Bob Woodward’s book


Hey, if you thought the Five Points picture fully illustrated how messed up our world is, check out this tweet, which was brought to my attention by Chad Connelly:

I think he was serious. I think maybe this guy actually thinks a “fantasy baseball” list of candidates for nonexistent SCOTUS vacancies is more interesting and newsworthy than the bizarre things POTUS said on the record about REAL policy actions in a series of 18 extraordinary interviews with one of the two journalists most credited with bringing down Richard Nixon.

Really. I think he means it.

I mean… why didn’t Trump release a list of candidates for openings on the Court a century from now? He won’t get to nominate those, either.

You want something else to worry about? That guy has 279,300 followers, all of whom presumably live on the same planet as you.

Anyway, the Woodward book

I haven’t read it. I’ve just read about it. But here’s enough points to get you started:

  • As the headline in the Post reported, “Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans.” I mean, you know — he doesn’t want us to think he was stupid or something. Because he’s a real stable genius.
  • Two days after forcibly clearing Lafayette Square so he could wave a Bible around (but not open it, of course), Trump called Woodward to boast about it. When Woodward suggested maybe white men such as themselves should try to better understand “the anger and pain” of black Americans, Trump said, “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
  • The Hill pulled this from the book: “Trump lashed out at generals, called them ‘a bunch of pussies'”… So… do you think that meant he wanted to grab them or something?

Oh, regarding that last item about disrespect toward the military… for those of you sufficiently detached from reality to dismiss the report the other day in The Atlantic about the gross things Trump has said about dead American heroes (ones other than John McCain) because the sources declined to be named, well… there are some unnamed sources in this one, too — I guess because Woodward wanted to get some perspective from people with normal, functioning brains. But a great deal of the book comes from 18 on-the-record interviews with Donald John Trump. As noted above, sometimes, Trump called Woodward to say these things.

How’d you like to be this guy’s campaign manager?

65 thoughts on “Bob Woodward’s book

  1. Barry

    There was a report today on Sirius satellite radio that said some inner circle trump officials (current) were texting with some reporters saying they were blindsided that Trump had conducted taped conversations with Bob Woodward. (Despite Trump’s insistence and Trumpers saying they hate the media, they clearly communicate with them constantly)

    Later in the day when a few Trump officials (sycophants) were responding to a few questions, I noticed they were being very careful with their words- much more so than their usual over the top jock sniffing defense of Trump.

    It seemed clear they were nervous that they could say something that Woodward might have tapes on -contradicting any defense they might reflexively vomit out.

    As an aside, given Trump’s strong, deep devotion to his Christian faith (as we are told by a select group of conservatives)., he has a seemingly deeper devotion to calling other people “pussies”

  2. Randle

    The president was just being a wise and calming leader by playing down the virus. He sees nothing wrong with what he told Woodward. And he doesn’t see dead people, either.

  3. bud

    There are very, very few persuadable voters at this point. Even fewer that are going to budge based on a book by Woodward, Mary Trump, Jon Bolton or anyone else. My recommendation to those who wish to reach one of these persuadable is to focus on bread and butter issues, especially health care. How many people actually know that Trump is actively trying to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions? That should be mentioned in EVERY single speech by Biden and Harris. It is political malfeasance to be so low key on this very powerful issue.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Bud, I know you are sort of, shall we say…on the fence about the electoral college. I was going back and looking at some oddities with it, and there have been some good moments for the EC.

      For instance, in the election of 1860, a scrappy upstart guy named Abraham Lincoln was running as a Republican. The Democratic party nominated Stephen Douglas for President, but his support for popular sovereignty (letting each territory decide on the issue of slavery) was a deal-breaker for all the Southern Democrats. Accordingly, the Democratic party split and the Southern Democratic Party nominated ol’ Johnny Breckenridge for President. Johnny B. ended up as a Confederate Brigadier General, but he was accused of losing some battles because he was drunk, which was Braxton Bragg’s way of covering his own incompetence, but I digress…

      As it turns out, the split in the Democratic party led to Lincoln winning 39.8% of the popular vote, with Douglas coming in second with 29.5% of the vote, and Johnny B. coming in third with 18.1% of the vote (basically the south). Obviously, if the Democratic party hadn’t split, and in turn split their vote, the Democratic candidate may well have easily won the popular vote with around 47.6% over Lincoln’s 39.8%.

