My Appearance on MeidasTouch, Rising Consumer Sentiment, Calling Out Republican Idiocy and Cowardice, Ding-Ding
Let's Help Tom Suozzi Flip NY-3 - Election is Feb 13th, Early Votes Starts Saturday
Friends, got a few things for you on this winter Wednesday:
The US Economy Is Strong, Consumer Sentiment Rising - Here’s Heather Long in the Washington Post this morning from her op-ed, “It’s Time For the Fed To Cut Rates:”
It’s not hard to imagine Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell blasting the song “Let the Good Times Roll” in his office lately. Many had predicted he would be Mr. Doom who caused a recession. Instead, he’s presiding over an economic boom. Growth accelerated in the second half of 2023. Hiring remains robust. Americans are still on a spending spree. The stock market hit an all-time high. Lower-wage workers have seen strong pay gains. Inflation is almost back to the 2 percent target. The U.S. economy isn’t just good; it’s the envy of the world.
Indeed. One of the main gauges of consumer sentiment, The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, reported another big jump last month, and is now higher than at any point in the Obama Presidency:
“January’s increase in consumer confidence likely reflected slower inflation, anticipation of lower interest rates ahead, and generally favorable employment conditions as companies continue to hoard labor,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. “The gain was seen across all age groups, but largest for consumers 55 and over. Likewise, confidence improved for all incomes groups except the very top; only households earning $125,000+ saw a slight dip. January’s write-in responses revealed that consumers remain concerned about rising prices although inflation expectations fell to a three-year low. Buying plans dipped in January, but consumers continued to rate their income and personal finances favorably currently and over the next six months. Consumers’ Perceived Likelihood of a US Recession over the Next 12 Months continued to gradually ease in January.
The good economic news just keeps on coming. For more:
Loud and proud people. Loud and proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do More, Worry Less - In our 2024 spirit of growth and expansion, I’m encouraging members of the Hopium community to get involved and take an action in four campaigns and projects, below. A hearty thank you to the thousands here who’ve already donated, volunteered or spread some Hopium:
Flip NY-3 - Tom Suozzi leads in the early polls and will win if we give Tom the resources and volunteers he needs. The election is Feb. 13th and early voting starts Saturday so please take an action to help Tom today! If you want to learn more watch my interview with Tom from last week, and take an action here:
Elect Joe And Kamala, Beat Trump - Please donate to Biden-Harris today, join the campaign and start planning for what you will do to help them spread their message through your networks and win the core 7 battlegrounds AZ, GA, MI, NC, NV, PA, WI. Beating Trump is Job 1 this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get Early Resources to North Carolina, Our Most Important 2024 Expansion State - Our number one Presidential battleground expansion opportunity this year is North Carolina, and I am encouraging the Hopium community to support the Democratic Party of North Carolina and its dynamic new chair, Anderson Clayton. Watch my recent interview with Anderson and learn how to donate and volunteer here. Help us turn Carolina blue!
Spread Hopium - Help me bring Hopium to more people this year. Our goal is to get to 50,000 total subscribers by March 31st (we are at 35,000 today). Please encourage others in your network to sign up and become part of this wonderful community of proud patriots and info warriors today!
My Appearance on The MeidasTouch Network, Calling Out Republican Idiocy and Cowardice - I joined my friend Ben Meiselas of the remarkable MeidasTouch Network yesterday to talk about the election. We talked for about 15 minutes, and think you will enjoy the conversation, below. It has my latest thinking about where we are in the 2024 election and why I remain so optimistic. Additionally, his clips of Trump’s inane babble on the stump are well worth your time:
Listening to Trump’s mind-blowing rants in these clips got me thinking about how much of a bubble the American right lives in now. Fortified and protected by an enormous propaganda machine, the right lives a world of profound untruth and invention. My friend Greg Sargent once referred to this fictional world as Foxlandia. It’s a place they go where Trump is a strong leader, the economy is in recession, eggs cost $27 a piece, inflation is still raging, Putin is an ally and the West is sinister, antifa is ISIS, dozens of American cities burned to the ground in 2020, vaccines give you COVID, insurrectionists are hostages, children carrying their rapist’s babies is a blessing, assault weapons bring freedom, etc. It is, to borrow from one of my favorite TV shows, Stranger Things, the upside down.
I was a regular, unpaid guest on Fox News for 17 years, logging thousands of appearances, mostly in the days when Fox still aspired to be “Fair and Balanced.” I went on for up until the end I was able to say my piece without interruption. It was a tough environment, but “fair” and I thought it important Fox viewers got to hear from us. All that changed after Trump won and Roger Ailes died. The network stopped aspiring to be “Fair and Balanced” and Democrats became not players on the other team but enemies, to be treated with contempt. Part of that contempt was that I could feel Fox and MAGA leaving the world of facts and understandings I inhabited, retreating deeper and deeper into this imaginary world. In this final days of my time there I had a few segments where the host brought up something for me to comment on that I literally had no idea what they were talking about and had to bluff through it on air. It was is if MAGA had become a dialect of American English, using “alternative facts” and often obscure cultural references, which required translation.
