Hello to you. It’s Monday here again! This weekend was restful for Kyle and I and I’m grateful for that. It was so good to have him home again even if it wasn’t for very long!
I saw in the headlines that things have escalated again with the NFL kneeling issue and now owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys are actually saying they will fire players if they don’t stand for the flag before games: (https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2017/10/08/cowboys-owner-jerry-jones-player-disrespects-flag-allowed-play.) I guess he finally let President Trump get to him. I thought he was standing up with and for his players….guess not.
I say, fine, do that. I get it, professional football is a business. What I would say to anyone who doesn’t agree with people like Jerry Jones and the President, there is another way you can protest…..don’t choose to play football period. If you are playing, find something else to do…walk out! Can you imagine how fucked these people would be if they didn’t have any players?!
If you are considering playing, go to college, learn a trade, become a teacher, become some sort of scientist….do anything but play football. Protest with your freedom to choose another career. Use your 1st Amendment right of free speech (while you still have it…sigh) and start booking speaking engagements at public schools and colleges in mass and warn the young men and women who are so desperate to follow in your footsteps for the perceived fame and glory of professional football. If White Nationalists can book those sort of gigs (https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/uf-white-nationalist-speaking-event-scheduled-for-oct-19/ – The University of Florida says it has confirmed Oct. 19 for a speaking event featuring white nationalist Richard Spencer) so can you! Bankrupt the “business!” Shut down their pipeline of disenfranchised youth who see professional sports as their only way to escape poverty, injustice and crime. Pool your resources together and make sure young people have other choices. What are they going to do? Start drafting people like they did in the 60’s for the military to make people play football?!
I understand what people like Colin Kaepernick and so many other up to recent games have been trying to do. It is within your power to find another peaceful, meaningful and powerful way to make change in this country! A way that people like our President and the “owners” like him can’t affect with Twitter.
Speaking of Twitter and our President. ZOMG! Why the hell haven’t they blocked him from using it yet? Why are people still following this guy?! There’s another way to peaceful protest against a narcissistic bully! What would he do if he woke up one day and found out the only person following him on Twitter was himself and the NSA?! The reason I’m bringing this up is because of the latest duel he is having with someone from our government, Senator Corker a Republican from Tennessee, who has decided to stop drinking the koolaide. This weekend he actually expressed he’s as concerned as I am about what President Trump’s tirades on Twitter are doing to this country and the world. I wish he and the rest of these fools in the GOP would have heeded the warning signs before we got here as it’s almost too little too late!
Kyle and I suspect that the President might have a Hero complex, that he actually wants World War III so he can be the hero, push the button and “save the world.”
“Syndrome: See now you respect me because I’m a threat. That’s the way it works. Turns out there are a whole lot of people, whole countries that want respect and they will pay through the nose to get it….”
I hope we are wrong, I’m still hoping that “this” that has been going on since January is all some sort of global reverse psychology experiment but I don’t think so. In my heart of hearts I want to believe Trump, Pence, Sessions and others like them in our Government, not just Republicans either, aren’t what they seem, that they are actually good people. Yet day after day, headline after headline, Tweet after Tweet….it’s getting harder for my heart to find any good yet in them. Good people don’t intentionally, very publicly, bully and attack people, specifically minorities, LGTBQ, immigrants and sovereign countries…pretty much everybody who isn’t them – especially people who don’t do exactly what they want them to. What I am seeing start to evolve here in the US is a gradual dictatorship. If you watch, fewer and fewer rational people have the stomach for this administration so they resign if they aren’t fired first. What does this do? It leaves a power vacuum to fill and who is going to step up to the growing number of empty spaces? It doesn’t take too much imagination to figure that out! If you are a concerned citizen, pay attention to the headlines in and out of our country and do what you can while you can still do it.
The Psychology of Dictators: Power, Fear, and Anxiety
They see themselves as “very special” people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others … Not only do dictators commonly show a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity,” they also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder.
Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong (or Tse-tung), Josef Stalin, Pol Pot – names such as these haunt our cultural imaginations. These men were, by all available accounts, totalitarian dictators, who sought to maintain complete control over their respective governments and populations through radical methods, including the systematic murder and imprisonment of all who stood against them1-4. In some cases, the terror they wielded helped them maintain power for years and emblazoned their names into our history books forever. Each of the names listed above is responsible for more than a million deaths, and even those citizens who were fortunate to have survived their reign lived in persistent fear of death, forced labor, or torture.
Dictatorial leaders such as these represent the extreme potential of the human capacity for evil, and yet, despite their apparent omnipotence within their individual spheres of power, these individuals also tended to suffer from excessive anxiety – mostly regarding paranoid fears of citizen uprising and/or assassination. For example:
- Saddam Hussein displayed a level of paranoia so great that he had multiple meals prepared for him across the Iraqi land each day to ensure that no one knew where he was eating. He even went as far as to employ surgically altered body doubles5.
- Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea and the father of current leader Kim Jong-un, exhibited such an excessive fear of assassination while flying that he exclusively traveled via an armor-plated train6, including when he traveled as far as Moscow7.
- Than Shwe, a Burmese dictator, was so concerned about the tenuous nature of his rule that he once moved the capital of Burma to a remote location in the jungle without running water or electricity; an extreme tactic that was spurred on by the advice of his personal astrologer8.
Power and Fear
In each of these dictatorial examples, men who sought to rule with an iron fist appeared to also behave in a manner driven by a hidden, extreme, and sometimes irrational fear of what fate might befall them.
This behavior does not seem to align with what we know of dictators. Not only do such individuals wield far-reaching, real-world power, a large number of these individuals also maintained a cultural and political environment that fed grand delusions regarding their self-importance. For instance, Saddam Hussein thought of himself as the savior of the Iraqi people5. Muammar Gaddafi once had himself crowned the “King of Kings” of Africa9, and the North Korean Kim line of succession proclaimed themselves to be almost god-like10. Why would individuals who are so confident in their power have such severe anxiety?
One explanation is that many of these individuals were actually under constant threat of assassination. For instance, a former bodyguard to Fidel Castro said that he was aware of 638 separate attempts made on the leader’s life, some of which were orchestrated by the CIA8. Mao Zedong survived an assassination attempt, plotted by high ranking officers within his own military11, and Saddam Hussein’s own sons-in-law once attempted to kill his eldest son5. With such real and present threats, even from trusted allies, some sense of paranoia might be warranted.
Given the extremity of many dictators’ fears, though, further explanation is warranted. An additional explanation of their behavioral patterns might be rooted in their individual personalities. Colloquially speaking, people often use “personality” as a synonym of how interesting a person appears to be in the eyes of onlookers, both within and from outside their respective sphere of influence. For instance, we might say that a loud comedian has “a lot of personality,” whereas we might describe someone we view as boring and quiet as “lacking personality12.” In the psychological literature, though, personality is defined as the “enduring patterns of thinking and behavior that define the person and distinguish him or her from other people13.” In other words, your personality is what makes you distinct from those around you. In studying personality, psychologists can examine common traits across people and note how these traits may interact to predict behavior. In so doing, researchers can develop a better understanding of why people behave the way they do over the course of many years.
Narcissism Is A Consistent Trait
With regard to dictators, one particular trait that consistently stands out as relevant is narcissism. Narcissistic individuals have a “greatly exaggerated sense of their own importance” and are “preoccupied with their own achievements and abilities13.” They see themselves as “very special” people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others.
When narcissism becomes extreme to the point that it:
- interferes with daily life
- appears to be unusual as compared to others within a society, or
- permeates multiple areas of an individual’s life …
… that individual may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, which is defined by a:
- “pervasive pattern of grandiosity”
- “need for admiration” and
- “lack of empathy14.”
These individuals are “preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success” and “power.” They believe they are unique and can only be associated with others of equally high status. Furthermore, they require excessive admiration to remain happy, possess an extreme sense of entitlement, exploit others, and are often envious of others.
