Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
The story of the 2020 election is pretty simple. Donald J. Trump fired up both major parties' bases to an unprecedented degree, and the Democrats' was bigger. With the highest turnout rate in 120 years, Joe Biden will win the popular vote by a margin of somewhere around 7 million votes when all of the ballots are counted.
Looking ahead, those who worry that a more disciplined, less offensive authoritarian might follow Trump's MAGA playbook more effectively could take some comfort in reports that Trump has been "telling allies he planned to run for president in 2024 and could announce it by the end of the year." That could, of course, just be idle talk to soothe his ego or to keep the donations
to his new PAC for "stopping the steal" rolling in. But Trump's a pampered child of privilege who has always sought vengeance on a world that keeps wronging him, and it's entirely possible that he'll announce a 2024 bid rather than concede his 2020 loss.
If that is the case, we should welcome his next campaign because he would be crushed.
Here's why. Despite a lot of talk over the past few months about Biden leading among seniors, in the end they broke for Trump. Some of them will shuffle off this mortal coil over the next four years.
Young voters, in contrast, went for Biden by 24 points, according to the exit polls (which should be taken with a grain of salt). And in 2024, every TikTok teen who is over 14 today will be eligible to vote.
This isn't a fuzzy 'demographics are destiny' argument. We know how these kids think, and as a group, they hate everything Trump stands for. According to a 2018 Pew study of "Generation Z" (those who were then aged 13 and over), that generation is "similar in many ways to the Millennial generation that came before it. Members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, and they are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet...similar to Millennials, Gen Zers are progressive and pro-government, most see the country’s growing racial and ethnic diversity as a good thing, and they’re less likely than older generations to see the United States as superior to other nations."
So the kids are well-educated, embrace diversity and don't buy into 'America first'--they're basically an anti-MAGA cohort.
Keep in mind that in 2016, Trump got the GOP nomination by capturing 45 percent of the primary vote in a big, fractured field of candidates. He only became president due to a perfect storm of unlikely factors while losing the popular vote by a margin of 2.9 million. In 2018, Democrats won by their biggest midterm margin in history in a race that was a referendum on Trump. And he lost Arizona and Georgia this year en route to the wrong side of an Electoral College blowout for an incumbent.
We can keep doing this for as long as he has the stamina.
It's going to be a challenge to disinfect the federal government.
Over the past week, President Trump has axed his defense secretary and other top Pentagon aides, his second-in-command at the U.S. Agency for International Development, two top Homeland Security officials, a senior climate scientist and the leader of the agency that safeguards nuclear weapons.
A staunch Trump loyalist, McEntee, 30, was welcomed back into the fold in February and installed as personnel director for the entire U.S. government. Since the race was called for President-elect Joe Biden, McEntee has been distributing pink slips, warning federal workers not to cooperate with the Biden transition and threatening to oust people who show disloyalty by job hunting while Trump is still refusing to acknowledge defeat. [WaPo]
They're also reclassifying political appointees as civil servants, which makes them difficult to fire.
Speaking of only the best people, CNN reports that a new senior adviser at the Pentagon, Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, "repeatedly said the United States' support for Israel was the result of 'Israeli lobby' money and accused prominent officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of becoming 'very very rich,' from their support for Israel."
Macgregor was nominated to become the US ambassador to Germany this summer, but his nomination stalled in the Senate Foreign Relations committee after CNN's KFile reported he disparaged immigrants and refugees, called for martial law and lethal force at the US-Mexico border, and attacked Germany's military power and culture.
Several Jewish advocacy groups came out against Macgregor's ambassador nomination after it came to light that he dismissed German remembrance of the Holocaust and downplayed the country's Nazi history.
The regime doesn't need pressure from any lobby to, as Axios reports, "slap a long string of new sanctions on Iran in the 10 weeks left until Joe Biden’s inauguration." According to the report, "the Trump administration believes such a 'flood' of sanctions will increase pressure on the Iranians and make it harder for the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal."
Those sanctions are one item on their wingnut wishlist of parting gifts. According to Politico, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gathered senior aides this week to "plot the conservative policy moves they could push through in their final 10 weeks on immigration, trade, health care, China and school choice."
Meadows was asking aides on the call to give him three goals by the end of the week that could be accomplished by Biden’s inauguration, according to two people briefed on the conversation. Since then, staffers have compiled a list of roughly 15 moves they could make through executive orders, executive actions or finalizing agency rules that they plan to pursue in the coming days