Category Archives: Politics

Random Thoughts 16 Days Out


As I start this post, the Deprogramming101 countdown clock is at 16 days, 15 hours, 7 minutes and 47 seconds until election day.  But who’s counting.  EVERYONE!  And, if you are obsessed with what is at stake on the ballot November 3rd, your head explodes with every new headline and poll, each worthy of a deeper examination.  However, this morning I thought I would share some random thoughts, some sane, some less so.

The Ginsberg Effect

Democrats hoped Ruth Bader Ginsberg had enough life left in her to survive until January 3, 2021, the date on which they expected a majority of Democratic senators to be seated in the “world’s most deliberative body,” a moniker which hardly seems still appropriate.  But Ginsberg is not the only person who was in the race against time.

This week I learned a revered member of our community and a Biden supporter had passed away after a long illness.  I am embarrassed to admit my first reaction, “Did she get a chance to vote before she left us?”  Then I learned she died five weeks ago, before mail-in ballots were distributed.  I am sure Marco Rubio, the People of Praise and Father Edward Meeks will chalk this up to divine intervention.  And they wonder why 26 percent of Americans do not believe in God.

Biden’s Cuban-American Problem

The Trump campaign believes Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County will once again deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes for the Republican candidate as they did in 2016.  To make that happen, they have targeted this voting bloc with television and social media advertising reminding this faction they left Cuba to get away from socialism.  So, why would they vote for Joe Biden, who, with help from Bernie Sanders and AOC, will make America just like Cuba.  Unfortunately, the tactic seems to be working, especially among older Cuban-American voters.

Yet, that is not Joe Biden’s problem.  The more salient issue is the inability of his campaign or the DNC to reframe the issue.  This is not rocket science.  These people did not leave Cuba because of socialism.  If Cubans were wealthy and lived freely in an open society they would still be there.  They left because Fidel Castro was corrupt, jailed his political opponents and put ideology above the welfare of the people.  Where are the Biden ads which remind Cuban-American voters:

Since the Mariel Boatlift, which brought many of you or your ancestors to America, you have enjoyed the rewards of living in a democracy.  During the intervening 40 years, the United States has been governed by Democrats and Republicans, but they all had one thing in common.  They believed in the rule of law, the right for opponents of the government to have a voice and the nation’s leaders should be chosen by ALL the people.

For the first time since many of you arrived on American soil, that legacy is in danger.  Donald Trump wants you to believe he can only lose if the election is rigged.  He wants Attorney General Bill Barr to jail his political opponents.  He does not distinguish between the government and his personal business interests.  He prefers catering to Russia more than supporting the spread of democracy globally.  Sound familiar?  Isn’t that the real reason you came to America, to get away from autocrats?

Sometimes You’re Right

Hall of Fame Pitcher Dizzy Dean once said, “It’s not bragging if you can do it.”  So, I am going to give myself a pat on the back.  In Wednesday’s post “Heed the POLITICAL Scientists,” one of the OLD rules of politics which I believe still apply to the NEW politics of the Trump era was, “Manufactured October Surprises Seldom Work.”  I bet Rudy Giulliani and the New York Post wish they had been a subscriber to Deprogramming101.

Facebook, Twitter block The Post from postingLess than 24 hours later the Post published an article titled, “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.”  Within hours of its dissemination, Twitter announced the conspiracy theory had so many holes in it they blocked on-line links to the article.  And now the FBI is investigating whether Giulliani had been targeted by Russian intelligence to be the bagman in LaptopGate.

As I watched this farce unfold, I was reminded of something former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) wrote in an article “How to Impeach Oneself” for The Hill.

Third, the president would bring in people to do damage control and have those supposed experts actually deliver more damage. This, of course, has been the outcome of the recent addition of Rudy Giuliani to the president’s personal legal team.

And Sometimes You’re Wrong

Some of you long-time readers might remember a February 15, 2017 post titled, “The Old Switcheroo,” in which I castigated NBC for courting the Trump resistance after “aiding and abetting the normalization of Donald Trump” during the 2016 election.  Evidence included Trump’s hosting “Saturday Night Live,” an appearance on the NBC/Golf Channel’s show “Feherty,” and Jimmy Fallon’s milquetoast interview in which he played with whatever that is on top of Trump’s head.

