The Dumpster Blues


Lost my baby at the dumpster
As I stashed my toxic load
Distracted by the offal
As she lit out down the road.

My girl took of with a tin man
Saw them dancing at the bar
He won’t know what hit him
When she drives off in his car.

Now I’m sitting here drinkin’
Just as sad as I can be
Wondering where I’ll dump my garbage
And if she’ll come back to me.

New Friend


If I tell you something,
will you keep it secret?

“Of course,” I said.
We’d been close for years.

I have a new friend.
I want you to meet him
.”
“Okay,” I said.
She’d been alone too long.

He’s a little shy.
I’m hoping to have a party to introduce him.

“Let me know.”
I was happy for her.

There’s one thing about him.
He’s not from around here
.”
“Probably for the best.”
She’d grown beyond local culture.

He’s from another planet.”
She gripped my hand.
“Like, L.A.?”
I thought she was kidding.

Like beyond our solar system.
Like somewhere unpronounceable
.”
“Oh.”
My mouth fell open.

Is that too weird for you?
She squeezed my hand.
“A little.”
I didn’t know what to say.

He’s very nice.
You’d never guess he’s an alien
.”
“I’d like to meet him.”
My heart pounded in my chest.

Good.
How about tomorrow?

“Sure. Any time.”
I was worried.

I’ll call you.”
She smiled
Walked off with a lilt.
Disappeared forever.

Circe on the Beach


Falling
out of sleep into the
sea.
Flailing.
Dragged down by clothes and
current.
Choking.

Swimming.
Buffeted by waves and
logs.
Tumbling
Swept along by tide and
surf.

Scrambling
Across debris and
rocks.
Crawling
over sand.

Waking
on a vast beach.

Standing.

A procession approaches:
A stately woman
guarded by lions and
wolves.

Waiting.

This is my island.”
Cats sniff me
Beasts lick my legs.

Bowing.

Welcome to Aiaia.”

The Ballad of MaryLu


[Sung to the tune “Big John.”]

In the Occidental morning
She’d be out walking
You could hear for miles
The sound of her talking.
Mary Lu

Perhaps she came from Frisco
Some said Mill Valley
You could hear her coming
Down each lane and alley.
Mary Lu

Not too tall
Built like a welder
She sure did hate
Becoming an elder.
Mary Lu
Big bad, Mary lu.

Painted a lot
Sometimes she’d dance
Used to write poems
About love and romance.
Mary Lu.

Then came the troubles
No one seen ’em coming
Kept her up at night
Interfered with her plumbing.
Mary Lu.

“We gotta get out”
She said to her mate
“Stick around too long
We’re tempting bad fate.”
Marylu
Big bad, Marylu.

They sold everything
And hit the trail
Ignoring their friends
Who let out a wail.
Mary Lu.

It’s quiet without her
Sort of sad
When I think of her leaving
Makes me mad.
Mary Lu

Every Occidental Morning
There’s a trace of her ghost
A fragment of color
the laugh we miss most.
Mary Lu
Big bad, Marylu.

Biden’s First Six Months


So far, Joe Biden’s presidency has been a success.  Most voters continue to believe that Biden has done an excellent job handling the pandemic and the economy. As we might expect, Democrats are far more likely to approve of Biden than are Republicans.

The most recent CBS News poll (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-pandemic-approval-covid-19-opinion-poll/ ) found President Biden with 58 percent approval (42 percent disapproval).  Biden’s rating is deeply split along Party lines: 93 percent of Democrats approve while 81 percent of Republicans disapprove.  (55 percent of Independents approve.)

Coronavirus Pandemic:  66 percent of poll respondents believe the Biden Administration had done an excellent or good job “handling the coronavirus outbreak.”  The majority of respondents approve of the way the Biden Administration has responded to the pandemic and 67 percent are “hopeful” or “excited” about the future.

