FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: The Shinbone Star — if you’re not counting the movie version — began publication on Jan. 29, 2017, just nine days after President Donald Trump raised his right hand and lied on a Bible that he would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
During his tenure, our writers submitted more than 1,500 original essays, all condemning the Trump presidency. Some wrote a lot and others wrote a little, but we’re proud of our output. Whatever else happens, when our nation called, we answered the bell.
The Shinbone Star has not been without its critics. If you’re a Trump supporter you will not have liked a single thing we had to say. But that’s okay, we don’t like you either.
Even some traditional journalists cringed when we adopted an openly anti-Trump stance. Not for the first time, we answer that we’re retired and can say whatever we damn well please. It should have been apparent early on that covering an inveterate liar like Trump could not be a business-as-usual proposition.
No matter what happens on November 3, The Shinbone Star is nearing the end of its run. The way we see it, if Joe Biden wins the election our mandate will have been served. If Trump wins in spite of everything he’s done, then nothing we said made a bit of difference and there’s not much point in continuing.
If Trump pulls off another victory, it doesn’t bear thinking about what will happen to journalism. But if Biden wins, journalists across the country will shift their attention from Trump to holding Biden’s administration accountable. And that is as it should be. While retired journalists can stand to be cheerleaders, the working press never has that luxury.
A lot of people ask, “How can I know what news is real and what is fake?” Our answer: If the publication you are reading never takes your preferred political party to task, then it’s probably fake. Journalists — real journalists — revel in taking down crooked politicians of whatever stripe.
We plan to stick around through the inauguration, but whatever the outcome of the election, covering the next administration will be someone else’s job. Like all good Westerns, the time is drawing nigh when The Shinbone Star must again fade into the sunset. We can only hope that our nation will not do likewise.
But what about November 3? What does our staff think about the most important election in our lifetimes? It’s time to let them speak for themselves.
Anne-Marie: Pardons for turkeys and others, perhaps
On Election Day, or perhaps the night before, Donald Trump and his family and entourage will go to Mar-a-Lago to watch the returns and throw a victory party. When/if it becomes apparent that he’s losing the election, 45 and his sons will fire off an increasingly unhinged series of tweets blaming illegal aliens, dead voters, the Democrats and Hillary. Trump won’t concede in a speech but may send out a self-pitying tweet to the effect, “If the voters want Sleepy Joe, they can have him.“ Trump will never return to D.C. The family will celebrate Thanksgiving at Bedminster, N.J., where he may or may not pardon a turkey. Maybe he’ll pardon himself instead. If he can engineer a pardon from Pence, he will step down and let Mother put up the f-ing Christmas decorations in the White House. In any case, Trump will not attend the Biden inaugural. The Pences will attend, while 45 rage tweets all day about what he’s seeing on Fox News. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Macinelli: Snuffing the shining light of democracy
The good news: When all the ballots are counted, Joe Biden will more than double the popular vote margin over Impeached President Donald J. Trump from 2016’s democracy-ending Election Day results. Trump, however, WILL WIN RE-ELECTION through his and the GOP’s carefully orchestrated legal challenge to the results on the grounds that millions of votes — in battleground states — were fraudulently cast. Thus the once-great republic, the shining light of democracy — of hope for millions of people around the world — will officially be dead. Going forward, all elections will be shams with Republicans maintaining control of all branches of whatever government the GOP no-brain trust figures will best serve their selfish interests. We the people will become “We the People in Power.” PREDICTION: Biden gets more votes, but Trump wins
Larrybndc: ‘People finally realize they’ve been had’
We are living through a transformative moment in this nation’s history, and the coming upheaval will be epic as the leadership of the Democratic Party refuses to play the role of Charlie Brown for the GOP and media. This election will be an overwhelming rejection of the Republican Party as people finally realize (if not admit) they’ve been had. The same folks who screamed “keep the government’s hands off my Medicare!” now scream, “keep the government’s hands off the ACA!,” knowing full well that Republicans are demanding that the Supreme Court kill their healthcare insurance in the midst of a global pandemic. With such a huge electoral blowout in the offing, people will want immediate post-election results, but the remaining Republicans will try to do the same thing they did to Barack Obama in the midst of an economic collapse: block everything regardless of the damage done to the nation. Meanwhile, this election marks the culmination of a 40-year campaign by Republicans to seize control of the courts and solidify conservative power in spite of shifting demographics. Once in power, Democrats should blow up these governing systems that only exist to maintain the status quo, to the detriment of minority interests. Any aspect of comity, decorum or civility has already been perverted by Republicans in pursuit of raw, naked power for their billionaire donor class. The days of the Senate being the “cooling saucer” of Congress are gone, and along with them should go those relics of a slave-based economy and the Jim Crow system of oppression: the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster. Expansion of the entire court system must follow, coinciding with a revamping of the police and criminal justice systems and yes, that includes the Supreme Court. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Nathaniel Helms: ‘Reveal the real creative genius of the American people’
