Chump Nation: The Establishment Quickly Returns To The Status Quo After The Election

220px-nancy_pelosidonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in The Hill newspaper on the rapid return to the status quo in both parties after the midterm elections, including the rapid discarding of promises made to voters on both sides.  Those massive middle-class tax cuts promised by the President before the year end?  Gone.  The promise of a new Democratic party infused with young members and new leadership? Gone.  What remains is the establishment which has succeeded again in replicating itself.  It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat.  We have become a nation of chumps.

Here is the column:

When I was in grade school in Chicago, I ran home excitedly one day after making the deal of my life.

It was 1969, the Cubs were still in first place in the division, and I snared a seat behind the Cubs dugout for Sunday’s game against the Mets for just $1 from a fellow student. My father looked at the ticket, which clearly was handmade, and explained delicately that I had been taken. There was not even a game to be played that Sunday at Wrigley.

He suggested, however, that I keep the ticket as a reminder of one of life’s greatest lessons: Don’t be a chump.

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, millions of voters are about to discover the same thing: We’ve become a nation of chumps, and both parties just sold us $1 premium seats to a game that will not be held.

What is fascinating — even inspiring — about American elections is that the two parties that make up our duopoly of power score every two years on the same scam, with the same chumps. Politicians constantly convince citizens to vote against the other party, as opposed to making a positive case for their own reelections; polls show citizens despise both parties’ establishments and hate our rigged political system.

Both parties again ran the blue state/red state scam in which voters are convinced to choose the lesser of two unchanging evils. It is designed to prevent the rise of a credible third party, allowing the two parties to regularly trade off control between their respective leaderships.

The election is over, and Washington is about to return to the status quo. The Senate has re-elected the same leaders. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)  — who many members kept at arm’s length during the campaign — walked into a closed-door caucus and reportedly received a standing ovation.

Right on cue, reports indicate that even new members who campaigned against Pelosi are joining the rest of the Democratic members in assuring their support on the floor, as opposed to a symbolic caucus vote. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called for a “generation of new people” in Congress, now appears to support her.

The key to running a scam is to use a mark’s greed, weakness or anger to blind him to an obvious swindle. In our age of rage, we were all marks in this election and got played beautifully.

Pelosi has long been one of the most unpopular U.S. politicians. Before the election — with many races viewed as being within 1 or 2 percentage points — voters listed Pelosi as one of their reasons for voting against Democrats. Polls indicate that roughly 7 percent of voters said Pelosi was one of the two top reasons for their voting — almost exclusively against the Democrats.

It is not clear how many seats might have flipped if Pelosi had pledged that new leadership would take over the party if Democrats prevailed in the House. Even if only 2 percent of voters had been impacted, it could have been enough to change the outcomes of a number of key races. Yet, Pelosi put herself before her party’s interests.

Of course, the first step in a confidence game is the “convincer” promising a big pay-off. In this case, it was the impeachment of Donald Trump, a pledge now being brushed to the side by Democrats as (to quote Democratic District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton) “a thankless, useless waste of energy” amid assurances that this would be a new Democratic Party, including opposition to Pelosi.

Voters were fed assurances that the many new members would insist on new leadership. Those pledges would seem easy to fulfill, with post-election polls showing that 56 percent of Democrats oppose Pelosi as Speaker. When Republican and independent voters are factored in, Pelosi may be the least popular candidate for Speaker in history.

So why are Democrats again pushing her to be the face of their party leading to the 2020 election? Because these elections are about them — certainly not about the marks who vote. Pelosi will deliver committee positions, campaign money and other benefits that some new leadership is unlikely to guarantee. She has spent months directing millions toward these members. Voters simply give them votes; Pelosi gives them cold-hard cash and other perks.

Given polls showing Pelosi at less than 40 percent popularity, she and the Democratic establishment are redefining the election, and not for the first time. Leading up to the 2016 election, every poll showed that voters were looking for non-establishment candidates and that Hillary Clinton remained one of the least popular establishment candidates ever to run for the presidency. Yet, Democratic leaders rigged the primaries for Clinton — and lost to the most unpopular Republican presidential candidate ever.

Given Pelosi’s support for Clinton and the huge losses in the prior election when Pelosi was Speaker, many again called for her to step aside. However, Pelosi declared that voters really did not want change and that she would remain as the party’s face. It was that easy. After the most anti-establishment election in U.S. history, Pelosi declared that voters wanted her and the establishment to stay in power.

