anyway), but I do think incidents of obvious incompetence being widely reported will diminish Trumps support in the national security community and hurt his standing among moderates/independents. This latter group is probably a lot easier to win over than the hard-core Trump supporters are anyway.

  142. My constant refrain during the runup to the election, especially to people who didn’t want Trump but were too pure for HRC was that’s always about the SC. Now that’s coming to pass. Gorsuch is pretty much a Scalia clone and he WILL be confirmed, even if the GOP has to nuke the filibuster to do it. He’s 49. And then the only thing standing between us and a quarter century of regressive SC rulings is 83-year-old victim of colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. This will be their chance to enshrine voter suppression into law. Among other things.

    I am not optimistic. I’m tired.

  143. One of my FB friends posted that the EO regarding immigrants from Muslim nations was a “shock event”, so designed and implemented to make the press and progressives go into righteous indignation mode, and that the really deadly stuff they’ll sneak in under the radar. I don’t know for sure that that is true — I’m don’t believe the Trump admin is capable of such subterfuge — but I have to admit it may be possible.

    The travel ban is bad, but they are capable of much worse.

  144. I really don’t know what to think. I’m watching the Asshole Leader actively burn the country to the ground. I may be a Marxist, but you know what? I love my country. It’s corrupt and benighted and stupid and it’s done all sorts of rotten shit over its history and it was founded by people who engaged in activities I find viscerally abhorrent and it’s choc-full of racist assholes, but god damn it, so is every other country and this one is mine, god damn it. And now an orange buffoon with a bunch of racist idiots as his minions is going to destroy my homeland.

    I want to believe that things will get better and Goering–I mean, Trump–will be removed from power and replaced with someone halfway decent, but I don’t know if I can. There’s nearly 60 million people who voted for the Dipshit-In-Chief. They aren’t going anywhere, and at least 10 million of them are outright Nazis.

    I want to hope. But I don’t know if I can.

  145. Please don’t forget this “vast conspiracy” is really a vast right-wing conspiracy. Also I believe all of the Islamic terrorist that have murdered so many Americans legally entered this country from one of the noted countries, after having been trained to murder one of the countries.

  146. John makes a really important point in this post which I feel cannot be stressed enough: the election of Donald Trump was not just a product of the most recent election cycle. It was the logical end-result of decades in which the Republican Party has essentially abandoned any pretense of democratic principles in its pursuit of power. In its current incarnation, the Republican Party reminds me of Heath Ledger’s Joker, whose only goal was to watch the system burn. This does not happen overnight.

    One of the things that has frustrated me the most about coverage of the election by the mainstream media (not a pejorative in this case; I merely use the term to differentiate it from the lunatic, alt-right, fact-hating media) is that most reports boil the election down to single causes. Trump won because of Comey’s intervention. Trump won because of Russia’s intervention. Trump won because of Hillary’s negatives. It goes on and on. While these were certainly all factors in Trump’s victory, it wouldn’t even have been a contest (he could never have become the candidate) if the Republicans hadn’t been seeding the ground for decades.

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for my Web site that explored many of the factors that contributed to the current situation. Called “The How Democracy Dies Algorithm” (http://www.lespagesauxfolles.ca/index.phtml?pg=10&chap=4463), it expands upon the idea that where we are now is the end result of decades of decisions made by the Republican Party. While it is by no means complete (and the various steps could be ordered differently), I think it gives a fuller picture of what has happened to American politics than one you normally get.

  147. Please don’t forget this “vast conspiracy” is really a vast right-wing conspiracy. Also I believe all of the Islamic terrorist that have murdered so many Americans legally entered this country from one of the noted countries, after having been trained to murder one of the countries.


  148. @Walter Davis @Phil Royce

    Gave the snowflake protest song a like. Hope there are many hundreds of musicians across the country feeling the creative muse, many songs being written, and that some of them will become anthems thundering to the surface so loudly that even members of congress will hear them.

  149. Something I read that truly worries me is that within days of the inauguration, Trump filed papers to be a candidate in 2020. Apparently, since he’s officially “campaigning”, individuals and organizations opposing him now have to be very careful about what they say so as not to violate campaign finance laws.

  150. @rochrist@jacob conrad

    I with you rochrist. That post by jacob conrad made no sense whatsoever. I read it several times, trying to figure out what was meant, but it was incoherent.

