Republicans now openly calling for armed mob violence

Experts on the breakdown of democracy warn us to be ready for when the bright red warning lights start flashing.  And no sign is more ominous than when you have political leaders explicitly promoting violence against whole segments of the population.

That was precisely the message sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott when he pardoned the convicted murderer of a Black Lives Matter protestor.  I looked a bit more deeply into this case in the hope, frankly, of finding some mitigating factor, some reasonable doubt – some excuse for this pardon other than to proclaim: “it’s open season on progressives, boys.”  But there was none.  This was a pretty open-and-shut, fairly adjudicated case of a politically motivated murder – which Abbott decided to overturn after being goaded to do so by the likes of Tucker Carlson.

Unlike Kyle Rittenhouse, the then-teenager who shot three men – two of them fatally – at a racial justice rally in Wisconsin in 2020, the defendant in the Texas case, Daniel Perry, was found guilty by a jury of his peers.  And no, we’re not talking about those liberal-by-definition New York City jurors that Trump and his cronies love to complain about – this was a jury of red-blooded Texans.

The facts of the case were depressingly clear.  Perry, an Uber driver, in July 2020 followed the increasingly common – and Republican-encouraged – practice of driving into groups of protestors. At that point, he came upon marcher Garrett Foster, whom he shot to death.

Now, the only thin reed upon which right wingers have to hang their defense is the fact that the victim, Foster, was open-carrying an AK-47 at the time of the incident.  The hypocrisy of a party that has spent decades touting unfettered gun rights – to the point of Republican U.S. Representatives wearing assault weapon lapel pins on the floor of Congress – saying that progressives deserve to be shot if they have a weapon in their hands is, well, just breathtaking.

Careful accounts of the trial have noted that multiple eyewitnesses stated that Foster did not raise or point his rifle at Perry while only Perry and his defense attorneys claim otherwise.  Eyewitnesses versus a defendant trying to keep his butt out of jail – hmm, tough call there!

The most damning part was actually excluded from trial but released later – a full 82 pages of Perry’s social media messages in which he made or promoted endless racist slurs and made statements like “I might go to Dallas to shoot looters.”

See what I mean by open-and-shut case?  The justice system worked and that should have been the end of it.

But that’s the point at which Tucker Carlson, then still at Fox, attacked Abbott for allowing the cold-blooded murderer of a progressive protestor to be convicted without a fight.  And like a well-trained dog, Abbott responded with a tweet stating “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney…I look forward to approving the Board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”

Take just a moment to gawk at the sheer, incoherent nonsense and dishonesty of this statement. “Jury nullification” is the practice of jury members declaring a defendant innocent even when they know he is guilty, as a way of protesting against the criminal justice system. What the hell does that have to do with a case in which a jury found the defendant guilty?  Abbott, by the way, is a former state Supreme Court justice and attorney general who surely knows better.

Furthermore, “Stand Your Ground” cannot be a defense when there is nothing to stand your ground against – you can’t just shoot and kill a victim who does not threaten you.  The clear and disturbing message here is that the sheer existence of members of the political left peacefully protesting is itself a threat justifying right wingers in actually shooting such progressives to death.

The pretense for this pardon could not be thinner. Abbott acted after his self-appointed parole board recommended it – but that board, in an empty three-paragraph statement, did not give a single reason for its recommendation.

So, ultimately, there was no remotely reasonable justification for this pardon.  That leaves only one explanation – it was a political act. And I do not see any way to read this political statement other than to reward the murderer for what he did and to encourage more MAGA types to take up arms and use the threat or reality of violence to stop members of the left from peacefully expressing ourselves.

You’ll know that fascism has arrived at our shores when you have a major political party deciding to throw aside the legal and moral norms and constraints of democracy in favor of outright mob violence as their favored form of political expression.

And that is exactly where we are . . . Republicans calling for mob violence against anyone they don’t like.  Someone needs to remind Republicans that the Second Amendment applies to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. — including us liberals.

We stand at a critical historic juncture

Unless you are asleep or purposely ignorant, you know that we are watching the breakup of a long standing US political party.

