Kos

As Vladimir Putin weakens, so does the integrity of the Russian Federation

Who knew? A “woke” army, one in which people understand the differences that make all of us unique, and build unit cohesion by respecting those differences, is a good thing. Over the weekend, three Muslim Russians opened fire at a mobilization site, killing at least 30 soldiers of Sen. Ted Cruz’s favorite anti-woke Russian army. They responded after being bullied about their religion.

The following is a translated interview of a Russian service member who witnessed the attack:

It all started when some of our soldiers - a Dagestani, an Azerbaijani and an Adyghe - said that 'this is not our war' and tried to write a report saying that they did not want to serve anymore. Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Lapin, when he learned this through the company commander, gathered everyone and started to say that 'this is a holy war.' Everything happened in the morning at the parade ground, where the formation takes place, the anthem is sung. A conflict broke out, people started pushing each other, including a few from my company. The Tajiks told Lapin that a holy war meant [only] a war between Muslims and infidels. Lapin said that "Allah must be a coward if he does not allow you to fight for the country to which you took an oath". I personally think that's what hurt the most, the phrase that 'Allah is a coward.' The phrase shocked a lot of people - those who were standing there on the parade ground. Because we also have Muslims among our officers, both Bashkirs and Tatars. After the formation, the Russians and Muslims continued the conflict, after which everyone dispersed and, it seems, calmed down. And an hour and a half later, around lunchtime, they sent us all to the firing ranges, and three of the Tajiks, who were on contract service, brought their automatic rifles, they had live ammunition, and shot our commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lapin, he died on the spot. And they started shooting indiscriminately. At the range, there were both contract servicemen and mobilized. I saw only the dead, of whom there were 29 people. The 30th is Lieutenant Colonel Lapin. This does not include two of the Tajiks; counting them too, there were 32 killed. I do not know exactly how many are wounded, some of them have already been taken by helicopter to Belgorod, and some of them are in Valuyki now with me.

This ethnic Russian soldier got off easy after threatening ethnic Kazakhs. Warning, guy gets pummeled in the video:

Ethnic, racial, and religious fissures are increasingly out in the open, as Russians in the hinterlands realize they are being sucked dry by the Moscow elites, doing most of the dying, and sacrificing most of their men. Many are doing the previously unimaginable and speaking out against the injustices. Here is the governor of the Islamic region of Dagestan:

We’ve already seen Russia’s neighbors more aggressively stand up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, telling him off to his face. Given the sorry state of Russia’s crumbling army, there is little reason to fear reprisal. No VDV airborne troops are landing in another foreign country anytime soon. The remnants of those units are currently stuck in Kherson, and there aren’t many guys left.

But that might not be Putin’s worst nightmare. Russia’s official name is the “Russian Federation,” and that conglomeration of regions presents massive potential for unrest.

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(A bigger version of the map below can be found here.)

There are 83 federal subjects in the Russian Federation—oblasts, republics, okrugs, federal cities, and the “Jewish autonomous oblast” created by Stalin to entice Russian Jews to settle the empty region. (Only 0.2% of the oblast remains Jewish.)

Oblast are like provinces or American states, same as in Ukraine. Okrugs are similar, but populated by indigenous people. There are two federal cities—Moscow and St. Petersburg, because of course the elite will make sure to set themselves apart from everything around them.

And then there are the Republics—these are areas populated by non-ethnic Russians, with the supposed right to their own official language, constitution, and legislature. It is here that Russia’s control has depended on Rosgvardia thugs (Putin’s national guard) to maintain order and control. Those guys have been decimated in Ukraine.

I have only rudimentary knowledge of these regions and their individual allegiances (or lack thereof) to Moscow, but Dagestan is particularly restive right now, Chechnya has a proven history of rebellion, and we just saw Tajik Russians wipe out 30 mobilized ethnic Russians in that one attack (Muslim mobilized were warned ahead of time to steer clear of the kill zone).

The weaker Moscow becomes, the greater the chance that many of these “republics” and other regions demand greater autonomy or independence from Moscow, and there are plenty of regional powers who might happily support such activities, either out of regional power plays (Turkey, Iran, and China) or ethnic/religious allegiance (Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asia republics). Western powers might find it hard to steer clear, particularly given the presence of nuclear weapons in many of these regions. It could get ugly and bloody. Sometimes the only thing keeping internal conflict at bay is repression and autocracy, like we saw in Iraq and Libya.

A shattered Russian Federation is such a fearful scenario, it’s likely a factor in Western Europe’s repeated desire to offer Putin an “off-ramp.” The Putin we know might be far better than an ethno-religious conflict spanning the entire length of today’s Russia. Heck, if Russian scholar Kamil Galeev is right, a Federation breakup might not even need the ethnic or religious spark

HIs long-running thesis is simple: Moscow and St. Petersburg have sucked the rest of the country dry. We see it in the yachts and Italian villas, and the missing 1.5 million winter coats that were supposed to keep their own soldiers warm this winter. As such, even ethnically Russian regions have a valid grudge against a Russian ruling elite who have intentionally kept them economically destitute. There’s a reason Russian soldiers are carting off washing machines.

With the mobilized already dying just two weeks after getting drafted, Putin may face his own winter of discontent, as the historically passive Russian people finally reach their breaking point. And wouldn’t it be ironic if the man who invaded Ukraine out of fury at the dissolution of the Soviet Union, then created the conditions for the final collapse of the Russia state?

We supposedly have the first video of the Russian side of a GMLRS strike.

I do wonder if they’re really using $100,000+ rockets against dirt trenches. These could be Soviet-era MLRS, as Ukraine has plenty. Also, what kind of dumbass would rather record the incoming rockets than duck?

Can you imagine being Russian, seeing your army get mauled, and then thinking it has anything to do with American domestic politics?

Ukrainian advances are utterly irrelevant to people’s voting decisions November 8, but it’s a fascinating insight into the Russian mind—everything is a conspiracy involving nefarious American and NATO actors. God forbid they confront the truth, that they’re getting their asses handed to them by a Ukrainian nation they assumed inferior.

GreyZone is the Telegram channel run by Wagner mercenaries, one of those rumored to be under investigation by authorities in Moscow for sometimes spilling the truth. While other targeted Telegram channels have mostly fallen in line this past week, GreyZone appears less interested in doing so. In addition to casting shade against Russian proxies in Luhansk and Donetsk, they are now praising their Ukrainian opponents:

Wagner almost always fights alone, it’s more reliable. The situation near Bakhmut is stably difficult, the Ukrainian troops are putting up decent resistance and the legend of the fleeing Ukrainian is just a legend. Ukrainians are guys with the same steel balls as us … and that’s not bad. We Slavs should be proud of it.

Given that Wagner has been beating their head against Ukraine’s Bakhmut defenses for over two months now, it goes without saying that Ukrainian troops aren’t doing any fleeing.

This is so painfully cringe:

HIMARS doesn’t stand a chance against their, uh, choreography.

Someone gave the video better music.

If you’re wondering what’s happening down in Kherson, join the club. Strict operational silence has put a lid on any information.

Ukraine isn’t waiting to rebuild.

Relating to the picture at the top of this update:

That’s how old I was living in the middle of a civil war in El Salvador. I’ve carried it my entire life.

Click here to donate to help those escaping Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

She had a natural remedy for everything — except COVID

Red thought “natural” remedies were the cure-all for everything.

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Nurses are heroes.

Not the ones who endanger their patients by refusing to vaccinate during a global pandemic that’s killing millions. Definitely not those. But the 99%+ that are still trying to clean up the mess the anti-vaxxers have created? They’re the biggest heroes.

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It really is ironic that us vaccinated people wear masks to prevent the assholes from suffering the worst consequences.

But yes, there are those who are older, who are immunocompromised, and who are simply unlucky, that did everything right and vaccinated, and yet suffered serious illness or death because of the rank ignorance and selfishness or this country’s conservative movement.

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Oh, you asthma sufferers are in luck! You don’t need an inhaler anymore! When your lungs lock up, just get yourself some apples, carrots, garlic, spinach, and lemon, and you’re good to go!

And no more having to worry about the cost of insulin!

Just make sure your food is live. Once the food dies, it no longer cures high blood pressure or cancer or “every single illness.”

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McDonald’s is the largest, most successful restaurant company in the world. So, uh, imagine a fast-food manager goes and manages another fast-food joint.

LET THAT SINK IN BET YOU WON’T SHARE.

On a serious note, I looked it up:

Top 10 Highest-Grossing Restaurants in 2019
  • McDonald's: $40.4 billion.
  • Starbucks: $21.3 billion.
  • Chick-fil-A: $11.3 billion.
  • Taco Bell: $11.2 billion.
  • Burger King: $10.2 billion.
  • Subway: $10.2 billion.
  • Wendy's: $9.7 billion.
  • Dunkin': $9.2 billion.

This may be controversial, but other than Starbucks, this list is full of gross. (I see you, New Englanders, ready to defend Dunkin’s honor...)

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So this is obviously false. But here’s how this bullshit claim began:

Emerald Robinson, a reporter for the conservative outlet Newsmax who has a history of spreading dubious claims, tweeted to her 400,000 followers on Aug. 5: “The CEO of Pfizer had to cancel a planned trip to Israel because he was not fully vaccinated. Let me repeat: BECAUSE HE WAS NOT VACCINATED.”
Robinson included a link to an article with a headline similar to her tweet. But that article was published on March 7, three days before Bourla’s second shot. The article noted that Bourla had received his first shot at that point and planned to reschedule a trip to Israel, which has relied heavily on the Pfizer vaccine.
About 3.5 hours after her original post, Robinson added an update acknowledging Bourla’s tweet about his second dose.
But her misleading claim had already been turned into a screenshot meme circulating on other social media sites, including Instagram and Facebook.

All you need to do is make a bullshit claim for three hours, and the lie will live on forever. Facebook allows bullshit to live forever. Even their warning label on that post says it’s “missing context,” instead of flatly calling it out as horseshit. The “context” is that it’s flat-out wrong.

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Riddle me this: How does someone make a prediction without prior knowledge?

How is that possible? HOW?

A prediction must have prior knowledge. Say you want to predict who wins the Super Bowl, you must wait for the game to be over, and then make your prediction.

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Oh look at that, she’s in the hospital. Thankfully, her nurses are vaccinated.

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Back in August, she posted this:

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She was obviously talking about vaccination. But remember that famous story about the Trump administration’s hurricane response in the Florida panhandle?

The shutdown on top of the hurricane has caused Ms. Minton to rethink a lot of things.
“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

Conservatives pathologically want other people to hurt. Here, our protagonist was totally fine with her decision upsetting/hurting other people. She celebrated it, bragged about it on Facebook!

Little did she realize that the people she’d be upsetting would be her own loved ones.

This unvaccinated nurse in Miami believed Gov. Ron DeSantis instead of the science

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Yeah, Donald Trump kept promising it would just go away, on its own!

Reality is harsh.

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“The best humor,” they claim, providing yet more evidence that conservatives really don’t know how to do humor.

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Yes, even some fully vaccinated people have died.

But at what rates compared to the unvaccinated, Miss R.N.?

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See? Yet more evidence that conservatives suck at humor.

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Murder memes are funny.

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According to her, it is a parent’s right to ensure their children get infected with COVID. This is all going according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to murder his way to the GOP nomination in 2024.

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Yeah, I’m happy that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are in the White House. It’s not even close. I would be more proud if they enacted student debt forgiveness, but baby steps.

What is this “Where is Kamala Harris hiding” nonsense coming from? Go to her Twitter account. She has an active and public schedule.

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Look at that. She posted about DeSantis’ efforts to prevent schools from enacting mask mandates. Now her son is sick, and so is she. Congrats on exercising that “parental right” to keep your child unsafe.

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Yeah, COVID sucks. A nurse should know this.