      However, due to the electoral college, even if the Democrats hadn’t split, Lincoln still would have won the race, as he had 180 electoral college votes (only 152 were necessary at the time to win). Without the electoral college, if the Democrats had stayed unified, Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have been elected President in 1860.

      So, you know…thank goodness for the EC in 1860.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Can’t agree with you there, Barry. What that says is that it saved us in our moment of greatest crisis.

          The problem with the college is this: winner take all.

            1. Bill

              Winner take all? Hello
              ” I still cannot fathom why, in a representative democracy based on the principle that all votes are equal, the person who wins the most votes can — and does, repeatedly — lose the most consequential election in the land.”

          1. Barry

            And the EC could doom us in 2020.

            As terrible as Hillary Clinton was, more Americans selected her as president than our current disease.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yeah, but even more would have picked Joe, and we wouldn’t be arguing about the College now.

              It was his turn. Everybody made like it was Hillary’s turn, after she had been a good soldier since 2008. But it was Joe’s turn. He’d been a good soldier, too, and he was the Veep.

              Of course, I’m a Biden guy all the way. So take that into consideration…

      1. Ken

        Counter-factual history is such slippery business.

        It’s easier to “think away” the Electoral College than it is to wholly rejigger the candidates and electorate in any particular election.
        So, in the 1860 case, while it’s easy to assume that the Electoral College did not exist, you’re really leaving the realm of historical reality when you also make a particular division that existed in the Democratic Party go away with a wave of your magic historical wand — because that division reflected a real fissure in the party and in the electorate. It is more “baked into” history, as it were.
        If I make the Electoral College disappear in 2016, on the other hand, Clinton wins — no doubt about it. And I don’t have to play fast-and-loose with voter behavior or who was running.

      2. bud

        Not sure I follow. Lincoln got the most votes. This divided Democratic Party reasoning is nonsense. Absent the electoral college he still wins. Not sure why you picked that example.

        Fast forward 16 years. Reconstruction ended prematurely because of the ec. Not sure Rutherford B Hayes was worth Jim Crowe.

      3. bud

        Counselor it seems like you’re bending yourself into a rhetorical pretzel trying to find an example to support an indefensible system. Since Lincoln received the most votes he won the election either way. Fast forward 16 years and we have a minority president in Rutherford Hayes. The price for that was the horrors of the Jim Crow era.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Ok, so I see you’re still undecided about the EC. However, let’s talk about the election of 1876, and your contention that the EC was responsible for the horrors of the Jim Crow era.

          Let’s talk about the background of this election. The Republicans are essentially the incumbents. We are coming off two terms of Grant being President, and Grant has decided he’s not gonna run for a third term because he’s sick of all the political malarkey and he’s ready to just retire. (FYI, Grant is who implemented and oversaw Reconstruction post Civil War.)

          So the Republicans nominate the Governor of Ohio – Hayes. He wants to continue Reconstruction because basically the only thing stopping racist Democrats in South Carolina (and some other states) from lynching black people and taking back over the state government are the federal troops there in Reconstruction. At this point, the systemic (and overt) racism in the South was rampant. So, to be clear, Hayes wanted to keep the federal troops in the South.

          Now, for the Democrats, they nominated Sammy Tilden. He is the Governor of New York. He is the guy who broke up Tammany Hall, and he’s a reformer. However, being a Democrat, he wants the federal troops of the South, and wants to end reconstruction.

          Remember, at this point in history, Democrats are the part of Thomas Jefferson, and they want the federal government to be small and insignificant. So Reconstruction, i.e. federal troops controlling states, is antithetical to the small government Democrats of New York, and politically convenient for the racist Democrats in the South.

          The Election: In the election of 1876, Hayes LOSES the popular vote to Tilden, but Hayes WINS the EC. In fact, he loses the popular vote by so much, Tilden actually has a majority of the popular votes, not just a plurality. For those of your scoring at home, that means Tilden got over 50% of the popular vote.

          The election was really close in the EC. One electoral vote was the difference. The Democrats contested the election until they struck the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats conceded the election to Hayes IN RETURN FOR Hayes agreeing to end Reconstruction so the Racist Southern Democrats could implement Jim Crow.

