#409: “She’s Real Fine My 409”

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #409 BEGINS: OK so you have to be well on the other side of age 50 to remember the opening lyrics of the song “409” by the Beach Boys. But the lyrics have such a ring that I couldn’t pass it up for this entry.  Now, what to write about that’s consistent with the lyrics.

The two most recent blog entries, #407-#408, addressed: (i) why the Republicans need to create a new credible conservative party and, (ii) how the Democrats could help Republicans form such a party.  The idea of Democrats helping Republicans might seem crazy at first blush but I think the idea is worth pursuing.  Why?

Let’s start with the assumption that for a democracy to function properly, there must be at least two credible, functioning parties. Right now we have one functioning party, the Democrats.  And we have at least two splinter groups claiming to represent Republicans in some way.

The splinter groups do not function at the national level, other than trying to block anything proposed by Democrats, no matter how rational the idea. At some state levels, Republicans are more of a force. Most recent efforts by Republicans in a number of states have been aimed at suppressing voting rights.  The need to suppress rights has been justified using made-up evidence that “proves” voter fraud, mostly from mail-in ballots, and only mail-in ballots from Democrats, of course. 

Republicans seem to forget the only case of voter fraud in the last couple of decades, and maybe longer, involved mail-in ballots in the NC 9th district.  And which party was guilty of voter fraud?  Oops, it was Republicans rather than Democrats.  The fraud was so extensive the courts forced another election.  But Republicans never let facts get in the way.

So how do Democrats make the crazy idea of helping Republicans actually work? How do Democrats get Republicans to consider the list of 10 ideas described in Entry #408 that should help rebuild or create a credible Republican Party? 

During services Friday night, the rabbi discussed an event that occurred in the south in the early 1970’s. The storyline was about how the former head of a local KKK chapter and a black female activist ended up working together.  The lesson was that while both parties were obviously outside their comfort zone, to make the relationship work, each one had to trust the other and each had to give up something the other side viewed as valuable.

We have the ingredients for a similar situation in Congress. Some far-right Republicans could be mistaken for the head of the local KKK.  And we have as president of the Senate, a black woman. Seems like a close enough match.

Maybe our congressional black activist, VP Kamala Harris, could reach out to the likes of Mitch McConnell, and Rand Paul in the Senate and Jim Jordan and others in the House. What’s really the risk of Democrats reaching out? The Republican groups oppose almost everything proposed by Democrats, even proposals that have widespread support among registered Republicans. 

VP Harris seems like she could be a good listener. She’s also probably a tough negotiator, having been both a District Attorney and Attorney General in California.

Harris could offer to cut a deal with the Republicans.  But the deal should be based on terms that are more like a plea bargain. Yes, we Democrats will work with you Republicans.  But you Republicans must keep your word, unlike your behavior during the Obama administration.  If a key Republican agrees to a deal and then reneges, the Biden administration should use any number of non-public ways of inflicting pain on the traitor.

I don’t know exactly what Democrats could offer that Republicans might really want and stimulate their interest. Doubtless, Democratic members of Congress and/or the administration have some ideas. Whatever is offered, make sure it is meaningful.

If the Republicans are interested and willing to give up something and then Democrats give up something they think is important, the discussion might work and we could begin to see the rebuilding of some of the Republican Party. If the discussions don’t work, so what? No harm, no foul.

Now back to the title, “She’s Real Fine My 409.”  I think VP Harris, a California girl no less, fits that title and would be an ideal person to begin helping the Republicans get back on track.  Use the 10 ideas in Entry #408 as a start.  What a great move that would be for the country.

Booklets you might find interesting: 

#408 Ideas How Democrats Can Help Principled Republicans Find a Home

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

ENTRY #408 BEGINS: Entry #407 suggested Democrats should work with principled Republicans to form a new political party. #407 also noted this entry would present ideas to help form such a party.

Maybe the best way to start is to refer to an old adage, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” For this discussion, let’s label principled Republicans as “enemies.”

However, the real enemies to the US democracy are not principled Republicans but the far-right Republican fringe groups. These groups have demonstrated a number of times, the most recent of which was the 01/06/2021 attack on the US Capitol, they do not support democratic elections, but support violence and/or threats of violence to ensure far-right ideas are implemented.

How do Democrats help principled Republicans form a new party?  For certain one needs to “think outside the box.”  One needs to put away the notion that politics must be a zero-sum game.

The vast majority the US population wants government to function. The recent Covid relief legislation is an excellent example.  According to a Pew Research poll, 70% of the US population supported the bill, including ~40% of Republicans.  

Despite widespread support among constituents, did any, even one, Republican vote for the relief bill? No, nada, none.  Why?  For many House members, apparently it was fear of losing the next primary to a far-right candidate.

But what was the excuse for voting “no” among moderate Republican Senators, especially those elected in late 2020 to six-year terms?  Senators are elected by everyone in the state, not just voters from smaller districts.  So, why not vote for the Covid relief bill?  

Many of those same Senators who voted “no” to help the America people with the Covid relief bill, voted “yes” to confirm Merrick Garland as US Attorney General.  In fact, 20 Republicans supported Garland’s confirmation, including none other than Mr. Hypocrisy himself, Mitch McConnell. 

Why the disconnect in voting between the Covid relief bill and the Garland nomination? Put aside the idea of Covid relief bill was too expensive.  The same group of Republican Senators voted to support the Trump tax cut which was far more expensive.  If you have a reasonable answer for the illogical behavior by these Republicans, please let me know because it makes no sense to me.

Since Republicans, or seemingly principled Republicans, don’t have a home and keep wandering about aimlessly, Democrats need to help them. Far-right Republicans despise those Republicans with principles and want to get rid of any moderates.

What can Democrats do to help these aimless principled Republicans?  Following are proposals intended to: (i) provide some cover for these pour souls and (ii) make democracy function more in line with people’s needs. The ideas are not to suggest that the will of the majority should always prevail.  Such an approach is contrary to basic tenets of the US Constitution.

The proposals are geared to allow candidates with different views to be elected and to diminish the influence of groups whose interests seem contrary to the best interest of the country. Yes, I understand the definition of “best interests” can be murky and can change over time but reasonable people can agree on many proposed actions.  The proposals listed should also be considered as “work in progress,” since some tweaks are likely needed.

#1.  Create a legitimate umbrella party for independents, moderate Republicans and even some moderate Democrats. The umbrella could be called the “Independent Party.”   The action to create the umbrella party would include a federal mandate requiring all states to allow candidates to register as members of the Independent Party.

