Ted Rall

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What If Trump Breaks His Worst Promises?

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 00:27

We’re used to candidates whio promise wonderful things but govern horribly. Now we have a president-elect, Donald Trump, who promised horrible things but is now backing away from many of his worst promises. How do we adapt?

Mr. Trump Goes to Washington, a Strange Land

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 00:02

Donald Trump’s cabinet picks are drawing from marginal figures on the fringes of the Republican Party, a reflection of the fact that he has no firsthand political experience, few allies and, for that matter, knows almost no one of note in Washington.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary Lost. Should We Care?

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 12:35

If Jill Stein and die-hard Democrats get their way, recounts in three key states will take the presidency away from Donald Trump and hand it to Hillary Clinton. While this effort is probably doomed to failure, the attempted do-over prompts a question: what exactly are we losing with this mother of all paths not taken, a Hillary Clinton administration?

What elevates this theoretical exercise above a parlor game is the deep grief felt by tens of millions of Democrats, especially women. They believe not just that Donald Trump is a disaster, but that the United States will miss out on a great, inspiring leader in Hillary Clinton. For these bereft citizens, Hillary’s departure from the national political scene ranks alongside those of Adlai Stevenson and Al Gore — losing candidates who were clearly superior to the winners, whose loss left America much worse off.

I agree with the Clintonites’ horrorstruck reaction to Trump. But are they right about the rest? Have we really lost much with Hillary? Let’s look at what we know, or can assume with reasonable certainty, would have happened under the first few years of Madam President.

The Cabinet: Hillary’s cabinet would have been drawn from the ranks of her campaign aides, allies from her tenure in the Obama administration, and old hands from her husband’s 1990s heyday. Judging from the center-right Democrats with whom she has surrounded herself, her choice of center-right Tim Kaine as vice president (as opposed to a liberal counterbalance like Elizabeth Warren) and her campaign’s unusual snubbing of staffers who sought to migrate from Bernie Sanders’ progressive campaign, it’s safe to say that Hillary Clinton’s cabinet would have been composed of the neoliberal militarists who’ve been running things for Obama. Like Obama, she probably wouldn’t have appointed any progressives.

Supreme Court Nominees: Not wanting an early fight with Senate Republicans, she’d probably fill archconservative constructionist Antonin Scalia’s empty seat with another Republican, restoring the 2015 ideological balance of the court. She might have gotten to fill another two or three seats, and here is where she might have made a real difference for the liberal cause. The 5-4 question is, would she have gone to war with the GOP by appointing a Democrat to replace a dead or retiring right-winger? Could she win if she had? I lay 50-50 odds on both questions.

Taxes and the Economy: Clinton proposed a slightly more progressive tax structure during the campaign. She only wanted a $12/hour minimum wage — less than many states and cities. Even though NAFTA and trade were her Achilles’ heels, she didn’t propose a job retraining program or welfare plan for workers displaced by globalization. Largely, she pledged to continue the gradual Obama recovery, which has left most workers behind. In the absence of an unforeseen boom or bust, your wallet would have felt pretty much the same as it has over the last few years.

Privacy and the NSA: Even in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations (when she called the whistleblower a traitor), Clinton stridently defended the government’s illegal spying against every American. Spooks would have had a friend in Clinton, as under Trump.

Healthcare: Obamacare would have remained in place in its present form. A few vague promises to add a “public option” do not amount to a pledge to spend political capital to get it past Congressional Republicans. But premiums are skyrocketing, so Hillarian inaction might have led to wider calls for ACA repeal, a big step backward. (No one knows what Trump will do. Not even him.)

Gay and Transgender Rights: Clinton opposed marriage equality until 2013 — after most Americans told pollsters they were for it. She is weak on transgender issues. On issues of individual rights, the Clintons have always followed, not led. She would have had little effect on these struggles, on which Trump has actually been pretty good.