          The electoral college had nothing to do with implementing Jim Crow or ending Reconstruction. In fact, if there hadn’t been an EC, then Tilden would have won, and reconstruction would have immediately ended anyway (’cause that was his big campaign promise). If you want to blame anyone for ending Reconstruction, you can blame the Republicans in 1876 for not sticking to their Electoral College rules and telling the Democrats to go pound sand.

          So if you didn’t know…now you now.

          Everyone have a good weekend.

          1. randle

            Bryan asked, “Did anyone else have any questions about the election of 1876, or did we cover that enough in my last lecture? I know bud was confused about it before, so I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page.”
            I’m just getting around to reading a lot of this, but I would like to add something. It’s not a question.
            In the election of 1876, Samuel Tilden got 184 electoral votes and Rutherford B. Hayes got 165 initially. The votes of three states were in dispute. Hayes claimed his party would have won Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina if not for intimidation of African-American voters and, in Oregon, one of Hayes’ electoral votes was also in dispute. Congress created a bipartisan electoral commission, consisting of 5 members each from the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court, to resolve the dispute. The commission awarded all 20 votes to Hayes, giving him the win; during its deliberations, Hayes secretly agreed to remove federal troops from the South in exchange for securing the votes of the Southern states, and the Southern states agreed to uphold the rights of African-Americans. Hayes didn’t agree to end Reconstruction. After the election, Hayes removed the troops, and the South began undoing all of the reforms of Reconstruction. “His Fraudulency”, as he became known, had been had.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          “Counselor it seems like you’re bending yourself into a rhetorical pretzel trying to find an example to support an indefensible system.”

          My Lincoln anecdote was just a fun story. That’s not my defense of the Electoral College. I have one. I know you’re undecided on the EC, so let me know if you’re interested. 🙂

          1. bud

            I think you’ve articulated your federalism (cult like) arguments before so I think I’ll pass on a refresher course. Facts are funny things though. Some voters votes are weighted more than others with this absurd system. That is really all that needs to be said. Since the EC has given us “great” presidents like Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, W and Trump it really is pretty hard to defend.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              “I think you’ve articulated your federalism (cult like) arguments before…”

              I am big on federalism. Our cult leaders are George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. It’s a good club. We’ve had jackets and tri-corner hats made.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I, too, am pretty much a Federalist.

                I like some of the Democratic-Republicans, but on the whole, I lean toward Adams’ party if you force me into a party — of course, the whole time I’m going to be decrying “faction” and predicting it will destroy the country…

                1. bud

                  The states which existed before the United States of America, the states that decided to band together and form the United States of America realized that (at the time) Virginia and Pennsylvania could railroad less populous states like Rhode Island and Delaware.

                  Uh, there were no railroads in the 18th century. But to your point we don’t live in the 18th century. Whatever merit the elites of the time had about the tyranny of the majority have been soundly discredited. Does anyone seriously believe Tilden, Harrison, Gore and Clinton would have been worse presidents than Hayes, Cleveland, W and Trump? Clearly the voters are 4 for 4 when they differed from the EC.

                2. bud

                  Brad I’m not sure what you’re reading but Bryan is clearly dismissing those of us that want to get rid of the EC as liberal partisans. Well damn right I’m a liberal. But that’s because I view that particular philosophy as the correct one. But voting rights shouldn’t be a partisan thing. Rather it’s a matter of fairness and liberty. Bryan is way off base here. Sorry you can’t see it.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    “Brad I’m not sure what you’re reading but Bryan is clearly dismissing those of us that want to get rid of the EC as liberal partisans.”

                    I’m saying it’s politically convenient for you.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Which is, you know, what I read.

                      Of course, I don’t think the political convenience is anything to sneeze at.

                      Hamilton and the rest meant to prevent anyone like Trump from being elected. It’s not working…

                    2. Brad Warthen Post author

                      By which I mean, it failed utterly in 2016. And the fact that Trump is even in the running for re-election proves that it’s not working again. Because there should not BE such a possibility.

                      And of course, this goes far beyond anyone’s “political convenience.” The possibility that such a person could again occupy our highest office indicates that there’s something seriously wrong with our system. A lot of the “something wrong” has to do with a deep political sickness in our electorate today. As a people, we’ve somehow taken a severe wrong turn. For all of my life before now, it would have been unthinkable for someone like Trump to be elected. He’d have been laughed off the stage.

