Still Life of The Author in this New America

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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209 Responses

  1. A Rash Anion says:

    We’ll survive another 4 years, no matter what Trump does or who he turns out to be. We’ll survive because as a democratic republic, we can change our leaders with elections. Trump hasn’t been elected King, just President.

    Also, we’ll survive because we’ll keep fighting. We know this isn’t the end. We can win. The civil libertarian movement won’t bow its head before anyone, won’t stop defending rights, won’t stop fighting the good fight. The ACLU didn’t fold when the PATRIOT act passed, and should Trump and the Republicans try any funny business with people’s rights, we will be there to defend the weak. Even if Trump cows the members of his own party, he won’t cow them all. The most principled defenders of civil liberties in the Republican party and all the Democrats will come together if they have to.

    I’ll call my Senators and my Congressperson if a bad bill about this comes up, and let them know they have my vote, and I’ll have their back if they have to vote in an unpopular way to defend our liberties. The election is over, and the actual work of governance will soon begin, with all that it entails. The process continues, and America is strong. We are strong because of our freedoms and our belief in the American ideal. America isn’t some concept caught in the past. America is a project, ever growing, something we can believe in and bring into the world. We’ll make it. We always have.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Right now, the key steps to watch are what Trump does in his first 100 days.

    He seems intent on denying federal funds to sanctuary cities. Did this happen during Bush II? How much money does the Bay Area get for BART and Muni from the Feds? Is Security at SFO going to be more onerous than in airports in red states?

    This kind of low level harassment is wrong but survivable.

    My real danger sign is if he launches a criminal indictment aganist HRC.

    The fight on the Democratic side is going to be between the “Trump won because of racism/sexism” and “Trump won because of economic insecurity.” FWIW I started off during the primaries on the economic side and switched to the racist side.

    There seems to be an article of faith among many people on the left that racism, bigotry, and nationalism only thrive because of economic insecurity. This is sweet but it seems like it is really naive to me. I think bigotry and racism and authoritarianism might be deeply woven into the DNA of humanity on a certain level.

    Patrick posted some information yesterday which if true is disturbing. Trump allegedly received the most votes from areas that had good recovery of jobs. He received fewer votes in areas that still were suffering from the fiscal crisis. If this is true, I consider it evidence that racism was at the heart of Trump’s victory.

    There are lots of stories coming out about kids being taunted that Trump will send them “back to Mexico” even if the kids are American citizens. There was anti-Semitic graffiti in South Philly. Jewish reporters are sent press releases and anti-Semitic tweets.

    This stuff is going to happen all through Trump’s term or terms because he normalized it and made it acceptable. He doesn’t need to gut the Civil Rights Act. He doesn’t need to pass a nation wide Religious Liberty bill. He can just do nothing about harassment of minorities.

    Yet there seems to be a certain kind of person who did not support Trump but insists Trump won because of sneers from upper-middle class liberals and/or too much tone policing from the “PC squad.” There is a seemingly never reached high bar to pleading racism and bigotry to this crowd. The current taunts are just to be ignored and not condemned. Liberals need to get out of the city and talk to the rural people, the real people.

    To paraphrase, someone else, it is hard to have a conversation with someone who thinks it is really funny to post tweets of Jews in ovens. It is not my responsibility to reach out to bigots.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Personally, I think that Obama should pardon Clinton. This will inoculate her against any investigation.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

        Can you pardon someone who hasn’t committed a crime? Or even been indicted of one?

        Or should Obama just pardon Clinton over imaginary crimes, just in case?Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

          Ford pardoned Nixon pre-emptivelyReport

          • Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

            Yes, but they at least had a crime being investigated, so Ford could actually pardon Nixon for something.

            So what is Obama supposed to pardon Clinton for? Because, to be blunt, her crimes are entirely imaginary. I mean we spent AGES on her emails, but there was a rather thorough investigation that resulted in so little that the FBI couldn’t even recommend the DoJ send it to a grand jury.

            I mean I suppose he could pardon her for imaginary crimes, but that seems…weird. Or issue a blanket pardon, but would she want it? That’d just be effectively admitting you committed crimes you didn’t.

            So we’re back to the question of “What exactly would Obama be offering a pardon for?”Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Morat20 says:

          I’m no fan of Clinton, but yes, he should pardon her for crimes real or imagined while Secretary of State. It would be best for the nation.

          Gerald Ford as President, on September 8, 1974, issued a full and unconditional pardon of Nixon, immunizing him from prosecution for any crimes he had “committed or may have committed or taken part in” as president.

          So it appears one can be pardoned for unspecified crimes, or for no crimes at all. Of course, it would *look* like a Nixon pardon, so I think there’s a good chance she wouldn’t want it.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Marchmaine says:

            Politically, it’d look awful. Personally it’d look awful. It’d basically say “Clinton really IS a crook, and the Democrats are corrupt and covering her lawbreaking”.

            And on her end “I’m a crook and getting my last favor done”.

            The Kimmies of the world would go crazy.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to Morat20 says:

              I hear you.

              President Trump will look the paragon of virtue when he Pardons her.

              All kidding aside, I unequivocally believe that incoming administrations should not settle scores on outgoing administrations; that *has* to be the MO for the nation… even in the broad category of when we believe that what the previous people did was wrong and maybe even illegal.. I’m glad that Obama resisted with Bush/Cheney, and I’d be appalled if Trump went after Obama for Drones/Assassinations/Lists, even though I think them utterly and completely wrong.

              But, Trump made a campaign issue out of prosecuting HRC… the matter will come up again. I think Obama could pull it off with dignity.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Let him prosecute her. It’d be a clear misuse of power to settle a partisan and personal vendetta.

                I suspect she’d relish it — because in the end she broke no laws, as determined by a Republican-headed FBI. Even the GOP Congressional committees couldn’t come up with a credible theory of crime.

                So why should Obama pardon an imaginary crime to prevent Trump from potentially misuing the powers of his office? Especially if his likely target is someone with the resources to fight it — better he show his true colors against someone who can handle it, than do it quietly to people who lack the money and power to fight back.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Morat20 says:

                Your assuming that a Kangaroo court won’t be assembled.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I am indeed. I mean he might try — but there’s nobody on SCOTUS (or, frankly, even the Heritage society wishlist) who would back that play.

                It’d be regular courts, and frankly it’d probably never go to trial. If the judge that saw the case didn’t dismiss it, it’d get killed somewhere in the appeals process.

                One reason I think Clinton would probably be perfectly fine with playing lightning rod. If that’s who Trump is, best to show the nation here and now.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think Trump is going to go the Ford route with a pre-emptive pardon ‘for the good of the country’. It’s a not-so-subtle way of putting the issue to rest and twisting the knife.Report

        • Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Along with Trump himself.
          The bastard’s too stupid to know better.Report

        • He can pardon Christie too.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Goodness, I hadn’t even considered that *Trump* would do it… that’s, that’s just, what, the ultimate concern troll? Only in this era.

          If that’s even a remote possibility, then all the more reason why Obama should do it first.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

            If Obama did it first, it would be seen as an admission of guilt.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to Aaron David says:

              Yeah, that’s my initial point… Then Machiavelli Mike above pointed out the Trump gambit. Worse or better?

              Plus, as long as we’re using Pardons as a weapon, then militarily Obama/HRC should keep the initiative and high ground by Pardoning owing to Trump’s stated intention to prosecute – which they can state is completely wrong since she is 100% innocent, and here’s the pardon to prove end it.

              If you look at it like that, then you should attack with your pardon before you are attacked with his pardon.

              The art of pardoning, admittedly, has fallen out of fashion, but we antiquarians are still around to help.Report

            • Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David says:

              @aaron-david No question. On the other hand, I don’t really see how this ends well, regardless.

              If Trump pardons Clinton, or if he softens his language, that’s going to be seen as a sign that the Clinton Machine has gotten to him. If he has the JD prosecute, and then a judge or jury agrees with the FBI that her crime was incompetence and not treason, the same. The proof of any conspiracy theory, after all, is its very lack of proof. It’s one of the reasons why Presidents shouldn’t dabble in them.

              If on the other hand the White House arranges to go through the process of getting a treason conviction by ignoring the FBI’s and legal experts findings, find her guilty, and jails her (or — because we are talking treason here — something far worse) all for political expediency, then we’re looking at something far worse.

              Save some verifiable smoking gun suddenly turning up and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sec. Clinton committed treason and worked with our foreign enemies to destroy the country, I see no good way out of this mess. (Unless, perhaps, the people who elected Trump collectively decide that they went overboard, and give him the green light to let bygones by bygones.)Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                The answer is simple, side step both of them.

                Ron Wyden.

                There are enough… improprieties… in the actions of the DNC during this election that a good, deep look doesn’t seem out of place. No partizan will call for it on the left, nor will any on the right accept the walking away. Wyden has always had a good reputation as a fair and honest man. He calls for a Senate investigation, both parties digging into it, let the chips fall as they might. Subpoena O’Keefes videos, subpoena Comey, subpoena… well you get the idea. Clean up their own backyard, so to speak. Right now is the time also, if dirt turns up on the left, they really don’t have anything to lose, they already lost it.

