Tidbit from a poll today

Nothing of politics has been noted here lately because there really is nothing profound to say. Hillary Clinton is not FDR or RFK. So there is the quadrennial temptation to say, Enough of this! Unless the Democrats reclaim their role as the party of economic justice and international peace, we should just let them hang! But no sooner does that thought form, then the Republicans trot out their nominee. That person is inevitably worse, and sometimes disastrously so. It is difficult to see how they could ever top their choice of this year. But ever since the election of George W. Bush in 2000, it’s been clear that the Republicans are vastly more talented at politics than at statecraft. And since then they have made so obvious the tools needed to fool all of the people some of the time that even an incurious, self-absorbed, personality-stunted celebrity could see how to manipulate a ratings-driven TV media and the anarchy of the internet to cobble together a winning coalition of low information, entitled, self-pitying followers sufficient to topple the powers-that-be in the party of anti-intellectual, white entitlement. And with the mantle of the party of complaint, self-pity and obstruction, the Republican nominee seems to command around the same number of votes nationally as the Democratic nominee, even though he is manifestly unstable, has dangerously low levels of impulse control and possesses neither basic knowledge of affairs or even a good instinct on matters of national concern. The Democrats have greatly suffered from their recent history of compromising on the power of labor, temporizing with the financial industry, substituting a politics of group identity for real civil rights enforcement, ignoring economic justice and emphasizing power rather than human rights in international affairs. And so by nominating a candidate who embodies so many of those mistakes the election is where it now is: The Democrats have nominated a candidate so unpopular that she probably could not defeat any serious Republican except their current nominee. And the Republicans have nominated a candidate so manifestly unfit that he probably could not defeat any serious Democrat except their current nominee.

None of that has really changed for a long time and none of it is likely to change. So why continue to rehash it?

I bring all of this up, however, only because yesterday’s Public Policy Polling presidential poll contained some interesting measures of public opinion. Not the presidential results, but rather some beliefs of likely Republican voters. One rarely expects to find much good policy views among this group but it is not often that one sees such surprising lack of sense. (Yes, yes, I know, they believe climatologists and evolutionists are parts of two giant cabals intending to damn their economy and their souls, respectively, purely as a hoax.) Consider the questions with respect to Russia. Bear in mind that this party’s last nominee, Mitt Romney, said that Russia was America’s single most important geopolitical foe. Their 2008 nominee, John McCain, made the Russian incursion into Georgia seem like the Anschluss. But in this current poll Republicans by a margin of 66-22 “say Clinton is a bigger threat to the United States than Russia.” One really has to marvel at the ability of a demagogue, skilled in media manipulation and supported by the talking points of a cynical political party, to demonize a particular person on whom they spill all their venom. On November 11, 2010, while she was the official taxed with America’s relations with the world, including Russia, she had a 61.7-32.9 approval rating. (Check here for her ratings over time.) I guess this current Republican delusion explains why Donald Trump can play footsie with Vladimir Putin and other despots and not suffer the fate that any other politician in the history of the United States would have.

That result might not seem as stunning to those who did not live in Cold War America where us-against them was taught as the only patriotic way of thinking. Or maybe Republicans have finally become inured to the fact that their party has been hijacked by autocratic Russophiles and those with intimate financial ties to the Russian oligarchy. But surely in the 21st century this must come as a shock:

33% [of Republicans] think Clinton even has ties to Lucifer,
to 36% who say they don’t think so,
and 31% who are unsure either way.

In other words, 64% of Republicans either believe or entertain as a serious possibility not only that Lucifer exists but that Hillary Clinton has unholy conversation with him.

No wonder Trump spent next to nothing on his primary campaign and doesn’t believe in get-out-the-vote. Evidently, his party can be had with two bit conjurations and a couple of voodoo dolls.

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  1. D.K. You’re very funny as usual, even on this rather unfunny topic: “In other words, 64% of Republicans either believe or entertain as a serious possibility not only that Lucifer exists but that Hillary Clinton has unholy conversation with him.” Love it!