Vindictiveness Is Common
Descriptions of narcissistic personality disorder seem reminiscent of what we know of dictators. Not only do dictators commonly show a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity,” they also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder. For instance, in now famous psychological experiments, researchers found that highly narcissistic individuals were more likely to try to punish those individuals who negatively evaluated their work, even when the narcissistic person believed they were administering painful electric shocks15-16. More recent work shows that, after a negative evaluation, narcissistic people will demonstrate greater aggression even to individuals unrelated to the feedback17. Such experiments can help us understand the aggressive behavior of dictators, who are known to lash out against negative evaluations18.
Surprisingly, narcissism could also help explain the anxious behavior displayed by dictators. Researchers have identified two forms of narcissism: grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism19. Though grandiose narcissism is associated with all that you might expect from a narcissist (e.g., grandiosity and aggression), vulnerable narcissism is associated with an “insecure grandiosity,” which seems to produce intense defensiveness and feelings of inadequacy20. Such individuals are often described as being “worrying, emotional, defensive, anxious, bitter, tense, and complaining19“.
These components can be so extreme that narcissistic personality disorder can be misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder, which is associated with high levels of anxiety14. The intensity of the emotional experiences produced by narcissism in combination with actual dangers could produce remarkable levels of anxiety, worry, and uncertainty – to the point that one might actually consider moving their entire capital to the middle of a jungle based on the advice of an astrologer8.
Predicting Future Dictators
Given that the majority of dictators seem to be incredibly narcissistic, could we possibly use that fact to predict individuals who are likely to become dictators? That is, if we know the prominent people in an unstable country, could we predict which of those people are likely to try force their way into power and try to stop them? This question is difficult to answer. First, not all dictators come to power in a similar manner or under similar circumstances. For example, Hitler came to power after an intense propaganda campaign and copious amounts of intimidation and violence on the part of the Nazi Party21. Mao Zedong became dictator after serving as a successful military leader throughout a long civil war22. Saddam Hussein climbed his way through the Iraqi political system for years until he was able to strong arm his way into power23. Finally, Kim Jong-un, who by available accounts, was raised in an extremely privileged, “Western” childhood24 also went on to exhibit the traits of a dictator.
Moreover, researchers remain uncertain as to why narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic behaviors emerge. We know that the majority of individuals diagnosed with the disorder are male14, and researchers speculate that certain genetic factors and parenting styles may increase the chance that someone develops the disorder. However, further research is necessary to understand whether these factors cause narcissistic personality disorder.
Combined, these factors make it incredibly difficult to predict which leaders will embody dictatorial tendencies. We simply do not fully understand the contributions of cultural, environmental, or political influences that facilitate the rise of a dictator. However, that does not mean that research into these issues is a fruitless endeavor. By better understanding the sociopolitical contexts that allow dictators to attain and maintain power and further investigating the role of personality, we may one day be able to proactively identify and attenuate dictatorial leadership prior to the emergence of their often horrific actions. In so doing, there would be the potential to save countless lives and stem the tide of years of oppression in many countries.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R) blasted President Donald Trump in a scathing interview with The New York Times on Sunday, saying the “vast majority” of congressional Republicans were concerned with the president’s volatile behavior and that rhetoric from the White House could set America “on the path to World War III.”
During the interview ― an unprecedented assessment of the head of the senator’s own party ― Corker said Trump concerns him and that the president’s proclivity for Twitter tirades had “hurt” the country during times of negotiation.
“I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Corker said, adding that “everyone knows” the “president tweets out things that are not true.”
“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” Corker continued. “Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”
Corker, a powerful and respected Republican, was an early supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign but has since become one of his most outspoken critics in the Senate. He lambasted Trump over his response to protests by white supremacists in August and has been critical of the president’s foreign policy decisions.
Corker continued such condemnation on Sunday when he said the president was running the White House like “a reality show.”
“He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” he told the Times.
Trump launched his own Twitter crusade against the senator earlier on Sunday, saying Corker “begged” the president to endorse him for re-election. Corker announced his impending retirement from Congress in September.
