On Reversing the Tide


Tod Kelly

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

Related Post Roulette

451 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    Interesting post Tod… If I lived in Portland, I might have to drop in and see the show.

    “She pulls the person aside, so as not to publicly embarrass them. She lets them know how she reacted and why, rather than tell them what kind of person they are or what doing or saying that thing makes a person in her eyes.” See, I got a problem with this. Frankly, I’d like to know her reaction, if she did this to me, when I said “No, I’m not interesting in speaking with you”. Who reacts favorably when some rando walks up to them and attempts to pull them aside for a private convo? I’d be immediately defensive, thinking this was a possible criminal action-unless she was VERY attractive, my response would be to resist.

    “If you lash out at people enough, they’ll oppose you and your ideas no matter what they are.” Spot on. And this is one of the reasons I find the whole SJW movement distasteful. I can get behind some of the actions and concepts, but the confrontational zeal is off putting. It smacks of proselytization or communist revolutionary zeal (aka The plastic bag execution scene from The Killing Fields) That type of tone and attitude isn’t conducive to building alliances.

    “Nor is it a call to give President-elect Trump or his improbable staff a hall pass to do whatever they want on the basis that they won this round. ” Funny, since that’d be the tone from the Dems to the rest of the country if HRC HAD won.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Damon says:

      I more or less follow this program, except I don’t initiate strangers in the street without some door being opened. Like you say, that doesn’t quite seem like it might lead to a good outcome. But if she’s had it lead to a good outcome, great. Perhaps she’s good at creating that outcome. And while being good-looking will help, there are other factors that would help, too.

      I’ll put comments on a blog though 😉Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Good piece!

    I agree with your thesis and have been stressing that point as of late, but I fear a disturbingly large percentage of the liberal coalition is less interested in building bridges than it is in marginalising those voices and declaring total victory (see everyone trying to remove the electoral college).Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      It’s a stellar piece, agreed.
      The internet, however, distorts everything so there’s that to consider. I mean the people you’re most especially likely to run into on the ‘net who’re politically engaged are simultaneously A) a massive tiny minority in the country, B) especially interested in broadcasting things about themselves and thus especially prone to virtue signaling*.

      *Or, to put on the more sympathetic shoe, they’re isolated and lonely in the real world and their social circle on the internet that you’ve stumbled upon is functionally all they have.Report

  3. Avatar clawback says:

    Seems like maintaining a disinformation-driven 24/7 noise machine works better. But yeah, I guess we could try that empathy and faith thing as well.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Can anyone give me an example of a mainstream Democratic candidate using the word privilege as it is common to do on the Internet? Bonus points if they did so on TV? They have to say privilege no “this statement is close enough because…”

    As far as I can tell, most people who use the term are overheated college students who just learned it or middle class whites checking their own privilege.

    Yet it seems to damn the Democratic Party a trillion more times than the wild and wrong provocations of Breitbart damage the Republican Party.

    The guy you mentioned above is privileged because he won’t be arrested or shot for driving when black.

    Trump ran a campaign of open bigotry against many groups from the disabled to Mexicans to Muslims and others. He seems to be trying to build the Wall and start a Muslim registry. When do Trump voters get responsibility for voting for the man?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yes, the Dems don’t indulge in this the way the left on the internet does. There are, however, a couple of complicating factors:
      -The more right wing media looks for this kind of behavior and re-broadcasts it both to their own audience and the general audience. Oddly enough “SJW”‘ are provided a megaphone by their opponents.
      -When this kind of thing pops up the standard Dem response it to either ignore it or say nothing on it. Passive acquiescence doesn’t appear to be cutting the mustard on the subject.

      And yes the right is absolutely lousy with their own versions of it. But the point is that one probably does not want to see the left and the Democratic Party turn into what the right and the GOP are. We don’t want the most extreme ideologies of our spectrum to dominate the entire apparatus of the left. It’d be really really bad for liberals if it happened.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

        It’s not odd at all to see Astroturf given a microphone by the Powers that Be.
        See the people currently protesting democracy by stealing my microwave (and the truck too).Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

        @north – Dominating all levels of federal, state, and local government and actually achieving policy goals I care about?Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          The former is, for now, unarguable. The latter, however, remains very much to be seen.

          Trump is basically like that alien from Men in Black who fell out of the sky and is running around wearing the GOP establishment like a human suit. The GOP basically lost their entire social agenda simply from Trump seizing the nomination. No one knows exactly what policy we’re actually going to see enacted: Does Trump stay true to the populist themes that excited his base? If so Ryan’s excellent libertarian adventure is dead on arrival. Does Trump just fight with the GOP? If so then it’s hard to see exactly what the GOP will accomplish. Now it’s possible Trump will simply go with the flow of the GOP around him or phone it in and just let the GOP do whatever they want in which case they may be able to achieve policy goals they care about but it’s early to say exactly what, outside the Supreme Court, they’re going to accomplish.

          Now I don’t like the idea of the Dems selling their principles and getting so rotten that an outsider can basically invade, kick their principles out the door then drive the Democratic party around like a pod person.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

            You mean like Bernie Sanders?
            Yeah, see, man, they told him he should stay out of the 2016 Primary. They told everyone that. it was Hillary’s Turn.

            Bernie didn’t care.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Kim says:

              And he lost, massively.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

                Kim believes HRC rigged the election — millions of votes — to defeat Bernie.

                Of course she ALSO believed that Trump was a Democratic plant designed to elect Hillary to do the bidding of….corporate masters? Internet AIs? I don’t remember, but when that became non-operable she moved to different conspiracies and frankly she hasn’t settled down yet onto a consistent narrative except for, of course, the venal, corrupt, criminal nature of Clinton.

                Who is, I believe also responsible for the Black Death, the Holocaust, Original Sin, and probably was the one who talked Lucifer around into this ‘rebellion’ thing.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:



                Rigging primaries is legal, even if you do it with hacking, did you know?

                The Powers that Be owned Hillary, but that’s not to say that they haven’t owned practically everyone since Kennedy. They were scared of Bernie because he might have just called their bluff and told them to kiss off.

                Not, you realize, that I particularly mind corruption. Much better to have a corrupt person who is competent than to have an incompetent idiot. Idiots won’t even act in their own self interest. Can’t be bargained with. Yadda Yadda.

                My bone to pick with Clinton was her loss of sanity (borderline). Woulda voted for her against Trump in February. Not later than that, though.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

                And he lost, massively.

                I think he won, actually. Massively. Granted this is merely my opinion and I won’t pretend to defend it what actual data (since she won the race and all), but he entered the primary with the intention of giving a voice to left-leaning policies and interests, and of pulling Hillary to the left, without ever intending to win or thinking he had a shot at the nom. And not only did he achieve those goals, he actually won states (!!) and fired up a base that found Hillary demoralizing. All that with the uphill institutional climb he was confronted with.

                He overachieved, she underachieved. Massively.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah, well, the race isn’t about who gets the moral victory, it’s about who gets the most delegates and Hillary had all of the superdelegates and that meant that she won according to the rules of the game.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Did you know she won the popular vote in the general election too?

                True fact.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird, that isn’t nice.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Incidentally Jay, she also won more of the elected delegates as well which strikes me as relevant.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

                Naah, she only won by cheating. Because how else could she win, when nobody likes her? And by nobody, I mean me.

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Do you really need a poll?

                And I’ll maintain that a lot of people polling as “Likes Hillary” merely meant “rather have her than Trump.”

                Because, um, looking the other way:
                “Alex Jones floated the notion this week that Hillary Clinton is actually a demon, and 40% of Trump voters say that they really do think Clinton is a demon to only 42% who dismiss that idea. This measurement pretty clearly shows that 40% of Trump’s base is the InfoWars crowd, so they’re not going to be too dissuaded by allegations of sexual misconduct.”
                (straight off PPP’s website, which is crazy enough to poll on this stuff).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kim says:

                “Atheists overwhelmingly answered “yes” to the question “Do you believe Trump is the devil incarnate?”, which clearly shows that self-professed atheists really do believe in God.”Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to North says:

                And he lost, massively.

                If I were sitting at high levels in the Democratic Party national organization, and saw that a 70-something year old self-described Socialist from Vermont, who wasn’t even an actual member of the party until the middle of 2015, could win 40% of the delegates selected by primary or caucus, and dominate an entire region of the country, I would be terrified. That if the early so-called SEC primary, in a region that delivers zero EC votes, hadn’t gone overwhelmingly for the establishment candidate, things might have come out differently. The party has internal problems as well as external ones, and leadership seems to be clueless.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

                That if the early so-called SEC primary, in a region that delivers zero EC votes, hadn’t gone overwhelmingly for the establishment candidate, things might have come out differently.

                That’s an excellent point, one which I hadn’t dot-connected on my own. I agree with your final sentence even more than before.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Of course, the SEC primary is in actuality, the black primary for Democrats, so yeah, let’s eliminate the one chance those very loyal Democratic voters have of effecting any change since they live in solidly red states of having to appease other voters.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If there weren’t massive irregularities in voting, I’d agree with your statement wholeheartedly.
                As it is, I do know where the most corrupt members of the Democratic Party live.

                Black turnout for Clinton was down this election. It wasn’t just whites.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

                It was the second closest primary in recent history!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Yes, and still not very close. Look I have considerable respect for Bernie but I can’t imagine that he’d have won against Trump either. An honest to God(ess?) socialist?

                And lest we think I’m excusing HRC; the fact that only Bernie mounted a serious challenge to her was -also- her doing/fault. As was the loss of the general election.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

                I have no idea if Bernie would have won. He’s a weird guy and a weird candidate. Which makes his success in the primary all the more significant. If it demonstrated that Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate, then it’s not especially useful going forward. If it demonstrated something else, there’s a good chance that hasn’t gone away.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Agreed, but I strongly suspect the former more than the latter.

                As I’ve said before, Hillary was an enormously gifted politicial logistician/political party animal. Her methodological logistical preparation over the course of Obama’s Presidency basically cleared the field to the degree that even with her not stellar campaigning talents she was able to win the nomination. Then a series of events and decisions, mainly hers and her campaigns, secondarily by the conservative machine arrayed against her further weakened her so she just barely lost.

                Does this say something going forward? I’m not sure. I’ve got a horrible sprawling guest post I’ve been kicking at ever since the election trying to work out my thoughts on the matter. My inclinations say that the Democratic Party’s policy “bones” are generally solid but they would since they align pretty well with my own perceptions of the world.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to North says:

                I mostly agree with that second paragraph, but think it’s worth giving separate notice to the FBI and Russian intelligence rather than just wrapping them into the conservative machine.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Do we give separate notice to Israel and Saudi Arabia too?

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

                Clinton didn’t campaign on half the days in October. She spent way too much time in Arizona rather than Wisconsin. (She also fired my friend because he kept on saying “Go campaign in the Midwest or you’re going to lose”).

                Clinton was the ONLY Democrat who would have lost to Donald Trump, barring perhaps Biden or Sharpton. O’Malley would have won. Booker would have won. Hell, my mayor would have won, and nobody knows nothing about him outside of Pittsburgh.

                And I get this from a guy who runs polls — and analyzed them for Clinton as well.Report

              • Avatar joke in reply to Will Truman says:

                Hillary lost the labor vote. I don’t think Bernie would have.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to joke says:

                Possibly not, but he’d have likely done poorly in different voter brackets.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

                There are also voter iD laws to consider.Report

              • The part of vote suppression won the first national election after the Voting Rights Act was destroyed. I don’t think that explains the whole thing, but it was certainly a factor.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                No part of Pennsylvania, Iowa, or Wisconsin was subject to pre clearance when Shelby County decision came down.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

                What I hear from my home state of WI is that the state had budget concerns that resulted in a lot of DMV sites getting shut down or having their hours & staffing cut way back in Milwaukee.

                Milwaukee had about 60K less votes cast than normal, and the state went to Trump by 27K votes.

                I got no problem with Voter ID, per se, but you can’t demand voters have up to date IDs and then cut back on their ability to get those IDs.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The thing I haven’t figured out though is how could it be that both the votes were suppressed and Clinton got approximately the same percentage of the vote in Milwaukee County as Obama did in 2012? The simplest possibility I think is that 60,000 fewer people voted in Milwaukee County in 2016 than in 2012 because they found the choices less attractive and it wasn’t on a partisan basis.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to PD Shaw says:

                It’s a perfectly simple explanation that Clinton might have got more votes if there were no hurdles in place. Just because she got a similar total as Obama doesn’t’ in any way she couldn’t have gotten more this time.

                In principle i don’t’ have a problem with voter ID. In practice there are to many issues with poor people having extra hurdles to exercise their vote and voter ID proponents seem either blind to that or happy about it.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to gregiank says:

                How that reads to me is that there is a group of 2012 Romney supporters in Milwaukee who Clinton was able to lure away, but unfortunately they don’t have driver’s licenses. That doesn’t seem the most plausible scenario, particularly in light of what happened elsewhere in the country: Hillary Clinton’s Urban Turnout ProblemReport

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to PD Shaw says:

                It’s this sort of thing that I don’t understand.

                Whether HRC lost a few votes here and there due to hanging chads or whatever is largely irrelevant.

                The main point here is that the Dems put themselves in a position to lose by a few votes here and there due to hanging chads or whatever.
                And, not only that, but they lost to Trump. That pretty much knocks the analysis out of the horseshoes and hand grenades department.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

                First, give me a break. Without Clinton, we probably don’t get Trump (see wikileaks article I’ve been posting above). We get some milquetoast republican.

                Second, both Clinton and Sanders internals showed that Sanders was consistently doing better against all Republicans in the race than Clinton was. And this was before Clinton got into the general.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

            Trump is basically like that alien from Men in Black who fell out of the sky and is running around wearing the GOP establishment like a human suit.

            Heh, now that there might just be the best post election analysis I’ve seen so far.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

            Yup, the Republican social agenda is so lost their basically one Ruth Bader Ginsburg heart attack away from reversing Roe vs Wade along with a ton of other stuff. That’s not even getting into the various socially conservative laws that will get passed locally and on the state level that won’t get shot down because dozens, if not hundreds of Trump (in reality, Pence/Ryan/McConnell) appointed federal judges will be added to the roster.

            And you have far more faith in Donald Trump than I do – what we’re going to get is pretty obvious. He ain’t going to save Medicare or Social Security. The only thing will save it is if Republican congressmen get as scared of old white people yelling at them at town halls like Democrat’s did.

            What this cycle taught me is pretty simple – nominate the more charismatic guy, get as thin a majority as you can, act like you won, then pass whatever you want because as long as the economy stays a float you’ll get reelected as nobody outside of nerds like us care about policy.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Wait. Social Security needs saving?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              A RvW reversal is not quite so close as that. There’re precedent questions that the existing court wouldn’t be so blasé about. I’ll leave it to our resident court watchers but my vibe is that the pro-lifers really need to replace RBG and another liberal court justice before RvW would be a shoe in for being overturned.

              Like I said no one knows exactly what Trump is going to be, hell I doubt even Trump knows what Trumps policies are going to be.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

                I bet a lot of civil rights activists thought there was no way the Supreme Court would simply shrug at all the precedents when it came to Shelby County. Or remember President Al Gore? Oh, right.

                Quick acting like partisans aren’t going to act like partisans on partisan issues. The conservative wing (Alito, Roberts, Thomas) has voted uniformly on abortion issues. That’s what they were put on the Court to do. Whatever Federalist Society crank Trump puts on the court will do the same.

                We’ve had close to 30 years of Republicans destroying bit by bit the normal structures of government. Remember when we didn’t have 8 zillion filibusters a year? Remember when VRA reauthorization passed almost unanimously?

                Yeah, Trump probably doesn’t know what his policy is going to be. You look at that as a positive.

                I tend to look the other way. For instance, as horrible as he is, if this was President Pat Buchanan, I’d know he wouldn’t be hoodwinked by Paul Ryan showing him some nice charts and graphs.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Hey I’m not bullish on Trump, the very best I can say about him is that we don’t know what he’ll do which makes him arguably better than than a President Rubio or what have you. That’s not much and I grant willingly that it’s likely he’ll end up being a puppet of the GOP establishment.

                As to the court I don’t consider myself an expert court watcher but I still suspect they need more than just to replace RBG before Roe is a shoe in for being overturned.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

                A puppet of the establishment would be a better description.
                The Powers that Be were entirely more in favor of Hillary, but they’ll “work with” Trump too.Report

    • Avatar StevetheCat in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Can anyone give me an example of a mainstream Democratic candidate using the word privilege as it is common to do on the Internet? Bonus points if they did so on TV? They have to say privilege no “this statement is close enough because…”

      Here you go:

    • Avatar Mark in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This is exactly why Trump won. Tod explains why Dems might gain some ground by being empathetic to the poor white person who doesn’t feel privileged and your response is to say he is privileged because he won’t be arrested or shot for driving when black. Some consolation for someone who might be in an absolute miserable economic situation and can’t envision any scenario where his life improves at all.

      You’re doing exactly what many Democrat voters have been accused of – lumping in all Trump voters in with the actual racists & sexists. When do Democrat voters take responsibility for nominating an extremely flawed candidate who’s life has been greatly enriched because of the access to power and government her and her husband have leveraged to their advantage?Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mark says:

        Wasn’t there a positive correlation between income and voting for Trump?Report

        • Avatar Brent F in reply to veronica d says:

          Yes, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a backlash from poor whites this time around. Historically there has been a pretty strong correlation between income and voting Republican, that became much weaker this year as Hilary gained ground at the top and Trump gained ground with the bottom.

          People in the blue camp defected and they appear to be largely poorly educated and low income whites of both genders in the midwest. H Clinton in turn, picked up some educated Republicans.Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

          I’ve heard conflicting information about this, so I went and looked at some data.

          <50,000 Obama +22, Hillary +11
          50K – 100K Romney +6, Trump +6
          100K+ Romney +10, Trump +1

          In the first two categories, there was a lot more third party voting this year.

          That says that there's a pretty strong shift away from Hillary among lower income people. Even though more of the support from Trump came from the middle category.

          So, the issue is that we lost a lot of people that had been for us. Or a bunch of people who hadn't been voting started that, but that doesn't seem right, since voting overall was down.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Doctor Jay says:

            Overall voting isn’t down numerically, it turns out. So new (or revived) voters is a possibility. So is a change of composition (some Democrats staying home, canceled out by Republicans voting). I recall reading that there were an unusual amount of presidential votes left blank, in addition to third party.

            So it’s a mixture of things. But the aggregate itself is important (what caused any switches to occur, what motivated Trump voters to show, what bummed Clinton ones, etc)Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mark says:

        What Saul said was the short version of:

        The poor white man with chronic health problems and little to no social support network obviously lacks a number of forms of privilege. He also possesses the privilege that goes with whiteness and maleness as Saul brought up. The people he’s talking about may possess privilege he lacks that goes with good health, a steady and sufficient income, and a support network.

        Just as white people with chronic health problems should probably keep in mind their lack of knowledge in discussions of racial hardships, black people in robust good health probably should do the same in discussions of the hardships of chronic illness. IOW, privilege checks are for everyone, not just white men. But they are for white men too.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Trump ran a campaign of open bigotry against many groups from the disabled to Mexicans to Muslims and others. He seems to be trying to build the Wall and start a Muslim registry. When do Trump voters get responsibility for voting for the man?

      Most people who voted for Trump likely found a rationalization that made it ok to support him even if they didn’t support his ugliest sides. It’s a pretty universal thing that people in tribes do. In fact, you can read this thread right here as a good example of how someone will defend voting for actual monsters because they’re part of the same tribe.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It’s a pretty universal thing that people in tribes do.

