Why Dems have a good chance at winning back the state senate in the 45th LD

In the 2016 election, every single precinct in the 41st, 45th, and 48th LDs preferred Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine over Donald Trump & Michael Pence. (Source: database downloaded from: King County Elections)

[Correction: an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that every precinct in the 5th LD voted for Hillary & Kaine. In fact, 138 out of 168 precincts went for Hillary & Kaine in the 5th LD.]

In the 45st LD, 48,147 people voted for Hillary & Kaine; 20,824 voted for Trump & Pence: a ratio of 2.3.   The largest precinct ratio (Hillary/Trump) was 6.1; the smallest ratio was 1.1.

Likewise, 43,509 voters (58%) in the 45th LD voted for Jay Inslee; 31,950 went for Bill Bryant.   142 out of 166 precincts in the 45th LD voted for Jay Inslee over Bill Bryant.

For Legislative District 45 Representative Position 1, Democrat Roger Goodman won 42,981 (62%) of 45th LD votes, over 26,491 for Republican Ramiro Valderrama. 160 out of 166 precincts in the 45th LD chose Goodman over Valderrama.

For Legislative District 45 Representative Position 2, Democrat Larry Springer ran unopposed.

These results give hope that the Dems can win the special senate election in the 45th LD, where Democrat Manka Dhingra is aiming to win back control of the state senate from the Republicans, who have promised to spend $5 million to retain the seat.   The election is necessary because the incumbent, Republican Andy Hill, succumbed to  lung cancer in late October, 2016.

In the 41st LD, 50,843 people (72%) voted for Hillary & Kaine; 19,575 voted for Trump & Pence: a ratio of 2.6 favoring the Democrat. The largest precinct ratio (Hillary/Trump) was 5.5; the smallest ratio was 1.3.

In the 48th LD, results were even more lopsided. 42,860 (73%) voters chose Hillary & Kaine; 15,727 chose Trump & Pence. Every precinct went for Hillary & Kaine.

Even in the 5th LD (further east), 41,955 voters (60%) chose Hillary & Kaine, while only 28,450 chose Trump & Pence.  138 out of 168 precincts voted for Hillary.

Below are the ratios of Hillary & Kaine votes to Trump & Pence votes in all LDs in King County. Only in the 31st LD, in south-eastern King County, did Trump & Pence beat Hillary & Kaine.

+------+--------------------+--------------------+----------+
| LEG  | Hillary & Kaine    | Trump & Pence      |   Ratio  |
+------+--------------------+--------------------+-----------
|    0 |                 30 |                  9 |   3.3333 |
|    1 |             656524 |             263428 |   2.4922 |
|    5 |            7048440 |            4779600 |   1.4747 |
|   11 |            5311893 |            1992330 |   2.6662 |
|   30 |            3853512 |            2385330 |   1.6155 |
|   31 |             454116 |             485992 |   0.9344 | 
|   32 |            3142264 |             703840 |   4.4645 |
|   33 |            4647924 |            2047461 |   2.2701 |
|   34 |           13073159 |            2448853 |   5.3385 |
|   36 |           19877948 |            2132560 |   9.3212 |
|   37 |           10382058 |             969006 |  10.7141 |
|   39 |                286 |                186 |   1.5376 |
|   41 |            9711013 |            3738825 |   2.5973 |
|   43 |           16702844 |            1122116 |  14.8851 |
|   45 |            7992402 |            3456784 |   2.3121 |
|   46 |           14989462 |            2272650 |   6.5956 |
|   47 |            4250544 |            2993088 |   1.4201 |
|   48 |            7457640 |            2736498 |   2.7252 |
+------+--------------------+--------------------+----------+

Furthermore, 41st LD voters ousted Republican Steve Litzow from the state senate, replacing him with Democrat Lisa Wellman. During the campaign, Litzow even sent out a mailing to constituents announcing his opposition to Trump.  The other state legislators from the 41st LD are Democrats too, and women:  Judy Clibborn in the senate, and Tana Senn in the house.

The 45th LD senate election will be interesting, not only because of its political importance and expense, but also because both Dhingra and her Republican opponent, Jinyoung Lee Englund, are of Asian descent and are female.  With substantial Asian populations on the eastside, it is unclear what effect, if any, their ethnicity will have on the election outcome.

