A White Supremacist, For White Supremacists, Counting on White Supremacists

A graphic of President Trump and the words "Stand Back and Stand By"

Screen capture from C-SPAN, photoedited by me.

Last night, after catching up with a debate that it turns out I was 100% correct not to watch live, and thus still have a TV that’s functional because I didn’t throw something heavy at it, I wrote this on Twitter:

John ScalziNow it’s the next morning and it still looks like that was the accurate takeaway from the debate. If there was still somehow any doubt in anyone’s mind that Trump is in the tank for white supremacy, because white supremacy is in the tank for him, last night’s “debate” should have taken away that fig leaf. Not only could Trump not bring himself to disavow white supremacists longer than a sentence or two, he doubled down on them and effectively told them to wait for his signal. Certainly the white supremacists have taken it that way: “Proud Boys” and neo-nazis are openly saying they’re waiting for his further orders. He signaled to them that they were his personal paramilitary shock troops, and they have responded: Yes. Yes they are.

Let’s be clear about this: A sitting president of the United States has openly and actively claimed control of a legion of white supremacist domestic terrorists, and that legion of white supremacist domestic terrorists has openly and actively told him they’re his to command. You can’t pretend it didn’t happen — the white supremacists certainly aren’t pretending that. They heard him loud and clear. This wasn’t a dog whistle. “Stand back and stand by” is an explicit admission of control and a passing of orders.

Four years ago, after Trump, much to the dismay of himself and others, was elected to the presidency, I wrote about the Cinemax Theory of Racism, about how people who said that they voted for a racist for reasons other than his racism were still on the hook for supporting a racist. The racist in question, Trump, was never coy about the racism (and sexism, and every other bigotry he offers on display); it was there front and center, all through the campaign. When people claimed they were voting for him for other reasons, they were saying “I want this more than I’m worried about his bigotry.” Perhaps, presuming they were concerned about that they were worried about his bigotry at all, they were of the opinion that once in office, his tendencies would be moderated by his advisors and underlings.

And, well. We see what happened there. From Charlottesville to last night, every time Trump has an opportunity to condemn white supremacy, he finds a way to weave and dodge and then wink at the white supremacists. After last night’s explicit “stand by” command, which everyone watching heard and immediately understood, Trump’s underlings have attempted to flood social media with examples of Trump condemning white supremacy and white supremacists. The problem with that is a) the examples are belied by Trump’s actions and policies, b) no one who isn’t a credulous child thinks he was sincere when he said that, least of all the white supremacists. White supremacists get that Trump has to occasionally pretend not to be one of them; that’s how the white supremacist game is played.

It’s one reason why they exploded with joy last night after Trump’s command to them. For just a moment, senpai well and truly noticed them. And sure, today, the underlings have to pretend that what actually happened didn’t actually happen, and maybe even Trump himself will be prodded into walking back what he said. Again, the white supremacists understand how that all works. They also know that Trump has told them he knows they’re in his pocket, and he likes that they’re there. They like it too. This is where we are, four years in: A president who waves to white supremacists in a debate, and then his underlings pretend that he didn’t and are angry that you saw it, even as the white supremacists are quite happily waving back.

Which is the point: Four years ago, a Trump voter who hoped to avoid being splashed by his bigotry and white supremacy could hope someone would keep him in check. Today, when the man might as well have a neon sign over his head flashing “The Nazis Will Riot When I Say So,” they don’t have either that luxury or excuse. Americans generally are not better off than they were four years ago; the president has had a disastrous four years in office and has no actual plans for the next four, other than grift and white supremacy. Any attempt to get him to articulate a policy will result in an answer that’s fifty percent rambling (probably lies), forty percent self-congratulation (definitely lies), and ten percent appalling (and thus probably true). Again: all Trump has to offer is grift and white supremacy. That’s all there is. That’s pretty much all there ever was, it turns out, but now there’s no pretending otherwise without looking like a fool.

Trump’s supporters are generally not likely to get onto his grift, so that just leaves white supremacy as the thing they’re getting out of the next four years. That’s the platform, that’s the policy, and that’s the promise. That’s pretty much all Trump supporters are voting for, here in 2020. They can pretend it’s something else — anything else! — but that’s the deal, and none of the rest of us at this point need to pretend otherwise. White power and stripping down the US for parts: Trump 2020.

If it works, and Trump is elected for a second term, then I don’t expect that Trump is even going to bother with pretending that he or his administration is opposed to white supremacy, or that he isn’t a white supremacist. After all, white supremacy was what he was offering, and it worked. As Molly Ivins memorably said, you dance with them what brung ya. He’ll be under no obligation toward, and have no interest in, pretending otherwise.

And if it doesn’t work — and let’s again be clear, at this point, it doesn’t look like it will, and Trump’s window for legitimately winning the election is closing rapidly — well. The Proud Boys and the neo-nazis and all the other white supremacists are standing by. Trump asked them to. Loud and clear, and in front of an entire nation.

— JS

Correction, 1:09pm: I’d originally had the quote as “stand down and stand by”; it was “stand back and stand by.” I’ve fixed the graphic and the quote in the entry. 

139 Comments on “A White Supremacist, For White Supremacists, Counting on White Supremacists”

  1. Notes:

    1. Political post, Mallet, play nice with others, etc. I was pleased yesterday that nearly all of you were able to make your posts without overly pissing on the other posters personally; thank you for that. Let’s go 2-for-2, shall we?

    2. I’m personally interested to see how the apologists for the white-supremacist-in-chief are going to try to spin this one. I expect a health dose of whataboutism with a dollop of “but he did disavow them” or “that’s not what he said” and possibly a smidge of “how dare you call millions white supremacists.” I do have my BINGO card ready.

    3. I do think it’s possible to vote for a white supremacist without actually acting as a white supremacist in one’s day-to-day life, by the way, and here I wave toward most of the people in my county. But let’s not be back-bendingly exculpatory here: a vote for Trump, at this point in history, given everything we know of him and his administration, is in itself a vote for white supremacy and bigotry, and if you’re a white person, an act of white supremacy in itself (if you’re not a white person and voting for Trump, I mean, my dudes, what the hell are you doing).

  2. Between this and DT’s insults to Biden’s family, I’m really impressed with Biden’s ability to keep his cool.

    I couldn’t have. I know, because I didn’t. We watched it live, which was a mistake.

    Several times, I half expected Biden to punch Trump in the face. And I would have applauded. That he didn’t is an indication that he’s much better at keeping himself in check than …. basically anyone except HRC.

    This wasn’t a debate. It wasn’t a join press conference. It was an illegitimate coward calling on white supremacists to steal the election, and a calm politician keeping attention where it needs to be — the incoherence of the past four years, and the deaths from covid.

    Agreed: A vote for Trump is white supremacist voter.

  3. Hiya. I’m wondering, as a British man watching from afar – how close the US is to splitting – blue edges and a red middle? I mean, if there’s people out there that consider Trump speaks for them – why not just leave them to it and create your own country where, I dunno, human rights matter?

  4. I didn’t catch that remark live while I watched it. Being hard of hearing the noise from the “debate” was just that, noise. The PBS commentary after mentioned that quote, and I went back to review it. It’s disgusting, and I don’t even know how to communicate that disgust. I wish I knew how to communicate with my family and friends who were supporters of Trump before this that they really do need to stop supporting him. How do you do it? Don’t give me the sop of cutting off all contact with my immediate family. I love them and they are more important than any political issue. Extended family? I’m fine cutting them off.

  5. Re:
    >Trump’s supporters are generally not likely to get onto his grift, so that just leaves white supremacy as the thing they’re getting out of the next four years.

    Don’t forget the myth of American Exceptionalism, which far too many of his cult members believe means that they’re just THIS far away from being rich. So they think they’ll get onto his grift, and are too thick to figure out after four years that it ain’t gonna happen, along with all the other things he’s actually promised.

    I’m astounded to see MAGA hats etc. still: the “Keep America Great” slogan is at least self-aware enough to say “We’ve had four years, it must be great by now”. MAGA at this point is an admission of failure.

  6. @John Davies

    As much as I would love to leave the red states to fail on their own, I think splitting AT THIS TIME is very unlikely. Those in power know the blue states keep the red afloat. Due to the failed secession of the southern states, reconstruction, and the New Deal; the federal government grew more powerful while the states grew weaker. There are also huge swaths of red in blue states, as blue voters tend to concentrate in cities. To split the union would require a new civil war that would be devastating to everyone.

    That said, if the armpit of the devil himself wins again, I’m either outta here, or rioting. Since I have a family, I’m planning on the former. I just don’t know where I could go that really would be better and that would take us.

  7. @ msaleski:

    “I am appalled. But…I am not surprised.”

    I’m… sort of surprised?

    All we’ve heard so far has been false equivalency encouragement of the “good people on both sides” variety. This is a call to arms.

    A call to arms aimed at a bunch of weak neckbeard cowards, by all evidence thus far. But that’s not to say they can’t make things downright unpleasant on election day.

    What am I not surprised by? The tacit approval of this message by Congress Republicans.