#2.  Primaries would consist of a single ballot that includes all candidates from the various parties. The candidate’s political party affiliation would be designated on the ballot.

#3.  Primaries would allow voters to select at least two, and possibly three candidates. The three candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, would be on the ballot for the general election.

#4. Early voting and mail-in voting would be expanded. Online voting would be tested and implemented as quickly as possible after security concerns are addressed by a third party.

#5. House and Senate rules would allow Independent Party members to become leaders of each body. The Independent Party would be considered separate, but equal to the Republican and Democratic Parties.

#6. The Federal oversight provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be reinstated fully to help ensure fair voting procedures in all states.

#7.  Even without the Independent Party, Democrats would work with principled Republicans to develop legislation that both could support. In addition, Democrats would let principled Republicans take the lead on shepherding some legislation through Congress and take credit publically for initiating many of the proposals.

#8.  The US Attorney General, as Merrick Garland stated within hours of taking office, would ensure to the extent possible that all prosecutions are based on facts and blind to party affiliation.  To the extent possible evidence in high-profile cases would be made public, with the purpose of reducing doubt about the legitimacy of the case.

#9.  USAG would encourage the Attorney General in each state to take the same approach to evidence-based prosecution as done by the DOJ.

#10.  Democrats and principal Republicans should agree to approve only moderate nominees for the Supreme Court. In addition, the vote for any Supreme Court nominee should return to previous requirement of 60 votes in the Senate.

In less than two months in office, the Biden Administration seems to have made considerable progress in beginning to restore some confidence in the Federal government. These proposals are designed to help build on those early steps. 

Will these changes work? I don’t know. But, for sure we need to do something.  More to come.

Booklets you might find interesting: 

#407 Republicans to Constituents: “Let Them Eat Cake”

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download.  See list at end of this entry.  

ENTRY 407 BEGINS: I promise this will be the last entry about the stupidity of the Republican Party. Well, I hope this will be the last entry.

Why spend time on this issue? Many will say, “Who cares if Republicans do stupid things? Let the Republican Party fade into oblivion.“

As frustrating as it seems sometimes, the US democracy does need two viable political parties. Without two, we the people face an increased likelihood of an even more severe revolution. The old adage, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is true and applies to Republicans and Democrats. Having two viable parties keeps the power of both parties somewhat in check.

What’s happening now is an implosion of the Republican Party. Actions by most Republicans in Congress are 180° from the people who elected them.

Since the signing of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act during LBJ’s administration, the Republican Party has seen an influx of lower-income white voters, especially in the south. At the same time, many black voters have shifted to the Democratic Party.

Fast forward to today. Where are the voters who shifted to the Republican Party in the 1960’s/1970’s? They’re still Republicans as are many of their children and grandchildren.

How are these voters faring in the pandemic? While the number of people being inoculated is increasing, new COVID-19 infections remain above the highs of last summer. Further, the economy continues to languish with about 9.5 million jobs lost compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The job loss has fallen disproportionately on lower-income workers, many in the service sector. Even though some service sectors are starting to recover, claims for new unemployment remain extraordinarily high by historic standards. What’s not being counted in the unemployment rate are the many people who have left the labor market since the beginning of the pandemic. Why? Many have given up on finding another job.

Soon after taking office, the Biden administration formally proposed what could be characterized as a 2nd-phase pandemic “relief program.” Key provisions of the program as proposed included extending unemployment benefits and direct payments to middle and lower-income families. The proposal also included raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00/hr., the first increase in 12 years. The proposal had wide support among Democrat and Republican voters.

So what do Republicans in Congress do? Support funding to make the vaccine more available? Support funding to help localities open schools? Support extending unemployment benefits? Support increasing the minimum wage? Support any part of the bill to help their constituents, many of whom favored the legislation? Of course not. The Republicans response was, in effect, “Let them eat cake.“

In the House, every Republican voted against the bill. In the Senate, every Republican voted against the bill, even after the provision for a higher minimum wage had been removed. The House bill was tweaked in the Senate and finally passed 50-49 because a Republican was absent. Otherwise the vice president would have cast the tie-breaking vote.

It is hard to over emphasize how stupid the Republican’s response to this relief package has been. We all know what happened to Marie Antoinette after she uttered the phrase, “Let them eat cake.” Does no one in the Republican Party read history? Pardon me for the rhetorical question.

Where will these Republican voters go in the 2022 elections? While some lower-income Republican voters will stick with the Party no matter what, others will look at their pocketbooks. Why would you vote for someone who refused to offer some financial relief to the working stiffs? Money does talk.

What about Republicans who truly are concerned about certain economic and social principles? Will they continue to support the party of Trump wannabes? Even the Wall Street Journal has dumped on Trump, blaming him for the loss of the presidency and the loss in the Senate.

The frustrated lower-income workers could turn to the far-right groups. What used to be considered fringe groups have become more mainstream with many Republican voters.

As stated in several earlier entries in this blog, the far-right groups present a real danger to the US democracy. The groups can employ guerilla tactics to attack members of Congress, the judiciary and others who the groups believe oppose their views. Guerilla attacks are incredibly difficult to prevent and ideal to create angst among the populous.

The solution to the dilemma of the Republicans? As crazy as it sounds, the Democrats might need to help Republicans re-form their party. And the effort should begin sooner than later to help mitigate the potential breadth and depth of the 5th US Revolution, the Revenge Revolution. More ideas in the next entry.

Booklets you might find interesting: 

#406 Republican Clown Show Continues

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download.  See list at end of this entry.  

ENTRY 406 BEGINS: I was hoping with the Biden administration being in place and Trump sequestered at Mar-a-Lago, some Republicans inside the Beltway would start acting rationally.  A few Republican senators voted to convict Trump of inciting insurrection, and with the impeachment trial over it seemed possible Republicans in Congress might actually start to function.

Alas, not to be. How naïve or stupid of me to have such thoughts. Ironically, one of the least likely Republicans that I suspected to act rationally seems to be one of the few, and maybe the only Republican in the House that seems to be focusing on governing. Of course, some Republican leaders are trashing that person but what do ethics and upholding the Constitution mean to self-proclaimed conservative Republicans?

And, who is the pillar of integrity? Well, the term “pillar” might be a bit of an exaggeration but the person is certainly a stand out among Republicans. That person is none other than Liz Cheney, representative from Wyoming and, yes, daughter of the former vice president.

In trashing Liz, 3rd ranking Republican in the House, other Republicans have also trashed father. My, my little boys, how quickly you forget all of what her father did to support conservatives.

