The Fire Next Time: How To Prevent The Russians From Hacking The Next Election

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have already proposed some fanciful Constitutional fixes when it comes to how to prevent a foreign power, namely the Russians, from hacking into our election system. But is there any more practical manner to do that? One issue is that our system is so open that it’s difficult to come up with any fix that wouldn’t cause more harm than good.

In other words, just like building a wall is applying a sledge hammer to a social issue unnecessarily, so, too, the most obvious way to fix the issue of the Russians hacking into our election system: significant increase in regulation of the Internet would too easily be abused or other purposes. And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of how it probably wouldn’t stand up to Constitutional scrutiny.

So, it seems like we’re fucked.

In desperation, if there was real political willpower to fix this problem, we might get the government to work in tandem with Twitter to lightly regulate bots and trolls from, say, six months out from election day. Something whereby we at least made it more difficult for Russian bots to fuck with people’s minds. But given that the Republicans are so completely Vichy when it comes to Donald Trump and the Russians, there simply is no willpower to do anything at all.

I honestly can’t think of any scenario where the issue of how to prevent Russians from hacking into our election cycle will be fixed anytime soon for any reason. It’s only going to get worse. It seems as though for the foreseeable future something we take for granted — free and fair elections — are, in fact, in danger and for once the problem isn’t even self-inflicted.

It’s all deep. It’s all very deep.

A Hot Take On James Comey’s Testimony

by Shelton Bumgarer
@bumgarls

While in some ways today lived up to the hype, in other, more fundamental ways I found it rather underwhelming. I found it underwhelming because the thing I had hoped for — some sort of iconic statement that would prove the final death knell of the Trumplandia experience simply did not happen.

And, alas, it seems as though it just isn’t going to happen.

What is really beginning to sink in — yet again — is how difficult it is to get rid of an American president once he’s in office. So, as long as there are no tapes — be they of a pee nature or otherwise — I have a growing fear that Trumplandia will be a fixture of the American political landscape for at least two years, if not much, much longer.

It seems to me that we’re in for a chronic case of Constitutional Crisis that will flair up every once in a while for the forseeable future. We’ve entered the age of tribal politics and the Republicans are so Vichy, so callow, so complicit in the rise of Trumplandia that they simply won’t do anything to ameliorate the situation until they are absolutely forced. It will nearly take the hand of God himself for Vichy Republicans to look past the base and put country over party.

It’s a sad fact, but given how it seems as though the GOP is hellbent on dragging James Comey’s reputation through the mud that that is exactly what is going to happen. There just aren’t any easy answers to how to fix the problems associated with Trumplandia. We’re stuck with it.

So, while the Comey hearing was dramatic and riveting, it did not really give me the political release that I was looking for. I didn’t get that perfect moment that could be used to end the cancer that is the Trump Administration.

If anything, it reminded me that we’re barely at the end of the beginning when it comes to this scandal. And, remember, to date, most of the damage inflicted on the Trump Administration has been self-inflicted. So, even though a fish rots from its head, it is almost inevitable that Trump will eventually untangle this clusterfuck of a presidency enough to survive, if not prosper.

Really, all we need is a war with the DPRK or Iran and suddenly everything will have worked itself out and the Tsar-a-Largo problem will be put on the backburner to such an extent that we won’t even remember it. And, remember, if a hayseed rube like me out in the sticks and see that possible out, then definitely Steve Bannon sitting in the White House can see it.

Thus anyone who is getting all excited about the prospect of getting Trump anytime soon should chill out. It’s just not going to happen for at least two years. That is the bare minimum. He could be around a lot longer than that. Much longer.

Therefore, all I can say is if you really want to end the Trumplandia Era, you need to engage, not rage against people who disagree with you politically. That’s it. That’s the only way it’s going to happen. It will be tough and you’ll be called a cuck and much worse by members of Trumplandia, but in the end it will be worth it. I swear.