Had she been vaccinated, this would likely be a much milder experience (if anything at all). Had her son been vaccinated, doubly so. Odds of infection would be dramatically lower. Had she pushed for masking at her son’s school, even moreso.

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“Covid is no joke” DRINK!

If a REGISTERED NURSE didn’t know this already, I don’t even know what to say. Did she think all those patients were faking it? Didn’t she see the overflowing hospitals, the desperate need for beds, Florida shooting up near the top of the per capita state death rankings?

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One week. It’s all it took.

Son gets sick at school, which has been left unprotected on purpose by DeSantis to improve his 2024 presidential chances. Mom is sick. BAM. One week later, he’s an orphan.

If anyone should’ve known better, it was Lauren. It’s truly unbelievable that she didn’t.

Aaron Rodgers got caught in a lie that violates his employer’s policies — so he’s blaming the 'woke mob' for 'cancelling' him

No need to go to Facebook this time.

So the NFL has a mandate for all support staff that come into contact with players, but none for the players themselves because of union concerns. Instead, the union agreed last season to test all players daily. This season, unvaccinated players got tested daily, while vaccinated players got tested weekly.

The league claims that 94.1% of players are vaccinated, but that number included Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who told the media earlier this season that he was "immunized." It was a clever turn of phrase, and no one questioned it, because no one thought that he'd be a lying piece of shit. But you can see why he'd want to be a lying piece of shit:

Unvaccinated players are required to wear face masks at all times while at the team's facilities and are also required to observe social distancing. The mask usage also applies when in teams' weight rooms. Unvaccinated players are not allowed to eat meals with teammates and cannot do any media or marketing opportunities when traveling. They also aren't allowed to use the sauna or steam rooms in the team facilities and are not allowed to leave the team hotel or have any outside interactions with people on the road who are not affiliated with their respective team.

The lockers of unvaccinated players are required to be six feet apart from the ones of other players. Unvaccinated players are also prohibited from traveling on team charters and must make their way to road games separately. Upon landing, they need to show negative COVID-19 tests in order to rejoin the team. Upon arrival, unvaccinated players are not allowed to eat with the rest of their teammates and are not allowed to mingle with other teammates. They also are barred from using a hotel's common spaces, such as the pool.
They are restricted from attending indoor events — such as bars, nightclubs, concerts or other events — with more than 15 people where masks were not being worn.

Unvaccinated players are also subject to a five-day quarantine period if they are deemed to be close contacts of a person infected with COVID-19.

It's amazing that the NFL never bothered to actually verify vaccination status claims. I guess they assumed their players wouldn't be lying pieces of shit.

Like Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. He tested positive for COVID-19, and his lies were fully exposed. His response? Whine, whine, whine, deploying every Fox News-tested buzzphrase to build sympathy among the you-know-whos:

Woke! Mob! Cancel culture!

Ah yes, he "does his own research," because, you know, the entire medical and scientific establishment apparently don't know what they're talking about.

He is an anti-vaxxer and flat-Earther. Well, maybe he believes the Earth is round. But he's in the same bucket as those anti-reality bozos.


Look at all that research he did. So much research! And weirdly, he somehow missed all the actual research.

But he has an allergy! To the mRNA vaccines! I call bullshit, but even if true, there happen to be non-mRNA vaccines, including Johnson&Johnson's.

The people spreading and dying of COVID are driven by THE UNVACCINATED. Holy shit, this asshole graduated from University of California-Berkeley and he's this goddamned stupid? Instead, he's repeating all the insipid Fox News/Facebook talking points. His "research" is genuinely Facebook memes and Tucker Carlson.

Dr. Aaron Rodgers presented "research" to the NFL lol.

The NFL thought right.

Note, Rodgers claims he used the word "immunized" because he was on an alternative medicine regimen to bolster his immune system. You know what that is, right? We've seen it in many Anti-vaxx Chronicles throughout the last few months—Vitamins C and D and Zinc. He'll now argue that the vaccine isn't 100% effective, which no one claimed it was, but his vitamins concoction gave him "immunity," which was so patently absurd, it hurts.

Rodgers is the worst person in the world, at least for today. He was reportedly "furious" that his lies were outed. Note that he never followed the required protocol for unvaccinated players (that long blockquote up top), he did his best to obfuscate his deception.

Let's pause for a second to ponder Rodgers' assertion that it is "woke" to vaccinate. Note that over 80% of American adults have at least one vaccine shot at this point. That's a lot of "woke" people.

If Rodgers was so courageous and believed so strongly in his vaccine stance, why not tell the truth? Why not follow the protocols that every other unvaccinated player was following? Is it now "woke" to tell the truth?

And is it "woke" to take personal responsibility for one's actions, instead of whining and crying and blaming others for any consequences?

The sports media has been brutal.


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And check out this righteous rant on sports radio:

This isn't some "woke" progressive activist. This is a white, male, sports bro, talking to other (mostly) white, male, sports bros—a large percentage of the vaccination holdouts. Let's call this the silver lining of the situation, prominent and influential media personalities standing up for what is right for our country and everyone in it.

There's no doubt Rodgers is playing to Fox News, and there's no doubt he'll be their new hero. Expect to see Rodgers in memes over the coming months. But the media fury doesn't look set to abate any time soon. In fact, he's missing at least one key matchup this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, and might even miss next week's as well, keeping the story alive. If his idiocy costs his contending team those two games, it'll fuel the story even more so. And his "woke mob" bullshit certainly isn't helping kill the furor. It's only fueling it.

Inside the bizarro alternate universe​ of a closed Facebook group for anti-vaxxers

Facebook is a menace. COVID-19 is a menace. Conservatism is a cesspool. Together, those three ingredients have created a toxic stew of malevolent death and devastation. We can talk about all those things in the abstract, look at the numbers and statistics, and catch the occasional whiff of seditionist right-wing rhetoric. But I hadn't really fully understood just how horrifying that combination of right-wing extremism, Facebook, and a killer virus was until I became a regular at the Herman Cain Awards subreddit. This series will document some of those stories, so we are aware of what the other side is doing to our country.

Today's cautionary tale isn't an individual, but an entire closed Facebook forum of future award winners. Guys, this one is really, really bizarre.

Here we go, into the belly of the beast! Buckle up.

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Number one rule is to come up with alternate spellings for key phrases like Ivermectin, in order to evade whatever pitiful countermeasures Facebook is employing against these purveyors of misinformation and death.

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"Pureblood."

Holy shit, it's a thing. They really are calling themselves "pureblood," like the Nazis.

Hopefully their myriad other vaccinations didn't sully the purity of their blood.

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It's, uh, funny that a caregiver's child and his family don't want COVID in their midst?

Here's hoping that they wise up and require vaccination. Because Christy thinks masks are useless, so you know she's not wearing them. She's going to expose them to virus.

Which is why this thing isn't ending anytime soon.

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That c19vaxreactions is nothing but anecdotes. Or, as they call them "Real stories."

So, no website with stats.

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This is definitely a growing narrative with this crowd—hospitals are killing patients, therefore people should stay home. Perhaps that's why yesterday's cautionary tale didn't go to the hospital until her husband had O2 levels in the 60s.

Ventilators aren't killing people. Ventilators are a horrible blunt instrument of last resort, when Covid has destroyed a patient's ability to breathe on their own. Not many people survive them. Forcing oxygen into lungs is an abrasive process, literally shredding lung tissue. That's why you see so many of these patients end up with collapsed lungs. The oxygen shreds tissue to the point where it creates holes in the lungs.

But really, given the state of hospitals in the hottest zones, I'm okay with these people staying home. Leave the hospitals for responsible people who are doing what needs to be done to survive a global mass-death pandemic.

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"Do your research" equals "what some random people on Facebook say.

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Imagine thinking that today's Joe McCarthy analogue isn't Donald Trump, but Joe Biden.

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Imagine blaming the vaccine for a heart attack six months later.

And everyone follows with "so-and-so had a vaccine, and then months later something unrelated happened! It was clearly the vaccine!"

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Oh boy.

I'm so conflicted between "go to the hospital and get the monoclonal antibodies!", and "Good, don't clog up the hospital with your irresponsible butt."

This spoke to me:

I feel that way every single day with these stories.

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Siri, how many ways can I misspell "flu" because the real way to spell it is so hard?

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So no, no reputable sites.

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Elderly lady: "Hi, I'm 85 and I've never had any issues so the only possible explanation for some late onset asthma has to be the vaccine, because it couldn't have anything to do with being 85."

Anti-vaxxer: "Take Ivermectin."

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Dandelion detox tea and Ivermectin. Everything is solved, including spike protein shedding by the vaccinated!

No more need for any medical system anymore.

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FLCCC is "Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance." They think Ivermectin, Vitamin D, and Zinc will cure people.

What that has to do with Mexico, I haven't the faintest...

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When the vaccine's rated effectiveness is in the low 90%s, yeah, no one wants to be exposed to their death virus.

Or we can go with "mark of the beast." Whatever, at this point.

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When you stop breathing it's too late guys.

Also with the heart. Once it stops beating, also too late.

Unless you have "antiviral herbs."

Just don't go to hospitals.

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And we're back to the creepy "pure blood" shit. Because these people aren't deplorable enough.

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Speechless.

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The government wants more people dead!

The government wants people to take a vaccine, that would mean less people dead!

The government is, uh, confused.

---—

Much like Qanon, these people have created a world in which heads, they win, tails we lose. Cases up? It's the government and hospitals killing people. Cases down? It's because people are avoiding hospitals and taking Ivermectin.

Someone got sick, was hospitalized, and pulled through? God is great! She healed because god. Someone got sic, was hospitalized, and died? God is great! She got her angel wings and got called home because Jesus needed her more.

COVID is a scam! But also, COVID is a Chinese communist plot! And also, COVID is a media creation to make Donald Trump look bad!

Oh, and they all have immune systems! Because immune systems have never been circumvented by deadly pathogens. But wait, they got sick? Prayer warriors assemble!

Seriously, I might have more respect for these yokels if they could come up with a single cohesive and logical narrative, rather than this "throw everything against the wall and fuck it, let's go with all of it because why not?" bullshit.

And in the middle if it all, Facebook facilitates the spread of this misinformation, helping kill thousands every day. Conservative conspiracy mongering and Facebook are a marriage made in hell, and for once, conservatives aren't being protected from their own stupidity. They are actively participating in their own destruction, as they point and laugh at everyone—including us liberals!—trying to save their lives.

The tragic timeline of an anti-vaxxer's COVID death

This tweet is spot on:

And what's amazing is just how spot-on it is. Several subreddits over at Reddit, like the Herman Cain Award, have sprung forth to document these stories, repeated time and time again, every single day. Here's one such story:

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It always begins with mocking the vaccine and those who take it, and declaring that the whole thing is a hoax.

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He drank and partied with his neighbors, even as the scientific community was begging people not to. He got lucky, survived the first wave, and the lack of consequences for his reckless behavior just emboldened him to continue laughing at people behaving responsibly. There is a weird obsession with talking about their "immune systems," as if immune systems have ever been a barrier to death by disease.

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More mocking of the vaccine.

Eventually, all the partying and drinking with neighbors caught up to him.

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Prayers needed.

You know the old joke, right? The one about the preacher caught in rising flood waters? A boat shows up, offers to take him to safety, he refuses, because he trusts god to save him. Same thing when a second boat arrives. Waters keep rising, he's on the steeple of his church, a helicopter arrives, he waves it away, he trusts god to save him. He drowns.

Eventually, he meets god, and asks him why his prayers went unanswered. God says, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what else was I supposed to do?"

God sent them the vaccine, in record time! And yet they keep praying for salvation.