So the little-boy Republicans are willing to throw under the bus a family that has served Republicans since at least the Ford administration, yes since the 1970s. And who have the little-boy Republicans chosen instead?

You know, that long-time stalwart of conservatism. The man who has brought honesty, integrity and true leadership to Republicans.  Surely, you don’t mean Donald Trump?

Yes, the Trump who soon is likely to be indicted for tax fraud. Who is likely to be indicted for insurance fraud, money laundering and who knows what else.  Little-boy Republicans just threw integrity under the bus for ineptness and dishonesty. Seems like a good trade, right?

Why are Republicans continuing to act so stupid? I really don’t know. The strategy will shrink the appeal of the party, not expand it.  Gerrymandering can only go so far to rig elections. And efforts to suppress people voting don’t seem to have much support with a Republican-packed Supreme Court. So why continue to support Trump?

This past weekend CPAC, aka Conservatives Parading as Clowns, was a true circus. No one wore masks and everyone seemed to bow to the former leader. Hail Trump!

In addition, Republicans in Congress are nearly unanimous in opposing the $15 minimum wage. You’d think that maybe some Republicans might listen to their constituents, many of whom earn the minimum wage or very low wages and who strongly support the minimum-wage increase. Oh well, welcome to the Republican Party.

I’m going to stop at this point. No sense in beating a dead horse. But one thing is for certain.  The US needs a credible conservative party. And the way we’re headed right now, the Republicans are incapable of fulfilling that role. Stay tuned.

Booklets you might find interesting: 

#405. Republicans Now a Party of Thugs. The Implosion Continues.

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download.  See list at end of this entry.  

ENTRY #405 BEGINS: The refusal of no more than seven Republicans to vote for the conviction of Donald Trump for inciting a riot at the capital confirms the transformation of the Republican Party from one sorta, kinda based on principles to one run by thugs with no principles. Trump and his followers have complete control of what is left at the Republican Party.

Anyone with a pea for a brain has to be baffled by the behavior of the likes of Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham. McConnell voted to acquit Trump, then excoriated him soon after the final vote, and in essence encouraged Federal and/or state judiciaries to indict him. If Trump is so bad, then why did you vote to acquit? Certainly not for lack of evidence.

Graham, the milk-toast senator from South Carolina, headed to Mar-a-Lago soon after the vote to lick the boots of the wannabe dictator. And Lindsey, you claim John McCain was your role model? And you were in the military reserves for many years as a judge?

Lindsey, ever remember taking an oath to uphold the US Constitution? The Constitution outlines the framework for a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Following Trump’s acquittal, Republican parties at the state level immediately began to censure Federal House and Senate members who voted to uphold the Constitution and impeach Trump. The state parties want to rid themselves of anyone who has moral standards.

Republican legislators in Georgia were furiously trying to change the state constitution by the end of February to prevent county officials from presenting any information to a grand jury about possible crimes associated with elections. Under the proposed revisions, those indictments could only be handled by grand juries at the state level. The proposed change is to protect Trump from the district attorney in Fulton County (Atlanta) from likely indicting Trump for trying to overturn the state election results.

While none of these actions by Republicans is a surprise, the actions do emphasize why the 5th US Revolution is likely to include Civil War-like skirmishes. Actions against the Constitution by spineless Republicans have emboldened the far-right militia. The invasion of the Michigan State Capitol was first, and a bit of a rehearsal. The invasion of the US Capitol was next and could be the beginning of a series of guerilla attacks.

The FBI will continue to arrest and prosecute many of the Capitol invaders. But the FBI knows it faces two major problems in controlling the militia cells. #1, several Federal judges appointed by Senate Republicans under Trump have been extraordinarily lenient on bail requirements for those arrested in invading the Capitol. One judge allowed a defendant to take a vacation in Mexico. #2, far-right cells include many former military and police personnel. These individuals are well trained and can fill leadership roles for any existing members incarcerated. The FBI knows that like the US military experience in Vietnam, controlling gorilla cells is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

During the US Capitol invasion, while no member of Congress or VP Pence was assassinated, with Trump’s acquittal, the militia groups feel free to pursue retribution by attempting to assassinate Trump’s perceived enemies – Democratic leaders – Federal and state – judges who ruled against Trump, and Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. As noted in recent entries, unfortunately some of those assassination attempts likely will be successful.

As for as a credible political voice, the Republican Party has lost it. For anyone even slightly left of the extreme right, nothing the Republican Party can do or say has any credibility.

Compounding the problem for principled Republicans is the Lincoln Project, formed as a home for principled Republicans, seems to be imploding. Several key executives and board members have resigned recently. The cause? Personal behavior and not political principles. What seemed to be a viable start on a new home for principled Republicans has stalled and possibly disintegrating.

What happens in the next few months may be very telling about the survival of the Republican Party. Democrats likely will pass most of the Biden administration’s proposed legislation to address the: (i) economy (ii) healthcare coverage; (iii) need to begin rebuilding infrastructure. Based on the willingness to convict Trump and then the retribution by the state parties, there likely will be a number of Republicans who are so disgusted with Trump and the Republican Party’s lack of principles that they will support the Democratic legislation. For example, what does Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) have to lose? He’s been censured by the NC Republican Party. Plus, he’s not running for reelection.

Those remaining in the Republican Party will kowtow to Trump for some time. But such efforts are a lost cause, much like clinging to a sinking ship. In the coming months Trump faces a number of civil and criminal indictments. In order to satisfy financial obligations, Trump will be forced to liquidate many properties.

Some hard-core Trumper‘s have already abandoned him, including some of the Proud Boys. And some who have been convicted of invading the US Capitol likely will try to call Trump as a witness in their trials, claiming that all they did was respond to Trump’s orders. To paraphrase a saying from the comedian Flip Wilson popular many years ago, “The Donald made me do it.” (Wilson said, “The Devil made me do it.”)

With lack of media attention, Trump will soon fade away or maybe melt like the wicked witch of the west in the “Wizard of Oz.” Without a new leader, and so far none has emerged, as Trump goes so goes the Republicans Party.

In a bit of irony this week, on the same day the last of Trump’s hotels in Atlantic City, NJ was intentionally demolished, using 3,000+ sticks of dynamite, Republicans experienced another implosion. The far-right entertainer and supporter of Trump, Rush Limbaugh, died of lung cancer. What or who will implode next? Stay tuned. (Comments welcome.)

Booklets you might find interesting: 

#404.  Error Message 404: True Republicans Not Found.