60 percent of poll respondents were fully vaccinated; 3 percent have had one shot and will get another; and 7 percent promise to get vaccinated.  11 percent of respondents report they are “still deciding.”  19 percent say they will not get vaccinated.  The most recent YouGov/Economist poll (https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2021/07/15/why-wont-americans-get-vaccinated-poll-data) indicates that those who say they will not got vaccinated are primarily Republicans: 29 percent of all Republican respondents.  Most of these Republicans believe: “The U.S. government is using the COVID-19 vaccine to microchip the population” — 20 percent of all US adults.

Meanwhile coronavirus-related hospitalizations are on the rise; due to the Delta variant (83 percent of new cases).  The new COVID-19 cases are overwhelmingly unvaccinated individuals.  Four states dominate the appalling statistics: Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana. (https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/back-to-this? )

Clinical trials have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious disease and death. (Breakthrough cases — when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with COVID-19 — are rare after full vaccination; a recent CDC report found that they may occur in just 0.01% of all fully vaccinated people.)  “The message, loud and clear, that we need to reiterate is that these vaccines continue to [provide] strong protection against SARS-CoV-2, including the delta variant,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, during a July 16th White House briefing.

At his July 21 town-hall meeting (https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2021/07/21/joe-biden-cnn-town-hall-transcript/8051311002/ ) President Biden observed: “We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten a vaccination.”  He noted, “Since I got in office, we’ve inoculated over 160 million people, 85 percent of people over the age of 50. ”

The Economy: In the most recent CBS News poll, 53 percent of respondents approved of President Biden’s handling of the economy.  (60 percent rated their personal financial situations as good or fairly good — 33 percent saw it as bad.)  Once again Biden’s rating is split on Party lines: 68 percent of Democrats saw the economy improving; 71 percent of Republicans disagreed.

51 percent of respondents — of those with children under the age of 18 — believed the child tax credit would help their family.  57 percent of respondents believe that Biden’s stimulus package helped the economy.

In his recent town-hall meeting, President Biden observed: “[The economy is going] to grow at 7 percent, it’s expected. We created more jobs in the first six months of my — our administration than any time in American history.”

Infrastructure: 59 percent of poll respondents approved of President Biden’s infrastructure plan. Again Biden’s rating is split on Party lines: 93 percent of Democrats approve, 57 percent of Independents, but only 20 percent of Republicans.  The elements of the infrastructure plan have even stronger approval: 87 percent approve of work on roads and bridges, 73 percent of replying rural broadband, and 71 percent of more care for children and the elderly.  (Even Republicans approve the first two initiatives.)

Most respondents (62 percent) want Biden to “try to get Republican support” to pass infrastructure legislation. At his July 21 town-hall meeting (https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2021/07/21/joe-biden-cnn-town-hall-transcript/8051311002/ ) President Biden expressed confidence that a bipartisan infrastructure bill will soon be passed.

Unity: Joe Biden ran on a promise to unify the nation. A recent Harris-Hill Poll (https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/538905-poll-majority-say-biden-has-prioritized-unity-so-far) found that a majority of respondents (57 percent) felt that Biden has been working to do this: “they think Joe Biden has made uniting the country a priority in his actions so far as president.”

The most recent CBS News poll (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-pandemic-approval-covid-19-opinion-poll/ ) found that a plurality of respondents (41 percent) feel that President Biden has devoted the right amount of time to bipartisanship.  36 percent believed he needed to do more and 23 percent felt he had spent too much energy on this issue.

During the past six months, Biden has faced adamant Republican congressional opposition.  Republican members of Congress have seldom supported any move that he has made.  On major issues it’s unusual to find any Republican votes to go along with those of Democrats.

While Democratic-leaning pundits describe the Biden Administration as focused, empathetic, and effective, Republican-leading pundits describe Democratic actions in extremely negative terms.  Conservative voices suggest that Biden is senile, a hollow facade, being manipulated by radical socialists including Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  They decry the legislative initiatives — such as the proposed Biden Infrastructure plan — as socialist over reach.

Summary: the Biden Administration has had a productive six months, with no help from Republicans.  The bad news is that Congressional Republicans are unlikely to change.  The good news is that, on specific issues, Biden has the support of most of the electorate.

