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What Happens Next?

I volunteered to be a poll monitor for the Democratic Party in Reno, Nevada. I signed up when the race was really close but my edge wore off as Election Day grew closer. Obviously, I was wrong. Many people were wrong. Here are some thoughts and queries.

1. My polling precinct was fine. The Hillary team sent me to a polling precinct in Sparks, Nevada. Sparks is a city/suburb of about 90,000 souls just outside of Reno. The poll workers at my precinct were fine and professional. If someone showed up to the wrong precinct, they looked up their correct polling place and encouraged them to go there. They got on the phone with central headquarters to try and get people ballots if there was a screw up in their registration. For what it’s worth, the polling monitors were a middle-aged white woman, a middle-aged African-American, three white people in their early to mid-70s (too old to be Boomers), and a guy in his 50s or 60s who was Fillipino.

2. What went wrong for Hillary? There were a lot of first-time voters at my polling place. Some were young people in their late teens to mid-20s. Others were middle-aged people who looked like “whites without a college education” to use the current phrase. As far as I can tell, Trump did much better among this group than many previous Republican candidates. Romney (and to a lesser extent McCain) were too patrician and proper to play this role. Trump is not. So you had people who never voted in decades or possibly ever come out for Trump and it saved the GOP. This is especially combined with a low-turnout election. Both Trump and HRC received fewer votes than Romney did in 2012. It looks like a lot of college-educated Republicans choose to sit out this election than vote for HRC. Matt Y seems to have called this the week before the election.

3. What’s next for the Left and/or the Democrats? An ideological blood bath of a civil war. You are going to have people argue that racism and sexism won the day. The die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters are also starting their “We Told You So” narrative. I suspect the answer for the Democratic Party is going to be tough. There are going to be a lot of sneers at “Social Justice Warriors” who cared too much about gendered bathrooms and niche culture issues. But to me the phrase Social Justice encompasses that stuff but it also encompasses Black Lives Matter, the fight for a decent living wage, access to the courts, open boarders, and other issues that libertarians profess to care about. At the hotel I stayed at in Reno, there was also a meeting for the California Association of Tactical Officers1 Many (but not all) of the officers were white guys. They were in love with the Trump victory and saw it as a push for law and order. This is why I am doubtful that Trump’s DOJ is going to ignore legalized weed. California voters did vote to legalize recreational marijuana but I wonder if these Tactical Officers are willing to side with Trump’s DOJ above their own administration.

4. The Democratic Party and the West. We don’t have a problem in the West largely. Our problem seems to be squaring the circle between appealing to whites without a college degree in the Rustbelt while also appealing to the current base of the Democratic Party. Look at the Democratic Senators who won election: Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, Catherine Cortez Masto, and probably Maggie Hassan. All four are women. Three are people of color. Russ Feingold was closer to Sanders than Clinton and he lost. Jared “The Marine” Kandor lost in Missouri when Claire McCaskill easily won in 2012 (the same year Romney easily won in Missouri.)

5. The GOP has their own problems. Trump won the primary and later the Presidential election on some decidedly anti-GOP platforms. He opposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He was dismissive of free trade. The GOP in Congress is largely of the small government old guard but they mainly turned themselves into Trump’s lackeys. A lot of the GOP pundit class is now party-less unless they perform serious contrition. Presidents keep their campaign promises according to research. Now it could be that Donald Trump is really only in it for himself and will just rubber stamp whatever the GOP in Congress puts in front of him. But it seems to me that he needs to get tough on NAFTA, NATO, and immigration/The Wall, and oppose destroying Social Security and Medicare. I don’t know how the GOP in Congress deals with this.

6. The Free Trade factions (neo-liberal and libertarian) have the problem of potentially being right and also being wonderfully unable to convince the population that they are right. They could very well be political Cassandras. I’ve come to be doubtful that Sanders or Biden would have saved the day for the Democrats but the Vox brigade of incremental and “data driven” technocratic liberals have horrible rhetoric. They use overly academic language and seem to complain “why can’t you just listen to the experts?” Automation is killing more jobs than trade deals. But automation is a tough beast to deal with. The typical supporter of Universal Basic Income seems to be someone with a graduate degree. Most people want to work for their food and shelter. This is something that no side has an answer for and I think there will be hell to pay.

7. Who is going to pay that hell? I am not sure. Suppose Americans loss more jobs because of recession/depression, automation, and other factors during the first Trump term. I can see Trump’s base going further to the ultra-Nationalist and White Identity Right in rage when the jobs that they want don’t come back.

8. Libertarians should be concerned with Number 6 as well.

9. Race/Ethnic Identity seems to be more important than gender.

10. Is there any hope for the Democratic Party? Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote but just barely. I would also say that the anti-immigrant rhetoric can spell doom for the Republican Party. Pete Wilson won with Prop 187 in 1994. However, Prop 187 was eventually declared unconstitutional and the California Republican Party shows no hope of recovery even in the age of Trump. California legalized marijuana, raised income taxes on top earners, and passed gun control in 2016.

11. Sometimes things get worse before they get better. I don’t know how to get around this. Now might be one of those times.

Image by Alex Bellink What Happens Next?

  1. Yes, that acronyms out to “CATO”. []
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454 thoughts on “What Happens Next?

  1. I’d rather the knife come from ahead of me rather than being stabbed in the back.
    It’s easier to dodge that way.

    Yes, people did come from out of the hills — they were more or less canceled by the “Republicans for the Moderate in the Race” (except in PA). Hillary lost tons and tons of voters, due to sheer incompetence. The democrats lost 8-9% of voters where it counted.

    Identity politics do not a race make. Obama ran on Health Care for All! Obama ran on Tax Hikes for the Rich! Hillary ran on “I’m with hurrrrr….” (This is where her campaign began and ended. You couldn’t even tell me her position on climate change, other than “it’s occurring.” She ran as an especially vanilla incumbent without any ideas. She didn’t even run on school uniforms!)


  2. What went wrong for Hillary? Let’s be honest here. Hillary is what went wrong. We, as Democrats, did that thing that the Republicans were more known for doing where you nominate who’s next rather than who’s best. In an election cycle that was, pretty clearly halfway through the primary process at least, characterized by a distinct anti-establishment, burn-it-all-down, zeitgeist we chose to nominate the ultimate Washington insider, complete with twenty years worth of baggage and dirty underwear. Sure, much of it was undeserved and all of it was overblown but politics ain’t beanbag. She was just the wrong candidate for this go around.

    Could Bernie have won? It’s literally unknowable of course, but what we do know is Hillary couldn’t. Elizabeth Warren? Sherrod Brown? Cory Booker? I dunno, but there had to be someone better.

    Cuz here’s the thing, it wasn’t really the Democrats that lost. We gained seats in both houses of Congress, not enough but we gained nonetheless and that’s after eight years in the White House, which I’m pretty sure runs against normal patterns. Even in red red Kansas, Democrats gained legislative seats and many of the most conservative, Tea Party type Republicans were replaced in the primaries by moderates, repudiating Brownback.

    We can even take some solace, if we’re clear-headed about it, from Trump’s victory. This wasn’t a vindication of Ryan/McConnell Conservatism by any stretch. He’s loathsome in so very many ways but he’s no friend to the Wall Street money machine and he could very well cock-block much of the worst designs of that crowd on the economic front.

    Finally, probably the best part of it all is that for the next two or four years Republicans own it all — lock, stock, and barrel. They’re the dog with a mouth full of vulcanized rubber. They have absolutely no excuses, no one else to blame, no scapegoats to whine about and the Dems can sit at the back of the class and throw spit balls at the teacher.


    • Road Scholar: he’s no friend to the Wall Street money machine

      Yet is reportedly considering Steven Mnuchin and Jamie Dimon for Treasury Secretary.

      Road Scholar: This wasn’t a vindication of Ryan/McConnell Conservatism by any stretch

      I fear the “lesson” that Washington will learn from this is that 8 years of obstructionism and a decades long fishing expedition against Clinton ultimately paid off. I will expect to see more in the future.


    • I’m going to push a bit back on this and write that HRC received more popular votes than Trump and in the final count, it looks like she will receive 1-2 million more popular votes.

      Now there are issues of this not being distributed very well which was the same problem Gore had in 2000 and Kerry had to a lesser extent in 2004. It doesn’t matter if you receive a million extra votes in California if 100,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania can switch those states to Trump. The electoral college is what it is and it is probably not going away.


      • Clinton did lose by razor thin margins in necessary states and many people decided to stay home rather than vote for her or Trump for a variety of reasons. Maybe, Sanders or a more conventional White male Democratic candidate like Biden or Kaine could get enough people out to vote to defeat Trump. Maybe the counties that went for Obama in 2008 and 2012, would have stayed Democratic with somebody else. I don’t know. Clinton did have at least some faults as a candidate.

        The thing is that Clinton was the most popular candidate by some three million people with the primary voters in the Democratic Party. These primary voters were middle aged and older women and people of color. They loved Clinton. It didn’t matter what the donor class though to them. They wanted Clinton to be the nominee for the Democratic Party. Enough people didn’t to through the election to Trump though.


          • Pointing out that the popular vote means something.

            I would agree that it does. But not under the framework we’re operating under.

            “So let’s change the framework!” is a good rejoinder.

            I’m just suspicious that it’s going to be soon followed by “WAIT I DIDN’T MEAN CHANGE IT LIKE THAT”.


            • “this aspect of the Constitution should be reformed through perfectly normal channels” is a far cry from “the Constitution doesn’t matter.” And sure, if we got rid of the electoral college tomorrow, im sure there will eventually be an election that would have gone differently if it still existed, but that doesn’t make it a bad idea.

              For comparison, I’d note that I’ve been on record (mostly at another site) since at least 2008 that the filibuster is bad and should be abolished. And even though it’s hard to overstate how much I will dislike the results of this happening next year, the R’s won’t be wrong to do so.


                • Or just return to the national popular vote by interstate compact, which is perfectly legal and doesn’t bring in every pet cause under the sun. I have no idea what your critique is. Liberals think the EC is bad, they’ve thought it was bad for a long time, and they’ve been trying to change it in a reasonable way. What’s the issue here?


            • Yeah, I don’t understand what the problem is here. Advocating for the end of the electoral college has a long and storied tradition (some of it partisan, some driven by the fact that the EC doesn’t make much sense in this day and age).

              I have very little fear about unanticipated side effects of ending the EC as every other developed country in the world, plus all states, use the popular vote without to much incident. Though, as Saul said, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.


      • Yeah, I get that. But she still lost to Donald Frickin Trump, a race any decent candidate should have won in a landslide.

        In a normal cycle facing an establishment Republican like JEB! or Rubio or Cruz, people with their own history and baggage, it would have been a different and more conventional calculus. But by early this spring it was readily apparent that the Dem nominee would be facing an unconventional candidate in a cycle with unusual dynamics. She’s not a bad person or even a particularly bad candidate ceterus paribus, but the ceteri weren’t paribi this time around. Bad choice for this election and, frankly, that’s on the party as a whole and the super-delegates that are supposed to be the professionals.


    • +1 There are definitely some issues for the Democrats to work out. Namely, as others have mentioned, how do you convince working class voters that your policies are in their best interests, and how do you push for progressive social change without alienating a large portion of the country. But the argument that this election is the death knell of liberalism seems to ignore Democrats won the popular vote for two of the three branches of government.

      With that said though, Democrats did lose in the states pretty handily. Which, from my point of view, is just as important as anything that happened at the federal level.


      • Argh. Once again, I will say it. Trump’s voters are not working class per se. What he generally did is get whites without a college degree out in ways McCain and Romney and maybe even Bush II could not. Some of these voters have low to moderate incomes and others have relatively high to high incomes.

        Patrick posted an observation on facebook. Trump one more votes in areas that had good job recovery since 2010. He did not do as well in areas that are struggling with job recovery. So there are implications and evidence that the racism and bigotry of Trump’s campaign worked.


        • Dan Scotto and Xenocrypt on twitter have been comparing the GOP US senators’ vote totals with Trump’s. The general pattern so far is that the senators outperformed Trump in the suburbs of the mid sized cities, but Trump vastly outperformed Trump in the further exurban areas.

          I don’t think they’ve looked at Wisconsin yet, though, so this may be a particular appalachian thing when it comes to PA and OH.


