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Will Donald Trump be a “Legitimate” President?

Trump And GOP ElephantMuch is being made of the following statement by Representative John Lewis (D-GA):

In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said he does not believe Donald Trump is a “legitimate president,” citing Russian interference in last year’s election.

Asked whether he would try to forge a relationship with the president-elect, Lewis said that he believes in forgiveness, but added, “it’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

When pressed to explain why, he cited allegations of Russian hacks during the campaign that led to the release of internal documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign co-chairman, John Podesta.

“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis told NBC News.

I respectfully (unlike the President-elect and many of his supporters) disagree with this assessment.*

“Legitimacy” as a basic term, is linked to legality and process.  There is no arguing that Trump is the legally elected president.  I want to say I have seen some attempts to distinguish between  the “legal” president and the “legitimate” president.  I am not sure, linguistically or conceptually, what this is supposed to mean.

The bottom line is this:  Trump competed under the rules of the Republican Party to win its nomination.  He then went on to win the requisite votes in the needed states to earn the majority of electors in the electoral college.  Those electors voted in December and those votes were certified in January.  In regards to the partisan, statutory, and constitutional processes related to the selection of the President of United States, Donald J. Trump was appropriately elected. As such, one’s normative views of the man does not make him illegitimate.   For that matter, that some outside actors engaged in propaganda actions to damage his opponent does not delegitimize his election. If the voters, for whatever reasons, were able to make their own choices at the ballot box, this was a legitimate election.

Even is we expand the definition of “legitimacy” to a broader notion of acceptance, the bottom line is that Trump will in no way be rejected as president in any way that matters.  On Friday he will be inaugurated in the same manner as his 44 predecessors.  He will receive all the pomp and circumstance commensurate to the office to which he was elected.  He will sit at the desk of his choosing in the Oval Office.  He will reside in the White House.  ”Hail to the Chief” will be played when he enters a room.  He will make State of the Union addresses.  He will be addressed as “Mr. President,” fly in Air Force One, and cause traffic jams wherever he goes.  Foreign head of state will recognize him as the chief executive of the United States.  All of these are legitimizing in the symbolic (and real) sense of the term.

I realize that different people may wish to define the word “legitimate” differently than I am doing here (although, ultimately, I am not sure how they can–not liking someone does not make them illegitimate).  Still, I am not sure, apart from just trying to find some way to register linguistic opprobrium regarding the President-elect, I am not sure what function calling Trump “illegitimate” performs.

Indeed, I am not so sure that it is isn’t somewhat dangerous (from an institutional health point of view) to cal him “illegitimate” and it certainly is just another way to further contribute to polarization in the country.  I would add to this that if one thinks Trump is a terrible choice for president, it is a better long-term strategy to let him fail on his own terms rather than make it seem like his (inevitable?) failure is because he couldn’t do the job, not because his enemies tore him down. At some point I would note that in labeling Trump as “illegitimate” one is actually attacking our institutions, not Trump himself.**

And really, on on level I feel like we are in a silly, schoolyard-like contest in which many Republicans questioned Obama’s legitimacy (see, e.g., the Birther movement) and so so now a lot of Democrats want to return the favor (especially given Trump’s role in that movement).  I don’t think this is efficacious (and, indeed, is almost certainly counter-productive in the long-run).

A side note on the Russia issue:  I do think that that Russian government tried to influence voter preferences by selectively targeting Clinton.  I think, very much, that the Krelim prefers Trump as president because his presidency is more likely to be conducive to Russia geopolitical goals than would have been the case under a President Clinton.  Speaking dispassionately, the Russians are free to try and influence world affairs as any country does, so while I may not like it, I can understand it.  Still, what truly concerns me is that the PEOTUS seems to not care that a foreign government inserted itself into our campaign process (because it helped him, and he doesn’t want to admit it–not to mention that he loves those who seemingly love him).   Someone who seeks the presidency should be zealous in keeping foreign influence out of our politics, especially when it is clear that the national interest of the interfering party is not the same as the national interest of the United States. However, I think that whole situation underscores that Trump is far more interested in the interests of Trump than he is in the interests of the United States.  That does not make him illegitimate, but it does make him likely a very bad president.

—-

*The need to tear down John Lewis’ civil rights record is unseemly and unnecessary.  And Republicans/conservatives should look in the mirror and wonder why they are frequently considered to be racist given that their knee-jerk reaction when discussing persons involved in the civil rights movement seems to all too often be to denigrate and downplay, if not outright dismiss their contributions to change (as well as to basically minimize conditions in the US at the time and what needed to be done about them).  See the links provided for some examples.

**Now, if that is one’s goal, that is a different matter, as if one truly believes in major reform, one has to attack the existing institutional framework.  I will leave this for another discussion, but it is important to understand that one cannot simultaneously charge Trump with illegitimacy and not at the same time be attacking the institution of the presidency, our electoral system, and any number of other things in the process.  Long-term damage is possible if one is not careful.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    If there comes to be conclusive evidence that Trump and/or his close associates colluded with the Russian government to hack the Democrats’ files and otherwise influence the election—and, no, the public suggestion that they do so, which could easily be seen as mere posturing, doesn’t count—then Lewis would be on firmer ground. Certainly, if there came to be definitive proof that Hillary votes were somehow not counted or fake Trump votes were counted in the three crucial states, the legitimacy of Trump’s Electoral College win would be delegitimated.

    But we have no such evidence. Indeed, my suspicion is that Putin and Company believed Hillary would win the election and they were merely trying to embarrass her and make her a less effective president.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  2. @James Joyner: I concur.

    Certainly hacking actual votes (of which there is no evidence or even legitimate accusations) would utterly change my opinion. Collusion between the Trump campaign and hackers would also change my assessment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Agreed. With all of it. He is legitimate and we have to spend the next four years opposing him as a legitimate President. That means filibusters, over-riding vetos, investigating scandals — just as we would with any other President. And I also agree on Russia: his reluctance to even look into it is the most alarming part of this.

    Of course, this issue would be remiss without mentioning the BEOTUS’s response. I have many disagreements with Lewis (I grew up in Georgia and, for a while, my mom lived in his district). But the man is a legit American hero and you could never accuse him of neglecting his district.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  4. Terrye Cravens says:

    I think it is somewhat subjective. After years of hearing Obama’s citizenship questioned by Donald Trump I am sure there are a lot of people who would like to return the favor and cast doubt on Trump’s legitimacy as President. And thanks to his bizarre relationship with Russia they have something to use against him in that regard. I also think Lewis knew how Trump would react…tweeting insults. So, Lewis was baiting him to some extent. John Lewis knows how to make bullies show their true colors.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 5

  5. Pch101 says:

    Trump should have been rejected by the electoral college for all of the reasons detailed by Alexander Hamilton.

    No, he is not legitimate.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 12

  6. al-Ameda says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    and really, on on level I feel like we are in a silly, schoolyard-like contest in which many Republicans questioned Obama’s legitimacy (see, e.g., the Birther movement) and so so now a lot of Democrats want to return the favor (especially given Trump’s role in that movement). I don’t think this is efficacious (and, indeed, is almost certainly counter-productive in the long-run).

    Is Trump a legitimate president? Technically and in reality, yes. But ….

    I think you have to place legitimacy in the context of a Republican Party refusal to accept as legitimate the last two 2-term Democratic Party presidents. I’m not sure that many Democrats – both voters and elected officials – are now in the mood to play along with the old rules of the road regarding legitimacy. Republicans rejected those old rules back on Inauguration Day in 1993.

    I seriously wonder: Is it really counter productive for Democrats to ‘return the favor’? Well, (1) insofar as we’re polarized and seek no political common ground, ‘yes,’ (2) however, it has to be acknowledged that Republicans paid absolutely no price for their recent 8 year run of extreme obstruction of a Democratic president.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 4

  7. Gustopher says:

    I want to say I have seen some attempts to distinguish between the “legal” president and the “legitimate” president. I am not sure, linguistically or conceptually, what this is supposed to mean.

    Segregation, and the rest of Jim Crow, was legal, but was it legitimate? Slavery was legal, but was it legitimate?

    Just picking the most obvious examples to make the distinction, not suggesting that Trump is as bad as slavery.

    He lost the popular vote, he ran a campaign based on dividing America, he won in part due to foreign interference in our elections, and he has not opened up about his connections with that foreign power to the point where it is clear he isn’t compromised. He lacks moral legitimacy.

    Trump could, if he wanted to, be a President FOR all Americans, rather than a President OF all Americans. Trump could, if he wanted to, earn legitimacy through his actions even though his election was lacking legitimacy.

    But, given his behavior and his campaign, there is no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 4

  8. Gustopher says:

    Also, #NotMyPresident.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  9. Gustopher says:

    At some point I would note that in labeling Trump as “illegitimate” one is actually attacking our institutions, not Trump himself.**

    I would note that had Trump respected tradition, and made his tax returns public, we would have a much better idea of whether he is financially compromised. Even Nixon released his tax returns.

    Our institutions are not just codified in law — a large part of it is tradition. But, now that we live in a post-truth era, I’m not even sure we have institutions that are worth defending anymore. Opinions differ.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 5

  10. michael reynolds says:

    The answer is right here:

    Donald Trump is planning to hold a summit with Vladimir Putin within weeks of becoming president — emulating Ronald Reagan’s Cold War deal-making in Reykjavik with Mikhail Gorbachev.

    Trump and his team have told British officials that their first foreign trip will be a meeting with the Russian leader, with the Icelandic capital in pole position to host the superpower talks as it did three decades ago.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  11. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Gustopher:

    He lacks moral legitimacy.

    Nailed it !

    BTW, the headline line reads “Will Trump be …”, suggesting that his “legitimacy” has yet to be established.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  12. michael reynolds says:

    The vote of the people legitimates. He did not win the vote.

    A fair process legitimates. This process was corrupted.

    The law legitimates.

    Give hime one out of three. Not enough. He is legally elected; he is not legitimate.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 8

  13. MBunge says:

    Several points.

    1. I realize this myth has probably already been embraced too tightly for people to give it up but we don’t actually have any…you know…evidence that the Wikileaks stories had any effect on the election. I’m pretty sure that none of you thought it was having an effect before the election. Looking at how Trump actually won, I don’t think you can even make a rational argument supporting the view. Iowa voted for Obama twice but then flipped to Trump because of Wikileaks? Michigan and Pennsylvania went Republican for the first time in a couple decades because of Wikileaks?

    2. No one should deny Congressman Lewis’ legacy and heroism, but this is the same guy who publicly crapped on Bernie Sanders’ entirely valid, though comparatively miniscule, role in the Civil Rights Movement for no other reason than Lewis’ petty personal affiliation with Hillary Clinton. As great men age, they often need someone around to protect them from their own failing judgment. Congressman Lewis appears to have reached that point.

    3. Do people not understand that Trump is not an ideological conservative and that the Republicans running the House and Senate are, in many aspects of policy, worse than Trump? That, for example, the only thing that ultimately prevents the privatization of Social Security could be Trump’s veto pen? If Trump is as stupid as you say, doesn’t that make you even stupider if you go out of your way to anger and alienate him instead of trying to manipulate him into doing what you want?

    4. As big a problem as President Trump may be, he’s not the biggest problem facing us. The more serious issue seems to be the crisis of confidence afflicting so many in reaction to Trump. Much like that middle aged guy who gets himself a sports car and a 20something girlfriend, these folks are desperate to deny they were wrong and obsessed with asserting the authority they think they should still have. A lot of middle aged men ruin their lives and the lives of their families because they can’t handle their crisis. It’s shaping up to be just as ugly for the country as a whole.

