**Updated June 29, 2020 (scroll to the bottom)
No one knows, really.
I’m not a Middle East expert. I’m not even all that much more informed than the average person who pays a decent amount of attention to world politics. I don’t profess to know how to solve anything in the region, and I’ve never felt comfortable throwing suggestions or conjectures out there because there are a lot of moving parts and I’ve never seriously studied how they fit together. I’m comfortable talking (ranting mostly–y’all know me) about the US economy or our justice system or lobbying etc. because I’ve studied those things and I feel confident that I have a handle on how they work.
I just wanted to put that out there first — if you want expert analysis, please look up expert analysis. I’ve been doing that all morning and it has both confirmed what I felt and talked me off a ledge of irrationality.
I have a negative reaction to anything Donald Trump does, especially at this point in his presidency. I see the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani as an impulsive, two-pronged effort to shore up support going into this year’s election: his Strongman Mentality proving how strong he is by taking out a powerful adversary when no one else had and a basic understanding that a sitting President rarely loses his re-election bid when the country is at war. Starting a war with Iran by taking out arguably the most influential if not most powerful man in the region achieves both, and Trump understood it as a political strategy all the way back in 2011.
Soleimani wasn’t walking around pulling puppet strings in the Middle East for three decades because US government officials didn’t know how to kill him or never had the opportunity to kill him. They just didn’t have a plan for what comes after. Trump would like to characterize this assassination as Trump being smarter than those before him (because he figured out how to kill Soleimani), being braver than those before him (because he’s not afraid of the repercussions), and being more patriotic than those before him (because Soleimani was almost certainly behind the attack on the US embassy in Iraq recently).
Theoretically, I have no problem with Soleimani being dead via the actions of the US government. If I objectively look at the situation without the negative impulse to hate Donald Trump and without examining the rationale behind why Trump ordered the strike, I still have no problem with Soleimani being dead via the actions of the US government. If I put this sequence of events in the context of another Presidency (dangerous leader in the Middle East terrorizes the area for decades, fights proxy wars with the US through other countries, makes a direct attack on the US embassy, so the President orders his murder), I still have no problem with Soleimani being dead via the actions of the US government. If you and I are on the same page and you’re looking for a way to “debate” the Republicans in your life who accuse you of loving Iran or hating Trump so much you can’t see a good thing, remind them that you agree Soleimani had it coming….at some point.
The unease I’m sitting with rests with the question of Who is the Adult in the Room? Donald Trump ordered this strike without Congressional approval. I feel uncomfortable with an unpredictable wannabe dictator who reads at a 4th grade level being in charge of anything, let alone anything that could lead to war. He has proven repeatedly that he does not surround himself with the best, the brightest, or even the competent. Short of seeing what the long range plan is, there’s nothing that would settle this disquiet in my gut. If this was Obama or Hillary, I would wonder what Iran’s retaliation would be, but I would trust they, with the help of the most talented, most informed people in Washington, would have a plan to deal with it. I don’t trust Donald Trump or anyone around him to have a plan, and if they did have a plan, I would assume the plan would make everything worse.
So now we wait. What will Iran do now that we have declared war by murdering their Number Two? How will the Trump administration handle that war? What does that war mean for the safety of the US in the short term and in the long range perspective of looking at the effect of that war on the election? The only thing we know for sure is that we are at war with Iran whether that was the plan or not.
June 29, 2020
So, I had forgotten all about this and today on Twitter, Soleimani is trending again because Iran has issued an arrest warrant for Donald Trump and a bunch of other people relating to the assassination.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining President Donald Trump and dozens of others it believes carried out the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly said Monday.
While Trump faces no danger of arrest, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
(cont. ABC News)
It’s been 6 months and a war didn’t materialize the way many of us thought, so the whole situation just kind of faded from consciousness. Now it’s back and I’m sitting with this unease again.
And I’m also annoyed at Iran for doing this in the runup to the election. An escalation between the US and Iran this close to November will only help the sitting President, because no President loses reelection when the country is at war…in theory anyway. Donald Trump is a wild card, so he could react terribly and lower his chances even more because who wants Donald Trump in charge if the country is at war?
Then again, Joe Biden can barely remember his wife’s name.
I’ma just…fix myself an early drink.
GOP lawmakers don’t want metal detectors at the Capitol.
People broke into your job with weapons, but you don’t want metal detectors?