Erosion


In my youth
I regarded death as a
Time clock
Punch in on February 8, 1941, at 3:52PM
Punch out on February 8, 2041, at 3:52PM.

Tidy.

Now
I view death as
erosion.

Amorphic.

I built my house
on a bluff
overlooking the ocean.
Buffeted by nature:
sun
wind
rain
waves.

Lost to erosion:
First the ice plant
then the manzanita
Next the ceanothus
And the geraniums
My favorite Monterey cypress
A corner of the redwood deck
The guest bedroom…

How much longer can I stay in my house?
How much longer will I be myself?

Why don’t you move?”
I love the view.

Global Climate Change

The most recent Gallup Poll indicates that American voters have a lot to worry about. So many worries that voters don’t seem particularly concerned about climate change. That’s a problem because, in the long run, climate change is the most serious problem we face.

There’s abundant evidence about the climate change problem.  On July 7th, writing in the the New York Times ( https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/07/climate/climate-change-heat-wave.html) Henry Fountain observed: “The extraordinary heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest last week would almost certainly not have occurred without global warming, an international team of climate researchers said Wednesday. Temperatures were so extreme — including readings of 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland, Ore., and a Canadian record of 121 in British Columbia — that the researchers had difficulty saying just how rare the heat wave was. But they estimated that in any given year there was only a 0.1 percent chance of such an intense heat wave occurring.”

Nonetheless, in the June Gallup Poll (https://news.gallup.com/poll/351779/sharply-fewer-cite-covid-nation-top-problem.aspx ) of national problems, climate change was barely mentioned.  Respondents were most concerned about government (22 percent), followed by race relations (11 percent), immigration (9 percent), the economy (9 percent) and COVIDE-19 (8 percent).  As usual, there’s a partisan divide: Democrats (16 percent) are more concerned about race relations than are Republicans (3 percent), and Republicans (22 percent) are more concerned about immigration than are Democrats (3 percent).  And Democrats and Republicans see “government” through a different lens; Democrats are satisfied with President Biden and Republicans are not.  (Both parties are concerned about Congress.)

In the June Gallup Poll, climate change rated a measly 3 percent.  (The most recent You Gov poll (https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/trackers/most-important-issues-facing-the-us?) poll shows a higher number, 12.5 percent; still far from what one might reasonably expect.)

There are several explanations for climate change’s low problem rating.  The most likely explanation is that most poll respondents are overwhelmed by negative news and simply don’t have the attention span to deal with anything beyond the governmental crisis, race relations, economic turmoil, and the Coronavirus pandemic.  (An April Pew research study (https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2021/04/15/americans-views-of-the-problems-facing-the-nation/) indicated that most Americans (65 percent)  believe Climate Change is a serious problem just not as serious as the others.)

Another explanation is that Republicans, in general, do not take climate change seriously because their news sources do not.  During the Trump Administration, it was well known that Donald Trump did not regard climate change as a serious problem.  For this reason, the White House press secretary, and other administration press channels, did not talk about climate change.  In addition, for many years, Fox News (https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/2021-fox-news-still-spreading-dangerous-climate-denial ) has denigrated climate change and spread the lie that human activity is not overheating our climate.

Nonetheless, a majority of Americans believe that climate change is real (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/global-warming-perceptions-states-more-americans-accept-fault-n1265213 ).  A strong majority subscribe to the statement “global warming is mostly caused by human activities.”  Not surprisingly,  Democrats are much more likely to hold this belief.

While one explanation is that Democrats and Republicans subscribe to different news sources, another explanation is that their brains are wired differently.  There’s a growing body of neuroscience research that suggests that liberal brains are much more tolerant of ambiguity. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservative-and-liberal-brains-might-have-some-real-differences/) That finding has several consequences, one of which is that conservatives have a narrower span of attention, they tend to focus on only one or two political issues at a time.  At present that means that most Republicans focus on “government,” that is. a set of issues including Trump, “the big lie,” voting rights, and so forth.  In addition, they focus on “immigration,” that is the belief that the United States southern border is being invaded by Hispanic immigrants.  They do not focus on climate change because they don’t have the cognitive ability to handle an additional disturbing variable.  They are impaired.  (You probably already knew this.)

