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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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The Great Divide, and What’s Next?

Uploaded: May 21, 2017

The depths of our political schism were made personal to me recently in a phone conversation with my boyhood BFF in Florida, with whom I’ve stayed in-touch for nearly that long. I’d guessed he might have devolved into a trumpista (in the absence of my good influence), a suspicion that was confirmed when he asked what I thought about “all the riots.”

The what? As portrayed to him by his chosen media, the overwhelmingly peaceful, popular and passionate demonstrations since January had been reported as violent insurrections, rather than peaceful protests as American as baseball. They were not even intemperate – at all – I know because I was there, in downpour and sunshine. In my friend’s estimation, the prez has been ‘making good progress and getting a lot done.’

I have to admit to a flabbergasm at that one. To me and my media choices, this administration and its Congress have been an ongoing display of consistent, ad hoc incompetence and avarice. A few lowlights:

o crafting patently illegal Executive Orders that should shame a poli-sci undergrad,
o creating and passing, on the second try, a tax-cut for the uber-wealthy, disguised as a
health plan without a heart (and despised by fully 83% of the electorate),
o fascistically excoriating the critical free press as the Enemy of The People,
o delivering a promised tax ‘reform’ 'plan' so premature and ill-prepared that it fit on one
sheet (triple-spaced) - without a clue about its disastrous fiscal impact,
o firing the FBI chief to “take the pressure off” the agency’s investigation of likely
wrongdoing within the campaign and administration, and
o revealing state secrets of a staunch ally, to our mutual greatest adversary state (that
one’s gonna cost us).

Its leader, again in my accumulated understanding, is a man-child afflicted with severe ADHD – a slave to impulse, with an obsessive urge for approval and self-aggrandizement and a marked tendency toward bullying. He’s an ‘Artist of the Deal’ who’s had his bluff called repeatedly, yet who continues to bluff (great fun for poker, but not with unlimited table stakes, including the nuclear football). He is a menace to the American experiment in democracy.

What is remarkable to me is that Mr. 45 can retain the approval of even a current 1/3 of the electorate, especially after this recent fortnight’s shenanigans. My hopeful theory is that his reported loyalists are like the menfolk of a downriver town in “Huck Finn.” Having been duped into attending a wretched show that falsely promised manly pleasures (“no women or children allowed”), they decide to tout the show to others, lest they become a laughingstock. These voters would rather declare their continued allegiance (to pollsters, anyway), than admit they were duped.

Call me a cockeyed optimist.

So, who’s right, my friend or me? Well, since it’s my blog, we’re going with my take. To hear my pundits tell it, the scent of Impeachment is in the springtime air of the nation’s capital, as dolt 45 escapes to seek absolution in Jerusalem, and beatification in Rome. I don’t think that’ll happen (impeachment, that is), but neither will the family Trump celebrate the Holidays at the White House. Impeachment and removal are slow, arduous and legalistic. Here’s how I think it’ll play-out, and why.

As I’ve written here previously, the GOP is a duolith - the Masters of the Universe wing of the uber-rich, and the old, grumpy traditional Republicans whose calcified synapses won't allow them to keep up, or even change the channel. Many of the latter are TeaPers, and they are recently abetted by the generally frustrated, disaffected trumpistas.

The Masters have clearly won-out, policy-wise - they are the entire Cabinet, and their marks are on everything, including the $Trillion ‘health care’ tax cut, and the back-of-a-napkin tax ‘reform’ ‘plan.’ They care little for the deficit or the rest of us, and have claimed reliance on thoroughly discredited supply-side economic voodoo worthy of the Underpants Gnomes (Profit!). When they’re again proved wrong, they can retreat to their third yachts. The TeaPers and trumpistas have been sold way downriver, cheap and fast, with nary a straw to stay afloat.

The Masters have won because they control the all-important campaign purse strings; the others do not. That makes the Masters a very formidable force, based on unlimited Dark Money and the strong strategic sense that helped them amass those fortunes. Thus, they are who ultimately calls the tune that their elected GO-Pipers play, and they will determine the future of this dance.

When they conclude that their Useful Idiot* is simply incapable of sustained attention to anything, including carrying their water, they and their minions will ditch him for the retrograde but mentally competent Pence. Nixon resigned quickly after a contingent of leading Republicans visited the White House to report that he had thoroughly cooked his goose.

