I don’t know what to do except vote , you can’t talk to people about Trump and what a state we are in , that we are teetering on the edge of totalitarianism , that our country is in trouble . I always work at the polls every election in my county and it’s mostly republicans voting the Dems have given up here . I tried to talk to my granddaughter last week when we were in the car together about Trump , she’s in her early 30’s and don’t vote , she said if she did vote she would vote for Trump because she can understand what he says when he talks and Biden mumbles , that’s not a reason to vote for someone . She has her head in the sand doesn’t have a clue to what’s going on and doesn’t want to know . Long story short she ended up saying I was attacking her now she is mad and won’t speak to me . So trying to talk to people is a losing battle a lot of people have turned a blind eye and don’t care they are living in their own bubble thinking about their own lives and survival not realizing that they might be living under an authoritarian government . I go to bed worried I get up worried about our country and I can’t do a thing about any of it but vote . God help us !

Expand full comment

“Activating the indifferent” is definitely a major task before us! Secondly, “educating the misinformed” should be an objective as well! Changing the minds of those who unconditionally support a convicted criminal won’t be easy, but also must be included in our plan! We can’t afford to lose this fight!

Expand full comment

Such an excellently written post. You ask all the right questions. I fear you are speaking to those of us who believe all this to be true, and would never vote for such a disgusting and purely evil man. However, I know already there are many who just don't care what Trump does, they will vote for him. I have already seen the banners for him hanging from fences here in Texas. I would also like to know what it is going to take to stop this man from ever walking into the White House again?

Expand full comment

Once folks have been sold a pack of lies it can be very hard for them to arrive at truth.

I have long advocated for public education to begin at the youngest ages to pass on the best neuroscience and care for our most important resource the human brain. Many of us grow up in dysfunctional homes where the best brain health is not understood let alone practiced.

Small basic facts at the earliest ages about the best care of our precious brains. Good sleep, protection from injury, healthy foods, how exercise benefits our brain. Then as we become old enough to handle more abstraction, we can learn how to stay grounded in the truth and not get swallowed up others deceptions:

“1. What do I know about the speaker's truthfulness?

2. Is the statement consistent with reality?

3. Can I verify the statement?

4. What do I gain by accepting and acting on the statement?

5. What do I lose by accepting and acting on the statement?

6. What does the speaker gain if I bought into the statement?

7. What is exaggerated or downplayed in the statement?

8. Does the idea seem too good to be true?

9. Would I advise my best friend to accept the statement without a question of doubt?”


Expand full comment
Nov 17·edited Nov 17

The dark prescient lines, "Here we are now, entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious." from Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana keep running through my head as of late. To me it graphically portrays our immature, empty and nihilistic society. Nothing matters except appearances, money, getting ahead and letting good times roll. The serious and virtuous among us are ignored, mocked or worse, vilified in the quest for entertainment at the expense of everything else. The stupid truly are contagious. It seems we might have to go through some terrible things (as the pandemic wasn't enough) to wake people out of their self pleasuring stupor.

Even if trump loses the 2024 election the christo-fascist and monied would be autocrats will not stop as we have witnessed in the last few years. Sorry to be so gloomy but that's how I see it. Their colossal error overturning Roe and the onslaught of climate disasters (which they can't control) will be wild cards in their world domination plans. I plan to do what I can until then but I'll ride it out here in New England as well as I can. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Expand full comment

I joined my Democratic Town Committee after he won in 2016. I will continue working for Democrats in 2024, as I did in 2020.

Expand full comment
Nov 17Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you for posing these crucial questions, Steven. I’ve been thinking a lot about this for the last few years. I believe it’s going to take a few steps at least. The first thing that needs to happen in, my opinion, is that Americans need to be informed about the psyops campaign that has been targeting them for years. To do this, investigative journalists need to begin reporting on it. Also, the masterminds (hello retired Lieutenant General Mike Flynn and friends) need to be held responsible, by the courts and the media. Also, the vast network of chaos agents that are spreading the disinformation must be disabled... they are operating globally, so it won’t be easy. But it is necessary, since this fascist push is a worldwide threat, and we cannot separate ourselves from it.

I would be honored and grateful to join you in the fight, Steven. I’ve been serving this country for years, and will never stop fighting for its promise of freedom and democracy.

Expand full comment

A better question Steven is "when will the corporate media wake up to Trump's increasingly unhinged Nazi rhetoric?" They did show a glimmer last week after the vermin comment, but have rushed right back to "both-sides do it" and "Biden is too old". Why? Profits from clicks and views, that's why. Democrats can message to the high heavens, but if the corporate media doesn't cover it, no one knows. Who heard that Biden gave a major speech on the economy and the environment last week? Heck, who heard that Biden sat down with Xi this week and the temperature between the US and China has been lowered 10 degrees. No one. Because Trump's screeds about the judges. Markwayne Mullins Fight Club. Marg Greene has no clue. These are the stories that dominate...because they are easy to write and get them clicks.

Expand full comment
Nov 17Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you for being so clear and on point. I think the evidence is clear in Project 2025. The Ds need to hammer this home and make specific reference points to people already in place (MAGA Mike) and the billions in dark money from Koch, etc. The project will effectively destroy democracy and quite possibly ignite a civil war.