So, when NBC offered the crybaby-in-chief an hour of air-time opposite Joe Biden’s town hall on ABC, my first reaction was, “Here we go again.” In protest, I cancelled my subscription to Peacock, NBC’s new premium streaming service.  Catering to Trump was so unpopular among MSNBC on-air talent, they made a point of reminding viewers NBC News and MSNBC were separate legal entities under different management.

One voice in the wilderness was Joe Scarborough.  And the day after Trump’s latest on-air implosion, it was evident why Morning Joe was right.  He reminded us how quickly Trump’s approval ratings dropped during his White House “COVID briefings.”  In other words, the more people see Trump, the more likely they are to ask themselves, “Do I really want four more years of this?”  Even the overnight viewer ratings bear this out.  More people wanted to see what Biden had to say than watch Trump.

Sometimes I’m wrong, and that is not a bad thing.

The POLLar Express

If you are nervous about the outcome of this election, your blood pressure probably rises and falls based on the daily polling results.  Understanding where the race stands on any given day is further muddied by the numerous polling firms, the time frame in which the sample is queried and the differing methodologies.

One of my mentors in voting behavior, Richard Scammon, who designed the first exit poll, NBC’s Voter Profile Analysis, always reminded us, “Single polls tell you where voters are.  What you want to know is where they are heading.”  Unfortunately, most polls select a different voter sample each time they take the electorate’s temperature.  There is one major exception.  The USC Dornsife “Daybreak Poll” which repeatedly asks the same sample of approximately 5,500 likely voters their preference over two weeks, a 14th of the sample each day.  Their daily update is the average for that 14 day window.

Here’s what this kind of longitudinal tracking tells us.

  • On September 29, 2020, the day before the presidential debate, Biden already held a sizable lead 51.75-42.25 percent.
  • On October 1, 2020, the day after the debate, the lead increased to 52.48-42.14 percent.  Keep in mind, this is based on having re-checked only1/14 of the total sample.
  • As all of the sample were re-queried by the 14th day following the debate, the lead stretched to 53.72-41.58 percent.  However, a portion of the sample had now been affected by news of Trump’s contracting the coronavirus and hospitalization.
  • Since Trump’s return to the White House and campaign trail, the margin has hardly moved.  For October 16, 2020, the spread was 53.52-41.73 percent.

What does all this mean?  There has been some, but very little erosion, in Trump support, maybe .75 percent.  But late deciders, as predicted, are becoming more comfortable with Biden, increasing his support by almost two percent.

Of course, 16 days, 13 hours, 10 minutes and 1 second are an eternity in politics.

For what it’s worth.


Heed the POLITICAL Scientists

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing in the post suggests any of us can rest on our laurels.  Post card writers need to keep writing.  Intersection flag-wavers need to keep waving their flags.  Homeowners need to keep putting up Biden/Harris signs.  And community based groups of  Democrats, Republicans and independents like our “Amelia Island Good Troublemakers” need to keep reminding voters of all the reasons they are voting for Biden.  As Yogi Berra would remind us, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

In 1992, when Colorado Governor Roy Romer was chairman of the National Governors Association, he invited his son Paul (not yet a Nobel Laureate in Economics) to a meeting of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee which I staffed during my time with the organization.  It was in the middle of the high tech boom when some economists predicted the accelerating pace of U.S.  innovation would result in indefinite, recession-free growth.  Paul had a different point of view, simply stated, “The NEW economy still operates under OLD economy rules.”  As we learned twice in the next decade, he was right.

I have been thinking about Paul a lot recently, as I listen to journalists and pundits talk about the NEW politics of Donald Trump and how it makes it difficult to predict the status of the race.  As a trained political scientist, I find it useful to paraphrase Dr. Romer, “The NEW politics still operate under OLD politics rules.”  If I am right, I do not anticipate my own Nobel prize as there is not one for achievement in social science.  But if I am wrong, maybe someone will nominate me for the prize in Literature based on outstanding fiction.

Exactly which rules do I believe still apply and how do they impact the 2020 outcome.  Let’s take them one-by-one.

#1.  The indicator with the highest correlation to voter preference: “Is the country heading in the right direction?”