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 32

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    It was razor-thin in the swing states and he lost by 3 million votes. It is ridiculous to claim that this could not have been the deciding factor. Flatly, utterly ridiculous.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 3

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    If there comes to be conclusive evidence that Trump and/or his close associates colluded with the Russian government to hack the Democrats’ files and otherwise influence the election.

    One distinction that needs to be made is there is a big difference between “Russia influenced the election” in the sense that they interfered with the actual voting process to change the tabulated outcome and “Russia influenced the election” in the sense that they said something that caused people to vote for a different candidate than they had otherwise been planning to.

    I’m somewhat disturbed that much of the news coverage seems to be smearing that distinction to suggest that the two are somehow equivalent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  16. gVOR08 says:

    As far as I am aware “legitimate” is not a legal term. Trump is legally President of the United States, end of story. He’s going to get all the levers of power and the nuclear football. (Will you be sleeping well? I’m old enough to have done duck, cover, and kiss your ass goodbye drills.)

    The legitimacy of the election is open to question for at least three reasons: Russian meddling, James Comey, and spectacular conflicts of interest. If these are not fully and impartially investigated, there will be a cloud over every act and decision. And if it is found that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, if Comey was politically motivated, if Trump profits from his foreign policy, then WTF do we do? But isn’t that better than normalizing this situation?

    More depressing is contemplating what the election of Trump says about democracy. It’s bad enough that a chunk of the electorate accepted the CEC’s alternate universe and voted for someone who is obviously unqualified. But if we simply allow a hostile foreign power and a politicized FBI to screw with elections, were dead. And it’s awfully hard to believe there isn’t something a hell of a lot more conspiratorial going on than Putin hating Hillary and Comey being a political naif.

    Republicans spent the last eight years painting the sitting President as illegitimate on the basis of nothing. They held endless investigations of nothing for blatantly political reasons. John Lewis may be overstating to call Trump illegitimate, but if he can help the Dems learn to fight a little dirty, more power to him.

    Long-term damage is possible if one is not careful.

    Long term damage has already occurred, and will get a lot worse if we continue to allow one side to get away with what they’ve done and insist the other side be pure as the driven snow.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 3

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    we don’t actually have any…you know…evidence that the Wikileaks stories had any effect on the election.

    “Any effect” is clearly an overstatement, of course it had some effect. And there is good evidence that Comey did affect the election by 2 or 3 points, the difference between a loss and what counts as a landslide these days. Lewis cited the Russians, but that’s not the only issue, is it?

    Otherwise your argument is that we should ignore the illegitimate aspects of this election because Mike Pence might be worse than Trump?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  18. Franklin says:

    I agree with Steven and James. Any appeal to the popular vote is a comment on the rules of the game. By the current rules, Trump won.

    Also, I don’t actually want Trump to fail. Because that could be dangerous to the rest of us in many ways. There was a sliver of hope that he would transition to being somewhat presidential after the campaign was over, but that hope is gone. Not exactly sure what else to hope for at the moment …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  19. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    Iowa voted for Obama twice but then flipped to Trump because of Wikileaks?

    I’ve heard plenty of cockamamie theories about this election, but this is the first time I’ve heard anyone suggest Iowa had something to do with the outcome.

    Iowa wasn’t the state that determined the president, since Hillary could have won without it. The three closest states Trump won were Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, decided by fewer than 80,000 votes. Had she won those states, she’d have won the election, with or without Iowa. Very little needed to happen to make this occur. A 1% increase in Democrats as a share of the electorate in those three states would have done it. As would a 1% decrease in Republicans. That wouldn’t have been anywhere near what Obama got four years ago, but it would have made all the difference between winning and losing.

    One of the most common fallacies in post-election analysis is thinking there’s a single grand theory to explain the results. Close elections never work that way. There are always going to be numerous tiny, marginal things that all by themselves could have changed the outcome. If you want to argue the election shouldn’t have been this close to begin with, fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that matters which you consider trivial could easily have affected the results, simply because only a minuscule amount of people needed to be affected for that to happen.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  20. Paul Hooson says:

    He’s likely a one term president who goes down in the history books as winning due to a number of strange quirks as well as meddling by both Russia and the FBI Director, and fails because of inexperience, lack of intelligence and wisdom, and personality disorders and poor judgment. By comparison, he greatly elevates any shortcomings of George W. Bush as being the far more wise as well as a much more decent man than himself. I find little to admire about Donald Trump with his politics based on prejudices, weird conspiracy theories, and his mistaken belief that rudeness and dirt ignorance is somehow a political ideology.

    If anything, our country needs prayer right now to get through the next four years without some serious international problems that easily could have been avoided with nearly any other president in office but this man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    As big a problem as President Trump may be, he’s not the biggest problem facing us. The more serious issue seems to be the crisis of confidence afflicting so many in reaction to Trump.

    So, even though Trump is showing himself, in these pre-inaugural days, to be the impulsive narcissist greaseball many thought he would be, the bigger problem is that we are not coming together to support our new unthoughtful brash impulsive fact-averse narcissist minority president-elect?

    Fantastic. I love this country.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  22. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge:

    Do people not understand that Trump is not an ideological conservative and that the Republicans running the House and Senate are, in many aspects of policy, worse than Trump? That, for example, the only thing that ultimately prevents the privatization of Social Security could be Trump’s veto pen?

    Given the people he has chosen to surround himself with, why do you think he would veto a bill privatizing social security?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 1

  23. C. Clavin says:

    If you want to attack the linguistic accuracy of illegitimate…have at it.
    Maybe there is a better word. If there is one that captures the seriousness of this situation, I don’t know it and I consider myself a logophile.
    The fact is that Trump spent 5 years doing everything he could to deligitimize Obama; see, Birtherism.
    In that sense of the word Trump is far from legitimate.
    Legally President? Yes.
    But he was elected by Jim Comey and Russia…not the American people.
    He doesn’t represent the best interests of the American people.
    He does not seem interested in representing all American people.
    I refuse to see a man who chooses Russia over our Intelligence Community, flawed as that community may be, as legitimate.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  24. wr says:

    @MBunge: Shorter MBunge: There is nothing that Trump can do that I will not rationalize away while continuing to claim I don’t support him.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  25. Rick DeMent says:

    So why is it that after 8 years of doing everything they could to delegitimize the president, it’s up to the Democrats to put all that aside and be the bigger person? Clearly that strategy, as disruptive and destructive as it is, worked for the GOP. They paid no political price, they not only haven’t been forced to moderate, they are, arguably, even more radical then they were before.

    If this is what they want government to be then I don’t see why the Democrats sould unilaterally disarm. I do understand that this knocking down of our institutions is a dangerous game and that is the one thing that has me profoundly worried. But it seems to me the only alternative is to allow the Republicans to simply have their way and do nothing.

    These case for “unity” and “coming together” has all the trappings of a hostage situation. Every time I hear about how would should “give Trump chance”, I hear an inexplicable message that says, “nice country you have here, it would be a shame to burn it down”.

    The bigger problem to me is the lengths the Republicans are willing to go to in order to stay in power. Simply having a debate of competing ideas is useless becase they know people will reject it, so they use obfuscation and misdirection and then we all wake up and it’s too late.

    They have spent more time so far trying to gut ethics rules and parliamentary gymnastics in order to gut a law that they do not now, and never will have an acceptable replacement. On a happy note they have compleatly recovered from their visceral distaste of throat cramming.

    Any neutral observer would have no choice but to conclude that these people are only there to support those who have paid their price and they have no interest in the hard work of broad consensus in the framework of the compromise government we have developed since the founding.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  26. Terrye Cravens says:

    I think both the Comey letter and Russia effected the outcome. I also think that lingering hurt feelings about the Democratic primary hurt Hillary Clinton. Of course that was the point of the Russia leaks….piss off those already pissed off Bernie people and they will sit it out and let Trump win.

    Republicans have now caught the bus. They will be stuck with Trump and they have no control over him. He has no respect for the law, the rules or the Constitution.

    I have no intention of learning how to like the guy, he is not my President. He is “the” President. Not the same thing at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  27. @Rick DeMent: I am not arguing “give Trump a chance”–that is not the point at at. I am questioning this particular line of attack. I am not saying learn to like the guy. This is not a call for unity.

    If every 4 to 8 years the party out of power spends that time saying how the other side is illegitimate, the ultimate damage is done to institutions, not parties of politicians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  28. Keeping in mind that I am largely in agreement over the disastrous possibilities that are contained in a Trump presidency, I would ask: what does it mean to all of you that he is “not legitimate” –I see a lot of assertions that he is not legitimate, but I see very little as to what that is actually supposed to mean apart from, as I said in the post, a way to signal unhappiness.

    Further, it isn’t as if this is the only way (or an especially effective way) to criticize him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “Not legitimate” to me means that I owe him no benefit of the doubt, no trust, no loyalty. It’s a statement of what the citizenry owes to this man: nothing but opposition. He is not the legitimate president by standards I recognize, he has legal but no moral authority, so he is at very best to be reluctantly tolerated, and should the opportunity arise, he should be ejected from office.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3

  30. Rick DeMent says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I understand that and a big part of me agrees.

    It just seems like the Democrats will never be able to get back to being competitive if they cede all the dirty tricks to the opposition. I am faced with a world where all the progress we have made in so many areas, some stretching back to TR, is about evaporate. It seems as if the electorate is now just fine with this civil cold war we seem to be in right now. And if it is a war then I can’t say I would blame anyone for using all the weapons available.

    I have no problem with the idea that Trump won. But the Republicans are going to do a lot of throat cramming with no regard for the fact that the US electorate is pretty evenly divided and they know they will face no electoral consequences becase that have utterly convinced their supporters that everyone in opposition is not legitimate. That is the reality on the ground. They have de-legitimized the entire democratic party in the eyes of any of their supporters to the extent that even some progressives believe it. I don;t way the Democrats to haev to go the way of the Tea party. Primaring good people for lack of “purity”. I just don’t see a way out.

    The GOP seems to be furiously undermining any ability by any orginazation to get answers to legitimate areas of concern. There will not be any investigations into these allegations against Trump unless he outlives his usefulness to the GOP. In fact I have a good idea that Hillary Clinton will be the target of more investigative scrutiny then Trumps relationship with Russia or any of the conflicts of interest that his business dealings will create.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  31. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I was not actually referring to anything you said. I know that is not what you are saying at all, but other people are telling us we have to learn and like Trump, or give him a chance or something like that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I realize that you aren’t a fan of using the Federalist to interpret the Constitution (unlike Scalia who used it when it was convenient and revised it shamelessly to suit his whims when it wasn’t so convenient. But I digress…)

    Nonetheless, it’s pretty clear from Federalist 68 that the president is supposed to be pretty good, not just a byproduct of electoral votes that are mindlessly rubberstamped by the electoral college:

    Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils

    …The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.

    Is there any doubt that both of those objectives have been badly compromised?

    No, Trump is not legitimate. If there is a poster child for one who has talents for low intrigue, it’s him. His acquiescence to Putin makes it that much worse; one of the purposes of the electoral college was to protect the country from foreign powers that oppose our interests, and that clearly is a problem here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  33. C. Clavin says:

    This is an extremely difficult situation that our Republic finds itself in.
    Russia’s strategy is to undermine our democracy and our values and principals.
    Trump is really just a tactic.
    Unfortunately Trump is choosing to be a useful idiot for Putin.
    If Trump wants to be seen as legitimate then I think he needs to embrace the facts and act to earn legitimacy…not thumb his nose at the opposition and say “fwck you, I won”.
    That would take a yyuuuge measure of humility…which he does not possess in any measure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  34. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If every 4 to 8 years the party out of power spends that time saying how the other side is illegitimate, the ultimate damage is done to institutions, not parties of politicians.