Expand full comment

These are fraught times. It seems the only way to ignite the needed outrage and activism is to bring the big picture, the end of the American experiment, to the personal. The women’s reproductive rights issue has helped with that demographic... but what about others? The other issue is that real factual news is not easily accessed anymore. Local newspapers have been bought and gutted and have become expensive to get. Online news is rife with misinformation. And certain “sources” are patently propaganda. But soldier on we must. Parry with factual info when asked. A lot of words to say we have to message better, louder, and broader. Make it personal. Because it is.

Expand full comment

I fear the American people are so traumatized the Trump nihilism will actually appeal to them.

So many crimes have gone unpunished the sense of complete high level lawlessness is rampant.

Impunity is the new currency and Americans want to see violence against *anybody* as a way to vent frustration.

There were no WMDs! The war on terror was criminal.

Lawless Black ops and torture went unpunished.

1000 criminal bankers were free to walk after the financial crisis destroyed millions of lives.

Then trump crimes which are legion.

Yet, Trump is golfing today.

We do not have a real legal system. Thats why Americans are throwing it all away.

DOJ is a joke.

Expand full comment

These are all the right questions. It creates inertia to be overwhelmed, so each of us must do whatever we can. Control what is within your ability to influence change, and stop spending energy on things you cannot by worrying.

Here is a roadmap for finding truth, and it lands well as a neutral heuristic for people, without any judgment or arguments:

"Disinformation: fighting back"


Expand full comment
Nov 17Liked by Steven Beschloss

You have answered your question here: "Or is the sheer thought of such a twisted plan so violent, so crazy, so certain to own the libs—so entertaining to them—that they want to see it all play out on live TV?" The apparent lack of understanding of history's lessons by tens of millions of Americans will doom our republic unless Democratic candidates and their supporters can whittle a simple, powerful, message and market it like there's no tomorrow. And even at that, it might be too late.

Expand full comment

This is an important topic. I continue to think (out loud) and argue that the biggest issue is that Biden has yet to present a clear, compelling alternative “heuristic” framework within which ordinary people can easily understand what he and the Dems overall have set out to do.

Trump’s framework is very straightforward: You are right: the system is rigged by liberal and/or corrupt elites so that life is unfair -- and you’ll never get anything but the sh*t end of the stick. So I’m declaring a plague (and leading a veritable sh*t storm) on both (or all) their houses.

This means that I want all of you to join me in making this the world’s biggest-ever sh*t storm so that they can’t escape the fact that they totally stink and deserve to be flushed down the toilet.

Then we’ll make America what WE want it to be-- and then it will be great again.

Against this populist Trump framework, Biden & co need a more compelling alternative to win back the trust of the disenchanted and disaffected. What is that? It’s not a series of promises and programs.

It’s a whole new world. It’s a world of difference.

It’s a world of dignity. It’s a world within which the disenchanted and disaffected are ennobled and “centered.”

It’s a world of opportunity. It’s a world in which hoped-for opportunities are overtaken by unimagined opportunities.

It’s a world of wellbeing. It’s a world in which all of the base, avoidable insecurities, what FDR called the four fears, are eliminated. For good.

And together building this world of dignity, opportunity, and wellbeing must become the vision of a greater America within which “We, the People” find agency, meaning, purpose -- the good life.

This, or something like it must become an explicit overarching alternative frame of reference that makes a a world of near-term positive, powerful, concrete, and meaningful difference in people’s lives.

Perhaps, just perhaps, with enough brain power, imagination, and commitment, something like the forward-looking “Make a World of Difference “ can win out over the retro-facing, Make America Great Again.

Expand full comment
Nov 17Liked by Steven Beschloss

Steven, Thank you for your essay today. If it doesn’t send a chill up everyone’s spine, nothing will. I’ve sent it to American friends and family asking them, on this special occasion to forward it. I also mentioned the availability of commenting. Alas, my Canadian family and friends have disconnected from Trump and I doubt that anyone would forward it.

I hope others will find this particular essay important enough to share it widely. If Trump is elected, the US will reach a point of no return, and the face of North America changed for ever.

Expand full comment
Nov 17Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you for your comments Steve.

This is a huge concern.

-Indifference? Although of course there are exceptions, at times I think a great many of us just “have it too easy” compared to the challenges our parents and grandparents etc faced?

- From my perspective it seems those challenges created a deep sense of appreciation for simple rewards and successes, less selfishness, and more respect for necessary decisions?

-Personally I can’t stop trying to expose and correct the constant mountainous, and often dangerous lies on major social media from leaders and communication platforms. It takes hours every day and I have no idea if my efforts matter at all.

-I’m not sure the vast majority of our citizens understand the wide ranging disastrous impacts a Fascist Dictatorship would cause if Trump wins.

The far Right Conservative platforms spreads the lies people believe, then down-play the truthful corrections.

-Religion is falsely claimed by many Conservative leaders and platforms in order to to scrape for votes, and manipulate religious entities, and those looking for solace.

-We should be creating algorithms & technical tools to instantly alert locations of dangerous lies and instant truthful corrections!

Yikes am I talking about AI? (😵‍💫)

-It seems we need incredibly improved educational tools on how our Democracy and government work; Repeated at least three times in 6th grade -12. And the benefits!

-I was repeatedly taught the quadratic equation/formula year after year, and 50 years still remember it!

Thank you

Expand full comment