                Perfect time for a housecleaning.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David says:

                That might be wise in the long run, and goodness knows it would certainly be popular with me — someone who thinks the party needs a cleaning of both corruption and complacency.

                But it still dodges the issue at hand. If you are wanting Hilary jailed or hung and have been promised that it will be done, it doesn’t matter that a Democrat called for an investigation that found her not guilty of treason against the United States. If anything, it makes it worse.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                That is why I would make sure that the panel was filled with as many out-for-blood R’s as you can get on it. And now is the time that blood can be spilled.

                And that is why you need to get out front with this. And probably some sacrificial lambs also too. Holder and Lerner would be my choices for that. Probably Comey also, but I am sure he would fall on his sword.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David says:

                How do you propose punishing Holder? He’s in private practice now, he’s already resigned from public office. Are you proposing that we jail him in addition to/instead of Clinton?

                Unsure where you’re going with this; just looking for clarification of what you’re hoping will happen.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                If Eric Holder gets in legal trouble for a bit part in Clinton’s email shenanigans while Dick Goddamn Cheney walked away for the good of the country, I really might move to Canada.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Apparently we’ve got to feed blood to the Trump voters or else bad things might happen.

                Actual guilt is, of course, unnecessary as long as the public flagellation occurs.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Morat20 says:

                So I’m seeing a couple lessons for Democrats here:
                #1: deficits don’t matter. Don’t try to balance budgets, because if you do the next guy will just blow it in tax cuts.
                #2: obstructionism works and the voters will never punish you for it.
                #3: Presidents only get to nominate judges if their party controls the Senate.
                #4: it’s perfectly normal and reasonable to, upon taking power, use the machinery of the state to try ti put your defeated rivals in jail.

                Man, what can possibly go wrong here?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

                *shrug*. It doesn’t matter. We can always rely on the Democrats to clean up the mess. It’s been the pattern for the last 30 years or so. What the GOP breaks, the Democrats painfully fix.

                And then get booted.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                OK, Lynch then. The point is that there have been real feeling that the Hatch amendment has been violated with the IRS. And that taints the Dems rather severely, as it wasn’t cleaned up under Obama.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David says:

                It’s so reassuring that were going to prosecute the other party’s officeholders based upon “real feelings” that corruption must have existed. I can’t hardly wait.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Aaron David says:

                So, in short, we’ve got to feed the crowd blood? Regardless of the law?

                “Sorry, we don’t think you broke the law. But we’re gonna drag you through the courts, Congress, and public opinion until the mob gets good feelings. Try to suffer as obviously as possible, or we might to jail you on some pretext”.Report

          • Kim in reply to Marchmaine says:

            it’s only a concern troll if it doesn’t get trump killed by one of the rednecks.
            If it becomes that, well, say hello to Mr Toes The Line PenceReport

    • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It is not my responsibility to reach out to bigots.

      When my parents were adolescents, bigotry was an unremarkable fact of life, something as pervasive as cigarettes and trousers. By the time I became an adolescent, open expressions of bigotry had become shocking and shameworthy.

      How do you think that happened? Given that you observe cultural backsliding to more open appearances of bigotry, how do you propose to push our culture’s trajectory back in the better direction?

      Withdrawing to your own bubble isn’t going to get that done. It will, however, accelerate the Big Sort, which is itself a catalyst for this kind of behavior.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


        I think it happened through protests, rules of law, and people being shocked and horrified by Bull Connor and George Wallace.

        I also think Nixon’s Southern Strategy worked but he was dealing with an age where the liberal Republican still existed and the Democrats controlled Congress.

        The Big Sort happened. It’s done.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


        This is the sort of stuff that is happening in Trump’s America:

        I suspect that, at best, this kind of stuff is going to continue for the next four to eight years. Maybe two if we are really lucky and the Democrats regain control of Congress in 2018. People who live in blue areas and/or have sympathetic bosses and managers will have their complaints dealt with.

        I suspect that people who live in areas that are more red than blue and/or have unsympathetic managers or school heads will not have these incidents dealt with and will need to just suck it up.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Isn’t it still Obama’s America, until noon eastern on Jan 20?Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

            Do you really think this sort of stuff would be happening if HRC was elected President?

            Yes there are people with bigoted views in both parties but only Trump ran on the campaign tactics and hate that Tod mentioned above. Yet you still feel the great need to get a dig at liberals rather than acknowledge the horribleness of what is going on. Trump unleashed this genie out of the bottle. Not HRC, not Obama. But the libertarian-contrarian need to sneer at liberals rules over any decent analysis.Report

            • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              The woman who has a serial adulterer as a husband, and supported him through all that, ran on exactly how misogynistic her opponent was.

              Politics of hate cut both ways.Report

            • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Actually, I was more than mildly concerned that citizen militia types would react with violence — like what the armed supporters of Cliven Bundy or Bundy’s son’s weirdo sit-in at a wildlife preserve looked like, only this time with actual shots fired.

              Lefty protests of Trump’s election last night were also not entirely violence-free or even crime-free.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Let me know when they take over a federal building for a few months.

                I mean don’t get me wrong — I think the protests are stupid, the violence deplorable, and am happy to see anyone who committed crimes during such to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

                But I think that shows a big difference between the right and the left these days. We’re worried about armed insurrection on one side, and on the other — large protests may have a few pockets of people looting or robbing.Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      More dangerous if Trump doesn’t go after Clinton, honestly.
      That’ll be a signal as to whom he’s listening to.

      Did you know the Powers that Be bought Gore off after 2000?
      They like the whole “you’re done. now go away, no prosecution.”Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I kind of think I’d love it if he tried to prosecute Hillary. Because unlike politics, courts run on this thing called evidence, and they don’t have any. They will be exposed for the fools they are.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        A lack of evidence, or even plentiful evidence that he’s lying, hasn’t hurt Trump much so far. The specific evidence in a trial isn’t going to be directly covered in a way understandable to, or in media followed by, 90% of the country.

        There would of course be an acquittal, or even a dismissal for lack of evidence. But Trump could just say “the courts are rigged” and get away with it.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to dragonfrog says:

          This is a result I fear very, very much.

          Bad enough that Trump’s folks only think that elections aren’t rigged unless their candidate wins.

          Once they start thinking the courts are rigged too, shit’s getting serious.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

            FWIW, I notice a distinct lack of “The election was rigged” on the left — despite the fact that it appears the polls in every swing state were massively off.

            Nobody credible (there’s always somebody) is suggesting some large scale fix.

            The only grumbling is over actual deeds already known (voter suppression) and I don’t think anyone felt that swung the election, and certainly not 3 or 4 points worth. And some grumbling about the electoral college, but not in the “Trump shouldn’t be President” way. More in the “that’s twice now, maybe we should change this going forward” way.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t think the debate is between people who thought Trump won because of racism/sexism and people who thought Trump won because of economic security. The debate is more about why did seven million or so people not show up at the polls. One side says that its mainly because of racism/voter suppression. The other side says that while voter suppression is a factor, its not enough to explain a drop off of this magnitude. This relates to the debate on whether Clinton was a good candidate or not. My personal feeling is that Clinton’s loss is demonstrating a big flaw in Social Justice/Identity Politics as a tool in getting votes during elections and a lot of people do not want to admit this.

      I think you are right about what happens to Clinton after the election is the biggest indication of how dangerous a Trump administration will be. Indicting Clinton and trying in her Court is going to indicate a lot of lawlessness and persecution are coming.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:


        I think both conversations are going to be had.

        I get why people want to believe in the “It’s economic insecurity” argument. This is something comforting to believe in because it is easier to deal with economics than it is to deal with possibly innate racism and ethno-nationalism.

        Ethno-nationalism is a problem whose solution is either non-existent or the continued and slow boring of hard wood. It also possibly means losing friendships because just because Bob has always been decent to you, does not mean that he is not a horrible racist.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          People are tribal beings and Identity politics as practiced by some liberals is a very poor solution to the problem of ethno-nationalism because a shared communal identity is required for Identity politics. That means identity politics will just exasperate the situation. What identity politics among minorities seems to do is get the majority group to see themselves by their identity actively rather than passively because it reminds the majority group that not everybody is like them. Since the majority group has the most numbers, their identity politics tend to dominate.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I’m seeing more and more signs that indicate some kind of divorce is coming.

    The blank slate is necessary for kicking this divorce down the road. Hey, we’re starting over. We’re going to help each other. Give each other a shot. Be friends. Be kind. Set ground rules for trusting each other without taking into account all of the little betrayals that take place.

    If the argument is that there were too many betrayals that took place, we’re stuck in a place where we have elections and the person who wins the election gets to say “ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES!” and start telling 100% of the country what to do based on less than 50% of the vote… which will breed nothing but resentment and make it even more important to win the election (even with less than 50% of the vote) next time.

    The whole “hey, these are the areas where elections don’t make a difference” thing might work… covering various Constitutional Amendments but the Constitution doesn’t freaking matter anymore and, even if it did, well, you have to understand what the Founding Fathers meant by “Peaceful Assembly” and “Interstate Commerce” and ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES and we’re back to “how can we get along?” vs. “what do we do if we can’t get along?”