The tectonic plates are shifting right in front of us.

The Republican Party – the Grand Old Party — has been taken over by Trump’s “MAGA” and international dictatorial political forces with whom Trump and the MAGAts are aligned.

They have become a crime syndicate, not a political party.

The GOP has broken into two pieces:

1. Those who are fine with being criminals to obtain power and wealth and aligning with sinister foreign powers.

2. Those who cannot go that direction. However, like “deer caught in the headlights,” these people are paralyzed and don’t know what to do.

But we see signs that this “deer in the headlights” group is waking up and either joining forces with the Democratic Party, or speaking out (weakly) about the direction of the GOP, or, simply sitting silent.

It is this “deer in the headlights” group that will decide the future of our nation. If they only speak out or, worse, sit silent, the dictatorial, anti-democratic MAGAts will win. November 5, 2024, will tell the tale.

So – the question for Republicans is this: What do you do between now and on November 5? Do you (1) sit silent and do nothing, or (2) speak out (weakly), or, (3) vote for Democrats – because if you choose (1) or (2) this nation as we know it will no longer exist. We stand at the same point as did Germany in the 1930’s when they elected Hitler.

  • Democrats: Trump WILL lose in November, keep working

    The polls, mainstream press and pundits have constantly overrated Trump. They have treated him as some kind of political savant since he pulled off his fluky, upset win in 2016. Trump and his MAGA candidates have consistently lost since 2018. The elite pundits have largely ignored Trump’s long losing streak and have treated him as nearly invincible.

    At the same time, if you go onto the websites of the likes of the New York Times and CNN, you will see numerous stories about Biden’s political weaknesses, both real and imaginary. The pundits want you to believe Biden is in serious trouble, but two months after Nikki Haley pulled out of the race, Trump still has a Haley problem. Those same media outlets have rarely reported on Trump’s weakness with the GOP base. I will do it for you since the mainstream press won’t.

    Just last week, Trump had another weak showing — this time in the Indiana primary. Haley got 22% of the vote even though she dropped out of the race over two months ago. 128,000 voters in deep red Indiana voted for Haley. This is a warning sign for Trump that he will ignore.

    Over 100,000 Haley people voting against Trump is a big deal — because they didn’t have to. They’re normal people and they are tired of Trump. She dropped out months ago, yet they got in their cars and waited in line just to vote against him. Amazing!

    Haley is pulling in 30% to 34% of the vote in the Indianapolis suburbs. This is a real phenomenon we have seen in other primary states that seems to be growing.

    The Republicans and the press can’t blame Trump’s weak finish in the Indiana primary on being held in a liberal state. Indiana is not Washington, D.C., where Haley won a big victory just two days before dropping out. Indiana is a deep red state in which Trump won by 16% in 2020.

    Results in Indiana are similar to results in other recent primaries. About 20% of Republican voters in the swing states of Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania cast a ballot for someone other than Trump. Haley picked up about 17% of the vote in Pennsylvania on April 23. Haley won more than 157,000 votes, or about twice the 80,500-vote margin by which Democrat Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania in 2020.

    Trump has underperformed in every single primary contest since Super Tuesday, consistently dropping in vote percentage in the face of a ghost challenge from Haley. Ever since Haley withdrew from the race two a half months ago, she has garnered a healthy protest vote. Her voters don’t like Trump and don’t want to vote for him in November.

    Trump also did very poorly in the early GOP primaries. When he had opponents, Trump tallied anywhere from 50% to 60% of the Republican vote. This is alarmingly low because Trump is the equivalent of an incumbent president running for re-nomination.

    Anywhere from 50% to 60% of the Haley voters told exit pollsters they won’t vote for Trump in November. Another consistent data point in the GOP exit polls was that anywhere from 25% to 35% of Republicans won’t vote for Trump in November. Even Fox “News” said that Trump can’t win with those numbers. There is Trump fatigue in the GOP and a significant minority of Republicans won’t vote for Trump in November.