In less than a fortnight, America will have a new president. The new man will be former Vice President Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s proven choice for carrying his water in the U.S. legislature. He has walked the walk, looked over the brink. He will immediately reverse course on the current administration’s do-nothing cure and energize our country against the scourge of COVID-19. Biden’s not perfect, but he far better reflects the will of the American people than the brass-covered ass-hat running against him. Biden’s emphasis is on people, especially those who would shepherd in an era of technological greatness, people who are teetering on the verge of destruction in today’s Trumplandian world. The greatness of America is in its craftsmen, artisans, designers and inventors. Biden does know and he does care, and will move to fix things, particularly with a Democratic Congress behind him. Biden’s goals will reveal the real creative genius of the American people, greatness far beyond another Trump Tower, a porous border wall, or an idiot who thinks renewable energy is a bad thing at a time when Earth is choking on carbon emissions. Biden’s kind of class is free. It doesn’t come with a steak. He exudes it generously whenever presenting his vision of the United States to the despairing people who made it great when times were booming. He knows what it means when America’s working men and women are able to generously provide for their families. Donald Trump destroyed what was left of that vision in four years, without ever realizing he was doing it. Trump believes, with all his heart, that he is a wonderful human being of unique and valuable character. The world, however, sees him as a pathetic, tasteless, gutless, emotionally challenged man. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Glenn Redus: ‘Democracy depends on an informed electorate’
I’m dismayed by my fellow Americans who look at polls and salivate because they believe Donald Trump’s presidency will soon end. How easily they forget how the polls indicated a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016. People say it’ll be different this time, but I think I know this president: There is literally nothing he won’t do to stay in power. Democracy in the United States died prior to 2016 when an awful lot of Americans fell asleep at the switch, more concerned about having to buy subscriptions to read real journalism than they were about being informed by something more reliable than Twitter, Facebook and Fox News. Democracy depends on an informed electorate, and there are too many people in America who are informed only by the pithy and the cute. The outcome of this election will be close, a lot closer than the major polls indicate. PREDICTION: Biden wins the popular vote and the Electoral College, but Trump makes good on his threat to contest the election. Constitutional crisis. Blood in the streets. With his chosen Handmaid on the Supreme Court, Trump somehow retains control.
Deconstructing Doctor: ‘America will rise from the ashes’
By November 4, 2020, we will know that Joe Biden is president because he will have won in a landslide the likes of which this country has never seen. It will be tremendous. Biden will win and Trump will lose, bigly. But the biggest losers of all will be the American people for having endured four years of hypocrisy, racism, science denial, job loss, economic destruction and the ramifications of being ill-prepared and misled during a global pandemic. Americans lost their lives for trusting a failed businessman, conman and narcissist to lead this great country. America will rise from the ashes, a phoenix for justice, and her dream of freedom and equality will persist. In the end, when Biden wins, America wins. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Debbie Dowling: The ‘silent majority’ is still out there
I think it’s going to be tight right until the end, with Pennsylvania possibly deciding it. Unfortunately, I think Donald Trump will win again based on that “silent majority” that he won in 2016. I hope I’m wrong. PREDICTION: Trump wins
Robert Ott, Israel Bureau: ‘We’ve crossed the line of no return’
It was the early 1980s and Ronald Reagan was president. I pledged allegiance to the flag at school (and everything it stood for) and I was proud to be an American. Well, as proud as an 8-year-old can be. I was living in the land of the free; the home of the brave! We had defeated the axis of evil in World War II and had liberated my distant, Jewish relatives from the hellish death camps. America, despite the racial injustice, misogyny and bigotry at home, was a place for good people. I never understood how fascist regimes came to be. How could an entire population suddenly embrace an intolerant, nationalistic and violent demagogue? These are not stupid people. These are doctors and scholars. It boggled my mind for decades. After four years of Donald Trump, I’m afraid I understand all too well how it happens. Like the boiling frog parable, we’re cooked slowly. We’ve crossed the line of no return. I wish I could write that voting for Joe Biden will turn back the clock, but it won’t. It will postpone the inevitable reckoning that we have as a nation, but that day of reckoning is coming. Racism never died. Anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia . . . kids in cages. It was all here, hiding, waiting for the pied piper of the alt-right to start playing his tune. If Trump wins, the America that I once looked up to as a beacon of democracy, justice and equality will go dark forever, another fallen empire in a history of falling empires. Nero fiddled and Trump will golf. PREDICTION: We’ve already lost, but a Joe Biden win gives us a few more years before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.