    I’m not to “what do we do if we can’t get along?” yet (though I have had some ideas) but “we can only get along if I’m allowed to tell you what to do” is not going to work forever.

    It’s not going to work for a decade, I don’t think.

    In the short term: blank slate. And use the eyes of a hawk to look for defections that we can then use to explain why we’re defecting back.Report

    • fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird says:

      I really don’t want to wind up having to be sure I have an up-to-date passport in order to visit my relatives on the East Coast. (I presume this is what you mean by “divorce.”)

      I know a year or so ago when people were talking “Texit” (Texas secession) I was cringing because *that’s where I go to shop for groceries* and the logistics involved with crossing a border, paying customs (oh, I KNOW my state would charge me customs on anything I bought “over there”), etc. would be woeful.

      I think we’re just living in the Land of Unintended Consequences right now, and actually have been for a while. It’s hard ‘cos it makes the life of the ordinary person more complicated or harder….Report

      • Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk says:

        And now we’re talking about Calexit.

        Leaving in a huff ain’t just for rednecks anymore.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

          Oh, leaving in a huff is for everyone. It just never happens. I say this as a Texan that has to listen to it all the freaking time.

          It’s…venting, and not worth any mental effort to think about.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

            It’s…venting, and not worth any mental effort to think about.

            You mean like all those ‘kickers talking about how they’re not going to vote for Jeb but nominate someone like Trump?Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

              Um, no. I mean literally “No state is going to leave the union over this, so why worry about it”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s getting difficult for me to distinguish between the different kinds of things that I don’t have to worry about happening.Report

              • Guy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Personally, I suggest you add that one to the list.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                If a state leaves the union anytime in the next, oh, 16 years, you’re free to constantly remind me how wrong I was.:)

                Personally, I got sick of this phase of elections back in 2000. We’re all in the hair shirt phase. I guess we have to suffer and complain and point fingers and assign blame almost randomly at times (so far I’ve heard about 15 contradictory analysis of the results, who to blame, what went wrong, etc). And then after the orgy of recrimination, then comes the actual work.

                That part’s useful.Report

          • fillyjonk in reply to Morat20 says:

            I know a couple people (not-celebrity people, I mean) who are talking about moving overseas. In one case one has close enough blood relatives that the country might actually permit that, in the other case I think it’s highly questionable they’d be able to get citizenship.

            Eh, meh. If I ever did a “leave in a huff” it would be doing something like buying a parcel of land WAAAAAAY out in the country, building a cabin, and trying to live off the land. I’d probably come back when I ran out of tp, though.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      @jaybird I think you are right here… we’ve bantered a bit on this topic and I think that a healthy devolution is a political practice that would allow for steam to escape in lots of small holes rather than one big one.

      However I used the word practice advisedly… we are out of practice; and not only out of practice but our habits of mind and politics are turned towards centralization. And this is making the Federal stakes too high. It is what forced people I know to vote for a man they are certain is unfit for the office (just unfit in a different way than his opponent). They lost their nerve not to vote.

      I’m not sure I can explain in detail (too much inside baseball); but in the strangest of never expected events, John Podesta spooked a whole group (probably not a decisive group, but a group non-the-less) by dismissing Subsidiarity.

      So, ironically, maybe Subsidiarity is the word back to Polity.Report

  4. Anne says:

    My Tod how bittersweet for your son and your family. But congrats on an amazing season.

    I’m with you on the blank slate, it angers me to see some of the very ones complaining of GOP obstructionism talking about having the democrats do the same exact thing. We are better than this.

    One silver lining of this election is that since Oklahoma is so red I got to vote for the libertarians Gary Johnson got 6% which means the Libertarian party retains ballot access for 2018Report

  5. Aaron David says:

    Hubris clobbered by nemesis.

    That is what happened on Tuesday, make no mistake. And like many acts of hubris, the payback was a b****. The Dems lost it all on the national level, as the Repubs, that party of broken elephants, had built up a ruthlessly strong machine at the local and state level. When they rose up in ’10, giving a shellacking to the Dems, that was a sign. When they took the Senate two years ago, that was a sign.

    The hubris was believing their own bullshit. All it takes is one true believer to fudge the numbers a bit, just to make himself a little more appealing to his bosses, and the game is over. The thing that I truly think messed up the Dems was going after health care like they did. That was not why people voted for them, they were voted in because of the economy. But they kept telling themselves that HCR was the important part. Because that had always been important to them. Hubris.

    This is one of the more gracious posts regarding the election, well, outside the damning with faint praise. If you turn your head a few degrees, most of the fears you have are seen from the other side. “[O]r scrapping the first amendment when it’s convenient to deal with faiths that make white people nervous” reminds me of nothing so much as Citizens United or Hobby Lobby, the latter’s faith making many white people nervous.

    Congratulations to your son, they are well deserved and it is fun watching them grow up. I am sure I will see you sometime next month.Report

    • Kim in reply to Aaron David says:

      Healthcare is 16% of our GDP. Fixing it helps the economy bigtime.Report

      • Aaron David in reply to Kim says:

        “Well, the house burned down, but we fixed the plumbing first! (‘Course all the neighbors hated how we fixed it…)Report

        • Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David says:

          Out of curiosity, if everybody hates it when Trump signs Obamacare repeal and a bunch of people lose their coverage and premiums continue to rise, will that mean that the public loved the ACA all along, or that public opinion is complex and fickle?Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Don Zeko says:

            The second. Interestingly, I wonder if the ACA is safer than it seems. Republicans voted for appeal when they knew it was symbolic. Are they really going to vote for repeal when 18-20 million people losing insurance is on the line.

            Lots of people think the answer to this is yes and I honestly think it could be yes as well. But this shows how much bad faith is present in the system.

            I can’t fully get behind the blank state this time. I was able to with Bush II in 2000. I think Trump broke too many taboos and his sons flirted with the alt-right way too much.

            Interestingly the weirdest reaction seems to come from libertarians who know Trump goes aganist everything they stand for but I still think libertarians swing right by contrarian affinity. They have sympathies to anti PC ness.

            The other issue with blank state is that it does seem to come from being culturally safe. I.e. White and nominally ChristianReport

          • Aaron David in reply to Don Zeko says:

            “public opinion is complex and fickle”

            Take this to heart. And be very, VERY wary of who is saying that repeal is going to be hated.Report

            • Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David says:

              I feel exceedingly confident that, by the standards used to declare the ACA unpopular, repeal will be more unpopular once it takes effect. I guess we’ll see who is right in a year or so.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Don Zeko says:

                I am not sure this is right.

                For many of those who will see continued rate increases, it will be a same-same. For those who opt out of the healthcare system altogether (a lot, assuming we go back to pre-ACA-like number) will see it as a cost savings for the next decade or so, until they have to opt in due to age and/or health reasons. The remaining group of people who need immediate healthcare and who don’t have either insurance or qualify for Medicaid will be large on a human scale, but small on an electoral one. So I can easily see it being popular with voters.

                (Until they get to a certain age, that is. Then not having access to affordable health insurance will kind of suck.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Until they get to a certain age, that is. Then not having access to affordable health insurance will kind of suck.

                Colorado passed Prop 106.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

                Great. I’m sure that when there are treatments to their illnesses they can’t afford, terminally ill patients will be thrilled to know that at least they can get drugs from the state to make those final days less painful.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Expect more of this.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

                More drugs? Man, you are a libertarian!

                (that was a joke)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Wait, re-reading this, I think that you think that I referring to Amendment 64, the weed one.

                I wasn’t.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                FWIW,@rtod and @jaybird I think Colorado will find ways to look after people. Our single payer bill failed but it was a pretty big mess. I’m not sure I would’ve voted for it if I could’ve, because it wouldn’t have worked. (And I’m an enormous fan of single-payer.) Before Obamacare, we had serious amounts of extra, state-provided medical care for low income people (that took number of dependents, etc., into account), and more than that again for people who qualified as indigent.

                Despite our reputation, we’re a pretty purple state. Healthcare is one of those things that Coloradans seem to want to support for each other.

                I’m more worried about people in those contexts in states that have less collective empathy. And about the struggling lower-middle-class, but at least CO keeps voting in minimum wage increases…

                I think we will see have and have-not states, healthcare wise, within less than a year if ACA is repealed. Which will, of course, only exacerbate the Big Sort – but at least there will *be* have states.

                (Not to get all super-political on a not super-political post, but given that one of my biggest worries right now is “how will we take care of other?” it’s comforting to remember that not all state governments don’t care about that. Regardless of party (CO’s healthcare stuff long predates Hickenlooper).Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                In fact, looking through some of this stuff, I just found out we have a statewide prescription assistance program. Not quite as helpful as my insurance on the drugs I pay more than standard copay for – but pretty close – and available to *everyone* regardless of income or insurance status.