Louie Gohmert just walked around the magnetometer.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 13, 2021
“You can’t stop me; I’m on my way to a vote,” he said as he passed the cops.
For members of Congress to enter the floor of the U.S. House, we now have to go through intense security measures, on top of the security we already go through. These new provisions include searches and being wanded like criminals. We now live in Pelosi’s communist America!— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) January 13, 2021
Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican, told me that the situation is “untenable” because it “impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job.” These are the lines pic.twitter.com/Z6WP9ZXmC0— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 13, 2021
Rep. Rodney Davis told Mullin not to shout at Capitol Police, and he said: “This is not their fault, they’re doing their job.”— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 13, 2021
But Davis, who is the top Republican on House Admin, told me: “I’m pissed” that the mags have gone up without any consultation.
Republicans don’t believe the election was “free and fair”
In that case, I hope they just stop voting.
Three days after every major media outlet called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has shown no signs of conceding as he continues to push baseless claims of widespread fraud. The campaign he is waging against the integrity of the election, which first took root months ago, has had a major impact on how Republicans perceive the results, according to new Morning Consult polling.
This latest survey, conducted Nov. 6-9, 2020 among 1,987 registered voters nationwide, is part of an ongoing research project to gauge the level of trust Americans have in their electoral system. Results will be updated on this page weekly.
(cont. Morning Consult)
This was absolutely the goal of the Trump administration from the start. The writing was on the wall — he was going to lose this election bigly and he needed to make his supporters doubt the results, so they all cast a shadow on mail-in votes. They knew the largest share of mail-in votes would be Democrats because Democrats have not rejected COVID science and are more likely to avoid crowds. Sending in your ballot from the safety of your home makes sense to someone who believes the coronavirus pandemic is a real thing. Then the GOP prevented those ballots from being counted until after all of the same day ballots in places like Pennsylvania, so Trump declared victory on the day, and his supporters watched it slip away as these sketchy mail-in ballots were counted.
That’s the one-two punch. Mail-in ballots have more fraud, and I won before the fraudulent ballots started being counted.
So now we have an entire political party undermining the foundation of our democracy, by following behind this orange baby man throwing a tantrum because he hates losing, and they’re all but ensuring lower turnout for the next election cycle among their base. If 7 out of 10 people on your side of the aisle believe the election is rigged, how many of them are going to sit out next time because their vote doesn’t matter anyway? If just 1 of every ten says “why waste the time?” the GOP loses by an even wider margin.
Fine with me! I especially hope Republicans in Georgia have lost faith in the voting process so they don’t turn out for the Senate runoffs in a few weeks. I know plenty of Lazy Liberals who’ve sat on the couch on election day because we keep seeing these races stolen from us due to gerrymandering and voter restrictions and polling site closures. A big chunk of us have said “why waste the time?” and it has cost us every time. A little pessimism on the other side is music to my ears.
Also, it’s important to note that whichever party loses the White House has less trust in the election. It happens every time. Strangely enough, the only recent election where faith in the election was about equal for Democrats and Republicans was Bush v. Gore back in 2000, where the election hinged on less than 600 votes in Florida (as opposed to tens of thousands of votes in multiple states for Biden this go ’round).
This is the share of voters who said the election was free and fair, going back to Bush vs. Clinton.
It’s interesting that the trust gap of the 90s doubled once Barack Obama was elected, and it has doubled again now that the sitting President has spent the past few days telling his base over and over that the results weren’t fair. The Republican Party is circling the drain and I would love for this distrust in the voting process to be the final nail in their coffin. They can’t win if they don’t even show up.
Donald Trump’s ego would love nothing more than to see his supporters rise up and fight for him, so he will fan the flames for as long as they will believe his lies. I can’t think of a bigger indictment of his fabrications than Fox News refusing to give them more airtime:
Fox News has left the chat. pic.twitter.com/SwW9cq9bJI— The Recount (@therecount) November 9, 2020
I guess Rusty and Carole will have to get all their conspiracy theories straight from the source now.
2020 Election Firsts
The last four years have been hard, and these “firsts” show that we are in fact still moving in the right direction.
You know where this is going to end up (but not for the reason you think!) and I just wanted to highlight some other “firsts” from last week’s election. On the one hand, it’s 2020, so having “the first” of anything when it comes to representation is tiring. On the other hand, it’s 2020, and the last four years have been hard, and these “firsts” show that we are in fact still moving in the right direction.