“The election won’t necessarily change the balance of power in the state for the long run: The winner of the special election will only serve out what would have been the last year of Hill’s term, and will have to fight to keep the seat in 2018.” (The real fight for control of the state lies ahead )

Please don’t take these results as reason for complacency.   Dems and allies need to work hard to win back the seat.

Hillary was swift-boated: alternate realities and the Republican Propaganda Machine

Amidst all the finger-pointing and self-immolation on the left, we need to acknowledge that the main cause of Hillary’s loss was the formidable propaganda machine of the Republican Party.

And the ignorance, gullibility and hatefulness of so many Americans.

After all, the most shocking thing about the 2016 election is that Donald Trump could win despite his many obvious negatives.

Don't blame Trump: He did everything he could to prove he was unfit to be president

No matter who won the Democratic nomination, a large proportion of Republican voters would have voted for the Republican nominee.

A similar thing can be said for the election of 2004, when George W. Bush won re-election, despite the disaster of the war in Iraq and the scandals and corruptions surrounding his administration.  Even in 2008, 45.7% of voters voted for John McCain.

Of course, Hillary was a perfect target for GOP hatred. Her hawkishness, friendliness to Wall Street, flip-flops, carelessness, and dirty tricks towards Sanders made her vulnerable and suppressed Democratic turnout. But millions of voters believed that Hillary was far worse than she is. The hatefulness towards her was unhealthy.

For this, Trump can thank Fox News, AM talk radio, Breitbart News, and other conservative media outlets, which were able to rouse up their base to a frenzy of hatred of Hillary, of government, and of liberals.  In contrast, Trump was able to escape accountability for his outrageous statements and scandals:  Trump University, Trump Foundation, bankruptcies, shady business dealings, not paying contractors, failure to release tax returns, likely tax evasion, lies during the debates, racist comments, sexual escapades, conspiracy mongering about Obama’s citizenship, denial of established scientific consensus, etc.

On not paying contractors see Donald Trump’s Business Plan Left a Trail of Unpaid Bills, Hundreds Allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills, and Dozens of lawsuits accuse Trump of not paying his bills, reports claim.

Aside from claiming that global climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, Trump has said that vaccines cause autism, that environmentally-friendly light bulbs cause cancer, and that fracking “poses zero health risks” while wind farms are “bad for people’s health”.   He called Obama the founder of ISIS.   The list of outrages goes on and on.

Hillary was swift-boated about her private email server, about the Clinton Foundation, and about Pizzagate. The hatred towards her and bias against her were pathological.

Using a private server was careless, but it was trivial compared to George W. Bush and Trump’s wrongdoings and scandals. “Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails.” (The George W. Bush White House ‘Lost’ 22 Million Emails)

The Clinton Foundation received a 4 out of 4 rating from Charity Navigator and an A rating from Charity Watch.

Concerning Pizzagate, Nearly 50% of Donald Trump voters believe Hillary Clinton is involved in pedophilia ring: poll.

On numerous matters of fact and policy, conservatives live in an alternate reality. The partisan divide in American politics is as wide as ever.

A CNN/ORC poll taken in 2015 found that 43 percent of Republicans believed that Obama is a Muslim.

According to the Pew Research Center, “Just over a quarter of the public – 28% – says climate scientists have a solid understanding of the causes of climate change. And even fewer, 19%, of adults say the same about climate scientists’ understanding of the best ways to address climate change.” “Consistent with past Pew Research Center surveys, most liberal Democrats espouse human-caused climate change, while most conservative Republicans reject it.”  “Thirty percent of Fox News viewers say that Obama is ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ not a citizen, and another nine percent say that they do not know. In comparison, only 13 percent of CNN viewers, and seven percent of MSNBC viewers say the same.”

A 2016 survey taken by Yale and George Mason University found that only 47% of Republicans believe in climate change.

“A survey by YouGov found that by December 1, 43 percent of Republicans accepted the [Trump] claim that millions of people had voted illegally in 2016.”  (source)

A 2015 PublicMind poll by Farleigh Dickinson University found:

Overall, 42 percent of Americans believe that U.S. forces found active weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq. Republicans are more likely to hold this belief than Democrats: fifty-one percent of Republicans think it’s “probably” or “definitely” true that an active program was found after the 2003 invasion, with 14 percent saying that it was definitely true.