Now, Pelosi and Democratic leaders are saying that polls showing overwhelming opposition to her are uniformly wrong. She told CNN that she has “a broad base of support in the country” and voters want her as Speaker because she’s a woman. She described her opposition as being sexist, a betrayal of voters who wanted a “pink wave.” When asked about a letter with 17 members pledging to oppose her, Pelosi told reporters that “You’d have to ask those people what their motivation is. I think of the 17, it’s mostly, like, 14 men who are on that letter.” She added that “any misogyny involved in it, it’s their problem, not mine.” That’s not Trump but fellow Democrats who Pelosi charges as being misogynistic. Identity politics, it seems, is like the god Saturn: It devours its young.

Even though recent polls show only 39 percent of Democratic voters support Pelosi’s return, she is likely to prevail in a vote later this month.

So the establishment will continue in both parties, despite overwhelming unpopularity. And, just like the Cubs ticket, there never was a game to be played.

Usually it is tough to play a mark twice on the same scam; when a mark opens an envelope to find a wad of paper instead of cash, it leaves an indelible mark. American voters, however, fall for the same scam over and over. It is really not that the two parties are that good at it — it is us.

That standing ovation for Pelosi was well earned. Any flimflam artist can take a mark, but it takes a real genius to fool the same chumps twice.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

96 thoughts on “Chump Nation: The Establishment Quickly Returns To The Status Quo After The Election”

  1. Off topic.
    President Trump was correct in his response
    to the Saudi Kingdom.
    Remember what America did to the Shah of Iran.

    1. The Shah’s penultimate Prime Minister told American officialdom “The Shah cannot make up his mind and the country is lost”. The Shah was spent and terminally ill.

  2. Does Turley want direct elections for The Speaker of The House? How would that work? The candidate who wins a majority of the popular vote for House Speaker nation-wide becomes Speaker of The House? You could easily end up with a Democratic Speaker and a Republican Majority. You might even end up with a Speaker of The House who failed to be elected to his or her Congressional District.

    You know I could be wrong, but what I really think that Turley really wants is to find someway, somehow for Republicans and Republican voters to select The Speaker of The House for The Democratic Majority even though, and especially whenever, Republicans don’t have the votes to do it. And they wouldn’t even have to select a Member of Congress, either.

    1. Don’t think that will work, but his logic is a sound basis for why we need to amend the constitution with term limits for house and senate members and stop this career ruling class concept. Look at the age of leaders in both parties!

      1. Maybe the people like seniority. Maybe seniority brings home the . . . bacon is pork; isn’t it?

  3. As Mark Twain didn’t say: If voting made a difference they wouldn’t let us do it.

  4. Being a politician has become a job to be retained. It has astounding benefits and salary. Politicians represent themselves and get elected by getting the chumps to vote for them.

    A new constitutional amendment may be needed.

    Federal legislators should be paid the median salary of their constituents. They should be provided no other benefits. They should pay for their own housing, for their own insurance just like their constituents. No retirement benefits since it is not a “job.” Their pay should not count as wages for SSA reckoning.

    Politicians have become a ruling class. More equal than their constituents.

    1. Federal legislators should be paid the median salary of their constituents. They should be provided no other benefits. They should pay for their own housing, for their own insurance just like their constituents. No retirement benefits since it is not a “job.” Their pay should not count as wages for SSA reckoning.

      This is just cussed.

      1. Legislators in supralocal government are drawn from the business and professional stratum in their districts (one hopes; those that aren’t are commonly employed as legislative staffers). They’re not drawn from the ranks of ordinary people. If you insist on paying them $40,000 a year you will have a legislature filled with wealthy people who don’t need a salary. There’s nothing wrong with wealthy people per se, but you should have some leavening in your legislature from the 97% of the population who don’t have much in the way of assets.

      2. I have no clue why you fancy our legislators should not have medical insurance. A body of employees consists of people who are seldom chronically ill, elderly, or disabled and who are not brought together for reasons derived from their state of health. That’s what makes it a satisfactory actuarial pool. So, you’re effectively condemning legislators to the dysfunctional individual market for insurance or attempting to go off the grid. Their constituents do not ‘pay for their own insurance’ out of their cash income. Their medical insurance is provided as part of employee compensation. And medical insurance is vastly more expensive than property-casualty insurance or life insurance.

      3. Legislators commonly have to maintain two homes. It’s part of the job. But you insist they not have a housing allowance.

