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Trump expresses all his pent-up contempt for women in two words to NBC's Savannah Guthrie

The takeaway from Trump's self-immolation at his Town Hall on Thursday can be found exactly at the 1:57 mark in the video above, when he sarcastically expresses his contempt for moderator Savannah Guthrie, who has clearly gotten under his skin. He mutters it, underneath his breath, and you could be forgiven for missing it, but for a fleeting second we get a glimpse of all the animosity, all the malice, all the narcissism, all the misogyny and contempt this man feels towards women. You can just hear it in his voice:

"Ha Ha. So cute."

From The Independent:

The president and the Ms Guthrie exchanged barbs during a heated opening to the NBC event.
Mr Trump even sarcastically told the TV host "so cute" when she pressed him to denounce QAnon's wild conspiracy theories.

From the New York Times:

"Why aren't you asking Joe Biden questions about why doesn't he condemn antifa?" Mr. Trump asked her.
"Because you're here," she said, matter-of-factly.
"So cute," Mr. Trump responded, in a condescending tone that was unlikely to endear him to the suburban women voters he has been trying to win back.

x

I think the suburban women will love Trump telling Savannah Guthrie sarcastically that she is "so cute."
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) October 16, 2020

And one other note; As of 9:55 EST, nearly a half hour after his own town hall ended, Joe Biden is still there, answering voters' questions.

How Donald Trump lost the financial markets — thanks to Mitch McConnell

Donald Trump has a recurring "go to" line which he has trotted out over and over throughout his entire 2020 campaign: that a Biden presidency would tank the financial markets and send millions of 401k's reeling into a Depression. Considering the fact that he'd inherited a booming economy and a rising stock market to match from former president Barack Obama, Trump's claims in this regard never had any basis in reality. The economy under Democratic presidents always outpaces, on balance, those of Republicans, a fact which even Koch-type libertarians will glumly stipulate to.

But Americans have notoriously short memories, and Trump knows that. So explains his fixation on the stock market as the lodestone for whatever ad hoc financial policies his team of radical economic incompetents could dream up, to the point where they actively engaged in ginning up temporary boosts to the markets as a substitute for any coherent fiscal policy. Announcing phony "agreements" with the Chinese government to draw attention away from a wholly disastrous and unnecessary "trade war" he himself instigated was one favored scheme employed by Trump to move the markets higher.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its grotesque mismanagement quickly revealed how rudderless and lacking in any economic logic Trump's stewardship of the economy had been, and Trump quickly relinquished any pretense of formulating policy to the beleaguered Federal Reserve, which responded by immediately using its limited toolbox in cutting interest rates essentially out of existence. Meanwhile, even as tens of millions became suddenly unemployed overnight, while GDP levels precipitously collapsed to levels mirroring the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and while businesses in the retail, travel and hospitality industry shuttered, many for good, the stock market as reflected by the Dow Jones and Nasdaq continued to flourish. With some notably unsettling gyrations, the markets remained relatively stable, creating something Trump clearly had hoped to brag about at Joe Biden's expense.

But markets typically price in the next three to six months of economic activity, and market analysts are perfectly capable of reading political tea leaves. As reported last week by the New York Times, a gradual consensus is emerging on Wall Street that not only is Vice- president Biden highly likely to win the November election, but that the result will be a boost to the financial markets, as opposed to what Trump has been loudly warning about.

As the Times' Matt Phillips reports:

B]eneath the volatility, which reflects investors' reaction to short-term developments, a subtle shift is occurring on Wall Street. Investors and analysts have begun to take into account the possibility that Mr. Trump's time in the White House may soon be over, as Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. continues to pull ahead in polls just weeks before the election.

And that is producing some optimism on Wall Street, because many investors believe that the higher Mr. Biden climbs in polls, the lower the chance of a contested presidential election. An election with no clear winner and the fading prospects of another round of stimulus are two of the biggest threats to market stability.