        Trump did significantly better than Romney with Blacks, Hispanics, Asians… but not Whites.

        Reading the stats… one of the big things which stands out is Trump did a lot better with the poor (under $30k) than Romney.


      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It’s a pretty universal thing that people in tribes do.

        Once we get to a place where any and all political outcomes can be accounted for by tribalism, tribalism has lost all its explanatory power.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater says:

          I’m not using it to explain any and all political outcomes. I’m saying that it is directly related to how people can seemingly casually dismiss crimes and atrocities committed by their own side, and then wonder when they see people on the other side do the exact same.

          Do you not believe this phenomena occurs?Report

          • Republicans do that all the time, but we don’t.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Partisanship exists. But reducing Trumpism to partisanship (which, granted, you haven’t done) is either incoherent (since Trump blew up the normal teams upon which partisanship is constructed) or trivial (since if our theory of partisanship is that any and all voting behavior can be accounted for it the concept becomes explanatorily useless). Personally, I think the concept of tribalism is often not only overused, but also trivializes the thought processes by which people actually arrive at their views, views which are often much more nuanced than the blunt concept tribalism can account for.

            Eg, the assumption that Trump voters engaged in cognitive dissonance when determining to vote for the “grabber” strikes me as confusing a categorical normative view with one that only applies ceteris paribus. All things equal, I’m sure most conservatives would rather not vote for a man known to assault women, but those voters – unlike liberals I suppose – did not view Trump’s behavior as fundamentally disqualifying.

            And perhaps even more to the point, challenging those voters to reconcile what anti-Trumpers, liberals and (perhaps) folks with the view from nowhere view as incoherence in their voting behavior already tilts the scales against them in a question begging way: they CAN vote for Trump while also morally condemning assault.

            {{And all that strikes me as pretty accurate, or plausible anyway, without getting into the semantics of the key words – “assault” or “racism”, etc – undergirding the moral argument which drives the perceived cognitive dissonance expressed by Trump voters.}}Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

              Oops. Second sentence should begin with “But reducing Trumpism to tribalism….”Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

              I’m sure most conservatives would rather not vote for a man known to assault women, but those voters – unlike liberals I suppose – did not view Trump’s behavior as fundamentally disqualifying.

              To be fair, liberals consider this sort of behaviour “disqualifying” only when it’s a member of the GOP. They were just fine with Bill’s behaviour and defended him against impeachment… even though the Presidency wasn’t at stake with VP Gore also a Dem.

              Trump got +5% of Dems to vote for him (i.e. 5% more than Romney), but +4% of the GOP switched to Hillary. So a significant number of people were turned off by either/both sides.

              I don’t think anyone really condones Trump’s behaviour, they ignore or tolerate it because they like the message. For example the Evangelicals went heavy for Trump, not because they approve of his divorces or believe he’s actually pro-life, but because he put in writing who he’d put on the Supreme Court.Report

              • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Dark Matter says:

                But isn’t that the point. The religious right has made electing godly candidates one of their prime criteria for selecting who to vote for. But, when faced with the least godly candidate to ever grace the stage, they find other reasons that a vote for Trump is acceptable/the only option. That’s not to say they are necessarily wrong, just that many Republicans had to do drop their previously stated ideals of what constituted an acceptable candidate and get creative in finding reasons to vote for Trump.

                Some of that is may be realizing how important other issues really are (eg. Supreme Court Picks), but some of it is definitely motivated reasoning to avoid the cognitive dissonance of going against partisan affiliation. The youngest attorney in my office is a perfect example of this.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Gaelen says:

                …when faced with the least godly candidate to ever grace the stage…

                From their point of view, why is this true?

                When Trump does his fowl-mouthed-old-man thing, does he take the Lord’s name in vain? Call down God’s wrath on someone? Has Trump worshipped other gods (money doesn’t count)? Discouraged the worship of God? Sued a church or something?

                In other parts of the world, there are Christians being put to death for the crime of having their god. Obama seems determined, because of political correctness, to not call the situation for what it is, even if the followers of that ideology/religion some times show up here and shoot up an army base or gay night club. Hillary would follow Obama’s policy.

                After that we have… what? Sex? Compare what Trump has said to what Hillary+Bill have actually done.

                Trump brings a total lack of dignity to the office, which we might compare to Congress investigating Hillary for various crimes even before she takes office.

                Trump’s real “sins” (compared to HRC), are an absolutely total lack of piety (i.e. Pride) and a disconnect from what I’ll call “the Christian Culture”… although weirdly his family seems really functional (and non-Trump-ish), so I’m not sure how much “family values” would weigh against him.

                And then we have the Supreme Court, where Trump has already released “his” list (copied from Heritage or someone)… and this is probably the most important point. Trump offered a simple deal, the Religious Right backs him and he’ll use Heritage(?) to pick his Supreme(s). The Court is currently 4-4.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

              @stillwater :
              “Partisanship exists. But reducing Trumpism to partisanship . . . “

              I believe “tribalism” is more of a euphemism for interest group-level politics rather than party-level politics.
              “Position advocacy” would be another working term for interest group-level politics.

              It’s a matter of The Some and the A-Hole of the Parts, I suppose you could say.

              On this understanding, I don’t believe @tod-kelly is actually referring to the interests that bind interest groups, but the weighting of interests across a broad spectrum of possible interests within a community.

              I say “community” here, because an ant walking north is pretty much the same as an ant headed west.
              It’s how high the ant-hill is that matters.

              There was a thread several months back where @leeesq & I were discussing the weaknesses of indentity politics. There were five things, iirc, that were brought up as significant.
              I was hoping that would be worked up into a piece. Good stuff there.Report

  5. Avatar Kim says:

    Building a coalition is a lot easier when people aren’t deliberately trying to derail you.
    If you dare to say “build that coalition” without putting plans into place to foil your enemies, you’re just deluding yourself that you’re being at all useful.

    When the right cannibalizes the left into a twisted version of itself, well, I do know where to point the finger.

    SJWs have killed college comedy shows. Comedians won’t do them anymore.Report

  6. Avatar veronica d says:

    A long time ago, we had a straight, white, male commenter say something that’s really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing from memory here, but what he said was basically something like: I’m lower income, I have serious chronic health issues, I don’t have a personal-support network, and I can’t seem to come out ahead — so why do I have to be the one who checks my privilege and stays silent when disagreeing with someone who is healthy, financially successful, and has a wide network of support, just because that person is a woman, or gay, or a person of color?

    Okay, I’ll bite, mostly because I think “punching down” can be a very useful rubric. Anyway, anecdote:

    I’m riding the subway. It’s fairly crowded, but not so crowded that you cannot move around. I’m standing there. Seated near me, alone, cuz no one wants to sit near him, is an aggressive homeless man emitting a noticeable stench. The man is visibly angry. In fact, he is ranting, directly and aggressively, toward other passengers. However, he is not choosing his targets randomly. He is only attacking female passengers, only those who are minorities. His words are crass, sexual, and racist. I don’t remember the exact words, but this is not merely the “n-word.” This stuff is really gross. He is also making loud farting noises with his mouth, laughing, and telling us about how he has shat himself. It is really obnoxious. The women he is targeting include a dignified black woman, obviously heading home from work, and several Asian teens (wearing darling outfits, she says with no small amount of transgender envy).

    He notices me.

    Again I don’t recall his exact words, but it is something along the lines of “What the fuck is that?” There is other stuff too. I tell him to shut the fuck up. I get up in his face, which is maybe risky, but I accept the risk. This has one good effect: it takes the pressure off the other girls and women. He stops saying shit to them, cuz now he has me.

    Not that I’m some Jesus-self-sacrifice figure or whatever, but still, when I can help, I’m glad I can help.

    Okay, so my point, was he “punching down”?

    I mean, he was a crazy, stinky homeless guy. Can he punch down?

    Here is what I kinda wanted to say to him:

    Laugh all you want you disgusting freak. I’m going to dinner with my girlfriend tonight, at a posh restaurant. We’ll have steak and yummy cocktails. Then we’ll go home to my warm apartment and fool around. You’re gonna eat from a dumpster and sleep on the sidewalk and maybe jerk off if your dick still works.


    But I thought it.

    The reason I did not say it is not cuz I cared about him. Fuck that guy. Instead, the reason was, there might be other homeless people in earshot, who are not assholes, who are struggling, and who will also sleep on the street that night, while I eat my posh meal and sleep in my comfy bed, not alone. It would be pretty shitty to make them feel bad cuz of him.

    I work for Google. I’m transgender. Can people “punch down” at me?

    Obviously they can.

    It’s about hitting me where I’m weak, but for something undeserved, something unfairly stigmatized. Plus, it’s not just about hurting me, cuz it also hurts every trans woman, some of whom are not posh tech workers.

    A comedian on stage? They cannot know who is in the audience. A random guy on an internet forum? Many people will read his words.

    One attacks undeserved advantage. One is careful with undeserved disadvantage. You can mock smug tech workers. I don’t mind. If people wanna slag me for my job, I’ll just smile, cuz we all know my job is great.

    There is manifest social status. There is manifest advantage.

    If the poor, unhealthy white guy wants to lash out at those privileged over him, I’m fine with that. If he wants to lash out at trans folks or black people, etc., well why? Why chose them? Why mock gays and not finance workers? Why make that choice?

    The homeless guy on the train — he was not mocking the posh white guys on the train. He was mocking the minorities and queers, and in particular those who were female. There is a reason he chose these targets, rather than the men.

    He was trying to punch down. To a degree he was succeeding, inasmuch as the women were obviously distressed and afraid to confront him (while the men on the train did nothing).

    Until I arrived.

    I stood near him with a big shit-eating grin and said, “Dude, seriously, what’s wrong with you? Why all the hate?”

    This drove him bananas, but he couldn’t do shit. He was a ramshackle man. I’m big and have muscles. He could slag me for being trans, but I’m rich and trans. We all know the score.

    He didn’t mock me for wearing designer clothes. There is a reason. He tried to mock me for having purple hair. Somehow that didn’t hurt my feelings.


    If I mock working class people for poor dental hygiene, then I’m punching down. If I mock racists for their racism, then I am not.

    People will disagree on the boundaries. Sometimes these are empirical questions. The social sciences can tell us about positional advantages. Much, however, reflects difficult to quantify “status” markers. So it goes.

    The point is, the “punching down” rubric does not eliminate disagreement, nor does it eliminate the need for judgment and thought. Where you draw the line tells us much about your values, and indeed we get to judge those. Within those limits, it is a good principle.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

      One attacks undeserved advantage. One is careful with undeserved disadvantage.

      And that is the core of it. Of course parsing out whether or not X is deserved or undeserved can be a bit tricky, depending on X.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to veronica d says:

      Exactly. (I think)

      The punch-up/punch-down dichotomy has been a part of comedy for as long as there has been comedy, but in a looser way. You know it when you see it and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Things get difficult when you take this general principle, graft it on the rigid taxonomies of intersectionality and toss it out into the low-trust environment of the Internet.

      Imagine your homeless ranter to gain enough momentary coherence to comment on a website of post on a blog using a computer in the public library he goes to in order to warm up on cold days. Anyone could earn plaudits shutting him down with a “white opinions” gif or an image of a “male tears” mug. No engagement, no enrichment by learning about the lived experience, just enforcing a hierarchy of moral worthiness to win points with strangers.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to veronica d says:

      @veronica-d This is all very much true — I agree with literally everything you wrote here — and also missing the point of the OP.

      There is a difference between you, veronica dire, publicly calling out someone who is taunting you for your gender orientation, and me, white CIS male Tod Kelly, insulting someone I’ve never met, never talked to, who as far as I know hasn’t make any slur to anyone on the basis that they’re from the Other tribe and therefore they deserve to be called whatever I decide they should be called.

      The Democrats can — and indeed should — win with all the veronica dires in the world publicly calling out people who are taunting them with bigotry. It should win with all the Tod Kellys having all the veronica tires’ backs. But it can’t win it it’s a bunch of Tod Kellys publicly trashing people who appear to be minding their own business.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to veronica d says:

      What a great story. I love the response of “why all the hate?” That’s the ‘hold up a mirror’ idea I’ve been working with.

      As it turns out, there are quite a few trans people in my life. I’ve been checking in with them, seeing if they needed anything. You know, being a parent. That goes for you, too, but I’m getting the impression you’re good.Report

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    This ain’t the best place to post this, but, meh.

    This rings seriously true.


    • Avatar North in reply to Damon says:

      It’s a good article.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

        it’s not as good as everyone thinks it is. (and I’ve long been favorably disposed towards Alexander’s writings and worldview).Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

          Oh it’s certainly overwrought, sure, but still seems more useful than not.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

            It skips what Trump said about Judge Muriel, it skips the fact the very first job he did for his dad in the biz was to maintain housing segregation in the family’s properties and fight against fair housing regulation enforcement, it skips everything he’s ever said about Muslims, etc.

            The one point I agree with, is that Trump himself is not ‘bad’ on LGBTQetc issues and people that reflexively paint him as ‘racist, misogynistic, homophobic’ are in error. Those three character flaws don’t always need to go together. But by now its a technical nitpick I’ve learned to let go.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

              This is something that DavidTC has said, that there are much deeper, more troubling aspects of Trump that the media either failed to pick up on, or decided to ignore, because the low hanging fruit was low, even if it wasn’t very good.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

              In fairness to Alexander he does have some obligatory stuff saying that Trump is awful in many ways but I give you full points for Judge Curiel since that was dead to rights racism. Even Ryan said as much.

              And yes, agreed fully. Trump is bad on a lot of areas but on gay issues I have no fear of him at all. It would all be apprehension at what the rest of his party will get up to that he could not be relied on to veto/quash.Report

            • Avatar KenB in reply to Kolohe says:

              Actually I think this is part of what Alexander was referring to – for one thing, “Muslim” and “Mexican” aren’t races, and for another, there are reasons not having to do with inherent religious/national identification that informed Trump’s statements (terrorism in the case of Muslims, illegal immigration & wall-building in the case of Curiel).Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to KenB says:

                Trump’s remarks against Curiel were informed by the fact he was the presiding judge in the civil suit against him for Trump U.

                So even if one accepts Alexander’s notallMexicans caveat of what Trump said about Mexicans in his campaign launch speech, how is Curiel – a man that literallyjoebiden lives the American Dream(TM) of growing up in a blue collar family and becoming prominent in a white collar profession – how is Curiel not one of the ‘good ones’ in the *most charitable interpretation* of how Trump views the world?Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Kolohe says:

                Is there a particular quote I should be looking at? I don’t see any racism in the idea that Curiel’s Mexican heritage was inclining him to be biased against Trump due to the latter’s outspoken desire to build a wall. Didn’t everyone on the left assume that Latinos would be voting against the Republicans in perpetuity because of their build-a-wall stance?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to KenB says:

                I don’t see any racism in the idea that Curiel’s Mexican heritage was inclining him to be biased against Trump due to the latter’s outspoken desire to build a wall.

                This is where we disagree, then.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kolohe says:

                Since the flip side of that reasoning is that a white judge would be biased in Trump’s favor.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                If it were a White judge (one assumes ruling the same way which is likely), Trump would find a different way to be an ass. Witness going after John McCain’s war record.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The fact that he blundered into a particularly poisonous way to be an ass doesn’t make it any less poisonous. Given our history and diversity, writing people out of full citizenship on the basis of their race or religion is incredibly dangerous to the body politic. That fact that he might be just a cynical egomaniac instead of someone with a sincere hatred of various minorities doesn’t make it better, because his followers still hear it and start defending the notion that only white judges can give fair rulings in cases even vaguely adjacent to issues of race.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Need I remind you that an Obama-appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Sonia “Wise Latina” Sotomayor is on record as saying that her race affects her judgment?Report

              • Ayn Rand wears army boots.

                (You say something that wrong, I’m not going to put any effort in either.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

                That fact that he might be just a cynical egomaniac instead of someone with a sincere hatred of various minorities doesn’t make it better, because his followers still hear it and start defending the notion that only white judges can give fair rulings in cases even vaguely adjacent to issues of race.

                I mostly agree with you, but I’m not sure how useful it is to take literally clear trash talk.

                Let’s look at speech from a much smoother politician.

                “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

                -Obama, talking about the RepublicansReport

              • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe says:

                I’m with you on this Kolohe, there’s no excusing Trump on Curiel.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to North says:

                I’d put it in the top five most horrifying things he did during the campaign.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Kolohe says:

                So if Trump was proposing to build a wall with Canada and accused a judge of Canadian descent of bias, that would be racist too?

                I’m not suggesting that what he said was justified (he was obviously just looking for a convenient cudgel), but I don’t see how his statement implies that he thinks there’s something deficient about Mexicans as a class.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to KenB says:

                Yes, anti-Canadian sentiment would be the same.

                Since there is not quite a term for ‘bias against ethnicity and/or country of origin that’s not actually a “race” as the term is commonly understood’ – racist is close enough for government work. (Though, I think goverment work would call it ‘something something against a protected class’)

                If he would have said that Curiel couldn’t be a fair judge because he was a Democrat, that would have been fine. Well, not fine, but a different category of stuff Donald says.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Kolohe says:

                OK, fair enough — i guess we have slightly different classification systems.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Kolohe says:

                Bigoted is a useful catchall.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kolohe says:

                “Since there is not quite a term for ‘bias against ethnicity and/or country of origin that’s not actually a “race” as the term is commonly understood’ – racist is close enough for government work. ”

                uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh given the history of meaning involved in the term “racist” then maaaaaaaaaaabye we could be more careful about when we use it to describe behavior than “meh, close enough for government work”?

                I mean, if someone said that Mexicans spoke Mexican, would you accept “well they’re FROM MEXICO, I mean, it’s CLOSE ENOUGH” as an excuse?Report

            • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Kolohe says:


              Actually it does worse than skip Curiel, it does this:

              Likewise, how could Trump insult a Mexican judge just for being Mexican? I don’t know. How could Trump insult a disabled reporter just for being disabled? How could Trump insult John McCain just for being a beloved war hero? Every single person who’s opposed him, Trump has insulted in various offensive ways, including 140 separate incidents of him calling someone “dopey” or “dummy” on Twitter, and you expect him to hold his mouth just because the guy is a Mexican?

              I really wanted to like the article as a panacea to all of those “it CAN happen here” pieces I’ve been reading, but it became clear that the author is playing a series of long cons. The premise is a debunking of the idea that Trump’s policies are a vanguard of white nationalists but it immediately shifts into talking about whether Trump *himself* is a white nationalist deep in his heart. It’s a pretty old gimmick when talking about race to switch from policies – which we can evaluate objectively – to deep beliefs – which we cannot possible know – and it’s the skeleton on which the whole article is hung.

              He then spends much of the article bringing up all of the great things Trump has said about minorities as exculpatory evidence. Before finally sticking one of the *most* naked examples of Trump’s racism into the quoted section above, under the heading “16. But didn’t Trump…”. Yes, Curiel is in section #16, the catch-all section for “wacky” things Trump said. And after all of that text about how Trump’s non-racist statements are exculpatory, we learn that his racist statements are actually totally excusable because *he just says a lot of wacky stuff*. Well, why the hell didn’t you just LEAD with that! Just say “Trump cannot be racist because he’s mean to whites; and if he is not racist his policies cannot be racist”. There! You could’ve fit that into a tweet. Of course, Trump’s racist attacks against Judge Curiel were not just “wacky”, they were explicitly singling out an American-born judge as incapable of being impartial *because of his ethnicity*. And his racist attacks on Khizr Khan were not about how Khan is “dopey”, they were about how HIS WIFE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK. And his racist attacks on Barack Obama were not about how Obama is a “dummy”, they were about how the first black president was a Manchurian candidate born in Africa who spent his entire life LYING about his heritage so he could trick America into electing him. Looking at these statements and concluding that trump is just RANDOMLY terrible is a pretty tough pill to swallow.