Vichy Republicans & The Fall Of The American Republic

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Someone said on Twitter that it felt like Trumplandia was “cratering” tonight. I would strongly say the opposite. Because of the callow, craven nature of the Vichy Republicans that have essentially given absolute control to Donald J. Trump, things are only going to get worse for the foreseeable future.

Only if something really, really telling happen, like a Jeremy Corbyn win in Great Britain would I sit back, rub my beard and mull the possibility that maybe that things have gone to far. Something like that would give me some hope that maybe the pendulum is swinging back toward some form of sanity. I say that as someone who fears if Corbyn won you’d have to que the Benny Hill music when it comes to British politics. It’d be kind of nuts, if fun, if it happened.

Sorry for the noise in the background on this one.

Regardless, domestically, at least we can only take solace in the fact that it appears as though Trump has lost Twitter. Or, maybe, the Russian hackers that manipulated Twitter aren’t getting paid anymore so they’ve moved on. It used to be that you couldn’t have an actual serious conversation about Trump without whack jobs popping out of the woodwork all but demanding you bow down before Trump as Lord Zood. But that has changed in a weird way. It’s the silence that’s really weird. Trump hasn’t lost Periscope yet, so I guess he has that to be thankful for. Periscope users are still completely nuts.

I continue to be really unhappy with where things are going with Trumplandia. The Vichy Republicans are to blame for this and nothing is going to change as long as they’re in power. So, we’re stuck with Trump for a solid 18 months, at least, and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the errant power grab on his part caused by a major crisis that may happen with, or without, his approval and goading.

The Vichy Republicans are allowing Trump to sow division both at home and abroad. They are completely complicit n all of this and I pretty much think we’re on track for the fall of the American Republic. By that, I mean, like the frog in the slowly boiling pot, we may very well wake up one day soon and some pretty basic right will be gone. I don’t know how exactly it will all happen, but it will happen.

Why am I so sure? Well, the silence on the part of the Vichy Republicans is so loud and the cancer on the American body politic that is Trumplandia seems to be metastasizing so quickly that what other inevitability could there possibly be? Not to sound too much like a Debby Downer, but I really need some hope. I need something to latch on to — like a Corbyn win — to give me some indication that there will be a happy end to this dark period.

I place all our problems at the feet of the Vichy Republicans. If they would put country over party, then the system of Constitutional checks and balances put in place by the Founding Fathers would actually, like, work and stuff. But as it stands, we have a tyrannical, would-be autocratic madman at the center of the nation’s political universe. What’s worse, he keeps alienating everyone but is base through erratic tweets, pulling out of important international agreements, and generally being a monumental dick.

But because the Vichy Republicans are addicted to power above all else, and the Republican base that elected Trump and continues to support him has absolute sway over them politically, there is nothing that might induce them to have anything resembling a backbone. It’s just not going to happen until they’re kicked out of office. I’d like to think that a Blue Wave of The Resistance might do the trick, but may be deluding myself. Given that people are dropping out of Congressional races due to death threats, that pot may be a lot closer to boiling than
I would like to admit.

Really, it seems as though if power is the only thing that the Vichy Republicans care about, then the only time they may get a backbone is about a year from now should it appear as though they are going to lose “bigly” in the 2018 mid-terms. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, they won’t say a peep. But if things take a dramatic turn for the worse between now and, say, July 2018, there might, just might, be an unprecedented series of events where by the Vichy Republicans finally grow a pair and demand some accountability from the Trump Administration.

Even more interesting, as I have mentioned before elsewhere, if the Vichy Republicans lose Congress in November 2018, there might be a battle during the lame duck session of Congress between Republicans and Democrats to see who gets to impeach Trump first. The reason being, the Republicans would want the right to approve now President Mike Pence’s replacement.