        • None of what you say in any way contradicts the notion that the white working class came out for Trump in a big way. Whites without a college degree is the first way the Brookings Institution defines WWC (which they admit is a nebulous concept). Further, people with moderate incomes can also certainly be part of WWC. I seriously doubt, and haven’t seen any evidence, that there are a ton of non-college educated whites in PA, OH, NC, or MI that are high income individuals.

          I’ve seen similar points made regarding job growth and Trump voters. I would just point out that a good recovery doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an area that is actually doing well (e.g. it may have fallen much further during the recession). In addition, it doesn’t mean that those jobs are ones people want, or that perception has to match reality (especially in areas where right wing media is popular). Also, see here and here for evidence that Trump won areas which were hurting economically, and that WWC in the rust belt are what drove Trump to victory.

          Finally, constantly trying to tie support to Trump to racism and xenophobia is part of the problem I mentioned in my first comment.


      • I also think she would have won if the media/pollsters hadn’t made the election sound like a done deal. The fact of the matter is that Clinton is not popular, and I think many people who would vote against Trump if they thought he was going to be elected were not going to show up for Clinton if she had it in the bag.


        • The reality is this thing was close, very close. You can point to any number of things that could have made only a very marginal difference in the final vote tally and it would have tipped the other way.

          The real question is why was it so frickin close to begin with?


            • Exactly. Donald Trump should have been an absolute disaster for the Republicans. We all thought it would be, the pollsters thought it would be, the Republican establishment thought it would be.

              Literally everyone who wasn’t in the bag for Trump got this very, very, wrong.

              The question is why.

              And my answer is that everyone was analyzing this on the basis of Conventional Wisdom. But this simply wasn’t a conventional election in any way. None of the conventional rules applied and there were no exemplars from the past to guide us.

              So when folks pat us* on the head and tell us that a democratic socialist — a socialist for crying out loud! — could never be elected president I now have only one response:

              President Elect Donald J. Trump

              *Yeah, I supported Sanders in the primary.


              • The one bit of convention wisdom that still holds up days later is the one that says people don’t vote for candidates they don’t like as people, regardless of what that candidate’s positions/opinions are.

                It’s still too early to fully read the tea leaves, but I think it’s possible that the reason Clinton lost was simply that outside of her base, people didn’t like her very much. So we had two candidates people outside their base didn’t like, less people came out, and it was a crap shoot.

                I’m not sure, however, that even if this does prove to be a major factor in why she lost, that you’ll get hardcore liberals or democrats to acknowledge to themselves that she wasn’t well liked.


                • t’s still too early to fully read the tea leaves, but I think it’s possible that the reason Clinton lost was simply that outside of her base, people didn’t like her very much. So we had two candidates people outside their base didn’t like, less people came out, and it was a crap shoot.

                  That would also be true of Trump.

                  I do kind of wonder how many people didn’t vote because they thought “President Trump” was an impossibility.

                  It wouldn’t be the first time this year that we ran into “Trump can’t possibly win”.


                  • If I were a member of Team Democrat, I’d be wary of going too far down that road.

                    Looking back at my early primary posts this morning, I obviously came across a lot of “Trump won’t ever be president” thinking. But I also stumbled upon this, which frankly I’d forgotten about having written in all the Year Of Everything Trump hubbub. But I think it holds up pretty well, at least at the moment, given 20/20 hindsight.

                    My point being that if you read through the comments from that post, most (though certainly not all) of the reaction of this site’s Dems/Libs/Lefties was a pretty loud chorus of “No, everyone loves Hilary Clinton — it’s just a right wing conspiracy that people don’t like her!” Most of the people who were making those comments back then seem (to my first blush, anyway) the same people who are trying now to find a thread of reasoning that allows that she was the candidate everyone wanted to win, if not for X.

                    And I’m just suggesting that this might be a dangerous road to go down if you want to win in 2020.


                    • A very good point. I was one of those people who legitimately *liked* the HRC agenda. But what I found myself doing is any time she did something tone deaf politically – which was a lot – I would just mentally substitute an image of Obama doing the same thing much more deftly. I had completely internalized the narrative that we were voting on an Obama third term, looked at his high approval ratings, and assumed that everyone was doing the same. Big lesson for me is the candidate is the candidate and people like us – politically interested people who digest hours and hours of this stuff on a daily basis – need to be especially aware of that.


                    • This is all true Tod. But in the end Clinton got more votes. The point being that the more unpopular ( going by most polls) candidate got fewer votes. That is exactly what people would predict. The more popular ( yes Clinton) got more votes. None of that is surprising. In the popularity poll that is an election C was more popular to the american public.

                      None of that suggests D should be complacent or that Clinton was actually liked by many people, they should make many changes most of which i’ve hoped for, for years. And maybe now isn’t the time to talk about Chelsea being groomed for congress.


                      • This is all true Tod. But in the end Clinton got more votes. The point being that the more unpopular ( going by most polls) candidate got fewer votes. That is exactly what people would predict. The more popular ( yes Clinton) got more votes. None of that is surprising. In the popularity poll that is an election C was more popular to the american public.

                        Yeah, but think about what that means. By nominating (by fiat, for all intents and purposes) a candidate people didn’t like very much, you laid out a path where the path to victory rested on the hope that an even more unlikable candidate being nominated by the other side, and winning what came down to a crap shoot on election day.

                        You might consider a different strategy next time, is all I’m saying.


                        • Oh i agree with finding a different strategy and the D’s should make some changes. It was Clinton’s weaknesses that opened the door for this fluky outcome. While i thought Clinton would make a good enough prez she was never my ideal candidate. I’d prefer a Sanders type except more lucid on actual policy.

                          I just see the anti clinton/conservative types doing just as much unjustified projection as the D’s over the results. The D’s being the D’s are acting like they lost by 7%.


                    • Whether or not this is dangerous depends upon what the problem was this year, which I don’t think we really know. If it was mistake to ignore HRC’s particularly unpopularity, well she’s certainly not going to be a candidate in 2020. If the problem is policy or so.e kind of party-wide messaging or strategy issue, that’s a horse of a different color. Seems like we need to break these things apart.


                    • Don’t get me wrong on Clinton’s unpopularity — but the thing is, Trump was more unpopular.

                      So if we’re going with “Unpopular candidate lost” we’re still faced with “Even More unpopular candidate won” which undercuts that as having much explanatory power.

                      If Jeb, with better favorables than Clinton, had beaten Clinton that’s a really legitimate, important thing to say “More popular candidate beats less popular candidate”.

                      But we have TWO candidates that are unpopular, but the MOST unpopular got fewer votes, but won. But also the most unpopular candidate suffered the least drop-off from the previous candidate of his party, whereas the slightly more popular (but still unpopular) candidate suffered a massive drop-off.

                      So popularity is a really, really, REALLY hard explanation to sell. Because if it’s Clinton’s unpopularity that sunk her, why didn’t Trump’s greater unpopularity sink him more?

                      We have to move past that into other areas: Maybe GOP voters are more willing to toe the party line. Maybe everyone assumed Clinton had it in the bag, and didn’t show. Maybe “change candidate” is enough to overcome a great deal of unpopularity, but “status quo” can’t.


                      • I think Clinton’s unpopularity hurt her more since she was the status quo/more of the same candidate. The opposition was more fired up because they have been on the offensive for so long. The D’s have been defending essentially. The up and comers, the ones who have been out of power have a just a bit more energy than those who have been in power. It’s an effect on the margins, but i think it matters. R’s have more just a wee bit more energy due to the grievances they feel. In 18 and 20, well that won’t quite be the same.


                • Doesn’t this kind of contradict all the pushback against the importance of racism/misogyny in the trump vote. Of all the reasons I heard to vote for trump other than those things: economic populism, sticking it to the establishment, sup ct justices, etc.; none of those are reasons to like him in the sense I understand you to mean. I can accept that those are reasons to vote for him or against Hillary.

                  So I might be projecting, but it seems to me that you’d have to at least be sympathetic to racism/misogyny to like a guy like Trump. And if him winning means people liked him, what does that say about those who elected him?


                  • yup. projecting.
                    All those PA voters voted for Obama, yo. Twice.
                    Ain’t racists here, desperate and somewhat “this isn’t going to turn out well anyhow” folks, but not racists.
                    Not really misogynists — really, you don’t have many people who prostitute their children and then murder them to keep them quiet. (Hey-o. I’m going to come down on the sticks and stones side of things for just a bit. Too many of them out there. $40K to murder your child).


    • THIS. It’s not clear to me that it’s even *responsible* for a party that just lost an extremely narrow election with a deeply unlikeable candidate to start doing a lot of policy realigning. Moreover, what policies would the Democrats consider co-opting from Trump? Winning more? Pretending like we can push rewind on globalization? Grabbing women by … well, you get the idea.

      The most immediate lesson for Democrats it not to take third-term elections for granted and to get some more likable candidates. Beyond that, I hope they kick out all of the Robby Mooks, Clinton starf*ckers, and DNC insiders, whose job it is to go into an election with a clear sense of what’s happening. If we’re going to lose we should be losing on a candidate that moves the liberal agenda forward in some other way, not because it was someone’s turn. Some of the postmortems are now revealing that Bill Clinton was asking for months why the campaign isn’t focusing on blue collar voters and the answer was “we don’t need them”. Fire that person and whoever hired him.

      I also hope the DNC works hard to create an environment where successful candidates like Sanders aren’t sabotaged, and gives prominent roles to some of the Sanders strategists. On the question of what to do with Sanders himself, I’m torn. I couldn’t stand his campaign because I thought he was offering the same economic bullshit as Trump and had done zero due-diligence on how his policies would actually be implemented. If the party had nominated him – even against Trump – I would not have voted. To me, people saying “Sanders would’ve been a landslide” is like saying “We should have nominated Trump as a Democrat and he would’ve wiped the floor with Jeb”; it would have meant a party that I don’t want to be a part of. That said, he is the best person to drain the DNC swamp and may be strong in a Dean-like role where his vision is retained but his specific policies are dumped.


      • Yeah. Policy seems like the lesser issue for the D’s. They do need to change some things for sure but the big failure seems to be C didn’t motivate people enough. They didn’t like her, for various reasons reasonable and not, but that depressed turnout. They need a candidate that people want to go out to vote for and she wasn’t it. Or more precisely she wasn’t’ it enough in a few places.


        • But if you look at it, Trump was disliked even more. (That includes population at large, independents, or even party members).

          So I’ve got a couple of possible hypothesis:

          1. Change was greater than status-quo, and people might be more willing to vote for a disliked change agent than a disliked status quo agent. (Actually, a lot more willing — as Trump was more unpopular you have a big shift in responses.
          2. The GOP voters are just more disciplined and willing to go to the polls.
          3. The fact that Trump was clearly going to lose, by all metrics, depressed turnout.
          4. James Comey. (Supposedly the vote break-down of people who decided before and after Comey’s midnight announcement showed a huge shift. Worth a point or so.)

          Probably some mix of all four and more I haven’t thought of. Pick the story that fits your biases, I suppose. :)


          • Yeah he was disliked more but just looking at numbers can, while true, be misleading. Both were widely disliked. In that enviro being different or wild card or entertaining can win over a few more people. The dislike of both candidates seems to have hurt turnout for both. Trumpy got fewer total votes than McCain or Romeny. His turnout was poor. Clinton’s was poor also but worse, in the wrong spots. In a high anti-establishment enviro being the unlikable establishment candidate is just a tad worse than being the unlikeable anti-establishment( well at least for the suckers who think Trumpy is anti-establishment) candidate.

            If you look at vote totals the less popular candidate won fewer votes, that is completely unsurprising. The election seems to have turned on a small number people in a few states.


            • Clinton’s was MUCH worse. Clinton lost millions of votes compared to Obama 2012. Trump lost a few hundred thousand votes from 2012.

              That’s sufficient, by far, to swing the election. If Clinton had declined by the same percentage from 2012 as Trump did, we’d be talking about President Elect Clinton.

              Heck, if Clinton had declined within a few multiples of the Trump decline (which barely existed) we’d be talking about President Elect Clinton.

              Clinton had an order of magnitude greater decline in votes. You can’t hand-wave “She was unpopular” as an explanation. Trump was more so, and he suffered a tenth the drop-off.