Women’s Rights: No doubt, the election of the first woman president would have been incredibly inspiring to women and girls. Would Clinton’ impact on the feminist movement have gone beyond the symbolism of identity politics? Probably not. The next logical legislative steps to advance women’s rights — paid family leave for a year, federal child care for freelancers and self-employed workers, a federal pay equality law, reviving the Equal Rights Amendment, a full-scale campaign against rape culture — received zero support from the defeated nominee.

Abortion: A federal law legalizing abortion would resolve the SCOTUS wars and guarantee that women in the South had the right to choose. But Clinton seems satisfied with the status quo.

Social Programs: Neither Clinton has ever proposed a major new anti-poverty program. There’s no reason to think that that would have changed. Ditto for Trump.

War and Peace: Hillary has a long history of hawkishness. She didn’t push through any peace deals as Secretary of State. During the campaign, she called for a no-fly zone over Syria, a tactic designed to provoke hostilities. And her hot rhetoric so freaked out the government of Russia that Kremlin military analysts worried about World War III if she won. Trump is a hothead. But Hillary might have been more likely to start a war.

The Middle East: Any breakthrough would have to be brokered by someone who was not as much of an unqualified supporter of Israel as she is. (So is Trump.)

Human Rights: Clinton’s record is dismal. She coddled dictators at State. Her foundation solicited money from the murderous Saudi regime. She rarely mentioned the issue during her campaign. I’d expect more of the same from her — or Trump.

Torture: Obama continued to authorize torture by the CIA, and refused to investigate torturers. Clinton would not have reversed these nauseating policies, which she has endorsed, and will continue under Trump.

Drones: Like Obama and Trump, Hillary is a big fan of using killer robot planes to slaughter thousands of innocent people abroad.

Secret Prisons/Guantánamo: It’s a safe bet that Gitmo torture gulag would have remained open under Hill, though perhaps with fewer inmates than Trump says he wants to send there.

Hillary fans can credibly argue that she would not have made things worse, or at least not as bad as they will be under Trump. By objective standards, however, it defies reason to claim that she would have presided over a halcyon era of progress. At best, President Clinton II would have held the line against Republican attacks. As we know, however, voters are not in the mood for more of the same.

And in 2020, we’d be right back where we are now. Four years into President Hillary, the anger that unleashed Trumpism would turn into boiling rage.

Odds are, Hillary would have committed many of the same outrages as Trump will. As a Democrat, however, she wouldn’t have faced the same level of protest or resistance from the Left — or a media willing to cover it.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

The Sad End of a Corrupt Friendship

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 08:47

At a secret meeting following the election between top media executives and journalists, president-elect Donald Trump scolded them, calling them biased liars. Could the cozy relationship between presidents and the press finally be fracturing? Let’s hope so.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Now, A Postmortem By Someone Who Actually Saw Trump’s Win Coming

Wed, 11/23/2016 - 12:26

You’ve read post-election analysis by the discredited corporate pundits who thought Hillary was a shoo-in. Since I saw Donald Trump’s “upset” coming, my take on what happened and why may be of more interest.

As with any large-scale disaster, the ascent of a spectacularly unqualified buffoon to the most powerful political office on earth came about as the result of numerous system failures and operator errors. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of what went wrong.

System Failures: Problems Hardwired Into the Machine

  1. Democrats took their progressive base for granted.

Following George McGovern’s landslide loss to Richard Nixon in 1972, the Democrats’ conservative southern wing seized control of the DNC and other leadership apparatus. Center-right Dems won four presidential races with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but at a cost. Election after election, liberals and progressives — the party’s base and thus its greatest potential source of votes, donations and enthusiasm — were taken for granted as the party moved right in search of swing voters. Where else, the Clintonian Brahmins asked smugly, could lefties go? The answer was nowhere: snubbed, unmotivated and disgusted, they stayed home this November.

  1. No safety net for workers displaced by globalization and deindustrialization.

NAFTA wasn’t the beginning; it was the last nail in the coffin of the postwar boom that elevated blue-collar manufacturing jobs to professions paying enough to finance the American Dream. Year after year, millions of workers lost good jobs and were forced to make do with two lousy ones. Inner cities, and not a few suburbs, rotted and died. Neither major party talked about the Making of America Not Great Anymore, much less tried to do anything about it. Trump scored big Rust Belt points merely by acknowledging the long-ignored pain of millions.