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I picked this story because its tragic ending had a bit of a silver lining—he recognized too late the folly of remaining unvaccinated. Most of the people in these stories do not. These people go to the grave clinging to their stories that they were infected by vaccinated people, or that liberal hospitals are killing conservatives by refusing them supposedly life-saving treatments like hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, the horse dewormer.

And yet even his death-bed regrets are met with skepticism and an appeal for crackpot remedies made of lemons and grapefruits—but organic! Even worse, even as he essentially says "not taking the vaccine killed me," the response is "that's good that you did.!!!!!!!" That's next-level sickness.

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At the end, these "pull them up by the bootstraps" conservatives always end up resorting to the inevitable GoFundMe page. Always.

None of this is funny. It's not worthy of mocking. It's not just desserts. By refusing to vaccinate, these people are prolonging our national and global misery while allowing the virus countless new opportunities to mutate and potentially evade existing vaccines. It's crushing the will of our brave and diligent health care providers—doctors and nurses—who fought through two waves during unvaccinated times, but now have to suffer the delta wave when it is so easily avoidable (and for free!).

Maybe, just maybe, enough of these stories will finally jolt these dead-enders to reassess their behavior and vaccinate—for their communities and families, if not for themselves.

Doesn't seem like that's going to happen anytime soon, unfortunately.

Trump sychophants have taken over Republican Party — but a handful of rebels play long game

All Republicans are awful. They are greedy, selfish, death-worshipping assholes. Let's just stipulate that because it's objectively true—it's no accident that while they were happy to toss aside their supposed fealty to "family values" and "national security" during the Trump years, the one thing they got accomplished was tax cuts for the über-wealthy. Their priorities have always been clear.

That said, we can divide Republicans into two camps, one of them full of morons beyond belief, and the other not so dumb. The first has surrendered itself completely to the felon-in-waiting Donald Trump, who cost them the House, the Senate, and the White House—only the third president to lose reelection in the last hundred years. He isn't just the nation's biggest loser, but a living reminder of the GOP's lack of any actual ideological core beyond tax cuts for the rich. Remember, Republicans didn't even bother writing a party platform during their presidential convention! Why bother writing anything down when all that matters is what Trump thinks in the moment, subject to his changing irrational whims?

The Trump lickspittles have won the battle for control of their party. But there is a smaller faction—those Republicans who, while ideologically odious, at least remain loyal to the Constitution and the principles of American democracy. It's a low bar to meet and a distressingly small number of Republicans meet it, but they exist.

Yet while this small minority of Republicans might be on the outs today, they're playing the long game, and it's a smarter game to play. They may not be the future of the party, but they have more of a chance to do so than any of the Lickspittle caucus ever will.

Six Republicans voted for the Jan. 6 commission:

Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
Susan Collins, Maine
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Rob Portman, Ohio
Mitt Romney, Utah
Ben Sasse, Nebraska

This nearly mirrors the list of Republicans who voted to convict during Trump's second impeachment trial. The only differences are that Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey is missing (he didn't bother to stick around) and Portman was added to this list.

Of those, Portman is retiring, Collins represents a blue state, and Murkowski is protected by the strange politics of her state (including the brand new "top-four" jungle primary that protects her from being ousted in a traditional Republican-only primary).

Cassidy, Romney, and Sasse, however, represent solid red states (even if Utah isn't particularly Trump-loving), and Sasse, in particular, has presidential ambitions. (Maybe Romney too.)

Over in the House, 35 Republicans voted for the commission—a stunningly large number of defectors—led by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was recently cancelled from the House leadership. That is a significant increase from the 10 who voted for Trump's second impeachment. And if you look at that list, it's not a list of "liberal Republicans," or even moderates. No liberal Republicans are left, and precious few moderates, as well. Most were solid conservatives standing up for the Constitution.

It would be hard to point to any elected official and not think that they have higher-office aspirations. So these Republicans, in all future campaigns, will have this vote hung around their necks during their primaries. It's the reason so many Republicans took the coward's way out and stood by Trump. They were afraid to face their base voters having stood up to Trump. There are the loyalists, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who are far gone in Q-conspiracy land and worship their idol Trump. But aside from those, there are the opportunists—the Sens. Josh Hawleys and Ted Cruzes, Republicans working feverishly to capture that Trump electoral magic in a bottle and releasing it for their own benefit in their inevitable future presidential bids. George P. Bush is the latest of that crowd to humiliate themselves in a bid to win Trump's approval.

What the Liz Cheneys and Ben Sasses know, because it's obvious, is that Trump will never anoint any of that crowd—not the loyalists, and not the opportunists—for anything in which he or his spawn have their eye on. He is loyal to himself first, and Ivanka Trump second. Then, to a lesser degree, his sons. And after that, the spouses and partners. That's it!

There isn't a chance in hell that a Trump doesn't run for president in 2024. It might not be Donald Trump himself—he might be too indicted, too convicted, too in jail, or too dead from all those disgusting Big Macs he eats. But if it isn't the Liar in Chief himself, it will be one of his children. The loyalists might not care, pathetically worshipping at the altar of Trump. But the opportunists are making a bet that will never pay off. They will never inherit the Trump movement, because Trump doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone but himself and his clan. They have thrown in with an odious, morally obscene man who will never give them the approbation they so desperately want from him.

Cheney and Sasse are ambitious politicians. They know what they face inside their party, and they're making a calculated bet that someday sanity will return to their party, and their brand of competent conservatism will once again have value. These are smart politicians, and they know the pitfalls and dangers they face ahead. They may lose their next primary bids. They may be further ostracized and marginalized. They may simply fail to stem the tide of a Republican Party falling deeper into conspiracy territory.

But if the Republican Party ever breaks out of this current fever, they'll be there to pick up the pieces and lead it onward.

The chance that happens is slim. What, 5% or 10%? Let's not pretend odds are good. But it's not out of the realm of impossibility. And even 10% is a higher chance of success than the big 0% the lickspittles have of ever becoming president, becoming leaders of their party, or even winning any seats coveted by the Trump clan.

Sinema's schtick is wearing thin in Arizona

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was the first Democrat elected to the Senate in her state in 30 years. The birthplace of the modern conservative movement, her 2018 victory was considered a massive coup for Democrats.

Yet two years later, Democrats comfortably won the other Senate seat while Joe Biden narrowly won its presidential electoral votes. This isn't Barry Goldwater's Arizona. Yet Sinema doesn't seem to have realized that, acting as if her state is akin to Joe Manchin's West Virginia. She has gleefully courted coverage like this: "Kyrsten Sinema's defense of the Senate's age-old rules is likely to frustrate progressives eager to use every tool at their disposal to advance their priorities." She didn't just oppose a minimum wage hike, she did so with utter glee, with the thumbs-down heard around the world.

As a result, we have one Arizona Democrat who is a solid and safe Democratic vote, and the other one who is a pain in the ass. And now we have polling that conclusively shows that Sinema's popularity is being pummeled by her obstinance.

chart.png

Details below.

Look at Sinema's trendline in the two years she's been in the Senate:

She went from 41% favorable, 35% unfavorable at the start of February, to 29% favorable, 40% unfavorable—a dramatic overnight 17-point net drop. As you might imagine, her numbers among Democrats have dropped precipitously:

That's a +23 net favorability rating, down from +53. Now if you were to ask Sinema, she'd likely laugh this off. She thinks Arizona is a bunch of Republicans, hence no need to keep Democrats happy. But here's her problem—her antics aren't just pissing off Democrats. She's also losing ground among Independents.

She is now deeply underwater among independents, going from a +6 net favorable rating, to -20 today. As for Republicans? They never liked her and still don't, she's gone from 16% favorable, 57% unfavorable, to 15-53 today. No wonder her overall numbers have cratered to that extent!

So how does freshman Sen. Mark Kelly compare? Note, he's been a reliable Democratic vote, hasn't caused any waves, isn't creating any problems. Voted for the $15 minimum wage. So what does Arizona think of him?

Woah, 48% approve, 41% disapprove. Remember, for Sinema, it's 29-40.

It's even better among independents!

Kelly is at 49-38 among independents, while Sinema is at 24-44. And this is after establishing a reliably liberal voting track record, including that fateful minimum wage hike.

To summarize:

Favorability Kyrsten Sinema Mark Kelly
Overall 29-40 48-41
Democrats 48-25 90-4
Independents 24-44 49-38
Republicans 15-53 7-80

Sinema appears oblivious to her state's changes. We're no longer talking about the Arizona that birthed the modern conservative movement. Rather, it's the Arizona with rapidly growing and politically engaged Latino and American Indian communities, as well as shifting educated suburbs.

About the only good news for Sinema is that she doesn't face reelection for another four years. But at this current trajectory, her reelection is nowhere near assured, much less surviving what should be an inevitable primary.

The incredibly smart politics of the Democrats' $3,600 child credit

In a stunningly ambitious and smart move, Democrats have proposed a child credit of $3,600 for children under the age of 6, and $3,000 for children up to the age of 17. The hope is to make it a permanent plan, structured as monthly payments, and would be means-tested to phase out starting at $75,000 for a single filer, and $150,000 for joint earners. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has proposed a similar plan, increasing chances of a bipartisan agreement on the credit. (His plan even does the smart thing and sends the cash to everyone, to make things simple, and recaptures payments to high earners at tax season.)

On the policy side, this child credit would be perhaps the single most economically impactful possible action, cutting child poverty in half.



But here's the thing, not only is this brilliant policy. It's even more brilliant politics as we head into the 2022 and 2024 election cycles.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40% of all families have children under the age of 18, or 33.4 million families. Two-thirds of American households earn less than $75,000, and just shy of 80% make less than $150,000, meaning that a solid majority of households with children will be impacted by this credit.

Parents are getting free money.

Now picture the 2022 and 2024 campaigns—Democrats (and non-asshole Republicans) can run on delivering that money to parents. And more importantly, they can run on Republicans trying to take that money away. Campaign messaging doesn't get simpler than this.

Conservatives have two main public arguments against the child credit. They claim that it would incentivize lower earners like single mothers from working more, as if staying home taking care of kids is inherently bad. They argue that it would blow up the deficit, which they can stuff it. Any conservative argument based on the size of the deficit is inherently bad faith until they themselves introduce legislation reversing their irresponsible tax cuts for billionaires, not to mention rein in Pentagon spending. If they want to be taken seriously as deficit hawks, they can act the part.

Both of these arguments lack substance, and really, they're not trying. Conservatives are merely resorting to their old worn framework arguments to pretend to object on substantive grounds: There's their old appeal to racism ("welfare mothers!"), and their claims of Democratic fiscal irresponsibility. It's all rote and half-assed, and that's because they don't want to talk about their real reason for opposing the child credit—a child credit that would dramatically help their core, poor, rural, white constituency.

In short, Republicans don't want voters to have to chose between them and $3,000-3,600 per year, per child. That's a choice that will cause even the most brain-addled QAnon conspiracy theorist to think twice when voting. And given a base that is largely exiting the electorate (they are old and dying off), Republicans can't afford to lose more ground among younger generations of white voters.

For traditionally low-performing core Democratic constituencies like Black and Latinos, it's no longer a question of "what have you done for me lately" that breeds voter non-performance and apathy. It's clear what's at stake: monthly checks for parents. It can also help blunt any lasting Republican gains among these voters.

If played right, the child tax credit could be the issue for 2022, just like health care dominated the 2018 campaign and led to a Democratic wave election. If Democrats want to buck the traditional losses suffered by the party in the White House in its first midterm, it'll need to be on the offensive. Pointing to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene won't get people excited to vote for Democrats. Pointing to free money will.

Of course, Democrats being Democrats, they don't have this quite right. They insist on means-testing it at the source, meaning high earners won't get a check. Problem is, the IRS doesn't know if you are a high earner this year. Maybe you were killing it until the pandemic crushed your business. Or you bucked the macro trends and had a gangbuster year amidst an economic calamity. The IRS only knows what happened in 2019.

