Biden's real problem: Trump and his followers have contaminated every aspect of life in the United States

Time to dial it up to 11, as Nigel Tufnel would say.

If my fellow Louisvillian Dr. Hunter S. Thompson were still among us, this is when he'd drop multiple hits of acid, snort up enough marching powder to keep his shirts stiff for several months, drink copious amounts of Wild Turkey sufficient to numb or knock out the average human being — and then show up at a White House briefing in shorts, drenched and babbling like a ferret on Benzedrine.

Hunter actually did show up, according to his Playboy Interview, for a press briefing in nearly such a state, but today no one does. Hell, Hunter was the only one who ever did.

There are plenty of reasons to do so today. The debt ceiling. Infrastructure. Build Back Better. Not to mention that video surfaced this week of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham being booed by his own supporters for suggesting they get the COVID-19 vaccine. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and others from the alternative-facts coalition continue to undermine the government they serve. And the United States as I know it, according to a growing number of pundits and analysts, continues to slouch into oblivion; merely weeks or months away from death.

The world's in trouble. There's no communication, as Joan Jett told us.

Perdition isn't a done deal, no matter what you may see on television or the internet, or hear in your secret meetings with the odd handshakes. But the rending of hair and gnashing of teeth among the members of a Democratic Party that seems intent on duplicating Christopher Walken's self-destruction in "The Deer Hunter" is enough to lead soulless members of the Republican Party to guffaw in hearty laughter, never realizing they're laughing at their own demise.

Meanwhile President Biden continues to preach about getting people to work together, with very little return for his efforts — even according to his loyalists.

Compounding those problems is the coming census-mandated congressional redistricting. First Amendment attorney and activist Nora Benavidez is among many who believe redistricting is one of the most important and least-covered current news issues. "It is a direct threat to majority rule," she told me.

If the GOP can gerrymander enough districts in key states, they can quite likely situate themselves to take back the House, the Senate and ultimately the presidency — without a majority of popular votes, if necessary (as often seems to be the case recently with Republicans).

We know the election wasn't stolen in 2020 and we also know Trump is setting up to try and steal it in 2024. Whether or not he runs for office is irrelevant. If the Republican Party is successful at manipulating congressional districts, and continues to replace election workers with flunkeys who will do whatever Trump wants, then Trump will have the mechanism in place by which he can reclaim the presidency.

Whether he will opt to be king or the king's puppeteer will then be a far easier decision for him to make. Considering that many people who know Trump, like his longtime former fixer Michael Cohen, believe he won't run for a second term, it's easy to see how he could still take advantage of the situation without having to expose himself again to the pressures of the presidency. Never mind that some, like former Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham, believe Trump isn't healthy enough for another run.

Trump keeps the rest of the world busy dealing with other issues by throwing shade while his loyalists continue to lay the groundwork for authoritarian rule. As late as Tuesday in Michigan, President Biden had to reinforce the fact that he was a capitalist and that he won the election last year. He's fighting the Big Lie nine months into his presidency and seems mired in the past because he can't get ahead of the news curve. Trump plays the media like a fiddle to create the news.

But you can't just blame the press. We cover it because it's money for us — and it's only money for us because it's of interest to the general public. Trust me, if as many Americans tuned into a chess match, a jazz concert, local theater or a talking polar bear reading Socrates out loud in a Fran Drescher accent, we'd air that. Because whatever sells, baby — that's what corporate journalism is all about.

When Biden isn't addressing the withering accusations tossed at him by the Trump crowd, he's endeavoring to see if he can sell us his vision of America. Tuesday, on the stump in Michigan, he implored us to "Invest in resilience."

Hey, It's almost like he gets it. He's not going to go Hunter Thompson or Nigel Tufnel on us, but Biden certainly recognizes the nation is at a serious crossroads. Or, as he put it, "We're at an inflection point. . . . We risk losing our edge as a nation. Our infrastructure used to be the best in the world . . ."

It's not even close today. Our ranking as a developed nation for students seeking post-high school education led the president to say, "We're at the bottom of the heap."

Biden also proposes expanded access to community college, Pell grants and other expanded educational opportunities. It's hard to see where a working-class family would disagree with the federal assistance Biden proposes giving them by redistributing a small portion of the wealth of the richest Americans into the pockets of the poorest Americans so we can achieve something greater together.