  1. In media coverage of the horse race, some candidates are more equal than others.

If you were designing American democracy from scratch, you’d probably make it a rule that every candidate for office receives the same attention from the media. (France does this.) But we’re light years away from that ideal. Trump received more TV minutes and column-inches than his Republican rivals because he was (a) outrageous and (b) a celebrity. Clinton’s coverage overshadowed Sanders’ because media gatekeepers were (a) enamored of their pre-fab “first woman president follows first black president” narrative and (b) couldn’t imagine that an elderly socialist from Vermont could be a serious contender. Who would be president-elect today had Rand Paul, Carla Fiorina and Bernie Sanders been given a fair chance to make their cases to the voters? Probably not Trump.

Operator Errors: Screw-Ups By Individual Politicians and Organizations

  1. Hillary’s campaign partied like it was 1996.

Campaigning has changed since the Clintonian heyday of the ’90s, but Hillary’s strategists didn’t get the memo. Trump ad-libbed outrageous vidbytes at his rallies, making them must-see TV and earning billions in free exposure; Hillary stuck to her deadly dull stump speech, doomed to be ignored. While Trump worked Twitter like a tween at 3 am — ensuring that story-hungry editors would see his hilarious rants when they arrived at their desks — it took 12 Clinton staffers to compose a single tweet whose made-by-committee provenance made it dead on arrival. She spent many millions on a repeat loop of anti-Trump TV ads featuring clips everyone had already seen. Considering that she barely survived Bernie Sanders’ primary challenge, it should have been obvious to her team that the Democratic party has moved left (as has the nation). So why did her 2016 campaign follow the old Dick Morris move-right-for-the-general-election model from 1996, moving right in order to “reach out to Republican megadonors“? Meanwhile, Morris himself understood the new reality. “But Trump is doing more than driving populist Democrats into Republican arms,” Morris wrote. “He is separating the establishment left of the Democratic Party from its populist base. His candidacy separates the blue-collar social populists from their partisan moorings even as his economic populism appeals to the Sanders left.” He wrote that in May.

  1. The DNC ignored polls that showed Bernie was a better candidate than Hillary.

Trump’s “surprise” win wasn’t shocking to people who were paying attention. Throughout the primary and general election, the DNC brushed off head-to-head tracking polls that showed that Hillary Clinton never enjoyed a commanding lead over, and sometimes fell behind, Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, consistently held a double-digit lead, sometimes as high as 20 percent, over Trump. As it turned out, Trump would have lost to Sanders. In a change year when Americans were in the mood for radical populism, Sanders offered all the stuff voters liked about Trump — his anti-free trade message, economic populism, opposition to stupid foreign wars, the fiery, outspoken energy of a loud New Yorker — minus his manic loopiness and offensive comments about women and minorities. Granted, Bernie’s poll numbers would have suffered under an onslaught of ads depicting the Vermont senator as the second coming of Stalin, Soviet May Day parade footage and “The Internationale” playing incessantly. But the Cold War is over. Americans are more afraid of cost-cutting CEOs than commissars.

  1. Hillary Clinton didn’t appoint Bernie Sanders as vice president, or to a cabinet position.

Democratic voters wanted Hillary — a lifelong right-wing Democrat — to balance the ticket by choosing a progressive running mate like Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker or her rival Bernie Sanders. But she never considered any of them, going instead with some guy who’s name I still struggle to remember. Ironically, no one understood the disastrous implications of Hillary’s choice better than right-wing blogger Wayne Allyn Root in The Blaze: ” Hillary desperately needed a shot in the arm; an exciting and edgy vice president by her side…Tim Kaine isn’t just boring… Kaine is an affront to every Bernie Sanders supporter – which happens to be all the youth and energy in the entire Democrat Party.”

