How Dems help the Repugs

“When your opponent is drowning, the old saying goes, throw him an anvil. Is Hillary Clinton throwing hers—the Republicans—a life raft instead”, as Kerry and Obama did? Wikileaks emails suggest as much. “Rarely has the tragedy of the Democratic Party across these past several decades of Republican radicalization been rendered in such crystalline form.”

Hillary’s GOP Sympathies

Don’t save the Speaker—let him go down with the Trump ship

Hot August Political Thoughts

Currently, we arguably live in an Oligarchy – A form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people might be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, religious or military control. Examples: The Russian Federation, the United States of America.
-Wikipedia

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

A 2014 Study by Martin Gilens, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and Benjamin I. Page, Gordon S. Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, analyzed nearly 1,800 policies enacted by the US government between 1981 and 2002, and compared them to the expressed preferences of the American public as opposed to wealthy Americans and large special interest groups. It found that wealthy individuals and organizations representing business interests have substantial political influence, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little to none. Gilens and Page apply the concept of “civil oligarchy” as used by Jeffrey Winters with respect to the US. Winters has posited a comparative theory of “oligarchy” in which the wealthiest citizens – even in a “civil oligarchy” like the United States – dominate policy concerning crucial issues of wealth- and income-protection. -Wikipedia

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

Political power must be wrestled from the American Oligarchy and it will use every bit of its immense power, including control of corporate media, to maintain its domination. The Oligarchy will not leave meekly and gently in the night. Anyone who thinks this will be easy, or quickly done, is seriously misguided, naïve, or delusional. This a war, not a battle, albeit a just cause for those taking the Oligarchy on.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

There are 244 million Americans of voting age. Some 81 percent of us, about 198 million, are women, millennials, or persons of color. Of the remaining 46 million of us who are white males over the age of 35, a decent number are progressive to moderate in their political leanings. Absent a military coup, the eventual demise of the Oligarchy is spelled out in these demographics, if the American People open their eyes and exercise their power in a concerted, sustained, effective manner.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

Every political candidate should earn the votes of Progressives through ethical behavior, demonstrated consistency, policy positions that are the closest approximation of voter values and views, demonstrated good judgement, and by running a campaign in a manner that demonstrates respect for voters, an ability to listen, and a recognition that maintaining the status quo in terms of those with extraordinary wealth and/or corporate influence over all levels of government has all but destroyed our Democracy and turned it into an Oligarchy is unacceptable.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

There is absolutely no moral, social, or political equivalency between voting for Donald Trump or voting for Hillary Clinton. Nada. Zilch. None.

I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. Far from it. She is a product of and the embodiment of the Oligarchy. Let me be blunt: She and her Husband have received over $200 million of influence and access payments masquerading as speaking fees and control a massive self-promotion vehicle supported by $Billions that represents itself as a charitable foundation but spends the vast percentage of its budget on administrative overhead and promoting the Clintons.

Clinton is functionally a Pro-Choice Moderate Republican who will extend the control of the Oligarchy over economic policies for four years and will have to be constantly thwarted by an engaged electorate to prevent us from entering into further needless wars. Progressives will have to push, cajole, embarrass, and hem in Clinton – a hard but manageable task – to minimize negative impacts on the working class and our shrinking middle class. It will be a difficult four years with many suffering but the nation and the planet will survive.

Trump is a textbook case of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a Sociopath, Bat Shit Crazy, suffering from the onset of Dementia, or some combination thereof. It is clear his decision-making in matters of virtually any policy topic is irrational, ego driven, and inconsistent. If he ran our economy like he ran his businesses, he would start a trade war, a Second Great Depression, and quite possibly a third World War. His instability, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia would be a cataclysmically divisive force likely not seen in our nation since our Civil War 150 years ago and potentially result in America becoming a pariah nation. His Climate Change Denial will push us to the edge of environmental extinction.