                      That people’s assessment of the nation is so low that they would thinking some like THIS could lead it is deeply troubling. And getting him out of office won’t cure it. But it will help.

                      Add to that the systemic problem that Trump could get fewer votes — a LOT fewer votes — and still win, and you’ve got a problem that goes FAR beyond political inconvenience.

                      Before now, I could afford to be less concerned about it. To me, it didn’t matter that much whether, say, Bush or Gore won in 2000. It was a big deal to Bud, because Bud actually thinks Bush was comparable to Trump in unfitness.

                      I could see — as I could see in every other election of my lifetime — that both major-party nominees were fairly normal human beings from somewhere near the middle of the political spectrum. The country would be alright either way. It would still be the country I knew, and loved, and was proud of. (Oh, and even if I believed that the Iraq war was as horrible as Bud thinks, there was nothing to indicate it would occur in front of us in 2000.) During that crazy election night in 2000, I remember watching the numbers and having trouble deciding in my own mind which one I really wanted to win. (I had liked Al a lot when we knew each other back in Tennessee, but being Clinton’s wingman had sort of diminished him in my eyes — just as my high opinion of George H.W. Bush diminished during the Reagan years. But I still liked him well enough that even though we had endorsed Bush, I was unsure.)

                      When Bush had won (and yes, Democrats, he clearly won, as close as it was), I was able to view it as a “political inconvenience” to Democrats, but didn’t feel the country was in any way in trouble.

                      Now, another Trump term would be something in a completely different category from that. Not just quantitatively different, but qualitatively. And disastrously so….

              2. bud

                Our founding fathers certainly are worthy of great admiration. However, they were human and got things wrong. Famously Washington, Jefferson and others owned slaves. Jefferson fathered a child with one. Given their fallibility it is therefore reasonable to assess all their actions in light of a body of evidence accumulated over 2+ centuries. We all accept the abolishing of slavery as a necessary correction of the founding fathers. Women are allowed to voted. Presidential succession issues have been cleaned up. As for the electoral college some of the founding fathers were having second thoughts. Over time the overwhelming preponderance of evidence suggests the electoral college is a poor way to select a president. The EC was intended to thwart tin horned despots like Trump from becoming president. The calculus was that a small lose of Democratic principles was worth avoiding a “Trump”. This calculus has obviously been proven wrong. Yet ideological adherence to “federalism” has somehow made it impossible for many otherwise intelligent people to reject a flawed system. (Much the same plays out among conservatives over capitalism). Let’s return our presidential election to the people. After all the EC was an experiment. When experiments go wrong you accept the results and move on. It’s the prudent thing to do.

                1. Mark

                  The key idea behind the Electoral College is that geographic areas have inherently different beliefs – based on geography. This may have been true when slavery was a fact, travel was limited or lengthy and communication was in person or by the mail’s distribution of newspapers.

                  I am on the fence about the appropriateness of an Electoral College as a key component of our Constitution these days. But I do know that geography has proven to be more tyrannical than judicious & leveling through the centuries. So on that basis, it is at least worth the discussion of whether this idea should continue, be modified, or be repealed. First, however, the issue of gerrymandering is of far greater importance.

                2. Bob Amundson

                  I have mixed feelings about the modern efficacy of the Electoral College, but your statement “The EC was intended to thwart tin horned despots like Trump from becoming president. The calculus was that a small lose of Democratic principles was worth avoiding a ‘Trump'” is not entirely correct. The Electoral College makes it difficult for population-dense regions of the country to control the presidency, and our Founding Fathers dealt with that Urban versus Rural dynamic.

                  I was raised in Rural America, matured in Urban America, and now spend time in both, have businesses in both. The fact is, Rural America produces almost all our country’s food, as well as raw materials like metal ores, cotton and timber. Energy, both fossil fuels and alternatives like wind and solar, come mostly from rural areas. In other words, the material inputs of modern life flow out of rural communities and into cities.