“He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS,’ Trump tweeted, before continuing: “He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”
Corker fired back an hour later, saying it was “a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”
Finally, this speech is very timely and resonant to what I’m watching happen in Washington right now…..I really think it’s almost too little, too late folks! Where was your conscience, misgivings, doubt and resistance before now?!
Obama blasts GOP for creating Trump & running away at last minute in Columbus speech
“This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again,” he said. “Look, I—and there’s sort of a spectrum, right—it’s a whole kind of ecosystem. And look, if I watched Fox News I wouldn’t vote for me.”
Read a complete transcript below.
OBAMA: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) Hello, Democrats! (Applause.) O-H!
OBAMA: Oh, it is good to see you all! (Applause.) Thank you. I’m just warming you up. (Laughter.) Because I know the Buckeyes have a big showdown at Wisconsin on Saturday night. (Applause.)
Thank you so much, everybody. Please have a seat. I’m going to talk to you for a while, now. (Laughter.) Tonight, we’re here to talk about the showdown that’s happening right here in Ohio over the next few weeks. (Applause.) And, of course, it would not be an Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner without your former governor and your next United States senator, Ted Strickland. (Applause.) Love this man. Your current Senator, who is fighting for you every single day, Sherrod Brown. (Applause.) A couple of your outstanding members of Congress, Joyce Beatty and Tim Ryan. (Applause.)
I know the Ohio Democratic Party has been preparing for this election. You know a strong party depends on great public servants being elected at the local level, and the school boards, and the city councils and the mayor’s office. And your field operation has helped us win important races from Akron to Toledo, Chillicothe to Warren. And through the spring, even as we Democrats had a hard-fought primary, you kept signing up thousands of volunteers, registering thousands of voters, organizing on campuses all across the state. You were already looking to the fall campaign. So we are going to benefit bigtime from the infrastructure that you’ve already got in place.
So I just want to say thank you for giving us the edge that we need. Thanks for organizing. Thanks for mobilizing. Thanks for not getting tired. Thanks for still being fired up and still being ready to go. (Applause.) Because right now is when the fruits of all that labor are going to start paying off. It is game time. Kickoff was yesterday. Early voting started yesterday. (Applause.) The game does not start on November 8th, the game ends on November 8th.
So, everybody here, enjoy your dinner. (Laughter.) Everybody looks cute. (Laughter.) But tomorrow, you got to put on those walking shoes. You got to start making those calls and knocking on doors, getting everybody out to vote early. That’s how we won in 2008. That’s how we’re going to win in 2016. (Applause.)
Because, let’s face it, let’s face it, Ohio is always close. I don’t know what it is about you guys. (Laughter.) Just making me stress. I’ve always got to watch the TV — what’s going to happen in Ohio? (Laughter.) I mean, I pretty much parked here in the final days of both of my campaigns. In 2008, I was here in Columbus two days before Election Day. In 2012, I was here the day before Election Day. And it makes me think about how far we’ve come together — not just the fact that I had no gray hair in those pictures. (Laughter.) Think about the road we’ve traveled. Together, we fought our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Our businesses have now turned job losses into 15 million new jobs. (Applause.) We turned around an auto industry that Ohio communities depend on, and our automakers are making the best cars in the world and they are selling more than ever, thanks to outstanding UAW workers who take great pride in what they do. (Applause.)
We slashed our dependence on foreign oil. Folks don’t even notice gas prices being cheap anymore. We more than doubled our production of renewable energy. We’ve got incomes rising again — rose faster last year than any time on record. All demographic groups. Poverty fell last year by the largest amount since 1968 — since I was seven years old. (Applause.) The uninsured rate is at an all-time low — 20 million people have health insurance that didn’t have it before, including folks right here in the great state of Ohio. (Applause.)
We brought more of our brave troops home to their families. We delivered justice to bin Laden. (Applause.) And in today’s America, wherever you live, you can marry whoever you love. (Applause.)
We’ve been busy. (Laughter.) We brought about change that’s made a difference in the lives of people all across this country. There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not substantially better off today than we were when I came into office. (Applause.)