  8. Biden should, tongue in cheek, adopt the MAGA slogan. But that would be too subtle for the people at whom it would be directed.

  9. Look, I know “Stand Back and Stand By” sounds like he was calling for white nationalist violence, but when you realize he aimed it at those Incel Proud Boys it becomes pretty clear that it’s some kind of masturbation reference.

    Jokes aside. Trump is why, after Charlottesville, I bought some firearms and began going to the range twice a month.

  10. A white supremacist, a grifter, and an inveterate liar walk into a bar.

    The bartender says. I thought you didn’t drink, Mr. President. Want done Adderall?

  11. why not just leave them to it and create your own country where, I dunno, human rights matter?

    Because there are a lot of people in the red states who don’t deserve to be abandoned.

  12. One element that really struck me is that Trump kept saying “Law and Order” while encouraging violence and refusing to commit to peace and calm. We’ve reached full double-speak.

  13. @John Davies

    I think what is missed by many outside America (and for that matter some inside America) is that the red state/blue state divide is a lot more subtle and varied than the media would have you believe.

    For example, California is a “blue state” because the majority of it’s population is in the cities and votes left. But outside of the metropolitan areas, California is largely rural, farming and ranching, and solidly red. Mississippi on the other hand, has the highest population of blue/left rural voters in the country because much of it’s farmland is occupied by Black Americans who consistently and reliably vote Dem. My state of Georgia shows red on most maps, but this year it’s shaping up to be a swing state – or at least strongly purple, mostly because of the educated white women in the suburbs and the Black women of the state who have pushed hard for representation and votes. The part of the state I live in is solidly blue as is the district next to us.

    If you look at a county by county breakdown of blue vs red voting, you can see that it’s entwined and twisted and striped across the entire country. To “separate” blue vs red states would be an impossibility and it would leave a great many Americans who can’t afford or don’t want to move to a so-called coastal “blue state” stranded in hostile territory.

    The idea of splitting the US into two separate countries is not realistic or rational. Certainly not at this time and not as an answer to this President.

  14. I was stunned in the moment by the “…and stand by” statement. I was prepared for a reverse Charlottesville redux (some version of “There are violent people on both sides.”) and the actual statement felt like a physical blow.

    I am fully aware that there is no bottom, but this managed to cut through my cynicism.

  15. This “president” and his followers increasingly remind me of what went on in pre-WWII Europe. I recently saw a documentary on the rise of the National Socialists and how Charles-Marie Gustave Le Bon’s work, “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind,” was used in their massive rallies; I couldn’t help thinking of what I’ve seen of Trump rallies. I’ve been a Republican since the 1970’s but I am exceedingly dismayed of how much of the Republican party is being is being turned into Trump and his brown shirts — it goes beyond shameful. I’ve been supporting The Lincoln Project because a second term of Trump seems like a nightmare.

  16. @John Davies:

    One problem with that is that the so-called “red states” have a lot of blue residents who are prevented from exercising their political will through gerrymandering and voter suppression. They’re also frequently too poor to leave, and – frankly – they shouldn’t have to.

    The other problem with that is that the so-called “blue” states have plenty of white supremacy of their own. I’ve spent most of my life in uber-liberal Massachusetts: Boston remains among the most segregated cities in the country, and one of its city councilors ran for mayor a few years back on a platform of addressing inequality (the median net worth of Boston’s white households is $247,500, of its Black households, $8; similarly, the average life expectancy in wealthy, white Back Bay is 91.9, in poor and Black Roxbury, 58.9… and that was before Covid-19). He got barely any press coverage, and a lot of Bostonians didn’t even know there was a mayoral race going on.

    Splitting the country won’t do a damned thing to fix the inherent structural inequities that centuries of white-supremacist policies have entrenched throughout it.

  17. I am appalled at this President. My only hope is that we vote him out by a landslide this time.

    I started following you after your incredibly good blog ‘The Cinemax Theory of Racism’ which I proceeded to send to everyone. This is another good take.

    Love your books, thanks for being a snarky light in these dark times.

  18. I don’t think Trump and his followers realize that it isn’t just his supporters who are armed. The rest of us just tend to be quieter about it, and certainly don’t advertise it. And a LOT of veterans (and combat veterans) are non-white or have non-white friends and are much better trained than the proud boys.

  19. With states like Georgia and North Carolina are genuinely in play, at least people are paying attention. I do wish that the Dems hadn’t felt the need to push so far left during the primaries. I know people who have traditionally voted Republican and who are appalled by Trump who may end up sitting this one out because they’re concerned about Biden being overly progressive. If things has been just a touch more centrist earlier I think a lot of them would be active Biden voters. Although after last night at least some of them will activate and as already noted, people are paying attention.

  20. The President is a psychopath. I worry about what happens on November 4th until Inauguration Day. To see any President openly inciting violence is terrifying. I am 64 and am so afraid for our country at this point and of course there has not been a word from Republicans to condemn these remarks.

  21. I only watched about 20 minutes (it was on too late anyway) but I did see the “stand down and stand by” comment. Comments like this really make me worry about violence after the election from militia types. Maybe they could all be helpful and wear nice brown shirts so we can recognize them

  22. @wiredog We down here also started getting ammo and going to the range. I’ve long thought I was just being paranoid but not so much any more after stand down and stand by.

  23. @Christy

    To left? Everyone on the left considers him too far right! He’s not progressive enough! The hope is he’s right enough to get more votes. But, really, calling Biden progressive is… not at all accurate.

  24. Normally I would present here with something that’d be about half-likely to get me Malleted.

    But… I just can’t. I’m exhausted, discouraged, and half-inclined to quote French diplomat/philosopher Joseph deMaistre, ca 1812:

    “Every country has the government it deserves.”

    OK, so shoot me. I did it. But we just MUST accept the fact that, collectively, we got ourselves into this mess. And although I stand firmly that there are ethics, morals and humanity in every corner and cranny, nevertheless we seem to have arrived at a crossroads wherein that… might… not… be… enough.

    Empires fall. Historically, there are no exceptions. And the myth of American Exceptionalism lies gasping and threadbare, its weaknesses exposed to friends and adversaries alike.

    *sigh*

  25. It would be (at least somewhat) good if the “Manchurian Man-child” had actually bidden the Proud Boys et al. to stand *down*. Instead, he merely said stand *back*. Very worrying.

  26. Excellent summation.

    Trump is a racist. He is being more open about it than ever. Anyone who supports him is supporting racism and other forms of hate.

    Thank you, John.

  27. Wait, did he say “stand down” or “stand back”? “Stand down” means “stop what you’re doing now,” but “stand back” means “hold my beer.”

    Either way, “stand by” means “wait for my signal,” so yeah, he’s telling them to prepare for a second Kristallnacht.

  28. I am completely confused by the idea that the Democrats weren’t being centrist enough. The nominee is Joe Biden, the most boringly and depressingly centrist of the bunch, the guy who would be classed as a moderate member of the Conservative Party of almost any democracy on Earth but the U.S.A. Polls on actual issues show that a majority of the American people are to Biden’s left on everything from healthcare to union rights to Wall Street. Short of executing Warren and AOC or nominating Romney, what more could the Dems have done?

  29. Christy:”Biden being overly progressive”

    No actual progressive thinks Biden, former segregationist, or his VP, with her long career of prosecutorial zealotry, thinks those two resemble anything the least bit progressive.

    The only people trying to label Biden a progressive are Trump supporters.

  30. 1) People need food, and food is grown rurally. Rural folks need lots of stuff made in cities. Given that red and blue are intermixed, and both need what the other has, splitting seems suicidal and unlikely (though I worry that suicide/homicide is a red goal). I don’t know how this ends – the GOP called up Cthulhu and they can’t put him on hold. And you can’t argue people out positions they didn’t argue themselves into.

    2) I wonder when he’ll be nominated for his Nobel Peace Prize for advancing racial equality – it would make as much sense as his other nominations.

  31. orangemike: As I’m sure you know, calling the Dems “socialist,” “too far left,” “too progressive” etc. has long been the GOP strategy for moving the country ever more to the right. It’s worked for a long time; Nixon’s policies would make him too liberal to win the *Democratic* primary today. They’ve finally decided to be openly fascist (the platform at the RNC said “whatever Dear Leader wants”), and apparently that this is their moment.

    It is not, and we must employ every possible means to ensure that it is not.

  32. No actual progressive thinks Biden, former segregationist, or his VP, with her long career of prosecutorial zealotry, thinks those two resemble anything the least bit progressive.

    Biden (when he was last a Senator in 2008) was just about a median Democrat in terms of liberalness. Harris, by contrast, ranks as the second-most liberal Senator in the Senate, behind only Elizabeth Warren, and farther left than Sanders. So Biden is a run of the mill liberal (not a centrist) and Harris is definitely a progressive.

    By historical standards, Biden is to the left of the median Democrat for most of the 20th century, and nowhere near what would have been considered a centrist.

    (Using the DW-Nominate ideology scores from here https://voteview.com Allows for historical comparisons, among other things).