                  Our country needs this rural/urban symbiotic balance. The Electoral College was designed to provide that, but I’m not sure it is working as intended. Above my pay grade …

                3. Bob Amundson

                  I absolutely agree with Mark; I’m just not sure how gerrymandering may affect the Electoral College. Let’s fix gerrymandering (a process issue) then deal with Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

                4. Ken

                  Sorry, the Electoral College not designed to serve as a balancer between rural and urban areas/interests. It was a compromise cobbled together to provide for what was hoped would be a body of experienced and thoughtful intermediaries who would ostensibly protect the country from demagogues and populists. Instead, in 2016, it ushered one into office.

                5. bud

                  It’s also worth noting that Alexander Hamilton died in a duel. The founding fathers were hardly flawless. It’s high time we stop regarding in god like reverence.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    Worth noting Hamilton:

                    1. Led a New York artillery company during the American Revolution, saw action at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, and captured 194 British soldiers with an attack. Four years later, he commanded a light infantry company at Yorktown and played a key role in attacking Redoubt 10, which led to the ultimate surrender of Cornwallis.

                    2. Successfully argued a case that established legal authority of Congress over the states (Rutgers v. Waddington)

                    3. Wrote (mostly all) the Federalist Papers. Regardless of your opinion of them, they are commonly cited by the US Supreme Court as an authoritative and contemporary interpretation of the Constitution.

                    4. First Secretary of the Treasury, established the National Bank.

                    5. Established the Coast Guard.

                    6. Created the Federalist Party on the principles of: a strong central government, central banking, and friendly relations with Great Britain (instead of France).

                    7. Lifelong ardent anti-slavery advocate, since he grew up poor and directly saw the horrors of race-based, chattel slavery.

                6. Ken

                  ” cobbled together as a compromise by leaders from rural areas and urban areas.”

                  Again, sorry, but rural and urban didn’t really enter into the matter. The compromise was between those who feared the excesses of a “democratic mob” and those who didn’t want Congress to elect the Executive owing to the separation of powers principle. But SOMEBODY or SOMETHING had to do the choosing. The EC was the compromise solution: a temporary body that would change with each election whose members wouldn’t be chosen by Congress but rather at the state level. Oh, and slavery also played a role.
                  And a concern about “faction.”
                  In short: it was complicated.

                  And in short order was shown to be dysfunctional.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    “And in short order was shown to be dysfunctional.”

                    You mean how the person receiving the second-most votes becomes VP? Yeah, they fixed that in 1804. Since then, the EC has been fine. I guess y’all need the defense of it now. You may remember it from civics or history class. Deep breath…

                    It’s a check against direct democracy. We don’t live in a direct democracy – never have. We live in a constitutional republic. The tyranny of the majority was just as feared as the tyranny of the monarch. There’s a line of: “Why should I trade one tyrant three-thousand miles away for three-thousand tyrants one mile away?” that comes to mind to capture the sentiment. Direct democracy in voting for the President would be exactly that.

                    Eliminating the electoral college today would subject the election of the President to the passions of New York and California (Los Angeles, mostly), as those two metropolitan areas contain a majority of the votes in the country. While I’m sure that it is politically convenient for all y’all liberals here in SC to be governed by a President elected solely from New York and California (since the voters’ political alignment there largely matches your own), there are a great deal of people in the rest of the country who don’t want to be trampled over. For instance, me.

                    All your arguing to do away with the electoral college is simply an argument for the tyranny of the majority. It’s for bullying the minority forever, and I find it distasteful, as it is antithetical to the spirit of the country which has federalism in its bones (whether you like it or not). The states which existed before the United States of America, the states that decided to band together and form the United States of America realized that (at the time) Virginia and Pennsylvania could railroad less populous states like Rhode Island and Delaware. Accordingly, to get all the states to form a common bond, the states kept their supremacy in a great many ways. One of these took the form of the electoral college.

                    All of the most partisan people on this blog are the ones who argue most vociferously for elimination of the electoral college, and your motivation is entirely transparent. It’s a partisan position, taken to bully the other viewpoint out of existence, or at least change the rules so you don’t have to consider the other viewpoint. Perhaps instead of wishing to change the “rules of the game” you could just play the game more adeptly. Persuade more people in other parts of the country of your position, rather than roll over them with the tyranny of the majority.