    There is a massive protest vote within the GOP that we are seeing in state after state. Trump’s weakness with GOP voters has been largely ignored by the mainstream press. The elite media prefers to obsess on outlier polls in which Biden allegedly trails.

    Trump also badly under performed the polls in the primaries. That under performance ranged anywhere from 8 percentage points to 26 percentage points. The polls tend to overrate Trump and the GOP and underrate the Democrats.

    Haley, for her part, has shown no sign of endorsing Trump. While she was in the race, Trump went full scorched Earth and constantly belittled and insulted her. Unlike the other GOP candidates who ran against Trump, she stood up to him. When Haley campaigned against Trump, she blasted her former boss over his conduct in office and his mental state, justifiably calling him “diminished” and “completely unhinged.” There is no love lost between the two Republican rivals.

    The divisions laid bare in the GOP primaries persist. Trump continues to insult Haley and her supporters. The disgraced former president has ostracized her donors and said he doesn’t need Haley’s votes. He has given Haley no incentive to endorse him.

    The Trump campaign has made no effort to bring Haley voters back into the GOP fold. Over two months after she suspended her campaign, Trump has yet to contact Haley to ask for her support. Trump is unable to unite the GOP.

    President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is appealing directly to supporters of Haley. “Nikki Haley voters, Donald Trump doesn’t want your vote,” Biden said in a social media post that included a link to a new ad from his campaign. “I want to be clear: There is a place for you in my campaign.”

    As a consequence of Trump’s insults, several big Haley donors are now raising money for Biden. This is a huge development because it takes those donors off the table and puts them in the Biden camp. The Biden campaign continues to reach out to Haley donors and supporters.

    Trump can’t win the general election with 78% of the Republican vote. In 2020, Trump got 94% of the Republican vote and lost. The country would be well served if most of the Haley voters either voted for Biden, voted third party, stayed home or wrote somebody in for president. They don’t have to vote for Biden to thwart Trump. Even Fox “News” has admitted that Trump can’t win without Haley’s supporters.

    Another symptom of Trump fatigue is that Mike Pence has declined to endorse his candidacy. This is huge news. What if Al Gore had refused to endorse Biden? In addition, 41 out of 44 Trump cabinet members have declined to endorse him. These are the people who know Trump best. This gives millions of Republicans a permission slip to not vote for Trump in November.

    Other prominent Republicans aren’t supporting Trump, either. Former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan said he won’t be voting for Trump. Ryan was the Speaker when the Republicans held the trifecta in 2017–18. He had to work with Trump on a daily basis during that period.

    There are plenty of other prominent Republicans who’ve it made clear that they don’t want Trump back in power — Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, and John Bolton have all announced that they don’t support Trump. These are people who worked closely with Trump when he was in the Oval Office.

    One of the few prominent Republicans who has endorsed Biden is former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan. He was on the front lines of Trump’s unsuccessful and illegal attempt to steal the 2020 election. Duncan said: “Unlike Trump, I’ve belonged to the GOP my entire life. This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass.”

    On the Democratic side, President Biden has consistently received between 86% — 95% of the vote in virtually every Democratic primary despite having several challengers. Last week, Biden got 100% of the Indiana vote. Biden continues to out perform Trump in the primaries. In addition, Biden consistently out performed the polls in the primaries.

    If Joe Biden had lost 22 percent to a candidate no longer in the race in a deep blue state, it would be front page news in the New York Times and Washington Post. There would calls from the elite pundits for Biden to drop out of the race, renewed speculation about a brokered convention and commentary about Democrats in disarray.

    “We have a lot of evidence, including last night’s strong Nikki Haley vote in Indiana, that as Americans get closer to voting — moving from registered voter to likely voter to voters — Trump and Republicans lose ground, and we gain. And the problem for Trump and the Republicans is the whole country has begun going through that process now and will continue to do so as we go deeper into 2024.” Simon Rosenberg.

    Trump has never once gotten more votes than his political opponent. Ever. And under his stewardship, the Republican Party has had historic electoral defeats in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023. The Democratic winning streak has continued into 2024.