    So why are Democrats getting this lecture and not Republicans? During the Bush years the air was filled with “You hate America! , “Then get out!” and “You support the terrorists!” Siding against the President was seen as traitorous and those evil libs needed to GTFO NOW. Come the Obama years, those same conservatives did *not* leave as they said objectors should but spent 8 years flipflopping and acting like opposing the President is a god-given liberty. Now that they are back in power, chants of “We won, get over it” and “Get out!” fill the air again. That’s 16 years of damaging institution with zero indication they’ll stop but the second libs considered doing the same, they need to re-consider for the institution? Liberals, by and large, did not engage in this kind of juvenile behavior so they’re the one who need monitoring?

    This sounds remarkably like an abusive relationship where one partner rages, breaks things, is horribly verbally abusive and everyone goes “Eh, that’s John. He’s an ass but what are you going to do?”. When Mary calls him a son of a bitch in public after she can’t take his taunting anymore, she gets scolded for not being ladylike and respecting the institution of marriage. Mary is expected to conform while John gets to ruin her life with his asshattery because he “won”. God forbid she consider a divorce or force any kind of therapy on the the troublemaker – no, she be the adult and work to keep her marriage afloat. Estrangement is the best that could be hoped for under these circumstances when only one group has any interest or encouragement to keep the institution alive and well.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  35. Pch101 says:

    @KM:

    The abusive boyfriend is an ideal metaphor for today’s GOP.

    They complain endlessly in order to gain leverage, not because their complaints are legitimate. There will always be a problem to whine about and a hair that is out of place because attacking flaws (whether real or imagined) help the manipulator to manipulate and to achieve dominance.

    The abuser then bristles whenever the victim attempts to turn the tables by using those very same tactics against him. The manipulator is ultimately a hypocrite who never takes responsibility for his own failures because blame is to be used as a weapon.

    Liberals are idiots if they put up with that crap. Bullies worry only about those who can bully them back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  36. Andy says:

    Excellent post, I think your analysis is entirely correct.

    Our all-oppositional-all-the-time politics doesn’t really allow for it, but I think a more effective anti-Trump strategy is to give him some rope to hang himself. If he will actually be as bad as his most vociferous opponents believe, then he needs to be allowed some space in order fail on his own accord and then own the results of that failure. Pure and consistent opposition would allow him to shift political responsibility onto Democrats, similar to what GoP opposition did under President Obama. Oppose his policies, sure, but be strategic in picking battles and make sure he owns any failure.

    The second problem with the legitimacy argument is that it will only be effective with people who already don’t like Trump – It’s preaching to the choir for them, but it will buttress Trumps support among this supporters and will have little to no effect for anyone else. What, for example, did the birther nonsense get for Republicans? Or what did the “selected, not elected” argument get for the Democrats with Bush? Nothing of any lasting value. Both were two-term Presidents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    it will only be effective with people who already don’t like Trump

    Then why is his current approval rating actually lower than his vote percentage?

    What, for example, did the birther nonsense get for Republicans?

    President Trump.

    give him some rope to hang himself

    He’s got the rope, he has the power to use it, he will do so, and he needs absolutely no help from us doing it. So, all in all you’re taking a very Vichy position.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  38. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    What, for example, did the birther nonsense get for Republicans?

    Er, it got them a populist 2016 Republican nominee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  39. george says:

    The problem with saying foreign involvement is automatic disqualification is that it makes it even easier to influence an election. Next time you help the person you want to win, and then makes sure that information gets out; automatic illegitimate President as far as the losing side is concerned, even if the help is obviously negligible. The pattern will be set, and will be expanded to ridiculous extents.

    There is no advantage that one side takes that won’t be taken, often in a more outrageous way, by the other side when power shifts. All the criticism of Bush by the left (understandable I’d say given the Iraq war) was automatically passed onto Obama by the right. And it wouldn’t have mattered who the Democratic President was, they were always going to be attacked as revenge for the attacks on Bush. Obama being black added to it, but it was going to be there for any Democratic winner.

    Its similar to what happened when America boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of Afghanistan. It automatically meant the Soviets were going to boycott the 1984 LA Olympics, even though they couldn’t point to an ongoing American invasion – they simply made up their own reasons for payback. Same thing will happen with legitimacy.

    Trump won by the rules, and unless some direct involvement is shown, that makes him legitimate. The response has to be to make sure there’s a huge Democratic turnout in the midturns, and in 2020 (assuming Trump makes it that far without being impeached by the GOP senators, who I suspect dislike him even more than the Dems, and for the same reason that intra-religious fights are always worse than fights between religions).

    And I still predict he’ll resign before finishing his term, and for the obvious reason – its a very stressful, hard job, and he’s going to be bored with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Legal does not equal legitimate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  41. Pch101 says:

    @george:

    Not only did Trump actively encourage Russian interference, but he offered a quid pro quo via his willingness to drop sanctions.

    How much more obvious does it need to be?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Agreed. I’m not going to quibble about his legitimacy. Legally the man will be president in a few days, so legally he’s legitimate.

    What I’m focused on, and what needs to be made the subject of constant and unrelenting attention, is his unsuitability for the office.

    He may have been elected president, but he is woefully unqualified to serve.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  43. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s not a Vichy position – it’s about effective strategy. Do you want opposition to Trump to be effective or not? If your main line of attack is going to be that he is not a legitimate President then your strategy will not be effective based on historical experience.

    Trump has a ton of failings and political weaknesses that are easily exploited and IMO it would be counterproductive to focus efforts on claims that his Presidency is illegitimate. You bring up his cratering poll numbers – that’s the result of his own actions, not any dubious claims coming from the progressive camp that he’s not the legitimate President Elect.

    Said another way, convincing the majority in this country that he is a bad President is a much easier hill to climb that trying to convince them he’s not the legitimate President. The “bad President” line of attack also doesn’t come with the potential long-term institutional collateral damage that Steven discusses in the body of his post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  44. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    The Republicans control the entire federal government, yet you’re arguing in earnest that their tactics aren’t effective? Seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  45. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    “Woefully unqualified to serve”: Yes, yes, and triple yes. Intellectually unqualified, temperamentally unqualified, experientially unqualified, ethically unqualified, and psychologically unqualified. But these are all features rather than bus to an ardent Trumpkin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    I’m not concerned about ardent Trumpkins. I’m concerned about using what promises to be an unending stream of errors (forced and otherwise) to motivate everybody else to step up and throw his behind out of the White House. If it helps us pick up seats in 2018 as well, all the better.

    You’re getting ready to have ringside seats for the biggest trainwreck of all time. We’d be fools not to 1) exacerbate that at every opportunity and 2) use it to our advantage.

    There is nothing to be gained in this political reality by acting like frightened cats, cowering in the corner and babbling about fairness. The sooner we grow a pair, and take the fight to the enemy, the sooner we start getting our country back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  47. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @MBunge:

    I’m pretty sure that none of you thought it was having an effect before the election.

    As a volunteer who knocked on doors of reliable (past primary voting history) democrats I can assure you I heard hundreds say : “but her emails showed” and “wikileaks shows just how corrupt the democrats have become” as well as variations on that theme.

    So, no I can’t prove that the Wikileaks-Russian sponsored propaganda war on Clinton was sufficiently effective to throw the election to Trump. Just my small sampling in my county makes it clear to me that the Trump-Wikileaks-Russian campaign cabal had the desired impact.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  48. Moosebreath says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “If every 4 to 8 years the party out of power spends that time saying how the other side is illegitimate, the ultimate damage is done to institutions, not parties of politicians.”

    And if every time one party is out of power, it says the other side is illegitimate (as has happened throughout my adult life), while the other side does not when it is out of power, then there is a lot of damage being done to our two party system as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  49. Mr. Bluster says:

    …our country needs prayer right now…

    Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
    Mother Jones

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  50. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Oh, I have no doubt that we’re about to witness a train wreck of epic proportions. The question is: How long before someone can get to the brakes and hit them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    The usefulness of a strategy or message cannot be assessed without considering the target. What is the target?

    We have the minority vote and are unlikely to lose ground there. We are also unlikely to gain voters there. Republican voter suppression laws, and attacks on immigrants may depress numbers further.

    So where are our votes? In places like Cobb County Georgia where Trump barely won areas Romney had carried handily. Our future voters are suburban white people with a pattern of lukewarm support for Republicans. Suburban whites in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina. Those people will feel the lazy centrist’s obligation to ‘give plenty of rope.’ In so doing, Trump will be unimpeded and will likely do very serious damage.

    By denying legitimacy we legitimize early opposition. We interrupt the process of ‘norming’ this cretin and grab the existing opposition to Trump and give it focus and direction.

    We also weaken Trump directly. A mandate is a powerful thing. Being a good little psychopath he understands this and immediately started lying about a ‘landslide.’ We are taking that back, denying him even the barest shred of a pretense of a mandate. He won’t be Landslide Trump, he’ll be Illegitimate Trump, Glitch Trump. This then informs our Allies around the world to be very cautious in dealing with him as he’s likely to be gone in 4 if not sooner.

    Those suburban white moms and dads love things like stability and competence. Democrats are almost by default the party of stability. That perception is likely to grow, if we can keep our idiot college campus Left from shooting us in the back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  52. @Pch101:

    I realize that you aren’t a fan of using the Federalist to interpret the Constitution (unlike Scalia who used it when it was convenient and revised it shamelessly to suit his whims when it wasn’t so convenient. But I digress…)

    Nonetheless, it’s pretty clear from Federalist 68 that the president is supposed to be pretty good, not just a byproduct of electoral votes that are mindlessly rubberstamped by the electoral college

    Well,

    1) The Federalist Papers were not legal documents, so they have no consequence in that sense.

    2) Even if we want to use them to understand the state of mind of the Framers, the bottom line on what Hamilton wrote about the EC (as I have repeatedly noted): it never worked that way and to argue that now it should start working that way is just silly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Except for those Republicans who defected to the Libertarians, Republicans who bothered to vote stayed loyal to the party. (Many of them were reluctant, but they did not switch parties in above-average numbers.)

    What the Democrats needed was more turnout. In order to bolster turnout, the Dems need to have a compelling message AND to rile up their base. The Democratic base needs to be less frightened and more angry, as angry voters are more likely to turn up than the fearful ones who are inclined to give up.

    Kowtowing to the Republicans will not help because committed Republicans will not switch parties. The Democratic positions on entitlement programs, racial issues and abortion will limit the party’s opportunities for conquest. The Dems have no choice but to increase their own turnout, yet they must also avoid the sort of pro-tax populism (i.e. Bernie Bros) that will cost them with independents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  54. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Scalia cited the Federalist papers as if they were statute. We use the Federalist to know the details of original intent, and we have the case law to prove it. So no, it is wrong to say that they have no legal bearing.

    In any case, you asked why Trump’s presidency is not legitimate, and I’ve explained it. You may not personally think much of the Federalist, but we have a Supreme Court that isn’t so dismissive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  55. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Legal does not equal legitimate.

    So what is the distinction you wish to make?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  56. (And I agree that something legal may not be legitimate–but that one still has to say why the legal think is not legitimate.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  57. @Pch101: I actually think quite a lot of the Federalist, but you cannot argue that all of a sudden, over two centuries later, an institution should start working in a way that it never, ever worked before.