              And that’s arguing *within* the sophist logic of the piece that we should even be talking about what Trump feels in his heart instead of what Trump *explicitly* says he is going to do.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North says:

            There’s also this one-off datum of a friend of mine who I knew from libertarian circles. He went full MAGA on twitter during the campaign; then routinely started retweeting approvingly other people that treat ‘white genocide’ as some sort of real thing.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

      Like North I also really liked this article. I also agree with his central points regarding ‘open and obvious racists’ being a minuscule part of Trumps support, and that using this language to describe Trump supports is both incorrect and counterproductive.

      The only push back I would have is based on the fact that many people seemed to gravitate to Trump because they viewed him as fighting political correctness by doing things like retweeting inaccurate crime states about cross racial offense levels, calling for a ban on all Muslims, or starting his campaign by disparaging Mexicans/hispanics. It’s signalling his anti-PC bonafides not by talking about the value of free speech or even the harm that he thinks PC culture has caused (though he did talk about it), but by causing offense to those dirty liberals and minorities. So again, I wouldn’t call it out and obvious racism, but it is signalling to his base/in group by mocking outsiders and playing on the biases of his base.

      When I was reading the Slatestar piece I couldn’t help but think of this one. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kirchick-trump-provocation-pc-20160906-snap-story.htmlReport

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Gaelen says:

        I think yours is a better analysis. ‘Trump is catering to latent biases and insecurities’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it (nor does it make him that different from most other presidential candidates).

        The Alexander piece as a whole is a great illustration of how the media failed this election and seems bent on continuing to fail.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Gaelen says:

        There are lots of people who voted Trump who don’t fit the image of racists. The don’t use slurs, they are at ease among the few black people at work, and so on.


        Tolerating and embracing someone who proposes to do something awful does, in fact, make you part of the awfulness.

        Turning their eyes away and ignoring the ugly words doesn’t wash the awfulness off. Whenever there is some horrible injustice or atrocity there are always those who want to soften it, blur its sharp edges, wrap it in abstractions and legalisms.

        Pepe the Frog, the Klan, the neo-Nazis..this is what surrounds Trump, and its there for everyone to see.

        It doesn’t matter how much people protest about economic insecurity and their feelings of being marginalized.

        They voted for this package, and we need to make them own it.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Personally, I think that this is a loser of a plan.

          Who are you planning on running in 2020? Tell that person “campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan, maybe. Go to Ohio. Note: DO NOT SEND THE CAST OF THE WEST WING TO GO TO OHIO IN YOUR PLACE. GO TO OHIO YOURSELF. Go to Pennsylvania as well.”

          Try to do something like “hey, we’ve got these problems… which means that *YOU* have these problems. We’ve got these solutions to these problems which ought to work so that you’ll no longer have those problems.”

          See if you can’t put a Hispanic on the ticket somewhere. VP maybe. Those will be big in 2020.

          Don’t talk about Pepe. It makes you look crazy.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Gaelen says:

        I think this analysis by @gaelen is spot on.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Damon says:

      Politics is crying wolf. How long has Peter Schiff been flogging hyperinflation being around the corner? We’re close to a decade now. And the stuff about HAARP, FEMA death camps, Operation Jade Helm, Clinton Death Squads, etc. The folks who ramble on about crying wolf are also crying wolf. Yet, somehow, through all this, people could still see that Hillary was sketchy. The lesson from this election is most certainly not that crying wolf doesn’t work.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Damon says:

      I sort of agree with the central thesis, but he gets many of the details very wrong.

      That’s because I’m not interested in what’s in someone’s heart. How would we define whether someone ‘is’ a racist? Someone ‘is’ a murderer if they’ve committed murder. By that standard, someone is a racist if they’ve said something or done something that was unduly influenced by race. Which pretty much makes all of us racists, right? I don’t think you can grow up in America without being influenced unduly by race.

      However, you can describe what someone does, or what someone says, and take it apart, say what it means to you (in words other than “it means he’s a racist”), and how that makes you feel. You can do that in a very direct and powerful way. You will find that it will be more persuasive than slapping a label on it.

      For instance, here’s what I wrote about what Trump said about Mexicans


      When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

      ScottA misses two very serious problems with this point. First, Trump doesn’t mention illegal immigration at all. The statement appears to be about all immigration from Mexico, and that’s a really big problem for me. Maybe someone filled in the blanks in a different way, and maybe that’s exactly why he said that. I don’t know that, but there’s a pattern there, and it bugs me.

      The second problem is that it employs the rhetoric of “You’re bad unless I say you’re good”. He spends most of the statement describing how terrible the people Mexico sends us, and then says, some, I assume, are good people. This pattern, applied generally, is definitely a BSDI thing.

      Come on, ScottA. If someone spends a paragraph ranting about how terrible psychiatrists are, and then finishes with “some, I assume, are good people”, how would you feel?

      I mean, the “I assume” does a lot of work here. It implies he’s never met any Mexicans who are good people. That strikes me as a problem. At the least, it means he lives in a very severe bubble, which totally fits with everything else I know about him.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Damon says:

      I think Alexander has a strong point inasmuch as we hew narrowly to his stated thesis: Trump is not the “OPENLY” racist/white nationalist candidate that some are claiming.* I think where Alexander falls short is in discounting Trumpism, which isn’t (only) Trump. Well, he doesn’t “discount” it so much as direct his argument elsewhere. But I think Trumpism is still something to worry about.

      *….although he seems to be on the verge of being probably the most racist president since Woodrow Wilson.Report

  8. Avatar J_A says:


    This is what I was trying to say the other day when we were discussing racism. As happens frequently, veronica said it betterReport

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A says:

      I posted a link to an interview with this prof a few days back, but here is an article she wrote for Vox. Covers a lot of the same ground, but this is something key:

      We did not see the Trump victory coming because at least one part of their resentment has grounding in reality: Urbanites have not been listening to the concerns of people in rural America.

      Indeed, resentment is also part of another big story of this election: the inaccuracy of polls. If you are a rural resident who believes that urban institutions like mass media and universities ignore and look down upon people like you, why would you spend time answering one of their surveys?

      People in both of the groups I visited after the election also suggested that people like them didn’t just ignore, but actively lied to, pollsters. And they gave me almost identical explanations, although they live 190 miles apart. If the people conducting polls think they are ignorant, racist sexists, why would they be obligated to answer pollsters’ questions truthfully?

      The last thing many people want to do in the near future is listen more closely to Trump voters in the heartland of America. But it is clear that our failure to do so has left us blindsided.

      One of the pushbacks I see when people make the point that the rural/WWC is not being heard is that Dems/liberals have been listening and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. This suggests that no, they haven’t been listening, because polling from the comfort of the urban or campus office probably isn’t accurate; and because it appears that smug disdain, whether true or not, deserved or not, is the character they’ve been painted with, which means if they are truly interested in understanding, in trying to reach those residents, they are going to have to work very hard to show such is not the case.Report

      • I admit to a growing irritation with word choice in many of these pieces: “urbanite” vs “rural”. A bit over half of the US population, and presumably voters, are suburbanites. My suburb, at least, has high turnout rates for elections. If the Democrats could convince the suburbanites everywhere — as opposed to just California or New Jersey or (increasingly) Colorado — that the party represents enough suburban interests, their near future success would be assured.

        This is not necessarily an easy row to hoe. For a long time, the Democratic Party has been home for a contingent of people who absolutely abhor the suburbs, and miss no opportunity to run them down.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

          I think that suburbanites get treated as urbanites or country people depending on how dense the suburb is and how close it is to the core city of the metropolitan area. A person in an inner ring suburb of New York City like the ones in Nassau County, Westchester, or Northern New Jersey are seen as urban. Suburban dwellers further out like Suffolk County or Orange County are rural.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        James Hanley mentioned on facebook that liberal areas should be allowed to secede but also that red counties should be able to secede from California or New York if they want.

        My theory is that the urban v. rural divide is like an old-married couple that wants to get a divorce but can’t because it would mean a radical lowering of lifestyle standards for both of them.

        We clearly need each other but don’t like each other. Most urban voters are not elite (but there are obviously elite urban voters). Most urban voters are still minorities, still poor, and see themselves under siege. We also feel that rural voters have disproportionate power. How is it that Democratic candidates receive more votes in many states but end up still in the minority position in state legislatures?

        Urban voters also tend to get lectures for being hindered by their culture but no one dare say such a thing about rural Iowans in methland.

        So lots of suspicion abounds. Not sure what to do about it.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Don’t get me wrong, rural voters could use a lecture as well, but less about racism and social justice, and more about how the world is changing and they need to come to terms with it and figure out how they want to fit into it.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            @oscar-gordon — So what does that look like in practice? I mean, what aspects of the changing world do they object to? Are they aspects on which we can compromise? Are they strictly economic? To what degree are they cultural?

            Do they have an accurate view of these changes, or are they getting a slanted view from the hard-right-wing? Have they ever met a transgender person? Has a trans person ever caused an actual problem in their lives? Does gay marriage hurt them? Are they concerned about demonic influences?

            Do they feel “slighted”? However, is the degree of insult they bear normal, in the sense that many minorities receive far greater insult far more regularly? In other words, does their prick justify rage, when my deep wound does not?

            Do they have perspective?

            It seems like we’re mapping our own answers onto these questions, but history has shown that they will vote “free market,” except for the specific programs they need. Messages about “freeloaders” play well in these spaces, but with an ugly racial tinge. They are certainly homophobic and transphobic.

            But I’m the one who needs to change?Report

            • Avatar J_A in reply to veronica d says:

              Again, +100

              You are on a roll @veronica-dReport

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

              This isn’t about telling a person they need to change, it’s about helping them understand that the world is changing around them, and how that change is going to affect them.

              One of the stories the professor told from her interview was about a logger whose father was a logger. His father lived a middle class lifestyle, but the man she was talking to, who followed in his father’s footsteps, could not. Same job, same place, but the world was moving on. The value of logging is diminishing, but these folks never got the memo. Or worse, someone kept telling them that the value was going to go back up.

              The value of conservatism is keeping the pace of change slow enough that the majority of people can have a chance to adjust to it. The damnable lie of conservatives is that they can somehow retard that pace sufficiently as to allow people to not be required to adjust. The lecture they need to get is NOT they have to be racially enlightened, or accepting of LGBT rights, et. al., or whatever the latest social justice hobgoblin is. The lecture they need to hear and accept is that society can not be cast into amber, it will advance & evolve, and at an ever quickening pace.

              Liberals don’t need to change to suit some provincial conservatives preferences, but they need to make a choice. They can either write those provincials off as ignorant racist hicks, and suffer the consequences when they manage to take political power now & again; or they can try to understand them, so they can help them find a place in a world that has begun to leave them behind.

              Once people feel like they are part of the world again, I suspect you’ll find most won’t really care about race, or sexuality, at least not enough to actively rail against such things, as they were always a proxy for other concerns.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                or they can try to understand them, so they can help them find a place in a world that has begun to leave them behind.

                The Democrats have policies, planks, and programs up to the neck designed to help them. But they’re not really popular because they’re help — not a return to the 1950s, not a reopening of the mines or factories. The Democrats don’t pretend they can turn back time and make it all like it was.

                The GOP…does.

                You can like the Democrats have a plank called “Fish the rurals. Nail them to the wall” instead of policy after policy about training, minimum wage, education, cheaper access to healthcare, and a zillion other things designed to help them.

                The GOP says it’s NAFTA and the EPA and as soon as they’re in office golden showers of money will rain down from their upper-bracket tax cuts.

                So the real question isn’t “Do the Democrats write them off as hicks or try to understand them and help them”. It’s “Do the Democrats keep trying to help them, or do they start lying like the GOP about how they can bring the 50s back?”

                Because in all this “The Democrats need to listen” stuff, the problem is what is wanted is impossible — all the listening and empathy and feelz in the world isn’t going to make that possible.

                I can’t help but think “Listen” is either code for “Learn to lie like the GOP. Feel their pain, and promise the moon.”

                Which seems like treating them like easily gulled hicks — something I am assured is the Democrat’s problem, but hey — it DOES seem to work.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Morat20 says:

                I continue to be puzzled as to how the party that isn’t selling them a bill of goods is the one that disrespects rural WWC voters. Paul Ryan is already pushing his plan to privatize Medicare, for Pete’s sake.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Don Zeko says:

                I blame social issues.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Probably accurately so. The power balance was that the GOP has culturally positioned itself as the cultural champions of the white rural working class. The only thing that, it seems, kept them from running off with the whole shebang was that the GOP’s policies, no matter how they spun it, fished that same working class over. The Dems, in contrast, push policies that help the rural working class but are culturally hostile to them (partially because of the Dems own actions, partially because the conservatives have become highly adept at magnifying the Dems leftward social fringe and painting the entire party with it).
                Enter Trump: speaking to the rural working class through the GOP’s established channels but merrily jettisoning the policies they didn’t like. In hindsight his success seems so obvious, more surprising for how narrow it was.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Actually, the GOP needs to stop lying about being able to bring back the 50’s, or the 70’s, or whatever the hell decade they’ve fixated on.

                As for those programs, go talk to people about how much of those make it into the rural areas. Either the programs are under-advertised, or badly administered to those populations (if a person has to drive an hour or more to get to the government office to get help filling out the paperwork, the chances of them going drop, especially if they need to go more than once in a great while).

                Online access can help, but it’s not a sure fix.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                But that doesn’t negate the point — it’s not that the Democrats ignore rural folk or their problems. They have quite a bit designed to help them.

                Fun story: I have two distant relatives that would have qualified for the Medicaid expansion (both quite rural, in fact), which would have been a massive help in their lives.

                Texas didn’t take the expansion.

                The GOP Governor screwed them, for political gain, and the Democrats got blamed.

                Right now, the GOP is planning to take away affordable health care from 20 million or more people, plenty of them WWC voters, and they’re gonna blame the Democrats for it. And the WWC will, by and large, swallow that whole.

                Now you can say “The Democrats are bad at messaging or PR” or “The media is bad at complex storytelling” or even “The rural folks are distrustful or even stupid” — whatever reasoning you want.

                But that doesn’t change the actual facts, which is “The GOP is about to shaft them. Not the Democrats”.

                Which is where this “listening to” crap gets really tiresome. It’s not about helping the rural people. It’s not about fixing the problem.

                It’s a pointless argument about “tone” among people who aren’t, by and large, even suffering from the problem. It’s newspaper pundits and bored political junkies trading comments about “tone” back and forth.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Let’s remember I am not aligned to the GOP or social conservatives. I’m not being their apologist.

                I am saying that Dems need to stop pretending that all they have to do is create social welfare programs and the poor will beat a path to their door. That isn’t how it works, especially if, as @north points out above, the Dems have a loud contingent happy to call anyone outside the city limits a racist hick.

                What they hear is, “Hey, you stupid hick, get over here, I got some free shit for ya because you are too dumb to take care of yourself.” Doesn’t matter if the people actually on the ground trying to get that aid out are fricking saints. The internet & cable news screw it up.

                So yeah, bad at messaging. Or rather, the GOP has figured out the right message, and are blasting it at 11, and the Dems either can’t, or don’t care, to craft a counter message. I posit they can’t, because they don’t understand their audience well enough.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Sort of. Maybe. Lots of rural/poor conservative voters are just fine with government programs that help them. They like health care and unemployment insurance often even when D’s provide it.

                While there is some truth to the way rural folk are looked down at its also really easy to overplay that. A lot of that overplaying how much D hate rural folk is happening. There are rural people who vote D, white ones even. WV has a D gov although his politics are not NE liberal ones.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                and the Dems either can’t, or don’t care, to craft a counter message. I posit they can’t, because they don’t understand their audience well enough.

                I know what you mean here, and agree, but I’d say it a bit differently:

                They can’t because they understand their audience all too well.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Alright @stillwater , I’m intrigued. Care to unpack that a bit?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Well, the idea is that what constitutes liberal policy is very insular, and political rhetoric in general but also at the margins appeals only that ideologically established base. Given that, they don’t have the flexibility to extend their views beyond the commitments made to that base. Which makes them sound tone deaf to folks outside of that (ideological) community.

                I mean, I’ve already read critiques of how Dem attempts to appeal to the white working class are fraught with confusion because those folks are racists and Dems are the party of Anti-racists…Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                That (I think) aligns with something I was thinking about.

                Was it just me, or was there a large swath of GOP candidates this cycle that kinda muted the whole, “I love Jesus and Family Values!” rhetoric? Usually when I read my voter guide, I scan specifically for conservative candidates touting their faith and commitment to hard SoCon values, and if it’s anything more than a passing reference, I tend to mark that against them. This year, it was damn near crickets.

                Perhaps that is because I live in a hard blue state, but if I think back, I don’t recall seeing a lot of ads for candidates in other districts touting those values, except as attack ads from Dems. The messaging I saw from GOP was much more about economic & state security, while the messaging from Dems was Anti-Trump or pro-SoLib messaging. My sample size was pretty small, so did anyone else see this?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                So nobody else noticed a messaging shift from the GOP this cycle, from Moral Majority to Economics & Security?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

                “it’s not that the Democrats ignore rural folk or their problems. They have quite a bit designed to help them.”

                Yes, there’s plenty of help over here in this round hole. They just need to let go of their foolish insistence that there’s something special about their square-peg-ness and file down their corners so they fit.Report

              • Avatar rmass in reply to DensityDuck says:

                You can either wish for the factories and mines to reopen, ignoring economic reality, or accept this job retraining, health care, and transition cash to move to something new.

                And time after time, pride forces people to slap away a helping hand, because gubbmit help is for failures and losers, not real americans like me, they think. If I just vote for tax cuts and regulation stripping ONE MORE TIME! I’ll get that pony.

                I’ve heard it from my family all too often. Its really hard to ignore objective reality. The right by and large cares about freedom of money, and punching hippies. Not bringing those good jobs backReport

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to rmass says:

                “You can either wish for the factories and mines to reopen, ignoring economic reality, or accept this job retraining, health care, and transition cash to move to something new.”

                What job training?

                What health care?

                What transition cash?

                That isn’t going to the people who live in the Rust Belt. No, really, it isn’t, and it’s all the people who live there, not just the white ones. You talk about “ignoring objective reality” and then spin a fantasy scenario where there’s plenty of money to fix all the problems, except that…

                “…time after time, pride forces people to slap away a helping hand, because gubbmit help is for failures and losers, not real americans like me”

                yeeeeeep, like I said. Here’s a nice round hole for you, sir, if only you’ll file away those silly square corners you bitterly cling to.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well yeah, so it’s possible that at this point the Democrats duty is to sit back, fold their arms and say “Alright conservatives, you’ve got the wheel like you sought. Deliver unto your voters what you promised them.”
                The problem, of course, is that it would also involve letting the GOP fish the Dems own constituents over, but attempting to intervene once again gives the GOP an excuse to pass the blame. I’m still mulling what the best thing to do is.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

                Perhaps we should be careful about juxtaposing political action and persona interaction.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Not a choice the left has open to them. The right has their own dedicated media apparatus that finds and juxtaposes them even if we don’t.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

                Fair point.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

                That and the fact that, unlike the modern GOP, Democrats by and large are attempting to make things work.

                I don’t think many of them are constitutionally (note the small “c”) capable of letting it fail if they can try to keep it working.