    “If Trump was strong he would not have to paint his face, die his hair, wear girdles and diapers, get help from Putin, pay porn starts to keep quiet or get a clearly crazy dude with brain worms to run for President. Trump’s delusions, his bluster, all this is illiberalism are signs of a desperation, of weakness, of folks who are losing — it is all the very opposite of strength. Trump is a weak, pathetic and awful man not a strong man.” Simon Rosenberg.

    I’m convinced that the bottom will fall out for the GOP in October and we will win big. Trump and the MAGA Republicans are just too extreme. In addition, Trump has so much personal baggage. Swing voters will break heavily for the Democrats.

    The tale of two Trump advisors — one in jail, one on the way

    On October 31, 2020, former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon—who had left Trump’s administration in 2017—explained to a group of people that, knowing that votes for Biden would accumulate throughout the evening as mail-in ballots were counted, Trump planned simply to declare victory on election night, seizing the presidency and claiming that any results to the contrary were an attempt to steal the election from him. “[A]t 10 or 11 o’clock Trump’s gonna walk in the Oval, tweet out, ‘I’m the winner. Game over. Suck on that,’” Bannon was recorded as saying.

    That prediction was pretty much what happened, but Trump did not succeed in seizing the presidency. Next came plans to overturn the election results, and Bannon was also involved in those. Then, famously, on January 5, 2021, he predicted on his podcast that the next day, “all hell is going to break loose.”

    Not surprisingly, the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol wanted to talk to Bannon. It subpoenaed him in September 2021 for testimony and documents. When he refused to comply, a jury found him guilty of contempt of Congress in October 2022. A judge sentenced him to four months in jail but allowed him to stay out of jail while he appealed.

    Today a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld his conviction. He will not be jailed immediately; he can still appeal to a higher court. 

    Another White House advisor, Peter Navarro, appealed all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn his own conviction for contempt of Congress after he, too, refused to answer a House subpoena for testimony and documents. The Supreme Court denied his appeal, and Navarro reported to prison on March 19, 2024. He has asked a federal judge to let him serve the remainder of his sentence on supervised release, so far without luck. 

    Former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Joyce White Vance wrote: “Bannon is effectively out of appeals. He can delay a little bit longer, asking for the full court to review the decision en banc & asking SCOTUS to hear his case on cert, but neither one of those things will happen. Bannon is going to prison.”

    “Birdbrain” gets 20% of the PA primary vote spelling disaster for Trump

    “Birdbrain Out” Says Trump! After reports had surfaced that Donald Trump was considering “Birdbrain” — that’s his favorite name for Nikki Haley —  to be his running mate. Why Nikki Haley? Why now? Does she like dogs? It’s the invisible elephant in the room. The haunting specter which gives Donald Trump night sweats when all alone in his separate little room.  Alone in his separate little bed.

    In the final Republican Party Pennsylvania primary. “Birdbrain” took 20% of the Republican vote, despite dropping out of the race a solid month before election day. Can you say, What Whoa? What’s more, she took up to 25% of the suburban Republican vote. GOT THAT?  SHE HAD DROPPED OUT OF THE RACE A MONTH BEFORE ELECTION DAY AND SHE STILL GOT 20% OF THE VOTE.

    Either Nikki Haley is the new born Queen of the Republican Party. Rising like a rock star out of the ooze of the party to meteoric fame and adulation, or around 20% of the Republican voters don’t like Trump. “I know, let’s vote for that lady who dropped out of the race a month ago!”

    Consider this was a primary vote which many decided to sit out. Yet in this contest 20% of Republican voters took the time out of their busy day to tell Trump to get lost. Or 20% of the Republican Party electorate are clueless and not paying attention as to what goes on. Possibly, but those are primarily Trump voters. There is a serious math problem here for Team Trump.

    For Donald Trump to have even a ghost of a sliver of any chance at a narrow victory, everything must fall his way. He must win every single swing state and every toss-up race. Pennsylvania blows that scenario all to hell and back. If Trump gets his ass kicked in Pennsylvania, it’s going to be an early election night. Trump piling on votes in Alabama or South Dakota won’t matter. Trump will be toast before bedtime.