Despite the "inflection point" Biden claims we've reached, he remained decidedly even-keeled and optimistic in Michigan, making what amounts to his latest stump speech. He avoided dialing it up emotionally, calmly reiterating that no one making less than $400,000 a year would pay more taxes — and saying that's why he won't back an increase in the gas tax, because people in the middle or working classes spend a much greater proportion of their income on gasoline than the wealthy do.

Biden's demeanor was calm, but his pitch dialed it up several notches. He again proposed the end to 40 years of supply-side economics that have created an immense gulf between the richest and poorest American citizens. Biden's appeal is to every working-class person across the country, but some of those people continue to roar against the Lion in Winter. Biden's sane detractors question his policy decisions while the insane continue hypocritical personal attacks or claim that Biden is one of the Illuminati, or is merely a skin-suit worn over a lizard body.

The bottom line is that Trump and his minions have been very successful in politicizing and contaminating every aspect of life in the United States. Music. Cinema. Arts. Food. Sports. Science. All of it. This has made it increasingly difficult to get anything passed in Congress. It threatens to make it prohibitive to deal with the basic needs of society. Those who are stirring up the storm want you to forget the reality of what Biden is trying to do — and to ignore the power grab the GOP is trying to make.

No great civilization can stand without addressing its infrastructure. Biden not only acknowledges that but takes it a step further, saying that the world of tomorrow is about economic competition, and we have to wake up to the fact that we must work together to survive and thrive. Authoritarian regimes believe democracies are too weak because we respond more slowly to stimuli than do autocratic governments that can turn on a dime through the will of a single head of state.

Biden, the eternal optimist, sees the U.S. not only competing with the world but once again leading it, while simultaneously closing the gap between the rich and the poor and providing better education to all Americans. At least that's the sales pitch. It is worth noting that Biden describes and envisions a world 10 years down the road, not a world that changes every 10 minutes according to what television show you've been on or watched. He is trying to chart a future he may not live to see.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they will never sit, the Greek proverb tells us. The Bible tells us wise men plan for the future.

We should at least listen to someone who has a vision of the future that isn't a dystopia plucked from the recesses of Hell — and not dismiss his proposals as politics as usual. Because there's nothing usual about today's politics.

You can't dust for vomit and life isn't a reality show, but we do need to dial it up to 11.

Biden is facing an authoritarian insurrection that never ended

Joe Biden has told us several times he's an eternal optimist.

Whether he's trying to salvage an infrastructure package, work on the debt ceiling, dealing with China, Afghanistan, or the pandemic that's killed more than 700,000 Americans, during his first nine months in the Oval Office Biden and his press secretary Jen Psaki have smiled at reporters and reiterated just how upbeat the president really is.

I've been able to personally ask him just three questions in nine months, and it's telling that in one of those three interactions he told me he was eternally optimistic. It's his go-to catchphrase, and you have to hope he's not like Chip Diller shouting, "Remain calm. All is well," in "Animal House" — only to be trampled by a panicked crowd later.

On Wednesday I again asked Psaki about this optimism at the end of her daily briefing. If Biden is so eternally optimistic, I asked, is he optimistic he can get any Republicans to flip and vote with the Democrats — since he can't seem to get Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to do so?

"He's always an optimist, Brian. Always," Psaki said.

Remain calm. All is well.

Behind the scenes, high-ranking officials who feel comfortable enough to talk say there's often another side to Biden — the Biden I remember from the Senate. That Joe Biden is less optimistic, more pragmatic and can be tough and stubborn, traits he needs as he's trying to wield his influence and power against all odds to accomplish something few believe he can — getting Republicans and Democrats to work together for a common cause.

This action is deemed so futile by some that there is seemingly no end to speculation that the U.S. is headed for a dark calamity of riots and a civil war-like dystopia that will look like a cross between a zombie movie and "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome"; not to mention the potential (shudder) re-election of Donald Trump in 2024.

There's hellfire a-coming, if you listen to these people. A recent Washington Post opinion piece claims we are in the middle of a constitutional crisis, thanks to Trump's actions and what Biden faces in his futile struggle to bring the country together.

I'm reminded of Bruce Willis' line in "Die Hard": "Welcome to the party, pal."

