Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Donald Trump's Collapse Was Caused By One Big Factor: Hillary Clinton

Yes, Trump has been finally been undone by his own vileness. But don't overlook the woman who's kicking his butt.

By Heather Digby Parton

The latest polls are looking good for Hillary Clinton and increasingly so for Democrats further down on the ballot. The ABC tracking poll, which Nate Silver designates as A plus, was released on Sunday, showing Clinton with a 12-point lead over Trump. That’s a bigger lead than in most other polls but the averages across the board have her percentage up by a comfortable margin that seems to be increasing.

Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com has laid out four possible outcomes to the race at this point, with all but one featuring a Clinton win:
A Trump win, including cases where he loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College.
A narrow Clinton win, wherein she wins the Electoral College, but wins the popular vote by 3 percentage points or less. (Or wins the Electoral College and loses the popular vote.)
A Clinton win in the “Obama zone,” wherein she wins the popular vote by 4 to 7 percentage points — the margins by which President Obama won the elections in 2012 and 2008, respectively. Clinton is all but certain to win the Electoral College if she wins the popular vote by this amount.
Finally, a Clinton blowout, wherein she wins the popular vote by 8 points or more, which would almost certainly also yield a dominant performance in the Electoral College.
FiveThirtyEight’s model, which averages polls, shows that Clinton has an 85 percent probability of winning and is currently ahead by 6.6 points.

For its part, The New York Times Upshot has a 92 percent probability of a Clinton win and shows see side-by-side comparisons of all the predictions. They all have Clinton with 85 percent or higher. Using its customary metaphor, the Upshot compares the chances of Clinton losing “to the probability that an NFL kicker misses a 29-yard field goal.” That indeed happens (in fact, it happened on Sunday night) so Democrats should not get complacent.

And for down ballot races? Well, there always has been a decent possibility that the Democrats would win the Senate if they retain the White House, simply because this is a cycle when Republicans are defending more seats. Still, that outcome is anything but assured, and some analysts are insisting (without evidence) that this year will feature lots of ticket splitting (that is, people who vote for Clinton but also vote for a Republican incumbent senator, for example).

Still, this cycle is nothing if not unpredictable, so who knows?

Democrats had written off the House from the beginning: GOP gerrymandering all over the country makes it nearly impossible for Democrats to win a majority in the House until another round of redistricting after the 2020 census. Still, the possibility, however remote, is starting to be discussed.
Sam Wang from the Princeton Election Consortium said:
I estimate that Democrats must win the national popular vote by 8% to have any chance at taking control of the House. This large margin is driven by two major factors in equal measure: gerrymandering to pack Democrats into districts, and population patterns which they pack themselves. Therefore the magic number for House Democrats is a Clinton win by 8%. In national polls Clinton is currently ahead by 5% (7 polls starting on October 10th or later), and Obama outperformed his 2012 polls by 3%, so it’s not crazy to imagine. I’d give the House Democrats a 1 in 5 chance of making it over this bar. A long shot . . . but not a crazy long shot.
So what’s happening to make this dramatic shift in October? Clinton had been leading throughout the summer, but on Sept. 26, the day of the first debate, FiveThirtyEight had Donald Trump with a 51 percent chance of winning. The candidates were tied nationally at 45 percent, and the trend was moving in his favor.

The obvious answer is that Trump blew it when he made a fool of himself in the aftermath of the first debate with his 3 a.m. tweets about the former Miss Universe. Since then he has been accused by a dozen women of groping and assaulting them against their will. That “Access Hollywood” tape was a shocker. Most observers see the huge and growing gender gap as a result of all that grossness.

But something else happened as well. For about a month before that first debate the right-wing media and people in or around the Trump campaign had been spreading spurious rumors that Clinton had brain damage or Parkinson’s disease. This was barely covered in the mainstream media, but everyone in the media pays attention to Matt Drudge, who had been relentless with the story, so they were very much aware of such rumors.

When Clinton had her fainting spell at the 9/11 ceremony in New York, the press spent days feigning anger about her failure to keep them properly informed about the details of her doctor’s appointments and diagnosis. (That’s despite campaign professionals saying they would never inform the press of anything like that, mainly because such illnesses are so common on the trail.)