In this regard, Biden's and Democrats' standing with the financial markets has been (perversely) aided by the scorched earth tactics of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has prioritized further damaging an economy he now clearly believes Biden, not Trump, will be handed come January, 2021. McConnell's refusal to negotiate in good faith any fiscal stimulus—even one deemed absolutely essential by both Wall Street and the Fed—has prompted the markets to re-evaluate their misgivings over potentially higher tax rates for the wealthy and stricter government regulation, in light of the boost to the economy a Democratically-passed stimulus promises to provide.

Phillips explains that under the unprecedented stress of current economic conditions, the markets are looking to that stimulus as a lifeline—and they don't care who provides it:

[I]nvestors are of the view that a "blue wave" victory — in which Democrats retain the House of Representatives and retake the Senate as well as the presidency — represents the best chance to get another large injection of federal money into an economy that continues to struggle. Economists and policymakers, including the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, say such assistance is sorely needed, as job growth stalls, layoffs mount and temporary furloughs turn into permanent cuts.

As a result Trump can no longer credibly point to the resilient stock market in support of his own candidacy. The market now believes Trump will lose, and thanks to McConnell, believe that stocks will fare better under a Democratic trifecta in the House, Senate and Presidency. Indeed, as Phillips notes, investors "now see an indisputable win for Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party as the most favorable outcome for the market." So not only are the markets rooting for a Biden and Democratic victory, they are hoping for a blowout, since that will take the any economic uncertainty of a "contested" election out of the picture and ensure that a Democratic House and Senate provide the type of substantial stimulus needed to rejuvenate the American economy.

During this past year, the stock market—whose rewards are not shared by the majority of Americans-- has been strangely and noticeably out of sync with the day-to-day reality being faced by millions. A sweeping Democratic victory on November 3rd now appears likely to serve the interests of everyone—everyone except, perhaps, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

Here's the simple reason why Republicans think they can afford to abandon the American people

Currently, all talks regarding further stimulus relief to Americans and American businesses ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic are in limbo. Donald Trump's erratic and confusing tweets are sending mixed signals following the negative reaction of some Republican lawmakers to his unilateral "announcement" earlier this week, declaring that stimulus discussions had ended. Beyond those confusing signals, however, there is no indication that Democrats and Republicans are likely to achieve any agreement on further relief prior to the Nov. 3 election.

There are several important points in this article by Eric Levitz, writing for New York Magazine, that go a long way in explaining why Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues believe they can effectively abandon millions of Americans to homelessness, hunger, and unemployment, even consigning American businesses to bankruptcy, by stonewalling further efforts by Democrats to provide COVID-19 relief funding. Levitz convincingly explains why Republicans believe this even though they know the American people may very well punish them by voting them out of power.

As Levitz points out, the primary sticking point for the GOP is not, as many suspect, the aid proposed to individuals in the form of stimulus checks or even increased unemployment benefits. Instead, Republicans are caught on fiscal assistance to those states whose budgets are being drained, thanks to dwindling tax revenues caused by the pandemic. Conservative media have transformed this seemingly logical extension of emergency fiscal appropriations into a culture war flashpoint, with aid to "Democrat states" being vilified as funding programs that (you guessed it) primarily benefit ethnic minorities. In order for any meaningful stimulus legislation to pass, several Republican senators would have to go on the record as supporting such aid, including some senators who are not particularly at risk this cycle.

The most plausible explanation for this state of affairs is this: Most Senate Republicans face no great risk of losing their seats to a Democrat this year or any other. For them, the main threat to their power is a primary challenge. And right now, conservative media has turned opposition to fiscal aid into a cause célèbre, casting support for "blue-state bailouts" as treasonous. Thus, to pass a Pelosi-friendly stimulus deal out of the Senate, McConnell would have to bring a bill to the floor that a majority of his caucus would vote against. This would imperil his leadership. And so he is not going to do it.