    And I would note that Scalia, as a Justice, could cite whatever he wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  58. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think that’s exactly it. Forget about legitimacy, most people think of that as meaning legality. He’s incredibly unqualified. In fact, that’s what got him most of his vote – he was a FU to first the GOP, and then the Dems. And he was an FU exactly because he was unqualified.

    If they just wanted a racist/sexist/homophobe, they would have run Cruz, who wasn’t nearly the long shot Trump was. Or Rubio. If you want someone like that in power, you go for the one most likely to actually win. Instead they went for an extreme long shot for the GOP candidate, someone so unqualified Clinton’s camp wanted to run against him. His only purpose for 5-10% of voters was to give an FU.

    But that kind of anger wears off (at least if its not regularly stocked by news of extreme PC attitudes) and then that 5-10% will be open to discussing, as Michael Reynolds points out, stability. Or lack thereof. And qualifications comes into that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  59. michael reynolds says:

    @george:

    The problem with saying foreign involvement is automatic disqualification is that it makes it even easier to influence an election.

    Putin’s actions are not the problem, Trump’s are. Had Trump come out of the gate denouncing Putin’s efforts, no harm no foul. That’s not what he did. He openly encouraged Putin to continue committing illegal actions designed to destroy his opponent. On hundreds if not thousands of occasions he deliberately exploited Putin’s agitprop.

    And you’re kidding yourself if you think the GOP Congress will stand up to him. They will not. In fact, they are already busily ensuring that he can use his office to enrich himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  60. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If the Supreme Court is inclined to use the Federalist to explain/justify/(rationalize?) their rulings, then it is simply wrong to say that it has no legal bearing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  61. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    For the vast majority of the American public the legitimacy of Trump’s election is settled – trying to relitigate it is a waste of time, particularly when there is so much other negative stuff about him that can be exploited.

    “Selected, not elected” did not impede Bush, nor did it prevent his reelection. Birtherism did not prevent Obama from getting elected twice. So, the notion that attacking the legitimacy of Trump’s election will somehow damage him is wishful thinking. He is the President and opponents should focus on his actions as President to ensure he’s not reelected. You’re not going to win over those suburban voters by banging on the legitimacy drum for four years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  62. @michael reynolds:

    The usefulness of a strategy or message cannot be assessed without considering the target. What is the target?

    We agree here, but differ as to strategy and language. I think the people who need convincing are likely to be turned off by attempts to delegitimize the processes and institutions of the US government.

    Plus, I would note that there is evidence to suggest highly negative campaigns drive down turnout. It is likely that Clinton lost because of the nasty nature of this last campaign as a slightly higher turnout in PA and WI would probably have turned the election to HRC.

    I am not saying sing kumbaya. I am not saying “give him a chance.” I am saying oppose as you have noted. I just don’t think that there is any linguistic or conceptual stock in the term “illegitimate” and I think it distracts from his actual actions. I think it simply sounds like a case of partisan dislike or, at least as some have described it above, petty tit for tat.

    I say bypass the abstractions and attack actions. There will be plenty to attack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  63. @Gustopher:

    Segregation, and the rest of Jim Crow, was legal, but was it legitimate? Slavery was legal, but was it legitimate?

    I agree, but there is a specific argument about basic human rights superseding unjust laws to be made in those cases.

    What is the argument (as opposed to the assertion) that Trump’s election was illegitimate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  64. Ratufa says:

    @michael reynolds:

    According to Gallup, one major reason for his low approval rating wrt how he’s handled the transition is that many people, particularly independents, disapprove of his cabinet choices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. @Gustopher:

    I’m not even sure we have institutions that are worth defending anymore

    That is a whole other discussion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  66. george says:

    @Pch101:

    The point isn’t to get committed Republicans, anymore than it was the GOP aim to get committed Democratic voters. That 90% of votes are locked in stone. Its the other 10% that switch, and many of them went from Obama to Trump. They don’t care about ideology or party.

    That’s one of the problems with after election analysis – everyone thinks the opposition party is driven by a single issue. Reading conservative websites, they think progressives are completely unified and vote in lock step, while they see the GOP as completely splintered. And the reality is, both parties are splintered, and neither is good at getting out the vote. Look at the percentage of eligible voters if you doubt the last; it’s among the worst in the developed world. Most of that is the two party system – voters are more likely to find someone they can stomach if you have more parties. With a two party system you get splintering, people find their opinions aren’t matched by either party, and often end up not voting at all.

    Trump lost votes to Johnson, Clinton to Stein, but neither Johnson nor Stein had a chance (in fact, third party chances are so bad they couldn’t even get decent people to run Libertarian or Green), so most people didn’t bother to vote at all.

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  67. george says:

    @Ratufa:

    Because he got a lot of FU voters, people who don’t like him, but who don’t like any of the established candidates and just wanted to send a message. For them he wasn’t someone they particularly wanted in power, he was a way of showing their displeasure with both parties. Remember, he beat the GOP establishment before he beat Clinton.

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  68. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Had Trump come out of the gate denouncing Putin’s efforts, no harm no foul. That’s not what he did. He openly encouraged Putin to continue committing illegal actions designed to destroy his opponent. On hundreds if not thousands of occasions he deliberately exploited Putin’s agitprop.”

    Moreover, Trump has been acting as Putin’s defense counsel both during the campaign and afterwards, making implausible arguments for why Russia was not involved in the Wikileaks against Clinton and treating the suggestion that Russia was involved as an insult to Trump. It’s almost as if Trump believes that if the allegation is proven that Trump becomes illegitimate and therefore must do everything he can to fight it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  69. How about this: Democrats have numeric advantages in the electorate, but they turn out at lower rates than do Republicans. If voters perceive the system to be illegitimate, more voters stay home. Lower turnout is typically advantageous to Republicans.

    So, I ask you all: what is it that really needs motivating here and is attacking the system helpful o to your ultimate goals?

    I would note, too, that the system is configured in a way that favors Republicans anyway, so the turnout issue is even more significant for Dems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  70. @Bob@Youngstown: The headline was in the future tense because he isn’t president quite yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  71. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The legitimacy problem lies with Trump and his party, not with the entirety of the American government.

    The goal should be to remove Trump and his party from power, not to burn the whole thing down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  72. @Pch101:

    You may not personally think much of the Federalist, but we have a Supreme Court that isn’t so dismissive.

    Here’s a way to cut through this argument: do you think that the SCOTUS would use Fed 68 to reinterpret how the EC works? I don’t. I don’t think Scalia would have, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  73. @Pch101:

    The goal should be to remove Trump and his party from power, not to burn the whole thing down.

    Since Trump became president via the constitutional and legal order of the US government, to call him an “illegitimate president” is to attack the institutions that made him president, not to attack him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  74. Thomas Hilton says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    How about this: Democrats have numeric advantages in the electorate, but they turn out at lower rates than do Republicans.

    Thanks in part to state laws passed by Republicans with the explicit aim of making it more difficult for traditionally Democratic constituencies to vote.

    In Wisconsin, an estimated 300,000 voters were unable to vote because of Republican voter-suppression laws. Trump won Wisconsin by a much smaller number than that. This alone renders the legitimacy of Wisconsin’s result questionable at best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  75. @Pch101:

    If the Supreme Court is inclined to use the Federalist to explain/justify/(rationalize?) their rulings, then it is simply wrong to say that it has no legal bearing.

    Justices cite philosophy, foreign laws, and any number of other sources. That does not give them legal bearing in and of themselves. It is the opinion of the Court that had legal bearing regardless of how they reached the decision.

    What I mean by “legal bearing” is that it has some sort of legal force in and of itself. A law has legal bearing in this sense, as does a state constitution, or a previous SCOTUS opinion.

    Really, I think you are misunderstanding my view, overall, of the Federalist. In regards to the EC I am making a fairly narrow point: the EC NEVER worked like Hamilton described. Not ever. As such, you have zero basis for pretending like that essay has anything other than historical significance at the moment. No court is going to look to Fed 68 and then decided that the EC as it currently functions is unconstitutional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My point is pretty straightforward: Hamilton told us that we should have good presidents, not just winners of electoral votes.

    Whether or not the electoral college behaves as intended is not the point. You asked why Trump is not legitimate, and I gave you the answer: Because Trump’s “talents for low intrigue” and eagerness to sell the US down the river to a foreign power make him unfit for the presidency. And since presidents are supposed to be fit for the job, Trump is not legitimate.

    You are essentially arguing that simply winning electoral votes is enough to establish legitimacy, and it is clear from Federalist 68 that this isn’t the case at all. Just because the electoral college shirked its duties and behaved like a rubber stamp does not mean that Trump is legitimate or that the electoral college did its job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  77. @Thomas Hilton: Indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. Ratufa says:

    @george:

    Yes, he attracted many ” FU voters”, and his cabinet is now filled with GOP insiders and corporate executives — exactly the people many of his voters thought they were flipping the bird to. Democrats should see this as an opportunity to use Rovian “attack the opponent’s strength” tactics against Trump. Tarnish his populist appeal and his image turns into that of just another pro-business, establishment Republican, with added scoops of sleazy sexual scandal, incompetence, and a much bigger mouth than most of that ilk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  79. @Pch101: You are entitled to your position, but your arguments about the electoral college might as well be from an alternative universe. Just because something was written in the Federalist does not mean that the constitution ended up working they way they thought it would. Madison was wrong about the theory of factional balancing he put forth in Fed 10.

    Ironically, if the EC had, in fact, chosen Clinton over Trump, there would have been more of a case that her presidency would have been illegitimate because the institutions would have functioned differently, in a rather radical way, than it ever had before.

    Look: you know I do not like the EC and think it should be abolished. Likewise, I think Trump is going to be a disaster.

    But that just because I don’t like him and would prefer a different institutional process to pick the president does not make him illegitimate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  80. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Day 1, a person says Dr. Taylor eats worms. Everyone laughs it off.

    Day 2, someone says that they heard Dr. Taylor eats worms. Hmm. Confirmation. Not dispositive to the skeptical mind, but hey, where there’s smoke. . . so we will all now keep an eye out to see whether Dr. Taylor eats worms.

    Day 3, we learn of a sudden drop in the worm supply and think, Hmmm, I wonder if that proves Dr. Taylor has been eating worms? Jokes are made, memes are born. . . But still we lack the proof a skeptic requires.

    Day 4, Dr. Taylor bites into a peach and finds a worm. He denies it was intentional. But it certainly does tend to support the notion that Dr. Taylor eats worms.

    Day 5, polls show that 40% of people think Dr. Taylor eats worms.

    Day 6, Dr. Taylor issues a press release stating categorically that aside from the single entirely innocent peach worm-eating, he has never eaten worms, and never will.

    Day 7, Dr. Taylor’s childhood friend goes on Facebook to relate the humorous story of how, at age 5, Dr. Taylor threatened to eat a worm.

    Day 8. Here’s what we know. Dr. Taylor has been accused of eating worms. Dr. Taylor has been observed on ‘at least’ one occasion actually eating a worm. Dr. Taylor issued a statement which seemed frankly defensive and which was immediately refuted by black and white still photos of 5 year-old Dr. Taylor (probably not a PhD at that point) holding a worm near his mouth.

    Day 9, polls show 60% of Americans think Dr. Taylor eats worms.

    My point is that Day 4 is irrelevant unless Day 1 has taken place. Stories have beginnings and they follow arcs. Stories have predicates, assumptions, a reader ‘buy-in.’ Once you get ‘buy in’ it becomes a matter of confirming expectations. Narratives are self-reinforcing.

