When I announced the launch of this newsletter exactly four years ago, it was obvious we were heading into the most important Presidential election of our lifetimes.
In December 2023, we're facing the same reality.
Until Trump and the fascist GOP are crushed—and Americans are once again given a choice between two (or more) parties willing to commit to democracy and accept that facts are things you can't make up—the same will be true for all subsequent Presidential elections.
As I wrote on 30 December 2019 about the year ahead:
Three things are certain:
- The lies will be endless.
- The distractions will be constant.
- The media will fail us.
Sadly, those three points are also more true than ever as we head into 2024.
But here's the good news:
In 2024, America can "send MAGA into the dustbin of history where it belongs"
That's the case made by Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg in a new op-ed for MSNBC, citing reasons including:
President Joe Biden has kept his central promise in the 2020 election: that he would lead the nation to the other side of Covid, successfully. The pandemic has receded. Our economic recovery has been better than any other G7 nation. GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.9% last quarter, and more than 3% for the Biden presidency. We have the best job market since the 1960s and the lowest uninsured rate in U.S. history. The Dow Jones broke 37,000 this month for the first time. Wage growth, new business formation and prime-age labor participation rates are all at historically elevated levels. Prices fell — yes, fell — last month. Rents are softening, and gas prices and crime rates are falling. Domestic oil and renewable production are at record levels. The annual deficit, which exploded under Trump, is trillions less today.
Contrast that to the harsh reality of Trump's dismal economic failures—and his failure to keep any of the economic promises he made to working families in the 2016 election—in his first three years in office.
As I wrote (before the Covid pandemic) on 16 February 2020:
The debt is rising. The economy is slowing. Job growth is 15% weaker than it was during Obama’s last three years. Manufacturing is in a recession. Consumer debt is at all-time high. Consumer spending is weak. Medical costs are driving hundreds of thousands into bankruptcy. Farmers are going bankrupt. Miners and steelworkers are being laid off. And, as Trump takes aims at Food Stamps and other programs to protect the poor, poverty is growing in many key Trump strongholds.
In that article, I detailed (with sources) "29 reasons why the Trump economy is far weaker than he wants you to think."
As long as the 2024 election remains based in facts and focused on the kinds of pocketbook issues where Biden's resounding successes stand in stark contrast to Trump's ignominious failures, Democrats have a clear advantage.
Ignore the MAGA minority.
White supremacists, racists, Christian extremists, and low-info Trump voters cannot be swayed by truth or reason in 2024.
But if voters who care about the economy are simply told the truth about Biden's record vs. Trump's there is simply no contest.
The facts are on Democrats' side.
But the lies will be endless.
On social media—especially on MAGA-and-Nazi-friendly sites like X—prominent voices routinely make statements and post memes and videos that present a fantasy version of Trump's handling of the economy, coupled with a complete disregard for all of the death and misery Trump caused during Covid.
Fox News continues to brainwash its viewers, having proved for more than 25 years that Roger Ailes was 100% correct about the idiocy of his audience: They "are lazy." They just "sit—watch—listen." They’re easy to manipulate because on his channel, "the thinking is done for you."
Thanks to AI-generated content, the amount of propaganda and disinformation flooding our feeds in 2024 will be off the charts. And as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman warned earlier this month, 2024 may be the year when AI's "persuasive ability" starts being specifically applied on the individual level to achieve "a new kind of interference that wasn't possible before AI."
The distractions will be constant.
The GOP will try to turn Hunter Biden into the new Benghazi—and attempt to convince the New York Times to treat Biden's age as a scandal as front-page worthy as Hillary's emails.
Elon Musk may even try to resurrect Pizzagate.
The media will fail us.
The media's complicity in amplifying the GOP attacks on Biden's handling of the economy—and long-outdated lies about inflation—even in the face of rising wages and strong economic growth is in sharp contract to the free ride they gave Trump.
Trump's failed Presidency was notable for mainstream media's failure to challenge Trump's snake-oil claims about creating "the greatest economy in history" even as the evidence mounted—prior to Covid—that the Trump economy was failing on every level.
In 2023, the media is eagerly embracing the idea that Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war will cost Democrats in 2024.
But Gen Z isn't stupid.
Even those angry at Biden right now also understand that, without question, Trump and the GOP would have been (and will be) less compassionate toward the civilians in Gaza—and more unquestioning in their allegiance to the corrupt, autocratic (i.e. Trump-like) Netanyahu and his extremist government.
In a time of relentless attacks on women, the LGBTQ community, minorities and immigrants—and against a backdrop that includes both the "catastrophic risks" and economic disruption caused by AI, and the looming calamities wrought by "global boiling"—it's more vital than ever that young voters have a say in the future.
In 2024, Gen Z voters know that sitting this one out or casting a protest vote is not an option.
Looking ahead to an Unprecedented 2024
Since launching this newsletter on Substack four years ago, I've written more than 330 articles—an average of about 7 per month.
Early in the pandemic, I took down the paywall and have kept it down ever since.
While my total subscribers grew—hitting 2,000 in September 2020, 3,000 in August 2021, and 4,000 in October 2022—my paid subscribers have never topped 200. (Please note: As a paid subscriber, the charge will come from "TLD Media, LLC," which will probably make you at least pause and wonder "what the hell is this?" when the renewal hits.)
Thanks to all who are supporting as a paid subscriber, or have along the way!
Since quitting Substack in April 2023, my growth rate has slowed. I didn't hit 5,000 in 2023, ending the year with 4,856 "members" on Ghost. (But I'm still glad I'm off Substack.)
If you're enjoying this newsletter and want to keep getting it free, thanks to you, too! Please keep reading—and feel free to share any of my posts by email or social media if you feel so inclined.
For those who want to support on a one-time (or occasional) basis without the commitment of a subscription, I also include a "buy me a coffee" button at the foot of many articles.
In 2024, I will try to write as much as usual and, as much as possible, I'll try to write about topics that you might not have heard about ad nauseam elsewhere. That, of course, is not an exact science. (Every time I write about Elon Musk, I make a silent-but-ineffective vow never to do it again.)
Thanks again for reading and a very Happy New Year to you!
And thanks to President Biden who has given Americans (especially those who like jobs, higher wages, lower inflation, manufacturing investment, action on climate, higher 401(k) balances, and things like that) many reasons to celebrate at the start of 2024.
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