    • Road,
      Hillary’s internal polls show that Bernie was a lot more likely than her to win.
      Dukakis could have won against Trump. Mondale could have won against Trump.
      Martin O Mally could have won against trump.


    • Road,
      Oh, you’re full of it. You need to have brass balls to NOT be a friend to the Powers that Be (neoliberals and neocons alike, nowadays). Trump ain’t that brassy, even with the “tan”.

      Bernie was willing to call their bluff — Trump won’t be. (he’s got kids)


  3. One things thats going to happen next is that many pollsters are going to have to refigure things. All of them, even the ones most bearish for Clinton won.

    I think your doing the Sanders faction a disservice by saying they think that the Social Justice faction is just about gendered bathrooms and niche cultural issues. They know its about more. What they believe is that we are living in age of growing Right Populism. Trump is merely the American manifestation, abetted by the Electoral College. They believe that the Identity Politics faction of liberalism is a poor counter to Right Populism. Right Populism speaks in a broader tones and on a much more universal level than Identity Politics liberalism. Identity Politics divides people into groups that end more in opposition than working together. Identity politics among minority groups also tends to increase tribal feelings in the majority group. That never turns out well.

    Saul, you read LGM. There were people among the Social Justice faction who were advocating things that would turn the Democratic Party from a minority party in Congress and state government to a rump party in Congress and state government. One of them was basically advocating that the Democratic Party plank should adopt the entirety of the BLM plank. That would be an electoral disaster. Not only would more White Americans see the Democratic Party as the non-white party but Hispanic Americans and Asian-Americans would to.


  4. For what it’s worth, the polling monitors were a middle-aged white woman, a middle-aged African-American, three white people in their early to mid-70s (too old to be Boomers), and a guy in his 50s or 60s who was Fillipino.

    Just curious, on this one, was poll monitors correct (i.e. the people in service to the parties/candidates or independent observers) or did you mean poll workers i.e. election officials? Because that’s a lot of poll monitors for a single precinct, but far fewer election officials than I’m used to.

    That Matt Ygleisias analaysis showed amazing foresight. Especially amazing in light of how clueless Vox on the whole was from July to October. It’s too bad nobody in the Clinton campaign seemed to have this take also.

    You’re leaving out an important part of the McCaskill story. She inserted herself into the other party’s primary election and supported who she thought would be the weakest candidate. That candidate then won. This strategy though almost spectacularly failed, as that candidate led in the polls for most on the general election campaign. It was only when the candidate gave one soundbite that couldn’t be spun away that he wound up losing. His flaw, in hindsight, was not having an odious thing to say nearly every media cycle instead of just one thing everyone latched onto.


      • Thanks. Do you know (or are able to say) how many people were registered where you were and how many turned out? We had 11 full-day people, plus some high school student volunteers during part of the day, for just under 1400 total voters. We were slightly overstaffed for the second half of the day, but definitely needed everyone during the morning rush.

        Only 6 people imo, even for a much smaller precinct, starts to cut into you flexibility for breaks and to take the time to care of people that need additional assistance, whether it’s a registration issue, language issue, or any kind of mobility/vision/hearing etc impairment.


        • There were 1600 voters in the precinct who did not do some form of mail in ballot or early voting. Around 600 of them showed up to vote on election day.

          There was a morning crush from about 7 AM to 9 AM but the rest of the day was very manageable. Maybe a little more people at lunch time, after school, and around 5 but no long lines. The last voter finished up about five minutes before the close of the polls.

          The poll workers took no or few breaks as far as I can tell. The polling place was a church that provided pizza and snacks for us.


    • I’ve seen others write similar stuff to Matt Y but obviously no one paid attention to the Cassandras.

      Matt Y’s article would have been better if it came out in the summer instead of a week before the election.


  5. Re: SJWs

    I’m all for social justice. I am quite happy that there are so many others who do, too. And, I’m often dismayed at how they express themselves. There are persecutions and shaming galore. This does not change peoples minds. It never does.

    If you take the high moral ground, it’s a statement of “my morals are better than yours”. Nobody in the history of the world has ever responded well to that. Nobody has ever said, “Oh, wait, you’re right, my morals are somewhat lacking!”

    I prefer to oppose the isolationist xenophobia with stories from my own life about how I am enriched by women in business, by Mexican-Americans, and by Muslims. I am. I like them, I don’t feel threatened by them. I prefer to oppose MRAs with discussions about how feminism is good for me.

    I would like my conservative relatives to think that my hunger and thirst to see right done includes them, rather than excludes them, and that it’s not conditioned on how they vote.

    I am deeply uninterested in blaming anyone for the outcome, though. That includes blaming Hillary, blaming BernieBros, blaming Green voters, blaming SJWs.


    • This. A lot of what passes for Social Justice activism seems to be more about putting real and perceived enemies in their place. The advocacy tends to be at the level of “anybody who does not defer to us completely on these issues is racist, misogynist homophobe” or basically calling a lot of people evil. Calling people evil doesn’t get them to reflect on their views. People usually get very defensive and double down rather than open up.


      • I think that social media has warped us horribly, and we’re always looking to please our own ingroups, and outdo our competitors within that ingroup in our demonstrations of zeal.

        I see no sign that this will change soon. I feel quite chastized these days in my belief that somehow I might be able to change humans. I’m looking to change maybe one or two, that might be all I can do.


    • The problem with social justice is that it is a vast term. So people complaining about Social Justice Warriors can mean everything from the Black Lives Matter movement and the fact that a lot of Internet culture seems dominated by pop culture for women between 20-40. It also mocks and hates that comic book companies are making more comics with minority superheros.

      There are a lot of things that get people’s underwear in a bunch like the Oberlin food fight even if it is just left as an example of kid’s on one small college-campus being kids. Yet no, everyone has to get outraged by the Oberlin campus dining food fight.


      • There is a certain argumentative style in the Social Justice/Identity Politics faction of liberalism that turns people off. It assumes that everybody who isn’t in automatic agreement on a particular issue is misguided at best and evil at wrong. They did to be quick with accusations of cultural appropriation, racism, sexism, and toxic masculinity. Thats why people do not like them.


        • So, college kids? :)

          It takes a bit more brain aging and experience gathering to realize people lead complex internal lives. And even then, people in general are prone to attributing what little data they have to simple motives.

          (A strange man who yells is an angry, angry man. But when your friend yells, you realize how complicated and stressful his life is. It’s unfortunate, but understandable. He’s a good man, under a lot of strain…)


  6. So I spent the first few months of 2016 driving around America visiting places, many of which were rural and working class- like my family- and I gotta tell you, those people don’t exist. They don’t exist in Washington at any policy level. They might get lip service every four years, but then they’re invariably told to swallow policies from their social betters that shred the social contract. They don’t exist in the media, aside from the occasional nasty snark or stereotype or joke. They don’t exist in academia. Actually, doing labor in a university, I can tell you that working class people in general are socially invisible there.

    Today, my Facebook feed is filled with blog posts by urban, white collar liberal friends of mine about how those people are “terrifying” “uneducated” “racist” “bigots” “sexists”, etc. etc. etc. But they already knew you thought of them that way. They know what you think of them.

    I don’t know. Maybe they are those things too… But maybe it’d be a good time for progressives to examine their own “privilege” for once.


    • I have a nearby diner (about a block away from our local little Liberal college) that has people behind the counter that are pretty freakin’ awesome. Some of them are waaaay liberal and some of them are #MAGA types.

      The waaaay liberal one gave me an earful about how Obama and Clinton deserved this because of Standing Rock.

      The #MAGA types just generally hate how they are treated by the students at the local Liberal college.


      • “Make America Great Again”?

        It’s funny- I used to be one of those liberal graduate students who worked in academia teaching blue collar kids in a building that couldn’t operate without its army of workers. Now, I’m one of the workers that maintains the building for academics and office workers to go about their day. Some of them are really great and convivial people- especially the older profs. But, boy, I really hope I never acted like some of these people.


        • Yep, exactly. (Er, I mean, MAGA == Make America Great Again)

          At the diner, some weeks I have the strength to have good social skills and be able to ask them about what they had planned for the week, last week. Some weeks I only have enough social skills to tip well.

          But talking to these guys about their lives and asking questions about everything from fantasy football to the drama going on at their second job (and, I am sure, tipping well) has gotten me little moments behind the curtain. For example, they are the ones who told me about how much they hate how they’re treated by the students at the local Liberal college. (One of them was single. Good looking, built like a guy who does manual labor all day. I made a joke about finding a nice girl from the local college. His eyes narrowed, he looked around, and then spent about a minute explaining to me a handful of things that I didn’t know.)


          • It’s not just that we care about them, it’s that we’re part of the social fabric of the place. We’ve been going to the same diner since we were in our 20s ourselves, back when we made about the same amount of money they did (we still tipped well). For the younger people on staff, they literally grew up on the job, watching us show up every 2 days to 3 weeks… it’s like you’re their impassioned but kind libertarian uncle or something.

            Unlike the students (I’ve heard they’re a severely mixed bag), most of whom have zero local roots.


          • That’s funny, cause I waited tables for a couple of years, both in a college town and in vail, and other than a few regulars and a super nice guest or table of guests every now and again, the staffs there hated everyone. I never considered it was because all the guests were assholes. I always kind of though that was an issue on the staff’s end.

            Same in the rental shop I worked in twisting bindings. If I had a dollar for every time I had to respond to a co-worker complaining about all the rich assholes we had to “serve” by reminding him that they we’re the reason we get to live in place like vail and spend 130 days a season on a mountain in sick conditions, I’d be rich.

            II mean, were there some assholes at both? Sure, but not nearly as many diagnosed as such. And in no way consistently urban or liberal.

            And honestly, it seems odd you could have heard enough stories from the strapping young lad about all the asshole college kids to condemn 5-20 years of college students from the local college as being of the same kind as the smug liberal elites we were discussing yesterday, or at least smug enough to look down on the diner workers. But what do I know??


            • Yep. Maybe I’m gaslighting everyone, telling everyone about going to this diner (for years) and talking to the staff.

              I guess we’re in a weird place where I might be lying about talking to the kids at the diner.

              Or it’s transparent that I must be.


              • I could tell stories i’ve heard from people about all the ahole customers they deal with here in a red state. Chances are plenty of them are conservative. A few weeks ago i was getting a burrito at Qdoba and the old woman in front of me said she didn’t want the hispanic guy to make her burrito and asked for the white women. She didn’t explain it, but she gave the Hispanic guy a look of disgust. Who knows, she is probably just nuts.


                • Oh, you wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell about The Restaurant!

                  We had various youth group leaders from the Presbyterian Church (they baptize babies!) come in from time to time and you wouldn’t believe how they treated the staff.

                  I almost got fired once when one of them berated one of the high schoolers behind the counter for getting his coffee order wrong and I asked him, loudly, if he was still teaching at First Pres. (Instead, I was yelled at while I nodded. I understand, now, why it was bad for me to have done what I did… but I’m 44. When I was 24, I would have sworn (on a stack of Bibles! (not that Bibles mattered to me), that I did the right thing.)

                  But my story was not about The Restaurant where everybody from the church district went to. It was about the diner next to the small Liberal college.

                  But, as Switters points out, I might be making everything up. So beware. I could be lying to you.


                  • I don’t doubt liberals were pita’s staff. Not a surprise at all. People are often nasty to staff and liberals are a subset of people. I’m just not convinced saying those college libs were nasty to staff proves that much. No more than socon’s leaving chick tracts as tips proves all socons are unpleasant that way.

                    The only time i’ve ever seen a chick tract ( at least i think it was, it was religious comic book) was when a socon in a dinky town in ak, Tok, surreptitiously slipped it to my son. I hadn’t been receptive to whatever he said about the bible and he thought i wasn’t looking when he tried to sneakily hand it to him. But i dont’ think all socons do that.


                    • See, from *MY* perspective, I’m the guy who passed out Chick tracts and also the guy who asked the Presbyterian (you know they baptize babies, right?) guy (who was yelling at my co-worker) about whether he was still affiliated with the church.

                      So, please, keep my stories in that particular perspective.


                      • I do! I was raised Lutheran, switch to Presbytrian for about five years, went back to Lutheran (Old school german style. Not the Missouri Synod), then ended up Methodist because of my wife. (Well, attend. I’m not a member).