                    Did anyone else have any questions about the election of 1876, or did we cover that enough in my last lecture? I know bud was confused about it before, so I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. 🙂

                7. Barry

                  “ and I find it distasteful”

                  If Bryan Caskey finds it distasteful, that’s yet another reason to take the opposite viewpoint.

                  The EC should be (and hopefully will be one day) thrown to the garbage heap because of its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will.

                  There is no good reason why someone’s vote in rural Wyoming should carry more weight than someone’s vote in California.

                  “ in 1988, for example, the combined voting age population (3,119,000) of the seven least populous jurisdictions of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming carried the same voting strength in the Electoral College (21 Electoral votes) as the 9,614,000 persons of voting age in the State of Florida. Each Floridian’s potential vote, then, carried about one third the weight of a potential vote in the other States listed.” – William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director, FEC Office of Election Administration

                8. Barry

                  Bryan wrote “ While I’m sure that it is politically convenient for all y’all liberals here in SC …”

                  I can promise you the disdain and contempt is mutual.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    “Disdain and contempt?” I’m not seeing that in what Bryan has said. I am, however, seeing it in the way you and Ken respond to him.

                    And I’m trying to figure out what’s causing this. Is it just that America is so divided that we can’t talk to each other in a civil manner?

                9. Mark

                  This conversation is a reflection of the fundamental issues at stake regarding the Electoral College. It’s complicated. It involved a horse-traded negotiation, and wasn’t arrived at easily. However, there are ways in which it is clearly not serving its intended purpose, and that is a serious issue we should address.

                  But first, gerrymandering. Changes to the EC is a multi-party negotiation of significant scale. Gerrymandering is something that technology now has the ability to “make fair and just” so that is an easier battle where the proponents of stealing the vote ought to be at a disadvantage vs. the will of the public.

                10. Ken

                  Just a brief comment or two on B.C.’s post above:

                  Real historians roll their eyes every time a law firm historian spouts off about this or that historical topic — because they’re all too familiar with the inaccuracies that follow from the ingrained tendency toward tendentiousness that emanates from that corner of the classroom. By the same token, real historians are also aware that there’s little point in arguing with these lawyer annalists and armchair philosophers, because they are so singularly focused on defending their own opinions and positions that little if anything could persuade them differently.

                  As for this (which goes to the core of Mr. B.C.’s gripe):
                  “All of the most partisan people on this blog [i.e. all the radical liberals on here] are the ones who argue most vociferously for elimination of the electoral college, and your motivation is entirely transparent. ”
                  Ho-ho! That’s good for a rueful chuckle, but that’s about all. Because there’s nothing more obvious here than the transparent eagerness of a conservative like this to hold fast to the mechanism that gave us the sort of outcomes we got in 2000 and 2016.

                  I do very much appreciate, however, his explicit admission that conservatives are not the majority viewpoint in this country. At least that much is settled.

                  But that of course reveals all the more just how much the Electoral College is in need of a do-over.

                  There you go, Mr. B.C., did you enjoy receiving the same degree of pedantic condescension you’re so fond of dolloping out to others?
                  No, no need to thank me for the lesson.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    “There you go, Mr. B.C., did you enjoy receiving the same degree of pedantic condescension you’re so fond of dolloping out to others? No, no need to thank me for the lesson.”

                    You can call me Bryan. 🙂

                    I did not intend any condescension, so I apologize if you felt condescended to. Always here for a good debate. It’s always good to clarify thoughts and sharpen arguments by having a back-and-forth with someone holding an opposing viewpoint. Sometimes I think that perhaps there are some people who do not receive enough push-back on their ideas, so whenever they run into an opposing viewpoint, they feel condescended to or personally attacked.

                    “Because there’s nothing more obvious here than the transparent eagerness of a conservative like this to hold fast to the mechanism that gave us the sort of outcomes we got in 2000 and 2016.”

                    Isn’t it to be expected of a conservative to want to preserve a system that has been in place since the founding of the country? Doesn’t that make a conservative rather consistent in his belief? I really have no horse in the race between Trump and Biden. I didn’t vote in the 2016 Presidential election because I didn’t have a candidate I wanted to support. It’s pretty much the same this year. Also, if you look back at my past comments, I don’t believe the President has that much effect on my actual life. Accordingly, I’m not as emotionally (or otherwise) invested as others in who occupies the White House.