  33. I’m surprised you didn’t mention a tweet that Don Jr. sent out yesterday calling on people to join Trump’s Army (yeah, he actually said it) to go into polling stations and monitor the voting. There is going to be the kind of violence on election day we’re used to seeing and condemning in countries ruled by dictators.

    Move to Canada, folks. It’s great up here and you can sleep at night knowing that politicians, whatever their flaws, are not actively trying to kill you.

  34. And *that* is why Barrett is being pushed for the Supreme Court. While Roe v Wade is the wedge to keep the religious right onside, what they’re *really* after is someone who is willing to entertain arguments about the legitimacy of the 14th amendment.

  35. I do think some of his supporters, notably a small number with a lot of $$ and undue influence are also in it for the Grift. And of course there’s Putin who is in it for fun and changing the winner to the cold war.

  36. @John Davies

    It would be quite hard to divide a country up; how do you divide up: 1)land/access to waterways, ports, etc 2)military 3)schools I mean look at Brexit…that was an entire country separating from a union; seems carving up the US would be even harder, no?

  37. Apparently the only lie Trump is unwilling to say is that he condemns white supremacists. He is willing to lie about anything at any moment. Say anything that he thinks will muddy the waters. But he never condemns them (some people say he has, but the worst I’ve noticed is “there’s bad people on both sides”). I used to think it was largely a ploy – not that he wasn’t a white supremacist – he so clearly is – but he can’t even do it when the undecided would be vastly reassured if he said anything qualifying his love of the them. Instead he gave the Proud Boys air time. I didn’t think Trump had any cores values that he loved enough to not lie about. I can add one. Previously, I thought that his only core value was himself and he clearly lies about himself constantly. He won’t condemn white supremacy. This isn’t new, and it’s the consistency in a man of chaos personified that says everything.

  38. Remember when Trump, four years ago, strongly hinted that “maybe there is” something that “the Second Amendment people” could “do” about Hillary Clinton (or potential SCOTUS justices picked by Hillary Clinton) if she was elected? Yeah, this is just like that, except even more blatant and even less equivocal.

    (Actual quote, for reference: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick –if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if — if — Hillary gets to put her judges in.”)

  39. I understand where all the Nazi references are coming from, but I have to say Trump and the Proud Boys feel a lot more like 1990s Rwanda: just murder, theft, and chaos for the sheer fuck of it.

  40. Note that the Telemundo “poll” was actually a question posted on Twitter, not an actual scientific poll.

  41. No actual progressive thinks Biden, former segregationist, or his VP, with her long career of prosecutorial zealotry, thinks those two resemble anything the least bit progressive.

    If you say that about Harris, you clearly know little to nothing about her. Her career is far more nuanced than you’re allowing for.

  42. Watching from north of the border, me and those in my group are pretty concerned about how things are looking down there. I never thought I’d see a sitting president essentially call down scorched earth on his own country if he loses.

  43. Being in Canada won’t help – lots of weapons and nukes, in an unstable country, don’t make a situation that will end well. The power vacuum will likely attract other countries to military methods of expanding their empires; Canada probably won’t do well against China or Russia (the US might not either).

    I keep hoping for a bottom to lots of people’s consciences, and can’t seem to find one.

  44. I feel bad for our country as a whole, but the folks who get the most sympathy from me this morning are gonna be the ones who had to translate, transcribe, or write the closed-captioning text for this “debate”. I’m sure they all went and got hammered to get the ringing out of their ears after all that craziness.

    Someone described it as a 90 minute long Dump tweet. Trevor Noah said it was like listening to that middle point between radio stations when you’re getting a mix of 2 of them barging in on each other. Ugh. Why they didn’t think to have a mic cut-off switch, especially when one’s known to have a chronic case of verbal and textual diarrhea, I don’t know. Those things should be mandatory for every debate, anyway. Sure, Dump would’ve kept on talking, shouting, even, but they coulda done it anyway and upped the volume on Biden’s mike as a not-so-subtle “shut up” signal, then reduced it when it calmed down.

  45. I make no secret of despising President Trump. The man is a disgrace to the office and I devoutly hope will go down in history as the worst President we’ve ever had. Because we can’t afford worse.

    But his Proud Boys comment during the debate — “Stand back and stand by” — is in a totally different category. I didn’t see the significance of it when I heard it because I don’t keep up with the ravings of delusional groups. That was a mistake on my part. These idiots are no joke.

    And having a sitting duly elected President telling them to stand by — to deal with the outcome of the election — is as close to Hitler calling on his Brownshirts as I ever want to see my nation flirt with Fascism.

    To be fair the Proud Boys are not the Brownshirts. For one thing, thankfully there aren’t that many of them. And despite Trump’s best efforts our government is not so decayed as the Weimar Republic was when Hitler was elected.

    But that’s a difference of degree not of kind. Trump by his own words has condemned himself for what he is, a racist, divisive bigot who will gladly stomp on the liberty of the people he is sworn to protect if by doing so it lets him keep power.

    No loyal Republican should be able to accept this state of affairs. We can, and always will, argue over how our country governs itself. But that can only happen if government remains of the people, and not of a tyrant.

    I call upon every elected Republican official to come out, forcefully, against Trump’s Proud Boy remarks. If you don’t you will have joined him in fomenting treason…and will, if there is any shred of justice left in the world, reap the whirlwind.

    – Mark

  46. DAVID: “Biden is to the left of the median Democrat for most of the 20th century,”

    Well, if you average the positions of democrats from 1900 to 1999, including the pro-segregationist dems from the 60’s and 70’s, then Biden is a goddam commie, so… sure.

    “Harris, by contrast, ranks as the second-most liberal Senator in the Senate”

    Harris was sworn into the Senate in january 2017, knowing full well she wanted to run for president in 2020. She announced her run in january of 2019.

    So her senate run was an attempt from the beginning to counterbalance her career as overzealous prosecutor. And she was a senator from blue california while fascist trump is president, so its not exactly hard to lean left when the
    President is a fascist.

    If you look at her life before she was a senator gunning for the whitehouse, her career is nowhere near “progressive”.

    I will vote for milquetoast biden and his self righteous prosecutor vp. But dont sell me some story about how grand and progressive these two right of center dems are. Youre insulting actual progressives.

  47. John, I am such a huge fan of your work, you are my favorite author. I will continue to support your works, and find you massively entertaining. I have enjoyed your blog and come to this website several times a week. I understand your point of view and actually enjoy exploring different points of view. We disagree politically, and I find it’s becoming increasingly difficult to read your website. It may just be this politically charged climate so close to the election. I am not as articulate as you, and I see you have made all your points very clearly about where you stand. I totally support you doing that. I want you to keep doing that. I just hope that you keep in mind, that not everyone who reads your website fully agrees with the same things you do. Please don’t take it as a slight, the one thing I also respect is that you don’t tolerate any overt disrespectful or racist comments. I guess in short, we all think differently. ***please don’t hate me****

  48. Aaron Burroughs:

    I don’t expect everyone to agree with me and never have. Which is good, because nearly everyone disagrees with me about something.

  49. @John Davies: “why not just leave them to it”

    I confess, I entertain that fantasy more frequently than is reasonable.

    It’s been tried. It didn’t go well.

    Also, the split isn’t nearly as clean as the polling data would suggest. Less “lop off a couple of limbs” and more “rip out the lymph system.”

  50. Well, if you average the positions of democrats from 1900 to 1999, including the pro-segregationist dems from the 60’s and 70’s, then Biden is a goddam commie, so… sure

    Actually, Democrats for most of the 20th century averaged about as liberal as they do now. For every pro-segregationist dem, there was an actual communist. So…sure.

    And even if you contain it just to 21st century Dems, Biden is still about average. In terms of elected politicians, Biden is a liberal, not remotely a centrist.

    If you look at her life before she was a senator gunning for the whitehouse, her career is nowhere near “progressive”.

    I mean, I would phrase that as she recognized the issues important to the voters and made sure to listen to their voices as their representative, but…sure.

    Youre insulting actual progressives.

    Oh, well, I wouldn’t want to do that.

  51. Just tossing in the “justifications” I’ve been seeing in replies to tweets on Twitter.

    “The Proud Boys are just a social club.”

    “The Proud Boys aren’t white supremacist! There are members from all races!”

    Blah blah blah etc.

    And, of course, the screeches that Biden didn’t condemn Antifa.

    I dunno. Trump supporters clearly live in a different universe created by Fox News and, nowadays, OAAN. This was already obvious back in the 2016 debates, when they claimed he won the debates, and it’s just more so now.

    Part of me thinks that the “stand by” was just Trump’s usual wharbargble that had him looking for a clever saying that came out twisted. But the other part of me sees the constant encouragement of “poll watchers” and “security” from “volunteers”, the call for “Trump’s Army” from his sons…and the sight of those Trump supporters waving their flags and wearing their flag cosplay in front of that poll in…wherever it was…blocking people from voting, and I put those things together…

    It all adds up to a very unpleasant picture.