Oklahoma has never had a Muslim elected to their State Legislature. The US has never had a non-binary person elected to any State Legislature. Until Mauree Turner.
Being a queer Black Muslim activist in Oklahoma comes with a lot of hurdles just to be seen and heard, but during the course of their activism and organizing behind other politicians, Turner was being encouraged to just run for office themself. They ran on a platform of inclusion and defeated their challenger with 71% of the vote.
If at first you don’t succeed, keep at it until you do. That’s what Cori Bush did.
Cori Bush ran for Senate in 2016, but was defeated in the primary. She ran for the House in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District (St. Louis mostly) in 2018, but was defeated in the primary. When she ran again this year and upset incumbent Lacy Clay in the primary, it ended the Clay Family’s hold on that seat which began with Lacy’s father Bill Clay back in 1968. Bush got her start in politics after the Ferguson protests where she served as a triage nurse and organizer. With her win in the general, she’s the first Black Woman elected to Congress from Missouri.
In 2012, Sarah McBride became the first openly trans woman to work in the White House. In 2016, she addressed the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first transgender American to address a major political party. Now, she has another first.
After winning her State Senate race in Delaware, Sarah McBride is the first trans person elected to a state Senate in the US. As a campaign staffer in Delaware, McBride previously worked on Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden’s campaign before coming out as trans during her last week as student body president of American University. A flurry of media coverage followed and the Biden Family continued to express their support, culminating in a position at the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Mondaire Jones won his House race to become the first openly gay Black Congressman.
Jones was running in a solidly Democratic district just north of NYC without a strong challenger in the primary. He easily pulled ahead of his challengers back in June during the primary for a seat that had been held by the same woman for thirty years. Jones has the support of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but I’m most excited to see him working with another of his high-profile supporters — AOC.
Another openly gay first, this time the first openly gay Afro-Latino in Congress.
Ritchie Torres will also be representing New York alongside Mondaire Jones when Congress seats its new class. His primary challenger was a notorious homophobe by the name of Rubén Díaz Senior, not to be confused with his more popular and more liberal son, Rubén Díaz Junior, who is the Bronx borough president. The ballots during that primary didn’t specify Junior or Senior, which I’m sure was an intentional “oversight” by the father’s campaign to capitalize on his son’s popularity, but in the end, Torres pulled it off and defeated his Republican challenger in the general last week. Torres said during his campaign that he wants to tackle the affordable housing crisis, expand the Supreme Court, and make Puerto Rico a state. He’s got big dreams and a bright future.
Madame Vice-President Elect will be the first female Vice President, the first Black VP, and the first Asian VP.**
There’s not much to add that hasn’t already been breathlessly covered everywhere for the past few days, but! She’s also the first Vice President who doesn’t share a last name with their spouse, which hadn’t occurred to me until last night, but I think it’s really awesome!
Full Disclosure: I hate when women feel pressured to change their last names after they get married, but I especially hate it when they have a career. You have papers and interviews and titles associated with one name, so why change that because of an outdated tradition that stems from ownership? Kamala Harris married Douglas Emhoff, and she’s still Kamala Harris. I was watching a documentary about Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election and it bummed me out that she felt she had no choice but to change her last name when Bill lost his reelection for Arkansas governor. She had kept her name and her job and she was too “independent” as a Southern wife, so she changed herself to help her husband appeal to voters, and that included taking Clinton as her last name. Forty years after that, I’m really excited that a woman has finally gotten to the White House and she kept hers.
**Kamala Harris is the first woman of color, but she’s not the first non-white VP. Hoover’s Vice President Charles Curtis was 3/8ths Native American.
Let’s retire the roast for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Charge the NRA with murder in Colorado.
Hot Takes: Allen vs. Farrow
Let’s retire the roast for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Hot Takes: Allen vs. Farrow
Charge the NRA with murder in Colorado.
Race11 months ago
How to respond to “riots never solve anything!”
LGBT7 months ago
Niecy Nash ties the knot with singer Jessica Betts.
Pop Culture2 years ago
Today I Learned: Betty White Gave Arthur Duncan His Start
Race8 months ago
Why don’t we say “Ebonics” anymore?
LGBT9 months ago
Valentina Sampaio, Sports Illustrated, and trans women under the male gaze.
LGBT7 years ago
A lesson on what bisexuality means and what it doesn’t.
LGBT9 months ago
Fire Island said “what pandemic?”
Pop Culture2 years ago
Aubrey O’Day is a blowup doll and I love it.