About That Swamp…And Your Vote

Early voting is now underway in most states; here in Indianapolis–thanks to Common Cause and the pro bono efforts of local attorney and all-around good guy Bill Groth–we have nearly as many satellite voting sites as our rural, Republican neighbors. Preliminary reports are that those sites have been flooded with early voters.

This is one of those years where most voters have made up their minds weeks, if not months, ahead. But just in case anyone reading this is tempted to send a less-than-emphatic message to the current iteration of the once Grand Old Party, let me remind you of the “quality” of the people in the Trump Administration, and the fact that electing any Republican to any position in any level of government is an endorsement of the “best people” that constitute Trump’s Swamp.

Who did they get to vet these people? Rod Blagojevich?

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is plagued by scandals — facing about a dozen different investigations of his conduct — but he may have found a solution to his oversight woes: replacing the person investigating him with a political stooge.

Subsequent reports suggest this particular appointment was reversed, but the fact that Zinke tried this stunt simply confirms his sleaziness. Of course, he has lots of company. CNN recently published a compendium of cabinet scandals and embarrassments.

The term “embattled” has now been thrown around so often in news coverage of Trump Cabinet secretaries’ assorted foibles, it’s practically been fused to the front of some of their titles. The President himself, perhaps for variety’s sake, referred to Jeff Sessions in a tweet last year as his “beleaguered” attorney general.

 

Some of the alleged (and confirmed) transgressions have been more damaging than others. The White House’s handling of the Rob Porter scandal might have been its darkest episode, an ethical failure leavened by bureaucratic incompetence. Mostly though, the administration’s scandals and embarrassments have been characterized less by furtive malfeasance than some kind of open disdain for (or ignorance of) basic ethical standards (or a lack of due diligence).

That lede was followed by a rundown of some of the most glaring “embarrassments,” from the nomination of White House doctor Ronny Jackson to head the Department of Veterans Affairs (he withdrew after reports emerged of his excessive drinking, creating a “toxic” work environment, handing out prescription pain medications without proper documentation, wrecking a government vehicle after a going-away party, and drunkenly banging on the door of a female colleague during an overseas trip) to the multiple transgressions that led to Scott Pruitt’s resignation from his position destroying the EPA, to Ben Carson’s $31,000 dining set, to White House Secretary Rob Porter’s penchant for domestic violence, to Tom Price’s pricey flying habits. And much, much more.

It’s a long list–an inclusive one would make a much too-long post– and the ethical problems continue to mount. Vox suggests that the administration is unable to clean house because the President himself is too “soaked in scandal.” As the story says,

But inside the Donald Trump White House, grifters, abusers, racists, and harassers still get hired; they lurk around the Oval Office after they’ve been found out; and even in the rare instance where they’re forced out, it’s only grudgingly.

We have an administration that is setting a new (low) level for corruption; a racist President who proudly proclaims his Nationalism; and a GOP controlled Congress that is at best feckless and at worst in active collaboration with the criminals and thugs in the administration.

A vote for any Republican–no matter how unconnected that person might be to the Trumpists’ constant affronts to democracy and the Constitution–will be seen as an endorsement of the GOP’s corruption and White Nationalism.

Is that unfair to local candidates who may be nice people? Yes. But it’s necessary. We can go back to being fair when we get our country back.

28 thoughts on “About That Swamp…And Your Vote

  1. “unfair to local candidates who may be nice people?” No, I don’t think so. Their silence in the face of the racist, misogynistic, violence inciting leader of their party makes them complicit in all of the damage to this country that Donald Trump has inflicted on us all. “Going along to get along” is no defense.

  2. Yes, but just voting for Democrats won’t get out country back. That sounds more like the multimillion-dollar DNC mouthpiece: Rachel Maddow.

    Within the state of Indiana, we don’t get offered much but Republicanism or Republicanism Lite. So vote for the Lite version all you want.

    Even people of color are supporting the GOP. Ignorance is what I call it, but their point is the Democratic Party doesn’t help them either–“They just want our vote.”

    Universal healthcare, free college tuition, pardon student loans, legalize marijuana, pardon those convicted of selling marijuana, scale down fossil fuel use, with a discussion of raising taxes back to 100% on wages more than $5 million, etc., etc.

    Throw in breaking up big banks into citizen owned community banks and community broadband. You’ll have a platform for the people which will gather energy regardless of our alleged political spectrum.

    The Democratic Party has no political backbone…it’s a fraud owned by Wall Street. If Bernie Sanders broke from the DNC, it would be over. Hillary Clinton recently stated that she is waiting until after the midterms to announce whether she’ll run again. What a colossal disaster that would be. That would deflate all the energy gathered across the country.