                        My mom attends there occasionally, since the services are almost identical to the Lutheran ones she grew up with and the theological differences are, for the most part, ignorable.

                        Was never Baptist, but knew a few. Was good friends with some Mormons for years. And when I was in college, through my job, I learned that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the nicest people to work with. Whenever they rented a building from us, they never stuck us with the mess.


              • I believe you went. I believe the strapping guy told you exactly what you say he did. What I can’t believe is that a guy as smart as you fails to adequately discount for how common it is for people in jobs who serve other people to hate the people they serve. And even though there are frequently good reasons for that, in my experience it’s more frequent that there’s not.

                so I’m wondering how many actual stories did you hear? How many liberal students have come through the college since you and my favorite person on this blog have been going to the diner? And do you think the experiences you heard from him justifies condemning an entire liberal college worth of students?

                Oh yeah, and Do you know this guy well enough to say he’s bringing none of his own baggage to the table?

                And thanks for the trust and collaboration Jaybird!! But I’ll repeat. I don’t think your lying. I think you extrapolating too much!!


                  • Things go round and round. I certainly feel resentment toward people “better off” than me for all kinds of reasons. The thing is, I’m usually self-aware enough to see that this is my own baggage. On the other hand, I’ve worked service jobs. It can get rough.

                    Even when true, however, these are microaggressions. They suck. But service workers are not unique in being on the wrong end of smugness.

                    I don’t expect them to like it. On the other hand, let us have some perspective.

                    I deal with a constant barrage of “smugness” that would lay the average person low. Yet I carry on.

                    Plus, there are variations of white fragility: https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116


                  • That may be true Rufus (although my experience tells me otherwise, and I’ve got a pretty good record of doing shit ass jobs for people w way too much mone – but that is besides the point). Which is why, when I hear my 80 year old uncle talk about the horrible service at his local diner and complain about the hispanics providing it, I don’t post a note on a blog about how terrible hispanics are to 80 year old uncles.


                    • Uh, what now?

                      I’m not sure how that follows. All I was saying is that there are sometimes in life cranks who make a habit out of complaining about the service every time they go out. My mother’s ex-boyfriend was that way. He had a chip on his shoulder about how customer service was declining, although I suspect he did it in hopes of getting free food. If you haven’t encountered these people in your jobs, however, that is fortunate.


                      • Rufus, I kind of think Jaybird was doing what I just said I wouldn’t do. I.e., condemning a college worth of liberals based on some anecdotal evidence that a number of diner workers routinely feel disrespected by a subset of those students. Damning all based on the bad acts of a few.


                • I mean, it’s hard to talk politics without talking groups. But at the root of most of our problems is blaming all members of a group for the actions of some members of that group, Particularly group they have no choice to be a part of. Sometimes it’s necessary, say KKK, or nazis, but mostly it ends up producing more heat than light. I’ve always considered you a defender of that. your initial post re the restaurant caught me off guard.


                  • Let me try again Jaybird. I understand your willingness to condemn those liberal college students. The folks at the diner are your people. Family almost. I’d do the same thing if my gay friend who works near the conservative Christian college told me identical stories about those students.

                    But…. I’d be wrong. And so are you. Is it easier to admit that now, because I’m not the one being challenged? Yep, sure is. But now when I’m challenged when I fish up, I’ll remember this is here.

                    But it’s painting with too broad a brush. And that first step is the one we should all be trying avoid. Rather than condemning all the college students condemn the asshole ones. And also remind your strapping buddy, as I should my gay friend, that there are some good ones there too. Or at least there is enough of a chance that there are that we shouldnt condemn them all, just the ones who’ve actually earned it.


                    • I’m not condemning those college students.

                      I would have *LOVED* to have been raised in circumstances that would have me be hated by local tradesmen! If anything, I’m envious!

                      Wouldn’t it be freaking awesome to have your biggest problem be a presidential election?

                      I’m sighing just thinking about it.

                      I’m saying nothing more than “I am a Ordinary Times Kinda Guy who happens to speak, occasionally, with people who would never, ever, freaking vote for Hillary Freaking Clinton.”

                      And “here’s why they said why they wouldn’t.”

                      You can disagree with my lived experience, if you want.

                      It’s cool.


                      • ’m saying nothing more than “I am a Ordinary Times Kinda Guy who happens to speak, occasionally, with people who would never, ever, freaking vote for Hillary Freaking Clinton.”

                        Do you think that makes you special? I’ve got two right in my immediate family. (One voted, hilariously, for Jill Stein. I’ve yet to have said life-long Republican explain why her. The other voted for Gary Johnson. Neither could vote for Clinton, but that didn’t mean they were gonna vote Trump. Clinton did do surprisingly well here in Texas)

                        I’ve got half a dozen people who actually voted for Trump on my facebook feed — mostly relatives, with a handful of friends. Whom I don’t talk politics with, because that would get in the way of enjoying time with them. It doesn’t stop them from plastering their posts with that sort of thing, but life’s too short to argue that much with family.

                        I know exactly why they voted for Trump! How could I not? They spoke about it at length, and I’ve known them for decades. I’m close to them. We speak and interact often.

                        Did you think this was a board full of people confusedly saying “But nobody I know voted for Trump! How could he have won?”


                        • Do you think that makes you special?

                          No (not *SPECIAL*), but I believe it makes me rare, insofar as it doesn’t seem to me that the rest of you have shared meals and/or intimate moments with Trump voters and/or people who would otherwise brag about not voting for Clinton.

                          To be honest, it seems to me that the rest of you all are smack dab in the middle of a bubble of your own chosing.

                          Did you think this was a board full of people confusedly saying “But nobody I know voted for Trump! How could he have won?”

                          Yes. Quite honestly, I did.


                          • No (not *SPECIAL*), but I believe it makes me rare, insofar as it doesn’t seem to me that the rest of you have shared meals and/or intimate moments with Trump voters and/or people who would otherwise brag about not voting for Clinto

                            I submit to you that it DOESN’T make you rare.

                            Because as I just said, I’ve done exactly that. Shared both meals and intimate moments with Trump voters, and moreover continued contact with them for decades of my life.

                            What are the odds, you think, that we’re the only two people here who that description fits?


                            • Well, just the thing where you have been saying all year about how Clinton would win and people arguing otherwise were WRONG WRONG WRONG and I was the only person arguing that something smelled funny.

                              Though, to my shame, I said that I thought that Clinton would win on election day. I started believing Sam Wang, the official Ordinary Times numbers guy, instead of… other people who did not do as good a job of keeping our blood pressures low.


                              • Well, just the thing where you have been saying all year about how Clinton would win and people arguing otherwise were WRONG WRONG WRONG and I was the only person arguing that something smelled funny.

                                That puts me in the following company:

                                1. Clinton
                                2. Trump.
                                3. The media.
                                4. All the pollsters.
                                5. All the poll aggregators (even 538 was throwing out more of a sheet anchor. They were clearly surprised).
                                6. Democrats.
                                7. Republicans.

                                So yeah, I was absolutely wrong. But I was in the company of a lot of people, most of who not only understand this a ton better but had far better data. Including both candidates (seriously, you don’t talk rigged elections and all that if you think you’re ahead, and also his pollster quit because he wasn’t being paid. Trump was clearly expecting to lose).


                                • Smoking the mirrors. Nate, Wang, Cenk, everyone got money from the Clintons (or at least promises of money after the election), to do exactly what Clinton wanted said. Hell, Krugman said stuff that is so ridiculously implausible that you can tell that he was in the fix as well. (The Green party+The Clinton Vote do NOT win the election for Clinton. I’m sorry. Paul Krugman does understand addition, he’s just too busy working for the Clintons to actually care about journalistic integrity).

                                  (nate took a hell of a lot of flak for a 25% chance of a Trump victory — and now he’s looking at probably being out of a job for just being so ridiculously awful).


                              • I really don’t get this line of argument. The idea seems to be that if people weren’t in their “bubbles” they’d have a set of close associates that happens to perfectly statistically mirror the breakdown of US voting patterns (weighted by electoral college influence) so they’d be a few percentage points more accurate than broad statistical sampling. People who really do that and listen to the people around them know how elections turn out and everybody else is in a bubble. If that were true, surely nobody would be surprised at any outcomes and we’d all be really good people because we hear everybody out.

                                My surprise that Donald Trump won wasn’t because I don’t know anybody who supports Trump or that I haven’t heard them tell me why. I’m certainly surprised at some of their individual explanations, but that’s about as far as it goes. My surprise comes from the that I know that nobody actually has a statistically representative social circle (at least, not within 1 percentage point), so instead of looking around me and assuming that the people I talk to mean anything at all, I look at the numbers of people answering polls. Historically, that beats the pants off of looking around you and assuming that your neighborhood is a universal reality. Believe me when I say that if the polls had predicted a Trump landslide, I would have believed that instead of substituting my own social circle as authoritative data.

                                There seems to be a lot of hand wringing over what made Trump popular. I’m pretty sure I could list out, Family Feud style, the things that cover most of it. That people voted based on those reasons doesn’t surprise or confuse me. What I’m surprised by is that either what people said they were going to do wasn’t what they ended up doing, or the models for weighting the data points for turnout melted down. I’m extremely curious about what happened there, and it’s going to take a while to unravel it.


                                  • 1) I’m not sure who you think believed that literally nobody would have voted for Trump. Most of us were surprised at a few percentage point deviation between expectations and the actual results. I think just about everybody expected Trump to get not quite half of the vote, which he did. He just got slightly more than the not quite half and they were distributed just so. It seems like you’re arguing that expecting him to get 47% of the vote indicates a good balanced view of the world and expecting 44-45% indicates a complete inability to grasp that some people could support Trump. Were there people predicting 0% who I just wasn’t seeing?

                                    2) Yes, of course it surprised me. The best available data said that it was an unlikely event. I’d argue that if it didn’t surprise you at least a little bit, you were either a wiz at estimating uncertainty in the polls or you were basing your expectations on some faulty reasoning or gut feeling and just got lucky. I haven’t seen any evidence that most of the people who got it right really had any real data to arrive at the right answer. It seems like most of them just lived in a “bubble” of Trump support instead of a “bubble” of Clinton support.


                                    • I think the rule of thumb is 40%. If I, unqualified as I am, were to run as the D candidate as an urban liberal white cis male, I would get no less than 40% because that’s where the base is at. Conversely, if I, unqualified as I am, were to run as the R candidate as an urban liberal white cis male, I would get no less than 40% because that’s where the base is at.
                                      This election, I think, has shown that that’s not as true as we think, but even so those whose jobs depend on winning need to look instead on the 20% who aren’t in either camp.


                                • df,
                                  Clinton’s internals weren’t nearly as bad as the “public polling”. I smell some rats around with the “data weighing” components. And some paychecks, of course.

                                  Of course, this may be because I know the Clinton operative who knew she was going to lose (and sent a good few missives saying Campaign in Wisconsin).


                          • Yes. Quite honestly, I did.

                            Well that explains why I’ve fond your…tack…so annoying. It probably never would have occurred to me that you were making that assumption, but in hindsight that’s pretty clearly what was rubbing me wrong.

                            I don’t need to be handheld through the complex world of Trump voters. Frankly, if I was confused I have two cousins I just saw last week I could ask.

                            If I wanted the view of an evangelical Trump supporter, I have two cousins, an aunt, and a second cousin just off the top of my head.

                            I don’t really need it, like I said, I’m familiar with both their faith and their politics. They’re not exactly quiet about it.

                            (For that matter, I’m rather familiar with Clinton’s religion. I’m an atheist, but my wife and her family are Methodists from the same theological streak as Clinton’s. I attend there regularly.)


                      • thats where we are? Fish, if you’d a told me that all you were trying to do was explain that the main reason your diner worker friends don’t like democrats is cause local liberal-college students shit on them, I probably would’ve just moseyed along.

                        I thought you were trying to make a point about the liberal college students. Apologize if that wasn’t the case.


                        • FWIW his wife works at said liberal arts college.

                          He knows a decent amount of the students she works with, and many of them like him quite a lot.

                          He doesn’t usually get to know them as well as he knows the diner folks because boundaries (I’m their boss), but he knows how much I care about them and some of them eventually become part of the family.

                          Mentioning only because it’ll probably help you to reframe the initial discussion.