                There’s a human price for governmental catastrophe. Letting it fail just to teach a ‘political lesson’ seems a bit too callous for Democrats — and by and large their voters. “Screw those hicks” might be a thought from some angry voters, or even angry politicians, but I’d be hard pressed to see Democrats putting that into practice.

                Then again, this time, they don’t have much of a choice. And the GOP has pretty much evolved into an opposition party — “repeal and replace” never really got to the “replace” part for a reason — the GOP never thought they’d need it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

                Fortunately and unfortunately the Dems still have the filibuster. We’ll see how and when it’s used and whether the GOP wipes it out.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

                It’s looking like it might stay. Cynically, I’d say it’s because the GOP would rather be able to both limit the damage AND blame the Democrats for any failures.

                Democrats can filibuster many things that might otherwise become highly unpopular laws, and the GOP can claim that it would have been puppies and rainbows if it had passed.

                And of course, that way the GOP has a better chance of avoiding the catastrophe of having Roe v. Wade repealed.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m inclined to agree.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Are you blind?
                Does “fish the rurals” not equate to “gun control” to you?

                The Democrats killed my cat is a hell of a slogan, ain’t it?
                And if you haven’t ever met someone who’s had a coyote stalking their cat, then you haven’t been to many rural places.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Morat20 says:

                Here’s one reason why I’m not totally disheartened about this election: Sometimes people need to get exactly what they ask for and compare the thing in their hand to the idea they had in their head.

                We were dealing with a customer who was talking to one of our competitors a few months ago, and their salespeople were kicking our ass, mainly by making promises they couldn’t keep. Our CEO wisely went out and talked to the customer and said, “We can’t do that, but neither can they. Go ahead and take the meeting and see what you can hold them to. What’s going to happen when you do that is X, Y, and Z.” And then he left. Those people are now our customers.

                For better or worse, the GOP is sitting on a golden opportunity to show their supporters exactly what those awesome policies they’ve been hyping will do for them.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                For better or worse, the GOP is sitting on a golden opportunity to show their supporters exactly what those awesome policies they’ve been hyping will do for them.

                My Prediction: GOP Congress will do jack all for jobs and focus all their effort on SoCon crap.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oddly enough I hope you’re right. That would fish them over royally without fishing the country or the Dems over badly at all.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                My Prediction: GOP Congress will do jack all for jobs and focus all their effort on SoCon crap.

                Since you’re sticking your neck out…

                My prediction is that Socon values get less representation than establishment liberal values, like fixing (rather than repealing) the ACA and a big stimulus infrastructure bill. More traditional GOP values (“Big Wars, Small Government!”) are gonna have to fight with the SoCons, the moderate pragmatists, the Freedom Caucus, Trumpians, and those who value holding their seat more than risking their own necks by advancing any one of the quite-likely VERY unpopular strains of conservatism now on the table.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                The lack of SoCon thumping during the campaigns gives weight to this, but I’m not confident the GOP will be willing to do the work, at least not until the SoCon hardliners try to get their way with a majority.

                I agree with North that if they do, they will have failed to learn the lesson of this election (that GOP business as usual does not really have voter approval) and will pay dearly in 2018.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

                If you’re right then the Dems will have a LOT to do because if that’s the path the GOP goes down it could play pretty well.

                My patriotic self hopes that’s what they do. My partisan self hopes they go back to the socialcon well. I don’t think it’s gonna happen though, Trump doesn’t give a fish about socialcons and the socialcons were well aware of it. They know, deep in their hearts, that if they go to Trump and say “We demand you push X socialcon policy” that he’ll throw them out and laugh.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                For better or worse, the GOP is sitting on a golden opportunity to show their supporters exactly what those awesome policies they’ve been hyping will do for them.

                Yeah, exactly, but maybe they aren’t quite ready for the big rollout yet. I recall reading about an experimental trial in Kansas conducted by the GOP R&D department and the results weren’t particularly good.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Stillwater says:

                That’s probably because of time traveling Democrats or something like that. I’m sure it will work better on a national levelReport

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Speaking of frozen in amber. I watched the Birdcage a little while ago and it was frightening how much the Gene Hackman character could exist in today’s GOP. Granted in the Birdcage, he was mainstream, today he’s be Tea Party.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                The value of conservatism is keeping the pace of change slow enough that the majority of people can have a chance to adjust to it. The damnable lie of conservatives is that they can somehow retard that pace sufficiently as to allow people to not be required to adjust.

                That’s fantastic. I’m totally stealing this.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Not just retard, though; bring back the good parts of the past without losing any of the good parts of the present.Report

              • Yes and no?

                Most people I talk to who are on this page seem blissfully unaware that any positive thing about society/America in 2016 hasn’t been with us all along, and it’s only the bad stuff that’s new. (Not because there don’t like some of the new stuff, but because they talk themselves into believing the good new stuff has always been here.)Report

              • Don’t point that out, though; that would be smug.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Also too: any problems that didn’t exist in the 50s and can’t be solved by regressive tax cuts.

                It’s very smug to read a thermometer.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            I think they’ve answered in this past election how they want to fit in – on top, no matter what.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


            I think this has been said to the rural voters numerous times from “Those factories and mining jobs are not coming back” to societal changes being seen everyday in culture and the workplace.

            The problem is that rural voters just seem to stick their fingers in their ears and say “nyah! nyah! can’t hear ya!”Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Flip it around, Saul. Those folks say “we want some goddam jobs around here!”, and you say “those jobs are gone boys and they ain’t coming back”.

              Who’s the one with their fingers in their ears?

              Btw, it seems to me one of the decisive moments in aught 8 was when McCain told a bunch of ruralites exactly that: those jobs are gone and they ain’t coming back. And look where that got us….Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                You can’t flip it around unless you believe the Democrats know of a way to bring the jobs back, but are lying about it and preventing it.

                Because that’s the nut of it — everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, know exactly what rural voters want on the economic front. Neither of them know of any way to make it happen.

                No amount of listening or empathy will change that fact.

                So you’re down to this: Lie or tell the truth.

                Your whole argument only exists if you remove all facts from the equation.

                So what should the Dems do? Lie or tell the truth? Because no amount of empathy, listening, understanding, or tone is going to make it possible to bring those jobs back.

                Lie or tell the truth.

                Which one means you actually respect them as people?Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Morat20 says:

                Tell the miners they can become coders.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to notme says:

                The EPA isn’t killing coal, natural gas is.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Mo says:

                Next you’ll tell me that the EPA doesn’t have it’s thumb on the scale with it’s CO2 regs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:


                Saying that ruralites stick their fingers in their ears when their betters start lecturing them about how trade works, and the economic necessity of offshoring and outsourcing, and the essential GDP gains derived from immigration, and… well…

                Did we, as Dem voting liberals, suddenly become Neoliberal free traders who now think NAFTA was a great deal for American workers? When did that happen? (I know, I know, Bush declared us a “service sector” economy…)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Man, I sure as hell picked the wrong year to stop being libertarian.

                Morat, in my absence, here are some websites that might be useful to you:
                Ludwig von Mises Institute
                Wikipedia’s page on Anarcho-Capitalism
                Cato Fashions, not affiliated with the Cato Institute, but it’s got some nice bracelets. (I like the chipped stone bar hematite cuff bracelet.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                Except I’m not saying that.

                And you’re dodging the question: Should liberals tell rural voters the truth as they understand it (as the Democrats/liberals understand it) or tell the rural voters what they want to hear.

                Facts or lies?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                If the democrats had bothered to show up with some policies, rather than “Mr Trump Is a Meanie Pants”, then they’d have won.

                Clinton’s entire campaign centered on “Trump is unacceptable, vote for Hurrrr.”

                (Stats cited when I bother to look them up)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Morat20 says:

                Should liberals tell rural voters the truth as they understand it (as the Democrats/liberals understand it) or tell the rural voters what they want to hear.

                As Jaybird points out, the electoral college answered that one loud and clear. We need to start showing the white working class consideration, empathy, and total disrespect for their intelligence.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think many people became convinced of the economic necessity of offshoring and outsourcing when they made money from it. Certainly, plenty of politicians anyway.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                Republicans and Democrats alike, know exactly what rural voters want on the economic front. Neither of them know of any way to make it happen.

                And those folks, along with lots of others, rejected BOTH parties in their choice for President.

                I don’t think Dems and GOPers actually DO know what those folks want, Morat. Hillary sure as hell didn’t.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, Stillwater — what’s your solution?

                I’m ALL ears. I know the Democrats are offering what policies they have, and I’m not aware of any they’re ignoring. I know what the GOP is offering.

                So please, enlighten us. What’s the magic ingredient we’re all missing? Because you’re sure as heck arguing like there’s an answer everyone is just ignoring because we hate us them hicks.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                What’s the magic ingredient we’re all missing?

                That DJ Trump is our president elect.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                So you want Democrats to lie as well.

                Just be honest about it.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                I want democrats to come in with a fucking platform, not identity politics.
                Obama Obama Trump is the person we’re looking for, and there’s tons of folks around here that voted that way.

                Your platform is fine. Seriously. You just have to sell it. “Take taxes from rich, give to poor”? People LIKE that! Seriously, they do!

                People don’t like “Obama’s third Term, everything is fine in America, vote for me!” That’s just fucking tonedeaf.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well, Trump said he was going to use tariffs to bring the jobs back. I mean, he said he knows a way to do it. Now, he might have been lying or wrong, but it still probably went over better with those voters than “those jobs are gone and they ain’t coming back”.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Rufus F. says:

                Meh. You think they actually believe that will work? Cause I sure as hell don’t.
                They voted for Trump because he’s likely to piss people off in Washington. He’s likely to fire the people that say “everything in America is FINE”Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kim says:

                Import-substituting industrialization definitely works, no doubt about it.
                Getting it to work in a nation already industrialized is another question.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Rufus F. says:

                Of course it goes better with them

                It is just not possible to do.

                So the options are: Trump said what he said because he

                -Is ignorant about ecomics and industry, which is a problem
                -he lied, which is a different problemReport

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to J_A says:

                Well, if it’s not possible, the Democrats have nothing to worry about, since they offered no real alternative. If so, they were right, Trump is nuts, and the working class can suck eggs.

                But the point is it’s been such an article of faith for the political class since the 90s that we can’t do anything politically that could go against the prerogatives of capital, or else we’re committing economic suicide, are economically illiterate, don’t believe in free trade, etc. etc. So, when the prerogatives of capital go against the prerogatives of workers, which seems to happen lately, the political class has no better response for their voters than “Maybe if we give companies more tax breaks and ask really really nicely, they’ll stay.” It’s like children’s letters to Santa.

                And the result is what it’s always been over the last two centuries- periods of growing social instability and the rise of demagogues during those periods. It’s pretty much an iron clad law of history: Society must defend itself. It sucks that liberals allowed it to be a demagogue on the right side of that because they couldn’t think of an alternative. But, you know, that’s happened before too.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

                Michael Dougherty had a couple of nice tweets the other day:

                Global capitalism is dissolving the political bonds that hold nations together, and that bind elites to their native working classes.

                Why are we surprised that the losers of that process are reasserting themselves through nationalism?

                Moving from “maybe if we give them enough carrots, they’ll stay” to “maybe we should use sticks in addition to carrots” is a logical step. Maybe it won’t work… but it sure as hell makes sense.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, we’re not all surprised. I mean, Chris Hedges needs to put out a new edition of Death of the Liberal Class (2010) with a chapter entitled “What the fish did I tell you was going to happen?!?”

                Or, maybe we just put out a new edition of Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation (1944) with a chapter entitled “What the fish did he tell you?!”

                Or, you know, we could conversely accuse anyone who reminds us that the citizenry rarely votes for more social instability of not “believing in free trade”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

                I have come to the realization that any counter-argument that relies heavily on “you just don’t believe in X” is masking a religion and is, itself, virtue signalling rather than engaging.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s amazing to me how many people, on the left and the right, seem to think it’s beneath them to offer any argument at this point, aside from “If you were better educated, you’d agree with me. That’s not my problem.”Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Rufus F. says:

                Of course you can do things to reopen the mines. It’s not like there are physics laws involved.

                But those things have massive costs and trade-offs involved. For instance, you could:

                1- subsidize the power companies that would burn the coal so that the total cost (fixed and variable) of energy produced is in line with the total cost of natural gas produced energy, plus

                2- Subsidize the stranded costs of natural gas power plants that were built to replace the coal fired plants. Because we are now running coal plants that were supposed to be scrapped we have to make whole the investors that invested billions, plus

                3- subsidize the stranded costs of pipelines built to transport the natural gas that we now not producing because we have made a political decision to burn coal, plus

                4- Something something to offset the additional CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere.

                In order to be able to enact all these subsidies, you have to cut other expenses, or raise taxes, of course.

                Because we are not going to do any of this, that’s why the mines won’t openReport

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to J_A says:

                See, this is exactly the sort of stupid idiotic thing that might just work, and Trump might just be foolish enough to try it.

                The point isn’t to make the mines or the factories work at a cost to global efficiency forever; think of it as a do-over knowing what we know now and paying a price to transition people who are working and whose communities are worth investing in.

                Horrible economics, excellent human capital management.

                There’s a price we pay for prolonged unemployment; it is a both an economic and human/psychic price. We’re going to pay it no matter what…

                You can sell it passive aggressively as an “I told you so, fuckers, we need to raise taxes.”

                Or, you call it an American reinvestment plan that benefits your neighbors as we re-tool for the 21st century.

                Maybe this is a Nixon/China thing where democrats arguing the latter have no credibility, but a Republican, nay a TRUMP… well that’s the new kind of thinking we need.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Uh huh, of course it literally defenestrates every single line of Republican economic ideology. I suspect you’d see Speaker Ryan eat a live baby on television before he’d back this kind of central planning.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Well you’re the one who pointed out that Trump is walking around wearing the republican corpse for a hat. What ever Trump is, Republican isn’t it.

                But – as a thought experiment – on the Republican side, he’s not selling it as central planning, its literally decentralized helicopter money to the private sector. Solyndra x1000… corruption, bribes, money everywhere – just not in the fashionable places. That’s the catch, you have to take your bribe to Youngstown. In fact, if you needed more than that to sell it to Republicans (hard to believe), you’d just differentiate it from the sclerotic centrally planned stimulus and make fun of the term “shovel ready.”

                More seriously, though, I’m pretty sure the Republican economic ideology is dead. Long live Republican economic ideology.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Sure, but he’s not capable of governing alone. I grant you that he might be able to spin it but I don’t know if it would be of great enough benefit to the GOP elite to convince them to buy into it. I don’t know. It’s not impossible, just seems unlikely to me.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                Yes, I can’t argue unlikely.Report

              • Avatar James K in reply to North says:


                It is, in fact the direct opposite of what Thatcher did.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to James K says:

                Reagan and Thatcher are dead; God rest their souls.

                I say that unironically too.

                The one thing I did not hear from anyone who I know voted for Trump was “what would Reagan do?” There’s no purge of Reaganolitry… he’s just a saint who fought Saracens, and we don’t know what Saracens are.Report

              • Avatar James K in reply to Marchmaine says:


                I was thinking more of Paul Ryan than Trump or his followers. But yes, your point is well made.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to James K says:

                True… that’s the next drama to unfold. I have no idea how that will play out. I’m a little bit horrified at the prospect of a Bolton/Trump foreign policy, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.Report

              • we don’t know what Saracens are

                We know that they’re smug.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                and that they were on the wrong side of history.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Marchmaine says:

                And yet, here we are again, scared of actual Saracens, both battling them in the ME, and thinking about putting them in a list here.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to J_A says:

                Saint Barak’s attempt to convert the sultan didn’t work; at least he got the trophy first.

                And why not have a list for here if we already have a list for there?

                Prefect Trump just steps into the role of putting names on the list, not inventing the list.Report

              • Actually, we do. They take good care of their dotty grandmothers, and get Aimee Teegarden as a reward.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North says:

                What evidence have you ever seen that Paul Ryan cares about any element of ideology when doing so would discomfort republicans, rather than democrats?Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:


                I think the jobs that they want old mining and unskilled factory work that paid well is largely gone. Some of it went to outsourcing but most of it went to automation. The only way factories are coming back to the Ohio River Valley are as automated masterpieces and that is only going to get worse.

                I admit that no one wants to talk about automation because the answer is fucking depressing and/or still politically unrealistic (UBI).

                What’s your ideas for making the factories of the Ohio River valley hum again? How are you going to bring back mining without destroying the planet?

                It seems to me that a lot of urban people complain about the cost of living in cities and we are told to move to cheaper areas. Cheaper areas are told that they want jobs and when the economic reality comes out, they are not told to move. Why is that? Why do rural dwellers get special pleading? I see no reason to assume a white miner is more salt of the earth than a black or hispanic woman who works in the laundry room of a hotel or hospital or as a teacher’s aide.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Why do rural dwellers get special pleading?

                They don’t get a special pleading, but they do get to vote for folks like Trump on the unlikely yet not entirely hopeless expectation that he’ll implement policies that actually benefit rather than harm their sociopoliticaleconomiclifestyles.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Stillwater says:

                The conversation has been hyper focused on rural WWC R voters for a couple weeks now. It isn’t special pleading but it does seem that is all everybody wants to talk about. So it may come off as they are the only group that matters.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to gregiank says:

                Can you think of another group that mattered more this election? They provided a pivotal boost in three states that Trump needed and barely won. If there’s another group of people whose vote appeared to shift significantly in important states, we should definitely talking about them, too.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Will Truman says:

                Oh I agree with that. I was more reflecting why Saul might think people are looking for special pleading for the WW. It was a pivotal group this election but one of many groups that the D’s need to listen to.

                The convo has gone around and around about them to the point where it seems like everything has been said a few times. D’s do win quite a bit of the WC and even some of the white ones. They need to improve their outreach and messaging but people are also going a bit overboard with how much D’s hate the WWC. Sure there is some nastiness but the critics make it sound like the D’s and liberal spend 100% of their time screaming at the top of their lungs how evil WWC’s are. Heck if you listen to lots of the conversations you would think every red state has only republicans.

                I’ve know plenty of rural voters. Everything that has been said about them is true. Plenty will vote D in the right conditions and some rock ribbed conservative rural voters love them some socialism. Some will even use the Socialism word positively.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to gregiank says:

                It’s not that the left in general and especially not Democrats in particular, spend a lot of time hating on the wwc. It’s that there is a non-trivial group on the left that does and the gatekeepers of the media channels that the wwc identify with and trust funnel that information to them, magnify it and use it to paint the left overall with that stigma.

                But yes, it’s not foolproof and it can be resisted and has in the past. HRC just was especially bad at combating that and, it seems, didn’t even try. And that gamble didn’t pay off.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

                Agreed. But that is also the point of my push back. It’s a set of loud mouth on the liberal side but not in any way the total picture. Yes clinton was not the best at dealing with that but i don’t’ see the point of listening endlessly how all liberals hate the wwc with a deep passion because it ain’t true. My parents were depression era wwc. Never went to college,Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to gregiank says:

                As I said above to Stillwater, perhaps that is the issue. Trump was focusing, inartfully, on issues the WC was concerned about, and the Dems were focused on trying to point out how bad Trump was (or perhaps, if I’m being fair, that was the message the media amplified for the Dems, whether they wanted it or not).Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to gregiank says:

                Yeah, people tend to forget the Granges. Socialism works a little differently out in the boonies (where it’s more of you look after your neighbor — because you have to, rather than it’s the good thing to do.)

                Hillary ran saying “everything is fine.” Well, stuff ain’t fine with these folks.

                Obama’s campaigns weren’t about everything is fine. They were about fixing things. Making America Better.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Is this true? How did WWCR voters vote in 2008 and 2012? If they were fairly consistent, than they didn’t really “boost” anything.