Unfortunately for Clinton, the combined effect of the right’s relentless smears about some kind of disqualifying terminal illness and the press fulminating for days over her pneumonia advanced the idea that she lacked the “strength and stamina” required for the job. Coincidentally or otherwise, this was the very charge that Trump had been making for months. By the time of the first debate in late September Clinton had been off the trail for quite a bit, first recovering from her pneumonia and then doing debate prep, with Trump nipping at her heels.

When she showed up looking very healthy, sharp and aggressive, it changed the narrative overnight. Indeed, her ability to bait him into misbehavior had her dominating that debate from beginning to end, when she hit him with the Alicia Machado story that had him reeling for days afterward.

So it’s true that Trump’s poll numbers have been cratering for a month now, pointing to what may be a catastrophic loss for the Republicans. Much of that happened because of revelations about Trump’s horrifying misogyny and his ongoing inability to behave with any discipline.

But it’s a mistake to discount the huge effect of the debates, well beyond Trump’s predictably ridiculous performance. These were the first occasions since the Benghazi hearings for people to see what Clinton is made of, and it reminded them of the characteristics that make her a formidable leader. When she stood there, face-to-face with Trump, it was clear that one of them was a president.

And it wasn’t him.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Random Observations From Watching Hillary Clinton Sodomize Donald Trump Repeatedly

Posted by Rude One

1. From the beginning, the tone of last night's third presidential debate (aka "The Time an Orange Pussy Was Grabbed by a Former Secretary of State") was set from the first question from moderator Chris "Do You Still Love Me, Roger?" Wallace. It was about the Supreme Court and how the candidates view the role of the court and the Constitution. Democrat Hillary Clinton offered a thoughtful explanation of the Supreme Court as a check on the powerful. Republican candidate and imploding rage persimmon Donald Trump took a different tactic.

First, he talked about how one justice had totally dissed him: "Justice Ginsburg made some very, very inappropriate statements toward me." Then he veered into the one amendment he apparently has heard of: "We need a Supreme Court that in my opinion is going to uphold the Second Amendment, and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege." So don't worry, Third Amendment fans, you still won't be forced to quarter soldiers. In other words, Clinton said something that was real and possible and Trump followed up with ego, fantasy, and lies. That Clinton didn't respond to Trump's every answer with "The fuck are you saying? Yo, Chris, what the fuck is that? Fuck, fucking dumbfuck" before kicking him in the taint and sodomizing him with a dildo on principle is some kind of miracle of self-control.

2. Well, there was that one moment when Clinton said, "Let me translate that, if I can, Chris" when Trump was rattling off a stream of not-really-consciousness about the economy.

3. Clinton let her feminist freak flag fly in full last night with her response on a question about abortion. She gave up the total bullshit line that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare" because, let's face it, it ain't ever gonna be rare. Instead, she offered absolute support for Roe v. Wade and, when asked about late-term abortions (when Wallace used the anti-choice dog whistle phrase "partial-birth abortion"), Clinton made an impassioned and compassionate case for its necessity: "The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make." Goddamn, it was great to see Clinton get her activist dander up for women's rights again.

3a. Trump responded, in one of his most mentally-challenged moments, that "based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable." No, motherfucker, that's not an acceptable abortion. It is a c-section, however. No doctor is cutting open women and swinging babies around by their umbilical cords like it's on the end of a slingshot and tossing them in the garbage. To Donald Trump, compassion is what you show people who like you. Everyone else can suck it.

4. Trump, dude, fuckin' marry Putin already and move to Russia where he can rub bear oil on your pendulous man nips.

4a. And what the hell was all that dissing of American intelligence agencies? Trump was on some kind of paranoid rant about how "you don't know" that Russia wasn't behind email hacks when, like, every intelligence group says it was Russia. There are lots of reasons to criticize our spying for its invasion of Americans' privacy (a subject, like climate change, never brought up in the debates), but to go to the mat over what country hacked a private email account is a desperate play for one's lover's attention.

4b. Pendulous. Man. Nips.

5. Yeah, yeah, Clinton still seemed like she's stumbling around when asked about her email server. But, truly, what the fuck else is there to say? "I fucked up," she's told us time and again, and, unless you believe, like Trump, that the FBI is just a big scam to protect Hillary Clinton, how is the whole thing even relevant except as something, anything to use to criticize Clinton?