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

Leftists versus Liberals

Fri, 11/18/2016 - 00:15

The 2016 Democratic defeat has two factions of the Democratic party – liberals and leftists – struggling over the future of the party and of resistance to Donald Trump. Before we can move forward, however, we have to define our terms.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Trump’s Fascism Picks Up Where Obama’s Leaves Off

Thu, 11/17/2016 - 16:22

Donald Trump wants to deport three million illegal immigrants, and he’s willing to split up families to do it. Expect resistance: street protests, networks of safe houses, American citizens willing to risk prison to hide undocumented workers.

Barack Obama deported two million — more than any other president. Thousands of kids lost their parents. Yet demonstrations were few. Anglo solidarity was nowhere to be found. Same action, different reaction. Why? As we’ve seen under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, progressives go to sleep when Democrats are in the White House.

Trump will be deplorable. But as the unrest that followed his victory signals, he’ll have a salutary effect on American politics: Liberals will resist the same fascist horrors for which they’ve been making excuses under Obama (and would have continued to tolerate under Hillary Clinton).

Ironically, their struggle will be made all the more challenging due to the fascist moves promulgated by Barack Obama, a president revered by liberals — but whose administration has been characterized by a stream of fascist policies.

Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA and other government agencies are spying on all of our communications: phone calls, email, texts, video, even snail mail. But the fiercest reactions came from people outside the U.S. It was 2013 and Obama was president. For the most part liberals — the political faction you’d expect to raise hell — trusted their charming first black president not to abuse his powers.

Trump will inherit Obama’s Orwellian surveillance apparatus. During the campaign, he said “I wish I had that power.”

When Obama took over from Bush in 2009, he issued a symbolic denunciation of the torture his predecessor had legitimized and institutionalized. In practice, however, nothing changed. Sending a clear message that he approved of their actions, Obama ordered his Justice Department not to prosecute anyone for waterboarding or other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” saying infamously that it was time to “look forward, as opposed to looking backwards.” He went to Langley to tell CIA agents he’d watch their backs. He refused to issue a presidential executive order banning torture by the CIA.

Trump will take over that bureaucratic infrastructure of torture, including the legal opinions issued by Bush’s White House counsel that Obama failed to annul. During the campaign, Trump pledged to bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse,” whatever that means.

Upon taking office Obama tepidly attempted to follow up on his campaign promise to close Guantánamo concentration camp. But he caved in the face of congressional opposition. Though Obama has managed to winnow down the number of inmates in America’s Cuban gulag to double digits, his lackadaisical unwillingness to expend political capital on the issue has left the camp open. It has also legitimized the formerly unthinkable practice of holding prisoners indefinitely without charging them with a crime or putting them on trial.

Trump says he’ll keep the camp open, expand it, and “load it up with some bad dudes,” including American citizens whose politics he doesn’t care for.

Part of the justification given for indefinite detention is the Bush-era Military Commissions Act of 2006, which eliminated the right of habeas corpus, the right to a speedy and fair trial enshrined in Anglo-American law for eight centuries. Under the MCA, the U.S. government can throw you into a concentration camp where you’ll never see your family or a lawyer. As far as we know, Obama never availed himself of this power.

Do you trust Trump to exercise similar restraint? Thanks to Obama’s failure to get rid of the MCA, Trump may make good on his promise to disappear U.S. citizens.

Obama has vastly expanded Bush’s program of drone assassinations of political opponents to nasty American client states like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. His Tuesday “kill list” star chamber has issued hits against thousands of people; 98% of the victims have been hapless bystanders.

Could President Trump deploy drones against American citizens (or non-citizens) on American soil? Yes, he could, says Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder. Obama could have declared that he — and future presidents — did not have that power. Better still, he could have asked Congress to pass a law banning domestic drone killings. Instead, he went golfing.

From what we know of Trump’s likely cabinet appointments, the next few years promise to devolve into a dystopian nightmare of authoritarian repression the likes of which few Americans ever imagined possible. As we head into the maelstrom, it will be tempting to look back fondly upon the Obama years as a period of relative calm and liberalism.