Levitz observes that there is one idea animating McConnell's thinking: Even if he loses his majority now, historically, the odds are that he'll be back in power—and very soon. The reasons for this have to do with the structure and makeup of the Senate itself, a body that gives undue power to Republicans despite their lower numbers in terms of the actual American population. As Levitz notes, based on the results of the last two presidential elections, "The median U.S. state is 6.6 percentage points more Republican than America as a whole," thanks to the polarization of urban vs. rural districts in terms of their political demographics.

Thanks to urban-rural polarization — and our Republic's abundance of scarcely populated rural states — Republicans have a massive built-in advantage in the Senate. This doesn't just mean that many GOP incumbents hail from places where Democrats are few and far between. It also means that it is very hard for Republicans to ever be more than one solid midterm away from controlling the upper chamber.

And that's key to McConnell's calculus. Even without passing a stimulus, he still has a decent shot at a 51-vote majority. The races in North Carolina, Maine, and Iowa are all close. And the Democratic candidate in the Tarheel State is mired in an adultery scandal. What's more, even if McConnell loses his majority, Democrats' odds of holding more than 52 seats next January are quite low. Assuming a Biden victory, the GOP would have an excellent chance of winning back Senate control in 2022, as the opposition party almost always enjoys a major turnout advantage in midterm elections. By walking away from the stimulus, McConnell is prioritizing conservative ideology over personal power. But the political cost of doing this is relatively low.

Barring a sea change in this country's political alignments, McConnell simply believes he'll be back in two years as Senate majority leader. Why not leave Biden to face a charred landscape, so that he'll just spend those two years digging the country out of it? As Levitz points out, "[T]the Senate's bias deforms the GOP by enabling it to ignore public opinion—and utterly betray the material interests of its own voters—without ever putting itself out of contention for federal power." In short, McConnell can afford to cripple the American economy because he knows his return to power as the Senate's majority leader is not contingent on the will of the majority of the American people.

The fact that our political system of government structurally supports the modern Republican Party (due to the fact that rural voters tend to be less educated, less cosmopolitan, and therefore more receptive to racist rhetoric and appeals) has led us into a type of institutional corrosion, where Republicans can effectively ignore the will of the majority of the people and still stay in power. It is highly doubtful that the founders of the country imagined this as the endgame to their constitutional scheme, but it is an inherent, glaring flaw in our system that cannot be corrected by any feasible means (unlike the Electoral College system, for example, which could conceivably be abolished by constitutional amendment).

Assuming Joe Biden is elected on Nov. 3, and assuming Democrats manage to retake the Senate, what this means from a practical standpoint is that President Biden must act with sweeping, extensive measures immediately upon his inauguration, not only to salvage the wreckage of the republic that Republicans are deliberately leaving him, but to ensure that those measures last beyond merely the next election cycle. There can be no bipartisanship—in fact, that word needs to be excised from the Democratic lexicon. It should go without saying that to achieve this, the legislative filibuster must be eliminated on Day One. Yes, Republicans will likely once again dominate the Senate, but if they are permitted to block any legislative measures at this time, the country will face endless, permanent stagnation.

But there is something else that must be done, and this will be the greatest challenge: The Supreme Court must be expanded. With the advent of a 6-3 right-wing majority looming, there is simply no other option.

As Nicholas Bagley, writing for The Atlantic points out, we have already been given a preview of what damage a 6-3 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court will wreak on any legislation passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by a Democratic president. Because that is what is happening in Michigan, right now.

Last week, in a 4–3 party-line vote, Republican judges on the Michigan Supreme Court invalidated a law that had empowered a historically popular Democratic chief executive to take emergency actions to combat COVID-19. The basis for the decision was an antiquated doctrine that conservatives on the United States Supreme Court have signaled they want to revive.

[...]That brazen ruling in Michigan previews where the U.S. Supreme Court might take the country, especially with the breathing room that a 6–3 conservative supermajority would create. Although the news media have mostly focused on what a Justice Amy Coney Barrett would mean for abortion and gun rights, her confirmation may pose a more fundamental threat to good governance. The United States Supreme Court, like the Michigan Supreme Court, may become an even more stridently partisan instrument than it already is, one that by design will frustrate Democratic efforts to govern.