That’s what the hard work and the determination of the American people can do. That’s what strong, principled Democratic leadership can do. (Applause.) That’s what a President who has your back and is listening to you and cares about you can do. (Applause.) And that’s what great members of Congress and a Democratic majority in Congress can do. And that’s why we’ve got to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. (Applause.) That’s why we’ve got to elect Ted Strickland to be the next great senator from Ohio. (Applause.)
I will not be on the ballot, but everything we’ve done is going to be on the ballot. (Audience interruption.) Oh, lord, what’s going on now? Who’s hollering? I can’t even see you. Well, it’s great to see you, but I’ve got all these folks I’ve got to talk to. (Laughter.) Maybe you can get me a note. Write me a letter, all right? (Interruption continues.) Okay, I got you. Okay, thank you. (Laughter.) I can’t hear you that well. I promise you this will go better if you talk to one of my staff up there. I got you, okay. All right. Thank you. (Interruption continues.) Okay, I’ve heard you. Let me now talk to everybody else. Thank you. I love you. All right. Thank you. (Applause.)
Thank you. Thank you. I mean, I’m getting old so I can’t hear that well, I can’t see that good. (Laughter.) (Interruption continues.) I got you. (Laughter.)
Where was I? (Applause.) So, look, I’m not going to be on the ballot, but all the progress that we’ve made, all that stuff goes out the window if we don’t work as hard as we can to win this election. And I’ve seen what hard work looks like here in Ohio. (Applause.) I’ve seen it. I’ve benefited from it. I got elected by it. And now Hillary and Ted and every Democrat up and down the ballot has got to do the same.
I know that folks say this every four years, but this time it’s really true — (laughter) — I cannot think of a more important election in our lifetimes. (Applause.) Because the choice between candidates has never been this stark.
And it’s a choice between somebody who is as qualified as has ever been to run for this office — somebody who’s, over and over, proven that they know how to lead and how to work and understand the issues that working families are facing — that’s on the one hand. And then on the other hand, you’ve got somebody who, each and every day, every time he talks proves himself unfit and unqualified for this office. (Applause.)
And I don’t need to spend a huge amount of time selling this crowd on Hillary. If you want to hear the best case for Hillary Clinton, if you want to hear the very real stakes in this election, I would advise you to link up to Michelle’s speech from earlier today in New Hampshire. (Applause.) She was pretty good. I mean, she — that’s why you get married, to improve your gene pool. (Laughter.) So your kids end up being superior to you. (Applause.)
So I don’t need to sell you on Hillary. And I don’t need to sell you on Ted. You guys know her, know him, have seen the track record that they have put together. But I’m going to go ahead and say some nice things about Ted anyway because he’s here. (Applause.)
You know, I could not be prouder to call Ted a friend. He was a great Congressman for the people of southeast Ohio. (Applause.) He was a great governor for everybody in Ohio. He was a great campaign co-chair for me in 2012. (Applause.) And there’s a reason that Ted has always put working families first — because in those families he sees his own family. He knows what it’s like to struggle. He knows their hopes and their dreams.
He’s the son of a steelworker. He’s the first in his family to go to college. He’s a minister who doesn’t just talk the talk, but lives out his faith, and a public servant who puts his values into action. (Applause.)
So when he was in Congress, he fought to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program — working alongside Hillary — something that still helps millions of children today. As governor, he froze public college tuition and made it free for Ohio veterans, which helped more young people succeed. (Applause.) And even though he took office as your governor about a year before the recession hit, by the time he left, Ohio was the fifth-fastest growing economy in America. (Applause.)
Ted delivered, and when it mattered most, he had your back. So on issue after issue, Ohio voters have a clear choice in this election — between somebody who sides with Ohio’s working families, and somebody who sides with the special interests who want to block all of our progress.
So if you care about workers’ rights, then the choice is pretty clear. Ted believes we should protect overtime pay so folks get paid what they’ve earned, that workers should have the right to bargain for better pay and better benefits. (Applause.) His opponent helped strip overtime from six million workers, backed a bill that would make it harder for workers to organize.