Fred Bunch: What happens if he won’t concede?
With the most important POTUS election in our lifetimes just days away, the present Oval Office Occupant, trailing in polls, has said he won’t concede, nor leave the White House. With Trump’s flock of worshipers threatening civil war, I predict Joseph Biden Jr. will win the likely contested election. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Madmegsblog, Canada Bureau: ‘A win for the rationals’
It’s not even four full years and it feels like we’ve all run a marathon of biblical proportions with no finish line bonus of that second coming of Christ. Not even a glimpse. I guess Mike Pence’s reflection in those “Gay Conversion Therapy” posters is good enough. 2020 may feel like the year even Trump couldn’t outdo in the deranged category, and so many pin their hopes on the U.S. election steering 2021 into calmer, more intelligent times. Part of me feels that the unhinged lunacy is just warming up, but the optimist (aka Canadian) in me feels a win for the rationals coming. Let’s MAKE AMERICA SANE AGAIN! PREDICTION: Joe Biden wins. Trump loses whatever batshit-crazy marbles he has left and the GOP throws him to the wolves . . . or to the New York Attorney General.
The Rev. Harry Powell: Trumpism sent ‘howling into the darkness’
I, too, have a dream, it seems: That our bile-spieling, incoherent, lying, disease-spreading, traitorous commander and thief is so roundly humiliated by the final vote totals that he and his drooling, knuckle-dragging collection of grifters, lowlife scum, racists and other living testaments to cracked genes and mutant chromosomes that make the American Dream impossible are forced to go howling into the darkness of night, eventually landing on Rikers Island, where they will wear Kool-Aid lipstick and mascara as they ponder their myriad sins. Justice in the end, so to speak. PREDICTION: Biden, bigly
Deborah Quinn Hensel: ‘I want this country healed’
Okay, we’re getting closer to the most important election in our lifetime. By now, all of you have a pretty good idea of all the crap that has transpired in the last four years. Babies still in cages. Alienation from our allies, who are laughing at us. Peaceful protesters gassed and shot with rubber bullets so he could hold a photo op. The “law and order” president who has had no qualms about breaking at least a dozen laws himself. Protections for the environment and wildlife being rolled back. A wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for is being torn down and sold for scrap as quickly as sections go up. And more than 230,000 people have died from a deadly virus that was mishandled from the beginning. All this at the hands of a “president” who spends his days golfing at the taxpayers’ expense, tweeting, watching himself on television, holding rallies to boost his own ego and lying constantly. He listens to no one. No common-sense advice permeates that thick skull of his. He pays no attention to scientists and doctors, nor to intelligence and security experts. He thinks he’s invincible and that he’s God’s gift to the world. So, if you know someone who continues to support this walking atrocity and affront to democracy, you have to question their judgment, their morals, their character, their ability to reason and their common sense. Frankly, I don’t want to know those people. They sicken me with their lack of humanity. And I want this country healed and returned to its prior status in the world. We can’t get there with this braying orange jackass in power. Vote for decency. Vote for democracy. Vote for Joe Biden. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Chris Lavin: ‘We will all recognize that this is not an us-and-them country’
We will get back on track as a country. The Republicans have some good ideas. So do Democrats. There is a line going down through the center of the aisle in those venerable chambers in Washington, D.C., that people will easily, and tearfully, cross. We will hold hands. We will realize that bullies and those who are bullied are both on the same playground, and the bullies will reach out to take hands, and those who are bullied will accept those hands. We elected the officials in Washington; they will not disappoint us, because we are them. They are us. We will all recognize that this is not an us-and-them country. We will help them and they will help us to reach across that aisle to black hands, white hands, Muslim hands, Catholic hands, immigrant hands, any hand that is held up, ANY hand, and we will all pull on that hand. And they will pull on ours. With that gesture, we will bring back our strength. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Don Lessem: A temporary new resident for Siberia
Biden wins every state. Trump takes off for Russia. Putin, having no further use for him, exiles him to Siberia, where he is mistaken for a beached beluga whale and gutted. We win. Biden wins. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Robin Dalmas: ‘Speechless for the rest of his life’