The best we can hope for if Donald Trump is elected is a quick impeachment and removal. Unfortunately, if Trump were removed from office, he’d be replaced by one of the most rightwing politicians in America – Mike Pence (Planned Parenthood rating of 0%, NARAL Pro-Choice America 0%, National Farmers Union 11%, Sierra Club 0%, American Library Association 0%, National Association of Manufacturers 100%, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights 0%, Human Right Campaign 0%, Americans for Democratic Action 0%, ACLU 0%, NAACP 5%, American Conservative Union Lifetime Score 99%, Alliance for Retired Americans Lifetime Score 3%, League of Conservation Voter Lifetime Score 4%, American Wilderness Coalition 0%, American Association of University Women 0%, AFL-CIO Lifetime Score 5%, AFSCME Lifetime Score 2%, Source: VoteSmart.org).

At the worse, we could see an attempted or successful Military Coup or the Start of World War Three. There is no way Donald Trump should have access to nuclear launch codes. Seriously.

Hillary Clinton is a temporary barrier to Progressives defeating the American Oligarchy. Donald Trump is an immediate existential threat to the survival of our nation and planet. They are not equivalent. It is not a close call. Trump must never be elected President.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

We would have been even worse off if it were not for Bernie Sanders and what I would call “The Great Awakening.” A little known, Independent Socialist Senator from the state ranking 49th in population started a national movement that engaged America’s largest Generation (Millennials), generated 13 million votes, made income inequality a widely recognized issue, propelled public awareness of the existential threat of Climate Change, and shook the Oligarchy and Political establishment to its core. Bernie and the Progressive Movement have at least temporarily pushed Clinton towards the left on important economic, social, trade, and environmental issues. Bernie achieved far more success than he or most of those of who are his supporters could have thought truly possible at the onset of his campaign. To his great credit and to the equally great discredit of virtually every other nationally prominent progressive politician in the country, he did what they were too cowardly to do: took on the Clinton Political Machine, Democratic Party power structure, Corporate Media, and the American Oligarchy for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Amazingly, Bernie almost won – earing 46 percent of pledged delegates. Arguably, in a straight-up and fair nominating process, Sanders would have won.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

Of course, the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominating process was not straight-up and fair. The 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominating Process was the most overtly manipulative, unethical, corrupt process in modern American Political History. The integrity of the nominating process of two-thirds of Democratic State Parties was shattered by fundraising arrangements with the Clinton Campaign. The Democratic National Committee was essentially a completely controlled and biased appendage of the Clinton Campaign.

Corporate Media essentially parroted Clinton Campaign speaking points from start to finish. Future historians will write that 2016 was the year Corporate Media completely forsook responsible journalism and engaged in wholesale and totally slanted propaganda to maximize profits and help determine a Presidential Race’s outcome. Murrow, Cronkite, Chancellor, Huntley, Brinkley, and Jennings are, no doubt, spinning in their respective graves.

Millions were prevented from exercising their franchise in a purposeful, underhanded, systematic manner. Ongoing investigations and law suits may very well prove actual vote rigging and miscounts in any number of states. Multiple academic researchers have reviewed primary election data and concluded that the results could only been achieved thru widespread vote fraud. Cal-Berkley and Stanford Studies placed the odds that Hillary Clinton won without widespread fraud at only 1 chance in 77 Billion (http://alexanderhiggins.com/stanford-berkley-study-1-77-bi…/).

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

So, what are our options in 2016? We have four candidates who will possess the theoretical possibility of being elected President of the United States this November in that they will each be on enough States’ ballots to win 270 Electoral College Votes and the Presidency.
The “Democratic Party Nominee”, Hillary Clinton, is functionally a Pro-Choice Moderate Republican with militaristic tendencies, who is the clear choice of the Oligarchy.

The “Republican Party Nominee”, Donald Trump, as previously stated, is a textbook case of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a Sociopath, Bat Shit Crazy, suffering from the onset of Dementia, or some combination thereof. If elected, he has the serious potential to involve us in a constitutional crisis, internal strife not seen since the Civil War, a Major Economic Depression, or even a Third World War or a Military Coup to prevent such a war. A recent poll found one fifth of Republican voters want Trump to drop out.
The Libertarian Party Nominee, Gary Johnson, is a former Republican Governor of New Mexico and was also the 2012 Libertarian Presidential Nominee. Johnson received about one million votes for President in 2012. Johnson’s average support in recent polls in a four-way race is 8.3% (Source: Real Clear Politics, average of Rasmussen Reports, Reuters/Ipsos, Bloomberg, Economist/YouGov, Monmouth, NBC News/SM, ABC News/Washington Post Polls, conducted 8/1/16 – 8/10/16)).