                It’s been pointed out that Trump got about the same number of votes that McCain and Romney did. Clinton got far fewer than Obama in either year. So WWCR only “boosted” Trump if they previously voted for Obama and then went Trump or if they were traditional GOP voters but came out in larger numbers.

                In either case, it raises the question of which McCain/Romney voters they replaced and where they went.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                So let’s say you are sick of talking about how Clinton was a fatally flawed candidate. Now you’re stuck wondering why Trump was able to flip the Rust Belt.

                Therefore: The WWC.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

                Given what we know i think it’s wrong to say she was fatally flawed. Flawed yes but not doomed. That is one of the many points of noting she won the popular vote by more then just a sliver like Gore. Winning the PV shows something positive. Also there was that entire russian hack thing and Comey which hurt. Add is campaign errors which she is ultimately responsible for but don’t’ relate to her popularity she could easily have won this race. Her campaign failing to GOTV in some states was a major unforced error. But her unpopularity did not in anyway make it impossible for her to win.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                It’s as true as anything we can ascertain. Looking at the places where there was a significant shift the R’s way, and it’s basically outside the cities in the north. Looking at what income brackets moved, it’s not the wealthier ones.

                If senate votes are any indication – races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – the lost Romney/McCain voters were in the suburbs. Toomey and Johnson ran much better than Trump in the suburbs and Trump did better outside of them.

                Nationwide, Hillary Clinton made some gains in some unhelpful states. She ran up the score in California and prevented Trump from running it up in Arizona, Texas, and Georgia. Which brings us back to the north and a map that looks kind of like this:


              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

                For the record, Yglesias is incorrect here.

                What he is calling the “Trump Belt” used to be called the “Rust Belt”.

                This is one of those massively “only Voxers could have possibly written that” mistakes.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                For the record, Yglesias is incorrect here.

                What he is calling the “Trump Belt” used to be called the “Rust Belt”.

                This is one of those massively “only Voxers could have possibly written that” mistakes.

                The Rust Belt as commonly defined doesnt extend west of the Mississippi river. (It also doesn’t extend past the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, but there’s never been a lot of people between there and Ft Kent.) (Well, except Burlington, but again, no one considers that a rust belt town)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                “It’s as true as anything we can ascertain.”

                This should be every news outlets’ new slogan.Report

              • If senate votes are any indication – races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – the lost Romney/McCain voters were in the suburbs.

                Both ways. Clinton’s 6M voters who didn’t show up weren’t from the urban cores, or from ruralia. They were from the suburbs. Free strategic advice to the Democratic Party nationally: the suburbs are, numerically, an absolute majority of voters in the country. Win big in the suburbs and you win everything; lose in the suburbs and you lose it all. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. The California Democratic Party wins the suburbs. To an increasing degree, the Colorado Democratic Party wins the suburbs. If you can’t reproduce that nationally, you’re picking the wrong issues for a national rather than regional party.Report

              • As go the suburbs, so goes the state. As always.

                That said she beat McGinty and Feingold in the suburbs from what I understand. That’s why I’m looking further out, where she was going to lose but not by as much as she did.

                (Also have to give a shoutout to another group: small cities. Which we include with ruralia usually but are kind of different.)Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                PA had more votes for Trump than Romney, particularly out in Appalachia.
                We have the Obama Obama Trump vote here.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                All of them, actually.

                It’s like saying “Suburban soccer moms swung the election”.

                Heck, I saw someone yesterday running numbers that said whites making more than 50k a year swung the election, and had the same polling as everyone else to prove it.

                You can make a case that it’s the same as it ALWAYS was — turnout. There aren’t really many “undecided voters”. There are just “don’t vote every election” voters who may or may not vote this one. And those predisposed to the GOP turned out in higher numbers than those predisposed to Democrats.

                We’re still making up just-so stories, but it IS weird that the group that is so, so, SO important are…rural whites.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                Suburban soccer mom votes didn’t shift to the winner, as far as I know. Rural votes did shift, in important states, in an election that moved the presidency from one party to another. Even if you don’t believe individual voters shifted, vote totals did.

                If Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan vote 5-4 (or 5-3) on something, the most noteworthy vote is likely going to be Kennedy because he was likely the unreliable vote on whatever this was. It’s not that the other votes didn’t matter, but if you’re looking to convince a justice on the next one, Kennedy is probably the one you want to convince or have to convince.

                After Obama won, we heard a lot about the Coalition of the Ascendant because that’s where the pertinent changes appeared to be. And not, say, the Evangelicals. Here, they were somewhere else.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                That analogy won’t work, because SCOTUS doesn’t have a trio of ‘extra’ judges that randomly sub in (or sometimes pack the court to 11 or 12).

                Because that’s a huge part of “voter shifts” — it’s not people changing minds on issues or politicians. It’s irregular voters deciding to vote.

                It’s a huge fuzzy area that really makes it difficult to say “voters switched” because you have all this uncertainty. The numbers don’t tell you if voters switched, or if irregular voters voted/stayed home in a different pattern than the previous election.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                Whether voters individually switched or not, groups of voters did. Whether by changing their vote or choosing to show up instead of stay home. Even if you believe that virtually no Obama voters went with Trump (YouGov says about 7% did vs 5% the other way), we’re talking about groups instead of individuals.

                It makes sense to look at the groups of voters who shifted (specifically from the loser to the winner). That was true of Hispanics between 2004 and 2008,and it’s true of non-degreed whites between 2012 and 2016.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                You cannot tell the difference (not with exit polls, at least) between “voters or groups of voters switching between candidates” and “voters or groups of voters switching between voting and not voting”.

                I mean that literally: They look identical in the simple exit polls, but are different things.

                I suspect both parties, well Democrats at least given they lost, are investigating that right now because there is a significant difference in how you approach those two problems.

                If you have a turnout problem among irregularly voting partisans, you do one thing. If you’re finding a lot of your partisans are switching sides, you do other things.

                Locking into stone that it MUST be one or the other without evidence? That’s how you screw up going forward too.

                Which gets back to the fact that a lot of post-election analysis here is, basically, latching onto a data point or two that we can tell a just-so story about — one that confirms our biases.

                And if you tell yourself the wrong “just-so story” and react to that one, you really do screw up going forward.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m saying it doesn’t matter which of those things it is, my point still holds. Within this demographic, there was a significant shift. That makes this demographic important.

                If the huge shift had occurred with Latinos, we’d be talking about them. How do I know? Because that was exactly what the story was shaping to be leading up to election day: The Latino Surge. It was looking like Latinos were going to take Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Texas and with them the election. Now, in that case, we know that it’s not Republicans switching, but we’d be talking about it anyway as an important thing that changed.

                But they didn’t change the election, so we’re not. Instead, we’re talking about another group of voters whose behavior did change. Which mechanism it changed by (turning out or staying home vs switching from D to R) is an important aspect of that story, but the question here is “Why are they the story?” or “Why are they the important voters?” and the answer is “Because it really looks like it was the change in their collective voting patterns that determined the election.” That makes them more interesting than Evangelicals, who didn’t collectively change in places that matters.


              • Now, as to the question of whether it was voters flipping from one party to the other or turnout, I’m sure it was a combination of both. YouGov’s polling suggest that 7% of Obama’s voters went with Trump, and 5% of Romney’s voters went with Clinton. I’m trying to pin those numbers down, but I got them from someone I trust.

                If these numbers are accurate, 2% is not a whole lot of voters, but it’s also a lot of voters. More than enough to turn an election. Especially if the 7% come from different states than the 5%.

                I’ll see if I can track down those numbers.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I dunno. I’m inherently skeptical of any political theory that identifies a tiny demographic and says “Those are the folks that’ll swing the election”.

                It’s possibly I’m skeptical for the same reason I really dislike “Florida and Ohio are the only states that matter in the election”.

                I mean it’s technically true, but it handwaves away huge numbers of voters who are just…taken for granted, and frankly leads to an awful lot of lazy analysis in general.

                And even then, you’re still dealing with counter-factuals. “If only we’d swung the rural working class vote a few points” — well yes, but also if Clinton had done 2 points better among white females, or 3 points better among blacks (getting back to Obama’s numbers), or 8 points better among Hispanics…

                Of course, the electoral college magnifies both of those (“This is the key demographic/this is the key state”) trends rather massively .

                That doesn’t even get into the weirdities of talking about how the winner of the popular vote by a million or two would have won if she’d only done slightly better (like a few tens of thousands of votes) among one subset of voters in two states…Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                I agree with that, up to a point. My view on the GOP from 2008-15 was that it mostly just needed to get more votes. One-for-one and state-to-state, whether those votes are white or Hispanic doesn’t matter, electorally speaking. They’re all worth the same.

                But they’re not the same, of course. Which is why we talk about all of the individual groups. We talk about their electoral importance. This wasn’t invented for rural whites. We’ve spent more of the last four years talking about Hispanics. But mostly, talking about the individual groups that make up the states in contention that will move the election one way or the other.

                The ones that moved moved the election. Yes, the election could have been moved other ways, but I’m not sure anything that actually moved did so more than the group we’re talking about. Which is why we’re talking about them. As I said, had their been a Latino surge that moved the election, we’d be talking about that. It was already being declared “The story of the election” until the actual election hit.

                As for what the Democrats need to do, a lot of them are freaking out way too much. But I don’t know how many more canaries can speak up before others will recognize that there is a not-insignificant problem in the coal mine.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

                I agree w/ this, but it overlooks the main point of evidence. We had a lot of non-Presidential state elections in the North in which neither Trump, nor Clinton, were running and the Republicans swept, in some places Republicans won counties that had not voted for a Republican since Herbert Hoover. There are a lot of paths going forward, but the current path appears to be a Democratic route in two years, when neither Trump or Clinton are on the ballot, a lot of vulnerable Senate races will be in play, and turnout will be down.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Those are some of the canaries I speak of.

                I don’t think the Democrats are in that much trouble, but my perspective will change dramatically if they don’t win more than a couple governor mansions in 2018. More than more than a couple, really.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

                Brexit was the canary in the coal mine. But it’s not quite for the Left, but for the neoliberals.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Kim says:

                Or the 2005 French European Union referendum. Except when the French rejected the referendum, it had a leftward cast of “fear” of losing government jobs, and “anger” at the hollowing out of French institutions. Over the weekend, I finished reading Robert and Isabella Tomb’s book on the British-French rivalry, and the root similarities btw/ 2005 and Brexit and the Trump phenomena were patent.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Will Truman says:

                The comparison to 2004 and ‘values voters” is useful, though. A group might be instrumental in one election without being the only path to future victory for the party that lost.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Sure. I think the Democrats have multiple paths back, some of which do not include getting those voters back. I would caution two things, though: (1) There are more voters in that demographic still left to lose, and (2) There may be multiple paths to victory but you don’t know which one is most likely to pan out. Which is to say that the path that excludes them may be a lot more difficult than a path that includes them. It’s risky to insist on a specific path, or to exclude any reasonable one.

                But to the question of why we’re talking about these voters to the exclusion of others, this is why. In the lead-up to election day when early voting was happening and everybody thought Clinton was going to win, the groundwork was being laid for a different demographic entirely (“The Latino Surge”). That’s just how it works.Report

              • Avatar joke in reply to Will Truman says:

                Whatever it is, its going to have to involve state legislatures, and state governors first.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Still laughing at the phrase “suburban soccer moms”.
                Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I see, the left tells folks we are going to shut down your coal mine and use the courts to shove bathroom change down your throats. No thanks.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            The rural voters got the message, don’t cling to your guns and religion and we are going to put many coal miners out of work.Report

          • Avatar Mo in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Kevin Williamson did and he got excoriated for it. Granted he was being a donkeyhole about it, but that’s because he’s a donkeyhole in general.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I saw a map (maybe linked from here?) that tried to “color in” the map while accounting for population density and vote totals. Few areas are fully blue or fully red.

        I don’t know how to do it, but I’d like to see a map that does the traditional red/blue thing but only for areas with a 90/10 breakdown. Then 80/20. Then 70/30. Then 60/40. 55/45. Etc. That’d be really informative.

        Yes, to understand the particular concerns of someone living in rural America, you probably have to go to rural America. Likewise someone in urban America. And suburban America. To understand a geographical area and the ideas that live there, visit that area.

        But it’s not like all Trump voters were in rural America and all Hillary voters were in urban America. I believe Hillary won NYC with like 80% of the vote. That’s a huge win! But still means that 1 in 5 people in NYC voted for Trump. Even if the number is 1 in 10, that still means I walked past like 50 Trump voters on my way to work this morning!Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy says:

          Hmmm… I’ve probably got most of the pieces to do something along these lines (except county-level data). An animation, say, that starts with a flat map, then grows the 90/10 counties to a height with the volume representing log of the total vote with color shifting to full red/blue, then the 80/20 counties in an appropriate purple, then 70/30, and so on. Something like that?

          It’s started to snow…Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain says:


            Yes! You were just the fellow I had in mind!

            I have no idea what you described but… yes? I’ll trust your judgement.

            People talk of counties that went 52-48 seceding and that seems… silly.Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    This is a tough article for me because there are no specifics. I understand why there aren’t – it’d be tricky to provide them. I guess it could be an issue for an article on any subject, but this is a subject where different groups have wildly different rules of what’s acceptable, and it’s hard to work out whether I’m hearing about a reasonable or unreasonable situation being handled appropriately or inappropriately (any combination of those, and they’re both continua).

    I suspect that more than a little of the tension around this issue comes from the fact that the progressives aren’t proposing a single, constant set of rules. They change year to year, and each revision is treated as equally important. There’s nothing organic about it – society typically needs a period to consider new codes of behaviour to see if they make sense, then gradually implement them, but we haven’t been doing that lately.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky says:

      The rules change minute to minute, and that is intentional. You’re not supposed to be able to follow along.

      You’re also not supposed to care when people lie on live TV. Just “don’t punch down.”Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kim says:

        “The rules change minute to minute, and that is intentional. You’re not supposed to be able to follow along.”

        There’s an element of truth in that. You see it in high school, urban culture, and management seminars, where the “cool kids” know the latest slang. It’s signalling. But to the extent that there is good intention behind the rules, progressives have to police themselves to explain the reasons for each innovation, find a reasonable rate of innovation, and stop punching in any direction.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:

          “But to the extent that there is good intention behind the rules, progressives have to police themselves to explain the reasons for each innovation, find a reasonable rate of innovation, and stop punching in any direction.”


          While I don’t think your analysis of the effect is wrong, I think your understanding of the cause(s) is off, in at least two regards:
          1. It assumes some sort of centralized organization regarding the rules.
          2. Related to #1, it assumes everyone advocating for rules is P/progressive.

          Much of the reason for the seeming influx of rules is that we are paying more attention to members of those groups who want to make rules for and about themselves. There isn’t some cabal of white progressives who decide that today we are using Latino/a and Black and tomorrow it will be Latin@ and African-American. You have various people — some individually and some in groups — aiming to self-advocate and having greater ability to do so on a larger scale than ever before. So, yea, it is often disjointed and inconsistent and seemingly contradictory.

          White progressives (who like to position themselves as leaders in these efforts) often don’t help matters, that I will certainly give you.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

            Agreed. This is the modern decentralized age. It complicates things. But the pressure to follow the changing rulebook is uniform. 2% of people may push for Latin@, but another 48% will insist that it’s fair to condemn those who don’t use the term. There’s no gradual process of exposure and persuasion.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pinky says:

              Sides being drawn is really problematic. We have some really perverse feedback loops and chicken-and-egging and assumption of bad intent.

              Those advocating for change need to do better. Those open to but confused by the change need to separate themselves from those who are actively resistant. Etc.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Pinky says:

          But Pinky, punching feels so good, and there have been so many times when other people punched me; don’t I get to have a turn?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Much like with privilege, what feels to me like me giving you a joshing tap on the upper-arm might feel like an uppercut to the chin to you.

            “Aw, come on! It was just a love tap!”

            There’s also the whole thing where if someone gets punched on the arm all day every day every goddamn day, a little tap from me, even if it’s on the upper arm, feels different to the recipient than I would intend it to, even if it’s something that an unpunched person would agree was little more than a love tap.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky says:

          Astroturf does not have good intentions.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

      Well, when I played poker on New Year’s Eve with my old group, the old man always told the same joke when the deal got handed around to him. “We’re going to play a little game called ‘me win’.”Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Some scattered thoughts…

    1. Discomfort and offense are different things. Too often, I think, we conflate them. Or at least use the words interchangeably where we ought not. It seems to me you are seeking — or are at least open — to discomforting people but would rather not offend them.

    2. I don’t remember who said the paraphrased comment regarding privilege or the context wherein it was said, but this privilege-challenging liberal sees alot of truth in it. It is why I struggle with privilege as an adjective (“privileged”) and prefer it as a noun. Further, I often try to argue that privilege is relative. I am a straight, white cis male with a upper-middle class upbringing just outside a major east coast city who has an advanced degree… I have just about as much privilege as is possible. And yet… every now and then… there are circumstances in which I have much less privilege. In middle school, I was the only white kid who attended intramural basketball. And I felt that. So many of the things that gave me privileged in most of society either didn’t matter in that space or were regarded as negatives. I would stop short of saying I was marginalized or oppressed but I certainly enjoyed far less privilege there then I did/do elsewhere in society. Privilege isn’t a point system: +4 for being white, +3 for male, -2 for gay. We aren’t playing an RPG. There are situations in which that commenter would have less privilege and some where he would have more, both relative to himself and to others who are different than him. I don’t see much use in trying to figure out if a straight Black man has more or less privilege than a queer white woman. I understand the temptation to do so and I wouldn’t stop those particular people from trying to make sense of their place in the world(s), but I think that type of thinking is counterproductive to actually understanding and eventually undoing privilege and really shows a misunderstanding of how privilege functions… says the guy with insane privilege!

    3.) Your consultant sounds great. I’ve worked with some cultural competency professionals before and if you find the right ones, not only can they ask you those questions, offer mirrors for reflection, or share observations that will totally unravel everything you thought they know, they can also be worth their weight in gold quite literally. Many major companies are hiring them and employing their lessons to separate themselves from the pack.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Kazzy says:

      The two most important aspects of privilege are that it is both Situational and that it is Relative. This often gets lost in the shuffle.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Aaron David says:


        I’m not sure if those are THE two most important aspects but definitely two very important aspects.

        Or, perhaps, for folks on one side of the aisle, those are the two most important aspects. For folks on the other side, at least one of the most important things is that privilege exists.

        But, yea, thats a bit of a nitpick. You summed up what I was trying to say very nicely.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Aaron David says:

        I’d say the most important aspect of “microaggressions” “privilege” “safespaces” etc, is that it’s fucking astroturf.
        But hell, that’s just me.Report

    • Avatar joke in reply to Kazzy says:

      Everyone should check their privilege, and all lives matter. Which are both obviously true, but are also the worst kind of triggers- mostly because of the subtexts involved when most people utter them in opposition to BLM and any kind of acknowledgement of systemic injustices faced by the black community.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Awesome essay, RTod.

    I’m currently composing a great big essay on the whole Trust/Collaboration thing (then I can finally stop talking about it!) but one of the things that I always used to see as “hypocrisy” (a far, far too large category of things) are really things that are social lubricants.

    The two versions of the lust story, for example… which one of the two stories would everyone have agreed was more “authentic”? I’m guessing it was the one that would have turned off more people. The story that would have reached more people would have been the one that had the rough edges sanded off, and the one that wouldn’t have turned off a chunk of the audience before the guy got to the twist.

    There’s nothing that all this reminds me of so much as the dynamics that existed in my little bubble of the Ultra-Fundies with whom I grew up.