That day's a-comin'. When the Kochs and the other puppet-Masters pull the string, House and Senate leaders will retrace those earlier steps, and 45 will be gone. It may be quite soon, to give GOP incumbents maximum time to try to rehabilitate themselves before next year’s elections. We won’t get those tax returns, the prez may well avoid horizontal pinstripes as Nixon did, but at least the doomsday clock won’t chime.

* Not my term – I only wish I’d coined it. I understand it is of Russian origin. I Am proud of 'flabbergasm', however. I made it up, but haven't checked on whether I'm the first to do so.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on May 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The "scent of impeachment" will linger well after the 2018 congressional elections.

For the US senate the 2018 elections have republicans defending eight seats, while the democrats are defending twenty-three seats. Plus there are two independents that caucus with the democrats.

Polls show democrats losing eight of those twenty-three seats, and republicans losing one of those eight seats.

An impeachment of the president requires tow thirds majority of the US senate. Impeachment before or after 2018 elections is not likely.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on May 22, 2017 at 7:36 am

Fortunately, I don't have a crystal ball that knows all! We'll all have to wait 'n see...clearly there's a mentally ill resident in la casa blanca...too bad and tee hee...i rest my case...

Posted by JustHere, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 22, 2017 at 9:33 am

JustHere is a registered user.

Actually, I think Trump has been accused of only one item that is even close to rising to the level of impeachment and that is the firing of Comey. it would be the reason WHY and the intent (both hard to prove).
And, actually, the House only needs a simple majority to send issue to the senate, which would then have a trial. To be found 'guilty' requires 2/3 of the senate. With old, angry, affluent male GOP in control congress, not likely...yet...
otherwise, we have the president 48% of voting Americans wanted. And he is acting just like he did during the campaign. Nobody should be surprised.

Posted by Neither Party, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on May 22, 2017 at 10:42 am

What exactly are the Democrats doing to make things better for the entire country? Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Pres. Obama were just as much a part of the problem as the Republicans.

Sorry if this is politically incorrect, this blog is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black.

Both parties are to blame and until both sides realize this, we will continue to be a divided country.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on May 22, 2017 at 10:47 am

It is interesting how much time & effort you and your liberal friends spend in attacking and criticizing every single thing President Trump does or does not do, but how little time & energy you spend in objective analysis of how someone like Trump with all his warts & baggage could still beat the candidate your party nominated. Isn't the real story how out of touch your party is with our country that someone with all the faults of Trump could still beat the best your party offered?Spend some time with your buddy in Florida and with people in the Midwest and South and actually listen to the concerns they have fortheir families.Spend less time in the echo chamber in the Bay Area and big urban cities where you all think the same.

The reality is your party is so out of touch with voters that anyone, including someone with so many faults like Trump, can beat your party's candidate, and until you and your party turn your attention on improving your own party and their platform, you will continue to lose. So keep writing about how bad Trump is, how bad the Republicans are, and ignore improving your own party, and ignore actually listening to people with different views than yours, and watch as candidates as bad as Trump keep beating your candidates.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 22, 2017 at 11:14 am


There is no question that Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate with a lot of baggage. But, on the other hand, the same is true of Trump. Many have said that these are two of the worst choices ever presented in recent Presidential elections and I believe that.

On the matter of a party being "out of touch" with the people, though, it seems that you make the common mistake of many conservatives of forgetting that Trump did not win by a landslide and that 3 million more voters voted for Clinton than Trump. Did Trump win the electoral college and therefore the Presidency? Yes? Does that indicate that he and conservatives reflect the will of the majority of the American voters? No.

So, please, no lecturing to the other side about how they are out-of-touch with the voters. Of the last seven Presidential elections, the Republican candidate won the popular vote in only one election. Even you have to admit that that's a pretty weak showing. Can't expect that the electoral college will consistently be able to save the Republican candidate from a popular vote going the other way.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Donald Trump: “The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you're innocent why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

Today's News: "Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to take the 5th Amendment and decline Senate subpoena"

ABC News: Web Link


Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on May 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm

And, apparently, even in the Midwest and the South, it wasn't economic issues that resonated with Trump voters. It was racial and social fears.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on May 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Tom, so happy to see your pen grace the blogs of the PW! Second, couldn't agree more with your comments. Third, the results of the election weren't just a reflection of the poor quality of the candidates, it's a reflection of the voters and of the incredible lack of understanding of the issues and how they impact the greater good of the country, the sheer ignorance of the complexity of the geopolitical issues we face and of the US role as a provider of solutions and leadership (not a twitter feed as a substitute for foreign policy), and the growing lack of compassion and commitment to solve the serious problems we face (environment, health care, infrastructure, income gaps.) Germany has recently reached days where 85% of their energy consumption is from renewables, France has a new 'Environmental Transition Minister' - we are building pipelines, re-opening coal-faces, and want to dismantle the EPA. We get what we voted for.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on May 22, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Hi Just Here: I guess we could ask how many of those HC&Ms are needed - one would probably do, and you're right about proof problems on Comey, so far.