                          PS When I talk to them about the diner, which occasionally comes up because they all love going there, the number one thing I say is “PLEASE TELL ME YOU TIP.” I was shocked and appalled a few years ago to learn that in a server-wages-reduced-because-tipping state, most of the students who go to the diner tip … nothing at all. In blissful ignorance.


                          • Last time I was there, I saw (important Colorado Springs Politician) there and I said to (counter worker) “Wow! Is that (important Colorado Springs Politician)?” and she told me “yeah”, but in a tone.

                            So I asked “does (aforementioned politician) tip?” and she shrugged.

                            I will never vote for (important Colorado Springs Politician) ever again.


                            • I’ve always found tipping behavior to be a general guide to basic decency in general. (I mean there’s some grey area, like people who don’t realize that tips are standard .Like the guy in the bathroom at nice restaurants, or how much to tip valets and the like) .

                              It’s like learning a guy kicks his dog.


                              • See, I haven’t found it to be that. For me, it’s a guide to whether a person has been down in the trenches (including “tipping optional” places similar to where I put myself through college) or whether the trenches have never occurred to them.

                                One of my favorite counterpeople recently asked me if I wanted to come back and make a latte (after I expressed regret that I haven’t handled a *REAL* coffee maker for 20 years and wondered if I still could make a little something something). I declined… with the understanding that I might take her up on her offer on a weeknight less stressful than the weeknight I was visiting on.

                                It’s not learning a guy kicks his dog. It’s about a guy learning that dogs are people too.

                                Except with cats.


                          • My son’s waitstaff. He HATES college kids because of that.

                            It took less than a month of waiting tables before his default tip became 20%.

                            More than once he’s gotten the receipt only to see “Sorry, we’re broke!” written on the tip. He summed up his thoughts as “Maybe you shouldn’t have had dessert then, a**holes”.

                            But frankly, college kids are not the best group to generalize an entire population for. I mean if Jaybird was saying “Liberal arts college kids” that has a lot more power. But extending the rather…limited…life experience and horizons of college kids to every liberal is a huge stretch.


                            • Once again, I’m 99 percent sure his intention – as stated to switters above – was to talk about why the waiter voted the way he did (said waiter being about the same age as the college kids, btw) and not really about the college kids at all.

                              If we’re going to understand Trump voters (debatable that it’s more useful than understanding people who didn’t bother to show up, honestly) – it’s arguable that the ones with obvious reasons aren’t who we need to interrogate ourselves about – I have a pretty clear understanding of the trump voters in my immediate family too. The puzzling ones are, in fact, the ones that are in their mid-twenties, and not white, and working class. Why would someone like that go for Trump? And those reasons are the ones Jaybird was trying to get at.

                              Personally if I were you all I would just assume that if it’s Friday night, Jaybird’s probably drinkin’ (he started early today) and ignore him, but for some reason I feel like attempting to translate tonight.


                              • Gotcha. It certainly came across as a big, sweeping generalization.

                                Especially given the focus the last few days on ‘understanding’ the Trump voter. I’ve met quite a few, and know several very well. I don’t really need a guide. :)


                              • Well thank you for that, and your earlier explanation, Maribou!!

                                i live with Hillary hate. I know pro trump. I dont “understand” all of it, but its not for lack of listening. And i certainly understand pieces of it. And of all the reasons I’ve heard, the folks at the diners’ is the most inexplicable to me. It’s almost a caricature of the folks’ reasons who I’ve talked to. But none of mine were 22 year olds either. Or maybe I’m not getting the whole story. And that’s definitely not to imply there not within their rights to do so. But if that’s really all it is, it’s 1- kind of depressing, and 2- something we can’t do anything about, and 3 – a decent indicator that if jay decides to take his “broaden your perspective” schtick on the road, we could all agree on a decent place to start.

                                But I do really appreciate the fact that you guys are close with the staff there. I’ve eaten shitty meal after shitty meal at many places I called home over the years for no reason other than liking the people who worked there. I aim to grow old being a guy others do the same for. Hopefully with better food though.


    • Rufus,
      If you didn’t find the folks that like burning down people’s houses as a “prank” or the folks that think indian preserves are good places to rape people, I’d say you got off pretty lucky. [Every little town is different]


    • I agree and disagree. I agree that a lot of white working class voters only get lip service every four or so years and then are told by their betters to take what is given. But those voters always vote for the Republican Party or do nearly all the time. It looks like Trump’s cabinet is going to be bog standard Republicans with a Wall Street bent in economics and a neocon bent in foreign policy.

      The Democratic Party has enacted policies that help the working class overall. There are lots of working class people who are not white that have no problem voting for the Democratic Party and are proud to do so (despite what somepeople here like to think, I believe that there is such a thing as a proud Democrat and it extends beyond people with advanced degrees.) The ACA gave 18-20 million people health insurance which provided access to health care. Governor Beshear (D-Kentucky) created the Kentucky exchange which helped the rural, working class. The Obama administration has also supported rules for more overtime pay and fought against wage theft.

      Do you think Trump will do so? Has any Republican done so?

      What do the white working class want that is within the realm of possibility that the non-white working class want? Factories in the Ohio River valley are not going to hum again except with automation. Coal mining is not going to come back in any meaningful way.

      I see countless articles including from liberals about how the Democrats lost the white working class. And it is true we need to combat them. On the other hand, I see very few articles from conservative intellectuals and pundits trying to do good faith exercises on why the Republican Party does not do well with minorities. When the Republicans do lose you just see articles like “Why don’t Blacks vote for us? Democrats are the real racists and just give free stuff?” “Why don’t Jews vote for us? We are so much better on Israel?” This ignores the fact that Jews might not be single-issue voters and might think good on Israel means something different than giving Likuid a blank check. At least they don’t seem to ask why the LBGT community does not vote for them. They understand that much and/or don’t want the LBGT community.

      I admit I come from deep blue America. I grew up in an upper-middle class suburb filled with professionals with advanced degrees and most residents were Jewish or Asian. I live in liberal San Francisco. But there are a lot of people in New York and San Francisco and other cities who grew up in small town, white, rural America, who were beat up for being different. One former co-worker is gay and physically disabled. He spent the first 18 years of his life having the tar beaten out of him in his conservative and rural Michigan town.

      This is a two-way street. It isn’t just liberals having to make all the concessions and small-towners getting to keep all their resentments about damned city liberals.


      • “No, you don’t understand. If you want a high trust/high collaboration relationship with us, you’re going to have to collaborate with us more.”

        “Fine. I defect.”

        “No, you don’t understand. If you want a high trust/high collaboration relationship with us, you’re going to have to collaborate with us more.”

        “Fine. I defect.”

        “No, you don’t understand. If you want a high trust/high collaboration relationship with us, you’re going to have to collaborate with us more.”

        “Fine. I defect.”


        • “And I want you to know that I don’t even really benefit from this defection personally. I’m defecting for the benefit of society in general. I’m defecting on the behalf of people who, historically, have been defected against a lot of times. So sure maybe I’m defecting against you, here, right now, but there are all sorts of reasons why it’s okay this time.”


        • — In practice, they “defect” by calling me a faggot and spitting on me. Or flipping out if I need to take a pee.

          I really don’t understand what you expect. I already know things are terrible.

          Tonight I’m getting dressed up and riding the subway up to the goth club. I will be on that train with — well who knows. It is usually a mixed crowd. Black folks from Dorchester. Working class white Irish from Southie. What will tonight’s mix be?

          What does “high trust” mean? That we don’t attack each other?

          Oddly, I find that the “rough” urban crowd is usually fairly safe to be around. It’s hard to explain, but I get the sense that these folks understand violence very well. They understand how quickly things can go bad. Like me, they just want to get where they’re going safe.

          It’s the suburban kids that cause the most shit. Plus angry old white guys.

          “High trust” — those are just words.

          Honestly tho, since the election I haven’t seen a single “MAGA” hat on someone’s head. It’ll happen sooner or later. On the Dorchester train — well, as I said, the urban folks understand violence very well. They understand how quickly things can go bad.

          I mostly trust my fellow Bostonians. We know to leave each other be.


          • “What does “high trust” mean? That we don’t attack each other?”

            It means that I can assume that people who walk in and ask for cake or pizza actually want cake or pizza and aren’t using me as part of some clever stratagem in the culture war, and so I make my business open to the public instead of a private club.


            • And likewise, if I walk in somewhere public, I can assume that if I ask for cake or pizza, I won’t be interrogated or denied service based on non-aggressive identity markers that the person behind the counter assumes make me a lesser variety of human-being.

              (Non-aggressive is the wrong word – I specifically mean to leave the question of identity markers that communicate hatred to one side.)


              • “if I walk in somewhere public, I can assume that if I ask for cake or pizza, I won’t be interrogated or denied service based on non-aggressive identity markers that the person behind the counter assumes make me a lesser variety of human-being.”

                I’d say it’s more like “if someone says they’re too busy to bake me a cake it’s because they’re too busy to bake me a cake, and they aren’t just making up some bullshit reason based on my having non-aggressive identity markers which the government has decided make me a member of a class that it’s illegal to deny service to”.


          • Look, I’m from a different country, so this doesn’t mean as much from me. But we’re going to hear a lot about the hurt feelings of relatively high status people in the United States and denouncement of the violations of principles. Not nearly as much about the scope to increase the vulnerability of already vulnerable people like you. That sort of thing is invisible to a lot of people and that’s completely terrible.

            The trans thing in particular is something that really needs to get signal out there and doesn’t. Its on almost nobodies radar and I only learned enough to care about it pretty much by accident. Even when it is in the conversation, its mediations on what gender means and not “holy fuck these people get beaten and killed a lot, nobody should be ok with that.”


      • Sure, but I’ve been saying for twenty years that the Democrats were losing the working class (not just the whites). To be honest, the Republicans losing minorities isn’t as important to me because I don’t care if they lose elections. I’d like to see Democrats stop losing them, however.


    • I get that a lot of people are not bigoted and come from rural communities and white working class backgrounds. They might not have voted for Trump but have friends or relatives who did. These friends and relatives could have helped them in times of need.

      That doesn’t change the fact that these same friends and relatives might be deeply bigoted in many ways and against many groups. No one is claiming that bigotry makes someone a total asshole to everyone. But I’ve seen it on the facebook pages of a former OTer who lives in deep red land. His feed does have people from deep red land who say bigoted and horrible things about minorities of various stripes and express a deep homophobia because they fear it as emasculating. Yet they also help the former OTer when he is in need. People can be good people selectively.

      This is a tough thing to wrestle with but it must be done.


      • Well, I have a very close relative who voted for Trump partly because her insurance premiums have gone up and she blames Obamacare and partly because she said she knew exactly how Clinton was going to govern and she thinks she’d rather take a chance on an unknown than on a career politician. She has yet to express any bigotry to me, and I’ve heard her thoughts on pretty much everything for decades, but alas I can’t see into her soul. My plan is to try to convince her instead over the next four years that Trump was a bad choice rather than try to get her to confess her bigotry.


        • I give it at least 30% odds that, 8 years from now, it’ll be like with Nixon. That is, strangely, everyone of voting age at the time clearly remembers voting for someone else.

          (My mother jokes about that. She claims to be the only adult she knows that admits voting for Nixon. It was an amazing landslide with no voters, years later).


  7. Watching day 3 of the reaction, I’m more convinced than ever that Republicans are going to badly overplay their hand. Losing seats in Congress majorities while narrowly winning the Presidency should be an ominous sign; instead, they’re celebrating like it’s 1984.


      • I haven’t read exactly what he’s proposing, but I’m seeing “privatization” thrown around a lot, which doesn’t sound like a fight the Republicans should be picking right now.


        • Gutting the American welfare state was always a goal of at least some Republicans since the FDR administration. To them anything reeking of the social safety net was as un-American as you could get. The number of Republicans like this are basically the entire party right now. The lesson they learned from GWB’s attempt to privatize social security was to do it early, during the halcyon days of the administration rather than into the second term. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bill is already ready and just waiting to be introduced and passed.


            • The damage would be done and with Trump as President, reversing the decision would be impossible unless the Democratic Party has enough seats in Congress to reverse a Presidential veto. There isn’t any evidence that this could really hurt the Republican Party. They seemed to have achieved completely mastery over politics by norm violations.


        • They are shameless enough to try.