                    Consequently, I’m just interested in having the best system. The EC serves the ends of federalism, requires a Presidential candidate appeal to a wide swath of the citizenry rather than simply having a system that encourages a candidate to cater to a majority concentrated in metropolitan areas. Is the EC perfect? Of course not, but nothing designed by man is perfect. It’s pretty good, and it has served America well since 1788. We’ll all be fine.

                    P.S. Completely unrelated, but my eight-year old son is doing great in baseball this fall. He’s really learning to pitch, and it’s great to see him actually pitching with a pitcher’s mechanics…the wind up, the leg kick, and the drive down to the front leg. He can really sling it in there. Watching him play baseball is really one of the most enjoyable things for me these days. I’ll have to get a video posted at some point.

                11. bud

                  I learn something new every day. I had no idea that CA and NY contain as majority of the voters in this country. Bryan I suspect you’re trying to say something else but just stumbled over the keyboard. I’m not judging since I’m the worlds worst at that. But fine, let’s go with that. If the majority of voters live in those states then I still say we go with choosing POTUS based on the winner of the popular vote. It’s a basic measure of respect for the voter. If the electorate is not to be trusted then let’s just have a dictator. Seems to work fine in Russia and North Korea. At least we’d drop this ridiculous facade of the people choosing POTUS.

                12. Barry

                  “ And I’m trying to figure out what’s causing this. Is it just that America is so divided that we can’t talk to each other in a civil manner?”

                  You mean Bryan’s long habit of being condescending has sipped right by without notice?

                  It didn’t skip over me. I quit letting people talk like that to me when I was in middle school. It’s not happening anymore without a response. That goes for online and especially in person face to face.

                  America divided? Of course. I don’t think civil is a goal anymore. It’s looked at as a human weakness, especially on the new right under Trump.

                  The leader of one of the two major political parties in the United States, who is nearly worshipped by 60 million Americans (many self described “Bible believing” Christians) gutter talks everyone that doesn’t kiss his backside. Those same people endlessly applaud him and those that support him who mimic his actions by saying “he/they just tell it like it is” and they like it because “tired of being politically correct.”

                  The civil days are a thing of the past.

                13. Barry

                  “ I don’t believe the President has that much effect on my actual life. ”

                  You have a right to be wrong.

                  because who the president is has great impact on hundreds of judges across the country and their decisions impact people, or the SCOTUS, or making abortion services almost impossible to obtain for women- especially poor women. (Of course that’s your goal)

                  Or how environmental laws and regulations impacting our water or workplace safety rules take a back seat to the interests of businesses, or CEO salaries…..

                14. Ken

                  “’Disdain and contempt?’ I’m not seeing that in what Bryan has said.” – BW

                  Sorry that you can’t see the dripping condescension in BC’s post. Maybe it’s because you’re such good buddies after that male bonding exercise at the shooting range, or because of your shared backgrounds as military brats. Too bad. You are definitely not a neutral arbiter in these exchanges, that much is clear. I also know from reading this blog over a longer period of time that BC isn’t really interested in an honest give-and-take on matters like this. He prefers instead to belittle those who don’t share his views and positions by suggesting they lack intelligence or that they’re or ignorant and in need of instruction. That being the case, it’s probably pointless to engage with him at all. But when the mood strikes I’ll continue to dish out as good as he gives.

                  As far as the Electoral College is concerned, the position he’s arguing here is specious and minoritarian. Specious because it assumes that New Yorkers and Californians vote en bloc for one party. And minoritarian because it purports to protect a theoretical minority by in effect dismissing a very real minority in the 48 states that award electors on a winner-take-all basis. Anyway, here’s summore reading just for fun:

                15. bud

                  I’ve been thinking a lot about Bryan’s claim that whoever becomes POTUS will have no effect on his day to day life. Specifically his sons baseball games. Glad to hear he’s doing so well. Given the raging COVID epidemic this may not be true. All manner of sports have been affected. There will be no Carolina/Clemson game for the first time in a century. I’m a bit surprised that little league is playing on. I hope everyone is safe. But it seems as though the poor response by Trump has made this much worse than it needed to be. Haven’t we all been affected by Covid in significant ways?

