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The Burning Man
Trump’s 42 days in the desert
By Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 10, 2020

The real polls are shifting, and the shift is enough that I’m starting to feel reasonably secure that the Republican fascists may not be able to steal this election. I figure that what with the gerrymandering (both built-in with the Electoral College or created by corrupt state legislatures), the powerful propaganda arm, the sabotage of mail-in voting and further sabotage of in person voting, the Dems would need about an 8 point lead in the polls to actually win over the fascists.

Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com, the most accurate of the aggregate pollsters, had Biden’s lead over Trump rock steady between 5.5 points and 7.5 points for three months following the end of primary season. Normally, that would be an unassailable lead, but the extent of Republican malfeasance made it, at best, too close to call.

At the beginning of the GOP convention, it was at a seven point lead. The Democrats had run a extremely well-crafted four-day infomercial, and the GOP was going for a semi-live show with small audiences rather than the virtual effort by the Dems. Manly men don’t fear the reaper, even if at the time it had already killed some 170,000 Americans. The polls, I reasoned, would have to be above five points for Biden to for him have any chance at all to make up the three more points needed to overcome Republican cheating and lying. And given how entrenched both sides appeared to be, that would take a miracle.

But a week after the convention, the polls hadn’t budged. Seven points. The American public, which largely avoided the four day Donald Trump Show, was unimpressed by all the screaming and lying the GOP put on.

I watched, and during the show I tried pretending to think like an average Republican voter. China and Iran wanted war with us. Russia was our friend, and we could deal with North Korea as equals. The deficit didn’t matter, and Trump was good for the economy. Trump was a godly man who just happened to be a genius at business negotiations. Dems wanted to take everyone’s guns and tax us all to death. Liberals really did sell children as sex slaves in the basement of pizza joints...well, ok. Not even Republican voters believed that one. But they did believe that Hunter Biden was up to no good, abusing his father’s connections, but Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka weren’t.

Even trying to wear that mind set, I found the show unconvincing. From a more sane perspective, the show was an orgy of loud lunacy.

I was pleased, but I misinterpreted that unwavering result. I assumed it meant the body politic had become utterly intransigent, and nothing was going to change anyone’s mind. Anyone who still supported Trump at that point either dismissed or accepted the utter chaos, incompetence and dishonestly of his administration. Hell, the First Lady could tear up the Rose Garden, or get taped saying “Fuck Christmas” and it wouldn’t change anything, right? Well, funny story...

The turning point came an eternity ago—September 20th. That’s when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Yeah, just three weeks ago. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Her death horrified liberal Americans. What followed horrified most other people. Trump and McConnell, in a massive fireworks burst of hypocrisy and willingness to commit a massive power grab, immediately nominated a replacement for Ginsburg. Not just another tiresome and in all likelihood corrupt neoliberal hack like his first two; this time he picked a god-struck woman whose closest literary cognate is the mad Ignatius J. Reilly from Confederacy of Dunces. The cult she is a member of apparently formed the basis of the cult that destroyed America and enslaved women in Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale. Her position is so extreme it overcame America’s reluctance to attack Christians on the basis of religion.

The willingness of the Republicans to set aside legislation desperately needed to keep thousands of people alive, fed and in shelters in order to ram though the nomination of this viciously unsuitable woman dismayed a large majority of voters—including Republicans, who uneasily remember the Republican stance of no nominations during a presidential campaign that the Republicans used to ignore the nomination of Merrick Garland in Obama’s final year. It was such rank hypocrisy that even the shills at Fox News had trouble selling it, pretending instead that the Garland nomination never happened.

Then the presidential debate showed the world that Trump was a braying, vacuous bully with no answers but lots of empty demagoguery.

Then he got sick. Under just about any other circumstances, a sick leader would have gotten a sympathy bounce in the polls. But his attitude had been so reckless and foolhardy, and so damaging to the country, that most people thought he brought it on himself. People were appalled at the sight of him recklessly endangering the lives of others around him in his mad drive to show that this disease that has killed 215,000 people in his own country is no big deal and can be safely ignored.

There were a dozen other self-immolations. Dissing the troops. Attacking Gold Star families. And finally, becoming totally unhinged and largely incoherent.

So yeah, suddenly, Trump has managed to fall to 10.1 points behind Biden. It seemed impossible three weeks ago, but Biden now seems to be beyond the point where Republicans can steal it.

But remember. This all happened in three weeks. That’s an eternity in politics. We still have three more weeks to go before the election.

Don’t relax.

--
Ice Fall, my science fiction novel, is now available in PDF format (FREE!)
Also available for free: PDF of Rocketships and Stuff Preview of my upcoming novel, Earth Fall: Paperback
Hardback

Posted: November 14, 2020

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