  • According to the RealClear Politics average of polls, as of October 13, 62.7 percent of Americans believe the country is on the “wrong track” while only 31.3 think we are on the right track.
  • The impact of these numbers on voter behavior increases when the election is a referendum on a sitting president seeking re-election or the party in power.

#2:  The indicator with the second highest correlation to voter preference: “Does the candidate care about people like me?”

  • A June, 2020 Pew Research Center survey found Biden held a 13 point lead 54-41 percent) over Trump on this factor.
  • This is the same factor that derailed Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012, following the release of a video in which he implied he could never get the support of 47 percent of the voters, those he referred to as “takers.”
  • Trump’s inability to show a kernal of empathy for the victims of COVID-19 has likely widened that margin since June.

#3:  When there is an incumbent running for re-election, late deciders break for the challenger.

  • This is just common sense.  After observing the incumbent govern for four years, you are either with him or asking yourself, “Am I comfortable enough with the challenger to take a chance?”
  • Ronald Reagan passed that test in 1980 as did Bill Clinton in 1992.
  • Joe Biden faced the same questions going into the first presidential debate.  He needed to demonstrate two things.  He was not suffering from dementia, and he was not to the left of Fidel Castro.
  • According to polling since the debate, he aced the exam.  On the day of the debate, Biden’s projected margin of victory, according to the FiveThirtyEight average of polls, was 5.9 percent.  Today it stands at 10.5 percent.

#4:   Manufactured October Surprises

  • Truly significant October surprises almost always emerge much earlier with new information in the closing days of the campaign merely reinforcing the original narrative.
  • Examples:  The futility of the Vietnam War in 1968.  Jimmy Carter’s inability to free the Iranian hostages before the 1980 election.  John McCain’s response to the increasing economic meltdown in 2008.  Jim Comey’s October letter to Congress resurrecting the year-long focus on Hillary Clinton’s emails.
  • In contrast, October “Hail Marys” generally come off as last-minute desperation, e.g. the fake letter about George W. Bush’s national guard status, and seldom move the needle.
  • Unlike anything ever seen, the Trump campaign has been running the shop all three shifts to manufacture a January, February, March, etc., surprise to bring down Joe Biden.  A charge of sexual assault.  Ukraine.  Domestic spying.  A lot of spaghetti on the floor.  Little if any on the wall.
  • In contrast, the front page story remains Trump’s handling of the pandemic.  And the most significant October surprise is likely to be no surprise at all.  The second wave spike in cases, hospitalizations and fatalities.

#5:   Voter Enthusiasm

  • The Trump campaign has claimed this to be their candidate’s strong suit.  Energizing his base to vote will overcome his deficit in the polls.
  • As pointed out in the October 8 post “It’s October! Surprise!“,  the numbers tell a different story.  The most recent polls continue to show a wider margin of victory for Biden among “likely voters” than “registered voters.”
  • This could actually have a bigger impact on Senate races, particular in states such as Montana, Arizona and Alaska.
  • Florida voting ends at 7:00pm on election day.  If early returns trend toward Biden, voters in western red states who anticipate the inevitable outcome might be even less willing to venture out to vote (especially if the northernmost states are in the midst of a coronavirus spike).
  • Lower turnout on election day increases the impact of early and mail-in ballot on the final outcome.  And early reporting suggests a huge Democratic advantage in pre-election day balloting.

A good campaign should be able to overcome one or two of these disadvantages heading into the final days before the election.  But not all five.  Maybe the spaghetti is not on the wall, but the writing may be.

For what it’s worth.


It’s October! Surprise!


After five plus years of Donald Trump as candidate and Oval Office occupant, it is hard to believe anything could be called a surprise.  Yet, Coronavirus-positive Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien promised there would be, not one, but a series of October surprises before the election was over.  Well, he was right!

Just eight days into October, the Trump campaign has provided what, in any normal world, would be considered one jolt after another.  The White House is now the “People’s Petri Dish.”  Both Donald Trump and Mike Pence violate their oaths of office to defend and protect the Constitution, refusing to confirm a peaceful transfer of power should they lose the election.  Trump declares contracting a disease which has killed more than 213,000 Americans is a “blessing from God.”  And just this morning, we learned Trump required physicians who treated him at Walter Reed Hospital in November 2019 sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), privacy already ensured under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as White House doctor Sean Conley reminded us on Saturday.

