My Content

Kevin Kelton

The Three Hour Debate (Ep. 223)

In this podcast the MPU gang looks back at the third Democratic primary debate, the Iran attack on the Saudi oil fields, Trump’s continued parade of corruption, and how the Felicity Huffman, Brett Kavanaugh and Shane Gillis controversies are redefining justice in America.

Michael Moore Is Hysterical (And Not In The Funny Way)

by Kevin Kelton

A lot of Democrats are getting downright hysterical about 2020 – but not in the hysterically funny sense. Democrats seem to be losing their collective minds with angst over the upcoming presidential election, none more so than filmmaker Michael Moore.

I’m not a Moore basher; I love his work and agree with him on many policy positions. But his appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher” this past week rang the looney bell several times.

First, the director of “Capitalism: A Love Story” claimed that even though Elizabeth Warren has called herself a capitalist on many occasions, Moore believes he knows better. “I’m not so sure she believes that,” Moore told Maher.

Excuse me, Mr. Moore, but I think the former Harvard Law professor and two-term United States senator knows what “capitalism” means and knows what she stands for. You may not want her to be known as a capitalist. But let’s allow the esteemed senator from Massachusetts to define her political and economic philosophies without your help.

Then Moore proclaimed that people who have immigrated to the United States from European Socialist nations only came here “because they want to go to Disneyland.” Moore may have been trying to be funny, but he seems seriously incapable of acknowledging any of the many weaknesses of modern-day Democratic Socialism that have driven millions of people away from its home nations.

However, his biggest faux pas was his analysis of the 2020 electorate. Moore said – with zero evidence to back it up – that “if the  election were held tonight, Trump would win.” And Moore made this baseless claim just moments after he said, “with all the polls that we’ve seen, there’s at least four or five of the candidates (who) would beat Trump” and then went on to emphatically state, “Bill, we’re going to beat Trump. We’re going to beat Trump.”

Does anyone else see a slight disconnect in Moore’s thinking on this point?

But let’s look at his dire warning and see how it compares to reality. I cannot tell you what will happen in November 2020. No one has a crystal ball. But I know this: if there had been a national presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden this past Friday, September 13, 2019, Biden would have won easily, and probably in a landslide.

Oh, I can hear the Biden Bashers now: “That’s what you said about Hillary!”

What the skeptics don’t get is that today is a very different world than November 2016. First off, the November 2016 polls were much closer than they are today, and the trend was toward Trump.

Today, Biden and the other top-tier Democratic candidates are solidly ahead both nationally and in swing state pollsincluding even Texas!, and the electorate is trending away from Trump. Let me repeat, I am not saying what would or could happen 13 months from now. I’m talking about if the election were held today. You don’t run 12-16 points ahead in national polls and then lose the election that same day. I don’t care how skeptical you are about the science of polling. A 12-16 point lead doesn’t dissipate in 24 hours.

But the greater point is, there is an hysteria setting into Democrats’ mindset that is destructive to the task at hand. Moore’s “Chicken Little” performance on Real Time is emblematic of that.

Let’s all calm down, take a few breaths and refocus, keeping these salient points in mind:

  • Donald Trump is not undefeatable. He won one general election and it was a fluke of history, a conflagration of multiple unanticipated events (the Comey letter, Russian election interference, the DNC emails, increased third party voting, decreased black turnout) that are highly unlikely to be replicated in 2020. The blue wave of 2018 really did happen, and the national electorate will be just as motivated to vote against Trumpism next year as they were last year. Maybe more.
  • Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton. The claim that Biden is Hillary2.0 is a meaningless talking point. He (or whoever gets the Democratic nomination) will win or lose on their own merits. Just because neither of them are extreme leftists does not make them the same person with the same political fate.
  • There is no perfect candidate to go up agains Donald Trump. They all come with inherent faults and built-in risks. Bernie would be labeled a crazy socialist. Pete would be hit for being too inexperienced and unsympathetic to the concerns of blacks. Liz has about a dozen red flares that could explode over Pennsylvania and the rustbelt. And, no, Harris fans, a black female candidate is not assured of replicating the Obama coalition, as the polls have clearly demonstrated. We simply have to chose from those candidates we have. Stop looking for the next FDR or JFK or Barack Obama. They are not in this field.
  • Don’t take Trump’s bait every time he tweets something controversial. He wants you to be running around with your hair on fire. He laughs when you do that. So stop giving him the attention he so craves. Who cares what he says or tweets? He’s a fluke of history, and he will be a relic of history in 16 months.
  • Obviously, we should not be overconfident to the point of complacency. We must motivate voters to the polls and make sure our turnout is high. But we also don’t want to do anything that could significantly boost Trump’s turnout. That means not running on issues like single-payer Medicare For All, decriminalizing illegal immigration, or gun confiscation that might spike conservative turnout in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, or Wisconsin. Remember, adding millions of progressive votes in California, New York, Colorado, and Massachusetts gets us nothing… not a single extra electoral college vote! Regardless of how well single-payer Medicare For All may play in decidedly blue states, if polling tells us it could cost us even a single swing state, it’s a high-risk gamble we should not take. There is no margin for error in Pennsylvania or the rest of the rustbelt. Don’t run a fearful campaign, but don’t run a dumb one, either.
  • Trump is not “staying forever” if he loses the election. This is a sack of mass hysteria nonsense people like Bill Maher keep repeating and spreading ad nauseam. If a Democrat, say Elizabeth Warren, wins the electoral college vote and is certified the winner in the United States Congress, she will be sworn in on 01/20/2021 by Chief Justice John Roberts and at that moment she will become President of the United States. It won’t matter if Donald J. Trump refuses to leave the White House. A street address does not dictate who controls the levers of power in this country. President Warren (or Buttigieg/Sanders/Biden/whoever) will be certified and widely accepted as the new president, and any public tantrums Trump may throw will not undo that reality. The military will not stay with him, and neither will the FBI, CIA, Congress, Supreme Court, or anyone else sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States. So stop worrying. The worst that can happen would be an elongated reality show in which Trump would finally and humiliatingly be voted off the island. Trust me, Donald Trump is not overthrowing the constitution or the tens of millions of people sworn to uphold it.

