Some Interesting Facts About the Florida Primaries

Vox Live Results August 28

Polling got Andrew Gillum’s victory in Florida very wrong. 8 experts on how that happened: Pollsters likely miscalculated who was going to turn out.

Florida Primary Election Results

First of all, Trump and his minions have done a wonderful job of terrifying old white people about cultural and racial changes. Republican turnout, compared to the 2016 primary, increased by a whopping 13.5 percent.

Way to go, Trump!

Unfortunately for the angry, terrified, old white people, Trump and the Trumpistas also did a terrific job of frightening the rest of Florida’s population. Democratic primary turnout, as compared to 2016, increased by 35 percent.

About 1,510,000 Democrats turned out to vote in the Florida primary, as did some 1,618,000 Republicans.

There were two serious candidates in the Republican primary for governor, Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam, along with several single-digit losers. DeSantis, the victor, running as Trump’s lickspittle—and trumpeting his Trump endorsement—got about 56 percent of the Republican vote. Putnam, an establishment type who argued that DeSantis was just a Trump puppet, got 37 percent of the Republican vote. The rest also ran.

In sum, 914,000 Florida Republican primary voters cast their votes for the Trump Bootlicker, while 704,000 exercised their franchise for Someone Else.

Meanwhile, among Florida’s Democratic primary voters, young people and African-Americans turned out in far greater numbers than any of the pollsters had predicted.

It is in this context that Congressman DeSantis has chosen to gin up his supporters by describing his opponent as an articulate performing monkey.


Do Not Despair of Our Present Difficulties

McCain’s Final Statement:

My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.

I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.

I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

‘Fellow Americans’ — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.

We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.

I feel it powerfully still.

Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.

Aardvark Prophesies

the Greenbriar


The immediately preceding post comments on the “evangelical” “leaders’” expulsion of Jeff Session from their island—and their promise to Trump that they will cheerfully lead their segment of the Republican base loudly to applaud any obstruction of justice in which he might wish to indulge. And see also Once-loyal Alabama delegation gives Sessions the cold shoulder—a situation that has resulted in my friend Hans’ experiencing intense Schadenfreude.

So, for the moment, Dr. Faustus is still sticking with the devil, hoping against hope that the really bad bargain he made will work out in the end, after all.

But Faustian bargains never work out.

Aardvark still prophesies that, when the jig is about up, the court evangelicals will gather at some suitable watering spot—I strongly recommend the Greenbrier, where so many corporate conspiracies have been hatched—and receive a revelation from the Holy Ghost that God no longer supports Donald Trump.

If they could throw their good bud Jeff Sessions under the bus, then, Donald, the same fate surely awaits you.

And here is the icing on the cake: the “evangelical leaders” are accusing Sessions of being a hypocrite.

pot and kettle

Meanwhile, In Other News

Facing severe criticism over its flag policy during John McCain Adulation Week, the White House has changed its policy.

white house flag

Scribes and Pharisees Expel Jeff Sessions from their Ranks


And, May I Say, It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy

Jerry Falwell Jr. says he told Trump to fire Sessions

Jerry Falwell Jr., a top conservative religious leader, said Monday he urged President Donald Trump to fire Jeff Sessions over his handling of investigations into Russian election meddling, saying the attorney general has lost evangelicals’ support. …

In forsaking Sessions, faith leaders are turning on one of their own, a man who for decades fought in the political trenches for conservative Christian causes. As a senator from Alabama, Sessions was one of the first Republicans to endorse Trump’s long-shot presidential campaign, taking heat from his party in return. …

“There’s growing disillusionment in the conservative faith-based community” with Sessions, said Gary Bauer, president of American Values, an educational non-profit group. …

At an Aug. 8 speech, the attorney general received a standing ovation from faith leaders after he praised the Trump administration’s record.

“The people of this nation are still the most religious nation in the developed world. Yet people of faith are facing a new hostility. Really, a bigoted ideology which is founded on animus towards people of faith,” Sessions told the assembly at Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Fortunately, President Donald Trump has heard these concerns,” Sessions said. “He made a promise — and from day one of this administration he has delivered. He is defending religious freedom at home and abroad.”

Poster Children of the Faustian Bargain

M and P

We have spent the day contrasting McCain’s nobility with Trump’s ignominy. How ironic, then, that it was the noble McCain who invited the skunk into the garden party.