          Ryan won’t completely eliminate medicare. They will change the cut-off age and keep it for the current recipients who are largely part of the Republican base. Everyone under 54 will get some kind of voucher (if anything.)

          Same with Social Security.


          • I’m sure the — fifteenth try maybe? — is the charm. This time, the public won’t revolt.

            (Speaking of, I’m really looking forward to the first time Trump and Congress lock heads. I’m sure it’ll do untold damage, but that’s inevitable).


            • Trumps already talking about saving parts of obomacare, like guarantee issue despite pre-existing conditions. Could happen sooner than you think. I’m looking forward to it too, even though I imagine it’s gonna cause a metric ton of heartburn for people who don’t deserve it.


    • Autolukos: they’re celebrating like it’s 1984.

      They gazed up at the enormous face. Eighteen months it had taken then to learn what kind of pouting smirk was hidden beneath that orange combover.

      But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. They had won the victory over themselves. They loved Donald Trump.


    • The GOP doesn’t seem to learn these things.

      They will probably overplay their hand but they have also done a good job REPMAPing and ratfucking the Democrats.

      Notice how anti-Democrats always manage to dismiss the fact that the GOP losses the popular vote. It doesn’t matter to them. All that matters is power and getting their agenda done.

      I suspect we are going to see Brownback’s Kansas on a national scale.


  8. 8 years ago (we were so young!), I wrote this essay for the Republicans.

    12 Steps To A Healthy Republican Party.

    It won’t take too much effort to do some light word substitution and make it “12 Steps To A Healthy Democratic Party”.

    The main core is the same:

    Here’s what I wrote then:

    2004: 55 Senators. 231 Representatives. 286 Presidential Electoral Votes.

    2008: 41 Senators. 178 Representatives. 173 Presidential Electoral Votes.

    First, you have to admit that you have a problem.


    2008: 58 or 59 senators, depending on how you want to slice it. 257 Representatives. 365 Presidential Electoral Votes.

    2016: 48 or 49 senators, depending on how you want to slice it. 193 Representatives. 290 or 306 Presidential Electoral Votes, depending on Michigan, which is razor thin.

    Here, let me tell you one thing that would work:


    The Republicans are going to screw this up and screw it up spectacularly. Something’s going to break and Trump won’t be able to fix it. Trump won’t be able to work with the Republican House/Senate or he’s going to get rolled by them because they operate under different rules up there.

    However, this is not a long term solution. It will just be yet another case of “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.”

    If you want a long term solution? You need to get healthy.

    Do you want to get healthy?


          • 2012 seems like a pretty good case for the Dems of relative health.

            Romney wasn’t that weak a candidate. He got more votes than the winner of 2016 and remains the high water mark of GOP national appeal post W. I don’t think America thought Romney was horrid, they just liked Obama more.

            I’d also suggest looking back to whatever Dean was doing with his 50 states strategy in 2006 and 2008. That seemed to win and win in places they used to write off.


              • Well, let’s go back and look at the definition:

                “Capable of winning elections without having to rely on how horrible the other party is.”

                It seems to me that Obama would not only have won following Bush II.

                Obama had a pretty good team, a pretty good ground game, a pretty good 50-state strategy, and did well against McCain/Palin but if the Republicans had put together a team as strong as Romney/Ryan, he *STILL* would have won.

                Not just because Bush II left his party in a shambles (though he did!), but because he was a somewhat inspiring candidate who managed to turn out the vote and give America something to vote *FOR* instead of merely pointing, giggling, and saying “vote against those guys!”

                Obama was helped by the Republicans being devastated.

                But he didn’t have to *RELY* on the Republicans having been devastated.

                Pity about those numbers as he leaves office, though, don’t you think?

                You can take comfort in knowing that the pendulum will swing again, though.


  9. Of the four US Census Bureau regions — Northeast, Midwest, South, West — is the West the only region where the Dems made gains at the state-government level? Held all of the governor’s offices they had before the election, including Montana. Flipped three legislative chambers, four if you count the odd thing Alaska is doing.


  10. Saul, your point #3 is the most worrying trend for me. I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at 2020, and there were a few things that stuck out to me: the Bernie-or-bust crowd is already vehemently against the most plausible frontrunners, and isn’t offering any alternatives. Example: https://twitter.com/willmenaker/status/796865520670801921 (anti-Booker). I can’t find the tweet right now, but I also saw something about a Warren candidacy, and the overwhelming responses were “screw her, she sold out for Hillary, I’ll never support her.” That Statler-and-Waldorf faction is going to make 2020 a nightmare.


  11. Well the first thing to appreciate is why Trump got as many votes as he did. There’s been a debate, a little tedious for me, about economic anxiety and imputations of racism. Besides repetition, the reason it’s tedious is because of the reductive train of argument that if they are not motivated by economic anxiety then it’s simply racism.

    But that’s not so. More than anything else, they’re voting for solidarity and agency. That the events of our political culture are things that they create, at least to some extent, as opposed to things that happen to them.


    • I don’t see what is contradictory between voting for solidarity and responding to Trump’s outright bigotry and racism as well.

      From what I see in a lot of white-identity rhetoric, they hate white liberals more than they hate minorities because white liberals are “race traitors.” Now most Trump voters are not reading VDare and other white-nationalist media on a regular basis but they did vote for the guy with explicitly anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, and anti other minority viewpoints. Maybe most do not want to build a wall or stop Muslims from entering the U.S. but enough did and Trump voters went for solidarity with that.


      • To be honest, I’m not quite following you here.

        More importantly, I probably wouldn’t care anyway. I think the mainstream Left parlor game of Pin the Tail on the Racist is distasteful and borderline illegitimate.


  12. “The die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters are also starting their “We Told You So” narrative.”

    You say “narrative” like it’s wrong, like it’s an ideologically-motivated reconstruction of events to produce a falsehood.

    Although I can understand why people are so strongly invested in the idea. If economic populism were the reason that Trump won, rather than straight-up racism, then the obvious question is “why did the Democrats not nominate Bernie Sanders, whose entire platform was economic populism?” And that means that the people who voted for Clinton were wrong. And there’s no way they can accept that they were wrong. They’re smart and good and kind, and smart good kind people aren’t wrong about things.


    • We have decisive evidence that the people carrying H. Clinton’s water were wrong about her electability.

      That isn’t a slam dunk case that people carrying Saunder’s water were right. The counter-factual games out in a lot of different ways. Maybe the lesson is really don’t nominate someone with negative campaign skills. After all, policy wise there is little difference between H. Clinton and Obama and Obama looks like he would have won a third term if the laws and more of the United States allowed it against anyone the GOP could have run.


      • For the average voter, there’s no policy difference between Clinton and Sanders. Both are lefties who want to increase the minimum wage and add new regulations and grow government to enact new social programs. The average is not splitting hairs over whether the minimum wage will be $12 or $15. The difference is, seemingly, that people believed Sanders and they just didn’t believe Clinton (indeed the one area where Trump consistently beat Clinton was in honesty).


        • trizzlor:
          (indeed the one area where Trump consistently beat Clinton was in honesty).

          A fact that never failed to raise my blood pressure. I think its like the torture machine in The Princess Bride: every time I read that I lose a minute on this earth or something


          • Yeah. It sucks. I think maybe the least bad reason is this:

            “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all bets are off. … He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all.

            Clinton lies infrequently, Trump bullshits frequently, and he is considered more honest.


            • Here’s where technique matters a lot. H Clinton has a speaking method where she can make the truth sound just like a lie because she’s using the exact same pause to think and carefully parsing statements one does when one is lying. She talks in a way one does when one cares about being caught in a lie.

              Trump never sounds like he’s lying even when he is. He sounds like he’s giving an off the cuff reaction to everything.


    • More than that, I suspect there’s a lot of juice there politically that we haven’t seen yet. Specifically, that when the tea leaves of the returns are sifted through, we’ll find that the Feel The Berner’s are going to be the missing white voters of this cycle. And by staying home (or voting Trump for the crankiest among them) they are at least as much responsible for President Trump as rural Rust-Belters. And of course, in general they are not going to be sympathetic to Trump and even less so to the conventional GOP.

      Policy-wise, the GOP ought to be able move the football their direction at least a few yards. But medium-term politically, I don’t know if I’d rather be them than us. Sometimes I think it’s them.


      • Them than us? I know you’ve been gone a while and I have a lousy memory but I could have sworn you were deeply in favor of the GOP back in the day? Or was I hallucinating? I’m not objecting, I’m just confused.


        • No, you’re right, I should have been more clear. For the medium-term in strictly in a horse-race sense, I think I’d rather be them (the D’s) over us (the GOP).

          Some of the GOP triumphalism is substantially misguided.


    • “If economic populism were the reason that Trump won,”

      Post-election second-guessing is rapidly turning into what it looks like when lawyers try to argue legislative intent — to wit, bullshit.

      People vote, and don’t vote, for any number of reasons. We are a rationalizing species, not a rational one. There is no one reason why Hillary got millions of fewer votes than Barack did 8 years ago, and efforts to do so risk over-determining the result.

      Yes, you need to have a basic idea about how you got beat, but if you spend all your time focusing on the past, you fail to put in the effort to figure out how to win the next one.

      Which leads to my second rant — what “we” or “they” need to do next. If people are that invested in the internal machinery of the Democratic party at the national level, stop second-guessing from the sidelines and get in there!

      My own view is that the election of the next chairman of the DNC is a one-day issue. What’s far more important is building the party at the state level, starting by winning seats in state legislatures.

      (Of course, that’s hard work and since I live in Southern California I’m calling on others to stop kvetching and start politicking, without assigning much work to myself. hmmm.)


      • Dude. It is not second-guessing to say that both Sanders and Trump were running on economic populism.

        Everyone likes to go after Trump’s nationalism(*), and I can see why, because it’s a very easy target to score on. His actual rhetoric was at least half economic populism, though.

        (*) please to be noting that Trump’s statements about nonwhite persons were always couched in terms of Mexican immigrants. To the extent that he talked about black people, it was “the Democrats are playing ’em for suckers”. White racism came from outside, and you’re right that he didn’t explicitly deny it, but he never actually encouraged it either.


  13. 2. What went wrong for Hillary?

    I’ll take “Giving Debbie Wasserman-Schultz a chair position after she was instrumental in screwing Bernie out of the race” for $200.

    I think one of the things that is overlooked in the “Bernie factor” isn’t “Could he have won?” but “how much did openly screwing his candidacy turn people away from accepting Hillary as a candidate?”. If she had won against Sanders cleanly, I suspect that his followers would have been far more accepting than having Hillary use the party machine to send the message “Your vote doesn’t count but please come back in November to vote for me!”

    Rewarding DWS with a chair position also shoved the shiv into the back a little more.


    • Yeah, I don’t think that folks appreciate how slimy the (PERFECTLY LEGAL) crap that the Democratic Party did came across to people who still believed things.

      I suppose they’ve learned an important lesson.


    • DWS was chair since 2011, taking over from Tim Kaine after the significant midterm losses in 2010. (Sense a pattern?) She should have left after the same thing happened to her in 2014 (and she should have ran for the Senate), but the real problem is that a sitting US Congresscritter has too many competing interests on their time and ideological space to be an effective party chair. Something that also is the drawback for giving Keith Ellison the job (who is otherwise the right guy for the job right now)

      Edit to add – Kaine did it as a sitting governor, but that’s a 4 year gig, and Virginia is unique that he can’t run for re-election. So his personal electoral prospects and fundraising were never in conflict with the party’s.


      • I meant being an “honorary chair” for Hillary. People can argue that it’s a largely meaningless title and, if you had no idea how the Clintons have done business in the past, you would be right.

        But, even if you didn’t have any past knowledge, giving the title of “honorary chair” to DWS was like giving the “honorary chair” position to Bill Cosby while running to be the president of NOW. When your own supporters are howling over the move, that’s a sure sign you fucked up.

        Or, to put it another way, If Donald Trump had done the same thing, the League would have wholeheartedly protested the move as a sign of widespread corruption. Instead, the League went into a pattern of “Well, this is what it REALLY means….” when DWS got her new position.

        Sometimes, you gotta distance yourself from your pawns.


      • No idea. If the President elect was, say, Jeb Bush I’d say Christie was getting sidelined over Bridgegate. Here? No idea. Maybe that. Maybe he spilled Trump’s coffee. Maybe Pence is a better butt-kisser. Maybe his kids didn’t like Christie.