But don’t forget the truth. Fascism under Trump will merely continue Obama’s fascism with a smiley face — a fascism that we let him get away with for far too long.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

Approve

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 00:10

Within days of Donald Trump’s election victory, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti appeared around the United States. Aside from a curt “don’t do it” in response to an interview question, the president-elect has not disavowed his alt-right supporters.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: No, Everything Is Really Not Going To Be Alright

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 15:16

            After president-elect Donald Trump’s 10-15 minute scheduled get-to-know-you with lame-duck president Barack Obama ran an hour and a half, too many of my friends who ought to know better contacted me with some variant of “maybe everything really is going to be OK after all.”

No. It really isn’t.

SNL’s Dave Chappelle says he’s “going to give Trump a chance.”

We should not.

Trump’s wide-eyed expression as he sucked in his new DC digs, pathetically reminiscent of the stupefied expressions of Bolshevik revolutionists wandering the Winter Palace, brought it home: the barbarians are at the gate.

Do not be fooled by what the media is attempting to present as a smooth transition of power, a quirky one to be sure, but generally falling within American political tradition. Do not believe Trump’s condescending tweet damning liberal protesters with faint praise. “President Trump” cannot end well.

Remember how, the morning of the election, the New York Times gave Trump a 15% chance of winning? Given that I’ve been saying The Donald had an excellent chance of winning for many months, maybe you should be scared when I tell you what I think there’s really a 15% chance of: another presidential election in four years.

Here’s how I think the early years of the Trump Administration will play out, and why.

Before we get started, forget impeachment. Impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, the chances of Republicans impeaching a Republican president are pretty much zero.

Second, forget constitutional checks and balances. Weimar Germany had a lovely constitution, in many ways better than ours, but constitutions are mere paper unless they’re enforced by people. Current examples: Guantánamo, immigration prisons, drone assassinations and secret black site CIA prisons are all brazenly unconstitutional. If Trump and his henchmen want to trash legal and political precedent, nothing institutional will stop them.

Finally, Democrats who place their hope in recapturing Congress in two years need to get real. There aren’t enough available red seats for that to happen in 2018. If anything, they’ll probably lose even more ground. Trumpism is here to stay, for at least four years.

I use the method used by some authors to write character-based novels

in order to game out presidential administrations. Rather than outline the plot in advance, these novelists develop characters, throw them into a situation, and watch what they do.

As with those novels, it isn’t hard to predict how a president and his closest advisers will respond when faced with a given political development. All you have to do is consider their personalities, resumes and policy preferences.

Looking at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cabinet, which included a dentist as secretary of energy and an anti-environmentalist as secretary of the interior, it was obvious that the US government wouldn’t lift a finger to slow down the raping of the planet. While invasion of Iraq wasn’t exactly predestined, it came as little surprise that a Bush Administration full of neoconservatives who had called for the invasion of Iraq saw the 9/11 attacks as a reason/excuse for what they wanted to do all along.

It’s already clear that Donald Trump’s cabinet and closest advisers will come from the fringes of the paranoid far right. Among the highlights:

Joe Arpaio, the racist 84-year-old torture sheriff fired by Arizona voters, has been shortlisted as Secretary of Homeland Security.

Ben Carson, being considered to head the education department, doesn’t believe in evolution.

Chris Christie, currently facing criminal charges over Bridgegate, is up for attorney general; so is Rudy Giuliani, a fascist who wants to force Muslims to wear electronic monitoring tags or bracelets so the government can track their whereabouts. (What, no crescent moon patch?)

Then there’s possible Secretary of State Newt Gingrich, who wants to deport Muslims who believe in Sharia law, and Interior Secretary Sarah Palin, who thinks shooting wolves from a helicopter is sporting fun.

I’ve examined all the lists of cabinet prospects. Not a liberal or a leftist among them. No centrists either. At best, we’ll wind up with a few relatively sane right-wingers mixed into a majority of complete lunatics.