I believe, though of course I can’t prove, that Sarah Palin played John the Baptist to Trump’s Messiah of the Resentful. Once the  masses got a taste of true bullshit on their presidential ticket, they were bound to demand more of the same next time. No more dog whistles. We need trumpets.

I have no doubt that McCain thought that having an ignorant rabble rouser on his ticket was necessary to let him achieve his noble destiny. After all, if the end doesn’t justify the means, then what the hell does justify them?

But the ends justify the means only up to a point. And when history called on the noble McCain to discern the difference between needful but regrettable compromise, on the one hand, and betrayal of ideals, on the other, he did not pass the test.

Those Faustian bargains have a way of going to hell in a handbasket.

Faustus #1



In the immediately preceding post, I claimed that four factors resulted in the Rise of Trump: (1) the election of a competent black president, (2) the nomination of a competent woman for president, (3) the appearance on the scene of an idiot savant Mussolini ready to take maximum advantage of factors one and two, and (4) the complicity of the country club I’m-not-a-racisit-but crowd.

There will come a time when Trump will be toast. It won’t result from his criminality or from his general bad character. Nor will it be because his most rabid followers grow tired of him.

It will be because is not only a savant, but also an idiot. And, in his idiocy, he is driving an immovable wedge between the rabid mob and the country club set.

Unless both factions work together, they cannot win elections.

And always remember, boys and girls, if a thing cannot happen, then that thing will not happen.

Now Does He Feel His Title Hang Loose about Him, like a Giant’s Robe upon a Dwarfish Thief

Macbeth - Poster

Morning Observations of Cohen, Cohen, and Aardvark

Eliot Cohen

Eliiot A. Cohen, in a post titled How This Will End: Sooner or later, tyrants are always abandoned by their followers, lucidly compares and contrasts Trump and Macbeth:

Macbeth is an utterly absorbing, troubling, tragic, and compelling figure. Unlike America’s germaphobic president, who copped five draft deferments and has yet to visit the thousands of American soldiers on the front lines in Afghanistan or Iraq, he is physically brave. In fact, the first thing we hear about him is that in the heat of battle with a rebel against King Duncan (whom he later murders) Macbeth “unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops.” He is apparently faithful to his wife, has a conscience (that he overcomes), knows guilt and remorse, and has self-knowledge. He also has a pretty good command of the English language. In all these respects he is as unlike Trump as one can be.

Roger Cohen

Eliot Cohen seems to think that Trump’s character flaws will lead to his downfall. But another Cohen, to wit, Roger Cohen, writing yesterday in the New York Times, observes,

The thing about all the shocking Trump revelations … is that they are already baked into Trump’s image. His supporters, and there are tens of millions of them, never had illusions. I’ve not met one … who did not have a pretty clear picture of Trump. They’ve known all along that he’s a needy narcissist, a womanizer, a lowlife, a liar, a braggart and a generally miserable human being. That’s why the “Access Hollywood” tape or the I-could-shoot-somebody-on-Fifth-Avenue boast did not kill his candidacy.

It’s also why the itch to believe that the moment has come when everything starts to unravel must be viewed warily.

Arius Aardvark

Roger Cohen’s piece is titled—perhaps by the editor, not the author—“How Far America Has Fallen.”

No, Roger, not really. What we have learned is that there has always been a sizeable mob of fascisti out there in the heartland.

Four things needed to happen, I think, to engender the present tragedy.

Thing One. America needed to elect a black president—who would do the job with competence and dignity, and thus pose a mortal threat to white self-image.

Thing Two. The Democrats had to nominate a competent woman for president, thus posing a mortal threat working class male misogyny.

Thing Three. A suitable Mussolini-like figure needed to appear on the scene and offer to lead the mob, overtly validating their racism and their misogyny.

Thing Four. A small but pivotal section of the population needed to be persuaded to swallow their objections to impolite racism and misogyny, so as to promote other economic and ideological objectives.

When the mob was ready for Mussolini, Mussolini appeared.

Buddha appears

Prosecutorial Misconduct of the Highest Order


How to react to a story like the one below? Here’s my suggestion. When the other side makes a breathtakingly stupid argument, it’s a pretty good sign that they have run out of anything bearing a family resemblance to a good argument. It’s a sign of desperation.