And even after taxes are filed this year, and the IRS has a more updated picture, it won't know if you had a new baby or adopted a child until next year. Meanwhile, people's financial situation will continue to shift irrespective of the tax filing schedule. Meanwhile, the overworked IRS would have yet another administrative headache after years of being starved for funding. And you know what happens when people don't get their check, or it's the wrong size? People get angry, undercutting the policy side, yes, but also the political benefits.

Simplicity works in messaging. Send everyone a child credit. If someone makes too much money, claw it back during tax season. Set the income threshold high so that if someone gets an overpayment they don't really notice it. If they notice it, the threshold is too low. And then create a robust safe harbor for edge cases to avoid the sort of debt collection nightmares seen in other countries, as documented in this Twitter thread.

"There is something symbolically important about this being a universal child benefit," said Sam Hammond, a policy expert at the conservative Niskanen Center who wrote Romney's plan. "Overall, Neal's plan would be, unequivocally, a massive win against child poverty. But it could do more to clean up the administrative complexity of the current system by making the payment universal."

(To be clear, the Romney proposal eliminates other poverty programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, so I'm not advocating for it, just the part that eliminates means testing up front.)

Still, even if the complicated and cumbersome means testing survives, this child credit is a stunning validation of Democratic governance, delivering real tangible benefits to the people who put their faith and money and blood, sweat, and tears into the last two election cycles. And they're setting themselves up nicely for the next two election cycles.

Because we might wish that voters voted on Q craziness, or climate change, or immigration reform, or social justice, or any of the other myriad issues that drive our activism here at Daily Kos. But in the end, Democrats will get far more traction by merely sending them a check in the mail.

Oh, and Donald Trump set the precedent: Put Joe Biden's name on them, really big.

Trump didn’t offer his deplorables hope of a better life — he promised to drag everyone down to their own sorry level

Whiny-ass sore-loser Donald Trump has a legit super power—both times he's run, he's turned out voters that haven't shown up for any other election, and didn't even show up in the polls. Remember, polling was perfectly fine in 2018, and Democrats swept races in 2017, 2018, and 2019. They even won governorships in blood-red Kentucky and Louisiana!

Yet both 2016 and 2020 saw the emergence of a massive wave of white voters that polling totally missed. In fact, despite suffering some defections among suburban Republicans, Trump still managed to get 10 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016! So I came up with a theory: the Hidden Deplorables.

The outline goes like this:

The hidden deplorables aren't Republican. They aren't even conservative. They're apolitical, otherwise ignoring politics, because their lives legitimately suck. They live in meth country, with dim job prospects (in fact, those two factors are highly correlated). Institutions have failed them—corporations abandoned them for cheaper labor overseas, government feels distant, and it's certainly not improving their lives. Cities feel like walled gardens—unattainable, unaffordable, yet that's where all the jobs are, the culture, the action. These deplorables have been left behind. So their attitude? "Fuck them all."

In other words, these are people who have lost everything and simply want to burn everything to the ground. Trump didn't offer hope for a better life, he promised to drag everyone down to their own sorry level. That's why it didn't even matter that Republicans failed to offer up a policy platform at their convention. No one needs to write "burn every norm, institution, and tradition to the ground" down in a platform. It was quite well understood.

While the theory will get tested in the January Senate runoffs in Georgia (Trump got 360,000 new votes in the state between 2016 and 2020, will they turn out again?), fact is it is just that—a theory. It's my best explanation as to why these Trump voters only show up when Trump is on the ballot, and why pollsters are unable to capture them. If their life sucks so much that they hate everything, why would they pick up a phone and talk to a pollster? Why would they join a polling panel? Why would they answer a polling text? And given that they've only shown up for Trump, it's nearly impossible to just model them in. (Some conservative pollsters tried to do it by simply adding a "shy Trump voter" number to their polling, it ended up being just a way to "unscrew" the polls. They were even more wrong in the final outcomes as everyone else. They actually thought Trump would win.)

Wednesday morning brought fresh new evidence of my theory, in a piece by conservative pollster Daniel Cox of the American Enterprise Institute.

Finally, research on the 2016 election by David Shor, a Democratic pollster, echoed what we found in our own pre-election 2020 survey: There was a large swing to Trump among white voters who had low levels of social trust — a group that researchers have found is also less likely to participate in telephone surveys.

In our pre-election survey on the strength of Americans' social networks, we found that nearly one in five Americans (17 percent) reported having no one they were close with, marking a 9 percentage point increase from 2013.1 What's more, we found that these socially disconnected voters were far more likely to view Trump positively and support his reelection than those with more robust personal networks. Biden was heavily favored by registered voters with larger social networks (53 percent to 37 percent), but it was Trump who had the edge among voters without any close social contacts (45 percent to 39 percent).

And this was especially true among white voters even after accounting for differences in income, education level, and racial attitudes. Sixty percent of white voters without anyone in their immediate social network favored Trump, compared to less than half (46 percent) of white voters with more robust social ties.

These are incels and Q followers and militia members and just assholes in general who repel people around them. In fact, as Republican as white people are, less than half of white people with strong social networks supported Trump! That's why urban whites are so heavily Democratic—they are surrounded by community. That's likely why suburban whites are turning blue as well, and particularly women, going to PTA meetings and their yoga or barre classes. It could also explain why suburban men, less likely to engage in such social endeavors, remain more Republican.

This theory really starts to explain a great deal, actually. Seniors are the age group most likely to be isolated, and they remain more heavily Republican. Rural areas are emptying out, with young residents moving to the big cities or other places with greater educational, recreational, and economic opportunities. Even the education gap that has emerged the last few cycles fits in—college is a community building experience.

There's no doubt this is an over-simplification of complex political trends, but there's the nut of something fascinating here. It certainly explains why the internet, and Facebook in particular, have been such a boon to conspiracy theorists and the socially marginalized, and provided rocket fuel to their growth. These people are social failures yet human, thus desperate for social interaction and community. That makes them ripe for recruitment by QAnon, white supremacists, and all manners of deplorable groups.

To be clear, this doesn't apply to all Republicans. A mega-church-going Republican who votes on abortion isn't isolated, but that individual also has no problem answering a pollster's questions. Same with a Wall Street "don't tax me" Republican. Those people are easy to find and count. But it certainly speaks to a real percentage of Republicans, and certainly explains the hidden deplorable quite well. Isolation isn't an absolute. You can't turn it on and off. It's a scale, and it's easy to see how the further on the isolation scale someone is, the less likely they are to properly interact with society and its institutions … that is, until a Trump emerges speaking to their pain and anger.

It certainly explains our own bewilderment that Trump got 10 million more votes than last time. Of course we don't see these people. No one sees these people. That's the point.

Funny thing is, these hidden deplorables don't even trust Trump himself. He literally begged them to turn out and vote for Republican candidates for governor in Louisiana and Kentucky last year, and they didn't listen. It's not Trump the institution (as president and head of the Republican Party) that motivates them. It's Trump the destroyer of norms, traditions, and liberals that motivates them to vote. So why would they vote for some Republican governor who might actually try to govern? They're attracted to Trump's specific brand of destructive chaos. That's my hope for the future—that we've seen the last of them for a while (until the next right-wing populist emerges, which seems quite inevitable at this point).

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, and as already noted, we'll get to test this theory out in Georgia in January. But that just speaks to the hidden deplorables' future voting habits. But as an explanation of who they are, and why they exist, this analysis by Cox is pretty solid supporting evidence.

Trump over-performed the polls twice. This could be the reason why

Two facts from this November's elections have really gnawed at me:

1) Impeached sore loser Donald Trump got 10 million more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016. Given some losses among suburban college-educated white women and other never-Trumpers, that means that over 10 million new people took a look at Trump's last four years and thought, "Yeah, that's the guy that's getting me out to cast my first vote."

2) The polls once again undercounted Republican support, like in 2016. Yet in 2018 and 2019, the polls were fine. So what gives?

I have a theory, and it's the existence of a "hidden deplorable," and it's a wonder Joe Biden and the Democrats managed to salvage the White House given their existence.

From the start, let's dispense with the notion of a "shy Trump voter." These people aren't shy, yet they certainly exist. They're the assholes trying to run the Biden campaign bus off the road in Texas. They're the anti-government militias in Michigan. They're these people:


There's nothing "shy" about these people or their support for Trump, yet pollsters aren't catching them. They turn out for Trump, but they didn't turn out for Republicans in 2017, 2018, or 2019. Remember, last year Democrats picked up governorships in the blood-red states of Louisiana and Kentucky.


No amount of personal begging and pleading from Trump could get Republicans to the polls in those red states, nor did his extensive campaigning help his party during the 2018 Democratic wave year.

Yet with the national environment only worsened from the COVID-19 pandemic and other Trump self-inflicted wounds (like his failed trade war against China), Republicans stormed back this year, dealing Democrats painful down-ballot losses in the House, Senate, and state legislatures. Not only will those loses hamstring a Biden administration, even if we win both Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, but Republicans will have a free hand to redraw U.S. House and state legislative maps to their enduring, decades-long advantage.

All because Trump was at the top of the ballot.

So again, who are these people who only vote for Trump, otherwise ignore the Republican Party (despite Trump's pleading), and don't talk to pollsters?

The hidden deplorables aren't Republican. They aren't even conservative. They're apolitical, otherwise ignoring politics, because their lives legitimately suck. They live in meth country, with dim job prospects (in fact, those two factors are highly correlated). Institutions have failed them—corporations abandoned them for cheaper labor overseas, government seems and feels distant, and it's certainly not improving their lives. Cities feel like walled gardens—unattainable, unaffordable, yet that's where all the jobs are, the culture, the action. These deplorables have been left behind. So their attitude? "Fuck them all."

Trump shows up in 2016 and gives them hope for change, saying the quiet part out loud—that their lives suck not because of their own choices and that of those decamped corporations, but because all that sweet, sweet government money is going to "illegals" and "thugs" in those cities. He puts uppity Black and brown people and women in their place. He offers them hope that, if he can't improve their lives, that at least he'll hurt all those others.

"I voted for him, and he's the one who's doing this," she said of Mr. Trump. "I thought he was going to do good things. He's not hurting the people he needs to be hurting."

Their lives suck, but Trump was supposed to be bringing everyone else down to their level. That's why all that nonsense about "economic uncertainty" was such bullshit. None of these people ever thought Trump would bring back the factories, paying good middle-class wages. They can do the same math that the corporations have. But it would all be worth it if Trump would just hurt the people he needed to be hurt.

And then he did. He put brown kids in cages. He sent federal troops against the Black Lives Matter "mobs." He nominated judges hostile to a woman's right to have agency over her body.

And above else? He destroyed. He tore shit down. Norms, traditions, entire agencies.

So 2020 rolled around, and Trump no longer offered hope of economic revival in these economically devastated meth counties. Instead, he was the personification of their rage made real, in the Oval Office itself.

We saw this in Georgia, where Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins were locked in a battle to make it to the January runoff in the state's special election. Loeffler was originally chosen to try and appeal to the very white moderate college-educated suburban women that were abandoning the GOP and endangering the party's electoral chances. Collins is a right-wing ideologue, a staunch Trump ally, and the clear favorite of the Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP. So how did Loeffler fend him off? By moving to Collins' right, like this ad that claimed she was "More conservative than Attila the Hun" and had a "100 per cent Trump voting record."


Attila youtu.be

Loeffler literally said she was worse than a king best known for raping, pillaging, plundering, and extorting the Roman Empire into near insolvency. There are no Hun ruins you can visit today because they built no civilization, created no lasting art or culture.

So truly, Loeffler couldn't have picked a better representative of the modern Trumpian Republican Party—destructive, barbaric, and corrupt.

