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John Dean is still right

I think it was Propertius who asked whether there is a threshold of bad behavior that will cause the Republican voter to abandon Trump. I don’t think there is or at least not any time soon. But before I explain why, let me take you on a little diversion.

I waited until after chemo and surgery before I started googling and YouTubing anything about cancer, for obvious reasons.

But once I started feeling more positive about my prognosis, I went YouTubing and found it is chock full of cancer patients documenting their “journeys”. One journey left a strong impression on me. The woman was Christina Newman. In her thirties, she was a popular youtuber among the raw foods cohort. Then she was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. She had 4 positive lymph nodes.

She decided to not have chemo or radiation. She was convinced that alternative treatments would work for her despite the loud and frequent warnings from her doctors that if she didn’t get treated, she would die. Even her herbalist told her to submit to chemo because it was really important to stop this aggressive cancer from spreading.

She decided to take her own path.

Ten months later, she made a vlog about how her cancer had returned after surgery and now, even more lymph nodes were affected. It was then, when she could see a tumor the size of a golf ball growing rapidly, that she decided to try chemo. Over the next two years’ worth of videos, I watched her optimism turn to desperation. She is diagnosed as terminal the week after she gave birth.

Her story is really sad but I urge you to go check out her videos because she showed great courage during her journey up to her final destination. But it’s very frustrating to watch her throw away any chance of a long life by rejecting conventional treatment in favor of green smoothies and homeopathic concoctions.

The videos haunted me. The video where she talks about refusing chemo and radiation was mesmerizing to me. It feels like she is more afraid of chemo and its toxic effects than the cancer itself. I couldn’t stop watching it and I couldn’t say why.

I had an epiphany about that today.

It occurs to me that the typical Republican voter is afraid of what might happen to them if Democrats ever take charge again. That might seem obvious but bear with me.

They’ve been conditioned to believe that Democrats are going to take their guns and healthcare choices and their freedom and god knows what else. We make jokes about how we will force them to gay marry and have abortions but they really truly believe their worst fears will come true if Democrats are elected. They fear us more than they fear anything Trump will do.

Imagine what it must be like to have such an all consuming fear of Hillary Clinton, for example, that you will ignore all of Trump’s corruption, his appalling behavior towards his military aides, his compromising our national security and cozying up to Putin. I never thought I would hear the kind of support for Trump that would cross so many ethical lines. They support his obstruction. He’s like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke. He’s and his ice pick are the only things keeping out the Walkers. Deep down, they know that he’s guilty but they believe that any Democrat would be so much worse.

Think about what happens whenever Democrats look like they might be regaining some traction. Almost immediately, Hillary Clinton will be rolled out. Maybe there’s a trigger word that releases the “Hillary would have been horrible” neurotransmitter.

The fear that these voters are experiencing is a lot like the fear that cults instill in their followers. It’s emotional and resistant to reason.

All I know is they’ve been conditioned to believe that no matter how awful Trump is, the cure is so much worse that they will avoid it at all costs. They’ll avoid it until the day that it metastasizes and all chances of rooting it out will look feeble and desperate. Once they decide that things have gotten bad enough, there won’t be a cure and they’ll have to live with Trump and his party until the very bitter end.

There will come a day when they will want to try to hold him accountable but until then, they will dig in and try alternatives. Right now, impeachment might be the medicine we need to dig out what is killing us. Once that opportunity has passed, Trump and his yes men will feel comfortable to spread everywhere and take over the body.

And that’s what made me think of John Dean trying to counsel Richard Nixon when he said, “There’s a cancer on the presidency”.

Nixon was low grade compared to Trump.

25 Responses

  1. RD, that is a profound and chilling essay. Just relating it to the concept of what the Republicans are afraid of, isn’t this a lot like some areas of the organized Christian religion? I am not intending to attack religious people in general, but we know that the Church kept power during the Dark and Middle Ages, and still has great power today, because of the prospect of eternal life, and the fear of damnation. I have read that many Christians grow up with abiding fear of impure thoughts, as if those were enough to send them to hell.

    The so-called Evangelicals, I don’t quite know what their religion is. It seems to be very adaptable and convenient; whatever they want to do is pious, and whomever they don’t like is a sinner who must be destroyed. They always excuse Republicans who do bad things, but flay Democrats for lesser. They must impeach Clinton, they must not impeach Trump.