Lastly, if you listen to nothing else in this article, take this one piece of advice. No one can predict with any certainty what will happen in November 2020, but we all have lives to lead until then, and going bonkers on a daily basis for the next 13 months will not help you or our cause. Turn off the news (and even “Real Time”), enjoy your life, vote in your state primary, and then work passionately and positively to elect whoever becomes the Democratic nominee. That is all you need to do to defeat Trump. Everything else is aggravation and excess. Enjoy life. Politics will work themselves out.

I cannot promise Trump will lose his bid for re-election. But I can promise that if you don’t calm down and approach this election rationally, you will lose your mind before a single vote is cast.

 

Kevin Kelton is a former SNL writer and a cohost of The More Perfect Union podcast.

 

Spy Games (Ep. 222)

 

This episode covers the fallout from the burned U.S. spy who had to be extracted from Russia, how the Trump administration is dangerously rewriting the norms of federal agency independence, and what to look for (and not look for) in the upcoming Democratic primary debate.

“F” The Gun Culture (Ep. 221)

On the heels of yet another mass shooting in Texas, the More Perfect Union hosts discuss the second amendment, the rationale for hunting as a sport, and how to take on the out-of-control gun culture in this country. Then they turn their sights to the 2020 primaries and the rest of the week in Trumplandia, then finish with a look at Dave Chappell’s new Netflix special and the state of standup comedy in the #metoo era.

Debate Nachos (Ep. 216)

In this episode the gang talks about the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, Trump’s racist attacks on Elijah Cummings and Baltimore, what they expect in the new round of Democratic debates, and the secret ingredient in Greg’s world-famous debate nachos.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ (Ep. 213)

This week, the MPU gang discusses the California earthquakes, Trump’s rain-soaked military parade, and the latest developments in the 2020 presidential race.

Debating the Debates (Ep.212)

This week, the MPU gang looks at the first set of Democratic debates, Trump’s international diplomatic travels, and what to expect from Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony.

Life After Mueller (Ep. 208)

 

Portland radio personality Carl Wolfson joins the gang to discuss Robert Mueller’s press conference, the chances of having an impeachment inquiry, the state of the 2020 Democratic race, potential primary challenges for Trump, and LGBT Pride Month.

First They Call You Crazy (Ep. 207)

 

This week, the MPU gang discusses Trump versus Pelosi, congress versus Mueller, Lewandowski versus Biden, Pence versus transgender people, and Stephen Miller versus military justice.

My Campaign Platform

by Kevin Kelton

I never plan to run for elective office, as I am better suited to bloviate than to legislate. But if I did run for state or local office, here are some of the issues I would run on. They aren’t the typical issues most politicians talk about, but they are bread and butter “everyday issues” I believe would resonate with a large swath of any local electorate.

PATIENT’S RIGHTS:

An informed patient is an efficient consumer of medical care. I believe every doctor’s office, hospital and healthcare provider should have to post a “menu” of their services and prices for everyone to see before agreeing to an office visit or procedure. We should do away with complicated medical coding systems and other bait-and-switch practices currently employed in the healthcare industry. (Example: patients who go to an in-network hospital or ER and then get blindsided by exorbitant out-of-network charges from the doctors who treated them there.) Let competitive free market forces apply to healthcare and make providers compete in the marketplace based on cost, just like every other product or service. This will go a long way toward bringing the cost of healthcare down nationally and make our health insurance system more efficient and available for everyone.