Now given their hatred for institutions like government and the media, is it any wonder that these hidden deplorables wouldn't answer pollsters' questions? Any attempt to survey them would likely be met with a middle finger and a "fuck you."

So the last four years have shown us that they only turn out when Donald Trump is in the battle. We'll have an early test of my Hidden Deplorables theory in January, when the two Senate seats in Georgia are decided. Given the essentially tied result in the presidential race (we won by a sliver), that special election will come down to the party that suffers the last amount of drop-off from their November turnout.

Trump got a remarkable 369,000 more votes in the Peach State this year compared to 2016, when he won the state by 5%. That should've been enough to seal the deal again. Yet Stacey Abrams, her volunteers, and an army of allied organizations did the near-impossible: Biden got 594,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. That is beyond mind-blowing!

If I'm right, Republican turnout among those new Trump voters could very well be catastrophic for the GOP. Now to be clear, no one should expect this. We assume they get every single one of their voters out. We need to out-hustle them, and they'll be working their assess off to turn those people out. So to be 100% clear, this isn't a prediction, nor is it even a hope.

If Republicans can get these hidden deplorables out, then the political picture the next few cycles will be rough—more closely fought elections, control of Congress and the White House balancing on a razor's edge. Making progress will be a tough slog.

On the other hand, if the hidden deplorables only come out when Trump is on the ballot, then that gives us some breathing room in the next few cycles ahead. That is, until a Trump ends up back on the presidential ballot in 2024.

Now this is an evolving theory, and it may be bolstered or undermined as additional data and information emerges (not to mention the Georgia runoff results will reveal a great deal). But regardless, Trump is likely the single greatest campaigner in modern presidential history. Hillary Clinton didn't lose because she was a terrible candidate, she lost because she faced a political prodigy, someone whose ability to tickle the darkest recesses of the white American's lizard brain is unparalleled, in a country that doesn't elect its presidents by popular vote, but by a system that overrepresents white rural states. Joe Biden cobbled together enough of a coalition to defeat Trump, but the damage was deep down-ballot precisely because so many of the House, Senate, and state legislative battles were fought in disproportionately white and rural states and districts—the places most excited by Trump's candidacy.

So take a man who has criminally mismanaged the country, enriching himself at the expense of its people and his donors, killed a quarter million Americans due to negligence, leading to the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, and didn't even bother to have a campaign platform because neither he nor his party cares about issues anymore … and he gets 10 million more votes than the last time? That number is a testament to his power as a vote-getter. Let's hope no other Republicans reverse engineers that formula anytime soon. And let's pray that these hidden deplorables, seeing their vote cast for a loser (and a loser who claims the vote was stolen!) decide to return to whatever dark crevices they emerged from.

This one Republican affidavit says everything you need to know about the sorry state of today's GOP

The Trump campaign released a 234-page stack of affidavits from poll watchers in Detroit alleging supposed intimidation. This Twitter thread highlights many of the absurd claims, such as complaining that independent poll watchers were too liberal, or this one complaining about "a very large man in 'Count the Vote' gear," or this one about people being mean to him. But one stood out to me, because it says so much about the sorry state of the Republican Party and the conservative movement today. Let's take a look.

A Republican poll watcher found it suspicious that Joe Biden would get military votes. As the affidavit states, "I did find it odd that, throughout the day/night, I saw a few dozen military ballots be counted. Although I cannot provide specific numbers or names, I can estimate that at least 80% of the military ballots I saw were straight ticket democrat or simply had Joe Biden's name filled in on them. I had always been told that military personnel tended to be more conservative, so this stuck out to me as the day went on."

Oh, this is so juicy.

1. No allegation of fraud.

Just like the entire stack of affidavits, this is not an allegation of fraud. It is an allegation of … nothing, really. He observed ballots be counted. The only crime committed here is that he didn't like the results.

2. The conservative media bubble makes you stupid.

This is the problem with being trapped in the right-wing media bubble—you aren't presented with reality. Fact is, rank-and-file service members are disproportionately Black and brown. They come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. And as would be expected, Black and Latinos are more liberal, while poor (heavily Southern) whites are more conservative. This isn't rocket science. When I served in the Army, the white boys had confederate flags flying in their barracks rooms, Black and Latinos did not. So it would make sense that if you're observing ballots, in Detroit, from local military personnel serving outside the state, that those ballots would reflect the rest of Detroit—likely heavily Black, and heavily Democratic.

Not to mention, we had a president who didn't just disrespect Sen. John McCain, a war hero, but also called service members who died in war "suckers" and "losers." It's likely why a Military Times poll of our troops found Joe Biden leading 41-37, with 50% of them holding an unfavorable view of Trump.

This is the problem with living in the right-wing media bubble is that it really does make you stupid.

3. Republicans going for volume over substance

It's one thing for some ignorant Republican poll watcher to puzzle over the results of military ballots. It's another for Republican lawyers to write it up and then release it to the public. It's clear that this isn't a serious effort to detail wrongdoing. They're just going to say "WE RELEASED 234 PAGES OF WRONGDOING!" in order to con people into thinking that Trump has been robbed. The Washington Post's David Weigel, talking to us on our weekly web show The Brief, detailed that strategy—get lots of media attention making allegations and filing frivolous lawsuits, fully expecting the media (including their right-wing outlets) to ignore stories of judges or other information and analysis dismissing those claims.

So that one affidavit showed us three critical things in this post-election period: That Republicans remain safely ensconced in their media bubble, misinforming themselves, that they are feeding that media bubble with bullshit claims and accusations, fully expecting any debunking to be ignored, and despite all that, they still can't find any fraud to point to, anything that might flip the tens of thousands of votes they would need to change the election results.

And to what end? To THIS end:

As long as the MAGA deplorables think the election can be flipped, Donald Trump can keep his grift alive, and Republicans have zero interest in putting the interests of democracy ahead of Trump's ego and bank account. And maybe, if they play their cards right, they can slip a coup in there.

Trump is in trouble in these red states: final poll

This is it, last round of 2020 public state polling. Toplines: In Iowa, Joe Biden +1 and Theresa Greenfield (D) +3, in Wisconsin, Biden +4, and in Ohio, Trump +1. The details below.

IOWA, 10/29-11/1, MoE 3.7%

PRESIDENT11/110/67/6
DONALD TRUMP (R-INC)484746
JOE BIDEN (D)494846

Remarkable consistency, and truly anyone's game. And wholly at odds with Saturday's Seltzer poll which had dramatic movement toward Donald Trump and Senate Republican incumbent Joni Ernst. You know the one, the poll that had everyone hyperventilating.


Either Seltzer is catching a massive shift in vote preference that literally no one else has caught, or … they're wrong. I like our numbers better. Regular readers know that in today's polarized political environment, public opinion simply doesn't shift.
SENATE11/110/67/6
JONI ERNST (R-INC)474645
THERESA GREENFIELD (D)504948

Looks like undecideds consistently broke even for each candidate each time we polled. While I like Greenfield's chances, this is clearly a tight contest.

WISCONSIN, 10/29-11/1, MoE 3.6%

PRESIDENT11/110/119/15
DONALD TRUMP (R-INC)474544
JOE BIDEN (D)515351

We're showing a tighter race than almost everyone else. The Economist's aggregate is +8 Biden, and here we are at half that. Still, Biden is over 50%, rendering him immune if the undecideds decide to stick with Trump.

OHIO, 10/29-11/1, MoE 3%

PRESIDENT11/110/119/15
DONALD TRUMP (R-INC)495048
JOE BIDEN (D)484745

Civiqs saw three-point Trump leads in September and October, and that's down to one point, with Trump right at that 50% mark. Ohio is within Biden's grasp, but Trump still has the edge.

Remember, Trump won Ohio by eight and Iowa by 9.4. Neither of those states should be competitive. That's why no one is pretending that Trump has a viable path to victory, not even his campaign, now fixated on trying to steal the election.

Biden is winning nationally — but the states actually decide. Here's what they're telling us

We've been checking into the state polling every Thursday for several months, and it's hard to believe, but we're out of Thursdays! I'll do one more of these on Monday or Tuesday, but we're pretty much at the end. Nothing much will change the dynamics of the race anymore. It'll all come down to 1) can we get our core vote to vote, and 2) where do the dwindling set of undecideds land. The answer to those two questions will determine whether we have an Electoral College landslide victory with an early evening call, or weeks and months of chaos, legal uncertainty, and violence. The Proud Boys are, after all, standing by.

We always start with a look at the national poll trends, using The Economist's polling aggregate.

(The Economist)

As you can see merely eyeballing the chart above, nothing much has happened since late August. The top-line numbers—54.2-45.8 are pretty much the same numbers we had in early June. You want to see something fun? Let's compare the chart above to Civiqs' chart of Trump's approval ratings over the last year:

It's the same freakin' trend. I've written before that all you have to do is add two-points to Trump's approval rating to get his share of the Biden-Trump vote in Civiqs polling. (Here's is our 50-state map of Trump approval ratings, if you want to play the game.) There is direct correlation.

Back to the aggregate, Joe Biden has an 8.4-point lead in the national polling. Last week it was 8.6 points, so for all intents and purposes, nothing has moved. And why would it? We are so polarized at this point, that it's hard to imagine anything having a measurable impact anymore. We're approaching a quarter million dead from the coronavirus pandemic, and Trump's numbers have barely budged. But in the same token, what could Trump say to start winning back some of that support? That's why this Hunter Biden laptop nonsense is so patently ridiculous. Even if it was true, and it's not, no one gives a shit.

One last note before we get to the polls, please don't say stupid shit like "ignore the polls!" and "act like we're 10 points down!" We are the reality-based community. We don't ignore data, and we certainly don't create an alternate reality. It amazes me how conservatives can't handle bad news, and liberals can't handle good news. The reason we have opportunities to win tough races like Senate seats in Texas, Kansas, Alaska, Iowa, and Georgia is because Biden is doing this well. That's not a bad thing or a reason to be scared. It's a reason to get excited, because only a few points separate an okay night from a good night from the best night ever. There is no excuse for complacency because there are races we are legitimately behind in, that we can only win if we out-hustle Republicans on the ground.

As usual, we start with our baseline map.

As I say every week, I think Alaska is a battleground, but the polling isn't validating my gut instinct, so it remains red on this map.
STATEELECTORAL
VOTES

ECONOMIST
POLL AGGREGATE

WEEKLY
CHANGE

TOTAL
BASELINE--232-125
MICHIGAN16Biden +8.0

+1.0

248-125
WISCONSIN10Biden +8.0+1.4258-125
NEBRASKA-011Biden +6.5-259-125
PENNSYLVANIA20Biden +6.2+0.4279-125
FLORIDA29Biden +3.2-0.2308-125
ARIZONA11Biden +3.0-0.2319-125
NORTH CAROLINA15Biden +2.4-334-125
MAINE-021Biden +3.0+1.0335-125
GEORGIA16Biden +0.6+0.6351-125
IOWA6Biden +0.2+2.0357-125
OHIO18Trump +1.4-0.2357-143
TEXAS38Trump +2.2-0.2357-181

All in all, a great week for Biden in the key battlegrounds. Iowa flipped (barely) from a narrow Trump win to the narrowest Biden one. More importantly, the Big Three—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all trended up for him. If Biden wins these three, it's over. He's got it. So as things currently stand, Trump would have to overcome a six-point deficit in Pennsylvania merely to stay in the game.

After Pennsylvania, things get closer, and this is where we really need to work hard to nail these states down. Political Campaigning 101 says that a good ground game can be worth three points in the final results. Look at all these states—everything from Florida on down is within that three-point spread.

The work we put in to get the final vote out can be the difference between a 279-259 victory, with Trump's lawyers trying to sow chaos and discord in Pennsylvania, trying to throw out legitimately cast votes hoping their illegitimate Supreme Court pulls another Bush v. Gore, or a 413-125 historic walloping that puts an early end to the night and squashes any conservative efforts to steal the election.