    Let’s just use that 20% discontent number as our barometer. Maybe Trump is only down 10% ii Indiana and only down 5% in Ohio. It signals in a forty-foot-tall banner headline with arc lights, “Trump Can’t Win!” The Republican electorate won’t get angry and form spontaneous anti-Trump rallies roaming the streets chanting, “We were fooled!”

    Old Trumpers don’t get mad, they just fade away. I can’t vote today; I have to adjust the headlights on my truck. I’ll vote twice next time! It’s all fixed anyway, so why even bother? A simple case of missing by a lot. Last time around, Trump was much more (relatively speaking) focused. This time around he’s scatter shot. He is cursing judges and promising mass deportations. Sure, it sounds like a lot of fun, but how do you get behind it?

    Vote Trump curse more Judges! I think it was Lincoln who wrote, “You can fool some of the people some of the time. And most of the Republicans all of the time.“ That most is 80% of the Republican voters in Pennsylvania with 20% of voters not likely to show up. Enthusiasm! You can’t spell enthusiasm without a thu. The nihilist Trumpers will perceive the election as just another George Soro’s led plot to fool the stupid indoctrinated masses. Regardless of the size of the Trump landslide. The truth will be suppressed by the deep state. So, I’ll just stay home, drink beer and watch the football highlights on TV.

    On the other side of the street, the Spock Republicans see another Trump presidential run as a waste of perfectly good air. These Republicans can do simple math. Trump lost the popular vote by three million votes in 2016. Seven million votes in 2020 and is projected to lose by possibly ten million votes this time around. Anyone have a Sharpie handy to connect the dots?

    The Pennsylvania vote affirms that point. They are living in a fantasy land. Maybe we should nominate Santa Claus? Everybody likes Santa Claus! The Pennsylvania numbers are trying to tell them something, and they just aren’t receiving the message. They do not want to hear the message. “No, no, no you can’t make me listen! “La, la, la, la! I don’t believe you! Your numbers are just a liberal plot. I don’t trust your terrorist Arabic numerals anyway.

    Boy, did you see the Trump rally?

    The secrets of a successful Trump Rally, “Secondary Market” (no competition) + Saturday + FREE! (Most essential) Trump holds a rally at an amusement park, how appropriate. You could eliminate half the crowd at a Trump rally by charging a simple surcharge of one dollar admission. The curious locals hoping to be groupies for a day on Fox News!

    Hold the rally outside and let your friends at the local Faux News affiliate claim 80 to 100,000 people attended. STOP! Think Rose Bowl, Kentucky Derby or Indy 500. That crowd was nowhere near 80 to 100,000 people. But it really wouldn’t matter if it was.

    The late Jimi Hendrix used to lament that he sometimes felt like nobody was really listening. His concerts were just a thing that came to town to see like the circus. Just something to see and do on the weekend.

    The fact that Nikki Haley is still getting 15% – 20% of GOP votes in primaries tells us that Trump is dead meat in November.  Some of these people will vote for Biden, some will stay home, some will simply not vote for President.  Either way, it took only a few votes for Trump to win the Electoral College in 2016 — he does not have those votes now.

    When Trump loses in November, will there be another January 6 ? No, will not happen.

    I continue to hear comments that Trump’s followers would be unlikely to take to the streets in protest following a guilty verdict in the New York election interference trial, and probably not even when  he loses in November. Let’s think about why there will be no insurrection —  neither after he is convicted nor after he loses in November.

    First, the trial. Trump has been complaining about the absence of protestors outside the courthouse. Naturally, he blames everyone but himself. The Circus Trump Wanted Outside His Trial Hasn’t Arrived:

    Mr. Trump sought to cast the poor turnout as more evidence of a plot against him. In a post at 8:50 a.m., he implied that would-be MAGA protesters were being discriminated against for political reasons.