  151. Clarification of my above comments: I believe most, if not all, of the Islamic terrorists that have murdered so many Americans, legally entered the US from one or another of the 7 restricted countries. They entered after having been trained to murder in one or another of those 7 countries. The governments of the 7 countries have made no obvious effort to eliminate such murderous training, it’s reasonable to require additional vetting and waiting for the immigrants to enter the US. Isn’t it? Especially if we stop a single murderer from entering. After there’s no legal requirement to allow non-citizens to enter the US. It’s a privilege.

  152. @jacob conrad:
    The 9/11 hijackers were mostly from Saudi Arabia, while some were also from United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon.

    NONE of those four countries are on the list of seven countries of Trump’s ban.

    So your ‘legally entered the US from one or another of the 7 restricted countries’ is just completely out to lunch. They all legally entered the US, yes, but the 7 restricted countries had little to do with it.

  153. Gary: “My take is that y’all need to blame Obama for creating the environment that allowed Trump to come to power.”

    If you’re bringing drugs, I think its only fair you bring enough for everyone.

    The only thing Obama created was a black president that fired up latent racism in a lot of white people. After Obama was elected, I discovered quite a few people I knew were racist. They were fine (quiet) when white people were in charge and in power, but once blacks started becoming truly equal or fighting hard for equality, these folks I knew felt the need to speak out against all this “reverse racism” that Obama was doing.

    There needs to be a word that describes the faulty worldview where people assume that things are at an equilibrium and any change must mean someone is getting an unfair advantage. Some people cant see racism for what it is. Its focusing on the issue at a relative change level, and ignoring the absolute mismatch of positions.

    If i remember correctly, our nerves dont really detect absolute temperature, they detect increase and decrease in temperature, so if your hands are in ice water, and then you put them in a warm bath, they feel like they’re burning. But if you start in a hot bath and then move to the warm bath, you’ll feel like you’re cooling off.

    I think some people view equality purely from a relative view, based solely on relative changes in an individual’s power, rather than on absolute power of everyone. So if blacks get more power than they had a year before, some people immediately react as if blacks have an unfair advantage, even if they still have less absolute power than whites.

    Bigots have a relative sensory approach to determine whats equal.

    “If [Dems] continue the 100% obstructionist path they are on”

    what in hell are you talking about? Republicans obstructed Obama’s supreme court nominee for three times longer than any scotus ever waited. And Garland’s name was first suggested by a republican as a “moderate” and that Obama was probably going to name some extremist. A week later, Obama named Garland, and republicans decided they wanted someone even more extremist. The idea that Dems are obstructionists is one of the dumbest things Ive heard in a while. Dems roll over. Dems have no spine. One thing Dems are NOT is obstructionist.

    You are right about one thing: dems need to rebuiod the party for the future, and that means stop chasing big donors, stop chasing big money, and start getting more grassroots level politicians into office. And grow a spine. About the only Dem politician i hear out there beating on trump and pushing progressive principles is Warren. She might have run for president but I think she knew the Hillary machine was going to bulldoze through the democratic party.

    Anyway, need more like her.

  154. Yeah, no. You couldn’t be further from the truth @jacob conrad. None of the 9/11 attackers came from ANY of the countries on the list.

  155. The point about carefully nursing a path and getting it one generation early in unexpected terms… I love a bit of Dune in the morning.

  156. Also for @jacob conrad

    I was born in Egypt. If Trump wants to block people from the countries which provided one or more of the 9/11 terrorists, I would be on that list, notwithstanding the fact that I’m white and was born in Egypt because my father was serving in the RAF there.

    Heaven only knows whereTrump got his list, but none of it makes any sense; meanwhile his first foray into military action resulted in the death of the team leader. This is not an auspicious start; Isis, or whatever it’s calling itself at the moment, are chortling over the cock-up. I know it’s the Year of the Rooster’ but that’s no excuse…

  157. Since bad taste and crudeness is my stock in trade, I have to ask this question: since we have terms like kleptocracy, oligarchy, plutarchy, and the like, is there a proper term for “rule by assholes”?

  158. Your analysis has a fatal flaw: it assumes that Trump is stupid or incompetent. From the very beginning, the people who might have successfully opposed Trump have underestimated him and dismissed him as a clown, as a “numpty.” Well, he fooled all of us.