Someone has to lead.  Someone has to ensure that all of America’s problems are dealt with — not just the Fox News crisis du jour. That someone is President Biden.  He has to mount national programs to respond to climate change because the Republicans are incapable of doing this. Godspeed, Joe.

Biden’s Infrastructure Strategy

On March 31st, President Joe Biden introduced his infrastructure plan, “The American Jobs Plan” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/ )  This is an omnibus $2 trillion plan to repair the major holes in America’s infrastructure, and to create jobs.  After three months of negotiation, it appears that Congress will pass at least a $1 trillion bipartisan plan. (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-support-for-the-bipartisan-infrastructure-framework/ )

The bipartisan infrastructure plan polls well.  A recent Yahoo/YouGov poll (https://news.yahoo.com/poll-6-in-10-gop-voters-favor-new-12-trillion-infrastructure-plan-boosting-bidens-hopes-of-a-big-bipartisan-win-201833741.html) found that only 17 percent of respondents disapproved of this plan.  “The survey of 1,592 U.S. adults, which was conducted from June 22 to 24, found that a full 60 percent of self-identified Republicans approve of the compromise infrastructure plan recently put forward by Republican and Democratic senators that would “rebuild roads, bridges and other traditional infrastructure and cost $1.2 trillion.”

What’s in and What’s out: The first cut of the Biden Infrastructure/Jobs plan had $2.15 billion in projects.  The compromise plan has $1.2 billion in projects.

1.Transportation Infrastructure: (Original plan $621 Billion; bipartisan plan approximately $500 Billion)  In essence the compromise plan kept the traditional infrastructure projects and reduced three varieties of investments: construction of an electric-vehicle infrastructure,  funds for climate-related disasters (“infrastructure resiliency”), and projects for “underserved neighborhoods” — “a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.”

2. “Quality of Life at Home”: (Original plan $650 Billion; bipartisan plan approximately $400 billion) In essence this is the original Biden proposal less an allocation of $213B to “build, preserve, and retrofit more than 2 million affordable homes and commercial buildings.”

3. Caregivers for elderly and disabled. (Original plan $400 Billion; bipartisan plan $0) Biden’s original plan would have expanded Medicaid to provide affordable, quality care for everyone who needs it.

4. Research, Development, and Manufacturing: (Original plan $480 Billion; bipartisan plan approximately $100 billion.)

The Biden Infrastructure/Jobs plan collected many of the elements of previous plans and  linked them together.  There were standard infrastructure improvements, such as roads, bridges, ports, and trains, and non-standard items such as home-improvement, removal of lead water pipes, and provision of a high-speed broadband network.  The bipartisan plan retains most of the traditional infrastructure elements.

Playing the bipartisanship card: President Biden lauded the bipartisan plan: “Democracy requires compromise. The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will make life better for millions of Americans, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position the United States to win the 21st century, including on many of the key technologies needed to combat the climate crisis.”

Clearly, Biden relishes the idea of Congress passing a significant bipartisan piece of legislation.  Writing in a June 28th editorial (https://news.yahoo.com/biden-americans-can-be-proud-of-the-infrastructure-deal-214533346.html) Biden observed: “The deal… is a signal to ourselves, and to the world, that American democracy can work and deliver for the people.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted in this agreement. But that’s what it means to compromise and reach consensus — the very heart of democracy. When we negotiate in good faith, and come together to get big things done, we begin to break the ice that too often has kept us frozen in place and prevented us from solving the real problems Americans face.”

Nonetheless, Biden hasn’t given up on the other components of his original infrastructure proposal.  In his editorial,  Biden noted: “I will continue working with Congress to pass the remainder of my economic and clean energy agenda. We have an urgent need to invest in housing, clean energy deployment and the care economy. And we need to make equally critical investments in our human infrastructure: in childcare and paid leave, universal pre-K and free community college, and tax cuts for working families with children. They are inextricably intertwined with physical infrastructure.”

