Trumpster Diving

* So, Trump rolls out his (OK, Jared’s) “big, beautiful (immigration) plan” in a Rose Garden address. Yes, beefing up border security was prioritized, as was a much more merit-based immigration system. But, no, there was no mention of the DACA-immigrants status, nor did it reference what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living shadowy American lives.

But he did express hope in his speech that Democrats would join him in “putting politics aside” and passing “historic reforms.” Alas, the same speech had earlier referenced Dems as the party of “open borders, lower wages and, frankly, lawless chaos.” Nice inclusive touch.

* Some GOPster had to be first, and while this was no Barry Goldwater/Richard Nixon-come-to-Jesus moment, it was still worth noting that the first Republican congressman has now (openly) called for President Trump’s impeachment. Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian, actually read the 448-page report and subsequently took exception to Attorney General William Barr for having “deliberately misrepresented” the findings. “Contrary to Barr’s portrayal,” stated Amash, “Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”

But Amash is well known as a (rare) GOP outlier when it comes to publicly criticizing Trump. The president has already called him a “loser” and a “lightweight.” So, how about more prominent Republicans, who are known to be critical, if not belittling, of Trump in private? That means you, Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell & Co. That means taking one for your country before it’s too late. And too late could happen before we get to early November, 2020.

* I was among those political junkies who tuned in to MSNBC’s recent, well-hyped “Hardball” show on location from Northeast Pennsylvania that featured a “Deciders” theme. As in, those voters who, having voted for Barack Obama twice, then went for Donald Trump last time. The site was near Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, now widely, if not notoriously or inexplicably, known for having boldly switched from Obama to Trump. It helped Trump upend projections by turning the Keystone state red. It had a town hall kind of vibe, as it provided a forum for local officials, union workers, business owners, everyday voters–and one notable ringer, DNC Chairman Tom Perez.

But I’m still waiting to understand why any Obama voter would vote for Trump. To go from the first African American president to the one who played the racist birther card against him. To go from classy to classless. To go from evolving to devolving.

I’ve heard the rationales. Often. Those who felt forgotten and wanted economic security. Those who preferred a “businessman” to another politician-in-chief. Those who needed a rationale for life not turning out better. Those who feared the undocumented in their midst. Those who wanted a more economically assertive America. Those who were tired of sending in the marines to problematic parts of the world.

In the abstract, they are all eminently understandable. My roots–along with Chris Mathews’–are not far from Wilkes-Barre: Philadelphia. Blue collars don’t get much bluer than a bus-driver family of seven living in an Archie Bunker row house in Northeast Philly. I get the populist pitch and appeal.

Here’s the part I don’t get. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, wherever you are occupationally and economically, wherever you are on American “greatness,” you still have to do some due diligence and use your brain more than your gut. Especially on a game-changing, world-altering presidential election. And if you like the current, positive economic numbers and attribute it all to Trump, the bankruptcy avatar, then remember that a GNP boost has come at the cost of an exploding deficit, unsettling trade war scenarios, environmental degradation, reduced protections for workers and consumers and a flippant, anti-constitutional attitude. 

Were you more impressed with “The Apprentice” star widely known as an unethical, un-read, mercurial, narcissistic, pathologically lying sexist than the flawed candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who was at least well qualified to be president? Did it not make any difference that any vote that would enable a Trump presidency was a vote for an existential threat–nationally and globally? Did it not make any difference that you were voting to install an embarrassing charlatan in the White (Nationalist) House? This wasn’t Clinton vs. Kasich or Clinton vs. Romney or Clinton vs. Huntsman. This was closer to Clinton vs. Kid Rock. What the hell were you thinking? Please don’t do any more deciding, unless it’s to decide to make electoral amends.

*New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has given the upcoming presidential campaign something other than anti-de Blasio punch lines. His contribution–another Trump nickname: “Con Don.”

* It’s been well chronicled how Trump has evolved–or pragmatically pivoted–on certain issues since he became a serious presidential candidate. But there is certainly one notable constant: He’s always been pro-strife.

* Trump is driven by narcissistic drama, including the rhetoric of war and immigrant invasion, points out Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio. “It’s a game of revving up the excitement and making people afraid,” says D’Antonio, “and then backing off on the fear in order to declare that he’s resolved the situation.”

* “This season on SNL started in 2018, but it looks like it’s going to end somewhere back in the 1970s.”–SNL “Weekend Update” co-host Colin Jost.

* To those Dems who can’t abide a Joe Biden candidacy primarily because he’s, well, an unfashionably “old white guy,” remember all your hard-core values. If “Caucasian-male-septuagenarian” status is disqualifying, whatever happened to “ageism” as a capital societal sin typically condemned by true-blue progressives?

It’s not a crime against humanity for progressives to wax pragmatic for the ultimate just cause. Just make sure the candidate at the top of the ticket is best suited to take down the menace that is Donald Trump.

* Trump Tower Tampa. Talk about dodged bullets.

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