What the right-wing majority of the Michigan Supreme Court relied on in striking down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders issued under the state's Emergency Powers statute is something known as the "non-delegation" doctrine, a vague and antiquated legal principle which, as Bagley describes, "ostensibly prohibits legislatures from passing laws that delegate too much power, or power of the wrong kind, to the executive branch." On the federal level, that doctrine, which has not been used to invalidate an act of Congress for nearly a century, was effectively defunct until Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch argued in a dissenting opinion last year that it should be revived.

As Bagley explains, the "non-delegation" doctrine, if reestablished, would permit the Supreme Court to invalidate virtually any legislation that it considers to be an executive "overreach." There is little doubt that the Court, with the addition of yet another conservative fanatic, would be receptive to reinstating it as a weapon to nullify Democratic legislation.

A revived nondelegation doctrine would give conservatives a useful tool to beat back laws adopted under a Biden administration. Judges have no principled way to identify statutes that delegate too much power or power of the wrong kind, a point made most eloquently by Justice Antonin Scalia. But if Michigan is any guide, Republican judges will be especially eager to find that the line has been crossed once Democrats are in charge.
[...]

The larger lesson [from Michigan]is that Republican judges are serious about using their power to obstruct Democrats in office, even when doing so is legally indefensible and blatantly undemocratic—indeed, even when it jeopardizes human life. There's no reason to expect a conservative supermajority on the United States Supreme Court to act with more restraint. The Republican-appointed justices have the votes to impede pretty much anything Democrats aim to do, whether that's mitigating climate change, expanding access to health care, or extending statehood to Puerto Rico or Washington, D.C.

So while a President Biden will have to act immediately just to repair the economic devastation Senate Republicans are leaving behind, he must also expand the Court in order to preserve the ability of a Democratic legislature to even function. With a Supreme Court soon to be dominated by rabid, right-wing partisans eager to demolish any legislation that conflicts with their ideology, there is simply going to be no other choice.

Put bluntly: Big changes have to happen, and happen rapidly, if this country is going to survive.

Paul Krugman: Trump's spiteful actions offer a dire warning about what's to come if he loses on Nov. 3

We must assume, based on all evidence, that Donald Trump's primary motivation is not rooted in any political calculus, but is pure, unadulterated spite. Economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, writing for the The New York Times, came to that conclusion after Trump's abrupt dismissal this week of COVID-19 relief efforts intended to ease the economic suffering of Americans and American businesses. And because of that, Krugman warns, the implications when he loses his bid for reelection on Nov. 3, which current polls indicate is likely, are dire for the country.

[W]e got a preview of what a lame-duck Trump presidency might look like Tuesday. Trump hasn't even lost yet, but he abruptly cut off talks on an economic relief package millions of Americans desperately need (although as of Thursday he seemed to be backtracking). And his motivation seems to have been sheer spite.

The necessity for both further stimulus and relief for both businesses shuttered by the pandemic and Americans facing prolonged unemployment has been explored extensively on this site and elsewhere. Krugman, however, looks at the political ramifications of what Trump is doing and comes away with one inarguable conclusion: For Trump, there is no political rationale at work here. What we are witnessing unfolding in real time is a wholly emotional reaction borne of rage and vindictiveness from an unbalanced sociopath who is now directing his fury at the American people.

Krugman carefully dissects and dismisses the excuses put forth by Senate Republicans (under the aegis of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) for their failure to provide an aid package to the American people. The right insists that further aid would signify an implicit and unwelcome acknowledgement that government solutions are necessary in times of unprecedented crisis; that much of the aid being sought would go towards Democratically-run states; and that further unemployment aid will discourage people from returning to an unsafe work environment.

But none of these reasons make sense from a political standpoint. Americans are still hurting by the millions, hundreds of thousands of businesses are barely hanging on, and state budgets are collapsing. This is occurring in every state, not just in "blue" ones.