According to CBS News, “Nearly half of Americans incorrectly think President Obama started the the bank bailout program, otherwise known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a new poll shows. Just 34 percent of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center correctly said that TARP was enacted by the Bush administration.”

Democrats’ policy positions play a much smaller role in the outcomes than we’d like to think. What matters most is perception and spin, not substance.

How to explain the toxic hatred of Hillary and liberals?  Partly, it’s misogyny. But I agree with the conclusion of Amanda Marcotte, who says, in Conservatism turned toxic: Donald Trump’s fanbase has no actual ideology, just a nihilistic hatred of liberals, “Trump’s victory was the result of decades of right-wing hate rhetoric, curdling into a totally negative worldview.”

I say all this as a fervent Bernie Sanders supporter who was highly critical of Hillary’s hawkishness and friendliness to Wall Street. I was critical of her but I don’t hate her the way even many progressives do.  I thought she was intelligent and graceful.  I am more horrified by the success of the GOP propaganda machine at polluting peoples’ minds with conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and hatred.

I’m not asking for a pass for Hillary and the DNC. I acknowledge their corruptions and their mistakes. In particular, the Democrats shouldn’t have selected Hillary, given her hawkishness, her ties to Wall Street, the extreme hatred of her by so many people, and the nation’s populist mood. I’m asking for proportional accountability. Hillary, the Democratic Party, the country, and the world will pay a price far out of proportion to her culpability and to the accountability Trump and Republicans received for their many wrongdoings and statements.

Too often, Obama and Hillary were hawks and neoliberal sellouts. So, it’s hard to feel sympathy for them — except that Trump and the Republicans are far worse. My point is: the GOP had great success at exaggerating Hillary’s crookedness while hiding their own. Trump was the Teflon Don, if ever there was one.   In fact, not only was Hillary the lesser-of-two-evils, but she was good on on some issues and moderate on many others.

Republicans fight nasty. They’re masters of dirty tricks and character assassination.

They go low, we go high, they win.

When Trump and the Republicans are tough, they are perceived as strong and bold. When Hillary was tough, she was portrayed as a harridan and a witch.

Democrats, on the other hand, are wimps, compared to the Republicans. In 2008, after eight years of misrule under Bush and the Republicans, Americans were eager for peace and for populist policies. As a candidate, Obama promised change. But once he was in office, Obama turned into a moderate. He tried to be post-partisan.  He compromised early and often. He surrounded himself with Wall Street cornies. He wanted to look forward, so he hid the war crimes of the Bush Administration and the fraud of Wall Street banks from the American people.    As Obama said of himself, “My policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies … back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.” Obama’s unwillingness to fight, and to stand up to Wall Street and the defense establishment depressed turnout, angered many voters, and allowed Trump to pursue his populist playbook.

You may argue, with some validity, that Obama needed to compromise to get anything done. But politicians score few points by compromising. Obama should have fought hard for single-payer health care, or at least a public option.   Instead, he allowed Max Baucus and other conservative Democrats to whittle down the Affordable Care Act in a fruitless attempt to win GOP backing. In the end, no Republican voted for it, and we were left with a health care plan designed by the Heritage Foundation and tested by Mitt Romney.

Obama is a great orator and a smart man. He allowed the GOP to steamroll the Democratic Party, who now have lost control of the House, the Senate, the White House, and a majority of state legislatures and governorships.

On the other hand. all those progressives who refused to vote for the lesser of two evils can enjoy the satisfaction of standing up for their principles as we face slashes to the EPA, public education, Medicare, Social Security, worker rights, women’s rights, gay rights, consumer rights, and financial regulations. Plus decades of conservative rule in the Supreme Court. And more tax cuts for rich people. And increased defense spending. And possible wars with China and Iran. And fewer people with medical insurance. I understand where the purists were coming from and rather agree that Clinton and Obama got what they deserved. Still, lesser-of-two-evils is lesser-of-two-evils, and on many issues Hillary was moderate. On women’s rights she was progressive.

But the blame for the election loss spreads far and wide. This article has argued that mostly the blame rests with the GOP propaganda machine, which has polluted peoples’ minds. Here is a fuller list of who and what to blame.