In thinking about it today what I am describing perhaps should be understood as a form of secession from the United States and our democratic heritage. MAGA may still be physically here in the US, but many of its followers have left our shared information space, and now live in their heads some place else - Foxlandia, the upside down, MAGA - a place of untruth, of strongmen, of Trumpian ding-ding, of danger for the rest of us.
That place of untruth is evident in the MeidasTouch clip above. Trump is no longer it appears even trying to make sense when he speaks. He is so far gone, and the movement is far gone, that you can’t even follow what he is talking about any longer. But this alternative world of untruth is not just a place where Trump lives, most of the Republican Party is there with him now. He is going to be their nominee, their leader, and consider what they are asking us to believe and accept as reasonable right now:
that the border is a crisis, an invasion is underway, but they will not negotiate a solution to it, are disregarding a Supreme Court decision which would put the Federal government back in charge of the border, and seemingly want it to remain a crisis through the election and ensure millions of “terrorists and criminals” continue to pour into the country; and yes, then it will all be Biden’s fault, and yes we are Impeaching the guy in charge of the border while it is in crisis because he “doesn’t enforce” immigration laws - whatever the fuck that means - something by the way the state of Texas and MAGA are preventing him from doing right now (there may no greater place of right wing lunacy and untruth than on border and immigration issues)
that their holding up of aid to Ukraine and Israel, their months of degrading both the Defense and State Departments, haven’t emboldened our enemies and caused our troops - somehow Biden’s “weakness” did that
that we shouldn’t be spending money on Ukraine, but spending it here at home; and then of course they come out for massive cuts of spending here at home
that Democrats are the party of debt and fiscal recklessness when the last 3 Democratic Presidents saw deficits plummet on their watch, and the last Rs saw them skyrocket
that the country is being gripped by a crime wave when murder and violent crime rates are plummeting and are a fraction of what they were 30 years ago
that Biden’s imaginary “war on energy” drove up gas prices/inflation and left us more dependent on foreign sources of energy when in fact oil and renewable production set records in 2023, leaving us more energy independent than in decades; and that high gas prices were actually caused by COVID and disrupted supply chains, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and OPEC’s repeated price hikes, and were of course not somehow caused by anything Biden did for he was doing the exact opposite of what they’ve claimed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
that Taylor Swift’s rise is somehow a plot by the deep state; that Hillary Clinton ran a “pedo” mill in the basement of a pizza place not too far from my house; that Biden somehow cheated and stole the 2020 election; that Russia never launched a massive campaign to get Trump elected in 2016;
I could go on for days on all this stuff. Lies. Invention. Untruth. Foxlandia. When you put it altogether it is truly shocking. How in the world did all of this happen? How did the GOP become so idiotic, so far gone, so full of cowards that they couldn’t stop this dramatic and ongoing betrayal of our democracy? How could they embrace Trump, the most unfit man we’ve all ever seen, and this insane agenda:
Republicans want Putin to win, the West to lose. The border to stay open. The economy to crash. Women, people of color to lose more freedoms and rights. The planet to warm faster. 10 year olds to carry their rapist's baby to term, and for more women to die on an operating room table. Tens of millions to lose their health insurance. More dead kids in schools. A restoration of pre-Civil Rights era white supremacy. Big tax cuts for their donors, higher deficits and less for everyone else. Books banned across the US. Teenagers to work night shifts in meat packing plants and not go to school. The minimum wage to stay at $7.25. Mass arrests and mass deportations of immigrants long settled in the US. Insurrectionists to get pardoned. To end American democracy for all time…..
Watch this clip of a Republican Congresswoman Elvira Salazar being confronted about this world of make believe and invention by a serious journalist, Jim DeFede:
The good news in all this, if there is any good news here, is that this flight from truth, as dangerous as it is for all of us, is also a central reason why Republicans keep losing - because they are growing more and more distant from the typical voter, and more and more distant even from more traditional Republican voters. There has been a political price to pay for Republicans for their embrace of MAGA. We have to ensure by doing the work they pay that price again this year, and not forget, not for one minute, how ridiculous and idiotic they’ve become. They are ding-ding, weak, not a serious political party and we cannot, not for one minute, give them power they do not have.
For more on my basic 2024 take - MAGA is a losing politics, Dems should be optimistic - check out my my recent MSNBC op-ed and Morning Joe appearance; my comprehensive interview with Ezra Klein in his NYT podcast, The Strongest Democratic Party Any Of Us Has Ever Seen; this fun interview with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC last Wednesday night; the great MeidasTouch clip above; and these three recent posts (here, here, here).
Heads down, keep working hard all - Simon