These, headed by the delightfully clearheaded and thoughtful Donald Trump, are the characters of our story.

Now add the situation. Imagine 6 or 12 or 18 months from now, when these characters face the inevitable political crisis: terrorist attack. Natural disaster. Economic meltdown. Race riot. Nuclear crisis.

These aren’t personalities predisposed to respond to these challenges with introspection or compromise. Beginning with Trump himself, these are people with a cop mentality who, like a hammer, see everything as a nail to be pounded into submission.

Bear in mind, they’ll be 6 to 12 to 18 months inside the Washington Beltway bubble. Trump’s canny campaign instincts, his intuitive understanding of populist anger that got him elected, will have been dulled by lack of interaction with the public. Moreover, Team Trump will be 6 to 12 to 18 months into an unprecedented period of constant left-wing criticism and street protest. Think Richard Nixon: they’ll be deep inside a bunker mentality.

Everyone in the cabinet room will favor moves to curtail civil liberties: tracking and cracking down on leftists, preventative detentions, new police forces to protect the state and ferret out illegal immigrants and those who hide them, the use of drones to kill Americans on American soil (something Obama said was OK), even more abusive NSA surveillance.

In my book “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” I described the president-elect as “an accidental authoritarian.” He thinks of himself as a patriot, a good man. He hasn’t been planning to lead a plot against America.

Trump’s fascism will come about naturally, caused by the perfect storm of his ego, his CEO mentality, the politics and personalities of the men and women with whom he is surrounding himself, and a set of developments that are all but inevitable.

Canceling the next election? For these characters, it will be an easy call.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. Support independent political cartooning and writing — support Ted on Patreon.)

Home Sweet Home

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 00:55

Hillary Clinton lost yet another campaign that she seemed predestined to win. American democracy is on the ropes. The president-elect is already facing nationwide protests. But for Hillary, there’s no place like home.

Anyone Can Be President

Fri, 11/11/2016 - 00:07

In theory, its advocates have argued, democracy is the best system that anyone has ever come up with. But after results like this year, in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton – and both of them were extremely unpopular to begin with – it’s important to consider whether it’s really such a good thing to live in a country where anyone can hold tremendous political and military power.

In An Alternative Universe, Where Hillary Won

Thu, 11/10/2016 - 05:50

Supporters of Hillary Clinton are understandably devastated by the election results. So are those of us to her left, who voted for Dr. Jill Stein or who chose to observe the voter boycott. But it’s important to consider what today would feel like if Donald Trump had lost and Hillary Clinton had won.

The mainstream media and many Americans would be patting themselves on the back. First woman president! And we held off Trump the fascist! USA! USA!

Which would not have been a good thing.

A Hillary Clinton victory would have told American politicians that it’s OK to sell influence to transnational corporations for millions of dollars, transform a nominal foundation into a money laundry that finance is your daughter’s wedding, endorse NSA spying on ordinary Americans, back “free trade” agreements that put millions of people out of work in order to line the pockets of the super wealthy, start wars for no reason whatsoever and provoke possible wars with adversaries like Russia, endorse CIA torture, all while failing to stand up for the interests of the poor and downtrodden whose party you claim to represent. She was a disgusting person and she deserved to lose.

It would have told Trump’s supporters that their interests don’t matter. Does anyone seriously doubt that Hillary Clinton would sign more free trade deals? Encourage more globalization? Knock down more borders?

There are many problems with Trump, which I have documented in my book, cartoons, and columns. And I will continue to do so, obviously. As we look with a gimlet eye into the future, however, at a time that feels like Germany in 1933, it’s important to note that the alternative wasn’t much better.

At least Donald Trump offers clarity: United States is a vicious, thuggish empire. Many of its citizens are breathtakingly ignorant and uneducated and contemptuous of those who are intelligent and make an effort to inform themselves. Many of its citizens are overtly or covertly racist.

And yes, sexism is still a huge problem. And yes, sexism is definitely part of the reason that Hillary Clinton is not president-elect today.

