Don’t forget, we still have a trump card for Trump

I was reading an article just now, from the Guardian, about how Trump is reshaping the judicial branch of the government, in some extreme ways. Travel bans and big tax cuts for the rich get a lot of press coverage, but the judges that Trump is nominating have the potential to remake America for decades after Trump is dead and gone — and all of this is happening under the radar.

Conservatives like Trump and the Republicans are a minority in America, yet they’re full-court press against the will of the people may be impossible to fully undo. The damage inflicted — massive budget deficits, global instability, an American culture of anger and animosity, and a justice system hostile to minorities and civil rights — it all will probably prove too great to fix any time soon…But we still have a trump card for the Trump era: #calexit

Calexit is the California initiative to exit the union of the United States of America. Such a successful exit by one state, especially as big as California, would trigger a complete reorganization of the States and would dissolve the U.S.A. as we know it.

Yes, it’s an extreme option, but these are extreme times, and as time goes on, and as Trump and the Republicans grind away at our institutions, and as national confidence continues to crash, breaking up the United States might prove a refreshing option, a way to start over.

Breaking up the Union would break the tragic cycle that we’ve been in for many, many decades: Republicans implement policies that damage our economic stability and incite divisiveness and anger among the populace, then liberals and Democrats try to fix it, but there’s simply too much to do.

Even politically active conservatives are coming out and admitting that this is how Republicans roll. Bruce Bartlett worked as an adviser for Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush. He wrote an excellent article in the Guardian yesterday that spoke directly to this point:

Republicans are pushing the tax cut at breakneck speed precisely because they know they are probably going to lose next year and in 2020 as well. The tax cut, once enacted, however, will bind the hands of Democrats for years to come, forcing them to essentially follow a Republican agenda of deficit reduction and prevent any action on a positive Democratic program. The result will be a steady erosion of support for Democrats that will put Republicans back in power within a few election cycles.

The theory was laid out almost 30 years ago by two Swedish economists, Torsten Persson and Lars EO Svensson. In a densely written article for the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1989, they explained why a stubborn conservative legislator would intentionally run a big budget deficit.

There’s simply no way to build stable American institutions when Republicans come into power every few years and take a hammer to them. It’s easier to dismantle institutions and create chaos than it is to stabilize them.

We can resist part of the Trump agenda and score a few wins here and there, but Trump’s impact on the judicial branch of the government will be a decades’ long degeneration. Here’s a chart illustrating the nature of Trump’s judicial choices, to date:


One such judicial nominee, Brett Talley, is an an Alabama attorney just three years out of law school. He has yet to try a case, but he is well-known for his partisan politics. Oh yes, and his wife is also a White House staffer.

The only thing that I’ve known in my entire lifetime is a steady and consistent effort by Republicans and conservatives to dismantle American government, sow the seeds of prejudice and malice, and rig the system on behalf of those with wealth and power — so personally I’m ready for a radical and extreme solution, which is why I continue to encourage debate on #calexit — I think we need to start over.



Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

21 thoughts on “Don’t forget, we still have a trump card for Trump”

  1. State legislatures’ dominant political parties tend to gerrymander district boundaries to maximize their party’s electoral success, gaining the greatest number of representatives. E.g., where I live, Durham County, is heavily Democratic. The Republican state legislature assumes that it will lose Durham County, so it draws the district boundaries to enclose as high a proportion of Democrats within our district, in the process draining Democrats from neighboring districts to ensure Republican victories. Even the conservative SCOTUS voted unanimously that NC District 1 is gerrymandered illegally on racial criteria — blacks tend to vote Democratic, so the state shoved as many black neighborhoods as possible into District 1.

    Another way to gerrymander is to vary the number of people in each district. Congressional districts are supposed to represent constituencies of approximately equal population: total US population divided by total number of districts. As of the 2014, each district should represent around 764,920 people. Urban areas tend to vote Democratic; rural areas, Republican. In North Carolina most of the urban districts represent significantly more than 764K people; rural districts, significantly fewer. So the less populated, more Republican areas of the state are over-represented.

