Republicans face a reckoning


Republicans should ask themselves a serious question as they prepare to vote for president of the United States.

Is the guy at the top of our ballot, Donald J. Trump, really one of us?

I submit that Trump isn’t a real Republican. He isn’t a real anything, other than a real a**hole who has co-opted a party he has grabbed by the throat.

A party that once used to vilify Democrats because of budget deficits cannot use that cudgel any longer thanks to Donald Trump. This guy vowed to eliminate the national debt; on his watch, the debt has tripled. The deficit? It’s on track to ratchet up to $3.1 trillion, nearly double the previous annual record.

Fiscal responsibility? The party that once touted itself as the party that would protect our money has spent it recklessly. That ain’t very Republican, if you know what I mean.

The party of Lincoln once sought to embrace civil rights legislation. It fought hard for African-Americans’ desire for the full rights of citizenship. Democratic President Lyndon Johnson needed help from his GOP friends in the Senate to enact the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the mid-1960s. Can you imagine Donald Trump doing the same thing?

The GOP used to stand toe-to-toe with our international adversaries. Such as, oh, Russia. What in the world has the current GOP president done? He has sided with Russia and chided U.S. intelligence analysts over the issue of Russian interference in our national election. Russia denied doing it; Trump said he believes ’em. Amazing, man.

The GOP used to be a party that insisted that our political leaders have squeaky clean family reputations. Hmm. Does that fit Donald Trump in any fashion?

I don’t expect any Republicans who might happen to read this blog to change their mind just because I am calling Trump a Republican In Name Only. I do hope they ask themselves that critical question about Donald Trump: Is he really one of us?

It’s almost over


In the spirit of Donald Trump’s reported plans to declare victory prematurely on Election Night if certain things happen, I want to declare victory of another sort.

We’re just two days out from the presidential election and I am proud to report that we got through it.

Trump has managed to wage the most miserable re-election campaign in anyone’s memory. I don’t believe it will work for him; I am cautiously optimistic — with emphasis on “cautiously” — that Joe Biden will win the election Tuesday and take his place as the 46th president of the United States.

We sought to endure the incumbent’s incessant lying, his innuendo, his invective and insults, his boorishness. I remain baffled that Trump continues to hang onto the supporters he has held for as long as he has been in office.

The COVID crisis is out of control; Trump hasn’t yet spelled out a plan for a second term; he downplays the seriousness of the crisis; Trump criticizes the pre-eminent infectious disease expert on the White House response task force; he has insulted the men and women who serve in the military; he kowtows to dictators; he lied to us about the pandemic when he broke at the start of the year.

In a normal political environment, Biden would be headed to a 40-state landslide. These aren’t normal times. Yet my hope springs eternal that enough Americans have had enough, have had their fill of Trump’s relentless anger that they’ll turn to someone who can feel their hurt, their angst and is unafraid and is willing to express it publicly.

Trump himself has defined and embodied the abnormality of this political climate. He ran for president in 2016 proclaiming to be a self-made business success. We have learned that was a lie. He said “I, alone” can fix the nation’s problems. We learned that to be a form of code that disguised a desire to become an authoritarian leader, rather than part of a political partnership with other branches of government.

Trump has ignored the best advice he could receive. He has relied on his gut. Trump’s gut has resulted in a presidency that has left a trail of wreckage. My hope is that Joe Biden’s team can clean it up.

Here we are, on the verge of the most consequential election perhaps in U.S. history.

I am glad I have maintained some semblance of sanity watching this drama unfold in real time. I am ready for it to end … and I am hoping for the dawn of a new era.

Trump will do what? Declare ‘victory’ early?


I thought I was hearing things this morning. Turns out I heard it right.

Donald Trump reportedly is going to “declare victory” prematurely Tuesday night if the early returns show him leading the contest over Joe Biden. Yep. That’s what might happen, according to, which broke the story.

That is weird, man. Totally strange and bizarre. In a way, though, it illustrates a bit of daffy cunning on Trump’s part.

The early voter returns likely won’t have a winner declared in the Electoral College. The winner needs 270 electoral votes to be elected. So if Trump decides to declare “victory” before all the votes are counted, he might be banking on voters deciding against casting their ballots believing that Trump’s actually been re-elected.

Far-fetched? Yeah. It is. There is a strange plausibility to trying such a thing.

In 1980, the TV networks declared Ronald W. Reagan the winner over President Carter early on election night. He had rolled up enough electoral votes to oust Carter after a single term. The polls had not yet closed way out west, where I was living and working at the time.

There was plenty of anecdotal evidence that night of voters walking away from the polling place when they heard that Reagan had won, forgoing their own casting of ballots. The evidence also showed that in at least one key congressional race, the one between U.S. Rep. Al Ullman and Denny Smith in the Second Congressional District of Oregon, that the walkaways cost the Democrat Ullman enough votes to deny his re-election. I watched that one up close as I was working for a newspaper that covered a portion of that congressional district in Clackamas County, Ore.