6. Trump said Clinton was responsible for the following things:
a. His use of Chinese steel in his buildings
b. His not paying income tax for 20 years
c. Women saying that he has assaulted them
d. The timing of the attack to take back Mosul
Seriously, if she's this powerful, we better fuckin' elect her or she's just gonna use her obvious wizard-abilities to murder us all like we're just Vince Fosters in a park.

7. Trump can't help himself with his misogyny. In addition to his condemnation of the women who said he tit-groped, force-kissed, and pussy fondled them, at one point, when Clinton said, "My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's, assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it," Trump proclaimed, "Such a nasty woman." Just to put this in context: By that point, late in the debate, Trump had said that Clinton had committed high crimes, is "crooked" and running a "crooked campaign," and shouldn't even have been allowed run for president. But, sure, implying that Trump, who has said he's proud he doesn't pay taxes, might weasel out of paying for Social Security, that's the nasty part. Trump has never been a position where he had to listen to woman tell him what a piece of shit he is when there was nothing he could do about it.

8. And, of course, Trump proved how this whole thing is just a fuckin' game to him when he said, in answer to a question about whether he would "accept" the outcome of the election, "I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time...What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. OK?" And there it is. This is a goddamn sporting event, a very special episode of The Apprentice: Deplorables Edition to him. You got that sense earlier when he smirked that he should have won an Emmy for his idiot show. He followed up today with a coy "I'll totally accept" the election results "if I win,"

And what does that even mean? Fuckin' hell, Republicans, especially those in Congress, didn't accept Obama's election twice. Trump just said it too early. And Trump doesn't have to concede. That doesn't change the outcome of the election. He can stand there with his dick in his hands and pretend like some challenge he makes will change the outcome. But unless a court accepts it, he either has to lead his idiot hordes into revolution (which he won't and which, with maybe a couple of exceptions, they won't) or he has to slither back to his golden penthouse and pretend his entire life hasn't become a huge goddamn joke.

Friday, October 21, 2016

At long last, America's racist, crazy tough-on-crime prosecutors are losing elections

By Cory Doctorow

Historically, being an elected prosecutor was a sweet gig: operating with "unchecked power and no transparency," you generally got to run unopposed for re-election, and on the rare instances in which someone did dare to run against the incumbent, the incumbent usually won.

Prosecutors are the reason that so many Americans were put behind bars on the basis of flimsy forensic evidence based on pseudoscience. Prosecutors are the ones who make the call not to prosecute cops who gun down unarmed black people. Prosecutors made the call to charge Aaron Swartz with 13 felonies for violating the terms of service on MIT's network, asking for 35 years in prison and hounding him to his death.

But prosecutor-turned-Stanford-law-prof Alan Sklansky has just released a pre-publication law review article that analyzes 8 recent elections in which "hard-line" prosecutors lost their jobs, precisely because they were such tough-on-crime assholes. He calls it a "small but growing trend."

As such, it's particularly interesting when posed against Trump's evidence-free assertions of skyrocketing inner-city crime.

For example, 26-year veteran Mississippi prosecutor Forrest Allgood (a fervid defender of an infamous medical examiner and discredited bite-mark evidence) was ousted last fall by Scott Colom, a young attorney who ran a campaign centered on reforming the system. Voters have also unseated Tim McGinty, the Ohio prosecutor whose jurisdiction includes Cleveland. McGinty was elected as a reformer in 2012, Sklansky notes, and his undoing seems almost entirely attributable to his failure to indict the police officer who killed Tamir Rice in a city park in November 2014.
Holding police accountable was also a factor in prosecutor races in New Mexico and Baltimore, where Marilyn Mosby ran on a more traditional tough-on-crime platform, but also criticized the incumbent for being too closely aligned with the police department and for failing to indict officers after their fatal encounter with Tyrone West. Mosby has since been criticized for her handling of the prosecution of officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.
Several races have focused more closely on prosecutorial misconduct, or on failings in the death penalty system, and some have been fueled by out-of-state campaign donations, notably by the billionaire George Soros. In other words, behind each victory there is a unique and myriad assortment of issues at play.
Still, notes Sklansky, the recent upsets are not geographically pigeonholed or confined to larger jurisdictions. And although they represent a fraction of the 2,500 prosecutor offices across the country, the fact that incumbent prosecutors generally enjoy such great job security suggests they are significant. “This is a small trend, but it is a trend. Maybe a dozen or so over the last few years, and it is steadily growing,” Sklansky said. “I think that suggests that there is a possibility [for reform] that 15 years ago didn’t seem to exist.”
The Changing Political Landscape for Elected Prosecutors [David Alan Sklansky/Stanford]