    And right now all the people who have read this comment are thinking of you eating worms. Even in this example, I have laid the groundwork, so should a photo of you emerge with a worm, people will dredge up out of their memories some vague notion of having heard something about Dr. Taylor and worms. You are already far more vulnerable to accusations of worm-consumption than you were.

    Chapter One defines the rest of the book. My Chapter One does not begin, “Let’s see what happens,” it begins, “This clown is a Russian stooge as well as an all-around scumbag.” Two very different narratives, even if they reach the same conclusion in the end. My version starts the action in the first graf. And it has the advantage of being true, IMO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  81. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “What is the argument (as opposed to the assertion) that Trump’s election was illegitimate?”

    I’d say it is a counter-argument to the Trump/Republican stance that their “landslide” election, in which they lost seats in both houses and the popular vote for president, entitles them to enact a breathtakingly reactionary agenda.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  82. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is the first time in perhaps a century that we’ve had a president-elect who was obviously this bad before the fact. The rarity of this occasion is not a justification for ignoring the Federalist.

    The electoral college created checks-and-balances such as the ability of electors to be faithless in order to deal with unusual circumstances. This is an unusual circumstance.

    You wouldn’t argue for ripping the seat belts out of your car or claim that they have no value simply because they aren’t needed 99% of the time. Instead, you would feel fortunate that you need them only rarely but that they are available when you do.

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  83. george says:

    @Ratufa:

    I agree that many of Trump’s voters are reachable; he quite predictably is filling his cabinet with what he himself is: an elite … seriously, how can a billionaire be anything but one of the elite.

    However, I gather that many of the FU voters knew that, and didn’t care, because they hold him in the same contempt as others do. His appeal to them was that he was hated by people they felt ignored them, even if he was from the same elite group. The way to get those FU people is not chiefly in discrediting Trump (he’s doing a fine job of that himself, and I think he’ll continue along that line indefinitely), but by listening to their problems, or at the minimum, not telling them they have no problems.

    That’s one of the problems with a lot of the post election venting; one of the things conservative web sites did very effectively was dig out the craziest parts of what progressives have said, and portray it as the standard progressive response. The woman on Sander’s team who showed no sympathy for the white guy dragged out of his car and beaten for being a Trump supporter? She became the Democratic standard on that web site, and the message was clear – progressives don’t care if you’re dragged out of your car and beaten if you’re a white male. Its nonsense, but with today’s search engines its trivial to find nut jobs like her and then make them seem like a representative of the whole progressive movement.

    Or they find progressives who say blacks can’t be racist, and they’ll put huge attention on what is basically a question of semantics (ie does racism mean personal racism or just systemic racism); and of course, there’s no lack of people providing such quotes, especially in university. Have young people always taken extreme positions? Of course. But in the past you couldn’t dig them up and use them to represent a political party, because they didn’t make the news. Today with the Internet they make their own quotable news.

    And then there’s the insane use of statistics. People point out the median Trump voter makes 70K a year, as if that meant anything without knowing the frequency distribution of those wages. At an absolute minimum the standard deviation should listed along with it. That the median Trump voter makes 70K means exactly zilch to the ones earning 30K while working two jobs – and if that’s 20% of Trump voters you’ve won an election by getting them. Seriously, the GOP has always been anti-science (evolution, climate change), but this kind of use of statistics show the same lack of scientific understanding; medians mean nothing without some sort of information about the frequency distribution. You learn it in high school stats, it should go without saying. And the concerns of people on different parts of that distribution can be wildly different.

    You don’t have to come up with solutions (there probably aren’t any, the reasons jobs are gone and even more are going to disappear definitely isn’t immigration, and only partly globalization, its mainly robotics and AI, and its going to get worse – most white collar jobs, everything from finance to medicine, are going to be done by AI in a couple of decades). But to tell people they don’t really have problems is adding insult to injury.

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  84. bill says:

    funny how wikileaks went from “investigative journalists” to the pariah of the left in such a short time. it took bob woodward 30+ yrs for that.

    but back to reality, a few whiny democrats and career coat tail hangers like lewis won’t amount to the less than hill of beans they ever were.

    trump is your president whether you like him or not. hissy fits won’t change anything nor will the lame “protests” that are really just semi-organised looting.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

  85. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    trump is your president whether you like him or not. hissy fits won’t change anything nor will the lame “protests”

    I do not recall Republicans accepting Obama, whether they liked him or not.

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  86. @Pch101: The fundamental problem remains that the EC never functioned as the Federalist describes. Never. You cannot return to something that never existed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. Ratufa says:

    @george:

    The way to get those FU people is not chiefly in discrediting Trump (he’s doing a fine job of that himself, and I think he’ll continue along that line indefinitely), but by listening to their problems, or at the minimum, not telling them they have no problems.

    You are preaching to the choir. I have said that in several OTB comment threads, e.g.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/nancy-pelosi-beats-back-challenge-for-leadership-of-house-democrats/#comment-2146106

    The Democrats should attack the Republicans on multiple fronts, including criticizing Trump’s excessive coziness with Russia, attacking his cronyism and sleazy mixing of his business interests and government, and taking a hard line against any GOP attempts to cut taxes for the very rich, and weaken Social Security and other key social programs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  88. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “Returning” is not relevant. The ideas articulated in Federalist 68 are.

    It would be perfectly constitutional for the electoral college to behave in the manner that I have described. The fact that it failed to do so does not change that one bit.

    Trump’s presidency lacks legitimacy regardless.

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  89. @michael reynolds:

    My Chapter One does not begin, “Let’s see what happens,” it begins, “This clown is a Russian stooge as well as an all-around scumbag.”

    In fairness, I never suggested “let’s see what happens.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  90. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Since Trump became president via the constitutional and legal order of the US government, to call him an “illegitimate president” is to attack the institutions that made him president, not to attack him.

    I do think that some of the institutions should be attacked. Since 1992, we have had a President who won the majority of the popular vote three times. We have had plurality Presidents twice, and non-plurality Presidents twice. We’ve also had greatly increased partisanship (most viciously on the right), and a split that is roughly equal — our institutions are failing, and are pushing this country further and further apart, and destroying the fabric of our country.

    But, that’s not why Trump is illegitimate.

    He is illegitimate because:
    – Russian influence during the election
    – His defense of Russian influence
    – The FBI tilting the playing field at the last minute
    – His calling for his opponent to be jailed
    – His monetary conflicts of interest with Russia
    – His refusal to address them or even show what they are
    – He may be morally compromised by Russia
    – His campaign and his transition and cabinet have a collection of overly-Russian-friendly people

    I would add his fondness for the neo-Nazi wing of the Republican Party, but that’s really just part of his coalition. That’s like saying if California wasn’t there, he would have won in a landslide — America has neo-Nazis and California.

    As for what it means to call him illegitimate, there are three things.
    – He does not get to hide behind “respect for the office” to silence criticism
    – It clearly pissed him off when it bubbles up to the level he cares about, and then he acts badly and makes himself look like an idiot.
    – it is values signaling — it makes it easier to organize calls to Congress-Critters to oppose everything

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  91. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: shorter: he is illegitimate because his election was tainted (to the detriment of America), he has worked to protect those who tainted his election (to the detriment of America), and because his conflicts of interest are arguably an impeachable offense from day one and he is doing nothing to minimize them (again, to the detriment of America).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  92. KM says:

    @george :

    but by listening to their problems, or at the minimum, not telling them they have no problems.

    Except that’s NOT what we’re saying, that’s what they’re HEARING. Liberals are saying that rural and white America don’t automatically get to jump to the head of the priority queue while Republicans are more then happy to shove everybody else out to the way to cater to them. Their problems and only their problems should be addressed; the rest of America is supposed to just hang out till their satisfied. How many times have you heard that someone is sick of PC-ness or how they are being ignored? They weren’t ignored but rather were given a place at the table they felt was insufficient. Their self-sustaining, self-inflicted pity party predisposes them not caring if liberals listen to them – it would be quickly dismissed as demeaning and elitist pandering.

    Quite frankly, a group that prides themselves as the REAL (TM) America will always consider any politician that doesn’t put them front and center as unworthy. That’s why Obamacare users voted for Trump’s BS, explaining away all he said as “he didn’t *really* mean it” and are now surprised he’s trying to screw them. There’s a story of a Obamacare-insured woman who’s husband on a transplant list – now almost certainly a dead man walking – voting Trump solely because of his lies on coal and is now freaking out over healthcare.

    Marketing only works if you’re willing to buy. These people are so set in their ways they bought the biggest load of BS for the most obvious conman ever. How the hell do you expect to have a conservation with someone who is not hearing what’s coming out of your mouth because they are listening for something else?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  93. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    Oh, I have no doubt that we’re about to witness a train wreck of epic proportions.

    True, but the real question is whether the electorate will know about it. Trump voters are already ignoring blatantly obvious flaws in the man and the Rs have evolved a propaganda apparatus that would make Goebbels weep from envy.

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  94. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101:

    …The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.

    Consider the possibility that rather than the above statement being a defined quality that it may only be a statement of the conditions in which the system will work. I am inclined toward this line of thinking because reality dictates that we cannot guarantee that elections will work toward that end (moral certainty that …). Elections will only be as good as the people running in them and the people voting in them.

    Elections can guarantee that we won’t end up with hereditary ruler crazy King George or totally devoid of sense of obligation to the nation hereditary ruler Louis XIV, but other than stopping hereditary stupidity, they don’t do much beyond reflecting the zeitgeist.

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  95. michael reynolds says:

    I think Democratic failure has a lot more to do with rhetoric and ambience than with policy. Liberal policies – SS, Medicare, the actual provisions of the ACA, gay marriage, pro-choice, minimum wage, progressive taxation – all routinely win the support of the American people.

    And if we had been happy warriors welcoming all to our banner as we marched toward a glorious future, we’d have the White House today.

    Unfortunately, that’s not what we did. We let ourselves be defined by the campus left with its smug intolerance, its acquired fragility, its narcissistic virtue-signaling, and its lay censors with their recklessly-applied and ever-expanding glossary of forbidden terms. We stopped being seen as liberals, stopped being the fun party. We were to an extent taken over and defined by a a bunch of tedious know-it-alls who too often knew not a damn thing. We broadcast loud and clear that we were no fun, no fun at all. Join the Democratic Party and be scolded! Yay!

    It’s amazing how few people want to line up behind self-righteous twits who live lives of eternal outrage. We are supposed to be the party of liberty and empathy, not the party of humorless cadres chanting ‘Halloween costumes are cultural appropriation!’ and, ‘your backyard grill equals Auschwitz.’ I am a Democrat and I can’t stand half the people in my party. Jesus, folks, pot’s all but legal, roll yourselves a fatty, turn on some Tim and Eric or some Python (depending on your generation) and chill.

    Then, prioritize, and if your top priority is to stop people using the word, ‘crazy,’ because it’s ‘ableist,’ you’re part of the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  96. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Yes. The most important job of the opposition at this time is to do what they can to make sure that the train wreck is as spectacular as possible. As you note, if the train can be made to fly off the rails and into the gorge in time for the 2018 elections–and I think that’s certainly possible–so much the better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  97. gVOR08 says:

    @Pch101: @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: The Electoral College as envisioned by Hamilton and the Founders didn’t last very long. The current EC has no hope of operating as described by Hamilton. Much as I hate to say it, we may be suffering from an excess of democracy. The electorate are, indeed, a box of rocks. The EC was to protect us against a demagogue arousing the “mob”. The EC changed, but we evolved other gatekeepers, the parties and the establishment media. Both failed spectacularly this time around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  98. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He won’t be Landslide Trump, he’ll be Illegitimate Trump, Glitch Trump.