Weird?  Unconventional?  Lacking transparency?  Absolutely.  Surprising?  Not so much.  But that does not mean there have not been October surprises.  Here are two examples.

Surprise #1: Voter Enthusiasm

The Trump campaign has argued for months the outcome in 2020 will be based on the quality of the vote, not the quantity.  I am not referring to anything related to the GOP’s efforts to suppress the vote by disqualifying significant numbers of potential Democratic ballots.  In this case, the issue is enthusiasm for the candidate, an argument perpetuated by the mainstream media.  Fortunately, the data suggest just the opposite.

Many of the polling organizations, particularly those that now engage in daily tracking, divide their respondents into  two categories.  For example, yesterday’s Fox News poll included 1,107 “registered voters” of which 1,012 self-identified as “likely voters.”  Among the registered voters, Biden held an eight point lead.  Surprisingly, among likely voters the margin jumped to nine percent. The same is true of the latest Ipsos survey.  “Registered voters?” Ten percent.  “Likely voters?” Twelve percent.

After personally working on way too many losing campaigns, there always comes a moment when “time for a change” means looking for your next career opportunity.  Based on White House leaks, it is clear the West Wing copiers are now running overtime as staffers replenish their supply of resumes.  (There is a PPE joke there somewhere, but I will leave that for another day.) Voters also know when it is over.  Especially when casting a ballot becomes a health risk.  When the candidate is self-destructing, why would anyone want to march into battle when the war is all but lost?

Ironically, it is the 2016 election which has sustained Democratic enthusiasm.  Not so much because blue-leaning voters are hell-bent on casting a ballot for Joe Biden or Kamala Harris.  Memory of the upset four years ago is the motivating force.  Come hell or highwater, these voters have vowed not to take anything for granted and will do whatever is necessary to deny Trump a second term.

Surprise #2: Trump Campaign Strategy

Last night Newsweek on-line ran an article with the following headline, “Trump Campaign Cancels Almost $7 Million Worth of TV  Ads in 3 Midwest States.”  To be specific–Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin–three states which the Trump’s advisors kept saying were critical to his re-election.  Every news outlet for the past 24 hours has presented this announcement as evidence the Trump campaign coffers are as depleted or worse as being reported since mid-summer.  In short, the Brad Parscale “Death Star” seems to have imploded for lack of fuel, much like Parscale himself.

After eight days of more attempts at political suicide than most candidates commit in a lifetime–the first debate, testing positive for COVID-19, scuttling COVID-19 relief–Trump added one more.  Was it the Dexamethasone talking?  It just did not make any sense, until you see what the campaign did with the recaptured funds.   They moved these resources to Arizona, Florida and Georgia.

I know, this still does not hold water.  Even with those three southern tier states, Biden still would secure more than the required 270 electoral votes.  But what if Trump’s goal on November 3rd has nothing to do with winning either the popular vote or an electoral college majority.  What if, instead, it is solely to create a viable case for a legal challenge of the results.

Trump’s hopes of a credible case of voter fraud depends on one thing, demonstrating states governed by Democrats made the difference in the outcome.  However, if Trump loses Arizona, Florida and/or Georgia, geopolitical doppelgangers of Trump’s America, that argument vanishes into the ether.  Especially if the three contested senatorial races in Arizona and Georgia also trend blue.  A rebuke of the last four years in states where the GOP has already done everything it can to make it as hard as possible for Democratic leaning voters to exercise their franchise would be fatal.

So what makes this a surprise?  For one of the few times in the past four years, it appears “Trump and the Psychophants” (great name for a band  with Don, Jr. as the front man) actually plotted a clear, reasoned strategy and have taken the tactical actions needed to implement it.

The only remaining question is whether this October surprise has any chance of becoming a November mega-surprise (or should I say a MAGA-surprise in which MAGA would mean “Making Americans Go Abroad”).  Stay tuned

For what it’s worth.


Seven Days in September


You will never experience less reality than when you are watching a reality show. You’re watching people who aren’t actors, put into situations created by people who aren’t writers and they’re second guessing how they think you would like to see them behave if this were a real situation, which it’s not. And you are passively observing this; watching an amateur production of nothing. It’s like a photo of a drawing of a hologram.