Apologies, shmologies: activists weigh in on law enforcement's 'apology' to communities of color

By Thandisizwe Chimurenga

Reactions to Monday’s apology from the International Association of Chiefs of Police regarding the profession’s treatment of people of color are still coming in. Terrence M. Cunningham, president of the group and the current chief of the Wellesley, Massachusetts police department, told attendees at the organization’s San Diego convention that it was his hope that law enforcement and communities of color could break the “historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all.”
Events over the past several years,” Cunningham said, “have caused many to question the actions of our officers and has tragically undermined the trust that the public must and should have in their police departments. …The history of the law enforcement profession is replete with examples of bravery, self-sacrifice, and service to the community. At its core, policing is a noble profession.”
But Cunningham added, “At the same time, it is also clear that the history of policing has also had darker periods.” He cited laws enacted by state and federal governments which “have required police officers to perform many unpalatable tasks. … While this is no longer the case, this dark side of our shared history has created a multi-generational — almost inherited — mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies.”
Cunningham continued, “While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future…For our part, the first step is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”
Several veteran organizers spoke around the issue of police terrorism and Cunningham’s words. Their responses were short, unsweetened, and to the point.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Network and Director of Special Projects for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights:
“I think apologies are important, but not when it's not met with tangible outcomes. I would have rather wanted to hear an apology and a set of demands from the president about how he would commit to stopping racial discrimination in law enforcement agencies.”
Khan-Cullors participated in ABC’s “Town Hall” on racism and police brutality with President Obama in July of this year. As part of the Ella Baker Center, she also took the lead on partnering with the ACLU on the launch of their Mobile Justice App last year that allows bystanders “to register, record, witness and report interactions with law enforcement.

Kali Akuno, member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement which published the report "Every 28 Hours" in 2013, which concluded that a black man, woman or child dies at the hands of police, security guards and/or individuals such as George Zimmerman (referred to as vigilantes in the report) every 28 hours:
“It’s a part of their job description. They’re not sorry, and they can’t be sorry. And people have to understand that what [this] is based on the structure of this society and the role the police have in this society and that structure. Their job is to make sure that oppressed people, particular Blacks and the indigenous, stay in the roles they have assigned for us. And when we trespass against that role, to put us back in check.”
Mainstream media disputed the report’s findings, rating their claims as false. The Washington Post however printed a lengthy response from the principle author of the report, Arlene Eisen, which defended the methodology and conclusions reached in the report.

Elaine Browne, former Chair of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in Oakland this week:
“You call that an apology? When you apologize and sincerely, you have to atone for your wrongs. If you acknowledge that you committed a wrong, you have to fix it.  What would be better is the prosecution of all these cops who have murdered Black people across the country. What are you doing to rectify the wrong that you have acknowledged? When a crime is committed, when you’ve taken peoples’ lives, it’s called murder, and they should be charged with murder, and that would be the way for [Cunningham] to truly apologize and atone for these crimes. It’s an empty gesture and an insult to the mothers and family members of these people killed, and the only way we should accept that apology is when they prosecute these police officers, that is how they atone for it.”
Browne is currently a member of the executive committee of the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, named after the young man who was shot 21 times by San Francisco police in December of 2015.

Woods was said to be armed with a knife and police said he had lunged at the officers but a video recording of the shooting showed Woods walking slowly along the sidewalk. At least one of the Justice Department’s recent recommendations to the SFPD specified officers should use their batons on “suspects” who have knives because of how the Woods incident occurred.

Bilal Ali, former Project Coordinator for the Coalition for Police Abuse, founded in 1975 in Los Angeles:
“I think [Cunningham’s] apology comes far, far too late. It does not address the pain and suffering experienced by so many families at the loss of their loved ones. And our struggle is not a struggle for apologies; we are seeking the ending, the ceasing and desisting of police killing our people; the state-sanctioned murder of Black people by terrorist organizations, popularly known as law enforcement.”
The Coalition Against Police Abuse (CAPA) was founded by former members of the Black Panther Party. In 1982, the organization forced the disclosure of documents showing the LAPD’s extensive spying on CAPA. The LAPD has conducted extensive surveillance on numerous community groups over the years.