Not to mention, there are seven Senate pickups possible in those presidential battlegrounds. Given that we need to pick up net-three seats, the more we maximize our performance in those states, the better our chances to have a real and transformative Senate majority.

Finally, I really want to highlight the GOP's dilemma heading into future cycles.

The top six 2016 red states, by electoral votes, are all battlegrounds: Texas (38), Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Georgia (16), and North Carolina (15). Their largest safe red state is Indiana (11).

Of those, it's safe to say that Ohio is trending red, and maybe Pennsylvania. But Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina are clearly trending blue, and Florida is Florida. I'm just going to assume it'll remain 50-50 forever, but really, demographically, it's a blue state.

The modern GOP can't function as a national party if Ohio and Pennsylvania are their anchors, particularly since they're both likely losing seats during reapportionment. Who will gain? Texas, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina … you get the point.

There is something real and special happening this year. We are all part of history. And the hard work of every single one of us, of you, has gotten us to this point, on the precipice of transformative change. So don't let up now, so close to the finish line. Let's finish strong.

Leave nothing on the road.

The real 2020 drama is in the Senate. Here's how close it is to flipping

Conservatives can't handle bad news, so they invent poll numbers to show themselves winning. Liberals are terrified of good news, so they obnoxiously say things like "pretend we're down by 20!"

Then there's reality—we're looking good in the presidential race, so the real drama is in the Senate. And we're just a few points from having a good night, and the best night possible.

Using FiveThirtyEight.com's Senate forecasts, we can see just how close that dividing line between "good" and "the best ever" really is.

STATE &

INCUMBENT PARTY

538

FORECAST

SENATE BALANCE

IF DEMS WIN

MARGIN IF

DEMS WIN

BASELINE53-47R+6
ALABAMA (D)R+7.254-46R+8
COLORADO (R)D+7.753-47R+6
MICHIGAN (D)D+6.753-47R+6
ARIZONA (R)D+5.652-48R+4
MAINE (R)D+2.451-49R+2
NORTH CAROLINA (R)D+2.3

50-50

TIED
IOWA (R) D+0.849-51D+2
GEORGIA SPECIAL (R)D+?(*)48-52D+4
GEORGIA (R)R+247-53D+6
MONTANA (R)R+3.446-54D+8
KANSAS (R)R+4.945-55D+10
SOUTH CAROLINA (R)R+5.744-56D+12
ALASKA (R)R+6.4

43-57

D+14
TEXAS (R)R+8.342-58D+16
MISSISSIPPI (R)R+10.541-59D+18

If these forecasts held, Democrats would emerge with a four-seat 52-48 majority. While better than being in the minority, that's a small enough minority that West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema could hold most of the Democratic agenda hostage. Furthermore, there are too many Democratic "institutionalists" in the Senate, like Vermont's Patrick Leahy and Delaware's Chris Coons, that even simple things like eliminating the filibuster could prove problematic.

So is a four-seat majority enough to pass the kind of aggressive reforms we need to safeguard our democracy? Doubtful.

Furthermore, we're not even guaranteed that much! North Carolina, Maine, and Georgia's special election seat are all within a few points in the 538 forecast. It's a real dogfight just to get to a small majority. A tied 50-50 Senate is still well within the realm of possibility.

But here's the flip side: What if the polls are understating Biden and Democratic support given how many new people are flooding into the system—young voters and previously inactive voters? What if the undecideds break as aggressively toward the Democrats this year as they did toward Trump and the GOP in 2016? What if we maximize our turnout because everyone is working so hard at get out the vote (GOTV), and our base is hyper-mobilized?

I actually think both Georgia Senate seats are looking good for us (even if we might need to wait until January to clinch the seats in runoff elections). If we win everything else the 538 model says we're leading, that puts us at 53-47. Looking better, right?

Then we have the races in Montana, Kansas, and South Carolina within five points or so. Those are all tough races that we're supposed to lose, but what if we work so hard that we pull them off? What if rural counties are so coronavirus-stricken that their Election Day turnout suffers? What if Donald Trump keeps saying stupid shit on the campaign trail and demobilizes even a fraction of his support? All we need is a small suppression of his vote alongside our own hyper-mobilized one to potentially swing these tough seats our way.

Then there's Alaska, which is near-impossible to poll, but there are many signs that Biden could carry it, or at least come shockingly close to doing so. That could pull our candidate there over the line. And given what we're seeing in Texas turnout, the polls may simply be incapable of processing the kind of seismic shift underway.

To be clear, I'm not saying we're going to win those seats, but if we can pull off just two upsets among that batch, we're suddenly looking at a 55-45 Senate, and actual freedom to do what we need to do: eliminate the filibuster, expand the courts, statehood for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and a national voting rights bill that protects everyone's votes.

That's how close things are between a tied Senate, or even Republicans maintaining their majority, and a 10-seat majority that could become 14 seats nearly overnight with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico statehoods.

The money has flowed to these candidates. They won't lose from lack of resources. So it's up to us to do whatever GOTV we can to finish out the race. Just six more days to fix our American democracy.

1. Contact anyone you know in any of these battleground states and urge them to vote, and to make sure three of their friends/family/coworkers/acquaintances vote along with them. There are tons of battlegrounds. Here're just the presidential and Senate battlegrounds: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. That's 19 states.

2. There are dozens of battleground House districts—pretty much anyone who lives in the suburbs qualifies. So if you have any suburban contacts, reach out to them as well.

3. Reach out to everyone else and urge them to vote. Period. We build power by exercising power. There are few places in the country where a vote is truly wasted. There's something on the ballot worth fighting for. And if not, you're building toward the next election.

4. Go to DailyKos.com/GOTV to find something you can do in these last few days. There are myriad options on that page, so find something that suits your skills and personality and GOTV like the fate of our country depends on it.

We are winning, yes, but we need to win by even more. So if you're one of those people who need to be losing by 10 to be motivated, well, there are states on that list above that are legitimately 10 points down. Motivation engaged! Now let's win this thing!

Why 1,000,000 new voters in Georgia are a really big deal: analysis

Georgia was close in 2016, with Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton just 50-45, despite zero attention or focus on the state. It was a major signal to the political world that Georgia had arrived on the battleground stage. And while it took a while for the political punditry and observers to give Georgia the top billing it deserves (Daily Kos was relatively lonely at the start of the cycle, calling the state a battleground), there is no doubt in anyone's mind that Georgia is perhaps the most closely divided state in the country.

From an Electoral College standpoint, Democrat Joe Biden will win the presidency long before Georgia's 16 electoral votes are added to someone's tally. But Georgia is critically important for several reasons:

  • Georgia is the fourth largest (by population) red state in the country. Interestingly, every single one of them is competitive: Texas (38), Florida (29), Ohio (18), Georgia (16), and North Carolina (15). It is difficult for Republicans to win the White House if they don't have a solid base to depend on, the way Democrats have California (55), New York (29), and Illinois (20) to anchor their map.
  • The Senate is easily biased toward white rural Republican states. Any state that can be pulled from the "safe Republican" column to "competitive" status helps go a little way toward alleviating the rank inequities of that chamber. And it's incredibly fortuitous that Georgia has two Senate seats in play this year.
  • The people of Georgia deserve better, plain and simple.

So a competitive Georgia isn't exactly the biggest surprise of the cycle, but going from minus-5 to tied didn't happen by accident. Driving that transformation: there are now 7.6 million registered voters in the state, a staggering 1 million more than in 2016—a nearly 14% increase. Remember—Clinton lost by 5%. That was a a 211,141 difference.

In 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams lost the governor's race by a little less than 55,000 votes. And here we are, 1 million newly registered voters later since 2016, with the polls neck and neck. And the numbers on those registered voters are simply brutal.

  • The number of voters under the age of 35 years old is up 22%—making up half of the new voters. According to a late-September Georgia poll by Civiqs, Biden is winning 18-34-year-old voters by a 53-40 margin. Of course, these are the lowest performing voters, but more on that in a bit.
  • Of that million new voters, 200,000 were registered in the last three months alone. That's …. staggeringly mind-blowing!
  • Of those who gave their race, 53% of new voters are white, 30% are Black, and 4% are Latino. According to exit polls, 60% of Georgia voters were white in 2016. The state's electorate is getting browner, which is terrible news for the GOP.

According to the latest up-to-date numbers from the U.S. Elections Project, 2,258,750 Georgians have already voted since early voting began on October 10, or 32% of the 2016 total. Early voting will continue until Friday, October 30, so we still have another eight days. Not only does this bank Democratic votes ahead of time, lessening the load on the Democratic GOTV machine, but it will also guarantee shorter lines on Election Day proper. The state expects more than 5 million to vote, dramatically higher than 2016's 4.1 million.

This one will be close, no doubt about it. The presidential and both Senate races (and several competitive House races down ballot) will all be real dogfights. But Georgia's demographic trends are moving decisively in our direction. Georgia may very well follow the most recent example of Colorado—once a conservative stronghold, then a battleground, and now a solid, safe blue state.

But first things first, 2020. GOTV and leave nothing on the road.

Is it time to freak out? Here's what the polls say this week about the state of the presidential race

Welcome to my weekly roundup of state presidential polls, a feature of whose future is coming to an end at seemingly terrifyingly speed. Remember back when people would answer every poll with "it's way too early to look at polls!" Then there was that primary thing were everyone argued for a long time. And now? Here we are. At election's eve. Finally able to deliver a message to Donald Trump the only way he'll (maybe) listen: with a vote.

We always start with a look at the national poll trends, using The Economist's polling aggregate.

(The Economist)

Biden's current 54.3%-45.7% lead, or +8.6 points, is actually up a smidgeon from last week's 54.2% to 45.8%, or 8.4 points. Really, it's all float. The reality, and you can see it in the chart above, is that the race hasn't fundamentally budged in a while, not since September, really.

It feels like we're on the precipice of something amazing. It's no accident that Texas is competitive. The national numbers have swung nearly nine points toward the Democrats. How much did Trump win Texas by in 2016? Nine points. This stuff isn't rocket science.

We're already headed toward a real good night. But if we could shift those numbers 1-2 more points? That good night could become epic. Those 1-2 points could be the difference between a 50-50 Senate, and a 55-45 Democratic majority with victories in states like Alaska, Kansas, South Carolina, and Texas. We are so close to blowing this wide open. But also so close to seeing the pendulum swing back toward the GOP by 1-2 points, and taking those tough red-state Senate seats off the map.

That's why I don't understand the "act like we're 20 points down!" crowd. If that's what motivates you, go to Idaho, where Joe Biden is likely down by that amount, and see how motivating that actually is. You'll discover what every sports fan knows: it's more motivating to be in the lead than losing.

And here's the thing: Biden's 9-point national lead is the reason that Texas is competitive. It's the reason Alaska is competitive. It's the reason so many traditionally red states and districts are competitive. It's the reason we might pick up state legislatures in places like (again) Texas, as well as heavy Republican gerrymanders in places like Arizona and Michigan.

The fact that Biden is running so strong nationally means that we have a wealth of newly competitive races open up down ballot. Isn't that motivating? So please don't resort to loser "20 points down" bullshit. My suspicion is that people think they need to say that to motivate other people, and it's counterproductive. Freaking Ohio and Iowa, which Trump won by around 10 points in 2016, are competitive. Winning has its advantages. And winning bigger has even more advantages—the majorities we need for critical systemic change.

Okay, let me step off my soapbox, and let's look at the state polls. As usual, we start with our baseline map.

I still think Alaska is a battleground, and if it turns Blue on November 3, you'll remember that I've harped on it all cycle. The polling aggregate says it's a 6.6-point Trump lead, so it remains firmly red on this map. But, Alaska is the toughest state to poll, so don't be surprised if it flips, that's all I'm saying.