    Universal healthcare is supported by over 60% of Americans, and nobody thinks breaking up social security is a good idea. Most Americans want it strengthened. Include that in the platform…oh wait, the DNC won’t do that because Wall Street wants access to manage the trust funds. Everything else is political theater.

    In our upcoming county elections, we have a choice between the Democrats who stole taxpayer money and got caught by the FBI or the GOP who refused to debate their opponents. Cowards vs. Crooks, hell of a choice.

  3. I lasted about 20 minutes into last night’s Indiana Donnelly/Braun Senatorial “debate”; turned to an old Stephen King movie when it became evident it was simply rerunning the Donnelly/Braun TV campaign ads live. Not one straight answer; like Trump, both self-congratulatory and the other guy is your enemy was the message of the evening.

    While I stand by my Absentee Ballot vote for Donnelly, listed as a Democrat, I realized last night that I had actually voted for the first Republican candidate in many years. He is the Republican’s favorite Democrat and the Republican party will probably win future issues no matter which candidate wins here. We need Donnelly’s number on “our” side of that D.C. aisle but it appears he may only be a number; in reality he appears to be another swamp critter but, like taking nasty tasting medicine…he could be vital to our survival.

    The ballot machines at the polls will pop up with the number you are in the line of voters…IF the machine accepts your ballot; but we have no way of knowing if how we voted was properly recorded and counted. That fact has become more and more in doubt in recent years as the D.C. swamp deepens and stagnates.

    VOTE BLUE! Sigh

  4. JoAnn, rest assured that should there be a blue tsunami and Democrats take the House AND the Senate, Donnelly will suddenly become the Hoosier voice of progressive liberal politics.

  5. Sheila: I did exactly what you have suggested when I voted last Saturday. If a Republican candidate was unopposed (pretty common in Hancock Co.) I just didn’t vote for that office. Still wondering when the Democrats will gather enough inertia to field candidates for every office. I’ve lived there for almost 30 years and it’s never happened.

  6. Grifters, Oligarchs, Plutocrats. And then there’s everything else- racism, xenophobia, anti-LGBTQ, anti-intellectualism, assaults on the rule of law, authoritarian demagoguery, and whatever I may be forgetting. When any of my Republican friends say, “But that’s not who we are”‘ I always ask, “So, what are you going to do about it, and when are you going to start?” I have yet to get an answer. Those questions seem to shock them into silence. And I’ve yet to meet a “Never Trump” Republican who didn’t melt into just another apologist for the party when the chips are down. I remind them that they really have to mean that stuff, and that means not giving the vulgarian what he wants, and casting meaningful votes against his enablers and collaborators.

    At this point, if you’re sticking with the GOP label, you’re either a full-on Trumpkin or just another Vichy Republican. Yes, vote them into oblivion, all the way down the ballot.

  7. Daleb,

    Don’t wait. Run for office yourself.

    Todd,

    The best way to get started on the agenda you have outlined is by electing Democrats. You won’t get everything right away, but nobody ever does. Democracy is messy and governing is a lot harder than it looks.

    VOTE BLUE!

  8. Where do our politicians stand on education? Title 2 funds were threatened to be cut which builds up our priniciplals and coaches. Real changes can be made in all schools thru collaborative coaching.
    I’ve recently begun listening to Jordan Peterson on the scams of our University’s not using research only personal experience to drive agendas. Etc. He’s calling on all liberal academics to fight for personal growth.
    He talks about the Gulag Archipelligo and lost lessons that will keep us going down the path we are on. People vote with their understanding of what America is and should be.

  9. This is no time to play out our pet peeves. We all have dirty laundry, but some have more than others. I didn’t even agree with everything my favorite president of all time (FDR) did or didn’t do, and those today need to understand that the not so bad is far better than white nationalism, ripping up the Constitution via executive edict, pathological lying etc. etc. etc.

    I saw marchers in the 30s via Movietone News in New York City with both hammers and sickles and swastikas brandished on their shoulders as the country very nearly fell into revolution due to the excesses of Wall Street and Republicans during the “Roaring Twenties” and the hair-raising Depression thereafter, and I detect an environment today in which something similar could occur. We need not feed the beast by voting for the beast keepers because we don’t like our party’s stands (tepid or otherwise) on issues we think should be decided this way or that. Perfection has always been a mere concept, not based in reality, and politicians as well as preachers who promise eternal bliss either in this world or next are power players selling products as surely as Quaker is selling oats.