The outcomes of the Russia interference probes could change the game dramatically. Flynn's 5A plead today is more blood in the water, but alone it doesn't mean much. Anyway, as above I think the Kochtopus will lose patience with Trump's ineffectiveness before any of those chickens return home. Majorities are rare and expensive; they won't want this investment to be wasted.

Am: your relatively temperate comment much appreciated, but I don't see any references to the last election, except for yours. I do think it's difficult to call Trump's minority election any kind of mandate - and the fact that he's sold all those rural/flyover voters down the river so quickly and completely suggests he conned them. Will they be fooled again when they lose health coverage so the 1%ers can avoid that pesky 4% ACA tax?

As for your hopes and dreams comment, if you're trying to posture the GOP as the true champions of what's left of Middle America, good luck with that. As above, the Masters of the Universe are calling the tune, and they don't give two spits.

Joe: thanks, and I agree completely.

Posted by Neither Party, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on May 23, 2017 at 7:43 am

Which special interests are better?

Republicans ==> Big business (which provide jobs to many Americans)

Democrats ==> Public Employee Unions & Teachers Unions (who are focused on protecting their jobs, not producing new jobs)

Not sure why Republican special interest groups are vilified while Democrat interest groups are perfectly acceptable. Both are out to do what is best for themselves, not what is best for all of America.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 23, 2017 at 10:37 am

@Neither Party

A bit of an oversimplification, no? If I believed that the special interests on either side separated as cleanly as you are stating, then I would be a very strong Republican supporter. So who do you think that you're fooling when you profess that you're with "Neither Party" and give such a ridiculously one-sided view of the situation? You seem to think that you can simply parrot Republican talking points and then cover your tracks by ending your posts with an insincere and hilariously transparent "both parties are to blame" remark, and then everyone is fooled.

Have no problems with people expressing a Republican or conservative viewpoint if it's based on well supported facts, so just stop the game-playing.

Posted by Neither Party, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on May 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Registered Non-Partisan, voted for Ron Johnson.

Sorry my data was not up to your standards.

Still think one party is bad as the other.

Maybe it's time to start making it simple, Sam.

Open your mind to a new paradigm and demand something better than what we are getting.

Posted by Neither Party, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on May 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm

And Sam - the other reason for my one sided, supposedly Republican talking points parroting, was that the original Blog was so one sided, biased towards the Democrats.

Posted by yolanda w, a resident of Avila,
on May 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm


you may want to take a minute and analyze how democrats have fared (in congressional and gubernatorial races) since 2010

(hint - it rhymes with trappy)

too much, these message boards.

Posted by yolanda w, a resident of Avila,
on May 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm

candidate's name was gary johnson, not ron johnson

you know, the weed/aleppo dude.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 23, 2017 at 4:10 pm


You're saying that Mr. Non-Partisan "Neither Party" can't even properly state the first name of the man that he professes to have voted for as President just a few months ago? Why am I not surprised?

Posted by Neither Party, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on May 23, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Yvonne - for some reason I've always had "Ron" stuck in my head.

Sam - Rather than calling me a liar, maybe you can just accept the fact that I am a a human being that can make a mistake.

Of course, what I have seen from your participation on these posts is you just tear people down and belittle them. I haven't seen a single positive comment from you. Must feel good to feel you are god's perfect being on earth.

Posted by yolanda w, a resident of Avila,
on May 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Neither Party,

just playing around wit ya .. I do the same ting myself more than i care to admit!

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on May 23, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Again, the real question is how out of touch are the Democrats with Americans that the Republicans, with all the warts & baggage of Trump, control the Whitehouse, Senate, Congress, and overwhelming amount of Governorships. But yet the liberals refuse to analyze their own shortcomings and platform problems, & instead focus on problems of Republicans. Democrats need wake up & realize outdated liberal extremism can not even beat a flawed candidate like Trump.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 23, 2017 at 9:08 pm

@Neither Party

Hey, if you want to say that you're truly politically neutral even though your posts here are one-sidedly against Democrats and you have difficulty remembering the first name of the Presidential candidate that you allegedly voted for recently, fine. However, I'm free to draw my own conclusions from my observations here. That's just the way it is.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 23, 2017 at 9:13 pm

@American: "Again, the real question is how out of touch are the Democrats with Americans that the Republicans, with all the warts & baggage of Trump, control the Whitehouse, Senate, Congress, and overwhelming amount of Governorships."