    Will share a letter of mine published in Cincinnati Enquirer on July 27, 2016:

    On the Democratic convention, I thought the editorial of Cindi Andrews on July 26 (“Ohio leaders try, but Democratic unity is elusive”) was a fair-minded report on what she was witnessing. She showed us the photo of a nurse from Cleveland, a Bernie delegate, and allowed her to speak freely about her “disgust” with the primary season the Democrats conducted.
    Many Bernistas are saying that it is the vulture capitalism supported by both U. S. parties that has enraged workers and created Donald Trump. Does seem curious that the Democratic Party is now appealing to the progressive people it normally ignores to save it!
    Some voters say they will go for Jill Stein of the Green Party (“JillnotHill”). I’m definitely a Bernista, and after the emails and Tim Kaine and my fright about more of the terrible wars Clinton has supported in the past, I’m going to find November 8 a truly difficult day. Not sure yet what I will do on that date.

    • Martha, It is good to hear from you. Where have you been? Have you stopped posting altogether?

      As for your point, I certainly understand your feelings. But I’ve come out on the same side as Noam Chompsky, whose position was summarized in Politico article: “Chomsky, who lives in the blue state of Massachusetts, said he would vote for Clinton if he lived in a swing state such as Ohio.

      “’Oh absolutely … my vote would be against the Republican candidate,’ Chomsky told Al Jazeera English’s Mehdi Hasan in a two-part interview — part of which will air Friday on ‘UpFront.’

      “Chomsky cited ‘enormous differences’ between the two major political parties. ‘Every Republican candidate is either a climate change denier or a skeptic who says we can’t do it,’ Chomsky said. ‘What they are saying is, “Let’s destroy the world.” Is that worth voting against? Yeah.’”

      What convinced me to vote for the only candidate who has a plausible chance of defeating Donald Trump are the following:

      1. Trump encourages his political thugs to rough up black protestors. Over the last century we have plenty of evidence (Portugal, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina) that thuggery in politics leads to authoritarians. Has there ever been a counter-example?

      2. Trump’s “Deportation Force”. Imagine what such a force would do in the Little Guatemala you described in your last post. And consider that he is talking about roiunding up more than 8 times the people that Operation Wetback did in the 1950s. With such a massive operation, forget due process, civil rights and other niceties. If Trump is elected and I were Hispanic or Muslim, I would make sure that my documentation of citizenshiip or legal residency were deposited in a secure safety deposit box in a big bank so that a lawyer could access it later, to prevent “accidental” destruciton.

      3. All recent achievements go down the drain. We agree that the Obama administration did not usher in a New Deal. But a Trump administration will uproot health insurance for 8 million and access to Medicaid for millions more. The Justice Department will not be enforcing the Civil Rights Acts, quite the reverse. If you liked Citizens United you will love the Trump appointments. It will only be harder to get money out of politics.

      4. The Situation Room. I know you are old enough to remember experiencing the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is inconceivable to me that Donald Trump’s management of a crisis like that would end well for anyone.

      5. The NRA. I am still mad about Newtown. I will always vote for the best way to get AR-15s off the street.

      In weighing a 3rd party vote, I always remember Florida in 2000. I wonder if 3 years later, all those who thought that voting for Nader still believed that they had “sent a message” to the powers that be.

      To me electoral politics is not religion. Voting is not a sacrament. We vote for the best alternative. It would perhaps be nice if we had 3 or 4 or 5 parties. But we don’t. And it won’t make it more likely by voting for Stein this year.

      Now, if you were a militant revolutionary, you might follow the Leninist prescription that things have to get very bad before they get better. But frankly I am too old to be learning how to use a Kalashnikov and I really don’t see any violent revolution in the offing that will produce anything but a worse state.

      So I will not be wearing any “I’m with Her” buttons, but I will definitely not be having a difficult time pulling the level for Clinton.

      • Um-m-m. Keep ‘er hanging as long as possible, at least, make her promise more and more that will be hard to take back once in office (not that she won’t manage it). No More War was the cry of the Bernistas last week in Phil. — when Obama spoke, I believe; Biden, and then Clinton! Can a world full of death, a torn to pieces Iraq and ME, ISIS created, people starving in Fallujah, Yemen, Saudi Arabia chock full of our 46 billion. Under Obama U. S. selling more arms than any other president in the known universe. Europe full of refugees and terror . . . could it really be any worse? The whole Dem machine gets off scot free just because they’ve created a Trump? Maybe that was smart of them, after all. (Chomsky has a new wife and seems to be mellowing.)

  1. August 6th, 2016

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