BB prediction: The bipartisan infrastructure plan will pass this summer.  The remainder of Biden “Jobs Plan” will pass in the fourth quarter by means of reconciliation.

 

Tough Love


It was hard
Visiting her in jail.
Prison clothes
No makeup
Sleepless eyes.

“You have to believe me,”
She pleaded.
“I’m innocent.
Wrong place, wrong time.
Mistaken identity.”

I wanted to believe her.
We’d been friends for years.
But this had happened before
And she refused
To take her medicine.

“The DA offered me a deal,”
She begged.
“6 months Jail,
5 years probation,
If you vouch for me.”

I’d loved her
Before I understood
She meant well
But wouldn’t
Change.

I handed her
The Gideon Bible.
Muttered,
“You have a friend
In Jesus.”

A Tale of Two Countries

In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Hmm.  Dickens was writing about the French Revolution but his words are relevant today.

The United States is teetering on the edge of revolution.

1.We’ve lost a governing consensus.  Perhaps I was naive, but after the election — particularly after the January 6th insurrection — I expected the American people to put aside their political differences and come together to support law and order and the Biden Administration.  This did not happen.  While most Independents, and a few Republicans, joined Democrats in an effort to try to move our democracy forward, the bulk of Republicans hardened their resistance.

The consequence is that in Washington, and most of the United States, there’s not agreement on basic issues.

2.The United States has become two nations, featuring two very different realities. One reality — the reality I represent — believes that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.  We believe that the January 6th insurrection was deplorable and that it was probably planned by Donald Trump and his co-conspirators; we believe they all should be charged with crimes. (“Lock them up!”)

It’s not sufficient to say that those of us in “Biden land” — for lack of a better term — disagree with those in “Trump land.” We are immersed in a different reality.  In our reality COVID-19 was a terrible public-health threat and the correct way to deal with this was to wear masks, socially distance, and be vaccinated.  We believe that Blacks lives truly do matter and that serious steps must be taken to provide racial justice — and we do not equate the “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations, following the death of George Floyd, and the January 6th insurrection.  (By the way, we do not trust the police to act properly in all circumstances.)

Suffice it to say, the denizens of Trump land have a different perspective.  There are very few things we agree on.

3. Republicans no longer believe in Democracy.  It’s one thing to believe in an alternate universe, where Donald Trump tells the truth, but a much more serious problem when that universe no longer believes in democracy.  That’s what has happened; The majority of Republicans no longer believe in the basic tenets of democracy.

A recent 2020 Kansas University election study ( https://news.ku.edu/2018/04/17/study-prejudiced-attitudes-not-economic-concern-drove-most-voters-trump) observed: “[T]he [2020] vote was a complex reality in which many factors played a part, above all, attitudes.  And one of the attitudes that stood out statistically was a wish for a domineering leader who would ‘crush evil’ and ‘get rid of the rotten apples’ who disturb the status quo.” [Emphasis added]  Trump played “the dictator card” and it captured the fancy of a majority of Republican voters.

Usually when we accuse a large group of people of being anti-democratic, we characterize them as fascists — or communists.  Trump supporters aren’t coherent enough to be characterized as fascists, let alone communists.  They are united by white grievance. They believe that “non-whites” are getting ahead at their expense.

4. Conceptually, we are seeing a reprise of the issues that produced the American Civil War: racism and state’s rights.  Overt slavery is no longer an issue, but the life circumstances of most people-of-color remain unjust.  The majority of Republicans don’t see it this way.  They subscribe to “replacement theory:” the idea that Democrats are trying to replace white folks with “non-whites” — people of color, immigrants, Jews, and those with a non-traditional gender.

And, the dominant political sentiment of Trump World is to give states the power to make more decisions about civil rights and social programs. While Republicans want some Federal services, such as Social Security and a strong military, the predominant sentiment is to “blow up” Washington and return power to the states.