We've been here since the 2016 election, and it is truly and furiously frightening that only now are some beginning to understand the damage done to the American way of life in the last five years, just how menacing and charismatic Donald Trump remains and how cancerous he is to life in general — not to mention the uphill battle Biden is trying to fight in order to deal with it. It's even more telling that most of these people who don't understand seem to be elected Democrats who are too busy arguing with each other to see the bigger picture.

You don't have to go any further than acknowledging the politicization of a pandemic in which more Americans have died than during the 1918 flu pandemic, when medical science was a pale shadow of what it is now, to understand how far from normal things are.

If anything, we are beyond a constitutional crisis. It is now a crisis of survival. Can humanity survive when so many people deny scientific facts, and the world is literally on fire and drowning at the same time? The stakes could not be higher. A recent study from the journal Science reported that if you're under 40, you can expect an "unprecedented" life of extreme heat waves, droughts and floods. You will live through seven times as many heat waves, twice as many wildfires and nearly three times as many droughts, crop failures and river floods as your grandparents. Never mind the pandemic.

Meanwhile the U.S. is ripping itself apart due to the continued actions of a narcissist — our former president, who apparently pulled former press secretary Stephanie Grisham aside while both were on Air Force One to tell her he didn't have a toadstool-shaped penis, as reported by one of his paramours in social and mainstream media.

This alone is enough to lead some to give up hope while simultaneously melting into hysterical laughter. The truly minacious has merely become the mundane and that has caused some to throw in the towel, convinced that Trump will not only be the Republican candidate for president in 2024, but because of his continued cries about voter fraud, the GOP will manipulate state and local election laws to ensure his re-election. Those who believed Trump would fade from view after losing in 2020 have been deemed "delusional."

But Michael Cohen, the former Trump fixer who turned against his puppeteer, doesn't buy it. "I'm not even convinced he will run," Cohen told me. "He just wants the money." Cohen may well be right, but millions of Americans, faced with Trump's current antics, are more pessimistic — no matter how optimistic Biden says he is. That's because whatever Trump ultimately wants, right now he controls the Republican Party and anyone who's not along for the Trump ride is thrown from the elephant. That scares millions of Americans.

Compounding the pessimism are the acts of congressional Democrats who are fighting with each other, and the fact that many believe that Biden's optimism is really a function of how out of touch he is with current events. There is growing concern that those two points of drama will give the Trumplicans an opening to seize power in the midterms — without even needing to cheat to do so.

The problem is, you can't really hear Biden for the screams and rants from the banshees aligned with Trump. Biden believes that actions speak louder than words — what he forgets is that in today's media landscape, your actions often are your words. For example, Biden does not spend much time before reporters. He's had only one full press conference in the White House since he got there nine months ago, and that was only to a small cadre of reporters, the numbers reduced to a mere handful because of pandemic restrictions.

Still, many on Biden's staff think he's spent too much time with the press answering too many questions — I was told that as recently as Wednesday evening. It's simply not the case, and while some in the White House think it isn't wise to do so, Biden better wake up to the fact that he's not getting his message out — at least not as loudly as his opposition gets its message out — and no amount of eternal optimism will help if no one can hear you.

The appearance of bedlam in the Democratic Party over infrastructure and the debt ceiling may be just that, an appearance. But it is certainly adding to the concerns of people who fear an authoritarian takeover of the government. If you look at Texas, Florida and other states where voter suppression is real and a woman's right to choose has been extremely compromised, you can understand that these concerns are real — and that eternal optimism is viewed as being either naïve or out of touch.

A break in the supply chain that may cause a slowdown in domestic automobile production, along with questions about how strong the economy will be in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2022, are also cause for concern. Many do not share Biden's optimism that all is well.

It's perfectly true that the Trumpers will convince themselves of anything that Donald says or does. But Biden still doesn't seem to understand he has to cut through the clattering, monotonous, chest-beating Trump bile that's infected this country. People are concerned, and rightly so, that a party of fascist authoritarians is poised to sweep aside democracy and take over.

For Biden to maintain his optimism and convince others he's not just whistling in the dark, he needs a few legislative victories, a continued solid improvement in the economy and real progress in getting the pandemic under control. He also needs to speak out more about what he's done and what he's doing. His falling poll numbers are a byproduct of being outshouted in the court of public opinion by the former president and his band of mouthy mutants.

Actions may speak louder than words, but Biden has the bully pulpit at his control — he cannot allow himself to be bullied by an outlier who was twice impeached and whose minions include some of the most sanctimonious, authoritarian troglodytes ever to disgrace the American political stage.