    I don’t know how much of this is stoked by the preachers or by the secular preacher Fox News, and how much is internal. I know that we have gone through Democratic Presidencies where most things went well. Certainly Clinton’s peace and prosperity. Are so many of these Republicans that young or that mentally vacuous that they cannot remember that things were good then? Why would they be so afraid of Hillary? Many of these Republicans even like the ACA, but they hate and fear Democrats.

    Some of it has to be about race; they hate and fear everyone who is not a White Evangelical like them. But there is more. They fear intellectuals. They think that these people are going to take away their religious books, not let them celebrate Christmas, remove all the hamburgers, all in service of some parental efforts to make them do what they don’t want to do. The are obviously mostly uneducated, unknowledgeable people who are encouraged to be that way, just as in medieval times, because that is how you control them.

    Watch Trump play on all of this, by threatening and cajoling them. He decides that it might be better to solve the trade war with China after the election; i.e., if you elect him it will happen, if you do not, it will never happen. He will tell them that the stock market will plummet if you elect a Democrat, in clear contradiction of the fact that the stock market has always performed better under Democrats. He will frighten them with tales of goblins and vampires and anything which can get them to believe that they must pray to him and carry his for-sale amulets. He and his enablers will do what they always have done, which is to convince the populace that the Democratic candidate is not just bad or wrong, but the devil incarnate, trying to take away all their money, their fun, their religion, their sense of moral superiority.

    How do we fix or save these people? It is a cult of about 100 million. I suppose that when the climate crisis really manifests itself, and there are droughts, fires, millennium level hurricanes and floods, they might take notice. But probably many of them will just see it as part of the path to the Rapture. Their priests, some literal, some figurative, have provided the rationalization for that, too.

    • You can’t fix or save them. You can maybe ask them to explain themselves in a calm fashion. It’s grueling and frustrating to get them to think through their fear. There are booby traps along the way. I have had people like this in my family. In fact, I was the black sheep in my immediate family because I couldn’t think like this. I spent years trying to get through to them and eventually gave up. There’s nothing you can do. They have to figure it out for themselves. And as long as they only hear one point of view and that view reinforces the fear on a regular basis and causes them to distrust every other voice, you might as well hear your head against a wall.
      I understand what George Conway is going through. He’s never going to get his wife back before it’s too late.

      • This is true and I have been making the same point since 2016. Those candidates like Bernie and Biden that are centering their campaigns on getting these voters in a general election are really running a fool’s errand. I have found the only thing that you can do is calmly state the facts over and over but don’t expect them to ever admit you are right. The best you can hope for is for them to quit spewing their toxic rhetoric and stay quiet. Republicans are basically a political cult.

        • With perhaps a handful of exceptions, we can’t deprogram the cultists. We must turn out other people to outvote them. As evilly clever as Vladimir Putin and his intelligence-agency minions are, even they would have been helpless without the Vote Slackers (the voluntary non voters, not the people who were prevented from voting by Russiapublican dirty tricks).

  2. Yes, the triggers are rolled out to harvest the masses, but one of the most innocent and obvious reasons these triggers roll out is that the Republicans in Congress and elsewhere are deathly afraid of irrelevance and obscurity. Despite being grossly in the minority in the house, these jokers are maximizing their influence while they still can, but they, along with their senate counterparts, are deathly afraid of losing their influence for many reasons, but pure power, control, and relevance can not be minimized. Look at the state legislature in California as an example- republicans have no ability to put forth any ill-advised legislation or combat the democrats in any functional way. They have been emasculated and are mere placeholders. The enablers of trump are very fearful of suffering the same fate if they let their guard down. Ego and fear of impotence are strong drivers. The toxic masculine flavor of this battle is not lost, no offense to non-toxic masculinity.

    • Innocent was the wrong word

      • Isn’t it annoying how TurdPress won’t let us edit mistakes if we don’t notice them before we hit the “post” button?

    • That is a very interesting concept, fear of political impotence. It may be that while Democrats mostly want to pass important legislation, Republicans just crave the power and perquisites. Speaking of California, I will mention that at a fruit market a couple of weeks ago, I saw a table where two rather snippy women (when I told them how ridiculous this was) were soliciting signatures on petitions to “Recall Gavin Newsom.” Of course, the Republicans did this to get rid of Grey Davis, and get Schwarzenegger put in for a miserable eight years which almost bankrupted the state. So they never give up, these Republicans. Probably Peter Thiel is behind this newest effort. One of them did admit, when I suggested that this was fronted by Republicans, that “you would not be wrong.” Republicans are always looking for ways to obtain even more power; witness various efforts to dupe voters into passing laws which would split the electoral votes of Blue states. And then when they get this power, they just use it to give tax breaks to the rich. Gore Vidal once mused on how astounding it was that “the ruling class” has managed to maintain power for 500 years, even after the feudal system disappeared.