    I looked at California’s districting. They gerrymander in the opposite direction from NC. The Democratic-leaning urban districts have significantly smaller populations than do the Republican-leaning rural districts. So there’s a districting bias in CA in favor of Democratic representation.

    I knew nothing about Calexit until I read your post. I get that some of the motivation is that the CA population is significantly more progressive than the federal status quo with little prospect for change in sight, so they feel like they don’t belong in the same club anymore. But CA is also significantly richer than the national average. According to Wiki, part of the rationale for Calexit is that rich Californians pay disproportionately more in federal income tax while receiving disproportionately fewer benefits in terms of federal programs. But that’s kind of what you’d want, isn’t it, on a national scale: to even the playing field between wealthy and poor parts of the country, taxing the rich to improve the lives of the poor? And it is the case that the heavily right-leaning states are poorer than the left-leaning states.


    1. John. Yes, I think that wealthy blue states like California have no problem picking up the tab. The problem is that we pay for the mistakes of Red States. Red States deregulate, lower taxes, and engage in the “race to the bottom” and it’s subsidized by blue states. (Texas is the exception that proves the rule.)

      The reason I like the idea of breaking up the union is that it forces Red States to take responsibility for their actions rather than blaming blue states and liberals. I mean it goes both ways – blue states can always blame red states, etc. It seems like we would be better served to each fully implement the agenda and then reap the consequences and adjust accordingly.


      1. I can imagine rich people thinking along similar lines. The top 1% in income pay something like 40% of the income taxes, while the bottom 90% pay about 30%. We have no problem picking up the tab, the super-earners might say, but we do resent having to pay for the mistakes of the poor. We want them to take responsibility for their own failures instead of always blaming us for their problems. Why, it’s enough to make us want to set sail from Cali and colonize our own tax-free floating nation…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 1) The Red States are not poor. They have enough wealth to run proper governments. They simply choose to turn their states into safe havens for the wealthy and for corporations that want to escape environmental regulations and labor regulations and unions and decent minimum wages. That’s what blue states are picking up the tab for. Blue states aren’t helping poor people in Red States, they are subsidizing corporations and the 1%.

          2) Because we are connected as the United States of America, their race to the bottom sinks us all, Trump being the latest example. As I said, it’s easier to destroy a nation’s institutions than it is to build them up.

          3) Because there is such a vast difference in values and in governmental philosophies, liberals and conservatives can always blame each other when things go wrong in the nation. If we were split up, then the hope is that liberal states can run their liberal agendas and evaluate the successes and failures, then adjust accordingly. Likewise, conservative states can run their conservative agendas and evaluate the successes and failures of that agenda………..Doesn’t that seem like a reasonable idea to you????


      2. The red states mostly are poorer than the blue states — we previously discussed this with regard to Alaska, which is the most notable exception, being a wealthy state that historically votes Republican. I live in a red state, but Trump got only 50.5% of the vote here — hardly a rousing mandate. Instead of a dichotomous red/blue map, there should be fifty shades of purple.

        Sadly, I think federal policy already does let the conservative states run their conservative agendas largely unimpeded. E.g., states have decided separately whether to expand Medicaid eligibility, leaving a lot of poor people uninsured, falling into the gap between Medicaid and Obamacare. State-specific policies on private school vouchers favor white flight from underfunded public schools in conservative states. Decimation of the federal government and autonomy of individual states already is the conservative agenda. If we really believe that the conservatives are pulling the wool over the eyes of their constituents in order to make the rich even richer, then isn’t it irresponsible to let them get away with it by walking away? Shouldn’t we continue working toward a stronger, more egalitarian federal government, overriding states rights’ conservatism that abandons the poor in states where they can’t overcome at times slim conservative majorities?

        I can tell that I’m getting more enthusiastic about my position in this discussion than is warranted. As I said, I’d never even heard of the Calexit proposal. If Durham County could secede from NC and join CA, would I be in favor? When living in France I often thought that one’s governmental affiliation shouldn’t be based on geography. Virtual governments, where individuals subscribe to the government with the most personally agreeable policies? Alas, I again think that the rich would just set up their own exclusive country club.