In other news Thursday, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman reveals the real reason Corey Lewandowski was kicked out of Trump's inner circle. WATCH:

What really got Corey Lewandowski booted from Trump’s orbit -- and it wasn’t his unwanted advances

Exactly a year ago, Donald Trump told us exactly who he was and how far he would go

At first, I couldn't believe what the president said.

My question was quite simple — and I anticipated a simple answer. I sought reassurance that whatever else, a peaceful transfer of power after an election — one of the cornerstones of the American experience that has made us unique, a fundamental example of why other nations look up to us — was not up for debate.

Since George Washington gave up the reins of power and retired to his farm, like an American Cincinnatus, the peaceful transfer of power from president to president has been an example the rest of the world respects and has emulated.

We have taken this for granted. Donald Trump treated this tradition as personal toilet paper.

Whatever else happened during the four years that Donald Trump was president, I expected him and the GOP to uphold this American tradition. Hence, one year ago, on Sept. 23, 2020, I asked Donald Trump whether, come "win, lose or draw," he would accept a peaceful transfer of power. Until he came along, I would never have thought to ask a president such a question. I might as well have asked if they intended to continue breathing.

But Trump was different. The time was different. That briefing, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, came during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The White House press corps had voluntarily reduced our numbers to just 14, in a room that routinely had hosted as many as 110 reporters during Trump's tenure in the White House. Trump, through his press secretary, had routinely skirted this mandate by inviting "guests" from favored news organizations to stand at the back of the room and ask questions. I routinely showed up to counter-program the Trump lackeys.

On the day in question last year, someone with an assigned seat didn't show up for the presidential briefing and rather than allowing a Trump acolyte to take the open seat — which was the last seat in the last row — I took it myself.

Mind you, I did not believe Trump would call on me. He and I had a past. I had sued him to keep my press pass. He'd called me "fake news" and "that Playboy guy," and had told me to sit down and shut up on several occasions. Once he threatened to walk out of a news conference in the Rose Garden if I didn't shut up. I didn't, and he didn't walk out. He took the question while complaining the whole time.

On Sept. 23, 2020, he surprised me again. Not only did he take my question, but he picked me first and I did not hesitate. The only issue on the minds of millions of Americans then was whether or not Trump would respect the results of the upcoming election. What Trump said to me and told the nation that day was the match that lit the fire leading to the "Big Lie," an insurrection, one dead rioter, dead and beaten Capitol Police officers, and a nation that is still divided, sore and angry. More importantly, Trump has never admitted that he lost the election and he threatens our democracy daily.

No one should be surprised.

Everyone should be outraged.

But some, including high-ranking members of the Republican Party, continue to defend Trump and millions of Americans still believe him — no matter what they saw on television, no matter what they were told in news reports and no matter what the reality is.

Kellyanne Conway described this phenomenon as "alternative facts" and that is where millions of Americans, courtesy of a consummate con man, dwell today — in the gray nether regions of a constructed fiction where Trump and his minions believe he won; where taking a de-worming drug designed by scientists for horses is preferable to taking a vaccine designed by scientists for humans and where Trump is universally respected and/or feared by the leaders of the rest of the world — and where only he can save us.

Trump came closer than most of us know to staging a coup, even after he warned us about that last September. Recent news reports and a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa highlight a six-point plan for Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results.

Other news reports show that Trump and his team knew shortly after the election that there was no basis for challenging its results, and that Sen. Lindsey Graham apparently thought the arguments proposed to challenge the election results amounted to the logic of a "third grader." Still they lied to us.

Now we know what Trump meant when I asked him last year if he would "commit to a peaceful transferal of power after the election." This is what he said:

"We're going to have to see what happens. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. . . get rid of the ballots . . . and there won't be a transfer, frankly, they'll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control. You know it . . ."

"No I don't," I replied.

Trump's traitorous, convoluted and muddy thinking, his flash over substance, his obfuscation of facts and his total disregard for the truth and decency was horrifying then and has largely overwhelmed American politics now.

There are those so convinced that Trump got screwed in the 2020 election that they'll defend the treasonous actions of the insurrectionists on Jan. 6, while at the same time denying that Trump whipped them into a frenzy or that they were in a frenzy at all. With the same breath, there are those who will say the insurrection was a peaceful protest, an FBI, Black Lives Matter or antifa violent action, that it did not occur or was justified or — shudder — was even patriotic. The actions of that day were the actions of domestic terrorists. I was there. I witnessed it.