FORCED BINDING ARBITRATION:

The ability to seek legal redress through a trial by jury is a constitutional right, yet many doctors and other businesses make customers sign away that right through forced arbitration clauses that you must agree to before being seen or served. I don’t think people should be forced to sign away their constitutional right to sue. I would make contractual arbitration clauses fully elective, and no one can be denied service due to opting out of binding arbitration.

CONSUMER RIGHTS:

Ever wonder why the last half-dollar of the gas you pre-paid for comes out of the pump so painfully slow? Years ago it was the last ten cents, but now it can be the last 70 cents or more, often going so annoyingly slow that consumers often choose to leave gas for which they’ve already pre-paid in the pump instead of enduring the elongated wait. This is a purposeful trick that unscrupulous gas station owners are playing on unwitting consumers in a rush, as modern gas pumps can be programmed to slow down and stop within a few pennies of the pre-paid price. Gas station owners know that you’re in a rush, and they are banking on you being impatient and leaving some gas behind, which increases their profits and your cost per gallon. To combat this type of psychological price manipulation, stations that set their pumps to slow down more than ten cents early should be fined for that unfair business practice.

COMMUNITY POLICING:

Policing has become a profit center in too many municipalities, with tickets being used to generate city revenues. We need to re-emphasis policing as a public service to combat crime and keep civil order, not to tax drivers with excessive tickets. Toward that end, cities should only be able to use 5% of their police department manpower for parking enforcement. Moreover, patrol cars should only be authorized to stop drivers who are speeding excessively (20% or more over the posted mph limit), run lights or stop signs, or engaging in other high-risk driving maneuvers. Tickets for less dangerous moving offensives (broken tail lights; missing license plates or tags; non-use of seatbelts) should be distributed by taking down the license plate number and mailing the ticket to the vehicle owner, who can then pay the fine or identify who was driving their vehicle at the time so the ticket can be re-assigned to that driver. Fewer traffic stops will also lead to fewer violent clashes and police shootings. Let’s reduce the confrontational aspects of community policing and get back to basics: reducing crime and investigating crimes. That will go a long way toward creating a better relationship between citizens and the civil servants we pay to protect us.

Being a professional police officer is an inherently dangerous occupation, and everyone who signs up for the job knows that. But we have somehow gone so far to reduce the risk of shooting injuries to police officers that we have unduly shifted that risk to innocent citizens. Indeed, officers are even shooting children instead of taking that extra second required to adequately assess the situation, a risk which should be a part of their job. Of course, unfortunate tragic outcomes will still occur, but we need to shift the risk back away from the unarmed citizen who too often finds him or herself starring down the barrel of a gun. Toward that end, we need to reevaluate our rules of police engagement, including when an officer is permitted to draw a weapon and fire. The “reasonable person” standard currently in place is too subjective and lax. Police should be trained not to fire until they see a weapon, not when they simply “believe” there is a weapon present. If an officer shoots a citizen who is then proven to have been unarmed, that officer should be suspended without pay and face discipline, including termination, if the shooting is not proven to be fully justified. Police officers have a right to life, but they don’t have a right to a lifetime job if they are unfit to perform it in the best interest and safety of the citizens they swear to protect and serve. Also, there should be a national databank of officers who have been suspended or disciplined for inappropriate use of force, so that a “bad apple” officer can not job-hop from one police force to another.

HIDDEN FEES:

More and more industries are finding duplicitous ways to cut their advertised prices while piling on hidden charges in the form of “service fees,” “resort fees,” “wifi fees,” “cleaning fees,” “return fees,” and other extraneous charges that used to be born by the business. If you sell a movie ticket online, it shouldn’t cost any more than having a salaried employee sell it to you at the box office. And a so-called “resort” hotel should not charge an additional “resort fee,” which is tantamount to an airline charging you a fee to get airborne. Advertise the true price of your product or service and stop gouging the public with last-minute fees that we can’t comparison shop against.

TIPPING:

The practice of tipping in restaurants was designed to reward good service, not to supplement the salary of underpaid kitchen staff and hostesses. Restaurants should not be allowed to collect and redistribute tips, which is a private transaction between the customer and the server. Added-on fees for employee healthcare or other costs associated with running the business should be an optional line item on the bill, like a tip, and not automatically added to the price of the meal. If the owner has the option of paying for their healthcare or not, so should the customer.

Granted, these are mostly consumer-centric populist stances that may seem trivial to some people. But I bet that a solid majority of voters would find them appealing, and I’d be willing to run on these issues that address the real, everyday concerns of voters that never get spoken about by mainstream politicians.

 

 

Reproductive Justice (Ep. 206)

 

On this MPU episode, Kevin, DJ, Greg, and Rebekah discuss the latest assault on Roe v. Wade, the Trump v. China trade war, and the primary campaign prospects of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

A Mother’s Day Brother’s Day (Ep. 205)

This special Mother’s Day episode features each host talking about their Mother’s Day plans, their families, and a political issue that’s been on each of their minds this week.