The Green Party Nominee, Jill Stein, is a Medical Doctor and was also the 2012 Green Party Presidential Nominee. Stein received about 470,00 votes for President in 2012. Stein’s average support in recent polls in a four-way race is 3% (Source: Real Clear Politics, average of Rasmussen Reports, Reuters/Ipsos, Bloomberg, Economist/YouGov, Monmouth, NBC News/SM, ABC News/Washington Post Polls, conducted 8/1/16 – 8/10/16).

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

What are Libertarians? They frequently describe themselves as “Socially Liberal and Fiscally Conservative. I think that is half right – they are Fiscally Conservative but they are not consistently liberals on Social Issues. Critics label Libertarians as “Republicans who smoke pot.” Author Christopher Hitchens acerbically described Libertarians this way: “I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement in the U.S. that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.” Libertarians are secularized Republicans without the Far Right “Christian” moralistic bullshit, in my humble opinion. David Koch, yes, one of those Koch Brothers, net worth $44.2 Billion, was the 1980 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee. Koch is hardly a progressive on any issue.

The 2016 Libertarian Platform calls “for the repeal of the income tax” and the abolishment of “all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution.” Their platform also indicates “an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union…” and supports “restoring and reviving a free market health care system…” and “phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.” Libertarians “oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production…” and “favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types.” Libertarians maintain “Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems.” Rather Darwinian and survival of the fittest, these Libertarians, but they’ll let folks smoke pot.
This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!
The Green Party really isn’t a National Political Party at all yet – it’s more of a shell of a Presidential Candidate nominating process with fragmentary cells of supporters lightly scattered about the country and wrapped around a progressive and enlightened political platform reminiscent of a 21st Century version of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Think of what the Democratic Party Platform would look like to a progressive without any corporate warping and distortion and you’d probably have something that would look very much like the Green Party Platform. The Green Party is basically a philosophical pure version of the Democratic Party in terms of ideology, if the Democratic Party didn’t have any meaningful infrastructure and was free of all the corporate bullshit, bad influences, tremendous policy warping resulting from said bullshit and influences.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

The “Ten Key Values” of the Green Party Are Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice and Equal Opportunity, Ecological Wisdom, Non-Violence, Decentralization, Community Based Economics, Feminism and Gender Equity, Respect for Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Future Focus and Sustainability. The Green Party Platform includes “A Call to Action”, a Preamble, the “Ten Key Values” and detailed sections on “Democracy”, “Social Justice”, “Ecological Sustainability”, and “Economic Justice and Sustainability.” Most members of the “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party” and certainly “Berniecrats” would be very comfortable with the 2016 Green Party Platform.
This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

The times, they are a changing, and the Green Party may quickly start to transition from a noble concept to a functional political party with an influx of Sanders Supporters abandoning the Democratic Party. Some observers frequently opine that most Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton. Others say Berniecrats are flocking to Jill Stein and the Green Party. Who is right? Well, maybe, in a way, both.

The nuance that most observers seem to miss is that tens of thousands of Sanders activists, the folks who did the grassroots organizing for Bernie, are indeed moving to support Stein and the Green Party. The movement of hardcore activists from the Sanders Campaign to the Green Party isn’t uniform or evenly distributed, but it is significant.

This isn’t to say that Berniecrats are leaving the Democratic Party in masse – they aren’t. Here in Washington State, the majority of incoming Precinct Committee Officers (PCO’s) could accurately be labelled Berniecrats. In my home county, home to the State Capital of Olympia, two thirds of incoming PCO’s are Berniecrats.