And that doesn’t even begin to address my true nightmare scenario for 2019 whereby Trump would simply pardon everyone involved in Tsar-a-Largo — including himself — and hold up on the White House with the nuclear codes and dare anyone to come after him. A shoot out between the Secret Service and FBI on the White House lawn would be, uh, unique from a historical standpoint.

I guess all of this comes back to the point that we shouldn’t assume history goes in a straight line. We could very well be at the end of the road for the American Republic as we have conceived of it for about 240 years now. This could be it. The end. We could be, from now on, a semi-autocratic quasi-religious imperial system with only the assurance of an open presidential seat every eight years being our last foot hold to our republican past.

It pains me to suggest such a thing, but we can’t delude ourselves into thinking the Vichy Republicans will ever grow a backbone. We could be stuck with Trumplandia for four or eight more years and then we really would need someone to make America great again.

All I can say is what I’ve been saying — stay engaged. Don’t rage, engage is the catch phrase I’ve come up with. It’s a pithy explanation for my personal vision for how we dig ourselves out of this hole. There are no easy answers when it comes to Trumplandia.

We just have to have hope that the American spirit is stronger than a despot who would aim to inflict a “managed democracy” on us from above. Don’t take anything for granted, folks. This party has just begun.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

The Trump’s Position On The Paris Accord Is A National Embarrassment

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I tried to watch some of Nikki Haley’s opinion on the Paris Accord on Face The Nation and I got too angry. Instead of being the leader of the free world, the Trump Administration more concerned about a few thousand coal jobs in West Virginia.

So, as the world grows hotter and hotter and the weather more fucked up, Trump and his evil cohort Steve Bannon try to figure out how squeeze as many votes out of coal minders in 2020. It’s all very sad. When the history of this era is written, it would be sad if historians mark the Trump Administration as when we were all fucked beyond hope.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal if there were some sane center-Right people willing stand up to Trump. But no one will. They’re all so co-opted, all so Vichy and complicit, that there’s simply no one to turn to. And it’s not going to change anytime soon.

Trump isn’t going anywhere. He could literally kill someone on FOX News in a ritual sacrifice the talking heads of FOX News would say the victim had it coming.

So, we need to start being realistic. There will be no “Blue Wave” in 2018. The entire system is so corrupt and works against change that the only hope we have is 2024 and that’s just because they’re an open seat. But, really, there’s nothing we can do. Nothing at all. We just have to engage. We have to figure out on an individual level how to keep the American spirit alive.

Today Was Surreal, Even In The Age Of Trumplandia

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

We have grown accustomed to surreal things happening in this Age of Trumplandia, but today was even more surreal than usual. The big news, of course, was Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. In a Rose Garden address, he gave a pretty bullshit filled explanation for why he did it. It’s my impression that he, as usual, use the opportunity to explain how great and wonderful his administration has been to date. I don’t know this for a fact because I couldn’t bear to watch the address and so I got my information about it second hand from Twitter.

Generally, Twitter was aghast at Trump’s decision. One thing I’ve been reminded over and over again of late, however, is that just because Trump’s lost Twitter — at least the portion of it I follow — doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have a lot of hardcore followers — Trumplandia, if you will.

So the people of The Resistance on Twitter can circle jerk their anger at Trump all they want to, if they want to effect change, if they want to do anything about Trumplandia, they’re going to have go outside their comfort zone and wade into the surreal crazy waters where Trump is still popular. I say that to myself as much as I do anyone else. It’s tough though, really tough.

Meanwhile, in other surreal news, Devin Nunes, who allegedly had recused himself from leading the House investigation into Tsar-a-Largo, apparently issued some subpoenas not to get to the bottom of that problem, but of another problem dear to his heart — the notion that there was some evil “unmasking” that took place on the part of the Obama Administration. It really is enough to make you say, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

Put these two events together and you really have a surreal day. We can laugh all we want to at covfefe, but the time for laugher or rage is over. We need to start getting a lot more serious about how we act towards Trumplandia. We need to realize that there is a very real chance that Trump will eventually manage to mitigate, if not overcome his staggering malfeasance to such an extent that he is able to take the damage he’s inflicting on the nation at home and abroad to the next level.