    Just because his behavior wouldn’t get him what we would want doesn’t mean he’s too stupid to do what he’d have to do to get it. If you look at his history, he wants to be able to do whatever he wants and for there to be no one who can tell him “no.” Well, he’s doing a damn good job of getting just that. He and Bannon are doing a great job of removing from the executive branch anyone who might be in a position to contradict him, so that ultimately what’s left will do exactly what he wants without question. Protests don’t dismay him, they validate him and give him more opportunities to attack people. (Which his base loves, BTW.)

    As long as people keep insisting he’s an idiot, we’re never going to see any effective opposition to him.

  159. Greg

    Thank you; that certainly would contribute to the bat-shit crazy approach.

    I am fascinated to discover that serious looking people on Facebook want us to understand that the Budweiser commercial for the 2017 Super Bowl is all the fault of treasonous Anti American Social Justice Warriors; I strongly suspect that Budweiser doesn’t give a flying f*ck about them…

  160. Allison:”Protests don’t dismay him, they validate him and give him more opportunities to attack people. (Which his base loves, BTW.) As long as people keep insisting he’s an idiot, we’re never going to see any effective opposition to him.”

    So, to stop Trump, you’re saying folks should say he’s a genius and not publicly dissent in any large, well organized manner whatsoever.

    Thats an… interesting premise. Maybe we should bin that one under “not proven… yet”.

  161. Wizardru

    Interesting name there devotchka

    BlackRock’s main quantitative hedge-fund strategies — which use computer models to sort through vast amounts of data to pick out patterns — were on track for losses in 2016, according to a monthly client update sent out in late December. Of the five included, four were set for their worst returns on record, data through November showed. A separate investor presentation with a broader quant lineup showed that almost two-thirds underperformed.

    BlackRock’s Robot Stock-Pickers Post Record Losses Bloomberg, 9th Jan, 2017

    Anyone pretending to know anything about investment / trading online who isn’t worried and has been in the same business for 14 years is lying.

    Holy 3 Day Resurrection.

    I don’t know any successful trader who didn’t burn out in 8-10.


    It’s a troll account from the wilds. Hasn’t worked in any major finance evar.




    We did, you know, kinda write the script.

    And, after a few thousand years, you get a fucking tea-towel shroud out it it.


    People being dull and doxxing.

    JReynolds. Don’t.

    You’re working on a supposition.

    It’s rude and your lot really doesn’t have many chips left, so just don’t. It’s a meta-script, textual blur, easy to program, takes 10 mins. Be mature, there’s loads of them on GitHub.







    Little tip: she won’t “doxx you”, she’ll kinda find out your fears when you were 10, then go from there. We’d say more, but why bother? (sigh. so vanilla. another case of the [redacted] shame angle.)


  162. Hm. Greg and Allison, I dunno for sure, but I think I agree with both of you. Underestimating Trump is a potential disaster in the making, but it is possible to take him seriously and to protest loudly and violently, working against him intelligently (no matter how brilliant he is or is not). The protests might not dismay him, may even validate him to his base, but isn’t our first goal to try to stop his base from getting any larger? And then to whittle away at it? To do that, we have to speak up–and make sure that the people who don’t normally pay much attention to politics at least have a clue about what’s going on . . .

    Personally, I think Trump isn’t any kind of a genius, except maybe a sort of idiot savant. I think he’s a con-man who is good at getting his own way and isn’t going to be able to cope with people who aren’t willing to laugh and applaud when he makes a public fool of himself. And who got where he is today partly due to the actions of people around him (not only the ones on his “team”) partly due to pure chance. But taking him seriously–as well as literally–won’t exactly hurt, will it? Better to over-estimate him and not need to, than to under-estimate him and risk being blind-sided. Again. The trick is/will be to figure out what we need to do to counteract what Trump is doing, and then DO it, and leave the question of whether he’s a brilliant political strategist or a bumbling-into-the-presidency idiot to history.

  163. [Deleted because the schtick isn’t funny when you’re threatening to doxx people. Do shit like that again and you’re going into moderation, dude – JS]

  164. Mary: “figure out what we need to do to counteract what Trump is doing, and then DO it, and leave the question of whether he’s a brilliant political strategist or a bumbling-into-the-presidency idiot to history.”

    Agreed. I think Trump is an idiot, but I dont think establishing that as true will make any difference. In a world where people still want to teach creationism in schools, where people deny global warming, truth clearly doesnt matter.