    The totems, the taboos, the jokes you could tell, and the jokes you couldn’t. (I have a “Word Of Life Bible Camp” story I could tell one day, I suppose.)

    All of the solutions that I can come up with are to allow for public and private spheres, to not mind hypocrisy toooo much, to not air dirty laundry, to not notice the dirty laundry of others, and all of the stuff that drove me POSITIVELY BONKERS about the inauthenticity of my little fundy bubble.

    I fear it’s going to get worse until it’s positively broken to the point where nobody will be able to be in denial about it.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      “…then I can finally stop talking about it!…”

      Please don’t.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:


      The two versions of the lust story, for example… which one of the two stories would everyone have agreed was more “authentic”? I’m guessing it was the one that would have turned off more people.

      Honestly? The coached version would have been seen as more authentic by the audience by a mile, for a variety of reasons. The un-coached version had its hiccup because the storyteller was nervous about opening up in a way that he feared would make him less virile/manly to women in the audience, and so he overcompensated in a rather obvious way.

      Audiences almost always know when someone on stage is allowing themselves to be naked on stage (so to speak) and when they are being less than honest trying to puff themselves up. And they tend to react very, very positively to those who are willing to expose themselves emotionally. If an audience believes you’re being sincere, they’ll root for you — even if you’re telling a story about a time you did something terrible.* But even when you know all of that going in, being naked on stage is a really hard thing to do.

      * To be clear, they root for you, not the terrible thing.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:


        It strikes me that there might have been a telling-versus-showing moment there.

        “Let me tell you how awesome I am by couching this story in a way that makes me look the way I want to look.”

        “Let me show you who I am by telling this story authentically and letting you discover truths about me.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Huh, interesting. The people who he imagined would be thinking about him weren’t the type to go to these kinds of storytelling shows.

        My (very wrong) assumption was that the storyteller would be as sophisticated as the audience… but a less sophisticated storyteller would most likely assume that his listeners would be similar to the listeners he’d usually imagine telling the story to.

        So it’s not communicating “who I think I am”, but “who I think you’ll think I am”.

        When can get the audience to think “I can’t believe he thinks that about us.”Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw says:


    A good post-mortem of the Florida vote (hat tip: LGM). Might prove Tod is right here.

    I also think there is an element here of Clinton losing the turnout fight in these places. These were the communities that were not getting a ton of field support (note, I didn’t say none), but were places that Americans for Prosperity were heavily invested in behalf of Rubio. I’ve worried for some time that the “Trump has no ground game” narrative could slowly seep towards complacency, and we might have seen the proof of this in these areas. I wrote about this in a piece on May, when I suggested Trump could win the same way Scott won. Well, it happened.

    So what comes next? Well, I will write more on that subject coming soon, but for some of us old guys, we will recognize the 2016 map as very similar to the 2004 map. In the two cycles that followed, Democrats won two statewide races, plus the Presidency, and picked up numerous seats in the Congress and Legislature? How? By reaching back into these communities and restarting the conversation. In Florida, the basic rule winning is managing margins, particularly in suburban and exurban I-4. In 04, Bush did it and won. In 08 and 12, Obama won that battle. In 16, Trump did.

    And again, this isn’t just a Florida deal — what happened here isn’t isolated. But I will make this one point — one I’ve made a lot over the last few years: if Democrats in Florida can win around 40% of the white vote — which is less than what Obama won in 2008, they will win almost every statewide race going forward. Demographics can be destiny — but it isn’t automatically.


    • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I didn’t get a flyer from Clinton asking me to vote for her.
      I’m in a battleground state!
      That’s a couple pennies a flyer, and I’m a registered Democrat in Freaking Pittsburgh!

      She needed my vote.

      She spent time in Arizona trying to win that state instead.Report

  13. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    This all (the entire post-election climate, not this post specifically) feels like some generic romcom dialog:

    “You never listen to me!”

    “I’m listening now. What do you want to tell me?”

    “…That’s not the point!”Report

  14. Avatar Brian Murphy says:

    I have many friends and family who are Trumpkins. To a person, they’re racists. But I say nothing because it would be socially inappropriate. Since I’m white it costs me nothing to turn a blind eye.
    But that is how evil triumphs… not because we have judged Trumpkins too harshly, but because we allow bigotry to be a cost-free option for our friends and family.Report

  15. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I admit to a California bias, but I think we are reading more into a narrow win than is justified.

    California is as diverse as the entire United States, and we have kept a supermajority of the Legislature and Senate for about 6 years now; Every statewide office is held by a Democrat; And the economy has improved to the point where we can now weather a recession without cutting spending.

    The point is, the number of people who were turned away from voting in some of the battleground states was larger than the margin of victory; Had everyone voted who wanted to vote, we would be looking at President Clinton and a Democratic Senate.

    I would rather be in Governor Brown’s place, than Governor Brownback.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Are you following Chris Arnade?

    You *NEED* to be following Chris Arnade.


  17. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Let’s grant that most Trump voters are racist and will not do racist harassment. Can we all agree that freaks have been emboldened by Trump’s victory and are acting more brazenly and it will be hard to get the genie bottle back in?


    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yes, I agree with that, and I think it’s awful.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Which is why we need to keep harping on it.
      This isn’t normal, politics as usual.

      Some Rubicon has been crossed here, some breach of a firewall of social norms.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The freaks are freaking out because Trump is walking back all his racist talk. Give it a month and it’ll go away.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This is the standard alt-right stuff. It scares the heck out of me, but it’s still anonymous. When people start to think they can say these things in public, we’re in trouble.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

        I’ve started hearing whispers about this sort of thing in real life, though I’m not sure how representative my experiences are.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

          At times, I think that electing a black President made a number of people simply decide “We’ve elected a black President, racism is dead, I can now say what I truly think about black people.” Which is, pretty often, something rather appallingly racist.

          But perhaps that’s more coincidental and has to do with social media and the ability to create bubbles. Obama and the rise of social media sort of coincideded, after all. And it’s less “Racism is dead” and more “Tons of people agree with me and I say this stuff all the time online and nobody cares!”. (It’s not just race — sexism, antisemitism, you name it…)

          I’m a little terrified by what electing Trump will mean, because social bubbles are one thing, but a President normalizes behavior like nothing else. And if you can become President while claiming most Mexicans are rapists, talking about registering members of a religion you don’t like, and getting caught on tape bragging about getting away with sexual assault…

          Talk about eroding the foundations of a civil society.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

            They’ve long been eroding. It’s just catching up to the people who have nice jobs at this point.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

              I dunno. Trump seems a pretty big nadir.

              If you built a person out of every slur aimed at a Presidential candidate (except citizenship) or actual President of the last four or five decades , you’d have Donald Trump. Corrupt, secretive, ethically challenged, habitual liar, totally inexperienced, racist, xenophobic,serial sexual assaulter…..

              I don’t even know how to square that circle. You had a candidate so bad that newspapers that hadn’t endorsed Democrats in generations were doing it. Where pretty much every high-profile former GOP politician (including the living ex Presidents) indicated they were voting against their own party.

              That’s not normal. I disliked Bush, well before he ran for President, but he was pretty much just a Republican. I found his accent and faux folksy stuff grating (and especially that stupid ranch of his. It wasn’t even a good fake ranch), but the man wasn’t exactly out of lockstep with his party, and what he pursued in office I tended to disagree with heavily, but he wasn’t bypassing the norms of American politics.

              The closest you could say he came was using 9/11 to stifle dissent, but in the pretty standard ‘waving the bloody shirt’ way.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                You’re probably wondering why Hillary wasn’t 50 points ahead.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                You do realize that avoiding the point like that is really transparent, right?

                If you don’t want to respond, don’t. Responding with an insulting insinuation instead of an answer does no one good.

                Especially from a man who harps endlessly on trust and collaboration.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                How’s this? I see Trump as a buffoon who will do a great deal of damage to the institution and I can’t believe that the Republican Party was full to the brim of people so very freakin’ ineffectual that they couldn’t slow him down even though they had approximately 200 years of government experience between them and 200 million dollars.

                And then the Democrats went on to nominate Hillary Freaking Clinton against Trump and treated every single “maybe this is a mistake” argument against Clinton as if it were an argument for Trump’s Presidency rather than an argument against yet another career politician who would enable it.

                Our society has officially moved from This Level Of Trust and Collaboration into a lower one.

                I worry that we’re going to hit full speed on the culture war and then, within a decade of that hitting its zenith, an actual shooting civil war.

                So, anyway, please. Go back to explaining to me how bad Trump is and how different he is than the last 6 Republicans we’ve compared to Hitler.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I realize that you just really want to complain about Hillary Clinton — but the truth is, she no longer matters. She’s irrelevant. Her candidacy matters not at all. Your personal disdain of her, her candidacy, her record, her husband — it doesn’t matter anymore than my personal feelings on Bob Dole.

                She’s done. Gone. Irrelevant. She no longer matters, and any personal, ideological, or otherwise complaints you have are as relevant as someone complaining about Tipper Gore today.

                Snide insults will not make her relevant anymore. Backhanded compliments will not make her relevant anymore. A deep faith in counterfactual imaginary elections will not make her relevant anymore.

                Donald Trump is, however, relevant. Donald Trump will be President, and no matter how much some people might want to try to blame anyone OTHER than the minority of voters who voted for him. that does not change facts: Donald Trump was the clear choice of 49% of the American people, who voted for him of their own free will, and he will be President.

                So we’re back to the point: Do you think Trump is, qualitatively, a different sort of candidate than the ones the GOP or Democrats has put up the last, oh, 30 years?

                Because I see a lot of people trying to pretend Trump is basically Bush, that worries about Trump are the same sort of worries (just on the other side), to fit it firmly into the mold of “BSDI” and to just pretend all that crazy stuff he did didn’t happen. To create equivalences and restore the comfortable narrative of “Everyone pretends the other side’s candidate is incredibly awful and dangerous, but same ol’, same ol”.

                So do you think he is? Equivalent, that is? To Gore, Dole, McCain, Romney, Clinton, Kerry, Dubya, Obama?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s more that I think that Trump represents something significantly different than Bush represented.

                The old order has cracked.

                We’re going to witness the birth of a new one.

                It has less to do with Trump qua Trump than with Trump being possible in the first place.

                My hope remains that Trump is a steam release valve for Trumpism and that Clinton was, between the two, the accelerationist candidate.

                So do you think he is? Equivalent, that is? To Gore, Dole, McCain, Romney, Clinton, Kerry, Dubya, Obama?

                My hope is that he’s a run-of-the-mill corrupt politician.

                When it comes to whether he’s worth starting the civil war early, I guess I’m going to be that obnoxious guy who is going to be complaining that we should have spent more time on calisthenics and less time on body positivity.

                Oh, do you still have your old opinions on the 2nd Amendment? You might want to revisit them and revise them.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh, do you still have your old opinions on the 2nd Amendment? You might want to revisit them and revise them.

                You mean the ones that boil down to “No gun I own will stop the US military or the police?” The one that says “Owning a gun to ‘protect your rights’ is a fantasy sold by gun manufacturers to people in desperate need of reassurance and a feeling of power, because your pistol is going to do nothing to protect you from government whatsoever?”

                Reality hasn’t changed.

                We’re going to witness the birth of a new one.

                Well, it has been quite awhile since we elected an obviously corrupt racist to such a high office. I get finding out AFTER the fact, but knowing going in is an interesting twist.

                Oh, just FYI — with Jeff Sessions taking the AG spot, you can bet the drug war ain’t gonna change. In fact, I’d be real careful about legal weed, because we all know that the GOP’s views on State’s Rights extend only so far as the State doing what they want in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Well, just keep your 2nd Amendment opinions handy.

                You may find yourself thinking “I suppose it’s not about winning, per se” at some point.

                Oh, just FYI — with Jeff Sessions taking the AG spot, you can bet the drug war ain’t gonna change. In fact, I’d be real careful about legal weed, because we all know that the GOP’s views on State’s Rights extend only so far as the State doing what they want in the first place.

                Oh, I know that one. I plan on calling my Senators and telling them to oppose Sessions. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner.

                Please look yours up and do the same.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Okay. Let’s gather allies.

                “Hey, do you think that we should talk to the WWC?”

                “Eff those racists.”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, just keep your 2nd Amendment opinions handy.

                Why? Because, bluntly, the Second Amendment won’t actually do a flipping thing about government overreach, misuse of power, or anything else.

                Great for hunting and sport, and I suppose if you feel like gambling good for home defense. (The gamble being it’s used against an intruder, instead of being discharged at an occupant — purposefully or accidentally).

                Trump winning didn’t change reality.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                DWS keeps Clinton relevant until 2020 at least.

                Trump is qualitatively a different candidate. Yes.
                He is a WWF Hall of Famer.
                He is a lifelong Democrat from New York.
                He also has no fucking clue what he’s about to do.

                Yes, this is an odd duck.

                He also stands as the most unpopular President in a dog’s age. That is also a powerful thing, and stands to unravel some of the Dictatorial Powers the Executive has been accumulating.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

                Except his unpopularity doesn’t matter in the short term. Not with a Congress that has majorities in both chambers that are fine with dictatorial powers as long as it’s their Team that’s doing the dicting.

                Donald’s lack of experience in the Republican party and the lack of any principle whatsoever has created an Oklahoma land rush of opportunists trying to stake their claims for their pet issues in the new administration and especially in Congress itself.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                opportunists trying to stake their claims for their pet issues

                Swamp rats. Ychhh. Someone really needs to drain that thing.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Stillwater says:

                I read a clever thing today somewhere that went something like:

                Trump must be draining the swamp through Archimedes Principle – dumping all the aligators into it and getting the water out via displacement.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Morat20 says:

            I think a lot of it is projection.
            When white people complain about PC, they always conjure up some dystopia where white Christians are oppressed in some sort of reverse Jim Crow.

            What they’re doing is taking the very real fact of demographic change and applying it to the historical template of how whites treated everyone else.

            And the demographic change can’t be reversed even by an election.
            America is turning browner, less Christian, less rural and suburban.

            Usually people take this fact to point to an inevitable triumph of liberalism.
            I don’t, at least not as inevitable.

            There isn’t anything magic about brown skin that makes people tolerant and liberal. I can see an America where corporations are free to decide they don’t want to hire white Christians, and a Justice Department that turns a blind eye to it.

            The same people who complain bitterly about affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act, and “minority rights” are even now, the very ones pleading for tolerance.Report

  18. Avatar joke says:

    How about this:

    All Lives Matter (especially yours)Report

  19. Tod,

    I believe we also have an obligation to understand and empathize with others as an end in themselves, in addition to whatever tactical advantages such understanding grant us in achieving good goals.

    Your OP doesn’t exclude that possibility, but it does leave it unmentioned. And while all I know about your 7DS show is what you’ve written here, the show seems to me premised more on the assumption that people are to be understood for their own sake and not primarily (or not only) that doing so will help lead to a better society.

    To be clear, I do think there are times when our obligation to understand others “because it’s the right thing to do” has limits. Sometimes we have to bracket “understanding” and simply oppose people. We should be very discerning about what counts as “sometimes,” though.Report

    • @gabriel-conroy To the extant that I’m understanding you correctly, I agree with your point.

      Much of what I recommend doing in the OP is, at its base, tactical in nature. This is because I do not believe that the country is divided down the middle, with the half that is evil and racist all belonging to the GOP and the half that is pure of soul and lacking any kind of bigotry whatsoever all being Dems.

      I believe there really isn’t that much that separates more Rs from most Ds. Both sides want you to believe otherwise, but this has never met my life’s own observations. Because of this, I think elections can often swing based on how each candidate and their followers make a person feel about themselves. In 2008 I disagreed with most of my friends on the Left who argued that people had voted for Obama because of his progressive agenda. I felt then, and still do, that people voted for him because of his “there are no blue states/red states” message. It was a hopeful message that allowed everyone the ability to feel part of a positive movement.

      I don’t see any messages like Obama’s coming from the Ds right now. Instead, it all seems to be an incessant mocking, distrust, or diminishing of people who already on board Team D. And I think it’s a natural consequence of such messaging that people who weren’t already on board find a reason to reject the group that talks about them in that fashion. In the case of HRC, the reason many likely glommed onto was Comney. But if the Comney brouhaha had never existed, they would have found another reason in its stead.

      So yeah, it’s very much tactical.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        For sure, my Todd, but can we not ponder for a moment why Obamaism has fallen so badly out of vogue? I mean I grant that his “new kind of politics” was hokey but he then tried for several years to actually act that principle out in his dealings. The manufactured scandals, the strategic blanket opposition, the stonewalling, the shameless lies about his socialism, his partisanship.

        I mean the First ladies admonition rings as true to me now as it did then but when I think about it I feel my jaw clench with no small amount of anger when I recall how Obama’s been, at least in the near term, punked by a cynically adopted strategy that his high minded idealism was specifically vulnerable to. I mean yes, Mcconnel and the right basically sold out everything to stymie Obama, but that is scant consolation to liberals right now as they watch their opponents raking the chips off the table.

        I hope that the left and the Democratic Party returns to a somewhat more practical and cynical version of Obamaism but I can really feel why it doesn’t hold much appear in the immediate term.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to North says:

          Obama has a job approval rating of 57%, so in a specific sense, how Obama was treated is fairly irrelevant. I think the question is whether there was ever anything that could be considered “Obamaism”?Report

          • Avatar North in reply to PD Shaw says:

            I grant that Obama has a high personal approval though it’s bobbled plenty lower during his presidency.
            I think there was a number of things that could be considered Obamaism:
            -Preemptive bipartisanship: Consider Obama’s first stimulus. He put an enormous proportion of tax cuts into the stimulus bill in the assumption that it would earn Republican support. There was none of the traditional political trade/exchange. The ACA, also, was entirely drawn from conservative foundations rather than liberal ones.
            -An intense desire for deal making/bipartisanship: Obama paid out dearly in time and electoral goodwill desperately trying to get the GOP to cooperate with him on anything. He literally climbed down on the debt ceiling fiasco and negotiated the deal that eventually led to the sequester and he basically got taken to the cleaners. It took him what, two three more debt ceiling show downs before the conservatives finally accepted that he’d learned his lesson and wasn’t going to give away any more freebies.
            -A striking disdain for retail politics, more “show” than “tell”. Obama’s preferred MO was to hope that his policies would speak for themselves. He has not put a lot of energy into marketing and selling his proposals or accomplishments to the electorate and he has a visceral dislike for the dog and pony show aspect of the Presidency. During and after the flooding in Louisiana, for instance, Obama elected to stay away. He knew as a practical matter he wouldn’t do any good and the security considerations would be a nuisance for the state authorities. The optic element just wasn’t that important to him.
            -High mindedness: The man just doesn’t generally like to sling mud or even much shade. He generally can be relied on to take the high road and that’s striking considering how much low road has been going on.

            It’s noble but right now in the gloom of defeat it doesn’t feel prescient. In the long run? I have hope that history will judge him kindly.Report

        • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North says:

          One answer may simply be that the only way to elect a democrat would have been:

          1. Pick a charismatic one (which is the we-should-have-picked-Sanders argument)
          2. Achieve a major piece of domestic legislation in Obama’s second term (the sad thing about total GOP obstruction is that it’s good tactics)
          3. Achieve a major foreign policy successReport

      • Thanks for clarifying. And I agree especially with this:

        This is because I do not believe that the country is divided down the middle, with the half that is evil and racist all belonging to the GOP and the half that is pure of soul and lacking any kind of bigotry whatsoever all being Dems.