And, as he points out, it's not only Democrats but Wall Street itself that is expressing the need for further stimulus and COVID-19 relief funding. It is the Federal Reserve that is expressing its exasperation at a president and Senate majority leader who seem to have abandoned all sense of economic reality.

As far as I can tell, nobody has offered a plausible political motive, any way in which refusing even to try rescuing the economy helps Trump's prospects. What this looks like, instead, is vindictiveness.
[***]
Yet getting a relief deal would have required accepting a compromise with that "nasty" woman Nancy Pelosi. And it seems that he would rather let the economy burn.

If this is Trump's attitude now, and if—despite all his machinations, despite Attorney General William Barr's phony witch hunts, despite his clarion call for assistance from the Russian Federation, despite his threats of violence and refusal to accept the election results, and despite Fox News' incessant propaganda supporting and encouraging these efforts—he does in fact lose on Nov. 3, what will be his reaction? And what will someone with Trump's vindictive mindset and complete lack of human empathy do to sabotage or destroy the country in the final months of his presidency?

The most immediate concern is that he won't accept the election results. But we should also be worried about what will follow if he is forced to accept the will of the people, but is still running the country. Trump has always been vindictive; what will he do if and when he has nothing left but spite?

It appears we are all about to find out. But one thing seems certain: Whatever revenge Trump takes will be felt by all. Not just by Democrats, who he will see as the direct reason for his downfall, but also by Republicans, who he will see as having failed him.

Paul Krugman issues a warning about what's to come when Trump loses

Economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Times, warns that, given Trump's abrupt dismissal this week of COVID-19 relief efforts intended to ease the economic suffering of Americans and American businesses, we must assume, based on all evidence, that his primary motivation is not rooted in any political calculus, but of pure, unadulterated spite. And because of that, the implications when he loses his bid for re-election on November 3rd, as current polls indicate is likely, are dire for the country.

[W]e got a preview of what a lame-duck Trump presidency might look like Tuesday. Trump hasn't even lost yet, but he abruptly cut off talks on an economic relief package millions of Americans desperately need (although as of Thursday he seemed to be backtracking). And his motivation seems to have been sheer spite.

The necessity for further stimulus and relief to businesses shuttered by the pandemic and Americans facing prolonged unemployment as a result has been treated extensively on this site and elsewhere. Krugman, however, looks at the political ramifications of what Trump is doing, and comes away with one inarguable conclusion: for Trump, there is no political rationale at work here. What we are witnessing unfolding in real time is a wholly emotional reaction, borne of rage and vindictiveness, by an unbalanced sociopath who is now training his fury at the American people.

Krugman carefully dissects and dismisses the excuses put forth by Senate Republicans (under the aegis of Mitch McConnell) for their failure to provide an aid package to the American people: that further aid would signify an implicit and unwelcome acknowledgement that government solutions are necessary in times of unprecedented crisis; that much of the aid being sought would go towards Democratically-run states; and that further unemployment aid will discourage people from returning to an unsafe work environment.

But none of these reasons make sense from a political standpoint. Americans are still hurting by the millions, hundreds of thousands of businesses are barely hanging on, and state budgets are collapsing. This is all occurring not just in "blue" states but in every state.

And, as he points out, it is not only Democrats, but Wall Street itself that is expressing the need for further stimulus and COVID relief funding. It is the Federal Reserve that is expressing its exasperation at a president and Senate Majority leader who seem to have abandoned all sense of economic reality.

As far as I can tell, nobody has offered a plausible political motive, any way in which refusing even to try rescuing the economy helps Trump's prospects. What this looks like, instead, is vindictiveness.
[***]
Yet getting a relief deal would have required accepting a compromise with that "nasty" woman Nancy Pelosi. And it seems that he would rather let the economy burn.