                That’s pretty cool. And somewhat reassuring personally since some of my drugs like to suddenly threaten to cost 3 grand a month…Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Maribou says:

                I voted for the single-payer amendment. I used to do state budgets — the amendment was complicated because for a state to try it, it has to be complicated. Essentially, a state has to pull together all of the existing moneys spent on health insurance in the state — Medicaid and CHP, employer and employee payments for private health insurance, workers comp, premiums for policies bought on the exchange and the subsidies for those, etc — in order to make such a plan financially feasible. The taxes that collect those moneys can’t create too many net winners and losers. The federal government has to give explicit permission for many of those to happen. I was impressed that the sponsors managed to outline all of that in an amendment that was only twelve pages long.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain Yeh, I probably would’ve voted for it if I could vote – I think the mess was more the fault of trying-to-work-around-the-existing-stupidly-f-d-up-system than anything else. And the reason I don’t think it would’ve worked is because the existing stupidly f’d up system would’ve made sure it got hamstrung pretty quickly.

                I only meant to say that just because people didn’t vote to make one state single payer, here, doesn’t mean they are against single payer, here, in general.

                Coloradans tend, in my experience, to be deeply wary of government complexity and it doesn’t always indicate their actual feelings about something.

                Sorry, I should’ve been clearer.Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    Congratulations to your family, the school, and especially your coach. Coaches can be very, very special people.

    When I was a lad, I played little league baseball in a smallish town in Iowa. Sat the bench a lot. The year the people in charge expanded by a team, the new high-school guidance counselor and former minor-league player volunteered to coach the new team. During the debate on how the other coaches were going to be able to keep from giving up any of their best players, the new coach reportedly stood up and said,”Give me the kids you don’t want.” I was told years later over a beer with my Dad that at the first parents meeting, the new coach said something to the effect of “Baseball’s not hard. But no one’s ever taken the time to teach your kids the skills, they’ve simply settled for playing the kids who are gifted enough to pick it up on their own. So we’re going to teach them to play baseball. Get them gear that fits. Show them how to do it, praise them every time they do it right, correct them gently when they get it wrong and show them again. Anyone who ever yells at one of my kids for doing something wrong is banned from practices.”

    We lost the championship game that summer by a couple of runs, to the team with all the studs on it. And damn, half a century later I still remember that season. Very special, indeed.Report

  7. j r says:

    I don’t know if anyone else experienced this, but there have been some moments on Facebook and Instagram where I’m seeing pre-election posts mixed in with post-election posts. And the effect is surreal. But also rather disconcerting.Report

  8. Maribou says:

    Thank you for posting this, OurTod. You are one of the most beautiful writers and human beings I know.Report

  9. Mike Dwyer says:


    Just to comment on the OP…What a beautifully-written post. I know this is a tough break for your son, but he’s going to benefit from this experience for the rest of his life. And for the rest of the piece, thank you for sharing your personal thoughts with us. It’s always an exercise in bravery to put these things out there.

    Ironically, while you have felt yourself maybe becoming a little more grumpy about politics, I had been going the opposite direction. I have been in a good place politically. I like my Independent status. It’s nice to choose my positions issue by issue and not feeling like I have to hold the party line. I will admit though, the last 24 hours have been tough. Seeing the sour reactions from the Left to a fair and democratic election…it’s bringing me back to a dark place. Hoping this is just temporary but I fear it’s not. The next 4 years may be a rough ride.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Hey Mike, I’ll let the students who were crying in my friends class because their worried they’ll be kicked out of the country because they’re children of illegal immigrants that they should just suck it up because it was a fair and democratic election (of course, ignoring that minority turnout just happened to fall worse in states that passed voter ID since 2012).Report

    • North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      It’s temporary, it always is.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      . Seeing the sour reactions from the Left to a fair and democratic election…it’s bringing me back to a dark place

      Was it when Clinton refused to concede and claimed the elections were rigged?

      Or when the Democrats vowed behind closed doors to obstruct everything Trump supports, no matter what?

      Do you not remember 2008? 2012? Or heck, the last debate of 2016 and Trump’s rhetoric on ‘rigged’ elections heading up to voting night?

      Yet you castigate the Left’s response?

      They lost. They’re unhappy. But you don’t see Clinton refusing to concede, or Obama snubbing Trump, or Democratic leaders vowing to ‘investigate’ the election — despite a huge polling failure.

      Yeah, apparently some idiots are protesting in a few blue cities. It happens. But if they represent the left, then David Duke represents the GOP’s leadership and I can complain endlessly about how the Republicans are all part of the KKK and how truly demoralizing I find that.Report

      • j r in reply to Morat20 says:

        Yeah, apparently some idiots are protesting in a few blue cities. It happens. But if they represent the left, then David Duke represents the GOP’s leadership and I can complain endlessly about how the Republicans are all part of the KKK and how truly demoralizing I find that.

        This is it, isn’t it. Ideological warfare now. Ideological warfare tomorrow. Ideological warfare forever.

        You ever think that maybe there is a better way?Report

        • Kazzy in reply to j r says:

          This feels pretty unfair. There was an “if” in there.Report

          • j r in reply to Kazzy says:

            The thing that I keep saying over and over again is that this isn’t about fair. This is about actions and the consequences of those actions. That’s it. Nothing more.

            I’m not at all happy about a Trump presidency, but there is a reason why I’m not freaking out about it. It’s because I saw it coming. And I saw it coming because I take steps to make sure that I don’t exist in a bubble. If other people, on the left and the right, want to fight to defend their bubbles, that’s fine.

            All I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to be that way.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to j r says:


              I took Morat’s point to be that focusing on the protests is to miss the broader liberal response. If that point constitutes ideological warfare, I’m calling that unfair.Report

            • trizzlor in reply to j r says:

              I’m actually confused here. Why does foreseeing a Trump presidency necessarily imply that one should not fear it? We know that Trump’s proposals can be extreme. We have been promised that he will be moderate, and that American institutions will hold him back if he’s not. So doesn’t fear of Trump fully correspond to how much you trust American institutions to protect you?Report

        • Morat20 in reply to j r says:

          Why don’t you ask the folks wanting to kick people out of the country?

          I mean I admit, having one side surrender unilaterally WOULD stop the ideological warfare briefly.

          But you know what? I’m kind of against kicking out Americans because they’re the wrong religion. I’m against treating blacks as second class citizens. I’m against government so small it only fits into the bedroom and the uterus.

          And yet, a few people here seem to feel I should compromise my beliefs to make someone else feel better. “They resent you, can’t you see that? They need help!”.

          Yes I can. Heck, I even understand. But they also want to do some rather terrible things out of that resentment, and I can’t stand idly by and allow that just so their feelings aren’t hurt.

          And yet — funny story here — we still try to help them, Even when they slap it away, we’re trying to improve their wages, their access to healthcare, to give them a safety net and access to the tools they need for a better life.

          So in short, I DO think there’s a better way. I supported people trying to do it. And what do I get? Lectured about my tone, as if my tone took away their jobs and is ripping apart their towns.

          I’d say that superior lecture on ‘tone’ and ‘understanding’ is the political version of grammar nazi’s — that is, pedantic pointlessness that derails communication instead of enhancing it — except grammar nazi’s are frequently correct about the grammar.

          So tl:dr — yeah, I think there’s a better way. It’s called “helping them” and I supported doing it. They decided to vote for a con man that lied and claimed he could get their jobs back, and yet I still support policies that would help them, even after they slapped that help away. A process that’s been going on decades.Report

          • j r in reply to Morat20 says:

            Why don’t you ask the folks wanting to kick people out of the country?

            I do ask those people. And their response sounds a lot like yours.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to j r says:

              Let me know when you’ve made some progress over there.

              As I said, I’ve been supporting programs that help them (and not me, for that matter — I actually help pay for them) for decades now. I’ve been trying to help those folks.

              For good reason. Some of them are my relatives and friends.

              If you can think of any programs that would help more, feel free to let me know. However, I’m not going to lie to them. Their factory jobs aren’t coming back. I can’t change that. No one can. Coal is dying, and it’s not the EPA is cheap natural gas. I can’t change that.

              And you know what? I treat them like grownups and tell them that directly, rather than pretend I can. I’m sure that tone fosters ideological warfare, but treating them like children can’t be any better.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Morat20 says:

                I treat them like grownups and tell them that directly, rather than pretend I can. I’m sure that tone fosters ideological warfare, but treating them like children can’t be any better.

                It’s worth noting that HRC never really did this. She didn’t confront them with the hard truth that their jobs are gone and not coming back and then offer solutions. She game them vague bullshit like “America Is Already Great” while videos and emails kept coming out of her schmoozing with the establishment that had screwed them over, videos and emails that she made very little effort to confront. Trump gave them focused bullshit – “I’m going to get you your job back” – and he fought aggressively and theatrically with establishment figures. Go watch Clinton’s closing argument vs Trump’s. Who would you have gone with? Now imagine that instead of running a months-long reiteration of the “Roar” music video, Clinton actually went to these communities and told them hard truths and *specific solutions*. Maybe Trump’s bullshit would’ve sounded better and she still would have lost. But at least then, once Trump’s checks started to bounce, the party would be in a credible position to come back to these people and say “alright, do you believe us now?”Report

  10. gregiank says:

    Good stuff Tod.Report

  11. North says:

    A fine post, spot on in general gist and tone my Todd.