  52. As irreverent as it may seem, is Trump using a “Jerry Springer style” of debate to relate to his base? Just how many of his voters are old enough to remember the Reagan era of Presidential debates which were entirely different (yes I checked YouTube)

  53. Further: @E Doherty’s comment is a reminder that white supremacy is built into the very bones of the US literally from conception. If anything good could be said about this era in American politics, it’s having that laid so glaringly bare. I only pray that we can take the message truly to heart and clean up our collective shit.

  54. Other than the scary factor of Trump proving what “Law and Order” (Fascist style) the angst and disgust of last night changed nothing.

    There weren’t enough undecided voters to be swayed to count on the polls. Everything still sits in the same places, like last night was just a communal nightmare.

    All it did was lower how we are viewed by the rest of the world. I can’t blame anyone for getting heartburn for that pack of lies, and it was a pack of lies. Biden said a few factual things, the closest Trump got to the truth on any thing is a stretched truth.

    I can’t wait until it is all over, but until then I will try my best to make sure Biden is elected. It will really be Amerika if not.

  55. Dear John Davies,

    “Red/blue” is an artifact of winner-takes-all voting (doesn’t matter if it’s popular or electoral college). All states are varieties of mauve. California, for example, which is widely perceived as uber-blue is 45% blue, 25% red and 30% GREY!

    Also, it’s been tried. We called it The Civil War. You’ve had’em– how’d that work out for you? Ours is still being ideologically fought here after almost two blasted centuries!

    If it happens again, the best result you get is Balkanization. The worst is “Civil War — The Sequel.”

    Most everyone in a position to make such a thing even possible know this. It is NOT favored by the power brokers.

    So, odds of it happening? Zippo. Thank the gods.

    ~~~~~

    Dear Steve ish,

    And how does that matter???

    An artifact of the winner-takes-all rules in most states is that the ONLY opinions that matter are those of the undecided voters in the half dozen states that are going to decide this election.

    When someone polls them, then I’ll pay attention.

    pax / Ctein
    ==========================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
    ==========================================

  56. Yeah, the obvious wink & nod to the Proud Boys was definitely appalling, but sadly not that surprising. (IDK, maybe at that point in the evening I was desensitized after having to sit through so much of this guy’s blather.)

    But what made me actually sit up and yell at my TV came just a few minutes later, when he explicitly told his supporters to go to the polls and “watch very carefully” on election day. That’s the sitting president of the USA explicitly encouraging voter intimidation. That, combined with his ongoing refusal to promise he will accept the election results if he loses, is truly scary.

  57. DAVID, “Biden is a liberal”

    Liberal is a generic republican perjorative for any democrat, so, ok, Congrats. You moved the goal posts far enough to win a point. Biden is a democrat. … Yay?

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2020

    politically, i only see 5 candidates right of Biden and 16 to the left of him. And Harris only has 7 candidates to her right and 14 on her left. So again. NO. These two are not progressive.

    In the list of people running for democrat presidential primary for 2020, Biddn/Harris are easily on the right half of the field.

    Biden was picked to appeal to moderate republicans, not progressive dems. And thats exactly where he lands.

  58. Just as a reminder, it doesn’t matter one one goddamn bit whether Biden is a liberal, a conservative, a center-right blah-di-blah, or whatever. All that matters is what he ISN’T: he isn’t a deranged white supremacist and would-be mobster. That is literally the only thing that matters. Not his policies, not his personality, not his gaffes, not his family, not his position on the political spectrum, not his selection of Harris, not his association with Obama and Clinton. He is NOT TRUMP, and that has to be good enough.

  59. Liberal is a perjorative because the Republicans worked to make it so, and those on the left fled to “progressive” instead of standing and fighting for their beliefs. Well done, us.

    All your map shows is that the incumbent is on the Republican side this time and this had fewer opponents. If you looked at the 2016 election and included all the GOP candidates then, Biden would easily be on the left half. So…no.

    (I note also that on your map, Sanders is a centrist, not a progressive)

  60. @Robert:

    Being in Canada won’t help – lots of weapons and nukes

    At this rate, it may be necessary for Canada to have its own nuclear deterrent. The bombs wouldn’t take too long to make. Missiles are another factor, but we have the know-how.

    I wish I was only half-joking at my comments – I don’t want my country to wind up like Austria in 1938. Or Poland in 1939.

  61. Whoever predicted it: Trump has (wink wink) walked it back, said the Proud Boys should “let law and order do their job” and then denied knowing who the Proud Boys are.

    So, on target. I guarantee by tomorrow he will be back at it, either in a press conference or at one of his Brownshirt rallies.

  62. Cue Trump supporters griping about violent protests, anarchy and chaos in “urban” neighborhoods and democratic run cities and states… oh, wait.

    Imagine the furor had Obama told Bloods or Crips to “chill until I say different, y’all.”

    Better still, imagine the barks of “ha!” from conservatives had Biden issued similar marching orders to BLM (not the same as white supremacists, no matter how badly Trump supporters want it to be so), The Not fucking Around Coalition (the idea of those guys taking orders from Biden or any other white man is hilarious) or Antifa.

    The fact that said orders to white supremacists came from the president’s own lips will not, however, stop supporters’ reflexive cries of “Fake News!”

    And John is absolutely right about the likely response from Trump train passengers. the usual right-wing dodges will all be accounted for, from the false equivalencies to whataboutism (on full display during last night’s “debate”) to the ever popular and disingenuous “just because they disagree with you” defenses intended to shift the conversation from objectively terrible people and phenomena to the left’s supposed refusal to tolerate intolerance (this is perhaps the most asinine defense of bigotry I’ve ever seen) or abide differences of opinion.

    The way I see it, Trump has issued a threat to all who disagree with him.

    He’s also declared war on Americans of color, as has every single one of his voters.

    The same is true of vote chucking third party voters and suicide bombing democrats who aim to teach the party a lesson.

    We’re not just choosing between higher taxes and fatter paychecks for the richest Americans or “amnesty” or closed borders.

    We’re choosing between a relatively decent human being who speaks directly to the American people and an angry, genocidal wannabe autocrat who speaks directly to white supremacists and is prepared to sic them on the American people.

    Folks voting for Trump are voting for white supremacy, no matter their ethnicity or friends/relatives of color.
    If 2016 was the metaphorical bird-flip to marginalized groups, 2020 is the chest-bump or shove that precipitates an all-out brawl.

    Anyone defending Trump supporters at this point ought to remember Mya Angelou’s admonition to us to believe people who show you who they are.

  63. Those of you who think there aren’t ‘that many of them,’ — do not know where you’ve been for the last few years, or even going back as far as Nixon, when these sorts of groups got started.

    “A Far-Right Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans
    An Atlantic investigation reveals who they are and what they might do on Election Day.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias-civil-war/616473/

    Vets and cops have always been rolling with the racist thang and have wanted nothing more than to shoot live ammo at “mexicans’ on the border and blacks everywhere else. And they have been, since the 1970’s.

    This is nothing to dismiss or think is a new development.

  64. My hope is that trump throwing his lot in with white supremacists is an act of desperation because he knows he’s losing. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the proud boys are a significant enough group to sway an election (although I guess if they show up at polls in key states with AR 15 s maybe?)
    I think there are plenty of racist americans, plenty of americans who are willing to overlook 45s racism because what they really care about is taxes/abortion/gun rights/their identity as republican, but I don’t think there are enough out and out white supremacists to really build a solid voting block. I could be wrong though.

    To JH’s point, the only thing that matters about biden is that he is running for president not dictator. all of the trump’s campaign soundbites against them are basically “I know you are but what am I?” because they know trump is a doddering senile fool and are deflecting. This is a tried and true conservative strategy – accuse your opponents of faults you embody 150%.

    I don’t know the endgame of all this – Best case scenario is that the dems sweep everything and Trump leaves but we are still a deeply divided country that can’t even agree that fucking COVID is a thing. I don’t know what our path forward is. And it’s not like the Dems are so great or the “blue’ states are so awesome – the dems are just the baseline of what a functioning government should be. I want the dems to become the conservative party, the republicans to disband, and a new progressive party to take power. That’s my hope.

    One other aside, I’m in a social justice field where there is a lot of talk about white supremacy culture, and sometimes I want to scream and say, no mothertrucker, the dudes in paramilitary gear and ar-15s are white supremacists. Expecting people to adhere to northern european mores to be “professional”, is not in the same category.

  65. For those who are fond of alternate history … would like you all to think what the media would be all up and in arms over today … if … Hillary … told the shoggoth stalking her around the stage … interrupting her constantly … if Hillary … a woman … had told him to “Shut up!”

  66. I guess that’s another reason Trump is against mail-in voting (by the masses): because it’s so much harder to engage in voter intimidation when you can’t actually see the voters voting.

