Election Day is 3 Weeks Away — Imagining a Post-Trump (and McConnell) America
This week on democracy-ish, there are fewer than 20 days to go until the election ends, and the race is a hot mess.
If the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court teaches Democrats anything, it’s that waiting for permission doesn’t accomplish shit.
It’s time for Dems to get tougher on a whole bunch of fronts. Toure wants them to “make justice moves, not gangster moves.”
If things go well for Joe Biden over the next three weeks, a lot of Trump administration staffers are going to be looking for new work soon. Let’s hope they’re making license plates.
What’s worse? NBC rewarding Trump for avoiding the next debate by giving Trump an hour-long town hall –– at the same time as Joe Biden? Amy Coney Barrett’s refusal to answer any substantive questions? Trump's epic failure on COVID, exacerbated by his seemingly miraculous recovery and a fuckton of steroids? Or his lack of an argument for why he should be reelected?
“It's hard to pick which one is making me more infuriated,” says Danielle.
“If Trump had actually done his job, and combated coronavirus … rather than constantly pretending nothing to see here, he might be reelected,” says Toure. “But now Senate Republicans don't want to consider a stimulus bill, because they expect Trump will lose. That bill would help President Biden, especially at the beginning of his term.”
They’d rather see American voters suffer –– ”which is disgusting, but it's the kind of craven politics they’ve been playing throughout the McConnell era,” he adds.
Episode Highlights –– 19 Days Left
‘Amy COVID Barrett’
“I'm drowning in the hypocrisy of the rush to confirm Amy COVID Barrett,” says Toure.
Danielle was disgusted by her “even tone” –– while we know “she's gonna rip away health care and she doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose, because she had five kids and adopted two. So why can't every woman do that?”
It’s galling when we remember that Republicans refused to confirm Merrick Garland with about 300 days until the election.
“But this is three minutes before the election. People are already voting. All the anger we have toward Trump, we should train even more of it toward Mitch McConnell, because he has been a significantly evil figure in the destruction of democratic norms.”
Democrats need to learn a lesson from this era, says Danielle. “When you have power, go fucking HAM. Don't wait for permission; don't look for collaboration. Look 10, 20, 30 years down the road.”
That’s what Republicans have been doing for decades, she adds.
“You want to be them?” asks Toure.
‘Strategic and surgical thugs’
That gets an unequivocal yes from Danielle.
“Here's why: Because Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell –– all of these Supreme Court cases folks would like to believe are settled law, are not. Democrats don't do a good job talking about the importance of the courts.”
Plus, she adds, “they allowed Mitch McConnell to upend the power of the executive branch, as long as it was being occupied by a Black man … If you want equity and justice, you have to fucking fight for it. Power is not granted, it is taken.”
“I want a stronger, tougher Democratic Party,” says Toure. “But I don't know if I want to turn into the blue version of the GOP. I don't want to be part of a side that mistreats the country, its traditions and its democracy, the way they do.”
But he thinks the measures Dems should take –– like adding to the Supreme Court, and pushing for Puerto Rican and DC statehood, could restore some balance to this country.
“Those are justice moves, not gangster moves,” he says.
“I think that you can be an absolute strategic and fucking surgical thug,” Danielle replies.
Smash, grab and stack the courts
Republicans are “doing a smash and grab job right now,” Danielle says. She wishes that, during the Obama administration, Democrats would have fought in the courts nearly as hard as Trump is –– “using the Department of Justice as his own personal law firm,” she notes.
“But there wasn't one bit of maneuvering that they did in order to stop McConnell.”
Meanwhile, Republicans have gerrymandered, suppressed the vote and stacked the courts in their favor over many years –– all while enjoying power in spite of losing the popular vote.
It’s been going on for at least 20 years, Danielle notes. “George W. Bush was only the third president in history not to win the popular vote.”
“There's something wrong when Republican presidents keep losing the popular vote and winning the Electoral College,” Toure says.
“It's based on a racist system, not on justice. And it's not based on the way a modern country is set up. When you have a minority of senators controlling what a majority of the people have to live through, the system is broken.”
Toure puts forth a “very reasonable hypothetical”:
If Biden wins and Democrats hold the House while gaining a slim majority in the Senate, we can do a lot,” he says. “What do you want to see them do in response to what Republicans have done with the Supreme Court?”
“I assume you are in favor of adding two or three more Supreme Court justices,” he adds. Puerto Rico and DC statehood ... more Democratic senators and more Democratic voters … What else do you want to see the Chuck Schumer-led Senate do?”
“First of all, I don't want Chuck Schumer to be the one leading the fucking Senate,” says Danielle.
If Dems do win back the Senate, Schumer will be Majority Leader, says Toure.
Nevertheless, Danielle has a few ideas.
“First, the 300 judges Mitch McConnell has been able to put on the federal courts: I want them challenged. Not even bar associations, in many of those instances, came out in support of those candidates. They are not qualified. And they should not, based on their ideological preferences, be on the bench at all.”
Democrats never force Republicans to play defense, she adds.
“We are the ones that are constantly on the defense.”
Next, she wants Trump, William Barr, Stephen Miller –– “every single one of them, prosecuted.”
We can’t turn the other cheek in this case, she argues.
“There are so many illegalities they’ve been party to. If people are to have faith in government again … we need to restore the republic they have broken.”
What does that look like?
“Putting measures in the Senate so one person cannot hold the country hostage. It is about stacking the courts. It’s about examining exactly who McConnell and Trump put on the bench.”
Fight ‘like warriors’ for democracy
“A lot of things that Democrats have let slide over the past 12 years under Obama and Trump, need to come to an end. I'm talking about using every single tool legally within our toolbox. I'm saying, stand up and fight for a fucking democracy like warriors.”