    I’d agree that the left in general and the Democratic Party in particular should, once they get over their period of morning and Obama exits the stage, eschew entirely the idea of aping the GOP’s nakedly cynical total opposition strategy. That will be a bitter thing to do, the right has reaped several rewards for doing so, power and a supreme court justice spring immediately to mind. But the point is to be better than them and to try and live by the First Lady’s motto.
    A blanket opposition strategy should be, indeed, taken off the table but that shouldn’t mean no opposition. They should participate in a normal process for filling the vacant Supreme Court seat, filibuster only in the case of a nakedly ridiculous appointee, bite their tongues at the robbery and note that our new norm is that Presidents don’t get to fill Supreme Court vacancies in the last year of their term if the opposition controls the Senate.
    On taxes and other policy I’d say your blank slate suggestion is a good one. Support legislation that meets their principles; offer to trade votes for policy concessions on legislation that doesn’t and keep their focus on practical matters.
    On the ACA, however, I think that that is a good candidate for some hard ball. If, as currently appears, the GOP’s repeal and replace amounts to simply repeal I think the Democratic Party would be justified going to the mat to oppose it. If the GOP punts by just mauling it through reconciliation there’s really nothing the Dems can do but if they go for a full repeal with a George W Bush style election mandate, the Democratic Senators should filibuster it until the GOP either deals or does away with the filibuster. They’ll ultimately loose, of course, McArdle lays out hos the GOP can destroy the ACA more cheaply through simple neglect but if the right wants to strip that accomplishment away they should be made to wear it.

    I can imagine some other policies that would probably merit similar opposition but not many. The Donald won the election and he should be allowed to govern. As left wingers our first priority should definitely be on sorting out what to do for the future and what to do about ourselves.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

      McConnell will just take away all the procedural tools for total opposition anyway, so aping the total opposition strategy is not going to work in the Senate at least.Report

      • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Good. I like that contrast. The Dems painfully assembled their coalition, played by the rules and when Brown got elected respected the rules again. Then the GOP gets in and busts the lot of it. I like the contrast.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

      I’m going to push back a bit on the ACA, out of what I see as a long-term vs. short-term POV.

      As I’ve noted since before it passed, the ACA is at best a half-finished product that pushes back the crossing of adverse-selection premium/care lines without dealing with their fundamental causes. Completing it in a way that deals with the more politically difficult choices that have to be made was never going to happen with roughly half the country (or more?) bitterly opposing it.

      Republicans have maintained for almost a decade that if we just got rid of the ACA, the problems associated with exponential premium growth would simply disappear. (No matter that the problem existed for half a century before the ACA was passed.) Before the ACA, the policy for dealing with exponentially growing premiums for both parties was to pretend that problem didn’t exist.

      I’m not sure the GOP has that option any longer. I think if they dismantle the ACA and exponential growth continues, it suddenly becomes their fault — in the same way that premium hikes this year were the Dems fault. Having an exponentially growing segment of the population not being able to afford healthcare premiums (and therefore, healthcare) be your party’s fault means that your party to stop pretending the problem doesn’t exist and make an effort to deal with it. This is the very reason I supported Obama’s passing the bill even when I thought it was a terrible one — he made it a problem that the Democrats had to own, and therefore forced them to address it downstream.

      If the Dems gather enough forces to stave off the gutting of the ACA, we’ll be exactly where we are right now: exponential growth in premiums, no cooperation in terms of dealing with that, and half the country believing (and half the country’s politicians running on the argument) that everything would magically fix itself if it weren’t for those meddling kids, the ACA, and the Donkeys.

      I think long-term, the elimination of the ACA by the GOP right now is the best way to get where we need to be in ten years.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod Kelly: I’m not sure the GOP has that option any longer. I think if they dismantle the ACA and exponential growth continues, it suddenly becomes their fault — in the same way that premium hikes this year were the Dems fault

        If the rise of ISIL was still Bush’s fault for meddling in Iraq, the continued health care system cost problems can still be Obama’s fault for meddling in the health care system. (I’m not saying either is correct or not, just that it’s a claim with where the message can have traction)

        I’m with you on the larger point. I’ve long said that I think the economy is going to take some kind of downturn in the next few years, simply because we’re at the top of the business cycle as these things are normally timed. The Dems should be able to take things back in that downturn and ACA that’s had a cold reboot may be the best thing going forward (if people have learned from their mistakes)

        Sucks for the people in the short term that may lose coverage, but we’ve already been long handwaving over that’s there’s already been a lot of losers as well as winners. (And also handwaving over some kludges that stopped losers from being losers even though that was a necessary design feature of the original system)Report

      • nevermoor in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        … and who cares about people without health insurance in the interim. After all, IGMReport

        • Morat20 in reply to nevermoor says:

          Only Democrats or liberals.

          Fun story: The people most likely to loose health insurance? Lots of them are Trump voters that, I have been reliably assured, Democrats hate because they’re racist and rural.

          It’s a weird hate, where you try to make sure they have support from various safety nets, the ability to get actual (not fake) health insurance and can pay for it, expand Medicare and Medicaid, increase their minimum wage….

          I mean, if I didn’t know that urban liberal elites sneer at those folks in disdain, I’d think liberals actually want to give them a better life.Report

          • North in reply to Morat20 says:

            No no Morat, the rural right wing voters get their healthcare from things like Kynect and the like. Not Obamacare. And Mcconnel promised his voters they could keep Kynect.Report

          • nevermoor in reply to Morat20 says:


            I mean, IGM. And if any of Trump’s tax plans go through, I’ll be a big winner. So as much as anything I’m trying to be a bigger person than just saying, “OK assholes. You picked him, hope you like privatization and poverty.”Report

      • North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I think we want the same end goal, my Todd, but see different ways to get there. The way I see it if the Dems meekly lets the GOP quietly repeal the ACA then when it goes to hell the GOP will A) blame the Dems and B) deny responsibility and we’ve seen how enormously credulous their voters are.

        Whereas if the GOP has to fight a democratic filibuster then change the rules to eliminate the filibuster then repeals the ACA… that’d be a lot harder for them to try and airbrush history about.

        Also there’s the non-zero chance that, faced with stiff opposition, maybe the GOP will go get their healthcare plan from the hidden vault where they store the Iraq WMD’s and Bush’s Brain and actually propose an actual “replace” to go along with their repeal. Or maybe even propose ways to rejigger the ACA to improve it. If they do that then the Dems should deal and compromise with them.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to North says:

      To hop on Tods back with this a little bit; run, don’t walk, away from the ACA while the gettin is good. That thing has been an albatross around the D’s neck for six years, right now you have a chance to get out from under it that you have already paid for.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Aaron David says:

        I’ve had the thought that the best thing for Obama’s legacy was that Clinton lost to an R who ran on radically changing things.
        When Iran goes south, we’ll remember that Obama had a workable treaty. A resurgent Daesh are a contrast with a contained Daesh. And the ACA was repealed before it had a chance to fail completely.
        None of Trump’s failures will stick as Clinton’s failures would have.Report

        • North in reply to El Muneco says:

          If the ACA is repealed, if the Iran Treaty is torn up and if Trump does anything different with Daesh. On the first two Trump has made promises, yes, though on the last one he has nothing. So it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll actually do, my money is regretfully on “whatever congress tells him to do”.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to North says:

            I dunno. Trump’s got serious beef with Congressional Republicans. Remember, they were backstabbing him pretty seriously.

            Christie and Guiliani were always loyal, so you can bet they have his ear. Pence…probably, he did sign on, but I have doubt Trump’s aware of every time Pence refused to back him. (And there were quite a few).

            And lastly — Trump won, when everyone said he wouldn’t and no one believed it and they all told him to act different, and he won anyways. Congressional Republicans are all a bunch of losers (they’re not President, are they? He wasn’t even a Republican and he won their primary and then the Presidency), so why would he listen to them?

            I was kidding when I imagined President Trump vetoing every bill out of Congress because Paul Ryan had upset him, but it’s not like it’d be out of character for him to throw his weight around.

            And he the veto is his second big tool, besides executive orders.

            He sees himself as a dealmaker, right? Well, there’s no opposition to deal with. There’s just his Congress. He’s got a ton of leverage — he can stop them anytime he wants, and they are unlikely to override it. If they get on his bad side, or he decides he wants to prove he’s the big boss, that’s very possibly going to be the hammer he reaches for.

            His whole schtick, his whole experience, is making deals where HE walks away the winner. And the only people he can make deals with is Congress, unless they totally capitulate. Which is…unlikely to happen.Report

            • North in reply to Morat20 says:

              Yes, I don’t disagree with any of that but let me lay out what lies on the other side of the equation:
              -Knowledge: Trump has none. He’ll need to hire people to do his thinking and policy making for him. That means he’ll be hiring conservatives and they will pipe Ryan’s ideas into Trumps head and make him think they’re his ideas.
              -Details: Trump hates them and has no attention to detail. Arguing with Ryan would require he have detailed goals he wants to achieve and that they’re different than Ryan’s own.
              -Work: Fighting with Congress would be a LOT of work for Trump. Alternatively he could just punt that to Pence and his minions, swan around doing the “fun” bits of being President and so long as Ryan is sufficiently obsequious Trump will probably sign everything that lands on his desk unless it’s so unpopular that he gets a vibe from TV that it’s poison.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                There’s also his kids to consider, and whatever lens he’s viewing things through.