It is true that an apology can be seen as a good start. It is also true that words without actions—such as an end to killings with impunity and concrete policies on accountability and transparency—are empty. But it is also true that none of this would be happening at this time were it not for the emergence of Black Lives Matter onto the scene here in the United States in general; and the uprising that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, in August of 2014 in particular.

The work continues.

Word Salad

With Empty Rooms And Bookings Plummeting, Trump Hotels Are Taking A Beating

By Liberal_in_LA
Source: Nbcnews

While the Los Angeles Dodgers stayed at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago this past May, its Mexican-American first baseman Adrian Gonzalez would not.

"I had my reasons," is all Gonzalez would say about the lodging choices, but at least one newspaper linked the choice to Trump's anti-Mexican campaign statements.

Bookings at the newly opened Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue also seem to be bearing the brunt of this contentious election cycle.

When it had its soft opening in September, rack rates for the basic 410-square "deluxe" rooms started at over $575 a night.

Checking the hotel's online booking site, that same room type is now available for an unrestricted rate of $505, with a discount to $404 for AAA members, for at least the next two weekends and for the weekend after the presidential election.

By comparison, when searching Expedia for a five-star hotel in Washington, D.C., next weekend, a room at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. is available for $655 a night, while the Hay-Adams and others show as sold out.


Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/trump-hotels-getting-beat-trump-campaign-n670266

Trump hotel not worth the trouble for wedding planners, travel agents
The Trump International Hotel in Washington was supposed to be the latest luxurious prize in the Trump collection. 

But to some travel agents and event planners, it's just not worth the trouble. 

The hotel has been the target of protests and vandalism since it opened last month. And its namesake's presidential campaign has made the Trump name awkward at best and toxic at worst for those who specialize in the hotel industry. 

"There certainly are people who are concerned about the message they send by spending money in Trump-branded hotels," said David Loeb, a senior hotel analyst at the Robert W. Baird private equity firm.

Brand research studies suggest those concerns are taking hold. A Foursquare analysis showed foot traffic at Trump's hotels, casinos and golf clubs is down 16% this year. And a Young & Rubicam report released Tuesday shows consumers think Trump himself is less fun, trendy and stylish than he was three months ago.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jim Beam Union Workers In Kentucky Vote In Favor Of Strike

Source: ABC News


Whiskey workers at two Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky have threatened to walk off their jobs as efforts to ratify a new contract soured ahead of a looming deadline at the world's largest bourbon producer.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 111D voted 201-19 on Tuesday evening in favor of going on strike at Beam distilleries in Clermont and Boston, Tommy Ballard, a UFCW international representative, said Wednesday.

The current contract runs through Friday, and Beam Suntory officials said production continued as usual Wednesday. The classic American whiskey brand is owned by Suntory Holdings Ltd., a Japanese beverage company.

Bargaining stretched for weeks to develop the contract offer that workers rejected. That outcome came as a surprise to the company, and Beam Suntory said it was trying to understand the reasons the proposal was turned down. Company executive Kevin Smith said the offer included wage increases along with other enhancements, including elimination of a two-tiered wage system for almost all employees.

FULL story at link.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/jim-beam-union-workers-kentucky-vote-favor-strike-42751393

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Trump Didn't Start the Fire, But You Fuckers Can Still Burn

Posted by Rude One

A couple of days ago, former chalkboard humper Glenn Beck called on all "moral" people to oppose Donald Trump for president. His rationale spoke to just how fucking terrible things promise to be if Hillary Clinton is elected but Republicans keep even one house of Congress. See, Donnie Pussygrabber might bring about armageddon, so he's out. But if Clinton is in? Shit, that's just more of the same that we have now:

"Once elected, Hillary can be fought. Her tactics are blatant and juvenile, and battling her by means of political and procedural maneuvering or through the media, through public marches and online articles, all of that will be moral, worthy of a man of principal. Her nominees can be blocked, her proposed laws voted down."