      4. No clue why you use ‘job’ as a term of art which excludes the work legislators do. And no clue why ordinary employees are vested for their pension benefits after 7 years and for their Social Security benefits after 10 years but a legislator who puts in 8 years of his life during his prime receives no deferred compensation.

  5. I am wondering how we came to the notion of “right” and “left” in politics in America. Perhaps Mao was left handed and Hitler was right handed. I think that right handed Americans should vote RepubliCon and left handed Americans should vote DemoCrap.
    I had a bumper sticker on my car back when Nixon was running against McGovern and Eagleton. which read: “Don’t change Dicks in the middle of a screw. Vote for Nixon in ’72.” When Tom Eagleton got kicked off the ticket after his shock therapy was revealed the Nixon folks applauded. Of course it was the FBI and Hoover who outed Tom. and revealed his private medical records.

    We need a similar bumper sticker for Trump in 2020. There needs to be some rhyme and reason to it. The readers of the blog should chime in here. How about:
    “Don’t Dump A Skunk Until Youi’re Through/ Vote For Trump If It Is All You Do.”

  6. There’s an certain irony in this lamenting article by sometime Trump critic JT. The “chumps” tried to throw off their status quo shackles by electing Trump who was really not a member of either party. Pundits then launched a holy war of criticism against him seeking to delegitimize the election. They did this in service to the duopoly that hates a renegade in their midst. This is precisely why I defend a flawed if effective Trump as the antidote to the corrupt establishment.

  7. I’ve said essentially the same thing for 50 years-Americans are sold a bill of goods [at state & federal levels] by both sides who never have any intention of delivering the goods…used car salesman huckstering their products on a never-ending stream of suckers. Too bad the FCC does nothing about the lies they peddle in their commercials

  8. Lefty loons take notice: Jon Turley Hype Machine got nothing on Trump having answered Muler questions. Instead focus is on partisan analyses. The Jon Turley Hype Machine got no more fuel to throw on the Russia Hoax and this pivot signals the end of Russia collusion fantasy for lefty loons who are now left to ponder why they fixated on hate, fantasy and excuse-making for two years+ instead of working on their game. So it goes.

    1. Wrong again, Beak Guitar. Trump refused to submit answers to any questions about events that took place after November 6th, 2016, when Trump became President-Elect, and before January 20th, 2017, when Trump was inaugurated. Trump had previously refused to answers any questions about events that took place after Trump was sworn-in as President. That means that Trump has refused to answer well over half of Mueller’s questions. Perhaps that’s the hidden meaning in Trump’s boast that he answered them easily and it didn’t take that long.

      If, as you claim, the Russian collusion fantasy is a hoax, then why wouldn’t Trump answer all of Mueller’s questions instead of less than half of Mueller’s questions?

      1. From WaPo of the impossibly long link addresses:

        But after months of negotiations with Mueller’s team, Trump’s lawyers have refused to answer any questions about his time as president-elect or president, arguing that the special counsel is not legally entitled to details about executive decision-making.

        [end excerpt]

        That includes all questions about Flynn and Kushner’s back-channel communications with Russians during the transition period. Trump, through Emmett Flood, is asserting executive privilege over events that took place before Trump was sworn in as POTUS. There is no President-Elect privilege. Trump’s assertion to the contrary will be laughed out of court. The Oath of Office for President was written in to The U.S. Constitution for a reason: The President-Elect is NOT the Chief Executive of the United States unless and until that President-Elect has sworn The Oath of Office. Trump is now thumbing his nose at The U.S. Constitution daring a United States Court to deny his thoroughly bogus assertion of executive privilege. And that spells constitutional crisis. Were Trump an innocent man, why would he do it?

        1. Dear Late4HotStinkyYoga: Please pick a lane. Is the investigation about Trump-Russia collusion during the 2016 election? If yes then the time period for which you say he responded should be sufficient. If you contend that it should go beyond that time period, then you are stepping in it and supporting the argument that this is a witch hunt. My advice is to you is to use the hose on the side of the house to hose down your shoes then scrub with soapy water, rinse, let dry in sun and then take a walk around the block/enjoy life and retire the fantasy in time for the holiday. Good Day Ma’am.

          1. Trump dispatched Flynn to begin to deliver the quid pro quo to Putin within 14 hours of the polls closing on Tuesday November 8th, 2016. That was NOT an executive decision. Because Trump was NOT the Chief Executive Officer of the United States when Trump made that private business decision.

