THIS IS AMERICA

The ‘Democrats are Socialists’ trope has been a GOP talking point for decades. But who’s really more extreme?

Image for post
Image for post
Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

During an appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos last weekend, Jason Miller, Trump campaign advisor, deadbeat dad, and all-around sleazy guy, made this comment:

“President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral somewhere in that range, and then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election.”

Why a veteran journalist like Stephanopoulos failed to push back on the ‘Democrats will try to steal back the election’ talking point is a mystery. We’ve known for months Trump wants to invalidate as many legitimate votes — in the right localities — as possible. …


POLITICS

The GOP is about to realize their dream of dismantling fifty years of progressive policy. And they want you to know it.

Image for post
Image for post
PHOTO: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

In our household, a kind of gallows humor has emerged. I suppose it’s our laugh-to-keep-from-crying method of coping with the daily grind of the last four years.

For example, whenever a media pundit seems surprised by the President’s disregard for a norm or an obscure law, one of us (usually one of our teenagers) pipes in with the punchline of this stickman cartoon:

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Reddit.com

My family’s jaded sense of humor notwithstanding, a shopworn yet totally apropos quote best encapsulates the underlying message of this little…


What Donald Trump awakened will take more than an election victory to overcome

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Nick Fewings

No matter how many times I watch the sci-fi thriller Alien, the film’s final scene always makes my toes curl, just as it did years ago when I first saw the movie in a theater. My apologies in advance for the spoilers. The ending goes something like this:

After an acid-blooded creature stalks and kills the other crew members of the Nostromo, a commercial space exploration ship, Ripley, the film’s heroine, deploys the ship’s auto-destruct sequence. She is the only person left aboard the massive ship in the far reaches of space.

She plans to activate the Nostromo’s self-destruct mechanism to destroy the creature on board when the vessel explodes in outer space. As Ripley races to board the small shuttle docked on the ship, a computerized voice counts down the time remaining to detonation. …


ELECTION 2020

In its first few days, October has already given us a month's worth of surprises.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Carol Lee on Unsplash

As it relates to politics, the term ‘October surprise’ was coined in the 1980s by William Casey, campaign manager for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign (Casey would later become director of the CIA). In years past, the term signified a single event the flips the momentum, particularly during the month before a presidential election.

But if we’ve learned anything from the Trump era (and 2020), it is that the old rules no longer apply. The month’s barely started, and it already feels as though we’ve had a month’s worth of surprises in October’s first few days.

The White House is a COVID-19 hotspot

Late Friday, we learned the President of the United States has COVID-19, as does the First Lady, the President’s counselor Hope Hicks, his advisor Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager Bill Stepien, Reverend John I. Jenkins, the President of the University of Notre Dame, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and at least three journalists. …


POLITICS

After being bullied by Republicans for years, it’s high time Democrats fight back.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

When I was in the 7th grade, my family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The first person that befriended me was Jimmy, an older kid that lived across the street from my house. We hit it off immediately. Jimmy introduced me to the other kids in the neighborhood. He picked me to be on his team for sandlot baseball games. His charm won my parents over.

But it only took me a few weeks to realize something about Jimmy: he was an enormous bully. If his team lost a baseball game, he started a fight. When we played pickup basketball games, he’d always cheat. …


INEQUALITY

As the saying goes: if you’re wondering who the sucker is, it’s you.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

In 1956, Elvis Presley released a tune entitled Hound Dog, one of his most famous songs. The song was one of the first to sell 3 million copies and even made it into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Elvis Presley wasn’t the first singer to record Hound Dog. That honor goes to Willie Mae’ Big Mama’ Thornton, a Black singer who recorded the same song three years before Elvis. Her version went to #1 on the R&B charts and sold 500,000 copies. It was her biggest hit. She made a royalty of $500. …


THIS IS AMERICA

The current stimulus negotiations epitomize the GOP worldview

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

In previous posts, I voiced my concern that, without a significant follow-up to the CARES Act, mass evictions and layoffs could push the U.S. economy off the proverbial cliff. So when the Democrat-led House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in mid-May, I breathed a sigh of relief.

The timing of the Democrat’s bill would give Senate Republicans and the White House plenty of time to negotiate a CARES Act 2.0 with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

There was one thing missing from my calculations — I didn’t fully appreciate the GOP’s apparent worldview. …


THIS IS AMERICA

As Americans lose unemployment benefits and evictions loom, the White House makes a risky bet

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

Unless you were sleeping under a rock last week, you probably heard that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the chief measure of the country’s economic health, fell off a proverbial cliff during the second quarter of this year. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), during this period, the U.S. economy contracted an eye-popping annualized rate of 32.9%, providing a terrifying snapshot of the economic pain wrought by the pandemic.

This GDP report is by far the worst EVER. Worse than the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). The numbers in the BEA report are also worse than anything seen during the Great Depression. To put last week’s economic carnage into perspective, during the GFC, fourth-quarter GDP fell “only” 8.4%. According to CNBC, last week’s GDP represents the worst economic slump in the previous two hundred years. …


THIS IS AMERICA

Whether you know it or not, you’ve been taken for a ride

Image for post
Image for post
Malcolm X Photo Gallery: IMDB.com

I’ve written before about how random things influence my writing. The inspiration often comes from where I least expect it. Take last weekend, for example. In our home, we designate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as movie nights.

The curriculum at my kid’s respective schools vis-à-vis Black history is sorely lacking, so I’ve used our sequestration to drop a little knowledge on my teenagers. Instead of forcing them to listen to my impromptu lectures, I found the right movie to be an excellent stand-in.

Which brings me to Malcolm X…

Whenever I hear the word ‘hoodwinked,’ I think of Malcolm X. Not the real Malcolm X, but Spike Lee’s version of him in the movie by the same name. So as I watched the film with the family last weekend, I couldn’t wait for my favorite scene. Standing before a large crowd of Harlemites, Malcolm X, played by Denzel Washington, preaches against the systemic racism of the 1960s. That’s where he gets to my favorite part of the movie. I don’t know if Malcolm X said it precisely this way, but I don’t care; Denzel’s version of Malcolm X is a thing of…


The end of CARES Act benefits and the looming wave of evictions will have you yearning for the halcyon days of the Great Recession

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

As with most Black women from the South, my Mom had a saying for almost every circumstance. When she wanted to prevent me from doing something ill-advised, she always had a one-liner that summarized her decision. I respected (and feared) her too much to debate the validity of those homespun locutions.

I get a flicker of satisfaction when I find myself using the same idioms, as I suspect she felt when she sent these expressions my way. But of all her maternal sayings, there is one I rarely use:

“Sometimes the worst thing to happen to you is the best thing for you.” …

About

Marlon Weems

I write stories about the economy, politics, and inequality. Subscribe to my weekly-ish newsletter: https://thejourneyman.substack.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store