And there you have it. The last refuge of the motherfucker who has been fucking mothers for most of his pathetic career is to treat a Democratic woman, elected in a probable landslide, like she's just another filthy nigger who dared to ascend to the presidency. Thus Beck can wipe his hands and say he's clean of the shit stains of Trump.

Rats leaving a sinking ship can at least claim not to have chewed holes in goddamn thing. But not so the stream of Republicans and assorted right-wingers who are abandoning the Trumptanic. To just about a skeevy person, they are the very slop-licking pig fuckers who brought the nation to this point by fostering bigotry through their actions against President Obama, by slashing education budgets and demanding students be taught Rush Limbaugh's version of history and civics, by ignoring poverty and stupidity and saying any programs to assist the poor made them filthy socialists, no better than the inner city people, the "welfare queens" and "gang bangers." They were either active participants in this fucking of the working class, as members of Congress or state and local officials, or as media jizz-squirters, ejaculating idiocy onto the simple-minded and convincing them that it was wisdom.

So, you know, go get fucked by all the donkeys, Glenn Beck, in your desperate attempt to say that you shouldn't be thrown onto the pyre with Trump. You can fuckin' burn, along with McCain and Ryan and Hugh Hewitt and the rest.

The same goes for evangelical Christians. In an editorial in Christianity Today, Andy Crouch implores Jesus huffers to go against Trump, saying that they should love God more than the Supreme Court. And that's all groovy, except for the fact that evangelicals spent the last four years pretending that God gives a flying fuck about lowering taxes on the wealthy, denying health insurance to people, and ensuring that everyone can get as many guns as they want when the very fucking Bible that they supposedly follow either says the exact opposite or doesn't mention it at all. (See: abortion)

Crouch calls Trump an "idolater" of money, of pussy, of many things. But evangelical leaders have been such idolaters that they have fetishized the smell of their own farts. They wanted power and cash, and that shit didn't end in the 1990s. (Yes, there are some good evangelicals. And Tiffany Trump is a possibly nice person.)

I'm not even giving a pass to conservatives who were anti-Trump from the start. Go fuck yourself, George W. and George H.W. Bush, who pushed anti-woman policies and judges. Eat shit, Lindsey Graham, who pimps war like it's the last pretty boy in the gigolo house on a late Saturday night. You fuckers aren't noble. You're just lucky you could identify someone worse than you are.

As we watch the immolation of Donald Trump, I want us to anticipate how many of these dickheads, so antithetical to what the nation is supposed to be about, will go up in flames, too. Then let's piss on their ashes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bizarro Trump

Speak Truth To Trump

Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality.

By Andy Crouch
As a non-profit journalistic organization, Christianity Today is doubly committed to staying neutral regarding political campaigns—the law requires it, and we serve our readers best when we give them the information and analysis they need to make their own judgments.

We can never collude when idolatry becomes manifest, especially when it demands our public allegiance.
Just because we are neutral, however, does not mean we are indifferent. We are especially not indifferent when the gospel is at stake. The gospel is of infinitely greater importance than any campaign, and one good summary of the gospel is, “Jesus is Lord.”

The true Lord of the world reigns even now, far above any earthly ruler. His kingdom is not of this world, but glimpses of its power and grace can be found all over the world. One day his kingdom, and his only, will be the standard by which all earthly kingdoms are judged, and following that judgment day, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, as his reign is fully realized in the renewal of all things.

The lordship of Christ places constraints on the way his followers involve themselves, or entangle themselves, with earthly rulers.

On the one hand, we pray for all rulers—and judging from the example of Old Testament exiles like Daniel and New Testament prisoners like Paul, we can even wholeheartedly pray for rulers who directly oppose our welfare. On the other hand, we recognize that all earthly governments partake, to a greater or lesser extent, in what the Bible calls idolatry: substituting the creation for the Creator and the earthly ruler for the true God.

No human being, including even the best rulers, is free of this temptation. But some rulers and regimes are especially outrageous in their God-substitution. After Augustus Caesar, the emperors of Rome became more and more elaborate in their claims of divinity with each generation—and more and more ineffective in their governance. Communism aimed not just to replace faith in anything that transcended the state, but to crush it. 