                Expect the people he trusts the most to be the people he campaigned with. Anything said by anyone outside that circle will probably get vetted by people inside it. So knowledge is gonna be filtered through Newt, Bannon, Guiliani, and his kids.

                I go back and forth about him delegating to Pence. He seems…not so much the micromanager (too much work), but very much the “I’m the big dog, I make the calls” sort. That’s probably going to lead to some rather irregular patterns of delegation.

                Maybe he delegates to Pence, maybe he decides he’s the President and he might let Pence do the work — but then override him whenever he feels like it, even if he doesn’t really know the situation.

                Actually fighting with Congress isn’t hard. He just threatens a veto unless they change something. Then he vetos it if they don’t. Like…an hour tops.I don’t think he needs details, because I don’t think he’s really arguing over details.

                It’s more…Trump posturing, for lack of a better term. He’s always had that “I have to be the boss of the room and you work for ME” vibe, and I can’t see him treating Congress as equals.

                It’s that alone that makes me wonder what the odds are that he gets into a slapfight with Congress, even if he has to start it himself.Report

              • North in reply to Morat20 says:

                Look I hope you’re right. I would LOVE it if he does nothing but fight with congress. God(ess?)! They would DESERVE it, but I can’t imagine many fights arising because I presume they’ll figure out how to play him easily enough. I mean it’s all guesswork, we have no idea what he even wants. Maybe he’ll fight against signing stuff he thinks will make him unpopular?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                I have no idea. I don’t think slapfights are likely, but they’re not impossible.

                Hand to God, for all I know someone will start a #PenceInCharge thing on Twitter and Trump will go nuts proving it wrong.

                Or maybe he stops caring, because he’s President and screw them and lets Pence and Congress do whatever.

                Or maybe he grabs Merkel by the p*ssy and nukes Syria. (Well, tries. I doubt he’d succeed at either).

                It’s like a mystery box in a Saw movie. I’m not sure what’s in there, but it’s going to be horrible somehow.Report

        • nevermoor in reply to El Muneco says:

          This completely ignores that the point of politics is to govern. Not point and laugh when the other side fucks up.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to nevermoor says:

            Sigh. Too soon, I guess.
            That was an actual attempt at analysis.
            Considering that it was regarding Obama and not Clinton, I thought that would be clear, but I guess not.
            And if you had read it, rather than dashing off a quick dismissal, you would have seen that I thought that Clinton would probably have fished up most or all of the same things, but that she would own Obama’s legacy in a way that Trump manifestly doesn’t, so her failures would reflect on him in a way that Trump’s won’t.
            But hey, punching up at urban elites is the wave of the future, so have at it.Report

      • North in reply to Aaron David says:

        Astonishing Aaron. When the left wins a 60 vote super majority, the Senate and the Presidency while campaigning explicitly for health care reform it’s horrible that they then go and pass health care reform. They should alternatively seek consensus and compromise and let the right wing minority dictate the terms ending up with nothing. But when the right wins a bare Senate majority and the Presidency but loses the popular vote they’re entirely in the right to repeal anything they want and it’s unconscionable that the left would resist at all.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to North says:

          Look, you can tell yourself whatever you want, but ask this also: What have you gained since then? What has it bought you? How many losses in ’10? What did you gain in ’12? What did you lose in ’14? How are you doing at the state and local level?

          At this point? It isn’t unconscionable to resist, it’s stupid. Weapons grade stupid.Report

          • North in reply to Aaron David says:

            Umm.. Millions and millions of people gaining healthcare coverage? I suppose those don’t matter? The first step away from the deranged health care ‘system’ that existed prior to the ACA? Are you really carrying a brief for that state of affairs?Report

            • Don Zeko in reply to North says:

              No, see, if the Democrats had been elected in 2008, passes the stimulus, and then stopped everything and sat in their hands, the Tea Party would never have existed, Obama voters would have shown up in the midterms, and the GOP wouldn’t have controlled the 2010 redistricting. It’s obvious.Report

            • Aaron David in reply to North says:

              And that might be great, but you have lost everything else. The other day, when I said that this would be the death of liberalism? It is. You are about to get another conservative on SCOTUS, two if RBG goes, you don’t have the house, you don’t have the Senate, Harry Reid went nuclear on the filibuster so that is going, you lost two more governorships on Tues., the ACA is probably going to get skinned, gutted and its shin bone used as a pencil box.

              And it is a big part of what brought you Donald Trump.

              And at this point, it is the first step back to the “deranged health care ‘system’ that existed prior to the ACA.” Am I carrying a brief for it? No, I am carrying a brief for a Dem. party that no longer exists.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                It bears repeating that I don’t consider the ACA even remotely close to the core of the Democratic party’s electoral woes.

                As for the right, fine, let the GOP either present their alternative healthcare plan (maybe it was buried with Vince Foster) or wipe out what’s left of the filibuster and, say “we got nothing, we’re just scrapping ACA”. I’m fine with them wearing it and I somehow doubt that the voters will thank them for it. But I’m not fine with the idea that the Dems should meekly go along with the latter.

                And I remain completely uncomprehending of this Democratic Party you mourn the passing of. Perhaps it was before my time? The only Democrats I know are the pragmatic, left of center, somewhat craven and somewhat corporate party that we’ve had since the mid 90’s.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                So, what do you consider the core issues of electoral woe? Hillary? Remember, she wasn’t on the ballot in ’10, ’12 or ’14. Can’t think of anything else.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Well first off shouldn’t 2012 be tossed from this lineup? The Dems won that one did they not? Personally I think the party needs to address plenty of internal problems. I think they’re not in a bad place economic policy wise but they’re not giving their regional components enough leeway to stray from orthodoxy on social issues. They definitly also need to clamp down on candidates; even the appearence of impropriety is something that their opponents and the media in its quest to appear even handed will harp on endlessly. Also while I think Obama is a fine man and President I’d submit that his style of “above it” politics is a very bad one and should be retired post haste.

                Along the same lines have you reconsidered libertarian positions? I mean after establishment liberals and establishment conservatives libertarians were the third biggest losers this election. Now neither major party even pays lip service to small government nostrums. Maybe libertarians should bail out on eliminating safety nets? It’s been killing them with the voters.Report

              • gregiank in reply to North says:

                Sort of a tangent. It’s also sort of notable how many libertarians seem to harangue liberals and D’s about immigration. Not that D’s aren’t pro immigration but that D’s aren’t considering assimilation and the comfort of white folks. Yet libertarians tend to be far more open borders than D’s yet they seem to argue at D’s from a very conservative republican view.Report

              • North in reply to gregiank says:

                I dunno if that’s applicable to libertarians in general. It hasn’t been my experience.Report

              • gregiank in reply to North says:

                Oh in general no. But a sub set, yeah.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                Absolutely agree with you on several things. The wiff of corruption, Obama being a good man, though not the economic policies. But that is because I am a libertarian now, and have come around to that side of the economic spectrum.

                And yes, we Libertarians are like herding cats. But, as this isn’t a parliamentary system it is more of, as Jaybird put it once, a vector. And if those voters went to Trump to help defeat HRC, I am not surprised.

                ’12 was a stasis election, nothing gained, nothing lost.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                So what do you think the Dems affirmative agenda should be? And if it just consists of turning into libertarians you can just say so and not bother spelling it out.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                I dunno, if they turned into libertarians they could get..3% of the vote instead of a majority!

                (I mean I get libertarian ideology pretty well, but I don’t get the occasional insistence that it’s popular. Adopting libertarian ideas, by and large, are how to get less popular. The ones that ARE popular someone already stole or are in the process of stealing).Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                Sorry, missed this comment earlier @north

                Temper this with the fact that I am a libertarian, but the left really believes that the gov’t can bring prosperity through its action. Show, don’t tell. At at the state level (states they control) the really need to get out and work the Trump areas alongside the AA community. Push for work programs, voter drives and retail politics. Make it about the things they have lost, not about progressive politics. Always talk worker safety, stress that corruption will not be tolerated. In economically bad areas, look for retraining opportunities for workers.

                I am stressing work and work related issues, because that can be easily broached, is often really cheap and there is a common language of hard work.

                Also, make those state legislatures pass a backstop for Roe.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                I never tired of people blaming Democrats for Donald Trump. Does that actually convince anyone?

                I mean that’s like playing the “Stop hitting yourself” game and having a puzzled parent say “Why DO you keep hitting yourself?”

                But in all that doom and gloom, I’d like to go ahead and point out: The GOP is now led by Donald Trump. They’ll get a lot done in two or four years, no doubt. But in the end, they’re gonna be the party that brought the American people President Trump, and I’m willing to bet that’s gonna leave an ugly mark.Report

              • Gaelen in reply to Morat20 says:

                And if it doesn’t we have bigger things to worry about than democratic electoral prospects.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Gaelen says:

                Or hey, maybe he turns out to be a good President. Frankly, I doubt he’s got any real animus towards gays –not sure about minorities, that’s a more difficult question — and having won, I’m not sure how much of what he sold he feels like working on.

