Yes, Trump is a disgusting monster, unfit for public office. And, yes, almost every self-promoting utterance out of his mouth is a lie. But there are kernels of truth in much of his bullshit. This weekend the establishment media outlets (and Democratic Party) are OD-ing on smelling salts because Trump is undermining American democracy by calling the system rigged. He says the system wanted to see Hillary Clinton in the White House. He doesn't say, the media started the process by making sure the GOP would nominate the most flawed candidate imaginable. (Friday, CNN president– and Trump associate– Jeff Zucker admitted he made a mistake by airing so many Trump rallies during the primary season.) How did that help Hillary? In a contest that was bound to be a lesser-of-two-evils election, could she have beaten a more standard, garden variety Republican like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, even Kasich or Walker?
Saturday the Washington Post and the Boston Globe both featured the idea that Trump is undermining democracy with all his talk about rigged elections.
Anger and hostility were the most overwhelming sentiments at a Trump rally in Cincinnati last week, a deep sense of frustration, an us-versus-them mentality, and a belief that they are part of an unstoppable and underestimated movement. Unlike many in the country, however, these hard-core Trump followers do not believe the real estate mogul’s misfortunes are of his own making.
They believe what Trump has told them over and over, that this election is rigged, and if he loses, it will be because of a massive conspiracy to take him down.
At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Trump is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.
His supporters here said they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried that Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.
And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.
“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take… I would do whatever I can for my country.”
He then placed a Trump mask on his face and posed for pictures.
Trump’s campaign has taken a sharp turn toward such dark warnings in recent days. He says he is a victim of conspiracies, portrays himself as a martyr to the cause of the right wing, and is stoking anger in advance of what may be a defeat on Nov. 8.
His campaign has been stamped with improbability ever since he announced his candidacy in June 2015. He captured the nomination with rhetoric appealing to the angriest voters in the conservative base.
…Mainstream Republicans are watching these developments at the top of the ticket with a growing sense of alarm, calling Trump’s latest conspiracy theories of a rigged election irresponsible and dangerous. They also say the impact of voter fraud or errors on the outcome of elections is vastly overblown.
“Debbie.Wasserman.Schultz.” She did work to rig the primaries against Bernie and for Hillary and they had no choice but to fire her as head of the DNC. But then what happened? Obama, Biden, Hillary and dozens of other career political hacks from the dominant Democratic Political Hack Wing of the party campaigned for her reelection and, with corporate money gushing into her south Florida primary– she and her allies spent $1,504,256 in the primary– managed to narrowly beat progressive anti-corruption reformer Tim Canova.
When Wasserman Schultz was fired as the chair of the DCCC's Red to Blue program, she quickly wormed her way back into power– greased by corporate cash to powerful, money-hungry Democratic leaders– and wound up as head of the DNC. Now she's aiming to get back on the Speaker-track. Members of Congress have told me the only thing standing in her way is the ambitions of a member possibly even more corrupt and slimy than she is, Queens County machine boss, Joe Crowley, former New Dem head and today one of Wall Street's most devoted congressional servants.
It was like Rahm being serially discredited for years and year, then getting booted Washington and immediately washing up in Chicago… as mayor. I know the term “both parties” is completely unfashionable, but both parties are riven with corruption, top to bottom. And I know Michelle Obama made a wonderful speech the other day in New Hampshire, but her husband is a corrupt hack politician barely better than Mitch McConnell– and we're all the poorer for it.
This is a tweet from early yesterday morning by the utterly deplorable and mentally unbalanced elected sheriff of Milwaukee County, an extremely dangerous sociopath who is likely to be in the history books one day– for all the wrong reasons. And yes, of course, this very, very sick and deranged man is a Trumpist fanatic.
Yesterday Cory Doctorow– writing at BoingBoing!– explained how the pathogens of Wells Fargo's corruption fester in every large corporation. Don't think for a moment that that doesn't define our rigged political system, even in a way far more complex than anything a Trump fan could ever grasp, even if they do grasp and feel righteously angered by the kernel.
Despite the denials of its new CEO, Wells Fargo had a serious, widespread cultural problem that led it to commit at least 2,000,000 financial crimes. But the crimes and the culture are widespread across America's banks, and they spread further than that, because the system is rigged to reward financial crime.
To understand the systemic enticements to fraud in corporate America, you have to understand how execs can make unimaginable– and largely secret– rewards, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, by rigging the market, without any real risk of punishment, even when they get caught.
The Institute for New Economic Thinking's Lynn Parramore identifies three sources of moral hazard that virtually guarantee fraud across the system: first, stock buy-backs, illegal until Reagan's 1982 reforms, make execs and shareholders rich while starving their companies, by manipulating the stock prices. That's why 449 companies out of the S&P 500 spend more than half of their earnings on stock buy-backs.
Second, the pressure to boost quarterly earnings is immense. Major shareholders– especially hedge funds– don't care about the business's long-term survival, just the quarterly numbers, and they structure executive compensation to reward self-destructive behavior. For example, execs get rich by selling all their business's premises, declaring a dividend, and then renting those properties back from their new owners, virtually guaranteeing financial pain in the future.
Finally, executive pay is bizarre, opaque and nearly impossible to calculate. The standard for estimating how much an exec takes home is “estimated fair value” for stock options and awards. But there's another metric: “actual realized gains,” which reflects “how much stock-based pay is worth at the time executives actually cash in.” When you calculate disgraced former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf's take-home pay using the second metric, it jumps by 145%.
We have a Congress defining bribery in such a way as to leave out their own behavior of taking corporate money– “contributions” or “donations”– from the very companies and industries they are supposed to be overseeing and preventing from ripping off consumers. (And, is there anyone who has bribed more openly about that than Trump himself, who paid off Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to throw out the Trump University case?) Rigged? Fixed? Corrupt? You bet your life– from top to bottom. Do what you have to do to save the country from the existential threat of Trump and Trumpism– including putting on one of these if you live in a swing state like Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, or Utah– but don't kid yourself boy who the is the avatar of the status quo you're backing.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis