NPR Saturday Edition crystallized why, in my opinion, the Democratic Party is dead and buried. It lost voters to Trump and even after those same voters feeling betrayed by Trump–or even still hanging in there with him–the Dems won’t get those voters back.
Here are three laid off steelworkers in Alabama, all Democrats I believe, who talked about how job searches and job retraining worked for them, why two of the voted for Trump, and more importantly how the see Congress (and they’re in a Democratic district) has failed them. I’ve selected some quotes to post.
SIMON [show host]: Bo, you’re 49.
EDWARDS: Yes, sir.
SIMON: So what happened when in your late 40s, you go to look for a job and people see, oh, gosh, this guy did something important and dangerous, he’ll be a good employee?
EDWARDS: Being my age, the first thing they look at, they go, oh, he’s 50 years old. And they discriminate because of age because, oh, this guy don’t have much more left in him. And then if you do get past the first part of the interview, and you go in and you have a physical, you know, they want to know, oh, what kind of medications are you on?
Well, guess what? OK, I’ve got some health issues. You know, you have to tell them what kind of medications. And then, oh, Mr. Edwards, we’re sorry. We don’t have a position for you at this time.
SIMON]: Diane, you’re in a job retraining program.
WOOD: Yes. I’m taking culinary arts at Wallace State Community College right now.
SIMON: So what’s the price difference between what you were earning and what you bring in now?
WOOD: Probably about $30,000 to $40,000 a year.
SIMON: That’s the difference?
WOOD: Yes, sir.
SIMON: That’s a lot of money.
WOOD: Yes, sir.
POWELL: I cannot type. Siegfried [referring to himself in the 3rd person] has very little computer knowledge. Somebody showed me a brochure from U.S. Steel that I was doing something. I say, heck, you know, you do the same thing for 20 years, you know, GFB, GFB, you know, the keyboard always wear out on those three keys. But it might have looked technical in the book, but it was just the same thing that we were trained.
So I knew that I had to retrain myself, especially on that computer. And once I started it – I got in the game too late. And the young people I was in school with, they still had their earbuds in their ear, and they were doing stuff on their phone. And I was, like, sitting in front of the class. And I’m like, OK, is this guy going to slow down so we can ask a question?
SIMON: The former steelworkers seem resigned and regretful now, but when you ask, they’ll say they’re angry at U.S. Steel for shutting the blast furnace in Fairfield when they say it still made money and the U.S. Congress for not protecting their jobs from foreign competition.
WOOD: Do you think Congress could have done different? I always think Congress could do different, so I don’t have the anger in me. I think things could have been different if they were done differently, but there is no anger in me.
EDWARDS: There’s a major disconnect from your working families and your people in Washington. They do not understand the working man. You know, I got an 18-year-old daughter who’s just graduated high school. College is coming up. Here I am in a situation where I have lost my job. Well, I have a child that needs to go to college. And I need to be able to provide for my household.
So what do I do? I’m in a catch-22 situation. I like Donald Trump. I’m a union man and I’m saying that I like Donald Trump. That’s completely 180 degrees from what a union man would say, but he understands us a little more right now, I think. I and my family growing up were Democrat all the way – Democrat, Democrat, Democrat – but the Democratic Party has got away from the working man.
POWELL: I think the reason Trump is so popular – I like to fight, though. It’s about time for the fight. The country had got to a point where it was – it needed somebody to show the fight. God, I hope this not racist, but every gas station you pull in, every hotel, I am still waiting for one that I see an American face behind. So where is that American face at? I’m missing something.
Everybody read that? “The Democratic Party has got away from the working man.” “It’s time for the fight.” It’s clear that these people knew nothing about Trump’s background and, they didn’t care. They just heard his (phony words) and bought in to them out of hope, because he was the only one of the two presidential candidates talking to their hopes and their fears. Hillary Clinton was all about job equality for women when she wasn’t pushing the college expenses and health plan ideas stolen from Bernie Sanders. Her hollow words fell on the deaf ears of middle-aged people struggling to make a living–even find a job–while trying to provide for their families.
And remember Siegfried Powell, who put himself in a retraining program that didn’t work out? Here’s their Democratic congresswoman, Terri Sewell, talking about her the job training program she’s pushing.
“I have my own program called Project READY. Ready stands for Realizing Everyone’s Ability to Develop Yourself. It’s about putting together all of the resources – federal, state and local – to try to help retrain and focus my constituents on jobs that are here now and the jobs that we’re trying to recruit in the future.
It’s actually not a government program, that’s the whole point. The reality is that we’re actually leveraging resources that are already being spent locally, federally and statewide. So we bring together the Alabama Career Center. We bring together, you know, Jefferson County industrial development training as well as Jeff State and Lawson State. And we try to – these are community colleges that are located here – trying to leverage the resources that we were already have.
But it’s also important that we don’t sell a bag of goods. Look. There are a lot of jobs that are not going to come back to America, but that doesn’t mean – or back to the Deep South – but that doesn’t mean that we don’t promote the opportunities that are coming this way. I think that it’s so important that we leverage the fact that we have Mercedes Benz and Hyundai and all of these amazing manufacturing opportunities to retool, meaning the future of work is automation.