  4. Ken

    This story goes hand-in-hand with the one about falsifying intelligence to suit the Administration’s political preferences: China/Iran pose greater threat to US elections than Russia; Antifa is a greater threat than right-wing militias and the like. It’s as if we’re being forced to live out a real-world version of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

  5. Mark Huguley

    There’s long been reason to consider a charge of malfeasance against Trump. But it’s curious the term malfeasance doesn’t seem mentioned much, even though the acts constituting malfeasance are. Since details emerged from “Rage”, my wife and I discussed someone introducing a new legal concept to the debate about Trump’s conduct: Negligent homicide. It fits. If Trump’s negligent failure to inform the public of a grave threat had been in a corporate setting, negligent homicide would be on everyone’s tongue this morning. Consider a corporate CEO knowing his product would cause many to die, but says nothing because it would cost sales, and many die as a result. Many would consider that negligent homicide. It seems analogous.

  6. Randle

    This is a real test of that negative partisanship theory of voter behavior that Rachel Bitcofer talks about and I mentioned earlier. I notice Thomas Friedman also mentioned it in his NYT column yesterday. So while his negligence is manifest, none of his supporters care. I agree with Bud. Focusing relentlessly on health care, Social Security and Covid mismanagement and its threat to the economy will motivate Biden’s base and persuadable voters to turn out.

  7. JesseS

    His base have a parasocial relationship with the man. Only it’s much worse. Take the previous GOP views on how politics is done, combine it with Trumpism and the conditioning of modern pop Evangelicalism/Conspiragology, and it fits nicely with Robert Jay Lifton’s 8 criteria of thought reform.

    1. Ignore fake news! [Milieu Control]
    2. “Believe in the plan”/Comparisons to King David. [Mystical Manipulation]
    3/4. To be a Democrat is to be a sinner.[Demand for Purity/Confession]
    5. Ignore science, the man in charge knows more about it. [Sacred Science]
    6. Storm/Awakening related tweets. [Loading the Language]
    7. Reactions to Covid-19/Climate Change [Doctrine over person]
    8. Law & Order rhetoric/”They are animals” [Dispensing of existence]

    It’s all sadly there. I regret to say it, but many of them might really be “brainwashed” and Trump didn’t start the cult, the GOP did. He just ended up being a great cult master.

  8. Barry


    Former Obama Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson is speaking on 9/11 to Liberty University Students. All students are required to sign on and watch his speech that was taped ahead of time at Liberty. johnson also met with A select group of Liberty students while he was on campus taping his speech. The link below describes that portion.

    Excellent article. An excerpt

    My great-great-grandmother was born a slave in Lynchburg and was a nurse, midwife, and there’s a little excerpt from the local paper when she died—you know, thought well of, worked for rich, white families. And she’s buried in an integrated cemetery in Lynchburg called the Old City Cemetery, which is a beautiful place, but she had no headstone. Her daughter, who was half white, my great-grandmother, is buried there, too. And what’s interesting about that is they’re buried within a stone’s throw of Confederate soldiers.”

    “We no longer expect our political leaders to tell us the truth,” he will say. “We no longer expert our political leaders to play by the rules. Our expectations of our political leaders have sunk so low we now accept from them personal behavior that would be unacceptable for our children, our students, our employees, or cadets, soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines under our military command.” He will say that “leaders too often seek to gain attention by pandering to our fears, our suspicions and our prejudices.”

  9. Bob Amundson

    In rural NY there is a distinctive divide regarding opinions on POTUS. No surprise in this, but white collar friends quietly tell me “he’s crazy.” The blue collar workers I employ and otherwise interact with see POTUS as the person that will insure their comfortable way of life is maintained by “draining the swamp.” I sense their discomfort with me, many of whom I call out on Facebook for seeing people like me as the enemy. They believe “The Swamp” – all “global communists” educated in Marxism at our educational institutions – are planning a coup.

    i try to reason with them, remind them I may not agree with them but I do believe in their right to express their opinion. But the fast pace of change is causing implicit xenophobia, leading to fear and anger, resulting in irrational thought. We humans are not good at recognizing our “wrongheaded righteousness.”

    There is a long history of snake oil salesman in this country, with much of their success in our more rural areas. We are in difficult times, perhaps even heading to some form of (I hope) “Civil” war. I do believe that in the long term our system will survive. But the changes will be disruptive …

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