But if this is Trump's attitude now, and despite all his machinations, despite William Barr's phony witch hunts, despite his clarion call for assistance from the Russian Federation, despite his threats of violence and refusal to accept the election results, and despite Fox News' incessant propaganda supporting him in these efforts, he does in fact lose on November 3rd, what will be his reaction? And what will someone with Trump's vindictive mindset and complete lack of human empathy do to sabotage or destroy the country in the final two and one-half months before he is forced to leave?

The thing is, if he's behaving like this now, when he still has some chance of winning, how will he act if he loses?
The most immediate concern is that he won't accept the election results. But we should also be worried about what will follow if he is forced to accept the will of the people, but is still running the country. Trump has always been vindictive; what will he do if and when he has nothing left but spite?

It appears we are all about to find out. But one thing seems certain—whatever revenge Trump takes will be felt by all: Democrats, who he will see as the direct reason for his downfall, and Republicans, who he will see as having failed him.

There's a simple reason Trump isn't getting a sympathy bounce

The New York Times reports there is no sign of a "sympathy bounce" for Trump since his positive COVID-19 diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization at Walter Reed.

The Trump campaign is hoping the nation will rally around the ailing president as he battles the coronavirus. But the first polls conducted since the president's announcement of his diagnosis early Friday did not seem to show a sympathy bounce.

In support of this conclusion the Times cites the Ipsos/Reuters poll released October 4th, which includes polling conducted after Trump's COVID-19 positive status was divulged, noting that "The poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans, including half of Republicans, think Mr. Trump could have avoided the virus if he had taken it more seriously."

So there is an unusually broad, bipartisan consensus, extending across both ends of the political spectrum, that Trump's misfortune is essentially his own fault. And the fact that former Vice President Biden continues to maintain (and extend) his significant lead over Trump in the national polls, even in light of Trump's hospitalization, together with that perception by Americans that Trump himself is to blame for his own infection, are the factors the Times apparently relies upon to explain why no "sympathy bounce" is evident (presumably such a "sympathy bounce" would be reflected in a more narrow lead for for Vice President Biden).

A president succumbing to a potentially serious—even lethal-- illness is a rare occurrence in the modern era. The last time a president was publicly diagnosed with a critical medical problem was likely Ronald Reagan, who underwent surgery in 1985 to have some cancerous polyps removed from his intestines. The health issues of John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt were elaborately disguised to keep the public in the dark about their conditions as much as possible, so it's not possible to guess what sort of sympathy they would have evoked. A less meaningful but still relevant comparison is the enormous "bounce" that George W. Bush received in the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks; although Bush himself was not the victim of the attacks, the perception, right or wrong, that he was exhibiting leadership of the country directly in their aftermath led 90% of Americans to express, if not sympathy, broad approval for his behavior, contrasting sharply with his approval ratings prior to the attacks.

But Donald Trump, despite the ominous ramifications of his diagnosis, is so far receiving nothing that would suggest either sympathy or any increased approval from the American public. And the explanation for this must lie beyond the merely political; even if George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama—all quite polarizing figures in our political era-- had been stricken with a malady as potentially debilitating or deadly as COVID-19, while some ultra-partisans would doubtless be gloating with pleasure, its difficult to believe that any of these presidents would not have generated a sympathetic reaction among the general public that would have been reflected in the polling.

Politically Donald Trump is not far removed from George W. Bush in what he has actually achieved—enormous tax cuts for the wealthy, the appointment of rabid right-wing judges, deregulation and degradation of the environment—the list of similarities is actually quite long. But if we assume that the public would sympathize with such an illness striking George W. Bush, but refuse to do the same with Donald J. Trump, then the explanation must be elsewhere.

Donald Trump is unique among American presidents in that he has deliberately gone out of his way to publicly abuse, malign and impugn various segments of the American public. He first displayed this tendency during the 2016 campaign, when he denigrated undocumented immigrants, so-called "Mexican" Judges, members of the press, even going so far as to mock those with disabilities. His entire campaign against Hillary Clinton (whom he labelled as "crooked Hillary) was rooted in abuse and insults.