There are alarming signs that he may be able to do just that sooner rather than later. No enormous bombshells have gone off for a few days and he continues to mull a major shake up of White House staff. As people keep saying, a fish rots from its head, so there is also the possibility that Trump can shake things all he wants and his personal inability to be a good president will get in the way.

One thing we can not assume, and that’s the Trump is going anywhere anytime soon. He’s not quitting and he’s not getting impeached. And even if he did get impeached, he’s probably not going to be convicted. We’re stuck with him. We’re stuck with him for at least a sold two years, and I only mention that because the 2018 mid-terms are the first opportunity The Resistance has to do anything about Trump.

But history does not go in a straight line. Russians could hack into the election system again. Trump could wag the dog in the DPRK or Iran. Any number of different things could happen would allow Trump to ease on past the 2018 mid-terms and sprint to 2020 and beyond. That’s why we have to stop raging and start engaging. That’s why we have to stop laughing at Trump and start taking his policies seriously.

The sooner we do these things, the sooner we can put Trumplandia behind us and get to work making America great again, the greatest it had before January 20, 2017.

Let’s Face It, Trump Probably Isn’t Going To Get Impeached

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

A cold hard fact of modern American politics is the Republicans are so complicit, so Vichy in their support for the possibly treasonous administration of Donald Trump that we’re stuck with Trump for a solid two years, if not longer.

The conditions that have brought us to this point are so complex that they probably would require a few fairly long books to fully detail. The United States is so politically polarized — and the Right so well organized when it comes to a culture of faux victimization — that even if it’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump personally colluded with the Russians, he just ain’t getting impeached anytime soon.

And I am not one who believes there is any assurance that there will be a “Blue Wave” in 2018. It could be that there will be a lot talk but for various reasons nothing will happen. That two, four, six years from now we’ll still be talking about how if only this or that thing happened Trump will be impeached.

What’s more, remember that even if Trump was impeached by the House, it doesn’t mean he would be convicted by the Senate. That’s something that’s never happened in our nation’s history and since Trump will never resign, his conviction would be the only way to get rid of him.

We’re entering a surreal time in our nation’s political history where we’re so polarized that while about half the nation is openly talking about collusion, treason and impeachment then conviction, the other half think it’s just an evil plot by unpatriotic loser liberals who are looking for a reason to explain their unexpected Electoral College loss.

It’s all enough to leave you bewildered.

Even worse from my point of view, there’s no reason to believe Trump won’t right his personal ship of state and not only survive, but prosper. He may very well serve out his term and manage to use his weirdly adroit political skill to get Mike Pence elected as his successor.

A lot of my worry about this possible scenario comes from the division and weakness of The Resistance. The Democratic Party is split between the liberal Hillary Clinton wing and the social democratic Bernie Sanders wing and it’s easy to imagine that rift opening up to such an extent that a major center-Left independent candidate would run in 2020 and we’d really be fucked.

History rarely goes in a straight line, so there are any number of different ways things might play out. An unexpected strong candidate out of left field like Jon Stewart might throw a lot of my personal assumptions out the window.

But my main concern is that the United States isn’t a liberal democracy anymore. That we’ve entered a new epoch in our history where the only thing that prevents us from being a semi-imperial autocracy is the fact that there’s an assured open presidential seat every eight years. When the final political history of the United States is written that quirk of our Constitutional system may be seen as the thing that made it more difficult for us to realize that we had finally evolved out of our traditional republican roots.

The really scary thing about the Trump Administration is there is a real risk that it will do irrevocable harm to the country in ways that may take generations to fix. Our decades old reputation as the moral leader of the free world may be gone for good. It might require some exceptional leadership on the part of future presidents to bring that back and the system we have now is so corrupt that it’s unlikely that is going to happen anytime soon.