        It’s an interesting topic, Erdman — thanks for putting it forward.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. John: If we really believe that the conservatives are pulling the wool over the eyes of their constituents in order to make the rich even richer, then isn’t it irresponsible to let them get away with it by walking away? Shouldn’t we continue working toward a stronger, more egalitarian federal government, overriding states rights’ conservatism that abandons the poor in states where they can’t overcome at times slim conservative majorities?

          It’s easier to destroy something than to build something. The more intricate and delicate the process of building something up, the more this rule applies. It’s sort of a law of nature, perhaps. Even with crude tools, I could take a well-built shed down in an afternoon, but it would take me a lot longer to build a well-crafted structure, and I think the same holds true for social structures. At least that’s been my experience with politics and government in my lifetime — ideologically charged conservatives easily rip apart the hard work that has taken decades to build. They can do this in just a few years. Hence Trump’s judicial choices — he’ll nominate ideological hacks while Obama was taking time to look for qualified moderates. This isn’t a Trump thing either. He’s just the latest variation on a theme. Conservatives will win over the long term because it’s easier to destroy than to build.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I did not vote for Trump. I dont like Trump. I think us Christian conservative types have no business endorsing a “Two Corinthian’s” quoting pussy grabber. He’d be a joke, if it werent all so tragic.

    That said, I keep thinking in recent days that us liberal types are partly responsible for him being president. I am not one of the more outlandish liberal types (actually view myself as conservative), but I SHARE a LOT of the same kinds of concerns on the one hand and I am anti/against so much crap that passes for conservative (and thus my hand is sometimes forced to favor “the lesser of two evils”) which puts me more and more in company with liberals at various points.

    I think that a lot of liberal concerns are crap too, and some if that crap is rather shrill and hostile to conservative ideals.

    I think that shrill crap – if we could dial it back – would ease up the pressure that produces the TRUMP crap.

    Hey… I used to complain and worry about G. Bush (both of them). Now I wish for them!

    But I am not taking the time to explain myself here. Just sayin’. Take it or leave it. No doubt the devil is in the details (unless the whole message is falling on deaf ears).


      1. Yeah… that’s asking for the details where the Devil lives now.

        What do you think is the shrill stuff? What are those things that conservative types are NEVER gonna bend on AND is not necessary to LIFE anyway?

        Killing babies???

        Legitimating gay sex?

        Not all liberal concerns are as vain as these, but these are both vain AND will never be accepted by conservatives. There are others, but these are two of the biggest. And if consessions were made here, I would imagine some of the bone-headed conservative concerns might be tempered too.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. In terms of the baby killings, that’s the fault of conservative Christians. The only sure and true way to reduce abortions is not to make the illegal (because they will continue to happen, via the underground black market) but to 1) make birth control free and easy to access and 2) to provide a robust sexual education for young people. The evidence backs this up. European abortion rates are extremely low, compared to the U.S., because Europeans focus on reducing unwanted pregnancies. Evangelical Christians oppose these things (because they care more about being prudes than about reducing abortions) and hence the high abortion rates have nothing to do with liberals and everything to do with evangelicals who have been hoodwinked into believing that Roe v. Wade is a holy crusade. In fact, outlawing abortion is a quixotic quest. Not only have they failed to overturn it, but even if they manage to succeed, abortions will continue.