    President Asterisk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  99. Ratufa says:

    @KM:

    How the hell do you expect to have a conservation with someone who is not hearing what’s coming out of your mouth because they are listening for something else?

    I agree with you that Hillary wasn’t telling them that they have no problems. But, what was Hillary’s message to them? As someone who lives in one of the key battleground states, while Trump was running ads that spun fantasies about how he would restore factories and create jobs, Hillary was mostly running ads about Trump. Going beyond my anecdotal experience, other people (such as Bill Clinton) argued during the campaign that Hillary should have tried to attract rust-belt, blue-collar working class voters. I’m not saying that Hillary should also have spun fantasies — she had economic proposals she could have talked about.

    Liberals are saying that rural and white America don’t automatically get to jump to the head of the priority queue while Republicans are more then happy to shove everybody else out to the way to cater to them.

    People of any race who have seen decent jobs disappear, their small communities turn into shells of what they used to be , and their standard of living greatly decline, don’t believe that they are anywhere near the head of the “priority queue” (whatever that is). But, I’m now curious about who is at the head of that queue, and how Hillary was proposing to help them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  100. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Since Trump became president via the constitutional and legal order of the US government, to call him an “illegitimate president” is to attack the institutions that made him president, not to attack him.

    Indeed, and chiefly among those institutions, the Electoral College. It’s a fundamentally undemocratic institution that has no place in a modern democratic republic. It was born of the same awful compromises that allowed the slave states outsized influence in our government, extending the length of enslavement and leading to the Civil War. Twice in the last five elections it has allowed victory by the losing candidate, and by extension has given us gems like the 2003 invasion of Iraq and whatever godawful disasters the least-qualified, in every conceivable sense, President in history will inflict upon us beginning this coming Friday.

    I think we need to attack that abomination early and often.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  101. Monala says:

    And really, on on level I feel like we are in a silly, schoolyard-like contest in which many Republicans questioned Obama’s legitimacy (see, e.g., the Birther movement) and so so now a lot of Democrats want to return the favor (especially given Trump’s role in that movement).

    Do you really believe this? If Romney had won in 2012, do you think Democrats would have initiated a legitimacy questioning movement against him (remember that Romney solicited and received Trump’s endorsement)? Or that someone like John Lewis would have made such a statement about Romney?

    If not, then it’s not childish partisanship on the Democrats’ part, it’s serious concerns about Trump himself and how he won this election.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  102. Monala says:

    And really, on on level I feel like we are in a silly, schoolyard-like contest in which many Republicans questioned Obama’s legitimacy (see, e.g., the Birther movement) and so so now a lot of Democrats want to return the favor (especially given Trump’s role in that movement).

    Do you really believe this? If Romney had won in 2012, do you think Democrats would have initiated a legitimacy questioning movement against him (remember that Romney solicited and received Trump’s endorsement)? Or that someone like John Lewis would have made such a statement about Romney?

    If not, then it’s not childish partisanship on the Democrats’ part, it serious concerns about Trump himself and how he won this election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  103. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    Certainly Trump voters are ignoring Trump’s flaws–and his lies, inconsistencies, and double talk, because they don’t care about any of that. They voted purely for revenge against “the elites” whom they feel dissed them, and that includes every Republican in Washington as well as every Democrat.

    “Burn it all down” isn’t their motto for no reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  104. gVOR08 says:

    @KM:

    Republicans are more then happy to shove everybody else out to the way to cater to them (blue collar whites).

    Allow me a clarification I believe you’ll agree with. Republicans are eager to screw over black, brown and gay people to pander to their base, but this will not, in any significant way, help their base economically. Nor are Republicans willing to do anything else that will help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  105. An Interested Party says:

    …career coat tail hangers like lewis…

    That’s funny coming from someone who probably doesn’t even have 1/1000 of the courage and bravery that John Lewis has…

    trump is your president whether you like him or not. hissy fits won’t change anything nor will the lame “protests” that are really just semi-organised looting.

    Interesting that you haven’t had that same attitude toward the Obama Presidency…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  106. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Ratufa: Actually Hillary did have ideas to help those people, she just was not lying to them. Like Trump. They should have known better. The fact that they did not says a lot about them. I live in rural Indiana. And I have seen that decline you talked about. Part of the problem is the people who live here. I hate to say it, but most people who can afford to leave, leave. The ones who stay are in much the same position as people who live in inner cities. Lying to them and making promises he can’t keep will make Trump just one more politician who lied to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  107. An Interested Party says:

    Lying to them and making promises he can’t keep will make Trump just one more politician who lied to them.

    Perhaps this is the key to beating Trump…just showing that he’s no better than any other lying, hypocritical politician…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  108. michael reynolds says:

    @Ratufa:

    their small communities turn into shells of what they used to be

    When I see things like this, I always want to ask: why the hell are you the last person staying in a hollowed-out community? Did you not notice that everyone was leaving? Did you not think, “I say, chaps, that’s a bit of a bad omen, eh?”

    A nation founded by people who hopped onto rickety wooden sailboats with nothing but their smallpox scars and a compass, traveled 3000 miles of ocean, landed in an uncharted wilderness and promptly began planting carcinogenic crops and murdering the locals, and yet their descendants can’t work up the gumption to get from West Virginia to Virginia?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  109. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    and yet their descendants can’t work up the gumption to get from West Virginia to Virginia?

    It’s far more comfortable to stay in familiar surroundings with people who look like you and vote for the guy who promises everyone a magical unicorn that farts coal mining jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  110. Mikey says:

    Here’s the latest bloviation from Trump. I think this pretty much proves (as if we needed further evidence) that one can predict with total certainty any Trump statement on U. S. foreign policy simply by answering the question “What would benefit Russia?”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-01-15/trump-calls-nato-obsolete-and-dismisses-eu-in-german-interview

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  111. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Simple. They want back the jobs they had 20 years ago, and Trump says he’ll give them to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  112. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s amazing how few people want to line up behind self-righteous twits who live lives of eternal outrage.

    But, that’s been the Republican strategy since Rush Limbaugh got his radio show. It seems to work quite well for them.

    The Democratic Party has its problems, but eternal outrage isn’t one of them. We’re the party of sexually aware women on birth control — we’re way more fun that the moral scolds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  113. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Consider the possibility that rather than the above statement being a defined quality that it may only be a statement of the conditions in which the system will work.

    Hamilton was claiming that having a system of electors allocated based upon the number of Congressional representatives instead of direct popular elections would produce a better result because the electors would serve as a check-and-balance that could keep out an unqualified candidate who was otherwise a popular son in a high-population state.

    Hamilton was a byproduct of the Enlightenment, so he presumed that people would generally be reasonable if given the chance. The main threats to the Republic were foreign agents from abroad and special interests at home, as well as the occasional bit of mob madness..

    As is the case with much of the rest of the Constitution, the electoral college attempted to cope with these three issues. But electors have never taken their jobs that seriously, which leaves us with Trump.

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  114. Ratufa says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I always want to ask: why the hell are you the last person staying in a hollowed-out community? Did you not notice that everyone was leaving? Did you not think, “I say, chaps, that’s a bit of a bad omen, eh?”

    Younger people and those with the most education and skills tend to leave first. The people remaining tend to be older, many with just a high school education and outdated skills. These people may have jobs that let them get by, or live off Social Security or other programs. Some may own houses that would bring very little money if sold. Also, they may have emotional attachments to people in their town. Since most people are risk-adverse, and moving involves spending money up-front for an uncertain return, it’s little wonder that many people wind up staying.

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  115. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: I’ll take that for “no, I won’t consider the possibility.” Good to know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  116. Gustopher says:

    @Pch101:

    As is the case with much of the rest of the Constitution, the electoral college attempted to cope with these three issues. But electors have never taken their jobs that seriously, which leaves us with Trump.

    We don’t vote for electors. I mean, technically we do, but they don’t appear on the ballot and we have no idea of their names. This is a check and balance that has simply never worked.

    Not all ideas turn out to be good ideas in practice, even in the constitution. It’s less worse than the 3/5ths compromise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  117. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey:

    It’s far more comfortable to stay in familiar surroundings with people who look like you and vote for the guy who promises everyone a magical unicorn that farts coal mining jobs.

    Worst. Unicorn. Ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  118. michael reynolds says:

    @Ratufa:

    It was a rhetorical question, I understand their motivations.

    They made choices that came with consequences, and now they don’t want to have to pay the price. They want a strongman to come in and make their lives right like some fairy godfather. Why are these people somehow admirable in their mistakes while others are not? If they were black we’d be talking about their ‘social and cultural pathologies.’ We’re acting as if it somehow is a rational choice to sit in some dead town and fantasize about the old days coming back. It’s not rational, it’s nuts. Now the whole country should listen to people so lazy or stupid or unlucky they had to stay planted in a dying environment?

    I’m sorry, but we have tried. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, we have tried to help these people, and all they’ve ever given back is contempt. They take our money and spit in our faces. Well, November 8, 2016 was the end of that, as far as I’m concerned. They’re a bunch of ingrates, and they can sit in their shitty little towns until the last gas station closes down. No longer my concern.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  119. Jim Brown 32 says:

    50% of the Democrats problems go away by having someone NOT named Clinton on the ballot in 2020. You guys misunderestimated how many people WOULD NOT vote for a Clinton outside of California & New York. It’s really not that complicated.

    Now if Dems would get interested in winning some state elections for a change….where they can have more influence on the demographics they claim to want to help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  120. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Ratufa: There are plenty of well off people in these areas too. Landowners and business owners. Not everyone is just scraping by. They stay here because they have roots here. For instance my husband owns about 200 acres that has been in his family since before the American Civil War. That is hard to walk away from. But he is seriously considering selling out and moving away, but then again, someone has to buy it before he can do that. Some people just feel stuck.

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  121. Pastor Agnostic says:

    @Terrye Cravens: the PEEOTUS may be legitimate, but he is also mentally unstable and totally unfit for the job. With his thin skin and massive ego, manipulation of him is child’s play.

    Come to think about it, much of what PEEOTUS engages in is child’s play. Reminds me of those immortal words in Hitchhiker’s guide: “We apologize. . . .”

    Dear world: We apologize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  122. KM says:

    @Ratufa:

    But, I’m now curious about who is at the head of that queue, and how Hillary was proposing to help them.

    Oh, there’s still at the head of the queue, just not under their preferred tribal affiliation. See, they need to be explicitly recognized and not lumped in with other groups. They might not have a pot to piss in but when they hear “the poor” it gets mentally translated to “minorities in cities” due to years of Republican propaganda. The anger is stemming for liberal failure to treat their problems as uniquely tragic instead of a symptom in a national disease.

    Take the Obamacare flap for instance: did they really think most of those uninsured or trapped in scammy policies were minorities or urban dwellers? The whole reason the GOP is even thinking twice right now is a sh^tton of rural and middle America woke up to realize “Hey! This affects me!” Even those who whined their policies got cancelled or costs skyrocketed are cluing in that they aren’t going to be able to get the same kind of policies/prices again if the popular part get kept. Still, the party line is Obamacare = bad and those insured = takers.

    Another would be the fight for living wage and poverty programs. One of their complaints is a lack of high-paying jobs so any increase in federal minimum wage standards would net them more money, yes? But noooo, that’s what poor urban folk are pushing for so how does it help *them*? Ditto for drug testing – its supposed to help weed out “unworthy” recipients of aid but with the recent drug crisis white America is experiencing, they’re holding out their own nose to get cut off. I could go on and on. Democratic policies are designed with their needs in mind as a part of a greater whole instead of them by name – a rising tide lifts all boats. Republican swoop down, promised vaguely worded specifics with no plan and skip town to steal from them but hey, at least they’re not putting some tranny’s bathroom needs first, amirite?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  123. Bob@Youngstown says:

    No question in my mind that on a factual basis DJT obtained 270+ electoral votes, on that basis he is the LEGAL PEOTUS. On the question of electoral votes or the electoral college being LEGAL, I have no quarrel.