Since becoming president Trump has doubled down on this behavior at every turn, maligning our intelligence agencies, fallen American soldiers and POW's ("losers and suckers") Congresswomen of color, peaceful protesters, ethnic minorities of all persuasions, Democrats, Republicans, women and men. Through his active Twitter fingers he has spewed a relentless torrent of bile at nearly everyone in this country, even saving his private contempt for his most ardent supporters.

But beyond the verbal and Twitter abuse, Trump has also taken concrete, substantive actions to express his contempt and abusive feelings towards Americans as a whole, none more deadly and far-reaching than his sustained effort to minimize the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike his selective abuse of certain groups and individuals, this malevolence was directed in effect at all American citizens. He offered them a stark choice—believe what he said about the seriousness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, or face demonization and more abuse. He directed that abuse and mistreatment towards Democratic governors and by implication, towards the citizens who had elected those governors to manage their states, for their efforts to resist his blanket exhortations to reopen their businesses. He directed that abuse towards teachers who repudiated his edicts to reopen the schools even in the face of clear danger, and by implication he directed his abuse towards the children and young people forced with no choice but to abide by premature and ill-advised school reopenings decisions that he himself pushed for.

Meanwhile, he steadfastly ignored the mounting death toll resulting from his casual disregard of Americans' lives. He ignored the individual tragedies of those Americans coping with not only the sicknesses and deaths of their loved ones, but also with a devastating economic crisis that threatened their very lives and their families' futures. And while all this was occurring he continued to lie and mislead to Americans about the lack of any progress being made. So Americans find themselves, in October, no better off than they were in March, when the nation shut down on the assumption that the federal government would take some type of effective measures to combat the pandemic.

And all the while, the abuse, the insults, the arrogant self-aggrandizement continued. It never let up, in fact. It manifested itself most recently in an appalling debate performance that significant majorities of Americans condemned as self-serving and providing nothing in the way of assistance to their lives.

Into this befouled environment—teeming with sheer, wanton disregard for American citizens--came the unsurprising revelation that the Trump White House has now become a bubbling Petri dish of COVID-19 infection, entirely as a result of its inhabitants' own arrogant behavior—and now, that Trump himself is among the infected. But as the polls reflect, Americans by and large simply don't care. That's not a reflection of the president's political positions, but a reflection back of the behavior he has exhibited towards Americans during his entire tenure in office. Americans know that this president doesn't care one whit about their lives, so there is no reason for them to care about him, his family, or anyone else that works in this White House.

So it isn't simply the fact that Trump clearly brought this on himself that's behind the lack of a "sympathy bounce." It's that he's never exhibited the slightest shred of human empathy towards American citizens either through his words or actions. Put bluntly, Americans are tired of being shit on over and over by this shameful excuse for a president, and as a result most don't care whether he gets sick or sicker than he is right now. The polls reflect the fact that a clear majority of Americans want him out of office, and at this point they don't give a damn what condition he's in when he leaves.There

Americans are realizing the emperor is naked -- and that his private parts are not very impressive

All of us are being subjected to what we can only hope is Donald Trump's last attempt to con Americans into believing he has any of their interests whatsoever at heart. With an election looming in less than 40 days—an election which Trump is poised to lose—we should all have expected this.

But the moment is finally upon us when the American people have become wise to the con. This is the worst moment for any conman, and Trump knows this, so the lies are becoming more fanciful, more divorced from reality as he gropes into what is fast becoming a very empty bag of tricks.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for us, and now it's time for us to fight for her. Sign up with 2020 Victory to make phone calls to voters in battleground states for Joe Biden & a Democratic Senate. All you need is a personal computer, a quiet place to make phone calls & a determination to fight.

First example: the healthcare plan that doesn't exist. As observed by BuzzFeed News:

Thursday's announcement was billed as "President Trump's Healthcare Vision for America" but contained no tangible action. Trump has long promised a "beautiful" and "phenomenal" healthcare plan that provides everyone with better coverage for a lower cost, but his administration never unveiled any comprehensive reform plan, even as it was trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
Both key planks of Trump's healthcare vision Thursday essentially boil down to directing Congress — which has repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare or offer a consensus replacement plan — to figure it out.