It's happened before during G.W.Bush's Presidency. Total Republican control of the White House, Senate, and House. It didn't last then, and it won't last now. But don't worry when Republicans are ushered out and Democrats start taking control of the White House. Senate, and House, because that won't last, either. Neither party has a lock on American politics. It hasn't happened before and it's not going to happen now.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on May 23, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Am: you seem to believe that the GOP successes represent a philosophical mandate, thus the Dems must become more conservative or lose. But what if the GOP successes are the culmination of brilliant strategizing over 50 years since the Powell memorandum, abetted by unlimited financial resources of those same plutocrats, and some good luck in finding a portion of the electorate alienated and willing to be conned.

That's the basic thesis of Jane Mayer's brilliant book Dark Money, and I think she's right. Now, you may reply "but $oros", but the real issue is not the level of money in any specific campaign, but the sustained many-tentacled strategic effort over a half-century to use money to tilt districts and drown out other voices. The Koch brothers are the primary protagonists, and they are very good at what they do.

Democracy has always involved a struggle between the few with real wealth and everybody else - the Kochs have invested their money extremely well. Much as I dislike their politics of greed, I admire their capabilities in getting what they want.

So the Dems don't need new policies - they need better, more sustained business sense. I just think those same Kochs will tire of all the chaos, flailing about and lack of strategy in the current administration, so through their minions they'll order him thrown out, for the more pliant, conventional Pence.

Posted by yolanda w, a resident of Avila,
on May 24, 2017 at 7:25 am

tom speaking of greed and corruption..

you do recall who the democrats nominated for president in 2016, no?

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 24, 2017 at 7:55 am


I don't think that either Hillary or Trump are ever going to be candidates for sainthood.

Yeah, Hillary has some issues. Not a great idea for any person still active in politics to have a charity foundation. Too many possibilities for conflicts of interest. Should wait until one is completely retired from politics. Don't doubt that she, Bill, and Chelsea are much wealthier as a result of their Foundation.

On the other hand, Trunp isn't clean, either. Buying himself a $12K Tim Teebow helmet at a charity auction with funds that were traced back to the Donald J. Trump Foundation? Wouldn't buy a used car from either Hillary or Donald.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on May 24, 2017 at 8:12 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

So, I get that you (Tom) don't like Trump, and you have the opportunity to bash him 4 months into his Presidency with your column. I would have to go back into your archives to locate any of your critical analysis of the Obama administration, as well your overview of Hillary as Secretary Of State. Obviously no bias at play here is there? Yes, you do have a right to your opinion, and I defend that always; however, I just can't get passed all the impeachment nonsense, conspiracy theories, and absolute hateful rhetoric that Is represented by the left. I also get that the Pleasanton Weekly is a tool for the Democratic Party, like Representative Swalwell, so no surprises there. I guess I will move onto more fair and balanced reporting. I realize giving my comment in this article will be most appreciated - LOL!

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on May 24, 2017 at 8:18 am

To understand the difference between personal avarice and 'the politics of greed,' ask yourself: would a President Hillary have ever proposed kicking 24 Million Americans off the health insurance rolls in order to bestow a $1 Treellion tax cut on the 1%? No?

Posted by yolanda w, a resident of Avila,
on May 24, 2017 at 8:25 am

tom, how's the air up there on your high horse?

always comes back to rolling granny off a cliff in her wheelchair doesn't it?

Posted by yoland w, a resident of Avila,
on May 24, 2017 at 8:30 am

tom, you do understand the line is quite blurred between personal avarice and greed in politics, no?

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on May 24, 2017 at 8:35 am

Hi Jake: The PW has never involved itself in the content of my blog, which they understand to be 'opinion' rather than 'reportage.' Bias in any other articles, you'll have to take up with them.

I'm more liberal than the former Prez, but I did support much of what he did. I did not like that he gave endemic Wall Street corruption a pass, nor did I favor his support for some of the NSA's domestic surveillance (slippery slope there, for me). I also have reservations about drones policies.

Trump is a very different animal - an ignorant, unread, incurious, petulant demagogue who's only dimly aware of his role and both its implications and limitations. An earlier comment referenced picking-on "every little thing" - those things Are numerous, but they are Not little - they are fundamental and he's dangerous. I didn't care for GWB, but he basically knew what he was doing. The new guy hasn't a clue, and clues matter a very great deal.

