Ask Jesse Episode 12: Criticizing Republicans

Click here to listen to full episode on YouTube

Show Notes by Jesse Crall

Occasionally, people take issue with my tendency to focus critiques on Democrats. But Donald Trump draws easy and constant ire from my left-leaning circles. As economic commentator Dylan Ratigan says “The Village Idiot is acting like a Village Idiot again.” It serves neither myself or my general audience (small though it may be) to spend much of my time bashing Trump or McConnell.

What does bother is me is when I’m accused of not taking the threat of Donald Trump seriously. Because I do. And I have. But what I find to be Trump’s most damning qualities are, unfortunately, often ignored or even supported by much of the Democratic establishment. On sanctions against Iran, Syria and Venezuela, Trump earned bipartisan support. His arms deals to Saudi Arabia and drone program are continuations of Obama-era policy. Child separation at the border, so egregious even a majority of Republicans opposed it, began under Obama, whose administration also constructed the very cages holding migrant children. Trump’s tax cuts on high incomes and corporate profits simply amplified the existing Neoliberal consensus prevalent since the late 1970s and exported around the world. His bluster and threats of limiting democracy don’t seem quite as unique after the DNC’s failures across the last two primaries.

Which isn’t to say Trump’s good. He isn’t. He’s a terrible president who isn’t fit to run a car dealership, let alone the most powerful country on earth. But what of all the Democrats voting for his defense budgets and excusing, ignoring or even championing the war crimes committed by Obama? What about the supposedly “principled” Republicans like Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse who vote with Trump over 80% of the time, including on particularly dismal policies like supporting the genocide in Yemen? What about all the liberals praising George W. Bush in his retirement after his presidency gave us the War on Terror, the advance of the National Security State, tax cuts for the wealthy and a deregulated financial sector? And what about Joe Biden, holding fundraisers with private equity executives furthering the stratification of wealth and power in this country?

My mantra about Trump being a continuation rather than an aberration remains largely unheeded by the left. His unique personality overrides the reality that his enacted policies don’t much differ from that of the Republican party preceding his presidency. And while prominent American liberals and conservatives differ on social issues, they’re all too willing to come together to advance corporatism, imperial objectives overseas and a reverence to elitism. Once I realized Democrats cared more about Russia conspiracies than about peace, poverty and working class interests, I trained my focus on them.

Too often, we’re given the illusion of choice between two parties that ultimately serve the interests of the already-powerful. And in the end, the average Republican and Democratic voters share more meaningful values with each other than they do with their respective party leaders. They’ve just been flooded with propaganda telling them otherwise.

Show Notes by Victoria Lynn Hall

In her piece, “Into The Rabbit Hole (The Wonderland Campaign)“, our newest contributor Kerri Romeo describes how the presidential campaign of Marianne Williamson sparked a “deeper curiosity” in her “about politics, people and this country’s history and an awareness about what ordinary society was not addressing.”

My story is very much the same and like Kerri, I have followed that curiosity down many rabbit holes, thinking that if I only dug deep enough, things might make more sense. Those excursions were thought provoking and educational exercises but nothing I came away with quite added up in a way that I could clearly grasp or articulate. Fortunately, I eventually encountered Jesse Crall in the Twitter Wonderland and his clear and concise analysis, backed up by tireless vetted research, finally started to make sense of the nonsensical for me.

In Episode 10, Jesse said of U.S. foreign policy, “if you’re thinking in terms of what is moral and what is just, [it] seems very irrational. If you start looking at [it] as a way of protecting corporate interest, it makes more sense.”

That statement to me is the key that unlocks the puzzle box of all the important issues in our politics right now, and notice how it did not include the words, “Republican” or “Democrat” or identify any one politician?

Life would be so much easier if we had just one villain to blame, if it were simply Trump or The Republican party that needed to be defeated to restore our lives to normal. Instead we are faced with a system of power and privilege in this country that has pervaded our lives in such a way that we don’t even recognize how it is dividing and defeating us. If we follow leaders who refuse to acknowledge that, we will remain lost. If we become the leaders who are aware of that, we can begin charting our own course to freedom.

Watch the full episode below or on YouTube where you can subscribe to all of our video content. We would also like to thank Kim D. for contributing her fabulous song, “Corporation Coup” for use as a theme for our videos, you can find the full recording of this song at:


Episode 11

Jesse Crall

A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.

A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.

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