Any system that is impervious to internal reform is doomed to external attack and, eventually, ruin. Ross Perot, a far more reasonable man than Trump, was rejected by the system. As was Howard Dean. And Bernie Sanders. Most Trumpists would have preferred one of those.

For whatever it’s worth, Donald Trump exposes the United States for the monster that most people around the world already know it to be. Make America great again? We’ve always been assholes. Now, with an asshole in the White House, what we are is super clear. Which gives us the ability to get to work in order to clean up our rancid political culture.

EXCLUSIVE: Proof That Jill Stein Was Not a “Spoiler”

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 10:41

Considering that corporate right-wing Democrats still blame Ralph Nader for Al Gore’s 2000 “loss” to George W. Bush (scare quotes due to the fact that newspaper recounts show that Gore actually won the state of Florida), it comes as little surprise to hear than blaming Green Party candidate Jill Stein for Hillary Clinton’s loss yesterday to Donald Trump.

Do a little arithmetic, however, and that line of argument is quickly exposed as bullshit.

Let’s assume, although it really isn’t true, that every Jill Stein voter would have voted for Hillary Clinton had Jill Stein not been on the ballot. In other words, let’s assume a total Jill Stein as spoiler narrative. (Actually, many of her voters might not have voted at all had she not been on the ballot.)

Here I’m going to reassign all of Stein’s votes to Clinton. Let’s see what happens in the key swing states, where Trump won and Stein was on the ballot) that could have possibly changed the results of the election in Clinton’s favor:

Florida (29 electoral votes)
Trump 4,603,897 votes
Clinton 4,482,940
Stein 63,953
Clinton + Stein = 4,546,893
Result: NO CHANGE

Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes)
Trump 2,912,351 votes
Clinton 2,844,339
Stein 48,998
Clinton + Stein = 2,893,337
Result: NO CHANGE

Ohio (18 electoral votes)
Trump 2,771,984 votes
Clinton 2,317,001
Stein 44,310
Clinton + Stein = 2,361,311
Result: NO CHANGE

Iowa (6 electoral votes)
Trump 798,302 votes
Clinton 652,437
Stein 11,180
Clinton + Stein = 663,617
Result: Result: NO CHANGE

Michigan (16 electoral votes)
Trump 2,275,770 votes
Clinton 2,261,153
Stein 51,420
Clinton + Stein = 2,312,573
Result: CLINTON + 16 = 244 electoral votes (270 needed to win)

Wisconsin (10 electoral votes)
Trump 1,409,282 votes
Clinton 1,381,892
Stein 30,981
Clinton + Stein = 1,412,873
Result: CLINTON + 10 = 254 electoral votes (270 needed to win)

One important note: some ballots are still being counted so these numbers were calculated using the latest Google results at 12 noon Eastern standard time today. If these numbers hold up, however, it’s clear that any argument that accuses Jill Stein of acting as a spoiler in this election is baseless.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Here Comes the Rise of the Anti-Trump Left

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 10:04

            Let me get this out of the way first: I’m irritated at all the media people repeating that “nobody” saw Donald Trump’s “upset” win coming. I saw it coming a million miles away. Here, let me touch myself…am I someone? Yep, I still exist. Is it really possible that I’m the only pundit in America who grew up in the Rust Belt and goes home to visit?

Of course the corporate media morons didn’t see this coming. They didn’t see looming disaster in the invasion of Iraq. During the primaries, they ignored the polls that proved Bernie Sanders was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. It certainly never occurred to the corporate media morons that reducing tens of millions of middle-class workers to poverty, in order to line the pockets of globalization-besotted elites, might turn them into tens of millions of angry voters.

The bigger the news outlet where these mainstream political hacks work, the more money they make, the more journalism prizes they win, the less these idiots see anything coming (c.f., Ross Douthat, New York Times, March 8, 2016: “Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee”).

Well, here’s something else they don’t see coming: the rise of a new American Left energized and united by its opposition to Donald Trump and his policies, one whose size and militancy recalls the glory days of the 1960s.