        The transition team itself is a mix of establishment types plus has-beens plus Trump’s kids plus random additions like Peter “I love the blood of young children” Thiel.

        His three kids and one son-in-law are probably the deciding faction.


          • Fun fact: His kids are on his transition team. Those are the kids that were, we were told, supposed to run the “blind trust” (even though that is not, in fact a blind trust) of Trump’s assets.

            Funner fact: There is no law requiring a President to do anything with his assets.

            Funnest Speculation: I betcha the President spends a lot of time at Trump properties over the next four years, all at taxpayer expense.


  14. I have a question, I’ve seen some people including Obama say that even those who voted for Hillary should want Trump to be successful. My question is what does that mean?

    Are those who campaigned against building the wall now supposed to hope he succeeds in getting it built? Are people who wanted Obamacare unchanged supposed to want it repealed?

    And if wanting Trump to be successful is not wanting the success of his policies then what is it?


    • : I think you can look at this with increasing levels of charity:

      (1) They’re just saying it to inoculate themselves from future claims that they are being unfair in denouncing Trump (“I said I wanted him to succeed, I gave him a chance!”).
      (2) Since the only way to success is through their policies, they’re hoping that once Trump gets into power he will realize the flaws of his proposals and abandon them. There is some precedent for this with Gov. Schwarzenegger, who abandoned many of his conservative principles and, as a consequence, had some popular success.
      (3) They have policy preferences but these are not iron-clad, so they would rather see Trump’s approach work and be proven wrong than the alternative. For example, if by some miracle Trump’s tax plan leads to 5% growth, I’m not going to be bitter that everything I thought I knew about economics was wrong, I’m going to be ecstatic that lower class folks have a chance to thrive again.

      The last one is much harder to imagine for something like his proposal to crack down on the press or police Muslims, because what we’re really talking about is some kind of trade-off between values and consequences.


    • I think what Obama means by this, and I really am just speculating, is that those of us who voted against Trump should hope that his presidency does not crash the economy or tear the fabric of society apart. I do not believe he meant we should hope that his specific policy proposals are successful. In fact Obama would be the first to ask people to actively and energetically work to ensure his main proposals do not succeed, but I think his hope is that this all happens in the context of a functioning Congress and that the level of governance in Washington does not devolve any further than it already has over the last 8 years.


  15. More on the limits of Social Justice/Identity Politics. This is an article from Slate on why many people do not see Donald Trump as racist. When racism first appeared as an issue of social concern, it referred to the belief that your group was explicitly superior to other groups. Since the 1960s, the definition expanded to include implicit bias and subtle forms of discrimination and exploitation. Many or even most people still define racism by the older definition. Trump doesn’t come off as racist to them because he never quite says that White people are better than people of color. Either most people aren’t buying the expanded definition of racism or it hasn’t been explained that well.


    • Lee,
      Please see the definition of “colorblind racism”. Lotta racists don’t know what the hell racism is. Nothing new there.
      Calling all trump supporters racists is idiotic, anyhow.
      These people voted Obama in, Twice.


    • I think it’s more that D’s aren’t utterly destroyed and doomed and have no support from the american people. D’s have some positives to focus on. Plenty of work to do and they need changes but still some positives. But as has been pointed out Bush/Rove thought they had a permanent majority. O and D’s had the prez and both houses eight years ago. The D’s will get something back and given the pop vote possibly sooner than later if they do the right things.


      • The D’s will get something back and given the pop vote possibly sooner than later if they do the right things.

        I am not confident that the D’s will do the right things.

        I am not confident that the D’s know which things that they’ve recently done were not the right things.


        • Lack of confidence in the D’s is always a reasonable option. Of course Right Things is a matter of opinion. I have more confidence in the Trump/Pence admin to piss off many people in a variety of ways so the D’s might not even have to get all that much right to get some power back.

          I’ve certainly been one to point out Clinton won the pop vote. One thing to take from that is Trumpy starts as not popular and with many people really really wanting to vote against him. R’s had the advantage of the energy of being on the outside for a while. They won’t have that in 18 and 20. The majority of prez voters will be very energized to vote soon and often. It would be best if the D’s give them a better party. But the flawed D’s and flawed candidate was actually liked be people.


          • I’m waiting for some Hillary supporters to accuse blacks of racism for their lower turnout this cycle… It’ll happen.

            Greg, if HIllary was liked – in the sense of “liked” that’s appropriate here – Bill would be scheduled to give a speech about his priorities as First Ladies Man.


        • I am not confident that the D’s will do the right things.

          I am not confident that the D’s know which things that they’ve recently done were not the right things.


          Dem strategist 1: “We need to figure out a way to bring white working class voters back into the party.”

          Dem strategist 2: “But they’re racists. Appealing to them will jeopardize our dominance among minority voters.”

          Dem strategist 3: “Maybe we just need to triangulate better, more obliquely…”

          Stretegists 1 and 2: “Yes! Of course. Whew!”


          • I actually think that the Democratic Party is not repeating past mistakes this time. Keith Ellison has been elected head of the DNC and Obama and Holder are launching a group dedicated to electing Democratic politicians into state offices. This means that they learned that they can’t out Republican the Republicans when it comes to getting the White Working Class and aren’t attempting triangulation. It also shows that they decided state and local offices count. Its a positive move.


            • It’s gonna take more than appointing Ellison (in a selection process that apparently involved only one other person..) to make things right.

              I’ll say this much, tho: appointing him isn’t clearly a retreat to the trenches, which is what I was moreorless expecting.


        • I know we’re all in a post-election heat right now. But the likelihood of this happening *decreased* because Dems made gains in house and senate. Polls were wrong by 2% in a correlated way in three states; that doesn’t mean every political possibility is now a reality.


          • Are there ways to have a Constitutional Amendment that doesn’t involve the House/Senate?

            From my recollection, there are.

            It’s something silly to go for if all you’re going to do is spend a lot of money and not get 38 states to agree on something.


        • You’re forgetting that Amendments start with a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate. The Republicans may control those bodies but they don’t have anything close to that kind of majority. They would need close to a third of the Dems to sign on, assuming unanimity among their own ranks.

          I find it hard to imagine what they could get through that way. Maybe a flag-burning thing?

          Or maybe they could just push for ratification of an existing, pending amendment. There are very few of these that I can see them being interested in pushing other than maybe the Corwin Amendment.


          • This is from here.

            The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.

            (Emphasis added)


                • It’s genuinely not high on my list of concerns. Let me flesh this out:

                  First, the Constitution doesn’t specify, and so nobody really knows, what exactly a Constitutional Convention is supposed to look like. I mean, just the raw mechanics of the thing. One imagines state delegations, similar to our political conventions, and each delegation would have so many votes, but… how many? Allocated by population like the House? Equal per state like the Senate? A combination like the E.C.? What are the rules and procedures?

                  Second, related to the above, is the question of whether such a beast can be limited to a single topic or does it throw the door open to anything and everything? Imagine the horse-trading scenarios. E.g., fetal personhood for you but the 2nd goes away, D.C. is a state, and CU is no more. How badly do you really want that?


                  • Though we haven’t had any for amendment proposals, we had ratification conventions for the 21st amendment. (And we had them in many (all?) states for the original ratification of the base document.


              • It looks like there are 4 with split control.

                Dunno about Unicameral.

                So, I suppose, we have to find 5 states out of 17 willing to do something instead of 1 out of 13.

                Which gives a steeper hill to climb.

                It’s fairly easy to imagine 13 out of 17 being unwilling to do something. 1 out of 13?


                • So, I suppose, we have to find 5 states out of 17 willing to do something instead of 1 out of 13.

                  Not quite that either, though.

                  I think it’s rather a taller order than you’re imagining to get all of the Republican states to go for an amendment like getting rid of natural born citizenship, or outlawing gay marriage, or criminalizing abortion, or softening the first amendment for people of a particular type of religion.

                  Some? Sure. All? Color me doubrful.


                    • Yeah, there’s a few moderate Senators with a TON of power, even when the filibuster dies.

                      (And while I originally thought it was DOA, I’m now giving it at least a 25% chance of staying, although possibly not for appointments, just bills. Senators tend to think more long term, and being able to blame things on Democratic obstruction is politically useful. Still probably going to fully die though)


                      • It’s not just the moderates; Ted Cruz isn’t going to stop being himself just because Trump is in the White House.

                        Their House majority also has problems; their majority isn’t huge (22 seats once the Louisiana runoffs finish), they had a hard time picking a Speaker after Boehner stepped down, and they no longer have an enemy in the White House to hold them together.

                        The Republicans are going to get a lot of their agenda passed over the next couple of years, but they aren’t a monolithic force with a unitary will.


                        • Not to mention — Trump holds grudges, and Ryan is on his list.

                          Then again, I think Ryan’s finally realized what Boehner knew. Being Speaker of that mess is a thankless, pointless job.

                          He’s gonna have a great time for a few months before the wheels come off again.


      • Maybe they suffer from a problem similar to what a friend occasionally mentions to me: Back in the day, she felt that if she could just explain her views clearly enough to her interlocutor that person would inevitably agree with her. The problem wasn’t them, you see. It was her, and her ability to communicate effectively. It never occurred to her that they understood perfectly and yet disagreed.

        She mentions that story as an example of having grown wiser over the years.


      • That’s good to know from a factual basis, but I’m not sure it should make Democrats feel any better about the state of the Party.

        Or maybe it should: they know they can screw around giving each other hand jobs high fives for a few more election cycles before the poop really hits the rotating blades.


    • The situation could definitely be better but I don’t think it really speaks to the health or lack thereof of the Democratic Party as an institution. Rather, it’s a fairly predictable consequence of a polity that’s very evenly divided but very unevenly distributed, i.e., the Big Sort.

      Taken as a whole, the Dems are actually a bit more popular than the Reps. Consider that the Democratic candidate for POTUS garnered a greater popular vote share in 4 of the last 5 and in 6 of the last 7 elections. When the Dems have won it’s been by pretty decent margins of around 5% or so. When Republicans won it was by a razor thin margin once and then twice by an E.C./popular split.

      The system is plagued with structural, distributional, issues that give the Dems the advantage in the E.C., the Republicans the advantage in the House, and the Senate bounces back and forth pretty close to evenly split. The same dynamics play out in the states but overall the advantage is always to the Republicans.

      I don’t really see this changing anytime soon.


  16. Moving down here.

    Don’t you think it is possible for someone to be justified about being treated poorly by some snooty college kid and also being a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, and/or a homophobe.

    You have stories about liberal college students being mean to servers. I have friends with stories about not being tipped by Republicans. Which are more accurate to the group as a whole. Or getting “tipped” with a religious tract of some sort.

    People vote for multiple reasons. I know which candidate said bigoted rhetoric on the campaign trail and mocked the disabled. People might not support that but they voted for him anyway. They lie with it.


    • No. I have a story about a server.

      It’s not a story about the liberal college students.

      Or getting “tipped” with a religious tract of some sort.

      Are you looking forward to a conservativism that isn’t particularly religious? Get ready.


      • I think Saul’s point is pointing at just one group saying how snooty they are is usually shallow and more evidence of your own bias. People in general are often crappy to servers and service workers. When we’ve talked about race some witll often, very correctly, point out that liberal types can be racist. So it seems that people are racist or nasty or treat others bad. It isn’t just those people you don’t like, it isn’t just The Other. So pointing out liberal college kids treat servers poorly just seems like you’re going all in with Kids These Days and ohh look at The Other and how bad they are. Of course other times you point out when people do those things so who knows.


          • Hmmm Maybe it’s you are saying it in a completely muddled incomprehensible manner. It’s nice that you have picked up the check you privilege phrase and if i didn’t think it was a stupid phrase i’ve never used it might be a more meaningful comeback. It comes off to me that at times you enjoy using arguments you will later say are wrong then go back to enjoy using them again. That isnt’ teaching people the error of their ways when you seem to be fine to use the same faulty logic. You are just engaging in the same mud fight. You don’t’ show people the error of demonetization by demonizing them. You know that.


            • I don’t like the phrase. I think it ends arguments rather than fosters discussion.

              It comes off to me that at times you enjoy using arguments you will later say are wrong then go back to enjoy using them again.