If it weren’t for that particular aspect, the Trump Administration wouldn’t be so scary. The thing about Trump is it’s too easy to fall into the trap of falloning him when he tweets something like covfefe to such an extent that we totally lose sight of him leaving the Paris Accords or appointing psychopathic Federal judges or whatever. The amount of damage Trump can inflict on the republic is so wide and deep that it is breathtaking.

What’s even more disheartening is there is really no recourse other than being politically engaged. As I have begun to say at every opportunity: Don’t rage, engage. Do your civic duty on an individual level to help, even in a small way, the continuance of our civil society. Don’t assume that just because someone disagrees with you that they are trolling you. Vote. Protest. Speak out when given the opportunity. Call your Representative and Senator on a regular basis.

The strength of American civil society is pretty much all we got at this point. It may take generations for the full impact of the Trump Administration to be fully understood. But don’t have any regrets. Don’t look back and realize you didn’t do your part to prevent a dystopia from being not just the thing of fanciful dreams, but a very cold, hard reality.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

How To Kill Twitter & Disrupt The Newspaper Business While Saving The Republic

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Trumplandia is very much a product of social media and more specifically Twitter. The case could be made that the combination of Russian hacking, Trump campaign collusion along with Twitter and FOX News made the crucial difference when it came to the outcome of the election.

In other words, the system failed and now we have a celebrity Twitter troll with a penchant for the Russians as president.

So, after that sinks in, let’s think about what the problems with Twitter are and how to fix them.

It seems as though there are two major problems with Twitter: how easy it is to peddle fake news and how the fact that you only have 140 characters make it difficult to carry on an intelligent conversation. As I have articulated at great length on Instagram, I have a pretty clear vision of how to fix those two problems while adding any number of features that no one asked for.

The crux of my vision is verified accounts would have more power than the average users. People with verified accounts could create things I call Groups. Within Groups would be Discussions would be threaded discussions that allowed for more cogent debate than currently found on Twitter or even Reddit or Facebook. As I have repeatedly said, what I want is to bring back the core concepts of Usenet in such a way that some of the features that we lost over the years would be brought back.

We really need to address the issue of fake news and I think giving verified account holders some sense that they were stake holders would cause them to produce more content that would hopefully flood the zone and crowd out fake news. This, of course, doesn’t address that Right Wing Nut Jobs believe what they want to believe and their anger at the status quo is so surreal in nature that I may be fooling myself.

Now, imagine that a newspaper company like Tronc was to create this Twitter Killer. I am of the opinion that the only way to disrupt the newspaper business is from within, so it’s possible that Tronc could fund a startup and that startup would turn around and disrupt the newspaper business by re-imagining what a newspaper was from the ground up.

In my vision of things, a newspaper company like Tronc would detach its writers from the print product, make them verified account holders in a new social media platform and not only save the newspaper business but the Republic as well.

Something needs to be done, is all I’m saying. We’re in dire straights right now and only by doing something dramatic can we dig ourselves out of this hole we find ourselves in. If we don’t figure out how to prevent the Russians from hacking our elections system, they are going to do it again.

Progressives, Trumplandia & Jon Stewart As A Leader Of The Resistance

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Since dirt, there has been a struggle for the heart of America when it comes to the Progressive movement. Just about twice century or so, the stars align just right and the Progressive movement pops out of a long-dormant state and pushes through a huge amount of much needed change.

The weird thing is, you could make the case that the rise of Trumplandia is a sign that maybe the Progressive movement may be about to have it’s time in the sun again. The issue is Donald Trump obvious tapped into a populist rage. A smart politician, one with some vision, could use the populist rage of Trumplandia as a stepping off point to energize the Populist movement.

Of course, it there wouldn’t be a straight line. You would need leadership and vision. Right now, you have the Democratic Establishment, which is pretty much the bastion of the “Third Way” vision of Hillary Clinton and the base The Resistance which is much more in tune with the social democratic vision of Bernie Sanders.