If you care about higher wages, the choice should be pretty simple. Ted believes that, in 2016, women should get equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) His opponent has voted against equal pay five times. When it comes to the minimum wage, in 2015 I told members of Congress if they truly believed they could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, they should try it. And if not, they should vote to give America a raise.
Ted actually tried it for a full week. He actually did it — walked in a minimum wage worker’s shoes. Understood how hard it was. Understood the reality of a single mom who’s working full-time and, at the end of the day, still doesn’t have enough to keep a roof over her child’s head or make sure that they get a good meal. That’s why Ted keeps fighting to raise the minimum wage. And his opponent has voted against it again and again and again. So that’s the choice in this election.
If you care about keeping our cops and our kids safe, you’ve got a choice. Ted Strickland supports common-sense gun safety measures like background checks, keeping assault weapons out of the hands of terrorists. (Applause.) Shouldn’t be controversial. His opponent blocked background checks and opposed a bill to stop people on the terror watch list from buying a gun. That’s why, as of last month, the NRA has spent more money against Ted Strickland than on all the other House and Senate races combined. Think about that.
If you care about our justice system and our most fundamental rights, then you’ve got a choice. Ted thinks we should have a full Supreme Court. (Applause.) That didn’t used to be a controversial position. Apparently, it is now. His opponent has helped to deny a simple yes-or-no vote to somebody who almost everybody agrees may be the most highly qualified nominee in history. Why? Does he think President Trump should fill the seat with somebody instead?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!
OBAMA: Does he have confidence that that would go well? (Laughter.) Which brings me to another fairly substantial difference. Unlike his opponent, Ted Strickland has never supported Donald Trump. (Applause.) Hadn’t done it.
Now, I understand that Ted’s opponent has finally withdrawn his support from Donald Trump — after looking at the polling, now that it’s politically expedient. But he supported him up until last week. So I guess it was okay when Trump was attacking minorities, and suggesting that Mexicans were rapists and Muslims were unpatriotic, and insulting Gold Star moms, and making fun of disabled Americans. I guess that didn’t quite tip it over the edge. (Laughter.) Why was that okay?
And now he says he’ll vote for the vice presidential nominee instead — except that guy still supports Donald Trump. Does anybody really think that Ted’s opponent is going to be a check on a Trump presidency? Are we really going to risk giving Donald Trump the congressional majority he’d need to roll back all the progress that we’ve made over the past eight years?
OBAMA: Look, we know that most Republicans don’t think the way Donald Trump does. Even in a banquet like this, full of hard-core Democrats. (Applause.) We have Republican friends, we’ve got Republican neighbors — at the Little League game, soccer game. At the parent-teachers conference, we meet them. Some great people. We don’t even think that most Republican politicians actually really believe that Donald Trump is qualified to be President. (Laughter.) I know because they — I talk to them. (Laughter.) They’re all like, man, this is really bad. (Laughter.) We’re just trying to get through this. (Laughter.)
But so the problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years — (applause) — primarily for political expedience. So if Trump was running around saying I wasn’t born here, they were okay with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the anti-Christ, you know, it’s just politics. (Laughter.) You think I’m joking. (Laughter.)
If somebody completely denies climate change, or is filled up with all kinds of conspiracy theories about how me and Hillary started ISIL, or that we were plotting to declare martial law and take away everybody’s guns.
We did a military exercise — the Pentagon does these periodically in Texas, and suddenly all the folks in Texas were all like, they’re going to take over right now! (Laughter.) I’m serious. And then the senator down there said, yeah, we better look into that. (Laughter.) And the governor says, well, I don’t know. What do you mean you don’t know? (Laughter.) What does that mean? (Applause.) Really? You think that like the entire Pentagon said, oh, really, you want to declare martial law and take over Texas? Let’s do it under the guise of routine training missions — (laughter) — and everybody is going to be — but they took it seriously.