Nationally, Senator Sanders and his supporters are creating multiple organizations, including “Our Revolution”, a National Network of Sanders Activists who likely will heavily influence and frequently run Democratic Party Organizations for years to come. Bernie may have been denied the nomination in 2016 but the Movement he catalyzed and changing demographics are converging in a manner that likely will mean Progressives will regain control of much of the Democratic Party in the near future.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

But the Democrats likely won’t be the only Progressive Political Party of consequence in America in the near future. The rise of the Green Party, powered by the influx of former Sanders supporters, is imminent.

Will the “Berning of the Greens” be enough to turn the Green Party into a full-fledged, functional Third Party in less than three months? No. Could the Green Party be a full-fledged, functional Third Party in 2020? Yes, but only if they do some serious organizing and get their collective shit together about building slates of candidates for local, state, and federal offices across the country.

The Green Party’s biggest weakness is that it has been almost exclusively focused the Presidential Elections, only recruiting and running candidates for lower tier races in a very limited number of jurisdictions in a small number of states. This has got change if the Greens want to be taken seriously. People want their pot holes fixed, safe neighborhoods, good schools, and dependable public services. The old saying that “All Politics are local.” Is mostly true and the Green Party and its membership needs to show it can get voters’ garbage picked up and run cities and states before it will be trusted by most folks with leading the Free World and controlling the Nuclear Launch Codes, regardless of how wonderfully progressive they are. For an American Political Party to be viewed as credible in a nation with 321 million citizens and a $19 Trillion economy, it must not only think globally, it must act locally and be able to govern effectively in all the myriad and mundane ways citizens expect. I’m being real here.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

I see a certain irony, and a whole lot of Karma, in that if Bernie had won the Democratic Nomination, it would have revitalized and democratized the Democratic Party, likely locked in Millennials, the largest generation in history, into strongly voting Democratic for decades, diminished the significance of the Green Party, and hastened the demise of the Republican Party as a relevant factor in Presidential Contests. Control and domination, not fair play and party building, were more important to the Corporate Wing of the Democratic Party. Consequently, the Democratic Party has alienated, in some cases permanently, large numbers of Millennial activists and other Bernie Supporters and the Green Party has an opportunity to achieve a level of national political relevance that has so far eluded it.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

If you’ve read this far, you are probably wondering if this is where Joe says which candidate for President everyone should vote for. God knows damn near every person on Facebook with an opinion on the subject has been telling everyone else who they should support. I’m not going to do that. The reality is if you’re old enough to vote, you’re old enough to make up your own mind and 99 percent of voters are going to go thru whatever decision processes they use and do just that. My circle of friends and family is large enough that some will vote for each of the four main Presidential candidates and I’m not going to like or love any of them any more or any less based on who they vote for. If the Creator, Evolution, or the quantum chance of our being in this portion of the Multiverse made free will possible for our species, the rest of us ought to do the same for each other.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

I will share who I’m voting for and my reasoning: readers may agree, disagree, or ignore as they wish.

To place my decision in context, in 38 years of voting, I’ve only knowingly voted for a Republican for any public office once in my entire life and I’ve regretted that vote for almost four decades and tried to make amends for that vote. I have voted in nine Presidential Elections in my life and nine times, I voted for the Democratic Candidate. In the language of politics, I am referred to as a “Strong Democrat” and a “Perfect Voter” (vote every election).

Unless there appears to be chance that Donald Trump might actually carry Washington State and it’s 12 Electoral College Votes, something highly unlikely, given all available political information, Washington’s voting history, and current polling data, I am planning on voting for Democratic candidates for all other elective offices and for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, for President of the United States of America.

Donald Trump would be an existential threat to the nation and planet. To avoid that risk, I would force myself to vote for the Oligarchy’s candidate and a functionally Pro-Choice Moderate Republican with militaristic tendencies, Hillary Clinton, if Trump were leading or within striking distance of Clinton in Washington when it was time to cast my ballot.
Absent the possibility of a Trump win in Washington State, I will vote for the candidate who, imperfect as she may be, presents both the opportunity to vote for my progressive values and beliefs and the opportunity to send a message to the Oligarchy. I will vote for Jill Stein.