But it’s pretty obvious that there’s a close correlation between the populist rage of Trumplandia and the near constant Progressive outrage of The Resistance. There is a possible opportunity to transform Trumplandia from its current bigoted, racist, misogynist decaying corpse and turn it into a vibrant Progressive base.

It would take leadership to do that because there are so many wedge issues that Trump uses to divide the populace that might otherwise have things in common that don’t fit the obvious Left-Right divide. The issue is, The Resistance has to stop simply being outraged all the time and figure out a way to engage Trumplandia in a constructive manner.

All of this is very complex and fraught with peril because you might tear the Democratic Party asunder in such a way that Trump easily walks to reelection in 2020. One problem is we have to deal with Trump’s surreal Being There ability to succeed politically despite himself.

While it is very much likely that we’ll reach a moment of outrage burn out, but if we can find the right leadership then maybe that energy won’t burn out, but rather will grow in power. Of all the leaders I think could maybe ride the nascent growth of a Progressive movement as part of The Resistance, Jon Stewart seems like the perfect person to do it.

Though it seems like a joke, Jon Stewart has the perfect skill set to be a major leader in The Resistance. As anyone can tell you, the only person who stands up to a middle school bully is the class clown. Jon Stewart is great at articulating a vision and we need to take a serious look at him as a candidate. I’d like to think he’d run for governor of New Jersey, but I’d give him a pass and let him run for president right away if that’s what I had to do to get him to stop petting rescue animals at a zoo.

If the rise of Trump and Trumplandia has taught us anything, it’s that the Great Man theory of history is now something we really need to start to think about again. So, maybe Jon Stewart has significantly more power in his hands than he realizes. Of all the Progressive leaders out there such as Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren, it seems only Jon Stewart has just the right touch to, through effective leadership, bring the goals of the Progressive moment to the fore again.

The reason I say this is because though Sen. Franken is an entertainer like Stewart, he doesn’t seem to have the passion for the Progressive movement that the younger Stewart has. Warren faces the same misogyny that Hillary Clinton faced, so the forces against her as an effective Progressive candidate are even stronger than they would be otherwise.

So it seems Jon Stewart might be the person to pull what I suggest off.

But this begs the obvious question — is it actually even possible for even an effective leader to bring Trumplandia to its senses. The power, the sway that Trump seems to have over Trumplandia is so astonishing that something truly extraordinary may have to happen for them to stop seeing him as some sort of Dear Leader figure.

Things like automation and AI could pose a serious threat to the economy of the Western World and as such, if the Progressive movement is ahead of the curve, maybe, just maybe, these titanic forces may cause Trumplandia to evolve into a base not for the bizarre Trump, but for the more logical and reality-based world of the Progressive movement and Jon Stewart.

We live in extraordinary times and it seems as though anything is possible right now. So, it’s possible that in 2020 there could actually be a way for the Progressive faction of The Resistance to gain the upper hand. And, yet, it’s also possible that we’re no longer a democracy but rather a “managed democracy” like is found in Russia. If that’s the case, then no matter of engagement on the part of the Democratic base will make much difference, sorry to say.

Things like “dark money,” gerrymandering and active voter suppression may mean that the will of the people will be stymied to such an extent that we really will be left with only civil society to defend us from autocracy. If that’s the case, may God have mercy on our souls.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. You may reach him at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Eyes Wide Cuck: Trumplandia & The Origins Of The Vichy Republicans

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

When the history of Trumplandia is written, more than one chapter — hell, maybe a few books — will be devoted to how, exactly, an otherwise normal major party in a liberal democracy managed to succumb to the machinations of a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue.

Unlike, say, Hitler, Trump did not grow a small hateful party to dominance due to economic turmoil. On the contrary, Donald Trump like some sort of alien parasite exploded full grown out of the chest of a major party during relative property.