    This will be the longest October…

  67. I miss Molly Ivins. It would be fascinating to read her take on this, but alas, she’d have her hands full with Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick. *sigh*

  68. I don’t want to sound like a crazy person or an alarmist, and I don’t think that it is 50% or 10% or even 5%, but I do believe that there is a non-zero chance that there will be a second US civil war starting in the next 3-6 months. IF there is, historians 100 years from now will point to “stand back and stand by” as one of the first indicators, similar to how we now point to the Boston tea party as a precursor to the Revolutionary War, or the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand as a precursor to WWI.

  69. Regarding Canadian atomic bomb deterrent, to pick up U.S. slack, sci-fi folks may be interested that Canada has exported about 35 reactors world wide, and they are now supplying much of the world’s medical grade isotopes. Yes, they have physicists. In fact, Canadian universities are so uniformly good that no one up there puts the adjective “good” in front of their university.

  70. @Kate:

    “`…Biden didn’t condemn Antifa!’”

    Are they serious? I swear, they’re like disgruntled teens whining about their siblings’ infractions as they’re being grounded for bigger ones.

    @Kat and Foxessa:

    Clearly, this ain’t the fringe. The people who “disagree” about the wrongness of white supremacy aren’t outliers.

    These were the architects of the Minute Man Project in 2004. The Kyle Rittenhouses among them are their children and grandchildren.

    The most anyone can claim is that not all of Trump’s supporters are going to be directly involved in the…cleaning. After all, who’ll mind the young’uns? Who’ll make the sandwiches?

    @JH:

    Here here! It’s amazing how often this needs to be explained.

    @PST:

    There is so, so much wrong with the latter portion of your post, but I’ll focus in particular on your attempt to clarify the distinction between real and synthetic white supremacy.

    Part of why the racial divide will probably never heal is because many white people, as well as those who pass, are either in denial of or delusional about the constitutive criteria for and manifestations of racism or are flat out being disingenuous.

    Your apparent elevation of “northern European norms” is racist, as is your implication that professionalism and “white” behaviors (and this is an unstable set of behaviors) are mutually inclusive.

    Please tell me if and how I misread you; if I have and you do, I will apologize immediately.

  71. @Robert Canada certainly has its faults, and frankly I have to agree with Trump about one thing – we aren’t spending enough on our military. That said, Canada has always batted above it’s weight when it comes to necessary conflict. It might be a mistake to think we don’t know how to defend ourselves.

  72. For what it’s worth, I encourage all who have written in to comment on this post to consider volunteering either as an actual poll worker, or a poll observer (for the Democrats). Here in Ohio, if you’re an inside poll observer, you need state/county issued credentials to be allowed to hang in the polling location all day in order to make sure everything is kosher. I’ve done it for the last 3 presidential elections, and it’s normally a pretty low-key way to observe and, one hopes, ensure that everything works out the way it’s supposed to. Actually working as a poll worker does even more: you’re making sure that the voting process works the way it’s supposed to.

    But wait, there’s more. For this election I’ve signed up to be an outside poll observer, which means that here in John’s state, I get to lurk around the outside of the polling station, watching to check lines and observe and report any attempts at voter intimidation or early closures. As long as I stay at least 100 feet away from the location, I can rest easy and observe. And, bonus, I don’t have to go inside a closed room and expose myself to potentially a myriad of covid-carrying maskless numbskulls for 14 hours. Win – win, am I right?

    So think about taking on one of these roles yourself. The odds of any confrontation are, one hopes, very low. But the country you may be saving is your own. Call the local branch of your political party to volunteer for poll watching (they’d love to hear from you). In Ohio, if you want to volunteer as a poll worker, you can sign up via the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

  73. JH:” it doesn’t matter one one goddamn bit whether Biden”

    Yeah, yeah. My most recent
    primary->general votes were:
    2016 Bernie->Clinton.
    2020 Warren->Biden

    I vote progressive in the primary and then whoever wins the dem primary gets my vote in the general. Cause every republican for president has been a shitshow all the way back to Nixon at least.

    But every primary, the progressive is almost always beaten out by the centrist. And every fucking time, around October, more than one corporate centrist democrat suckup insists on telling me how their middle of the road milquetoast safe candidate is really more progressive than anyone they’ve ever met.

    And I’m like, dude, that just means you need to get out more.

    But, yes, trump is a flaming fascist and the only sane vote now is a vote for Biden.

  74. I’d prefer it not come to that. I think whatever is left of the US right after the an (un)civil war would love to invade Canada to show their cojones but would probably be lucky to snag a Tim Horton’s. China’s got a lot of weight, though – I don’t think Canada is unable to fight for itself, but 20:1 odds are real long. The primary antagonists (China and Russia?) have a lot more military power (and perhaps even less conscience) than Canada, though they’ve got to resupply across oceans or the Bering Strait, and Canada has space, but they both have nukes and other weapons. The nukes that we have (had) will probably end up in not good places, and be a threat to lots of people.

    My comment was mostly that Canada’s not a real escape – if the US goes nuts, we’re going to make life hard for lots of people because of our weapons and military strength, and because there are a lot of resources for someone else to grab if we are too busy committing suicide. It would be better for us to find our missing adulthood here. I thought Sasse had good ideas about that until he (among others) decided to help a professional narcissist with delusions of humanity and competence to live out his second childhood making the US into his own cornfield.

    I’m going to vote early; if I can find someone to watch the kids then I will work the polls on Election Day.

  75. @my dog is named Hannah

    I’ll be a poll worker for the first time this year. In a way, I’m a little scared. First, I’m 72 with diabetes, Covid worries me. And then, what if Trump’s ‘poll-observers’ cause violence?

    But, if I don’t volunteer for it, what will happen in this election?

  76. Steve ish

    A quick poll by Telemundo showed that 66% of those polled thought Trump won the debate.

    Hard to understand that kind of winning, but apparently Hispanics believe he won it anyway. We’ll see if that translates into actual votes.

    One link here, you can find others. Make of it what you will. Obviously early poll.
    https://www.newsweek.com/66-percent-spanish-speaking-americans-telemundo-poll-think-trump-just-won-debate-1535176

    Hmmm… the html blockquote command appears to render oddly… anyways…

    Newsweek is currently owned by some sort of religious right-wing fascist, has been for some years now, so this story/data is extremely suspect.

    I would make compost of this. Or perhaps septic fluids, if I thought it would damage the plants, compared to wholesome composted kitchen scraps.

  77. So basically, Trump strong-armed Poland and risked getting removed from office just so he could make some deranged attacks about Biden’s son that didn’t even land. This guy is not a strategic thinker, his followers are just as deranged, and this is either the last gasp for Trump’s presidency or it’s the last gasp for American democracy. While America has fallen far, I don’t think we’re gonna get overthrown by a bunch of space monkeys who like to slap each other around while yelling out breakfast cereals. Though it would be ironic as heck if we were.

    Also, as much as I wish Warren had won, I’m kind of glad she wasn’t forced to put up with this crap.

  78. @Nik:
    First, I hope you’re right.

    Also, I couldn’t agree more about Warren. With any luck, Biden will win and put her somewhere where she can rain terror and justice down on the greedy jackasses in banking who have and continue to screw people over.

    Still, the image of grandma Liz washing Trump’s mouth out with soap on the debate stage makes me smile.

    @my dog’s name is Hannah:

    Had I eyesight, I’d be more than happy to poll watch. I hate bullies and would gladly have done whatever I could to keep them off of those exercising their right to vote.

    Also, the less mature part of me welcomes conflict with Trumpists, though I doubt my engaging with them would be helpful to anyone at the polls.

  79. I imagine the number of voters who are undecided because they are anxious they do not have a crazy enough president is vanishingly small.

    I think Donald Trump sealed his fate last night. But that doesn’t mean the crazy is over. That won’t end until January 20th, and it will get increasingly ugly until then.

  80. Even more than a segregationist sheriff or police commissioner in the (earlier and incompletely successful) civil rights era, Our Dear Leader reminded me of a third-grade playground bully who knows his parents will get him out of any discipline that might be imposed by the union-scum teachers who are probably all commies anyway. After all, his dad probably owns the land their pitiful apartments sit on, or the bank that holds their mortgage.

    (@David above: Perhaps for every Dixiecrat from 1919 to 1979 there was a Democrat whom Sen McCarthy — or Sen Iselin — would accuse of being a Communist. But then, that’s just as fact-devoid… as is any apparent appreciation of what “being a Communist” meant to minorities of all kinds in the 1930s through 1950s.)

  81. I looked into moving to Canada years ago. I’m worthless and they won’t take me unless I can marry a Canadian. And now we can’t even go there any more….

  82. “I do wish that the Dems hadn’t felt the need to push so far left during the primaries.” Are you kidding? That “far left” is “center right leaning righter” in civilized places like Europe and Australia. We don’t actually have an effective “left” in the USA — just mostly small-c conservatives who do actually care about things like democracy and compassion, but freak out when accused of being wild-eyed commies (and other words I won’t repeat here, but we all know what they are) who “hate America,” and a few fringe nutters who aren’t any better than their ultra-right counterparts. I wish the Dems would show some backbone and stop being Republicans-lite.