    I think showing Trump acting childish, whiney, petulant, etc, might make a bit of a difference. When fiction writers want to kill off a good guy but not make readers too angry about that death, the writer will often make the doomed good guy whiney and/or incompetent. It bypasses logic and goes straight to our quick-evaluation-of-other part of our brain. Its cheap writing, but it might be a useful tool to oppose trump. The more he tweets idiotic things, the more he shows himself a baby, the more people are likely to drop support. So, someone find some money to pay Alec Baldwin to keep portraying Trump on SNL. It is perfect trump bait.

    As for public protests, well, first off, can we switch back to calling them marches? I hate “protest” and “protesters” since the label is meant to “other” the protesters as not-one-of-us. Marches and marchers is not an ‘othering’ term.

    Second, what does history show marches changing anything. It seems like marches work effectively in two ways: they either show those in power as abusing their power in an undeniable, emotionally strong way, or, they signal to allies that they are not alone and cause them to join the march and the cause.

    Pictures of Birmingham marchers in their Sunday best getting attacked by police dogs and fire hoses created powerfully emotional images that showed the state as abusive. That pulls support away from the state.

    Before the Stonewall Riots, the gay movement was mostly about avoiding confrontation and trying to politely ask the state to treat them as equals. Many were afraid to speak up for their rights. After the riots, organizations for gay rights formed, swelled their ranks, and *fought* for their rights. The instigation for the riot, the police harrassment, was like the Birmingham attacks. But the riot itself grew and grew, and sort of signaled to a lot of gay people that they are not alone.

    Historically, it seems that the point of marches isnt to change the opposition directly, but to call for more allies, and also to create opportunities for those in power to overreact, to become violent towards peaceful marchers, and lose support.

    Which to me says, march, because it matters.

    Calling trump an idiot or a genius doesnt seem to matter nearly as much as peacefully marching does.

  165. Hah, Still time for a comment. Scalzi, I just wanted to say I don’t think Trump will be stepping down. He’s all about ego, and he is now the most powerful man on the planet. I can’t imagine him giving that up.

  166. If fortune and misfortune are two buckets in the same well, then we’re in for a hot time in the old town tonight.

    You think there’s any cod liver oil left? After last Tuesday? Clearly, you underestimate me.

    May the Quartz be with us, because we’ll need all the time we can get.



    Why are these not my trousers?They promised. I will unnerve them. Slowly.


  167. I thought the people were going to reject George W. Bush when he turned out to be completely incompetent. And it looked like we were on track to do that, until the huge whomping terrorist attack, which made it suddenly unpatriotic to even criticize him. For years.

    Trump looks to me to be trying to invite a huge whomping terrorist attack, or several. The question is how we respond when it happens.

  168. For @Ira Nayman: “where we are now is the end result of decades of decisions made by the Republican Party” should really read “where we are now is the end result of decades of decisions made by the Republican and Democratic Parties.”

    Both parties have and will continue to play games with our political, legal, and social processes in order to get what they want. Bill and Obama did it, both Georges and Ronnie did it, Hillary would have done it, and Trump will do it. The only way to stop it is to vote out everyone and start over with representatives and senators who aren’t lifetime politicians and who have a more altruistic attitude, and that just isn’t going to happen.

  169. @Jacob Conrad: Citation needed.

    And how do the “Islamic terrorists” compare, in terms of murdering “so many Americans” over the last few years, to the American-born, culturally Christian white guys doing the same thing?

    I mean, if we’re going to start suspecting whole demographics of people of being mass-murderers waiting to happen, shouldn’t we start rounding up cis straight white dudes with dubious hygiene?

    Also, I wish people would stop citing 9/11 as a reason to take political actions now*. Yes, it was tragic; yes, it was shocking; it was also *sixteen years ago*. Kids who were born then are most of the way through high school. The political climate may have changed somewhat.

    *Given that half this election seems to have been about re-litigating the 1960s, AGAIN, I am not hopeful, but hey.

  170. When you have the Pentagon rushing to tell everybody about how you rushed the military operation that got soldiers and women and children killed and a 75 million dollar aircraft destroyed, you’re not doing so good. When you’re threatening to invade Mexico and screaming at the PM of Australia, or using the Prayer Breakfast to pray for higher ratings for The Apprentice…well…. I /have/ to think that the Republicans left who are actually serious are getting worried.

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