            Meanwhile, your claim that The President-Elect can’t be investigated for anything that happened after the polls closed on election day is so laughably specious as to be an admission of Trump’s guilt delivered in the form of the old schoolyard playground taunt, “What ya gonna do about it?” Well . . . Just you wait and see, Beak Guitar.

            1. Speculation, or suspicion,or belief, is not evidence.
              If L4B wanted to make the case that “Trump dispatched Flynn to begin to deliver the quid pro quo to Putin within 14 hours of the polls closing on November 8, 2016” she should be expected to back up her “belief” with evidence.
              If she has access to the intercepted communications between Flynn and Putin, she should at least provide a summary of those communications that Mueller ( or others) have provided to her.
              Inventing her own version of “what was said and when it was said” does not advance her case.
              If she has actual knowledge that Flynn was sent by Trump to satisfy some “quid pro quo” deal, she should present the evidence.
              Given that L4D is “creative” enough to invent Congressional testimony that does not exist, I’m sure that she can “conjure up something” to “support” her claims about the alleged Trump-Flynn-Putin exchange she presented as “fact”.

              1. The sentencing memos on both Flynn and Manafort have been delayed by all of the malarkey surrounding Whitaker’s replacement of Sessions. New indictments have also been delayed for the same reason. Meanwhile, Trump is trying to force protracted litigation that Trump knows he will lose over a subpoena from Mueller’s grand jury for Trump’s answers to all of Mueller questions rather than just the ones that Trump cherry-picked from the list. IOW, Trump is still the one stalling, here, Gnash. What does that tell you, Ptom? Trump can’t answer Mueller’s questions about Flynn, Kushner, Nader, Prince and K.T. McFarland et al. without incriminating himself on the quid pro quo portion of his conspiracy with Russia to defraud the United States.

                P. S. If Mueller fails to make his case in chief, then I will concede that Mueller has failed to make his case in chief. But that is all that I will concede. If Trump prevents Mueller from making his case in chief, then I will not concede that Mueller never had any case in chief to make. You do see the difference. Don’t you?

                1. I see a typical, rambling deflection from L4D re the issues I raised in the comment she supposedly “replied” to.
                  If she is privy to unrealeased grand jury information or other unreleased material, or wants to invent contents of same, maybe she’ll give something in the way of a response to my previous comment.

                  1. Out of curiosity, Krazy Kat Rambler, when did Trump appoint you to the federal bench without Senate confirmation?

                    P. S. Trump faces no legal jeopardy from L4D. I’m no more licensed to practice law than Trump is. You do see the difference, Ptom. Don’t you?

                    1. I see more of L4D’s deflections piled on top of her chronic obfuscation.
                      There is no such thing as a straightforward exchange with a duplicitous gamesplayer like L4B.

                    2. Your own comments on this blawg make it abundantly clear that you do not believe a single word that L4D has ever posted on this blawg. Therefore you have no “tort” (harm) about which to file a legal complaint against L4D. All you have is your ordinary, everyday, free-speech complaint against L4D’s exercise of her free speech.

                      P. S. I will not reveal my sources nor my methods until Captain Mueller reveals the information that Judge Rambler seeks. When that happens, there will be nothing that Trump nor Whitaker can do about it.

            1. Have you read any comments posted by Dr. David B. Benson lately?

              I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving when Dr. Benson checks in. But not before that. (Maybe he’s travelling for the Holiday.)

              1. Dr. Benson posted comments yesterday just downstream from here.

                Call off the search and rescue teams. Happy Thanksgiving.

                1. There is probably “a single word that L4D has posted” that is credible.
                  No time to hunt for it today.

              2. If Dr. Benson’s comments were nearby, or sandwiched in between, one of L4B’s daily columns, it’s likely that I scrolled right past it.

                1. Dr. Benson’s comments begin just seven comments below this very comment of mine.

                  You do know how to count to seven. Don’t you, Ptom? Helpful hint: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La . . . Ti <=

                  1. That’s seven inclusively. Six exclusively. But now you have count this one, too. Poor Ptom.

  9. Grateful Dead Big Boss Man

    Big boss man, can’t you hear me when I call?
    You ain’t so big, you just tall, that’s just about all.
    You got me working boss man, a workin’ around the clock,
    I want a little drink of whiskey, you sure won’t let me stop.
    Big boss man, can’t you hear me when I call?
    You ain’t so big, you just tall, that’s just about all.
    I’m gonna get me a boss man, one gonna treat me right,
    I work hard in the daytime, sure get stoned at night.
    You ain’t so big, you just tall, that’s just about all.