So we have to be able to get our workers trained and – for the jobs that are here now and the jobs that are here in the future. But look. I’m not going to make any excuses. The Democrats lost the last election. And if we do not listen to Americans and actually put forth policies that make sense for average everyday Americans, we’re going to be in this quandary again in four years.”
The three ex-steelworkers, one aged 50 and the other two in their late 40s, aren’t going to be hired by Mercedes Benz or Hyundai, and those jobs wouldn’t pay anything near the $40,000+ they were earning an union steelworkers. Diane is training to be a chef, and her starting salary in a small town in Alabama–or elsewhere–is most likely going to be minimum wage, or perhaps $11 an hour. Bo and Siegfried both have their ages and lack of marketable skills for “the jobs that are here in the future” against them. Sewell and the rest of the Democratic Party have nothing to offer them, no words of hope, not even the phony “I’ll bring the jobs back” claim they voted their hopes on. And they sure don’t care about Trump’s ties with Russia or what really happened between him and James Comey.
And this is why I believe the Democratic Party is finished, why I believe that if the Democrats fail to remake the party from the ground up so that it is once again relevant to its traditional base of working class families and young adult voters–including students–it was never, ever regain control of Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court.
The lasting legacy of the Hillary Clinton’s and the DNC defeat in the 2016 Presidential Election. Yes, she won the popular vote. But if the Democrats had actually had a plan to win, they would have targeted the Electoral College vote. That’s what the Trump campaign did.
So, take a good look at the smug smiles of the glib Republicans now running the show: Trump, Pence, Bannon, McConnell, and Ryan. They will continue to remain fully responsible and in control of everything the federal government will inflict on us now and in years to come because there is absolutely no political party left to challenge and to beat them.
Instead of focusing on Oliver Stone’s dead-on review of Megyn Kelly’s interview with Vladimir Putin, I’m focusing on the childish, moronic, Trumpian comments made by NBC “News” President Noah Oppenheim in response to Stone’s remarks. Oppenheim demonstrates why NBC hasn’t had a real news division in years. I won’t actually quote Oppenheim; you can read what he said in the article I linked to at the bottom of this post.
At Fox, Kelly was never mistaken for a new journalist. She was just another Fox blonde beauty who exhibited spewed the same combative far right wing behavior as all the other Fox TV personalities, and spewed the same sensationalized, fact devoid b.s. promulgated all over Fox. She adopted the same phony, hard-hitting, confrontational interview style which aped the one Bill O’Reilly employed. None of this made her a news journalist.
Oppenheim hiring Kelly after she quit Fox was a ratings stunt and nothing more. Notice that Oppenheim didn’t hire Kelly to actually read news; he hired her as a TV personality only, hoping her Fox notoriety would draw ratings. So far, as I expected, that gambit has failed miserably. The few viewers who watched the show learned absolutely nothing from Putin. Kelly can read the “hard-hitting” questions written for her to ask but she has no idea how to follow up with her questions of her own.
Oppenheim figured that Kelly would bring her large Fox audience with her to NBC and that new viewers who never watched her on Fox would discover that they liked her. When he concocted his hiring stunt, he failed to consider or he dismissed two facts: 1. Most Fox viewers will not watch NBC News since it’s just part of the evil MSM (mainstream media) so reviled by the GOP and its base. 2. Megyn Kelly is not likeable. She has adopted too hard an edge from competing with the macho man culture established and nurtured by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes at Fox. She’s nice to look at but as soon as she starts talking, anyone not a Fox fan will turn her off. She hasn’t the warm and cuddly personality of the type Oppenheim has populated the Today show with.
So, Noah Oppenheim, pull out your chest and beat on it with your fists in your attempt to intimidate Oliver Stone. Your breast beating isn’t fooling anyone. You took a gamble on stunt hiring Megyn Kelly and, as expected, you lost. Of course to save face you’ll wait to cash in your chips and leave the game until Kelly’s contract is up and you fail to renew it. Or you may take some of those chips and pay her off to leave early. Either way, you’re the loser.
But with the way you childishly insulted Oliver Stone, perhaps after Sean Spicer is fired as White House Press Secretary, Trump will offer YOU the jump. You’ve already shown that you would fit right in with the low level of discourse in his administration.
Yes, I knew Greg Gianforte would win his special election race for Montana’s sole House seat. We’ve long ago reached the point in this country where right wing Republican voters exalt in their elected representatives being violent thugs, especially when the violent attack is perpetrated against a news reporter, and a foreign one at that. You know how some them wingers hate them Brits.
But, once again, it was the Democrats that gave this victory to the Republicans by running Rob Quist, a folk singer against a billionaire, a billionaire who styled himself as a Trump clone because that’s what gets you elected in right wing congressional districts now. These voters are so fed up with Washington that they elected billionaire bullies to fight the crooks for them, never realizing that those billionaire bullies will feel right at home within the congressional political system, fighting against the interests of their constituents who elected them. For example, Donald Trump, the Bully-in-Chief, is making a mess of this country yet his Evangelical voter base still loves him.