I do not like that Pence will replace him, as he'll be better able to pursue policies with which I deeply disagree. But he's not dangerous, and I'll make that trade, every day.

Posted by yolanda w, a resident of Avila,
on May 24, 2017 at 8:44 am

see folks how the narrative has morphed over the past four months

-the world is going to end, to
-we've elected hitler, to
-this guy is an ignoramus

Posted by Neither Party, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on May 24, 2017 at 9:07 am

Thanks for proving my point Sam.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 24, 2017 at 9:51 am

@yolanda: "see folks how the narrative has morphed over the past four months -the world is going to end, to -we've elected hitler, to -this guy is an ignoramus"

Did a word search for "ignoramus" on this page. You're the only one to have used the word. Tom just used the following adjectives to describe Trump:

"ignorant" - Any argument about this adjective?
"unread" - Any argument about this adjective?
"incurious" - Any argument about this adjective?
"petulant" - Any argument about this adjective?

All of the above adjectives are objectively true about Donald Trump. So are the adjectives "immature" and "vain" and "narcissistic".

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on May 24, 2017 at 10:43 am

Tom: My analysis is Republicans control Whitehouse, Senate, Congress, Governorships because Democrats extreme liberal policies & platform so out touch with Americans, even with flawed candidate like Trump, your party loses.

You seem suggest your party loses not because of your liberal extreme policies but because allegedly Republicans financial resources unlimited and your party can't financially compete with rich Republicans.

But according to February 1, 2017 report by Washington Post( not Fox news so you can't attack source), Hillary raised 1.4 billion while Trump only 957.6 million, and more importantly only 16% of Hillary money came from small donations of $200 or less while 26% Trump money came from small donations of $200 or less, and 13% Hillary money from so called Superpacks while only 10% Trump money from Superpacks.

So, contrary to your conclusion, more mom and pop small donors made up Trump's campaign money, while more big donors and Superpack were giving to Hillary. Hence, you can't blame $ for your party losing Whitehouse and congress and Governships. Hillary had more $, spent more $, and got more of her money from big money donors & Superpacks.

Reality is outdated extreme liberalism is out touch with Americans, outside of Bay Area & big urban cities, and problem with Democrats is not $, it is their policies and platform.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 24, 2017 at 10:53 am

Interesting article. I've seen a few of these that have pointed out the fact that many of those who will be most hurt financially by Trump are the very same people who voted for him. How my own personal financial situation would fare under the two Presidential candidates was never really a consideration when I voted, but now that I think about it as an upper income American I'm actually probably going to do very well indeed under Trump.


"I voted for Trump. Now he wants to cut the aid I need"

CNN: Web Link

"Krista Shockey voted for President Trump in November. Now she's one of the people who might get hurt under his plan to cut safety net programs for the poor and disabled....."


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on May 24, 2017 at 11:02 am


I think that your ringing the bell marking the death of the Democratic Party is a bit premature. As I've already noted, we've been here before during the GW Bush administration. It didn't last then and it won't last now.

Actually, the big concern that I have as an independent is that the long-term prospects for the Republican Party does not look good because younger voters and immigrants tend to lean heavily Democratic. That tilt will become more and more of a problem as the years roll by. Even though I more often vote Democratic than Republican, I would prefer to maintain a healthy two-party system.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on May 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

Am: please read my comment. Specific campaigns were Never my point, at all - which I went to the trouble of emphasizing, counselor.

Here's an item that DOES go to my point: in the 2016 elections, total votes for House of Representatives were split 49/48% for the GOP, but the GOP majority was a fully 47 seat majority - more than 10% of the 435.

Two points to be made: 1 - if Dem policies were rejected, the vote would not have been so close, and 2 - the GOP majority was the result of successful gerrymandering of districts to pack Dem voters into fewer districts. That gerrymandering resulted from investments in state races in 2010, because they draw the new lines in many states, each decade based on the census.

That's particularly true in North Carolina, based on the ingenious so-called REDMAP initiative, which has resulted in districts so convoluted that (even) the conservative majority Supreme Court couldn't stomach them. Check out the graphic of those districts - esp. 1 and 12. It's hilarious.

So, as I said before, it's not the policies - it's the strategies sustained over 50 years. The GOP is better at it - so far. I hope the Dems have awoken, finally.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a blogger,
on May 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Comments ended; another thread ruined. Congrats, yodanda.

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