Such systems do not just dishonor God, they dishonor his image in persons, and in doing so they set themselves up for dramatic destruction. We can never collude when such idolatry becomes manifest, especially when it demands our public allegiance. Christians in every place and time must pray for the courage to stay standing when the alleged “voice of a god, not a man” commands us to kneel.

This year’s presidential election in the United States presents Christian voters with an especially difficult choice.

The Democratic nominee has pursued unaccountable power through secrecy—most evidently in the form of an email server designed to shield her communications while in public service, but also in lavishly compensated speeches, whose transcripts she refuses to release, to some of the most powerful representatives of the world system. She exemplifies the path to power preferred by the global technocratic elite—rooted in a rigorous control of one’s image and calculated disregard for norms that restrain less powerful actors. Such concentration of power, which is meant to shield the powerful from the vulnerability of accountability, actually creates far greater vulnerabilities, putting both the leader and the community in greater danger.

But because several of the Democratic candidate’s policy positions are so manifestly incompatible with Christian reverence for the lives of the most vulnerable, and because her party is so demonstrably hostile to expressions of traditional Christian faith, there is plenty of critique and criticism of the Democratic candidate from Christians, including evangelical Christians.

But not all evangelical Christians—in fact, alas, most evangelical Christians, judging by the polls—have shown the same critical judgment when it comes to the Republican nominee. True, when given a choice, primary voters who claimed evangelical faith largely chose other candidates. But since his nomination, Donald Trump has been able to count on “the evangelicals” (in his words) for a great deal of support.
This past week, the latest (though surely not last) revelations from Trump’s past have caused many evangelical leaders to reconsider. This is heartening, but it comes awfully late. What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one.

Indeed, there is hardly any public person in America today who has more exemplified the “earthly nature” (“flesh” in the King James and the literal Greek) that Paul urges the Colossians to shed: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). This is an incredibly apt summary of Trump’s life to date. Idolatry, greed, and sexual immorality are intertwined in individual lives and whole societies.

Sexuality is designed to be properly ordered within marriage, a relationship marked by covenant faithfulness and profound self-giving and sacrifice. To indulge in sexual immorality is to make oneself and one’s desires an idol. That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.

And therefore it is completely consistent that Trump is an idolater in many other ways. He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.

Some have compared Trump to King David, who himself committed adultery and murder. But David’s story began with a profound reliance on God who called him from the sheepfold to the kingship, and by the grace of God it did not end with his exploitation of Bathsheba and Uriah. There is no parallel in Trump’s much more protracted career of exploitation. The Lord sent his word by the prophet Nathan to denounce David’s actions—alas, many Christian leaders who could have spoken such prophetic confrontation to him personally have failed to do so. David quickly and deeply repented, leaving behind the astonishing and universally applicable lament of his own sin in Psalm 51—we have no sign that Trump ever in his life has expressed such humility. And the biblical narrative leaves no doubt that David’s sin had vast and terrible consequences for his own family dynasty and for his nation. The equivalent legacy of a Trump presidency is grievous to imagine.

Most Christians who support Trump have done so with reluctant strategic calculation, largely based on the president’s power to appoint members of the Supreme Court. Important issues are indeed at stake, including the right of Christians and adherents of other religions to uphold their vision of sexual integrity and marriage even if they are in the cultural minority.

But there is a point at which strategy becomes its own form of idolatry—an attempt to manipulate the levers of history in favor of the causes we support. Strategy becomes idolatry, for ancient Israel and for us today, when we make alliances with those who seem to offer strength—the chariots of Egypt, the vassal kings of Rome—at the expense of our dependence on God who judges all nations, and in defiance of God’s manifest concern for the stranger, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed. Strategy becomes idolatry when we betray our deepest values in pursuit of earthly influence. And because such strategy requires capitulating to idols and princes and denying the true God, it ultimately always fails.

Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us—in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.

The US political system has never been free of idolatry, and politics always requires compromise. Our country is flawed, but it is also resilient. And God is not only just, but also merciful, as he judges the nations. 

In these closing weeks before the election, all American Christians should repent, fast, and pray—no matter how we vote. And we should hold on to hope—not in a candidate, but in our Lord Jesus. We do not serve idols. We serve the living God. Even now he is ready to have mercy, on us and on all who are afraid. May his name be hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Andy Crouch is editorial director of Christianity Today.