Let me be blunt, the Oligarchy will win this round in the battle for our future and Hillary Clinton will become the next President of the United States. No objective review of the available evidence and polling data would suggest otherwise. Even the Republican oriented Rasmussen Reports is projecting Hillary Clinton at 348 Electoral College Votes, well above the 270 needed to win the Presidency.

For Jill Stein to have had a chance to win in 2016, she would have had to have most or all of Sanders Supporters pivot their support to her and that clearly didn’t happen. If she had surged above 10 percent in the polls after the Democratic Convention, and progressed to rise to force her inclusion in the Presidential Debates, stellar debate performances on her part would have changed the political equation and she would have had a chance to be truly competitive. That didn’t happen and Stein won’t win in 2016.

However, short of a dramatic change in the polls that indicate Trump could take Washington State, I won’t validate the blatant, systematic manipulation and corruption of the Presidential nomination process by the Democratic Power Structure, Corporations, and Corporate Media with a vote for Hillary Clinton. Absent the existential threat of a Trump victory, I won’t go there.

I will cast a vote for Stein to support the germinating seed that is the Green Party in 2016 and I will work within the local Democratic Party, where Berniecrats have a clear majority, to progressively shape local and state Democratic politics, candidates, and campaigns. Call this an Inside/Outside Strategy.

The Second American Revolution continues. We Progressives need to play the long game to defeat the Oligarchy and generate a rebirth of true Democracy. Success will not occur in one election cycle – neither did getting to the point we are at as a nation. With persistence, hard work, and sustained effort, we will get to a point where we defeat the Oligarchy and have two National Progressive Political Parties, a revitalized Democratic Party and a vibrant, fulling formed Green Party. This is Our Revolution. Stand Up, Speak out, Fight On.

This is Our Revolution. Yes, We Can! Si Se Puede!

Defeat Trump but recognize the problems with Tim Kaine

First, it needs to be said that we cannot let Trump win.

That being said, as an elected PLEO Delegate to the Democratic National Convention, I owe a report back to the people even as I continue to process the events of the past couple weeks, so I’m offering this partial post-DNC analysis/reflection/report back as I’m still processing the events I was privileged to witness. We need to go in with our eyes wide open as to what we’re being asked to support and work for in this election cycle. The following is a tidbit of a longer message regarding Sec’y Clinton’s VP pick Sen. Tim Kaine that was sent by the Bernie Campaign to his Democratic National Convention Delegates last week.

Known as a “centrist” governor of Virginia, Kaine supported restrictions on abortion and angered environmentalists by fighting for a controversial coal-fired power plant in Wise County. He declared “I strongly support” Virginia’s anti-union “right-to-work” law and denigrated critics of corporate-friendly trade deals as having a “loser’s mentality.” He criticized Democrats in 2011 for seeking a higher tax rate on millionaires. In the U.S. Senate since 2013, he has consistently ranked as one of the least progressive Democrats and was one of only a dozen Democrats who supported Trans-Pacific Partnership Fast Track last year.

Instead of solidifying the power built by the people’s movement to support Bernie Sanders into a unified Democratic base by choosing a progressive running partner, Clinton has chosen to throw the people’s movement under the bus in favor of the possible chance of gaining some votes from disenchanted Republicans. I’m having trouble seeing the loyalty to our party’s platform by courting those who are opposed to it, and am afraid that she’s disrespected the movement and lost for the Democrats much more than we stand to gain.

So, Clinton and the DNCC are forcing us to support a Right-to-Work, anti-choice, anti-environmental, anti-tax on millionaires, pro-TPP Vice Presidential candidate and work for our own demise? Where’s the respect for working families, women, future generations, and the growing movement to fight for their issues? Asking workers to support a Right-to Work (actually it’s Right-to-Work-for-Less) candidate is like asking displaced workers to train their outsourced replacements who will do their jobs for less pay.

Right-to-Work is all about breaking working people’s power. What is our future if our power is taken from us? With the advent of union busting, the proliferation of Right-to-Work to 25 states now, and the diminishment of union density and working families’ power to fight for our fair share of the wealth we create, income disparity has reached modern historical highs not seen since the 1920’s, when industrial unions started building real worker power and created the middle class.