5. Hassles over slavery created the electoral college system and continue to plague us.  As part of a compromise to reconcile “slave” states and “free” states, in 1787, the Constitution framers created the electoral college system.  This specifies that the results of a presidential election are determined by state electors, not the popular vote.  In 2000 and 2016, Republican candidates won the presidency even though they lost the popular vote.

Republicans recognize that — because of demographic trends — they may never again win the popular vote in a Presidential contest — therefore their strategy is to strengthen their hand in the electoral college.  That’s why there are new Republican measures, in Republican-dominated states, to suppress voting and to make the legislature the ultimate determiner of who gets the electoral votes.

The 2024 Republican strategy is to win the presidency by taking advantage of the archaic electoral college system.

6. Expect violence.  Writing in the New York Review of Books (https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2021/07/01/reality-rebellion/? ), Mark Danner observed “’January 6 was not an isolated event,’ FBI director Christopher Wray told Congress on March 2.  ‘The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.’ After the Trump presidency, such domestic terrorism should be conceived not as a separable ‘problem’ but rather as the leading edge of a broader movement intended to delegitimize American institutions.”

Danner continued: “Trump is in the style of our moment: a man from nowhere, with no stake in the system, ignorant of history, incurious about our political habits and traditions, but happy to bash and to break old and precious things in exchange for a little attention.” [emphasis added]

7. Disinformation plays a big role.  Brookings researcher, Darrell West (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2021/01/11/the-role-of-misinformation-in-trumps-insurrection/ ), recently wrote: “Misinformation is a big part of our current polarization because it is hard to bring the country together when each side has its own facts and attributions of responsibility. It helps that some leading social media platforms have limited or banned Trump’s posting privileges, but that will not stop the spread of misinformation as Trump likely will move to other sites that have few limits on what he can post. His followers will share falsehoods on their own sites, and misinformation will continue to divide Americans and poison our political environment.”

Summary: I’m alarmed by the current situation, but believe that with hard work, we can yet save our precious democracy.  Briefly here are 5 suggested actions:
a. Get involved. Join your local political organization and support progressive candidates.
b. Support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — called HR 1 in the House version.
c. Do your part to get out the progressive vote.
c, Support lawsuits against state-level Republican voter suppression. (consider supporting Protect Democracy (https://protectdemocracy.org )).
d. Penalize sponsors of Republican disinformation — for example, major Fox News sponsors such as General Motors and Procter & Gamble.

Above all, pay attention!  We’re sliding towards civil war.

Hieroglyph

6am
Rain streaks our bedroom window
The outside world is cloaked in mist.

7am
The rain stops
Dark shapes emerge.

One distinct desiccated pine
A Chinese logogram
“Harmony.”

Après Trump, Le Déluge

DT won’t go away!  The most recent Quinnipiac Poll ( https://poll.qu.edu/poll-release?releaseid=3810) reports that 66 percent of respondents do not want Donald Trump to (re)run for President. Nonetheless, 66 percent of Republicans would like him to run again. (Not surprisingly, the same percentage of Republicans do not believe that Biden’s 2020 victory was legitimate.)  DT refuses to disappear and, as a result, the Republican Party keeps acting crazy.  What explains this?

Here are four explanations.

1.Psychological: DT is mentally ill; he has the  pathological variety of narcissistic personality disorder.  He craves attention and, therefore, since leaving the White House, he has been undergoing a form of withdrawal.  This situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Donald has been banned from Twitter and Facebook — as this was being written Facebook banned DT until at least January 2023 (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/04/facebook-says-donald-trump-to-remain-banned-from-platform-for-2-years-effective-from-jan-7.html)

Losing the competition for the US presidency would be hard on anyone — reportedly, Hillary Clinton was very depressed after her 2016 defeat — but particularly hard on DT because he has never been characterized as “playing with a full deck.”  After all, this is the guy who suggested a possible antidote to the Coronavirus was to drink bleach.  DT asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.  He proposed buying Greenland. And on and on.