This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again. (Applause.) Look, I — and there’s sort of a spectrum, right — it’s a whole kind of ecosystem. And look, if I watched Fox News I wouldn’t vote for me. (Laughter.) I understand. If I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, I’d say, man, that’s terrible. (Laughter.) Fortunately, I have more diverse sources of information. (Applause.)
And I want to make a serious point here — because I’m really not exaggerating. Everything I’m saying are actual things that have been said and that people — a fairly sizable number of people in the Republican primaries believe. And the people who knew better didn’t say anything. They didn’t say, well, you know what, I disagree with his economic policies, but that goes too far. They didn’t say, well, I’m not sure if his foreign policy is the right one for America, but we can’t allow our politics to descend into the gutter.
People like Ted’s opponent — they stood by while this happened. And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it. (Applause.)
And that’s what’s happened in their party. All that bile, all the exaggeration, all the stuff that was not grounded in fact just kind of bubbled up, started surfacing. They know better, a lot of these folks who ran, and they didn’t say anything. And so they don’t get credit for, at the very last minute, when finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on — (applause) — you can’t wait until that finally happens and then say, oh, that’s too much, that’s enough. (Applause.) And think that somehow you are showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
You don’t get points for that. (Applause.) In fact, I’m more forgiving of the people who actually believe it than the people who know better and stood silently by, out of political expediency, because it was politically convenient. (Applause.)
And if your only organizing principle has been to block progress and block what we’ve tried to do to help the American people every step of the way, so you’re not even consistent anymore — you claim the mantle of the party of family values, and this is the guy you nominate? (Applause.) And stand by, and endorse, and campaign with until, finally, at the 11th hour you withdraw your nomination? You don’t get credit for that. (Applause.)
You’re the party that is tough on foreign policy and opposes Russia — and then you nominate this guy, whose role model is Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB? (Applause.) I’m sorry, what happened? (Laughter.) It’s disappointing. It really is. Because, yes, I’m a Democrat, but I’m an American first. (Applause.) And I actually believe in a strong two-party system. And I think that the marketplace of ideas should have a reasonable, common-sense Republican Party debating a reasonable, common-sense Democratic Party. But that is not what we have right now.
And the reason is because people like Ted’s opponent who know better have stood silently by. They’ve been trying to block everything we’ve tried to do to help working folks for years now. Even here in the state of Ohio, they opposed us trying to save the auto industry upon which hundreds of thousands of jobs depend. And then when it works out pretty good you’re taking credit for it. Man, look at this economy, it’s gone great. (Laughter.) Yeah. (Laughter.) But you sure didn’t help. (Laughter.) It wasn’t because of your policies. That’s not why Ohio grew. That’s not why folks got back to work. (Applause.)
So the point is, if your only agenda is either negative — negative is a euphemism — crazy — (laughter) — based on lies, based on hoaxes, this is the nominee you get. You make him possible.
Now they’re shocked. It’s like remember that movie, Casablanca — the guy walks in, shocked that there’s gambling in this establishment. (Laughter.) Young people may not understand that reference. Go back, watch “Casablanca.” Great movie. Humphrey Bogart. (Laughter.)
So Donald Trump may make most Republican politicians look a little bit better by comparison — I mean, it’s like the bar has gotten so low. But these are the same Republicans who tried to block us from rescuing the economy; did not offer a single vote when it came to the recovery package that made sure that we started growing again, long before any other advanced economy did. Same folks who didn’t vote for the auto industry assistance that resulted now in record- breaking auto sales. The same folks who tried to take away folks’ health insurance every chance they get; who refuse to allow votes on giving minimum wage workers a raise; refuse to support making sure women earn equal pay for equal work. How hard a concept is that? (Applause.) Why would you want your daughter to get paid 80 cents for doing the same job that somebody else’s son is getting a buck to do? That doesn’t make any sense. (Applause.)
So don’t act like this started with Donald Trump. He did take it to a whole new level. I got to give him credit. But he didn’t come out of nowhere.
And that’s why we’ve got to win this election at every level. That’s where you come in, Democrats. That’s where your work will make a difference. That’s where all the volunteer recruitment, and the voter registration, and the campus organizing comes into play. Because when Democrats have everybody on the field, we can’t lose. And the other side knows that. That’s why they’re always trying to make it harder for folks to vote. (Applause.)