Americans will cast a freaking avalanche of ballots. Millennials, Gen Z, people of color, and formerly disenfranchised voters will turn out in historic numbers. Because he threw the pandemic playbook into the trash, more than 230,000 Americans died, and the U.S. plummeted into a recession in February, Trump is now doomed. Just ask David C. Barker, professor of government and director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “Going all the way back to 1928, no president who has presided over a recession in the election year (or even the year before the election year) has won re-election. None. Frankly, Trump’s in trouble.” Nevertheless, we won’t know the winner on November 3. Mail-in ballots drag the vote count out for three weeks. (The pesky little blue state I live in, Washington, votes 100 percent by mail and allows mail-in ballots to be counted until Nov. 23.) During the vote count, Trump will tweet his brains out, claim victory, and scream “rigged election.” As December 8 approaches — the “safe harbor” deadline when states must assign electors — Trump will become re-infected with a more virulent strain of COVID-19 (yes, this can happen) and wind up on a ventilator. Incapacitated, he will be unable to carry out his dastardly plan to steal the election, as outlined in a recent Atlantic magazine article. On December 14, electors will meet in their respective states and cast their votes for U.S. president. Joe Biden will be proclaimed winner of both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Trump will survive his second bout with COVID, but it will create extensive neurological damage that renders him speechless for the rest of his life. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Denise Shabazz: ‘Leaders in Third World countries feel sorry for us’
As a black female educator, I have three reasons why Trump’s interests do not align with me. He is a racist, he’s forced schools to open in the age of COVID-19 without a national plan to protect teachers and students, and he’s fast tracked a Supreme Court nominee who doesn’t support Roe vs. Wade. Indeed, these have been four long years of hell that cannot end soon enough. The daily lies and corruption have become so commonplace that I’ve come to think it’s normal. Our democracy has so eroded that leaders in Third World countries feel sorry for us as Americans. The only upside of these four years of despair is that it’s energized voters in ways we’ve never witnessed before. PREDICTION: For these reasons, I predict Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the win.
Masta Talka: A new network television drama
It has been my self-indulgent belief from the very second Donald John Trump took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017, that things just could not end well. I conceded that Trump, another Republican, had lost the popular vote and would win in the antiquated Electoral College in 2016. This time around, I predict I will get everything I want and more. Trump will lose the popular vote again, but this time he will prevail upon his cronies to challenge the victory due to mail-in ballots and hold the election results up in court. We will have a dark fall, filled with more coronavirus stories and uncertainty about who really won the election. After a deal is struck with the last standing Republican, Moscow Mitch McConnell, it is agreed that Trump truly did lose. On the evening of January 20, 2021, following the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, The Donald has a massive nervous breakdown and is found break-dancing in his own poop. Full of, um, stamina, Trump retires from politics and announces the Trump Network and his new television show: “Life After the White House,” starring himself and daughter-wife Ivanka! Number 45 is pardoned from all prosecution. PREDICTION: Biden wins
Skye Hunter: ‘I’ve had enough of all things Trump’
I voted for the Biden-Harris ticket and pray to God with every fiber of my being that the rest of the country comes to its senses and does the same. I’ve had enough of the lies and slander that spew from the mouth of this current administration; enough of the blatant disregard for how our government is supposed to work; enough of the corruption from spineless Republicans who have been complicit with the whims of a madman in dismantling systems established by previous presidents for the benefit of the American people. I’ve had enough of his followers defending the actions of a man who is actually disgusted by them and would not be seen in public with them if not for the fact that he needs their votes. I’ve had enough of hearing his voice and seeing his ridiculous face every day. I’ve had ENOUGH of all things Trump and hope that normalcy will return after November 3, with a president who is sane, who honors the Constitution, and who knows how our government is supposed to work. PREDICTION: Biden-Harris ALL THE WAY.