        2. In terms of legitimating gay sex, this seems more a part of the so-called “culture war” than it does a political issue. There’s gay marriage, that’s political issue, but whether or not gay sex is legitimate or not depends on one’s own personal ethical position. More and more Americans are coming to believe that there’s nothing wrong with two men loving each other. Conservative evangelicals simply cannot make a compelling case to the contrary, other than to quote Bible verses, verses that I personally think are grand adventures in missing the point. Nonetheless, assuming that God really does hate fags (or at least has a problem with gay sex), it seems extremely strange that conservative Christians should invest such political energy into it. Can you tell me why? Having gay sex is a personal choice, and even if it is wrong/evil it’s only one of many things that people do that are wrong/evil. Gluttony is a sin, and it is in fact one that America is more guilty of than any other nation in the world. (We have very high obesity rates, etc.) Yet I haven’t seen a parade of pastors and pundits on Fox News denouncing gluttony, calling for laws against it, and solemnly declaring that America will pay for her gluttonous sins. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not recall any conservative Christian blaming the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America’s gluttony. Yet gay sex gets the full treatment. Conservative evangelicals are obsessed with gay sex. Yes, it seems like they are straining at a gnat when they are swallowing a camel, but that’s only the obvious part. To fixate so intently on something sexual, to crusade against it with such vigor, to take it upon themselves to control personal sexual choices of individuals — to me it’s just very creepy, to say the least.


      2. Even IF everything you say is accurate, correct, and totally right… it is beside my point.

        I did not seek to argue whether killing babies is good, right, acceptable or whether it is the fault of liberals or conservatives. I actually sympathize to some extent with your analysis, but it is beside the point. Killing babies is a political issue that conservatives, especially Christian conservatives will never accept. It makes a political pressure that helps get us TRUMP. It is a vain issue. It is not necessary to life – in fact quite the opposite. It is extreme (it certainly was for the Vietnam protesters and for me too).

        I think there are other liberal concerns that would benefit from dropping this one. Concerns that I share with liberals. And the biggest concern I share is TRUMP himself.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I wouldn’t give up so easily, at least not here. This isn’t Facebook and the goal (so far as I’m concerned) is to discuss the details, with intelligence and respect. Sure, the devil is in the details, but someone has to engage this with a clear head, while everyone else loses it. Call it the narrow way.


  3. So here are your original points….

    I think that a lot of liberal concerns are crap too, and some if that crap is rather shrill and hostile to conservative ideals.

    “I think that shrill crap – if we could dial it back – would ease up the pressure that produces the TRUMP crap.”

    Then this….

    “What do you think is the shrill stuff? What are those things that conservative types are NEVER gonna bend on AND is not necessary to LIFE anyway?

    Killing babies???

    Legitimating gay sex?”


  4. So I’ll step back and hopefully speak more to your point. My response, in short, is that we actually are in the midst of a political war and have to battle it out.

    I’ve been on both sides. For the first 25 years of my life I was submerged in conservative Midwest culture, and I remember the main theme quite clearly: liberals are anti-American and godless and must be defeated. So I don’t personally hold out any hope that compromise is possible with the right, particularly with the religious right who tend to see all of their political views as somehow sanctified and/or biblical and/or righteous.

    Most liberals actually do want to compromise. This I know from spending the last 15 years of my life on the left. What I now tell people on the left is that we’re in a political fight to the death, winner take all.


  5. I don’t think that simply dropping “the shrill stuff” will actually make conservatives more open to dialog, which was sort of the round about point in talking at length about abortion, as an example. There actually is a compromise that has been available for decades that would instantly lower abortion, something that liberals and conservatives should come together on, something that we could easily and cheaply do, that would radically reduce unwanted pregnancies available hence lower the number of abortions. But it has always been rejected by conservatives. For those on the right it’s a political fight to the death and only total victory is acceptable. It’s the right that has, for years, been shrill and has closed the door to rational debate and compromise.


    1. I dont have that much hope for politics really.

      I wonder if the pendulum will swing, partly because I listen to Tom Brokaw in recent months say that the 60’s were actually MORE turbulent than this. 100 years before that, we had open Civil War. I have a wishful hope that Brokaw is right and that if he is then we can pull back from this intensity again. But I dont see the exit ramp for it.

      I happen to hold a number of deep concerns that seem to gel with liberals and not with conservatives. I dont wish to dive into them really, though as they come up, I am happy to put in my 2 cents. But even then, I tend to have a different perspective than the standard liberal messages about them. But definitely far removed from so much conservative message too.