There’s something happening here.

Well, there soon will be.

As I wrote in my 2010 book The Anti-American Manifesto, the United States does not have a Left — an organization or movement dedicated to the radical overthrow of the existing political and economic order. As Chris Hedges has eloquently described, this country has even lost its bourgeois 20th century liberal class.

Leftists and liberals are part of the mainstream political conversation in most developed countries. Here, however, a tacit ongoing conspiracy between media gatekeepers and corporate Democratic and Republican political leaders has marginalized the roughly 35% of Americans who oppose capitalism and militarism. Think about it: when’s the last time you saw someone completely opposed to military action speaking on cable television news? Ever heard of a communist or socialist hired to write for a newspaper or magazine?

The silencing of the American Left, brutal and relentless since the early 1970s, has impoverished our political culture and deprived the poor and oppressed of the help to which they are entitled by birthright. But that’s about to come to an end.

The devastating defeat of Hillary Clinton, the ultimate candidate of the neo-conservative Democratic center-right, has discredited her patrons, the pro-globalization elites. The election of Donald Trump sets the stage for a civil war within the party in which its liberal progressive wing is likely to emerge victorious, dominating electoral politics within the mainstream left for the foreseeable future. The Clintons, Obama, the Democratic Leadership Council types have had it their way for too long. They’ve lost. Now they need to shut up and go away.

Meanwhile, out in the streets where real political change can happen, I expect to see an anti-Trump resistance incorporating anarchists, veterans of the Occupy Wall Street movement, communists and socialists, radicalized left-wing Democrats, old hippies from the 1960s, Black Lives Matter activists, pro-immigrant people, work together and individually to oppose the radical right policies that we are going to see flying out of Washington over the next few years.

Out on the streets, Trump’s repressive tone will prompt brutal police tactics to which nonviolence will no longer be seen as the only acceptable counteraction. The “peace police” of the wimpy protests of the 1990s and 2000s will go extinct. Nonviolence will retake its rightful place as a noble and desirable tactic, but no longer the exclusive approach to taking on repressive government goons.

Donald Trump will be atrocious for the United States, especially with the Republican House and Senate. He’ll attack immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, victims of police brutality, God knows who else.

But he’ll be good for the Left. And, in the long run, the Left will be great for us.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. Support independent political cartooning and writing — support Ted on Patreon.)

Why Didn’t Hillary Change?

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 09:45

When Hillary Clinton made literally no concessions to the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, she sealed her doom. And possibly hours. I mean seriously, can she at least have said how about a $12.50/hour minimum wage?

Hillary Feels the Bern

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 09:30

Now, stupid right wing neo-conservative Democrats, can you please step aside and let someone who might actually have a chance to win in the future, someone like Bernie Sanders, have the nomination?

Some of Us Saw This Coming

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 09:18

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats didn’t lose the election yesterday. They lost it last summer, when they nominated the wrong person.

Why Blacks Didn’t Turn Out

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 09:05

Naturally, it was probably unreasonable to expect Hillary Clinton to get as many African-Americans to vote for her as did for Barack Obama, the first black president. Still, she didn’t offer anything specific to reach out to minorities including blacks, so it can’t be surprising that many of them stayed home on election day, contributing to the victory of Donald Trump.

How Trump Worked the Press

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 08:55

OK, so this is a bit of an exaggeration – it is a cartoon after all – but it tells the story of what happened in the last two or three weeks of the campaign, when Donald Trump started reading off a Teleprompter and sounding more like a conventional presidential candidate. The media stop criticizing him as much and people started projecting their kindest thoughts onto him.

Hillary Lost Cuz the Stuff in This Cartoon Happened

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 08:40

In the final analysis, I think that this is pretty much what happened. This cartoon from last week shows the unenthusiasm of Democratic voters. This was of course caused by the Hillary Clinton campaign, which made a conscious decision to move to the right after the primaries and snub the liberal base that supported Bernie Sanders.