“I'm with all of that, says Toure. “But I don't think we're gonna get the joy of seeing Trump and Barr and Miller and Kushner on trial, arrested, indicted, having to answer for what they did.”
He thinks the Biden administration will say we need to move forward.
“But I would like to see this society penalize them, and everybody who worked with the Trump campaign,” he says. “The Conways, the Spicers –– all these people should not be able to just flow back into society, to be on TV, teaching at a university, working as a lobbyist and or appearing on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”
What happens to former (🙏🏾) Trump admin staffers?
Post-presidency careers are lucrative and can be long-lasting.
“If you're not old enough, you may not realize George Stephanopoulos is part of the Bill Clinton [administration] family. Mary Matalin, Jim Carville. There are people who became stars because they were connected to a certain presidential team.”
Ex-Trumpees shouldn’t have those opportunities, he argues.
“They should be socially and professionally ostracized for the rest of their lives for participating in this immoral, incompetent fiasco of an administration that has damaged the country in ways that will take years, if not decades, to undo.”
“These people should not be allowed to adapt back into society, without scarlet Ts on their chests,” says Danielle.
Next up: Nuremberg trials for the USA
“Democrats always have this strong desire to do what they think is for the betterment of the country,” Danielle argues. “And they think that fighting is bad for the country.”
It's like parents who don’t want to fight in front of their children and try to compromise –– or are miserable, but choose to stay together for the good of the kids, she notes.
“I don't know anybody who grew up in a household with miserable fucking people, and turned out well.”
It's the same thing with our democracy. We need the equivalent of a painful, contentious divorce.
“We need Trump trials,” Danielle adds, citing the Nuremberg Trials that were necessary to rebuild Germany.
“That’s where we are, and Democrats need to understand that. Because I'm telling you, if they roll over and say it’s behind us, I will fight them tooth and fucking nail and work to literally replace every single person that goes along with it. This middle of the road shit cannot stand. Not ever again.”
The motherf*cking media
Trump and his administration, along with Republicans like McConnell, “are the authors” of this ongoing shitshow, “but others are helping them.”
The media, in particular, is enabling Trump, he adds, pointing to what happened when the COVID-infected president refused to participate in a virtual debate.
“So NBC came to his rescue, giving him a national town hall at the exact same time as Joe Biden's on ABC. How does this help Americans? Why can't it be an hour after? Why can't it be the next night? That would be normal. That would be reasonable.”
But just as we saw in the first debate, Trump insists on talking at the same time, literally.
NBC did not have to agree to this, says Toure. They could’ve passed the ball to CBS (or, more likely, Fox).
“Of course, he's gonna go to NBC,” says Danielle. “Where the fuck was his show? On NBC. I'm sure he still has a frozen contract there … to do a reality TV show about his time in the White House. It's all part of the same fucking mechanism and circus.”
To put it another way: Money talks.
“This is one of the reasons why public television is incredibly important. These media entities ... they care about ratings, their sponsors, their ad sales,” says Danielle. “Who's being honest, integrity … none of that matters. And until capitalism is taken out of electoral politics, we'll always be in this place.”
She thinks debates shouldn't even be aired on the major networks. Instead, they should run on PBS or C-SPAN –– everybody else can carry it later. That way, every American, regardless of their cable or internet package or lack thereof, can watch a conversation that’s hopefully a lot more neutral.
Bright idea: get a person of color to moderate the presidential debate
Savannah Guthrie “shouldn't be asking fucking questions,” says Danielle. “This is the second white woman and the third white person to be moderating these debates. You can't find a person of color? But again, both campaigns have to agree. And Republicans believe any person of color is automatically biased.”
Toure points out that Kristen Welker is slated to moderate the third debate.
“Isn't that funny? Well, let's see if, after these bullshit town halls, Donald Trump decides –– because his poll numbers remain in a tailspin –– that actually wants to come back.”
Toure thinks the debates are a way to show what these candidates are like, and what they're all about.
That said, it’s still theater –– “quite often judged on things like tone, and how nervous or strong they appear … basically mashed up against an ideal of alpha masculinity.”
If America were to have another female nominee, how could she compete?
Central Park Karen strikes again
“One last piñata to whack before we go,” says Toure.
Turns out Amy Cooper, aka “Central Park Karen,” who called 911 on a Black birdwatcher, claiming he harassed her –– apparently called 911 again after that incident to say that he assaulted her.
“It's so disgusting and pernicious. Once again, the lies of a white woman against a Black man, putting him in danger, because all she has to do is say it, but he has to prove that it didn't happen,” says Toure.
“If he wasn't dead first,” Danielle adds.
“Right, he replies. “It's only blind luck he was using his phone to record, and the police didn't swarm into the park, take him down, shoot him, attack him, arrest him, ruin his life.”
Amy Cooper knew the power she was using, Toure notes. “And don't think for a second that there are not thousands of other white women who are actively, consciously aware of that power … that perpetuates white supremacy like a motherfucker. Their fucking lies and their fucking tears have put more people in the ground, in trouble and in prison than we will ever know.”
Danielle agrees: “White women have always operationalized and weaponized their femininity and their whiteness.”
Both our hosts agree: Amy Cooper should be charged with attempted murder.
“I want to see her in bracelets. I want to see her in a jumpsuit. I want to see her do time. That's what she deserves,” says Toure.
With righteous anger unabated, democracy-ish will be back next week, and you know the caveat: If there is a country.
“Pray about it –– because there’s just a handful of days until the election, folks,” says Danielle.
“Oh my god, please vote,” says Toure. “And vote early.”
Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie and Toure as your tour guides, flight attendants and/or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle — together!