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” 

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download.  See list at end of this entry.

START ENTRY: An occasional error message on the computer reads, “Error #404.  Not Found.”  This being Entry #404, a “404 Error Message” theme seems appropriate. 

But like the error message, who has not been found?  Inside the Beltway, one can find error messages on both sides of the aisle.  Lately, however, Republicans seem to be racing far ahead in making errors of significant consequence for the country.

During the past week or so, Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to strip committee assignments from a member who supported rioters breaking into the Capitol, who stated that someone should put a bullet in the head of Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, and who continued to spread lies about a host of other issues affecting democracy.  The vote in the House wasn’t to expel or even to censure Representative Greene (R-GA).  The vote was merely to strip committee assignments.  For Republicans in the House, anyone who supported Trump should not be punished, no matter how egregious the behavior.  

What about the fate of Republicans who didn’t support Trump’s attempted takeover of the government?  Different story.  Some of the same members who supported Greene’s behavior forced a vote among Republicans to remove Liz Cheney from the #3 ranking Republican in the House.  Why?  Because Cheney had voted for the impeachment of Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection.  The temerity of Cheney to uphold the Constitution and vote against Trump.  

Somehow Cheney survived.  Could it have been because the vote re Cheney was secret and “Only the Shadow Knows” how members voted?  The vote for Representative Greene was on the record.  Apparently, when Republicans must stand up and have their votes counted in public, they act like scared dogs. Who or what are the Republicans in the House – and Senate – afraid of?  

At the beginning of Trump’s second impeachment trial, 44 Republican Senators voted that the trial was unconstitutional.  Why was the trial unconstitutional?  Because Trump was out of office.  Forget precedent from a series of impeachment trials.  Forget that the House impeached Trump while he was still in office.  Forget that the Senate refused to take up the trial while Trump was in office.  Forget all those facts and pretend that once someone leaves, all is forgiven.

What 44 Republican Senators are supporting is that future presidents can be as corrupt as they want with no essentially consequences.  For example, the morning of the inauguration of a new president, an outgoing president can accept as much cash as he or she wants from someone, whatever the quid pro quo.  By noon that day, when the new president is sworn in, if the House doesn’t impeach the outgoing president and the Senate doesn’t convict, then there is no consequence.  And, oh, yes, using the logic of the 44 Senators, the outgoing president can pardon himself and avoid prosecution for any federal crimes.   Error 404: Credible Republicans Missing.  

The infighting within the Republican Party is a problem for the US.  The US needs two functioning parties and now one political party is being taken over by fascists, who are more than willing to throw out the US Constitution and manage by fiat.

While some people point to Trump as the cause of the infighting and the deterioration of the Party, the Republican Party started a downward slide under Ronald Reagan.  Reagan did three things that began to erode the credibility of the Republican Party as a true conservative party and erode the democracy.

#1 was the campaign mantra, “Government is the problem, not the solution.“ Reagan repeated the mantra during his campaign and even repeated it during his eight years in office. When he was president, if he wasn’t the government, then who was?

If “government” was really the problem and not the solution, then how did the US put a man on the moon in less than a decade? How did the US change the course of World War II in Europe and the Far East? How did the government help the US economy recover from the Great Depression?  Reagan lived through all those events, yet still claimed government was the problem, not the solution.

#2, Reagan was anything but a fiscal conservative. Reagan as a fiscal conservative is a myth.  Reagan was a spendthrift. During the Reagan administration, debt as a percent of GDP increased about the same proportion as under FDR’s New Deal Programs prior to World War II.  But was Reagan trying to turn around the economy from the Great Depression?  No, the economy wasn’t in great shape when Reagan took office but nothing as bad as the early 1930’s.

So what was all the deficit spending for? Was spending for infrastructure expansion and improvement like under Eisenhower? No. Was spending for technology advancement like under Kennedy/Johnson with the space program? No.

Reagan spent money on the military.  Why?  Unlike under Trump when the president kowtowed to Russia, Reagan actually believed, or seemed to believe Russia was a threat.  Therefore, the US must outspend the Russians.

The military spending did stimulate the economy.  Republicans, starting with Reagan adopted an unusual economic theory to justify excessive military spending and implement tax cuts.  The unusual theory was a combination of Keynesian economics and trickle-down economics. Keynesian economic theory, which states that deficit government spending will help stimulate the economy, was redefined under Reagan to apply only to military spending and not to any other government spending.

Why the narrow and bizarre definition? Because Republican voters like the idea of a strong military.  Therefore, government spending for the military was OK but deficit spending for non-military spending.  Only spending for the military would stimulate the economy.  As a result, all non-military government spending should be based not on Keynesian economics but on trickle-down economics.

The short version for trickle-down economics starts with the assumption there is an ideal maximum marginal tax rate that will generate the most tax revenue for the government.  The idea was proposed by Arthur Laffer and known as the Laffer Curve.  A marginal rate above the ideal would result in lower government revenue.  What the Laffer Curve also indicates, but Republicans refuse to acknowledge, is a maximum marginal rate less than the ideal rate would lower tax revenue.

Since Reagan, Republicans have insisted that cutting maximum marginal income tax rates will stimulate the economy.  And because the economy then will grow faster, overall tax revenue will more than make up the amount lost by the lower rate.  Why does trickle-down economics work?  According to Republican logic, those who have the most wealth already will use the extra money from the tax cut to invest in new plant and equipment.  The new plants will then hire new workers and everyone will be better off since income will trickle down to all economic levels.

If you’re a bit confused by this claim, you’re thinking clearly.  The rationale for trickle-down economics is so absurd that an eight-year old can see the flaws. Who is going to buy all the additional production from these new plants if regular consumers don’t have more money?

Trickle-down economics is more like “Field of Dreams,“ build it and they will come.  Trickle-down was described by George HW Bush as “voodoo economics.“  And he’s been proven correct repeatedly.  There is no empirical evidence from any economy that trickle-down economics works.  None, nada, zero.  Yet to this day, Republican tout voodoo economics as the solution – the 2017 Trump tax cut, the most recent example.  What happened after the 2017 tax cut?  Huge amounts of money were transferred to the wealthy, and oh, yes, the deficit ballooned to record levels rather than shrinking.

#3, Republicans trashing rather than conserving the environment. Republicans need to look up the definition of “conserve,” the root of “conservative.”  I’ll save them the trouble, “protect (something, especially an environmentally or culturally important place or thing) from harm or destruction.”