  83. * * *
    I will spare you-all a re-post of my lengthy response post-debate just click on the link and search for “Kristallnacht”…
    https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/09/28/what-we-knew-what-we-know-and-why-it-matters/#comments
    * * *
    As a NYCer I used to be amused by Trump’s antics, so stupid, so vain, so clumsy, it was an upmarket version of ‘drunk trailer trash crashing ex-girlfriend wedding’ on a grander scale. (Q: how you end up with an airline worth $240 million? A: lend Trump $365 million for three years.) In a chaotic city filled with hustle ‘n hassles he was fun to read about but nobody took him seriously aside from being a threat as a lousy investment risk. Women took to warning other women at high-end parties to remain out of reach, ‘standard three foot drunken groper separation’ as a friend of mine told me at the time there were so many like him. But up a couple notches, such as never to be alone with him, including female employees of the banks he did business with or tried to. (She worked at a bank which politely refused to lend him anything on properties already leveraged.)
    Now? Nothing funny about Trump.
    I’m crippled, old before my time and given how fracked up health care is in this country, I’d resigned myself to never getting much needed treatment. I’m realizing I was quietly setting myself to die without fuss. It just seemed like I was alone, all the flaws were mine in wrestling the bureaucracy. But now? During the botched response to the virus, there was this ‘great reveal’ of how many others like myself are out there. Plus how the VA continually screwed over vets. Vets! Men ‘n women who stepped up and stood on the line between the barbarians and society and wounded in the process of protecting us. Vets should be respected. Supported. Healed. Not mistreated.
    And then Trump just kept pouring salt into wounds, over ‘n over. Moth after month.
    Last night he could have lost with some shred of dignity but instead chose to beat the shit out of everyone including himself. Now there’s begun to be heard rumors about Mike Pence, whispers now louder. A buddy asked me to post a joke on twitter and it aligned with my gut so I did.
    Q: who won the debate?
    A: Mike Pence… after last nite GOP behind the scenes is scheming to dethrone Trump lest they lose WH for 8 years (16?)… the only question now is who will be replacement VP candidate
    Which is now looking like less joke as a deliberate bit of planting on accordance with some form of longer term planning. Not a palace coup, no. But always there is much more communication where the public cannot see, not all online then F2F.
    It has been made clear that Trump has slipped off his GOP leash, failed to deliver on all of his promised cooperation in exchange for being propped up and provided ego-lifting rallies. Yeah, he gave ’em judges and tax breaks but there were so many of the wrong idiots assigned to government posting who were clumsy in their grafting ‘n grifting it was all too obvious. Bureau of Land Management. FBI. DOJ. DOD. DOE. Insistent upon the G7 summit at his overpriced hotel. Clumsy, oh so clumsy.
    They tried to rein him in but he slipped off the leash, and in addition to having been emotionally unstable in public, said things out loud that ought never be said at all. He’s revealed their long term plans years ahead of implementation. All in all, getting him re-elected was still possible but a rough ‘n tough task. Likely the GOP was carefully assembling the evidence necessary — medical and business and sexual and legal — to force Trump to resign on 21JAN21 for ‘sudden unexpected medical treatment’.
    Just after taking office so he got the applause he so craved — wanna bet there was plans to hire a hundred thousand warm bodies to attend the swearing in on 20JAN21 — and there was a polished facade of legitimacy. Thereby affording the GOP an orderly transfer of power over to Mike Pence who could be counted upon remaining on-leash-on-message-off-twitter.
    But then came Covid.
    And in addition to all his other screw ups, Trump crippled the CDC, the FDA, the FEMA too. Befouled USPS, all too obviously. Colluded with that idiot son-in-law to punish blue states and educated elites by refusing to cooperate in coordinating resource allocation. Then pissed on governors who were forced to grovel for sake of saving their constituents’ lives. Even though most deaths were non-white, there were too many white folk’s corpses to hide. So now the GOP is sweating, aware of how their longer term efforts to deny consistent medical treatment to those ‘wrong types’ *plus* diverting funding from emergency responsiveness *plus* leaving an orange-tinged idiot at the helm has now brought the nation to the cliff’s edge.
    So there was that “dumpster fire inside a train wreck” debate and I boiled over (likely many did, you ought check out Mandy Patinkin’s twitter rant; old ain’t dead). And posted a zillion words of rage and futile angry tweets. But if being crippled has taught me anything it is how to burn my rage hot and burn it quickly to ashes. Now? These last six hours I’ve sought to bring forth my inner Vulcan; think deeper, look closer and ponder carefully. Starting with obvious truths and considering shadowy politics. Re-reading more thoughtful commentators, looking for something I’d overlooked.
    Trump will lose the election.
    Just aren’t enough undecided voters to be swayed to count upon. Too many will vote no matter how intimidated some folk will feel by Nazi-wannabes glaring at ’em, fingering their guns. Though the polling error bar is fuzzy, the trend is obvious: Trump will lose.
    But maybe, just maybe Pence would not.
    But to swap out a candidate is not easy, but there is provision buried deep in the footnotes of all political parties for handling an ‘ailing candidate’. So there has to be a very public moment of poor health soon to turn worse. Hinted test results. An obvious heart attack. Slurred speech hinting at a stroke. Repeated midnight trips to the hospital. Leaked test results. Leaked fiscal embarrassments. All of which could have started months ago. (Q: Who handed off documents to the NYTimes with enough lead time to chew though thousands of pages? Could insist upon prefered timing of article release? Who ratted out midnight trips to hospital?)
    But as cherry-on-top why not provoke an obnoxious idiot into being his most crude self during a live transmitted and commercial-free — offstage sycophants unable to interrupt — ninety minute shitstorm? Trump was primed to go off. Encouraged into sounding off in defense of ‘white power’. His handlers got him to memorize some rather stupid sound bites which combined with his native bigotry yielded an undeniable shitstorm.
    Mike Pence is coherent. This close to the election, it is now possible for GOPers can argue he should become the POTUS nominee and some obedient warm body designated as newest VP.
    * * *
    Prediction: mid-OCT ($5 on 18OCT20, $50 on 26OCT20) it will be announced an ailing Donald Trump is stepping down.
    Prediction: all the nation wll all breathe a very loud sigh of relief. Though there will be those Nazi-wannabes disappointed at missing out on their only opportunity to play out a live action version of a video game with real bullets.
    * * *
    DAVID:
    “…there are a lot of people in the red states who don’t deserve to be abandoned…”
    thanks for reminder I truly forget sometimes
    Ken:
    “…walk into a bar…”
    That bartender joke is gonna be trending on twitter and repeated hourly right up to election day
    John P. Needham:
    “…Those little proud boys are going to soil themselves if liberals like me in Texas start shooting back…”
    Q: what provision is there for TX to accept relocation by refugee NYC liberals interested in signing up for classes in gun safety? is there a senior citizen discount for gun racks? maximum number of bullets? there’s gonna be lots of us after 03NOV20…
    * * *
    END OVERLY LONG POST
    * * *

  84. Q: will someone please post some happy pictures? fluffy clouds? cats? puppies? jellyfish?

    just been reading some really ugly chatter these last three hours wherein the barbarians are howling in glee, getting ready to smash what little passes for civilization

    *sigh*

  85. Well, can’t help ya with pics, but here’s something funny and on-topic.

    Here’s something funny involving cats:

  86. [Deleted because GB Miller predictably hit BINGO but somewhat impressively did it in a relatively short post. I’m going to also just snip out the replies to this now deleted post — JS]

  87. Anyone remember Braindead? You know, that splatter movie from the 90s that was at the same time scary, disgusting and hilariously funny?

    That’s what American politics look like from the outside (in this case, from the centre of Europe).

  88. Approximately thirty-four hours after all the jeers, cheers, tears and gnashing of teeth, fivethirtyeight.com shows almost no change in the Dumpster Fire’s approval rating and a slight uptick and upward trend line for Biden’s chances of winning the election.

  89. I expected as much.

    Trump’s performance on the debate stage is the least reprehensible thing he’s done this year.

    His supporters are 100% behind the worst things he’s done, so…

    Mayhap the slight uptick in support for Biden can be put down to fence sitters and would be tantrum throwers who finally get what the republic is up against.

  90. @ my dog is named Hannah & Bill
    Thanks for providing some real help.
    Stay safe, everybody!

    [This part snipped out as it’s relating to a deleted comment — JS]

    Good post, John.

  91. @David above: Perhaps for every Dixiecrat from 1919 to 1979 there was a Democrat whom Sen McCarthy — or Sen Iselin — would accuse of being a Communist. But then, that’s just as fact-devoid… as is any apparent appreciation of what “being a Communist” meant to minorities of all kinds in the 1930s through 1950s.

    @Jaws Don’t fall into the Red Scare typology yourself. Before World War II, and especially before WWI, there was a vibrant far-left political stream in American politics, including communists, socialists, and and all sorts. Identifying them that way is not endorsing the McCarthyite view that came to dominate, it’s just recognizing that community. But perhaps I should avoid that trigger, so I’ll rephrase my comment as “for every segregationist southerner in the Democratic Party, there was a far-left member to balance them out.”