The Democratic Party is still regarded as the party of whiney wimp liberals by the Right, and as the party of Republican Lite feckless incompetents by the Left. But the significant difference is that Democratic voters sit out the elections in protest while Republican voters come out in large enough numbers to elect their candidates.
As I see it now, the poll numbers showing Trump’s falling popularity are meaningless. Gianforte was elected in his district despite highly negative poll numbers. This just goes to show that in the absence of Democrats running a hero, voters will elect the Republican billionaire bully. Yes, this was just one right wing Republican district voting as predicted. But I worry that this could also be a harbinger of 2018 and 2020.
David Nir, political director of Daily Kos and was a fundraiser for Quist, is quoted as saying, “Republicans might be breathing a sigh of relief that their morally reprehensible candidate won on Thursday night, but they should still be very worried about 2018.”
To use the words of the great Vin Scully, Nir is viewing the political landscape with his heart and not with his eyes. I’m not feeling nearly as confident at this point.
I’m proud to be one of the prescient millions who foretold the almost immediate crash and burn of Donald Trump in the White House. If a wink is as good as a nod to a blind man, even the blind could see this coming from the onslaught of winking eyes as far back as the primaries. Make no mistake, Trump will turn the heat up on the Republicans so high they’ll have to doff their ongoing participation in providing cover for him and stand out alone in the cold light of common sense and allow themselves to be blown toward the inevitable: either the impeachment and conviction or the resignation of Donald John Trump, destined to have the shortest tenure in the White House of a tenant (I will not refer to him as the president) who was not forced to leave due to serious illness or death.
But, being the faIr-minded Farlefty that I am, it’s now time to out the Democrats for the partisan, opportunistic hypocrites that they are. Granted, Trump has committed more impeachable offenses in the shortest period of time after moving into the White House than all the other real presidents. But, his treasonous, unethical, and illegal transgressions haven’t cost any lives—so far. Contrast that with the treasonous, unethical and illegal transgressions of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. They conspired to concoct a lie that would not only result in thousands (and counting) of American troops and the deaths of millions (and counting) Iraqi troops and citizens, and led to the total destabilization of the Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Peninsula regions. They assassinated Saddam Hussein without having a single coherent and workable plan in place on how to fill the governmental vacuum left by his death.
And I said this was all built upon multiple lies, right? And from those lies they started multiple wars, decimating an entire part of the world for their own personal gains and those of their business cronies. Yet, in 2006, with the Democrats once again the controlling majority after winning the midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi made the announcement that impeachment of Bush &n Co. was off the table. The Democrats weren’t even actually in power until January 2007 yet she still kicked the shovel out of all liberals’ hands. And Harry Reid was right there with his foot on the shovel to make sure it remained impotently on the ground.
So, all this public outcry calling for the impeachment of Trump over his dangerously immature, illegal and treasonous activities has a very hollow ring to it. I want the guy out of the White House and relegated to an existence of public disgrace and humiliation, as well as the butt of stand-up comic and late night show host jokes for the rest of his miserable and hopefully less wealthy and connected life. But again, the high crimes and misdemeanors he’s perpetrated up to this point don’t even rise up to the level of the Bush administration outing Valerie Plame as a CIA operative through a Robert Novak column just to wreak revenge on her hubby Joe Wilson. But I digress.
So, save me from all this self-righteous chest thumping of the Democrats (albeit rightfully) demanding Trump’s head on a platter held by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. They had and blew their chance at positioning themselves as the sole guardians of the Constitution and safeguarding our democracy and governmental institutions. And following on the heels of the Republicans impeaching Bill Clinton over virtually nothing, they not only wimped out, they sold us out. Yes, Trump deserves to be both impeached and convicted. But spare us the dramatic posturing and the self-righteous indignation, Democrats. You sound just as phony and self-serving as the Republicans back in 1998-99.
“Hey, Sergey! I got Sergey here confused with you and told HIM all our classified secrets. You wanna poison him here or wait till you get him back to my hotel?”
This is it. We’ve just started down the path to Trump’s impeachment. Unless the Republicans choose to show the world they have a double standard when it comes to impeaching presidents. Bill Clinton was tried (which was a pre-arranged deal between the Democrats and the Republicans anyway) for lying under oath about having sex with an intern inside the Oval Office.
We’re about to find out if allegedly divulging code word classified information to a Russian minister and ambassador INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE is a textbook definition of treason, to add to his growing list of high crimes and misdemeanors already committed by the guy while sitting in the office of the president. I mean, does putting our country at serious risk of being compromised by the sociopathic Russian president who has access to his own nuclear codes rise to the same level as the Satyr-in-Chief telling fibs about getting a blowjob under the Oval Office desk?
We’re about to find out. The Congressional Republicans are now calculating how many black and otherwise Democratic voters they’ll have to purge from the voter rolls using Kris Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck program to win the midterm elections next year. They’re about to hear Kobach tell them, “You’re gonna need a bigger vote.”