                I suspect the environmental damage is gonna be ugly, though. Fracking in the Yellowstone Caldera seems like a bad idea.

                I suppose the bright side there is short of outright subsidies, NOTHING he does is gonna bring back coal.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Morat20 says:

                Sure, although there is I think a small risk that his Supreme Court limits expansions of gay rights dramatically, no matter whether Trump cares personally about social issues or not.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

                I worry about that too. I think SSM will stay. It’s become too popular, and revoking it now would be…problematic to the populace.

                Conscience clauses though? That’s something else.Report

              • North in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Well to be honest the most burning stuff is generally settled for SSM. There’re Trans questions and the like but I’m not sure how easily they can be settled in court anyhow.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to North says:

                I do think it’s unlikely that any major backsliding happens there, but it’s not impossible. The bigger worry is Roe, followed by a ton of other important stuff that gets far less attention.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

                They kill Roe, they kill any reason for evangelicals to keep voting Republican. That’s the only reason they voted for Trump.

                Until Roe is reinstated, of course.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Catholics used to be a lot more Benedict than JPII.

                Then Roe happened.

                Get rid of Roe, Catholics become Benedict again.Report

              • nevermoor in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh good. Let’s wreck the lives of thousands of women every year to test that prediction!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to nevermoor says:

                Hey, I know what we can do! We can campaign against Trump by pointing out how he’s going to do everything that he says he’s going to do and that would be bad!Report

              • nevermoor in reply to Jaybird says:

                We will. Starting in about two and a half years.

                But if you’re looking to sell an upside to ending Roe based on a theory that Catholics will be somehow nicer/different, that’s some nuclear grade b.s., even for you in your contrarian-socrates mode.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to nevermoor says:

                a theory that Catholics will be somehow nicer/different

                They’re already like that.

                They’ll no longer look at the Democrats and think “the party of Moloch”.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird {Side note, I think I understand your overall point, but do you mean that Catholics used to be a lot more *Francis* than JPII? The difference between B16 and JP2 is maybe the difference between John and Paul… er the other John and Paul… Lennon and McCartney}Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Oh, Jesus.

                I always mix Benedict and Francis up.

                Yes. Nothing but errors I regret flying around today.

                They used to be a lot more Francis.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                I do wonder…Pence seems set to tilt at SSM and LBQT stuff in general. I can’t imagine the GOP not tilting at SS.

                And Trump is like the poster child for overreach, and he’s mentally perfectly positioned to do it. Seriously. Everyone wrote him off and he won. He’s the effing President. He came from nowhere, stole an entire party, had EVERYONE — including his own party — write him off and he won. He’s the boss. He literally just walked into the Presidency. Anyone would feel invincible, like they could do anything there.

                Will he? Maybe, maybe not. But he’s not gonna test waters. He’s gonna push.

                And the rest of the GOP — this isn’t Karl Rove’s permanent majority. I don’t think they view Trump as a two-termer. I suspect they’re pretty iffy on whether they’ll hold everything for even two years.

                So the urge to go nuts, to push it all as fast and hard as possible and get it done before anyone can stop them, has to be strong. Solidify their bone-fides with the new makeup of their primary voters, those Trump guys. And they’ll know doing that makes it more likely they’ll hit backlash in 2018 or 2020. So it’s a gamble, either way.

                I think which way they jump depends on Trump. He’s — and his popularity numbers — will set the pace. If he goes wild, they’ll turn the dial up to 11 and get what they can. If he’s more sedate, if his approval numbers don’t tank further, they’ll go slower.

                How much time they have depends on Trump. 2018 will hurt them, historically, even under President Jeb. (Americans tend to prefer divided government and the mid-terms tend to break against the President’s party). But Trump can weaken or strengthen that effect.Report

              • North in reply to Morat20 says:

                I will note the fundamentals for 2018 lean GOP. They’re defending a lot fewer seats.

                Also Pence got his fingers burned HARD on SSM and then when he yanked his hand back the right tanned his ass for being a squish. I have a feeling he might not be down with doing that again on a national scale.Report

              • Autolukos in reply to North says:

                In the Senate, sure, but they still have a House majority (very effectively gerrymandering is a help, but that’s a levee that can be overwhelmed by a large enough wave) and, more importantly for the 2020s, a load of state governments to defend. Unless Trump improves his image in a hurry, they’ll be doing this with an unpopular President as the figurehead of their party, quite possibly in the face of recession.

                I’d rather be a Republican than a Democrat today, but it’s very possible that the reverse will be true in November of 2018.Report

              • North in reply to Autolukos says:

                Ung! I’m a minimum of 13 months away from having ANY interest in talking about 2018.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David says:

                I see that it didn’t take long to over-extrapolate from this election, since that’s what everyone does from every election. Of the death of the GOP lasted for eight years, I’m not too concerned about the death of the Democratic Party. Plenty concerned about the awful policy we’re about to get, but GOP control will be fleeting too, unless Trump really meant all of the authoritarian stuff he talked about.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

                George Bush also slew the Great Democratic Dragon.

                Remember how popular he was in 2000? That folksy charm? Didn’t last long, and seemed to get worse the less opposition he faced.

                I’m sure Trump will do better. It’s not like he’s taking office with the lowest approval ratings in history, or that quite a few supporters of his seem to say things like “He won’t really do that!” when it comes to his plans.

                Hmm. An unpopular Republican taking office with his own voters wanting mutually contradictory things. Seems like a recipe for success.

                Thankfully Trump is an experienced politician with a team of first-rate minds aiding him. That’ll help.

                Plus, there’s literally no way Trump has a long memory for grudges and perusing petty vendettas, and has a real issue with the Speaker of the House and, frankly, quite a few Republican Congressmen.Report

              • Autolukos in reply to Morat20 says:

                Rove did get a sweet TV gig out of building the Permanent Republican Majority, so it worked out for somebodyReport

              • trizzlor in reply to Aaron David says:

                So … the court goes back to what it was in 2015 and healthcare goes back to what it was in 2008 … that’s the death of liberalism? The Democrats are in a much stronger position now than the GOP was in 2008. Trump rolling back recent Democratic accomplishments is unfortunate, but it’s not a victory, it’s a restoration the recent status quo.

                Where is Trump realistically capable of moving the ball forward for Republicans?

                * Taxes? Fine, but that’s not exactly an existential hit on party values. Fiddling with Taxes wasn’t in the top 5 of things Obama got done.

                * Infrastructure? Well … that’s actually a liberal agenda item.

                * Ivanka’s childcare plan? Another liberal agenda item, good for him.

                * Pass immigration reforms that can immediately be undone by the next president? Waste his political capitol building a wall that has no effect on border crossings? Waste it on term limits that everyone in Congress will oppose? Waste it trying to send Hillary Clinton to jail?

                The ACA was a Hail Mary that put millions of people on the government dole. Had it worked, it would have cemented a massive liberal principle in the American political culture. Does Trump even have any “Had it worked” game changer policies? Liberalism dies if Democrats lose a third-term election to a candidate whose been a liberal most of his life? I would say that’s an overstatement.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to trizzlor says:

                “Where is Trump realistically capable of moving the ball forward for Republicans?”


                Majorities in both houses allow them to control the dialog, pass laws, etc.

                Gun Control.


                Its not that liberallism simply dies if loses a third term pres. election, it dies when it only has 17 governors, 10 state legislatures, doesn’t have control of SCOTUS, nor either of the legislatures. It can’t move the ball currently. And has very little ability to stop the the ball.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Aaron David says:

                What on earth is the congressional agenda on guns? What do they want that they don’t already have? Federally mandated open carry in all fifty states?Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Aaron David says:

                Dude, he’s FOR No Fly, No Buy! He’s in talks with Schumer about a compromise agenda. SCOTUS is moving back to pre-Scalia days, sure, but you don’t get to put another pick in your column until it happens. Do you remember the “Against Trump” National Review issue? It was all about how Trump is bad because he won’t implement a truly conservative agenda. And they were correct.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David says:

                The other day, when I said that this would be the death of liberalism? It is.

                Except it’s not, in the same way that Obama’s overwhelming victory in ’08 wasn’t the death of conservatism, and Rovianism wasn’t the gateway to a single party.

                Don’t confuse parties with points of view. Liberalism and conservatism each existed before anyone had thought to name them thus, and they will continue to exist so long as there are groups of human beings trying to hash things out and plan for the future.

                For that matter, don’t confuse defeats with deathblows. Democrats held the House for nigh half a century not that long ago, and the Republican party still exists. It’s a good bet that this version of the Republican Party won’t end up being able to deliver on Trump’s promise of “making every dream you’ve ever had come true.” And when it doesn’t, people will spill back to the Democrats.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                This. On a related note, how many state legislatures did the GOP control in ’08? They were better off than the Dems are now at the state level, but none of this is permanent. It never is.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Aaron’s problem is that he used to be a Democrat and now he is not. He has all the rage of a scorned lover when it comes to the Democratic Party because he feels betrayed and left behind by what he perceives liberalism and the Democratic Party have become.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Oooh! Are we talking about what other people’s problems are?Report

              • KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

                Two days out and Trump’s election is already destroying our norms of civility.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to KenB says:

                Trump’s primary victory destroyed “our” norms of civility.