Who and what to blame for Trump's victory

Who and what to blame for Trump, in one image

Who and what to blame for Trump

For a detailed, excellent analysis, see Everything mattered: lessons from 2016’s bizarre presidential election. The election was close, so many groups and people share blame for the outcome.

This Politico article and this facebook video from the Young Turks describe how the Hillary campaign ignored the swing states til it was too late.

By the end of the election, Trump was repeating Bernie Sanders’s talking points about inequality and outsourcing. Obviously he convinced a lot of people that he and the Repugs would help the middle class. Obama barely tried, but even if he had, the Repugs would have obstructed his efforts.

After being criticized on facebook, I am now wondering whether my inclusion of “Clinton Foundation” is a mistake and a succumbing to GOP propaganda.  The Clinton Foundation received a 4 out of 4 rating from Charity Navigator and an A from Charity Watch.    Is the widespread perception that the Clinton Foundation is corrupt justified?  Show the evidence.

Similarly, on the question of whether Putin really did help Trump, it’s unclear whether the CIA. can be believed.

There's no equivalency between Trump and Hillary

(Originally published in August, 2016 as “Hot August Political Thoughts”)

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.

The Teflon Don and the Triumph of the Republican Noise Machine

The 2016 presidential election was a battle of negatives.

Despite Trump’s numerous well-known negatives — including a history of racist and sexist insults, inexperience in politics, impetuousness, sexual scandals, mediocre performance at the debates, and a 70% untrue rating from PolitiFact — Trump managed to convince almost a majority of voters that he was the better choice than Hillary Clinton.

As Thomas Frank said, the least qualified presidential candidate in history bested the most qualified candidate.

The country is in shock that Trump and the GOP were able to eke out a victory.

Hillary had her negatives too — carelessness with emails, questionable ties to Wall Street, hawkishness, and a legacy of dirty tricks against Bernie Sanders — but it’s obvious to me that Republicans were much more successful at making their attacks stick.

Trump is the Teflon Don.

Hillary is the Sticky Dame: attacks stick to her.

The victory is being explained as the result of a populist backlash against business-as-usual in Washington, D.C. and against a Democratic Party which failed to inspire confidence among white middle class voters. Such voters felt that the Democrats were closer to Wall Street than to Main Street; were more concerned about immigrants than poor white folks; and were more interested in diversity than in traditional religious orthodoxy. Opposition to abortion, gay marriage, transgender rights continues among millions of Americans. Hillary called such people “deplorables” and it’s no wonder they voted against her.

Blue collar whites trusted Trump more than Hillary to win back their jobs. If Trump doesn’t deliver, because of GOP devotion to their corporate benefactors, will the voters turn against Trump and the GOP? Or will the GOP figure out a way to lay the blame on Democrats or someone else? Given the experience with recent Democratic administrations, the latter outcome seems more likely. (See Obama and other reasons for the election debacle.)

Aside from economic and cultural explanations for Trump’s victory, there’s another explanation that should be obvious but that I feel needs emphasis.

The Republican Noise Machine is well-organized, well-funded, and very persuasive. Fox News, Breitbart News, AM talk radio, and a vast array of think tanks and websites relentlessly repeat GOP talking points that reinforce a world view that’s at odds with the world of progressives. Conservatives live in what seems like an alternate reality in which global climate change is a myth, deregulation of Wall Street is good for the economy, and tax cuts for rich people help the middle class.

As Emily Nussbaum says in the New Yorker, speaking of Fox News, “you need to immerse yourself entirely to grok the breadth of its world-building paranoias and mythologies.”

Tens of millions of Americans, and not just uneducated people, buy into that worldview.

The partisan divide is so extreme to propose a quantum multi-verse explanation for the phenomenon, given the vast gulf in facts acknowledged between the two worldviews.

Along with the ability to create alternate realities, with different facts and values, the GOP is brilliant at character assassination and dirty tricks. “Lock her up!” “Crooked Hillary”.

Specifically, for purposes of this article, they live in an alternate reality in which Hillary’s negatives trump Trump’s negatives.

To a large extent, the email scandal was Hillary’s swift-boating: the GOP was able to exaggerate the significance of the scandal.

The Republican Noise Machine was successful at rousing its base and rousing hatred for Hillary, whereas many Democrats and left-leaning independents stayed home or voted third party, refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils. The GOP base seems more willing to vote for imperfect candidates. The Democratic base is more purist.