              Do you remember me saying that I didn’t like this phrase way back when it was used all the time?

              Well, it’s more that I enjoy taking arguments that I said were wrong and, later, demonstrating how every weapon used against someone else is a weapon that they can use back.

              You don’t’ show people the error of demonetization by demonizing them.

              It’s more that I’m trying to explain that these poor deplorables have felt demonized. And the counter-argument is not “we need to figure out how to make these guys not feel that way” but “they shouldn’t feel that way! Besides, they do it too and they’re worse.”


              • What i’m saying is i don’t think you are communicating what you think you are. You want to show how bad arguments can be used against people by using them. Well that often looks like you just buy into those bad arguments and dig them yourself. Not that you are educating people but are just down in the mud.

                Lot’s of people feel insulted. Perhaps the more direct way is to just stop insulting groups even as if you are sure its just an educational tactic. Talk to people and even criticize them for their behavior not their group membership.


    • I want to come back to this:

      You have stories about liberal college students being mean to servers.

      My story was about me talking to a server at the diner.
      You immediately ran to identifying with the liberal college students mentioned by the server in the story and ignored the fact that it was a story about me talking to a server at the diner.

      The server became invisible to you.



  17. Look at the good side – the number of ‘libertarians’ will skyrocket, as the Trump sh*t storm rains on us. Soon the internet will have only a few actual Republicans on it, and historians will struggle to figure out why Johnson wasn’t elected :(


  18. BTW, for those who are suddenly oh-so-upset about people being dicks for losing, remember who last suggested the Second Amendement as remedy in case he lost.

    Remember the Birthers.

    Remember the Tea Party.


  19. “There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” [Clinton] said, according to the Washington Post. “But our analysis is that (FBI Director James B.) Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”

    “Just as we were back up on the upward trajectory, the second letter from Comey essentially doing what we knew it would — saying there was no there there — was a real motivator for Trump’s voters,” Clinton said, according to the Post.

    The first letter hurt her. But the second letter, expressing that they found nothing, is what really did her in!!!


    • The first para seems correct. I assume she means the second letter pissed off commited trumpets to come out to get her good and hung like she deserves. In any case FBI/Russia tampering did seem to sort of you happen which doesn’t mean Clinton didn’t lose.


      • Russia was the best that Clinton could come up with for “these are true e-mails, but don’t believe them in case there’s anything really incriminating coming off two spies shared laptop”


    • “At this point in time, there’s not enough evidence to indict her for the murder. And maybe I shouldn’t use the word “murder”, because we can’t 100% prove it was one. So, just to be politically correct let me say it this way: We’re not at this point going to recommend indicting her for the killing. Though of course if further evidence shows up, we might revisit that decision.”


      • Mike, there might be some turbo-charged hyperbolic ventilator-ating going on about all this email stuff, but I can tell you the exact moment when my patience and charity wrt supporting her finally broke: it’s when she said “what, like wipe it with a cloth?”

        Which isn’t to say I was a fan from the beginning. I wasn’t. But there are a lot of reasons why Emailgate hounded her right up until the end.


        • Have you by chance listened to last week’s This America Life about the email issue? It’s pretty good, and it’s probably good for Dems to listen to after some time has passed and the election aftermath is less raw.

          Bottom line from the TAL piece is that the conservatives’ narrative that it was treason and/or part of a complicated web to conceal a larger conspiracy are not remotely correct. But the truth still says some really, really unsettling things about the Clinton team — unsettling enough that they deserved to be a scandal, even if not the scandal the right wing was selling.


          • I read a rather lengthy piece in Rolling Stone, I believe, that led to a somewhat different conclusion — that she and her upper staff are fairly tech illiterate, that State’s email system was archaic and problematic, and that given the laxness of the Bush administration rules, that her solution was the sort of thing a tech-clueless upper exec would have implemented when the IT systems in places were unable to.

            Which was, to wit, “Make it work with what I already understand”. There being no State or government rules against it (FIOA compliance was necessary, and the split between secured/unsecured systems was to be maintained) that it violated.

            I have seen quite a few IT setups like that, usually because the current IT setup didn’t meet a board member’s or upper execs needs, so something was kludged together because unless the company had a firm rule or there was a law involved, the board member made it happen.

            There was a reason Obama was pushing through an Executive wide government IT ruleset, and it was because the current system was a weird, organic kludge that had just sort of grown up. The classified side (SCIFs and the like) was more reliable, but the unsecured stuff was known to be a PITA even before.

            (Which, thinking about it, might be because the President from 2000 to 2008 ran most of government’s unsecure email through an RNC server to avoid FIOA requests. Systems that management uses tend to get the focus, with the peons having to make do with less).


              • The reports I read said State didn’t feel they could make her Blackberry secure, but she wanted the “comfort” of not having to switch to a new device.

                Who ya gonna believe?


              • Possibly. I’m sure This American Life had a bit of a bias too.

                The Rolling Stones article wasn’t terribly flattering to Clinton (it mentions the Blackberry thing Stillwater mentioned as well), but it read exactly like how weird corporate IT setups get put together.

                You don’t really need to invent venality to explain everything that happened, especially given how closely she followed the previous patterns. (The Bush White House funneled most of their internal communication through an RNC server — a private server, quite specifically — and Colin Powell was apparently using gmail).

                Quite a bit gets moved to make upper management happy (or more productive or less whiny, however you want to do it).

                And the sin of replacing unsecured internal email with…unsecured private email..is a relatively small one, as these things go.

                Now, mind you, if Obama’s new regs had been in place BEFORE she left? Totally different story. There’s a big difference between “There’s no rules that cover this solution” and “there’s a rule against it”.

                I’m getting really tired of litigating something that, frankly, not only doesn’t matter but is only an issue because Clinton did it. We know it’s a “Clinton Only Rule” because the Bush White House did that turned up to 11, running their own server for most of their internal mail to deliberately evade FIOA requests, but there was no FBI investigation or endless Congressional inquiries.


                  • Exactly. No more Clintons are ever going to run, and the new White House rules passed after her mean such things (private servers, etc) are cut and dried cases.

                    Well, except I’m about 80% certain Trump’s gonna run all his crap through a private server. I can’t see Trump being too happy with FOIA requests.

                    But the rules are always different for Republicans.

                    But Clinton’s? It’s moot. Just another example of the Clinton rules — what’s business as usual for everyone else is, in fact, somehow the mos offensive thing ever from them.

                    Even when it’s creating a charity, or giving speeches for money.

                    There’s always a chain of reasons and excuses, but it was in pretty sharp relief this year. We got to see that Trump was running his Foundation as a slush fund that actually never donated to anything. And Clinton’s was an A-rated charity whose books had been open for decades, with not a single instance of self-dealing.

                    We all know which one got the attention.


            • morat20,
              Yeah. When you’ve got a laptop that two spies own (from two separate countries), that has tons of Clinton e-mails… you really, really ought to see someone about that “security” thing.


    • I haven’t read the whole article, or any other reports of Clinton’s views on the loss. I’d like to think, tho, that somewhere amongst all the deep analytical blaminess she acknowledges that voters simply didn’t want her to be the president. That this election was a repudiation – whether personal or institutional (and those two things are indistinguishable at some level…) – of her and/or her type of politics. Cuz that’s the real story of this election cycle. As Tod succinctly put oh-so-long ago: “people just don’t like her”*.

      *And we’ve known that since at least 08.**

      **And the dislike has only gotten worse since then.


      • I’ll quote myself again, because I’m like that.

        There is a scene in C.S. Lewis’s _The Great Divorce that has been sticking in my craw in the last month or so. It’s the scene where they talk about Napoleon. If you haven’t read it (you should, it’s good) it’s a discussion of Hell. Hell, Lewis explains, is a place where one’s wishes are immediately granted. The problem is that people wish for things that make them feel better without actually helping them. The narrator talks to a couple of folks who say they looked up Napoleon. They spent a year spying on him and they said that all he did was pace back and forth saying “It was Soult’s fault. It was Ney’s fault. It was Josephine’s fault.” That’s all he did. For an eternity.


      • voters simply didn’t want her to be the president.

        Which is why more of them voted for her than for anyone else.

        I’m not saying she didn’t need to understand the electoral college, or that she deserved to win, or anything like that. But I’m getting tired if a couple things:

        1. The insistence that this was a giant repudiation of everything Clinton, when in fact it was damned close. Oh, you’re going to say it shouldn’t have been close? That takes us to …
        2. The doublethink of
        A. Trump represented a populist wave that was going to drown any business-as-usual political, plus
        B. How could she not beat Donald Fishing Trump?


                • There is evidence that the DNC kinda cheated in the whole “Clinton vs. Bernie” thing.

                  This is not me saying “the DNC is wicked!” but “The DNC is stupid because it saw this as reason to double down and win rather than as an indicator of problems.”

                  If you have to cheat to win in the playoffs, you might have problems in the big game.


                            • If you win, you’re a clear-eyed genius who saw through the conventional wisdom and devised a daring strategy that tapped into the deep currents of public opinion. If you lose, you are the reverse. This is true regardless of any external circumstances or the margin by which you win or lose.


                            • So let’s look at the election through this framing:

                              The DNC was cheating to help Hillary win.
                              The RNC was either not helping Trump or trying to undercut him.

                              And Hillary still lost to Trump.

                              How can this be?

                              Well, the last thing in the world we need to do is question whether Hillary was an awful, awful candidate.

                              Hey! She won the popular vote!


                              • What I don’t understand is why talking about how Hillary Clinton is a grotesque monster who repels all humans is forward-looking advice. I think we all agree that the Dems will nominate somebody different in 2020. If we’re just coming at this from an analytical framework, it’s certainly possible that A) Dems, including many of this board, were more optimistic about Clinton’s flaws as a candidate than they should have been, and B) that it’s unfair and a little ridiculous to blame the Trump phenomenon on that alone.


                                • I think it’s the whole “huh, If I want to avoid making a mistake this bad next time, maybe I should acknowledge not only that something went wrong, but that something avoidable went wrong, and that it was within my power to prevent this sort of thing. In time, this, or something very much like this, will come up again and I want to avoid making the same mistake” thing.

                                  But, I mean, hey.

                                  Maybe nobody did anything wrong.
                                  Maybe you shouldn’t change.
                                  Maybe it was a fluke.


                                • What I don’t understand is why talking about how Hillary Clinton is a grotesque monster who repels all humans is forward-looking advice.

                                  Actually, that part is not too difficult for me to understand. It’s specifically instructive to appreciate how Clinton got the nomination in the first place.

                                  There’s been a lot of speculation that Sanders would have beaten Trump in a general election but for me that’s at least a little bit ancillary. IIRC, Martin O’Malley was the only mainstream Democrat other than Hillary to run in the primaries, and his campaign went nowhere. The big-picture reasons why HRC was nominated were:

                                  1. Demo/feminist bean counting, and it being her turn.
                                  2. The desire of the Demo base to hate Republicans.
                                  3. Her own Machiavellian nature, and that of her allies.

                                  And #2 in particular flew under the radar. I think it’s fair to say that from the point of view of a year or so ago, Mrs Clinton was a strong Demo-fusion candidate. From her time in New York and as one of the higher national profiles in the party she would obviously have access to a lot of fundraiser money. Through marriage to Bill, she also had a lot of minority support. _And_ through her history of being the bete-noire of the GOP, she had strong solidarity with the mainstream of the party.

                                  It was a brilliant plan, and they would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. Hillary can pull the partisan Demo voters behind her with solidarity against the Republicans, but the less partisan Demo-leaning voters weren’t having it.

                                  This isn’t 2012, and it’s simply wasn’t credible to think that the big-ticket issues in our political culture got there because the GOP put them there: Obamacare, stagnant wage growth, student loans, etc, etc. (Frankly, it ought to have been embarrassing enough in 2012, but that’s another story). The Demo Establishment, and the media, were not going to allow any criticism of Hillary or even allow any circulation of any legitimate information about her.

                                  The entire trajectory of Demo primary cycle is downstream from there. Hillary was treated with kid gloves during the entire primary season, including Bernie who had a lot to say about a lot of things but little if any direct criticism of Hillary.

                                  It didn’t work. People have talked about Bernie being a stronger candidate, and that likely might be true. More importantly, I strongly suspect that Chuck Schumer or Robert Rubin or so