Donald Trump has a few tricks up his sleeve. I guess this might be one of them he could deploy to deny Joe Biden a victory. For the sake of the Republic, I hope Joe Biden holds a strong lead when the early returns are broadcast around the world.

This is what ‘cult of personality’ produces


There he was, standing in front of adoring fans, telling yet another egregious lie just the other day about the coronavirus pandemic.

Donald Trump’s fans nodded, applauded and hollered their approval over a blatant falsehood, which is that doctors and nurses are inflating COVID-19 death rates because “they make more money” when patients die.

This, I submit, is the essence of what has been called a “cult of personality.” Trumpkins don’t give a sh** about policy. They adore the liar who stands before them. They buy into the lies. They give him a pass when he defames an entire learned profession — doctors and nurses — with an outright lie.

This is the kind of menace against which Joe Biden is running as he seeks to remove Donald Trump from the presidency he won in 2016 in arguably the greatest political fluke in American political history.

Biden is campaigning against an individual who can lie out loud and in full public view and receive the same level of cheer and applause as he would were he to actually say something true, which of course doesn’t happen with this clown.

Hitler had that cult of personality. So did Stalin and Mussolini. So did Idi Amin and Ho Chi Minh. So does Kim Jong Un. So does Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump is following them all down the road to infamy with his lying, defaming and patently vicious rhetoric.

To think the Trumpkin Corps continues to buy into this trash. Simply astonishing in the extreme.

Enjoying sight and sound of No. 44 on the stump


I was proud to vote for Barack Hussein Obama when he ran for election and re-election as president of the United States.

And I will be candid: I miss him and wish there was some way he could still sit in the Oval Office. He cannot do that. The U.S. Constitution prohibited him from seeking a third term as president.

Now, though, he has back on the political stage, stumping for his “brother,” Joe Biden, who served as vice president during Obama’s two successful terms as president.

I admit as well to enjoying listening to the former president peel the hide off of his successor, Donald Trump, whose lies and misrepresentations seemingly have been more than President Obama can stomach.

I also wonder if Trump’s incessant attacks on Obama’s record, replete with their litany of lies, has gotten under the former president’s skin. If I had been the subject of those defamatory attacks, I know for damn certain I would be pi**ed off beyond measure.

Obama stood with former VP Biden today in Detroit, telling the horn-honking socially distanced audience what many of us already know: that Donald Trump is an abject failure as president. Obama wondered aloud about why Trump and his GOP cohorts, after 10 years of complaining about the Affordable Care Act, haven’t yet produced anything resembling a replacement. And yet, as President Obama noted, they want to toss aside health care insurance that many millions of Americans depend on during this pandemic crisis.

Amazing, yes? And stupid!

I know I am not the only American who has missed the sound of President Barack Obama’s voice, the tenor of his message or the sight of him laying waste to the unfit individual who succeeded him as president.

Welcome back to the battle, Mr. President.

Texas sets the pace


It’s not often I get to brag about the politics of the state of my residence.

I will take that opportunity to boast about a key development that has unfolded in Texas, where I have called home since the spring of 1984, when I moved my family here to take a job with a newspaper on the Gulf Coast.

The Texas Tribune reports that 9.7 million Texans voted early for president, or about 58 percent of all registered voters. Why is that reason to boast? The vote total exceeds the entire number of ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election. The percentage of turnout looks to be on pace to soar significantly past 60 percent of all voters when Election Day comes and goes next Tuesday.

My wife and I were among the 9.7 million fellow Texans who voted early. We cast our ballots on Oct. 13, the first day of early voting in Texas.

That day was a big deal for my wife and me. We usually vote on Election Day. The coronavirus pandemic — coupled with pleas from most Democratic politicians — persuaded us to vote early. We did so in Princeton, near our home. We took all the precautions called for: masks, social distancing, washed hands, sanitizer … you name it, we did it.

We got our votes cast and logged into the Collin County electronic system.

What fills me with pride is that Texas answered the call in a manner that set the pace for other states across the nation. We voted early because we felt concern about whether our ballots would be counted would we have voted by mail.

I long have hoped for the day when Texas could become a competitive two-party state, when it could break the Republican vise grip on the political structure. I don’t know if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win this state’s 38 electoral votes, but I feel confident in suggesting that they are going to be highly competitive on Election Day. Moreover, so will the myriad congressional and legislative races on the ballot as well.

My center-left political sensibility hopes the Biden-Harris ticket can win the state’s electoral votes and that Democrats can gain control of the Texas House of Representatives. If it happens that Biden-Harris carries the day at the top of the ballot, then it’s “game over” for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

To be sure, that would be enough to make me possibly shout my joy from the front porch of my home.

For now I will settle for the pride I feel that Texans have answered the call to vote early and possibly portending the kind of overall turnout that delivers Texas into a new political era.