  20. Avatar veronica d says:

    One thing I keep thinking: for all this talk about how the Dems need to reach out to the white working class, the problem is, I’m not sure that we can. Which is to say, yes, Obama did well with that demographic, compared to Clinton. On the other hand, the media landscape has changed. My point: can we compete with FAKE NEWS?

    Clinton was not running on her record, nor even her personality exactly, but instead, she was running on a version of those things filtered through a lens of utterly fake news, which came to dominate the information feeds.

    This is a big deal, and while not entirely new, it exists at an entirely new scale.

    The subject of this article, Marco Chacon, is a very old friend of mine, and I was aware of his little experiment as it unfolded. Honestly, it terrified me. It terrified him. It was — bewildering.

    The liberal/left has always lagged the populist/right in its ability to deploy “bullshit” style news. Compare Air America with the Limbaugh-alikes. Compare MSNBC with Fox. This trend continues. Personally, I think it is baked into populist/trumpist-style conservatism, the nature of the lizard brain, the power of fear/anger/disgust, contrasted with the higher virtues.

    When you cannot win a fight on the enemies terms, change the terms. When the game is stacked against you, sweep the pieces from the board. Fight with your strengths, not against your enemies strengths.

    And indeed, they are my enemies. They want me dead.


    If we are to talk about the empathy divide, I’m not convinced I’m the one who lacks empathy. If you talk about the “need to reach out,” sure, but on what terms?

    If you want to talk about the material reality of power, the nature of angry men with guns, then sure, we can talk about that. If you want to talk about the moral case for democracy, sure, we can talk about that, but in what context? Racism and genocide are America’s original sin. Sexism is endemic in the species. Trumpism hits these nerves hard. Can I outplay them with reason? with decency? against the “America fuck yeah” crowd?

    I’m skeptical.

    Honestly, I think America might be done, not in terms of its ability to deploy organized violence, but in its moral trajectory. I’m not convinced that the nation should survive this.

    My horizons have narrowed. I hope to survive.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to veronica d says:

      You worry too much, and your definition of left is too small.
      The left is strong enough to stand up against the murderers, against those who would ban free speech against some but not all.
      The left is a wild hurricane of laughter and deviltry — the right looks on, and can’t see whom to strike.

      The Night of Long Knives is every day now — to the left’s profit and the right’s detriment.
      Remember that the left has analysts whose credo is show me the money.
      Much was learned from this election, primary and general.

      Trump winning is good for chaos. (The Republican Congress? Less so. I will blame the Republican Congress, as I do Trump, on Hillary Clinton. Removing the subverted is always a win. Better the knife in front of you than the one at your back.)

      You remember Acorn? Designed to be crushed, believe it or not. Collapsible, put-it-up-again the next election. And gain a lot of information from who comes out to kill it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

      One of the wacky things about the church when I was a kid was how culturally dominant it was.

      Over a handful of decades, though, it went through the “I don’t have to talk to people who aren’t ready to listen!”, “why won’t these people listen?”, to “we have to talk to these people in a way that they will be able to hear us” stages and it was fascinating to watch.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird — An analogy is like a duck, it never quite fits.

        Anyway, I’d love to see you address the concrete reality of white male resentment/anger combined with the fake news ecosystem, which seems to differ muchly from what the Christian right was up against.

        I’m not arguing against the value of reaching out, at least not in broad terms. I’m talking about this specific case.

        My analogy: The military tactics of the eighteenth century did not work in the Napoleonic wars, and those fared poorly in the Franco-Prussian war, and likewise the American Civil war. In turn those tactics had to be modified for the First World War, likewise again for the Second.

        One can name timeless military principles, but wars are won with specifics.


        How does liberalism thrive in an environment of angry white guys reading fake news? It is not enough to say it needs to. The question is, can it?

        If it cannot, then what else is there?

        Stop pretending I have all the agency and they have none. I have very little agency. There is little I can do. Breitbart will thrive according to its own logic, based on the character of those who read it. That comes from them, not me.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

          The fake news ecosystem seems to be one of those weird things that just popped up overnight. Like, where in the hell was it a year ago?

          This seems to be a straw that people are grasping at.
          It places the blame squarely outside of liberals’ own shortcomings.
          It’s something that can be addressed via centralized control.
          It explains everything.

          It strikes me as obviously a narrative that makes people feel better without actually addressing what really happened.

          For example, I think that “Bake The Cake” did more to get people to the polls in the Rust Belt than a horde of someones linking to a fake story about some dumb crap on Facebook would have.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

            The fake news industry is a natural outgrowth of news media abandoning its educational and gate keeping function in favor of money and the fragmented nature of an expanded media market. Since most people limit their news consumption to partisan outlets, some enterprising people realized that fiction in the form of news is a way to make serious money. They are simply giving their consumers what they want even if poisons the body politic.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Does the thought of losing because of the fake news industry (Industry? Really?) make you feel better?

              If so, I want you to consider, honestly consider, that you’re lying to yourself.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

              The news media has always been about money. There was never an ‘educational’ function – that’s why PBS was created, out of early nonprofit attempts to create educational televison. (It’s still in the flagship station’s call letters – WETA)

              The gatekeeping function was an accident of history. Multiple daily papers were no longer viable after television went mainstream (especially the afternoon ones) but the papers that survived wound up to be for one, the only game in town, and for two, to be rather profitable.

              But, as we see clearly now, that profitability was built on classified ads – and *that’s* what the internet has destroyed as a business model.Report

          • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

            @jaybird — But in a nation of 300+ million people, I can no more eliminate “bake the cake” than I can eliminate Breitbart, who will of course wildly amplify even a sketch of “bake the cake” sentiment. Which again, fake news, distorted news, amplified news, etc.

            Why does a “bake the cake” meme spread so wildly among the right wing? Who spreads it? Why does the audience hunger for it?

            And why not just bake the fucking cake anyhow? Can “the right” not try the empathy game themselves? Is it always us?

            Most LGBTQ people just want to get along. We just want a fair shot at a decent life, in the face of overwhelming, measurable hate that eclipses what the Christian right faces. I want public accommodation laws so I can participate fully in civil society, so I can travel and stay in hotels and eat at restaurants and use restrooms, like everyone else.

            For every Christian forced to bake a cake, how many transgender women have been violently murdered because they are transgender? How many transgender women fall between the cracks of society because we can find no place?

            But we lack empathy? Good grief man.

            The populist/trumpist-right hungers for Breitbart. Stop blaming me for that.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

              Have you seen the new #TrumpCup kerfuffle? Apparently, a bunch of right-wingers think it’s funny to go into a Starbucks, order a drink, say their name is “Trump and then the number one”, and post youtubes of baristas refusing to yell out “Trump Won!”.

              Which seems dumb to me, honestly. There are a hundred artisinal coffee places around town that might be owned by the guy pouring and handing you the coffee who could well have voted for Trump based on some small business justification in addition to his (because you know it’s a “him”) hatred of minorities whether they be racial minorities, sexual minorities, gender minorities, sexual preference minorities, or one of the other kinds of minorities that people like that hate.

              Most LGBTQ people just want to get along. We just want a fair shot at a decent life, in the face of overwhelming, measurable hate that eclipses what the Christian right faces. I want public accommodation laws so I can participate fully in civil society, so I can travel and stay in hotels and eat at restaurants and use restrooms, like everyone else.

              Yes. But it’s the gay couple who drove all the way from Columbus, Ohio to Kim Davis’s county office to get a marriage license that people remember when the shoe is on what they consider to be the other foot. They don’t remember the millions who just wanted to get along and have a fair shot at a decent life.

              For what it’s worth, I no more blame you for this sort of thing than you blame me for it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Err.. Jay, you just switched out Bake the Cake (a private entity) for Kim Davis (a government employee)? Was that intentional? Because one of those things is not like the other; one can argue bake the cake and have some hope of prevailing on private ownership what have you but arguing on “my personal religious beliefs trump my responsibilities as a civil employee and no I won’t resign” is a loser every which way.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                I was more thinking about the people who are now running into Starbucks and what they were thinking as they asked for their #TrumpCup and how they were conflating Bake the Cake and people driving from Ohio to Kim Davis’s office and demanding a license from her personally.

                Do I conflate private action with government action? No.

                Do I think that the people screaming “PUT TRUMP1 ON THE CUP!” do so? Oh, yes. Yes I do.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird says:

                If the problem is that the median voter prefers to vote based on their outrage over something the other side’s fringe does, how do we deal with that? Controlling the fringe is right out, pretty much by definition. There will always be at least one person who does that thing that makes voters angry, and with the Internet and media as it is, that one person is going to get about as much play as the candidate.Report

              • how do we deal with that?

                (starts to answer, voice breaks, starts sobbing)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                Well there is a way to address it, but it’s not fun. Basically if the Democratic Party’s politicians took a hard but sympathetic* line against the “SJW” element of the left it’d become harder to paint the party in those colors.

                The hard part is that doing it sympathetically but also plausibly would be difficult and unlikely to win you points right away. Right wingers would scream “liar!” and left wingers would scream “Bigot!” But silence on the establishments part basically cedes the messaging to those same fringes.

                *Because let’s face it, you can throw out most of what little concrete proposals exist in the “SJW” agenda without actually screwing over minorities.Report

          • Avatar Hoosegow Flask in reply to Jaybird says:

            I suppose it depends on what you mean by “fake news ecosystem”. If you mean only specific site that try to fool the reader into thinking they’re a legitimate news site, then I don’t know when those really became an issue.

            But, anecdotally, I have witnessed a ton of BS shared on Facebook by friends and family. It’s usually some newsy looking blog post (think Kevin Drum) which as a link to a blog post which has a link to a blog post which has a link to a blog post with a link to the actual news item. Often, the information has been completely distorted (intentionally or not) from the original article, like some twisted internet game of telephone.

            I did, in years past, make attempts to show that some of these were clearly, provably false, but it had no impact. It was typically dismissed with something along the lines of “that doesn’t matter, because I know X is horrible anyway”.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

              If we’re including stuff like “huh, they buried the lede and the headline was completely misleading”, I’d submit that the fake news has been around for a long enough time that panicking about it now strikes me as somewhat quaint.

              If we’re defining it that broadly, I’d say that what we’re seeing is yet another of “our” weapons being picked up by the other side and, suddenly, we’re discovering that we don’t like it when people do that.Report

  21. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Maybe I’m too literalist, but it strikes me as weird when we use the word “privilege” to describe a right. It’s a human right not to get shot dead during a routine traffic stop. The problem isn’t that some people are “privileged” here- it’s that others don’t have a basic human right in a country that calls itself a liberal democracy. At the least, it seems more productive to rage against such a critical human right being denied to black people than to tell white people they need to think more about how “privileged” they are not to get shot dead during routine traffic stops. Honestly, does getting white people to think more about themselves really do anything??Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Rufus F. says:


      I agree, you don’t need to be conversant with (or even accepting of) modern Social Justice theory to understand the problem with police shootings – 18th and 19th Century human rights theories are perfectly sufficient.Report

    • I’ve heard this critique before, and I agree. But there is value in people recognizing in what ways they might be better off than others, even if all ought to be better off in that way. Maybe “privilege,” as a term to describe this value (as I see it), has the double burden of being the wrong word (for the reasons you mention) and of having been overused* to the point that it’s become a conversation stopper.

      *…or perceived as being overused. I’m don’t hear a lot of “check your privilege,” even at the height of the “check your privilege” craze (if there really was a craze). That may just be a result of my own bubble, thought.Report

  22. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    @j_a and anyone else

    From MIT Those jobs aren’t coming backReport

    • Avatar James K in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


      This is my problem with everyone on the right and left who want to restore the 1970s economy. Aside form the fact that the 1970s was buoyed by some unsustainable economic policies, its simply not possible to roll an economy back. The economic model where a large number of Americans are paid a lot of money each to make things is gone and its not coming back.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to James K says:

        What then when growth stops and capitalism becomes an untenable economic solution?
        (Piketty’s book suppresses the premise that capitalism’s tenets depend on growth).
        I pray that we can create enough chaos that growth will be… if not sustainable, at least something attainable.

        Besides, we can get back to the 1950’s easy enough. It’s called another World War, isn’t it?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to James K says:

        And so the question for the Dems is what our message is going to be in 2018.

        When the promised jobs in Trumplandia have failed to materialize, when younger voters are witnessing the shredding of Medicare, Obamacare, and Social Security, while carrying six figure college debt and minimum wage jobs, what message will we use to capitalize on that fumble?Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to Chip Daniels says:


          A while back I posted on what I see as the key empirical questions I think are necessary to address economic populism in a useful way. I’d say that getting these answers are more important than ever.

          Of course, the answers may not be politically helpful – some economic problems don’t have solutions, or have solutions that the voters will not accept.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          That’s where the devil appears in a cloud of smoke in his red pajamas and offers his bargain:

          If the Democratic Party cloned the McConnell strategy and forced Trump and the GOP to go it alone then things are going to get potentially worse and the GOP will have hell to pay in 2018 and 2020.

          But if the Democratic Party does its normal routine of cooperating on policies they think are a good idea and only fighting hard on policies they think are a terrible idea: Yes on infrastructure spending, Yes on reforming the ACA, Yes on deficit increasing activities, No on another land war in Asia, No on repealing the ACA and replacing it with nothing, No on Privatizing Medicare and SS…
          Well if they do that the country could be a lot better off and Trump will have a reputation for bipartisan accomplishment and the GOP will be the ice cream party and the country may well look favorably upon them.

          So, says the devil twirling his moustache, do you prioritize the country’s welfare or the prospects of your party? Don’t answer quickly, take your time.

          *Which the GOP always pours out by bucket loads when they’re in power, tax cuts, spending, the lot. Then they shriek like fruit bats about fiscal discipline when not in power.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

            Obama’s clearly made his choice — country above party.

            I suspect the party will follow.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:


              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

                @morat20 @north

                I wonder if this time could be different. Anecdotal evidence but I’m seeing a lot of people say resist, resist, resist. Trump seems to inspire confidence in no one. A lot of people are angry at Warren and Sanders about saying they could work with Trump on certain issues. Josh Marshall is keeping a running tab to shame congressional Democrats into keeping Medicare.

                I think Trump’s racist and sexist and generally bigoted rhetoric have caused people to view him with maximum suspicion except a handful of white guys (sorry white guys) who seem to be middle-aged, reasonably well to do, heterosexual, and nominally Christian. These are a class that can talk portentously about the importance of open chances and peaceful advances of power.

                Trump’s picks for cabinet positions so far are not ameliorating any fears or concerns on the left. I’ve heard one reasonable candidate and that is Mitt Romney for Secretary of State. Considering Sessions is his pick for AG. I am not expecting Romney to get a nod from Trump. It will probably be Bolton.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                It depends heavily on what Trump and the GOP do.
                Privatize Social Security? Repeal the ACA with nothing in its place? Slash Medicare? The Democratic Party and (and will) go to the mat on those issues and they’ll win. Noone will fault them for that.

                But infrastructure spending? Or reforming* the ACA? The Dems go to the mat against that and they’ll lose and it’ll hurt them.

                It really depends on what they try to do.

                *for various values of ‘reform’ it’d functionally just be adding in the conservative buy in that Mcconnell denied it from the start.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to North says:

            Where are you getting the notion that the Democratic Party is strongly committed to the idea that starting another land war in Asia is a terrible enough idea to really fight on?

            When that comes up again I expect a quarter of the party to be on board entirely, and another fifth not to want to fight President Trump on it, just as in 2002.

            Hell, Hillary was fixin’ to start one herself. They’d have been all in.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Michael Drew says:

              I doubt HRC had any interest in a land war. Her inclinations, qua Libya, is low footprint meddling a-la Bill’s eastern European adventures.
              I’d like to think that the Dems will go all out against future land wars in Asia; Iraq is pretty recent memory.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to James K says:

        Well, there are still jobs where people are paid a lot of money to make or do things, but they are usually not jobs in nice, fixed factories, and the number of such positions will be less than the jobs widget making provided.

        In that NPR interview I linked to, Tim Ryan talked about how a guy who wants to be a backhoe operator should still be able to be a backhoe operator, which is fine, but even assuming there is sufficient need for him to be a backhoe operator, I can promise that the only way he operates a backhoe in a fixed location far removed from an urban core is if he works for a mine or something similar. Even the urban cores are going to have limited need for heavy machinery operators.

        Now if Trump manages to launch an aggressive infrastructure improvement program, we could possibly kick the can down the road for a few more years, but the reality is that unskilled or lightly skilled labor being part of the middle class is done. The politics of that reality is going to suck for our political class, although probably not nearly as much as it will suck for the affected labor class.

        ETA: Some forward thinking leadership on the part of Labor Unions could be very helpful here, and help to revitalize the floundering unions, but I won’t give up breathing or sex waiting for them to be proactive, they seem far too complacent and just want the government to mandate their existence.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to James K says:

        >> This is my problem with everyone on the right and left who want to restore the 1970s economy.

        It’s not just the economy. People feel like they are growing powerless in every aspect of their lives. A bunch of quants on Wall St decided to use a new mathematical model and now all the mortgages in your hometown are underwater. The Chinese government deregulated some industrial sector and now the factory your family has worked in is shuttered. Some guy in Usbekibekibekistan put up a call to arms on YouTube and now there’s a serial knife attack at your local mall. Minorities feel like they’re being mistreated in subtle ways but when they bring it up people point to the black president and Modern Family on TV and say “what more do you want from me?”. Majorities feel like they’re constantly under suspicion of saying something that used to just be crude but now will get you fired from your job, or shunned by your friends, or have people come from across the state to picket outside your business.

        They all look up at the presidential nominees and shout “Save us!”. But, fundamentally, these are problems that the president has little power over. So what we’ve seen over the past few years is that they’ll vote for the charismatic young black guy who says he has some really sophisticated new computer models to get the jobs back, and some stirring speeches to deal with the cultural stuff. And when that doesn’t work, they’ll vote for the slimy orange guy who says he’ll throw those bums out and pound the table with his shoe until your jobs come back and the cultural complainers shut up or leave. But they will not vote for the old lady who says she’s just going to tweak those computer models a bit and give some uninspiring speeches.

        I guess we can take some solace in the fact that the nice black guy won in a landslide and the old lady lost in a squeeker. But the big question for me if they’ll vote for someone who says “this is how it is now, I’m going to work hard but there’s actually very little I can do for you”.Report

  23. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Does anyone else ever suspect that some Hillary supporters would have been more bummed had she been denied the nomination again than they are that she lost the election?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Michael Drew says:

      No, because I think ha she lost the Dems might well have won.Report

      • Bernie would have captured the Rust Belt? Or Martin Marietta [1] would have beaten Trump?

        1. Whatever his name was.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          He prolly woulda at least campaigned there down the stretch.

          I mean, let’ face it: if folks like me thought Hillary was a terrible candidate then the Dems were in trouble from the get-go. And it’s not like I was alone in that view. Hell, 40% of the Democratic base apparently thought the same thing.Report

        • No, I’m assuming here that a HRC loss only comes because the party openly encourages stronger potential candidates to run.

          But then, I’m one of those few people who think Bernie was never really the charismatic fireplug everyone suddenly seems to think he is. I think he is now what he always has been: a fine [small] regional candidate but a very weak national one. I believe his surprising success in the primary had less to do with Bernie, and more to do with the person he was running against.

          (And now you can feel free to insert the standard “but everyone loves Hilary and her EC loss is really just a testament of how universally popular she really was” rebuttal below.)Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Well it’s certainly undeniable she lost. I do doubt that Bernie (who I actually think quite well of) could have realistically won. Too much vulnerability, too much cultural conditioning and, frankly, not a good enough campaigner or debater. I’m just not imagining a man for whom “We’ll need a political revolution” was his go to answer was going to carry the day. I do agree with our Todd, though, that this primarily also lies at the feet of HRC. She methodically cleared the field for herself starting probably sometime in 2008. All the plausible candidates looked at the lay of the land and took a pass.