    The police aren’t scaring his “supporters” away. Trump supporters simply are not there.  They don’t have the energy. Or the time. Or whatever. But MAGAts are not heeding the call. Now, when the case goes to the jury, there’s no way to know in advance when the verdict will come in, so it’s not likely the faithful will gather and stay in front of the courthouse (which isn’t a big space anyway) waiting to see if the jury and the judge crucify their savior. It is possible the Trump machine may organize groups around the country to demonstrate over the verdict either way, but the record of Trump rallies hasn’t been encouraging (eg, Donald Trump’s Crowd Size Raises Questions — about the Saturday rally in NJ). So, we may see some scattered noise-makers, but I predict nothing substantial or seriously disruptive.

    An additional reason I say this is that the January 6th rioters are now paying the price for that disruption, and seeing other people get arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison for doing what they did tends to cause others who want to do the same thing to hesitate before doing so.

    This is why I also think that when (I say, when) the would-be Mussolini loses in November, there will be at most scattered demonstrations and disruptions, but no army of the disaffected marching on Washington in The Name of the Lord Trump. A rational president is in charge and he is not about to play the same games with the police and DOD and the National Guard that the previous tenant of the White House indulged in. Any attempt to disrupt the workings of government this time will be dealt with as it deserves. This administration is not only aware of the possibility, it is making plans to protect the seat of democracy from violence.

    This will not necessarily dissuade the truly crazy, so we are likely to see small protests, some destruction, and some people will be hurt and some may be killed. Let us hope not. But I predict that there will not be an insurrection similar to the last one.

    The Senate is looking good for Democrats in 2024

    While the Senate is looking good for Democrats in 2024, we all MUST GET OUT AND VOTE AND TAKE ALL OUR DEMOCRATIC FRIENDS WITH US.

    Among Senate Republicans’ top targets this cycle, Arizona initially looked promising. While Senate Democrats are defending seats in even tougher territory such as Ohio and Montana, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s retirement in Arizona left Democrats fighting to protect a seat no longer anchored by a Democratic incumbent.

    But election denier and MAGA diehard Kari Lake, the likely GOP nominee, is upending Senate Republicans’ calculus in the state. Arizona Republicans are privately wincing at Lake’s chances, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently declined to name Arizona as a seat they are focused on flipping.

    Lake’s likely Democratic challenger, Rep. Ruben Gallego, is currently lapping her in fundraising while Senate Democrats are also roundly outgunning their GOP counterparts.

    The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC has reserved $23 million in ad buys for the fall, according to Politico, while Senate Republicans are still holding their fire.

    And Gallego, who has already spent $7.9 million in advertising, ended March with $9.6 million in cash on hand. Lake has spent just $170,000 in advertising to date, with $2.5 million on hand.

    But amid all the GOP doomsayers, one Senate Republican voiced a refreshingly contrarian view of Lake’s apparent collapse.

    Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the Senate GOP’s third in command, argued that Lake’s dire cash flow problem was just par for the course among Republicans. Barrasso said he is “expecting that just about every Republican candidate is going to be outspent.”

    Barrasso, who reportedly speaks with Lake often, argued that Republicans couldn’t afford to turn their backs on Arizona.

    “To me, Arizona is a top-tier state. Because it’s an open Senate seat,” he told Politico.

    Barrasso’s first assertion is correct: Democratic candidates and incumbents are already crushing Republicans in fundraising.

    But precisely because that’s true, Senate Republicans may have no choice but to abandon a potential nominee who is already flailing. The competition to suck up Senate GOP resources is already on and the budget will likely only get tighter. That’s at least partially why McConnell is presently training his sights on flipping fewer than a handful of seats: Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. That could change but, for now, Senate Republicans don’t have much room to maneuver.

    And Lake certainly can’t count on help from Donald Trump, who is beginning to see her as more of roadblock to his election than a help. Trump’s Arizona operation is damn near nonexistent, according to fresh reporting from The Washington Post.

    “There is no sign of life,” Kim Owens, an Arizona Republican operative, told the Post. “Especially in a state that Trump lost so closely last time, you’d expect to have more of a presence. I would think, ‘Let’s step it up.’ I think it’s a terrible mistake.”