Which, by the way, that’s a big difference between our parties. We’re the only advanced democracy that has one party’s central principle being let’s make it harder to vote. It doesn’t happen other places.
We don’t think more voices participating in our democracy makes us weaker. Just like we don’t try to divide people by race or faith or orientation or gender. (Applause.) We believe we’re stronger together, not divided. (Applause.) And if we keep speaking to Americans’ hopes over their fears, and if we inspire them rather than divide them, if we have concrete plans to respond to the very real challenges that folks face with the same sense of urgency and compassion and empathy that we feel in our own families and our own communities — if we care about every kid the same way we want this country to care about our kids, then we’ll win in November.
I know that at times this has been a deeply dispiriting election year. And as I think back to 2008, or even 2012, and the sense of energy and hope that we felt, and I think about all the incredible work that we’ve done and the promises that we’ve delivered on, sometimes you wonder, how did we get to the point where we have such rancor. And there are a lot of theories about it. People have real struggles in pockets of this country. Change is happening fast, sometimes faster than we feel like we can absorb. There’s a constant stream of information coming at us, and so much of what attracts attention is the bad news instead of all the incredible things that are taking place in every corner of this great land.
But some of it I think really does just have to do with the fact that what’s best in us has all too often stood on the sidelines, and hasn’t been heard, and has left the field to some of our worst impulses.
So I want all of you to understand, when I reflect back on these eight years, and I think about all the places I’ve been — all 50 states — towns and hamlets and big cities, suburbs and metropolises, and met people from all walks of life, on the factory floor, in classrooms — there’s so much goodness in this country. There’s so much decency in this country.
There’s so much hard work going on in this country. There’s so much ingenuity going on in this country. There’s so much optimism in people’s day-to-day lives, and so much resilience. And we’ve just got to give expression to that.
We have to reflect our best selves. And that means even during political campaigns. We’ve got to show our kids the values that we want to pass on to them.
And you know what, the Democratic Party is not perfect. I can say that even at a Democratic Party dinner. (Laughter.) We have our own blind spots, and we have our own disagreements. We have interest groups that oftentimes are understandably thinking about their narrow slice of the issue. And sometimes we contribute to sort of the lack of civility in our politics. We don’t always check ourselves. There are times where we’re not consistent in what we expect from our own leadership versus others; times where we ignore inconvenient truths ourselves.
But what I’m really proud about, what I continue to fundamentally believe is that, at it’s core, the Democratic Party believes that everybody counts. (Applause.) The Democratic Party believes in ordinary working people being able, if they’re working hard, to get ahead. The Democratic Party believes that we got to leave a country and a planet that’s better than the one we inherited for the next generation. (Applause.) The Democratic Party believes that everybody has dignity, and everybody has respect, and everybody is worthy of consideration. And the Democratic Party believes that we’re all in this together. (Applause.)
And that’s what we have to show for the next little less than 30 days. That’s what we have to fight for. This isn’t just about winning elections. It’s also about affirming this democracy and affirming the basic idea that people who love their country can change it. That the most important office in this country is the office of citizen. (Applause.) That ordinary people, when they get together, can transform this nation and can solve any problem, and can overcome any obstacle, and can heal any division.
If you believe that, if you don’t just go through the motions this time, but if you really dig deep and think about what’s best in us, and what are we fighting for and how do we give expression to that — if you believe that, I guarantee you we will not just elect Ted Strickland as the next senator from Ohio; we will not just elect Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States — but we will secure a brighter future for the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
And I’m going to be right there with you as a citizen of these United States. (Applause.) I will work hard, and I’m going to organize, I’m going to mobilize, and I’m going to make some phone calls and I’m going to knock on some doors! (Applause.) And I want you along there with me. Because we got to keep this thing going. Because the journey is not done yet. (Applause.) Because I’m still fired up and I’m still ready to go! (Applause.)
Thank you, Ohio! (Applause.) God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)