Look where we are now.

Division. Denial of facts. It was all there in the statement Trump made. He provided the roadmap to an insurrection on Sept. 23, 2020. People followed it. People died.

A year later, the United States looks even more lost than it was a year ago.

Donald Trump doesn't care. He wants to bring it all down and is trying to run a shadow presidency as he ridicules everything Joe Biden does.

Make no mistake. Biden has his faults. His handling of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Haitian problem on the border and the alliance with Australia and the U.K., which has created major friction with France, are all wounds that have been self-inflicted and damaging.

But Biden respects the Constitution, and anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see he is trying to work for all of us, not just himself. He has rallied to get Congress and the country to unify — working hard to get a bipartisan infrastructure package passed and constantly urging Americans to come together as he pushes hard for voting rights and increased taxes on the rich.

Trump never did that and never could. A year after he fanned the flame of insurrection in a White House briefing, we can clearly see the consequences of those actions. The threat of a coup was real — spurred by Trump's disregard for truth, an obsession with being branded a loser and a narcissistic view of the universe that boils down to this: For Donald Trump, we don't matter. Only his own desires matter.

As Kurt Bardella wrote recently in USA Today, "We cannot let our guard down. … Today's GOP has patterned itself after extreme and radical factions. Despots who are intent on normalizing violence to achieve their political objectives."

These actions in the GOP are rooted in Donald Trump's words. After he became president, Trump found levers to pull that sated his twisted needs for self-glory and adulation. He is addicted to that. His putrid, warped sense of self cannot permit him to let go and he continues to try and pull us down into the toilet with him.

In the 1993 western "Tombstone," Doc Holliday (played by Val Kilmer) is asked what makes a man like Johnny Ringo, the film's villain. "A man like Ringo has got a great big hole right in the middle of him," he says. "He can never kill enough or steal enough or inflict enough pain to ever fill it."

Like Johnny Ringo, Donald Trump seeks revenge — for being born.

A year after he told us, in response to my question about the election, how he would bend reality to suit his needs, he still tries. Since he has had some success in retaining his base (and more importantly for him, in raising money), there are other Republicans following his act.

United we stand. Divided we fall. Trump is the king of division. For the rest of us to stand he must fall. He must be prosecuted. He must be culled from the body politic.

Only then can we possibly hope to address "Trumpism."

Trump showed us his hand a year ago. Time is long overdue to show him the back of ours.

Why won't Donald Trump go away? Because Americans can't tell appearance from reality

Americans have a huge problem. It manifests itself in our politics and we see it in our daily lives. It is exacerbated by the commercials on television, the internet and our cell phones.

Many of us can no longer tell the difference between appearance and reality — if in fact we ever could.

This inability explains the appeal of Donald Trump, why some people believe professional wrestling is "real," why some of us won't take a COVID vaccine and why some of us will take a deworming drug meant for horses versus a vaccine designed by scientists for humans. It enables people to scream out "I don't trust the scientists," while at the same time checking themselves into the hospital if they get sick.

Flooded by a glut of misinformation that overwhelms actual facts, the American public seems to have reached a new level of mistrust and arrogant stupidity, further eroding our ability to take on problems and thus increasing our chances of a calamity heretofore unseen except in gothic horror stories or "Mad Max" movies.

It is why as recently as this week, scientists told NPR they needed to do better in communicating the problems of climate change. It's one of the reasons why a passenger on an American Airlines flight had to be restrained after he began screaming about Joe Biden. It's also why CNN published an opinion piece with the headline: "Let's be clear why the U.S. economy is weakening."

There are those who argue we've long been unable to tell the difference between appearance and reality, while others believe it is a recent phenomenon caused by misinformation. But rather than arguing which came first, we need to focus on those who don't recognize the problem at all.

In the case of Donald Trump, he has spent his life making bank on separating people from their cash by claiming to have answers he doesn't actually have. His ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, once told me that Trump is a master at stating the obvious. "He tells us we have a problem," Cohen explained, "that everyone will agree is a problem. But he has no answers."