Republicans appeal to the religious right. I guess fundamentalist Christians have forgotten what it says in the Bible about conservation. There are innumerable references to conservation, beginning in Genesis, about leaving the earth a better place.

Who signed legislation forming the EPA?  A Republican.  Yet Trump and Republicans have made every effort to dismantle the EPA.  According to Republicans, “Why make any effort to clean the air and water when we have mining dollars supporting our campaigns?  Mining means jobs.  You environmental socialists, go back and hug your trees!”

Under Trump, and to extent all Republican presidents back to Reagan, if members of Congress or some of the states wouldn’t support reducing air-quality and water-quality standards, then the president would try to limit any enforcement by EPA.  While Trump was the most extreme in trashing EPA, his behavior fit a pattern of Republicans beginning with Reagan.

What’s happening to the Republican Party now?  The Party is splitting in two. One faction wants to ratchet up the 40 years of anti-government actions started by Reagan and magnified by Trump. The other faction wants to regroup and begin to act like grown-up, principled conservatives.

What does the current bi-furcation of the Republican Party mean for the 5th US Revolution, the Revenge Revolution?  For one, the Trump crazies feel emboldened after the January 6 attack on the Capitol and other than a few participants too stupid to think social media posts couldn’t be viewed by the FBI and other agencies, have suffered no consequences.  And, many Republicans in Congress have aligned with the crazies.

As noted earlier in earlier entries, increased enforcement of laws by Justice under Biden may encourage the crazies to form small cells. The small cells could operate a guerrilla war against high-profile Democrats, judges and Republicans who appear to counter Trump’s wishes.

The part of the Republican Party trying to return to some conservative principles also faces a risk.  To the Trump crazies, the principled Republicans are more like Democrats, which the crazies now view as synonymous with socialists.

The threat of the crazies is not going away.  While Trump already has faded and may end up in prison, the crazies will rally around a new leader.  It may take some time for the leader to emerge.  However, the US must take strong action now to eliminate as many cells of crazies as possible.

The principled Republicans need to form another political party, call it the Lincoln Party.  And Democrats need to work with the “Lincoln Party” to thwart actions by scared-dog, Error-404 Republicans in Congress.

If there is not a new party for principled Republicans that can work with Democrats, what the US faces is not only a cultural revolution but one where democracy is eroded and replaced by the fascist right.  The clock is ticking and not much time is left.

Booklets you might find interesting: 

#403 Republicans Taking Double Dose of Stupid Pills

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1. Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.” Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download.  See list at end of this entry. START ENTRY #403: Republicans, especially in the US Senate, apparently have doubled their dosage of stupid pills. In a move likely to horrify historians and likely to please Putin, all but a handful of Republicans senators voted in essence to let Trump off the hook for inciting the crowd to storm the Capitol. What would Republican senators have done following World War II? Would they say, “Let the Nazis who killed millions of Jews and others off the hook because the war’s over?  Let’s not waste our time with that Nuremberg Trial.”  Apparently by Republican standards, once the conflict ends everyone left standing goes home without repercussions. Republicans have been saying, “What’s the use of impeaching Trump? Trump’s left office.  Just let him be.”  While not saying it directly, these Republicans are implying that it’s no big deal that during the attempted coup of the US government, only five people were killed, none of whom was a member of Congress.  And no real damage was done.  Only Democratic offices were ransacked.  To help divert attention from the sedition by Trump, Republicans have focused on trying to block legislation proposed by President Biden.  The same Republicans are also complaining that Biden is signing too many Executive Orders. “He is turning into a dictator!”  Of course, when Trump issued Executive Orders he was operating like a smart businessman and helping the country. Actions by Republicans have no logic, unless you’re afraid of Trump and/or afraid of the hard right.  If you weren’t afraid, then why would seemingly every move be to mollify the right-wing white supremacists?  Obviously the Republicans in Congress don’t read and probably only get their news from Fox or some internet site.  But why should Republicans continue to fall in line with a guy who has no power?  What’s in it for the members of Congress?  Who’s paying them to support Trump?  When the details of a few state-level investigations of Trump are revealed, likely the evidence will be overwhelming that Trump was tied financially to the Russians.  Are the Russians supporting Republicans in Congress as well? Without some type of money trail, none of the actions by Republicans makes sense.  Even the two titular heads of the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, have relinquished the idea of upholding the Constitution and bowed to Trump’s wishes, or maybe Putin’s wishes.   McCarthy even traveled to Mar-a-Lago to beg Orange Man’s forgiveness. What do the Republicans’ actions mean for the country? And what do the actions mean for the 5th US Revolution, the Revenge Revolution? Republicans might be able to slow Biden’s legislation in Congress.  Republicans are already taking actions at the state level to make voting more difficult.  However, try as they might, Republicans will not be able stop a growing movement among citizens to address two major societal issues: (i) climate change; (ii) economic inequity. Just like the 4th US Revolution for in the late 60s, early 70s, the younger generations are going to force societal change. The climate change movement is already affecting decisions in the business community. Energy behemoths are moving away from fossil fuel toward renewables – Exxon, BP and Shell are notable examples. Auto companies are shifting more production to electric. GM announced that by 2035, all of its cars and trucks worldwide will be electric. Other auto companies are likely to follow suit. The pathway to address economic inequity is less clear. However, going forward all economic policy decisions, monetary and fiscal, will be viewed with the economic equity microscope. A major target for more economic equity will be reversing the 2017 Trump tax cuts, aka wealth transfer to the already wealthy.  While passing legislation to reverse the tax cuts may stall in the current Congress, given the growing block of votes by the younger generations, the 2017 legislation is likely to be reversed not later than by the Congress elected in 2024. What is going to happen to the right-wing supremacist groups courted by many Republicans – Proud Boys and 3%’ers? A more aggressive and focused US Justice Department will begin to break up these groups.  An example is for some of those arrested for storming the Capitol.  Federal judges in Washington have overridden state or local judges who allowed the defendants released on their own recognizance.    The danger from these right-wing groups is still clear and present.  Members of these groups could operate in small cells or even alone and attempt to assassinate high-profile figures – Democratic Party officials, federal and state, and federal judges who rule against the right-wing groups and/or against Trump.  Even if the right-wing groups break the association with Trump, the danger from small cells still exists. As horrible as the assassinations would be, like the tragedies of the 1960’s, such actions will help the citizenry focus on what’s required to maintain a viable democracy.  The citizenry is very likely to vote out Republicans who have continued to support Trump and/or the fringe groups. While much of the turmoil over the next few years could be avoided if Republicans stop taking double doses of stupid pills, and if Republicans began supporting the Constitution, such a change in behavior by Republicans seems unlikely based on the continuing kowtowing to Trump.  If an insurrection didn’t change their attitude, nothing will.  Or maybe the real reason for not changing is the money flowing from the Kremlin.  I’m not much on conspiracy theories but, stupid pills aside,  the only logical way to explain why Republicans in Congress act the way they do is money.  END#403  Booklets you might find interesting:

#402. Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz. Oh What a Relief He is.

Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download.  See list at end of this entry.

Beginning #378 the entries began focusing on a post-Trump administration.  We’ve started a post-Trump presidency and working toward a post-COVID world, even if post-virus is a ways away.  Comments and suggestions welcome.

ENTRY #402: The inauguration of Joe Biden reminds me, and apparently many others, of a long-ago Alka-Seltzer commercial, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it (he) is.”  Within hours of Biden/Harris being sworn in, there was a noticeable change in the attitude of the White House and a change in the attitude of government agencies.

Adults were back in charge. Rational policies were being outlined and some implemented.  Biden issued a series of Executive Orders restoring many policies of previous administrations – from Obama to Bush to Clinton and even some policies as far back as Nixon – that had been overturned by Trump.

The Biden administration also began talking honestly about the problems trying to get everyone vaccinated against COVID-19.  A solution to every problem was not forthcoming but most adults started feeling more at ease.  The anxiety level in the US and worldwide dropped precipitously.  Biden may become known as the Alka-Seltzer president.

Will the Alka-Seltzer reduce the likelihood of the Revenge Revolution?  The Revenge Revolution began with raid on the US Capitol.  What remains unclear is the next step for the raiders.  Interestingly, very shortly after the inauguration, some on the far right – Proud Boys, for example – began distancing themselves from Donald Trump, calling him weak.  Soon after the Proud Boys declaration other far-right groups began distancing themselves from Trump.

With Trump out of favor, and out of power, some in the Republican Party have started auditioning to replace Trump – Senators Cruz and Hawley, e.g.   But so far no high-profile individual has emerged as the clear leader.

Does the lack of a leader reduce the danger of the far right militia groups?  I would characterize the lack of a leader, especially one inside the Beltway, more as a temporary pause in activity rather than any change in attitude by these organizations.  Only the most naïve would assume the groups will become true patriots rather than wanna be fascists.

The religious right is also searching for a leader.  Even though president Biden has a long history of commitment to Christianity – a commitment orders of magnitude more than Trump – some on the right, most visibly Franklin Graham, cannot allow themselves to support the Biden administration.  Franklin Graham went so far as to support the attack on the US Capitol.

Give the remarks of Graham et al, one has to ask, “What does the religious right want in a president?”  Apparently, even though Biden represents well over 90% of what the religious right believes, the religious right seems to demand the president support them 100% or be defeated. How the religious right reconciled supporting Trump I still don’t understand since his behavior was antithetical to virtually every tenet of Christianity.

Fringe groups and wackos are not new to the United States. Most of the time the fringe groups received little support and/or little publicity. That is until Donald Trump encouraged far-right groups, militant and religious to overturn the will of the populous and enshrine him as dictator.

With the Alka-Seltzer president calming nerves and seeking unity rather than division, some Trumpsters sympathetic to the fringe groups are likely to migrate toward the center.   This migration may push the fringe groups farther right.

Another push right could come from reaction to many of Biden’s Executive Orders, which were aimed at immigration and/or disadvantaged groups.  Examples of EO’s include lifting the ban on Muslims from various countries from entering the US; extending protection for DACA entrants and a number of other programs. In addition, the Biden administration has discussed and/or proposed legislation addressing a number of other cultural and economic equity issues.

How will the fringe groups react to Biden’s EO’s and a more centrist approach?  The fringe groups are not going to disappear.  Unfortunately, if the groups do not find a leader inside the Beltway, they could become more reactionary and more dangerous.  Without a charismatic leader, the groups could begin to operate locally.

The invasion of the Michigan Capitol then the US Capitol demonstrated how hard it is for law enforcement to prevent gorilla skirmishes. Given the number of people with military backgrounds who have been arrested for participating in the raid on the Capitol in Washington, many of the smaller cells are likely well trained in military tactics.  As a result, it will be nearly impossible for law enforcement to prevent groups from carrying out targeted raids.

One of the most difficult tactics to prevent, and one of the most devastating, would be snipers trying to assassinate key Congressional leaders and/or key state officials.  Even a few such attacks over a number of months would create nationwide chaos.

The Biden administration has made a great start toward bringing the country back together.  One example is the boyfriend of the woman who stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop.  She was found not because of the FBI investigation but because he turned her in.

Is the action of the boyfriend a single data point or maybe a change in attitude by many people?  Numerous people who participated in the raid on the Capitol were turned in by family and friends.  Maybe, just maybe there is enough change there would be significant backlash by family and friends to actions by or even participation in far-right groups.

Hate is not going to disappear but can be managed more effectively with a concerted effort by participants in all levels of government, the media and the general population.  With such an effort the Revenge Revolution will be more of a cultural revolution and less of a fighting revolution.  Without a concerted effort, the US could slip into another civil war.  We’ve already witnessed the danger to democracy during the Trump presidency and with the attack on the Capitol.      [End of #402.]

Booklets you might find interesting:

#401. Here We Go. The 5th US Revolution Has Begun.

Readers: some of the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Entries addressing events in the the future assume there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:

Beginning #378 the entries began focusing on a post-Trump administration and a post-Coronavirus world.  We’re headed to a post-Trump world and post-COVID world, even if post-virus is a ways away.  Comments and suggestions welcome.

ENTRY #401: Blog entry #400 was a “sense check addressing whether a 5th US Revolution was likely, or even possible. Well, we didn’t have to wait long for confirmation.

On January 6th, in a rally outside the White House, Trump egged on a group of supporters to go to the Capitol and disrupt the counting of the Electoral College votes by the Senate. The Trump mob, many with either a Confederate flag or a banner with Trump’s picture superimposed on an American flag, then stormed the US Capitol.

The group overwhelmed the Capitol Police and broke into the House and Senate chambers. Some proceeded to damage artwork and then ransack offices, most notably the office of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.  A number of people were injured and 5 killed, including a Capitol police officer.

Trump’s reaction? He claimed the seditionists were really patriots. Reactions of high-profile Republicans? Some were genuinely outraged but many seemed to shed crocodile tears. A surprising large number of Republican Representatives and Senators have continued to support Trump, while criticizing the Capitol Police for failing to hold off the mob.