Jonathan Chait, NRA Says FBI Is Treating Trump As Unfairly As Al Capone

 NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch informs her audience that the FBI is trying to pull the same tricks on Trump that they used to entrap the beloved Prohibition-era Chicago gang leader:

They’re trying to Al Capone the president. I mean, you remember. Capone didn’t go down for murder. Elliot Ness didn’t put him in for murder. He went in for tax fraud. Prosecutors didn’t care how he went down as long as he went down.

You might wonder why Trump’s supporters believe his legal defense is aided by analogizing him to a murderous criminal. Perhaps the answer is that Capone had several qualities that recommend him to the Republican grassroots base. He was a business owner — or, in modern Republican lingo, a Job Creator. He was an avid Second Amendment enthusiast. And, most importantly, Capone, like Trump, was a victim of the deep state. …

Here she is relying on the well-known legal principle of Anglo-American jurisprudence. You can’t charge Al Capone with tax evasion, and you can’t charge Donald Trump with campaign finance violations. A person can only be charged with their worst crime. And now Trump is prepared to join Al Capone as one of history’s most sympathetic victims of prosecutorial misconduct.

Another Departure from the Good Ship Trump

Trump ship

This just in:

WSJ: Trump Org CFO Granted Immunity In Michael Cohen Probe

Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity for providing information to federal prosecutors in their investigation into Michael Cohen, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. …

The decision to grant Weisselberg immunity is a stunning new development in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office investigation into Cohen, who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other financial crimes.

Weisselberg has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Trump Organization for decades, closely overseeing the real estate company’s business dealings. He also handled personal financial matters for Trump, and served as treasurer of the President’s troubled foundation.

A Word to the Wise from Your Dutch Uncle, Arius Aardvark

If anyone else wants to get in the lifeboat, this would be a really good time to leave to leave the Trump ship.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know


I was momentarily confused by the three entries at the bottom of the first photo, regarding Sessions, Elvis, and Bigfoot. On second thought, it appears that they may represent the New York Post’s tribute to the high quality journalism at the National Enquirer, available at a grocery counter near you.

And, by the way, I find it credible that Jeff Sessions is a space alien.

The Savior of the Republic

unlikely hero

Unlikeliest Hero of 2018

It is the evening of August 23, 2018, and this is what we have come to. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the Third is at war with Donald Trump, pledging that “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will nt be improperly influenced by political considerations”—contrary to the wishes of some he could name.

Congratulations, General Sessions. We appreciate your service and are grateful that you are doing your best to save the republic.

Aardvark is honored to aware you the title of

Unlikeliest Hero of 2018.

That said, and without prejudice to the foregoing, Paul Waldman does have a point: “Were it not for his devotion to the cause of undermining civil rights, locking America’s doors to immigrants and punishing hippies for smoking grass, Sessions would have bolted a long time ago.”

And now a bonus.

Best Headline of 2018.

From Huffpost, earlier today:

“Trump Losing his Pecker”

Alas, the headline of the story has now been revised.

God’s Choice for Our Next President

President Pence

I think we may be forgiven for deriving some innocent merriment from the enchanted ramblings of Pastor Kilpatrick. But, all seriousness aside, let’s think this through.

My name is not Nostradamus, but I can apply basic logic to the known facts.

The good ship Trump is taking on water. Faster and faster. Only this morning the boss of the National Inquirer was granted immunity to tell his story about illegal collusion with Trump.

God’s chosen vessel is headed for the iceberg.

So, though I am not Nostradamus, let me make this prediction.

Sometime in the coming months, Falwell, Jr., and Graham, Jr. and their ilk with have a secret conference at some nice, secluded resort.

They will solemnly declare that God has withdrawn His mandate from the Trumpster. They will conclude that God, and their constituents, would be just fine if Vice President Unctuous were promoted to the presidency.

And they will solemnly petition the Democrats running the House of Representatives to pass Articles of Impeachment.

The sooner the better.

Trump ship

Must Be the Season of the Witch

fox poll

No, gentle readers, I did not make this up. Check the link if you think I’m just yanking your chain.

Fox News Poll: Democrats maintain lead in race for House

Democrats are in a strong position for the midterms, according to the latest Fox News poll.

