Orange is the new orange

people aren’t feeling it

He’s guilty, guilty, guilty! Lock him up! Orange is the new orange!

Having gotten that out of my system, why do I still believe that djt, who turns 78 today, will be President on January 20th, 2025, his conviction on 34 counts in a Manhattan courthouse notwithstanding?

It’s not just his Svengali-like pull he has over his MAGA supporters. Or his uncanny ability to try to delegitimize any transaction that doesn’t go his way. Before the 2016 election, he claimed that the system was rigged. (The League of Women Voters believes the system that year WAS rigged in favor of voter suppression.)

Of course, he made the same claim before and after the 2020 vote. Already, his followers feel Biden can’t win in 2024 unless the fix is in. 

But this is de rigeur for djt. Why should the Manhattan trial be any different? He and several conservative news media members and lawmakers “on the right have spread false and misleading claims about the Manhattan case.” It bothers me greatly, as it undermines democracy, but it’s his script.

I’m more appalled by the vast majority of the Republican party that has become his sycophants, On January 7, 2021, most of them derided the attack on the Capitol as an assault on American democracy. Now, too many are, “Well, maybe it wasn’t SO bad.”

Cf. 1974/2024

I compare this with 1974, a mere half-century ago. Richard Nixon had been re-elected with a huge majority only two years earlier. Yet when it became clear that Nixon was deeply involved in Watergate, the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater and many others told RMN that it was time for him to go. The party believed more in the rule of law than they did in holding the presidency.

The Republicans of 2024, with far too few exceptions, have become apologists for a corrupt, vulgar, and potentially fascist presidency to maintain power. It’s disappointing and astonishing, but not surprising how morally bankrupt people like Nikki Haley and William Barr, both of whom served in djt’s Cabinet and have since pointed out the flaws of their former boss are nevertheless going to support him in the general election. 

A Boston Globe opinion piece notes: “The fact that Trump’s running mate decision has morphed into a perverse version of his former reality show — call it ‘The Authoritarian’s Apprentice’ — is cause for alarm. If Trump wins and then becomes unable to serve for some reason (death, incapacitation, incarceration, whatever it may be), the winner of that race will ascend to the highest office in the land. It was bad enough when the criteria to hold such a consequential position was whether or not the candidate hailed from a swing state. Now, the test seems to be who can swing a sledgehammer at democracy as hard as Trump can.”


I was intrigued by Sen. Mitt Romney’s declaration that President Joe Biden should have pardoned djt. “Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, [said] that if he had been President, he would’ve pardoned Trump after a federal grand jury indicted him in connection with attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

“‘You may disagree with this, but had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought on indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him,’ Romney said. ‘Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned a little guy.'”

Likewise, per Newsmax, “former Democrat presidential primary candidate Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., is calling on New York Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul to pardon presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ‘for the good of the country.’

“‘Donald Trump is a serial liar, cheater, and philanderer, a six-time declarer of corporate bankruptcy, an instigator of insurrection, and a convicted felon who thrives on portraying himself as a victim,’ Phillips wrote on X. ‘@GovKathyHochul should pardon him for the good of the country.'”

In a normal universe, I might be inclined to embrace this. In 1974 President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon after he left the White House. If the Senate had convicted djt after his second impeachment, the pardon might be on the table. But they chose not to because he was no longer in office. Like a corroded penny, djt is back. A pardon would only “prove” to djt and his sycophants that the prosecutions were “political.”

My fear

Seven months ago, I thought Biden was vulnerable to defeat. Many people believe the United States is in a recession. It doesn’t matter that we’re not, and most people cannot define one.  

A New York Times article, A ‘Laundry List’ or a ‘Feel’: Biden and Trump’s Clashing Appeals to Black Voters epitomizes the tension, and not just among that demographic. Biden “methodically ticked through more than a dozen accomplishments, executive orders, appointments, investments, and economic statistics.” djt says “African Americans are getting slaughtered.”

“Ashley Etienne, who worked on the 2020 Biden campaign… worried that the Biden campaign had yet to translate how the president’s agenda has actually improved the lives of most Black voters. ‘What is the message beyond a laundry list of accomplishments?’ If people aren’t feeling it in your lives, you can say it all day — it doesn’t penetrate.'”

“‘It’s a feel,’ said Ja’Ron Smith, one of the highest-ranking Black officials in the Trump White House, in explaining the former president’s appeal to Black voters. ‘They know what it’s like to live under a Trump economy rather than a Biden economy.'”

And there are plenty of similar articles. “Because of recency bias — a tendency to focus on recent events instead of past ones — people typically feel their current problems most sharply. And they tend to have a warmer recall of past experiences, which can lead to a sense of nostalgia. Like past presidents, Mr. Trump has enjoyed a higher approval rating of his time in office in retrospect.”

A clip from 1994 of Robert Reich is shown here as part of a larger conversation. djt is not the cause of the upheaval in the country; he is merely exploring it.

The only way Biden wins is if enough people are terrified by despotism. “To stop fascism, unite around the old guy.”

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