Just how many people voted third party? According to a USA TODAY/Rock The Vote/Ipsos poll conducted Oct. 24-27. “Among those aged 18-34 who supported the Vermont senator in the primary, 64% said they’d vote for Clinton, while 10% were for Trump, 8% were for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and 8% backed Green Party candidate Jill Stein.” However, it’s unclear how many of these people were Democrats and would have voted for Hillary had Sanders not run.

Unlike the case in 2000, when Nader drew votes away from Al Gore, in 2016 the reason why some Berniecrats rejected Hillary are clear: Hillary’s hawkishness, her ties to Wall Street, the mistreatment of Sanders by the DNC, and the clear flip-flopping on issues such as TPP.

We Told You So!

We Berniecrats warned people, during the primary, that Hillary was vulnerable, that Bernie would more easily beat Trump.

Indeed, Bernie warned the Democrats on August 28, 2015:

Let me be very clear. In my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum and which produces a huge voter turnout.

With all due respect, and I do not mean to insult anyone here, that will not happen with politics as usual. The same old, same old will not be successful.

The people of our country understand that — given the collapse of the American middle class and the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality we are experiencing — we do not need more establishment politics or establishment economics.

We need a political movement which is prepared to take on the billionaire class and create a government which represents all Americans, and not just corporate America and wealthy campaign donors.

In other words, we need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of it.

Is this an opportunity to replace corporate Dems? Or is this a victory of conservative, corporate ideology? Though Hillary and the corporate Dems lost, it’s hard to see this as a victory for progressive values, given the Republican gains.

Possibly the loss is best blamed on hatred of Hillary, fueled by the powerful right wing media, and on populist revolt against the establishment, especially among rural white folk, many poor and poorly educated.

One problem with revitalizing the Democratic Party is that most Congressional progressives, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, sold out to Hillary and went down with her sinking ship.

I often think that Elizabeth Warren should have run. She’ll be 71 in 2020, possibly too old. She is almost as progressive as Sanders; but, unlike him, she doesn’t call herself a socialist. She wasn’t hated, the way Hillary was hated. Yet Warren may have destroyed her credibility by refusing to back Sanders and by hitching her star to Hillary’s.

Looking for a silver lining …. will Trump follow through on his pacifist rhetoric? While he’s spoken against the Iraq War and other foreign entanglements, he’s also pledged bring back water-boarding and beef up the military. Presumably, Trump will avoid war with Putin. Maybe this is a silver lining. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Rob Kall (editor of OpEdNews and my friend) blames the DNC, the HillaryBots, CNN, MSNBC, and even Elizabeth Warren for supporting a corrupt, hated candidate.

Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, has this excellent commentary:

In the end, Hillary Clinton became the face of a corrupt, arrogant and out-of-touch Establishment, while Donald Trump emerged as an almost perfectly imperfect vessel for a populist fury that had bubbled beneath the surface of America.

There is clearly much to fear from a Trump presidency, especially coupled with continued Republican control of Congress. Trump and many Republicans have denied the reality of climate change; they favor more tax cuts for the rich; they want to deregulate Wall Street and other powerful industries — all policies that helped create the current mess that the United States and much of the world are now in.

Further, Trump’s personality is problematic to say the least. He lacks the knowledge and the temperament that one would like to see in a President — or even in a much less powerful public official. He appealed to racism, misogyny, white supremacy, bigotry toward immigrants and prejudice toward Muslims. He favors torture and wants a giant wall built across America’s southern border.

But American voters chose him in part because they felt they needed a blunt instrument to smash the Establishment that has ruled and mis-ruled America for at least the past several decades. It is an Establishment that not only has grabbed for itself almost all the new wealth that the country has produced but has casually sent the U.S. military into wars of choice, as if the lives of working-class soldiers are of little value.

On foreign policy, the Establishment had turned decision-making over to the neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks, a collection of haughty elitists who often subordinated American interests to those of Israel and Saudi Arabia, for political or financial advantage.

With blinders firmly in place, the Democrats yoked themselves to Clinton’s gilded carriage and tried to pull it all the way to the White House. But they ignored the fact that many Americans came to see Clinton as the personification of all that is wrong about the insular and corrupt world of Official Washington. And that has given us President-elect Trump.