Since losing the 2020 election, Trump’s aberrant behavior has worsened. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-other-than-that-happy-easter_n_60688dd7c5b6832c7937af52) And, he’s taking the Republican Party down the toilet with him.  Congressional Republicans seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome: “where hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers.”

2. Anthropological: An alternative explanation is that since June of 2015, when Trump announced his run for President, he’s turned the Republican Party into a personality cult.  In effect, he’s created a pseudo-religion featuring himself as the messiah.  This religion operates by the DT rules:
a. The truth is whatever Donald says it is.
b. Winning is everything. Whatever you have to do to win is acceptable.
c. The American system is broken and only DT knows how to fix it. Trust him.
d. The mainstream media can’t be trusted; there is no honest criticism of DT.
e. Salvation is letting DT have his way.

Some studies have shown that uneducated white males trust capitalism more than they trust religion.  These pilgrims trust DT to fix their lives.  Trump is their role model; someone who beat the system by playing by his own rules. Trump devotees believe if DT triumphs, they will triumph.  (If you think this sounds like Totalitarianism 101, you’re right.)

3. Sociological: A slightly different explanation is that Trump has provided a vehicle for millions of white, male, less-educated Americans to channel their resentment.  Writing in the Washington Post, Republican columnist Michael Gerson (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-is-now-just-the-party-of-white-grievance/2021/03/01/67679480-7ab9-11eb-85cd-9b7fa90c8873_story.html) observed: “One of the poisonous legacies of Donald Trump’s presidency has been to expand the boundaries of expressible prejudice. Through the explicit practice of White-identity politics, Trump has obviated the need for code words and dog whistles… The party has been swiftly repositioned as an instrument of white grievance. It refuses to condemn racists within its congressional ranks. Its main national legislative agenda seems to be the suppression of minority voting.” [Emphasis added]

Trump devotees feel they have lost their shot at the American dream.  DT provides them with an acceptable narrative: What happened to them is not their fault: they haven’t lost out because they are poorly educated or insufficiently motivated; they’ve been cheated out of their deserved opportunity by a conspiracy — promulgated by Obama and the Clintons — that shunted them aside and favored undeserving women and people-of-color.  (And Jews.)

in this context, racism and misogyny is okay; because DT says it’s okay.  The Trump resentment express is a closed system that says and does unethical, un-American, and violent things and then justifies them on the basis that they either aren’t being reported accurately or the targets deserve payback.  The resentment express theme is not only that “anything goes” but also that DT validates any behavior seen as favoring him.

4. Political: Finally, there’s a political explanation; the Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt and has allowed itself to be taken over by DT because Republicans actually don’t have any ideas other than protecting the rich and powerful. Think hard: what policy ideas were promoted by DT during  his residency in the White House? (1) Cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy.  (2) Build the wall.  (3)….

Next time “mainstream” Republicans excuse DT by saying, “I never liked his tweets but he had a lot of good ideas;” ask them what ideas they are defending.  After cutting taxes for the rich and building the wall there were NO ideas.  Think about it.  Republicans were in total control of Washington for the first two years of the Trump regime.  All they accomplished was cutting taxes for the rich and powerful.  (And building a few miles of wall.)

When an American political Party is devoid of ideas they have no choice but to run national campaigns based upon personality.  So. Republicans were steamrolled by DT’s narcissism. At the time — 2015 — they felt they didn’t have a choice.  Since then Republican leaders have had lots of opportunities to chose the non-DT road but each time they have folded.  Because they are intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Writing in Mother Jones ( https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/06/why-donald-trump-doesnt-need-facebook/?), veteran correspondent David Corn observed, “Trump still will inhabit a supersized role in Republican—and American—politics because of two important factors: money and fear.”  (DT is by far the biggest money raiser in GOP land.)

66 percent of Republicans would like to see DT run again because he’s alive and their other GOP choices are zombies.  Out here on the Left Coast, the Republican party looks like it is going over the falls.