There are similar analogies for women, environmentalists, tax fairness and fair trade proponents, i.e. asking women to support someone who wants to restrict choice, or environmentalists to support someone who wants to expand use of fossil fuels. It appears the policies that Kaine supports are all about advancing a corporate agenda. And, I’m reminded that Clinton’s chief advisor (Bill) is also from a Right-to-Work state and started this whole free-trade fiasco that has cost so many American jobs, was a founder and leader of the conservative DLC, implemented so-called welfare reform that has crippled the most vulnerable families, and instituted conservative criminal justice reform that locked up so many disadvantaged and people of color into the prison-industrial complex and militarized our police forces.

Certainly, the platform contains some very good policy objectives that we all instinctively know need to be in it, but with no way to enforce the platform on electeds it’s just a lot of good words. It all boils down to trust in Hillary. But, as a member of the Walmart Board of Directors, what did she do to support their low-wage workers? What effect will the millions of dollars she received from the many closed door speeches she gave to the Wall Street elite (at $300,000+ per speech) have on reforming our financial system with more than token efforts? Is the Debbie Wasserman Schultz fiasco indicative that Clinton uses political favors to repay political abuses, gain political power, and squelch the people’s voice? Despite the good words in the platform, policy follows power and in this case, I fear it will follow the money and the conservatives she, Bill, the DNCC, and the DLC are catering to and dragging the Democratic party toward.

Wouldn’t it have been better political strategy to embrace the people’s movement rather than to power through an agenda that moves us to the right?

Many Trump followers are frustrated with the insecurity that the ongoing assault by corporations and power elite have imposed on their families, so they’ve gravitated to a demagogue who is saying what they want to hear regarding change, but is actually an embedded part of the problem.

The media will spin all this to make it easier for us to rationalize, but we’ll still know the truth. So, Clinton vs. Trump? I’m still processing, and healing from the top-down reaming at the DNC (Bernie Delegates were abused all week at the Convention, some physically), but I know I’ll make the best decision in the end that my conscience will allow.

Now, I have to re-read the first sentence of this article above. What a dilemma.

Not just Trump, the entire GOP and their ideology are fraudulent, and their supporters are dumb

Mitt Romney is now calling Trump a phony and a fraud. This is true.

But the irony is that the entire GOP and their ideology are fraudulent, phony, and destructive.

The fact that Trump won so many primaries illustrates the gullibility and stupidity of the average GOP voter.

Jerry Falwell’s Endorsement of Trump Reveals Who He Worships—And It Ain’t Jesus

If believing oneself to be the Only Begotten Son of God makes one a follower of Jesus, then maybe Trump qualifies. Either way, Jerry Falwell has a truth problem.

On Tuesday, January 26, Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, endorsed Donald Trump for President, saying that Trump is “a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.” The endorsement is no surprise: Falwell had previously likened Trump to his own father and even to Jesus himself, saying “In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the Great Commandment.”

Is Trump a faithful follower of Jesus?

Set aside for the moment the fact that he’s biblically illiterate. That doesn’t necessarily disqualify him. In fact, research suggests that atheists typically perform better on tests of religious knowledge than Christians do. So, maybe the fact that Trump can’t name a favorite verse, can’t decide whether the Old Testament or New is more important, and doesn’t know how to pronounce 2 Corinthians, is just a way of establishing credibility among the faithful. Same reason he uses a 4th grade vocabulary. Clever guy, that Trump.

But let’s take a look at what Falwell said about the Great Commandment.

What is the Great Commandment?

Falwell’s effusive words reference a story from the book of Matthew. In it, the Pharisees, who are the religious authorities of the time, ask Jesus which is the greatest of all the commandments in the Torah. Levitical law recommends capital punishment for 30 different felonies, so some legitimate moral confusion could arise: Is sassing your parents really as bad sex before marriage, being a witch, or committing murder? And faced with an offense, what’s a decent person to do? In the words of the now-famous “Dr. Laura Letter,”

“I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?”

