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Six Things Every American Needs to Know About Trump

  When it comes to Trump, piling on is a civic duty. We cannot afford to allow him even the slightest chance of retaking power. He needs to be overwhelmed. Simon Rosenberg — the veteran political analyst who famously predicted that the Red Wave of 2020 would be the Republican debacle it turned out to be — is urging a practical, grassroots approach to the problem. He is openly optimistic about the Democrats’ prospects this year, but he wants us all to be smart about it. He's especially concerned about getting information to the depressing percentage of the public who have no real grasp of who Trump really is, let alone the clear and present danger he represents. Right now, they are not paying attention, but Rosenberg wants us to be ready when they are, and to have at our command “ The Six Things Americans Are Going To Learn About Trump They Didn’t Know in 2020.” There’s nothing new here, but seeing it in one place is valuable. Think of it as a starter set o
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The New York Times has Gone Over to the Dark Side

  A week or so ago, Trump took a break from the courtroom and held a rally in a picturesque corner of New Jersey, a state he has no hope of winning. His speech at this rally was even more unhinged than usual, featuring his now-famous tributes to Al Capone and Hannibal Lecter — the latter being as fictional as Trump’s medical records, but seemingly real in his mind. These speeches are growing worse over time, and they seem to betray a worsening cognitive condition. Unfortunately, the New York Times doesn’t see it that way. Their reporting of the event was basically a puff piece . To them, this rally was Trump’s well-deserved break from the rigors and indignities of his criminal trial. They marvel that, “after a long and tense week,” he could now head to the Jersey Shore for some much-needed rest and adulation: Against the backdrop of classic Americana, Mr. Trump repeated his typical criticism that Mr. Biden’s economic policies were hurting the middle class.

The Ascendancy of Half-Assed Fascism

  Much has happened since I wrote this post in June 2021, almost three years ago. This was after Biden's election in 2020, but before the Dobbs decision, before the Red Wave in '22, and before the rise and face-plant of the House clown caucus. But what I described then as "half-assed fascism" has since grown both more fascist and more half-assed.   The right has been working toward this moment for half a century, since well before Nixon. They got here through meticulous planning and superhuman patience. They bought hundreds of media outlets, so they could indoctrinate their followers. They targeted state legislatures when no one was paying attention, and won more than half of them. They took over local school boards all over the country, so they could indoctrinate the next generation.  In recent years, they’ve demonized Democrats, first as socialists, now as pedophiles. They’ve packed the judiciary with ideologues. They've stolen the Suprem

The GOP's Weaknesses are More Apparent than its Strengths

  Anyone who’s paying attention now understands that this election is a whole lot scarier than it ever should have been. It’s a shame — and an indictment of our constitutional system — that it comes down to an election at all. Surely, the Trump problem should have been settled by now, with no further elections required to get him out of our lives. His crimes were such that the real crime was letting him remain at large. All those checks and balances we were taught to revere should have somehow found a way to rid us of this monster. But the Supreme Court seems to have Trump’s back, though it’s not clear what that gains them. If anything, it makes one wonder what Trump is holding over them, and what might happen to their families if they don’t keep him out of prison. So it will come down to the election, and the lines couldn’t be drawn more indelibly. I prefer to think this can work out well — that these scorched-earth hacks can be overwhelmed at the ballot box

Trump and Pecker Sittin’ in a Tree

  Before there was Fox News, before there was Rush Limbaugh, before there was the sprawling rightwing ecosystem of fake news and vicious smears we so enjoy today, there was the National Enquirer . For most of our lives, the Enquirer stared up at us from the checkout aisle of our local supermarket. Somehow, we never made the connection that its readers would one day fit the stereotype of the Trump voter — under-educated, gullible, malleable, easy targets for disinformation. The Enquirer nurtured those targets over many decades, got them to believe virtually anything, and helped lay the groundwork for the sort of know-nothing insurgency that brought Trump into all our lives. Decades ahead of its time, the Enquirer was peddling fake news long before it was fashionable. It appealed unapologetically to humanity’s baser instincts, the ones most of us try to rise above. It was always flamboyantly sleazy, and always there in plain sight, something we could dependably

Shawn Fain Speaks for the Pissed-Off

  Conventional wisdom says that Trump’s base is primarily made up of pissed-off white people. We’re told that they’re pissed-off at their jobs disappearing, at their towns being hollowed out, at the drugs decimating their communities, at working three jobs to stay afloat, and at the nagging feeling that people are laughing at them. We’re told that Trump speaks for these people, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They only think he does. Trump waves shiny objects in their faces. He makes glittering promises, and he offers up colorful scapegoats they can blame for their misery. But he’s never once offered them anything real. What Shawn Fain is offering is real: Twice the money they’re making now. Better benefits, better working conditions, better job protections, more paid time off, regular cost-of-living adjustments, and a piece of the company’s profits they can put away for retirement. As President of the United Automobile Workers (UAW), Fain kno

The GOP’s Putin Caucus Steps Into the Spotlight

Just last week I was pointing out the growing rift in the GOP, a rift centered on the open obstruction of aid to Ukraine by what Liz Cheney has famously called the “Putin Wing” of the party. In the last week, the rift has only gotten wider. What I didn’t elaborate on then, though it’s closely related, was the apparent influence of both Russian money and Russian propaganda on a growing number of Republicans. This is now out in the open, and more prominent Republicans are going public about it. Several powerful GOP senators, including Thom Tillis and John Cornyn, are known to be not happy about their party’s ties to the Kremlin. But it’s two GOP House committee chairs who are making the biggest waves. Michael Turner, chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Michael McCaul, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, both made the startling claim that some of their Republican colleagues were echoing Russian propaganda, right on the House floor. They stopped short of c