      • That recall Gavin push is horrid- it is all over the redder portions of California. They are blaming him for things that he couldn’t possibly be responsible for, since he has only been in office for less than a year. Not that their complaints had any validity. I wouldn’t be surprised if trump junior’s new heartthrob, Kimberly, Gavin’s ex, may be behind it. The displays at the petition displays are full of trump banners and paraphernalia.

  3. I just have to mention this. I was watching Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night. He was going to talk about how Pete Buttigieg was wrong (he was, indeed) in saying that “Democrats have never cared much about deficits.” So O’Donnell was going to show how Democrats have cut deficits while Republicans have raised them. But he hates Bill Clinton so much (will never mention him except to gleefully point out that he was impeached), that he would not even mention Clinton’s name with regard to his budget which did much to actually wipe out the immense Reagan/Bush deficit, and turn it into a surplus! He said that ‘Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden showed courage in voting for a controversial bill which actually raised taxes on some people, and that the bill cost the Democrats the House for the first time in 40 years.” Not a single mention of which President put forth that budget.

    Then O’Donnell went on to Obama, showed a picture of him, and was giving him credit for reducing the deficit–at which point I turned the show off. O’Donnell’s obsession with never giving Clinton credit for anything, is absolutely classless for a so-called newsperson. And this, in no small part, is why we did not have Hillary Clinton as President, either in 2009 or 2017, and instead now have Trump, and a current field of Democratic candidates which is looking worse and worse. The Clintons could have built a legacy of potential future candidates. Gore was absolutely set up to win in 2000, except that Brazile told him to stay away from Clinton and not let him campaign for him; plus Gore picked the Democrat most critical of Clinton, Joe Lieberman, to show how much he was disdaining him. So we got GWB; and then we ended up with Obama, under whom we lost every branch of national and state government; and Obama’s only branch of a potential “tree” of political descendants is Biden.

    • I heard O’Donnell. He did briefly mention Clinton wrt deficit reduction.
      But I think the bigger point is that Buttigieg is adopting Republican talking points to appeal to the middle and center right. It’s reprehensible.
      Besides, as my post suggests, it’s very difficult to turn around the fearful. You might as well run as a Democrat. Some people ain’t never going to vote for you, especially the ones soaked in Republican talking points.

      • Yes, Buttigieg has proved a disappointment even for those who at least hoped he would provide a reasonable alternative as the campaign progresses. That doesn’t leave us with much now. Biden just is unimpressive as a campaigner. Warren is dropping in polls. Is Sanders with his loyal cult, actually going to win this nomination, with the help of some Warren supporters, if she becomes less viable? Klobuchar is left, but has a long way to go to leapfrog over the top three. No one else seems politically feasible. How did we get to this so quickly? I guess that we could blame Tom Perez for much of it, as his debate criteria have taken out much of the field before the first caucus. I don’t want to seem too negative, but I had felt for three years that Hillary’s “loss” would leave a large void in the Democratic Party. We will have better candidates in 2024, but we cannot afford to wait that long.

      • You might as well run as a Democrat. Some people ain’t never going to vote for you, especially the ones soaked in Republican talking points.

        Exactly. Or as a great Democrat once put it:


      • William, I think all of the candidates we have exceed expectations even, god help us, mike Bloomberg. (Tulsi doesn’t count) I don’t doubt that any of them would be amazing, visionary presidents in their own way. Any one of them is more than capable of restoring our place in the world. I’m not freaking out yet. We don’t know what kind of eucatastrophe will happen between now and Election Day that will change everything. Luck favors the well-prepared. So, let’s not give up on 2020 yet.
        Also, and this is very important, there are generations behind us who have a different concept about how government should work and how we should behave globally. I don’t think change is going to happen all at once. But we need to let it start to happen regardless. Millennials have it rough. Let’s not pull up the ladder behind us. Let’s give them a chance to enlighten us.

    • Yes; Al Gore’s biggest mistake was believing the Beltway Boneheads when they told him that John (and Jane) Q. Public were just incensed at the wanderings of the Clenis.