Canadian Border Patrol guarding against illegal American immigrants

Will Wikileaks help the Republicans and the military-industrial complex?

It will be ironic if Wikileaks — which was supposed to expose and undercut the power of the military-industrial complex — helps Republicans win the 2016 election.

The revelations about the DNC, about Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, and about private emails may flip the election to Trump. At the very least, the revelations will harm down-ticket Democrats and progressives.

There are plenty of embarrassing stories about Trump and Republicans, and about corruption in the military-industrial complex. But rather than using the Wikileaks revelations to undermine Republican interest and the military, the Obama administration went after Wikileaks and its members.   The Republicans, on the other hand, are successfully using the Wikileaks emails to make Clinton and the DNC appear corrupt.

In general, Republicans are better at exploiting and spinning the news. Partly this is because too many Democrats partake of the corruption and hawkishness. Partly it’s because Republicans have fewer qualms about twisting the truth. Mostly it’s because the GOP has a powerful right wing media to broadcast their talking points.

The only reason Trump has a chance of winning — and the only reason why so many people are attracted to Republican ideology — is the prevalence of right wing media: Fox News, AM talk radio, and Internet trolls. On AM radio the conservative slant is relentless and well-orchestrated.  They manufacture an alternate reality in which Sadaam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, Obama is a Muslim from Kenya, global climate change is a hoax, and Hillary more corrupt than Bush or Trump.  The hatred of Hillary is deep and visceral.

The Republican Noise Machine molds public opinion and has succeeded in elevating the Clinton email issue to an election-deciding scandal. The fact that George W. Bush had a private email server with much more serious repercussions is ignored. As reported in Newsweek’s article The George W. Bush White House ‘Lost’ 22 Million Emails:

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails.

Why can’t Democrats exploit such stories to undercut Republicans? Trump should be 20 points behind in this election.

As Bernie Sanders said, the American public is fed up with hearing about Clinton’s “damn emails.”  The emails should be a footnote issue. Instead, Republicans have largely succeeded at elevating it to an election-deciding issue that supposedly illustrates Clinton’s criminality and unreliability.

Trump will be elected?

Huffington Post published an article by Michael Rosenblun: Donald Trump Is Going To Be Elected. See also Trump shatters GOP records with small donors.

The American people will be losers no matter who wins the POTUS election . The problem, and therefore the solution, lies in the perceived understanding and emotions of those same American people. Transforming them is not an easy task. My advice, work for and support legislative and congressional candidates who have progressive values. Locally, we have Joe Pakootas: http://www.pakootasforcongress.com/

If there is hope for Clinton, it is to create a reverse coattail effect. Pushing harder on POTUS and statewide races will not help district candidates much.

At the national and state level, the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign aren’t even in the right ballpark. They are in denial or ignorance about the actual state of the American economy and have adopted so many aspects of the GOP’s voodoo economics they have sheathed their best weapon. For example, it is hard to provide hope of achieving anything on climate change, and thus make it an effective issue, if you limit yourself to neoliberal responses.

Not that the Greens or Libertarians are doing any better. Stein is running against the Dem Party, which will make some folks feel good but is not a path to winning or growing the Greens to major status. Johnson is being fundamentally dishonest in saying he agrees substantially with Bernie. Neither is a solution.

George Lakoff has a longer piece that offers good advice. Yet, as he says himself, “More than half a million people have read my books, and Google Scholar reports that scholars writing in scholarly journals have cited my works well over 100,000 times. Yet you will probably not read what I have to say in the NY Times, nor hear it from your favorite political commentators. You will also not hear it from Democratic candidates or party strategists.”   https://georgelakoff.com/2016/07/23/understanding-trump-2/

We could have just nominated Bernie. Lakoff doesn’t mention him, but he was pretty much following Lakoff’s script for progressive victory, while Clinton’s campaign is hardwired in the other direction.

• Go positive with YOUR vision (“we have to be realistic” is not a vision, saying “Trump’s vision is evil” simply spreads and reinforces it),
• Focus on VALUES (neither neo-liberalism nor liberal interventionism is a progressive value set),
• Stay out of shouting matches and name calling (above all, avoid calling the voters names, “basket of deplorables” indeed).
• Prioritize human freedom issues over identity issues (Her identity as a woman is played as a major asset by her campaign).