When the House and Senate reconvened in the early evening of January 6 to resume counting electoral votes, did Republicans continue to object to the votes certified by states, even if the certification was by Republicans?  Of course they objected.  Republicans claimed that the ballots supporting Biden were fraudulent, even though those same ballots resulted in the election of those protesting.  Only in Trump world could one use such logic.

These Republican Representative and Senators continued with Trump-world logic.  Comments went along the following lines, “What did Trump do that was so bad? I mean, the last time anyone invaded the Capitol was in 1812. And it was the British.  They burned the Capitol to the ground.  Trump’s group merely protested and rearranged some papers and furniture in a few offices.  No big deal.  All you liberals quit whining.”

Even more frustrating than the logic of the Trump Republicans in Congress was the reaction of some supposedly educated people I know. I have purposely maintained Facebook friendships with some hardcore Trump supporters. Several of these people I’ve known for many years and decided not to let some idiot like Trump ruin a friendship.  In addition, viewing their posts does provide some idea of how Trump supporters think.

The posts following the storming of the Capitol were interesting as well as baffling. One person claimed that the insurrectionists were not really Trump supporters but liberals trying to make Trump look bad. She had proof that one participant had been at a climate change rally on the West Coast. Not only was her “proof” quickly refuted – the alleged “climate change” participant was a hard-right group member – but apparently it never occurred to her that one or more participants at the Trump rally might have tried to disrupt the climate change rally. Oh no, Trump supporters would never do that.

Reaction from another friend was more drawn out. I received an unsolicited email from the individual stating the Trump should leave. I responded by agreeing, then discussing how Trump’s behavior could accelerate the split in the Republican Party, with more principled Republicans leaving the party and forming a third party with members of the Lincoln Project.  The “Lincoln” Republicans could gain considerable influence by aligning with more moderate Democrats. Such an alignment would effectively render the far right of the remaining Republican Party as a non-entity politically.

The reaction to my rather straightforward comments? No direct response. Instead, the response focused on Democrats, stating that Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Stacey Abrams were evil.  Not sure why they are considered evil, especially Abrams who currently holds no political office.

The next day I received another email with a link to a right-wing blog.  The author of that blog, of course with no data, proved the media had caused the US population to split politically. 

While the logic stream in the emails was confusing at the least, one point was true. The media have contributed to the split in the population.  But not the media the writer intended. The split has been caused in large part by Fox News, Limbaugh and some social media sites rather than the media the writer considered.

Like a few Facebook friends, Trump couldn’t stop and think.  He continued to tweet, encouraging supporters to protest at state capitols and protest during the Inauguration of Biden/Harris.  Trump made sure supporters knew he would not attend the swearing in.  Implicit in Trump’s tweet, “Have at it boys.  Fire away, I won’t be nearby.”

The adults in positions of power have reacted to Trump’s insurrection.  The House is preparing articles of impeachment. Pelosi contacted the Joint Chiefs about making sure Trump could not order use of nuclear weapons without additional review.  Twitter has banned Trump from ever having an account.  Other social media sites have banned Trump as well. 

Some people in Congress have suggested not pursuing Articles of Impeachment.  “Why bother since Trump is so close to leaving office?”  In an interview on PBS News Hour, Representative James Clyburn, D, SC and the House Whip, was quite clear.  I’m paraphrasing, “If someone breaks the law, they need to be held accountable.  It does not matter whether there is one day left in their term.”   

As far as the 5th Revolution, if storming and occupying the US Capitol is not the act of revolutionaries, I’m not sure what is.  How long will Trump be able to lead the revolution?  Likely he will fade rapidly once out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There may be a Trump-incited rally or two over the next month or so but that will be it.  Like most bullies who lose power, he’ll become a nobody.  Plus, the minute Trump leaves office he faces significant legal and financial challenges.  And no pardon can protect him at the state level.  The icing on the cake might be the town of Palm Beach enforcing a prior agreement that limits the number of days he can stay at Mar-a-Lago.  If the agreement is enforced, he’ll have to find another place to stay.

With Trump out of the White House, with no Twitter account and with no real financial resources, Trump supporters, especially the insurrectionists, will be seeking a new spiritual leader. No one is on the horizon. Cruz and Hawley are anything but charismatic. 

What may be the most concerning, however, is actions of small bands of Trump crazies to punish alleged enemies.  Targets could include Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, state officials considered “unfriendly’ to Trump – governors, secretaries of state, e.g. – and Federal judges who dismissed Trump’s lawsuits claiming fraud. Even VP Pence, a Trump lapdog for 4 years, is on the persona non-grata list of the hard-core Trumpsters.

As the US military has learned repeatedly, trying to prevent small groups from attacking specific targets is exceedingly difficult.  Such attacks would cause widespread angst among public officials and citizens.                

As noted in some other entries, the 5th US Revolution — the Revenge Revolution — will include some major cultural shifts. More about cultural changes in the next few entries.  Hang on. The upheaval in decade of the 2020’s could easily rival the upheaval of 1960’s/early 1970’s. 

#400 Sense Check. 5th US Revolution Still Possible?

Readers: some of the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Entries addressing events in the the future assume there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  This entry is a sense check.  

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:

Beginning #378 the entries began focusing on a post-Trump administration and a post-Coronavirus world.  We’re headed to a post-Trump world and post-COVID world, even if a ways away.  Comments and suggestions welcome.

ENTRY #400: SENSE CHECK. The first entry in this blog was the fall 2013, just over seven years ago. The theme of the blog evolved 9-10 years ago when I began drafting a thesis for an unfinished degree at the University of Michigan.  The degree was a masters of liberal studies in American culture.

I started the degree program a few years after we relocated to Michigan. The degree courses were interesting and unlike any I’d taken in undergrad or graduate school. One of the benefits of the program was becoming much better at the TV show “Jeopardy.”

I finished the thesis and submitted to U of M.  Then learned I was a couple of courses short.  After a number of years in Michigan, we had moved to California, then to Charlotte.  I hadn’t been enrolled for some time but thought the coursework was completed. Although U of M indicated the two courses could be taken on line, I decided enough formal education.

However, I didn’t put the thesis on the shelf.  When researching material for the thesis, I “discovered” the US seemed to experience a revolution about every 50 years. I assume like many discoveries, this “discovery” was quite by accident.

