Hold Your Nose and Vote for Mr. Excitement 

Remember that time a blockbuster investigative report showed that the president of the United States had engaged in multi-million-dollar tax frauds throughout his business career? Probably not. It happened last week, while we were all watching the Senate's Kavanaugh Kabuki Theater production unfold.

For some reason, The New York Times decided it would be the perfect time to publish an exhaustive, 40-page investigative report detailing the Trump family's finances. The story revealed that Donald Trump (and his siblings) became millionaires as children, thanks to patriarch Fred Trump's tax-evasion maneuvers. By age 3, the president was earning $200,000 a year. He was a millionaire by age 8. In all, Fred Trump transferred more than $1 billion to his children — and, according to the Times, the family paid around five percent in taxes on that money, thanks to shell companies and other financial machinations.

click to enlarge Phil Bredesen
  • Phil Bredesen

The Times story completely debunked Trump's oft-repeated claim that he is a self-made millionaire who took a measly $1 million loan from his father and turned it into a vast real estate empire. (Trump lied. Shocker, I know.) It also laid out a rock-solid case that committing tax fraud was a routine part of the Trump family's business plan.

At any other time in American history, this story would have created a tidal wave of outrage. It would have consumed the media and our public discourse and put the president in political jeopardy. In 2018, the story barely caused a ripple.

Instead, the media focused on the GOP's victory in getting Kavanaugh installed on the Supreme Court. Not content to merely celebrate their triumph, Republicans and their media minions took the occasion to lament that, as a result of all those nasty, aggressive women coming forward to recount horror stories of harrassment and sexual assault, it is actually men who are in danger in our society.

"The women are fine," the president said, as he shot a man in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

We shall see how fine they are in about 30 days, when the November 6th mid-terms occur. Hopefully, voters will let the president and the GOP know how they feel about the absurd "investigation" into allegations about Kavanaugh's past behavior.

A fact that often gets overlooked is that Republicans aren't really the "majority" in this country, even though they have managed to take control of all three branches of government. A majority of the country, for example — by a 45 percent to 32 percent margin — believed Christine Blasey Ford over Kavanaugh. The 48 Democratic senators who opposed Kavanaugh's nomination represent 56 percent of the population, a clear majority. The 50 GOP senators who supported Kavanaugh represent 44 percent.

That's why the only real change has to come at the ballot box. The system is skewed, both by the ridiculous gerrymandering of House districts nationwide, and by the fact that states like Wyoming — which has a population that's about half that of Shelby County — have the same number of senators as California, with 40 million residents. The Senate does not accurately represent the electorate. Which is why every Senate race is so important.

Speaking of ... in Tennessee, Democratic Senatorial candidate Phil Bredesen enraged many of his supporters last week by stating that he supported Kavanaugh's nomination. It was a dumb move. The initial polling after Bredesen's statement showed his opponent, Marsha Blackburn, surging into the lead, as many Democrats renounced their support for their nominee. A common refrain: "I'm not voting for the lesser of two evils." But that's exactly what you should do in this case.

There's a saying that "Democrats fall in love, while Republicans fall in line." I don't know any Democrats who are in love with Bredesen, a centrist who's probably to the right of John Kasich. But this is the choice we have: Phil Bredesen versus Marsha Blackburn — a Trump boot-licker and a pawn of Big Pharma, the NRA, and other corporate lobbies. She's anti-choice and would support Alex Jones for SCOTUS if Trump nominated him.

So, if you're a progressive, tell me again how not voting in this election because you're miffed at Bredesen is a smart decision. Progressives don't have the luxury of sitting this one out because the Democratic candidate is less than perfect. There's no Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or any other feel-good "make a statement" candidate in the race. The decision is binary, and it's simple: You can hold your nose and vote for Bredesen, or you can cut it off to spite your face — for six years.

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