~Comedian Dana Gould

In other words, “reality show” belongs in the pantheon of oxymorons right up there with jumbo shrimp, original copy and deafening silence.  Yet, pundits trying their best to explain the past four years, describe the Donald Trump presidency as a reality show, as though it was an extension of The Apprentice.  If you believe that depiction, last night’s debate was the live finale.  And according to the post-debate polls, Trump was voted off the island.

Frankenheimer's “Seven Days in May” resonates now more than everThe title of today’s post is an obvious reference to the 1964 John Frankenheimer film Seven Days in May, in which the military led by General James M. Scott (Burt Lancaster), fearing a sneak attack from the Soviet Union, plots to overthrow unpopular president Jordan Lyman (Frederic March) who supports a bilateral disarmament treaty.  Sound familiar?  Except in this tale of political intrigue, the roles are reversed.  President Lyman is the voice of reason and General Scott is unhinged.  During the week in question, the audience becomes aware of the motives of and power plays by the two adversaries.

A similar real-life drama has played out over the past seven days beginning with the 480 former national security officials who signed a letter endorsing presidential challenger Joe Biden.  They painted the threat of a second Trump term in office as follows.  “We love our country.  Unfortunately, we also fear for it.”  Only to be followed by last Friday’s release of Trump’s tax information by the New York Times, one more critical dot to add to the collection which, when connected, explain Trump’s performance in the first debate.

A quick review of the facts based on the Times investigation of Trump’s finances and other sources.

  • In 2003, Trump was in financial trouble following six bankruptcies mostly tied to his Atlantic City casinos.
  • Between 2004 and 2016, Trump netted $427 million from The Apprentice and associated endorsements.
  • That income was used to offset loses from the 15 hotels and golf resorts he purchased since 2004, all of which are highly leveraged.
  • Principal on the debt associated with these properties, totaling $421 million, will come due within the next four years.
  • Since taking office, taxpayers have reimbursed the Trump organization over $970,000 for approximately 1,600 room rentals at Trump properties. (Source: Vanity Fair/May 2020)

So, if you are Donald Trump, here are your choices.

  • Spend four more years in the White House ripping off the American taxpayers even though the financial returns are a pittance compared to the cash needed to satisfy his lenders (whoever they may be).
  • Convert his political base into a consumer base willing to watch Trump TV following an anticipated takeover of One America News Network (speaking of oxymorons), hoping to repeat the financial windfall from The Apprentice.

Last night you got your answer.  In the CNN post-debate poll, 60 percent of viewers thought Joe Biden won while only 28 percent favored Trump.  Not great if you’re running for president, but a 28 percent market share of any business is nothing to sneeze at.  Especially, if your followers believe they will benefit from their undying loyalty to Trump (another oxymoron if they have attended a Trump super-spreader event).

The only remaining question, “What business model would Trump use to implement this strategy?”  That too is no mystery.  In January, 2020, Reuters reported on a Trump rally at a Palm Beach, Florida megachurch.

The event by Trump at the 7,000-capacity King Jesus International Ministry church has drawn fresh attention to his administration’s ties to “prosperity gospel” preachers who tell followers that generous donations to their churches will be rewarded on Earth with wealth, health and power.

Except in Trump case, it will be know as “prosperity media.”  It does not take a leap of faith (pun intended) to imagine Trump echoing King Jesus pastor Guillermo Maldanado’s call to his flock, “You can’t have the Father’s favor until you honor Him.”  Just substitute “Trump” for “Father.”

And make no mistake about it.  Trump’s admiration for leaders of the “prosperity gospel” movement like Maldanado and Joel Osteen has nothing to do with their claimed spiritual mission.  He sees them for what they are.  According  to an interview in the September, 2020 issue of The Atlantic, Trump fixer Michael Cohen attributed his boss’ esteem for televangelists to the quality of the scams they perpetrate.  “They are all hustlers.”

Of course, this late-life career pivot might be derailed if convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, etc., etc.  Then again, maybe Ivanka, Junior or Eric are doing the math.  How many “Free Donald” t-shirts and gimme caps does it take to raise $421 million?