The working title of the thesis was “The American Revolution.”  “The American Revolution” didn’t refer to the traditional American Revolution but a tagline from an old Chevrolet commercial.  Much of the content of the thesis focused on how to rebuild US manufacturing (yes, long before the Donald made such a claim), with particular emphasis on how Southeast Michigan could leverage knowledge of the auto industry to become a worldwide center for other products.  One example was leveraging skills in product design and electromechanical engineering to develop computer-aided prosthetics, which thankfully are now coming to market.

Because of the title, I wondered how many revolutions had America experienced.  Obviously, the American Revolution and the Civil War, but were there others?  As an early Baby Boomer, I considered the changes in music, hairstyles, attitudes toward sex, etc. in the late 1960s, early 1970s as a “cultural revolution.”  In addition to cultural change, that period included domestic violence with the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK as well as major civil disruptions in Newark, Detroit and Los Angeles.

After a bit more analysis, I decided there have been four (4) revolutions so far in US history with each occurring roughly every 50 years.  Since the mid-point of the last revolution was about 1970, if the 50-year cycle was correct, then the fifth US revolution would be sometime after 2020. (More information about the four revolutions and how the timing was calculated in Entry #1.)

Well, here we are just having finished 2020.  Time to have a sense check and ask, “Is a 5th US revolution likely?” Unless you’ve been in a cave or on Mars the last few years, I think most people would say “Yes, a revolution of some type seems likely.”

The country seems as divided emotionally and politically as any time since the years leading up to the Civil War.  The Donald and the Trump Administration with all the craziness were contributors to this split.  But the divide in the country started long before Trump. 

OK, Trump was outlandish, arrogant, stupid, childlike and a host of other psychological “isms.”  Despite the behavior, Trump was not the first to cause the split.  There’s always been some split but the movement toward a chasm started with Ronald Reagan. 

Reagan kept proclaiming, even after becoming president that “government is the problem, not the solution.”  Reagan would also promote private industry as the solution.  While government is clearly not the solution to every problem, private Industry is not the solution to many problems either.

How many private companies would be willing to develop a product or build a system for which there was no known market?  The answer is zero, nada, none.  So, then how did railroads, the highway system, air travel, ground and satellite communications systems and the internet get funded?  Mmm, must have been that incompetent government. There is not a single company that would risk the capital necessary for the development and introduction of these larger scale programs.

At the same time, at some point the government needs to get out of the business it helped develop and let the private sector take over.  While one can debate the timing, the government has been diligent about allowing, even encouraging, private industry to take over these industries.

One of Reagan’s strength was communications – after all he was an actor.  Reagan should be given an Academy Award for convincing so many Republicans he was a fiscal conservative. In truth Reagan was a spendthrift whose administration ran up huge federal budget deficits. By the end of Reagan’s term in office, federal debt as a percentage of GDP had increased about the same relative amount as under FDR’s New Deal program in the 1930s.  (There are number of entries in this blog with more charts and explanations supporting the contention that Reagan started the split in attitudes among the populace.)

Another factor helping split the country was the introduction of cable news, then the internet.  Cable news and the internet, combined with a decline in the circulation of daily newspapers, resulted in the proliferation of alleged credible news sources, with emphasis on “alleged.”  Unlike old-line mainstream network TV channels and mainstream newspapers, the cable and so-called internet news outlets were not subject to the same FCC standards. 

The lack of oversight has allowed supposed news outlets to either radically distort the truth or simply create stories with no basis whatsoever in fact.  Without another source of information – daily newspaper, e.g. – many believe the cable channel or social media.  Worse still is many people cannot seem to separate commentary from the talking heads on these channels and the real news.  Further, some high-profile cable channels, notably Fox, until recently were openly distorting the news to support a certain political position and ignoring the truth.  For most of the last four years Fox should have been labeled “Trump TV.”

Back to the sense check about the possibility of a 5th US revolution.  If the past pattern holds true and there is a revolution in the next few years, then what form of revolution is going to take? Cultural? Shooting? A bit of both?

Almost certainly there’s going to be a cultural revolution.  Just as the Baby Boomers created the cultural revolution in late 60s, early 70s the now teens and twenty-somethings – Generation Z — are going to force cultural changes.

What the Vietnam War was for the Baby Boomers, climate change is for Gen Z. And unlike the Baby Boomers, where jobs were relatively plentiful, most everyone in Gen Z faces a bleak job market, even for many who are college educated.

Gen Zers feel trapped economically and trapped by an ever bleaker outlook for the environment. And some in Gen Z point the finger at Baby Boomers for making these problems worse.

The coffee shop I visit most every morning is staffed with many Gen Zers.  One young lady, an excellent college student, said the other day when we chatted about solving social problems, “We’ve got to get rid of these old politicians. They’re too rigid and set in their ways.”

If you are a Baby Boomer, or even a bit older, watch out. The light at the end of the tunnel is a Gen Z freight train that is picking up speed.

The Gen Zers are not alone.  High-school grads, whether recent or older are frustrated as well.  Where do they find employment in this new world?

Covid-19 demonstrated that many critical societal jobs are being filled by less-educated, lower-paid workers. All of a sudden, the US seemed to depend on those previously invisible grocery-store clerks, hospital aides, delivery-truck drivers, transit staff, etc.  But what else can these workers do?

Covid-19 also demonstrated how vulnerable other entry-level jobs were, especially in restaurants, hotels, retail stores and office buildings. Their jobs disappeared almost overnight. And, even with the Covid-19 vaccine, it may be a decade or more before many of their jobs return.

Such service workers, along with lower-paid manufacturing workers, seem to be the most likely to be involved in an armed revolt. By revolting, what does a group have to lose?  As a group, they are underpaid; they have no real prospects for upward mobility; they are not adequately educated for, and therefore not qualified for higher-paying technology-focused jobs.  

What about support from the political parties?  Interestingly, many in this group have been ardent Trump supporters.  Yet, Trump and the Republican Party have repeatedly dumped on this group economically. Just this past week Republicans in the Senate refused to consider bumping up the Covid-19 stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.  Did the same group of Senate Republicans resist providing more Covod-19 funds to business? Of course not, the Republicans were glad to do so.

When this disadvantaged group finally wakes up, they will be angry and want revenge. That’s why I labeled the anticipated 5th US revolution as the Revenge Revolution.  This group will seek revenge for past injustices.  As noted in previous entries, many in this group are well-armed.

When there is a group that feels deprived, has no savings, has no job prospects, and has nothing to lose, and that is well-armed, you have an ideal core for starting a revolution. My take on the probability of a revolution?  The Gen-Zers will drive a cultural revolution for sure.  Probability the deprived start an armed revolution of some type?  75%.   To be continued.