So, what the fuck happened?

One key issue we have address is that during eight years of “No Drama Obama” the center-Right in the United States grew hysterical. It grew hysterical for various reasons, including technologically facilitated bullshit bubbles found online as well as the biggest generator of bullshit out there, FOX News. One can not ignore some basic facts, as well — something about having the first African American president really evoked a visceral hatred on the part of the Republican base. Add to this the tax increases on the wealthy associated with Obamacare and the near light-speed pace of social change in the form of gay marriage, and you have the makings of a very volatile political situation indeed.

But just because the elements were there, doesn’t mean anything had to happen with it. It took a major global depression for Hitler to take over Germany and Donald Trump managed to do it during a time of relative prosperity. What’s more, he managed to take over the Republican Party from the inside and turn the establishment into Vichy stooges.

Personally, I lay the blame on the primary system. There were 16 Republican candidates and Trump managed to best 15 of them through sheer force of will, rhetoric and an unexpected adept political touch. If you wanted an example of the Great Man Theory of political history at work, Donald Trump is it. But for Trump personally, we probably would now have President Marco Rubio and Vice President Ted Cruz. You can almost see how Trump warped history. It’s not difficult. Rubio, but for being bested by Trump in the primaries had all the apparent characteristics needed to win. He was young, articulate and of Hispanic background. And he blew it. He totally blew it. He blew it because once middle school bully Trump called him “Lil Rubio,” and Rubio could not come back with an effective rebuttal, he was doomed.

So, Trump, personally, managed to completely fuck up everything because he understood the base better than anyone else. He understood them because, in a sense, he _was_ the base. He was wealthy, but crass. He seemed to “get” the needs of the common man, even though unlike all the other professional Republican candidates he had no ideology at all. His only ideology was whatever he happen to tweet that day.

And don’t ignore one basic fact: the base of the Republican Party, after having consumed epic, delusional amounts of bullshit, were hysterical. They wanted to shake things up in Washington in a big way and that one one of the reasons why they latched on to Trump, became of a part of Trumplandia: he had his weaknesses, but he was definitely going to be a change agent, no matter what.

So, I suggest that Trump’s ultimate victory came in large part from the particular quirks of the American primary system. If there were national primaries, it’s far less likely Trump would have won. I keep going back to this comparison because it seems so obvious to me: Trump’s winning of the primaries was biggest co-opting of an established political order since the Fall of France in 1940 and the establishment of the Vichy France government.

The effects of that fall of the Republican Party continue to echo to this day in enormous ways. But more about that in a moment.

The second part of this historical clusterfuck is Trump’s actual winning of the general election. It goes without saying, at least in my view, that Hillary Clinton was a historically weak candidate. One of the complaints by center-Right people was that she saw it as “her time” to be president. That was a little bit too close to a monarchy for a lot of people and they got turned off. So, given the choice between electing a perceived quasi-queen and a Russophile autocrat, they picked the latter. Let that sink in for a moment.

Additionally, it is pretty obvious that Trump’s win was aided by the Russians. That didn’t help Hillary Clinton’s chances any. Neither did then FBI Director James Comey’s letter regarding e-mails just a few days before the election. And all of THAT doesn’t even begin to address the wide-spread misogyny directed against Clinton on a personal basis. A lot of center-Right people had already gotten burnt out from having the first African American president and the first female president was just a bridge too far for them at that particular historical moment.

But, really, there remains a very specific group of the electorate whose reasoning for voting for Trump remains elusive to me. Let’s call them “the Good Americans.” These are your traditional establishment Republicans who historically have been the kingmakers in American politics. They go under different names. Sometimes they’re called Reagan Democrats. I am probably stumbling across a well known segment of the political spectrum that I just don’t known the proper nomenclature for.