The Republican Party spent seven years attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, coyly referring to their efforts as "replace and repeal" to calm the nerves of those millions who they planned to cut adrift from all healthcare coverage if they were to succeed. But there never was a replacement plan. Because Republicans don't do policy, they never bothered to put in the work to provide something even remotely palatable as an alternative to the ACA. Ultimately, that's one of the reasons they failed.

Donald Trump doesn't do policy either. His modus operandi amounts to cheap magic tricks that he essentially pulls out of his ass and forgets about a week later. He has no healthcare plan, and he knows it. On Thursday he whipped out a series of proposed executive orders that do exactly … nothing.

At this point, Americans are not impressed. You won't see many Republican candidates hitching their wagons to any "Trump healthcare plan," because they know they'll be laughed out of the ballot box. They know what they're dealing with here. And fortunately, at this point, so does a clear majority of American voters, it seems.

Second example: the imaginary $200 bribe to seniors in the form of "Trump Cards" that don't exist.

From Trump's speech on Thursday:

"Under my plan, 33 million Medicare beneficiaries will soon receive a card in the mail containing $200 that they can use to help pay for prescription drugs. ... Joe Biden won't be doing this."

This is meaningless. He claims he has a "plan," but it's a plan that's already been rejected. The plan was for pharmaceutical companies to pay for these and send them out. Probably in exchange for … something we'll never find out, because Big Pharma already said "No."

Ergo, there ain't nothing coming in the mail to anyone at this point. Where is all this money magically being diverted from, and under whose authority? Does anyone believe this administration has the competence or logistical savvy to send out millions of these cards so that they'd be received in less than six weeks?

Not. Gonna. Happen. It's fairy dust, tossed for the media to chase, just like they chase every tweet this wretched thing emits.

But the third, most desperate con of all is the one that is driving the media wild with worry: the big "what will he do" con.

"Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very—we'll have a very peaceful—there won't be a transfer (of power) frankly, there'll be a continuation."

Oh my God! He won't accept the election results? He'll try to throw out the mail-in ballots? Cherry-pick some right-wing, loony-tune federal judge to say they're fraudulent?

How exactly is that going to work, in practice? Because—bear with me, people, and let me know if I'm totally off base here—but doesn't every single ballot that has Trump's name on it also have the name of every Republican and Democratic candidate for offices ranging from U.S. senator to county dog catcher?

In some cases you have up to 20 or 30 candidates on the ballot. And that's true whether you mail your ballot in or slog it out at the voting booth. Literally thousands of elections are happening on November 3, not just Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden. Do we really expect every single Democrat on those mail-in ballots—candidates for county solicitors, city councils, school boards, district justices, sheriffs, the Senate, House, and state equivalents, clerks, prothonotaries, mayors, judges, attorneys general, governors, and lieutenant governors—to sit there quietly while Donald Trump's distinctly unstellar lawyers tie up—and possibly ruin—their careers with what could be months of litigation over bogus allegations of fraud? For that matter, how many Republican candidates for office are going to be willing to stand for that? Now multiply that by a whole lot of states, and you'll see a morass emerging on an incalculable scale. Are they planning to go district by district? You gotta be kidding me.

Because every single mail-in ballot that Trump's lackeys say is fraudulently cast also must be deemed fraudulent for those other candidates—on the same ballot—as well.

No amount of Republican collusion gets us past that fact. If Trump tries this, he will run into opposition on a scale he can't possibly cope with, and a whole lot of angry people on both sides, because mail-in balloting is hardly monolithic to one party, or one state, or even one district.

Most of these candidates have huge egos, and a whole lot of money, power, and influence. Their entire careers are going to be on the line. Does anyone expect them to sit on their hands while Don runs his last big con? I don't think he's thought this through. I really don't.

Or am I the one being obtuse?

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