Ideas vs Votes

Republicans may win votes, but their ideas are deeply unpopular. That’s why they rely on white resentment and culture war politics and lies to win.

The latest example is in Tennessee, where a moderate Republican governor can’t get through the right wing noise machine to pass a modified Medicaid extension. Call it Insure Tennessee instead of Obamacare, tweak it a little, and 85% of the state favor it. But the Koch brothers roll in and plaster pictures of Obama next to it, and suddenly government run health insurance is terrible again, though keep your hands off my Medicare.

Trump and the Republicans told everybody that they were going to get rid of Obamacare, but the people who voted for them despite being dependent on it didn’t believe them. Too bad that the health insurance they want would never be proposed by people they vote for, and they hate the people who would propose it. It’s socialized medicine, don’t you know, and that’s unAmerican. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to, so I deserve health care, but those other people, I don’t think the government should be taking care of them, they shouldn’t be so entitled.

Journalism, not just in the age of Trump

I don’t think it’s fair to call journalists lazy, but I do think they lack sufficient skepticism, and the result is indistinguishable from lazy journalism. When they are handed a story, wthether in the form of leaks or tweets or press releases from an organization, too often they run with the story at face value with putting it in context, or even considering if it merits a story at all. Or, in the case of Trump tweets, whether they are true. 

Trump has claimed or been given credit for a number of things by journalists since the election, while the truth is either more complicated or the opposite. The latest example is stopping the House GOP from changing the ethics rules. Trump didn’t oppose the changes, and wasn’t a major factor in the House backing down; Offices being flooded with constituent calls made the difference. But many news stories gave Trump the credit, despite the plain language of his tweets agreeing with their move, just disagreeing with the timing. 

Jay Rosen has urged a move towards evidence based journalism rather than accusation based journalism. He has more good suggestions for journalists in the age of Trump, though many apply in any time. Trump has just made many of the problems of journalism impossible to ignore.

It’s nobody’s fault

These things just happen.

Generic drug prices spiral out of control, but not because of collusion or price-gouging. It’s nobody’s fault, these things just happen.

Children are being poisoned in lead-contaminated houses, but don’t blame the private investors who are selling the houses on a rent-to-own basis. They sold the houses “as-is”; caveat emptor and all that. It’s nobody’s fault, these things just happen.

Algorithms are neutral; if somebody gets fired, or can’t get hired, or is given a longer sentence, it’s nobody’s fault, it’s just the algorithm.

Unpresidented

Josh Marshall still gives much more credit to James Comey than I’m willing to, in allowing that Comey merely made a mistake or was biased against Clinton when he sent that letter to Congress. Knowing what we now know, that he knew about the intelligence concerning Russian interference in the election, I lean more towards the corrupt explanation.

Republicans  were successful with their coup in North Carolina, as the legislature stripped away power won by Democrats at the ballot box. The Rev. Dr. William Barber continues to fight the good fight.

Meanwhile, SCOTUS still only has 8 members, because the Senate refused to consider Merrick Garland. Evidently elections only count if Republicans win.

Pay attention to the people who roll over for Trump, from the Tech CEOs that Kara Swisher calls out to the media who enjoyed an off the record cocktail party with him, despite his not having answered any questions on the record for weeks. Photo ops make him look good and earn you nothing but contempt, and the sooner everyone learns this, the better off we’ll all be.

 ETA: Why it really matters that the press is having cocktails with Trump rather than asking questions on the record. 

BTW, of all the horrible, terrible, no-good appointments Trump has made, Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn stand out. Bannon, because he apparently wants to destroy democracy, and Flynn, because he’s a full-blown conspiracy-theorist paranoid nutcase, and that’s just what you want in a National Security Advisor. Two of the most powerful people in Trump’s orbit, in positions that don’t need Senate confirmation.