STATEELECTORAL
VOTES

ECONOMIST
POLL AGGREGATE

WEEKLY
CHANGE

TOTAL
BASELINE--232-125
MICHIGAN16Biden +7.0-248-125
WISCONSIN10Biden +6.6-0.4258-125
NEBRASKA-011Biden +6.5-259-125
PENNSYLVANIA20Biden +5.8-0.4279-125
FLORIDA29Biden +3.4-0.2308-125
ARIZONA11Biden +3.2+0.4319-125
NORTH CAROLINA15Biden +2.4+0.4334-125
MAINE-021Biden +2.0-335-125
GEORGIA16Biden +0.0+0.2351-125
IOWA6Trump +1.8-1.0351-131
OHIO18Trump +1.6-0.8351-149
TEXAS38Trump +2-351-187

Wow, pretty much nothing changed, and that's great news for us since, you know, time is running out. Biden still has a five-point-lead-or-larger for all the states he needs to get to 270 electoral votes, and ultimate victory. He also leads in enough states that will finish their counting on election night (Florida and North Carolina), to avoid having Trump and the GOP sow chaos with an avalanche of lawsuits.

And Biden is within 2 points of blowing past 400 electoral votes, which would deliver pretty much the most humiliating defeat possible to Trump. And really, we want him humiliated.

According to conventional political wisdom, a good GOTV ground game is worth around 3 points (another reason why "fight like we're 20 down" is so stupid). So every one of those states above is gettable, especially if the Trump GOTV operation—which has put all of its marbles on Election Day turnout—fizzles. And does anyone trust the Trump Republican Party to do anything right?

Of course, no one is counting on former campaign manager Brad Parscale to have pilfered all of the money. We know he ran off with tens of millions of Trump campaign cash. Maybe some of it was spent on building a GOTV machine. Which is why we have to work as hard as we have already been working.

We truly are on the cusp of something transformative. Leave nothing on the road.

Trump hopes Nevada will bail him out. Here's what the numbers say

Once upon a time, back in April 2019, the Trump campaign was all full of endless bluster.

"Obviously, we have to go back and win Michigan again, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin," [former Trump campaign manager and existing wife-beater Brad] Parscale said, referring to three states that Trump won by a combined 78,000 votes. "We plan on also being in Minnesota very soon. I think New Mexico is in play in 2020.
"I think New Hampshire, I think we continue to grow the map. I think Nevada, you know even Colorado. And so those are, those are states we did not win in, in 2016 that I think are open for 2020."

Fast forward to today, when the Trump campaign has all-but abandoned Michigan and Wisconsin, and fully abandoned Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Civiqs polled Colorado a few weeks ago and found Joe Biden leading 54-42. It's hilarious that anyone in the Trump camp ever thought it night be competitive. Public polling in New Hampshire is hovering around the same low-double digit margins. But what about Nevada?

The Trump campaign has made ad reservations in Nevada heading into the final stretch, yet the Economist polling composite shows Biden leading there by a seemingly a large margin—53.1 to 46.9%, or 6.2%. Hillary Clinton won the state by just 2.5 points in 2016, so it would seem purplish. But Civiqs latest poll of the race shows that the state, like much of the country, has moved sharply leftward.

Civiqs polled Nevada October 17-20, interviewing 712 likely voters, with a MoE of 5.3%.

PRESIDENT10/2020
DONALD TRUMP (R-INC)43
JOE BIDEN (D)52

Biden is comfortably over 50%, Trump trails way back. A double digit Biden victory here wouldn't surprise me. A Fox News poll in late September had Biden up by an even bigger margin, 52-41. A NY Time/Siena poll in early October had Biden winning 48-42.

The Trump campaign's continued spending here is curious, as it's not part of a path that current Trump campaign manager Bridgegate Bill Stepien sees as a likely one: "pathway three — the one Stepien views as least likely of the options — does not include Arizona but involves Trump winning North Carolina, Michigan and Nevada." Don't be surprised if you see the campaign quietly cancel its ad reservations there, as it's broke.

Further down the ballot, the Constitutional amendment to eliminate the state's official definition of marriage as between a man and a woman is headed toward easy passage.

Florida poised to deliver election night death blow to Trump presidency

It's Civiqs' first look at Florida, and it's finding what most other pollsters have found: a slight Joe Biden lead.

Civiqs conducted the poll October 17-20, sampling 863 likely voters, and an MoE of 3.5%
PRESIDENT10/2020
DONALD TRUMP (R-INC)47
JOE BIDEN (D)51

The Economist's poll aggregator (which strips out undecideds), has the Florida race at 51.9 to 48.1 Biden, a 3.8-point advantage. So this is well within the polling consensus.

Florida will count its ballots by election night, so if Donald Trump hopes to sow fear and confusion over uncounted ballots in Michigan and Pennsylvania, this isn't going to help. In fact, election-night loses in Florida, North Carolina, or Georgia will immediately signal Trump's inevitable loss, and take the wind out of any attempts to sow chaos and uncertainty.

Also of note, Biden is over 51%, meaning that if the numbers are accurate, undecided voters can't flip the election to Trump.

Down ballot, voters appear set to overwhelmingly approve a $15 minimum wage, 57-38, garnering the support of even 25% of Republicans. Meanwhile, the effort to institute an idiotic top-two jungle primary system (like the one we're saddled with in California and Washington too) looks headed toward comfortable defeat—36-51.

Of further note, Republican and former party savior Sen. Marco Rubio has an approval rating of 39-53, making him the least popular politician in the state. That should make for a fun 2022, when he is up for reelection. By comparison, the state's incompetent and odious governor Ron DeSantis, who has killed thousands by refusing to the COVID seriously, has a distressingly okay 46-49 favorability rating. (Which also shows that the sample isn't overly liberal.)

Luckily, we don't need Florida to win the White House. If we need it, we are bound to be disappointed by it. But the fact that this poll confirms a slight Biden lead gives hope that all the presidential drama can end early on Election Night, so we can enjoy the rest of the evening counting victories instead.

Iowa is a fierce Senate and presidential battleground — but Democrats have the edge

Oh man, it's been a week of brutal polling for sickly president Donald Trump and Republicans down the ballot, and this new Iowa poll, conducted by Civiqs for Daily Kos after Trump was hospitalized, is no different.

For context, remember that Trump won Iowa 51-42 in 2016.

PRESIDENT9/20207/2020
DONALD TRUMP (R-INC)4746
JOE BIDEN (D)4846

The race is tight and can go either way, which is nothing but bad news for Trump, whose entire map is collapsing before his very eyes. As we saw in battleground polling last Thursday, before the wheels really fell off the Trump cart, Iowa is well down the list of states Biden is poised to flip—Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska's Omaha-based electoral vote, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine's rural electoral vote, and Georgia are all running ahead of Iowa.

In fact, if that order predicts the final outcome of the race, Biden will already have 351 electoral votes by the time Iowa gets tallied. The state's six electoral votes mean little in the big picture.

But politics isn't always about the big picture, as liberals have finally learned. Iowa features a critical Senate race, while all four House races are in play (Democrats currently hold three).

SENATE9/20207/2020
JONI ERNST (R-INC)4645
THERESA GREENFIELD (D)4948

That is the mark of a race that hasn't budged since June, virtually preserved in amber. And for our purposes, that is okay. Ernst wasn't supposed to be vulnerable this cycle. With Republicans dominating white, rural, low-education states, and Trump having won the state easily by nine points in 2016, Iowa was supposed to be completely off the map. Instead, Democrat Theresa Greenfield has run a picture-perfect campaign, holding that small but steady lead throughout the bulk of the year.

If you wonder why Greenfield outpaces Biden slightly, it's because of independent voters. And this is why it's important for Biden to do well even in places he doesn't need to win—because the better he does, the easier it is for down-ballot candidates to cross their own finish lines.

If you're wondering how this poll compares to the rest of the public polling, The Economist's modeled polling aggregate has Trump winning 50.4 to 49.6%, or a 0.8% advantage. A +1 Biden lead is well within the polling mainstream. In the Senate race, the polling aggregate per Daily Kos Elections is Greenfield 47-43, or +4. Greenfield at +3 in this poll is, once again, within the polling mainstream.

This is a must-win Senate race. These numbers suggest that while it's still a dogfight, and will be until the bitter end, I'd rather be the Democratic Party than whatever mess of a disaster is left of the GOP.

Hospital-ridden Trump may crush what's left of his deplorable base

Anecdotally, Donald Trump's medical travails isn't doing him any electoral favors. Several polls are showing the impeached irresponsible dumbass losing ground after his COVID diagnosis, like this one and this one. By all indications, it's way too early to tell.

But I'm not here to argue that Trump will lose ground in the head-to-heads. I'm say that things are even more dire for him—that his coronavirus diagnosis and hospitalization will crush his supporters' intensity, damage both turnout and even the possibility of post-Election Day violence.

Unlike everything else I write, I don't have any data to point to, no polls to bolster my argument. This is pure conjecture, but it is an educated guess as to the evolving contours of the race.

As Kerry Eleveld wrote yesterday, "Over the course of 24 hours, the central pillar of Donald Trump's campaign strategy came crashing down … Trump's air of invincibility has been entirely destroyed."

Trump has studiously worked to present himself as "strong," "resolute," "a winner." His campaign has been about vigor, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden's lack thereof. "Sleepy Joe," as stupid a nickname as it is, was fully intended to convey contrast: Trump, strong. Biden, weak.

None of that was on starker display than the debate question about wearing masks. "I will put a mask on when I think I need it," Trump said, pulling out what might've been a Kleenex from his coat pocket. "I don't wear masks like him," he said, pointing to Biden. "Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."

That Biden, what a weak piece of shit, so afraid of the corona that he wears a big mask. A Strong man like Trump, on the other hand, doesn't let no virus scare him!

And yet he now lies in a hospital room, with comorbidities compounding his frail condition. Where is that strength he so laughably claims to have? Where is his, to use Kerry's word, invincibility?

I always laugh at how liberals can't handle good news, while Republicans can't handle bad news. While many on our side react to a good poll by saying silly things like "act like we're 10 points down!" their side will just follow along with Trump's proclamations that it's all fake news and the media, deep state, and swamp are conspiring to depress conservative turnout.

And they're right. When a candidate is down significantly, like 10 points, it depresses turnout. Who wants to spend their precious time, especially in a pandemic, working hard for a loser? That's why they work so hard to create their alternate reality, one in which Trump is totally cruising to reelection!

But what happens when Trump isn't around to mobilize his base, tell them to stop paying attention to reality, and use hate, fear, and bigotry to rally the faithful? The Trump campaign certainly sees the danger:

Yeah, good luck with that. The conservative base doesn't care about any of those people. There is only one person that matters. And that person, that supposed symbol of vigor and strength, is laid up in a hospital bed because of his rank idiocy and stupid. And while the Trump camp insists he's fine and "in good spirits," we know that's bullshit because, you know, he's not tweeting.

Will Trump be able to regain enough strength and vigor to at least tap a few buttons on his phone? I certainly hope he gets better. I need him to be alive to see himself become the biggest loser in American history. I want him to see his business empire crumble under incompetent stewardship and legal scrutiny, him and his children in prison, that bullshit facade of success crumbled to dust. Death would be too easy an escape. I am genuinely rooting for him to pull through.

But by all indications, this is not an easy disease to recover from. The road is long and hard. Will he have the strength to type bullshit tweets again? I hope so! Will he have the strength to muster up the kind of rage and sense of grievance that is so effective in riling up his base? That's a whole different question, and it's easy to see him having difficulties elevating the political temperature.

You take away Trump's ability to manipulate his supporters' lizard brain, and what do you have left? Even a small 5-10% erosion in intensity and passion among his supporters would prove catastrophic—not for Trump! He's already losing. But for the rest of the Republican Party, already facing deep losses in the House, Senate, and state-level races.