  10. It’s the Chumps that need to change. Vote for dishonorable leeches, expect to get your blood sucked dry. In many respects people get the politicians they deserve.

    1. Darren, I’m getting JT’s posts in my email but I’m not getting notifications of new comments once I’ve put in my details, checked the “Save my name…” and checked the “Notify me of all new…”

      I’ve also made sure I’m logged into WordPress. I’m sure it’s something easy that I need to correct. Would you have any suggestions?

    2. Darren

      Aside from the rare individual that makes it to the point of candidacy, almost all candidates are bought and paid for. That equates to the 2016 condition of the lesser of two oligarch evils, Clinton or Trump. These two miserable choices represent those that fund their campaigns, which do not touch on the issues but are purely circus entertainment. The result is the voters are dumbed down, over decades, and are the chumps referred to. Our peer democracies do not allow this and, regardless of their wealth or military power, are the truer democracies. We are a nation that has sold itself out to a system that is designed by the top very few percent. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, or doesn’t provide what most people want, or won’t perform in many ways; it simply means it is not what was intended by the founding fathers and is anything but what most people believe. In other words a scam, chumps, disgrace.

  11. Um, in order to be included in the chump klan, you kinda would have to voted for the liars. That leaves me our Mr Turley, (don’t everyone into the same category, please)

  12. I fail to see any problem accomplishing those goals given the powerless left can do nothing to stop them unless they want to see the sudden demise of their in house political appointees aka the deep state. So they have to do financial actions. And they don’t. The retaliation with a strong war leader is the fix.

    They can do nothing without consent of the Senate and they can do nothing without the DOJ to carry it out and they can do nothing to stop the nomination and confirmation of an AG. They don’t have the votes and ali their stuff will be vetoed and over ride is impossible. Even if a budget bil passes in each house the senate doesn’t have to do a reconciliation They can just hand over a list of required changes and if not mmmm pass it and up jumps the veto pen and the left doesn’t have over ride votes.

    So skip to the chase and the ‘shut down.’ biggest lie in washington DC government never shuts down and only once has sent home more than 30%. But the secret is most of those are from the Executive major home of the Deep State and most of htem are political appointees. Which means

    The man in charge of selecting those sent home is the President.

    No park attendants laid off but obama appointees en masse.

    Their jobs cut from the tables of organization in order to balance the budget as the average 100,000 a year jobs are deleted. And the wall. It’s a defense measure and DOHS plus DOD have money for critical defense needs.

    Next the bulk of the budget is on auto pilot. Can’t be stopped by a weak house majority. If a slow down occurs all critical functions and personnel are retained every one of them . No elderly go without their Social security or medicare etc No intell, defense, lea etc are laid off. not even their janitors.

    As for nominations and confirmations. the senate does that and the GOP is in control.
    they can do the whole slate with one floor vote if they want to do so.

    Leaving pelosi and schumer looking weak and stupid and….

    oh yes and the investigations. House has theirs.. Senate has theirs. Which is going to go somewhere? House can’t subpoena DOJ does that etc etc etc. as we saw witih sessions. Hey Hillary your protection IS GONE!.

    How long are the progressives going to last when the ICD’s resign DNC and go their own way as a separate party… and Pelosi is reduced to minority party status again?

    No time to be bipartisan that only means cave to the left. Instead we watch the left cave in as if a MOAB strike had hit them. Law suits and rogue judges rulings. Bumped upstairs to SCOTUS for stays and rescheduling to next year …..

    They are in a corner and no one has their backs especially when it means BOHICA turn around and bend over only to find no one wants them.

    It’s Terminator Time!

    1. Incoherent as usual, but at least your pay-by-the-word count is okay; unless the paymaster want bona fide content.

      this is to “Ya, I sold out to the ruskies, they pay more by the word” mikey

  13. Chump nation led by the chump-in-chief, the one with the crow feather in his bonnet.

  14. Did anyone really think there was going to be anyone else other than Pelosi?
    This is one of the reasons I don’t vote Democrat. No matter what they say, they vote as they were told. As opposed to the GOP who always find a reason not to vote as they promised

  15. I thought Trump’s offer to get Pelosi the votes she needed from the Republicans was a generous hand across the aisle from him. 😉

    1. Paul

      It’s unfortunate that the public doesn’t realize our president is actually a humanitarian, self-less plenipotentiary unto himself.

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