Melania, one piece of advice.  On election night, if Donald asks you to join him in the bunker, DON’T GO!  Call 911 or Brad Parscale’s wife Candice Blount.  And, thank goodness Florida is not a community property state.  I would hate for you and Barron to be responsible for half of Donald’s personally guaranteed loans.

For what it’s worth.


Let’s be clear.  You’re witnessing a homicidal president conveying, purposefully, a homicidal assembly to help him get reelected as President of the United States instead of protecting the health and welfare of the United States including supporters whose lives he’s willing to sacrifice.

~Carl Bernstein/CNN/September 14, 2020

Bernstein’s comment was in reference to the revelation in Bob Woodward’s book Rage that Donald Trump was quite aware he was lying to the American people when he downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the winter and spring of 2020.  But Bernstein is only half right.  Certainly, Trump’s own words affirmed he knew such events were a high-level health risk to those who attended attended his rallies or rejected CDC guidelines.  His error is describing Trump’s behavior as homicidal.  Homicides usually do not involve willing victims.

To understand the mindset of those who still attended the rallies after hearing Trump describe how the virus is “deadly stuff” and is “passed by breathing air,” one can draw on past examples where individuals have blindly followed a leader at their own risk.  Remember, rally attendees are even warned of the danger, having to sign a waiver releasing Trump, the campaign and the host facility of liability in case of illness or death resulting from their presence at the event.

Finding an appropriate analogy was the easiest part of this post, when the projecter-in-chief triggered the obvious comparison during a taped conversation with Woodward about white privilege.  Woodward suggested both he and Trump might not fully understand the pain and anger of Black Americans, being somewhat blinded by their own privileged upbringing. To which Trump responded, “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you?  Just listen to you.  Wow.”

Deborah Layton – Author WebsiteNo, I am not comparing a Trump rally to November 18, 1978, when 918 members of Jim Jone’s Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, better know as Jonestown, Guyana, died in what Jones called a “revolutionary suicide.”  But a Trump rally sounds a lot like two earlier Jonestown ceremonies labeled “White Night Rehearsals.”  These rites of passage were described in a sworn affidavit by Deborah Layton, a Jonestown defector.

Everyone, including the children, was told to line up. As we passed through the line, we were given a small glass of red liquid to drink. We were told that the liquid contained poison and that we would die within 45 minutes. We all did as we were told. When the time came when we should have dropped dead, Rev. Jones explained that the poison was not real and that we had just been through a loyalty test. He warned us that the time was not far off when it would become necessary for us to die by our own hands.

I would have thought twice about making such a damning charge until Trump’s appearance last night at an ABC-sponsored Town Hall.  Once again, Trump stated the virus would eventually go away “with or without a vaccine.”  Moderator George Stephanopoulos pushed back on this assertion, to which Trump inexplicably pivoted in a direction that had been dismissed by U.S. experts and had proved ineffective in countries in which it had already been attempted.

And you’ll develop, you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be — it’s going to be herd developed – and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.

[NOTE:  Trump probably meant to say “herd immunity” rather than “herd mentality,” a slip of the tongue of Freudian proportions.]

The theory and practice of herd immunity is based on science (yes, science) that suggests when a certain percentage of a population becomes infected, the virus eventually runs out of people to taint and dissipates.  There is only one problem, a certain percentage of the target population especially the elderly and those with underlying conditions, will succumb to the disease in the process.  Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated between 60 to 80 percent of the U.S. population would need to be infected to reach what is called “the herd immunity threshold.”   Using the lower 60 percent figure and the current mortality rate for infected individuals (approximately one percent), the total number of COVID-19 deaths would total 1.92 million Americans.

Which brings me back to Deborah Layton’s testimony about “White Night Rehearsals.”  Tulsa, Henderson and Phoenix are exactly that.  Instead of a small cup of powered liquid with a dose of cyanide, each attendee was asked to breathe potentially lethal air.  And, urging attendees to not wear masks and sit in close quarters is no different from the “trust me” loyalty test Jim Jones required of his followers.  Therefore, last night’s quasi-endorsement of herd mentality should be a warning.

…the time was not far off when it would become necessary for us to die by our own hands.

Welcome to TrumpTown!

For what it’s worth.