Several findings point to the potential for a blue map in November:

– President Trump’s job rating remains underwater.

– Republicans alone say the economy is in positive shape.

– The GOP tax law is less popular (40 percent favorable) than Obamacare (51 percent favorable).

– The Republican Party is less popular (39 percent favorable) than the Democratic Party (50 percent favorable).

– Optimism about life for the next generation of Americans is down eight points from last year.

– There is greater enthusiasm to vote in the midterms among out-of-power Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Trump/Russia probe isn’t going away.  Approval of Special Counsel Robert Mueller stands at 59 percent, up 11 points since July, and 40 percent expect the investigation will find Trump committed criminal or impeachable offenses, up 5 points.

Aardvark’s Addendum

Yep. Gotta be witchcraft.



Given yesterday’s dramatic events, it is entirely understandable that the pundits in the reality-based world have worked themselves into a lather. I wish to commend two commentators to your attention.

Peter Beinart

Like so many others, including your humble scrivener, Mr. Beinart ponders the imponderable: why are so many Trumpistas sticking with him? In Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt, Beinart writes,

The answer may lie in how Trump and his supporters define corruption. In a forthcoming book titled How Fascism Works, the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley makes an intriguing claim. “Corruption, to the fascist politician,” he suggests, “is really about the corruption of purity rather than of the law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of the traditional order.”

Fox’s decision to focus on the Iowa murder rather than Cohen’s guilty plea illustrates Stanley’s point. In the eyes of many Fox viewers, I suspect, the network isn’t ignoring corruption so much as highlighting the kind that really matters. When Trump instructed Cohen to pay off women with whom he’d had affairs, he may have been violating the law. But he was upholding traditional gender and class hierarchies. Since time immemorial, powerful men have been cheating on their wives and using their power to evade the consequences.

The Iowa murder, by contrast, signifies the inversion—the corruption—of that “traditional order.” Throughout American history, few notions have been as sacrosanct as the belief that white women must be protected from nonwhite men. By allegedly murdering Tibbetts, Rivera did not merely violate the law. He did something more subversive: He violated America’s traditional racial and sexual norms.

Once you grasp that for Trump and many of his supporters, corruption means less the violation of law than the violation of established hierarchies, their behavior makes more sense.  …

Why were Trump’s supporters so convinced that Clinton was the more corrupt candidate even as reporters uncovered far more damning evidence about Trump’s foundation than they did about Clinton’s? Likely because Clinton’s candidacy threatened traditional gender roles. For many Americans, female ambition—especially in service of a feminist agenda—in and of itself represents a form of corruption. “When female politicians were described as power-seeking,” noted the Yale researchers Victoria Brescoll and Tyler Okimoto in a 2010 study, “participants experienced feelings of moral outrage (i.e., contempt, anger, and/or disgust).”

David Frum

Writing today in The President Is a Crook, Frum begins by marveling at Republican tolerance for corruption (in the commonly understood sense of the term), but quickly turns to the point where the rubber meets the road:

Trump has apparently calculated that the cost of closing down Robert Mueller’s inquiry is greater than the cost of enduring it. That always looked a gamble against the odds. Now it looks a proven bad bet, and a bet that will only worsen over time.

Can Trump’s own affairs survive the scrutiny applied to Cohen’s and Manafort’s? Can his company’s? Can his family’s?

Before Trump entered politics, nobody ever bothered to look very hard into Trump’s affairs. Now they are looking. Trump imagined that holding the usual powers of the presidency would safeguard him. He has learned his mistake. …

Trump’s whole philosophy of life is of a kill-or-be-killed competition. It’s an old question: Is Trump an authoritarian, or a crook? The answer is shaping up. Trump must be an authoritarian precisely because he is a crook. The country can have the rule of law, or it can keep the Trump presidency. Facing that choice, who doubts what Trump’s answer, or the answer of his supporters, will be?

Aardvark’s Animadversions

For what it is worth, and that is probably not much, I share Frum’s surprise that Trump has not already provoked a constitutional crisis. And I share his prognostication that Trump WILL provoke a crisis, and that right soon.

And then we shall see how many among us are fascisti and how many are willing to protect the republic. I think it will be about 30 to 70.

And by the way, be sure to note Beinart’s point about gender. Lots ‘o ladies gonna decide they don’t want to live in a fascist country.