                Which is part of the reason he won the general.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                What policy can liberalism pass? What policy can liberalism stop? The big achievement of the last 8 years, legislatively, is probably going to be chopped. Abortion? SSM? Immigration? All court victories. And we all know what is going to happen there.

                And yes, they can spill back to the Dems, but if the ACA is still taking money from them? If the left keeps ignoring them?

                If Trump fulfills any of those promises?

                There is too much wishin’ and hopin’ and dreamin’ going on and not enough dissection of where the mistakes were made. In ’08 the R’s still had one branch of gov’t. SCOTUS. Dems have bupkis. No bench, no B team. As for confusing Dems with Liberals, D’s are the machine that puts liberal policies on ballots. So, OK, sure, the dream is still alive, just on life support electorally. On life support, while talking about running a marathon.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

                The issue is that Trump is a liberal New York Democrat.

                Remember how Clinton triangulated?
                Trump will triangulate as well.

                The overton window will move in a weird direction, Republicans will become a little bit more liberal. That’s where your liberalism will come from. The window moving.Report

              • Saul DeGraw in reply to Jaybird says:


                This is the most idiotic thing that I have ever read from your typepad.

                Donald Trump is not a typical liberal New York Democrat. That would be Hillary Clinton or Chuck Schumer or Bill De Blasio. Who are you know, actual Democrats.

                Trump is an incoherent mess with a long history of attacks on minorities. He first came to the public eye because Trump apartments was sued by the Nixon admin for denying housing to black people. He placed an ad in the paper calling for the lynching of the Central Park Five.

                His potential cabinet is full of Republicans oldguards and gifts to the Christian Right.

                How the fuck is Donald Trump a typical New York liberal Democrat except in your dada nothing of a thought process?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

                Whoops! I typoed. I meant to say “liberal New York Republican“.

                I regret the error.Report

              • Saul DeGraw in reply to Jaybird says:

                Also no. That would be Jacob Javits who lost the GOP primary to Alfonse D’Amato in 1980.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Apparently he’s gonna impose a litmus test on his SC nominee(s): anti-choice, overturn Roe.

                That ain’t very nice. Not that New York liberals are nice, of course…Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                He said he would. Which proves nothing, and probably indicates nothing.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                The overton window will move in a weird direction, Republicans will become a little bit more liberal.

                “And the Dems will become a little bit more [fill in the blank]. (all fill in the black questions are worth 2 points)”Report

              • Autolukos in reply to Aaron David says:

                I’m old enough to remember the last Permanent Republican Majority.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Autolukos says:

                This. This. One Thousand Times This.Report

              • rtodkelly in reply to Aaron David says:

                What policy can liberalism pass? What policy can liberalism stop?

                Not a one. Nor could it ever, any more than conservatism, or libertarianism could. These things are all ideas, points of view. And expecting for a very tiny percentage of the population, they all simultaneously exist not just in the different parties, but in people.

                Every liberal I know wants the government to back off at some point. Every conservative I know wants the state look after the little guy to some extent. Every libertarian has a point where they feel uncomfortable not having the state step in. Moreover, if you push people toward one of these and away from the others for too long, and they’ll bristle and demand to pull you back. These competing forces exist not because someone voted some way, but because all of them are inherent in people. None of them is going away, because they’re all baked in to us, and therefore into the system.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                What policy can liberalism pass? What policy can liberalism stop?

                I think you’re confusing an (amorphous!, contextually defined!) ideology with a political party. Individuals, in coalitions, pass or stop legislation.

                Add: I see Tod already made that point. Good point Tod!Report

              • nevermoor in reply to Aaron David says:

                I hope you’re right, but very much doubt it.

                If I’m right, I hope you’ll be honest about it, but very much doubt it.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to nevermoor says:

                What am I supposed to be right about?

                And what do feel that I am going to be dishonest about?Report

              • nevermoor in reply to Aaron David says:

                That wasn’t me at my most coherent…

                My point (which, at best, weakly related to your comment, and wasn’t directed particularly at you, and so shouldn’t have been a reply) is that I hope the GOP’s ideas are good, but I doubt they will be. And I hope that if those ideas (as practiced by a unified GOP front I expect will end the filibuster) fail, that people will actually abandon them, but I doubt that too.Report

  12. Slade the Leveller says:

    It’s writing like this that keeps me coming back to this site. Thanks, Tod.

    @michael-cain What a beautiful memory, one which ought to be read by everyone one involved with youth sports. If you’ve never read Michael Lewis’ Coach, I highly recommend it.Report

  13. j r says:

    As I’ve been saying over and over to anyone who will listen, retail politics is stupid. This feels like vindication, but it also feels like something else that I can’t quite place yet. Here are a couple-few random thoughts that I’ve been having and that I may try to work into something more coherent:

    – I have not cast a vote for a major party presidential candidate since 2004. One of the things that I keep seeing out there is the idea that people like me, third party voters or people who don’t vote, are to blame for Trump as much as the people who voted for them. Putting aside the fuzzy math of that, I can’t help but have a personal reaction. For years, me and others who exist outside of the major party duopoly, have been making a case to both parties about why the issues that matter to us should matter to them. For the most part, the response is a rebuke. That’s fine. You don’t have to take my concerns about a dysfunctional two-party system seriously. But you don’t get to then blame me for the failure of that two party system to give you what you wanted.

    – I am having a hard time taking the wailing and gnashing of teeth seriously. Where was that concern when a U.S. drone strike killed a sixteen-year old American citizen and the president’s spokesman mused that maybe he should have had more responsible parents. Where was it when we accidentally bombed an Afghani hospital or a bunch of Syrian army troops? Where was this concern for illegal immigrants when Obama was deporting more people than any other president in history? I know that some of y’all have been out there fighting this type of thing, speaking out against it the whole time. But most of the people I see now having the most histrionic responses have been the people posting stuff about how cool Obama is because he sings Al Green songs and went on Between Two Ferns.

    – More than anything this affirms to me that politics isn’t really about policy. It’s about identity. And the real reason for so much grief is that a bunch of people committed so much of their selves and their psychological well-being to a political system that preys on their emotions. And those people were suddenly jolted back into reality and reminded that this system doesn’t care that much about them at all.

    – At the end of the day, politics is about collective decision making. If politics is becoming more and more about identity signalling and emotional manipulation, what does that say about the health of our collective decision making processes?Report

  14. Jaybird says:

    There is a very simple reason why the left never saw this coming. Because we were blocked, shadowbanned, detrended, banned and silenced.— Mark Kern (@Grummz) November 10, 2016


    • Hoosegow Flask in reply to Jaybird says:

      If “this” refers to election night results, then I’d say it was the vast majority of polls showing Clinton leading that likely lead most people to think she was, in fact, leading.

      If “this” refers to the Trump campaign in general and him winning the nomination, then I’d say there were a fair number on the right who never saw it coming, either. It had nothing to do with being a leftie. He defied all of the established “rules”.

      By and large, I don’t think the left is unaware that gamergate type mentalities exist and are a significant force.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

        Speaking of the polls — I wonder about something.

        I heard a lot from people saying “Vote, don’t take it for granted that Trump can’t win, vote”.

        But….I wonder how many people did? Clinton led in all the polls. Trump was a disaster in all the debates. Multiple women are accusing him of sexual assault, he’s being sued for fraud, he’s using his foundation as a slush fund, he got into slap fights with women and gold star family, and basically acted the clown. Every newspaper pretty much said “This guy is dangerous and unfit”. Quite a number of high-profile (but not in office) Republicans were indicating they were voting against him.

        How many people took all of that, and the fact that this was Donald Trump, and thought “He can’t possibly win” and decided whether to vote on that criteria alone?

        How many literally thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion?Report

        • j r in reply to Morat20 says:

          How many people took all of that, and the fact that this was Donald Trump, and thought “He can’t possibly win” and decided whether to vote on that criteria alone?

          Here is another way of saying that same thing: more people will turn out to vote for a candidate than will turn out to vote against a candidate. Something I’ve said a bunch of times here, generally to be told that I was being absurd to suggest that women and Latinos and blacks wouldn’t show up in huge numbers to defeat Trump. In fact, I was being absurd, but turns out that we live in an absurd world.

          By the way, I’m one of those people. I never bought into the Hillary is as bad as Trump idea. But I had enough problems with Hillary that I didn’t want to vote for her. Couple that with voting in a deep blue state and I decided that my best course of action was to vote my conscience and let the chips fall where they may. I’m guessing a lot of other people came to the same conclusions. Even people living in swing states.Report

  15. Tod,

    I haven’t read the comments yet, but I will. I really liked this piece. I, too, am very concerned about what I’ve become and am becoming over these last few years of blogging. For me at least, it’s not wholly about politics.Report

  16. Michael Drew says:

    That’s why I’ll be stepping back a bit from writing about politics in the months to come.

    This saddens me, but I certainly understand the feeling.Report