    Legitimacy, that’s a issue that depends on the speakers understanding of the word.

    In my view, a football team that has more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game is the winner. However, if it turns out that that winning team used a football (for example slightly deflated) that was illegitimate to facilitate that win, then I think that the win might be claimed as illegitimate. It obviously doesn’t alter the score, but casts a shadow over the “win” and delegitimizes the win.

    So, an individual (or congressman) has every right to express the opinion ‘ I don’t see (DJT) as a legitimate president’ if that opinion is based on the view that the tools used to obtain that “win” are outside the bounds of what would be called fair and equitable.

    Last thought: I really don’t see (save for technology used) any significant difference between a Watergate break in and a third party stealing of intellectual property or third party publishing that stolen information. Both are activities that should be condemned.

    OTOH, our political campaigns have no rules, and I suggest damned few ethics. And is that what we hold up as a model of democracy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  124. One may assess him however one wishes. But since legitimacy (or illegitimacy) in a political sense is about mass behavior and requires broad buy-in (and this is much of my point), then it is hard to say he is illegitimate since he is about to be sworn in and while there will be protests (and angry columns, blog posts, and FB memes) there will be no no massive opposition.

    Roughly half the voters voted for him, so do not share the view of his illegitimacy, and a huge chunk of those who voted against him (indeed, most) will acquiesce to the process and live with him as president. The very lack of massive negative reactions and acceptance that he gets to be president despite all his flaws is a sign of his legitimacy,

    One may not like it, but it nonetheless is the case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  125. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That is what would, in many forums, get a “/thread” response. Meaning, its so exactly right that there’s almost nothing left to be said other than registering agreement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  126. MarkedMan says:

    This is a tangent, but I find myself wondering what effect it will have on the next generation that they will have known two presidents: a solid, mature, thoughtful, brilliant and cool black man and a complete and total sociopathic mess of a older white man? The contrast between these two couldn’t be more dramatic. Think BO as John F. Kennedy and DT as Marion Barry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  127. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Using your standard, Hitler, Stalin, Franco and Mussolini were all “legitimate.”

    In any case, you are crafting a circular argument. First you are quick to dismiss any claims that he is not legitimate, then you claim that he is legitimate about his legitimacy because there haven’t been more of the complaints that you are imploring us not to raise.

    It appears from here that your primary concern is to promote political stability, hence your eagerness to assert Trump’s legitimacy. But you are forgetting that the Republicans have devoted the last couple of decades to creating instability when it favors their party, so your desire to minimize the response of the opposition only increases the likelihood that the GOP will succeed in producing the instability that you fear.

    So ultimately, you are contributing to the instability, not preventing it. What the country really needs to do is to destroy the Republican party so that it can be rebuilt from the ground up as a credible center-right party instead of the collection of power-hungry, fact-phobic nutters that it is now. It can be said without hyperbole that this latest incarnation of the GOP has brought us within a couple of steps of fascism, and that’s what you should be worrying you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  128. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Only 50%? I think it’s much higher than 50%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  129. @Pch101:

    It appears from here that your primary concern is to promote political stability, hence your eagerness to assert Trump’s legitimacy.

    It is hardly eagerness. It is definitional. It is reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  130. MarkedMan says:

    Oh, and as for the legitimacy distinction, I think the whole argument is merely semantics. Trump is legal and if we define “legitimacy” as legal = legitimate, then there is no room for discussion. But if we make a distinction between the two then we are free to question it. And questioning his legitimacy is a good tactic. It will make it easier to impeach him because in the end it will give those who voted for him an out. And that’s the crux. Those who voted for him will have to overcome that before they can turn on him. By getting the message out that he isn’t and never was legitimate it will get them to that point all the more quickly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  131. @MarkedMan:

    It will make it easier to impeach him because in the end

    That will only happen, regardless of an rhetorical debates, if he does something to truly offend Republican voters. Indeed, the more dug in Reps are over attacks on Trump, the harder that will be But I am not counting on impeachment.

    And yes, this is largely a semantic argument, and I think that the word “legitimate’ is being misapplied by some. I am a professor who studies such things and I can get pedantic. Odd, that . 😉

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  132. dmichael says:

    I had refrained from entering into this discussion because I viewed it as a pseudo-intellectual parsing of “legitimate” and “legal” having nothing to do the the meaning of Congressman Lewis’s statement. For those who want a more eloquent response, please see Paul Krugman: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/16/opinion/with-all-due-disrespect.html?src=twr and David Remnick: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/john-lewis-donald-trump-and-the-meaning-of-legitimacy?intcid=mod-latest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  133. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am a professor

    Don’t feel bad, we forgive you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  134. MBunge says:

    I would normally think a hundred+ comment thread on whether the legitimately elected President of the United States is legitimate to be the silliest thing I’ve seen in a while, but this is an enlightening demonstration of one of the prevailing themes of this current mess.

    Dominance politics.

    Trump has been a master of them and now the folks he defeated are fighting back, trying to assert their authority and force if not Trump at least everyone else to conform. The difference is that Trump is aware of what he is doing and I don’t think a lot of his enemies are.

    I just read another of Josh Marshall’s fascinatingly flawed posts on Trump. They’re fascinating because even the most insightful of them are fundamentally undermined by Marshall’s overwhelming compulsion to frame everything in terms of his superiority and Trump’s inferiority. He’s boasted repeatedly of his allegedly profound understanding of Trump, his motivations and his intentions. But that alleged understanding has never allowed Marshall to really predict or anticipate anything Trump does. He only uses it to justify whatever denigrating psychological spin he wants to slather over his analysis.

    In his most recent bleat, Marshall casually referred to Trump as a “coward.” Trump is a liar, a bully, a vulgarian and a multi-faceted ass…but a coward? Compared to a Navy Seal? Sure, but Jose Marshall isn’t an ex-Navy Seal. In fact, as Trump made his bones in the New York City real estate market, he almost certainly dealt with people tougher and more vicious than anyone Marshall has ever encountered. And Trump just spent well over a year enduring a process exponentially harder than everything Marshall has done in his entire life put together.

    When Trump labels CNN “fake news,” I think he knows what he is doing and how it is supposed to accomplish a certain goal. Trump’s critics are frequently doing the same thing, but don’t understand what they are doing or why they are doing it, which is going to make it much harder for them to achieve anything.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  135. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The supposedly liberal MSM seem to always form a narrative and from then on their coverage supports the narrative. Kerry was effete, McCain is a maverick, Obama is cool, Hillary is crooked, etc., often independent of the facts. We need to do what little we can to make Trump’s narrative one of incompetence and corruption. Otherwise the narrative will be outsider businessman remaking corrupt DC.

    Through failures of the Republican Party, the media, and the electorate we have elected a president who is unqualified, unstable,and corrupt. The FBI interfered in violation of their own policy. A hostile (until Friday) foreign power took a hand. John Lewis described the situation as illegitimate. You object to this description. The dictionary does define legitimate as lawful, so you are technically correct. I think you agree the situation is abnormal and dangerous. What word would you suggest to describe this situation?
    _______________
    Given the apparent massive conflicts of interest, I’m not entirely sure “illegitimate”, as in not legal, isn’t correct after all. Every act and decision Trump makes will be under a cloud of suspicion.

    Trump says he’s going to immediately meet with Putin in Iceland and probably lift the sanctions imposed over Crimea in return for some token nuclear weapons agreement. Exxon owns rights to massive amounts of carbon in Russia. Sooner or later we’ll ban or tax it, so Exxon needs it now. Exxon can’t extract it now because of the sanctions. Exxon is the home of the Sec ‘O’State nominee. Am I seriously expected to believe there isn’t a rat in that woodpile?

    Noam Chomsky recently remarked that because of AGW the Republican Party has become, “the most dangerous organization in world history”. He’s right. And it’s not just AGW.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  136. MBunge says:

    @dmichael:

    That Krugman piece boils down to “It’s okay because we think we have a good reason.” The plainly obvious retort is EVERYBODY ALWAYS THINKS THEY HAVE A GOOD REASON. The majority of voters cast their ballots against Bill Clinton, twice. George W. Bush was installed as President by a nakedly partisan Supreme Court. If Hillary Clinton had won, she would almost certainly have still lost a majority of states in the Union. And let’s not forget about Reagan and the October Surprise, which was “fake news” before “fake news” was even a thing.

    Standards only have power if you uphold them when it is personally inconvenient. If Krugman thinks the appropriate response to Trump and the GOP is to abandon the fiction of standards and accept that power and achieving it are all that matter, that would be one thing. It would, however, require him to stop pretending he cares about anything else. He also might want to stop and consider what sort of world that will ultimately produce and whether it’s going to be anything like the world in which he wants to live.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  137. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    Your obtuseness is impressive.

    Legal is not the same as legitimate. The Nuremberg laws were legal, they were not legitimate. The expulsion of the Cherokee in what came to be called the Trail of Tears was legal, it was not legitimate. It was legal to hit black crack users with sentences ten times as long as white cocaine users. Jim Crow was legal. Law is not the end of the discussion.

    I was the very first person here to use the phrase, ‘legal but not legitimate.’ He is legally POTUS, but legitimacy also demands a fair process and the will of the people. It was not a fair process, it was deliberately subverted by a hostile foreign power to which Trump bows on an hourly basis. And the people voted for Hillary by a margin of 3 million votes.

    Under these circumstances, given Trump’s exploitation of foreign involvement, and the clearly-expressed will of the voters, no, Trump is not legitimate. It’s like when OJ Simpson got off and we all acknowledged that he was legally not guilty, but was still a dirty murderer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  138. Grewgills says:

    @MBunge:

    That Krugman piece boils down to “It’s okay because we think we have a good reason.”

    Only if you have serious reading comprehension problems. The piece boils down to a few points:
    1) Trump is illegitimate because of Russian interference with Trump’s either willing or tacit collusion and because of FBI interference by Comey’s repeated and misleading declarations close to the election.
    2) People need to be reminded of this because Trump will use any respect given as license to continue to act poorly to the detriment of this country and others (the world in general sans Russia). Sitting on our hands now empowers the xenophobic demagogue.
    3) Trumps actions since the election give more evidence for point 2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  139. Ratufa says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They made choices that came with consequences, and now they don’t want to have to pay the price.

    Yes, humans often do that. I’m not saying that we should admire these people, or think their decisions to not move someplace else are rational (though, given their perceived alternatives, I suspect that some of those decisions to stay are more rational than they appear). I’m saying that Democrats should try harder next time to get votes from some rust belt demographics. To so this, you have to craft a message that appeals to them, which involves an understanding of their concerns, and not just hashing them all into the dumb/racist/deplorable bin. Getting votes from many of these voters is not impossible task — Obama did much better than Hillary with many of them when he ran against Romney:

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2016/11/11/23174/

    Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, we have tried to help these people, and all they’ve ever given back is contempt.

    From FDR until the late 60’s, these people were an important part of the Democratic coalition. Things are different now for various reasons, race and various social issues being a big part of that. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are popular, 60+ year old programs that many people take for granted.Parts of Obamacare are very popular, but they are tied to unpopular parts (e.g. the mandate), and its popularity suffers from constant Republican attacks, the program’s own flaws, and the tepid defense it gets from Democrats — how often have you seen a Democratic politician, besides Obama, strongly speaking out in defense of Obamacare?

