October 07, 2018

Trump Has Revolutionized Politics. Can Democrats Catch Up? BY TED RALL

Trump as CheDonald Trump may last; he may go away. But the influence of his revolutionary approach to American politics will endure. What he learned and taught about campaigning will be studied and emulated for years to come.

Social media matters. In 2016 his free Twitter feed defeated Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion fundraising juggernaut.

Foot soldiers don’t matter. Clinton was everywhere—every state, most counties. In many states Trump didn’t have a single office.

It’s not location, not location, not location. Clinton dropped buckets of cash on events in big expensive cities. Remember her Roosevelt Island launch announcement, the fancy stage using Manhattan as a backdrop? Trump rode the escalator down to his lobby. He held rallies in cheap, hardscrabble cities like Dayton and Allentown. He understood that his audience wasn’t in the room. It was on TV. It doesn’t matter where the event is held.

Stump speeches are dead. Stump speeches originated in the 19th century. In an era of mass communications you’re an idiot if—like Clinton—you read the same exact text in Philly as you read in Chicago. CNN covered Trump’s rallies more than Hillary’s because not because Jeff Zucker wanted Trump to win. TV networks are in the ratings business; Trump’s free-form extemporizing was entertaining because you never knew what he was going to say.

Now Trump is revolutionizing governance.

The biggest revelation from Trump’s first term—at this writing, I assume he’ll be re-elected—is that bipartisanship is dead. Even with the slimmest majority, a political party can get big things done. You don’t need the other party. Not even a single crossover.

The president can be unpopular. Ditto your party. All you need to govern successfully is party discipline. Keep your cabal together and anything is possible.

Trump’s approval ratings hover around 38%That’s Nixon During Watergate level. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate. Conventional wisdom, based as it is on historical precedent, dictates that controversial legislation can only pass such a narrowly-divided legislative body if the majority entices some members of the minority to go along.     There’s a corollary to that assumption: the implicit belief that laws are politically legitimate only if they enjoy the support of a fairly broad spectrum of voters.

Not any more.

In this Trump era major legislative changes get rammed through Congress along strict party-line votes—and Democrats suck it up with nary a squawk. Trump’s Republicans passed a huge tax cut for corporations and rich individuals. Protesters? What protesters? The GOP gutted Obamacare and suffered no consequences whatsoever…not even a stray attack ad.

The same goes for judicial nominations. Time was, a President would withdraw a nominee to the Supreme Court if the minority party wasn’t likely to support him or her, as Reagan did with the controversially far-right Robert Bork. Trump rams his picks through the Senate like Mussolini, Democrats be damned.

Rightist extremist Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a slim 54-45. Considering that Democrats were still seething over Republicans’ refusal to consider Obama high court nominee Merrick Garland (a centrist) for 10 months, that was a remarkable success. We don’t know what will become of the battle over Brett Kavanaugh, hobbled by multiple accusations of sexual assault and his anguished, furious performance trying to defend himself on national television; if confirmed it will be by the slimmest of party-line votes.

One can, and perhaps should, deplore the new normal. In the long run, it can’t bode well for the future of a country for its citizens to be governed by laws most of them are against, passed by politicians most of them despise, and whose constitutionality is assessed by court justices most of them look down upon. But this is reality. Sitting around tweeting your annoyance won’t change a thing.

Darwinism isn’t survival of the fittest; it’s survival of the most adaptable. Crocodilians have stuck around hundreds of million of years in part because they’ve learned to eat just about anything. The same goes for politics: if Democrats want to win power and score big victories after they do they’ll learn the lessons of Trumpism or die.

Party discipline is everything. Traitors, Democrats In Name Only, cannot be tolerated.

There is no room in a modern political party for “moderates” or “centrists.” Only a strong, strident, unapologetically articulated left vision can counter the energized GOP base and its far-right agenda.

Politics as bloodsport? It was always so. Republicans knew it. Thanks to Trump, Democrats can no longer deny their clear options: get real or get left behind.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

September 26, 2018

COMING TO NETFLIX OCTOBER 2018

  NETFLIX NOW!
I'm especially glad to see "THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE" streaming on Netflix because it features a slew of great Carnegie Hill locations that I talk about on my walking tour. I'm looking forward to watching it again, on Netflix, in the comfort of my glorious home cinema. 

Other stand-out titles to check out are: Black Dynamite, Blazing Saddles, Mystic River, Once Upon a Time In America, The Shining, and V for Vendetta, 

October 1

Angel Eyes
Anger Management
Billy Madison
Black Dynamite
Blade
Blade II
Blazing Saddles
Empire Records
Must Love Dogs
Mystic River
New York Minute
Once Upon a Time in America
Pay It Forward
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rumble in the Bronx
She’s Out of My League
Sommersby
The Dead Pool
The Devil’s Advocate
The Green Mile
The Lake House
The NeverEnding Story
The Shining
V for Vendetta
Zack and Miri Make a Porno

October 2

Monty Python: The Meaning of Life
Monty Python’s Life of Brian

October 3

Truth or Dare (2017)

October 4

The Haunting of Molly Hartley

October 5

Malevolent — NETFLIX FILM
A brother-sister team who fake paranormal encounters for cash get more than they bargained for when a job at a haunted estate turns very, very real.

Private Life — NETFLIX FILM
A couple coping with infertility struggles to keep their marriage afloat as they navigate the world of assisted reproduction and adoption.

Super Monsters Save Halloween — NETFLIX FILM
It’s Halloween, and the Super Monsters are ready to celebrate — with candy, costumes and music to get you in the mood!

October 10

22 July — NETFLIX FILM
After a pair of shocking attacks in Norway, survivors — and the country — rally for healing and justice. Based on true events.

October 12

Apostle — NETFLIX FILM
In this thriller, a man travels to a remote island in search of his missing sister, who was kidnapped by a murderous religious cult.

October 19

Illang: The Wolf Brigade — NETFLIX FILM
In 2029, a special unit of the South Korean police called Illang battles a terrorist group threatening to undo years of efforts to unify the two Koreas.

The Night Comes For Us — NETFLIX FILM
After sparing a girl’s life during a massacre, an elite Triad assassin is targeted by an onslaught of murderous gangsters.

October 26

Been So Long — NETFLIX FILM
A single mother in London’s Camden Town hears music when she meets a handsome stranger with a past. But she’s not sure she’s ready to open her heart.

Dovlatov — NETFLIX FILM
An intimate portrait that captures six days in the life of influential Russian dissident writer Sergei Dovlatov.

Jefe — NETFLIX FILM
The story of a boss that everyone hates: some kiss up to him; nobody tells him the truth. He’s the successful entrepreneur about to fall off the cliff.

October 31

Gun City — NETFLIX FILM
Set in Barcelona in 1921, a double agent infiltrates the local mafia to find out who is selling weapons and explosives to anarchist groups.

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