    (Hell, that was true of the Republicans as well. Fiorello LaGuardia, famous Mayor of NYC, was originally a Congressman who ran as a Republican or (when he couldn’t get the Republican nod) on the Socialist Party line. He then ran for Mayor as a Republican but also on the American Labor Party ticket, which had been founded by a schismatic branch of the Socialist Party of America.)

    American political history: lots more nuanced than we often care to remember.

  92. Here’s what some people in Minneapolis had to say about Trump’s racist display on the debate stage:

  93. Geeze John, this stuff is painful to read.

    I had the mute button on for almost the entire debate and tracked the content through the NYT. That was equally painful to read. I did take the mute off for the final statements. So, yes, I appreciate the brownshirt comments but would still like to condemn those comments as being just a bit over-the-top Perhaps I have a higher opinion of Americans than most foreigners, and I do expect America to dispose of all the election garbage in an environmentally friendly fashion. That means not pursuing emigration alternatives. I point people towards Michael Lewis’ book ‘The Fifth Risk’.

  94. An excerpt from Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk is on The Guardian‘s website. Hat tip to Raymond.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/sep/27/this-guy-doesnt-know-anything-the-inside-story-of-trumps-shambolic-transition-team

    One of the article’s most interesting observations is that “first-generation Americans [from] places without well-functioning governments” are responsible for a great number of innovations and success stories in US public service. It’s as if one’s government has to be broken, or nonexistent, to be properly appreciated.

    Race-based xenophobia and “government” by thuggery are usually carried on behind a veneer of pleasant civility (viz. the comment about Boston upthread). Trump seems to have no filters, however, as demonstrated by that hideous “debate” performance.

  95. Does Trump condemn white supremacists?

    I think the answer is obviously “no”, but if you come across someone who offers evidence that he has condemned them, here’s a thought you can share:

    What are some other things that Trump condemns? Illegal immigration, refugees, Obamacare, Ilyan Omar, Hillary Clinton, “Democrat” mayors and governors, mail in voting, etc.

    How does he talk about these things vs. how he talks about white supremacy. What sorts of adjectives does he use?

    When Donald Trump really disapproves, there is no ambiguity.

  96. Old History/Poli Sci major here – I never gave our cut-rate Mussolini more than a 40% chance of winning the 2020 Electoral College count. Too many governorships in swing states have shifted blue. He was never going to win the majority vote (caveat – if he’d actually done something about Covid-19, he might have – votes shift in an emergency to someone providing clear leadership).
    But Damn! I didn’t think Trump would be in danger of losing OH. I’ve got plenty of kin in that state, and a majority are perfect Cincinnati-style Trump voters. What kind of idiot takes a dump on Goodyear in an election year?
    The first debate seems to have Krystallized Trump as what he is – a white resentment figurehead. I’m nerving myself to actually watching it sometime today. Looks like I picked the wrong decade to give up booze.

  97. I think the idea that Trump as needs to, at least up to the 2020 election, pretend that he isn’t an actual white supremacist indicates that he still relies on some support from non-white supremacists. So who is it that makes up this second scourge on American politics and enables all of this? Single issue voters. A vote for Trump simply because he claims to be pro life from an otherwise decent person is still a vote for Trump.

    I don’t think the Nazi vote is necessarily large enough on its own to elect a president. These things really happen because there are people who care enough about a single issue they allow it to crowd out all other considerations. That’s not an attempt to minimize the role of white supremacist movements. I’m just saying they can’t do it all on their own.

  98. DAVID:”before WWI”

    World War ONE? Dude. Why stop there. Half the founding fathers owned slaves so compared to THEM, Trump himself is goddamn left wing hippie. Makes one wonder why the fuck the progressive party doesnt consider Trump the goddamn man with the mother fucking progressive plan.

    Jesus fkcing christ.

    Every. Fucking. October.

  99. World War ONE? Dude. Why stop there

    No, I’m fine with staying with the 20th century and beyond. Thanks!

    (Although actually, current politics & income inequality resemble nothing so much as a Second Gilded Age. robber barons and all).

  100. @sarah marie

    My frustration is that in talks about racism in social justice fields, we seem to elevate the way whiteness shows up as the default of professionalism in the same category as armed militias with AR-15s. Both are labeled “white supremacy,” and to me, I think it trivializes the severity of what we are dealing with.There is the racism of biased cultural norms in the workplace, and there are genocidal racists who are actively working to ensure than non-white, non-christian, non-straight, non-cismales do not have equal rights or opportunities. I get that as individuals we need to focus on what we can control, but in a moment where there are actual white supremacists running the country, I dislike using the term “white supremacy” to describe any situation where northern european aesthetics or cultural norms are dominant.My point isn’t that because the issue of cultural bias isn’t as severe as actual white supremacists in the white house, it isn’t an issue, but that by equating them and calling them the same thing, it implies that they are the same thing. They aren’t. We could have an equitable society where northern european cultural norms were still dominant in many spheres. We can’t have an equitable society where actual genocidal white supremacist terrorist organizations are supported by the Federal government.

  101. @TheChattyIntrovert asked: “Why they didn’t think to have a mic cut-off switch…?”

    They did. To date, the Commission on Presidential Debates has (reportedly[1])explicitly banned the moderator (or anyone else) having that ability, unless both major political parties agree otherwise, which they never do.

    For context, it should be understood that the Commission was formed in the 1980s as a ploy by the national Democratic and Republican Party committees, acting in unison to yank the debates away from the League of Women Voters, who had previously administered them fairly. The major parties feared that the LWV would permit strong third-party candidates to participate, and also (funny to recall, at this point) that LWV might permit unchoreographed, unscripted outcomes to result from, say, real, substantive questions getting posed to the candidates.

    However, even the Commission, supine lapdog of the DNC/RNC co-dominium that it is, has grasped that the recent omnishambles was one heaping dose of trailer-trash too much, and reportedly plans to shake something up. Maybe even something totally flippin’ obvious, like giving the moderator a kill switch.

    Personally, if I’d been in Chris Wallace’s shoes, after being shouted-over by the Toddler-in-Chief several times, I think I’d have declared the event impossible to continue, declared it terminated, and left the stage.

    [1] By the way, I notice that the Commission’s Web site has vast amount of blather about this-or-that having been done for ‘greater transparency’, but nowhere does one find the text of the debate rules (not that they were enforced, but that’s a separate problem). Curious.

    IMO, the Republic should plead with the LWV to please take the debates back.

  102. DAVID: “No, I’m fine with staying with the 20th century and beyond. Thanks.”

    National Review warns moderate republicans thinking of switching to Biden that Biden falsely presents himself as a “boring moderate” when the truth (according to National Review) is that Biden is “tacking Bernie’s way on issues”.

    Weird how your post line up exactly with right wing propagsnda. You’ll forgive me if i dont buy your bridge in brooklyn no matter how profitable you make it sound.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/08/democrats-depict-joe-biden-as-a-moderate/

  103. @ Demmapples.

    Yes, because pointing out that Joe Biden is a run of the mill Democratic liberal, both currently and in recent history, is exactly the same as the National Review’s blatherations about Sanders.

    You make me tired, Demmapples. You have no actual understanding of current politics, your historical ignorance is breathtaking, and you spend more time foaming about people who agree with you than you do the Republicans. You make Bernie Bros look reasoned by comparison. Well done, you.

  104. Well the acorn did not get to far from the tree.

    Amazing how great minds think alike.

    To make it short.

    Blue = good

    Red. = disaster for the country.

    John keep up the outstanding work you do.

  105. @Jeff:

    I don’t believe for a quarter of a millisecond that the white supremacists are on the fringe of the Trumpist movement.

    One need not be a full-blown Nazi to be a nationalist, xenophobe or white supremacist.

    Bottom line, #NotAllTrumpists doesn’t hold water.

    Also, those single-issue voters obsessed with and bent on punishing “loose women” and protecting their unwanted “consequences” look the perfect fool voting for an administration under which women have had their “God given” reproductive organs removed against their will and without their knowledge.

    The only alternative explanations for pro- life Trump voters are denial or willful ignorance.

    I’d be shocked! Shocked! I tell you, to know that pro-life Trumpists were a-okay with the prevention of fetuses that “aren’t from Idaho.”

    You may be right about the other SIVs.

    @PST:

    Some recommended reading:
    https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

    The above is just a quick and dirty explanation for why “let’s focus on the extreme examples” arguments are inherently racist.

    Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility is another excellent read, as are the following (credit to Lowis on GR for the excellent list:

    The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
    Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat by J. Sakai
    Black and British by David Olusoga
    So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
    When They Call You A Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    White Rage by Carol Anderson
    How We Get Free by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
    The Price for their Pound of Flesh by Daina Ramey Berry
    Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Edo-Lodge
    Well that escalated quickly by Franchesca Ramsey
    Medical Apartheid by Harriet A Washington
    The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
    The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
    Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble
    Black Resistance, White Law by Mary Frances Berry
    Sundown Towns by James Loewen
    Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
    A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A Washington
    Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

    Assuming you’ve read even one of these, can you really not understand why the “benign” forms of racism and modes of discrimination and erasure are the extreme in dough form?