You add deep electoral losses (like a defeated Sen. Lindsey Graham and a massive Electoral College Biden win) and a Trump too sickly to really work up the requisite level of outrage, and the chances of post-election violence we've been fearing are also severely diminished.

It really is ironic, isn't it? Had Trump taken this pandemic seriously from the beginning, something he clearly understood (as he told Bob Woodward in those recorded conversations), today would look more different. Imagine an America where Trump could claim credit for minimizing COVID deaths, having encouraged everyone to wear masks from the start, and shut down the country while ensuring a smooth and efficient distribution of PPE, ventilators, and other necessary equipment. Imagine further that Trump worked with Democrats to provide several rounds of economic stimulus, minimizing the nation's economic pain and saving millions of jobs. As a result, schools could now reopen fairly safely, as they have in well-run countries like Korea, New Zealand, and Germany.

Trump could claim credit for all of that. And, as a bonus, he wouldn't be laid up in the hospital too sick to tweet or call in to Fox and Friends. The Senate would be doing regular business, confirming more conservative judges including the big one, the open Supreme Court seat.

And who could punish Trump for any of this? Certainly not liberals, who were begging him to take the pandemic seriously. The deplorables? They'd happily do whatever Trump asked them to do. They're stupid lemmings. The media would give credit where credit was due.

And we'd be running a much tighter race, one in which Trump had proven himself a genuinely strong and capable leader.

It's genuinely tragic that none of that happened, and that we had to lose 210,000 souls (and counting) to Republican idiocy. And now, Mr. "I'm too strong to wear a mask unlike stupid Biden and his big-ass mask" is fighting for his life.

This isn't the story that will motivate the deplorables to work harder to turn out the vote or disrupt the post-election transition of power. Quite the opposite, it smells of defeat and surrender.

That 'debate' was bad for America — but it was even worse for Trump

Urban centers are Democratic. Rural areas are Republican. The battleground? Suburbs, where two years ago, white college-educated suburban women turned on Republicans with a fury, giving Democrats 38 of their 41 House pickups.

And why did those women turn on Donald Trump, after voting for him in 2016? Yes, the environment and health care loom large. But in the end, it's the fact that Trump is a bully, and his party is totally okay with it.

This about sums it up:

"The number one issue we find when we ask [women] what you want in a president is integrity," says [Sarah] Chamberlain. She says for this reason many suburban women voters are rigid in their movement away from Trump. "I think suburban women are pretty much locked in right now," says Chamberlain.

Who is Sarah Chamberlain? She is the president and CEO of Main Street Partnership, an organization that supports Republicans in Congress.

They are tired of the bullying, of the harassment, of his rank sexism and racism, of his never-ending stream of lies.

So what does Donald Trump do in the debate?

He lied, displaying his racism like calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" and refusing to refute white supremacism, he bullied and interrupted and ranted and raved.

It's easy to get caught up with the distressing substance of this debate. But the debate isn't a standalone contest. It serves a broader purpose—to help inform the voting decisions of the American electorate.

So ask yourself, whose mind was changed by this? Obviously no liberal or conservative voter did. The other side was parading around on Twitter puffing up their chest bragging about their guy being "the alpha," as if that has any salience in voting beyond the conservative deplorable base. We liberals saw Trump confirm every horrible thing we thought about him.

But what about those swing suburban college-educated white woman? Were any of them swayed by what they saw tonight?

Of course not!

And for Trump, that is devastating. He is losing, down by nearly double-digits nationally, and by solid deficits in the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He needs to change the equation. He needs to win back support that he lost.

And he didn't even try.

Time is running out. Every day we're closer to Election Day. People are already voting. And Trump? He just surrendered one of his last big chances to turn things around.

Democracy cried tonight, but at least we're one day closer to victory.

There's one anecdote in the NYT tax returns story that proves that Trump is the worst businessman

If nothing else, this weekend's revelation about Donald Trump's tax returns prove that he is a business failure. Nothing summarizes the New York Times story better than this:

To be clear, he was fabulously successful as a TV reality star: "'The Apprentice,' along with the licensing and endorsement deals that flowed from his expanding celebrity, brought Mr. Trump a total of $427.4 million." Those earnings were legit. His problem is that just like bankrupting a casino—literally a money-printing operation—his investments using that money have all been stunning failures.

In fact, he's so deeply in debt that "he is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years." And that doesn't even include $72.9 million that he likely owes the IRS for bullshit tax refunds.

Trump's businesses reported just $34.7 million cash on hand in 2018, meaning that Trump corp will have to start selling assets off to pay off those debts. It also explains why he's so adamant about charging the federal government for the use of his properties, like overcharging Secret Service personnel for stays at his golf resorts.

But nothing was funnier than this one vignette from the story:

After plans for a Trump-branded mini-city on the Far West Side of Manhattan stalled in the 1990s, Mr. Trump's stake was sold by his partner to Vornado Realty Trust. Mr. Trump objected to the sale in court, saying he had not been consulted, but he ended up with a 30 percent share of two valuable office buildings owned and operated by Vornado.
His share of the profits through the end of 2018 totaled $176.5 million, with depreciation factored in. He has never had to invest more money in the partnership, tax records show.

Nothing beyond his earnings from The Apprentice have been as successful as the $176.5 million Trump made from his share in these properties. Now look at how he got there:

  • Trump plan for mini-city fails
  • Trump's partner says "fuck it" and sells
  • Trump says he didn't approve sale, sues, and gets 30% of the properties
  • Some other company manages those properties, and makes bank
  • Trump makes $176.5 million

Got it? Everything Trump has managed has failed and is deeply in debt. He somehow lucked into this 30% share of this one project that someone else took over, and it made him $176.5 million.

When he had control, it was a failure. When someone else took over, it made a ton of money. Does anything prove his shiftiness as a businessman better than that?

Or does bankrupting a casino still win?

Trump's weekend looked bad — but it was even worse than you thought

Back in July, newly installed Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien kicked off his stewardship of the USS Trump by proclaiming: "With 109 days left, our goal is clear – to win each day we have left until election day. If we win more days than Joe Biden wins, President Trump will be re-elected."

Aside from the stupidity of that statement—that's how presidents are elected—it's hard to see any day that impeached president Donald Trump has "won," right? And now we're one week closer to the election, and Trump is once again on the defensive in the wake of the explosive New York Times revelations over his tax returns. It's the last place he wanted to be since, to be perfectly clear, he's getting his ass whooped electorally.

We can start with the two presidential candidates' approval numbers. Trump is headed the wrong way:

That -14 net job approval is tied for the worst he's seen all year, and the only time it's been worse in his presidency was in March 2017 when he tried to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. (Helpful reminder that the only thing that moves numbers is health care—the pandemic included.)

To compare, here's Democratic nominee Joe Biden:

Given Trump's rank unpopularity, it was imperative that Trump and the GOP knock Biden's favorables down. Instead, the exact opposite happened. And while Biden has finally leveled off at -5 net favorables after a summer of consolidating his base (including young voters, his worst-performing core demographic), near parity looks far better than Trump's garbage ratings.

This stuff matters. In 2004, facing disastrous approval ratings, Republican President George W. Bush knew he couldn't rehabilitate his image over the course of the campaign, so he set out to destroy Democratic nominee John Kerry's approval ratings, mocking his war service and Purple Heart medal (awarded for being wounded in combat) and—remember this nonsense?—making a thing out of Kerry windsurfing.

Bush narrowly won the battle over who was least unpopular. Trump had to do the same, but he's too stupid, unfocused, and undisciplined to make it work. For some reason, he and his brain trust of Rudy Giuliani, wife-beater Brad Parscale, and others decided that "Hunter Biden something-something Ukraine" was the magic bullet. Even if that conspiracy theory had been true, does anyone think it would matter to anyone, particularly given the obvious and overt corruption of the entire Trump clan?

Or how about "sleepy Joe"—was that really going to cause harm when Trump is afraid of stairs and ramps and needs two hands to drink freakin' water?

But worst of all, people have long since given up giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. Bush was full of shit, but he was smartly full of shit and didn't pepper every single one of his public utterances with lies. Trump lies even when he doesn't need to lie! And he didn't turn people off with his crude and bullying demeanor. Trump could come out today with credible evidence of Biden wrongdoing, and it wouldn't matter. No one would believe him or care, because he, himself, is so loathsome.

People were willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt. Trump won't get that. So instead of harming Biden's approval numbers, it's almost as if the reverse happened—the more Trump has attacked Biden, the more popular Biden has become.

And this past weekend's polling might just be the worst of the cycle for Trump.

ABC News/Washington Post, 9/21-24 (8/15 results)

Trump 44 (44)
Biden 54 (54)

No change between their poll in mid-August and the one over this weekend—a net 10-point Biden lead.

NY Times/Sienna, 9/22-24 (no trend lines)

Trump 41 (44)
Biden 49 (54)

You want to know what's extra crazy about this New York Times poll? The sample is +1 Republican! In 2016, the electorate was D+3. Does anyone really think that Republicans will outperform their 2016 percentages? The ABC News poll above was D+1 among its likely voter results. So those of you who want to pretend we're losing the ability to be properly motivated, there you go—you can pretend the electorate will be more Republican than it was in 2016.

Some of you may be inclined to argue that these national polls are irrelevant given that the president is elected by our undemocratic electoral college. I am tracking state polls separately, so you can see how Biden is winning handily on that front as well. But here's the point: The states do not move independently of each other. Our elections are highly nationalized, highly partisanized. For Trump to suddenly make his must-win states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin competitive, he would need to gain five to six points nationally against Biden. Every single day that the national spread remains eight to 10 points is one day closer to easily losing the three states that will hand Biden the presidency.

Just as importantly, every single day that Biden retains an eight to 10 point national lead is one day closer to winning our second- and third-tier Senate races in tough Republican territories like Alaska, Kansas, South Carolina, and Texas. It makes it easier to win the tossups in places like Georgia and Montana. It helps us downballot as well in tough battleground House races. And it makes it easier to make the gains in state legislatures we need in order to pass better laws at the local level, as well as control or have a say in the looming redistricting battles of 2021.

So yes, national polls matter, and working hard to grow that margin is our top priority. The bigger the margin, the less post-election havoc Trump can cause. The bigger the margin, the more races we'll win downballot. The bigger the margin, the better we tell the world "Trump was an anomaly, so sorry, we're back on track." The bigger the margin, the happier we'll be when all the ballots are counted.

Will Trump's tax returns give us ammunition to win bigger? It's okay to be skeptical. Trump really could eat a baby on national TV and his deplorable base would find a way to rationalize it. Remember, 200,000 dead Americans has cost Trump a measly net three points in his approval ratings. It's brutally depressing.

But we don't need a big shift. One or two points can mean the difference between South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham being reelected, and us having Jamie Harrison in that seat.

Not kidding: That race could come down to hundreds of votes.

The news could also further depress Republicans, affecting both turnout and their ability to motivate volunteers to do "get out the vote" actions. We already know they're suffering in the money race, with Trump's campaign too broke to continue contesting Ohio and Iowa:

You know which campaign isn't broke?

So we don't need to just change minds. If we can keep the deplorables home, it's incredibly helpful.

We're doing what we need to do. Keep it up! Don't do that thing where you pretend you're losing by 10. If you need to think that to motivate yourself, then by all means, knock yourself out. But that's not how you motivate everyone else.

But you know who is losing by a few points? Jamie Harrison in South Carolina. Let's bust our asses to change that equation. And if we do that, we'll lift every other boat in the country.

Governors are much more popular than Trump — and it's eating away at him

So impeached president Donald Trump has just found out that 1) he’s unpopular, and 2) the people doing the heavy lifting—the governors—are so popular.

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