      Yet I consider myself conservative at the core. And not fiscal conservative but religious/social. When it comes to money, my ideals are communist – not godless communist, but Acts 2 style. This puts me out of the standard conservative camp – really just because its in the bible does not in any way suggest that the conservative politics of most of my brothers and sisters care at all. But the kind of communism I would be into would make demands on morality that standard liberals would cringe at too. I know this about myself, but until I share it (here for instance) no one else does.

      I sense that you hold liberal views with a conservative background. You may not be in both camps, but you have familiarity with both. I know that. I respect that. I think that offers people who will listen a unique opportunity to find peaceful ways forward with others they tend to disagree with deeply.

      By the way, I read David Horowitz when I was young. He went the other direction, but he has this aspect in common with you despite that.

      When it comes to the “God hates fags” message, keep in mind, you did not hear that from me! I believe God loves fags. So, I could never say such a thing. And in fact, I think the tide has turned among the masses of Evangelicals on this. I think even at church, my view that homosexuality is sinful is a minority view these days. But it does me no good to have to defend myself from the crap you hear from Westboro Baptist Church as if I share that view. I dont. I have gay friends and family that I hold in high affection and respect. I think of a lesbian couple I know who practically saved my life when I got divorced (which put me in the sad position of making a mockery of God’s design for marriage – thus tempering my willingness to point a finger and say the same thing).

      I share my thoughts in general as much as possible because chasing details gets me (us) lost in them. When a detail needs examined, I am game, but venturing into the forest for the express purpose of stopping to look at and talk about every single tree is going to be too daunting – especially if I might have to defend myself from attact/counter attack after others bearing the name Christian or conservative brought initial attack or insult. I am bogged down just saying that.

      I am PRO LIFE – as in save the babies AND stop the war and end the death penalty. I am catholic as well as protestant! The abortion part is where I tend to differ with liberals, but the other part is where I find a LOT of commonality. I hope that by sharing with you, I can build on that kind of commonality as much as possible. I am sure we will have to accept some differences between us – but I have to do that with my wife, kids, parents, and best friend already. Let’s hope we can do with with respect and sensitivity. I promise, I will not bomb abortion clinics! I dont even picket them, though I could be persuaded possibly to do that. but I dont think it is really effective nor imaginative… so… probably not.

      So, my current point is that I think I share a lot of your concerns. And I am conservative! Perhaps we should call that a partial success! Small, but important. And hopefully, if we can dare to hope, it is a model for more and for others… a pattern to imitate… a foundation to build on…

      Yes. I am a guy with a foot in both camps. I started out conservative in that my family raised me that way, but as I became an adult I found myself liberal on all the issues. Then in my late 20’s I began listening to conservative talk radio. I converted back to conservative and voted that way. But THEN I began to study Jesus and I found my conservatism was in sharp contrast at MANY points AND that my conservative friends were practically stupid with their use of Jesus’ name in conjunction with their politics. I became embarrassed about that. (BTW, I find others in that bind from time to time too, I am not the only one. In fact, I sense I could count you among those kind.) But then I decided to be respectful even of those who embarrass me – MOSTLY. Not always, but mostly. They have not earned it, but it is the grace I attempt to exhibit.

      With this big picture now framed, I hope, I am saying that I am a conservative – yes – but a very liberalish conservative as conservatives go. And as I stand in both camps (or between them) I think I see a tendency to build pressure on conservatives among liberals that has over reached or backfired or something. anyway, I think this IN PART explains how we got TRUMP, and that guy is flat out ridiculous! I tell my conservative friends that IF he is God’s choice for America, it is because God is judging us!

      Anyway, I think that some of the more shrill stuff among liberal concerns that is not actually necessary for life on earth we can set aside in attempt to let off the pressure which MIGHT open the door for the other side to do the same. And since I HOPE , yes I just used that word, since I hope that liberals are the bigger people – the more open minded and caring and not belligerently closed off – I HOPE that at least SOME among them can see what I am saying and give oxygen to the idea. We really need a different president! NO???

      YES. of course we do. And if we can get one peacefully, this might be the way…


Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.