Regardless, I just don’t get how it is they voted for Trump. How is it that these otherwise sane people voted for someone as ill-suited for the job of president, especially against someone as well qualified — at least on paper — as Hillary Clinton. The only thing I can think of is they “came home” when push came to shove and they held their nose simply because they couldn’t bear to see the Clinton’s come back into office. But I still feel that doesn’t really explain things.

Having said all that, the issue now is what does The Resistance do? How can The Resistance defeat Trumplandia in the various elections to come. That is a very difficult question for a number of reasons, chief amongst them being is I fear the United States isn’t really a democracy anymore. We’ve lurched towards something akin to the “managed democracy” found in Russia.

We haven’t completely gotten there, but we’re working on it. Really, the only reason why the process hasn’t been completed is the United States’ strong civil society. That’s it. So, really, if you don’t want to live in an true autocracy, thank late night comics, or a song writer or a movie producer. They’re our last hope to maybe organize some sort of collective rejection of Trumplandia’s final consumption of the American Republic.

But another thing I would suggest is, be engaged, not outraged. The Resistance has to figure out how to bridge the gap between itself and Trumplandia. Just assuming that someone who disagrees with you in a trolling you just plays into Trump’s hands.

This is very difficult for me to accept, myself. I really just want to ignore anyone who disagrees with me, but that way lies political failure for what I feel is important. Eventually, maybe not immediately, I am going to force myself to engage people who disagree with me online. It’s going to be tough, but I’ve got to do it.

And I would suggest you do the same. We’ve got a lot riding on it.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. You may reach him at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Hindsight Is 2020: Why Trump Won A Second Term

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am not one of those who assumes that either Donald Trump will quit, or be impeached because there is a “Blue Wave” in 2018. There are no assurances in life, and Trump has proven himself to be a surprisingly good demagogue when it comes to conning that 30% of the electorate that seems completely unwilling to realize what he’s up to.

So, if a time traveler were to magically pop up in front of me and tell me that Trump had won a second term, I wouldn’t be all that surprised. I will be sad and disappointed in my fellow Americans…again…but it wouldn’t really surprise me.

But suppose the time traveler in question did not tell me why Trump won a second term. What would be my guesses as to how we managed to repeat the same mistake twice?

1. A split opposition
There is a very real chance that The Resistance will be split between Mark Zuckerberg and Al Franken. Or, in other words, between the tech business friendly liberal side and the progressive side. This has been an age-old problem for the Democratic Party and typical only when a relatively conservative Democrat pops up does the party win. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama being the mot notable examples. So, that would be my first guess.

2. We’re no longer a Republic
In this thinking, the sheer fact that Trump was a sitting president would mean it was simply impossible to get rid of him. Hence, America would go to a quasi-elected dictatorship of sorts, with only the historical quirk of an open seat sealing the deal altogether.

3. Yet more Russian meddling
This is a very real possibility. Given that the Vichy Republicans are completely indifferent to how the Russians hacked the 2016 election, it would make a lot of sense that they would do it again. So, pretty much the Republican Party would win AGAIN in 2020 for no other reason that they weren’t playing fair.

4. A wag the dog situation
If Trump were to start a major regional war with either North Korea or Iran at just the right time, he could probably ride a wave of popularity to a second term. If some hayseed rube like me a fly over state can think this up, then Mr. Bannon surely can.

5. A very weak Democratic candidate.
The worst case scenario is Hillary Clinton runs again in 2020. She has proven herself to be a horrible candidate and if she ran again, she would screw everything up…again. She has way too much baggage and she should let someone else run. It is possible that by 2020 Trump will have managed to churn out so many liberal martyrs that one of them will be good enough to defeat him.

6. People just got mad and didn’t engaged
If people don’t actually turn all their rage into actually political engagement, Trump will keep winning.

Regardless, I am cautiously optimistic that it’s at least possible that Trump will be defeated in 2020. Maybe. Hopefully.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be contacted at migukin (at) gmail.com.