    They’re a bunch of ingrates, and they can sit in their shitty little towns until the last gas station closes down. No longer my concern.

    I have no problem with that. I just don’t want that to be the attitude of the Democratic Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  140. Ratufa says:

    @KM:

    I don’t disagree with much of what you’re saying. Many people feel some shame at getting explicit government handouts (as opposed to handouts whose nature is less overt), and a number of these people associate such handouts with minorities. And I agree that Hillary had economic proposals on paper. . My main point, over a number of posts, has been that Hillary ran a crappy campaign that hardly ever tried to reach out to those voters, or talk about her proposals to help them.

    Democratic policies are designed with their needs in mind as a part of a greater whole instead of them by name – a rising tide lifts all boats. Republican swoop down, promised vaguely worded specifics with no plan and skip town to steal from them but hey, at least they’re not putting some tranny’s bathroom needs first,

    So why weren’t Democrats shouting the virtues of those boat-lifting policies from the rooftops during the election?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  141. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    That Krugman piece boils down to “It’s okay because we think we have a good reason.” The plainly obvious retort is EVERYBODY ALWAYS THINKS THEY HAVE A GOOD REASON.

    This is another example of conservative moral absolutism and factual relativism. Yes indeed, everyone thinks they have good reasons. Many are in error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  142. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, we have tried to help these people, and all they’ve ever given back is contempt.

    An essential difference between American liberals and conservatives is that the latter group prioritizes keeping benefits out of the hands of those who it deems to be unworthy.

    Grassroots conservatives don’t have a problem with benefits per se. They just think that the beneficiaries should remind them of themselves. Invariably, it means that benefits upset them if they are given to minorities.

    For this group, “Make America Great Again” = welfare for whites only. (Just don’t call it “welfare.”) And this is a core reason why Democrats have no choice but to focus on turnout — the party cannot win over those who think that help should be denied based upon melanin content.

    What the grassroots right may be starting to figure out is that the establishment right doesn’t think that they are worthy of the help, either. The establishment is indifferent to black, brown and white; it focuses only on green.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  143. Rafer Janders says:

    @MBunge:

    Trump is a liar, a bully, a vulgarian and a multi-faceted ass…but a coward?

    If you concede he is a bully, then you concede he is a coward. Bullies, who prey on the weak, are by definition cowards. Strong, secure people have no need to bully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  144. @michael reynolds:

    we forgive you.

    Some do, some don’t.

    C’est la vie! 😉

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  145. al-Ameda says:

    @Andy:

    You’re not going to win over those suburban voters by banging on the legitimacy drum for four years.

    To paraphrase Bill Maher, “New Rule: You need not be positive, truthful or fact-based in your political message in order to be rewarded by voters.”

    As you know Republicans denied the legitimacy of the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and they paid virtually no political price for their bad behavior.

    In the case of Obama they questioned his citizenship and to this day 50% of Republicans hold on to Birther beliefs that Obama was not an authentic American. In a non-racist tack they shutdown the federal government twice and even countenanced a federal default as leverage for their demands.

    It appears to me that the old rules do not apply any more, and Democrats must to stop being passive bystanders and political victims, and return the favor to Republicans wherever possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  146. HarvardLaw92 says:

    In the end, I suspect we’re dancing around the same concept. Illegitimate, unqualified, whatever.

    They boil down to the same idea – Trump shouldn’t be occupying the White House, and putting him there was/is a disaster of biblical proportions. We need to be focused on souring the persuadable electorate on his being president. Call it illegitimate if you like. Call if unqualified if it suits you. The end product – the American electorate turning on Republicans in general and on Trump in particular – is the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  147. @HarvardLaw92:

    Trump shouldn’t be occupying the White House, and putting him there was/is a disaster of biblical proportions.

    Indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  148. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You’ve just made the best argument I’ve seen for abolishing the EC altogether. Because it’s always worked in the same (flawed) way, therefore it cannot be changed (per Federalist 68, or whatever) and must be kept inviolate in its flawed state. So just get rid of the d### thing. It is incapable of serving any useful purpose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  149. An Interested Party says:

    In his most recent bleat, Marshall casually referred to Trump as a “coward.” Trump is a liar, a bully, a vulgarian and a multi-faceted ass…but a coward? Compared to a Navy Seal? Sure, but Jose Marshall isn’t an ex-Navy Seal. In fact, as Trump made his bones in the New York City real estate market, he almost certainly dealt with people tougher and more vicious than anyone Marshall has ever encountered. And Trump just spent well over a year enduring a process exponentially harder than everything Marshall has done in his entire life put together.

    Hmm…do you have the same disdain for Trump himself after his reaction to John Lewis? A man who put his body and his life on the line for freedom for himself and many others is just “all talk, no action”? Really!? Trump, like bill upthread, doesn’t have 1/1000 of the courage and bravery of John Lewis, so his reactionary tweets, among many other actions, certainly do reveal him to be a coward…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  150. @SC_Birdflyte: Thanks and indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  151. An Interested Party says:

    Wow! Hypocrisy on steroids! That any politician who has tried to suppress the black vote would dare to try to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. is incredible…the Democrats would be in a much better position if they had this kind of chutzpah…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  152. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: well at least they were classy enough to attend his inauguration and not encourage some lame, misguided protests.
    @Rafer Janders: he’s a “businessman”- it’s difficult for some of you to understand this as he leads companies that make money and provide jobs, hence tax dollars that fund the government. Maybe you think money just appears out of thin air and never runs out…like the current administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  153. David M says:

    They aren’t related, but Trump is as legitimate as he is qualified. He’s probably a US citizen, and certainly appears to be over 35. Is he remotely capable of actually doing the job? No.

    Technically he won the election, but given the cloud over the process that elected him, he’s more “president” than the President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  154. An Interested Party says:

    he’s a “businessman”- it’s difficult for some of you to understand this as he leads companies that make money and provide jobs…

    Oh really? Than why has he declared multiple bankruptcies and failed to pay contractors and others who’ve done work for him? You were so correct to put quotation marks around businessman…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  155. Rafer Janders says:

    @bill:

    he’s a “businessman”- it’s difficult for some of you to understand this as he leads companies that make money and provide jobs, hence tax dollars that fund the government.

    Yes, as an M&A/private equity Wall Street attorney it is difficult for me to understand how companies and money works, I do concede that.

    Maybe you think money just appears out of thin air and never runs out…like the current administration.

    Um, that is, actually, exactly how money appears: the federal government decides how much it needs and then prints it. It’s an imaginary construct, man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  156. panda says:

    @bill:

    well at least they were classy enough to attend his inauguration and not encourage some lame, misguided protests

    Tea Party says hi, and why am in a memory hole?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  157. al-Alameda says:

    @bill:

    @al-Ameda: well at least they were classy enough to attend his inauguration and not encourage some lame, misguided protests.

    Why yes, I do indeed remember how classy Republicans were when in attendance at Obama’s first State of the Union Address. You remember, when Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at the president. It might actually have been a much more classy event if Republicans had stayed at home.

    To be sure, I happen to think that Democrats are better advised to attend, however if I’m a Republican, specifically, and even if I’m an impulsive narcissist like Trump, I would not be questioning John Lewis’s bonafides with respect to courage, conscience and conviction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  158. Pch101 says:

    @al-Alameda:

    “Bill” is a summa cum laude graduate of the Jim Crow School of Etiquette. One side gets to make the rules, the other side is supposed to be subservient and is uppity if it doesn’t obey them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  159. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @bill: I’m not clear on your point; are you saying that because Trump is a “businessman” (like the quotation marks there, BTW, I’ve long thought that calling him a businessman was kind of hyperbolic) he’s also naturally a bully–as in all “businessmen” are bullies, or are you saying that we should forgive him for being a bully because being a “businessman” outweighs the fact that he’s also a punk who figuratively
    beats up people weaker than he is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  160. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: You’re probably right….it was a rough estimate.  Clinton carries too much baggage–in my community the super-predator comments / BLM Comments / and mass incarceration lines of attacks were very effective.

    Those go away with another candidate.  

    Dems need to be very careful though–the days of blind support that doesn’t translate into policy and legislation UNIQUE to the black community are over.  President Obama got a pass because he was the first and we wanted a brother that showed the best of what our community processes.  We have others but America is not interested in them.  They have a hunger to put the TV cameras on the clubbed foot of the community.

    We finally mature to where we are asking what have you done for me lately.  So Dems can invest time in suing bakers that won’t make gay wedding cakes or fighting the cause of gender identity–more power to em.  The black voting percentages will likely stay the same–but the turnout numbers will dip.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  161. An Interested Party says:

    So Dems can invest time in suing bakers that won’t make gay wedding cakes or fighting the cause of gender identity–more power to em.  The black voting percentages will likely stay the same–but the turnout numbers will dip.

    Ahh, so if Dems are fighting for the rights of LGTB folks (some of whom are black), many in the black community may punish them by staying home on election day…interesting…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  162. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party: Several pundits made essentially the same argument in 2012–that Obama’s embrace of gay marriage would harm his reelection chances by turning away black voters. He ended up not only receiving almost as much support from black voters as he did in 2008 (about 95%), they turned out in record numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  163. John D'Geek says:

    @michael reynolds: Yes, yes a thousand times yes.

    The main problem is all the CONTEMPT coming from the left — or, more precisely, those that the left allows to speak for them.

    At this point I have a serious time trusting anyone with a D after their name — because every time I turn on the news, especially Progressive-leaning sites, all I hear is how evil I am. Democarts want my vote? They need to do two things:
    1) Stop making it so obvious how much you hate me. That means shutting up the loonies on your side.
    2) Run someone who is decent. Hint: If Hillary Clinton was decent, she would have won.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  164. An Interested Party says:

    Stop making it so obvious how much you hate me. That means shutting up the loonies on your side.

    Do you feel the same way about Republicans? Certainly many on the right have no problem expressing their contempt for numerous groups of people…

    Run someone who is decent. Hint: If Hillary Clinton was decent, she would have won.

    Uh huh…if James Comey didn’t unveil his October Surprise, she very well may have won…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  165. Pch101 says:

    @John D’Geek:

    Let’s be serious: Your vote isn’t available to anyone who is even slightly to the left of the GOP.

    The only way for the Dems to win you over would be for them to move to the right of the GOP. No thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  166. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: They’re problems are not ours….even though white liberals love to draw analogies. Here’s a novel idea…how about fighting for the rights of both instead of only one? At the end of the day Parties respond to groups that will stay home or vote against them…not groups they take for granted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  167. An Interested Party says:

    Here’s a novel idea…how about fighting for the rights of both instead of only one?

    Indeed…Democrats should be fighting for everyone’s rights…of course, that idea clashes with…

    They’re problems are not ours….

    I guess injustice anywhere is no longer a threat to justice everywhere…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  168. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: That’s a truism not a political strategy. It must be reconciled with the also truism of “all politics is local” and the concept of kitchen table politics, which, you know, are the forces that makes people actually come out and vote.

    People that are motivated by injustice anywhere are a minority–in every voting demographic. That would be a minority Democrats would be best served to move away from. Voting is inherently an act of SELF interest.

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  169. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    I’ve been following the elction process from primaries, and can’t believe DT won. I’m a UK citizen, but I am gutted!!! and so so sorry for the USA.

    But to be honest, the greatest threat to Democracy in your country is the fact that only 58% of voting age population (vap) bothered to vote.

    That (along with DonCon-leone) is the greatest threat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0