    We are down to the wire and Sheila’s thesis today is 100 percent on the mark. A vote for any Republican at any level, however appealing he or she may be in selling their oats, is a vote for Trump and the current mayhem in a bar set so low as to be unimaginable only two years ago. Our oats, though short of perfection, are far superior to those of our opponents, and with our democracy at stake due to their leadership’s cultivation of cult and mindless economic theories up for grabs next Tuesday, it is time to stand up for America (and its continuance).

    Finally, I spent some time in the South Pacific during WW II as a volunteer. I was not there to fight for FDR or Truman; I was there to fight against fascism and for democracy. Presidents come and go, I reasoned, but America and the democratic values that undergird the idea of America are for the ages. I am still of that view since, as I often write here and elsewhere, our democracy is our most valuable asset held in common and one of the last few things left worth dying for.

  10. I voted early and voted a straight Democratic ticket. Where a Republican was running unopposed I wrote in “Mickey Mouse” or “Porky Pig” since I wanted them to know that even cartoon figures beat them out as far as I was concerned (and they do record write-in votes, no matter how ludicrous). I want Republicans to know that their silence in the face of this President’s behavior is unacceptable.

    Also — there is evidence here, in SC, and in Texas, that voting a straight Democratic ticket will flip some votes over to the Republicans. This has been documented on people’s phones. CHECK YOUR BALLOT!!

  11. Paraphrased from Sheila:

    This is one of those years where most voters have made up their minds weeks, if not months, ahead. But just in case anyone reading this is tempted to send a less-than-emphatic message to the current iteration of the once Grand Old Party, let me remind you of the “quality” of the people in the Trump Administration, and the fact that electing any Republican to any position in any level of government is an endorsement of the “best people” that constitute Trump’s Swamp.

    We have an administration that is setting a new (low) level for corruption; a racist President who proudly proclaims his Nationalism; and a GOP controlled Congress that is at best feckless and at worst in active collaboration with the criminals and thugs in the administration.

    A vote for any Republican–no matter how unconnected that person might be to the Trumpists’ constant affronts to democracy and the Constitution–will be seen as an endorsement of the GOP’s corruption and White Nationalism.

    Is that unfair to local candidates who may be nice people? Yes. But it’s necessary. We can go back to being fair when we get our country back and when Trump is soundly spanked and stood in a corner to review his sins, regret them, apologize publically to the embarrassed Nation, and promise to get counseling to become a mensch.

  12. Todd, while I appreciate that the current crop of democrats running are far less than ideal (for me) and while I don’t particularly like Joe Donnelly and wouldn’t vote for him in a primary, i’m not sure your policy, which seems to be “they’re all the same” and “why bother” is either factual (there does seem to be substantive differences between someone I find I don’t agree with too often and someone who is an ax murderer) or useful (tamping down on people’s desire to go out and vote doesn’t seem helpful to me). My2C

  13. The day after Election Day the question answered will be have we rearranged Congress so that it can deny the Executive Branch of all legislative support for their pogrom to destroy liberal democracy and can we start holding criminals in it accountable? If the answer is yes we will have made all of the progress possible right now and can start preparing for 2020.

  14. I figure if you won’t vote for a GOP candidate, thankfully, and a Dem isn’t good enough, well, then you just don’t care do you?

  15. Applaud you commentary, Professor. Unfortunately, those in most of Indiana don’t even get a choice as we don’t get offered much but Republicanism.

  16. good day from swamp land nodak! yesterdays article in commondreams.org. a handful of billionaire familes grab nations wealth for themselves,,,.. im always looking for easy to understand and some figures from people doing the research. talking points and conversation to the cults,are desperately needed…trying to land a peasize message into the locals brain whereas,a plane should fit, isnt easy. but,it does gets there. chris hedges usual shoot from the hip, “the trump cult”…i like him alot,even hes raised my ire,but respect will be given to such as him and rob scheer. seems like nader and reich are in overdrive also,to counter to trumps mob… best wishes,i hope indiana is reading your site, they would really get some real discussion on the topics.. ..blue is cool, red is dead,and doing nothing is even worse..vote or lose it all……

  17. Bravo, bravo. I want my country, my state, my community, and my business back. Not to mention my trust in elected representatives. This constant hyper-vigilance is exhausting. I am not advocating complacency, but a turn towards normalcy would be a happy respite.

  18. Dee Thornton is a strong candidate for the 5th Congressional District. Her opponent is the incumbent, Susan Brooks who votes with Trump policies 98.9% of the time and refuses to hold town hall meetings. Dee is a businesswoman, mother, grandmother and supports public education, better healthcare and is supported by sensible gun law reform groups. A recent poll shows she is within the margin of error to beat Susan Brooks. Please vote for her and tell your friends and neighbors to vote for her. We have a good chance to flip the 5th!!!

