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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Supporters of President Obama no doubt still harbor lingering pangs of jealousy over the star-studded parade of hip celebrities who lined up to throw their considerable weight behind Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the 2012 presidential campaign — Meat Loaf’s stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful” in particular causing the green-eyed monster to rear its ugly head.

But one of Mitt’s all-star team has broken free from the pack — yes, Detroit’s own Kid Rock, a conservative who campaigned and performed at events for Romney after extracting a promise from the candidate to “help the state of Michigan,” has done an about-face of sorts, telling Rolling Stone that he’s “embarrassed to be a Republican.”

Sounding an awful lot like a socialist and nothing at all like Paul Ryan, the usually reliably right-wing Rock blasted the current state of income inequality, telling the magazine, “Athletes and musicians make astronomical amounts of money. People get paid $100 million to throw a baseball! Shouldn’t we all take less and pass some of that money onto others?”

But wait, there’s more! “Think about firefighters, teachers and policemen,” continues the pro-choice, pro-marriage equality Rock, making his bid for Liberal of the Year and practically guaranteeing himself a starring role on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page. “We should celebrate people that are intellectually smart and trying to make this world a better place.”


Take a moment to relocate your jaw from the ground back up to your face before trying to absorb this next bit, as Rock explains that he’s planning to charge only $20 per ticket for his next tour… even if he doesn’t make any money, because the idea is to — wait for it — share the wealth: “Don’t guarantee me a dime; if nobody shows up, I’ll lose money. It costs us $125,000 to show up with our crew and whatnot,” he begins. “But I want to share beer, parking, hot dogs. Let’s put the money in a pot at the end of the night and figure out, based on the numbers, what I’ll get paid. Even if it sells out, I’ll take a pay cut. Fortunately, I’m able to do that.”

And lest you think he couldn’t stomp on the spirit of capitalism any harder… think again. The first two rows at each show will not be sold; Rock will send his roadies to the back of the venue, and bring some of the unfortunate riff-raff up front to enjoy the show from the best seats in the house — there will be none of that “he who pays the most gets the most” at a Kid Rock concert… no, everyone, be they taker or maker, has the same chance at a free front-row seat.

The newly benevolent star would also like to make rows 2-18 available only by paperless ticketing but has run into trouble with states that have outlawed the practice. And if you’re thinking that this is where the other shoe drops, this is where he finally does what Republicans are genetically wired to do — blame President Obama and the Democrats for the whole sorry mess — you will be disappointed. But happily so.

“That’s one of the times I’m f***ing embarrassed to be a Republican,” he rants to the delight of everyone who shares even a passing acquaintance with reality. “It’s f***ing Republican lawmakers passing those laws, you dumba**es.”

You don’t say.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]