As I said, the long list of Levitical crimes and punishments can be confusing, but in Matthew’s story, the Pharisees are just trying to trick Jesus into saying one sin is worse than the rest so that they can show he’s a bad Jew. But Jesus slips the noose by answering that the whole of the Torah can be summed up in two principles: 1. Love God with all your heart; 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. The way you know you’re doing well on Commandment 1 is if you’re doing well on Commandment 2.

Love your neighbor as yourself? That’s a high bar for a guy whose narcissistic personality disorder is so florid that experts have broken the normal professional taboo against diagnosing a public figure. Clinical psychologist and professor George Simon told the press,

“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics. Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

Epic Fail

Ok, ok, so love your neighbor as yourself is a stratospherically-high bar for a narcissist, rather like a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Some would argue that it’s an impossible (or unhealthy) bar even for those of us without personality disorders. How about some of the other teachings that have made Jesus a figure of inspiration for the last 2000 years?

Jesus says blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5). Trump boasts that he’s so popular that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

Jesus advocates nonviolence (Matthew 5:39). Trump vows to use brute force against America’s enemies, and then take their assets to pay for the war. “To the victor belong the spoils.” He promises to strengthen the military so that it’s “so big and so strong and so great” that “nobody’s going to mess with us.” At Liberty University, he championed gun ownership, telling Christian college students, “We’ve got to have the right to protect ourselves.”

Jesus says not to call other people names (Matthew 5:22). Trump has made headlines with his public insults of (among others)  Fox reporter Megan Kelly, disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski, competing presidential candidates, and the people of Iowa.

Jesus says give all your money to the poor and come follow me (Luke 18:22). Trump’s tax returns show him to be one of America’s least charitable billionaires, “a miser, not an ‘ardent philanthropist’.”

Jesus spends his time among the poor, living as one of them (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Trump’s opulent Manhattan penthouse and Palm Beach estate rival the quarters of Marie Antoinette.

Jesus heals the sick (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Trump vows to take away an insurance program that has made healthcare accessible to 10 million Americans.

Jesus welcomes the downtrodden. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Trump envisions an “artistically beautiful” wall of steel rebar and hardened concrete along the southern border of the United States. “I will build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

Jesus says not to shirk taxes, even if you don’t agree with the government (Mark 12:13-17). While promising to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure, Trump pledges to cut taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations.

Jesus heals a woman who practices a despised minority religion, affirming her faith (Matthew 15:21-28). Trump intends to create a database of Muslims in America and suspend further immigration.

Jesus teaches that sometimes a “Samaritan,” a member of a despised minority, can show us how to live and love better (Luke 10:25-37). Trump proposes halting immigration from war-torn Syria and shipping 11 million Latin Americans back to the countries they came from.

Jesus willingly endures the criticism of his detractors (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Offended at being asked hard, critical questions by conservative Fox journalist Megan Kelly, Trump announced he would refuse to participate in any debate where she was a moderator.

Falwell might have gotten away with likening Trump to Jehovah–the petty, racist, sexist, war-mongering, temper-tantruming God of the Old Testament who seeks constant adoration. But Jesus is a different character.  If believing oneself the Only Begotten Son of God makes one a follower of Jesus, then maybe Trump qualifies. Otherwise, the two have as little in common as Napoleon and Gandhi.

Either way, Jerry Falwell has a serious truthiness issue—which in biblical terms raises questions about who he really worships. In the Bible, one of the core attributes of God is truth, while Satan is described as the Father of Lies—one who can even appear as a divine messenger.

Needless to say, a liar, whether human or supernatural, can appear as a divine messenger only to those who believe in such things. Perhaps that is why few people other than conservative Christians have been swayed by Falwell’s adoration of a man who so obviously is Not Like Jesus.

If Liberty University students are paying attention, Falwell’s endorsement of Trump may help some of them realize why so many former Bible believers now stand on the outside, refusing to take our guidance from self-proclaimed messengers of God and instead assessing presidential candidates and university presidents alike through the lens of our own reason and conscience.

Originally published at ValerieTarico.com