  19. “Is [A vote for any Republican–no matter how unconnected that person might be to the Trumpists’ constant affronts to democracy and the Constitution] unfair to local candidates who may be nice people? Yes.”

    My feeling is that a Republican candidate, once elected, becomes subsumed into the GOP Borg. Their capacity for independent thought is eradicated. The GOP in Washington is essentially one vote that gets counted 51 (or 237) times. Is it the same in Indiana?

  20. one comment,, thanks Sheila,those words today are my credo since reagan. it was obvious since 1981 where this might lead. i dont hide my distaste at all. my wife and i had a deep conversation about this election,she actully sees how scared we are. my tirade maybe somewhat out there,but i refuse to allow our country to be run over and distroyed by a mob of wealthy,and who,they elect. we dont have a second chance here,its do or die. anyone whos really watched those notches on the handle in congress being added daily,that,isnt moved by this,is not if full control of their faculties,or its a head in the sand again.. sure we have demos who congradulate the right,and many kneel to the wall streets scabs. but,if the demos themselves dont take notice,2020 maybe the killing floor for the demo wall streets scabs. schumer is on top of the list. pelosi,should take a bow and join her elite in san fran in the gentrification movement. as she must support. and the list goes on. if heitkamp,wins nodak,it would be a miricle.after all.we couldnt get rid of the sunday blue law last election cycle,imagine were trying for legal marijuana..best wishes. im in the ditches,throwing that dirt,everyday since 1981 ,vote true blue, lets take America back!

  21. @Jack Smith, thank you for your often hard to read and understand commentary. I read and reread until I get it. You offer insights from a part of the country I seldom get to see or hear.

    Deep down, I fear we are lost and things will continue to get even worse before they get better. When making a decision about open enrollment for healthcare for 2019, I am presented with making a choice about a program that may be gone by the end of the next year. Then what?

    What do families with children face in their decision making regarding healthcare and education? How do you make informed decisions when the information needed is no yet existent? What will happen when middle income taxpayers do their filing next year and discover that many of the exemptions they used previously are gone? What does the federal government do when faced with the precipitous drop in revenue that comes from the tax uncollected from billionaires and corporations?

    This election may reflect the polarized and angry in both parties. The next election is going to be even more challenging if this one fails to right this storm-tossed, listing ship.

  22. I hope you all care enough for your fellow citizens around the world (that vote too) so we have a country to come home to some day. We just had to follow the job. Thanks.

  23. I would have to say the most disappointing aspect of this election is the Democratic Party as whole, with some exceptions are running against President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence. This is just the same type of election strategy that failed in 2016.

    The partisans of both parties are activated to one degree or another. The Independents in many cases decide the outcomes in competitive races. I have always been of the opinion you have to motivate voters to vote for someone because they align with your views and hopes.

    Motivating Voters to actually get out and vote for some one has to be more than just voting against President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence. You can come up with all the scare tactics you want but, bottom line is you have want to vote for someone because you perceive they are going to make a positive difference.

  24. “A vote for any Republican–no matter how unconnected that person might be to the Trumpists’ constant affronts to democracy and the Constitution–will be seen as an endorsement of the GOP’s corruption and White Nationalism.”

    “Is that unfair to local candidates who may be nice people? Yes. But it’s necessary. We can go back to being fair when we get our country back.”

    To allow current conditions to continue is not only unfair to millions of nice Americans and allowing the mass shootings to continue killing hundreds of nice Americans. We need to face that fact and act accordingly; priorities in this country have been sinking to new levels at a much faster rate since January 20, 2017 and the death rate has been rising to new levels at the same time.

    Trump needs to give a little more thought to his newest affront to the Constitution; repealing the 14th Amendment would give Congress the right to deport Donald Trump, Jr. (1977), Ivanka Trump Kushner (1981) and Eric Trump (1984) due to their lack of birthright citizenship. Their mother, Ivana, didn’t become a naturalized citizen until 1988.

    VOTE BLUE!

  25. Yes this is Indiana – I learned early –
    “I am anti-tax, anti-government, anti-abortion and pro-gun. I am your Democratic candidate for US Senate.” That is how it goes here at this point.

    Still, in this day and age, a non-Donnelly vote (even not voting for Senate) is a vote to enable Mitch “I will do anything to stay in power, screw you” McConnell.

    Monotonous – The Democrats have been campaigning very hard on healthcare and it has been very effective. Why do you think every ACA-bashing Republican is now saying that they are the sole defenders of protecting insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

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