      Oh, and also, thanks, Ralph–especially for the Bush Jr. (in)Justices on the Supreme Court. Go fuck yourself sideways with a Corvair crankshaft, Ralph.

    • Well, to be fair, even the supposedly progressive branches of the MSM were more than willing to contribute Gore’s defeat. Everyone remembers the cover of the July, 2000 Atlantic Monthly, right?

  4. I remember when everyone thought Pelosi was not up to the job as Speaker. Look at her now! She’s become the real leader of the democratic party and deserves it by the way she puts trump in his place. Don’t mess with Nancy!

    As for Buttigieg, he was easy to see through when he first came on the scene. Trump has numbed us to his constant, non-sensical and repetitive word salads to the point of making us gaga whenever we hear someone who can speak the English language well. Buttigieg is 37 years old. I saw arrogance in his thinking he was up to the job and I would like to know what goes on in his private fundraising get-togethers. He’s getting a lot of money for an unknown and I have to believe he’s making certain compromises in order to get the donations. Something the media totally ignores is that does not have the requisite experience necessary to do the job. Nancy Pelosi has proven the value of experience in how she is handling the impeachment process and trump. We cannot fall for voting for the person who “sounds” good but has nothing in their record to back up their ability to actually do what they say.

    Biden’s sharp reaction to the voter yesterday showed that if he can loose it like this with a voter then he is not up to the task of taking on a raving maniac like trump during a debate. Imagine what the media would be saying if it had been Warren or Klobuchar who responded that way? My fear is that Biden would get so rattled by trump’s attacks not only against him but his son Hunter during a one on one debate, that he’d forget what he was going to say, start stuttering and sounding feeble. Hardly someone I would have confidence in defeating trump. Nonetheless, I’m sure the media will continue to prop him up just like they did obama and sanders. As for Sanders, I did not like him when he ran against Hillary and still don’t.

    As far as I’m concerned, my two favorite candidates are Warren and Klobuchar. Amy is still having trouble getting traction because the media has been focusing so much on Joe and Mayor Pete. They’ve pretty much have ignored her and have written her off.

    I believe that the media has been too quick in assessing these 2 women as no longer real contenders in the race because they want a white guy, any white guy! I refuse to give them that power. They really screwed up with trump and proved that their misogyny played too big of a role in how they covered Hillary as opposed how they covered trump. Hell, they didn’t even vet trump! Why should we trust their analysis of the candidates this time around after the epic failure by the media in 2016?

    I still believe both Warren and Amy are still real contenders and are more well received by the public than the media wants us to believe. I’m not counting either of them out because I cannot believe that only Biden or Buttigieg can defeat trump and have the best ideas.

    • Maybe Gabbard Gabbard Hey isn’t Putin’s only puppet in the Democratic presidential nomination race? I would guess that Putin is trying to build influence in both major parties, just in case his gremlins can’t hand the election to the Rethugs. Maybe Pete is getting some of that Muscovite Moolah?

    • I have to say I agree with you regarding the media. Any candidate that they try to get us to nominate we should run away from pronto. Warren got stuck in the weeds with MFA. Truly too many people listened to the press in 2017 and signed on with Bernie’s policies and it is killing them. It’s one of the reasons as horrible as a candidate Biden is he is kept in the running. People are clinging to Biden out of fear of nominating Bernie.

    • I have to admit that my first reaction to Mayor Pete was that he was a typical corporate climber. He’s done nothing to disabuse me of that notion.

      • I had that same reaction to Obama. He completely lived up to that image with every one of his policies.

        • Obama and Buttigieg would probably both have made excellent Moderate Republicans, if the GOP had not been captured by its lunatic extremist bigot wing.

        • I agree with you on that, RD – and I think I said so in at least a couple of comments here back in ’08.

  5. Shadow posted this on Uppity. If you haven’t listened, I highly recommend it. Howard Stern is a fan boy (who knew) and he was able to elicit a side of Hillary rarely seen. She has led an exceptional life and her anecdotes are funny, poignant, insightful and revelatory. She knows Keith Richards! Hear her advice to the current candidates and the top three results of a survey done of voters who went for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but trump in 2016. Number #1: Hillary had Parkinson’s and would never survive her first term! Can’t remember #2 or #3 but they were just as baseless and utterly absurd.

    It’s over two hours but I couldn’t stop listening.


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