For example: The wall. How simple. How stupid. Building a wall to stop the importation of illegal drugs and immigrants may sound appealing, but that assumes you've never heard of a ladder and can't build a tunnel. Since most drugs are smuggled into the country via ports of entry — that is, in aircraft, motor vehicles or boats and ships — the reality is that a wall does nothing to solve either problem.

Time and again, Trump has sold us the appearance of leadership, but the reality is best represented by what Trump told me on the South Lawn when I asked him whether he would take any responsibility for people ingesting Clorox and becoming sick trying to treat the coronavirus, because of something Trump had said recently in the White House briefing room.

"I take no responsibility," Trump reminded us.

He took no responsibility for the insurrection — while he provoked it. He took no responsibility for anything when pressed as president, though he and his surrogates drowned us with claims of his leadership prowess. His greatest sleight of hand came when he lost the election and refused to admit it — based on the "Big Lie" that tried to sell the appearance of a rigged election — when in reality he was the one trying to rig it. Thankfully, that failed.

But Trump's efforts have led to the rebirth of modern sadistic fascism, predominantly in the Bible Belt and specifically in Texas and Florida, where you have freedom to choose whether to wear a mask, but women are not free to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. As George Carlin once said, the reality is that governments in those states are simply anti-women. They also claim they want to preserve the sanctity of voting, but the laws they've enacted, in the realm of reality, do exactly the opposite. Trump may not be with us forever, but his actions have lit a nasty grease fire that threatens to burn down the kitchen. His acolytes and disciples come in a variety of packaging, but whether it is the Lauren Boebert brand, the Marjorie Taylor Greene brand or the Ron DeSantis brand, it's all merely appearance. The reality is, these people don't care about you.

By contrast, look at Joe Biden. He has been short on appearance, but long on reality. He claimed responsibility for removing troops from Afghanistan. The appearance was that of an unorganized withdrawal from a protracted war. The reality was we evacuated a population equal to that of Fort Lauderdale in less than a month.

The appearance is that we abandoned our military and caused consternation among veterans who questioned, "Was this all done in vain?" The reality is that it was done in vain and Presidents George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump were responsible for that. Biden ended our participation that needlessly cost American lives and inflicted incalculable suffering on the Afghan people.

The appearance is that science bungled the pandemic response, or was responsible for it — or that scientists are inept, or that Lizard leaders are trying to kill us off. And it doesn't matter anyway because the vaccine doesn't work, or is filled with microchips that can track us. And horse dewormer is better anyway. In reality, the vaccine works, you can already be tracked through your cellphone and your life isn't all that interesting and no one wants to track you anyway — so get the vaccination.

So, if Biden is better on reality, while Trump relied heavily on appearance — then why is Trump still on anyone's radar? His personal appearances at multiple rallies, and the constant harping on his stale talking points from his fawning minions, while Biden has quietly emphasized the reality he's trying to build is the answer. Trump screams louder, and has more people parroting his talking points.

That makes some people fearful and others numb as they contemplate the question: Is Trumpism winning? It may seem so, but that is also an appearance. The reality is that Donald Trump is merely better at communicating than most Democrats — including the current president. What he communicates is the pure, unadulterated byproduct of what occurs after ingesting horse dewormer, but no one can deny that Trump was and is masterful at getting a great deal of media attention.

Biden's White House communication staff is smaller. He doesn't take as much time on the airwaves as Trump, and he's willing to let his actions speak for themselves. That leaves a lot of airtime unaccounted for and thus Trump, his minions and the media criticisms fill in the void.

Nature abhors a vacuum, but the airwaves cannot exist in one. The reality is that Trump is an idiot, Biden doesn't understand how to communicate and the United States is still divided because no one is shouting from the rafters about bringing us together the way that Trump did — and still does — about tearing us apart.

The Democrats' greatest single failure lies in failing to grasp the reality that for many American voters appearances are reality. While the Democrats, so far, have been much better at dealing with reality, Trumplicans have been better at selling their blue smoke and mirrors. James Carville once said that while he did not like what the GOP stood for, he admired their work ethic because they keep pushing what they're selling and never give up.

That's why we are still fighting for a woman's right to choose, fighting against racism and voter suppression. Too many Democrats believed that one victory was enough. There are people working in the White House today who believe that Trump and his allies are irrelevant because Biden won in 2020.

That's the appearance.

The reality is much darker — and we'd better come to grips with it before the midterm elections.

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