          I think where I depart from our Todd’s view is that this is indicative of something structurally deficient in the Democratic Party itself or something that the party could easily have prevented. The route she took to the nomination was one pretty much only Hillary could follow. Her fight with Obama in 2008, her loss (and how she behaved in that loss and after), Obama’s Presidency (and how the GOP responded to it), and HRC’s own history make her pretty unique. You won’t see anyone replicating her path to the nomination that’s for sure.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

            I say this all the time here, but I’ll repeat myself again.

            If you go through the all of the Presidential elections in my adult lifetime, there’s only one winner who went into the race as the clear favorite of his or her party: George H. W. Bush. Everyone else — Carter, Regan, Clinton, W. Bush, Obama, and now Trump — were all people who were supposed to be quickly discarded shiny objects.

            It’s what I find so frustrating about the, “if not Hilary, who?” argument. If you don’t open it up and encourage a variety of potential candidates run, you’ll never know. If Gore (or Cuomo) had won the nomination the way he was supposed to in 92 because it was his turn, everyone knew he was going to win anyway, and so Clinton never ran and Gore (or Cuomo) lost to Bush, no one would be saying now, “I bet Clinton would have won,” because the vast majority of us wouldn’t know who the hell he was.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              I don’t see how anything you write contradicts anything I said, my Tod. I agree, we have no idea who or how many who’s would have arisen in the absence of Hillary methodically making arising to compete with her in 2016 an unpalatable option. I just don’t see how, given the origins, development and means of Hillary’s candidacy, that she could have been headed off without the benefit of late 2016 hindsight.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

                I suspect this i s because we have different ideas as to how and why Hillary was in the place she was in.

                If the string of events was: Hilary tossed about the idea of running, everyone thought that was a good idea, no one ran or encouraged others to run, then yes, I don’t know how you stop that train.

                I suspect, however, that the string of events was more like: Hillary spends seven years making offers and threats so that when she runs in 2016 she doesn’t have 2008 happen all over, everyone who might disagree and push back is pretty complement with the gifts/threats, and no one who oversees those people (including voters) ever make them pay for any of these decisions along the way.

                If that second is more accurate,then I see a whole lot of places where things could have come out differently if anyone had the backbone Obama did in ’08.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Hmmm well I think #2 is the reason Hillary got the nod in 2016. Where I suspect I depart from you is in how feasible this was to resist given what a person would know at the time.
                I mean in 2008- we’re talking about subtle thoughts, probably just in her inner circle and general being helpful-ness to her party and political colleagues. Also from 2009-2013 she’s mainly busy being Secretary of State. I mean WHO is the question I guess I don’t get? A party actor? Those are mostly career party wonks or politicians; literally Hillary’s tribe. The voters? But for a tiny fraction of them they were utterly indifferent to the question up to around 2014 or so and at that point the Hillary Machine is ready to spring fully formed from the Dems like Athena from Zeus’s forehead. Also voters weren’t ever asked about this nor would they ever have realistically expected to be asked.

                So there’s Hillary biding her time, building her machine brick by brick, favor by favor. So you’re someone showing up saying for whatever reason “Hillary’s trying to run in 2016 and it’s a horrible idea, she should be slapped down.” and I’m the party and the partisans who could intervene. Here’s the response you get sorted by time period:
                2008-2009: Seriously dude? She just lost to Obama, then ate a bug in the national eye and then she was a good soldier, put the PUMA nonsense down hard and toed the line and took a job in Obama’s admin and you think she needs a good slapping and some salt in the wounds? Dude, you’re crazy. Also 2016? No one’s thinking about 2016 right now, we have a permanent electoral majority to cement!
                2009-2011: Dude, you mean the Secretary of State? She’s been working hard on the job and Bills roaming around doing good things for everyone. Fundraising? Stumping for candidates in 2010? The works! Also have you seen the confetti the GOP made of Obama’s new kind of politics? You know who said those partisan fishers would fish us over? Yeah Hillary. There’re days when I look back at her fighting style and say “what if.”
                2012- Dude! The Big Dawg just FRIED the GOP over an open fire at Obama’s convention with a side of couscous. The President was so grateful he was ready to kiss BOTH Clintons (With Tongue!) for their help, and he’s just the highest ranking party person who feels that way! What the hell are you talking about? We’ve got an election to win!
                2013-2016- Yeah duh, and everyone I talk to is into it. They either like Hill, they owe Hill or they’re afraid of Hill and so am I. Because I like you I’m not going to tell anyone at team Hillary that you’re complaining about her. Also she’ll be a great President.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              Um, @tod-kelly, Bush the Younger had the entire Republican apparatus coalesced around him the moment he won reelection in 1998. McCain was the unexpected nit in the ointment. By October ’99, he was regularly getting 60-65% in primary polls.Report

  24. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I read an article about a small town in one of the swing states that went from +40 for Obama to a narrow win for Trump. Now, the total population was like 5K so that particular town didn’t swing the state. But reading the article, there was much conversation about how much people were hurting especially by the collapse of the one local industry. It discussed a visit made by Donnie Jr. and how well-received it was despite him avoiding any real substantive policy discussion and avoiding the elephant of the room in that what collapsed the town’s industry (outsourcing) was something the Trumps are all too familiar with doing.

    It didn’t say if Clinton or any of her operatives ever visited the area. I assume that means they hadn’t. But if they had and if they went in with a message that amounted to, “We want to strengthen the safety net so that you and folks like you in towns like this across America do not suffer this fate because a company leaves. We want to ensure you have access to affordable health insurance regardless of your employment status. We want to make educational options easier and cheaper so that you have options beyond the local industry. We want to lower your taxes and grow your wages. And we’ll pay for this by taxing the economic elites in cities across America,” do you think that would have resonated? Would that town have stayed +30 for the Dems?

    Because it seems to me that Hillary could have done that without blowing smoke (unless I am fundamentally misunderstanding her platform). She didn’t, which is a problem. But if it wouldn’t have mattered — for whatever reason — than I’m not sure that failing to understand towns like that and its inhabitants is the real issue.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Kazzy says:

      Because it seems to me that Hillary could have done that without blowing smoke (unless I am fundamentally misunderstanding her platform). She didn’t, which is a problem. But if it wouldn’t have mattered — for whatever reason — than I’m not sure that failing to understand towns like that and its inhabitants is the real issue.

      Had Hillary come on Donnie’s toes and said all the nice things you say (all of which were part of her platform) she would still have lost that town in a landslide.

      When I first heard “Make America Great AGAIN” I hated that slogan. What do you mean AGAIN? When did it stop being great (the non-white socialist Muslim leader from behind leading it notwithstanding)? That shows how little I understand. The slogan is genius.

      The people in this town did not want wonky, possibly workable, solutions to their problems. They want their problems to go away. One candidate promised exactly that, to make their problems go away. The other one, instead, promised to work tirelessly on mitigating the effects of their problems (*). It’s not the same.

      They want to FEEL great, AGAIN.

      Who they are, and what the problem is, doesn’t matter. One promise fits all: “I will make the problem go away, and you will feel great again”. The problem is always external: Illegal immigrants, Muslim terrorists, Chinese currency manipulators, treasonous elites moving factories from Kentucky to Mexico. Once the problem is gone, life will continue as it was, they have their agency back, their dignity is intact.

      Hence taking credit for stopping a plant moving from Kentucky to Mexico, a plant that was never going to move in the first place. See, I made this problem go away.

      (*) It helped (I mean, hurt) that Hillary is a wonk among wonks, that, like yours truly, would not offer a solution in three bullet points when she could do it with sixteen. That’s what I loved from her since the nineties. But what do I know? A guy that footnotes his blog post comments. Don’t trust him to do politics well.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to J_A says:

        Had Hillary come on Donnie’s toes and said all the nice things you say (all of which were part of her platform) she would still have lost that town in a landslide.

        By Kazzy’s account, she lost that town narrowly, not in a landslide.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Kazzy says:

      Hey, I think I drove through that town this summer. I think its going to map as part of Appalachia, writing off West Virginia, writes off Southeastern Ohio. But the highway I drove-on is kind of that double-edged sword of infrastructure improvement. Upgrading the two-lane highway to an expressway probably seemed convenient to the town at the time, but it brought Columbus less than an hour away, where a wider range of services and retail would eventually close local businesses.Report

    • Avatar C.P. in reply to Kazzy says:

      Huffington Post? Ha ha ha ha!Report

  25. Avatar C.P. says:

    I have a question. I’m new here, and it seems as if this is a mainly liberal blog. How many of you actually know people who voted for Trump? Did you discuss the election with them, and what did they tell you? The reason I ask is that, for reading the comment thread, it seems as if not many of you do.

    I know people who supported all four of the candidates, and others who cast throw-away write-in votes. I talked to them, and I genuinely respected their views. Other people might want to give it a try sometime. This goes triple for the amateur political scientists who populate liberal comment sections. See, it’s one thing to love “the people,” and something entirely different to know and understand people.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to C.P. says:

      I have several relatives both by blood and marriage who are enthusiastic Trump supporters.

      I love them dearly and will be pained when they lose their insurance and Medicare.Report

      • Avatar C.P. in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Did you talk to them, or did you talk at them? From your wording, I suspect the latter. Tell me, have you ever actually listened to anyone who doesn’t agree with you? Have you ever actually changed your mind on an important issue as the result of studying all of the facts and arguments, in a methodical way?

        Have you ever agreed with a right winger on any political issue? Do you see any merit in any of their arguments, or have you pretty much decided that you know everything you need to know, and have nothing to learn?


        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to C.P. says:

          From the mid 70’s when I came of age, to somewhere during the mid 90’s I was a Reagan conservative.

          I still consider myself dispositionally conservative, in the Russell Kirk sense.
          So yeah, I have been on both sides of most issues we talk about.

          Its actually my conservatism, my desire for tradition and community norms that drove me into the liberal camp.

          I regard the modern conservative movement as a radicalized revolutionary force that operates more on the level of culturekampf and ethnic resentment.

          Oh, by the way how come nobody ever asks, “Have you actually talked to a BLM supporter? Have you actually listened to a single black mother from the projects or immigrant farmworker and grasped their experience?” and so on.Report

    • Avatar rtodkelly in reply to C.P. says:

      @c-p Excellent questions, all.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to rtodkelly says:

        {{I thought we had a pretty good representation of political thinking during the election here at the OT, with critiques of Trump(ism) ranging from the view that they’re ALL racists thru the more nuanced view that only most of them are racists and the rest are either misogynists or tribalists.}}Report

        • Avatar C.P. in reply to Stillwater says:

          Please tell us about the conversations you’ve had with friends who are Trump supporters.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to C.P. says:

            It’s boring CP. They’re all racists and misogynists.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Stillwater says:

              Also, if they’re anything like the dudebros(*) I work with, they believe that everything they read in the right-wing blogosphere is true, and that all the evidence for e.g. climate change is faked. They aren’t irrational so much as arational, the whole idea of reasoning never even enters into it – which is weird, because they can hold down senior-level positions in the tech industry (hmm, thinking about it again, reasoning ability isn’t their strongest attribute in the job performance, either).

              (*) Well, they have the attitudes of dudebros, but in all other ways are old farts. The one way they keep up with the times, I guess.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to C.P. says:

      I haven’t spoken with many about the election but one close friend was a nose-holding Trump voter (supported Cruz in primaries). A key reason was legitimate concern that Hillary would be impeached and it would throw the nation into dissaray. He was troubled by Trump but more troubled by Clinton’s “criminality”.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to C.P. says:


      Welcome aboard.

      I don’t know any open Trump supporters because even my more right-leaning friends saw him as an absolute fraud and grifter. My Jewish-Republican friends were disturbed by the rise of the alt-right.

      However, I was never surprised that Trump would get at least 42 percent of the popular vote if only because things are so polarized that almost anyone with an R or D next to their name is guaranteed that much of the popular vote.

      Perhaps many people voted for Trump but are sincerely concerned about his racism and sexism. I think these people are being conned by one of the biggest grifter’s in the world. They decided they would rather hear an easy lie over a hard truth despite a self-professed love for straight talk. The factories of the Ohio River Valley are not going to hum again. The unique factors that created well-payed unskilled work are gone (mainly the rest of the world was in ruins after WWII and/or much of the world was unavailable because of the Cold War and/or Automation wasn’t good back then.) The Democratic Party has tried and failed with the truth and various programs since Clinton I. I’m not sure if there are any solutions to the problems of the Rust Belt except deeply unpopular ones.

      As to the “smug style”, I am less than impressed. I’ll point out again that HRC did win a majority of the popular vote. Her margin looks like it is going to be over 2 million but not that greatly geographically distributed. Most HRC voters are not smug upper-middle class liberals, there simply are not enough upper-middle class liberals to carry an election for anything beyond Congressperson. I will also point out that there are plenty of people who flee their small towns for the big cities because they are tired for being beat up for being different. Different could be bookish, LBGT, physically disabled, a minority religion within the small town, etc. Yet this seems to get ignored because some liberal, somewhere, said something smug about small-town America and that liberal probably attended Reed or Smith!Report

      • Avatar C.P. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Sounds like you are clinging bitterly to Clinton’s big numbers in California, along with your anthropogenic global warming religion.

        As far as your pessimism about the Ohio Valley goes, it’ll be interesting to see what the “progressives” say when the tidal wave swamps all those tony liberal arts colleges and programs that are just waiting to be rearranged by online higher-ed at 1/4 the price.

        You think that white collar superiors can’t be replaced? Oh, just wait.

        p.s.: If you were the kind to actually incorporate contrary facts, I could tell you about LGBT in small towns. But why bother? You can always tell a “progressive,” but you cannot tell a “progressive” anything.Report

        • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to C.P. says:

          Ha, welcome aboard C.P. we probably need you here to balance out the left shift.

          Geez, were are all these rightish folks coming from? None of ’em are from my camp.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Joe Sal says:

            It’s a tendency after elections for the winning side to turn out more and vice versa. Lord(Lady?) after 2012 just about every right winger round here vanished in a cloud of smoke.Report

            • Avatar C.P. in reply to North says:

              I didn’t vote for Trump, but thanks for the knowing assumption. Want to tell me what else you think you know, Kreskin?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to C.P. says:

                That’s fine, neither did the libertarians but they still turn out to chat more when the ostensibly right wing politician wins and less when the same loses (and vice versa).
                As for what I know or think I know I’d be far more interested to hear what you think you know. I’ve aired what I think I know round these parts plenty.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to C.P. says:

      Hey, CP. Welcome aboard.

      I’m one of the folks who works with evangelical types who went from lecturing me about how a vote for Johnson was a vote for Clinton to musing about how, as Christians, they couldn’t vote for a lecherous pervert. When I made some feeble noises about “locker room talk” and “20 year olds”, I got a stern lecture about how something like “I’d hit it” is locker room talk and what Trump said wasn’t even a 20 year old’s comment but a 14 year old’s comment.

      Good guy.

      I also live near a small liberal arts college and I frequent a diner close to campus and, having worked a food service job as I worked through college, I talk with the kids behind the counter regularly. A couple of the counterstaff that I’ve made friends with are Trump supporters and one of the reasons that they support Trump is because they work at a diner close to the campus of a small liberal arts college.

      We need conservative voices here.
      I’d ask that you not have a hair trigger. There’s a lot to learn here and a lot of people who need to learn here and tone is one of those things that can prevent signal from reaching an intended target.

      I think you might find this place to be awesome.Report

      • Avatar C.P. in reply to Jaybird says:

        To be honest, humility and willingness to learn anything are not aspects of the “progressive” tribe. Or to put it differently: “You can always tell a ‘progressive,’ but you cannot tell a ‘progressive’ anything.”

        We have “progressives” who think they are smarter and better than human beings, and we have wingnuts who think they have a corner on God and country. Two sides of the same coin, and unfortunately they dominate the Internet.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to C.P. says:

          Whoa there, Tex.

          I submit to you that you have entered an actual community of people who, for the most part, are trying to figure stuff out.

          Yes, many of us take the comment sections as an opportunity to give the speech they’ve been practicing (waves hand) but many of us, seriously!, actually want to reach some kind of deeper understanding.

          This place is different, for the most part. We’ve got a handful of knuckleheads (waves hand) but I think that, if you stick around, you’ll see that you can actually have a conversation instead of merely sitting with people polite enough to wait for their turn to give a speech.

          I understand that you’ve been burned before on a lot of so-called “discussion” sites. I’m down with that. Most of us have.

          Give us a chance. A soft tone, some kind words… I think you’ll find we’re worth it.

          Besides, most of us here have heard each others’ speeches a dozen times. We’d *LOVE* to hear someone new give their speeches!Report

          • Avatar C.P. in reply to Jaybird says:

            I don’t think this will be happening. don’t think this site is a place for any real dialogue. Not after my attempt to engage on global warming was met with the usual bullshit insults. Have your echo chamber. Much more comfortable that way.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to C.P. says:

              You got that after two days of belligerence, did you?

              Again, I’d suggest *NOT* coming in and metaphorically pooping in the punch bowl and seeing how the party progresses.

              Yes, you will find a bunch of people who are more interested in reciting their own version of the apostle’s creed when they encounter an opposing viewpoint than actually wrestling with the issue. However, if you don’t put your thumb in their eye, you might find that one or two of them are capable of conversation.


              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — In a strange way this person is making my case for me.

                Your “high trust society” was always a thin veneer over something very ugly. The truth is, compromise was never quite possible. At least, it was never a particularly likely outcome, any more than it was in the 1860’s (to pick a time frame).

                There is a reason Reagan was able to sell “welfare moms” and Limbaugh was able to sell “moochers” and the Republicans were able to use gay marriage as a wedge issue, just as they are trying to use transgender issues as a wedge issue now. And then we have “Mexicans” and “terrorists” and on and on. It works. It works for reasons.

                It has proven way easier to sell fake news to the right than to the left. This is not because the left has no conspiratorial whackjobs — believe me, I’ve heard enough implausible stories about afro-centrism or whatever the CIA is doing to last a lifetime. But the paranoia industry is a right wing phenomena. For them, it is profitable.

                Trumpism was baked in.

                America fuck yeah!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                My “high trust” society existed in Denmark, the UK, Canada, and a handful of other Europeanish places. It never existed in the US, though my lefty friends kept telling me that the moral direction was to go into a high trust direction.

                Well, mostly by calling for high-collaboration institutions to be erected.

                Well, that thin veneer is coming off.

                And we now get to stop pretending that what we dreamed is possible.

                The part of our lives that future high school teachers will talk about for no more than one paragraph is over.

                We’re kicking off a new chapter.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                What do “high Trust” societies do with/about trust breaking people?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Sequestration, exile, rehabilitation, punishment.

                Depends on what they did, really.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m thinking of someone who is basically this bad caricature of why-welfare-is-bad. She’d make a good GOP attack ad. The gov has tried to ‘fix’ or ‘help’ her multiple times and I think “enable dysfunctional behavior” is probably a better description of what’s happened.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                For that, one the one end of the spectrum, social shaming, on the other, a shrug with the knowledge that every system will have friction and the overall goal is worth this particular individual gaming the system.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’d love to see social shaming but thus far haven’t. I suspect that has to be in place before these high trust institutions can be put in place.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to C.P. says:

              For better or for worse, it seems like this thread has been a great lesson about “talking at” people, listening, and respecting the views of others.Report