    Do you really not understand how and why “benign” white supremacy isn’t so benign for those catching the business end?

    Just how, where and why do you think those “extreme examples” were measured, mixed and baked?

    How are they perpetuated?

    Also, the fact that “northern European esthetics and cultural norms are dominant” on land stolen from non-white folks practicing cultural norms that were and are decidedly not “northern European” is the height of white supremacy.

    It *all* needs to be called out for what it is and eradicated. Full stop.

    @David:

    The spirit of leftwingmothertrucker haunts these halls.

  106. DAVID: “You have no actual understanding of current politics”

    Wait. I thought we were talking about WW1. You keep changing context to fit your argument.

    “historical ignorance is breathtaking”

    Sweetie, your insistence that anyone gives a fuck about how Joe Biden compares to WW1 politics is some weird fantasy you got going. Nobody else is into your kink.

    Before primary voting started, Bernie and Warren were the names the progressives were pushing. Bernie got a bunch of states in the beginning. Progressives started getting excited. . And then moderate dems panicked because they feared Bernie was too far left to beat trump. Moderates ran to Biden out of fear. they saw he was centrist enough maybe he would appeal to some republican moderates. No one voted for biden for his “progressive platform”. Because he didnt have one.

    The political compass put him far to the right of bernie and warrren, and put him in the right half of all dems in the primary. There is nothing progressive there.

    And I dont know why you think WW1 politics has anything to do with anything. Are you a history fetishist? Historically speaking just prior to 2020 primary voting started, progressives werent flocking to Biden. They were behind Bernie and Warren.

    You wont find many progressive organizations endorsing Biden until it was clear he was getting the nomination. Cause they didnt want a repeat of the 2016 split between progressives and clinton to turn into a split between progressives and biden.

    So, based on what actuall progressives were doing, when the nomination was up in the air, progressives didnt go for Joe.

    The only people calling Biden progressive right now are moderate dems trying to comvince left wing voters OR right wingers trying to scare moderate republicans.

    or history fetisists, apparently.

    But maybe youre just a right winger? Libertarian maybe?

  107. Cue the ole public bigot brand “petulant brother apologizes to little sister under the watchful eye of mother holding well used wooden spoon” maneuver.
    https://nypost.com/2020/10/01/trump-condemns-white-supremacists-proud-boys-in-fox-interview/

    Though I’m guessing, given his chosen forum, that the well-used wooden spoon” (Scalzi) is more like a supportive, encouraging hand.
    In other news, it appears that Trump will have more than enough time to contemplate the American racial divide.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/trump-in-quarantine-process-after-top-aide-gets-covid-19/SHMJZRTRIJDVXAU2QL7FRH4XII/
    May he use it wisely.

    Should he test positive, may he enjoy a long and terrifying recovery, one befitting an anti-masking, covid promoting/protecting liar that he is.

  108. For any Canadians on here, would you guys be interested in adopting New England and making it part of Canada? Asking for a friend. 😊

  109. [mallets myself for glorious but blessing-blocking, needlessly cruel celebration]

    I only hope Biden and Pelosi didn’t contract it.

  110. @ Larsaf:

    “President Donald Trump tweets he and first lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19”

    Meh. Maybe true, maybe an excuse to dodge the next debate.

  111. *blinks* Well, that might be a game-changer.

    In the Grand Scheme of Things, what matters most? Is Biden on the left, right, north, south, or completely off the plane of the ecliptic? Is Trump, for that matter? Does tax avoidance make you a patriot or a crim? Etc., etc.

    Nah, in the “there are two kinds of people” taxonomy, it comes down to an utterly primal question: How much appetite do you have for violent confrontation?

    Myself personally? Zero, zip, zilch, nada. For others, could be that it ranges from “I’m willing to argue with others on the Net” to “I’ll fight for me & mine, but I draw the line at [x]” to “I find your challenge verbose, Louis Wu… You scream and you leap.”

    Those countries most technologically capable of waging wars do not, in the main, have freshly bloodied battlefields on their own soil. (Plus the refugees, the wrecked infrastructure, the poisoned farmland, and all the other lurks & perks.) Nor will they, unless key players, resident & nonresident, decide it’s in their best interests to allow it.

    Sarah Marie, I had Ceiling Cat on my lap when I played the cat video you posted above. She gets into fisticuffs with Basement Cat on a daily basis. On hearing the yowls & hisses, she hopped off and began patrolling for danger. When the video finished, she settled happily in my lap again. There might be a metaphor in that, if I were to work my brain hard enough.

  112. @Shrinking Violet:

    To keep things somewhat related to the first bit of your post, how about ceiling cat as a metaphor for vigilant, protective but relatively harmless Americans willing to employ violence whenever necessary?

    As to said first bit, I’m in the don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing, better known as the I don’t start fights (be they online or in person) but will damn well finish them” camp, myself.

    Should Trump (from his well-appointed, state of the art sickroom, of course) order his horde of white supremacist orcsand MAGA predators to try and turn the US into a blood-soaked bigotopia, I and mine will be more than prepared to host any…guests who decide to pop by for a bite of strange fruit.

    Belonging to multiple marginalized groups and being raised in a family of fighters with strong personalities has and continues to mean getting and staying ready to deal with all manner of assholery, physical limitations or no.

    Whether or not I’m up to the task of handling what’s coming remains to be seen, but the other girl(s)/guy(s) will have to be very, very quick about taking me out or else wish like hell they had been.

  113. Cool, Sarah Marie. I’ve trained myself not to shy away from eye contact, but it was a slog. May none of us be placed in situations where our self-defensive capacities are tested to the point of violence. Have you come across Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Blind Geometer”? Beware, those who would underestimate the differently-abled!

  114. Agreed, Shrinking Violet.

    Here’s to having tools and gifts we never have to use.

    I’m trained in Yang Style Long Form and have spent the last decade plus (lost vision at end of 08) learning how to recognize changes in the air that indicate a presence.

    The ability to note other humans in the immediate area was especially useful in my college days, when jerks in the computer lab would try and remove my laptop power chord mid-charge so they could plug in their dead devices.

    The best part was when they gasped and/or freaked out at the speed and accuracy with which the chick with the unfocused eyes was able to halt their paws mid attempt.

    White canes make for excellent nunchuks if you know how to wield them without injuring yourself.

    Unfortunately, all of my options require someone to get within striking distance and won’t do jack against a gun so, again, here’s to avoiding physical confrontations with tribalistic assholes and bullies whenever possible.

    And I’m adding The Blind Geometer to my TBR now. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I don’t know how you feel about horror films, but Don’t Breathe (2016) is another one of those “I wouldn’t try them folks if I were you” texts that, while full of the improbable, makes a decent attempt at cautioning able-bodied folks against picking and eating so-called low hanging fruit.

    And in a desperate attempt to keep this from being malleted for tangentiality, Trump’s having white supremacists and militia groups on speed dial raises the likelihood of my employing self-defense measures a tad too far above zero for my peace of mind.

    I look like easy pickings for those types and so will be taking special pains to look out for me and mine as election day draws near.

  115. I expect you will have a post about Today’s Big News, but I am likely to be occupied when that drops, so I hope it’s okay to ask here: What was the occasion for which Schadenfreude Pie was originally invented? The date on the post is September 2006, so it’s too early to have been the first big blue midterm; was that the Libby sentencing? Otherwise I’m stumped.

  116. I’m not quite patting myself on the back at calling it… but given Trump’s escalating woes, for him to suddenly become the CV19 poster child is a bit convenient as an escape hatch for himself, as well granting Pence a path to move up on the ticket…
    unless of course Trump make a ‘full recovery’ as befits the ‘savor of the righteous’,,, so I’ll amend my earlier posting with the possibility he’s faking it…
    garnering undeserved sympathy complete with breathless hourly bulletins of near-death ordeal and video of the faithful praying in droves and candle lit vigils and holy roller preachers publicly weeping ‘n beseeching the lord to spare his humble servant…
    after two weeks transitioning into full recovery (‘miracle!’ shout the faithful) just in time to take a victory lap as his koolaide drinking followers fall for the scam and re-elect him…
    …dang maybe I ought to be writing a political thriller instead of posting it here

  117. When partisan, right-wing antics attack:

    Wanna bet the party of “personal choice/personal responsibility” resorts to blaming everyone but the president and his inner-circle for the profound and far-reaching consequences of their actions?

    It’s my fervent hope that anti-masking, covid promoting Trumpists and conspiracy theorists across the country are trembling in their hoods, gun holsters and tinfoil hats this morning.

    Another is that this “announcement” isn’t itself a hoax designed to do…God knows what.

    Howard, you may be onto something.

    In any case, we’ll certainly see, won’t we?

  118. If trump develops no symptoms, gets to avoid any further debates with Biden, and demonstrates an “its a miracle!” recovery, with a “see? Told you it wasnt that bad” follow up, then yeah, someone might wanna check the receipt on that positive test result.